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Sotanaht's blog

9:04 AM on 08.23.2013

Tales of Vanadiel: Desert Goblin Nuke

Gather now younglings, on this weary cold night
Away from the windows  and lock the doors tight.
For the world of Darkness is not for the living
And frankly you children are irritating.

So settle down, quiet, little Hume,
Chase not the Elvaan and Mithra girls about the room.
And Galkan son be ye strong, but tossing the Tarutaru boy is wrong.
Come sit by the warm hearth, and perhaps...
Perhaps your Elvaan elder Sotanaht shall tell you a story of worth.
A tale of my past, soaked in danger and glory.
One of the many Adventures of Vana'diel.
And as I watch you all grow into... questionable heroes,
It is my greatest wish that you learn from my story.

So tonight I'll tell you of newly met comrades and heightened stakes;
Their valiance of necessity and Battle's call.
For just how messily such things may fall..
Against recreants and anarchists, and the chaos of their wakes.
A tale of blistering sands and coastal rock,
And the whims of a Thief, whom I hope chokes
On Bahamut's scaled cock.

Through the rain of La Theine I strode, weary and worn,
Trudging ever south, with growing scorn.
For soon the Bhefhel Gulf would stretch before me,
And the Valkurm Dunes, where I'd find my company.

I was summoned by message, from those of like mind.
We'd be hunting Hill Lizards, for training and hides.
Simple enough it seemed, yet I'd been warned...
The Dunes were a place of cursing and malcontent.
And even the most joyous of the land would turn disconsolate.
So as the grasses died away and the air turned dusty,
I had no doubt what awaited;
An afternoon that would end with me irate.

So quietly and unseen for a score more yalms,
I ran ever on, fearful of goblins abroad.
Hugging canyon walls and weaving through sands
A circuitous route filled with very grim doubt.
But as I passed through a cave of darkness and bats
I cast my gaze about, at the valley I'd found.
Bands of combatants were scattered throughout,

This must be the place to which I'd been called.
I collapsed in welcome rest in the shade of palm trees
And a group of three walked up to me.
The biggest spoke up, a stout Galka warrior, with a balding plate.
He gestured to an Elvaan and Mithra, both warriors and mates.
"We've a White Mage Taru, coming soon too."
I smiled in relief, for though I knew heal...
I was only a Red, and it was not ideal.

The White Mage arrived shortly from the south
She ran with great swiftness and glee
For someone with no apparent knees...
We all briefly conversed, pleasantries of habit
While the Taru mage tripped, and fake pouted.
Our shiny-headed Captain cleared his throat gruffly.
It was time for work, treating lizards roughly.

We all spread out loosely and took up stances.
While the Mithra ran out to bait, we were told to wait.
The other Elvaan and I chatted; the White Mage did dances.
Our Galka leader was ever steady.
It was not long before we heard her call out from a distance,
As she ran back to us, slightly bloodied, our prey not far behind.
Halting close by, she beamed, "A tough ugly I found, be ready."
Our clownish Taru healed her, thankfully in proper state of mind.
Meanwhile the beast approached, as I looked on and studied.
It was scarred and thick with muscle, scales dull and jagged.
And I knew we'd be ragged after such a greedy tussle.

The others yelled and charged, focused and  zealous.
I delayed, preparing to cast my only offensive spell: Water.
However, my attention quickly strayed beyond the reptile slaughter.
For a separate hunting party, none too far was also in combat
And they had riled the anger of more lizards than was sane.
I had drawn my sword, to assist my fellows,
But my attention never wandered from that neighboring, grisly affray.
And I knew in my heart...
This was going to be a really, really bad day.

As sure as leather codpieces, the other hunters fell.
The blood of our kinsmen still flowing, those scaled horrors did turn
Watching in rage as we pummeled their own, their growls sounded our own death knell.
The White Mage stopped casting, I knew she had seen.
Sadly our allies, they were not so keen.
The mass of scales rushed in, all biting and thrashing.

The warriors turned, surprised by such happenings.
Our Galka leader, so seasoned and strong,
He uttered, "What?", before he was done.
The other two warriors unleashed their reserves of talent
Fueled by desperation, they swung with might and speed.
While our Pixie-like Taru mage briefly pranced about,
Then exclaimed with finality, "Fuck this, I'm out."
As the Taru used her Ring of Return and left us to die

The three of us turned without pride, to flee.
The coast on our left, we bolted West with haste
For we knew our only hope was at Selbina's sturdy gates.
We took turns taunting, throwing rock and spell,
And their focus was so frenzied that amazingly, we made it.

As we gasped in reprieve and in the sands fell
We looked to our surroundings, and took them in well.
The small hollow was quite crowded, all over
With hunters, and mages, monks and thieves,
There were a easily a score, all industriously slaying.

