High all! I really recently fell in love with the Fallout Universe, with all its complexities and unique stories. In particular, I very much enjoy the subjectivity of interpretations of the games and their outcomes, and I wanted to create my own personal contribution by writing a story specifically set after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. The Courier is referenced once in passing and there's no mention of a next of kin for the Courier. The story is completely original with entirely unique characters that I've made and it takes place after a non-specific timeline in which Mr House wins the fight for the Mojave Desert. I wanted to share some of my work with my fellow Fallout fans and see what you think. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Beginning: After the guns fell silent during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the world was forever changed. Mr House’s City State of New Vegas gained full sovereignty and control over the Mojave Desert, and his Securitron Army pushed the exhausted NCR and broken Legion out. In the following years, Mr House rapidly expanded the city of New Vegas, and reignited the production of old Pre-War Technology automobiles, bus lines, and a high speed train line appeared. The Strip itself expanded beyond the Three Families; Strip clubs, pubs, casinos, all you can eat buffets filling the area, with some residential apartments and houses now beginning to be sold to the highest bidder, just as it was in the old world. The expanded city of Vegas outside the Strip itself however is a slum, crime, inequality, and denigration is all but abundant, and unrest is growing. Following the removal of President Kimball, his Vice President Donald Watson took over and inherited a State in crisis. Faith in the government had rapidly deteriorated, and the economy of the NCR began to suffer as many relocated to the Strip to live a life of luxury and excess. The NCR is now a shadow of its former self, with Military Police now required to keep order on the streets of its towns and cities. The poverty level is rising. In the East, Caesar’s Legion too is changing, and not for the better. With the Western Campaign a failure by all accounts, resources dwindling, questions about the strength of their Leader Caesar are cropping up in the minds of those closest to him. By 2295, the pieces had fallen into place. The fate of these States and the people who uphold them is uncertain. One thing is for sure. Whatever happens, the Wasteland will be changed unlike it has ever been before. ‘I appreciate your respectful and restrained response to my contact. It is a pleasure to interact with the less agitated members of your State.’ Aminta barely heard Mr House, and instead stared out the windows of the Lucky 38. The skyline of the Strip extended seemingly forever, pushing away the surrounding darkness with neon light. Just beyond the city outskirts, the silhouette of Mr House’s newly created Launch Pad. It was one of five, and she could just see the other four, each slightly further away from the city than the last. She scrutinised them, and was struck by the boundless possibilities of such technology; the opportunities provided. How exciting it would be! Mr House’s voice then cracked her thoughts and brought back to the present. She listened, without comment. ‘Roughly 18 hours ago, a team of five extraordinarily skilled individuals ascended Hoover Dam from the base of the structure,’ The ostentatiously large screen in which Mr House’s face sat suddenly changed to show grainy footage. ‘This was captured by one of our cameras on the perimeter of the dam. I apologise for the bad quality, it has been surprisingly difficult obtaining improved camera lenses, and As you can see, they used some kind of Grapnel Launcher and ascended via the rope.’ On the screen, it was possible to just make out five distinct figures at the base of the dam. They were clearly dressed in dark clothing, though the quality was too poor and the camera was too far away to make out any of the fine details of the material. Aminta scrutinised the footage, watching intently as the five figures used an oblong object, reminiscent of a hunting rifle to fire a rope, or cord up the side of the dam; high enough to catch the top. The operator of the device then disconnected it from the gun, and pressed it into the ground. It appeared to stick. They then ascended the rope. The camera feed then cut to show three of the attackers subdue and restrain two security guards. Due to the light, it was clear that the clothing the criminals were wearing was Recon Armor, though there were no insignia or identifiable characteristics. The two men were then held down by two and clubbed across the face by the third member with the butt of a 10mm pistol. He then turned to the computer and retrieved something from his pocket. Then the screen went black. ‘At this point, at roughly 1:27 am a Trojan was fitted onto the system. It temporarily disabled all the security cameras in the sector. It was one of the strongest Trojans I’ve ever come across, but I was able to get the system back up and running within 15 minutes. Unfortunately we cannot recover any footage from the corrupted data files that detail how the robbers escaped. I hope you can understand why I decided to contact you.’ Aminta pondered to herself. Why would Mr House, a man who controlled Rockets and owned and governed an entire city and it’s enterprises, would need to contact the New California Republic for assistance in a robbery? From where they were standing, he appeared to be in a position any high ranking NCR official would kill for. She didn’t say anything. There had to be more to this meeting than what Mr House was implying. She looked to her left, trying to be casual. Sitting next to her with an overexaggerated grave look on his face was Political Officer Neville Dawson, and next to him was Dennis Crocker, former Ambassador to the Strip. They too were quiet, their faces frustratingly hiding what they were thinking. Not sure where to look, Aminta turned back to the screen Mr House’s caricature face was on. She had to say something. ‘Mr House, why exactly do you think these people targeted Hoover Dam? There are many casinos and places full of money on the New Vegas Strip. Is there anything of massive value at Hoover Dam?’ ‘Well Chief Aminta Marr, no, ostensibly speaking, there is nothing there of real value to anyone, unless they have the ability to take and control the Dam and source it’s hydraulic generated electricity,’ ‘Then why would someone do this?’ Aminta said curtly. She tensed up, not meaning to sound dismissive. ‘Well Aminta, they did take one thing from what we've deduced,’ Mr House said, appearing to ignore her tone. ‘And what was that Mr House?’ Neville cut in. He was leaning forward, hands clasped tightly together. He was trying - and failing - to ease the tension in the room. ‘Well, before I contacted you Neville, and to answer your question Aminta, I ran through my storage records from 2285 to the present. I had Mr Harvey Shwarze, my ‘Representative in Government’ review them in paper form in our archives. Three things - completely inconsequential things mind you, were missing. Three Platinum Chips.’ ‘Three Platinum Chips?’ Neville said concertedly, as if he knew exactly what Mr House was talking about. ‘That’s right. It’s a data storage device, well it was a data storage device. Designed by me before the Great War of 2077. Perhaps once upon a time this would’ve been valuable to somebody, but after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam I had access to all kinds of ruined facilities all over the Mojave to reform to working order. I began reprinting hundreds of Platinum Chips which were variations of the original Platinum Chip. They continuously upgrade and encrypt my software to prevent any outside programmers from accessing my highly sensitive data. I have no idea what a group of hooligans would want with three. I can easily replace them, and since they’re only usable on my systems, well they would simply be useless.’ ‘Perhaps they wanted to sell them,’ Aminta proposed. It wasn’t impossible, she thought. People pay top dollar for things with perceived value, isn’t that the cardinal rule of the Strip? ‘To whom?’ Mr House replied. ‘The point still stands. Nobody has any use for them but me.’ ‘Well, perhaps they thought they were valuable.’ Dennis remarked. ‘In any case, they will soon learn they are not valuable.’ ‘If you have no problems with this Mr House,’ Aminta cut in. ‘Why do you need us here? The NCR has its own problems, big problems, and from where we’re standing, you seem to have everything under control.’ ‘That’s precisely the issue!’ Mr House exclaimed. ‘The very fact they managed to steal anything from me at all is deeply disconcerting! I spent days and nights running statistical simulations for all possible scenarios in and formulated the best plans for countering every scenario I came across!’ ‘I guess my point is, I do not understand, in any capacity, why you, YOU of all people would need to call us for assistance in a matter that you - whether intentional or not - have spent the last fives minutes telling us it isn’t an issue.’ The room fell quiet. Aminta pulled her hands back from the table and into her lap, and looked down at them, pretending to be occupied analysing them. She had exposed the true, unspoken meaning of this meeting, and they all knew it. She bit her lip. Dennis wiped the sweat off his face. Neville breathed in deeply, as though he was going to speak. But Mr House did first. ‘As I understand it, the NCR has fallen on hard times since the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. My Lieutenant after the battle was admittedly curt in regards to handling our relations, and since then it seems your economy is really struggling with extremely poor unemployment and satisfaction levels,’ Mr House paused. Neville looked at Aminta with a look of understanding, and regret but he didn’t say anything. Mr House was right. Of course he was right. ‘It just so happens that while it may look from the outset I’m doing well, with the occasional launch of one of my experimental rockets, crime in Greater New Vegas is extraordinarily high. To be clear, the Strip is not, but the extended city state with the newly constructed buildings - those areas are. I want to make a proposition for the mutual benefit of the NCR, and New Vegas. Neville, think carefully about what I’m about to say.’ Neville spoke up. ‘Alright, I’m all ears.’ ‘Dennis Crocker here can once again become the Ambassador to the Strip, and the NCR can once again have an Embassy. I will also give the NCR access to some of my technologies to help your state re-stabilize after everything that’s happened. In return however, I would like Aminta here, who is your Chief and Commander of both your military and normal police forces, to assist my Securitrons in patrolling Outer Vegas. Securitrons don’t make the best police, and security guards are in short supply and are not equipped, in any sense, to be police. I also would like your help in tracking down the culprits of this robbery; that being an extension of the aforementioned policing stipulation. Such a breach of security cannot happen again. Neville Dawson, I’m willing to sign a treaty pertaining to these terms, or any terms the NCR may propose, unless of course it does mutually benefit both states.’ Aminta felt her twang strike her deep in her heart. For years, the NCR Police Force had been absorbed into the Military Police Unit, and they could barely contain black market dealings of Chems and military grade weaponry on the streets of NCR’s cities. They did not have the resources or power Mr House seemed to think they did. For nearly 3 years straight she had been bombarded with evidence of killings by her own subordinates, illegal incarcerations, and illicit behavior between colleagues within her own chain of command, with no power to rehabilitate or prosecute those involved. Meanwhile, those that had the money to escape fled to New Vegas, desperate to find a life of comfort. It was possible that through re-establishing trade and mutual respect with Mr House, they could rebuild the NCR’s respectability on the international and internal level. She found herself hoping the treaty would be signed. ‘This... is a huge proposition. I hope you can understand the overwhelming nature of what you’re telling us, it’ll take a bit for us to come to a conclusion.’ Neville exhaled, as though he had been holding it for the last minute. ‘I understand.’ Mr House responded. ‘Maybe I ask,’ Donnie piped up. ‘What specific kinds of technology will you provide to the NCR?’ Mr House ran down a checklist. ‘Vehicles. Remade pre-war cars. Excavation machines. Cement mixers. Would provide jobs and improve your infrastructure in the process, whilst also giving me business and improving the situation here. Mutually beneficial for both sides.’ ‘I see.’ Aminta struggled to contain her happiness. She had become a police officer to enforce safety and protect those who abide by the law. This was a way back to such operations, in which she could help those in need, rather than sit idly while their situation worsened. ‘I’ll also be willing to give 10% of the electricity produced by Hoover Dam to the NCR. It produces more than I need.’ Mr House offered. Dennis shifted his weight, and opened his mouth. It was a second before anything came out. ‘15% would be great, if possible.’ ‘Done.’ Mr House concluded. ‘Well, we’ll definitely have to confer this back to President Watson. As previously said by Mr Dawson, this is a huge offer.’ ‘I understand. Aminta, I can only hope you also support this.’ Aminta smiled. ‘I am willing to establish a NCR Police Force here in New Vegas, and assist in establishing prosperity and stability, for the benefit of both states.’ ‘Excellent. I’ll arrange for a Taxi to take you back to the border.’ ***** Nobody said a word in the ride in the elevator down to the entrance of the Lucky 38. There was a perpetual sense of being watched, and listened to, and Aminta supposed they probably were. She sensed from the stiffness of Donnie and Neville’s postures they felt the same way. As the three left through the ground level of the building, the desolate casino indicated a time long past, preserved in pristine condition yet uncannily lifeless; inhabited only by robots. Aminta felt a shiver flow throughout her body, prompting her to hurry outside. Upon exiting, Aminta was greeted by the fantastic lighting she had seen from the Lucky 38. Buildings stretched high into the now night sky, perpetually lit up and calling for you to spend a few short hours in their luxurious suites and lose all the money you have without knowing it. She had visited the Strip a couple of times before the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. Back then, whilst still grand, its exterior walls felt cobbled-together, layered pieces of steel to preserve what glory the pre-war days had. Now, the Strip felt open, almost a complete return to complete pre-war glory, though there was no way of her knowing what such a time looked like. Polished, beetle like cars with extravagant interwoven pieces of silver and gold making up their hubcaps cluttered the road, filled with nicely dressed young women chattering incessantly. Boys, ranging from teenagers to old men stumbled around, drunk and happy, their legs falling beneath them as though they were wet noodles. To the left, the Ultra Luxe Casino hotel stood at the far end of the street, intoxicatingly ostentatious and alluring for any hoping to climb the social ladder, despite the many rumors of cannibalism attempting to tarnish the brand. The fountain outside the front sprayed sparkling water into the night air which caught the light of the strip and reflected it like the jewels the building it was in front of was embroidered in. However, Aminta was not taken by the hotel, and watched two NCR troopers, still in their military uniforms be forced to dance in front of a crowd of onlookers. They were pushed and shoved as they struggled to dance, their arms and legs barely keeping to any rhythm as they fell to the ground, vomiting a putrid yellow substance onto the asphalt. She looked away in disgust and embarrassment for the two men. A man in an expensive looking suit and bowtie greeted the three. Behind him stood a long polished black car. ‘Shall I take you to the crossing point?’ ‘Yes.’ Donnie answered. Aminta and Neville followed his lead. He had more experience on the Strip than the majority of the tourists around them. She started the car once they were all inside, the engine barely kicking as it began to drive. Aminta marvelled at its power, it’s sleekness, at the strength and confidence of its movement and the luxury of it’s exotic wood plated interior. The chauffeur drove to the large South Gate of the Strip, passing multitudinous buildings of similar grandeur and spectacle, all the same though uniquely different, until they all blurred into one mix of different colours and moving forms. The chauffeur leaned out of the side window, showed an identification pass to a Securitron, and the gate opened. Aminta’s car was the only car that left. As the gate closed, the car picked up speed and tore through the rest of Vegas. Immediately outside the Strip, the buildings were noticeably more dilapidated. Aminta watched as the varied prosperity of the Strip curtailed rapidly into a mess of buildings, barely recognisable as residential or industrial, though they were unmistakably new creations. She almost didn’t notice it at first, but they were all the same. Row after row of buildings with the same geometric exterior, though placed at odd angles to each other, as if a child had been playing with them and haphazardly threw them into where they now stood. As the car moved further and further away from the Strip, lights in these buildings became scarce, and the brickwork became exposed to reveal pipelines and shreds of electrical appliances, some still spitting sparks. When the light of the Strip was nothing more than a flicker of light on the night horizon, the copied buildings were replaced with houses, roofs sagging, walls crumbling. As the car zipped passed, Aminta caught wisps of figures; people moving about the ruins and the darkness like ghosts, until they passed the last house, and all that could be seen was the night sky and desert shrubbery.
