Wednesday, July 15, 2015

$8.00 for 100 Bottle Caps?

While I'm in the midst of a brief work-related drought, let's discuss this infographic from Mobile Money UK, which attempts to convert fictional currencies to real-world values. According to their analysis:

  • 10 Witcher Orens are worth $3.94 or £2.50
  • 10 Elder Scrolls Septims are worth $22.72 or £14.42
  • 10 Fallout bottle caps are worth $0.80 or £0.51

Let's check it out: Rosethorn Hall in Skingrad (Oblivion) costs 25,000 Septims, which equates to $568,000. That's a modest but not unreasonable price for such a mansion.

A single pencil in Fallout: New Vegas costs $0.08 by this calculation. Amazon is selling this box of 144 for $15.99, which works out to $0.11 per pencil. Pretty close! Of course, everything falls apart with cigarettes, but then again there wouldn't be cigarette taxes in Mojave wasteland.


103 comments:


  1. It is disappointing that the original source does not include Baldur's Gate. I have been thinking about trying to calculate a rough exchange rate between gold pieces and the (Canadian) Dollar.

    Unfortunately, the only goods that are readily available both in-game and in the "real world" are ale/wine and rooms at the inn. There are just not enough data points to make a reasonable comparison.

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    1. And the prices of these goods/services vary widly, too... at least in our world. No brewer in all the Realms would have had the gall to make an ale almost undrinkably bitter and then charge extra for it. Not unless it had some mystically fortifying effects or something of that sort, anyway.

      Similarly, "boutique" is notably absent on the accomodations quality scale from "peasant" to "royal".

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    2. Actually, you can figure it out from AD&D encumbrance totals. 10 gold pieces weighed one pound, so they were 1.6 ounces each. By today's exchange rate, that would be about $1770.

      That meant a suit of plate mail (600GP) was worth a little over a million dollars. By medieval standards, plate mail was immensely expensive, but that's probably on the high side.

      In Googling a little to find the price of plate mail, I saw a note that later editions of D&D defined a pound of gold as being 50 gold pieces, instead of 10. That would make a set of plate mail worth about $200K, which is probably about right -- a set of armor was probably worth about as much as a big house. That, in turn, would make a gold piece worth about $350.

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  2. Replies
    1. I don't...what is it that you don't do?

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    2. @Carl - You and me both, dude. You and me both.

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    3. Calculating stuff like this I mean :) I´m too bad a maths

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    4. Yeah, I got you the first time. You were totally clear about it. I don't understand why you need to explain further.

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  3. Cigarettes I can understand. Depending on when the bomb fell (mid fifties seems both the most likely in the Fallout universe and the best time to be a smoker given the sheer market dominance) and how many either retained the habit or took it up, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that they'd be of low value to the average (i.e. non smoking) joe.

    I'd be more concerned about the high powered ordinance that is apparently only worth hundreds of dollars. Quick Googling suggests that a minigun is worth around about $100,000 or more US - I seem to recall buying one in Fallout for under a grand if you're converting like this.

    (Wonder if you only own the mansion the land sits on, or the land itself? The Dragonborn must pay terribly in land tax.)

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    1. Here's what I never quite understand about the Fallout games: are we supposed to regard the colas and packaged foods and cigarettes as relics of the pre-war era, or hvae them been manufactured by fledgling companies trying to make a go of things in the ruins?

      Because the games are set like 200 years after the war, and I have trouble believing that the foodstuffs are still edible. I tried to smoke a 6-year-old cigar the other day, and I couldn't even keep it lit.

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    2. I think all of the branded stuff stuff is pre-war - Nuka-cola, Sugar Bombs, Fancy Lad's Snack Cakes, Sunset Sarsaparilla, Big Boss cigarettes etc.

      It's pretty unrealistic but making fun of processed food is just part of the series' playful cynicism towards modern society. What survived the bombs? Roaches and Twinkies.

      Caps feel closer to a dollar than 8c, but the difference in price between inexpensive items and expensive items is almost always compressed in RPGs.

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    3. What about Cat's Paw Magazine? Mrreeooww!!

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    4. Part of the reason these are rough estimates is because different economies value things differently. For example, it's quite possible in the Fallout universe that the destruction of most of the world's armies left armories full of miniguns lying around without anybody telling you you can't have one, therefore there's a glut of them on the market, so the price is low.

      Typically you do estimates like this based on common necessities, and especially consumable necessities like food and clothing. Once you have the "cost of living" comparison you can use that to evaluate the rest of the economy.

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    5. Then again, with a minigun, you can use it to get your all common necessities from other minigun-less communities.

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  4. In their lowest denomination, the Ankh-Morpork Dollar is of the highest worth valued at 1 AMD:166.67 USD.

    *Ric Flair howl*Woooo!

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    1. That seems off for me. I recall a quote:

      "He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles."

      Even the cheap boots seem ludicrously pricey, there.

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    2. You attempt such calculations by looking at a big pile of equivalent goods. It's quite possible that boots are simply ridiculously expensive on the discworld, just like weapons are ridiculously cheap in lots of fantasy settings.

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    3. CMOT Dibbler's sausage-inna-bun costs 6 to 7 AMD.

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    4. Plus, of course, the cost of the inevitable ensuing regret.

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  5. I notice that in your post, you only highlighted the examples from WRPG's and none of the ones from JRPG's. Interesting...

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    1. Yes, sinister, that. You could have also assumed that I highlighted the first three games in the infographic, or the three games that I had actually played and was familiar with, or the three games released on PC (which is what my blog is about) as opposed to consoles.

