Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Solutions, friends…solutions!

Well, most quotes from my last post were more than easy. But I heard from several sources that the remaining quotes were extremely hard to guess without using Google-Fu or someother research martial art. Well, folks, let’s solve this puzzle once and for all!

“The video arcade is down the street. Here we just sell small rectangular objects. They’re called books. They require a little effort on your part, and make no bee-bee-bee-bee-beeps. On your way please.”

People who know me can tell that if there is one movie from my childhood that left a damn big impression, it must be Neverending Story. Seen from a professional point of view, the movie wasn’t THAT good. Compared to the book it is based on, it even kinda sucked. But boy, did I LOVE the sight of Falcor the Luck Dragon. And guess what? My mood still gets all sunny when I see that smiling dog-like face! But who actually said that quote? Well, it was this grumpy old librarian…

Mr. Koreander, the stereotypical old man who just KNOWS that kids know longer read books, but are only entertained by the sight of virtual bloodshed and high scores. Little did he know that one day, a socially awkward boy named Bastian would stumble into his bookstore, and that a book from his collection would send that child on the adventure of a lifetime…

“Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

I’m keeping this one short, because it is terrible easy: Aragorn from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. That wasn’t TOO hard?

“Oh, you. You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren’t you? Huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

There are some movies that are so awesome, that not seeing them is just a sin. A cardinal sin. One of these movies is Forrest Gump, another one is The Dark Knight. I think it’s more than clear from what movie this quote is, right?

“Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.”

Guillermo del Toro is one of the biggest visionaries when it comes to movies. One of his most memorable movies is Pan’s Labyrinth. The movie revolves around a little girl in Spain during World War 2, who flees from the horror that reality is, and finds refuge in her own imagination. The movie has a somehow sad ending, but is filled with memorable scenes and creatures. The most memorable of them is the scary, yet somehow charming Faun, who has a firm place in my movie memory. I mean, look at him, you just have to love him!

“I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky…”

Indiana Jones. But which one, and from who’s lips? Well, this one is from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my favorite of all the Indy-movies. Not just because of the epic storyline around the Holy Grail, but also because of Sean Connery, and his role as Professor Henry Jones. No, not as DOCTOR Henry Jones, that’s his son. Connery knows how to play the charming, yet somehow strange and bizarre old man with his ivory-tower approach. Still, you score about 500 points in my book when you quote Carolus Magnus, or Charlemagne for those who slack in Latin.

“Sam, wait! No matter what happens, I’m really glad I got in that car with you.”

Transformers, duh! But, ladies: guys didn’t watch this movie just for the shape-shifting cars. No, there was a certain other reason…

“None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me.”

Yes, we know that, Rorschach. You made your point quite clear by incapacitating several of your inmates. But still, Watchmen is a terrible awesome movie, even though a gigantic blue penis is waiting around the corner of every scene. Ahh well, it could be worse, huh?

Signed,

Aki


Advertisements

A gathering of geeks

I’m off to Cologne for…the Role Play Convention (short RPC), Europe’s biggest role-playing games convention. I’m totally excited, because its my first time there, but I already have a checklist of things I have to check out:

  • EA: I heard that BattleForge is a nice attempt at combining RTS with MMO-elements…sounds like a game for me! Also, Dragon Age Origins (from the unbelievable fantastic studio BioWare) looks AND sounds great.
  • Codemasters: I’m not just checking them out to see how Lord of the Rings Online is doing, but also to get a glimpse on Jumpgate: Evolution.
  • The European publisher of Magic: the Gathering will have a stand. Just for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll drop by to see how the mother of my fascination for playing cards is doing.
  • Upper Deck is also in Cologne, presenting both the World of Warcraft TCG and Collectable Miniatures Game. I don’t have a choice, I have been infected with Blizzard-o-phillia for many years now, and the siren calls of Night Elves, Orcs and promises of blood and glory will probably lure me to this stand.
  • Last but not least, several German table-top role-playing games publishers have taken their positions in the Koelnmesse: Pegasus Spiele (the publisher of the German “Call of Cthulhu” and “Shadowrun”), Nackter Stahl (“Arcane Codex”), 13Mann Verlag (brough “Traveller” to Germany again) and the Heidelberger Spieleverlag (their stand might change my mind about “Dark Heresy”. Who knows, I might come home with a copy of the core rulebook…)

