Tag Archives: Bardass!

Bardass! Chapter 30: Black Interval

Wow, I spent forever on this chapter.  13 pages in Word.  Huh.  Actually, when I put it that way, it seems rather pathetic.

Believe it or not, most of this chapter was written fairly quickly.  But it was two important “talking” scenes of all things that took me three weeks for me to get through.  Action?  Easy.  Talking?  Nothing I wrote felt quite “right.”  I wanted to fit in a lot of details, but the more I included, the more it felt like unnatural TMI.  Took such a long time to strike that balance.  I swear, sometimes the characters just seem to talk back to me like prima donna actors talking about how their motivations don’t match up or how their current chemistry with other characters doesn’t warrant the level of closeness in the scene.  Drove me crazy.  Either that, or believing my own characters are talking to me is a sign that I’m already crazy.

Anyway, this chapter marks a major turning point in the series, and I’m happy to have finally reached it.  I have a general idea of where to go from here, but I don’t have the details fully outlined yet, which is why I still don’t have new chapter titles past the next one.

Oh, and I went back and corrected some dates and ages in previous chapters since I rarely consulted the timeline I ACTUALLY WROTE DOWN and ended up writing time frames that made no sense.  Here’s a simplified version of the CORRECT relevant timeline:

-25 years: Previous Dragon Hunt (Balken 12 years old)
-13 years: Balken’s rule begins with the fall of Astoria (Balken 19 years old)
-6 years: The Seven Heroes raid Aria (Balken 27 years old, gets reverted to 15-year-old form)
0 years: Bardass! Chapter 1+1 year: Bardass! Chapter 25

Lastly, while I’m still on the subject of Bardass!, Melissa Pagluica (the artist I commissioned for the current Bardass! banner) has the second issue of her self-published comic, Above the Clouds, up for preorder.  I’ve already ordered my copy.  But even more awesomely, she recently did a variant cover for an issue of the official Adventure Time comic!  And BTW, if you haven’t checked it out by now, I commissioned her for another Bardass!-related piece months ago.  I expected to advance the story to where the piece would actually be relevant, but I either underestimated how quickly she would finish it or overestimated how long it would take me to write.

Here’s one of the smaller quality images if you want to check it out now:

goddesstree-bluehair-MPAGLUICA-FINAL
Warning: Final Boss as Fuck

I also have the ginormous full PDF available for download so you can see it in all its amazing glory (and you really do need to see the full quality version to catch some of the specific details).

Continue reading Bardass! Chapter 30: Black Interval

Bardass! Quest 29 – Red Dragon Blues

So, this chapter took a bit longer than I planned.  I could have put in two reviews in between, but I spent a weekend so sure I could finish the chapter, but unable to do so.  Twice.

This chapter actually went on a bit longer, but then I took some scenes out and shoved them into the next chapter because I felt they fit better there.

I think I’ll double up on reviews to make up for the lack of updates.

Oh, BTW, Rankalocke status update!

The team did really well, then was massacred at Olivine City to Jessica’s Steelix.  I put too much trust into Riot (Beedrill)’s Fury Cutter when the entire party was 5 levels behind.  That is where the official run ends, but I continued (under the same rules) and did some grinding.  Every time I would lose, I would just load at an earlier save and grind more and continue, just to prove that under different situations, the playthrough could be done.  Like I said, the official run ended at Olivine; I just “cheated” because I did NOT feel like starting from the beginning again.  My greatest achievement so far is having the patience to grind my Dratini up to level 57 so it could learn Hyper Beam sooooo many levels earlier, before finally evolving it into Dragonite.

Elite Four Team:

Arco (Dragonite) lv. 60
Riot (Beedrill) lv. 42
Turf (Nidoqueen) lv. 42
Nightmoves (Haunter) lv. 40
Flutter (Crobat) lv. 41
Anubis (Tentacruel) lv. 40

Lessons learned: Beedrill is awesome up to a point.  Twineedle and Fury Cutter utterly wrecked shit up to the mid-30s, but it got tough to level him up against the flying types and rock type wild Pokemon prevalent prior to the Elite Four.  Haunter is depressingly weak and has few offensive capabilities.  Strangely, its moveset is built for attrition, but its low special defense makes it OHKO fodder.  Still, being a Ghost type is invaluable as a switch-to against Pokemon that tend to Selfdestruct or Explosion.  Zubat and Golbat are OK, but once it evolves into Crobat, shit gets real.  And lastly, the Legendary Dog Pokemon are, ironically, pussies.

