Monday, 31 July 2017

Neverwinter Online: Chult Totem Grind

The new campaign for NWO is out and with it comes some really nice looking areas which will be introduced to you in the somewhat lengthy intro quest. You'll also quickly learn that dinos have a big aggro range, Batiri that glow red are very dangerous, to watch your ranged attacks as to not draw unintentional aggro from the densely packed mobs, and to turn away from the giant eye icons above the yuan-ti dancers who can push or pull you into said mobs.

Also, don't piss off the King of Spines. :P

More importantly, you'll also be introduced to the new grind which is that for totems, the currency that unlocks this new campaign. You can only collect 100 per week to begin with but can boost that as you advance. How does one get to the 100 per week though? The Prince in the new hub gives you 6 patrol quest bonus rewards per week, which each give 5 totems, so that's 30 out of the way. His patrol quests (the ones that start from the city) are quite fun too. You might need to wait a few minutes if you finish them too quickly for his quest cycle to restart though.

There's another 20 from a weekly that comes from defeating a rare critter, which randomly spawns in the place of a regular mob. Hopping to a channel with less people gives you a better chance of finding one I feel since I encountered 2 at a very off-peak time. I'll keep an eye on that  and update here if it continues to be the case.

The remainder of the totems will need to come from repeatable quests at Camp Vengeance, giving 5 totems each. There aren't that many variants, but if you are just gunning for totems, the path of least resistance (with or without a party) seems to be "Rescue Templars" and then "Rescue Scouts from Batiri". They're fast, and don't involve fighting your way into (and then out of) one of the many ruins or sanctify spots required from the other quests.

Does that sound boring and repetitive? Yes, but it's also efficient. There might be better options as more quests get unlocked, but for now that is my plan of attack.

Saturday, 29 July 2017


A supernatural ninja who is as brittle as glass.

Aragami is the tale about a vengeful spirit ninja (that's you) who has been summoned to "thwart the bad guys" by spending most of your time on fetch quests. Everything about you is shadow. You can make shadows, teleport to shadows, and hide in shadows which is great for a stealth game - which make no mistake - this is.

Having glowing white lines on your outfit seems a tad counter intuitive.

Conversely your enemies use light. And I don't mean torches. I mean glowing swords, burning arrows, explosive wisps - everything one hit kills you (at least on the hardest mode). Oh, you you also one hit kill everything, or can go the master thief route of not touching anyone which is what I did.

Supposedly you can get other shadow skills too, as I kept finding scrolls of hidden knowledge and shrines to "power up" but the game never gave instruction on how to use them so a bit of a negative there.

The game play itself is fun and the stylistic art is pretty. I didn't mind that all the voice over is in Japanese since there are English subtitles, but the flashback piece meal story while good, was a bit tough to follow.

All up, the game is a good balance of challenge and fun which I can recommend to anyone that likes stealth games. I give it 3.5 bells out of 5.

Friday, 28 July 2017

X-men: Apocalypse

The first mutant... was a Goa'uld! What do you mean no one knows what Star Gate is anymore?

Continuing on from X-men: First Class (which I haven't reviewed, doh!), this is the story of how "the first" mutant, the titular Apocalypse, reappears in the world and then goes about trying to make it a better place... for mutants. So pretty much like any previous X-men movie so far where Magneto is the villain.

They do try to tie it in to a few of the other movies too, with some expected cameos and a healthy dose of hand waving in some parts. All those guys missing from this movie? "We're the only ones left," makes for a nice, vague response.

There is a lot of eye candy and good effects as to be expected with Quicksilver getting the best pieces of the pie, but the plot has some serious holes - bigger than the one Apocalypse crawled out of at the start, and that's even without trying to join this movie to the rest of the franchise.

Alas, poor Yorick. I wish this movie made sense.

Ultimately this outing is an ok action movie, but there are better ones to choose from within the X-men franchise to watch. I give it 2 horsemen out of 5.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Uukrul: The Beacon

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Sage Sagaris appears while the team are raiding the treasure vaults to remind them they still need to rescue Mara in the Chaos, and to meet him at the Beacon afterwards. Those two are actually teleport stations and so, once loaded up and back at full strength the party ventures to Chaos where they see Mara sleeping in a cage.

There are no enemies here, just a lot of BS teleporters and more up and down access card things. Despite the graphics not being there it begins to dawn on Balthazarr that not all is as it seems, given they are unlocking latches on the roof and other, very mechanical functions before reaching Mara and waking her up by removing the amulet on her chest. She is thankful and takes all of them to the Beacon... which is a control room for a nuke.

