Saturday 31 August 2019

August 2019 Review

Wilhelm aka the Ancient Gaming Noob has an interesting Blaugust 2019 post about having review posts to better steer and refine his blog. Since I've already been doing a monthly "to do list" post routine I thought this would be a good time to add this data underneath and see how it goes. He does have way more experience at this than me after all! That also means I'll be doing these at the end of the months, rather than the beginning.

    End 2019 with less weight (0 kg from last month, running total: +5 kg)
    Make board game prototype (no progress)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (worldbuilding planning)
    Clean out wardrobe (done)
    Clean the roof (no progress)

Baldur's Gate 2 (done)
Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Borderlands 2
Icewind Dale
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Neverwinter Online: Uprising (0/2)

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague Campaign (10/11)
London Dread Campaign (1/4)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (0/13)


One Year Ago
I started the Masters of Eador story and participated in Blaugust where I gave some hints about myself.

Five Years Ago
I found a random knife in the garden and was watching some very violent and ultra gory movies. I was also upset at Wizardry Online closing and enjoying Mabinogi's G18 and Neverwinter Online's Tyranny of Dragons.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
The Cursed: Another Detour
The Cursed: Iron Shortage
Neverwinter Online: The New Workshop is STUPID

Top 3 Search Terms last Month
two female skyrim adventures go into...
d&d candlekeep part 17
charrus kitchens

Kinda wish I could see what the rest of that first one is... for scientific reasons, naturally. :P

Friday 30 August 2019

The Cursed: Looking and Unseeing

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Having had enough of the Graveyard, the team heads into the Temple sewers next to hunt down a new cult forming below. An encounter with a well equipped band of brigands sees Minsc getting killed by a magical throwing axe which Korgan claims for himself before kicking Minsc's corpse down one of the many shit pipes. Taking his place is the paladin Keldorn, who is also looking for this mysterious cult down here.

Instead, the group finds the secret lair of a wizard who has enslaved the local actor Haer'Dalis. After rescuing the hapless actor the team goes deeper into the sewers and finds the base of the Unseeing Eye cult. It doesn't take much to learn that these self-blinding crazies worship a beholder who is looking for half of a powerful artifact, since it already has the first half.

The team finds it first in a long forgotten temple even further down before hopping into the beholder's lair to face the monster. There are a surprising number of undead servants here too, but most of the trouble comes from the random beholders and gauths (little beholders) in the area. Catharina makes use of all the summoning scrolls she has been hanging onto, letting her own skeles, efreeti and fire elemental handle all the dirty work. As for the Unseeing Eye, Korgan uses the assembled artifact (it's a plasma rifle) to almost one shot it, making it the easiest enemy in the entire place!

Beware of dwarves with plasma rifles!

Insight: Buying the Shield of Balduran at the Adventure Mart would have saved a lot of headaches here as it reflects beholder rays, but summoned fire elementals are a good fall back as they are immune to most of what the eye tyrants can throw.

Thursday 29 August 2019

The Cursed: Thief Lesson

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The mystery of Montaron is not much of a mystery. The Harpers killed him since he was spying on them for the Zhents, just like they kill Xzar when the team goes to report back to him. Jaheira decides to leave the team to work for this Harper branch, so Catharina finds a replacement in the somewhat crazy lady Hexxat at the Copper Coronet. Hexxat has a burning desire to revisit the graveyard so that's where they go.

They also kept his corpse in a chest. Nasty.

As a thief, she is much better than Raven at detecting traps (and she teaches him a bit) which is handy as she leads them down into one particular crypt and right to... the vampire that's mind controlling her. The vampire "Hexxat" kills her thrall and begins making demands of the party, which isn't really great for first impressions so Catharina and company just end up killing her too.

They hire the dwarf fighter Korgan nearby, who is hunting for a tome in one of the crypts but finds that his old crew have beaten him to it. These vagrants seem to also have raided the house of the collector who wanted the book, killing all inside so Catharina has no qualms in tracking them down and ending them in the same fashion.

Insight: Detect traps never turns on automatically for Raven as he is player generated, which is why Hexxat seemed to be so much better at finding them. Simply remembering to press that button makes him much more useful.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

The Cursed: Graveyard Visit

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The team is invited to the graveyard by a mysterious woman, so they go during the day but still find the tombs teeming with undead and giant spiders. The spiders in particular have built a massive hive that connects a number of the deeper tombs in such a way that triggers my arachnophobia. Good thing the party has no such problems, since gassing them with cloud kill is pretty effective.

