In Which We Branch Out To Marital Advice Columns


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Spoilers for the twin dungeons in Divinity: Original Sin


I have nothing past cats, Barons getting whupped, and panic.

Leveling really is different in this game, isn’t it? I mean, that was EASY at level 9. Easy! And that fight wasn’t even close before. I spent all this time buying scrolls, planning tactics, and really, at level 9, I didn’t need to do more planning than “I think I’ll just walk in there and kill everyone.”

And it seems pretty accurate. Level seven bad guy? Equal fight when you’re level seven. It’s rather refreshing after Horizon (and, let’s face it, that whole level thing was one of the few things that game got very wrong).


Man, it’s so true! The Baron utterly destroyed us at first, to the point where we didn’t even bother to run the fight again because it was so obvious he was too tough for us.

We came back later at the same level he was, and it was a fight, yeah, we weren’t just hanging out twiddling our thumbs and laughing at them (not like in the twin dungeons, which we finally did last night and which wasn’t even really a battle anymore), but in the end it wasn’t even that close.

Levels definitely mean something here. Which, yeah, I love me some Horizon, but challenge levels in that game are just whatever number someone was thinking about at the time.

“How many bagels are left? Fourteen? Sounds good…”

So yeah. Levels. And speaking of needing amulets to get past force fields, we did the twin dungeons, defeated the Mysterious Opponents, got some loot. Robbing graves again…our mamas must be so proud.


Ah, good.

Ok, so how did that play out for you two? You basically were in one, he was in the other, you wound up fighting “each other” split screen, right?

Cuz I had to do it one at a time. So Scarlett went to one, everyone else stayed put, hit the thing, switch back and boom! A stranger!

But I took advantage of a weird quirk of this game that you aren’t dealing with. See, if you’re playing single player, and one of “you” gets into a fight and the other doesn’t, you can switch to the one that isn’t in combat which pauses combat. So Scarlett hit the thing, stranger appears, then I switched BACK to Scarlett who leisurely strolled back to where the fight was and joined in, fighting “herself” alongside Roderick. And then I did it in reverse with Roderick.

And because I did it one at a time, we did one, got the pendant, went down together, put it down, repeat.

So what did you do? Cuz I think the difference is probably themey.


No…we were in separate dungeons, true, but only one opponent appeared at a time. The woman showed up in my dungeon first, and Delios/Bairdotr teleported over to join me and Wolgraff, using the pyramid.

We defeated her, went down the hatch, put the pendent on the pedestal, went back up, did the same thing for the other dungeon. Nothing terribly complicated–the main thing was, as you said, that we had to push the buttons in the order of the OTHER tombstone, not the one we were looking at.

We never fought each other, although I did initially think that woman resembled Bairdotr. Wrong hair color, though.


Nah, it was “each other.” Cuz it said you’d face “your ally,” but, no doubt, it was the other player. Roderick’s “opponent” was a female shadowblade, Scarlett’s was a male cleric. Absolutely no doubt.

And I think we both did it wrong. See, I THINK the game wanted us to fight the way I described: you on one half of the screen, him on the other, then going down independently only to meet on other sides of the same wall, pendants in hand. Being apart, fighting the “other,” then rejoining each other. You could even see through that wall to the other pedestal.

Cuz this was where I started to think maybe Scarlett and Roderick were/are the same person. Cuz it read as having to fight “yourself” only to rejoin “yourself.” Or at least it could have been read that way.

But you got a woman in your dungeon? Damn. That might undermine me, here. But did your woman have similar skills to Delios?


No, the woman in my dungeon was an archer, which is why I thought she might be Bairdotr. But her hair was red, and Bairdotr is blonde. I’m trying to remember if Valena has red hair, and I’m honestly not sure (in her portrait it’s dark, but her portrait is not a good likeness). Even if she does, she never uses a bow. Delios occasionally uses a crossbow, but this woman had a shortbow, so that’s not a good match either.

The man in Mr. O’s dungeon was…honestly, I’m not sure what he was, since we stunned him and killed him before he could do much of anything. It’s possible he was a wizard like me, but that doesn’t account for the female archer. Maybe he was a rogue like Wolgraff, and the game mistook the NPCs for the PCs? Doesn’t seem terribly plausible…

So I like your theory, it has some very nice theminess and the “your double will face your ally” language is very suggestive, but our experience doesn’t really support it.

It’s also true that I guess we could have ended up fighting our opponents at the same time, but that would have required us to synchronize our button pushes, and we instinctively took turns instead (because why not wait and see what happens to one of us before the other one does the same thing?).

Maybe there was MEANT to be a theme such as you describe, but it’s just not set up in such a way that it really comes together. Possibly because while it would be possible for two players to synchronize button pushes and do their fights separately, it wouldn’t be possible for one player, and so it couldn’t be a requirement of the puzzle?

I don’t know about the “your double” part, though, since our opponents didn’t work well as doubles to either of us.


Hmm. Man, let down. I was eager for you to do that because I thought “that would’ve been so themey if I had been playing this coop,” but I guess it wasn’t. Or it missed the mark just as much.

Though an interesting wrinkle is timing. I found this early, and those strangers killed the hell out of me. Which, if you see it as “this is you” or even “this is your friend “ is themey. Not this way.


It really does seem like there was meant to be something there. The twin imagery, the ‘double’ and ‘ally’ references, the way the tunnel and pedestal on one side was mirrored on the other side. But whatever it was didn’t really come together for us, at least.


We’ll see if it ties in later.

Remember, this was their first game. Not everything is gonna work.


It’s true. Not every idea is going to play out in all its potential glorious themage.


But I must admit, I am a bit disappointed this one didn’t pan out. Thought for sure that it would be cool if I had just done it split screen.

I still think that Scarlett and Roderick are the same person.

All the more on the theme of self romance!


The self-romance is a good theme. Maybe some split personality in there too, since sometimes we disagree with each other.

Oh, speaking of nothing really, we found the ‘how to speak zombie troll’ book in the twin dungeons. So we COULD have talked to that troll, if only we’d pursued the challenges in a normal way. It IS our fault!


It IS! I’m so gonna chat up that troll.

Maybe I’ll romance it just because.

As for disagreeing…Hmm. Go chat with Desdemona. Then chat with each other.


I think you should romance it.

The last thing we had a self-chat about was my thievin.’ Delios was all “I can’t help but notice you steal everything that’s nailed down,” and had the option to be either disapproving (“do you real think this behavior is appropriate for a Source Hunter?”) or supportive (“and it’s helped us out a lot, so good for you!”).

He chose to be supportive. We’re totally going to wind up romancing ourself/each other.

Given the way half the other people we run into wind up dead (including that troll), we’re going to be our only option.


Oh dude, we’re (I’m?) so past that. Desdemona, the cat, so much LOVE man. So many chances to see ourselves reflected in the emotions of ghosts and cats. So romantic.

And yes. Usually, happy marriages are based on the fact that everyone else you know has died an untimely death.


Sometime we need to compile our “secrets for a happy marriage”. I mean, there’s that, there’s…I can’t remember, but I’m sure it’s come up before.


I think it had something to with not buying a house or having more than one kid.



And now we know our relationships are doomed to eventually collapse. Well, we’ve had some good years. With any luck, we’ll at least be able to finish this game.


Nah, we’re cool. Why? Because the best way to fix anything is booze, and we have booze.

We should start an advice column. It would be so easy.

“Dear Butch and Femmy: So my boyfriend and I were talking and–“
Us: Booze.
Writer: But I didn’t finish–
Us: Booze.
Writer: But I didn’t really ask my question–
Us. Don’t need to. Answer is booze.

We’d break the internet.



Booze. We must cling to it.


Preach it, sister.

Man, we’d be awesome giving advice.


People would definitely never come back.

Either their relationship problems would be totally cured, or they’d be dead of alcohol poisoning.


Finding Switches, and Flipping Them


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Minor spoilers for the pirate cave area in Divinity: Original Sin


Ok, this time I really don’t have an excuse for having nothing. Well, unless you count the excuse of the kids being home all day so much lately and my soul being crushed. There was that.

I’ll try today. Two of the kids are in a camp until 6 (!), but that means no time AFTER I get them. Better play soon.

But in good game news, Amazon knows me, so my side advertisement is Bayonetta, so at least I have a BEBHBB over there. Small favors.

Amazon REALLY knows me.


Amazon knows us. I kind of figured your kids would crush your soul and you wouldn’t get much done. Kids!

But that’s OK, since all we did last night was go back and find that blood-stained switch you mentioned and go through that skull gate and fight Pontius Pirate (haha, game, haha–it’s funny, but also provokes eye-rolling). And then take his key and go back to the scary door and fight the giant crab spider thing, which was honestly not THAT bad except that both Wolgraff (who I typically run) and I were stunned and poisoned before we could do anything, so the entire fight was Mr. O’s characters. Who did in the end defeat everyone, so no complaints I guess, but it’s not quite as exciting if you can’t do anything.

Anyway, we did that. Talked to Desdemona’s ghost, picked up a cat collar, collected some other loot, and went back to town to sell stuff and buy more resurrection scrolls. It was a productive evening.


Ah, wonderful. So we’re at the same place except I haven’t killed Baron Bones and you haven’t done the TWIN DUNGEONS.

Wrapping up Desdemona’s bit is….interesting. Curious to see what you do.

That spidery thing was a pain. Basically, if I kept it frozen I was all set. If I didn’t, it did that triple awful attack thing and I died.

Wasn’t that switch a pain? Sure, ok, fine, game, I get it. You don’t want to hand hold. You don’t want to put a big ol’ quest marker on the thing we have to find. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re gonna do that, at least play fair and make the very important thing possible to find. That was cheap, I thought.

Another instance of us being totally screwed but for the fact we’re playing at the same time. Which is probably preventing a lot of criticism. We’re giving the game a pass. Maybe too many passes.


Yeah, we haven’t been back to the lighthouse to see what she did. But the twin dungeons are totally next on our list! Assuming we don’t get distracted chasing the white witch around Silverglen, which we almost certainly will.

But no! We’re already in town! The twin dungeons are only about 30 feet away! We can do this! Possibly.

It’s true, being able to fall back on each others’ experience to avoid frustration has probably let us cut the game some slack. There are still parts that feel kind of fiddly and draggy, and if we had to keep muddling around with them, we might be less tolerant after a while.


You can do it! I’m off to lord bones. After I drop off that collar.

Get pet pal. Especially now that you have the collar.

Desdemona is interesting. On a number of levels.

But yeah, I think we’re cutting the game some slack. In a vacuum, we’d be pissed.


We hit level 10, still no new Talent. I’m kind of afraid that by the time we CAN get Pet Pal, we’re not going to want to bother going back and talking to all these animals we didn’t talk to in the first place. Kind of a “the moment has passed” thing, you know?

But there’s also nothing else I specifically am hankering to add to my talents, so…we’ll see.


I suppose it has passed.

Though that cat does have some themes. That it does. And with poor, dear Murphy dead, it’s really the only animal with themes. Cuz he has a quest you can do in ten minutes now that you have the collar, and he…links into something else that is VEEEEERY themey.

The collar? Well, I’ll know whenever I get to play next.

Talents are kinda weird. There really hasn’t been much that’s been compelling, I agree. Levels in stuff? Important. Abilities? Important (I have SO much stuff I’m not strong enough to use). Skills? VERY important. Talents? Hmm. Aside from the pet thing…meh.


Agreed. I think the first one I got was the one that gave you extra skill points, because skills? Useful! Talents? Enh.

We may wind up talking to animals just because we don’t care about any of the other options, and then just talking to whatever we happen across, even if we’re never terribly moved to revisit all the places we’ve been just so we could talk to the rats and so forth.

I mean, if I could have talked to them then? Sure, I’ll talk to everything I see! If I’m done with an area and would only be going back for that? Probably not.


Which seems odd, as talents are harder to come by. Usually, the rarer the thing, the cooler. You should be all “Awwww YES! I get a rare thing! Finally!” It shouldn’t be “Hey! You’ve been waiting so long for this….blah thing.”