      But if you want to assume that I have a bias against JRPGs, I really don't mind. Every JRPG fan that thinks I'm a WRPG supremacist will (hopefully) stop reading my blog and making comments about unrelated JRPGs on every post I make.

      Let me be crystal clear to all JRPG-lovers: you will NEVER get any satisfaction from my blog. My blog will NEVER be primarily about the type of game that you feel is superior to all others. Stop trying to make my blog something it's not and GO AWAY.

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    2. PetrusOctavianusJuly 16, 2015 at 1:35 AM

      Amen to that.

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    3. I'm a JRPG-lover myself yet I find your blog strangely satisfying... Like getting licked by a cat. Mrreeooww!!

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    4. Didnt notice any bias in that direction but then again I absolutely DO NOT CARE about that. Some people can just turn a mouse into an elephant. This blog is one of the best blogs i ever read. just sayin.

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    5. I never found JRPGs as satisfying as WRPGs - so a salute to Western Domination !
      ;-)

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    6. I like both, but I like this blog too much to disturb its writer by discussing games-which-shall-not-be-named here.

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    7. What happened to that "NO SMT DISCUSSION" rule in the first place? It disappeared for me.

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    8. It was a joke that most people didn't get so Chet ditched it.

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    9. I just looked at some of the items in Final Fantasy VII that are actually available IRL, and what they would cost:

      Item Gil USD
      Grenade 80 25.2
      Chocobo Greens 100 31.5
      Assault Gun 350 110.25
      Molotov 400 126
      Tent 500 157.5
      Chocobo Greens 1500 472.5
      Shotgun 3100 976.5

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    10. I love both JRPGs and WRPGs, so... I'm going to keep reading until you stop posting.

      - Smash

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    11. Experience tells me that C.RR.P.G.s have more choices, larger worlds, more complex role playing and character development system, but J.R.P.G.s have better writing, more interesting characters, fewer cliches, more imagination and better interfaces. There are exceptions: Baldur's Gate, Ultima 7 and Deus Ex have a lot of great characters; Anachronox and Citizens of Earth have a lot of imagination despite limited time and budgets; but these are generally true of the media.

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    12. Experience tells me that JRPGs have terrible writing full of inane dialogue and rambling, unfocused storylines, and that they are absolutely chock full to the gills with cliches. If only I had a dollar for every one in which you play a fatherless teenage boy, or acquire a cute animal companion of an indeterminate species, or get distracted with immersion breaking minigames, or have ridiculously bloated combat systems. I'm probably biased from exploring the genre during the PSX era, and I truly hope things have improved.

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    13. I've played quite a few JRPGs in my day also. Cliches are the jam, bread and butter of the JRPG to my mind. (I should point out, of course, that I am still acting as though the particular rule regarding one certain game that had a fourth part which was inexplicably a fighting game is still in place.) Cliches can work from time to time - I really felt that Final Fantasy 4 worked well, even though the characters (kung fu master, evil guy turned hero, goodly priest who's, um.. goodly.. a ninja, why not!) definitely fell into the 'cliche' side of the pile. Inversely, say, Tales of Symphonia had characters that were largely annoying because they were all straight out of an anime and played that straight. The 'good' stories, IMO, are ones that are just that - good stories first and foremost. Having good characters is easily a good part of the battle, and there are some games that stand out for their character design - I found Wild Arms for PS1 to be quite good in that regard, with multi-layered characters all over the place. That said, the story was almost impossible to follow, and the combat was boring before half way through due to new attacks just being new themes on 'make the screen go boom', with no real satisfaction coming from the end of a combat outside of it being over.

      Of course, these are issues that effect plenty of games. I don't mind the occasional minigame, but when the Super Mario RPG (and all of its counterparts in the Paper Mario series) require timed inputs in every single combat.. well. The first time, it's novel. The second time, it's cute. The hundredth, it's filler. This happens in WRPGs too, just less commonly - Costume Quest pops into mind for instance.

      Overall, JRPGs and WRPGs are very similar. Do I think that Chet would enjoy Chrono Trigger? Probably. Do I respect him for not wanting to play it due to the mixture of the giant list in front of him and generally not liking the mechanics that come of JRPGs? Absolutely.

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    14. "Do I respect him for not wanting to play it due to the mixture of the giant list in front of him and generally not liking the mechanics that come of JRPGs? Absolutely."

      He hasn't refused to play it because he "generally doesn't like the mechanics that come of JRPGs", since the standard JRPG mechanics are nigh-identical to the Wizardry system upon which he has piled fulsome praise from the beginning of this blog, and he fully admits that he doesn't know anything about them - although how he can admit this while still maintaining that they will never be a type of game he will enjoy on the exact same comment page escapes me.

      He simply has decreed that consoles are children's toys, that any games released only on a console are by definition garbage, and that anyone who spends time on them needs to cut it out and go work himself to death like a grown-up. The fact that the Japanese PC market was a stillbirth and thus the vast majority of Japanese games that made it to PC were either very primitive, perverted, or both is an irrelevant factor; as is the fact that jRPGs started escaping the adolescent power fantasy and started dealing with much more varied topics quite a bit earlier than most wRPGs not named Ultima - they're console games, thus they are for children only, and anyone who likes them needs to stop polluting his holy PC blog with this infantile garbage.

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    15. You have to admit that JRPGs haven't done much to help themselves in the above regards, with all of their cartoony graphics and cutesy animal characters. Also, I strongly disagree with the assertion that they escaped the adolescent power fantasy trope early, because the vast majority were still using it as a literal story premise even during the PSX era (if only I had a dollar for every JRPG in which you played a fatherless teen boy with big/messy hair who has to save a world full of cutesy animals, green-haired girls, etc.).

