Friday 29 April 2016

Season Break

I hope you all enjoyed the Darklands of Arkania story that just finished (for now). As you might have guessed, I'll be dialing back the posting frequency for a little bit to recover from that marathon. Sad to say that much like the many characters in that tale my list of "active blogs" (those who post at least once every 3 weeks) to link to is also quickly dying. Blogging is dying!?!

Not this again.

As a boon to all those who were randomly selected as characters in that tale I'll be re-adding their blogs, if they have fallen off the list, back to it when I get the chance to see if any have been resurrected. Hopefully that will give the next graph a nice big spike.

Meanwhile, the grind continues in NWO, I'm getting back into Skyrim, and there'll be more movie reviews coming up. Oh and I still have another unfinished story lying around don't I? In the meantime enjoy what must be close to hula hoop mastery.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Ben Hur (1959)

In the beginning, there was a five minute overture of music before the film even begins.

Ben Hur is a story of a respected Jewish noble (the titular Ben Hur, played by Charlton Heston) and his clash and "revenge" against his once good friend. If that opening line is any indicator, this film is long - almost four hours. And I think most of the glut comes from shots of people simply moving from point A to point B.

It really is a big movie.

I can see why they did it though - the sets are amazing and the sheer scale of the number of people involved in some scenes is impressive. I quite like the miniatures during the ship combat too. There's really something about old fashioned, tactile movie magic that for me still trumps even the best CGI effects / people duplication techniques.

Of course it does face the problems of old, such as one part where a distant car is clearly heard in the background and having odd cuts when scenes were clearly retaken. Behind the main plot (well, sort of interwoven) are parts of the New Testament which might leave some people scratching their heads. I do quite like how they portray Jesus in the film though: they don't. He's a "foreground extra" whose face you never see and used to decent effect.

Overall I liked the movie. A lot of set backs for Ben Hur lead to a lot of action pieces, though the number of time skips was a bit much. Definitely worth watching, but due to the length I'm not sure I'd be too eager to see it again. I give it three and a half javelins out of five.

Monday 25 April 2016

Thea: Last Memory

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With only Screaming Monk and Plushie Mostly left in the village, they are surprised to see the enemy forces inexplicably wander off. While they desperately try repair the walls they suddenly notice the drinking water has again been poisoned. Damn it, it was Thurazz all along! Both suffering from heavy poisoning there is no recourse but to try make the run to the herbalist hut as was done before, but since leaving the village unattended means ending the game, Screaming Monk tells Plushie Mostly "Go ahead, I'll be right behind you."

Plushie literally runs for her life, knowing that the odds of Screaming Monk surviving the poison before she gets back are slim. It's when she reaches the door to the herbalist that she hears the echo of the loud war drums, knowing that the orc army (most likely led again by Thurazz) had returned to the Memorial Ground.

The end.

With only one Screaming Monk in their way, the orcs claimed an easy victory and destroyed the village, once and for all. I can only assume Screaming Monk fought as hard as Lu Bu in this clip, complete with operatic singing, before being taken down. Either way, Plushie Mostly knew that she now had no home to go back to. After being cured by the herbalist it would be time to move away from these orc infested lands. This is turn 410.

That's the end of the story for now, thank you for reading!

Sunday 24 April 2016

Thea: Thurazz's Hammer

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The Catching Fire squad assault the orc camp successfully, finding the orc witch leader and I imagine doing nasty things to her in revenge for taking down their own witch, Natalie Patalie, back at the Memorial Ground just a few days before. This act must really piss off the orcs as they go into a full offensive, slamming the Catching Fire team from every direction. Elfi, David DM and Gnome Spy are slain in the skirmishes. Xinrae also falls prey to random Striga who pounce on the weakened group.

It goes much worse for the Memorial Ground where the orc Thurazz has assembled his orc horde and absolutely slams the village: slaying Thorgrim, Tacktix TLC, Rhino, Bec Jinx, Tyranno Dorkus, Elio and Tough Bat in the initial assault. Badly wounded, Ancient Gamer and Chief Talarian Design somehow fight them off.


