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Jun 4, 2021

Warcraft II Abel Voices Pack download!

A few months ago, I set about recreating all the timeless iconic voice lines from Warcraft II. When I realized how easy it was to set them as the actual sound effects on Warcraft II by simply replacing the files in the GameSFX folder, I realized that I had to complete the set and recreate not just the voices, but all the sound effects.

Unfortunately, the microphone I used to use doesn't work anymore, so the new sounds sound too high of quality to match the voice lines. And some of the sound effects were harder to make than others, but overall, it was a fun project to complete.

If you'd like to have me making all kinds of weird sound effects and imitating all the voices in your own Warcraft II game, simply download the sound files at the link below and follow the instructions in the readme file it contains!  


Click Here to Download the Pack!


If you want to see the sounds in action, check out this video:

Jun 1, 2021

Dubbing Differences: Disney's Aladdin

 Dubbing Differences:

Aladdin

I found the following notable changes in the Brazilian Portuguese dub of Disney's Aladdin:
  • In the opening song, instead of “Arabian nights 'neath Arabian moons,” it says “There’s beautiful moonlight and tons of orgies.” ...I’m guessing this is a more overt reference to “hotter than hot in a lot of good ways,” but wow.
  • Traveler: “This is the famous Dead Sea container.”
  • The phrase “a diamond in the rough” is changed to “a rough diamond.” Quite a different sense.
  • The Cave of Wonders is called the Cave of Treasures.
  • Aladdin: “All this for just one loaf of bread?”
  • Lady: “Still I think he’s rather exciting.”
  • Aladdin: “Look at that, Abu. It’s not every day you see one animal riding another.”
  • Most instances of “street rat” are replaced with “thief,” which is kind of funny when Aladdin says “I’m not a thief!”
  • Jasmine: “Just you, Rajah” instead of “Except you, Rajah.” I like subtle differences like these.
  • When Jafar shows up, in English the sultan just sort of goes “Ah ah! Oo!” like he’s startled, but in Portuguese he gives a huge, terrified gasp that is hilarious to listen to.
  • Shopkeeper: “Try this! Your tongue will dance and sing!” 
  • Instead of saying “Breakfast is served” to Abu, Aladdin says “A good lunch for you.
  • Aladdin: “But she didn’t take anything” instead of “But no harm done” (as he gives the shopkeeper an apple)
  • I think Iago says “Yes, Your Coolness,” instead of “Yes, O Mighty Evil One.”
  • Aladdin: “Well, you don’t seem to be from around here” instead of “You do kind of stand out.”
  • Aladdin: “We have total freedom” instead of “We come and go as we please.”
  • When Jafar gets bitten on the wrist by Abu, he makes a sort of warbling noise instead of screaming in pain. It’s kind of silly, but it works somehow with his character.
  • Aladdin: “That cursed traitor!” instead of “That two-faced son of a jackal!”
  • Genie: “Can we call you Al, or maybe just Din? How about Din-din?” (pronounced jing-jing)
  • This has been the case with every Disney movie I’ve seen so far: the word idiota is used to replace almost every insult: “chump,” “stupid,” “fool,” etc.
  • Genie: “I feel like an animal” instead of “I feel sheepish.” This movie's use of puns must have been really frustrating for the translators to make sense of for viewers.
  • Genie says something about a mermaid instead of “king crab.”
  • Genie: “Now it has a lot more space!” instead of “Talk about your trunk space!”
  • Aladdin, to Elephant Abu: “Abu, you’re so skinny!” instead of “Abu, you look good.”
  • Jafar: “Urgent problems require urgent measures, my lord.”
  • In the “Prince Ali” song: “He has thirty golden camels.” (In English, he has 75)
  • “He has more than a hundred little monkeys” (in English he has 95)
  • When Aladdin says “Much farther than you’ve traveled, I’m sure,” Jafar says “Where?” instead of “Try me.”
  • Iago: “‘An excellent judge of character.’ NOOO!” Technically, "no" and "not" are the same in Portuguese, but it was still funny.
  • “A Whole New World” is instead “An Ideal World.”
  • Instead of saying “Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything,” genie says “That doesn’t mean I want to marry you.”
  • Iago says “garden of animals” instead of “menagerie.”
  • Most of the laughter in the movie (mostly Iago and Jafar) is kept in their original voices.
  • “Finders, keepers” (spoken by Jafar) has an interesting translation: “Whoever finds it is the owner.”
  • When Genie is in his giant evil form, his voice is made digitally deeper when he speaks.
  • Jafar: “There’s someone I’m dying to introduce you to” becomes “I’m going crazy to introduce you to someone”
  • Jafar: “Don’t talk back to me, ya big blue lout!” changes to “Don’t refuse me, you big blue clown!”
  • Jasmine, to Jafar: “I never realized how incredibly likeable you are.”
  • Jafar: “Get the point?” becomes “You understand?”
  • Genie’s cheer, “Jafar, Jafar, he’s our man. If he can’t do it, GREAT!” actually rhymes in Portuguese, and translates to “Jafar, Jafar, he’s my lord. But if he loses, BETTER!
  • Instead of saying “Wish for the Nile,” Genie tells Aladdin to “wish for all your dreams [to come true].”
  • Instead of “Made ya look,” Genie basically says “Y’all come back now, ya hear?

                                                                              May 24, 2021

                                                                              Relic Project: "Guide"/Legends of Mynn 1: Characters

                                                                              Alright, something to know about me if you didn't already: I love games. I always have. I always grew up thinking I'd be a video game designer in the future, and I wasted no time in my childhood investing in that future. I would draw screenshots of games I was going to make, complete with UI. I would write Warcraft II-style manuals for games, describing units and abilities and everything without even designing the game first. And then, there were projects like this.

                                                                              It's a .txt file simply called "Guide," and apparently it's a walkthrough / README for a game I was going to make someday. The date stamp of the file is 2006, which is unfortunate, because that must have been either when I accidentally updated it or moved it from one computer to another and the original date got overwritten, because I wrote it much earlier—I'm guessing around 2000 or 2001. Maybe earlier though.

                                                                              I'm so glad it's survived up to this point, though. It's such an interesting look at my early child game designer mind. I remember picturing the characters in my head and how they would look (of course in pixely graphics because that's just what I thought computer graphics looked like by definition), but not so much how the game worked, as you'll see in its descriptions. I know it seems to have been inspired by some aspects of Lords of Magic, but the way combat is described in the walkthrough and moves list are confusing.

                                                                              It's funny how thorough I am in every aspect of it, though I neglected to come up with an actual title for the game. Though some parts are impressive, it's clear that I had no idea how games were created. It's cute how I even came up with cheat codes for it and descriptions for how to use the "Level Editor." I always loved when games came with editors.

                                                                              Anyway, presenting "Guide," or "Legends of Mynn" or whatever it might have ended up to be. I've restructured things for easier reading here to get a better idea of how I intended it to be red, but I've preserved the wording for the most part. Today I'll just highlight the characters in the game.

                                                                              _____________

                                                                              1. The Characters

                                                                              All characters have 200 energy and/or mana points each.