      Chet would probably burn out on JRPGs even if he did give them an honest try:

      The early good ones (pre-Final Fantasy, e.g. Dragon Quest/Warrior) had extremely minimal story due to system limitations, so they were little more than grind-fests.

      The 16-bit era then brought the capacity for stories, but they were almost universally mediocre-to-awful (or at least they didn't culturally translate). Even the best of the genre in that era had rambling plots and uneven pacing.

      When the PSX arrived, the genre really went to hell. Having one or more entire CD-ROMs' worth of capacity meant that JRPGs were packed to the gills with absolutely ridiculous amounts of agonizingly terrible dialogue/monologue (again, maybe it just didn't culturally translate well). Games started to discriminate themselves mainly via gimmicks in their combat and/or graphics systems, while the story and characters were almost completely forgettable and disposable. What little value the games may have had was completely lost in a sea of garbage filler content that was poured in to fill up the discs.

      The only PSX-era JRPG that I even half-enjoyed was probably Chrono Trigger, and had a slew of problems - mainly with the storyline. The most egregious example is that the end boss just sort of appears without having played much of an active role in the story throughout the game.

      Final Fantasy 7, which most people hail as being near the top of PSX-era JRPGs, was a total crapfest. I really tried to like it, but the characters were all cliches (angry black man? Check. Silent, big blonde haired protagonist? Check. Cute animals? Check.) and any possibility of an immersive story was completely ground into the dirt and spat on by a plodding pace that was constantly interrupted by random crap (brothel, beach, carnival, tactics minigame) and generous helpings of inane dialogue.

      My disdain from the genre stems from the fact that I really have given it a chance over the years. I beat FF1, 2, and 4, and have 5, 6, and 7 honest tries. I've played through the Game Boy FFL games multiple times each. I've beaten Dragon Warrior 1 and am currently dabbling in the second game on a real NES. I beat Chrono Trigger on PSX and gave several other PSX JRPGs serious tries (looking at lists, I see about a dozen familiar entries).

      The only modern JRPGs I've looked at are on the Wii. Things are slightly improved there, at least in terms of games differentiating themselves from each other: I actually like (and bought) Xenoblade Chronicles even though it has some social goofiness. Baroque sucks overall but is interesting for being a third-person action roguelike. Pandora's Tower is fairly awful (especially the characters) except maybe for gameplay. I'm still undecided on The Last Story, except that I can't tell the difference between any of the characters. Chocobo's dungeon sucks except for the fact that it is a roguelike. Fire Emblem and Little King's Story suck. Monster Hunter Tri I gave up on because characters kept yakking at me and the part where you actually get to play the game never seemed to start.

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    16. Have you tried Persona, at least? It doesn't have any big haired protagonist, no minigames, no cute animals and a lot of other trope subversion. The first time I played it, I thought it might have been an European RPG.

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    17. @brave sir anonymous

      "He simply has decreed that consoles are children's toys, that any games released only on a console are by definition garbage, and that anyone who spends time on them needs to cut it out and go work himself to death like a grown-up."

      Can't tell if troll or merely makes ridiculous assumptions and hopes they are right.

      @HunterZ

      "Chet would probably burn out on JRPGs even if he did give them an honest try:"

      Given the dross he's played through without burning out, I don't think he'll burn out from playing games from Japan when they happen to pop up in his list.

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    18. @Kenny: Looks like they went for anime's favorite trope instead: high school student protagonist. I'm looking for my PSX so I can integrate it into my retro console setup (32" Sony WEGA CRT with Atari 2600, NES, SNES, N64, original XBox); if I find it then I may give the game a quick look.

      @Tristan: True enough, I probably didn't give him enough credit. I suspect we'll never find out, though.

      Honestly the JRPG sub-genre is big enough that someone should probably start a spinoff blog to play through just those. It would be interesting to see them analyzed in progression and in contrast to WRPGs. It would also be immensely interesting if someone who understands both western and Japanese cultures were the one to do it, as some valuable insights would probably result.

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    19. @HunterZ: That's assuming if Persona came out in the 2000s. It's actually a trope-starter as there are no animes with a super-powered high-school student protagonist.

      You'd be surprised how recent this high-school god-like kid cliches came about. In case you wish to doubt me, here you go. http://www.anime-planet.com/characters/tags/high-school-students?page=1

      I've personally flipped through all the 400+ pages to fact check that Persona truly is the first media portraying high-school protagonists but you may go right ahead to say that I'm wrong.

      If I come off sounding like I'm defending JRPGs, I'm not. I'm giving credit where it's due. I love every good/great RPG and hate every bad/horrible RPG regardless of their origins and not bundle them up into a singular group and screw them over like a *censored*.

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    20. Oops, I didn't state clearly enough: Persona is the first media portraying super-powered high-school protagonists not centered around sports/athletics (i.e. Tsubasa, Prince of Tennis & etc.).

      The only one that came close was Tadao Yokoshima from Ghost Sweeper Mikami, but he was originally a sidekick and not a protagonist until much later in the manga. Also, Son Gohan from Dragonball doesn't count since he's also not the protagonist.

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    21. I've just two words for this conversation:

      Dark Souls

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    22. > My blog will NEVER be primarily about the type of game that you feel is superior to all others.

      By and large, this is fine, but there are a few JRPGs that you really, really need to catch. Chrono Trigger, from 1994, is particularly special. It fit into just 4 megs of ROM, and yet was absolutely immense, and extremely satisfying; there were something like 18 possible endings.

