Sunday 31 January 2016

Star Trail: Pain in the A--

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

After dealing with a few more orc patrols the team finally made it back into the besieged city via the secret tunnel. Agdan returned to his order and Zubon and Paeroka were reunited with the rest of the group. While in town the party also donates their spare items and food to the council hall which they are richly rewarded for. Asking around, they also find out that Ingramosh, the dwarf they need to deliver the Salamander Stone to was here once - a guest of the gay elf they slew before. Oops.

Figuring they'll just have to wing it now, the party leaves Lowangen again and are almost immediately set upon by two groups of competing adventurer parties - one after another! While the team is victorious they are pretty badly beaten up after that second round and that's when an army of mages appears before them.

"Hand over the stone or die."

With no hope of winning against that many spell casters in their current condition, Paeroka gingerly gives them the stone. The wizards laugh as they then ride off to the West - and the party pursues them after resting up a little. The head start is too great though, and with combats against random orc patrols slowing them down further they lose the trail.  Fortunately a random shepherd on the road manages to point them in the right direction.

Jesus saves the day again!

It's a long walk and Wolfy's shoes wear out, making her take damage during the journey. Not that it matters though for they eventually run into ANOTHER orc army!


There are no options here. The orcs beat up the team, strip them naked (including magical items this time) and basically make them their play things for a few days while forcing them to march higher into the mountains. Eventually they are thrown into a dark cell where they suffer more orcish abuse for around a week before finally mustering enough rage to take down the orc bringing them what passes as food. And so begins escape from castle Orcenstein!

Saturday 30 January 2016

Star Trail: Thalen the Mage

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

In one section of the swamp the remaining party members find a strange, docile, swamp rantzy who happens to be wearing the signet ring of the soldier they were originally assigned to find. After checking on google what the hell to do (because it's no where near obvious), Shintar throws a net to capture it (the only time you can do that in the game). She then manages to carry the 500 pound thing in her pack for awhile until Thalen remembers to read the scroll they found at the sorcerer's tower: one about transformation to and from a swamp rantzy!

After performing a quick ritual the rantzy turns back into the soldier Agdan, who Wolfy promptly cures of disease and is nursed back to health at the safety of the lizard village and equipped with spare gear. During this time the lizard chief is thankful that the engulfer is no more and tells the party about Star Trail.

And it makes no sense.

The witch on the other hand is a different bag of crazy, rewarding the party by attacking them! Her wolf is easily put down but the old woman herself proves resilient with all her terror spells that send Wolfy and Shintar running like little girls. She's also proficient enough with her broom to knock out the two soldiers: Cooper and Agdan!

Ungrateful hag!

Ultimately it comes down to Thalen in a wizard vs witch duel, and in an epic moment of awesome, he turns the old hag into stone - winning the combat for the team. They all then raid her house and her herb garden in celebration before returning to Lowangen.

Friday 29 January 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens some Spoliers!

Four out of five lightsabers.

Since everyone and their dog has already reviewed this, I'm starting off with my final rating for a change (see above). This is a good movie, definitely better than the prequels. CGI is great, locations and sets are great, the acting is great. Lots of strange extra critters that didn't need to be in the movie? Great!

There are also good humor moments and of course an excellent sound track to go with it. I'm sure fans are already learning Rey's piano theme now. It is definitely worth watching for its own merits instead of just "so I know what's going on when Star Wars VIII comes out". I've already seen it twice! :)

There are however, some things that seemed a little off for me (highlight to read spoilers):

-It's a lot like episode IV. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a little odd.
-Rebel base: Everyone seems to be running for running's sake.
-Rebel base: Clearly ran out of copper paint for C3P0's arm.
-Orphan girl learns to be mechanic. Ok. Learns how to fight. Ok. Learns how to fly (outdated) starships? Uhhh.
-How long has the First Order been around? How long did it take them to build a base, with fully grown trees?
-How do said trees survive as base flies between two suns?
-What the heck were the rebels and the republic doing while the First Order base was being built?
-Lol chasm at the climax of the final fight. Plot device much?
-Speaking of Plot device: R2D2s convenient, unexplained awakening to let the story continue.
-No one would have escaped the formation of a new sun. That was a sudden end to the story huh.

