Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Twelfth Step: Genocide, Betrayal, and the Hand of the Pimp

Super King is riding high as a kite, surfeit with the magical items that denote a job well done in the Dark Brotherhood. We're really starting to like these quests, considering they actually involve fun things like dropping moose heads on nobles and tricking nobles to kill other nobles.

Basically, we really like killing nobles. The magic items that come with a perfectly executed contract are just gravy.

For our next run, the rather sultry argument guild leader ships us out to Leyawin, that bastion of racial prejudice. I guess someone doesn't really care for a leader of the guard who just got transferred there. Our job is to kill him and, and this is the really good part, take his finger and stick it in the desk of his successor. It sort of applies new meaning to the phrase "giving the finger" to someone, if you know what I mean. And I think you do!


The Leyawin guards certainly have strange sleeping practices...

After being alternatively arrested/asked to leave while caught snooping around the guard house we decide that we need to change plans. The guild leader saw fit to give to us a special arrow that would kill anyone in a single blow, provided the target wasn't wearing any armor to protect him... we need to find this guardsman at a time when he was wholly unarmored. We thought that catching him in one of the giant man-on-man orgies that goes on in the guardhouse would be perfect, but apparently he likes a bit of the rough-n'-tumble and even in bed he's arraigned in full metal gear.

A change of plans is in order.


Stealth clothes, for sneaking!


No, even Super King still cannot make the Grey Fox hood look good.

A locked door gives us hope, and Super King decides to try out some of his newly earned magical spells on it. While the Alteration spell that involves opening locks is much too weak for even a set of tumblers described as 'Average', the curious ability to actually earn skill levels without successfully completing a spell is rather appealing. I leave the 'Cast' button weighted down by a very respectable hammer and head out for a night of drinking. When I return, Super King has advanced rapidly through the ranks of Alteration. This bears further inquiry...


P-KOW! P-KOW! P-KOW! SKILL UP!

But, even in my hazy state, I am able to perceive a distant splashing. The sounds of merriment in the night hours fill Super King's fanned ears. He snarls with the weight of a thousand tons. Human beings having fun is so... irritating! Don't they know that only dinosaurs are allowed to have fun? Hey, humie, don't you have a field of corn in which to backbreakingly toil in?

I wish you did... then we could steal some more corn. Lord knows the one bad thing about the brotherhood is there isn't nearly enough corn stealing.


Hey, wait a minute! Who are you...?

It's the target!! Well, a more convenient opportunity could never be asked for. He is dispatched with the standard amount of prejudice that dinosaurs account to human victims (i.e.: all of it) and another contract is well and truly completed.


I love this job.

After depositing the finger in the desk, I return to the Brotherhood HQ to retrieve my reward and get my next contract. For some reason Super King is getting some serious glances his way. Now, from the sexy Argonian with the pink skin that's just to be expected. Last we checked, he was a pretty hot dude. When it's the creepy Orc that likes bashing skulls it's a different story... it's not until we retrieve our next mission (go talk to Lucien Lachance) and have already left that we realize our mistake. The cool breeze against Super King's legs signals the problem right away.

We forgot to put our pants back on...


Ooops... AWKWARD!

We redress and continue onwards, blushing like the dickens and glad that the faux pas was confined to super hot dinosaur chicks and a whole bunch of other people Super King could slay merely by staring deep into their souls with his slitted dino-eyes. Okay Super King, it's cool. It's totally cool man, go see what Lachance wants and then we'll commit our ethnic cleansing of the Dark Brotherhood. Nobody has to know! Nobody has to know!!


Apparently Lucien mostly wanted his undead servants to fill me with arrows. Uncool, man, uncool.

Super King is about to ask why coming to see Lucien has to involve wading through an army of the undead, but such things are better left for later. Lachance interrupts him, and it's like the two were fated to meet. Kismet, even! The words that exit his mouth are like the drippings of ambrosia from Mount Olympus.


Dude. It's totally like we're on the same wavelength.

But wait... do I have to kill the hot ones too?

Yes, yes you do...

Deciding, for once, to put advancement before hothothot sex, Super King listens along to what Lachance has to say... sort of. He's already devising a million different ways to kill the Orc, 90% of which involve sticking his head in a trashcan and booting him down a hill. He's not really sure where he's going to go from there, but I defy you to think of a more HILARIOUS way to kill someone.

Also, poisoned Lemmings. Fun for the whole family!

We head back to the guild. Lucien suggested we do a whole bunch of stuff like put poisoned apples out for people to eat, but it seems that our hand-eye co-ordination isn't exactly all it's cracked up to be, and most of the apples just end up rolling off the plate and onto the floor. And Super King would feel bad if he made someone eat a dirty apple, poisoned or not. It's not until much later, after the deed is done, that we realize we could've just stuck them in a closet and been done with it. Now we have a score of poison apples and nobody to kill with them!!

