Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Wonder Woman

Finally, DC puts out another good superhero movie!

Growing up on the isle of Themyscira, home of warrior women Amazons, Dianna (Gal Gadot) had always wanted to join their ranks - eventually undergoing training despite her mother, the Queen's, protests.

Out of love, vital information is with held from her and when an opportunity to leave the sheltered isle comes calling, in the form of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), she goes to fulfill her mission of protecting the world from the God of War, in the middle of World War I. Those poor, poor Nazis.

I have to admit, this movie does have all the things I'm looking for in a superhero flick with good effects, nice camera work, explosions, nice eye candy (so much eye candy lol), a body count, good acting all around, a decent bad guy and most importantly a decent story!


There are nice funny bits, "war is hell" bits, and a good dose of "girl (em)power(ment)" all done without any viscera. I particularly like the artsy part near the beginning of the film. I can't really flaw this movie and while it doesn't beat my favorite (The Dark Knight, I'm a Batman fan), I also have no reason to not give it five god killers out of five. Highly recommend it and yes, I would definitely watch it again. :)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Boyka: Undisputed

Boyka's "gift" from God is beating the hell out of other people!

The Undisputed series is an interesting one as it gets better with each subsequent movie. While the first one is very ho hum, it picks up quickly in the 2nd which introduces Scott Adkins character of Yuri Boyka as an antagonist.

He's clearly the favored character since in movies 3 and 4 (this one), he has advanced to protagonist stature, and given his fighting ability it's easy to see why. As a fighting movie, a shallow plot is to be expected, but the fight scenes and tight camera work make everything a joy to watch.

It helps that all the fighters have great athleticism too!

I'm surprised I haven't done reviews for any of this series yet, but for fans of martial arts you will definitely enjoy this. If you haven't seen any of the Undisputed series, I'll score them below:

Undisputed I - Two fists out of five. (Note: No Boyka in this movie)
Undisputed II: Last Man Standing - Three knees out of five.
Undisputed III: Redemption - Four shins our of five.
Boyka: Undisputed (IV) - Four spines out of five.

The first movie can be skipped and the second is not bad, but the last two I highly recommend and would definitely watch again in a heart beat as they are among my favorite martial arts movies. :)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Today I Sighed: Where to Find Time?

Seems that I'm back in a "so much to do and not enough time too lazy to do it" phase at the moment, with my gaming addiction strangling out most other things once more. Thanks Neverwinter Online. Lol. At least I've got Chult done now, along with the long outstanding Tyranny of Dragons (thanks to the Linu improvement).

This leaves the Storm King's Thunder, the Day of the Dungeon Master event (too many dice required), and the PvP campaigns (no interest in that, so no biggie) unfinished. All that is also eating into my blogging time, which is annoying since I want to continue the Fate of Heroes story at some point.

I did do something different last weekend by attending Comic Con where I was surprised at how many people purchase boxes of random gear. That is, you get a box but don't know what's inside it. Haven't these guys played MMOs? Lol.

I also learned that the world of war gaming is very varied if this list is anything to go by, and that for each kick ass "good guy", there are psychos to balance it out.

In honor of one of our guild mates who has left I'm putting her favorite bands up here as my closing musical numbers: If these Trees could Talk and Explosions in the Sky. If that's too heavy for you, perhaps you'd enjoy this piece from the Eurovision Choir contest instead.

And as a bonus for bird lovers: here's a live feed for some roosting Peregrine Falcons.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Neverwinter Online: Tomb of Annihilation

Where dinosaurs are worse than dragons!

Now that I've finished the campaign, apart from the titular dungeon itself, I am fairly confident when saying that this is one of the better campaigns to date. Cryptic expanded on the good idea of letting people do "what" they want from the River District and included a "when" they want too. That is, players can pick a (small) variety of things to do during the span of a week to advance the campaign, instead of the stressful and rigid dailies from campaigns before.

That's perhaps the best feature for me, as it makes it easy to alt through it - and still have time to catch up on other campaigns! The new zones are also quite pretty and the monsters suitably dangerous. Though the dinosaurs do have a large detection range I've worked out paths that can get you into almost all the areas without drawing any aggro. It does involve jumping off cliffs and almost never following the road but it works.

It's a pretty place.

The new hunt mechanic is pretty fun too, especially when accompanied by some guildies. The only downside is the limitation of only being able to carry one lure type at a time, which makes "grinding" hunts a bit of a chore though I suppose that may have been intentional. Definitely a good module, and while not one new players can access right away due to a high iLevel suggestion (for good reason), it's certainly one worth working towards and looking forward to. :)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Shadows Over Camelot

Join the Knights of the Round Table and save Camelot from doom!

With invaders all around and magic items slowly slipping from reach, Camelot is in need of 3 to 7 (8 with the Merlin's Company Expansion) brave knights of the round table to save it. The mechanics of this coop/semi-coop game are simple. On your turn you do something bad, then do something good - and complete quests by playing poker. Sounds odd but it's a pretty decent system.

The other fun thing is that the game encourages the lack of sharing information by hiding cards from your allies and speaking in character. So no "I am running out of cards to help here", instead its "My friends, I will soon need to travel elsewhere" or some other nonsense. It's silly, but one of the best things of the game is this silliness. The very first win my group had happened when on the brink of winning (or losing) a war, Guinevere tried to call all of us off the field so my brother controlling King Arthur killed her with Excalibur. "Silence thou unfaithful strumpet!"

Other than everything trying to kill us, it's a pretty place!

The artwork is pretty cool and the game can feel oppressive at times but it seems to me that if the knights are really working as a team, the game is comparatively easy when compared to Arkham/Eldrich Horror or Xenoshyft. I guess that's why it has the traitor "feature" where one knight actually works for the bad guys (in secret) which I've not yet tried since my regular players prefer full co-op.

Currently I give this game three siege engines out of five (full co-op only). It's a fun two hour(ish) romp once people know how to play with quick setup and quick cleanup after. However if you are really looking for a full cooperative game, I'd recommend going for any of the D&D board games instead.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Justice League Dark

Aka "Batman meets Constantine".

When people start having waking nightmares and killing each other, the Justice League springs into action to try stop the madness. And by that I mean, Batman alone decides to investigate. I suppose the rest *could* be trying to keep the peace but we don't really see that. It is totally understandable though to make room for the more mystical powered heroes he teams up with, the most notable being Zatanna and Constantine.

Facial expressions: Determined, Determined, Determined, and Batman.

