Wednesday, 25 January 2012

They ain't scary at all

After trying to drive the car without losing sync (unsuccessfully), we decided to go on foot to get the tank of gas required by what's his face, the pyromaniac back at base camp. Our plan of avoiding driving was thwarted though when we found yet another survivor who would only come with us if we DROVE her to where she wanted. Grrr! Why aren't these zombies more efficient!? Oh yeah, it's because they can be beaten up with paddles and broom handles. Alas that makes them all the less scary.

One successful burnination of bodies later, we drive princess "I don't want to walk" to the lighthouse where we find another set of survivors, all of whom again need stuff to be done. Their leader, James, wants us to power up the beacon which is easy enough once we find the generators to activate. Lots of setup for "ooooh, this is going to be bad" moments but currently the zombies just can't deliver. In fact, they're more a nuisance now like little yappy dogs that chase the mailman (the players). I suppose they'll get stronger eventually. Humorously, we are given the schematics of how to make a "deo-bomb". I'd like to see what the heck you can actually do with 2 deodorants and some sticky tape that would result in such a big explosion. Myth busters anyone?

If these guys are on the island, the zombies are screwed.

Back at the the life guard base we are sent to forage for food stuffs as the people who have been idling this whole time were getting hungry. Luckily we had collected a whole bunch of canned food prior but apparently it wasn't enough! They need juice as well? Uhhh. Ok. Also my eldest bro's char got a severe tan at this point as he switched from playing the asian chick to the abo one. I still feel that having the survivors in separate groups is stupid. Why can't we just bring everyone to one point? Oh well, off we went with a slight detour to find another "missing" person who seemed to be doing ok having blocked off his on-the-water bungalow with a few boxes on the docks. The zombies are too stupid to climb and/or push them out of the way. Again, way to be less scary, zombies. Mister Hedonist was fine with his little group consisting mainly of chicks who were tripping and/or drunk and finding the whole zombie apocalypse thing a minor inconvenience to their partying.

We continued to the gas station where I was proven right that those left alive shouldn't be divided. The two survivors who decided to try hold out there had been overrun and killed when we returned. At least we got their handy juice pack bundle! Also decided to assist in finishing a "HELP" sign for the lighthouse crew which was crawling with infected scum. It may have been dangerous if only we weren't so skilled, and I wasn't insta-killing zombies by headstomping.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Mark Wahlberg's solution to 9/11

Just wanted to post something about non-gaming news for a change. There was an article I saw recently involving Mark Wahlberg and his solution to the terror attacks on 9/11. He has since apologized for them, but I think there is some truth to what he initially said.

While I'm not sure if Mark himself was the solution (hard for him to be on multiple flights simultaneously), I do think that more people with his attitude and the balls, talent and luck to back it up certainly could have at least saved the towers and the people in them. Flying/landing a plane with no experience would likely still result in all the planes being lost, but that would have cut down the death count tremendously.

I can only hope that the people on those planes despite not knowing their destination were proactive in the end and were not meek little sheep that allowed themselves to be herded quietly and obediently to their doom. Maybe they did put up an epic fight and those terrorist guys were just uber close combat specialists who defeated everyone on the way to the cockpit, including folks with as much or more experience than Mark. We'll never know. Gotta say if that's how it went down then those terrorist guys certainly earned the win, but I think they simply didn't meet much/enough resistance. And when good men do nothing, well ... you know the rest.

It's a bit of a change in the way most people think these days though. For example, in every single self-defence course I've been to and heard of they always advise in the event of a robbery to give the robber what he wants and hope he backs off. To avoid conflict. To keep yourself safe and basically let someone else deal with the problem. Gas station attendants when held up (here anyway where they aren't packing shotguns under the counter) just give the money and report the incident. It almost sounds like an every day transaction. "Oh, are you here for your weekly robbery mr. robber? That's excellent as I had already prefilled the forms". This sort of attitude is basically saying, yup. If you are going to get screwed, just bend over and take it then complain to someone later.

I suppose it comes down to how much you value what you are losing, and if you have enough conviction to fight for it. I know there are crazies who would probably fight to the death for $10 dollars, while others would just sit idly by and lose things (material and otherwise) of much greater value (in my mind anyway). In the case of the gas station I can clearly see they don't want to be sued by dying employees. The amounts in one register would be miniscule compared to a successful legal action involving a serious injury/fatality. The whole legal thing comes into play too - just how far do you go to "win" against an opponent? Injure? Maim? Kill? Kill then mutilate and put on a display? All little things that hold people back from what they ought to do.

My examples of robbery really seem out of place since life generally outweighs "other stuff", but when it is your life being robbed that's when things become interesting. Everyone only gets one life (apart from those of you who get reincarnated apparently). How many does yours outweigh? If you have been on one of the planes and you somehow figured out the plan to ram it into the tower (unlikely), would you have killed those terrorists knowing they were the only pilots left on the plane (which was quite likely)? If it was in your power would you have put the plane's passengers to certain death by killing the pilots but saving the people in the towers (one of them anyway)? Or if given the chance would you have simply used the only available parachute on yourself / a loved one because you felt that life was worth more than everyone else's combined?

