Monday, April 24, 2006

Sixth Step: Maglir, Mud Crabs, and Viranus's Big Adventure!

Let's get it started.

Fresh off the heels of his expedition with the merchant's guild of Imperial City, Super King lusts for the thrill of the fight. He's convinced that what lies around the bend from him is a wondrous world of adventure and the key is clutched in his scaly hands. He needs only to think of where to go next. And what better place is there than the house of sadistic tendencies, the Fighter's Guild! Convinced that he's now slain the entire rat population of Cyrodiil, the dinosaur believes there to be nothing left for him except contracts that bring in the beaucoup bucks and, more importantly, allow him to exercise his bloodthrist with reckless abandon. Tremble mortals, for your end is nigh! Super King in the HOUSE! Lay it on me brother Oreyn, tell me who I gotta kill!

Oh, yay.

Super King is noticeably disappointed. He signed up for the guild to smash things, not spend time with the smelly fleshbags that refer to themselves as "humans". This particular ape, a sniveling whiner named Maglir, has encountered his dino-liege once before in the town of Leyawin. On an earlier Fighter's Guild contract Super King had pulled has ass out of the fire after the doughy, downtrodden Maglir defaulted on the oh so exciting(!!) contract of RETRIEVING SOMEONE'S LOST BOOK. Oh well, maybe this time it'll be more fun. Chin up Super King, Maglir can't be THAT useless! Who did Oreyn say we had to talk to again?

... ... ... .........................................

Looks like there's another cave holding a secret item that only the two of us can retrieve. But the journey gets off to a bad start right out of the gate. Apparently Maglir's been raiding the pantry during the time he should've been completing his own contracts.

How about a little less pie and a lot more slaughtering of native fauna?
Hurry it up doughboy!!

Super King resolves himself to dump this lightweight (used ironically, please note) at the first available opportunity. If all goes well he'll be devoured by rats and mudcrabs while the dinosaur grabs all the glory for himself.

Normally Super King would slaughter the ape-filth when nobody was looking, but he's only wearing Iron Armor. And since we've got better stuff it's not really worth the effort.

Inside the cave we find the bandits we have stolen fat face's knicknack of unwavering boredom. It's another dumb fetch quest, but that's okay. For our character, the beloved dinosaur, it's starting to become much more about the journey (and the killing of humans the journey requires) than the reward itself. Have at you, stupid humans! The first bandit encountered wears a very fetching mask that Super King desires with all the fury his three dino-hearts can muster.

So preeeeeeeeetty.

But, upon felling the wretched creature, no mask is to be found...

Well that's hardly fair... where'd it go?

This is where Jerry sits me down and teaches me a very valuable lesson about the meaning of Conjuration magic, specifically the ability to conjure armor for yourself. I find that a little lame, because killing humans and NOT getting their items isn't really as much fun.

Don't get me wrong, it's still fun. A LOT of fun (they're still dirty meatbags, after all). It's just not -as much- fun as it could be.

The quest is completed as per the usual and, deciding that the whole mask affair has to be avenged, Super King sends Maglir into peril for his own amusement. The dopey warrior questions why his dinosaur companion is heading away in the opposite direction of the town, but his shoddily programmed AI can do naught but follow... right into the jaws of a fearsome MUD CRAB!

Foolish human! Now you will taste the void!

Much to Super King's chagrin, Maglir dispatches the creature with a fair bit of ease. This worries him, because if a human can do it... it barely seems worth doing at all. And all the worse, while Maglir busies himself with the crustacean our dinosaur is attacked by bandits most foul. Cat people! No!! Is there a furry convention in town he wasn't warned about?

Using the statements set down by countless cartoon TV shows and movies, Super King heads for the water. Not only is it his natural habitat, but the logic of a dozen Disney movies can't be wrong! Cats hate water!!

Swim kitty, SWIM TO YOUR DOOM!!!

In mere moments, Super King's fisticuffs have left the cat face-up in the pool. He howls triumphantly, pounding on the battered corpse with his fist and working himself into a berserker frenzy. Soon he can't stop himself from ripping pieces of cat hide away with nothing but his fanged maw.

Then he gags on a furball...

Alright, enough ignomity. Let's move on.

Still seeking the place of Maglir's untimely demise, Super King uses his radar to head towards a cave of ill repute. Inside there's a festival of the undead to which he can throw the human scum. Again Maglir is beset by the forces of evil. Super King uses this time to explore the cave and retrieve its secret treasures. In the dankest recesses he finds a pair of gauntlets, his first piece of Dwarven armor. But again has his hubris struck him unawares! After donning the new mail he turns to find Maglir cruelly slain and the zombies coming after him!! You know what that means...


I've been waiting my whole LIFE for this!

