Monday, November 7, 2011

Log of the Final Aayrn Attack as accounted by the Captain of Guardians

It has been two weeks since we laid to rest the last of the Brevin. In the days proceeding that and preceding this, nothing on the far side of the gates has stirred. Today was different. I have never seen the Aayrn, or any living thing, gather in such numbers... they sensed a change in the boundary between Refuge and the Other side, that which our former Guardians called the Barrier of the Pact. They came in droves, spilling out into a horde surrounding each gate. They threw themselves at the barrier that had so long held them at bay as though it were a wall unseen... and they burned. They shattered. It was not decimation, but devastation. All of those that came against the Gates of our Refuge this day have perished. The passing of the Last Brevin has changed the nature of the Barrier a great deal, it seems.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Brave Band of Adventurers Sets Forth...

... and is promptly eaten by a dragon.

Or not. I haven't decided. But here's what they looked like before they got started:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some First Efforts...

I volunteered my wife to help Elmokki with an undead lion sprite. He said a longdead appearance would be fine, so here's my wife's first effort there...

I really don't want to post any screenies of Legacy of the Last Refuge at this stage, but progress is slower than I'd hoped, so here's our first effort at level generation...

This is actually a full screen shot, but as I've never posted an image here, I don't know how it will show up. It may be hard to make out, but it's a tile-based forest (first effort) with a grass background (another first effort).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gilgamore's Journal - Final Entry

I have it! A solution! There IS a way to use the Barrier's properties for our own ends. The people have grown soft as the sand trickling through the finest hourglass... they create works of beauty and thrive in peace, but they will need the martial skills and arcane knowledge I and mine posses. The Pact ends on the morrow even if I must shuffle through the gates myself. It will be a wonderful morning.

I can barely contain myself for sleep... after all this time, these words will not need to be read! My people will be free and we will regain our world!

A Torn Letter...


Thank you so much for the consistency of your missives. It warms my heart to know the family is well in my absence.

My studies go well. The academy is every bit as grand as it is rumored to be. It seems like a grander structure could not be crafted in all the Realm. (Oh, I know nothing can quite compare to the Sanctuary, but the Guardians have long been acknowledged as the most noble of people - can you imagine giving up all contact, save that of your family, for eons? They can't even send letters like these, as the magic of the Pact is said to obscure their every written word - I just heard that from a professor today.) I have already made a few friends in class and...

Gilgamore's Journal - Nine Hundredth and Seventy-Third Entry

Decades have passed since last I made two entries in these pages over the course of a single year... now I find myself adding a new observation on an almost daily basis. Every effort I have made to refute these newfounded fears has met with failure.

We never understood the nature of the Barrier. We described it in theory and found no evidence to dispute those theories. We fell so far short of understanding. The threat will never fade. Our Refuge, wonderful that it is, will forever be under siege - I boasted in my youth that such a fate was preferable, when I imagined that my own years would be more than a tear drop in the sea.

The Pact has never been more important to our peoples. Alas, that which saves can, in intemperate measure, kill.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gilgamore's Journal - Nine Hundredth and Sixty-Seventh Entry

I stood my watch at the gates again today. I recalled Madeline's observations that there are yet some of the Aayrn watching us... she is correct. I had assumed them to be offspring of our original pursuers, but peering more closely, I began to recognize distinct traits I'd recorded so long ago in this very journal. I have reread my early entries and confirmed it. Many of the Aayrn standing counter to our watch are the same as those that watched in those early days.

This seems absurd on the surface. None of the vermin are as long lived as the Brevin. I near my dotage... or what would be dotage were I of one of the lesser peoples. Now, I hope that I no longer retain my sanity. If these are the same creatures that stalked us through the Barrier's corridors, unchanged by the current of time... how can that be?

Madeline's Journal - First Entry

My precious daughter, I make this record for you. You are the youngest of us and your burden is heavy. I do not know what the future may bring, other than peace, but I will pass on as much of our people's knowledge as I may.