That must be the lousiest reward ever.

Mara claims there is only one way to rid the minions and taint of Uukrul once and forever - to ignite the beacon, which will cost everyone their lives for the greater good! She does mention she gave the city a vision to get out five minutes ago,  I suppose that's enough lead time? Lol. Sagaris uses his rod, Mara flips switches, and the last part is for the team to recite the last line of the untranslatable prayer. Balthazarr, Andraste, Helga and Linisha join hands and sing...

Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya!
(that's my translation)

In a blinding flash of light, Uukrul's taint, army, and indeed... the entire mountain was cleansed. From existence. TEAM WIPE VICTORY!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Uukrul: Master of Hammer

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

A vision of Mara tells the group that they are now at the Palace of Uukrul (despite the graphics looking exactly the same  everywhere) and that they must "arm the beacon". What? Anyway, the initial group of necromancers is easy enough to defeat but wandering the Palace is more about sneaking past the monks, samurais and lamias patrolling the halls.

Oh, so he's a dremora!?

One particular passage guarded by three riddles leads them right into the throne room where Uukrul himself awaits! Using the knowledge gained from the magician's circle, Andraste breaks the glass heart on the floor - preventing Uukrul from fleeing, but that doesn't make the spell casting dremora any less agile with the team struggling to pin him down.

He also regenerates when brought to near death because ... only the relic hammer can kill him! Helga is on the precipice of death, being kept alive only through Linisha's healing hands when Balthazarr finally gets to use the move he has taught so many before... SPIRAL ROCK SMASH! Uukrul's head explodes into tiny, spiraling, giblets as the rest of him falls defeated to the ground. The team rejoice, their exhaustion vanishing as they find Uukrul's treasure chambers which hold a significant trove of treasure!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Uukrul: The Dark Heart

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After escaping the pit maze, and the wandering flame spirits within, the team reaches the next sanctuary and returns to town to restock on food (just in time), repair/upgrade gear and level up. Thanks to Helga now having access to more tomes at the magicians circle they learn the relic-hammer is going to be important in the battle against Uukrul so they get that repaired right away.

Lastly, they make a quick pit stop to the urn and unlock it fully, collecting the black, glass heart inside... the Dark Heart of Uukrul! The team then return where they left off, finding themselves in a dark zone which turns out to be Uukrul's barracks. A demon encounter here (posing as a stone heart, the bastard) weakens them significantly, leading to a catastrophic encounter against a large band of patrolling Lamias and giant snakes.

Nabirye sacrifices herself so that her team mates can get away, and in doing so meet Linisha hiding here in the depths. She too was one of Mara's team, and she helps the group reach the next sanctuary that so happens to be past four liches and four specters! Fortunately Helga and Andraste are on the ball with their magic, leading to a well earned victory. Balthazarr can't help but feel more and more useless as the enemies become even more physical resistant.

That should look much scarier than it does.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Uukrul: Snakes and Ladders

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the pyramid is a long passage guarded by samurais (sure why not), golems and undead hordes whom get obliterated by Andraste's prayers to Idris. In-joke for Neverwinter Online players there given she's an Undead Queen in that game. This leads to a strange mechanical zone of advanced machinery guarded by more monks.

A vision of Mara suggests the team must use the carriage to proceed. What she doesn't mention is all the back and forthing to lower the water in the flooded levels below, and that the carriage actually runs on electric eel juice. The team slays a whole school of them as well as a pushover demon guarding a broken relic-hammer and a surprise red dragon before hitting the next zone which is full of pits. Which you can climb up and down out of.

Supremely stupid too.

There's much falling and climbing and jumping in this part, and through sheer luck the group runs into a necromancer and a very tough giant guarding another stone heart. Andraste destroys the necromancer with Helga's assistance, while Nabirye almost dies to the giant before Balthazarr can land a killing blow.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Uukrul: Pyramid of Torture

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The next area past the Jar of Hearts is some sort of pyramid of torture, with few enemies but lots of traps, locks and teleporters. The most annoying one sending the team into a one square prison with absolutely no escape, had they not picked up that "escape medal" earlier. A required key is also in that room so I'm not sure what the designers were thinking...

Helga is vital in using the collected access cards which let the team float up or down the vertical chute, which is a really odd design decision when it comes to non-mages as there are no stairs! Midway they find a dying fighter who claims he was one of Mara's party, saying that she is now a prisoner "in the chaos" and gives Nabirye another stone heart before dying. I wonder where he hid that during his torture? Ewww.

