D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 62 Recap

It’s Dragon vs Ship as we launch a massive attack on The Morkoth.

Advertisements

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”

The damn fish-monsters were not only keeping pace with the ship, but hurtling harpoons up at us with terrifying accuracy.

I winced as a harpoon sliced through one of my psychically manifested duplicates. The wince turned into a gasp as another harpoon embedded into my shoulder, wrenching me off the boat.

I cried out as I slammed into the rushing water. Within seconds a gigantic shadow descended above me, wings blocking out the mid-day sun.

I couldn’t hear what Felgolos was saying over the rushing water, but I understood his intentions. Mustering all my strength I reached out, grabbing onto one of the severed ropes that still hung from his body, the remains of our makeshift airship.

I was airlifted out of the water, and the merrow screamed in fury.

Sometimes we go for the subtle, sneaky approach, splitting the party and skipping almost entire dungeons.

Other times we go hard.

When you’re strapped to the underbelly of a dragon, flying over the ocean, and approaching a ship full of baddies, you go hard. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 62 Recap”

Roll20 Review: City in the Lion’s Eye (War for the Crown 4)

The PCs infiltrate the city of Zimar to gather evidence and finally confront Maxillar Pythareus.

A press review copy of the module was provided. Find more Roll20 Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

The fourth module in the War for the Crown Pathfinder adventure brings our heroes to the militarized city of Zimar. City in the Lion’s Eye is designed for 10th level PCs who have completed the previous three modules of the Adventure Path.

While if offers some neat challenges in demanding a more stealthy and disguised approach, much of its urban encounters and plot threads feel far too similar to the last module, The Twilight Child.

Continue reading “Roll20 Review: City in the Lion’s Eye (War for the Crown 4)”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

The final entry in the original PlayStation 3 trilogy is my favorite Uncharted game yet.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 2015 (Originally Nov. 2011 on PS3)
Played On: PlayStation 4

backlogWe come to the last game in the original PlayStation 3 trilogy. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception builds upon all the successful story beats and action moments from the sequel and crafts an even more enjoyable cinematic action-blockbuster, easily creating my favorite Uncharted game (so far).

The third game takes full advantage of its larger, established cast of Sully, Elena, and Chloe, and even throws in a new character, the Guy Ritchie-esque British gangster Cutter. While the story may have lacked the opening flash-forward of the train escape in the second game, I loved the alley brawls and underground tunnel excursions in London, leading us to our new villains in Marlowe and Talbot.

This time around Drake and company are back to investigating Nathan’s namesake, Sir Francis Drake, and the lost City of Iram of the Pillars. If you’re thinking this is very much like finding the lost city of Shambhala last game, you’re correct. A running theme here is that it apes much from the last game, but frankly does everything a bit better. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 61 Recap

We square off against the boss of the tower, the Sculptor itself.

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”

The mechanical monstrosity that called itself The Sculptor emerged from Halfred’s smoke, clawed arms slashing wildly as our sorcerers’ arcane Shields sprang up in defense.

Korinn ran to the side, taking a deep gash from a claw that cracked open her Shield, and fired a lightning bolt through it, causing its crystal chassis to thrum, and exploding the gigantic warforged guardian behind it.

I charged forward, my Phantom pike still glowing with channeled psychic energy. I attempted to reach out with my mind as I stabbed, searching for anything to disturb, but finding nothing but a single immovable will.

I switched tactics, stabbing again, this time channeling all my psychic energy into raw, lancing pain. I was greeted with the crystal shell cracking before my onslaught.

Bryseis followed up by firing a heated ray directly into the cracked shell, melting the suspended skeleton inside. The creature spent its death throes bemoaning its uncompleted work before crashing to the ground, crystal and bones scattering to dust. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 61 Recap”

Goodreads Review: The Last Colony

The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3)The Last Colony by John Scalzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Far slower and more bureaucratic than the previous books. The Last Colony drops most of the military sci-fi trappings in favor of colonizing a new planet. It’s a neat idea, but the plot switches between the semi-interesting drama of colonizing a new world with defending that colony as part of a larger intergalactic plot. The former story fizzles out as the latter takes over, and it all wraps up a bit too easily. I still love Scalzi’s breezy writing and witty dialogue but this series has yet to reach the heights of the sublime first novel.