They do take a bit of damage down there so are forced to surface to regroup - finding that night has now fallen. A vampiress named Bodhi appears and tries to get the team to side with her against the Shadow Thieves and in return she will help find Imoen, all for the low price of 15,000 gold! This offer is turned down because vampires suck, and Bodhi leaves disappointed.

Bonus points for trying to charm the party.

On the way back to an inn the party comes across a man almost beaten to death in an alley way. At his request they carry him all the way to the docks where he is delivered to a large building which turns out to be the local Harper base. The necromancer Xzar, who was once believed dead but is better now, then appears and tasks the group with infiltrating the base to find out what they did with his buddy Montaron. Jaheira is unhappy that the group agrees to do this.

Insight: The tombs in the graveyard are painful. Lots of strong, draining undead and the lower levels are riddled with traps.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

The Cursed: Copper Coronet

[Part of the Cursed story line]

At the docks district the squad is employed by the Shadow Thief guild to investigate a possible rebellion within their own ranks, and sure enough with the surprising assistance of Edwin, they find the splinter group which Catharina deals with solo. Invisibility lets her get past the guards, then the usual cloud kill and skull traps with an ice storm on top.

"Feel the backhand of Justice!"

Outside, Jaheira runs into an old enemy of hers, who curses her with some wasting disease before fleeing. The team gives chase, looking for clues at the Copper Coronet tavern where Minsc gets into a bar brawl and Raven discovers that the place is run by slavers! They slaughter the scum and free the slaves who take over the establishment. This also involves traipsing through kobold infested sewers to hit the nearby slaver base. Jaheira's curse giver is among them and his death lifts her curse.

Insight: Jaheira's stats drop by the day if you ignore the curse for too long, so don't do that.

Monday 26 August 2019

The Cursed: City of Problems

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Athkatla is a city of problems, the first being a circus tent being toyed with by a djinn. The team investigate, killing a number of illusions and the illusionist posing as said genie to free the people within. This includes the wingless elf Aerie, who is eager to go adventuring one day. Soon after they meet a thug called Gaelan who offers aid of a "large organization" to assist Imoen, for the price of 20,000 gold pieces.

Needing to do some "fund raising" the team explores the city finding many opportunities of work, but first Catharina visits the government district and buys a license to cast spells in the city. While there they also witness Viconia being put to the stake, and Catharina watches with glee as the deserter is immolated into ash.

Burn baby burn!

They also find Dorn who is openly plotting to murder one of the high priests so the team kill him before he does any damage, and are subsequently hired to deal with some fallen paladins. An easy task with a few skull traps and cloud kills.

Insight: Buying that license is super handy, do it early and don't worry about the gold. There's lots of it just lying around.

Sunday 25 August 2019

The Cursed: Lab Rats

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The prison transport never made it to Baldur's Gate, as Catharina was abducted by the mage Jon Irenicus. Deep in his dungeon, she endured his experiments for sometime until the location came under attack by some rival faction. With Irenicus distracted, Catharina is freed by fellow captive Imoen! Hey she's not so useless after all. The pair also rescue familiar faces Minsc, Jaheira, Elizabeth, and Lu Lingqi as well as the pair of thieves Yoshimo and Raven Skinnybastard on their way out, all of whom were lab rats to Irenicus.

Irenicus thinks too much, look at all those veins.

Alas both Khalid and Dynaheir were also prisoners here but they did not survive the torture. Reaching the surface they find themselves in Athkatla, Jewel of Amn. Irenicus is nearby absolutely annihilating the opposition which draws the attention of the local enforcers, the Cowled Wizards - a number of whom he slays as well. During this Imoen takes a cheap shot to magic missile Irenicus, and since magic is outlawed in the city the Cowled Wizards eventually capture both of them and whisk them away.

Yoshimo, having had enough of this shit, peaces out and leaves to go to the pub. The rest of the group, Raven Skinnybastard included, decide to try help Imoen from her legal issues.

Insight: Don't rush to escape the prison. There's lots of EXP in there and you can camp as much as you like.

Saturday 24 August 2019

The Cursed: Black Pits Too

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Party Girl found Sir Erland drinking his sorrows away at a tavern, having been shaken with the horrible acts he committed during the siege of Dragonspear. She needed to get him straightened out quick as to meet the others to try rescue Catharina from her arrest. Fate had other ideas.

