It is a core workout, and core's basically one of the most important parts of tkd.
Wasn't planning on blogging again, but on a whim, decided to google jacknife, and found out there's actually a good video showing a version of the jacknife, albeit not quite what we do. It's close enough to be an accurate depiction tho!
Hands start above the head, legs start on the ground, flat; everything's on the ground. Body, with arms, raise as shown in the video; legs raise, but are straight the entire time, the idea being to get pretty much as close as you can to having your fingers touch your toes in the air, with both being in the middle.
It is a core workout, and core's basically one of the most important parts of tkd.
So I was supposed to help with a belt test for tae kwon do this Saturday--by which, I mean. Not in four days, but three days ago.
I completely and totally forgot.
And the real stupid thing is.
I knew I would forget.
And there were any number of things I could have done to stop me from forgetting.
Telling my family.
Telling my girlfriend.
Blogging about it here.
Writing a note.
And wasted my time on Saturday.
I'm pretty sure the thing I did on Saturday was work on my civ 3 mod, nothing else constructive.
Something I could have done on literally any day.
So I am a complete utter idiot.
And I'm going to pay for it from my self-imposed punishment: 50 jacknives (apparently what I know as jacknives may not universally be known, but they are basically kinda sorta a combination same-time crunch plus reverse-crunch, where both the upper body and legs move upward at the same time), 25 knuckle pushups, and I later added in 30 (which I pushed up to 50 later) crunches.
Now admittedly, I did these in sets of 10/5, later adding the 10 crunches.
And of those knuckle pushups, pretty sure the first 15-20 didn't have proper technique.
And near the end of the jacknives, I could tell I was failing to do them with proper technique. (I made up for it by doing some in-air cycling, after I discovered neither a crunch nor a reverse crunch were faring any better than the jacknife.)
But this is still brutal. Especially since whenever I felt like I was recovered, I did more. I felt like vomiting was a possibility before I had even done any of the workout for the class proper. And I wanted to push things so that doing things in the class would be as difficult as was possible, while not being impossible. (I don't think I succeeded, but I got fairly close.)
It hurt, but it didn't hurt enough. It will hurt big time tomorrow (aint enough stretches in the worlds to keep the soreness from debilitating me tomorrow, aint enough protein in the world to properly fuel my regrowth), but it still wasn't quite enough of a punishment for my sin.
That's okay, overall, however, because my instructor more than made up for it. Not in her chastising of me (there was a small amount--not nearly as much as I deserved, but a little justified chat on the subject), but rather, the words which were meant to be an encouragement.
The words meant to be encouraging to me were a stab through the heart harsher than any of the words of criticism, in spite of being only a single sentence: "I appreciate your help." Meant to be genuinely reassuring; was actually a dagger twisting in the wound deeper, because she appreciates my help...and without warning, I wasn't there to give it to her.
For no good reason.
Because I forgot.
With no excuses.
I thought of making some.
I had some which I could create.
But I couldn't use them--in spite of having created them, I just couldn't use them. It just...was something I deserved to take in full.
I still think I got off lightly--lighter than I should.
I don't know what else I can really do to punish myself more than I did, but I basically got what amounts to a slap on the wrist. Jacknives are a white belt punishment. (Admittedly, more like 5-10 of them at that rank, and a punishment used with decreased frequency, butstill.) Knuckle pushups, can be as early as a gold belt punishment. Both are test requirements from green belt and above, doing 10 + 5/rank. (So at my rank, it's somewhere in the 20-30 range anyway.)
I'm out of shape, so I can do less than I should be able to do for my rank, butstill--these are things that ceased being punishments and started being part of my training literally years ago, kept as a punishment more as a relic to have something as a punishment.
So I still feel bad, and feel like I should feel even worse in every way possible.
How much? Six and a half inches, snow. Enough where we have maybe one car capable of getting out? Most of us were certainly staying home today, including me. Fortunately, I didn't need to tell my boss that I couldn't come due to inclement weather, because my boss told me that our facility was closed for today. (Did need to cancel my counseling appointment tho.)
It is cold and it is not gonna melt and even if it did melt it's gonna refreeze which is even worse than before the melt. (Funny thing, ice is ten times more dangerous than snow. Snow's not much worse than water; ice is...well, ice. And melted snow refrozen makes solid sheets of it.) Meaning I probably won't be going to tae kwon do tomorrow, either. (Which kinda sucks, as I said I would and it's the first day of a new session for the lil' kids class. But, safety first.)
Being trapped at home on a day I didn't intend to be left me realizing...it is immensely, tremendously, overwhelmingly, boring because I am still in that recovering position of not really knowing what to do because I still don't feel like :efforting:. Mostly, I messed around for a few hours in Majesty (someone figured out a quest turning Majesty into a tower defense game of sorts, and then released a mod based on that quest for guardhouses which upgrades them further than the mods existing, allowing for lots of fun).
I also have made significant progress on the story of Worms. I'm ending the night having just finished Interlude 14--by my understanding, not even remotely close to finished with the story and it certainly doesn't feel that way. There are events which I know happen (TVTropes spoilers, the very thing that got me into reading Worms in the first place). One or two, I can kinda sorta see as maybe being close, but the others are events that in order to transpire (which I know they do), require significant setup (which hasn't happened yet), setup that doesn't just magically appear out of thin air.
So, slow and steady progress to go. Reading a comment at circa 12 posted in like 2018, I seem to recall them stating, "not even a third of the way through", and that wouldn't surprise me in the least. It is a thoroughly entertaining read, and I'm actually a little miffed at one little thing; Shatterbird's control over glass (which extends to Silicone) is pretty much exactly the power one of my heroes (canonical to the Rubyverse) has; he even goes by the codename of Silicone.
Ah well. The OP nature of that power (in a bad future, said character is one of less than ten superheroes/supervillains left alive in the dieing Earth and could continue to exist even after literally every single other person died; through time travel where he basically inserts himself into the pass, said future is averted and thus his present-self is significantly weaker than that and rather deliberately keeps himself rather weak since he hates his future self's guts and both share the sentiment of him not wanting to walk that path a second time, but I digress) is bound to be something others would be aware of.
Anyway, at least I'm not sick like I thought, and didn't have stress of work to make it worse. Also, we haven't lost power. Obviously, saying that is tempting fate, but realistically speaking, if we were going to lose power, we probably would have already. The snow stopped falling; the melting and refreezing could knock out power, but is incredibly unlikely to, and even if it did. It remains true that so far, it hasn't, which remains a blessing in my books.
I think that's all I can think of to say, so probably gonna go to bed now.
Today, I felt like I was actually recovering! I didn't feel fully recovered, but I felt like I was at least beginning to recover! I wasn't tired, had no fever, no cough, not so much as a sore throat. Everything was fine.
...Until about an hour before tae kwon do.
At which point.
I started coughing.
I suddenly developed a sore throat.
All my energy vanished.
And I began to feel like I was burning up, feverish.
With a vengeance, the sickness was back and plagued me for the rest of the day pretty much.
I'm not getting better.
Well one of the two days of it anyway, but seeing as how I have work tomorrow the birthday present gift was for the one-day pass only so I won't be going; I'll be working.
It was quite fun and pretty much what I expected it to be.
I did notice something about myself, though.
I'm having an increasingly large urge to use more and more of my left hand/arm. I don't know why, but for everything except for a few things (especially fine motor control), my left hand seems to be the one I'm finding more appealing.
I actually have a bit of a theory. My right arm functions faster and with more dexterity, but I feel it might be less powerful. This would be backed by my preferred practice stance, and also the stance I seem to favor in sparring a good amount of the time: my right leg is forward.
As any fighter can tell you, front-side attacks are faster, with more precision, but far less speed than back-side attacks. But it's also a position which can be thought of as fighting southpaw, because when you fight, your primary hand isn't usually the blocking/jabbing hand; your primary hand is usually the one you throw crosses with, and I favor my left hand.
It may be something to explore in the future, but we'll have to see.
But I'll start with some new stuff as of today.
For the Rubyverse, I was working on the vampiric martial art some more.
I'm not sure if I had a name in mind for the vampiric martial art before, but now I do. I was thinking the English name for it would be "Moving Tree". I decided on that name for a variety of reasons. The idea behind it is that the user has their roots firmly planted in the ground--the martial art is not one which really involves jumping. It is furthermore one which involves being solidly positioned on the ground, such that nothing fazes the user.