Fans of Resident Evil were more than happy to see Capcom come out with another zombie title that replaces tight hallways and puzzles with open-world exploration and a level-up system. The creation of Dead Rising, back in 2006, was a breath of fresh air that was surprisingly supposed to be a sequel to Shadow of Rome, which is a random gladiator game that pretty much nobody played but was something far ahead of its time. Fast forward about 10 years and 3 games later, and Dead Rising is as dead as the zombies that plague its mall, casinos, city, and mall again. Granted, the games changed from a Japanese studio to a Canadian studio after the first one was a smash hit and it was very visible that the second game was already of a different quality. However, once it hit 3, there was such a huge difference in the way the game functioned and played out, people outright refused to bother playing it(it didn’t help that it was an Xbox exclusive until the poorly optimized PC port came out). When it comes down to the first installment being a goofy game that lets you dress as a little school girl and ride a tricycle while zombies are swatting at wasps and yellow raincoat cult members are blowing themselves up, it’s hard to imagine people complaining that the third and fourth game got too silly for their own good. What a lot of people don’t realize is how that is a legitimate concern from gamers, due to the situation that is what I like to call “invisible nuance”. This invisible nuance is where people are unable to understand how the games differ from 1 and 2 over to 3 and 4, and this is because 1 and 2 are satire, while 3 and 4 are parody. In fact, 4 is a parody of the entire series, making it a parody of a parody. With that slight nuance, the Canadian designers not only ruined the story for everyone, but they ruined any chance of a fifth game until Capcom gets so desperate they might as well summon up their own zombie horde to sit down and buy their games. I understand that not many people understand the difference between parody and satire, and I am certain the developers didn’t either when they adopted the IP from the Japanese studio. This is why I believe that the second game was accidentally good, even though they still fumbled on things like making Chuck a really iffy kind of melee fighter at full level and how the game was starting to become a little bit too cartoony for its own good. To put it simply, satire is when a work of art is making fun a genre or work by being part of it. Parody is when a work of art is taking a genre or another work of art and is using it to make jokes that are unrelated to what it’s basing itself on. Satire uses humor to show flaws in human behavior or culture, while parody uses an established work of art to make a joke. It’s very difficult to understand the difference, I know, but I think I’m able to make it simple to understand with a few examples. My favorite example is the difference between Scream and Scary Movie. Scream is satire, Scary Movie is a parody. Scream has a plot revolving around the tropes of slasher films, Scary Movie has a chick belittle her killer after she’s decapitated. Scream has the group follow clues from slasher movies to avoid being killed, Scary Movie has a dude cum so hard the girl on top of him is stuck to the ceiling. If that doesn’t make the difference clear to you, then, I’m sorry, I fear you have the case of the brain worms. The plot of Dead Rising is a satire of Resident Evil, mixed with a take on American consumerism. The entire reason the zombie outbreaks occur in the mall is because a terrorist group wanted to bring the problem a corporation invoked on their Latino town of Santa Cabeza, all because the company wanted to make more cows in order to feed Americans. It’s not that Americans are staring, but rather they are demanding, and the best place to see American demand back in 2006 was in a shopping mall on Black Friday. Shaun of the Dead did a similar satire moment where they showed shoppers at a store walking like zombies because that’s pretty much how they look, just switch the words “brains” with “bargains”. Surprisingly, the first game doesn’t have money as an issue, although it was great when the second game implemented it for its theme of corporate anti-culture and big pharma. So far, we have two games that follow their themes very well and are applying them as a satire. The mall setting is a satire set up for consumerism, while the casino and wrestling ring strip in the second game is a satire set up for anti-culture turning people into greedy slobs that just want to watch blood matches and gamble. Even the main characters of Frank and Chuck work well as themes, with Frank being a journalist(he’s covered wars, you know) and Chuck being a motocross champion turned gladiator. Both of these cause their outbreaks for different reasons and both of these have a beautiful grip on what makes the psychopaths “psychopaths”. Psychopaths are the result of someone going crazy due to the outbreak and because the designers needed a reason to have boss battles across the game’s 3-day span. Just having them there was satire since it’s kind of rare to see people going crazy in zombie movies (back then) and it was interesting to see how humans would turn on humans by having PTSD and a history of being oppressed or already psychotic. The idea of Frank covering wars and then coming home to deal with people having PTSD is a great theme, due to how war has to be glorified in the American news to keep the war effort going, and then the soldiers come home and reveal how terrible it actually was. The first game even has a moment where a psychopath named Cliff goes crazy in a home repair store and after you defeat him, he gives a dramatic monologue about how he snapped the second he saw his granddaughter get eaten by zombies. It’s a heart-wrenching moment that is perfectly finished by Frank closing Cliff’s eyes with a hand and letting out a defeated sigh. Much like how it is in war, not every battle won is a victory. Then there are Psychopaths like Adam the clown who are memorable for the wonderful performance by the voice actor and how intense the battle is. But no matter what Psychopath we deal with, they all follow a theme and an archetype. Adam is the Caino archetype clown, one who is miserable but desires others to laugh and enjoy themselves. This gets twisted into him tying people onto a thrill ride and juggling chainsaws for the sake of “amusement”. The grocery clerk, Steven Chapman, is the archetype of the perfect retail employee. His archetype is twisted into someone who shrieks at the top of his lungs for people to get out of his store and he sets up a shopping cart with pitchforks and blades on it. There’s even a cult leader in a movie theater to make reference to the “cult of personality” where people go to watch and indulge in pointless films to simply argue and create teams against each other about “what media is better than another” with none of them realizing that they are just blindly following propaganda that makes them feel good or powerful. There’s a reason for these psychopaths to be there. They follow themes, they are archetypes, their actions relate to their themes, and even their settings fit their themes to create this deep experience that sticks with you, all while poking fun at the subject of consumerism. That is why people enjoy satire. The events are making fun of the major themes and subjects, all while being a part of those themes and subjects. The survivors are the same way, where you’re trying to save their lives and yet some of them worry more about food, when they are already fat, or they are found doing something they enjoyed in their normal life as if the zombie apocalypse is the perfect excuse to rush to escapism. In the second game, they do the same thing with corporations and big pharma, and they use satire in a similar way but didn’t really tie their themes to either one. Instead, they tied their themes to job titles and employment. Ted Smith, the tiger tamer who looks like if Bobby Hill had a baby with a potato and fed it paint chips, becomes a Psychopath to treat the tiger he grew attached to. Antoine Thomas, the chef that is a bitch to kill, goes crazy trying to create the perfect dish with human flesh. Or is it zombie flesh? Either way, once you meet the mailman with a shotgun who goes postal(yes, I went there, because the game went there), it’s easy to see that they are simply going crazy the same way the grocery clerk of the previous game went crazy. They had a job, they became that job, and they will die as that job. It’s kind of a way to talk about corporatism, but it’s also kind of not. This is why I think DR2 was starting to get messy with its themes and satire, because even though they were using satire to make fun of people who take their jobs too seriously, it’s not really part of the main theme, so it’s understandable why the Psychopaths are not as memorable. Strangely enough, the ones that are memorable are the ones who do fit the corporation theme, like the CURE terrorist who fights you with broken glass, and TK who serves as the main antagonist. Zombrex, the entire reason the game happens, due to big pharma needing zombies to create queens, which allows them to make more zombrex, is the biggest aid in the main theme. Even if you kill TK, the outbreaks will continue, because they would need more zombrex, which requires more zombies, which then makes more people need more zombrex. I swear that theme was far too genius for its own good. Sadly, the only part of the gameplay that relates to it is going over to a pawn shop that is owned by a faceless entity to buy weapons and zombrex, and that’s about it. I guess you can count the “spend money to make money” mentality with gambling because the entire business practice is a gamble, but I’m not really sure if that’s intentional or if I’m just fishing for anything relevant. To wrap up the satire segment, it’s kind of clear that the main idea behind the first 2 games, when it came to satire, was how the themes matched the events and the actions, as well as the humor. Anything goofy going on gameplay-wise is not part of the “world” that the story is setting up. You don’t craft weapons during a cutscene and it’s not like the game forces you to dress up like Megaman for a mission. Granted, there is the ability to be kidnapped by cultists in the first game and you wake up in a box in your underwear, but that’s still part of the gameplay, where it belongs. Now… let’s talk about parody, and boy is this going to be a rant. The third game is where everything goes downhill, story-wise. The idea of big pharma is gone, the idea of American consumerism is there accidentally, and the designers wanted to put a big emphasis on how combo weapons exist. You play as Nick Ramos, who is a mechanic and… that’s his entire character. While Frank was a big mouth pacifist who seeks the truth and Chuck was a hard-ass who wants safety for future generations, Nick is a clean slate who likes to scramble on the floor and awkwardly ask people why they’re killing people. Nick is no longer a character, but rather, a walking joke. He’s nothing more than the voice of the director telling the audience what they should be thinking in order for their awkward scenes to work. His over the top expressions, as if he’s auditioning to play the dad from Son of the Mask, are what the director wants the player to do when a fat lady stabs a man with an oversized fork or when a MILF cop puts his hand on her fake tit. The idea isn’t that he’s a satire of the typical zombie hero, but rather a slapstick parody of what the player does during gameplay. It’s hard to imagine Nick being shocked at a few dead bodies, then quickly fly into action with a boxing glove that has an acetylene tank taped onto it. The amount of difference between cutscenes and gameplay is so extreme, we’re more inclined to skip Psychopath introductions because Nick doesn’t act like the character we’ve been playing as, but rather acts like a helpless survivor that wandered away from the safe house. And before I go off on how the Psychopaths are like in the third game, I have to say that the idea of using the seven deadly sins was an okay idea. It’s not bad. I like themes that represent something. But what the hell does the seven deadly sins have to do with the theme of the story? I have to get into the main theme before I talk about the Psychopaths. While DR1 was about consumerism, and DR2 was about corporatism, DR3 flew way off-topic and decided to make a game about zombies discuss privacy and citizen rights. Yeah… I’m not a genius when it comes down to zombie tropes, but what exactly does a Hispanic dude helping out a group who call themselves The Illegals have to do with the plot of a zombie outbreak? If anything, the plot is saying “these illegals are a risk because there are people who create outbreaks if they are not tracked” and then the gameplay says “you must save these people who risk more outbreaks because they want to do things their own way” with then the plot later going “hey, remember those illegals, you have to help them because this one chick is an illegal and she’s important for no real reason.” Seriously, Annie, the major subplot out of like 5 different unrelated subplots, is Nick’s main objective in the beginning for no real reason. It’s never shown that they are dating, it’s never said she’s important to him, and it’s never said what Nick’s reason is other than “I have to find her”. This can only be concluded as a parody of how games give you missions for no reason. “Bring me 10 goat foreskins”. Why? I don’t know, but I’ll reward you with exp and gold. These main characters have nothing to them except for Gary, who is a mobster who used to be a wrestler, which touches a fall from grace personality that makes him cocky in his ability but humble in his situation. Everyone else is no longer an archetype or even remotely relatable to a character we can point to any zombie media. Annie is a babydoll goth only by appearance, Rhonda is a pinup punk, Red is a beatnik. These aren’t personalities, they are costumes that follow a stereotype, and they didn’t even bother to include the stereotype. Instead, we get these empty husks that are ready to tell jokes instead of supporting the reason why they are there, to begin with. Okay, I’ve delayed it long enough… It's time to talk about the Psychopaths. We get seven major Psychopaths that fill out the seven sins: Lust is an S&M performer who you find in a porn shop, gluttony is a fat lady on a scooter you find in a buffet, greed is a surgeon who is collecting organs, sloth is a champagne socialist you find in his mansion, wrath is a zen monk in his garden, envy is a nerd on a yacht who tries to be like Nick, and pride is a female bodybuilder you find in a gym. At first, from that alone, you can go “oh, that sounds good. The themes are in order, they don’t have much wrong with them, and they don’t conflict with their symbolism.” That is because, on paper, they are almost flawless. But once executed and given dialogue, they are no longer satire. They become parodies of sins. The only ones that stay in their lane are the surgeon and the S&M gimp, and that’s because their personalities and roles are easy to make rather threatening and psychopathic. The rest of them become these over the top cartoon representations that fart a lot and make jokes like they’re Jim Carrey during the dream scene in Dumb and Dumber. I swear, I’m not joking, two of them, sloth and gluttony, shit themselves when they die. Wrath, an old monk who’s gone mad and says “pretentious big brain Buddhist riddles” has his last word be “Seriously?!” after reminiscing about having a family. There’s nothing really about them that makes them sinners, other than how they set up jokes. Pride gets called “sir” by Nick, and it’s funny because she’s just a really buff chick with short hair, and Nick is supposed to be the player and Nick is a misgendering idiot. The rest of the Psychopaths, who are part of the main story, have very little to do with anything. To put it plainly, the theme we’ve established with the concept of illegals and citizen rights and privacy, the only thing the main story Psychopaths relate to is that some of them are police officers and military officials. This is just a parody of the previous games, where they had two DHS agents try to find out what’s going on with you, and now the government is your biggest enemy because there is The Illegals organization and they are important and stuff. I don’t think I have to get into the subject of the illegal crisis the US has had since before Dead Rising was a thing, but, just so we’re clear, the bitten illegals are a parody of the immigration illegals. They create an organization, they claim they just want to be safe and do things on their own, they want to stay off the grid, and then they have people like Red who go out of their way to destroy government property and we have people like Annie who has a father (Chuck Greene) who’s in charge of a mafia. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a Spanish soap opera more than it sounds like a zombie game. Nothing about them is saying why they are illegal, or what the illegal status means to an outsider, or what the illegal status means to an insider. They say they are free and then they are held up in a shelter surrounded by zombies and they need Nick to save them. Speaking of Nick, let’s talk about his tattoo. Later on in the game, it’s revealed that Nick is part of an experiment where they had a bunch of children, who are immune to the virus but also carry it, go out into different places. The reason is kind of so that they can infect places, which is seen in an awful cutscene that is literally a museum of exposition, and it’s hinted that Nick or his friend Diego might have been the reason people were infected in their area, but it’s never really said. Instead, they drop that plot point and talk about how Nick is the cure. So, the entire time we’re playing as Nick, we are shown that he’s useless in human interactions and is a weakling, but then now he’s the cure and the savior of the human race, as long as he can be taken away and studied. This is a parody of exactly what Frank West’s character went through in the first game, which was a hero’s journey. You see, a hero’s journey, when applied with the Jungian form that Frank West had, is done right, you get a story that flows well and makes sense. Frank had the call of adventure towards the mall, he’s helped by the DHS agents, he gets mentors and helpers along the way, then he’s thrown into the abyss of the conspiracy, he changes from a journalist to a warrior of truth, he finds out he’s bitten and will soon turn, then he is granted the reward of finding a temporary cure with Isabella’s help. Near the end, he also encounters his shadow, who is a military commander. Frank is out to reveal the truth, while the military commander is out to conceal the truth. The battle challenges Frank’s beliefs of whether or not hiding such a big scoop is the right thing to do. Nick’s journey is a parody of this, minus the shadow. He starts off as useless, never really works for anything to happen, the entire story exists without him needing to be there, then near the end, they say “by the way, you’re important”, all for the story to say Nick is still not really that important and reveal that Isabella caused the outbreak so that Nick can reveal himself as someone who’s immune. This isn’t a hero’s journey. It’s not even a journey. It’s a series of unfortunate events that reward Nick for absolutely no reason. He has to survive because he’s special, but he didn’t do anything to be special, other than magically be good at combining things, which… is something everyone else can do in this world. The best way I can say his character fits the theme is by saying “the cure to a bad situation is to have someone who can fix stuff”. Doesn’t that sound absolutely engaging? Now, what about the fourth game? Is there anything else I really have to add to hammer in the idea that these two failures were accidental parodies? I guess I can say that the fourth game goes over consumerism, again, but leaves it at “hey, Christmas is a thing, right?” Nothing in the story really deals with the theme of consumerism because that game has the theme of freaking transhumanism. The main villain is a dude who’s a conscious zombie with robot armor and Frank West turns into a zombie, only to be turned back into a human. Frank turns into a rotting corpse… then he turns back into a fully functional human. Trust me, that’s a parody. That’s just a joke with nothing funny attached to it, much like most of Frank’s dialogue in the fourth game. All he does is wisecracks and Uncharted-esque zingers. His personality is to wait for someone to give him material to make fun of and to have pointless arguments with Asian women. Even when I say the theme is about transhumanism, it really does just end at that. There are no more Psychopaths, they replaced them with maniacs. The maniacs are a parody of Psychopaths. Characters like the Sadistic Claus and Captain Black Fridaybeard have nothing to do with the theme and they have nothing to do with reality. They are just there, wielding electric axes and ice swords because that’s how the designers wanted to reward the player for defeating an opponent that is easier than finding something to be disappointed within the game. Archetypes are more than just catchphrases, vernacular, and stereotypes. They have an actual purpose and theme that is carried out by their actions and desires because the most important part of an archetype is their specific desire. When all the maniac simply desires is “kill everything” then they’re no different from a wandering zombie. They are reduced to a parody of what the psychopaths were. The story was reduced to a parody of the first game, with the theme even being parodied as “with consumerism, we can achieve transhumanism” as part of the plot. It’s basically saying, “you eat a lot and we end up with robo-zombies that talk.” Frank himself was reduced to a parody of Frank, with his charismatic journalistic archetype being replaced by Carrot Top and his bag o’ funny props. At no point am I saying that parody is bad. To be honest, I love parody movies like Scary Movie, especially Scary Movie 2. However, when we want to make a game fun, and when it’s a game like Dead Rising, the jokes of said parody should make us actually laugh. It should try to make us amused, and that’s hard to do with a setting that’s also trying to take itself seriously at times. It’s like trying to enjoy a parody episode of Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors and the entire time they play it off like it’s supposed to be serious. That serious tone is great for satire, but it’s just too out of place for parody. Parody can exist within satire, but satire cannot exist within a parody. Satire relies on the themes of the subject to make the humor have its punch, while parody is simply a joke that uses a theme and subject as a platform to talk about something unrelated. I believe the designers who messed up on that little bit of nuance had the right intentions but didn’t have the right direction. If anything, nobody told them the first game was satire and the second game was kind of trying to copy the first game in approach and they lucked out by great observation. But the second they decided to try something else, they had no idea what the original plan was and went off into their presumed direction, parody. It’s amazing how such a small mistake can cause such big problems, but let that be a lesson to you. The slightest misunderstanding you have of the art you try to mimic can cause the biggest differences in how people compare yours with the original source. There are things that stick with people and there are things that fall flat. The more you understand the established concepts that people enjoy, the better you’ll be able to please your audience and returning fans. If you don’t understand how the art was well received, and you go by “top trends of the previous year”, you’re going to make another Dead Rising 4.