      In all seriousness, as someone who's always been much more into the PC side of things, and into WRPGs, Chrono Trigger was a GIANT of its era. No grinding (looking at you, Final Fantasy 7), no BS, just pure fun.

      You would be doing yourself an extreme disservice if you passed it by.

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    23. @Malor:
      FF7 was known for leaning towards the easy side a bit; you might have missed some element if youhad to grind extensively.

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    24. @Kenny: I'm pretty sure Neon Genesis Evangelion had a high-school student protagonist in the mid-90s.

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    25. They have super powers other than driving mechs?

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    26. Kenny.. um.

      Sailor Moon started in 91 (and V even earlier), according to Wikipedia... I mean technically they've no 'super powers', in the same way that Green Lantern doesn't. Also, all of the Power Rangers/Super Sentai stuff. Spiderman, even. 'Superhero in high school' is definitely not something that came through Persona first, even if it perhaps hit JRPGs first.. actually, Sailor Moon had a SNES RPG to its name in 'Another Story'.

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    27. @Anonymous - I think he included 'taking out the Ultimate Weapons' as one of his goals. Else, it's possible to beat the last boss around Level 38 (which I did).

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    28. @Aperama - Oh, dang! I forgot about the Shojo animes/mangas! You're right. Sailor Moon is a few years earlier. But Super Sentai isn't really an anime, right?

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    29. @Kenny: High school students with mechs versus super powers = splitting hairs :p

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    30. @HunterZ: I'm not sure there's much comparison between WRPGs and JRPGs after the initial influence from Ultima and Wizardry. They take such different paths after Dragon Warrior became the leader. Honestly if you wanted a full history you'd have to go beyond consoles, especially beyond the small sampling of JRPGs that reached the US market.

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    31. @Kenny
      Not sure how you wish to categorize, but for example Ranma ½, Guyver and Project A-Ko were began in late 80's and going further Urusei Yatsura has it's roots in late 70s.
      (Cyborg 009's Joe Shimamura wasn't in High School, but age fits - so let's mention it as semi-example of 60s).

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    32. Then we should categorize this as teenage protagonist. In this case, why would this even be a trope? If it's set in modern day with the protagonist being a teenager, wouldn't it be more normal for him/her to be a student than, say, a full-time Mechanized Paladin?

      Also, in the west, we have no lack of teenage protagonists as well. We have Robin, the WonderTwins, Superboy, Supergirl, Batgirl, Jubilee, Iceman, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Blink, He-Man, Copper Kid, Planeteers, Scott Trekker, Ferris Bueller, TMNT and many more.

      So, yeah. Fine. I suck. But do try out Persona to understand what I'm trying to convey. It's really weird and innovative.

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    33. >FF7 was known for leaning towards the easy side a bit; you might have missed some element if youhad to grind extensively.

      I tried to answer this yesterday, but I just could not get this site to work on OS X, either on Firefox or Safari. My comments just instantly disappeared.

      I used 'grinding', but it wasn't quite the same as grinding in other games. Rather, in FF7, you couldn't take three steps without getting jumped by a random encounter. Moving around even a little would require eight million fights, all of which were just like the other eight million. It was both endless and pointless, grinding that was forced on you by the game mechanics, rather than grinding you sought out to get stronger for later zones. Arguably, it's *worse* than simple MMO grinding, because no matter how talented you might be, you still have to have those fights.

      Chrono Trigger isn't like that; you can see almost all enemies beforehand, and can frequently choose to avoid them, if you wish. There are some surprise fights, but they're scripted and deliberate, not a constant random thing. There's no penalty for exploration; you don't get punished just for walking around.

      It is just a marvelous game. I didn't find it until '98 or '99, on a PC SNES emulator, and it was so amazing that when the emulator failed to handle the transparent overlays in the ghost forest area, I immediately went to EBay and bought a real SNES and cartridge, and happily started over from scratch. It totally broke me out of my Counterstrike addiction, and I spent basically every spare minute I wasn't working, for the next couple weeks, glued to the television set.

      I've never been into JRPGs as a thing. I don't, for instance, much like Earthbound; I find it difficult and tedious, mostly. But Chrono Trigger is one of the best games I've ever played on any system. And more recent emulators have no trouble with it, so it will work flawlessly without needing to buy a SNES.

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    34. I've been reading this blog for awhile, but have never commented. I don't understand the hate for Japanese RPGs, as they grew up right alongside CRPGs. However, anytime someone defends their merits and argue against tropes, the same old series are trotted out. Final Fantasy. Dragon Quest. Chrono Trigger.

      Where are the real innovators? Suikoden. Valkyrie Profile. Dragon Force. Exile. The World Ends With You. Dark Cloud 2. Terranigma.

      There are piles of junk in every genre... and how many CRPGs have a rag tag group of adventurers that band together in groups of four or six, to save the world? If that's not a trope, I don't know what is.

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    35. If this blog isn't proof that most Western RPGs are highly derivative, I don't know what is!

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  6. Even more offtopic to tide over the draught: a few weeks ago Chester posted on the book "The Eight-Bit Bard" by Aaron Rath:

    http://crpgaddict.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-eight-bit-bard-novel-with-crpg.html

    I had bought it immediately and it finally got to the top of my kindle stack and can only recommend it. If you´ve ever played a good old Bard's Tale, Wizardry or other dungeon crawler, this is the book for you with all your dirty secrets and truths exposed.

    Even my wife loved it and has read it twice by now (her closest exposure to CRPGs was watching me play Planescape Torment because of the story but she still found it hillarious).