There's a bit of slowness during the introduction of these newbies, but the fun gradually picks up pace as the team faces more absurd characters and challenges such as: demons, ghosts, wizards, shit monsters... etc. Even Batman isn't impressed (which is hilarious). While the story is definitely out there, it works towards a very satisfactory ending.

Not a bad outing for this Justice League movie. Not fantastic, but not bad. I'd definitely watch it again and hope they make more of this "Dark" series. All up I give it three magic spells out of five. If you like Justice League and/or the Constantine TV show, you'll probably like this.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Shin Gojira

Toxic dumping creates a rampaging monstrosity - again!

After his stint in the US, this Godzilla reboot returns him to Japanese waters where he not so promptly begins to rampage across miniature cities - much like most of the gigantic foes in say... Power Rangers. Of course, the CGI makes this much better than it sounds, but the feel of a "guy in a suit" rampaging in a mini-city is still there. Not that the movie ever explains why it is doing this.

Maybe he's just looking for a sweet roll.

Instead it focuses on the many aspects of the government debating and organizing on how to handle this threat. Indeed, at least 50% of this movie is "let's have a meeting" followed by "let's have another meeting in a different room, with slightly different people". There are so many people that I can't honestly name a single of their names, not even the protagonist. The female lead(?) stands out for having the worst engrish in the film, which isn't really a positive. Why is she even speaking English to a cast of Japanese speakers anyway?

As cool as Godzilla's sections are (despite how quirky he looks), it keeps getting tempered with what I find as boring bureaucracy which is a shame. I give it 2 lazers out of five, and have no intention of watching it again.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Sheltered: Black Vengeance

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Of the attack force, Carol Black is really the only one to return to the bunker with Timothy Redshoes and Mary dying from their injuries on the way back, and William Beardguy abandoning her during to try escape the region on his own. She learns from Michael Gray and Margaret Cleaner that Skrmischa and Carol Hattier had since returned with the last car part, repaired it and left with some supplies - leaving the bunker to them as agreed.

Enraged at the loss of her sister, Carol tries to convince her two remaining allies to go back to Glenchester and extract vengeance but they decline, quite rightly pointing out that they can just shut the hatch and survive indefinitely in this fully self sustaining bunker. Carol hears none of it though, and loads up with armor and as many bullets as she can carry. That turns out to be a big number, as the bunker is quite stocked with ammo, just not firearms. She then departs, leaving Michael and Margaret to their "Crypt".

With no intention of surviving this suicide mission, Carol attacks the Marauders head on with guns blazing. The crazed bastards seem to be popping out of the woodwork with their axes and blades and crowbars, but because none of them had guns of their own the playing field was quite even. Ultimately Carol's aim and grit and ammo out lasted the Marauders until at last, the walls and roads ran red with their blood. She had killed them all.

And became legend.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sheltered: The Battle of Glenchester

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The battle at Glenchester City against Janet's crew is furious, with Carolyn, Cynthia and Helen Harvey being beaten to death by Janet's lackeys and Janet personally gunning down Christine and Elizabeth Armygal before Martha Black can put a shotgun shell into Janet's head.

No one takes cover in this game.

The rest of the forces do well in their own battles, but as the remnants of Janet's lackeys try to scatter away a new and more dangerous faction calling themselves "the Marauders" arrvie on their bikes, having been attracted to the fighting... and the fresh meat. Apparently Janet's group -was- protecting the city after all.

Still exhausted from combat, the group is no match for these axe-wielding Marauders and are routed. Karen Road, Edward Montgomery, Cannibal Joyce and Daniel Darksin all fall to their axes. Martha Black is also separated from her sister, captured and later forced to watch her former allies be cooked over a bonfire and endure horrific torture before she too becomes the main course for the ravenous Marauders.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Sheltered: Meat Unraided

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With the addition of Mary, Cannibal Joyce, Edward Montgomery, Timothy Redshoes and Daniel Darksin - the army, led by the Black sisters move out in force and in high spirits despite only having 3 firearms between them.

At the same time Skrmischa and Carol Hattier go to search for that last missing car part, leaving only new comers Mark and Michael Gray to guard the base when the two surviving raiders from before return and bust down the door, timing their attack when the base is at its weakest, looking to steal more loot!

The auto rifle hits hard, but doesn't hit often.

Mark dies via pick axe to the face, but with both intruders weakened via the autorifle turret, Michael beats them to death with a metal pipe. He then recruits passerby Margaret Cleaner to assist in harvesting the bodies and fitting them into the fridge. The dead would not go to waste, not on his watch!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sheltered: Declaration of War

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With Big Mike holding down the fort and trading with ex-bunker buddy Frances, Skrmischa leads a retaliatory strike force to attack Janet's crew. This does not go well at all, as Janet has superior numbers and firepower. Paul is carved up by a knife and Amy is shot by Janet herself - once in each eye.

Skrmischa and Christine are captured, stripped and after a few days of humiliation are sent back to their bunker in shame. Janet's emissary arrives sometime later to request for tribute again, only to be vehemently denied once more.

Instead, Skrmischa gets on the radio and starts recruiting people for the upcoming war, starting with William Beardguy, Elizabeth Armygal, Karen Road and the sisters, Martha and Carol Black (another Carol!). What's in it for them? Skrmischa offers them the bunker and the lion's share of the supplies, as she plans to leave on the RV once the last missing part is found.

Dianne, Big Mike and Brenda are not thrilled at this turn of events and all of them decide to pack up and leave with Frances in hopes of reaching greener pastures before the war begins.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Today I Smiled: Night Time View

It's great that we have a(nother?) bard in the guild in Neverwinter Online, not that there's an actual bard class mind you. She just roleplays as a bard who happens to have a youtube music channel called Night Time View. Give her a listen! :)

For the non-music inclined, I've come across interesting knowledge such as "How to make a Golden Cloak of Nope Spider Silk", what exactly a "Fatberg" is (eww), and that forget Drop Bears - even the plants in Australia want to kill you. For those mathematically inclined, here's an interesting channel for you: vsauce.

I'm going to wrap this up with one more link on a game I can no longer play due to it being enhanced so much, my graphics card can no longer handle it. It's gone from randomly generated "cell" spaceships, to larger randomly generated planet sections, to being able to fly and fight in space, Warframe is progressing to having an open world. Behold the Plains of Eidolon!

Have a good day everyone! :)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sheltered: Warning Signs

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Another month has passed and the bunker is going strong while the world outside is just getting worse as evidenced by a duo of scum who attempted to pick axe their way through the vault doors. Fortunately they gave up upon finding a second door behind the first.

