Monday, 22 May 2017

Nameless: All the Way up Here

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"We're making good time," announced Romila as she shrugged off the soreness in her arms. Beside her, Florin looked across the desert expanse below to the distant red mountains, obviously concerned about the rest of his team. Romila saw this and slapped him on the back.

"They probably aren't even there yet," she mused. "Get your head back in the game, mercenary."

"Lady Romila," called Jann from up ahead. He was flanked by a pair of mage sisters, that he had freed from the cursed portraits just days ago. "There's a village up ahead."

"All the way up here?"

Curious, the stern woman took point with Florin close behind to see for herself. There was indeed a small village up ahead, but each structure was nearly twice the size of a regular dwelling. The damaged furniture inside was of the same scale.

"Giants lived here," Jann mused.

"But where are they now?" asked Romila with a hint of trepidation.

"I'm more concerned about what made them leave," said Florin plainly as he poked at a pile of rubble with a stick.

"Let's not hang around to find out, our climb is just beginning."

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nameless: Crossroads

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"I didn't ever think I'd miss trees," mused Buster as he looked up at the large jungle canopy they were marching through. Arslan, marching along side him at the front of the line just laughed. "The desert only looks like it goes on forever, baldy."

Behind them was Fayina still sporting bruises from Arslan's latest beating and Tabitha who was keeping close to the abused girl, followed by Silvain, a slim and freckled brunette who just days ago served as the alliance book keeper.

"This should be the place," Silvain said as she pushed her spectacles back to the bridge of her nose. The others stopped and looked around. Ironically it was the one eyed Tabitha who first spotted the pair camouflaged in the bushes, her hand instinctively reaching for the hilt of her blade.

"Easy there," said the taller of the two strangers as he pulled off his shimmering cloak to reveal a youthful yet bearded face. "I am Dmitri, and I believe some of you know my mother."

"Dariya!" squealed Silvain excitedly as she rushed over to hug the second figure whose hood had fallen enough to reveal a very old and wrinkled woman beneath. After a short exchange of introductions the grim reality of the task ahead set in once more.

"The seven of us here now just have to decide, who goes after the magic crystal and who goes after the cup of life," stated Dariya in an off kilter tone.

"Bags going for the crystal," said Arslan, proud with himself that he managed to speak up first. Tabitha quickly used it against him.

"I think the men should go after the crystal and we ladies go after the cup."

"The wh... Fayina stays with me!" Arslan demanded.

"No," interrupted Dariya - her weak voice still somehow managing a good measure of authority. "I will go with you, with my son. I expect you ladies to have the cup when we return."

"I swear we will," bowed Tabitha slightly. "On my life."

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Nameless: Grim Paintings

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Notaku wiped the sweat from his brow as he cursed the burning sun under his breath. It had been two days since his small caravan had left the city with Nessa, Florin, Romila, and Ladel, a sweaty, rotund, low ranking alliance member who moonlighted as their cook and whose sharp body odor was becoming harder to ignore.

Thankfully their destination wasn't far now as a the ragged tent in the distance grew ever closer.

"Notaku, my old friend!" exclaimed the dark skinned man who greeted them. "And Lady Romila, it's been a long time. What brings you all the way out here?"

"We need your help Jann," replied Romila as Florin helped her down from the wagon. Behind them, Ladel and Nessa had begun unloading three flat squares of cargo - paintings depicting individuals in terrible or hopeless situations.

"Ohho, where did you get these?" mused Jann as he stroked his long goatee.

"Bought them," Notaku piped up proudly. "Which was hard to do without raising suspicion I might add."

Nessa, who was now standing just behind Romila whispered "So, how does this work? We give him paintings and he gives us reinforcements?"

"The paintings -are- your reinforcements my dear," said Jann over his shoulder. "The new regime is full of sadists who wanted a method to publicly incarcerate and torture their foes for all eternity, all while saving space in the physical dimension. It's quite brilliant actually. Please, bring them inside and I will begin preparations to extract these unfortunate souls."

"Jann was always best at this field of study," mused Romila out loud as she watched Jann lead Notaku, Ladel and Nessa to his camp.

"So why did Matthias kick him out?" asked Florin.

"Because he enjoys tormenting children."

Friday, 19 May 2017

Nameless: Glorified Fetch Quest

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]
Nessa observed the distraught and demoralized faces gathered around the camp fire. After the attack on their base, the handful of survivors had relocated to the Sorrows under the leadership of their vice-leader, a stern woman named Romila who had just finished giving a speech on what they were to do next.

"Your plan is foolish," Nessa hissed at Romila as she walked past, causing her to stop mid step.

"We should just rally all our forces and attack the Lord Warrior directly!"

"Nessa!" barked Florin in an attempt to get her in line. Both women ignored him.

"That was suicide even before they had the elemental urn," countered Romila plainly. "But you are more than welcome to try - after we have our counter measures in place."

"It's a glorified fetch quest..." Nessa began but Florin cut her off. "Which we will be glad to assist in. In fact, I've decided which of the four items we should go after first: all of them."

As everyone turned to him in shock, he held up his hands to explain.

"The way I understand it is we need all four artifacts to stand a chance, and the fastest way to retrieve them is to split up. Romila's people are mostly spell casters - there happens to be a shortage of capable warriors to support them yet here we are. Four of us. It's..."

"...destiny." Tabitha said in a whisper, still loud enough to be heard by all.

"You sure about this boss?" asked Buster, one bushy eyebrow raised.

"It just makes sense." Florin finished.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Nameless: Glancing Blows

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

After a few days of laying low at an inn on the outskirts, Matthias had come to see them. Impressed with their performance at the pyramid it was finally time to welcome them properly to the rebellion. Nessa couldn't help but be on guard as he led them into the local graveyard, and there deep within one of the tombs he opened a hidden door with stairs going down.

"Welcome to the Veiled..." Matthias began, but cut himself short when he saw the pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs. His worst fears were realized when the bodies of his allies came into view. A squad of soldiers with blood still dripping from their swords casually waited for them to descend. Furious, Matthias outstretched a hand and shouted a violent incantation.

Nothing happened.

The soldiers grinned and raised their blades. "For the Lord Warrior!" they shouted in unison before charging the hapless mage. They never reached him as Florin's squad leaped into action, swiftly executing the intruders. With the sounds of battle still ringing from deeper in, they knew there'd be more of them. Suddenly hit by a terrifying thought, Matthias began sprinting down one passage - almost outrunning his protectors.

Turning the corner he finally made it to their arcane vault where they stored artifacts too dangerous to fall into the hands of the new regime. A large contingent of soldiers was already there, and in the center - a menacing black armored figure holding the most powerful relic of all in that location - the elemental urn. Florin's team took a moment to realize they were now staring at the Lord Warrior.

The urn was somehow familiar...

With the smallest of nods, the rest of the soldiers yelled their standard battle cry and attacked while the Lord Warrior casually walked away from the skirmish and out an adjacent door. Desperate to prevent the loss of the elemental urn, Matthias charged forward on his own but was quickly brought low by a stab through the knee and a follow up through an eye.

