D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 7 Recap

We hit level 4 and leave Nightstone for another journey – on a cloud giant tower.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

We took one last look at Nightstone as we trotted away on the horses they had given us. The town was in shambles, the drawbridge destroyed, the keep ruined. But we’d saved dozens of people from an even worse fate. Maybe there was a reason our group had come together on our journey.

Morack had provided us with our next clue: the coded tome we had found belonged to a Harper agent who was reporting on Giant activity. The Harper agent had died in the Cloud Giant attack. But she had a daughter, another Harper agent, who could decode the book.

The daughter lived hundreds of miles to the North, and we were all grumbling about the journey. I’m pretty sure the wooden construct had never even ventured outside of Ardeep Forest. We discussed taking a caravan, or even a boat out of Waterdeep once we reached the city.

The wind suddenly picked up as we crested a hill leading out to the main road. Everyone gasped as a giant cloud descended to the ground, a gigantic tower in the shape of a wizard’s pointed hat resting on top. Stairs formed in the clouds leading to the ground. 

The others looked at each other in bewilderment. I grinned, “Zephyros!” Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 7 Recap”

Endless Space 2 Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

The original Endless Space launched in 2012 as the debut title from indie developer Amplitude Studios. It posited the Civilization-in-Space concept that had been tackled several times before. Endless Space offered a simple yet effective interface and many interesting new gameplay mechanics to make it a very underrated turn-based strategy game.

Endless Space 2 is very much a direct sequel, building upon all the core gameplay features of the original. This time around, Amplitude has several more games under their belt – specifically the much more intriguing and innovative Endless Legend.

Endless Space 2 utilizes all the best elements of Endless Legend and stirs in a well-integrated political system to craft a fantastic follow-up that easily emerges from its Civilization shadow.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 Makes a Great Game Better [Zam]

Read the full article at Zam

No one would accuse Activision-Blizzard of being the “little guy.” But when it comes to the MOBA space, Heroes of the Storm remains in a distant third (or maybe even fourth) position behind Valve’s Dota 2 and the reigning champion, Riot’s League of Legends.

For the last two years, Heroes of the Storm has benefited from a steady flow of balance patches and additional heroes and battlegrounds. The iterative updates have culminated in a massive overhaul known as Heroes of the Storm 2.0.

The Heroes 2.0 update launched in April, adding an entirely new loot chest system, revamped experience and leveling, UI improvements, and more Overwatch content. It has never been a better time to jump into the most intuitive and user-friendly MOBA.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT ZAM

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation

How does Transformers: Devastation treat one of my favorite franchises?

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #61

Developer: PlatinumGames

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: October 6, 2015

After two big AAA stealth-action games I opted for something a bit tinier in scope. I’ve already had to shuffle my schedule around this season as my initial line-up of games proved far too optimistic in the amount of time I could devote to backlog gaming.

Transformers: Devastation caught my eye for obvious reasons. I love Transformers! The eye-popping art style and slavish devotion to the original 1980s cartoon characters was right up my alley. Unfortunately I fought with the gameplay the entire step of the way.

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation”

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

The Cooking Mama series has been around since the days of Nintendo DS and Wii. Touchscreen mobile games were burgeoning into a dominant gaming genre for many kids and adults. These days playing a game on the Nintendo 3DS that could be almost entirely replicated on a phone feels quaint.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop doesn’t offer enough new gameplay or progression to warrant yet another installment in the franchise.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 6 Recap

We confront the boss of the goblin horde as we explore the rest of the Dripping Caves.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

A bolt of flame came singing out of the darkened tunnel. I heard the goblin behind me let out a startled yelp. The sound of smoked flesh filled my nostrils. I smiled. Bryseis had my back.

I kept my attention on the large, armored goblin in front of me, Hark. He wielded a mace of human bone and his eyes spoke of a depraved evil that made his underlings look like innocent puppies.

I clutched my robes and focused my mind, expanding my presence outward. Several grotesquely giant rats scurried near my feet, lunging at me again and again, ripping apart the duplicates I had confused them with.

