Friday, January 20, 2023

Vampire the Masquerade: Antedeluvian Chronicles Rules

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

So, it's time for me to post the ruleset the Antediluvian Chronicles.  First off, when I created the idea for this, I was running on Vampire the Masquerade: Revised Edition, but you can easily use 5th edition's Dark Ages rules in a pinch. 

With that in mind, even the Dark Ages rules require some changes. Going off the Dark Ages character sheet, you'll have access to all Talents. Among the Skills, Commerce would be restricted, since you'd have come from a closed society, and you became a "god" to the humans, so they provide everything you'd ever need.

As for Knowledges, that has the most restrictions; Linguistics, Seneschal, Occult, Theology, and Law wouldn't be available at character creation. As previously stated, you come from a Neolithic society, anything that's not required for survival wouldn't be available.

That doesn't mean that those abilities won't be available during the chronicle. Trade will begin, Languages will develop, Laws will need to be created, religions other than Caine's direct interactions with the One Above will form amongst outsiders, etc. 

Roads/Paths of Enlightenment are not available until partway through the chronicle, not even thought about until after the destruction of Namtaru. The default Paths will be the Dark Ages Roads, Road of Humanity, which is holding true to their former human morality in order to prevent the Wassail, and the Road of the Beast, which tries to sate it by holding survival as their top virtue. All other Roads and Paths are derived from these two, and may be developed over the chronicle.

Additionally, disciplines would be restricted as well. Characters have access to Animalism, Auspex, Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, Obfuscate, Potence, Presence and Protean. Clan specific disciplines like Chimerstry, Obeah/Valeren, Obtenebration, Quietus and Mortis would be developed during the Second City. Viscissitude would be created AFTER the second city by Ashur, since, in my mind, I always looked at it was a "seed of the Antedeluvian", so he'd create Koldunic Sorcery, but that would be the only form of blood magic. 

As for characters, you'd be playing one of the 13 clan founders. Each of them has an origin tailored to them.

Veddhartha is was a Seneschal for the 1st city, and is the final child of Enoch, embraced as the last of the 16. He is extremely jealous of Lucien, setting up the rivalry of the Ventrue and Lasombra early.

Arikel was an artist and a dancer in life, creating simple art like cave paintings and carvings. Enoch was moved by her works, and made it so she could create her art forever.

Ashur was an early shaman, in tune with the earth, an early indication of his clan curse. He's the only one to to have access to the Occult skill at character creation.

Lucien is the first child of Enoch, and will be groomed for greatness. However, Enoch will see that the embrace awakened a darkness that had been there in life.

Ilyes was a warrior in life, who felt that something was missing after the embrace. He dove into scholarly pursuits, becoming the passionless vampire the True Brujan become. 

Absimilard considered himself perfect in life; a great hunter, perfect lover, beautiful man. However, when Zillah embraced him, she left a small, insignificant scar on his cheek. He's hated her and himself ever since, and had plotted her destruction ever since.

Ennoia was a werewolf kinfolk in life, which is why she starts with the Protean discipline, and would go on to become its master. However, because werewolves consider a threat to their kinfolk to be a threat to themselves, they begin the never ending war between them and the vampires.

Mekhet's embrace went wrong. Some of the early spirits found him when he was dead, and tore at his soul. He forgot his own name because of that, with "Mekhet" being the name that Irad gave him. He's forever seeking the pieces of his soul that were taken from him until he's finally destroyed.

Dracien was a criminal in the 1st city, and was sired as a way to spy on his brethren. It will be his idea to destroy the 2nd generation shortly after the fall of the 1st city.

Malkav was a seer in life, and along with his sister and Saulot, was meant as to be part of a cabal to plot the course of the future. However, like his sister, his sight was cracked by the embrace, so nothing would ever be clear.

Saulot was both a seer and a doctor, meaning he's the only one who had access to the Medicine talent at character creation. He's the kindest of all vampires, though as the chronicle will show, even he will gain a darkness.

"Set" very similar to Ennoia, though he's a Nagah kinfolk. He came from a proto-Egyptian clan, and this colored his views. He wants to destroy the 2nd generation and return to his own culture. Players will come up with his name, but it should come from a proto-Egyptian name system.

Haqim was a warrior before the 1st city, and was instrumental in building up them as fighters. He became a mediator among the city as time went on.

