Night Fox – Comic Post #121: Just A Meaningless Death Pg.3

Not caught up on the comic yet? You can go visit the comic’s archive through this link here.

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Did somebody say “DOUBLE DECAPITATION KILL!?” …No? Oh. Then I must be hearing things again…

Given that freaking “diatribe” that I had just posted yesterday (which took me something like 2 freaking hours to write by the way…), I’m not going to be particularly verbose this update (mostly because I’m typing this up IMMEDIATELY AFTER I finished said diatribe). So I’ll just leave it at that, and I’ll see you all next comic.

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Night Fox – Comic Post #121: Just A Meaningless Death Pg.2

Not caught up on the comic yet? You can go visit the comic’s archive through this link here.

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I’ve been feeling like crap for most of this week on account of allergy season being in full effect for me… I’ve been coughing quite a bit lately, and it REALLY hurts to cough sometimes. Hopefully this won’t end up like last year where I end up suffering from a chronic cough for at least 4 months…. Oh well. At the very least I should be grateful that I’m not actually dying… yet…

In other news, I suppose on the day this is supposed to be posted it’ll be Valentine’s day, which is a holiday I continue to never have anything planned for and as such, don’t actually care about…. so not really sure why I’m bringing it up… Oh well, happy Valentine’s day! May you not live an eternal existence devoid of love and companionship like I have resigned my fate towards… See kids: this is what happens when you hate going out and are too lazy to put yourself out there! You tend not to hook up with anyone as a result!

At any rate, something I do have planned is another anniversary drawing for next Tuesday. It’s going to mark 3 years of me doing this comic, which is honestly coming in as a shock to me. I’ve been doing this for almost 3 years. Over 1000 days. Just imagine what I could’ve accomplished if I had spent that time doing something actually important! AhahahahahahahahahahhahahaI’mgoingtoendupwastingmylifeonthisdamncomicaren’tIhahahahahahahaha! …But yeah, anniversary drawing next week. It’s not going to really be anything special, as it was kinda last minute thing for me this year, (I spend far less time thinking about what I should do for it than I did the last 2 years) but at the very least it’s still something. With all of that said, I’m pretty much done here, so until then I’ll see you next comic.

Night Fox – Comic Post #121: Just A Meaningless Death Pg.1

Not caught up on the comic yet? You can go visit the comic’s archive through this link here.

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So a little while back, I decided to design some of the indigenous fauna of the Spirit World to help better flesh out the world of Night Fox. The creatures Angel is mentioning here in the comic are just some of the ones I came up with. And, because I don’t ultimately want all of the drawings I did to go to waste: here’s one big ol’ compilation of some of the denizens of the Ranacarve Waterways.

Ranacarve Denizens

So, in order from left to right:

  • The purple snake like creature is called a Vibora. Like real world snakes, they have venomous fangs which they poison their prey with. Unlike real snakes, however, their venom often has a far different effect on the body if you were to get bitten by one. It usually results in necrotic flesh forming around the bitten area, though some turn you to stone when they bite you. The ones that live in the waterways actually cause frostbite in the ones that they bite. Some Vibora species also have extra sets of eyes which they can also use to mesmerize and hypnotize other weak-minded Spirits like the one pictured here. Finally, they have scales that are very rough to the touch, not unlike that of a real world shark, which can be exceptionally problematic for the Vibora species that act like boa constrictors and coil around prey, as they can very easily “sand” of the skin of whatever they’re trying to eat. Thankfully, as with pretty much every other Feral Spirit I’ll be going over here, most of the damage they cause can be easily mitigated by healing magic, though some more potent ones may be necessary in the case of Viboras with a particularly nasty venom.
  • The next two, if you’ve been following the comic for a while, you should be able to recognize as Poltergeists. Because they’ve already technically been covered in the comic already, I’ll keep their description brief. Essentially, Poltergeists are a kind of a forged artificial Spirit called a “Forgling”. While often times it requires Human/Spirit intervention to actually create one, they can sometimes form by accident. Residual Spirit Energy that is very abundant in the Spirit World, often coalesces together in some regions to form Forgling Cores, essentially the heart of any Forgling. A common task necessary in areas where these cores form is to gather them to a less active area. If not, a stray core may end activating on its own if it draws in enough energy. This usually results in the core drawing in raw materials from its surroundings to form a body, creating the Poltergeist, though once they draw in a particular substance, they tend to stick with that one while forming. The one on the left formed from water and rocks, while the right formed from rusty scrap metal. You can tell when a Poltergeist is near, as you’ll feel like all of your senses are being filtered through a very staticy CRT TV.
  • The big red worm thing is a Wereworm. They like to bore their way through the earth, essentially acting like giant earth worms. Unlike earthworms, Wereworms also have a taste for blood, so more like a giant earthworm mixed with a lamprey. Their massive size can make them formidable opponents, and some can even use powerful earth and blood magic. Those that live in the desert regions of the Spirit World often reach colossal sizes. Besting one of these colossal Wereworms in combat is usually a rite of passage for some races of Spirit.
  • The creepy white bipedal salamander thing is called a Lurcher. They are known for their habit of standing completely motionless for incredibly long periods of time out in the open, with nothing but a creepy smile on their face until they’re ready to strike. When they finally do move, they move lightning fast, in stark contrast to their typical habit of just sitting there. Their claws and spines are incredibly sharp, easily capable of cutting clean through most metals. When a Lurcher gets around to actually eating whatever it was trying to stalk, instead of eating through the mouth on its head, it uses a much larger second mouth one its stomach, often swallowing its prey whole. Unlike a lot of Feral Spirits, Lurchers can be very intelligent and cunning, capable of mimicking Human/Spirit speech to lure unsuspecting Spirits into traps.
  • The flaming blue bat is a Noctivolar. Like most bats in fictional settings, they are mostly just a nuisance to most Spirits that only come out in dark areas. They sometimes over aggressively dive bomb Spirits far larger than them while attacking them with will-o-wisps, though they are usually easily dispatched because they often choose poor targets to attack. Some Noctivolar are a little bit more dangerous however. Blood Noctivolar, are a much larger, dark red variant of the typical Noctivolar, and as their name would suggest, they like to suck blood. Unlike real world vampire bats though, they suck blood using massive boar-like tusks that grow from their lower jar. A particularly rare phenomena with Noctivolar, is that they occasionally form into a kind flock called a Noctivolar Legion, where 100s of them will flying together in synchronise as if they were all one lifeform with one conscious controlling everything. In cases like this, the entire Legion will share one accumulated life force between all of the individual members, and once enough damage has been dealt, the whole collective dies.
  • The black and purple shadow spider is called a Myuunshad. They are actually a very wide spread Feral Spirit throughout the Spirit World, capable of showing up in any region that gets regular amounts of darkness. The more uninterrupted darkness they get, the larger they end up growing. Being adept at shadow magic, they can become quite dangerous if left unchecked, and due to their nature of being almost entirely made up of shadow, they can be very tough to get rid of, as they can regenerate from injuries extremely easily. Light is their one weakness and is 100% necessary in order to completely kill one without it reforming, though just exposing one to a light source, including the sun itself, isn’t enough to flat out kill one, though it will slow it down and halt its regeneration. Living Shadows like the one Alex keeps in his man-sized safe, can be extracted from Myuunshads using a Laradrum Jar and are extremely useful when it comes to making shadow magic.
  • The giant green frog thing is called a Ranamox. These giant frogs start off fairly small, but bloat to massive sizes as they devour more and more food. And just what exactly do they eat? Metal, particularly metal weapons and armor, as they are often of a much higher quality than what they find just lying around out in the wild. The walls of the waterways actually had to be infused with a particular mineral that wards of Ranamox to stop them from eating through the entire waterway. If ever faced with one that you don’t think you can defeat, its often a good idea to simply feed it some metal objects you might be carrying on you and it will usually leave you alone while it eats, though a particularly “malnourished” one might still attack regardless. You can tell how well a Ranamox had been eating based off of their skin. If it’s skin looks like actual rust, it means it malnourished. If it’s skin is a shining golden hue however, it means that it has only been eating the highest quality weapons and armor. Ranamox Saliva is actually a highly valued commodity because of its use when it comes to polishing and sharpening weapons.
  • Finally, the last 4 turtle-like Spirits on the right are all the same kind of Spirit, known as a Kappa. Unlike the rest of the Spirits listed here, they are not a kind of  Feral Spirit, they are merely a different humanoid Spirit that any Human can turn into when they die not unlike an imp or an angel, though its usually not considered good luck if you end up turning into one… They are seen as very primitive from a cultural stand point in comparison to other races of Spirits, and most are seen as incredibly stupid. As a result, they are often shunned from greater Spirit society at large and are heavily discriminated against. As a result, they often form their own enclaves away from major cities so that they can keep to themselves, with the waterways being one such location. What doesn’t help their situation as well, is the fact they are seen as being extremely weak, with most knowing only very rudimentary water and sound magic, though there have been a few exceptions who have proven to be much more powerful. One way the race has gotten by, is by selling Crown Water as a sort of commodity, which is the water that pools into the bowls on their heads. While Crown Water is usually seen as incredibly disgusting due to it’s often poor quality and wildly inconsistent flavor, to some, it is seen as a luxury novelty with an acquired taste and can be sold for insane amounts of Sol to its fans who treat drinking the water kind of like a game “You never know what kind of a flavor you’re going to get”. Finally, most Kappa have a verbal tick, where they can’t help but pepper the phrase “kep” into most of their sentences, which can be extremely grating to some, but others can find endearing.

