Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Today I Smiled: Scattershot Links

Been awhile since I did one of these, but I found these links to be entertaining if not informative. First up, is a story from the realm of r/MaliciousCompliance which is quickly becoming one of my favorite haunts.

As I've also been trying (and failing) to do some world building, here's a nice clip about creating fictional geography. When you are good enough at that, you might be able to make amazing D&D posters like this fellow too!

Speaking of D&D, here's a method to "win" as a sharpshooter and if that's not enough, how about a list of ways to defeat the Tarrasque, one of the most powerful creatures in the game?

Overcoming impossibility is not just in the realms of fiction though as proved by tarantulas that keep pet frogs, or Count Felix von Luckner who used an out dated three masted sailing ship to capture 16 enemy vessels in World War 1.

Usually I end these with a music clip but this time, here's the trailer for Death Stranding which looks both amazing and WTF at the same time.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Chernobyl (HBO Series)

"What is the cost of lies?"

This five episode series revisits the events of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, including the mind-boggling steps taken to rectify it as well as the equally mind-boggling decisions that led to it happening in the first place.

These guys do a great job!

While it's a bit odd that all the Russians are played by English actors (and almost everything is in English), the cinematography, sets, effects, script and acting are all fantastic with Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgard leading the way.

A great series even for those who have never heard of Chernobyl before, I highly recommend it and give it five graphite blocks out of five. I'd definitely also watch the whole thing again. :)

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Blaugust Approaches

Prepare for the flood!

The Festival of Blogging, also known as Blaugust, is just around the corner for both blogging enthusiasts and those curious about starting up blogs of their own and usually sees an increased activity in cross blog postings and events. If you haven't already, sign up now!

This is also my main avenue of adding new links to my nav bar, so expect that to explode out again in the coming weeks. I'll be taking a back seat to it this year due to events out of my control but might steal some post ideas and chime in when I can get the time. Looking forward to seeing what it brings. :)

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Celeste

The mountain teaches you about yourself.

At a glance, this certainly isn't the prettiest platformer with blocky sprite graphics - but the music and story are definitely top notch. In it, you play as a girl who has decided to reach the summit of Celeste mountain but is not so secretly undermining her own quest.

There are deaths a plenty (mine got to just under 1700) but the game is always encouraging, and difficulty wise the main story is far easier than Super Meatboy and IWTBTG. If you are aching for punishment though, there are plenty of secret levels that will scratch that itch.

It's a bit of a slog to reach the summit!

It also comes with an "assist mode" which can help if the game is still too tough, but if you don't like platformers, you aren't going to like this - assist mode or not. If you DO like platformers, then this one is highly recommended. I give it 3 strawberries out of 5.

Insight: Grab and jump with no direction key will let you leap directly up a wall.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Because everyone likes some orc on orc action.

Last time we saw the half-dead ranger Talion, he had just "killed" Sauron in a not so epic QTE and was on his way to Mount Doom to forge a new ring (because that's a good idea). In short: things don't go as planned and Talion has to sneak his way around Mordor once more, assassinating and recruiting orcs to fight the forces of Sauron and the Witch King.

The Nemesis system from the first game is back and really shines here, not just when you are hunting them or vice versa but also when you get to the siege parts of the game. You want to field your good orcs and not that scrub who runs away from flies, fire and caragors! Speaking of caragors, there are mounts to help you traverse the large maps and/or annihilate your enemies and Talion gets a lot of skill upgrades to keep the killing "fresh".

I love this part!

Most importantly the story is really good. I especially like fighting the Nazgul. Afterwards is a grindy epilogue for those who really like the sieges, which is quite optional. Even for just everything before that it is worth a play though, and I give it four an a half Gondorian relics out of five.

Insight: Unlock fatal counter ASAP to make fights less tedious.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Jessica Jones

AKA the girl that doesn't smile a lot.

The last of the Defenders whose show is now cancelled after three seasons, this series follows the powered Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) who works as a small time private investigator and her loads of baggage. I'll be honest, season 1 wasn't great as the protagonists were really hard to get behind, thankfully the fantastic villain (David Tennant) was enough to keep it interesting.