In fact, the implication is also meant to be that the user is as tough as wood, with a hardened body.
And yet, there is also a fluidity in movement inherent in the martial art, the softer, flowing elements as if a tree is being blown by a gentle breeze. These sharp, crisp movements direct things, and can lash out with incredible precision and power.
Plus, there is the fact that branches can be, when sharpened enough, used as if spears--with the implication of impaling enemies upon the 'branches'. (Which in this case would be hands.)
There's more to it than that, but another one of the main reasons I chose that as the name is because it had the aesthetic of a name which sounded like it was plausibly a martial arts name to use. Yes, I haven't done the requisite research on Chinese martial arts that I wanted to, to get a better idea, but I DO know that quite a number of martial arts take HUGE cues from nature in their naming schemes.
And the idea of a tree which moves seems like it is something that could, quite plausibly, come from that culture. (Especially given that one of the traditional Chinese elements is Wood.)
Will I remember to call the vampiric martial art the Moving Tree martial art? Probably not! After all, it's possible this isn't the first name I've given the martial art, it's just the name I came up for it today.
Still, I feel that if nothing else this is a promising name. I'll need to find out what the best non-English name would be, because the non-English name would be the OFFICIAL name for the vampiric martial art, with "Moving Tree" just being the translated-into-English name for said martial art.
Beyond that, I also developed another new technique.
So the knife-guard's signature technique is the impale, from which the impaler stance derives its name; it is also the signature move of the martial art as a whole. While all four of the founding masters of the style were involved in every step of the process, the knife-guard was primarily co-developed by (who else?) both Tepes Lords.
The tri-guard's signature technique is the typhoon strike; while all founding four masters were involved, it was most heavily developed by Victor Wu.
And today, I developed the Claw-guard's signature technique:
What it is, is basically an existing martial art move in more flowing styles/forms, a circular motion.
The back hand rotates either above or below the front hand, and the front hand rotates either below or above the front hand.
When the front hand goes below the back hand/the back hand goes above the front hand, it is called Kneading; when the front hand goes above the back hand/the back hand goes below the front hand, it is called Purring.
These names originate from how, if you slow the motion down and slightly exaggerate it, what the fingers resemble.
The motion of the hands in Kneading looks a lot like a cat kneading, when slowed down. (At full speed, it's more like a scratch.) The potion of the hands in Purring bends the wrist in such a way that one hand comes back almost to the jaw, in a position which is stereotypically associated with the position you'd see paws placed in on a cat which is purring.
Now, Kneading/Purring can be done in a continuous cycle, where you make a full circle. Backhand to front to back, rotating clockwise or counterclockwise continuously, which is considered continuous kneading/purring. However, far more common is to switch between the two: instantly do a knead/purr, and then snap back with a purr/knead.
So I'm not quite sure I'm explaining this motion as well as I should.
Basically, know how claw guard is essentially just knife guard except with a curled hand with the fingers apart? Well, it starts with the forward-hand in front, as per the norm for the martial art, and the back-hand in the back, obviously. But the motion snaps the back hand into the front and the front hand into the back.
This can be done in a static position, but is designed to synergize well with moving between the back/defensive stance and the forward/attack stance of the impaler stance. This is also one of the best defensive moves in the arsenal of the martial art, meant to give a continuously rotating guard--in theory, making it much harder to exploit vulnerabilities in defenses.
In all other aspects of the vampiric martial art, unless the hands are involved actively in either a strike, block, or grab or some sort, they remain static. They are locked more or less in a single position, where they rest. Now! Said position happens to be a smart position, one where they can easily in a split second snap a block/strike/etc. out. But the fact remains that an opponent can, if given the chance, see potential weaknesses in the defense because the defense never changes its base position.
This isn't just a vampiric martial art thing. I know from experience in sparring for my tae kwon do that the arms in the guard? Unless they are punching or blocking, they don't tend to move. The legs? They move a plenty. But the arms have more or less a single fixed position, a single 'optimized guard position', where with minimal movement a block/strike can be made.
And I don't think it's just my school.
I think this exists in almost all martial arts. I know they're not the best example, but like. In basically any movie featuring martial arts where the fighting is choreographed in such a way that you can see the fighters have a guard in the first place. The guard doesn't move when not striking/blocking/grappling. It just sits in one position.
It also is there in game animations, too, for the most part. Sprites are animated where the knees bend, the hips bend, there is forward and backward movement where the spine more or less is moving forward and backward. You know the like, it's something you see all the time. Yet when not performing either a block or a strike or a grapple, how often are the sprites' arms actually fluidly moving?
I mean, sure, it happens, but it doesn't happen often. Maybe it's wasted effort, or maybe there's the fear that the movement creates a vulnerability, maybe there's a reason for it. But I also believe that there's a reason why not every martial art does this, why some do have the arm movement I'm more or less talking about--
After all. There are existing forms where the arms move in more or less the way I am talking about. (In fact, I know at least one form from tae kwon do which uses the basic movement I am dubbing in my martial art kneading/purring.)
So I think that, mechanically, it can work as a way to more or less serve to theoretically make it much harder to exploit gaps in defense. And, yes. The movement behind kneading/purring is such that both arms are fully capable of blocking and striking at any moment.
In fact, half the reason to use this is to launch an unexpected attack, most likely a palm strike. Because the rotation is done continuously, and because it only takes ever so slightest the modification of movement to turn the simple rotation into a strike, a blow can be delivered with no warning by using this method.
At least. In theory. I have tested the body mechanics and the idea is at least theoretically sound. It acts pretty much as the counterpart to an existing thing from fighting.
In sparring, already. Your feet aren't meant to be static. They are springy. Bouncy. They have ever so slightest the continuous movement between one another. To allow for the ability to move forward, backward, sideways, in an instant, to react to being hit, and to surprise an opponent by 'invisible movement'. A move with the feet to close distance without revealing you're closing distance, or a kick without revealing you're throwing a kick.
It's a very tae kwon do type thing, but I imagine quite common even outside of it. You move the feet continuously so that your opponent never knows what you are planning to do next, and so that you can always be ready for what your opponent does next.
Kneading/purring, as I envision it, is basically doing the same thing the legs do, except with the hands. Especially since it can rotate two different directions, attacks can come from any number of different locations/times, without warning that there is any deviation from the pattern.
And yes. If you couldn't tell. It was indeed developed primarily by Lord Darkblood, and thus, is the style Ruby adapts for use in Red Hood Rider.
That's the main thing I'll be blogging about today, but I also thought it worth mentioning a dream I had last night.
The dream was almost nested, as a dream within a dream. Almost. It was a situation where I was involved in an event and thought I was more or less on break from a different event (a different dream). In the event I was involved in, I was watching television.
On that television, there was a kids cartoon show playing. Now, I don't remember if this was a real cartoon show, a fictional cartoon show, multiple real cartoon shows meshed up, or some combination of these, but what I do remember quite clearly was, within that cartoon show, there was dialog within that I listened to and memorized. (Unfortunately, I promptly forgot what said dialog was upon awakening.)
I was immensely reassured, and told my companion in the dream: "That's exactly the type of dialog that I use in Phyrra and Cyrus!" So basically. At least inside my dream. The dialog of Phyrra and Cyrus comes across as being natural, as being standard for a kids cartoon show, being just as good if not better than the material of other shows circulating in the contemporary market.
Of course, this is a dream we are talking about.
In spite of that.
Upon waking up.
The reassurance remains. Because I do tend to trust my dreams a lot. Phyrra and Cyrus was born from a dream, and this dream was indirectly telling me I feel, "You are on the right track. Don't second-guess your choices in terms of the dialog and what you want the characters to be. You are making something which is of quality."
And I want to believe in that.
It was pretty fun but I'm not really able to describe the day.
One of the many highlights, though, was a martial arts demo, which was mostly focused around some Chinese-based martial arts. (It did have Korean as a secondary and Japanese as a tertiary focus since the school does styles from all three, but Chinese was the main one.)
You may note, that's where my vampiric martial art is meant to take a great deal of inspiration from.
Looking at the demoed forms, I realized that claws were missing from my strikes, and that I also haven't worked much with dealing in being much, much lower to the ground (in like a crouch essentially), and that my grapple work could use some greater definition, among other things.
