Saturday, October 21, 2006


Well, I didn't place in the Rifftrax contest. In retrospect, I may have gone a bit high brow (one of the people who received an honorable mention just made animal noises for five minutes), but no matter! I do, however, feel this is worth at least two sympathy hugs, to be cashed in on a later date.

Now, to more important people are masochists. Didn't I warn you? If you really must know about the Black and White Knight on the Black and White Horse, check out this post here, on forums:

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Well, I'm almost done wrapping up my present attempts at books/novels: 'Kutztown' and 'The Menig of Life', and I'm about to get ready to start a story based on the last D&D campaign, but without a lot of the D&D elements. I thought I'd lay things out in order to put my thoughts together, and give everyone a peek into what happened.



Corin is a young man of about fifteen years of age who has recently begun developing psychic powers. These powers manifest through an imaginary friend named Mack in which only Corin can see. Corin adamantly believes that Mack is real, as he can ask Mack to spy for him, move things for him and even fight for him. In reality, all these effects are created by his mind, but Corin is too unstable to realize this. Overall, Corin is a good-hearted young man, but he's unstable, and prone to rash actions when his sanity or the existence of his best friend, are questioned.


Grim is a young man of about 18 years of age who has a peculiar aura about him. In almost all ways he seems to be physically superior to those around him (mentally as well as physically), but his savage beginnings made him little more than a charming, intellectual thug. Grim wants to make more of himself, but doesn't have the education or appearance to break into civilized society, and has made him impatient, angry and bitter with most of the civilized world. Grim probably wouldn't kill someone unless in self defense, but he might hurt someone if he felt threatened and doesn't have the personal convictions to stop a teammate from doing something horrible or evil. Deep down, Grim wants to be in charge, and lead others, but first he's going to have to figure out how...


Amnesia is a traditional plot device, but Morgan takes it to the extreme. Morgan is a young, impatient and somewhat irrational man of about eighteen years of age who grew up in a native tribe similar to a Native American society. The tribe helped teach him how to fight, hunt and through the help of his spirit animal, a giant grey hulking monstrosity he began his spirit quest, which led him to drink a strange monster's blood. The next thing he knew, it was a year later. He was on the table in a somewhat eccentric wizard's lab. Morgan's liver was missing. Morgan had crawled into the wizard's tower with a note that said as much. The wizard gave him a magical replacement, but how's Morgan going to get the money to pay for it? Where'd his liver go (it's neatly removed, way before the time of organ harvesting, as its much easier to get a highly experimental magical replacement)? What happened? More importantly...what do all these strange items in his backpack mean?


Not everyone is young in the group. Doc is a middle aged novice spellcaster that's specialized in...let's say...unethical magic. Specifically, he specializes in magic surgery, which has tended to be a bit bizarre and unneccessary. On a whole, he's an amoral scientist, looking to perfect his bizarre magical breed of science and quack medicine, while simultaneously also being a good father and husband. What drives him to this? An unfortunate dominant genetic flaw in his family, that causes everyone to begin having heart attacks in their early forties. No one in his family even made it to fifty years old. Currently, he's 38. It isn't all about him though, as his children will also suffer the same fate unless he does something. You'd be amazed at all the cold and cruel things a man can do to protect his family, including using desperate and naive people as human guineapigs for his experiments.


Prometha's a talented and intelligent young woman of about 18 years of age, who comes from a wealthy background. What's she doing with this group, you ask? After a burglar successfully burglarized her family's house, she's became enamoured with high profile theft and grifting, leading her to become an amatuer thief, eventually blooming into a full blown kleptomaniac. Overall she's a carefree spirit that has a tendency to be rash and bite off more than she can chew. She's sympathetic with others, especially those who are outsiders, like herself. Above all else, she craves freedom...


Was that foreshadowing?