There is no such protection for people out on expeditions though, as Michael Mustache is killed by an unarmed, kung fu warrior. Catherine manages to escape but her injuries are too severe and dies back at the base where Amanda Bandana is assigned to harvest her. She does the job but promptly goes catatonic from the stress of what she just did. Fortunately Cannibal Amy is there to care for her, feeding her Catharine's meat to make her feel better...

Gary is also laid low by a bandit in a factory, and his ally Cynthia (who proves to be a terrible fighter) barely makes it out alive. Lucky for her, she meets Carolyn and Martha Stanley on the road, who help her get back to the bunker. As a reward for their assistance, both women are welcomed into the family.

Carolyn then tells of a new group who have established themselves at the nearby Glenchester city, led by some fierce matriarch. Christine quickly gets on the radio and warns the expeditions in that area to be extra careful. Almost as soon as she finished transmitting the bunker came under attack again by the same scum from before, now with one extra man.

This time they break through and kill Amanda Bandana and Martha Stanley (she didn't last long). Despite managing to kill one of the raiders, the remaining bunkerites cower in fear as the last two raid the pantry, taking a good amount of supplies but sparing their miserable lives. As they leave they make it clear that it is their old acquaintance Janet, aka the matriarch, who owns them now.

That did not go well.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sheltered: That Time of the Month

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

It's been over a month since the incident, and the bunker is in good shape with new recruits Dianne Davidson, Carol Hattier (another Carol!?) and Sarah the nympho (courtesy of seducing Gary the bald) adding more hands to maintain it. Outside, there seem to be encounters with a lot of violent and crazed women, who often flee after a few rounds of fisticuffs.

An encounter with a knife wielding man at a church is the last for Carol (the original) and Dennis, and Sarah's encounter with a bear proves fatal despite making it back to base. Her meat is harvested, and turns out to be a good currency to barter with when traders visit. This breaks the once battle hardened Big Mike - becoming a recluse who refuses to leave the bunker.

Knife trumps a pair of metal bars in this game.

Fortunately Gary steps up as leader when he and Christine slay a bear, and he quickly decides to recruit Brenda, Cynthia, Helen Harvey the soldier and Amy who is quite probably a cannibal - not that it matters these days. Gary's not so subtle attempt at building a harem does not go unnoticed, but his building a recycling plant in the lower floors undeniably helps to improve their bunker upgrading capabilities.

At around this time a pair of scumbags visit the bunker, demanding supplies in exchange for "protection". Their request is denied.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Sheltered: Things are Looking Up

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

A combination of a lack of rain, a failing air filter, and Ann harvesting Stephen (quite decomposed) and Shaliquor's "meat" for uncooked consumption leads to a wave of illness in the bunker, the floor literally covered in vomit. To this end, despite the lack of gas masks, everyone except Christine (for base communications) is sent out to get some fresh(?) air, and much needed supplies.

This does not go well for William and Ann who end up as bear food, while Carol "Red" Rein is killed in a skirmish with brigands on the road. Despite the losses, the survivor count actually increases as Dennis, Gary the bald, Catherine, Amanda Bandana, and Michael Mustache are recruited by the various teams on expedition.

Could have been Ann and William in this movie.
Also, this is a terrible movie.

Most have radiation poisoning upon their return, but fortunately there is a good stash of anti-rad tablets available, thanks to Janet returning briefly to trade goods with Christine. Interestingly, Skrmischa comes back with a car part - one of eleven required to repair the broken vehicle just outside. If it can be fully repaired, they might be able to escape this place.

The sound of thunder overhead also signals the end of the drought, and despite the black rain, things are looking up.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sheltered: Over the Edge

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With madness closing in, Big Mike and Skrmischa were saved by William the merchant - who had returned to ask to join the group. The pair were in no position to reject him, so he quickly tasked them on a supply run while he buried the bodies of Dr. Vahlen and Pip top side.

While doing so a trio of girls - Janet, Carol "the original" and Ann come by and ask for asylum from some "bad people". William welcomes them in, and they set about fixing the facilities in dire need of repair. Ann also finally makes a mop and bucket to clean up all the filth scattered within the bunker.

A particularly foul smelling vent revealed the desiccated corpse of Shaliquor, who had been torn apart by a swarm of mutated rats. Upon their return, Big Mike and Skrmischa are surprised to find all the new comers in their base. They brought three of their own - Carol "Red" Rein (another Carol, this one with with red hair), Christine the librarian and Christopher.

Mutated rodents of unusual size!

This Christopher turns out to be the person the trio of girls was running from, and at the first opportune moment - Janet shanks him with a knife. This automatically makes her untrustworthy in the eyes of Big Mike though, and she is expelled to the wastes. Her friends Carol (the original) and Ann, don't stand up for her - opting instead to remain in the relative safety of the shelter.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sheltered: The Dangers of Generosity

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The outings were surprisingly fruitful in terms of construction supplies, and with new recruits as Dr. Vahlen's good will invited the wanderers Frances, Paul and the gun-nut Stephen into the Shelter - much to Big Mike's disdain. The food supplies were almost all spent now, but at least the new comers could help expand and furnish the shelter a tiny bit.

Desperate to combat starvation, the expeditions began heading even further - which is when they started running into the local wild life. Dr. Vahlen and Skrmischa barely escaped from a ravenous bear, while Big Mike and Pip managed to slay a wolf for its meat. The boy was so excited by the kill though that he neglected to mention the bleeding bite he suffered during the combat.

Bears don't need gas masks. Clearly.

Back in the shelter, Pip passed away quietly in his sleep. Dr. Vahlen, distraught that she missed such an obvious wound was overcome by the shock suffered a heart attack right then and there - dying right beside Pip while everyone was "giving her space".

Unwilling to endure these bad vibes, Frances left to resume her wanderings. Stephen put his one bullet into his gun and after thrusting it in his mouth - pulled the trigger.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Sheltered: The Fifth Day

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Skrmischa and Pip watched with great interest as Big Mike and Dr. Vahlen took turns explaining the machinery that powered the lights and filtration system of the shelter, knowing that they would some day need the knowledge themselves. Meanwhile Shaliquor kept to herself, hunting the gigantic rats that had moved into the air vents.

While the shelter was stocked with enough gas to keep the vital systems running, food and water was quickly becoming scarce as the days wore on. Having no facilities also meant the filth of human excrement was beginning to pile up.

It's a poop bunker.

On the fifth day, a buzz at the intercom surprised them all. It was a trader named William, and while the group had nothing to offer him he did suggest they start foraging for themselves since the air was actually breathable topside before looking for other customers.