For now, it is a relief to know that we are safe. Secure in our Refuge. The great march has ended with us having a home. And while our people will always have a sword near at hand, it is enough that our role has shifted to one of guardian and protector.

I, too, take my watch at the gates... knowing those abominations can not gain entry without our consent is more than anyone dared hope. Yet, many of them loiter just beyond the gates. A few simply watch us... perhaps hoping we will grow restless or careless in our vigilance.

The March of Madness - Epilogue

Today I have seen what comes of the unceasing efforts of my fellow Brevin and the lesser species. Many are the losses recorded in prior pages, but they were not for naught! We have succeeded! We have found a Refuge... secured entry and even barred the cursed Aayrn. They gnash and slash at the Barrier's gates, but to no avail.

The Brevin have tied their fate to that of the Refuge - the bindings placed upon these gates will ever stand impregnable so long as one of our blood does not pass back into the Barrier. Time grinds upon the blade of my people ever so gently, but if the threat should somehow outlast our species, so much the better... entry will be forever denied to those beasts!  May our efforts always be remembered.

Some Context...

We are the guardians of a Legacy. We remember...

We remember a time without magic. A time of natural wonder and discovery. A time when Earth flourished and our people dwelt in relative harmony.

We remember magic's return. How it seemed liked a never-ending staircase spiralling around the ever-growing pillar of our people's arcane knowledge and skill.

We remember the Aayrn. The rips they caused in the very fabric of reality when they invaded our planet.

We remember the ruins. The ruins, not of a species or a civilization, but of an entire dimension torn asunder by a rampaging vermin.

We remember our flight. The endless march through the Barrier between dimensions, constantly hounded by the same hordes that had forced us from our place.

We remember our escape. The moment it became clear that our plan would work - the glow of the Barrier's gates when they slammed shut upon the hapless Aayrn too unlucky to perish before we sealed their fate.

We stand at those gates. We watch. We wait. We remember. We are the guardians of our people's Last Refuge.

Context Matters...

In computer games, I can only imagine one thing that matters more (but that's a post for another day). In particular, the context wherein struggle ensues is of paramount importance. No matter how detailed and elaborate a game's portrayal of conflict may be, if one has no reason to care why that conflict transpires... well, one can probably find more engaging things to do with one's time in front of a computer.

Consider Sid Meier's Civilization II. Here we have the simplest combat system invented since risk, maybe? Oh, but I cared when my millennia-old phalanx unit somehow managed to fend off the unwelcome advances of that... wow... OK. Has it been that long since I played it? And I still recall those days with fondness - I got to build my own context for that half-remembered struggle, and so many others like it.

X-Com: UFO Defense -  If context is king, then this classic may be the king of kings in strategy gaming. It is one of myriad choices, decisions and persistence - from soldiers and all of their gear to what missions to take them on. I can proudly say that in my games... I never left a man behind - I'd replay a combat as many times as I needed to survive.

Master of Orion II boasts one of its genre's most interesting examples of tactical combat. Sadly, it left me feeling like it was "almost" good, but I still loved the battles. Not because of the graphics, or even the gameplay mechanics... rather these battles derived their importance from the context - often that of a galactic empire's fall or a young race's survival. Oh... there's some persistence again... and let's not forget the countless choices in this game's play, including customizing your race and ships in a MEANINGFUL way.

Storyline Doesn't...

Fallout Tactics was one of my absolute favorite games on the tactical level, but it got old quite quickly. With few, if any, decisions to be made above the tactical scope this game was tied together solely on the persistence of your team's characters. The linear story, the meaningless freedom of the strategic movement and CTD bugs that made ironman-mode an exercise in masochistic futility - these killed what could have been my favorite game of all time.

Phantasie on the Commodore-64 deserves special mention here... it had a generic and completely predictable storyline (I'm being generous here, really), but my fondest CRPG memories come from this and the Magic Candle series (where the story left a much better impression).

Roguelikes - google it.