Month: April 2019

A mid-April snack

A mid-April snack

Intelligent Systems definitely lined up weird banners for 2019, didn’t they?

First we got hot springs units. Now we get picnic units.

The whole idea feels a lot like a springtime gimmick, which is unusual considering we’ve gotten our spring banner this year. But I do like this aesthetic over Playboy bunnies.

So these units can’t be that bad, can they?


FloraSignature Dish

  • Sæhrímnir (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Effective against beast foes. Grants Attack +3. At start of combat, if unit’s Resistance > foe’s Resistance, reduces foe’s Attack and Defense by 50 percent of difference between stats during combat (calculated before combat, maximum penalty of -8). After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Iceberg (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Resistance.
  • AR-D Attack/Resistance (A Skill)
    • If defending in Aether Raids, grants Attack and Resistance +Number of defensive structures during combat.
      • ≥5 grants +10, 4 grants +7, 3 grants +4, ≤2 grants +1
  • Bold Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Armor March (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an armored ally, unit and allies can move one extra space.

LukasBuffet for One

  • Luncheon Lance (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Defense +4 during combat.
  • Pivot (Range = 1)
    • Unit moves to opposite side of target ally.
  • AR-O Attack/Defense (A Skill)
    • If attacking in Aether Raids, grants Attack and Defense +Number of foe’s defensive structures during combat.
      • ≤2 grants +10, 3 grants +7, 4 grants +4, ≥5 grants +1
  • Wary Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, unit and foe cannot make a follow-up attack.

GennyDressed with Care

  • Toasty Skewer (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • If a foe initiates combat against an ally within two spaces of unit, grants Defense and Resistance +3 to that ally during combat.
  • Psychic (Range = 2)
    • Restores Health = 50 percent of Attack (minimum of 8 Health).
  • Fireflood Balm (Cooldown = 1)
    • When healing an ally with a staff, grants Attack and Resistance +6 to all allies for one turn.
  • Wrathful Staff (B Skill)
    • Calculates damage from staff like other weapons.
  • Defense Opening (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Defense +6 to ally with the highest Defense for one turn.

FeliciaOff the Menu

  • Eldhrímnir (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Effective against beast foes. Grants Speed +3. At start of combat, if unit’s Resistance > foe’s Resistance, reduces foe’s Attack and Speed by 50 percent of difference between stats during combat (calculated before combat, maximum penalty of -8).
  • Glacies (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 80 percent of unit’s Resistance.
  • Speed/Defense Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Speed and Defense +5 during combat.
  • Special Fighter (B Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 to unit and inflicts cooldown charge -1 on foe per attack (highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Close Guard (C Skill)
    • Allies within two spaces gain: “If foe uses sword, lance, axe, dragonstone, or beast damage, grants Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.”

I can’t say they’re bad, but I do have problems here.

Why did we decide to only do half an Echoes banner here? Genny and Lukas are great, especially considering Celica is the only unit we’ve gotten alternates for. But a banner cannot exist without Fates or Awakening units on it apparently.

I do like Flora and Felicia, and their norse mythology-themed weapons (a hog in Valhalla and the utensil to cook it) are cool.

But why couldn’t Flora have been a blue-haired girl from Echoes?

My other problem is the fact that Genny seemingly got shafted. The others are strong, mostly unique armored units (even if the Aether Raids skills make me further consider removing self-written text), but the perfect sheep girl is just another healing cavalier.

They didn’t even have her ride the doe in her artwork, which would have been incredible!

Oh well. I suppose that’s a nitpick.

Genny and Lukas are my top choices, with Flora as a close second. Felicia is good, but faces stiff competition in the “powerful axe armored” category.

Don’t feel bad, Felicia. You get to be the best part of this banner’s Paralogue at least!


Paralogue 33 — A Season for Picnics

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Out of all 33 Paralogues, this picnic banner has to have the most bland premise.

Princess Sharena drags the Order of Heroes out for a picnic. Then constantly yells at them to act like normal, relaxed people until they become subservient to her will.

It’s a trope you’ve seen before, I’m sure.

Where this banner’s story stands out is with the alternate characters.

The first map has Flora feeding Genny delicious sandwiches before warning her to stay away from her sister Felicia’s food. It’s cute — as most things with Genny are.

The second map cuts to Felicia giving a sandwich to Lukas, who loves the taste (as he is so used to war rations like wheat flour).

