Danaeryzard & Alaria: A Cloud of Laughter and Daggers

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search. Read them in chronological order!)

…………..

Esmeralda

A three days journey though the Forest Wilderness brought the brave duo back to the safety of Castle Drachen. Danaeryzard and Alaria settled back into their room at the Barracks and tried to get some R&R before being summoned to their next mission. However, it wasn’t long before a messenger delivered word that Esmeralda was waiting to speak with them in the Great Hall.

The Great Hall is a giant room filled with tables used for meeting and eating. Cauldrons were cooking up stews and kegs of mead were found stacked around the room. Dany and Alaria made their way through the room to where Esmeralda was seated. At the table with her was an Elf that they had never seen before. They cautiously approached until Esmeralda indicated to them to come and sit. 

“Greetings Alaria, Danaeryzard. Please join us. This is Hedwig, a Druid Elf visiting the castle on official business. I thought he could spend some time training the both of you on Druid fighting techniques and battle strategies for forest combat,” Esmeralda said, standing to greet the newcomers. Hedwig did the same and they all shook hands before sitting down at the table together.

Hedwig

“Certainly, I’d be delighted to go over some of my proven tactics,” Hedwig replied, feeling a little awkward. He was a strong, middle aged Elf with several decades of combat under his belt, but he never thought of himself as one to train the new recruits. His battles were often improvised – not necessarily planned and prepared for carefully in advance, contrary to how he’d have Esmeralda believe.

“Excellent! We’ll get to that in a moment – I think the Drachen Gardens Courtyard would be a suitable location, yes?” Esmeralda asked, looking at Hedwig, who nodded in agreement. “But first, we must have a debriefing on your recent mission. Please tell me everything that you learned at Water’s Edge.”

Dany and Alaria glanced nervously at each other. They didn’t even come close to completing the mission. In fact, they felt somewhat responsible for the deaths of  some innocent townspeople at Lake Constant, and felt extremely forlorn about the whole mission. They weren’t any closer to discovering the mysteries of the crystals, or finding the location of the Sun Wizard. However, they recapped their travels, explaining about the magical abilities the the Golden Dragonborn have been using to change their form, as well as their encounter with the Hag and the crystal stones they found in the foundation of the library. 

Esmeralda did not hide the concerned look on her face when she heard about the crystal stones. The fact that the crystals, in massive form, were embedded into the very foundation of the building itself was grave news indeed. She asked to see the building schematics that they had collected from their defeated enemies. Esmeralda surmised that the crystal stonework creates an immense power. She sent the schematics to the Drachen Scholars to analyze and decipher. 

“All right, good work you two,” Esmeralda said, “I know you might not think it, but you have done some great research here. Now we’ll have a better understanding of what we’re up against. Next up, training. Hedwig here is the best when it comes to nature. Let’s gear up and meet in the courtyard.”

When they stepped into the Garden Courtyard, Dany and Alaria were amazed. Courtyard was an understatement! The Drachen Gardens were so vast, it could have been called a forest. Acres and acres of green grass, lush trees and foliage, and meticulously organized flowerbeds were spread out before them.

Castle Gardens

Hedwig and Esmeralda led the way to an open grassy field, speckled with a few giant trees. They were discussing how this area would be more suitable for combat trials, with less obstacles and no flowerbeds to trample. As they began to get set up, suddenly an ear-splitting alarm began to ring throughout the entire castle grounds. Esmeralda’s face went pale.

“Oh no. Bug Bears again!” Hurriedly, Esmeralda packed up some weapons and put them in her own sack, obviously preparing to go to battle. “I have to go take care of this. I’m going to give you each a set a Chat Rings, so that we can communicate. If you both wear the ring and earring, you can communicate telepathically with anyone else wearing the set.” She quickly showed them how the Chat Rings worked and then rushed off towards the entrance of the castle.

Unsure of what to do, Dany and Alaria remained in the courtyard with Hedwig. After about a half an hour, the alarm was still going off and Esmeralda had not returned. The three decided to search around the area, maybe they could help somehow.

Dany looked around by the trees surrounding the clearing. As she turned to search deeper into the wooded area, she heard the sound of branches being stepped on by something heavy. Something that was breathing loudly. Something… growling!

Bug Bear

She turned to her left and saw that a giant Bug Bear was heading straight for her. It was at least eight feet tall and fierce, but it did look as though it had already been in a serious fight. The Bug Bear roared and charged towards Dany, Alaria and Hedwig. In a panic, Alaria tried to contact Esmeralda with the Chat Rings, but heard no response. They were on their own!

Taking the lead, Hedwig raised his crossbow and took a shot directly at the Bug Bear, which stopped it in it’s tracks. But the Bug Bear was not severely injured from the arrow; it pulled the bolt from it’s shoulder and roared once more. Seeing an opening, Alaria whipped out her wand and cast her new favorite spell: Hideous Laughter at the Bug Bear. The targeted beast took a step forward, tripped, and fell flat on it’s face, erupting with a wailing laughter that was louder than the intruder alarms still blaring through the castle. Hearing these cries attracted another Bug Bear to the trio, this one approaching from the south. 

Dany knew that they might be overwhelmed fighting both of these strong Bug Bears at once. Since the first Bug Bear was doubled over in fits of laughter, it was incapacitated, but not getting hurt either. Gripping her crystal orb, Dany tried a new spell, the Cloud of Daggers. She cast this cloud at the laughing Bug Bear. Since it was already unable to move because of the Hideous Laughter, it would be stuck within Dany’s Cloud of Daggers, which was a thick cloud filled with spinning daggers that slice at anyone in the cloud. The synergy of the spells cast by Dany and Alaria would take care of the first Bug Bear, while they focused on the second attacker! Were these partners finally starting to learn how to battle effectively??

The second Bug Bear was headed straight for Hedwig. It began to swing a giant, spiked mace and roared wildly, but Hedwig used his spritely reflexes to dodge at the last moment. Alaria and Dany both shot at the second Bug Bear with crossbows, while the first Bug Bear remained in the cloud of laughter and daggers, which was beginning to turn red with blood. Whimpers could be heard between the roars of insane laughter. 

Hedwig recalled some of his woodland creature studies and realized that while Bug Bears have a high armor class, their HP isn’t very impressive. But they are chaotic and will always attack! The second Bug Bear was proving to be quite chaotic as it swung it’s mace at Dany, hitting her with a heavy blow to the arm. She took a step back, reeling from the hit. It was at that moment when the first Bug Bear’s laughter turned into a weak howl… and then silence. The cloud attack had worked decisively. 

Now, to finish off the second Bug Bear. Hedwig swung his axe at the Bug Bear, but it missed and hit Dany instead! Her dragonscale arm was bruised and bleeding. Alaria’s crossbow attack missed the erratic Bug Bear, who dealt another blow to Dany with the heavy mace. Now Dany was getting mad – why was she the main target here?? She channeled her anger through her crystal orb to release a Fire Bolt cantrip directly in the Bug Bear’s hairy face. It roared in pain and beat down the flames on it’s fur. 