Hopefully this information is helpful if some people are trying to decide whether to go or not. Stayed at Excalibur (only place that comped me rooms) so most of this information is centered around that casino (I'd imagine it is pretty consistent with MGM properties though (besides the limits)) Friday night there were 4 tables going. 3 of them were regular and $15. The 4th was crapless and $10. In the mornings they would have 1 table going for $10 (crapless) then it would raise to $15 around noon. After noon they would open another table for $15. It was pretty easy to get a spot as the turnover was much faster than usual (more on this later). As far as the play itself, it was different. Only 3 people per side, so 6 total for the table, and there was plexiglass between everyone. Each time the dealers rotated they wiped down their stations. They switched dice for every new shooter. When players left the table, they did not do any sanitation of the players rail spot, a new person would just walk up. Masks were required unless you were drinking. The dealers all wore masks with face shields over the masks. In my opinion the plexiglass was the worst part of the experience. Combined with having to wear masks, it was very difficult to even talk or joke with the person next to you. Zero chance for any verbal or non verbal communication for the people on the other side of the table. Normal situations where there would be a big cheer at the table, were basically silent. The camaraderie was not there. I think this is what led to such a high turnover rate at the tables. One positive (that is also a negative) was that if you like to physically throw the dice, they come around ALOT faster. You get to throw all the time. However, since there are less people at the table and less bets for the dealers to put up and such, hands are played much more frequently. Which in many situations leads to bleeding your bankroll quicker. Which also leads to faster turnover at the tables. If you are into dice setting and throw from stick L1 (right handed), the plexiglass is an issue as you kind of have to throw around it. So you would have to stand stick R1 for no hindrance (if you throw right handed) Overall "safety" feel: There were tons of places to sanitize and wash your hands. They even had sinks set up on the gaming floor. Unlimited masks, gloves, and sanitizer available if you wanted. When I checked in they gave me a bag with masks, pocket size sanitizer, and a "clean key" (for touching elevator buttons and such). You had to do the temperature check thing before you could check into your room. (although it seemed like this was only enforced during prime check-in times). Masks were required on the gaming floor. They sort of have security guards at the entrances and elevators enforcing it. From what I saw nearly 100% of people were wearing some type of face cover, however I'd estimate that 25% either had it pulled down, or otherwise weren't wearing it correctly. Random observations: Usually you see a dog here or there on the floor, I would estimate I saw 10x the amount of people with what I assume were service dogs. Also, mobility scooters. I would estimate I saw 5x what I normally see on the floor. The amount of people walking around on the casino floor didn't seem too far off from normal. It was a hair less than usual but it def didn't see "dead" at all. Poker room was closed. All the buffets were closed and I'd say about half of the restaurants were closed or limited hours. If you wanted to get a drink you had to order food and sit down. All the bars in the casino were closed and all barstools removed. You had to either order drinks from the cocktail waitresses or buy them from the little souveniconvenience stores in the casino. The slot machines were either pushed together in triangles or only every other slot machine was turned on. Same for bubble craps, only 4 total machines turned on (5$ minimum). I don't know this for sure as I was there by myself, but I don't think it was allowed to have 2 people next to each other at the craps table between the same plexiglass, even if you were together. I didn't see anyone do it or ask about it, but I did see some couples not playing next to each other and I assume they would if they could have. Overall, I didn't feel it was as fun of an experience as usual. Probably won't go back until things are normal.
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…6
Continuing. After the third pony keg of beer was delivered, it was decided that the next few days would be spent in the conference room discussing what we thought was the best way forward. We wanted dry-erase boards so we could start taking detailed notes, even though I was well ahead of the curve in that regard. We instead ended up with some mobile elementary-school blackboards and a pile of grainy, sooty chalk. Leave it to Dr. Cliff to go into a discourse on the genesis of chalk and its economic importance. Bloody carbonate geologists. Bloody White Cliffs. We geologists need to punctuate their conversations with pictures, so these would suffice quite well. At 1700 hours, the official end to the workday was called; we’d meet here again tomorrow. I’m not certain by whom, but it was readily agreed upon. We were more or less on our own until 1000 the next day. I needed to spend some time in my room with my notes and update a number of dossiers, field notebooks, and other items I was using as a running chronicle. Several folks decided to invade one of the hotel’s restaurants for dinner. Some wanted to head to the casino, a couple wanted to get a massage, and others wanted to do what tourists are normally wont to do on the second day of being a foreigner in a foreign land. I declined invitations to dinner and other activities, as I had a long writing session in front of me. I wanted to get this all in its proper place while the memories and notes were still fresh. 30 minutes later, in my room after a 25-minute wait for the elevator; I’m updating dossiers, creating several new ones, and updating my field notebooks. Suddenly, after an hour’s work, I notice something is amiss. “I don’t have a drink or a cigar,” I said to the four walls. “This. Will. Not. Do.” I was used to Happy Hour in Russia. Happy hour is slightly different; there are no ice cubes or orange-peel twists in the vodka. Also, it lasts all day. I remedy that situation by finding and clipping a nice, oily oscuro cigar and digging the bourbon out from under my boxer-briefs in my dresser drawer. I heft the bottle and feel that it’s significantly lighter than when I left it last night. I happen to look in the trash can and spy the wrapper for a box of my festively colored Sobranie cigarettes I obtained back in Dubai. “Hmmm”, I think, “It would appear that we have some light-fingered Cho Louies or No Louises around here. I’d best guard my supplies a little more securely.” I move all my smokeables into one of my now emptied aluminum travel cases. They lock with the stoutest of combinations and it will be readily apparent if anyone is fucking with them. I move some of my best booze into the pretty much worthless in-room safe. With a deft application of duct tape, I seal the safe. It may not be the most secure spot on the planet, but if anyone tries anything troublesome, they’ll leave an immediately recognizable record of what they were up to. It’s just too obvious; they’d have to be crazy to go in after anything inside there. My money, keys, and passports are in the safe deposit box down in the lobby that the hotel supplies for visiting dignitaries. Even so, they let me keep my shit in one of them anyway. That handled, I spend another hour writing like a madman. I suddenly realize I’m tired of all this and need a diversion as well as some food and, of course, drink. 30 minutes later, I’m down in the byzantine basement tunnels of the hotel. It’s crowded with hordes of Chinse tourists, and the casino is ground zero for the incredibly loud chatter. I look in on the bowling alleys all three of them, and they’re full. The massage parlor is hopping, although I leave my name and they promise they will call over the PA when a suitable masseuse is available. Evidently, I ‘intimidate’ some of the more demure ones. I wander over to the bar, now there’s a surprise, and see it’s packed to the rafters as well. I decide to wait for a seat to open up on Mahogany Ridge when there’s some gargling over the PA and a pair of Chinese nationals leave the bar in great haste. I grab one of the two newly open seats, much to the chagrin of a couple of Oriental Unidentifiables (OU) who had their eye on them as well. “Sorry, mate”, I said, “First come, first served. It’s the capitalist way.” One of the pair grabs a seat and the other just stands there, looking annoyed unspent bullets in my direction. Forget that I’ve literally twice their size and could be an aberration as an angry American. They just order a couple of drinks, and content themselves in giving me dirty looks and probably say nasty things in their own indecipherable language about my national origin and familial heritage. As if I gave the tiniest of rodental shits. I fire up a cigar, as literally everyone else in the joint was smoking something more or less tobacco. However, there was a definite barnyard aroma, a regular Dairy Air, in the room. I think some of what was being smoked there was more bovine or equine in origin than botanical in nature. With numerous hilarious attempts at Korean, pointing at a garishly photographed drinks menu, I was finally served a cold draft house steam porter and 100 milliliters of probably ersatz ‘Russian’ vodka, vintage late last Thursday. This bartender that could at least form some of the phonemes found in American English. A few. A definite few. Since it all cost the equivalent of US$0.50, I really didn’t care. Apparently vodka helps flowers last longer when they're dying. But you can put vodka in anything and it'll make it better. Being a trained observer, I rather enjoy just sitting in any old bar, smoking my cigar, drinking my Yorshch, and watching people. I try and not be intrusive and I never eavesdrop, but I like to try and think of what strange set of circumstances brought us all here together in this place at this time. It gives me writing ideas, some of which I jot down in a notebook I always carry. It also gives me a good shot of nostalgia when I look back at something I wrote some 40 or so years ago. Yeah, old habits do die hard. I take a drag off my cigar and set it in the ashtray in front of me on the bar as I go to correct another egregious misspelling in my notebook. I have to immediately proofread what I wrote, or I’d never recall later what the fuck I was trying to convey; especially if it’s in a noisy, smoky, or murky milieu. Quicker than a bunny fucks, Unidentifiable Oriental #1 (UO #1) deftly reaches over, snags my cigar, and helps himself to a few mouthy puffs. I look at him, the empty ashtray directly in front of me, him again, and then UO #2. Since I speak no real Oriental, much less Korean, language, and my Mandarin at this point is worse than laughable; I just point to the cigar, turn out my hands and shrug my shoulders in the international “What the actual fuck, dude?” gesture. He just smiles a gappy, toothy, and snaggle-toothed at that, grin at me and makes a point of ensuring that I see him enjoying a few more drags on my own damned cigar. Not able to contain myself any further, I venture a “What the fuck, chuckles? That’s not your fucking cigar.” Like gasoline being tossed on a fire-ring full of embers, they both go unconditionally incoherently insane. Yammering, chattering, jumping up and down, and getting right into my face. They wanted me to unquestionably understand that my few words of English insulted them far more than their filching of my $20 cigar. OK, I’m pretty well trained in Hapkido; an oddly, given the present situation, hybrid Korean martial art. I’m at least 6 or 7 inches taller and who knows how many stone/kilos/pounds/Solar masses heavier than these two clowns. I could easily go all Gojira on their hapless asses and mop significant expanses of the floorboards with them. Instead, I look around for the bartender. I figured since I was keeping him well supplied with Korean won via tips, and he spoke some English as well as perhaps whatever the fuck these characters were chattering; maybe he could get to the bottom of what was happening. The bartender walks over and I ask him to ask the two unidentifiable twins why they stole my cigar. He nods in agreement and goes on in whatever the fuck dialect was being used today by the pair. “They say they wanted it. So they took it.” They ask, “What are you going to do about it?” the bartender relates. I deftly reach inside my field vest, as everyone concerned ducks and covers. I extract two fresh cigars; not a .454 Casull Magnum. I give one cigar to the bartender and one to OU#2. “With my compliments.” I pleasantly say. I was well apprised of the fact that in certain places like this, the local authorities often approach foreigners with, for the lack of a better term, ‘Agents Provocateur’. Like the Westboro Baptist “Church”, they try to get a rise out of you so you’ll lose your cool and either create a scene or take a poke at the miscreant. Then they have all the pretext they require to drag you to the local hoosegow, shake you down for every penny on your person, as well as any phones, notebooks, wallets, passports, cigars, cigarettes, etc. Basically, they goad you into a fight, then drop the thousand-pound shit-hammer when you retaliate. It’s all so parochial. So obviously clear as vodka; this elementary charade only raised a single eyebrow. I’m not going to even raise my voice over a couple of cheap cigars that neither of them noticed I slipped them instead of the premium ones I was smoking. Thus defeated, I asked the bartender to ask them if they liked the cigar. “What do you think?” I asked in cordial English, “Too tightly rolled? Not caged enough? Too green?” UO #2 slipped and said “It smells very good…” where he realizes he’s blown his cover. “Yeah, I like it too.”, I replied, “So much so, I buy my own. What are your badge numbers, boys? I will be reporting this incident to Inspector P'aeng Yeong-Hwan, the head of security for the IUPGS conference to which I was invited as special scientific consultant.” Of course, they immediately dummy up and feign illiteracy. I say loudly and very clearly, “You bastards aren’t gonna get away with this. I mean, what is going on in this country when scumsuckers like you can get away with trying to sandbag a Doctor of Geological Sciences?” I ask the bartender to translate, but alas, it was too late. They vamoosed when I turned to talk with the bartender. They left so fast, they didn’t notice me snapping their pictures with my ancient but trusty Nokia 3310, revised edition, during our little chat. Even with a mere 2-megapixel picture, I have enough to show the North Korean leaders of the project to get an identification and make known my displeasure of being treated like some commoner or buffoon. They left both my cigar and the one I gave them. The bartender tucked the cigar I gave him into his pocket and stared lustily at the two remaining on the bar. “Take’em”, I said. I sure as fuck don’t want them. “Just a clean ashtray and a refill, if you would be so kind,” I say, as pleasantly as possible, considering the situation. Both the unsmoked and my smoldering, as well as well-traveled, cigar disappear as quickly as minks rut. A clean, new ashtray, double beer and ‘vodka’ suddenly appear. “No charge, Dr. Rock”, the bartender grins, as he shoves my erstwhile high-mileage cigar between his teeth. “OK, fair enough.”, I say, “Spaseebah.”, and deposit a raft of won on the bar. The pile won’t be touched until after I leave in a few hours’ time. “Stranger in a strange land.” I muse over a couple of further beers. The call from the massage parlor never came, or it did and I couldn’t hear it over the clamor of the casino. I went up to the hotel’s Korean restaurant; had some salty soup, a sad, sad salad, and some form of funky fish, I think, for