Vitae the 13th

Unlucky day, huh? I guess so, as it found me hunting with Bats.

He said he was going to power-level me. Unfortunately, whatever wacky tongue he speaks (New Jersien?) doesn’t translate well into English, because I think the phrase he was looking for was “get me killed in a most horrific manner.”

You would think that power-leveling would be easy for someone like me. What with being famous and everything. Honestly, it’s almost embarrassing any time I set foot in public! The press of fans can be SOOO overwhelming!

Kiolic says, “OMG!”
You blush.
Haderach, “Dude, no way!”
You say, “Now now, autographs are free, just step up…”

Kiolic says, “Is that the real BATS?”
You says, “Yes, it’s…Bats?”
Bats says, “Hey, doods!”
Haderach says, “Oh, man – I can’t believe it’s really you!”

You look at Bats.
Bats smiles.
You tell Bats, “I really, really hate you.”
Bats giggles.

So I figured, what with this being an unlucky day and all, and me normally being unlucky to start off with – well, I thought that maybe there’d be some sort of cosmic re-alignment, you know? We all know that I suck on any given day. But maybe today, right – maybe today I’d be SUPAH!

Think about it: today’s the day everyone else gets to feel like I do EVERY DAY. So wouldn’t it be only fair for me to live this day as something close to normal?

I’m not asking for anything absurd here, people. Just – I dunno, make it so that everything I kill drops a SIK? That’s not asking much, right? Or maybe, how about this – today, everything I shoot dies in one-shot? Oh, come on – it’s not like I ask for this every day!

Death says, “Yes you do!”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

Of course we all know that any time I ask for something and get it, there’s bound to be trouble. Like if I ever found a genie in a bottle, I’d ask for a freezer that never ran out of Ben & Jerrys, and the genie would remove my taste buds. Or I’d ask for immortality, and the genie would trap me in a vat of lava. Or I’d ask for Sarah McLaughlin to give me a back rub and the genie would remove my genitalia. Such is my life.

So, you think I’d be a little suspicious.

Yes, instead of the exact opposite of my normal day happening, things were pretty much up to normal: I got my ass handed to me.

There should be someone I can complain to about this whole thing. I mean really, I did all the ‘opposite’ things I was supposed to do: I walked under ladders (and a bucket of paint fell on my head), a black cat crossed my path (and then proceeded to pee on my carpet – stupid cat), I broke a mirror (just by looking in it). Come on – I lived up to MY end of the arrangement! When’s Fate going to give me another chance?

Death says, “Hey – maybe to be REALLY contrary, your lucky day is going to be Saturday the FOURTEENTH!”
You say, “Oooooh…I hadn’t thought of that! That’s brilliant! Of COURSE!”
Death says, “t Olthoi Queen, He fell for it! Okay, next I’ll see if I can get him to invade your lair – you just get all your goons together, okay?”
You say, “What?”
Death says, “Er…nothing, I, uh, have a cold.”
You say. “Oh.”
Death says, “So, did you have anything in mind for tomorrow?”
You say, “Well, I was thinking about trying a dungeon…”
Death says, “How about the Olthoi Lair?”
You say, “That sounds like fun!”
Death says, “Hee…more than you will EVER know…”

Going To The Chapel, And I’m… Getting Beat to Death…

So my job in this whole mess is to… erm… Actually, I’m not sure WHAT they were thinking inviting me along.

See, Wippitah and Serila were getting married. Don’t ask me why, but they thought it’d be a fun idea to have me there as the official Ticket Taker. That’s not exactly a role I’m familiar with in weddings, but hey, maybe it was one of those new-fangled traditions coming about. You know, like hanging giant bug heads on your walls… 

I got a little suspicious, though, when I showed up and they immediately splashed me in Banana Schnapps. I was just a tad bit put off. I mean, I’m used to weird wedding customs – forcing people to wear dresses in my own wedding kinda made it illegal for me to ever complain about wearing odd outfits at anyone else’s wedding, ya know? But this is booze we’re talking about! Perfectly good…well, no – who on earth would ever like Banana Schnapps?