Halfway through the endless battle, a sword emerges from the darkness to aid Super King in his plight. It's Maglir! At this point we realize that he was not dead, but only unconscious. It would appear that plot-important characters are immune to the cruel ravages of death. Super King is glad for Maglir's distraction. Though he wouldn't admit it, fisticuffs is probably not the best course of action when confronted by raging zombies. When the battle is over he spits in Maglir's face, which is the greatest honor a dinosaur can bestow upon the soft skinned races, and finally leads the reject back to town. With a triumphant cry of 'smell you later!' Super King juts his foot out in front of his fellow guild member and sends Maglir sprawling to the dirt. Relying on his natural agility vis-a-vis Maglir's dumpy, obese frame, the dinosaur charges back to town and collects the reward himself.

So invigorated, he immediately requests another contract. He's got people to slay!! Surely now that he's spent his time with Maglir the Waste of Space he'll be allowed into the inner sanctum of the guild and give the really good bounties. He just knows it!!

...wait, what?

Or we get to babysit some stupid humie again. Hooray for that.

Okay fine. We'll go kill the trolls with the Guildmaster's son. Super King is justifiable outraged, especially considering he's forced to give the little runt door-to-door service. Can you believe the nerve of that racist Oreyn? Making him, the Terrifying Lizard(!!), not only escort the reject through a "treacherous" cavern, but he also has to go all the way to the Donton house and pick him up! The nerve!!

Well, we won't let this offense go unopposed!

Say goodbye to your lunch, Donton!!

It's here we discover that using stolen food to create potions effectively 'launders' them and makes the resulting concoctions legal for sale. In this way, Super King can indulge his kleptomaniacal tendencies and actually make some money off the deal. What results is the biggest food heist the world has ever known. But maybe that's a story for another day, for now... on with the quest!

Listen junior, mother's gonna tell you the same thing I'm gonna tell you: Stop being such a dang pussy and let's go kill some freakin' trolls before I ruin my brand new gaunlets by ramming one up your ass and working you like goddang Pinnochio. LET'S GO ALREADY!

Being a guild member sometimes requires tough love.

Of course, "tough love", as it is translated from dinosaurian, is really more like saying "making a belt out of the intenstines of any stupid fleshsack that annoys you" soooo... Super King tries to restrain his fatherly tendencies. He doesn't want to get kicked out of the guild... not just yet anyway.

In the cave, we put our experiences with Maglir to good use and send Viranus after the trolls at full tilt. Since he can't die he makes the perfect meat shield while we work on our hand-to-hand abilities.

Go get 'em champ!

Here me and Super King learn two points of pertinent information:

1) NPCs can't fight worth jack damn (we sort of already knew that)
2) When they return to consciousness they have like two hitpoints, so they can't even aspire to reach the level to fight where they could maybe-kind-sorta-ALMOST fight worth a "jack damn".

Obviously Viranus isn't gonna be a whole lot of help this time around.

Abandoning his charge, Super King treads all the deeper into the dungeon and faces new and crueler beasts of his own. Maybe Maglir was right, some of these contracts are just plain crazy!


It's then that Super King remembers something: HE'S A FREAKING DINOSAUR! So eff these wankers and their Dwarven Warhammers. The whirling fury of his fists is something that would inspire jealousy in even the greatest martial artists of our time. In the aftermath, our serpentine Bruce Lee is free to examine the trinkets and baubles held in secret by his wooly assailant.

Chameleon! Why, I'm already 1/8th Chameleon!

I know what you're thinking. He's also 6/8ths dinosaur (which is really like saying 5/8ths TOTALLY AWESOME AND RAD) and 1/8th Cherokee Indian. Weird parents, Super King had.

But he decides to try the ring on anyway as sheer curiosity gets the better of him. The results are... unpredictable. Suddenly he's bathed in shadow, the very light bending around him in weirding ways. I think you can guess what we decided to do next.

Viranuuuuuuuuus! Viranuuuuuus! This is the ghost of your faaaaather! Stop being such a puuuuuussy and kiiiiiiiiill something!
Also, give Suuuuuuuuuper King a thousand doooooooooollars for his overdue caaaaaar payments!

He didn't really get the joke...

After Super King got bored of being a ghost (well, temporarily bored, ghosts are so cool that you can never been FULLY bored of being one) they continued the quest and found the lost guild member in the expected condition: dead.

Ooops... better luck next time chum. We'll try harder to save the next guy.

Really, I'm not sure why you would send me on these rescue missions like a week after the guy disappeared. Wouldn't you just assume? Then again... maybe I shouldn't have listened to Viranus's suggestion to stop for bagels on the way out to the cavern.

But I love bagels so much!!

The quest is not without its just rewards, though, and Super King finds yet ANOTHER pair of gauntlets to poke and prod at.

Detect life? I wonder what that does...