Future Tempest Trials reward Leo is there, and the most brilliant writing in the series rears its head as he makes fun of Felicia’s cooking.

Hsays he’ll never eat it… Until she brings out tomatoes.

Reluctantly, he proclaims “I guess I have no choice.”

The sandwich he eats as a result is described as having a texture mixing slime and dust. It’s a great moment.

The third map loses that to an extent, but poking fun at Felicia continues. The battle is also shown to be one of those rare times where all five new units are on stage at once.

Luckily, that extended cast does not make the duel any more difficult. When the picnicking units are dispatched, Sharena once again shuts down the teams’ neuroses so they’ll relax and enjoy the sunny day.

The end.


And that’s another new special banner in the books.

Overall I’m really not sure how to feel about this one. Having Echoes units like Genny is wonderful, but when she’s the least impressive on the banner that excitement is quickly deflated.

Luckily that nice dialogue in the Paralogue made up for it, in my opinion.

But hey, that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think about these alternate characters in the comments!

The dungeons saga: Bedknobs and sheep schticks

The dungeons saga: Bedknobs and sheep schticks

After a week of unbridled anticipation, today was finally Dungeons and Dragons day.

Since the beginning of the semester, we were promised a three-hour class period of just playing the fantasy tabletop role-playing game in my Gaming in American Culture class.

Finally the day has arrived, and it was glorious.

Though it did begin with a bit of a time crunch.

I gathered with my friend Mimi in the Honors Center before class, as she is far more of an expert than I. Was looking to get her opinion on which pre-made character I should play for our campaign.

Instead we wound up making a brand new character in the hour. An experience I’m fairly new at, which combined wonderfully with computer troubles.

But we persevered, and on the other end came up with my amazing boy: Thokk.

Thokk is a half-orc war cleric. He wears scale armor, carries a warhammer and a light crossbow, is generally uncharismatic and speaks four languages: Common, Orc and… Two I totally decided on.

He is chaotic good with an acolyte background and serves as a member of the Eye of Justice, a religious sect following a deity named Torm who were considered heretics.

So he’s adventuring to stop evil as his divine righteousness demands, but he ain’t above causing some havoc to get the job done.

Also he’s a very good boy and I love him. Might even drop him into my novel.

However, today he was played by the denizen of death and mayhem:

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Fear the cloth.

Yeah, I used Mimikyu as my character’s stand-in miniature.

He stood alongside the other six members of my party quite well:

There was Teflonto, a wood elf ranger; Celia, a wood elf monk; Jeff, a half-orc fighter; Phil, a gnome bard; Rein, a half-elf cleric; and Silver, a human paladin.

Our Dungeon Master was the Professor, wielding an unending spring of knowledge, a set of golden dice and a lot of monsters.

Thus the adventure began.

We started in a tavern, where Jeff nearly got beheaded trying to steal from the bartender and Phil spat Mario-style fireballs from a potent whiskey.

The quest kicked off when a sheep arrived. But he was not a sheep, he was a wizard transformed by a dastardly ex-assistant with a grudge.

Mr. Evil Wizard’s mercenaries arrived in search of the former mentor-turned-livestock, and our first battle began.

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An eight-foot bear in a robe mauled Jeff as the animal-loving Teflonto was horrified by Thokk nailing a wolf to a barrel using a crossbow bolt.

That is, until he learned the animals were humanoids turned beast.

After a handy beating, the mercenary leader gave in and conferred his great sword to Silver. He escaped with a lie that the remaining wolf was his unfortunate wife.

A night’s rest later, the party made their way to the hollowed-tree tower where Mr. Evil Wizard hid.

Celia was able to use a mass sneaking fog to get the party past a gang of dice game-playing wolves, then get inside by climbing the bark and hanging a rope out.

Suspicious at the sudden fog filling his tower, Mr. Evil Wizard used his transmogrifying wand to turn his bed into a bed dragon that absolutely exists.

While hiding in the fog, Phil cast blindness on the wizard before running out, climbing the dragon, stealing the wand, climbing down and THEN escaping out the rope-strung window.

You should have seen the DM’s face when he kept failing rolls to prevent all of that.

After getting back to the ground, Silver attempted to use the wand to turn our sheep companion back into a man. Yet, even Thokk’s guidance spell could not help his luck as the poor NPC turned into a Cronenberg monster before exploding.