So I thought it good in that sense, in that I now have some more ideas for what the martial art would entail--details which I get to actually SEE, rather than just hear like wikipedia descriptions of with potential pictures strewn about. It's one thing to have it described; it's another to see it in action. I got the latter, so when I also get the former, I'll have things more clearly established.
Was a very good day overall.
I still am! But instead of using that as an excuse to not write much of a blog, I'm using today as a chance to write an extensive blog entry! So extensive, in fact, that I'm estimating a timeframe of about four hours between typing and research to finish it, and that's with me not going into things in as much detail as I could. Start time is approximately 2:15 PM, so I'll let you know how close my four hour estimate is when I finish.
I suppose I'll start with the mundane: remedies.
At work, we have free coffee, before noon more or less.
I make extensive use of this.
I can drink my coffee any way. Sugar and cream, sugar alone, cream alone (this is my preferred), or even black. (I don't really see what's the reason not to do it, but I tend not to simply because I like the flavor creamer adds plus creamer cools the coffee faster.)
When I am feeling myself be dangerously low on nutrients--and this is, unsurprisingly, happening more and more often at work--I have taken to adding sugar to the coffee. I'm pretty sure the sugar I want is real sugar and not sweetener. I'm pretty sure my work has the real sugar (it'd be the white ones), and I know absolutely for sure it has sweetener (between the pink/yellow/blue ones, I know at least one or two are sweeteners and I think all three are).
Still, just in case, I add both to the coffee, such that I have an emergency supply of energy. Is it healthy, heck no. Does it even help me? Probably not much! But it's better than nothing for someone who is hopelessly eternally underweight. (One good thing I have to look forward to when I eventually live with my girlfriend is that problem won't be allowed to stand. Long story there but that's not something to tell on a public blog.)
However, I still prefer not to use it.
That having been said, it has become necessary for a formula.
Since being sick, I've been adding tea to my drink. I let the drink sit for 20 minutes (off the stand, with coffee) or 30 minutes (on the stand, with hot water), alternating between the two as I change positions and thus averaging two drinks per hour.
This I can only conclude has one of two acceptable names: 'cofftea' and 'abomination'. Because I imagine the one and only thing coffee purists and tea purists have in common is that they believe you should never mix the two, and yet I freely do so.
The formula changes day to day, but by the end of the day it's usually about the same:
Five tea bags (in a tiny 8-10 ounce cup, mind you) already at the bottom and thoroughly soaked. Add 50-60% coffee, preferably not decaf but I'll use decaf if regular's not available. As the tea diminishes with repeated doses, so too does the amount of sugar I add, from 4-5 (initial) down to 2-3 (final) by the end of the day sugar packs, with a near-equal but slightly less number of sweeteners (3-5 initial, down to 2-3 final).
Then I fill it most of the way to the top with the creamer. I can't confirm, but I believe my workplace uses half-and-half creamer, whatever that entails. The final bit I add is a top-off of hot water. Now, mind you, the drink is already heated because coffee is kept warm/hot especially when freshly brewed about once an hour (I get the fresh brew a good half of the time as one of the first people to have it, and then the stale brew as one of the last to have it the other half of the time), but the water seems to help balance the flavors out.
I add a wooden stick to stir, and I imagine the wooden stick actually adds flavor of its own because I leave it in (in no small part because half of the time it gets tangled in the tea strings).
I drink that, then add hot water, then rotate onto the guard stand, when off drink the hot water brew, and repeat the process. The tea I use is whatever's available, which seems to differ from time to time. (So does the sugar by the way. And for that matter, sometimes the creamer, though the creamer's mostly consistent.) Some are marked as caffeine-free.
When given the choice I normally stay away from those and stick with the ones without such a label since I assume a lack of a caffeine-free label indicates there's caffeine within and usually caffeine is half the point. Right now I'm having tea because I'm sick. But were I to have cofftea outside of being sick, it'd be because there's no regular coffee, decaf coffee is available, but so too is a non-caffeine-free tea bag available.
...Okay so the wording there's confusing. But basically. Outside of sickness, I use cofftea when I need a caffeine fix and the only coffee available is decaf. So that's one--maybe two--teabags. But when I'm sick. And I'm frustrated with being sick. I start to get desperate.
I don't even know if tea actually helps with a cold. And if it does, I don't even know if the tea that I take helps with a cold. And if it does, I don't even know if the way I make the tea is effective at producing the results I want. But if nothing else it is a rather effective placebo, especially today.
Today, I had one teabag which was some Dandelion Root thing, labeled as a 'Traditional Medicinals' and also as naturally caffeine free. Also present: Chamomile Herbal Tea (caffeine free), Peppermint Herbal Tea (caffeine free), Earl Grey Black Tea, and English Breakfast Black Tea.
Even using more sugar than I normally did.
What I can say about it is...
...It tasted. And I kid you not. It tasted exactly like cough medicine. And in fact. It wouldn't surprise me if its effect was exactly the same as cough medicine. It tasted terrible...but the bad taste might've been justified by how it actually WORKED, moreso than this tea trick I've been using has been previously.
Rather, for about an hour, my cold symptoms actually seemed to worsen rather than improve when I first began, but when I kept going...they vanished almost altogether, clearing things up in a way they hadn't ever been cleared up before. I even stopped having a runny nose! (Well for the most part.)
Now granted. I'm a firm believer in letting the body do its own thing. Coughing is meant to dislodge junk more or less. A sore throat is your immune system killing infected cells. A runny nose is forcefully expunging any material which could carry the disease. So having those things stop? Not necessarily actually a good thing.
Which is one reason why I stopped taking cough medicine and the furthest I was willing to go was to liberally make use of cough drops (I mean, I suspect that cough drops are essentially cough medicine distilled over time, but they feel like they aren't as potent).
More or less, if the disease the body is dealing with is a virus, then it's become my belief--mistaken or not--that there's no cure for it, no way to magically make it better, and that cough medicine can actually slow recovery down by slowing the body's fighting mechanisms from fighting the way they are inclined to fight, if that makes sense. (Basically, cough medicine doesn't cure the cause of the cold, just the symptom of it, and treating the symptom isn't a cure. It can make the cause last longer, and I want to avoid that.)
Of course, obviously, if the disease the body is dealing with is bacteria, different story altogether. I'm still not overly fond of antibiotics (among other reasons, they nuke the good along with the bad and I'm not the best at compensating with probiotics), but those are actually going to make a difference...provided of course that it is in fact a bacterial infection. (One other reason I'm not so fond of antibiotics is that using them against a virus is ineffective and even detrimental, and yet with this level of sickness symptoms differentiating between the two is difficult at best.)
So back to my point--I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight be making my own life more difficult if the tea did in fact act like cough medicine and suppress the symptoms which are part of the process in curing the cause, thus elongating the sickness...but at least I wasn't miserable during work and was able to function. I've found the tea remedy doesn't even last the whole day traditionally.
Either because it needs to be reapplied every hour or so or because the initial strongest dose wears off after about six hours (with five being the length of time I work), by the time I am home, usually I'm back to being my same ol' sick self again.
Still. I feel like sharing the experience all the same. If for no other reason than to make people who are actually knowledgeable cringe in absolute horror at my ignorance.
Anyway! What else have I worked on?
Let's start with the Rubyverse.
I'm inventing my own martial art, the vampiric martial art featuring the Impaler Stance, as it's called.
However, I've developed it further. I meant to blog about this back on the eighth but didn't get around to it.
Still, since then I've begun developing the martial art behind the Impaler Stance.
First off: note that I haven't done my research. I'd want to research Chinese style martial arts (of which there are plenty) to get a feel for the general aesthetic behind them be it soft, hard, or hybrid between the two. (The vampiric martial art is in some ways incredibly soft, and yet in other very specific ways, incredibly hard, styled martial arts.)
A basic lore behind the vampiric martial art (which I need to name; I'll name it when I research Chinese martial arts and get a good idea for what kind of name it'd be) is that it was developed by two notable vampires with the aid of two other overseers: Lord Darkblood (the vampire responsible for Ruby as she is in the story and whose position she inherited when he was vaporized by her awakening) and Lord Tepes(/Tepez? Too lazy to look up which would be the technically correct spelling but this is quite literally Dracula) as the overseers, with the ones being:
-Lina Tepes (Dracula's daughter)
-And Victor Wu.
Victor Wu is the current vampire Lord of the dieing Wu coven, which is a vampire coven that has a basis largely in Asia and yes...quite prominently, China. This specific martial art was developed ~1,000 years ago back when Lina and Victor were both reasonably young (thus the need for overseers) and still within human lifespans even.
