Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons
Black Magic shall rule over all

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So I’ve been playing a lot of Monster Hunter lately, particularly Monster Hunter Portable 3. Even though I have had the game for months, I never really bothered to play it because I was playing Freedom Unite, not to mention the giant mountain of games I need to play. However, I caught a cold over a weekend, and both me and Neo decided to really gave the game some time and effort. Between help from Neo and his brother Juliano, they’ve gotten me up to Hunter Rank 3. While I’ve always stuck to dual blades from the beginning, I’ve decided to learn Bow and Light Bowgun to give me some range capabilities, because I sorely need it if I have any hope of taking on any of the gargantuan monsters in the latter parts of the game. I’m just a little nervous right now about the Rank 3 missions now because these don’t start you off in the camp; they start you off in a random area. Not to mention some of the later quests in the game have creatures you can’t even fight when on the ground. Some of the creatures will fight you in the air, others will fight underground and others will even surround the only available area in the game, in particular the final boss, which is basically Shenron from Dragonball Z. Overall I sometimes look at the humoungas creatures in the latter parts of the game like “Really? Like really?”.
I’ve been trying to play a little more Dungeons and Dragons than I normally do lately, even trying to play 4th edition, which I really don’t like. I’ve always preferred 3.5 than anything, but its getting less and less supported. 4th edition really is made more for the World of Warcraft crowd than anyone who used to roleplay or anything in 3.5. When I play, I admit I do like combat, but I always strive to make my characters an extension of myself so that I can roleplay them believably. They tend to take certain facets of my personality up to 11. My 3.5 character Lanrinil, for example is easily described as “how I would be as a woman”. She’s shrewed, dark, a bit violent, loves to drink, completely uncaring of other peoples feelings, and a poon hound. My 4th edition character, Shandra, is a drunkard girl who completely distrusts magic due to her mage brother who accidentally struck her with lightning when he was trying to use a lightning spell.
My other characters in my band of characters, the Missing Pieces, also have the same traits. Ragdar represents my dual loves for battle and the Dwarf race. Catherine represents my religious side and my silly side turned up high. Minuros represents the fact that even though I love magic so much, I would never be able to use it in a fantasy setting. Mark the rouge represents me had I become a criminal. Regulous represents my astrangement I feel from my own culture. Kokoro in many ways represents both a character I would like to become as well as the kind of girl I would ultimately go for. Kureha represents my obsession with having my created characters go through endless amounts of tragedy. Every character I consider to be a part of me, and that makes it all easier for me to roleplay as the character when I play dnd.
Anyway, I find it a ton harder to roleplay in 4th edition, not because of the game itself, but because of the people that the edition attracts. It always tends to attract people who play World of Warcraft or other MMORPG’s and that they can go in and beat the boss and leave. No roleplaying, no emotional attachments, no nothing. It’s like playing an MMO, which I really don’t like because it feels like I’m not playing DND anymore.
I’m also looking into reading about the Dragon Age Tabletop RPG as well as Pathfinder and Anima: Beyond Fantasy. Dragon Age is kind of like a simplified version of DND, only with less of everything. I always wondered how it would work to have a Dragon Age type setting. Elves are oppressed as a slave race, mages are feared and controlled, and there’s just a lot of nastiness going on around the world, so it would be interesting how that would interact with players who are used to playing DND.
GM: you come under watch by the town guard.
Player: wait why I haven’t done anything!
GM: Its because you are an Apostate.
Player: what the hell is that?
GM: You’re a mage not under the control of the Circle of Magi.
Player: Wait a minute. So you’re telling me, that since I’m not under the control of some Mage government, I can immediately get arrested?
GM: Well yeah, but only if they find out you’re an apostate.
Player: ……
(Players flips over table and yells “FUCK THIS GAAAAAAAME!!!!!!!!!)
Yeah definitely something like that.
