Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go

Nintendo announced the next evolution in Pokémon games back in September 2015, Pokémon GO.

There still isn’t a lot known about the game, but Nintendo released additional info on it earlier in March 2016.

This is the first time I’ve truly gotten excited about Pokémon in over a decade. Continue reading

The Division: Game Feasibility

I posted a review of The Division earlier. The game plays quite well and if you’re looking for an FPS to play with your friends then The Division should fill that hole nicely.

The plot though!

The plot is barebones, with most of it being shown to the player in hidden conversations between NPCs throughout the game instead of directly telling you what’s going on (a good story device!).

In the game an evil scientist has altered the small pox virus to be extremely lethal and resistant to treatment. Continue reading

Zootopia Movie Review

Zootopia

For my birthday my wife and I went to see Disney’s latest animated movie, Zootopia.

The movie is set in a world where every mammal has gained human intelligence.

Predators and prey get along and everyone lives as equals in a near-future society. Humans are absent and never mentioned.

Of course even though everyone is equal, prejudices, stereotypes, and predispositions about species still lend a heavy paw in deciding an animal’s role in society.

Our heroine, Judy Hops, is a young rabbit who dreams of being a police officer.

Judy achieves this dream despite bullying by the neighborhood fox and the unsupportive nature of her parents who follow the traditional rabbit lifestyle of carrot farming.

Judy graduates top of her class and goes off to the city of Zootopia to protect citizens from criminals.

The first job Judy gets is writing parking tickets. She quickly discovers that she and other species are often judged based on prejudicial ideas of what they are capable of.

Judy teams up with a small time criminal fox named Nicholas Wilde to solve a missing person case. Plot ensues and I won’t spoil it.

The movie’s content is excellent. Timely commentary on racism told through animals. Plenty of jokes and references to other movies (Alan Tudyk reprises his role as Duke of Weaselton from Frozen, only now he is an actual weasel named Duke Weaselton). Good buddy cop material suitable for children as well.

The movie’s music is also very good. Shakira plays an animal pop star version of Adele named Gazelle that provides a decent amount of the film’s great soundtrack.

It’s honestly harder for me to think who would dislike this movie than who would like it. Zootopia appeals to a wide range of audiences with elements of comedy, action, mystery, and family movies all mixed in.

If I had to pick someone who wouldn’t like Zootopia it would be someone adamantly against cutesie characters.

If that doesn’t sound like you then I think you should see this movie. It’s got something for everyone proving that Disney’s new direction is really working out for them.

-GoCorral

Locations of Cimmeria: Geyser of Talos

Geyser of Talos

The Geyser of Talos is a magical location in the far north of Cimmeria. The Geyser lies about a day’s journey west of the origin point of the Great Divide river which separates Cimmeria’s western and eastern halves.

When the Olympians moved to Cimmeria, Hephaestus was looking for a location to set up his new forge. Before finding his permanent home in Horror Peak he made a temporary work station for himself at the base of the Terror Mountains. Needing water to quench his red-hot iron, Hephaestus struck his hammer upon the ground and a geyser shot up. Since the smith god vacated the area, the Geyser has dwindled, only erupting every few months. The water still retains the magical qualities imbued into it by its progenitor, making it useful for all manner of things. Continue reading

The Division: Game Review

On a friend’s recommendation I purchased Tom Clancy’s The Division, that some people are calling a “Loot Shooter”.

I’d been wary of The Division due to a few reviews I’d read of it. Fortunately, all of the problems I read about are gone!

Zero latency issues. The game crashes occasionally, but I’ve come to expect that from Ubisoft, so it doesn’t phase me.

The tutorial missions no longer have any of the snafus that were present at launch.

Most of the enemies in the game take a believable amount of bullets to eliminate. Only the elite enemies take more, AS THEY SHOULD! If they took the same amount of damage to eliminate then they wouldn’t be elite enemies would they?

I’ve just tasted the end-game content and it is definitely the most exciting part of the game. The mix of PVE and PVP is amazing and tons of fun.
Continue reading

Cimmerian Timeline Part 4

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 3

1070BCE: Human raids into Eastern Cimmeria discovered that the Orcs now staunchly defended the Goblins.

1068BCE: The Conclave declared war against the Orcs and their new Goblin allies. Halfling slingers and Humans riding chariots brought the Conclave victory in set-piece battles. The Conclave sold prisoners of war into slavery, both Goblin and Orc alike.

Hades marched upon Colchis once more. Aeëtes fought the undead off with a combined army of trained soldiers and Goblin slaves used as shock troops.

1065BCE: The Human attacks pushed the Orcs and Goblins further east. Meanwhile, the Goblins integrated into the Orc tribes and switched from their old pantheon to worshiping the Olympians alongside the Orcs.