Well, enough of that.  On to the chapter!  This one ended up being heavy on the flashback, but that means I get to get a lot of it out of the way to focus more on the present next chapter.

Continue reading Bardass! Quest 29 – Red Dragon Blues

D50 Plays Pokemon Crystal: Rankalocke (This will end in tears)

I planned on doing this while Twitch Plays Pokemon was still on Red, but the real catalyst was the fact that I got a Game Boy emulator on my mobile phone, and I decided to load Pokemon Crystal on it.  I never did a Nuzlocke before, so I decided to try my own flavor on it: the Rankalocke.

Rankalocke is named after Ranka from Bardass!  It’s a modified Nuzlocke, obviously.  Here are the rules:

1. No save scumming.

2. Nickname all your Pokemon.

3. You cannot capture a Pokemon species you have already captured / evolved before.  Outside of this, there are no limitations on capture attempts.

4. If a Pokemon faints, you must release it.

5. You are limited only to Pokemon that has at least partial Poison typing.  The only exception is you are allowed one Dragon-type in your party slot.  If you lose your Dragon-type, you may not use another.

6. The only items you can use in battle are Berries.  Potions and the like can only be used outside of battle.

7. You MUST choose Chikorita so your rival chooses Cyndaquil.  Once you can use Poke Balls, capture a Weedle and store Cyndaquil.

8. Choosing a female trainer and naming her Ranka, and subsequently naming your rival Balken are completely optional (but they did make for some interesting results).

There were more rules, but they made no sense to employ and only made it pointlessly challenging or extended the length of the playthrough.

I chose Pokemon Crystal because I wasn’t nearly as familiar with Gen II as I was with Gen I, and Gen I had both terrible bugs I didn’t want to deal with and a clear, overwhelming dominance of the psychic type.  Besides, Bulbasaur is part Poison, and that kind of makes the first two gyms easy mode.  Having Weedle as a pseudo starter is surprisingly fun.

I have already tried this three times before.  The first one ended in failure at the first gym.  As it turns out, having a majority of your Pokemon being part-grass or part-insect makes it easy for the bird-themed first gym to destroy you.

The second attempt worked out better… until I fought my rival (Balken) at the Slowpoke town.  Under my limitations, I had mostly grass and insect Pokemon, with Gastly being the only one not weak against fire.  And since I was forced to pick Chikorita, my rival had a Quilava.  Quilava swept the hell out of my team with Ember.  It was a terrible, fiery massacre.

The third event was actually pretty damned successful.  I beat the second gym and made it to Goldenrod City.  Then I loaded an old save state and lost all my progress.

I’ve heard the point of a Nuzlocke isn’t so much the challenge as it is the attachment you have to your Pokemon.  Because of the rule modifications I made for the Rankalocke, this isn’t quite the case.  But what it did do for me is force myself to become more strategic in order to put my limited party to use.  I always used to avoid using poison Pokemon at all, keeping to a well-developed and balanced team.  Well, there’s gonna be none of that with the Rankalocke.  With a Nuzlocke you’re not sure what you’re going to end up with, but you can still plan ahead and play the odds.  With a Rankalocke you’ll always have a good idea of what you have to work with, and what you have to work with is guaranteed to suck until you learn to overcome its limitations.

Here’s a rundown of the Pokemon I used in my first three runs:

Weedle is probably the most important Pokemon you can get.  You can get it early, and it evolves into Beedrill at level 10.  It has a great Attack stat and learns Fury Attack right after evolving, which is important due to the fact that its power isn’t terrible, and it’s a normal type move so it’s useful against other poison-types and Pokemon resistant to insect and poison (and for most of the beginning of the game, that’s pretty much all your offense can consist of).  Once you beat Bugsy, it can be taught Fury Cutter, which is AWESOME.

