Saturday, 6 February 2016

Star Trail: The Pursuers

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With a low number of rations and mostly beer for drinking the prospects of the party making it back to civilization from the cave they crawled out of was not good. The first few orc patrols that chased them were manageable, but soon another adventuring party was again tailing them - no doubt after the stone. I can only imagine the bastard vampire tipped them off.

Without proper equipment, winning a combat against them was out of the question so the team had no choice but to flee - hightailing it deep into the woods in hopes of losing them. This bought some time but also led the team right into a pack of hungry wolves. 

Very hungry wolves!

Again the lack of equipment was telling and ultimately Zubon became an unwilling sacrifice, trapped by the pack to be devoured while the rest of the team fled further into the forest. During the trek Thalen catches the numb skull disease and Cooper begins showing effects from frostbite which forces the team to move slower, which leads to another encounter with the same adventuring party from before. Again the team flees but this time Paeroka doesn't make it far enough before one of their mages turns her into a statue to forever decorate the side of that forgotten path.

She started a trend?

Opting to use the main road now for speed the party rushes North to the nearest settlement but again are caught by the adventuring party. Thalen takes an arrow to the back during the escape and while he does get away, his illness ultimately kills him in his weakened state during the next rest stop. Finally Cooper, Wolfy and Shintar make it to the small town of Tiefhusen, which seems to have been conquered by orcs.

These orcs are in the assimilation phase of their conquest here though, and are not hostile to the residents or the party - as long as they stay in line. Their presence also seems to deter the pursuers which is great, and gives time for the three survivors to breathe.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Star Trail: Freedom

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

It turns out the cell block isn't very well guarded so the party is free to open all the other cells freeing the other captives: a human guard captain named Praiodan Von Tann and an orc of a different tribe named Thurazz who both join the team. Alas it's not long before Praiodan reveals his true form while shaking Paeroka's hand, draining her nearly to death before transforming into a bat and flying away. If he could do that why the heck was he a prisoner? Just to mess with people?

Or was he a scout from elsewhere!? :P

On a brighter note the bodies of the mages who stole the Salamander Stone are also piled in a nearby cell. It seems they didn't fare any better against the orc forces. Shintar wastes no time in searching their corpses for loot.

It also smells of plot device!

While the cell block was pretty easy to traverse, the rest of the place is pretty annoying with all the high level locked doors. Fortunately Thalen's magical knowledge extends to magically unlocking ones Wolfy (currently the strongest of the team) is unable to bash down. Finding the kitchen with a fresh well, food, beer and knives a plenty helps a lot as the orc guards they do run into somehow don't have any items.

It takes many hours of slow progress, avoiding the larger orc groups, and defeating an ogre who nearly beat Zubon to death before the team finally found a ramp leading back out into sunlight and freedom. At this point Thurazz leaves the party to do his own thing - possibly to start up his own orc army and conquer a different region. Alas, for the rest of the team, this turned out to be the easy part of the escape.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Please help Louie

I've been trying to keep my real life out of this blog as much as possible but this warrants it.

One of my nephews (in law) is suffering from TB meningitis and is racking up a hefty hospital bill so I helped my wife make a Gofundme page to hopefully try raise some finance to help them in this trying time.


Donations are obviously welcome, even amounts that wouldn't buy a coffee (conversion to Philippine Peso nets a good margin) but I'd also very much appreciate simply spreading the word using whatever means, social media or otherwise, you have at your disposal.

Louie is just 22, and he's currently in a coma. Please help him out.

For my readers my regular posting schedule will be delayed for a few days to keep this up top where people can see it.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Star Trail: Pain in the A--

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

After dealing with a few more orc patrols the team finally made it back into the besieged city via the secret tunnel. Agdan returned to his order and Zubon and Paeroka were reunited with the rest of the group. While in town the party also donates their spare items and food to the council hall which they are richly rewarded for. Asking around, they also find out that Ingramosh, the dwarf they need to deliver the Salamander Stone to was here once - a guest of the gay elf they slew before. Oops.

Figuring they'll just have to wing it now, the party leaves Lowangen again and are almost immediately set upon by two groups of competing adventurer parties - one after another! While the team is victorious they are pretty badly beaten up after that second round and that's when an army of mages appears before them.

"Hand over the stone or die."

With no hope of winning against that many spell casters in their current condition, Paeroka gingerly gives them the stone. The wizards laugh as they then ride off to the West - and the party pursues them after resting up a little. The head start is too great though, and with combats against random orc patrols slowing them down further they lose the trail.  Fortunately a random shepherd on the road manages to point them in the right direction.


