Author Archives: Vrykerion

Vry Plays: Fable Anniversary (Part 1)

After some technical issues, Vry finally dives into the world of Albion and explores the horrific backstory of classes, tests, and a schoolyard rival… Oh! And your family dies. Check out Vrykerion and the Land of Odd every 2nd and 4th Wednesday live at 7pm MST on https://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

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On Being ‘The Other’: Thoughts on the Witcher Series

I’ve commented before here and there about ‘The Witcher’, the blockbuster game franchise developed by gamer darling CD Projekt Red.  It’s a game series that I have tried time and time again to sit down and play and I just never felt invested in compared to games like Final Fantasy, the Dragon Age series, or even the Fable games.  And it usually always boils down to me sitting there and asking myself why?  Why are these games so difficult for me to immerse myself into and enjoy?  When by all critical and gamer opinions they are superior to all three of the aforementioned franchises?

It’s not that I think that they are bad games.  In fact, the one place I would compliment them above all else is in their gameplay design – especially the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt which is often cited as one of the few games to do ‘Open World’ right.  And while I honestly felt many of the side quests in Wild Hunt were tedious and dragged on for far too long (I know we all are supposed to hate ‘fetch quests’ but going to fetch some milk doesn’t need to be turned into the Lord of the Rings either.)  Though I will note that the combat can sometimes feel overwhelming in the number of options for the short span of time you are given to utilize them that I tend to just end up smacking things with the wrong sword until they die.  I can honestly say that the gameplay is solid and enjoyable and quite often trims the fat from superfluous busy work.

The story itself was the next point that I thought about.  It’s not lacking in any way, far from it.  In many ways it often feels like there’s too much to take in.  Rich histories that you are merely gleaming the edges of as you partake in your focused quest.  I know the game series was based on a much larger series of novels, and it shows in the fact that characters often regard each in familiar ways even though you only being introduced to them.  It honestly had me wishing for a codex of some sort like in Mass Effect or even Final Fantasy XIII that I could refer back to.  While the game has something similar, it’s less a datalog or codex and more of a “there are tons of books lying around” and much like the Elder Scrolls, you might stumble upon a book explaining the rich backstory, or maybe just a recipe for cheese soup.  Who knows?  The setting was honestly probably the hardest swallow for me.  It’s just such a depressing world.  Death, disease, monsters, bitter hatred, murder, backstabbing, and of course a lot of war – these are the back bones of the Witcher world.  It’s not a happy place nor time to live in.  But it’s not like I haven’t played in settings that were bleak before.  Mass Effect 3 was literally the apocalypse and starts with you watching as thousands perish on your home world.  You watch world after world die, and things go from bad to worse and then discover it was all because an AI figured a periodic galactic extinction would be the simplest way to solve the problem it was given millions of years ago.  THAT’S bleak.  So what was it?  What have I not looked at?  Well,  there’s always Geralt.

Yes, Geralt of Rivia.  The titular Witcher of the series.  Who – no matter how much you choose the ‘nice’ or ‘good’ dialogue options – will remain a steadfast asshole in the cutscenes.  But I’ve played assholes before.  I’ve played characters that are even worse than Geralt in that area *side eyes my Sith Inquisitor* but I think we are close.  In fact, I don’t think it’s so much that Geralt is a jerk that it is WHY he’s a jerk.  I mean, wouldn’t you be a jerk if everyone hated you for pretty much no reason?

Yeah.  And here’s the crux of where the plot, the setting, and the characters all intersect to create the real reason that I just can’t enjoy the Witcher games:  Everyone hates you.  It doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do in the game, and how many individuals you win over to your side, in the end there is a societal hatred of Witchers.  Not just Geralt – though his reputation as “The Butcher of Blaviken” doesn’t help – but all Witchers are regarded in mass as being soulless blood-thirsty mercenary monsters that should only be interacted with if you have to.  There’s no changing that.  Oh you can choose the good options and decide to not take money from the people, but the next person you talk to will be back to the same old prejudices.  Even worse, it doesn’t change when you go to a different location.  This stereotype that you have no choice but to endure over and over with the sole exception of spending time in Kaer Morhen with the few other Witchers in your neighborhood.

And I know some are reading this right now and wondering if I’m saying all this with this particular phrasing to build up to some manner of a political point about the real world.  While I won’t deny that there is definitely meat on those bones that can be picked on for some interesting thought, I don’t believe I am the one to do it.  I don’t have the tongue for such impassioned speaking and I have a foot far too eager to slip into my mouth at times.  So I will leave it at that.