Star Trail: Denizens of the Swamp

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The fight against the gorillas leaves Alice with rabies, something even Aeternus cannot cure, so the team hurries with their search - finding a village of friendly lizardmen, an abandoned cart of supplies, and a witch. The crone wants the adventurers to deal with her nemesis: the sorcerer, who lives in a nearby tower while the lizardmen request aid against a monster they aptly named "the Engulfer" that keeps eating their kin. The team decide to go after that one first.

It's a miniature T-Rex!

The reptile is indeed monstrous, and manages to knock out Cooper and Thalen during the melee. It also devours Aeternus, killing him instantly. Alice manages to land good hits on the beast but ultimately it is Thalen's magic that brings it down. The next stop is the sorcerer's tower in the middle of a lake. Swimming there is pretty brutal damage wise but fortunately there are no adds to be found within. Instead the wizard summons a fire elemental who asks for keywords!?

Size = Power?

This took a while (and a number of reloads because its an insta-death scenario) but eventually the group spoke the correct words the elemental wanted to hear (apparently it watches Trigun, because Vash the Stampede's motto works), and it incinerated the wizard that summoned him before vanishing in a puff of smoke. Pity it didn't help the party return to dry land though, as on the swim back Alice was caught by the current and drowned in the boggy marsh.

Thursday 28 January 2016

Star Trail: Gorillas in the Mist

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Instead of going directly to the swamps to look for the missing soldier, Shintar and Wolfy opted to return all the way to Kvirasim to get reinforcements. The journey is made longer by having to circle around the river they sank the ferry in earlier but at long last they make it back to the starting town and easily gain the services of Thalen Firegoti the mage, Aeternus Sand the druid, Alice Plays the dwarf, and the warrior Cooper Mantly.

The new team.

The team get to flex their muscles on the way back South, slaying orcs and ogres that get in their way and are rewarded by gearing up at the Gashok markets before changing course Westward into the swamp. Aeternus' druidic skills are very handy in hunting game and healing various party members of illnesses on the journey, while Thalen's herb finding skills are leaving a lot to be desired.

Eventually they reach the vile swamp and find it to be inhabited primarily by zombies and swamp rantzies...

Green Gorillas!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Star Trail: Left Behind

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

No game is complete without sewer scum!

After selling the spare equipment the team's purse is back to 485 Ducats thanks to Paeroka's haggling skills. As soon as they leave the shop they are accosted by a group of beggars, who are desperate for food. The orc siege is definitely taking its toll as finding said rations within the town is almost impossible. Still, by principle these assholes are just bandits so the party murders every single one of the old starving losers on the street in broad daylight - just as they deserve. Maybe their corpses can feed the starving people who aren't bandit scum?

With money to spare now the team rests up and relaxes a bit the best way they know how.

Everyone left happy, even Pike's skeleton! :P

They then proceed to Dragan's contact who claims to know a secret way out of the city. Of course there's a catch, not only does the information cost three hundred ducats but the path, which lies under the headquarters of the Grey Wardens (is there a blight somewhere!?), is only accessible to half of the party members. The remainder will be forced to temporarily join the Wardens until the ones who make it out return with a Grey Warden who went missing in the swamp.

I hope he's not in the deep roads...

After drawing straws, Shintar and Wolfy are the ones who end up exiting via the secret tunnel that leads out to ruins in the nearby forest, past the orc camp. Zubon and Paeroka are left behind with the Salamander Stone, because it's probably safer in the Grey Warden fortress with all those soldiers and that orc army around it. I can only assume that the two of them were then forced into a blood drinking ritual, followed by lessons on how to fight a blight.

Star Trail: Forceful Entries

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Town maps are always handy!

Lowangen is a pretty big place, and it takes a lot of leg work in trying to find anything in the city. Fortunately Paeroka somehow overcomes her illness on her own, but is permanently weakened by the experience. Eventually they find a man named Dragan who seems to have all the answers - only each answer requires a particular favor to be performed first - such as convincing the Vinsalter to help translate something and stealing a brooch from the local museum, a task Wolfy somehow manages to do without being detected despite making a lot of noise. These two acts serve as payment for finding Gavron, and finding a way back out of the city.

Not getting out the front way.

Apparently Gavron is known to frequent a nearby tavern but since the team never catches him there, they go looking for his "close acquaintance" instead: an elf named Ailan who lives in the Colorful Flight district. Who knew racial segregation could be so handy? Ailan's house is pretty well guarded though, so the party is forced to trade a number of the magical girdles they got from the Dwarven Pit for simple swords.

