Why I Hate Dark Souls

 

 

Why I Hate Dark Souls
Why I Love Dark Souls

 

My first fevered steps into Dark Souls, like so many others, involved blinking into the hazy blur of its opening cinematics and looking for something to latch onto. Some refence point, some characteristic element; Where are we? When are we? WHAT are we?
If you’ve played these games (as the core Souls series are fundamentally the same in many, many ways) you know that what little story we get tells of an age of fire coming after an age of darkness, followed immediately by another age of darkness. Why? No idea really.
There’s a really important flame somewhere and some git let the draft get in because those embers are starting to die out and it’s up to someone- most likely you- to fix that problem. Just who are we exactly and what place do we fill in the world? Well apparently the one thing we most definitely are is ‘undead’, and there’s something about a Dark Sign that sometimes appears on dead bodies. Why? No idea really.
This marks the begnning of one of my biggest problems with Dark Souls, and the Souls series as a whole, alluding to the story without presenting you with any story. Like referencing a book nobody among your friends has ever read. Telling a joke nobody at the table has the context to find funny. Dark Souls commits an engagement sin as soon as it loads its first cut scene- it cannot leave us wanting more, because it begins with nothing.

So the first time I ever took a wide-eyed look into the sprawling world of the Dark was, like many others, the opening cinematic. I was washed with sweeping images of citadels and mountains, soaring scaleless dragons and deep crags of the world where fire sleeps. Within seconds of the games opening I was introduced to a bizzare array of lore and characters- tales of heroes standing up against the imminent dread of the world, the ‘first of the dead’ giving the ancient lore a sense of scale, the rise of the very Gods of its world. As the scene slips the premise towards our fingers like a flirtatious dinner date it gives us only what we need to know: the days of lords is coming to an end, everything is cicling the metaphorical drain and somewhere out there- somewhere in a world I yet pale to understand in its immense possibility- it falls to the Dead to take action. Not a lone hero who’s home town was burned down by a monster. Just a dead and buried loved one who awaits eternity within the asylum…
This marks the beginning of one of my biggest desires in Dark Souls, walking blind into a world where so much has been crafted with intent to tell a story without needing to speak. You may not know who put you in the asylum but forcing your way through it, against mindless zombies (your brethren) and enormous Demons acting as security guards… you start to find pieces. Dark Souls raises one of the biggest questions in gaming right out the gate- can you solve its great mysteries?

 

So okay you hate the storytelling I hear you say, but what about the gameplay? Surely that’s where the real meat of the game lies. And it’s true- Dark Souls is so lacking in narrative that pretty much anything is, and has to be, presented through its omnipresent gameplay elements. What will strike you early on like a ten-foot stone club is that Dark Souls doesn’t care about introrucing you to its elements and tactics, it intends to throw you into the meat grinder very eary and watch you flounder. In fact the first major encounter in the game which happens right outside the intro room is what’s known in the culture as a ‘supposed to lose’ fight where you’re pinned in a small space with an enemy far too powerful for you to (reasonably) beat… especially after you’ve only just learned that circle is dodge!
The combat in these games is methodical and deadly. One wrong press will very likely mean your immediate death at the hands of something bigger, stronger, faster and probably better equipped than you. Or you know, a Dragon, because there’s one of those just outside the tutorial area. It kills you a lot.
There is a recognised trend in gaming that difficulty sliders and genre familiarity will be the only soft-safeguards against excessive difficulty. The Souls franchise will happily parade high level boss encounters in easy to reach places and lull new players into epic honeytraps. Not to mention the skeletons in the first Dark Souls, challenging enemies that are completely immune to being killed by your basic newbie weapons, are mere feet from your starting area and often the first non-Asylum enemies players will come across.
Ultimately the game lives up to its promise- you will die, and you will die a lot. There’s a reason the complete ediiton is called the ‘Prepare to Die’ edition (even the board game spinoff has ‘You Have Died’ as the first thing you see inside the box).