That drew the attention of Mr. Evil Wizard, who approached riding his bed dragon with an army of wolves and a bear.

The final battle for our lives began:

IMG_2553

We were fucked.

But… We were fucked with 10 minutes left. Because three hours goes by fast when you have to account for seven players.

Rein and Thokk conjured magic, ethereal weapons to strike Mr. Evil Wizard as the rest of the party threw darts and shot crossbows.

Teflonto was mauled by a pack of wolves. Silver attempted to persuade the wolves to play a dice game with him, but to no avail. The wolves kept at it and Silver just watched.

Luckily, the almighty power of Deus Ex Machina was applied by the DM — who wanted the bell to end our one-shot campaign.

The wolves and bear turned against their master with the promise of being turned back to humanoid form. As Celia, Phil (now changed into a sheep) and Rein suffered splinters from the dragon’s breath, Teflonto stood up and shot an arrow into Mr. Evil Wizard’s face.

Once he and his dragon fell, we gained access to a convenient number of transmogrifying spells. Everyone was turned back to normal.

The end.

It may have been “cheap” that we were helped out of a bottomless hole by the DM because of time constraints, but it was justified by the journey.

All of our luck from the initial tavern fight and stealth mission came crashing down in the most spectacular of ways, and we undoubtedly would have all died without the handicap.

So in my personal headcanon, I like to imagine our party fell in the search for treasure and conquering evil.

However… In reality, none of our party fell.

Which means that Thokk lives to one day return, perhaps enlightened by his experience fighting the tyrannical Mr. Evil Wizard man.

All-and-all, I would say it was a very successful class.

Definitely worth a semester’s worth of anticipation, and definitely more than encouraging for me to go back and play more D&D in the future.

Tales from a digital voice

Tales from a digital voice

With the end of the semester coming up, we had our last big Society of Professional Journalists event today.

It was another guest speaker: Sonya Quick from the nonprofit Voice of OC.

Plus donuts. But the donuts unfortunately did not get into this Tweet I did:

This talk was slightly less hands-on than our last guest’s discussion of useful apps, but the focus toward online content engagement was certainly just as noteworthy.

Voice of OC has a strong recent history with CSUF and the Daily Titan. My old mentor Spencer Custodio is one of five full-time reporters for their newsroom, and my old News Desk Assistant Brandon Pho is a reporting intern there.

I was the middle generation that missed out on that family tradition I suppose. Gladeo got to me first, or I just might have considered it.

Getting to hear Sonya share some things she’s picked up during her time at Voice of OC, as well as other papers like the OC Register, was great.

One of her first comments was about the importance of being straight-forward:

“I’m an emotion on your sleeves kind of gal. If I have a complaint about something, I won’t hold back.”

— Sonya Quick, Voice of OC

She reportedly has not held back in the past, being responsible for manifestos that encouraged organizations to focus more on digital, and later mobile, reporting as those came into vogue (especially pertinent now, as she says that reporters should think with their phones first).

Yet, she also fielded a question from our Chapter President Harrison Faigen about how to not take editorial criticism too personally.

She said that taking things personally is not a problem unless it impedes your work, because the emotions show you care.

However, even more of an important point — and one that strangely echos sentiments I’ve gotten from my parents — was that the time to get concerned is when an editor does not read or critique your work.

The more effort they put into tearing apart your story, the more they care and believe you can be even better than you are.

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“Our goal is not to impact decisions, but to get people involved.”

A number of other topics were on the docket for our hour-long meeting:

  • She recommended hiring staff “by passion, not by skill,” as she herself did not know much about the digital world before jumping into it.
  • Her two major rules for creating good search engine optimization in stories were:
    • Don’t scam people. Ever.
    • Write content people care about, especially “guide-like content” that can be built-up over time. Much more engaging than daily event stories.
  • When making videos, she recommended editing them down to one minute each and focusing on pre-planning with storyboards to avoid overshooting.
  • While for-profit organizations often only look at whether a reporter’s work garners clicks, she said Voice of OC looks at overall impact through shares, comments and other social engagements.

Then, as any good editor would, she plugged a great piece published that morning with a juicy DUI scandal going on.

There were a few other tidbits that made me laugh throughout her talk.

For instance, when I asked her about dealing with vitriol in those previously noted engagements she said she has had to wade through the “Seventh Circle of Hell” looking at the OC Register comment section.

