Sunday, March 11, 2012

From the files of the Brute Squad: Lazy Sunday Action

Greetings avid readers!  It's time once again for Geeking Out in Skyrim!  Today's adventure is filler; in that its mainly from these wonderful 'mini-quests' that unlock just by walking around the whole goddamn place.  Which I'm constantly doing because of these people.

In this installment, I basically get deputized by whoever's around, and go about smackin' some bandits what-for.  The law in Skyrim is pretty slap-dash.  In a literal sense too; there's a lot of slapping involved.  Dashing not so much.

And now, the time I got drunk with a ghost who just wanted his sword back.

Ghostbustin' Old Hroldan Inn.

While running around the width and breadth of Skyrim, I fell upon Old Hroldan Inn; a quaint ale house and rest area for the weary traveller to sit a spell and wet their throat with the finest of Nord mead.  Which I bet tastes alright, Nords are kinda weird in how they make alcohol anyways.  While I was renting a room there for the night so I could take a load off and get that Rested bonus towards my experience, I was awoken by a G-G-G-G-GHOOOOOOST!  Unfortunately I didn't have a great dane as a comedic relief partner, so I just heard the ghost out.  "I need my sword!  You promised!"

I didn't.  But clearly he thinks I'm someone else, and the current owner of the inn would be more than greatful if I busted this ghost.  So yeah, sure buddy, sword-hunting time.  I'm told that this area that I'm in once witnessed a giant battle a thousand years ago, and many of the current inhabitants (The Forsworn, think militant hippies. I know.)  would be living in ruins which might hold the ghost's sword.  I went to work.

The forgot to Aqua'duck't.
So after a quick run from the inn towards the presumed last location of Old Hroldan's sword, I run into what is effectively a Forsworn camp.  They're like the kind of folks who are SO IN LOVE with nature, they're all about not being civilized and dressing un furs and leathers, using weaponry mainly carved out of deer horn or tree branches.  While I can respect the amount of ingenuity they go through to turn a single deer kill into so many useable resources (Food, clothing, items of war, luxury goods) their attitude towards people who AREN'T Forsworn is kinda shit.

And I mean I'm recycling too!  I took all those dragon bones I got from killing dragons, and made armor with it!  Basically Forsworn are the Hipsters of Skyrim; they don't care if you like recycling and being a freegan, they were doing it before you when it was still underground.  Assholes.

I'm all for Live and Let Live in this day and age, but these guys are really getting on my case, what with the arrows and magic and swords in my face.  Ontop of that, for being dirty hippies, they've completely overtaken the aqueducts that protrude from the ancient Dwemer (Dwarves in Skyrim-ese) dam site, depriving the valley below from their full share of clean water.  So I have to remedy this.

Which I did.  With my fists.  And then I swan-dived off the edge of the aqueduct spigot there, because You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

The Return of Citizen Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiips!
WELL WELL WELL.  We meet again, my crafty foe!  Good thing too, I was getting low on funds.  Getting someone to hammer out dragon bones into decent armor costs a fortune!  Also I was enjoying a lot of the inn's alcohol, and my bar-tab might be sufficiently high to cause the Jarl to blush.

Following the river, I eventually ended up out of Forsworn territory, which was nice, but now I was halfway to my goal: I just had to trek through this here cave, filled with bandits!  Common highwaymen!  Honestly, the definition of a "bandit" in Skyrim's pretty vague to begin with.  Its pretty much anybody who's poor, and is caked in dirt. 

The bandits really didn't have anything against me, and the one that immediately fled their group and ran to me and told me so!  She was really nice about it too; told me that if I wanted to go into the cave and crck some skulls, she wouldn't care at all.

Honor amongst thieves, amirite?  Imrite.

"I'm on the Brute Squad!" "You ARE the Brute Squad!"
Thankfully that helpful thief told me who I had to track down once I got in there.  Which is good, because bandits look all the same to me.  That's not racist, one of my friends' a Kajiit.  Besides, he opened up the hostilities with some arrows to my face.  Don't care who you are; the Pope, Space-Pope, Dr. Teeth, or the Silver Surfer.  You shoot arrows at me, you're going down.

