I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dad of the Year

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may have won Game of the Year, but Geralt deserves Dad of the Year. At least mine does. I completed the main quest a couple nights ago and got the ideal ending. This post is going to be packed with spoilers, FYI.

First, I had a moment of rage at the end of the ultimate battle when Ciri went into the other world/dimension (? I admit I didn’t keep up with the details of the story haha), leaving me/Geralt begins with heart pounding, holding my breath, getting closer to tears wondering if she will make it, believing she will make it because I tried so hard to be an awesome dad to the point where I actually did feel responsible for this young woman. Sometimes having a good imagination messes up my reality haha! I have to say I was really feeling the worry/hope/pride emanating from Geralt—damn these game devs are brilliant.

And then the scene cut to the emperor’s palace where you have to tell him Ciri is dead. I nearly flipped my desk over, wondering what I missed. I was so pissed that I tried my best to make the emperor feel like shit. He’s over there pretending to be sad—look buddy, Ciri is my daughter and I busted my ass for probably an unholy amount of hours, going all over god and country to find her, dealing with ungrateful jerks who shaft me after I kill their monsters and shout insults at me, spilling blood and guts, and you think you have the right to be sad? I don’t think so! So I told him Ciri didn’t mention him in her last words and felt joy when he looked crushed.

I was so confused, so I took to the internet to learn where I had gone wrong, and learned there are certain important dialogue choices you have to make. This is absolutely intriguing because everyone will have a different take on the game the first time they play. Whenever I had to choose how to cheer her up I always put myself in her shoes, thinking ok, my little girl is distraught! How can I make this better?

This meant choosing a snowball fight—you bet I’d snowball fight with my baby girl! Who wouldn’t? (Apparently there are some who don’t, whaaaaaaat?). It also meant choosing to go to that island with her to bury the kid whose part in the story I had completely forgotten about. Hadn’t played since March or something. Of course I will help you bury your little friend! And damn straight sucker punch that loser who tried to stop you! Then, in the elf’s laboratory we met this jealous chick who made Ciri feel like everyone hated her. I don’t flippin’ think so! So when Ciri said she wished she could deatroy the building I was totally on board. I said go for it and together we smashed the hell out of his stuff. And then I stole everything I was allowed to loot because the elves deserved it. These, I learned, were three of the dialogue choices.

Another was letting her go with the sorceresses. I actually don’t remember this, but I’m pretty sure, according to my mindset when I play, I wouldn’t have sent Geralt along because that just seems like a dull experience haha!! I chose correctly, apparently. That’s good news.

And another is when you have to give her advice whether to visit her father or go to Velen. I honestly don’t remember what I chose but I do remember spending an awful long time thinking about my answer. On the one hand I was feeling possessive since I basically raised her and saw her as my daughter, and on the other hand I wondered if maybe that was too selfish because it was what I wanted and not necessarily the right thing to do. I may have told her to visit her dad, I really can’t remember. But that’s not the right choice to make for the good ending.

After learning all these things, knowing for a fact I had accomplished at least 4, I was engraged even more because I didn’t understand how I still lost. But the game wasn’t actually over just yet. I read what happens in the bad ending. And I was dreading witnessing something so awful. But happily that’s not the ending I got. I had to meet someone at a ruined castle and he gave me a stunning Witcher sword. And then I got jumped by a ton of Nilfgardian soldiers for some reason. And then I had to meet someone at an inn. It was Ciri! I gave her the sword and she became a Witcher and I was delighted. It was a tense ten minutes, but I learned that yes indeed I am the best dad ever.

It made me think about the portrayal of women in this game. Yes they wear high heeled boots in combat. Yes there are a bunch of prostitutes everywhere. Yes our leading ladies get naked—but so does our leading man haha! But the sorceresses are all strong women and the whole point of the game  is to support Ciri and help her have confidence in herself and make her own choices. It’s not a game about Geralt. I’m not saying it’s a game about feminism, but it’s a game that puts everyone, man and woman, on equal ground in terms of respect and importance: sometimes the damsel needs saving, sometimes Geralt needs saving. It’s well-balanced without even trying hard. Why can’t this happen more?

I have the two expansions yet to play, and I also want to hang out with more rock trolls. I love rock trolls! Never killed a single one. I’d definitely partner up with one and we can hunt monsters together. Maybe if Wham-A-Wham is free I can ask him to hang out.

I know I began my play through with a large amount of hesitation, and those bath scenes still make me uncomfortable haha! But I ended up enjoying this game very much, so much so that I actually bought and read the first Witcher book (the novels on which the games are based). Now I’m looking forward to that Netflix adaptation!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Witcher 3: Preliminaries

I mentioned The Witcher 3 a few(?) months ago, after a friend recommended it to me and I was lookin forward to playing a ladies man in a game that so obviously targets the cisgender straight male gamer—though I’ve come to decide that some parts are for the minority audience (i.e., not cisgender straight male). 

I haven’t played the first two games, nor have I read the novels the games are based on, so I suppose I’m coming at this game with a few missing parts. Nevertheless, I don’t think that’s too much of a hindrance. 