As for the personalities of the others; Enoch is ambitious and wise, Zillah is quiet and direct, Irad is scholarly, yet quick to anger. Namitara is driven by her visions, fearful of the paths the future takes, yet wanting nothing more than to see her people safe.

Malakai is constantly depressed, having sought the sunrise more than once. Only after being tricked into a blood bond by her brother does she wish to survive. After the bond, she adores her brother, and gets jealous of anyone who interacts with him,  save for Saulot, who can help with her depression, and Namitara, who gives her a purpose.

Nimug is like Arikel in that she's an artist. However, she focuses on art through her unnamed discipline, which she will dedicate her time to perfecting. 

And Namtaru could never reconcile his new existence, alternating between depression and rage. He's slain by his sire after the Wassail, the "final frenzy" that sends him from Humanity 1 to Humanity 0.

Finally, all characters will be considered "Caitiff" so there'd be no clan curses, and disciplines would be neither in clan or out of clan; they'd follow the rules of Caitiff, with disciplines requiring 6 times the cost of the discipline to advance, instead of the 5 for in clan disciplines or 7 for out of clan. 

That said, some characters will have some disciplines at character creation. Ennoia, "Set" and Ashur will have Protean, Malkav and Saulot will have Auspex, Ilyes will have Celerity (this is required to build toward Temporis), and Veddhartha and Lucien would have Dominate.

Additionally, the way generation would work would be not as you'd expect. Functionally, you'd be 13th generation at the start; 5 point stat cap, 10 blood pool. As time goes on, your blood pool would creep up to the point where you'd have the 15 point blood pool of an 8th generation vampire. After the 2nd city part of the chronicle, you'd gain access to level 6 and 7 abilities, as well as the blood pool. The 2nd generation would always be stronger than you, however, having access to level 10 abilities by the end.

Caine, however, would be untouchable. The sevenfold curse is in full effect; any damage forced upon Caine would come back sevenfold on them. In effect, 1 point of damage on Caine would return 7 health levels of damage. This would kill a human or werewolf outright, and would force a vampire into torpor. In short, you attack Caine, you lose. And everyone in the story will know it.

Lastly, equipment. As previously stated, you'd be restricted to neolithic equipment, so clubs, knives, spears, bows, axes and furs. Crafting and Hearth Wisdom would be crucial in this chronicle, since there's no manufacturing or specialized abilities yet. You'd head toward the Bronze Age as you near slaughter of the 2nd generation, though no swords would be available at that point.

Oh, and here's a few story hooks for the Chronicle; first, vampire hunters. They'd be a minor nuisance in the 1st city, and a real threat after the flood. 

The war with the werewolves. They'd be a constant threat, and would require constant vigilance.

The Baali infiltrating the 2nd city, leading toward the eventual war against infernalism.

Troile's diablerie of Ilyes. This would cause the split between the True Brujah and the modern Brujah. 

Now, if you want to continue the story past the deaths of the 2nd generation and the curses placed upon them buy Caine and Namitara would be in full, you'll be able to raise your traits to 9 (since level 10 disciplines are considered a "plot device" by the Revised Edition rule set) by the fall of the 2nd city, and the new hooks would be the Baali war and eventual collapse of the 2nd city. 

Additionally, if you're Ilyes' player, you can swap to Troile if you wish to continue the chronicle at this point.

And that's it. Those would be the rules for the Antediluvian Chronicle. The White Wolf Wiki is a useful tool additional resources after getting the initial books. If you're interested in running it, by all means, take this as a springboard. I would love to see someone get something from my efforts.


 But for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Vampire the Maquerade: Short Story for Antedeluvian Chronicle

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

After playing Vampire the Maquerade: Bloodlines a lot recently, and talking with a coworker who plays pen and paper games, I'm reminded of my "post Gehenna" idea, the Antediluvian Chronicle. The idea was taken from the Storyteller's Handbook, where they talked about running a game during the 1st and 2nd cities.

This is the opening I had planned for the chronicle, from the "forgotten" member of the 2nd Generation.


Caine is deified. The clans tell tales of him. Few know the truth. 

I am Namitara, the 4th direct childe of Caine. In the nights of antiquity, I was known as the Seeress, due to my ability see visions of the future, even as a mortal. These nights, I am merely the Forgotten.

