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I'm retiring this mirror blog, after the launch of my new website. I'm pretty sure very few people actually followed this mirror. My new blog is right on my new site's front page, and it has a new RSS feed. You can also get more frequent updates from me on Twitter and Facebook.
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TWG 100%: Brandon 100% (116/116), Peter 100% (116/116), Isaac 100% (75/75), Ben 100% (38/38)
17S 100%: Brandon 100% (105/105), Peter 100% (111/111), Isaac 100% (111/111), Ben 100% (100/100)
Reddit 92%: Brandon 100% (134/134), Peter 100% (107/107), Isaac 100% (25/25), Ben 65% (57/88), Adam 100% (16/16), Store 100% (6/6)
Twitter 43%: Brandon 100% (127/127), Peter 17% (22/127), Isaac 16% (22/134), Adam 38% (22/58)
Blog 100%: Brandon 100% (214/214)
Social Media Total: 84% (1518/1802)
Theoryland Review: 10% (121/1183)
Events and Signings Review: 0% (0/397)
I made better promise than it looks like, I promise. I'm current on Ben's Reddit history, finally. But... I realized that the interface I was using changed at some point, and it was automatically truncated results past 100 for each month. I know it wasn't when I was looking at Brandon or Peter, and Isaac and Adam don't have enough activity for it to matter. But Ben's got quite a few months with over 100 comments (or 200, or 300), so I'm going to go back and double-check a bunch of them, see if I missed anything.
Once that's done, I'll probably crank along with Twitter. Should be less work than Reddit; everyone seems much less active on there. I think I've got a good site saved somewhere in my bookmarks for Twitter archiving, I'll try to dig that up. I don't think I'll get that done by the end of the calendar year; I've got a couple of non-Arcanum projects I'd like to get through (theories and reading guides and the like) before Stormlight Four comes out, so I don't expect to dive into the Theoryland review or the E&S forum review. They'll get done eventually; we're in no rush, after all. But I do believe I'll have Reddit completely up-to-date by my last progress update of 2019.
For the update WoB, I'll share something of Ben's I didn't actually add. He caused a bit of a stir recently, sharing a theory he had about Lift's boon/curse and now the Old Magic and Nahel bonds interfere. It's not actually new; he's talked about it multiple times before. One of the other instances, here's what he said:Quote
Well, I forgot to save the link, so I can't actually quote it. Sorry to fake you out. But here's the summary: closer to when OB came out, he presented the same views, explicitly labeling them as a theory. This latest 'incident,' he said it quite authoritatively, but no more so than anyone on this forum will assert their own theories. That's always the balance to strike with putting Peter, Isaac, and Brandon into Arcanum; when are they speaking as an authority, and when are they speaking as a confident fan? It's often a judgment call on my part, to try to figure out exactly where they take off one hat and put another one on.
Do I get it right all the time? Of course I do. Give me some credit. If you think I don't... well, I can point you towards some helpful websites, and you can double-check my work!
The other good Reddit comment I saw from Ben was him saying he's not on Twitter. Which is good; I don't have to worry about him on that platform. I hadn't been including him in my Twitter stats because I thought I just couldn't find it; but now I know the account doesn't exist at all.
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Deteca being able to Voidmake is a good way to see the core of her character development. Voidmaking is using the Void to just destroy stuff. It's not technically evil, but since hardly anyone can do it and those who can are DA, Deteca thinks of it as evil, like Hemalurgy (though that's not precisely evil either, and she somewhat knows that, but it's hard to get rid of prejudices). To me, the significance of her being able to use it is in the contrast. It's just another magic system, but it's one that my character sees as being wrong, and she sees herself as a good person, since her guild was basically founded to do good and be opposed to the Dark Alley.
What she needs to do is find the contrast, recognize that gray areas exist. OOC her development is a way of saying "Yes, we all have our own guilds, but loyalties aside, none of us are perfectly good or bad." Morality is a spectrum, and it's a very subjective one. This is also why I’m going to have her be a DA Denizen in Era 5; the symmetry of having her grow up in that guild rather than TUBA appeals to me. Neither are perfectly good or bad, but she has to figure that out.
Finally got around to something I've wanted to do for a long time. Make a globe of Roshar!
The site doesn't work very well on mobile, so here's some images:
First need to say thanks to u/Stoneward13 on Reddit who created the beautiful high-resolution map that I used for this.
The trick was getting the projection right. @Otto Didact identified the map from Oathbringer as an "azimuthal equidistant" projection while the "Map To Globe" site I used required an equirectangular projection. With a bit of patience I finally discovered a way in QGIS to mark coordinates on a raster image and have that program pump out the equirectangular projection!
So here you have it. I've positioned it at the appropriate latitude, with the equator passing through the center of Kadrix island. To anybody not aware, yes, Roshar is mostly ocean. Brandon has stated that there are no other major landmasses. It's possible that ice caps exist, (seems like Yalb mentions tales of a southern ice cap?) but I haven't speculated on that. Maybe I'll circle back around to it. The continent is a bit smaller than Asia. More details on that sort of thing here:
Under the "Options' menu you can toggle longitude/latitude lines. (if comparing with the Oathbringer map, typical lines won't line up right because Roshar uses 200 "degrees" in a circle) And play with some other tweaks, like lighting.
But my favorite feature is the "Measure distance" button. Click that and enter Roshar's radius (about 5663 km) and it report the distance between two points you select.
I'm spoiling this for length, and for some vague plot elements being given away. Writing reviews is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I've written and filmed quite a few, despite never making one publicly available. Hope y'all enjoy, and perhaps a few of you on the fence about this game will end up buying itSpoiler
Octopath Traveler is a classically-inspired JRPG for the Nintendo Switch (and now PC as well). In this review I will go over the game fairly in-depth, from mechanics to story details for each individual characters- so spoilers shall abound. Let’s kick this thing off with general game details.
Octopath Traveler has carved out an interesting niche as far as artistic style is concerened- 2D pixel sprites against a somewhat 3 dimensional world with hyper-realistic light, water, and fire. This game’s look provided the initial spike of curiosity I needed to look into it. It has certainly become a unique fixture of the game’s style and look, and makes the game stand out against the waves of JRPGs that can be found on Nintendo systems. And while we’re on the subject of artistic direction, special praise ought to go to Yasunori Nishiki, the composer of the game’s absolutely brilliant score. The Main Theme- while never present outside the main menu and the medley that composes the end credits- is a wonderfully composed theme that represents the style and feel of the game. The Eight ‘Traveler’ themes for the eight main characters, are all pleasantly unique, and match the characters’ personalities, even including unique instrumental features (noble horns for the steadfast warrior Olberic, a lilting flute for the kindly cleric Ophilia, etc.) The boss themes are also all excellent, and help keep turn-based boss battles from growing stale.
Game mechanic-wise, I am not well-versed in JRPGs, so I do not know what is unique to Octopath, and what is not. The battle system focuses on the traditional turn-based RPG trope of weaknesses- and kicks it up a notch with the ‘Break’ system, giving all of your opponents a shield that your party must knock down by attacking a given number of times with attacks that the foe is weak to. Once your opponent is “Broken”, then is the time to use up your accrued BP (or Battle Points), to strike multiple times, or use more powerful variations of the specialized “Profession Skills” (12 jobs, with 8 for the main characters, and 4 others that are hidden, endgame type special jobs.) I found this battle system to be heavily engaging, requiring skill and strategy, and is one of the reasons I stuck through with the game.
Characters and Party Mechanics
Octopath Traveler is so named for the 8 main characters, all pursuing separate, distinct, yet subtly intertwined goals. At the beginning of the game, you are given the choice to start as any of the 8 that you choose, with the only stipulation to your party layout being that you must keep that character as the lead member of your “active party” (who you see walking on the screen, and who is sent into battle) until you have completed their story. So let’s get into it, Shall we?
Cyrus: Cyrus is a scholar who becomes entangled in a web of mystery after discovering a 15 years cold case regarding the thievery of an eldritch tome from the Academy’s Special Archives. Cyrus was the character who I started with, and his story was a lot of fun to play through, giving off both Sherlock Holmes vibes and creepy, eldritch, demonic vibes. Each of the 4 bosses he faces throughout his journey are both well thought out gameplay-wise, and storywise. Each represents not only someone who is physically opposed to him, but also philosophically opposed to him (a common theme throughout several of the stories), but Cyrus is the only one who faces this with every boss battle. Cyrus is also not a perfect character, because while his intellect is highlighted, equal emphasis is placed upon his social deficiencies ( i;e his inability to recognize when women are attracted to him, and being unaware to the fact that he himself is leading them on.) It is ultimately these flaws that lead to some of the more precarious situations in his storyline. Gameplay wise, Cyrus is an incredibly useful Magic User- having 3 of the most common magic weaknesses instantly available. His Physical stats are terrible, making him mostly useful for the more SP Heavy magic attacks. His Talent is ‘Study foe’ which instantly reveals a weakness for all enemies on the field at the start of battle- this can be useful for more common foes, as after encountering up to 4-5 times, all of the foes weaknesses will be revealed minus the trial and error. ‘Analyze’ a native Scholar skill, is also helpful in revealing weaknesses, and is the only way in-game to view an enemy’s HP, which comes in particularly handy in boss battles of any kind. As far as subjobs are concerned, the Warrior class gives Cyrus much more powerful physical attack, while the Hidden class Sorcerer gives him devastating magical output, with some of the most powerful magic attacks in the game (and one for each element, giving Cyrus massive coverage).
Tressa: Initially, I was unsure of Tressa, as her story seemed somewhat more whimsical and less serious than the other 7 paths, as it seemed to essentially be “Yay Adventure!” My prediction was entirely true, and I love Tressa for it. She is commonly referred to as a “Cinnamon Roll” (A phrase which here functions as a description for a character who is too sweet, pure, and good for this world), and I second the motion. Her path was a breath of fresh air after going through more dark and serious stories, and her 4th chapter, while a bit rushed, saw her story to a satisfying and emotional conclusion. She proved to be a strong character, with ideals to cling to and charming relationships, (Noa and Ali specifically). Gameplay-wise, Tressa is an excellent, well rounded character. Her skillsets focus around money, with the ‘Collect’ skill being able to get cash off of a foe, or the ‘Hired Help’ ability being able to buy foes into battle, including some which offer stat buffs, or inflict status conditions on enemies. Her Divine Skill, “Bifelgan’s Bounty” offers the ability to collect coin from your foe equal to the damage you deal (upwards of 5,000 usually). Tressa can also earn you money just by being in your active party, as her talent, ‘Eye For Money’ allows her to pick up forgotten cash when entering a new area (The amount that this uncovers increases as you go further in game). As far as subjobs are concerned, Tressa makes an average thief, a good dancer, and a Divine Runelord(lady). The Runelord skill “Transfer Rune”, which allows skills which only augment the user to augment your whole party, Combined with the native merchant ability of ‘Sidestep’, this allows your whole party to avoid upwards of 4 physical attacks with each consecutive use.
Olberic: Olberic is an interesting character for me, as his story is immediately one of the more cliche of Octopath’s stories. I initially wrote off Olberic’s story as plain, predictable, and unexciting. Unlike Tressa, where my predictions were correct, I was entirely wrong with Olberic. Is his story somewhat tropey or cliche? Yes. However, it is an example of a trope pulled off incredibly well. Olberic’s story was engaging, satisfying, and allowed the character to experience ample amounts of growth. A former knight of the now long-gone kingdom of Hornburg, Olberic was unable to protect his charge (The King) from the betrayal of his Brother-in-Arms, Erdhardt. A series of events inspire Olberic to take up his blade in a quest for both answers both in regards to the external plot, and his own internal questions of identity. Olberic gameplay-wise is a physical attack beast. He has access to both the sword and the spear, and a variety of specialized attacks, or physical augmentation skills. His divine skill, Brand’s Thunder, when paired with the right blade, can do massive attack damage to a single foe (5000-27000 damage range). Olberic’s main point of deficiency is his lack of access to any magical skills- a fact you should remedy when deciding what subclass to give him. In my experience, Olberic has made an excellent Cleric, giving him access to both light magic (A weakness of his final boss), and some good coverage healing abilities.
Ophilia: Ophilia is a cleric, whose story arc started off incredibly uninteresting to me. In fact, while a lovable, and kind character, her story is uninteresting until chapter 3 (of 4). Ophilia is the adopted daughter of Archbishop Josef, who is the head of the world’s primary religion “The Church of the Sacred Flame.” Her sister, Lianna, as the Archbishop’s only biological child, is preparing to undergo a sacred pilgrimage known as “The Kindling”, when their father falls deathly ill. Out of compassion, and love for her sister, Ophilia decides to undergo the pilgrimage in her stead. In the end, her story ends up dealing with crises of faith, love, and occult rituals. Her final boss was beautifully done, and the two characters have a verbal/philosophical confrontation to match their physical confrontation. Despite this, Ophilia gameplay-wise is not the most useful character. Her only unique characteristic outside of some pretty good passive skills is the ability to cast light magic- a uniqueness quickly overshadowed by the Soulstone items that can be fairly easily acquired throughout the game. Ophilia’s other unique trait is healing, offering fairly decent healing ability for early-game (one use will generally restore the party to full health), mid-game, Alfyn’s healing abilities far outweigh hers, leaving her with very little to call her own. As far as subjobs are concerned, Ophilia played hostess to the Scholar subjob for most of her party’s run (I divided the cast into groups of four, and did them separately), so that I had both access to the skills I had come to rely on in my initial run with Cyrus, and gave her a bit more magical coverage.
Alfyn: Alfyn is an apothecary, who became dedicated to helping the people of the world, after a mysterious stranger cured him of a near-fatal plague in childhood. Alfyn’s arc is mostly internal, compared to others in the game, while it is physical events that trigger this. Alfyn’s third chapter was particularly well done, bringing in a lot of moral quandaries that had me scratching my head; alongside a particularly difficult boss. Morality and internal conflict aside, Alfyn’s external conflicts are some of the game’s strong points, with the villains of chapters 2-3 proving to be some of the most hateable people in the game. (Sometimes you need to have a hateable villain). Gameplay wise, Alfyn is a straight tank. You have the opportunity fairly early in the game to get him a fairly strong weapon, and given his great physical stats, he is one of the first characters in the game to have the ability to do 9999 damage. Alongside his wickedly good healing abilities (although they do require herbs and other items of that sort). It would be reasonable to claim that Alfyn might even be OP (Overpowered). As far as subjobs go, Alfyn played the role of the Hunter throughout most of my playthrough, giving him even more skills to use against the varied foes this game offers. However, in my attempts to complete most of the post-game content, Alfyn has been playing host to the Hidden Job Warmaster- a beastly subjob that allows a single character access to all 6 of the game’s weapon types, and the divine ability to attack 6 times a row on a given turn. Given Alfyn’s already significant battle prowess, this turns him into a beast. (although do be warned, the Warmaster abilities are draining on SP, and include a few that permanently destroy the weapon wielded.)
