Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Pilgrimage of Kate & Maurice, Pt. 3: The River of Death

     I'm Kate, a wood elf warrior with no gold who can only use bows. My companion Maurice is Breton pilgrim on the verge of death. Together we're traveling halfway across Skyrim's massive world, on foot, to Eldergleam Sanctuary. There's just one catch: if Maurice dies along the way, we have to reload and try again from the beginning. After surviving a gauntlet of wolves and painstakingly sneaking past a predatory tiger, we're immediately greeted by another of the feline menaces.

     The Sabre Cat is looking right at us. It's dark out, but it's not that dark out. How are we not being detected? You're just pretending to ignore us, aren't you? We're beneath your notice, is that it? Don't you mock me, kitten. If I didn't have to look after this profusely-bleeding excuse of a traveling companion, I would crush you. With arrows. In the face.


     I'm sorry dear I didn't mean it when I called you names, don't look at me like that, let's just go.

     In an unexpected and not entirely logical twist, I've started to develop survivor's syndrome with someone who keeps dying. Initially, Maurice's idiotic berserker charges into the gas-piston jaws of death annoyed me, but I started finding it a weird kind of endearing after a while. Eventually, my gut response morphed into what it is now: absolute terror. When he pulls out his comically large war axe and bull rushes a pack of wolves or giants that will surely slay him, I can't help but feel reminded of that time one of my dogs ran into the street as a puppy.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Pilgrimage of Kate & Maurice, Pt. 2: The Heart of a Lion and The Brawn of an Atrophied Llama


     I'm Kate, a wood elf assassin with no gold who can only use bows. My companion Maurice is a Breton pilgrim on the verge of death. Together we're traveling halfway across Skyrim's massive world, on foot, to Eldergleam Sanctuary. There's just one catch: if Maurice dies along the way, we have to reload and try again from the beginning.

     We were close. We were so close. I guess I have to hand it to the guy - not many people would try to interfere in a fight between two giants and a dragon while wearing no armor. I sigh, but can't be too angry about it. If I was gonna die, I'd want it to be in a blaze of dragon-charred glory too. I reload, and we're back at Hamvir's Rest.

     I lost count of how many attempts we've made long ago. In theory it shouldn't be that hard; we just walk there, right? In practice, though, there are a few major roadblocks.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Pilgrimage of Kate & Maurice, Pt. 1: A Match Made in Skyrim's Sleepy Hollow Equivalent

   There he goes again, flinging himself headfirst into the jaws of danger. No, I mean he's literally throwing himself into the cave bear's mouth. I nock an arrow, breathing as calmly as I can, and I sight at the bear's chest as it raises its claw to strike.

     Let me back up a bit.

     I recently acquired Skyrim, and I've been trying to figure out how I want to approach it. I have virtually no experience with the game - everything I know comes from an article or two I read online. I do know from word of mouth, however, that it's absolutely massive, and that if I'm going to be playing it over the school year I need to impose some artificial rules to constrict it a little.

     Among my experiments to figure out what these rules should be is a wood elf named Kate Halpulte. She can neither pick up gold nor buy or sell items, and as an additional rule can only use bows and self-affecting magic (that is, I can't cast things on other people). So, in essence, a sniper assassin.

     Not far into the game, a priestess in Whiterun gave me (or rather, Kate) a quest to find an evil dagger so I can get the sap of a special tree so I can revive a different special tree outside her temple - it makes sense in context, I swear. A few days later, I'm back in Whiterun and during my travels I came into the possession of the aforementioned evil dagger, so I decide to pay the priestess a visit to see what she has to say. There, in her temple, a fateful encounter occurs; I meet Maurice.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Neo Scavenger: Of Death and Fur Coats

     I'm dying. It's the middle of the night, which means I can't see anything around me and - more troubling - I can only take one action a turn. Normally this isn't much of a problem, but then again I'm not usually starving. My best bet is to find hunting grounds I can trap squirrels in, or barring that, a crumbling apartment to loot ketchup packets from. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything but flat plains in the past 7 hexes and I can't scavenge berries from the grass without the Botany skill. It's at this point in my blind, painfully slow search that I stumble into a hilly area and a dogman erupts from the darkness around me.

     At first I panic. Combat in Neo Scavenger starts as soon as two creatures occupy the same space, and dogmen are by far the most dangerous creatures I've ever encountered in the game's post-apocalyptic Michigan landscape. Then I remember that they can also be skinned and eaten if you manage to kill one.

Dogmen.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mushishi Episode 11: Mountain Mystics

     I'm rewatching Mushishi on DVD and blogging it. Previous post here. First post here. You can watch this episode and the rest of the series legally (and free) on Youtube. For those looking for a brief refresher, there's a list of brief episode descriptions here.

     Thus far in the series, there have been two essential categories of mushi: those whom Ginko can control, and those who are so untouchable and powerful that he can't even attempt a cure. In other words, either beasts or gods. And some do take on the form of gods, literally: they command humans' worship (episode 6), control their dreams (episode 7), establish their taboos (episode 9), and even have dominion over the nature of their lives (episode 1). But if the mushi are gods, what does that make the mushishi?

     Why, they're the priests, of course.