Also, the RPC will be my chance to see a bunch of nice people again, and I’m sure this Saturday will be totally awesome-o-saurus. I might collapse of exhaustion at the end of it, but it will be worth it!

Sunday will be all about studying for my European Science test coming Tuesday. Let’s see how that will turn out.

That’s it for today, fellows.  You’ll make sure to come back for my full coverage of the RPC this weekend. Otherwise, I will have to kill kittens. MANY of them.

Signed,

Aki

[D&D4] The depths of Emerald Cavern

Hooray, my D&D4 campaign finally started! Today we had our first real session, considering the character creation + a little session after it not as real sessions. However, the troupe was not complete, as we lacked our friendly neighbourhood wizard, Eva a.k.a. Alyssa. Still, the party decided to start their serious excavations without her, and there it went.

Emerald Cavern is the current point of interest to our heroes, as they are hired by the Wave Alliance (the guild of seafarers and merchants in Sturmhafen) to investigate the plague of dire rats coming from that forsaken dungeon. They’ve already put a stop to the dire rat plague, but now merchants leaving the town on the main trading route towards Ainador, the capital of the country, are ambushed by unnaturally good organized Goblins. It seems that their base of operations is the Emerald Cavern, and so our heroes Sema, Zarkesh and Ngara set out once again.

After putting a hold to the dire rats and killing a few Goblins, the characters sealed off a shaft leading further down, to prevent rats and Goblins to crawl up. Now, they opened it again, and used it to get to the heart of the problem. Sema offered to tie her self to a rope, and go down first to scout out the situation. She discovered an underground river, but also a very well hewn wall and walkway at the end of the shaft. The rest decided to come down, and as the slendered over the walkway, the Eladrin Ngara noticed something moving in the river (DM’s Note: Passive Perception 19 gives characters an edge). The party ignored it, as Sema got busy unlocking a door locked with three heavy iron locks. Zarkesh couldn’t wait, and wanted to see where the underground river ended. As soon as he landed in the river, a green glowing, ghostly being appeared behind him, and shouted in a deep voice: “Who dares to disturb the grave of Lord Khigan!” Zarkesh turned around, drawing his magical greataxe, and Ngara prepared for combat as well. But the ghost of a dead Dragonborn did not want to find when he found out the party was out to hunt some Goblins. He told them that he was killed by his own half-brother, Razilim, and that his corpse was taken away by Goblins, to be used in some dark rite. Ngara recalled a letter sent by the Prius of his monastery, telling him of a fall-from-grace former Dragonborn paladin, who plundered the monastery and now ran to the Emerald Caverns. Ngara vowed to rescue Lord Khigan’s corspe, and so did Zarkesh (I mean, it’s for a fellow Dragonborn. And as we all know, Dragonborn are like people from the “hood”: they keep each others scaly back!). Sema opened the door in the mean time, and the heroes advanced to the next room, which was just a storage room with crates and barrels full of salted meat and old, smelly Goblin clothes. However, behind the door to the next room, Ngara heard Goblins talking to each other. It seemed like the greenskins hadn’t already noticed the intruders, and so the characters took their chance.