                                                                              Graivalas

                                                                              Age: 40
                                                                              Health: 140/140
                                                                              Type: Arch-Warrior
                                                                              Weapon: Axes

                                                                              Graivalas (gri-VOL-oss) was a loyal guard for Mynn until he decided to lead a more interesting life. Then he served the King as their delegate and arch-warrior.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Slice. Swings his axe real hard straight forward for 40 damage. (40 EP)
                                                                              • Split. Swings his axe real hard at a selected angle for 40 damage. (50 EP)
                                                                              • Fury. Swings two axes in an "X" motion, dealing 60 damage. (80 EP)
                                                                              • Hurl. Throws a big axe forward for 80 damage. (90 EP, 10 damage to self)
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Wave Spin. Spins a big axe in a circle around him and fires a big fire wave for 90 damage. (90 EP)
                                                                              • Liquify. Set a number. Graivalas deals that much damage to the enemy and to himself. (0 EP)

                                                                              Falamorr

                                                                              Age: 91
                                                                              Health: 100/100
                                                                              Type: Wizard
                                                                              Weapon: Staff/Magic

                                                                              Falamorr (fal-UH-mar)* is the head Mage in the Mynn Mage tower. Each day he researches long hours in the Arcane Arts and learns magic.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Jab. Pokes an enemy with his staff for 10 damage. (10 EP)
                                                                              • Ball Lightning. Shoots a ball of lightning straight forward, dealing 40 damage. (10 EP, 30 MP)
                                                                              • Bolt. Shoots a ball of lightning at a selected angle, dealing 40 damage. (20 EP, 30 MP)
                                                                              • Thunder Ball. Just like Ball Lightning but bigger, and deals 50 damage. (10 EP, 40 MP)
                                                                              • Tempest. Conjures a storm that fills up the whole screen, dealing 60 damage to enemies. (70 MP)
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Kamikaze. Uses all but one of your HP and kills three enemies. (99 damage to self)
                                                                              • Double Thunder Ball. Fires two Thunder Balls at selected angles, dealing 70 damage each. (90 EP, 40 damage to self)










                                                                              Taion

                                                                              Age: 18
                                                                              Health: 110/110
                                                                              Type: Archer
                                                                              Weapon: Crossbow

                                                                              The only daughter of Ghavius, Taion (TIE-onn) is an almost fully experienced archer and serves as the second-in-command Mynn Guard.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Bolt. Fires her crossbow straight forward for 10 damage. (20 EP)
                                                                              • Pray. Restores 90 hit points to an ally. (30 EP)
                                                                              • Holy Tear. Instantly kills an enemy. (200 EP, 30 damage to self)**
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Boomerang. Throws her crossbow as a boomerang straight forward, dealing 50 damage to three enemies. (50 EP)
                                                                              • Beamerang. Throws her crossbow as a boomerang at a selected angle, dealing 60 damage. (60 EP)
                                                                              • Firedart. Shoots a flaming arrow straight forward, dealing 70 damage. (90 EP)

                                                                              Ghavius

                                                                              Age: 82
                                                                              Health: 150/150
                                                                              Type: Swordsman
                                                                              Weapon: Daggers

                                                                              Ghavius (Jay-vee-us) is the father of Taion and Yorak. He is said to be part-animal because of his incredible sense of hearing.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Hurl. Throws a dagger straight forward for 40 damage. (10 EP)
                                                                              • Cut. Slices the enemy for 50 damage. (20 EP, 10 damage to self)
                                                                              • Stab. Stabs the enemy in the back for 80 damage. (40 EP)
                                                                              • Holy Tear. Instantly kills an enemy. (200 EP, 30 damage to self)**
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Kamikaze. Uses all but one of your HP and kills three enemies. (99 damage to self)
                                                                              • Swing. Swings a sword real hard at a selected angle, dealing 60 damage. (90 EP)†


                                                                              Yorak

                                                                              Age: 30
                                                                              Health: 130/130
                                                                              Type: Sorcerer Apprentice
                                                                              Weapon: Magic

                                                                              Yorak (YOR-ick) started his life as a swordsman, but when he wasn't accepted, he decided to become a Sorcerer. He is an apprentice now.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Fireball. Shoots a fireball straight forward for 30 damage. (20 MP)
                                                                              • Flame Arrow. Shoots an arrow-shaped fireball in a selected angle, dealing 30 damage. (30 MP)
                                                                              • Heal. Restores 90 hit points to an ally. (30 EP)
                                                                              • Recharge. Refills 90 MP. (30 EP)
                                                                              • Damnation. Fills the screen with fire, dealing 70 damage to enemies. (60 MP, 20 damage to self)
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Smite. Reduces both you and an enemy to 1 hit point. (0 MP)
                                                                              • Quicksand. Cuts an enemy's speed in half. (60 MP)
                                                                              • Copy. Clones one of your units. (70 MP)













                                                                              Quirrion

                                                                              Age: 14
                                                                              Health: 60/60
                                                                              Type: Ninja
                                                                              Weapon: Own body

                                                                              Quirrion (KWIRR-ee-on) is the youngest of the group. His weapon is his own body. He uses attacks like kick and chop.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Kick. Kicks the enemy for 30 damage. (20 EP)
                                                                              • Punch. Punches the enemy for 40 damage. (30 EP)
                                                                              • Karate Chop. Chops the enemy for 50 damage. (40 EP)
                                                                              • Uppercut. Punches the enemy up for 60 damage. (50 EP)
                                                                              • Pound. Punches the enemy down for 60 damage. (50 EP)
                                                                              Special Attacks:
                                                                              • Fire Kick. His foot catches fire and he kicks for 70 damage. (60 EP)
                                                                              • Lightning Punch. His fist turns to ball lightning and he punches for 80 damage. (70 EP)
                                                                              • Spitfire. He spews a flaming spitball that deals 80 damage and drains 50 EP from the enemy. (90 EP, 10 damage to self)


                                                                              Mardok

                                                                              Age: 233
                                                                              Health: 200/200
                                                                              Type: Shapechanger
                                                                              Weapon: Transforming

                                                                              When he was a young lad, Mardok (MARR-dock) found a magic genie lamp. When he rubbed it and a genie emerged, he wished to live forever. After a few years, Mardok became a traitor to Mynn and now lives in the Mynnhah Catacombs.

                                                                              Attacks:
                                                                              • Goblin. Transforms into a goblin. (10 EP)
                                                                              • Troll. Transforms into a troll. (20 EP)
                                                                              • Behemoth. Transforms into a behemoth. (40 EP)
                                                                              • Dragon. Transforms into a dragon. (80 EP, 80 damage to self)
                                                                              Special Attack:
                                                                              • Jiorii. Transforms into a Jiorii until he or the opponent is dead. (100 EP, 90 damage to self)




















                                                                              ______
                                                                              *The crap is with this pronunciation? :D I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be FAL-uh-more.
                                                                              **I'm almost completely certain this was meant to be a Special Attack and the boomerang abilities were supposed to be swapped with this. If not, wow.
                                                                              †Not sure how I overlooked how gosh-awful this ability is. It costs more than twice what the regular "stab" ability does and deals less damage. I still don't get what the "selected angle" is and why it's more costly in general.

