Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kingdom Royale

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Dec 10 2012

Well, as I get ready to buckle down and delve into Arel Wars 2–with the intention of writing the strategy guide as I go this time–it seems time to discuss other offerings by the company, Gamevil. Unfortunately, I don’t have much good to report. Arel Wars wasn’t nearly what it could have been–it should have been amazing but small easy-to-fix problems reduced it to okay, which is fine since the game was free, but I still wish it had been worth putting money toward since I would have very much liked to.

That said, as far as I’ve discovered Arel Wars is by far Gamevil’s best effort. Other of their titles I tried lacked even the promise that Arel Wars should have lived up to, and most of them were so bad they didn’t stay on my phone for even a day and thus don’t merit a review.

Kingdom Royale is an interesting middle ground, whose place on my phone is probably going after this review but managed to at least engage me for a time.

Kingdom Royale has an amazing design aesthetic to it–which sadly is all the further too many iPhone Apps seem to bother going–and in the vein of Arel Wars is an all out fantasy war game. I didn’t catch what the storyline was since they give you about one second to read a whole screen of text and I couldn’t find any way to go back to it–but I did catch that there was one and that seemed cool.

I’m not a great strategist, which is part of my chagrin at having to write the Arel Wars strategy guide, so simple effective strategies really appeal to me. In this regard I am very much a fan of Kingdom Royale’s double-layered Rocks-Paper-Scissors mechanic. In true RPG style, your units are defined by a combination of their race and class.

Orcs beat Humans, who beat Elves, who beat Orcs–but also Melee beats Range, which beats Magic, which beats Melee. That seems to me like enough to be really interesting to play with–say an Orc Melee unit against an Elf Ranged unit would be a fairly even match against each other or against a Human Magic unit, but reverse the classes in the first pairing and the Orc gets curb-stomped. Those sorts of mechanics are really fun for me to play with, and figuring out the troop roster to take into any given battle, who assign to guard duty and how many of each unit to keep in reserve makes me happy.

Even better, you don’t have to choose a faction when you play! All players have access to all three races and can produce and maintain troops as they see fit. I don’t mind having to choose a faction, and admittedly my play style heavily favors my elven units, but the completionist in me really loves the idea of being able to get everything–every unit, every structure–on a single play through. So I play elves whenever I can, but sometimes having exactly the right unit for any given job is immensely satisfying.

Now, Kingdom Royale is one of those resource oriented games where the passage of real time–whether you’re in the game or not–is required to build up the resources to build your structures and produce your units. That’s not an inherently bad thing to me, it can be nice to come back with a sense of progress after leaving your phone alone for an extended period.

Unfortunately I believe the actual implementation of resources in Kingdom Royale is one of its unforgivable gaffs. That’s right, I have good things to say about the game but this will not be a positive review over all.

The first three resources you work with are Gold, Wood, and Food. Gold is used in everything you do–and is proportionally easy to come by. Wood is used more heavily in the construction and improvement of structures and fortifications, while Food is significant to the production of units. All three of these resources are actually quite well handled–frequently used but easy enough to come by. Another thing the game does right is the general store in your secure home area where you can exchange one resource type for another if you need something other than what you’ve got in a hurry.

The next three resources I liked in concept, Sapphires associated with Human units, Amethysts with Elven units, and Emeralds with Orc units. These are a little harder to come by and later upgrades demand quantities that can be difficult to collect, but early in the game you can secure sources of Sapphires and Amethysts safe from seizure by other players so even if holding and taking ground against others is proving difficult you can still get the resources you need given enough time. No such luck with Emeralds. The first source of Emeralds is a little further in to the game, and is hotly contested enough I was never able to hold it long enough to have any pretensions about building any sort of meaningful force of orcs. I would have been fine with this, but even humans and elves start requiring some Emeralds once you begin producing 4th level units.