Hachi is probably the most infamous of the characters in the story, which as far as I'm concerned makes him the most interesting. He's an honorable young warrior who follows a strict ethical and moral code, taught to him by his family through rigorous martial training. Hachi's always trying to do what is right, and will not stand for misbehavior in others, whom he sees as evil. Unfortunately this intolerance spreads not only to evildoers, bullies, and theives but also to anyone he happens to disagree with. Hachi knows there's only one right was of doing things. His way. The way he was taught by his family. Unfortunately, this blind loyalty to his beliefs has also made him a bit gullible and unobservant, but even the teammates who dislike him have to admit that he's a very formidable warrior, who will fight to the death to defend his honor and beliefs...but what would happen if he became seperated from his family and way of life, and his honor and beliefs suddenly meant nothing to anyone except himself...


Okay, now that time was definitely foreshadowing. ^_^

So...any thoughts? I'd be interested in some honest feedback about the characters, and remember, this is only going to be based off of what happened in the game, so it doesn't have to follow the story directly. Right now, I'm just interested in which characters seem the most interesting, so I can figure out where to concentrate the story. A list of most interesting to least interesting would be cool, or if you have any ideas for changes let me know in the comments.

Take care!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Before we get started, I'd just like to confirm that the strategy game system I made last week does indeed work with RPG's, including, but not limited to, Chrono Trigger.

I could explain the system and the math that was geeky even by my standards, but I'll just cut to the chase: the most balanced team, overall, is Chrono (Hero), Marle (Princess Healer) and Ayla (Cavewoman Catgirl). Chrono blasts and hacks away at the enemies, Marle keeps everyone healed, and Ayla kicks the enemies into oblivion. Also, their thriple attack, Final kick, is not shabby by any means.

Now, the problem with this team is that it has Marle in it. I have issues with Marle that go far beyond her bratty, brainless nature. It all comes down to this: what's the point of having a healer in the party, if they're always the first one to die? Marle is absolutely defenseless, which isn't a trait you want the person protecting your life to have.

I should use Robo then? A decent choice, as he's (it's?) tough and strong, but he's hampered by another fact: every single last one of this triple techniques suck. All of them. This fact makes him great in the early to mid game, but sent to the backlines for the rest.

Thus leaving my personal choice for a healer: Frog. He can heal decently well and kick plenty of tail to boot. Overall, Frog is the most versatile character in the game. This makes my team of choice: Chrono (Versatile-Artillery), Frog (Versatile-Healer) and Ayla (Tank-Healer). A balanced team would call for a versatile, a tank, a healer and artillery. This team overdoes it a bit in the versatile department and underdoes it a bit in the artillery and healing department, but you'll be kicking way too much ass to care. The 3D is a Lavos Killer if there ever was one. Chrono-Marle-Ayla is better balanced, but having Marle in the team always seems to be a liability.

Now, I have a dear place in my heart for the mad genius/pyromaniac Lucca, and so I made a balanced team for her: Lucca, Frog, and Robo. Yes, there's no Chrono or triple attacks, but their dual attacks are fantastic and are balanced to boot. The traditional heavy magic: Chrono, Marle, Lucca team is way too vulnerable. Admit it, just think of this team and you're thinking of losing the fight with the three-part Head and two arms villian on the mountaintop for the hundreth time. Lucca, Frog and Robo is definitely the way to go (when you get to the part of the game where you can leave Chrono behind of course).

Oh, and Magus doesn't do dual attacks and usually can't do triple attacks either. Let Frog have him.

So anyway, I was playing Chrono Trigger (obviously) and got to that really hard fight in the future...and easily got through it. Oh! There's those powerful enemies! I better get ready for...a relatively easy fight...

Wait a minute. This game isn't that hard. It's still as fun as I remember it being when I was young, only now I'm not dying nearly as much.

Then it hit me.

I sucked at videogames when I was young.