dinner. I retired that night in a slightly foul mood. I called Es then the next morning and caught her before she retired. With a 14 hour difference between us, I was getting up at 0700 and she was getting ready to hit the hay at 2100. I told her of the events of the day previous, and she was glad she wasn’t tagging along. She would have never accused the Korean geologists of being behind the times and would have probably bent the guy’s nose that swiped my cigar. Agreed, that she’d probably be unimpressed with this place. I promised her that we’d go on a holiday when I returned from all this. It would be up to her to find out ‘where,’ and I’d supply the ‘when’ when I could. Everything else was going along smoothly, more or less, on the home front, and I didn’t want to give the local listening-in federales too much to say grace over, so we said our parting admirations and rang off. Shower, shower sunriser of real vodka and citrus, a quick brush and comb, and spiff of cargo shorts and new ghastly Hawaiian shirt; 30 minutes later, back down in the restaurant for the inevitable breakfast buffet. After what some would consider breakfast and others would consider a vague attempt at nourishment, we reconvened in the conference room precisely at 1012. Nothing like precision with this group. We spend the next two days going over, in various groups, what we think would be required to set forth proper the quest for oil and gas in North Korea on track. Everyone got in on the act, and we advocated for that. We needed everyone’s input to make this happen. Or to even map a way forward to present to country officials. Those from the West on what was needed and those from the East to tell us what was available, and the combined wetware to make what needed to be done happen with what existed. It took no small amount of doing, but we secured a set of maps that covered the entire country. We were watched very closely by the shiny suit squad that we did not copy, photograph or otherwise take any extraneous information from these sheets of infamy. All other maps in the country were intentionally skewed, with errors deliberately added in to confuse “interlopers, spies, or other personas non grata”. I made a massive stink and told them that if we didn’t receive the unfuckered maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery pronto, we’re packing up and leaving that afternoon. “We don’t have time for monks resisting the carnival. We didn’t come here to try and guess if the maps are correct or if our remedies will actually work on maps that say one thing and reality says something else entirely.” They hemmed and hawed, but as I made the announcement to all before lunch that if the real maps didn’t appear by the time we returned from tiffin, we’re gone. And we take tiffin purty durn early round these parts, buckaroo. No one was surprised as I when we returned and there were folio after folio of government-uncensored maps, photos, and imagery for our program. I guess they finally reasoned it would be a relatively good idea to begin to take us seriously. We spent one whole day just going over our field geological apparatus. They had a good idea of how to use a direction-finder compass and Jacob’s staff to measure sections. However, they were totally flummoxed by our Brunton Compasses, GPS systems, curiously referred to as ‘position finders’, notebook mapping applications, and electronic data storage and retrieval systems. Gad. It was like being back in the 1970s before PCs were a glimmer in IBM's corporate orbs. We spent the next week working to bring our less fortunate colleagues up to, well, not date, but at least up to the brink of the 21st century. We explained that plate tectonics, continental drift, and the precession of the continents was accepted geoscientific principles, not some arcane Capitalist or Socialist plot to undermine the quality of science in the east. Yep. It was that mindset we had to first conquer. I think we’ve made great headway in that direction today. The next Chautauqua session had us split up into two separate groups. We decided in a fit of Cesarean inquiry to ‘divide and conquer’. There are two distinct milieus which are able to contain economic deposits of hydrocarbons: onshore and offshore. Instead of attacking both head-on, we’d focus initially on the offshore domain. Once we had a good handle on what was going on under the East Korean Sea, the Huangai (Yellow) Sea and surreptitiously, the South Sea; we’d collaborate our findings and work to tie them in and extend them onshore. The singular Phyongnam Basin is the one large depositional, sedimentological, and structural basin in North Korea. It is filled by the Joeson and Pyeongan Supergroups of sediments, which are Cambro-Ordovician and Permocarboniferous, respectively. These are good hunting grounds for oil and gas. Could be elephant–hunting country. But before we could undertake that, we had to get ‘back to basics’. That is, we had to understand and delineate the ‘frame’ of the Korean Peninsula. In other words, we needed to figure out how and when the peninsula came into existence. South Korea’s geology is much more complex, fortunately than that found in the North. There were nasty side comments that were due to the relative development not of the geology, but of the geologists who studied each country’s geology. It was, perhaps, a mean way of characterizing the situation. But, unfortunately, it was also probably fairly accurate. The Korean Peninsula is characterized by huge massifs, which are sections of a crust that are demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole. The term also refers to a group of mountains formed by such a structure. It’s basically one huge, semi-resilient rock. The basement rocks of the Korean Peninsula consist of high-grade gneiss and schist, Paleoproterozoic Precambrian massifs, which formed in the early stage of Earth’s history. These rocks are unconformably overlain by metasedimentary rocks; schist, quartzite, marble, calcsilicate, and amphibolite, of the Middle to Late Proterozoic. The Korean Peninsula is floored by a collation of about five of these huge Precambrian massifs that acted like ‘microplates’ during the aggregation of the peninsula. These massifs consist of thick dolostone, metavolcanics, and schist, which were intruded by Paleoproterozoic granites. These Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary and granitic rocks underwent repeated intracrustal differentiation, followed by the events of cratonization, i.e., regional metamorphism and igneous activity, at 1.9-1.8 Ga. Sediments deposited in the peripheral basins during the Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic lead to stabilization as the basement of the peninsula. These early depositional basins formed the locus of deposition that continued on from the Proterozoic through the Phanerozoic. There are at least three, perhaps four, depositional basins in the south which are delimited by structural zones, such as the South Korean Tectonic Line (SKTL), a huge zone of continental transform faults and forms the basis of boundary demarcation between the Okcheon and Taebaeksan basins. The boundary between the Seochangri Formation of the Okcheon Basin and the Joseon Supergroup of the Taebaeksan Basin in the Bonghwajae area is a thrust (or reverse‐slip shear zone). This thrust is presumably a relay structure (i.e. a restraining bend) between two segments of a continental transform fault (the South Korean Tectonic Line or SKTL), along which the Okcheon Basin of the South China Craton was juxtaposed against the Taebaeksan Basin of the North China Craton during the Permian–Triassic suturing of the two cratons. In the late Proterozoic, sedimentation was initiated in basins of the Korean Peninsula, accompanied by deposition of siliciclastic and volcaniclastic sediments as well as carbonates. The massifs were submerged in the Early Paleozoic during a greenhouse period, forming a shallow marine platform and associated environments. The Cambrian-Ordovician succession unconformably overlies Precambrian granite gneiss. It consists of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic rocks of sandstone, shale, and shallow-marine carbonates. Sedimentation was initiated in the Early Cambrian with a global rise in sea level on the stable craton of the Sino-Korean Block. There was a major break in sedimentation during the Silurian and Devonian periods in the entire platform. During the Carboniferous to early Triassic, sedimentation was resumed in coastal plain and swamp environments with progradation of deltas. Major tectonic events were initiated in the Triassic when the South China Block collided with the Sino-Korean Block. The eastern part of the Sino-Korean Block rotated clockwise and moved southward relative to the South China Block along the SKTL. In the Middle-Late Jurassic, orthogonal subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate under the Asian continent caused compression and thrust deformation. A number of piggyback basins formed along the thrust faults in the east of the SKTL. At the same time, the entire peninsula was prevailed by granite batholiths, especially along the northeast-southwest-trending tectonic belt. In the Cretaceous Period, the paleo-Pacific Plate subducted northward under the Asian continent, forming numerous extensional (left-lateral strike-slip) basins in the southern part of the peninsula and the Yellow Sea. A large back-arc basin was initiated in the southeastern part. In the Paleogene, both the volcanic arc and the back-arc basin ceased to develop, as volcanic activities shifted eastward, accompanied by a rollback of the subduction of the Pacific plate. In the Miocene, pull-apart (right-lateral) basins formed in the eastern continental margin. The Korea Plateau experienced continental rifting accompanied by extensive volcanism during the extensional opening of the southern offshore basin. It subsided more than 1000 m below sea level. So, as South Korea was mix- mastered by a half-a-billion years’ worth of structural tectonism, which created several depositional basins quite capable of generating and storing economic quantities of oil and gas, the scene to the north was much more quiescent. The North was composed, from south to north, of the relict Imjingang Belt, which was an old back-arc basin between the Gyeonggi Massif to the south and the Nagrim Massif to the north. It is a paleo-subduction zone, full of volcanics, volcaniclastics and other non-hydrocarbon bearing rocks. It was mashed and metamorphosed, and basically forms a convenient boundary between the complex geology of the South and the more relaxed geology of the North. Heading north, we come across the Pyeongnam Basin, the only North Korean basin thus far defined that could contain hydrocarbons. Further north is the huge Nangrim Massif. It’s a huge block of igneous and metamorphic rocks that weather very nicely and form some spectacular scenery, but from an oil and gas economic outlook are worthless. Offshore North Korea, there are two possible petroliferous basins. The offshore West Korea Bay Basin and East Sea Basin, along with five onshore basins could be offering exploration potential. At least ten exploration wells have been drilled in the West Sea, with some showing “good oil shows” along with the identification of a number of potential reservoirs. The West Sea potentially has oil and has reportedly flowed oil at reasonable rates from at least two exploration wells when they were drilled and tested in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the East Sea has seen Russian exploration efforts previously including the drilling of two wells, both of which reportedly encountered encouraging shows of oil and gas. Onshore, there has been little exploration to date, apart from efforts by the Korean Oil Exploration Corporation and also recently by Mongolia’s HBOil JSC (HBO). Among five main onshore sedimentary sub-basins, the largest is south of the capital; while unconfirmed reports point to a 1-trillion-cubic-foot (tcf) discovery in 2002. Historically DPRK was thought to consist of five under-explored geological basins, the • Pyongyang, • Zaeryong, • Anju-Onchon, • Gilju-Myongchon and • Sinuiju, Basins. These basins are all located more or less along the coast, rather than inland. This also points to a certain degree of geological aptitude; as it’s much easier to explore along the more populated coast than it is to venture inland. There may be more hiding in the interior of the country, it’s just that no one’s looked as of yet. That’s difficult. Exploring along the coast is much easier. With 3 basins supposedly proven to have working petroleum systems; 22 wells have been drilled and the majority are said to have encountered hydrocarbons with some wells testing production at 75 barrels of oil per day of light sweet crude oil. This has yet to be documented or confirmed by the Korea Oil Exploration Corp (KOEC), North Korea’s state-run oil company. Yeah, our work was definitely cut out for us. It was decided that a series of excursions offshore in one of the few remaining seaworthy, which was a real judgment call, KOEC seismic boats would be appropriate. The one we received use of was an old, decommissioned Chamsuri-class patrol boat, one Chamsuri-215(참수리-215), PKMR-215 in particular. It had been basically stripped to the gunwales and completely retrofitted as a seismic acquisition and recording vessel. It had been renamed: “조선 민주주의 인민 공화국 영광” or “Glory of Democratic People's Republic of Korea Science”. In reality, it was an aging rust-bucket piece of shit that might have possibly seen better days but wasn’t letting on. All the military nonsense, except the powder magazine, had been removed and a new superstructure consisting of slap-dash hunks of poorly-welded low-carbon, cold-rolled steel were erected to form a pilothouse in the area where the bridge once existed. They also built, extra haphazardly, a shooter’s room, galley, cold and wet storage areas, recording room, and storage of tapes and the extra bits and pieces needed for a none-too-extended stay on the sea. It was, being charitable, almost utilitarian. They could not make their own water, so trip times were limited to about three days in length. Besides, they didn’t really have a hot galley, so it was cold, canned Chinese chow for the next 72 hours. They had a couple of fairly sturdy yardarms with heavy winches to handle the towed seismic arrays of geophones, which were of ancient heritage and showed it. These were probably appropriated back in the 80s or perhaps earlier when they first thought about opening their waters for seismic exploration. They ‘borrowed’ most of the sensing and recording equipment back then from oilfield service companies and simply forgot to return it once finished. Since they burned that bridge so glowingly, they couldn’t get parts nor service when things failed. Being delicate seismic sensing and recording equipment, fail they did. So, we had to use what was leftover, or what DPRK industries could cobble together, or what could be salvaged from salt-water drenched recording equipment that hadn’t been too heavily cared for over the span of the last 50 years. We weren’t terribly optimistic. So, we load the good ship ‘Rorrypop’, as Viv christened the thing, and head out to the wilds of the Yellow Sea. It was an abbreviated foreign crew, as there was really nothing other than upchuck and curse me soundly for insisting the non-geophysical scientists came along. Aboard were the two geophysicists, naturally; Volna and Activ. I was there stick-handling the logistics and hoping to help out with the geophysical signal source explosives. Morse and Cliff, the two other geologists accompanied us on the trip, and Dax decided to go with me as he figured I’d have access to the best booze no matter where we went. The remainder of the team, the geochemists, Erlan and Ivan, the geomechanic, Iskren, the PT, Joon, and the two REs, Viv and Grako, remained behind onshore at the hotel. They set forth cataloging what data was available; from what sources, it’s vintage, veracity, and