The final three resources are the ultra rare, Diamonds, Opals and “Crowns”–with the latter primarily being obtained by paying real world money into the game. The balance of supply and demand for these resources seems fairly reasonable to me, but I’ll never get far enough in the game to say whether this holds true to the end. I’ve got a sinking suspicion it doesn’t.

See, the difficulty of obtaining Emeralds–one of the core three gem types–throws the whole economy out of balance even before factoring the exponential price increases that far outstrip any sort of resource income I could envision having achieved.

I love the character design of the units, and find the sound from music to effects to voices spot on for the game. I even discovered that it is possible for a unit to gain experience and become more powerful–without you having to spend half a day training the entire unit type, or just buying the next level up of the race/class combination. This is an awesome touch that really lines up with my preference for developing an elite team with as few casualties as possible.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that there’s virtually nowhere to train your units up. The storyline missions are all only played once before moving you on, and the enemies become stronger faster than your units can–and I have yet to meet a player who just offers up their fodder units for you to train on and then take their land. Also, when on offense–as you will generally be–your units can be killed and then are gone along with potentially the vast amount of resources spent producing the higher level ones.

Your main keep has a hospital where defense units, or offense units who weren’t actually reduced to zero health, can recuperate over time. If there were better odds on a unit being sent to the hospital rather than killed then even in loss a player could build their forces up and do better next time–but as it actually stands when you lose you lose big.

It is technically possible to alleviate the deficit of any resource (Emeralds being the prime offender) by building structures dedicated to harnessing that resource on a limited number of vacant land plots within your secure home area. Unfortunately, Sapphires, Emeralds, Diamonds and Opals all require Crowns to build their structures–unlike the others that can be built with in-game resources. Since the game never convinced me it was worth money, and I burned crowns on unit resurrections while I was still learning the game, getting a reasonable supply of Emeralds is out of the question for me, and thus so is advancing through the game.

The challenge curve is the last problem with the game I think is worth mentioning–because between the rapid scaling of challenges and the rapid scaling of costs I found it completely inconceivable that I could ever really get anywhere in the game. If the Player versus Player element happened on a separate map and resources gained on the regular map were retained, or if there were at least a secure source of Emeralds that would be different. But as is I reached the 12th area of Payro with the first real boss enemy and found that no combination of units I could produce could stand up to him without devastatingly high losses (Spoiler Alert: You have to fight him more than once in that area) that would take days of play for me to recuperate from.

So I was stuck unable to get the resources I needed to build up my forces, unable to advance the single-player storyline, unable to complete the side-quests (which advance in difficulty as rapidly as the core missions), and unable to defeat other players in such a way that I gained more than I lost. So at this point the only thing I can do is log in and collect resources from my safe sources, and that just isn’t fun at all.

The good news is that since playing the game is free, there’s no real reason not to try it for yourself and form your own opinion if you think it even might be different from mine–plus you can benefit from my folly and spend your crowns getting an Emerald mine in your home area rather than on unit healing/resurrection.

I give the game 3 of 5 stars–similar to Arel Wars. I’m certain there’s something there, I love the aesthetic and I definitely feel it actually is a game–I just can’t seem to find the way in to it. One difference is that Arel Wars could have easily been a 5 star game if they’d bothered fixing what I felt were obvious errors… Kingdom Royale could probably get up to 4 stars if they fixed their wonky resource availability/expense balance, but getting all the way to 5 would take serious work and require more story and character for me.

Time Slip

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Dec 08 2012

Whoa! How’d it get so late? I guess, technically, I missed my Friday update.

Still not much more to report of course, so here’s the short version for anyone interested.

My volunteer work is now back in full swing, I’ve been paired with a student for the Communities in Schools mentor program and have been reading to pre-schoolers through the Head Start and ECEAP. So those are good things to be doing, sometimes I don’t feel like I have the energy but it’s always great to see how excited those kids get to have someone listening to them and paying attention to them on a much closer to one-on-one ratio (though the reading groups have gotten a little large at times).