I think the armorer is into some kinky stuff.

Now armed, they bust into the queer elf's place and after a bloody battle where they kill everyone inside they recover a lot of food AND the Salamander Stone once again. Short on money and supplies the team then opts to go to Vindara Leechbromm's place to sell the magical stone (for the 1000 Ducat reward offered by the "bad guy" at the start) but find her to be unreceptive, shutting the door in their faces.

This is a bad move, for they are ADVENTURERS! The team busts down the door, executes everyone inside, and proceeds to take their stuff which inexplicably includes a second Salamander Stone!?

Monday 25 January 2016

Neverwinter Online: Slow Improvements of January

Been awhile since I blogged about Neverwinter and that's mainly because progress in it these days is measured in millimeters. Still, since it is my "active" MMO I'm going to try put up news about it once a month at least: hopefully something other than "grinded the month away".

My guild has just built a quarry for the stronghold and is now focusing all efforts towards the rank 4 guild hall. From the listed cost I can see that is still many months away, despite our slowly growing number of members. At least character growth (strength) is a little better (even for people like me who refuse to pay to win), and just last weekend I got an indication of how strong some of us are becoming.

It's fun to smash stuff that once was a challenge.

From what I've seen so far there are three boss encounters in the stronghold area, and all come in pairs: beholders, pit fiends and undead giants. Our first few encounters with each when we first "arrived" didn't go so well (multiple encounter fails), but as of last weekend all three pairs have been downed convincingly, by just three of us.

It will be interesting to see if eventually, just a pair of us can do the same and eventually - if I can solo all of them. Mind you, that is probably a much farther goal than the rank 4 guild hall. :P

Sunday 24 January 2016

Star Trail: Evil Twin

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With Paeroka's condition getting worse the team rushes back down the mountain the way they came, heading right for the besieged city of Lowangen in hopes of finding a cure for her there. Wolfy notices that they are being followed by other parties as they cross the plains but there's a bigger threat ahead of them. The orc army camped outside the city was still there. Shintar tries using her challenge speech from last time, to "duel" their leader to the death, but it seems the orcs no longer follow that tradition and instead attack en masse!

Oops! Reload... :P

Using a calmer approach the team willingly submits to the orc army who are actually willing to let them into the city: for the simple price of all their gear. With no other alternatives the heroes strip once more and have most of their stuff taken away by the massed horde. The local shaman distrusts the few magical items they carry though so those are returned without issue. After the degradation of having a long naked walk up to the town gates with orcish laughter all around them, the team is let inside the city and are greeted by a crowd of people. One guy in particular looks pretty familiar.

Hmm, both options are actually true!

Antharon's corpse is quickly taken away by his brother, Gavron, who also proves to be a much better thief as he manages to swipe the Salamander Stone while doing so... AND gets away!? How hard is it to keep up with a guy carrying a dead guy? Sheesh.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Star Trail: The Salamander Stone

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

After much exploring the party finally reaches the deepest level where a hallway of magical lazer beams blocks the way. It quickly becomes clear that someone must disguise them self as an Ingerimm worshiper to pass and though Paeroka volunteers, her worsening illness of a fever with yellowish lips forces the team to choose a new candidate: Zubon, much to his annoyance.

Now dressed in ridiculous dwarf sized leathers, he goes alone through the lazer hallway and finally reaches a great forge where a massive, sledge hammer wielding golem awaits. Fortunately the construct is friendly, and even constructs a magical sword for him. The golem also happens to know about Star Trail, having been forged by the god Ingerimm himself as a gift to Phex but Zubon tunes out when he sees a peculiar shiny stone on a nearby shelf: their quest objective, the Salamander Stone.

Seeing his interest in the rock, the golem invites him to take it instead of the brand new magic sword. It's not much of a choice given the circumstances so Zubon accepts the deal and returns to the team with the Stone in his possession. They quickly ascend back up the levels to Finkerstoppen's local healer but even he cannot cure Paeroka's battlefield fever. For a moment they are unsure what to do when suddenly a figure appears on a nearby ridge.

Sure thing random person!