I just don’t see how the game could really be any kind of fun under those kind of conditions, especially me since I almost always play as the elf character. I’m planning on either playing a Ferelden Freeman, which is the human race, or the city elf, which is the closest elves get to being free. I might also play as a dwarf now that I think about it; they’re the one race that has mostly been unchanged from typical fantasy tropes, besides humans anyway. Only problem with the game is that since its still relatively new the game is quite unsupported. Oh well, maybe I can bring the game to Twenty Sided and get some people to play me at least.
Pathfinder for those that don’t know can really just be considered dnd 3.75. Some game designers didn’t like a lot of the things that were done in 4th edition and they also don’t like the changes done in 3.5 edition. Deciding that, they took it upon themselves to make a new version based off of 3.5 and calling it Pathfinder. Its main change is that the early part of the game is made so that even early characters can do quite a bit, whereas the hardest parts of the game in 3.5 is the beginning of the game. Your characters tend to suck at that point of the game and don’t have many good skills available to them. Classes in Pathfinder also get new types of skills early on and they get tons of new shit. Overall, Twenty Sided is supposed to start hosting new Pathfinder sessions, so I’ll definetly be there to try it out.
Another RPG I want to try is Anima: Beyond Fantasy. Anima is a Tabletop RPG created in Spain and uses Asian artwork, so it gives off the vibe of a Japanese anime tabletop rpg (ironic since the game was not only not designed by any Asians, but the artwork was done by a Chinese man). I first heard about it when I bought the card game of the same series back during the New York Comic Con, and when I heard it was tabletop I decided to try to look into it. The classes in there I find very interesting because they offer about two different versions of each class, like warrior and acrobatic warrior, or paladin or dark paladin. Typically they’ll differentiate it further in that each version of the class shows an animated character of a different sex; the paladin is a girl and the dark paladin is a guy, and the warrior is a guy and the acrobatic warrior is a girl. Overall the artwork for the game is great, and is the main reason why the book sold so well in the first place; the book is almost like a giant art book half of the time. I still need to try to get the GM guide and the Monster Manual for the RPG, so right now I’m just reading the book to see how the game is.
I also started finally playing Fate/Extra after it made the surprise jump to English release. That was honestly a real surprise that the game was getting localized since it didn’t exactly sell very well even in Japan, and the entire Fate franchise isn’t that well-known in America. I’ve really wanted to play this game even in its Japanese release due to the Servant’s that are in the game. So far I just had my first servant battle and beat Rider and Shinji. I’m glad we fought against Shinji first round because honestly if I had to listen to his banter throughout the entire game I’d have probably stopped playing.
SPOILERS The game is an alternate world version of the series. The plot in the game pretty much makes no kind of sense, but its all in a digital world, and your protagonist apparently has amnesia and can’t remember who he/she is, depending on what sex you choose. At the beginning you can then choose your servant, but you can only choose between Saber, Archer, or Caster. Personally I chose Saber because she was always my favorite servant in the series, only to find out that this Saber is not Arturia Pendragon, but rather a new servant. Turns out this one is Nero Claudius Ceaser Augustus Germanicus, the son of Julius Ceaser, who was thought of as a tyrant who abused his people and who was believed to bring about the fall of Rome. Not to mention he’s believed to be the historical figure behind not only the legend of King Arthur, but the Anti-Christ as well. I do find it funny though, that the whole reason she looks exactly like Arturia Saber is because Nero Claudius is one of the historical figures behind the King Arthur legend.

The playable Archer in the game is Shiro Archer from Fate/Stay Night, and the Playable Caster happens to be Tamano-no Mae, one of the great female figures in Japanese history who was believed to have been an aspect of the Japanese Sun God Ameterasu.
The other servants are also widely varied. The rider for this war is historical figure Francis Drake. Considered one of the greatest figures in British history, Francis Drake was the first person to successfully circumnavigate the globe, to defeat the then greatest world power, Spain’s naval fleet, and basically allow Britain to become one of the greatest world powers the world has ever known. It even says that because of this, she is believed to live in Avalon along with King Arthur and Britain’s greatest heroes.
The Archer in this war happens to be a young man who became the legendary basis for Robin Hood, the bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Because of this the character fights primarily through the use of gorilla warfare and surprise tactics, something Saber-class Servants can’t stand.