Tabitha, Buster, Nessa and Florin were also hard pressed but managed to negate the enemy numbers by putting their backs against a wall. Slowly, like in the Kalek's pyramid, the soldiers fell one at a time until none of them were left breathing. Florin was surprised that not even the last few would flee. It seemed that escape was a privilege reserved for the Lord Warrior.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

TESO: Not so Graht

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

Despite all my efforts it seems the Lion's Guard went ahead and captured some pact soldiers which led to my return to their valley encampment the Nord dagger man, Craizee, and together we killed every single Lion Guard scum left in there. At this point I definitely regret reviving King Emeric. Anyway, there's still hope for an alliance with Queen Ayrenn so I sail over to the giant forest of Grahtwood next, and this place is a mess - story wise.

The trees here are massive!

It's like they put piece meal ideas everywhere, such as a rebellion, a vampire den, the Worm Cult messing around, freeing forest spirits, a showdown against Sheogorath's new favorite mortal, assisting an Ordinator of Almalexia shutting down a dolmen and so on with no main thread tying them together like in past zones.

At least I got to push a drunk wizard off a tower.

Ultimately I just need to retrieve pieces of an ancient machine so that the Bosmer (who are actually cannibalistic since they don't eat plants) recognize Ayrenn as their true leader. Her brother Naemon tries to use the machine first which turns him into an ugly daedra which I destroy easily. Ayrenn (who did no work for any of this I might add) doesn't change at all, just powers up(?) and then sends me to fetch her next accessory over at Greenshade.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Today I Smiled: Eurovision 2017

Ahh Eurovision - it's been awhile since I posted about it last but  this was definitely fun to watch last weekend. If you missed it, don't worry - I've got you covered! This year had male models (5th place), yodeling (7th place), a dancing monkey (6th place), a guy in a horse mask (14th place), some dancing Moldovians (3rd place), an anime kid who is pretty damn good (came 2nd place, worth a watch) and these guys (10th)...

Can you guess why I liked them? :P

My faves of the more "normal" variety included a trio of chicks who blend really well (11th), the UK songstress (15th), this happy moon guy (16th), and this jolly Croatian with a great vocal range (13th). I have no complaints about the actual winner though.

I didn't understand a word of his song yet it was fantastic. You can tell how awesome it is when other competitors are crying while listening to it. He even earns bonus thumbs up for letting his sister (the one who composed it) take the stage and sing it with him in his encore.

Hope you enjoyed at least some of those links, if not here's something a little more mainstream. Similar to D&D devils, if you sing someone's song there's a small percent chance they will appear for an impromptu duet! :P

Monday, 15 May 2017

Nameless: Satisfaction

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Finding the garden was pretty easy as it was at the highest level of the pyramid. There a large contingent of gladiators turned guards men stood watch while a dark skinned woman was busy at work deeper in. From the way she barked orders at the others it was clear she was in charge.

Moving in single file with Nessa up front, the team silently snaked its way into the garden grounds - silently taking down targets of opportunity while getting as close as they could to the woman. Unfortunately, Tabitha stepped on a particularly crunchy twig which drew the dark lady's attention.

"Intrud...!" she screamed, cut short by Buster's axe cleaving its way up between her legs and arcing out at her bosom - showering the short, bald man with her blood and entrails. There was no hiding now, as the team began openly engaging the guards who began pouring in from the lower levels.

"For the Lord Warrior!" they cried now and again. Not that it helped as their numbers slowly whittled down by the superior combat skills and the high ground advantage of Florin's group. At the end, they stood bloodied, wounded but victorious over the bodies of at least twenty foes.

Maybe more than twenty.

When it was clear no more were coming, they patched themselves up as best they could, took what valuables the dead no longer needed, and torched all the plants in the garden. Satisfied with their accomplishments they limped out of there together.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Nameless: Kalek

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Once they got out of the claustrophobic secret tunnel, the corridors of the pyramid were surprisingly wide and well lit thanks to the numerous torches and the glass tip that let the sunlight in. Guards, who appeared to be ex-gladiators, patrolled lazily with wine skins in hand - making it easy to simply slip by them undetected. Hidden within one of the deep cells they discovered a cage with a frail looking man trapped within. Arcane tattoos and horrible cancerous growths covered his bare back and arms.

"Stay away," the prisoner muttered without turning around.

"We can help you," began Tabitha but was held back firmly by Florin who nodded towards two dead bodies outside the cage. Guards whose skin was covered in similar looking boils.

"The Lady of the Garden," coughed the prisoner. "She's made her plague too potent. Stay away. You cannot help me."

"Do you know how is she making this plague?" asked Nessa. "Help us stop this from happening to anyone else!"

The prisoner coughed painfully. "There is a collection of rare herbs from across the world that grow upstairs. They were once my pride and joy, now they are my doom. She uses those to make this virus. Destroy them. Destroy her. That should at least slow their plans."


"Go now. Kalek is dead."

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Nameless: Not much of a Choice

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Good to finally meet you," said Florin as he shook the hand of Matthias Morthen, leader of the resistance. As promised, Arslan had taken the team to meet him but where he led them was not some secret base, rather to an empty plaza beside what was known as Kalek's Pyramid, so named because of the hermit who never left its walls.

"You live up to your reputation," Matthias replied through crooked, dirty teeth. "Arslan has told me how you dealt with Acar. I'm afraid we are in need of your services again. Our spies tell us that the new regime is up to something in the pyramid behind me. I would like you to figure out what exactly it is."

"Your spies got tired of spying?" Nessa asked snarkily.

"Due to the nature of the threat," Matthias continued coolly. "They were not the best candidates for the job. Your team is. There's a hidden entrance just behind this statue..."

"You're being a little cryptic there my friend," interrupted Florin. "If you know what's waiting for us I would like to know."

Matthias sighed. "We believe they are developing a plague. One that specifically targets those with magic. Much like the Wizard King, the new order does not take kindly to rogue mages and nearly our entire force is made up of magic users. Now do you understand?"

"So... you're a mage and Arslan is..."

"While he isn't magically gifted, he is also about as stealthy as a crazed camel that enjoys dancing while wearing a thousand bells. Now, please - will you do this for me?"

It didn't sound like much of a choice.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Nameless: The Money Lender

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"That will be one hundred fourteen thousand gold pieces," said the tanned and slender man with a devilish grin as he finished moving the beads on his abacus. Acar the money lender was not shy about displaying his wealth, residing in one of the most opulent mansions in the city and having even his guards and servants adorned with magnificent jewelry.

He also wasn't a fool, either. He knew the four adventurers before him didn't have the funds to pay off Fayina's debt. That's why he made sure they were each -thoroughly- searched and disarmed before he allowed an audience with them. Florin and Buster in particular seemed very uncomfortable in the white togas they were forced to change into, while the rest of their gear - other than Tabitha's eye patch - was confiscated. The guards in were very clear that all the items would NOT be returned. A small price to pay for Acar's time.

"How about you drop Fayina's debt and we'll let you live?" Nessa asked with all the charm of a hungry sand shark. Acar laughed. He had around twenty heavily armed guards in the room with him, and more patrolling the grounds. What could four unarmed fighters do to him?

Clearly needing a demonstration, Nessa gave a silent hand signal and suddenly the toga clad team sprung into action. They might not have been armed but all the guards were - and it was child's play to take the guards spare weapons in the melee. The money lender barely had time to call for more guards as the last ones in the room were slain, simply being outclassed by the four foreigners.

The reinforcements fared no better as the intruders casually waited for their arrival, and dealt with all comers easily. Eventually no more came, and the entire room had been repainted red. Acar soiled himself as they finally turned their attention to him.

"Alright alright! Her debt is paid! Please, leave me be!"

Buster marched right up to him, bloody knife in hand. "Nuthin personal, but the boss says we can't trust you."