    Now please carry on with your virtual currency discussions ;)

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    1. I cant help but notice, that this book is not about JPRG. If there are no books about JRPGs why dont Chet writes them? Huh?

      (Not serious. Love this blog)

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    2. I loved "The Eight-Bit Bard" too, and if anyone here needs something to read while waiting for the next CRPG Addict update, please do check it out. It has both paperback and Kindle versions now.

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  7. I did a back of the envelope calculation once about what the equivalent buying power of a single gold florin coin in the Middle Ages would be today and got a result around $1000. Looks like The Song of Ice and Fire actually does go for something like that with its gold coins based on the infographic.

    I wonder what that'd look like in a game, single gold coins would suddenly be things worth going out of your way to find. Mugging fat merchants for the 18 gold pieces they're carrying would be a lot more attractive prospect as well.

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    1. I blame D&D. The gold piece shouldn't have been the standard of money, it should have been silver. Gold was always a store of wealth. You could get a lot for ten gold pieces in the medieval era. I mean come on, even the standard for weight carried by characters was listed in GP. This had disastrous effects later on as every other fantasy writer assumed gold pieces were as common as dirt. If they had only gone with silver everything would have been OK.

      1 gp = 20 sp = 200 cp = 2 ep = 1/5 pp

      Don't even get me started on platinum pieces (were they ever used...anywhere?) and electrum (the first coins from Lydia were made of electrum but that's where it stopped - for obvious reasons, nobody knew what the ratio of gold to silver was). And Dragonlance's steel pieces were the dumbest of all. Let's take the world's rarest, most desired metal...and mint useless coins with it? You can tell this is the point at which D&D was ripped from the control of people interested in medieval history.

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    2. In point of fact, even silver was a high-value metal in the Middle Ages, the majority of the coinage was copper, and often not particularly pure at that.

      The D&D inflation is pretty easy to explain though. The real Middle Ages didn't have bands of adventurers going out and bringing back a few metric tons of gold from the hordes of various dragons every year. I always just assumed that all the merchants had two price lists: One for when wealthy and gullible adventurers were in town, and one for the rest of the time.

      I've only ever seen platinum and electrum pieces used in campaigns where the weight limit was strictly enforced down to the weight of coins. Most people don't bother, it's too much hassle.

      I don't know that steel pieces are all that dumb. Historically we used silver both for silverware and for coinage and there was a fair amount of business in converting one to the other. In a world where steel was rare enough to be of similar value I'd expect you'd see the same phenomenon, although the greater difficulty in working steel would likely reduce the conversion frequency.

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    3. The idea of two prices, one normal and one adventurer is shown here in an interesting way http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0122.html but it seems unrealistic.

      Its like the bandits in oblivion with glass armour, or in Skyrim, the fortune in Pinewatch the bandit chief figures he can live on for the rest of his life, lasts me two minutes in a store, can't even buy a cheap house fir that mich money. Games are getting better with economy but I think it can only go so far in disbelief. Though I do think having copper as the standard rather than gold would make a lot of sense.

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    4. The use of silver pieces as the regular currency *does* recognize the fact that adventurers would be well-off and better than the average townsman. As for steel pieces, something so useful would never be wasted on something as silly as currency. It would be like trading in rhenium pieces today. It's about a different topic, but this man said it better than I ever could:

      "For me, "hobbyist" refers not esthetics so much as *origin*. That is, whence did game X or module Y come? Was it created to fill a slot in a production schedule or did it arise out of play? That's the big difference between, say, Gygax's Giants-Drow series and the Dragonlance modules. The former were professional write-ups of adventures based in actual play, whereas Dragonlance was conceived from start to finish as an effort to sell modules. Certainly Dragonlance borrowed elements from adventures and campaigns that were actually played (like Jeff Grubb's deities), but there was no such thing as a Dragonlance campaign prior to its being written up for sale, unlike nearly adventure Gary Gygax wrote during his time at TSR."

      -- James Maliszewski, Grognardia.blogspot.com

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    5. "As for steel pieces, something so useful would never be wasted on something as silly as currency. It would be like trading in rhenium pieces today."

      The things that make a good, non-fiat currency are: Value contained, portability, and non-perishability. Steel is the same as other metals for portability, and almost as good as gold, silver, and copper for non-perishability (if it's worked properly expect your steel pieces to actually be blue or maybe brown, not shiny.) The only thing left is the "value contained" part, which is why it wasn't ever used as non-fiat currency in our world. Iron is plentiful on our world, and steel is just refined iron.

      What doesn't make sense in Dragonlance is the fact that they don't actually seem to have an iron shortage... At least, I don't find any reference to them making most things out of bronze, or admonitions that steel weapons are worth their weight in platinum... And you would think that having magic available would make refining iron into steel much, much easier, so the 2x value disparity between iron and steel seems a little arbitrary.

      tl;dr: Steel coins aren't something that would inherently never happen, it's just that the way they shoehorned them into Dragonlance is dumb. Everything in that world should be made of brass and bronze, with steel reserved for the "Tony Stark" level of wealth and crafting ability. Or else steel coins are fiat currency of some kind.

      Delete
    6. See, those guys aren't metallurgical experts. I doubt they even know that steel is just iron plus a certain amount of carbon back in the days when there wasn't Wikipedia.