But the really important takeaway would have to be what she said of being a reporter, in reference to many college students with Communications degrees leaving the industry early, or not going into the industry at all:

“You work long hours, you get little money and you get shit on almost constantly. But it’s awesome! And you have an impact!”

— Sonya Quick, Voice of OC

If that isn’t true love for one’s occupation, I don’t know what is.

Putting the “Pro” in “gamer”

Putting the “Pro” in “gamer”

With Finals and graduation and all of that terrible real life stuff on the horizon, I’m staving off imminent insanity in the only way I know how:

Video games.

Specifically, finally trying out that brand new Nintendo Switch Pro Controller I got for my birthday. Two months ago.

To be fair, I mostly haven’t used it up until now for two reasons.

First being the obvious fact that I just haven’t had a whole lot of time to play as the semester has progressed. But also I’m just a stubborn baby that tried to convince himself his janky left Joy Con was still usable, despite a significant drift.

In retrospect I don’t know why I was such a stubborn baby. The Pro Controller is actually a solid accessory!

Not only does it fit comfortably in my hands, but I appreciate the grips not being made of the same material as the semi-transparent body, meaning they don’t get covered in fingerprints.

However, I did immediately come across some trouble with the concept of using a more traditional controller for the Switch…

It doesn’t work with every game.

I notably found this out while trying to play some Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with Aly.

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She was complaining about the drifting Joy Con, so we tried to use the Pro Controller.

Turns out you can’t use it to do things like throw Pokéballs without the same gyroscopic technology, so they just didn’t add any functionality for the external apparatus.

Cool.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to properly try out the device with a pair of Indie titles I picked up again:

Both Wizard of Legend and Enter the Gungeon received recent updates, and I’ve been playing them to avoid slamming my head against a wall from all this work.

They both add a bunch of new content.

Wizard has a new locale called the Sky Palace (similar aesthetically to The Minish Cap‘s Palace of Winds, much to my nostalgic pleasure), new enemy types and a bunch of additional spells.

Meanwhile Gungeon got… Basically tons more of everything.

It’s amazing to me that such an already stuffed game has been filled with an almost imperceptibly large amount of extra content again. That’s good service if I’ve ever seen it.

The funniest thing about playing both of these titles in quick succession is how different the control schemes are, which makes it difficult to swap between the two.

For instance: In Gungeon, item pick-ups and general interactions are done with the “B” button, while shooting and dodge rolling are done with the triggers. But in Wizard, “B” cancels out all interactions and every action/magic command is done with the A/B/X/Y buttons.

But this difficulty context switching is only going to get worse tomorrow. Because we just found out that Nintendo is dropping the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0 Update:

Joker is finally here with all of his funky Persona 5 music (and a ton of really well-done fan service by the looks of things).

Sakurai is appeasing his hordes of complaining fans by adding the Stage Builder we all thought was gone. Now with moving platforms!

Clips can be edited together and posted online via the Nintendo Switch.

Move over Adobe Premiere Pro, turns out I could have been learning how to edit video in Smash Bros. all along! That’s the future of journalism.

Frankly the only “bad” part of this whole update video is the fact that no teaser was dropped for the next DLC character. Nintendo could have kept us strung along for years if they doled out teasers for new fighters one at a time.

Yet that’s not even a reasonable “bad.” The fact that all this content is coming deep into the game’s life-cycle shows it has a god damn ton of longevity.

It’ll be rough switching between all those control schemes, but it’ll be worth it.

Especially on account of all these memes:

You’d be mistaken if you thought I wasn’t going to whittle my study time away building stages in Ultimate.

Even though the mode is based on drawing and I’ll probably be terrible at it.

At the very least I’ll try bringing back some Brawl classics for my friends and I to enjoy.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even introduce you all to the pit of death in the near future. We’ll just have to wait and see!

To the bone

To the bone

After commitments kept me busy Friday and Saturday, today became my dedicated homework repository.

I mostly just kept on my Internship hours hunt.

Locking myself away in the house wound up being a really positive thing—as it usually is, in my experience. I got the opportunity to chip away at a lot of my work, turning in a Career Profile on being a UX researcher (a career I really didn’t know existed, but one with a lot of resources online) and a Spotlight featuring a very special person.

I’m going to wait until it publishes to really go off about that, because it’ll look much better with the story’s context.

Just know that I’m excited.

Between those two pieces I racked up almost 10 hours of work today alone. As a result I’ve just broken past 100 of my 120-hour requirement for Comm 495-T, that internship class I need to graduate.