Dear god, that was a lot of typing. I think I’ll just leave it at that for now. So until then, I’ll see you guys next comic.

 

Night Fox – Comic Post #119: Making Your Brother Proud (All Pages)

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Hey, I didn’t forget to post this compilation before my next update for once! Now that’s what I call progress, or sumthin’… But yeah, this is just another quick one, so I’ll just see you next comic.

Night Fox – Comic Post #119: Making Your Brother Proud Pg.3 and 4

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So here’s the part where I point out where I made a mistake: At the start of this particular comic, it mentions that we’re 4 days into Angel’s deployment. There’s just one problem with that: I already established earlier that this mission was supposed to be starting 5 days into Angel’s deployment. So, it’s yet another one of those cases where I make a typo in the comic that I don’t catch until after I upload it. I’m not sure entirely what number we’re on when it comes to me making dumb mistakes like that, but I’m sure if I was actually keeping track, it would probably be at least in the 30s by this point. On the plus side… At least I’m not afraid to admit my own screw ups…? Anyways, I’m keeping it brief again this week, so until then, I’ll see you next comic.

Night Fox – Comic Post #119: Making Your Brother Proud Pg.2

Not caught up on the comic yet? You can go visit the comic’s archive through this link here.

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FUN FACT AND WORLD BUILDING TIME!

So, in case you were wondering why a lot of the Spirit characters have all of these weird names that nobody would actually have in real life, despite a lot of them being dead Humans, it’s because in the Spirit World, it’s a common practice to take up a new “Spirit Name” when you die, as most Spirits treat death like the start of a second life and don’t necessarily want the baggage of people knowing who they were specifically when they were alive. The superstition that Sheraquel mentioned here, is that if somebody says your old name after you’ve “forsaken it” for a new Spirit name, bad luck and misfortune will befall you. (Is that foreshadowing maybe…?) Though, not all Spirits follow the practice of adopting a Spirit name, for example, both Angela and Galin still have the same name from when they were alive. This is mostly done as a sign that you’re not afraid to face any mistakes you may have made in your past, or you had such a reputation when you were alive, that you want to carry it with you into death. It’s not considered bad luck in that case to have your name spoken. Another reason you might not change your name is if you were born as a Spirit in the first place, as not all Spirits start as Humans, like in Kitsiyuna’s case. And in that situation as well, so long as you haven’t given up your name for a new one, no bad luck or misfortune in that situation as well.