Acar's eyes widened as he screamed and felt the blade jam up right between his legs, multiple times until he collapsed onto the blood soaked floor, dead.

"Burn the books," Florin ordered. "And lets loot this place dry."

It was late in the evening when Arslan and Fayina returned to the Sorrows. Their mission to return the relic Fayina stole had been successful, though their third companion - Shandel - had his leg broken during a confrontation with one of the tunneling creatures and was only going to slow them down on the return journey. Arlsan made the decision to leave him there in the monster's temple as a "heroic sacrifice".

He was surprised to see Florin's blood soaked team waiting for them at his hut, and more surprised at the large, somewhat filthy treasure pile stocked within. "Acar sends his regards," Florin greeted. "Sorry about the shine on some of these. It's a bit hard to transport things through sewer tunnels and keep them clean. So, how did we do?"

"You passed," Arslan said with a huge grin.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Nameless: Arslan

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"You stupid wench!" yelled Arslan as he backhanded the terrified woman again, giving her another bruise to match all the others on he quivering frame as tears streamed down her face. He heard someone enter the little shanty hut from behind him, but didn't turn around right away - instead opting to first trip the woman over and then kicking her in the chest. After spitting on her he finally turned to see a group of strangers led by Shandel crowded at the doorway.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. :P

"Whaddaya want?" he grumbled angrily as he turned his attention back to the woman on the floor with another kick.

"Arslan?" Florin asked hesitantly, holding out the ragged cloth and a letter. The short man scratched at his beard before snatching both from Florin. After looking them over he crumpled them up and tossed them at the sobbing woman as hard as he could. "So yer the ones Matthias sent for eh?" he muttered again as he prepared to kick the woman another time. In a blink, the edge of Tabitha's blade was at his throat.

"You should stop hitting her now," she said with a dangerous tone. Arslan just scoffed and pushed the blade aside.

"This stupid whore be the reason them monsters attacked and killed the good folk out there. See, she took something of theirs from their temple and now they be wanting it back. Why don't ya tell these folk why you stole from the monsters Fayina? Tell em, I said!"

"To pay off a debt," the woman finally said, choking through pain and tears.

Arslan snickered. "Tell em why you're in debt, love. Go on then." The woman couldn't reply. Arslan scoffed.

"She's in debt since she bloody gambled away all the funds of our... little organization - and then some. Worse, the lender she used is one of the staunchest supporters to the new regime - someone pretty high on our hit list, but none of that matters did it? No, she just saw shiney things and spread her legs like a whore. Isn't that right you piece of shit?"

"Well take care of the debt," said Tabitha immediately, her words stopping Arslan before he could kick Fayina again. The short man scratched at his beard.

"Tell you what, you do that and you're in. It'll be like your... initiation. Afterwards, I'll take you to Matthias myself. Meanwhile, Fayina, Shandel and I are going to return this little trinket so these bloody monsters don't come back ere."

"You've got a deal."

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Nameless: The Sorrows

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The sewers were much better lit than the last time Nessa journeyed through them. Burning candles and makeshift signs helped guide them to a large underground clearing with a small shanty town in the center. She wasn't sure where all the smoke from the various fires was going to, but there must have been some ventilation passage it was dissipating into.

"People live down here?" asked Florin out loud but before he could get any response a loud roar and an explosion followed by panicked screams echoed in the chamber. Drawing their weapons, the party rushed into the fray only to come face to face with a massive bi-pedal crab monster in the process of devouring a hapless resident. A second crustacean beast burst through the wall right beside the first, and more were bursting from the grounds nearby.

Buster didn't hesitate to charge the one that had its hands (and mouth) full, easily evading its clumsy strike to chop down into its face with his battle axe. With a spurt of greenish blood and a muffled roar the beast collapsed, dead.

"That's how it's done!" yelled the bald stocky man as he retrieved his axe and looked to his next victim. Inspired by the sight Tabitha, Nessa and Florin all charged in too. While the monsters were indeed strong, they were more adapted for digging than for combat and as more and more of them fell even the townsfolk began gaining the courage to fight them back with whatever makeshift weaponry they had. Soon enough, the remaining creatures retreated into the darkness from whence they came.

A local, dressed in slightly less tattered rags approached the team afterwards. "You fight well," he said with a smile. "My name is Shandel, one of the defenders of this community."

"Well met," replied Tabitha as she wiped off the sticky green blood from her two handed sword. "Would you happen to know where Arslan is?"

Somewhat surprised by the question, Shandel blinked for a moment then nodded.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Nameless: Notaku

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"So, Drisana didn't make it huh?" said Notaku with disappointment after Nessa introduced him to her new party.

"Sorry Notaku. Tell us what happened here, what became of the Wizard King? Did anyone from our rebellion survive?" asked Nessa.

Notaku sighed. "Some cult from abroad arrived, Shadowstar they called themselves, and they ... assisted in the regime change. Rumor is someone caught Tectuk napping and made him into a pincushion of arrows. Those that join the cult are rewarded with riches and power. That's pretty much anyone who actually owns property in this city. Those that oppose are hunted down and killed. Everyone else is just fighting for scraps. All up it's the same as before, only now we are under the foot of a hydra instead of a dragon."

"Do you recognize this symbol," interrupted Florin as he held up the bloodied cloth.

Eyes wide with shock, Notaku immediately pushed his hand back down. "Don't go waving that around," he whispered angrily while trying to maintain a facade of normality. "This is a sigil of the new rebellion," he continued. "Some folk don't like the new order that's taken over after Tectuk was assassinated."

"Where can we find these 'folk'?" asked Buster bluntly.

"Underground in what is now called the 'Sorrows'. There are entrances to it via the many sewer ways around town - the closest being just there," said Notaku as he pointed the way with his chin. "Look for Arslan. Short, angry, bearded guy. Can't miss him."

With a nod of thanks, Florin and the others began heading off. Nessa lingered for a moment longer and asked him "After our rebellion... did Chaya make it?"

Notaku opened his mouth but stopped himself saying how the Wizard King had captured the blond warrior and subsequently used her as a public plaything for his army for weeks until her torturous death. "No," he ultimately said, deciding to omit all the details. Nessa nodded and left to catch up with the rest of the group.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Nameless: Homecoming

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Other than the sweeping sand that caked every surface, Nessa found the city very different from the one she had escaped from so long ago. Gone were all banners, statues and sigils of the Wizard King. Scruffy looking children now played in the garbage filled streets that once were heavily patrolled and maintained by his soldiers. It was less pretty but the people seemed happier.

Gone were the soldiers and the impaled heads.

A veiled woman peered from around the next corner and signaled to them. "That must be our contact," said Florin as he picked up the pace. The team hadn't advanced five meters before the woman's head was suddenly decapitated by a muscular attacker. Three more goons appeared from the nearby doorways all armed with bone knives and immediately attacked. The poor fools had no chance, with each Florin, Buster, Tabitha and Nessa taking one down with ease.

Nessa caught herself smiling. At least some things didn't change.

"Boss, this is all she had on her," grumbled Buster as he returned from searching the decapitated woman. In his stubby fingers he held a cloth with an odd symbol on it. "Do you know what it means?"

"No," muttered Florin as he gingerly took the cloth.

"I might know someone who might be able to help," said Nessa to no one in particular. She was looking down the road to the market where a thin, familiar looking man with a silly moustache was peddling wares behind his stall. Nessa casually strolled up to him and said hello.