                                                                              May 6, 2021

                                                                              Dubbing Differences: The Little Mermaid

                                                                               Dubbing Differences:
                                                                              The Little Mermaid

                                                                              I found the following notable changes in the Brazilian Portuguese dub of Disney's The Little Mermaid:

                                                                              • The seahorse names Sebastian as “Horacio Felício Ignácio Crustáceo Sebastian.”
                                                                              • Flounder’s name is Linguado, the literal translation of “flounder.”
                                                                              • Scuttle’s name is Sabidão, which means “wisdom.”
                                                                              • Scuttle’s word for the “dinglehopper” is “brungumzumba.” A similarly nonsensical word.
                                                                              • Scuttle’s word for the “banded, bulbous snarfblatt” is “beautiful, rare ximbaco.” Just another nonsense word.
                                                                              • Flotsam and Jetsam are named Pedro and Juca.
                                                                              • Sebastian: “Adolescences. You give them a finger, and they want the entire arm.”
                                                                              • Sebastian calls Ariel a “crazy little girl” instead of a “headstrong teenager.”
                                                                              • Ariel: “Look at these things here. Precious.” Instead of “You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty.”
                                                                              • Grimsby omits the phrase “very expensive” when presenting Eric’s birthday gift.
                                                                              • Eric: “It’s a beautiful present” instead of “It’s really something.”
                                                                              • Eric says “The princess of Redport” instead of “The princess of Glowerhaven.”
                                                                              • The sailor is silent for his first line “Hurricane’s a-comin’!”
                                                                              • “Under the Sea”’s chorus phrase ranges from saying “here in the sea” to “where I was born” (the phrase, “onde eu nasci,” rhymes with the English phrase “under the sea”)  and “where I grew up.”
                                                                              • The section on “Under the Sea” about all the different fish puns is very different, except for “the carp plays the harp” (carpa and harpa are fortunate translations). Among the differences are:
                                                                                • “The fruit of my neighbor looks better than mine” (instead of “the seaweed is always greener…”)
                                                                                • “The plaice below I don’t think has the best sound
                                                                                • No one plays badly, not even the cod.”
                                                                                • Even the salmon goes to the salon.”
                                                                                • “Each little mollusk that I look for knows how to play.”
                                                                                • Even the slug comes out of its shell to dance.”
                                                                                • The little snail takes a little nap.”
                                                                              • Ariel, to the Eric statue: “You want to go out with me?” instead of “run away with me.”
                                                                              • Triton: “I consider myself a reasonable king. I make certain laws, and I expect them to be obeyed!” This is much more politically official than the father figure approach in English.
                                                                              • Triton: “I’m going to end this” instead of “I’m going to get through to you.”
                                                                              • Ursula: “Don’t lurk in the doorways. It’s ugly” instead of “It’s rude.” Possibly a lipsyncing change because the word for ugly is feio.
                                                                              • Ursula: “A girl who doesn’t talk is what he loves” instead of “They think a girl who gossips is a bore.” I like these positive/negative switches.
                                                                              • Carlotta says that’s the first time she’s seen Eric laugh in months instead of weeks.
                                                                              • Most of Chef Louis’s exclamations when he is chasing Sebastian are undubbed.
                                                                              • Chef Louis says “Pardon, madame” in French instead of Portuguese.
                                                                              • Triton says “no stone unturned” instead of “no coral unexplored.”
                                                                              • Sebastian: “First, we must create the climate” instead of “the mood.” This does not lipsync well.
                                                                              • The lines of the song “Kiss the Girl” are surprisingly close to exact translations.
                                                                              • Instead of saying “You silly side-walker,” Scuttle says “Did you hear what I said?
                                                                              • The priest says “Let’s begin the ceremony” instead of “Dearly beloved…”
                                                                              • Instead of saying “You pitiful, insignificant fools!” Ursula says “You fools think you can defy me?

                                                                              May 1, 2021

                                                                              Calories Must Die! The Warmage Workout

                                                                              I've been wanting to get into shape for some time, especially with being stuck working from home because of COVID, so I bought a couple of 10-pound weights and started following a workout video on YouTube. The video was great for beginners, and it followed a great balance of working out each muscle group. The problem was, the video got old. I'm not interested in hollow encouragement and banter, and I could only stand hearing the coach crack the same joke so many times before getting in shape just wasn't worth it. So I got an idea.

                                                                              What does interest me? Video games. What gets my blood pumping? The video game Orcs Must Die! Whose voice don't I get tired of? The main character on the game, the Warmage, as he goes through killing orcs! So I spent way too many hours rotoscoping the coach of that workout video into the Warmage, adding exciting, blood-pumping music and the Warmage's banter to the video, and pronto! An almost too-perfect video for myself to work out to on a consistent basis. Seriously, how perfect is it that the songs have ending stings so I could customize the length of each workout, and that each sound effect has a place in the video?

                                                                              I'm also fairly impressed with how I doctored the logo and stuff with special effects, if I do say so myself. Anyway, I do this workout three times a week, and it's mainly made for my own use, but feel free to follow it as well! I was hoping Robot Entertainment would get a kick out of it, since it almost seems like something they would actually make, but no dice. Oh well. It was fun to make and it does its job well!


                                                                              Note: The only change I make to this workout is replacing the first exercise with 1 minute of planking. The more I've tried those "crushers," the more I suspect they don't actually work any muscles out. And I could use more ab honing.

                                                                              Apr 25, 2021

                                                                              Dubbing Differences: Disney's Hercules

                                                                              Welcome to a new series, Dubbing Differences, where I watch classic films in Portuguese and highlight their most interesting and funny differences in translation. It's fascinating to me how much effort it must take to find translated lines that get the idea across, that are spoken in more or less the same period of time on screen, that are voiced by actors who have reasonably similar vocal timbre to the originals, and to go the extra mile that fit the lip syncing of the character pretty close. And don't even get me started on translating entire songs that rhyme... Those deserve much more attention than these smaller articles.

                                                                              Dubbing Differences:
                                                                              Disney's Hercules

                                                                              • The Muse Thalia says “Múscules” instead of “Hunkules,” a play on the word “muscles.”
                                                                              • The Muses sing “Foi o que passou,” meaning “That’s what happened,” instead of “That’s the gospel truth.”
                                                                              • Hades: “I haven’t been this speechless since I choked on some ambrosia.”
                                                                              • Pain is named “Agony.”
                                                                              • Instead of “Mr. High-and-Mighty, Mr. Hey-You-Get-Off-My-Cloud,” Hades says “The Big Tasty of Olympus, the King of Greek Cocada.” The “King of Dark Cocada” is a saying in Brazil meaning someone who’s full of themself; in this case, he replaces dark (“preta”) with Greek (“grega”)—a fascinating instance of both wordplay and Greek reference.
                                                                              • All instances of “Oh my goodness,” or similar phrases are replaced with “Oh my gods.”
                                                                              • Market boy: “We already have nine, and we want to keep it an even number.” I think this was purely to keep the lipsyncing closer to the original.
                                                                              • Market boys: “Maybe we should call him Chatoles,” which basically plays off the word “annoying” instead of “jerk,” but it’s not even close to the word “Hercules,” so it’s a big stretch.
                                                                              • Urn salesman: “Keep that aberration away from here!”
                                                                              • Hercules, when he pulls Phil’s door off its hinges: “I didn't mean to do that” instead of “Sorry.”
                                                                              • The various “rules” that Phil teaches Hercules have their numbers changed, probably to fit with lipsyncing more, since they’re arbitrary anyway.
                                                                              • Phil, to Meg when they first meet: “And by the way, princess, I’m real too!”
                                                                              • Phil: “You can make mistakes in the minor decathlons, but this is for real!”
                                                                              • Hercules: “He lost, didn’t he?” instead of “I beat him, didn’t I?”
                                                                              • Meg’s nickname for Hercules is Big Boy instead of Wonder Boy.
                                                                              • Instead of “Herc,” people call Hercules “H” (pronounced ah-GAH) for short.
                                                                              • Pain: “Remember a few years ago, all the girls were named Joanna and the boys were all Marco?”
                                                                              • Guy in Thebes after Hercules says what they need is a hero: “Yeah? Know someone?
                                                                              • Instead of “You’re really choked up about this, aren’t you?” Meg says “You like this? I’m shocked.”
                                                                              • Instead of saying he has a fur wedgie, Phil says “Que bode,” which is an idiom that literally means “What a goat,” but figuratively means “How embarrassing.” This is a super clever joke given that he’s a goatlike satyr.
                                                                              • Pain, in child form: “Balacubaco! You’re strong, mister!”
                                                                              • All the Greek jokes (e.g., "chariot-chaser") and most idioms are replaced with non-idioms. For example, instead of saying "Somebody call IX-I-I!" Panic in child form just says "Somebody call the Theban emergency services!"
                                                                              • A lot of grunts and yells are taken out and not replaced, and the silence makes things awkward and undramatic in those scenes.
                                                                              • The songs are all very different, but here are some particularly interesting changes:
                                                                                • From “Slapped his face on every vase / on every vahse!” to “I decorated vases and they rocked! / I think that’s vulgar!
                                                                                • “Won’t Say I’m in Love” is instead “I Won’t Say It’s Passion
                                                                                • "A Star Is Born" is instead "Shined in the Sky"
                                                                              • Meg: “Everybody in Greece thinks you’re the greatest thing since they invented rice pilaf.”
                                                                              • Meg: “No trick knees? No ruptured discs?” replaced with “No spinal pains? No hernia?”
                                                                              • Phil, urging Hercules to get on Pegasus and move: “Mount! Mount mount mount!
                                                                              • Phil: “I thought you were going to be the best of champions, not the best of goofballs.” The wordplay of champ and chump is replaced with campiões and bobalhões.
                                                                              • The ice, tornado, and magma titans don’t speak. They just roar, or don’t say anything at all.