I happily purchased the Game of the Year edition for $20, yay! And I opened the game, watched the little videos showing what’s going on...and then that bath scene, which I’ve discovered has become a meme. Anywho, the hot guy you play as, Geralt, is in a bath tub, and some naked chick is nearby, and you start feeling like the third wheel before suddenly you become the fourth wheel. A lizard mo stet cozies up in the tub with Geralt and at that moment I knew I was not mentally prepared for this game.  After the cutscene I just sat there staring at the screen wondering what the hell did I just watch before I turned the game off and decided I needed to do some research before going any further. 

After a couple of weeks, I finally went back to the game and cringed and writhed through that weird dream sequence again before getting to the game itself. Now, this is only the second RPG I’ve played, and as with Skyrim, I spend the first several levels trying to figure out what the hell im doing. I play with my keyboard and a generic mouse that has no middle mouse button (I changed the keybindibg for that), and I have to say that it can be a struggle. My fingers get tangled up a lot, so I’m still trying to coordinate myself. This is quite a task for someone as uncoordinated as I am. It can be very frustrating when I’m surrounded by, like, 50 water hags—AND to add, sometimes the keys don’t freaking respond and it annoys the crap out of me! 

I started on what I eventually learned was the easiest level. I was wondering why the game was so easy, which was making it boring, and then I discovered that I could increase the difficulty: I now play on Blood and Bones, but switch to Story and Sword when I find I’m dying too much. I know, I’m lazy. But I’m still trying to coordinate myself on all those silly keys I have to press at the same time. WASDRTY~altshift12QXCEtabbackspacespacebar. It’s always a pain to memorize the key and mouse commands for a new game, but this one is taking me forever.

Some things that I absolutely detest:
1. Can’t change the perspective—sometimes this leads to me trying to fight big scary monsters with a tree taking up my whole view, or being unable to survey a room without only seeing Geralt’s head. This is annoying, despite how hypnotized I am by his hair fluttering with every movement. 
2. The gymnastic fighting techniques. Geralt swings a sword and suddenly he’s five paces north of where he was a sword-swing ago. Can he please stop being all over the place? It’s especially frustrating when he’s trying to stay within his YRDEN circle to kill wraiths. 
3. To add to the above, it drives me crazy when you want him to move just a little bit closer to something he can only bound instead of take a small stocatto step, and walking (excuse me, running) backward means he turns instead of just walking backward. I understand he is tall and takes long strides, but can’t he please just sit still?
4. No stealth mode. Stealth would be so helpful sometimes, but alas, Geralt seems only to know “charge in full force” mode. Sigh. 
5. Sometimes cutscenes make the game choppy. You’re walking along and suddenly lose all control just to watch Geralt walk into a building that you could have made him walk through yourself. 
6. Sometimes the cutscenes prevent you from being able to prepare yourself properly for a battle. They interrupt the flow and before you can put your bomb back in your quick select you have five witch hunters hacking away at you. 
7. Main female protagonists wear high heeled boots. Their outfits are totally awesome, especially Triss’s, but holy Christ, are you kidding me? I can’t imagine this is for the target audience to enjoy because I’m sure they wouldn’t give two hoots whether the female characters were wearing snowshoes. Are the heels supposed to make the women more badass, to say they can kick ass even when having to teeter on their toes? I don’t get it. I shouldn’t care so much, but I do. We all have our issues I guess. 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff. Things I absolutely love;
1. The rock trolls or whatever they are called. You betcha I made Geralt paint a little bird for the rock troll with all the broken boats. He did it and he liked it and would paint a hundred birds if that troll asked. 
2. Godlings are so damn cute. I preferred Johnny silent, though. They’re cuter when they don’t talk haha! Isn’t everyone?
3. Geralt’s flowing hair. ¡Me gusta!
4. Witcher gear. Why would anyone use anything else?!
5. The soundtrack 
6. The epic scale of geography, detail of clothes etc., amount of quests, and length of quests. I can see someone clearing 500 hours of this game and still not getting everything done. 
7. Killing Whoreson Junior. BUT I dislike that the cutscene didn’t show Geralt actually kill him. That would have really made it satisfying. That guy was absolutely despicable. 

As I predicted, I enjoyed being a ladies man haha! Also, the way I see it, poor Geralt has to kill scary monsters for unappreciative people for a pittance. Let the man get laid. He seized the opportunity with Keira, which I knew was coming after he encountered her in the bathtub. Okay, what is with all the baths in this game?! I’ve encountered 4 bath scenes already. I was concerned that the sex scenes were going to be super porno, but they’re actually relatively tasteful. I mean, yeah butts and breasts are shown, but not for extended periods of time. On that note...

