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Warcraft Resources for D&D 5e

Man, this is one of those projects I just look at and think "Did I really do all of this?" I've definitely got lost in this do...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Random Knight Guy drawings

Sorry I haven't written much. You'd think now that I'm focusing my college studies in editing I'd be more inclined to come up with short stories or something to put on the blog. Alas, but my writer's block has almost reached its two-year mark.

These are a couple of graphic art drawings I made last week, inspired from the drawings of Knight Guy I found. I remembered the four basic Knight Guy types and decided to put them in color for the first time.


Obviously, they're somewhat based on the different genres of armor through history—European, pseudo-Nordic, Groman, and New World(?). I think I've made some mocked-up ones of Oriental armor and even a futuristic style. Perhaps I'll add them later.


The Mirror Armor looks retarded. Maybe I'll fix it sometime and make the gradient chrome instead. At any rate, these upgrades to the basic ones are based on unlikely materials that could be used for armor. I'm surprised that so many video games have cacti but rarely use them for anything but dyes and potion ingredients. Why not make a not-so-durable armor that returns damage to attackers?
Anyway, it's a style thing more than any

Monday, February 25, 2013

Audiobook practice

I really got into audiobooks a couple of years ago. There's just something about someone reading a story to you aloud that makes it easier to visualize than when you're using decoding power in your brain reading it yourself. I also like hearing professional voice actors use different voices for every character in a way that I like to do impressions as well.
That's why I'm considering doing an audiobook version of a story on my Argaenothruzil forum. Namely, the only story that really has a beginning, middle, and end, Alfred and the Cavern of Time. Here is a sample of what I would try doing if I were to do the entire book.


What do you think? Do I speak too quickly? Are the sound effects in the background too distracting? Since it was my first time, I obviously didn't articulate too well. I'm sure there are ways I could facilitate that for myself while reading in the future. Also, this is not the final cut of the book itself. There are parts in this story that will be changed. This is mostly just a test to see how a project like this would work, if I did decide to do it.
For the most part, however, it was fun to make, and my cousin and I (his blog is listed as Whited Sepulcre Blog on the top right) are going to begin copyediting and cover editing the story so that the real production may begin.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Relic Comic: Knight Fight

I've saved the best for last this week of uploading Relic Comics, though I have enjoyed every one of them I've been able to share with you. I hope to be able to find more to post on Pretzel Lectern after future visits to my ancient Tablet Vault. This is another comic with Knight Guy, showing him against his nemesis. This is obviously a much more pseudo-friendly situation than was normal for the two, but the presentation in my opinion is excellent.


I hope you got as big a laugh out of it as I did. It's funny how Knight Guy's cape keeps appearing and disappearing. That was kind of a running gag throughout his lifetime as a character, because I could just never decide if he looked better with or without it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Relic Comic: The Hero Comic

I made this as a way to illustrate the story of The Hero, the pen-and-paper precursor to Corridor. The story used to begin this way, with King Forseti defeating the Hero and banishing him to his personal dungeon. This comic also shows briefly the second level of the dungeon, the Hedge Maze, which would be encountered after making it through the dungeon (although my friends and I never kept a single game going that long). Thirdly, the Hero would have to navigate through the final 'layer,' Forseti's castle.
I apologize for some of the hard-to-read text. It's a lot easier to read on the pencil copy.






There are a few notable things in this comic. Every game of The Hero would begin with you alone in a room with a sword. You would always get the sword straight off, as well as sometimes a simple spell leaflet. Also, this was when I was obsessed with Norse Runes, so one version of this game had an entire array of runes you could socket into your weapons to give them abilities. The Princess uses the Ansuz rune, which was the rune of wisdom (and thus, the mind, used for telepathy in this case). Any playtesters of Corridor will recognize nearly all the enemies here—the orc/ogre, the ghost, and the stone dragon head, which is what is attempting to kill the hero in the last frames. The boss monster Krakgrag is based off of the giant seen here, and Heimdall the shopkeeper is indirectly implemented in the board game as well.
I have also since done away with the "no eyes" concept of art used in this comic. Though in a future post I will talk more about where I got the idea for the little stick figures in the The Hero/Corridor universe.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Relic Comic: Knight Guy's Lament

I drew quite a bit of this guy my senior and junior years in high school. The way each part of him is put together makes him not only extremely easy to draw, but very expressive as well. I've tinkered with different names for him, most on puns of the word "knight" ("Silent Knight" was a stupid idea, but somewhat fitting, as he usually talks in punctuation marks and thought bubbles), but I guess for now I'll call him Knight Guy. There are at least four different Knight Guys I made up, each based on a different helmet type. But this guy was always the main protagonist. The wizard shown here was an example of how hard it was to create a universe of same-proportioned beings like these without helmets on.



I tried a different approach on Photoshop to make this one look more shaded. I can't tell if it works or not. It's a shame I drew so much in pencil back then. No, I take it back: it's a shame that scanners can't accurately scan pencil drawings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Relic Comic: Reginald the Ugly Hero

While at my parents' house for President's Day weekend, I uncovered a veritable treasure trove of old comic pages that I drew when I was in high school, and will be uploading them this week. They really made me sentimental about the days when pencils were my medium of art, and really made me want to draw comics much more often. I think nowadays I worry way too much about plot and forget how much fun it is to simply draw a comic and let it write itself.


