Uh oh, might you be living in a JRPG?

Sometimes, we can all get a little bit worried about the idea that the world we live in is simply a construct, a scenario that we actually have no control over. Clearly one of the most important questions that we must ask in times like this is whether or not we are actually living in a JRPG world! After all, we all know JRPGs are long, and if we ever want to make any progression in our lives then we had better damn well know whether we are in one or not, and how we fit in if we are!

Well, let’s first establish whether or not you really are living in such a JRPG world:

  • Do you live in a 3rd person, isometric, or top down world?
  • Is your world bright and colourful?
  • Does your world juxtapose an awkward mixture of the medieval and futuristic?
  • Has your world suffered from a disaster that repeats itself every 100-1000 years?
  • Is your world now on the brink of destruction?
  • Does pleasantly composed music play wherever you go?
  • Is the army of your world largely ineffectual, relying simply on the youths of the land to take care of trouble?
  • Do you find that you grow to an immense size when leaving a town, village or dungeon, allowing you to cross leagues of your world in but a few moments?
  • Is the general progression of transport that you learn to use in your world Foot > Boat > Airship?
  • Is there a needlessly complicated card game that is popular throughout your world?
  • Did you ever accidentally tread on a mushroom and see that it dropped Gold Pieces, or a treasure chest?
  • Do the animals you see about carry money on their person despite knowing nothing about fundamentals of commerce?
  • Have you ever hit an enemy and found yourself completely unable to deal them another blow until they have had complete freedom to hit you back first?
  • Have you ever seen numbers fall from yourself or others after receiving an injury?
  • Do your fights often take place in a small enclosed area separate to the place you were before the encountering the fight?
  • Do you understand the terms HP, MP, XP, SP, TP and GP?
  • Do you have a silly name?

If you were able to answer just one of these questions, then there can be no doubt that you do in fact inhabit the world of a JRPG! That’s all well and good, but now that you have established that you live in undoubtedly troubled times, we’ll need to work out whether you are a force of good, bad, or merely one of the inhabitants of this world. Take a look at the three sections below and make a note of which questions you can answer:

Section One:

  • Do you live near particularly weak animals?
  • Is there an ancient weapon, once held by heroes of old in your village?
  • As legendary as that sword in the stone in your village is, are there are at least eight, more powerful versions of it?
  • Did you leave an area after clearing it of vermin only to return to find every single one was back, and in the same place?
  • Did you feel strangely stronger after killing hundreds of the same, hapless creature? You may well have levelled up!
  • Do sweets and chocolate leave you feeling revitalised instead of rotting your teeth?
  • Can a feather bring loved ones back from the dead?
  • Do you have spiky, blue or red hair?
  • Teenager? Yup…
  • Do you ever replace your entire costume only to find that your outward appearance hasn’t changed at all?
  • Are you always just that second too late to prevent disaster, no matter how long you spend wasting time before finally heading to the event that cause it?
  • Are there eight shrines in your world?
  • Is your local blacksmith the proud purveyor of the world’s weakest armour?
  • Can you only carry a very specific amount of a given item? Say for instance: 4 Potions, 4 Sets of Greaves, 4 Complete Coats of Armour, and 3 Helmets. While still having space in your pack for a 4th helmet, no matter how hard you try you cannot carry a 5th potion?
  • Do you find that large monsters get in your way at regular intervals?
  • Do you feel there is a definite limit to how strong you can get?
  • Is there one annoying person out there who insists on battling you again and again with no hope of success?
  • Were your parents heroes?
  • Do you possess a power that nobody else does?
  • Is it all up to you?
  • Do you have a task that requires you to travel the entirety of the world, unlike everyone else who seems to mill about the same village their entire lives?
  • Are you between 8 and 17?
  • Do you possess a “luck” stat?
  • Have you ever performed a critical hit?
  • Are you stronger than those around you?
  • Do you find that people often ask you to go and fetch things?
  • Have you ever found that you are in a crumbling building/cave/fortress after successfully making it through a very difficult fight?
  • Is there always a means to record your travels just before it seems likely that you will face great hardship?
  • Is there an Inn with only three or four beds in every town in your world? Inns that are always vacant when you come across them?
  • When travelling in a group, are you the only one that is visible to passersby?

Section Two:

  • Are you are constantly surrounded by the most dangerous monsters that your world has to offer?
  • Do you want to destroy the world?
  • Are you always able to get even stronger, no matter how often you are defeated, or how short a time it was since your last battle?
  • Do you find yourself constantly needing to fight the same guy for very vague reasons, but always end up being beaten by them?
  • Do you want to take a person’s power in a way that would kill them, then take said power for yourself?
  • Have you ever been bested by a child?
  • Are you always one step ahead of your enemies, yet still routinely fail miserably in your endeavours?
  • Are you surrounded by idiots that talk the good talk, but who always end up getting done over by children?
  • Are you planning on betraying your travelling companions?
  • Do you live in a fortress or airship?
  • Do you enjoy monologues?
  • Do you prefer to not reveal yourself until the final moments of your plans?

Section Three:

  • Are you a parent? Oh dear…
  • Despite having a full array of fingers, are you only ever able to wear one ring at a time, no matter how hard you try?
  • Do you have many androgynous friends?
  • Do you prefer to stay at home in times of great trouble?
  • Have you found yourself able to cast magic with no prior experience or training?
  • Is your village elder tough on banishment?
  • Do you have a village elder?!
  • Are you a village elder?!?
  • Are you the last of a great line of people?
  • Do the bad people you know of want to destroy the world despite knowing that this would leave them with nothing?
  • Do you ever leave your village, town, or city?
  • If spoken to, do you have only one or two responses at your disposal?
  • Do you find that you simply stand still all day, or else complete on a very basic routine task?
  • Do you work in a 24hr shop?
  • Were your ancient ancestors far more advanced than the people of today?
  • Can you combine two seemingly unrelated items to create a remarkable artifact?
  • If you are between 21 and 30, do you constantly refer to yourself as “this old man”?
  • When travelling in a group, do you find you disappear from existence until a fight occurs?