I saved my game before the end of the Now or Never quest because I wanted to see how it would be if Geralt chose Triss. I decided it seemed out of character and reloaded the game and chose instead to say farewell to Triss. However, the lighthouse scene had me laughing hysterically. They showed a few seconds of nudity, but then planned to subtle shadows before finally going full-suggestive by showing the dudes on the boat thinking they were receiving a coded message based on the patterns of fire flickering. That was hilarious. But I think, despite the obvious fact Yen has Geralt wrapped around her finger, that relationship feels more natural. And apparently that’s how it ends in the novels, too!

My Geralt has a special soft spot for little kiddies. Except for the orphans Anna watches lol whoops... But anytime there’s a quest that helps a little kid, my Geralt refuses pay. And as for that little girl who gives him a do, he’s going to keep that doll forever and ever! Speaking of kids, the best one has got to be the flying monster ghost fetus. And watching the wife beater carry it around before it was pacified was satisfying. 

As for gwent, I’m not too thrilled about the card game, and I’ll play it only for a change of pace. But I do, in fact, get annoyed when I lose. I want those special cards, damn it! It’s like that Seinfeld episode about Festivus where Elaine slogs through ten unappetizing sub sandwiches to get the captain’s hat. 

That’s 30 hours worth. Not sure how I really feel about the game just yet. Maybe my opinion will improve more greatly as I continue. I mean, there’s SO MUCH to do. I hope I encounter more rock trolls. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Obduction Walkthrough Guide Is Available Now!

As of February 15, my solution guide for Obduction is available to purchase! I am very grateful to everyone who helped make it so and to those of you who generously buy a copy for your Obduction collection.

Purchase HERE.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Obduction Walkthrough Guide Preview

In TEN days I'll be releasing the Obduction Walkthrough Guide for $35.99.  I'll put the link on here, so make sure to come back February 15!

It was SO COOL to work with the folks at Cyan--actually it was pretty unreal to work with the folks at Cyan.  So, to whet your appetite, I'm putting some preview images here for you to drool over:

Front Cover!
It will include detailed maps of Hunrath, Kaptar, and Maray

the book is separated into "Parts"; each world gets its own part.

There are 14 full-page color images

There are also 5 two-page spreads. How could I resist including one of the Crankshaft Cavern?

I have some diagrams that help to solve the Gauntlet puzzle. A game of geometry, surprisingly simple.

Throughout the book, you will find "Boxes" (color-coded for each world) that contain tangential information or reproductions of documents from the game. Here's one of the "Bad Endings"

I also include some backstory information, because the game can be somewhat confusing the first time you play. Look at that adorbs Mofang!

One of two Appendices: this is a very detailed tutorial for figuring out the Villein number system.  Again, surprisingly simple, but remember when it seemed super hard with the original beta release when you couldn't return to Hunrath? How weird that they changed that in later updates.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Gundam Wing: in Defense of Quatre

This post is not going to be related to Myst or games of any kind, and it’s really super long and may have autocorrect mistakes. This post will instead be about an anime series I encountered called Gundam Wing which aired in 1995/6, so I’m REALLY late to the party here. I recommend the series, which you can find on YouTube; watch the remastered ones with Japanese audio and turn on the English subtitles. 49 25-minute episodes.

So far I’d been introduced to only two animes that I liked: GTO and Elfen Lied. Those are absolutely excellent and I recommend. Most animes I find really weird and creepy, but occasionally my friends land on some good ones that they think I’ll approve. Gundam Wing was not recommended to me, rather I caught a clip of it on Facebook. The post was a joke about how to introduce initiates to anime and the scene used was where the main protagonist, Heero, tells the young girl he will kill her after he tears up the birthday party invite she gave him: Clip here

As with the opening scene of Elfen Lied, I was sold and needed to see the rest of the series, which ended up being a good choice! FYI, I think the Japanese audio with English subs are better and I recommend that over the English dub. I quickly became enamoured of the series, though it took me a few episodes to understand what the hell was going on. It’s a little difficult for anime initiates to get comfortable with the story haha! Naturally, with everything I’m obsessed with I had to run out and find a t-shirt depicting something from the series, and I chose this one. It features the Gundam pilot who, much to my surprise, is generally the least favorite of the five. Although Heero is hands down my favorite of the five, I feel compelled to display support for underrated Quatre. 

As a means to acquire background information on the series, I scanned through the series’ wiki where I learned Quatre was the least favorite. I found another website that presented a list of reasons why, some of which appear to be due to the macho male insecurity concerning emotion. Mega eye roll. The list includes detest for Quatre’s emotional nature and that he wears pink (seriously?), and that he seems effeminate, even to the point where he is voiced by a female actor. Some believe he is weak and has a weak Gundam. Reading these, what I believe to be, poor interpretations of his character, I was completely perplexed. However, I came to realize that the majority of Gundam Wing fans (guys, usually) watched the series as young teens and were naturally oblivious to the complexity of Quatre’s character. I had a chat last night with a male friend who watched the show as a young teen, and who shared the popular view, and delivered my analysis of Quatre and the other boys. I guess I more or less blew his mind with my analysis and I seemed to change his view, but I assured him that 1. he was just a kid when he saw it, 2. I saw it as an adult not really well-versed in anime, which means that I’ll have a different perspective, and 3. I have art history training, which I’ll explain in a bit. Poor, poor misunderstood Quatre. 