She does a lot of drinking in the show.

Season 2 fixes up most of the issues in season 1, and there are again clear improvements between season 2 and season 3 - enough for me to now lament that there will be no season 4. If you are a Marvel fan then it's definitely one worth watching, and even if you aren't or don't really like the whole super hero vibe, this is probably one of the easier shows to try out as Jessica's powers are downplayed significantly, unlike her compatriots who tend to get into fisticuffs half the time.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Inside

A game about control.

From the makers of Limbo comes another 2.5D platformer which has better graphics, game play and story. There's also a decent Easter egg hunt throughout the this very messed up place and the ending doesn't really fill one with "achievement" but it is better that Limbo's abrupt one.

Well, that can't be hygienic...

Don't let that stop you from trying it though, as there are lots of great bits on the journey there. Scary bits. The underwater sections and blast chamber come to mind. Even if you aren't a platformer player, the puzzles here aren't too hard as your protagonist has a relatively small move set - and using them fully will get you through everything. I give it three and a half water girls out of five.

Insight: Keep an eye open for those yellow cables!

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Neverwinter Online: Undermountain

It's a big, deep hole.

You might be wondering why my review of Undermountain is so late since the next module is just around the corner, and the short answer is simply I haven't been playing it much (have you seen my back log list? lol). In fact it took Shintar to remind me about it!

It doesn't help that there were sweeping changes to characters which pretty much killed the enthusiasm of a lot of players. Why be unique when the only way to be efficient now is to be the same as everyone else? Sigh.

Well, that aside, the Undermountain campaign itself is really good. Players find themselves delving into the realms of Halaster Blackcloak using the Yawning Portal as a forward base. The feeling of going down, down, down is well done and some of the later zones are really beautiful. It does suck to run into a level 80 mimic though.

One of the coolest parts!

The mandatory repetitive section comes in the form of expeditions which involves 3 randomly generated maps, a bunch of easter egg hunting and a variable difficulty setting. Surprisingly, these are quite fun too though I must admit I've not been hammering them daily. So content wise at least, Undermountain gets a thumbs up from me!

Insight: If you can stand on top of a chest it is fine. If you seem to always be pushed off, it is a mimic!

Monday, 22 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Cheated at the End

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

The Ghost of Kosmos, leader of the now nearly memberless cult, watched the battle from a safe distance. Like many battles before it, the blue armored Athenians clashed against the red themed Spartans but this time the cult's top enforcer, Deimos, had taken the field. On the opposing side was Alexios the Eagle Bearer, now renowned for all his previous adventures across most of the Greek world.

It was a sight to behold the two of them locked in mortal combat. Even some of the other soldiers on the field stopped fighting to watch as explosive heavenly light erupted from the ground while each champion took turns doing even more and more amazing feats of agility and strength... It was as if two demigods were fighting in their midst. Neither had the upper hand.

And then, the unthinkable happened. Two large flaming trees fell right on top of them, abruptly ending the fight in the most comical way possible. This result stunned everyone in silence with each army losing an appetite to continue the battle that day. Only the Ghost could think of something to say.

"Malaka!"

Second flaming tree incoming... in three... two...

Insight: While I'm ending this story here for now, the game certainly has more quest plots going on (and a much better ending) - most of which I avoided writing about! Speaking of Stories though, there is a capability to for players to generate their own quests for everyone to play. As expected, there are numerous XP farms (just keep replaying them without leaving the mission) if the level grind is too much for you. And yes, that totally counts as cheating!

Sunday, 21 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Over Achiever

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

The list of accolades for the Eagle Bearer was long. A veteran of many battles and wars both on land and sea, verified leader of the usually female only Daughters of Artemis, and even an Olympic Champion for Sparta. None of those mattered to Keneon the Plains Walker who was now in Sparta city, along with numerous other mercenaries to protect the Spartan King that exiled the Eagle Bearer from those lands.

The Olympic quest line has some funny dialog options.