The combat was far too easy for our heroes. The three Goblins went down faster than you can say ” burst damage”, but the combination of a fighter well-trained with a two-handed axe and a rogue utilizing his shady ways to the maximum dealt with the little buggers in no time. One of the Goblins could flee, and warned his companions in the next room. Filled with a feeling of superiority after this little brawl, the heroes decided to rest for a while (DM’s Note: 5 minutes of rest to regain encounter powers is not long), and charged into the climax of the adventure…

After sprinting through a hallway filled with symbols and statues dedicated to the dark dragon goddess Tiamat, our brave adventurers arrived in something that was definitly a church to that evil deity. Lying on an altar, the characters saw what must be the corpse of Lord Khigan. However, the room was filled with brutish, bigger Goblins: Hobgoblins. Behind the altar, a Hobgoblin clad in a robe with dark runes and brandishing a magical staff whispered words of power, certainly initiating a ritual to turn the corpse on the altar into an undead minion. Our heroes rushed head first into battle, which turned to be a decision which almost cost their lives.

To sum it up: both Sema and Zarkesh were almost dead during the encounter, and could only be helped by the superior healing of Ngara. In the end, the party had burned through all their encounter and daily powers, and both Zarkesh and Ngara used their action point to cause some damage. In the end, the party was showered in some nice rewards: 200 gold coins were hidden in the altar, along with a +1 flaming dagger. You can imagine that we had one happy rogue…

Before leaving the place, Ngara found a letter from Razilim, stating that Sturmhafen is the target of a big Goblin and Kobold offensive. The characters granted Lord Khigan a suitable funeral, and then headed for the Regent’s house, to tell him of the news of an imminent attack on his city. However, the Regent was unavailable, and the characters could only deliver the letter to the Vice-Regent, who seemed to be pretty uninterested. He promised to keep an eye on it, but then sent the characters away. It seems like the local authorities do not care much about the safety of their city.

The party called it a day here, and went to rest in their temporary HQ, a terrible tavern somewhere in the slums of Sturmhafen.

So, what did the party earn in this session? 450 XP per character, about 250 gold coins, a magical dagger, and clues to what is actually going on in, and under the Emerald Cavern. My players seemed to be rather excited to find out how this all works out.

So, how do I actually feel after this? Well, my players are starting to get used to how D&D4 works, and are surprisingly enjoying it more than I expected. I mean, they’re used to more rules-free systems, but apparently they like the tactical approach. Especially Hannah is starting to love her rogue, and tries to get combat advantage at every turn.

However, I still have to find the perfect balance in combat encounters. The first encounter was definitly to easy, but the last one would have been a Total Party Kill if I didn’t turn down the Hobgoblin Warcaster’s powers a bit. But I gotta admit: I threw terrible much at them their, for a 1st-level party.

Oh, nominated for this sessions “Über-Action” is the two consecutive natural 20s rolled by Daniel in combat. He was kinda happy. Also nominated is Hannah’s / Sema’s Sly Flourish crit. That Hobgoblin stays away from Halflings the next time he meets one!

Still, I’m pleased with D&D4, and curious to see what my players and their characters cook up next time. Hopefully, something I can run a decent story with.

Enough geekery for today!

Signed,

Aki

P.S.: Yes, the Halfling abused the Dragonborn again as a mount. Counting the days until the +1 Dragonborn saddle of unknown comfort…

It’s everywhere!

Even a show like “How I Met Your Mother” can’t get passed our nerdy hobby. But hey, if more girls like that would play it, Blizzard could start advertising with that…

“World of Warcraft: What’s your bra size?”

Signed,
Aki

Raiding Maastricht

Hey, it has been a while since I posted something here, right? Ahh well, good stuff needs time to get even better, so here I am again!

First of all, to all the happy couples in love around the world: Happy Valentine’s Day! Have fun celebrating a cheesy and extremely commercial kind of holiday, kept alive by the flower and chocolate industry. I know you want to!

Last night was totally awesome! Since some of our fellow WoW-players from Sweden are in Holland right now, we decided to meet with them in Maastricht to have dinner together, and a few pints / drinks afterwards. Of course, we were quite anxious: we never met these people in real life, and only knew what they were like while slaying big zombie dogs and fat poison-injecting abominations. Fortunately, our Swedish companions (and their Dutch driver) turned out to be as funny in real life as they are in the digital cosmos.