usefulness. Augean tasks, both. Not as fecaliferous as Hercules’ jobs, but still, they held their own rations of shit for each sub-team. Heading seaward, the Yellow Sea extends by about 960 km (600 mi) from north to south and about 700 km (430 mi) from east to west; it has an area of approximately 380,000 km2 (150,000 mi2) and a volume of about 17,000 km3 (4,100 mi3). Its depth is only 44 m (144 ft) on average, with a maximum of 152 m (499 ft). The sea is a flooded section of the continental shelf that formed during the Late Pleistocene (some 10,000 years ago) as sea levels rose 120 m (390 ft) to their current levels. The depth gradually increases from north to south. The sea bottom and shores are dominated by sand and silt brought by the rivers through the Bohai Sea and the Yalu River. These deposits, together with sand storms are responsible for the yellowish color of the water referenced in the sea's name. Being shallow, the Yellow Sea is more perturbed by the frequent seasonal storms of the region. The area has cold, dry winters with strong northerly monsoons blowing from late November to April. I was told that the summers are wet and warm with frequent typhoons between June and October; but now all we had to contend with were swelling seas, spraying saltwater, waggling waves, and a shivering, shimmying ship. All the navigation, communications and other shiply duties were being handled by both members of the DPRK Coast Guard Auxiliary, mostly older guys who were of great and high humorous jest; and an actual pleasure to be around. They were like their scientific cadre on this cruise, basically a political ‘give a shit’ attitude, and a desire to get the job done, smoke the American’s cigars and drink as much as we could get away with. The scientific portion of the cruise was being undertaken by students of the various universities and members of the North Korean national oil company. The demeanors of these characters ranged from extremely earnest and stringently North Korean politically correct in the students and academicians, to a more relaxed ‘yeah, let’s just get the fucking job done so we can have a lot of drinks’ sort of view of the older members of the DPRK scientific team. It was a fun admixture of cultures, ages, professions, and behaviors. Oh, forgive me for forgetting to mention our ‘guides’, or handlers. They were also chosen, nay, ordered to come along. Landlubbers all, they were less than thrilled with the assignment and inevitable seasickness; which seemed endemic to those of Oriental extraction on the cruise. However, our guides did enjoy drinking. As we learned that alcohol is a central part of Korean culture, and they encouraged us to socialize with them when the time was appropriate. Or, not appropriate, as I was being denounced by one of the geophysical students after only a few hours into our very first day. Hell, we weren’t even in the Yellow Sea proper. We started here at Pyongyang, down the Taedong River, over the Giva Dam, through Pushover, across Shmoeland, to the stronghold of Shmoe; into the very belly of the frothing Yellow Sea. Most everyone, other than the foreign elements on board, were either making the trip in the bowels of the ship; nursing and cursing seasickness; or by rail, doing exactly the same thing. “Chum it over the side, ya’ blinkered mucker!”, I admonished one bottle-greenish national. “This ain’t the Captain‘s mess, Chuckles. You have to clean up your own spew!” I was reveling in getting back out on the water and regaining my sea legs. I never get seasick. Never. Ever. Be it a seismic vessel in the heaving Arctic Ocean, a pirogue in the swamps of Louisiana, my cousin’s fishin’ johnboat back in northern Baja Canada, a US nuclear submarine under the permanent pack ice of the North Pole, or VLCC in the Straits of Somaliland; I just don’t get seasick. Airsick? Nah. Carsick? Nope. Ready to puke in a Hind-20 over the Caspian Sea during a strong local thunderstorm? Close, but no cigar. So, I’m doing a Titanic scene recreation. Up in the very bow of the craft, standing in stark defiance of the gusting winds and blowing salt spray, smoking a huge cigar, and totting out of one of my emergency flasks while trying to hang on to my Stetson. I am also endeavoring to remain upright, field vest and really, really ghastly Hawaiian shirt billowing in the breeze. I’m not certain if it was the cigar smoke, the wind-whipped beard, and hair, the give a fuck attitude, or the flapping of the Hawaiian shirt to which the little local geophysicist objected. But he was pissed. Olive-green with seasickness, rubber-kneed but still standing a good social-distance away, reading me the riot act in high-pitched Korean. As I usually do in such delicate situations, I just smile and wave. Show them I’m mostly harmless and they either cool down or get pissed off even more and stomp off in disgust. Either one was a winning situation for me in my book. So, I return to doing my ship’s figurehead imitation and revel in the wind, spray, and feeling of really being booming. Sure, some might complain of the cold, but not me, the sting of the salt-spray or the windburn; but I eschew what most people enjoy as ‘normal weather’. I live for pushing the boundaries. I love rough weather and situations that thrust the edge of the envelope further past normalcy. Besides, we were still in sight of land. Hell, if everything went south at this very minute, one could practically walk back to shore. I can hardly wait to see what these wigglers will do if a night storm comes up when were 100 or more kilometers from land. The boat’s thrumming heavily from both the thrust of the Soviet-era diesel engines and the craft’s bludgeoning its way through the waves. Most hull designs are so the ship will ‘cut’ through the surface waters. This craft’s flattened trihedral hull design didn’t so much ‘cut’, as ‘slam’ it’s way through. The boat would then crash up one side and smash down the other of each large wave we encountered. The boat would shudder whole, adding a new note of resonance along with the monotonous one-note song of the aged Russian diesels. The spray would fly, the boat would convulse, time would seem to freeze until we bashed into the next wave. The captain of the vessel took his orders very seriously. “Get to coordinates XXX and YYY by the most expedient means possible.” If that meant charging, full-throttle into the teeth of the oncoming monsoon-force wind while we were traversing the worst kelp jungle I’ve seen this side of the Sargasso Sea; well, piss on it, full steam ahead. “Fuck it”, I thought, “Not my pony, not my show. Let’s see how this plays out.” While I light a new cigar and search for Emergency Flask #2. After I’d been upbraided by the geophysical student for transgressions still unknown, Cliff and Dax wander out to ask me what the hell I was up to. “Have you gone completely barmy?”, Cliff asked. “It’s a full gale out here and you’re standing in the teeth of it like it was a warm, sunny Sunday in Piccadilly.” “Nope, not at all”, I replied, “Just reveling in the delights of an angry atmosphere.” “He’s nuts, I told you”, Dax smirked, “He’d go anywhere and do anything to have a cigar.” “Not just a cigar, me old mucker”, I smiled and waved my second emergency flack under his nose. “Figures”, they both respond in unison. Dax departs and returns mere seconds later with paper Dixie-style cups he liberated from the ship’s one head. We are going to do our very best to extend the lifetime of the onboard water supply for our scientific and military friends. I pour them each a cup full. “Whoa, Doc”, that’s gotta be 100 milliliters!” Cliff objects. “As the Siberian saying goes: One hundred versts, roughly a hundred miles, is no distance. A hundred rubles isn't worthwhile money. And a hundred grams of vodka just makes you thirsty. Prosit!” I say in reply. We retire to the overhang on the fantail of the boat. It’s a sunshade and keeps the worst of the weather out for the lightweights on the cruise. I decided we’d withdraw there to keep these Dominionites out of the worst of the wind and sea spray. “Rock”, Cliff notes, “You are a complete throwback. You do not belong here in the 21st century. You need to find a way back to the Calabrian and ride herd on the continental Neanderthals. Give them the gift of distilling and tobacco agriculture, and you’d reframe the world.” Dax agrees, but notes if I do find a way back, he and Cliff would be selected against. “Good point”, Cliff agrees. “Rock, stay here. We need your expertise now more than ever. Plus your ready supply of strong drink and cigars.” “Glad to know that I’m truly appreciated around these parts.” I chuckled slightly acridly. “Ah, Rock. Buck up. You know we’re only takin’ a piss.” Cliff says. “Aim it starboard. Don’t want it blowin’ all over the seismic gear”, I reply, laughingly. The trip continued, and I found a not-bolted-to-the-deck chair and moved it outside under the shade back by the boat’s fantail. I refreshed my emergency flasks and replenished my cigar supply. I’m not about to sit inside and listen to the wails and gnashing of teeth of the landlubber crowd, the patter and timor of the geophysical throng as they titter and argue about array design, nor the military hut-hutting all over the fucking boat. A couple of times, one or more of our ‘handlers’ would venture out as I had the only supply of readily available smokeables and drinkables. Oh, we had food, lots of beer, soju, some knock-off vodka, and some of that faux homebrew bourbon for later once the workday was declared over; but for now, I was the one and only dispensary. We’d have some random chats while they screwed up their courage to ask me for a smoke or a tot of drink. I brought several bundles of really cheap-ass cigars for just such occasions; besides, I figured one of my Camacho triple-maduros would have them chumming for the remainder of the trip. I had also many, many cartons of Sobranie pastel-colored cigarettes, and many more cartons of knock-off Marlboros I bought at the duty-free when we hit town. It was chucklingly funny to see these harsh, military, no-nonsense characters walking their duty beats smoking pastel green, lavender, and mauve cigarettes. We got bogged down a couple of times when one or more of the ship’s twin screws fouled with kelp as we tried to put some distance between us and the shore. Each time, one really dejected low-ranking young Coast Guard character would go over the side with a rope around his waist and a knife in his hand to free the props. I was going to object as this was moronically dangerous; but, again, not my pony, not my show. This called for full proper tethering and SCUBA gear. They had neither aboard. Welcome to the wonders of a centrally planned economy. To be continued.
Summary of the Persona 5 Royal info from the trailer and website (includes P5 Spoilers!)
Finally, some info! I'll divide this into details from the trailer and details from the site (there's a lot of the latter), with a few bits of speculation thrown in (I'll make it clear which details are confirmed and which are just mine though): The trailer (in roughly the order of appearance):
It starts with the Goro tries to kill Joker scene, but Joker has a flashback/ vision partway through to a frozen in time street, where he hears a girl's voice through a static television (the new girl, Kasumi's)? This could just be a clever edit for the sake of the trailer, but I think there will be a new ending and this will play into it (more on that later).
Edit 5: According to u/Monsieur_Valjean, her dialogue is "私が夢を奪ったんです" (Watashi ga yume wo ubattan desu), which translates to either:
(If spoken informally:) I stole/took away my dream.
(If spoken informally:) I took away your dream.
Edit 7: The trailer has been translated and the translation used is "I took away all their dreams." (*5)
The latter could either be benevolent (since she pulled Joker away from his confrontation with Akechi), or something more sinister. (*3)
Joker's grappling hook from Smash is now in the game (or rather, it made an early appearance in Smash) and has changed the Palaces to suit it. For example there's now a new puzzle involving kicking a giant Kamoshida statue in the mouth to open a door (perhaps the statue and door in the gym?) Okumura's Palace also has a point where you use the hook on a moving platform to reach a new area.
Incidentally, this probably means the rope you use to get into Madarame's Palace will be replaced with said grappling hook, or maybe entering his Palace will be changed entirely?
Edit 5: Many of you have pointed out that Joker always had the grappling hook, but he only used it in menu transitions. Thank you, all!
Edit 19: Assuming this trailer is also for newcomers to P5, showing off the first dungeon in the game makes sense - there's not much to spoil, but why Okumura's Palace - and why just a single scene? Note that the scene shows Joker being carried somewhere by a small platform through space. Is this a sign that the infamous airlock puzzle has been cut, with the team using grappling hooks to traverse those areas instead?
Edit 12: There's a cutscene with Joker seeing Kasumi outside and the two greeting each other. I didn't think it was worth mentioning before, but this does confirm that the two have some rapport before she's roped into the Phantom Thieves business/ when they're away from the other Thieves. But Morgana's poking out of Joker's bag when he smiles at her and makes no effort to hide himself - does this mean she already knows about him (and thus the Metaverse and Joker's double life)? Or does she simply think Joker smuggles his cat to school? At least she doesn't consider him a threat like everyone else!
This could either be because he helped her out (more on this soon) or because she simply doesn't believe/ care about the rumours surrounding him (like Shiho)...but maybe it's because she knows more about his situation (and Shido and/ or his Metaverse dealings) than she lets on?
There is a new location in the game (more on this later), home to a variety of hangout locations including a darts board and aquarium.
Edit 15: Thanks to MysticDistance, we see that the train transition now includes a backdrop of Shibuya through the train's windows! What an awesome little detail to add!
There's now a counsellor working at the school, though there's more info on him on the site so I'll address him there.
Edit 13: We see a silhouette on the TV screen from the start of the trailer, and Joker seems to recognise it. While it's of course hard to judge the identity of a silhouette, it does have a slim figure and a rounded head, much like the hair of our new Thief...
Edit 17: Here's a better shot at the figure. While Kasumi's uniform gives her the appearance of having broad shoulders, the silhouette doesn't look too much like her. While there's still a chance it is her, here's my speculation from that post:
Those shoulders look too broad to be Kasumi's (and doesn't seem to have long hair or a ponytail), but they have hair so can't be Shido. But those are definitely seams on the edges of the shoulders...it's Takuto, isn't it? Maybe Kasumi talks first and Takuto hijacks the message and/ or kidnaps or attacks her while she's delivering it? Maybe they're the same person under different personas personalities? Atlus has done weirder stuff!
Unison Attacks from P4G make a return! Think of these as mini-AOAs featuring pairs of Phantom Thieves. The examples in this trailer are Haru/ Morgana and Ryuji/ Makoto.
New story events! There appears to be a sports-day event that Makoto is overseeing. Joker also steps in to save Kasumi from a creep - presumably on his way back from the aforementioned event since he's still in his sports clothes.
Edit 18: There's a new option in cutscenes like this. While "Skip" is still mapped to Options, Square is now "Auto-Advance" and the Log has been moved to L3. This'll be really useful for those cutscenes that auto-advanced by default despite being unvoiced in the core game, those always bugged me (especially since you couldn't predict when they'd occur so going to the menu between cutscenes was always a waste of time).