Notaku almost fell over in shock.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Nameless: Mission

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The sun had begun to rise when Nessa and Tabitha finally destroyed the last gem. Exhausted from their trials, they just sat at the top of the bell tower for awhile and from the high perch they could see clusters of creatures abandon the carnage in the ruins below and head back into the nearby woods.

Eventually, they also saw that some of the other adventurers survived the ordeal too, most of whom were wandering the now empty streets in a shocked stupor. One of them eventually looked up, and they recognized him as commander Florin.

The mission was a success, but the cost of it was far too great and due to this the Lords of Deepwater fired Florin from his Peacekeeping position upon his return to the city. Still, only a few days after his dismissal he again summoned Nessa to the local tavern where she found a now eye-patched Tabitha and Buster the bald sitting with him.

"Thought you might be interested in another adventure," he said with a welcoming smile. Nessa didn't return it.

"I've had enough of danger and adventure and loss, Florin. I only came to try talk you out of whatever you were going to do."

"You might be interested in this one," Florin interrupted as he held one hand up. "I have a contact in the South requesting aid against a new government. One that flies the Shadowstar flag. This 'new' group somehow managed to kill the previous ruler, a powerful tyrant and once lord of all the burning lands."

Nessa's eyes widened as she realized who he was talking about.

"The Wizard King?"

Florin nodded, and after taking a swig of ale looked Nessa in the eye and asked "So how about it? Will you take us to your home land?"

Saturday, 6 May 2017

TESO: The Dumb and the Dead

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

I don't remember how I ended up in the sea, but I'm sure glad I was fished out by a passing vessel that so happened to be heading to the Alik'r Desert, home of King Fahara'jad whose region is being plagued by a group of necromancers called the Withered Hand. Turns out the Redguards are a very superstitious lot, to the extent that "defiling" the dead in anyway is taboo. Even if said dead are reanimated and trying to kill you.

This leads to many ridiculous occurrences of so-called tough warriors cowering in fear to what an average adventurer would consider an average zombie. Obviously it's up to foreigners such as myself to save the day again, especially once the Withered Hand steal and corrupt the deus ex artifacts which previously prevented consecrated dead from being revived. A couple of dead necromancers, a vampire and one lich later, King Fahara'jad is proclaiming me a(nother) hero of the region.

Despite having a predictable quest line here the Alik'r Desert is one of the best zones that I've been in so far, not just for an aesthetic stand point. The open sight lines make it easy to spot material to farm and I suspect it's position at the very top of the "locations to warp to" list also makes it a very popular and highly frequented dolmen smashing spot. Makes sense since the rewards for shattering dolmens aren't zone specific.

Yeah, the dolmens in this zone have no chance.

Oh, and I found M'aiq the Liar is camped out at the remote dunes too. Not only did he survive the wounds from that Orsimer attack, but he retained his sense of humor as well.

"M'aiq speaks the truth, except for when he doesn't. With you, always the truth." - M'aiq the Liar

Friday, 5 May 2017

Nameless: The Best Defense

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Only the dual scimitar wielder and one death knight remained. With a combined attack, Nessa and Drisana managed to pierce through the skeleton's defenses, staggering it back. At the same time Tabitha, now having lost her helmet and one eye to the scimitar master found an opening to begin her own offensive.

The robed man danced back immediately, making her waste precious energy swinging her great sword at nothing but air. Rex had now flanked him and roared with rage as he charged in with his axe. The robed man gave his undead companion a quick sidewards glance and the two suddenly changed tactics.

The death knight spun around in a great arc with his jagged blade, cleaving through both of Rex's raised arms in the process, followed with a stab through his throat. At the same time, the scimitar wielder spun underneath and across, attacking both Nessa and Drisana with his curved swords, managing to wound Drisana's left leg with his initial attack.

It only got worse for her when he managed to kick Nessa away and focus all his attacks on wounded ex-caravan mistress. Unable to dodge she attempted to parry instead but soon learned that was a bad idea as her fingers got chopped off, followed by an ear, a hand, her other leg and ultimately her head. Focused as he was on Drisana, the scimitar wielder turned too late as Tabitha's great sword bore down on his head cleaving right through him from top to bottom.

Nessa took a moment as she watched Drisana die before turning to face the death knight advancing towards her. In a rage she leaped up at him, letting the undead warrior parry her blade as it left him open to her main attack: smashing her shield into its face. The blow knocked it to the ground, and after kicking away its weapon and standing on its arms, she then used both hands to continue smashing its face with the edge of her shield until its face was nothing more than dust.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Nameless: Cathedral Showdown

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The dark spirit let out a haunting moan as Father Tom banished it from the world. Behind him Rex was still brutalizing a corpse of some woodland shambler with his axe while the girls were wiping blood away from their own weapons as they stepped over the bodies of their defeated foes.

Reaching the cathedral was easier than expected as for some reason the nearby streets were deserted of monsters. Drisana guessed they had all chased another adventuring party somewhere. Now, inside the once blessed halls, they slowly worked their way up the structure. Despite the monsters lurking inside, things were progressing smoothly until they reached one of the main offices, a final hurdle to block their way from the stairs up to the bell tower.

There stood two heavily armed skeletal knights, each with a flaming skeletal hound waiting patiently beside them. In the center stood a robed man holding a pair of scimitars that looked every bit as wicked as the smile on his face. Without a word the knights drew their swords and the hounds sprang into a charge.

Nessa and Rex intercepted the dogs, easily dispatching them but both were caught off guard by the speed at which the death knights followed - leaving both open to their heavy, jagged swords. Drisana quickly parried the blade falling on Nessa and Tabitha moved to do the same for Rex - only to have her own blade blocked by the scimitar wielder who followed up with a flurry of blows that Tabitha was hard pressed to deflect.

Helpless, Rex's eyes widened as certain doom fell upon him but at the last minute another figure stepped in the way. Even the death knight looked surprised as his blade cut into Father Tom's shoulder. With blood seeping out of his mouth the old priest grabbed on tight to the skeletal arm, preventing the undead creature from retrieving its sword just long enough for Rex to cleave through its skull with his axe.

The undead knight collapsed to the floor, with Father Tom's lifeless body falling on top of it.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Nameless: Group Two

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The long sloped roof of the Mages Guild may have let Nessa and Drisana decrease the distance of the drop back to street level, but it was the conveniently located water wheel that was powered by the nearby stream which ran along the back of the structure that let them descend safely.

The girls silently agreed that staying in the open was a bad idea and quickly moved back into the cover of the ruined town, putting as much distance as they could between them and the building they just escaped from while keeping a low profile as to not attract the attention of the trolls or winged lions still patrolling the area.

Turning around a bend they suddenly ran into three armed humans whose tattered robes and damaged armor were also covered in blood and gore. The woman in scale mail with the two handed sword was clearly the leader as she was flanked by a barbaric, dim witted looking fellow on one side and a timid, middle aged priest on the other.

After the brief moment of surprise, Drisana found her voice and whispered "We're what's left of group eight." The knight looked over them briefly and nodded. "We are group two; you're with us now. I'm Tabitha, the surly one is Rex and this..."

"This is not a good time for introductions," interrupted the priest in a loud whisper.

Tabitha sighed. "This is Father Tom's first outing," she explained slowly - much to his annoyance. "I assume it was you who destroyed the summoning gem atop the Mages Guild?"

