Take Our Word: Kingdoms


The Word

There are plenty of kingdoms in pop culture these days. With Game of Thrones‘s fourth season now long done, there’s been a severe lack of good royalty portrayed in television this year. On the games front, Shovel Knight has been the new hotness, and all the pomp and circumstance of a good medieval royalty story is there (King Knight and Enchantress Queen, I’m looking at y’all.) We’re going to be doing a little stretching to fit three diverse, quality pieces of media under the header of Kingdoms, so be prepared for some regal regaling of royalty.

The Recommendations


Queens of the Stone Age: I just couldn’t pick one thing to recommend from this California-based rock group. Their frontman, Josh Homme, is one of the most personable musicians based on his many public interviews and concerts, and QOTSA’s work is pretty consistently fantastic. I’d specifically recommend you go down at least one of two rabbit holes to get a full appreciation of their work: Listen to, in order: Songs For The Deaf, Lullabies To Paralyze, and …Like Clockwork. If you don’t have time to jam out to some of the best rock music of the last decade, at least poke around YouTube to find all of their music videos, particularly the ones for …Like Clockwork. Any good kingdom needs some Queens.

Here’s where you can buy …Like Clockwork on Amazon, which you absolutely should: http://www.amazon.com/Like-Clockwork-Queens-Stone-


And if you hate long links, here’s one for their YouTube VEVO channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/QueensStoneAgeVEVO/


Dungeons & Dragons Next Basic Rules: Although I haven’t had the fortune of playing pen and paper role playing games on any sort of a regular basis, I do love to collect books and look at the different ways that game designers choose to represent and implement certain concepts. D&D is a great case study of that, having gone through several generations of rules changes, all under the scrutiny of thousands of fans. This year will see the release of the franchise’s 5th Edition, and Wizards of the Coast has kindly put out a stripped-down version of the game for us fans to pick apart. It’s a free PDF that outlines a few core classes and other essential rules. From what I’ve read of it so far, it looks like Wizards has learned the lesson of 4th Edition and scaled back the combat focus, making the game less like an MMO and more like DnD. It has also learned the lesson of 3rd Edition and made the game much less complicated. Of course, it’ll take the full set of core books to see a complete picture of this new edition, but as it stands now this PDF makes me excited at the prospect of reading through and collecting DnD books again.

Here’s a direct link to the PDF if you’d like to take a look: http://media.wizards.com/downloads/dnd/DnDBasicRules.pdf


Demon Knights: When I think Kingdoms, the first thing that comes to mind is Moonrise Kingdom, which is a fantastic movie, but utterly too banal for Take Our Word. Instead, I am going to write about the demon Etrigan. With the release of the New 52 reboot of DC Comics came a somewhat surprising entry about the demon Etrigan. In the series, titled Demon Knights, Etrigan’s origins are explained. Etrigan is a demon bound to the immortal human Jason Blood, by Merlin. After Merlin’s death and Camelot’s fall, Jason discovers the poem that turns him into Etrigan. Oh, did I not mention? Etrigan spits out fat rhymes, in iambic pentameter. This brawling demon who rhymes every word he says is one of the most bizarre comic creations I have ever seen. And what’s absurdly funnier is the fact that it actually works. The character is interesting, with compelling stories, with Demon Knights set in a Medieval Europe ravaged by war and magic. There are many King Arthur references, as Jason Blood served at the court of Arthur, which further heightens the cool Medieval atmosphere. The plots are great and even though it was cancelled, it’s still one of my favorite New 52 reboots.

You can buy the first volume of this fantastic comic book here: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Knights-Vol-Seven-Against/dp/1401234720
The Round-Up
My kingdom for some good Round-Up ideas! Ugh, even I hated that. Anyways, the first game that I think of when I hear Kingdoms is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. (Sorry, Kingdom Hearts fans. Go enjoy your metaphysical anime Disney nonsense and get back to me later.) The developers at 38 Studios ran into some economic troubles after the game’s launch, and the pushback from the Rhode Island government itself proved more interesting than the game itself.
The story of the company’s bankruptcy itself is recounted in the Giant Bomb wiki entry for the company: http://www.giantbomb.com/38-studios/3010-6332/
Kevin Dent also recounted the story more eloquently on Kotaku two years ago: http://kotaku.com/5913492/curt-schillings-big-huge-38-studios-debacle
And just the fact that it made local Rhode Island news shows just how serious this case got. It’s not fun to highlight game industry troubles, but it’s a reality of the business that people need to take into consideration: http://wpri.com/2014/02/11/sony-exec-blames-ri-pols-for-38-studios-debacle/