Guys, not for nothin', but I think you gave me the "gauntlets of detect fairy" by mistake. And it's not that I don't APPRECIATE it or nothin'... but I kinda already knew. I didn't need a big pink glow to tell me Viranus's curious... predilections.

See ya next week, kids!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fifth Step: Potatoes, Peanut Butter, and Unabashed Racism

Finding himself unfairly scorned by the public of Hackdirt and Chorrol (he didn't get any action, if you were wondering), Super King winds his way down the dirty path to the next town. What kind of hero would he be if he didn't go out of his way to help every straggler in need? People need to have their dogs rescued!! And their cows rescued!! And someone needs to gather raspberries. Who would be able to survive if they didn't have a strapping young lad to GATHER THEIR RASPBERRIES?!

Almost as if on cue, our dinosaur is approached by an elf who's quite forward about having a mission for him. Oooh, a mission, sounds exciting! He's told that it can't be discussed in public. Galthir, as he's called, suggests that Super King meet him after midnight behind the church in town. Oooh, a secret, so exciting!!

It's a chilly night, and Super King stomps his feet impatiently. The elf is late! And it's all that Super King can muster to not knock that honky upside his head. The promise of great rewards is too enticing, though! So he listens... apparently the elf is being stalked and he needs someone to watch his back and confirm his suspicions. You had me at hello, buddy. Sneaking is what I do!

Ssssh, we're hunting rabbits!

After being sent on three of these so called "missions", which mostly involves following boring peasants farming on boring farms and eating boring lunches, Super King is getting a little fed up. These are just boring humies! But Galthir just won't hear it! After being told that he's a psycho, and none of these people are stalking him, the elf goes on the offensive and Super King has to put him down with the utmost in prejudice. Unhand me villain, it's time for fisticuffs!

In the brutal aftermath Super King cleans off his steel armor and roots through the corpse for whatever he can find. He feels no guilt for killing something so low on the evolutionary ladder. It's the human condition, like swatting a fly, he just doesn't care. What he DOES care about is finding this elf's money stash... 'coz he's certainly been paying pretty well for these waste of time stalking jobs... no such luck. Even a wholesale turndown of the elf's house reveals not a whole lot more than piles of apples and the normal useless crap like calipers and yarn. Why does every house in the world need yarn, anyway? Are there really that many shirts to mend? How about instead of yarn we work on inventing the bathroom, because I've been holding it for about THIRTY DAYS.

Forget towns. Forget quests. Obviously that stuff really just isn't working out for us and our dino-hero is getting crazy-tired of wasting his time finding lost cabbages for itinerant workers. He's going to strike off on his own! There's been a few ruins he's seen around and those things always have crazy amounts of monies, right? Ancient civilizations, without exception, are rich with the burgeoning wealth of the current civilization. Who knew that people a thousand years ago used gold coins TOO? I know it sounds crazy!

Okay... we're really gonna need to start finding more gold and less rat meat.

Deeper and deeper into the dungeon he goes, curious about what he might find (beyond rotting rodent carcasses and their filthy treasures). These ancient guys were pretty suspicious, this much is made obvious by the amount of traps that litter the dungeon. However, it might've been a little better for them if they were also a little smarter. Avoiding most of these traps is easily accomplished with the brain of an autistic four year old. For example:

Gee... I wonder what kind of floor has HOLES IN IT? Maybe I'll just step around.

Spikey Pit Trap: "Not stepping on me, my one weakness! How did you know?"

Further in there's even more devious machinery. However, these too are easily traversed. The poison gas trap is especially fun, but only because Super King is wholly immune to poison, and, as such, spends a solid chunk of time just staring at the gas pouring out and wondering what it's for. "I wish instead of gas it was peanut butter," he muses to himself, poking at the metal grating, "If it was a peanut butter trap then I could have a picnic." After this becomes boring, it seems the dinosaur shares his player's ADHD affliction, he saunters out the wide open door to darker recesses of the dungeon. I mean really guys, who makes a poison gas trap without the standard locked doors that go along with it? It's like nobody in this dungeon's ever played a Resident Evil game before...

Maybe if I just -pretend- it's peanut butter...

The first bit of treasure comes in a disappointing fashion, something called an "Alembic", which settles to rest quite comfortably in Super King's Alchemy section. He's intrigued, until he realizes all it really does is let him create 'Restore Fatigue' potions that weigh more than any Restore Fatigue potion ever has. Seriously, two pounds? That's just terrible inefficient. We're not sure if it has better -effects- than the non-Alembic potions, but we really don't care. First off, Fatigue is stupid stat that's a waste of time anyway and second... we weren't drinking the potions anyway!!

Seven pounds? My FIRST BORN didn't weigh that much!

This is turning out to be not so fun an expedition, and Super King is seriously reconsidering going back to town and digging up more carrots for the helpless villagers, that is... until!