I deliberately go out of my way to avoid going into too many specifics behind the Wu coven (it's honestly not something I want to take the time to properly delve into for the sake of Red Hood Rider even though the Wu coven is historically speaking one of the most important covens in the Rubyverse), but Victor Wu when developing the vampiric martial art which the impaler stance is derived from did have Chinese martial arts of the time as an inspiration.
I'd also research European Martial Arts of the time but...I honestly wouldn't know where to begin? Like. In the year of like 1,000 AD. In Europe. There was I'm sure some form of trained unarmed combat which we would in the modern world deem a martial art, but like. I've never even heard of any? I know of plenty of armed warfare methods. Even gladiatorial combat. Dueling, too.
But those are still with weapons. I can tell you how a gladiator fought; I can tell you how a duel would be fought (well, maybe), I can tell you how various different armies throughout Europe fought from Ancient Egypt up through early gunpowder usage pretty well (albeit not perfectly). But while it's all nice and good to know how a knight in shining armor swung his sword (it's not nearly as impressive as the movies make it out to be).
...How did they actually have an unarmed fight, often to the death? In the Eastern cultures, those martial arts are extensively recorded even going back a thousand years. So we know why they did it, how they did it, when they did it, and so on and so forth.
In Western cultures, sure. Things we can call Martial Arts were developed eventually. Pugilism. Boxing. It's half-new-world, but sure let's include Capoeira too. (I'm naming examples from the top of my head if you couldn't tell.) The likes of those, later on, we know how they formed, where they formed, and so on and so forth.
Apparently, by a quick skim of what the wikipedia article I pulled up says, in the time period I am aiming for, the records...simply...don't exist. The earliest they come in is the 1300s, and I am aiming for literally 200-300 years before that. (Of course, this is assuming Dracula is older than Vladimir Tepes III, which I think is part of my established mythos; my job becomes a little bit easier if I am mistaken about that and Dracula was born in 1428/1431.)
What I'm getting at is that Lina Tepes, one of the developers of the style, had that European background. I decided that for the sake of simplicity the following:
The vampiric martial art would have English names for everything of course, but also have names for everything that were either Chinese (probably Mandarin) or Latin. Because the Wu coven has that Chinese flair, and because I figured that Latin was a bit of a universal language of sorts especially for nobility and it has...well, it kinda has the flair of the supernatural around it. (There's a reason Ominous Latin Chanting is a trope.)
So with that settled. All names are subject to change.
The vampiric martial art has six stances I've developed. Three fall under the same branch, the backbone of the martial art, and would be considered part of the impaler stance (the impaler stance is mostly thought of as being the 'attack'/forward position of the three though, because vampires have far less need for defense).
If you think of facing forward as being 0 degrees, and perpendicular to that as 90 degrees, then the three backbone stances, core stances of the vampiric martial art, work as so. (They all have the exact same footwork, just with differing weight distributions.)
The front leg is anywhere from 0-30 degrees: mostly straight, but okay to have a slight curve to it.
The back leg is anywhere from 95-40 degrees: mostly facing to the side, but okay to be facing more to the front.
The idea is to more or less minimize the front profile as much as possible, hide the movement of the back (where the power mostly comes from), and essentially allow for the maximization of efficient, powerful movements.
Another benefit: when done properly, you can shift between all three different stances in the blink of the eye, making a switch between offense and defense happen at lightning-fast speeds. (At least that's the idea.)
Weight distribution is one of three ways, each a different stance: Loosely even distribution (~45-55%) with bent knees is the Even/Ready position: the user can launch forward, launch backward, switch, defend, attack, etc. with great ease, and without broadcasting their next move.
Weight more on the front (~55-95%) is Front/Attack/Traditional Impaler position: the body is naturally in a spot where it can launch an assault, comboing one attack after another.
Weight more on the back (~55-95%) is Back/Defend position: the body is naturally in a spot where it is difficult to knock the user off-balance (sweeping the front leg does nothing; sweeping the back leg is difficult), retreating is easy, and it's hard to connect a blow because the user is further away always.
Keep in mind: in none of these do you lean that way. Leaning back is a good way to get knocked over. Leaning forward is a good way to get stuck, get blinded, and the like. You remain upright the entire time.
The three stances I invented here take cues mostly from three stances that I know: fighting stance, cat stance, and back stance/karate fighting stance (my understanding of where it came from). Fighting stance is both feet at 30 degrees, loosely even weight distribution but slightly on the front (51-55%); back stance/karate fighting stance is both knees bent with the front leg pointed forward at 0 degrees and the back leg perpendicular at 90 degrees; cat stance is something which is a bit harder for me to describe, but it's one most people have a general idea for anyway since it's a favorite of martial arts flicks.
Mind you. That's not a direct correlation, where one equals another. All three of my stances take from all three of those stances. I have actually done some minor practice trial runs of the stances in real life, and I've found that they're incredibly easy to mess up/do wrong and incredibly easy for me to revert into my trained habits instead of what I'm aiming for (thus making a true test next-to-impossible), but initial results are still reasonably promising, in that when I pulled off what I was aiming for in my mind's eye of what the stances looked like, the results felt easy and practical to use which is exactly what I was going for.
There are three other stances, but these are mostly used in more formal environments as part of training: Neutral/Transition stance is when the feet are straight, make a V, and come together. Hands are often at the side in this position as a sign of respect.
In what I am dubbing the "Prepared" stance (because I named a different stance "Ready") is the stance which in other martial arts is the Ready stance. This is a pretty universal stance, and my usage of it differs very little from the norm. Feet loosely a shoulder width apart, hands in front at where the belt would be approximately (both open in this case, mostly straight but slightly curved), though differing from my style of tae kwon do (where they'd be facing straight) the feet continue the V pattern in that they are slightly turned outward.
The final stance I've developed is the logical extension of this: the Wide/Training/Drilling/Exercising stance, almost double shoulder width, feet in a V, and hands up in an open-handed guard. This is not a combat stance; it has no pragmatic value. It is however used for practicing precision on technique and for training strength and endurance.
With the stances developed, basic terminology time.
A fundamental part of the vampiric martial art I'm developing is the concept that one hand (usually the back hand) is the "Sword", and the other hand (usually the front hand) is the "Shield". When a Shield does a strike, it is called a 'bash'; when a sword does a strike, it is just called a strike.
Bashes typically have less power but are faster, because they come from the front and are closer to the target, but have less momentum and energy from the body backing them.
I've developed nine each (for a total of eighteen), though this is subject to expansion.
High Palm Bash is a combination of a Jab and a High Palm Heel Strike. The front hand strikes high.
High Palm Strike is a combination of a Cross(Punch) and a High Palm Strike. The back hand strikes high.
Low Palm Bash is a combination of a Sliding Punch and a Low Palm Heel Strike. The front hand strikes low.
Low Palm Strike is a combination of a Sliding Punch and a Low Palm Hell Strike. Just, the back hand strikes low.
Inward Chop Bash is an Inward Chop with the front hand.
Inward Chop Strike is an Inward Chop with the back hand.
Outward Chop Bash is an Outward Chop with the front hand.
Outward Chop Strike is an Outward Chop with the back hand. (May be weaker given body mechanics?)
Inward Ridge Bash is an Inward Ridge Hand Strike with the front hand.
Inward Ridge Strike is an Inward Ridge Hand Strike with the back hand (one of the few which is less powerful given body mechanics).
Outward Ridge Bash is an Outward Ridge Hand Strike with the front hand.
Outward Ridge Strike is an Outward Ridge Hand Strike with the back hand (also weaker given body mechanics).
Upperjab Bash is a combination of an Uppercut and an open-hand jab (fingers pointed straight), aimed at the throat, with the front hand.
Upperjab Strike is a combination of an Uppercut and an open-hand jab, aimed at the throat, with the back hand.
High Impale Bash is a combination of a Jab and an open-hand jab, aimed at the throat, with the front hand.
High Impale Strike, one of the titular naming moves of the Impaler stance albeit the less-used of the two, is a combination of a Cross and an open-hand jab, aimed at the throat, with the back hand.
Low Impale Bash is a combination of a Jab and an open-hand jab, aimed at the torso, with the front hand.