People can be ingenious when it comes to cruelty.

At the very top the team encounter the evil monks again, who are super effective at stunning Balthazarr and Andraste. Fortunately Helga's new "Kunlazar" spell is very handy (large AoE), leading the team to victory and the next sanctuary! As per usual, they then go on a back-track training run with Andraste finally finding Sage Sagaris' black rod which had been missed WAY earlier. Stupid secret doors. They also defeat the white dragon since it gave them time to prepare.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Uukrul: Jar of Hearts

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the testing chamber is a small puzzle maze with levers which takes a little trial and error, and manual mapping. The reward is a suspicious urn that holds a black heart. Neither can be taken though, as six heart-shaped latches hold it in place. The stone hearts fit exactly in but they still need three more so they delve deeper and find another sanctuary.

At this point Balthazarr leads the team back to the mirror maze where they discovered that particular monsters always respawn in the same spot. The Krefator is one of them, and between Nabirye and Helga is a one round combat that nets a good XP gain, so after spam killing the acid lizard for awhile they level up a fair bit.

They also find a hidden passage with a long keypad code... Really? A keypad? Fortunately the answer was in the crossword section, so they manage to unlock it and find another stone heart. They also find a white dragon nearby who is polite enough to let them flee via dialogue. They unload the new heart at the urn now only lacking two more.

Your puzzle was a keypad?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Uukrul: Speak Foe and Enter

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having completed their training run, the team returns to the mirror maze defeating a fire lizard and finding the plot device mirror which Andraste breaks to reveal a mysterious plaque. The noise attracts a bunch of monks who turn out to be very dangerous, forcing the team to flee to the other end of the mirror maze where a previously locked grate is now open.

Clearly, Uukrul's a dick.

As soon as they step through, Uukrul shows up and shuts it behind them, asking them to beg through the bars if they want it reopened. Balthazarr rejects the offer and instead leads the squad past floating eyes, a giant worm which Helga destroys, and away from the same group of monks - still in slow pursuit - from before!

They reach a room of testing with three paths, one full of locked gates, one with the promise of a fight, and one a dead end with a sign saying that only a single word will open it. Nabirye takes this literally and just says "word", which opens the path. How very modern.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Uukrul: HOYAMOQ!

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After the close call against Thurazz last time, Balthazarr decides to take the team on an upper level patrol again for experience, and to keep an eye out for stone hearts that they supposedly will need to defeat Uukrul. That last bit of knowledge was courtesy of Helga now being able to access the higher tomes in the magician's circle.

As expected, there is not much that can challenge them now - but through careful navigation and searching they do find secret doors they previously missed (or in two cases, missed due to floor spinners). Secret doors are annoying. Most cannot be forced. A few have levers that open them. Some need a magic word.

For all other times, there's Hoyamoq. A prayer to the god of knowledge. Like most prayers, it doesn't always work and even when it does - you need to repeat it. Many times. So poor Andraste is there praying in front of a wall, reciting "Hoyamoq, hoyamoq, hoyamoq..." over and over until the door opens. Helga found this hilarious, but later on she'd find variations that need the wizard spell "Talis". And yes, it also requires repetition.

So at what point can I just cast fireball or something to explode it open?

Despite the silliness, it's actually quite a productive (albeit long) outing - netting a variety of treasures and three stone hearts!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Neverwinter Online: The Cloaked Ascendancy

Late review, I was stuck in the Far Realm with these guys...

Given that Tomb of Annihilation (the next module) is just around the corner, this is a very late review for the Cloaked Ascendancy which comes after the terribly grindy Storm King's Thunder. Yes, it was so bad I actually quit Neverwinter for awhile and am now playing catch up.

Fortunately the rag-tag band of mages who have returned from the Far Realm make for interesting adversaries not just mechanically but story wise too. It helps that you get to interact with each of them at least a little bit while going through the story chapters, instead of just having some "bad dude" that you never see waiting at the end of a dungeon that you need to take a deus ex machina from or just murder in general.

Nothing very cloaked about them though.

There is only one new area, the River District, which is not just pretty but very functional in terms of dailies. This cuts down travel time from the last modules grind by a metric ton, since there you were required to venture into 4 zones towards the end. Daily.

Of course the grind is still here too, but at least you have a bit of variety on how you want to fill your "daily bar" in this campaign. It's a mix and match of heroics, dungeons, or capturing and upgrading guard posts. Don't worry, all options still include a copious amount of murder. You can choose to just kill 1000 each day too, but that's a real slog.