First stop was “D’n Ingel” at the Vrijthof in Maastricht, where we had some delicious food (even though a few of us did not finish their plate…bad, bad Firlia!) And again, foreigners were surprised how tiny our glasses of beer are around here, but how “cheap” alcohol is in the Netherlands (it seems to be expensive in Sweden. I guess Scandinavian governments just don’t like their citizens to be drunk). My sister Julia had “Choco Lasagna” after her main dish, and we all hoped to see something really disgusting including chocolate sause, cheese and meat. Unfortunately, it turned out to be just normal chocolate icecream with some whipped cream. What a letdown…

Firlia looking away, Kraune closing his eyes, and Calix just looking like...Calix!

From left to right: Firlia looking away, Kraune closing his eyes, and Calix just looking like...Calix!

After that disappointment, we paid for our food and hit the streets in search of a little bar to have some drinks (we heard Swedish people have a natural alcohol resistance). Our first stop was the Shamrock, but we didn’t know they broadcasted a rugby match that night, so the place was crowded like hell. So, we did a 180°-turn, and moved out. In the end, we ended up in a place right NEXT to D’n Ingel…the irony!

We enjoyed a few pints and some drinks (memo to me: “Frangellico” is quite nice), and discussed some very strange topics (I didn’t know that the Northern Swedish “hate” Southern Swedish until last night. Stuff like that is vital information for every well-educated person!) After having our last round, we asked the nice bartender to take a little group picture. Usually, we do this in WoW after we killed a boss, standing on its corpse. We tried hard to find a suitable corpse, but it seems that Kel’Thuzad isn’t in Maastricht on a Friday night. Well, it still turned out quite cool:

Firlia, Kraune (they do have black-haired people in Scandinavia!), Akinya (right behind the dark-haired healer), Kibina (what a big grin), Yxan (okay, youre grin is even stranger!), Nason (dont look so tired, dude), Calix (hope you survived the 3-hour drive back to Rotterdam) and Hroan

From left to right: Firlia, Kraune (they do have black-haired people in Scandinavia!), Akinya (right behind the dark-haired healer), Kibina (what a big grin), Yxan (okay, you're grin is even stranger!), Nason (don't look so tired, dude), Calix (hope you survived the 3-hour drive back to Rotterdam) and Hroan

To sum it up, we all had a fantastic night, and I hope our guests enjoyed it as much as we did! I hope it was not the last time we had some real-life fun together. Yxan, enjoy your semester in Rotterdam, and you other Swedish guys, enjoy the rest of your stay here. Oh, and Calix: next time you drive us all up to Sweden 😉

Signed,

Aki

P.S.: Everyone who has some other pictures of the night, please contact me on WoW / MSN / whatever. I would love to have them all!

Stitching Up

“An’ dere I was, wit’ a bunch of bunnies an’ hares, not knowin’ what ta do wit’ em. An’ ya wanna know what I did?” The scarred Troll looked at the Orcish soldiers in front of him, and they just shrugged.

“Well, we Trolls have an’ old sayin’: if life gives ya bunnies, make stew out of ’em! And dat what I did. Was da best stew I had in’ ages!” The Orcs laughed, but turned silent when a tall and heavily armoured Blood Elf entered the improvised tent. The Blood Elf was accompanied by two bodyguards. Both were of High Elf origin, yet their eyes had a green glow, coming from their addiction to all things arcane. Their leader looked at this assembly with a cold glare. The Troll just smirked, and walked towards him.

“Ahh, Commander Dawncaller. What can we do fer ya?” he asked, saluting.

“I thought that you already prepared your soldiers for our assault on the Wintergrasp Fortress, Akinya. Yet they are still not armed, or donned in their armours.” Commander Dawncaller looked at the Orcs, and most of them looked away. They heard of the harsh treatment the Blood Elf gave his subordinates, and were not willing to feel his wrath. The cold of Northrend had already taken hold in his heart.