I mean, I’m not going to complain too much. It’s kind of nice having the thing you care more about being the thing you get the most points for (although it still gets expensive fast as you improve skills!–which I think basically works, I don’t have a problem with the trade off between getting a few things really high, or having a lot of low-level skills).

But as you say, it seems a little odd. We wait and wait and wait and at last, finally, the moment comes!–and we shrug and take Pet Pal, I guess, even though its moment has kind of passed, because whatever, it’s not like we care about the rest of this stuff.

The talents are really pretty much Feats from D&D 3.5, though, and after a while you did sometimes get to where there weren’t any feats you cared about for your particular character, so you’d just take Alertness to get a quick two points in Listen and Spot or whatever, because why not.

And because Pet Pal was never an option in D&D.


Hey, pet pal is still pretty awesome. The hints you get from rats are really handy. And I have a feeling there’ll be some other animals to talk to. No way it stops mattering.


We did find a big wounded animal near Silverglen that possibly could have offered suggestions about how to help it…although possibly not, not every injured creature/person knows how to fix the problem.

But yeah, no doubt there will still be animals around.


Ah, see, that’ll have something to say. Guaranteed.


It will have something to say. Will what it has to say actually be useful? I don’t know. It might just say “oh the pain, the pain!”

Certainly can’t hurt to ask, though. I mean, if one could talk to animals anyway.

Butch [later]:

Well, did the cat (which was interesting) which got me to level 9 so I walloped the Baron of Bones. And then panicked. Why?

Because I thought he’d have the key to the church force field. He didn’t. So I went on the net to say “Where is it?” and it was all “Well, Jake is supposed to give it to you, but this is a known bug where it disappears.”

Oh. Shit.

So I panicked. I turned the PS4 back on. Looked through everyone’s inventory.

It’s. Not. There.

Total panic.

So, as a last ditch, I check the equipment screen.

Fucking Roderick’s been WEARING it the whole time.


Oh, and throw “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” on the “someday” pile. Look it up.

And no, not being ironic. We’re playing something from that pile now.


Hahahahaha!!!! Roderick, you scamp!

More religiously themed titles? OK, man. OK.


You laugh at my panic.

Hey, man, we love comparative bloggage.

Plus, there’s romance, nudity and strong sexual content. We haven’t done that in ages.

Just a Minor, Two-Hour Scuffle


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Some plot spoilers for Cyseal in Divinity: Original Sin


Well, did some. Mostly killed orcs and trucked towards the cave. Didn’t go in the cave.

But here’s a thing: Friday’s post mentioned our observation that levels are hard to come by. That said, levels seem to matter a hell of a lot more. Lots of games, even good ones like Horizon, it’s all “Oh. A level. Ok, in 16 more levels I can come back in do this (maybe cuz quest levels are jacked, but whatever).” This one, the difference between level six and eight is dying all the damn time and cutting through baddies like they aren’t there. I was nervous on this because, man, they were chewing me up just two levels ago, and last night was EASY.

II can’t tell how I feel about that. Lots of games, leveling up is almost background noise. There isn’t a lot of weight to it. That said, that’s ok because it’s more “realistic.” You get Aloy feeling like she’s slowly learning. She goes back later, to a place that was hard, and now it isn’t because she’s been out there learning. There isn’t an “and BOOM you can do it now” moment. However, if you are going to have “LEVEL UP!!!!!” flash across the screen, it may as well mean something. It used to. In D&D, you didn’t level for weeks, and when you did it was a big deal, like you accomplished something. This game certainly channels that feeling, which both gives XP more of a purpose, but makes it all more artificial.

So I’m torn. Again.

But, all the same, it’s taking some getting used to, this old school mentality that outleveling something by only one or two levels is a BIG difference.


I think in, for example, Horizon, it was less a matter of “the difference between one level and the next is very meaningful” and more a matter of skills. Because picking up a new skill COULD make a difference (though it certainly doesn’t always).

Here…you’re right, a couple of levels difference does seem to matter (the Baron of Bones and his crowd, at level 8, destroyed us at level 6 or something, but we took care of them when we were level 8 ourselves). On the other hand, I think picking up new skills also matters a lot, especially the ones you get from skillbooks, which you may need to be a certain level to use, but which aren’t directly associated with leveling.

I think it may also turn out that the difference between, say, level 13 and level 15, is not nearly as significant as the difference between 6 and 8, although we’ll have to wait and see.

But it’s true, it does make a difference here. We went over in the burning area last night, where we were roundly defeated a few levels ago, and this time we were just cleaning up: they were level 8 and we’re now 9, and they barely touched us. Though gear also matters–Wolgraff had a couple of water wands and I had magic missile doing water damage with a water staff, and man…burning monsters do not enjoy that.

Though here’s a thing we ran into…remember how in D&D if we just finished a combat but someone was bleeding, the DM (say, Mr. O’) might say “OK, we’ll stay in combat rounds until this is taken care of”? Basically, combat applies until no one is losing hit points.

Well, this game does not do that, and it’s kind of a pain. Last night, Wolgraff was on fire but alive, I was going to heal him on my turn which was coming around, and then the monster died and we went out of turn-based actions and he burned to death while I was getting my regeneration spell online.

This is not a game that’s set up for rapid-fire button action, so it kind of sucked that he was dying in real time seconds while I was working on the multi-step process of getting a spell ready — which works fine in a turn-based situation, but is not good for quick response.

Ah well. I guess we would also kind of hate it if every time someone walked into poison or something, it went into a combat round, where we all got to stand around saving action points and saying “OK, walk out of the poison, dude!”



Very rarely did skills make much difference. Gear mattered far more, I thought. Getting to level 30 or whatever isn’t what made Frozen Wilds possible. The armor did.

Here skillbooks matter though — Boy, don’t they. I’m still not entirely sure what buffs you get when you level past the points and skills you assign, but man, there has to be something going up in all those stats I haven’t read.

The skills, I figured out, have levels themselves: novice, adept and…whatever’s after that. You need one level of whatever for novice, two for adept, etc. And you can’t get up to two (or past two) until whenever. So you can get adept skills at, like, level five or so if you put your points into geomancer or whatever and load up on that. So it’s level in the sense of skill points, but not level level. And it seems you hit a wall. Like, you can’t put ALL your points in Man at Arms or whatever. Cuz I’ve tried. I think that’s level related.

I have started paying attention to what element I’m using wandwise. Something I learned last night: You can send stuff to teammates (like healing potions) mid combat without losing action points, and if you equip something that someone else is holding (like you can out of combat), you don’t lose any more action points than you would if your character was holding it himself. Want to switch to water mid fight? Not holding the water wand? It’s cool!

Good to know.

Ah, dude that sucks with the real-time fire damage. That happened to me a couple of times. I live in fear that that will happen when I don’t have a resurrection scroll and I’ll have to do a fight I WON all over again.

Speaking of which, on the whole “leveling feeling like you accomplished something” thing, earlier I said thank GOD that monsters don’t respawn, but I noticed last night that changes the dynamic, too. Here, when you win a fight, there’s a sense of satisfaction because you know that fight is over forever. There will never be orcs here again! It was a set piece, we won, done. Hooray! Which is kind of cool. Buuuuuuuuut also not so realistic. Imagine if you could clear, say, a broadhead site and there would never, ever be broadheads there again ever. That wouldn’t really fit the world. I haven’t met a single random encounter in this game, and I’m starting to doubt that I will. And, from a “I have limited time in real life” way, I don’t miss the randits, but, then again, it does reinforce the whole “we are playing a game” thing that breaks immersion.



Man, so true. That armor!

And gear is big here too, with the water wands, etc., so that certainly carries over. And there’s better armor (or robes, in my case…long, flowing robes), and more powerful weapons, and those obviously count for something in a fight.

It’s definitely true about the lack of respawning, too. Although in this case I kind of accept it because we’ve been told that the orcs/cultists/undead are a new phenomenon for Cyseal. It’s not like we’re out wandering in the wilderness where the orcs have lived for generations and yet somehow when we kill one, no other will ever walk that way again. (Or…we haven’t been told that. It’s actually quite possible the orcs did live here for generations before being driven out by humans. But that’s a more complicated backstory than we know at the moment, I think.)

It’s more like we’re rooting out camps of invaders into human lands, and they aren’t being replaced (because, I assume, the person in charge of orchestrating the invasion has run out of money or magical energy or whatever). We’ll see if it works as well in other environments where the backstory may be different.


Man, I loved that game. I digress.

Water against fire, or fire against undead!

Though it would be pretty awesome to get a poison wand. I haven’t yet found anything really vulnerable to air or earth.

Though what’s really annoying is when I forget and heal the baddie. Do NOT zap a burning thing with a fire wand. Well, a thing that is supposed to be burning.

In this particular game I like that there aren’t respawning randits. Games like the Witcher or MEA or Fallout, randit fights were quick or you just rode the NOMAD right by them. It’s hard to avoid a fight in this game unless you want to teleport away, which would kill progress, and the fights can drag on and on. Losing four minutes to randits? Ok. Especially if I can run by. Losing 15 minutes to randits? Annoying.


That is definitely a thing about the turn-based combat. Even ‘little’ fights take quite a while. And as you say, this makes it a really good thing that we aren’t constantly running into randits and respawned monsters in places we already killed stuff. We’d NEVER get out of the Hinterlands! This way we can confidently go places we’ve already cleared, and work around places with fights that are too tough for us, until we can get back to them. (Hello, Baron of Bones!)

Yeah, accidentally healing the bad guy is pretty much the worst. “Take that you–DAMN IT.”

I have a poison dart spell! It’s pretty great. I also have a complementary immunity from poison spell. They go very nicely together.


Ooo! Is that “avatar of poison?” I love that one.

Gotta be that way. Hell, even when I’m playing, I have to look at the clock and be thinking “Ok, I still have some time left, but if I hit a big fight then I don’t have as much time as I think…do I risk playing and exploring? Or will that make me late?” If I was doing that ALL THE TIME it would suck.

Man, I was snakebit by that kind of enemy-healing stupid yesterday. First, I switched Wolgraff to his dagger so he could do “lacerate,” which was nice, but then forgot I did that and the next turn hit attack, expecting wand hellfire, and he casually strolled up to the HUGE orc and pricked him. And then stood there.

Then, in the next fight, I fired a fire arrow near a bunch of dudes. Then, I picked up what I THOUGHT was a oil barrel, expecting fiery death. But no, it was a water barrel, which put out the fire, and made it so I couldn’t see anyone to use my wands.

That kind of night.


That’s the one! And it works retroactively, too, so if someone (Wolgraff) walks into poison, I can cast it on him and it at least stops the damage.

Ha. I shouldn’t pick on poor Wolgraff so much. Actually the last time that happened it was Delios who walked into poison.

I have done that thing! Where you mean to use a ranged attack, but forget you don’t have a ranged weapon equipped, so instead you just saunter right up to someone and kind of poke them to get their attention.

As if to say, “hey, I’m not great in melee combat and I have limited armor! Also I used all my action points walking over here! Maybe you should attack me right now.”

Some nights are like that.


Yeah, gotta love that trick.

I don’t know, man. My Wolgraff is pretty badass. Yesterday, every single kill was either his or Bairdotr’s. Usually, Roderick heals and Scarlett dies.

I don’t know how that happened.


He was pretty badass last night with his water wands against those fire creatures!

My Wolgraff had a rough start, and then there are still those things like him burning to death after the fight was over (not that this was his fault), but it’s true, he doesn’t die nearly so often anymore.

He just had to grow into his skills. And I had to learn to stop walking him into poison and/or burning corpses. It’s a process.


Plus his twirling of wands during and after fights is pretty great. And the other day he had two critical hit kills on the same thunderjump. That was pretty awesome.

And Bairdotr is a BEAST. I got her this new bow, and she destroys EVERYTHING.


The wand-twirling IS awesome. He’s definitely got flair. And Bairdotr’s ‘one arrow that hits everyone in the group’ trick is pretty great.