1050BCE: Time passed and the borders between the Conclave, the Orcs, and the independent Goblins stabilized. One hundred years of war resulted in the defeat of the Goblin gods and their absorption through syncretism into the Hellenic pantheon. The Olympians began to entertain themselves with their new sandbox full of people.

1049BCE: The Olympians longed for the exciting times prior to the Trojan war. What was so great about the Heroic Age? Monsters! The Olympians dredged up all sorts of monsters from Tartarus. Trolls, sea serpents, krakens, giants, chimeras, basilisks, beholders, lycanthropes, dinosaurs, and even dragons! All of these beasts and more were set upon the mortals of Cimmeria.

1047BCE: The new dragons of Cimmeria found the spartoi soldiers that sprouted from their planted teeth severely weakened in form but extremely loyal to the dragons themselves. These new soldiers were dubbed Kobolds.

1046BCE: A red dragon named Kenderax attacked Fangaroot along with thousands of Kobold soldiers. Kenderax incinerated Karnafaust in the initial attack, preventing any organized defense against the draconic invasion. Without leadership the Dwarven citizens fled south.

1045BCE: The new sea monsters in the Caspian all but ended the fishing industry. Certain death awaited any ship that goes more than a few dozen feet from shore.

1044BCE: Orc culture always promoted physical combat as a rite of passage for the young. After the end of the Goblin War young Orcs had started fighting each other to prove their worth. The elders of the tribes saw the self-destructive path this would lead the Orc race down. They directed the violent energy of the Orc youth outwards instead of inwards, specifically towards the Shacklack Desert. Many Orcs traveled into the Shacklack to slay the myriad of monsters there.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 5

D&D Short Stories

Dungeons and Dragons is all about community storytelling. As a DM I create the skeleton of a story that the players fill in with their characters’ actions. I have a lot of influence on the events of a session, but ultimately it’s my job to let the story go where the players want it to go. Sometimes I can’t help myself though and I end up writing a little vignette for the players to read, often in the form of a prophetic dream like the following short story.

Eathirilu has a dream. It starts off like the nightmares he’s had before. The Dragovinians have won. The world is a smoking ruin, barely resembling what he recognizes. Dragovinians stalk the skies, looking for anything with the barest scrap of blood to devour. They fight amongst themselves when they encounter each other. The victor consumes the loser.

Eathirilu walks through the waste towards a high mountain. He climbs the mountain. The architect of this world waits at the top, Blendegad. When he reaches the top, Eathirilu transforms into a T-rex and throws himself at the red dragon god. Their struggle shakes the earth. They toss and roll as their conflict continues, destroying the mountain in the process. In the end Eathirilu stands over Blendegad in the rubble with the dragon’s has neck in his jowls.

Eathirilu transforms back into an elf, but he is a giant elf, bright and shining. He holds Blendegad’s neck in his left hand while his right is free. Blendegad struggles against the elf’s iron grip as Eathirilu reaches for the wooden spear on his back. He takes the spear, lines up his strike, and plunges it into Blendegad’s breast. The beast shrieks, spitting fire all around, but it does not die.

The Touch of Nature shines on Eathirilu’s forehead. The Touch splits into a thousand rays of light that shoot off in all directions, illuminating the entire world. Then the rays return, all of them pouring into Blendegad’s body through the wooden spear made wound. Blendegad deflates and then turns into millions of particles of light. The wind picks up and the light is blown throughout the lands. Eathirilu’s keen hearing picks out the sounds of Dragovinians dying as the light touches them.

And the light is EVERYWHERE. And Pan has returned.

And Eathirilu wakes up. It is morning and the sun is in his eyes.

Cimmerian Timeline Part 3

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 2

The first timeline entry where I have to include some stuff that should’ve been in previous timelines! This has to do with Aeetes in Colchis. Originally I had him being attacked by Hades every blood moon; that was until I realized that blood moons happen at least once a year. I was imagining this as an every few dozen years thing. I changed it to every full solar eclipse and I specified to myself, “Only the ones over Colchis!” I then had some fun looking up past eclipses over Colchis and adding them to the timeline. All the eclipses I’ll mention are actual events that occurred over Colchis sometime in history.

1131BC: During a complete solar eclipse, Hades’s army emerged from the depths to attack Colchis. Aeëtes fought them off with his magical power, slaying every undead being that showed its face.

1124BCE: Another solar eclipse allowed Hades to attack Colchis once more. Aeëtes predicted the eclipse and ensured that one of Sadroston’s children was in Colchis at the time. Sadroston rushed to the child’s aid and helped defend the city from Hades. This blatant manipulation infuriated Sadroston. The old hero vowed to never help Aeëtes or allow a member of his family to go to Colchis again.

