Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dungeonspiration: Wakfu

 Wakfu is a French cartoon based on an MMORPG.  Unlike most shows that derive from some sort of 'product,' I find Wakfu to be very good - one of the best kid's shows I've seen in a while, in fact.

Yugo - not a Soviet-bloc automobile
Now, this is even more surprising for me, since I'm not the biggest fan of French . . . things . . . in general.  The art moves from cartoony to absolutely breathtaking.  It's kind of a anime-inspired, which I've taken to calling Frank-o-may, for lack of any better terminology.

The Boy really enjoys the show too - and this from a kid who absolutely hates anime.  (Yeah, I can't believe the anime hatred either.  I think some chromosomes cooked too long in the cloning vat, but that's another story.)

The main character is Yugo, a young boy with mysterious origins who is adopted by an ex-bounty hunter and raised in a roadside tavern and inn.  He quickly learns that he an innate magical power to create portals that he and others can move through.  Add to this his natural fighting and acrobatic ability, and the young boy can be quite dangerous.
Ruel Stroud, Professional Something

Something bad happens to Yugo's step-father early on, and yup - you guessed it - it's time for a quest to put things right.  Most of the series that I've seen so far is a picaresque set of adventures, much like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign - with both dungeons and dragons.  I mean, what else would you expect? :)

Along for the ride is Ruel Stroud, an old friend of Yugo's step-father.  Ruel appears to be some sort of a priest or cleric or monk, but isn't.  He also seems to be some sort of bounty hunter, but doesn't appear to do much of that, either.  In the end, he's really just a professional bum - who might have been a thief if it didn't take so much work.  Ruel is lethal with a shovel, however, and has Yugo's best interests at heart.

Sir Sadlygrove - possible idiot?
One of the things I really like about the show is that while it's aimed at kids, it doesn't talk down to them or be too sugary-sweet or condescending.  And there is plenty of stuff for the adults too.  Some of the stuff would go over the heads of younger kids - but then again, maybe some stuff they would understand.  I mean, there is this one scene of a villager sitting in an outhouse, looking at a magazine containing cute women.  Nothing 'improper' happens, mind you, but the brief bit probably highlights the schism between what the stereotypical French parent and the stereotypical American parent think is okay for their children to see.

The next party member to join is Sir Sadlygrove Percedal.  He's your standard cavalier - and might even be a paladin.  Or, he might not even be a real 'sir' yet.  It's kind of unclear.  He's got this sword that can kick major butt . . .  however . . . the sword does have a demon locked inside of it and it's unclear whether our dear knight has any combat skill of his own.  Yet.  I'm sure we'll learn more as I watch the season progress.

Princess Sharm-a-larm-a-ding-dong
Sadlygrove is a Iop.  It's not very clear what an Iop is - well - except an IOP is definitely not an IHOP.  They appear to be some sort of elf maybe - an seem to have a reputation of not being very smart.  That would probably include Sadlygrove.  But he's brave an courageous and virtuous and all that mess - so at least he's trying. :)

 Eventually, the party meets some ladies who join up.  The first is Princess Amalia Sheran Sharm.  Yes, a princess.  She's some sort of elf.  Thing.  Maybe.  I don't know.  Whatever she is, she a princess - one of those runaway princesses who want to see the world and have great adventures.  You know the kind.  Princess Amalia is some sort of druid or shaman with powers over plant-life.  Awesome powers.  She kicks some serious butt.

I also find it interesting that she has almost exact hair and skin color of my 2nd Edition AD&D character, Chartreuse.  And here I thought I was being original.  But their personalities are very different.  Well, except maybe the bossy part.

Little Miss Kill You With An Arrow
Last, but not least, we have Princess Amalia's bodyguard, Evangelyne.  She's a Cra.  A Cra is . . . well . . . I have no idea.  They seem to look like elves though.  She's a ranger type with a bow that shoots magical arrows.  It's her job to keep the princess out of harms way.  Considering Amalia prefers to be in harms way, poor Evangelyne's work is cut out for her.

We are not very far into the series, but we've enjoyed every minute of it.  The villains are great - different ones for each episode so far - and all very memorable characters.  It plays very much like a D&D session (perhaps more 'new' style than old,) and has already inspired some ideas in my head.

I recommend the series for those of you who like cartoons - especially if you have some kids around to help you watch it.  It's anime - but no so anime-y to turn off anime haters.  The art is breathtaking at times - the detail they put into the forests and ancient fortresses is amazing.  And if you are looking for ideas for a adventure ideas for a campaign - it's packed with really cool ones.

So go watch! :)

- Ark


  1. Cra = backwards "Arc" meaning a bow in French. Just the archer class in the MMORPGs, Wakfu and Dofus =P. I don't think any of the classes have been explained that much. What they have in common within a class or a group or whatever is that they all worship the same god. The cra are thus actually followers of the Archer-Goddess Cra.

    1. @Eeri - Oooh - it's not a race, but a class. Duuuh. I get it now.

      That's interesting that the classes are all . . . god-specific, for lack of a better term. Hmm. Sounds like a neat solution for the problem that is the cleric. :)

      Thanks for the enlightenment!

      - Ark