“Ya be just lookin’ wit ya eyes, Commander. I donned these soldiers in da armour of confidence, and gave ’em a blade sharper than anythin’ in da world: conviction.” A young Orc laughed silently, and even Dawncaller’s bodyguards had to smirk. The Commander, however, was not amused. He glared in anger into the old eyes of the Troll, and lifted his eyebrows.

“Tell your troopers to prepare for the assault. Afterwards, come to my tent. I have a special mission for you, shaman…” Dawncaller left the tent, followed by his two servants. Once the Blood Elves had left, Akinya turned towards his subordinates.

“Get into ya plate, and grab yer’ axes. But when ya meet da Alliance on da battlefield, oppose ’em with our strongest weapons: strength and honour!” The Orcs raised their hands, and let out a fearsome battle-cry.

Akinya entered the tent of the Commander, who looked down on a map of Wintergrasp. Slowly, he was moving around wooden pieces, representing his troops and units. Dawncaller seemed to be fascinated by the strategies he tried, but got drawn out of his trance by a Tauren sitting behind him on a few furs. Akinya looked over to the Tauren, and recognized him: Horoan Blackhoof, but for most he was simply “Ro”. Ro was dressed in light mail armour, his shoulders adorned with the heads of two majestic bears. His dark eyes pierced through Akinya, but were suddenly filled with joy.

“Akinya! My trusty, old shaman! When was the last time we saw each other?” the Tauren asked, walking towards his old friend to embrace him.

“I think it was in da Howlin’ Fjord, when I saved ya from a band o’ bloodthirsty Vrykul.”

“You didn’t save me! You just bought me some more time!” Akinya and Ro laughed loud and long, but the Commander and his bodyguard stared at them, surprised by the warmth and friendliness they offered each other.

“As soon as you are done with your nostalgic chattering, could you return your attention to the head of this operation, which happens to be me, Eriel Dawncaller?” Both the Troll and the Tauren cleaned their throats, and saluted quickly. Dawncaller moved around the wooden pieces on the map, and starting his explanation.

“I ordered both of you here because our assault on the Wintergrasp Fortress has an extra dimension to it today, gentlemen. Last week, one of our elite agents infiltrated the Wintergrasp Fortress, to assassinate one of the big players of the Alliance. However, our agent was betrayed by our own men, and the Alliance has locked him up beneath the Fortress, inside an intricate cavern system. We need to extract our agent alive, for he might have vital information about the military action of the Alliance.”

“So, who is da agent? An’ if he so good, why did he fail?” Akinya asked.

“A Knight of the Ebon Blade, named Nason Silverpath. He has often helped us ou…”

“Nason?! Ya don’t say! Ya sent dat nit-wit of a rotten corpse ta infiltrate? All he can do is swingin’ ’round big weapons an’ act all…well, dead!” Both Ro and Dawncaller looked puzzled at Akinya, and the Commander raised his right eyebrow.

“It seems like you know all my soldiers personally, Troll. Maybe you invite them too often to your ‘shamanistic vision parties’, right?”

“Nahh, I meet most of ’em in da sick bay, an’ chattin’ wit’ ’em while stitchin’ dem up is quite enjoyin’. Believe me, dat Silverpath fellow was often in my ‘patching tent’. He was also part of the group I saved in Icecrown, ya know.” Dawncaller nodded, and moved around two big wooden pieces: one went towards the front entrance of the fort, the other to the western wall.

“The problem is that the only useful entrance to these caverns lies right inside the Fortress. My solution to this problem is the following: we will split up their forces by putting the heat at both the front gate and the western wall. As soon as we have breached one point, you will both slip in, and sneak towards the courtyard. The entrance is hidden in a drainage entrance. Just follow the drainage down, and you will come into the caverns. Be careful there: we don’t have any intelligence on what or who is guarding Silverpath. Any questions, gentlemen?” Ro raised his hand, and Eriel gave him permission to speak.