Therion: Therion is a thief, who unfortunately doesn’t steal the show in any regard. Aside from the character of Heathcote, and Therion’s growing relationship with Cordelia, there’s nothing particularly of note in Therion’s Tale. Aside from it being a mediocre execution of a predictable trope, I don’t find people like Therion enjoyable to be around, so going through each chapter of his tale felt like a chore. Gameplay wise, Therion’s capabilities lie in his title- thievery. Many of the game’s items are obtained via NPC, and some of the more common items are better off stolen, rather than purchased. The success of this operates based off of a percentage system that will be explored more in-depth in another section. He can also allow the party to open special purple chests, that generally contain rare items, when he’s in the active party. He’s one of two characters to be able to wield a knife without any subjob, and has the better physical strength of the two. I actually cannot recall what Therion’s subjob was for my playthrough, so you’re out of luck in that regard.
Primrose: Primrose is a dancer, with one of the most genuinely dark stories in Octopath Traveler. In any other tale, she certainly wouldn’t be the protaganist, given that her entire motive is to enact vengeance, and murder the 3 men responsible for the murder of her father, which she witnessed at a very young age. Her tale takes her on a quest to murder these three men ‘marked with the crow’, and see justice obtained. Primrose’s story continually surprised me, and I found myself wondering at times whether her story would bring her character any closure. Primrose’s story ended up as one of my favorites for this very reason. Primrose has decent physical stats, but her magic use is her primary offensive capability. However, Primrose has a whole lot of stat boosting, effect-causing, dances up her sleeves- which provide an excellent sense of party support. In fact, The Bewildering Grace skill is one of the best ways to increase experience from battles, as 2x XP is one of the myriad effects it can cause- including some rather nasty backfires. Throughout my playthrough, Primrose saw the most time with the Sorcerer(ess) Hidden Class, as it really allowed her access to her full magic wielding potential (Spells from all the elements).
H’annit: H’annit is a Huntress, who embarks on a quest to seek her missing master, a man who has acted as a father to her, as an orphan. Throughout this, H’annit battles deadly beasts, and speaks in the most hilarious pseudo-Old English I’ve ever heard. (“Letten the hunt beginnen” being one of the stand outs). H’annit’s story is surprisingly emotional, and one that takes on a new level of tragedy when going into the background lore. H’annit is a lovable character, through and through- although not groundbreaking in any fashion. H’annit’s skills center mostly around the trapping of beasts, including the ability ‘Leghold Trap’ which, un-augmented, makes a given foe move last for 2 consecutive turns (Particularly useful in Boss Battles). As far as Subjobs, H’annit was my Starseer, a class that is rather difficult to explain.
Now although that’s all eight characters explored- there’s one more party mechanic that makes them all feel more real. ‘Travel Banter’! Travel Banter is essentially Octopath’s version of a Support Conversation, where two characters interact, giving their insights on the current situation in the story. Most of the support conversations occur whilst doing story chapters, and generally focus on the character that the chapter is for. For instance, if both Cyrus and Tressa are in your party during Cyrus’s second chapter, they will have a conversation about how Cyrus, while focused, could stand to be more attentive to his surroundings. Including Cyrus’s humourous anecdote about an incident wherein he was so engrossed in a book, he failed to notice his neighbor’s house was on fire. These more story focused travel banters are great, but so are the pure character building banters. These occur when you have specific characters in your party and you enter a tavern. For instance, if you have all four male characters in your party, you will be treated to a travel banter where they have a drinking contest. These Conversations, while non-essential to the story, help make the characters feel real, and not alone on these quests they pursue.
Octopath’s post-game content helps tie the main characters’ stories together in a unique and refreshing way. In order to unlock the post-game secrets, you must first complete the ‘Daughter of the Dark God’ sidequest line, and the ‘Kit the Traveler’/ ‘In Search of Father’ sidequests. This allows fast travel access to the sub-area ‘The Ruins of Hornburg’, which contains one final dungeon, with trials against one boss from each of the 8 characters’ quests, and a secret final boss, that I have yet to beat. This dungeon does not allow you to save and leave, however it does give you a way to switch around your party. This dungeon gives a lot of the background lore intertwining the main cast’s stories, most of which can only be postulated with vague links.
Octopath Traveler is not a perfect game, but I think it’s pretty dang close. Every player’s path will be different, and the game takes enough precautions with the storytelling and lore so that each Traveler’s tale can stand on its own, but still stand together as a satisfying whole. Early reviews that had not discovered the secret ending criticised the game for leaving the stories unconnected- however even if they had, I felt that a change of pace from the standard, “Save the World” story really benefited the game, and allowed the game to focus more on the growth of each of the characters with believable and compelling character arcs. While the Boss Battles and level farming could often be tedious, I genuinely enjoyed spending time on Orsterra, and challenging myself to the various trials it contains. However, despite that, I disliked that there were essentially no optional areas of the map, outside of the Final Area, and some sidequest dungeons. Each of the game’s eight regions only contains 3 towns, meaning there was very little to be done as far as exploring. I am genuinely excited for the prequel mobile game, and for the eventual sequel. I will certainly replay this game, and would even buy it again.
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The Aquaman trailer that dropped a couple of days ago was great. I really, really, really look forward to this movie. The casting looks great, and I like a lot of the visuals (some of them feels unpolished though, so I hope James Wan uses the time he has got left before release to its fullest).
I wish we could see more of the villains though. I think both Orm and Black Manta has got potential and would love to see a bit more of them. I like what we have gotten on both Arthur and Mera though, so I have faith in that the movie will deliver on the other characters as well.
So, I think DC might have another good movie here, which hopefully makes them happy. Their universe won’t be in less of a mess though: what they need is good structure, and Aquaman, no matter how good, or how many sharks he throws, can help them there.
Linn to the trailer, if anyone missed it, or just wants to see it again:
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Prompt: A Genie offers you one wish, and you modestly wish to have a very productive 2017. The genie misunderstands, and for the rest of your life, every 20:17 you become impossibly productive for just 60 seconds.
“Well, it was a nice day.” You kiss your sweetheart gently on the forehead and sigh as the last remaining seconds of 20:16 tick away. “See you at 8:18,” you say.
Then it happens. Every ounce of fatigue or hunger leaves your body. The face of your beloved is perfectly still, their expression exactly the same. The ticking of the clock on the wall has stopped. Once again, it’s 20:17.
You stretch your arms and walk to the table with the homework for the three doctorates you’re working on. The work is mentally stimulating and enjoyable, but it’s finished far too quickly. You check your pocket watch and see that not even one hundredth of a second has passed.
You knew it was too soon to be able to see any movement on the watch, but you can never quite help yourself from looking early on every 20:17. Time to move on.
You clean your home, do your budget, then go outside and fix a noise that your car was making earlier that afternoon. (Oh how you already miss afternoons.) Then you go back inside, boot up your computer (which magically speeds up to keep pace with you as long as you’re in contact with it) and check for any new orders.
You’ve set up a website for the small business you started called “Magic Elf Services.” People in your area can pay a modest fee on your site to have different tasks and odd jobs done by “The Magic Elf” at 8:17pm every day. It was a little slow to get started, but word has spread and these days you have a steady stream of clients.
The money that comes in from the business is nice, but you’re mostly grateful that it gives you a clear list of things to do. You print off your updated list of clients, step outside, and start making your way through the neighborhood with your to-do list.
There’s the apartments down your street where several neighbors have hired you to tidy up, do the dishes, and mop the floors. You do the windows too, just to see if they notice. There’s the large house across town that paid the “Magic Elf” to clean out the gutters. After the first dozen jobs are done, you manage to stop looking at your pocket watch.
As near as you’ve been able to determine in the past, 20:17 seems to last for approximately one normal year. But it’s not exact. For one thing, it’s hard to keep track of “time” when everything but you has crawled to an almost total standstill. For another thing, time seems to move differently depending on how “productive” your behavior is. One time you tried to spend all of 20:17 sitting at home in your pajamas, but that was getting you nowhere, so you eventually gave up and got busy. (Though you defiantly stayed in your pajamas the whole time.)
During 20:17 your body doesn’t get tired, hungry, sick, or injured. You’re essentially tireless and immortal for the duration of the “minute.” So sleeping or eating away your boredom has never really worked for you.
One of the houses on your list forgot to follow the instructions and leave a key for you to get in. At first you figure you’ll just send them an email telling them to pay more attention and that you’ll do the job tomorrow. Then you decide to go home, get your locksmith tools, and come back.
After finishing up all the jobs on your list, you go into several other homes and small businesses in the area, performing tasks you hope they’ll find helpful, and leaving a hand-painted business card at each one. (The business cards don’t contain your real name just in case somebody thinks “The Magic Elf” should be subject to breaking and entering laws.)
Speaking of laws, you head down to the local police station to pick up your case file. You’ve been in contact with a detective who’s been investigating corruption within their department, and your ability to investigate unseen and get in almost anywhere between the ticks of the clock has proven invaluable. You see that they’ve also added five missing person cases to your file this evening, which certainly raises your interest in the job.
You make your way through town gathering evidence, and start making your way to the outskirts of town. Since you happen to be out that way (and you’ve already solved three of the five missing person cases) you decide to swing by the stone castle you’re building and do some more work there.
The castle walls stand about 20 feet right now, but you know they’ll be much higher when you’re done. You’re far from any roads and pretty safely tucked away, so for now it’s your little secret. You’ve been excavating and moving all the rock yourself, which has been much easier than you first expected since your body doesn’t get tired or sore. You’ve also got a nice system of tunnels going underneath the castle, and you dig and build more of that network for a while.
All that time spent underground has left you feeling rather lonely, so you walk back home to see the face of your sweetheart. Their facial expression has moved ever so slightly since you last saw them, which is a comfort to you. Looking at them gets your imagination going and makes you dream up a story you’d like to tell, so you sit on your couch, plug in your laptop, and write a book.
After you finish editing the last chapter for the third time, you finally allow yourself to look at your pocket watch again. Three seconds have officially passed so far.
It’s gonna be a long 20:17.
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I can really appreciate rainy days.
Sometimes the sun is too harsh
Or the snow too bitter.
Give me days where the clouds,
like my eyes,
Are overcast and the fog,
like my shoulders,
Something about bleak colors
Cold earth, speckled windshields,
That I embody.
Worms drowning in puddles
Lacking the energy to save them.
Empty bottles kicked beneath feet
Only to be forgotten and left
Sinking in the mud
Indifferent to life and death.
On days like these
I imagine Mother Nature as
A girl in a hoodie
Walking through puddles
Music too loud
And probably a coffee in hand
Not to warm or wake her
But because caffeine is a drug
Required to keep herself moving.
On days like these
Stillness is equal to death
Physical or mental
the lines blurred
Not unlike the horizon in the fog.
On days like these
I can’t tell Mother Nature and myself
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This blog will have things that have already been explored by others but which I need to lay out for myself. Or potentially new ideas which I need to refine (and check if others have not yet theorised on) before posting on the forums.
TLR uses Lerasium for Feruchemy:
Conclusion: The Lord Ruler either uses Lerasium for Feruchemy or some other unclear purpose.
...what happened to that Lerasium bead?! Was it lost forever in the corpse of The Lord Ruler?
Hoid's use of Lerasium:
2. BS suggests Lerasium can grant the power of many shards (though he could also simply say that Hoid has the power of Preservation)
3. It rewrites your spiritual DNA, and there are ways to do really cool things with lerasium that I don't see how anyone would know. Were most Mistborn to just burn it, it would rewrite their genetic code to increase their power as an Allomancer.
5. "Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. I have found a good home for it. I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say." This suggests that Hoid keeps the Lerasium inside his body, either for Feruchemical purposes or as a spike. However, Hoid is very bad at hurting people, suggesting Feruchemy. Furthermore, this WoB says outright that Hoid does not have Hemalurgy.
Conclusion: Hoid seems to use the Lerasium for Feruchemy, but it's likely something more complicated is going on.
1. Allomancy is drawing Investiture into your (damaged) soul.
2. The metals are a filter. For example, burning Tin means drawing Investiture from Preservation or Ruin (in the case of Atium), and Tin turns the Investiture into sensory enhancement.
3. Compounding is drawing Investiture into your soul and turning it into a nonstandard (non-Allomantic) type of power, by changing a metal's "signature" via feruchemically charging it.
4. Feruchemy is a zero-sum internal magic, Allomancy is a net-gain external magic. Compounding is using the net-gain Allomancy, but turning Investiture into Feruchemical powers rather than standard Allomantic powers.
5. The final step of Compounding is (usually) storing the net-gain, superboosted attribute into another metalmind.
6. Standard Feruchemy stores an attribute given by the user into a metalmind. With this final step, Compounding stores an attribute provided by Preservation/Ruin into a metalmind.
7. The Lord Ruler turned Atium into an Atiummind, storing a small amount of youth in it, then used the Atiummind, drawing Investiture from Ruin's body and turning it into youth rather than foresight. A small bead used right can return someone to childhood. He stored the youth that he didn't have to provide into Atiumminds and then had to constantly draw from them in order not to die. When Vin deprived him of his atiumminds, he aged dramatically (1000 years old) and died.
When Allomancers burn Atium, they are not drawing power from Preservation (or are they...?) but from Ruin's body, i.e. the Atium itself. Does it suggest that Allomantic strength with regard to Atium is independent from how much Preservation is in your sDNA / how strong your connection to Preservation is / how much Lerasium you ate in your life? Does it have more to do with the volume of Atium you're burning? Does a stronger connection to Ruin increase how much power you can get from an Atium bead?
In other words: if you Hemalurgically steal someone's ability to burn Atium, is the ability really weakened? This has to do with whether Atium Allomancy is really end-positive and of Preservation in some way (in which case the ability would be weakened), or whether it's strictly of Ruin (and end-negative somehow), and more power is considered a "loss" (in which case the ability would be... strengthened?).
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Maybe 3 times a week I go to BrandonSanderson.com with nothing else in mind but checking on the progress bars in his site header. I think it's one of the coolest things an author can do (especially considering the genre's writing habits) to post on the progress of each book. Recognizing that their existence is a gift in itself - I think those progress bars should be updated more frequently and emphasized for the sake of marketing Brandon's talents.