Zubat is one of the most important Pokemon you can get for this kind of run as it is NOT weak against fire and flying.  However, it’s a pain to train because it starts out with Leech Life, one of the weakest attacks in the game.  It’s also a bug type move, so there is no STAB.  The only way to level it is to switch out for a tougher Pokemon until Zubat learns Supersonic.  Once Supersonic is learned, Zubat is capable of beating wild Pokemon on its own… if it’s lucky.  But once Zubat hits level 12, it learns Bite, which is overall one of the best moves in the game.

Spinarak is depressingly useless.  Its speed stat is one of the lowest, and it sucks at both offense AND defense.  Outside of the Poison Sting it starts off with, its early attacks are all speed-reducers.  About the only thing it has going for it is its ability to use Flash.  True, it can learn some good moves MUCH later on, but it will be worse than mediocre for a vast majority of the game.  Pass it up.

Gastly is a weird but useful Pokemon.  Many early Pokemon can only use normal type moves, and Gastly is immune to them.  Unfortunately, the first gym’s birds are all partially normal types, so Gastly can’t damage them either since its only offense is Lick.  It’s a source of sleep (Hypnosis) early on though, so it’s a great clutch switcher.

Tentacool is a must-have due to its ability to use water HMs, and much to my surprise, you can get it as soon as you pick up an Old Rod.  Unfortunately, it can’t use Waterfall, and Qwilfish can’t be obtained until Kanto.  Luckily, that’s where your optional dragon slot comes in handy.  Tentacool starts off with a Zubat-esque moveset (Poison Sting and Supersonic) and soon learns Constrict, which is also weak as hell.  It’ll take Tentacool MUCH longer before it learns a good move, but it’s still useful for its resistance to fire attacks.  Also, its ability to confuse and poison a Pokemon does make for some entertainment.  Tentacool can learn Cut, which makes up for its otherwise crappy moves early on, but there might be some regret if you want to free up some space for Bubblebeam or Acid.

Ekans is the first pure-poison type Pokemon you can capture.  It starts off pretty mediocre and doesn’t get much better.  It’s similar to Tentacool in that it has a weak starting moveset: Wrap and Leer.  It later learns Poison Sting, which at least has STAB.  At that point you can have some lulz from poison and Wrap doing double duty damage-over-time.  It learns Bite at level 15 so it should be easier to level up at that point, but its main selling points are probably going to be Glare and Screech, which are some devastating status effects.  Ekans/Arbok can also learn Strength, so there’s that.

Bellsprout.  Well… It learns grass type moves, which is surprisingly useful for leveling up in Onix and Geodude-infested caves.  Because of that ability, it can level up surprisingly quickly.  And up against Pokemon it’s normally not very effective against, a few Growths can make it a serious powerhouse.  Wrap is rather terrible however.  Teach it Cut.

As you might imagine, you can’t really afford to lose ANY of your major players, ESPECIALLY Tentacool, and you’ll have to overlevel before entering unfamiliar territory in case typing screws you over.  The inevitable psychic type encounters are especially going to be painful, I’m sure.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to recently.  Still working on that next chapter.  If it takes too long, I’ll probably do a quickie review just so I have a new feature up.

Bardass! Quest 28 – Blood for the Forge

Strangely, I feel like I didn’t write enough for this chapter.  Then I looked through and found I had written several more pages than I planned on writing.  I’m not sure what that says.  Maybe that I should stop aiming for less than 10 pages per chapter, because this really could have been longer.  I probably could do 2-3 chapters in a week if I kept this pace up, but things.  I feel like I’d get more accomplished if I didn’t stretch myself thin doing this, Millennium Match, and Vamoe Guardian Lucia, in addition to spending 3-4 hours a day on Guild Wars 2.  So glad I have the free time to do this though.  That awkward time when I really want that job offer to come through, but also REALLY like being able to slack off like this.

Anyway, I got a lot done this chapter.  I finally get to pull the trigger on an important subplot!  I wanted to get more flashbacks and some coverage of the Sakar and Hayle subplots in, but I felt there was enough going on as it is.

Continue reading Bardass! Quest 28 – Blood for the Forge

Bardass! Planetary diagram

planetarydiagram

This is what it’s like inside the planet Rym is on.  I have yet to see definitive proof that this isn’t the case of our own world.

I’m entering my last week of classes, followed by finals week and commencement.  As long as I actually get shit done this weekend, I’m graduating.  So yeah… don’t expect anything from me anytime soon.  If I have the time, I’ll try to get one final review in after my last final.