Monday, 23 May 2022

TYOV: Gabriel Sol

[Excerpts from Thousand Year Old Vampire]

We were hunting for the creature that destroyed the village, but it found my squad first. I managed to only wound it before it used its incredible speed to crush my chest with a simple punch. As I crumbled before it, I remember looking up at its terrible visage as blood from its wound dripped onto my face.

After learning about the incident from Cortes, Catalina sailed across the sea to try save my soul. She didn’t accept what I had become, kept wishing for her old husband back, kept calling me a monster. It was too much, so just for her I became the monster she saw me as.


No way I'm getting anything historically accurate. :P

Now I set forth alone to track down the beast again, abandoning Cortes and the rest of the conquistadors in hopes that succeeding in this quest would absolve me of my trespasses in the eyes of God. The duel was more  more even this time until the beast broke my blade and fled the battle, leaving me equally broken. The only thing I gained in this fight is that I now can more easily blend into the shadows. A new gift from my sire.

I use it to defeat Ohtli, an Aztec warrior who was as equally cursed as I - taking his axe and eating his heart in victory. As my humanity continues to fade the church sends Cantor Infierni of the Iscariot Division to investigate. It is too dangerous to stay so I slip away far to the North and join a New French colony called Canada (now known as Quebec).

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Thousand Year Old Vampire

Prepare to forget.

Now here is a very different take of a single player game (though there are options to multiplayer it) where your main activity will be... writing! The book (or handy PDF file currently free on itch.io) also recommends writing on a word processor / laptop / computer over a diary for good reason. There will be a lot of strike-throughs and erasing. Ideally you also need a D6 and a D10 but you can just google "roll a D6 and D10" if you don't have the physical dice.

As the title suggests, you create a vampire and then simply follow prompts through the book to write about what happens to you. These are stored in almost single line sentences called "experiences" and you can put three similar experiences together to form a memory. Which you can only have FIVE of. Once you need more, its time to begin forgetting... which is great. And crazy. I love that the entire tone is set by the player. It can be as hilarious or dark as you want.  

Another excellent quirk is that prompts tell you to gain or lose skills, resources, and characters which you define yourself. Gain a skill and a resource might mean the vampire is now "incredibly handsome after falling on his face (skill) and has an umbrella (resource)". Create a character means just that. You then can write these things into your experiences - but beware, almost everything and everyone is lost in the passage of time.

Prompts can and will just as easily say lose a skill. Lose a resource. Kill a character. If you run out of skills or resources, you basically die / game over too. Definitely a strange one, but if you like creative writing you should definitely give this a try.

I'm putting up some excerpts from my vampires to give you an idea of what it might look like (though I think I'm actually too wordy):

Excerpt 1 - Gabriel Sol

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Neverwinter Online: Draconic Rage (and Siege lock)

Using the least amount of effort to keep players in game.

If Draconic Rage isn't the least inspired content Neverwinter Online has offered so far, it certainly is the laziest (or thriftiest) development wise. "A World First" is an odd title to this first chapter which has zero story. While similar in format to Echoes of Prophecy where you are trying to fill a progress bar to unlock loot before time runs out, Cryptic has taken the approach of not adding any extra filler in this time. No extra quest boards or NPCs in town to visit. All you have to do is run skirmishes and dungeons.

This is great it you already do that anyway to get your daily astral diamonds as it means your usual grind already counts as participation! For those of us who don't do those however, bleh! The time investment to run those dungeons is annoying, and I'm not sure the prizes are worth dragging myself into skirmishes to clear it. I'm wondering if Cryptic is regretting their decision to kill some of their content because even me - who doesn't play these much at all - finds the handful of skirmishes quite repetitive. I wish they had a bigger pool of variety to choose from, then I remember that they DID.

Just to hammer home the point that they want you to login and stay in for metrics, the latest Dragon Siege event has a notable difference: the "daily" defeat 2 dragons and beat 3 heroic encounters now fails if you log off mid way and forces you to start again where as before I could happily jump between my two characters to finish those gradually as I saw fit. I don't know who keeps making the decisions there, but they are doing a great job in making their MMO steadily inferior to everything else.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Thea 2: Settling

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Having regrouped with the researcher and elder dwarf the squad use the magic heart to unlock the passage and finally face whatever is causing the world to shatter... it is a massive light infused dragon, better known as a zmey (seems these things always try end the world). Despite their allies, spells and equipment the zmey is a ferocious and tough enemy, using tooth, fang, tail swipe and energy breath to decimate the group before it finally goes down.


Giant dragons are usually game ending bosses.