That's a pretty broad what-if scenario. Maybe I should cut it down to this: If the terrorists told you that you were just hostages for a few hours would you believe them and let them control the plane unchallenged, regardless if they held hostages?

We all know what Jack Bauer would do.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Dumb and the Dead

Dead Island diary - spoilers ahead! You can follow the whole story here!

Now that we've established a better base camp the rest of the lucky survivors are a bit more talkative in the way they want us to do stuff for them since they're all useless. The tasks here range from the pretty strategic, like fixing a car or getting medical supplies to stupidity such as finding a necklace someone left behind. Really? You want me to risk my life to get your stupid necklace? It gets worse as we find other survivors on the outskirts too - a robber who wants to steal stuff from his zombiefied pal and a pair of high as a kite girls; one who can't seem to have enough water and the other one wants us to rescue her teddy bear.

As we go about doing these it seems that the zombies are getting more plentiful, and some what more dangerous - managing to KO my two bros at various points. Still, they are no where near as annoying as the random crashes that happens during gameplay. Not so bad if we can rejoin, but when the server crashes - it's not pretty. Let's just say rescuing mr. teddy involved a lot of deja vu. He was also guarded by a non-zombie crazy person, but a knife to the head courtesy of DL put him down instantly. Also got that car fixed, found medical supplies, revisited the drunk guy and possibly killed him with alcohol poisoning (finally) as well as helped out that robber guy who rewarded us each with a revolver. All with one bullet each. Thanks man. Nice suggestive usage for those there.

Also interesting to note, most normal zombies survive being hit by a speeding car so our old Battlefield strategy which we term "Panzer Jeep", is not so effective here. An upgraded weapon seems to do more damage. Not having been hit by a speeding car or an upgraded weapon myself I can't really claim to know which one would hurt more, and I hope I never find out! :P

Because this apparently hurts more than getting hit by a car.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Zombies in Paradise

Dead Island diary - spoilers ahead! You can follow the whole story here!

After an interesting episode of sleeping through the start of a zombie apocalypse while on Banoi island, I found myself cautiously creeping through the resort hotel and pilfering as much random stuff as I could. A voice on the radio was giving me instructions on how to get to safety and it wasn't long before I came across a batch of angry zombified people. My first instinct was to "Fus roh dah" them off a balcony, but since that's a different game and this character can only do rap songs I high tail it to the "safe" room where I get knocked out. Thanks voice on the radio.

When I awake I am in some sort of holding room with a bunch of other people including my brothers. DL had just gotten back from rescuing some tattooed guy who I'll call Cinnamon. He wastes no time in ordering us out to get a key card from his bungalow. This place is cramped anyway so the three of us exit to the beach, and wow is it a fantastic sight. If not for the decaying and mutilated bodies lying around it sure does look like a nice place for a vacation. It isn't long before we run into small numbers of "walkers", and they are easy enough to put back to the dead state. At least temporarily. I say that because as we went off the beaten track (a lot, to go looting) the ones we previously defeated got back up. Fortunately they were kind enough to put more stuff in the lootable containers while they were at it.

Came across some interesting people on our exploration too, the first being a tied up kinky lady who I think was turning into a zombie but since she was quite immobile and being filmed and such we left her alone. FOR SCIENCE! :P Next up was some dude who was totally breaking down in a literal pool of his family's blood after he killed them all. We tried to tell him to go join the other survivors but he wouldn't listen so we just left him there and found the next idiot, some dude who locked himself in a bar. And he requests alcohol. The hell man - way to be useless. I didn't feel so bad about leaving that one out there to die. He probably wouldn't have even realized it.

Anyway, one key card later and cinnamon gets us to go clear the surf club and the whole path to it of scum so that he can relocate the survivors to a bigger space. During this fun task we meet more nimble zombies who like to run, and they seem to come in bigger numbers! Not that it matters because there's so much stuff lying around to use to kill them with. A big slow brutish zombie acts as the boss at the club proper but against three of us he is eventually brought down. Having cleared the area we signal the all clear and the rest of the gang arrives (thanks for the help guys). Cinnamon rewards us each with special cleavers, this is ontop of a blueprint to make a nasty weapon. I suspect Cinnamon is actually a murderer.

Next thing you know, we'll be getting quests from this guy.

Dead Island Diary

I had quite a bit of fun doing one for my adventures in Skyrim, so I thought I'd continue the trend now that I've started Dead Island. :) It probably won't be updated as frequently though as I'm trying to play it coop with my brothers. Nevertheless, I hope it becomes an interesting read.

A Holiday with Zombies - spoilers ahead!
1. Zombies in Paradise
2. The Dumb and the Dead
3. They ain't scary at all
4. Act I: Completed
5. Scumbag City
6. Over, Under and Out
7. Jungle Party
8. The Evil Tribe
9. Final Fun Run
10. Can't Escape from Paradise (Dead Island: Riptide)
11. Deus Ex Machina
12. That was a Dead End
13. All Kinds of Crazy
14. Under the Dome
15. The Glory of Destruction
16. Criminal Scum deserve Death
17. The Henderson Disconnect
18. Who do you Voodoo
19. Serpo Derpo
20. E-E-Elec-Electrical Scraps!
21. Finish Her!