Low Impale Strike, the titular naming move of the impaler stance, is a combination of a Cross and an open-hand jab, aimed at the torso, with the back hand. It is the signature move of the style, where enough power is packed into a thrust to pierce through the target. (Keep in mind the fighters using this style are vampires. They have superhuman strength, which means their fingers will not bend or break; they will keep going through any target if trained enough.)
In non-impaler stances (Transition/Prepared/Wide), the default is to assign the right hand to be the 'front' hand, and the left hand to be the 'back' hand, and to appropriately assign them sword/shield designations.
When the front hand does a block, it is called a Block.
When the back hand does a block, it is called a Parry.
Blocks I haven't quite mapped out yet as extensively as I did strikes.
I know that knife-hand block is a staple and the default position for both hands; scissor blocks are common; crane blocks are featured; open-hand blocks are one of the core features when combined with the knife block.
I can tell you where hand positions are when in the impaler stances. The sword hand guards mostly the torso and below; the shield hand guards mostly the torso and above. Pragmatically, this means the back hand has the elbow somewhere between thigh and hip height (easily guarding the torso with minimal effort to guard the legs), and the front hand has the elbow at literally dead center of the chest (there's probably a name for it, but the spot where the ribs come together is where it is).
At least, that's how it looks more or less on my body, which admittedly has very long extremities with a comparatively-small torso. (My legs are one of the main reasons I'm 6'2"; my arms have the same long and stringy build that my legs do and thus are capable of reaching much further than normal.)
Everything I do is obviously an estimate, because I only have my own body as an experimental guinea pig.
Still. I've covered stances, blocks, and strikes; that leaves kicks.
Kicks are done in one of two stances: Attack or Defend positions. Never the other four. (I suppose you could get away with it in Neutral/Transition.) When in the Attack position, you're going to be using back leg kicks since your weight's on the front leg; when in the Defend position, you're going to be using front leg kicks since your weight's on the back leg.
Keep in mind, once again, that a master of the impaler stance(s) is switching between all three at a rate fast enough such that it's impossible to just go "oh, weight's on the back, better guard from a front leg attack".
Back leg kicks when in front stance are mostly the torso and below: front kick (mostly push), round-house kick, inward crescent (no real outward crescent though it's possible), leg sweeps, and the occasional but rare heel rake. There's one more kick which can be done with a fair amount of ease, and it is the power kick of the style: the turn/back kick. Since the body is already turned half of the way, it's just a simple 70-100 degree rotation and BAM.
This has the obvious downside of leaving even the most skilled of fighters vulnerable when they turn their back to their opponent, but it has a huge payoff if it succeeds. It flows best with a series of Bashes/Blocks thrown and the sword hand more or less 'sheathed' in its guard position (so not having it out doing something which will rob the spin of momentum).
Front leg kicks can be done below the torso, but with the exception of a sweep, they are mostly done torso and above. The front leg kicks are the front kick, round-house kick, crescent kick (mostly inward), ax, the occasional heel rake, and the occasional side-kick. Said side-kick is more of a push-kick (same as the back leg's front-kick), in that it's not turning over far enough to have real power behind it (you're not gonna stun them with it in the impaler stance), but it's a good way to force an opponent back.
Like I said. Preliminary tests of body mechanics indicate that when I do it the way I actually pictured myself doing it, everything works as a viable, pragmatic fighting style. You have hard blocks to break the opponent's offense. You have soft blocks to latch onto the opponent. You have open-hand strikes, from the front to give an initial stunner, and from the back to deliver the power.
You can kick, but kicks come secondary to the focus on the hands and basically, maximizing mostly an efficient, effortless defense which in the drop of a hair can switch to a focused, precise, deadly offense, delivering swift, decisive blows.
That's the idea anyway.
The next steps for me are to deliver some levels of consistency and to also start developing forms, which I'm in the preliminary steps of doing. (I suppose I also need self-defenses and one-steps, but those come later I'd think.)
My goal, if you hadn't noticed.
Isn't just to develop a fictional martial art used in the Rubyverse by vampires.
That's how it started, alright.
My goal here is to develop a martial art I've invented which would actually without supernatural powers be at least something resembling pragmatic in real life. It's something I've wanted to maybe talk to my tae kwon do instructor about; they probably would think it's one of the most amazing breakthroughs in my development as a martial artist, but it's possible I'm doing things wrongly enough that I could get a stern word from them or something to that effect.
...And as we approach five.
Four hours? I was being optimistic. Believe it or not, the Rubyverse bit about martial arts I just detailed was meant to be the sidenote of the ramble. SIDE. NOTE. As in, compared to the whole, a small fraction of it. I certainly know it's a fraction of the effort, given that I am deliberately not bothering to do my research on the Chinese martial arts right now. (Wanting to do that is one of the reasons the original ramble got delayed I believe.)
The thing which takes up the most amount of time?
Once more, The Perfect RPG.
Let's start with a few things regarding the confrontation with the guest party member I mentioned before. Well, there's four endings possible: default ending of not being a dick, being a bit of a dick, being a complete and total dick, and surpassing dickhood into just flat-out monstrous. These are in fact appropriately reflected in the endings, actually.
There are many. Many. Many. Many many many many MANY endings for the game. Dozens of variations on them in fact. But primary endings can be divided into: Absolute Perfect, Perfect, Good (this is the standard; the typical average player will get this ending or variants of it and there are the most classified as this type), Okay (this is the best possible ending you can get by killing the guest character once), Poor (this is the best possible ending you can get by killing the guest character and leaving him dead), and Bad (this is the only ending you can get by killing the guest character until you can't kill him anymore because he suicides).
Absolute Perfect is achieved by getting literally every single quest in the game completed. Note this doesn't require getting 100% Completion, but it does require a few RIDICULOUSLY obscure things, like the occasional precise party composition for precise times and doing things in precise order, but this is not out of the standard for an RPG.
Though no single Absolute Perfect ending is considered canonical, *an* Absolute Perfect ending is, canonically, how the game ends. The Adventure Continues, and continues in the best way possible.
Perfect is achieved by getting all regular sidequests and easily-accessed (that being, non-obscure ones which are reasonably easy to deduce if not outright explicit) sidequests completed. The Adventure Continues...in search of a way for it to continue in the best way possible.
Good is achieved just by not being a total dick. Many characters settle down, though for some adventure calls.
Okay is achieved if you were a bit of a dick. Many characters settle down, and the ending is bittersweet, but happy.
Poor is achieved by being a dick. Characters promise to keep in touch, and things are mostly the same as in Okay, but there is a dark implication that the protagonist will become a villain.
Bad is when you're just a monster. Characters part ways, permanently. Things are more explicit than in Poor: the protagonist has a conversation where he explicitly accepts becoming a villain.
By the way, in that Poor ending...you are reminded once again. It was not just the game mechanics telling you not to do what you did. The game mechanics with the 3-5 warning screens were explicit enough...but even prior to that, the story explicitly features a scene where a villain warns the protagonist, "You need to let go". And that if the protagonist doesn't, that they'll end up becoming the villain.
In Good or better, the protagonist let go.
In Okay, the protagonist didn't let go initially when he should have, but rebuffs the idea of villainy in the epilogue, indicating character growth and that he has reached a point where he can let go.
In both the poor/bad endings, the protagonist hasn't let go still, which leads to a dark ending......
Incidentally, from a certain point of view, those can be thought of as canonical...in an alternate timeline. They're not canonical in the game proper, rather explicitly.
There's more content surrounding the Let Him Go choice, by the way.
When you kill the guest character, you are presented with a screen with his corpse. Examining it will have the following dialog:
"The corpse of your fallen friend, Name."
There will be four options available:
Revive (Uses 1 *revive item* or *MP necessary to cast a revive spell if protagonist character has one available*)
If you leave, it disengages, but you're still on the screen. You have to manually leave the body there. (And eventually you will no matter what if you're going for either the Poor or Bad endings.)
If you revive, it will revive him. He'll go into a dialog with you, unless it's your third revive, in which case you go straight into battle.
If you try to loot, you are given the following message:
"Weren't you paying attention? He gave you everything he had; the only thing he didn't return was his body."
I'll explain the desecrate corpse option soon enough.
If you have revived him ten times, then he suicides, you're still left with the corpse that you can interact with. However, the dialog box changes:
"The eviscerated corpse of your fallen friend, Name, torn to shreds badly enough that it cannot be revived."
Revive (grayed out and with strike text through it, debolded)
Loot and Leave are the same.
