Archive for February, 2013

Mount and Blade Today!

25 Feb

Noon, PST, usual place. Be there or be somewhere much less emotionally satisfying.

 
 

On Inconvenient Lizards: The Redemption of Cahmel (Let’s Play Skyrim, Part 19)

19 Feb

Mount and Blade Stream at Noon PST on Wednesday!

It could be that some of you are considering taking up recreational lycanthropcy. Maybe your local evening scene isn’t as engaging as you’d like, and you think three-inch fangs would spice up your outings. Maybe you’re kind of cold some nights and can’t afford a coat. Maybe seaside bullies are always kicking sand in your best girl’s face. Maybe, just maybe, you are medically insane. If any or all of these apply to you, then before you take the plunge, you’re going to want to do what I really didn’t have time to, which is to consider things rationally.

So let me walk you through what my first time was like. I won’t give a recommendation either way, but you might be able to glean my perspective nevertheless. I call this guide:

Fangs for Nothing:

No, Seriously, Screw You Guys, That Sucked.


Chapter 1: Turning Yourself

So you’ve found a couple of clearly deranged Nords willing to lure you into a hidden chamber and gibber propaganda at you. Well done? You can now rest easy knowing the hard part is over. The hard part as in the part that is difficult to accomplish, not as in the hard part that is most unpleasant or unsafe. I feel like I need to make that clear.

At this point in the process, one of the Nords will grab the wrist of the other and saw it open with a knife. This may alarm you. You will probably be concerned that the wound is absolutely pouring blood. Watching the frothing wolf gore fill the stone birdbath may gross you out a little. If you feel lightheaded or nauseous, my advice to you is to get out right goddamned now, because trust me when I say this ritual has not even begun to get nasty.

Now that the filthy dusty bowl is full of wolf juice, your part of the ritual has arrived. What you’re going to need to do is grab a handful of blood and drink it. Yes. Uh-huh. No, I am not shitting you. What did you think the blood was for? To float little paper boats on? To humidify the room? To serve as stock for a lovely turnip stew? This is a wacko cult ritual, buddy, not tea at grandma’s house. You are going to swig a warm fistful of filthy blood and you are going to like it.

Did you? You did. Okay. Now you may have noticed that you didn’t like it. Yeah, it’s pretty fuggin’ gross. I guess I could have warned you about that, but I didn’t want you to wuss out.

Chapter 2: Okay, What Now?

That’s a tricky question. I’m going to assume that the ritual worked, and that you are a now a savage stalker of the night, and that you weren’t just duped by a couple of mischievous and extremely dedicated hobos. I don’t really have a guide for that situation. But if you’re a werewolf, great, keep reading.

If–like my sponsors–you are thrust from the safe and private confines of the ritual chamber onto the public streets, you will find yourself in an interesting predicament. The city will be full of many people that consider werewolves unsettling for some unfathomable reason. They may leap to the conclusion that just because every other snarling fanged muscular beast in the continent is trying to kill them, the one racing down the streets at night towards them has a similar design. This will mean that commoners will run from you and warriors will attack you, which, I am forced to assume, is not something you’re used to.

Your temptation in this situation will be to kill a few of them. I’m not saying this is a bad idea. It’s certainly a direct solution. But if you’re supposing that this will discourage the rest from attacking you, I can tell you from speculation if not personal experience that this doesn’t hold water. Your best bet is to do what I did, which was swing around town desperately like a runaway kite until being shot at stops happening. This strategy is recommended for individuals with a congenital dignity deficiency.

Let me go leave you with this: at the end of your madcap jag, you’re going to be sleepy, amnesiac, and stark naked. Don’t create any situation you wouldn’t want to deal with in that state and you’ll be be fine.

 

 

Mount and Blade: The Trivial Contest

17 Feb

This week’s Mount and Blade stream is moved–provisionally to Wednesday–due to workload issues.

As some of you witnessed last week (battle begins around 22:30), petty nob and bungling warlord Cahmel the Bloodless paused his never-ending campaign of getting his ass kicked to win a battle against some looters. Specifically, five desperate and starving men armed with rocks and clubs against me, a nominally trained warrior with armor and weaponry. Needless to say, this is a victory worthy of song and legend.