As far as commentary goes on this little gem, I like the humorously melodramatic dialog, the trope breakers of making the hero hideously ugly and making the king extremely jumpy and nervous when he's surprised, the deus ex machina hanging plant and bucket of water, and the hilariously unexpected ending.

Sorry about that panel on the right... The paper I scanned actually seemed to have some sort of burn damage somehow. O.o

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another tiny pointless vid

My brother and I are considering making a simple computer game or app with some unused graphics he made a couple of years ago. This is the archer.

video

Monday, February 11, 2013

Path of Exile playthrough

Hey-lo friends, my friends Jarockajule and Asrenim and I all played a few hours of Path of Exile this past weekend. You can watch our adventures and get a feel for the dynamics of gaming in our friendship on YouTube. This link here will lead you to the first part of the series. It shouldn't be hard to find the others on the same channel.
I hope someday I can afford a nice recording program (not to mention a more powerful computer) so I can do these more often from my point of view and with my own editing touches.
Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Game Review #1: Path of Exile

I've been wanting to do this for awhile, so here goes. I hope you find my reviews of games informative and entertaining.

Abelhawk's Game Review of
 Path of Exile 
 
My multiplayer character, Bezzoan the Marauder, in Lioneye's Watch.
Platform: PC
Genre: Fantasy, Dark
Style: Hack-and-slash, RPG, Online
Price: Free to Play w/ cosmetic microtransactions
---
I found Path of Exile purely by chance a couple of weeks ago, while looking for a free-to-play online RPG I could play with my friends. It caught my attention because it reminded me of one of my favorite hack-and-slash RPG's, Titan Quest, and it was free to play. Even though there are microtransactions available, there's nothing that players can buy that influences their gameplay. They're available simply to add horns to your helmet or make your sword glow. I admired this, because almost nothing makes me more disgusted than Free-to-Play Pay-to-Win games, such as Age of Empires Online, and I like the option to show your pride for the game by purchasing outwardly visible effects. In fact, a lot of things impressed me about Path of Exile and the developers at Grinding Gear Games.

My duellist, Aelthur, watches over the sea.
GRAPHICS
 

 I'm not only surprised at the quality of PoE's graphics given the system requirements, but I'm also hugely surprised at the optimization of the game. My laptop's almost three years old and can't play Titan Quest anymore, much less more powerful games such as Magicka and StarCraft II. But at least it can run StarCraft II. Blizzard had enough resources to hire engineers to optimize the performance, allowing various degrees of graphics detail to configure. PoE is the same way. With the graphics set on Medium setting, I can still run the game comparitively smoothly while still being able to enjoy the sunlight on the ocean waves, the gleam of mud and spilled guts, and flashy spell effects. The graphics also reflect the dark feel of the game. The enemies are all disfigured mistakes of nature, and it make you feel only too ready to defeat them as you hack your way through the game.

The first moments after creating my mage archer Moeki the Shadow
PLOT

I haven't played the entire game through yet, but my opinion of the plot as it stands so far may interest you. Like I said, the plot is dark. You are a prisoner on a ship, framed or otherwise sentenced to exile on the dismal island of Wraeclast. The game begins when you are thrown overboard and wake up on the shore. From the beginning, you can tell the island is a bleak and horrifying place. You begin in an area awash with rain with flashing lightning, with zombies running amuck. Your first quest is nothing more than a brief conversation with another surviving exile who is then brutally cannibalized before your eyes. You can tell right off that you have been abandoned by all the forces of hope into a nightmare. Or have you? You soon come upon a humble settlement called Lioneye's Watch, which consists of all of the exiles from the mainland who have banded together to make the best of their new life. There is no currency in the game, which not only prevents the servers from monetary inflation, but also adds to this feeling of cooperation among the sane ones on the island. Instead, there is a crude barter system consisting mostly of useful items like scrolls, tools and orbs in exchange for the weapons and armor you buy and sell. You are sent off on quests to help the settlement by recovering a medicine chest, defeating threatening monsters, and paving a way for the exiles toward the more civilized part of the continent. The enemies are all brutish monsters or pathetic scavengers. Rather than having to kill animals or a dragon for my quests, I literally felt like I was doing my part for Lioneye's Watch in exchange for their hospitality. I was very impressed with this outside-the-box approach to Path of Exile's plot, and can't wait to unravel the mysterious strands of fate I've been given.
Aelthur using his Cleave ability against some shadow spawn
CONTROLS
 

For the most part I love the gameplay of Path of Exile. It may not be orthodox for those new to hack-and-slash RPG's, but if you've played Diablo or Titan Quest, you feel pretty much at home. Since you have to click on enemies you want to fight, I sometimes find my melee fighter running in circles because I wasn't clicking directly on the enemy's sprite. I've also wasted mana sometimes when I've tried to cast an ability on a fast-moving target. The game would probably have benefited from some sort of a targeting system, but because of the sheer number of enemies, you never worry about it too much. That's another thing that can get a bit iffy about PoE: the ratio of monster difficulty. Rather than having a spectrum of monsters with varying strengths, there seem to be hordes of two- or three-shot enemies (aside from special abilities, anyway) and then the occasional rare mob with good drops that takes a good 20 or 30 hits to kill. Bosses are the same way. Still, I think it's better than Titan Quest, and for the style of game PoE is, I think the developers did the best they could. Also, the dungeons are randomized. So at least things don't get too stale playing through with separate characters!