      Delete
  8. That brings up one thing that annoys me in RPGs; when it costs 500 gold coins to stay in an inn for a night or 350 gold for a chicken leg of healing. How common is gold in these worlds? Some inflation's not a bad thing, since finding a handful of coins in the evil wizard's couch and being able to retire on it lacks a certain style, but things like that are a bit immersion-breaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are coins in our world as small as 1/4 inch in diameter. Just assume that gold pieces only actually have about that much gold in them and the rest is cladding or filler. (Depending on the setting they might even actually be that small.)

      Delete
    2. Could go also other way. Meet the swedish plåtmynt. "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copper_currency_in_Sweden"

      Funny nitpick on RPG's that regardless how ancient gold coins you found in dungeon, they are clearly accepted as currency in any village shop without question.

      "Sure, we accept your moldy coins minted for unknown lost civilization."

      (Notable exception being Quest for Glory II and their money changer).

      Delete
  9. That list obviously ignores the most common game where RL world currency calculations are made and that's EVE:Online currently a PLEX is worth 19,95€ and is sold in game for approx 980mil ISK making 1€ worth 49,1 mil ISK or so.

    This obviously makes a certain news sources to piss in their pants each time they hear that someone (several) has lost a ship worth of a 100bil ISK.

    That is unlike in other MMO's if you lose something in EVE it's lost forever, hence no sane person buys anything in RL currency (as in fund it by buying up a stack of a 100 plex) or they do they keep it under wraps.

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  10. Gold and silver coinage really should be more rare in games. In Byzantium, copper was used my most common folk on basic items. Gold Solidi (struck at 72 to the pound) was used for paying taxes and conversely used by the government to pay soldiers. Still a horse was reckoned at 7 solidi - or 7 gold pieces. A long sword in Pool of Radiance is 15 gold pieces. Then again Gold Box games are bad at this.

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  11. Funny, but I just finished listening to a Retronaut podcast where the host, Jeremy Parish mentioned this blog, saying that he found CRPG Addict interesting but noted it seemed it seemed against (perhaps unfairly? I don't know, I'm paraphrasing).

    Now I pretty much eat up everything on this blog, but I don't always read through the comments, so I don't know - is there always JRPG fanboys making snide comments on here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, they're not usually snide. But there's a lot of: "Thanks for the post! This sounds like an interesting game. It reminds me of another game I really like: Shin Megami Tensei." Cue four paragraphs on Shin Megami Tensei that have only the thinnest relationship to the game I just posted about.

      I have no bias against JRPGs. I haven't played enough of them to have a bias one way or the other. But I certainly have developed a bias against players who seem to like JRPGs exclusively.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, a lot of people don't really care about the project to play all known CRPGs in chronological order. All they want to see is someone play the games that they know. That's it. They want our host to play the game and experience it for the first time.

      Then, they fill the comment section with spoilers. It's happened several times so far.

      The JRPG crowd is jealous or something. I don't know why they can't start their own blogs where they play through the games. Probably because making posts and taking screenshots and organizing it all into a cohesive whole is a hell of a lot of work, something they find out as soon and as they try for the first time. Moreover, as soon as you post, you get to deal with commenters who want to point out that you made a spelling error and that some obscure game actually has a sequel that you knew about, but forgot to mention.

      Delete
    3. I would totally read a JRPG blog.

      The Stack occasionally has hit one -- it did Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, for instance.

      http://www.wurb.com/stack/archives/534

      Delete
    4. Yeah, but not every single JPRG in existence and in chronological order.

      Delete
    5. Personally, I blame it on the "Everything Japanese is way cooler than anything else anywhere on the planet" mythos that seems to have swept through my generation... Which is sad considering that most of the people I know who got swept up in it never really took the time to examine the alternatives enough to actually make a real comparison...

      Delete
    6. Well, we're now in the "Everything Korean is way cooler than anything else anywhere on the planet" era. They're dangerously close in achieving Cultural Victory this time.

      Anyway, I consider anybody who thinks that their own religion, favorite food, games, shows, music and etc. are the best (without studying, experiencing and/or consuming something from at least 2 other cultures) are idiots.

      Delete
    7. @Gravy: "it seemed it seemed against (perhaps unfairly? I don't know, I'm paraphrasing)." Seems you a few words, and I'd like to know what they were. :)

      @Harland: I agree, I wish someone would do it as well as Chet. It's a tremendous time investment, and I commend Chet for both his quality and quantity. I really wish I knew his secret.

      Delete
    8. But I like this blog for all the obscure games that I've never heard of or only read blurbs about back when they were released. There's pounds of material online written about Ultima, Might and Magic, etc. I love hearing about the old...but new to me!

      Delete
  12. Wow, I hadn't thought about how cheaply Geralt of Rivia works. I don't think I'd be willing to risk my life to slay a nest of monsters for less than $100, but Geralt does that over and over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To Geralt, that is:
      a) The only job open to him because of the ostracizing of Witchers.
      b) A job that he excels in.
      c) A job whose occupational hazards of getting poisoned and slashed at are like suffering from occasional paper cuts.


      That aside, there are many extremely hazardous jobs around with measly pay in the world that people are still taking up.

      For instance:
      1) Ship scavengers in India; where they tear 7-storey ships on a daily basis armed with only a rope, hammer and chisel.
      2) Sulfur miners in Indonesia; where they hack out chunks of sulfur with a pickax and protecting themselves with only a towel around their face.
      3) Birds' nest gatherers in Thailand; where they have to climb up 40 to 60 metres high to scrap edible bird's nest off cavern walls.

      Delete
  13. Well there's also this question of what happens when the big baddie finally dies. You have a lot of people suddenly employed - from the adventurers go theblacksmiths. Merchants no longer able to rent their lousy rooms to desperate adventurers for tens or even hundreds of gold coins. Same thing with the temples and healers with no adventurers paying huge amount of money to resurrect dead comrades or uncurse equipped items. Economy grinded to halt. Lots of grumbling and unrest with the kings quacking on their thrones.

