Monday 31 October 2016

Skyrim: Recovery Specialists

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

At the meeting Jarl Agnar decreed the fellowship would split in half to go for the two remaining keys. It was up to me to decide which group to accompany, so I joined Jarl Agnar and his monk ally to an old monastery which was now the main base for the remaining necromancers on the island, and boy did they have a lot of draugr death lords in there with them. Still, I sat back and let Agnar, the monk, Sofia and Fawadin do all the work until the last room.

Fawadin likes the Lull-Mor tech!

Six arch necromancers in one room was just far too dangerous so using Slow Time I rushed ahead and ended the fight before any of my allies fell. Just passed them was the key we were looking for, and upon returning to Amber Creek we discovered the other team was equally successful. The only problem was that the town itself had been attacked by Yngvarr's men and had taken Agnar's family hostage. A captured combatant spills the beans on where they were taken just before Agnar executes him anyway.

Our next job was simple: infiltrate the enemy fort and rescue Agnar's wife and kid. And all of us were going!

Yay for big parties! :P

Fortunately Agnar knew of a secret path in which made infiltration and finding the hostages pretty easy. While the rest of the team worked on the locked doors, Sofia, Fawadin and I took a look around and found Lieutenant Kolgrim on the roof. While the orc was busy bragging Fawadin pointed his gun at him and blew him away. On his corpse the key we found the key he had taken from Borvald which is a pretty good bonus.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Dark Souls: Darkest Dungeon

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Where there are knights there are kings, and I soon found a great pit that led to their domain: the Abyss. Fortunately I had the ring of Artorias "the Abysswalker" which let me survive simply being in the endless black void. Where'd I get it? From his pet wolf - Sif. See what I can learn just be reading item descriptions? :P

The Kings of nothing. Literally. Just look at that screenshot.

There are four kings down here, and the fight is more a DPS race than anything else which makes it pretty straight forward. Upon slaying all four I am rewarded with my third lord soul. My next stop would be an even darker place though: the tomb of giants which is at the bottom of the catacombs I got the Rite of Kindling from before. Annoyingly I couldn't warp to the bonfires there, which meant getting there the long way on foot.

Using Solaire's bright bug on my head (yes, I'm not sure that's so appealing given it drove him mad) illuminates a small radius though - enough for me to get by when I finally reach that place and true to its name - is filled with giant skeletons who do equally giant damage. Since fighting all of them on precarious ledges and fallen pillars in the dark is not very appealing, I opt to run past and thankfully come across the safety of a bonfire! A familiar, bald spear-wielder is here too. "What, you again?" Patches exclaimed.

He was peering down a deep looking pit and asked if I could help him get the treasure below. Like a dunce I said "Sure!" and peered over the edge only to have the bastard push me down into it.

I am so killing you later.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Skyrim: Robbing the Bandit

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

After dealing with the necromancers it was back to the campaign against the local bandits, who weren't bandits at all but soldiers of Lord Yngvarr. To my surprise Yngvarr was in Amber Creek upon our return, alone, and demanding that Jarl Agnar let him search for... something. Agnar basically told him to shove it and sent him off empty handed. The silly Jarl then dropped his brave act and turned to us, desperate to recruit allies for the upcoming war against Yngvarr. I figured that there was a much easier solution.

We caught up with Yngvarr, beat him up, and stripped him of his gear.
Fawadin then decided to wear his "anvil" armor.
As a bandit chief I thought Yngvarr would appreciate that.

Beating him up wasn't the same as stopping his army though, and just as we arrived at the neighboring town of Borvald it came under attack from his army and fell spectacularly fast which is surprising since the local citizens could actually go toe to toe with the invaders. I guess the non visible catapults firing the flaming boulders were simply too much.

Defeat by plot.

Escaping through the local crypt, we at least discovered what Yngvarr was after when we witnessed his orc Lieutenant, Kolgrim, take a strange keystone through a well placed window. That and he actually mentioned what Yngvarr was after. Something called "The Heart of the Gods". With that information we returned to Jarl Agnar at Amber Creek who assembled his "fellowship" to a meeting about this. Apparently the Heart is what keeps this land habitable and not totally frozen. Five keys were distributed long ago to protect any one person from accessing it.

There were still two keys out there.