My witch character, Ezrima, using the Cold Snap spell
GAME MECHANICS
 
 
There are a number of mechanics on Path of Exile I found revolutionary and exciting. The skill system is based on an array of gem socketing, with one gem equalling one skill. If the gem is socketed, it levels along with you, depending on how many kills you rack up. This makes it interesting when choosing new gear, because you have to decide whether to get more armor or attack if the gear doesn't have the right color of sockets for your gems.
The classes themselves are built on a simple but unique system. There are only three main stats, Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity, which benefit armor and weapons differently. There is a class representing each main stat, as well as three hybrids. The talent or "passive skill" tree is huge and extensive, and allows for a lot of customization for almost any build you can think of. The Strength branch can focus on either damage or armor and health, and at length connects with other branches of the other stats.
Bezzoan playing with my two best friends, Asrenim and Jarockajule.
I was also intrigued by the items in the game. The game does a good job at describing quality through the imagery of the items. On the beach you fight with weapons made of driftwood and glass, which are gradually replaced by actual copper and steel armaments. The game uses Diablo and Titan Quest's same style of inventory system, based on a grid system of the varying sizes of the items.
There are lots of other aspects of PoE I have never found in any other game, including aspects I haven't even tried yet, such as the wealth of alternate game mode leagues available. The game is also massively multiplayer! In towns you can trade with anyone else who happens to be there, but the battle zones are instanced, so only the friends you have in your party with you can be in the same place as you. I've had a blast playing multiplayer with my friends, and multiplayer raises the difficulty and the value of dropped items!

SOUND/MUSIC
  ★★

For being made by a little-known game developer, I am very impressed with the sound score of Path of Exile. Everything just sounds like it should—fireballs whoosh and explode, enemies yell realistically, corpses squish, and the main characters each have personality in their voice acting comments. The music, however, is for the most part unnoticeable. From the moment you enter the title screen, you feel like you're entering a dangerous and gloomy realm, which is great, but during the game and even during boss fights you don't really notice the music. For what it's worth, however, caves have cavelike music, sunny mountain paths have a hopeful serenade, and the main town's music fits well with the drudgery of a forgotten people trying to survive. Music just doesn't play as big a part as in other games I've played.

OVERALL SCORE: 

I am very impressed with Path of Exile, and look forward to beating the entire game, solo and alongside my friends. I enjoy exploring the dreary island of Wraeclast, the dull thumping sound it makes when I clobber monsters with a club, and the humorous satisfaction of the spell "Corpse Detonation." I was fortunate to stumble upon the game, which is in open beta as of a few weeks ago. A game seven years in the making is available for free play, and I heartily recommend it. Try out Path of Exile!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Data Month Snippet

Data Month is going pretty well. I have to wear a wristband to remind me all the time that I need to be recording stuff. But it's pretty good. I'm managing everything on an Excel document to calculate totals and averages. As a commemoration of the first week of Data Month, here are a few weekly averages of my life:

Average hours of sleep per night: 7.5
Average webcomics looked at per day: 1.8
Average car rides per day: 2
Average diapers changed daily: 2.3
Average number of daily urinations: 7
Average hours of computer played each day: 1.6
Average phone calls daily: 3
Average number of encounters with friends: 1.14

Well, that's just a tidbit, but it's kind of fun to see it calculated like this. I hope that I can continue firm to get an actual monthly average. It's kind of nice to see these stats too, in case anyone asks. For example, the number of hours I sleep on average. The urination one was always a curiosity to me as well.

I've got plans for some posts real soon! Keep it real!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Data Month Begins!

I've started Data Month, which has a stupid name but a fun premise—recording statistics of day-to-day life! I'm keeping a notebook in my pocket at all times to record every encounter I have with other people, every time I access Facebook, the hours I spend working on projects and playing computer games, and even how many times I clip my fingernails!

I think the hard work and concentration of this "project" will do me good, and provide some interesting results of statistics and averages come March 1.

I'd just like to say I'm really glad I created this blog. It's been sort of a Magnum Opus to me, compiling loads of memories and using it as a way to record the progress on my projects. I have some great things planned for later this month when I visit my parents. I'm going to showcase a planet I invented when I was a kid. That'll open the possibilities to add to childhood storylines with the knowledge I have as an adult now.

So many possibilities! So much to explore. I wonder if I'm the only one who digs into my childhood and past like an archaeological dig, hoping to find glittering gems of interesting ideas and adding updated edges to them.

Thanks for visiting Pretzel Lectern today!