You picked the BEST time to get BODYSLAM'D, buddy.
Clearly, I'm not dealing with Skyrim's elite bandit brotherhood, the Thieves' Guild.  I'm dealing with the backwater bumpkin moonshiners, who figure that 'cause I went and stumbled upon their little pawnshop reselling scheme, I gotta go and get dead.  Sucks to be them.  While this guy found it out the hard way, their leader actually came to his senses.  And ran through the tunnels away from me.

GET OVER HERE!  (v°O°)-O~~~~~~~~~~o-->
Unfortunately, mimicing Scorpion's move doesn't allow me to actually use it.  But it was a good heartfelt attempt that would have won the Oscar for best movie scene ever.  In the end, the bandit leader found himself in a dead end, if you will.  A cul-de-sac.  Between a cavern wall, and a Dragonpuncher.  In his hubris, it was he, not I, who got dead.  Which was cool, because I was getting sick of smacking these fools around.  Seriously guys.  You raid caravans for like, 15 gold.  That's nothing.  Get a real job and work hard, you'll make more money I AM THE 99%.

Brute Squad brutality on some peaceful protesting forsworn.  Occupy Skyrim.
Heading back towards the inn, I ran across the ONE Forsworn I hadn't slaughtered at their camp.  He might've ran away during the scuffle. Or maybe he was only scheduled to come in for the night shift.  Unfortunately for him, he is now in the afterlife, enjoying a SlaughterPHISH concert or whatever these stinky bums do when they die.

I got places to be, and people to punch.

"Don't mess with me lady; I've been drinking with a ghost."
Hellboy parallels aside, I spent the better half of the night once I got back to the inn, indulging the spirit, and indulging IN spirits.  Turns out the guy's got an interesting story to tell about how Skyrim, Cyrodiil and the whole of Tamriel was shaped millenia ago, during the wars.  Once I felt enough time had past, and the ghost's stories became lame, I gave him his sword, and he exited stage right the material plane.  Who says you need an old priest and a young priest to get rid of a spirit!

That's it for now!  Next time, I'll go see what Delphine's up to, and what she wants me to do now, that is probably retarded, even by my skewed standards.

Feel free to leave comments/challenges/suggestions/trollings in the comment section!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Companions 2: Guild Harder

I was going to stretch this one out to 3 parts, but I'm actually anxious to getting back to Skyrim (I take an inordinate amount of screenshots, which allows me to not spend all my free time playing then blogging about it directly afterwards.)

The Companions pt. 2

So then; where were we.  Ah yes, upon returning to Jorvaskkr, we find out that...

KODLAK IS DEAD.  Oh noes.  Someone start the LotR Enya music.  See, while I was out traipsing about Skyrim's peaks and valleys searching for some witches who deserved stitches, The Silver Hand (No relation to World of Warcraft's similarly-named faction) decided to bust on inside the Companions Club House, and kill the old guy; on account of them being hardcore werewolf hunters.  In fact, he's the only casualty.  At least for the Companions!  Whole mess of Silver Hand all bein' dead and shit, lyin' around, corpsin' up the place.

Plan of action?  Go to the Silver Hand base, and exact bloody vengeance upon them 'cause what the hell, man!  Not cool!  Kodlak was cool and stuff, and even wanted to cure himself.  So I kinda owe him one! (I don't, but I want to get rid of this quest, so I gotta.)  Onwards, halfway across Skyrim! (AGAIN.)

Don't get 'a head' of yourself.
Holy shit these guys mean business.  I mean, that's decoration for them.  Me, I'd put a throw rug, maybe some candle wall-sconces. a vase with flowers maybe?  Silver Hand?  NOPE.  SWORDS AND WOLF HEADS.  KEEP TO THE THEME.  And their name?  Not just a name.  They all have silver-edged weapons, which cause extra damage to werewolves.  (That includes me, even though I have yet to wolf out and surf a van while wearing shades.)  So every time they actually hit me, which lets face it is a lot because as I'm using both hands to fight, I can't block (I know, its retarded) and I'm never the one being wise about engaging targets one on one, when there's HEY LOOK!  DUDES! And I just run at the nearest grouping.

