Saturday, October 24, 2009

Warriors of Fantasy

Those who personify Myth, Might and Magic

Fantasy equal: Warrior

Certain fantasy-based role-playing games allow NPCs to join your adventuring party. An NPC stands for Non-Player Character, which means unlike your main character, which you created, an NPC has a set personality and character attributes created by the developers of the game. These NPCs come in a variety of personalities, shapes and sizes. It is interesting to compare these characters from the different games out there. Many similarities can be identified amongst them, but one can always expect them to be unique still.

Many of these NPCs are heroes who live and die by their weapon, rather than relying on magical powers. These weapons always suit their personality, class, race or a combination thereof. It is unlikely you would find a Hobbit wielding anything greater than a short sword, for example and have you ever seen a great axe wielding rogue? I think not.

Baldur’s Gate II is one of my all time favourite PC games. From the fighter type NPC’s you could choose from, the one I adored the most was Keldorn.

Keldorn Firecam is a noble Paladin of Torm. You cross paths in the sewers of the Temple District of Athkatla. Single-handedly he is battling all kinds of evil in search of a cult that is causing in the area. Together you expose a Beholder and his followers who persuade people to remove their eyes and join their cause.

As the game progresses you learn Keldorn has a home in Athkatla. You discover that his wife had an affair in his absence. He turns to you for advice and from your words he either continues on your journey from deciding to imprison his or return to his family one day after his one last adventure (your adventure) in hopes of saving his marriage and his family.
Keldorn is a likeable character and takes the role of a father figure in your adventuring party. He is noble, dedicated, righteous and a powerful warrior. I had him at my side at the forefront of battle all the time.
Another game with profound NPCs is Neverwinter Nights II. I thoroughly enjoyed having Khelgar Ironfist in my party. He joins you on your quest when you were still an adventurer with wee little experience.

Khelgar is a Dwarf who likes nothing more than a good fight or brawl. Heck, he would fight for the sake of fighting and goes about picking fights with just about anyone and anything, even though he’s half their size most of the time. He is a proud Dwarf of the Ironfist clan and like most fantasy Dwarves, wields an axe as his weapon of choice. He is a strong and resilient partner in crime and it was usually worth your while to toss him in right in the heat of battle.

Then there were the two love interests in the game; Casavir and Bishop. Casavir and Bishop were more or less alter egos. Casavir, a hammer-wielding paladin, represented the good male romance in the game, where Bishop was the bow wielding evil ranger character. I play a female character in games with a love interest, so I can have a boyfriend! Wish they would introduce some gay relationships in a game for once, or at least have a setting somewhere to allow for same sex romances.

You join forces with Casavir to dispose of bugbears and orcs who were threatening the safety of an n important trade route. You get to know him as the strong and silent type. He is a fallen paladin, which means he deviated from the revered path of his god and order and you could sense he was distraught about it. As the game progresses he learns that his path is with you. Do you accept sharing the journey with him, or would you rather share it with...

Bishop is a dark and brooding figure you meet at an inn. From the get go you realise that he is in it for himself and mistreats others because of it. As it goes with all handsome bad boys, you give him a chance whilst knowing all too well it would only lead to bad things.
The sparks fly when you have both these men in your group. Both try to gain your favour. The game is cleverly designed to have you be the judge when it comes to the indifferences and arguments between the two of them; this lead to you gaining favour with the one character and progressively distancing yourself from the other. This in turn leads to jealousy and conflict and forces you to make a choice when the time comes to dismantle the unstable love triangle.
Here follows some images of all four characters as mentioned above, along with my first collection of animated warriors.

“Sir Keldorn Firecam is a human paladin of Torm and a respected senior member of the Order of the Radiant Heart living in Athkatla. Dedicated to his work and cause, he was often absent from his family even near retirement, at least temporarily alienating them. In 1369 DR, he was sent to investigate the Cult of the Eyeless.
Keldorn is a fair fighter, and, as an experienced and esteemed paladin, comes equipped with perhaps the best items of any NPC; he has both an enchanted sword and plate mail that only he can use. As an inquisitor paladin, he also has the powerful ability to cast dispel magic at twice his own level. He's one of the older NPCs in the game, often appearing as wise and experienced and a father figure of sorts to others. Then again, he naturally has trouble getting along with less morally concerned people, potentially even attacking other party members such as Viconia.”
“Standing just under five feet tall, Khelgar Ironfist is immediately identifiable by his manners or, quite often, lack thereof. In spite of his size, Khelgar acts with next to little subtlety and is easily provoked by insults and threats, though perhaps less out of a concern for dignity or safety than because he actually takes delight in such attacks, seeing it as another chance to prove his skills in combat, either armed or unarmed. Khelgar is, of course, more than willing to return the favor and is often foul-mouthed and ill-tempered.

