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Topics - Jubal

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Bigosaur / The Buddhist Monk Skinpack
« on: July 27, 2020, 04:29:15 PM »
The Buddhist Monk Skinpack

I've been reading The Outlaws of the Marsh, the classic Chinese outlaw novel recently, and decided it would be fun to be able to represent some of the wizard-monk and warrior-monk characters from that in SoaW. Whilst of course Buddhism is largely a religion that has a strong focus on peace, the warrior-monk has a long history both in reality and in folklore and literature as a character type. For example Outlaws of the Marsh brings us Sagacious Lu, who becomes a Buddhist monk to shake off the police after killing an abusive loan shark in a fight, gets thrown out of one monastery for being drunk and disorderly, gets chased out of a second by corrupt officials, and then turns bandit. Definitely the sort of decidedly chaotic energy that beat 'em up protagonists ought to have!
Scroll to the bottom for install instructions.


Vanquishing evil spirits is a good pastime for a good monk.

In the turbulent years and bitter corruption of the later Song dynasty, even good men must sometimes turn to banditry.

A close-combat staff is the perfect weapon for a monk, allowing much righteous striking of enemy monsters.

Install Instructions

1. Navigate to: Steam/steamapps/common/Son of A Witch/
2. MAKE A COPY of the "shaman.png" file (call it something like shaman_normal)
3. Paste the shaman-monk.png contained in the zip file (attached to this post, below) into the folder, and rename it to "shaman.png".
4. If you want to switch back to the normal character, just switch the filenames back round.

As with all modpacks this is an unofficial project, released for free and downloaded/used entirely at the user's own risk.

Bigosaur / Merlin Skinpack (for the Fire Mage)
« on: July 20, 2020, 04:39:44 PM »
The Merlin Skinpack

The standard wizards in Son of a Witch are all pretty young strapping types - but what if you want to run with a venerable sage or crotchety old man who's out for one last adventure? An ancient mage displaying the mighty magical powers he's achieved after a lifetime of mysterious study in a secluded tower and occasionally providing advice on removing swords from rocks? I bring you the Merlin Skinpack, which adds a hood, white hair/beard, and a blue aesthetic to the Fire Mage, so you can be just the elderly mage your heart desires!
Scroll to the bottom for install instructions.


A wise old sage is something of an asset on your side at court...

Sometimes, a mighty duel of wizards is inevitable: a great sage and master of magic will allow no lesser threats to their power.

Install Instructions

1. Navigate to: Steam/steamapps/common/Son of A Witch/
2. MAKE A COPY of the "firemage.png" file (call it something like firemage_main)
3. Paste the firemage-merlin.png contained in the zip file (attached to this post, below) into the folder, and rename it to "firemage.png".
4. If you want to switch back to the normal blue knight, just switch the filenames back round.

As with all modpacks this is an unofficial project, released for free and downloaded/used entirely at the user's own risk.

General Gaming - The Arcade / What should I play next?
« on: July 13, 2020, 12:24:30 PM »
In case anyone has thoughts. Not planning to do more Bannerlord for now, the combat glitchyness is getting to me too much.

Main options under consideration:
  • Buy & play Dragon Age II - big downside is that this will cost money, and also I have DA1 on GOG which doesn't sell DA2.
  • Buy & play Skyrim. Will also cost coin. I've not played any TES games, which makes it probably the biggest RPG franchise I've never tried, and maybe I should do? But it seems a huge undertaking and I'm not sure how worth it I'd find it.
  • Play Shadowrun Returns or Shadowrun Hong Kong (probably Returns first?)
  • Have another go with The Witcher 2. I stopped it because I absolutely hated the combat compared to Witcher 1 but maybe I should give it another try.
  • I also have Pillars of Eternity, Heroes of Might & Magic 3, The Witness, Psychonauts, and Mable and the Wood on my to play list.

Fandom Discussion - The Secret Garden / Narnian/Rowlingian realities
« on: July 09, 2020, 12:30:21 PM »
Narnia is real or the wizarding world from Harry Potter is real?

Mod note: early posts in this thread are copied or moved from the "would you rather?" thread.

Announcements! The Town Crier! / Election Results, June 2020
« on: July 05, 2020, 11:27:11 AM »
Election Results

This month in our regular six-monthly election round all of our current regularly elected team were ratified in post. The full election results were as follows:

Regularly Elected Staff

Jubal (FIF) re-elected unopposed as Basileus (Chair of Exilian), 5 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions
Tusky (Ind) re-elected unopposed as Sebastokrator (Voting Members' Officer), 6 votes to 0 with 1 abstentions
GMD (Ind) re-elected unopposed as Spatharios (Senior Moderator), 5 votes to 0 with 1 abstentions

The post of Tribounos was uncontested and remains vacant.