We sat against the rock, bemoaning our mess,
Still determined to advance as a team,
But all the more pleased we did not regress.
We sat watching the gathered masses kill crabs, goblins and ghosts,
And as night crept in, we heard the most ominous shout.
"Massive incoming to Selbina, look out!"

We glanced back and forth, with worried expressions.
It was not long before we saw what was meant of the message.
A lone Thief turned the corner, all smug and assured.
And what followed him, had everyone, quite scared.
Over a dozen Goblins, all grunting and angry.
Tinkerers, Muggers, and Leechers,
Gamblers, Butchers and Ambushers.
They poured into the rocky bottleneck, chasing a solitary San d'Orian Thief.
And we all knew, every single one, they would soon be our grief.

The goblins lost their prey, vanished into Selbina with a final gloat,
And now between us, and sanctuary, the goblins about-faced.
And as one giant group they snorted and took note.
We were all unprepared, most locked in engagement.
I swear those beasts seemed elated at such a predicament.
They swarmed in swiftly, attacking with impunity.
The onslaught was met from all, eager and unwilling.
We were all mostly new, this was not a situation we were accustomed.
But how we banded together, in a moment so thrilling.
Beastmen and adventurers fell, one by one,
And concerted efforts gave hope, that we would see this ferocious encounter done.

As the battle reached a bloody stalemate, losses piling up,
The Goblins resorted to their cheapest tactic, despised the world over.
One by one, the beastmen, close to death, began to reach...
Into their bomb satchels, one and each.
Some shouted warnings, others tried to escape.
Twas a unanimous Goblin effort, completely unforeseen.
The Desert seemed to light up before us all.
And many, many heard that angelic call.

The aftermath was ugly, bodies lay scattered and torn.
Friends calling for healing, and begging for raises.
But those that could stand, we had something else drawing our gazes.
The Gates of Selbina, now bloodied and blackened
And the Thief who had run past, mad and cackling.

Few of us left, we poured into the town.
We were determined to do something to that damnable clown.
We searched fervently and with zeal,
Ransacking houses and shops.
Though it looked for a moment like he'd vanished.
As all hope was waning, I looked to the mooring.
And lo! He was there, on the ship, boarding!
I waved, attracting others, and asked with disdain,
"Why on earth would you do such a thing?"
Those that had seen gathered close,
And we gazed sternly, as the Thief turned back to us all, and waved.
The ship set sail, and over the waters we heard one final, vexatious yell.
"Lol, noob faggits!"

So many things change...
I look about and you're all so familiar, yet so different.
Mithras are Miqo'te, and Taru are Lalafell...
Galkas have now become Roegadyn, and Humes are now the Hyur...
And apparently I'm something called an Elezen as well?!

So many things change...
You all seem anxious and ready for questing,
But now, now catch up on your resting.
For the Adventures of Vanadiel are soon closing.
And it is with you, that this new age will be written.
The World of Hydaelyn will soon be beckoning.
And somehow, despite my good judgement,
I have faith you will answer that summons.

So many things change...
But the lessons I impart will always remain.
So recall this tale in your days ahead,
When the White Mage leaves
You may as well give up,
And you damn well leave too.   read

2:23 AM on 06.07.2013

My Gaming Story: Fabio's Sexy Body

Brace yourself.

Do you see that? Just staring into your soul...
Yes, the man who graced the cover of innumerable pulp romance novels and helped convince the world that imitation butter simply couldn't be believed helped bring me into gaming.
Truly a man to be admired.

Like most things in one's early life, habits are rarely formed through one's own volition. I certainly didn't learn to brush my teeth because I wanted to.
The first real induction I had to gaming wasn't even a moment I can call my own. Being too young to do much besides slobber and form nonsensical utterances, I simply took up space as an ornament. Like R.O.B., only batteries were more expensive, I was a gaming accessory. Wow. Reading that back really explains some issues I had with Harmonix.
...Moving on. The game I was primarily a cash dump to was none other than Wizards & Warriors for the NES.

I swear this isn't a blog about sexy muscle men.

This was a game my mother had recently begun using as form of escapism. She handed me the number two controller (for a 1-Player game, clever b-err, lady) and let me get carried away with bright pixel violence and childish gratification.
With her "help" I saved several distressed damsels from the clutches of a mad wizard, growing boner skeleton, a flying, disembodied giant skull, and Those-The-Orkin-Man-Fear. Pretty good for a whelp who couldn't write and was too stupid to understand the significance of wired electronics. Obviously, this didn't change the life of a flesh-bag that could be enamored with the lights of a Ferris wheel, but as any decent opium farmer will tell you, the harvest needs to be planted before you can expect sprouts.