I checked with Amber, and she was discovering the same thing. This isn't a case of becoming good through simple try and fail either, as we haven't played many of these games for many many years. How could I possibly have played so many videogames when I was in my early teens and not have been good at them? Let me check fighting games...when I was in my early teens, obsessed over Street Fighter II, I was losing to Bison at least ten times in a row before winning. Now I barely need to continue at all. Hell, even if I just low kicked over and over I'd still probably win. What the hell was I doing? Strategy contest., I'm kicking the crap out of Dr. Wiley's robots...and did it really take me that long to beat Mario 2?

Don't even talk to me about Tetris.

So...I wonder...did I suck at everything when I was young? For the purpose of argument, let's compare myself now, to myself when I was 16, and when I was 10.


The begininning point. When I was 10 I was getting my ass kicked 16 I had learned the basic tricks to avoid a total thrashing...and now I can handle myself pretty well.


When I was 10 I was getting my ass kicked 16 I had learned the basic tricks to avoid a total thrashing...and now I can handle myself pretty well...if I actually fought anymore. Now I just walk away, and if they throw a punch, then I call the cops. I still don't understand why a 17 year old can kick the crap out of small kids and get a slap on the wrist, but an 18 year old gets hauled off to jail for a year. Where's the sense in that? But I digress...


The 10 year old me can barely get a lawnmower to function, and starts crying after an hour of 16 year old self is barely functioning in a job at Wawa..I was alright at most of it, but generally I was still incompetent and lazy...and finally my present self has his own office and gets paid to sit at a computer and type...although I kind of hurt my argument a bit when I realize that I'm typing all this at work, but in my defense, it's my half day saturday in wholesale and it's slow. AHEM. Let's move on.


My incredibly mediocre results in the present are bolstered up by my hilarious failure in the past. My 16 year old self is unclean and weird, appealing only to a very select group of indiscriminating women who think long hair, jean shorts and Nine Inch Nails shirts look good on fat guys. Presently, I shower daily, wear dress casual clothes, and have been considered quite the charmer...with mixed success admitedly, but just look at my 10 year old self! Sitting there, at home, wolfling down Honey Nut Cherrios, and contently playing videogames without a care in the know, I think I may have to give him this round.


My 16 year old self's breaks fail, dodges a couch on a front lawn, instead slamming into the back bumper of another car. Smooth. My 10 year old self fails to ride even the simplest of vehicles, including bikes, skate boards, and walking (did I ever tell you about the time I ran into the side of a house?). I presently have gone seven years or so without a ticket, by driving at speeds that have been described by onlookers as downright tortoisian. Steady as she goes, folks, steady as she goes.


Presently: amatuer blogger Dave Barry wannabe with some initial success on message boards and (and also hopefully Rifftrax, I'm keeping my fingers crossed over the contest). 16: Dark, depressing, poorly written existential thrillers that never quiet achieved any level of 'thrill', but more or less covered the 'ers'. There were some interesting fantasy ideas, but no writing ability to facilitate their creation. 10: The dragon walked up to the three heroes and lowered his head behind them. Drake turned and looked shocked as if he was scared. Jen stayed quiet and was surprised. Mai gave them a funny look and looked annoyed as the dragon was behind her.

Think that's bad? That was me at 16! 10 was even worse.


Now: Whew! That was a great 30 minute run.
16: Whew! I feel much better after throwing up after that 20 minute run.
10: I've been jogging for 10 minutes now. I'm seriously going to die.


10: Cheats at chess (sorry Steve)
16: Not very good at chess
Now: Stops playing chess (I should've thought of that move years ago)


10: Screams. Immediately eaten.
16: Calls upon the dark, mysterious powers that govern the universe to help him achieve victory over the mindless horde. Immediately eaten.
Now: Hits zombie with chair. Runs to car. Drives away. Most likely still eaten, but in a far more important, plot-related death.


10: Chicken dance
16: Jumps up and down in place
Now: Final Fantasy victory dance. Boo-ya!


