Thursday, 25 August 2016

Skyrim: First Encounter

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Miraak's Temple was near those Nords Sero and I assisted last time. It too had a mind-control stone and a lot more people working on it than in other places. The warrioress Frea was also here, trying to wake up her people to no avail. In true Nord fashion she then turned to me and asked for my help in killing everyone responsible. Hell yes! We go down into the depths of the temple underground, easily dealing with Miraak's cultists (side note: he has the smallest cult ever).

Pendulums, why is it always pendulums?

Near the base is another black book which I use to warp to Apocrypha but this time get stunned by Miraak's magic cutscene! Apparently the ex-dragon priest and self proclaimed "first dragonborn" now resides in this realm and has not only a few dragons under his command but all the horrible fish men too. Then he does the traditional bad guy mistake of letting me go. Guess he hasn't read the tomes on being a genre savvy villain!

I made friends with Cthulhu.

Back at Solstheim, Frea takes Sero and I to her village which her shaman dad protects with magic, just not very good magic since half his villagers are working on a nearby obelisk. Shaman dad tells me that I might be able to free those stones from their corruption with a new shout. Finally, a way to get back at Miraak - by yelling at his stones! That sounds like a job for a hero... :P

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Skyrim: Ewok Slayer

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After inadvertently reopening the local mine, much to Raven Rock's benefit, I decided to hire a local sellsword named Teldryn Sero for the low price of 500 gold and began exploring the island - discovering more of those strange mind-controlling obelisks, hostile blue ewok goblins called reiklings, and that bandits here prefered to be called reavers, because it sounds cooler. We also take down a local serpentine dragon, massacre the reikling ice castle, and find hints of some pirate treasure.

We also help some reiklings whose chief can speak broken English. At least up to the point where he asks us to kill Nords, the same "weak ones" that ran from their own meadhall. We instead ally with said Nords to slaughter the blue dwarves and given that there was only one friendly casualty in the encounter - and that Sero and I hung back and watched - I'm wondering how the they lost to the reiklings in the first place. Getting their leader banished afterwards is a step in the right direction I think.

Obviously I'm also collecting a bunch of new shouts and boosts from the ever entertaining black books. The ones where its really dark and that "the darkness hurts you" are my favorite ones. Also all the moving corridors are great, but the collision detection sucks balls requiring me to learn the power-hack tcl (no clipping mode) to get through those areas without falling through the floor into the acid muck below.

Before I knew it we had explored around 75% of Solstheim!

Skyrim: Familiar ash, unfamiliar Darkness

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Hey, I remember climbing that.

Apparently Solstheim island is part of Morrowind, which is cool in that you can see the ever active Red Mountain in the distance. The small town of Raven Rock is where BT and I make land fall, meet the locals (mostly dunmer as expected), and get a bunch of quests like hunting netch (flying jellyfish), clearing out ash zombies from the temple, and investigating a strange stone that seems to make people mindless zombies who want to build - something. Even BT began getting entranced by it.

BT: "It's just sooo big..."

An adventure into the local mine to find the remains of some guy's missing relative also leads to familiar looking ruins and even more familiar looking draugr. There's even a cool lazer sword inside, too bad it's kinda weak. While the enemies are no problem, the last pendulum blade hall proves too much for B.T. and she is cut to pieces half way.

At the end of it I find not only a new dragon shout, but an odd black book which warps me into the black/green/tentacled realm of Apocrypha. With walls made of books and scrolls it's easy to see why its ruler, Hermaeus Mora, is regarded as the prince of knowledge. There are some abominations lurking in there, but none really pose a challenge. Having a choice from three boons at the end of the level is a pretty good idea too.

Walls of books go well with Cthulhu.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Skyrim: About Jarling Time

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After but a few days of Jarling Whiterun (Jarling: Sitting on the throne and pretending to be important), a courier came with interesting news of land being sold at Falkreath that I couldn't pass up, because property is always a good investment! One short trip and 5,000 gold later I had the deed to the land in my hand. B.T. and I also met Rayya, a Redguard housecarl gifted to me by Falkreath's Jarl. She was totally jealous of B.T. though and refused to join.

How can they even see?

Before we could even step out of town we were set upon by a pair of odd looking cultists, and after suffering a swift end I discovered that they were sent by something named Miraak from someplace called Solstheim. Probably need to think through what you write down on paper, bad guys! I opted to take a look at my new land first though and found... nothing. I'd have to -construct- a house! Whaaaat?

