Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ghost in the Shell: The Scarlett Johansson Version

There must be no jails in the future, because Section 9 is all about killing.

Based on an anime of the same name this movie cherry picks a bunch of stories from the original content and mashes it up into one narrative, much like how the previously Asian protagonist is put back piecemeal with a pinch of amnesia into Scarlett Johansson. There are certainly worse bodies to get resurrected into!

I'm kinda glad none of the others wear a white, form squeezing body suit. :P

As expected from a GITS story it has a terrorist group, a corrupt company, a bunch of fight scenes and a lot of eye candy. I mean other eye candy, apart from Scarlett. Section 9 is well represented too, with a good choice for Batou, an almost cameo for Saitou and Togusa, and an elderly yet authoritative Aramaki. Who only speaks Japanese, while the rest of the cast speaks English. Yeah that did bug me a bit. The meshing of stories also made for some plot holes.

Also, by making trying to make this somewhat kid friendly by removing the gore and nudity (and blood) featured in the animated counterpart - it does make it fall short to GITS veterans. The futuristic capacity also had some ludicrous looking moments with things that don't translate well into real life. Keep your eyes open for people wearing ridiculous bubble helmets filled with ads. Even the opening surgical staff could probably not see where they were going at all.

So, not as entertaining as the originals but still worth a watch if nothing better is on. I give it 2.5 spider tanks out of 5. Would I watch it again? I'd probably give my consent, but not anytime soon.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Neverwinter: Up the River

After that lengthy campaign in TESO, I've found myself back at Neverwinter with the new grind of the River District. So far, it has been pretty entertaining investigating the conclave of Far Realm mages acting as the antagonists in this module - all while trying to dig up lost riches for the now broke Lord Neverember.

It's certainly much better than fishing in the Sea of Moving Ice, which is what ultimately led me to rage-quit take a break in the first place. Slightly regretting that now as it just means I have more currencies to grind up on. It does help that I finally got a purple mount (thank you Siege event for that free one) because damn, speed makes things more bearable. If you are only spending on one thing in the game, get the fastest mount you can afford.

Dragonarm 2017

My guild, Dragonarm, is still small but have made much headway with the Stronghold in my absence - same with the rest of the Greycloak Alliance, with the Greycloaks themselves nearing the max level 20! I also quite enjoy the addition of the Marauder event, even if it's only worth doing once a week, as it gives the alliance yet another avenue for cooperative play.

It comes as no surprise, during our last guild event, where we six manned a Marauder attack, that I am pretty much the weakest now of my team. Haha. I seriously only out DPSed the Gray's dedicated healer alt. Look at those numbers!

Ah well, I guess I'll just say I'm playing the game on "hard mode". :P

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Today I Smiled: Throttling Back

Phew, finally my Creative Writing Experiment is finished! While it was kinda fun to do, it also did take a lot of work doing it - not to mention a gap of around a year halfway through. I think I'll be returning to my simpler writing styles like in my Skyrim journal, which is also finished for now. This isn't the end of my stories though, as I still have many "survivors" on my list who need a chance to shine. :P

I will be throttling back my post frequency though. I know I keep threatening to do it and never actually do it, but this time I actually want to focus on a few other projects so don't be surprised if I start only posting once or twice a week for awhile. When said "other things" are out of the way, I will revisit the post scheduling.

What those other projects are? Well, I'd like to make more headway with this Game 13 thing that seems to keep going through cycles of re imagining / re configuring. There's also a tiny bit more story coming to Tales at the Bonfire when I get it written. Lastly I'd also like a bit more time to grind in Neverwinter since I'm way "behind" (behind who or what, I'm not really sure, probably "everyone" is a suitable answer), but I'd like to be ready for dinosaurs. ^_^

Friday, 16 June 2017

Nameless: The Last Ship

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Lord Warrior," said the novice acolyte as he gave a hurried genuflect. "Those monsters have breached the walls, we must evacuate now!"

Gigal nodded, looking one last time at Nessa's portrait before throwing a large tarp over it. The sounds of battle within the halls of this final stand had rattled the remainder of the Shadowstar cultists within. Gigal's small retinue of guards moved quickly to take her towards the Northern tunnel, an escape route designed by the old King that would take them right to the docks.

"What of the Urn?" asked Gigal without breaking her stride.

"It's already being ferried with the first boat to the master," replied one of her retinue - who was suddenly cut down by a large battle axe. A crazed, bald dwarf sprang from the adjoining corridor - making short work of more of Gigal's guards, who were unable to fight back effectively having heard what happens the worms within their enemy touch their skin.

As the last of her allies fell, Gigal charged forth herself in a full sprint - surprising her diminutive opponent as she sprang off a nearby wall to sail right over his attack. He spun around just in time to see the arrow that would pierce his brain and kill his body. Gigal didn't hesitate to flee, and picked up the pace through the tunnel and straight to the docks which were now on fire.

The few remaining guards were being overwhelmed here, so without hesitation Gigal spotted the closest ferry that still seemed operational and raced to it. Weaving and dodging past the clumsy worm infected that noticed her. Once she was on the boat, she set sail immediately - catching the tide that would pull her vessel out to sea, and out of reach of the deep ones.


She was fortunate that the cultists had begun loading rations on board, for she would be at out at sea - alone - for longer than she liked. It was during those days of lonely drifting that her mind thought of Nessa with a pang of regret.