This behavior is not without its cost, however, and though Khelgar is in many ways handsome by dwarven standards, due in large part to his impressive musculature, the constant battles have waged a physical cost on the dwarf. Covering Khelgar from foot to head are a collection of cuts and bruises, which, along with his missing teeth, recount the shield dwarf's countless encounters with a wayward foot or fist. These injuries do not seem to discourage Khelgar, however.”

“Middle-aged, Casavir was a well-built and dignified human with a handsome physique and sophisticated aura. Black haired and blue eyed, Casavir would have been a powerful figure to behold were it not for the resigned expression that so often crossed his face. Dour and serious, Casavir was rarely exuberant but instead measured and calm in both verbal and body language. Casavir was often dressed in full plate armor and his weapon of choice when the Kalach-Cha encountered him was a large warhammer, paired with a shield.”

“Bishop was an attractive human, despite his rough lifestyle and poor hygiene, giving him a ruggedly handsome appearance. Bishop lived a full and dangerous life, the signs of which when he met the Kalach-Cha were his numerous scars and burns which ravaged his skin. His ruffled hair and touch of facial hair were brown, as were his eyes, which contrasted with his pale white skin. These features, and more, added to his feral appearance, which was accentuated by his tendency to sniff the air like a wild animal or constantly look over his shoulder, as if expecting an ambush or betrayal.

Typically, Bishop dressed as if on the hunt, which he often was. When the Kalach-Cha met him in the Sunken Flagon, Bishop was dressed in leather armor and armed with a longbow and longsword, with his hands constantly on one or the other. Bishop was also rarely without his beast companion Karnwyr, a wolf with whom he'd bonded as a ranger.”

“The warrior is no mere sword-swinger; they are skilled combatants, combining strength of arm, knowledge of weaponry and practiced maneuvers to slice or bludgeon their foes into little red bits. The warrior is the most versatile of the combat classes, and they supplement their fighting prowess with the ability to rally their allies and spur them to victory, but not only can they rally their allies into victory; they can themselves charge into the heart of the battle, take several lives and live to tell the tale.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fantasy Comic: The Willing Ward

Here follows the first of a few fantasy comics I've found. It's a good feeling to know there's a creative mind out there that shares my interest. Don't you also think you may have been born in the wrong age, especially if you could be the ward of this lord?

Mythical Beings of Fantasy

Those who personify myth, might and magic

Fantasy equal: Mythical Creatures

In the worlds of fantasy it is likely you would cross paths with a few of a multitude of mystical beings and beasts. This wide variety of beings fantasy writers and game developers can choose from are mainly thanks to the vivid imaginations of our ancient and medieval forefathers. Ancient and medieval forefathers, I salute you! If it were not for your stories, fears, misconceptions, artistry and creativity, I would have been completely hooked on something ordinary, like sports, as is the case with almost every male on the street.
A fantasy realm is simply not complete with only kings, peasants and warriors. A true fantasy tale is made by conjuring up some magic and ecnhantment. An adventuring party is not complete without its magic wielding cleric, druid and mage. A crypt is not nearly frightening enough without undead and vampires lurking in the shadows. Where’s the allure of an enchanted forests without fairies, nymphs and dryads taking care of it? How can there be a legendary cave without an ancient dragon guarding his treasure in the cave’s deepest, darkest cavern? And where’s the fun of having only human heroes and villains? Bring forth the Elves, the Dwarves, the Hobbits, the Orcs and whatever other races are out there!
This collection forms the other corner stone of the theme and purpose of this blog. Fortunately there are photographers and designers out there who are also inspired by mythical creatures and the beauty, grace, enchantment and mystery they stand for. It gives me much pleasure to give you some of the master pieces they have produced.