Besides the influx of mercenaries, the King was prudent enough to put all the soldiers in town on high alert too - knowing his life was in danger due to this decree and he was right. Keneon's keen eyes spotted the corpse of a soldier hidden in a nearby shrub, easily missed by someone less than rank Secret 4. The Eagle Bearer was close. Too close... right behind him!?

Though the backstab didn't do much damage, it did disarm Keneon's shield leaving him with just a sword. The Eagle Bearer then engaged him in a lengthy duel right in the street. Unfortunately for Keneon, his opponent was just too experienced now and could read all his moves flawlessly. And so, the Plains Walker died on that street. While he bled out, his last thoughts were of how he couldn't even land a single strike. The Spartan King would follow him to Hades shortly after.

Insight: Once you reach level 50 you unlock Mastery Levels which might seem more boring than the usual skills (they are just maths) but are far more useful. Only put 12/20 points in each one you want though as after that the gains are too small to be worthwhile. Whatever you choose, make sure to engrave your gear with synergistic components. For example, I focused on criticals: higher chance, higher damage. I was eventually one shotting any Secret rank 3 and below merc because the odds of me landing an insanely powered crit was so high.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Guerrilla of Greece

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Unrelated: This is what happens when the wife learns the game has a unicorn skin.

Bleeding and singed, Matullos and his pet lion emerged from the rubble of the twin silos that had exploded on either side of him. Still in a daze, he couldn't avoid to the ruthless and relentless strikes from his attacker - the Eagle Bearer, simply tanking the damage until his adversary tired out. Finally seeing an opening, he managed to land a single punch that sent Alexios flying back, and a sliver away from death. Matullos on the other hand, still had 70% of his hit points, as to be expected from a rank Secret 3 mercenary.

He even shrugged off the razor sharp "death" arrows his opponent fired at him while he and his pet roared in anger. Hearing the call, his allied mercs arrived - forcing the Eagle Bearer to retreat into hiding. Matullos took the opportunity to let his minions hunt down the assassin while he mounted his horse and rode off to the next village to bandage his wounds.

It was mid afternoon when Alexios arrived, having killed all the others, but Matullos was already fully recovered. Knowing a fair fight would end badly for him, the Eagle Bearer opted for guerilla style sneak attacks but hiding in the farm fields was made difficult as Matullos' lion would sniff him out. Overconfident, Matullos sent his pet ahead only to see it get eviscerated by Alexios' overpowered strikes and he was too far to stop it.

Without his pet, Matullos became a slow moving pinata. Taking backstab after backstab, unable to counter in return until finally the Eagle Bearer's shoved his broken spear into his face.

Insight: Peek-a-boo tactics are fantastic (though boring) on enemies who will probably 1 hit kill you in combat. Careful of beasts though, as hiding in grass/bushes doesn't work on them and they give your position away. Hiding vertically (animals can't climb) works better for them.

Friday, 19 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Better than the Best

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Monia never understood the need for The Battle of a Hundred Hands, a last man left standing event held on the Volcanic Isles, but it served to be the easiest place to track down her prey. The Cult of Kosmos had doubled the bounty on the Eagle Bearer after he recently sunk another of their fleets, but who do you send to hunt the best? Those who are better.

Past Tier One was a roster of four more "secret" ranks, and Monia being a Secret 2 traversed the battle field with ease finding Alexios right out in the open just as he finished another batch of competitors. It was only at the last second that he managed to dodge Monia's grenade, rolling right into her shoulder charge which knocked him on flat his back.

He recovered just in time to evade her blade finisher, and countered with the same moves he used to win against Exekias. It wasn't as effective on Monia as she was only slightly injured. Seeing this and running out of steam, he quickly fled with the Secret 2 merc easily keeping pace behind him. To her surprise, he ran straight into another large cluster of Hundred Hands contestants and began slaying them.

Monia joined the skirmish but suddenly found Alexios reinvigorated, parrying and dodging perfectly and worse - able to spam his Minotaur axe overpower attack. Even all her preparation couldn't withstand that so she began to back off but it was too late. She was in range. The axe came down on her... again... and again... and again... and again...