Hedwig took a few steps backward and made a wide sweeping motion with his staff to cast a Thunder Wave spell. The wave of energy charged directly at the Bug Bear, tossing it through the air and slamming it against one of the giant trees in the Courtyard. The Bug Bear was stunned and stood still, giving Alaria a perfect shot for her crossbow. She hit the Bug Bear in it’s chest and it howled in pain. Dany cast another Fire Bolt, but a moment too late. The Bug Bear jolted out of the way and the giant tree behind it was set ablaze. 

As it ran, the Bug Bear hurled it’s mace at Alaria, hitting her strongly on her side. Hedwig brandished his staff once more, summoning the power of the Moonbeam spell. Beams of light and rays of stars engulfed the Bug Bear with ghostly flames and it’s body fell in a crumpled heap on the grassy grounds. 

The trio stood, panting, and surveyed the area to make sure no more attacking Bug Bears were headed their way. All was quiet. 

“Why didn’t Esmeralda respond to our distress call?” Alaria wondered aloud.

A moment later, Esmeralda and a group of soldiers stormed through the Courtyard, only to stop and see the carnage. Esmeralda looked surprised and impressed to see two dead Bug Bears laying in the field. She asked Hedwig to analyze the skills of Alaria and Dany. 

“I like how they used the forest to their… advantage…” Hedwig said, glancing over at the giant tree that was still burning a few yards off in the distance. 

“Well, despite this not being our planned training session, I must thank you for your help and your expertise today, Hedwig. We hope to have you visit Castle Drachen again, perhaps under less chaotic circumstances next time,” Esmeralda said. She turned to Dany and Alaria and continued, “The two of you did great out there as well. Thank you for defending the castle and doing exemplary work. I heard from the Scholars that they are studying the written orc language from the building schematics in their lab right now, and should have the wording deciphered in a few days.”

Esmeralda looked over at the tree, still burning. “Someone’s going to have to put that out. Can we get a grounds crew out here?” She sighed. “Well, the two of you are doing a fantastic job. But in the future, Dany… can you NOT burn down the Princess’ Birth Tree??”

…………………..

And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂

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Happy Book Lovers Day!

Calling all bookworms! Bust out your bookmarks, because it’s #BookLoversDay! I just finished reading The Player of Games last week, as you may have read in my latest book report, so I don’t have a full book review for you today, but I will share what’s on my reading horizons!

In honor of today, let’s start with Goodreads. Do you have a profile? I have been using Goodreads ever since I bought my first Kindle. I think it’s a great site because you can easily reference books you’ve read, keep a running list of books you want to read, write reviews to share with your friends, and get recommendations for new books to read! Want to be friends? Click here to add me! 

My “Currently Reading” list is pretty long… but I have certain books that I only read a bit per day (or month! lol) and others that I’ll sit and read for hours. It all depends on what it is! Let’s take a look:

  • 2018 Radical Self Love Almanac – I check in once a month and read up on the fun ideas and tips for each month, and fill out the monthly worksheet to help me become the best me!
  • Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life – Another book that I read sporadically. This is a book that I turn to when I’m feeling sad and need something heart-warming to boost me up. I have this book in print and I really like how it’s designed, it feels like a scrapbook/journal.
  • A Victorian Grimoire: Romance, Enchantment, Magic – This book is fun to sit and read for a bit, but I haven’t quite committed to it yet. I like how it revisits the history of magick and explores what life was like during the Victorian era, while showing readers how to incorporate these things into modern life.
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History – My current book that I read when I’m on the train. I needed something that was the opposite of the sci-fi that I read last month – so I went for a nonfiction book that explores the science of how different species came to be extinct on this planet. It’s weird to think about how evolution and extinction are concepts that have only been around for a couple centuries.

That’s only what’s going on NOW, of course! With my Kindle, I’m always collecting new books to read, thanks to my Amazon Prime account, which grants me free books every month. I have a few classics that I’ve been meaning to read, such as the complete Peter Pan collection or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea… I also have been meaning to read this book I had received from a book club and never got around to, The Self Love Experiment. It can be hard to keep up with all this reading, since my free time is also spent playing video games and going to happy hour and stuff lol! But commuting is a good time to read and I carry my Kindle almost everywhere. I can never have too many books! Escapism is TOTALLY in for 2018…

What are you reading for Book Lovers Day? Do you have a FAVORITE book? Let me know what you’re reading in the comments!

Book Report: The Player of Games

Custom cover art by @gluxbox

Book Title: The Player of Games

Author: Iain M. Banks

About the Author: Born in Scotland, Banks was named one of the Times’ “50 Greatest British Writers since 1945” and has written a series of science fiction novels called the “Culture Series.” His wikipedia page indicates that he was pretty obsessed with collecting fancy cars for a while, but after a car accident he sold them all. He was married, divorced and married the same woman again… love is never easy! He passed away from cancer in 2013. 😦

Main Characters: Some of the many, many characters in the book…

Jernau Gurgeh: Our talented, intelligent hero! Gurgeh is a professional game player, growing bored of his celebrity gamer life. To spice things up, he allows a drone bot to convince him to cheat at a game, setting off a chain of events that brings Gurgeh to participate in a different sort of game, on a different planet. This game, Azad, encompasses an entire alien civilization, and Gurgeh studied it for lightyears, but was that enough to play it through to the end, and win??

The Culture: Not a character, but an entire civilization. The Culture is a highly advanced and intelligent society that has alleviated it’s people of most hardships in life, such as pain, body image, sexual identity, etc. They solve this through synthetic drug glands and simple sex changes, allowing people to be who they want, and switch around if they want. The people of the Culture have jobs but I’m not sure if they have any bills to pay. It’s a Utopian society of sorts, however the lack of hardships tend to make the civilians a bit bored with life.

Mawhrin-Skel: A drone bot – the one that convinces Gurgeh to cheat in the first place. It’s small but mighty, using energy fields to impose physical force onto others. It once had a prestigious government job, and blackmails Gurgeh to get it’s job back at the “Special Circumstances” division.

Chamlis: A drone bot that is also Gurgeh’s oldest friend and confidant. It’s been around for a long time and has centuries of wisdom. It communicates with Gurgeh throughout his journey, sending messages and updates from home.

Flere-Imsaho: Another drone bot – this one accompanies Gurgeh to the alien planet. It’s a little fiesty and sensitive but seems to have Gurgeh’s best interests at heart. This bot is tiny, can fit in your hand, but is capable of so much more.

The Azadian Empire: Not a character, but another civilization. The Azadians developed the game of Azad, which is incorporated into their language and daily life in such a way that you need to BE Azadian in order to succeed at the game. Or so they hoped. This society includes three genders (male, female, apex) and the apices are hermaphrodites, and the alphas of their society. Males and females are lower class, bred for manual labor and sex slavery. The entire society is based on class systems and the higher classes enjoy abusing their power in extreme ways.

Emperor Nicosar: The ruler of planet Ea, which is where the game of Azad exists. The Emperor is decided by whoever wins the game of Azad, but Nicosar’s predecessor was killed and he assumed the throne by default (he had been second place in the last game of Azad) so he feels he has something to prove.