Tales from Dead Island have ended for now. Thank you for reading! :)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Gotta Catch them All

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

With the major crisis(es) averted, my vacation was cut short when I learned that the lich guys (dragon priests) are actually finite. Should have guessed with them all having names and all. Seems I missed something when I was last at Labyrinthian, and with Iona in tow we revisited the cold ruins and I found the wooden mask that when worn transports me to some sort of chapel for these -eight- dudes. I know I've killed a few of them already so it was a small adventure in itself returning to all my houses and storage areas to try find where I left them lying around. This involved thwarting an attack by an ancient dragon on the mage school and killing a pirate dremora (arr?) in its basement. Yeah that was strange. Anyway after much searching I already had five of the masks.

I recalled that I encountered one of these freaks beside a dragon roost previously so I decided to take up the Blades' offer on a wyrm hunt. One gutsy frost dragon decided to attack right at Sky Haven Temple's courtyard while I was there and after dispatching him met the Blade recruits, Mjoll, Vilkas and Athis to take down an elder dragon roosting at the top of some mountain. Alas, no lich guy here. Next stage of the plan was to take a game designer's view on the matter and if I was them I'd scatter them to the four winds (the edges of the map). Keeping an eye out for ancient nordic temples preferably high up in mountains I finally came across Forelhost where a dude pretending to be a Stormcloak officer (I knew he was shifty after pickpocketing his orders) tasked me to get the staff of the resident lich within. Turns out the old temple is home to a veritable army of Deathlords and Deathoverlords. Around midway Iona dies to their onslaught on one of those reverse spike trap pillar things.

Didn't matter as I backstabbed the rest of them and the lich face too. Couldn't kill him outright though, but Meridia's gift was sure handy in taking him out. Outside I find the traitor trying to get an imperial guy to scout the ruins out too and he rightly deduces that mr quest giver is a thalmor scum. After killing them both I picked up Brelyna the apprentice mage as my new escort as she owed me for that time she turned me green, and into a few animals. Turns out she's a very capable wizard, blasting things to hell and atronarch summoning left and right. After a few days of searching for the next target I get quite frustrated and run into Mister Wiki in a tavern who gives me directions on when to find the remaining two priest guys.

The next one we visit is royally screwed as another wizard named Anska joins the team to clear out his lair. I didn't have to do much at all in there, and the last lich didn't fare much better as he had a longer dungeon thus I was more annoyed when I reached him. :P Finally with all eight masks in hand I returned to their temple of masks and put all of theirs up on display... Seems there is a ninth mask as a reward. Slightly disappointed there was no super powerful foe wearing it though. No matter. After reclaiming all of those Brelyna and I headed back to Solitude to chillax for a bit with Jordis and Njada.

Mission complete.

I know that I'm only level 45 and I haven't cleared -all- the areas (haven't even found some either) but these adventures, despite being highly entertaining, have been causing some real life fatigue. With all the major quest lines out of the way I think its time for a break, especially with some big real life adventures coming up for me. Thanks for reading up to this point! Maybe this will be continued with a future DLC? Only time will tell. :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The War that Waited for Me

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

At last, we get to the "great" war that has been the backdrop of this epic setting from the very first scene. It's kind of disappointing to report that the enemy troops barely scratch me at this stage (a level 45 thief), but it puts a good conclusion to the tale.

Jarl Bossman of Whiterun decided to side with the legion and is the first to fall to the Stormcloak army. Stupid man. The game also prevents me from executing him and his housecarl after defeating him as is what should have happened. Anyway, this is followed by the Stormcloaks attacking many forts scattered throughout the map. The last one even had a pseudo-hero in a high level bounty hunter who was there to hunt me down, but none were a match for the army that had a dragon providing air support. Hell, they had trouble fighting my horse!

After being promoted a few times I reached a rank that let me purchase property in Windhelm which I did, and had another fun battle on my way to the rallying point for the final siege where I was beset by a dragon and an Ancient Dragon at the same time! That was great! Though I think I should really rebuild those Blades to put these critters down before they get out of control.

The final domino of this one sided war was Solitude where General Tullius soiled himself just before Ulfric chopped his head off. I made sure to strip and pose the corpse of the traitorous whore Rikke on the table too as a message to anyone who joins the empire. They get f... killed. At last, the war was over (and all my bounties expunged... muahahaha).

With the empire now mostly driven out of Skyrim and the world eater disintegrated in heaven (lol what?) I decided to rebuild the Blades to handle the dragon slaying for awhile. First I took Mjoll the lioness who was accompanied by her puppy dog follower guy. I was going to take Lob the last orc next, but he was killed by a giant upon my arrival so I decided to look in Whiterun instead. To my surprise now Vilkas had come back to life (after I killed him at Boethiah's pillar?)! Well if the Blades need anything it certainly is people who don't know how to die so I brought both him and Athis to sign up at which point spy girl said they had enough people to start handling the dragons on their own.