That and charm arrows. Dear. God. I. Love. Those.

I charmed the boss orc on that beach. The BOSS! I was like “Man, the bosses are usually immune to charm but what the hell I’ll try it WHOA I CAN DO IT!”



We realized how amazing they are when they were turned against us. Now it’s just “Bairdotr, charm someone.” We got a boss last night too!

But even an underling is great–gives them another person to spread out the attacks.

Charm is the best. Or worst, when it’s used against you.

Going back to Wolgraff, we first realized how badass he could be when he was charmed and attacking us.

“Wait, why do you never do this much damage against THEM?”

It’s tough with a charmed companion. You don’t want to kill them, but you also don’t want them to kill you.


I usually run away from them. But I did the same thing: “Wait…I wanna do that!”

I buy the arrows like you buy resurrection scrolls. “Yeah, yeah, nice stuff, who cares? Where the charm arrows at?”

Oh, another feature I like? Having unlimited regular arrows. I hate games with limited arrows. Hate. Them.

Except Horizon. Loved that game.


Seconded. Horizon can limit whatever it wants. Loved that game.

Speaking of arrows, when we were wandering through the burning area, we found some corpses, and searched them as one does, and they all had water arrows.

Which made us happy because clearly water arrows will be very useful against the burning zombies we are about to face, but also a little nervous, because they clearly didn’t do these corpses here a lot of good.

Speaking of which, did we sort of figure out what makes the difference between dead and undead…why some corpses get up and move around?

The Baron of Bones made it sound as if all the undead in the region were the result of the same power that raised him (and his pals the Ghoul That Guards the Lighthouse and the Twins Joined By Fire), so maybe that person was just passing through raising all the dead who happened to be there at the time, but people who died later weren’t affected?

Still doesn’t totally explain why some of the graves we dug up had undead and some just had piles of bones, but maybe beyond a certain level of decay, they can’t be raised? I’d buy that.


Classic. Still don’t know why Mr. O didn’t play Horizon. But don’t encourage him.

Still, nice touch with the water arrows! Cuz people would so have those!

I’m not sure where there are still corpses….maybe they don’t meet the standards of Braccius Rex? Or maybe there wasn’t enough power in the blood stones? Evelyn did imply that these things need to be charged with real lives.


Good point, maybe the stones just ran out of power. I’ll buy that.

Friday Game Theology


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Spoilers for Cyseal-area plots in Divinity: Original Sin


We went to that cave you mentioned yesterday! It was…kind of inappropriate, I guess. And hey, better safe than sorry where impressionable young minds are concerned.

There was some loot, though (that guy had some skillbooks that were pretty good for me), and you were right, freeing the statues was way less complicated than we were thinking. A few magic missiles from my various Staffs of Magus did the trick.

Then we went back and dealt with the “Lord of Bones,” or, as he actually styles himself, the Baron of Bones. NO WONDER I didn’t recognize it when you first mentioned him–that wasn’t anywhere NEAR his correct title! Why, in the hierarchy of Bone Peerage, a Baron would hardly be seen TALKING to a Lord!

That’s the excuse I’m going with, anyway.

So he was still a major fight, but we were in a much better position now with a couple of levels on us, and we defeated him handily in the end.

I kind of love-hated his little bard. Those stupid songs were such a perfect nod to the ridiculous songs players come up with on the fly for D&D bards to sing. I mean, I don’t blame them. What are you supposed to sing to cast bard spells?
“Heal up, heal up, pretty soon you’ll feel better!”
“Fight harder, everyone, imagine the loot and the glory!”
I got nothin.’

This is the advantage of a bard who plays, say, a flute. Although the disadvantage is that you have to carry an instrument around. I think one time I had a bard who did interpretive dance? Or just chanted epic poetry, I can’t remember. I was definitely trying to get away from both the singing and the having to carry an instrument.

Anyway. That’s what we did.


Wow, you know I’ve had a bad morning when Femmy’s starting the blog posts.

That and I got nothing.

Yeah, it was more a precautionary shut down. I’m still stung from when, many years ago when Junior was wee, I was playing DAO and THOUGHT I was going to find a werewolf in that forest there and found a scantily clad forest spirit. You can’t be too careful.

Ooo! Skills! I need those.

I’m gonna do that when the kids are at school. Like, now.

As for the Lord/Baron–Oh, totally understandable. My bad.

Though really, he just should have been called “That guy behind the trap house.” The ghoul that guarded the lighthouse was “The ghoul that guards the lighthouse.” Let’s stay accurate.

But on that, did you notice the rather casual mention of “The twins joined by fire?” Like “He raised us all! The Ghoul that guards the lighthouse, the twins joined by fire…” and I thought “Yeah, big deal he’s dead wait who now?”

I’m gonna file that away, and you might know more than I do, but, just for a fleeting instant, I thought “Wait, did we speculate that Scarlett and Roderick are the same person?” But he’d recognize us if WE were the twins joined by fire, right?

I heard that speech a lot cuz I kept dying.

Handily, huh?

Should I go get Madora? Would a tank help?

The bard was just the right amount of annoying to be perfect. I kinda want to be a bard now.

In the “Bard’s Tale,” a game of yesteryear, you had to first find/buy an instrument before you could even DO bard songs. Maybe it’s cuz in those days they could only do 8-bit music and not singing.


Doooooo iiiiiiiiiit. See what you think about…that. He did have some good stuff to sell. And bought some of my junk.

As for the Baron, we’re a wizard (with a summon undead swordsman skill!), rogue, archer and a tank, so you don’t have to go all melee-heavy, but it never hurts to have a tank around in a big fight to pull attacks off the weaker folk. (That’s also what an undead swordsman is good for. If you have any summon elemental scrolls or anything? Maybe a good time to break those out. As you do doubt recall, there are a lot of enemies in that fight, and just distracting some of them for a couple of rounds with the summoned zombie was very helpful.)

Ah yes, the Twins-Joined-By-Fire. Based on some limited additional knowledge, I’m confident that’s not us. We haven’t met them out in the world yet, so I assume we need to fight them somewhere at some point, but they’re definitely something that is not us.

I mean, unless it’s us from the future after we were joined by fire. OK: I will say it’s definitely not RECOGNIZABLY us. And most likely not us at all, although one never knows. So…take that rock-solid information for what it’s worth, I guess.

Butch [later]:

Well. That was…different.

So Scarlett “joined” him. She got into the rock paper scissors thing, trying to charm Roderick who was all “But think of what we could learn!” It didn’t seem to accomplish much. But I bought some good stuff. Planning for the Baron, me.

I reserve themey discussion until I meet him again. And we will, I think.

Yup. Scarlett did the whole undead warrior trick. I enjoy the undead warrior trick.

Did you just charge everyone in or did you space guys out?

And oh…where the hell is the path to silverglen? Can’t find it. Does it involve speaking zombie to a dead bridge troll? Cuz I can’t figure out what that’s all about, either.

I sorta figured. Cuz he wasn’t all “Hey! Twins! How y’all doing?”

I should play more. Junior has a band concert tonight. Then it’s date night, then we have company over….damn this social life of mine!


Oh, nice! I wondered what would happen if I joined him, but I didn’t do it because it seemed sketchy. “I have better things to do! But definitely sell me some stuff.”

Then Bellegar was all “may you burn in hell for refusing me!” But I think it was pretty rhetorical, because he didn’t show any inclination to attack, and he totally still sold me stuff. The Bellegarettes were…interesting. The most inappropriate thing was how they’d all saunter by and say their lines at the same time about every 30 seconds, the whole time I was trading with him. Got old.

Undead warriors rock. You don’t even have to feel that bad when they get killed because hey, they’re already dead! I mean, I always try to imagine that if you summon a wolf or whatever and it dies fighting for you, it’s really just that it returned to its native plane or whatever, because otherwise that pretty much sucks.

“Hey, random creature I just yanked away from possibly caring for your cubs or something, get into this battle against people you know and care nothing about and die for me! Hope you nuzzled those cubs goodbye as I teleported you to your doom.”

Man, we’re terrible people.

You’re close! Silverglen IS on the other side of the bridge with the zombie troll, but we just killed that troll, so I don’t know anything about speaking to it.

Man, we’re terrible people.

Anyway, go over that bridge and into that burning area on the other side, and caaaaaarefully follow the non-burning paths up, up, as far northerly as you can on the map. (It’s possible one or more of us may have accidentally caught on fire there.) There’s a waypoint up there and one of those “reload to get to a new area” moments.

You’ll be in that region anyway once you’re done with the Baron of Bones!

Oh, and with the Baron, we sent the tank and the archer ahead of the rogue and the wizard, but not by much–we were all basically in the same place. The rogue and the wizard just hung back on the steps a bit. I didn’t even have Wolgraff invisibly teleporting or anything, he just zapped people with his wands (good call on the wands for him).


That’s what Scarlett said! But Roderick won the thing.

I wonder what would have happened if we didn’t have a woman….

What really sucked is that the Bellegarettes talked over Wolgraff and Bairdotr who had banter! Wolgraff looked on with admiration (I think) and Bairdotr was all “How can things so different find love? But, as they say about the serpent and the slug,” or something. I heard serpent and slug.

He told me he’d see me often in the world. Curious.

But that’s themey too! 

YOU’RE a terrible person. I haven’t done the wolf trick yet.

Oh DUDE! I found a book called “How to speak troll,” so I just “graked” with him, knowing what was going on. I convinced him I was a zombie. Then I died in lava. How’d you not die in lava?

I will be over there? No battle under the church deal? I was expecting a battle under the church deal.



Oh yes, true, there IS a battle under the church. To be sure. Yes, certainly stop by the church on the way to Silverglen. There’s valuable plot information there.

I would say don’t worry a lot about the battle under the church, though. Take that how you will.


Though SHIT! It occurs to me I haven’t done the strange cave! At all! Levers!

See? We’re not in the same place! You cut ahead of me and I followed blindly!

Anyway, themes:

So we’re back to “Sin is good,” or a very twisted view of original sin. The wizard obviously thinks he’s in paradise, an Eden. He’s happy! And when you denied him…whatever, something “sinful,” he said you’d burn in hell. When I offered him…whatever, even in a “Yeah, yeah, whatever, I’ll say I’m one of your women if you sell me scrolls” way, he a) promised me paradise and b) LEFT HIS EDEN and that was a GOOD thing.

That’s backwards, right? It’s supposed to be that knowledge of carnal whatever is sin, ORIGINAL sin, even, which is kinda in the title of the game, and THAT’S what gets you hell and cast out of paradise into this realm. You’re supposed to get the “good” outcome by being, well, good.

This certainly seems to be a recurring theme in this game. I want to see where they go with it.


That is true! I forgot about the strange cave too!

Well…it’ll still be there after the Baron of Bones. It is not main quest-y, so it’s really kind of irrelevant to this discussion.

And yes, Bellegar said he was happy and content, but he still told me he was on his way out as soon as he was done trading with me, essentially. So it wasn’t really so awesome that he didn’t want to move on in the world. Certainly he seemed to have crafted a nice little space for himself, full of everything he desired (which apparently was mostly to be fawned over by beautiful women), but was he really as happy as he claimed?


I’m just so used to being in lockstep with you! I’m never behind you!


Still. The damn Baron has killed me so many times I feel the need to get as jacked as I can before I go there. Cave ahoy!

Dude….do not set me up for jokes like that on Friday. Don’t. I have to keep it together, here. There’s a band concert tonight.

Though, on stuff he said, what did you make of his “I’ve seen thousands of places, thousands of cities” etc. stuff? There, again, we have some idea that the game world isn’t alone. There might be our world in there, too. And maybe our world is the real one.

Recurrent themes keep recurring.

When he told you he was on his way out, was he happy? Cuz he sure was happy with me.


He seemed very chipper, yeah. “I’m out of here! This is going to be great! I hope you burn in hell, but also we’ll talk when we meet again!” All in rhymes, of course.

