Saturday, 1 August 2015

Nameless: Balkazar's Lair

[Day 2 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Balkazar stroked his beard as he peered into his crystal ball and watched the three intruders fight their way past his muscular but dim witted minions. His lair, built within the buried bones of a nameless, long dead, giant beast along with his small army of brutes had kept prying eyes away for years. That was clearly not going to be the case today but he remained quietly confident as he sat in his plainly decorated room. As the sounds of battle drew closer he looked up at the wooden door and grinned.

Having cleared the hallway of guards Nerith nodded to both Indas and her sister as she got ready to kick the door open. Just as she was about to the door exploded outwards with such force that it sent her flying back against the cold stone wall behind her, instantly knocking her out. In a rage Nessa charged in, focusing on the bearded mage grinning behind his table. Before she could take another step something cut into her side and threw her like a sack of potatoes across a waist high counter into what appeared to be a simple bed space. Gritting her teeth through the pain she looked back and saw her attacker - a tall, feathered humanoid with talons and the head of a demonic vulture.


As it was still staring at her, it never saw Indas' hammer coming. The huge, muscular lady had swung with all her might and the blow made a sickening, crunching sound as it almost turned the vulture faced creature's head completely around in a spray of green blood. Indas continued her charge as it collapsed to the floor, swinging her hammer down onto the seated mage but her weapon went right through him and smashed the chair. Confused by the phantom image, Indas was caught by surprise when the stone statue behind her suddenly grabbed her long black hair with one hand and with the other scooped her up between her thighs, easily lifting her above its head and piledriving her face first through the crystal ball, the wooden table in sat upon and into the stone floor.

By this time Nessa was back on her feet in the next room and upon hearing the mage laugh in glee, noticed the image of the same bearded mage in the "reflection" in the nearby mirror. Having realized her true opponent she threw a dagger through the window disguised as a mirror, and right into Balkazar's throat. The wizard's eyes grew wide with surprise as he turned to face her, but upon attempting to utter an incantation the only thing that came forth was a stream of blood from his own mouth. Nessa leant against the wall as she watched him unceremoniously collapse through the "mirror", dead, and with his will gone the stone statue that had picked up Indas' own hammer to crush her  had once again become lifeless and dormant.

"I hate mages," Nessa spat before hobbling over to check on her injured companions.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Nameless: Easy

[Day 1 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Why do we get to be the bait again?" grumbled Nerith to her sister as they cautiously approached the tall mouth of the large cave, lit torches in hand. A deep growl followed by heavy foot falls from within confirmed that the beast had seen them and in mere seconds advanced angrily out of the shadow and into the moonlight, letting the girls get a good look at its gigantic claws, heavily scaled back, and hideously ugly beak face. It was so focused on the two intruders in front of it that it never detected Indas and Chaya, patiently waiting above with a rather heavy looking boulder. With a large thud and a splat, the boulder found its mark right on the beast's head, killing it instantly.

"Hah, that was a lot easier than I thought," mused Chaya as she watched Indas climb down to her friends. Just before they vanished into the darkness below Chaya waved to them and gave the old arena hand sign for good luck.

The initial cave interior was pretty spacious and littered with the bones of whatever the rampager had been eating. There were higher ledges though which Indas was key to reaching, helping her smaller allies climb up the slippery and mossy rock faces. Those higher passages narrowed into a maze of cobweb filled tunnels, and more than once did the girls see the big, black spidery shapes skittering deeper into the darkness. Choosing the paths that had less webs and an an upward incline, they found a draft of cool air blowing into the caves and following that eventually found another exit near the top of the mountain which led right beside the old and crumbling stone castle.

The cold air was a good change from the sticky and hot ascent through the caves but they were given no chance to rest as a loud bell began ringing atop one of the towers: an alarm. Tossing the torches aside, the three women quickly charged towards the nearby castle walls to do what they did best - darting in serpentine lines to avoid incoming arrows and easily finding holes in the crumbling walls to breach into the ancient courtyard. The defenders were so unprepared for an attack that they were easily dealt with as they trickled in, even while Nerith climbed the crumbling parapet to get rid of the archer pair above. After a few minutes of slaughter no more reinforcements came. The girls grinned to each other, covered in blood while standing over the bodies of over a dozen bandits and a few, now mangled, wyverns, the only surviving beasts still locked in their cages - blankly staring out behind the bars.