Thanks to everyone who voted and to all our staff: the next regular elections will be in December, with opportunities for joining the staff team in the meantime likely to be announced in the Questions & Suggestions forum.


As of today we're officially reopening our Mount & Blade sections of the forum, newly set up and sorted out for Mount & Blade: Bannerlord! As we did of original Mount & Blade, we'll be hosting mod subforums, writing guides to parts of the game, and generally chatting about our various ways to conquer Calradia. We've had some good stuff out already, including a guide to Tablut and the start of work on a new tavern music mod, and there'll be much more to come. We're also looking for a volunteer to help run our Bannerlord content so if that could be you, give us a shout.

For those who are unfamiliar with the game, M&B Bannerlord is the sequel to acclaimed medieval war game Mount & Blade, which takes players to the historical-fantasy world of Calradia. The original game was set in the high middle ages, whereas Bannerlord takes players a few hundred years earlier, with the Calradic Empire splintering into civil war and new realms rising to try and carve up its remnants. Beyond this world of early medieval warfare, the M&B series is also unusually easy to modify and has a large community of players who do so. Here on Exilian we've supported past modding projects including Southern Realms, Europe 1080, Warsword and the Extended Factions mod - and we hope to see just as good a range of projects take flower for Bannerlord!

Could you be our Marshal?

We're looking for a new volunteer to join our team to help moderate and promote our M&B: Bannerlord sections. We're expecting to have more tutorials and mods and so on for the game coming out in the coming months, having made a start already with the first in a series of game tutorials and work starting on a tavern songs modpack, and we want you to help us keep everything running smoothly. Ideally, you'll be an active member of the Bannerlord community on the web already, including knowing about and keeping up to date with mods.

We want someone to do the following:
  • Keep threads up to date: we're going to have a list of noteworthy mods, a list of modding resources and a list of tutorials for people to use, and we'll want you to help curate those.
  • Help with promotion: get other modders and gamers to post their stuff on Exilian, and let relevant other forums and social media groups know about what we're doing here.
  • Help with moderation: this won't be a major part of the role as we do have a good staff of moderators and admins, but you should be ready to help flag up problems as they arise and help build an inclusive, friendly community atmosphere.
  • It's not a requirement that you make mods or write tutorials yourself, but if you do obviously that's awesome.

If you'd like to do this, please comment below and we'll have a chat - any questions and queries are also welcome :)

M&B Mods - The Explorer's Society / Bannerlord: Tavern Songs
« on: June 07, 2020, 07:42:00 PM »
Bannerlord: Tavern Songs

So, as people with an eagle-eyed view of my progress in my poetry thread lately may realise, I've been doing a lot of prep for this idea: a mod that simply adds song options via dialogues to all the tavern minstrels, and they actually sing you songs when you do so. Obviously we can't just package up music from anywhere, but that's where my obsessive ability to produce middling quality vaguely bardic/folky music at high speed comes in: I've written seven original songs this week that I'm thinking could be used for this, and I have ideas for at least two more.

Ideally I'm thinking I'd like to get up to twelve songs in the mod: each minstrel would then get one "local" song from a choice of eight depending on the settlement's original faction, and then random choices of one of two comedic songs and one of two love songs.

If anyone would like to help on the dialogue coding that would be welcome, not so much because I can't do it as because it would free me up to produce more music.

I'm 100% not committing yet to getting this released or anything, it's more a case of "I've done half the work anyway, if people are interested enough to make it happen then that's a thing that could be done". Thoughts welcome!

Current planned/written track list:
Song of the ButterlordComic SongsLinkYouTube
It's Almost Harvesting SeasonComic SongsLinkYouTube
Moonlight SilksLove SongsLinkYouTube
The Lover's CairnLove SongsLink-
Song of SoftnessRegional (Aserai)Link-
The White Moth of BattaniaRegional (Battania)Link-
Hall of Absent Friends Regional (Empire - Northern)Link-
Oh Gallant Hero Regional (Empire - Southern)Link-
What Do The Hills Say Regional (Empire - Western)LinkYouTube
The Tears Of The Bokhon Regional (Khuzait)LinkYouTube
Shieldmaiden, Shieldmaiden Regional (Sturgia)LinkYouTube
The Flower of Charas Regional (Vlandia)LinkYouTube

Tablut - A Grandmaster's Guide

Tablut - The Basics

Tablut is Bannerlord’s Imperial game, based on a real Saami game of the same name. That in turn is a variant of Hnefatafl, a real world Viking game that could be played on various sizes of board with a wide range of starting setups, usually much larger than the 9x9 one used in Bannerlord. Tafl can really be considered a range of games given the variation in rules and setups, and it's inspired a number of real and fictional games over the years, notably Thud! in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. Tablut is presented in Bannerlord as the Calradic Imperial game, an interesting choice given its origins in a more Sturgian-like society.