This is excellent news as it means I can enjoy some well earned R&R for a while, so I decide to empty out the hall at Jovaskar by marrying Njada who has really grown on me. I tell her to go live in my house at Solitude with Jordis, then get Iona to follow me and meet up with them there for some fun times... maybe playing Dungeon Defenders or something. :P

Because going to the beach was not an option.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Alduin is a Punk

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

After a quick trip to a frozen island to open a giant metal box, Jordis and I finally signed up to aid Ulfric's rebellion. I was hoping that this would progress on it's own as I did forged my own path but it seems nothing gets done without my intervention. The first major strike was a seemingly pointless objective of retrieving an old crown which saw both stormcloaks and imperial scouts lose men for no good reason. After that Ulfric wanted me to deliver a message to Jarl Bossman of Whiterun to see which side of the fence he really was on, but Jarl Bossman would not accept the letter until I got rid of the dragon trapped in his castle. Damnit.

Forced to accept Odahviing's bargain, he flew me to Alduin's hideout where I backstabbed all his minions, including perhaps the easiest lich to defeat in one hit. Also defeated two guard dragons that challenged me on the way up. There were two more at the very top but they were too sleepy to fight so I jumped into Alduin's magic portal into the afterlife. Wait, did I just kill myself? Couldn't I have gotten here by jumping onto a bed of spikes? What's going on man.

I found a shortcut to Alduin's hiding place!

Sovngarde is a pretty boring place. There's a mead hall where you can sing and fight which is great. And ofcourse drink. But I don't drink. Ever. At least the sky is reeeeeally pretty here. There's supposedly mist too, created by Alduin himself as he chomps through spirits to be all spooky like, but my graphics card doesn't support the mist so I see everything clear as day and watch as the big dragon humorously chomps down on spawning spirits at random. It's especially funny when he does it just as they are mid sentence talking to me. :D

Anyway, after showing the dead champions who is boss, a trio of them come with me for the final showdown with Alduin and in Juris' words - "he's a punk". No challenge whatsoever, disappointing. After getting him out of the way and literally being yelled back to life, I find a bunch of dragons waiting for me at the top of the world. Finally a good fight! But I'm wrong. They're just there to worship me and fly off. Odahviing stays to offer his services whenever I need, and boy is that going to come in handy. *evil grin*

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Once a Traitor, always a Traitor

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

Right after the truce meeting I headed up to Paarthumax with Ogol and we put and end to the traitorous worm, and while that upset the Greybeards a fair bit (well at least one of them, the others don't really talk much), my two blades friends were overjoyed. They also asked that I help rebuild their order so they can begin to hunt down the flying lizards once more. However I had other things to take care of when I returned to the Dark Brotherhood HQ to find that Cicero has gone beserk. I was tasked to find the fool and given the nightmare Shadowmere (very awesome horse) to catch him with. We tracked him back to another sanctuary inhabited by murderous spirits, and a named troll. Ogol met his end there and with a sorrowful heart also killed the happy jester. I was starting to like that guy.

Next orc from the village to join me was Ugor, and she quickly proved her skill by surviving an elder dragon and blood dragon simultaneous attack. That was a fun battle! After killing off another imperial fool I was tasked with eliminating a reknowned chef who would be cooking for the emperor. Up near where he was hiding we also helped Salma and Beemja with a cairn they wanted to clear before a quick trip back to Whiterun to trap the dragon Odahviing. After a relatively easy fight he was caught and spills the beans on his master's hideout. He also holds the bargaining chip of me needing him to fly there as it is inaccessible by foot. That's a shame, I remember wandering up the red mountain past all those cliff racers and tossing Dagoth Ur into the lava before even doing the main quest in Morrowind (didn't kill him, but I think that was a technical victory :P) however I guess Alduin has more smarts.

While I contemplated this offer it was back up to Solitude again to cook for the emperor. How the heck does anyone NOT suspect me of being an assassin while wearing complete nightingale armor, bristling with weapons, travelling with an orc body guard escapes me. Instead they accept I am a chef. Just more proof that the empire is filled with morons. The poison dish is served, the emperor is killed and I make my escape - or so I thought! Looks like I've been sold out, and the guy that just died was a body double (you think the emperor would have lots of that with there being magic in this world). After fighting my way to freedom I quickly returned to the Brotherhood sanctuary which was being successfully assaulted by imperial forces. Most of them were already horribly dead by the time I arrived which was awesome. I would have liked to do that myself but apparently missed my opportunity to do so (as Juris informed me later on). Anyway I "save" two of them and the corpse who tells me to continue to hunt the real emperor down.

I think he's a chef, or possibly a monk.

First I deal with the guard commander at Solitude docks, a short and sharp skirmish that resulted in their deaths and Ugor's. Afterwards I quickly snuck into Solitude (I'm a wanted man) to get Jordis from my house before we swam out to board the real Emperor's boat. There we hack, stab and shoot our way through all of it, leaving the ship devoid of life and the empire devoid of a leader. I also decide to take out the turncoat who ordered the hit, since he sits on the imperial council. The payment of 20,000 gold is nice, and the remaining Dark Brotherhood people request I use it to rebuild their guild and recognize me as leader. What idiots. How about I turn them in instead? Again not an option, so I leave them to rot with the corpse of their Night Mother and ignore her whispers in my head. They and the thieves guild can and should fade into oblivion for all I care.