10: Sesame Street/Ninja Turtles/Knock Knock
16: Laugh-In/Get Smart/Ranma 1/2
Now: MST3K/The Office/Venture Brothers


Uh...actually not much improvement there. I 1 the sandbox still cracks me up. I don't recall actually having a sense of humor when I was 16, and now I more or less find all jokes funny, especially the ones that go on forever. Whatever you do, do not ask me about the Black and White Knight on the Black and White Horse.


10: Ninja turtles action figures/videogames
16: Magic cards/Anime (okay, and videogames)
Now: Day trips to conventions and other new experiences/videogames

You know, my 10 year old self could probably teach my 16 year old self a thing or two about things, which would cause my 16 year old self to push my 10 year old self over and go mutter to himself in the corner, which would lead to my present self to come in and yell at my 16 year old self and threaten to beat him up, which causes my 10 year old self, who doesn't recognize his adult self (he isn't very quick on the uptake), to grab a stick and charge at the present me, in an act of misguided loyalty to the 16 year old me.

It's on.


The 16 year old me is carrying that Masterlock Padlock on his jacket like I used to at school (for some reason I thought that was cool), and he weilds it like a makeshift weapon. He's a very mediocre wrestler (he won't be good until next year), but he will fall back on it if necessary.

16 year old Max: 2nd Rogue , AC: 12 (Denim Jacket), BA: +1, Init: +1, SPD: 30, HP: 13, F/R/W: +2/+3/-2, Melee: +2 (d4+1), Ranged: +2 (d4+1), Grapple: +3 (d3+1), Feats/Abilities: Makeshift weapon specialty, Improved Unarmed, Attribute: Big (+2 Grapple, -2 Hide checks, -1 AC, 2x carrying capacity), +1d6 Sneak attack, Evasion, Trap sense

The 10 year old me weilds a makeshift staff and since his favorite Ninja turtle is Donatello, he's actually proficient with it, and he may just be foolish enough to try to use it in a two weapon attack, even though he has absolutely no skill or training in such. He has no plan besides hitting with it at groin/knee level, which isn't that bad of a strategy when you come down to it.

10 year old Max: 1st Commoner (later upgraded to rogue), AC: 10, BA: +0, Init: +0, SPD: 20, HP: 5, F/R/W: +1/0/-2, Melee: + 0 (d6+0) or -4/-8 (d6+0), Ranged: +0 (1 non-lethal crab-apple), Grapple: +0 (d3+0), Feats/Abilites: Improved Unarmed Combat (took karate), Attribute: Big (simply considered medium sized instead of small, despite age, for all purposes except speed)

Presently, I've gone up in constitution and charisma, and I've mastered grappling a bit better, but my levels in bard won't really help too much here, and my levels in expert do nothing except drive down my base attack. Still, I'm far more advaced in level, but I'm going to spend the first round trying to negotiate, so they'll both get the jump on me.

Present Max: 2nd Rogue/2nd Expert/ 2nd Bard, AC: 11 (Acrylic jacket), BA: +3, Init: +1, SPD: 30, HP: 41, F/R/W: +3/+7/+8, Melee: + 4 (d4+1), Ranged: +4 (2 subdual thrown keys), Grapple: + 7 (d3+1), Feats/Abilities: Makeshift weapon specialty, Improved unarmed, Improved Grapple, Logical (Created feat: you may use your intelligence score instead of wisdom score for will saves), Attribute: Big (+2 Grapple, -2 Hide, -1 AC, 2X carrying capacity), Bardic Music X 4 day, Inspire courage +1, Countersong, Fascinate, Bardic Knowledge + 4, No spells (in the real world we'll say bards get 2 uses of bardic music per day per level to compensate for the loss), +1d6 sneak attack, Trap sense, Evasion

The fight starts. We'll assume, since we're the same person, we all rolled the same for initiative. As I start talking my younger self down, my 16 year old self draws the padlock as a move action and then attempts to sucker punch me across the head. I am flat footed, and he rolls...a 16, a definite hit, for 6 damage, bringing me down to 35 hit points.