Always offer a reassuring shoulder grab, before you cave their face in with your fist.
Just so we're on the same page; its not like these guys ever stopped to ask me if I was a good or bad werewolf.  These guys are clearly insane, and must be exorcised via violent absolution of my hands upside their head.  I mean they brought it upon themselves.  That's my excuse for a massacre, and I'm stickin' to it.

Knuckle sandwiches: 5$.  Note: beaten dead horse in background.
I don't know why they have a dead horse in a cage tucked away in a cave here.  These guys are kinda weird already, besides their werewolf hatred.  Like they just enjoy torturing people altogether, because there's a lot more gruesome scenery than the dead horse, and they're FINE with it.  Like right next to the dormitory, is this giant room of hatred, covered in blood and offal. (Love that word.)

Despite all his rage, still stuck in a cage.
For some reason, they kept this one alive.  Possibly to kill at a later date.  Never know when you need a fresh werewolf to be slain to impress the recruits!  This one was feral, as in he was as likely to eatmurderkill me as anybody else within the complex.  Its not that I wasn't sympathetic to his situation, but also: HONEY BADGER DON'T GIVE A DAMN.  So I left his ass there.  He's a werewolf, he's supposed to be resourceful.  I am, hell, why can't he be either.  Oh yeah, stuck in a cage.  Sucker.

OH MAH GAWD STONE COLD STUNNAH! STUNNAAAAAH.  Ahem.  So; after chokeslamming the Silver Hand leader to death, I find a bonus to my satiation of vengeance for Kodlak: a piece of a legendary weapon, once belonging to Ysgrammor himself!  Ysgrammor is the founder of the Companions, and had this sweet battleaxe which  I can now totally smelt back together, because that's how things work.

Back in Whiterun, we hold a funeral service for Kodlak.  And I'm told that hey!  Even though he's dead right now and all, we can still save Kodlak's immortal spirit before he gets tossed into Hircine's backyard like so many wayward mutts.  I just need to reforge Wuuthrad (Battleaxe), bring it to Ysgrammor's tomb which used to be the original Companions hideout before he died, and also one of those witches' heads because why not.

Tomb Raidin' like it was goin' out of style. 
So upon entering the tomb, I'm followed by Varkas and Aela who absolutely want to help out.  I don't have a choice in the matter, and they're about as much help as a 4 year old during peace negotiations between Jordan and Israel.  I mean they're getting so much in the way, that they end up taking a knee every fight because their dumb ass went and got in the way of my mighty Dragonpuncher God-Fist(tm).

Who are you gonna call?
New enemy type!  Ghosts!  Holy crap!  Scared!  Because while up close they're easy enough to see, if you're far-off they melt into the wispy fog-filled background, and don't make noise when moving about!  Also, they're kinda tough.  I mean, punching a ghost is hard enough work, but getting a solid hold onto one to punch it in the mouth in the first place is a whole new challenge.  Halfway through, Varkas tells me he can't go any further.  I mean the dude has waded through fiercer carnage, just killed a bunch of spooky ghosts, but has to stop.  I wonder what in the world could possibly give such a man pause...

"I hate spiders." - Prof. Jones.
Of course.  What else could induce such nightmares as to stop a seasoned fighter cold in his tracks?  Fucking. SPIDERS.  At least there aren't any big ones around right n--

Arachnophobia is an acquired taste now.
Goddamnit.  AND its poison is draining me of stamina with every scary bite!  I'm getting tired just punching at it!  Its just a giant spider though; so I manage to dispose of it, and patch up my wounds with some grilled leeks and salmon.  Not literally, I mean I ate them, and regenerated my health.  Stuffing grilled leeks and salmon into open wounds that's gross.  You're gross.