There was little other option if they didn't want to starve, so Dr. Vahlen handed out the supply of gas masks to everyone as they began to venture out into the wasteland. Shaliquor was happy to remain behind and stand guard.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sheltered: Zero Hour

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After leaving the accursed hamlet, Big Mike and Dr. Vahlen found themselves in the odd company of Skrmischa and Shaliquor the magical, talking cat on their quest to find their way home. On the road they encountered a ragged boy named Pip, who had taken to wandering after losing his own home and family to some catastrophe in the past.

Dr. Vahlen took pity on the child and was in the midst of convincing her companions to let him come along when suddenly a brilliant flash of light exploded from the distant mountain range. Both the good doctor and Mike knew immediately what it was. "Get to cover!" barked Big Mike as he rounded up his allies and ushered them away from the blast.

"Down here!" meowed Shaliquoir, scratching at a well obscured metallic vault door in the middle of nowhere. Not wasting anytime, Big Mike wheeled the hatch open and got everyone into the darkness below - sealing it behind them just minutes before the radioactive blast reached passed overhead.

It took a magical cat to find it.

"What is this place?" asked Skrmischa, readying to fight whatever lay in the darkness within. It wasn't the sprawling dungeon she expected though, instead it was just a chamber with a few pieces of dusty furniture and foreign looking contraptions.

"It's a bomb shelter," explained Big Mike as he examined the surroundings with his small lighter. "And for now, it's home."

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Because the New Order wasn't crazy enough!

A prequel to The New Order, this uses most of the same mechanics from that game and just builds on it - adding a few "new" weapons and more Nazi enemies. I'd actually say the story here is slightly better since it is less piecemeal than the other one, combined with the game starting at Castle Wolfenstein itself which is a big plus!

Huge explosions are another big plus!

I also quite like that there are more Wolfenstein 3D levels included in secret areas, and that stealth is still rewarding in the areas that allow it. There is an early "mandatory" stealth part that might annoy some people but it isn't very long and I still recommend playing at the highest difficulty again for any who have ever played a shooter. You will be very in for a slightly punishing ride if you aren't decent with head shots towards the end game though.

Also the added climbing "ability" never fit quite right for me. Still, I give it 4.5 "plugged in enemies" out of 5 and is easily recommended for FPS players.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

NWO: The Demon Lord of Gnolls

Hi all! For those who play Neverwinter Online, my brother has spent a long time working on this foudnry quest and is looking to get more plays and feedback.

It's called "The Demon Lord of Gnolls" [NW-DGC43C4KM] by @DragonlordDrm.

Just as a heads up, it is a pretty long adventure so either have an hour or so free to tackle it or plan on hitting each area over the course of a few days. There's an exit door next to the mini-map that lets you do that - which is also handy for resetting an area if needed (might be needed in zone 3 in particular).

Lots of hard work went into these custom maps!

There is also a fair bit of reading and a few jumping bits involved so fair warning! Hopefully you all like it! :)

Projects and Journals

Welcome to my "new" projects and journals page! I decided it needed a reboot after the photobucket burn, but all my previous ones are still available here.

ADVENTURE JOURNALS
My little library of "books" regarding my in-game experiences and adventures.
The date beside each is when it was last updated. :)

Fate of Heroes [26 September 2017]

CREATIVE WORKS
Here is a repository for some of and my (and my guild mates) creative works online. Really should work on putting more of my stuff out there.

Night Time View (Lyv's Youtube Music Channel)
Neverwinter Online Foundry: The Demon Lord of Gnolls (by Dragonlord)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Where the allies lost the war!

Blazkowicz is back in this sharp and fun first person shooter which seems him fighting the (quite literal) Nazi war machine(s).

Nazis have an interesting take on armored infantry.

The graphics and game play are great, as are the wide array of arsenal and I quite liked the optional stealth approaches in some missions. The cut scenes also jump straight to the action without wasting any time which is cool, though conveniently avoids answering some plot hole questions in the very wacky, and quite adult story.

As a shooter, the levels are expectedly linear and you could probably finish it in a weekend if you put your mind to it and the AI relies more on HP than smarts (Nazi's aren't as smart as the foes in FEAR for example), but my biggest complaint is not being able to skip the opening credits - which is small fry in the scope of things.

I give it 4.5 robodogs out of 5 and highly recommend this to FPS fans, and also recommend you play on the hardest difficulty straight up, as it really isn't that bad if you know to aim for the head / weakspots.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Castle Ravenloft (Boardgame)

Where the big figurine isn't the boss.

After completing the Legend of Drizzt, my group have finally reached the game that started this D&D board game system with modular, interlocking dungeon tiles to begin with: Castle Ravenloft. The components are good, but given this is the first in the series the dungeon tiles have less mechanism to them than the future games. Not that I mind, since it is a vampire's castle after all.

Well, that *almost* happened.

What this game does well is in the theme. Strahd personally showing up regularly to mess with the players via non combat cameo encounter cards throughout the campaign is awesome because by the time you get to actually fighting him you really, really hate the guy.

By then he's probably randomly bitten one of you, tossed a fireball or two from the shadows, teleported you into a room of monsters, or forced one of you to attack another. Comparatively, the future games main bosses are quite "absent".

Because of that investment in making Strahd present the whole time, and because it's an awesome game - I give it five wooden stakes out of five!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Berserk: Band of the Hawk

A decent catch up mechanism for the non-manga readers.

The easiest way to sum this game up is: Dynasty Warriors Berserk, which is probably why it's also known as Berserk Musou. You control one character of your choice (primarily Guts) and rampage across numerous battle fields slaying literally tens of thousands of foes.

The graphics aren't fantastic and the camera is not great but they serve their purpose, and the keyboard controls (PC) are a bit clunky but serviceable. What caught me by surprise is the length of the game, which goes well past the Golden Age arc which is the extent I thought it would cover as the cut scenes directly come from the remade anime.

Afterwards, it just uses regular CGI but the jist of the story is still there (despite the hundreds of filler monsters) and that is the highlight for me as a Berserk anime fan who doesn't read the mangas!

Once you complete the story line that's available (because the manga itself isn't finished) you then have the option to go into the "Endless Eclipse" mode to unlock bonus outfits, gear, or just fight some more with the small caveat that to win it - you must reach 100 levels of Endless Eclipse without stopping.

Rest is for the weak!

One might say that is the "true" game too, since you can only complete it once story mode is done. If you like Dynasty Warriors type games and/or like Berserk, then this game is worth a look. I give it three behelits out of five.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Today I Smiled: Power Up!