My final report for the class isn’t due until May 3 and the timesheet isn’t due until May 10. I’m fairly certain I can bust out the remaining 20 hours by then.

Especially considering I still have my Profile/Spotlight on Dr. Wesley to write.

And a video interview to schedule.

And the blog-related side project that kind of went on the back burner for a while.

Somewhere in there I’ll have the rest of my time served and still find the chance to do whatever else I have. Give my Honors project presentation and write two more gaming papers. All that fun stuff.

After putting in all that time today I’m a little weary of continuing to stare at this screen and type, so I won’t make this post too long.

Instead I’m going to turn my attention to the T.V. screen, nosh on some Milk Duds and watch Futurama with my family.

And you know. Not type stuff.

Even though re-watching episodes of that show is a consistent reminder of how brilliant it was, a topic that could theoretically fill tons of copy on my blog.

Tomorrow I’ll try to post something a little more insightful, I just wanted to write something up so I didn’t have a gap. That something may just be lackluster teasers in overly verbose prose, but if that doesn’t describe my life in a nutshell I don’t know what would.

It certainly wouldn’t be Game of Thrones. Because I ain’t ever watched that junk.

Maybe one day. But for now, take that people who have spent all day talking about the last season’s opening.


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Giving back

Giving back

Happy Homestuck day!

The phenomenon may have ended a few years ago, but my friend Juan‘s adjustments to our group Discord server shows that it’s still a holiday we celebrate.

Amazing how much of an impact that webcomic has had even…

Ten years later?

God I’m old.

Okay, let’s move on before I lose my mind.

It’s rare that I come to Cal State Fullerton on a weekend since I left the Daily Titan, but somehow I managed to get myself here two days this weekend.

Yesterday I was doing some work on behalf of the Honors Center. Today I was doing some work on behalf of SPJ.

It was Welcome to CSUF day! An annual event for incoming freshmen and transfer students to visit campus and check out different clubs and organizations.

I have some pretty strong memories of my welcome day four years ago, speaking of getting old.

It was the first time I met Bonnie, the recently retired Daily Titan advisor, and her sweet little doggo in a stroller.

Talk about a good first impression for an upcoming three-year stint on the paper!

Thus I know the event works.

So now that I’m the Secretary for our campus’ SPJ branch, I figured it would only be right to give back by telling new students about what kind of experiences the journalism program offered me.

… Especially since it got me a little more gif practice:

I was stationed on the lawn between the Education and Engineering buildings, standing in the sun alongside Kat Abando, a fellow soon-to-be graduate who I’ve worked with on the paper.

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Looked a little flushed after all was said and done, even though we had a large tent for all the Comm organizations to stave off the heat.

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More gif practice, baby

That harsh sun wasn’t enough to keep new students away however.

A ton of people were admitted for the upcoming year according to the school’s Associate Vice President of Student Engagement, which means there were a whole lot of bodies wandering campus.

By the end of the day, SPJ had at least 20 signatures from people interested in joining the club. Not a terrible haul, and everyone I got to talk with personally seemed really interested!

Especially after I humble-bragged just a little about awards I’ve gotten thanks to my on-campus engagement.

To be fair I was usually just explaining stuff that Kat was suggesting as examples. So it wasn’t like I was being entirely self-serving of my own accord.

Though it did feel good to see people impressed as I told them about stuff.

So that’s pretty cool.

A lot of my time was just standing around talking, so I can’t say a whole lot of interesting things about the experience in retrospect.

However, it was definitely great getting to see the generation coming in right as I’m on my way out.

There was a passing of the torch kind of sentimentality to the whole affair, and while I continue to be stressed about the whole graduation, seeing a strong brood on the way made me feel a lot better.

So here’s to the next generation.

Opening a forum

Opening a forum

Not long ago, the University Honors Program gave me an opportunity to add “event planner” onto my résumé.

Now it let me add “forum moderator” to the list as well.

For the last few days, the program has been holding Open Forums to introduce students to the three finalists vying to be next year’s Associate Director.

Co-Curricular Coordinator Tyler reached out to see if I wanted to be a student representative and ask some questions, given I already had some clout with the Honors Center as an Ambassador.

I saw no reason why not. Sure there are superficial benefits to the event being résumé filler and something to do on a Friday (slyly for blog purposes), but it also seemed like fun! An extension of personally sitting on panels.

