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While I didn’t get to ride or even see the mine carts, things took quite a turn as we entered K’rul. The Kobolds did indeed have some impressive inventions, but alas, they were all variations of mechanized death. It seems this is a blood-thirsty clan and this is the sort of thing that happens when there is no adult supervision or oversight.

Normally, a clockwork raven would be a wonder to behold. But alas, in the hands of these Kobolds bent on creating death machines, they are ravenous and go straight for the eyes. As soon as we arrived we were beaten down by their potent metal wings.

A clockwork cat would seem to be a fine companion, and being a fan of the felines, Alley went to make friends. Regrettably, kitty tried to take off her arm and leapt for the jugular. This was made worse by the clockwork dogs that were stirred up by the flapping of the ravens and cries of hostility by the cats. Soon they were trying to use our legs as chew toys and the scene quickly escalated to violence.

Even Jobe had tried to make friends, but was soon being chased by a menacing horde. He is light on his feet and proceeded to weave a web of confusion to the point we had no idea whether he was coming or going. It was then decided we should simply light the entire chamber on fire and let the flames sort it out.

In the confusion, smoke and screams for help, we misplaced the exit and were soon faced with multiple choices on which way to proceed. Blistering steam burst from the pipes causing savage wounds and blocking our visibility. Each turn seemed to put us in the way of some new hazard.

I thought perhaps salvation might be at hand as we came across several monkeys sitting on barrels. I was hopeful they were helper monkeys, but I was sadly mistaken. They flew out of those barrels and set to work on pummeling us into the ground. Those terrible miscreants have the grip of a titan!

They jumped and leapt in a seemingly random fashion causing terrible harm. We defended ourselves as best we could, but as Jobe stated, it’s not wise to chase a monkey down a darkened corridor. And now we were even more lost than before.

While stopping to get our bearings, we were greeted with a very sad sight indeed. The normally pleasant and hat giving automatons had been turned into assassins. Their sinister blue bodies crept out of the darkness and went right to work at cutting us down. Those happy days of receiving a tricorn hat were gone as they delivered one crushing blow after another. I’m quite sure I lost a spleen in the fracas.

We managed to escape, but found ourselves in even more grave danger at the hands of a giant watcher with ruinous designs on our person. I don’t care what the watcher was trying to report back to the Oracle, it was not an unprovoked attack.

The last moments of the situation are merely a blur. As we tried to reach higher and safer ground, we made the mistake of entering a chamber containing the most ill-tempered monkey of them all. I believe it was called K’Kong, but I lost control of my faculties and passed out where I stood.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

I’ve been looking for a trio of traveling minstrels to play stylings at our tavern. After going through several auditions, this group showed up. I think they just might have the sound we need.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

imageThey say time is relative to the developer. And it was about a year ago when I first saw news of Ember being created. The main reason it caught my interest was the heavy influence of Ultima on the design team. It was intended to be a mobile game and available at the end of 2015.

Well, that kinda, sorta, never really happened. Instead, the game is available now, but for the desktop not as a mobile game. Ember was released over the weekend on Steam and it is a hefty 4GB download.

I grabbed a copy for less than $10 and although I haven’t spent huge amounts of time in the world, I can say it’s both fun and impressive. And interestingly, it does feel and play like an Ultima title.

In typical style, I looted crypts and rifled through the pockets on my slain enemies. While they don’t travel with much, every little bit helps, and I turned in all that junk for shiny coins.

And in the same familiar sense, the goal is to gain XP and use those points to level up Strength, Dexterity, Intellect and Vitality. It should also come as no surprise that you get to play as either the warrior with blades, the archer with ranged weapons, or the mage with wands. I chose blades and worked my way out of the Barrows and up to the main world. From there the quests and hazards begin and I will soon evolve into a formidable force, or die trying.

With my limited view of the game so far, there are some very familiar mechanics. Like older games, you bring along your bedroll and sleep to regain health and vitality. There is some crafting such as cooking meat, fish and chicken to sustain you on the long journey. There are encounters with bears, wolves and stags so you can gather hides and make clothes, or sell them for money. You start off with one companion, but can find others to join you as you quest deeper. You interact with plenty of people and decide how you want to handle those encounters. Hmm, this all seems so familiar, like another series I’ve played before.

And if you look a little deeper, you might see some other similarities to games currently under development. Is it me or does one of the characters from Ember bear a resemblance to the Lich of SotA?

Anyway, Ember is a single player adventure game that I’m quite taken with so far. The mechanics are simple and understandable. The main focus of the game is exploration and interaction. The combat is simple, but mixes in special abilities that should keep things interesting. I’m amused by the crafting and look forward to the types of weapons I can make for myself.

I’m also thrilled that a game of this scope and quality is a mere $10. In this age where everything hits the store with a price tag of $60, whether it deserves it or not, it’s nice to see a game that you can take a chance on without emptying your pockets and becoming a pauper.

Ember is currently on sale for $8.49 until September 16. We are seeing a nice batch of RPGs coming to market and this is well worth the look.