                                                                              Apr 13, 2021

                                                                              Hero Forge Final Quest Heroes

                                                                              What can I say? Ever since Hero Forge got color, it's been exploding in utility for recreation. Below are the heroes of my JRPG, Final Quest, which I'm tempted to see if I can get back into working on at some point. It has some good potential. I also realized I've never really done a deep dive into this game's mechanics before, so I thought I'd give you some more information on each of the characters and how they work while I'm at it. I wish the game development was farther along so I could give more details.

                                                                              Name: Prince Roland
                                                                              Class: Warrior
                                                                              Special Stat: Fervor - Increases effectiveness of status-inducing and buffing abilities.
                                                                              Leader Bonus: After each attack, other party members gain a small amount of hit points.
                                                                              SP Stat: Rage - Roland starts each combat at 0 SP, but each time Roland attacks, he gains 10 SP, which can be used for his Warfare abilities.

                                                                              Roland is the silent protagonist of the group and the crown prince of Graycrown. He hopes to become a hero worthy of his title in any way that he can.



                                                                              Name: Victus
                                                                              Class: Paladin

                                                                              Victus is the chief paladin and captain of the Graycrown army, and everything Roland could ever hope to become some day. Unfortunately, after a long adventure basically babysitting Roland, he lost his temper and killed a target he was supposed to capture alive, and was thrown into the dungeon until further notice.


                                                                              Name: Dace
                                                                              Class: Rogue
                                                                              Special Stat: Dexterity - Increases poison damage and damage-over-time effects like bleeding and poisoning.
                                                                              Leader Bonus: Dace can attempt to pick locked doors and chests. He is also half-Dirk, so he can spot invisible Dirks hiding anywhere.
                                                                              SP Stat: Energy - Dace has a fixed amount of SP that does not increase with level. He can expend it on Roguery abilities, and I'm not sure if I programmed this yet, but the higher your SP is, the likelier you are to have critical combos. He can regain SP by using the combat ability "Bide."

                                                                              Dace is a half-human half-Dirk rogue from Dirkennshire. Each of his normal attacks has a chance of chaining to a combo attack, which in turn has a smaller chance of comboing, up to 3 levels of damage.


                                                                              Name: Solmyr
                                                                              Class: Wizard
                                                                              Special Stat: Magic - Increases spell damage and effectiveness.
                                                                              Leader Bonus: Scattered throughout the game are blue runes scrawled on walls. Solmyr can copy the spells down and learn them as new abilities.
                                                                              SP Stat: Mana - Solmyr's mana pool and maximum mana increase with level, and are spent on his spells. It can be regained with mana potions.

                                                                              Solmyr is a magus from a mage guild. He's a classic magic-using JRPG character who can equip different types of "cantrips" that deal simple amounts of elemental damage, and he learns spells by purchasing them or copying them off of runic writings rather than by experience.



                                                                              Name: Zandalis "Zane" the Mad
                                                                              Class: Necromancer
                                                                              Special Stat: Magic
                                                                              Leader Bonus: Zane can see ghosts and speak with them.
                                                                              SP Stat: Mana - Same as Solmyr, but he has an ability where he can drain his own life energy to increase his mana.

                                                                              Zane is an insane practitioner of black magic who was imprisoned in the Graycrown dungeons. When the party needs information on how to travel to the Realm of the Dead, they have no choice but to free Zane and call on his abilities. In general, he's a glass cannon. His abilities are more powerful than Solmyr's steady, balanced ones, but they come with terrible prices, like his allies' health and expensive spell components.


                                                                              Name: Archibald "Archie" the Devout
                                                                              Class: Priest
                                                                              Special Stat: Faith - Same as magic
                                                                              Leader Bonus: ?
                                                                              SP Stat: Mana - Same as Solmyr.

                                                                              Archie is the comic relief character of the party and a potent healer. Although he can equip some weapons, his main purpose is to equip Ankhs, which allow him to quickly heal small amounts to party members in need each turn in lieu of attacking. Eventually, he'll be able to equip a pink, purified Death's Scythe that can resurrect fallen allies with no cost.

                                                                              Name: ???
                                                                              Class: Ranger
                                                                              Special Stat: ?
                                                                              Leader Bonus: Can detect secrets on the world map
                                                                              SP Stat: Accuracy - Not fleshed out yet, but I'm thinking every arrow shot he takes costs at least a little SP, and the accuracy of his shots is based on the current amount. Non-arrow abilities regenerate a little accuracy.

                                                                              The Ranger is a mysterious character without a name (the player decides it for him) called upon to help them hunt something, probably. He'll have a wide variety of arrow attacks geared toward defeating specific types of monsters.



                                                                              Name: Nick
                                                                              Class: Alchemist
                                                                              Special Stat: ?
                                                                              Leader Bonus: Every potion anyone in the party consumes during combat heals a small amount, regardless of its primary purpose.
                                                                              SP Stat: Potency - Haven't tested it yet, but my theory is that his SP stat determines the power of his potion abilities, and that the potency goes down after each one he does. He'll have an ability called "Distill" that spends a turn resetting his SP.

                                                                              Nick is of an order of alchemists that operate a massive factory that produces healing potions for many different video games. The experimental nature of his potions makes his attacks vary widely in damage, but maybe if I can get the Potency mechanic to work it'll narrow them down and make them more consistent, while getting more and more random every time. He even has an ability where he can throw a random potion at anyone—ally or enemy, and who knows whether it'll help or hinder them?


                                                                              Name: Rax
                                                                              Class: Druid?
                                                                              Special Stat: ?
                                                                              Leader Bonus: ?
                                                                              SP Stat: ?

                                                                              Rax is a wild man who needs no weapons because he can rapidly turn into a bear and claw his enemies. He wasn't in my notes, so I don't know much else about him, and in fact I may have just put his graphic in the game because the changing into a bear mechanic would look funny in combat.