And there you go, a quick little bit of mostly irrelevant world building for you guys that I don’t have to cram into a mostly irrelevant comic at some point later down the line. Anyways, next week’s update should be 2 pages, so you can have a little extra to look forward to next week. That aside, I don’t really have much else to talk about. I mean, the most recent two chapters of Xenoblade 2 I just finished have been quite a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but talking about what happened in them would be a pretty big spoiler, so I’m not really going to say any specifics. Let’s just say, when it comes to JRPGs, if I lose use of a party member I’ve grown really attached to, EVEN TEMPORARILY, due to the actions of the antagonists (like say, they kidnap them or severely injure them), no matter how much bullshit the game will throw at me, I will rush through the story as fast as I can until I can get said party member back, even if means skipping most battles and side quests and then as a result having to fight late game bosses severally underleveled… Yeah… let’s just say I did not have a fun time with that section of the game, but it was my own damn fault for trying to rush through things. Could stand to use a bit more patience when it comes to the suffering of a fictional character, huh? At any rate, I’m pretty much done here, so until then, I’ll see you next comic.

Night Fox – Comic Post #119: Making Your Brother Proud Pg.1

Not caught up on the comic yet? You can go visit the comic’s archive through this link here.

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So winter is apparently in full effect around where I live, as we got around 8 inches of snow at my house on Thursday, which is probably around double what we get normally. And far earlier into the season as well, as we usually only get a single instance of noticeable snowfall around here towards the end of February. Because we got a lot more than usual, none of us could really leave the house to do anything, so we all spent our entire weekend cooped up inside. Though, to be fair, I would be lying if I said that kind of thing was a change of pace for me…

I was able to keep myself busy over the weekend by bingeing around 60 hours of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which I had gotten as a late Christmas present from my brother-in-law. It’s a pretty good game, though not without a couple of flaws. Also, I just want to put it out there that the game is ANIME AS FUCK. Now, whether or not you consider that a flaw I suppose is going to be purely up to personal preference…

Anyways, like most good JRPGs, the game’s got a pretty engaging story and an interesting world. It takes place on Alrest, a world that is made up entirely of a literal sea of clouds, where the only habitable land for people are on the backs of massive creatures called Titans who float among the cloud sea. The story follows Rex, a young Salvager, someone who dives into the cloud sea to salvage up old artifacts for money, who lives by himself on the back of a small Titan he calls Gramps. He has dreams of reaching a mythical land called Elysium, a vast abundant paradise said to be at the top of Alrest’s world tree where everyone could live without having to compete for land or resources like they currently do, as the Titans that everyone lives on are slowly dying out as the years go by. Rex ends up accepting a fairly shady salvaging job for a pretty large sum of money that ultimately leads him to Pyra, a mysterious red headed girl who also happens to be a Blade, a kind of magic human-like being capable of forming “pacts” with humans they call “Drivers” to provide them with incredible powers that link the Blade and Driver together (Gee, it’s almost like I’ve heard something like that before…). But Pyra is no ordinary Blade. She is actually something called the Aegis, a Blade of legend said to come from Elysium itself. She asks Rex to become her Driver, so that she can return to Elysium. Wanting to fulfill his dream of one day reaching Elysium, he accepts, as the two of them begin their quest to find a way to reach the promised land, along the way being constantly ambushed by a mysterious group of villains known as Torna and their leader, a mysterious masked man named Jin, who seek to use Pyra for their own nefarious ends.

So far, as I still haven’t finished the game yet, the story has kept my interest, as it’s full of twists and turns, and some genuinely emotional moments. That said, I do think the story has a bit too many characters, which I do think is kind of a problem from a characterization stand point. Because everyone has to share the screen time so much with all of the other characters, you don’t really get too big of a sense of depth for any of your party members, which can put a hamper on their ability to endear themselves to you, and makes a lot of them come off as kinda generic and shallow. It’s not that they’re  unlikable, it’s just that they’re not super interesting or multi-faceted as a result. Plus, a lot of cutscenes are far more story exposition focused (which isn’t a problem in it of itself necessarily). So far, I’ve seen very few cutscenes that are just there to help characterize these characters, and just let them interact with one another. There are optional conversations you can view called Heart-to-Hearts which do kinda fill this role, but they’re too infrequent (I’ve only seen like 7 of them in my 60 hours of play). I think the game would’ve been a lot better if they made them show up at the frequency Skits from the Tales of series do.

