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 Tomorrow (or the next day), the new archive will live! LIVE! Mwahaha!

What's slim, filled with questions and undenyably attractive? Well, besides me: Today's column! That's right, we're light on the opinion, heavy on the "Huh?", and it's about dern time. The Archive'll be updated tomorrow or the next day, so for now you all will just have to be content with the present. Enjoy!

The surname game

Lali Ho! I was just wondering... do you know if Crono Lucca, Ayla or Glenn have last names?

-- Falg

Thor: I don't believe so. What? What do ya want? I'm still not getting that many Videogame-related questions, just "what do you like better" stuff. :D

"Q", "K", same difference

Hey there Thor man, I'll keep it short and sweet, a qatar is a persian/middle eastern/and I think perhaps even Indian weapon that is best described as a punch dagger. They have handles that are perpendicular to the blades and are held so that when striking, a punching motion will nicely embed the blade into the victim of you choice.

-- Justin Evans

Thor: Ahh, yeah. What threw me is that the news bit spelled it "Qatar", not "Katar". Now I have to cancel that vacation to Qatar... Maybe Voldo'd want my ticked. I could probably trade it for one of his alternate costumes. Not that, uh, heh, I'd want it or anything.

Butt kissing

Dear most degenerate Norse god,

1. I remember seeing a couple episodes of some anime-style cartoon a few years back that featured a solo hero who had something that looked like a Dragon Warrior slime riding on his shoulder. Was there a Dragon Warrior anime series?

As a matter o' fact, there was. In 1990 the first Dragon Quest series was released. It starred a hero named Aberu and a heroen named Tialah, who went on a bunch of adventures throughout the 40+ episodes which were made. There is a second series out--also more than fourty produced--but it doesn't have all that much to do with the first, and from what I've read it's rather stinky.

2. I love the music in Final Fantasy Tactics. Who composed it, and what other games has he/she worked on?

Masaharu Iwata and Hitoshi Sakimoto. They've worked on the Treasure Hunter G soundtrack, and that's about all I could find on 'em.

3. Did you know that the final dungeon of FF3j contains a common enemy by the name of Thor?

Dude, I won't be happy until the main character's named after me. Maybe in FFXI, when they run out of elements.

4. Who's your favorite, Cactus, Dude, or Mankind?

Mankind. Especially "Kiddy" Mankind, back when he teamed w/ Al Snow. Cracked me up every time.

BTW, I was pretty P.O.ed when Reid left, but was quite pleased that a WWF fan took his place. Yes, I suppose that's butt-kissing, but it's also sincere!

Thor: I don't really know how to take that. I'm glad you enjoy my work, but was the fact that I like wrestling the best ya could come up with?

Trivial "Thor" question. Fun! Well, for a few. Like me.

Amazing thunder-gad and whatnot; quick note (my first to you) Thanks for defending the Manga and Anime people! You are undoubtably the nicest Guru-type yet... I think.

As for the questions: What is your favorite Fanfic? I have asked EVERY letters person this, and none have responded. Hey; Questions are good, right?

(yet another RPGirl, and one who complained of the lack of RPGuys at that!)

-- Greyhawk, head of the Great Ranma Trading Circle

Thor: I probably wouldn't have printed this, except I had just read an awesome fanfic yesterday. It's called Proposition, and it's on the latest fanfic update. It was so cool, I decided to go back to my Robert Asprin/Piers Anthony/Craig Shaw Gardener roots as a writer, and try my hand at some comedic/light fantasy. (I've been stuck in a Horror rut you wouldn't believe. Clive Barker rocks.)

Wait, back up a sec. You're an RPGirl, looking for RPGuys? Maybe I should introduce you to Clouded. Then again, this very well could be a Gatekeeper/Keymaster kinda thing...

Stereotypical? Final Fantasy? I'm scared.

Hello Thor!