For many authors, progress bars would be.... minimally helpful. Not many authors have as much in the works as Mr. Sanderson, and on top of the workload, Brandon has been writing series after series that just sink their hooks into my mind in a way that not many others accomplish. At the end of each book, I am left with a raw hunger for the next, and those progress bars are like the scent of a juicy steak grilling just for me.
What I really mean to be saying (instead of just making myself physically hungry) is that I think those progress bars have huge potential. How many times have I read someone online say, for example "A new Dresden Files book is out?! How did I not know that?!" By going to that site, I know exactly what's coming down the pipe and have a good idea of when to expect it. That keeps me excited throughout the dry period when I stop following other series until I see the cover in a B&N storefront window. Progress bars keep fans hyped! Knowledgeable fans have got to be good for book sales, right?
Brandon deserves that hype. He writes like a ravenous animal, or some kind of machine that just churns out fantasy brilliance. Whether he is a fearsome force of nature or a fantasy Awesome-o, his writing speed is well recognized at every update of those progress bars. He's got a good reputation because of that speed (which is really time spent) and could probably benefit from making that better known.
It might also help this fansite to post a reflection of those progress bars in a similar fashion. Members who frequent 17thShard can tell you that one of the most recurring topics/posts is along the lines of "when is the next ____ coming out?" or "Is Brandon writing ____ or ____ next?" I imagine some Google searches lead new fans here before they ever get to Brandonsanderson.com, so it could actually be doing Brandon a favor to have them represented here as well.
I recognize potential consequences though. The quality of writing should be considered first and foremost, and having to hit an unofficial "progress bar deadline" to meet fan expectations could cause some stress. Speaking from experience though, I know fans on this site at least are very patient and understanding (though hungry, as I noted).
TL;DR - The progress bars on Brandon's site, if updated more frequently and presented in the right places, could be an excellent marketing tool to keep fans excited and up to date while showcasing his particular, genre-defying talents.
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Please don't send your critiques by email--replying to all means that everybody gets a ton of email each week, while replying individually makes it impossible to have a group discussion about the submitter's work. Instead, come to the Reading Excuses forums here and post your critiques in the appropriate threads.How Often Do I Need to Critique?
We don't ask that you read every submission every week, or even that you read one submission every week. As a minimum, we request that you do one critique of another's work for every chapter you submit. Of course, the more critiques you can provide the better--but we realize that everyone is busy and that a good critique takes time.
If you want to critique a current submission but haven't read that person's previous submissions on the same project--for example, if you want to critique Chapter 3 of a novel and you haven't read Chapters 1 and 2--we don't require you to read those first two chapters first. That's why we ask people to provide the brief summary mentioned in the submission guidelines. A summary is no replacement for reading the actual chapters, though, so do keep that in mind when critiquing later chapters in a work.
If you want to read Chapters 1 and 2 but didn't join the group until the author submitted Chapter 3, just email that author and ask for the earlier chapters. Usually, people are pretty good about providing that (though of course no one should feel obligated to do so!), especially if it means they're getting a critique out of it.Critiquing Guidelines:
At some point in the future, I would like to get a more thorough guide to critiquing on here, one that will offer some tips both on critiquing others' work and dealing with critiques in your own work. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make that happen, though, so in the meantime I'll quote from the more general guidelines on the TWG archives:
Be fair (not nice). Don't be nasty, but do say what you think. And don't apologize every time you offer a criticism. Say what's working exceptionally well as well as what isn't working at all. If something isn't working, tell us why. Sometimes it's best to let the author figure out what to do. Sometimes specific suggestions help, but don't try to write someone's story for them. Don't spend too much time critiquing grammar, punctuation, etcetera (unless the author asks for it). Focus on the big things.
You get what you give. If you skimp on critiquing our stuff, we'll skimp on yours. We realize that not everyone will be able to critique everybody's submission every time. That's fine. We do think it's reasonable for everyone to critique at least one manuscript for every one they submit. Beyond that, do your level best to give as many critiques as you can without killing yourself over it.
Also, there's a great podcast you could listen to on the subject of writing groups. We heartily recommend it.Sharing Work From RE:
All work submitted to RE, of course, remains the property of the original author and is protected by copyright law. You may not, under any circumstances excepting the explicit permission of the authors, re-post or otherwise share material that is submitted to this group. Anyone who shares another author's work without that author's explicit permission will be removed from the group's mailing list.
Source: Welcome to Reading Excuses
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<p><em>This post is one of a series in the ongoing <a href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/category/world-of-darkness/hunter-the-vigil/the-juniper-campaign/" target="_blank">Juniper Campaign</a> posts. If you’re new to the blog, you may want to consider <a title="Smile, You're on Camera" href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/disco-nuit-smile-youre-on-camera/" target="_blank">starting from the beginning</a>, or reading the <a title="The Juniper Campaign Summary" href="http://icadventure.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/campaign-summary-the-juniper-campaign/" target="_blank">summary</a> to get caught up on events up to this point. </em></p>
<p>After stalling the police outside his house long enough for Shannon and Felix to slip safely out the back door, John heads back to Shady Acres, where his grandmother has been successfully transferred to the centre’s coma ward during all the other excitement. As expected, she seems to be sleeping peacefully when he arrives. John talks to her as he sets up her personal effects, telling her about the incident of astral projection and other associated weirdness at Shady Acres. He adds that he’s got a friend in trouble when his grandmother suddenly sits up in bed.</p>
<p>“Oh, a friend in trouble, yes, yes. I think there’s going to be more people in trouble. There was that man,” she continues, before John can react. “He ate that other man. Yes, yes.” She keeps going in this vein, ominous if nonsensical rambling about people in trouble, until John collects himself enough to interrupt.</p>
<p>“Uhh. Is this one of the episodes I missed? You know I don’t keep up with all your shows.”</p>
<p>She retorts promptly. “What are you talking about, you daft bastard? Who are you? What am I wearing?”</p>
<p>“I’m… John…” he says slowly, more confused than ever. He doesn’t get the chance for further conversation, though, because his grandmother slumps back into unconsciousness as abruptly as she awoke.</p>
<p>Not long after that, Dr. Johnson announces himself with a light tap at the door. “Good to see you again,” John says.</p>
<p>“Good to see you as well,” Johnson says. “Sorry to interrupt, but we need to have a serious talk.”</p>
<p>“Has something changed?” John asks.</p>
<p>“I’m afraid so, yes. She’s not in any immediate danger, but if you see here,” Johnson proffers a medical chart, “her white blood cell count is dropping. This happens sometimes with comatose patients–it doesn’t mean they’re not going to wake up, but unfortunately it makes them more prone to sickness, which could be very dangerous in her current state.”</p>
<p>John tiredly points up, towards the clean ward on the fourth floor. “I’m afraid so,” Johnson says.</p>
<p>“How does that affect visiting and quality of life?”</p>
<p>Johnson assures him that the transfer shouldn’t affect her quality of life. “In regards to visitation, you would need a scrub first. This would take two, two and a half hours, and you’d have to be wearing an environmental suit. Instead of just popping by whenever you like, you need to give us a bit of warning. But as long as you give us some notice, we’ll make sure she’s available to visit.”</p>
<p>“I see. This is worrying.”</p>
<p>“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” Johnson says, “but this is a significant change.”</p>
<p>“Have there been any signs of brain activity?” John asks.</p>
<p>“Actually, it does look like she’s improving.” Johnson shuffles around in the folder he’s carrying and produces another chart. “As you can see here, her prefrontal lobe is experiencing sporadic activity. It looks like she’s dreaming.” He slides the paper back into the folder. “I do want to caution you not to get your hopes up, but any activity is better than no activity.”</p>
<p>“That’s good to hear. When is she going to be transferred?”</p>
<p>“We need you to sign some forms first.” Johnson hands John the paperwork that will authorize his grandmother’s transfer to the clean ward.</p>
<p>While he’s scanning the forms, John says conversationally, “you know, I’ve heard some wild stories about this place.”</p>
<p>“All sorts of stuff. That it was some sort of mobster hideout, or…?” He trails off.</p>
<p>“Not a hideout. I’m surprised you heard about that, actually,” Johnson says. “Originally, it was a retirement home set up by one of the major mob families, so their family members would have a place to go if they lived long enough for retirement. Apparently there was a killing back in the ’50s or something.” He shrugs, adding that the centre is pretty ordinary now; even the clean ward upstairs, he says, is bright and cheery.</p>
<p>“The top floor must be pretty nice, then,” John remarks.</p>
<p>“I actually wouldn’t know,” Johnson says. “They value their privacy up there.”</p>
<p>“Yeah, I heard some wild story about how it was a cannibal den or something.”</p>
<p>“Wow,” Johnson says, after a pause. “I’m not gonna lie, that’s a new one on me.”</p>
<p>“Mind if I hold onto these until the end of the day?” John asks, gesturing to the forms.</p>
<p>“You have about 72 hours before the need to move her becomes urgent,” Johnson answers. “Sooner is better. But take the time you need.” He and John say their goodbyes and Johnson makes his way out, leaving John alone with his grandmother.</p><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/icadventure.wordpress.com/860/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/icadventure.wordpress.com/860/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="http://stats.wordpress.com/b.gif?host=icadventure.wordpress.com&blog=34007243&post=860&subd=icadventure&ref=&feed=1" width="1" height="1" />
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Last night I finally finished the book and I was blown away. That was an excellent read and I am left extremely satisfied. I'm going to stop the review right there because I have lots of comments and questions that will sum up my thoughts, so I don't want to repeat myself. This blog is going to be where I keep track of my WoR questions as well as just general comments on the book, the series, and the 17th Shard website itself.
SPOILERS! Yes, they will be in this blog. Don't read past here if you haven't finished the book entirely.
17th Shard Stuff
As long as we are on the topic, I feel like throwing out a reminder to members of the 17th Shard that including that huge spoiler tag on all of your posts is not necessary. In the Stormlight Archive board you are supposed to put spoilers under a spoiler tag. In the Words of Radiance board, you never have to type the word "Spoilers!" Ever. That subforum even includes a description that if you are reading the content you are expected to have read or there is no pity for you. Every other topic in there right now has a big spoiler tag for no reason and I find it supremely frustrating, hahaha. But I recognize it is with good intentions, attempting to help out your peers. Just wanted to clarify.
Anyway, Words of Radiance. It was incredible. I am increasingly impressed with Brandon Sanderson's writing ability. I've always been a big fan of planning and interweaving all plot points - a characteristic that is fundamental to his writing style - but in this book I was most impressed with the pacing of the story than anything else. It reminded me a lot of the ending of Memory of Light, but I think this one turned out better. It was a lot more synchronized.
I have another suggestion for members of the site, and mostly the site admins. I think we need to reevaluate and put into words what is "appropriate" for members to say on this site. I am mostly talking about swear words. I have seen members chastised for using swear words in their topics and posts, and I think it is a little bit overzealous. Obviously the site admins make the rules and there is no arguing with them, but if you consider that this site is based on the writings of an author who uses some of those words in his books... The people reading these posts have seen the words before. I think that the site should use those writings as precedent. For example, many of the stronger words are substituted for local cuss words in a clear attempt to keep things decent. However "damnation" is used plainly in the book a few times, so I don't think it should be looked down upon if members on the site use the word. This isn't an urgent problem with the site at all, but I do think it should be considered.
The ending of the book was great, but it did leave me feeling like we had solved nearly every single problem.
-The Parshendii seem to be pretty dead.
-Sadeas is dead.
-Our main characters have gotten over their fears and outted themselves as KR and the organization has been refounded.
-We have someone in a stable relationship (haha kinda) with the Ghostbloods.
-The Assassin in White is no more. He has been reborn and we are not yet sure what will come of it. He'll not have his Surgebinding abilities anymore, but he is running around with a Herald and Nightblood, so who knows.
-Urithiru has been found.
So like... all of those were really 2 book problems. Still on the docket:
-The Everstorm is going to be transforming the parshmen into Voidbringers. That is a biggie, obviously, but it is a fresh problem. I big one intended to occur after we had some KR, and it wasn't really around before the very end of the book.
-Nalan and new Szeth. We have seen Nalan killing Surgebinders, but Szeth seems to be under the impression that the only way he is not going to kill himself is to right his wrongs or at least be a better man. Let's hope that doesn't involve him picking up Nalan's whacked out sense of justice (yeah... it will).
-The Diagram and that whole plot.
OK, I'm going to get into quick notes on the Diagram.
-Mr. T makes it when he is brilliant and it seems to be working fairly well but we already know it isn't near perfect because of the 7 factions comment he makes and because he couldn't have really known about Kaladin being there for Dalinar and he really wanted Dalinar dead. Unless he suspected that somehow, but that could be an excuse for literally any event that occurs, so I'm not going to use it.
-Current Members of that entire unit, the Sons of Honor: Gavilar, Restares, Amaram, Taravangian, Graves and his team including Moash. I might be leaving some out, but dang that is a lot of big hitters so far. Some of them may not even know they are working with the others, but I believe at least the big names do based off of all of Graves comments.
- I am crazy intrigued by the idea of the Diagram and Taravangian's abilities. It is a such a fun plot device.
Brandon fixed something in this book that pleases me greatly: I like many of the characters much more. Some of the more irritating traits have been honed, bringing authenticity and originality to characters where I viewed it previously as an obnoxious character flaw.
Shallan - I liked much more in this book. She had several of those elements in the Way of Kings that came across as obnoxious. Her attempts at humor and wit were more frequent in this book, but didn't feel nearly as forced. Massive credit went her way (and Brandon's way) in this book when she was able to gain some backbone and embrace her strength as a woman/adult/human being/whatever but not become bull-headed and arrogant. I went through most of the Wheel of Time books really disliking the female characters because once they all embrace the same strength, they immediately become overly stubborn and unhelpful in nearly every situation. Something that should be a triumph for the characters ends up setting them back an aggravating amount of the time. The scene when Shallan works through Kaladin's problems in the chasm - agreeing not to get upset and to maintain a level of understanding - that was a big moment for her in my eyes. She is also able to admit that she can be wrong - proven while looking for the Oathgate and having parts of her map wrong - which is another trait I am grateful for. It is refreshing. Of course it helps that she is a little more active in this book, what with all the sneaking and disguising, but that really didn't play as much of a role as her drastic improvement in attitude.