Friday 28 October 2016

Dark Souls: Death Knights of the Deep

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After slaying the demon tree, Ser Chubby's daughter was happy to see me back at Firelink Shrine. She gave me some trinkets as a reward for saving her father who had gone on one last adventure. After getting my gear repaired from demon land I decided it was time to go face those "unkillable" ghosts in the flooded ruins just below the shrine. You see, it's only at this point that I started reading item descriptions, only to realize most of the story in this game lives in the gear. More importantly I also find out what some things are used for, like transient curses: they allow you to hit ghosts!

Mine's bigger than yours.

My first enemy isn't a ghost though, it's Ser Dick!? After nonchalantly running him through I explore the haunted place which is far easier to do when you can actually fight back against the things that can fly, move through walls and come in swarms. At the top of one building I found a strange guy named Ingward, the "keeper" of this place, who upon sensing the lord vessel gives me a key and some back story of the place.

Apparently some terrible darkness took hold of the previous inhabitants, warping them into monsters and to stop them the whole city was sacrificed (via flooding). What I seek is below the water though, and the key he gave unlocks the great door that lets all the water rush out giving me access to the very dark and damp "floor made of dead bodies" below.

It's not long before I come across one of said monstrosities: a death knight!? There are many of them down here, and they are really tough to fight!

I really hate their grabbing, soul eating attack.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Skyrim: Dream Crystal

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

Falskaar: Where women and children don't matter.

Continuing the campaign against the bandits, we clear them out from the docks where they had taken locals prisoner. One of them happens to be a trader that sails between Falskaar and Dawnstar, so we pay the 500 gold passage fee (both ways) to recruit someone to replace our fallen ally (Bandit). Fawadin, the Nord who I previously met working as Burgundy's bodyguard was in town and was up to the task.

Making camp.

Back at Falskaar (which is surprisingly warm for a place North of Dawnstar), another theme to many of the quests is that the local necromancers are taking control of various critters through use of magical stones. It's like they're playing Pokemon,  and it's up to me to collect all them. The stones that is. Arnand, the helpful monk guy suggests all this is actually the result of a rogue member of his order, so after collecting all the pieces we head to some ruins where it can be destroyed. Of course, said bad guy gets all the pieces in transit and makes the place go a bit crazy more visually appealing.

Floating furniture!

Pity that he's a push over when we reach him though, basically only summoning draugr to do his dirty work. When he ultimately tries to use the mega-pokeball assembled Dream Crystal it kills him. That kind of wrapped up rather nicely for us!

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Dark Souls: Praise the Sun

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Back on the track of player messages to find that shortcut, I come across a long bridge across the lava guarded by another stone lightning thing which thankfully I could just run by since my gear was pretty broken at this point. Non hostile parasite bugs crawled away as I made my way down the large corridor only to find Solaire waiting for me. A particularly bright bug had attached itself to his head, and he now believed himself to be the sun - demanding praise.

I tried to reason with him, but to no avail. He drew his sword and attacked! Fortunately I knew all his moves after seeing him in action so many times. The battle also served as another parry and riposte test since I was in no condition for a drawn out combat. I killed Solaire, and a little bit of me died with him. Judging from the player messages left nearby, I wasn't alone in that feeling.

Good bye, old friend.

The giant door behind him led was indeed a shortcut to the bonfire, which skipped the long trek through lava and dragon dinos and made the melting ruins easier to explore (it was easy enough to sprint past the bridge keeper). After slaying a witch, I found the boss of the area: a great tree who technically only has 3 hit points: I just needed to hit each weak spot once to win. This was by no means easy though, as the floor would give way to insta-death drops and her sweeping branches enjoyed pushing me into said holes.

This is why I hate trees!

It took a few tries but finally I got into the core of the tree where its true form, that of a helpless insect was revealed. I took great pleasure in squishing that bug to claim my second lord soul and warping out of there.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Skyrim: Falskaar

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

After our adventurers in Lull-Mor, Sofia and I regrouped with Bandit (who basically missed out on all the fun) and returned to Riften to check on my adopted kids Sofie and Lucia. After giving them gifts and absurd amounts of coin (because I can) we are approached by an old guy who asks us to check on a nearby mine as he saw some never-do-wells nearby. Thinking it would be a quick task, I accepted, only to find a bandit army and their reverend dragon camped out there! Fortunately Riften's Jarl had sent out some guards to assist, while led to another overwhelming victory.

