Thursday 20 September 2012

Week #2 - Burninating the Countryside

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Did a few more story-line quests this week including assisting Juris with a crazy bandit cult, defeating a surprisingly tough carnival Ringmaster, fighting various undead, helping our asura engineer Thaldir in a bunch of his ones - my favourite being intentionally getting jailed by the Arcane Eye to jail-break a professor. That was fun! Covered a lot of ground running from quest to quest too, but not as much as when I just put my mind to it. Areas cleared to 100% this time are the Wayfarer Foothills, Plains of Ashford, Kessex Hills and Metrica Province. Moved on to the Caledon Forest where I found my first bugged quest - a skill challenge with a Tengu (biiiiirrrdmaaan!) that doesn't fire.

Stand-out events were Juris managing to kill a bunch of veteran trolls (with me as bait) then escaping their cave, randomly encountering a shady NPC who summoned some demons, playing with the cute doggies in the Caledon Forest and defeating a whole bunch of boss-types including a Giant Jungle Worm in the depths of the same said forest. The best one this week though was when DL, Thaldir and I were completing stuff at the Metrica Province Reactor when a Fire Elemental appeared. Ohhhhh man. Tons of people showed up to help including our very own Yue, but everyone (almost) just got dead over and over and over. Obviously my evasion skills need work, as was again shown when fighting a bandit boss who for some reason was stronger -outside- his power armor in a different encounter. Anyway, back at the reactor - the Fire Ele eventually got bored and left and all our guys got absolutely nothing for it other than an increased death count and less coin! :P

All those piles were once people.

Strange as it sounds I look forward to facing it again once I've levelled up some more. Finished this week on level 36, while Yue reached 80. The guild also gained another new member, and DL has completed some of the various research stuffs which means we can start holding guild events soon!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Week #1 - Where am I?

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Arrived in Queensdale (Gunnar's Hold) with my standard rogue class and after the "tutorial" mission began exploring the countryside and unlocking my weapon skills on various hapless creatures. The graphics are pretty damn good, and I quite like the art style for the cutscenes with what I call "reserved animation". I also find the dynamic events to be really fun and a good innovation to mix things up while travelling through a zone, the highlights for me this week were helping the Norn in a full on assault on the Sons of Svarnir with my brothers and DL and I getting wiped out by Krait slavers in a particular village. Best of all I like how low-cut the Queen's dress is! ;P

Something like this!

My brothers (DL and Jim) also assisted me with my "story" missions a few days in, which involved rescuing Riot Alice and convincing her to stop working for evil bandits then stopping said evil bandits from poisoning a well at the cost of an idiot's life (sorry Quinn you had it coming) and finally killing the bandit boss. I do like the that we were given the "choice" of what to do though. Proceeded to then look for missing kids at the circus and passing clown college (very fun) to track down a crazy hypnosis inducing ringmaster. Later on I helped Jim infiltrate some mole men WMD construction plant via pretty funny costume wearing. As interesting as it is, the story mode didn't seem to yield as much xp as plain old exploration though so I left mine alone at that point to go wandering and get some easy exp's exploring the main cities.

The vista thing is a nice concept (which seems stolen from Assassin's Creed) but some jumping puzzles are just annoying - deadly annoying. Anyway, by the end of the week I had 100% completion on Divinity's Reach, Queensdale, Hoelbrak (barrel brawl was fun), the Grove, Rata Sum (mess to explore), Black Citadel (even messier), and the central hub of Lion's Arch where I completed the Ghost Pirate's cave too as a bonus. I know I'm probably still missing treasure chests in some of those areas but I can always go back for those. Finished up on Level 22, while fellow guildmate Rammy had already reached Level 80 (though he did start a few weeks earlier). Our guild also gained 1 new member.

Explorer of Tyria

Thanks to my guild, I've been given Guild Wars 2 and thought I'd record my experiences in the game, just like I did with Diary of a Marked One and Skyrim Adventure Journal. :)

Possible spoilers ahead:
1.   Week #1 - Where am I?
2.   Week #2 - Burninating the Countryside
3.   Week #3 - Late to the Party
4.   Week #4 - Memory of a Flame
5.   Week #5 - Dragon Down (gained Order of Whispers Banner)
6.   Week #6 - Falling from High Places (reached level 80)
7.   Week #7 - The Furthest Lands (100% World Completion)
8.   Week #8 - Miserable Mesmer (gained Priory Banner)
9.   Week #9 - Racing the Clock
10. Week #10 - Different Roads (gained Vigil Banner)
11. Week #11 - Setting the Board
12. Week #12 - High Forces
13. Week #13 - Out of Content
14. Failures of Communication
15. Week #14 - Hibernation Elsewhere 
16. Stockbroker Wars 2
17. The Fall of Zhaitan
18. Flame, Frost and Donkey Kong
19. Deal Breaker: Melted Alliance
20. Your reward is Crabs
21. Dragons Bashed
22. Path of Pirates? I don't think so.
23. Aspects of Fun
24. Achievement Based Play
25. Vote for Ellen Kiel!
26. Ellen Kieled it! Time to celebrate with the Queen!
27. Queen's Gauntlet: Thief Experience
28. Treasures of the Crown Pavillion
29. Mabi improving Guild Wars 2
30. Invasion of the Everything
31. Preparation is Half the Battle
32. Box 2: A Less Super Adventure
33. Dragon Hunter Rox
34. The Maddening Grinds

Bonus Guides:
Fastest 100% World Completion

Due to not being able to log in (thanks ArenaNet), this story has ended. Thanks for reading!