No full ruleset for Viking-era Hnefatafl survives: the modern rules are reconstructed using archaeological finds of boards, pieces, and images of people playing, plus 18th century rules for Tablut itself written down by Carl Linnaeus in the eighteenth century. The two main rules questions in viking Hnefatafl that we don't know the answer to (but a good deal of work has been done on them, including considerable experimental archaeology work to try and determine which rules are the most balanced) are whether the king had to exit from the corners or any board side, and whether the king needed to be surrounded on two sides or four to be taken. In Tablut you can leave from any board edge, but the king only requires two to be taken (simplifying some slightly more variable/complex rules and exceptions that exist in Linnaeus' version). This the king a far less viable attacking piece than in four-to-capture versions where it can be a powerful part of the defenders' attack strategies.

Anyway – Tablut is very, very easy to win reliably at, and should have you picking up an extra 500 gold pieces in every single Imperial city you visit. After one gambling win the gamer won’t play with you again until you’ve played a boardgame in another town, as far as I can tell.

So, how to win?

First, play defenders. Tablut at present is horribly skewed towards the defending side winning. This is mainle because the attackers AI is abysmally bad (which may change in later versions, but for now it makes our life easy). My experience playing attackers so far has been that stalemates are extremely frequent, which may just be me not cracking the strategy, but as stalemates in Bannerlord basically force you to forefeit and lose it's better to go for reliable wins if there's money riding on it!

Basically, the attacker AI for Tablut at the moment plays too aggressively. A good attacker AI would be predicated on blockades, with the defender needing to break formation in order go get the king to the board edge: it’s about creating good coverage so that the defending player is punished for that when they do so. Bannerlord’s attacker AI, though, is aggressive as hell and will just throw itself at you. All you need to do is hold the line, take pieces when they come, don’t rush things, and you’ll soon have cleared away enough enemy pawns to open up easy routes to the board edge.

Starting moves

In the early game, two rules hold. First, only move your outer four pawns, and generally only move them in the row or column they start in (so the topmost pawn can move along its row, the left side one up and down its column). Second rule, the inner four must stay locked in place. They create an impregnable barrier around the king and are the “anvil” that you’re tempting the enemy to move against in order to then use the outer pawns as a hammer and smash them out of the way. If the enemy doesn’t rush at you immediately, don’t panic, just keep shifting in patterns in the centre and they’ll soon come in. You should be able to eliminate your first few of the enemy pawns this way.

Here's a typical opening move set where the AI just charges into one of my anvil zones, and precisely what I do about it:

And here's another two boards. the formation on the right is a particularly strong one, as it dominates a large area whilst keeping all its pieces well protected: the AI can't easily move in on it.

Developing and endgame

Once you've taken 3-4 enemy pieces and started clearing one side of the board, you can start playing a bit more aggressively and moving the inner circle to go and hit more enemies. Always keep one of two strategies in place:

Strategy 1: ensure that two adjoining sides of the king's square are blocked off with immobile pieces. This ensures the king cannot be taken, and is a nice safe strategy as you work towards clearing a way to a board edge.

Strategy 2: ensure that two non-adjoining sides are blocked off with immobile pieces, and that you have mobile "hammer" pawns in place so that the second an enemy pawn moves adjacent to the king, you are able to run in and remove it immediately. The AI loves going in to attack the king - not unreasonably since doing so ends the game - so leaving the king apparently open from both sides will often bait the AI into going in to attack the king, sometimes repeatedly, even if there's an obvious ambush in place, which can be a good way to rapidly kill off the attacker pawns.

The other thing to remember when playing more aggressively is to check your back. When you want to move in on a particular enemy piece, ensuring that the row or column along which you are surrounding it is either clear or has "guards" disconnected from the attack but preventing enemy pawns rushing in to take you back can be well worthwhile.

Eventually you'll be able to move the king. Never move him only one square out from the centre tile unless you're really sure he's safe there, as he can be captured against it. Only start moving him out for the endgame when either you can run him straight to a board edge, or when you can run him to a position that gives him more than one board edge to run to on the next turn, so the enemy can't block him off. In the case of the sample game I used for this, I managed to clear a nice direct run to victory.

I'll hopefully work out a reliable strategy to win as attackers as well, but I've ended up deadlocked a few times so far so at the moment I think the defender game is a bit easier.

Hope that helped and was interesting, please do share your thoughts, strategies and ideas below in the thread. Note that if the AI is improved then the defensive strategy above may become rather less viable to play with! If people liked this and say so I might make a few more (and I'm happy to go into more depth on either the tactics walkthroughs or real-world background if people are interested).

Let the debate begin! :)

So, I was making an image for my cleric D&D character Pyngale, a Very Norfolk cleric who is a priest of Hickathrift, a deity based on the Norfolk folk character Tom Hickathrift, who has giant strength and hits ogres over the head with a cart axle.