Any lover of the Souls series will tell you that its core experience is COMBAT. Fighting titanic bosses is a terrifying possibility made reality by the mastery of proper blocking, dodging and very, very big hammers. The game makes this apparent as it drops you into a surprise encounter with a monster most games would save for a epic miniboss, and no doubt will leave your freshly undead innards pasted across the prison cells. But the game provides a nearby checkpoint and no real penalty for failure. This back-and-forth forms the meat of the Dark Souls stew, throwing yourself headlong into seemingly impossible challenges until the constant bashing your head into the wall causes the wall to fall over.
This opens the doors to beating challenges rarely seen in other games, such as exploiting different strategies on repeat and innately learning the movement and attack patterns of those monsters. With enough practice even the twelve foot dog carrying a sword will be second nature to you- by the way did I mention there was a twelve foot dog carrying a sword?
Dark Souls has built a fanbase from its level of challenge as much as its inpenetrable lore, with communities of thousands sharing tips and tricks using the gamers hivemind as our greatets weapon against daunting challenge.
It’s also no secret that while sloshing through Blight Town or Hypogean Goal can be teeth grindingly tense as every step and encounter could (and often is) your last there’s also a peerless level of achievement to revel in when you manage to face off against Ornstein and Smoug with nothing but a wooden club and actually win!

 

Having mentioned PvP that’s another thorn in your side DS insists on making prominent throguhout your experience. The game harbours an unusual online mode where people are always connected online, but don’t actually get to play or assist with each other at all. Interactions are done through messages on the ground- fair enough you might think, communication and solidarity, except the only way to leave messages is picking from a pre-selected trail of words. So expect to see ‘Jump!’ next to every lethal edge you walk by.
Unless you force the game into an online state you’re always going to be volleyed with shadow images of other players and their messages but, worse still, they aren’t restricted to soiling the experience with words alone. Other plays can materialize in your game as phantoms who aim to kill you and nothing else, in later games even being able to disguise themselves as trees and vases to catch players unaware and send them back to respawn.
But Adie, I hear you cry, other players can also aid your quest! If you’re lucky enough that someone locally online has decided to purchase a specific item, throw down a summoning tag and actually knows what they’re doing as opposed to rolling off a cliff.
As opposed to a more traditional multiplayer setup the game attempts to merge its unusual online functions into co-op gameplay resulting in a very disjointed (and often unbalanced) opton for fighting enemies with total strangers… if you’re lucky enough to find one/not be messed over by online difficulties.

 

Since we dropped a hint about the multiplayer in this game its worth noting that Dark Souls boasts a totally unique integration of miltiplayer without watering down the single player experience. It comes in two distinct parts: notations for other players to help with the games numerous puzzles and designs, and phantoms that appear as either jolly companions or merciless player hunters! The game gives you access to numerous unique items and factions that put a different twist on the experience- with each game also having a different selection of supporting character types you aid you.
Having trouble with a particuarly hard boss? More experienced players and members of special covenants will leave their marks to be summoned! Maybe the player you summon will be carrying that +10 fire axe you desperately need? Or maybe they’re doing a no-clothes run will pay their dues distracting everything on the field. Either way it’s time to enjoy some jolly co-operation! That is unless you’re playing in human state and people take the rug out from under you with Invasions! This is the games PvP and by throwing it in amongst the regular trials of gameplay adds even more peril and ensures that nobody can be truly prepared for their sudden thrust into competative play.
Taking advantage of the games enamoration with secrets is the communities abilty to drop notes about the hidden doorways, stealthed enemies and even tips on taking out the trickier bosses like ‘try fire’ or ‘attack from above’. But the sequestered areas of the game are where this truly shines…