Najim the genie they rescued from Baeloth's Black Pits appeared and to give warning that they were being hunted but he was too late. A squad of hunters - "the Planar Hunters" - suddenly portaled in, led by a powerful fallen planetar (almost a minor demi-god) and easily thrashed all of them.

When they came to, they found themselves in a large, anti-magic underground facility among others victims stripped of their belongings. In short order, their "host" Dennaton made his appearance and declared that each of them was chosen because they were "champions". Now, they would fight for the entertainment of his crowd here in Thay or die. Having the fallen planetar at his side made even the most stalwart hesitate on fighting back.

"Don't worry," Sir Erland said quietly, still recovering from his bender. "We'll get out of these Black Pits too!"

The arenas aren't underground this time.

Insight: Apparently you can win that initial fight in the tavern, though I'm not clear on the "how" as those hunters are really tough and get a free round to fully buff before combat.

Friday 23 August 2019

Swamp Thing (TV Series)

There's something special in that swamp.

A strange epidemic brings CDC scientist Abigail Arcane (Crystal Reed) to Marais, but it's the even stranger things in the swamp the keep her there. If you like your superhero flicks with a good dose of horror, then this short lived 10 episode series focusing on the titular Swamp Thing is for you.

Pruned before his time.

Apart from the obviously rushed end, the story, CGI and acting is decent while the sets, props and costumes are all fantastic. The "man in a suit" works particularly well here. I can only imagine what it cost to maintain that swamp set. Not the best superhero show for me, but it wasn't bad. I give it three vines out of five.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Today I Smiled: The Sword of Reddit

While I was supremely negative about reddit before thanks to games hosting official conversations there rather than their own forums, it has really grown on me as a place for news, shocks and entertainment. There are some really odd channels too... did you know about the great Emu War? I do highly recommend the two sentence horror channel for any writers though.

For those more inclined for visuals there are some cool instagram sites floating about, and for the more stalkerish you can even keep those stories you find. Someone's even made money selling other people's photos (Richard Prince and his "New Portraits" gallery)!

For those interested in medieval combat here are some nice HEMA clips I've found. The more "modern day" version looks so out of place in comparison. Speaking of out of place, what the heck is Geralt doing in Soul Calibur, or Negan in Tekken, or Franky Zapata flying across the English Channel on a hoverboard? Ok, that last one is kinda cool.

I'm going to wrap this up with some music courtesy of our bardic guildmate Lyv with her songs "Priestess Priestess" and "Little wings can do Grand Things"!

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Developer Appreciation: Impromptu Player Made Content

Another Blaugust themed post just in time for Developer Appreciation week!

As someone who has experience in making content in out of the box mediums for MMOs, I really appreciate the often unappreciated and certainly underpaid effort and creativity taken when random players decide to make quests or run events when the tools for doing so aren't present in game.

In today's example, said tools were actually removed from the game but that isn't stupping Sandukutupu from Neverwinter Online to hold one such event: "The Fires of April" and I for one am definitely planning on participating.

I've often found that sometimes the best content comes from the people who aren't being forced, paid, or are only doing so for a different agenda. It's the ones passionate enough to make content just for the sake of making content that often have the richest stuff.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Couch Co-op Replacement

If your split screen co-op console choices are becoming limited, switch to board games. Odds are you can play with more people (including those not tech savvy) and have a more interactive time to boot. Good co-op starters for those who don't know what to look for are Pandemic: Fall of Rome or Forbidden Desert. At the very least it gives you a few more choices of things to play.

Monday 19 August 2019

What We Do In the Shadows (Movie)

Even you will love Stu.

The supernatural live among us and in this mockumentary film a crew documents the lives of a quartet of vampires living in a flat in New Zealand. While they are dangerous, they are also funny, silly and very entertaining.

Just your average vampires.

The effects, acting and comedy (which is impressively mostly improvisation) are all above average and despite the theme and the more than occasional gore, it is a very light hearted movie. I highly recommend it for anyone that needs a laugh. Isn't that everyone? I give it 4 Stu's out of 5 and would definitely watch it again.

Also, if you enjoy this there is a spin off series with the same name that is equally good and follows a different but equally silly group of vampires based in America. I'm currently waiting for Season 2 of that one. :)

Sunday 18 August 2019

The Seven Questions

Dipping my toe into Blaugust 2019 as a non-participant since this question thing looked like a fun distraction to participate in!