Adolin- I also had no interest in Adolin as a character before this book. The snotty/spoiled trait was far too accentuated in the first book in my opinion (though I guess seeing him grow does feel good). Surprisingly, he kept his head and made good decisions through most of this book. Another example of a character being proven wrong, accepting their faults and actually changing for the better. As much as I am happy for his changes and general increase in likeability as the book progresses, the Sadeas murder has me a little confused. I cheered a little bit, but it was really distracting that he could do that and still be up for a position as a KR. I only know this because Brandon said some Orders would be cool with it and applaud the move (he mentioned Dustbringers I know). Meanwhile Kaladin's spren literally dies just considering letting a murder happen. I understand I guess that it directly goes against protecting for Kaladin, but how does any KR get away with actual murder after saying the first Ideal? Journey before destination would kind of screw with that move, wouldn't it? Maybe different interpretations, I suppose, but that kind of makes the first Ideal seem weak to me.
Kaladin - Still my favorite. Love that he got out of his moody phase. The entire plot felt a lot like Rand's ordeal in WoT, and while it came sooner, I felt very similar when Kaladin got over it and got happy again. Syl is still the best, too. I was walking around my house and felt really anxious and worried for some reason, and after thinking on it for a while, I realized it was because the night before I had stopped reading during Part 4 where Syl is still missing and considered dead. It gave me stress throughout the next day and I didn't even know it, hahaha. They are a good team and I'm glad to see that Brandon is going to make them work for it, because Kaladin is very clearly his favorite, and I don't want him to be too overpowered. The scene where he gets Syl back and says the next Ideal might be the most memorable in the entire book for me. It was great. Also the Shardspear/changing Shardblade form had me fist pump in the air like a madman. What a great way to give the fans what they want (because he made us want it so bad, I understand) and do it quickly. It feels like all of the KR just gained some Green Lantern abilities in my mind, and I'm all for it. Can't wait to see what his return to Hearthstone is like.
Dalinar - He was in the running for my favorite character but he fell just barely behind Kaladin, though he did a great job in this book too. I like that he keeps his cool and is always fair. I know some people wouldn't agree there, but he makes all the decisions I would and doesn't bully people when they make a stand for what they believe in. Kaladin and Shallan stand up to him multiple times - hell, even standard bridgemen do - and he respects their needs without bulldozing them using his station as an excuse to have things go his way. Makes him very likeable. Bonus that he is given credit for being very clever a couple of times - a feat I don't think he accomplished in the first book. Love the scene where he is just like "Hey guys, what do I have to do if I want to go bond God as my spren?" and then just goes up and says 2 Ideals like he's reading cheat codes from a magazine."Cool, yeah, it went well, I'm a KR now. *Stormlight sucking*"
Renarin - Still could not care less about this kid. I saw a thread arguing why his decisions make sense and why this and that. "Oh he is secretive by nature! Oh if you look at it in this frame of mind..!" I'm aware that he has a mental problem somewhere, but it doesn't change the fact that he has been overall unhelpful and generally annoying in every scene yet, except for when he was helpful with proving Dalinar's sanity (one idea voiced) and when he pep talks Adolin (twice). Every other time I have found him distracting at best. If we don't see a lot deeper into his mind soon, I hope we see a lot less of him.
Jasnah - She's great. My hope is that the whole "she's always right" deal doesn't get out of hand. I like a character who can keep things moving, and she seems to be a few steps ahead of the game, but I don't want everyone to rely on her too much. I would like to call that at some point she is going to figure out pieces of the Diagram before they happen and totally blindside Mr.T at some point, who is going to have a new respect for her when she works around the god he thinks he was on that day.
I was right on a few, I think. I called that the Shin had the Honorblades hidden away, I called (though I found many did) that Szeth had an Honorblade, and I don't have 100% proof, but I'm almost certain now that the other chart is a Voidbinding chart and the symbols are the spren that activate specific forms. Pretty happy with those. Haven't looked back yet at what else, but those I can recall.
- I'll lay one down, as written above, that Jasnah will out-maneuver the Diagram at some point.
Here is something I noticed and wasn't particularly happy with: multiple characters gain abilities in this book and then just completely stop utilizing them. Kaladin learns how to stick people to walls and then he doesn't use it once in combat or anything like that. Shallan learns how to Soulcast, acknowledges that Jasnah is gone and she is going to try to learn herself, and then never tries. What is with that? I was really hoping that those would come into play somewhere. Shallan Soulcasts the boat, but that is like chapter 7. Then never again. I would have appreciated some use (even over-use) of the ability before another takes over entirely.
I would like to give a shout-out to the members of 17th Shard that really see through the smaller details in these stories. I've read Warbreaker and I would never have guessed that Vasher is Zahel. I noted that he was probably a worldhopper (ever since Wheel of Time I have looked for characters that speak in unusual ways), but I would never have put all of it together on my own. I am a little dense in those ways. Maybe it also has something to do with my hunger for the main points of the story, but still. That is only one example of the great catches I see on here every day, and you are doing the rest of us a favor by sharing.
I'm going to keep writing as I reread and stuff, but I figured I'd give it a good start at least. Feel free to comment if you bother reading this. It is meant for my organization mostly, but if anybody feels like my opinion is worth their time, lemme know!
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Firstly, I was somewhat surprised, but very happy, to know that some people read the last entry I posted Thankyou.
So, for anyone who isn't aware, Shelldry is a game in the world of the mistborn series. It is mentioned a couple of times at most, but from when it is mentioned we can gather that it is some form of gambling card game. Partly to play with my MAG groups and partly just for the fun of it I decided to create a version of shelldry. It isn't complete yet so everything here is subject to change. The rules have gone through several iterations and the card backs have been designed so some significant progress has been made on it. I currently hope to complete it within the next fortnight.
I wanted the game to be heavily set in the mistborn world, as a result it is based around the 10 allomantic metals that were known in the time of the final empire and their relative value and connections to eachother.
I know that both skaa and nobles play Shelldry and many skaa wouldn't know about allomancy. However I decided for this that it was perfectly possible that the nobility created the game and that the skaa adopted it even though most don't understand the significance of the metals and sets.
How to Play
The game is played with a set of 34 cards, 4 copies of each of the physical and mental metals, 1 gold and 1 atium. The game is, in basics, vaguely similar to Texas Hold'em poker. As such the best sets are of 4 and the different values of hands are based on metal pairs.
The hands, in increasing value:
-2 of a kind (eg, 2 iron)
-metal/alloy pair (eg. iron and steel)
-2 * 2 of a kind. (eg 2 iron and 2 brass)
-metal/alloy pair and a 2 of a kind (eg. iron, steel, and 2 brass)
-3 of a kind
-2 of the same metal/alloy pair (eg, 2 iron, 2 steel)
-4 of a kind
-2 pairs, one from mental, one from physical (eg, iron, steel, zinc, brass)
-full set, physical or mental (aka, iron, steel, tin, pewter OR zinc, brass, copper, bronze)
-gold and atium pair. (Special case)
Atium and gold act differently to the others. A gold/atium pair wins the pot (explained later) and ends the game, but neither gold nor atium is involved in any other set. Instead, atium and gold act as tiebreakers. If you and another opponent both have the same value set, for example if you both have a metal/alloy pair, and you have atium, you win the tie. On the flipside if you have gold, you lose the tie. This reflects atium and gold's allomantic values (Or at least how valuable they are considered by most mistborn, to all you gold lovers out there.)
In Shelldry there are two distinct pools of clips/boxings. There is the current betting pool which contains all the bets from the current round and there is the pot. The pot gradually increases in size throughout the game and nothing is taken out of it till the end.
How each round works:
-Each player is dealt 2 cards, then, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player has to choose to stick with their cards, or to pay the minimum bet (lets say 1 clip for now) into the pot to discard them face-down and draw 2 replacement cards.
-Each player is dealt a third card.
-Each player (in turn) chooses an amount to bet of at least the minimum bet, they do not have to match previous bets. These bets stay in front of the player and are collectively called the "betting pool".
-A final card is flipped face up in the centre of the table. Each player can make sets from the cards in their hand and this card.
-Each player (in turn) chooses one of 3 options:
1. Fold, and take back half their bet rounded down. The remainder stays in the betting pool.
2. Stand. (No changes to their bet.)
3. Double Down. Provided the player has enough clips/boxings remaining they can double their bet, increasing the betting pool.
-All players who didn't fold reveal their hands and the player with the best set wins the round. They take back their bet and an equal amount from the betting pool. If there is not enough in the betting pool to match their bet they take however much there is. They do not take from the pot to make the difference.
-Any remaining clips/boxings in the betting pool are added to the pot.
-The cards are shuffled, the player to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer and a new round begins.
In the case of a tie, if one of the players has atium, they win the tie. If one has gold, they lose it. If that doesn't resolve a tie a player who formed their set completely from their hand wins the tie.
If that still doesn't determine a victor the round is a tie and the players who are tied take back their bets and then split the remainder of the betting pool evenly between them, with the caveat that each player, like normal, cannot receive more than they bet. Any clips/boxings that they would otherwise receive from the split are added to the pot as is any extra that cannot be evenly split between the tied players.
-The game ends when a player reveals a gold/atium pair during scoring (including the case where they have one of them in hand and the other is the centre card), that player wins the round and takes the pot.
Rounds in Shelldry should go a little faster than normal poker rounds while still allowing for some bluffing and psychological play.
Gold and atium make for an interesting risk-taking dynamic. If you get gold on the initial draw do you hold on to it in the hopes that atium will come up, sacrificing your chance to get a set of 4, reducing your chance of a decent set AND causing you to lose ties? Very risky. Atium is a safer, though still risky, choice as while it makes you win ties, it still prevents you from getting a set of 4 and reduces your chance of gaining a good set. A player who starts with one in their hand has to decide if the potential reward is worth the risk
An option for resolving things if the game has to end before an atium/gold pair surfaces is to deal a final round with no betting. The winner of that round takes the pot, split the pot if there is a tie.
The most recent modifications to these rules are yet to be tested so changes may well still occur.
The easiest way to play is simply to take a standard deck of cards, take out all of the cards for the numbers 1 through 8, 1 jack card and 1 king card. Then:
1/ace = iron
2 = steel
3 = tin
4 = pewter
5 = zinc
6 = brass
7 = copper
8 = bronze
Jack = gold
King = atium
This is what I have been using during testing, however while this is functional it would be much nicer to have proper cards, so I have been working on designing them.
I figured it would be cool to have a table of the 10 then known allomantic metals on the back of the cards, both for visual use and as an easy reference chart. Partly due to this the cards I have designed thus far will be round, however as I know that round cards are much harder to print properly and cut out I also plan to put the table on to the back of more regular sized cards for those who prefer them. Circular cards are cooler for this, but normal cards are far more practical
I then ran into a problem in that there isn't any table for just the 10 metals known during the final empire. This is where a friend of mine, nard, (he has an account on steel ministry but not here) helped me out. He took the table from "The Hero of ages"
He then used photoshop to cut off the bottom part, then took the top part and copied it down to make a full circle. He then covered over all the unwanted symbols and most of the inner lines to create something looking like this:
At the time he then just roughly sketched in the remaining symbols. Coming back to working on the card-back now I decided that the sketched in symbols really wouldn't do the trick. Instead I traced out the gold and atium symbols from the full allomantic chart, shrunk them to the size I wanted and used them. Atium initially gave me a bit of trouble as it was too dark a grey and kept blending in with the background. I ended up adjusting the contrast and brightness to make it a much whiter colour that stands out better on the card (and is actually closer to how I always imagined atium anyway ).
That left the internal metal symbols. I could take them from the initial chart but they would be white and would look strange and asymmetrical on this new chart. I considered doing as I had with gold and atium and taking them from the full allomantic chart. However, I rather liked how the existing symbols fit with the background and how they contrasted with the new atium and gold symbols. In the end I took the symbols from the Hero of ages chart and simply inverted the colours on them then adjusted the brightness/contrast as necessary and stuck them in. I am quite pleased with the final result.
Creating shelldry has been a lot of fun. I will hopefully finalize the rules and create the cards in the next two weeks before I go back to Uni. When I do I'll share it in the Creator's corner and upload the files for the cards so anyone who wishes to can print them off. I worry that the gameplay may be slightly suboptimal due to my desire to base it so much on the allomantic metals but I think I managed a decent balance in the end. I don't actually gamble real money with this and I wouldn't recommend anyone doing so , it is just for fun The most I do is sometimes I play it with my MAG players where they are using their ingame (regenerating) resources to try to temporarily get more or to gain secrets from the "informant" they are gambling with
As an aside.
I will be starting another campaign of the MAG over on steelministry.com hopefully in the next 2 weeks. It will be a multiple crew "cops and robbers" type campaign where there is a skaa crew (or perhaps 2 separate crews depending on the number of players I get) who are trying to pull a certain job, and a ministry crew trying to hunt them down. I have enough players to run it already, but I am looking for a couple more, so if you are interested just toss me a pm or create an account on steelministry and chime in to say you are interested.
Thankyou for reading, and if you have any thoughts, comments, criticisms or ideas please feel free to comment and let me know
This is an interview I did with Brandon on the 24th of September. Thank you to Weiry for transcribing the audio into a text format.
So the first one we have here is: We’ve seen some hints of the over-arching cosmere story arc, what was the inspiration behind that originally?
I had an idea for a book when I was fifteen, just getting into fantasy novels--just getting into meaning, reading everything I could get my hands on and diving in face first--and I developed that idea over the next few years. I started writing and realized I was just no good as a writer yet. Which was okay, it wasn’t a big deal to me. I realized it was beyond my ability to approach, it was a vast, enormous story. Years later when I was writing Elantris I thought “Well let’s just pretend I wrote that book and it was awesome and it’s the prelude to what’s going on here.” That expanded into something much larger and much greater. I’ve mentioned before, part of my inspiration for this was the fact that one of my favorite writers, Asimov, later decided to connect two of his main story universes, the Robot books and the Foundation books. It was really cool when he did it and I felt what would happen if I started doing something like this from the get go. I’ve known several authors who do it at the end of their careers--well I guess Stephen King’s not even at the end of his career, in the middle of his career--saying let me tie a bunch of these things together. What if I seeded all of this from the get go and use this story, this awesome story, that I wasn’t able to write when I was younger as a foundation for it
Next one we have is on a similar note: When you reach the end of the cosmere will there be something else? Or do you feel this will take most of your writing career to achieve?
Yah, I think this kind of the Story of my writing career. Now, who knows. As I plotted it--right around mid-mistborn series time--I came out with thirty-six books, of which I’ve done what five or six? more than that...
Three, four, five, six, seven...
Seven. I think there is plenty of time so ask me in thirty years.
This one’s kind of similar: When or if you reach the end of that, were you planning on expanding more or were you going to get done with what you had planned and be done with it.