This is the closest thing you can get to an erection in a videogame.

I want that sword, BAD, and Super King heartily agrees with me. Unfortunately, due to game mechanics, we can't steal anything that's equipped and all the lady Umbra has in her inventory is a paltry 20 gold pieces. Damnation!

Also... it makes her 'aggro' and she flips out and totally attacks us for no reason. Uncool, man! So we decide that if we can't steal the sword we're gonna take it by force. She drew first blood!

After about forty reloads we learn that we -also- cannot take the sword by force, which only makes us want it more!! We'll be back for you, ya hoser, you'll see. And when we come back you're gonna be real sorry. Oh well, I guess it's back to FedEx quests for the local populace...

Almost as if on cue:

Seriously lady, potatoes?

You're sending me on a quest for potatoes? Did you see my kickass armor and my bitching freezer sword? What am I, chopped meat? This is totally uncool, and the fact that I'm even being send on this quest sends me (and Super King) into a paradoxical rage that makes us want to complete the quest even MORE. Off into the wilderness we dash! Those potatoes will be safe! Just show me the villainous ogre that saw fit to snatch them from you!


Okay, change of plan. He's better at fisticuffs than I am.

After a grueling battle involving well over forty arrows (a mere fraction of them are recoverable from the ogre's battered frame), the potatoes are liberated from their captor. I surge forward, my veins filled with the bursting energy of a job well done. It's time to claim our just reward. Which is...

Not that great.

Now I REALLY wish I had that peanut butter, though.

Okay. Forget ruins, forget FedEx quests. Super King resolves himself to return to the fighter's guild. Sure he's tired of killing rats, but at least those jobs provided semi-realistic rewards in the form of cold hard cash. It's just hard to submit yourself to such a clearly racist institution. I've been in the fighter's guild a whole month and we have yet to see ONE SINGLE Argonian among the ranks. When I bring up such complaints at the lodge meetings they just laugh at me and tell me to look in a mirror, which really isn't very nice... but it's okay. I'll be guild master one day and I'll racially cleanse the CRAP out of this guild. For now, I've got a mission to stop some of my guild brothers from causing ruckus in a far off town.

During the days-long journey through swamps and forests and mountains, Super King starts to wonder why the guild keeps giving him contracts that involve traveling halfway across the known world. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just send someone from Leyawin's fighter guild to deal with the problem, you know, considering it's in the SAME DAMN TOWN?! Oh well, it's not really worth worrying about. They'd probably just call him a stinking swamp lizard or something.

Also as if on cue:

Okay buddy, leave the pretty dinosaur bartender alone.

Super King is forced to sit through about an hour of the guild members crying in their beer about the Blackwoods company stealing all their contracts before he's told that he has to GET them a contract or they won't like him anymore. Well that's just retarded. Super King helps those who help themselves, but at the same time... he knows if he doesn't do the job right than that stupid Dark Elf Oreyn is gonna yell at him some more. It's like the guy has a chip on his shoulder that's become so large that it's managed to create its OWN chip.

The part where I had to get a whole bunch of ectoplasm for some annoying mage isn't all that interesting, so we'll skip it. Let's leave it at this: why search for what you can buy in a neighboring town for pennies on the dollar? If humans weren't such idiots, Super King imagines that he'd never get work through the fighter's guild at all. Maybe it's good they haven't figured a few of these things out...

One more interesting thing did happen down in Leyawin town, though:

Lady... you just said the wrong thing.

After about another forty reloads of me trying to take on her and her guards, I realize that sometimes it's not as important to be right as it is to be wrong and have really big guys in armor who are willing to back you up on the matter. I seek refuge in Imperial City, hoping that the racial climate will be a bit more subdued there. Or, at least, that the racist people will be poorer and thus not guarded by heavily armed men.

I'm not given a whole lot to go on in that respect, though, as my time is immediately consumed by the attentions of the Merchant's Guild, who want me to stalk one of the shop proprietors in the neighborhood and see if he's up to no good. Super King is immediately suspicious, the events with Galthir leaving a bad taste in his mouth, but he can't say no when he's promised a rather sizable reward. Plus, sneaking around after people is just plain fun.

Sneak sneak sneak. Sneak sneak sneak.
Oh, I could do this all day long!

Turns out this time there was some truth to the rumors. Our shopkeeper subject, another dirty elf-type, has been buying merchandise purloined off the bodies of dead aristocrats. When confronted with the matter he denies any knowledge of it, and begs his dino-savior to look into the matter further, and investigate his cohort Agarmir, who has been providing him with the corpse-lifted wares.