Strength in numbers!

The cave itself has a few more bandits but more interestingly a magic portal! This one way trip sends Bandit, Sofia and myself to another ruin where we are immediately met by a guardsman who asks for help to save someone from bandits further in the cave. We do so easily, and are rewarded with a delivery quest to the nearby town of ... Amber Creek? Where the heck are we?

There's no shortage of things to do when we finally get to the town, as almost everyone has either misplaced or needs something from the surrounding areas. One of the main themes is that the local thugs seem to all be organizing and thanks to a warning given to one of the townsfolk, my team is sent to stop that attack from ever happening.

This looks like the place.

This leads us to raiding a fortress full of them, and during the attack Bandit (my ally) takes a fatal arrow to the head by a khajiit sniper who won their ranged duel thanks to his superior position up in the ramparts. It takes us awhile to get in there, but when I find him I make sure to separate his head from his shoulders.

Monday 24 October 2016

Dark Souls: It's a Trap!

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Right after the fight against the centipede I find Solaire camped before a lake of lava. He is depressed that after all his questing he has not yet found "the Sun"? I tell him to keep his chin up and forge ahead into the melting ruins, avoiding the horrible half-dragon dinosaur things standing around. The lava walking ring might protect my health but it doesn't do much for my quickly deteriorating armor.

That's not a wall back there. That's just a lot of dino demons.

After smashing past a bunch of floaty, fire breathing demons most of my gear is wrecked by a multi-eyed octopus thing. I follow signs left by other players that supposedly lead to a shortcut but get distracted by a distant shiny and on my way to collect it the floor gives out from under me and I find myself in a room with tangled roots and a further pit into a lair full of those octopi. I manage to snipe a few of them before noticing Ser Chubby is down here too!

Only around this point do I actually learn how to -aim- with a bow.

Apparently the only way out is through the octopod lair and since I've saved Ser Chubby before he figures its time to repay the favor... he tells me to run past as fast as I can while he engages ALL of them. Before I can protest he lets out a roar and charges! I cover him as best I can with the bow but as more come from the deeper tunnels I hop down too to engage in melee. The swampy floor here is also poison, which means a fast battle is imperative.

Ser Chubby and I make a good team, and somehow we are both still standing at the end. He scolds me a little for going off plan and I tell him that he needs to go find his daughter. Since he is going to rest awhile to recover, I go on ahead to find that shortcut I was so rudely detoured from.

NWO: Cryptic Abortion

It's too late in the evening to post one of my current running stories, so I thought I'd instead talk about how Cryptic is continuing to "Abort" it's baby Neverwinter Online. They certainly love taking things out of the game.

A: Foundry is too hard to support, lets get rid of that.
B: I know, lets remove some dungeons! Yeah less content is awesome!
C: Oh, and the Sword Coast Adventures! Yeah, no one plays that.
D: What the game will be if this continues: Broken and Dead.

To me, Cryptic has more than a few problems as of this posting which I feel like listing out right here and now.

1) Serious connection flaws on their end prevent me from playing when I want to play. If I could connect right now I would but instead, here I am listing their failures.

2) Greed. More and more things that help players progress either keep getting removed, or put behind a paywall or an incredible grind. Also comparing their real world money conversion into ZAX to say, Mabinogi's Nexon cash is a real eye opener on how much of a premium they put on their pixels.

3) They like lying. Often blaming the slow abortion due to bots, or reclassification of bugs or whatever else. It would probably better if they just went "We need more money". At least that would be honest. There are those also still waiting on the promised reduction of stronghold influence since... last year?

4) They don't listen to their player base. If you saw that 48+ page post I linked to of people raging against that change, or the numerous calls to reduce the required amount of influence (or add methods to gain influence) for Strongholds, I think we're out of luck.

5) There is a disconnect between content designers and D&D. This is one that really pisses me off. A repeatable fishing quest in a level 70 zone and more fishing in a level 70+ zone? So you are sending characters who have likely defeated Baphomet, Orcus, Tiamat, a number of Balors and armies of who knows what else off to catch (regular) fish? If this was a table top session how would you swing that and keep people interested?