Plus I was slated to run the forum for Craig McConnell, who I know pretty well.

I’ve had a lot of classes with the guy, most recently my Evolution and Creation course last semester.

Perhaps that makes me bias. Especially considering I didn’t go to either Open Forums prior… But I was just there to ask questions, so I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

At the same time as I was asking questions, I decided to take advantage of my recent training with SPJ by practicing image graphics for my social media feeds.

My role as a moderator meant I couldn’t Live Tweet as I often do, but I tried to put out at least two nice graphics at the start of the forum.

Here’s what I did for Twitter:

And this one is my piece for Instagram:

Figured having slightly different pictures to go along with the slightly different messages on each platform would make sense.

Perhaps I could have been more creative… But practice is practice.

Plus, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to get diverse pictures given the paltry audience we gathered on a Friday at the commuter college.

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The event was mainly for Dr. Perez (left) and Tyler (unpictured), as they are going to be voting on the new Associate Director soon. Other students were there mostly for McConnell to address and field questions from.

I featured two quotes in those social media posts, but those were drawn primarily from the start of the Open Forum.

We also went into specific ideas for improving the Honors student community engagement (because commuter campus) and the possible role of an Associate Director in helping students figure out their career trajectories beyond course adjustments.

Because you know. I work for a career oriented non-profit.

And wanted to write off this event as Internship hours.

Yet as vaguely self-serving as that was, Dr. McConnell had a good response:

“I think colleges should give students a few years to expand their minds,” he said of his concern that traditional schooling is too tunnel-visioned about post-grad careers. “But I’m also aware that it becomes more important every year for schools to help students find jobs as soon as they leave.”

He pivoted on my question quickly and easily, so I was impressed.

The only line of questioning I was unfortunately not able to delve into was arguably the most important.

I should have asked him what he thought of the Star Wars Episode IX teaser! It dropped about a half an hour before our event, so that would have been a perfect barometer of his cultural absorption.

But oh well.

Maybe next time.

The dungeons prequel

The dungeons prequel

We are officially one week away from Dungeons and Dragons day in my Gaming in American Culture class.

Toward the beginning of the semester I listed D&D day as one of the enticing course elements, so being on the cusp makes me salivate with anticipation.

Considering I barely have any experience outside of one character building session in high school, I’ve gotten a little practice. We played D&D at the party I brought my Redondo Beach friends to in Fullerton over Spring Break.

I kicked ass as my pre-built elf sorcerer Elfson.

But in-class today we prepared for our upcoming escapades in a different way: Talking about the moral panics caused by D&D.

Because you know. If something is fun and leaning in a pagan direction, parents are going to freak out about it.

Looking at you, Pokémon. And also Pokémon.

… Okay, it’s not entirely fair to simplify that into a joke. We actually discussed interesting aspects behind the 1980’s D&D panic, including the perceived loss of self-identity to multiple, fractured fantasy identities steeped in olde mythological traditions of witchcraft and monsters.

It just so happens that you can only showcase the moral panic by laying out all of the over-the-top examples of role-playing game hysteria.

Most notably: Dark Dungeons.

This amazing comic created by Jack T. Chick in 1984 seems to be the perfect embodiment of Big Brother wiping out imagination and personal expression in exchange for the conformity of true-blue American Catholicism.

Or that’s how my boy Mitchell perceived it, at least.

There are arguably kernels of truth in Chick’s fear of fantasy overwhelming reality. It’s hard to take the guy seriously when you write such lines as:

“Lord Jesus … you guide me through life. I want You to be in charge of everything…not that lousy D&D manual.”

Following the deus ex machina of random friend appearing to save the damsel in distress — having apparently prayed and fasted for her off-screen.

Or at least… I find it hard to take this comic seriously.

Apparently others do not, as a short film adaptation came out in 2014.

Something I only know about because my friend Jonathan reminded me that JonTron put out a video about the movie in 2016.

Isn’t the internet just a god damn beautiful mess?

But wait, that’s not all!

On top of Dark Dungeons, we spent part of our class period watching and discussing Mazes and Monsters.

The 1982 Tom Hanks flick where then-unknown sentient toy cowboy / crazy stranded FedEx employee / historic figure with a pension for chocolate almost kills himself after getting so invested in a parody of D&D that he can no longer distinguish fantasy from real life.