Seemed a pleasant enough fellow. He WAS imprisoned in a cave guarded by demons, so I’m sure there’s more to the story, but he’s not currently on my enemies list. He sold me some good skills, after all. I forgive a lot for that. I can now petrify people and/or make them spontaneously combust with the power of magic! Man, I love wizardry.

And yeah, his comment about having seen many places is certainly suggestive. I mean, he could just be talking about things like the seasonal planes we already know exist, but maybe he means (our) Japan! Perhaps he’ll tell us more when we meet again, which he certainly seemed to feel that we would.


Hmm. Still, I’m sticking with my interpretation of themes here. I’m very curious to see where this goes.

After all, “goes” is the thing, right? Now that you’re in silverglen proper, on the other side, it feels like part 2 (or 3 or whatever), yes?

Ah, man! I knew I should’ve gotten that one! But, for some reason, I seem to be out of money. I think I was cleaned out of, like, EVERYTHING after the Evelyn fight, and overbought to compensate. It happens. I have a bunch of stuff to identify. Maybe I’ll sell some. I’m still there, after all.

He said something like “ten thousand.” That seems to imply more than, like, four seasonal planes.

I’m very curious to see said planes. They might be very different.


We’re not actually in Silverglen…we defeated the Baron and called it a night, so we’re still sitting on the stairs there surrounded by bits of bone and zombie flesh, catching our breath and sorting through the loot we just picked up.

Silverglen next, maybe. We are right there in that general area. But at the moment, I don’t know if it’s going to be stage two and the end of the Hinterlands, or not.

As for everything being on fire on the other side of the troll bridge, it totally is! But there are little thin paths through the flaming woods. It’s possible to travel there, very cautiously.


Oh this is all very exciting!

That troll also leads me to believe that we are just NOT supposed to go there until we’re done.

Arhu said what?

“Dudes….DUDES. You walk right past the main quest point, you kill/talk down a seriously bad thing, you walk through lava, and you STILL don’t get you’re not supposed to be here? For real? How on EARTH did you get to level eight????”


Hey, the troll was pretty easy to kill, so that wasn’t any particular warning, and as for the fires, well, maybe the game just wanted to make sure we could watch where we were going. I regret nothing.


I can explain to the troll. I can talk to the troll in his own language.

Which is an interesting tonal shift. In this case, you CAN succeed by doing the “right” thing, the peaceful thing, but you have to either work to find the book or get lucky and stumble across it.

Which also dovetails with those ghosts who are right there by the bridge to Silverglen. Have you dealt with them? Cuz there’s some degree of that “Well you COULD do the right thing” there.



The ghosts that are complaining about how one of them misses his cat so much?

We talked to them, and figured “well, if we ever find that cat…”

But we didn’t encounter any other ghosts around there, I don’t think.


The ghost who’s all “Why would we want to go to the afterlife when it’s so nice here?” over and over and over, as NPCs do. They’re green.

And yes, there’s a cat. But you don’t NEED the cat….so if you’ve done it, there’s some theme going on.


Right, those ghosts. You don’t need the cat? It kind of seemed like they all really wished that one guy would get his cat so the rest of them could stop hearing about it. We probably misunderstood.

And yeah, back to a previous point, being able to talk to the troll if you happen to have found a book is an interesting addition. Kind of like being able to talk to animals: it’s not entirely a matter of you actively choosing to ‘sin’ or ‘not sin,’ (or to make the violent/nonviolent choice) — it’s also a matter of the information you have to work with. With incomplete information, sometimes we make a choice we wouldn’t have made if we knew more.

Is this a kind of “sometimes you will sin because you don’t know any better” note?

If so, it’s complicated by the additional fact that not knowing better doesn’t entirely let us off the hook for the sin, because we COULD have known better if we’d taken the time to research the matter or to loot properly or whatever. (Or, in the case of anything that happens to animals, we could have taken that talent.)

Yes, we killed the troll because we didn’t know we could talk to it, but whose fault was that? Did we stop to ask whether we MIGHT be able to talk to it? Did we explore for other options? Check around for language books? No.

So yeah, we acted out of ignorance rather than active desire to sin (it wasn’t a matter of “I’m killing this troll even though I could talk to it, because I like killing things!”), but our ignorance was a result of our own choices, so we still bear some responsibility.



Not…need….but I can see the quest going differently if you can talk to the cat. Not just in a “we’ll get to the same point the same way” sense, either.

And I think the differences would have some degree of theme.

Deal with those ghosts. Or not. We’ll talk. Later.

And theme…BUT….and there’s always a but….when I found the book it was dumb luck. It wasn’t that I was lazy all “Hey, if I actively explore for other options I will have other options.” It was one of those “Scarlett has noticed something” (and even that becomes a loaded term in this sense). So this isn’t a failure to loot (or do anything) properly. It’s “I could be good cuz I was lucky.”

See also talking to cats and stuff. Lazy/choices are “Well, I COULD go over there and learn some stuff, but fuck it I’m just gonna kill everyone.” There’s no way to know that talking to the cat makes you better. Shit, go back and read carefully. Even I haven’t told you that it would. I know what I know and even I’m not sure if it’s a good/bad thing, as I haven’t finished the quest. So even that is a question of a series of lucky events, not really choices. You could have known better if the dice roll had been different when you walked by the book. You could have known better if you were lucky enough to notice that rat when you had the skill. But luck. Not choices.

And, since we’re on ignorance…..

When Eve ate the apple, the “sin” she got was knowledge. Here, we’re talking on knowledge helping us make the “right” decisions. We run the risk of making “bad” decisions because of ignorance, “sinning” because of ignorance, when knowledge WAS the original sin, and ignorance was bliss.

Now, because I’m a sinning heathen myself, I have forgotten: Did Eve know what she was getting into? Yes, she was told “Don’t eat that,” but was she told “If you eat that you will learn all sorts of stuff?” Or did she not know WHY she was supposed to leave the apple be?


Interesting…all right, maybe we’ll talk to the ghosts again, since we’re already in the area.

If I recall correctly, God told Adam and Eve not to eat the apple (or, well, in the Bible it’s not specifically an apple, just “the fruit of that tree God says not to touch”) or they would die.

The serpent told Eve that if she ate the fruit she would surely not die, but would be like unto God, knowing good from evil.

So God didn’t specifically say “knowledge is bad so don’t do it,” but the implication is certainly that God didn’t want them to have that knowledge. (Except he must have, because he’s all-knowing and all-powerful and so he allowed the serpent to tempt Eve knowing what would happen…whatever.)

On the other hand, the serpent did say “knowledge is good so do it” or more specifically I suppose, “knowledge is power so do it.” So unlike God, the serpent/Satan presented the fruit as knowledge, and knowledge as something worth having.

Which, going back to your question of whether knowledge really helps us not sin, and how much we can, really, be blamed for not having specific knowledge…hm.

Knowledge makes sin more complicated, that’s for sure. In the beginning, there was only one sin: disobeying God’s one specific order.

But once that was done, and humans had KNOWLEDGE, there were so many other possible sins! So many other things it turned out God didn’t want them doing! (Or, I guess, in the theological perspective, so many things God always forbade in theory, but that it would never have actually occurred to them to do before.)


Thanks, I Just Ate! A Lot. Somewhere Else.


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Very minor Cyseal-area spoilers for Divinity: Original Sin, followed by a descent into discussion of weird foods we have eaten


Kids mercifully back at school. Played, but not a whole lot. Went shopping, fiddled with equipment, as one does.

I DID go to the statues, and I did ask to see my future. Was that credits? Was there a trick there? Cuz I didn’t sit through it. I saw the drawing of a gazebo or something, then said “I’m not watching all of that.” Did you?

And was that a joke? Or was there something there? Especially as the statues lie. Was the gazebo a lie?

So did you free them? Cuz I did. And I got to…where I now am. Which…is different…

I also talked to Esmeralda and the dog, which were both rather anticlimactic. The dog was just all “now you smell so awesome!” And Esmeralda was all “told you so.” And the commander was all “ah good. Your business in cyseal is done,” which is so game language for “just kill the boss and get out of the hinterlands.”

Which I will do. After this other thing. Maybe.

Oh and here’s that article again, this time with an official teaser.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Will Be Out This Fall [Update: Trailer]

You know how we love us some previews!

Looks Mayan or Aztec or something! I’m in!


Nice! It’s official! We’re in!

Ah, see, we didn’t think we had whatever we needed to free the statues, so we left them there. We assumed we needed to find some special elemental something or other, but since you did it without undertaking a whole quest, we must have been wrong. Do you just have to shoot fire with a fire arrow, etc., or something?

We’ll totally go back! Eventually.

But yeah, I think the vision of our future was just the credits, and was just a joke. We didn’t watch the whole thing, but we watched some names scroll by. We thought it was pretty funny, but not enough to sit through a whole credits run (although who knows, maybe there was post-joke-credit information that would have bowled us over).

We didn’t play last night, so I still got nothin.’


Yup, just some elemental attack. Staff’s good. Or a wand. I used wands. Very straightforward.

Sigh. Well, at least the twin dungeons are on the way. Ha. Ha ha.

It would be pretty awesome if there was a “post credit” thing that only appeared in this vision.

But it is telling that it lingers on that first shot of the gazebo there. That’s a thing. And that’s certainly something it wanted us to see.


Wands. I have about 30 wands of different types. I’m on it.

You know, eventually.

But for now we’re doing things differently again! You’re somewhere we haven’t been!

It’s confusing.



It leads to…something. I’m not sure what, yet, because I was with Junior and, very quickly, had to quit cuz inappropriate.


It’s different.


We’ll check it out.

So it’s out of the Hinterlands, though?



And no. It’s a…..wait for it….CAVE!


A CAVE???!!! Let me at it!!!!

Are there levers?


I don’t know! I had to quit. Quickly.


The mystery deepens.


So plot, loot and bloggage can’t get you into a dungeon, but probably inappropriate things and you’re there.

Should’ve known.


Well, probably inappropriate things will make me SAY I’m going to be right there. We’ll have to wait and see whether they’re actually any better than plot, loot and bloggage at getting me to follow through.

More research is needed.


Well, that’s what tonight’s for. Right?

Oh, and, re food, you eat eggs, right? Have a creme brulle recipe for you, but it has a ton of eggs.


Oh yes, I enthusiastically eat eggs and dairy.


Ah, the dairy I knew, cuz cheese, but was unclear on eggs, as I haven’t yet found a cheese with eggs in it, but I would probably eat it if I did.


I would probably eat a cheese with egg in it. It sounds weird, but…I’d try it.


Couldn’t be weirder than the one I had where they introduce the cheese mites to it, who eat it and, well, do what cheese mites do, to add a certain flavor.

(In my defense, this was read to me AFTER I had tried the cheese. Indeed, while I was in the process of trying the cheese. It wasn’t bad cheese, but, apropos of our conversation of smelly panties with bonuses, there’s certain things that, even when they’re tasty, or give you bonuses, you just won’t partake in once you know what you know.)


Yeeeah…sounds about right.

In Finland we heard about a local delicacy that apparently involves hanging a reindeer in a cave (cave!) for months, where a certain mold works its way through the entire carcass, to the point that eventually you can just slice the meat like cheese.


I like cheese. Even cheese with mold. So…in theory this shouldn’t be that horrible. (I was still eating meat at that time.) But somehow it just failed to be at all appetizing. We didn’t have the opportunity to actually try it, so I’m not sure what I would have done.

I mean, I did try haggis, and this Icelandic delicacy that is basically fermented shark. Maybe I would have been bold enough to try the reindeer cheese.

I can’t really bring myself to regret having gone vegetarian before I got the chance, though.


I, too, would probably pass on the reindeer cheese.

See, this is what’s so great about blogging. I had no idea I’d write that sentence today, and yet, here we are.

As a meat eater….no. Reindeer cheese is worse. Our bodies are programmed to find rotten meat disgusting. There are sound evolutionary reasons for this. Not just disgusting in the “I don’t enjoy the taste of that,” but “The smell of that makes me retch.” So stinky cheese? That’s an oddity. Rotten reindeer? That’s fucking with Darwin, man.