I have yet to resume writing the novel that I failed to complete for National Novel Writing Month–I really have no idea how time seems to be slipping away from me in such prodigious quantities, though I’m sure playing games on my iPhone is partially to blame.

Which of course brings us to the final point… I need some game time to maintain my sanity, though I’ll admit maybe not as much as I have been indulging in since the holiday season rolled around. Some of you may be aware of my Arel Wars strategy guide I wrote and posted to this site. That game badly needed a strategy guide, and I still find it a little sad I ended up being the one to write it–I’m sure other people are much better at strategy than I am.

Well, I’ve downloaded Arel Wars 2, and it doesn’t look like it has a good strategy guide available either–last I checked. So I’ve been putting off starting playing it, with the intention to actually take notes on my first play through this time and thus get the strategy guide done in half the time–theoretically. There’s a good chance that process will begin this month, and with the present goal of being done by February (though the timeline is subject to change once I actually play the game and see what I’m dealing with).

And, that’s about it for now. Have a good weekend!

Happy Holidays?

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Dec 05 2012

So, as some of you may already be aware, the holidays can be a bit of a busy time–and I don’t actually have anything ready for today’s blog entry–not so much as a topic.

There may be a few more entries like this throughout the holiday season, but I will try to stick to the 3 days a week update schedule just so you all know I’m here and good things will be coming again in time.

Tap Creepy Manor

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Dec 03 2012

Has anyone else noticed that my “My Phone Monday” entries are so dated as to be unlikely to be of use to anyone? I only seem to download apps after they’ve been out for a while, and then have to play them long enough to develop an informed opinion before reviewing them. So unless you also are in the market for older apps then my reviews are likely just for entertainment purposes.

With that said, on to my review of Pocket Gems’Tap Creepy Manor“.

When a developer goes to the trouble of making a product it’s only natural that they should like to be reimbursed for their effort–it makes sense and allows them to expand or improve the product, or provide additional products in the future. There’s no reason it can’t be a win/win situation for the developer and the consumer.

That does not appear to be Pocket Gems’ approach to getting the public’s money. I feel the best apps encourage the consumer to invest in the game, to actually want to spend money in support of the project and offers suitable return for the investment in the form of desirable in-game benefits and features–ideally proportionate to the investment of real world capital.

Creepy Manor on the other hand takes the approach of luring in its audience and then bleeding them for everything they’re worth–less interested in building a community or a fan base than in taking each sucker for as much as possible before they get wise. I can’t say for sure that Pocket Gems’ other games are also like this, because I did download Creepy Manor after Pocket Gems officially stopped supporting it. What I can say is I will neither download nor play any other games by this developer.

These tapping games are similar to the social networking games like Rage of Bahamut and Legend of the Cryptids, in that as I understand it they got their start on sites like Facebook and calling them games is a grave insult to the term “game”. One difference though, is that I feel that in the vein of Last Day of Work’s “Virtual Villagers”–which does actually qualify as a casual game–these sort of tapping games could in fact provide a degree of amusement worthy of small investments of time and possibly money if handled properly.

In the case of Tap Creepy Manor I find the game actually has a fun ambiance and self-described collection of kooky characters with stories and personalities that while unexceptional are note-worthy for the genre. The objective is to build up a haunted manor and attract residents in order to gain the funds to further expand, hire staff, decorate, and attract more residents.

There isn’t a whole lot to interact with, and long passages of time are frequently required to represent building time–but neither of these are inherently bad things. The app could actually be well positioned as a great way to kill a free minute here or there with the time passing between those minutes still counting toward game progress.

The problem is, like Arel Wars, the game has two currencies. The coins that can be earned and saved in game, and the gems that have to be purchased for real money. Altogether too many elements in the game require gems to obtain, so many so that even if they were all reasonably priced the game would still demand a far greater price to unlock everything than it could in any reasonable universe be considered to be worth.