And believe me this game is in no rush to introduce you to its contnet. Entire segments of the game, huge areas of play with multipes of items and unique enemies … even critical plot choices that will determine your path to the end will be easily missed if you don’t attend a certain location at a certain time! When was the last time you played a game that excluded you from an ending because you didn’t think to go back and talk to a person you never met in a location you barely visit half-way through your quest?
But that’s Dark Souls narrative flow in a nutshell, isn’t it? Secrets among secrets. Only yesterday did I learn there was a whole other boss fight in the original game that I’d never seen or heard of, hidden behind a fireplace that can only be accessed by wearing a certain ring. Why? Because Dark Souls.
This element really highlights the lack of guidance given to players, no matter how experienced you are in the elements of gameplay or the deeper narrative you will never know of these tidbits unless you are fortunate enough to stumble into them or know other people who have…. in fact it realy does play back to memories of games from the 80s Nintendo age, doesn’t it?

Secrets after all are the games bread and butter. There are so many hidden wonders among the carefully crafted levels that require something we haven’t seen in mainstream games in quite some time- actual exploration! Hidden in the twists you may find a secret item you’ve not found on a previous playthrough, or maybe a character whom you’ve never spoken to. If you’ve done enough nosing about maybe you’ll discovered Maneater Mildred’s secret shame of eating pyromancers with her Butcher sisters. Yes, the Butchers are women. No I cannot explain that.
There’s a fundamental excitement in sharing stories with friends and hearing about locales you’ve never even visited- the Great Hollow? I went there yesterday, but maybe you’ve never been there. Since it’s tucked behind not one but two hidden doors that only the most thorough of adventurers will brag about, and of course it’s in the belly of Blight Town (and let’s be honest, nobody likes Blight Town).  It’s kind of a wonder that now, six years after the original games release- if you discount Demons Souls- that I’m still discovering new surprises with each new playthrough.
It’s something we don’t see in mainstream games, a sense of freedom that we aren’t being railroaded to any particular place. We’re free to explore the secrets of the Catacombs, the Forest of Fallen Giants or Old Yarnham at your leisure, to discover and despair as we please.
Only today for example did I learn that you can return to the Undead Asylum at any point before reaching the lategame, who knew!

So among all the questions being asked and unexplained you’re very likely to pick a class you don’t enjoy, or can’t access all your best weapons. Meaning you’ll have to draw right back to the beginning and rebuild your character (since you can’t change classes later)

But of course you’ll want to replay the game once you’ve finished so you can try again with one of the various other classes and their unique spells, abilities, equipment and weapon access. These games are a mystery with many solutions.

 

So the final question is- do I enjoy this series? Do I feel they represent the hype and die hard loyalty that’s built up around them? Are they truly great games. If you’ve read the title then you’ll already know the answer: Absolutely not, I freaking love Dark Souls.

‘ARTHUR LIVES!’ New FATE RPG Book Interview with Jason Tondro

Manaburnt talks with lead designer Jason Tondro from Fainting Goat Games about their new FATE RPG book (releasing next week) ‘Arthur Lives’! A game about swords, sorcery and… punk rock?

In Arthur Lives! characters take on the role of a reincarnated court of King Arthur brought into the modern urban world. The twist? The olde heroes have been reborn into multiple new lives- at the same time! Will your Arthur prove his heroic destiny? Or will the pretenders take your spotlight?

Arthur lives is built on the FATE tabletop system and is driven by decisions and storytelling putting a fascinating new spin on the everyday world. The project is currently in its last week on Kickstarter and you can find it here:

And if tabletop RPG’s are your jam and you’re into playing FATE, Icons, Mutants & Masterminds, D&D and more… check out Fainting Goat Games catalogue over on the DriveThru for all your tabletop needs!

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/3915/Fainting-Goat-Games

The Path to Making a Youtube Gaming Channel

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The Path to Making a Youtube Gaming Channel

So you’ve probably noticed over the last 10 years or so there’s been a considerable rise in gaming related videos on the internet, most of them orbiting the Google megamachine ‘Youtube’. As we approach 2020 more ‘tubers’ are also reaching out to Twitch and console-ready streaming, but there’s still an avid fanbase that always comes back for more bitesize videogame goodness.