Ancient Gamer dies of his wounds the next night, leaving only the badly wounded Chief Talarian in the village. Seeing the smoke in the distance, the Catching Fire team abandons the heavy loot to be able to make the sprint back to town reaching it just in time as another two waves of dragon spiders. Sister Kia, Kamalia, Couch Potato and Chief Talarian are shredded to pieces by the first group. The second group takes War Tome and Fiona Nerd screaming out into the wilderness to feed their young.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Thea: Catching Fire

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

During Kupala Night, Couch Potato gets a vision of fire elementals that he feels the gods want them to find. Chief Talarian is hesitant at letting an expedition leave at this point, especially to such a distant location but the young people, being as they are, are adamant in this path so he lets them form the Catching Fire team, whose members include Couch Potato, Sister Kia, Xinrae, War Tome, Seth Megadirge, Screaming Monk, Plushie Mostly, Kamalia, Gnome Spy, Fiona Nerd, Elio, Elfi and David DM.

Knowing he won't see some of them again, the chief wishes them well and sees to the defenses of the village. Almost as soon as the Catching Fire squad depart the village is set upon by more dragon spiders but they hold without taking casualties - easing Talarian's mind somewhat.

The squad makes good time cross country, evading the many orc patrols and slamming through random bandits who happen to be in the way. Finally they find the fire elementals Couch Potato had seen, but they are no longer aligned with the gods.

Bloody Pyromaniacs...

As a group fully composed of violent, war loving teenagers they do the most logical thing and attack - destroying the heathen elementals. Despite losing Seth Megadirge in the battle (he was well roasted), the team refuse to return to town empty handed and set their sights instead on a large orc raiding camp nearby.

Friday 22 April 2016

Skyrim: The Forgotten City

Player made content at its finest.

I've been getting back into the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as of late and this post is a review of a stand alone Community Mod called "The Forgotten City", and it is currently the best quest mod I have tried to date.

The Lake house.

What starts as something pretty low key with a simple request to find someone's missing brother in some old dwemer ruins becomes a very cool and interesting quest. Each NPC has decent voice actors, the maps are well designed, and there's even one custom music track for it. If you are the thorough type, then it will probably keep you busy for a good number of hours.

The best thing this has going for it though is the story, which has multiple possible endings and I'm not going to ruin any of it for you (until I write about it in my Skyrim adventure journal sometime in the future). I highly, highly recommend it. I'm tempted to even suggest reinstalling your copy of the game just to play it - that's how good it is.

You can download The Forgotten City here. Just follow the steps below to install:

-Unzip into [C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim\Data]
-Start up Skyrim. On the opening image, don't just press Start. Go to Data files first and make sure the box beside TheForgottenCity.esm is ticked.
-Start the game.

That's all there is to it. This mod earns bonus points by being user friendly too. Some others require x,y,z other mods to run but this one works just fine on its own.

Thursday 21 April 2016

NWO: Stronghold Four Baphomet

The Beholder Tank is a lie.

Neverwinter Online update time and while the above statement about the Beholder Tank, the most sought after reward from the currently running Day of the Dungeon Master event, is not entirely true - the odds of actually getting one are close to non-existent.

Those are actually better odds than the first two weeks of the event where -no one- was getting it. Anyway, on a more positive note - my guild's stronghold has just reached rank four thanks to the efforts of a handful new members. Ultimately this is just an aesthetic change though, as the first boon structure plot is only unlocked at rank 5, which is MILES away (given the requirement to upgrade 4-5 other buildings).

Is that a spirit bomb?

I've also just finished the Maze Engine campaign which is actually pretty fun. The parts that you go on actual quests and not the ones that just randomly send you up a mountain to kill an imp or two anyway. The final confrontation with Baphomet is really cool too, and I'm glad a version of it is replayable as a weekly.

And so the wheel keeps spinning, and the grind continues.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Thea: Kupala Night

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

At Memorial Ground the next group of warriors come of age: Elio, Elfi, Vidyala, War Tome and Gnome Spy. These are supplemented by more travelers hearing the tales of Talarian: Bec Jinx, Kamalia and the strangest member yet: "Tough Bat"! Yes, it's a giant bat... who busily goes about helping craft arms and armor at the forge... Ooookay, sure why not.