Plot Summary: Gurgeh is a genius at games and wants a new challenge. When temptation to cheat and get a Perfect Game gets the best of him, Gurgeh finds himself being blackmailed into participating in an alien game called Azad, which is on a planet hundreds of lightyears away. He learns as much as he can about the alien civilization as he can, and studies the game during the journey, and when he arrives the culture shock is very strong. The people regard him as a freak and untrustworthy. As he progresses through the game, he earns respect but it quickly turns to disdain and jealousy. The game takes months to complete, and as he plays Gurgeh learns more and more about the Azadian society, including the dark undersides that the apices don’t want him to know about. Gurgeh’s drone Flere-Imsaho tries to keep him out of trouble but Gurgeh manages to get into all sorts of drama anyway. Eventually Gurgeh makes it to the final round, and what ensues will literally change the entire Empire!

Lessons Learned: Power struggles are real, no matter what planet you’re on. Sci-Fi can be a fun genre to read and I shouldn’t discount it. Many books that start off slow are still worth reading. And most importantly: even in space, there’s scrambled porn.

Personal Opinions: Admittedly, it took me like 3 times as long to read this book, and my book club posts have been severely delayed as a result! Ooops! I was a little uninspired at the beginning… so many long weird names, so much random made-up stuff about alien societies, I felt out of place and confused. But as I pushed forward I started to get into the plot and the pace really started picking up.

The one thing that really irked me was the lack of chapters. Well, not exactly… there are 4 chapters in the whole book. It’s split mostly into thirds and then one short chapter that feels more like an epilogue. My issue is that when I’m reading, I’m the type who’s like, “OK I’ll stop when I finish this chapter.” Each chapter is a third of the book so… that plan doesn’t work. I had to just stop wherever and read back to get my bearings when I returned to the book. So that part I didn’t really like. But it’s a book about aliens, so it SHOULD be a weird read, right??

Nintendo Fall Forecast

It’s the first day of August! When I was a kid, that usually meant the start of the “Back to School” frenzy of commercials for new fall outfits and hunting for school supplies. Lately, in my adult life, the start of the fall season means LOTS OF NEW GAMES! Why do all the best games come out this time of year? I don’t know. But they do. (I guess to lead up to the holiday season?) Well my body is READY. Is my wallet?

Let’s take a look at some of MY favorite big name Nintendo titles coming out this fall!

8.28.18 – Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

Capcom’s latest Monster Hunter title (in North America, anyway) is making it’s way onto the Switch! I was lucky enough to play a brief demo of MHGU at E3 this past June and I’ll admit that the game feels very much… the same. As with all the main MH games, you hunt down monsters in a maze of maps, collect drop items, etc. This latest game boasts the largest roster of monsters EVER. All I really hope for in this game is the continuation of what I consider some of the best free DLC you can find. In past games, Capcom would release new missions and fun costumes as free DLC every month, which I think adds new challenge (and VALUE) and keeps players coming back. So far they have announced Breath of the Wild DLC with MHGU, so fingers crossed that the trend continues!

10.5.18 – Super Mario Party

Yes I just glazed over Mega Man 11 (coming out in October as well). I don’t like Mega Man – DEAL WITH IT. And I just promoted Capcom’s other main franchise, so I think that’s enough!! ON WITH THE PARTY! I’ve always played Mario Party. We had it back on N64 in the late 90’s, and my sisters and I certainly have a few favorite mini games. Unfortunately, those games don’t matter anymore because Super Mario Party is all about the Joy Con technology! The latest game in this friendship ending franchise has been revamped for the Switch, including specific character dice, new game board elements and yep – Brand. New. Mini. Games. I imagine that this will be what 1-2 Switch SHOULD have been, meaning an actual, fully-fledged-out game utilizing the inventive mini game options that the Joy Con provide. I’m looking forward to adding this game to my list of party games to play at gamer meetups!

11.16.18 – Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee

Here is yet another Pokemon spinoff that you never knew you wanted but you’re still compelled to buy, despite the apparent lack of exciting game play. Let’s face it, we all just want this game to give Pikachu/Eevee (depending on which game you buy) a dapper new haircut. I’ll admit that I also want the expensive Pokeball peripheral device too. ($35 extra!!) I’m going to buy this on cartridge because I’m very unsure about how much I’ll enjoy this game and need the option to trade it back to GameStop someday. But it does seem promising. I do like chibi Misty. I’m hoping this game is some kind of hybrid between Pokemon Ranger and My Pokemon Ranch (since you can transfer over the mons you’ve collected in Pokemon Go) but only time will tell!

12.7.18 – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Monster Hunter isn’t the only game that gets to be ULTIMATE in 2018! A new Smash title is stepping into the ring, and yes ok technically it’s not coming out in the FALL per se… but how could I not include Smash? There’s like a billion characters, all the old favorites are back, some new additions are joining the fray, and we have new stages and features to obsess over! I tried the demo at E3 and it was my favorite game at the convention. I can’t wait to learn all the moves of the new characters like Ridley and Inkling, and relearn old favorites like Snake and Ice Climbers. This will be the hot item to buy for the holidays… but let’s face it, I won’t wait til Christmas! Midnight launch at Nintendo NYC Store, perhaps??

Welp those are all the BIG titles that I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year. I know I skipped over lots of other great games, indie games, eShop games, etc! If you feel OFFENDED AND TRIGGERED that I left out your favorite upcoming game, please tell me off in the comments! 😅

Danaeryzard & Alaria: Battling the Horrible Hag

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search. Read them in chronological order!)

…………..

The Hag

The Hag was bearing down upon Danaeryzard and Alaria with her gruesomely long nails and tattered rags. She smelled as though she was centuries old. The duo wasn’t sure the best way to attack this crazy old woman, and exchanged confused looks as they cautiously separated to either side of the ancient stone basement chamber. 

Alaria had recently remembered in a dream that her Tiefling horns contained a bit of magic power, and thought this was as good a time as any to give it a try. Waving her head in a circle, a magic aura emanated from the tips of her horns and a Hideous Laughter spell quickly was cast in the Hag’s direction. Dany and Alaria had to cover their ears as the Hag released an ear-splitting cackle that sounded as hideous as she looked. The spell put the Hag in a fit of laughter, and she was unable to do anything else but buckle over and cackle uncontrollably. Not sure what to do next, Dany used her crystal orb to cast a Fire Bolt cantrip, but it whizzed by the Hag’s head, missing her just barely. To make things worse, the heat and light of the fire seemed to snap the Hag out of her crazed state. 

The Hag sneered in Dany’s direction and was caught off-guard by the crossbow bolt that Alaria embedded in her bony arm. Dany focused her energy on a True Strike spell to learn more about the Hag, and her crystal orb revealed that the Hag had an exceedingly high armor class, despite the rags she was wearing. While Dany was busy with her magic, the Hag turned to Alaria and ran at her, screaming loudly and with her arms clawing out. Alaria backed away and aimed her crossbow once again, landing another shot but not doing much damage.

They needed to step it up. Dany’s second attempt at a Fire Bolt cantrip wasn’t strong enough to affect the Hag’s armor class. Since Alaria was the only one managing to do any damage to the old Hag, she continued to receive the retaliatory attacks, and hollered at her partner to attack again.

After a third Fire Bolt cantrip miss, the Hag ran at Dany and promptly turned invisible. Dany froze with fear. How could she attack what she could not see? Luckily, Alaria whipped out her magic wand and cast her Magic Detection spell. An illuminated outline of the horrible Hag was now visible, so they had a fighting chance! 