That’s really a ask me in thirty years sort of thing. I want to see if I can’t get this whole thing done. I want to do it in-- There’s this sort of tension to it, in that I view this as-- the arc is my life’s work. But at the same time I don’t want to be belaboring it. There are cool things going on that I want to get to and I want to tell people about. And so there’s this push and pull inside of me, wanting to do this. We will see.
Are there any eventual plans for release of things like Way of Kings Prime or the old version of Dragonsteel after the new version is released?
Once there are no more spoilers in those books I’ll do what I have done with things like White Sand and whatnot, that if people write me-- Mistborn Prime is a good example. There’s no real spoilers in Mistborn Prime if you’ve read the trilogy. It’s not a very good book but you can read it and kind of understand the history of where the story came from. So I’ll do the same thing with those books.
How and when are you planning on releasing Sixth of the Dusk, the cosmere short story you wrote for Writing Excuses?
Once the entire Writing Excuses team have finished their stories-- If you’re not familiar we did this thing were each brainstormed a story on air and then we went and wrote them and now we are doing revisions on them. Well, Mary went and I wrote ours, Dan and Howard didn’t write theirs, but they’re catching up. Once they are all done, we will release them together in an anthology. We will do, the workshopping episodes that we did, we workshopped each others stories, and you’ll be able to on Writing Excuses read the rough draft, because that will be included in the anthology, listen to the episode where we workshop it and then read the final draft, which will be in the anthology and get the whole-- see what we changed and things like that.
Here we move to more clarification type questions or different questions along those lines. Rather than more over-arching questions. We’ve got here: When are we going to see a mechanical way to use the Metallic Arts?
Once the technology is appropriately caught up and once I feel like it’s right. It’s going to be a little while.
We’ve actually had a conversation on the forums about using lurchers and coinshots in a way to power a train of sorts. (Brandon starts making interested? sounds) It has inspired some interesting conversations.
Will ‘Southern Scadrians have their own series? Or will they just be something mentioned in the next mistborn trilogies? Does anything major take place…
We will have to see. Originally they did not have a series but it will depend on how much time I spend deviating with interesting side-stories before I jump up into the second trilogy. Because by the second trilogy, this has all been discovered and its a different world. I have loosely plotted a smaller series visiting the southern continent.
This, I’m unsure of what exactly is being talked about because I have not been reading the forum: What happens when a Pulser is burning Cadmium and in a speed bubble? She'd be burning her Cadmium 20x faster than usual--so far as her bubble and those in it were concerned--and her slow bubble would extend far outside the area made "normal" by the effects of the speed bubble, so where does all that extra energy go?
Um… Send me that one in writing and let me run it through Peter who is my physicist.
We’ll do that.
And maybe run the math through Eric. He’s probably asking that one.
[[Official answer is that they would cancel each other out. The fact that one bubble is larger than the other may cause a ring around them which would be affected by the larger of the two.]]
That was actually-- I think it was Windrunner on the forum. I might be wrong [Transcriber note: Yes, you are. How could you forget Kurkistan?] I think that’s who it was though.
He’s supposed to ask me the hard Way of Kings questions, not the hard Mistborn questions.
Yah, we’ve got a couple of those a little farther down here but most of these are mostly clarification.
Does mechanical Feruchemy draw from the user or the machine?
Let’s see if I can phrase this correctly. Feruchemy-- I don’t want you to guess everything I’m going to do, then the books won’t be interesting for you in the future-- When I’m approaching using them mechanically I’m trying to keep to the core principles of the magic as much as possible.
Is burning atium related to Scadrian worldhopping?
(laughter) That’s a good question, the answer is no.
A lot of people wanted clarification on weight in regards to Pushing and Pulling, whether it has a direct correlation to the power or if its just something people say because generally someone heavier is going to push--
Right, right. It’s more-- the whole-- If you really dig down into it, and I’ve talked about this before, the whole mass, weight, push, and pull thing gets a little tricky when-- particularly when you through Feruchemy into the mix-- Are we changing mass? Or are we changing what the earth pulling upon you is… Generally understand that most people who are talking about this are not talking in scientific terms, they are speaking in colloquialisms.
This is the last one here we have from Mistborn: Did the Lord Ruler use lerasium to gain his super allomantic abilities or did he grant that to himself with the Well’s power? If he used the bead, does he count as one of the nine original allomancers that Sazed mentions?
Excellent question. He did not use the bead… In all of this he granted himself basically, he rebuilt himself to be extremely powerful and he did not use one of the beads.
Now we are going to move more to some questions on Sel: Would it be easy for a Forger who'd once almost lost her arm (freak guillotine accident) to make a stamp to lose it temporarily, or would it require some more involved Forging than "my arm actually got cut off that one time"?
No, and-- The more plausible something is the easier the Forging is definitely.
Is there a way to reverse the Shaod?
Um... (long silence) There is a way to do basically anything.
So it’s kind of a RAFO? Will we ever find--
No that’s not what they asked, they asked if there is a way. Yes there is but how reasonable a way that is is very--
Especially with the Lake where they can release themselves in.
Is Resealing a subset of Forging, or a separate system like Bloodsealing is?
Um… (another long silence) I’m trying to remember what I decided-- I was building all of this on a fourteen hour plane flight keep in mind-- I believe it is… Let’s go ahead and PAFO that one. I need to go to my notes. I can give you a tentative “I believe it is the same system and not a cousin system” but at the end of the day I kind of had to go to my notes and work things out. There was lots of wiggle room built into the Elantris magic system but I have to know what I decided.
There are only a few more: Did seons exist when the Aonic peoples discovered Elantris?
When the Aonic peoples discovered Elantris… did seons exist… Okay let me go back to my timeline (long silence) It kind of means you have to define what you mean by Aonic. The problem is if you dig back too far in history its kind of like asking “what’s a german?” You know what I mean? [Transcriber’s note: Curses! I should have clarified that…]
Because the Aons are based upon Elantris itself and so they don’t become Aonic until they are writing the Aons.
And Aonic is also-- you are talking about the people and so its like are the Normans Brits? Or are they Vikings? Or are they Frenchman?
Why don’t we phrase it as the people of Sel when they discovered Elantris.
No, no, that’s getting, okay-- (long silence) Let’s go ahead and RAFO that one, just because the history of Elantris is very interesting to the cosmere. When people are starting to get an inkling of that.
Odium was there once upon a time.
Yah… And the question of who built Elantris and how they built Elantris. What’s going on with the Elantrians back then and things like this. So let’s just RAFO that.
What year did the Reod occur in the Elantrian calender?
Let’s go ahead and-- oh boy, Elantrian calendar… Is this Windy? [Transcriber’s note: Nope, Mwahaha]
I don’t remember who asked this one, I don’t have their names written down here.
I don’t have my wiki on me, I’m not going--[[He was RAFO'ing this so we moved on]]
Okay, and is the word Hoed based off an Aon and if so which one?
Yes, it is. It would be Hoe… no Oed, O-E-D
And here is the last one for Sel: Does Shu-Keseg predate the splintering of Devotion and Dominion?
No, I don’t believe it does.
We only have one here from Nalthis, this one’s a little bit tricky. Can you store Breath in metal without the Eighth Heightening? Just put it there without awakening, just to hide the Breath.
Can you hide Breath… Yes you can hide Breath in things.
Metal in particular, without the Eighth Heightening. (talking over each other to explain question)
I would say yes you could.
What are some characteristics of and how many other wordhoppers are there that we have seen excluding Hoid, Demoux, and Galladon.
You gave me really good wiggle room on that one. Obviously the other person with Galladon and Demoux.
Right, the one from a future book.
His characteristics are… What is he like? Some people have read his book so they know what he’s like…
Which book is he from?
He’s from White Sand.
Okay, that’s one I have but have not gotten to.
It’s only mediocre so don’t worry about it. Let’s see what other worldhoppers I want to give you clues about… (long silence) There’s a Terriswoman running around, if you keep your eyes open.
I have to reread it, everything.
Who else do I want to talk about… Words of Radiance has a couple good ones, that will be pretty obvious.
When do you plan on releasing the Way of Kings annotations?
I’ve only written about a quarter of them. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will take me a few years just because its taken me three and a half years to get the second book out. So I feel a burden to get the books going before I do side things like this. My life got a whole lot more busy with the Wheel of Time than it used to be. Which has cut out some of my side-projects like this but I would like to do them eventually.
Why can Rock see Syl?
Ooh, good question, why do you think Rock can see Syl?
My personal theory here is because his people have such a strong belief and reverence in them it allows him to see them for that reason because his belief creates some sort of cognitive or spiritual pressure which allows them--
He would agree with that philosophy. I would say, usually when something like that happens there is also something physiological going on.
And this is one of my side theories that I espouse here. Is that kind of similar to the reason why there are no spren in Shinovar is because the people there so disbelieve them that it creates a negative pressure that keeps them from physical manifestation?
Would Rock be able to see the Cryptics?
Would Rock be able to see a Cryptic? That is a good question, you will have to see.
Is Shallash the daughter of Jezrien?
Umm… Oh, yes, she is his daughter.
Two more questions here: Do bigger gems store more stormlight for longer than smaller gems? So a broam would hold it for twenty hours where a chip might hold it for six hours or something.
The cut of the gem and how flawless the gem is has more to do with how long the stormlight stays than size.
And the last one we have here is: Is it possible to use a soulstamp to give shardplate life or at least achieve a robotic status?
Wow, it is really, really hard to invest things that have already been invested. Let’s just say that, it is really hard to do that. Part of the reason why it is difficult for instance to push or pull on something that is inside of somebody because the investiture is interfering and you would have that similar problem doing anything to shardplate with any of the magics.
About once a week I think of an idea for a story. Here's a list of some of my favorites that I'd love to develop
1. Billions of years in the future humans have conquered death. In fact, they have done everything that they could ever think of. The biggest problem is boredom. Every idea has been fleshed out. Every invention has been invented. How does a race of people exist if there is nothing left to do?
2. A sect of magical beings have dedicated their lives to pouring energy into a globe of heat and power. No one outside of the sect knows of the globe. The sect has been dedicated to this effort for so long all but the highest priest remembers its original purpose. But the high priest knows he cannot do what his predecessors have left him.
3. Children are born with a power to alter the molecular structure of objects around them. They are dangerous if not kept calm and happy. The more cognitive and aware they become, the more the power diminishes. Newborns can make objects explode their molecules, breaking covelant bonds in their toys or in their mother's hand, making the birthing process extremely dangerous and most mothers opt for dosing their infants during birth. Toddlers "play" with their ability. Pre-teens can pretty much only agitate air molecules to push or pull on objects, making them fly across a room. Adults can hardly make a cup budge sitting on a table.
Let me know if you'd like to do a writing exercise using one of these ideas. I'll join in.
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Fblthp is a creature featured on a couple of the "Magic: The Gathering" cards. (Totally Lost and Doorkeeper). He's very cute, and I fell in love with him pretty much from the first time I saw a picture. So, I decided to crochet one!
Do instructions in [brackets] in one stitch
FINGERS (make 4)
1: Magic ring 3
2: sc around
3: sc, in, sc
4: inc, sc, inc, sc
5-6: sc around
THUMBS (make 2)
1: magic ring 3
2: sc around
3: inc, sc, inc
4: sc around
5: sc, inc, sc, inc, sc
6: sc around
Sew fingers and thumbs together on inside.
1: (start in finger loops) sc around (I got 15 scs)
2-4: sc around
5: sc, dec around
6-13: sc around
14: sc, inc around
15-22: sc around
TOES (make 4)
1: magic ring 3
2: sc around
3: inc around
4-5: sc around
1: Magic Ring 6
3: sc, inc, sc, [sc, hdc], hdc, [sc, sl], [sl, sc], hdc, [hdc,sc], sc, inc, sc
4: sc, sc, inc, sc, sc, [hdc inc], [hdc inc], sc, sl, sl, sc, [hdc inc], sc, inc, sc, sc, sc
5: (backloops only) sc around
6: 6 sc, 4 hdc, 1 sc, 2 sl, 1 sc, 4 hdc, 6 sc
7: repeat row 6
8: 6 sc, 2 dec, 4 sc, 2 dc, 6 sc
9: 4 sc, 2 dec, 4 sc, 2 dc, 4 sc
10-25: sc around
1: magic ring 6
10-16: sc around
17: increase (8 sc, inc)
18-20: sc around
21: increase (9 sc, inc)
22-28: sc around
29-30: decrease around (9 sc, dec)
31: 7 sc, dec, 10 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 10 sc, dec, 7 sc
32: 7 sc, dec, 8 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 8 sc, dec, 7 sc
33: 7 sc, dec, 6 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 6 sc, dec, 7 sc
34: 7 sc, dec, 4 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 4 sc, dec, 7 sc
35: 7 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 12 sc, dec, 2 sc, dec, 7 sc
36: 7 sc, 2 dec, 12 sc, 2 dec, 7 sc
37-40: sc around
41: 3 sc, dec
42: 2 sc, dec
43: 1 sc, dec
44: dec around
1: (with black) Magic ring 6
2: (with green) increase around
3: sl, [2 sc], hdc, [2 dc], hdc, [2 sc], sl, [2 sc], hdc, [2 dc], hdc, [2 sc]
EARS (make 2)
Note: this is worked back and forth
1: chain 6
2: sc across
3: 4 sc, dec
4: dec, 3 sc
5: 2 sc, dec
6: dec, sc
1: magic ring 3
2: sc around
3: inc, sc, inc
4: sc around
5: inc, sc, inc, sc, inc
6: sc around
7: inc, 6 sc, inc
8: sc around
SPIKES (make 3)
1: magic ring 3
2: inc, sc, inc
3: sc, inc, sc, inc, sc
*note: I hooked into the body to create the first row of the mouth*
1: 3 sc, drop row, 7 sc, go up row, 3 sc
2-5: sc across
Sew everything together.
As before, I suck at making patterns, so if you have any questions feel free to ask!
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So, I guess I'll get everyone caught up with everything that has happened since my last update. There's a lot, so sit tight, and I'll try not to go on about any one thing.
Jezreel told me that, when people from Taiwan return home from traveling, people here ask about what they ate, rather than what they saw and did. I'm quickly finding this part of Taiwanese culture slipping into how I view my trip, as so much of what we do centers around eating, eating, and more eating!!
For clarity's sake, I'll divide the post up into days again, just to keep everything straight.