So, finished marking down the questions that you agree with? Let’s find out just where you fit in in this JRPG world that you now definitely inhabit.


If you were able to answer yes to more questions in Section One, then are very likely to be a Hero! Congratulations, though I do hope that you enjoy grinding as it looks like there will be a good deal of that to come for you now.

If you were able to answer yes to more questions in Section Two, then you should probably get a psyche evaluation: you may in fact be a Final Boss, or at worst a Mid-Boss. Look on the brightside though, if you are the Final Boss of your world then at least you will have a minimum of three forms to burn through when the time calls for it! Despite this, you are doomed to fall to what are likely to be small, untrained children who have hope in the hearts and magic on their blades. Sorry about that.

If you were able to answer yes to more questions in Section Three, then unfortunately you are probably a simple NPC. Aww, don’t be upset! At least you have a routine and a valuable place in the world, and unless you have a very specific name you are also unlikely to be troubled by the bad times that are no doubt sweeping across your land. Just sit still and continue motioning through those same few frames of animation you have. I just hope that didn’t only answer “yes” to being a parent, otherwise you are in deep shit and should probably take cover, for your days are numbered!

Finally, if you answered yes to a roughly equal proportion of questions from both Section One and Section Three, then pat yourself on the back as you are more than likely an Ally, a person who may be an NPC or may even have a chance to take the center stage every once in a while. You may have to content yourself with being a love interest, or worse, it may even be your death that spurs the rest of your team on to finish the fight the Final Boss started. Try not to be too sad if this is the case though, if you are female then you will no doubt be remembered for years to come, have lots of fan-art drawn of you, and probably even live once again through the art of cosplay.


[I think I wanted to write this ever since playing and reading about JRPGs in 1996 after finding a copy of Super Play magazine that had a piece about Kefka. I somehow managed to wrangle a couple of these bullet points into a comment on Kotaku yesterday and thought it might be fun to continue. I mean, it’s a serious matter!]


A Week of Walking

In a rare break from work, I managed to get a week off so that I could explore another area of Scotland that I’ve not had much experience with so far – Perthshire and surrounding area.

We rented a place in Kenmore for the week, which became a base of operations. Despite being fairly central though, there was also lots to do in and around Kenmore (if you like walking ‘n’ stuff). The village borders Loch Tay, which provides a serene backdrop when walking through the village as it dominates all views to the west. Surrounding the north and south sides are tall hills and the Tay River valley to the east – there isn’t a boring direction to look in.



One of the first things we did was explore Drummond Hill, the northern ridge around Kenmore. The walk was almost continually an ascent, and while the hill isn’t too high at around 450m, it is a climb that is spread across a great distance and with the promise of the ancient fort of Casteal MacTuathal for those who are willing to keep going and traverse the lesser trodden paths into the depths of the hill. Well, of course I was willing! We followed some excellently hewn waystones that were dotted throughout the walk that sent you in the general direction of the ruin, the best of which was the one that asks you to trek off the beaten path and into a thickly wooded section of the hill, carpeted with brown needles from the pines. The soft underlay made progress silent, almost eerily so. Once out of the pines, the faint path winds upwards and along the remainder of the hill to the fort. We didn’t see another person at all on the walk, and the loneliness only added to the sense of discovery as we stumbled upon the hill fort among the trees. The dog and I clambered up onto a rock and were able to overlook the Tay valley to the west, in a scene that felt not too dissimilar to a 16-bit JRPG character of old overlooking a cliff.



We spent a bit of time just taking in the views from the height before beginning the descent, woof leading the way. Perhaps it was just one of many woods and forests of Scotland, but this hill felt special, so much so that it has given me great food for thought on the lay of land of Brittlewood, in a chapter of my story that I hope to soon be writing.

The trip didn’t just involve Kenmore though, we also travelled to nearby Weem and Castle Menzies (which gave me some excellent inspiration for my story), and further afield to the Cairngorm National Park and also the loneliest station – Rannoch Station. Around this area, the long drive also allowed us to take in the sights of Lochs Rannoch and Tummel, the majestic Queen’s View, Schiehallion, and all manner of fairytale forests and hills. We were also under 20 miles from Glencoe at the station, and the remaining distance can only be made up on foot: a challenge that I would very much like to try if I ever find anybody else willing to do it with me! I was quite surprised to find the roads to be of great quality, making for one of the most enjoyable drives I have ever had, and one that I would certainly like to do again sometime soon.



Each day consisted of at least ten miles of walking, which felt like a fair amount given the intense heat of some days. Still, I ate and drank well on top of this and seem to have put on 5lbs…

Scotland is certainly inspiring. Some people may just see a lot of green and blue, but to me everywhere feels unique and different, and there is so much left to explore. I’ve not travelled further north than Inverness yet, and only dabbled in the isles. Each new place inspires me further with my writing, despite my story being set in an ancient and abandoned built up land! I also stumbled across Eluvium whilst walking, which has given me a nice array of new albums to listen to while writing.

On the last day, I took a trip into Aberfeldy and fell foul to the gift shops – I ended up buying a rather nice olive wood chess set, some ridiculously expensive chocolate, and a 650 page guide to all 282 munros of Scotland. Sad to say I’ve only climbed a few so far…