Alaria’s newfound magic powers reminded Dany that she too had a magical accessory – a Circlet of Blasting. She clasped her talons around it while it hid safely under her robes, but she wanted to save it for the right moment. Her Fire Bolt cantrips, despite missing their targets, were filling her with fiery rage that she needed to expel – the best way she knew how! Dany inhaled deeply and unleashed her Breath Weapon in a massive funnel of fire directly at the Hag, who screamed out in pain. Seeing an opening, Dany ran over to Alaria so she could better support her partner.

The Hag was still invisible, but the duo could see her shimmering outline through the remaining smoke that was thinning out from Dany’s Breath Weapon. The Hag was charging at them, this time targeting her clawed fingers at Danaeryzard, but her mangled nails were no match for Dany’s tough lizard scale skin. She nudged the Hag off with her elbow, while Alaria raised her crossbow and made an excellent shot into the Hag’s side. The damage was starting to add up! 

This was the right moment. Dany pulled the Circlet of Blasting out from her robes. Holding the amulet outward with her talons, Dany used her magic power to harness 3 powerful rays of fire that all blast at the Hag. Her hideous cackling laugh echoed through the stone chamber, but she was starting to buckle over and became visible once again. As she backed away, Dany was able to use her dagger and jab at her, but the Hag was up to something. She walked backwards and her aura began to shimmer. She was casting a spell!

Bengie

In a flash, the Hag turned into the recently deceased, and extremely innocent Bengie. Dany and Alaria looked at each other with dismay. 

“I can’t shoot Bengie! This is insane!” Alaria cried. But she knew that it wasn’t really the sweet teenager who had tried to help his town – it was the awful Hag. Alaria knew she had to be strong. She took a deep breath and drew her arrow, using her ever-improving skill to shoot Bengie in the chest. Before he could react, Dany lifted her orb and summoned three Magic Missile bolts at him in powerful succession.

Bengie tried to run at the duo and scratch back but he missed and fell face first into the ground, burying Alaria’s arrows even deeper inside him. She almost couldn’t look, but Alaria lifted her crossbow to shoot one more time and end this Bengie impersonator once and for all. After the final blow, Bengie wailed out with the Hag’s grating voice, and the dying body morphed back into the Hag’s form. The Hag stopped moving and the battle was over.

Dany and Alaria collapsed on the ground. Killing Bengie in such a way was psychologically tormenting and they needed a short rest to recover. They barely wanted to get close to the Hag, but Alaria searched the body anyway – discovering some gold and another building map. The map contained the same ancient language written on it that was on the schematic that they found on Sullen. She also found a Necklace of Adaptation, and put it around her neck. Looking down at her necklaces, Alaria noticed that their crystal trinket necklaces were still glowing. There was still magic down here. 

Alaria began to clear the dust and dirty from the floor to better examine the stone flooring. There were a few inches of grime but eventually cleared enough dirt to reveal that the stones were actually made of the same crystal slabs that were from Lake Constant. The entire basement was made out of these crystal stones! They continued to excavate the space and found that the crystal was everywhere.

Alaria pulled out the two building maps that she was now carrying and examined them. She realized that the first building was actually an ancient drawing of the library itself! The other building might be in town too – or maybe it was their next destination. They needed to learn more! But they had killed the librarian, so it was now up to Dany and Alaria to do research on this ancient writing. The partners went back upstairs to the archives room with the ancient scrolls which they had passed on the way down to the basement chamber. They searched and studied many ancient tomes and finally matched the writing to Orc language.

But how could they read the words on these building schematics? They needed to get some outside assistance. They made their way out of the library and into the afternoon sun. Dany and Alaria could see fishing boats were on the beach and that the fishermen were back at the Guild. They walked over to the large Fishing Guild building and found Crest inside, looking serious and tired. Alaria asked how he was, and Crest sighed deeply… saying that he was hanging in there. 

“We must ask you Crest, have you seen anything strange around town in the past few months? Have you ever seen an Orc in this area?” Dany asked him. He said that he had not. Alaria showed Crest the second building schematic, pointing out the Orc language written at the bottom. Crest looked very confused and remarked that the building pictured had to be larger than anything that was constructed in Water’s Edge. He wasn’t able to provide them with any information, so they decided to give Crest his space and return to the Inn.

It was time for a new plan. They took a long rest and decided that it was time to return to the castle with the information they had discovered. Maybe the royal scholars could assist them in translating the text or identifying the building in the drawing. At the very least they could pick up their wages and get some direction from Kolari and the Expeditionary Guard. They would set off at dawn.

The next morning, Dany and Alaria wanted to slip out of town quietly. Enough damage had been done to this small town since their arrival, and they knew that the townsfolk wanted them to leave. They headed back towards the rocky perimeter of the town, past the crystal caves that were filled with the memories of murder and deception. Dany and Alaria turned their heads away, not wanting to think about what had happened. As she began to climb the rocks leading back to the woods, Alaria looked toward Lake Constant, and She’i’s house. She regretted not saying goodbye to She’i. Perhaps they would come back again someday.

As they passed the caves, Dany and Alaria didn’t notice that their crystal trinket necklaces were still glowing. They neglected to notice the two figures standing not far within the entrance of the crystal caves, in the midst of a peculiar business transaction. They certainly did not recognize that one of these figures was Crest. The other figure was very large and wearing a hooded cloak. 

The hooded figured pulled a pouch of coins out from his cloak and tossed it to Crest, who accepted it eagerly. As he made the payment, the hood fell backward, revealing that he was another evil Golden Dragonborn Wizard!

“On to your next shipment,” the Dragonborn snarled at Crest. “He does not like to be kept waiting.”

…………………..

And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂

Planning My Planner

Are you like me? Do you enjoy the feeling when your schedule (and LIFE) is organized? Do you hate forgetting appointments, parties and plans? Do you like WRITING in a BOOK once in a while? If so, chances are you already have a planner.

The Simple Elephant Planner

There are SO MANY kinds of planners. It’s very overwhelming. There’s a Bullet Journal craze going on, and I do like to explore my artsy side, so this past year I’ve been using what’s called the Simple Elephant planner.

This planner has absolutely been meeting my needs – it is undated, has monthly and weekly spreads, goal setting pages, and a big section of blank note pages where I can do my own thing. I liked this format because I wanted to try to make a bullet journal, without the additional work of writing out a monthly spread myself, and setting up layouts each week. I don’t quite have time for that! I’ve been using the blank note pages whenever I have a Bullet Journal (#bujo for short) idea, and it is a lot of fun.

Admittedly I’m not the BEST artist, nor do I always commit a huge amount of time to doing this, so I use stickers a LOT. Because stickers are fucking awesome. I subscribe to two different monthly sticker clubs, and I highly recommend both and here’s why:

  • Stickii Club: This club has more of an Asian flair, with a lot of imported stickers from Japan and Korea. Each month the stickers are shipped in an adorable A5 organizer binder page, and includes a binder ring, a funky shaped paperclip that matches the month’s theme, a fun stationery sample, and several sheets of stickers. You can buy previous month packs on their website, so if you don’t want to commit to a monthly club, you can just buy what you like! Check em out!
  • Pipsticks Club: This club feels like it’s marketed to women who grew up collecting stickers in the 80’s and 90’s, and now want to get in touch with their childhood hobbies, or share their love of stickers with their kids. (They offer a kids sticker club too!) There are no monthly themes with this club, but every month you get several sheets of fun stickers with funky designs and characters, and they always throw in a blank postcard to decorate. One time, I got a giant roller skate sticker too!