Monday 17 September 2012

Showdown at Sky Haven Temple

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

Since he had done such a good job I offered Kharjo to join the Blades but he refused as I thought he might. I set him free of his debt, hoping he had a safe trip back to Elsweyr. Mjoll then called me over and asked how I was doing, taking me outside to the training area for a little chat. It was there that she revealed she too was working for the Thalmor, explaining her sudden disappearance from Riften before. Mainly it was to get back at me for letting Aerin die. Well that's too bad. I drew my iron sword and readied my hide shield while she pulled out my high level magical ebony blade. The hell? Seems she has all my old stuff too!

Our duel lasted for a long while, but she certainly had the upper hand with that magic blade. Furthermore each time I would get her to half HP she would fully heal! It was then I realized that she's using my potions! Things took a turn for the worse when Esbern appeared as well and began thowing magical fire at me. Great, he too is now the thalmor's bitch. No use continuing the fight out here so I pushed past into the temple proper where my large group of friends waited... and did nothing. It's like they didn't know if they should obey me or obey the leaders of the blades! Fortunately one of them decided to help out - Kharjo, who hadn't yet left took on Mjoll while I delt with Esbern, hacking him down as quickly as I could and then returning to the fight against Mjoll for perhaps the longest / best boss fight ever.

Kharjo and I would alternate as each of us would get knocked back, while she just kept healing. Eventually though she ran out of potions and in one furious backhand I sent her head flying from her shoulders. With their leader(s) dead, the remaining people stood even more gobsmacked as before... until they eventually took a knee and accepted me as their new leader. I thanked Kharjo again and the khajiit gave his farewells as he exited the temple. All that was left now was to get this curse off me which meant another trip to Winterhold, so I asked for a volunteer to come with and the knight Rayna jumped at the opportunity. We made our way out and the forsworn were nowhere to be found - they probably fled after their "leader" was killed, so we continued on the road where we passed Kharjo again, as well as Maiq, and upon reaching a pretty high bridge came across a patrol of imperial soldiers with a prisoner. I grinned to Rayna who knew what I was thinking and after slitting the throat of the guard at the very rear, charged the remaining two with sword held high.

Skyrim is for the Nords!

Taking a break from Skyrim again here, so I thought I'd leave you with a few extra goodies. :)

Skyrim Cosplay with Jessica Nigri
Skyrim Cosplay with Manzi de Young
Skyrim Cosplay & Music Video with Lindsey Stirling and Peter Hollens
Elder Scrolls Online

Sunday 16 September 2012

Fighting the Forsworn Army

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

Received a letter from Tolfdir via courier today, while he hasn't found a cure for my condition yet he has learned that the spell cast upon me has a limited range and must be done from a pretty high altitude. Given I was in Markarth the best spot would be from the city itself, but since that's too obvious the second best spot would be at Dead Crone Rock which is where I needed to head next. First I managed to finally upgrade all my gear again then with Kharjo in tow we followed the path, right into a wandering bandit chief party. What the hell. There were four of them! All chiefs, no indians. After that fight we ran into a witch and a Shadow Nightingale!? Seems like something really wants to keep me away from this place.

Managed to kill them too then had a bit of peace and quiet until we reached the forsworn camp at the base of Dead Crone Rock. Despite killing the sentries quietly and smoothly the sheer number of opponents here was problematic, but Kharjo and I persevered (mainly using lots of food) and slaying them all. We were in for a surprise at the higher level though, where my missing horse Shadowmere was fighting the Briarheart and his pet troll! WTF. No Idea how the hell that happened, but I'll take any help I can get! After we cleared out the outside we assaulted the tower itself, easily clearing out the few remaining forsworn and reaching the highest point with the Word wall. There I found the tome that had been stolen from the mages college, and after browsing some pages found what was afflicting me. More importantly I found what I needed to cure myself.

Other than a skilled mage (which I'm not), I was going to need bear claws, taproot and a giant's toe - and I already had all except the last. However I knew exactly where to get one - slightly annoyed I had to leave Shadowmere again though, due to the non-iron metals in his saddle (or being, what the heck type of horse is he anyway). We returned back down the road where we were ambushed by a lone wood elf (stupid girl) and then ran into Maiq the Liar. Chatted for a bit then moved on to Karthspire. I knew there was a dead giant there that would be easy pickings. What I didn't know was that all the forsworn had returned to the area, making it a hell of a task getting to it given I was out of arrows. In the end we just had to bolt, grabbing the toe while evading spells and arrows of the defenders then running quickly up into Sky Haven Temple where they refused to follow.

All that's missing is a Scorpion King.