Well, Agamir's a badguy. Him and his thug buddy are waiting in the tomb and there's this really lame speech that Super King has to sit through about how 'it's a trap, and you'll notice this grave is empty, that's because it's for you and blah blah blah you're gonna die'. The dinosaur amuses himself by yawning, and pantomiming the action of brushing his teeth with his tail. These acts of bravado on his part nearly lead to disaster.

Oh crap, I forgot you were gonna attack me!

When the deed is done Agamir and his thug are left in a rather comprimising position.

Roffle! Are you guys like gay or something? EL OH EL!

Super King steps back to admire his handiwork, but he knows deep in his scaly heart that something still isn't right about this whole thing. While looting the bodies it comes to him...

It was so obvious!! Why didn't I think of this before!

'A job well done!' Super King congratulates himself as he strides back to the merchant section of town, inwardly cackling about future reactions of the guardsmen when they find the two thieves so posthumously embarrassed. Serves you right, suckers!

Super King wasn't really mad about the grave digging so much as he was about the fact that he hadn't thought of it first. Now that Agamir and his crony are out of the way, the dinosaur tries to decide if it'd be a more lucrative profession. If he remembers correctly, there's a merchant out there now that just lost his supplier... And he DOES have this shovel...

Got me a movie, I want you to know. Slicin' up eyeballs, I want you to know.

I love "Debaser"!! The Pixies rock. Well played Bethseda, well played.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fourth Step: Fruity Pajamas, Alchemy, and the Continuing Quest for Dinosaur Sex

It took a couple tries with the rats (Super King, as we mentioned in the first episode, DESPISES rodentia), but eventually we did manage not to kill them. Turns out the lady was keeping them as pets and a mountain lion kept breaking in and attacking them. Well that's all fine and dandy, but I sort of joined up with the corps to do some good in the world and not protect some lady's smelly crap factories.

After I've resolved the mouse problem I move on to the next fighter's guild. They're making me go to the next town over the jerks can't keep me employed in one town for more than two seconds. That's okay, upon entering the front door Super King realizes something that the many treks through that rat infested basement had made him forget:

There's TONS of stuff to steal in the Fighter's Guild. And this place is just ripe for the picking! First stop: display cases.

I broke like fourteen lockpicks to get at this crap. WHY DO YOU TAUNT ME?!

All was not lost. Though the gauntlets and dagger were nothing to write home about, the rest of the gills was stuffed to the rafters with all sorts of interesting doo-dads, as we might've come to expect. More than once Super King exceeds his maximum encumbrance. He chortles to himself, sticking longswords and maces in his pack in plain view of everyone. 'That's what you get for four hundred years of oppression, sucker!!' he shouts, raising a pilfered hunk of venison high into the air. The fighter's guild porter, to whom it was addressed, looks at Super King with a smile and queries whether or not he's got any armor that needs fixin'. The dino-hero stares at him with a sullen face. It's not as fun to steal from people when they don't care...

Anyway! We decide that it's time to balance our Yang with a little Yin, and Super King storms up the stairs to shake hands with the guildmaster. A rough and tumble sort, no doubt! Someone who's been through countless engagements and bears the scars to prove it. A no nonsense man, a strong man, the kind of leader that you'd follow into battle any day! The kind that you'd want your kids to emulate!

Are you kidding me...? YOU'RE my boss?

Super King shakes the orc awake, praying that this is some cruel prank pulled by other members of the guild. He fully expects that when the guildmaster awakens he'll be just as startled as the dino-recruit by his curious choice of sleepwear. "Pajamas?!" he'll exclaim, pausing only to rip them from his burly frame before going on a (naked) rampage through the building, killing every Porter he sees with the unquenched fury of his bare hands.

Such is not the case... and Burz gro-Khash barely bats an eye at his fruity sleepwear. Super King is totally taken aback. "Uh..." he starts, "Uh... Azzan said something about a job?" Unsaid is the closer to that sentence: if it's about rats then you're gonna get BURIED in that fruity get-up. Though Burz is guildmaster and clearly has many years of experience on him, Super King'll be damned if he's gonna let some goddang sissy send him on another rat hunting mission.

No, instead we have to deliver weapons to some rejects in a cave five minutes away who couldn't be bothered to do it themselves. Makes sense to me!! Considering I had to travel halfway across the world to get this reject job, I hope it was totally worth the travel time when all your boys are doing is sitting around by a fire, getting drunk on low quality mead. The dinosaur is starting to get severely weary of this soft-skinned fleshy races, but he accepts the job nonetheless. He needs to keep advancing in rank so once he's guildmaster he can cleanse the halls of all non-dinos and bring in his own new recruits. Once they've converted to an all scaly format things will be better, he just KNOWS it.

But for now...

Alright lady, have fun. See ya later!

