Divinity: Original Sin 2 – An RPG actually for Roleplayers

The latest PC RPG in the Divinity series by Larian Studios was released a few weeks ago. It’s a true RPG in the classic style, with a top-down view, turn-based tactical combat, and plenty of dialogue and story to sink your teeth into. We’ve had quite a few RPGs of this classic style appear in recent years. Original Sin 2 doesn’t just aim to bring back that classic experience though, it really takes things to the next level, with excellent modern graphics, full (and hilarious) voice acting, and a bunch of slick modern updates to the formula in terms of combat, UI, and design. The game was in Steam’s Early Access before this full release for just a year and has been successfully launched with a high level of polish, showing all the other Early Access developers how it’s done.

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I’m just going to jump straight in and tell you the what the best thing about this game is, as alluded to by the title; the roleplaying potential, and the story. These days it feels like most RPGs are missing what their purpose should be. Especially with the lines becoming increasingly blurred between genres, which isn’t a bad thing, but there are so many games with ‘RPG elements’ which seems to just mean that there’s a bunch of stats, loot, and grindy leveling. If that’s the average impression of what identifies an RPG, then something is terribly wrong here. What I’m getting at here is that Original Sin 2 seems to actually aim to realise the true purpose of an RPG, which is quite simply, Roleplaying! Continue reading “Divinity: Original Sin 2 – An RPG actually for Roleplayers”

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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.
Continue reading “Geek Etymology – Drow and Dark Elves”

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”

Divines Amongst Us: American Gods, and Fantasy Beyond Fantasy

Just this Sunday gone was the season finale of American Gods, and oh boy, did I enjoy that!!

I have noticed, however, that the series is still a bit low-key in the audience markets I am familiar with: the UK and Spain – and actually, from what I hear, it has not really made much of an impact in Europe yet. This has got me wondering and coming back to something I talked to you guys a while back, about modern fantasy and the certain decline we are experiencing these days. I wonder if perhaps American Gods has fallen a bit out of the radar because of that. But of course, here we have another problem to factor in, which is the network that distributes the show: STARZ. STARZ are the fellas that brought us the wonderful Black Sails, and I feel American Gods is having the same distribution issues. We do not get this network here in the UK, so it may become more popular when probably Sky decides to strike a deal for its consumption. Nevertheless, at the moment the only place where you can watch it in the UK is through Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime have been very clever about their deals particularly in what regards high budget TV shows of a geeky content: Vikings, Black Sails, Gotham, Lucifer, etc…So, we are having some of the coolest TV shows one can have these days, but thanks to network shenanigans, some of you folks are, sadly, missing them.

Continue reading “Divines Amongst Us: American Gods, and Fantasy Beyond Fantasy”

Intro to larping: Strength to The Empire!

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STRENGTH TO THE EMPIRE! STRENGTH TO THE NAVARR! I heard roar from my fellow players thrice, by the third time Podine was crying it out as loud as anyone. I had been roleplaying for 20 minutes by this point as I listened at the meeting my fellow Navarr countrymen and women held, speaking of many thing that brought pain in the last season.  3,000 civilians of our nation who had died from an invasion, to the tale of the Voice of our nation sacrificing himself to kill the heart of a new and terrifying threat. But under it all a stolid faith in the empire and each other. Continue reading “Intro to larping: Strength to The Empire!”

Elder Scrolls RPG – Juego de Rol No Oficial

Hoy os traemos la traducción de una de nuestras entradas de blog más populares de 2016 y que trata sobre juegos de rol. Alex comenta su descubrimiento del juego no oficial sobre Elder Scrolls. https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/the-unofficial-elder-scrolls-rpg/

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Por desgracia no existe (por el momento) ningún juego oficial o producido de forma profesional sobre la saga de Bethesda, Elder Scrolls. Sin embargo, los fans se han puesto las pilas, y hay bastante variedad de adaptaciones de las cuales elegir, aunque hay que tener en cuenta que la mayoría de ellas son conversiones directas de lo que es el universo de los Elder Scrolls usando otros sistemas o reglamentos que ya conocemos. Por ejemplo, hay una versión muy popular que está basada D&D – lo cual tiene su lógica, ay que fue el producto de Wizards of the Coast lo que inspiro los primeros juegos de la saga. Otro que viene muy bien recomendado está basado en el sistema d100 de Warhammer Fantasy, que es el que ha servido como plantilla para crear el más completo e interesante de estos juegos, simplemente conocido como ‘The Unofficial Elder Scrolls RPG’ o UESRPG. Digamos que este es la segunda edición del juego basado en el sistema de Warhammer, pero mucho más detallado y pulido.

Untitled3.png Continue reading “Elder Scrolls RPG – Juego de Rol No Oficial”

The Black Sword

There is the subtle but fascinating fantasy motif I have been dwelling on for quite some time, I recently decided to put my thoughts together on the subject. As you know I am big fantasy fan. It was recently when I was re-reading the Silmarillion and playing Skyrim that I realised there was such a concept as the idea of “the Black Sword”, and that got me thinking where I could find that reference and what it meant. So that is what today’s post will be about.

It all begun with the realisation that my swords in Skyrim had a predilection to be Ebony or Daedric – and not just because they are stronger, but because they look “cool”. The black edge, the lack of shiny steel, it makes the blade look otherworldly. And as it happens, these swords I made would 99.9% of the time be enchanted in such a way that they either increase my stamina/health, or absorb my opponents power/health/soul, whatever you want to call it. I know many of you may think this seems logical – but there are many swords and materials in Skyrim and other RPGs/Action videogames, and certainly more spells than just those. Perhaps it is just a visual aesthetic thing. I noticed this was also my preference when playing Soul Calibur. I never liked Soul Calibur, it looked too neat. But Soul Edge was, once again, cool; it had a presence.

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