As T.I.M.’s frighteningly giant, floating leech lashed out at them I reached into Hark’s mind, causing him to feel the pain and despair of those he had harmed. His eyes grew wide and blood dripped from his eyes and nose. He took one look at me, turned, and ran.

I saw the opening and took it. My psi-blade flashed out as an extension of my body and my mind, and caught the goblin boss straight in the back. He didn’t make a sound as he crumpled to the floor, but I couldn’t help myself. “This is for the people of Nightstone,” I whispered.

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 6 Recap”

Agents of SHIELD Just Wrapped Up Its Best Season Yet [Polygon]

Read the full article at Polygon

Marvel has been a dominant force in cross-media entertainment for the last decade, earning the franchise immense mainstream popularity (despite the occasional misstep). That broad popularity has yet to transition to the comics the franchise draws its source material from. And it might not anytime soon, what with Captain America being revealed as a sleeper Hydra agent in Secret Empire.

That event has been met with resounding boos in an era where every day brings a new political crisis and people are more scared, hateful, and divided than ever. And so it’s refreshing that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season pulls the best elements from the MCU and the most over-the-top elements from comics to remind me why I love Marvel: superheroes punching Nazis.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT POLYGON

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 5 Recap

We reach level 3 and explore the Dripping Caves in search of the missing Nightstone townsfolk.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

I could smell the stink of the ogre as he roughly lifted me up like a child and carried me deeper into the cave.

The little bit of light at the mouth of the large cave gradually receded. The ogre stopped in front of a ledge and dumped me over. I braced for impact, careful to keep my telepathic disguise in place.

My ruse had worked – I’d disguised as an escaped prisoner, and the dumb brute had brought me right to them.

Some 30 bedraggled people, the refugees from Nightstone, stared at me curiously. I reached out with my mind to the dwarf near me, Morack the innkeeper if my memory served.

Do Not Be Alarmed; We Are Here To Rescue You, I thought, and he nodded vigorously. I turned to the ogre, who remained blinking at me at for several moments.

Before his feeble mind could process an escapee, I reached out and invaded his thoughts, sorting through the passageways of his mind. They lit up before me easily. This was by no means a clever creature.

My Friends And These Townsfolk Are Extremely Important. You Must Protect Them With Your Life, I intoned. The ogre’s confused expressions slackened for a moment, then he let out a wide, terrifying grin. “Yes,” he growled excitedly, “You all peoples good food. Me save you!”

I finally felt myself relax a bit as I smiled back at him. “Now, all these people need to be let outside to use the bathroom. Lead the way!”

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 5 Recap”

Birthdays the Beginning Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Sim games tend to either focus on realistic physics and sciences, such as Kerbal Space Program, or a more casual approach, such as Spore.

Birthdays the Beginning is a life sim and god game that successfully straddles the line between the two philosophies. It uses the real-world applications of geology, temperature, and ecosystems to craft a diorama of life. Everything is wrapped within a cute veneer of youthful colors, relaxing music, and playful designs to create an intuitive entry into learning about life’s delicate balance.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 4 Recap

We find survivors at the Nightstone Keep, then help them defend the town from an army of Zhentarim. Then a dragon shows up.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

Programming Note: This episode was streamed and recorded on Sunday, May 7.

There were too many of them, too damn many. The guards, glorified royal servants really, were busy cowering behind us. They refused to even draw their bows.

We had taken a few successful shots at Captain Xellan, but his small army of Zhentarim soldiers advanced, each full armored and hefting heavy crossbows. We had the wall, but they had the numbers. It was only a matter of time.

“Look out, coming through!” A massive shadow descended upon us, followed by the rush of wind and splinter of wood as the drawbridge exploded from the inside. A fully grown bronze dragon crashed right in front of the army and laid waste to half the standing army with a single blast of its lightning breath.

It was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. The surviving Zhents screamed and scattered, the Captain turning on his horse and fleeing. The dragon seemed to vibrate and blur for a moment, then assume the shape of a friendly halfling with golden hair.

He turned and waved. “Hey, how you guys doin’?”

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 4 Recap”