Just as he's turning away to leave, Super King is grabbed and told in no uncertain terms that he isn't getting out of this cave until every single one of the goblins is dead. He briefly considers just killing all the softies right there on the spot, as nothing in the job request specifically said he COULDN'T slaughter the guild members after delivering the weapons... but he decides (against his better judgment) to sally forth with the understanding that goblins often die with treasure clutched in their filthy paws. At least he'll be killing -something- sentient. It has to be more fun than rats, right?

Turns out it WAS pretty fun... just not for everyone else.

Oooops... sorry guys.

The sole remaining member of our attack party doesn't seem overly concerned with his companion's deaths, nor does he seem all that concerned that I'm looting their corpses right before his very eyes. Momma-dino didn't raise no fool and, despite being crushed under a pile of logs, that Orc's steel armor is in pretty dang good condition. Weight requirements prevent me from snatching up leader girl's chainmail, but I briefly consider making a trip back. It doesn't seem to have a very good defensive value, but it DOES make me look positively smashing.

All things in good time, I've got business to attend to. Super King trudges his way back to Guildmaster McFruitypants and reports the (relative) success of the hunting party, tugging awkwardly on the collar of his new steel curiass and hoping good ole Burz doesn't recognize his friend's getup.

Freedom! In addition to the pilfered armor and weapons, the dinosaur is handed a not-so-meager reward in the form of a couple hundred gold pieces. Seed money, if you will.

It all started back in the Chorrol fighter's guild, where Super King realized that stealing books was a lightweight and reasonably profitable way to increase his Mercantile skill (apparently no shopkeeper questions someone trying to sell twelve dozen books at one time). As luck would have it, the dinosaur took the time to read a passage or two from the musty old tomes before pawning them for shiny gold pieces and miniscule increases to his skill ranks. In these arcane volumes he picked up a secret or two about Alchemy, the science of mixing ingredients to create potions. Not really the sort of reading material he'd expect to find in the fighter's guild, but whatever. It's better than picking up your fourteenth volume of 'Hairy Nord Babes with Nothing to Lose'. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to try and sell one of THOSE?

Knowledge is power... FOR REAL.

Super King has always been a schemer, and emboldened by his extracurricular activities he gathers up as much rat meat and lettuce as he can and goes to work making just about every potion he can think of. Most of these are colossal failures, but it doesn't matter because even the good ones smell like doggy dung. Super King finally realizes why he's been hauling around 67 pieces of Viper Bugloss (whatever THAT is) and from there on the sky is the limit. Soon he's burdened down with the clanking weight of newfound wealth, ready to make his way to a nearby general store and unload his ill-gotten gains at a reasonable price. By stealing all food from the fighter's guild and convenient farm locations he's basically reduced his overhead to zero, minus opportunity cost inflicted by travel time. The result? PURE PROFIT! As the dollar signs rack up in his head, Super King is confronted by an odd vision...

You don't say...

My excitement runs rampant when I realize that there's some sort of 'perks' system in this game, and I can barely constrain myself from jumping up and down in my seat, and mixing about two dozen more lettuce and wheat 'Restore Fatigue' potions in the hope that I get to see another one of those congratulatory messages. Some time later I give up the ghost with a gentle sigh. Later I'll do some reading on the subject and find out that perks are given out at the 25, 50, 75, and 100 marks. That's not exactly as fast as I would prefer, and I'm sure Super King would agree with me when I say that perks should be given out at the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc... mark, but what do I know? I'm just a lowly computer gamer.

The nearest general store just so happens to be the one owned by that nasty old hag of an Argonian with the hot daughter from last episode. Super King saunters in with his tail up in the air, convinced that he's gonna be 'gettin' some tonight' as soon as tasty lil' Dar-Ma sees his rather impressive collection of 'Poison Self' potion debacles. When he inquires as to the whereabouts of the fine piece of 'tail' the mother just about breaks down in tears, or the dinosaur equivalent of tears anyway. Dinosaurs are so tough that whenever they feel like crying they just turn to someone nearby and floor them with a haymaker punch.

It's awesome, I know.

Super King is ready for this, of course, being not only super strong and totally masculine, but also a really empathetic dude. 'There, there, it's okay' he purrs to the woman as he helps her off the floor, having dodged her haymaker and totally counterpunched her in the jaw. This dinosaur ain't nobody's fool, if you want to take your grief out on someone, grandma, do it to one of the softies outside.

Soon sensation has returned to the woman's mouth and she's able to tell the tale without spitting out any more teeth or an OVERLY copious amount of blood. Super King listens intently, convinced that if he rescues the daughter then he's TOTALLY gonna get some action!

I just need to know one thing... is your daughter a slut?

So emboldened by the promise of reward is Super King that he struts his way off into the wild blue yonder. Apparently Dar-Ma is being held captive in the settlement of Hackdirt just a little ways south of here. Super King readies his sword for battle and approaches the settlement under the cover of night, but sees nothing all that out of the ordinary. Sure the buildings are only halfway completed and the main road into the town appears to be a foul combination of mud and human feces... but isn't this how ALL apes live?