As Chief Talarian expected, the orcs have begun their offensive - starting by trying to spread a plague in the village. Thanks to their high supplies and in-town herbalist hut, this has absolutely no effect so they instead lure another pack of dragon spiders to attack, all of which are slain. Their allies the werewolves then have their moment, managing to slay the defenseless Dina Farmer. This time the wolves aren't allowed to escape, all being executed due to their arrogance.

This is followed by a wave of undead and finally a small contingent of orcs who manage to end Natalie Patalie with an arrow to the knee. Still, all these enemies fall before the mighty defenses of the Memorial Ground. In celebration and defiance of the evil still around them, the village celebrates Kupala Night which involves nakedness and fire jumping apparently.

Toplessness is mandatory.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Thea: Impending Doom

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The supplies recovered by Team Ardwulf give the Memorial Ground another period of peace during which time the legend of Chief Talarian grows, and more people join: David DM, Fiona Nerd, Dina Farmer, and Sister Kia. Also growing are the children, all following in the warrior footsteps of their chief: Plushie Mostly, Seth Megadirge,  and Screaming Monk.

The chief leads Team Talarian (composed of Tacktix TLC, Tyranno Dorkus, Ancient Gamer, Xinrae, Plushie Mostly, David DM and Liopleureodon) on another lightning raid against nearby slavers and manage to save a child but lose Liopleureodon in the process. More worryingly is the amount of high level orc raiding lairs spotted that are now around the Memorial Site. While they are out, the town is attacked by werewolves! I guess Team Ardwulf didn't get them all...

Damn dogs probably just want the bones in the Graveyard.

The wolf men are upset about the whole slaying of their lair thing, but somehow it is Rhino who scares off the whole pack with silver before any combat even takes place. Soon after, Team Talarian returns to help bolster and upgrade the town defenses for the impending siege. This is turn 300.

Monday 18 April 2016

Thea: Short Lived

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Some time passes in peace, letting the warriors Liopleureodon, Tyler Edwards, Angie Kawaii, Coriel and Xinrae grow up into fully fledged members of the Memorial Site. With a growing uneasiness at leaving the wilds beyond the walls unchecked, Ardwulf convinces Chief Talarian to let an expedition go out to explore a rumored tower with supplies that might benefit the town. Also, the new blood needs to gain experience if they are to truly be useful later on. Talarian eventually accepts and Team Ardwulf is formed.

With him are Natalie Patalie, Ancient Gamer, Tyler Edwards, Liopleureodon, Coriel and Angie Kawaii. Their first encounter is with Hohlick who wants to play hide and seek, which they do but this time they are rewarded only by Hohlick lightly poisoning Coriel and Ardwulf! A subsequent attack from crazed bee swarms puts an early end to Angie Kawaii's career as she is stung to death.

When they get to the tower they find it is in the middle of being ransacked, so they fight off the looters and rescue the resident sage, Couch Potato, who lets them take what the looters did not. Couch Potato also gives them the location of the werewolf lair so the team attacks it, finding elves to be the masterminds behind the monsters. In the ensuing combat, Tyler Edwards and Ardwulf are killed, as are the evil elves and their pets. The survivors return to town with a large stash of supplies.

Werewolves with Bear friends, naturally.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Thea: No Safety

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With no time to waste, Team Talarian escapes from the dragon's lair and rushes back to the village but at each turn are faced with hostiles coming out of the wood work. Monstrous bats swarm Alysir and drain him dry and try the same to Ravanel Rising, but since she is undead they instead opt to lift her high into the sky and let gravity finish her off. Needler is swarmed by skeletons at is basically boned to death, and Light Falls is caught and used as food in the web of a dragon spider, which I can only assume is a spider the size of a dragon.

Team Talarian makes it back to man the walls just in time as a group of dragon spiders attacks the village. The arachnids are slain but at the high cost of Fanatic Sword, Spiral Star, Moxie Pally, Burning Octopus and Graev. There are werewolf sightings in the vicinity soon after but before a team can be assembled to hunt them down a fierce storm hits the village leading to more injuries.