Friday 22 January 2016

Star Trail: Going Deeper

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The first few levels are sprawling and mostly devoid of life, yet Paeroka manages to get her hand jammed into a rusty bear trap while unlocking one of the many old chests there and catching some unknown malady. On the plus side is there seems to be a surplus of magical strength girdles in here. On the third level down their path is blocked by a five meter pit which the agile rogue, Antharon volunteers to jump across first.

What agility!

After Wolfy retrieves his corpse (which leads me to ask why they couldn't climb down the pit then up the other side) the team decides to look for another path and they find it in the form of collapsed tunnels on one side of the level. With only one shovel, Zubon pulled the short straw and was tasked with clearing out the rubble of stones and bodies of dead dwarves blocking the way.


Eventually they find a shaft that leads them deeper, and right into a chamber with four gargoyle statues that come to life! Obviously sculpted by racist dwarves the monsters all focus on Pike the Hare and tear him to pieces before the party can defeat the stone creatures. Further in there are also zombie dwarves, and a large basin of water that must first be drained to reveal submerged stairs underneath a heavy metal drain. Good thing Shintar packed a crowbar!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Star Trail: One Way Door

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With an Eastern heading since that's the direction the heard the "Dwarven Pit" was in, the team runs into more orc patrols and harpies who are easily slain. More problematic is their low food supply. Fortunately its only a few days before the team finds the not so hidden dwarf city of Finsterkoppen in the mountains where they stock up on rations. This is also doubles as the site of the Dwarven Pit but the racist dwarves guarding the entrance prevent Pike from entering. He simply circumvents this by using his magic to temporarily transform into a dog.

Nice doggy!

In the deeper city Paeroka convinces the local temple priest in handing over the key to the sacred pit before actually finding the huge doors that lead down to it. It's made pretty clear that the key mechanism is a one way deal, and those that go in would probably not be able to go out. Dauntless, the party proceeds in anyway, finding a decomposing skeleton right on the other side of the door.

They grimly all vowed not to end up starving to death like that poor sod.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior

Free for those who have Shadow Warrior on Steam!

As a janitor working for Zilla, you arrive on the scene sometime after Lo Wang has gone through. Your mission: to mop up the blood, pick up the debris and dispose of the many body parts lying around (while pocketing some loose change *cough*). The janitor has some silly quips while going about his job but otherwise it's just a really odd, relaxing game with no combat - despite being in FPS format which sees you armed with rubber gloves, a mop, and a handheld clutter and blood detector.

Take that blood splatter!

There's only one map which means you'll probably finish pretty fast, if you are careful to rinse out your mop often and watch where you step and I think its a pretty good, and different, distraction for those willing to kill an hour or two. If you've gotten it free from steam you may as well give it a try. Otherwise no need going out of your way for it. I give it two and a half decapitated body parts leaking blood everywhere out of five. :)

Star Trail: Black Pelts

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

In a surprising turn of events the Gashokian townsfolk bust into the inn the party is staying at and dragging them out into the town square, strip them naked and prepare to stone them to death for murdering one of their citizens. Fortunately a random person in the crowd (I'll say it's ex-party member Vayshen Panda because it makes more sense) discovers proof that the victim was actually a bad guy so the team is released but told to get out of town.

At least Atherion is more grateful, giving his magical bow and sword as reward for their actions. With that quest done the team continues South along the road coming across a wide river with an unmanned ferry. Since it was the obvious way across, they all boarded and set sail but soon discovered none of them actually knew how to steer a boat.

Sailing skill: zero.

Now totally dependent on Pike's foraging skills for food the team hurries to the next city and come across a rogue on the road, eating a sausage. He offers to join the party and since they are one man down they accept without question.

Antharon the sausage eater.

He's right about the "blackpelts" though: aka in these parts as orcs. The next city of Lowangen is under siege by a massive orc army so the team decides to head elsewhere.

Monday 18 January 2016

Star Trail: Revenge isn't Murder

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

While investigating the town, a Praios preacher approaches the team and manages to convert Vayshen Panda who immediately quits the adventuring life and leaves the party in one of the most WTF moments ever.


They also discovered a burned down mill in town that once belonged to an elf named Atherion. Apparently he was chased out of town by the Order who were unsuccessful in killing him. He has since been hiding out in the nearby forest and is pretty easily found after sidestepping an angry bear.

I'm a bear!

