Adventure

After selling a myriad of looted items to the Aerie blacksmith, the bank guard grabbed my attention and pulled me to the side. She was in need of help and my reputation for acquiring trinkets preceded me.

"I don’t know what’s transpired in there, but I had nothing to do with it," I assured her.

"Beg pardon?" she replied.

"Nevermind, I spoke too soon," I said. "Do go on. How may I be of service? It’s not often a bank guard looks to me for assistance."

"I have heard you find things and don’t ask many questions. I need to find the key to the vault. In my drunken merriment, the key has escaped me and I’m not a liberty to leave my post and look for it."

"The vault key?" I questioned.

"Yes, where we store all the gold. I misplaced the key. Will you help me locate it?" She did indeed look desperate.

"Well, that is indeed quite a responsibility. But, very well. Describe said key and I shall make the magic happen."

She described the key and pointed toward the Dry Flagon, the location of the disappearance. When I arrived, I located a key in the street, and returned to hand it over. I put aside the temptation to use the key for my own gains as that would be dishonest, the Oracle would frown upon my wicked ways and it would be extremely difficult to explain to Alley why Stinging Tree had a new privy made of solid gold.

Much to my distress, the guard explained it was the wrong key. She begrudgingly admitted it might be boudoir key of her dance partner the previous evening.

"Say no more! I shall discreetly swap the keys," I said. I then returned to the tavern, explained the mixup to her companion, James, gave him a bit of wink and a nudge for putting the lass in such a state and asked for the proper key.

Again, my good deed was thwarted as he didn’t have the key either and must have given it to his Elven drinking companion.

"Egad man! What manner of tomfoolery went on last night? And where, pray tell, is this mysterious Elf you speak of? Let me track him down, retrieve the key and be on my way. I have vigilante plans to thwart."

James, send me to the Wetlands where his Elven drinking confederate took up residence.

"Steady on, he lives in a swamp?" I asked.

"He’s fallen on hard times," James replied.

"Very well, I’ve been to worse places. I will grab the key, toss him a few coins and be back by dusk. Still plenty of time to clobber some vigilantes," I replied.

Even if the poor chap had fallen on hard times, there were better places to take up residence than this gaseous wasteland. I resolved to offer him a place in my basement until he could improve his situation. That is, if he had the key on his person.

While in the wetlands, I discovered the real reason he was hiding in the swamp-black market mushroom farm. As I drew close to his crop for an inspection, the alarm was raised and dozens of ruffians came out to pummel my prying eyes.

The joke was on them though. While they sat idle in their little huts, I have been out honing my skills and quickly dispatched the lot of them. I hadn’t contended on their use of Caiman to protect the crop and was nearly drowned.

I quickly regained my bearings and turned the cheeky miscreant into material I can use for boots. From there I made my way into the main camp and put a damper on their mushroom watching vigil.

I must admit, the spores were starting to get to me and I began to see dozens of locations where this ring leader Elf could be hold up. Aiming for the one in the middle I surged forward and as the effects wore off, I found his ramshackle hut. I kicked the door off the hinges and demanded he hand over the key. I wasn’t interested in his mushroom farm and would say nothing to the Aerie guard if he cooperated.

He immediately broke down and told me the hiding place of his key. He gave me the usual sob story of being a real estate and when the market took a downturn, he had to seek other means to sustain himself.

I frowned up his new found choice, but my task was to get the key. As I rummaged through his small room, I found the blueprint of his rather simplistic bank heist plot. I took the plans and confronted him with the evidence.

"I see what you were going to do," I said angrily. "It’s one thing to nab a wayward chalice or candelabra, but it’s bad business to try and make off with gold from the vault. If you want to run a mushroom farm, that’s your affair, but stealing gold to finance the operation is not something I can condone."

"Mushroom farm?" he exclaimed in surprise. "What mushroom farm?"

"Don’t insult me by denying it! And here I was taking pity on you to the point of given you a damp corner of my basement and blanket to tide you over. But no more! I’m taking this key and returning it to it’s rightful owner. And I’m destroying these ridiculous plans of yours. Everyone knows a bank heist is a three man job and you go in from the roof you imbecile! Front door indeed!"