What hobbies or interests do you have that you might not regularly include on your blog?

I'd say the biggest one is music - looking for songs, learning songs, getting annoyed when songs just don't work well with me or vice versa. Yes, it's a skill thing but also some beautiful pieces are simply just not suited for my style. Especially with voice, things get out of range fast. Since I just perform for family and friends this stuff never really makes it onto the blog.

Are you learning any skills at the moment? If not, what would you like to learn?

This will sound silly but I would like to learn perfect pitch. Being able to start on key without an opening note would be fantastic. Also finger tutting, just because.

If you were invited on a one-way trip to Mars to establish a new colony, would you go?

Before getting married, definitely. I actually talked to my family about this years ago with the serious intention of applying if it ever came up. Of course, there's no way I would have passed whatever physical/mental tests would be required (more so now!) but the willingness to leave everything and everyone behind? Tick. Why? It's not that I'm unhappy here, but mankind's future lies out there. Also I'm a bit of a loon. :P

Now, I have more than myself to think about and can't even get to Pripyat, much less Mars.

What is the one thing that you most want readers to come away from your blog with? A feeling, thought, or understanding.

Hmm, that's a good question. Mild entertainment is the current answer, at least for those who enjoy my stories. Attaching a feeling to the blog sounds like a good idea, though I'll have to be careful if I'm going to attempt that.

What excites you most about having a blog?

I get to pour out some of my insanity to infect the world! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Or, you know. At least my tiny corner of the world wide web. Ultimately, it just makes me feel good.

If you could make one thing from a book, TV show or movie real, and in your possession, what would it be?

A functional Wave Rider, the time ship from Legends of Tomorrow.

They say everyone has at least one book in them — if you were to write a book, what would it be about?

It would be very loosely based on my guild, though it will be less book and more web comic if I ever get past the world building stage, which is surprisingly difficult.

Saturday 17 August 2019

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Sometimes, it's about letting go.

With Toothless' improved standing from the last movie, Berk is now bursting with dragons especially since Hiccup and company keep rescuing those trapped by the dragon trappers (of whom there seem to be no end) and send "the" Nightfury killer in retaliation.

Everyone is pairing up.

More importantly though, is that both Hiccup and Toothless are gaining more responsibility and independence, and that what's best for one might not make the other very happy. While this is still a happy and funny tale with lots of bloodless action that lets all the dragons and dragon riders shine, it is also one of melancholy.

While I would definitely watch this well produced flick again, is it better than the first two films? Mmm, no but it's still very good. I give it four disguised sheep out of five. Certainly a series worth watching though, even if it's just the movies!

Friday 16 August 2019

Sheet Music Printing Tip

Never print double sided as it is less manageable when you are shifting pages around in your folder, or are performing and want to see everything face up.

Thursday 15 August 2019

NWO: Everyone should be Equal... Equally Crap

While the full version can be found here, this is the short version:

Players - Hey, we noticed that 3 of the available classes are much weaker than the others and much less fun to play probably due to some math bug. Can you please fix them so they match the others?

Cryptic - Oh yes, there is a math bug! We will fix it by making all the other classes weaker and as much less fun to play too!

Me - Way to remove fun and add more artificial challenge. Also, don't you guys ever test stuff before going live? -_-

I like challenging games but only if they are that from the outset. If a game starts out as easy, light, and fun then extremely ramps up the difficulty or has a clear design shift to just make things harder I get very annoyed.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

The Cursed: Avernus

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Avernus, the first layer of hell. With no way but forward, Catharina and company help the quickly diminishing crusader forces against hell cats, lemures, imps, and a variety of colorful devils. They eventually catch up with Caelar, who is facing off against the treacherous Hephernan and his actual master - Belhifet. Catharina offers to assist, and Caelar joins the team for this battle! Good thing too since she's really strong.

Yeah, she'd win against that in game.

Hephernan is taken down first, but then Glint is gibbed by Belhifet and Jaheira and Khalid are KOed by demonic reinforcements. Fortunately between Caelar and Party Girl, Belhifet is destroyed (haste and ultra magic arrows) and Caelar uses the greater demons blood to send the survivors out of hell while she herself has to remain to seal the portal.

Khalid and Jaheira are taken to the medics while Catharina and Party Girl are celebrated as heroes... for one night. This is because Catharina has a bad dream coming from hell and all, and in a sleepwalking state murders Skie. She is immediately detained by the Flaming Fist and sent back to Baldur's Gate in shackles... (and onto Baldur's Gate 2)!