From Zony's house, Jezreel and I went back to Tainan, and met up with his uncle and cousin, Vivi, for supper. We went to this really well established restaurant (apparently it's been around for more than forty years), and had some delicious traditional Taiwanese food, including some dumplings, these beef and leek cake things, and some good old wonton soup. I did all right eating the whole meal with chop sticks, but I did make quite the mess. After dinner, we hung out a bit, and Jezreel's uncle bought me some plum spice and dried cherries from this dried goods store (he was a very nice man). After that we took a train and a cab back to Zony's house. Jezreel and Zony decided to head out to Kaohsiung for another night out at the club, but I decided to stay in and get some rest.
While I was resting, Zony's sister came home, and startled me awake, thinking I was Zony. She goes to university in Kaohsiung, and didn't know Zony had friends over. Luckily, she spoke pretty good English, so I was able to explain the situation and go back to sleep.
On Sunday, Jezreel and I packed our bags and caught a cab to the train station, and our back packs on we headed out to Kaohsiung.
At Kaohsiung, we started out exploring the cool train station there, including the "Dome of Light," which is a really cool stained glass dome. Then, we headed out to the Kaohsiung night market, which is right by the train station, and got something to eat (pig kidney soup, if I remember correctly, and fresh dragon fruit for dessert). Then, we took a train to the coastal area of the city, and went exploring. Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, and is the largest city in the southern half of the island, and is known for it's art scene. We spent a lot of time walking around the ocean and the river, and checked out a photography gallery, and listened to some live music that people were playing.
On our walk, we circled back to another train station, and after catching a metro to the main station, we caught another High Speed Train to Taichung, where Jezreel grew up and his grandparents live. We were both pretty tired at this point from all of that walking (and my back-pack was pretty heavy at this point, haha), so by the time we got to Jezreel's grandparents house, we went to bed pretty quickly.
We both slept in a bit, and woke up for lunch that Jezreel's grandmother had prepared. Just in case there is any doubt (I didn't have any) a grandma's home cooked meal in Taiwan is every bit as satisfying (and filling!) as one in Canada. Monday, we mostly just hung out at the house, until we took the family scooter to the Taichung night market after supper (both lunch and supper consisted of rice, a green vegetable dish, a stir fry with chicken, salmon, a soup, a meat dish (duck and beef, respectively, if my memory serves me), and fresh fruit (watermelon!) for dessert.
The night market in Taichung was really cool. Jezreel took me to a really well known shaved ice place for some delicious shaved ice with beans and ice cream (delicious!) and then we arrived home for bed.
Tuesday, I woke up for breakfast, and was treated by Jezreel's grandmother to a salty fried cake thing, two sweet cakes, one with honey and one with chocolate in the middle, and an apple (which I ate the core of). For lunch, it was another set of delicious dishes to be eaten with rice, including some delicious beef, and more amazing salmon. For dessert after lunch, Jezreel and I got fresh watermelon and pineapple.
After lunch, Jezreel took me out on the scooter, and went across the city to show me where he used to live as a child, after his grandparents moved in to his family's old house. Then we met up with one of Jezreel's elementary school friends who now owns a Taiwanese burger (consisting of fried meat, peanut sauce, veggies, and a little bit of sugar: totally delicious) booth, and tried some of his wares (despite being still full from a day and a half of grandma meals). Then, we quickly checked out an art museum before it closed (only the first floor), and then walked around in the park outside the science museum, and checked out Jezreel's old elementary school.
We also checked out a mall, where I found Chinese copies of a bunch of Brandon Sanderson books (Mistborn 1-3, Elantris, Way of Kings), and got Jezreel to take pictures of them (he convinced me not to buy them, since I already have English copies that I have read, I cannot read Chinese, and I didn't have much room in my already heavy back pack). They were soo pretty though (pictures will be coming, haha)! I did buy two English books there, since I'm running out of reading material, and the train ride home from Vancouver is going to be long!
Finally, it was time to head back, just in time for another home cooked meal. This time the meat dish was Taiwanese sausage (best eaten with onion).
After supper, we packed our bags, caught a city bus to the bus depot, and bussed all the way back to Taipei, where we promptly fell asleep.
And that brings us up to today. Today was Jezreel's first day back at work since I arrived here, so I found myself on my own for the first time since my arrival. After Jezreel left, I went for a run around Da'an park. Then, after showering and dressing (and chatting on Facebook a bit, since morning here is evening at home, and thus optimum time for chats), I changed more money to Taiwanese dollars (by myself), ordered some Subway to go, and caught the metro rail to the Taipei Zoo.
It was a gorgeous day outside when I left, so of course I wore my new shorts (purchased at the Tainan night market), and a sleeveless shirt, meaning I was totally unprepared when, just as I had reached the far end of the zoo, it started raining! At first it was just a light drizzle, but then I heard thunder in the distance, and decided that I had better start heading back to the entrance (it was about time to head home anyways). After toting an umbrella along through all the rainless days Jezreel and I were travelling, the first day I didn't have it with me was, of course, the day it rained.
I managed to get back to metro safely, where I (all by myself) refilled my Easy Card with dollars, and took the train back to the Da'an area, where Jezreel lives, and was happy to find it was not raining there.
Oh yeah, animals. The Zoo had a lot of really cool exhibits. I saw some pandas, a tiger, a lion, some hippos, some elephants (Asian and African), some camels (one humped and two), a crocodile, an ant eater, some penguins, some zebras, some gazelle, a bunch of reptiles, flamingos, and many others. They pretty much had everything you could expect (it's a pretty big, and might I say gorgeous, Zoo), even a Beaver. Unfortunately, it started raining right when I was nearing the beaver exhibit, so, since we have those at home, I decided I'd rather get back to the entrance before the rain got worse.
So anyways, that's my trip since my last update. I should be in Taipei, with regular internet access for the next while, which means I'll probably be updating a little more regularly. I hope you all liked the update
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Apparently it just isn't possible to make money off of authors any more. At least, that's the way it would seem if you take a look at what certain publishing companies are doing. And you'll be surprised who this one focuses on.
Re-blog from this site, http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/author-beware-of-scams/ at the behest of the writer.
Several very good stories there for new authors.
Author Beware of Scams !!!
The reason I started http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com initially, was to warn authors of traps they can fall in, after a friend of mine has been deceived by a so-called vanity publisher. Well, she was very naive and did not seek the help of a lawyer, specialized in contract law, nor the advice of her well-meaning author friends or her writer’s group. After having her manuscript sent out to several dozens of publishers and receiving only rejections, she was so eager to get published, that she did not want to hear any warnings and signed her rights away for 70 years after her death! Not only this, she also paid more than $6.000 to have her print book published. Until now (3 years past the initial launch) the vanity “publisher” failed to format it into an e-book, despite his many promises.
For those who do not know what a “vanity publisher” is: These companies take on almost every book authors pitch to them, without concerns if the book is marketable, they charge authors outrageous amounts for editing, book cover and printing or e-book formatting. Many of these companies are printers who get their machines running this way. Others are just agents for author services, who receive healthy commissions from their sub contractors.
“Vanity publishers” don’t make money selling a book, they only make money producing it!
Now it seems that reputable, traditional publishers step into the foot prints of these “vanity publishers” and go into the business of deceiving authors. Many jumped on the bandwagon of the success of e-books and created imprints for digital books, such as “Hydra”, “Flirt” or “Alibi”an imprint of Random House, or “Blackfriars” an imprint of Little&Brown in the UK.
They ask writers for a life-of-copyright contract that includes both, primary and subsidiary rights! (See the story of my friend above). No advance. Only the NET proceeds (means, after all costs of the “vanity publisher” is deducted) will be split between both sides. Deductions for e-books include, among others: the overhead and administrative costs of the “publisher”, costs for editing, cover art, formatting plus a publicity fee of 10% etc. – so the author pays for all these in the end.
Publishing – but not under these conditions!
And if there is a print version, printing and binding costs,” plus 6% of GROSS sales revenue (NOT the NET sales!) to cover freight and warehousing costs. One has to do the math, calculate all this and realize that it makes absolutely no sense to sign up such an unfavorable contract. There is only one who makes money with the authors work: The “vanity publisher”.
Yes, the authors don’t have to pay upfront costs, on the other hand they don’t know what they will earn per book, while the publisher is assured that their expenses will be paid for as soon as the book sells.
See what John Scalzi wrote in an open letter to Random House on his blog:
“Dear Random House: It’s clear you’re targeting new, un-agented authors here because no agent who is not manifestly incompetent would allow his or her client to sign such a terrible contract. But here’s the thing: New authors don’t actually need you to sell their work online. They can do it themselves — and are, and some of them are doing quite well at it. You are working under the assumption that these newer authors are so eager to be with a “real” publisher that they will suddenly forget that publishers are no longer a bottleneck to being published, or that you are offering nothing they can’t do themselves (or have done for them) and offering them nothing for the service — indeed your business model appears predicated on sucking as much as possible from them in fees and charges while offering as little as possible in way of compensation. Hydra is a vanity publisher, in sum.
Do you genuinely believe these new authors are that stupid? And if so, do you genuinely want an entire imprint of your publishing empire populated by such people?”
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Kaladin wakes up and tries to wake up the bridgemen. He then tries to get them to get out of the barracks, but when they go back to sleep, he pulls Moash out of bed and carries him out of the barracks. The bridgemen follow him out of the barracks, but when Kaladin tells them they're going to train, they ask Gaz if they have to do what Kaladin says, then leave when Gaz says no.
Kaladin finds Gaz and collects his pay, five infused marks, then bribes Gaz with one of them. Kaladin asks Syl to watch over him to make sure Gaz doesn't kill him in his sleep. Kaladin then goes to the lumberyards and begins training himself using a partially build bridge. He gathers a large crowd while doing so, and keeps getting surges of energy. After several hours, he finishes his training and collapses in an alley. Syl talks to him about her rapid intellectual development.
Adolin is grateful for his father's foresight in preparation for things that could go wrong. Nearly 50 people died due to the chasmfiend, and nearly 100 were wounded. Adolin notices the lack of disrespect for his father since the battle. He goes to report the casualty list to the King.
Dalinar contemplates the ineffectiveness of the Vengence War. Due to the chasmfiends and their gemhearts, the Parshendi could stay on the Shattered Plains indefinitely. The Parshendi also have never given a reason for the assassination of Gavilar. He speaks with Sadeas and Elhokar about his lack of battles, and says that the means are as important as the ends, which shocks everyone as being very un-Alethi. Sadeas diagrees, and continues to insult both of Dalinar's sons, calling Renarin useless. Dalinar grows furious and says that Sadeas must have mispoke, otherwise they must go to war. Sadeas retracts his statement, and Wit appears. Elhokar asks Wit about his disappearance, and Wit then banters with everyone around, including Renarin.
Elhokar then mentions to Dalinar about looking into the people who cut his bridle on his horse, and Dalinar says he will take care of it.
Adolin and Dalinar examine the broken saddle, and try to determine if it was cut as an assasination attempt, as Elhokar believes it is. Adolin grows frustrated at Dalinar because the Kholinar house is always doing bearacracy, bodygaurding, and protection rather than fighting on the plains. Dalinar tells Adolin to track down several leads on the potentially cut saddle.
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I have finished the book. The mystery has been solved. Holy hamburgers. I am totally speechless.
The chapter starts off showing Sazed. It's been a week since Vin single-handedly spared Luthadel from a brutal Death by Koloss, and she's been sleeping the entire time, so it falls upon him to serve as acting Emperor until Elend gets back.
He's currently sitting in on a meeting between the three kings. Things are going about as smoothly as one could expect, considering that these men were enemies barely a week ago.
Cett wants to get straight to business and reclaim his lost country, but Penrod and Janarle disagree. They say they they should wait until the empress or emperor returns. and that they should be concerning themselves with securing Luthadel before expanding their reach. It's common sense, but it seems that Cett lacks the mental capacity to comprehend even the simplest of principles. How he's managed to survive as long as he has is a complete mystery to me.
Anyway, Sazed permits Cett to send scouts back to his homeland, but all they're allowed to do is look. Cett isn't happy with the verdict, but Sazed shuts him up with mentions of Vin's power, which is something he apparently does quite often these days.
Sazed thinks himself inadequate for the task Vin has placed upon him, but he's been finding it difficult to care. Tindwyl is dead, so what's the point? With that attitude, I dread to think of what will happen to his people if they come to him for leadership.
As it turns out, Janarle's city has also fallen into unfriendly hands, but, as Penrod the mediator so kindly points out, they still can't make any moves without leadership. Honestly, I don't see why they're all in such a rush to move. They wasted months just sitting outside Luthadel's walls; They can wait a few more hours.
Ashfalls have been occurring more and more often recently. I wonder. Does the frequency of the ashfalls have any in-world significance, or is it just a literary device used to signify the world's steady deterioration?
Elend and Lestibournes have finally arrived at Luthadel. Though the koloss are still camped outside the gates, there are bodies being buried, and Elend's flag is being flown. All seems relatively safe, so they enter, blending in with the normal civilians returning to their homes in Luthadel.
Sazed returned to his room after that dreadful meeting was ended. He, in his anguished state, returns to his and Tindwyl's manuscript, crying once more as he remembers their time together, wondering what the point of it all was. He must know, though.
He starts reading a random paragraph, which just so happens to be the section where Tindwyl pointed out several of the biggest contradictions they uncovered during their research.
One thing I find particularly interesting is that one passage says that the that the Hero would be a short man, but another passage states that he would be tall. Apparently Kwaan actually wrote that Alendi was short. I thought that he was supposed to have physically "towered over others", but it seems that he was just referring to his "presence," so to speak. How did I manage to misread that? I guess it's kinda like how I read Kwaan's name as "Kwaam" at first, and thought that Tindwyl's name was spelled Tyndwyl. Eh.
Kwaan also wrote that he thought himself to be the Holy First Witness. Is it a coincidence that that's what the Survivorists call Sazed in the present? Sazed feels that something's not quite right about this. Indeed. I couldn't agree more. There's something fishy going on here, but I can't quite place my finger on it. All I know is that the title "Holy First Witness" did not ring a bell when I first heard it.
Vin shows up, interrupting Sazed when he's on the brink of a what may be a world bending revelation. She tells him that she should not have been allowed to sleep for so long. When he informs her that she's been in a coma all this time, she's actually shocked. What? Does she think ordinary people just sleep for 168 hours straight? Besides, with the way she's been abusing her body, she should be thankful that she woke up at all.
Sazed tells her that its alright for her to rest now that this is all over, but she disagrees. She still feels the Well calling her. Beckoning to her. She says that it's in the city. :In the city...: What if it is the city. Yup, that's my crackpot theory for today. The Well is Luthadel.