For the uninitiated, Gundam anime is a genre about giant robotic suits piloted by individuals with “a very specific set of skills” (Taken reference haha), and are used in outer space and on earth. Think Power Rangers Megazord meets Iron Man. Mind you, my sparse knowledge of this comes from Gundam Wing. The series itself features five 15-year-old boys who pilot these superior “mobile suits”, and bring them to earth to fight for space colonies’ freedom from a powermad government, and for peace in general. Each of the boys is unique, with Heero being the foremost among them. The Gundam appear—as my understanding goes—to have some form of AI capabilities, and by the way the boys seem emotionally attached to their mobile suits, the suits seem to be protective of them and even an extension of each boy’s being. Wufei seems to revere his as some sort of sacred being that he endeavors to deserve; Duo’s heart is ripped out when his dear Deathscythe is destroyed; and Trowa is completely traumatized by destroying Deathscythe while he plays the double agent. Heero is always leaving his all over the place in some form of disrepair, but he is extremely protective of it nonetheless. Quatre’s suit, Sandrock, sacrifices itself for him, which of course makes him emotional. 

With their suits the boys are killing machines, wiping out with ease and pomp all the enemy vessels and headquarters in pursuit of peace and protecting the colonies from the very moment they each arrive on earth in five different regions. They are skilled pilots but also have combat and hacker skills and are sharp at assessing dangerous situations and how to survive them. Heero and Trowa are both solem and detached individuals, with Heero being the more focused and willing to die for the cause than the rest of them. Wufei is rather wild and impetuous. Duo is cheerful and funny, and while he appears to have fun with slicing and dicing enemies, he seems to be squeamish of more intimate violence such as when Heero sets his own broken leg. Quatre is gentle and apologetic about slaying enemies and tries to be merciful when he can, but he still kills when necessary. It’s his guilt and kindness and frequent crying that have made people consider him weak. But this is an gross misinterpretation of his character and indeed the series’ theme that explores the nature of humanity. 

Quatre is probably the strongest of them, and if you don’t believe ME, then you must believe Heero, because he’s the one that explicitly and emphatically acknowledges this. Quatre’s strongest quality is his leadership skills, which is revealed at the beginning. The kid leads an entire army. Cute little gentle-natured blond-haired boy leads an entire army of grown men prepared to die for him. The others do not. Because of this superior quality, Heero selects him to lead the Gundams, which he does with success, despite his initial doubt in himself—more in that in a bit. I don’t think I can speak about his suit’s capabilities, as I’m not well-versed in the genre to know what’s bad, but regardless of whatever his suit’s shortcomings are, that kid can clear a base! When he meets Trowa—good Lord, the romantic tension between them could be cut with a knife—he decimated the rest of the enemies after Troea runs out of ammunition. Sure he may have been saying “sorry” left, right, and center because he had a steadfast conscious, but he was still getting the job done with great efficiency. People have complained that he talks too much to his enemies, but it’s his leadership qualities coming to the fore again in an effort to solve things diplomatically rather than shedding blood unnecessarily. 

His emotional nature seems to be what disenchants most people because it makes him “girly”—macho culture example right there. In fact, emotions are a large subject of discussion among the boys and it’s what they admire most about Quatre. Several times his emotional expressions are encouraged by both Heero and Trowa, specifically in the tragic battle between the three of them. Quatre obtains the Zero Wing suit that is outfitted with the Zero System—a programming that alters the state of one’s conscious (or something like that) and shows visions of the future and enhances combat skills, but also clouds judgment in a drastic way. It takes great skill to master the Zero System which only three seem to do to some extent or another, Quatre being one of them, and Heero and Milliardo (OMG heartthrob). Unfortunately, Quatre’s first use of the Zero System failed: after his father is killed he goes into revenge mode, and with the Zero System altering his better judgment he massacres entire populations of people! Trowa and Heero are sent in brand new suits by the enemy to stop him, and both are gambling on his sweet disposition to get all of them out of there alive and well. Quatre’s special connection to Trowa is exploited here, with sincerity, not as manipulation. Unfortunately, Quatre is so compromised that he attacks Trowa with intent to kill and damages him quite badly. Heero and Trowa both use this to their advantage, to shake Quatre from the Zero System’s influence by triggering in the most powerful way his emotions. When Quatre sees what he’s done and sees Trowa headed in the direction of death by blowing up into a million pieces, he wants to go save him, but Heero puns him down and forces him to watch the results of his actions. Quatre is desperate to stop the disaster, begging Heero to rescue him, but Trowa and Heero followed their plan to the end. Essentially, in my opinion, Trowa sacrificed himself to rescue Quatre’s conscience, depending on Heero to make sure the plan is carried out. Heero is spectacular at burying his emotions, but I think we can guess that it pained him to do that. 

And then we see that amazingly adorable scene on the beach where Heero is playing with dogs and then encourages the dejected Quatre to indulge in his kindness and emotions and go play with the dogs, which he does with gusto. 