Your reward for saving the land! Lol.

With the werewolves out of range, a rebuilt Team Talarian (Talarian, Tacktix TLC, Ardwulf, Ancient Gamer) opt for a lightning raid against some nearby slavers instead, rescuing two children and the witch, Natalie Patalie. They then return to the Memorial Ground and all pitch in to construct stronger defenses, improving the wall just in time to thwart a striga attack. Establishing his position as chief, Talarian Design dictates that no one leave the village walls for their own safety.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Thea: A Hero's Reward

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With soaring morale after the victory against the Zmey, Team Talarian proceeds to start smashing the goblin camps across the land. They are joined by the elves, Alysir and Burning Octopus (aka the wandering translucent elf), whose curse is lifted thanks to Talarian's magic he learned from Striga Syl. Not long after they also encounter a dreaded black mist, the last of the darkness, combing the land.

Why would it form a face though?

Instead of cowering from it, Team Talarian banishes it once and for all like the true heroes they are! Unfortunately things aren't going as smoothly at the Memorial Ground, whose reward for helping save the world is to be attacked by raiders. While Ardwulf and Tyranno Dorkus fight them off, Curian and Belly Rumbles are slain in the attack. It doesn't help that the slain raiders rise as undead and must be defeated a second time. Fortunately the veteran warrior Ancient Gamer arrives to help.

Team Talarian immediately changes course back to the village but fall into a dragon's lair! It just so happens it's the same weeping dragon as before, only this time - Hohlick shows up and demands the team steal the gold or it will scream and wake the monster up. Talarian agrees to the terms, and despite successfully plundering the hoard, the Hohlick screams anyway, takes the gold and teleports out leaving the squad to face the angry monster which devours both Izlain and Keen before it is killed.

Friday 15 April 2016

Thea: Zmey You

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Back at the Memorial Site, the number of villagers grows rapidly as a chef healer named Belly Rumbles joins as do the brothers Keen and Graev, and the warriors, Light Falls, Ardwulf and Tyranno Dorkus, come of age. They are also attacked by a strange undead creature - a Viescy, who slays one of the other children.

Team Talarian is sent on the case to stop it, finding its actual grave and then performing a magic ritual to destroy it. The ritual doesn't actually do that, instead it cleanses the monster into a regular person who now wishes to repent and joins the team as Ravanel Rising.

Viescy's are pretty scary!

Ravanel proves her worth as she leads Team Talarian to some nearby slavers whom they easily dispatch and save a captive child. With this sudden influx of people Talarian decides it is time to take the fight to Zmey, so his team returns to the village and leaves only Thorgrim, Belly Rumbles, Curian, and Rhino to be defended by Ardwulf and Tyranno Dorkus.

Needler, Striga Syl, Moxie Pally, Fanatic Sword, Tacktix TLC, Ravanel Rising, Izlain Backwood, Pineconettes, Spiral Star, Keen, Graev, Light Falls gear up and follow Talarian to Zmey's lair for an epic showdown.

As epic as a card game can be anyway.

While Pineconettes and Striga Syl are slain in the fight, the battle is won and Zmey and his snake minions are defeated. Talarian then chooses to plant the cosmic seed to return the world to the light and it immediately becomes shielded by a magical field. During this time, the orc witch is seen on the opposite side of this field trying to break through to no avail. Talarian knows that this will eventually doom her race to be hunted once more but he doesn't care. Victory for the light! VICTORY FOR TEAM TALARIAN!

Thursday 14 April 2016

Thea: Unexpected Actions

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Team Talarian track the drake to Vavelin Castle where they meet a peculiar man named Needler who is selling shoes and also offering to slay the beast for a price: a wife. Needler apparently knows the drakes weakness so the team agrees to let him exploit it. The weakness turns out to be sheep, and after eating one left as sacrifice the drake ludicrously fills with gas and explodes. I'm not kidding. :P

Of course, Talarian isn't in the business of arranged marriages so instead he convinces Needler (a sage) to join the team and maybe earn a wife the normal way. They then play some hide and seek with Hohlick (the rat-poodle fairy demon) who gives them a magic doll for their trouble and soon after encounter some refugees who unload more children on them, saying the kids won't survive the trek. They also mention where their old village was, not too far from the Memorial Site.