                                                                              Apr 11, 2021

                                                                              Relic Short Story: The Castle on the Hill

                                                                              My mom recently found an old box of memories, and I was really surprised to find them. The box had been packed away in some corner of our last couple houses, and unlike my existing tablets and things that I had organized and review out of nostalgia every few years, I hadn't laid eyes on any of these documents and drawings for decades. Among them was this short story, dated June 2001, that I must have written as a creative writing assignment. I'm fairly impressed. For a story written by a 12-year-old, it's not half-bad. At least compared to some of my other jokes of attempts at creative prose.

                                                                              The Castle on the Hill

                                                                              I was born and raised in a small village in southern Britain. I seldom left my hamlet because my mother feared that outside the house was dangerous. When I reached the age of seventeen, I was allowed to leave the place so long as I carried a dagger with me.

                                                                              One day as I wandered around the town exploring, I noticed a broken-down castle on top of an extremely steep-looking cliff overlooking the town. Nobody seemed to notice it because, well, it was kind of far away—ten miles maybe, and all the peasants were real busy.

                                                                              I walked over to one of the merchants and started to ask, “Sir, do you notice that—”

                                                                              “Hello, lad,” the man cut me off. “Would you like to buy a nice, big bag o’ haggis?” He held up a slimy sheep-stomach bag.

                                                                              “No thanks,” I said quickly (I never liked haggis that much).

                                                                              I then walked over to a scullery maid who was busy selling milk, cheese, and butter. “Excuse me, ma’am, do you see that castle up—”

                                                                              “Hello!” She cut me off too. “Would you like some cheese, milk, or butter?”

                                                                              “Well, I…” What could I say? I love cheese! “…alright.” I bought a small chunk of cheese for a very reasonable price (four shillings) and sat on a bench to eat.

                                                                              “Who lives there, I wonder? Is it a dangerous climb up the cliff?” I thought deeply. Then I knew what I must do. “I’ll go and scale it,” I thought. “Yeah…”

                                                                              *   *   *

                                                                              A couple of days later, I finally had all the supplies I needed to go to the castle: flint, a torch, cheese, rope, sword, more cheese, a wound-tending kit, and cheese.

                                                                              “Tonight,” I thought, “will be the day…”

                                                                              Of course, my worrywart mother would never have let me go to some strange, dark castle on top of a hill, but I was older now, and I knew that anything was possible.

                                                                              I snuck out that night towards the castle. It took me the rest of the night to even get through to the hill. I never imagined the terrain on the way there would be so rocky. I tripped like, eighty times, and every second it seemed that another bramble vine was in my way. Fortunately, I had my trusty dagger with me, so the brambles weren’t that bad.

                                                                              It took forever, but at long last, I found myself in front of the hill. I looked up… way, way up, and almost threw up.

                                                                              The top of the hill had to be at least a hundred meters straight up. Absolutely no handholds or footholds. Just absolutely up! My rope would never reach that ledge!

                                                                              However, I hadn’t just walked and tripped for ten miles for nothing. I would not give up. I looked at the situation. How could I get up? My question was answered when I heard the wyvern.

                                                                              I didn’t notice the sound at first. It was sort of like a whine a venom wasp would make, but really low and deep. Then it started to sweep upward till it was an unbearable roar. The roar was absolutely terrifying, but not as terrifying as the wyvern itself.

                                                                              I saw it. A great, sickly-green flying lizard with vast, uneven bat wings, horns, and a spearlike tail. The worst part, though, was its eyes. Br-r-r-r-r! Those huge, red orbs glistening like evil rubies in its skull.
                                                                              I was so scared I had to swallow five or six times to even breathe. My first thought was RUN!! My second was STAND YOUR GROUND!! I don’t know why I obeyed the second thought, but I did. The wyvern started to swoop, and for a split second I thought “It’s the key—the key to getting up!”

                                                                              The speed on earth slowed down for some reason. I could see the wyvern diving towards me, its eyes glowing like beacons. I saw my hand rising up, up towards the wyvern’s leg. Then the speed returned to normal and something very peculiar happened: I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me, and I felt something I was clinging onto—something hard and clammy. I felt wind on my face. Then I realized that the wyvern was carrying me. I had grabbed its foot!

                                                                              I looked down and saw a rock. As I went higher, the rock got smaller—so small that it finally disappeared altogether. That’s when I saw some grass—yellowish-brown, prickly grass. I suddenly realized that I was looking at the top side of the cliff! I jumped—I had made it!

                                                                              …Well, not quite.

                                                                              *  *  *

                                                                              When I regained consciousness, I noticed that my body was aching and my lip was bleeding. I took a swab from the wound-tending kit (now quite dented) and rubbed my lip. “Well,” I thought, “at least I made it.

                                                                              Indeed, I had made it. The castle loomed over me. “Great Scott,” I breathed. The castle was blad with lichen and vines snaking up the sides of it. Suddenly, I had a discouraging thought. “What if this isn’t worth it? What if there’s a wyvern nest in there? What if the place is desolate?”

                                                                              I decided I didn’t care what was in it. I just needed to know. I walked up to the door and knocked.

                                                                              I almost jumped at what I’d heard. It sounded like thousands of glass flasks shattering. The door creaked open and I found myself face-to-face with a fairly old man—sixty, maybe seventy years old. He wore spectacles and had a grayish goatee. His eyes were wide with fright.

                                                                              “H-how did y-you get i-i-in?!” he stammered.

                                                                              “Who are you?” I asked.

                                                                              He took a deep breath and said, “My name is Dr. Tim. My golems call me ‘Master.’”

                                                                              “What is a golem?” I asked.

                                                                              “A golem,” he said, “is like a living statue made of natural materials that has no feelings, hopes, desires, memories, dislikes, or opinions. I am a proud builder of golems. But, oh dear, where are my manners? Do come in.”

                                                                              I went in and explored the place. I saw “golems” everywhere, all made of different materials: stone, glass, rock, chalk, iron, gold, silver, wood, brass, diamond… It seemed that the varieties would never end. I had a hard time believing that they had no feelings, though in the back of my mind I believed it, because they always obeyed Dr. Tim.

                                                                              “How about some tea?” Dr. Tim asked after a brief tour of the castle.

                                                                              “Okay.” I remembered losing all of that cheese in the crash and was now quite hungry.

                                                                              We had tea and chatted a while about the golems. Suddenly, I noticed something really strange: one of the golems was talking to another. “Er… Tim, sir…” I started to say.

                                                                              “They really are nice. I have no worries with those dopes working all the time, and…” he yakked away.

                                                                              Sir.” My protests were getting impatient.

                                                                              “…Of course, lately, a few have been acting up, refusing to do what I want them to, so of course I destroyed them with—”

                                                                              SIR! Your golems are planning something!” I snapped.

                                                                              “What?” He looked confused.

                                                                              “LOOK!” I pointed to the golems. There was now a small group of seven or eight golems. The big marble one seemed to be telling them something. Then they all looked at Dr. Tim and started marching in unison towards him.

                                                                              “S-stop! Stop, I say! G-get away from me!” Tim was now looking quite frightened at the golems.
                                                                              Despite his protests, the golems advanced towards him menacingly. “S-s-stop! STOP!!” He screamed at the golems, but more were joining the group and were reaching out their strong arms.

                                                                              By now, Tim was shrieking with fear, threatening them with destruction of something called a Volt Altar. But suddenly the golems were upon him, cuffing him with their fists. I shielded my eyes from the scene. Tim was getting bruised very badly by them.

                                                                              Suddenly, the marble golem spoke: “We are ver-ry ti-red of wor-king for you, ‘Mas-ter.’ Pre-pare to be des-troyed.”