We see Kasumi in the Metaverse, followed by more scenes of the new location, Kichijoji, where we can hang out with the full PT group at once instead of hanging out one at a time (at least in the darts/ pool area). Kasumi isn't here though, which suggests she joins the group last (or that she is simply unavailable at this point of the story).
Edit 16: Note that Makoto has just thrown a dart right before we see Joker do the same. Is this part of a cutscene (story or otherwise) or does this mean we'll get to compete here against the other Thieves; maybe even as sub-teams?
We see Kasumi in action, scoring a Critical Hit to boot! She wields a rapier and...I can't tell if it's a pistol or a sawn-off shotgun, but I can tell that it is fan-cy!
Edit 2: Thank you, u/Enzo-Unversed for pointing out that Kasumi isn't using a rapier. I did some further research and it looks like she uses an estoc, which is a narrow blade used for thrusting as she does in the trailer. The example on Wikipedia has a curved hilt while Kasumi's has a straight hilt, but I don't know if that means anything for estoc-kind.
Edit 2: u/AvatarWanderful identifies her gun as a lever-action rifle. I initially thought it was a hunting rifle before seeing its length, but that fits the description! And I still think the engraving is really neat!
We get some scenes of the Thieves in a new crumbling place in the Metaverse, interrupted by a scene of Kasumi dancing in front of a crowd hard enough to work up a sweat (more on this later)*, ending with Joker falling off of whatever he's holding on into what appears to be a floating staircase. This looks an awful lot like the stairs in the background of the Velvet Room in PQ to me and, coupled with the blue hue to everything, makes me think the new Palace will be related to the ol' VR in some way. Maybe we change Igo Yaldabaoth's heart directly?
* Edit 18: Could this be how we first see Kasumi? It uses a lot of dynamic camera angles and plays up the mystery of who she is, so perhaps this is her first appearance and we later meet her "for real" after the sports day incident mentioned above. Also, if she's already showing her skills and drawing a crowd, does this mean Kamoshida has his sights set on her this time around? We know how he gets when someone threatens his volleyball team, and he's no stranger to blackmailing female students. He may still be messing with Ann, but why not Kasumi as well? What's an extra year in difference to him?
Edit 20: A small detail, but this may mean we can buy equipment for Goro now, as well as access The Hero with a Bow, the book on Robin Hood we would have gotten from the library when he joined but was removed from the final release. This is in addition to Kasumi's equipment and book of course, unless she's the one to miss out this time. Which would be suspicious now that we know why Goro didn't get a book or weapons! (Also, it'll be interesting to see how their weapons are categorised, since both use swords.)
Edit 16: As many have noted the trailer bares a striking resemblance to Into The Spider-Verse's intro, with the various logos and box art "glitching" into alternate versions as they appear - could this be another hint that the characters enter into separate "dream" worlds at some point in the game? Maybe even multiple times?
Edit 5: Again from u/Monsieur_Valjean, the text below the shot of Joker at the top of the page ends with "arata na kyoteki," meaning "new powerful/ultimate/grand enemy," which again hints at a new villain and thus new Palace to beat.
From the opening "reel" of screenshots:
The box art: Goro looks much more sinister here than he did on the base cover, which makes me wonder if his betrayal is more...upfront this time around.
There's an event with Ren, Kasumi and Goro at a french cafe. This could be part of one or both of their Confidants, which makes me wonder when this happens - after all, Goro's only part of the team for a month and this makes you wonder when Kasumi joins. (*1)
Edit 15: Thanks to a translation by MysticDistance, we know that Akechi's line is "Say, Kasumi-san, what's your opinion on things regarding the Phantom Thieves?" Isn't this exactly what he asked her in the teaser trailer?
Edit 18: Given what happens later on, this question couldn't work in the later stages of the game due to how the story progresses (and would be utterly impossible due to Goro's situation near the end, whether he survives this time around or not). And because Kasumi's answer was important enough to be the basis of the teaser and seems important to her character, I don't think it's something wed be able to miss. In other words, I believe this to be a fixed event in the story. (It may also confirm that she isn't a founding member of the Thieves, though she may also be lying to throw Akechi off...in which case it'd be interesting if she's telling the truth about her lack of faith in the Thieves while being one herself, especially with her leader and possible love interest right beside her!)
Edit 15: Thanks to the same tweet as above, we know Kamoshida is saying "You're too slow, Mishima! You simpleminded fool!" Which seems to confirm Mishima is his new lackey in this boss and that he'll speak directly to his minions. Also note the "warped" text box: does this change affect all Shadows, Bosses or just in-combat dialogue? And if the latter, will there also be UI changes for when your own allies comment on the battle or when you issue commands?
Edit 6: u/FrozenKlondyke suggests this could be her student ID and that this is when she and Joker first meet (properly, at least) since she's introducing herself as a first-year here (you can see the 1 in her speech bubble too).
Edit 15: As pointed out in this tweet chain, it's a nice bit of characterisation that Joker is still willing to help out a girl being harassed despite what happened the last time he tried. D'aww...
Edit 1: The site also describes her as being key to the plot, so chances are she is indeed the voice from the start of the trailer and it does indeed tie into a new ending.
As u/icecreamsnow pointed out here, her being a gymnast may be why her cosplayer did a ribbon dance at the end of today's concert.
Edit 10: On both days, her cosplayer ends with a nervous look on her face before looking around and smiling. She did the exact same thing twice, so could this be a hint towards Kasumi's own personality? Is she shy despite her talent, and will we see this after her dance from the trailer?
Edit 3: In addition to being an epic shot of Kasumi in action (her black outfit goes really well with her red hair and eyes!) This shot also shows a new location in the Casino Palace. I'm confident in saying it's the Casino Palace because of the dice and enemy design, but this looks to be some sort of storage room? Almost like the backstage of a performance hall!
Edit 14: Also, there being enemies behind her - in Shadow forms at that - leads me to believe this is a cutscene. Note that her pose is different from when she performed a Critical Attack in the trailer; her gun is on her shoulder instead of her firing yet and her feet are in a different position. It's an amazing pose all the same, of course! And it really highlights the frills on her sleeves\~
Edit 19: But this begs the question: why is she the focus of a cutscene at this point, and such an action-packed cutscene at that? Could this be how she makes her appearance, already having her Persona and Thief outfit? It'd support the evidence that she's one of the last members to join the team and the suggestions that she has her own motives for joining the Thieves if she can already fight and hold her own in the Metaverse before meeting them. It'd double as a nice parallel to Haru and Akechi, who also join partway through a dungeon and are already capable of fighting respectively. Also, her fighting "guards" in the middle or end of the Casino for her debut would also parallel Joker fighting multiple guards in a cutscene in the prologue/ end of the Casino as his debut. Of course, this in turn means the shot of Kasumi in a blue room would have to come from the end of the game OR as a flashback to whenever she got her Persona and whatever event shaped who she is today.
Edit 20: Following from the above paragraph, she does seem awfully confident with her rifle to just sling it over her shoulder single-handed like that. Granted, every Thief is an instant expert with their weapons, but something about this seems especially proficient. Maybe it's just the leathe epicness of the scene and her outfit.
Edit 20: Regardless of if this is Kasumi's introduction and whether she's an adversary or if this is just a cool moment for her in a cutscene, let's go back to the reasoning of this being some sort of storage room - why are we here? In the core game we had to "un-cheat" in the Casino's games. Could this be related to one of those? If so, will there be a reworking of the two games we directly interfere with (i.e. the first two), or will we get to fix the second two games this time around - for example, are we currently on our way to/ back from fixing the lights from the Dark Room challenge? And all of this hinges on: are those games still in the Palace? Or have they been removed/ replaced completely, and this room is something completely unrelated to them or tied to (fixing) a new game?
Edit 18: I couldn't find this information for myself on the site or magazine, but a lot of people have talked about this so it's highly likely I just missed it. Anyway, this tweet (again from Mystic) elaborates on her bio, adding that she's also a transfer student (this part I still have doubts about) and despite joining the Thieves has her own motives (more on this later on and in my follow up post). The second tweet also states that she "holds Ren in high regard" despite her opinion of the Thieves. Perhaps this is why her Thief outfit is so similar to his; without even seeing Joker her psyche was affected by Ren's ideologies enough that her image of rebellion changed match his? Or is she fond of him because they were already similar despite their ideologies?
Takuto is a new Confidant and comes in as a counsellor for students after Kamoshida's confession. As the trailer shows, there are voiced scenes for him interacting with Ann without Joker needing to be around, so I assume he works similarly to the confessional in the base game. He has the Consultant Arcana which doesn't exist in the standard or Thoth set, but the number is 1, meaning he's a renamed Magus (like how Hunger from P4G was a renamed Lust). This makes sense, since the Magician (the basis for the Magus Arcana) is meant to be the Fool's guide/ first ally on his journey to the World.
Edit 3: Persona Central's translation states that the new boy speaks in a familiar way and uses the first person pronoun "wagahai," which I think is what Morgana uses (any help from Japanese speakers will be greatly appreciated)!
And now Lady Ann and I will finally... happy cat noises
Edit 5.5: On the topic of the mysterious boy, note that he wears a black jacket (like Morgana's fur), white trousers (like the pads of his feet) and wears a yellow necklace (like Morgana's scarf). It has to be him! The only question now is whether the change happens as part of the story or as a result of completing his Confidant, and thus if his Confidant is optional now.
In any case, this confirms a "Golden" ending where Joker doesn't need to turn himself in to ensure Shido gets punished. Maybe this involves the "vision" at the start of the trailer and getting Goro to confess on his behalf instead? Or maybe the Yaldabaoth situation is handled differently in such a way that gives Sae the evidence she needs to convict him (assuming the bonus dungeon is in fact the Velvet Room)? Edit 1: But this also begs the question: what will we do in those three months? Will the Metaverse survive the final boss this time around, or will the last three months be purely for social stats and Confidants? Will at least Mementos survive, so we can complete Confidants, or will they be re-written (by default or after the end of the game) so that Mementos won't be necessary for them? Section 3: This details the additions to the overworld and Metaverse. School Life
The aquarium is confirmed to be a date spot (which is why we only see Joker with one other person there as opposed to a larger group at the darts/ pool place). There's also another amusement park here where he's seen with the twins, which also confirms...
Edit 18: MysticDistance pointed out that this selfie is taken from the buffet the founding members of the Thieves attend after dealing with Kamoshida. The table and outfits match and everyone's even sitting in the same positions they are in that scene, so I'm strongly inclined to agree!
Some enemies will now appear with a purple aura (similar to those that go berserk) and will be stronger than ordinary ones. They appear as soon as the first Palace it seems, which is an interesting way to keep new and old players on their toes.
Edit 3: Persona Central's translation states that the red light is part of the alarms going off, though what this means is still a mystery.
Edit 8: Since Goro seems to be sticking around, the alarm could be him joining as a fellow resident of the Room. Maybe even Kasumi (too), as suggested by some of you!
Edit 27: Remember how everyone gets limited access to the Wild Card because the P3 and P4 Heroes are in close proximity in PQ? What if everyone gets the Wild Card here for the same reason, wouldn't that be an amazing late-game boost for everyone, add a ton more complexity and nuance to team-building and give you a way to keep your favourite characters on your team? And what if having Kasumi around (Wild Card or not) means Joker and Goro keep their full potential instead of losing it like in PQ? What if having Kasumi around gives the three of them (or even the whole team) even more benefits, like a new evolution to their base Personas? I keep forgetting to add this one...
P.S. It'd also be interesting to spend the new semester in the Velvet Room with the door unlocked too. Maybe we'll be able to explore it and see the dungeons where everyone else gets imprisoned - if not even more? (Speaking of, while Goro may be arrested and feel like he deserves it to boot, will Kasumi? She's a mysterious one after all!)
There are new Network functionalities added, though what they are isn't explained. You can warp immediately to the hideout though, I'm looking forward to that! (Even if it isn't available in this particular screenshot...) Edit 18: Is the option unavailable because there's no Palace to infiltrate? If so, what about Mementos? Or is the Metaverse unavailable for story reasons (as it sometimes was in the core game)? But why so early on - is the reason related to the new story? By the way, I think it's safe to assume the Circle and X options will be swapped in the Western release - Japan often uses Circle for "Yes" and X for "No" in menus and worldwide releases almost always swap these around (e.g. in the base Persona 5 as well as in other games like Nier:Automata).
Shoji Meguro and Lyn have done new work for the game, with the latter also singing new opening, ending and battle songs. Maybe we'll get a battle theme on the level of Rivers in the Desert!
The game will be PS4 Pro enabled, meaning better graphics on that system. Also, the game is PS4 exclusive. Hopefully P5S will throw a bone to our Switch brethren!
--- Edit 1: Thanks to the screenshot in this thread (thank you, u/ZuskatoIsR3D) we can see Kasumi's stats in relation to everyone else's. Her numbers are lower than the other three, though this could just mean she recently joined the group and needs to catch up, but her SP is less than half her HP. This could mean either:
She's a melee/ gun-fighter. The latter would be interesting since we don't have one of those in the base roster (save Haru, but she's also the Psy character of the group so chances are you'll specialise her in one or the other field).
She's P4G!Naoto levels of OP and the low SP count is to mitigate that.
She's badly optimised OR that this is simply an early build of the game :P
The next batch on information will come on May 9th. However, there's also a talk show tomorrow with Joker's VA that was supposed to give P5R info, which makes me think tomorrow will just have a recap of today's stuff (along with info of an upgrade deal for existing owners, I hope). Persona 5 Royal releases on Halloween in Japan and 2020 in the West (the English trailer also confirms the Western name drops the "The" in the Japanese title as many suspected, following P4G's example). 'til then, enjoy! I hope you found this useful! Edit 4: Theories (marked with "(*X)" above):
It's possible that the meeting between Kasumi, Ren and Akechi is where we hear the dialogue from last month's trailer ("What do you think of the Phantom Thieves?") After all, them meeting at all means she isn't restricted to only meeting him at the TV station, and this gives her more time to form an opinion on how they work - at least until finding her way into the metaverse and seeing what they do and why.
u/TheReaperCreeper had a much better suggestion than me: what if Akechi is the one who turns himself in for Ren's sake? As another user of the Metaverse he can also answer questions about it to get Shido sentenced, while also paying for his own crimes. Better still, he could claim to be the leader of the Thieves to keep the law off everyone else's backs, thus getting to redeem himself while also being punished for the things he did. Thanks, Reaper!
I was going to say Kasumi may only be important because she was in the right place at the right time, but this certainly hints at a more supernatural cause if true.
u/hypercombofinish suggested Kasumi's Persona could be Dorothée, and since her outfit shares so many similarities to Joker's I think this is highly likely. For those who don't know, Dorothée is the lead character of the novel The Secret Tomb, the only Arsène Lupin book in which Arsène himself doesn't appear. Instead the plot is about Dorothée solving one of his "four fabulous secrets". This could be highly fitting for someone initially disagrees with the Thieves before becoming one herself and would also tie her into Joker's "mythology" the same way Marie and her backstory tied into Izanagi's (and thus Yu) - assuming Kasumi is the Aeon Arcana and not a Fool or Jester or something completely different, of course.