It’s amazing that Hanks went on to have one of the most successful actor careers of all time with a start as wild as Mazes and Monsters.

With all of that said, it only makes sense that we get to risk our lives playing the tabletop role-playing game for our entire next class period.

By God am I looking forward to it.


P.S. — There was another cool part of my day that I wanted to talk about, but could not think of an organic way to include it. Outside of there being vaguely related fantasy elements.

So I’ll just pin it down here.

During the break between my classes, Dr. Sandra Perez (the Director of the University Honors Program) brought over an underclassman while I was working in the Honors Center because she wants to write a fiction novel for her senior project.

Apparently I was the expert in that department, as Dr. Perez said she was very impressed with all of the pre-planning she’d seen me do for my novel.

It was nice to be considered an expert in something like that!

Or at least the most readily available spring of knowledge.


Featured Image courtesy of Philip Mitchell via Wikimedia Commons

Straight Outta Gallia

Straight Outta Gallia

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

— Tim Rice and Elton John


RanulfFriend of Nations

  • Covert Cat Fang (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. If unit is within two spaces of an ally, grants Attack and Defense +3 to unit and those allies during combat. Standard beast transformation effect applies. If unit transforms, grants Attack +2, and if unit initiates combat, inflicts Attack/Defense -4 on foe during combat and foe cannot make a follow-up attack.
  • Rally Attack/Defense+ (Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack and Defense +6 to target ally for one turn.
  • Chill Attack (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Attack -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Attack through its next action.
  • Ward Beasts (C Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +4 to beast allies within two spaces during combat.

LetheCallia’s Valkyrie

  • Brazen Cat Fang (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • Grants Speed +3. If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Speed +6 during combat. Standard beast transformation effect applies. If unit transforms, grants Attack +2, and if unit initiates combat, inflicts Attack/Defense -4 on foe during combat and foe cannot make a follow-up attack.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Speed/Defense Solo (A Skill)
    • If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Speed and Defense +6 during combat.
  • Hone Beasts (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent beast allies for one turn.

MordecaiKindhearted Tiger

  • Sabertooth Fang (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. If a movement Assist skill is used by or targets unit, inflicts Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance -4 on foes within two spaces of unit and target through their next actions after movement. Standard beast transformation effect applies. If unit transforms, grants Attack +2 and deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Smite (Range = 1)
    • Pushes target ally two spaces away.
  • Attack/Defense Link (B Skill)
    • If a movement Assist skill is used by or targets unit, grants Attack and Defense +6 to both units for one turn.
  • Beast Exp. (C Skill)
    • While unit lives, all beast allies on team get 2x EXP (only highest value applies, does not stack).

CaineghisGallia’s Lion King

  • Lion King Fang (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack +3. If foe initiates combat, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 during combat. Standard beast transformation effect applies. If unit transforms, grants Attack +2, and unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Distant Defense 4 (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat and uses bow, dagger, magic or staff, grants Defense and Resistance +8 and neutralizes foe’s bonuses during combat.
  • Vengeful Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent and foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack (does not stack).
  • Distant Guard (C Skill)
    • Allies within two spaces gain: “If foe uses bow, dagger, magic or staff, grants Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.”

Get the Circle of Life intro now? Because Caineghis is the Lion King?

Even though it clashes wildly with the NWA song/movie title riff headline I used?

I know, I’m a clever boy.

What’s that? Talk about the new units?

Well… I guess that is important. Especially considering characters were purged from the summoning pool, making newer units even more important.

The only one I don’t particularly care for is Ranulf. I don’t know any of these beasts in the first place, but he’s the only one without a distinguishing skill.

Lethe (an already cute cat girl) has great solo potential sans her hone skill.

Mordecai has an interesting build that lets him throw his allies into the fray like a powered-up bomb.

And finally, Simba is a unique armored beast with a distant counter weapon. Which is 2000 kinds of wild.

I’d be happy to summon any of those three.

But my luck with beast-filled banners has not been fantastic, so I guess we’ll see if the unit purge helps me get something new!

I have 300 orbs stored up thanks to my recent lack of spending interest. I won’t be using a lot now, but the free summon tickets from Forging Bonds and story mission orbs should hopefully boost my chances.


Book III, Chapter 6 — Realm of the Dead

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We begin with the Order of Heroes entering Hel after defeating the now-deceased King of Askr.

Eir describes the realm as a place where “those who deserve nothing more come to reside.”