Atherion wants revenge on the Order's mastermind and since that lines up with Pike's revenge plan for getting shot earlier on, the team return to Gashok and discover that the Order only started up in force with recent arrivals. It takes a bit of questioning and sleuthing to work out which of the three men is the actual leader and eventually they narrow it down to a single name, then they did what adventurers do best.

They bust into his home and murder him.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Star Trail: The Order of Anathema

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

It's not long before the team encounters an orc scouting party and makes short work of them. Same goes for a random, towering forest gnome that decided to attack during the night. In this game you can skip the "tactical combat" screen entirely and just watch a small "fighting" animation which really speeds things up!

Everything is an orc with a sword.

There are also other random elves spotted at the tree line but they seem very guarded so the party just walks by peacefully and into the next town of Gashok.

Just keep on walking...

Almost as soon as they enter the town a bolt flies from one of the shadows and injures Pike greatly. Fortunately it's nothing a few nights at the inn can't fix but it becomes abundantly clear that non-humans aren't welcome here. This mentality is being pushed forward by the hard core cultists of Praios (the "true " god). Zubon even happens to catch a glimpse of their stupid outfits while patrolling the streets one night.

Oh good, radicalized religious nutters.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Star Trail: It's an Axe

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Staggering out of the bar the team begins their quest, but quickly find that Zubon and Wolfy have inexplicably lost their pants. The local townsfolk react accordingly.

How the pants disappeared remains a mystery!

Fortunately the market is currently in town so after buying new leggings for the two as well as other adventuring supplies which Paeroka successfully haggles down the price for, the team decides to nap at a local inn before heading off. There, a strange burglar breaks into their room but instead of stealing anything he requests the group to recover the magical throwing axe named Star Trail and return it to the temple of Phex, from where it was stolen. It's quite ironic that the god of thieves keeps getting stuff stolen from him.

With two quests to do now it's finally time to leave the city, following the main road South. They don't get very far before running into a warrior who had also been looking for Star Trail, but had grown disillusioned with the quest. While he doesn't really give any hints as to its location he does mention that some lizards have been turning towns of elves into orcs? Not sure what's up with that.

Greed, the ultimate adventure hook. :P

Thursday 14 January 2016

Star Trail: Summoned by Elsurion

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With our heroes celebrating their victory by drinking themselves into daily drunken stupors, the one eyed thief Harika took advantage of their trust and left - taking at least two thirds of their combined wealth with her! There was no time to pursue her though as a messenger arrived for them, requesting their immediate presence at the distant city of Kvirasim in the Northern inland. The orc horde that was turned from Thorwal was now marching in that direction.

After days of travel they finally reached the city where they met the elf Elsurion Starlight at a local tavern. Elsurion's plan was to unite the forces of dwarves, men and elves against the orc invaders and  to do this, he would need the Salamander Stone - an ancient artifact that once symbolized the union of the races but has since been lost in the Dwarven Pit. The team was tasked with recovering the stone and delivering it to a dwarf leader named Ingramosh. To assist in this, Elsurion assigned his trusted henchman Pike the Hare to guide the heroes before he himself left to do other duties.

As soon as Elsurion was out the door a random bystander immediately made a counter offer of 1000 Ducats for the stone to be delivered to a lady at Lowangen instead. The team, now composed of Paeroka Bookah, Zubon Ratkiller, Vayshen Panda, Wolfy Eyes, Shintar Winter and Pike the Hare, mulled over their choices the only way they knew how: By getting absolutely drunk.

Not shady at all.

Wednesday 13 January 2016


Greatness in small doses!

From the outset this film leans towards being more comedy which doesn't take itself too seriously, than a superhero movie, and that really plays to its favour. The CGI is on the money, and acting wise everyone is pretty solid though Michael Pena is occasionally hard to understand and Evangeline Lilly's hair doesn't suit her (probably fits character though). Corey Stoll is an enjoyable antagonist too.

The well-written story also manages to integrate itself nicely into the Marvel universe and somehow be pretty epic on a small scale, pun intended. All up I can't really think of any negatives to this light-hearted action film and think that it's suitable for a pretty wide array of audiences - probably even those not into superhero flicks. I give ant man four train sets out of five and would definitely watch it again. Go watch it now! :)

Big thumbs up for you, Ant Man!