One a side note, one guild that I felt was very under utilised was the Bard's College so it's good to see that the true bards like Malufenix didn't let that get in the way of them sharing their talents with the rest of us plebs. :D

Skyrim covers by Malufenix:
Dragonborn Comes
Age of Aggression

Preparing for the End

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

Back at the Dark Brotherhood HQ (sounds like a racist group huh), the little jester guy I helped previously is here with the coffin of his mother. The Night Mother. I find it quite funny that this bunch of killers have the most personality among the dozens of other NPCs in the world. Distubingly, the dead lady in the coffin decides to talk to me. The Jester Cicero claims I am the new "listener". The current leader is unsure and instead sends me to off a couple of vampires and the orc coward in Morthal, both of which I have no problems with. While I'm out, I decide to have another try at getting the Elder Scroll at Blackreach as well as another collection quest down in its depths. While my expedition this time is successful, Borgath is slain by the falmer "king" at Silent City and his servants. I decide to bring her kinsman Ogol with me next (seems most of that village is willing to follow me after their chief was killed).

Turns out the contract for the Brotherhood is the Emperor himself! This is excellent news, because he's the one who bent the entire empire over to the Thalmor's whims in the first place. There will be things to setup first though, and step one is the bait. Murdering his cousin on her wedding day. I did feel guilty for this one as she was trying to unite the Empire and Stormcloaks, but when it comes down to it - why would I want to ally with a nation full of losers? Caused quite a commotion when I crushed her with that statue, and now the guards in Solitude are after my hide too. Fortunately both Ogol and I got out in one piece and decided to lay low at the top of the world.

It's a pretty good hiding place actually.

While up there I decided to read that Elder Scroll and after a nifty blinding flashback, Alduin himself appears for battle! Optimus Pri... I mean Paarthumax and Ogol the orc help me out too and we defeat him! But in traditional main bad guy fashion, he laughs at us as he runs away. Ermmm ok. Apparently he powers up by eating people in the world, then going to the afterlife and eating them again. Did that make sense? Yeah it sounded a bit wierd to me too. To chase him I needed to catch another dragon first, and needed the already built facilities at Whiterun to do so. Jarl Bossman there wasn't stupid enough to let a dragon in while he was playing the neutral card between two armies though so with the Grey Beards help I called a truce meeting between Ulfric Stormcloak and general stupid skirt, the representative leader of the empire.

How much fun I had when they decided I could call the terms of the treaty. Naturally I sided with Ulfric with everything, and most importantly gave Markarth from the imperials to the stormcloaks in exchange for the measly small port of Dawnstar, already weakening their hold in my land. I mean... this land. *Cough cough*. Also, this switches all the guards in the city of stone to Stormcloak soldiers who don't attack me everytime I visit! Woohoo! :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Master Thief

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

Decided to try go after the Elder Scroll I needed to defeat the main bad dragon today. Hired the merc Stenvar to provide support and while he did help kill a Frost Dragon on the way to the dwemer ruins and a bunch of falmer bastards inside he didn't last very long to a group led by a falmer shadowmaster, who turned his insides into ice. I just backstab those and kill them in one hit. Proceeded down, down, down to goblin town until I came upon... Blackreach. WHAT THE HELL. This place is HUGE, and crawling with nasties. It also connects to other large dwemer dungeons. I tried to map the alien landscape as much as I could until the damn glowy shrooms started to give me a headache so I took the nearest grand elevator out of there to do something else first. Picked up the orc warrioress Borgath too, since I was running out of followers to choose from elsewhere. :P

The Dark Brotherhood had tasked me with three kills, two of which were eliminating people who non-productive to society so I had no problem with that. The last one, a hardworking miner gal in Dawnstar, I had moral issues killing. Turns out the problem solved itself as we arrived because the city was under attack from an Elder Dragon and he happened to turn my target into crispy pata before I could save her. Also visited Solitude to shadow a contact of an enemy to the thieves guild. Borgath didn't do much shadowing though, she just tried to fight her way through guard after guard to no avail. Stupid orc. Saved her life a bajillion times in that warehouse. We also cleared out a dwemer ruin and encountered a named dragon when we exited... sounded like... Vin Diesel?

Anyway, Mercer - the leader of the Thieves guild has finally tracked this nemesis of theirs and wants me to help him take them down. Sure thing. Borgath is too afraid to come with us so she stays behind. For good reason too. Mercer is an absolute kickass when it comes to dustman dusting. Better still, at the end of that it turns out HE is the bad guy and manages to "kill" me. Fortunately Athis showed me his trick of coming back to life and it seems Borgath and the nemesis person who is actually good (to an extent) help me regain my health. We head back to Riften to clear the she-nemesis' name with the guild and slay a dragon attacking the town while doing so. After all things are settled (and after she gives me a really cool set of armor) the obvious quest to hunt down Mercer begins and I am more than happy to do so. Borgath again chooses to stay out of it knowing she'd just get in the way. For the record, the final fight against Mercer is perhaps the best one I've had in the game so far (for my build anyway, Juris who did this as a mage just let his dremora do all the work :P).