Another Saber class in the war is Sir Gawain, yet another one of the Knights of the Round Table. He is fighting for much the same reason Sir Lancelot was fighting in Fate/Zero; he regrets not being able to help his king during her struggles in her later years, and also can’t let go of his grudge with Sir Lancelot for killing his two brothers.
Another Caster for this war is called “Nursery Rhyme”, who is actually a projected Reality Marble from her master, given the form of Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Because Nursery Rhymes were so well beloved by children all around the world, the rhymes themselves became heroes to the children, allowing Nursery Rhyme to become a Servant.
The Lancer Cu Chulainn returns, this time the Servant of Tohsaka Rin. He is pretty much the exact same as he was in Fate/Stay; still as abrasive, rude, and blood thirsty as ever.
Another Lancer that happens to be in the game is one of the ones that surprises me the most: Vlad the Third, the historical basis for the legend of Count Dracula. Vlad the Third was a famous general for Romania, who was infamous in his brutal tactics, use of gorilla warfare, and his brutal ways of execution. Vlad was a big fan of a method of execution called the Impalement, in which a spear was placed on the ground arrowhead up and the victim was lowered down onto the spear by the crotch. Not to mention they’re was an abundance of legends about how he would bathe in the fallen’s blood, engaged in ruthless acts of torture and violence, and was in general considered to be insane, which led to his feared reputation. Oddly enough though, his people loved him because of how much he had done for his country. Overall, one of the picks that surprised me the most.
The next servant that had surprised me was the one chosen as Assassin: Li Shuwen, the historically recognized creator of Baji-quan style Kung-Fu, even though the one summoned is the younger version as opposed to the older version. Being a fan of the martial art, I was really surprised that they would choose him of all people to be the Assassin class. That pretty much opens for all the martial arts in recognized history, like Bruce Lee for example.
The Beserker for this war happens to be Chinese war figure Lu Bu, which I actually did see coming. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has been popular ever since Ikki Tousen first came out, and Lu Bu has always been the most popular in the series, so seeing him as a Servant was no big surprise. Though I might have also figured him for Lancer as well. Then again in real life history you could probably consider him every class except for Caster, ala Hercules. I’m kind  scared of fighting him though. That dude is scary lol.
I like the game a lot, especially since it plays like a cross between Fate/Stay Night and Persona 3 Portable. There’s a lot of reading dungeon-crawling and good old fashioned battles. The battle system works in a rock-paper-scissors set up. You have three things you can do: attack, break, and guard. Attacks beat Breaks, Breaks beat Guards, and Guards beat Attacks. You choose six actions at the beginning of the round, and your actions must beat the actions the opponent chooses. Reading your opponents patterns and countering accordingly will allow you to beat the enemy while taking minimal damage. This gets harder when fighting the enemy servants however, because they tend to have a lot more hp and strength than you do, so correctly guessing their patters is the only way to survive. Both servants and masters also have the ability to learn and use magic skills to help turn the tide. Servants learn these as they level up and gain skill points, and Masters learn these by equipment. These range from healing magic to attack skills to stat augmentation, and eventually you can even unlock your servants Noble Phantasm once you’ve progressed far enough as a character and through the story. The game plays a lot like a cross between the Fate visual novel and persona 3 portable. Game play takes place in a school setting in which the player makes their investigation to find out what’s the identity of the enemy servant. This goes on for one week before on the last day the player must battle the enemy Servant to decide who goes on to the next round. Discovering as much as you can about the enemy servants will reveal some of their attacks that they will choose each round, easing the memorization involved. Even still, you might want to play with a notebook and pen near you so u can write down some of the patterns, even for the regular enemies. The game is told in the visual novel style that Fate made famous, with the words taking over the entire screen and the game even contains some of the music present in the original visual novel. Overall, this looks like a game I’m going to be playing all the way through, possibly with Archer and Caster as well.