Cahmel would gladly provide both–but he lost his ink and quill the last time he got mugged by poachers. So it’s down to you people.

By March 4th, create some sort of commemoration of Cahmel’s epic victory against five vagrants. This could be a drawing, a poem, a song, an act of arson*, an extensive and experimental surgical procedure**, or something a little more bizarre and esoteric.  Submit your entry in the comments or send it over to rutskarn@chocolatehammer.org, and I’ll judge a winner.

The prize? Every companion I get in the game will be named after you in some capacity. The first one will have whatever name you provide. After that, I’ll get creative.

Alright, people, get to it.

*Cannot be an act of arson.

**Especially one involving brain-controlled robotic limbs.

 
 

On Inconvenient Lizards: The Redemption of Cahmel (Let’s Play Skyrim, Part 18.3)

14 Feb

My first hint that the appointed hour had come was when I said hello to Skjor, and instead of loudly declaring that we couldn’t talk in public, he invited me into the “secret” door into the Skyforge. So this was the VIP room, huh? I’m liking the stone-basin-and-creepy-ass-lighting motif. I’m also liking how that werewolf’s apparently been standing there for at least thirteen hours, because she definitely did not come in with us and I’ve been standing out there all god damn day.

“Hey,” I said. “And hey, wolf-thing. Are these basins hot baths or something? Is this some kind of day spa?”

“No,” said Skjor, “this is our inner sanctum, our secret-place. It is here the most guarded rituals of the Companions take place.”

I found my gaze drawn upwards to the two gaping, conspicuous holes in the ceiling, and then down to the wolf snarling and howling loudly. “Okay,” I said. “Secret companion rituals. What a relief that you guys have those. Me, I can’t trust a pseudo-militaristic organization unless it’s got some kind of bestial shaman-cult conducting rituals somewhere around the office. This is a pretty cool thing. Thanks for sharing it. I’m just going to go around the city watch and not tell any of them about it.”

“The time has come,” said Skjor in a raised voice. “We are short on numbers. Now it is time to make you…one of us.”

“A ritual! To make me on of you! Just what the doctor ordered. So does this ritual involve, say, bloodletting?”

“Yes. Yes it does.”

Outstanding. So how do you open this secret stone door? Is there like a lever or something?”

“Another of our number, Vilkas, poisons the rest of our brethren! He rails against the ritual–says we should be cleansed of its influence!”

“Or like, a button? Handle? Switch? Anything?”

“He calls it a curse! But we’ve been blessed. How can anything that gives this kind of prowess be a curse?”

“No. Seriously. How do you open this fucking door?”

“Join us,” he said. “Join us, and receive the true power…the power of the werewolf!”

I turned around. Skjor stood there expectantly with the face of someone completely sane who is doing something totally reasonable involving lycanthropic ritual blood pacts. The werewolf stood by patiently. I got the sense it was here in more of a support role than anything else.

“Okay,” I said. “So let’s say for the sake of argument that I accept your proposal, and become a werewolf.”

“Why wouldn’t you? You can’t lose! It really is perfectly straightforward.”

“What are the drawbacks?”

“There are no drawbacks! There is nothing wrong with it whatsoever. Not unless you’re afraid of your true potential.

I glanced backwards at the door. Then I glanced back at Skjor, who was already holding the knife, eyebrows raised expectantly.

“Eh,” I said. “Why not.”

 

On Inconvenient Lizards: The Redemption of Cahmel (Let’s Play Skyrim Part 18.2)

13 Feb

Remember: stream at Noon, PST, today! Don’t miss another thrilling episode of “Those Sons of Bitches Stole My God Damn Horse Again.”

“So I killed those wolves,” I said to no-one in particular upon re-entering the Companion’s hall. “It was great. I bet you’re all real jealous. So what’s next? Cave full of spiders? Tower full of fruitbats? Infestation of dryrot in the basement?”

“Actually,” said one, “apparently Skjor has a special job for you.”

