Lena can't do it all


It's such a simple idea, and yet massively ambitious: Any item that is out of the ordinary – quest items, unique items, but also magic items – has a little bit of flavour text that gives a glimpse into its history.

Now for quest and unique items that's kind of expected. But for magic items, I have not seen this before.

Baldurs Gate suffers of the same problem Gothic for example does too: common loot. Every dude with a weapon drops that weapon upon defeat. You then pick up the sword. Put it with the others. Sell those 40 stabby bois later.

Which makes magic loot amazing: A break from monotony! Something better! And now you have it! Aha!

It is clear that it's special to you, but what Baldurs Gate archives goes far deeper: It is special to the world as well.

And it doesn't do that much different than other games. Nobody speaks of your glowing “Orc Fricker The Frisky +4” when you talk them.

It simply has flavor text in it's description.

Usually they tell of the previous owner of the item: Why was it made, how did it become special and how might it have reached your hands?

While none of these stories waste an opportunity to drop names that don't mean anything to me (maybe they do to Forgotten Realms nerds), my head cinema immediatly starts spinning. After a couple of magic swords, rings, chain mail and gems something entirely different happened.

The labor that went into writing so many short stories strikes me as impressive already, and after enough of them all these little snippets of far-gone deeds and people melt together. Each of them revealing little windows into what is becoming more and more obvious to be a giant miasma of history and lore.

Not some concrete “write a wiki about it” lore. The similiarities these tiny stories share tell more than a straight-forward story ever could. After a dozen nuggets of heroes past and clever plans, they can't help but paint the picture of People of Adventure in a World Full of Adventure.

Insignificant these blurbs may seem, so are they proof that me and my party are by far not the first adventurers the world has seen. Nor will the be the last. They also serve as both inspiration and warnings – ideas for types of adventurers you might want to become or someone you wish to avoid!

Because finding this ring or these boots or this helmet is not just neat loot. They are showing you that heroes existed, and they also sometimes loose – either the item or their life – yet they also achieved enough to have their unpronouncable name and sweaty robe world fucking famous.


(This post was originally written on 24th of April 2019)

Last year I read through all of the “CRPG Book”, a community effort to catalogue most CRPGs of note, collecting reviews, developer anecdotes and how-to-play-it-today-best tips lovingly.

It was highly inspiring to me. Mostly to finally get around to a lot of games that I've heard are masterpieces but I held out on for one reason or another.

After I read the PDF front to back, I flipped through it again and noted down very title that had caught my interest:

Dungeon Lords (Don Stylo’s Request) Star Control 2 Quest for Glory (or watch Paw’s Lets play again I guess) Amberstar / Ambermoon Final Fantasy VI Albion Avernum (whatever the most modern remake is called) Fallout 1 & 2 (with a guide?) Final Fantasy VII Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 Jagged Alliance 2 Planescape Torment System Shock 2 Deus Ex Grandia II Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura Morrowind Neverwinter Nights Mods Star Wars Knights of the old Republic 1 & 2 Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky & The ohte one Neverwinter Nights 2 Expansions and maybe mods? STALKER Call of Pripyat Drakensang Am Fluss der Zeit Dragon Age Origins Alpha Protocol Diablo I Deus Ex: Human Revolution Dragon's Dogma Venetica Torchlight Check out: Knights of the Chalice Borderlands Cthulhu saves the World Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon EYE Divine Cybermancy Way of the Samurai 4 Magical Diary Deus Ex Mankind Divided Of Orcs and Men Shadowrun: Dragonfall: Director’s Cut Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead Underrail

And while I was at it, I rememberd three games not in the book I also want to get around to:

Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door Mother 3 Suikoden II

And, for completeness, since then I have actually gave a serious shot to Diablo I and Deus Ex: Human Revoltion and Mankind Divided. I might write something about those later.