Tuesday 31 October 2023

Drifting Dragons and Castlevania: Requiem

A pair of animes with great art.

Drifting Dragons (Season 1)

In a world where dragons are just wild animals people have taken to dirigible "draking" (whaling) ships to hunt them. This one season story follows the crew of one such vessel and their trials not only against their prey, but also against the ship's budget and occasionally each other. There's also a lot of focus given to the butchering of said dragons followed by strangely specific cooking and eating sequences that involve dragon parts that have convinced me the dragons there taste great most of the time! The series starts of slow and gives almost all the crew on the draking ship some screen time and by the end it was getting some good emotional payoffs. That said I am not sure how some of these people haven't died a few times over already but I guess it's just not that sort of anime. Recommended if you don't mind a slow burn with very little thinking.

Castlevania: Requiem (Season 1)

Set hundreds of years after the first series this one continues with the excellent art style and action pieces of its predecessor while introducing a new band of heroes to face off against more vampires and creatures of darkness. Getting used to the new protagonist might take some time, especially since his will and power levels fluctuate wildly over the course of the series and the main villain seems super bland when they appear because of the "they are in the background, so lets develop all the lieutenants instead" approach. 

Lastly wokeness seems to really be the theme inserted here with a true rainbow cast of characters and nary a weak female with a speaking role in sight. Alas, with all those powers combined that leaves this first season in a pretty weak state. Hopefully season two can bring out the big guns and focus more on a good plot rather than real life politics.

Decluttering Day 9: Four broken umbrellas.

Monday 30 October 2023

Green Snake and New Gods: Nezha Reborn

A pair of animated Chinese films made by Light Chaser Animation.

Green Snake

After she gets banished to a sort of violent modern day purgatory by a powerful monk, Verta the green snake demon must find a way to escape without her powers, beat said monk and free her sister Blanca the white snake demon who was trapped by the same monk. Yeah, I kinda like that the monk is just insanely powerful. It also means Verta can look like a good looking human female for the entire film. Smooth animation that seems to be filled with non-stop action makes this a really awesome movie, but the story dips heavily into Chinese mythology so if you aren't so familiar with reincarnation and the like it might feel a bit jarring at places but otherwise its pretty cool. There is a lot of fighting and a decent amount of death!

Side note, the other name for this movie is "White Snake 2" because there is a White Snake film that happens first which I wasn't aware of before watching this. Do you need to watch that first? Maybe, because the opening here really felt like it was dropping you right into it - but after the first 10 minutes the entire setting changes anyway. Didn't bother me. Not as much as not being able to find White Snake with English subs or dubs anyway. Well, I'm getting side tracked. As far as Green Snake goes, I can definitely recommend it.

New Gods: Nezha Reborn

Set in a future being affected by a massive drought the protagonist is a motorcycle racer / courier / smuggler who can't help but mess with the most powerful clan that controls all the water in the region. When blows are eventually exchanged it turns out the clan big shots are actually supernatural beings, as is the protagonist who is a reincarnation of a very violent (but also powerful) child. Fantastic animation once again with the odd "ancient beings in a modern setting" vibe going and a decent if predictable story though with slightly less action bits and more talky bits. Does that make it better? Not really, which is surprising. Note that it is quite violent and probably not really suited for younger audiences, like the scene where a helpless cat is killed. That happens twice. All up I preferred Green Snake.

Decluttering Day 8: A no longer non-stick frying pan, and a second smaller one that was my wife's very first frying pan.

Sunday 29 October 2023

One Piece (S1) and Fate: The Winx Saga

Live action shows from cartoons I never watched!

One Piece (Netflix live action - Season 1)

Dreaming to be the one to find the "One Piece" and become the pirate king, Luffy sets sail to form a crew, find a ship, and make the world better with his abundant optimism!? Yeah, he doesn't want to be the "normal" type of pirate and it helps that he ate a magical fruit that makes him like rubber which is both cool and ridiculous. This show has very good production values, decent acting and fight choreography and a pretty amazing story so far. Also amazing is the music which features themes for all the main characters, and versions that blend said themes together! Highly recommended and hoping season 2 continues this trend.

Fate: The Winx Saga (2 Seasons)

Faries are real, look like regular people and apparently also have to go to school. Some of them even have to fight evil forces in their spare time! If that sounds a bit Harry Potterish well, it kind of is, but the protagonists here are all female and with each being a different "elemental" fairy. One can use fire, another plants, and so on and somehow can just pull powers out of their fairy asses when the plot needs them to. Apart from that the characters were entertaining enough, so if you like teen drama with a dash of magic and the occasional decent combat sequence then you might enjoy this two season show. Be advised it was cancelled though which means it doesn't tie up very nicely, and doesn't have the budget or polish of One Piece.

Decluttering Day 7: Two Roof Rolls? I think they were meant to be sun or rain shades or something that we haven't ever used.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Out of Line Forest Quartet Soulstice

A trio of games that were free from Epic.

Out of Line

This cutesy platform puzzler involves being able to throw a javelin that can come back to you, which is handy as you can stand on in to make large gaps jumpable or high ledges climbable, to use as a lever, and to jam gears as needed. It's a nice gimmick but not really an interesting one. Not recommended.