If that was brought down to 100, like the stronghold daily, it would be much better (10 times!). The guard posts I mentioned before are a great addition too, unfortunately the logic on them is the reverse on what it should be where players actually benefit -more- if they fall to enemy forces.

Shroud of Souls, the short "finale" of the campaign, holds a few really good adventure segments which I wish there was much more of. Evernight in particular is a faaaaantastic place. A world full of undead where everything is messed up? Now I know where Dark Souls takes place. :P

I have a feeling the Cryptic guys took some inspiration from it.

Definitely one of the better modules for me. Hopefully this continues with the Tomb of Annihilation. We won't have long to find out!

Reviews and Tutorials

Welcome to my "new" reviews and tutorials page! I decided it needed a reboot after the photobucket burn, but all my previous ones are still available here.

PC Game Reviews:
Akalabeth: World of Doom
Alan Wake: American Nightmare
Alien: Isolation
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust
Another Sight: Hodge's Journey 
Ape Out
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
Assassin's Creed: Unity
Astroneer (Alpha)
Bad North: Jotunn Edition
Batman: Arkham Knight
Battle Brothers 
The Battle for Wesnoth
Beneath a Steel Sky
Berserk: Band of the Hawk
The Bridge
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Command and Conquer
Command and Conquer: Generals
Command and Conquer: Red Alert
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command and Conquer: Renegade
Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Commandos 2: Men of Courage
Costume Quest 
Dawn of War II
Deponia: The Complete Journey
Enter the Matrix
The Escapists
Farming Simulator 19
FEAR: Perseus Mandate 
Finding Paradise
Flight of the Amazon Queen
Grim Fandango (Remastered) 
Ghostbusters (2009)
GTFO (Early Access) 
Hand of Fate 2
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice 
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Hyperlight Drifter
Inner Space
Into the Breach
Iron Man (2008)
Jill of the Jungle
The King of Fighters 2002
The Kite
Layers of Fear
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes 
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
LEGO Lord of the Rings
Lethal League
Liberate Hong Kong (Demo)
Little Inferno
Lure of the Temptress
Martian Dreams
The Messenger
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Neverwinter Online: The Cloaked Ascendancy 
Neverwinter Online: The Heart of Fire
Neverwinter Online: Infernal Descent 
Neverwinter Online: The Lost City of Omu
Neverwinter Online: The New Workshop is STUPID
Neverwinter Online: The Path of the Fallen
Neverwinter Online: The Rage of Bel 
Neverwinter Online: Ravenloft First Impressions
Neverwinter Online: Ravenloft
Neverwinter Online: Tomb of Annihilation 
Neverwinter Online: Undermountain
Neverwinter Online Uprising: In Space, there is NOTHING
Nuclear Throne
Offworld Trading Company 
Ori and the Blind Forest
Overlord 2
Postal 2 
Project: Snowblind  
Resident Evil 5
Saints Row 2
Satellite Reign
The Savage Empire 
SCP: Secret Laboratory
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
A Short Hike 
Sims 3 
Sins of a Solar Empire
Sniper Elite 4
The Stanley Parable
A Story about my Uncle
Sundered: Eldrich Edition
Supreme Commander
Surviving Mars
Sword Legacy: Omen
Ticket to Ride
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
TowerFall: Dark World
Treasure Adventure Game
Tyrian 2000
Universe at War: Earth Assault
Unnecessary Evil 
Warhammer: Vermintide 2
What Never Was
The Wolf Among Us 
Wolfenstein (2009)
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Wolverine: X-men Origins

Movie Reviews:
Aladdin (2019)
Alita: Battle Angel 
Ant Man and the Wasp
Assassin's Creed
Avengers: Endgame 
Avengers: Infinity War
The Bag Man
Batman Begins
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Black Panther
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Boyka: Undisputed
The Butterfly Effect
Captain Marvel
Chronicles of Riddick
Constantine: City of Demons
Coyote Ugly
Dark Phoenix
Deadpool 2 
Doctor Strange
The Equalizer
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald 
The Fate of the Furious
The Foreigner
The Great Wall 
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Hacksaw Ridge
Hobbs & Shaw
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus
The Irishman 
John Wick: Chapter 2 
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Jojo Rabbit
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Jungle Book (2016) 
Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Kindness Matters
King Arthur (2017)
Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle
Knights (1993)
Kung Fu Yoga 
The LEGO Batman Movie
The Little Mermaid (2018)
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mission Impossible: Fallout 
The Mummy (2017) 
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Now You See Me 2
Ong Bak
Pitch Black
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
The Princess Bride
Project A 
The Queen
The Revenant
Romeo must Die 
Rush Hour 3
Shin Gojira  
The Sound of Music
Spiderman: Far from Home 
Spiderman: Homecoming
Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Strange Magic 
Suicide Squad
Terminator: Dark Fate
Time Raiders
Train to Busan
Triple Threat
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman
What We Do In The Shadows 
X-men: Apocalypse 
Zhong  Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal

TV, Anime and Mini Series Reviews:
Agent Carter
Black Sails
Blacklist: Redemption
The Bodyguard
Cloak and Dagger
Conan the Adventurer
The Defenders 
Designated Survivor
Dragons: Defenders of Berk / Race to the Edge 
Game of Thrones
Iron Fist
Jessica Jones
Juuni Taisen: Zodiac War
The Last Ship
Legend of the Seeker
Lost Girl
Luke Cage
Madam Secretary
Marvel's Runaways 
Megalo Box
The Originals 
Orphan Black
The Punisher
Ray Donovan
The Shannara Chronicles 
Space: Above and Beyond
The Strain
Strong Girl Bong-soon (Korean)
Swamp Thing
The Terror (Season 1)
The Terror: Infamy (Season 2) 
The Vampire Diaries
Wiedzmin (Polish)
Wu Assassins

Board Game Reviews:
Black Orchestra 
Castle Ravenloft
El Grande - Big Box Edition
Escape from Colditz
Firefly Adventures: Bandits and Browncoats 
Forbidden Island
Forbidden Sky
Game of Thrones: Intrigue
House of Danger
Love Letter
Mice and Mystics
Pandemic: Fall of Rome  
Pandemic: Iberia  
Shadows Over Camelot 
Tomb of Annihilation
The Witching Hour (mod for the Witcher Adventure Game) 
Zombie in my Pocket (Single Player) 

Other Reviews:
Air Supplies (Active & Co Airbed)
Tefal Cook 4 Me = Fire Hazzard
Tesla Model 3

Tutorials and Tips:
Neverwinter Online: Hell Pit - Lazy Rogue Guide
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part VI)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part V)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part IV)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part III)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part II)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Boss Fight Tips (Part I)
Sekiro: You're gonna die more than Twice - Newbie Tips!
Couch Co-op Replacement / Starter Co-op Boardgames
Sheet Music Printing Tip
Neverwinter Online: Gold Bars 
Neverwinter Online: Faster Weeklies in Barovia
Printed Cartography Tip
Sniper Elite 4 - Five Easy Tips 
Neverwinter Online: How to avoid Fall damage
Neverwinter Online: Chult Totem Grind
Siege of Neverwinter Voucher Tutorial 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Uukrul: Earned Respect

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

He knows he's a hot lizard.

Finally finding the passage out, the squad fights through a few hell hounds, fire lizards and the mandatory group of orcs led by a mid level captain whom Nabirye drains of life (strange that's a paladin ability). There's also a magic immune gremlin demon who gets too cocky and discovers that Helga is quite capable with a knife, thanks to her previous experience with the Porkul Pickers.

This area is quite odd, in that it is a mirror of itself right down to the repeating encounters in the rooms. It is no wonder that Mara's vision here tells of a mirror that would be important with the quest. While looking for it, the team discovers a lower area with odd clues... it's a crossword puzzle!

Correctly identifying the word opens a secret door that holds yet more obscure clues to further puzzles. LOL. While this is a nice change of pace, it is quite rudely interrupted as Orc Lord Thurazz attacks with a pair of witches and orc fodder! It is a very difficult battle, which almost sees the end of Helga and Andraste, with Nabirye and Balthazar not far behind, but the combat is a draw - as Thurazz's forces were also in the same shape.

With a begrudging respect for Balthazarr, Thurazz finally signaled the retreat. Balthazarr did the same.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Uukrul: What's behind door number...

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After evading numerous orcs and escaping from cave dew plants the team again ran into the Krefator (acid reptile), and in an attempt to run past - Balthazarr was almost laid low to its corrosive spit. Lucky for him the next sanctuary was right around the corner, and his allies could use the attached teleporter to revive him back at the town.

Resupplied, the squad returned to that point and upon exiting the sanctuary received another vision from Mara, warning that the passage ahead was cursed! That's a very mild way of putting it. The passage led to a 5x5 room, with doors all over. These doors led to funky teleporters, spinning floors, and lightning traps which were painful to navigate, especially since the compass did not work here.

She needs to get back to Oz.