Thursday 13 September 2012

End of the Road

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

Asked around at the Winking Skeever for clues, getting an extra one from the kid Minnete who happened to be there too then began going door to door looking for the agent in this city, but finding none. Visited Proudspire Manor to let Njada and Jordis know I was ok (tested them and they weren't agents either) then went next door to the Bard's college where everyone seemed to check out until I got to the kitchen. It was the old cook! I simply waited for an opportune time and slit the old man's throat as he ate. With that easily accomplished I noticed more Pentius Occultus agents lurking about so with Kharjo we set to work eliminating all of them, where I managed to finishing stab one and throat slit another. A pair of guards got involved and they needed to die too, fortunately I managed to snarf a hunting bow from one of them. We then quickly shadowed our way back down the side entrance and began to hoof it to Morthal.

I knew this would be a harder task since I couldn't swim "up" waterfalls meaning I'd need to be on the road this time, and sure enough Dragonbridge proved a very tough place to pass with it's high volume of guardsmen (bad luck as a patrol was there too). Told Kharjo to just buy me time then escape so we split up, with the cat holding off a large portion of the guards while I high tailed it outta there. After what seemed to be a really long sprint across the mountains I was clear, and back on the road where I encountered a friendlier group of three Stormcloak soldiers who happened to be walking in the same direction I wanted to go. Figured it was safer to travel together so I just strolled with them down the road, and after a few minutes a familiar khajiit came running up - it was Kharjo! He somehow gave the Dragonbridge guards the slip and got ahead of us.

Even Chaos Knights go for strolls.

We were in high spirits as we neared Morthal when a group of forsworn raiders attacked. There were only three of them, but each of them managed to kill a guardsman before either myself or Kharjo could finish them off. I was so angry that I (finishing move) beheaded the last one. Finally we made it to the City of Stone and easilly found the last agent inside the Silverblood Inn itself. It was Muiri, who apparently would do anything for money. Despite the inn being crowded at the time I already knew how to take her out - hidden from a room with an arrow to the neck. Why would she turn on someone who helped her!? No matter, at least I'm closer to getting this curse removed.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Old Acquaintances

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

After a quick resupply at Fort Dunstad, avoiding a wizard fighting various wild life, and examining a Shrine to Dibella that I had missed before I finally made it back to Dawnstar and went into the tavern to find clues. It was dinner time and there were a fair number of people here but none of them seemed to be the thalmor agent. Decided to stop by the iron mine again to get more ores but could only get two this time since the ones I harvested from my previous visit had not returned. Continued investigation on the docked boat but the sailors were all clean, then finally found the scum in the museum - that traitor Silas whom I had helped earlier! He hid his involvement well, but there was no tricking me. I asked him for a bowl of stew and he obliged - as he stirred the pot I shoved my sword through his back, killing the traitorous bastard. Should have let the dremora eat him.

On my way out of town I happened across a Khajiit caravan, the one with my friend Kharjo! I got him to join me and I asked him why he was previously imprisoned. Turns out he was selling drugs to kids. Just like the caravan is doing now. He refused to kill his fellow cats though, so I backstabbed all his compatriots for their sins and warned him that the same would happen to him if he didn't pay off his debt to society (me). Then the curse must have gone into a second phase because out of nowhere, Ria's corpse appeared and began floating around like a wisp mother. We all attacked it and when it "died" she vanished (no, it actually crashed the game so I had to reload). Now I'm seeing things. Great.

Trippin' balls!

Pushed on to Morthal passing two empty imperial camps on the way. I couldn't upgrade my sword though because I had forgotten to smelt the damn ore! Didn't matter as it was a quiet and uneventful run, and we snuck into the tavern in the dead of night to get some info. Since no one was there I decided to look around, finding Falion fighting a mudcrab for some reason on the street. Since he was busy I continued to the Thaumaturgist's hut but found no one there. Next building was the Jarl's longhouse but I knew that always had guards so I went back to Falion and found the fool cowering behind a house. When I asked him what was wrong he pretty much blurted out that he was the thalmor agent and ran to the edge of town with Kharjo and I right on his heels. It wasn't hard to beat him into submission, breaking his will. Fortunately for him threads of fate still protected him, letting him live another day. Satisfied that his role in this was over, our next stop was Solitude - gaining entry by swimming across the bay and climbing up the less used side-gate.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

A Comedy of Errors

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

I had initially planned to enter via the secret Companions entrance but wasn't able to scale the damn wall up to the opening. The guard standing behind me must have thought it amusing since he just waited there till I gave up before arresting me. Figured that like Riften, this was probably the easiest way in so I surrendered and found myself in Dragonsreach dungeon. Slipped out via the floor grate pretty easily and found the prisoner storage chest within reach from the tunnels below... only my pick broke. Damnit! Slightly frustrated, I left all my gear and cooked food and made my way out of there collecting what I could while sneaking around the guards barracks.

Once top side I was careful to hide behind the houses and time the guard patrol to enter Breezehome and raid it of any useful stuff. This turned out to only be food and hides. Better than nothing, so I used the nearby smithy to make a new set of superior leather armor then snuck inside to steal an iron sword and dagger. Wasn't quite sure how I was going to get clues from the tavern since the guards kept a close eye on the place, so instead I asked Mila, a little girl for some assistance since Tolfdir mentioned kids could detect that same "vibe" I did. She mentioned something about a creepy old woman so I checked the feeble lady first who was very rude but otherwise ok. The blacksmith couple were also fine as were a passing red guard guy and another random lady on the street. Timing these "chats" was getting to be tedious.