6) There is obviously a disconnect / lack of communication within their own company too. The latest module features Frost Giants who seem to enjoy throwing boulders that they pick up from the ground. That's cool and looks neat. But then you fight around 33% of said Frost giants ON WOODEN SHIPS. Of course they retain the boulder throwing attack which is idiotic.

7) They abandoned the one thing that made them stand apart: the Foundry. As a foundry author myself, that really upsets me.

8) Cryptic encourages Elitism. Those new dungeons / zones require some pretty high levels of gear to participate in. I'd personally always favor inclusion over exclusion but I have to let it slide because people asked for it and apparently the few metrics I can see also make it valid in the "majority rules" sense.

Anyway, enough venting for tonight. More regular content will continue tomorrow.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Skyrim: Archeron

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

Certainly has a sense of humor.

After pushing enough Thalmor into lava we catch up to Archeron just before he can take his doohickey. The banana puts up a decent fight, forcing me to use all the tools from Lull-Mor to undo his color coded god modes. After hurting him enough he decides to change into his final form(?) which is a giant floating skull and skeletal hands! While the hands are moderately annoying at trying to push me off the many cliffs in this arena, the skulls fireball is the main damage threat. Takes me a short time to identify its weak spot (I've had practice looking for these now) and capitalize on it.


Sofia and I awake in some huge chamber. Llavados and Memory (the girl he wanted us to save, and quite possibly the MacGuffin herself) are here. Apparently she will be a big part in people surviving some sort of catastrophe in the future. He thanks us, says that I've met him before but I don't remember, and sends us on our way. But not before Memory totally kills my winning mood with this line.

What? Why!? How? So many questions...

PS - Damn this was a really good mod! Highly recommended!

Friday 21 October 2016

Dark Souls: Vision of Beyond

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

My next stop was to revisit the Demon Ruins and thanks to the Lord Vessel I could just warp straight to the timid drider girl to save on travel time. After a much easier combat against the demon I fought the last time as well as defeating Kirk the invader, I found an easy and very visible shortcut to a bonfire guarded only by one immobile Rock Worm. At this point I noticed Gravelord signs nearby and figured I'd try interact with one. Oops, PvP time.

The game doesn't really give a lot of info for things like this.

It brought me to the world of another player (a gravelord) whose duty it is to "infect" other players with bad things (which I never actually saw). Another person was already here fighting the gravelord though, and slew him before I could even get close. Still, this banished whatever bad stuff was happening in my world so I was free to continue deeper into the fire themed place.

I soon came upon the Firesage Demon which took a few goes to survive his immolation, but beyond him was a shortcut elevator back to the drider girl's fire which was awesome. Just want to say I really like the level design in this game. Not only are there lots of looping shortcuts to unlock, you can also "see" zones long before you reach them which really adds to the whole world immersion.

A lower corridor then led to a lake of lava (the one I was walking above earlier) to fight a gigantic lava centipede (who I could also see earlier). Fortunately my buddy Solaire is present to tank the beast for me which leads to an easy victory! The ring of lava walking it drops is surely going to come in handy.

It almost killed Solaire too.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Skyrim: The Bottom of the World

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

Stumbling around the dark we are surprised to encounter Llavados, the Dunmer cyborg who first brought us to Lull-Mor, and he is surprisingly sane. Apparently if I can survive the bottom of the world I will find what I need to defeat Archeron. Inspired, we look around and find puzzles that mostly rely on sending lights back to open doors. This is really cool, and sets the stage for a boss fight against a giant robot who can only be defeated by laser light beams.

Finding the light in the darkest places.

He drops the Lullian Shield, which has the impressive ability of being able to throw people around through bashing. After practicing on a wandering golem, I get to use it for real as Masscroft comes down from an elevator (to the bottom of the world... sure why not) to make sure we are dead. Fortunately there's a handy hole in the center of the room (to the bottom-est of the world?) and regardless of his god mode or invisibility potions, it's pretty easy pushing him into it repeatedly. Eventually he fails to crawl back out.

Taking the lift back to Lull-Mor, Medeliu Hammar tells us that Archeron has sent through his whole squad of immortal experiments into the dig which doesn't bode well for Numinar or his folk. Sofia and I give chase and thankfully the caves give way to lava filled chambers, the type that's just perfect to push god-mode enemies into!