I’d like to add that both of these sticker clubs have phenomenal customer service, so don’t be shy! If you had a sticker book in elementary school, you might understand what the RUSH of excitement feels like when I see a monthly sticker pack waiting for me! They are pretty affordable too. Me likey.

Some bujo spreads that I made in my Simple Elephant (plus my cat Twinkie)

So I’ve been having lots of fun with my Simple Elephant planner, making bujo pages, writing in my events and appointments and keeping my life organized. It’s definitely fun to design a custom bujo page, but sometimes I feel like it’s a bit too much work. I don’t do it enough, and lots of the blank note pages in the back section are going to waste. This has lead me to search for a new planner that might fit ALL of my needs.

I’ve learned that during the summer, most of the planners available are Academic Calendars, meaning they are from July – June of next year. I don’t want that. Amazon was proving to not be helpful in my research.

Last year, I was using the Passion Planner. While it is AWESOME in terms of setting goals and goal tracking, I didn’t like it. My problem was with the weekly spread – it was too regimented by hour, and I don’t have enough meetings and appointments in my day to day that requires such an intense spread.

Passion Planner Weekly Spread

If you DO have a crazy schedule that you must track by the hour, then absolutely give this planner a strong consideration. It’s definitely great. I think it encourages a lot of creativity while also engaging the right brain’s love for organization. But it just wasn’t for me and decided to keep searching.

EVO Planner

Another planner that caught my eye in my search is the EVO Planner. Wow this thing is REALLY cool! It has a slightly different format based on how your brain operates, which I think is super neat. (My brain type is Oracle!) I love the design. Plus it has a cool feature that allows you to scan your page and it interacts with a mobile app! But here comes the downside… each planner is only a quarter of a year. You have to buy four to get an annual planner. And it’s expensive AF. Maybe once the hype dies down I’ll get one, or when a few copycats make knock-off options?? lol

Well, I was still at square one in my search for a new planner. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a planner that doesn’t function the way that I want it to. I don’t want intensive daily spreads. I want monthly grids, weekly overviews, some space for reflection and goal setting, plus FUN! I need fun. Fun is vital.

Remember that sticker club Pipsticks that I mentioned earlier? That company knows all about fun. So much so, that they started sending out emails that they too were selling a planner. I was intrigued! They teamed up with Workman Publishing to create fun planner that is unique and creative. Check out the three designs here!

Planner Size Comparison

I decided to purchase it because I’m already a happy Pipsticks customer, and I also happened to have a coupon. I decided to get the “This Changes Everything” planner. But when it arrived, I was in a panic… because it was DIFFERENT!

After opening the package, I was dismayed that I didn’t look at the dimensions of this planner before ordering. It’s considerably larger than my Simple Elephant. At first I thought this was a MAJOR issue, but the more I’ve been holding it and flipping through the pages, the more I love it. The planner creators really made an effort to create a planner that was fun and functional. Here is the August monthly spread, to give you an idea.

Pipsticks Planner Monthly Grid

There is a little creative challenge in the corner of each month. There’s room for special dates and notes, plus PLENTY of space in each calendar square. There is also plenty of room for STICKERS! Now take a look at the weekly overview.

Pipsticks Planner Weekly Spread

It may be hard to read, but on Wednesday there is a little mini-quiz. I love how the days are split up into sections, so I can separate work and after-work activities. At the bottom there’s space for any big DAY reminders or notations. There is also a little YAY in a circle on each date, this is to be used with the included stickers to indicate if I’ve done something that I’m tracking that day – such as working out, drinking enough water, or whatever my current goal might be.

Pipsticks Planner Sticker Page

The included sticker pages are really cute too, and are separated by season and have fun stickers that coordinate with the theme and color schemes of the monthly pages in that season. They clearly put a lot of thought and care into this planner.

Yes, I wish it was a little bit smaller. But I will embrace this planner, and all the extra space that it allows! One thing I can’t seem to remember (and I am writing this at work so I don’t have it in front of me) is if this planner has blank pages in the back for me to get my bujo on. I want to say yes, but I’ll have to check at home and update later lol! However, even if it doesn’t have blank space, every month has a review page and that’s basically the only thing I’ve been writing in the bujo section of my Simple Planner the past few months anyway. I think once I adjust to this planner I will really love it. Change is good. And as my new planner states, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.

The end of July is upon us and I will start using this new planner in August! Do you use planners to stay organized, or does Google Cal handle your life? If you like to use a planner, please share what you use! I’m all ears!

 

Traveling the Octopaths!

Wow it’s been a while since a game completely took over my life the way that Octopath Traveler (by Square Enix, available exclusively on Nintendo Switch) has done! Before the game’s release, I wasn’t even that crazy or hyped about it, merely interested from what I had seen in the demo. But now that I own it… I’ve logged over 45 hours played. The game only came out 12 days ago.

For those who aren’t familiar with Octopath Traveler, it is a classic RPG style game, using throwback retro graphics with a next-gen twist. I’ve described it to a friend as “Final Fantasy mixed with a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel.” This is because of the game’s unique format – you are given a choice of one of eight characters to begin your story with, and this character becomes your Main Character who cannot be switched out. (So choose wisely!) As you progress in the game, you encounter the other seven characters, and have the option to add them to your party and progress in their separate story lines at your leisure. Each character has different abilities and strengths, making the balance of your team a strategic undertaking.

In addition to this interesting new format, the graphics are so cool. Yes, Octopath Traveler uses retro 8-bit style graphics, but they add elements of layering and focusing that make the entire environment seem 3D and robust. Plus the focus effects make the game look simply BEAUTIFUL. They even added sparkles to the water and the snow to bring it to life. Ugh I can’t get over it!!

Another retro aspect of the game design that I really enjoy is how the boss battles are done. The bosses often have a bunch of cronies or minions to assist them and defend them so they don’t break their shield. But that’s not all – the bosses are GIANT SIZED! It’s epic and fun! They are intimidating yet comical! It’s a great throwback to old boss battles from ye olden dayes. I love the strategy of breaking down the minions to get to the big boss. So much fun!!

Once you have all the characters unlocked, you start to travel the map and follow their story lines at your choosing. Depending on who is on your team, different ‘travel banter’ situations will come up and the characters will talk to each other about what is going on in the current “chapter” of the story. It’s interesting to see how some of the characters get along (or don’t get along!!) and the wisdom they impart to each other. I really like being able to choose the story as I go. You can focus on just following the character stories that you like, or train all of the characters evenly and complete all of their stories. The choice is yours!