Also got to play some Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. So far, the main character that I want to play right now is Nemesis. It’s the first time that I actually liked playing a big and slow character, as I’m accustomed to playing fast and small characters. The little girls I tend to play lol. Since I don’t own the game, I didn’t get the chance to really take a look at Nemesis’s movelist. The only attack that I found was his quarter circle forward attack. The light version punches, the mid punches then shoots a rocket forward, and the third punches then shoots a rocket upward. He has ridiculous amounts of range in his normals, and his combos are small but so damaging. He’s fun as hell to play.
I am also interested in playing as Jill, though I am still disappointed that its RE5 Jill as opposed to the obviously better RE 1 or 3 Jill. I like her playstyle though. Have to really take a look at her command list, but I like her teleport bullshit. I see a lot of openings to create mixups. Her jumping spreadshot special sucks so much ass its not funny though lol.
I was interested in playing Ghost Rider, but now that I did I’m not sure if he’s really my style. Its sad really; Ghost Rider is my favorite Marvel Hero after all. I don’t understand the whole decision of making him a slow character considering he’s not huge, but even more so because he’s supposed to be the new Omega Red of the game. Omega Red was a fast character that used his tentacles to make huge range and create mixups, which sadly Ghost Rider doesn’t. If I can get the game and try him out then maybe I can get used to the play style, but so far it seems I’m not going to be able to play him.
I absolutely refuse to try out Phoenix Wright on principle. I don’t agree with the fact that against so many classic characters they put him in there. I mean how many characters could have made it in their that would’ve been better? Rouge, Gambit, Cyclops, Cable, Juggernaut, Hugo, Guy, Cody. Fucking Megaman X. How many people wanted X in there for gods sakes? But no, you put another fucking joke character with Phoenix Wright. The characters play style is weird enough as it is, because he actually tries to look for clues in the middle of battle. I admit as a Phoenix Wright fan it is funny to hear the sound effects, but I’m pissed off even more as a Mega Man fan.
Pretty much all the other characters I really couldn’t care about. Shuma I didn’t really care about but I might try out once I get the game. Hawkeye I always found overrated, Doctor Strange I always thought was not as good as he makes himself out to be, Frank West I can’t stand, both his game and his character, Strider Hiryuu is ok but I don’t see him being big, Vergil is his brother so fuck him, Iron Fist is Fei-Long, Nova is a character I don’t care about, and who really gives a shit about Rocket Raccoon. I guess maybe that’s why I don’t really care about the game as much as I do Street Fighter X Tekken, since there’s not enough characters I care about. Most of the characters in Street Fighter X Tekken I really want to play as, but in UMVC3 there’s only 2 characters I really like, and one who I can still technically play as in Vanilla MVC3. That’s also probably why I’m not on my way to buying the game so fast.
I’ve been trying to get into the Weiss Schwarz TCG lately also. Its basically anime in card game form, and includes a lot of really popular animes, like Angel Beats, Fate/Stay Night, Little Busters, Nanoha, and Haruhi, among others. The game is interesting in terms of mechanics, because you can’t play your stronger cards until your near death, essentially making it so that working to kill your opponent makes them stronger. It’s an interesting way of balancing the game out in that its like SF4’s Revenge meter being put into card game form. The only thing I would say I don’t like about the game is that combat doesn’t actually mean too much, in that even if your opponent isn’t attacking you but is attacking one of your characters, they can still attack you directly as long as your cards power isn’t too high. I’m not going to bother putting in the rules, because its extensive. If you’re interested, check out the Weiss Schwarz Wiki. It has up-to-date rules, tutorials, and translations for all of the cards in the game.
 Been trying to improve my Commander Deck as well. It’s a modified version of the Commander deck you can buy which has Kallia of the Vast as its commander. I added a lot more of the good Angels, Demons, and Dragons (oh my) from other sets, and put in creature removals, because that deck sorely needed it. I played two other people with actually GOOD commander decks and was surprised to see just how bad my deck was in comparison. Had to work on that.
The only anime that I’ve been watching this past season are Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, or Haganai as its fans call it, Fate/Zero, and Persona 4.