Back to Trowa, he’s finally recovered from space and back in the circus where he began before joining the other boys in battle, though he suffers from amnesia. Trowa is also emotional, as he acted on his emotions of affection when he protected Katherine that first time, when she slapped him in the face (haha!). Heero justifies this emotional “outburst” even though he himself struggles with controlling this—how many times did he threaten to kill Relena? When Duo finds Trowa at the circus, Katherine pushes him away to protect Trowa from further trauma caused by his military past. Trowa is confused, but not triggered. But when Quatre comes into the picture, well that’s a different story. When Quatre learns where Trowa is, he races to find him, eyes brimming with tears. Again, Katherine protects him, but Quatre’s emotions succeed in triggering Trowa. He has a moment of despair as he tries to remember who Quatre is. He finally joins the other boys, even though he isn’t fully recovered. But I think we owe a lot to Quatre for bringing back one of the best of the pilots. 

Let’s skip ahead to the end of the series where Heero goes off to do stuff with the Libra ship and rigs Quatre’s suit with the Zero System before they go off into battle. Quatre, whose first experience led to a disastrous end, is largely dismayed and insists on his inability to master it. The fact that Heero put this system in Quatre’s suit and not the others’ can, superficially, be interpreted as Heero’s lack of faith in Quatre’s abilities as a fighter, since the Zero System improves skills exponentially. This is an incorrect interpretation. The Zero System messed up Trowa pretty good, and Wufei was also affected. I can’t remember if Duo ever jumped in the Zero Wing suit. It’s stated in the series that only a superhuman could master it. So why would Heero insist that Quatre use the system if he’s supposedly the weakest of them? Heero is implying that Quatre is the strongest, and Quatre’s previous traumatic experience coupled with his compassionate nature will help him to completely master the Zero System and lead the other three.  Which he does with expertly ease, lightning speed moves and superior strategies that overcome the enemy despite the immense danger they were in. Quatre was able to get the three other boys to fight as a unit rather than alone as they were used to doing. Then, wisely, after the battle he disengages the Zero System with an apparent understanding that it is addictive and he couldn’t risk compromising his nature again. 

In the end, in the showdown with that Dorothy chick who I hoped would die a terrible death, she and he have a philosophical discussion on the importance of kindness and it’s essential place in humanity, and ultimately the conclusion is kindness is more powerful than war. Quatre explains Trowa helped him to see that his kindness was not a shortcoming, but his greatest strength. And then he proceeds to fight in his Gundam with an abdominal stab wound—I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty badass. 

Lastly, a few words on appearances. The characters’ eyes stood out to me because they’re all different sizes. Quatre and Duo have gigantic eyes; Heero and Trowa have big eyes, but not like the aforementioned two boys. Adults, and especially villains, have narrow elongated eyes. There are specific reasons for this. Big eyes are used to denote youth—the boys are all 15 years old. Wufei has narrow eyes which seem to have been used to specify he is Chinese. Heero and Trowa are both reserved indivuals, whereas Quatre and Duo are the kinder and cheerier of the group. Big eyes reflect innocence and gentle natures, which those two boys possess. Quatre’s charitably is further emphasized by his younger-sounding voice, achieved by a female voice actor. This has no bearing on masculinity, rather it exposes the primary character traits. And these primary character traits indicate each character’s greatest strength which make them superior warriors capable of piloting superior Gundam suits. 

Quatre weak? He’s pretty much represented as one of the strongest characters in the series. 

If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You get an imaginary cookie and a participation ribbon!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Adventures in Skyrim

First, I just want to say keep your peepers peeled for some neato news. Alliteration rocks.

Skyrim was cool before, but after getting my darling new laptop Sekhmet, the game has been phenomenal. Recently it was recommended that I play The Witcher 3. It definitely looks like a very cool game, even if it is OBVIOUSLY targeted at the cisgender straight man. Based on my cursory knowledge that I've gleaned so far, you play a dude in the game (albeit a really cool one), and I guess at some point some heterosexual adult playtime takes place. All right, I'm as imaginative as they come, so I'll let myself be amused. Let's see how much of a ladies man I can be, eh?

In other news, I'm waiting for Assassins Creed: Origins to go one sale. The Ptolemaic period of Egypt isn't really my favorite, and, since I'm a solid New Kingdom person, I'm an ancient Egypt snob and don't consider the Ptolemaic Period to be Egyptian haha! Nevertheles, from images I've seen, the accuracy is quite impressive.

Now back to Skyrim. My first ever RPG which I thought was really weird and scary and confusing when I first started playing it. My first character was a Wood Elf named, of course, Baladria. I made her do every quest she came upon, which made for a rather schizophrenic experience. I fared better with a redo, Niamh the Nord, who sided with the Stormcloaks rather than the Imperials as Baladria had done. Following this, I attempted a solid mage character but wasn't feeling it. Then I had a Khajiit assassin and thief, followed by a stocky short-haired Redguard lady-beast who liked to leave slain enemies naked where they died haha. That's when I discovered how awesome Redguards are.