Monday 11 January 2016

Arkania: Two Years Later

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Out of nowhere the giant orc army appears before the party, and Shintar gets to use the speech she had been practicing for two years to challenge the orc champion out to a duel. Orcs are stupid you see - if the champion dies the rest of them scatter to the wind. Her speech works and Lord Garzlokh takes to the field to fight her.

The showdown begins!

Not willing to just be spectators Vayshen and Wolfy make use of the distraction to charge the spectating orcs and get some early hits in, turning the "duel" into an all out battle. Seeing the opportunity to use her new spell "Terror Broom", Voo casts her spell at the orc champion but rolls a critical failure, igniting herself in immolating flames and screaming until nothing is left of her but ash.

At the "duel" itself, Shintar wielding the magic sword Grimring is actually losing! It requires a quick change of strategy so that the champion is getting pounced on not just by her, but by Zubon, Wolfy, and Paeroka who eventually does him in with her axe. Harika and Vayshen desperately hold off the rest of the swarm where Harika's dodging skills are super effective. Things aren't going so well for Vayshen though as not only does his sword break but so does his hand.

Can still do one point of damage with it!

Orc Champion: P0wn3d!

The two are saved quickly after the orc champion falls though, through the same use of focused attacks. Victory is theirs! The orcs flee back to their lands, and the team is welcomed as heroes back at Thorwal where they hand over the magic sword to the Hetman who pays them a measly 50 ducats for their trouble. They then listen to the jazz musical stylings of Elise Einarsdotter at the local tavern while drinking more ale and wondering how best to spend their new found wealth and fame.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Arkania: Not the Sharpest

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

It was long trek back to Thorwal to get the orc document decoded by new team member Lisa Voo, witch extraordinaire. The scroll was a battle plan complete with location and the date of the invasion... in the year 17. The current year is 15! That certainly gives plenty of time to prepare! Alas, the Hetman wasn't even interested in this information insisting it was the adventurer's quest to get it done. He had better things to do like drink beer.

The new members also proved slightly lacking, while Lisa Voo wins the best herb picker of all time award, every single combat spell she has is a dud and her broom weapon (which classifies as an edged blade for some reason) is pretty underwhelming. The thief Harika also makes a fool of herself trying to perform acrobatics at a local tavern and soon after getting robbed by another thief!

Because "Eh oh, oh eh!" is a natural reaction for some?

Only the Temple of Travia seems to take their mission seriously, and miraculously giving them some divine food from the heavens before they set off for the location on the orc document. The increasing orc patrols are of no issue to the team, so they reach the plains and setup camp. Here, inspired by Dragonball Z I imagine they simply train for the battle to come.

*cue music* Dun dun dunnn!

Arkania: Pit Falls

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Upon returning to Phaexcaer the party immediately hunts down a reputable healer who cures Zubon of his Blue Cough and Emmo of the Numbskull virus (sounds like it makes zombies). While he's at it, he makes sure the rest of the team has a clean bill of health. Just to be certain he suggests the party rests awhile in the city which doesn't sit well with Curian. After a few days he bids farewell and departs to look for the unicorn alone.

The rest of the team spends a lot of time re-equipping and bar hopping, learning about a temple in the wilds to the South that warrants a look and hire a familiar looking, one eyed thief girl named Harika to guide them. The road led past some avalanches and another item hungry swamp that ate random weapons, armor, and Zubon's pants. While the temple itself turned out to be a non-event (as it was really just a temple, exactly like the city ones), a cave high up in the mountains  showed signs of orc activity.

Within they found a small regiment of the orcish scum building siege weapons. This band were led by an ugly ogre who managed to kick Emmo into a pit of spikes, killing the hapless elf, before he was defeated. Apart from taking their revenge on the remaining enemies and destroying their constructs they also came across an orcish document that looked important. Pity none of them could read it.

Maintaining a spike pit must be annoying logistically.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Arkania: Hyggelik

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The pirates did make an attempt at stopping the party from leaving not just the cave, but the island itself via ship boarding combat. They are woefully unsuccessful and upon reaching Thorwal the party sells the looted treasure to now sit at over 2K Ducats in the kitty. Taking a guess with the assembled map they headed back North to Phexcaer and along the way Vayshen spots a marker point. A marker to Hyggelik's treasure!

That would be incredibly good spotting.