The grind through the River District and Chult continues in Neverwinter Online, so much so that I've not been typing blog posts! Oops! It's great to see my characters improving again though, using Baphomet as a measuring stick.

Once I put some thought into what enchantments I actually used in my gear, my mounts and my npcs companions (who I previously didn't equip at all), I'm now easily beating the demon prince.

Speaking of training, here is the real-life weapons training of Keanu Reeves for John Wick 2, which is pretty awesome. Thank you to the poster who told me about it. Also cool is this site about military strength by country which is an eye opener. Some are higher than I thought!

If that is too violent for you, I've also just learned that Japan has a cat island and a rabbit island which is cute-overload at first, but when carefully thinking about it are islands full of a) rabbit poop or b) critters that actively seek to overthrow the human race. :P

As usual I'm going to end with some musical links - the first one being the Coconut song on an airplane and the last one is Peter Hollen's version of Hands of Gold from Game of Thrones! Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Logan

Proves that old dogs are saltier...

It is the future, and mutants are dying out. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is tired, old, and not regenerating as he once did. His limo driving job is mainly just to cover the expenses of looking after an even older and now demented Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who occasionally has seizures which he shares to everyone around thanks to the strength of his "gift".

It's a pretty dark and depressing state, simply waiting for the end. Fortunately having a little girl who is wanted by the "bad guys" (of course) suddenly thrust into their care, forces them to go on another adventure. It helps that the little girl plays her part well - always risky with child actors (she's better than Mowgli for sure)!

Thumbs up!

Visceral, on-screen dismemberment and gore is featured right from the get go, which is a big step up from just suggesting "he stabbed a guy / bloodlessly" from the rest of the X-men franchise and the action sequences are great, which makes up for the ok plot.

While people say this is a "dark" movie, I disagree as it still features some up beat parts. Perhaps I've just gotten used to the likes of Hotel Inferno and Adam Chaplin though. If you just want a more mature X-men film, this does a great job. I enjoyed it a lot and would definitely watch it again. But would I buy the DVD? Hmm, not sure. Three and a half comic books out of five.

Friday, 4 August 2017

John Wick 2

He just has one bad day after another.

After an action filled start where John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finishes off that nasty business from the first movie, he almost makes it back into retirement just before another incident ropes him back into work, and what beautifully choreographed violence that work is.

It's amazing to watch.

I quite liked that Mr. Wick only has an 80% accuracy rating and gets hit repeatedly, and while he is wearing a layer of plot armor (especially against head shots), its significantly less since they explain a bit with the load out portion of the film - one of my favorite parts as it not only shows their love of weapons but also expands on the "assassin's world".

Despite a predictable plot, the trail of blood and guts and violence galore makes for a fantastic spectacle. Is it better than the first movie? Not particularly, but it's just as good so three and a half shotgun shells out of five. I highly recommend it if you are an action fan, or if you enjoyed the original. Would I watch it again? Definitely yes! I might even go get the DVD. :)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Jungle Book (2016)

Where wolves are American, cats are English and giant monkeys are Christopher Walken.

I've always been interested in seeing this Disney adaptation of the Jungle Book, which has the orphaned boy Mowgli being raised by the generally very compassionate creatures of the forest as one of their own, which is a problem to only the villainous tiger Shere Khan who harbors a hatred for humans.

Bad kitty!

It would be ok if this was just a regular tiger, but Shere Khan is feared by pretty much everyone else and rightly so. Only when Mowgli starts adventuring does he run into other not-so-friendlies. Guess the wolf pack did a good job keeping him safe!

All the CGI creatures are amazing, and damn the mommy wolf actually made me tear up with some of her lines and emotion. In contrast, Scarlett Johansonn as Kaa didn't really work too well for me. Ironically the weakest actor is Mowgli himself, though he does make up for it with all the action pieces he gets.

Being a Disney movie there are some musical numbers but they are very toned down and cut short during the film, with full versions in the entertaining credits. It's definitely an entertaining movie, one I wouldn't mind watching again. I give it three and a half, giant red flowers out of five.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Neverwinter Online: Chult Totem Grind

The new campaign for NWO is out and with it comes some really nice looking areas which will be introduced to you in the somewhat lengthy intro quest. You'll also quickly learn that dinos have a big aggro range, Batiri that glow red are very dangerous, to watch your ranged attacks as to not draw unintentional aggro from the densely packed mobs, and to turn away from the giant eye icons above the yuan-ti dancers who can push or pull you into said mobs.

Also, don't piss off the King of Spines. :P

More importantly, you'll also be introduced to the new grind which is that for totems, the currency that unlocks this new campaign. You can only collect 100 per week to begin with but can boost that as you advance. How does one get to the 100 per week though? The Prince in the new hub gives you 6 patrol quest bonus rewards per week, which each give 5 totems, so that's 30 out of the way. His patrol quests (the ones that start from the city) are quite fun too. You might need to wait a few minutes if you finish them too quickly for his quest cycle to restart though.

There's another 20 from a weekly that comes from defeating a rare critter, which randomly spawns in the place of a regular mob. Hopping to a channel with less people gives you a better chance of finding one I feel since I encountered 2 at a very off-peak time. I'll keep an eye on that  and update here if it continues to be the case.

The remainder of the totems will need to come from repeatable quests at Camp Vengeance, giving 5 totems each. There aren't that many variants, but if you are just gunning for totems, the path of least resistance (with or without a party) seems to be "Rescue Templars" and then "Rescue Scouts from Batiri". They're fast, and don't involve fighting your way into (and then out of) one of the many ruins or sanctify spots required from the other quests.

Does that sound boring and repetitive? Yes, but it's also efficient. There might be better options as more quests get unlocked, but for now that is my plan of attack.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Aragami

A supernatural ninja who is as brittle as glass.

Aragami is the tale about a vengeful spirit ninja (that's you) who has been summoned to "thwart the bad guys" by spending most of your time on fetch quests. Everything about you is shadow. You can make shadows, teleport to shadows, and hide in shadows which is great for a stealth game - which make no mistake - this is.

Having glowing white lines on your outfit seems a tad counter intuitive.

Conversely your enemies use light. And I don't mean torches. I mean glowing swords, burning arrows, explosive wisps - everything one hit kills you (at least on the hardest mode). Oh, you you also one hit kill everything, or can go the master thief route of not touching anyone which is what I did.

Supposedly you can get other shadow skills too, as I kept finding scrolls of hidden knowledge and shrines to "power up" but the game never gave instruction on how to use them so a bit of a negative there.