That said, that is truly the core of why I can’t get into these games.  Because I don’t find pleasure in playing through a world, fighting for a world, that actively and quite universally hates me for no reason.  It’s why despite all the claims in the world that the Witcher 3 is a superior game to Dragon Age: Inquisition, I will be playing my eighth playthrough of DA:I before even finishing one of the Witcher 3.  I’m not saying that the Witcher 3 is a bad game.  Or that it’s bad writing.  Or bad anything really.  It’s just…  not the right fit for me.  As a question I’ve had percolating in the back of my mind for years now, I figured I’d share the results of my thoughts.  Thanks for the read.

Rise of the Var Qveen – Long Live the Queen

Vry turns an innocent child who just lost her mother into a tyrant.

Tune in to watch LIVE at http://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6pm PST.

Welcome to the (Live) Show!

I apologize for being quiet around here lately.  Between my real job picking up with a big new project and my own little side adventure I’ll be getting into in the moment, I haven’t had a lot of time to post.  It happens.  But hey, that’s just the bad news.  The good news is you’ll have a chance to see a lot more of me coming soon if you enjoy my trademark wit, dry observations, and eccentric ramblings.

We are going live on Twitch!

Previously I had been testing the waters out with the Premiere system – kind of like YouTube videos on Twitch but with the videos premiering “Live” at a set point before being added to an archive.  Now the current plan is still to do those, but augment it with nights where I’ll be broadcasting games live.  The premieres will be used for migrating my YouTube archive over to Twitch, weeks were I know I won’t be available, or for videos I need to do more post-production work on like the Sims 4 videos where I have overlays showing how much money I have and how far into my challenge I am.  That in mind, my Twitch Schedule both here and on my Twitch page will make note of when a broadcast is Live or a Premiere.

The schedule is still remaining a static every 2nd and 4th wednesday at 6pm PST.  If you’re interested, you can always go and give me a follow on Twitch.  It doesn’t cost anything (that’s ‘Subscribing’) and you can set it up to let you know when I go live with a broadcast.

The reason this has taken so long is that well, I’m a stickler for appearance.  Regardless of whether its a source of income or not, I work hard to make the visuals and flow of this website something that’s at least aesthetically pleasing to me.  I like it when I can present myself in a way that I am happy with and not just with some default slapdash thing.  So I have been working on developing overlays for my Stream – at least enough to start with, some functions are still defaults with some customization tossed in.  I’ve been building up a theme, getting music, setting up software…  I just want to be able to display something I’m proud of.

From the visuals to the text, we’re going full Carnie on this one.

After the liveshows on Twitch, they’ll be uploaded to YouTube some time within the following week and likewise posted here when they do.  So just because you miss out on the live part, doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out completely.

I would like to thank everyone on here, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for their support in this endeavor.  It’s not a full time thing, it’s not even a replacement for this blog, but it is the most important thing – something I have fun doing.  As always, if you have comments, suggestions or even constructive criticisms I always happily welcome them.

Land of Odd PREMIERE! The Chosen RPG – Tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST

Tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST, the Land of Odd will be premiering a new video on our Twitch channel at http://twitch.com/vrykerion where I will be playing The Chosen RPG, a super cheap, super fan service-y, super generic RPG Maker that I had to pay actual money for instead of downloading off some random forum.  Come and watch as I easily walk through wave after wave of enemies after the game gives me the legendary best weapon after a single dungeon.

Battle for Azeroth: Rise of the War Bee

So the internet has been a-BUZZ with the news of datamining the alpha build of the next World of Warcraft, Battle For Azeroth.  I took a quick peruse, mostly trying to see if there is any word on what classes that the Zandalari or Dark Iron will be able to play, when I saw something that caused my jaw to drop:

Bee Mount - Source: WoWhead

Source: WoWhead.com

That’s a Bee Mount.  That you ride.  Into combat.  A WAR BEE.  Now why is that shocking and/or amazing?  Well because long time readers of mine that remember the old ‘OddCraft’ days may remember a little post I wrote extensively about how BEES ARE THE GREATEST THREAT ON AZEROTH.  And now, eight years later, we have it all coming together.  In the Battle For Azeroth, we will be turning to Weapons of Mass Destruction – BEES.

Honestly, I’m just tickled that my little joke post may actually start to have some level of validity. May-bee we’ll find out that bees are some kind of ancient qiraji weapon that was unleashed on the world during the War of the Shifting Sands.  I don’t know.  But I do know we have war bees.  And that makes me happy.

Twitch: An Experimental Night of Premieres

So last night, The Land of Odd officially made its debut on Twitch.tv as I’m sure those who follow me on Twitter saw me throwing up messages left and right about.  The whole thing was quite the learning experience for a first attempt not only on the platform but also trying out Twitch’s new video producer tools which were introduced only a week ago.

Somethings I learned?