What a battle between real master thieves looks like:

Can't see anything? That's the point.

After defeating him I have been elected as guild master for the thieves guild. Really? Well that's just great. They request I help them rebuild their group by doing criminal acts across the land. I have a better idea. I turn them all in. Alas that option doesn't exist, so instead I let them rot in their squallor living in the sewers like the turds they are.

The Bastardly Guards of Markarth

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

After closing a magical rupture and a short visit to Markarth which involved the usual guards attacking me throughout the city, Esbern, Athis, spy chick and I all decide to go locate Sky Haven Temple. What an awesome name. Doing so involves fighting through a large Forsworn camp and just for added fun a blood dragon attacks at the same time too. Somehow we all survive despite me clearly seeing spy girl and Athis being "killed". No matter. The two blades decide to chillax there while Athis and I return to Whiterun. Since he survived this rotation I let him take a break and continue adventuring with Ria the not so rookie now.

Up at the Throat of the World we meet the Grey Beard's leader Paarthumax who sounds a bit like Optimus Prime. His appearance also startles me and I accidentally shoot him a bit before he introduces himself. Fortunately he ignores my earlier attacks. After a nice chat involving plotting the downfall of the main bad dragon, I return to Riften with all my collection tasks complete and immediately become Thane there. My new housecarl Iona is stuck with guard duty for now since the place is crawling with theives. Ria and I also go to help an orc chief slay a giant leader in the name of Malacath. On the way we find a stray dog fighting a dragon, and after slaying the winged serpent the mutt decides to tag along. Turns out that it was a very bad decision on it's part as it, the orc chief and Ria were all smashed to pieces in the giant's lair.

Back in Riften I hire the spellsword Marcurio who thinks he is the bomb. He has some talents to back up this claim as he single handedly defeated a skeever army and crazy skeever man, survived an attack from THREE dragons simultaneously (we could only kill the frost dragon before the other two fled), helped defeat the funny named lich "Otar the Mad", and helped save the city of Markarth from an elder dragon that attacked it while we were there. Our reward for doing so? The guards attacked us again, and they killed Marcurio via arrow pincushion method.

Poor Marcurio, we hardly knew thee.

I hoofed it up to my house in the stone city when I could shake them off me. I wonder if the idiots ever thought of looking for me in here? Anyway I figured my odds of escaping would be better during nightfall (can't fast travel out of the city) so I took a nap to wait for dusk. Seems someone had other ideas though, because when I woke up I was no longer in the city but in a shack with three hostages and one representative from the Dark Brotherhood. She wants me to kill one of them. I wasn't going to, but the Khajit turned out to be a prick and in my mind had it coming anyway. Looks like I've made a new friend and she invited me into her little murderous clan. Once I got into their HQ I proved I really belong by trying to murder every single one of them. Alas they were ALL protected by threads of fate. Damn cheaters.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Last City on the Right

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

It was Njada's turn for evaluation and I must admit, I do not really like this scarred chick. She talks back and is quite angry all the time. However I could not deny her talents after seeing her in action, seemingly pulling off finishing move after finishing move, including brutally murdering a champion of Boethiah. She also assisted in slaying an Elder Dragon and eliminating some (skilled) bandits disguised as soldiers. After a long walk filled with bears we finally reached Riften, the city of thieves. As usual there's a lot to do since it's my first visit, one of which is finding Esbern, a Blade in hiding. I locate the old guy just as he is located by Thalmor scum and find it fitting that I leave these "high elves" dead in the sewers where they belong. Lotsa crazy people down here too.

During all this I manage to infiltrate the so called thieves guild by doing some menial tasks and low level strong-arming. As I suspected they're just a bunch of bastards who deserve nothing more than beheading. When they allow me into their secret club quarters Njada, Esbern and I begin eliminating as many of the idiots as possible. Turns out I can only kill 7 of them, the remaining 4, their fence and their barkeep are all protected by what I call "threads of fate" (god mode). Being the losers that they are, they negotiate a truce and will forget that I killed over half their number for a mere 1000 gold. And they wonder why their guild is doing poorly.

I also learn that they are being backed by the Black-Briar family so at every opportunity I can I bungle their missions, stealing the family's prized horse, burning too many beehives, and generally trying to destroy them indirectly. My team also wipes out a druggie den, a spider filled mine, another deep dwemer dungeon with a centurion master, as well as help an orc village being attacked by a giant. At the end of all that we find ourselves back at Whiterun to unload loot. I have grown to like Njada quite a bit during our travels. Since she survived this rotation I let her take a breather and pick up Athis (the somehow still alive again) for the next trip out which I like to call the great collection expedition. For some reason Riften's quests have a hell of a lot of collecting various herbs and semi-rare reagents which takes me more than a few hours. Urgh.

It's a bit like that.