The girls nodded, puzzled how Tabitha would know about the gem. Seeing this, she explained "We helped take care of the one at the barracks. It's just the one at the cathedral left."

"Then let's finish this," muttered Nessa grimly.

With a curt nod, Tabitha signalled the team into single file as she took point and began the run towards the old Dranner cathedral on the hill.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Nameless: Bloody Gems

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"What is that?" asked Nessa as the team cautiously approached the huge green gem that, apart from radiating a blinding light was slowly rotating in mid air. The climb to the top of the Mages Guild had been tiring but mostly uneventful. Now they found themselves in what would classify as a large attic, full of miscellaneous items covered in blankets and tarps.

Kiefer, bringing up the rear with his injured leg, replied "It's probably what's calling all the monsters here." Signalling everyone else to stand back, Maeve stepped forward with her newly acquired staff and using its imbued magic, easily shattered the magical beacon that was spinning before them.

"That was easy," she said with a smirk - not realizing the large tarp beside her had begun to move. Before anyone could yell a warning a large stone hand shot forth and grabbed Maeve by the face, easily lifting the hapless woman off her feet. As the tarp fell, the golem became clearly visible and a wave of terror washed across Drisana, Nessa and Kiefer. It was exactly like the ones they had found in the depths beneath the city of Deepwater.

The construct took advantage of their flat footed-ness and charged with unexpected speed, catching the already limping Kiefer with its other huge stoney hand, and then slamming his two captives together face first resulting in a shower of brains and blood. It then turned its attention to the quivering Nessa, still frozen by fear.

Lucky for her, Drisana had managed to force her body to move and had already flanked the stone man without it noticing. With a well aimed thrust, she pierced through the small panel and shattered the small, magical gem powering the construct in a single blow. The statue unceremoniously collapsed to the ground - lifeless. It was then she noticed a number of the other tarps began to move - more golems!

"Nessa, we need to get out of here!" she yelled at her comrade - vigorously shaking her by the arm. Blinking away the fear, Nessa regained her senses and with a quick scan of the room sprinted towards the closest window - breaking through the stained glass shield first with Drisana following close behind.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Nameless: Not Welcome

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

As the pounding on the barricaded doors subsided, Nessa, Kiefer, Maeve and Drisana collapsed to the floor exhausted from exertion. At least the beasts outside had seemingly lost interest in them, but each of them knew they were far from being safe. That's when they heard the tapping, a sound of wood upon stone from further inside the building.

From a darkened hallway emerged an old man with a gaunt, weathered and bearded face. He slowed to a halt when he saw the adventurers who were forcing themselves back to their feet and leant heavily on his gnarled staff with a look of utter contempt on his face.

With a sudden thrust he pointed the tip of the staff at them which shot out a thin, blinding ray of light - the same magic that killed Buggie just minutes before. Kiefer was fast enough to push Maeve out of the way of the immolating beam as it exploded through the barricade and the door, opening the portal once more to all the horrors outside.

Not willing to let the wizard fire another spell, Drisana immediately threw a knife at the old man but with a simple gesture the blade was magically deflected and found itself in Kiefer's left thigh. At the same time Maeve threw a projectile of her own, a small flask that fell short of the old man - spewing forth a thick mist as soon as it cracked open against the stone floor.

The sudden drop in visibility was the only opening Nessa needed to sprint into the hall and run the wizard through with her blade. As if on queue the mist began to dissipate as quickly as it formed, letting her team mates regroup on her position as she kicked the dead wizard off her sword. With just an exchange of nods, the team progressed deeper into the structure - with Maeve having taken the fallen wizard's staff as her own.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Ben-Hur (2016)

More CGI, less screen time.

This Ben-Hur has almost exactly the same story as Charlton Heston's version, only it is condensed - shaving over an hour of play time from the previous movie. This Ben Hur is also much more of a party animal than before, and does a better job of building and harboring hatred on his "revenge" trip as the film goes on.

A fair amount of death always gets a thumbs up from me!

The antagonist, Messala, is quite likeable here which is good given how they change the ending. He also kills a -lot- more people this time around. Morgan Freeman is present too - as a less jovial and much more serious horse racing manager.  Jesus also gets actual face time this time around, instead of just seeing him from a distance, or his back, or his hand / foot.

Ben-Hur's mother and sister get a bit of a shaft on screen time, as does the boat captain and Jesus (which is made up for his face time I think), but I do quite like their take on the naval combat this time around. The mother and sister cut is probably the worst of the condensation, but the rest of the film does make up for it. The two films are also a nice comparison between really good CGI of the new one vs actual tactile sets of the old one. Both certainly have their merits.

All up I give this 3.5 chariots out of 5, which scores it a tad higher than Mr. Heston's version, purely because it is of a more reasonable length which makes the question of "would I watch this again?" be a definite yes.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Today I Smiled: A Soul less Dark

Hope you all enjoyed what is probably the last entry of my Dark Souls tale, since that was the final DLC. I certainly had fun playing through it! I am getting exhausted with this daily posting schedule though, especially this year which seems to be flying by. It's the end of April already and I feel it's like I've done nothing productive. Anyway, the Skyrim/TESO story will carry on for a bit more but with more gaps between them as the content there finally catches up to where I actually am. Yes, I do like holding posts in reserve.

I plan on making my Nameless creative writing experiment, which has taught me that drawing eats a ton more time than writing, fill the gap for a bit: and I'm going to break that wall of using my own art per post in that story since it is really stifling myself. Back to generic pictures we go! To leave you with more entertaining stuff, here are some youtube vids: the Indian Nod, the Indian Alphabet Song, and just to have something non-Indian, Dork Souls III - a cartoon parody which is more effective for those who have played the game, or have read through my playthrough.

And just for kicks, one more Dark Souls video - apparently the armor of thorns does damage when you roll into things, so of course... we get Dark Rolls! Have a good day everyone! :)

Friday, 28 April 2017

Dark Souls III: Midir

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

It takes a number of goes before I realize the fight against the bridge dragon is really simple. Hide behind a rock, wait for fire to pass, run out, hack his feet twice and run back - repeat. Eventually the winged beast falls off and finally lets me enter his massive cavern boss room where he is MUCH angrier. I am unable to find anyone to help for this fight, so I have a lot of deaths attempts which slowly improve as I begin to be able to read the beast.

Of course he has a laser too!

I'm thankful I fully upgraded my Fume Ultra Greatsword earlier, since hitting his face requires some vertical range. Also, strafing right at mid range happens to avoid most of his attacks, except for his flying one in which running left is better. Ultimately, he dies without beating Nunja Friede's record of the most times I died to a boss. As a final challenge I decided to go hunt the dragonslayer in the swamp (since I did his job for him).

He is really tough to duel, but not that bright. In the end I defeat him simply using a robe (for running) and a longbow. This is made really easy when he gets "stuck" on some ruins at the edge of his leash. I just fill him with 99 poison arrows and 33 large arrows which ends him and earns me his armor. Bwahahahah. Done here, I return to the painting girl (in the still slow burning church) and give the child her Uncle Gael's soul. She is thankful and shows me her painting...

It looks like an odd grey nothing at first but as I focus it starts to look like spiraling hues of blue. I can't seem to put my finger on it as I am drawn closer and closer. I also can't seem to breathe...