The axe is so strong is distorts reality!

Insight: Contrary to logic, you thrive in mass combat as long as most of your enemies are fodder as they feed you a lot of adrenaline per attack combo, parry and dodge to fuel your bigger attacks. For this same reason always kill wildlife in your way (this includes goats and deer), to keep your Eagle Bearer "excited". You will get penalized for harming domestic animals though. 

Using the overpower attack of the Minotaur axe makes the most use of this, though if you are hidden using rush assassination to "bounce" between a strong enemy and others (or 2 strong enemies) is a good way to deal tremendous damage.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Tier One

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

"I see you stabbed Diona," said Exekias slowly approaching Alexios with his twin maces drawn. "I think many people have 'stabbed' Diona," retorted the Eagle Bearer as he retrieved his blade from the beautiful cultist's neck whose blood now seeped onto the stones of the Aphrodite overlook. "I'm ready for you this time Exekias!"

"I would hope so, Arena Champion," spoke Odainathos with his halberd drawn and flanking his ex-captain. "Don't look so surprised. Most cultists are cultists for life."

"Then it's time I end yours!"

With a sudden burst of speed Alexios brought the Minotaur axe down to bear on both his attackers with an overpower attack. It's unearthly might smashed through their defenses badly wounding Odainathos and half killing Exekias. They tried their best to retaliate, but missed as the Eagle Bearer just dodge rolled between them... and then swept the champions leg from under him.

Sweep the leg!

Just like that, both opponents were slain and Alexios took the mantle of Tier One.

Insight: It pays to change your skill allocations when the situation calls for it. The monetary cost is pretty low in the overall scheme of things.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

AC Odyssey: A Story of Theseus

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Volunteering to be one of the "sacrifices", Theseus approached the entrance of the Labyrinth with his sword hidden underneath his tunic. At the entrance, he tied one end of the ball of string he was carrying so that he could find his way out again and then proceeded into the maze, always going downwards. Never left or right. There in the deepest pit he found the monstrous minotaur and after an epic battle slew the beast.

Unfortunately that last part was a lie.

The labyrinth looked like just the place to hide away from his many pursuers, the latest of which was the tier 2 Agafya the Smouldering whom he had great difficulty defeating. Her flaming mace was a nice reward though, and now illuminated the dark, corpse filled tunnels. It was then that Alexios came upon the beast... the minotaur was very much alive and was ready for an epic battle against the Eagle Bearer!

Totally historical. Honest!

Through perseverance and good timing Alexios proved the victor and put an end to the monster, who turned out to be more than meets the eye.

Insight: There are a few actual monsters in this game but the minotaur has the best fight, and the best reward. The minotaur axe became my mainstay weapon for the rest of the game, mainly because of the reduced cost to perform the overpower near-unblockable attacks.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Most Wanted

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

From atop his horse Exekias could see a ragged group of workers frantically set about repairing the Adrestia, beached upon a hidden cove. Despite the improvements that had been made on the ship, the Athenian Navy, bolstered by mercenary vessels, triumphed against it and the invading Spartans. Judging from the damage, the Adrestia barely escaped.

Dual simultaneous boarding is the best type of boarding!

A loud horn and a pillar of smoke over the hill caught the rider's attention as he kicked his horse into a trot. It was a signal flare of the nearby fort and most likely caused by the Eagle Bearer having been detected there. Sure enough, soldiers and mercs were scurrying up onto the battlements when Exekias arrived. Most just ended up falling back down as corpses. The warrior was happy enough to wait below.

When it finally stopped raining bodies, the Eagle Bearer leaped down and suddenly noticed the helmed rider quietly watching him.  While numerous mercenaries occupied the lower tiers, only one person was classified as tier 1 - Exekias the Legend, the most renowned warrior in all the land.

"Malaka," swore Alexios under his breath.

Insight: It pays to upgrade your boat, and a good way to get resources is to buy them from each blacksmith you encounter. They are available at the end of the "to buy" list.