So that’s the story, but what about the gameplay? Well, it’s not god awful, but I do think the Tales of series has spoiled me a bit when it comes to fun JRPG combat. Xenoblade is very MMOish, with stuff like auto-attacks and abilities on cooldown. It’s not nearly as involved as I’m used to and has a lot of waiting around involved, and as a result, battles in the early game felt REALLY slow, though it gets better the further on you go, which I feel is how most combat systems are nowadays when it comes to JRPGs because they have to ease you into EVERYTHING. And speaking of easing you into everything, I feel this game does not do too good of a job explaining some of its more advanced systems. I actually had to look up how the combo system worked online, because I just wasn’t understanding why I wasn’t able to pull it off all the time, and the game had no way to look up old tutorials once you got past them. The combat is still serviceable, and can still be fun a lot of the time, it’s just, not my preferred cup of tea. Plus, if you’re not a “veteran watcher of anime dubs” like I am, the battle dialogue might get on your nerves, mostly because they didn’t record enough line variants to keep you from hearing the same clips over and over, plus most of the characters talk with thick English accents which can take a bit to adjust to. And even still, I wasn’t completely immune to all of it… by the time I finish this game, Tora (one of your party members who you get fairly early one) going “Meh-meh-meh!” whenever he draws aggro from enemies is probably going to be permanently scarred into my brain. That being said, I do personally feel like the rest of the game’s dub is fine, but then again, I am one of those filthy peasants who actually enjoys most dubs…

I think, the biggest problem I have with the game, is that it doesn’t convey and keep track of information well enough for you. Like, I feel like a walk through is necessary for keeping track of most of the side stuff in the game, as well as some points in the main story… You see, this game has some very large areas. When exploring large areas, you usually want a map to show you points of interest as well as to help you better figure out where you’re going. The only problem is, the map in this game sucks ass! You can never view the entire map at once without having to go into a menu, and instead of letting you use the mini map to show the relative location of objectives, you have to use this shitty bar thing that is far harder to navigate with. It’s biggest issue is that it doesn’t really show changes in elevation too well, so you can be going where you think is the right direction, and then it turns out you hit a wall, and you have no idea where on the map you have to go in order to get on top of said wall to get to your destination. It doesn’t show you obstacles like gates, or interactables that would open said gates, at least, not with out having to open up a completely different map in the pause menu that’s a pain to navigate through.

I actually got stuck in one area for 40 minutes trying to figure out how to get to a destination where I couldn’t take the obvious route because it was blocked by a one-way gate. I looked long and hard at the map to try to find alternate routes, and when I eventually thought I found one, it turned out to not be the right way. I tried asking NPCs, but I couldn’t find anyone to tell me how to open the gate, so I eventually gave up and looked-up a walk through. Turns out, there was a building I could’ve entered that actually had an interior that would’ve taken me to my destination. The problem was, that building’s entrance wasn’t marked on the map as a place you could actually go inside of. Not to mention, the interior didn’t have a map of its layout either, and it was swarming with high-level enemies that I just wanted to run past at that point. The whole part just infuriated me… Plus, side quests in this game are just a pain in the ass. It’s very easy to miss the people giving them, most of them have multiple objectives to them that you gotta slog through, and items for the quests aren’t always easily located (the game only tells you what Titan they’re on, and that’s it, which doesn’t REALLY help because all of the Titans are fucking huge). Plus, you can only track one quest at a time, and like I said, the map sucks. The whole thing with the map for me is probably my biggest source of frustration when it comes to this game.

That all being said, it’s still a fine game with an absolutely bitching soundtrack. (Like seriously, this game has some kickass music.) It’s definitely a JRPG for those who like their games a little more on the “dense” side of thing, though it’s still actually fairly easy to get into and start playing at the beginning, which was good for me as I wasn’t 100% familiar with what the game was like. It’s still more on the niche side of things though, so if your only experience with JPRGs is something like Final Fantasy, it might be a harder sell for you. Not saying a complete newbie couldn’t enjoy it though, it just might not click with you in the right way if you’ve never played a JRPG before (or watched any kind of shonen anime). Though, thinking about it now, some experience playing MMOs like World of Warcarft might make this game more palatable as well, as it is very much like a single player MMO.

 

 

…Alright. I think I got that all out of my system. I might give my final impressions when I finish the game, we’ll have to wait and see. In regards to the comic, is going to be a similar deal to the last time we focused on Angel, so not too much of a divergence there. Other than that, I’m done typing up shit for now, so until then, I’ll see you next comic.