I stormed off through the rank water, punched a few thugs that had regained their senses from my first thrashing and headed back to Aerie.

"Your key my good lady," I said to the guard. "And we shall speak no more of it. I’m sure you aren’t the first to lose a bank key to the wily ways and smooth talk of a tavern patron. But, let us hope it is the last."

"Wily ways? Smooth talking? Just what are you implying? It was an honest mistake. How dare you …"

"A good evening to you dear lady. While uniquely engaging, this little side venture has kept me from keeping justice and order in the realm. With night falling, the thugs come out and I need to be there to greet them. So if you will excuse me."

Her words of appreciation and admiration trailed off as I made my way out of town.

SotA_12-06-17_21-13_2

Oh my, what do we have here? I’m beginning to see why this mysterious Elf is in hiding within this swamp.

SotA_12-06-17_21-13_1

This must be harvesting and processing facility for their nefarious crop. Trying to throw me off the scent with their fishing cabins. There is no fishing in a swamp! This won’t fool anyone!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After taking my leave of Gus, I followed his general, albeit slightly vague directions, winding along paths where bandits attempted to divert me off my course, until I spied what looked to be a rise in the distance. It was the only thing that looked like a pyramid rather than a hill or mountain.

I approached and made my way up the many stairs only to realize my only recourse was to come down the other side. It was a lovely view of the area, but as there was no form of entry it proved disappointing.

As I sat and pondered how to gain access, a throng of skeletons came to do me harm. They received liberal use of the flaming sword and were all reduced to cinder.

After picking through their charred remains and pocketing goods that might be worth a few coins, I was stuck with an idea.

Where were these boney minions coming from? They weren’t coming up the path. They weren’t sneaking out from behind the trees. They weren’t rising up out of a the graveyard, because no graveyard existed. Was there some secretive entrance that eluded me?

I sat and waiting for them to reveal their concealed hiding place. I even expedited the process with liberal taunts in their general directions.

Before crushing them to powder, I traced the path they chose to come annihilate me. Rounding the side of the structure, I found what looked to be an entrance, or at least something not an impassible stone wall.

However, there was no knocker and I was at a loss as to how I should announce my presence and desire for admittance.

A few well placed kicks only served to mangle my boots and fill the air with words I am embarrassed to repeat.

I then tried to bellow my adventurous intentions to the keeper who might be inside, but clearly the thickness of the walls prevented him from hearing my clarion call.

But all was not lost. As I threw myself down in utter dejection and exasperation, I discovered there was a lever nestled in the roots and vines. Always one to pull at a random lever, I gave it a try.

To my great delight, the door rolled to the side revealing an entryway. It was dank, and foreboding, but this is exactly the type of place someone would hide a Hood of Truth, so I entered with reckless abandon.

I twisted and turned my way through the narrow corridors and met with the caretaker. I can only assume he was not in the same fit state as when Gus last made conversation. He was a corrupted and infected soul with flesh peeling away from his body. It was a horrid sight!

Further, he ignored my greeting and salutation from Gus. Instead, he came at me with arms flailing and spitting a fetid slime at my feet.

The confines of the passageway were too close for combat so I made a retreat to a more open area. Leading this malcontent to his doom, I struck first with a barrage of blows. I gave him no quarter and felt it best to simply put him out of his misery rather than listen to him ramble on about he became such a miserable soul.

While a hideous creature, he was not a formidable one. With a little Thrust here and Double Slash there, he was down without laying a single decayed hand upon my person.

I listened to hear if he might have a confederate ready to spring upon me as soon as I rounded the next corner. Hearing nothing, I charged ahead and found a storage room of exciting treasure.

I also noted it was the final resting place of some poor saps who tried to abscond with my Hood of Truth. Serves them right for ending face down in their failed attempt to take what was mine.

As I looted the chest and smashed the vases merely because they were there, I realized there was an automaton monkey. This caretaker was indeed a terrible wretch. What sort of person steals another man’s monkey? The audacity!

I scooped up the little fellow, tossed him in my bag and retreated back to Gus.