                                                                              Tim started yelling to me, “Activate the—OW!—Volt Altar! OUCH! Set the volt cap—OW! —acity to OOF! …A hundred! Go quickly, boy! It’s—OWWY! —downstairs!” He died shortly after that last word. I felt sorry, but I had to do what he said.

                                                                              I ran downstairs where there was a large round sunken platform in the center of the room with a switch box next to it. I looked down the numbers on the switch box and looked for “100.” I found it, pulled the switch, and an explosion ignited.

                                                                              The explosion was gigantic, with blue sparks every which-way. When the smoke cleared, I found myself in the middle of a big room full of golden nuggets, wood chips, pebbles, and other hunks of materials. “These must be the golems’ bodies,” I thought. I waded through the wreck upstairs where I found the body of Dr. Tim. I decided to take it home and bury it. It only seemed proper.

                                                                              I’m not exactly sure how I got down to the ground. I jumped off the edge and, after a moment, I was back on the ground! I buried Dr. Tim and promised my mom never to leave the village and was grounded for life. I’m not exactly sure what I was grounded from, because back then we didn’t have computers… Then again, how did I type this anyway? Well, that’s my story.

                                                                              The End.

                                                                              Mar 1, 2021

                                                                              Recipe: Brazilian Black Feijoada

                                                                              It's been just shy of 8 years since I wrote this recipe I invented which was my early attempt at making a simple, easy Brazilian feijoada dish. Looking back on it, I'm super embarrassed at how lazy I was. Well, since then, I have made feijoada dozens and dozens of times for my family meals and it's gotten better and better. I think just in the past few months I've finally perfected it. For years, I didn't think it was possible for a non-Brazilian to manage to make this dish—its specific flavor was so elusive, especially without authentic Brazilian Sazon packets—but now I think I finally figured it out. And if blue-eyed, white-skinned, Idahoan me managed to cook it, you can too, no matter where you're from!


                                                                              Brazilian Black Feijoada
                                                                              "Uma delicia auténtica!"



                                                                               Ingredients
                                                                              • 3 slices bacon, chopped
                                                                              • 4 oz. pork, cubed
                                                                              • 2 beef hot dogs or 1 smoked sausage, sliced
                                                                              • ½ large onion, chopped and divided
                                                                              • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
                                                                              • 2 or 3 cans black beans, drained
                                                                              • ½ tsp cumin
                                                                              • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
                                                                              • ½ tsp cracked pepper
                                                                              • ¼ tsp. ground coriander
                                                                              • 2 bay leaves
                                                                              • cilantro, chopped
                                                                              • farofa pronta
                                                                              Directions
                                                                              1. Brown the bacon, pork, and hot dogs in a cooking pot over medium high heat.
                                                                              2. Set aside meats and sauté  the garlic and half of the chopped onions in the bacon fat.
                                                                              3. Add beans, seasonings, the rest of the onions, and 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a boil.
                                                                              4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the meat and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the flavors are combined and the pork is stained from the black beans. Stir occasionally. Add more water if it starts to get too thick.
                                                                              5. Add salt, pepper, and water to taste and to the desired thickness, and add desired amount of cilantro (or Italian parsley if you don't like cilantro)—I usually go with about a quarter cup or so.
                                                                              6. Serve with hot sauce, farofa pronta*, Brazilian vinagrete salsa, sliced bananas, mashed potatoes, pão de queijo, steak, chicken, or whatever else you want, on a bed of Brazilian rice. Click the links for good recipes for each of those.
                                                                              7. Enjoy!
                                                                              YIELD: About 5–8 servings, depending on how many cans of black beans you added.

                                                                              Washes down well with...  Guaraná, Sprite, or fresh mango, guava, or passion fruit juice.
                                                                              ____
                                                                              *Found at some Latin food markets

                                                                              Feb 28, 2021

                                                                              Eden: Argaenothruzil Re-imagined

                                                                              Have I got a crazy story for you.

                                                                              Remember this map that I posted on here two years ago after making it? I forgot that I did this, but I posted that map online on the Inkarnate database just for other people to see it. Little did I know that this map would be the inspiration for an alternate reality of Argaenothruzil born in the head of a completely different person!

                                                                              A guy named Nitsuj (presumably Justin, which is an oddly similar name to mine as well) wanted to create a homebrew D&D world but lacked the skills to make a world map, so he looked around online. He stumbled upon my map on a Pinterest board and decided to use it as a base to craft his world, "Eden," around. He made up backstories and lore for each location on the map and build a large group of people (West Marches style) on his Discord channel.

                                                                              He eventually deep-searched me looking for the creator of the map and showed me his work. It was crazy to introduce myself to his players as the original creator of the map they all played D&D on, and weirder still to hear the stories he came up with for each location. Below are the locations and the differences between them in this shadow-world of his:

                                                                              Ae'brinthil

                                                                              • Argae: The primary human center of civilization, though the population of civil elves has risen exponentially as wood elves from the Sheral Woodlands join it as citizens. One of the largest cities in Argaenothruzil.
                                                                              • Eden: The human settlement and where the server takes place in. It's the most diverse country and is ruled by a human king known as Leoford Bonaparté (pretty close).

                                                                              Waelis

                                                                              • Argae: A beautiful tourist county where nobles go on vacation.
                                                                              • Eden: A nation of dwarves and gnomes and part of the Dwarven Empire. A constant rival to Ae'brinthil, and a place where money talks and business owners make the political decisions.

                                                                              Amber's Hand

                                                                              • Argae: A small fishing city, home to some secret societies who use the town's humble nature as a cover. A key location in Alfred Shortstaff and the Cavern of Time.
                                                                              • Eden: A democratic merchant town of dwarves and halflings that focuses on craftsmanship. Along with Waelis, it makes up the Dwarven Empire. 

                                                                              Sheral Woodlands

                                                                              • Argae: A forest full of small wood elf tribal villages and many human bandits who often attempt to capture them as slaves.
                                                                              • Eden: A magical forest and home of the fey folk, and a direct gateway to the Feywild itself. Once inhabited by orcs and wood elves who fought each other so much that neither wanted the forest as a home anymore, so the fey took it over.

                                                                              Sylphanos

                                                                              • Argae: The capital of wood elf civilization, named after the giant tree at its center, which is said to be the seed-bearer of all other trees in the world.
                                                                              • Eden: The original home of the orcs, who began their existence living a druidic culture much like elves do now. Fiendish corruption now threatens it.

                                                                              Coma Lake

                                                                              • Argae: No established lore, but I think maybe drinking the water put some famous hero in a coma for some time (a throwback from a location of the same name from my original Hard Lands Warcraft setting).
                                                                              • Eden: An underwater city that is home to tritons.

                                                                              Wind Barriers

                                                                              • Argae: A ring of windstorms that encircle the entire planet created by the god Henaeros. They prevent Argaenothruzil and Eredathios from interacting with each other and halt the corruption of Eredathios from spreading any farther.
                                                                              • Eden: The name of the sea surrounding Eden.

                                                                              Wyvern Cliffs

                                                                              • Argae: A mass of steep, impassable rocks that rise out of the sea that are completely infested with wyverns of all types, who use the rugged area as a network of breeding grounds.
                                                                              • Eden: The location of a volcano and an area ruled by the kingdom of the orcs that live in Sylphanos.

                                                                              Huichtli

                                                                              • Argae: A jungle island full of ruins, treasure, rare fruits, and valuable resources. It is largely uncharted and full of beasts, evil cults on the run from civilization, and cannibalistic humanoids.
                                                                              • Eden: A vast island populated by half-trolls, bugbears, and orcs.