I hope this letter finds you well. Er--anyway, couple of things. First of, in regards to that guy who did the big explanation of the storyline to WA the other day... He was pretty much correct except for one thing. Van Burace is not Artican for "the Guard". It's a mistranslation of the word "vambrace", which is another name for an arm gaurd or bracer. I know you don't personally care, but I'm sure there are a few of us who'll find it mildly amusing.

Naw, I care. I'm the one who asked for someone to clear up Wild ARMs story. :D

Oh yeah... You're always complaining that not enough people actually ask you questions. Don't worry; got that covered. Have you ever noticed the sheer number of stereotypes we've accumulated in RPGs over the last decade? For instance, we have the strong, not-so-bright guy who acts on impulse and never says die. And then there's the bitchy bad girl archetype, who's really very warm and loving underneath, but just needs a little love and understanding to bring out her true character. Don't forget the optimistic, niave, and ignorant girl whose never been out in the real world, but her pure disposition constantly lends hope to the party. And don't forget the newest stereotype, the mentally unbalanced hero, played most recently by Cloud and Fei. I'm sure there're many others, I just don't remember'em right now. Anyway, I'll let you get back to your coffee.

-Final Bravado

Thor: Ayup, you have a point. I think you're more of against cliches than stereotypes, though. I mean, I've known a guy like Cloud (weird kid--wound up in juvie), so Cloud was more of an attempt at a realistic character than Square being uninventive. Many more unbalanced heroes in RPGs, and it'll shift to cliche, generating angry letters from fans everywhere. Foo!

Buffy the vampire slayer Vs Sabrina the witch


[A while back someone asked if we liked females as warriors (Tifa) or mages (Aerith). Dig this feedback. -- Thor]

Hello He Who Makes Thunder,

Just wanted to give my two cents about female fighter and mages. Well, It actually makes more sense for females to be mages. The reason is that naturally, women tend to be physically weaker, but also are somewhat smarter. However, there are always exceptions, and there can be female fighters. In Chronotrigger, I think they had a good fighter-to-mage ratio of 1:3, which makes good sense. And also, I think the female fighters should focus more on agility than brute strength, which is more natural. I think Tifa is much more believable than Ayla. Well, thanks a bunch if you posted this letter.

-- John the Wizardry Paladin

***

In response to you RPGirl who sent in the comment about female and male fighters and wizards (I'm sure you remember her :) ) I'd say I've always perferred a female fighter and a male wizard. When you think about it, what were the best wizards in most RPGs? Magus? The black Wizard from FF1 (assuming it is male). Most of the better wizards are male. But yet most wizards are protrayed as females, although those aren't as popular. My favorite for the fighters are all gals. Celes, and Tifa just to name a few. I think that the male wizards and female fighters are most poples favorites, and the best remembered basicly because they are different from "normal" games. Males have always been portrayed as fighters, and females as wizards. going back to Dragon Warrior 4, for example, you could either pick a male or a female. The male had a larges strength status, while the female cast spells better.

I think the point i'm trying to make, is that females have always been protrayed as the spell-casters, while it was always the male mages who got the bigger reputaion. And the same goes for the fighters. Could this be some message the game programmers are trying to send us?........nah

-- RPGuy......uh.....yeah

Thor: There ya have it. People seemed equally divided. I lean more towards females being magic users, myself. Yeah, for the 'guys are stronger' reason. I think that in your typical fantasy world--lacking martial arts, which change everything--a girl would do better as a wizard than a warrior. And you know what? I would too. I'm not the buffiest guy, but I love the idea of killing Orcs. What to do, what to... Oh, I know, fireball! FIRE! HAHAHAH! DEATH! FEEL MY CRIMSON FURY-WRATH, PIGHEAD!

<ahem>, you get the point. Besides, fighters have to worry about things like rusty swords, talking little and bathing even less. Give me that cute lil' pointy hat any day.

"You make Kefka look sane!"

Thor,

The invisible words become more nonsensical with each passing day. Maybe you need more sleep, or some fresh air. Just trying to keep you sane, buddy.