If you select Desecrate Corpse, regardless of whether the body is eviscerated or not, the screen will fade to black, and then reopen, once more showing the corpse. If you interact with it, you're given an altered dialog box:
"The desecrated corpse of your fallen friend, Name."
No revive option will display.
You have the options then of:
If you desecrated an eviscerated corpse, the dialog is much as you'd expect:
"The desecrated and eviscerated corpse of your fallen friend, Name, torn to shreds badly enough that it cannot be revived."
...And as you may have guessed.
You can in fact at this point.
Loot the corpse.
The items you receive from doing so have pros and cons both ways between being regular and key.
-Eternal Shame, permanently marking your inventory for being what you are.
-Takes at least three playthroughs to get a 100% completion rating.
-Could miss them depending on inventory space.
-By having the items removed from your inventory at the end of the game, it means everything you did was for nothing. You got nothing by doing it. You didn't earn anything. It was pointless to have done. It was something absolutely with no gain whatsoever.
-Guaranteed to always have inventory room for them (since key items have a special screen which takes no inventory).
-It erases the evidence of the old shame.
Overall I lean towards key, because that fits the theme I have going for the storyline better.
The items you receive are the following:
Item description: "A trophy for your treachery." (Implication being you scalped him.)
Item description: "If you added this to your own, it might mean you wouldn't be so stupid. Unless of course you did this deliberately, in which case you're just plain evil."
Item description: "Well I guess he won't see no evil anymore."
Item description: "Well I guess he won't hear no evil anymore."
Item description: "You're despicable."
Item description: "Well I guess he won't speak no evil anymore."
Item description: "Knowing you, probably carved out with a spoon."
Item description: "Seriously, what is wrong with you?"
Item description: "If this is music to your ears, then you are beyond all hope."
Item description: "No, seriously. You. have. Issues."
A note from the game developer
Item description: "It reads: 'You sicko'."
The only difference that the eviscerated corpse gives?
The note from the game developer has its description change:
A note from the game developer
Item description: "It reads: 'You absolute sicko'."
When he said that you should be called a villain for doing what you do to get those things.
He meant it.
To sum it up.
The game would make it abundantly clear.
"DO NOT DO THIS".
And that you deserve what's coming if you did it.
It would be there as an OPTION though in my perfect RPG. Just one that you're never ever ever ever ever ever ever ACTUALLY meant to take. (In a way it's a sensible conclusion from the logical extension of looting: you take everything you can. The text said he gave you everything except his body, so in order to loot from him......)
To not end on a morbid note (I'd like to think that it can be dark comedy and not just dark), there's more content to come for the perfect RPG though! Starting with a piece of worldbuilding: Touched.
Touched individuals are a natural consequence of Walkers existing in the world. Walkers can change the very fundamental landscape of the world in every sense: cultural, political, physical, etc. When a Walker interacts extensively with an individual in the Future/Present (key note, it has to be extensive; just saying to them 'hi' isn't enough), then if that Walker goes into the Present/Past and changes it, then when the Walker goes back to that time period, the individual they interacted with
-Still exists even if by all rights they shouldn't
-Still remembers the way things were
-Yet knows how things currently are.
Those individuals are called Touched.
They are, essentially, sensitive thanks to direct interaction with the walkers, to changes the walkers make. Non-touched individuals don't remember, because as far as they're concerned, the world they're in is the world that they've always been in. The changes which happened are history to them; they happened already.
So the game does not work on the principle of a stable time loop, where you go into the future, learn of things you haven't done yet, and then do them. Changes you make are unexpected and permanent. You have no way of knowing the consequences of your actions, except for interacting with the worlds after they've been changed.
I mentioned already that changing one could change the others and this applies for all realms in past/present/future such that changing one in the past can change a different one's future. And that's how it more or less would manifest in the game. One reason why going to the future is less helpful than you might imagine--the antagonists which are attacking are beings which live in a realm outside of space and time. So for them, they can attack all three.
They are not themselves walkers, but are close in principle to being walkers. (So close, in fact, that the characters are disturbed by the similarities as it is noted what they can do is similar albeit not identical to what walkers do.) They are sent to the past, they are sent to the present, they are sent to the future. They are attacking all three at once.
Succeeding in the past succeeds all three but is the hardest for them to do; succeeding in the future doesn't guarantee success in the others but is easier for them to pull off.
One thing I worked on yesterday was that because elements are now a key part of the setting, I wanted there to be game balance between them.
I did develop a system, though frankly Ice's placement makes no sense to me. It's just that it's the best I could think of.
Fire > Air > Earth > Energy > Water > Fire is a five-way rock-paper-scissors elemental wheel.
Ice > Light > Dark > Ice is a more traditional three-way rock-paper-scissors elemental wheel.
If you hit an element which trumps your own or which is identical to your own, it is more easily nullified/absorbed; if you hit an element which you trump, you do significantly more damage; each element has one it's weak to and one it's strong to.
While enemies might have one element they are predominantly classified as.
This does not preclude multiple immunities/types/etc.
You could have an entity immune to all of them, vulnerable only to non-elemental attacks.
You could have an entity with rotating immunities.
You could have an entity immune to Fire, Water, and Air, yet vulnerable to Energy and Earth.
And so on and so forth.
This is just a loose guideline.
The other thing I worked on yesterday was...yep. Classes!
Doesn't the game have no classes?
Why yes! Yes, it does not have classes.
There are no classes in the game.
However. I explicitly did say that characters could be flavored as fitting into the archetypes we typically associate with a class. And I compiled a list of classes which could be featured as things which characters pull from. To repost it, it's like so:
Monk-->Master (Martial Artist/Black Belt)
Red Mage-->Red Wizard
White Mage-->White Wizard
Black Mage-->Black Wizard
Blue Mage-->Blue Wizard?
?Time Mage?/Dimension Mage
There's just about the number of classes listed necessary for every character to have 2-3 classes as their thing, if we assumed no overlap. (There would be overlap. I mean, I am creating The Perfect RPG here for me where each character is as unique as possible, but. Even I have limits; I'd recognize that past a certain point, there's a level of redundancy where characters share some traits with one another.)
I could limit the list further if I needed to, but I don't need to. This serves my purposes just fine. Because once more. There aren't classes. There's just the aesthetic of them, where characters have certain aspects and traits which are fitting for archetypes associated with particular classes, but don't have any official designation.
There's no rule stating that a character could only be a Fighter, for instance.
They could be a Fighter and a Beastmaster and yet also be a Dancer and yet furthermore have some Black Mage traits to them. In spite of each of those being VASTLY different classes, they are theoretically something which could fit entirely on one character.
The list above, then, is basically a guideline (not rule) for where my characters would draw their limit breaks, combos, counter breaks, counters, combo breaks, and hero abilities from. It is by no means an extensive list (items not there could be there) nor is it an inclusive list (items there are not guaranteed to be in the perfect RPG and even if they are featured may not be featured as much as you'd think).
On that note.
Another thing I added today:
Explicit guest characters.
The game features four guest characters which you, the player, don't know are guest characters. You have no clue that they are not among your final 20 roster. You don't know who the final 20 are until you've had the 24th character join and seen four rather permanent departures in the game. Every character introduced is indistinguishable for the most part.
But EXPLICIT guest characters would have different behavior. All those unique things I said all 24 characters have? These ones don't. No Leitmotif exclusive to them (though they could have one I suppose if it's something used elsewhere as well), but most obviously:
-They cannot level up
-They cannot have their equipment changed
-They cannot have anything assigned to them or removed from them
-You cannot name them
-They cannot advance in jobs
Among other traits.
These characters would mostly appear before the completion of your party, so in the earlier areas of the game. They would explicitly be in the party only for a single area, then leave for whatever reason. They could be placed in the backup party, but not the bench.
Explicitly guest characters probably would feature unique abilities, but every single unique ability they would have would have some identical effect exist on a character you'd pick up at a different time. This would never be a direct correlation. Say you had a guest character whose powers were a combination of a Black Mage and a Fighter. You'd then never encounter a character whose powers were a combination of a Black Mage and a fighter, but you would encounter a Fighter, and you would encounter a Black Mage, though they'd probably be like Fighter-Pirate and Black Mage-Ninja to give random examples.
In short: explicit guests are redundant with later party members that aren't guests (or at least not explicitly so), but their abilities would be scattered onto various different permanent (or semi-permanent) characters rather than directly having one person be an effective replacement/substitute. In this sense, they can serve as a bit of a preview, while still being their own unique characters.