Tossing god mode baddies into lava. I'm getting good at this!

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Dark Souls: Crystal Clear

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Oh sh...

After eating some bacon I was one elevator ride up to the grand library guarded by dancing wizards and crystal infected hollows who packed a decent punch, but were quite slow. Climbing up to the top I suddenly came into a room occupied by Seath the Scaleless dragon, and not expecting a boss fight so soon promptly got my ass handed to me. Interestingly I revived in a prison cell, one I could not warp out of so I had to bust my way out past the lizard guards and jellyfish people before returning to the other half of the library proper.

On the other side of it was a field with crystal golems, one of whom contained a person who was freed it shattering against my sword. Ser Chubby popped out! Well, no it's the daughter of Ser Chubby looking for her dad. I tell her to check Blighttown before proceeding on into a large crystalline cave with even more crystal golems, giant moth magi and invisible paths over drops to certain death (because those are always fun).

Running to the end of the cave (literal dead end) on a "suicide scouting run" I am again jumped by Seath, surprising me this time with a lack of a boss fog. At this point I'm also being chased by weird crab things so I just figure I'll try my best since I'm cornered now anyway. Fortunately between my blade and the dragon breath the crabs all die, along with half the decor in the chamber.

Due to Seath's strangely ineffective dragon breath which summons lots of easily avoidable crystal spikes and big gaps to drink from my Estus Flask I'm soon going toe to toe with the overgrown reptile and surprise myself when I finally kill it! One lord soul down. It was even nice enough to spawn a bonfire so I could teleport out of there!

Not this time, dragon!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Skyrim: Into Darkness

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

So that's what an undead cyborg looks like.

These undead cyborgs turned out to be random undead critters that lived in a really dark forest. Skeletal charrus and skeletal mammoths which were tough but killable. The were somehow led by a skeletal giant which Sofia easily slew, but his death caused a great explosion which knocked me out. When I awake, I am back in Lull-Mor with two strangers who supposedly helped drag me out of the rubble.

It's starting to get crowded down here.

I don't get to talk long though because Lull-Mor soon comes under a Thalmor attack! Fortunately these are the regular types of bananas who are easily put down, but after the combat the same people who saved me frame me as the Thalmor's inside man! Numinar has Sofia and I locked up before departing to claim the MacGuffin. Alone with the two strangers, they shed their magical disguises revealing themselves to be Justicar Archeron and Masscroft!

Archeron gloats a little bit on how he played everyone and decides to drop our hanging cages down a "bottomless" pit. Nothing I haven't done before. This time though, Sofia and I end up at the bottom of the world.

Looks like this world is built upon gears!

Monday 17 October 2016

Dark Souls: Lord Vessel

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After that super easy fight against Smough and Ornstein (yeah right), I find myself rewarded by meeting Princess Gwynevere, daughter or King Gwyn who is huge in all the right places! She gives me the Lord Vessel and asks I serve her as a princess guard, I don't hesitate to say yes. Because I'm an idiot like that. She then tells me to return to the sock puppet, Kingseeker Frampt, and to take her father's place. "Yes, your highness!".

These player messages are great.

The Lord Vessel is pretty handy too, it lets me warp to almost any bonfire I've lit so in a flash I'm back at Firelink Shrine getting eaten by the sock puppet. Wait what? It's ok - he was just transporting me to the altar below which use unlocks four orange fog gates via cut scene, behind which are located the four lord souls I'd be needing. That's what Frampt tells me anyway, before bringing me back top side.

I notice that Ser Dick is gone, but a new merchant is now semi-hiding on the aqueduct bridge. From this fellow I purchase Ornstein's armor, which not only looks cool - it makes for very functional "scout" gear. Havel's set would still be my go to from bosses though, and since I only knew where one of those orange fog doors were, I headed there first: back to Anor Londo and up to the library known as the Duke's Archives.

A pair of armored boars guarded the passage leading to it, and there was no fire to let them run into this time. However, just like in a bed time story my dad used to tell me I ran between two trees (actually an iron fence and a pillar) where the boars got stuck and easily poked them to death with a spear.

The Uglaboogs method works again!