Upon reaching it they find its been over run by orcs, so doing what they do best, they assassinate the scum and loot all the stuff before saving yet another child from a wolf pack. Striga Syl surmises that the recent influx of children has something to do with Hohlick's magic doll. That night they are jumped by dwarf bandits from the nearby mithril mine, but the bandits are talked down and even share a meal with the team before returning to their underground home.

Peace is the answer...?

With their guard down, Talarian decides this is the best time to follow them in and slay them. MUAHAHAHAH! Did you really think I'd let criminals LIVE!? The dwarves are out of luck this time as the team murders them efficiently and proceeds to haul all their valuables back to the village.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Thea: Team Talarian

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With Cooper dead, it now falls on Talarian - the most veteran of the Memorial Ground villagers to form a squad, and so Team Talarian is born: composed of Harika, Striga Syl, Korima, Moxie Pally and Tacktix TLC. On their first outing they find a magically shielded tree and attempt to dispel the shield. Striga Syl succeeds, teaching Talarian some magic in the process and finding that the shield was actually protecting Spiral Star and Pineconettes who happily rejoin!

They then find the new lair of Zmey, and this time, since I'm not using auto resolve - I see just how overpowered the great serpent is. Without a hope to defeat it just yet, Team Talarian backs off and instead focuses on neutralizing the numerous abomination army camps that are becoming prevalent in the region. During one such assault, Harika and Korima are slain.

It's not good news at Memorial Ground either where a drake has captured and consumed two of the children. Rhino spotted which direction it fled in though, so after Team Talarian switched out Moxie Pally and Spiral Star to village guard duty for Fanatic Sword and Izlain Backwood, they were hot on the trail of the winged beast.

It looks kind of cute!

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Thea: The Leech Lord

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

To hunt the Leech Lord, Cooper Team first returns to the Memorial Ground to gear up and get reinforcements in the form of Korima, Moxie Pally, Tacktix TLC and recent newcomer Izlain Backwood. Learning from last time, the rest of the villagers stay put while the chase commences, and a short chase it is too. Now is a good time to mention that due to my absolute dislike of the "card challenge system" this game has which happens whenever you fight, explore, converse and the like I've been simply Auto-Resolving every encounter up until now.

Realizing that the game is probably weighted against the player, this turns out to be my first actively participated "card battle". For a first timer it goes rather well I think, and while Cooper Team all take injuries, they are ultimately victorious - restoring some power to the Night God Horos, who for some reason rewards people at the village (Curian, Rhino and Harika) with leech (life drain) abilities. Horos also commands a newly formed striga mistress to join Cooper Team: Striga Syl (who was actually the first casualty of this tale)!

It is not all good news however, as during the night Mama Cori, Vayshen Panda and Cooper Mantly succumb to their wounds and die.

Saving throw = failed.

Monday 11 April 2016

Thea: Not going to "Let it Go"

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Fortunately it seems the herbalist from Hermit's Lake had also moved nearby, so while Cooper Team holds down the fort at the Memorial Ground the rest of the villagers make the run there and pay in food to be cured. The plan is successful and the mostly non-combat villagers are lucky to not encounter anything during their travels. Once they are back, Cooper Team explores the Ice Tower right beside their village and find Princess Zuzanna already in there, trapped by her own lackeys.

Just leave our prisoner alone!

They are willing to spend their undeath to keep her trapped within the tower, and she proposes a counter offer of riches for Cooper Team to help free her instead. Cooper refuses, and leaves the cruel princess to rot there for eternity. They then go on patrol, poisoning spider hives, assassinating bandits, helping a wandering translucent elf with food and finding a mithril mine filled with tough dwarves (who successfully defend their territory).

It is around this time that they finally come across the trail of the Leech Lord once again.

Thursday 7 April 2016

You are dying (Experiment).

Hi all! I'm taking a few days off from blogging so there won't be any new posts for two or three days after this one, at which point the Darklands of Arkania story will continue. Still, this gives me an opportunity to spring this little experiment on you!