Vin asks Sazed if he believes that she is the Hero of Ages. A week ago he would have said "yes" without hesitation, but he's beginning to have doubts once more, as the prophecies are so contradictory and confusing. Vin is unperturbed. She just tells him that it isn't about prophecies; its about "what needs to be done." If that's how she thinks, why did she bother asking him the damnation question in the first place?
Vin goes on to tell Sazed about how she drew on the mists against Lord Ruler. She says that the Well is in Luthadel, explaining that if Rashek was able to create the Ashmounts, he could very well have placed and Well wherever he want. Indeed. He could even, perhaps, have transformed the Well into a city. Actually, if Rashek truly had a hand in influencing the legends, then who's to say that the Well was ever in the mountains of Terris do begin with?
Anyway, Sazed detects voices. Upon tapping his hearing reserves, he hears that Elend has returned, and Vin leaps out of the window without saying another word. How rude.
Ham is filling Elend in on the events of the past week when Vin arrives. She and Elend embrace, and she tells him what she did. He isn't at all displeased with her, though. He chooses to accept the role of emperor, because, as he puts it, his views were too simplistic anyway. What's this? Compromise? Why, I never thought I'd see the day.
Elend, noticing how exhausted Vin looks, asks if she's still pewter dragging. Of course she isn't. Is it even possible to pewter drag for an entire week? She tells him that there's something else, and asks him to come someplace with her. He doesn't even stop to greet Sazed before waltzing off with her. How rude.
Sazed watches them from his window. At first he feels a great weight off his chest, but then he notices a piece of paper. On it is the rewriting of that passage containing the line that was torn out of the rubbing all those chapters ago. The line has been torn here as well, and the tear is―Surprise!―completely identical to all of the others.
Alendi must not take the power for himself. Is it some sort of code? Something was definitely wrong with Alendi specifically grasping the power for even an instant. Whatever it is, Sazed should probably keep Vin away from the Well until he can get to the bottom of this. What was it that he told Cett? Ah, yes. Not to be hasty.
Vin leads Elend, Ham, and Spook to Kredik Shaw. The thumping has grown so intense that she is now able to discern exactly where in the city it's coming from.
Elend tells Vin that the mists are behaving in an unnatural manner. Vin says that they are guiding her, but he says that the mist actually seem to be pulling away from her. Almost as if it fears her, which is odd, because it allowed her to draw upon it's power to defeat the Lord Ruler. Vin doesn't care, though. She feels right about what she's doing, and her feelings usually lead her to the right decision. Excluding the whole Cett debacle, of course. She "felt" that he was a Mistborn, and we all know how that turned out.
Anyway, the group enters Kredik Shaw. Vin leads them through it's halls, searching with steel as she walks to the Lord Ruler's secret chamber, eventually finding something. Using Duralumin, she uncovers a hidden stairwell, and after replenishing her metals, Vin and the others make their way down..
Sazed once again returns to read Kwaan's writing. This has all been stated before earlier in the book, but it somehow feels more eery this time around. Sazed is bothered by the whole "Holy First Witness" thing, but he doesn't know why. Perhaps it's the striking parallels between Kwaan, Sazed, Alendi, and Vin. Their roles seem to all but completely identical. If Alendi wasn't the Hero, and he circumstances were the same as Vin's, what are the chances that she is?
As Sazed tries to make sense of all this, he notices someone standing next to his chair. He turns to see the mist spirit staring at the torn sheet of paper on his desk. He falls over in horror, asking what it wants. The spirit points incessantly towards the center of the city, Where Vin is currently breaking into the Lord Ruler's hidden, hidden chamber.
It then occurs to Sazed that, if the mist spirit was the one who tore out that line from the manuscript, then it must have been trying to get something across to him. Perhaps, the power of the Well corrupts even the best of people. Perhaps, regardless of a person's heart, they have no choice but to use the power to destroy.
Or maybe it corrupts only the pure hearted. That would almost explain why Kwaan did not want Alendi to reach the Well, but was perfectly fine with Rashek doing so. The only problem is that Rashek was already no good, so, although he stopped the deepness, he still caused a great deal of harm to the world. Am I to believe that Alendi would have caused even more harm had he lived to take the power, regardless of whether or not he released it?
There's no more time for thinking. Vin is just moments away from finding the Well. Suddenly, Sazed hears an agonised scream, and the entire city joins in cacophony shortly thereafter. Sazed rushes out of his room, but it's already too late.
Vin and the rest of the group walk down the stairwell into a vast chamber, where they find vast stores of canned goods. They also find a map of the Final Empire engraved into a metal slab. Luthadel is at the very center of it, but another city is circled as well. Statlin City. If they don't find the Atium down here, it would probably be in their best interest to search there.
Vin is uninterested in any of their minor discoveries. She is committed to her purpose and will not be so easily dissuaded. Pointing down a pathway, she urges Elend to come along.
Sazed dashes down the streets amidst the screams, following the Mist spirit's lead. He feels an inexplicable trust for the entity. It would seem that it's soothing him as well. Can it use other forms of Allomancy as well, or is it only capable of soothing? Perhaps this creature could hold the answer to the question of Allomancy's origins.
On his way to Kredik Shaw, Sazed comes across a corpse. The man did not die easy, but appears to have been "shaken" like poor Jed, the farmer. The mists have once again begun to kill in force. He asks the mist spirit if it is the cause of this, but it denies the accusation vehemently, and once again points towards Kredik Shaw. So I am to believe that the Mist spirit is not related to the deepness in any way?
Sazed finally decides that Vin must be stopped, so he runs into Kredik Shaw. The mist spirit does not follow. He rushes through the building and finds the opening that Vin uncovered. He also finds Marsh standing in the doorway. Marsh tells him that he should not have come here. When Sazed asks for a explanation, Marsh says that he doesn't understand why, but he has to kill him. He then apologises, and promptly throws Sazed into a wall. Hah? What in the world is going on?
End of Chapter 57
Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension. Yet, it seems that whatever commands the Inquisitors―whatever it was that spoke to Zane― desperately wants her to find it.
Everything seems to have been flipped on it's head. The "Misty Death", which seemed like such a terrible menace for the entire book, suddenly doesn't seem all that bad. This "third party" seems to be a much bigger threat. This creature, "Zod", also wants the Keepers out of the way for some reason. Why could that be?
Elend and Vin walk down the passage until they run into another, smaller, cavern clouded with some sort of dark smoke... or mist, perhaps? This stuff, whatever it is, bears a close resemblance to the depictions of the deepness in the illustrations. It also seems to be contained inside the cavern by an invisible barrier of some kind. Curious, that.
Vin steps into the dark cavern, urging Elend to follow. It's pitch black, but Vin can see a light ahead.
As Sazed slides to the ground, Marsh once again asks him why he came. He says that everything was going well before Sazed showed up. What was going well? What has he been doing here all this time? Has he been into the hidden chamber? Has he been to the Well?
Marsh apologises once again, and, assuming that there are coins inside, he shoots Sazed with his bag of metalminds. The metals tear into Sazed's flesh. It almost looks like the time has come for Sazed to say goodbye to this cruel world, but before his wounds kill him, he's is able to draw health from his gold ring inside the bag, closing his wounds and sealing the metals inside his gut. Hot damnation! With feruchemy being capable of feats like this, it's no wonder that Rashek was able to make himself seem invincible.
Elend and Vin walk through the dark cavern. Vin exudes a firm sense of determination, but Elend finds his present circumstances to be rather...daunting. The thought of the Well's immense, impossible power terrifies him, as it should; The thing is supposed to hold enough power to crush very world he lives in like a soft, mushy grape... gross. At any rate, it isn't the kind of thing that one takes lightly.
Vin and Elend reach the end of the tunnel, and find another chamber, this one seemingly man-made. There is light here coming from a pool of some sort. Upon seeing what can only be the Well of Ascension, Vin's confidence seems to evaporate. She fears that she won't know what to do when the time comes, but Elend reassures her, which just so happens to be what he's best at.
Vin, having recovered some of her earlier confidence, notices some broken pottery in a ledge at the back of the room. Upon closer inspection, Elend finds a plate that has not yet been shattered. At its center is a bead of some new metal. Neither of them have ever seen it's like before, but, as Elend says, the answer may lie closer to the Well. I don't see how he figures that, but it doesn't really matter now. They abandon the shattered pottery and approach their destination.
Meanwhile, Sazed battles against Marsh. The ultimate showdown between allomancy and feruchemy! Thanks to Marsh's earlier attack, Sazed's metals are trapped firmly inside his own flesh, safe from Marsh's foul allomantic touch. With iron on his side, Sazed also has the oh-so essential weight advantage, and with Zinc enhancing his mind, he has an advantage similar to that which Atium affords.
Which brings to mind the question: Why isn't Marsh in possession of Atium? The Inquisitors must have had some with them in the Conventical of Seran. Then again, they probably wouldn't have left any behind for him, or anyone else to take. Could Atium have been what he was looking for in the Inquisitors' chambers?
Anyway, the two of get into a "pushing match" of sorts, and Sazed once again asks Marsh why? Marsh apparently doesn't know, but that doesn't make any sense. Has he lost control of his own limbs? Zod was never able to physically take control of Zane's body, so why should Marsh be any different?
The battle runs it's course, and Sazed finds an opening. He moves in for the kill, but just before he's able to strike the killing blow, his metalminds run dry. Is it bad that I'm just a little bit relieved by this? I have so many questions. It would suck if Marsh were to get himself wasted before any of them could be answered.
Marsh, having lucked out, disarms Sazed, but just before he can finish Sazed off, he takes a dueling cane to the head. Ham has come to the rescue―just in the nick of time, too. His blow knocks Marsh out cold. Sazed still needs to stop Vin, though, so he doesn't have time to chat. He takes off down the stairway without saying a word.
Elend and Vin approach the Well of Ascension. It's a pool filled with some sort of mesmerizingly beautiful Liquid Metal. If it is metal, then I'm guessing that only Mistborn are able to tap into it's power. Does that mean that Alendi and Rashek were both Allomancers?
Vin notices the mist spirit standing directly in front of them. She reaches for her daggers, but before she can draw them, Elend stops her. He says that he doesn't think it's dangerous, telling her about his previous encounter with it. He then approaches the spirit, and inquires as to it's purpose here. It responds by slashing his gut open. Ah.
Elend falls over, bleeding profusely. When Vin sees that his would is most definitely fatal, she begins to panic. I knew it! I knew it!
As Elend dies in her arms, he looks at her and smiles. Or at least he tries to. I imagine it's kinda difficult to do anything when you're as close to the Other Side as he is now. Vin sees she can still save him. She need only take the power of the Well for herself.
Vin walks into the pool, absorbing the awesome power of the Well. She turns to Elend, somehow knowing exactly what she must do to fix him, but a voice stops her. Vin, with the power surging through her, is able to see exactly what happened when Rashek took the power for herself, and she sees that the deepness has returned in full force. The voice tells her that if she tries to stop it on her own, she will destroy the world, just as Rashek did.
Vin looks to Elend. He's weeping now from a pain that Vin believes to be completely unrelated to the gaping wound in his gut. Knowing that he wouldn't want her to save him at the expense of the entire world, she releases the power go. At that very moment she hears an exultant voice scream "I'm free!"
Ah. What just happened?
End of Chapter 58
Kwaan's last written words were "For he must not be allowed to release the thing that is imprisoned there." Woah! I'm a little confused here. That is not what I recall being written there before. What's up with that?
Regardless, Could that thing that she just released have been Zod. That would mean that, from the very beginning, Vin, Sazed... everyone has just been a pawn in his bid to gain freedom. What is Zod, really? Who imprisoned him? How did they accomplish such a feat? Also, where the hell do they go from here? Agh! So many questions.
Not only is she about to lose her husband, but she may also have just ushered in the apocalypse. I was about to ask what Vin has done to deserve this, but then it hit me. It's so obvious! How could I not have seen it before? Vin killed Straff. It was after her marriage to Elend, so he was her father; which made him kin. This is yet another tragic example of the kinslayer being cursed by gods and men!
Anyway, untimely jokes aside, Vin is going through hell right now. She weeps with Elend in her arms, knowing that she's made a catastrophic mistake. She cries out for help, but no one can save him now. I feel like I've read, or perhaps written, this very scenario before. It looks like I was right. Elend really is a dead man.
The mist spirit stands above her, once again pointing at something. Vin, somehow able to think clearly with her husband dying in right before her eyes, realises that the creature only stabbed Elend to get her to use the Well's power to save him. Ah, of course. It should have worked, but Vin was just too selfless, in the end.
The spirit points at the broken pottery that they stumbled upon earlier. Specifically at the piece of metal embedded into the plate that Elend found. The creature instructs her to feed the metal to Elend. Could it be?
Vin washes the bead down Elends throat with her remaining vial, and as he fades into unconsciousness, something totally awesome happens. He begins burning pewter. Elend, who always wished for allomantic abilities, has become a bonafide Mistborn.
I guess I was wrong. It looks like Elend is going to survive after all.
Sazed left Luthadel after the events of the past weeks. I wonder if he managed to get those metals out of his gut. I can't even imagine the hellish suffering he must have gone through to pull that off. He would've had to spend weeks storing health to prepare himself for what would otherwise have been a fatal operation. Even then, the removal of those metals must have laid him at the very doorstep of death itself.
Anyway, the deepness has returned to blight the land. It kills seemingly at random. It's as if the whole world has transformed into that village that Sazed came across way back in chapter fifteen.
Tyndwyl's death, and the events that followed have transformed the once optimistic Terrisman into a bit of a cynic. Vin told him about the Thing she released, but instead of staying to record her testimony, he just walked away.
Sazed has returned to Kwaan's steel plate in Conventical of Sarand. When he places his rubbing up against the original texts, he finds that they do not match. The text was modified by the very entity that Vin released from the Well. The Terris prophecies, the Hero of Ages, even the deepness, has all been a cunning deception.
This must be why Marsh did not allow Sazed to read the text on the slab when they first came here. He must have known that Sazed would find something that he shouldn't have. Well, he reads it now. All questions are answered, and Sazed's already shaky beliefs are shattered and ground to dust
The being that I called "Zod" has the power to alter anything not written in steel. Even the memories in a Feruchemist's metalmind. He modified the prophecies to get a selfless "Hero" to free him of his bonds. This explains why Kwaan chose Rashek, whom he knew would, without a doubt, take the power for himself.
Elend has finally awoken from his slumber. He, as I had assumed, is a full blown Mistborn. As Vin says, this answers the question of where the first Allomancers came from. It also reveals why only someone with noble blood can be born an allomancer, and, more importantly, how Rashek must have defeated Alendi.