Still, he decides it'd be prudent to use his inborn stealth skills. Clambering his way against the sides of ramshackle huts and brokendown carts, Super King discovers a hidden trapdoor leading to the Hackdirt underground. Once again he breaks about fourteen picks in the process of trying to open the lock, but he blames it on his excitement over the SURELY impending sexual liaison, citing that to be enough to overcome his impressive lockpicking potentcy. 'You really can only be potent at one thing at a time,' he informs me, 'And I think you can see where my attention lies at the moment.'

Indeed I could, though my eyes do so wish that I did NOT. I would've taken your word for it!

Dar-Ma is held up in a cage in the middle of the cave system. She begs for release and Super King considers whether or not he should get something in writing about future carnal encounters before he lets her out. Almost as if on cue, a shirtless human attacks while the dinosaur is distracted. You cad!! How dare you befoul this nice new armor? HAVE AT YOU!

When slain, the filthy creature coughs up the key to the cell and Super King and his new 'ho' are off on their daring escape from the town. The dino-savior is briefly distracted by thoughts of planting explosives in the cave so he can do a really sweet 'action hero runs away from the exploding building' scene, but is again distracted upon realizing that the town has become a beehive of activity. Shirtless humans everywhere!!

Seriously guys, clubs? I'm a FREAKIN' DINOSAUR.

When the town is thoroughly cleansed, and it's clear that Dar-Ma ain't gonna give him none of that "sweet puddin", Super King kicks her to the curb and goes off to do some exploring. The innkeeper is the first not directly hostile person in the town, but the fact that he runs away instead of sitting to chat infuriates Super King to no end, and soon the poor guy's face down in the dirt like everyone else in the town. Super King sits down in one of the rotted out inn rooms and takes a moment to reflect on the events of the day...

It's a good start, but I've got a lot more chairs to sit in if I wanna conquer the world!

Until next time, kids!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Third Step: Magical Swords, Dino-booty, and the Fighter's Guild

When last we left our dino-friend he was merrily fleeing the confines of friend Jauffre's abbey with a literal herd of sheep in tow. That'll teach you to be more polite to strangers, ya dirty Dark Elf! Super King relishes in the fact that letting a man's livelihood escape into the forest isn't considered a crime, and reminds himself to release more sheep into the world if he should ever be troubled again.

Now freed from the bonds of the rather expensive amulet around his neck, Super King posits a question to himself 'What do I do next?' Not really one to follow orders, the young dinosaur turns to wherever the wind suggests he go. That whole silly thing about saving the world can wait until he's lined his pockets with gold and venison. As far as he's concerned, everything else is tertiary in nature.

Clearly he was wrong, though, as his hubris is short lived. While snooping around a local resident's house the presumptuous local guard sees fit to burst in and pick him up just like that. How unfair!! It's not like anyone was home, and even if they were... they were totally gonna let those tomatoes go to waste!


Considering my fine is only $10 I feel like the best recourse right now is to just pay it off and let myself be processed. Had I realized that this would involve the lifting of the three valuable bottles of brandy I knicked last time I might've been a little pissed off. How the heck did they know that it's stolen? For that matter, how the heck do they know I stole that TOMATO? I must've picked up the only lo-jacked tomato in all of Cyrodiil. Super King mulls over his stealing habits. He won't stop... he's just gonna have to refine the technique.

Obviously that doesn't last long...

Don't worry about me lady, I'm the... plumber...

After a few more bouts in jail/fines Super King starts to learn his lesson. From now on we'll never steal again (when someone is looking)! Promise!!

Deciding that some community service is in order, our Terrifying Lizard(!!) saunters his way to the local drinking establishment, recognizing that roleplaying games often use taverns as a hub for all manner of FedEx quests and the like. Sure enough, A rather wizened old man has an offer for him, seems his farm's been in a bit of a pickle due to some recent goblin attacks.

Jeez, why does that last name look so familiar?

Oh yeah, this is the farm we robbed in the last episode. Well, the old man's two sons don't seem to be any the wiser, and Super King briefly considers picking their pockets just to remind them of their stupidity. Street justice, and all.

But before he can act his thoughts of petty penny pinching are washed away by the cruel impact of a goblins mace. Hey!! Ain't nobody gonna roll up in SK-Junior's hood with that whack nonsense! Some deft swings of his long sword (and about forty reloads) later, the goblin horde is defeated... and the farm's seen better days.

Guess I'm gonna have to find another place to get my corn...