My present self says "What the hell?" while the 10 year old me goes for my shins, rolling a...17. Damn. He smacks me across the shins for only 1 damage, bringing me to 34.

The next round starts and I ignore my 10 year old self, instead beginning a grapple with my 16 year old self. I roll...11, making my touch attack a 15, a hit. My grapple check is...13, and he opposes unfortunate 4, allowing me to put him in a headlock, and do 4 non-lethal damage, bringing him down to 9.

The 16 year old me attempts to smack me with the padlock while grappled, and rolls an...8, making his attack roll a 10, a miss.

My 10 year old self decides to take advantage of the fact I'm distracted and two weapon attack. His rolls are...16 and 4, making his attacks 12 and -4. The one lucky hit does...another whopping 1 damage, bringing me to 33 hp, leading my present self to tell him to knock it off.

I consider knocking off the 16 year old me's glasses, but then he'd probably think to do the same, so I go for the pin with a grapple check of...24, against his check of 23. Now, there are usually no critical hits in grapple checks, but I allow them in my house rules, so this unfortunately works against my present self, allowing his natural 20 to beat my higher check and resist the pin.

16 goes for another hit with the lock...and gets a 16, another hit, for a measly 2 damage, bringing me to 31.

10 goes for another double hit (worked last time)...and rolls a 3 first and then a 20 for the second hit! My god, his strategy paid off! Rolling to, a 19...minus 8, and I'm flat footed against him...good god, he scored a critical hit! He rolled crappy for damage again though, and does a total of 3 damage, bringing me to 28. Since it was a critical though...let's say I lost my glasses. Now I'm annoyed at the kid, and throw my keys at him. I can't see well enough to go for a sneak attack, so just hurl as best as I can...but only get an 8, it flies over his head.

16 attempts to use the moment to try to break free with...a 15, against my present selfs...22. No dice.

Another flurry from my kid self results in...attack rolls of 0 and 6. He briefly reconsiders his strategy.

Tiring of this, I try to punch my 16 year old self across the head...and critically fail. He does the same with the lock...succeeding. I'm down to 26. Kid me goes for a single swipe...landing a blow for an impressive 5 damage. I'm down to 21 and I can't ignore him any longer.

I kick the kid me with a 17, for 2 damage, but any damage is enough to send the kid me running off, crying, leaving me left with the teen me. He lands another blow with the lock, bringing me down to 18. I go for the pin once more, but he resists, but his next attack is a critical failure.

Getting angry, I sprawl down on him (26 to 7 checks), sending him face first into the ground, finally pinned. I lean on him and try to hold him helpless. He rolls a 1 for his grapple check. I succeed. I win the next three grapples, smooshing his face into the hard ground for 2, 2 and 4 damage respecively.

It seems about over when my young self shows up again, pleading for us to stop, to see that there's no point for the fighting, that we're all the same person and we have to learn to live with eachother and love eachother despite our flaws and differences.

I let my woozy teenage self up and we all share a moment of peace, realizing the error of our ways. He apologizes profusely, my present self accepts and does the same, and my kid self cheers as we go for a friendly hug, leaving my teenage self completley unprepared for the knee to the chest and subsequent double underhook spinebuster, which I affectionately call 'The Coffin Nail' (Grapple check 25 to 14, grapple damage plus sneak attack) slamming him unconscious to the ground.

In a flurry of enthusiasm, my 10 year old self slams his hand down on the ground three times, and declares me the winner, by pinfall.

Good times.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Before I start today's post, I'd like to take a moment and say, sleep is good. In the name of gaming (mostly convention related) I sacrificed sleep, which was a poor choice indeed. Remember, gaming will still be there in the morning, sleep will be replaced by work.

Oh, and I'd also like to take a moment and promote It's by Mike Nelson, from MST3K, and it's hilarious! It's basically MST3K commentary tracks for newer movies, including X-Men and Star Trek 5. You download the sound files for 2-3 bucks a piece and play them on your computer at exactly the same time as the movie (there's a system to help keep them in sync). They're a lot of fun, and don't cost that much...but I digress...