But why might you be drawn to this hobby? The potential promise of money and fame? A passionate love for a certain game you can’t put down? Or maybe, like me, you just have old favourites you wish to share. Well if you’re considering taking that vital first step- namely putting a video on the web and letting fate decide- there are a few important things you should know… !

Welcome to the hard path to making a Youtube gaming channel!

Continue reading “The Path to Making a Youtube Gaming Channel”

Badaptations – Why Anime and Videogame movies don’t work

If you’ve been a geek as long as I have you’ve seen your fair share of Badaptations. Hell if you’ve been a geek this past year alone you’re probably sick of them!

It’s no secret that as much as we love series, films and videogames that fit outside the norm of mainstream cinema the transition to the silver screen has always been a rough one. Some of the lauded worst-ever films have been attempts of shoving a popular franchise into a two hour box and calling it a Hollywood release. But is it really so hard to get it right? Are there really so many hurdles between source and screen? Well I welcome you to a brief tour of the absolute chaotic maelstrom of getting ANYTHING right in big screen adaptations. Grab your favourite comic and clutch your Nintendo DS because this is going to hurt.

Let’s start big: Why culture isn’t as cultured as we’d like to think.
The impact of cultural difference may not seem to be a challenging adaptation hurdle outside of the obvious points (like language, locations, common phrases) however there are many possibly alienating differences in your common anime and videogames. Consider for a moment that almost all anime (and most videogames) share a cultural fingerprint with Japan- a country where academic intelligence is lionised, eating at a noodle tent is like stopping by Starbucks and every entertainment label worth their salt is churning out teenage starlets by the dozen. It may not stand out in every moment of action but there are plenty of quirks in the daily life of the Land of the rising sun that outside audiences would find unconventional, and are often removed during the adaptation process… or replaced, as was the case with Pokémon swapping the term Rice Ball with ‘Jelly Donuts’.

After all, compared to major American cinema how many films do you see each year that take place entirely in a high school?

Then there are Theological differences- a lot of ideas tend to stem from the subtle cultural touches that come from a society’s deep routed religious history. We tend to be blind to it, about how even the simplest parts of how we see the world are moulded by it; what should and shouldn’t be illegal, the dividing line between sentient and non-sentient objects, our value against the greater universe. Even issues that evolve over time like the justification of prejudice against others. In entertainment these usually come across in the major themes, like someone’s personal struggle or the formation of the world around them. Movies like AKIRA, Spirited Away, Ghost in the Shell and countless more deeply reflect the theological differences that are more prominent in the east, thus making them much more difficult to translate to an audience that doesn’t relate to them. While the transhumanist philosophies in Ghost in the Shell could still be followed by anyone willing to put thought into their movie experience the more niche messages of reincarnation and the organic spirit may be lost. Cultural and theological differences form the greatest obstacle when it comes to making an adaptation of any property from a foreign country- and unfortunately the Hollywood studio system has a putrid record of translating these ideas.

To address the real elephant in the room I would like to call into question the ‘unspoken problem’ with the movie making mentality of Hollywood and the greater system, however that would be untrue. Audiences and critics around the world have been chastising the Hollywood studios for years now about their inherently flawed means of putting stories and adaptations to the silver screen however it has yet to see any results. It would be more accurate to call it a ‘frequently spoken problem’.
That problem being the curse of studio intervention and attempting to fit all properties through what I can only describe as the Hollywood Bottleneck. With dozens, if not hundreds, of critical eyes on a production from its inception and storyboarding right the way through to post-editing it’s no surprise that the amount of meddling can sink a project before its even reached completion. While we’ve seen countless instances of this in our chosen sample group, such as the more recent Assassins Creed movie being heavily cut for ‘simplicity’ and the Ghost in the Shell movie being entirely re-written from its source, adaptations from foreign sources are not the only victims. The most recent attempt at bringing the Fantastic Four superhero troupe to the big screen fell victim to so much studio dissection that its director Josh Trank released a statement about the film being a failure and not “his story” even before the movie premiered.
An unfortunate truth of seeing well-established stories from other mediums pushed through the ringer of Hollywood is that every step of production will see cuts and changes made for localisation, meeting the standards of the general audience, marketability, hitting the broadest possible age demographic, appeasing interests groups etc.
And while I would love to round off the point here and lay the entirety of the blame on the studio system I sadly cannot, though I will place MOST of it on them.

