Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Merpeople

I’m adamant: I making every Fantastic Beast into a Dungeons & Dragons creature. Even if the differences between what I make and what was already there are negligible…

Merfolk already exist in D&D. This isn’t the first time where D&D clashes with the Potterverse; they are both pulling from mythology after all. Yet, this might be the most minor alteration I’ve made to date. Whilst some monsters have differed slightly – altered powers, swapped body parts, etc. – the D&D ‘Merfolk’ and the FB ‘Merpeople’ have more than a lot in common.

Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Merpeople”

Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Lethifold

Happy New Year! What better way to start 2022 than with a new monster stat block? And what better beast than one that glides over you in your sleep and completely digests you leaving no trace whatsoever?

Happy days indeed.

There’s something very unnerving about the word ‘envelope’, when a monster is concerned. A horrific entity can gnash and howl and screech and claw at you, but a creature that silently sidles up and ‘envelopes’ you tends to trigger a quiet, primal fear response. The Lethifold isn’t a showboat. It just wants to quietly hug you to death. No need to scream, no one can hear you…

Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and How to Slay Them: Lethifold”

At the End of a Campaign

Not every adventure gets to have an ending, happy or otherwise. Whether you play Dungeons & Dragons, or other table top games, you will seen at least one game fizzle out before the curtain call.

Grown up responsibilities and ‘scheduling conflicts’ can cause a campaign to stall to the point that it’s not worth picking up again. Games Masters and players can get restless for a new style of game or a new character. In some cases, a game can actually go so well that the players don’t want it to end, and the host spins the adventure on indefinitely.

Though we may never reach it (or not want it to end), a great story needs an ending. Fantasy tales are often made or broken by how they sign off – how fondly we remember the adventure can be determined by its finale.

So I was in a great mood recently, when a D&D campaign I had been playing for over a year came to a close in a satisfying, bitter-sweet way. So great a mood, that I decided to write an epilogue. I wanted to encapsulate the moment, and also show my Dungeon Master how much I had appreciated the story.

I was quite pleased with the end result, and I thought I would share it. You are obviously missing a lot of context if you read this, but this is for anyone that enjoys the end of a well-travelled adventure.

Continue reading “At the End of a Campaign”

Gaming in Ruins

I should be the sort of person that enjoys a lot of lore in my video games. I’m a historian, a history teacher, and a big rpg fan in general. And yet, I’m increasingly aware that the games I enjoy most are the ones where the civilisation, culture and the history of the world is buried. Quite literally buried, in many cases.

I’m very late to the Zelda: Breath of the Wild party. I’m having an absolute blast, not least because of the world aesthetic. The entire premise of a kingdom fallen 100 years ago, exploring it’s ruins, is something I seem to especially enjoy. And this isn’t the first time.

Continue reading “Gaming in Ruins”

I Miss Dead Space

I’m pretty fickle when it comes to horror. I’ll happily skip most scary movies, but ever now and then I hit on one that I really enjoy, but it won’t convince me to get more into the genre. When it comes to role-playing games, the horror centric stuff is interesting but only in short bursts. My fondness for horror in video games is even more fleeting.

I like scary stories, but I’m just not fussed about spooky games with limited agency. Most horror games put you in a scenario where you feel helpless, which is what enhances the scariness, but they also often strip you of any self defence. You can walk around the map, and when the monster comes you can hide, but you can’t kick or struggle when it gets you. You can take pictures or scoop up documents, but don’t even think about picking up any sharp or heavy to fight the bogeyman off.

Continue reading “I Miss Dead Space”

Animal Crossing, My First Family Game

For the last few years, I keep putting aside some money to (maybe) buy a Nintendo Switch, only to talk myself out of it for ‘grown-up’ reasons. You know the kind: do I really need it? I should use the money on something more productive… and so on.

Knowing I would do the same thing this year, my amazing wife stepped in and bought me the Switch for Xmas. Specifically, the Animal Crossing edition. Her intention, of course, was for me to play it. What she didn’t realise was that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would be the first game that our little family would enjoy together – me, her and our little 1 year old. It’s turned out to be our first family video game.

Continue reading “Animal Crossing, My First Family Game”

Which Games Would Benefit from a Zelda Weapon?

I’m one of those gamers that can’t possibly take on the final boss if there is still a collectible out there. Each Zelda series has always been full of items and weapons, but when playing Link Between Worlds it really strikes me just how much item variety there is.

This thought then manifested: why do Legend of Zelda games get so many tools and weapons, but other game characters are restricted to a pile of slightly different guns. Could a game or franchise be vastly improved by borrowing an item from Link?

image

Call of Duty found the Power Glove!

I’m of the opinion that the ‘realistic’ shooter is overrated. After all, Call of Duty: Ghosts includes an orbital space station, a guerrilla team with more high-end tech than the crew of the enterprise, and dogs with the fighting prowess of Rambo. I think Link’s Power Glove would fit in nicely.

Continue reading “Which Games Would Benefit from a Zelda Weapon?”

Why on Earth am I Playing Phasmophobia?

It makes no sense. For the last few years I steered away from horror games. Even games with high tension or stress-inducing gameplay have been avoided. I might watch other gamers play spooky, stressful games, but that’s as close as I get.

The reason: I only get the occasional night to game. Between school work, house work, child care and the occasional D&D game, time for video games is precious and usually just before bed time. Games with horror themes or those that require intense concentration leave me more wired than when I started. I realised I needed to switch things up half-way through Dark Souls. I was ending each evening game more stressed, focused and awake than I care to be just before bed time.

So why have I been playing Phasmophobia for the last few weeks? I could definitely be watching streamers play the game – and I was – but instead I decided to spend the odd evening in a scary game when I’d told myself that was a bad idea. Not only that, but I often play the game solo when my friends aren’t free to join me for spooks.

Continue reading “Why on Earth am I Playing Phasmophobia?”

Which Game was Your Greatest Disappointment?

I recently hopped into No Man’s Sky. I’m usually late to a game, but in this case the wait was very intentional. You might remember that when the game came out it was met with bile and vitriol. To listen to early reviews and discussion, this game apparently lacked in quality in every way. On the dart board of wild, speculative expectation, the game hit the wall and bounced off.

I’m having a great time with the game, but I’ve jumped in four years late. A mountain of content, patching and tweaks have been made to the game in that time. “No Man’s Sky is good now” is a reoccurring suggestion online, a point which most people agree with. I am very happy I waited, and I was very confident I was going to have a good time.

The real reason I waited, however, was not just because of the early criticism. I’m pretty certain I could have enjoyed the original version. It’s definitely the sort of game I enjoy. No, the reason why I waited was because that original divide between ‘promise’ and ‘expectation’ was something I had seen before. As the game was released, I had a grim sense of déjà vu…

I was so disappointed by a game in my youth, that it makes me doubt that quality of games 12 years later.

My Greatest Disappointment: SPORE
Continue reading “Which Game was Your Greatest Disappointment?”