Friday, July 26, 2013

Dawnguard chasin' waterfalls; please stick to the vampires & dragons you're used to.

Hidey-ho avid readers-of-mediocre-text/lookers-of-fine-screenshots!

Today we finally (!!!) finish the Dawnguard saga; Yes it all comes to an end today folks.  This means the following, for the uninitiated/thick:


The dénoument as-it-were of Dawnguard's DLC will happen, so for anybody wanting to preserve that experience for themselves, please skip this entry altogether.  Now if you're not a TOTAL WUSS, keep readin' on because I'm just gonna smooth over ALL the nuances anyways and what little I'll spoil you on the story, you won't care.  Also: there's the option of totally being an evil dickbag and ushering in the vampire prophecy you could do and that'd be like all this never happened somewhat and you'd have a new adventurestory to tell.  Go do that.  I'll wait.

So, last time Gelebor sent us off to collect water from wayshines to offer to the temple of Auriel, because now that there's only TWO frost-elves left and one's clearly evil as fuck and we gotta deal with that.  A few falmer were stragglin' round, and we (Me and Serana) went about cleansing their underground village.  Because clearly they're too far gone and there's no hope for them at all.  What no you have proof?  Too bad, cleansing.

Houses made of bugstuffs; that's cool.  Cool.  Not scary at all.  Nope nope.
 Falmer essentially make everything they can out of the Charus, except eat the damn things.  Food OR Shelter, I guess.  Well it doesn't stop them from breeding the bastards everywhere and using the molten chitin to fashion tents, weapons, armor, and decorative table jettés you can display at you next book club meeting.

 Oh look; someone's puttin' that mixed media art degree to good use!  Sad part is they went to all that trouble, and no one was around to jump out and go BOOGEDY BOOGEDY BOO! then get punched.  Oh well.

Nursery rhyme fetch-quests get my testes in a twist.
 Ewer? I didn't even touch'er!  HORT HORT HORT!  I feel that Serana and I are essentially playing the roles of Jack & Jill, fire brigade sent to the well to fetch that water needed to douse Granny's shoe-house fire.  Except far more elaborate than that, but I still get my head caved in.  The first wayshrine turns out to also be a Brundle(tm) Telepod, which sends me to a scenic and majestic frozen valley where the other 4 wayshrines lay, as well as the innermost sanctum of Auriel.  Good times.

Scenic route
 Look at all that majesticness.  Mmmmm drink it in.  Speaking of drinks...

They don't make "resist irony" potions, unfortunately.
 Poor guy was holding a "Resist Fire" philter; now I know his bones are half-sunk into the ice there, but underneath all that snow, they're pretty charred.  Kinda feel bad for'im, but finders-keepers, I muscle on across the frozen lake to the next wayshri--


 GODDAMNIT GUYS.  Two fire-breathing dragons at once, tandem circling above and diving through the ice, creating large holes where if you fall in, you have to swim out of 'em to get into attack range.  My health potion reserves went from AMPLE to DRASTIC in no-time.  Mostly because I forgot to use those two recently pilfered Resist Fire philters I got off that skeleton-guy a few yards back.  Oops.

Treading on thin ice over dragon-infested waters.
 I'm surprised the remaining ice sheet over the lake is still holding; those two idiots plunged in and out of it a good 5-6 times,  and their skeletons are just weighing down that thin section there between the two holes.  Maybe its magical ice.  That's what I'm going with for now.  That sad, if this ice is magical, the cave I'm being lead into is probably arcane as fuck because its glowing and there's a weird hum that I can hear.

And I was under the impression that a troll-infested ice cave smelled quite pungent from the outside!
 Trolls; trolls everywhere.  What was once a feared enemy for its tough skin and regenerative powers, they just don't cut it anymore challenge-wise.  I am the trollmaster.

Ye Olde Tamriel-esque Helm's Deep.
 Hewn into the mountainside, only one entrance, the urge to toss dwarves off of it left and right, yep.  It's a Helms Deep kinda place alright.  Points for the fact that Frost Elf architecture is unique and not similar to other elven places / dwarven places.  I like it.

Ancient like 4,000 years ago or some nonsense ancient, girl.
 The grandness of scale these frost elves built to is impressive to say the least.  They made stuff that hasn't withstood the test of time as well as the dwarves did, but seeing as the frost elves still have 2 active members and a shitpile of falmer to the dwarves being dead as fuck?  Frost elves win.

Lets get on gettin' on in the inside.