Think that’s all there is to the game? NOPE! You can also have secondary jobs. For example, I chose Primrose to start, but she can only do dark elemental damage attacks. I added on the Scholar as her secondary job, which means now she can dole out fire, ice, and lightning attacks just like Cyrus! In the above photo, you might notice that Primrose is wearing a dark Scholar outfit, Tressa sports an Apothecary satchel, and H’aanit is wearing blue Warrior robes. That’s to reflect their second job roles! It’s really fun to mix things up and see what the most IDEAL team might be in a given type match-up.

Sooo 45 hours in, and I’m only starting Chapter 3 stories for my characters. This game gets really HARD once you get through the second chapters, so I’m at the part when you just have to grind it out for a while. I’ve tried to battle that giant poison tiger thing three times and I ALMOST got him last night, but one wrong move and the balance of the battle can swing the other way! It’s no joke. You really have to plan out your strategy!

It may take a few tries to figure out the best way to proceed, but I won’t quit!! Godsdammit!!

If you’re an RPG player and you’re on the fence about this game, definitely check out the FREE demo on the eShop. It’s such a good game. I can’t wait to play through all of the stories! Maybe I’ll do a recap post after I beat the game.

Are you playing Octopath Traveler??? Which path did you choose???

Danaeryzard & Alaria: The Restoration Center

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search. Read them in chronological order!)

…………..

The tragic mood hung heavy in the air as Danaeryzard and Alaria stepped into the moonlight and out of the cave. Silence surrounded them and they walked down the path to the Inn. When they entered, the innkeeper greeted them happily – obviously unaware of the tragic events that had just occurred. They didn’t feel it was their place to inform this woman about Cledus and Bengie, so they tried to act normal.

As Dany was sorting through her backpack in the main hall, she found the stein that Charlotte had asked them to look for in the caves. The stein that set off a wild Vegepygmy attack earlier that night, before they encountered Sullin. Thinking about the caves immediately sent Dany into a fiery rage. How can she act normal after what just happened? What if Charlotte had something to do with this?? It was a bit irrational, but this type of grief was not an emotion that Danaeryzard had any experience with in her past. She could feel heat rising from within and black smoke began to flow out of her nostrils. Before she knew was she was doing, Dany headed over to the innkeeper demanding to speak with Charlotte’s mother.

Rose, the innkeeper, said that she was Charlotte’s mother, and seemed a bit frightened by the approach. Danaeryzard presented the stein to her, and asked what her child was doing in the caves. All of the rage that Dany felt about what happened in the caves seemed to be deflecting onto this poor innkeeper. Alaria stayed to the side, feeling a bit awkward. 

“We encountered several Vegepygmy enemies and sustained many injuries in the caves as a result of this stein! I demand some compensation for returning this family heirloom back safely to your reckless child,” Dany said hotly, finishing with a snort of small flames.

Frightened and not wanting to start any trouble, Rose asked them to wait a moment and rushed through a side door. Dany started to feel anxious about how she was behaving and tried to cool down. After a few minutes Rose came out with a generous food platter with roasted chickens, vegetables and beer. She also gave Dany a sack of 15 gold pieces. Dany thanked her for her troubles and tried to apologize, but Rose ran off saying it was time for her to get to bed.

As they ate, Dany and Alaria bickered over if they should split the purse. “I was in that battle just as much as you were!” Alaria reminded her, thinking of how she really wanted to buy some more potions before their next big fight.

“You always pocket the money that you find when you ransack dead enemies – which I help to kill. Besides, I’m the one who discovered that cursed stein, and I’m the one who just made a scene and terrified this poor woman… I guess I earned this one!” Danaeryzard laughed a bit at herself as she finished off her beer. 

After the meal they retreated to their room. Before finally retiring for a long rest, they discussed what their next move should be. As strangers in this town, there were few people that the duo could trust. They knew that Crest and Smalls had to be on their side, having witnessed the murder of Bengie and Cledus at the hand of Sullin. There was also She’i, the friendly boat maker on the beach who had a special connection with Alaria. Perhaps they’d head for the Fishing Guild in the morning.

Unfortunately they woke up a bit after sunrise and had a slow start to their morning. Neither one of them had slept very well, plagued with nightmares from the day before. The inn was seemingly empty when they left, so the partners were also in search of breakfast. 

Walking down the path, they continued to notice that the town was very quiet. At this point, word must have gotten out about the murders. They realized that all of the fishing boats had gone out for the morning, and without Bengie the Fishing Guild would be empty. They agreed to skip the guild and head to She’i’s house up the beach instead.

She’i

She’i was easy to find. She was sitting on her front porch, looking pensively out at Lake Constant with a cup of coffee in her hands. They walked up to her and could tell just by looking that she already heard the bad news about Bengie and Cledus. After assuring them that there was no ill will, She’i invited the travelers inside for some breakfast, which they happily accepted.

Alaria decided to show She’i the building schematic that they had found on Sullin after the battle. “Do you recognize this language, written on the bottom? We’ve never seen the likes of this before,” Alaria asked her, trying to stay focused on the matters at hand, instead of She’i’s beautiful eyes. Looking carefully at the drawing, She’i flipped it upside down. Then flipped it over again.

“Just as I thought…” She’i said. “No idea.”

They chuckled and thanked her for trying. She’i cooked up some eggs and a local specialty, a seafood jambalaya, which they all ate together. The duo expressed concern about where to go next. 

“Well the Fishing Guild won’t do you much good right now, they won’t be back until the afternoon,” She’i explained. “Haven’t you visited the Library yet? It’s right next to the Inn!”

They were surprised to learn that the largest stone building in town, which they had mistakenly assumed to be a church for humans and mostly ignored, was actually the Water’s Edge Library. She’i wished them luck and set them off in the right direction so she could get started on her day’s work.

Dany and Alaria were quite impressed with the Library. The stone building was massive and seemed to tower over the town. The large wooden doors were heavy when Dany reached to push them open, and when they walked in they were momentarily amazed by the handsome vaulted ceiling and endless rows filled with books. The aisles were lit by candelabras and shed dim orange light throughout the large main hall, at the other side of which was a large desk and a librarian.

Cricket the Librarian

As soon as she looked at the librarian, Alaria suddenly had a terrible feeling inside. She got goosebumps up and down her arms and felt her heart skip a beat. Dany noticed the sudden change in her partner and looked over. 

“Why is the library so big in a fishing town?” Alaria whispered to Dany. “I’m going to check for magic with my wand.” She discreetly pulled her Wand of Magic Detection out of her bag and did a quick wave around the room. All of the books seemed normal to her… however, the librarian on the other side of the hall seemed to have a magical aura. “We should remain cautious in this place.”

Alaria decided she would not show this person the building schematic, and would instead draw out some of the characters that she could remember written on it. They would ask the librarian if she knew anything about exotic languages, instead of giving away too much information to the wrong person. They were very weary of people with false identities after what had happened to Cledus.

“Good morning, I am Cricket the Librarian,” she greeted them kindly as they approached. “Is there anything I can help you with today?”

The duo explained that they were looking for an expert on exotic languages and texts, and that they were trying to identify a particular language. Cricket seemed very eager to help and said she was a bit of an expert, since she was the Librarian. Alaria drew out some of the characters to show the woman what they were looking for, and Cricket said it looked like an ancient text from the Restoration Room. 