This problem is only made worse by the fact that aside from building the library for Sandra, every single gem purchase in the game is obscenely over priced. Pocket Gems doesn’t even make an effort to make investing in Tap Creepy Manor look like a good idea, they just hope that the gut urge to get everything will get people to dump their finances into the game without actually paying attention to how much it’s costing.

A miniscule amount of gems are attainable in-game on a free play through, and having gotten some of those I can offer a little further insight into the price system for anyone actually interested. I earned enough gems in game to initiate building of a Library to attract the character Sandra to the manor. All character rooms are completed in 3 phases, with additional time and cost associated with each phase–and I am happy to report that if Sandra is any indication the characters who require an initial expenditure of gems still complete the other two phases for their room with coins–the prank rooms are completed in a single phase and so this wouldn’t apply to them anyway.

Unfortunately, again based on Sandra, it seems that getting pets for a character who cost gems to attract will cost gems to get the pet–and where I think the characters, prank rooms, staff and decorations that cost gems are horribly over priced, I don’t think pets should ever cost gems in the first place, since that’s a rather unkind double-whammy when their owner also cost gems to attract.

Surprisingly enough, I give the app 2 stars. It could have easily been three, maybe four, stars without the gem system and limiting in-app purchases to extra coins for those too impatient to build up on their own, but Pocket Gems’ parasitic avarice damaged the enjoyability of the application quite severely.

That said, my advice isn’t to avoid the application entirely, but rather to NOT SPEND ANY MONEY ON IT. I can’t stress that last point enough, it isn’t worth money. But it is entertaining and undemanding, and if the aesthetic appeals to you then there’s a chance you could find some amusement from it–if a different aesthetic would appeal to you more then you might even consider a different game by Pocket Gems, though I can’t speak to those.

There’s a decent chance I will actually keep this application and occasionally dump a few minutes here or there into it, because there is enough to do without spending money for me to stick around a little while at least–but I think an opportunity was missed by trying to bleed the consumers rather than engage them.

Novel Fails and Holidays

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 30 2012

So this is mostly a quick check in to affirm that it is my intention to resume thrice weekly postings (Monday, Wednesday and Friday–which may admittedly mean you should check on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). A little recap of November, I tried and failed miserably at National Novel Writing Month. Not really a huge shock, I strongly suspected going in that the NaNo approach to writing was incompatible with my own.

For National Novel Writing Month the goal is 50,000 words in 30 days, not because any body I know or could even possibly relate to would be able to construct a publishable manuscript under those circumstances–but because it gets the story written. However rough and likely even nauseating at parts the product is, it is still a product. The theory from there, as I understand it, is that further time spent refining the product and getting it up to publishable quality is easier both to do and to find motivation for. So NaNo’s big push is just to get that initial word splurge out there, the task of shaping it would come later.

That approach just doesn’t work for me, I like to shape, polish and refine as I go. I like to work in several short strokes, writing and refining according to whether the stroke is presently passing over text or blank page. I get into a rhythm and the more the story and characters make sense to me the deeper into I get, and consequently the deeper I can take my audience. Rushing headlong into larger word counts I find it too easy to make missteps, possibly injuring my self or my work in the process (not generally in a literal sense of course) and sacrificing a lot of efficiency and direction in the process. Writing without stopping to edit for me is like drawing without picking up the pencil. Some parts have to be done that way to be done well, but many benefit from stopping to look at your work and maybe even correcting it before moving on.

For me if I bog down in a story the easiest way to regain momentum is to go back and edit. The process of editing re-immerses me in the story and I can carry that momentum forward into new words. It takes a while, but with everything but novels the work does eventually get done.

Who knows what the holidays are going to look like or bring, somehow I found even Thanksgiving to consume far more time and energy than anticipated–and I don’t even remember where those expenditures went. One way or another my goal is to actually finish this novel though, but at a pace that works for me and allows me to take pride in my work. With NaNo officially lost though, I do think I will go back and finish the short-story I began in the same setting first and maybe pursue some early publishing with that while I grind away at the main novel.