Ember on Steam

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

It’s the final weekend for Release 12, so I decided to go out on a wild shopping spree to spend as much money as possible and make my house as gaudy as possible. I went over the top and got my hands on some Christmas Trees, Cornicopias, and dozens of hourse plants. I didn’t stop there. Oh no. I bought multiple hot tubs and huge array of Candelabras and several Aether Vibration Amplifiers. I also moved all my Crafting Stations down to the basement and then realized that is one dark cave-like area so I lit it up with as much light as possible.

I also went over to Kingsport to hang out at Wody’s Bar. You may remember, this is where Lord British hung out during the 12 hour Steamathon. It’s a sweet place! I really wish I had the vision and talent to make some as cool as this bar and theater. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you race over there and check it out. It’s toward the back of Kingsport. The easiest way to get there is to take a right at the first road, go down the load and through the covered bridge. Keep following the path and the bar is on the left, you can’t miss it. It’s a fantastic layout and I spent several hours lounging on the “patio” watching the sun set. Avatar’s Radio provides the music and the Aether Vibration Amplifier is right there at the bar. There is plenty of room to talk, drink and dance. It was very amusing.

There was a Community Event on Gathering which I attended just for the heck of it. Lots of really helpful people showed up and went over some of the best ways to gather and goods places for resources. The wolves didn’t stand a chance!!

I also got some new clothes. Instead of always lumbering around in the heavy armor, I got some cloth “armor” that makes me look like one of the Merchants. I saw another player wearing it while visiting Wody in Kingsport. When asked where I could get one, a kind soul came over to me and offered the entire outfit, just to be generous. My goodness! I have to say, I’ve always been hesitant about MMO games, but the people I’ve met and talked with in this game have all been so friendly and generous.

The days are ticking down for this Release. R13 will kick off with it’s own Grand Tour and this time it’s the Yule Hat. A very festive addition to my collection. But this weekend was a casual stroll around the just to see what I could find and do. I’ve made a lot of money through crafting and selling items from the creatures I slay. I decided to try and spend it all since it’s all going to get plowed under in the next day or two anyway.

Been having a lot of fun with this release. I’ll actually be disappointed to start over. I’m getting used to my armor and skills and house and decorations. I’ve learned a lot to this point and will use my skills and knowledge to rebuild and put everything back the way it was. So where will my house be this time around? Goodness knows. If I’m lucky, Braemar again. Kingsport would be nice, but I’m not sure I’ll be fast enough to get a plot out there.

But either way, it’s gonna be great!

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I moved my Crafting Stations down to the basement. There is plenty of room for them.

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Decided to decorate for Christmas. With the Crafting Stations out I had room for my tree and a few more hand made tables.

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Christmas tree in the corner and my table full of goodies, including a Cornicopia

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Christmas tree for my rather bleak bedroom. Still need to work on this. You know, before it gets plowed under.

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My festive Merchant garb. I like this outfit! I’ll have to try and get it again next release.

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A look at the outside of my house with plants and headstones in place.

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This has been a pretty nice homestead. I’ll be sad to see it go.

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More Crafting Tables on the second floor of my basement

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Hot Tubs baby! Oh yes, one in every corner!

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This is where I spend most of my time. I put the Tailoring, Textiles, Milling and Carpentry tables together since I use them the most. The first floor has plenty of room to store these stations. I’m not sure what to do with the remaining 3 floors.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Putting enough money together to get a basement was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated. I once again foraged out into Valeway North and stocked up on Animal Hides. I then turned all of those into Leather and then into Leggings and Chest Armor. After doing this a couple of times I went off and bought the 5 Story Village Basement for my house in Braemar. I just wanted to see what it looked like. That rascal is expensive and I almost forgot to buy the Hatch that goes with it.

It’s funny how it works. The Basement is actually another scene you jump to and the Hatch is the “doorway” to enter that scene. You place it somewhere on your property and then click to enter. It’s a little strange to actually jump out of the scene, but considering the basement isn’t actually connected to your house and they can be varying sizes and placements, it pretty much makes sense this is how it works.

But wow, Basements are big! It’s not a series of massive open rooms, but more of landings and side rooms that go down 5 levels. Rest assured, there is plenty of space to work with. This style won’t let you have tournaments or anything like that, but there is a huge amount of room in there. You could easily put all the crafting tables down there and still have 4 levels of empty space. I saw some of the other basements for larger properties and they are more open and look really neat. This is just mainly storage, but I’m sure there will be some great designs from people who actually know how to decorate.

I’ll use it for storage and will  most likely move all the crafting tables down there. This will give me more room to make even more tables and chairs!

Time is running out for this Release, but it’s been really enjoyable. I think I have most if not all of the available quests done, but it’s hard to be sure. I’ve got a sweet armor setup going and I managed to get the Lot, House and Basement. I got the Grand Tour taken care of by the end of the second day. I hooked up with some other players and completed the Challenge Dungeon. And I even got in some Crafting and made several sacks full of loot. I’ll enjoy that for now, because I know well and good it won’t be so easy in a couple of Releases. As Chris mentioned in the Steamathon, Crafting has a 100% success rate for now, but that won’t be the case later on.

But a very entertaining release. Lots of fun things to do and still lots of things to discover.SotA_12-08-14_21-27_1-th

A quick look at the first level of my new basement

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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