“Outlander!” he said excitedly. “I didn’t expect you so soon. Allow me to cut some cheese for you.”

“That is most kind of you,” I said. “I have bad news, some good news and some good news. First, I found the caretaker. He had been turned into the undead and made off with your monkey. But fear not! I have retrieved the little fellow and have him right here.” At this, I handed over the automaton monkey I found in the chamber.

“That terrible man made off with my monkey and held him captive? Oh the horror of it all,” he said cradling his lost child.

“Sadly, he was not the same chap you knew before. That is unless you partake of the company of the undead.”

“The undead? Oh dear me no,” he replied. “He has indeed changed and taken a turn for the worse. I regret your encounter Outlander, I apologize for that.”

“Not your fault at all. Now, since that was both the bad and good news, I have more good news. I believe this is the fragment you sent me out to find.” I produced the cloth and held it out for inspection.

“Outlander, you never cease to amaze,” he said taking the helm and disappearing into his alcove.

“Why thank you. I get that a lot. But it’s usually after a table has been knocked over or someone has taken a tumble down the stairs.”

Moments later, he returned with an extremely fashionable Hood of Truth. The only one of it’s kind I might add.

“There you are Outlander. Wear it with pride. I dare say you will look quite fetching in it,” Gus said.

“You are indeed a generous sort and quite a hand at hat making. I certainly appreciate your efforts,” I replied. “I see I once again had to risk my life to obtain it, but that is how our relationship will be.”

I had a bite of the delicious cheese Gus offered then headed back into the night. I needed to pay a visit to the blacksmith at the Elven camp and I was still working on getting a fitting for one their stylish robes. I was hopeful another bottle of the Elven wine might get things moving in the right direction.

SotA_12-04-17_20-52_1

Good evening! I say, is there anyone about? Your door knocker seems to be nonexistent and I believe you have a Hood of Truth inside with my name on it.

SotA_12-04-17_20-49_1

Treasure! And scoundrels that tried to steal my Hood. And a monkey! But let’s not forget, treasure!

I’m quite sure I won’t be able to get that vase into the pocket of my leggings.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While I welcome and encourage you to observe all my glorious deeds of virtue and courage, for there are many, I believe it can be done without you sneaking up from behind and probing me in the backside. Some would say that is a dash intrusive on your part. However, if such things must be done, I feel it appropriate that you at least purchase an ale for me and suggest you hold back and wait until the Immolation has dissipated before swooping in. You have proven, that unlike me, you are not fireproof. Your indiscretion and exuberance will get you incinerated and the Oracle will frown upon me even further.

My deeds are worthy of the Oracle’s attention, but these repeated “catastrophic failures” you suffer at my hands does neither of us any good.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

As Portalarium announces their Top 10 Priorities for Launch, I have to both smirk and cringe. To me, there is only one priority, to rethink their decision making paradigm and reverse the myriad of changes that robbed this adventure game of its sense of adventure. Early on, we were on the cusp of the elusive, “Let me finish this one last thing,” because it was possible for the regular player to gather resources, craft items, find recipes and most importantly, earn gold (the staple of every worthy adventure game).

But, those are bygone releases. Today, we are hamstrung by the overshadowing and paralyzing idea of “economy”. It’s more important that a crafter no one has ever heard of is given the opportunity to make an item no one will never buy rather than setting it up so players can venture into the world and create an experience of their own.

As we move forward, in each release the skills and stats are neutered to the point where a 0.1% increase forces the player into a mindless grind. A grind that takes place in a world full of lifeless, flat, and instantly forgettable characters with each trying to tell a poorly written and sadly uninteresting story.

It’s certainly valid to say combat needs to be streamlined, that resource gathering is distractingly slow, that the Control Points are needless scenes, that destroying items on a crafting table is a senseless outcome, that being swarmed by mobs of combatants isn’t the right way to increase the difficulty, and that repeatedly adding a “trap” can be seen as a lack of creativity. But, in a boring game, no one will stick around long enough to be bothered by those.

What we have now is a game that creates an extremely vague and generic experience with no sense of progression or accomplishment. And that’s not an adventure game worth playing.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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