Amidst the bodies Nerith spotted an oddly carved flute that must have belonged to one of their victims. Curious, she bent down to pick it up but before she could do so Indas quickly stomped on it - crushing it into dust. The caged wyverns suddenly all began to frenzy, as if only realizing now that they were prisoners.

"Bad magic," said the big lady in a low tone.

It was rare for Indas to say anything, so Nessa and Nerith didn't question her when she did. They considered what to do with the trapped wyverns for a moment but since it was equally dangerous to let them go or kill them, they ultimately decided to leave them where they were, letting the fates decide which ones would be strong enough to escape and which would simply die in captivity. The irony wasn't lost on Nerith as they returned through the tunnels to Sedrite to report the good news to an overjoyed Chaya.

"Our village can now rebuild properly," said the thankful woman. "We owe you our lives. We would be more than happy for you to stay of course!"

"Sorry," apologized Nessa "We still have things to do, but maybe one day you can return the favour."

After some hugs and final goodbyes, Chaya watched as the three girls walked out into the wasteland they had appeared from.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Idiocracy

"The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate."

A military experiment goes awry when the most average army dude (Luke Wilson) and average "private sector" lady (Maya Rudolph) are cryogenically frozen, forgotten about and by sheer luck wake up years in the future... a future where the IQ of the human race has dropped like a stone. It's soon discovered that army dude is the smartest man on the planet and is tasked with fixing the world.

He's a Mac.

Yep, this comedy has a stupid premise and is full of swearing and low brow humor. There's also passable CGI (surprising that its of that quality actually) and a lot of really dumb shmucks running around. There's really not much more I can say about it than that but as silly as it sounds, it is surprisingly entertaining and probably worth at least one watch. I give it two Brawndos out of five. Watch it again? Ehhh, I think not.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Good People

There are always monsters guarding pots of gold.

An American couple (James Franco and Kate Hudson) living in England happen across some "bad money". Due to their financial difficulties they choose to try keep it from themselves. This obviously becomes a problem when the bad people who want that money come knocking. That's the plot in a nutshell and there's nothing really more than that going on, yet it kept my attention throughout.

There's a fair amount of violence in this film but I felt it is used sparingly and instead relies on the thriller aspect of how the couple can get out of the mess they get themselves into.

"Let's just run away!" probably would have been a valid option.

Good performances all around and when the action parts come in they are quite exciting and sometimes brutal. No extra stuff or crazy car chases, just very character focused and to the point. Even if it's a somewhat predictable point. That's why I quite liked it, and give it two and a half hidden stashes out of five. Would I watch again? Surprisingly, yes!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Today I Smiled: The Revenge of Blaugust!

Heads up everyone! Bel is running his Blaugust event again and once more I am participating. Seems I've been posting daily for a fair bit anyway. Hopefully this will also refill some of the "bleed" (aka blogs that I've been culling due to inactivity) which is currently on 15 this month (34 total since the last NBI). Be advised - I plan to be hitting my Nameless "Creative Writing Experiment" pretty hard during Blaugust. I know it's probably not everyone's cup of tea so just giving you advance warning that there might be large slabs of it coming up. I'll still try break it up with movie reviews though. :P

In other news, lumber jacking and getting wood from trees is pretty common in MMOs right? Well I had my first taste of it recently and it is definitely different in real life! While it definitely takes time (doesn't help that I'm a novice) it's also much louder than say... the sound file in Ultima Online. Way bloody louder. Also, vertical cuts are much easier than horizontal cuts which is great for branches but since trees generally stand upright I'm not getting any joy there.

Also doing the "wedge" cut is pretty tough! Doesn't help that my accuracy with the axe is not the best so I was ending up with deep "U" shaped things. Cutting half way into the target with the wedge cut is not enough. At least not with the things I'm trying to cut. It almost needs to be broken right through before things start to give. Next time I think I'm going to try a saw!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Time is the most valuable commodity there is.

Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is Sci-Fi Cinderella. Being an illegal immigrant, she and her Russian relatives work as maids and are struggling financially. This changes when various aliens arrive to try kidnap and/or kill her as it becomes apparent that she is the reincarnation of someone important and related to the space villains of this film, House Harkonnen. Oh wait. Wrong movie. Eddie Redmayne does make an interesting soft spoken villain though, very different from his Pillars of the Earth character.