Jesus saves the day again!

It's a long walk and Wolfy's shoes wear out, making her take damage during the journey. Not that it matters though for they eventually run into ANOTHER orc army!

Surprise!

There are no options here. The orcs beat up the team, strip them naked (including magical items this time) and basically make them their play things for a few days while forcing them to march higher into the mountains. Eventually they are thrown into a dark cell where they suffer more orcish abuse for around a week before finally mustering enough rage to take down the orc bringing them what passes as food. And so begins escape from castle Orcenstein!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Star Trail: Thalen the Mage

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

In one section of the swamp the remaining party members find a strange, docile, swamp rantzy who happens to be wearing the signet ring of the soldier they were originally assigned to find. After checking on google what the hell to do (because it's no where near obvious), Shintar throws a net to capture it (the only time you can do that in the game). She then manages to carry the 500 pound thing in her pack for awhile until Thalen remembers to read the scroll they found at the sorcerer's tower: one about transformation to and from a swamp rantzy!

After performing a quick ritual the rantzy turns back into the soldier Agdan, who Wolfy promptly cures of disease and is nursed back to health at the safety of the lizard village and equipped with spare gear. During this time the lizard chief is thankful that the engulfer is no more and tells the party about Star Trail.

And it makes no sense.

The witch on the other hand is a different bag of crazy, rewarding the party by attacking them! Her wolf is easily put down but the old woman herself proves resilient with all her terror spells that send Wolfy and Shintar running like little girls. She's also proficient enough with her broom to knock out the two soldiers: Cooper and Agdan!

Ungrateful hag!

Ultimately it comes down to Thalen in a wizard vs witch duel, and in an epic moment of awesome, he turns the old hag into stone - winning the combat for the team. They all then raid her house and her herb garden in celebration before returning to Lowangen.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens some Spoliers!

Four out of five lightsabers.

Since everyone and their dog has already reviewed this, I'm starting off with my final rating for a change (see above). This is a good movie, definitely better than the prequels. CGI is great, locations and sets are great, the acting is great. Lots of strange extra critters that didn't need to be in the movie? Great!

There are also good humor moments and of course an excellent sound track to go with it. I'm sure fans are already learning Rey's piano theme now. It is definitely worth watching for its own merits instead of just "so I know what's going on when Star Wars VIII comes out". I've already seen it twice! :)


There are however, some things that seemed a little off for me (highlight to read spoilers):

-It's a lot like episode IV. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a little odd.
-Rebel base: Everyone seems to be running for running's sake.
-Rebel base: Clearly ran out of copper paint for C3P0's arm.
-Orphan girl learns to be mechanic. Ok. Learns how to fight. Ok. Learns how to fly (outdated) starships? Uhhh.
-How long has the First Order been around? How long did it take them to build a base, with fully grown trees?
-How do said trees survive as base flies between two suns?
-What the heck were the rebels and the republic doing while the First Order base was being built?
-Lol chasm at the climax of the final fight. Plot device much?
-Speaking of Plot device: R2D2s convenient, unexplained awakening to let the story continue.
-No one would have escaped the formation of a new sun. That was a sudden end to the story huh.

Star Trail: Denizens of the Swamp

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The fight against the gorillas leaves Alice with rabies, something even Aeternus cannot cure, so the team hurries with their search - finding a village of friendly lizardmen, an abandoned cart of supplies, and a witch. The crone wants the adventurers to deal with her nemesis: the sorcerer, who lives in a nearby tower while the lizardmen request aid against a monster they aptly named "the Engulfer" that keeps eating their kin. The team decide to go after that one first.

It's a miniature T-Rex!

The reptile is indeed monstrous, and manages to knock out Cooper and Thalen during the melee. It also devours Aeternus, killing him instantly. Alice manages to land good hits on the beast but ultimately it is Thalen's magic that brings it down. The next stop is the sorcerer's tower in the middle of a lake. Swimming there is pretty brutal damage wise but fortunately there are no adds to be found within. Instead the wizard summons a fire elemental who asks for keywords!?

Size = Power?

This took a while (and a number of reloads because its an insta-death scenario) but eventually the group spoke the correct words the elemental wanted to hear (apparently it watches Trigun, because Vash the Stampede's motto works), and it incinerated the wizard that summoned him before vanishing in a puff of smoke. Pity it didn't help the party return to dry land though, as on the swim back Alice was caught by the current and drowned in the boggy marsh.