Let’s not forget the hand of the creator is a powerful thing. The person who forges a story or product will do so through their own lens and much of that creator will be seen in the work- this is an art philosophy that has existed for thousands of years. As such we can understand why there are dangers in passing the work of one individual into the care of another for adaptation, but this is not inherently a bad thing. A new set of hands can make changes that put new perspective on the work or allow a different generation to appreciate its message. An example being the translation of book to theatre; such as Gaston Leroux’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ being passed to Andrew Lloyd Webber for the stage play. However one must be very careful that the artist the work is passed to be appropriate and understands the source material- not something we can say has often happened in nerdy adaptations. In fact some have been downright disasters.

As a case study let’s look at M. Night Shyamalan and his Avatar-less ‘Last Airbender’ movie. While there is no small task in crafting a three-season long show into a few clean cut movies it was not the inclusion of content, or even the changing of details, that destroyed this franchise and left them dead at just one movie out of the proposed three. It was that Shyamalan did not respect the style and voice of the original material and attempted to impose a style on top of it. Anyone familiar with the director’s works can immediately spot the tropes he employs: the colourless environment, the long sequences of slow, heavy sounding dialogue, a reliance on exposition instead of establishing shots or character action. These devices- frequently employed in his other works- starkly contrast the story he’s attempting to adapt and it shows in every single scene. This is a true example of the artist’s voice conflicting with the voice of the original work, something we’ve seen often in similar projects… Rocky Morton and the Super Mario Brothers, James Wong and Dragonball… And anything Uwe Boll touches. Ugh.

This leaves us with the double-edged sword. The curse of production that many would perceive as a great strength and is often used to berate the movie making culture for being unable to turn simple, low-cost source material into a ‘big budget’ worldwide release. The fact of the matter is that movies are a substantial investment of money as well as talent, but that financing is not simply for prettying up the existing material they work with. Everything in film carries a substantial cost, from the crew and actors to the visual and sound design to the intensive editing and promotional side. As a result we often see tens if not hundreds of millions spent on otherwise unimpressive products.

For example the applauded anime movie Dragonball Z Resurrection F cost a respectable 5 million dollars to produce and making ten times that in profit. By comparison the American production Dragonball Evolution film cost a whopping (though cheap by Hollywood standard) 45 million to create. That’s a considerable distance between the two and the simple fact that one is animated and the other live-action has a lot to do with that. We must remember that animation and digital animation are inherently cheaper than all the components that go into a live-action remake, not to mention the gross disregard for spending that goes into a production of this size.
Similarly the Ghost in the Shell (2017) movie cost 110 million but turned only 20 million in sales domestically, barely 50 more than that worldwide. Proof that with such elevated production costs the inevitable drop when a product fails is much, much more devastating. This also applies in the world of video games, which in their native medium are already more expensive to create that animated films or series. Assassin Creed (2007) cost 26 million to create on console and the movie adaptation a decade later cost more than 100 million above even that!

Is this weight of absurd money-spewing something we simply have to live with in film-making? Actually no, one of the highest grossing films of the last few decades was Paranormal Activity which had a price tag of approximately… 11,000. Barely even breaking five digits. But turned a mind blowing 200 million in profits around the world after audiences everywhere requested their movie theatres begin showings all across America and then in Europe.
The moral lesson to learn here is that the greatest profits come from good movies, regardless of how much they are budgeted. The same will be true of the best adaptations from geek culture once it begins to sink in that multi-million dollar botched projects are not the only way to bring an idea to a western audience. Though there is much speculation at this time the Netflix ‘Death Note’ movie is set to air soon and may be able to set a precedent that lower cost endeavours are actually the more profitable means of ‘westernising’ anime, but only time will tell.

