Saluki Con 2019

Progress Report, A Last Minute Convention Appearance Announcement, and other Odds and Ends

Hello, everyone! I have a lot of business to cover, and not much time in which to do so, so let’s get going.

First of all, we are a last-minute addition to Saluki Con at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, this Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29! We were planning to just attend, but a spot opened up, so we took it! Amanda and I will be there with the standard fare: Mike and the Ninja (which we’re very close to selling out of); Six Legs, No Heart; Night of the Dragon, plus prints and commissions. More information on all of those items can be found at the Big Skink Tales website. It’s going to be a good time, and we hope to see you there!

Go on….

Homer's bad Florida costume for Lisa

Quick Thoughts on “Finished, Not Perfect”

Whoops! I got busy over the past couple of weeks, which has kind of wrecked my blogging productivity. I didn’t have quite enough time to get everything done just the way I wanted. I didn’t have time to get everything perfect, so nothing got done.

I did it wrong. I forgot the code: “Finished, Not Perfect.”

Go on….

The monsters rejoice for the party has been destroyed.

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Four – Dragon’s Lair

We had a lot more trouble with the fire giant mage’s cave than I was expecting, so I decided it was once again time to leave the Realms in undeniable peril and spend some time irresponsibly leveling up. Nevermind the clouds of dragons ready to descend and level everything in sight—we headed west for experience and mediocre loot.

Go on….

Bane briefs his lieutenants

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Three – Another Giant Mess

[Hey. This is part 3 in a series. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here!]

The last big sidequest I wanted to complete before accepting that box social invitation from the hill giant shaman involved…well, more giants. I can’t seem to get away from these guys. This time, we were investigating a fortress called Taydome’s Keep in the plains of Thar. An enchantment had been placed on the keep that bewitched any giants within, placing them under the command of some half-baked wizard named Kimarr, who was feuding with another wizard named Quil, and had taken our good pal Sasha hostage. Kimarr had bent a good number of hill, cloud, and fire giants to his will, along with some ogres. Since they were reluctant servants to Kimarr, we were hesitant to fight them (well, all of us except for Veda), and tried to make our way through the keep as stealthily as possible to avoid the patrols.

Go on….

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Two – Ignoring the Plight of the Realms for Some Sweet XP

[Hey. This is part 2 in a series. If you wanna read part 1, you can check that out here.]

[Be forewarned: I’m real bad at remembering to take screenshots, so you may have to use your imagination until (and if) I get my act together. I stole some from MobyGames.com so you would at least have a lil’ something to look at.]

Elminster hurled us back through the portal, but it deposited us in unfamiliar territory. Fortunately, our party members vaguely recognized the geography as an area far to the east of Phlan, so we gathered our bearings and headed west. What the heck, Elminster? Why’d you throw us so far off course?! Ah well. 

There are a number of sidequests I normally do at the beginning of Pools of Darkness, but this is the first time I’ve used the class-change feature, and our party is currently stuck with a level 1 thief in Scholtz II. I wanted to level this guy up as much as possible in a fairly controlled environment so as not to get caught unprepared in a deep dungeon with a low-level character. Also, a character can only gain experience points up to one point below the amount needed to gain two levels, so I needed to be able to train frequently to get the most out of my experience, otherwise the points just go to waste.

Go on….

Pools of Darkness Title Screen

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness

It all started as an innocent computer game purchase from Babbage’s in 1993. It has grown into a monster that eludes me to this day.

I have what practically amounts to a wrecked semi’s worth of video games at my disposal, and none of them have achieved White Whale status quite like Pools of Darkness. It’s the fourth and final game in Strategic Simulations, Inc.’s original “Gold Box” series of Dungeons and Dragons PC games, preceded by Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Secret of the Silver Blades. I’ve beaten all three of those games. Multiple times. Not Pools of Darkness.

Go on….

Funny quote from Earthbound

My Top 10 Video Games of “2018”

With 2018 being my first full year as a father, the value of shorter games that I could play to completion in just a few hours became greater than ever. While binging a 5-10 hour game over a weekend is a perfectly cromulent option, I only have 45 minutes to an hour to play games, most days. That being said, I can drag a 5-10 hour game out for a week or two and perceive what most would consider a short game as a full, meaty experience. Naturally, you’re going to see a nice variety of these shorter games in this year’s top 10. They are the perfect length for my current lifestyle, seeing as I rarely finish a game thinking, “What? That’s it?”

However, I also filled a good portion of my 2018 gaming time with some lengthy roleplaying affairs. I have to approach games like this as a long-term commitment that might take six months or more, and to be prepared to take numerous breaks from them in order to enjoy a shorter experience along the way. A couple of these games captured enough of my imagination and attention to make the list, however.

This write-up took much longer to compile than usual—waiting five months later than usual to wrap it up and allowing my memories of these games to deteriorate didn’t help. So, what made the list in 2018? I better hurry up and tell you before I forget everything!

As always, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2018 (hence the quotation marks in the title), just that I either beat them or played the majority of them in 2018.

Go on….