Forest Quartet

In this exploration puzzler you are a ghost in the forest who needs to activate random machines to give her band mates inspiration to continue to play. It is just so strange, especially since the generators are just so out of place and alien. Also since you're a ghost nothing can really kill you... other than the boredom of playing this game I guess. Not recommended.


This hack and slash game is much in the same vein as Devil May Cry, except instead of playing a cool dude with a big sword and devil powers you are a crazy knightess with a big sword and ghost powers - which come from your deceased sister who is attached to you and handles most of the defense and parrying. Ok, you're a chimera. Anyway, that means there are two main forms of currency to collect which can unlock skills for each sister as you battle your way through a pretty grim city.

The fighting is a bit repetitive unfortunately, as enemies simply pop out of portals when you reach a combat space - which is made worse when particular enemies can only be damaged if they are within a colored aura that the ghost sister can create, and there's more than one color which seems to just be arbitrarily annoying. Just like the fixed camera angles during exploration and jumping puzzles. The camera is free to move in combat so... why force it to be fixed when out of it? Still an enjoyable enough game I suppose, but there are definitely better ones out there.

Decluttering Day 6 : 4-6 pairs of women's footwear. Yeah, these are my wife's efforts but we're a team so I'm going to let it count - especially since she seems to be more into this than I am after I mentioned it to her! ;)

Friday 27 October 2023

Guardians of Justice and Batman: the Doom that came to Gotham

Variations on DC comics...

Guardians of Justice

This one season show isn't really from DC, but makes use of super heroes that mirror those in the Justice League. In the opening episode Superman Marvelous Man commits suicide on world wide TV, throwing the world into chaos so it's up to Batman Knighthawk to investigate why he would do that, or if indeed it was a murder instead. Interesting hook, but the use of mishmash media including live action, animated, pixel art, and claymation is very strange as is the subpar plot and acting though that may be intentionally for comedic effect. Not recommended.

Batman: the Doom that came to Gotham

In this 1800s version of Gotham someone decided to mix in some Lovecraftian lore for a story about cultists opening a gateway for some elder horror that will doom the world while the well known characters from the Batman franchise try to deal with it. As it is an Elseworlds tale this frees up the plot to freely maim, kill, and drive insane just about all of the cast which leads to a ... strange but unique story. The animation, like everything else is simply OK, but at the end I'm not sure this is worth a watch either. Not recommended.

Decluttering Day 5: Old iron.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Kenny G: Keepin' it Saxy

A simple but decent game.

Regardless if you love or hate his music, Kenny G is a good sport when it comes to putting his name and image to this funny little cooperative game of up to five players. The objective is simple, if Kenny G makes it through the six phase day without loosing his groove (tokens that represent HP), the players win.

But there are a multitude of obstacles that appear at the start of each phase that will reduce Kenny G's groove, such as running out of hair product, or a traffic jam, the wifi being down or even an alien invasion! Each of these have a set of colored marks that correspond to the player cards and to get rid of them your team needs to put down matching colors in the order presented (so the player that starts one problem doesn't need to be the one to solve it). It's also funny that you have to make the sounds (in order) to officially defeat the problems.

The players only have one turn (four moves) each during each phase and any problems not removed do their groove damage and remain which can lead to a build up of bad things if you don't help each other out. Funny but only recommended to Kenny G fans as some of my players didn't like the theme, nor the simplicity found here.

Decluttering Day 4: Broken vaporizer.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune and Make My Day

The first seasons of two animated Netflix shows.

Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune (Season 1)

After Earth was forced to join a superior alien federation (made up of humanoids with Earth-animal heads just because) a squad of human soldiers find themselves in the muck when deployed to another planet that is on the verge of rebellion against said federation. The CGI art that somehow looks manga-ish is good and there's a ton of violence BUT the entire first season only covers around a day, with most of the "story" coming from flashbacks. The problem with flashbacks is there aren't really many stakes you can put into them so... I dunno. An interesting spectacle I suppose but not much depth. I'm hoping a season 2 will remedy that but until then, not recommended.

Make My Day (Season 1)

The plot for this sci-fi is pretty simple: man has found a new mineral fuel source on a distant planet and after mining it too much (or in dwarven "digging too deep"), they wake up a dormant and hungry alien species. Most of the story focuses on evacuation, and for good reason. Again decent CGI here though not as artsy or nice as Yakitori and the voice acting is also not as good, but the story is definitely more interesting. Violence, gore and death abound but this doesn't really classify as a horror since most of it is in well lit environments (no jump scares). Not sure how they can do a season 2 with this one, but this first season is worthy of a watch.

Decluttering Day 3: Elden Ring rough journal. As some of you know, I take notes when playing games - especially if I'm going to blog about them. Afterwards they really get binned anyway, but this was an easy one for today's entry. :P

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Pathfinder: The Glassworks

[Part of the Party Time journal

Following their only lead to find the missing Ameiko, the party heads to the local glassworks and find it buttoned up pretty good. Merisiel (mom) picks the lock of one of the doors and sneaks in to find a group of eight goblins playing with the corpses of dead staff members so Ezren (Juris) gets to use his scroll of fireball to hurt five of them, with two fleeing out another door while the remainder rush the heroes and get wiped out. Among the dead is the owner of the glassworks and richest man in town, Ameiko's father.