Punching ghosts in the face, while listening to Southern Rock; its Skyrimnatural. (I'm totes Dean.)
The final room had a swarm of ghosts; all former Companions, risen from their eternal slumber within Ysgrammor's tomb to 'test the worthy'.  yeah OK.  Whatever.  I mean I've gotten this far.  I can't imagine they're really hellbent on killing me anyways, since if I punch them 'dead' they can't get any deader, they just fade out of the room, and probably go back to Sovngarde with a cool story to tell.

So I get done with the 20 or so ghosts that came out to give me a smack on the cheek and a 'how ya do', when Kodlak shows up, all Ghost-style.  Tellin' me if I throw one of those nasty witch heads into this here fire, I can set him free.  Thing is, I have to fight his wolf-spirit to truly free him, so he can essentially hang out with his dead friends in the afterlife and get drunk on ghost beer.  He'd totally do it, but he can't because of y'know the whole being a ghost thing.  Sure, fine.  I'm the Dragonpuncher, what's a wolf spirit gonna do 'bout it.  Thing is probably retardedly small.  It wasn't.  Neither was mine.

Aela attempting to get it on with my wolf-spirit it seems.  Inappropriate.
And they were angry.  Even if I hadn't had my wolf-spirit for considerably that long in comparison to Kodlak, he wasn't any less ferocious.  Maybe its because I enjoy daily leisurely strolls through heavily wooded areas, and punch entire wolfpacks dead for no reason.  Maybe its because it mirrors the owner's own force of personality, so like you're fighting yourself man; its all philosophical.

I don't know; I'm not a doctor.

Sit Spirit-Ubu sit.  Good dog.
This existential crisis did not stop me however from putting my wolf-spirit down harder than Old Yeller.  Fully cured of my werewolfism, having saved Kodlak's immortal essence from the Daedric Prince Hircine's eternal hunting grounds, I am offered the leadership of the Companions!

Damn, it feels good to be a gangstah.

Next time: I putter around Skyrim while Delphine works on stuff!

if anybody has any extra challenges they'd like to toss my way, things to try / not try, etc, drop a comment below!  Or whatever.  Validate me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Companions Guild: You don't get to be a member without making a few enemies.

Its that time again!

Today's edition is the start of a two-parter, because I want to spread out this content and be a total tease.  Joining the Companions!  They're the Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion's somewhat equivalent of the Fighter's guild.

Unlike in Oblivion, they tell you that the Companions don't have as strict a hierarchy as the guild does; members are members, and if you're allowed into the companions, then that's it.  There's a 'circle of true companions', above regular members that is, but these are simply the people who've earned their place enough that newer/younger recruits can look up to them for guidance and training.  They also make any big decisions that what need decidin' on.

Warning: there might be potential spoilers to the game in this post.  And by potential I mean definitely.  You've been warned.  Sucker.

Joining the Companions pt. 1

I set out to Whiterun, and entered Jorvaskkr, home of the Companions, intent on being the very first no-weapons-guy in the guild filled with weapons-guys.  Y'know, stick it to the establishment.  Show'em what bein' a Dragonpuncher is all about.  They're cool with that actually!

They even go as far to say that their leader Kodlak had a dream about me, so he's super into me being in the Companions!  Sweet! (Creepy, seeing as he's an older fellow, and I don't fancy the gentlemen, but ok.)  So they send me on about a few quests; nothing interesting really.  The first one involved me beating up (But not killing!) a lady so she'd stop being a bully.  Counter-intuitive, but I guess sometimes you can only solve violence with more violence.  (A solution I wholeheartedly subscribe to.)

Perks though; while doing an errand, I remembered that legally, the deceased no longer retain ownership on their loot:

You hungry have a sandwich, got my wallet cheese & lettuce
Was about time I found some decent food; and with the Companions giving me paying work for once (Damn Jarl won't even PAY me for ridding him of his little oh, y'know, DRAGON PROBLEM.  Cheapskate.)  I could afford new steel plate armor!  I GOTS SWAG HONEY-BOO-BOO-CHILD.  So I immediately put it to good use.