Explicit guest characters would be used basically as often as necessary to advance the story in a way that a permanent character's addition couldn't provide. As a result, there'd be as many as the story and game mechanics deemed necessary. It could be a lower number like four, it could be a higher number like 20. But they'd be a part of the Perfect RPG as I envision it.
There's one other thing I worked on...but frankly. I've reached the four hour mark. (Well passed it actually; I started at 2:10 and it's 6:20.) I'm getting a little bit exhausted, and the thing is. The next section (which was always planned as the final section) of my ramble requires the most amount of research.
Basically, I was going to try and get a list of status effects/ailments I want in the game.
I need to do my homework.
It's easy enough to find the list in Final Fantasy VII, but I need to actually do so.
It's easy enough to find the list in Chrono Trigger, but I need to actually do so.
It's easy enough to find the list in MARDEK RPG, but I need to actually do so.
It's probably easy to find the list in Epic Battle Fantasy 3/4, but I'd need to actually do so.
The main thing making this an extensive project is not only the need to do the above (each which does take time), but rather the real problem: I also wanted to research various different effects from POKEMON. Which is...
...Well it's a rather long list to say the least but one I want to comb through and steal from since it DOES have a bunch of the features I want in my Perfect RPG. Pokemon is a vastly-underrated part of my childhood; I tend to overlook it in favor of Gauntlet Dark Legacy, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Majesty, and SaGa II/III among others, but it was still a STAPLE. It helped define my RPG-playing experience. So yes some elements from it would indeed be in my Perfect RPG, as many status ailments as I can plausibly lift being among them.
I suppose I can do the research tomorrow some time, but I'll list the ones I did get.
All status effects would be categorized as 'Negative' (undeniably a bad thing), 'Mixed' (situationally good or bad), or 'Positive' (undeniably a good thing).
Flying (unique status effect I'm inventing, providing immunity to Earth attacks and halving non-long-range physical damage attacks, but leaving self doubly vulnerable to wind and fire attacks)
Energetic (Charges combos at double speed and deals 25% extra damage, but takes double damage and counters take four times as long to charge)
Tranquil (Charges counters at double speed and reduces damage taken by 50%, but reduces damage dealt by 25% and combos take four times as long to charge)
Blind (reduce accuracy)
Regen (gives Regen)
Null-(Element) (Nullifies attack of specified element)
MP Barrier (halves magic damage inflicted)
HP Barrier (halves physical damage inflicted)
Numb (can't use physical attacks)
Paralyzed (chance of skipping turn)
Silence (can't use magical attacks)
Sapped (1/3 of: HP drained from Sapped individual to caster; MP drained from Sapped individual to caster; both HP and MP drained from Sapped individual to caster)
Drained (1/3 of: HP drained from Drained individual to caster; MP drained from Drained individual to caster; both HP and MP drained from Drained individual to caster)
Leeched (1/3 of: HP drained from Leeched individual to caster; MP drained from Leeched individual to caster; both HP and MP drained from Leeched individual to caster)
(I want one of Sapped/Drained/Leeched to drain HP from target to caster, another to drain MP from target to caster, and the third to do both, but I'm not sure which name should be used for which effect.)
Bleed (reduces max HP)
Unfocused (reduces current MP over time)
Erase (reduces both current HP and MP over time)
Stupefy (reduces max MP over time)
Regress (reduces both max HP and MP over time)
...In no particular order, with the explicit caveat that this is an incomplete list. I need to do my research (also check TVTropes, another source) to see what other ones I want.
So while I didn't finish that project. This is everything that I wrote up today. As in. I've done everything I pre-wrote. I didn't do everything which the entry was meant to cover because I'm only like half-finished with the status effects. There's so much more to do there. I also want to list elements which particular status ailments are more affiliated with, which I attempted to get started but kinda did badly so I'm scrapping what I wrote.
So. That's more on the Perfect RPG.
With every passing day.
More and more a game I'd want to play.
Less and less a reachable goal and less and less something anyone else would want to.
...Well you don't see yet but if you see the LENGTH of this blog after it's finished, well then...you will. Because hoh boy do I have a long entry for you. I could make a long entry about my day, but that cheapens what I wanted to focus on. Remember the Perfect RPG blog I posted about?
Yeah, well, today, I wanted to expand upon it, which in the process amended some of what I had said, changing it. My perfect RPG would actually feature a few extra things I didn't have before.
First off, New Game+ is a must. Having it in Chrono Trigger was the highlight of my gaming childhood. Did you know that I spent literally three hours doing nothing but staring at the screen after first beating Final Fantasy VII waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and WAITING for some sort of save to crop up? Because I was expecting that save to be where I'd launch a New Game + from.
Imagine my dismay to learn when it didn't. Admittedly, for that matter, SaGa2/Final Fantasy Legend II and SaGa3/Final Fantasy Legend III also didn't really have NG+, butstill. I consider the ability to relive the past, only with all the non-plot things from the future, to be a critical part of replayability and frankly one of the main draws because it allows you to explore other options.
When you have NG+, you can replay the game many times and explore different character paths for the same point in the storyline. (For instance, if you have nine characters and yet three to a party, then you'd have...uhh.
...Well my math is very very very bad. But apparently eight characters with unique combos would be 40320? That seems a bit high, but sure let's go with that, and imagine it's nine instead of eight.)
When you don't...well. You just. You have to start over in order to see those same things from different character combos. Yeah, you can speedrun to get to those points, just instead of skipping the dialog, paying extra close attention to it in order to take it in (this being the whole point of the replay--alternative options/combos), but it's just not the same. It's tedious. It's extra work, extra :effort:. It's less fun, because you have to do a certain amount of grinding each time. Whereas with NG+, you can just have the freedom to play around and have fun exploring, not to mention massacring enemies which once gave you trouble.
So while I didn't mention it initially, the game MUST have a New Game+ feature, especially given the other things I'm adding/changing.
First thing: enemies can be in groups of ten, in spite of for the majority of the game (barring some special fights) the party limit being five. There is good reason for that! But more on that in a moment.
I did some worldbuilding for my perfect RPG. Specifically, I did in fact decide on adding elements to the game...but making them a central theme, a central core mechanic, not just in battle, but in the very mythos of the world. In particular? There are eight realms, each with an element:
And the initial realm the game's set in, The Rockrealm.
Each realm is a well and true, proper world: six to eight full continents to explore, with multiple locations to visit per continent and natural obstacles along with requiring various methods of transportation to get from place to place.
The realms are implied to be the same planet, just having formed in different ways. They also are explicitly able to influence one another and in fact traveling between realms is a commonality (something even necessary to access certain areas of certain realms thanks to transportation being unable to reach them thus requiring a dimensional gate).
Each realm has a bit of a lore about it.
The Ashrealm is more volcanic thanks to increased heat from the sun, and is implied that it was pulled closer to the star by the Icerealm being pushed away.
The Icerealm is more glacial thanks to decreased heat from the sun, and is implied that it was pushed further away from the star by the Ashrealm being pulled closer.
The Darkrealm exists in a system where there is no sun; the planet orbits a gas giant. Geothermal vents provide both enough heat to sustain life and enough light to prevent the world from being totally dark. It is implied that the formation of the Brightrealm's second star pulled the necessary material away from what would have been the sun for the Darkrealm.
The Brightrealm exists in a system where there is a second sun orbiting the first sun, bathing the planet in nigh-neverending light. Think akin to if Jupiter had formed as a star rather than a gas giant. It is implied that the second star formed by taking material from the Darkrealm's would-be-star.
The Floodrealm is filled with water. Water mostly stays on the ground and land is reasonably scarce.
The Stormrealm is filled with clouds that are hyperactive with lightning storms; water mostly stays in the air and land is largely parched. It is implied this is tied to the Floodrealm. (Didn't quite get as scientific with these two as the others.)
The Gasrealm exists in a system where the planet itself is gaseous, with no solid ground. Clouds provide what can be thought of as 'solid ground', able to support life. It is implied the lack of solidity is because the Rockrealm borrowed from it.