Sunday 16 October 2016

Skyrim: The Boiling Foundry

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

The land of gears and pistons...

The Boiling Foundry is a dangerous place, filled with environmental hazards that liked to either spin or push you into the insta-death boiling water below so I let Sofia set out of this mission deciding to tackle it solo. Most of it was guarded by relatively weak robots, but one named the welding soldier was a definite test of patience. His room had pushing mechanisms to force him (or me) into the death hole in the center but that was a lot harder to do than it sounds. Especially since you needed to push him into it four or five times.

His god mode means there's no other way to beat him.

After that challenge I was greeted by an old friend: the steam dragon. He was the final guard to the titanium drill bit and while he did let me just take it, I couldn't leave the room without slaying him. He too had upgraded to god mode armor, but showering him in lava was enough to render him vulnerable to a fast kill. Finally I could take the elevator back to Lull-Mor.

Sorry old pal.

Back at the outpost I was tasked with fixing random things like monitors and clockwork guardians while waiting for Sofia. She successfully sabotaged Archeron's main mining operation while I was busy in the foundry. It wasn't long before Numinar had a job for both of us again: the drilling had run into an unexpected snag - undead fabricants (also cyborgs). This place just gets weirder and weirder.

Friday 14 October 2016

Dark Souls: This is Dark Souls

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

This is Dark Souls: after training like mad, Ornstein and Smough still beat me easily. I thought I should fight fire with fire, by using Jolly Cooperation! While there happened to be many signs at the nearby bonfire, none of the players could connect to me. Fortunately I knew Solaire's summon sign was near the fog door so I hoofed it over there and of course, experienced Murphy's law. I was invaded and slain by a scythe wielding pvper who taught me (violently) that scythes go around shields! This is Dark Souls!

Sorry I didn't get your name Scythegirl!

In this game the way to avoid invasion is to be hollow, which is your natural state unless you use a semi special item to become fully human. Being human gives a lot of perks, heightened stats, and the ability to use summon signs for cooperative play - but it makes you a candidate for invasion. I decided I'd just have to fight O&S solo. And I was crushed. Repeatedly... this is Dark Souls!

Good lord, he gets... fatter?

But each time I'd get better. Then it happened, I managed to kill Ornstein. The result? Smough powers up tremendously and obliterates me. Of course returning to the room means both of them are alive again because this is DARK SOULS! I slaughter Smough first this time, only to have Ornstein powerup and impale me! Yes, this is Dark Souls!


I try again, and again. Sometimes getting obliterated before doing anything, but each time I learn something knew. Learn when to strike. When to dodge. When to run (which is pretty is like 80% of the time). I still f-up. I still die. This is Dark Souls!

And then finally. FINALLY, I find myself fighting super-Ornstein (after slaying Smough) - shooting gigantic lightning bolts and leaping around the hall like a mad man with his giant spear. Being point blank is his weakness. His health at half. 30%. 10%. I've almost got him! Then he does the bullshit lightning buttslam. This is DARK SOULS!!!

He shoots it out his ass too!?

But I've seen him do it before. I've seen him kill me before at this very point in the fight. I evade. Twice and run back to him. I swing my sword. He finally falls... I AM VICTORIOUS and the feeling of TRIUMPH IS AMAZING! THIS IS DARK SOULS!!!!!!!

Thursday 13 October 2016

Skyrim: Modified Bananas

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

*pats her head*

With some forged documents and a magical disguise, Sofia and I step through Lull-Mor's teleporter and head to the Thalmor base. I have to ask her to sit outside though as to not blow my cover. Gaining entry is easy, and I am taken to meet the ex-psijic banana in charge, Justicar Archeron and his bodyguard, Banana Bane Masscroft. After a brief interview they head off somewhere and I am free to snoop around - finding that these Thalmor are not like any others I've encountered before, mainly due to Archeron's penchant for body modification.

Body modification: the Tamriel Edition.

While snooping in his laboratory I'm suddenly knocked out and awake trapped in a cell. Archeron shows up to taunt me and spill some of his plan before leaving to prepare his lab for my lobotomy. Obviously I break out of there before that happens. Interestingly all the modified guards are on god mode, which means sneaking out really involves sneaking. I manage to collect not only Archeron's journal but also my gear before leaving the place, getting to Sofia and extracting back to Lull-Mor.