Recently, much to my own surprise, I've gotten into strategy games again. It started with Disgaea 2, and ballooned from there, into Shining Forces 2, Civ 3, and good old Ogre Battle (so far I've resisted Final Fantasy Tactics, but it's only a matter of time...).

I quickly decided to abandon the Civ 3, Europa, Orion, Numbunga's thingy kind of stategy game for the simple and clear reason that they're not much fun.

Oh sure, they're somewhat fun, perhaps even making it all the way up to 'a little fun', but after playing several of them I always come back to the irrefutable fact: politics and economics are no fun. If they were fun, people wouldn't have to be paid to deal with them in the real world. Why do these games exist then? They exist because success is fun, and the more difficult it is to attain success, then the richer the victory seems to be. The victory is often sweetest when the victory is a strategic vicotry, won through intelligence and brainpower, but honestly, that's really not much different than a contest of speed or strength. It's just arm wrestling with your brains.

Again, however, I digress. These strategy games are indeed a great measure of strategy and mental power, but they're boring. Sure, a well played strategic dual over a LAN line is akin to a well played game of chess, but come on, let's face it:


That's why I favor the action/adventure/guy with sword and spikey hair/giant bird type strategy game! Oh sure, I usually get demolished fairly quick (especially in the Warcraft/Starcraft type games), but at least it was fun and relatively quick!

I've especially grown partial to the tile/unit based games where you play as a blonde, spikey haired sword weilding silent kid who joins up with the healer girl he likes, a big non-threatening 'tell me about the rabbits' kind of warrior, and most importantly, some kind of giant bird (for some reason, this appears mandatory in adventure/strategy games).

A few weeks passed in this fashion, filled with many highly enjoyable horrifying losses. After about the hundreth time my fearless mute rode back to the local temple with a giant bag of unconscious/dead friends over his shoulder, I began to wonder if there was a better way. So for the sake of my loyal troops, and all strategy game players, I've broken things down through the help of logic and my ridiculous knowledge of D&D.

It doesn't matter if the strategy game takes place in a mystical realm of fantasy, in ancient feudal Japan, in World War 2, on a chess board, or in a convoluted Squaresoft plot, there are really only six types of units:


The main hero type, these warriors are decently strong, decently tough, decently...decent. These warriors usually become the backbone of any army, but often have usefull skills and the ability to do a little bit of everything, if necessary. These warriors include: guys with average sized swords, basic soldiers, monks, rogues, and on a chess board they are best represented by pawns. Pawns suck you say? Take into account that for every knight/bishop/rook you have, you have two pawns. Any veteran chess player will tell you that in chess, pawns dictate the flow of the game.


A must have in any fantasy game, these people keep you alive. In more modern/realistic games they're often represented by medics, but they also include calvary and emergency rescue. These units get more usefull depending on how many people there are to rescue, and how difficult it is to replace units. If you're on the opposing side, you'll want to kill these guys first. In chess, they're best represented by knights. If things get hairy for one of your pieces, the knight is the only one who can hop over other pieces and sweep in for the rescue.


Be they actual tanks, Chicken-like monsters, fighters, or guys with really great hair, some consider them the backbone of any army! I consider them slow. Painfully slow. Still, they make great portable walls/battering rams, but tend to have trouble dealing with quicker foes and foes that attack from a distance, or the sides. On the other hand, one on one, face to face, they're invincible. In chess, they're best represented by the rook.


Rocket Launcher, long bow, sniper rifle, fire magic, it's all the same on the battlefield. These nukers like to stay way back and strike their enemies from a distance, or at least in a manner that allows a hasty retreat, for they tend to be fairly vulnerable in up close combat. In chess, they're best represented by the bishop.