Plus it’s a waste of good venison. I love venison.


Yeah, but spoiled milk, rotten meat…it’s kind of the same deal.

That one really does seem to me like a probable case of making a virtue out of necessity, though.

“Look, we’re going to starve to death if we don’t eat this moldy meat. But good news! It’s actually a rare delicacy!”


It’s really true of so much. Who ate the first lobster? The first clam? Why do people continue to eat cauliflower? Hell, who ate the first egg?

Hungry people. That’s who.


Yup. Hungry, desperate people who said, “well, this is PROBABLY better than death by starvation.”

Kind of the original motto of life for things that rely on eating other things.


And the current motto of stay at home parents who haven’t had time to go to the store.

Are Snow Days an Illusion? Pretty Please?


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No spoilers of anything


After multiple snow days with the kids all home, my soul is crushed. I am probably insane.

Please tell me you played and we can talk about games.


We…no. Sorry. Snow days. Probably joining you in your world of madness momentarily.


Is THIS real? Or am I hallucinating?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Will Be Out This Fall

Ooo I hope it’s real!


Ooh! I see it too!

Which at this point doesn’t mean anything, since I could have been sucked into your delusion, but it’s still slightly promising.

This fall! That’s good timing! We should be done with Divinity by then. Probably.


Hey, if my delusion has BEBHBBs, then great.

I had the same thought about Divinity. Ha.

We do agree this is on our “Let’s play it ASAP” list, right? Not the “Maybe if we have time list?”


Oh yeah, this is on the list. I quite enjoyed the past two TRs, and it’ll have been long enough since UC: CHLOE that we’ll be back in the mood for some good rock-climbing, trinket-collecting, exploration-and-adventure action. Plus, who knows, maybe some more information about that mystery at the end of the last one!

It’s on the list. If I could pre-order it right this minute, I would.


Figured. Can’t wait for it, myself.

The movie, on the other hand, is not on my list. And I’m trying hard to convince Junior it’s not on his.


I’m not surprised they’re rebooting the movie character, since they did it with the game, but I’m still not that interested. I mean, I’d watch it if someone paid for it and watched my kids, but…meh.


I’d watch grass grow if someone watched my kids. And I could see grass.

Movie looks BAD though.


I haven’t even watched a preview, that’s how out of touch I am. It didn’t always matter that much, though. I would watch everything, once.

I used to have time to watch bad movies. Before video games, and before children.

Those days are long gone.


Meh. I’ll happily trade video games for bad movies.

They help me deal with the insanity. Or make it worse. Or both!


I’m so tired. I just took all three kids to whole foods, and it looked like a day care. Lots of very, very tired looking parents with three kids in tow.

This. Sucks.

Need some games. And some insanity.


Definitely both.

Sorry about Whole Foods, that sounds like a ghastly nightmare world all its own. One of the major shifts in our routine after kids was that we used to go grocery shopping together, but now almost always Mr. O’ goes alone. Because kids, nightmarish chaos, etc.

You know.

Tomorrow they’ll have school! Hang in there!


Oh, dude. I try to do everything alone. Meatball is ok, but all three? Shit. The touching of things, the playing with each other, the CAN I HAVE THAT? Etc.

Yes. Yes I know.

Attack of the Sprawling Plot


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Confused, partially correct spoilers for the Jake Murder storyline in Divinity: Original Sin


Well then. That happened.

So went to find the cave. As you say, nothing there, but there were torches that seemed to say “Door here.” But there wasn’t. But Junior, bless his heart, said “Use the reveal scroll.” So I did. And, what do you know? Door.

This led to the old guy saying that he was tasked with guarding it. So you could try to talk him into letting you in, which I tried, and I failed, and I died. So I tried again. And I died. Etc. Until I talked him into letting me in!

So I got in. But that took a while.

Then talked down the orcs…and fought everyone in there.


Did you fight….everyone? Kill….everyone? Cuz if you did, we’ll talk. If not, we won’t, cuz spoilers.

That and that’s all I did. Cuz MAN did that take a while.

Things take longer when you die.



Argh, I KNEW there was some way that might not involve killing that guy! REVEAL scroll! Nice one, Jr.

Sorry, old dude. Oh well, them’s the breaks. By the end of that long fight with all those things he summoned, I was pretty peeved at him anyway, so I guess I’m not THAT sorry.

So yeah. Went in there, did you? Fought and killed everyone? EVERYONE? Found Jake?

We can talk about that. That was plotty.


Everyone. Found Jake. Talked to Jake. You?

Quite plotty.

The irony of the reveal scroll is that I used that fucking thing everywhere BUT at that place with the two torches that clearly indicated it was a place.


Ha! Irony.

Yes. Everyone. Found the zombie Jake. Talked to the zombie Jake. Learned the somewhat confusing details of his murder and resurrection. He was talking with Evelyn about their dastardly plans as part of this cult, when Leandra, or Icara the ‘white witch’ (same person? different people?) burst in and killed him, but he’d gotten close to something the Conduit really wanted so Evelyn resurrected him to make him tell how he did it because she wanted the Conduit’s favor? Did I miss a piece there? Probably?

Plus, resurrecting someone just to torture them to death…that’s cold.

And this whole plot by the Conduit is about freeing Braccus Rex, who was also the powerful source-user mentioned by the Lord of Bones, right? (Now that you’ve reminded me he was called the Lord of Bones and not “the guy behind the trap house.”) So it’s all tied together, and we should probably go talk to him again.

Although you also have the option of tracking down Thelyron, which we already did, so that’s on the table.


Sounds about right. Though it seems Jake killed someone himself (we don’t know who, and I don’t think he does either), and THEN Icara killed Jake. Icara is, yes, the white witch. Certainly the Conduit really wanted whoever Jake killed dead. And yes, Evelyn wanted the Conduit’s favor, and seemed peeved that Jake got it and not her.

Lord of Bones, that’s the one.

And I kinda thought he’d be more of end of game boss, but I guess not. Right now, pretty much every quest I have is “I should confront Braccius!” “I really should confront Braccius!” “Yes, that does sound cool, and I get to it after I confront Braccius!” “Really, REALLY dude, go confront Braccius!”

And I don’t think I’m at the end of the game.

I have a Thelryon option? I don’t seem to have that. I have “Braccius,” “something something Icara,” and “Something something Cassandra who I know even less about cuz Arhu.”

Did you talk to Arhu? Cuz I have some thoughts on that.

Where the hell is Thelryon?

Oh, and, when I was done, I talked to the sunbather and was all “Yeah, those dudes you were guarding are kinda dead,” and he said “Well, I guess there’s nothing else for me here. Ta ta!” (He really said Ta ta!) and vanished. He left his stuff. So I lay on the blanket a while. It didn’t do much, but it was a nice moment.


Ha! I’m kind of sorry we didn’t leave that guy alive. But given that trail of corpses we’ve left in our wake, I guess I’m not surprised.

Yes, we talked to Arhu, and yeah…Cassandra. Who is…his sister? And also possibly involved in this but we don’t know how?

I guess probably we were just following up on the “go get Braccus!” hints when we found Thelyron along the way. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember that his name specifically came up, so probably it was just a happy accident.

So here’s what we did: follow up on the clues that are saying “go to the church.”

And yes, there is a huge “this is the endgame, go get the big bad guy!” kind of feeling to this part of the game, and…it doesn’t really fit with the fact that there’s ALL this game left. We’re level 8 (I was mistaken, we haven’t reached 9 yet), and we know people get up to at least level 22 because we could hire them as our minions (uh…traveling companions!), so it CAN’T actually be on the verge of ending. Although they’re sure presenting it like that.

Which is what made me think yesterday that maybe there are levels to it, like we’re going to eventually defeat Braccus (we haven’t done it yet), but rather than that being the final battle of the game, it’s just the final battle of this section of the game. Maybe?

We’ll see, I guess. Unless we decide to just quit playing because we’re too confused. Ha!

Oh, and were you at full health when you lay on the beach blanket? Because if you lay on it while you were wounded, it would heal you right up. I should have specified.


And I THOUGHT the blanket did that! But I thought I was just making a mistake!

I thought that Roderick and Scarlett shared it was rather sweet.

Maybe I’ll see that guy again. And kill him.

That whole conversation made me think that we did things in an order the game didn’t want or expect. After all, it was kinda like:

Arhu: There is a church to the east….
Scarlett: Oh that place? Yeah. Been there.
Arhu: But it is crawling with undead….
Scarlett: Not anymore. Killed ’em all.
Arhu: And there is a place with a barrier you need an amulet-
Scarlett: Yeah, that kinda pissed me off.
Arhu: And he will have minions-
Scarlett: Like the lord of bones?
Arhu: Wait, who?
Scarlett: The Lord of Bones.
Arhu: Don’t think I’ve met him.
Scarlett: Sure you have. Past the trap house, up the stairs there, worried you’re seeing his wife’s bones?
Arhu: Oh him! Yeah, I’ve just been calling him the “guy past the trap house.” That’s his name?
Scarlett: Yeah. He keeps killing me.
Arhu: That sucks, dude.
Scarlett: Tell me about it.

I just made level 8. And I still have half the map black. There’s no way they’re all “Go there! Now! Ignore half the map! Just go NOW!”

This isn’t a main quest “Someday, I must fight the archon but first…” deal. This is a NOW deal. Didn’t you say you couldn’t even go to silverglen until you did this?

This can’t be the end.

Maybe this is the hinterlands from the Witcher 3! Ha.

But come on. You’re into it.



Yes, this IS the Hinterlands! People do keep saying Cyseal is a fish-smelling backwater. We need to move on in the world!

But it’s not true that you have to defeat Braccus to get to Silverglen. We wouldn’t have seen it yet in that case.

There’s a path to it in the kind of general area of the church, and we found it while poking around. Then Arhu met us, all “you should really go back and finish up,” and so we did. Although we haven’t finished up, since Braccus Rex remains undefeated at the moment. He’s on our list!

So is Silverglen! And some other things we need to get around to. Somebody keeps muttering something about twin dungeons.

The blanket totally heals you! I really wanted to bring it with us, but alas, could not.


Yeah, that’s what I meant! Like, you can go there, but the game is strongly suggesting you don’t. Have you BEEN to silverglen? Or did you listen to Arhu? The game is pretty much telling you “Dude? Go finish the chapter, mmkay?”


Oh, right, yes, that’s true. We don’t need to defeat him to go there, but we’ve been advised to figure out that whole Jake murder thing before we try to stay.

Which we’ve now done! We know who killed him! It wasn’t Esmeralda! That guy guarding her (Septimus?) will be so pleased.

We should probably go back and report to Aureus, speaking of legionnaires.


HA! Yes. Them. Forgot.

“We’ve been holding her captive for eight years now!”

“Oh….uh….yeah…about that….”

Though how’d she miss all of that? I guess she was off banging dudes.

But speaking of solving the murder, how did you play the whole dialog of “We must stop Braccius!” vs. “Hey! We’re done! Not our problem!”

I must admit, I thought there might be some trick of “And then they left and the world ended….credits” deal if you both picked “Yeah, we’re done.”


Yeah, we went with “we must stop him!” Even though I was a bit tempted by “hey, that wasn’t on our to-do list.”

Speaking of endings, did you talk to the statues? And they offered you the chance to see the final result of your quest? And you did (maybe)?


No, cuz I did all that I did instead. They’re next.

Though I’m curious. I talked to a couple of oxen at the docks and one said it could tell the future. I asked “Will I be rich?” and it was all “Yoooo shall have great riches!” or something. I asked it if I would find love and it enthusiastically said yes. And I asked it either “how will I die?” or “how will my quest end?” and it said “Oh, great hunter you shall… NO! It’s…I can’t….I’m done talking DONE!” Like, it panicked. It was terrified. It was a rather creepy moment.

So we’ll see how that lines up.

You gotta get Pet Pal.



All right, I’ll say no more about the statues.

Maybe the ox couldn’t see that far into your future because you’re not part of the tapestry of time or whatever? Maybe it could see you getting money and love because hey, riches and romance will surely follow us!–but it couldn’t see to the end, and that was alarming?



I don’t know, man. It seemed like he DID see the end and it scared the hell out of him. That’s how I read it.

This game occasionally does get kinda creepy.

It was even moreso because the first two questions (money and love), it sounded like a stupid carnival machine, basically dispensing stupid generic happy advice. So I expected it to be all “You shall have glory! And meet a dark stranger!” kind of cheese.

And then it didn’t.

Which was creepy.


That is weird and disturbing.

This is why I don’t talk to animals. I don’t need the creep factor.


It was pretty out there.

There’s a mess of creep in this game. Wait until you do the TWIN DUNGEONS!


All right, that does it. Never doing the twin dungeons. If it can be mentioned in the same breath as terrified fortune telling oxen, I can’t handle the creepy.


Oh, it’s not oxen creepy it’s….



Oh, I totally will. Right away.



Such good bloggage that just plain isn’t happening. I blame Mr. O. And you.

By the way, is Mr. O into this still?


We are both to blame. But not because we’re not into it! We’re just too into things that aren’t that.

Like the plot. Or leaving random people dead in our wake through barely any fault of our own.


“We’re just too into things that aren’t that.”

T SHIRT!!!!!

You know, the twin dungeons have a) plot, b) killin’ shit and c) loot.

Just sayin’.


Dude, why didn’t you say so!?

We’ll rush right over. As soon as we’re done fiddling with these other switches in this other cave.


Great. Another cave that only one of us will find.


Oh no, this is the ‘strange cave’ on the other beach. Quests will lead you there, no worries.

At least, they would if we ever got quest markers. But you’ll find it. It’s not one of the hidden things.


Dude, that’s the quest marker I have! That’s why I thought Evelyn’s cave was there!

And now that I know it has levers, I can’t wait!

It’s really amazing how different our quest markers have been. We’re playing the same game, on the same system.

I got that strange cave marker almost immediately. Right when I got to Cyseal. So yeah, those levers I can find.


Yes! There you go then. You’ll find this cave. Fight some…things. Get some story. Find some levers.

It’s gonna be great.


The irony is that I thought you were being silly for not going to the strange cave to find Evelyn, and now I found Evelyn and you’re at the Strange Cave.


Oh by the way…..On the whole “Maybe this is a delusion” front….

Evelyn’s a nurse, right? And Scarlett hates her? Kills her? Evelyn wants to help the person who is going to end everything ever?

And is surrounded by “torture racks.” I’ve been wondering on torture racks. They’re everywhere. Therlyon had one is his clinic. His CLINIC! And here we have a place that has a lot of scientific equipment, a nurse, the person ending it all, and a lot of “torture racks” just thrown in to studies and sciency places. And what I noticed is they look, if you squint, like hospital beds. They’re all lined up…just there. Like you would see in a hospital ward. Torture beds.



Hmmm. I did notice (one could hardly avoid it) the many, many torture racks. Also, you no doubt saw there was an option to ‘lie’ on them when you got close? Did you do that?

I did not. “No thanks, I’m good,” was pretty much my reaction. Now in games, as players, we almost always do anything that we have an option to do (pull the lever! flip the switch! push the button! turn the handle!), whether we have any idea what will happen or not, but somehow in this case I just didn’t need to know.

I’ll ‘lie’ on that dude’s beach blanket, sure, no problem. Torture rack? Mm. No.

Which is kind of an interesting case of the game getting us with atmosphere and terminology, because really, any random button that we would immediately push is just as likely to injure us as is a random torture rack that may not do anything at all.

But I’ll push random buttons all day long, and I wasn’t into lying down on that rack. Because ew.

Oh and speaking of ‘ew,’ I’m actually wearing Esmeralda’s smelly panties right now. Because ew, but also? It gives me a +1 to charisma. And because I have a -10 for being a ‘know it all’ (extra intelligence, but vendors don’t like me and give me bad deals because I guess I can’t shut up about how smart I am), that matters to me!

Let’s just…not even get into why smelly panties gives me a charisma bonus. That’s a bit rude, game. I’m taking it because I like bonuses, but it’s rude.


I didn’t lie on the one that said “lie,” but I did try to “use” the one that said “use,” and Scarlett said “I really don’t want to use that.” It wasn’t just that nothing happened, she SAID that she didn’t want to. Maybe I’ll try to “lie” and see what happens.

But underpants: Oh no. No no no. No.

Now, here’s a thing: Even knowing that that will give me a bonus, not gonna do it. Nope.

Now, what’s that say about me?

Don’t answer that.


I don’t know, maybe that you have stricter hygiene standards than I do? I mean, I’m not sure whatever negative conclusions we might draw about choosing to use or not use this item would reflect more poorly on you than on me.

But grossness aside, it is a kind of interesting thing to put in there, from a sociological standpoint. As we well know, it’s only a game. There is no actual item that exists, in any state of cleanliness. There’s only a bit of code that has been given the name ‘smelly panties.’

Does our natural disgust at the idea of dealing with a stranger’s intimate dirty laundry (which exists only in our minds, but which is inevitably conjured by the name) override our natural urge to equip something that gives us a bonus?

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer. I mean, ‘ew, gross, no’ is totally valid. I think ‘hey, whatever, bonus’ is also valid. And as to what broader conclusions we could draw about the person who would pick one option over the other…further research is needed.


I had no problem putting on the sensible ones, despite the fact they don’t seem to do much of anything.

All games are nothing but pixels, but we make choices all the time because we “don’t want to hurt so and so’s feelings” or we “didn’t want to take his stuff” or “He was bad.” So not wanting to wear “smelly panties” isn’t all that weird. Is it?

It doesn’t help that they trophy you get for finding the panties is called “Memory Motel.”

And the dog, when you give it to him to smell, says he smells “everyone BUT Jake.”

Speaking of which, I found a “smelly robe” on zombie Jake, indicating that the dog will have something to say about it. I’m gonna show it to the dog.


I saw that robe too! And thought “the dog would be interested in that. If he weren’t dead, and if we could talk to him.”

Roads not taken, man.

And no, I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to make that call. As you say, everything in the game is code and pixels, but we act as if it has reality because otherwise it’s not interesting. If we can feel kind of bad about a dead fictional dog, we can certainly feel too grossed out by smelly fictional panties to put them on our fictional character.

It’s a variant of “OK, this armor has good bonuses, but it looks too stupid–my character wouldn’t wear it.” Which come to think of it is also a decision that I tend to resolve in favor of practicality (bring on the stupid, I want this AC!), but which I completely respect the other way as well.

I’m not judging.


You are nothing if not practical.

Watch: the dog will be so mad that we killed Jake he’ll attack us and we’ll kill him.

Cuz irony.


Oh man, that would be extremely ironic.

Just don’t tell him the whole story. “Hey, dog, we found…uh…well, we FOUND Jake. We don’t have him with us, exactly, but we know where he is. What’s left of him. He’s doing great. In the sense that he’s not actively suffering. Any more.”


This game doesn’t lack irony.

I’ll keep you posted.

It Takes a Whole Team to Make Sense of This


, , , ,


Spoilers for Cyseal-area plot points in Divinity: Original Sin


Ok, I didn’t play past what I gave you on Friday, and this morning was a beast, so we’ll just start where we left off cuz my brain hurts.

Yeah! All of a sudden, I wasn’t doing any damage, so I checked my equipment and there’s a dagger missing and my stylish red underwear (which looks kinda hot with the magical “garment” I found).

At least, if you didn’t have it, there aren’t “arrows of gear destruction” or anything. Cuz MAN that would suck.

Anyway, that’s all I got. After you get Pet Pal, find a crab. The crab is funny.

What about you? You play?


I saw the crab! It was chittering at us, and I thought “I bet that crab has something to say. IF ONLY I could understand it!”

But I couldn’t, so we left.

We played. We played! Indeed, much was the playing that we did and many were our adventures, and glorious our victories, and crushing our defeats.

We found Thelyron, so…that happened. We cleared up a number of plot points and then faced a fight that completely destroyed us, so we decided to go away and come back later when we’re feeling tougher.

Good times, though. Good times. It was pretty much all about that cave on the secluded beach.


The crab is pretty hilarious. And rather helpful!

So did you do the talking statues? Cuz that’s what I’m doing next. And did you find the sunbathing guy? Cuz he was right there, too.

But did you do the twin dungeons? No. Of course not.

Really? So Thelryon findable at level 7? Good to know. I know where I’m going after the talking statues! I think.

It’s either that or trying, once again, to kill the lord of bones, who really MUST be somewhat important.

Sigh. No twin dungeons. It’s really cool! It is!

I dunno, you kill the lord of bones? Should I do him or the Thelryon bit?


We didn’t kill the lord of bones. We don’t know anything about the lord of bones. Who is this lord of bones of whom you speak?

So in answer to your question, I don’t know…go after him I guess? Because there’s one thing I can tell you about the Thelyron bit, and that is that it will keep. If you go after him now you’ll just have to go back in a few levels (though at least you’ll know some stuff in the meantime). Also…I’m not sure you’ll be able to find him right now anyway, because we were following up on a lead we found in the cave.

But whether to go into the cave or chase the lord of bones? I cannot say. I wonder where we missed the lord of bones. It sounds like someone we would have heard of.

We did talk to the talking statues (which certainly explained all the previous things we’d heard from people about them). Presumably we’re now keeping an eye out for their elements, in order to free them, although I’m not sure that’s actually such a good idea since who knows what they’ll do then?

And we did meet the sunbathing guy. That was interesting. Discuss: what was your experience with the sunbathing guy? Ours was…interesting.


Sure you do. That undead dude out behind the trap house who got mad cuz you saw his wife’s bones and all that. Who kept killing me. Trap house? West chest key? Up a big flight of stairs? Long bad guy monologue?

You met him.

Oh, I can do the cave now? Cool.

You’re feeling rather jaunty today, aren’t you?

I left him alone….but here’s the thing: He didn’t seem to…fit. Much like other things (the sword that was “made in Japan,” for example). There was just something about him that, once again, made me think “This world isn’t real. Maybe we’re crazy.”

What did you do?


Oh, right, that guy. Yes, of course we met him. I forgot that was what he called himself. We were just calling him “the guy behind the trap house.” Has less of a ring to it, I admit.

So. The questions of whether you can do the cave now, and what we did in our encounter with the sunbathing dude, are perhaps related. Although perhaps not because maybe we’re just blind again or the encounter was glitchy! I don’t know! I don’t want to spoil!

So…we talked to him. He said he was a retired sourceror, so I felt he fit in OK? I mean, perhaps it’s a bit anachronistic to have a retired guy who just wants to lie on the beach, given that the concept of a leisurely retirement is a largely modern one, but…I don’t know, he didn’t seem particularly out of place to us. Although we were kind of suspicious just because when does anyone actually want to just lie harmlessly on the beach? Without even wanting to kill us just a little bit?

Still, we tried leaving him alone, but were completely unable to find the cave that according to the map highlight should have been RIGHT THERE, so…

OK, you try finding the cave entrance that is RIGHT THERE next to the sunbathing guy. It’s possible we were just missing it the way we missed the tunnel that leads to this beach in the first place.

We couldn’t find it, and the guy didn’t say anything useful, and so eventually Delios stole his clothes. In retrospect, Wolgraff should probably have tried that instead and maybe he would have managed it instead of provoking a fight.

I really don’t know how much of what happened was avoidable, is the thing.

Also, I should clarify that I’m sorry, but no, as you suspected we did not get to the twin dungeons.


Oooooooofffffff course not.

Wait.. you stole his clothes? Why? WHY?

And what cave? Evelyn’s cave is off on the beach by the Cyseal harbor, right?

Damn. I just talked to him, decided to leave him be since he wasn’t sourcing shit. I missed something big, didn’t I? Though there WAS that beach I couldn’t get to….