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Dark Souls III: Physics Breaker

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Beyond the Church I arrived at the chamber of the sleeping princess, who wasn't so much sleeping and more long dead. Poking her destroyed the illusion that is the Ringed City (much like I heard that if you poke Gwynevere you reveal the true "dark" Anor Londo in the first Dark Souls) and left me standing in a massive desert of ash and ruin. Apart from one of the Princess' Knights who I put down, the only other one here is Gael... having grown to a massive size by cannibalizing the "people" here. He then turns to me with murderous intent.

The boss fight against Gael is certainly one of the "prettiest" in the series, with the physics defying knight flying in unexpected angles as he attacks. I only attempt two practice runs to read his basic set before summoning sunbro DogHow and S***A to assist. They are clearly experts at the fight and we have no problems as Gael switches to his even more beautiful phase 2 and phase 3 sequences, ultimately slaying the old slave knight with no friendly casualties. Thanks guys!

A picture cannot capture how awesome this fight is.

This just leaves one mysterious boss fog I found in an earlier secret passage which I couldn't enter. At first I thought it to be a bug, but it turns out there was a pre-requisite to open it first... defeat the dragon on the bridge.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Dark Souls III: The Spears of the Church

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

The boss fight inside the church is one of the most devious in Dark Souls. While there is a respawning painting assassin NPC during the fight, the main boss is... another player. Yes. I hope you've been practicing your PvP skills because one of the many crazies who enjoy ruining the day for others will be summoned as "your boss fight", and given the people who sign up for this covenant would be the ones who PvP at every opportunity - lets just say are not novices.

Said opponent cannot use Estus heals which is great, but everything else in their arsenal seems to be ok. They also get an AoE spear summon and an automated magic spear spell hovering above them (at least I think its automated). The "Spears of the Church" Faltran and Bloodfire did their duty of blocking my progress. Rather than hoping one will just throw the fight (which probably isn't going to happen, given the game) I decided to tilt the battle to my favor as much as possible, summoning sunbro Andraste to assist and coating my axe with the bleed buff.

Pre-combat shot. The fighting is too intense later to take screenies.

Spear of the Church Anayaki still put up a good fight, but with my tricks and a late "suddenly switch opponent" tactic by Andraste and me, Anayaki was caught unprepared for an axe to the back. Being unsure of who to block against next ensured both of us hit which ended the boss fight in our victory. Thank you Andraste! Funny that someone named after a goddess/saint helped me get through this section! ;)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dark Souls III: Cardio is Important

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Lapp is here at the bonfire too, apparently he is looking for a cleansing monument of some sort to restore his memory. I tell him I'll keep an eye out, but due to the next section being filled with scary flame sword knights, giant thorn knights, and turtle man priests I go back to my old tactic of running and dodging past everything! The theme of "Going Down" continues here and I ultimately end up in a large swamp, being chased by another dragonslayer armor!  My pretty good sprint is ended by unexpected dragon fire though, as a large black dragon does a fantastic job of covering his stone bridge from intruders.

Crispy Pata. Ow.

It takes a few goes before I find the nearby bonfire which makes scouting the swamp much easier. More importantly it lets me work out the timing of the bridge crossing which leads me straight into a skeleton filled catacomb. The Moaning Knight invades here but I never actually encounter him since I move too quickly through the area and to the other end of the catacomb where again the dragon blocks my path.

In true Dark Souls style there is no "going around", its all timing, dodging and blocking. I manage to axe a dragon toe or two as I run past it into the next building which simply opens a shortcut back to an earlier bonfire of the area. Yup, all of this was pretty much to open a locked gate! To be fair it also opens the path to the church that I've been trying to reach since getting here. Little did I know of the boss waiting inside.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Dark Souls III: Panic Power

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After dealing with the angels I find a giant pit where two large flaming demons await. I don't get very far on my own, but luckily I am able to enlist Lapp and "the not yet dead afterall" Slave Knight Gael to assist in handling the aggro and defeating the phase 2, laser blasting demon prince that spawns from the corpse of one of the dead bosses.

Axe-ing open some demon noggin!

One familiar demon transportation ride later I am taken to the very awesome looking Ringed City and encounter its first guardian, an undead giant who summons an army of ghost archers! At the same time I am invaded by Juliet of Astora who uses these unmoving ghosts to slay a Blue Sentinel who comes to my aid. Knowing my lack of PvP experience I withdraw back behind some cover a top a spiraling stair where Juliet knows I'm planning a trap - but cannot see me, so resorts to gesture insults, one benefit of no in game chat I guess.

I wait till she's close and with two hands on my axe I run out early, timing it as she is coming up, which elicits the panic response I am hoping for. I manage to nick her too with my wild swinging but her own dodge is what ends her as it sends her off the broken stair and plummeting to a messy, insta death. Not what I had planned, but I'll take it! Using timing, a calm approach and the supplied cover lets me get through the ghost firing squad and survive attacks from a handful of weak assassins beyond. The next bonfire is right there.

Good thing those ghost arrows can't go through solid stone. Lol!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Dark Souls III: Laser Angels

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Disorientation gives way to a familiar, spiraling landscape of cities crumbling in on each other as an angry black sun looks down. Looks like I'm back here, on the field of flowers where I had once defeated the Soul of Cinder. After shaking loose the cobwebs in my mind and muscles I found a new bonfire, one that leads me to the top of the Dreg Heap and offering one of the best views of the spiraling chaos anyone could ask for.

Something calls me forth, and I begin my descent through the familiar yet different, gravitationally warped locales and while the numerous undead here are quite manageable with funneling tactics I soon encounter a most curious and dangerous adversary - evil angels. These flying laser turrets are the bane of my exploration in this region, especially once I reach the mired swamp that everything seems to be pooling at.

Dodging that is pretty tough.

I meet the amnesiac knight Lapp, on this journey as well as Zoey the desert pyromancer who I best by kicking off a high ledge. Well technically, she actually dodged off and killed herself. It's the ever watchful eyes of the angels that pin me down here for a long time, until I finally find their weakness... hidden cocoon zombies who are individually quite helpless. Killing one insta kills the angel they control so I make it a point to find them and slay them all out of spite.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

TESO: All these People Suck

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

While King Emeric recovers from his death in Bangkorai (lol) I head to Rivenspire next where there is a civil war afoot. Normally I'd let these people just kill each other but when it becomes clear the dominant Montclair faction is composed of vampires I definitely have to intervene. Just to semi complicate matters there are three "good" vampires too, but its because of their leader and an Ayelid doohickey atop Mount Doom "the Doomcrag" that this whole thing started. I am also annoyed to learn that this vampire is one of Emeric's closest friends. What sort of King lets vampires wander around? What a douche.

It comes complete with aircraft warning lights!

Ultimately I kill all the bad vampires and the lead "good" one sacrifices himself to remove the ayelid relic (that can just change people into vamps via gas) from the Doomcrag. How? By giving himself and the WMD to Molag Bal, who takes it into Coldharbour. WHAT? That's not a F*ING SOLUTION! Emeric himself shows up after the fact and then asks me to choose from the remaining surviving candidates on who should become overlord of this region, because having many equal people didn't work. I pick the devout and peace loving Baroness as to weaken the Covenant as much as possible.

In the process I also beat up a cave full of orcs (a rarity here) and prove to Malacath, the daedric prince they worship, that all orcs are worthless pieces of shit. In town I also am  surprised to find Captain Kaleen, stripped and tortured in a basement no less. Seems like the kinky Redguard spy she was hunting turned the tables on her. After helping her kill the bastard I take her back to the docks. I was headed there anyway to gain passage to the Alik'r Desert anyway. During this I notice that in all the scuffles with those vampires, one managed to get me good on my arm.