Chicks dig a dude in a full suit.
Cooking that is.  I made SO MUCH STEW.  All the stews.  I made them.  Eventually, after enough errands for the Companions, they made me a full on member; and even invited me to their swanky elite grouping, the Circle of True Companions!  First, they held a formal ceremony for me atop the Skyforge, and told me if I wanted some cake afterwards, to meet them in the Underforge for some cake and...

If Thriller and Twin Peaks had a baby, it'd be this.
... werewolf's blood.  Ooookaay, uh sure.  Its the secret which binds the circle of true Companions, it seems, what with them bein' all werewolf-y.  What the hell, when in Rome, right?  Ok give me your blood to drink, I've eaten millennium-old cheese last time, proving that I'll put anything in my mouth, really.

So I'm a werewolf now?  Cool.  Cool cool cool.  Oh wait, Kodlak wants me to cure him from his werewolfism before he dies, so he can go to Sovngarde with all the other Vikings Nords, instead of Hircine's infinite hunting ground, acting like the Daedric Lord's hunting hell-hounds for all eternity?  Y'know, that sounds kinda nice too, being a dead spirit in an infinite mead-hall waiting for the end of the world to fight one last glorious time, rather than being some Daedric prince's bloodhound forever.
Kodlak, challenge accepted.

No-one told me bears would be involved.
Kodlak's pro-tip: Go to the witches' coven (half-way across the wold, kthx) and bring me him a witches' head as that is the 'seat of their power'; to break the curse.  Also it can't be ANY old witches' head, it has to be one from the clan that cursed the Companions 500 years or so ago.  Ok.  Sure.  OH LOOK, nature is out to get me, now that I am a nightmarish magical amalgamation of Man, Wolf, and Punch.  I don't blame the bear either; I'd want to eat me too, because I'm DELICIOUS.

Kind of like this guy, but meaner. A lot meaner.
Ok bear, you don't like me, I don't like you.  I still have no food on me, so we're gonna have to rely on the stupid low level healing spell I got at level 1 because magic.  I am still going to repeatedly ram my fists into your face until you run away, or die.  I'd prefer the you dying part.  Good?  good.

So it died because I killed it.  Impressive?  Maybe.  Scary?  Not compared to where I'm going.  Glenmoril Coven.

Wonder if they'll have any Witches' Brew.  I'm parched.
Great.  See what I mean?  A scary hole in the ground, filled with witches.  And I have to go in there and punch their heads off.  Literally.  Like that's what Kodlak wants me to do.  "Go knock some heads" he said.  HA HA OLD MAN YOU ARE THE JOKE-MAKING.  But really, I've delved into dungeons.  I've fist-fought dragons!  Surely, there's nothing in here that can possibly be worse than all that.



I forgot my regular common fantasy tropes; witches can cast magic.  While a bit on the frail side of things physically, they can cast pretty much all the spells.  That one there?  Casting regenerative magics on itself, after it launched a good pair of fireballs at me, because it thought that would be cute.

Normally, I'd never punch a lady.  But she ain't no lady.
This is more what she looks like when not tossing eldritch fire at me, or healing herself.  Note: there's like 5 witches in the entire coven, and Kodlak suggested I bring back a single head for himself, or y'know, all the heads.  Presumably so they can't make any further deals with anyone who wants to become a werewolf.  They're quite tough!  But I found the secret to my success.  (And their imminent demise.)

Honey Dragonpuncher Don't Give A Damn!
Ok so those raptor-like talons hurt too.  These gals mean business.  Thankfully I made all that stew earlier!  Also: they are vertically challenged.  I stoop on this 4ft ledge and dangled off just enough so that while she was mauling my shins (my poor poor shins.) I was scoring straight-smacks to her cabesa.  Which now that I think about it, was the one part of the witch I was supposed to bring back intact.  Albeit not attached to the rest of her.  Maybe wailing on it with my steel-shod hands in an attempt to cause so much brain trauma that she dies from it was a bad idea.

Oh well, its for Kodlak, and he can get his own damn witches' head next time if he doesn't approve.

Speaking of Kodlak, We'll find out more on the next Geeking out in Skyrim entry: The Companions pt. 2!