Monday, 15 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Ambush at Kos

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Lavrentios watched from a rooftop as Alexios made his way to the beach side square of Kos. He had spent some time and a good amount of drachmae organizing the welcome party for his "friend". A friend whose death would see him earn a king's bounty from the Cult of Kosmos. Apparently, Alexios has been busy hunting down and executing their members all across Greece.

Right on schedule, the three other mercenaries he hired moved out of their hiding spots. These were tier 4 warriors, and would be unlike any other Alexios had previously encountered. At the same time, marching feet signaled the arrival of the Spartan leader of Kos and all of his elite bodyguards, to seal the deal as it were.

Confident that his prey was now surrounded and doomed, Lavrentios appeared from the balcony - his long hair swaying in the sea breeze. "Sorry Alexios!" he yelled down with a shrug. "It's time to die!"

All the warriors attacked in unison: spears, maces, swords, and arrows targeting one man. Most missed or were parried but those that hit certainly knocked the wind out of the Eagle Bearer. With a burst of speed, Alexios suddenly cut through the Spartan line and ran into the narrow streets of the village.

So many mercs!

"After him!" cried Lavrentios, not realizing he was funneling the Spartans to their doom. A narrow alley negated their superior numbers and when the heavily armored mercenaries got there, all they found were corpses, including that of the leader of Kos.

Lavrentios then made his second mistake. He and the mercenaries split up to look for their prey. Using hit and run tactics, Alexios wore them all down, killing them until only Lavrentios was left.

Knees trembling and urine staining his tunic, Lavrentios didn't notice that Alexios was on the balcony above him. Without any ceremony, the Eagle bearer leaped down onto him and shoved his spear through Lavrentios' face.

Insight: Evasion is easy especially in places with lots of cover. While its best to be crouched hiding in a bush, remember that they also block line of sight, provided you are crouched behind them - even if you aren't in them yet.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Recruitment

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

"I don't believe this!" exclaimed the Chimera as she took another swing of wine and paced her small beach campsite under the watch of her lone towering body guard. "Not only do we have a crazed misthios hunting our other Kosmos members, but we happen to run into an actual, living and hungry cyclops here - on this island that's meant to have the mystical forge!"

"It must be here. That monster must be guarding something." muttered Odainathos as he removed and examined his damaged helmet. The rest of the expedition was not so lucky having fallen prey to the one eyed menace.

The Chimera, whose real name wasn't even known to him for security reasons, just scoffed and headed inside her tent. "I need to think!" she yelled back. He knew she actually meant she needed more drink, but it wasn't his place to question.

Deciding his helmet wasn't salvagable he tossed it aside and looked to the Chimera's tent, only to see her head rolling back out of it closely followed by the misthios he had heard so much about - the Eagle Bearer.

"Looks like you are having a rough day," said the misthios to the lone guardian.

"Not rough enough," replied Odainathos as he picked up his halberd and charged. The Eagle Bearer floored him with a punch in under ten seconds, but instead of meeting his end the misthios offered his hand instead.

"I like your spirit. Join my crew and help me destroy the Cult of Kosmos."

Odainathos accepted.

Insight: As long as the last damage you deal to an enemy to deplete his health bar is non-fatal, you can just knock down people. And recruit them to your crew! Took me awhile to learn about that.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Terrain Advantage

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

In was a ludicrous spot to fight, yet that's where Tycharios found himself in combat against the Eagle Bearer - atop a lone standing marble pillar in ruins positioned on a mountain top. No doubt his opponent was trying to hit him off it with his dual poisoned daggers but as a mid-tier mercenary that trick would not work.

Somehow the Eagle Bearer still had the upper hand though, dodging within such a small space and letting his poison do its damage. Suddenly a cry came from below. "Get down!"

Tycharios instinctively leaped off in an Olympics worthy twisting back flip, just as an arrow laden with explosive powder detonated the top of the pillar - sending it and the Eagle Bearer crashing down to the ground.