Insight: Caelar is a fantastic tank, especially if you toss her some health pots.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

The Cursed: War is Hell

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The team find themselves back in the crusader supply tunnels and this time follow the path into Castle Dragonspear itself where they begin poisoning the remaining food supply. It's only at this point that the alarm is raised because through sheer bad luck, they run into Hephernan!? The mage is too powerful, and too clever (running back to guards) to defeat so Catharina and company get out of there as quickly as possible, with Baeloth making good use of his chaos spell to get the crusaders to fight each other.

By the time they get back to the war camp the crusaders are on the offensive, sending waves of attackers to try break through the siege. Having fantastic timing, Baeloth decides to abandon the party and the war here,  but the team is still successful in holding ground. Once the crusaders are on the retreat, it is the Flaming Fist's turn to attack, launching a full scale invasion of Dragonspear castle.

The giant moon looks down upon the battlefield.

The walls are breached and the crusaders are smashed, with Catharina cloud killing, ice storming and skull trapping their leadership. With their army in disarray, Catharina advances into the keep - locating Caelar and her few remaining crusaders in the vault. Hephernan is here too, and uses this moment to show his true colors, sending everyone to HELL!

Insight: Once you breach the walls the Flaming Fist have an infinite stream of soldiers running in. Let them do all the dirty work.

Monday 12 August 2019

The Cursed: Dark Magician

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Before going into the tunnels the team returns to pick up Khalid and Jaheira, and to visit Dragonspear castle itself where Skie is busy doing some recon. Apparently the crusaders are dumb enough to let anyone wearing a Caelar necklace in which gives the team a good opportunity to scout around and generally mess with them, like stealing supplies and murdering the entire troll handling team without notice.

They then enter the tunnels where again, the depot guards just let them through. More than that, they actively assist in fighting monsters from a nearby corrupted grove (which Jaheira fixes eventually). In one corner the team discovers ruins guarded by a dragon ghost. The ruin is actually home to a cabal of dark sorcerers who are preparing to raise a massive army once the war outside is complete. They turn out to be a really difficult fight, but thanks to Neera the ghost dragon comes to their aid after her wild magic frees it.

Because there weren't enough types of dragon.

Alas, for her trouble one of the dark mages magic missiles her off into a bottomless chasm. The ghost dragon avenges her, and once the dust settles tells Catharina that Caelar is just being played by her advisor Hephernan - the leader of this cabal. The dragon then vanishes to the after life, and the team heads back to camp to rest up and recruit someone to fill the spot. Baeloth, having forgotten that he previously quit, accepts!

Insight: While you have to attack the cult speaker to free the ghost dragon, you should definitely let the dragon do most of the fighting here. Note, if you don't attack the speaker fast enough the dragon will show up as an enemy.

Sunday 11 August 2019

The Cursed: Might and Magic

[Part of the Cursed story line]

With Dragonspear castle now fully under siege, most of the troops are dedicated to containing the crusaders within. It is up to Catharina's team to keep her troops healthy and find a way to make the crusader troops dead. For this she recruits Rasaad and Dorn who immediately dislike each other. Rasaad's fantastic speed is key when collecting curative herbs from the forest though, herbs that cure a large group of sick soldiers as well as Neera's madness.

The orc is unhappy with the lack of attention going his way the idiot openly attacks Catharina in the middle of her own war camp. Dorn is arrested within seconds and dragged off like the bitch he is while Neera cheerily takes his spot as the team scouts the forests surrounding Dragonspear castle since the crusaders seem to still be managing to get supplies in somehow. The previous scouts undertaking this task, Minsc and Dynaheir, have not returned.

That's a really good drawing of those two.
There are lots of terrible things in that area, and a random encounter against a sizable orog war band Rasaad is wounded out of action, and M'khiin is slain. They do locate the well guarded crusader tunnel though, and thanks to Catharina allying with the local druids and ogres, they manage to eliminate the top side defenders with a bit of might and a lot of magic.

Insight: There is an un-killable vampire wolf in that first forest, and it summons more wolves. It's pretty slow though, and Rasaad could run circles around it.

Saturday 10 August 2019

The Cursed: The Battle of Bridgefort

[Part of the Cursed story line]

While scouting the crusader camp the team find Dorn "the sackless" imprisoned within. They free the abused orc and send him to join the army then use the magic stone to teleport into Bridgefort where they find the defense is being led by Khalid! Apparently he survived his swim from that werewolf island. Also present is the wild mage Neera, but she is crazier than usual now.