Skjor was the one who’d sent me after the fragment of Wuuthrad. This place evidently didn’t have a boss, so he was the closest thing they had to an authority figure. If I ever decided to indulge my latent instincts to stick things Man-ward, he is the Man I would theoretically stick it to, and holy shit this turn of phrase doesn’t sound right when you break it down like this.

As a matter of fact, Skjor didn’t have a job for me–just an instruction. “It’s too public out here,” he said, sitting alone at the table in the empty guild hall. “Go outside, tonight, to our big publicly-accessible forge at the side of the building. We’ll go in through the secret door together.”

“What secret door?”

“You’ll know it by the plainly visible outline.”

I killed time until night fell, then went outside. He was standing by the forge in front of what looked for all the world like the outline of a door. Alright, so they were pulling me into their confidence, were they? They were recognizing that I was a one-woman wrecking crew who could be just what they need to set their shit straight, and they’re actually taking advantage of it? It’s about time somebody got their act together.

I walked up to him and said, “Alright, I’m ready.”

“We can’t talk now,” he said. “Come back tonight.”

I looked up. There was a lot of moon happening. “You mean…later tonight?”

“I just said we can’t talk right now.”

I spent a good fifteen seconds thinking of a counter-argument to that, and came up with a pretty compelling one. But since I was pretty sure a backhand would get me kicked out, I just sat down cross-legged and waited for it to night even harder.

 

On Inconvenient Lizards: The Redemption of Cahmel (Let’s Play Skyrim, Part 18)

12 Feb

Things had been going pretty well. You know? I’d come to this goddamn country to blow the raspberry at the family curse, and after hard work and diligent questing it finally felt like I was gaining ground. I was ready to claw respect from this soil with my bare fingers if I had to—anything, anything, to put paid to the family traditions of humiliation, discomfort, and frequent blackouts. Anything at all.

Which was why I was stark naked in the middle of a freezing cold snowbank with no memory of how I’d got there. It’s cute little moments like that that make me ask which I hate more: myself, or absolutely everything else.

“Hey,” said the female Companion who’d found me—Aela, I think her name was. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until the exact moment I started conversing with a Nord that I realized I had a headache.

“Hey,” I said, intending to follow this with, “shut up for the next fifteen seconds while I try to remember how to scream in agony,” but she cut me off first.

“So…” She gestured at me. “So, that was your first time. Always a unique experience. You didn’t do too bad, all considered.”

“Okay,” I said. “Listen. What I need from you, right now, is to explain exactly what you mean by that.”

“Well, I mean that it was your first time letting your wild…”

“And if you say absolutely anything that could be interpreted in a clean and a filthy way, I am going to go ahead and take a third interpretative stance, which is that you’re asking me to chokeslam you through the permafrost. This is what we call ‘innuendo.’ So I invite you to put whatever risible quip you had queued up next through an editing pass before you slide it out your piehole. Go ahead. I’ll wait.”

Aela paused, rethought what she was going to say, and settled on: “For your first time turning into a werewolf, you did pretty well.”

And that’s when the memories flooded back. Fire in my blood. Fire in my brain. Aching jaws, aching limbs, every muscle screaming to be thrown into action. And more screaming, real screaming—real people, terrified out of their minds at the loping remorseless monster that leapt down from rooftops and plunged into shadows. A beast grim and feral. A beast arrows could not halt and blades could not kill. The horror of the night made claw and tooth and baleful eye. The horror, in fact, that was me.

These memories, and more, rolled across my mind’s eye.

“Damn straight,” I said.

 

This Week, on Chocolate Hammer

11 Feb

As promised, this week kicks off a very special Skyrim sub-series; specifically, the first time in Cahmel history that a questline is followed through to its conclusion. To celebrate this festival of competence, there’ll be updates every day Tuesday-Friday, and possibly into the weekend beyond.

One slight addendum: there will be no Mount and Blade stream today (Monday). Instead, the stream will be scheduled for Noon PST on Wednesday. Be there or be some other, cooler place, accomplishing goals and experiencing life’s sublimity somewhere else.

 
 

08 Feb

 

Reminder: Stream

04 Feb

Today (Monday), at 12 Noon PST, I’ll be streaming Mount and Blade. Usual time and place. See you there!