The only enemy in this place is the hedge witch who Nabirye guesses is behind the curse. Despite fitting the cauldron brewing trope, the hag is incredibly strong - easily standing toe to toe with Balthazarr! It is ultimately Andraste's prayers that smite her down. Helga, whose magic couldn't harm the witch at all, finds a magical medal of escape on her corpse. A good bonus on top of the huge XP!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Uukrul: That Bloody Bat

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With Thurazz in (slow) pursuit, Balthazarr, Nabirye and Kebiroz rush deeper into the large cavern, fighting past the troglodytes and slaying an evil wizard residing within. That wizard held another adventuring party captive for "experimentation", so the team set them free and were joined by Andraste the war priest, and the mages Helga the short and Duke Edmund the mad who openly stated he wanted to take Uukrul's power as his own.

Before they could even step out of the room, the giant bat that had killed Lazybum in one hit flapped into the room and began shooting poison and plague (out of its ass I imagine, since bats don't really spit). Taking a direct hit to the face, Kebiroz succumbed to the giant bat poop horribly while the rest fled for their lives.

Balthazarr didn't escape unscathed though, as the poop had infected his wounds from the earlier fight. Now "plagued", he began coughing and wheezing and soon the elderly Duke Edmund found himself "plagued" as well! Unfortunately the Duke didn't have the warrior's fortitude and after a few steps died in a fit of wheezing, puking and soiling himself.

That bloody bat then attacked again, but this time Balthazarr manages to hit it critically and slays the flying fiend!

But I just wanted some fruits!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Uukrul: A Lack of Agility

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Behind a locked grate and up a hole in the ceiling the team encounters a large band of thieves who are very annoying to fight since they are good at evading AND have a habit of stealing gear from the party mid combat. Like Balthazarr's newish sword. From his hand.

The combat screen.

During the skirmish Null25 is knocked down a pit and breaks his neck, which is annoying given all the training he had gained. Still, with the battle won and the thieves trove taken Balthazarr finds his replacement in Ruby the eager novice back at the guild.

Tired of training Balthazarr decides it's time to try cross the massive cavern on that murderous floor beneath the hermit's safe zone. It is an ill omen that the first thing they run into when doing so is a rejuvenated and powered up Thurazz - now an orcish lord, having been granted unholy powers by Uukrul himself!

The squad is no match for Thurazz's new found strength and have to flee deeper into the cavern. Unfortunately Ruby is too slow and is caught by Thurazz's spiked whip. With a massive heave, he flung her back into melee range and exploded her head with swing of his grizzly metal hammer.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Uukrul: Bling is King

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Training in the upper halls against rodents, dogs, scorpions, giant ants and crabs (yeah, wtf) proves most useful especially as the team finds previously unexplored areas and keys to open a few of the locked grates. As they progress into the hall of orcs, they once again run into Thurazz and his minions - thrice!

The first time they are forced to flee, but on the second it is Thurazz who needs to run as Null25 wounds him severely. The third time they find his base and, despite the orc chieftain's skill with a poisoned dagger, Balthazarr defeats him in close quarters. Nabirye also begins using her healing hand power on enemies, which proves to be effective as an attack - limited only by her own health, since using it for good or ill drains her of life.

Most importantly they finally find the temple district and magic circle which lets Kebiroz and Null25 earn more rings that enable stronger spells (coz bling is king yo). Kebiroz gets her chance to shine by turning the multitudes of undead in the tombs below the temple - forcing many to flee from combat. Her prayers of healing also keep the party alive just long enough to escape the very same tomb as starvation began to set in.

How the heck do they know that?

Balthazarr makes it a point to load up on rations before their next delve, and thanks to the surplus of gold they all get some better equipment to boot.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Uukrul: The First Task

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

While resting at the hermit's zone, the paladin Lazybum and sorceress Sarina who were already resting here join the team, and Sagaris asks them all to retrieve his black rod from the next floor down which he warns is far more dangerous (because apparently increased pressure makes things tough/evil I guess).

The fully powered squad heads down stairs and promptly gets owned. Pluribus is acidified by a rancid mold, Ila gets devoured by a giant spider, Yen Sid fails to turn "the happiest zombies ever" that tear him and Sarina apart and Lazybum gets one shotted by a giant bat who does 90(!) points of damage in a single strike.

So happy!

Balthazarr barely makes it back to Sagaris' safe zone in defeat. Clearly he needs a team with more training so using the super handy nearby teleporter (provided you remember the name of the one you want to warp to) returns to town to assemble a new squad, composed of the war priestess Kebiroz, Nabirye the hunter paladin, and Null25 the pk mage.