I struck upon a woodcut of Hickathrift in early modern dress, and struck upon the idea of trying to emulate the patterning and convert him into the more medieval dress style I wanted for Pyngale. The result actually doesn't look too bad, which is pleasing:

The original had a black, brimmed hat, lines rather than chainmail-effect decoration , no beard, and shoes instead of boots. It was the chainmail that took most of the time, both doing the links by hand and time spent working out how medieval woodcut artists might actually have done chainmail effects, which they didn't very often. I think the conversion came out quite reasonably :)

General Gaming - The Arcade / Dragon Age
« on: May 14, 2020, 11:38:24 PM »
I'm finally playing through Origins. Anyone got thoughts/want to flail at me excitedly about the series?

I'm finding it fairly enjoyable. Thoughts so far:

Overall likes:
  • Small group combat. Gives a nice mordheim-y feel to it at times.
  • Range of skills and specialisations is fun, I feel like upgrading my character is something I generally look forward to.
  • Companions. Broadly an enjoyable and well written bunch and most of them are narratively fairly interesting, although there are also a fair number of NPCs I'd prefer taking with me to the ones I actually get to.
  • Decisions feel meaningful, morality doesn't feel super railroaded. I think this is one of the main playthrough things. The game does a good job of leaving you in some actually quite valid "here are your options, none of them are perfect, what do you think is right" scenarios. The endings of the Daelish and initial Redcliffe sections I thought worked pretty well in particular.
  • Generally the different areas and mission sections manage to vary the theme and pace a fair bit. It feels like a very classic dungeon crawl a lot of the time, but one at least where you're faced with a series of fairly varied encounters rather than just "chop your way through 500 darkspawn one by one".
  • Lots of content to explore, with a minimap system, so I'm not too often left feeling the classic RPG thing of "everywhere is absurdly small and I don't know why there's so little distance between places".
  • The setting has a good amount of whimsy in it, though I would personally lighten it a bit more, possibly because its main existential threat and sub-villain are both kind of tropey. I'm not suggesting taking away the moral decisions or any of the darker elements, I'm mostly just saying that the tree that talked in rhymes was lovely and I would like some more things in Ferelden like that which genuinely give me hope for the place.
  • There is a Very Good Dog.

Overall dislikes:
  • Like most RPGs, terrible at portraying politics. It always winds up as "here's some no-good-option sidequest choices that make you hate yourself whatever you pick" which I mean is a viewpoint on politics but it just frustrates me.
  • Inventory space issues, constantly, all the time. I keep having to do two extra runs round a dungeon area to ensure I've picked up every damn shortbow and veridium mace and got them to a merchant. It's quite a pain.
  • I don't enjoy micromanaging equipment so much as I feel the game is asking me to. It's really hard for me to work out what the balance of stats and nominal tiers means in practice, even 50% or so of the way through the game.
  • Four in the party feels restrictive sometimes, especially as one of them has to be me and one of them more or less has to be a healer.
  • Battles can get very micromanagey - like, I'm at times pausing so often to adjust what every character is doing on perfect timing in order to win that it may as well just have turn based combat.
  • Not always good at flagging up things that can have large consequences - I've missed moderately interesting or important sidequests because it wasn't made explicit that I had to do them before X other thing. And I've done a couple of reloads after giving things to party members that appeared to be in their theme for gifts but they hated and got -50 relation from. I guess that's life, but even so. losing a quarter of the scale from one bad gift seems OTT.
  • Tactically, 90% of what I'm doing is kiting and then piling on half the enemy party most of the time. I pretty frequently feel like I'm meant to end up in some giant stand-up fight but then I just kite small blocks of enemies away from it to the point where it's sensible but immersion breaking.

How are people finding the speed of game/loading? From starting a first playthrough, it's taking a long time on loading screens and occasionally getting lag in battles for me even when I clock all the graphics settings down to low. Not sure if I should just chalk it up as my computer being a bit old or whether it's likely to improve as the engine gets optimised better.

M&B Mods - The Explorer's Society / Bannerlord Modding Resources
« on: May 10, 2020, 05:52:48 PM »
A pinned thread for modding resources and where to find them - be that tutorials, downloads, etc. Suggested links very welcome :)

Major/General Resources

Official TaleWorlds Modding Q&A (TW Forums)
Bannerlord Modding Docs (Community driven generic documentation)

Quests and Dialogues

Creating A Quest (TW Forums, by Gaktan)
Conversations Research (TW Forums by RapidFire & other contributors)

Noteworthy Mods for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Fantasy Modules

Mod name
Mod theme
A Twist of Fate A Song of Ice and Fire (Alternate Universe) TaleWorlds Forum
Hammerlord Warhammer TaleWorlds Forum

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