The game play itself is fun and the stylistic art is pretty. I didn't mind that all the voice over is in Japanese since there are English subtitles, but the flashback piece meal story while good, was a bit tough to follow.

All up, the game is a good balance of challenge and fun which I can recommend to anyone that likes stealth games. I give it 3.5 bells out of 5.

Friday, 28 July 2017

X-men: Apocalypse

The first mutant... was a Goa'uld! What do you mean no one knows what Star Gate is anymore?

Continuing on from X-men: First Class (which I haven't reviewed, doh!), this is the story of how "the first" mutant, the titular Apocalypse, reappears in the world and then goes about trying to make it a better place... for mutants. So pretty much like any previous X-men movie so far where Magneto is the villain.

They do try to tie it in to a few of the other movies too, with some expected cameos and a healthy dose of hand waving in some parts. All those guys missing from this movie? "We're the only ones left," makes for a nice, vague response.

There is a lot of eye candy and good effects as to be expected with Quicksilver getting the best pieces of the pie, but the plot has some serious holes - bigger than the one Apocalypse crawled out of at the start, and that's even without trying to join this movie to the rest of the franchise.

Alas, poor Yorick. I wish this movie made sense.

Ultimately this outing is an ok action movie, but there are better ones to choose from within the X-men franchise to watch. I give it 2 horsemen out of 5.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Uukrul: The Beacon

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Sage Sagaris appears while the team are raiding the treasure vaults to remind them they still need to rescue Mara in the Chaos, and to meet him at the Beacon afterwards. Those two are actually teleport stations and so, once loaded up and back at full strength the party ventures to Chaos where they see Mara sleeping in a cage.

There are no enemies here, just a lot of BS teleporters and more up and down access card things. Despite the graphics not being there it begins to dawn on Balthazarr that not all is as it seems, given they are unlocking latches on the roof and other, very mechanical functions before reaching Mara and waking her up by removing the amulet on her chest. She is thankful and takes all of them to the Beacon... which is a control room for a nuke.

That must be the lousiest reward ever.

Mara claims there is only one way to rid the minions and taint of Uukrul once and forever - to ignite the beacon, which will cost everyone their lives for the greater good! She does mention she gave the city a vision to get out five minutes ago,  I suppose that's enough lead time? Lol. Sagaris uses his rod, Mara flips switches, and the last part is for the team to recite the last line of the untranslatable prayer. Balthazarr, Andraste, Helga and Linisha join hands and sing...

Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya!
(that's my translation)

In a blinding flash of light, Uukrul's taint, army, and indeed... the entire mountain was cleansed. From existence. TEAM WIPE VICTORY!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Uukrul: Master of Hammer

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

A vision of Mara tells the group that they are now at the Palace of Uukrul (despite the graphics looking exactly the same  everywhere) and that they must "arm the beacon". What? Anyway, the initial group of necromancers is easy enough to defeat but wandering the Palace is more about sneaking past the monks, samurais and lamias patrolling the halls.

Oh, so he's a dremora!?

One particular passage guarded by three riddles leads them right into the throne room where Uukrul himself awaits! Using the knowledge gained from the magician's circle, Andraste breaks the glass heart on the floor - preventing Uukrul from fleeing, but that doesn't make the spell casting dremora any less agile with the team struggling to pin him down.

He also regenerates when brought to near death because ... only the relic hammer can kill him! Helga is on the precipice of death, being kept alive only through Linisha's healing hands when Balthazarr finally gets to use the move he has taught so many before... SPIRAL ROCK SMASH! Uukrul's head explodes into tiny, spiraling, giblets as the rest of him falls defeated to the ground. The team rejoice, their exhaustion vanishing as they find Uukrul's treasure chambers which hold a significant trove of treasure!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Uukrul: The Dark Heart

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After escaping the pit maze, and the wandering flame spirits within, the team reaches the next sanctuary and returns to town to restock on food (just in time), repair/upgrade gear and level up. Thanks to Helga now having access to more tomes at the magicians circle they learn the relic-hammer is going to be important in the battle against Uukrul so they get that repaired right away.

Lastly, they make a quick pit stop to the urn and unlock it fully, collecting the black, glass heart inside... the Dark Heart of Uukrul! The team then return where they left off, finding themselves in a dark zone which turns out to be Uukrul's barracks. A demon encounter here (posing as a stone heart, the bastard) weakens them significantly, leading to a catastrophic encounter against a large band of patrolling Lamias and giant snakes.

Nabirye sacrifices herself so that her team mates can get away, and in doing so meet Linisha hiding here in the depths. She too was one of Mara's team, and she helps the group reach the next sanctuary that so happens to be past four liches and four specters! Fortunately Helga and Andraste are on the ball with their magic, leading to a well earned victory. Balthazarr can't help but feel more and more useless as the enemies become even more physical resistant.

That should look much scarier than it does.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Uukrul: Snakes and Ladders

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the pyramid is a long passage guarded by samurais (sure why not), golems and undead hordes whom get obliterated by Andraste's prayers to Idris. In-joke for Neverwinter Online players there given she's an Undead Queen in that game. This leads to a strange mechanical zone of advanced machinery guarded by more monks.

A vision of Mara suggests the team must use the carriage to proceed. What she doesn't mention is all the back and forthing to lower the water in the flooded levels below, and that the carriage actually runs on electric eel juice. The team slays a whole school of them as well as a pushover demon guarding a broken relic-hammer and a surprise red dragon before hitting the next zone which is full of pits. Which you can climb up and down out of.

Supremely stupid too.

There's much falling and climbing and jumping in this part, and through sheer luck the group runs into a necromancer and a very tough giant guarding another stone heart. Andraste destroys the necromancer with Helga's assistance, while Nabirye almost dies to the giant before Balthazarr can land a killing blow.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Uukrul: Pyramid of Torture

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The next area past the Jar of Hearts is some sort of pyramid of torture, with few enemies but lots of traps, locks and teleporters. The most annoying one sending the team into a one square prison with absolutely no escape, had they not picked up that "escape medal" earlier. A required key is also in that room so I'm not sure what the designers were thinking...

Helga is vital in using the collected access cards which let the team float up or down the vertical chute, which is a really odd design decision when it comes to non-mages as there are no stairs! Midway they find a dying fighter who claims he was one of Mara's party, saying that she is now a prisoner "in the chaos" and gives Nabirye another stone heart before dying. I wonder where he hid that during his torture? Ewww.

People can be ingenious when it comes to cruelty.