I'm sure it's nothing.

Friday, 21 April 2017

TESO: Daedric Tharn

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

With Stormhaven mostly freed from Vaermina's manipulation I rode on into Bangkorai, a region under attack by talking crows - and more reachmen. Where the heck do all these guys come from? After convincing the local Queen to do her job I am sent to stop this threat and quite humorously succeed in doing so by accident. You see I was racing towards a distant Dolmen which I ended up missing entirely as other heroes shut it down - and found myself near the main reachman camp. A little stealth and snooping about led me to their hagraven leader who I had no trouble in slaying.

That force turned out to just be the appetizer though, as the main threat soon revealed itself to be the Imperial army led by one Septima Tharn who are all allied with Molag Bal (of course). With the help of King Emeric and his timely army, we pushed them back into the Southern Desert region of this huge zone. Then I got side tracked in rescuing elf maidens from a Troll den and helping a nereid eliminate a bunch of Hermaeus Mora's followers. Take that you kill stealer. In the region I also have to outhunt Hircine's chosen hunter and defeat an avatar of Mephala - guess the Daedric princes really like this zone!

Explosions are effective against ghosts!

By the time I catch up with Septima Tharn after all those distractions, she has already defeated Emeric's army and killed the arrogant king. I sneak into her camp and have an epic duel against her, one of the best fights in the game so far - ultimately I slay the sorceress and have the Queen's forces wipe out the remaining Imperial douches. Through convoluted events I end up with King Emeric's soul in my backpack and have the option of resurrecting him. I am soooo tempted not to, but ultimately give in and revive him. In exchange I tell him to withdraw all his forces from the war. He says he'll think about it.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

TESO: Perchance to Dream

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

After cleaning up some left over Bloodthorn cultists at Glenumbra I move onto Stormhaven which is plagued by a totally different set of cultists who worship Vaermina and her nightmare realm. They are actually quite effective in getting people to behave irrationally, causing wide spread disturbances and even a high profile assassination. Eventually I reach the capital, Wayrest, and meet High King Emeric. He tasks me with stopping this nightmare cult and in exchange agrees to hold the advance of his army camped near the Rift.

Just as well he does for he too eventually falls under Vaermina's spell and I save his sorry Breton hide from... himself, basically. And Vaermina's beholder champion, Galthis. Vaermina is notably upset at this, trying to trap me in her domain but the attempt is so poor it barely is worth mentioning. I guess she's really out of steam in this region at that point. For my efforts I am rewarded with a pet monkey. Lol, what?


Anyway, this area is also where I complete my first solo dolmen, defeating liches, a naga and a dread grievous twilight demon in a really long fight that involves hiding behind many nearby pillars and trees. It's not the most efficient nor the fastest way to clear a dolmen, but I certainly felt heroic after doing so.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

TESO: Beyond Reach

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

I came to as Orla shook me awake at the entrance of some crypt with a squad of pact soldiers behind her. Disoriented, she advised that during a skirmish against Reachmen I had fallen down the short pit which is serves as the standard foyer to most of the burial mounds here in the Rift. Whoever designed it must love flooding tombs. After clearing my head of that vivid experience, I assisted her in eliminating the local Reachman boss within, though all her soldiers died in the effort.

Turns out the Reachmen have some giant allies.

From there I continued pushing back the Reachmen and their Worm cult allies all the way past Ivarstead. I also execute a survivor from the Bleakrock invasion so long ago, since she had fallen under the sway of Molag Bal's promises to restore her fallen family members. For a change of pace, I also have to rescue a school of skalds who inadvertently got Vaermina's attention, unleashing nightmare forces on their little island.

With that done I earn the "Hero of the Pact" title, despite not being able to stop one particular threat in the region - a neighboring valley filled with an army of Lionguard troops! There are far too many for me to handle alone (group dungeon). Fortunately they don't seem to be going anywhere so I figure I might be able to talk King Emeric into standing down. Unlikely, but it's worth a try! One short Wayshrine trip later and I find myself back in the Covenant controlled land of Glenumbra.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Breaking the Loop

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

Since I've collected enough of these heart shaped wakestones (revive item) I am now able to open an even stranger portal in the Everfall which leads me (alone) into a strange plane where the floor is water, and it is only decorated by a single throne which a dude in a white robe sits on. This god "Seneschal" turns out to be Savan - and he is behind the whole mess that brought me here in the first place!

Apparently he is bored of being god, and the only way to step down is to get an arisen to kill you and take your place. The only way to make an arisen is to summon/create a dragon into the world, and just like me - he killed his dragon a long, long time ago. This ultimate showdown is a bit lack luster, even when he summons his man at arms as well as Rose for a 2 vs 2 fight. He is easily defeated, and asks that I kill him. I oblige and become the new god.

Savan prefers to talk than fight.

I can tell right away why this is boring though - at this point you can only visit Cassardis or Gran Soren as a ghost figure and can't interact with anyone, apart from attacking or throwing them around. I do think of a way to break this cycle though. I need an arisen to end my loop? Well, I am an arisen right? Seppuku time! Yes, the game makes you kill yourself. It works - and the watery floor gives way to clouds as Rose and I fall into the sea...

Rose eventually washes up at Cassardis beach, inexplicably wearing my armor. Was I just a figment of her imagination this whole time? Madeline helps her up and assures her that the two of them will manage brilliantly. At this point I have the option of starting New Game+, but then I wouldn't really be breaking the loop would I? :P

Monday, 17 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Ur-Stronger

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

Due to the weakness of the magic archer class in the last entry, I opt to switch back to assassin for more stabby and less pew pew. We also recruit Ila the knight and Sapphire the mage to replace our fallen comrades and go on a patrol just outside the gates to test their mettle against hell hounds and gargoyles. During this I also test out a really cool skill called Masterful Kill, which is basically a Batman parry. It is awesome. So awesome I decide to bring the team back to the catacombs to take on the pair of living armors.

This time, since I'm squarely in the physical damage role I use Masterful Kill to counter the scum slowly chipping away at the armor until both finally break (it does take a few tries), leaving the ghosts exposed to the powerful magics of Sapphire and the insanely powerful magics of Rose who freezes one to death and tears the other apart with tornadoes. I am elated that we finally won that very tough fight!

With that it is back to randomly exploring the Everfall, and eventually come across the lich and metal golem once more. There are no issues this time as my purely physical arrows destroy the golem's amulets early into the fight, and with everyone focusing on the lich it doesn't last very long either. While most of these areas are somewhat repetetive we do come across one beautiful zone occupied by easily slain evil pawns... and the Ur-Dragon!

I should have known a dragon would show up...

This thing is just HP bar after HP bar and whose massive body hides a huge amount of hearts. It does say that this is a multiplayer boss, one designed to be chipped away on so I just do my part and when it flies off to recuperate I get the team out of there since we would not win a battle of attrition. Ila and Sapphire leave at this point, terrified of the beast they just fought against.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: The Everfall

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

After dealing with the hydra, we finish off the cockatrice that had fled to Soulflayer Canyon. Its petrifying breath is inconsequential as we have a lot of curatives at this point. We also swing by the home of the Dragonforged but find he is gone. I suppose he died with the dragon. Eventually we return to Gran Soren to actually investigate that huge hole properly - it turns out it is the Everfall which has grown into a cascading hole filled with mini dungeons.