Haganai, is about a group of high school kids who start up a club in order to make friends, something they are desperately looking for but having the hardest time trying to make. It’s an interesting and funny anime, though it is a little laxing on plot mostly because the main characters don’t do much to change their personalities. My favorite character would have to be Sena, and she’s the character that I hope ends up with the main character. The only problem she has is that she’s a spoiled princess, since she comes from a rich family and her father is the school headmaster. She’s just cute enough in most of her reactions that you can see her and the main character together, not to mention they’res the hint that they were childhood friends since their fathers were best friends as children. Granted, Yozora was also a childhood friend of the main character, but she’s become such a bitch now that its hard to imagine her with anyone.
Fate/Zero is the anime adaption of the light novels that were released around 2004-2005, and which dictate the events surrounding the 4th Holy Grail War. If you go from watching Fate/Stay Night the anime to watching Fate/Zero, you will see almost a complete change in the atmosphere in the story, and it becomes clear the story is in no way going to be the same. Everything in this war is almost ten times more professional and much more clean. Out of all the Masters in the war, only one of them was unaware of what the Holy Grail War actually was, and they all have been preparing for it. A giant change from the 5th war, which not only caught everyone by surprise, but more than half of the Masters in it were not even aware of the presence of magi in the world. As such, that war was much more haphazard and many people only had a vague sense of how the war should be fought. Everyone in this 4th war were all professional, all knew what they were getting into, and all knew what they had to do in order to win. None of them were really that unwilling to kill each other in order to win, so none of them were stuck in moral dilemmas like Shiro was.
So far It’s already obvious that this anime is about ten times better than the last anime, in art, music, direction, pretty much every category. And the 1st anime was already high quality as it is. Glad to see this anime is also getting all the recognition that it deserves.
Persona 4 the animation was an anime that surprised me in that it was being made; didn’t see it coming. I like it a lot though, because its doing exactly what it needs to; staying exactly close to the story while doing everything right. Much better than the shitty ass Persona: Trinity Soul story that was supposed to be the story for Persona 3. I keep watching the Persona 4 anime and just thinking: “Why couldn’t Persona 3 have gotten an anime like this?”. Instead we got the shaft because we got some lame continuation of the story in Persona: Trinity Soul, which is really sad considering Persona 3 has the much better story. It kind of makes sense considering that I believe Persona 4 was more popular than Persona 3, but I’m not sure of that. I think Persona 3 was the better game overall.
  Persona 4 went from being great to being awesome within a few episodes, and I’m glad for it. At least Persona has one good anime going for it. Gets me some excited for what they might do with Persona the Fighting Game. Akihiko and Mitsuro have been announced, so I know who I’m going to be playing besides Chie. I’m just wondering how they’re playstyle is going to be. I can see Akihiko playing as something like a Reka-Ken character like Fei-Long, and I can see Mitsuru as something of a quarter circle character, and might possibly be something of a spacing character like Ryu. He can do sword slashes as forward moving attacks and uppercuts, and use his ice as a projectile. Akihiko can probably even get a Burn Knuckle attack, and might play similar to Makoto in Blazblue. He can get mixups, punches and kicks that move him forward so that he can get in, and it would make sense if he didn’t have a projectile. Maybe he could summon his persona for some small ranged attacks. What I would like to see is that he gains some special in which his persona infuses his fists with thunder, which gives him stun or extra damage, or even godlike chip. That alone would be awesome. I wonder what moves they’re going to give Chie, considering she pretty much only uses kicks. I imagine her getting an uppercut kick, a forward shooting kick, and a somersault kick that she can do different moves out of. In a way though I hope she doesn’t get this because at that point she’s gonna have a lot of Akane’s moves from Arcana Heart. Still, I wonder how they’re going to incorporate her move set with her persona. Her Persona might use her naganata attacks in order to give her ranged moves, but I imagine with Chie she’s going to want to stay close to attack. Something to think about.
So you all might be wondering why I haven’t been posting as much as I used to before. Quite simply put, life. Work got a lot busier over the past months, and I usually type this blog during my down time at work, as I said before. I’ll try to post more but I can’t make any guarantees. Until next time.