-- The Fever

Thor: Invisible... words...? OK, smart guy. If they're "invisible", then how can you read them? I swear, some people have too much time on their hands.

Hi. Your page is ugly. How're you?

The layout of RPGuru has never appealed to me. In fact, it's partially due to the layout that I never read it much until now. It's simply not aestheticly appealing. And while it may seem odd to not read something because of how it looks, it really does make sense. Y'see, it's actually kinda hard to read it. You really don't seperate between letters and respones.

Yes, you say "Thor:" in bold, and you sometimes answer inside letters in italics, but the former isn't enough, and the latter isn't consistent. If I'm reading a large paragraph of yours, or I'm several paragraphs down, I can't see "Thor:", nor am I going to look. Then the letters and your responses pretty much look alike. The solution is very simple: Make your responses in bold. Do the same for in-letter responses. It provides visual seperation (we don't just read the content, we take the page in as a whole -- you need to convince my eyes that there is supposed to be seperation, on TOP of the content), which is needed for any Q&A format or derivative. Take a look around on other webpages, see how they seperate letters and responses, or even look in magazines. Hell, if you see something you like, use it. Much of layout and desing is started from looking at what somone else did, and building on it.

This is how I'd do it though: Titles in blue (I like that), Arial, size 4 or 5, non-bold. Spoiler warnings size 2, again non-bold, but only a
inbetween, not

(using the paragraph tage visually seperates the title and spoiler, while you really want them as one unit). Letters in normal font (Times New Roman, size=3). Your answers in Arial size 2 (trust me, 3 is much too large, 2 is about the size of Times 3), bold. Same goes for in-letter responses.

These, of course, are only my suggestions (which means I half expect you to laugh and throw them out the window), and I only offer them because I think it would make reading your column that much easier on me. This is the first time I've really started to read RPGuru, and this has actually bugged me for a while, I just never bothered with it until now.

-- Kupek

Thor: Just started reading the column, eh? Damn, I'm good. As for the suggestions, I appricate 'em, but they're a bit too drastic for my tastes--and I've always hated bold black text on a white background. Your complaints haven't fallen on deaf ears, though, just pointy ones; so I might mess around with a more "unified" look in a couple of days. But for now, I'm working on getting archive.html up. (Gimmy one day, I've found the solution. More on that later.)

Deep thoughts by Tadrith Handy

Dear Man with a Big Hammer,

I just recently purchased a Color Gameboy, and since I absolutely love RPGs, I decided that purchasing all the re-released Gameboy Final Fantasies was in order. I've just begun playing Final Fantasy Legend III, and something occurred to me...where did all the upbeat overworld music go? It seems like Square has been putting some downright depressing overworld themes, such as in FF7...or perhaps they just toned them down a bit. For anyone who wishes for a little "old school" RPGs, I'd recommend the Gameboy ones...they aren't good for an extremely deep story, but overall they're really fun to play. Especially monster meat..fun to eat, and does funny things to your characters!

Like give them heart disease! Tee hee, fun!

Square's toned down the music in an attempt to get people over twenty to play their games. During the NES/GB years, the biggest complaint from adults was the music. Since you usually hear the overworld theme quite a bit, most composers try to make it soothing and "loop" well from battle to battle.

Also...why did square stop putting items in barrels and things? Such as in FF3, you could look inside barrels and find potions and such...it was really fun sometimes to just explore and search around in barrels or buckets, or whatever was convenient. I guess when the tile-based background went away, so did the whole look in barrel idea.

You think that's bad, check out the latest news on FF8: No treasure chests. There are a few "in the enviroment" items in Final Fantasy 7, though. Like the seemingly impossible to obtain super elixer in Kalm. (Don't even ask me how to get it. I know, but I'm not telling! Neiner, neiner!)

Lastly: I agree wholeheartedly with your public humiliation scheme. Your column was starting to become a chore to read with some of those opinion letters...the reason I usually read the "Ask XXXX" columns is for those obscure or interesting pieces of information...if I wanted an opinion, I would go read the editorials. Good job on cleaning it up! Three cheers for Thor!!

