Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Week in Nerderies

A little bit of writing, a little bit of gaming, a little bit of reading...click on, click on!

NaNoWriMo. Must.write. until. drop. 1667 words a day, as a rule. 1588 down for November 1st. You guessed it, a medieval fantasy not unlike, ahem, A Song of Ice and Fire but skewing even closer to history than fantasy...for now. No title yet, no synopsis yet, but I have a nice list of characters and locations and a rather thorough outline to help me keep the boat afloat. I'm setting it in a corner of my homebrew RPG campaign world so as to explore that region at the same time. The nerdiness is overwhelming. I've not really considered putting my homebrew on the web (as many gamemasters do) kinda precisely because I want to use it for my fiction. Not that there's anything original or whatever about it; it's basically Westeros if

Fantasy Gaming: Someone named Steve Jarman made a nice old-fashioned crawler called The Deep Paths: Labyrinth of Andokost (the title alone is enough to have me aboard) which I set about to explore the other day; it's a rough experience in many ways (somewhat poor language, the engine isn't optimal) but at the same time it does truly hearken back to the truly old days, the days of Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder, perhaps even more so than the brilliant Legend of Grimrock games I've mentioned on here before. The monsters have way too many hit points and the combat is pretty much click-click-click but there's a certain charm here, with the traps and the puzzles and the loot and the mapping, that takes me back. Recommended only if you, like me, enjoy exploring dark crypts, haunted tombs, abandoned temples and other fantasy dungeons with barely a plot.

Somewhat surprised at finding time for it, I briefly returned to The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt last night, deciding to tune down the difficulty and see if that could help me get past a particularly nasty part of a quest; yeah I have been stuck for months, occasionally loading it up to try and defeat those gorram specters and werewolves (these two foes are particularly difficult in my experience). Anyway, difficulty down and what do you know, I got the quest done and now the game is once more open and alluring, and I really just want to throw everything and go home to play more of this incredibly atmospheric, well written epic. Surely it must be the best game of all time, in many ways. Flawed, yes, but the good stuff is just so good. I became so immersed with the game last night I had a hard time exiting, and I found myself buying The Last Wish, the first collection of Witcher stories, just to have another way to wrap myself into this brutal but lush setting. Which brings me to ...

Reading: So I'm trying to ignore that gorram scratch on my Kindle Paperwhite and it's ...possible. There was no hope of getting a replacement, I have to live with it, or repair it, which is more expensive than buying a new one. Yeah but I don't have my own coin mint, so there you go, I'm living with a Kindle with a light-bleeding small tear. But, like an otherwise healthy child with a chronic broken leg, I guess it will be possible to build up a reservoir of love for that. It is still pushing me to read more than ever before, though, and that's good. Already passed 30% of Dancer's Lament, and I'm calling it right now (as many others have already done), this is Ian C. Esslemont's finest work, possibly because it hews so close to Steven Erikson's style, particularly in Gardens of the Moon, featuring fan favorite characters (and, of course, a host of new ones to further populate this amazing mega-setting). Where some of his previous novels were a little bloated and dare I say unclear/unfocused, Dancer's Lament hits the ground running and shows the world he can rival Erikson. No, it's not as deep or profound or complex or anything really, but it feels just as Malazan, which wasn't always the case.

Re-read: Yeah. Winter is Coming.

Unfinished Tales: Gah, so many half-read books (non-fiction in particular) and unfinished games, like Pillars of Eternity and Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Star Wars: It owns my soul. Next month is new Star Wars movie month. I love saying that!

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