Finally an nice old lady named Lilith came by and I knew precisely what the kid meant - she seemed in a hurry to get out of town. I politely bid her a good day and as soon as she walked past I slit her throat right there on the road before she exited the town proper. Then came my grand escape plan. I snuck my way as far as I could to Jovasskr to use the secret wolf exit but was sighted at the upper crossroads near the loud priest, so I ran dodging arrows to the cave door only to find it wouldn't open! So much for that. I tried scaling the walls a few times but that wasn't getting me anywhere so in the end it came down to me sprinting out the front door, being chased by a large group of guards across the field. Must have been quite a sight for the dragon that was circling overhead. Fortunately for me it decided to come down on my pursuers leaving me scott free to escape into the North.

Queue: Yakety Sax!

Monday 10 September 2012

Swan Song at Falkreath

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

After getting out of the lake I continued West, finding a pair of orc hunters taking down a bear. One of them was killed in the process so I took his arrows and the bear's hide and followed his friend from a distance. The poor sap walked right into a bandit ambush and died from arrow to the head syndrome, while I carefully evaded the scum - reaching another empty imperial camp where I could cook up all the food I had looted from the docks. Salt is an important commodity! Continuing into the mountain pass I was escorted briefly by a mounted hunter for most of it before he turned back. On the road I found one of the Khajiit caravans I had been hunting, only they were already dead - another elaborate and large scale bandit ambush that I avoided. Probably a subgroup from the ones camped at Helgen which I steered clear of.

Eventually I reached Falkreath and the whole way I was wondering how I was going to break into town without getting spotted by the guards. Turns out I just needed to jump the fence, then using a new found skill thanks to the challenge blog - rode up the waterwheel to the roof of the timber house and quietly made my way to Dead Man's Drink to get some clues as to who the Thalmor agent was here. The tavern was packed so I made sure to interview everyone, highly suspecting a random orc who was present. As it turns out the person I was after was the young bard named Delacourt who seemed extremely worried to see me. I needed a way to kill him in a crowded room without everyone alerting the guards... then it occured to me.

It's a growing epidemic!

I asked him to perform Ragnar the Red which he did, and while everyone stood around watching him I hid in one of the rooms and sent an iron arrow into his mouth near the end of the song. The audience was shocked, but had no idea who did it. I'd like to say now that I wanted to do some cool exit strategy to ghost myself out of there but the minute I stepped out I was sighted by the guards and had to simply run for the hills (well, the mountain) literally. Once on the otherside I just jumped in the lake and followed the river (fighting off slaughterfish) while carefully avoiding Riverwood - breaking a few wolf necks in the process. In no time at all I was approaching my next target city... Whiterun.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Even the Smallest Person

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

Slipped out of the Palace and decided to visit my house in town, raiding the pantry and cooking up a feast (I like my healing :P), then it was right out the front gates on the road South before anyone found the dead king. Started out pretty easy going, coming across a friendly stormcloak patrol and easily beatable wolves then became trickier once I snuck through the basin and was making my way to higher ground again - slaying a sabre cat and then getting caught in a watch tower by a giant bear. The persistent creature was too tough to kill so with no options I just timed it when it was on the wrong side of the tower and made a bolt for Shor's Stone where a guardlady promptly apprehended me - telling me to surrender. I thought about it for a second, and figured it would be the easiest and fastest way to Riften so I let myself get put into prison.

Wasn't there long though, as I easily lockpicked my way out and retrieved my gear (along with extra food) while sneaking around the patrol. Once I was topside, there would be no sneaking though - too many guards. Instead I led the merry chase to the graveyard where I used the secret thieves guild tomb to escape. Or so I thought. No less than six guards followed me into the base much to my surprise as well as Brynjolf who immediately attacked them. Laughing at this turn of events (I finally got the guards down here) I slipped out to the Ragged Flagon where I was no longer pursued, so I took the time to stock up on even more stuff then made my way out of the Ratway.

Snuck on the lower "water" level before climbing up to reach the tavern undetected. The two argonian lovers were not that happy to see me, but changed their tune when I told them Brynjolf's fate. They also gave me a hint of who the agent in town could be, but since no one was in the tavern I decided to raid their food supply which they let me do (surprisingly) and cook up more food. Before beginning my investigation. The area outside was dangerous due to patrolling guards so I could only check the beggar and the pawnbrokers who all seemed to be on the level. At the Blackbriar meadery I thought it may had been a snooty high elf who was exiting as I entered but she seemed fine too. Then I turned my attention to Ungrien the "lowly" employee bosmer behind the counter and could tell that he was my target.

No one would suspect an honest, hard working little bosmer right? The ebony sword underneath the counter didn't give it away at all. Shoved my iron blade through his spine then made my way out the back door to the docks (which is a surprisingly good spot for food scavenging) before swimming my way out of there.

Beware: Potential Thalmor agent!