I know many of you know of the Book of Nod, so you know of Enoch the Wise, Irad the Strong and Zillah the Beautiful, an epitaph I always found distasteful for her. I always preferred "the hunter" for her, due to her being a hunter of beasts before her embrace, feeding many in her camp with her skills, a focus she retained long after the embrace. Each of them embraced 4 childer, as did I. And thanks my curse, memories were altered and reshuffled among the 3rd and 4th generation who were around at the time, so some thought they were sired by others. 

In truth, Enoch was the "father" of Veddartha, Arikel, Ashur and Lucien. Irad sired Ilyes, Namtaru, Mekhet and Dracien. Zillah sired Ennoia, Absimilard, Haqim and "Set", as we now call him. And I was responsible for Malkav, Saulot, Malakai and Nimug. Some of those names would be unfamiliar to modern Cainites, and as they should be, as they either didn't embrace or were destroyed outright. 

However, 13 of them created the modern clans. Veddhartha the Ventrue, Arikel the Toreador, Ashur the Tzimisce, Lucien the Lasombra. Ilyes fathered the "true" Brujah as well as the one known as "Troile", Absimilard the Nosferatu, Ennoia the Gangrel, Mekhet the Cappidocians, Dracien the Ravnos, Malkav the Malkavians, Saulot the Salubri, "Set" embraced his "Followers" and Haqim his "Children". 

Of the 3 remaining, Malakai, Malkav's sister while they were still mortals, shared his gift of prophesy, Nimug abandoned her name and calls herself "the Shaper", and Namtaru had to be destroyed due to falling to the curse. The first, to be exact, which taught us all the danger of surrendering our Humanity. 

None of us understood what "the Beast" was back then. Due to his own curse, Caine was unable to lose himself to it, as he would be unable to remember that he was, and will always remain, the first murderer. But the rest of us? The curse he passed on would allow us to fall to the fear and rage, to become little more than animals.

But I digress. During those first nights, Caine ruled and we performed his will. At some point, Caine learned of the blood bond, and tricked Zillah into it, something I found distasteful then, and still do now. But it was not my place to tell her, if she would have believed it.

We ruled kindly and fairly. At least, we thought we did. The One Above, however, disagreed. He sent the flood, which killed our mortals and knocked us all into Torpor, leaving only Noah and his get alive. And for a time, the world was peaceful. 

But eventually, we woke up. And once again, we began to rule over the Children of Seth. But Caine...Caine saw what his actions had done, and refused to once again take the reign. So Enoch became "first ruler", and his reign became far more brutal than Caine's had ever been. 

We ruled for over a century, my siblings falling farther and farther into depravity. I tried to stem the worst of it, since I had foreseen out eventual end, but without Caine's influence, Enoch, Zillah, who had finally freed herself from Caine's blood bond, and Irad became more and more cruel as time went on. They called me weak, and refused my advice.

One night, I foresaw our end at the hands of our childer, and I fled to find Caine, so he could punish my siblings and our childer. But it took far too long to find him and even longer convince him to return, as he had washed his hands of his responsibility.

When we finally returned, Cain witnessed Absimilard cutting off Zillah's head with a stone axe, and this caused him to rampage across the Second City, violently gathering the third generation, demanding to know what happened to Enoch and Irad. And when they admitted what they had done, Caine laid their clan curses upon them and their childer. And when Caine was done, I laid my own curse upon them; for the remainder of their days, neither they nor their childer would remember that I existed. Even my own childer would forget that I sired them.

And so I remain, the last of Caine's direct childer, forgotten by all but my sire. I've watched through the ages, seeing the war of ages as it happened. And I have seen visions of the end. The end of everything. And God help us all. 

And that's it for the opening. I'll be posting the rules of the Antediluvian Chronicle soon. And while it was written with Revised Edition in mind, I'm sure it will work well with 5th Edition. Until then, stay beautiful freaks!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Blog Anniversary: KOTOR Version 2: Endgame

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

I know I'm late on this, but as we all know, life can get in the way. And between a bout of depression from my job and my family being...needy, I couldn't get to this until now.