The Cleansing

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

J'zargo didn't turn out to be as good as he thought he was, as he was slain by in battle with common bandits. With a delivery task back to Whiterun I discovered all the companions could now follow me. Not wanting to have a freaking werewolf I decided to take Athis the asshat, to evaluate his skills. I watched as he was knocked down and begging for mercy by four unarmed pirates. And again by one Khajit assassin. I don't know how he ever joined the supposedly best fighters guild in the region. We also went to assist an Imperial fleet take out a Pirate hold (pirates are more scum than the empire so it was ok for this short truce). Ofcourse, they sent me and Athis in alone to kill the leader - a task in which Athis was axed to death by a single pirate minion. I cleared out the pirate keep only to discover the imperial ships began bombardment... while I was still inside. TRAITOROUS SCUM! I should have known!

Not a face you can trust.

I made it out under all the explosions and had a stern word with the imperial lady in charge afterwards, Adelisa. She wanted to join my adventures? Sure. Let's see how you like being betrayed. A prime opportunity arose when we found the Cult of Boethia, who wanted me to sacrifice her on a magic pillar. I had other ideas though, we killed all of them instead. Adelisa also helped me get half way through a dwemer ruin looking for a powerful staff before she had her insides ripped out by Falmer bastards. Those guys are really ruthless. Also found and assisted an empire aligned mage there, but due to his obligation to report the goings on here to his superiors I had no choice but to slit his throat.

Decided to head back to Whiterun to handle a problem that's been nagging me for awhile. As guild leader of the companions, I wanted all werewolves OUT. To my surprise when I get to the hall I see Athis there - alive and well. Little bastard somehow made it off that island! No matter, next up for evaluation was Ria the rookie. We did minor tasks for the three circle wolves and she handled herself amiably, even managing to slay a dragon (normal type - haven't seen them in awhile). I had hoped the lycans would reconsider their condition especially since they knew there was a cure for it now, but alas they seemed to all be happy with their condition. I had no choice then, as guild master it was my responsibility to deal with this potential problem. With all three in tow I took them to the pillar of Boethia where the threads of fate (game immortality) could not protect them and I grinned as I ended their miserable lives. There would be no more werewolves coming from you three infected bastards. That felt so much better!

Next up for evaluation was Torvar the drunk, and I took him to assist in the problems up at Winterhold where he performed waaaay better than I thought he would. He survived defending the broken town against magical anomalies, against a skeletal dragon, a wisp mother AND a lich. He also got to fight the thalmor prick Ancano and his associate. Alas, in the final battle he had his jugular ripped out by a crazed magical anomaly. After avenging his death and fixing the main problem at the mage school I was named arch-mage, which is ironic since my level of magic ability is rather low. Guess these mages aren't so smart after all.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A whole lot of killing

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

Thanks to being interrupted by a Jester with a broken down carraige, I was left to catch up with the three fools at the dungeon itself where really only one of them was of any use. The first twin was too sad and the second was afraid of spiders (what? lol) so it was up to Aela and I to reach the deep crypt past all the warriors of old. Once there the ritual for the cure simply involved tossing a severed head into a flame. Easy enough. Since I brought extra, I decided to cure myself too. By strange coincidence I find myself now the leader of this Companions guild that has a few too many members that I dislike. The three amigos stay for awhile to worship the dead while I head on back to Solitude to infiltrate a Thalmor party at their embassy. I like this mission already.

After slipping away from the guests I make sure to assassinate every single Thalmor guard, assistant, official, or general supporter I find. Backstabbing and throat slitting has never felt so rewarding. Those I could not reach I had to kill using arrows through a fence, but I made sure none remained alive. With the information I needed in hand I was assisted by my housecarl Jordis to escape using a one-way underground tunnel (which leads me to question as to how she got in there in the first place). She also is a good fighter assisting me in defeating another Forsworn stronghold, a blood dragon, two elder dragons, and vasals of Mehrunes Dagon. Phew! That's a lot of killing.

Back in Winterhold the Mages College has tasked me with gathering more intel on this giant floaty orb thing as well, so I decide that it would probably be prudent to bring a mage on this task and with the novice Onmund offering to help after I retrieved his family necklace I told Jordis to take a break and meet me back at the house in Solitude. She was happy to do so, but first she pulled out her axe and began an uprovoked chopping on the Thalmor agent Ancano. Before I can do anything, Onmund is shooting lightning at her, defending the Thalmor scum! What the hell man. ANY SUPPORTER OF THE THALMOR MUST DIE. With daggers in hand I tore Onmund into tiny little pieces, leaving what was left of his corpse lying on display at the center of the hall. Ancano unfortunately is immortal (I did try killing him on our first meeting, stupid game), so eventually I managed to calm Jordis down enough to get her outside and on her way home. By luck and skill, no one actually saw me killing my fellow student, so I waltzed onto choice number two - the khajit J'zargo who had in a very sly way tried to kill me earlier I think.

This one thinks that it is you who is the fool.