That’s the forecast (and reflection) for this Friday. Thanks for all the recent poll votes by the way! It’s great to get some interaction from the internet.

Pathfinder Online

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 28 2012

This isn’t going to be my biggest “Other Web Wednesday” post, because I figure most of you already know what Kickstarter is and even for those who don’t it doesn’t take a lot of explanation. It’s a website where developers, creators and visionaries can request crowd funding for their projects, and the public, consumers and patrons can invest in things they value with limited risk and higher odds on reward.

But I’m not here to talk about Kickstarter. Instead I’m here to promote a specific project on it I value. Pathfinder Online.

For a little context, I like fantasy and role-playing and games–three separate things that go remarkably well together and have been highly successfully combined over the years in such forms as Dungeons & Dragons and an entire genre of video-games.

Now the presently small but incredibly awesome company Goblinworks is bringing their own special magic to that sweet combination. Pathfinder is another paper and pencil role-playing system similar to Dungeons & Dragons–in fact, when Dungeons & Dragons lost its way and a lot of fans (myself included) Paizo and Pathfinder picked up the pieces with their own glorious role-playing system.
In close cooperation with the people at Paizo, and exceptional deference to the fans of Pathfinder, Goblinworks has set out to bring the glory of Pathfinder to a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.

It doesn’t take long over on the Goblinworks blog to figure out their goal for Pathfinder Online is colossally ambitious–but with a successful Technology Demo under their belt the game has been green lit and will happen. Their Kickstarter drive is just to make it happen sooner and better–and of course get more fans/players involved in the game’s initial development.

More so than any other game I have personal experience with–and reminiscent of a sort of high fantasy Second Life if I understood what that game was correctly–Pathfinder Online seems set to be fundamentally defined by the players at every turn (which honestly I think is giving the lay public too much influence, but I was willing to put my money on being wrong about that).

I think it has a lot of potential, and if Goblinworks can meet the lofty objectives they have set for themselves–and their track record is already good–then this is definitely something any fantasy gamer should consider getting in on the ground floor of.

So get over to Pathfinder Online’s Kickstarter page and see how much you’d be willing to donate toward what could be the next big thing in fantasy gaming.

Legend of the Cryptids

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 26 2012

I know I teased you about it before, but now I’m going to actually talk about Applibot’s “Legend of the Cryptids”. You can also refer back to my review of Mobage’s “Rage of Bahamut” because they are essentially the same game. The quick version, for those uninterested in the long version, is that there is a genre of casual game out there based around social networking that as I understand it began on Facebook. I managed to avoid the genre there, but have been suckered in no less than four times on my iPhone. The best of them are gorgeous art-collections burdened by unnecessary and uninspired “gameplay”, and this is the category the likes of Rage of Bahamut and the various of Applibot’s applications fall.

Now, the long version;

A quick note before I really dig into my review, as an actual gamer I am clearly not the target audience for these internet based social abominations. I try to divorce that from my review of the application as a matter of fairness–someone who is severely lactose intolerant isn’t the first place to go for a solid cheese review. So when it actually comes down to my star rating at the end of the article I will here–as I did with Rage of Bahamut–give the application an additional star beyond what I think it deserves as a way of compensating for my bias.

Conceptually, “Legend of the Cryptids” is brilliant. It has a lush fantasy world crafted for it, and a more than adequate storyline for any casual gamer moving through it. Like Rage of Bahamut, the name of the game is collecting cards and trying to build your ideal deck. All the mechanics are essentially the same, if you’ve played any game in the genre you can pick up any other one without difficulty. So rather than repeat my Rage of Bahamut review here (you can follow the link at the top of this article if you want to see that one) I’m going to just touch on the differences.

The first difference I noticed in Legend of the Cryptids is that it features decent music and sound effects–which really enhance the game experience. It’s nothing fancy, but still something I frequently found myself grateful for.