1099BCE: The Elven leaders became jealous of the Dwarves independence. Constant complaints by the Humans about the Dwarven traitors further frustrated the Elves. The Sylvan people left the Conclave and setup new societies in the forests of Cimmeria.

1098BCE: A series of cold winters caused by the Goblin gods strained the resources of the Conclave and the Dwarves. They began fighting over sheep herds in the region between Phoenix and Fangaroot.

1097BCE: War broke out between the Dwarves and the Conclave. In response the Goblins reclaimed territory around the northern Caspian.

1092BCE: The Elves negotiated a truce between the Humans and the Dwarves. Karnafaust insisted on honorable single combat with Drolofo to settle their personal issues. The duel commenced and Drolofo emerged victorious. Karnafaust’s subjects accepted the peace terms, but were unable to accept the death of their leader. Numerous sacrifices were offered to Hades in the hopes that he would return their king to them.

1091BCE: Hades set down the rules of the Resurrection Pact, allowing beings to return to life if the proper rituals were performed and the ritualist returned a portion Hades’s diamond wealth to the shadowy Olympian. High King Karnafaust was the first to come back to life.

1087BCE: Setting their animosity aside, the Dwarves and Elves united once more with the Humans, Halflings, and Orcs of the Conclave to attack the Goblins. They cleared the region around the Caspian and forays were made east across the Black River into the Goblin heartlands.

1084BCE: The Conclave and its allies successfully contained the Goblins in Eastern Cimmeria. Attacks into the east no longer focused on taking and securing territory. Raids became commonplace. Groups of soldiers would head east and return with booty and a train of manacled Goblin slaves.

A solar eclipse over Colchis allowed Hades to attack the city once more. Aeëtes had prepared by keeping a standing army to fight the undead hordes. These well-trained soldiers along with the king’s own magical prowess won the day for the Colchians.

1083BCE: Expeditions to the south discovered a separate community of savage godless Humans living in the Aractrashan Jungle. The Conclave deemed these people Primitives and elected to ignore them.

1075BCE: Hades sent a larger force against Colchis as a solar eclipse occurred once more. Aeëtes had not prepared for the magnitude of this new challenge. The Colchians repelled the attack, but thousands of soldiers died in the battle.

1073BCE: Raids into Eastern Cimmeria continued. The Orc faction of the Conclave demanded that more serious action be taken to permanently defeat the Goblins, but their protests were blocked by the Human leaders who profited from the Goblin slave trade.

1072BCE: The Orcs took matters into their own hands. They left the Conclave and carved out a region of Eastern Cimmeria for themselves. The Orcs integrated the Goblins of that region into their new society instead of enslaving them.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 4

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool

I saw Deadpool with one of my friends and the movie delivered exactly what it promised, violence, action, raw sexuality, crude jokes, and fourth-wall breaking comedy. The movie did everything it needed to capture Deadpool’s appeal.

If you’ve read the Deadpool comics I’m fairly certain you’ll enjoy the movie. Sure the origin story is different and a few parts of Deadpool’s personality aren’t fully realized, but it’s what you’ve wanted. Go see it!

For those of you who don’t know much about Marvel’s “superhero” Deapool, let me fill you in!

You notice how I put superhero in quotation marks there? I did it for a good reason. Deadpool isn’t always a heroic character. Sometimes he saves New York from aliens. Other times he might try to steal some weapons-grade explosives from the superhero police, SHIELD, because he wants to know what it tastes like (Just an example, I don’t think there’s a comic about this).

Deadpool is a violent, perverted mercenary who got cancer. He got injected with some stuff that made him heal super fast, but his cancer is still there. The cancer grows and makes his entire body look super ugly.

Deadpool has a soft side as well. He loves to help children with whatever problems they have, intimidating bullies, finding lost cats, listening to their problems. However Deadpool can help a child you can guarantee that he’ll be doing it.

All of that aside, Deadpool is probably best known for being a fourth wall aware character. He knows he’s a comic book character and he talks to himself about it all the time.

He makes pop culture jokes that the other characters never understand, he occasionally dresses up as Batman who is from another superhero universe, he frequently addresses the audience to ask how they’re enjoying the story, etc.

The movie has all of this to varying degrees. The plot? Honestly, who cares. Deadpool wants to fight people. He says some jokes, there’s some cool action sequences. It’s good.

I’ve read that a few people were confused about this movie, so let me clarify one thing. Deadpool has an R rating for a reason. There’s sex, there’s violence, there’s cruelty and dismemberments, there’s foul language. Pretty much everything that could up the rating of a film is present in this one. It’s all great, but it’s all for adults.