Friday 7 September 2012

Two of Nine

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

As the seminar on "Restoration as a valid school of Magic" began I quietly questioned suspects beginning with the high elf girl Faralda, however she seemed clean. Next was the dunmer Drevis and right away I knew I had my man, especially when he kept expressing his desires for the Eye of Magnus. Kept him busy until the seminar ended and people began to leave. Once I thought we were the last two I shoved my sword into his gut, killing the bastard and looting an undecipherable letter from his corpse. I wasn't as quiet as I had originally thought however as Faralda came rushing back in to fight me. I quickly ducked up the stairwell and hid, letting her pass me on the way up while I made my way back to Tolfdir.

He was understandably upset but after reading the letter discovered that Drevis is just part of a group working for the Thalmor! The spell really was just to covertly weaken what could become a threat to them later on. Seems like they didn't want to just march in and start up the whole war again. Tolfdir suggested these agents would be scattered across all the towns which made sense, as it was pointless to have spies all in the one spot. Furthermore he believes all of them had a part in the curse placed on me, and I would either need to break their will or eliminate their life force to rid myself of the magic. Alas the letter didn't specify who exactly I needed to track down so I'd need to ask around in each town.

Thanked the old guy and snuck out of Winterhold now that I was a wanted man here too. Decided traversing the mountain was the safest path South, and other than witnessing a fire and ice mage duel in the distance, sneaking past a sleeping bear, and killing a few wolves I made it to Windhelm with no issues where FINALLY there were tanning racks! Using the many leathers I had acquired on the way my first order of business was creating a full set of superior leather armor. Well, almost full. I couldn't stand wearing the helmet - something with this curse made it unbearably hot to wear. Now that I was geared up nicely it was time to find the Thalmor agent in this city, and put an end to their miserable life!

Stopped by the two taverns in town for clues but there was no one that gave off that "vibe". Decided it maybe someone higher up and ventured into the castle. It wasn't the mage, or the cleaner, or the body guard dude. It was... Ulfric!? That made no sense (stupid dice) but thinking about it now, he probably felt I was a threat to his High crown. No matter his reasons, I knew what I had to do. I wouldn't be as careless as I was in Winterhold, especially given this guy's reputation in battle. No. I just waited till he slept, then killed him in his bed. No witnesses.

Because I have less style than this guy.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Curiosity Fed the Cat

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

After sneaking across Dragon Bridge (guards will probably cane me) we continued on our journey past a friendly pair of Vigilants of Stendarr and then into Fort Snowhawk which was controlled by Stormcloak soldiers who recognized me from the war. Managed to take a lot of food some iron arrows and some hide armor. Also ditched the two hander and lumber axe for a pickaxe and regular sized iron sword. After cooking up what food I could we continued through the Morthal marsh fighting past a charrus reaper, a trio of horkers (for their meat) and a number of bandits, off whom I could scavenge better fur armor parts.

Reaching the start of the snowy region we came across another group of bandits taking down a big mammoth. Killed them off and took what I could before running into their nearby camp. There were only three of them, but it was a very tough fight. After killing the first guy, Wynna took an axe to the face leaving me to handle the remaining two dudes with a handfull of arrows that ran out quickly. Managed to finish the next guy with my sword before having to run circles around the final bow guy. Luckily my trick from Stalker Online worked here too, as I found a "sleeping" alpha snow sabrecat and hid near it. The fool woke it up by looking for me and became kitty litter while I made my escape.

This one loves breakfast in bed.

Finally reached Dawnstar where I -wasn't- a wanted man (for a change). Decided to hit the iron mine and smelter then pushed on to a nearby deserted imperial camp where I used their forge to make a matching iron sword to my current one and upgraded both of them. Unfortunately there were no tanning racks around for me to make use of the hides from wolves and such I had been collecting though, so I pushed on - scavenging a small lighthouse for food then sneaking past a lazy giant snowbear before finally reaching Winterhold where I marched directly to the Mages College.

I found everyone gathered at the main hall, preparing for a seminar so I pulled my old teacher Tolfdir aside and explained my situation. He was intrigued and said that a few weeks ago someone had stolen something from the library's restricted section. Since no travellers had been reported coming in he assumes it had to be an inside job, and could be related to my problem. While the mages could come and go, they were currently all here so it was the perfect time to find the culprit.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Like a Fish in a Barrel

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! In this entry I am following my custom scenario "A Curse of Iron". You can follow the rest of the story here!

On my return to Solitude I ran into another Penticus Occultus agent on the street! After beheading him I retreated into my home where a pair of guards pursued me. Fortunately between myself, Jordis, Njada and the mage Wynna we managed to eliminate them quickly. Wynna was the last recruit going for her trials so we snuck out of there while the other two disposed of the bodies. Decided to check out the rumors at Markarth but found nothing interesting. Upon exiting the tavern though I suddenly began to feel ill and completely blacked out.

Woke up feeling very weak and lacking in voice at Vindrel Hall with Wynna watching over me. Using her magics she told me I had been cursed by powerful magic. I tried to get my gear but most of it burned to the touch. I couldn't even carry my amassed gold! She suggested we try get to the Mages College at Winterhold to try work out how unhex me but first I needed to find equipment! Being unable to drink potions was a bit of a worry, so I packed up all the food I could find and took a woodcutter's axe and an iron two handed sword from the wall. Wynna also pointed out I might want clothes which she found in a nearby wardrobe. After getting dressed we headed out, only to be stopped by a guard who recognized me.