In the basement below the team are ambushed by the two goblins that fled and Ameiko's evil half brother monk(?) who is totally ineffective against Valeros (me) and is cornered and cut down easily. With all the enemies dead the party searches the nearby rooms to find Ameiko badly beaten up and is brought back to fighting strength by Kyra (Rose). As an ex-adventurer she is keen to vent her frustrations by joining the team to investigate the newly opened tunnels that her half brother and goblin crew had opened up, using the spare gear Valeros hadn't gotten around to selling yet.

The twisting passage eventually leads to some sort of evil temple that is home to three sinspawn (whose "kisses" inflict dirty thoughts), eleven ancient zombies whom Kyra destroys with Sarenrae's channeled energy, a mutated three armed goblin and a Vargouille (whose kiss is basically its method of reproduction, which Valeros just barely avoids!). A female quasit is the boss of this zone and proves to be VERY tough to deal with as not only does she summon a giant centipede, giant spider and sinspawn from a glowy pool - she also turns invisible and regenerates which is super annoying!

It makes the mistake of throwing a tiny dagger which returns to her position though, so the party can track her down especially when Valeros manages to hook her onto his grappling hook by some D20 miracle! In retaliation she enfeebles the warrior and sends Kyra and Ameiko running away in magical induced terror but Merisiel and Ezren manage to put it down. Once recovered, the party then bleeds the quasit into the glowing pool to spawn and defeat more sinspawn until the glow is totally gone before being confident that their work here is done.

They then return to town to report their findings, especially the monk's journal that indicates the goblins have a much larger attack planned... once they've raised their "god" or something.

Decluttering Day 2: 2021 Cat Calendar

Monday 23 October 2023

The Decluttering

While I am a scrooge, I don't classify myself as a hoarder of stuff but somehow things just keep piling up in my home. Inspired by other blogs that seem to just focus on decluttering which range from smashing an entire room per sitting to targeting a fixed number of random things based on the day of the month, I'm going to try the simplest one (in my head anyway) of getting rid of at least one thing a day - either throw out, recycle, donate - anything to get it out of the house.

And I'm going to post about it too so I can keep track for myself. Not sure if that will be a one liner to the end of my other blog posts or more if the item has an interesting story to go with it. Let's see how this goes, I haven't started and it already feels tough! :P

I think I'll start with easy stuff - today, its the box for a fan. You know how appliance instructions usually say "keep the box in case you need to return it"? Yeah, we keep the boxes, but maybe it's time not to. There are probably a few items like this that can be easy targets lying around!  

Declutter Day 1 - Fan box.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Elden Ring: Offer introspection

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Following the kill list leads to some pretty interesting discoveries, such as bosses that only appear at night like Nazgul Night Cavalry, Skull Birds and Darth Vader the Bell Bearing Hunter who turns out to be my final and most difficult quarry. Even the tricksy crypt dungeons and ancient dragons are easier than the last iteration of that guy, mainly because I can't use my mimic summon to help me out. Instead I used bewitching branches to get some of those oversized rats to do the dirty work for me.

You know it's bad when they can hold lightning.

I'm surprised good old Patches is on the list too, but he's obviously been murdered by highwaymen by the time I eventually find him, just like Corhyn the priest whose gear I find just outside the capital. I find some new people too, a giant lady that Latenna saves in the snowfield, a rookie finger maiden who I eventually lead to immolation (oops) and an ugly monkey tailor who wishes to be human. I help him rebirth via Renalla (yeah, ew) which works... and also results in him dying because this is Elden Ring and people just die for no reason.

Anyway, with all the bosses finally crossed off I'm content to call this adventure done and return to where Ranni awaits to begin our journey to the stars. That was a crazy experience but one I definitely enjoyed and one I hope was entertaining for you to read! Elden Ring, complete!

Saturday 21 October 2023

Elden Ring: I did it!

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Harpies and fungus folk live in the tree house village but again, I have rooftops and shortcuts that I can use to dodge most of them and then absolutely cream the mounted knight who is guarding the fortress below. Like her, the footmen and knights here are easy enough to handle unless they come in huge groups and at the very bottom towards the roots of the tree I come across the boss of this zone - Malenia, the blade of Miquella. She likes saying that a lot. After killing me. LOL.

I'm guessing she got a bit chopped up by Radahn?

Her floaty agility and fast strikes which heal her make her somewhat troublesome, and I really laugh that her phase two is basically her just getting naked! Ultimately my mimic and I win after around the same number of tries as Radagon via just great clubbing her around because she's very weak to staggering. The great club's in built special: Golden Land, which shoots rays of staggering light also helps keep her off balance.

At this point I was going to claim victory, until I went and looked up the Elden Wiki and found more than a few boss things that I missed, including the Black Knife leader who is pretty deadly until I realize he's just like a jedi - useless against enemies who have high ground and a two headed dragon sleeping within the tornado of the floating ruin! That one takes a few tries (less than Malenia/Radagon) because of his dual laser breath and penchant to teleport but eventually I club that fool to ash as well!