After helping the defenders a little, Catharina organizes a counter strike - opening with a feint of surrender. Many crusaders are killed by the skull traps she had left earlier, and a pincer attack from Bridgefort and the Flaming Fist column easily routs the crusader force. Unfortunately Edwin and Baeloth call it quits right after, both annoyed at M'khiin's continued presence in the party - effectively ending the Alphastrike team.

They blamed the dancing goblin.

At least they don't abandon the army though, unlike that deserter Viconia who has vanished entirely from the column roster and isn't among the dead either. Once all is settled, the army goes on the march once more - pursuing the broken crusader force back to their stronghold of Dragonspear castle.

Insight: You have the option to surrender the fort here and save lives on both sides, but what good is having an army if I don't get to use it?

Friday 9 August 2019

The Cursed: Hearing Voices

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The voices in the underground cult base grow louder and their leader seems to have totally lost the plot, summoning a pair of aerial servants which rip Captain Corwin to shreds. During the retreat, Safana is stung by a wyvern and has to be brought all the way back to camp for aid. To fill their slots Catharina recruits Voghiln and the happy go lucky gnome Glint who just appeared in camp.

Glint's curiosity leads the team into a nest of spiders and beetles where Baeloth saves the day with his sorcery. Back in the cult HQ, the voices are found to be coming from a mindflayer and while it manages to eat Voghiln's brain it is no match for a magic duel against Edwin.

With the teleporter stone in hand the party heads on to Bridgefort, picking up the goblin shaman M'khiin to fill out the roster. A level 10 goblin with 97 HP!? Edwin is displeased. Sure enough, Caelar's crusaders are still laying siege to it but thanks to Catharina's earlier decision to save crusaders captured by the cult the party is let in as allies (Caelar herself is absent). This would prove to be their undoing.

Mingling with the enemy and setting traps...

Insight: Glint is a very handy character as a cleric/thief, disarming traps, picking locks and helping with the heals. He's also quite funny! Very unexpected.

Thursday 8 August 2019

The Cursed: Alphastrike

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The company makes camp in the forest near Boareskyr Bridge, a forest teeming with trolls! While it is handy to be able to lure the monsters back to the soldiers one particular infested cave convinces Catharina to switch up her team, taking Party Girl, Corwin, Safana, Baeloth and Edwin - dubbing themselves "Alphastrike".

The reason is simple: upon entering combat the magic heavy team unleashes their strongest AoE spells in an attempt to end combat in one strike. It is very effective! Further down the path they meet the skald Voghiln and Jaheira who has recovered from that previous backstab. She reports that Caelar's forces are besieging Bridgefort nearby, and that the pair were after some cultist who stole a magic stone that can open a portal into the fort.

Funny that Baeloth and Edwin are the ones in melee range.

The Alphastrike squad takes up their mission. Tracks lead past some wyvern woods and into a cave occupied by a green dragon standing guard but even it has no chance against them! Beyond it is the cult barracks, and they are annihilated easily along with their neolithid pet - possibly because they are all hearing voices in their heads.

Insight: Haste lets you cast faster. In this group which opens with 3 fireballs, that was pretty amazing.

Wednesday 7 August 2019

The Cursed: Fresh Lich of Dead Air

[Part of the Cursed story line]

While exploring the woods the team finds a nearby dwarven dig site that seems to keep spewing undead. The remaining dwarves who are barricading the entry admit to digging too deep (a common flaw according to Tolkien) and tunneling into some cursed burial chambers. Naturally, the team investigates and discovers this was intentional by the expedition leader who has transformed himself into a lich!

This fresh lich is bad news as he keeps getting up after being downed, and is only killed when the team destroy his phylactery. The tide of undead is halted, and the remaining dwarves agree to join the army. This delay also lets a few others join as well, namely Edwin the Thayan and Rasaad the monk who wants to redeem himself from his ridiculous defeat to a dart throwing bandit previously.

Catharina then scouts the bridge her force needs to cross in the morning and finds Caelar's troops already there. In the ensuing scuffle the crossing is destroyed, and Catharina and Caelar have a stare off on opposite ends of the broken bridge, both forgetting that in this world of magic a simple gap doesn't really offer much safety. It's now a race to the next crossing, Boareskyr Bridge.

Oh man if only I had some sort of ranged attack...