Anyway, Vin explains to Elend what happened at the Well. Elend, though he appears hardened, is just as supportive as before. When Vin asks him what they're to do now, his reply is just about the only thing they can do at this point. "Survive."
End of Part Six
There it is, folks. I must say, it never once occurred to me that the text in Sazed's rubbing might have actually been changing, so I chalked all of the discrepancies in the text up to my own crappy observational skills. Well, I'm glad to be able to say that I don't totally suck after all.
I'm still kind of in shock after that ending. Never before have I read a book where the author mislead the reader in such a way. I originally came to this series looking for some light reading, but what I've gotten has been two of the most enjoyable and fascinating fantasy books I've read in years.
This book easily topped The Final Empire in practically every way. I actually find it hard to imagine how the third book can possibly be better than this one. I guess I'll find out next year in "First Time Reading the Well of Ascension: Season 2 - First Time Reading the Hero of Ages!"
Here are Brandon's Alloy of Law tour dates, originally posted by mycoltbug:
The dates and locations are:
Thursday, July 21
“Putting the ‘Epic’ in Epic Fantasy” panel (Room 6A)
Panelists: Brandon Sanderson, George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Christopher Paolini, Peter Orullian, K.J. Taylor, & Kevin J. Anderson. Moderated by Michael Spradlin
Signing & giveaway at Tor booth (#2707)
48 copies of MISTBORN (mm) to be given away along with ALLOY broadsheets and a handful of ALLOY galleys
Alloy of Law Tour- Updated from Brandon's website*
Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego
Date: 11.09.11 Time: 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Place: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
Address: 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite #302
San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 268-4747
Barnes & Noble, Huntington Beach, CA
Date: 11.10.11 Time: 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble Booksellers – Bella Terra
Address: 7881 Edinger Ave. #110
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
University Books, Seattle
Date: 11.11.11 Time: 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Place: University Book Store, Seattle
Address: University Books
University Temple United Methodist Church
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105
schedule: 11/11/11 is a cool date. But Brandon will most likely be finished well before 11:11 p.m.
***THIS IS A TICKETED EVENT***
Please see the link for an explanation!
***VENUE RESCHEDULEThis post has been reported for attempting to skirt the rules
This is a signing with University Books, but it's taking place at the University Temple United Methodist Church.
Chapters, Vancouver BC, Canada
Date: 11.12.11 Time: 2:00 pm-5:00 pm
Place: Chapters Metrotown
Address: Metropolis, Metrotown 4700 Kingsway
Burnaby, British Columbia V5H 4M1
Phone: (604) 431-0463
Joseph-Beth, Lexington, KY
Date: 11.14.11 Time: 9:00 pm-10:00 pm
Place: Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Address: 161 Lexington Green Cir # B
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: (859) 273-2911
Notes: Tickets are required for this event and available with the purchase of The Alloy of Law, available Nov. 8th. Limited VIP tickets are available for Gives Back Members.
Murder by the Book, Houston
Date: 11.15.11 Time: 6:30 pm-9:30 pm
Place: Murder by the Book
Address: 2342 Bissonnet St
Houston TX 77005
Notes: Store policy requires that you buy one copy of THE ALLOY OF LAW at the store to get anything signed. Pretty sure you can buy it there ahead of time and bring your receipt; call to make sure. They can also get books signed for you if you can't attend; see their site and/or call for details.
Barnes & Noble, Brooklyn, NY
Date: 11.16.11 Time: 7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble Booksellers – Park Slope
Address: 267 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Notes: PLEASE BE AWARE: This will be a SIGNING ONLY event. There is not enough space for a standard reading and Q&A. If you have questions for Brandon, you may ask them while he's signing your specific books, but please be courteous to everyone else waiting to get their books signed.
Forbidden Planet, London, UK
Date: 11.19.11 Time: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Place: Forbidden Planet Megastore
Address: 179 Shaftesbury Avenue
London WC2H 8JR
Phone: 0207 420 3666
Source: Official Alloy of Law Tour Dates
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I got an email the other day from Becky Wilson at Dragonsteel Entertainment that put my Mistborn Table on hiatus. I will finish it soon, but there is another project I have to get completely "mapped" out first.
I am working on a woodcut map of Roshar.
I'll pretty up this post with a screenshot.
The plan is to cut and pocket the whole thing to a depth around 1/8" and then cut out the individual regions as inserts and stain those inserts in different shades to set them apart from each other.
The email I got from Becky though was in answer to my request to send a couple of thin pieces of wood to Brandon to get them signed. I want to mount one of them in a pocket below the cutout of the map. The other is just in case I mess something up with the first.
So that is what I am working on right now. Because of all of the tiny lines that go into making a map, there is quite a bit of work to be done before actual cutting, and even the cutting process will take a very long time (When I had it at 10.75" long, it was about 80,000 lines of gcode for each pass with the tool, and about 13 passes. It it now about 16" wide if that is any indication)
Hello to all who happen to read this, and welcome to my blog. Who am I, what is this blog about, and why should you care? Well, I am Matthew Hollingsworth, known as Mad_Scientist on this site. This blog is about storytelling, both my own attempts at creative writing, and my thoughts on the various storytelling mediums that exist. And you should care because I think some of you might find my thoughts interesting, and those of you who are also aspiring writers might find it encouraging to read about someone who shares the same struggles.
With that out of the way, onto my first post, the topic of which is what I consider to definitely be the greatest video game plot twist of all time. That is a bold claim to make, and I give the caveat that of course I have not played all video games, so it's possible there is a twist I don't know about that is better. But I find that unlikely, for I am talking about the "greatest video game plot twist" not "the greatest plot twist in a video game." There is a difference in my mind.
What is that difference? For me, a really good "video game plot twist" or "video game story" is something that takes advantage of the unique merits of the video game medium. There are many games with good stories that could have been easily told in a movie or a book without losing any impact. These are fine stories, but by not taking advantage of the strengths of a video game as a storytelling vehicle, they miss an opportunity for greatness. A truly great video game story is one that cannot be told somewhere else properly, one that loses something if you try to strip it out of the game and put it into another medium.
So what are the strengths of a video game when it comes to telling stories? Some would argue there are none, but that is not true at all. One of the main great strengths of a video game story is the ability to incorperate player choice into the story. When characters in a book or a movie face tough choices, they make the choices regardless of what the viewer thinks should be done. There is a strength in that, in seeing a character you've grown to love make what you feel is the wrong choice and being unable to do anything about it. But there is a different advantage in a video game where you must make the choice yourself. Faced with two or more tough options, none of which are clearly the right one, all of which could permanently alter the fate of the character, and it's up to you to decide what to do, how do you respond? There is a strength in that which gives video games a completely different dynamic.
Technically, choose-your-own-adventure books had an element of choice in them long before video games existed, but I'd argue that video games are pretty much the successors of choose-your-own-adventure books, and can handle the element of choice even better.
Another big strength of video game stories is how they can draw you into the main character's situation, because you are the one controlling the character. In some RPGs, it's beyond just controlling, you pretty much are the main character. And even in games with a character that is less defined by the player, it is easy to get sucked in and identify with him strongly. Thus, if done properly, story events and plot twists that affect the main character drastically can have an even greater impact in a video game than elsewhere. When you combine that with the above element of choice, you have something magical. For example, when a main character who you have spent hours guiding through various trials and struggles suffers some horrible calamity as a direct result of a tough choice that you yourself made earlier, the impact will be incredibly strong if done right.
The stories that are great video game stories, and not just great stories that happen to be stuck in a video game, are made by those who know the strengths of video games and take advantage of them. And the great video game plot twists also take advantage of them. So if that is what makes a great video game plot twist, what makes something "the greastest video game plot twist of all time"? Something that goes even further. Something that is not just a great plot twist in its own right, but which also is so in tune with the nature of a video game that it is literally impossible for the twist to occur in any other medium. Not just a twist that will lose impact if taken out of a video game, something that simply cannot be done outside of a video game.
Does such a twist truly exist? Yes, one does, and it is in a game called 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors.
9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors (or 999 as I will call it from now on) is a game released for the Nintendo DS last year in the US and two years ago in Japan. It's genre would either be classified as a "visual novel" or an "adventure game," and in truth it has elements of both. Most of you are probably aware of the old classic adventure games, such as the King's Quest series, which tended to focus on story, exploration, and puzzle solving. You might not know about a visual novel though, as it is a term for a type of game not seen outside of Japan much.
A visual novel is pretty much a true choose-your-own-adventure book in video game form. They usually have little to no puzzle solving and don't even have a huge amount of graphics (despite the "visual" part of their title) and instead have lots and lots of text and description and dialogue. The "novel" part of the name is just as important if not more than the visual part. They are known for long and complicated stories full of many branching paths based on player choices, with tons of different endings.
(A fairly notable sub-set of them also tend to be erotic, but that's a whole other subject)
999 contains all the puzzle solving of a traditional adventure game, but also contains the limited artwork (during non-puzzle solving segments) and heavy text and description of a visual novel, as well as a visual novel's many branching story paths. The visual novel and adventure game segments are actually somewhat separated from each other, as you will have a large segment of puzzle solving as you escape from some rooms, then follow it with a big story segment full of dialogue, descriptions, and choices, and follow it with another puzzle segment, etc. Fortunately, the puzzle segments also contain plenty of story and are well designed, so the gameplay flows together nicely despite what it might sound like from above.
But you're not reading this for a review, so I described the gameplay mainly so that you'd have a basic idea how the game works. Moving on to the story and the "greatest video game plot twist," I should of course warn you that spoilers are heavy from this point on.
In 999, you play as Junpei, a 20-something college student who suddenly finds himself awakening in a room he doesn't recognize on what seems to be a boat. After figuring out how to escape the locked room, he meets 8 other people and learns that all of them have been kidnapped by someone who only identifies himself as "zero" and will be forced to play something called the Nonary game in order to escape the ship they are on before it sinks in 9 hours. To do that they will have to solve challenges and ultimately pass through several special numbered doors until they reach the door with a 9 on it, which will be the exit. Hence the title.
It seems like a fairly standard setup: a bunch of strangers are brought to some location by a mysterious person and have to work together to escape and/or survive, while not knowing if they can all trust each other. Fortunately, there is a good reason this idea is such a popular setting, and 999 does an excellent job with it, so soon you will be drawn into the story and characters despite the somewhat cliched initial premise. What follows is a fascinating tale that also creates a background story combining intriguing real life history with myths and both real and pseudo science. You may find yourself checking google often just to see what parts of the game's story are real and what parts are made up.
The game also does a good job of merging story and gameplay in a creative manner. One of the common complaints adventure games have gotten is that their puzzles are often nonsensical and/or completely arbitrary, and are just thrown in so that the player has something to solve. But the entire premise of 999 involves the fact that zero created challenges for the people trapped to overcome, so the presence of the puzzles is perfectly explained and does not detract from the story. About the only thing the game does that seems initially a little odd is how it separates Junpei's thoughts and words, which are shown in first-person on the top screen, and the descriptions of events that are going on, which are detailed in third-person on the bottom screen, which takes a little getting used to at first but soon becomes natural and seems the obvious choice.
And then you will reach the end of the game and die horribly. Ok, that's not 100% guarranteed, but chances are it will happen your first time through. Fortunately, 999 is designed to be replayed, and after you save your data you can restart the game and this time fast-forward through the story segments you've already seen until you reach a point where you have to make a choice or something you haven't seen before occurs. This makes it quick and easy to explore different options. You will make different choices and open different doors, and learn further pieces of the story. And you'll probably still die again at the end. But eventually, you're figure out how to get the true ending.
And that is where things go nuts. Final spoiler warning.
In order to reach the true end of 999, you'll have to get a specific bad end first. For those who have played video games a lot this won't seem odd, for many games do not let you get the best ending on your first playthrough, and force you to unlock the true ending through various methods. What will seem odd is the way Junpei starts knowing things that he only could have learned through some of the other playthroughs, things he should not possibly be able to know on this playthrough.
When another character confronts Junpei about his strange knowledge near the game's climax, Junpei will be stumped. But at that point, the descriptive text at the bottom screen, the thing that has been there the entire game, forgotten, simply a part of the visual novel's genre conventions, will change. It will switch from third-person to first-person. "The answer was simple. He knew because I knew."
As the now suddenly first-person narrative goes on and reveals more details, talking about how it has watched and guided Junpei since the beginning and how it was able to view the other timelines where Junpei failed, you will realize something. The text on the bottom screen was always first-person. It's just that Junpei was never the character you were playing as. The entire game, you though you were controlling Junpei but were in fact playing as someone else. (And no, it's not you as in you the player. It's an actual character in the game)
Everything that you dismissed as simply being a part of the standard conventions of a video game will suddenly make sense. The reason why getting a certain bad endings was needed before unlocking the true ending: it's not just because "video games do that a lot," it's because the character you were actually playing as was able to view the failed timelines and use the knowledge.
The separation between the top and bottom screens? You will realize that throughout the entire game, the top screen has represented Junpei and the bottom screen has represented this other character. That is why you'd sometimes see Junpei's thoughts in first-person on the top screen and other times get descriptions of how he was feeling in third-person on the bottom screen. The fact that you've always solved every puzzle using the bottom screen? That's not just because the only touch screen on the DS is the bottom screen and it makes it convenient for puzzles, it's because Junpei hasn't truly been solving the puzzles himself, he's been getting help. Which also neatly fits in with why he'd always be the one to solve a puzzle, not his companions.
The twist is beautiful in the way it takes things most people will have assumed were simply "the way a DS game works" or "the way a visual novel works" and actually makes them part of the story, but it is most incredible for the fact that it is a twist that relates to who you have been playing as the whole time. The concept of a player character is something unique to video games, which is why this twist is impossible to do elsewhere.
Oh, someone could try something similiar. Someone could write a novel with third-person narration and have it switch to first-person. But that would be a different twist, one where you don't think the narrator is a character and suddenly realize it is. Interesting, but different. Someone could make a movie or book where it was obvious from the start that the narrator was a character, and then reveal that the narrator is not the person most people thought, but that would also be different. The narrator of a story is something completely different in concept than the character you play as in a video game.
999 has a great story, and tons of twists I have not mentioned (including just who exactly the character you are really playing as is). But above all, this one twist stands alone for completely redefining everything you thought you knew about the game, and taking advantage of the concept of a "player character" to tell a twist that is literally impossible anywhere else. And that is why I declare it the greatest video game plot twist ever.
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