Super King mulls over sticking them in various Fighter's Guilds around the county... but he gets the feeling that Oreyn would probably yell at him if he did. Man, Oreyn is such a pain in the ass.

Okay, it's back to the tried and true method.


I would feel bad about this, but, y'know... I don't.


Hey guy! How's tricks?

Killing the Orc is especially sweet. Sometime since Super King last left the guild he's tricked himself out with a rather fetching set of Daedric armor. Well we just HAVE to have that.


It's not really as fashion-conscious as the ebony set, but it'll do...

Back at Lachance we're congratulated and given a shiny new, unkillable horse! That... I was never able to find. I even killed my old horse, the one that stupid monk gave me, but to no avail. Shadowmere is out there somewhere, Super King knows it, but damn if he's ever been able to find her. That's cool, who really wants to ride a cursed undead horse from beyond space anyway?


All in a day's work, homey.

We get too ahead of ourselves, though, in asking Lachance for contracts. He informs us that we won't be speaking for a long time, instead Super King will receive his orders from a serious of dead drops, notes left in things like trees and barrels. I'm not really clear on how this is a particularly safe endeavor. If there's even a single person in the world like me, there's someone out there that STILL isn't bored of checking every single barrel for tomatoes and wheels of cheese. Someone's bound to stumble on some of these notes...

Lachance won't hear of it, though, and sends me off to do my thing. I get to kill a whole family! Now that's hot stuff.


Wow... this is totally gonna be awkward when I come back later...


Wake up buddy, I got your present!


Matthais Draconis sets the land-speed record for fasted armor change!

Okay. So we do this quest. Then what follows is a series of excessively boring quests that act like the REST of the quests in Oblivion. We're told to go kill something, then receive a pittance of gold for my efforts. No magical items, no more undead horses, and it feels like a YEAR since we last dropped a moose head on a noble. Uncool, man, what happened?

So it takes us about three hours to get through that waste of time...

Lucien approaches us after about the fifth one and tells me exactly what happened. The dead drops have been comprimised, and We've been killing the high ranking members of the Dark Brotherhood. 'Well nuts to them!' says Super King, 'they went out like total wussies anyway!'

Lucien doesn't want to hear it, I guess it's something sissy about his "life being on the line" or some bullcrap. Super King is entreatied to go track down the inside mole, who apparently was not among those slain in the Cheydinhal guild. Our dinosaur about has an embolism when he hears this. You made me kill that hot dino-chicky for NOTHING?!

Whatever, there will be more girls. With half the guild dead this seems like ample opportunity for advancement. Our investigation leads us to a basement apartment in a lighthouse near Anvil. It's stuffed to the brim with rotting corpses, dogs and humans. 'God!' bemoans Super King 'Humans never know how to clean up when they're expecting guests!'

In the filth and decay lies a solitary book. Its contents are... interesting, to say the least.


Oh... well... huh. Wasn't expecting that one.

We hurry to Lucien's hiding spot to inform him of the good news, but it seems we dallied just a little too long...

You bastards!! You killed Lucien!! WHY?!


I... I'm sorry, what was that?

The appraisal of his new position in middle management elicits only one response from Super King 'Lucien? Lucien WHO?'


Ah, yeah... sorry about that one, bro...


I know what SOMEONE's getting at the office Christmas party!

So, I guess somewhere in the scuffle back during the dead drops we killed the Number #1 leader in the Dark Brotherhood. That's unfortunate, because according to my calculations killing the Number #1 leader should make US the Number #1 leader. Apparently that chick who granted us our title disagrees, I blame affirmative action. You shouldn't be allowed to promote a girl just because she's a girl! There was a candidate who was TOTALLY more suited for the position of 'guy who tells people who to kill'!

ME!

Super King is more than a little incensed, but he decides to follow the crew to their little pow-wow at the state anyway. He was just gonna grab a couple beers with Lucien tonight anyway, and, for obvious reasons, those plans have sort of fallen through.


You guys go ahead and do your crazy rain dance, I'mma just wait over here.

Their ritual is not for naught (say that ten times fast!). A few choice words of prayer and the statue opens, leading down to an ancient crypt...


Ghost chick, natch.

Before Super King even has the chance to react a commotion breaks out behind him. One of those fruits in the long robes thinks he's gonna take out the ghost girl.


Listen, bro, I don't know if you know this but... it's sort of hard to kill a spirit from beyond the grave...

He slays a few of his Brotherhood companions with ease, but the rest of the fight involves him hacking against the ghost chick with his pathetic dagger until Super King gets bored and clobbers him over the head with his sword. Goodnight, lamer! That's for writing that creepy journal!!