“We have a lot of ancient tomes in this Library, and we work very hard at curating and restoring these pieces, so we devote the lower levels of the Library to ancient writings. Would you like to come with me downstairs to see?” Cricket said, growing excited. She grabbed a torch and lead the way to a stone doorway, which had stairs descending below. 

While they walked down a spiral staircase to the lower level, Cricket asked where they discovered these ancient letters. Alaria made up a story about her grandfather showing them to her when she was young. They walked through a room that was filled with large old scrolls on display, as well as tablets and tomes. 

Dany was a little confused that they didn’t stop walking when they were in that room. Instead, Cricket led the way deeper into the back of the ancient text display room, toward another stone doorway and set of stairs. “I noticed that you two were wearing crystal necklaces from the shop next door. Did you know that the crystals of the lake were discovered by our town’s great founder?”

She began to recount the history of Lake Constant as they continued on, telling the two travelers that the town and the lake itself was discovered and established by the town’s founder, named Lovely Constant. Cricket seemed to revere the town founder, and spoke of her like she was a queen. 

“Lovely Constant was a proud protector of our beautiful town!” Cricket was almost exclaiming with prideful emotion. Alaria and Dany both began to feel very uneasy as they continued down the second flight of steps. Their crystal necklaces began to glow faintly when they reached the bottom of the stairs. 

The second lower level was a huge space with stone walls separating out small chambers in the center. The lighting was considerably dimmer compared to the higher levels of the Library, but they could still see enough thanks to the torch and some other candle-lit fixtures around the perimeter walls. 

“This is the Restoration Center,” said Cricket, turning to face them. Her face looked zany and gleeful in a disturbing way. “We keep it darker here… it’s better for the ancient… texts. There are lots of ancient things down here. Many artifacts from the time of Lovely Constant, the fierce defender of this town! Lovely Constant would have been very DEFENSIVE ABOUT STRANGERS SHOWING UP AND GETTING PEOPLE KILLED!!” Crickets eyes suddenly widened maniacally and her mouth began to open and twist in such an unnatural way that Dany and Alaria felt it was somewhat disturbing. They didn’t have long to feel horrified about it, because in a flash Cricket dropped the torch and ran off in a great speed towards one of the stone chambers in the center of this basement level. 

The Hag

They could hear her scream from within the chamber. It started as a young woman’s scream, as the voice of Cricket, but the tones began to change into a more evil, deeper, older screaming voice that echoed through the room with a howl. 

Before Dany and Alaria had a moment to think about what was going on, they were ambushed by a grotesque figure. She was not really a young woman at all, Cricket had transformed into an evil old Hag! Her hunched figure, wiry hair and pointy fingernails indicated she was as ancient as the old scrolls they had just seen – but she was clearly full of magic and speed.

Her gaping mouth was open and she screamed out at them.

“This is my town! YOU HAVE HURT IT!”

…………………..

And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂

Pokemon Ultra Awesome

You may remember a few posts back I mentioned that there were a bunch of new Pokemon games coming out in the future. I also swore to resume my quest to catch ’em all, and be the very best like no one ever was. It’s no small task!

First, I had to dust off my 3DS (and charge it, ugh) and renew my Pokemon Bank account. It’s $5 for a year, and they saved all my mons from years ago before my membership lapsed, thanks to my Nintendo account! Which they’d BETTER, since I’ve worked so hard on my Pokedex for many years now.

Throwback to when I completed the Pokedex in HG/SS!

I knew I had been slacking on Gen 7. When I logged into Bank and saw the situation, it was bad. I had none of the Alola version exclusives. I barely had any evolution chains completed for the latest gen. So I purged anything useful from my Pokemon Moon game and moved what I had onto Bank, and then transferred it to my Pokemon Ultra Sun game.

When Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out in 2017, I wasn’t really impressed. I bought it, because that’s just what I do, but I was like, “What is the point of this game? Isn’t it basically the same, with some weird robot looking characters added to the plot?” So I only made it as far as the second island when I got preoccupied by other games and stopped playing.

The real question everyone should be asking is, what was the point of Pokemon Sun and Moon? Because Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the MUCH better games! If you’re a longtime Pokemon fan, you will appreciate Ultra Sun/Moon much more than the original Sun/Moon. The Ultra post-game is really fantastic. I didn’t expect it to be this awesome.

I will concede that yes, before you reach the ending, the Ultra games are quite similar to the original Sun/Moon. GameFreak added in an additional sub-plot of the Ultra Recon Squad, a team of robotic looking people who shed some light on the Ultra Beasts, because they are from another dimension in Ultra Space! What?? It’s all very crazy and seems like a random add-on, until you get to the end of the storyline.

Honestly, the end of the original Pokemon Sun/Moon was kind of lame. You beat the Aether President and Lillie goes off somewhere on a boat to continue training or something. It’s like random and not much payoff. The post-game in Sun/Moon is minimal. This is where Ultra Sun/Moon is muchhhhhh better.

I don’t want to give away too much of the ending in case there are people out there who haven’t yet played the game. But the family drama between the Aether President and her children is resolved in a more satisfying way, in my opinion. Though I still wonder whatever happened to the father? Why aren’t they out looking for him in Ultra Space?? After you beat the Elite 4 and officially get into post-game mode, the game is so much fun. Team Rainbow Rocket takes over the Aether Paradise mansion and becomes a haven for all of the popular bad guys from previous games. Not only that – Team Rainbow Rocket also takes over the Festival Plaza, giving you the option to use their much cooler design scheme permanently if you choose!

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On top of all this additional post-game, as well as the Battle Tree and the new rental Battle Agency found in the Festival Plaza for fine-tuning and BP collecting, there is also the Ultra Space post-game. The Ultra Recon Squad show you how to use the Ultra Wormhole and ride a legendary Pokemon into different wormholes and possibly encounter other Ultra Beasts! You can also use the gyro controls while flying through the wormhole, which I think is pretty fun. This also means that there are lots of Ultra Beasts to catch.

So after some more hard work and gameplay hours, now my Pokedex Completion is at 97%. I caught all the Tapu’s but still need to get Cosmog and the second evolution Cosmoem. Then there’s a list of Ultra Beasts: Nihilego, Stakataka, Blacephalon, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Xurkitree, Celesteela, Kartana, Guzzlord, and apparently Marshadow which was only released in 2017 during a special event. And Zeraora, which I don’t think is obtainable, but is #807 in the list on my DataDex app for my phone lol. My Pokemon Bank account is also missing Volcanion, which is a legendary from Gen 6 that I missed out on. If anyone knows how I can get a Volcanion, please let me know!!

I should mention that there is no National Dex in Gen 7, which does irk me. When I do catch all the ‘mons, all I’ll get is a shiny charm. Which is awesome, sure, but I want a fancy certificate lol!

It definitely stinks to miss out on limited-time released legendaries. But I didn’t miss out on the cute Ash’s hat Pikachu that is available via QR code! Now I have to practice my Mantine Surf skills so I can earn a special Surfing Pikachu. I’d also like to complete my passport in Ultra Sun, but it’s really hard! I have to catch all those Ultra Beasts. I still haven’t completely finished beating Team Rainbow Rocket. There’s also the Battle Tree, which has an easy mode and the classic level 50 flat rules “Super” mode, and you have to win crazy streaks to get those pages in the passport.