So I oblige. Now, apparently I am filling a role of honor. From what they’re telling me, it is my job to stand on the outskirts of the chapel while they exchange their vows. They tell me that this role is very, very important. They tell me that this is a job they would only give to someone they trust and respect. They tell me that when they decided to get married, they knew this was a job for me. Role of honor? Important job? Oh, yeah, this is definitely me!

However, what they don’t tell me about are the three million monkeys tuskers surrounding the chapel that haven’t been feed in, I dunno ten years.

It wouldn’t have been so bad getting chased around by tuskers, but then one of them decides they’d really like some Bananas Foster, so they whip out their good ol’ Tusker wand and fire off a few fireballs at me – and since I’m already soaked in schnapps…FWOOOSH.

Yeah. It was the hit of the wedding, apparently.

So I make a lousy desert. And an even worse guest – everyone else had all these cool presents, but the best I could come up with were a few scrolls that were of such little value, I had to make up stuff to make them worth anything.

Presenting them with a Scroll of Lightning Protection, I informed them, “Love strikes suddenly and swiftly like a bolt of lightning; but now you have each other and are protected.”

For the Scroll of Summon Primary Portal, I told them, “Love will take you away and transport you to a wondrous place.”
For Revitalize Self, “Your Love should breath new life into you when you think of them.”
For Fire Vulnerability, “Your Love will be more susceptible to your scorn than anyone else; tread carefully.”
For Item Tinkering Expertise, “A happy marriage requires a little bit of tinkering every now and then.”
For Endurance Other, “Love endures all.”
For Fealty Self, “Above all else, to your Love be true.”

And finally, the last Scroll I gave to Serila and told her it was for her to use on her husband on those nights when she had a headache.

The scroll?

Spear Ineptitude Other, of course. 😉

An Intellectual Pursuit…

It starts off innocently enough:

“You’re not so smart! I could beat you at anything!”
“Oh really? How about a nice game of chess?”
“You’re on!…wait…is chess the one with the round things? Red and black?”

See, A’ and I were having a little “professional disagreement.” I felt that as his vassal, it was my job to ensure that the rest of his vassals were up to snuff.

He took offense at my suggestion that they all break from him and pledge to me.

Hey look man, I’m here to save lives. You got that? I’m not a politician! I shoot from the hip! I’m an outsider to Washington! I, uh…

Death says, “Woah, are you quoting Gee Dubyah? I’m really going to have to kill you now…”

No no no, you see, what I’m trying to say here is that you know, sometimes a leaders’ decisions get called into question. And sometimes he needs a, what’s the word, counselor? Advisor? Aide?

Death says, “Scapegoat?”

Yes! Er, no! My offer was just to help A’ get his rowdy bunch of hooligans under control. The 50% tax on all phat lewt was really more of a guideline, not necessarily a rule, mind you. But oh, no – everyone had to get offended. Everyone’s all in an uproar because I suggested changing their official titles to “Dill Hole” or “Tater Butt” or even the noble “Unbelievable Jackass Bastich.” Those are like, Roman titles or something. I’m pretty sure I saw them on the Discovery Channel.

But now here we were. The gauntlet has been thrown down, and it’s not like me to not accept!

Death says, “No, it’s more like you to be three miles away in terror before the gauntlet even leaves the other guys’ hand…”

Exactly. Unfortunately, A’ had some of his thugs blocking my egress (dirty look at Kaigon). So I was left with no choice but to engage in the ancient contest of wills, of military strategy, of forethought and planning, of deviousness and… erm… moving… and… uh… pieces…

Death says, “You have no idea how to play this game, do you?”

Of course I do! It’s basically a fancy version of checkers! And I’m TOTALLY awesome at checkers – even Chinese checkers! Although I’m not playing that right now – SARS and all that, you know. But look, they play the game on the same boards – and if anything, chess has MORE pieces to it than checkers, so that’s even MORE chances for me to get kinged!

Death giggles.

Quiet, slut! Now then: as any great strategist will tell you, the key to victory in any conflict is properly motivating your troops. Unfortunately, there was a bit of confusion at first, as nobody warned me what the pieces were going to look like. So my ‘army’ spawns, and I’m screaming bloody murder about a drudge invasion and trying to knock an arrow to my bow whilst running about. I manage to impale half of my army and myself before someone bothers to explain what’s going on. Hrmph. Cheaters.