"Switch!" yelled the archer, his equal ranked sister Airlea, as she threw her bow and quiver to him. Without missing a beat, he caught the gear and fired another explosive arrow at their target, sending him rolling off the mountain top.

Tycharios then fell to one knee in a coughing fit due the poison in his veins. "Stay here," commanded Airlea as she set her sword on fire and sprinted down the mountain. "I've got this."

Not willing to be dead weight, Tycharios hobbled over to the edge where he could see his sister now in the marsh below, fighting a sleuth of bears!  Despite being out numbered, her flaming blade killed them all but the fight had taken its toll and with a sudden blur of movement from the reeds the Eagle Bearer had back stabbed her.

Lucky for the bears, she wasn't mounted.
For some reason they are hopeless against horseback combatants.

Tycharios could do nothing as he watched Airlea try fight back in vain. Unlike the bears, the Eagle Bearer knew how to douse her flaming weapon in the swampy ground and soon killed the already half-dead woman.

In a rage Tycharios sent down a rain of explosive arrows but none could find their mark as the Eagle Bearer drew closer and closer up the hill. With panic setting in, he dropped the bow and climbed atop his sister's horse to escape but soon had something strike him from behind... an arrow. He would not feel the next one which went through the back of his head.

Insight: There are no points for honorable combat. Make the most of what you have around you!

Friday, 12 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Conquest

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Blood, sweat, screams and death raging all around. That's what it felt to be in right in the middle of a battle field of clashing Spartans and Athenians. Darting through them all was Aphaia, her dual poisoned blades cutting through any hapless Athenian she could come across.

Battles between Sparta and Athens is common.

Nearby she saw her ally Lukos throwing small bombs like a mad man before suddenly being decapitated by a large axe, wielded by the Eagle Bearer. No big loss, no one liked Lukos anyway. With a sly grin she pulled out her bow and started firing poisoned tip arrows at her foe, but none found their mark as he dodge rolled closer to her. Just as she wanted.

With blinding speed she dropped her bow and drew her swords again, easily parrying the slow axe he was wielding and inflicting little cuts time and again. Weakened, the Eagle Bearer dropped the axe and switched to knives instead. He was defending better with these lighter blades but still couldn't land a hit in. Aphaia had this in the bag.

With a surge of energy the Eagle Bearer suddenly became a blur, moving so fast that even Aphaia couldn't keep up - suddenly finding herself with cuts she hadn't had before! Dazed and confused, she watched as the Eagle Bearer came into view again, casually picking up his great axe from the battlefield once more.

And then to her horror, he blurred out in a sprint heading directly towards her. Her arms were dismembered as she attempted to parry, and found the axe blade carving up between her legs in the very next second.

Insight: Slow Time is a very useful skill, especially against non-humanoids!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Misthios

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

Whacking people off cliffs is good fun!

"Impressive work Eagle Bearer," said the skinny long haired man sitting by the road side, right next to the burning Spartan fortress. "I quite liked how you managed to knock that one guy off the central tower and made that archer lady set herself on fire with her own arrows!"

"Do I know you?"

"Lavrentios," said the stranger as he stood up an bowed. "I'm a misthios too, and one day I hope to be as good as you, Eagle Bearer!"

"Alexios."

"Alexios! That's a good, strong name. I hope you are quick too. The Spartans aren't very happy that you keep siding with Athens in this war you know." 

"Is that a threat?"

"No, not at all," said Lavrentios as he raised his empty hands. "I just wanted to warn you. Of the mercenaries that are now marching with their main force, look out for Aphaia the Flash. She is deadly fast."

"Good to know. Chaire, Lavrentios."

With a nod, the two men parted ways, both knowing that as misthiosi they may one day require to kill the other.

Insight: There is a mercenary ranking system in this game and you start at the bottom (Tier 9). The higher your rank the more behind the scenes benefits you get. It also serves as your "don't get caught doing bad stuff" system as the higher your bounty, the more mercs will come after you. Most likely higher level ones than you!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Boar Trap

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

"You sure bout this boss?" asked Dimitrios with more than a hint of terror in his voice as he and his companion continued to ride towards the swamp. "Don't worry Dimitrios, we'll get him this time!" proclaimed Niarchos loudly. Even his pet lion, following behind, knew this was false enthusiasm.