Videogames and anime to this day suffer a taboo in the movie-centric western world. This sceptical eye of the public has thankfully been loosening over the past two decades, with videogames now becoming hot property in the world of media sales (though the actual products themselves are still shown very little regard) and despite anime never finding a mainstream hook it has achieved a loyal fanbase in the western audience- enough so to generate large scale conventions of its own.
While these mediums are not universally beloved in the east, with Japan and Korea being major players, they are not stigmatised for their medium or inherent design- with locations such as Akihabra Tokyo even celebrating them as a major source of tourism.
This same dismissal was only recently shared by the comic book industry here in the west, but with the rise of Marvel and the oversaturation of comicbook movies we’ve seen how vastly this has changed. But why are comic books the exception to this terrible curse while anime and games retain their stigma?

The simple answer is; they aren’t. Comics are not an exception; they have simply been present in the popular consciousness long enough and with enough exposure that we have adopted it into the mainstream. This is partly why the explosive success seems so universal in geek culture here, because it’s one of the few elements of nerd-centric entertainment that has appealed to such a wide fanbase and with constant new content from major studios. That isn’t to say it was an overnight success story- many people applaud comic movies as a running success but this simply isn’t true, there were dozens of missteps and failures leading to this point, with films like Batman and Robin (1997), The Fantastic Four (2005), The Hulk (2003) and Captain America (1990) to name just a few!

One argument often overlooked is the success of the loosely inspired adaptations. These are movies which take the original material as a jumping off point but create something new from them, like the surprisingly great 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow which was based on the light manga ‘All you need is Kill’. Similarly the original Matrix film pledges its inspiration to anime movies like AKIRA and Ghost in the Shell while still forming its own story and narrative, just with similar themes and tropes.
While this method is difficult to pull off and does require a talented writer familiar with the sources it may prove the most effective means of bridging the cultural gap.
But what happens when these kind of changes are made on a property that’s attempting, at least by appearances, to emulate its source material? This is a frequent cause of controversy in adaptations that make alterations to elements people believe to be crucial to the source. Often seen in cases of relocating a story to a different country or entire time period, or the dreaded ‘white-washing’ effect.

We’re in an unfortunate time where controversy can be called on even when the adaptation doesn’t overstep itself- simply because a rough history has conditioned us to be especially critical.
Even though the 2017 movie was terrible it should be recognised that Major Mokoto from Ghost in the Shell (the lead heroine) is SUPPOSED to be modelled after an American woman, and a model no less. So all the claims of whitewashing here are actually more knee-jerk reaction than actual outrage. Many sites have reported this ‘race-bending’ (as appears to be the new term) is a major contributor to the movies downfall, but is it really? Granted many examples of re-casting inappropriate actors has wounded similar attempts, like the appalling ethnicity twisting in Last Airbender which saw the Inuit main cast becoming white and the notably pale Japanese antagonists becoming dark skinned Indian and Arabic… even stranger to note Shyamalan as the director is an Indian man himself.

Before I’m bombarded with pitchforks and flaming love-pillows allow me to draw attention to an important factor; even in their native countries adaptations of games and anime are often BAD. Anyone seeking proof need look no further than the 2015 Attack on Titan movie, which flopped with audiences and critics despite the show being at the height of popularity. Similar issues can be seen with the upcoming Full Metal Alchemist movie which many predict will slump into a similar trap as previous pop-anime films. On the other hand there has also been a history of successes with highly-praised movies like Oldboy and Battle Royale seeing large renown internationally despite being based on a manga, with most people completely unaware of their origins. Also the incredibly popular Death Note live-action movies spawning multiple sequels and spin offs that have reached a worldwide audience.