Now they're just being mean.
Ouch.  That's harsh.  Some wicked freezer burn on that one.  You could argue that the philter didn't work, but to be fair only the bottle isn't frosted over in a thick sheen of ice.  I take it, and move on.

 So being the Elven God of the Sun gives you the ability to... flesh-freeze evil-doers within your most holy of holy-sanctums instead of I DON'T KNOW... BURNING THEM WITH YOUR FIERY RETRIBUTION.  Whatever.  Frost elven deities suck.  There's a little game of putting the filled ewer on some pedestals to open some doors and soon enough I find the Lich King Gelebor's HERMANO.

This doesn't look like a trap at all!
 Pro-tip: it was a trap.  He just puts up an ice wall infront of himself then systematically 'wakes' everything in the room while causing mini cave-ins to really just mess with you.  Then he wants to parlay; presumably because you survived and that intrigues him.  Yes he's THAT kind of villain.

Is he flipping me off?
 He expositions a bit, but remains cryptic; only saying that he's the one who turned on his brethren and let all the falmer in because 0 fucks were given.  I guess when you've lived that long, you kinda find your own way to pass the time, and his was creating this elaborate heist to take his own life.  Far be it for me to judge anyone who wants to decide on how they punch out in life, but there's easier ways, dude.

So he starts a fight with me.

"Almost out of health; time for a monologue that can't be skipped!"
 Aaaaaaaaaaaand for those wondering, here comes the brunt of Dawnguard's spoilery bits:

Vyrthur was turned into a vampire years ago, when one of his acolytes came back to the temple, infected.  He's also the Arch-curate of Auriel who really. Really. I mean REALLY. Hates vampires and other undead.  So now he's lost his God's favor, and while the sickness overtakes him, and his god forsakenin' him, he plots reveeeeeeeeeeeenge.  He creates this cockamamy prophecy about Auriel's Bow and the Moon and eternal darkness, stating that if the bow's ever acquired and dipped in some vampire blood well that means Auriel done fucked up and his most prized possession is now in the hands of his most hated enemy.

This means free reign for vampires on Tamriel because Auriel (As a Sun God[?]) would just go WELP, TIME TO HIT THE OL' DUSTY CELESTIAL TRAIL and mosey on elsewhere, plunging the known world into eternal darkness.  A plus for vampires everywhere.

Thing is, it can't be picked up BY a vampire.  I have to do the heavy lifting and get it from that chest over there.  Now the whole corrupting of the bow?  It can't just be any ol' blood.  No no no.  It has to be a Daughter of Coldharbour's blood because they are extra-special vampire ladies on account of being so rare and delicate after enduring the horrible rituals to become a vampire, other than get bit, become Irish-of-skin.

THIS IS ALL IN HIS MONOLOGUE, BY THE WAY.  He just knelt down and started talking.  I was unable to 'finish the job' as the game threw me into dialogue mode, and I was forced to 'humor' him for a bit.
The bow however can also be used to get everything BACK into Auriel's favor if you use it to kill a vampire lord or something.  We never really find out if Vyrthur was telling the truth and that as Arch-Curate he really did know of the prophecy as he would be pretty chummy with Auriel before being turned into a vampire, or if he just made it all up to get back at Auriel for abandoning him, like a jilted lover would try to smear a former lover's reputation or something.

Enough talking has happened, and I crush Vyrthur's head in like an otter cracking open a clam.  Gelebor shows up (!) using the wayshrine teleportation system now that Vyrthur's influence has dissipated, and forks over Auriel's Bow, telling me to go have at it on them vampires.  Joy.

 Isran takes the news of my success well enough that he figures with our daedric artifact McGuffin in-hand, now's a good time as any to just go on ahead and storm the castle. I don't really get a chance to tell him maybe we should hold off a second that he's rallying the troops and out the door.

Gettin' real tired of your shit, Isran.
And he's also very addleminded if he didn't remember me being at Ft. Dawnguard FIVE MINUTES AGO.

Boromir's older, tougher brother.
 Storming the castle proved to be a giant clusterfuck, but Celann, man HE DON'T MESS AROUND.  He still killed that vampire lord and two death hounds, before asking for a timeout to go empty 50 gallons of Potion of Extreme Healing into his gaping wounds.  RESPEK.

