The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Status Update: March 2020

As I live in Spain, currently with the COVID-19 pandemic we're in strict house confinement and I don't have the gaming PC, so I'm taking advantage of it to change my usual habits of gaming to try indie titles, play older games and play more the Nintendo Switch (which I do have with me).

These past months I've mostly redeemed myself by finishing the original The Legend of Zelda, I must confess I had to check a walkthrough at some points because the hints are not so good, but I agree it is impressive considering that came out in 1986. I tried Zelda 2 but I can't bear it.

I also finished Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, which I remember as having a great atmosphere, and it truly delivers. I just got a bit tired of so much shooting, but the sneaking, the running and overall the plot is great, such a good adaptation from Lovecraft main Innsmouth lore.

I'm burning out from playing Diablo 3 on the Switch, as the following screenshot can assert:

Diablo 3 character profile screenshot

I played one season character, I played the Darkening of Tristram event, and I'm soloing with my necromancer greater rifts near level 55, but it is increasingly hard to find better gear for her and I'm not willing to grind loot too much. I might switch to another character to try to obtain some of each class armour sets, but the only thing I want (all the pets/minions) is one of the harder and chance-based tasks, so not willing to complete the collection.

I also played Diablo 1 a bit more, as the Hellfire expansion was included in GOG's version and I could make it run under Linux, but playing in hard difficulty mode is slow even with my level 43 character, so I've stopped (you feel the lack of variety in the levels after some runs).

Finally, what I am currently playing now is quite a departure from the usual... the latest Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Switch, New Horizons.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons screenshot

I played a lot 3DS' **New Leaf game, so I remember most of the basics, but you can feel the supreme expertise of Nintendo in polishing and always improving gameplay of it's AAA titles; everything feels smotth, simple to learn, varied, helpful, intuitive... The game looks like having content and things to do for potentially hundreds of hours, and even the multiplayer is fun (visiting other's islands and trading fruits and materials with them). At least to me, it is the perfect calm companion for this confinement.

Book review: A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt

A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt book cover

Another long due pending read, A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt is a 170 pages book written in 2008 that serves as a reference for all things related with The Legend of Drizzt book series by R. A. Salvatore.

It is a big book, full of beautiful illustrations, always accompanied by text explaining them. From maps of the Underdark and the drow cities, to every character (both main and secondary ones) in the first 12 books of the series, magical items and creatures, it serves as indeed a good reference. The descriptions are sometimes either too brief or too focused on a specific situation (e.g. how character XXX died, instead of what his/her role), but overall give you a good reminder if you've read the books. I have at least read the first 5 or 6 ones and I should read the rest...

The drawings are really good, specially those that come from the book covers, but as they come from varied artists, same as with comics sometimes the representation of the characters is... quite different. Drizzt might appear too big-headed, or too tiny, Bruenor sometimes appears to be a bulky human instead of a dwarf... But as I said is just how your mental images of the characters sometimes "clash" with how an artist portrayed them.

Drizzt early books alongside some of the Dragonlace novels kept me awake until late quite a few nights when I was young reading the adventures, so my nostalgia kicks in, and kicks very hard. It is difficult to not be subjective when Drizzt has always been one of my favourite fantasy characters, but still I highly recommend the book to any fan of the lore.

Book review: Pyramid - David Macaulay

Pyramid book cover

More old book readings available on the Internet Archive, the other day I finished Pyramid, which as you could guess by the title, explains how pyramids were built in ancient Egypt. Similarly to Castle, we're told a story of a fictional character (a Pharaoh) who requests a huge pyramid to be built before he dies, complete with a smaller one for his wife.

Again beautiful black & white hand-drawings and concise but clarifying diagrams and maps whenever needed help to narrate how the titanic structure was built. Very interesting and a quick reading (more than half of it's less than a hundred pages are full-page pictures).

Book review: Castle - David Macaulay

Castle book cover

When you're young you don't usually notice who are authors of most books you read. Then, you grow up and, sometimes accidentally sometimes deliberately, you discover that the author of one of your childhood most interesting titles (The Way Things Work, which I plan to read again soon), David Macaulay, is the same of other book you loved and had stored since far far away in time: Castle.

Castle is a small book (around 80 pages) where, with small fragments of text and huge hand-drawn, black & white images, we're explained the design and construction of a fictional castle. All the techniques, way of doing things and way of living of the people inside and around it are realistic, just the castle itself is invented.

I grew up with these kind of books and loved passing the pages and watching things get built step by step, without even needing color. The drawings are excellent and very detailed, with maps or diagrams where needed to clarify some part of a building or some procedure, and it will probably entertain equally both children and grown ups.

Book review: The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos

The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos book cover

The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, from Brian Wood and Pat Harrigan and published by Fantasy Flight Games, is yet another book I had (since circa 2006 in this case) pending to read and enjoy. Nearing 200 pages, it features hundreds of art pieces, both from FFG products (card and board games) and from Chaosium's classic Call of Cthulhu RPG.

The book is divided by sections, from places to survivors (detectives and gangsters mostly), monsters, great old ones. It is a beautiful reference guide to spark your imagination if you need to visually figure how a certain monster of character would look. Excepting some old Chaosium images everything else is in great and vivid colors.

A great art book that made me want to read H. P. Lovecraft books again.

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