Side Note: Thank you for not being in this game.

For a change, she let me off the hook to be someone else's problem and we made our way on foot out of town following the path North. Wasn't long before we came across another guard under attack by a trio of forsworn. Since his compatriot just helped me out I thought I'd return the favor and join the fight - each of us now fighting one forsworn. While Wynna killed hers the guard lost his battle and his opponent continued battle against the sexy mage. Meanwhile I'm trying to kill a dude with a woodcutter's axe since the big sword was too tiring for me to swing around (I'm better at single handed anyway). After a LONG fight I finally kill the bastard and take his bow (no arrows). Alas, I cannot touch the rest of their gear so we just leave them there and continue on our way. After that hectic battle I realize it would be best to avoid as many opponents as possible so we head into the nearby river to swim our way North East.

The plan works pretty well, and I manage to even use my new found "challenge" skill of salmon catching on the way as we swim down rapids and remain undetected by a dragon circling overhead. What I didn't count on was running into a giant mudcrab near some waterfalls. There was no way I could beat the hard shelled thing on my own, but thankfully Wynna swam in and zapped it to death just in time.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Skyrim Scenario: A Curse of Iron

Not really part of my "adventures" per se, but it's Skyrim related! :P

Shackles - how every Elder Scrolls game begins! :P

Inspired by the challenge section of the Skyrim Blog, I made this for Skyrim fans such as myself who wanted another adventure to run, either out of fandom, boredom or just more roleplaying story material. It can be done by anyone, but is more geared towards people who have already finished the civil war and Alduin storylines. Since the difficulty level is more or less self-imposed, feel free to tailor and adjust it to your play style. After all, there's no point in slugging it out with this just to be hardcore if you're not having fun. You can also post copies of it elsewhere as long as you are nice enough to give a link back to here! :)

After completing a task or visiting a friend in the Reach, you decide to spend the night in the mountain side city of Markarth. It is a restless sleep, plagued by strange nightmares and you awake with a cold sweat and a minor headache. Somehow you feel weaker and can sense the lingering taste of magicka all around you. Deciding to investigate you grab your gear but suddenly let go with a small yelp. Almost all your items now burn you when you touch them... except those made of iron, cloth, hide and leather. The same goes for any enchanted equipment of any kind, and when you uncork a healing potion to remedy your burn the mere smell of it makes you dizzy and nauseus - as if it was poison! You try to curse out loud but all you can manage is a soft whisper.

Setup (do all of this first):
You'll need a standard six-sided dice (1d6).
Make a Clean Save - one you won't overwrite so you can undo everything here if need be.
Probably want to make a subset of saves while doing this.
The No Essential NPCs mod will make this more fun, but not necessary.
Get a follower, preferably one you met later in the game who matches your build - ie. mages get a mage, fighters get a fighter etc.
Test off a save to make sure that if you punch them enough, they will aggro and fight you.
*In some follower mods they never fight back
Give this follower ALL your current/best stuff and dismiss them. Remember who they are and where they stay though as you'll need them again later.
Anything they cannot carry, just store in your house.
You cannot use this follower for the duration of this quest arc until specified, at which point they MUST be used.
Fast Travel to Markarth to begin.

Rules (for the duration of this Scenario):
Must start naked at either the inn or your house with no gear in your pack (some quest stuff will be stuck in there, ignore those).
You can only use weapons (and arrows) made of wood or iron. Crossbows have steel, so you cannot use those either.
You cannot use any magically enchanted items regardless of base material.
You cannot consume any type of potion. Food is ok.
You cannot use Dragon Shouts. Racial abilities and other powers are ok (even the ones that require vocalisasion, somehow :P).
You cannot wear any anything on your head (the sickness makes it too hot).
Being weakened, you can only use Hide shields, no other type.
You can only carry three "weapons" (arrows excluded) at a time, with a shield counting as one.
Being weakened, you can only wear one armor part made of iron. The rest -have- to be hide, fur, non-studded leather or clothes.
Studded-leather counts as being partly iron (of which you can only wear one armor part).
You cannot wear Banded-Iron (despite the name) because it is made with a non Iron Ingot.
To keep it simple, you cannot wear/use faction, falmer or forsworn items either (alternatively use best judgement).
The idea is to keep you stuck with basic gear so dragonbone, glass, ancient nord stuff etc is out of bounds.
Assume horse shoes and saddle parts have steel. You must be on foot.
Carraiges also have steel. No fast travelling (by carraige or by auto-map)
You cannot use any spells from your best 3 schools of magic.
From your worst 2 schools you can only use Novice level spells.
If all your magic schools are even, assign each a number and roll the dice to determine which two you can use.
Don't prepare any "usable" stuff or buy any before beginning, there's enough lying about.
You are deathly allergic to gold too. Don't carry any (no shopping).
You cannot pick up any ore/ingots or jewelry other than Iron.
Use of followers is up to you. If they are also affected by the spell is your choice. May need to "console" gear off them though.
You must do the Objectives in order.