In the vampire language, 'Pathetic' actually means 'Awesome'.  I don't think he's aware of what he's saying.
 Harkon's hiding out in the castle's old chapel, which has been repurposed into a vampire chapel.  Same use, different gods / rituals.  Also there's some witty banter between Serana and her dad, where he calls me pathetic.  Shows you what he knows.  I'm awesome.  Everybody loves me and wants to come to my birthday party where there will be a water slide AND a bouncy castle and HARKON CAN'T COME SO THERE.

It's not that a complicated prophecy actually, Serana.
 Again as Vyrthur pointed out, its pretty simple Serana.  Use Auriel's Bow for evil, Sun goes away.  Use it for good, Sun stays, but fucks off every night because he's got other shit to do than babysit us all day long.

 So the fight begins!  Note the drained mana & stamina & low health bars!  This was one rough fight!  Also notice the giant nipple piercing.  LOOK AT IT.  LOOOOOOOOOOK AT IIIIIIIIIIT.

Activate cheap game-mechanics: NOW!
 OK; here's where I get kinda sad.  I had played the game so-far on this run without using a single weapon; Not even a shield.  No magic other than restoration to get my health back up, and when possible no companions.

Dawnguard FORCES you to use Auriel's Bow on Harkon when he's in his bubble, to essentially get him OUT of it.  This sort-of breaks my vow I made Mr. Siskoid of not using weapons, which up to this point I had completely abided to.  However, using the bow to burst Harkon's bubble (hort hort) doesn't cause any damage.  It just negates the bullshit invincibility effect he gets, and starts regenerating.  Yeah I found that out when I went wailing on the bubble just to watch him get back to FULL HEALTH.

Got'im in my sights...

Bubble Bubble Bubble POP
 Not bad for someone used to hitting stuff with his bare hands and just yelling really loud at stuff all the time!

Wipe ya-self off man.  YOU DEAD.
 Eventually, the hide-and-seek fest ended (He teleports around the room as a wave of bats, in betweens going into bubble-mode) and Harkon lay dying (again?) at my feet.  Serana's left with more questions than answers, but we're now sure that Eternal Darkness WON'T be ushered in (Unless I y'know, do it.  Which I won't.  Maybe.)  And after a little celebratory congratulations all around at Ft. Dawnguard, she decides that she'd like to keep adventuring with me because I am a really cool guy.

I do not blame her one bit.  I am totes to the coolio, dudes.

I however, do not need a companion right now, so I send her back to Ft. Dawnguard where they've come to begrudgingly accept her and her vampire ways, kind of like Angel when he ran the Scooby Doo detective agency and sang karaoke to divine his future.  Or something like that.  They're not trying to outright kill her, s'what I'm saying.

Me?  Time to go back home.

Time too relax.

Time for a cuppa'.

Also to put the latest trophy up on the wall: Auriel's Bow!  Right next to that sweet katana I stole from Delphine's room at the Riverwood Inn.  haw haw.

A fine decorative piece!
 After all that adventuring, I sure could use a quick Staycation; maybe get some reading done on my outdoor patio, soak up some of that glorious sunlight I just busted my ass to preserve.

Hmm, let's see what Lydia's stocked in my library...

A choose-your-own-adventure book, but better!
This looks interesting!

Next time, rebuilding the Blades' organisation, Skyrim politics, and Alduin the World-Eater!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Soul Indecision 2013: Monk blindness, J.K. Rowling's Vampirism & Long lost Gods.

Another fine selection of photo BLISS from me to you, my adoring fans.  Yes, look at the muscles on me!  M'yessssssss.

So; when we last met, I was being acosted by a smokey bone gentleman within the Soul Cairn area-place.  There was a spooky castle nearby complete with glowy energy ruined crumbly-towers so I figured enh? why not.  The fact that energy is just constantly beaming up into a swirling maelstrom of what should be 'sky' is nothing, right?

Right?  You guys?

There is no Skyrim, only ZUUUUUL

Oh well turns out it was just Serana's mom, trapped behind a giant barrier-force-field-magical-wall thing.  Because those IDEAL MASTERS assholes are all about screwin' you over.  So she's there, bein' all moody because she's been trapped for ages, but she has an Elder Scroll we need.  I try to steer the conversation onto the whole saving the whole of Tamriel, but she and Serana are havin' none of that.  No.  Time to get into it over a few hurt feels.  Fuck'em.

Daddy issues are all THE NORM nowadays.
 F'real ladies, there's more at stake than the shitty family dysfunctionality y'all been livin' with for the past few centuries.  Whatever.  I'm told that to get rid of the wall, I have to destroy three Keepers who're powering it from within three ruined tower sanctuaries and stuff.  Onwards!