The first task is: Training!!!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Uukrul: Orcs and Geezers

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The next level is full of orcs, most of whom are low level as indicated by the color of their karate belt. Brown orcs are easy, Black orcs are brutal (the squad usually flees when they show up). There's a whole spectrum in between. Alas while exploring one narrow passage they are set upon by an orc led by chieftain, Thurazz!

With nowhere to escape they are cut down one by one until only Sapphire is left standing, she does her best to lure the orcs away from her downed team mates but is unable to defend herself for long. The orc band beat her down and abduct her for whatever nefarious purposes orcs keep in mind.

Balthazarr was surprised to wake up at all, finding that he, Yen Sid and Ila had been dragged somewhere safe by his old friend, Pluribus the wise. The wizened mage told him that many others from the nearby land had ventured into Eriosthe too, for the shared goal of helping to defeat Uukrul, after they all had witnessed visions of Mara.

That's what she looks like by the way.

While getting their bearings, they happened to come across another old fellow in dirty robe - the hermit Balthazarr was sent to find! He introduces himself as Sagaris and ushers the team to his home - a small series of tunnels which are safe from monsters.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Uukrul: Wrong Turn

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The Krefator!

In their haste to save Anyolina, the team took a wrong turn and suddenly found themselves facing a large acid reptile called Krefator. The beast melted Toothless down into a more consumable puddle as Balthazarr dragged Anyolina out of there and down the correct road. He needn't have bothered for she succumbed to the poison along the way.

Distraught at the loss of his team, Balthazarr gave heavy thought to abandoning to the quest until a vision of Mara encouraged him to carry on and find an old hermit on the lower levels. Something in her words gave him the strength to make it back to the adventurer's guild hall and recruit a new team composed of battle sisters Ila the paladin, Sapphire the mage, and the loner priest Yen Sid.

This squad performs much better (since I looked up the manual and can use spells now), surviving a poison pit thanks to Yen Sid's Sirdhe prayer, defeating Sharruk the giant worm in a literal shit tunnel, and finally catching up to the evil rogue where Balthazarr exacted vengance for the fallen.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Uukrul: Knife Party

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Apart from numerous, almost indecipherable signs on the wall, the only thing living in this area were stray dogs and giant rats. Angoff and Anyolina quickly learned that their magic and prayers would not work as intended down here (mainly because you need to put in a hard input of what magic phrase to say), so it was back to bashing things physically.

Does that look like it's saying "woof woof" to you?

Behind a closed door they found another person, an evil rogue charging tax for all who wanted to pass by. It was a difficult combat which ended with the man fleeing down a hall. The team pursued him right into... a market place? Finally they had reached the city hub itself, but had no time to take in the sights as they pursued this evil doer right into a trap!

The mob of knife wielding peasants was effective in their task of stabbing Angoff to death, before retreating into the various nearby alleyways. In a stoke of terrible luck, Anyolina was poisoned by a scorpion in the scuffle and with her old gods deaf to her pleas, had to endure the burning poison as Balthazarr and Toothless carried her and rushed back to the town proper.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Uukrul: Welcome to Eriosthe

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Despite his role in thwarting Molag Bal's schemes, Angoff still found himself shunned by almost everyone at Coldharbour due to his previous crimes as an ex-terrorist leader. Hoping to redeem himself, he asked Meridia for guidance. "To erase your sins, you must destroy someone far more terrible than you," said the daedric prince.

"Deep in the underground city of Eriosthe is a foe who poses so great a threat to the world that Mara, the divine, and her allies failed to subdue. He is known as Uukrul. Defeat him any you will find absolution."

Angoff thanked her and immediately set off on his journey. While Meridia did advise that he not try accomplish this task alone, no one was actually willing to accompany him. Only when he crossed the final desert to the great mountain that held Eriosthe did he find a group who were still very young in their careers as adventurers, and had no knowledge of his past.

Or his strange illness. Yep this is part of creating a character.

For the promise of gold and glory, they joined him in his quest: the not so timid priestess Anyolina, the aged paladin Toothless, and the too-smart to be a fighter Balthazarr. A long passage into the mountain led to a dead end to the untrained eye, but Angoff tapped his staff against the rock wall - causing the magical door to open. The four stepped through and now found themselves in the large, dust covered welcome hall of fabled city.