Picking up a few months after the events of Vhae's Journey, Vhae, T3 and HK-47 land the Ebon Hawk on Tatooine and begin asking around Anchorhead for a man with shoulder length hair and a beard, or a woman with a Coruscanti accent. After a chapter of searching, Vhae finds out that Revan and Bastila are in a small hut in the Jundland Wastes, near where Obi Wan will live thousands of years later. HK-47 is overjoyed that he finally found his original master again, though T3 is hesitant, due what happened during KOTOR 2, and now being a little more loyal to Vhae than he ever was to Revan. 

Revan and Bastila invite Vhae and crew in, where Revan once again restores HK-47's memories and full capacity while Bastila serves them the dinner they'd been making. Vhae asked what their plans were, and Revan would reveal that his plans were to hide out on Tatooine until the Republic had rebuilt its strength so it could defend itself from Vlad Ragnos and his plans. Vhae balks at this idea, since she is shocked that Revan would be so inactive, since Revan always had a grandiose plan. 

Revan asked what Vhae thought they should do, then, and Vhae revealed the events of her game, with the defeat of Sion, Nihilus and Kreia and her gathering new Jedi recruits. Revan was pleased to hear this, as well as hearing that both Carth and Canderous had done what Revan had asked of them. This sent Revan's mind into motion, thinking that, if they could gather Vhae's allies, Carth's influence over the Republic, the Mandalorian clans AND Revan's Jedi allies, they just might have what they needed for Revan's original plan.

And so Revan and Bastila gathered their old Jedi robes and the lightsabers they had set aside years earlier and returned to the Ebon Hawk with Vhae the next day. From there, they headed to Dxun and set up base among the Mandalorians, and kept in contact with Onderon, to let them know about the future gathering of fleets. Revan and Bastila had a happy reunion with Canderous, and contacted Carth from there. 

At this point, the narrative would have split slightly, following Vhae and her efforts to reunite the the KOTOR 2 crew and Revan to reunite the KOTOR 1 crew. Vhae would find Bao Dur on Telos using both his mechanical talents and him figuring out Mechu-deru, a force power that allowed him comprehend and manipulate droids, helping out with the rebuilding. She found Atton and Mira on Nar Shaddaa, using their own foci to help others; Mira using her skills as a bounty hunter and empathic abilities to find lost souls and Atton as her protector (due to his precognitive abilities, IE his "bad feelings about this") and money maker through manipulating of probability. She found Mical on Dantooine, trying to uncover what he could from the Enclave as well as the Star Map, being very careful about the Dark Side. Brianna had returned to Enshan to try to reconcile her Echani heritage with her newfound connection to the Force. And Visas Marr headed to Alpheridies to have some down time and commune with the Force, trying her best to find a good balance between the Dark Side that had been thrust upon her by Nihilus and the Light she learned from Vhae.

Revan, on the other hand, would be speaking with Carth and Admira Dodonna about naval reinforcements, and while they could give them a fleet, it would be nowhere near the size Revan commanded during the Mandalorian Wars. Revan told them they'd make do, and spoke to Canderous about Mandalorian support. Mandalore wholeheartedly supported Revan, since Revan would give the Mandalorians the best fight they'd ever see. HK-47 also revealed about the HK-51 factory they hadd access to, and that droid army could make up the ground difference. At that point, they headed to Kashyyyk and reconnected with Zaalbar and Mission, who revealed their paths; Zaalbar was now the leader of his people, and pledged Wookiee support, and Mission had a smuggling network that she could use to supply Revan's army. They also found Jolee Bindo, having returned to the Shadowlands, though he was taking an active role supporting the Wookiees and reconnecting himself to the Force.

From there, they headed to Sleheyron, where Yuthura Ban was leading a resistance against Hutt rule. She was doing so subtly, having small raids against the worst slavers and getting slaves out. Some lived a life away from them, most stayed to fight. They recruited Yuthura and a strike force of elite fighters and headed to Cathar. 

On Cathar, they found Juhani, who...was doing something I can't remember. But they recruited her, and all of them returned to Dxun. 

Once all the teams were recruited, Revan revealed his plan. They would head to Nathema and assault Vlad's temple, lead Bastila to a Force Nexus, where she would use her Battle Meditation to enhance the team, giving Revan what he needed to face Vlad alone.