They all saw what happened to the rest of the hunt group at the Phokis docks, they were lucky to escape. "He won't have buildings to jump around and hide in out here!" Niarchos continued as the pair finally entered the marshland the Eagle Bearer was supposedly hiding in.

Niarchos scanned the field carefully when suddenly out of a distant bush emerged the largest boar he had ever seen. The Kalydonian Boar immediately charged, closing the distance in seconds and knocking Niarchos off his horse, trampling the steed to death and goring the lion in one fluid motion.

That's one big pig!

"Dimitrios!" Niarchos called but it was too late, his henchman had panicked and was already fleeing the scene. As the boar turned around for another charge, Niarchos drew his bow to face death head on.

Dimitrios looked back to see his boss obliterated by the massive boar, and was caught off guard when the Eagle Bearer suddenly appeared before him and threw a spear right into his face.

Insight: NPCs fight and kill each other. With careful planning you can get someone/something else to do the dirty work for you.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Eagle Bearer

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

"They call him the Eagle Bearer," said Hyrkanos in his slow and calculating tone. "Ever since he disembarked from the Adrestia he's been causing mayhem for our Athenian friends."

Beewolf shared a quick glance with Theokleia as the three sat in Hyrkanos' make shift camp - having taken residence in a high temple adjacent to the main city.  "Do you know where he is now?" she asked impatiently.

"Not far," he responded quietly as he stood up and looked out over the balcony, spotting a small pillar of smoke from what once was the Athenian leader's house.

Theokleia and Beewolf immediately drew their weapons to patrol the grounds. Grounds that were now surprisingly light of Hyrkanos' guards. A lone sandal beside a bush drew Theokleia's attention, finding blood on the leaves - and a dead guard hidden within.

"He's here!" she yelled as she turned back to her companion, only to see a bloody spear erupt from Beewolf's chest. Behind him was a grim, long haired man - the Eagle Bearer Hyrkanos had just been describing to them.

Enraged, Theokleia attacked - cursing and swearing the whole time and used words even more profane when she started taking injuries. Knowing she could not beat her opponent alone she quickly broke off and ran back to the balcony.

"Hyrkanos! He's..." her words trailed off when she spotted Hyrkanos lying on the ground, his entrails pulled out from his stomach. She barely could turn around before the Eagle bearer bull rushed her with such force, knocking her over the edge. Theokleia could do nothing but scream as she fell down the sheer cliff to her death.

Looks like a rough landing.

Insight: Gravity is the great equalizer. Well, not for the Eagle Bearer because somehow falls can never be fatal, but for everyone else - hitting them off a cliff is awesome.

Monday, 8 July 2019

AC Odyssey: Adrestia

[Part of the AC Odyssey journal]

"Row faster you malakas!" yelled Theokleia from the prow of her ship as she watched the small Athenian blockade fleet get demolished by the Adrestia, a non-descript pirate vessel they had been sent to intercept due to the chaos it was causing with the merchant vessels in the waters around Kephallonia.

Timing to brace for impact is important!

As planned, they had chased it into the waiting Athenian ships near Megaris but those were now capsizing from the encounter. Theokleia knew that the previous owner of the vessel, a low level thug known as the Cyclops, would never have been able to pull off such a feat.

"What is he doing?" asked Beewolf, her bewildered first mate. "He's turning towards the Spartan beach head!" Theokleia grit her teeth in frustration, knowing they wouldn't be able to safely pursue as they were flying the Athenian blue.

"Let them go and retrieve any survivors in the water," ordered Theokleia after a brief pause. The Adrestia might have escaped for now, but she always got her mark.