Fate of Heroes

After a nice break from blogging it's time to start up another story! As usual, some spoilers abound for the games involved and I'm taking a little creative license to link things together. :)

Chapter 1 - Welcome to Eriosthe (The Dark Heart of Uukrul)
Chapter 2 - Knife Party
Chapter 3 - Wrong Turn
Chapter 4 - Orcs and Geezers
Chapter 5 - The First Task
Chapter 6 - Bling is King
Chapter 7 - A Lack of Agility
Chapter 8 - That Bloody Bat
Chapter 9 - What's behind door number... 
Chapter 10 - Earned Respect
Chapter 11 - HOYAMOQ!
Chapter 12 - Speak Foe and Enter
Chapter 13 - Jar of Hearts
Chapter 14 - Pyramid of Torture
Chapter 15 - Snakes and Ladders
Chapter 16 - The Dark Heart
Chapter 17 - Master of Hammer
Chapter 18 - The Beacon
Chapter 19 - Zero Hour (Sheltered)
Chapter 20 - The Fifth Day
Chapter 21 - The Dangers of Generosity
Chapter 22 - Over the Edge
Chapter 23 - Things are Looking Up
Chapter 24 - That Time of the Month
Chapter 25 - Warning Signs
Chapter 26 - Declaration of War
Chapter 27 - Meat Unraided
Chapter 28 - The Battle of Glenchester 
Chapter 29 - Black Vengeance
Chapter 30 - Broken Spear (Battle Brothers)
Chapter 31 - Hunting Hoggart
Chapter 32 - Matters of Morale
Chapter 33 - Spear Wall
Chapter 34 - The Hungry Mountains (Part I)
Chapter 35 - The Hungry Mountains (Part II)
Chapter 36 - The Last Spear
Chapter 37 - A Surprise in the Darkness
Chapter 38 - Professional Killers
Chapter 39 - Filling the Ranks
Chapter 40 - Dogs of War
Chapter 41 - Almost Werewolves
Chapter 42 - Davkul is Coming 
Chapter 43 - Picking a Side
Chapter 44 - For Glory!
Chapter 45 - Supply Line
Chapter 46 - The Toll of War
Chapter 47 - Good Times
Chapter 48 - Relative Peace
Chapter 49 - The Western Wildlands
Chapter 50 - Raiding the Raiders
Chapter 51 - The Nightmare Begins
Chapter 52 - The Siege of Wiesendorf
Chapter 53 - Senior Sergeant
Chapter 54 - Graveless Dead
Chapter 55 - Slightly Winning
Chapter 56 - Piecemeal Bonemeal
Chapter 57 - Back to the Dirt
Chapter 58 - Skinny Brigands
Chapter 59 - Many Masks
Chapter 60 - Deviant Scum
Chapter 61 - The Ruins of Kragenheim
Chapter 62 - The Green Sea
Chapter 63 - Heavy Casualties
Chapter 64 - Warriors to the End
Chapter 65 - Path of Peace
Chapter 66 - Retirement

The Fate of Heroes story has ended for now. Thanks for reading! 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Neverwinter: Sahha

I missed out on (or skipped) the Summer Festival last year, but now it's back along with the Sahha mini-game which translates into an odd 5 vs 5 game of soccer/volleyball. After the non-event which was Lliira's Celebration, due to having no updated rewards and a really poor interaction method anyway, this is quite a step up - though not as good as the Protector's Jubilee or annual Siege of Neverwinter.

I hope the devs find a way to put this permanently in.

The rewards aren't great though for a ten minute match, and it is prone to afk-ers but it still is quite fun. In our alliance there is a guild vs guild sahha contest going on which sounds really fun going so far as to have dedicated goalies and such. The other summer events are still around too - flax griefing collecting, troll killing, pig and chicken herding as well as a water fight which I've not yet tried.

Doubt I will too since when I'm in that zone, I'm just focused on sahha. :P

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Photobucket Burn

As you probably have noticed, all the images on my blog are now either broken or an advertisement for Photobucket, which has been my image host since I started in 2011. They've been a decent host over the years, with only a handful of down times that I can remember.

Alas with their decision to monetize their service, and me not willing to pay $400 odd for it, I bid them adieu today with no ill will whatsoever. Thank you for being a great host in the past PB! Now I'll have to look for a new free alternative for posts moving forward.

For those wondering, no - I'm not going to fix all the broken images. I'll just retrieve the ones I like (mostly my own art) and maybe put them in a gallery somewhere. Apart from my photo stories which will really be broken now, the majority of this site has mainly been about the text anyway so I'm not really fussed.

This gives me a good opportunity to start a new chapter, and start fresh in some areas which I've been keen to do for a while now. Thanks for your patience while I slowly segregate everything before this post, to everything coming next. Have a good day all! :)