“Why did you pick us for this mission? I am just a hunter who knows how to track his prey, and Akinya is a field medic, so to speak. We both have military experience, but I do not consider us experts on the field of extraction.” The Commander nodded, and started to walk around.

“You might lack the experience, but both of you show great potential. Akinya has proven his worth last month, as he saved a group of our elite soldiers from an aerial assault in Icecrown. And you, Horoan Blackhoof, always find your prey. As soon as find Nason Silverpath, Akinya can stitch him up quickly, while you find a way out. With a healthy Knight of the Ebon Blade on your side, you will also have additional firepower. Any more questions?” Ro and Akinya turned silent, and Eriel Dawncaller saw this as a sign to dismiss them. They left his tent, preparing for this dangerous task…

La Familia – How gaming with the family works

My guildies know it: not just I, but my brother and my sister are devoted WoW-gamers as well. Even though I am the one who brought this plague into our household, I am not the one who hooked them up, at least not intentional.

Still, people ask me: “Isn’t it annoying to game alongside people who you have around twenty-four-seven?” My answer is: “Nope, it is just very handy!” Why? Well, let me illustrate with an example.

November 13, 2008: Wrath of the Lich King hit the stores! However, my brother Phil had to work, and I had to be at the university. So, the two of us couldn’t pick up our little blue boxes in the morning, install them and have a game of exploring Northrend. Normally one of us would have to pick up the copies in the afternoon then, and install them. This would cost us precious leveling time however, and put us at the end of waiting queues for quest mobs.

Our solution: our dear little sister Julia a.k.a. Kibina. Julia is an almost 18-year old girl who has grown up with video games from the start. She witnessed how my brother and me killed Jafar in the SNES-version of “Aladdin”. She shared our frustration at several boss encounters in “Final Fantasy VII”, and had her first console shooter experience in “Halo”. Sometimes, I blame myself for ruining her life, and injecting her with the virus we all call “video gaming”. On the other hand, I see how much she can enjoy a good video game, and as long as she’s happy, everything’s fine, right?

Well, back to my example. Julia had a day off on that fateful day, and “volunteered” to get up early, hit the local toy shop, get our three copies of The Rage of the Rich King, and now comes the best part: she installed and patched it on ALL THREE computers. Also, she upgraded all three accounts to Wrath of the Lich King! So when I got back home, I found my laptop showing the log-in screen, and my sister telling me everything was ready for my trip to Northrend. Sarcastically, I replied: “What?! Akinya ain’t eighty yet!? You failed me again, Execu-eh, Julia!” Of course, she ignored it, and continued her rampage across the Howling Fjord.

This is just one example of how advantageous it can be to have your brother and sister gaming with you. Also, the three of us can form a stable basis for a Heroic Dungeon troupe: two damage-dealers and a healer. Yes, it would be better if we had an “in-house” tank, but that was not the way Destiny wanted it. But believe me, it is a good feeling to assemble 60% of a group in mere seconds.

But you know what the coolest thing is about this? The trash talk! You won’t believe the amount of hilarious things that come up when sitting next to each other. Real-life topics get dragged into WoW content, and WoW content gets dragged into real-life topics. We start discussing tactics for our fight against Rivendare’s Pony Club, and end somewhere talking about the boobs of Alliance races. No wipe is bad enough to kill our sarcastic statements and freaky topics.

When the day comes that we all move out of our parent’s house, I guess that somehow, gaming will become different to me. I mean, not just WoW, but all kinds of gaming. I think I will miss to have someone to challenge to Guitar Hero, to tell me how bad I suck at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, to clean the floor with in Tekken, and to experience Guild First Kills in WoW. Luckily, that day hasn’t come yet, and my brother can still disturb my peaceful TV-watching with the legendary line: “Yo fatty, wanna go HC?!”

And hopefully, that line will repeat itself another thousand times…

Signed,

Aki!