    Thus the need for a new evil overlord.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's an anime about that. (More or less.)
      http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=9659

      Sadly, it's not very good but good enough for a bit of relaxing entertainment after work.

      Delete
    2. That's also the reason why you will NEVER get free items or a freaking discount to "save the world". The world will always be in need of perpetual "saving".

      Delete
  14. (Somewhat off-topic)

    I've been playing Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat because it's been re-released on gog.com. It's a real-time tactics game, but it has the three RPG elements necessary to be considered an RPG by the CRPGAddict. (It's already on the master list, for 1996.) You control a couple of mercenary regiments in real-time battles. The regiment leaders and the regiment soldiers get experience points and raise their stats (with no input from the player), their stats influence the outcome of battles, and the regiments kinda sorta have an inventory, that is, they can carry one or two magic items into battle.

    It really does give you the feeling of playing the role of a mercenary leader, though. That is achieved with the pretty unforgiving game mechanics regarding unit losses and the costs of your mercenaries. Unit losses are carried over throughout the campaign, and you can only hire a very limited amount of replacement soldiers after each mission. So if your cavalry regiment is reduced from 16 to 8 soldiers, you'll fight with reduced strength at least for the next couple missions.

    Additionally, your mercenaries cost you gold for each mission you select them for, and the mission sponsors do not give that much gold. And your mission pay depends on how well you completed it. For example, it will be reduced for letting a couple of villagers die that you had to protect. Pay for too many mercenaries while completing missions only to 50% and in the long run you will end up bankrupt and have to reload an earlier savegame. It's tough but fascinating. Regrettably the very high difficulty level of the missions do result in the necessity of saving the game before each mission and replaying them.

    What's interesting here is that these mechanics are theoretically transferable to a normal RPG with a party of heroes instead of an army consisting of regiments. Wounded heroes might need several missions to recuperate to their full fighting strength. Having too many wounded heroes would result in a downward spiral, similar to having too many decimated regiments. Quests might pay out not much more money than is required for living expenses, and the player could save money by not using some heroes for some missions.

    Is there any RPG like that out there? Where you get the feeling of being a careful manager of your characters' health and the party's tight budget?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SotHR is (rightly, imo) regarded to be particularly difficult. It's very hard to win without reloading any time you suffer significant losses, and a lot of the battles are very hard to win without suffering significant losses (or in some cases, hard to win whatsoever). Compounding that difficulty is the fact that various route choices make the game much, much harder, and even the easiest route is hard enough.

      The game gets a lot easier if your Amber Mage learns the correct spell on his first level up (it's random).

      There's a sequel which I never really played.

      As for similar games - XCOM springs to mind. When you have several of your best troops wounded, your strategy will often shift to 'avoiding worst-case scenarios while developing your second-string team' rather than mashing your way through the most lucrative missions.

      Delete
    2. The sequel, Dark Omen, is much better in many ways. The interface is excellent whereas SotHR's interface is pretty terrible. The difficulty is challenging but manageable. I think it's still unsurpassed today in its specific niche, and I still play it.

      Dark Omen's campaign management, though, is a bit less complex. You only pay once for replenishments to replace killed soldiers, and there is never any lack of recruits. You don't need to pay your troops per mission, so there is no downside to enter the battle with all your regiments. It didn't quite give me this feeling of having to be a prudent mercenary leader.

      XCOM is an interesting case. It's also far from a normal RPG, though.

      Leaving the aspect of wounded characters aside for a moment, is there a conventional (fantasy) RPG where the player's funds are being depleted by living costs or mercenary fees, and he has to complete paid missions while struggling to keep the numbers in the black? Maybe Jagged Alliance fits the bill? (No fantasy setting, either...)

      Delete
    3. Darkest Dungeon, currently in Early Access, has you managing a stable of heroes to explore a dungeon. The dungeon is pretty lethal, and sometimes even if the party makes it back, they may be too stressed out to head right back in, or they may have picked up negative personality traits that you need to spend time treating. You have to decide whether to spend your limited gold to hire new heroes off the stagecoach to replace the fallen, treat negative traits, upgrade equipment, or upgrade the buildings in your town. I've been following the development with some interest, I hope the game turns out well.

      Delete
    4. Well, as far a rpg's go only rouglelikes come close in terms of overall brutish difficulty and the need to balance available resources in-between encounters. For example in angband it is totally possible to smear the floor with 100 orcs and be out of a critical scroll/potion resulting in death by the hand of the last one in the group or something.

      Delete
    5. I never thought you need your star soldiers in any but the most difficult, fixed-encounter XCOM missions like Alien Base Assault. There's nothing a sharpshooter can do that four rookies can't.

      Delete
    6. Harland - a bunch of rookies will struggle in a lot of missions, esp if you play classic difficulty and above and esp in the expansion. Mechtoids, Cyberdisks, Muton Elites and Sectopods can be pretty unforgiving.

      Delete
    7. The expansion? Oh, I was talking about the DOS version of Xcom. Not the recent remake.

      Delete
    8. DOS version: X-COM
      Modern front: XCOM

      Delete
  15. Fry, thanks for the suggestion. Do you know if there are constant living expenses in Darkest Dungeon? Is the player able to grind low-level monsters for easy money? Personally, due to the side view I'm not that interested in Darkest Dungeon. It seems to me that this removes the sense of exploration, in contrast to 2D top-down or 3D dungeon mazes.