Insight: Ramming is super effective, especially if you hit your target dead center.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

Here's a massive game that will keep explorers busy for a time, and is much better than that French adventure. I thought it would make good content for another story journal. This time, I'll be trying to write from the point of view of everyone but the protagonist. Gotta keep it challenging after all. =)

Chapter 01 - Adrestia
Chapter 02 - Eagle Bearer
Chapter 03 - Boar Trap
Chapter 04 - Misthios
Chapter 05 - Conquest
Chapter 06 - Terrain Advantage
Chapter 07 - Recruitment
Chapter 08 - Ambush at Kos 
Chapter 09 - Most Wanted
Chapter 10 - A Story of Theseus
Chapter 11 - Tier One
Chapter 12 - Better then the Best
Chapter 13 - Guerilla of Greece
Chapter 14 - Over Achiever 
Chapter 15 - Cheated at the End

This story has concluded, thank you for reading!

Friday, 5 July 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Folks still don't know to just leave him alone.

Picking up directly after the last movie, John (Keanu Reeves) is on borrowed time as a bounty is put on his head which sees spades of assassins hunting him down. There is brutal action a plenty as well as great fight scenes against various foes including one played by Mark Dacascos who is quite funny.

Because there are still bullets and people to put them in!

All up a very violently entertaining film with a plot no deeper than ankle height, just like the previous movies. Hence the short review! If you liked John Wick's previous adventures then this is a must see. If you didn't then stay away as it is more of the same. I give it 4 battle dogs out of 5!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Escape from Colditz

Proving that castles were meant to keep people out, not in.

During World War II, Pat Ried was a POW in Colditz Castle and was one of the few to escape. It's based on his experiences that he designed this game and currently the only "historical" one in my collection. In it, one player runs the never ending supply of German prison guards while the rest (1-5) are escape officers of various nations who are trying to get their people out.

Normally this is a semi-coop where the escape officers are still trying to be the first to get two of their own pawns off the board but as my group is very much cooperative, it usually becomes everyone against the German player which is fantastic for us though it does up the difficulty for the guards somewhat. I know cause I've been both!

It's got a good looking map too.

Dice based movement and card drawing randomizes what your people can do per turn, and since everyone gets the same amount of rolls the odds of the guards catching -everyone- if they all escape at the same time is near impossible (unless you dice well and they don't). Indeed the only way for the Germans to win is for the time to run out. Closest I've gotten as the Germans is 9 turns remaining.

Also, for first timers the game is super daunting as they aren't sure what gear to go for or what route to attempt an escape. Hint: When unsure, always get rope. It is also a long game but the excitement certainly ramps up when the POWs start getting their escapes on.

Certainly a fun game once it gets going, and one I can recommend to those interested in this genre - as long as you have a friendly enough group to play it with (there are plenty of opportunities to be scum). I give it 3.5 lousy German cars out of 5.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Gotham (TV Series)

It was crazy long before Batman.

Set years before Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) takes up the cowl, this series stars Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as a rookie detective. Passable effects, crazy plots and plot armor are a mainstay  in this interesting pre-batman tale.

Most of the cast are villains!

It flounders quite a bit in season one but picks up afterwards when the writers realized that showcasing the villains and how they become who they are makes for entertaining viewing. This is the best part of the show.

Everything else it does an OK job at, but not fantastic like some of the other superhero series out at the moment. Still, I think Batman fans should give this 5 season series a try. If you make it past the balloon man episode then you probably like it. :P

Monday, 1 July 2019

July 2019 Status

Feeling rather unwell today so just the listings for this post.

    End 2019 with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: +2 kg)
    Make board game prototype (no progress)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (no progress)
    Clean out wardrobe (no progress)
    Clean the roof (no progress)

Backlog Update:

FROM GIFTS (or freebies)
Shadow of War (done)
Assassin's Creed Odyssey (done)
Baldur's Gate 2
Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Enderal
NWO: Undermountain Campaign (2/2)
+Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
+Borderlands 2
+Celeste
+Icewind Dale
+Inside
+Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague Campaign (10/11)
London Dread Campaign (1/4)
Escape from Colditz (2/2 modes)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (0/13)