View all my reviews

My Top Five Games of the Mid-Year 2018

My top five games of the first half of 2018, and my most anticipated games of the second half.

This year lacked the explosive start of Spring 2017, when Nintendo gave us Breath of the Wild and the Nintendo Switch (and BioWare released Mass Effect: Andromeda, which made my top five but fell off real quick after that).

Comparing to my Most Anticipated Games of 2018 list, I’ve already fallen behind. As a Fig backer, I own Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, yet opted to replay the first game again, this time with The White March DLC. I’ll definitely get to Deadfire this year, but it’ll be awhile.

As for State of Decay 2, I find myself lacking a modern Xbox console, and not terribly keen on purchasing it through the Microsoft Store on PC. I may have to bite the bullet at some point because I do love that franchise, but I wish I could just play it on Steam.

This summer I’m back on getting through my backlog. I finally got a PlayStation 4 last year, and my wife (and I) went nuts getting me games last Christmas.

I spent a good chunk of the first half of the year finishing Horizon Zero Dawn. Now I’m currently making my way through the entire Uncharted series.

My Top Five Games of the Mid-Year 2018

5) Jurassic World Alive

jurassic world alive

It’s Pokémon GO with dinosaurs, of course I love it! It’s actually a better designed game as well. Instead of flinging PokéBalls, you send out a drone to hit the dinosaurs with tranq darts.

You don’t capture dinosaurs, you collect DNA. Reaching certain thresholds let you acquire them and level them up, letting you make progress every time you see one, instead of all-or-nothing.

The battles are a lot more fun as well. You don’t have to travel to a Gym to fight, you can queue up anywhere and engage in fun turn-based battles, with each dinosaur having a few abilities to choose from.

The Supply Drops are also more plentiful, making Jurassic World Alive a much easier game to play for folks who live outside of major cities. I don’t know if I’ll still be playing by the end of the year but so far it’s completely replaced Pokémon GO as my AR game of choice.

4) Frostpunk

frostpunk

Frostpunk didn’t enter my radar until I played a bit of it at PAX South earlier this year. It looked like a fun little city builder that attempted to tackle real social issues within a harrowing weather-apocalyptic scenario.

It does that and more. Frostpunk is easily the most emotional and dramatic sim builder I’ve ever played, with haunting violins, bleak art, and scenarios that force you to take extreme measures to keep your people fed, warm, and content. The balance of surviving each day is razor thin but incredibly satisfying, creating an overarching story rarely seen in the genre.

3) Jurassic World Evolution

jurassic world evolution

Every once in awhile I reach a halfway point in the game where I decide, yep I’m going to do it all. It happened earlier this year with Horizon Zero Dawn, and it’s currently happening with Jurassic World Evolution.

Jurassic World Evolution is Frontier’s spiritual successor to Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, one of my all-time favorite theme park sim games. Frontier did a phenomenal job with Planet Coaster in 2016, and JWE continues the trend.

As a console release, it’s not nearly as deep or moddable as the PC-only Planet Coaster, but the focus on dinosaur care and AI and the way the campaign is structured over multiple challenging islands has kept me engaged far longer than Planet Coaster did.

2) Into the Breach

We finally get to a game that will be on most game critics’ end of year lists. From the makers of FTL comes another equally compelling strategy rogue-like. Into the Breach sheds much of the randomized frustrations from FTL, instead offering a Chess-like experience that rewards strategic planning and a deep knowledge of the game’s units and systems.

Into the Breach is shockingly easy to beat (unlike FTL). The replay factor comes from unlocking different teams of mechs and earning the rich variety of achievements. I fell off after about 10 hours but of all the games on this list it’s the one I most plan on returning to.