    Walen, I think that your example is a different breed. It's true that both your example and my example are cases where the player needs to balance his resources between encounters. But in roguelikes, you usually do not pay significant living expenses, and you don't need to pay money every time you enter a dungeon level. (As far as I know. I haven't played many roguelikes.) In SotHR and my hypothetical mercenary simulation RPG, you must pay most of the resources you earn just to retain your characters.

    You could argue that a roguelike requires the use of resources to progress. Let's simplify and say that you need 1 healing potion per 10 monsters when playing averagely. When playing poorly, the player needs to use 1 potion per 5 monsters. But 5 monsters yield less gold than 1 potion costs -> bankruptcy.

    However, in most roguelikes (and most RPGs) you can just grind on easier monsters. Which costs nothing, but yields resources (albeit more slowly).

    What's the consequence of this difference? In RPGs including roguelikes, you can't enter a situation where doing the next quest is guaranteed to cost more than its reward. Where your characters think, "Ok, time to stop this adventuring/mercenary business and go back to plowing fields."

    In other words, SotHR and this hypothetical mercenary simulation RPG can give the player the feeling of having to be a prudent businessman lest he goes bankrupt. "The current mission must be accomplished without significant losses, or the next mission will definitely be a losing deal." "This mission offer is too low, my expenses will be higher than the reward. I have to reject this mission." "I desperately need money to retain my archers, I have to accept this dangerous mission." "The money is gone. I have to let my characters go hungry until a new quest offer arrives." RPGs including roguelikes do not offer these choices quite like that, do they?

    Well, I'm not sure myself whether this is really a qualitative difference or merely a difference in degree.

    It's kind of weird if there exists no fantasy mercenary simulation RPG where the player needs to balance his budget like this. Seems like an obvious choice when thinking about adventurers in a fantasy world. For example, in one of the Dragonlance Legends novels it is mentioned that Raistlin and Cameron used to work as mercenaries once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think tactical combat and war games with a campaign focus will be your best bet to find that feeling. Some of those bridge into RPG territory (like the aforementioned xcom). Jagged Alliance sounds like it might be what you're after. This War of Mine and Dead State (esp if you play on difficult mode and/or ban healing itmes) will leave you in situations where you have your front line character(s) OOA, but still eating all your food (the upkeep costs) and having to make do with other units or risk your weakened pros. Expeditions: Conquistador features some similar decisions.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much for the suggestions, Tristan. I'll check some of them out. Interestingly there's no game with a fantasy setting among them. Fantasy heroes don't have living expenses and don't get paid for doing quests, instead they are expected to earn gold by looting the enemies they encounter.

      Delete
    3. I agree that there seems to be a lack of games where you are in charge of an adventurer's guild - recruiting and developing heroes to make increasingly harder dungeon runs while protecting the populace from raiders. It's certainly an appealing flavour. If you gave me a game that was basically Football Manager with a 'team' of adventurers instead of footballers, I'd probably never play another game.

      'Recettear' has you in charge of an item store in a fantasy setting. You hire heroes to dungeon delve for items to sell or use in future delves. It's a JRPG with Zelda-style combat. You need to hit certain monetary thresholds at certain time intervals because you start out in massive debt and need to make repayments.

      Blood Bowl has you running an American Football team in a fantasy setting. You need to manage your roster and finances and travel to tournaments to level up your players and afford better staff. Sounds great but the UI, balance and football games themselves leave a lot to be desired.

      Delete
    4. There are also a bunch of fantasy 4x games that feature a lot of hero management - Eador, Fallen Enchantress, Endless Legend, Age of Wonders, and the granddaddy of them all, Master of Magic.

      Delete
    5. Bringing in strategy games, I'm surprised there hasn't been mention of King of the Dragon Pass yet. Although only statistical weaponthanes drain the resources and named heroes belong to tribe's chiefs there are quite enough options for managing them. (And when you've done managing and been lucky to keep them alive, done heroquests, having grown skilled individuals, then those buggers die of old age).

      I have not played Crusader Kings II, but maybe that applies too to these constraints.

      Delete
    6. >>If you gave me a game that was basically Football Manager with a 'team' of adventurers instead of footballers, I'd probably never play another game.

      I'm in!

      I liked M.U.D.S a bit for a similar idea, but I soon found out you couldn't really train your players, but always capture new ones to adapt to changing terrain. Or I did it wrong, whatever.

      I have put Darker Dungeons on my Steam wishlist, but I wait for a sale... ;)

      Delete
    7. @dariel

      Aside from anything else, KoDP and CK2 are both games that will really reward any player willing to invest time into them. They'd both occupy local maxima on a visualisation of all PC games.

      @sucinum

      Darkest Dungeons is on my wishlist as well. We won't get a significant discount prior to the game's release I suspect.

      M.U.D.S. looks interesting!

      Delete
    8. @Tristan Gall

      Please don't misunderstand for as a old RuneQuest player I really love KotDP, but even you have to admit that when chief reaching good stats to such extent that they could pass the endgame sequence in breeze, they have only few rounds left before dying. And naturally endgame starts immediately after that. But that's life I guess.

      Otherwise enjoyable game, plot sequences being well written and wonderful on how decisions made years ago come to haunt or reward you.

      But one thing that I would've changed to have some kind of idea how well the areas have been explored.



      @Sucinum

      Have you tried Arena? It's freeware fantasy gladiator game. Featuring team management and tactical combat.

      http://arena-7.appspot.com/

      Delete
    9. I'm playing Adventurer Manager and it is like Football Manager with adventurers.

      Delete

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