Now, it has been a little while since I’ve played now, but Legend of the Cryptids did have one major disadvantage as compared to Rage of Bahamut–though one I’d attribute to being a younger game. The user-interface and menu schemes were often clunky and lacking the smooth navigation afforded by RoB’s many links and buttons. This is something that could easily iron out over time, and maybe already has been–but I did waste a lot of time navigating between menus in LotC where I could have simply used the ‘back’ button in RoB.

In Legend of the Cryptids rather than the “Gods”, “Demons” and “Humans” classification of Rage of Bahamut, the factions are divided as “Water”, “Fire” and “Forest”–which in theory I believe still has a nice rocks-paper-scissors mechanic (and is still a legitimate, if incomplete, classification system based on the Chinese 5 Element approach). Though in practice I didn’t observe any strong tendencies when it came to interactions between the factions, or even necessarily what cards ended up in what faction.

As with RoB, LotC has absolutely gorgeous artwork and more than a little pin-up quality teasers. These are well distributed over the factions, so don’t worry that by picking one faction or another you’re missing out on cheesecake. This does, however, bring us to something I think LotC does better than RoB–and that is card evolution.

Duplicate cards can be combined into more powerful forms as in Rage of Bahamut–again carrying forward a percentage of the stats of the base cards that increases if those cards are at maximum level. However, unlike RoB, only one such combination is necessary to get a card to its ultimate form. This makes evolution a much easier process, and greatly decreases the risk of developing a suboptimal final card as the result of impatience or lack of resources.

One area that I’m afraid LotC loses out to the more developed RoB, however, is the in-game events. LotC seems to constantly have events going on, which gives new players no time to ease into the game through the regular campaign and regulars no chance to recuperate from the more intensive demands of a live event. Events are great for mixing things up, and will generally be a player’s best shot at getting really good cards, but I think LotC would benefit from some downtime between events. The actual quality of the events is actually quite good, merely their constant presence becomes exhausting and leaves no resources for pursuing the regular game.

Before giving my final review I’d like to highlight a couple points that apply to all of these collectible card online social networking games.

  1. They promote an abusive play environment in that deck quality is the primary determiner of victory in player versus player matches–so there’s no point fighting other players who might be able to beat you if you can get what you want from a player you know can’t beat you–and players need to attack and steal from each other to complete treasure collections.
  2. The value for money isn’t there, the return for In Application Purchases of additional cards and items isn’t worth what they cost–unless you put a high price on getting to be the abuser rather than the abusee in regards to the first point.

That said, Legend of the Cryptids is a glorious art collection with a little story and some nice touches that make it every bit as good as Rage of Bahamut. It isn’t my genre of game, and I intend to avoid the genre like the plague now that I’ve become more familiar with it than I could have ever wished, but if you’re the sort of person this game is meant for (interested in art, extremely simplified “gameplay” and somewhere to just burn an excess of time and money that perhaps can’t be collected for the larger investment of a real game) then Legend of the Cryptids is a good example of the genre.

I give it 4 stars, because as a free application that it is perfectly possible to get through without ever spending any money–if somewhat painful–it does deliver a lot of content for potentially no cost.

Now if games of this sort were $6 Art Collections (or maybe $0.99 per release collections) without the burden of sadistically abusive excuses for gameplay then I think I’d enjoy them and have actually put money toward them–something I’m thankful I’ve never done.

If you want a taste of the art and the game you can check out the excellent wiki for Legend of the Cryptids, a superb resource for anyone looking to get into the game. I’d also like to mention Monster Maestro–which will not be receiving its own review and has already been deleted from my phone–and the new Galaxy Saga both also from Applibot. The company knows its genre, and if unlike me you are not put off by the genre then you can expect a very similar experience from any of their products. And if you’re in it for the artwork, the only reason I can think of to be in it, then the variation between the three will allow you to find the art niche that works best for you–with Cryptids being fantasy, Monster Maestro being basically Pokemon/Digimon/whatever, and Galaxy Saga being science fiction.

