Etrian Odyssey Let’s Spank And Shadowrunner: Better than Baldur’s Gate II

This is the post I made on AnimeOTK a few minutes ago, repeated here for your viewing pleasure:

I’ll be starting to play Etrian Odyssey tomorrow, so here are the remaining three characters. Note that they are inspired by Zae’s suggestions, though I did take them and tweak them a bit. In particular, I’m replacing the mischievous bard with a mischievous hexer, mostly because I can’t write music, and I think the bard’s appeal would come out of there actually being concrete little ditties about this or that misadventure. While I could play it as the bard being hilariously bad at songwriting to justify any atrocious things I would write, the thought of trying to concoct songs, even bad ones, wearies me. On the other hand, having a playful hexer would be fun because it completely goes against their portraits, which are kind of creepy.

As for the alchemist, I decided to replace “grumpy and well-educated” with “spoiled rotten and well-educated,” mostly because Alchemy seems like the kind of profession a rich girl might take up, and we need some spoiled rotten in here somewhere.

Totally took the Protector idea unchanged, however.

If anyone has any suggestions or tweaks for the characters below (or if my party makeup is doomed to failure), let me know, and I’d be happy to make some changes.

Name: Gwendolyn Karter
Profession: Alchemist
Position: Switch
Age: 23
Bio: Gwendolyn is the insufferably spoiled brat child of some middling lord or other from a different town. As the only daughter in a family with three sons, her father doted on her like no other. Whatever she want, she got, and if
she didn’t get what she wanted, she threw a tantrum like no other. These days, she doesn’t throw quite so many tantrums. Instead, she just explains in exquisite detail why the person refusing her is an unsightly worm who shouldn’t
interfere with their betters if she thinks she can get away with it, and works some prank or other to ruin the other person’s day if she can’t. That being said, she is a gifted Alchemist, and the only time she is anything
approaching bearable is when she’s focused on Alchemy. And even then she’s just brusque and impatient rather than snotty.

Name: Samantha Star
Profession: Protector
Position: Mostly Bottom
Age: 28
Bio: Gwendolyn’s bodyguard. Samantha Star’s father is the bodyguard of Gwendolyn’s father, and it has been pounded into her from birth the importance of serving and protecting Gwendolyn. This includes taking responsibility for
any of Gwendolyn’s mischief that run the danger of being traced back to her. She is calm, quiet, and unassuming. Pretty much the exact opposite of Gwendolyn. She treats Gwendolyn with deference, and Gwendolyn eats it up, treating
Samantha as her own personal manservant. Gwendolyn also doesn’t seem all that appreciative of Samantha’s unfailing loyalty. She takes Samantha for granted and has no inkling of how helpless she’d be without the quiet Protector.

Name: Wendy “Hexy” Wellington
Profession: Bard
Position: Mostly Bottom
Age: 18
Bio: An obnoxiously cheerful, and cheeky brat. She’s a friend of Allison’s, and was babysat by Andrea. She vanished a few years ago when she started to develop uncontrolled hexing talent. She’s recently returned, completely
out of the blue. She takes a ton of delight in messing with people. One of her favorites is to act overly melodramatic and creepy, playing to Hexer stereotypes. Of course, she can’t maintain it for very. She hates it when people
get all melodramatic and serious, and will try to lighten the mood. Of course, her “lightening” usually consists of casting some harmless hex on one of her teammates (such as making them trip into the mud, or lose their pants, etc),
much to her teammates’ chagrin. She’s also a very fast talker, and will try to talk her way out of a punishment. In short, whereas Gwendolyn has a cruel streak to her pranks, Wendy has a more playful streak.

————-End AnimeOTK post——————–

Also, this is completely unrelated, but I’ve taken the past week off from Potion Wars (been writing like a fiend, and needed a break) and I’ve been playing Shadowrunner Returns.

It is amazing. Seriously, this game is the closest I’ve ever come to my ideal RPG:
 
 1. Gameplay that is challenging enough to keep me engaged, but not so challenging that I have to restart half a dozen times.

2. Gameplay that is deep enough that it’s not just a click fest (in particular, the true depth in this game comes from finding cover and positioning your characters properly. Whoever has the superior position has a HUGE impact on battle).

3. Status spells that are actually useful. Damage spells that can do some damage.

4. An AMAZING setting. It’s this mind-blowing combination of cyberpunk, high fantasy, science fiction, and pulpy detective novels (my favorite character type is a fast, smart, pistol-toting hacker-type called a decker).