I had planned on a large space battle and a ground assault, with a small strike team heading to the Temple compromising of Revan, Bastila, Vhae and their Jedi companions, who are met by Revan's Sith team from the first story at their open landing spot. This was their first part of their role; the second they reveal to the team. They would lead the Jedi team into a diversion so Vlad wouldn't catch what was happening, Bastila and Vhae to the Nexus, and Revan is led to Vlad's chamber. Assassin falls during the diversion, Sith Lady and Vhae once they finally get to the Nexus, and Marauder betrays Revan for Vlad, claiming that Vlad had taught Revan "powers Revan could never dream of". 

Everyone was on the back foot, and I'd have given every one of the two games' crews a highlight during the battle and how they'd deal with a newly revealed character; Vlad Ragnos' daughter, who was using her own Battle Meditation to hamper the Republic.

However, once Bastila gets to the Nexus, she and Vhae defeat Vlad's daughter, the battle was now in the Republic's favor, and Revan defeated both Marauder and Vlad. Once Vlad was defeated, his troops were routed and destroyed (since most were Sith Alchemy monsters), Revan's team finally returned to Carth's flagship, celebrating until Sith Lady stormed the bridge. She was angry at Revan for not doing more keep her friends alive. Revan said he regretted the death of Assassin, and told her that Marauder  betrayed their purpose and attacked Revan. She turned from anger to despair, saying she knew that the lure of the Dark Side was strong, and that she didn't blame Revan for defending himself. However, she would not return to a Jedi Order without Assassin, revealing some feelings for him. However, she would not remain a Sith either, and headed off into obscurity.

And at this point, I would reveal that Revan was telling this story, via Holocron, to Tionne Solusar, shortly before the beginning of the Yuuzhan Vong War, as that was the ongoing story at the time.

And that's it. That's the synopsis of the story I was telling 10 years ago. The huge epic that eventually got out of hand for me, and got put on hold when Mass Effect came out. And when SWTOR came out, the whole was idea was abandoned, since SWTOR did a LOT different with their backstory than what I had planned.

What's next for the blog, though? Well, I'll probably do a character bio of my Dark Souls characters, starting with Rain the Deprived, then going into Lucinde, Cleric of Velka.  If you know Dark Souls Lore, you might be able to tell where Lucinde's photo story will go as things progress.

For now, check out the Journey of Rain photo journey on Deviantart, and stay beautiful freaks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Blog Anniversary: KOTOR 2: Vhae's Journey

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

Now, as I said before, Vhae Pano was originally a male protagonist when I was in my 20s, but thanks to Chronicle of Ana Shepard, I'm FAR more comfortable writing a female protagonist than I was back then, so going forward, Vhae is a woman for the purposes of  this story.

Now, much like KOTOR Version 2, KOTOR 2 follows the story of KOTOR 2 for the most part, with a few minor changes to suite the character. In this story, Vhae is a VERY sexually charged woman, and during the course of the story, she has a string of lovers, both male and female. Atton, the Rodian merchant on Dantooine, the Twi'lek Pazaak player on Nar Shaddaa, a string of other NPCs, finally ending with Visas during their "meditation scene", though when posting it to the old KOTOR adult blog, I would have gone into detail that it would have been a combination of the Force Sight scene and sex, making it a very transcendent experience for Vhae. (I wasn't comfortable writing gay romance back when Vhae was male, so Atton would have been off the table back then.) I also planned to imply Atris would been among Vhae's past lovers, giving some extra context for their interactions; Atris is just as much of a jilted lover as she is just generally upset that her friend left for war against the Council's wishes. Though, with Vhae's change in sex, that gives Atris an "angry lesbian vibe", but I feel that having them be former lovers adds context to their history.

I was also planning on including both Brianna and Mical (known as the Handmaiden and the Disciple in the game's party line up) in the story, because I like both their stories. I like Brianna's "I'm missing something without the Force" a lot, and I like the idea of having Mical being Vhae's introduction to teaching others, since he already HAS previous Jedi training, making him easier to bring up to speed. From there, Vhae would teach Brianna, Atton and Bao Dur in that order, with Visas and Kreia having their own stories.

As for Mandalore? Well, his story is as stated in the games, so other than just have conversations with him, there's not much to cover here. 