When she finally made land, all her searching for the Shadowstar cultists led to nothing, as if they had all packed up and gone into hiding. After a captive for so long, this freedom felt terrifying. Her only skills were that of combat though, so when she learned of a caravan hiring adventurers to clear out some "cursed" hamlet, she signed up immediately.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Nameless: Pretty as a Picture

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

All that was left of Silvain.

Nessa blinked back the tears as she watched her last ally turn into dust. Filled with rage she turned to the slowly approaching  Lord Warrior, whose helmet was now missing. A mess of long blonde hair contrasted against the pitch black armor and Nessa was surprised that the Lord Warrior had a familiar, feminine face.

"Gigal?" she asked with more than a hint of confusion.

"Hello sister," replied her old arena team mate, as she suddenly sprinted forward into an attack. Her emotions unchecked, Nessa countered it sluggishly and was too slow to evade the follow up, catching an armored shin to the face, knocking her out cold. When Nessa regained consciousness,  she found herself stripped of all her gear, her ankles and wrists chained to a single point to the floor behind her.

More troubling was that she found herself in an intricate magical cage, facing a canvas filled with monstrous shapes. Gigal stood nearby but she was busy talking with one of her Shadowstar minions while a few others chanted in an unknown tongue around her. Finally Gigal turned around as the panicked minion left the room in a hurry.

"Congratulations," she said as her gaze locked with Nessa's. "Thanks to your interference by damaging the urn, the plans of the Shadowstar here are ruined for now. Furthermore, with the costly battle against the deep ones that I can't help but thing you had a hand in starting - they are withdrawing entirely from this region."

"Gigal... why? Why are you helping them!?" asked Nessa angrily.

"Because they helped me escape. They gave me the the opportunity and the means to take down Tectuk and I did. Most importantly, because they didn't leave me behind." Nessa felt that last one was definitely directed at her. Gigal continued, "So now I'm going to do what the rest of you did to me. Your friend Jann was very forthcoming with his imprisonment techniques. I'm told time moves much slower for those inside a painting."

"Wait, Gigal... you can't be serious."

"You left me in a place where I was regularly abused and had to fight for my life. Now you will get to experience that. Forever."

"Please, no! Let me go, you can't do this!" begged Nessa.

With her middle finger raised in a final gesture to her captive, Gigal didn't even break her gaze as she gave the command to proceed. Nessa screamed as a bright flash of light engulfed her, and as it faded she was gone from her shackles and from the cage - transported into the picture with the horrible creatures within.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Nameless: The Answer to Unasked Questions

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Silvain spent most of her life among the tomes and mystical volumes of the Veiled Alliance library, and was always one of those people who look for answers to things no one had asked. A few such questions were: if the elemental urn is so dangerous, why can't it be destroyed? Can it even be destroyed in the first place?

With the magic of the artifacts surging around her, she strummed the lyre - channeling all the power at her disposal - in hopes of finding those answers. The tumultuous blast of energy was far greater than when Jann used the instrument, and the Lord Warrior tumbled out of the way just in time. To Silvain it didn't matter though - she was targeting the urn.


She didn't care that the cup, the seal and the lyre had begun disintegrating around her. She didn't care that her skin began to char from the inside from the overwhelming power that went through her. These, she knew would happen. As she her body slowly began to turn into ash she remained unmoving and focused on the seemingly untouched urn which, along with its pedestal, stood so out of place from the destruction around it.

And then it happened... the urn cracked... and cracked some more. And then a little piece of the top shattered... Silvain sighed with a small smile as she vaporized completely into nothingness. Everything she sacrificed in that attack had merely damaged the urn, but there in her final moments, she found her answer. If the urn could be damaged, it could be destroyed.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Nameless: Explosive Volume

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

With a flick of his wrist, Jann sent a huge ball of flame hurtling towards the three women but the spell exploded harmlessly against the shield generated by the Seal of Fire Silvain held up in front of it. The magic shield did nothing to stop the Lord Warrior's arrow though, which painfully pierced through her extended forearm, forcing her to drop the artifact.

As Nessa rushed their black armored foe, parrying more arrows with her shield, Fayina threw Rhone's spear at Jann - but she missed as the goateed mage hopped down from his perch while he simultaneously produced an ornate looking lyre. With a single strum, violent energies shot forth towards his targets. All Fayina could do was push Silvain out of the way as the magic from the lyre dismembered her in a sudden, violent explosion of blood and entrails.


Wide-eyed, Silvain used her good hand to conjure a wall of stone which blocked the next chord strummed by Jann. Through the debris of the crumbling wall, he didn't notice that the timid librarian had also magically flung a tiny few tiny rocks in his direction. The pebbles hit the strings of his instrument and to his horror, made it sound - firing the energy in his direction and completely obliterating him and the pillar he had jumped down from.

Meanwhile, Nessa had closed the distance and cut through the Lord Warrior's bow with her sword in a furious, flurry of attacks. This didn't stop her opponent though, who proceeded to fight unarmed - evading and deflecting Nessa's sword strikes and skillfully disarming and throwing her across the garden plaza with a surprising, spinning counter.

It was only at that moment that Lord Warrior spotted Silvain crouched to one side on some sort of impromtu magic circle, with the cup of life and the seal of fire at her feet and the lyre in her hands.