The trailer as a whole has a small narrative running about Kasumi trying to dissuade the Thieves from their work, while Morgana tells her they won't be swayed by the danger or not getting results. This provides some early insight into her character, but maybe she eventually goes off the deep end and tries to control everything as a way of keeping everyone safe? Morgana telling her that "granting everyone's dreams is bad" and her saying she "took everyone's dreams" is also quite interesting. Maybe Wakaba and human!Morgana are just illusions? I plan on making a full post about the translated trailer tomorrow, but this is just something to sleep on until then.
--- (Just search for "Edit X" to see what each change entailed. Check the time stamp to see if I added anything you missed or want to correct!) Edit 1: Just added a few tweaks based on stuff I've seen elsewhere on the sub and stuff I forgot to add the first time. P.S. ...am I the only one who thinks Kasumi looks better in her school uniform? Anyone? Maybe because I like clothed people and the pose shows her off better? Edit 2: Amended the descriptions of Kasumi's weapons. Edit 3: Added a detail I overlooked the first time and clarifications from Persona Central's article. (Edit made at 16:53 UTC.) Edit 4: Added translations for the new boy and a theory section, 17:31 UTC. Edit 5: Added more translations, a correction about Joker's grappling hook and a new theory! 21:47 UTC. Edit 5.5: Added a quick note I forgot to under the "mysterious boy's" section. 21:54 UTC. Edit 6: Another edit, another translation! 22:22 UTC. Edit 7: Added information from the translated trailer and u/quitethewaysaway's observation. 22:50 UTC. Edit 7.5: Edited theory 5, 22:53 UTC. 25th April Edit 8: I wrote another post about the translated trailer and added some new speculation there including possible Gnostic influences! Also I added a possible explanation for the alarms ringing in the Velvet Room. 9:40 (am) UTC. Edit 9: This has nothing to do with Persona 5 Royal, but I wrote a post for P5S too! It's nowhere near as detailed as this one (since we have nowhere near as much info), but I hope you find it worth reading nonetheless! 14:39 UTC. Edit 10: Added a shower thought inspired by Kasumi's cosplayer. 16:19 UTC. Edit 11: Added a detail about Futaba's AOA that I noticed on rewatching the trailer. 18:14 UTC. Edit 12: Finally managed to snag a picture of the above, and also added a scene from the trailer I didn't think worth mentioning before but have since changed my mind on. 21:13 UTC. 27th April Edit 13: Added a new observations from the trailer. 08:35 UTC (am). Edit 14: Added more info about a screenshot. 13:05 UTC. Edit 15: Added some info from Twitter. I wish I knew of MysticDistance's work sooner! 13:54 UTC. Edit 16: Added some observations from the trailer. 20:15 UTC. Edit 17: Added a screenshot of the mystery figure on the TV screen. 20:47 UTC. 28th April Edit 18: Added more details from Twitter, some speculation and a feature about the cutscenes I keep forgetting to add! 10:09 UTC. Edit 19: Added speculation about when Kasumi joins the Thieves as well as a theory on Okumura's Palace. 14:05 UTC. Edit 20: Added some speculation and further observations. 16:52 UTC. UPDATES: This post is now too long to add to, so further updates will be added in the comments (along with text from here to show where the new details fit in. Edit 21: Can be found here. 22:17 UTC. (Edit 21.5: Added a link to the magazine article and boldened the links to the trailer and site. 22:25 UTC). 29th April Edit 22: Can be found here and contains some further speculation! 19:13 UTC. Edit 23: Can be found here and details Kasumi's animations and possible symbolism of her stats/ potential playstyle. 19:36 UTC. Edit 24: More speculation! 20:03 UTC. Edit 25! 21:32 UTC. 30th April Edit 26! 20:12 UTC. (Edit 26.5: Added the above date and italicised it and the 29th for better clarity. 21:13 UTC.) Edit 27: Added something I've been forgetting to add ever since adding the speculation of Goro (and Kasumi) joining Joker as "inmates," followed by some shower thoughts! 21:48 UTC. Edit 28! A big one if I say so myself, about Kasumi's theorised code name, "Swan". Now I really hope we were right! 22:06 UTC. 4th May Edit 29, 30 and 31: I was able to cover a lot over the past few days, including an analysis of Kasumi's character and name so far and translations for everything on the trailer and website! 16:49 UTC. Edit 32: A new thought and an old thought. 23:00 UTC. 5th May Edit 33: A thought regarding the narrative impact of the similarities between Kasumi and Joker's outfits. 10:01 UTC. Edit 34: Wrote an analysis of the main song, Colors Flying High, and added some suggestions for the origins and implications of Kasumi's powers! 15:14 UTC. 6th May Edit 35: More theories based on suggestions from the comments! 14:16 UTC. Edit 36: New theories from the comments and something I keep forgetting to mention. 14:43 UTC. Edit 37+ listed here!
Here is a 1-shot adventure I made, that could easily be fixed to suit any campaign! It comes complete with a whole town, some notable NPCs, some games to play while they are there, and a heist adventure if your players are keen!I playtested it with my group last Friday and they loved it :) Let me know what you think, or if you play it with your group! ---------- The group has come to the bustling town of Everhaven, a massive stone city in the middle of nowhere outside of all lordly jurisdiction. What once was a safehaven for unlawful deeds, gangs and thieves and murder, has since become an incredible tourist attraction for upper-class citizens to feel the thrill of skullduggery with minimal risk (as well as those looking for an easy pocket to pick). With buildings stretching towards the sky engraved with immaculate relief decor along its pillars and archways; gold and jeweled accents; and magically enhanced lighting illuminating every corner, rooftop, and statue, the city of Everhaven is an overwhelming mecca of visual stimulation.You arrive at the main square, where hundreds of other carriages are dropping off persons of every shape and size. A large group of richly adorned dwarves with gems on every finger scramble out of a red velvet carriage and immediately begin arguing about which attraction to visit first. A few high elves laugh behind their hands, though their red cheeks reveal their obvious drunken state, while leaning against a statue of angels playing fanfare trumpets in every direction - light spewing out of the metal horns in a magical rhythmic dance into the sky above. To your right is a large stable run by a sturdy group of stablehands, who are keeping busy taking care of the myriad of animals being herded into the city with frantic efficiency. Leaning against the stables are a group of rough and unfriendly looking folks, scars streaking across their exposed skin and blades at their belts. If the group talks to them, or succeeds on a 12 PER check, these are mercenaries to be hired for protection for pickpockets. (use the thug statblock (mm pg 350) for 2 silver per day or veteran (mm pg 350) for 2 gold per day).Eventually, an overzealous male half-elf (Fenian, The Silver Song) approaches you, adorned with a sequin silver vest and small white lute. He wears a hat with bells that jingles incessantly as he strides up to greet you. He offers to give you a tour of the city, and he specializes in the grand jewel of the of Everhaven - The Clover. He asks for 10 silver for the regular tour, with the best-selling vocalization, or 20 silver for without music accompaniment.Anyone with a passive perception of 10 or less will at some point, if not multiple points, be pick pocketed during their stay unless they hired a guard.On the tour he points out the various mercenary groups along the way, and makes note of the major attractions. The group can also see these if they decline his services:
The Houndgrave - the shabby pub where mercenaries hang out while in-between jobs. It is an unwashed tavern that most tourists don’t venture to, as it is pretty standard and boring - when you walk in, you immediately greeted with eye rolls and sighs, and a weary Tiefling female mercenary (Fage) approaches you asking if you are looking for an escort through town. There are swords, shields, and stuffed creature heads adorning the walls and empty bottles along the rooftop inner ledge. A roaring fire is off to the far left, and the bar with a hardy human woman (Estella) with an eyepatch behind the bar reaching for a top-shelf liquor on a ladder. She is serving a very excited looking, and out of place, elven man (Dyanmore) escorted by a tired old half-orc man (Two-Tooth) and his dog (Fang), but looks half drunk yet efficient. Two-tooth is a veteran of Everhaven, and know just about all there is to know about this town, though he is short on words.
The Pepper Parlour - a huge buffet, which spans hundreds of long tables being served water, wine, and ale from overworked servers in skimpy, tight uniforms (male and female). Against the entire far wall are foods of all type - starting with cooled foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, cold soups, cured meats, and iced sweets and moving on to hot foods like roasted potatoes and turnips, a magically rotating pig over a fire, boiling broths, steamed vegetables with exotic spices, savory noodles dripping with cheese, crispy fried meat, and sauces both sweet, spicy, and salty. There is an extensive dessert table with with honeyed pastries, candied almonds, creamed porridge, dates, figs, and chocolates.The floor is sticky and there are crumbs and bones everywhere, despite dozens of goblins shuffling around trying to clean faster than the patrons can messy the place up.
The Velvet Chariot - One of the 3 major casinos, where the theme is elegant, classy, and lush. The casino itself is rich with velvet tapestries hung from the ceiling in waves, and each game table is on its own raised platform surrounded by gold bars, with marble steps leading up to it. Each platform has its own security guard, in crushed red velvet with a gold hand brooch pinning the uniform across their chest. Small pixies flitter to and fro each guard delivering messages.Features a fighting pit that has nightly bouts between all sorts - ferocious creatures, knights, bandits, and local gangs all compete for glory and gold. The fighting pit is in the basement, dozens and dozens of winding staircases leading into a huge arena style seating with black painted walls and a single bright white light illuminating the sanded court. They do not take drop-in offers for fighters, but you can sign-up for a bout later in the week if you should be interested.
The Lunar Court - another Casino, with a dark and entrancing vibe. The roof is enchanted to look like a clear midnight sky with thousands of constellations above. The casino is made up of rows of long hallways, with each game table separated from one another in small alcoves of draped black lace, with plush cushions around a low table. On a PER 13, you can see small silver metal eyes nestled in the drapery flicking back and forth to keep an eye for security. Black and Blue Huge Dragonborn walk the halls in nothing but airy trousers gathered at the hips and ankles, adorned at the wrists and ankles by dazzling diamond bands. (roaming security)Features an elaborate spa with many relaxing attractions, such as heated pools in mushroom-filled grottos, frozen caves filled with crystals, black rooms with salted waters where you can swim with glowing fish, rooms filled with powerful waterfalls, scenic baths enchanted to be overlooking amazing views of forests with magical creatures walking nearby, lava-filled volcanoes, high in the clouds with birds and dragons flying nearby, or underwater amongst coral. They also offer a diverse menu of massage for all needs - gentle, aggressive, with tools such as stones or needles, and other additional services.
The Smiling Lady - In the center of the town square made up of the three major casinos, a huge gold statue of an elegant woman in flowing robes, with a well-placed slit along the side exposing her graceful thigh stands tall. Her smile is enchanting as she holds up a huge levitating coin, rotating between her extended hands. Glowing water shines bright falling across the statue onto the monolith she stands on below. Around the statue are water jets shooting off radiant water in varying intervals. It is a statue of Tymora, or Lady Luck, and the patron saint of Everhaven. It is common to see people toss a coin into the fountain for good luck. (if you toss a coin, gain 1 Luck point)On the hour, every hour she rotates 90 degrees to face a different casino in a huge show of dancing lights and water. Regulars believe this to be a sign that whichever casino she faces is lucky, and there is a flux of people moving from one casino to the next each hour.On a PER 13 check, you can see that there is a room beneath her for mechanics to help fix any broken mechanisms. There is a locked metal cellar-like door leading to it. Spoiler: Through the mechanic's chamber's they find an underground labyrinth connecting all of Everhaven’s attractions.There lies a poem engraved into the stone monolith:"Don't push her far or you may findYour adventures to be through.But on the draw, the stroke, the streakThe Lady smiles on you."
The Clover - The center of the three casinos, The Clover is the oldest of Everhaven’s buildings. You wouldn’t know it from looking at it, as it is also the town’s best-earning attraction and features top of the line decoration. With a towering clocktower, that is said to be the most accurate in the world, mounted above the wide entrance, the Clover is framed by rows upon rows of stained glass windows featuring fields of flowers and clovers, raining down golden coins from a sunny sky. It features the most expansive space for gaming, hosts elaborate shows for entertainment, and the bar is the cheapest in town, with the prettiest looking staff.The decor of The Clover is bright and happy - dreamy neon colors, with a general favoring of green and yellow, bright flashing lights, statues frozen mid leap in the air, or with glimmering jeweled balls suspended in bronze, or with hands and kicks stopped mid dance. There are streamers strung between pillars, which are made up of a clear translucent material which refracts light into thousands of shapes and colors along the room and the faces of the guests. There is loud music being played by a live band in the middle of the room, with a gentle male baritone singer hugging his wand and whispering with soft lips into its amplifying abilities. The roof is incredibly high, with a crystal domed ceiling and similar stained glass windows from the front circling around it.Each gaming table is in the open middle room, with game masters dressed in elaborate Masquerade type clothing - ruffles, feathers, sequins, and decadent makeup. The security is similarly dressed, but less complicated, and wear full porcelain masks.The building is made up of 3 sections:
The center, main casino.
The Bar is to the far left, which is equally flashy as the main casino. Here there are rows of booths where patrons can relax and have drinks, and the servers are very athletic dressed in very little more than feathers and sequins in appropriate places and luxurious headdresses. Your server is a handsome male human, tanned and covered in black sequins augmenting his robust muscles. (Balor) He is kind and flirtatious, but with an INS 12 you can see he hates this job and feels demeaned. Offers you an all you can drink special for 1 gold, or free if you become a member. It costs nothing to become a member but your signature on a hefty contract, written with your own spit. The pen is enchanted to know if you don’t write your own name. They also offer a wide range of food and snacks, also free for members or 2 silver per plate.