As we headed into the end, I was planning on using plot threads from The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod, giving HK-47 his mission, as well as him stopping G0-T0 on Malachor. From there, after the defeat of Sion, who revealed he has feelings for Vhae, and Kreia, Vhae and crew returned to Telos, where Vhae told her crew to "go and be Jedi", in so many words, and that she would go find Revan.  And that would lead into KOTOR Version 2: Endgame.

I'll post that one on June 14th, the 10th anniversary of this blog, without fail, even if I have to write it up ahead of time. But for now, look forward to it, and stay beautiful freaks!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Mass Effect Retrospective 15: Andromeda Companions, "Like 'X', but..."

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

 So, even though I've uninstalled Andromeda to free up space for Dark Souls, I'm going to finish off my retrospective. And today, that means comparing the Tempest crew with the Normandy crew. Or rather, to show just how similar the Tempest crew can be to the Normandy crew.

Starting off with the cockpit, Kallo is very different from Joker. While both are crack pilots who are suited to the seat, Kallo was part of the original Tempest design team, and came to Andromeda with the ship. And his memory is good, even for a salarian, meaning he's reliving the building of the Tempest all the time.

Suvi is like a combined Mordin/EDI/Traynor in terms of her roles. Like Mordin, she's the science officer on the Tempest, and like EDI, she's the voice that tells you that you've launched probes. But unlike them both, she's a woman of faith, though it's more of an "I believe in A monotheistic deity, but not any specific one in respect to real world religions." And like Traynor, she's the lesbian romance, though both are more than their sexual preferences, I prefer Suvi's romance to Traynor, since Suvi feels more natural, since it's slower (though you could blame Traynor's romance to it being the last game in the trilogy).

Next on the list is Dr. Lexi T'Perro, who is the ship's doctor. And of course, we compare her to Dr. Chakwas. Lexi plays the role of the "motherly doctor who takes care of the crew", though Lexi lacks Dr. Chakwas' tact. Lexi worries that the crew thinks that she thinks of them as nothing more than experiments, and that bothers her greatly.

Cora Harper takes the role of Kaidan/Jack/Miranda. Like Kaidan and Jack, she's the overpowered human biotic, and like Miranda, she's the second in command of the Pathfinder team. However, what makes Cora "unique" is that she has an asari mindset due to serving with asari Commandos for four years. Little more needs to be said about Cora. She's one of two heterosexual romances on the Tempest.

Liam is the resident "fish out of water", much like James Vega. But where Vega grows into himself over the course of 3, Liam tries to force his views upon a new galaxy. And while he does eventually find his niche, his path is really an annoying one, at least to me. Also, Liam's the other heterosexual romance on the Tempest.

Next up is Nakmor Drak. And Wrex is the best comparison for Drak; an old man of a krogan who wants better for his race, and is willing to fight for it. What makes him unique is that he's got Shepard levels of cybernetics. 

Up next is Peebee. She's like Liara only in terms of being young. In fact, it seems that her writers did everything they could to make her NOT like Liara while still making them both young scientists. The only other thing that's similar between the two is that she's a romance for both Ryders, though if an asari's a romance option, she's probably into both sexes.

Vetra Nyx is pretty much "what if Garrus grew up on Omega instead of Palaven". She's a turian who didn't go into boot camp at 15 and instead became a smuggler. Like Garrus, she cares about her remaining family, though in Vetra's case, her sister is a huge part of the game, and is even a part of her loyalty mission.

Vetra's also a romance for both Ryders.

Gil Brodie takes elements from Lt. Adams in that he's the "Chief Engineer", though unlike Adams, he's the only engineer. He clashes with Kallo over the Tempest; Gil is constantly remodeling and upgrading the Tempest to make it better suited for Andromeda, while Kallo wants him to leave the Tempest alone. That's actually their combined storyline, ending with them coming to an agreement.

Gil's also the gay romance for a male Ryder.

And last but not least, Jaal Ama Darav. And much like Tali was to the Normandy, he's the representative of his species.Lot of lore dumps from Jaal regarding the Angara. But unlike Tali, he's a romance for both Ryders.

All in all, the Tempest crew is very much like the Normandy crew, though much less fleshed out to only having 1 game to shine in. If their story had continued, they'd have had time to grow like the Normandy crew did.