Naturally, after getting a new computer, and getting new mods for Skyrim and being able to play it on ultra graphics, it was necessary to create a new character. Meet Sekhmet Blood-Drinker! A Redguard from Hammerfell who despises imperialism, is particularly helpful to her Redguard compatriots, enjoys massacring bandits, is disgusted by Forsworn and Falmer, frowns on the ways of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood, refuses to betray friends, gives a huge middle finger to the Blades for trying to peer pressure her into killing Paarthurnax (wtf?!), and likes to fight with her Pussy Posse and hubby at her side! She’s named after the ancient Egyptian lion-headed goddess Sekhmet, the goddess of pestilence, war, and destruction who tried to decimate mankind. The sun-god Re filled the land with wine and she drank it, thinking it was blood. She became drunk and fell asleep, and thus mankind was saved. I wanted a Redguard because they are amazing warriors and wear heavy armor. Though Sekhmet is a capable swordswoman, she favors the bow—because it’s fun to shoot people in high castle towers haha! I also wanted to make her pretty so it would be all the more shocking that she is a vicious killer. She wears dragon bone armor and fights with dragon bone weapons.

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker...baddest bitch in Skyrim
Details on Sekhmet Blood-Drinker: Redguard, heavy armor, one-handed, archery
Dragonplate armor: increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased health 62 pts
Dragonplate gauntlets: 40% more bow damage / 40% more one-handed damage
Dragonplate boots: sneaking 40% better / increased fire resistance 46%
Jagged Crown: 40% more bow damage
Daedric cloak: increased fire resistance 46% / increased frost resistance 46%
Dark bandolier with shoulder pad: increase carry weight 100 pts
Pussy Posse Ring – Sekhmet: increased heavy armor 25 pts / 40% more one-handed damage
Pussy Posse Necklace – Sekhmet: increased frost resistance 40% / increased heavy armor 25 pts
Pussy Posse Archer – Sekhmet (gold and ruby circlet): 40% more bow damage (I don’t wear this)
Qaanahrin (dragon bone bow): soul trap within 15 seconds / 41 pts fire damage

Annihilator (dragon bone sword): absorb 25 pts stamina / soul trap within 10 seconds

I'll explain the Pussy Posse jewelry in a bit lol!

My discovery of console commands and item IDs has given me some neat opportunities to have things I can’t otherwise have. The Jagged Crown is super cool, so I added that via console, and I also have added other quest items, pretending they are “reproductions” of the original so I can display them in my awesome new houses. It’s also handy to use the console for someone who has started the game over so many times who wants to get Smithing and Enchanting way up there so I can role-play as I wish. Now I didn’t cheat 100% on getting those skills up to 100. I mined a lot of gold, iron ore, and hunted for skins for leather strips. But damn, it’s not enough to do that a few times. I’ve bought iron ore/ingots from merchants and blacksmiths a lot also, but eventually that process gets tedious and I just consoled like 400 iron ingots and leather strips and finished my dagger making. Seriously, it took hundreds of ingots to do that. But I enchanted all of them to get my enchanting to 100 so I could use the double enchant perk on the sweet armor I was going to make for myself and my gang, once I acquired them. I bought/consoled hundreds of common or petty soul gems and enchanted the daggers with soul trap. For the enchantment acquisitions, apart from stuff I found legitimately, I bought stuff off merchants and also (heh, well…) raided the hidden chests belonging to the Khajiit traders at Markarth, Solitude, and Dawnstar. This very beginning stuff I don’t count toward my character’s character, so I’m not owning up to any contradictions here haha! Though Sekhmet does make poor decisions occasionally for the greater good.

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker in arching action
So along with doing side quests helpful to getting good stuff, doing quests to obtain the followers I wanted, getting Smithing and Enchanting up to 100, and quests that helped me get and build Lakeview Manor, brought me to level 27. You see, I wasn’t interested only in dressing and equipping myself, but I was concerned with acquiring a house and decorating it and dressing my companions. I wanted to make a group of badass women warriors which I named the Pussy Posse. I also wanted a husband to cook for me haha! It’s nice to have one in at least one of my lives, eh? I shopped around online for good options, including stewards. I was intrigued by what people were saying about Erik the Slayer, and he certainly is adorable. Very cheerful, upbeat, grateful for my existence. Yep, husband material there. I was completely startled to see Adrianne Avenicci as a guest at my wedding. She traveled all the way from Whiterun just for me! It was all the more crushing a blow when I learned she died in what may have been a vampire attack. She left me an inheritance, bless her heart, and I expressed my condolences to her grieving husband.

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker, wedding ready!