Friday 20 October 2023

Elden Ring: Lord, O Elden Ring

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

To take a break from the black knife assassins I go talk to a white mask assassin instead who cuts off one of my fingers and insinuates that I can use it to get an audience (in this world that means duel apparently) with his lord. Sure! I warp to the Nokron-adjacent palace of blood and after beating up many blood toads (better than the snow castle XP grind) because I went the wrong way, I find Mogh (again) who at this point I simply steam roll. For good measure I kill that white assassin too.

Then its time to retry Radagon and after a fair few goes which actually starts making me believe I'm playing a Dark Soulsesque game, I manage to beat him and the elden beast once I load up on holy protection gear. Ranni then shows up and disintegrates Radagon's remains and then... ends the game? WTF just happenend? Anyway, it lets me keep playing so I do - without accepting the offer of "Journey 2" which I assume is New Game+.

That sword was a person. o_o

I solve the pit descent beneath the capital where rolls instead of jumping is the key and in the darkness below find a gigantic three finger thing that burns itself into me. Afterwards I then also complete the fire puzzle at the snowfield ghost village which gives me access to a teleporter which takes me to the top of another freaking giant tree! On the plus side, this means I can parkour evade the fat bards and ants on the branches to make it to the tree house village below.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Elden Ring: Behold, dastard!

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

All that delay has finally set the tree of thorns properly ablaze and I find myself back in the ash covered capital where, unsurprisingly "Sauron", the leader of the Roundtable hold tries to kill me. He is easily defeated, as is Godfrey, the first Elden lord who is now here in the flesh. Nepheli helps me kick his ass and not only accepts me as lord but offers to be queen too!

My club is now the size of a small tree. LOL

That will need to wait as past the thorns is the most anime BS opponent so far, Radagon, who has watched so much Bleach that he can flash step. And worse - his second form of being an elden beast can do the same! That's a bit too much for me at this point so its off to explore again, this time raiding a small castle in the snowfield which is actually a good XP grind.

The boss here is the slow moving knight commander from the plagueville swamp again though but now upgraded with a lightning leg. It's a tough fight but I finally beat him and get another magic elevator medallion thingy. If this was a modern setting it would just be a security pass but you know... magic! This one takes me to an octopus infested tomb, followed by a blizzard covered snowfield with archer ladies riding on wolf back! At the far end of this is a strange ghost town that needs fires lit (again) but invisible assassins and sharp shooting snipers make this challenging.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Elden Ring: Could this be a friend? Therefore enemy

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

It seems the Godskins are haunting me as I explore some towers I previously missed, which proves great practice as they fight individually in these instances and I can beat them. I also come across my buddy Blackguard deceased at the capital moat, and must fight his murderer - Dung Eater! I probably would have lost but a giant crab decided to help and kill the Dung which worked out nicely for me.

Speaking of deceased allies I also find Seluvis and Iji slain by the angry halfwolf Blaidd who I put down again in our rematch, and free hugs Fia is killed by hobo D while I deal with a lich dragon. As I opt not to slay the hobo, he returns all the equipment and wanders off to return to his hoboism. D's beast clergyman friend also goes berserk when I visit him again but he manages to calm down mid-fight, and I locate sorceress Sellen as a prisoner in another basement but am unable to set her free.

Bad dog!

With more level and upgraded weapons I return to face the Godskin Duo with Volcano Knight Bernahl and win! All focusing on one is the winning strategy. Afterwards, I have to fight and slay Bernahl because "there can be only one" I guess and then find the main boss of this floating place is the freaking beast clergyman!? Pillars help escape his robed form but when he dons his armor and hops around like a jumping jiggowat he becomes a real pain! Getting close and clubbing him to death is the only solution, and not as hard as I initially thought.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Elden Ring: Let there be suffering

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Finally reaching the forge of the giants, Melina self immolates to burn the giant tree that's blocking the way and somehow I am transported to a crumbling island floating in the air via violent tornadoes. This place is home to big ratmen, dragons, horrible worm headfolk, and comparatively "safer to fight" knights. Alas it is also home to the Godskin Duo twin boss (guess I didn't kill that apostle well enough) who are freaking tough, even with the help of my mimic and Volcano Knight Bernahl. Ornstein and Smough is that you?

I decide to re-explore elsewhere first, discovering Melina's sacrifice didn't work / is really slow to burn those thorns so I return to Volcano Manor which is now inhabited by extendy snake folk and find Lady Tanith eating the corpse of Rykard to become the next god-snake. Nope, I club her to death which summons... Crucible Knight again? Unfortunately for him, my parrying has much improved and I win this duel.

Afterwards I clear a small keep of fire cultists and a fat candle man, defeat an assassin, a surprise were-lion and a space ant-lion on the outskirts of the capital as well as give Millicent a prosthetic arm I found laying around, and exploring deep paths in the sewer beneath the capital where I fight rats and giant hands to ultimately come across and free a prisoner called Dung Eater who in turns aids me in defeating blood priest Mogh in a temple even further below. Then just for fun, the downward path continues in a pit littered with bards(?) but this fatal jumping puzzle is way too challenging (and has now killed me more than any enemy) so I opt to skip it for now.

It's one of the creepier parts of the game that's for sure!