Well, the ‘Countdown’ feature begins to play at the scheduled time and not leading up it, as in a 5 minute countdown would start at 7pm and not 6:55pm, thus your video would start at 7:05. So the ones I set up to fill the gap between the videos streaming were actually throwing things further and further off schedule.  The Countdowns are also a permanent fixture of your uploaded video after your premiere so now I’ve got a few videos with countdowns that are almost as long as the content itself, artificially inflating the length of them.

Also I learned that there’s no easy way to line up multiple videos back to back.  They all have to scheduled to 30 minute increments and can’t overlap.  So if you are like me and uploaded several (ten in my case) videos to premiere in one night, there’s going to be a lot of “Offline” screens between them – which may hurt viewership.

Moving forward, the Twitch approach to many of these videos are going to be radically different from my YouTube approach. Longer videos of 30-60 minutes will probably be more common simply because the Twitch platform is built on streaming and that tends to be a longer format than simple clickable digestible bits on YouTube.  The videos will be broken up when put on YouTube though in their normal 10-20 minute chunks.

Also, when bringing old videos over to premiere I will be re-editing them into longer format videos by cropping out the starts and ends and putting them back to back.  That way there will be no ‘Offline’ moments and from 7pm there will just be a single continuous video.

That being said, I would also like to direct your attention to the sidebar here on the website where we have added the schedule for the Twitch channel.  We will be airing videos on the second and fourth wednesday of every month at 7pm.  There’s a list of what we will be premiering with brand new content to the site being marked as such (at least until we finishing the entire backlog).

I welcome you to come and enjoy the premieres.  I’ll often be there watching them too, so if you chime in on chat I will likely be around to respond, otherwise it looks like the chat gets recorded for later viewings (and you can leave chat messages at any timecode point in the already premiered videos).  You can follow me on there as well and I always appreciate people who do or those who spread the word.  I’m not a partner, nor is this in anyway my living, just a fun thing to do with my spare time (where I normally talk and joke at the games I play anyway.)  But I’d be interested to see if this actually gains any momentum.

Thank you all, and welcome to a bold new 2018 for the Land of Odd.

The Land of Odd on Twitch!

So…  YouTube is kind of…  a mess?  A clusterf***?  I dunno.  While I have never monetized my videos, nor do I have any stated desire to do so, I have a hard time swallowing using a platform that continues to show utter contempt for their user base as YouTube.  So I’ve been investigating other places to upload my videos for sometime but continuously found other sites lacking in terms of tools and features that I would like to make use of.  Everything from restrained video lengths to locking HD uploads behind a subscriber account – it just looked like YouTube was the best option.  But low and behold, my favorite gaming streaming site sends me an email the other week about they are starting to offer pre-recorded uploads as an option.

So yeah, it looks like the Land of Odd is rolling into Twitch.

Starting at 6pm PST on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, we will be launching the Land of Odd channel at www.Twitch.tv/Vrykerion with a 5 hour long stream showing the entire run of the Sims 4 Shakespeare Monkey Challenge.  After which, they will be archived and fully viewable whenever.  I’ll be continuing to upload the old videos to Twitch as well as new videos, and hopefully on some kind of schedule.  Probably on a weekday evening.

The 12 in 12 Experiment: Failed(?)

Last year, I proposed a simple goal for myself.  To produce 12 YouTube videos for this site in 12 months.  I dubbed it the 12-in-12 goal.  I figured that it would be a simple enough goal.  That’s one video a month.  With a goal of one year, so if I fell behind or had technical issues, I had wiggle room to recover.

However, despite my attempts to do so, I only managed to produce 4 videos.  The next four episodes of the Sims 4 Shakespeare Monkey Challenge.  (They have managed to actually make some progress finally it seems. Though it occurred to me that 365 days in the Sims 4 is a lot more than a year.  It’s more along the line of 4.5 lifetimes. Had to readjust some of that math or they ALL would die of old age.)  And while I had planned some additional fun videos, including one of the worst RPGs I ever found on Steam and some horror games for the Fall, things just kind of never came together.

Partially because the second half of the year was a maelstrom of stressful events in my real life.  For instance, I got married.  I went on my honeymoon.  My spouse and I were both battling severe depression amidst these happy events brought on by stress and other factors.  It was a crazy second half of the year – crazier than I even expected.  Like, did you know planning a wedding kind of sucks?  Yeah. Me neither.

Overall, I can’t shrug responsibility. I set forth a goal for myself and I failed to meet it.  I’d be more upset about that but its not like I have any amount of internet cred or even financial stability riding on this.  I don’t make money from this blog, I don’t monetize my YouTube videos – they are all things I do for fun.  Because I do come up with weird things to say and feel like sharing it for a chuckle or two.