I may not have wrapped my greedy, childish mind around a hobby then, but my tastes had been irreversibly altered. Movie rentals didn't hold my attention unless there were swords. Or Wizards. Jason and the Argonauts enthralled me with its use of skeletons, and I wore out the tapes of Excalibur and Conan (both). Also, Legend rocked, and if you disagree you can promptly fuck right off.
I also began a shift in my outdoor play. Eschewing baseball as well as Cowboys and Indians, I preferred toy swords and shields, though I lived in a time where those always fell apart quickly. Kids have it easy these days.

During this time period, several changes forced their way into my life, and I began spending summers with my maternal grandparents. This is where my Uncle took his turn corrupting me.
Let me start that one over.
This is when my Uncle introduced me to his love of fantasy. He had been a child of his time, playing AD&D, collecting nearly every Conan comic published, watching the movies I mentioned and then some, and most recently, Gaming. He had his own NES, and I was able to sample his collection, which seemed magical, partly due to my naivete and mostly because it could shift due to the local rental place. I was introduced to many new games, as well as some I had viewed already from my lofty position as decor. Kung Fu, Mario, and Metroid tickled my fancy before I knew what the hell that meant.
What really blew my mind though? The Legend of Zelda and Castlevania (which I quickly owned afterwards). These were basically everything I'd come to love in physical form, and Zelda in particular gestated a thrill of exploration that would take up a significant amount of my weekends.
However, I soon found something that called to me more strongly than all the others.

Look at that tail!

The mere imagery caused my brain to flare with excited memory.
This was the point I was training for. All that running around in fake capes beating other kids with fake swords had trained me for this.
This was also the point where I learned to say "Fuck this game!"
Deadly Towers appealed to me, and I loved the adventure, but damn, that thing eats souls.
I developed a serious fear of jello (it makes sense when you play it) and bells enraged me for years after. I may have attacked an Ice-Cream man. Repressed memories don't count anyway.

Despite that... trauma... there was now a hold. Time at school was spent doodling favorite characters, and I read Nintendo Power like a craving addict. As another result, every other weekend spent with my Dad's side of the family, time away from my precious NES, I learned that text adventures and Nintendo's Child Addiction Publication had helped develop a love of reading. My Librarian Grandmother had helped nurture that, in fairness, and somewhere around the third or fourth grade my father had tossed Frank Herbert's Dune my way, creating a love of Sci-Fi. Addiction is the link to that story, if you were unfamiliar.

I also began to scratch an itch that a green-clothed elf boy had given me.
No, not that, you sick fuck.
I began to exercise me need to explore. Wandering into the mountains of my family's backyards, I disappeared into the mountain forests, hiking. Enjoying the thrills of nature, and stepping in animal dung, I found I could spend hours in isolation, simply enjoying the sights of the world away from the city (and annoying people). It wasn't long before I learned that taking myself deep into the woods with a book was my defined paradise. Well, it was my fall-back, since I couldn't turn into a dragon. I loved monster movies, shut up.

This was the point in which an expedition to Toy "R" Us netted me with a copy of Final Fantasy.

See? Not a glute, pec, or phallic symbol in... Shit.

My love of fantasy settings. My love of Adventure. My Love of Text. My Love of exploration. It all came together. I spread the packaged maps out before me. It looked exactly as pictured. In my mind. I may have used steak knives and Halloween decorations in actuality, but I was living the dream.

I sat down with my Adventure Props, and a notebook of graph paper to chart my own way, and set off to destroy Mind Flayers and Ogres. Who Molested me. Then I learned to manage my resources and spells more efficiently. I still died in "Ogre Corridor" though.
There was a lot of death in that, actually. It took some time, but eventually my Knight, Ninja, Red Mage and Black Mage defeated Chaos, and I was left with a startling realization.
I had no idea games could engage me so thoroughly.

It was shortly afterwards that I found something else that drew me in to fantasy and adventure.
Something that called to me across time.

"Iron Sword" is not suggestive in the least!

Holy shit. There's a part two?!
It's not often you get to relive an early part of your life, so naturally I snatched this up. I was inundated with nostalgia and excitement. I had come full circle, only now I had control. And it was plugged in!
It wasn't exactly the same naturally. There was now a "Quest" mechanic, one of my earliest lessons on bribery, and a story built around the elements, another callback to my time with Final Fantasy.
Returning to the role of Kuros destroyed the last bastion of ignorance in my mind. The fog cleared. I knew my journey of life would have games integrated throughout, and I also realized how exciting that was. To be in control of a character, not just watch them, but live their ordeals with them. Finding treasures, exploring, slaying, rescuing, it was a different, yet familiar world. A world introduced to me through a warrior.
A world solidified by his return.
Plus there was some sexy guy on the cover, you may have heard of him.   read

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