Monday 16 October 2023

Elden Ring: Didn't expect weak foe

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Despite killing Morgott the way to the tree is still blocked by... thorns. Erm. Yes, because there's nothing as solid as a wall of thorns in this world I guess? Melina suggests we travel East to get a great flame to torch these magical thorns and so after sneaking through the other half of the capital we exit there and find a grand elevator up to the snowfield of giants. This is mostly an open area where I can dash past things on my horse so that's really neat! I do beat up an ice dragon and the next Volcano Manor target: a tough whip slinging knight.

Taking a small break to report this success, Lady Tanith finally lets me meet Lord Rykard who is a gigantic lava snake. Ironically, there's a magnificent serpent slaying spear ripe for the taking just before him and so my mimic and I use it to go to town on this hapless lord. His death breaks the morale of the Volcano Manor members and they all go their separate ways.

Easiest boss fight if you pick up the weapon right before him.
Sadly, it's only this powerful in this one fight!

As for me its back to the snowfield ascent where I slay an ambusher (a samurai that aided me against Radahn) before reaching a section full of dead giants! Fortunately these are actually just dead, because there is a single "alive" giant that stands in the way and is a real pain to defeat! In the end I had to swap out my mimic summon for Latenna, an archer summon I had met earlier back at the lakes district to help here. Since she can't walk, she's basically a turret while I take aggro and she proves excellent in dispatching the giant. Just for kicks, I quickly warp back to the Southern castle and find Crucible Knight back in his boss zone after he left Volcano Manor. Using the same strategy with Latenna, this slow heavy hitter has no chance!

Sunday 15 October 2023

Elden Ring: Seek hole, and then edge

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Of course I hop into the coffin which turns out to be a magical lift (wut) that takes me to the roots of the giant tree and is home to giant flying ants and headless ghost knights. I also find free hug Fia here who makes me slay five other warriors including a mage friend of D and a fat armored fencer who helped me against Radahn! After I win she begs for death but since she's technically helping me remove the competition to become and Elden lord I spare her.

As that's a dead end I check in with Iji who drops a hint about where Ranni has gone to - a tower near her own. Inside I find a lift deep down into an ant hive where I find Ranni discarded among some garbage. I pick her up and defeat the traitorous half-wolf Blaidd then continue down past a "drow" city complete with BS sentient boulders then through a lake of rot (no horse this time - yuck!) past an ancient temple of bug men and defeat a horrid giant skull-faced dragonfly.

Beyond that is a lift to a plateau where I get a rematch against magic dragon Adula, killing it this time, and then finding a more appropriate doll for Ranni to inhabit. She is super greatful and recognizes me as her lord. I like the sound of that! Using this inspiration I return to the capital and defeat Volcano Manor targets Wilhelm and Vagran with the help of Volcano Knight Bernahl, and then crush King Morgott with Melina and my mimic!

She's a creepy doll.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Elden Ring: Ahh, jumping...

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Nokron is primarily inhabited by three things: living vikings (who are easier to fight than their spirit versions below), zombies with magic weapons and mimics - one of whom copies me! It has no chance since I can summon the ghost headless though. Same with the second ancestral spirit stag boss that I put down again. Parkouring down the rooftops I earn a mimic summon of my own and some sort of knife, while going the other way leads me to Siofra aqueduct where some random hobo accepts D's armor and joins me as an ally to try defeat a pair of giant, poison barfing gargoyles. While I can almost always down one, it's just too tough to beat both so its time to head elsewhere.

Opting to hunt the next mark, Raleigh, for Volcano Manor I stop by a small mine en route and easily slay the stone digger troll within collecting his great club! Slower to swing than my current stick but it reaches farther and hits harder. Raleigh is its first victim. Beyond him is a keep sinking into a lake of poison which is naturally inhabited by poison zombies and slugs. The knight boss here is fought in such close quarters I have to revert to my large club and combine it with a tower shield to beat him (with my mimic as well)!

Double club, the natural progression of my club type weapons...

I then report in to the witch Ranni, who is happy with the dagger I collected from Nokron and says she's to leave on a journey now and I also report to Lady Tanith who gives me three more marks to hunt and tells of Volcano Manor's true lord Rykard - one of the elden shard bearers! I might get to meet him if I keep up the good work. For now I return to the twin gargoyles in the aqueduct with my upgraded great club and mimic and this time crush them with the help of hobo D. At the waterfalls beyond lies a comfy looking coffin that asks if I'd like to rest in it. LOL.

Friday 13 October 2023

Elden Ring: Why is it always monarch?

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Instead of chasing the falling star I return to Volcano Manor and get a new mark from Lady Tanith. As this one is up in the plateau I explore a bit, dodging hands and slaying evil tree spirits and a vampire in a cellar before Anastasia invades me again, and loses again. Heading towards the capital I also come across a windmill village of dancing ladies who are very violent when I slay their godskin apostle before dodging more siege weapons to get to the capital outskirts.

Here I get Tragoth and my headless ally to help in defeating the draconic tree sentinel knight guarding the gate bridge, finally allowing me passage into the capital itself, which happens to be a no-horse zone. Rooftop parkouring and sewer sprinting (from giant hands again) are the best way to avoid most of the heavily armored knights here, until I'm eventually jumped by the golden axe-wielding spirit of Godfrey, the first Elden lord! It takes me a few attempts to finally beat him, but the next boss King Morgott who is nearby proves to be way too challenging for now. His move set is really beautiful though, I wonder if they gave him some capoeira?