These units are fickle ones. They tend to be either incredibly useful or painfully necessary, perhaps even mandatory. These units vary greatly from game to game, and often have the ability to fill other niches, like the versatile warrior. The main difference is they tend to be more vulnerable and have a larger impact on the flow of battle. They might be bards, empowering the rest of the battlefield with their magical music, or they might be generals issuing battle commands to dictate the flow of the armies, or they might be little more than slow, vulnerable lumps, which your army is attempting to protect, and in the case of your enemy, destroy. In chess, they're best represented by the king, which is indeed a versatile piece...if you dare choose to use it.


The catch-all miscellaneous unit that tends to be represented by monsters, ghosts, kids and small robots. These units tend to have incredible power, but with a glaring, obvious weakness, like Superman and Kryptonite (only let's assume that Kryptonite is rare, but not that rare, like emeralds or diamonds). In retrospect, a better example would be a vampire, werewolf, or that dragon that's missing the one scale. Many are quick to load up their teams with these units, unaware that in order to have game balance, they've got to have weaknesses. In some games, like chess with the queen, these monster units are merely limited in number rather than given weaknesses.

Where does this all get us? Well, right after one of the routine merciless slaughterings of my armies, I began to realize that my problem might be my choice of units, so I sat down and attempted to figure out what the best balance of characters were...and then it began to look a little familiar, like a D&D group...and then it began to look even more familiar, like a chessboard.

If we assume you're allowed a maximum of 12 units, the overall best breakdown seems to be: 1 command, 4 versatile warriors, 2 tanks, 2 healers, 2 artillery, and 1 special. In chess, this breaks down to 1 king, 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops and a queen.

I don't think this is a coincidence. I think chess developed into this setup simply because it's the overall most well balanced team. Let's follow in this fashion with one of my games, let's say the first, Disgaea 2.

My team is (when not narrowed down to the maximum 10):

Adell/Hero (Versatile)
Rosalyn/Heroine (Versatile)
Sword Guy (Versatile)
Axe Guy (Tank)
Spear Girl (Versatile)
El Pollo Diablo/Devil Chicken (Tank)
Killer Marionette (Special)
Fire Wizard (Artillery)
Wind Wizard (Artillery)
Ice Wizard (Artillery)
Prinny/Sword Throwing Penguin (Artillery)
Healing Girl (Healer)
Milk Drinking Brother (Tank)
Cheerleader Sister (Support)

No wonder I'm getting killed! I have WAY too much artillery! Those poor wizards are more than I can protect with only two tanks and only one healer. Now, a maximum number of 10 units is less than twelve, but thanks to having WAY too much free time on my hands, I've figured out the best order to include the units. I've found that this balance also works in generic RPG's.

UNIT #1: VERSATILE WARRIOR (When you make a starting character in a game, choose the balanced one that can do a little bit of everything, usually the rogue)




Anyone familiar with D&D may realize that we're just set up the classic Rogue-Cleric-Fighter-Wizard combination, and for the first four, that's definitely the way to go.


UNIT #6: COMMAND SUPPORT (Now there's enough characters to make the support worthwhile)

UNIT #7: SPECIAL (Any earlier and the team's basic needs won't be met)


If it were a D&D team, that would make the team: a rogue, a cleric, a fighter, a wizard, a ranger, a bard, a monster (let's say a Nixie), and a sorcerer. Not a bad setup, if you ask me.



When your numbers grow over 8, you're going to need more units to help with healing and defense. Any less and your back row is going to quickly get overrun. This is a lesson I learned at great cost.



After 10 units, you just need more guys that can deal with the situation as it happens. We can never be completely sure what's going to happen on the battlefield (unless we went to so we need to have units that can deal with whatever happens.