So we manage to get the fires on my army put out (I swear I didn’t start all of them – I really think A’ set off a few fireballs while no one was looking). Now if there’s ever been a man born to lead soldiers, it’s none other than R. Lee Emery. So I prepare to address my troops…

Death says, “Uh, Kwip…”

Drudge Queen smites you so hard the lifestone flinches!
Death says, “I was going to mention that Gunny Sgt. Emery gets killed, too, but I see you figured it out. Hrmm…does this count as a loss?”

It bloody well does NOT! I just have to make my way back to the chess…
Skeleton Bone Knight smites you so hard your ancestors feel it!
(You know, that always makes me wonder – when that happens, is the Kwip in AC2 flinching? ‘Cause, you know, he’s my ancestor and all…)

Okay, I make it back – but if I lose, it’s TOTALLY because of vitae!

A’ says, “lol, sure, sure…”

I think he’s mocking me… But finally, the game is afoot! Our soldiers line up on opposing sides, facing off in grim determination as each side makes ready to defend its’ views and beliefs unto death! And suddenly it strikes me:

I have no idea how the hell to play chess…

I mean, I know that if I click a piece and click somewhere on the board, he’ll go there if it’s a legal move. So that’s pretty much what my strategy boils down to. Well, that and threatening my pieces if they don’t win this match for me. That and a few potshots at A’s pieces, and I figure the game’s as good as mine.

Of course then a bunch of people show up to watch. And it strikes me that if I humiliate A’ by defeating him as soundly as I obviously can, he’ll probably resent that and stop doing things like giving me phat lewt, buffing me, powerleveling me – oh, and posing for my comics.

We can’t have that. So yes, A’, you win THIS round! But I have a secret plan: and as soon as I figure out how to patch Deep Fritz through Decal, it’s all over, A’!

Okay, the Bandies Just Downright Scare Me…

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. But when exactly did they put in the patch that turned all the Banderling Guards into rejects from the Ziegfried and Roy show?

I mean, guys, really – purple leotards? Who made this decision? What, are we trying for the Vegas angle now in marketing? Why not just give them silicon implants and butt tucks and get it over with?

Look, I want my monster to terrify me because it looks like it’s going to kill me. I want it to be an intimidating foe, that conjures images of the flesh being torn from my bones if I should fall in combat against it. I don’t want to picture my monsters trying to give me a makeover.

That’s from a totally unrelated set of nightmares, mmkay?

I understand that the Banderling Army has recently instituted a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in their recruitment. I have no problem with that. The lifestyles that adult Banderlings choose is entirely up to them, and I’ll support it. But what really concerns me is the flamboyancey of these latest recruits. I mean, last night one of them attacked me, and his mace had sequins on it, for Gord’s sake! And he kept saying things to me like, “How do you know it’s no fun if you won’t even try it?”

And these are just the little Banderlings. Now I’m terrified of going out to the Dires, because those Bandies were a terror and I can’t take them on when they’re just trying to kill me, never mind when they’re trying to teach me how to dance the Macarena.

I’m afraid I’ll go out there, one of them will offer to take me ‘clubbing,’ and next thing you know I’ll wake up the following morning in some cave or something, wearing makeup, a feather boa, and some sort of lingerie thingy.

Death says, “What are you complaining about? That’s exactly how you woke up the day after your birthday!”
You say, “Right! So I know what I’m talking about, don’t I!”

This Is A Sick Joke, Right?


Don’t get me wrong.

I like the game.

I absolutely ADORE my fellow players. Yes, YOU, you big snuffleumpagus! *HUG*

Okay, that’s getting a bit carried away. I certainly do like going and getting Quix good and drunk so I can take funny pics of him.

But…a LARP? What the hell was someone thinking?

If by “Larp” you mean “sit around drinking, eating and telling outrageous stories about each other,” then by all means, sign my tubby ass up! However, if you’re implying that we, I dunno, dress up – in costumes – and pretend that we are our alter-egos from Asheron’s Call… What, you don’t have ENOUGH things to make fun of the fans from last year? You have to stoop to this – to inventing embarrassing scenes for us? Oh, the improv’s not bad enough, eh? Now we have to get even worse?

For those of you that don’t know, Larp is a “Live Action Role-Playing.” Basically, you dress up and behave like your character. It’s not an insane concept, in and of itself. I had some very good times playing a crazed Malkavian. But that involved a lot of riddles, mysteries – that sort of thing. Ask Mr. Pants about it sometime; I used to get involved in a lot of his Larps. And they were fun, because there were all sorts of puzzles and manipulations to think your way through.

Sorry, but AC is not that sort of game. I mean, come on, the greatest thinking you’ve ever had to do in AC involved remembering a sequence of levers to pull. Can you really imagine trying to turn AC into a game based on social skills? Think about your average denizen of the Marketplace. Would you really want to meet that ‘character’ somewhere where you weren’t allowed to hit them?

Riiiiiiight… I love Tim and all, but this guy dressed up like that when there was no incentive. Do you have any idea what he’s going to dress up as NOW? Good grief, won’t someone please think of the children? I mean, come on people. I am going to be so busy mocking I’ll barely have time to draw a breath here!

I talked about this with Wi. We decided that he’s going to dress up in a bunny suit with a taser – he’ll be Pookie. I’m just going to eat a ton of real garlicky pizza and run around as a mountain rat. Get a load of THIS breath weapon, puny human!

Wait, I know! I’m going to get a pair of elevator pumps, black tights and face paint and be Gene Simmons! Yeah, I know, he’s not in AC. But the Devs HAVE said that there are things nobody’s found yet! Think about it….

Shadow, Shmadow, Looks Bright Enough To Me!

This event has blown my mind.

I actually knew about the Shadow Worlds MANY moons ago – like back in the Sentinels and Advocates days. They existed back then. Sometimes one of the admins would get a little crazy and do something wacky like make everyone 20th level.

But now… Now, there are SOOOO many different little things going on in the Shadow World that news pages have a tough time keeping up with all the wackiness!

What do I think of it?

It’s brilliance. Sheer brilliance. I’d LOVE to see some statistics put out on how many people re-activated their accounts this month just to play there. I know of at least 5 people that did so.

“Bah!” you say. “Those people will only stick around until they’re bored!”

…So? They’re not there at ALL now, so what are they hurting? They’ve come back, and at least two of them made characters on ‘real’ servers just so they could explore some of the stuff they missed on Shadowclaim. That, as my mother likes to say, is a good thing.

I don’t know what it would take and if it would be harmful to the regular updates and awesome work in the rest of the worlds the current live team is doing. But I sure would like to see this as a regular thang. Once a month, for one week, open up Shadowclaim and let folks go hog wild. Not just the players, either – you can’t tell me there weren’t some Turbies having a great time!

So I think this was a GREAT idea, and I really, really hope it gets repeated.

Now that I’ve said all that… Why can’t we kill Elyssa? C’mon, that chicks’ had it coming for YEARS now! Tell me I’m the only one that wanted to pop her in her royal pie hole! Wouldn’t that be fun? We could have had server-wide hunts for her! Set her lose in one of the dungeons and tell her if she makes it back inside some keep or something (that can’t be portaled to!), she’ll be allowed to live.

Until the next night.

And this levelling business: c’mon, was there ANYONE not at level 126? I mean, besides me? Yeah, I made it to like level 5 before getting bored trying to level and instead chased Bael around, pestering him.

You say to your monarch, “OMG HI HIH HI HI!”
Your monarch Bael’Zharon tells you, “Okay, who the heck let Kwip in the monarchy?”
You say to your monarch, “OMG POWAH LVL PREESE”
Your monarch, Bael’Zharon, tells you, “No, go away!”

You say, “Bael! HI HI HI! OMG HI! u r ma friend 4 evah!”
Bael’Zharon says, “If I kill you, will that stop you?”
Bael’Zharon attacks you and misses!
Bael’Zharon says, “…”
You say, “Woah…you missed me. Man, do YOU suck. I don’t wanna be your vassal anymore!”
Bael’Zharon says, “It was a bug!”
You say, “Yeah, right, suckwad. HEY, ANYONE NEED A VASSAL!”
Asheron says, “Yes, I do! Pledge to me!”
You have broken your allegiance to Bael’Zharon.
Asheron has accepted your oath of loyalty.
Bael’Zharon says, “Nooooooooooooo!!!! Not to HIM!”

The Admins need to have MORE power, I say. I want to see things like Ben and Jerry’s raining down from the sky! And a special “Ben & Jerry’s Smite” that’s like a level ten spell that causes frozen pints of B&J to smash into your opponent’s head for a BAZILLION points of damage!

It’s funny how all the officials were saying things like, “We’re just, ah, testing the servers. Yes. Testing them. This is not, I repeat, not our chance to really get out here and smack the crap out of the lot of you whining girlies like you so richly deserve!”

I mean, come on, if you could drive a Tremendous Monogua around, would you waste your time trying to fit into the Disco? ‘Course not. You’d be busy seeing just how many players fit under your size 12,000 Nikes.

Hey, YOU Left the Door Unlocked!

I shouldn’t be left unattended.

I don’t know how many times I tell people this, but nobody listens to me.

“Don’t leave me alone!” I say. “Something’s going to explode!” I say. “I like to play with matches!” I say. But does anyone listen? Oh, no, they’re all like, “Ok, that’s funny – now would you please get out of our house?” and carrying on suchly.

Let’s face it: Turbine has let me down. There should be a LOT more ways to keep someone out of trouble. For argument’s sake, let’s just call that someone me. To further illustrate our point, by “out of trouble,” let’s just call that “alive.”

Look, the way I see it, it has got to be damn boring to be a monster in Dereth. Especially now that they closed the disco. I mean, how long can you stand around, waiting for someone to run up and stab you in the face, before you grow bored? Not very long, trust me – as a seasoned Darktide player, I have a feeling for exactly what that’s like.

So if I’m left to my own devices, you can bet that pretty soon I’ve attracted the attention of the local fauna. Hey, everyone else has LONG since out-leveled me, so it’s only fair I sit around talking with these guys. It’s not that I want to, mind you. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a cow? Wanna know how exciting that is? Never mind the rabid cows. Those guys at least have good taste in music (they’re big on the rave scene, in case you didn’t know).

But occasionally, a critter will show up with enough rudimentary sense that you can engage it in a little fun. Case in point, a lot of lugians nowadays are all over the place. Yes, they’re idiots, but they can be fun – it’s like baby-sitting a two-year-old. One that throws boulders and can walk through the side of the house.

Yeah, they’re strong as Yellow Rat Bastard’s breath, but they’ve also got the IQ of a shoe. Sure, you guys may be all high and mighty come the time of AC2, but let’s not fool ourselves – back in this day and age, you guys still think standing around a basket and throwing a boulder or two at passer-by is a ‘good time.’

Anyway, they can be a lot of fun to play games with. Case in point: A’ left me alone at the mansion. Unattended, even. So what else was there to do? Invite in the local lugian and play hide-and-seek! At first, he wanted to play a game he called, ‘hide the boulder,’ but since that mostly involved trying to hide a boulder inside my face by means of hurling at me at great speeds, I quickly grew tired of that game. Instead, I tried to explain to him the rules of hide-and-seek. It was pretty tough going at first, as he thought that if he had his eyes closed, that constituted an invisibility spell. But once I got things going, he picked up quick enough. Only he took WAY too much pleasure in tagging me as ‘it.’ Also, he couldn’t quite grasp that when he was hiding, his job wasn’t to tag me, but instead run away from me.

As a Cultural Diplomat (doesn’t that sound important?), I extended to another species the glove of friendship. In return, he knocked down three walls in the mansion, broke four chairs, ate three swords that were hanging on the wall (that’s a silly place for them, anyway!) and took a dump in the Horn of Vigilance. Oh, and killed me, but that’s hardly a crime anymore, is it?

When A’ came back, there was basically a pile of rubble, broken bits of furniture, and a few of my corpses lying around. He was a bit ticked, but I explained to him that Allied sources had learnt that Saddam might’ve been hiding in our mansion, so they smart-bombed it to death…

Talk About Ruling a Town With an Iron Fist… How About a DIAMOND Fist?

You give a monster a name, and the stupid thing rules a town.

And to make matters worse, the thing’s got a girly name – Susanne or something – not even a proper evil woman’s name, like Evillynne or Elvira or even Joan Rivers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On Frostfell, I belong to the Tormented Souls monarchy, which is a great group of people…if they’re not feeling like being totally evil…

A’ tells you, “Hey, whacha doing?”
You tell A’, “I’m killing the Olthoi Queen.”
A’ tells you, “Woah, really?”
You tell A’, “Of course not really! I’m getting the crap kicked out of me by these stupid gromnies, what’d ya expect me to be doing?”
Death says, “Well, he probably knew you were dying, but wasn’t sure what was killing you…”

Cynic. Like there can be any doubt lately. I swear, someone’s swaddled my girth in Gromnie Bait or something.

Death says, “Oh, thank you for that mental imagery!”

Sorry. It’s true, though – for some reason, lately everywhere I go there’s like a train of 80 billion gromnies hot on my trail. And they’re varied – sometimes I’m getting burnt, sometimes frozen, sometimes shocked and sometimes just poked – it’s a plethora of killing methods!

But NOW I’m getting attention from the big dogs! Not just A’, but Khushbu, Jodmala, Qysela and Aluver o’ Women II (I’m not making that up!) – all of them want to hang out with ME!

Not that I can blame them, mind you. Sometimes I’m so cool, I think that I’m responsible for this long hard winter and I want to punch myself in the head! THAT’s how cool I am! I know, I can’t believe someone hasn’t started an “Official Kwip Fanclub” and began ebaying autographed Hawaiian shirts or something. There’s probably one or two million dollars just in licensing rights alone, you know? Mmmmm, I love money…

Wait, where was I?

Oh, right – A’ & Co. inviting me to do something! As I tried to remember how to get to subway, my mind began to race furiously with possibilities – maybe there were going to take me to hunt the Queen? Man, that would be cool. Oh! Or maybe they were gonna take me on Gaerlan’s quest (or whatever that guy’s name is)! Oh oh oh – or maybe they were going to take me to that new island! I’ve never been there, ya know! Which island? I don’t care, pick one – I’ve never been to any of them!

So I make my way into Subway. And my oh my – isn’t THIS a change! Remember how crowded Subway used to be? And how there were like never any of the undead around because everyone going through there so often turned them into floormats? Well, now thanks to our markets, that place is alive! Er…well, no, not so much alive as maybe unalive. There were like five undead waiting for me as soon as I started down the stairs. And that’s about 3 more than I can handle.

Death says, “Three?”
You say, “Well, maybe four.”
Death says, “Four?”
You say, “Isn’t there someone else you could be bothering? Look, Anson’s probably trying to finish a quest. Go play with him.”
Death says, “Oooooh, good idear. BRB!”
Anson tells you, “Bastich!”
You giggle.

So that’s another trip. It takes me a while to find someone to buff me up enough to handle the undead, then it takes even longer to convince them to buff me up again after I get killed jumping and have to re-do that whole thing. Hey – it’s been a while, I forgot how much that jump hurt, okay?

But finally, after much mirth and mayhem (at my expense, of course), I make it to Mayoi. Know what I find waiting for me? A’, Khushbu, Aluver o’ Women II (the second? Was his father that insane? Where was his mother during the naming?), Jodmala, Qysela, and Suzerain. Oh, didn’t I mention Suzerain before? The level one billionth diamond golem? Huh… I must’ve forgot her…just like A’ forgot to mention her to me!

So I get into town, and I have about ten seconds to wonder why everyone is on a roof. Also, why everyone is giggling their butts off. I figure someone just told a funny joke, and isn’t it always like me to come in after the punchline? Silly me, I was the punchline!

A’ says, “Kwip, duck!”
Khushbu says, “Ho-ho-ho, Kwip, what’s fifteen feet tall, hard as a diamond, a golem, and bearing down on you at about a thousand miles an hour?”
Aluver o’ Women II says, “Hey – bring any chicks with you? ‘Cause I got one HECK of a diamond to give them! Haw!”
Jodmala says, “Knock knock!”
Oysela says, “Who’s there?”
Jodmala says, “A diamond golem!”
Oysela says, “A diamond golem who?”
Jodmala says, “A diamond golem who just ran over Kwip, that’s who!”

And then they all broke down in laughter. Friends. Ain’t they a blast?

Actually, though, I’m kind of jealous. This is an awesome prank to pull on someone. Hrmm…I wonder if Anson’s been to town yet…

You tell Anson, “Hey buddy! I’ve got a whole bunch of phat lewt someone gave me to give to you! Wanna meet someplace?”
Anson tells you, “Awesome! Yeah, where should we meet?”
You tell Anson, “Well, have you been to Mayoi lately?”
Anson tells you, “Nah, I haven’t been there in forever. But I know how to get there – that’s fine. See you soon!”

Mwuah-ha-ha! See SUZE soon, you mean!

Who’s Laughing Now, Bucko?

Ohhhhhhhh, nooooooooooo – don’t listen to ME!

How long have I been telling you all? How many times did I try and raise an army to protect our lands, only to lose the members to quests, portal storms, or really interesting-looking mountains that looked like someone’s name? Oh, no, we shouldn’t worry about the COWS, Kwip! They’ll never be a threat to us!


If you answered “Kwip,” then you’re right. Hey man, I warned you guys, time and time again! “The cows here now are just their scouts!” I said. “They’re looking for weak spots!” I told you. “They have maps painted on them so they don’t get lost!” I explained.

But did you listen? OF COURSE NOT!

And now we’re all going to pay the terrible, terrible price. You think THESE guys are bad? They’re just the shock troops, here to lull us into a false sense of security! But soon, Cowmandos will be parachuting in all over Dereth. Yeah, try telling them you’re a vegan, hippy, while they’re busy eating your face off.

Oh, sure, it all sounds like fun and games. Nobody sees the true horror here. You all run around, thinking how tasty this infected beef is. But soon, friends – soon we’ll be overrun. We’ll be herded into pens by the forces of the Cow-lective. That’s right folks, you heard it here first. What they have planned for us is nothing short of total subjugation! And I’m not talking about the fun kind with fuzzy handcuffs, either!

Pretty soon we’ll be tilling in their fields, planting the most luscious grass for them, reduced to nothing more than groundskeepers. That’s if we’re lucky enough to be dominated by the non-man-eaters. Otherwise…it’s into the gravy train for you, buddy. And that train rolls one way – to the cud factory!


I THINK I Remember This Quest…

The problem is, I bragged to Ben-li Sung recently that I knew all about the Tikola’s Dagger quest.

Then I realized it had been something like a year since I last did it. For all I know now, you open the first door and the Olthoi Queen comes out and rapes your eye sockets (recently voted top fear amongst Derethian adventurers!). So I had to be sure I could do it again.

Big mistake. Giant. HUGE mistake.

Now of course, the previous times I had done it, I always had someone with me that had some ungodly lockpick skill. So the first door in the place didn’t even slow us down. But now, I found that on my own I had to do the other parts of the quest – the parts, sadly enough, that involved talking to the Insane Short-Haired Swamp Women (ISHSW, for short). The first one was obviously a pothead, as she immediately sent me out for papers. The next one… well, the next one had her own little ‘perks’ that immediately endeared me to her…

And let me tell you something: I don’t care what those guides at CoD say, these wood golems drop a heart like once every BILLION deaths! So if you try and do this, be prepared for a LONG wait. And bring a lot of arrows. Fire, preferably. Greater Fire if you’re looking for the whole “Shock and Awe” effect.

As you read above, I got sick of the whole waiting for a heart thing and grabbed the next best thing. Hey man, I don’t know where she gets off demanding a HEART. What, like it can’t be carved out of a branch or something? C’mon, have you seen that key? We’re not talking anything complicated here! We could just as easily run this thing down to True Value Hardware and have fifty copies of it knocked out!

So finally, after reason had failed, I had to break IT out… Pepe, the Tusker Head Sock Puppet! Yeah. When reason fails, there’s only one thing you can count on…