These horrid hands lie in wait everywhere!

After a short interlude back at the Roundtable hold to upgrade my stick I discover that Corhyn has left and that free hugs Fia murdered undead hunter D. I opt to retry the giant ant caves I skipped before and manage delve deep to the point of finding more barnacle men ruins, a giant moth thing which I can't hit, and a surprise dragonkin soldier boss hiding right at the back that I defeat. With no other paths (that don't involve a suicidal jump) forward, I decide to finally check the crater left by Radahn's fallen star and discover it leads right into the city of eternal night, Nokron!

Thursday 12 October 2023

Elden Ring: Reinforcements required ahead

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Lady Tanith runs Volcano Manor and her bodyguard is... Crucible Knight? Anyway, this group are basically killers of Roundtable Hold people which works fine with me since technically they are all competition seeking to become an Elden Lord. After slaying inquisitor Ghiza, who had infiltrated the manor, I'm tasked with hunting Old Knight Istvan near the starting area. First I stop by the cliffside magma wyrm and beat it with the help of Tragoth, Blackguard and ghost viking though then I enter the magic academy from the backside... which doesn't really help strategically apparently as both entrances lead to the same foyer landing.

Still, the living mages are easier to deal with than the spirit variety and other than a surprisingly magically gifted wolf its a pretty easy place for me to explore now and defeat magic woman Rennala who presides there. I then continue the hunt for Istvan, finding the banished sorceress Sellen in a cellar first before finding my mark in a dark cave full of monkeys. After we team up to beat the monkeys, we duel ala double dragon and I defeat him.

Beating up crippled women, just another day in Elden Ring.

Since I've been leveling up my magic ability I can now summon a headless warrior who I picked up long ago and decide to warp back to the South castle for a rematch with Crucible Knight but instead find Blaidd and other warriors here for the Radahn festival which basically involves slaying Starscourge Radahn, a massive warrior on a tiny horse. This is a terrifying battle at first, until I realize there's a literal endless supply of ally summons (the warriors that gathered) that can be called to assist in this fight. Basically I never hit Radahn myself, but defeat him anyway. When he falls the stars begin to move once more and one even crashes over the horizon.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Elden Ring: Praise the lift

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

With Stormveil conquered I revisit some sites that I felt I could handle now, killing Alduin Agheel the lake dragon, scaring off the magic dragon Adula (similar moveset), then slaying the giant slumbering dragon (tail whacking), some catacomb bosses and a magma wyrm nesting in a mine! I also light the towers of spirit mage town which undoes the magic barriers and lets me cure Millicent of the plague. This is the same girl that previously invaded me and lost an arm. Maybe there's hope for her yet?

I then try the South Castle, as random people keep telling me of a festival happening there but everyone must be lying. I have to skirt through siege artillery and sneak around the back wall to gain entrance while avoiding as many magic weapon wielding knights (and the two massive lions in the courtyard) as I can. This eventually brings me to battle against the Crucible Knight who starts out as a slow and steady heavy hitter then progresses to an airborne speedy heavy hitter. LOL I have no chance against this guy yet so I decide to warp back to the lake mire for exploration.

I'm quite enjoying the dragon fights!

Here I meet a turtle pope, the dragon Smaug Smarag who has the same move set as Agheel so is easily beaten, and the barbarianess Nepheli who helps me slay a half giant but refuses the potion Seluvis wanted delivered to her. I also finally find a path to the part of the map I've been trying to get to, by hopping down a cliff face of giant tomb stones. Only when I get there do I realize that there was ramp access past a spot I'd been in previously, and I now have the key to the magic lock on the bridge that also leads there. Even better, the road leads to some sort of gigantic lift which I can activate because apparently I found stuff for it previously and finally arrive at the Altus plateau. Servant girl Rya is waiting for me here, and offers a free warp to Volcano Manor. Sure!

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Elden Ring: Let there be monarch

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Beyond that handsy manor is a cliff face that doesn't get me closer to where I was trying to go, but I do find the tower of doll witch Ranni who recruits me into her team investigating the treasure of Nokron City, which includes Iji, Blaidd and the sorcerer Seluvis. A quick warp back to ghost viking land lets me meet Blaidd there, but he has no idea how to get to the higher city. This time around I have stonesword keys though and I can activate the elevator to the North! This takes me up to...

What the hell, I'm back in plagueville? A narrow golem guarded valley only leads to the local PvP coliseum so I go the other way and find myself back in the horrible plaguelake. This time I fight a slow moving knight commander though, after I find out the nearby geysers can really damage him. Turns out to be a super easy job and I never even have to attack him directly! My reward for this a clue to the secret of ghost magician town: Lighting fires. Seems there's always fires to light...

Godrick the Grafted is good at lighting fires...

It's also worth noting that the soldiers here in plagueville actually have a base - a huge castle at the South most end. I opt not to raid that one though, as the "main quest" I'm supposed to be doing is raiding Stormveil Castle, which I've been so deftly avoiding until now. Using my mount to deftly skip the blockade defenses I beat up the towering gate guard with a rotten dog summon (my spare if I ran out of FP to summon ghost viking), and then sneak my way through most of the place until I find and slay the Grafted Lord who rules over it. My ghost viking was very helpful here! The Roundtable Hold members rejoice at this news and let me meet their "god", a literal silent two finger giant but basically I get "good job, now kill another lord". Lol.