Numinar is furious and rallies his Chronographers. The plan is to dig to the MacGuffin before Archeron can reach it and ambush his forces there. To do that though we require a titanium drill bit from the long abandoned foundries below and guess who is the lucky person tasked to get it?

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Dark Souls: A Big Improvement

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Gets less dangerous with less heads!

Having defeated the hydra at Ash Lake I thought I'd revisit the one in Darkroot Basin. As expected, running up to it was the only problem but once in there, he had the same weaknesses and suffered the same fate. Pity he didn't guard much though: a suspiciously empty cave and a ladder leading to another part of Darkroot forest. One with giant, rolling cats which I stayed the heck away from and one that led back to the forest guardians area.

Ambushed by shrubberies!

They were hostile again but now it was easy for me to take them down, and since they gave good XP I hunted them for a fair bit. Also at one of the cliff edges I found Shiva's corpse (or a corpse wearing Shiva's armor). I guess he was killed by the shrubberies / spriggans. Figured I'd rechallenge Sif, the great wolf too. Now that I could wear Havel's full suit though, I finally put the dog down.

High on a winning streak I decide it's finally time to return to Anor Londo for a rematch against the executioner and dragon hunter: Smough and Ornstein. "I do amazingly well and win on the first go!" is what I'd like to say, but what actually happened is I got curb stomped. WTF? At least I was getting one of them to half health now. A big improvement from last time.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Skyrim: Lull-Mor

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

I guess this place is haunted...

The cyborg core tells us we need to reach the Wheels of Lull, which is accessible via a deep mine. Bandit refuses to enter due to her claustrophobia so I get her to guard outside while Sofia and I deal with the multitude of poltergeists within. Poltergeists that like to throw mine carts around, and join together to form a giant poltergeist! Sofia has some fun tearing that one into pieces.

I did have to help out a little.

Eventually we find elevators down to Lull-Mor, an technologically advanced outpost manned by more cyborgs: the Chronographers. Their leader, Numinar, is not so pleased to have us here but since there are problems with the other outposts he puts us to work on discovering who is behind these incursions. I'm surprised he doesn't ask the resident know it all, Medeliu Hammar, who is actually really interesting to talk to.

It's pretty cool that they offer to outfit us with guns, but since my bow is better I just purchase one for Sofia before heading out to investigate. And by investigate I mean put up some poles which discover that the Thalmor are behind all of Lull-Mor's problems. Numinar tasks me next to go undercover to the Bananas Thalmor experiment post to gather more data.

I am so calling them bananas now. :P

Monday 10 October 2016

Dark Souls: Covenant of Hollows

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

While farming some giant leeches in the swamp (yes, eww) I revisited a great tree that sat there and thanks to signs left by other players, found two secret passages leading to a drop called the Great Hollow. Because we weren't low enough yet? So I traversed the vertical maze of winding branches (inside the tree), slew more cute froggies, ran passed a colony of shroom people and finally at the very bottom, got out onto beautiful beach with a bonfire at the serene Ash Lake. Man, such a Warriors of the Wind moment.

It's so beautiful down here.

On the opposite bank was a hydra and due to it's close proximity to the bonfire I figured now was the time to learn how to fight it. Getting up close was the simplest - made easier as more and more heads were removed. Still a long fight, but not very difficult now. Hidden further along the shore was an even bigger surprise: a black dragon. Wordlessly he asked that I join his covenant. I said yes! Of course, I found out later that this was a more PvP one. Oops!

I speak only with my mind.

Anyway, the lake was a dead end so I had to climb all the way back up the tree and back up through Blighttown to get back to Firelink Shrine. This journey was getting a lot easier. Laurentius and Griggs, the two I had rescued before, were now here. Griggs offered to teach me magic (but my INT was too low) while Laurentius offered lessons in Pyromancy. Since that school of magic had no requirements, I learned as much as I could!

I also spoke to Petrus to rejoin the Way of the White Covenant (since you can only be a member of one at a time, it deactivated the PvP one) and learned his buddies had come and gone, and he was now quite worried about their fate. Unlike most normal quest givers in other games though, he drops absolutely zero hints on who they were or where they were headed.