Lady, there are about twenty things I take exception to in that sentence.

Apparently the whole thing was like some sort of cosmic job application and the ghost chick (who is, apparently, the Night Mother) confers upon Super King the title of 'Listener', which is like being a Guild Master but instead of hiring recruits you get to totally kill people for no reason. She knew from the start that Super King had the world's strongest "Pimp Hand" and that no woman could ever seek to rise above him in status. Why, that would be like the water rising above the air!
The girl first-in-command is disappointed at her loss of status, but Super King suggests she go back into the kitchen and start making bread (or alternatively, babies) and she seems to take to the suggestion with a fair bit of aplomb.


You dang right lady. The pimp hand is strong with this one.

Come to think of it... she's got a cute butt.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Eleventh Step: Discourtesy, Racial Equality (at last!), and Sweet, Sweet Revenge

Thinking that nobody would dare wake the guildmaster in his own 'hood, Super King sleeps soundly... until!


Well. That's a very odd thing to say...

It's an emissary of the Dark Brotherhood! Guess he saw when we totally trashed all those guards in the pursuit of the Elder Scroll for Senor Gray Fox. Yeah, that was TOTALLY WORTH IT.


I don't find your candor all that appealing, sir.

Stalky McStalker doesn't seem to want to answer -how- people saw me and Super King laying waste to all those mean ole guards, he's too busy wrapped up in his own little speech. Curses! People in black robes never give you a chance to get a word in edgewise!


I'm not really clear where you're trying to go with this analogy...

I guess Mr. Dark Robes tends to get wrapped up in his speeches. I keep raising a finger to tell him we've got unsuspected visitors, but he was too busy talking about sucking goat blood out of some chicky's teat. Not really my style, but hey, a job's a job.


Sooooooooo... whatcha guys talkin' about?

Just like the elf chick from the Thieves Guild in the last episode, Lucien shows us that the NPCs in this game show a certain lack of discretion when entering conversations about sensitive topics. Super King is sure to cold-cock the Fighter's Guild Porter in the back of the head, to ensure that he doesn't talk about our little chat to the other members. I'm pretty sure I won't get in trouble for this because I'm the guild member, and also because he's not a named character. Those lackwits and their repetitive dialogue are practically BEGGING to be smashed into bits.

On the beaten trail towards the Inn of Ill Omen where our first murder target awaits, Super King and I decide that this mission calls for a little something I like to call STEALTH ACTION!


On second though... this kind of emphasizes my overbite...


Sneak sneak sneak.

The innkeeper is only too happy to tell us where Rufio is, living in the basement all by himself. Though the concept of avoiding innocent bystanders doesn't usually factor into Super King's M.O., there's really no point damaging our sword on pointless badguys.


Hey guy! What's happenin'?

Rufio and SK have a nice chat about the plusses and minuses of living in a dungeon before the dinosaur remembers what his mission was. Oh right! We're supposed to ruthlessly slaughter you! Here, hold still.


Well, that was fun.

Who would've thought killing old men was so easy. Do we sense a new career in this?

Not really. His supply of quill pens and linen shirts is pretty lackluster, and we all know that's the only thing worth stealing these days.

Anyway, as instructed, we go back to sleep and await further orders... IN THE BED NEXT TO THE MAN WE MURDERED!

Super King thinks the risk to his safety, sleeping next to a freshly murdered corpse and all, is worth it. Lucien'll will totally respect his ironic stylings!


Dude. I'm sleeping in Rufio's bed! You didn't even notice...

Who says romance is dead?

Lucien tells Super King that he's now part of a new family. A TOTALLY AWESOME family that goes around killing people for no reason at all. -This- is my kind of guild!

...I don't have to steal any quill pens, do I? 'cause I'm sort of not down with that anymore.

Apparently the guild has been right under our nose in Cheydinhal this whole time and we never knew. I blame that Fighter's Guild Orc is his foppish stylings!

Into the basement of the abandoned house we go!!


On second thought...

Entering the door is simpler than it looks, though Super King's underdeveloped brain fears the ancient tribal blood rituals that may have created this door.

Super King's also deathly afraid of cameras, because they might steal his soul. Don't tell him I told you that, he's a little shy about it.


A dino-guildmaster, I like this family more and more all the time!


A little creepy, sure. But still feeling it.


Maybe a little too excited for my first time here, dude, but still... another Argonian! Nice to meet you!

Things aren't all roses, though.


Oh great. MORE ORCS. JUST WHAT I WANTED.

Around the bend it gets even better...


Guy, if I didn't hate pirates so much I'd punch your pursed lips right through the back of your bizarrely deformed head.

We gotta go aaaaaaaaall the way back to the Imperial City to gank this grog-swiller, but it's okay. Vincente, the friendly vampire with the silken tongue (and silken undies, presumably) suggests that we get awesome bonuses if we do the job in silly ways. For example, we get to climb into a crate in this one and sneak onboard. Nice!