I’d further like to mention that Applibot does a good job of cross-promoting their products, and give quite handy rewards in each game for progress made in the others–that’s how I wound up with Monster Maestro on my phone even though I didn’t want it, and actually don’t regret the time I spent on it.

NaNo News

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 07 2012

Well… It would appear that taking on National Novel Writing Month was a mistake. Before starting NaNoWriMo my daily word average was around 500 words per day. Obviously for a writer that’s too low. So I do appreciate learning from NaNo that I can and should sustain 1,000 words per day. Unfortunately in order to “Win” NaNo I’d need to do 1667 words per day averaged over the entire month.

As Inigo would say, “At my best I could never defeat that many.” Only, in my case I could do that many at my best–I just can’t clear it by enough to compensate for all the days I weigh in at 1,300 some odd. So I’m not sure where to go from here. Seven days in I realize I’ve picked a fight I never had any chance to win. I still intend to finish the novel, but it’s become a much lower priority now that I don’t have any sort of meaningful deadline or benchmarks to work from. The month isn’t over yet, but I think I’ve already failed NaNo decisively enough it’s time to fail something else.

So that’s my sad news. Maybe I’ll be back with something else Friday.

Monday Mixer: November 5

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 05 2012

Okay, with Menage Monday finished and Motivation Monday on hiatus, I have made my first foray into the Monday Mixer–partially to keep the creative juices fresh by writing something other than my National Novel Writing Month project which has yet to go well.

So without further ado, I bring you;



Saint Nicholas’ skyscraper pierced the earth like a heaven sent spear, to the euphoric adulation of peoples far and near. From atop the imposing monolith, the holiday harbinger watched the world and judged. Few suspected perfunctory good deeds no longer sufficed to get off the Naughty List. The Saint’s mandate had changed.

The masses burned on their own sinful coals the first Christmas after the coming. People feared God again, recognized the inadequacy of maladroit attempts to live as He commanded. Offerings and sacrifice resurged; pilgrims crossed the icy tundra to the estuary where the North Pole had landed.

The greedy dealt in terms they understood, bringing gold and jewels. The poor appealed to the Saint’s jovial nature, offering holly, verbena, and other decorative plants. The desperate turned to sacrifice, foisting their sins on a goat, a piglet, lamb or even house pet.

All the while, Nicholas watched and judged.



[trying for Over-Achiever with the entry, since I saw no reason not to]

150 words excluding the title

National Novel Writing Month!

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Nov 02 2012

Okay, so National Novel Writing month is officially here AND I’m officially participating this year. Missed my word target for the first day, and am on track to miss again this second day–putting me further in the hole–but I see the weekend through Tuesday as my real opportunities to make up for scheduling conflicts Wednesday through Friday. With any luck that’ll be enough to get me through to the 50,000 words by the end of the month.

So no treats for you this week with me so far behind already–but my plan is by next Friday, maybe earlier, to have an excerpt from the novel to share with anyone who’s interested. Potentially following up with other excerpts as the month goes on. If I could get some discussion regarding what sort of excerpts you’d like to see from my work in progress, that’d be great information for me–right now I’m thinking character introductions for windows into the core cast.

Then, if anyone feels like helping develop the world of Niar, I’m realizing that having me come up with every single town and city in the world is unlikely to be ideal. So I’d like to open up the possibility for anyone who feels like flexing some creativity and then donating the effort to come up with town and city names for the World of Niar, so that when I’m referencing locations it doesn’t sound like the same individual came up with all of them–even if the story never goes to locations I didn’t come up with, having them in the world will still enhance it. Plus in the event that this novel, or Niar Saga from this site really take off it might be kind of cool to have your location on the official world map. Maybe? I’d like that sort of thing.

On the topic of reader interaction though, thank you everyone who has voted in the current poll! With all the spambots assailing the site and looking for a way in (there is NONE, they all have to go through ME) it’s hard to feel like the page-view counter is representing real traffic, but as of this posting I know there are four people who have looked at my site and cared enough to interact with me. That means a lot.

So thank you.