Can you hear me now!?

There's a LOT of action in this movie and most is done with very cool, high budget CG. Mila goes through a whole bunch of outfits in the course of the film so kudos to the costume designers too. There are a number of plot things I'd question though, like how one dude can breathe space in one part but not in another, and why don't more people use hover skates as they clearly come in handy and must be affordable to all the bad guys if they are that "rich".

The most annoying one for me though is that Jupiter is basically a passenger for most of the film. She really has no say in what's going on with her for almost the whole movie. Not sure if it was intentional, but that's how I perceived it. Still, it's a fun watch so I give it two and a half gravity skates out of five and yes, I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Today I Smiled: Second Lie of bs-ter

Looks like I've been Liebstered a second time, this time by WolfDragon who generally suggested having a search field somewhere on here... so I've plugged on in on the left, just underneath the Library section! Just like last time, I'm going to kill the chain here after answering WolfDragon's questions. I think I'll have a go at the 11 random facts too, though as I mentioned last time - there are already around 31 facts I put up in last years Blaugust (starting from this post and ending here).

Eleven Facts that you may already know about me:
  • I draw and have made cartoons in flash. Kinda bummed with the recent news for that product.
  • The pic in my profile is what I actually looked like before.
  • I compose music and mainly play piano.
  • I love boardgames and want to make my own. So far, this has been unsuccessful.
  • Always wanted to make a computer game that was good enough to sell (for the price of a hot chocolate). Will be trying that in the future.
  • I wear glasses when on the computer as I am far sighted.
  • When I was younger, a german shepherd managed to pounce and pin me to the floor - it then licked my face!
  • I sometimes take cold showers just for the hell of it. This is most interesting during winter.
  • I'm a chocaholic!
  • I watch a lot of movies. (Duh)
  • Since March, I've been on a not so strict "avoid carbs" diet. Lost 7 kgs so far.

WolfDragon's Pop Quiz:

If you could have any vehicle of any type from a game, which one would it be?
Giant Robot. One of the humanoid looking ones from either ZMR or Mech Warrior.

Does your current nickname (or character name) have a meaning? If so, what is it?
Yes - a very silly one! My Skyrim actually came from when I was learning to play basketball, during an age where I was so young that I could barely shoot from the freethrow line - it was far! I thought it would be so much easier if I could walk on the sky, upside down no less, because it would be easier, as the only upside down player, to shoot, not need to dribble (because I'm flying right? no traveling violation there) and be able to dunk (jumping is inverted) and touch the ring as my taller and at the time, way fitter brothers could. While the elder scrolls totally "stole" my name, at least theirs had a more awesome connotation to it. :P

Do you like to collect things in game? If so, what is your strangest collection?
Healing potions. Not really a very "out there" collection, but in games that have healing potions I normally use them pretty fast. It isn't uncommon for me to bring 500+ of the strongest type I can get my hands on.

Have you ever been drawn back into an MMO because of an email they sent you?
Nope. If said emails had instant rewards attached to them then they'd have a better chance. Hasn't happened yet though.

What game achievement are you most proud of? (It can be a “real” achievement or a goal that you made up for yourself.)
Playing piano and singing at my cousin's wedding - as the only musician. First time I ever did something like that, and it was awesome. :)

Have you ever lead a group of people in a game (such as a guild)? If not, do you think you could?
Yes, and still do as part of the triumvirate leadership for my guild. It's a lot easier with co-leaders I think.

How do you express your love for games? Writing? Art? Posting on the forums?
All the above PLUS also making content for games that allow me to, such as Neverwinter Online (Foundry) or when I was a GM in various Ultima Online shards.

Has gaming helped your life in any way? If so, how?
It certainly sped up my typing and reading.

Describe a moment where you very badly wanted to do something that went beyond the limits/physics of a game. Such as save a favorite character that was otherwise destined to die.
Any time you are -required- to have more than one person to do anything: from fight a boss to open a door, that is stupidity. True heroes get stuff done on their own!

Ever wanted a pet from a game? Which one?
In real? Well, there are many cool ones in my Mabinogi stable, but if they poop then I don't want any! Hrm, maybe the flamesteeds would be ok - they do seem mechanical anyway. Mechanical and ... on fire. :P

And most importantly: cake or pie?
Cake! Especially the chocolate variety. Pie is often filled with fruits. Bleh!