I join other adventurers in exploring the place, defeating a beholder (more magic based than the one on Bitterblack Isle), a magic ice drake as well as another with a heart on it's back and groups of ogres and cyclops. What catches us off guard is a lich and metal golem team though. The metal golem's medal weakspots aren't on its body, and instead are scattered around the chamber - its easy enough to destroy them except for the one floating high in the sky because said medals are immune to magic, so my magic arrows did nothing to it.

I'm just... catching my breath...

In the meantime the lich was busy not just summoning undead, but also casting petrification spells - and since we used up a large portion of the curatives against the cockatrice in the canyon both Cedric and Margel are soon turned to stone! The metal golem then uses its explosive laser beam eye to explode statue Margel into tiny bits and crush statue Cedric underfoot. While Rose and I manage to kill the floating lich afterwards the golem is too problematic and we are forced to withdraw - recalling back up to the city.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Just can't Win

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

Turns out the dragon's death isn't the end of the game, all it did was darken the sky and it is now raining ash continuously everywhere. Worse, some of the monsters in the country side have grown stronger too so we head back to Gran Soren to get some answers and instead find a massive, gaping hole that has consumed over half the city, including Fournival's cell and Jasper's home. Parkour kid Pip blames me for his parents death. Just can't win with some people.

I go visit the Duke who has now withered into an old man. He cannot believe that anyone could have slain the dragon, and in his madness attacks me feebly with a sword as he believes I took the same deal he did. I easily kick him down, but his guardsmen led by Ser Maximillian come to his aid in an unending swarm - believing his lies that I placed a curse on him. I lost count of how many I kill during the escape/slaughter. Ser Maximillian is among them.

To be fair, spin kicking a duke is probably against the law.

Fortunately enough guards died that they are only congregating now at the Duke's castle, letting us freely roam what's left of the city. Despite that, we leave anyway to do some of the new hunting quests, including putting an end to the poison spitting hydra who has resurfaced at the Shadow Fort. Margel's shield boost is handy which makes it easier to hop up there and chop off its heads, as is Cedric's fire magic which slows them from growing back. It takes a bit of time, but we are victorious!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Aught to Kill You

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

Deciding that it is time to confront the dragon, I return to the Dragonforged who is nice enough to tell me where to find him. He also mentions that when he tried, he lost and is now just a ghost. That does explain why only I can see him! The beasts lair is beyond the Great Wall, guarded by hell hounds, succubi harpies, and gorechimera. It is also strangely familiar in that it is the same place I dreamt of at the start of all this... only Savan and his team were the ones hunting the wyrm.

More awesome than Zhaitan.

We eventually reach it and I am surprised that the tavern keeper Inez is a prisoner here, and the dragon offers me a choice: fight him and potentially end the world, or kill Inez (who represents my love interest I guess?) and live forever... which is what the mad Duke did. Obviously I fight the dragon - and what a glorious fight it is, covering a huge distance as we run through and a top of ruins, shoot at it with ballista, ride on it's back, and ultimately face it in a big arena!

Heat seeking magic arrows are very handy in this fight, but in the end the dragon goes down due to my learning how to double jump and grab onto its chest - followed by daggering its heart ad nauseum. After a long battle, the dragon falls and I eat its soul (Dovahkiin)! Well, not really - but he is nice enough to magically return my missing heart before disintegrating. Afterwards we take Inez back to Cassardis afterwards where she shows her appreciation, by giving free drinks and snacks all around! :P

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: There's your god

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

On the road we encounter Ser Maximillian and some guards who are hurrying to the Great Wall to stop some massive Salvation invasion taking place. Since they don't know what I was up to in the last entry, we join the ranks and reach the citadel to find it already overrun by cultists, undead, harpies and armored cyclopsi. There's even a chimera upstairs! At the top of the fort we finally catch up with the leader of Salvation who throws two final liches at us but they are easily destroyed.

Even combined they weren't as tough as the bich.

He then runs to a higher vantage point and begins giving his spiel about the dragon being the god of the new age and is cut short by having the very same dragon (the heart eater), crush him unceremoniously under foot. The beast proclaims he has no love for the Salvation idiots, and renews his challenge for me to face it since I am now stronger. With that he flies off because I suppose he likes playing hard to get.

I take the time to return to Gran Soren where I am surprised to find Madeline back in town, apparently being hunted by the guards for being allied with Salvation! I'm not sure how she escaped from the goblins and while I try to help the guardsmen arrest her, they are idiots and go the wrong way. Madeline thanks me for diverting them with that very unclear quest option and asks for 20k gold to restart her shop elsewhere. Sure why not - I've got gold spilling out my ears at this point anyway.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Rescuing the Girl

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

With the rebellion ended the team makes a stop at the catacombs where we attempt to slay two living armours. The problem with these things is that apart from the wide arcs of their seriously damaging sword swings, they are also immune to magic for the first stage and immune to physical damage in the second. Also, unlike the one we fought on Bitterblack Isle which was in a large arena - these two were in a more claustrophobic room. We (and I mean Margel and Fedel) simply couldn't get them to the second phase, and when they killed Fedel I knew we just had to cut our losses and retreat.

My first guess was the dragon.

Just as well too since Gran Soren was under attack - some Salvation infiltrators had resurrected the dead cockatrice Mercedes' troops brought back as tribute to the Duke. We killed the cultists and hurt the beast enough that it flew away, but it did manage to petrify some of the locals. We didn't stay long though as we learned that the Duchess Aelinore had been exiled to another of the Duke's estates where she now awaited execution for her unfaithfulness.

Jasper, the peasant whose home loan I paid off earlier, comes along to help out - carrying a nice disguise for me which makes infiltrating really easy and I reach Aelinore in no time. After a (not so) short interlude to test the bed, I then have to fight out against all the guards I snuck past, as well as more in the tunnels beneath. Fortunately Rose, Cedric, Margel and Jasper meet me half way and the Duchess is whisked off to safety. I'm noticing a theme of vanishing NPCs in this game...

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dragon's Dogma: Now You See Me

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

After the disastrous events last time, it was a good change of pace to have a simple quest in Cassardis in the form of helping the moronic Valmiro pack a boat for his "great" adventure, but once he had set sail it was back to the capital for some serious business! After switching to the "Magic Archer" class (because shooting heat seeking mana arrows is fun!) Ser Fedel and his aides Margel the warrior and Cedric the mage joined the party to hunt down a thieving ex-court mage and his band of hired thugs.

The wizard played a bit of whack-a-mole with all his teleporting around, but too bad for him he kept going to where my Port Crystals were and was put down very easily. We are then also tasked to aid Captain Mercedes handle a rebellion in that Northern Fort much to her disdain, asking me to stay out of her way. I oblige, deciding to take a back seat in the proceedings. Her forces do pretty well, taking down a Cockatrice en route to the fort and hold their own against the renegade soldiers. Not that I let them, because I'm bloodthirsty like that.

This band is led by Ser Julien who Captain Mercedes challenges to a duel. Julien prefers to fight me but Mercedes insists that I sit out of it so... fine. The silly Captain ends up losing to Julien's mace, and is only spared so that she can be whored to the rest of his forces. Lucky for her, he the "rest of his forces" are all dead. Content he has weakened this continent enough (which is why he helped Salvation in the first place), he withdraws back to his own country, and Captain Mercedes shamefully does the same. I suppose I could go chase them but via game magic all of them just vanish from the fort. Guess they all had port crystals too?

Or maybe Julien just *really* likes goats.