Geek Etymology – Drow and Dark Elves

Time to have another crack at looking at the origins of geeky terminology. This time I’ll be looking at where the ‘Drow’ came from, as well as taking this as an opportunity to look at where the concept of a ‘Dark Elf’ originates and how the two terms came to be linked.

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First of all we should establish what the current understanding of the term ‘Drow’ is. The Drow are a fantasy race that are dark skinned, usually white-haired, and share most other characteristics with other Elves. They are generally depicted as being evil and living deep underground, and having an affinity for dark magic, stealth, and spiders. The D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook says of them:
“Descended from an earlier subrace of dark-skinned elves; the drow were banished from the surface world for following the goddess Lolth down the path to evil and corruption.”
As I mentioned, the Drow are also referred to as ‘Dark Elves’, a term that is used far more widely than ‘Drow’, which is mostly limited to Dungeons & Dragons and things that take inspiration directly from it. There are Dark Elves in many other fantasy settings, including The Elder Scrolls, Warhammer, Kingdoms of Amalur, and the ‘Night Elves’ of Warcraft share a resemblance.
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My Top 5 Actual Play RPG Podcasts

If you like RPGs, but can rarely get a group together to play, or even have yet to try one, then you may be able to scratch the roleplaying itch with an ‘actual play’ podcast. This is essentially just a recording of someone’s RPG session, rather than something scripted or otherwise retold, hence ‘actual play’.

These kind of podcasts can be really useful to give you ideas and even show you a good example of what playing an RPG is like if you’ve never had the chance. Before I started playing RPGs several years ago I looked for something to show me how it’s done and I stumbled across an actual play podcast called ‘Critical Hit’ from majorspoilers.com, and that gave me a pretty good idea of D&D 4th Edition, which is what I started with. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them now, as I haven’t listened to them in over 5 years, but you can find all the podcasts at their website HERE. They are still going to this day.

High Rollers D&D
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The first I would really recommend on my list, in no particular order, isn’t technically a podcast, but more of a Twitch stream and youtube series, but it can be easily converted to audio. This is High Rollers D&D, done by a few people from the Yogscast from Youtube. Continue reading “My Top 5 Actual Play RPG Podcasts”

Evolution – Gaming for Fun – Jugando de Risas

So today I am going to spare the technicalities and what not, and I am going to get to the meat of what I wanna talk about today which is: HOW FUN IS EVOLUTION?! We played it a couple of weekends ago, and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed messing about with a game to this level. Because that is the thing, the beauty of Evolution: who cares if you win or not?! You get to create bizarre species of pre-historic like animals competing for survival. It’s Hilarious! I genuinely did not care about winning, it was all about making a cool funny creature and see how well it will do. I guess you could describe as what Spore would be if it was on table top, but playing with your friends, having a real danger of extinction and the urge for self-preservation.

Bueno hoy os traigo algo distinto y cortando las tecnicidades; ¡hoy me voy al meollo del asunto de cabeza! Y la cuestión es: ¿habéis jugado a Evolution? Pues si no lo habéis hecho, echadle un vistazo porque, ¡es La Monda! Lo jugamos hace un par de fines de semana, y la verdad que no recuerdo habérmelo pasado tan bien desde hace mucho tiempo con un juego por el hecho de que sea entretenido y tenga su gracia. Porque realmente no importa si ganas o no a Evolution, lo que tiene gracia es el montarte tu chiringuito con tus especies y ver como salen y si consiguen sobrevivir o no. Las características que les das y el cómo creas a estas criaturas prehistóricas es lo interesante de la cuestión – y si te mueres por el camino, pues chico, ya habrá otra, ¡qué más da! Lo digo en serio, ni por un momento me preocupo el ganar o perder, y no era por estar con mis amigos pasando un buen rato (que también), sino porque el juego es tan entretenido que hace que te inmersiones por completo en el proceso de creación. Supongo que podríamos definirlo como algo parecido al Spore si fuese un juego de tablero, pero en el que juegas con otras personas y donde sientes la necesidad de protegerte del peligro y poder preservarte como especie.

Continue reading “Evolution – Gaming for Fun – Jugando de Risas”

Oh, boy! Another Series that Ends…Badly? Lilly’s Rant on Orphan Black, Season Developments, Audience and Narrative

It is Sci-Fi TV series ranting day boys and girls! Yeah! Sure you were waiting for this! What has got you ranting today Lilly, you may be asking yourselves? Well! Glad you asked! I am rather annoyed at the investment I have done in a couple of science fiction tv series and how their endings have been terribly underwhelming, almost making me feel like they might as well just try to push for another season and actually wait for the series to decline naturally because…What was that about?