 So, that's it for my Mass Effect retrospective, at least for now. When the next game comes out, I'll review the game and analyze its combat and companions once again. But for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Blog Anniversary: KOTOR Version 2 Summary

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

Now, remember, this story was conceived before the SWTOR announcement, some plot details will not conform with the current continuity.

Our story began between Revan and Bastila's Jedi strike team. Revan had just taken down a Jedi while Bastila and her team took down some of Revan's Sith. Bastila spoke her famous "You cannot win, Revan", and he dropped into his defensive stance before Malak's attack rocked Revan's ship, killing Bastila's team and gravely wounding Revan. Bastila was about to leave when she felt Revan's life force still active, though it was weak. She began healing him, only for a memory that they shared to surface; Revan, at 12, found Bastila crying out in the Dantooine wilderness. Bastila was four at the time, and Revan was the first Jedi to be nice to her after she was separated from her parents.

Bastila was shocked that Revan also found this memory important, and did everything she could to save his life. Doing so created their Force bond, though the memory that they shared reinforced it. She brought Revan before the Jedi on Dantooine, and they healed his body and mind. And that's where the hook of this story happens; they recovered Revan's personality, though they chose to not bring back the past 5 years, the length of the Mandalorian Wars and Revan's Jedi Civil War. 

Upon Revan's recovery, Bastila related the last few years to Revan, and he decided that he needed undo the damage he did to the galaxy. He talked to the Council on Dantooine, and they decided to try to deliberately recover his memories of how he managed to create the fleet, though hiding his identity at first.

He followed Bastila onto the Endar Spire, pretending to not know each other, but their bond allowed a sort of telepathic communication not found in most Force bonds. Then the Sith attack over Taris happens, and Revan had to reveal his Force powers during his escape. Due to this, he revealed to Carth his identity, and revealed his plan for this war to Carth; find a way to end the threat to the galaxy that he knew was out there that caused him to fall to the Dark Side and stop it it without compromising himself.

The events of Taris, along with most of the story, happen as they did in the games, though with a slight twist with Revan knowing who he is. the biggest change, other than Carth knowing who Revan is from the start, is that Revan utilized the Force to save the lives of himself, Carth, Mission and Zaalbar from a volley of grenades. He reveals that he is an undercover Jedi, though not revealing his name at this moment. 

The next biggest change is that, during the escape, Mission was injured. And when I say injured, I mean she had a metal bar impale her spine, paralyzing her. For the rest of the story until the Leviathan interception. She's dealing with physical therapy and acclimation to her cybernetics until she finally returns to normal around the time of Korriban. 

Anyway, during Dantooine, Revan finds Juhani, and recognizes her as "that young Cathar he saved on Taris years ago", and redeems her. She joins the crew, and during the Star Map quest, Revan regained some of his lost memories. 

This is how most of the story went; Revan goes through the events of the game, and regains some of his memories when he finds the Star Map. However, Revan has a special interaction with HK-47 and Jolee Bindo. With HK-47, Revan restores HK's memories upon buying him, and with Jolee, he mentions how "familiar his presence is".

As for the Leviathan, Revan, Bastila and Carth tell the crew that they don't want to know their escape plans, so every one of them happens, including Mission's. She finds this to be her "I'm back to normal" mission, since at this point, she hadn't been able to do what she did.

However, the battle between Revan and Malak happened differently than in the game; Revan regains all his remaining memories, and is battling his own Dark Side while fighting Malak, and he lost the fight, and Bastila did her thing to save the crew.

Upon escape, Revan talks to Carth about regaining all his memories, saying he's "now the man who destroyed Carth's world", and that he'd understand if Carth wanted to leave. Carth said that at this point, he "can't hate him" for what he did, since Revan had chosen to be better.

They headed to Korriban, since they still needed the coordinates from the last map, and Revan had to tip toe around his identity, though he was thankful that nobody knew his face. He redeemed Yuthura Ban, and was met by the Sith Lady character from the last story, and they talked about Revan's current plans. He told Sith Lady that he intended to stop Malak, then bring the might of the Republic against his old Sith Master. She told Revan that her team might not like this "redemption", though she herself would stay loyal to him.

The Ebon Hawk crew then landed on Rakata Prime, where Revan got into the Temple, and utilized his romance with Bastila, whom he'd been building a rapport with during this entire story to make her doubt her loyalty to Malak. And upon the Star Forge, he helps redeem Bastila, where they share their first kiss.