Insight: This turned out to be a difficult dungeon. Remember to use crushing weapons on skelies, ranged on slow things, and to return to camp to undo level drains.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

The Cursed: Baeloth's Shallow Pit

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Good thing Corwin has some pull with the Flaming Fist, as the captain manages to recruit a good number of them, including Skie - the runaway daughter of a prominent lord. Catharina doesn't mind, an extra sword is an extra sword.

A few random mercs also join the line up, one being Viconia who keeps conversations short and shares many awkward silences with Safana. Catharina decides this retinue is large enough and begins the march North to meet the incoming threat.

The column makes camp once it nears Caelar's territory, and gives Catharina and company an opportunity to explore the woods... finding a small animal fight pit run by... Baeloth? Turns out his "disintegration" was just another of Neera's wild magic teleports.

Fight pits still exist to this day.

The team put a stop to his sorry arena, freeing a very thankful goblin shaman named M'khiin. Both are sent back to the camps to join the campaign.

Insight: While skull trap is still very useful, the designers mitigate it somewhat by having critters running about. Nothing is quite as annoying as having your trap triggered early by a rat or a squirrel.

Monday 5 August 2019

The Cursed: Friends Old and New

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Flaming Fist Captain Shael Corwin is assigned to Catharina's team to help her assemble her squad, and the first step is funding! Alas, all of the hard earned gold from the previous adventures have been lost thanks to an inept guard and desperate refugees.

Corwyn has a lot of facial scars, I imagine to represent her combat experiences.
Personally, I think it just shows that she likes to block with her face.

The guard is berated, and the thieving refugees once found explain they already shared the sizable wealth with all the other needy refugees pouring in. They don't seem to understand that the reason doesn't matter (nor does it ever when it comes to crime), so Catharina and company execute the lot of them on the spot.

By chance, both Minsc (and Boo) and Dynaheir are in this same tavern having survived their ordeals with ghouls and injuries from gnolls. Safana too, though the thief doesn't say what she and Viconia had to do to get out of those kobold tunnels. They all accept to join the campaign.

Insight: Going after the gold as hard as I did was probably a more "evil" approach, but I am very possessive.

Sunday 4 August 2019

The Cursed: Useless Girl

[Part of the Cursed story line]

For her actions in defeating Sarevok, Catharina is hailed as a hero of Baldur's Gate and is rewarded by the cleric lord of the city the resurrection of her allies Lu Lingqi and Sir Erland (who had been shipped in from Ulgoth's Beard).

Along with Party Girl and Elisabeth, they are given rooms in the Ducal Palace and get to relax for a few weeks. Imoen comes to visit, and is soon attacked by (really weak) assassins that manage to wound her.

Assassins so weak, just like Arno from AC: Unity.

Correspondence indicates that both she and Catharina were the targets of this attack, and that the men were in service to some rebellious knight up North named Caelar Argent. Reports from refugees indicate that she had assembled a rather large army and was marching towards Baldur's Gate.

Catharina immediately volunteers to assemble a team and mount an expedition to stop said force while Imoen immediately backs out, due to her new injury. That girl is useless.

Insight: When importing your final save from the last game, all characters are revived fully leading to some surprising revivals for me. :)

Friday 2 August 2019

August 2019 Status

Having mostly recovered from being sick, I'm hoping to get a move on these stagnant tasks. Also, the Cursed story is going to start up again soon as well as more Baldur's Gate content is completed, which is what I'm playing at the moment while Borderlands 2 occupies the co-op game night session.

The plan is to then hit the next Neverwinter module: Uprising, then finally getting a start on Witcher 3. Speaking of the Witcher, I'm quite hopeful with that Netflix trailer!

    End 2019 with less weight (+3 kg from last month, running total: +5 kg)
    Make board game prototype (simplified, test board created)
    Complete web comic chapter 1 (world building is annoying!)
    Clean out wardrobe (no progress)
    Clean the roof (no progress)

Backlog Update:

FROM GIFTS (or freebies)
Baldur's Gate 2
Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear (done)
Borderlands 2
Celeste (done)
Icewind Dale
Inside (done)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
+Neverwinter Online: Uprising (0/2)

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague Campaign (10/11)
London Dread Campaign (1/4)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (0/13)

As one of the game group is averse to cold (as she's 80+), Zombicide and Waterdeep are on hold. Instead we've been playing Forbidden Sky lately, and can't get enough of the victory "launch" sound.