All you need is either MS notepad, or a pen and paper (or a really good memory)! Please do try to keep it as serious as possible and at the end I'd like you to please put just the one result I ask for in the comments section below, if it isn't too much trouble. So, let's begin!

(1) You got some bad news and have learned you only have 24 hours to live. Write down what you would do with your last day. Please try be realistic on your timings - doing a world trip or going to the moon would probably take too long. Once done, draw a horizontal line beneath your list (or skip a few lines) and move on to (2).

Highlight the text to make it visible. :)

(2) Good news, your life expectancy has increased to one week! Continue your list of things you would do (don't duplicate things from above unless you really want to revisit them) with your final week to live, underneath the line or blank space (just to keep the list separate). Those overseas relatives might not seem so far now... Once done, again put some marker or leave a space and move on to (3).

(3) Amazing, you will now live for a whole month! Continue your list again now with what you'd like to do in your last month of life, no need to duplicate things you've already listed unless you really want to revisit them. Once done, put a marker or leave a space and move on to (4).

(4) Congratulations - you will now live for six months! Continue your list now (technically you have 5 months to add since your first one is already listed out). Don't worry too much about price and money stuff for this part - it can be your "bucket wishlist". Once done move on to (5).

(5) I imagine you would have a pretty long list now, and I'm sure some people would have longer lists than others. I'd like you to put in the comments below the only entry I'm interested in: 

What section did you put "play [my current mmo/game]" (or a variation there of) in? Did it even make it to your list? 

Please post your findings in the comments below. :)

Wednesday 6 April 2016

NWO: Day of the Dungeon Master

It's been awhile since Respen last visited and this time with equally crazy Portobello Davinci, the "board game" within a game has grown from a mere skirmish into two small campaigns. Yes, very grindy campaigns and ultimately not very rewarding unless you somehow luck out and get a Beholder Tank mount. Still, the setting is fantastic and doing stuff as a miniature is a good change from the norm.
The Trial of Traps lives up to its name.

While Respen's previous adventures are exactly the same, Portobello's ones are time locked - releasing more boards / adventures as the weeks progress. Collecting adventurer accreditation (the campaign currency) can be painful with the currently unskippable cutscenes, but at least the content itself is pretty light-hearted, fast to clear and most importantly - fun.

Look out for the giant dice!

I'm also quite pleased with the pewter golem companion, a blue level defender who punches every second, has a chance of knock down and an AoE attack. I got my first one from the end chest of one of Respen's forest adventures. The second one was much easier as they are relatively cheap at the Auction House.

Probably not going to gun for all the rewards in this one as it is simply too time consuming, especially for two characters, but I'm still thankful for this "filler" content just as a change of pace.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Thea: Ice Princess

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

There are problems at the village when once again the wells are poisoned (by the effing orcs I presume) and Cooper Team is once again on the hunt for a water spirit to cure them. Hopefully Spiral Star is around? During this time of weakness the village is attacked by packs of wolves. Cateaclysmic, who was working on constructing the palisade at the time, is dragged off into the forest and eaten alive.

Meanwhile Cooper Team also suffered a loss: Missy Sparks having been slain by an aggressive mob of skeletons. Soon after they encounter Princess Zuzanna and her undead servant, most likely the source of the skeletons who killed Missy. It becomes clear the Princess is cursed due to her cruelty, that her own people don't like her much, and that she is looking for her ice tower. Due to the dilemma at the village, Cooper decides to deal with her later, saying he's never seen it before and continues on the quest to find the water spirit.

"Yup, never seen it before."

The water spirit is not as helpful this time (guess it's not Spiral Star), instead being a harpy in disguise. Cooper Team slays the creature, but the townsfolk remain poisoned taking damage over time.

Monday 4 April 2016

Thea: Child Care

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Not long after settling in, a letter from a nearby dwarf smith arrives asking for assistance. Cooper Team is happy to oblige, learning that the dwarf basically wants a date with a raven haired rusalka and will give some good gear in exchange. The rusalka isn't that keen however, asking Cooper Team to first rescue her children from some orcs. Sure enough, they find that orc witch again with kids in tow but convince her to hand the kids over peacefully.