The Rockrealm exists in a system which is the closest to being our Earth: decent water (but slightly less than what we have), occasional floods/tsunamis/etc. (not as many as we suffer), some ice caps (not as much as we have), a few volcanos active and extinct (not as many as we have), plenty of storms but not nearly as many as we have, but notably, it has a couple of key characteristics. It has a lot more land, which shifts into great mountains; earthquakes are far more common than on earth. Furthermore, the air is far thinner. It is implied this is because the Rockrealm stole solids from the Gasrealm while the Gasrealm stole gasses from the Rockrealm.
The game starts in the most earthlike of them, of course, the Rockrealm.
I developed the idea of three time zones as well: past, present, and future. This would, in effect, give 24 full worlds to explore, filled with entire continents' worth of content.
The game would feature 24 characters, not the originally stated number. APPROXIMATELY one character from each zone. These characters might be native to those zones, mind you, but for the sake of having a complete party of ten relatively early into the story, they would of course be, so to speak, out of place.
Four of those characters would be guest party members, leaving in four different methods. (Three of which are spoilers. All but one you get your gear back.) However, as to not give away which four aren't around in the final stages of the game, they would be indistinguishable from others having everything they do.
What this means is that each has fleshed out, unique dialog to having them in certain areas. I'd prefer these to not be throwaway things. For instance, outside of Wutai Yuffie's not really that interesting to have as a party member in FFVII; outside of Hojo interactions, Vincent's not really that interesting to have as a party member in FFVII. I've hated that always, where characters had zones where they were focal points meant to be in the story and yet in other areas their contributions were just throwaway lines that had basically nil interaction with the other characters.
So my Perfect RPG, as much pain as it'd be, would have enough for 24 character combos.
Each character would have multiple zones where they'd be mandatory to have in the party. Some zones would even have more than one non-protagonist be mandatory.
So all having unique, interesting party dialog everywhere.
All have Leitmotifs. 24 music tunes isn't too much to handle.
All would have specific areas where having certain members in the party would unlock specific sidequests at specific times.
There would be a unique mechanic in play, however--
One character would be the team's Mission Control, existing in a hub transcending spacetime, but not directly playable.
For each realm unlocked, one character must be present at all times as an "anchor" to that realm. In other words, one person must stay behind in each realm in order to continue visiting that realm. As each realm is under constant threat, this is a further eight members when all realms are unlocked that must be on "bench" duty full-time.
One character would be the team's Manager, existing essentially to protect their investments in every realm.
There would be specific sidequests unlocking by having specific characters fill specific roles (Mission Control, Anchor, Manager) in specific locations at specific times.
You might note this leaves 10 out of the picture, and 10 in the picture. The 10 out of the picture would be on the bench, in spite of what I said earlier. They'd still gain, just not as much. The 10 in the picture would be as mentioned the primary + secondary/backup parties.
In my perfect RPG.
Eventually, there would be a "Point Of No Return".
Entering the ninth realm, the Nilrealm, where the final antagonists of the game reside.
Once inside, you can access all 20 party members.
This is not a one-off thing. Not one battle. Not one zone.
The Nilrealm is a well and true, proper, REALM. It has eight continents. It is explicitly a full world, more densely packed with content than any other realm before it, in spite of not having a past or present (more on that when I describe the Nilrealm). In total, it would make up 25-33% of the full game's content. Which is far, far, far, FAR more than can be said of most zones offering similar levels of mechanics.
In the Nilrealm, the 20 permanent characters you have will be organized in one of three ways:
1 group, divided into a primary battle group of ten (and thus, allowing you to use ALL TEN SLOTS at long last) with a backup party...
2 groups, divided into either ten each with no backup or five each with each having one backup (and thus, allowing you to choose to have all ten slots or to favor the mechanic you've used the whole game)...
...And 4 groups, divided into five each.
The Nilrealm would be large enough that there would be SIGNIFICANT number of gameplay areas for ALL THREE TYPES to be featured.
Some further pieces of lore: the characters are a specific type of individual--"Walkers". People capable of walking not only between realms, but also between times, visiting various areas and basically reshaping the eight worlds. Changes in the past effect both present and future; changes in the present effect the future; changes in one realm can affect another and yes these do in fact stack such that changes in the past of one realm can change the future of a different realm for instance.
The Nilrealm is considered the antithesis of the eight realms--whereas the eight realms represent everything, the Nilrealm represents nothing. All of space and time is implied to have drawn its existence from the Nilrealm, leaving the Nilrealm without it; in return, the Nilrealm more or less 'stole' "nothingness" from the eight realms in order to form.
The game I consider the perfect RPG would feature a Perfect Ending, achieved from a few reasonably easy goals to meet throughout the game, but also feature MANY other endings, none of them necessarily bad so much as just different.
In particular, there's one moment I love.
There's four different endings based around one incident.
I mentioned three characters leaving being a spoiler--the fourth I can share. Still technically a spoiler but since I haven't developed characters it wouldn't tell you which one does.
Basically, a character talks to the protagonist in solo and says, "I quit". As in, "I'm leaving. Permanently." And they mean it. The game makes it abundantly clear that they are going to be gone for good--their stuff is returned to you and game dialog indicates the options are:
"Let him go" (okay slight spoiler I did imagine it'd be a guy) OR:
You can choose resist without ruining the perfect ending, and it initiates solo combat between your protagonist character and the (now unarmed) leaving character. When the leaving character is near death, they will state, "I think I've made my point clear. I'm leaving. You can't stop me. So either let me go, or kill me. Because those are your options."
The default option, by the way. EVERY step of the way. At every stage. Is to just let him go. If you select "Continue fighting", then the game will give you no less than 3-5 warning screens, including one stating, "If you select this option, you are forfeiting any chance at earning the Perfect Ending". Again, every step of the way, the default choice is to go back/let him go.
The game is making it abundantly clear that if you select the "continue fighting" option, you're doing it explicitly knowing exactly what entails.
The non-perfect ending, and second ending available, is to continue fighting, kill him, and then in a case of gameplay/story integration, use a revive on his corpse to bring him back to life.
He will reiterate. "Okay. So you've made your point. But I've made mine and I stand by it. Let me go, or let me die. There is no alternative."
Again, the options will default to letting him go.
But if you choose to resist once again, "So be it." And he initiates combat again. When near death, he again will stop fighting. "I've had enough!" You can choose to let him go or to continue fighting, which will go until you kill him.
You can revive his corpse a second time.
If you choose to fight him, then you will be given one last chance to let him leave--if you kill him a third time, you're locked into the third ending, which is to just leave him dead. Because after every time you revive him, he'll no longer attempt to run; he'll go straight into combat and will not offer peace to run away.
Somewhere in there, he goes "Fine!".
And not long after, "You bastard!!!"
If you revive him five times, when entering combat, he will begin to have a mental breakdown. "You're just sick. You're demented. You're a monster!"
Six, "You're worse than every villain we've ever fought, and yet you have the depravity to call yourself a hero!"
After seven revives, he will shout, "JUST LET ME DIE ALREADY!".
After ten revives, you unlock the action which enables the fourth variant ending: he will deliberately commit suicide in a way so thorough as to leave you unable to revive his corpse anymore, killing him off for good.
Eeeevery step of the way.
You are told.
"No seriously. Don't do this."
But if you do, you unlock a variant ending which relatively speaking compared to other endings you can unlock is fairly depressing, with an ending note of "next time don't be a dick" noting exactly where things could have gone better and why you are a terrible human being for having chosen the route you did.
My perfect RPG would have plenty of small little choices like that, but that'd actually be the most major of them that I'd think of in all likelihood.
You would not believe how badly--after all the worldbuilding I did today for the setting wherein I essentially developed the first fundamental workings of characters and intimately laid out intricate details of the setting itself--I want the game to be reality now, in spite of me knowing all too well that, alas, it never will be.
Especially since aside from Sunday which is always that way, it will be the first day where I am breaking my natural night owl tendencies to actually go to bed when it's dark and wake up when it's light, rather than the other way around. We're down a couple of cars right now, too, so I get the short stick--instead of driving, I have to be driven. On the one hand, this has a few advantages.
Since I'm not the one driving, I can nap both to, and from, there, meaning no risk of an accident from exhaustion or the like. I get to sleep, rather than being forced awake.
It has many disadvantages. I must leave when they leave, be ready when they're ready, if I forget something I'm out of luck, and mainly, I'm stuck there all day. As in, dropped off at seven AM, picked up at 7:30 PM, stuck there all day. With nothing to do but work, and then tae kwon do after work.
That being said, I think I'll be fine. I'll manage to keep myself busy enough.
Just your average blogger.