1) Monster Hunter World

Even after playing the demos late last year I still wasn’t completely sold on Monster Hunter World. Then I received a surprise review code, played a few hours, and immediately convinced my friends to get it.

We had a freaking blast.

With Monster Hunter World I finally understand all those Dark Souls fans. MHW demands intricate knowledge of poorly explained mechanics, yet it’s incredibly rewarding to master a weapon and fell a new monster for the first time.

There are only a handful of zones but they’re all very large, varied, and fun to explore. Hunting the same monsters with the same weapons rarely becomes repetitive thanks to the rich monster AI, interactive zones, and weapon attacks. I’ll never forget the first time the T-Rex I was fighting fled to a different area – only to run straight into a dragon. The ensuing chaos was the moment I fell in love with the game.

I spent over 100 hours with Monster Hunter World. While the post-game continues nearly indefinitely, I put the controller down after defeating Xeno’jiva with my buddies. I’d more than gotten my fill. Now I have an all new appreciation for that series, as well as any series that get its arcane, maddening, yet intriguing hooks into you.

 

My Top Five Most Anticipated Games of the Second Half of 2018

Bard’s Tale IV

Release: 2018

Despite being a sequel to one of the oldest RPGs in video games, Bard’s Tale IV looks like on of the most unique RPGs I’ve ever seen. The combat system alone looks delightfully old school: first-person yet turn-based and tactical. Right up my alley, which is why I backed it several years ago.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Release: 2018

I still need to play the 8-bit teaser game that Castlevania creator Koji Igarashi recently released, but I’m super excited for this Kickstarter spiritual successor. Fans have definitely been burned on these kinds of projects before (see Mighty Number 9) but everything I’ve seen of Bloodstained looks like they’r eon the right track to making an all new, yet classic 2D Castlevania.

Fallout 76

Release: November 14

Multiplayer Fallout? Seems pretty weird, particularly from one of the most prominent single-player AAA developers in the industry. I wasn’t terribly keen on the building aspects of Fallout 4, but the RPG-shooter mechanics were still solid. Exploring a limited population server with friends could be a lot of fun.

Red Dead Redemption II

Release: October 26

My #1 Most Anticipated Game of 2018 is still, well, highly anticipated. So much so that many of the new E3 release date announcements were for early 2019. Nobody wants to compete with a Rockstar release. The original RDR was one of those holy grail games that I loved for both single player and multiplayer, and I can’t wait to dig into both this fall.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

smash bros.

Release: December 7

I’ve never not owned a Nintendo console, but I also don’t get them on release. Traditionally it’s been the release of a Super Smash Bros. game that spurs me into the purchase, and it’s looking like that’ll be the case here. In other words: I’ll definitely be getting a Nintendo Switch this year!

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 60 Recap

We battle through the second and third levels of the Sculptor’s Tower dungeon.

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 hurried past the doorway, stealing a glance inside the larger room to see an arcane circle, glowing with runes.

A black, clawed demon twitched inside, energy pouring upward as if being siphoned off, while it locked eyes with an older blue dragonborn. The anearby warforged mage Halfred had shot was now bound together by ropes, and the circle’s magic was fading.

I ran to help the other prisoners at the far end of the room, but froze when I heard the unmistakably scratchy, whispering voice of the demon. I glanced back to see Korinn standing in the doorway, defiant.

“Finish him. Free me and I will aid you.”

Korinn responded by firing a crackling lighting bolt into the circle, slamming into both mage and demon. The mage slumped over, barely alive. The demon hissed in anger. The circle faded and the demon stared into the mage, sucking the last drops of life from its body.

The runes on the floor blinked out completely. The demon drew itself to its full height. Again it offered a choice that echoed in our minds.

“Choose now. Feed me and I will aid you. Or I feed on you.”

Korinn shook her head and opened her mouth to protest once again. 

The demon never hesitated. It launched itself at her in a screaming wail, tearing into her with claws and fangs. Korinn crumpled to the ground in a bloody heap.

The demon looked up at each of us, blood dripping from its mouth. We steeled ourselves and charged. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 60 Recap”