Mélange VII

Random thoughts, only about half of them about RPGs!
  • Been playing Wrath of the Righteous a lot. The elf witch, Ember, is, unfortunately, a child (specifically a 91-year-old sixth grader), but Arueshalae, the reformed succubus, is romanceable. The part when you're in the lab of the Architect of the Worldwound and see your companions' innermost dreams, and you discover Ember just wants to play with other kids, was, um…not okay, guys, I needed that heart for other purposes.

    It's kinda neat how not only does Ember bring out my fatherly impulses, but even brings out the older-brotherly inclinations of Daeran Arendae, the neutral evil narcissist hedonist. In her first companion quest he starts to make a joke about her having to apologize to a demon lord for her purehearted tears shattering his unholy altar, and then he stops and says, "No, never mind, not even I can joke about this. Ember! Some people don't deserve apologies even if you hurt them!"
  • My brother said, and he's quite correct, that Star Wars Visions is better than basically everything Disney has ever done with the franchise, even the good things. The band one, the black and white one, and the Astro Boy one are just mediocre, but the other six are genuinely good—a ratio almost unthinkable in Disney Star Wars or in anime based on western properties (cf. The Animatrix and Halo Legends). I dunno, maybe the two kinds of badness cancel out. I particularly like the first of the two Trigger ones, with the twins. Though the best Star Wars thing involving Sith twins will always be that one trailer for a SW:TOR expansion.

    The subtitles are pretty questionable, though, since they're the closed-captioning of the English dub. Like for example how in "Lop and Ochō" they don't mention that he's not just "Boss Yasaburō" but is specifically referred to by the term that usually describes yakuza bosses, and that the duty their clan has inherited along with their lightsaber is jingi—the name for the yakuza code. (Neighborhood yakuza, like "neighborhood gangs" all over the world, are a lot less evil than big-time yakuza. Basically this is a classic yakuza-movie plot where a neighborhood gang is being forced to capitulate to a bigger one, and comes into conflict with them when their more amoral, profit-driven ways threaten the security that neighborhood gangs exist to protect.)
  • An interesting idea Wrath brings up that I immediately realized I had to incorporate in my own stuff: paladins' fear immunity means they are also immune to PTSD. They can still worry about things—Seelah is very insecure after what happens with the League of the Inspiring Cart—but presumably in a fundamentally different way from people who still feel fear.

    It also unavoidably made me think of the Adeptus Astartes: "They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear." But Iomedae the Inheritor is worthier of the service of such beings than the Corpse on the Golden Throne. (Although Aroden was basically him. I've talked about the "ascended human" form of non-infringing Jesus, and why it doesn't work.)
  • The new Netflix He-Man—not Masters of the Universe: Revelation, the one with "He-Man" actually in the title and actually made by people who don't hate fans of the franchise—is really good. Mostly because it's made to entertain kids and parents rather than to win the approval of twenty-somethings from Portland who spend too much time on Twitter.

    The thing in this iteration where Adam shares the Power of Grayskull (the Masters of the Universe always seemed like a bunch of randos in both prior versions, so the old-school fans' complaint there is mostly groundless) was interesting, coming out as it does at the same time as Wrath, in which your character shares mythic power with his companions.
  • Strong Legend of Zelda vibes in Wrath. If you take the Azata mythic path, or even just help the Desnans escape the paranoid inquisitor (who, as the game says, has pretty good excuses for being paranoid), you learn a song from Desna.

    When you sing it for Aruashelae in the Drezen prison, she sings it too, then the soundtrack takes it up non-diagetically. Which is right out of Ocarina of Time. (Also Arueshalae's voice actress kinda sounds like Cortana does in Halo 3, when she's been imprisoned and tortured by the Gravemind.)
  • I'm pretty sure that Rifftrax, not seasons 11 and 12, is the real heir of MST3K. I didn't like that show just to see movies get riffed on, I liked it because I like Kevin and Mike and Bill. Also you get Mary Jo and Bridget doing some of them, and Trace and Frank in at least one.
  • My current playthrough of Wrath I'm an elf bloodrager (with one level in eldritch scion magus) who worships Calistria, goddess of lust and revenge. He's chaotic good, and I'm pursuing the Azata mythic path (because baby dragon companion, because ore no yome musume da), but it's interesting how they actually make things different depending on your deity. E.g. you can swear revenge on Minagho in Calistria's name, after she beats you the first time, and then when you fight again in Drezen if you bring it up, a wasp (Calistria's animal) crawls down your arm, a sign she favors your vengeance, and your party gets surrounded by swarms of wasps that attack anyone who gets close.

    In Kingmaker I liked to play elf paladins of Sarenrae, goddess of redemption, so the contrast between that and a Calistrian is interesting—the duality of man elf. In Wrath there's a cool scene where Sosiel, the cleric of Shelyn, discovers that a necromancer who reanimated other Shelyn worshipers was a guy his temple took in while he was wounded. It was all a plot to turn him against Shelyn's worship, because she doesn't allow killing defeated enemies. So I told him it's not worth breaking his vows, and killed the necromancer myself—the Eternal Rose might forbid it, but the Savored Sting don't care. Just in general the Owlcat Pathfinder games give you genuine opportunities for real roleplaying that I've never seen in any computer game before.
  • Strongly considering reworking my setting's spellcasters, making clerics originate with humans, druids with dwarves, oracles with gnomes…and witches with elves. Since witch is a divine caster, ish, that casts off Intelligence. Unfortunately a lot of my naming comes from the assumption dwarves have clerics and elves have druids (fortunately only the surnames in both cases), and the courtesy-names used by the elite of the thalassocratic Valyrian society are derived from witch-patron themes and possible witch bonds (familiars, mirror-witch mirror, etc.). I also have a lot of "fluff" about specifically witches. But I can redo that in terms of the "witchcraft", possibly renamed, being any evil divine caster, give them witches, druids, clerics, and oracles. About the one difficulty is that then I still have the dark elves, goblins, ogres, and dark dwarves hating witches despite being evil, but I can still make it work, the way that plenty of cultures that practiced human sacrifice still tabooed stuff like cannibalism.

    The one major issue is that I should rethink at least some of the characters in the stories set in my setting, in terms of their class affiliation. Not all the thalassocratic Valyrian people's priests need to be witches, now; I could for example replace a gravewalker witch character with an undead lord cleric (but I won't, because the gravewalker's creepy doll is super important to the scene). I think I will replace another witch with a blight druid, though. Basically now I think their priesthoods will all be corruptions of the other races' ones, and their evil witches be based on elves' good ones (I imagine elves have a lot of positive-energy hex channelers…and dwarves get their channeling primarily from paladins). Maybe I'll change "witchcraft" to "blasphemy"? That's what witchcraft in the anthropological sense basically is, after all. Come to think of it, not calling it "witchcraft" would have the advantage, when I actually publish, of not running afoul of the fools who don't know "witch" never doesn't mean evil, in the real world.

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