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker marries Erik the Slayer; audience includes the Pussy Posse, Erik's daddy, and Arianne Avenicci before she was brutally burdered by a band of vampires in Whiterun. I'll hate vampires forever!
Lydia will always be my BFF. I know she gets a lot of heat because she gets in the way and charges in when you’re trying to be stealthy, but I’ve come to find it charming. I made her essential so that I would stop accidentally killing her. I selected Jenassa, too. She has good dialog, she’s a tough nut, and she’s just cool. She always tells me she’s happy she met me, isn’t that sweet? Lastly, I plucked Mjoll away from her good work at Riften. She’s a good follower, though sometimes she’s too loquacious and talks over soft-spoken people who are trying to give me useful information. Damn chick, shut up from time to time, eh?

Nevertheless, I adore them all, and they each have excellent double-enchanted legendary armor sets, weapons (I gave unique names to all the weapons I forged), and personalized jewelry. I looked up the Wiki to check their stats and see what works best of each. I continue to upgrade their armor and weapons, and they have jewelries that increase their skills, too. So let’s take a look at what I’ve put together for myself and my four favorites. I’ve taken their coloring into account when deciding how to dress them. Seriously, this is a whole new level of nerd for me, but I'm not mad at it.

Erik the Slayer fully outfitted
Erik the Slayer: Nord, light armor, two-handed
Dragonscale armor: increased light armor 25 pts / increased stamina 62 pts
Dragonscale gauntlets: 40% more two-handed damage / 40% more bow damage
Dragonscale boots: sneaking 40% better / increased fire resistance 46%
Helm of Yngol: 30% frost resistance
Cloak of the Crow: not enchanted
Amulet of Arkay: increased health 10 pts
Bond of Matrimony: Restoration spells cost 10% less (he doesn’t do magic; I just want him to wear his wedding ring!)
Bandit’s Bane (dragon bone greatsword): 37 pts stamina damage / absorb 25 pts stamina (he always mentions how much he hates bandits, so that’s why I named his sword this haha!)
Ice-Maker (dragon bone bow): 31 pts frost damage / paralyze 5 seconds

Lydia, my BFF. Affectionately known as Lyds.
Lydia: Nord, heavy armor, one-handed, archery
Ebony armor: increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased stamina 62 pts
Ebony gauntlets: 40% more bow damage / 40% more one-handed damage
Ebony boots: sneaking 40% better / increased fire resistance 46%
Ebony shield: block 40% more damage / increased frost resistance 46%
Cloak of Vokun (blue): increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased frost resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Ring – Lydia: increased heavy armor 25 pts / 40% more one-handed damage
Pussy Posse Necklace – Lydia: increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased fire resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Archer – Lydia (silver and sapphire circlet): 40% more bow damage
Thane’s Protector (ebony sword): 31 pts fore damage / 37 pts stamina damage
Zapper (ebony bow): 31 pts shock damage / paralyze 5 seconds

Hard and tough but loyal Jenassa dual wielding like a boss
Jenassa: Dunmer, light armor, dual-wield(!) one-handed, archery
Dragonscale armor: increased light armor 25 pts / increased stamina 62 pts
Dragonscale gauntlets: 40% more bow damage / 40% more one-handed damage
Dragonscale boots: sneaking 40% better / increased fire resistance 46%
Cloak of Hevnoraak (brown): increased light armor 25 pts / increased frost resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Ring – Jenassa: increased light armor 25 pts / 40% more one-handed damage
Pussy Posse Necklace – Jenassa: increased light armor 25 pts / increased frost resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Archer – Jenassa (copper and onyx circlet): 40% more bow damage
Daedric Twins – Pain (Daedric sword): absorb stamina 25 pts / fire damage 31 pts
Daedric Twins – Panic (Daedric sword): creatures and people up to level 25 flee for 30 seconds / undead up to level 25 flee for 30 seconds
No bow yet…looking for a cool unique one for her

Goody-goody Mjoll the Lionness, but she gets the job done. You can't really fault her for being nice.
Mjoll the Lionness: Nord, heavy armor, two-handed
Orcish armor: increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased stamina 62 pts
Orcish gauntlets: increased heavy armor 25 pts / 40% more two-handed damage
Orcish boots: sneaking 40% better / increased fire resistance 46%
Cloak of Rahgot (green): increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased frost resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Ring – Mjoll: increased heavy armor 25 pts / 40% more two-handed damage (chick doesn’t wear this!)
Pussy Posse Necklace – Mjoll: increased heavy armor 25 pts / increased frost resistance 46%
Pussy Posse Archer – Mjoll (jade and emerald circlet): 40% more bow damage
Grimsever (her own glass sword): frost damage 15 pts
Volendrung (unique warhammer): absorb stamina 50 pts

Seriously, how cool are we?! But do you see why I spent so long getting everything together before actually starting real quests? My personnel doesn’t stop there. I like to have property everywhere, especially when it comes with a staff. I like to be the boss, so you bet I’ll take every house I can get with a housecarl and others! As a Redgiard, I'm particularly joyful that Rayya is the housecarl for Lakeview Manor. My stewards are Faendal from Riverwood, Adelaisa Vendicci from Windhelm, and Talvas Fathryon from Solstheim.

