Tetalya

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Tetalya is a jungle city with a population of about 45,000 along the Aractrash River’s exit from the Aractrashan Jungle. The city is a center for alchemy of all kinds. Magic potions and nonmagical salves are made in great quantities in Tetalya. The surrounding trees, plants, and animals have many different type of spell components that fetchers bring in to the city to be harvested for spell components. The more rare and dangerous specimens such as Basilisks are processed in a cordoned area just outside of the city.

Tetalya has a popular battle arena that attracts visitors from other cities. Many husbands have lost their life savings and gone home to the verbal abuse of their wives while others have moved up to positions of insane wealth. The arena is special in that it does not hire new people or use beasts except for its most special combats on holidays. The arena has rotated through a set of twelve different combatants since its formation. The fighters rarely leave their cush arena position thanks to the large cut of the betting, luxurious living space, and the best food that can be given to them. The twelve combatants currently active in the arena are: Hargoth the Axe Rager, Dylan the Sword Ranger, Julian the Drunk Monk, Shara the Half-elf Grappler, Tira the Knife Woman, Organ the Buffing, Sheera the Elven Archer, Tjakres the Githzerai with Magic Arms, Batinhen the Dwarven Paladin, Constance the Dwarven Defender, Kuvintal the Rapier using Acrobat, and Bats the Halfling with a Hooked Hammer and Net. There are contingent spells put on the combatants to prevent them from dying. All of them are best buddies and spend most of their off time together.

The biggest production of alchemy ingredients is done at Grandma Sullust’s Garden in Tetalya. She has a virtual monopoly in the East on magical plants that can be grown domestically. She sells some of her crop in the city itself but most goes to the druid’s guild in Lordodo. They use the plants they can to make salves and the rest are exported mostly to Crafterton to make alchemist’s fire and other offensive chemicals.

The Druidic Healing Guild of Lordodo has an office in Tetalya. This office is the organizational center of Tetalya, filling the basic function a lord’s castle would in a feudal town. The druids do pay fealty to King Staynard of Aractrash and defer to his authority when he is in the city. The druids increased sanitation to levels that some of the public think is unnecessary, while the rest think the clean streets are the best thing since bread. The guild built many public parks and improved the fire prevention service. Overall the druids have drstically improved the standard of living within the city while restricting most of the city’s more dirty medieval traditions.

-GoCorral

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Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed