Speed Bump on Interstate DT…

Just a quick peek around. That’s all we were going to do, I swear.

See, it had been a LONG time since Isten and I ran around Darktide. In fact, when he, Warchild and I had first met and started running around, I didn’t even have my uber Composite Bow. Yeah. THAT long ago.

So he hears me talking about how much fun I’ve been having running around there, and we decide it’d be fun if both of us run around. Then we’ll have SO much fun, Warchild will want to come back and throw plates at people. Great fun.

Given that on the best day my skills would be called ‘rusty,’ I figured we’d avoid the heavily populated areas and just check out some out-of-the way dungeons. Mountain Halls, maybe some Mossie action – you know, crazy stuff. I figured they’d be good spots to find some company. It wasn’t that we want to be killed over and over again or anything – we were just looking for a quiet, casual slaying that would allow us to snap off little jokes as we ran. You know, purely casual DT fun.

After a while of wandering around and not running into (or getting run over by) anyone, we decided on a new version of Darktide. In THIS version, we’d only have one life – the first person that died, lost! Doesn’t that sound fun – a new twist on Darktide? Yeah, I thought so too.

Up until Isten shot me in the back.

Okay, so the next game we played was the first person that died – not from either of us – lost! Which was definitely an improvement.

Up until those stupid damn Olthoi that are everywhere now chased me down and stabbed me in the face, the entire time ignoring Isten.

I don’t know, maybe it was his cologne or something. Myself, I would like to state clearly for the record that I firmly believe Isten willing to perform any acts to gain the confidence of the Olthoi and have them slaughter his friends. And yes, I do mean…any act. Tell the tabloids now while there’s still time, kiddos!

So now the final game we played was that the loser would be the first person to be killed by another player. Not die accidently, from the environment, or to a random monster!

And of course Isten had to cheat yet again.

He keeps trying to tell me that he didn’t summon the Bloods there, but that’s obviously a lie. I figured if we ran into anyone, there was a 50/50 shot at either of us being killed first. What I didn’t figure on was a horde of about 3 MILLION Bloods coming screaming over the hill. Screaming over the hill and completely ignoring Isten, I might add.

Oh, sure, he followed me to the Lifestone a few minutes later – but I’m pretty sure he was carrying some of the stuff I dropped when I died…

Could We Have a REAL Code of Conduct? Forcibly Implanted in People’s Heads?

I would like to think that this is a whole new breed of people behaving in such a shameful manner.

The other night, I was running around Darktide with some old friends, really having a great time, and watching as they ambushed a gang of Bloods outside a town. It wasn’t that big of a deal – there were four of us (three high levels), so jumping a group of six people (mid levels) unprepared for a fight was not some big battle. My friends made quick work of them while the Bloods either recalled, tried to run, or put up a fight. I didn’t think much of it until we all started getting a ton of tells. 

Sniveling Brat tells you, “fag – lesse u tri that agin when we r rdy”
Sniveling Brat 2 tells you, “omg that was bs – why dont u fight sum1 ur lvl”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
Sniveling Brat 3 tells you, “fu”
You squelch Sniveling Brat 3.

I’m not trying to single out Bloods here, but out of the dozen or so encounters that we had, they’re the only ones that spammed all of us with such messages. I couldn’t believe they included me in the blame – I mean, they saw me spending most of the fight just trying to pick a target. And the funny thing was, I didn’t do anything effective. I got off a few shots for maybe 12 or 13 points of damage, but most of my shots missed or lodged themselves in my own foot. And yet they needed to include me in their sniveling? What’s up with that? I dunno, I mean, maybe they thought I’d write a story about what great wusses they were for getting their butts kicked by fully-buffed people twice their level or something and felt the need to defend their position with such cleverly-written defenses like, “OMG USUQ” and the like?

Now granted, there have always been whiners on Darktide – every server has it’s share of them. And lately, I’ve noticed what seems to be an increasing trend of people that just can’t handle loss. I watched a fight between two 100+ level PK’ers on FF last week. It was fairly typical – first the debuffs, then trying to land a shot on each other. One of the players then did what I thought was kinda a crazy move and ran up to the other guy to fire off a ring spell – but crazy or not, it actually worked, and he won the fight. When the second player came back, instead of complimenting him on his bold move, he instead asserted that “rings r 4 pussies.” And the other guy didn’t loot him, didn’t say a word to him – nothing! I don’t know, maybe I didn’t see the winner sending the other guy tells of “MY RING SMOTE YOU AND YOU SUCK BECAUSE RINGS ARE THE GREATEST!”

I just don’t understand this sort of behavior. Is this like some secret Folgers’s commercial or something?

“We’ve secretly replaced all of the people on Kwip’s server with dipshits that have the maturity of three-year olds. Let’s see if he notices!”

It’s not everybody, of course. And hey, I’ve certainly had my moments of outrage with perfectly legal behavior.

Of course, legal behavior isn’t always the most acceptable behavior. In my instance, Elle ran up whilst I was placing items in the transaction window to buy the house and managed to put them all in before me. (S)he got the house. It was perfectly legal behavior. I hadn’t completed the transaction, and was taking long enough that (s)he managed to run from wherever (s)he was and claim it before I could get all the items in the window, then promptly kick me out and take all of the items the previous owner (who had been holding the house for me – we had it all planned out so it would go perfectly smoothly, ha ha). (S)he ran up, dumped all her items in the transaction window, and promptly kicked me out and took everything in the house. Completely legal-like.

But what an asshole.

There wasn’t anything I could do. I sent (her)him a message to tell her(him) exactly what I thought of them, but then had nothing left to do except go about my business and take comfort in the fact that had it been on Darktide and not Frostfell, (s)he would’ve not only stole my house, but then PK’d me and looted the items I was going to use to buy it.

And as ticked off as I was (and still am, as you can see by the fact I won’t stop whining about it!) about the whole affair – what they did was completely within their rights. They didn’t exploit, they didn’t cheat, they didn’t even send me taunts afterwards about what a swell house it was.

But what an asshole.

Everyone gets all up in arms about people doing things like PK’ing you. They want to tell you why you got lucky killing them this time, or how you’re a wuss for not taking them on one on one, or how they weren’t buffed, or how your tactics/method of killing are weak or some such rubbish. But really, getting PK’d is such a small matter – sure, you might lose some equipment, but if you’re worried about that, then you’re playing as the wrong color. If somebody gets a kill on you – and they don’t use an exploit or hack, of course – then they’re not doing anything wrong. They simply have won that round. If you can work off the vitae, buff up, and go back and kill them, then swell, you won the next one. But I sure hope they don’t act like as big an asshole as you and send you non-stop spam whining about how you won unfairly, how you suck, blah blah blah.

See, what gets me is that if someone does something that’s rather par for course (PK’ing you when you’re red, for example) and doesn’t make a big deal about it, then you turn around and go ballistic – then YOU are much more likely to be wearing the Asshole Hat then they are, let me tell you. And truth be told, I’ve known a lot more people OUTSIDE of the PK’ers to act like this than PK’ers themselves. When PMS Rage and Isaac used to blow through Uziz and mow everyone down and then bail out before the high-levels got back to get them, they weren’t being assholes. They were being smart. If they had gotten those kills and then sent bragging messages to all of their victims, that would be one thing. But I never once got a message from them, never heard them say anything nasty about anyone; they just came in, mowed us down, then ran away. It wasn’t very brave, sure – but it wasn’t being an asshole. And in fact, I went on to be friends with those guys – Isaac even became a vassal of mine and produced some pretty insane experience for me. So yes, they killed people weaker than themselves – but they weren’t assholes about it.

Sigh. Does this make any sense?  

I guess it’s like this: so many people go on and on about PKs, and UCMs, etc, etc. I’m more worried about PAs – Player Assholes. And while I find that it’s great that we have some rules in place that are going to prevent people from exploiting bugs and such, I wish there were a way we could establish some sort of code of conduct that covered basic decency towards each other. Yes, I realize that this would be a nightmare to enforce, and I hear all of your arguments “Well, who’s to say that behavior X is unacceptable, but behavior Y is fine?” but honestly – I don’t care. I know it will never ever happen. It would be great if some MOG out there actually had the manpower and desire to have “Conduct Police,” but I recognize what a slippery slope that is.

No, what I wish is that the players would police themselves. That it wasn’t a matter of following rules that forced you not to behave like an ass, but rather, common decency. Kill me all you want, that’s not an issue. I like being ‘at war’ with various monarchies and whatnot. I accept that we can’t all get along. But that doesn’t mean we have to be jerks about it, does it?

Through Good Times, Through Blood Times…

So, Darktide.

It’s this place, right, where basically every other person’s mission is to make you miserable. And folks? When I say they are good at their job, I really mean it. Sincerely.

The great thing about playing on Darktide is that I’ve got 40% vitae, no-drop armor and a no-drop bow. Oh, and a no-drop dagger. So, that whole death thing? Yeah – it doesn’t really come as a shock, you might say. What does come as a shock, however, is the fact that the most excellent guild, The Fremen Knights, are still around. Some of you REALLY old-timers that read my stuff back in the day might remember them from my almighty defense of Uziz.

Death says, “Wait a sec…Didn’t Kile call you ‘the worst thing to happen to Uziz since the sticky patch’?”
You say, “Uh…no… That was… erm… the other Kwip.”

TFK was one of the ‘good’ guilds. They didn’t just randomly attack people. They have this whole code thing they stick to, about not attacking someone that they’re not at war with or who didn’t attack them first or something. Anti (Randomly Player Killing), is what we called them back in the day. Which meant I couldn’t really join them. I didn’t randomly attack people, mind you. I just held it as perfectly acceptable grounds to attack someone for the offense of being Stupid in a No-Stupid Zone. Or if it would be funny. Or if I had the sudden urge to die. And you’d be amazed at how often I did.

However, some of my best memories of DT is long nights spent waiting for those naughty PK’ers to come charging into Uziz, where I waited in defense. Everyone else, of course, was out busy leveling. But hey man, I was level ten. I didn’t need that sissy leveling nonsense NO MORE! So of course, the evening would end about as you’d think. I’d spend two hours bored out of my melon, only to have PMS Rage and Isaac come charging in and kill me before I could get my bow out of my pants, where I’d been using it to scratch a very unusual itch…

But now I was BACK! And I was no mere child of level ten, by golly! Now I am a full-grown awesomeness of level FORTY-TWO! FEAR!

Granted, everyone else on the server is like 126, but there ya go…

The first thing I needed to do was to get to Uziz. Now many of you can no doubt plug in some nancy-boy decal thingy and know a shortcut, but for me, the only possible way to get there was that LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG-ass run from Al-Jalima. No problem! I figured I haven’t made that run in years, but come on – how bad could it be, right?

After my twelfth return to the Lifestone, I had a couple new observations:

  1. I hate Skeleton Captains.
  2. 40% vitae REALLY screws up your melee defense.
  3. I REALLY hate Skeleton Captains.
  4. Armor Self IV isn’t really enough to keep a Skeleton Captain from shoving a spear up your keister if he’s really determined.
  5. Skeleton. Captains. Hate. Got it?
  6. An inch on the map is a looooooooooong-ass run.
  7. Skeleton Captains tend to bring a lot of friends to their parties. And they bring a lot of pointy sticks. Sticks that just happen to be the perfect fit for your face.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the Lifestone outside of Uziz was surrounded by bad-ass skellies. Yes, I know, I hear you muttering that they’re wimps, but remember who’s telling this story, okay? And to make matters even worse, there were some unattended combat macros running there. I would have reported them, but I figured I’d just tell Ken Karl when I saw him on Tuesday Wednesday Tuesday Thursday NEVER! Yeah, that’s right, Ken – we all know you were scared of the butt-kicking I was going to deliver unto you. Use whatever excuse lets you sleep soundly, bud. We all know the truth. I’ve already ass-hatted Asheron. You were next. You got out barely in time.

Normally I don’t mind UCMs on DT, because they’re usually higher level than me, and I can get some easy xp off them. And if I sit around killing them all night, that’s less hassle for anyone hunting in the area, right? Unfortunately, the people hunting in the area instead killed me. No sense of teamwork, I tell ya. Plus, with this uber vitae of mine, I was lucky if I could handle a Drudge Robber. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of them got me on the run down, too.

So yeah, it was time to bust out my ninja skills. Except there wasn’t really much I could ninja here. It wasn’t like I could hide from a macro. Not to mention those damn skeletons. Fortunately for me, one of the macros chose that very moment to go completely insane. For whatever reason, instead of charging the nearest target to die, the macro took off for town. I was perching on the Meeting Hall roof, so I figured this was as good a chance as I was gonna get. I leapt for the lifestone…

And bounced.

Here’s a fun little twist that Darktide has apparently adopted as its own: lagtastic fun! I’ve played on just about every server, and I’ve yet to see the amazing feats of lag that DT suffers. I think that they’ve given up on punishing UCMs and just decide to lag the hell out of the entire server as revenge. Like remember that time in second grade when Clyde threw that HUGE spitball at the substitute teacher, and she got really mad, but nobody would admit who did it, so the whole class had to sit inside during lunch? It’s kind of like that, only without Billy to steal lunch from.

So anyway, suddenly I find my shoes soled with that wonderful, magical invention of Flubber. I bounce all over the damn place, inventing all sorts of wonderful new physics whilst doing it

Kwipetian Theory of Relativity: A Kwip in motion will only come to a complete stop once there are sufficient skeletons to pound him to death before he can use the Lifestone. Then they will stand around and snicker.

Another trip to the Lifestone. But behold! A glitch! I have lifestoned HERE! AAAAaaaaaaahhhh! In your FACE, Skeleton guy! You can try and position that skull of your into whatever contemptible pose you’d like, but right now I’m making my flesh into an arrogant sneer. Also, I’m putting my tongue out. So THERE.

I think the real fun of Darktide comes from having friends visit you there that aren’t that familiar with it. They think it’s a crazy place full of childish immature people that would as soon kill you as look at you.

They’re right, of course. But the fun comes in showing them that.

I think we should just get a bunch of n00b’s together. Then we can all camp outside the Blood mansion and spam beg them for buffs and powerleveling.


Oh, Look, Asheron Needs Help… AGAIN…

So there’s this guy, I dunno if you’ve heard of him, but he goes by the name of Asheron.

Word around town has it that he’s the badder than… I dunno, Death?

Death says, “What? I’d bitchslap him back to his momma!”

Erm…right. So he’s bad, almost but not quite to the degree of Death. Only…he’s hiding.

What is it with us and our ‘rulers’? When’s the last time you saw Queen Elyssa hanging with the homeboys? And now Asheron chooses to grace us with his presence – well, no, actually, he instead chooses to hide in his little tower with his goombah bodyguards. And they don’t even DO anything! Frankly, I’m beginning to suspect they’re not even real. I think Asheron just found a really good interior decorator, gave them a few diamond golem bits, and went to work. Have you ever seen them move? Then how do you know they’re not hooked there! Hey man, I saw Wizard of Oz, I know how this stuff works.

I think the thing that really annoys me is that Asheron’s all haughty and stuff, acting like we are intruding upon him! Hey man, sorry to interrupt your busy day of hiding like a little girl inside your tower and everything, but we came here basically to kick all the bug’s carapaces off of YOUR island. Don’t you worry about it or anything, Rapunzal – as soon as the big, bad bugs are gone, we’ll bring you a nice cup of soup and some crackers and read you a bedtime story.

Honestly, does anyone else feel like the Terminix guy or something?

It wouldn’t be so bad – like if we were out there, fighting like madmen, and Asheron would lean out of his window and cast a debuff on the bugs. Or hey, I understand, he’s scared! He could just cast a buff on us! We’ll tell the bugs that we had magical jewelry that did it or something, no one would be the wiser! Certainly not Asheron…

And then, Asheron is annoyed with you. Because you trespassed on his “Familial Estate.” WELL GEE, WE’RE ALL VERY SORRY WE DIDN’T LEAVE YOUR HOME TO GET OVER RUN BY OLTHOI! For that matter, I’m sorry we didn’t let you get bulldozed by Bael’zheron. Or Martine. Or Gaerlan, for that matter! Why, now that I think about it, I know exactly what “Asheron’s Call” is – it’s 911 for tired old lame mages!

And let me just point out: the entire time I sat there, my buttocks warming ol’ Asheron’s brow, his bodyguards just watched. Yeah. That’s how effective THEY were. One time when Gillian Anderson was making an appearance, I reached out to touch her arm, and her bodyguards maced me, broke my hand, kicked my teeth out and stood on my throat. For trying to touch her arm.

Death says, “What? You were totally trying to get a goose, you liar!”
You say, “QUIET, SLUT!”

And yet, here we see these super protectors, allowing their charge to be asshated. Asheron, not really sure which gumball machine you got them out of, but I’ve got two words for you: REE and FUND.

But back to this selfishness. Look, we don’t mind helping you, Ash ol’ buddy. But let’s get one thing straight: we are doing you a favor, mmkay? Don’t give us any rubbish if we’re digging through your house, buddy. At least you HAVE a house left! I mean, yeah, so your little hut’s got a bit more of a vicious spawn camp outside of it than most guild mansions. Wah. But dude, you’ve got a whole island to yourself! Don’t go getting all greedy about some mansion you don’t use anymore!

To make matters worse, there isn’t even a snack bar in the castle. I mean, come on dude – how many times have we saved your life now? That’s not worth some chips, or a tasty beverage or two?

ACPL, Part One!

We all know how this pans out. After all, I have done this twice before. If this were a combat tour, I’d be a decorated veteran. Especially after last year – we (or our car, at least) would have a purple heart!

However, this year, being the hardened veterans we were, we decided to do things a little different. To start with, instead of leaving Thursday, staying up at my dad’s place that night (he lives about 30mi SW of Boston), then driving to the gathering Friday afternoon, we were going to be leaving Friday morning.

See, we had actually planned a real vacation around this. We took off of work from the 11th through the following Friday and planned on visiting the New England area.

Because, you know, everyone up there wants to buy me dinner. Or at least I thought they did, until I showed up at people’s doorways with “I’m Kwip!” only to be met with slamming doors, rude comments, and tasers. Ha, New Englanders are such kidders.

Anyway, so our plan is to leave Friday morning. This has the added benefit of allowing me a full night’s sleep prior to the drive. And with people on the New Jersey Turnpike alerted to my presence and already welding spikes, blades and arrow launchers onto their vehicles a la Road Warrior, I figured that I needed to be as well-rested as possible.

That was the plan, anyway. What REALLY happened was that I got so caught up in working on the “Kwip Blows Up” story/video/pics, that I didn’t get to bed until like 2am. Then I was all excited, and when I tried to get Kwipette to wake up and let me practice all the cool questions I was going to ask the Devs, she thankfully beat me into unconsciousness. So while yes, I did manage five hours of sleep, they weren’t what I like to refer to as restful.

But the next day rolled around. I sprung out of bed gleefully – gleefully being any time that Kwipette isn’t forced to use the cattle prod to actually wake me up. I had some errands to run prior to departure, so I had to get up and rolling.

First thing I did was hit Farmer’s Market. There I acquired suitable traveling supplies: six Amish Egg Rolls and a pound of Lancaster Beef Jerky. Yes, I know – a POUND of Beef Jerky? Well, hey – I wasn’t planning on it lasting the ENTIRE trip up. I was gonna stop along the way. Then I stopped and got my hair cut. Unfortunately for me, the person I chose to get my haircut from, while being a superb barber, was also very, very insane. He proceeded to lecture me on the incredible value he got at local flea markets by buying shot glasses in BULK, instead of the sucker’s way of buying them one at a time.

Sigh. I wish I was making that bit up.

However, after MUCH time, the haircut was complete! I was oh-fish-all-eee a secksay bitch! NOW I was ready to depart for the ACPL!

We were a bit worried, due to travel times. We have always dreaded driving through/near NYC. Not the same sort of blinding terror we hold for New Jersey, mind you – but that’s only because New Jersians will smash your car, summon their evil state police who PRETEND to write things down, only don’t, and then mysteriously cease to exist, making you spend the rest of your life trying to collect on damages from the car accident. Whereas people in NYC will merely make you wait two hours to travel a mile’s length. Or, at worst, kill you and steal your car. Far, far less on the Infernal Scale than New Jersians all around. Plus, Bats lives in NJ, so they’re automatically doomed.

However, we had a beacon of hope for us. Cheryl, the lovely wife of Circeus (whom some of you know from WCoD), had stepped forward to offer us a slick alternate route. A little route we now refer to as:

(Or, I-287 E / Tappan Zee Bridge)

Apparently, from what I’ve learned from this trip, Cheryl actually hates me and wishes me to first be driven completely insane just prior to being ground to paste beneath the tires of large construction vehicles. A wish she very nearly got. You see, the Tappan Zee Bridge is actually one of those portals that everyone likes to talk about but never really do anything about unless they’re mad scientists, and even then, due to the shortage of proper hunchbacks, they can’t really open the Gates of Hell as well as they used to. Instead, they can only create TWENTY-THREE MILE TRAFFIC JAMS and lots of insane people with their windows down, talking in strange, guttural foreign tongues VERY loudly into their cell phones whilst competing with their radio. Which they CAN’T friggin’ turn DOWN – oh NO! – but instead must scream into the phone to be understood whilst competing with their own friggin’ stereo! All of which I don’t really mind you doing – SO LONG AS YOU’RE NOT DOING IT TWO FEET FROM MY FACE!

Also, the Bridge exists in New Jersey. Oh, sure, geography will place it in New York. But owing to it’s infernal nature, we have concluded that the Bridge, besides being an evil entity, is also existing in New Jersey. Because it is that evil

Oh, but it’s okay. Because at the end of the Hell Ride across the Bridge, we got to laugh (and make rude gestures) at the idiots who didn’t have the Mana from Heaven, sometimes referred to as, “EZPass!” For those of you not in the know, let me just clarify: EZPass is pure love from the Baby Jeebus in a small plastic device that contains magical fairies. The fairies make it possible for you to drive through toll stations – without stopping – while other, dirtier, smellier, and much less loved by Gord people are left to deal with the infidels of “Collection.” You zip right past them, sometimes offering them a rude gesture, sometimes a smirk, sometimes just the smug confidence of leaving them behind whilst you bask in the love of the Baby Jeebus and his magical EZPass fey folk.

Seriously, if you don’t have EZPass and you do any sort of traveling in the North Eastern United States on toll roads, wtf is wrong with you? Loser.

The really fantastic thing is that I ordered our EZPass a week before we left (which was the 4th of July week – a HOLIDAY week, no less!). I was kicking myself, quite hard, for not having ordered it sooner, as I was sure it would take about 4-6 weeks to arrive. Instead, it arrived Thursday Night – perfectly in time to join us on our trip! At the time, I thought it was Baby Jeebus sending us His blessings on the trip. But after suffering through the Tappan Zee Bridge, I realized He was doing what He could to keep me from exploding in a ball of rage. Which is pretty extensive, considering how easy it is for me to explode – actually, with my mass, it’s highly more probable I’ll collapse and implode, but there you go.

However, finally, THANKFULLY, we out of New Jersey (even the evil entities posing as structures on the metaphysical plane of New Jersey). However, due to this unbelievable congestion and infernal interference, we are now backed up in our time table. Severely backed up. So much so that I begin getting phone calls from people in Boston who were expecting to meet us at the hotel, only to have to inform them that we were about 4 hours still away. This continued almost the rest of the trip – I received numerous phone calls asking how long it was until we got in. To be truthful, I have no idea who it was that called. My phone completely sucks. It’s what I like to refer to as a “Lying Sack of Shit” because it perpetrates the illusion that it has a perfect signal; however, if you actually try and talk on it, you are now forced to carry on a conversation that sounds as if you’re on the bottom of a very deep well, yelling up to the person at the top, all the while being slowly beat about the head with a metal gong. Can you hear me now, bitch? For all I know, it was those maniacs from the Tappan Zee Bridge calling me. Not content to have delayed us by three hours, it was now flashing my cell phone number to any stupid bastiches that crossed it’s toll booths. It probably manifested signs like, “Not happy with the delay? Dial 1-800-DIE-KWIP to speak to one of our friendlier complaints handlers!”

There was some joy to alleviate our frustration in the delay. For starters, very shortly after leaving the Zone of Hell known as the Tappan Zee Bridge, we encountered the Fung Wah Bus. I don’t know if anyone has ever heard of them, but they actually have a website. And let me tell you something: besides the obvious pleasure that just saying their name over and over again can bring to us, this bus was a holy avenger, and it’s mission on this planet is to kick traffic jam’s collective asses. We got behind that thing and held on for dear life. I tried to turn on the cruise control, but FUNG WAH had already usurped control of our vehicle and held us under it’s sway. We were the orbiting moon to it’s planetary pull.

They say on their site that it takes 4-4.5 hours to get from NYC to Boston, but I’m hear to tell you, unless they stop for ice cream for 3 hours someplace, that’s a lie. Their busses are fitted with warp drives, I’m pretty sure. You know how normally busses are just big, cumbersome, slow-moving bastiches that get in your way when you’re trying to do anything? You know, like me in the ice cream aisle? Well, the power of FUNG WAH is such that it just shoves lesser vehicles out of it’s path. In fact, I’m pretty sure at one point FUNG WAH transformed into a giant robot and bitch-slapped a dump truck that tried to break down in the Restricted Lane.

However, even the power of FUNG WAH wasn’t enough to get us to the hotel by 7pm. It was close, but just not enough. We arrived at like 7:20. I was very, very afraid of Boston. I’ll admit that right up front. I do not like big cities, and I like driving in them roughly about as much as I’d like a salad for an entree.

However, we managed to luck out. Because of the fact that Kwipette knows me very well, she knows a basic premise of riding in the vehicle with me: I am a Gord-damned idiot. If we’re attempting to go someplace, the easiest way to get there is to ask me which way to go, and then go the exact opposite direction. Laugh all you want, but this has proved so true as to be a new law in physics. So, in preparation of this, she has directions to the hotel, and she is not allowing me to know nor even look at the directions. I am only allowed to follow her guidance. As a result, we have no trouble finding the place and do quite well.

Parking. Oh, my dear friend, parking. When I think of a hotel, I tend to think of things like parking lots. You know, being adjacent to each other. This just goes to show you how back-woods and Amishified my poor self is. Because while there was parking, the valets there were not going to allow me to park the car myself. If they knew me, I would suspect this was because they knew I was an idiot and would get promptly lost. However, being strangers and not being aware of any Idiot Detectors on their persons, I have to assume that they were just greedy bastards who wanted the extra money to park our car.

Very well; I will not begrudge them that. Especially because the Doorman (I don’t know if that’s his official title or anything, let’s just stick with it) was so incredibly cool I was immediately impressed. Which, I will again assume, is his job. To make people think that their stay is going to be enjoyable, safe, full of competence and pleasure. And  – look, this far into the story, I’m sure you’ve already detected my foreshadowing here, so I’ll skip being clever. 

If the Tappan Zee Bridge is a demonic entity from the New Jersey plane of existence, then the Boston Sheraton is it’s Lord and Master.

I have never managed a hotel, so I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject. However, being someone that has stayed at a number of hotels on several occasions, I feel comfortable in stating when a hotel behaves impressively.

Conversely, of course, I feel confident in saying when a hotel is full of the most stooge-ish, bumbling, simpletons ever to have donned an employee nametag. Guess which one I’m going to go for this time?

Okay, I will give you that we weren’t VIPs. Not even IPs. And the girl behind the counter was very attractive and nice. And yet, it turns out that she was also evil.

When checking in, I often take the time to spell out my first name (S-H-A-W-N, not Kwip – the boring people in the ‘real world’ don’t recognize greatness, as we all know by my lack of employment as Gillian Anderson’s personal masseuse). Because I have a common last name (Williams), I tend to emphasize my first name, because often times there are multiple “Williams” present. Shocking, but true.

I do the same thing with this nice young girl checking us in. I ask some questions about our room, which I will touch upon later. In turn, she asks me if I’m traveling with people.

“Urm…my wife?” I respond, thinking quickly.

Then it strikes me: OBVIOUSLY, she’s referring to Bats and Sneezy. See, the three of us were going to try and get rooms next to each other for more spill-over room from the Death Tank goodness. Last year, with Quix adjoining us, we were still kind of crowded. But hey, I think to myself – this is the Boston Sheraton! It’s not like they’re going to stick us in a SHOEBOX or anything! (Foreshadow foreshadow foreshadow).

“Oh!” I tell the young girl. “Yes, I am hoping to have two other friends’ meeting up with me here – they will hopefully be on the rooms on either side of us?” She smiles politely at this, as if everything now makes sense. She was actually smiling at the fact that she spotted a way to help drive me insane. As she’s giving me my room assignment, another mysterious person calls and I tell them what room number we’re going to be in, and to head up to meet us.

Now we leave check-in. At this point, we meet a Bellhop.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “Bellhop,” I tend to think of Im-Ho-Tep. Yeah, that scary mummy guy. I don’t know why. I blame it on too many video games, myself. But it turns out I’m not so nuts – well, I mean, I am, but not for that. No, it seems that Bellhops at the Boston Sheraton are the envoys of a Dark and Sinister Force. If we were in an ocean swimming, Bellhops would approach with the music “Dun dun…dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun…” playing in the background.

I’m pushing our luggage cart fine. However, apparently this was not acceptable to our new bestest friend, whom I shall refer to as Joe. Joe told me guests were not permitted to push luggage carts. This was the solemn duty of Bellhops.

Hey man, he was probably lying, but what do I know? You know in New Jersey you’re not allowed to pump your own gas? Well, there you go. This was probably something similar.

So Joe leads us to our room. Now as I see it, Joe has a pretty simple job. Push the luggage cart. When we get to our room, he might even open the door for us and turn on a light or two. But that just shows how ridiculously high my expectations are. Joe instead stood and watched me – for a good thirty seconds, mind you – as I fumbled with the card lock, trying to figure out how to unlock the damn door. Once I got the door open, I was allowed to stumble into the room alone.

Where I discovered shoes, clothes, luggage and a laptop.

“Woah,” I thought. “Joe unpacked our shit at light speed! I better tip him good, or he’ll kick my ass, rapidly!”

But turning around, I saw that Joe was still standing in the hall. With our luggage. Grinning wildly at me. (I should have known right there that he was in on the “Drive Kwip Insane” scheme initiated by the Tappan Zee Bridge).

At first I was just confused. I thought maybe we were in Sneezy’s room. Or Bats’ room, even. Joe looked in the room and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?” I stammered. “Look! There’s things in this room! Other people’s things!”
“Your friends, yes?” he questioned, all the while with a gleam in his eye that said he knew the answer and also knew it would drive me further towards shaving my body and running through the halls pretending to be a lima bean.

On the table next to me was a receipt of some sort. Picking it up, I saw the name was Sean Williams. Sean. S-E-A-N. (Which is how everyone spelled Shawn after that guy Sean Connery got so damned famous).

Goose bumps rose on my arms. Suddenly, I was very certain that Tim was going to be standing behind the shower curtain wearing an identical Hawaiian shirt and having dyed his hair brown.

Joe gets on the phone to clarify this. He was speaking in low tones, so I’m not positive of all what he was saying, but I’m pretty sure at one point he muttered, “Oh, man – you shoulda seen his face!” and then looked at me and chuckled evilly. Also, he muttered something like “Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!” I heard him.

I got out of the room as quickly as I could. Besides being scared of Joe’s phone conversation, it was obvious this was someone else’s room. To me, that felt entirely wrong. Well…at least, after I tried on some of the panties, it felt very wrong. 

After conversing with his fellow imp, Joe explained to us that we had the wrong room. Which is a good Gorddamned thing he told us. I mean, how embarrassing would it have been if we went to sleep with someone else? Oh sure, that might’ve fed some of my fantasies, but let’s face it: I’d be snoozing restfully, and all of the sudden some Sean would climb in with me and we’d be like, “Woah! You’re not supposed to be in here!” Then we’d get into all sorts of wacky hijinks around the hotel, culminating in our kidnapping of an orangutan, and only Babe the Talking Pig would be able to save us.

Confusion all around, I tell you. But luckily, Joe pointed out the problem. AND took us to our new room.

The first thing that struck me about our new room was the walls. They were very, very close to me. Some of you skinny people maybe don’t notice these things, but when you’re large enough to rate your own gravity well, the distance between you and adjacent walls suddenly becomes important.

Some people have referred to these rooms as “shoeboxes,” which I feel is not at all accurate. But maybe they were in the luxury suites or something. Our room could barely fit a pair of socks, let alone entire shoes. And just as we dropped our bags, the phone rang. People were already enroute for Death Tank. And after pounding on the doors next to us and getting tasered, maced and generally mocked, I discovered that our adjourning rooms were not occupied by Bats OR Sneezy.

So here we were. A tiny room, and hordes of people about to descend upon us. I didn’t even have any beer in the fridge. For that matter, I didn’t have a fridge in which to put beer. Fortunately, Nik and his lovely wife and her lovely sister (you’re a lucky, lucky man, Nik you bastich) arrived. Nik helped me fill the tub with ice by repeated visits to the ice machine. Now we were able to chill some drinks.

Kim, Rebecca, Sean and Maggie. If Sean’s not thinking what a great Seanwich this scene would make, there’s something wrong with him.

The past two years, we had made kind of a big issue of ensuring that there would be enough room to gather in our room for the Pre-ACPL Death Tank party. I’m not sure how it got started, but, by Gord, it is now tradition. Therefore, forsaking a night of Death Tank prior to the ACPL would be blasphemy. Also, not fun.

This year I would soon learn would forever be referred to as the “Tiny Shithole Year” because of the utter lack of room.

It was entirely my fault, of course. You see, when I made our reservations, I requested a large room, king size bed and, if possible, a corner room where our noise level could do the least amount of harm.

The Boston Sheraton, sensing my frail nature, instead chose to ignore whatever the hell my pathetic desires were and give us a tiny room, queen size bed, and a room not only not in a corner, but surrounded entirely of old women. Old women who considered it entirely natural to throw their shoes at the wall to express their displeasure at our noise level.

I don’t know, man. I like it when we take over a hotel. This business of having a billion other people there makes me nervous. For example, when I get on the elevator laughing heartily at the time I killed the one guy and took his only pair of pants, before this has never been a problem. THIS year, it caused an unfortunate misunderstanding with the straights that were on the elevator with us. Granted, while I would love to tell you how sexy it was to have women offer me their pants, I tend to prefer when those women are young, attractive women totally turned on by my presence. 

Not elderly terrified women convinced I was some Pants Thief they’ve been reading about.

It was fine for the first five minutes until all of the oxygen was used up and people began passing out.

We did not have the Death Tank party people in the past have come to expect and love. Instead, we had the Death Room party, which consisted of people getting crushed beneath my girth every time I tried to get up and go to the bathroom. Which was every five minutes, thanks to my little girly bladder.

Needless to say, I was hugely disappointed in our room. Everyone else was, too, as they made various excuses to get the hell out of there without further ado. Which really broke my heart – the one thing I love above all else at the ACPL is being able to hang out with everyone. It’s always been cool before, because thanks to the very addictive properties of Death Tank, I’ve always had a captive audience to touch. They hate listening to my stories, but they have no choice, because in order to play Death Tank, they HAVE to sit through my droning!

Now, we didn’t have Death Tank. We didn’t even have DDR. And even if we did, we didn’t have enough room to set it up with proper space (“Proper Space” meaning enough distance between me and the game so that I can’t “accidentally” kick the reset button every time I start losing – which is – well, every time).

Although we did get a call from Tim later on. I invited him up and gave him his very own N3 Tshirt. Hey, being a fanboi should have some reward. Even if he’s more of a Maggie-stalker than a Kwip-fanboi. But still, I’d just like to say: when’s the last time Maggie gave you a tshirt, eh, Tim? Think about it. Being my fanboi carries privileges, man! So Tim came up with his friends Echo and Raist. I must say, I like those people. I am always scared of people, but they sat there quietly, laughed at my jokes, and generally made me feel like not such a loser as I was feeling at that moment in my Death Tank-less room.

Yuan was hanging around because Luke was supposed to be enroute, but finally couldn’t handle the old ladies pummeling the walls with their shoes. He left – and of course, five seconds later, Luke showed up. Now I had the chance to feel really bad. Instead of the awesomeness of Death Tank, Luke was the lone Dev in a room of players. The look of terror on his face when he realized this was the saddest thing I’ve ever caused in my entire life. We all went out for a bite to eat at some nearby restaurant.

I wish I could remember the name of the place. I’d really like to rant about it for quite some time, but without the proper name, it lacks that “oomph.” I will just tell you that apparently their entire staff is made up of mal-treated prisoners, which is obvious in their resentment towards us, their cruel master. Oh, no, wait – that’s right, they’re employees. I guess they get paid to act like total assholes and treat the customers as if we’re intruding upon their private quiet time with their grills. My bad!

We retreated to the calmness of the hotel. Everyone else parted, and Luke came up to our room to administer a private beating for wasting his time in such a manner. Also, I had to give the guy at least one beer after making the trip all the way out there for a lack of Death Tank. However, I was saved from this thrashing by the very sudden, very loud appearance of Bats and company: Orion (the Dev), Weeks, Pew, Apropos, Bel’el, and Inigo (sp?). All from MT, all very loud, and all the saving grace of an evening I felt very bad about.

And Pew had on a nice shirt (yes, there’s an in-joke there, and don’t you just wish you knew what it was?)

When I told them that I wasn’t sure who our adjoining rooms were occupied by, Weeks attempted to find out for me by breaking down the door. I panicked and did the only thing I could think of – throw him alcohol. Luckily this worked, and he quickly became more interested in telling us all embarrassing stories about Pew.

If you’re not from MT, you probably don’t know these guys. But having grown up there before moving on to DT, these were some big names, so it was cool to put faces with the names. And the fact that they had me laughing so hard I nearly wet myself a few times – I mean, we’re talking Orion and a bunch of other zany people. Can you just imagine how fun it was? If you can’t, ask Weeks how his first meeting with Zyrca went. That pretty much sums it up. Really. If you ever find yourself sitting around, miserable at your shortcomings at party arrangement, I highly recommend an evening of their company to make you feel better.

Finally, after Kwipette passed out in her chair, the gracious (and mega-hawt) Apropos noticed our sorry butts were tired and drug the boys off to sleep. Or bother someone else. I don’t really know what mischief they caused. I heard a police siren a little bit after that, but the next morning Pew only had one wrist handcuffed, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

Not ALL of our pictures turned out this good! Just the really, really important ones!

The night passed quickly, even in our queen sized bed. Yes, maybe some of you think a queen sized bed is large. However, when your circumference is nearly the same as your height, trust me, a queen just doesn’t cut it. King or nothing, baby!

However, I do have to say that the bed was very comfy. Of course as exhausted as I was, I probably could have slept on a mattress stuffed with bowling balls and slept fine.

The next morning, we made our way to the rooms where the ACPL was taking place. We got our swag bags – the Luggies were SOOO cool! – and even had time to get them autographed. Someone was passing out Krispey Kremes. Who, I don’t remember. It’s usually about three hours into the day before I properly wake up. Whoever it was, thanks.

We got our seats and did the clapping, nodding, taking picture thing. I can’t really elaborate any further on what everyone else has already said. For that matter, I don’t remember most of what they told us. Hey man, I come just for the people – I still don’t know how to play the game! Changes are for other people to worry about, not me! Actually, it’s just that my memory really is that bad. But I figure I never really have to worry – there’s so many other people there better at that reporting business than myself, I never sweat it.

See, in this one you can actually almost make out people. Scary, huh?

One thing that did strike me was Jessica’s speech. I can’t really cite any specifics, but she really impressed me. I think the AC community is much better for having her on board, and I’m very eager to see what she’s going to lead an already great team on to do.

It was cool to hear her speak. I would like very much to someday be ‘in the business.’ Doing what, I have no idea, but it will probably involve emptying trash cans, polishing boots and hiding dead hookers that mysteriously show up in Crowley’s office.

Sigh. Someday.


Here you see the rest of our team looking on in abject horror as they suddenly realize that the Kwip they thought was oh-so-funny is nothing more then a terrifying hairy fat man.

After lunch came the MEO preview. Or Whose Drudge? One of them. Then the other. Yeah, as I said, great memory I’ve got here.

Now last year they had HUGE prizes for the Whose Drudge contest. Like really scphiffy video cards and stuff. I was all about winning one of them this year – so much about it, in fact, that I slipped Orion a bit of horse tranquilizer and got him to let me on his team. AEternal and his girlfriend Heather made up the remainder of our team, the poor souls. Our subject was “Tells Gone Wrong” or something similar. We got into our huddled, quickly agreed upon a course of action, broke…and then I went completely insane.

I guess it was the greed taking over, but whatever plan we had was out the window. I proceeded to make a giant fool of myself. To any small children or emotionally unstable people in the audience that are now scarred for life, I humbly apologize.

Luckily for us, I had entered the voice contest, and was called away to enter that during the follow-up round. It worked perfectly, because without my interference, the team went on to win.

The ACPL wrapped up shortly after that. But our story’s not done yet. Oh my heaven’s no. We still have: THE AFTERMATH! Plus, Bats has a bunch of really good pics, not like these crappy ones. I’ll continue this story AND include the nice pics!

(coming soon to a website near you!)

The Truth Behind Charwic: The Battle!



Everyone should by now know that I’m a “Old-School” AC player. I’ve been playing AC since the open Beta. No, no, I’m not trying to claim any uberness from that. However, what I am trying to claim is a bit of background that a lot of people that are newer to the world of AC are lacking in. With the growing popularity that AC is going through right now, a lot of people are coming into the world of Dereth and lacking in some of the back history. Likewise, some veteran players who aren’t as familiar with the lore are finding some holes in their knowledge of things like why everyone puts up with Elysa’s incessant whining, where does the chicken meat we eat come from if we never see any chickens around, who does Asheron think he is and where did he get those wonderful hats, etc, etc.

With the Fourth of July celebrations happening here in the States, some of us decided that pyrotechnics were the PERFECT way to explain some of the back-story of Asheron’s Call. Tonight, the staff of NeenerNeener.Net will reveal the hidden past of what really happened to the town of Arwic when it was destroyed in the Shadow Wars. For tonight, we give you…

Part One: The Making Of.
Before we get to the action, I have to take a moment to introduce you to our cast of characters. In a high-budget production like this, I want you all to know that N3 spared no expense (up to $30!) and brought in only the most talented performers to re-enact this gripping tale of fighting, fury, and, most importantly, fire. Without further ado, I give you…the Players:

It occurred to me that you couldn’t do an accurate portrayal of someone so great as Asheron without introducing someone…well, someone great. My first thought was for Sean Connery. However, after reviewing his contract and our financial, ah, capabilities, Mr. Connery informed us what we could do with our script. While theoretically possible physically, it didn’t sound very comfortable, so we instead chose to pass and hire someone a bit less… pricey. A trip to the local talent agency (sometimes referred to as the “bargain bin of the local Kmart Toy Aisle”) presented us with a fine choice: King Théoden! Not only did he have the whole white hair thing already going, but he also came with a cape! And while we all know that capes don’t exist in Asheron’s Call, it’s also true that capes can be great absorbers of flammable liquids. Quid pro quo.

Playing opposite such a powerful performer as King Théoden would require someone with a powerful presence, strong personality, the ability to think quickly, and, most importantly, cheapness. All of this and more were found in the lovable character of “Quidditch Match Harry Potter,” another find from our local talent agency. Although Harry at first was hesitant to get involved in our project due to strict legal restrictions on his appearances, some quick-thinking by our legal team brought up the issue that while he  was not allowed to make public appearances as himself, there were in fact no limitations on him appearing as a demon specifically destined to blow up and burn in a tastefully done manner. However, he still felt a bit hesitant to perform, so the clause was added that he would portray Bael’zharon slightly drunk, which worked perfect for the Director – especially since Harry couldn’t be made to stand up straight even with a liberal application of highly-flammable rubber cement to his feet.

Some people were confused by the appearance of Bael’zharon in this entire affair, stating that when Arwic was destroyed, he was still imprisoned. However, I think the record will clearly show that he had a hand in the destruction. (Also, since we couldn’t find anything to make an explosive Shadow Spire out of, we had to settle for this, okay?)

Next we were faced with the difficult task of casting the Leading Lady to play opposite of King Théoden and Harry. Gillian Anderson being the first choice (of course), we were unfortunately disappointed to learn that her agent refused to even show her the script when he learned that most of her scenes involved wearing a bikini and wrestling with Kwipette in a kiddy pool full of mud. Kwipette also expressed some unhappiness with the script (mostly through well-placed kicks to my groin).

Although I was strongly discouraged by their complete lack of artistic vision, I nevertheless pursued an alternative casting choice. This was found in the local talent agency under the guise of the Blue Power Ranger Ninja Storm. She had the guise, pose, character, and, most importantly, boobies that were needed to fulfill such a demanding role. She also had the Power Kick ability that was useful for such things as kicking Shadows, kicking walls, chasing Kampahn around and flicking his ears when he wasn’t looking and assaulting any insects we found nearby. We pretended they were Olthoi and had quite a wild adventure, but this proved too much distraction and we had to get back to work.

For the massive amount of Shadow Forces we needed, we put out an open call in Variety magazine. Luckily for us, there was a Toy Soldier convention in town that day, and we wound up with fifty willing plastic army soldiers of the green and tan variety. Not wanting to face a racially-charged lawsuit (or to be associated with the oppressive “Man”), we at first were a bit distraught over how to handle the obvious differences in appearances of our Shadow Soldiers and the original Shadows.

Just when everything seemed lost, we had a last-minute audition by an up and coming young star known as Highly Flammable Black Spray Paint. Mr. Paint, or Spray as we were allowed to call him, turned out to be a godsend. Not only was he completely open and easy to work with, but he followed directions like an automaton and brought an amazing amount of energy (and flammability) to the cast.

The first stop for our actors was the make-up trailer. Well, not “trailer” so much as “picnic table.” We were, after all, operating on a limited budget and didn’t really have time to properly cater to all of the massive egos we were being forced to deal with. Since the smaller names are always the easiest to work with, our first match up was for our Shadows to meet their co-star, Mr. Paint.

I had a lot of skepticism going into this. Kampahn insisted that the Shadows would deal fine with Mr. Paint, but I still had a lot of reservations about Mr. Paint’s ability to deal with his fifty co-stars. My fears were for naught, as it turned out. Not only were the Shadows open and accepting of Mr. Paint, but Mr. Paint himself was just downright enveloping of the Shadows! He took to them like me on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s! He surrounded them, using his massive personality and charm to cover their nervousness and insecurities. Like an old hand, he quickly took over the Shadows and had them moving as a single unit until you couldn’t tell the difference between him and them. Our little cast was beginning to take shape!

Well, once the big names got to see how well their younger co-stars did, it was really a simple matter to convince them to sit patiently for their own make up applications. Elysa was even kind enough to volunteer to go first! There was some uncertainty in her make-up sketches, as she had an outer vestment (some fancy black hauberk with rather crappy al, if you ask me). After a lot of debate between the producers as to whether she would be better suited with an application of rubber cement to her or to her armor, it was decided as a compromise that liberal amounts of rubber cement would be applied to both.

Théoden and Harry both took their places and joined in the making-up, and it must be said that anyone that shows up to be coated with highly flammable rubber cement wearing a massive cloak is okay in my book! Théoden took to the cement like… well, like a plastic figure being coated in glue! I had some concerns over Harry’s ability to take to this make-up, but it turns out that his very fashionable robe also has lots of wonderful little nooks and crannies that allow for some wonderful pooling of cement.

While our cast was being suitably made up, scouting began for the perfect location to film our adventure. Again I attempted to turn to the lovely and talented Gillian Anderson, but despite my most convincing face and assurances that I will adhere to the terms laid down in the restraining order after this one exception, she refused to allow us to use her shower. Also, she assured me her bedroom was right out. Lost, I began driving aimlessly around looking for something to match our needs. When the police showed up a few minutes later and asked while I was doing circles in Ms. Anderson’s driveway, they were not satisfied with my answers. Hrmph. Philistines.

Undeterred, I again turned to our current cast for a solution. The soldiers turned out to be more than just suitable stand-ins for Shadows – it seems they brought with them a hill that would do perfectly for a hill on the outskirts of Arwic. While it lacked anything in the form of a lifestone, trees, or any other recognizable markings from the hills surrounding the real Arwic, I felt confident this could be added in later with some clever CGI.

We had our cast, we had our setting. Now all we needed were the technical geniuses that accomplished such amazing feats as making Spiderman swing through the air, Gollum look so amazingly alive and giving Simon (of that American Idol show) the appearance of being human.

With a rapidly-declining budget, we were forced to turn to local talent once again. But once again, this turned out to be a remarkably lucky break for us, as we were put in touch with the truly amazing special effects team known as Explosives. Now, Explosives are usually known for their reckless danger and ability to part drunken rednecks from their wicked evil-doing fingers, but they took the time to listen to our concept and quickly signed on board and offered some of their own artistic vision to the project. For example: did you know that coating things in hair spray makes them even more flammable? It was this sort of insight that gave our project the final “Ooomph” (not to mention “Wooosh Sizzle Crackle”) it was so desperately lacking up until now.


I give you: the Defenders of Arwic!

One thing was still lacking: the players. Oh, sure, we had plenty of the ‘big names’ covered, but one of the things that players in Asheron’s Call had long complained about was the feeling that so many of the stories took place ‘behind the scenes’ – happening off-line when no one was around to witness them, let alone partake of them. We didn’t want our project to have that same sort of feeling to it. We wanted the player base to be fairly represented; we wanted people to look at one of our scenes and be able to identify their friends or at least people they had seen in the town of Arwic prior to it’s destruction. Unfortunately, this hadn’t come up any point sooner, so we were left short-handed and with very little time to do anything about it. We tried to get a hold of some of the characters we knew hung around the “Arwic Greens” as it came to be known, but with such short notice, we had very little luck. (The “Arwic Green,” for those of you wondering, was the large stretch of lawn in the middle of town were much of the trading and, erm, chatting were done.)

Once again, our cast came to the rescue: asking for just a few minutes, a long-distance phone card and a portal gem, our Elysa and Asheron took this project under their wing. Fifteen minutes later, they returned with a group of actors that would fool anyone into believing they were actual players from the days of the Arwic Green. The likeness was amazing.

Finally, our cast, crew and location were assembled.

The Shadow Army, doing what it
does best: screwing off and
not following orders

In the early light of dawn in the month of Thistledown, PY11, the Shadow forces of Bael’zharon and the lackies allies of Asheron and Elysa assembled themselves for battle outside of Arwic. The Shadows proved to be an unreliable bunch, and instead of standing nobly at their master’s side, the little bastiches kept falling down in an obviously cowardly attempt to flee the battlefield. Although confident in his ability to trounce the “Goody-Goodies” Asheron and Elysa, Bael’zharon felt a bit frustrated at his army’s apparent lack of motivation and dedication to his cause and searched for a method of inspiration he could use on them. He tried his magicks, both new and old, as well as threats, curses, vows of bodily harm, insults to their mothers AND their fathers. However, nothing seemed to work as his soldiers fled his side in droves to tumble from the battlefield and instead seek shelter in the nearby grass. But without his ally Highly Flammable Rubber Cement (who had expended his power during the application of Make Up), all seemed lost.


This blatant cowardice was brought to a sudden halt by the introduction of the military disciplinarian known as “Sgt. Hair Spray.” Not only is Sgt. Hair Spray a highly flammable substance, but it turns out it’s adhesive properties were unknown even to the special effects masters, Explosives. 

With the arrival of Sgt. Hair Spray, the Shadow Army once again drew together as an cohesive (and adhesive) unit and rallied to be at their master’s side. Hurling threats, war cries and harmful vapors, the Shadow Army lined up as ordered and prepared for the initial assault against the forces of Good, knowing that many of them would never survive the initial clash.

Sgt. Hair Spray turned out to be such a fine motivator, in fact, he was lent briefly to the Defenders in order to properly motivate some of their less-motivated members (ie, everyone). By careful application (spraying it over every single inch), Sgt. Hair Spray brought his unique brand (Aqua-Net) of feistiness and motivation to the battlefield.


“What is your major malfunction,
numbnuts? Didn’t Mommy and
Daddy Shadow give you enough


The initial assault was launched by Bael’zharon – as was proper, of course. Being the Bad Guy has SOME advantages, and chief amongst them was the ability of First Strike. 

Bael’zharon detonated a pair of fireballs at the feet of the Defenders of Arwic. Unfortunately for Bael’zharon, this was not nearly as impressive as if he had detonated the fireballs ON the feet of the Defenders. Instead of reacting in the manner Bael’zharon had come to expect from the poof-ish Empyreans he was so used to doing battle with, the Defenders not only weren’t intimidated enough to just fall over and die, but they openly mocked him with derisive cries, rude gestures, comments about “Lag,” and much showing of their bottoms.


However, as Luck sometimes favors villains, Bael’zharon’s initial assault had one positive effect. One of the sparks from his fireballs fell upon the fuse for the magic fireball-slinging wand of the Defender’s that was supposed to be held in reserve for the final defense of Arwic. In a total betrayal of it’s duty to the Defenders, it instead chose to side with what it perceived as the powerhouse in this conflict, Bael’zharon and his Shadow Army. Seizing the opportunity presented by the Defender’s attention being focused on the attackers, the wand chose to blow right the hell up with no warning whatsoever and shoot flames, sparks and general confusion amongst the Defenders. 

There was some speculation that this wasn’t entirely an accident – rumor has it Asheron was briefly spotted backing away from the wand with a lit match muttering, “Whoops!” However, as all witnesses are now a charred mass of plastic, putting any credence to that rumor is difficult, to say the least.


Face, meet Fire!

Elysa, sensing Imminent Doom (TM) for the Defenders, chose this time to reveal her secret “Wand of Blasting the Hell Out of Anything Standing in My Way.” Bael’zharon chose to chose HIS secret power at this time of letting his face melt in a gooey pile. 

Was Elysa motivated by the need to strike out after the treachery of their back-up Wand? Or was this a carefully timed strike, planned to strike terror in the black hearts of the Defenders and crumble their initial charge?

Or did a spark from the wand land on Elysa’s head, setting her on fire and resulting in everything she was holding blowing up? We may never know…


Not to be outdone, Asheron chose this moment to launch his crushing offensive. Unfortunately, this was a rather pathetic attempt, and the only casualties caused by his attack was one of the Defenders that was standing too close to him catching on fire. 

When asked later to comment on Asheron’s strategy of setting fire to his fellow Defenders as a determent to attacking forces, Mr. C. Bear of Arwic had this to say: “Don’t put that f—ing a–hole near me again, you hear me? If he comes within five landblocks of me, I’m going medieval on his a–! Uh, can someone help me change my bandages now?”


The Shadow Army was struck with sudden fear at this point: What if the entire Defending Army blew themselves up instead of being properly destroyed by the Shadows? Faced with this horrific concept, the Shadows chose to launch one of their secret weapons: the Whizzer Flare Truck! A vehicle cram-packed with so many flammable substances, Magma Golems were prohibited from so much as looking at it, lest a smoldering gaze accidentally ignite it and destroy them all! 

This would prove to be a turning point in the battle. While some blows had been struck by either side, nobody was seriously hurt – that is, engulfed in flames. The Whizzer Flare Truck took one look at this situation and promised to resolve that little oversight with the help of everyone’s favorite combustible substance, Rubber Cement.


Whizzer Flare Truck proved true to his word. A few seconds after he launched his assault, Arwic Hill caught fire, causing a number of the Defenders to briefly stop spamming for trades and instead begin spamming for frost spells, water hoses and buckets of water to their face. 

Unfortunately for them, it wouldn’t be until after Arwic was destroyed that Secure Trading would be introduced, so while many of them thought they were trading for buckets of water, they were in fact being given buckets of highly-flammable Isparian Ale and Shreth urine.

Yes, that sure sounds humorous. But if you’ve never been on fire and had a bucket of Shreth Urine dumped on your face, why, you just go ahead and color yourself lucky right now, mister.

“Wanted FT: Bucket of water,
applied to face.”


Things really began looking dark for our Defenders at this point (well, except for the ones on fire – everything looked pretty bright to them, but in that strange, flickering way that says you’re either in the middle of a desert or else on fire, and either way, you’re not going to have fun). 

With nothing left to lose, they summoned up one of their secret weapons, the Big Giant Sparkler of Fun. As advertised, this was to launch enormous streams of sparks into the air. Sparks that would hopefully catch the evil Shadow Army on fire and melt them down to their primal components of… erm… plastic and… er… paint.


The Big Giant Sparkler of Fun goes off as intended. In fact, it detonates with such amazing force, it has the added side effect of blowing out the fire on Arwic Hill and it’s inhabitants! 

The flares were truly glorious to behold. They arched in a glowing line over the battlefield in a truly inspiring manner.


Unfortunately, due to some pretty poor planning by the Defenders, the flares don’t arc over the enemies so much as fall down upon the Defenders’ heads

Elysa decides she’s had just about enough of this and bursts into flames.

Bael’zharon, perhaps inspired by this amazing display of pyrotechnics, decides he has had quite enough of fighting and gives into his latent homosexual urges and launches himself straight at Asheron’s crotch. Asheron, already confused by a boyhood locker room experience, collapses backwards half-heartedly trying to fend off Bael’zharon’s advances.



The World of Dereth, as
presented by a globe
packed with fiery bits.

At this point the fighting has become so violent and intense that the battle can be witnessed from orbit. To represent this, a globe is introduced to the fray. 

The globe, packed with various sorts of explosives and all manners of flame-producing materials doesn’t really serve any purpose other than to blow up in a colorful and interesting manner.


Agent: The Globe 

Mission: Blow up in a colorful and interesting manner.

Status: Successful!

The Globe, who was originally going to be nothing more than a colorful backdrop to the entire battle, instead decides to steal the show by setting fire to anything within a three mile radius. We had a couple of fire extinguishers on hand in case things got too out of control, and the Globe not only set them on fire, but it also proceeded to make nasty comments about their mothers as it burned off the Earth’s atmosphere.


The battle has gotten completely out of control at this point. Elysa is engulfed in flames, and last we saw of Bael’zharon was a flaming nose dive into Asheron’s crotch. The two are now engulfed in the flames of passion. 

Also, the flames of rubber cement, which tend to burn a tad bit hotter.

The Arwic Hill has now caught fire, and is having nothing to do with any of this ‘extinguishing’ nonsense. It’s got itself good and fiery, by golly, and no puny explosions will deter it from taking itself and all of it’s occupants to Hell in a fiery doom.



Kampahn even attempts to test this by dropping a few packages of fire crackers onto the Hill. Not only do they not blow out the flames of war, but they blast one of the previously undetonated fireworks to the adjoining landblock, where it joyfully explodes in a self-satisfied sort of “WHOOSH.” 

There were a lot of things tested in this battle. Important things like, how much hairspray is too much, and what effect covering a piece of plastic in rubber cement has; but most importantly, we tested the surface of the earth adjacent to Kampahn’s house and learned that it would not be cracking due to explosions any time soon.

Unless, of course, the blasts we subjected it to only served to weaken it and now it’s waiting for Kampahn to fall asleep so it can unleash it’s river of magma for some all-out fun, lava style!


Arwic is now a burning mass of burnination. Any attempts by the Defenders to get out of the flames are met with suicidal charges by the Shadow Army who leap upon them and clutch them in a suicidal (and somewhat erotic) hug, dragging them both into the flames and fiery destruction. 

Shadow soldiers that had hung back from the initial fray are now finding themselves on fire also, little more than kindling to the fires of destruction sweeping across Arwic. Although the cow was never officially spotted, it is suspected that this was the moment it met it’s untimely demise, as the smoke suddenly acquired a rather barbeque-ish odor.

Which was difficult to discern from the smell of melting plastic, let me just tell you…


I give you: Charwic. The destruction of Arwic is now complete, as little more than flames are left. Asheron popped his head up about five minutes ago from a nearby bush, muttering about having to go over and help defend Cragstone. Two minutes later, Bael’zharon popped out from behind the same bush and muttered something about not having been present at all and having been locked in a soul stone the entire time and any comments to the opposite would result in swift and decisive punishment from his lawyers. 

Elysa, it should be noted, appeared out of the flames, quite charcoaled herself, and spent twenty minutes trying to organize a defense of Arwic. When someone pointed out to her that Arwic was already a smoldering crater, she commented “Of course it is, because nobody would listen to me!” and recalled to Cragstone.

There you have it. Now you know what happened during that hidden time in Dereth’s past, when Arwic was briefly wiped from existence. Yes, there is a New Arwic now, but you have to wonder – how flammable are those fancy new buildings?

I used to have such pretty hands. All the fingers were there, and very few scars. However, I am an artist, and I’m committed to presenting you the Truth as it occurs. Or at least as it occurs to me.

As you see here, prior to the start of this endeavor, My digits were intact. Unfortunately, it was not to remain so.




Here you seem my arm cleanly blown off, revealing my cybernetic titanium skeleton. After my secret was revealed, I had to kill everyone present to protect myself.

Kids, fireworks are not toys. However, they are a lot of fun, provided you only detonate them in buckets of water. So don’t play with them!

Otherwise something like the following might happen:

Kwip Blows Up (requires Windows Media Player)

“You know what would make this story REALLY funny? If I blow
myself up in the process of making it! COMEDY GOLD!”

Uh, wait, before you go there, let me just set the stage for you: we’ve completed the destruction of Arwic, and now Kampahn and I are merely playing burnination with anything that looks remotely flammable while Bats videotapes it so that forensic detectives will be able to piece together exactly where we blew ourselves up. Although this scene looks staged, I assure you it is not. The dialogue goes something like this:

Kampahn: “You know, we still have an undetonated firework in here?”
Kwip: (brief pause to ponder this potentially dangerous fact, then) “Pffffft.”
Bats: “Four minutes” (Bats was keeping track of how many minutes we have left on the tape, not just shouting our random time intervals)
Kwip: (as Kampahn attempts to move something away from the fire) “No, throw that on there, let it burn. It WANTS to burn. Now gimme a match.”
(convinced things weren’t burning quite fast enough, I decide to take matters into my own hands and ‘help’ the fire.)
Kwip: (applying said match) “Alright, watch yourself. I’d hate to see you get hurt as a result of me trying to run…”
(at this point, Mr. Undetonated Firework decides to make his presence known, resulting in me trying to accelerate my massive ass away from the hot burning things and Bats’ erupting into near-seizure quality laughter. You’ll notice he erupted into laughter BEFORE assuring that I was unexploded. Bastich.)

So kids, I appreciate it if you find this funny. But please DO NOT try and be as stupid as me, okay?

Kwip & Co.

Can You Ever TRULY Go Home?

It’s been a loooooooooong time.

I mean, I would still log in, cruise around just to see where people were hanging out – but being on for any length of time? I haven’t done that since… Sheesh, I don’t even remember. I’ve been busy having fun doing quests and trying to level up so much on Frostfell, I’ve completely neglected Darktide Kwip. Well, no more! Today I attempted to rectify that situation!

What in the HELL have you people been up to?

Look, I left the place in somewhat decent shape. Sure, some of the Bloods were a little too drunk and puked on the carpet in a few spots, but jeebus… My old guild’s MOTD was something about “Get in the xp chain or get boot.” I didn’t ask; I just left quietly. Maybe they won’t notice, ya think?

While the idiot:background ratio has always been unfortunately high on Darktide, I came in today to notice that it has been raised. SIGNIFICANTLY.

I’m doing my own thing, be-bopping around, seeing where people are, getting killed – you know, the usual. I watch some Bloods chase each other around Glendon Wood for a while before getting bored and deciding to pop into the GW Dungeon. Fun place, always nice to visit. I figure it’s as good a spot to die as any, really.

So I hop in the portal, expecting imminent death, and what do I get? Imminent death and amazing stupidity!

Axlen says, “nigga”
Axlen says, “buh bye”
Death says, “Yo yo yo, homeslice!”
You tell Axlen, “What’s up with ‘nigga’?”
Axlen tells you, “cuz im black”
Axlen tells you, “i call my ppl i gunna kill dat”
Axlen tells you, “why no”

I’m not really sure what to make of that. I’ve always taken it that if you get called ‘nigga’ by a black person, you can be considered ‘cool.’ Unless they’re saying it along the lines of, “I’m about to bust a cap in this nigga’s behind!” Then you’re not cool. You’re usually ducking and saying things like “Now fellas, can’t we all just get along?”

Also, he referred to me as ‘my ppl.’ Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that I am down, yo. If you need me, you’ll find me touring with Snoop Dogg.

Sigh. Lost One, Elemental Blast – how I miss you! No, seriously. How I missed you! I would shoot and shoot and shoot, but I never seemed to land a shot…

I’m lost. I think that’s what’s really bothering me. No, no, no – not the vitae. I’m plenty used to that. But mostly – I just feel out of touch! I used to know who held what town, and I didn’t even have to look at the map! Well, okay, that’s such a lie. I never knew what town I was in, let alone who controlled it. But I had an idear of who I was about to die to. Now, I just don’t have a clue, so I have to scream, “OMGBLOODSUX!” every time I get PK’d, just to play it safe.

How could I have fallen so far behind the times? I feel like Rip Van W0_onkle! Some guy one-shotted me and then bragged about it! He BRAGGED! About killing ME! WTF is wrong with these people? He was only ten levels below me, and he acted like it was an accomplishment!

It was such a scary place. These two guys came up to me, and not only did they take my lunch money, but they called me names afterwards, too! I had to bury my head in the pillow and cry for HOURS after that, let me tell you.

But one thing I did delight in discovering: they still leave the pyreals on your body! Thank Gord for small miracles! Not only was I able to afford the all-important shoes, but also, arrows! I was like… like… like some sort of ferocious level 10!

Death says, “Aren’t you level 42?”
You say, “So?”
Death says, “It’s just…well… You’re level FORTY-TWO. And you’re proud of managing the same things as a level ten?”
You say, “Well…maybe a level eleven. With buffs, of course.”
Death says, “Of course.”

Darktide, my Mistress of Naughty Bits, I’m back. Oh, how I’ve missed you! But, uh, who the hell are all these new faces? I saw someone from Owain Goch’s crew, and I have to tell you: that felt good. I actually remembered a name!

More will come to me as I page through DNN. Like some bad dream, probably. But man, I miss those days. Defending Uziz (well, by ‘defending’ I mean ‘patiently waiting my turn to die whilst hitting for 3-4 points a shot’). The sekrit listening post! Thinking that casting “Leaden Feet IV” on the mean PKers actually helped in the defense of town!

Sooo…anyone still there that remembers me? Is it still as fun? I’d like to get in on some fights. I’m not any good or anything, but I DO provide some comic relief as I die loudly!

I Tend To Have That Effect On People

I have a presence.

It’s true. I never really thought about it before.

Oh, I mean, if I got on a crowded elevator with a bunch of little skinny people, you can bet they feel something. Usually, stark raving terror that we’ll get stuck between floors and I’ll have to consume them. But sometimes they’re also scared that part of my blubber will smother them (turned on yet, ladies?).

However, I’ve finally come to the acceptance that now when I am around, I exude a supernatural presence that the, shall we say, “sensitive,” seem to pick up on.

Death says, “That’s not ‘sensitivity,’ you goob. That’s ‘logic.'”
You say, “Shush!”

I can usually notice this whenever I’m sitting around the Tormented Souls mansion. I’ll say something about going on some quest or another, and the clever folks will take a step back, portal recall, or just feign death. The luckless ones will actually make foolish offers of ‘help’ when they should be just running away. I appreciate their offers, though, but it really does lead to some tension. Not deliberate, mind you – I mean, come on, when’s the last time you heard about me getting somebody else killed?

Death says, “Uh, what time is it now?”
You say, “No, I mean, on PURPOSE!”

Look, it’s not my fault that there’s a few spawn points around the mansion. If I say “I want to try jumping onto the roof from a nearby cliff,” what I really mean is “I’m going to run over those hills there, drag every single monster within a three-mile radius around with me, fall off of the cliff nowhere near where I was aiming for, and yet all the monsters will come crashing around the heads of everyone here – so please duck.”

But on occasion, it will happen, that someone will honestly want to help me out with a quest or two. Usually it’s when Kaigon’s off doing something and can’t give them proper warning, of course. But it makes for fun times.

See, the real trick there is to find someone that can translate what I say into logical statements. For example, if you ask me what quest I wish to tackle, I will probably reply with the deadliest, most horrific quest in the game. One that I’m not even halfway in levels near being able to complete. Yet, because I read something about it on a board or two, I’ll instantly think that I should be doing it. Because, you know, the quest sounds cool, and I’m cool, and together, we’d be, like, cool. Unfortunately, the quests that most people talk about now are quests they’re completing with their 80th level characters. Which will be me in about, oh, lessee…five years?