                                                                              Ziccao

                                                                              • Argae: A city-state owned by Abelhawk the Archmage. Also the name of the tower that stands in the middle of it, where Abelhawk himself lives.
                                                                              • Eden: A holy land originally owned by the orcs, but taken over by Ae'brinthil after a war. Named after Godfrey Ziccao, who reclaimed the land after the Demon War and died.

                                                                              Malgwyr

                                                                              • Argae: The Quarry Kingdom of the Dwarves, an ancient mountainside city that (some say) has tunnels leading down into the core of Argaenothruzil itself, where dwarves were first forged by the god of greed, Moeki.
                                                                              • Eden: A ruined borderland destroyed by an army of powerful creatures. The magic used to destroy the creatures has left the land uninhabitable, but in future centuries the residue may wear off and allow life to thrive there again.

                                                                              Nerolanth

                                                                              • Argae: A gray island over which an ash cloud from one of its local volcanoes floats, and the home of the advanced, nocturnal wampyre civilization. Recently discovered by mainland Argae, and exports of fine tobacco have given the wampyres a trade motivation to create embassies and trade routes with Orovion. 
                                                                              • Eden: A tropical island populated by two warring clans of tortles.

                                                                              Orovion

                                                                              • Argae: The holiest city in Argaenothruzil and the ancient site of countless crusades from the demons of the Dungeon Realm. Ruled by a council of all the religious leaders of the six gods of Argae. A colorful town full of trade and a veritable melting pot of every race in Argaenothruzil.
                                                                              • Eden: Known as the City of Stars and one of the richest nations in all of Eden. Crime runs rampant there, as the leadership of Orovion focuses more on business and economy over social issues and order. A mighty naval nation as well.

                                                                              Broken Lands

                                                                              • Argae: Once the location of a powerful and vast dwarf and human civilization called Orthni, but every trace of it and its capitol of Aktulus were wiped out by a cataclysmic earthquake that broke the land and sunk huge parts of it into the sea. Little is known about it, as it is full of miles-deep canyons, ruins, loathsome beasts, and impassable outcroppings of ruined earth.
                                                                              • Eden: A trio of kingdoms, Meiyo, Megin, and Damu, established by wood elves, pirate humans, and orcs respectively.

                                                                              Ilrauros Desert

                                                                              • Argae: A largely uninhabited desert, but some secret societies have secret lairs there. A single, guarded and taxed trade route runs through it, cutting off a long travel around it at an exhorbitant price. Named after the god of fire and hatred, Rauroth.
                                                                              • Eden: Broken into two kingdoms, the West, populated by yuan-ti, lizardfolk, and dragonborns; and the East, populated by leonin and tabaxi.

                                                                              Rocklands

                                                                              • Argae: Desolate and uninhabited except for tribes of primitive herdsmen. The Cavern of Time is located there, as is a monument to St. Alfred Shortstaff, the last Timewalker, who saved the world's past, present, and future from destruction.
                                                                              • Eden: An uninhabited swath of borderlands where people are exiled.

                                                                              Rahez, Nothwez, and Vingomir

                                                                              • Argae: Collectively called the Northlands, these are three allied kingdoms of viking-like seafaring men, sea elves, and their half-elf progeny. Their kingdoms used to be one kingdom called Vingomir, but when the son of the god Bezzoan went mad and plunged the legendary Corona Blade into the top of the mountains, the ground split apart and separated the kingdoms into three islands, which eventually developed cultural and political independence from one another. The disaster forced the kingdoms to focus on naval trade and conquest by necessity, and have been the world's most feared navy ever since.
                                                                              • Eden: Collectively called the Ice Legions. Nothwez is a nation hidden deep in the mountains that focuses on naval weaponry and architecture; Rahez is a less advanced religious dragonborn nation; and Vingomir is the home of goliaths and giants, who live alongside each other in anarchy.
                                                                              _________
                                                                              It's a very odd feeling to know that dozens of D&D characters are walking the lands of Argaenothruzil, calling its cities and locations the same names, but having completely different experiences than they would in my own canonical world. And speaking of canon, a part of me can't help but try and think of some way that literary word can always remain speaking the truth: perhaps Argaenothruzil was abandoned by its gods and its people replaced by new ones who call it Eden?

                                                                              Overall, this very unexpected experience has shown me just how interesting of a thing creativity is. Isn't it amazing how a setting fairly rich with lore (with its own novel that takes place in it) can be completely re-imagined with only the names of its cities when placed as a seed in the head of someone else?  Wow.

                                                                              Feb 24, 2021

                                                                              Adventures in Coding, Part 2

                                                                              It's been a couple of years now since I made this post about my coding accomplishments helping facilitate being a Dungeon Master, and I think it's high time I gave an update on those projects and a couple new ones I made. After all, my coding course and externship are long behind me, and now I actually have a coding job! It's been a long journey, and though coding isn't my first career choice, I feel blessed to have it.

                                                                              Character Generator


                                                                              I updated the appearance of this generator to fit into a theme that the others follow, and I simplified the UI a little bit. Other updates include bug fixes, displaying the gender of the character before the name (works well for ambiguous dragonborn names and stuff), and adding a bunch more names. I also added new races that have been added to 5e, such as warforged, leonin, and yuan-ti, complete with human names that fit their civilization style (i.e., Mesoamerican for yuan-ti). You can generate family information on this generation, but it's super janky, and I'm not sure if it's just bad luck in random number generation or genuinely flawed tables in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, but I swear every other time I test this, the character is the middle child of 7 children with two twin sisters that have the same name or something stupid like that. I hate to say it, but I may need to completely overhaul this if I want it to work correctly. I was very nooby when I first made all these nested if/then statements, and I think it's probably time I pay the price.

                                                                              Town and Place Generator


                                                                              I haven't changed this one a ton because it works so well already, but I have added a few new features and words in the word banks. Now you can have five different types of places instead of two. Here are the basics of what types of place names they generate:
                                                                              • Location: Frigidgrass, Deathcaster, Staroak, Dayglass, Cursebone
                                                                              • Landmark: Sweetwake Port, Spearcrane Morass, Stoutshire Way, Blastglen Forest, Bladeridge Castle
                                                                              • Descriptive: Wood River, Bane Way, Ice Shore, Twin Hollows, Five Moors
                                                                              • Mystical: Murk of Light, Tower of Wick, Barren of Bush
                                                                              • Possessive: Marie's Peak, Reynard's Landing, Dead Man's River, Erhart's Beach, Arnold's Strait
                                                                              Location and Landmark work as before. Descriptive was inspired by locations that feel more like a description of an actual thing in the area and a lack of ownership. Mystical... well, I'm not really sure what I was thinking with Mystical. It's pretty bad, I know. Possessive is more about ownership when naming the areas, and uses the same name banks as the Character Generator for the possessors, as well as a few others like "Old Man's" and "Lover's."

                                                                              Maybe someday I'll smooth out some of the ways the names fit together or something, but this is the lowest on my priority list because like I said, it just works so well already. I'm proud of it.

                                                                              Treasure Generator


                                                                              I'm proud of this one, and I think it has a lot of potential. This is a great tool for rolling on the treasure tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide. You simply designate the Challenge Rating of the encounter, and then choose one of the following options:
                                                                              • Individual Treasure: Just a number of coins that you find off of a particular enemy.
                                                                              • Hoard: A collection of coins, gems, art objects (complete with gp values), and magic items.
                                                                              • Pickings: Garbage, interesting trinkets, and adventuring gear.
                                                                              • Unique Magic Item: A random magic item with an interesting property like "fiend-crafted," "elf-sized," or "heavy."
                                                                              • Up for Purchase: A sort of auction block of magic items with suggested prices or the highest guaranteed bid.
                                                                              I had a number of bugs I had to work out with this tool, including stopping it from giving a whole bunch of duplicate potions, and it was more complicated than simply transferring all the tables into code form: I had to make lists for random spells for spell scrolls and specific weapons for enchanted weapons and stuff.