-- Tadrith

Thor: "Cleaning it up"? Hey, I like that. Just call me Thor Vega: Letter Hitman. And yes, I think we were all growing a bit tired of debate. My new rules is, unless things get really funky, dedicate no more than 1/3rd of Ask Thor to opinions. Opinions scattered in a multi-part question, sure. But no more heavy editorialetter days.

Unfit for Print

sup thor, you don't need to print this because it will no doubt conflict with what I am going to ask you... SHORTEN THE LETTERS SECTION! YOU POST PEOPLE'S QUESTIONS THAT ARE 250 WORDS THAT REPEAT THE SAME THING! DO THIS AND THE Q&A WILL BE RESTORED

1) shorten the section (6-7 letters TOPS)
2) only print short questions, and short/medium letters
3) reply with useful info to stuff, not "you suck" or "oh ya" or ";D" (very unpro.)

ya ya you won't listen to me. no1 does, even though im right. i know if you did these things and made it like one of the ign mail/QA pages it'd rule. but will you listen? nope. ah well i tried. (i didnt use caps or bother with spelling because I figure this letter will reach blind eyes:)

Thor: "didn't use caps"? I wish.

A few questions up, Kupek showed a perfect example of how to suggest things for Ask Thor. This unfortunate fellow presents just the opposite. After I said clear as day that the "vote" was 6/1 in favor of longer columns, he decides to add his opinion. By demanding I shorten the column. In caps. Shifting the scales from 6/1 to a stunning 6/2.

This is pretty tame as far as UfP's go--I might start saving them, so if I get more than one a day you can see it later--but I hope it'll present a good example of how not to get something changed. <sniff> <sniff>... hey, know what I smell? Quickies!

Oral Quickies:

A Neew Englaanda wrote: "I was reading one of your responses, and in it you used the term 'wicked'. I wasn't expecting to see that. I myself am from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Whereabouts are you from? Or do people out of state *gasp* actually use the term "wicked" too?" Yes, a rare Californian or two uses "wicked". I also use "Hella", "Funky", "Flargin'", "Blarg", and an almost obscene ammount of "Cool". // In his infinate wisdom, Henry Truong shouted the following from atop a stormy mountain: "Just in case you were wondering, Thor's hammer is called Mjollnir." Indeed. Mjollnir ("that smashes") was Thor's hammer. I don't have hammer. I do have a set of awesome Samurai swords, though. Fear. // A somewhat confused Ion wondered, "What the heck does 'cha!' and 'Pish' mean?" Well, here goes: Cha! is a valley girl thing. It's a gasp/grunt which roughly translates to "I like, so, totally, can't, believe, it! Omigod!". Pish is used to express disdain or contempt. It's a more British version of saying "Tisk Tisk". // Why do all of today's Quickies involve words and speech? I have no idea. Here's one that'll break up this somewhat distressing trend: Leif Farney pointed out it wasn't his Lunar site I mentioned a few days back, just a good one. Thanks for the correction and discovering America, dude!

Thor Stuff:

Tiny column, huzzah! Isn't it nice not to be able to finish an edition of Ask Thor and not have to worry about shaving? (Heh heh, not applicable to the ladies. I hope.)

Thanks for all the fixed up/updated archive.html's you all sent me. I wish I could thank each and every one of ya, but I received too dang many. Seriously--I had no idea ya'll were that helpful. Thanks. I finally decided to go with a redesign someone sent me which, while less flashy, loads much faster and will be a sinch to update.

Tomorrow I shall try and play more Zelda 64. You know, one guy actually wrote in and said, "Yes, you're right. Us fans really do want you to quit writing and play some Xenogears!" I pray he was being sarcastic.

- Thor "Q&A Dude" Antrim.
Bruce Campbell rules. Be he Ash or Atocolyes, he rocks. Hardcore.

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