♫ Wraith-Man! Wraith-Man! Does whatever a Wraith doe--OH GOD STOP AAAAAAGH ♫

 Wraith men SUCK.  They come out of thin air and make those bone guys look like CHUMPS.  URGH.  Thankfully there's a tower nearby and...

What's up with his foot.

So Keepers are like, the lost souls of dudes like me?  'cause that's clearly dragon bone armor he's wearing, while his left foot is glitchin' HARD into the pavement.  He's tough, make no mistake.  That dragonbone sword he's swinging around signifies he means business, and from the piles of bones laying around I'd say his business is good.  Until I came along.  FREE ENTERPRISE, SON!

"We're coming to get you, Dovahkiin!"

And no sooner as I kill the Keeper, these guys show up to swarm me like crazy.  Gettin' real tired of your shit, Soul Cairn!

Guess who got Fus Roh Dah'd right off the goddamn platform?  Aww yiss.

Does it count as cheating if I use my "Unrelenting Force" Dragonshout to drop the last Keeper off the side of this super tall tower so he takes fatal fall damage, or is it just absolutely BAD ASS?  I'm thinking FUCK YEAH, DOVAHKIIN.

Is that... a soul dragon?  What?

So Serana's mom gives us the skivvy on this guy; he's a dragon who made a deal with the IDEAL MASTERS to gain more power, because being a GOD-LIKE ENTITY wasn't enough.  The deal was he'd get more power and could leave this place when he killed Serana's mom.  'cept they forgot to tell'im that they'd trapped her behind an impenetrable wall.  Cocks, the lot of them.

 He is rugged; and spent most of his time in the air, where my FATAL FISTS OF FURY were to no avail.  Though I punched him SO. HORD.  that instead of dying, he just kind of exploded into green/purple mist.  AND he didn't give me his soul, which sucks, but we're in the Soul Cairn where all souls go to rest or something, so I figure I lost the bidding war.  Serana's mom does tell me she doesn't think he's dead.  Thanks for that load of confidence, lady.

Elder Scrollin' Scrollin' Scrollin' WUT.

She does however cough up her Elder Scroll, since now that I've liberated her from her self-imposed prison, and proven that I don't want to harm her daughter (despite being a vampire hunter and killing MANY of her kind), that really all I want to do is stop her crazy-as-balls husband.  Which is why she's down here in the first place.  So yeah.

Hold on, you're dead.  I killed you.
 OH WHAT THE HELL MAN.  WHY ARE YOU  Oh.  You just want to talk.  Aparently, he's GLAD I beat the shit out of him.  And wishes to return to the surface and be a regular dragon again, but his time spent in the Soul Cairn has essentially bound him here.  Another cruel joke played on him by the IDEAL MASTERS.  Sucks.  So; he asks me to learn a specific shout, that can summon him to Skyrim for a brief time, and he'll do whatever I say.


This is great, as I've got an accumulation of dragon souls and no shouts to spend them on!  YAY I CAUGHT CHARIZARD.  I AM, THE VERY BEST.  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAAAAAAAS.  Level 3 Dragon shout: DRAGON.  WOOP WOOP.  Carrying on.

Back to reality-ish.

Time to head on back, now that we have another Elder Scroll for Dexion to read.  Hopefully this one will be good, and explain what the hell's up with this dumb prophecy and what I gots to do 'bout it.

Vampirism: makin' you look malnourished as fuck.

I forgot; I'm still a vampire from that whole descending into the land of the dead nonsense.  Hopefully no one will notice... inside the castle filled with hardened and veteran vampire-killers.

Bad Advice Monk should be a meme.

Goddamnit Dexion.  Appears that being a Moth Priest, and training your entire goddamn life to read Elder Scrolls, you fuck up one time ONE TIME, and BLAM.  Blind.  So y'know its all good, there's an alternative where I can go to this sacred glen, carve a but of special tree, gather a whole buncha  moths to me, and through their cognitive powers combined, I am Captain Planet I can read the scroll myself.  WISH I HAD KNOWN THAT BEFOREHAND, YOU STEVIE WONDER-LOOKIN' JACKASS.

But, first things first.  Gots to get rid of this vampire-cancer inside me.  Time to see a specialist.  And by specialist, I mean the creepy guy in Markarth who never leaves his house.  Ever.

Curing Vampirism; 1 easy step.

