Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree is a cozy fantasy that explores the NPC side of adventure fantasy. The narrative follows Viv, a successful barbarian-class orc mercenary who dares to ask how life could be different if she hung up her sword and brought something new to the world. Deciding to open an obscure business known as a 'café,' Viv relies on a magical item of good luck to lead her to the perfect location for her shop and to bring exactly the right people into her life for success.
Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea winks at the contrast between the perception of agency within the main character of a video game and that of a novel. Bioshock, a 2007 first-person shooter, interrogates the same question of agency through the main character of a video game.
Rhythmic, echoing creaking drew me across flat empty plains to a flat, empty house. An untidy row of windows stared out from the house's weathered flanks at the setting suns blazing orange and purple across the sky. My favorite kind. Next to the house stood a tall, tall tree, beneath the branches of which creaked … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Call to Launch
No path ahead, no path behind. Just four flights of concrete stairs embedded into a hillside invisible beneath a blank blanket of snow. These, for some reason, just damp, not buried along with everything else. Upward, the pale hill sloped into the pale sky. Downward, more snowy hills rolled away into infinity. It felt like … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Open Me
When I left a labyrinth full of unsettling creatures, I went out through the wrong exit. Ahead, a simple wooden gate, twice my height with a neat pitched roof, blocked my way forward, more wooden fencing stretching to either side. Almost as if to keep those strange cave creatures from getting out this way. Although … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Longing to Leave
A deep groan sounded through heavy fog as I inched my way up to a lane of thin ice running through a frozen lake. Though I was on the lookout for travelers along this lane, I also watched against any misstep that would send me plummeting below to a shivering grave. Several such lanes of … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Forth
At the bottom of a lake long dried up, my hazy gaze rested hopefully on a cloud building in the distance. Dust rose up around my plodding feet, settling on my cracked tongue. The size of this lakebed desert must have grown since the last estimation. I didn't have enough water to get back; I … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Buried Tracks
Without a breath of air to stir them, a plume of snowflakes rose up from the drifts coating the mountainside. Where the morning sunlight had not yet touched, deep blue shadows crept beneath a forest of firs. Nothing moved but the flurry of flakes, whirling around each other, the whole cluster angling upward along the … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Preservation Efforts
As I passed through a night dark farm, the door of a wood shed near the farmhouse rattled from the inside. A voice from within yelled, "Let me out! Let me OUT!" I stopped at the door, hand on the cold iron latch, but didn't open it. "Who's in there?" Something heavy slumped against the … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Guard Against
A twinkling deep in the desert brought me to a choice. One that appeared as one light from a distance, but separated into three as I drew near. Beneath the star-splashed night sky, a lone figure stood. Cloaked in black. A bird's face for a mask. Bone, etched with secrets and mystery. A trio of … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – No Choice At All