The Stage is to the far right, with space for about 200 to sit and watch. The walls are angled mirrors, so they reflect in a kaleidoscope effect what is happening on stage. Every hour on the hour a captivating show takes place, rotating between tamed creatures performing tricks, acrobatics, live bands, jesters, live battles between skilled swordsman, magicians, sexy dance routines, and clerics performing rites of luck on all guests attending. (Clearly timed that way to stop the steady flow of people, should Lady Luck turn her back that hour)
If the group is having enough fun just exploring - let them. Otherwise, if they make enough money or make enough of a ruckus, then a stranger will approach them with a plan too good to pass up. This female purple-skinned tiefling (Marzas Alrozath) has a scar over one eye and is missing a few teeth, but is otherwise well kept and clean. Her hair is shaved in zigzag patterns on both sides and a ponytail at the back. She wears padded black leather, with various pockets sewn in. Her belt has too many coin purses. She takes you to the Pepper Parlour and pays for your meals “There is no better place to talk of such matters than in a room full of raucous pigs.” She explains that she is interested in working with you to break into The Clover’s vault. There is more money there than God knows what to do with. It is heavily guarded with too many traps. She heard from a good source that there is, however, a way around the majority of these hazards - a central access point to the subterranean cellars connecting all of Everhaven together. She knows it's somewhere in the middle of town, but hasn’t been able to find where yet. She asks you to seek it out, as she cannot do it herself as they have her records on file (she became a member years ago, and they have her spit to track her movement inside the casino. If the party is already members they have disadvantage on any stealth checks made while in the Clover. The secret entrance is underneath the Smiling Lady Statue through the mechanic's entrance)Alternatively, you can try and find someone in The Clover who has little loyalty to the company, or someone who knows the space well can help you? Perhaps a key, or a map, or intel on what awaits you? (Fenian the guide, Balor the server at The Clover's Bar, or Two-Teeth at the Houndgrave) Map to the Clover's Staff Area (accessible through the far back of the casino) (one with traps, one without) TRAPS: If any traps go off, make an additional stealth check for alerting the guards (except for Trap 4)
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or DEX 12 save to avoid stumbling.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage and you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Huge metal locked door to the vault - PER 12 check to notice the trap. If door isn’t unlocked the right way, then a loud siren goes off and you are Deaf for 1 minute (alerts the guard immediately).
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or Con 15 save or be be blinded for 1 minute
The floor in this room is jiggly. Movement across the room sends nearby creatures bouncing into the air. A successful Intelligence (Investigation) or Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 15) will grant knowledge of how the jelly floor acts. A Wisdom (Perception) check (DC 15) is required to notice the jelly floor. The walls themselves are slightly sticky, which allows you to walk across.The floor feels like hard stone when lightly touched touch, but while walking across the floor or if hit, it really jiggles. A creature, and any creature who is within 5 feet of them, who is walking across the floor is tossed 10 feet into the air, hits the ceiling and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
If you don’t approach the door from the walls or ceiling (aka you open it from the floor), sleep gas is emitted into the hallway. (DC 15 Wisdom saving throw)
Motion sensor - If the door wasn’t opened correctly, then this automatically goes off. Dex save or else darts shoot from the corners, take 2D6 damage.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or 12 DEX save to avoid stumbling.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or spikes fly out from the group. Take 1 D10 piercing damage
Pressure plates - PER 12 to notice the plate, or else the pressure plates release sticky slime to the ground which acts as difficult terrain and sticks to your feet for 1 minute after leaving the terrain.
Holding Cells: 1 drunkard who can’t be woken up, 1 thief who claims he is really good at picking locks and sleight of hand.
Security: A room full of 15 divination sorcerers sitting in a circle. They have their eyes closed and are surveying the casino. There are also 5 fully armed security guards at the walls watching the sorcerers for any sign of a problem.
Technician room: A room full of gears, screws, hammers, nails, clamps, and moving parts. Smells like oil.
Cold storage: rows and rows of raw food.
Changing rooms: 4 rooms filled with ridiculous clothing, some gold, and food. 2 rooms are locked, with 1 having someone changing who screams when you come in, the other has a key in their costume.
Cleaning closet: full of brooms, cleaning agents, and towels. Has a map of The Clover (no traps).
Break room: Food, snacks, and some booze. Has a skeleton key in one of the lockers.
Offices: Keys, maps (no traps), chest (Sleight of hand 20) with instructions about traps and how to disarm them
Vault: 20,000 gold worth of coin, jewelry, and gems. Also a few magical weapons and armor that must be inspected by an agent to determine their worth (as I wrote this as a 1-shot)
CASINO GAMES (all Dealers / Game Masters have a DC 13 against sleight of hand checks) Lucky 7s - Roll 2D6. Players bet either over or under 7. Players can either double down or quit - pot then doubles until either the players cash out, they choose wrong, or a 7 is rolled. Once a 7 is rolled, the house wins. Devil's Dice - Roll 3D6. Players pick a # between 1-6. If 0 of the dice match this number, the house wins. If 1 of the dice match, they win back their bet. If 2 match, they double their bet. If 3 match, they triple their bet. High or Lower - Roll 2D6. Dealer shows 1 dice to player, and the player has to guess whether their sum is higher or lower than the Dealer's dice. Can double down, and then roles swap for who shows their dice first. I tried making a few games that weren't just dice games, but also offered some role play elements. Karaoke - Roll performance against the crowd's reaction. Roll 1D20 against the player's Performance (Player's have advantage if they perform a duet). Earn 1 gold for the difference between these rolls (ie: Player's rolled a 18 performance, DM rolled a 12. Players earn 6 gold) Dunk the Drunk / Archery - Roll for a ranged attack. 10-15 earns back their bet. 15-20 earns double the bet. 20+ earns double the bet plus a special item (up to DMs discretion) Hammer Strike - Simple enough - DC 15 Athletics wins double the bet. *edit - Forgot to add in the casino games like I promised - whoops!
GONG… GONG… GONG… That infernal ringing at sunrise on day twenty-four of the killing game is more than enough to get everyone awake and out of their designated shelters bright and early. Some refuse to leave the comfort of their sheets, but once it’s discovered that Monokuma is the cause of the sound, they reluctantly come and see what’s going on this time. Monokuma is standing right at the end of the teepee path, where it meets the village center. There, he’s smacking a stick he found somewhere into an Oriental-style gong at regular intervals. His new companion, the purple eagle with the PhD, is standing right beside him. Just like all the previous mascots, this one displays no qualms at talking smack at the bear. “Ya got your cultures mixed up there, moron…” Monokuma angrily tosses the stick at Professor Dr. McFly’s talons once he sees that all the participants of the killing game have finally arrived. “Well how did you want me to wake them up? Yelling ‘wolololo?’” McFly just scoffs You and your friends have probably had enough of this, so one of the teens quickly speaks up and asks Monokuma what the hell he’s up to this time. “Oh, that?” Monokuma shrugs nonchalantly and points behind himself in the direction of the farms with a paw. “Cuz real fire alarms haven’t been invented yet.” Everyone, of course, looks over to where Monokuma is pointing. You quickly wonder how you didn’t notice that before. “F-F-Fire!” someone yells in a squeaky voice. They’re right, it seems as though a column of dangerous black smoke is rising from the storage huts right next to the farm area. Some panic and wonder what to do. “Too bad there’s no water in the desert, am I right?” Monokuma taunts. Loathe as they are to admit it, you and your companions understand his hint and start dashing around Glenn’s Run, grabbing any container they can find and filling it with water from the river or the moats around the farm plots. It seems as though only one of the storage teepees is actually ablaze, but it could easily spread to others in this dry environment. During this chaos, it’s confirmed that all twelve remaining survivors are accounted for, so no one’s in that fire, luckily… It takes a few heart-throbbing minutes, through which Monokuma and McFly only hurl backhanded words of encouragement—’Yeet that water! Is that how that word is used?’—or straight-up mocking, but the buckets and jars of river water are able to snuff out the last of the flames on that storage hut, leaving a soggy mess of ash behind. It’s quickly surmised by the teens who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and dig through the soot that this was the food tent. The cornmeal is all burned and lost, ruined even further by the water. Very few fruits and vegetables escape unharmed, only sheltered from the flames by being at the bottom of their containers. The meat is… cooked. But mostly just charred. At least the alcohol escaped unscathed, protected by its own clay container. This is a big blow to the food supply. Everyone looks on the mess in sadness. One of the kids optimistically points out, “I guess we’ll have to eat from the farm for the day until Monokuma restocks this place…” After all, Monokuma restocked the M.K. Corral and Grand Buffet every night. “Nope!” Monokuma jumps in out of nowhere, cannonballing into the ashy mess and sending dust flying everywhere. The robot is, of course, unperturbed by it. Professor Dr. McFly flaps their wings and lands softly nearby, giving crooked smile to the kids. “What do I look like to you? Some kind of farmer? This food was supposed to last you bastards the week or two that it’s usually been taking for someone to die... “ Monokuma puts his paws behind his back and looks down dejectedly, speaking to no one in particular. “If this was your idea of a murder plot, then you’ve really gotta pick something that works a little faster…” “Either way, this is a problem that’s gotta be resolved fast!” Monokuma crosses his arms. “I want murder, not starvation! Do you have any idea how boring some type of motive like that would be? No, this has to be something you bastards fix…” Monokuma paces in a circle, rubbing his chin. “What to do…” “You’ve replaced our food daily for almost a month now!” someone suddenly accuses. “Yeah! Isn’t there food right here on the train, anyways?” “Just give us the casino food again…” Monokuma ignores everyone. “CAWCAWCAW..! Wouldn’tcha like that? Nooo, I think it is time you spoiled little chicks ta pull ya weight around here! This entire time, my test results were falsified by you brats gettin’ pampered and fed simply because ya are our guests. I propose, we change up the formula a little bit. For science of course. From now on, you are in charge for keepin’ yaself - and each other - alive… at least, until someone gets fed up and snaps again. Ahh… how fickle humankind can be. I am already lookin’ forward to the new data-sets this will provide…” “You know, that’s not a bad idea, captain!” Monokuma offers a thumbs up and whirls happily. “But I don’t want to waste my time ordering you bastards around myself, so I guess you’ll have to do that part, too. Here, follow me!” There’s a lot of protests to this, of course, but everyone is eventually forced to follow Monokuma as he leads you all to the teepee path, stopping right at the totem pole. “This seems like a fitting spot, doesn’t it?” Monokuma asks McFly, who’s perched themselves atop the pole. The bird shrugs. “Yeah, we’ll do it here. And live!” The bear turns to face you all. “If you want to organize yourselves to get some food and junk, you’ll need a good leader to whip everyone into motion! But I’ve been doing that a lot lately, don’t ya think? It’s time for you to do my job for me! So I’ve made my decision… one of you needs to be the chief of Glenn’s Run!” Someone asks Monokuma what the heck he means by that. “Maybe not permanently… that’d be boring. How about every day? Yeah, every day, right here, I’ll crown one of you lucky few the chief of the village! That chief is gonna be the one who rations out what little food you have left and who works on the farm or docks to get more! After all, there’s enough of you to put some grit into this, right?” You and the others are a little confused and uneasy by this, but it doesn’t seem so bad yet... “Of course, I’ll be around to give the chief my own little tips and tricks on being the leader along the way.” And that is when everyone starts to feel worried at this whole situation. What could Monokuma be planning to do? He definitely wants to use this to his advantage. Monokuma proceeds to lightly tap on the side of the totem pole with his claws, smirking. “So let me consult the, uh, spirits here… and the most fitting chieftain of Glenn’s Run will be chosen for the day!” What follows is an idiotic display of Monokuma running in a small circle around the totem pole while banging on it and muttering nonsense the whole way through. It ends with him doing a triumphant knee slide and extending a claw to point forwards at someone in the crowd of kids. “Hideyoshi Satou!” “It’s pronounced ‘Satou,’” Professor Dr. McFly corrects. “... Satou!” Hideyoshi is, of course, taken a little aback by the sudden pointing. Monokuma doesn’t let him talk back before ordering, “Come talk to me in your swanky new chief’s tent,” he begins, pointing to the one shelter on the teepee path that’s been unused this whole time, “so I can explain your duties a little better and maybe even let you have breakfast! Everyone else, dismissed! Remember, you’ve gotta do everything our li’l resident seamstress here tells you to do, puhuhu…!”
Talking Stick Resort Casino: Buffet - See 743 traveler reviews, 126 candid photos, and great deals for Scottsdale, AZ, at Tripadvisor. Dining at Talking Stick Resort™ A vast array of dining experiences throughout the hotel and resort. Orange Sky. A fine-dining experience that sets your senses ablaze. Wandering Horse Buffet. An incredible buffet with cuisine from around the globe. Ocean Trail. A sophisticated taste of authentic Creole cuisine. Blue Coyote Cantina Specialties: Latin American, Asian, Mediterranean, and American Comfort buffet Established in 2010. The Wandering Horse Buffet originated as the Wandering Horse Café when Talking Stick Resort was in the form of gaming tents. The café… My favorite part about Talking Stick Resort’s casino is how clean and modern every nook and cranny feels. From the keno parlor to the pit, the sports bar and the buffet, and even the bathroom facilities, this casino looks the part of a Las Vegas-style resort. That extends to every aspect of Talking Stick Resort, too. Resort Amenities and Restaurants . Locals and visitors alike love the ... Talking Stick is the premier casino resort in metro Phoenix and handily competes with its non-casino resort neighbors throughout Scottsdale. Beyond the slot machines and gaming tables, the resort ... Talking Stick Resort Casino: Fun Times and Buffet - Talking Stick Casino - See 743 traveler reviews, 126 candid photos, and great deals for Scottsdale, AZ, at Tripadvisor. The Wandering Horse Buffet at Talking Stick Resort offers an expansive international buffet with indoor and outdoor seating featuring Italian, Asian, Mexican, Mediterranean and American cuisines. The Wandering Horse Buffet features live cooking stations, a fresh salad bar, a carving station, delectable desserts and a brick oven pizza kitchen. Dining at Talking Stick Resort™ A vast array of dining experiences throughout the hotel and resort. Orange Sky. A fine-dining experience that sets your senses ablaze. Wandering Horse Buffet. An incredible buffet with cuisine from around the globe. Ocean Trail. A sophisticated taste of authentic Creole cuisine. Blue Coyote Cantina. Authentic Southwestern fare with tacos, tequila and more ... Talking stick casino buffet - Take your chance and make some quick cash with this betting casino. Get the most out of your gambling efforts with this unbeatable casino. Do not miss your chance to get some real easy money with this top notch casino. When the limit Restaurants Inside Talking Stick Casino has been reached you will get a message which informs you that your loss limit Restaurants Inside Talking Stick Casino has been reached and you will not be able to place any further bets. You will be able to review these settings should your occupation and amount change. You can change or remove your loss limit. The change will ...
Mighty Cash-$3.40 bet- Talking Stick Resort Casino - Duration: 12:01. simpleguyshane 540 views. 12:01 . Max bet bonus at Talking Stick Resort - Duration: 6:21. Kendra Beth 890 views. 6:21. Slot ... My trip to my favorite restaurant The Wandering Horse Buffet. Talking Stick Resort and Casino in Scottsdale Arizona. Talking Stick Resort Casino NEW Buffet! September 2018 - Duration: 9:54. King Terron 1,880 views. 9:54. Top 05 Best Hotels In Arizons 2017 - Duration: 3:50. Hotel Info Recommended for you. 3:50 ... Talking Sticks Casino Arizona playing Fire Money, Buffalo Gold, And Hand pat on Fu.