Now, using this method, I've reonstructed my team, allowing an extra versatile (unit #11) since my new second healer also makes a better support unit than the cheerleader sister:

1. Adell (Versatile)
2. Healing Girl (Healer)
3. Axe Guy (Tank)
4. Fire Wizard (Artillery)
5. Rosalyn (versatile)
6 & 9. Healing Girl #2 (Support and Healer)
7. Killer Marionette (Special)
8. Wind Wizard (Artillery)
10. El Pollo Diablo (Tank)
11. Spear Girl (Versatile)

There you have it! The ommitted go to the sidelines and I finally have a team that can win battles! I've applied the same method to the other games and I'm confident that this method is...what's that?




"We've lost Adell!"

I barely heard Private Marami over the blast of the exploding Prinny. Penguin shrapnel covered over half our base, wounding the back line, but luckily failed to claim any lives. I don't have time to come to terms with the horrible news, instead first ordering my healers to fix the back row up. When I finally felt secure, I faced the messenger and began my tirade.

"How could this happen?! He had over half health and was facing an enemy a level lower than himself!"

Marami wiped the sweat off her brow, leaning on her spear as she continued,

"The geo panel moved sir! An enemy boost times three dropped right on a red square. Adell's enemy was on a red square! It was over before we knew it!"

I nodded and grimly rubbed my eyes, knowing that when I went back to town, I'd have to let Adell's family know what happened. It was always hard to lose one of your best men.

It costs, like, a fricking fortune to revive them.

I waste no more time.

"Get everyone off the red squares and then have the wizards nuke the geo pyramid."

The troops around me froze at the news. The walking geopanels were usually considered 'neutral parties'. As far as I'm concerned, that small pyramid stopped being a neutral party the second it decided to hop on a red panel. I wasn't sure if my troops would see it the same way, so I took on a somber demeaner and was about to speak when Marami suddenly sprang up and happily cheered...


The troops then happily bombed the defenseless pyramid into oblivion, laughing all the way.

There were some advantages to having a demon army.

The desperate enemy then began to press forward, slamming into my front line of troops, eager to get at my wizards. They seemed low on MP, so I had them retreat through the portal...and then released my secret weapon upon the unknowing enemy.

The attacking ghosts, troops and penguins came to a sudden stop, as a large figure began to move over the horizon. The ghosts were the first to spot the rustling trees, and they did so just as they burst forward, toppling down the hill, making way for the sudden appearance of my secret weapon.

On two giant, three-towed feet, the legendary beast approached, towering over its enemies. The sun was in their eyes, so at first they only saw a giant bird-like outline that immediately thrusted its giant prow-like beak forward, neatly scissoring a warrior neatly in two. The spearwoman Marami than rushed the enemy's mage off in the distance, impaling her upon her pike, leaving her well out of reach of the enemy, leaving them no other options other than a forward rush into the enemy's tank, or retreat.

As they rushed forward, I began to smile.

The enemy weapons bounced harmlessly off El Pollo Diablo's nearly impenitrable feathers. They comboed and team attacked with nothing more than single digit damage to show for it. Desperate, the troops glanced at their artillery, which was currently residing on the end of Marami's staff. The enemy began to get ready to bolt, but El Pollo had much different plans.

With a small amount of maneuvering, the giant chicken's head swerved like a turret directly into the enemy's path. El Pollo's cobra-like tail then hissed at the enemy as a giant cloud of gas erupted from the bird's maw. The blast killed two of the enemy, and wounded the others. The survivors turned to run, but found themselves stricken with little white lines on their chest, which seemed to hold them fast in place. There was no retreat. A moment later, El Pollo Diablo fired again.

With a swivel and turn, the giant chicken of doom walked a straight line toward the enemy base. Marami quickly followed along its side, and with a wave of my hand, the artillery moved forward to follow it. With a loud crash, and a deafeningly thunderous...


...El Pollow Diablo crahed through to the enemies back lines, as Marami ran in beside it, and my Mage dropped a Mega Wind on their front line.

With this brutal climactic charge, I suddenly knew with certainty, deep within my heart...that the giant wad of cash it's going to cost to revive Adell...will not be spent in vain!