Instead of doing that I decided to visit Riften first, as I'd also received a letter recommending I try adoption. It was immediately clear that I wasn't a suitable candidate. Fortunately my trip wasn't wasted, as the town came under bandit attack just as we were leaving. Rallying almost the entire town into the battle, the bandits (who were led by two imperial soldiers), were cut down to the last man.

To battle!

At that point I decided it was time to see where those cultists came from, and hopped on a boat to Solstheim. Guess I should mention that due to my continued absence, the people of Whiterun elected a new Jarl on their own. :P

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Skyrim: Non-Starters

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Riften turned out to be a very short stop on my equally short bandit hunting quest. The trail of pushover brigands, some of whom fought each other because one was a werewolf (lol, what was going on there?) I finally found their boss, Fin, beneath the College of Winterhold. It was a short duel, and while he had decent speed I was simply too agile for him.

The surviving mages then told me of the return of the Master Dragons, Alduin's liutenants (who by this tale are a few years too late). Alas compared to the monstrous dragons I've already fought they are but a footnote and were easily hunted and executed. Finally I could get back to Jarling - but upon return to Whiterun I found it under attack by a group of bandits who were soundly being defeated by the guards. I watched with pride as my guardsmen sent them packing. I tailed a few of the good looking survivors back to Riverwood where they agreed to work for me instead of being executed. I got B.T. to join the party while her compatriots Bandit, Marauder and Bo guarded the small village.

It seems dragons come in all colors now...

Back at Whiterun the guards informed me of some Oblivion Gate opening nearby, but when I went to the spot there was nothing there. Looks like once again, they had everything under control! Finally back in town, Belethor let me take a look a new book in his shop - one that transported me to a modern motel with a horror motif. This asylum was indeed quite creepy, complete with mute people blankly staring into space, but with all the locked doors it soon became boring and I teleported my self back to Whiterun to do some actual work.

Why anyone would want a painting of that hanging around is a mystery.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Skyrim: The One that Got Away

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since the basement was a dead end, we decide to try the upper floors of Ravensburg Castle next - finding living mannequins dressed as bandits guarding the floor along with a good number of vampire mistresses and a lich!  We also learn the place is owned by the ridiculously named Count Bran von Lurk who makes his vampirism no secret, given the decor. While raiding his treasury we are jumped by three "devourer of souls" who are surprisingly deadly, managing to behead Braga before they are destroyed.

Excuse me sir, did you know you are on fire?

Finding the basement key, Van Helsing and I return there and find the path guarded by a gigantic skeleton. Van Helsing's magics and his summoned daedra are crushed like ants beneath this behemoth but it proves no match for me. After more vampire mistresses (von Lurk must be a real fox) I stumble upon the most unique companion I've had so far... a headless, tormented soul!

Had to give him a mask so he'd stop freaking me out.

For someone without a head he's pretty efficient at dispatching the wraiths lingering in the underground graveyard nearby (because some things can't be buried deep enough? lol) culminating in a showdown with the Count and his coffin buddy, Lestat. Both are easily slain, but after shanking von Lurk he just laughs an disappears as a fine mist. Damn!

Still, that seems to have banished him from the castle as the once dark and cobwebbed walls are now well lit and shiny! This also ended the torment of "tormented soul" and set him free. With Ravensburg Castle cleared it was time to continue to Riften to finish Braga's bandit hunting quest. I owed her that much at least.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Skyrim: The Bold and the Clueless

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Having survived the ascended shrine I returned to Whiterun for some restful Jarling but that wasn't to be as my old student, Braga Clearwater, met with me just inside the gates. She was investigating a recent spike in banditry and asked if I could help. Of course I said yes! Her clues had led her to the local hall of the dead where indeed we found some strange folk hanging around like "Naura the Clueless" and "Manrik the Bold". I let Braga do her thing and we found further correspondence pointing to the Riften Ratway.

By coincidence a courier found us before we left town with a message from the Jarl of Riften, to investigate the (not so) abandoned Ravensburg Castle as bandits have been kidnapping people around it as of late. Since it's on the way we decide "Sure why not". It's pretty hard to miss, and quite devoid of life. The man we meet in the courtyard sets the tone of the place with just his name: Nikolai Van Hellsing. He's been investigating the castle too but has terrible direction sense and hasn't been able to get anywhere. LOL.

Nothing says sneaking like playing the organ at full blast!

Inside the spacious and dark interior we keep hearing a disembodied voice taunting us. It's also a non-standard map in that the doors teleport you around making the place slightly challenging to navigate and giving Van Hellsing's excuse some weight. Fortunately it isn't very well defended. In the basement we find some giant spiders, skeletons and hell hounds who are all bark and no bite. It's the number of key requiring locked doors that really block our path.

Hell hounds: the original hot dogs.