Apparently curing vampirism IS easy.  In Oblivion it just took a ritual bath in some blessed water, and some vampire salts.  in Skyrim?  You just need to pray it away, oh and a filled Black soul gem.  These are somewhat harder to come by under normal circumstances.  Serana's mom had like twenty just LYIN' AROUND and free for the taking, so I helped myself.  Only difference between a Black one and a Grand one, is black soul gems can take the souls of humanoid enemies.  Big woop.  Anyways.  A few words later, cured!

Hidden caves of hidey-caveness

So this glen is secluded and very mystical; the caves are barren other than the vegetation, and then it opens onto this actually really cool valley hidden off in the mountains.

 I kinda skipped about, because the place was just so... serene.  Like there's the moths and some deer and a babblin' brook and I'm like Yeah... I get you, super secret nature-place.  I get you.  This is cool.  All the abhorrent violence and carnage has taken its toll on me, but I can still appreciate the majestic fuckin' BEAUTY of your shit.

Silence of the Lambs' imagery can fuck right off, I got this.

MOTHMAAAAAAAAAN PROPHECIESSSSSSSSS Richard Gere eat your heart out. (of your butt.)  So now that I'm TEEMING with insects, lets take a look at this 'ere Elder Scro--

 Reading an Elder Scroll is akin to taking a hammer blow to the forehead.  And people wonder WHY I hate reading now!  Its these moments that cause me to have trust issues with books in general, as immediately after putting it down because the scroll drilled into my psyche what I had to do next, VAMPIRES ambushed me.  Like so.


He's confident, I'll give him that!  Shooting his little shooty-balls like he's some DragonBall Z character or whathaveyou.  A few more punches though, and he changed his tune.

EXPECTO PATREUS or whatever.  CRUXIO.  I give up.

By 'We' he meant him and the one vampire thrall he brought along.  Y'know, for being at least one step ahead of me, Lord Hakron sure is skimping out on the minions when trying to kill me.  It's kinda like when villains start monologuing, and I just crack'em in the jaw because I'm impatient and got so much more punching to do in my Skyrim sorties.


BOOM SHAKA LAKA.  Kid went down like SHOCKMASTER.  So the forceful visions that were beamed directly to my dome tell me I gotta get Auriel's Bow, because it is part of the prophecy.  It is simultaneously the one item that can stop the Eternal Darkness Hakron wants to get on gettin' on, OR start it.  So y'know, I gotta make sure I'm the one wielding it, and not his dumb ass.  Darkfall Cave is where it's at!  (Supposedly.)

Scary Spooky

A cave entrance to Darkfall Cave.  Generic.  Unsuspecting.  Subtle.  Probs filled with horrible horrible Deaaaaaaaaath.  Let's go find out!

Gettin' my resources lo-jacked right in front of me.

OH LOOK.  Serana starts jackin' my Moonstone vein the second I turn around.  Seriously, this is why I don't want kids in Skyrim; I can't force them to do manual labor tasks, or make them give me all their stuff.  Whatever I'll go explore further down this tunnel he--


You'd think I would stop being surprised at these guys.  Nope.  They creep me out every. time.  They are considerably easier to smoosh now, though.  At least there's that.

Married to his job, much?

Wait whaaaaaaaaaaat.  A Frost elf?  But but but... I thought... they all got turned into Falmer!?  Whoa.  This is kinda cool!  And tragic.  Gelebor tells me that he and his brother are the last two (He suspects) Frost Elves left.  Even more sad, he wants me to kill his brother because he suspects that he's become corrupt, and was the one to unleash a whole bunch of Falmer within the super sanctum of Auriel, killin' essentially EVERYONE besides those two.

Sad.  I ask him about his race, and its a sad story filled with sighs, where the Dwarves essentially allowed the Frost Elves to live within their underground kingdom, but had to be blinded; becoming the Falmer.  I figure going blind makes you crazy and devolve into a Naked Mole Rat-like creature with a Smellsense or some shit.  Gelebor hopes that hey, maybe there are other pocket survivors, but doubts it.


Ye Olde Attunemente Queste

Oh wait.  Bow's protected by the same place his brother is, so I can't skip this part.  FINE.  I'll go to all the wayshrines, get some magical shrine water in your magical shrine jug, and open the way to Auriel's temple.  I GUESS.

I'll just mosey on into this weird-lookin' cave then...

Vagina flowers... what.
 And weird fungal growths, that look like lady va-jay-jays.  And of course true to life, the second I get close to one, it dissappears, hiding away from me forever.  Sigh.  At least there's no--



Until next time!  (I punch more dragons, and then fiddle with some ice statues! FUN!)