Comforting stuff.

The first Askran King Líf runs into the Order, and after his defeat remarks that:

Afterward, they find a locale encrusted with blood. Eir reveals that it was the place where her mother killed her. The princess was apparently bestowed with a thousand mortal lives by yet another ancient dragon, and each mortal death grants the underworld’s ruler more power.

So she was killed a thousand times. By her mother.

On that happy note, a fight skips us ahead 10 days. Hel arrives as the warriors approach her castle, and a brief duel ends with her (once again) cursing Alfonse to a death in nine days.

However:

Pretty clever loophole.

Hel later appears to her daughter and reminds her about tricking the Order to their deaths. Eir asks her to spare the main characters, but is rejected.

She then comments that Hel used to smile at her with angel’s wings.

If that ain’t a clue that Eir is the Corrin of this storyline, stolen from her birth mother like Hades stole Persephone, then I’ll eat my hat.

Calling that plot twist now.

Embla’s first queen Thrasir joins Líf for his return battle, but it ends much the same way.

The Generals retreat through a portal, and the Order of Heroes follow close behind.

Thus ending this rather story-heavy chapter on a cliffhanger. Which Fire Emblem game did Líf and Thrasir run off to?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Usually a banner with characters I don’t know has trouble keeping my interest, but neat unit mechanics and a turbulent story does wonders in helping me finish these off quickly.

Speaking of quickly, I’ve been trying to pair down my unit analysis and story discussion so that these posts aren’t quite as unwieldy.

I’m considering stopping my physical dictation of unit skills to that same end.

I personally love writing that out, but it could be served better by linking the video. And without that ~400 word chunk, these posts would be much shorter.

So let me know what you think about that idea.

While you’re at it, let me know what you think of these beast units! And where you think we’ll be headed based on that cliffhanger.

Personally I’m always hoping for more Sacred Stones. Fingers crossed.

Another day, another exam

Another day, another exam

The first day back from Spring Break went off pretty well all things considered!

Last night I expressed some concern about a Cognitive Psychology exam that would be greeting me after a week of lazing around.

My feelings were mixed about it. On the one hand I gave the material zero attention over the break because I was busy hanging out with friends and doing internship stuff, so I couldn’t help but imagine walking into a nightmare. On the other hand the class’s first exam was very easy, so I didn’t feel the need to spend a lot of time studying.

Luckily the lazy side of my intuition won out.

The test was rather easy, and even though I haven’t seen the official grades come out (we took it at 1:00 p.m. today), I did my own basic calculations off of what I didn’t know and figure I’ll get a 92 percent at the lowest.

Unless I’m wrong about what I don’t know, of course. But my intuition is usually solid.

The thing that got me about the exam was how haphazardly our professor seemed to handle things. Firstly, she decided to announce that she added extra free response questions to our docket only five minutes before passing out the exam.

Would’ve been nice to get some advanced notice over Spring Break… But then again, she promised to post the kind of scantron we would need and didn’t get around to that either.

So who knows. Teachers need a week to relax too.

There was also a stretch of seven questions at the beginning of the test where every answer was “C,” which made me second-guess my choices despite knowing they were correct.

I don’t have proof that it was on purpose… But that kind of trickery always felt like a joke on behalf of professors to stress us students out.

After finishing up the exam, everything else was smooth sailing clear to nightfall.

I managed to secure my Commencement tickets, another topic I touched on last night. Even made a fun little Tweet out of it:

It was a legitimately weird process.

Spent a little bit of time in the Honors Center after that, finding out some more about another event I’m taking part in this Friday and working on my novel.

Felt good when I sent the next chunk of the story to my mentor tonight, even if Spring Break wasn’t as lucrative for the writing process as I wanted it to be. At least I’ve done something, and the more I write the better I’ll look come my presentation in May!

I also watched/listened to some cool things I suppose. The latest Mostly Nitpicking podcast on X-Men: Apocolypse. The most recent KingK video on The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

Lots of nice things.

That’s really all I’ve got to say for the night, though. It’s been another lukewarm kind of day with a lot of work and not much else.

Tomorrow I’ll be able to break things up with a Fire Emblem Heroes post (as exciting as I’m sure that is for you all), and Friday I should hopefully have something to write about my next Honors event.

But until then, I’ll just be here keeping up the ‘mundane day-to-day’ posts train that the end of the semester has brought out of its station.