Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 11 – Companions vs. Henchmen

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This week, the Ultima Codex has new supporters on Patreon! Thank you, Pascal and kodenkm, for helping keep the site running.

Follow-Up From Previous Episode(s)

So how about that timing? I find time to actually comment on the latest and greatest Mass Effect 4 rumours, and BioWare up and announces Mass Effect Andromeda at E3. The setting would seem to have changed (per the rumours, it was to be set in a galaxy called, if memory serves, the Helius Cluster), but it looks like many of the other details that were leaked on Reddit have proven true. And the choice of Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky for the trailer soundtrack was hilarious, and brilliant.

Additionally, Stirring Dragon left a very lengthy and well-thought-out comment in reply to last week’s episode. In particular, he made a couple of suggestions regarding how I might change my approach to the Codex in the future.

Podcast Topic(s)

It’s dangerous to go alone, as we all know. From tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs to the sprawling worlds of CRPGs, adventurers have set forth accompanied by companions and henchmen in…well, what I would assume is the majority of such games as these. The lone hero isn’t unheard of; even my much-beloved Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning features a player-character who spends most of the duration of the plot unaccompanied by any hangers-on or fellow-travelers. But it’s worth noting that at certain pivotal points of its plot, even Reckoning has an NPC following (or sometimes leading) the character into danger, and fighting alongside the player when battle is joined.

We use terms like “henchman” and “companion” to describe the followers that player-characters can accrue in CRPGs, and we should ask: is there a meaningful difference between these categories of followers? What constitutes a henchman, and what constitutes a companion? Is the distinction meaningful?

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