                                                                              The Pickings option was my favorite. I gathered together all kinds of useless junk, trinkets, and items with little gold value but lots of story potential, but I also included adventuring gear, trade goods, sets of artisan's tools, musical instruments, and spell components, because why are magic items the only things you should be rewarded with? This is a really great button to click when your players look around somewhere where there should be something, just not anything with value.

                                                                              I also really like rolling for Unique Magic Items. When you play D&D too long, all the magic items seem to be same old-same old, but adding an interesting modifier to it (some taken from the DMG, others added just to make things interesting) like "heavy" or "dwarf-fitted" limits the item a bit and breathes new life into it.

                                                                              Combat Calculator


                                                                              This one isn't for creative purposes like the others; instead, it's to facilitate large groups of mobs in combat, which are an element that really should be used more often (at least in my games). On the Mob Attacks version, it calculates the number of creatures in a mob that manage to get a hit on a creature with a given AC. The Mob Saving Throw version uses the same math, but to find out how many creatures in a given mob succeed on a saving throw against an effect that targets all of them. I used the DMG's mob damage calculation methods, but I changed them a bit thanks to some tips from Sly Flourish to make them more percentage-based. In other words, a +1 bonus to attack won't sway a huge percentage of the mobs one way or the other—it'll be more gradual.

                                                                              Eventually I should probably add a couple things like Advantage/Disadvantage checkboxes, and maybe some quality of life updates like specifying the name of creatures or something. But either way, this is an indispensable tool that I have really enjoyed using to speed up games with more mobs.

                                                                              Well, that's it! I've come a long way, but there are quite a few things I can do to make these better. Maybe I'll give another update in a couple years and see if I finally get that Character Creation thing all ironed out. These are fun things to work on during slow times at work.

                                                                              Feel free to use all these tools, and let me know if you find any bugs or have any feedback while using them!

                                                                              Feb 17, 2021

                                                                              Recreating the Voice Lines from Warcraft II

                                                                              I was listening to the album Legend of the Boar Knight by Careless Juja over the past week or two (really awesome and recommended, by the way—the type of thing I'd love to make myself some day), and in an intermission track in the middle, the narrator imitated the voices from Warcraft 2, and it made me want to try my hand at it.



                                                                              It was a lot of fun to try and capture the essence of each voice line through intonation, voice style, and special effects using Audacity. I definitely don't have a great range, so the deep voices and the high voices were definitely my weakest ones, but I think I nailed the ogres (including Dentarg) perfectly, if I do say so myself.

                                                                              As usual when recreating things, I grew to appreciate these lines so much more while looking extra closely at them. Some (like Grom Hellscream and the Death Knights) were just too well done to succeed at doing, but I did my best. There were some shortcuts the developers took; for example, for the goblin sappers, one line was recorded, and then two more tracks were overlayed on it: one that was slightly higher-pitched and one that was slightly lower-pitched.

                                                                              Overall, a super fun project, and if I get enough time (or if enough people want it), I could release a compressed folder of all the sound effects to write over those in Warcraft 2, so you could have a full game voiced by me!

                                                                              Jan 13, 2021

                                                                              Relic Speech/Essay: Zerzo Seewok

                                                                              This is a speech I wrote in my speech class way back in 2005. The prompt was to create "Zerzo Seewok," which could be anything. It was a imaginative exercise where basically anything goes, and you would explain what Zerzo Seewok was, how you found it, its characteristics, and so forth. The delivery of this speech didn't go so well, and the prose definitely hasn't aged well (this was back when I thought that talking like an 1800s poet sounded cool) but it was fun to write. I'm also tempted to someday adapt it to an SCP Foundation entry someday.

                                                                              Zerzo Seewok

                                                                              One particularly hot summer day after work, I arrived home with a great thirst, as usual. Fetching a glass for myself of the kitchen’s standard warm, metal-tasting water, I cracked open an ice-cube tray and placed three ice cubes into the glass. I swirled it once to distribute the coldness they produced, and took a sip to test.

                                                                              To my surprise, the water was no longer hard, and the single swirl had made the drink ice-cold. Another drink proved that one of the ice cubes, unlike the other two, sank to the bottom to avoid getting in the way of my teeth. Upon examination, that cube appeared flawless and angled, whereas the others were somewhat rounded, and cracked from contact with the water.

                                                                              I drank the rest of the refreshing drink freely, impressed at how it improved my mood. Simple cares of the day seemed meaningless. There would be a retake for the trigonometry test. I had passed my speech. Barely.

                                                                              It had to be the ice cube. I took it from the empty glass. Unlike the wet lumps left behind, this perfect trapezoidal prism was as smooth and frozen as a fresh one from the freezer. It appeared different to the eye, as well. Instead of a normal, clear color, this ice cube was the color of frosted glass. No outline of rigid frost was painted on its facets. Each side was purely colored, evenly frosted.

                                                                              I filled another glass, and tasted it at first. Metallic was its flavor, and warm as mud.

                                                                              I plunked the cube into it, and just as it made a ripple, I raised the drink to my lips. Instant was its effect on the water; purified and cool with a mere instant of contact.

                                                                              I had a sudden idea I wanted to try. I took a mug from the cupboard, and turned the red handle of the faucet. A short time for a wait, and white steam rose in the air from the sink. I filled the mug with hot water, and held the cube aloft. I watched the bubbling liquid for a moment or two, and let loose the special ice cube. The ripple from the splash was the last the water ever moved. With a test from my finger, the water was proven cold, and flawless the cube! I drank the water from the mug, marveling again at the water’s happiness-inducing powers.

                                                                              What scientific process, I thought, could a simple ice cube use to instantly change water to a set temperature, perfect for drinking? And, at that, force the body of its water’s drinker to release endorphins and improve their mood? Had this ever happened before, to anyone else?

                                                                              Seeing the undamaged ice cube in the previously boiling mug, I decided to see if a non-liquid heat source could melt it. I went outside and left it lying on the doorstep in broad sunlight, and set my watch timer to go off in fifteen minutes.

                                                                              When I went out again ten minutes later (I had a hard time waiting), I was surprised and annoyed to find my neighbor’s dog on the doorstep, with the ice cube — on its tongue. When it saw me, its tail began wagging abnormally fast. It ran around in a million circles and did several backflips. The ice cube was giving it an extreme measure of ecstasy, and the already spastic dog was being pushed to its body’s limits. It ran away like a torpedo across the street, and I never saw it or the ice cube ever again.

                                                                              Fortunately, however, a cold soda from the fridge is a great way to have a delicious drink that makes you happy temporarily. And to this day, no one believes me about Zerzo Seewok, the Immortal Ice Cube. Do you?

                                                                              Jan 3, 2021

                                                                              365 Memories of 2020

                                                                              At the end of 2019, I decided I would do a year-long project by writing a single line of memories each day in the coming year. That way I would have an entire year's worth of miniscule journal entries to look back on. I had no idea of all the hard things that would crop up in 2020. But looking back, it was fun to see how many good times I had amid all the trials of the pandemic and quarantine. Below is an image with all of the text of those 365 memories with a picture I took of the sunset. I think it represents the fires of last year, but also the closing of a long day looking forward to a brighter tomorrow.