Monday 9 October 2023

Elden Ring: Be wary of fingers all the more giant

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

After all my dragon dodging I decide to check how bad the dragon at the starting lake is. The answer is pretty bad because he flies A LOT. I instead continue past him through a narrow ravine that leads to a deep mine and a stone mining troll which I defeat! Yay for the poise breaking damage of this large club!

This turns out to be good practice as when I return to the watery bog when trying to follow a treasure map I also defeat a troll knight, and Edgar who is now on revenge mode so I have to kill him. Unlocking one teleporter spire I am also brought back to the very start of the game and defeat the spider person that serves as the first battle. It's quite the sense of accomplishment! Continuing on I meet a friendly troll, Iji, who tells me to stay away from a cursed manor up ahead. Naturally this means I go right for it, evading the magical rain defending it.

Easy to dodge via serpentine pathing.

It's much worse inside though, as giant, spider-like hands lie in ambush everywhere so I just scoot past to the higher floors which are more manageable as they are only guarded by spirits. Their boss, a spirit lady on a spirit horse has me at a disadvantage since I cannot mount up to fight her but between my club and my spectral viking buddy we take her down just the same. As for why I'm doing this? I'm really trying to get to the top and top right sector of the map since it seems everything is blocking my way in that direction.

Sunday 8 October 2023

Elden Ring: Why is it always undead? Therefore try undead

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Returning to the Roundtable Hold from that venture at Castle Morne, I discover it's not such a safe place after all having to defeat invaders Ensha and Alberich. Lucky there are helpful people too, like lady Fia who gives free hugs, Corhyn the priest, Roderika the rookie spirit-hewer (whom I recruited to come here actually), Hewg the enslaved blacksmith, and vampire hunter D undead hunter D, who tells me that to slay undead, you have to slay them. While they're dead. Translation: those respawning skels don't respawn if you smash their "corpses" before respawning.

I also buy a spirit calling bell which is amazing as I can now summon my own ghostly viking sniper who is super effective in helping me smash some undead including a cemetery shade and a boatman which D is particularly pleased with. He suggests I visit a beast cleric in a spot I hadn't reached yet, so off I go and find I need to double jump with my mount to get from plagueville into dragon land!? I obviously just run from the winged reptiles until I reach some trapped goblin ruins (the teleporting boulders are particularly funny) and meet with this cleric - but he just wants me to keep bringing him pieces of the dead to eat.

Ghost versus spirit!

Reverse scouting through the dragon territory lets me find a ruined fortress (beyond a GIANT dragon) that is now home to big bats and ghosts, neither of whom are very good defenders which lets me loot the place easily. I then warp back to the first fort I skipped and wipe it out too, as having a spirit helper really makes things go much smoother.

Saturday 7 October 2023

Elden Ring: No joy ahead

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Feeling more courageous now after adventuring with Blaidd, I return to the well fortified stone bridge in the South and decide to rush it on horseback! Some how this works, and I come across the blind Irina who pleads with me to help her father at Castle Morne where their servants have rioted. I happily comply and ride right into a giant golem shooting missile sized arrows right outside the castle... WTF!?

Shooting right past that and into the castle itself I find the servants to be ugly harpy like things that are mostly too busy to see my crouch walking past them and up to the ramparts where Irina's dad Edgar is. He refuses to go however, because he's too worried the beast servants have made off with the castle's sword? Fine, so I traverse the rest of the castle and kill the boss-servant who wields said sword (aggression is better here) to convince him to finally go to Irina. We both travel to her and find her cleavered remains.

Home run!

While Edgar weeps I try hunt down the murderer by exploring the nearby surrounds but only find a tunnel filled with more servant things that I'm not keen on exploring just yet and a tower guarded by three spirit turtles who I slay to break the magic barrier, but am just rewarded with more treasure I'm not going to use. My bag is actually filling up with gear I can't use now as I'm only putting points into HP or Strength.

Friday 6 October 2023

Elden Ring: Dog, O friend

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

It's back to scouting mode in the opposite direction of disease land where I'm treated to some nice but very rainy scenery as I sneak past some soldiers and steal some armor pieces, get ambushed by ninja sky wolves, evade reanimating skeletons and defeat knight invader Henricus as I snake my way around the heavily fortified Stormveil Castle. This leads me down to a huge flooded zone inhabited by spider people and giant lobsters.

Here servant girl Rya gives me an invitation to Volcano Manor (wherever that is) after I retrieve her necklace from a lobster cooking Blackguard whom I befriend, and then proceed onto the sinking academy which again has magic seals blocking my progress. There is a narrow river that leads to a gigantic climb through a mine and giant bat nests (where I also learn bat queens sing in opera) but the top is guarded by a pretty tough magma wyrm so I decide to explore elsewhere, including a valley of living vikings and another well house that leads to a giant ant nest.