I am talking about Orphan Black, yes. 5 seasons I have been attached to a screen following these clones and their stories. Not only that: I have even involved them in an academic paper I gave at a symposium at the University of Winchester just last year (March 2016). And…what for? Well for a very jolly ending, innit? I do not usually do spoilers, as you know, but today there is gonna be some of that so, from here on, please be aware *SPOILERS APPLY*.

Continue reading “Oh, boy! Another Series that Ends…Badly? Lilly’s Rant on Orphan Black, Season Developments, Audience and Narrative”

Total War: WARHAMMER – Out With The Old World

If you have played Total War: Warhammer but haven’t kept up with it for a while, then there is a lot of new content that has been added to it in the last few months. With the fast approaching release of the second installment in the Warhammer series, one which will be compatible with the first game in a few ways, they’ve been bringing the current game up to date with some new changes and additions. 

The last time I wrote about TW:W they had just released the Wood Elves faction, which was their last fully new race pack added to the game, but that isn’t to say that what they’ve added since has been lacking in comparison, far from it. So what may you have missed since then? what have they brought in to see out the Old World in preparation for their introduction to the New World?

Fleshed Out Factions

Since the game came out there have always been a few factions that seemed very placeholder. The most obvious example of this was Bretonnia, which only featured a very small roster of units that you could only play in custom battles but were unplayable in campaign. Another faction that was even more meagre was Norsca, which was essentially a poor copy of Chaos, as it just used their basic starting units. Well in February this year they released a big free update to Bretonnia, and just this month they released a full Norsca as a pre-order bonus for buying the second game that can be added to the first game right now. 

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Continue reading “Total War: WARHAMMER – Out With The Old World”

Geek Economy – Considering to Switch to LCG’s for Good

For the last few years I have been thinking to myself that I was very much done with my trading card games – mostly Magic: The Gathering, to be honest. You have probably heard me rant before regarding the way the game has changed and how Wizards of the Coast’s strategy of milking their customers and destroying the game through their exhausting power creep and extensive new releases that to be frank do not seem to add anything other than rather lame hype to the whole thing. I also find it rather annoying that every set requires a new random ability that tends to create a new set of rule issues that force you to play with new cards constantly. Same problem that we have these days with Yu-Gi-Oh, right? Like how ridiculous it is that for those of you who wanna play competitively, unless you play 3 very specific variant of a deck, you are essentially done and dusted. I am fed up of having to spending a fairly copious amount of money fetching cards, the same cards everyone else is after. I am done having with new sets every 3 months that unless purchased will make me an obsolete gamer, so on and so forth. Instead, I have decided to give a go to LCG’s: living card games as the cool kids in the industry like to call them. Why have I opted for this approach? Well, probably for the same reasons than many other people, but here are my thoughts.

Continue reading “Geek Economy – Considering to Switch to LCG’s for Good”

Modding Skyrim in 2017

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been around for almost 6 years at this point, which in terms of videogames, is relatively old. Despite this there are still tons of mods for the game being constantly made and released on the Nexus and Steam Workshop. There are over 53,000 mods for Skyrim on the Nexus, and there are probably even more from other sources and different mods you can find for the Special Edition of the game (although less overall). So if you’re new to mods, or haven’t modded Skyrim for a few years, how are you supposed to find the good ones with so many out there? Well I’ll do my best here to give you a rundown of some of the best new mods as of 2017.

Instead of going through every small mod that adds a new object to the game or a tiny tweak to the gameplay systems, here I’m going to focus on the mods that I think add a lot to the game. There are a fair few of these now, which is probably thanks to the fact that modders have gotten so familiar and proficient at modding the game we are seeing far more substantial mods than before, when they were much rarer in the past.

Overhauls

There have been a lot of ‘overhauls’ for Skyrim over the years. These are mods that significantly change and rework the gameplay systems. Most of these involve changing the perk trees or spell lists in some way. Some of the older ones to check out include Skyrim Redone, and Perkus Maximus which mainly change the perk trees and add more interesting and specific perks. Duel – Combat Realism makes combat a lot tougher with more varied and clever enemy behaviour. and Midas Magic Evolved which adds a lot of new spells.

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As for newer mods, there have been some fairly interesting ones. First there is Path of Sorcery – Magic Perk Overhaul which as you can imagine, makes changes to the magic perks of the game. Instead of with something like Midas Magic and other spell mods, this one doesn’t just dump a ton of spells into the game, but works on the core principles of the vanilla magic system, but expands on it greatly, allowing you to specialize more, or simply become more powerful and varied in your magical abilities. Continue reading “Modding Skyrim in 2017”