Still, the rewards are proportional to the deed. Upon returning to the bar where the 'fraidy-cat of an old man is stewing in his liquor, Super King informs him of the glorious victory and is rightly given a rather fetching magical sword. It glows a magical blue, just like in the Lord of the Rings!! The dinosaur briefly considers testing it out on the most quickly available target (the old man, duh), but reigns himself in for the moment, deciding that the fine for murder is probably slightly more than $10 and since these guards all seem to have ESP like Patrick Stewart when he put his head in that metal colander in X-Men... we'll get you next time old man. Keep coughing up magic swords if you want to live.

I feel just like Mr. Frodo! ZAAAAAAP! ZAAAAAAAAAAAAAP! I love you Sam!!

Once his transaction is completed, Super King runs into a sight for sore eyes. The very first member of his race he's seen since his imprisonment. Dar-Ma, huh? That's kind of cute... do you come here often?

Baby, I Feel like I've known you my whole life.

But it was all a scam! The treacherous thing definitely didn't want to "wrap tails", or even anything close! All she's doing is out whoring her mom's trade goods store. Lady, the only reason I'm going in there is if every ten purchases removes a piece of your bodice. Do you like that? It's a new game I just made up, it's called Strip Barter, and it's awesome.

If there's any cute dino-girls out there that wanna play, just gimme a ring. 1-800-K-AWESOME.

Dar-Ma is not convinced, and Super King sighs with the realization that he's gonna have to find his sweet tail somewhere else. S'all good... she wasn't really his type. He continues to remind himself as she shakes her pert little fanny right off into the town square.

Somebody get me my Sir Mixalot tape, POST HASTE!!

Trying to take his mind off of things, Super King delves himself into the most latently homoerotic thing he can think of: the fighter's guild. The winsome face that greets him at the door is potent enough to eliminate any impure thoughts he was having... for about the next FORTY YEARS.

Chin up buddy, dental technology is advancing every day.

At the top left in that picture you'll see the "Persuasion Wheel", which I have become totally obsessed with. For the rest of the playing session I talked to every NPC I could see and raised their opinion of me to the max. This doesn't seem to have any effect on conversations unless the NPC has a bit of information he'll only share with 'friends' (I've found a grand total of ONE of them) or if they're a merchant, persuasion lets you get goods cheaper. I won't bore you will all the details, but suffice it to say... Speechcraft is going to be the first skill I max...


After being given the run around for about an hour, I finally tread upon the one decrepit old lady I had to talk to in order to join the fighter's guild. Now a member, I'm totally excited that I'll be able to do some good in the world and make up for my sinful deeds of the past. What's my first job lady, huh? Lay it on me!! I'm ready!! I'm gonna go SAVE THE WORLD!

...I have to go to another FREAKING TOWN to get a job?

Well that's just brilliant.

Thankfully, due to the 'fast travel' system, the town of Anvil is a mere button press away. And my first sight upon entering the city is a rather pleasant one.

Oh yeah, I'm gonna like this place.

Wasting no time, I rush to the fighter's guild. But, unable to determine who's my job giver amongst this sea of shiny metal armor, I quickly get distracted and Super King returns to his thieving ways. When nobody's around I carefully mouse my cursor over a tomato...

...and the cursor doesn't turn red...


I think you can imagine what follows. A theivery spree of such epic proportions that it couldn't be adequately recorded in text. Let me put it like this: if there's a single item left in the Anvil fighter's guild that isn't bolted down, they brought it in after I was there.

Most exciting of the day's prizes is the armor pilfered from the commander's office. All sorts of cool things like steel greaves and steel boots and... ooooh, what's this shiny gold stuff?

Okay, so it has NO defensive value, no gold value, weighs a lot, AND makes me look like a fruit. Yeah, pass...

Still, check out of the boots.

My situation is starting to look up, but I resolve myself to acquire more steel armor lest I mess up my Feng Shui. Nobody wants to hang out with a dinosaur that can't even color co-ordinate. That's just lame.

With the fighter's guild picked cleaner than a chicken bone, Super King sighs and makes his way towards the guild master. He'll do some good deeds if he HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS to. But really guys, it hardly seems fair to force such cruel and unusual servitude. There better be a good reason for this!

Rats? A-are... are you kidding me?


Still, the guild master/town idiot promises there will be a serious reward upon completion of the task and that's all Super King needs. He rushes off to the house of the woman in distress. Seeing no one on the first floor he lunges down into the basement, towards the stench of the vermin. Enchanted blade swinging, Super King cuts a path through the filth, noting with some curiosity that none of them seem interested in fighting back. How odd, usually rats are a little more... ratty.

Die!! Die foul vermin!

When he tromps upstairs, covered in blood and rat faeces, there's a very admonishing face waiting for him. 'You killed my rats!' she screams at the top of her voice, 'Curse you wretched fighter's guild!'

Uh, oops... sorry lady?


Tune in next week, kids!