When the smoke clears, the only ones left standing are zerca Barbara, Captain Bear, Karel, Little Pirate, and Suri the spider queen. Karel manages to use a rare world seed to save his mother Nyrissa after she was cut in two, but everyone else is dead (22+ characters). To honor their memory (and because they are too overloaded to move now) they decide to build a town on that site and are soon joined by house imp Bogdan and Macko, newborn son of Karel and Barbara.

When he is old enough, he might ask about the stone statue in the center of the village lists the names of the fallen but hopefully he will live a more normal life now that the world is saved. While the game lets you continue indefinitely I thought that would be a good stopping point for this tale.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Thea 2: Dark Hearts

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Before leaving Iceland, the team befriend the Shadow Folk who live on the edge of the island (no shortcuts here, just lots of talking over a long time) who then send one of their number, Sylvanas, to help them on their quest. As they sail back to the Slavyan isle they save the syrin Seayanna from a kraken and she too joins their crew and helps them defeat the trolls imprisoning the elder dwarf they found long ago.


Why wear clothes when you can wear shadows?

This dwarf is then taken to the patient researcher who is then able to decypher the tablet in the Red Ridge mine which gives the location of the quake causing threat, but also says to fix it they would need a magical heart assembled by a druid. With no leads on any druids, the team sails to the next island - the isle of darkness, home to striga, undead, vampires and... more followers of the light!?

Sylvanas is handy in convincing the darker beasties to simply let everyone pass while Seayanna uses her charm to convince female bandit captain Yanka to join the team, who then reveals that the Spirit Talker goblin tribe also resides here. Thanks to the goblin children in the party and a little assistance helping them build a catapult, they introduce the group to their leader: an orc necromancer who can construct the magical heart they need to save the world. Not only that, the necromancer and the entire tribe are coming to help too. Things are looking up!

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Thea 2: Strength

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Iceland is also home to followers of the light: people, creatures, and tentacles(wtf?) infused by a viral spirit and this faction constantly harasses the team with their "convert or die" methodology to the point that Siegfried tracks down their local base and leads an attack that wipes it out, at the cost of Jaethal who was light tentacled to death. Her daughter, Karina the crazy, also dies giving birth to a son Krisztian - whose father is her half brother Vshesul. The boy really has a thing for incest. Ratslava also gives birth to a daughter Mishka, having slept with King Szuvarek of the Water Demon clan after his rescue.

Anyway, after killing little red riding hood (who in this version is a werewolf), the team find the Ice Demon village and Nyrissa befriends them via an exchange student program: giving them Krisztian to raise as their own while they gain Ice Demon daughter Sniezynki and her pet elemental Icicles.


The Little Red Lie on steam is free to play if you like Little Red Riding Hood.

The team then run into the slaver band that held Romek captive and this time the slavers are killed - with the team gaining a young girl named Anzeka and three young goblins: Jere, Tino and Zosh. As they are overburdened with supplies at this stage, the team trade with the Ice Demons to buy powerful magical weapons and God's Armour? Siegfried decides to test these out at a local arena where the group must face five battles of increasing difficulty in a row and they are victorious! This band of champions are now ready to take on the world.

Thea 2: Iceland

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Since the only elder dwarf on the Slavyan isle is guarded by powerful trolls, the group decides to make a ship and sail to the next island over to continue the search. Ice island, dubbed by Siegfried as "Iceland", is quite inhospitable with the lack of food resources and the constant requirement for faith replenishing rituals. They also save the cursed child Zloslawa from her murderous parents and she too begins learning the way of the witch.


This place is full of witches.

Iceland is also home to the Water Demon clan (russalkas) who are at war with the Water Pirates (orcs). Nyrissa quickly befriend the Water Demons by saving their leader, King Szuvarek, from a Water Pirate base on the lake. Only two of the Water Pirate youths are spared to join the group: Little Pirate and his younger sister Deathlover who is again, witch potential. Valerie quickly gains their trust by having a daughter with Little Pirate they call Zenzimira. Nyrissa then promptly baptizes the girl at the Water Demon lake to turn the child into a Water Demon, deepening the friendship with that group so much that a russalka named Natalia also joins their ranks.

Meanwhile Siegfried encountered the cursed King Kral'Skra, doomed to be forever trapped in his crumbling kingdom by the gods who also stole his face and put it on a lowly demon. Siegfried agrees to find and slay this fiend only to discover it is Kral'Skra's son Romek whose back was infused with his fathers face and is now being towed around by some slavers. After purchasing the child Siegfried makes him face his father and Kral'Skra opts that he instead be killed instead of his son. Siegfried obliges, and Romek joins the group as a zerca.