This game would be impossible if we weren’t comparing notes.


Oh man. We would never get ANYWHERE without comparing notes.

You don’t have an orange ‘important quest’ mark right next to where that guy is sunbathing? Like, 10 feet away from him and right on top of the rock wall? (A rock wall that, to our eyes, appeared impenetrable, but you know how sometimes we’re blind.)

Because we definitely had an indication on the map that we needed to check that out, and in desperation, not being able to find any way in…we stole the guy’s clothes. More to see what would happen and because we couldn’t think of anything else than because we had any big plan.

But if you’re not afraid of spoilers, here’s what happened when we took his clothes: we had to fight that guy and a small army his summoned allies, and we found something in his clothes (I guess?–this was the fight with a bunch of possible glitches where things got very confusing) that said “here’s the password” or something (it popped up in the middle of the fight so I didn’t even read it closely), and then after the battle we saw the entrance to a cave that was RIGHT THERE in the rock wall where the map marker indicated but where we hadn’t see it before.

So. I honestly don’t know if we just didn’t see it before, and thus robbed and murdered that guy for no reason, or if this guy was the harmless-looking (but actually eeeeeevil!) guardian whom we HAD to rob and murder in order to find the cave entrance.

I don’t know! I am almost as deeply confused about that whole situation as I am about the guards who wound up dead after I fled from them!

But I do know that once we found the cave entrance, we went in and discovered much very interesting plot information. So definitely check that out.

See if you can get in without stealing the guy’s clothes. There’s got to be a way to do that that makes more sense than whatever the hell happened to us.

Oh–and do try lying down on his blanket. That thing ROCKS.


Nope. No marker. Not a thing. I have that down on the beach near the path to the big…cave thing…that’s right under the lighthouse, but up at the secluded beaches I got nada. Did you find something that led you there?

Dude, I don’t know about the cave marker. I DON’T KNOW! But I’m right there by the stones so I’ll check it out. I want to find a collar for….oh sorry…animal stuff.

HA! Cool about the blanket.

But that reminds me….the thing that made him feel off was the fact it seemed SO very much like the way people retire here. The umbrella and all.

We need more research. I’m on it.


Well, I THOUGHT we were following clues to get here, because I THOUGHT this was where Evelyn’s lair was supposed to be. (Under the lighthouse, on the beach on the other side…? That’s marked as ‘strange cave,’ right? We went there afterwards, when we decided we needed to explore that side of the city, but it was unrelated to this quest.)

Does this game tell you different things about Evelyn’s cave depending on how/when you find certain information?

We’re all very confused right now.

But there’s definitely a cave right by the sunbathing dude. Which you may or may not have to kill him to find. And which definitely contains much useful information and plot advancement.

I agree, the notion of retiring on the beach the way he says he has does seem unlikely for what seems to be the time period of the game, but it’s really hard to tell if something is intentionally out of place to tip us off to the fact that the whole universe is a dream, or if it’s just kind of an internal joke that the writers thought was amusing. Like ‘made in Japan’–is that a tip-off to a larger reality because it’s saying it was literally made in OUR world’s Japan, or did someone just think it was funny to say there’s a town called Japan in the game world that makes things?

I was going to say “we shall never know!” but actually we probably will know, at least, whether or not the whole world is meant to be a dream or something, so at least this is a mystery we can look forward to seeing solved. THAT’s a relief.


Dude, I’ve had that “strange cave” marker since practically the beginning of the game. I have no idea why or how I got it. I haven’t gotten a yellow thing in forever. All I have is that, Evelyn’s house (still), Captain Grumpypants (still) and abandoned church (still). Maybe the cave is part of the orc problem? When I went up there a ways back, I was killed by orcs.

I’m gonna find this new cave, though! I will! After the statues! Or killing lord bones!

Focus…must focus….

This game is large, isn’t it? I’m still into it, though!

And, well, if you read the description of the sword, it says “Made in Japan. You have no idea where that is.” Which is just vague enough to make you wonder if it’s a joke or not. I thought it was a joke, but then you start seeing this pattern of other things that don’t quite fit…that aren’t quite right….

I need to move the Conduit along, because the idea of wanted to destroy everything that ever was in a world is what you would want to do to someone living in a delusion. The Conduit even talks to “curing” and stuff.

It’s enough to make one think.

A mystery we can look forward to seeing solved…or not. Or not in this game. Remember there’s a sequel. That’s supposed to be even better, even deeper, and even more thought provoking.

Just sayin’.


Good point. Perhaps we shall never know! Because maybe by the time the sequel comes out on consoles, we’ll have too many other things in our queues and we’ll never get to its thought-provoking awesomeness.

“You have no idea where that is” IS suggestive. And you’re right, the Conduit’s talk of curing could be a delusional mind’s translation of the fact that someone is actually trying to cure the delusion.

Perhaps we shall someday know!

I’m into it.

It’s large, but we did get quite a lot done over the weekend, so I don’t have the feeling of it being endless that sometimes creeps over one while playing a really huge game. It feels more that it’s big, but pieces are coming together, we’re finding some of the things that our first quests were about, we’re making progress on various fronts.

As for the Lord of Bones…yeah, now that you remind me of him, we should probably go back there because we’re probably tough enough now. But I think in terms of plot, you really want to get into that cave by the sunbathing guy, so as long as you’re over there anyway, do that first. There really is a great deal of plot there. You’re gonna love it.


Cool! It is so ON!

After the statues.

No way we miss the sequel, dude! We’ll remember! Because they’ll re-review it when they port it to consoles, thus reminding us! Whoo hoo!

It’s just vague enough. And the vagueness doesn’t intrude too much. I mean, we haven’t gone full Lost. Yet.

Until we have to go into season land to save a well or something. Which is another big map. And there’s probably quest in Silver Glen. Have you found that? Cuz I haven’t. Or Hunter’s whatever. And there’s lots of portals back at the end of time, which we’re kinda ignoring at this time.

But yeah. Yeah. Shit’s coming together. Yeah.


There is that. That whole winterland and implied other seasonlands, that we’re supposed to be keeping an eye out for another way into. I haven’t seen anything like that, and when we find it, it will add some ground to cover.

We did make it to Silverglen, but Arhu met us and said “hey, great you’re here but maybe you want to focus on that Counselor Jake thing before you go exploring?” and we obediently said “fine, OK, sounds good” and turned back. Because we are very polite and well-behaved and also we thought maybe he was using game-code for “just FYI, if you go poking around here right now you will certainly meet a gruesome death.”


Really? DAMN you played. Thus restoring the universe to balance.

A gruesome death is a possibility, that it is. Or it’s the game saying “Ok, look, you COULD go here and magpie, but really, we want to lull you into a sense of feeling like you’re progressing and shit’s coming together by letting you close out a chapter before you come here and realize HAHAHAHA YOU’RE NOT EVEN CLOSE!”

As games do.

I mean, perspective time.

What level are you? 8 or so? Cuz the guy in the end of time was hiring out level 22 guys before I even stopped scrolling.

We played MEA for, what, four months? Five? This has been a month and a half.

There’s gonna be some shit.



Good point.

It could TOTALLY be doing that. Because you’re right, I think we just hit level 9, which is not a very high level.

Maybe…maybe there are sort of different planes? Like, we have to finish our major quest in Cyseal in this semi-normal human realm, and fight the Big Bad at the end, and then we find that we’ve won through into another level? Say, that’s how we get to winterland and it turns out winterland is full of outrageously deadly monsters that we could never conceive of fighting in Cyseal?

And then we do a major quest in winterland, like reuniting the wells, and to do it we have to defeat some monstrous evil that lets us get to still another plane?

Making stuff up here. But you’re absolutely right, considering our level and the potential levels that exist, there is a LOT of game left.


When I was scrolling through the mercenaries you could hire, I kept thinking I was getting to the end of the list….and I wasn’t. And those dudes that high cost more gold than we’ve seen total, so it’s not like some “Hey, too hard? Rent this overpowered dude who will kill the boss in one hit.”

We’re not done.

Just the shit on the back of the box looks like shit that would kill us immediately.

The reviews seemed to agree that this is a 75 hour game. And we all know that we generally have to add 20-30% to whatever hourage they say it is, so this is long. Long long.

Which is fine with me. I haven’t felt any slog yet.

On the plane thing, I’ve found a reference to another season having a plane.

So we’re in for a long game.


All right, let’s pour a few more drinks and settle in then. We’re good for a few months! We’ve got nothing urgent on the list.

It’s perfect, really…something to keep us busy while we wait for whatever comes out next that we need to play.


That was the plan!

And it seems to be working!

I retract what I said about the universe being in balance.


Yes…it does seem to be working…which means something must be about to go terribly wrong.


Rip in spacetime!
No one will notice. Until the world ends. 
T SHIRT!!!!!!


The Report of the Mayor’s Death is Either an Exaggeration or Not an Exaggeration


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Minor spoilers for Cyseal-area plot points in Divinity: Original Sin


Well, considering I watched my kids in Beauty and the Beast…..twice…last night, you can imagine what I got.

Why yes! Nothing! I got nothing!

This is gonna be a quick derail.

But hey! The play was cute and now it’s over. So there’s that.

This week has been a mess, man. A mess I say!


We have stuff! We played!

We still didn’t get into Evelyn’s mysterious cave, but we wandered around, talked to some things, got into a really long, confusing, possibly glitchy fight (enemies would show up on the list on top, and have turns, but nothing would happen, our turns would get shuffled around…it was either glitchy or else an extremely effective example of an opponent using magic to confuse us, which I think is also possible), and went back to town to replenish our healing potions. As one does.

While there we stopped in at the clinic (potions, plus that whole confrontation thing) and Thelyron was nowhere to be seen, so I’m not sure if he was just away for lunch, or if he’s run off or been snatched by the Conduit. You must report on whether you find him.

But hooray for the end of the play! Cuteness! Over!


We have vague stuff! You talked to people! And did stuff! We can so blog on that!


I was hoping you did the twin dungeons. Admit it. You’re never, ever gonna do the twin dungeons.

I got into a fight once where weird glitchy shit happened. It was more lag though. I thought the game had frozen for a while, but it woke up and went really choppy for a while. But then it straightened itself out.

Could’ve been magic, though. I’ve noticed that, sometimes, it’s hard to tell if you’ve been stunned or slowed or something. Slowed is the worst. That sort of thing will shuffle turns, and it does get confusing when there’s a lot going on.

Man, so there’s a chance of yet another anti-climax. “I shall burst in for this stunning confrontation oh you’re not there.”


That’s true, there was some stunning and slowing going on, which could have shuffled turns confusingly.

And yeah, I bet that’s totally all that’s going to happen.

“All right Thelyron, by the Seven you’re going to answer some questions now!!!! Damn it, he’s gone.”

Incidentally, who ARE the Seven? I don’t even know the names, domains or alignments of the gods we regularly invoke. Is THAT a sin?

I suppose that’s also close to true of many people who walk around our world saying “by God this is the last straw!” or whatever, without having any very clear idea what’s in the Bible.

“Incidentally, who IS this ‘God’?”

“Uh…some incorporeal guy…wrathful…hates stuff…filled with beneficent love as long as you’re following the rules…hates a LOT of stuff…but you know, generally really great and awesome in the literal sense…”

Blasphemy forever!


I’m not sure who the Seven are. Are they even Gods? Jake was a Councillor or something (ambassador?) of/from the Council of Seven, so is that like the “Council of God” or just some powerful secular thing?

I guess we’ll know more when we find Evelyn. After all, if she was just interested in killing whoever, then she wouldn’t have picked a Councillor of the Seven or whatever. She had her reasons, and I figure we’ll hear them soon enough.

It is pretty cool that, in a game about sin, we’re unclear who the Gods even are.

Are you EVER going to the twin dungeons? Don’t get too overpowered before you do. You’re so close to them!


I’ll just admit it now: we will never get to the twin dungeons. There are too many interesting distractions!

We’ll try. We’ll try. But…distractions.