At the very top the team encounter the evil monks again, who are super effective at stunning Balthazarr and Andraste. Fortunately Helga's new "Kunlazar" spell is very handy (large AoE), leading the team to victory and the next sanctuary! As per usual, they then go on a back-track training run with Andraste finally finding Sage Sagaris' black rod which had been missed WAY earlier. Stupid secret doors. They also defeat the white dragon since it gave them time to prepare.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Uukrul: Jar of Hearts

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the testing chamber is a small puzzle maze with levers which takes a little trial and error, and manual mapping. The reward is a suspicious urn that holds a black heart. Neither can be taken though, as six heart-shaped latches hold it in place. The stone hearts fit exactly in but they still need three more so they delve deeper and find another sanctuary.

At this point Balthazarr leads the team back to the mirror maze where they discovered that particular monsters always respawn in the same spot. The Krefator is one of them, and between Nabirye and Helga is a one round combat that nets a good XP gain, so after spam killing the acid lizard for awhile they level up a fair bit.

They also find a hidden passage with a long keypad code... Really? A keypad? Fortunately the answer was in the crossword section, so they manage to unlock it and find another stone heart. They also find a white dragon nearby who is polite enough to let them flee via dialogue. They unload the new heart at the urn now only lacking two more.

Your puzzle was a keypad?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Uukrul: Speak Foe and Enter

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having completed their training run, the team returns to the mirror maze defeating a fire lizard and finding the plot device mirror which Andraste breaks to reveal a mysterious plaque. The noise attracts a bunch of monks who turn out to be very dangerous, forcing the team to flee to the other end of the mirror maze where a previously locked grate is now open.

Clearly, Uukrul's a dick.

As soon as they step through, Uukrul shows up and shuts it behind them, asking them to beg through the bars if they want it reopened. Balthazarr rejects the offer and instead leads the squad past floating eyes, a giant worm which Helga destroys, and away from the same group of monks - still in slow pursuit - from before!

They reach a room of testing with three paths, one full of locked gates, one with the promise of a fight, and one a dead end with a sign saying that only a single word will open it. Nabirye takes this literally and just says "word", which opens the path. How very modern.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Uukrul: HOYAMOQ!

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After the close call against Thurazz last time, Balthazarr decides to take the team on an upper level patrol again for experience, and to keep an eye out for stone hearts that they supposedly will need to defeat Uukrul. That last bit of knowledge was courtesy of Helga now being able to access the higher tomes in the magician's circle.

As expected, there is not much that can challenge them now - but through careful navigation and searching they do find secret doors they previously missed (or in two cases, missed due to floor spinners). Secret doors are annoying. Most cannot be forced. A few have levers that open them. Some need a magic word.

For all other times, there's Hoyamoq. A prayer to the god of knowledge. Like most prayers, it doesn't always work and even when it does - you need to repeat it. Many times. So poor Andraste is there praying in front of a wall, reciting "Hoyamoq, hoyamoq, hoyamoq..." over and over until the door opens. Helga found this hilarious, but later on she'd find variations that need the wizard spell "Talis". And yes, it also requires repetition.

So at what point can I just cast fireball or something to explode it open?

Despite the silliness, it's actually quite a productive (albeit long) outing - netting a variety of treasures and three stone hearts!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Neverwinter Online: The Cloaked Ascendancy

Late review, I was stuck in the Far Realm with these guys...

Given that Tomb of Annihilation (the next module) is just around the corner, this is a very late review for the Cloaked Ascendancy which comes after the terribly grindy Storm King's Thunder. Yes, it was so bad I actually quit Neverwinter for awhile and am now playing catch up.

Fortunately the rag-tag band of mages who have returned from the Far Realm make for interesting adversaries not just mechanically but story wise too. It helps that you get to interact with each of them at least a little bit while going through the story chapters, instead of just having some "bad dude" that you never see waiting at the end of a dungeon that you need to take a deus ex machina from or just murder in general.

Nothing very cloaked about them though.

There is only one new area, the River District, which is not just pretty but very functional in terms of dailies. This cuts down travel time from the last modules grind by a metric ton, since there you were required to venture into 4 zones towards the end. Daily.

Of course the grind is still here too, but at least you have a bit of variety on how you want to fill your "daily bar" in this campaign. It's a mix and match of heroics, dungeons, or capturing and upgrading guard posts. Don't worry, all options still include a copious amount of murder. You can choose to just kill 1000 each day too, but that's a real slog.

If that was brought down to 100, like the stronghold daily, it would be much better (10 times!). The guard posts I mentioned before are a great addition too, unfortunately the logic on them is the reverse on what it should be where players actually benefit -more- if they fall to enemy forces.

Shroud of Souls, the short "finale" of the campaign, holds a few really good adventure segments which I wish there was much more of. Evernight in particular is a faaaaantastic place. A world full of undead where everything is messed up? Now I know where Dark Souls takes place. :P

I have a feeling the Cryptic guys took some inspiration from it.

Definitely one of the better modules for me. Hopefully this continues with the Tomb of Annihilation. We won't have long to find out!

Reviews and Tutorials

Welcome to my "new" reviews and tutorials page! I decided it needed a reboot after the photobucket burn, but all my previous ones are still available here.

PC Game Reviews:
Aragami
Berserk: Band of the Hawk 
Neverwinter Online: The Cloaked Ascendancy 
Neverwinter Online: Tomb of Annihilation
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood 

Movie Reviews:
Boyka: Undisputed
John Wick: Chapter 2
Jungle Book (2016) 
Justice League Dark
Logan
Shin Gojira  
Wonder Woman
X-men: Apocalypse 

Board Game Reviews:
Castle Ravenloft
Shadows Over Camelot 

Tutorials:
Neverwinter Online: Chult Totem Grind

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Uukrul: Earned Respect

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

He knows he's a hot lizard.

Finally finding the passage out, the squad fights through a few hell hounds, fire lizards and the mandatory group of orcs led by a mid level captain whom Nabirye drains of life (strange that's a paladin ability). There's also a magic immune gremlin demon who gets too cocky and discovers that Helga is quite capable with a knife, thanks to her previous experience with the Porkul Pickers.

This area is quite odd, in that it is a mirror of itself right down to the repeating encounters in the rooms. It is no wonder that Mara's vision here tells of a mirror that would be important with the quest. While looking for it, the team discovers a lower area with odd clues... it's a crossword puzzle!

Correctly identifying the word opens a secret door that holds yet more obscure clues to further puzzles. LOL. While this is a nice change of pace, it is quite rudely interrupted as Orc Lord Thurazz attacks with a pair of witches and orc fodder! It is a very difficult battle, which almost sees the end of Helga and Andraste, with Nabirye and Balthazar not far behind, but the combat is a draw - as Thurazz's forces were also in the same shape.