...you gonna be using that crate, bro?

Turns out the Redguard wasn't using the crate. Between that and the compliment to his pants, Super King was starting to feel pretty good about himself. It was a simple matter to sneak into the captain's cabin.


Awww, poor baby tuckered himself out. Shivered too many timbers didja?

Super King forgets a few of the basic tenants of stealth in the process, though, and manages to make quite the dino-ruckus while executing his target with extreme prejudice. This brings the ire of the rest of the pirates.

Unfortunately for them, they're not smart enough to avoid announcing when they're coming through the door. Their mistake!


I wish ALL my enemies announced when they were coming in a loud voice!
...oh wait... they already do...

The jobs continue like that in totally awesome ways. For example, the next job requires us to drop a moose head on some loser noble in that Nord town where all the loser Nords live. 'make it look like an accident', in the parlance of our times. Super King cracks that sucker in the head and leaves his butler stumbling around wondering what happened. Apparently moose heads don't fall out of the sky every day!


Boss... boss... you okay?

I'm really starting to like this game again!

Vincente is pretty pleased with Super King's progress... I'm not really pleased with his double talk, though.


Seriously dude, what is that... like a triple negative?

The next mission is especially exciting. Remember that Dark Elf from the beginning of the game that made fun of us and called us names?

We totally get to gank him.

YES!


Vincente, the only key you're holding right now is the ONE TO MY HEART!

You would not believe how excited Super King is right now. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE ME EVEN IF I TOLD YOU!!


Alright chums, thumbs up, let's do this.


Oh, right, rodentia. Yay...

The guards don't seem happy with their post, guarding what is apparently the only criminal in all of Imperial City. I guess Citizens of Cyrodiil live in an advanced society where nobody but non-humans commit crimes.


The irony!

Goddang racists. Gonna be fun slaughtering all of 'em.

Except I can't... I don't get my sweet mission bonus if I let the guards know I'm here. Time for some serious Metal Gear Solid action, thanks to the... GREY FOX HOOD!


Shine purple as hard as you want, bro. It ain't gonna save you.

As soon as the guard leaves Super King SPRINGS INTO ACTION!


Uh, yeah, about that. Remember when you called me a bug eating man-molester...?

Dreth doesn't get another word out. And then it's back to the guild for another quest! We're contracted to 'fake' kill some honky named Mortierre, the guy apparently got himself in trouble with the local debtors and now he needs us murder-types to clean up his mess for him.

Super King informs Vincente that he's not really comfortable with the idea of NOT killing someone, but we're not really high enough in the pecking order to pick and choose our missions... so off to Mortierre we go.


The concept of not killing is a crime against the very fiber of my being.

After disposing of that little wussy Mortierre, we're given a promotion. No longer are we forced to deal with the limp-wristed Vincente. It's all Argonians from now on! And Ocheeva, the sultry guildmistress, does not disappoint. She sends us right out into the fray, on a mission ripped directly from an Agatha Christie novel. We have to kill five party guests in a locked house while sowing the seeds of distrust among them. They think they're looking for buried treasure, but all they're gonna find is the swift taste of Super King's mighty saber!


Seriously lady. I have been waiting my whole life to meet you.

This calls for some special gear. We need to put on our Sunday best!


I DEFY you to tell me this doesn't look good.

The butler, who's in on the whole thing, meets me outside with some A+ information.


I don't know who you are, homey, but you and my mother got NOTHIN' in common.

Inside we've got a fine selection of humans to explode and maim at will. No Argonians, thankfully, we would've felt bad killing our own people. Nords, though, they smell so bad it's practically a death sentence already! I'm doing them a favor!


Totally unrelated note, but... do you have this maid's number?

A few sword swings in private places later and most of the party is demolished beyond recognition. I was hoping this would lead to panic, and possibly the breaking of all windows in a futile attempt to escape, but we're not so lucky. Mostly they just hang around being bored.


Dude! Like three of your friends are dead!
...if you were to die suddenly, and I'm TOTALLY not saying you were... could I have your mead?

When it's just the smarmy young noble and the old hag left I decide to have a little fun toying with their emotions... but the noble beats me to the punch. I'm not sure what convinced him that the scary dinosaur was his best friend, or that the old hag was capable of murdering a slew of able bodied young men, but whatever.


Yeah, let's get her dude!

Super King watches the struggle with some amusement. A young fop versus an old lady, both with no real appreciable combat experience, makes for a pretty enjoyable floor show. But all good things must come to an end, and our dinosaur buddy cleans up the last straw, young Primo, and calls it a day.


You know, it's true what they say. There really isn't anything like a job well done.