James McGowan Reader Group- Dungeon Crawlin’


It will likely be no surprise that role playing games both of the video game variety and pen-and-paper variety are big influences on my writing style.  In high school and college, I primarily played Dungeons and Dragons as a player character and I ran a couple campaigns of a lesser known RPG from Palladium Books called Rifts, which was more prolific in the 90’s.  As I devoted more time to writing, something had to give, and regrettably pen-and-paper RPGs needed to be set aside.

Video games RPGs have ebbed and flowed for me over this time, depending on my mood and time constraints with writing time and other activities.  The Super NES version of Ogre Battle, the Mass Effect Trilogy, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Age: Origins, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic are classics in my all-time top ten.  I have two more recent faves that I’ll discuss more in recommendation corner below.

If you have any current or classic pen-and-paper or video game RPGs that trip your wire, I’d love to hear what they are.
Recommendation Corner
Darkest Dungeon

This RPG leans heavily into the Lovecraftian grim-dark setting.  The game has an initial disclaimer indicating that playing it is about making the best of a bad situation.  You play an inheritor of a haunted estate that is overrun with bandits, mutated horrors, and demonic fiends.  The characters you recruit must not only contend with difficult combat as they trudge through dungeons shown from a side-scrolling perspective, but they also must face disease and insanity.  The stylized artwork reminds me of Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame, and the music is dark, moody, and superb.  The ancestor who bequeathed the estate narrates the battles and the down time in the base at the nearby town.  It’s difficult, but so very fun.  Give it a try if such types of things are up your alley.

Path of Exile

This game is for fans of Diablo and Gauntlet.  It’s presented from an overhead isometric perspective.  You start of as one of various character classes who are all banished to an island by a corrupt regime.  You slowly pull yourself together and go on quests to make things better and save the world from a multitude of demons and dark gods.  It is more action oriented and the skills and powers encourage experimentation.  It’s free-to-play, but not the pay-to-win variety.  The game makes its money through skin customization, but you can choose to use the intentionally boring looking equipment appearances.  It’s very bloody and incredibly violent.  And it is more fun played with a party than alone.  To channel Jim Carrey: I like it a lot.
New End Banner
This new end banner is just plain awesome. The characters from left to right are: Xax, Avril Enzali, Ed Burnhelt, Ashe Stelfire, Tamona of Mune, Harry Mang (in different armor), and Candice Quentra. All of them will appear in their own spotlights as time goes on.
Check Out the Players of the Game Series on Kindle and Paperback
That’s all for this time.

Stay smart.  Stay safe.


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