With a begrudging respect for Balthazarr, Thurazz finally signaled the retreat. Balthazarr did the same.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Uukrul: What's behind door number...

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After evading numerous orcs and escaping from cave dew plants the team again ran into the Krefator (acid reptile), and in an attempt to run past - Balthazarr was almost laid low to its corrosive spit. Lucky for him the next sanctuary was right around the corner, and his allies could use the attached teleporter to revive him back at the town.

Resupplied, the squad returned to that point and upon exiting the sanctuary received another vision from Mara, warning that the passage ahead was cursed! That's a very mild way of putting it. The passage led to a 5x5 room, with doors all over. These doors led to funky teleporters, spinning floors, and lightning traps which were painful to navigate, especially since the compass did not work here.

She needs to get back to Oz.

The only enemy in this place is the hedge witch who Nabirye guesses is behind the curse. Despite fitting the cauldron brewing trope, the hag is incredibly strong - easily standing toe to toe with Balthazarr! It is ultimately Andraste's prayers that smite her down. Helga, whose magic couldn't harm the witch at all, finds a magical medal of escape on her corpse. A good bonus on top of the huge XP!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Uukrul: That Bloody Bat

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

With Thurazz in (slow) pursuit, Balthazarr, Nabirye and Kebiroz rush deeper into the large cavern, fighting past the troglodytes and slaying an evil wizard residing within. That wizard held another adventuring party captive for "experimentation", so the team set them free and were joined by Andraste the war priest, and the mages Helga the short and Duke Edmund the mad who openly stated he wanted to take Uukrul's power as his own.

Before they could even step out of the room, the giant bat that had killed Lazybum in one hit flapped into the room and began shooting poison and plague (out of its ass I imagine, since bats don't really spit). Taking a direct hit to the face, Kebiroz succumbed to the giant bat poop horribly while the rest fled for their lives.

Balthazarr didn't escape unscathed though, as the poop had infected his wounds from the earlier fight. Now "plagued", he began coughing and wheezing and soon the elderly Duke Edmund found himself "plagued" as well! Unfortunately the Duke didn't have the warrior's fortitude and after a few steps died in a fit of wheezing, puking and soiling himself.

That bloody bat then attacked again, but this time Balthazarr manages to hit it critically and slays the flying fiend!

But I just wanted some fruits!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Uukrul: A Lack of Agility

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Behind a locked grate and up a hole in the ceiling the team encounters a large band of thieves who are very annoying to fight since they are good at evading AND have a habit of stealing gear from the party mid combat. Like Balthazarr's newish sword. From his hand.

The combat screen.

During the skirmish Null25 is knocked down a pit and breaks his neck, which is annoying given all the training he had gained. Still, with the battle won and the thieves trove taken Balthazarr finds his replacement in Ruby the eager novice back at the guild.

Tired of training Balthazarr decides it's time to try cross the massive cavern on that murderous floor beneath the hermit's safe zone. It is an ill omen that the first thing they run into when doing so is a rejuvenated and powered up Thurazz - now an orcish lord, having been granted unholy powers by Uukrul himself!

The squad is no match for Thurazz's new found strength and have to flee deeper into the cavern. Unfortunately Ruby is too slow and is caught by Thurazz's spiked whip. With a massive heave, he flung her back into melee range and exploded her head with swing of his grizzly metal hammer.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Uukrul: Bling is King

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Training in the upper halls against rodents, dogs, scorpions, giant ants and crabs (yeah, wtf) proves most useful especially as the team finds previously unexplored areas and keys to open a few of the locked grates. As they progress into the hall of orcs, they once again run into Thurazz and his minions - thrice!

The first time they are forced to flee, but on the second it is Thurazz who needs to run as Null25 wounds him severely. The third time they find his base and, despite the orc chieftain's skill with a poisoned dagger, Balthazarr defeats him in close quarters. Nabirye also begins using her healing hand power on enemies, which proves to be effective as an attack - limited only by her own health, since using it for good or ill drains her of life.

Most importantly they finally find the temple district and magic circle which lets Kebiroz and Null25 earn more rings that enable stronger spells (coz bling is king yo). Kebiroz gets her chance to shine by turning the multitudes of undead in the tombs below the temple - forcing many to flee from combat. Her prayers of healing also keep the party alive just long enough to escape the very same tomb as starvation began to set in.

How the heck do they know that?

Balthazarr makes it a point to load up on rations before their next delve, and thanks to the surplus of gold they all get some better equipment to boot.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Uukrul: The First Task

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

While resting at the hermit's zone, the paladin Lazybum and sorceress Sarina who were already resting here join the team, and Sagaris asks them all to retrieve his black rod from the next floor down which he warns is far more dangerous (because apparently increased pressure makes things tough/evil I guess).

The fully powered squad heads down stairs and promptly gets owned. Pluribus is acidified by a rancid mold, Ila gets devoured by a giant spider, Yen Sid fails to turn "the happiest zombies ever" that tear him and Sarina apart and Lazybum gets one shotted by a giant bat who does 90(!) points of damage in a single strike.

So happy!

Balthazarr barely makes it back to Sagaris' safe zone in defeat. Clearly he needs a team with more training so using the super handy nearby teleporter (provided you remember the name of the one you want to warp to) returns to town to assemble a new squad, composed of the war priestess Kebiroz, Nabirye the hunter paladin, and Null25 the pk mage.

The first task is: Training!!!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Uukrul: Orcs and Geezers

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The next level is full of orcs, most of whom are low level as indicated by the color of their karate belt. Brown orcs are easy, Black orcs are brutal (the squad usually flees when they show up). There's a whole spectrum in between. Alas while exploring one narrow passage they are set upon by an orc led by chieftain, Thurazz!

With nowhere to escape they are cut down one by one until only Sapphire is left standing, she does her best to lure the orcs away from her downed team mates but is unable to defend herself for long. The orc band beat her down and abduct her for whatever nefarious purposes orcs keep in mind.

Balthazarr was surprised to wake up at all, finding that he, Yen Sid and Ila had been dragged somewhere safe by his old friend, Pluribus the wise. The wizened mage told him that many others from the nearby land had ventured into Eriosthe too, for the shared goal of helping to defeat Uukrul, after they all had witnessed visions of Mara.

That's what she looks like by the way.

While getting their bearings, they happened to come across another old fellow in dirty robe - the hermit Balthazarr was sent to find! He introduces himself as Sagaris and ushers the team to his home - a small series of tunnels which are safe from monsters.