The most plain (and clothed) rusalka I've ever seen.

Of course those kids don't actually belong to the rusalka. She just wants to drown them which then makes them rusalka too. Cooper will have none of this, and basically threatens the bitch to "Date the dwarf or die - the kids stay with us!" Surprisingly, this actually works. The dwarf isn't too happy with the approach but gives over the payment of gear anyway. Some of the said children grow up pretty fast, and the village gains the warriors Fanatic Sword and Tacktix TLC as well as Rhino the worker.

Sunday 3 April 2016

Thea: Rookie Mistake

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The confrontation with the Leech Lord does not go well, for he doesn't travel alone. Indeed, he has a whole entourage of strigas with him - and just one of those gave Geralt of Rivia a lot of problems. While Cooper Team is defeated, they all manage to escape while the Leech Lord and his monsters feed on the random caravan folk they were attacking at the time. Thinking logically, Cooper decides to rally everyone from Hermit's Lake to face this foe, but this turns out to be a rookie mistake.

Having zero people in the village ends the game, a small fact the douche bag Theodore forgot to mention in his tutorial. To this end I can only assume the Leech Lord circled around and destroyed the settlement while everyone was out hunting him. Regardless, the survivors are forced to move on and begin a new settlement at a bone yard with rich soil which they name the Memorial Ground (yep, that's me restarting). The place is clearly haunted but fortunately there's a resident Lapiduch (spirit catcher frog demon) around.

Soul Eater!

The task of building this settlement falls to Thorgrim, Curian, Cateaclysmic and Korima while Cooper Mantly reforms his expedition crew of Harika, Vayshen Panda, Talarian Design, Missy Sparks, and Mama Cori. One of the children also grows up to be a warrioress - Moxie Pally. Alas, during the move it seems Pineconette and Spiral Star were separated from the rest of the villagers and are now listed as missing in action.

Saturday 2 April 2016

Thea: Divine Quest

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Cooper Team didn't have to make much of a detour to find the Water Spirit, but the Syrin wasn't just going to help outright. First she wanted them to steal a hair from her nearby sister without getting spotted. A task that proved pretty easy since Horos' blessings are those of stealth. True to her word, the Syrin cures all the people of Hermit's Lake of their poison and as a bonus, removes Cooper Mantly's curse.Yeah, it lasted awhile!

So wet...?

At this time, a female warrior named Spiral Star joins the village - leading me to suspect that she is actually the Syrin in disguise. Meanwhile Cooper Team proceeds to the ivory tower they learned about from the Grand University. There they are confronted by an avatar of Horos himself. Instead of fighting, they fall to their knees in worship and the avatar blesses them and gives them the divine quest of slaying the Leech Lord who just so happens to be wandering nearby.

Before they reach him though, they come across a pack of wolves attacking a child and a cat. After saving both, the black cat turns out to be a Dola demon which grants another blessing on the group. They then march on to face the Leech Lord.

Friday 1 April 2016

Thea: The Vision of Horos

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

After recovering at the village and successfully defending it against a giant spider attack, Cooper Mantly reassembles his team - now composed of Curian, Missy Sparks, Pineconette (the pine cone demon), and Vayshen Panda. Vayshen claims he had a vision of Horos, the Lord of Night and Master of the Moon, guide him to some ruins in a dream. They retrace the steps in real, with a slight detour to assassinate a camp of abominations, before finding themselves at a Grand University.

Pretty beefy for a goblin.

The undead intellectuals within admit to destroying the Cosmic tree with aid of magic from the Dark One, and tell of how Horos was weakened enough to be tricked by the Leech Lord. In exchange for this information they ask to be freed from their cursed prison, a request that is denied. Criminals are criminals forever and must be punished as such.

Back at the village, something has happened with the wells and everyone is poisoned! I can only assume it's those nasty orcs from before. There are only two options available: try track down a water spirit who might cure them or find herbs which probably will save a few, but not all of the townsfolk. "We all make it or none of us do!" exclaimed Talarian, as he chose the former.