Travelogue: Unseasonal Agitation

Dear brother,

For a full week now, the Hamlet has been overrun by mosquitos and other insects. Given that, you might be wondering if I’m in the southern parts of Europe where winter doesn’t hit nearly as hard. I am not. It is two (metric) degrees above freezing right now, and there are bugs everywhere. I guess European bugs don’t mind the cold so much? Really, these ones seem to be thriving on it. I guess that one part of Uncharted 3 where the villa in temperate France houses tons of enormous spiders was more plausible than we thought.


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The Hydra

It was late last night when I finished this post. I decided I’d go to sleep and go over it real quick in the morning to make small tweaks before copy/pasting it into the blog. Then my alarm failed to go off. I still don’t know what. When I woke up naturally (and two hours late) it was still on and set to the right time (AM, not PM). I think it may be broken. Anyway, I’m backdating this to two hours ago, and let’s all just agree to pretend that it was posted on time.

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Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a game I got during the Steam Christmas sale but only bothered playing just now. It may just be because I’ve only just started playing, and more flaws will reveal themselves over time, but Hollow Knight is an incredible game. I can’t find enough good things to say about it. Its atmosphere is amazing, the location – a fallen kingdom of sapient bugs called Hallownest – is interesting and new and varied and makes me want to explore it, the combat is fun and challenging. It’s something I’d recommend to anyone who likes Metroidvania games even a little bit.

One thing that I like about it that I couldn’t have told you I’d like in advance is how small and agile the player character is (at this point I’m not sure if you’re the titular hollow knight or if maybe the hollow knight is the main bad guy or just some critical piece of background lore or what). The player character is at least a little bit smaller than almost every enemy and NPC encountered and is kind of adorable, but the controls are extremely responsive, the arc of the sword slash is wide, and the mana you use to heal or attack at range is recharged by smacking enemies, which encourages (and as time goes on, more and more requires) a very mobile and aggressive playstyle. The juxtaposition between how cute the character looks and how very deadly he can be with just a little practice is strangely compelling.

So I spent most of my spare time playing Hollow Knight today, which is why I’m posting about it instead of making real content.

Capturing Towns in Vestitas

Many of the towns in Vestitas can be captured as a result of engaging with the adventures associated with their hex, as often the town government is in on or targeted by whatever conspiracy is afoot. When that doesn’t happen, however, characters may capture towns with pure military force. This requires two things: To clear out the current forces holding the town, and to install new ones behind.

Every hex encounter town in Vestitas is held by three forces. For the Imperium, these forces are the PDF, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Arbites. For Chaos territory, these forces are the Red Guard, Chaos sorcerers, and the Praetorians. Every town has a single squad of PDF/Red Guard with a chimera, an Ecclesiarchy preacher or Chaos sorcerer, and a pair of Arbites or Praetorians, plus the Lord Mayor, who is either a noble or a warlord. Once the first three (PDF, Ecclesiarchy, and Arbites or Red Guard, sorcerer, and Praetorians) have been defeated, the Lord Mayor will flee, although if he ends up being killed in the fracas, that works too.

Either way, once the players have cleaned the town out, they must drop a squad of at least a half-dozen of their own loyal minions on the town to provide the muscle. Providing a spiritual leader and someone to investigate crimes that dumb-as-bricks paramilitaries can’t figure out is optional, but encouraged.

Are You Ten Thousand People?

Here’s something that happens way too often: People will come to a thread asking for advice and give their opinion. Worse still, sometimes someone will post advice that applies to general markets, and then a second someone will post their opinion as a counterpoint. Even if the first person is just making a guess about market trends based on their anecdotal experience, they are still actually trying to help the creator who asked the question. Someone who posts their opinion is implicitly claiming that a creator’s goal should be to cater to their tastes, specifically, or at best the tastes of whatever half-dozen random yahoos first walk into the Reddit/forum thread where the advice was posted.

Some creators are hoping to appeal to a broad audience of strangers in hopes of making a career out of their passion. Others have a more specific audience in mind, maybe some personal friends or what-have-you. In the latter case, no amount of personal opinions from random strangers will be at all helpful. In the former case, only the aggregated opinions of many thousands of strangers matters at all. If the creator is a writer trying to make a living self-publishing and they sell their books for $6.99 each and see about $5 of that in actual income, and if they’re writing one book per year, they need about ten thousand fans buying each book to make an average-ish annual income of $50k. If that writer asks for advice on their latest project and you walk in and give your personal opinion without even bothering to think whether or not anyone else shares it, the immediately relevant question is: Are you ten thousand people? No? Then shut up.