I don't get very far in any of those and decide to explore near the start again and come across a merchant who tells me about the werewolf who giga bear forest so I go to meet Blade, the half vampire daywalker Blaidd the half-wolf who is hunting some bloodhound knight whom I already found much earlier stuck in an "Evergaol". As Blaidd says "imprisonment isn't true punishment" so we go in there and wreck that creep easily with the power of team work!

He's a half giant, which tracks given the sizes of some of the wolves in this game.

Thursday 5 October 2023

Elden Ring: Be wary of invisible sort

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Beyond the barnacle folk is a massive and wondrous magical valley of night basking in the stars. I assume those are actually gems since I'm very far underground, but apart from giant crabs, giant octopi and will-o-wisps there are ghost vikings down here who seem to wink in to existence without warning. Luckily they're slow, but when they pull out their bows are so freaking accurate that they might as well be carrying lazer guns. I manage to use trees as cover while lighting some fires down here, only to find that lets me fight a gigantic undead moose. Not happening!

With a warp back it's time to continue my overland scouting until I am forcefully dismounted near a church by the invader Anastasia (apparently my mount doesn't like multiplayer) who proceeds to kick my butt! Melina saves me by bringing me to the Roundtable Hold, a safe location which she conveniently forgot to tell me about until now. There are a number of others here, but most importantly I manage to level up enough to discard my club and use... a large club! Yep, it's just a bigger stick but it hits harder and reaches farther. Anastasia becomes the first victim of it, proving that it's a worthy upgrade.

They shamble along until they decide to sprint... lol

Riding on into plagued lands with slow zombies and giant vermin I am invaded again, this time by Millicent, in a pool of disease which my mount is immune to but being forced to dismount throws me right into the muck! I manage to fight her on a small island and force her to submit before riding on to a ruined town of sorcery, inhabited by ghost mages. Great, more invisible people! Since the path ahead is blocked this is a dead end for me, but at least I find some clothes! No longer naked I return to the gigantic undead moose and large club it into re-death! Patience (and the large club reach) is all that is required.

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Elden Ring: First off, fingers and then time for down

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

Camping for the night after exploring some of the monkey lands I am approached by Melina, who offers to be my maiden and is from an order of women that like fingering...? Um. Ok. Other travelers keep remarking how maidenless my wretch is so I accept her offer and am finally now able to spend runes (which act both as currency and experience points) to level up! Huzzah! This is the same currency lost upon death.

 * Snicker *

Other than a good time (leveling), Melina also provides me a whistle that can summon a spirit steed to get around faster, but there's just something about crouch-walking (aka "stealthing") everywhere that's more my speed. Anyway, a huge bridge that connects to the South is too well guarded by zombie soldiers with a siege weapon so I continue scouting the shoreline, beating up some wolves that made their den in a graveyard before skipping an equally well defended cliff fortress that follows.b

This leads me into the forest of the giga bears who I REALLY avoid and come across a small well-house while doing so. The magical elevator within takes me down... down... down... holy hell this underground place is HUGE and even houses some ruins. Barnacle people inhabit this lower place and they are super resistant to damage, but also seem to always be moving in slow motion. I exploit this and run circles around them while looting all their treasures! Muahahaha!

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Elden Ring: Didn't expect pathetic sort

[Part of my Elden Ring journal]

You know you are late in playing a game when the very first room is full of player made graffiti. It isn't very long until I run into the first monstrosity which... my brain still fails to comprehend what it was... easily defeats me after only taking a few hits in return.

I awaken in some sort of training cave with only a lucky medallion in my possession and a hefty stick I can use as a club (decided to start as a level 1 wretch). The "training" zombies here are easy enough as is their zombie soldier boss who just needs some basic dodging. Beyond them is an elevator to the surface where I get to see just how expansive these lands are!

While some holy light directs me to go in a particular direction I find it too risky as its patrolled by either a massive giant or a heavily mounted knight, both of whom I don't really want to tangle with while I'm just in my underwear. I opt to follow the border South instead, skirting around a swamp and bashing in a few giant bats to reach the lands of monkey men. One of them drops a falchion but I can't use it because apparently I'm weaker than a monkey. LOL.

But I'm sneakier than a monkey!

Elden Ring

I know I'm very late to this party but as a fan of their earlier works I'm glad I finally get to play this game, gifted to me by Juris! It's also the reason I've stopped playing chess for a bit... but like chess expect me to not understand what's going on half the time, and I'll be trying the "online but solo" version for starters which means I still got to see all the handy signs others would leave behind but have no chance of being invaded (or asking for help apparently). Lastly if you're wondering what's up with the post titles I'm trying to copy the "restrictive" message style available in the game. :P

1 - Didn't expect pathetic sort
2 - First off, fingers and then time for down
3 - Be wary of invisible sort
4 - Dog, O friend
5 - No joy ahead
6 - Why is it always undead? Therefore try undead
7 - Be wary of fingers all the more giant
8 - Let there be monarch
9 - Praise the lift
10 - Reinforcements required ahead
11 - Why is it always monarch?
12 - Ahh, jumping...
13 - Seek hole, and then edge
14 - Didn't expect weak foe
15 - Let there be suffering
16 - Could this be a friend? Therefore enemy
17 - Behold, dastard!
18 - Lord, O Elden Ring
19 - I did it!
20 - Offer introspection

This story has ended! Thank you for reading!