With our collective minds aching from all these different problems its clear to see why we’ve hit so many stumbling points in our pursuit of perfect adaptations. The source material is rarely fitting of a cinematic runtime, we’re stacking writers and directors on works they have no connection to, the Hollywood studio system is poisonous even at the best of times and most importantly we’re attempting to adapt material that has a fundamentally different philosophy than most of the audiences its being re-directed to. Does this swarm of flies in the ointment mean we’ll never see a golden age of nerd cinema?

If comic books are anything to go by what we’re actually seeing is the growing pains of new genres. The failures that will eventually be recognised for what they did wrong not only as a means of critique but also a means of learning. It may take some time before we see our first breakthrough- our Batman Begins or our Ironman- but once that success comes we’ll see every studio holding rights to major anime and videogame properties doing everything in their power to imitate it. We have to remember that, even though our beloved franchises are outside the norm, if something makes money then everyone wants a piece of it. If cinema is a corrupt game of follow-the-money then we’ll leave a trail of silver dollars.

Also; If they dare mess up AKIRA with a badaptation we will riot.

Dragonball after Toriyama | The Strangest Fan Phenomena in All of Anime

“For all the long running jokes and internet hoaxes, Dragonball AF may have decided the entire future of the franchise!”

A lot has changed as we approach the 20’s once again. We have Dragonball, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman…
Okay so very little seems to have changed. Popular culture has cherry picked its favourite media and chiselled it in stone to live alongside us to old age. But that’s not to say these beloved books, movies and shows haven’t had to adapt to serious changes. Many have lost their original creators or undergone overhauls to stay relevant in our fast-paced entertainment world. Many others are on the brink of such considerable change, even if it is approaching so quietly we don’t notice it.

One such show is the long-standing anime saga ‘Dragonball’. From humble comic book beginnings this action series have branched into multiple anime television ventures including original DB, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT- with its newest venture Dragonball Super being so jaw-droppingly popular it’s topped the anime listings across Japan. Even after a decade without new content the anticipation of Super was so great it’s sent Dragonball into a new golden age of popularity- enough that Son Goku has been announced the cultural mascot for Japans 2020 Olympic games!

But with the continued popularity explosion of Dragonball Super and all its related spin-offs we have to ask ourselves- what happens when Toriyama calls it quits?

Continue reading “Dragonball after Toriyama | The Strangest Fan Phenomena in All of Anime”

Goat Lands : Spiders on the Storm | A 5th Ed D&D Adventure Module Review

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Before reading any further I need to make one thing perfectly clear.
This is not a tabletop RPG where you play as goats. I know, I was disappointed too.

On cracking open the colourful PDF I instead discovered a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition adventure module by Fainting Goat Games set in their uniquely crafted Goatlands realm. Given that this is a module I will not be reviewing the entirety of D&D 5e but instead focusing on what this little package of adventure brings to your table

Spiders on the Storm is designed for a single sessions gaming to challenge a group of level 1 players and crank them up to second level- perfect for starting out a new campaign, yes, but also introduces a fresh new setting for long time players. The Goatlands are a piece of a collaborative world of which little is known but the developers express their passion for fleshing it out more and more with every addition. All of the core rules from your typical 5e campaign remain true here but with some flavourful additions; New Gods, locations and powers are just a taste of what the mini-book offers. Continue reading “Goat Lands : Spiders on the Storm | A 5th Ed D&D Adventure Module Review”

Being a Better DM ( Part 2/2 )

This is Part 2 of the Being a Better DM writeup with Adie Bernhardt! We hope these articles provide you with some new inspirations for your tabletop games and we invite you to stay alongside us for our RPG focus month. Now on to point 6 of improving your DM experience…

 

 

#6 Build adventures around the players

Continue reading “Being a Better DM ( Part 2/2 )”