Hm. It’s true, the Seven MIGHT not be gods. I thought the Council of Seven was a sort of religious body, but maybe it’s just the city government. The way characters often call out “the Seven call me home!” as they’re dying suggests a divine nature to me, though.

It’s certainly possible that one might cite some powerful human institution as an exclamation (“by the imperial senate, that smarts!”), but seems fairly unlikely that said human institution would be credited with “calling us home” when we died.

I mean, you never know. The Legion obviously has a lot of say around these parts. But it would seem odd–though extremely interesting in a themey sort of way if true.


Dude, you are RIGHT THERE by the dungeons. It’s right outside Cyseal. There’s nothing between you and it that’s distracting.

Oh good point about the ‘calling home’. Forgot that. That does sound very divine. I guess it wouldn’t be plausible to say they’re hoping that, right that minute, some dude would be ringing them up saying “Ok! Time to come home and pick up some milk!” so they could tell the monster “Yeah…gotta split before you kill me! Dinner time, and all….”

I figure we’ll know more once we get into that cave.

Which you’re not going to do right now cuz twin dungeons.


That cave is just as close! And more mysterious!

Also we have to try to find the mayor to talk to him about the staff, although I’m not too hopeful. You may have to fill us in on that quest if it turns out our mayor is glitched into eternal absence.


Lies! Lies I say!

And sure, if by “glitched into eternal absence” you mean “dead.”

But hey, man, however you get to sleep at night.


His body isn’t there, man! I mean, he could be dead somewhere else, I clearly can’t prove anything either way (he’s Schroedinger’s Mayor!), but I can SEE several dead guards and I can’t see a dead mayor.

So the guards, yes, I will accept some sort of weird responsibility for their deaths in that running away so I wouldn’t have to fight them was apparently the fatal blow against which they could not defend, but the mayor’s blood, if it was spilled, is not on my hands. I think he’s probably just in hiding.

Which is probably wise.


You can kill people just by leaving a room.

I wouldn’t want to talk to you, either.


No, no, his trepidation is entirely reasonable. I’m just going to be sad if I can’t give him this staff he was looking for, and then find out that he was actually a sourceror (because there was something sketchy about him wanting it in the first place, right?), and get him to reveal some crucial piece of the plot…yes, I’m going to be sad if that happens.


Oooo, right. Crucial plot.

Maybe he just wants to get into the anti-climax! He’s probably just in the closet, and you’ll be all

“Why are you in there?”
“Well…I didn’t want to be the one guy in town who was in the same place for the whole quest….”


He’d better show up if he actually has some critical plot knowledge. That’s a super irritating glitch otherwise.


I’ll let you know. It’s how we do.

Phew! A first! A whole Friday and we didn’t say NUDITY once! Especially not in capital let-

Shit. Said it, didn’t I?


Nice going. You made Friday!


Some things just can’t be helped.

Just played some. Got the staff, went back to the mayor. Rest assured: no plot. You have a choice: keep it or give it to him. I gave it to him. I got XP. And there was a dialog option about the Fabulous Five. He told me that he was thrilled they killed all the undead in the cave, he gave them a reward and they left town. I got XP. And a trophy. So maybe all it means is you can’t platinum the game. Poor you.

Rest easy!

I also found a crab.

And the talking statues, but that’s where I stopped.

Oh and I couldn’t find the doctor either.

And hey: in that fight for the staff, a) who was the enlightened one he talked about and b) did a weird thing happen to you where your armor/gear kept vanishing? I did the thing twice, and Scarlett wound up naked the first time and Roderick did the second time. Scarlett lost a weapon the first time, too! What gives? That happen to you?


That’s a relief that the mayor didn’t have key plot. I suppose if he doesn’t turn up we’ll just have to survive somehow without that trophy.

As to randomly losing clothing during the fight with the enlightened…wha? That definitely did not happen to us. Maybe the game felt bad for taking away the mayor, so it spared us that particular bug. That’s a weird one, though.


Yeah! All of a sudden, I wasn’t doing any damage, so I checked my equipment and there’s a dagger missing and my stylish red underwear (which looks kinda hot with the magical “garment” I found).

At least, if you didn’t have it, there aren’t “arrows of gear destruction” or anything. Cuz MAN that would suck.


Tiny rust monster grenades. The worst nightmare of the adventurer.

All According to the Plan


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Spoilers for Cyseal plot points in Divinity: Original Sin


Well….sorta followed the plan. The first part anyway. But I knew that it was gonna be a rough night when even doing that pissed me off.

Went to the hut. There were the undead, as you said. Indeed, I have met these undead. They are one of the batches of undead that kill me with regularity. I think “Shit. These guys. I’ll NEVER get in there, no bloggage, and doesn’t that suck and–” and Junior goes “Why don’t you just sneak around that way?”

And there is a long pause I a realize that a) not only did I die the other night for nothing so many times and b) I REALLY died for nothing cuz I didn’t have to fight these guys at all!


So I just sneaked on by. And got in. But I think I missed stuff.

I found the diary, and a couple of letters. And then I went back to confront him but people came home and things went to shit so I didn’t get that far.

I think I missed stuff cuz Roderick went “Another place with an ominous hatch!” but I couldn’t find a hatch, ominous or otherwise. Did I miss something? And that lever….there was a lever. I used the lever. Multiple times. Fuck if I know what it does. What does it do?

But ok. Conduit hired/drafted/tricked the doctor. Evelyn was watching him/controlling him/threatening him. Doctor is bringing the dead back, but doing it to get Malia (his wife? Daughter? Someone he loves) back. The doctor is probably a sucker, because, seriously, you think Conduit is gonna keep her end of this? I sure don’t.

Nice twist. I kinda read the doctor as an aloof academic, so caught up in his shit that he didn’t notice that Evelyn was, you know, evil. I didn’t call that he was up into stuff, too.

And it seems to sync with our “sin is necessary, sin leads to good things” bit, as the doctor obviously KNOWS that the conduit isn’t very nice, and is up to not nice things, but also knows that this is the only way to get Malia back/help Malia/whatever. Now, we could be all “this is the greed of the living.” We’ve seen that before. But I’m withholding judgment on that until I confront him.

I wish I had done more. I feel like if I had played ten minutes more we’d have some really good bloggage.


Ha! See, we had basically cleared the hut and then stopped, so last night we loaded up again, explored around the back of the hut…and found that we could have sneaked right on in. Oh well. Those guys only killed us about three times before we got them back.

We also followed the plan! Sort of. We didn’t go to the twin dungeons, but we did go to the cave (after searching all over the damn map because we couldn’t remember where it was–as you could have told me), and yup, there was the ‘use’ X at the end of it, which we both somehow missed on previous explorations. Siiigh.

But we got to the other side! And found that waypoint! And fought those beach rogues! And got the mayor’s staff, although since I haven’t seen the mayor since that weird fight-flee-dead-guards incident, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to do anything with it. Maybe he’ll come back once he hears we have it.

And then we stopped, as it was getting late.

I don’t think you’re missing anything in the hut? I don’t even remember anyone mentioning an ominous hatch, and we certainly didn’t find one. We also didn’t figure out what the lever did, unless maybe it turned off the lightning that filled the room when we must have set off a trap. I don’t know, we had already looted everything obvious, so we just left. The place is still full of lightning as far as I know. Maybe the hatch was under the trap and we missed it.

But basically all the plot stuff you summarize is what we found out, so…yeah. We’re pretty much at the same place.

I did like that twist for Thelyron’s character. He was so helpful when we went to ask him about Evelyn, all “go ahead, take her backpack! I think she’s at her house!” that we assumed he had just been fooled by her–but it’s not so simple! Way to complicate things.


They killed me more than that. And this might be a time when I say “Bravo, dead Kevin. I shall leave you be.”

Those dead Kevins were probably from RotTR or UC2 or something and they’ve been waiting to get us back the whole time.

Speaking of dead Kevins (which would be a great rock band), can we agree that OMG THANK GOD THEY DON’T RESPAWN? Yes, I think we can.

Ooo! You went past me! I just got to the waypoint. Man, it’s nice getting to waypoints. We’ll never have to find that cave again. Unless we have to do the levers. But hey! It’s right by that waypoint! Which we will totally forget.

So Ok, good, you got there. But after your “What bigassed exit to the tunnel?” moment I’m not sure you’re the most reliable witness.

This is so weird that we keep saying “we’re almost at the same place”…..

I still have pet pal, though. Get that.

Very good way to complicate things. He did seem like a rather helpful distracted doofus, but really he was desperate and scared and trying to help us because he knew Evelyn was bad.

I’m sorta nervous about talking to him about this. The Conduit knows we know what’s up, if the conduit finds out that we know about HIM that would probably not be good for his chances of making it to act 2, would it?


I know, I don’t trust myself on anything anymore.

“Did you happen to notice if you went into the witch’s castle and fought the giant scary dragon with horns as tall as the moon and a roar so mighty it made you bleed from the ears?”

“I…think so? I fought something somewhere, so…probably? Maybe there was a lever?”

We haven’t gone back to talk to Thelyron yet either. We were too busy looking for that cave. But I think he’s probably in equal trouble whether we talk to him or not. I mean, Evelyn will know or strongly suspect that he gave her up, the Conduit already knows we’re after her…he’s doomed.

Or he’ll figure out how to save himself. Either way, I’m not going to worry about my role in it. I’ve got a job to do, damn it!


Yeah, see, I used to think that, when you did that forgetful thing, it was because you did whatever it was you did, like, six weeks ago. I’m starting to think that’s not the case, specifically….

Yup. He’ll save himself, or he’s doomed. Or there’s another twist! Right now, my quest entry says “We should probably confront him,” so I think the game kinda wants us to confront him. Soon.

Or, you know, whenever. I do have to find a collar so a cat can find love. Priorities.


To be fair, it was a few weeks back that we were in the cave the first time.

I also do find that playing with someone else is kind of distracting, so I wonder if we miss more than we would on our own–sometimes one of us will be saying something and then a character says something at the same time, so we miss part of it, or we’re both running around looting and the split screen cuts in and throws off perspective so it’s hard to tell exactly where you’ve been.

Excuses excuses.

And I don’t see how you can’t prioritize that cat collar. Cats need love! If only we could talk to them about it.


I’ll allow it, but grudgingly. After all, I often have children buzzing around, and I notice stuff! Usually. And sometimes they do….

Ok. I forgive you.

Talk to them soon! Soon! Take that skill man! It’s helpful!


Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to be soon.

It took us until 7th level to get a new Talent, and we’re still on 7, so if it’s that long until we get another one…it’s going to be a while. I’ll do it, it’s totally a priority, but one that must perforce remain on hold.


Hmm. Yeah, I just hit seven myself.

Ah well. Poor, lovelorn cats in your world. With dead masters. Surrounded by dead guards.


It is quite tragic. But at least it gives us some things to talk about being different, since in many other ways we are weirdly talking about doing the same things and that throws the universe off.

Perhaps my lovelorn cats and dead guards are necessary to keep spacetime from imploding.


We always do the same thing! Always!

Let’s blame Mr. O.


Yeah, sorry, I meant to say “at the same time.” We DO always do the same thing!–but usually not at the same time.

Still, I agree, let’s blame Mr. O.’ He’s the unusual variable here.


Isn’t he always?

Had to be said.


He would have it no other way.



I am, for the last time, sitting in this parking lot. Play is tonight. So tired.


Last time! That’s an important milestone!

The milestone that says “no more plays until Jr. can drive.”


At least none that aren’t at his school. That’s for sure.

In other news, it’s hard to get kids passports. Have you tried this?


I have! We got them for ours just a couple of months ago, in fact. It’s a pain in the butt. All that paperwork, and then you both have to be there in person at the post office to sign stuff and pay cash because they don’t take credit cards, and then you get to do it again in five years…

But now we can jaunt off on exciting international family vacations whenever we want, or more likely make a run for the border in a feisty though probably vain attempt to flee the zombie dictatorship, so it’s all worth it.