But until then – I really don’t mind doing these ‘little’ quests. Honestly, if nothing else, I get to feel like a big man as I push down the little Drudge Robber and take his charm!

Last night I must’ve spent almost a full hour at the lich tower outside of Tou-Tou. Now that I can get level seven buffs, I’m able to go there and SOLO that place, baby! Do you know how many times in the past I lost corpses there? Back in the early days of Blackspire Guard, that was practically how we ended every single gathering, by getting our asses handed to us by a bunch of liches! Liches! Now it’s a place I can clear out myself! Well…myself and a good mage buffing me, of course…

But anyway, back to my point: don’t ask me where we should go on a quest. You probably won’t like the answer. Or, if you do, you won’t like the fact that I get myself, you, a couple people passing by, a handful of people that shared our lifestone and the entire population of a town killed trying to do the quest. Oh yes – I’ve seen it happen.

Er, wait, that wasn’t my point at all. What the heck was it?

Death says, “Me?”

Oh. Erm…being around me means being around that guy. So, you know, consider yourself warned. Next time we go after the Abandoned Warehouse, don’t be surprised if the entire place just blows right the hell up.

Possibly The Greatest Idea EVER!

Just answer me this: HOW do these guys manage to keep their stores?

Let’s face it, when we first arrived on Dereth, it was perfectly acceptable to sell stuff and not know what the hell you were doing. None of us knew what we were doing, so you fit in. And hey, if you were a mighty TWELFTH level, it was obvious you know LOADS more than us mere 4th or 5th level guys and gals!

But now, here we are, capped characters everywhere you look, and who’s running the shops? The newbs.

Come on, people. We need to start holding some standards to these slobs! Selling us basic arrows? Are we going to stand for this? It wouldn’t be so bad if these were just wandering bowyers or something. But these guys have all the good spots! Oh, sure, you can set up in Marketplace – but let’s face it: that place is crowded, noisy, and usually full of idiots like Merovingian.

Who’s that? I dunno, some goombah running around Market asking to see my bow. I had just gotten level 7 buffs while standing right in front of him, so it’s not like he was going to do anything for me. But when I tell him to go away and stop pestering people, he calls ME a n00b! Me – and yet his idea of a clever thieving scam was to just ask people for their weapons? Honestly, I remember the days when thieving assholes really INVESTED themselves in their roles, by golly! Actually taking the time to invent some sort of swindle involving an exploit or something – remember those days? Sigh. Now we’re stuck with assmunchers like Merovingian and his oh-so-witty, “Lemme see your bow.” Sigh.

Er…but where was I? Oh, right – the merchants! Look, I accept that mages don’t actually practice magic. That’s fine; if I go to buy something from them, I’m just going to buy base components anyway. But blacksmiths? Not knowing how to tinker? And bowyers not being able to make anything except the most basic of arrows? Who are their Union Reps? Satan?

How does that meeting work, exactly? Which meeting, you ask? The one where you’re explaining to the angry mob of town residents why your store isn’t going to sell anything except basic arrows! Aren’t there lawyers out there yet? Why aren’t we suing these guys? How can you call yourself a blacksmith and not actually be able to do any smithing, let alone any of the black variety!

And we’re not talking about people SO busy they have nothing else to do, here! These are people with apprentices! What are their jobs? What could they possibly be learning, “How to Bilk Your Average Citizen?” I mean, come on, I pay my taxes!

Death says, “No you don’t! Nobody pays any taxes!”
You say, “Well, if we HAD taxes, I would pay them!”
Death says, “You liar! You’d whine and bitch about them just like you do everything else!”
You say, “QUIET, SLUT!”

Where’s our great and powerful Queen? Why isn’t our (not yet collected) tax money being spent on Vocational-Technical schools? It’s not like you walk up to an apprentice to ask for something and he has to go get the boss or anything! And they don’t even barter! The price is set in stone! So basically all the apprentice does is hold some of the stock for the blacksmith. I dunno, maybe when nobody’s around, they have to clean out the bedpans or something, but I never see it happen.

Let’s face it: if a brand new arrival to the land walks up to your store and says, “Woah, your inventory kind of sucks, n00b!” You’ve got a problem! I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a clue when it comes to marketing. And yet I think that I can make a dangerously accurate prediction: nobody buys plain arrows from bowyers! Why would they? I think I’ve seen brain-damaged Virindi ‘experiments’ that could make better arrows than these guys! In fact, I can snap a branch off of a tree and have a better arrow!

It wouldn’t be so bad if these goombahs didn’t have such a choke-hold on every town. You think I’m kidding? Find me a town where ONE bowyer sells decent arrows! Or even a blacksmith that can do anything to your weapon or armor (other than steal it from you for a ridiculous sum!)! At this point, I’d be completely happy if they took it and broke it – just so I could believe they were actually trying!

Here’s what I think needs to happen: first, kill all the merchants. Let’s face it, they’ve been living off of our misery long enough! Let THEM see what a little vitae feels like! And let’s face it, these guys could stand to earn a bit of vitae – what, you think 8% vitae’s going to even make a dent in their ability levels to make the crap they sell now? Yeah right!

Anyway, once we have the old merchants under control, we establish NEW merchants. Ones that pay taxes! And have actual skills!

And if they were all attractive red-heads in low-cut gowns…Well, the world wouldn’t be too worse off, would it?


I did a little research for the hunt tonite.

ex·arch (ksärk) n.

  1. A bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church ranking immediately below a patriarch.
  2. The ruler of a province in the Byzantine Empire.

Erm… So by my reckoning, this Magma Golem was either a bishop, or a Byzantine ruler… Well, there has been a history of rulers that weren’t exactly the most brilliant people in the world, so I guess I could accept this.

Let me back up a bit here: Bats was once again attempting to powerlevel me. Yeah, exactly – after I died the first time chasing the magma golems through Glendon Wood, we decided a new strategy was in order. Basically that consisted of you know, me not dying!

Yeah, that was a pretty radical idea when I suggested it. Bats was game, though, so we hopped up on top of the tent in the middle of town and awaited the Exarch…

Which leads me completely off track: tents. What the HELL are they making tents out of in Dereth? You know what the function of a tent is? It’s to drive you insane while you try and put it up in the pouring rain, then later to gather the rain into a large puddle that falls on your head when you try and leave the tent. I’ve been camping, I know. But not only do the tents in Dereth stand up nice and firm, but they stand up nice and firm with my massive buttocks jumping up and down on them. JUMPING! Up and down! Who builds these tents? Is there some freakish Derethian Cirque Du Soleil troupe running around building these things? I’ve been in bomb shelters that were shabbier than these things!

Er…where was I?

Death says, “By the lifestone?”
You say, “Shush!”

No, wait – I was on the tent. Right. So we sit up there, and this Exarch comes waltzing up. And let me tell you: I’ve run into some DUMB critters in Dereth…

Death says, “You ARE a dumb critter in Dereth!”
You say, “Would you shut the hell up already?”

Anyway. This Exarch – he’s about as sharp as my Ben & Jerry’s spoon (which, uh, being a spoon, is not really sharp, for those of you wondering). The guy is about ten times as tall as me, but he can’t figure out how to get on top of the tent! I mean, I don’t blame him – he probably took one look at my massive ass being supported by this…this cloth, and he figured there was some trickery afoot. Which might have given him a slight mental prowess – say, one step above a clam – except that instead of running away from the trickery, he proceeded to charge right up next to it and wave at us.

It was like one of those movies when the little kid tries to go after the big guy, and the big guy just holds him at arm’s length while the twerp’s swinging his arms like a windmill on speed. And the entire time he’s doing this, I’m shooting him in the face! I mean, what, did this guy go to the Black Knight School of Combat? Every time I blew off his boulders (ahem), I expected something like, “Right! I’ll do you for that! I’m INVINCIBLE!”

Only this was WAAAAAY worse – not only was I shooting him in the face the entire time, but Bats kept on imp’ing him! Over and over again – no kidding – for five levels – I beat on that guy. I mean, I suppose I should be embarrassed. It was like getting caught trying to rent Annie by the guys in your PK Guild. I mean, sure, it’s one of Carol Burnett’s greatest performances – and Tim Curry as Rooster! HA! Man, that is one of the best…

Death says, “OMG U GIANT POOF!”
You say, “QUIET, SLUT!”

I think even more pathetic than us beating up on him like that were his attempts to get me down to ‘ground level’ where he could take a few swings at me…

Oh, man – and even more pathetic was this guy that showed up halfway during the hunt – Ghost-UA or something like that? Anyway, by this point Bats and I had a rhythm: Exarch would show up, Bats would commence vulning, I’d commence shooting in face. Worked like a charm. Then this goombah comes running up – Bats has vulned the Exarch. I’m shooting arrows at it. While we’re doing this, Ghost runs up behind it and begins swinging. With a fire weapon. I dunno, maybe he was dropped on his head as a child. Or an adult.

Anyway, I’m not going to be rude about it – I try and be polite to the insane. I don’t need one of them showing up on my doorstep chewing on my doormat or something. But THEN, as I’m plucking away on this guy, he begins asking Bats for buffs. And to vuln the Exarch. When I tried to explain to him (still nicely) that we were hunting the Exarch and perhaps he should seek out something else – you know, like something actually vulnerable to fire – he insisted that he wouldn’t leave until he was allowed one kill.

Sorry, but at this point any pretense to politeness flew out the window. I began composing this really great insult, dealing with his heritage, his mother’s mating preference, the specific odor he exuded and something about his furniture of choice…but then the Exarch took notice of him.

Suddenly, in the murky depths of magma he had for the brain, the realization sunk in that there was someone on the ground trying to hit him. Like any large creature made of magma and powered by evil magicks is trained to do when someone (especially someone less than smart) approaches, he promptly went beserk.

Watching him chase Ghost through the village brought a tear to my eye, I must say…