With that spirit in my mind, I have decided to give it all another go.  12-in-12-in-2018 or some such.  Going to try to do the whole 1 video a month.  And hopefully no chaos, or trips to Walt Disney World, or happiest days of my life will get in the way this time.

Please look forward to it!  And if you ever have any suggestions for games to play, or topics you’d like to see me cover, please let me know!  I’m on twitter, tumblr, or just here on a comment.  I read pretty much everything people send to me.  (So many heartwarming comments of people who enjoy my fun little blog here!)

D20 Style Combat in RPG Maker

Something I’ve often toyed with aside from my own game FateStone was the idea of re-creating a Dungeons & Dragons campaign in something like RPG Maker.  Seems easy right? You’ve got dungeons, monsters, characters all there and ready to go!  However, the big hurdle is quite simply that the way combat works does not overlap. Like at all.  RPG Maker’s combat calculations are more inspired by Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest than anything you’d find in a Pen & Paper RPG tome. So I recently put my mind to work on figuring out how exactly you would be able to bring a d20 or D&D Style of combat to a RPG Maker game.

Now take in mind that this is a very basic version of what I started working with.  While I have started working on versions to incorporate all the different D&D ability scores, I haven’t hammered out all the nitty gritty of using them.  So for now I strictly went for Attack Roll (Attack) vs AC (Defense) and Spell Attack (Magic Attack) vs Saving Throw (Magic Defense).

 

First is the dice roll:

1dX = Math.randomInt(X)+1

YdX = Math.randomInt((X*Y), Y) + 1

For the YdX formula, it’s important to note that you’ll be setting the range of the random numbers, when it says X*Y you should replace that with the actual value of X * Y.  In other words, for 3d6 don’t put (6 * 3) just put (18).  These formulas will be used for everything from determining the attack to the damage, so they are pretty much the cornerstone of this whole thing.  But another important one would be how to you get the Ability Modifier from the Ability Score.  For that you’ll want to use the following calculation:

Math.Floor((A – 10)/2) = M

A = Ability Score.  M = Ability Modifier.

In simple terms, you subtract 10 from the Score, divide that by 2 and round down (because you always round down in D&D) and that will give you the modifier.  So an Attack (Strength) of 14 would result in a modifier of 2.

So how would this work for an actual skill?  Well, let’s take a look at one.  First, you’ll want to set the Skill in RPG Maker to be a ‘Certain Hit’.  We are just going to skip the whole Accuracy/Evade cycle of the attack in favor of our own math.  Then our damage formula will look something like this:

If (b.def <= (Math.randomInt(20) + 1 + (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2) + (Math.Floor(a.lvl / 2)) )) Math.random((X*Y), X) + 1 + (MOD – Math.Floor(a.level/2)); else 0

Kind of crazy, right?  Let’s break it down.

If (b.def <=: This First bit is essentially starting an ‘If-then’ clause that says if the following math results in something equal to or higher than our target’s defense (AC).

(Math.randomInt(20) + 1: This is our d20 roll.

+ (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2): This is adding our attack modifier

+ (Math.Floor(a.lvl / 2)) )): This adds half our level to the math and finishes our If condition.  So it’s a random number between 1-20, plus the modifier, plus half our level.

Math.random((X*Y), X) + 1 + (Math.Floor((a.atk – 10)/2))This part is our damage calculation. Essentially, do this much damage (a random XdY dice amount) plus our Attack modifier damage.

else 0 And if the math DIDN’T equal or beat the Target’s Defense(AC), then deal zero damage due to it being a miss.

To summarize, the formula is basically:

If (Target AC) <= 1d20 + Attack Modifier + Half Level; Deal XdY + Attack Modifier damage; else deal no damage.

Naturally, you can probably imagine how this basic formula can be applied to a lot of different things.  It forms the basic idea for skill checks, saving throws, and pretty much any Difficulty Check based roll. You could replace the target defense with a d20 roll on the enemy side as well and have an opposed check.

As I said at the top, this isn’t perfect.  It doesn’t quite yet take into account D&D’s Ability Scores, which I’m still working on.  Mostly just stuck on thinking of a way to make the Target Defense side of things work when b.def would simply be their Constitution score or something.

If I ever figure out a good solution to it, I will let you know.

In the mean time, you might find the following plug ins for RPG Maker MV to be handy when it comes to recreating the D&D experience:

Yanfly’s Weapon Unleash: Allows you to reassign a different attack skill to different weapons, thus being able to give daggers a different damage formula than a great axe.

Yanfly’s Limited Skill Usages: For those interested in bringing D&D 4th Edition’s system of At-Will, Encounter and Daily abilities to the game, this plugin can help.  However, you might want to create a common event for sleeping that gets called when using an item like ‘Camping Set’ or something to reset the Daily uses.

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