Then it was off to Windhelm, a city of snow, racism and murder. By sheer first impression I already had an idea of who was the murderer anyway but no one was asking me to help solve the crime so I did the usual "talk to everyone and punch a few people in the face" routine. Finally also "properly" met Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the rebellion. He has spirit and I am inclined to join his cause, but not yet - there still be the dragon mystery to solve. Apparently he's also quite racist (so am I, I hate all races that don't bow down to me) so it is a minor flaw compared to the many that plague the defunct empire.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ashes to Ashes

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

On the road to Markarth we came across a Thalmor unit with a prisoner. After getting into a theological argument with them, they attacked (as planned) and I tested Erandur's will to kill his own kind (elves), which he passed with flying colours. He is quite a violent priest. After freeing the captive we continued to the City of Stone for what was meant to be a simple pickup job for the mages college and a bounty retrieval from the Jarl's steward. This was not to be. One of the guardsmen at the main hall wanted to arrest me: on charges of treason for "aiding" the forsworn. I aided them by killing their leader? I knew quickly that the local Thalmor bastard (who was standing there at the time with his usual smug grin) had organized this. I told the guard "fuck you", and began a long fight back out to the city gates, but not before I made sure the Thalmor asswipe and his two lackeys were lying lifeless in pools of their own blood. Between Erandur and I we must have slaughtered half the guardsmen at Markarth before reaching the gates. Alas in the final melee, the priest was cut down and his body lay in a pile of other soldiers he killed.

Decided to steal a horse and make my way to a nearby orc camp which I was turned away from earlier. The blacksmith lady (orc) in town had told me I would be welcome now after helping her which I was. Upon arrival I did what is customary I assume. I challenged their chief to a fist fight and publicly humiliated him by knocking his lights out. Then I got his brother Ghorbash to join me on my next tasks which involved killing hagravens and as luck would have it, a great number of orc bandits. The stalwart warrior was not in my company long though when he met his end to a master necromancer who then raised his body to fight against me. Upon killing the wizard with my arrows the once mighty Ghorbash disintegrated into a pile of ash.

How many people end up when Necromancy or Fire is involved.

Back at Whiterun I found that the Silverhand had been busy and managed to actually kill the old leader guy. YES! One less werewolf. Vilkas, one of the twins, wants vengeance and demands to come with me. Ofcourse his vengeance can wait. First we go back up to High Hrothgar where I finish my training and can finally use the shout that all these dead men have been using against me (Fus ro dah!), then we go kill a troublesome giant, fight an elder dragon and the lich Krosis at the same time (that was tough), and find Azura's star. Also became Thane of both Winterhold and Dawnstar, and retrieved missing books and rescued the stupid student Orthorn for the mages college from a sorceress who calls herself "The Caller". When she saw me she instantly panicked and let me take whatever I wanted. Silly for her at that point I wanted her life for making me go through all her minions. Dagger to the back resulted in her instant death and prevented any stupid boss fight that may have happened.

Finally we get to Vilkas' revenge. The Silverhand stronghold is expansive, but generally they are no match for us. Also decided to free a captive werewolf who turned out to be wild (as I predicted). I let Vilkas deal with it to see if he had the cahones to murder his own kind. He did. I grinned and laughed. That should be the fate of all stupid werewolves (I'm a werecorgi, I'm not included in that generalization :P). I was tempted to backstab Vilkas right now but I knew from the fight with Krosis earlier that he was immune to death (damn game). Back at Whiterun we attended the funeral of the old leader guy where Aela burned his corpse on the pyre. I also learn that there's a cure for this lycanthropy, so with the twins Farkas and Vilkas and Aela we begin our run North to find it.

Triple Dragon

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

Dawnstar seems to truly be a "cursed" village. Apart from having the really strong vampire earlier and being plagued by nightmares it was also attacked by a frost dragon who was eventually slain by yours truly. I helped the priest Erandur deal with that nightmare problem, and it's worth noting the coward Benor stayed outside the shrine that was causing it. He really is a chicken. After helping the Dawnstar residents my cowardly companion and I continued East through the icy mountains to visit the hard to miss shrine of Azura and the city of Winterhold. After killing three random frost trolls we were attacked by yet another frost dragon. It had caught us on an open cliff and though it too died just as its sibing did earlier, it did manage to end Benor's miserable existence before doing so. I watched amused as his lifeless corpse slid down the mountain slope till I had to return to finishing off that dragon.

Finally reached Winterhold and discovered that it probably be renamed to Winterhole as most of the city collapsed due to erosion. My bet is Solitude will suffer a similar fate. Anyway while there I decided to visit the Mages College and by some misunderstanding actually enrolled as a student even if I'm not a mage. The first class concluded with a field trip to some dangerous ruins where we separated up and the teacher guy let me go on ahead to fight death lords solo. While this was ok with me, I'm wondering what happens to other novices who find themselves in such spots. :P

"What the hell, teach!?"

With many tasks calling my attention back West, I headed back that way picking up the elf priest Erandur on the way (he owed me for helping him fixing his problem earlier), and proved his combat ability by NOT dying to yet ANOTHER frost dragon on our travels. Also continued the usual clearing of tombs and bandits that were in the way, and at one point I was concerned the talkative priest broke his leg as he no longer wanted to follow me but a bit further down the road he caught up, seemingly fully healed. I was pleased that this frail priest guy was more badass than my previous companion. Also, wow three dragons in one post. They're getting more frequent!