Finding People:
In parts of this quest you need to find specific people based on clues. How this works is easy. Everytime you begin dialouge with someone (who is not a child or your "contact") roll the dice. If you roll equal or below the number of clues you have for that city, then that is the person you were looking for. If you roll above, then it is either not the person or you failed to recognize them and must continue the search. Try not to talk to the same person continously though.

Getting Clues:
Mainly used for Finding People (above). You start with 0 clues (no clue whatsoever, you clueless fool :P).
You gain +1 clue (once) for talking to someone in a bar or tavern.
Once you have, cannot gain further clues from anyone else in that particular bar or tavern.
You gain +1 clue (once) for talking to kids in the city.
Once you have, you cannot gain further clues from talking to any other kids in that city.
You can also gain clues from Objectives and they will be noted.

Objective 1: Cross-Country Trek
It is clear that this is no ordinary sickness so who best to determine how to nullify your condition than the people at the Mages College at Winterhold? Make your way there and talk to Tolfdir (or whoever you want your contact to be).

Objective 2: Chasing a Shadow
Your contact is intrigued to hear of your predicament. While they look into a cure, they tell you that someone has also been messing with the library a few days ago in the section of banned magicka, yet somehow they have managed to remain undetected by spells. Your task is to ask around and figure out who was snooping about. Given that no one has come nor gone your contact hopes this thief is still in town, hiding in plain sight. Fortunately your contact has given you some idea of who it might be (+1 Clue).

Once you find this person (see "Finding People") above, you are to confront them and they let slip that they are guilty of stealing something from the library. You must either kill or beat this person down (to kneeling) to make them spill the beans. Once this is done, return to your contact to hand over a coded letter you found on that person. Also reset your clues to 0.

Objective 3: Agents of the Thalmor
Your contact is surprised to hear of this turn of events and after decoding the letter informs you that the person you beat/killed is working for the Thalmor! It seems the Thalmor have taken a direct interest in you, Dragonborn. Having an individual with such powers that surpass even the non-threatening Greybeards, (even if you are a thalmor supporter) isn't in the Dominion's greater interests and as such have sent agents to weaken this abomination of nature (that's you) and more firmly take the rebellious region into their elvish grasp.

It seems there are more "agents" around and each of them participated in the ritual that has weakened you. Based on the note it sounds like they are hiding in each of the main cities in the realm. If you want the spell to be broken, you must find them all and either eliminate their life force (kill them) or break their will (beat them down). These spies could be anyone (though due to the game, kids are safetly ruled out). Remember, each time you reach a new city/region reset your clues to 0.
Just to confirm, the cities you need to visit are:

Riften, Solitude, Whiterun, Windhelm, Dawnstar, Falkreath, Morthal, Markarth
You can visit the cities in any order BUT you must leave Markarth for LAST.
You already beat/killed the person in Winterhold. :P

Objective 4: Forsaken Climb
After escaping from Markarth you'll receive a letter from your contact at the Mage's College. While they have had no luck with a cure, they've found that the spell cast upon you has a maximum range and requires high altitude. Given that you were cursed at Markarth the most logical place that the Thalmor agents could have cast the spell is at Dead Crone Rock (since they weren't in the city itself - too obvious). Your task is to get up to the Word-wall there to look for anything they left behind.

Objective 5: The Hunter's Way
Once you've reached the chest at the word-wall you find a heavy tome, one obviously belonging to the Mages Library. You manage to find the curse placed on you and though you don't quite understand it, you can tell that you will need the same ingredients they used to cast it in the first place. Roll the dice three times to determine what you need to find and collect them in any order! :)

Roll #1:
1-2 Frostbite Venom
3-4 Sabrecat Eye
5-6 Bear Claws

Roll #2:
1-2 Falmer Ear
3-4 Vampire Dust
5-6 Spriggan Taproot

Roll #3:
1-2 Mammoth Tusk
3-4 Giant's Toe
5-6 Dragon Bone (yeah not sure why you can't wear the armor if you're picking up their bones? Design flaw! :P)

Just 1 of each will do. Once you have all three of them, proceed to Objective 6.

Objective 6: Spell-Jammer
With all the ingredients collected and heavy tome in hand, you are now ready to return to Winterhold - however you receive a letter from your follower who has all your gear (from the setup section). Apparently they have information about another Thalmor agent still at large. You need to go to wherever they are and pick them up. Once you do, they are very apologetic about interrupting your trip to Winterhold and insist you do that first before tracking down their lead. May want to save it here to revert your next action.

Turns out your follower -is- the last Thalmor agent / hired merc. At any location you see fit where it's just the two of you, they turn on you. You need to dismiss them and then punch them a bit until they aggro you. Once they pull out their weapons you can begin your duel properly. This should mean you are basically fighting your doppleganger who has all your good gear. You must either kill them, or beat them down (then surrender - stupid AI) to win. If they are at Winterhold itself, just fight in the courtyard or on the roof.