-GoCorral

Characters of Cimmeria: Amalganus Halkias

This character’s story was largely created and written by Throgg, a player in my D&D campaign. Amalganus is the son of a previous character of his and the father of his current character, providing a paternal link through the time that passed between his two PCs.

Amalganus

Amalganus was a Jipanguese military leader, politician, and international organizer. In his military career he fought on the frontlines with his men, often protecting them from blows with his mighty shield. Amalganus was catapulted to fame when King Jevaninada II and the Dragovinians rose to power in Xoria. Only a minor lord at the time, Amalganus’s extraordinary charisma allowed him to organize the Second Alliance of Cimmerian city-states. Approximately a decade after the formation of the Second Alliance, Amalganus disappeared on a journey with uncertain goals in the west and was never heard from again. The Second Alliance is certainly Amalganus’s legacy, standing as a bastion of Cimmerian independence and courage against the imperial threat of Xorian expansion.

Amalganus was the son of Amalgami the Betrayer and Emelia, the daughter of a Phoenixian merchant. Emelia’s father disavowed her and kicked her out of his home after Amalgami betrayed the First Alliance. Pregnant with Amalganus, Emelia fled to Yuettencal in the Aractrashan Kingdom. She gave birth in June 438BCE.

Emelia supported herself and her son by selling her fine clothes and jewelry she brought with her from Phoenix. In time this money dried up. Left without other options, Emelia used her remaining clothes and refined social skills to become an upper class aristocrat. She quickly attracted the attention of an elderly Jipanguese lord named Humanto Moshiro who visited her on business trips. Humanto loved Emelia dearly and brought her back to Jipangu as his concubine. Amalganus was raised as a ward by the military household of Kowitari.

Amalganus trained with the other young nobles showing incredible talent and potential. He squired for a respectable officer, Dilaeon Kowitari, performing admirably and winning much honor. Amalganus was soon placed at the side of ranking officers as he was groomed for a command of his own. Around this time Emelia and Humanto were blessed with a son, Purodu.

Amalganus accompanied a small mission to defend the countryside from trolls. Amalganus demonstrated exceptional skill and decision making by saving the life of his superior officer, as well as rallying his unit’s forces for a decisive victory over the trolls. Unfortunately, in the aftermath tragedy struck the Moshiro family. Purodu who had always been sickly, died. Humanto’s old body could not bear the sorrow. His heart gave out soon after and he followed Purodu into the Underworld. With his sole heir by blood dead, Humanto’s lordship passed to Amalganus.

Amalganus’s military record continued to shine. He received many marriage proposals and decided to solidify his relationship with the Kowitari family by marrying a daughter of their house, Hiroka. Amalganus’s house commanded respect throughout the city, even though he possessed a mere 18 years. The public loved him and he was commonly referred to as, “an old soul”, having inherited the charisma that propelled his ancestors into power. Amalganus recognized the growing threat of the Dragovinian aristocracy in the west. Almost as soon as Jevaninada II took the throne, Amalganus began to organize the Second Alliance.

Amalganus continued to gain honor and respect, both as military leader in Jipangu but also as the head of the growing Second Alliance. Hope spread that the Xorians would not invade if presented with a united resistance. As the Second Alliance grew, so did Amalganus’s family. Hiroka bore Amalganus his first son, Amalius, in February 420BCE. Amelia was born in May 418BC and Amalchus in October 417BCE.

In 412BCE Emelia grew incurably sick. On her deathbed, she revealed to Amalganus the truth about his father, a fact she had kept hidden, as well as the family name “Halkias”. Shocked and horrified, Amalganus vowed to reclaim the honor of House Halkias. The only path to clear the Halkias name lay in bringing Amalgami to justice. Amalganus secretly began the hunt by pouring through historical documents for clues to Amalgami’s location.

After two years of research and hired detectives, Amalganus tracked Amalgami down in Greece. In a rare moment of poor judgement, Amalganus abandoned his family and responsibilities in Jipangu to travel west in search of his father. He found Amalgami posing as a noble named Alcibiades in Athens. Amalgami had long since abandoned his humanity and he attacked Amalganus upon seeing him. An epic combat ensued. Amalganus fought valiantly, forcing his lich of a father to his knees. Amalganus stopped short of delivering the final blow to his own father. Amalgami took advantage of this moment of hesitation and decapitated Amalganus with Korm.

Amalganus’s body was brought to Amalgami’s hideout in Ionia along with Amalius who had witnessed the final combat between his relatives. Amalgami locked the body away in a room that Amalius was forbidden to enter. The body was presumably experimented on before being disposed of. The final resting place of Amalganus Halkias remains unknown.

-GoCorral