Revan defeated Malak, and was made a Jedi Master for his efforts, Bastila a Jedi Knight. He then tasks his friends with their quests for the next few years; Carth to gain influence within the Republic Navy, Zaalbar strengthened the Wookiees, Mission creating an underworld force for Revan to gather supplies, and with Canderous, he retrieved Mandalore's mask. 

From here, Revan and Bastila head into the unknown, where they would try to hold off Revan's old master for a while.

Next up is the story of Vhae Pano, the Jedi Exile. And unlike the two prior stories, this one hadn't been started at the time I stopped this saga. So this will be all new to my old fans. But for now, stay Beautiful Freaks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Mass Effect Retrospective 14: Combat-Shepard vs Ryder

 Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to Sean's Workshop!

Today, I'm going to tackle Andromeda's combat, and how it differs from the Shepard trilogy's combat.

Before I start in, I'm going to refer to Shepard as "she", since I prefer the female Shepard, and Ryder as "they", since both Scott and Sara exist in the same playthrough.

When it comes to control over your character, you have more control over Ryder, and not in the ways you'd expect. Yes, Ryder has the jump jets that let them dash and jump around the battlefield, but I'm talking about something different. You see, Shepard automatically draws their weapons when attacked. Whether you holstered your gun or not between fights, Shepard automatically draws. Now, I realize that's a quirk of the combat engine, but it makes sense; Shepard is a heavily trained, heavily experienced, special forces soldier. Like Thane says, Shepard's training is so finely honed that entering combat is practically instinct. But Ryder? You have to tell them to enter battle by drawing their weapons, which, in my eyes, means they're a little scared about battle and have to mentally prepare themselves for a second or two, forcing the player to take action.

Ryder, however, is minimally trained. On Habitat-7, Ryder mentions that they've "tackled a batarian pirate in my day", but Ryder is quite a bit younger than Shepard. Practically first enlistment young; early 20s at the most, compared to Shepard being 29 in her first appearance. And for Shepard, that time between an 18 year old enlistment and her first appearance is spent in a LOT of foxhole situations.

That leads into the class system, too. The Shepard trilogy is all about a soldier and her team entering battle with their own strengths and weaknesses complimenting each other. Shepard spent 11 years refining her skill set to a point where she can handle any situation that comes before her. But Ryder is an explorer. Using Sara as an example for a moment, she moved from basic training into a field scientist role as a Prothean researcher. And while Scott spent his time guarding a Mass Relay, the Ryders spent their early careers learning adaptability. That's why Ryder isn't restricted to one specific class the way Shepard is; they're adaptable for any situation they come across as an explorer.

Now that they lore bits are out of the way, it's on to the mechanics. As I said previously, Ryder is more mobile, with the jump jets giving them speed to get around the battlefield in ways that are impossible for Shepard. But that's not without consequence; Shepard dives into cover at the touch of a button, where as Ryder has "contextual cover", where they automatically take cover if they hide behind something that CAN be used as cover. And while the games are designed around these systems, it takes a bit of time to get used to the difference if you're playing them back to back.

The other biggest difference is how powers are handled. In Andromeda, you don't have the power wheel that Shepard has. You select three powers for use in battle at once, and you can swap them out on the fly through the pause menu. That means you have to think carefully about what you're choosing. This makes Andromeda a little less beginner friendly in terms of abilities, because you have to really understand what you're doing compared to Shepard. That makes builds more important in Andromeda, with the profile system giving you access to different builds on the fly.

And the last thing I can think of is vehicle combat; there is none in Andromeda. I'm forced to play Andromeda the way I played the original build of ME1's Mako; get out of the car and fight there, though back in 2007, it was because you got 25% less xp from shooting with the Mako's cannons than with your small arms. The Nomad has no guns, and if you run over any mobs, IT takes damage. The Nomad is not a tank, it's an explorer's vehicle.

Andromeda is definitely a different beast when it comes to battle, though its fun in its own way. Just familiarize yourself on Habitat-7 before diving head first, and you'll be fine.

Next up will be my analysis of the Tempest crew and comparing them to their Shepard Trilogy counterparts, but until then, stay beautiful freaks!