With that out of the way, continue back to your contact at Winterhold who tells you the ritual to cure yourself is actually pretty easy since you are dragonborn. Just head to the roof, eat the edible reagents and drop all the remaining ones on the floor and then use any Dragon shout. Once you've done that - the curse is broken! Congratulations and hope you had fun! :)

Monday 3 September 2012

Duelling the Dead

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

En garde!

Took the Knight Alyssa for her tests next, starting with the forsworn just outside my new base. We then moved on to colder regions where she handled multiple draugr deathlords just fine and survived an ancient dragon - however this winged beast got away! Checked in with Esbern who thought he had a lead where it may have gone so I left Alyssa there (her finishers on the overlords were impressive) and took her friend Rayna instead, who had already previously proven her skills. Once we reached the spot, Mjoll was there too and so was... Athis!? How many times did I have to kill this soon-to-be-draugr!?

No time to worry about that though as we came under attack by the -wrong- dragon. This one was just an elder one and we slaughtered it just fine. I then asked Athis about his state and he was very dismissive, continously walking away so I used this as a good test of Rayna's skills - telling her to duel the freak dunmer while Mjoll and I just stood back and watched. It was a long fight but Athis was just outclassed and once again was run through. Mjoll then promised to find whoever did this (I assume whoever brought Athis to back life, again). Hopefully this time he stays dead as a courier came by to deliver his inheritance?

After leaving Rayna at the Temple, I took the brash knight Cutter next as he was getting bored in Solitude. For as much as I dislike him he still proved himself, managing to help me clear an unfinished dwemer ruin (despite his fear of such places), defeating a wisp mother on his own, and surviving a big mammoth and two troll combo. Having passed, I sent him off to the temple too and took the lizardman archer Anu next. After surviving an easy frost dragon and a few bandits I decided to revisit the Dawnstar sanctuary to make sure the brotherhood (that is down to one little girl and a corpse) was in check. Sure enough when I got there I found they had recruited a new male initiate! Figured this would be a good test of Anu's skills and got him to duel the new guy in a knife fight. This time, the fight was not in my favour though - and the lizardman was gutted from navel to neck before falling lifelessly to the ground. Just as the initiate breathed a sigh of relief I appeared from the shadows and slit his throat.

Returned to Solitude where Njada wanted to give me some tips on blocking. After that I brought Alle the high elf for her trials next. Esbern had found another dragon to slay, and my little band had also researched a second one to be hunted down deep underground! After warming up on an easy Blood Dragon (where Mjoll was late to arrive on the scene) we descended into Blackreach to hunt Vulthyrol. I needed to get close enough to yell at the giant "sun" which meant a quick covert run through the Silent City via the tunnels, silently sniping the patrolling falmer. Eventually I did manage to summon the dragon, and Alle was too hasty in charging it as a shadow master and his pet dwarven centurion arrived on the scene. The dragon was caned quickly but then while I handled the giant centurion, I lost track of Alle and her pursuing falmer. Eventually I found her corpse behind some buildings with the shadowmaster doing some obscene things to her face. After extracting revenge it was time to get out of there.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Rites of Initiation

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

Next up was my queer dark-elf recruit Wynd who proved he (or she) was quite capable by surviving against two trolls, helping eliminate forsworn scum quickly in one of their larger camps, and actually defeating a Hagraven in one on one combat! Passing with flying colors I sent Wynd off to Sky Haven Temple and took Ono the orc next to try clear out a non "cleared" cave on my map: Wolfskull cave. Though he seemed hesitant to enter the draugr and necromancer inhabited place at first, he quickly found his courage and it was quite amusing to watch the various violent ways he would dispatch his enemies one he got his axe in them! To seal the deal we also went out with Mjoll to defeat an Elder Dragon and it was he that put the finishing blow to pass his initiation and graduate to the blades sanctuary.

Took the dark elf Mia and Lynn, both blades members with me next to clear out Radlbthar (damn wierd names). They were doing fine against the bandits and dwarven automatons in the ruin (though they needed a lot of direction to evade spinning blade traps) but when we reached the deep market we were beset by falmer scum and their pets. Mia got separated and quickly found a shadow master's wicked blade lodged in her leg. There was nothing Lynn and I could do as he dragged her away, kicking and screaming up into the darkness. Further in we found pieces of her dismembered body, some of which were used to jam dwemer gears. After getting revenge, Lynn used her remaining rage to absolutely destroy a master dwarven centurion all on her own (though I think it's arms were damaged). With the zone clear I sent her on ahead while I picked up the Khajiit, Bane.

I had planned to use him to try track down the other drug dealing Khajiit caravans that seem to have gone into hiding ever since I killed off that one group. We started out at Windhelm and immediately came under attack by an Ancient Dragon! It almost killed the horses (and me) but we took it down eventually. Journeyed a -very- long while to the West, killing an imperial patrol with a stormcloak prisoner and some wildlife in the process, but no caravans. We did eventually run into an Imperial Camp that I had not found before and massacred them all. Strangely their leader had already been killed by something or someone... investigating flashes of light nearby we came across a Dremora Succubus and an Arch Cryomancer in combat. Killed them both (dremora was tough, a random bear also came to help out) and since Bane was excellent all around, sent him off to Sky Haven.

That dremora succubus was nowhere as near as hot as Lost Girl, Bo.