I’m currently working on adding the fun decorations like trophies from my hunts and slayings, armor sets and weapons, and unique items. I also want to fill my shelves with book collections of skill books, journals, several volume sets related to quests, etc. It’s pretty goofy, sure, but it’s still kind of fun. I haven’t decided on acquiring children. I’m not really interested in them in reality. I’ll have to talk to Erik about it.

For quests, I’m avoided the main Elder Scrolls quest for a while in favor of the DLCs and other minor quests. Dawnguard has its cool moments, but that chick Serana annoys the crap out of me. She was sad when I told her to go away, so I told her, “Well, maybe you should have been more respectful to me!” I convinced her to cure herself of vampirism, though. That questline comes with some great stuff, particularly Durnehviir, but I dislike very much being inside that death world. It’s so creepy and depressing.

Moth stuff from Dawnguard DLC

Lord Harkon in Vampire Lord form

Soul Cairn in Dawnguard. This place depressed the crap out of me and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

I like Durnehviir! I named my bow after the title he gave me

Blasted gargoyles were very successful at startling me. Thank the gods for the Adventurers Assemble mod so my Pussy Posse could help me fight these three.

Traveling around Solstheim is really neat though and I like the Black Books, even though they also scare the crap out of me. But damn, that Miraak clothing set!
How cool is this villain?!

It's great that this place has tons of knowledge waiting for you, but does it need to be so scary?

These things are so disgusting, especially in the way they just pop up in front of you, looking so gross with their tentacles.

This guy isn't all that attractive either. But he is rather generous.
So far there are two quests that are particularly controversial. One is the civil war, and the other is the Kematu vs. Saadia quest. As a Redguard, I felt it was my duty to do this one again (as well as Amren’s radiant quest)—gotta help my brothers and sisters! I’d done In My Time of Need before, but always sided with Kematu because he and his brethren are tough to kill alone. I did some superficial research to see who other people choose and then learned that if you choose Kematu, Saadia’s ashes will later be found in the Hall of the Dead. Also, I got to thinking that it seems suspicious for the Alik’r to hide away with bandits, and even the bandits are uncomfortable around them. Lastly, I was perturbed by their having left their brother in jail because he got caught. Not cool, dude. Bros before foes, Kematu. Seriously!

Therefore, this time around I chose Saadia. Happily, I had my sizable crew with me to do all the necessary Alik’r slaying and I felt I had served proper justice. Now dear Saadia can be free forever. She seems content enough to be a tavern worker, having started over well below her original station. Seems pretty admirable.

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker in traditional Redguard garb

Now for the civil war. At first I thought maybe I shouldn’t have anything to do with it. The first time I played I sided with the Imperials. The second time I sided with the Stormcloaks and there developed my crush on Ulfric—hahaha! It’s all too true! Aaaaaanyway, I also looked online to see who people tend to side with and there really are excellent reasons for both sides, I read that Ulfric, when encountered in Sovngard (is that correct?), expresses regret over the affair. And yet, I think his cause can be justified. In the very beginning Tullius is kissing Thalmor ass, the jerks who are trying to spread imperialism. Being from Hammerfell, I believe in a free and independent state, so it makes sense to me to try to liberate the Nords, racist as they may be, from any group trying to oppress them. Ulfric can be really crabby, but I do feel a spark of glee when I win his praise. However, I feel crushed that I have to betray Buulgruf, and it doesn’t help that he admonishes me for it. If my virtual self could hang her head in shame she would. Can’t he have just sided with the Nords? But life sucks, even in Skyrim.

Sekhmet Blood-Drinker with Ulfric Stormcloak after liberating Solitude. Skyrim belongs to the Nords!
I've got some other lovely images, but I'll save those for another post. The game is quite lovely and it's hard not to share everything! But maybe I'll leave you with Sovngarde, since it is the end of the journey for us all.

Victory or Sovngarde!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sekhmet Is Here!

I got my new laptop (HP Omen), which I named Sekhmet, last Thursday and spent nearly the whole day setting her up.  My favorite part was being able to download and begin re-playing Obduction -- but this time I am able to play the most-recently updated Obduction!  The difference is absolutely astonishing.  I can't believe it.  Even the loading screen has seen a change: now there's a purple seed surrounded by a circle whereas in the initial beta release it was an enormous circle.

Now that my graphics are beyond amazing and I can play the most epic graphics version of the game, I decided I need to retake a lot of screenshots for my little walkthrough I made.  You won't believe the difference.  If I ever get to get moving on it people are going to see some amazing images.  I got other games from the Explorer's Bundle sale and I tested them all as well.  The Witness is having problems for some reason, but the others seem to be operating just fine.

I played through Kaptar and Hunrath again so that I could get started on re-doing the cover of my walkthrough -- oh wait till you seeeeeee!  But I also decided to take screenshots of the old school graffiti in the train yard.  I have always loved old school graffiti.  Only rarely nowadays is gang tagging an art.  How far we have fallen!  Anyway, take a look at my images below (they have been cropped)!  Also, I used Afterburner instead of Fraps this time around.  That may have something to do with the improved quality, but I'm not sure.  Great program in any case.