It is a hard slog crossing the river and hacking through vegetation for days. Zubon and Emmo fall sick from the journey but eventually they find some ruins deep in the mountains - a crumbling castle. Literally, as falling debris and twisted ankles do more damage than the numerous zombies wandering the grounds. There's also a cool puzzle door involving mirrors and separating the party but the main event is a large chamber with a lot of undead.

Enemies all around - just where we want them!

Weakened from the journey here the fight is pretty tough, with Curian getting clawed a lot and Emmo too sick to actually contribute. Still, they are on the verge of winning when a voice calls out to the zombies and orders them to stop fighting. It is zombie Hyggelik, cursed to undeath by some treasure he and his men found years ago. Hearing about the impending orc attack, he willingly hands over Grimring to Shintar and commands the team to protect the lands from the orcish invaders.

You aren't looking so good, Mister Hyggelik.

Thursday 7 January 2016

Arkania: Runinshaven

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Stuck on the isle of Runinshaven the party decides to explore all the way up to the lighthouse. Around midway they find a cave which is the strangest one they've run into so far. It has pirates and undead. They also have a humorous encounter against another Heshthot demon. This one must have heard of them because on its first turn of combat it simply turned tail and ran! The most unique creature here though, was a dragon!

Because those are the only options you have when facing a dragon.

He had been trapped here by pirates and asked for aid to be free. This was a little more challenging than first anticipated as it involved fighting endless streams of mummies who were adept at breaking weapons, burning Zubon's hands to pull down a lever, having Paeroka's lockpicks break on a difficult door forcing Vayshen and Wolfy to bust it down with force and finally confronting the pirate captain and his lackeys. Vayshen also manages to get bitten by a rat after sticking his hand in a random hole.

With the orb controlling the dragon destroyed it rejoices, vowing to kill all humans it comes across for retribution. It does spare the party though, and gives them enough experience to advance another level. I guess that's a good thing?

And the world was a better place?

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Arkania: The Missing Piece

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With no other leads to go on, Curian convinced the team to head back up to Hermit's lake to find his unicorn but all they find are an increasing number of orcs, goblins and ogres. I seriously question why orcs are considered a threat if it is so easy to defeat them. Anyway, after days of uneventful travel the team encounters a bard who sings a song about Hyggelik. He happens to be traveling with a merchant who is in possession of a map piece and is willing to sell it for a mere 60 ducats!

Not with your text box in the way, Curian.

Inspired by this turn of events the team revisits Jurge at Skjal, hoping that he would give the last piece over upon seeing the rest of the map. He doesn't. Zubon wishes Iron Dagger was around to break in and simply steal it from him but that's not an option. With winter setting in the mountain passes are also now impassable meaning they can't go after the -relatively- nearby Daspota treasure. Disheartened they decide to take a ship back to Thorwal to plan their next move.

Baby kraken?

However a random encounter shifts the course of their ship! The krakennewt almost takes Wolfy down with it into the sea but it is fought off but the vessel is forced to dock on the isle of Runinshaven for repairs.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Arkania: Truth in Rumors

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

It was a few days later that the party arrived at Skjal by ship, now in the 1.5k Ducat range in wealth. Alas, no amount of money could part Jurge Torfinsson from his part of the map. He demanded to see a letter of introduction from the Hetman of Thorwal. The party did have one earlier, but Zubon kinda lost it in the marsh at Hermit's Lake. No problem though, for such an important quest surely the Hetman would make another right?

The party returned to Thorwal only to find the Hetman was uninterested in seeing them, and would basically no longer assist them in anyway. Dismayed by this turn of events, Shintar suggested they try clean out the remainder of the local keep. An idea everyone else agreed with, possibly because they were all drunk at that point. The amount of alcohol consumed in this game is amazing. Even the custodian, Master Dramosch was a bit tipsy when he let his old friends back in.

That sounds safe! Let's go!

After Curian managed to unseal the ominous door the team found themselves fighting undead again, proving that the rumors were in fact true. Stairs down led to vertical shafts leading down, and to flooded passages which required swimming.

One of those expletive moments.

At the very last floor waited another Heshthot demon. Paeroka was thrilled at the chance to "avenge" Nerk's passing but she didn't get the chance. Curian and Emmo did a combined kamehameha and it was simply no more. Eventually they find a narrow passage that leads out to a local smithy, which is odd since that kind of implicates the smith with all the demonic and undead presence down there. This point is left unexplored in the game. :P