5. Superb writing. The dialogue is very well done. I love their slang. Unique, flows wonderfully, and the writers make an expert use of context to make the slang clear. Wish I could write slang like that. The stories (at least for the main campaign, and the expansion campaign) are also engrossing. Dead Man’s Switch isn’t anything particularly new, but it’s very well executed and the setting is unique enough that the core store doesn’t need to be. Haven’t finished Dragonfall yet, but that’s shaping up to be superior to Dead Man’s Switch in every way.

6. The quests are plots (including the subquests). It’s not just a bland “I need the Talisman of Muldour! Bring it to me!” It ‘s more like you have conversations with the characters, connect with them, and then they might ask for your help then, or later on. Plus, many of them build on themselves in a very natural and engrossing manner. Furthermore, just about every quest sheds some new light on the setting, so with each quest you feel like you understand a little bit more about the world these characters live in. Sure, they usually boil down to “kill that guy.” or “bring me that doohickey” but those are just the skeleton they use to shape the story.

6. Streamlined gameplay. I don’t waste time slogging through dozens of pointless subquests just to get strong enough to beat the main quest (hate subquest heavy games. 98% of those “hundreds of quests!” are filler). At any given time you have a main quest, and maybe one or two subquests, all of which are usually accomplished by taking one or two steps off the main quest’s path. I know some people like the whole “open world exploration” thing, but I don’t. Give me an engrossing plot, an interesting setting, and good gameplay over 100 areas and 200 inane sidequests any day. It’s not like you have any real choice in the open world games anyway, so why dilute the story pretending you do?

7. I create my own character. I want to play a female elven, pistol wielding decker? I can. I want to play a female human, pistol wielding decker? I can. There are other things I can be. Like male. Or a troll. Or a street samurai. But light footed deckers are way too much fun. Also I have some strange obsession with playing as a woman in all my games. Just so much more fun than playing a man. Don’t know why. Probably because I’m a man for the rest of my day, and I need a little variety.

8. Short animations. The graphics and music do an excellent job of capturing the setting, but the combat animations are fast and simple enough that they don’t slow things down. Furthermore, the game has high damage and low hitpoints, so combat is fast (plus it encourages you to use the terrain, your items, and your magic wisely).

The only major flaw is that the roleplaying is more in your head than in the game. Sure, your character periodically gets to respond to people, and they are very good responses. It feels like your character is actually talking to people instead of just blandly nodding and saying “uh-huh.” Plus, they do a great job of implementing the classic “I’m a kind person”, “Eh, whatevs”, “I are asshole!” triad. However, whichever response you pick, the other character will usually have a few sentences of difference, before returning to their main thread,completely unaffected by whatever you said. So your responses have a minimal impact on the flow of conversation. However, it’s a metric ton of work to have player responses have a real, noticeable impact on conversation. Plus, the flaw is pretty standard for the industry, regardless of the quality of the game, so it’s not a huge blow.

I’ve been enjoying this game so much that I’m thinking my next game will be in a similar cyberpunk-fantasy-science fiction mashup. Unfortunately, that’s years away, and I want to play with the setting now. But I don’t want to take time away from Potion Wars. SO, I’ve started concocting the premise for a series of short stories set in my own cyberpunk-science fiction-fantasy world. I’m currently working on the first story. The hope is that in between Potion Wars development (which remains my absolute top priority), and my Etrian Odyssey Let’s Spank, I’ll be able to write up a few stories here and there that let me build up this new setting. Hopefully, they’ll give me an opportunity to pull it away from its Shadowrunner roots, and give some nice background to my (very hypothetical and not at all guaranteed) future game.

That being said, Shadowrunner has a pretty crapsack world (it has to, because you basically play as a criminal, and it’s hard to make criminals sympathetic in light settings), so my world is also pretty crapsack (because you know, criminals), which means the plotlines will probably be a bit darker than the Etrian Odyssey Let’s Spank. Not sure where it will be in relation to Potion Wars, but probably a bit darker, because I don’t have Emily keeping me under control (still won’t go full Game of Thrones though. I want people to actually enjoy these things after all). Plus, while there will be sex and spankings, there won’t be as much emphasis on them as in Potion Wars. This is not a world where everyone is running around spanking everyone else. That being said, this is a spanking blog so I will strive to give every story at least one lovingly crafted spanking scene.

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