THERE IS STILL SO MUCH TO DO TO BE THE VERY BEST!!! AHH!!

That’ll keep me busy until the next Pokemon game comes out on Switch in 2019. I’ll be ready and waiting for Pokemon Bank on Switch, because that must be happening too. Until then I’ll keep enjoying Pokemon Go through the good summer weather! Check out this cute Raichu I evolved, it’s all ready for the beach!

Danaeryzard & Alaria: Final Battle at the Crystal Cave

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search. Read them in chronological order!)

…………..

What scared them the most was that they were NOT ready to battle.

Sullin the Dragonborn

Meanwhile, Sullin the Dragonborn Wizard stood ready for battle with his tall staff pointed directly at Danaeryzard and Alaria. The duo were frozen in a moment of panic. Only moments before, they had stumbled upon the dead body of Cledus, who they thought to be living and had spoken to them only a day before. Now it was obvious that this body had been dead for days and Sullin had used his magic to change into Cledus’ form… and had set them up for this trap!

Before entering this chamber, Dany and Alaria had taken a few moments to heal up, but not fully. They had not taken a short rest, so Dany had no fiery breath weapon power left within her to use against Sullin. Alaria was not at full HP, and Dany had only used False Life necromancy to gain some extra HP; this left the duo at a disadvantage against this large and powerful wizard. Dany couldn’t help but feel a shameful intimidation by this strange Dragonborn foe. His confidence and strength reminded her of the red Dragonborn kinsmen bullies back home. But she also couldn’t help but wonder, how many other Dragonborn out there were powered by great magic, like herself and Sullin? How might her life have been different if she had grown up alongside an evil Dragonborn wizard who could train her? And what sort of magic was Sullin’s specialty?

The orb on Sullin’s staff began to glow, and they could see the back of the cave where there were clusters of enormous crystal slabs. Dany and Alaria knew that the crystals could be used against them by this enemy, as they had learned when they first met the Sun Wizard. They had also learned from that street urchin Charlotte that the crystal’s magic could be harnessed after charging it for one turn. Perhaps Dany could use this to her advantage! But she would have to be able to reach one of these crystal slabs first!

Danaeryzard took a few steps toward Sullin and raised her crossbow. She needed to get closer to the crystals, but she didn’t want to get too close to the enemy either. There were crystals set up directly behind Sullin which he was probably going to use for his own attacks, so Dany and Alaria decided to attack the crystals. They knew it would take two hits to destroy each crystal slab, so they would have to be quick. Dany shot at the crystal slab over Sullin’s shoulder, in hopes of intimidating him by shooting the arrow past his face.

It didn’t work. The arrow missed the crystal and the entire action made her look foolish. Sullin began to laugh, despite the fact that Alaria had darted quickly to the side and successfully embedded an arrow into the crystal. 

“I hope that wasn’t your best attack!” Sullin scoffed, raising his arm and putting his talon hand onto another crystal next to him. The duo could see the crystal slab begin to glow faintly, and they worried what would come next!

Dany moved to the left side of the cave and raised her crystal orb. Using her Firebolt cantrip, she sent a plume of fire at the Dragonborn enemy. It did a bit of damage, and Sullin used his other talon to pat down a few flames as Alaria shot another arrow at the crystal she had been aiming at – this second shot caused the crystal slab to shatter and break into several pieces. One crystal down… countless more to go!

Suddenly the crystal that Sullin had been charging up shone in a brilliant white brightness, after which the white glowing power began to be absorbed into Sullin’s talon, arm, and around the rest of his body. 

“You two have no idea what you’re getting into!” he hollered, manifesting his white magic aura into orbs that surrounded Alaria, glowing so brightly that they blinded her! She screamed out and began to stumble, obviously disoriented. The orbs faded, returning the cave to dimness. Dany shot another bolt of her crossbow at Sullin, suddenly realizing that these arrows were merely bouncing off of his strong scaled skin. “He’s resistant to piercing damage!” she cried. Danaeryzard decided there was no point in using her crossbow anymore in this battle, and made her way to a cluster of crystals that she could try to use for herself.

Meanwhile, Alaria was blind and trying not to panic. She switched to her short sword and got into a defensive stance. Sullin began to approach her and tried to strike her with his staff, but the agile Tiefling’s hearing abilities seemed to be heightened during her blindness – she heard the whoosh of the staff coming toward her, and she was able to duck just in time to avoid the hit!

Danaeryzard wanted to help Alaria, but felt the best way to do this was with a good offensive move. Sullin was preoccupied with Alaria, so Dany put her talon on a crystal slab and began to charge it herself. This time the crystal began to faintly glow red, and Dany could feel a fiery warmth charging within. 

Alaria’s vision began to come back. She could see the dark shape of Sullin before her, and she began to swipe wildly in his direction and slashed him lightly many times. He retreated back to a cluster of crystals and raised his staff to shoot a Fireball at Dany. Luckily, her red Dragonborn heritage gave her fire resistance, but the attack greatly reduced the HP she had gained from False Life. She didn’t have a moment to think about this issue, because the fire power within the crystal surged into Danaeryzard with an almost unbearable heat. She raised her orb and shot another Firebolt cantrip at Sullin, hitting him with a great blast of fire.

Alaria was relieved to have her vision restored and nimbly darted to another crystal, hacking away at it with her short sword. Both Sullin and Dany raised their talons and began to charge crystals once again. This was turning into a battle of magic! Was Dany up to the challenge? Trying to distract him, Alaria stabbed at Sullin, but his thick armor was proving to be an issue. He shrugged her off and pointed his staff in Dany’s direction once again. This time, a yellow cloud emanated from Sullin’s staff, moving to the area where Dany and her cluster of magic crystals were stationed. It covered Dany and her immediate area with a thick mustard gas and she buckled down to her knees, struggling to breathe. Her body began to heave and she started to vomit. The charging crystal connection was severed and Dany could not perform any actions as she struggled to get away from the gassy cloud.

Seeing her partner attacked this way put Alaria into a rage! She slashed at Sullin’s arms, but that didn’t stop him from hitting her with another Fireball. While he was distracted by Alaria, Dany managed to crawl out of the gas cloud and she used her final spell slot to cast a Magic Missile attack, destroying another crystal slab and hitting Sullin with a bolt as well. 

At this moment, they all heard echoed voices of men through the cave. All of them froze mid-battle, not knowing who was approaching. With a *poof* Sullin reverted back into Cledus’ form, and Cledus’ real body vanished from the entrance of the chamber. However, even in Cledus’ form, Sullin looked very beat up and was bleeding from the attacks he had already suffered. The three battlers all looked very worse for wear, so when townsmen Crest and Smalls arrived on the scene, they didn’t know what to think of the situation. In their point of view, it looked as though their friend Cledus had been beaten up by two foreigners. 

Smalls

“What is the meaning of this? Are you all right, Cledus?” asked the portly Smalls, who cautiously walked towards the three fighters. 

Sullin (as Cledus) staggered to his feet. “They – they attacked me!” he cried.

“He’s lying!” Dany implored at the two newcomers. “He’s not really Cledus! He’s a wizard!” cried Alaria at the same time. Crest and Smalls looked at each other, at Cledus, and at Dany and Alaria… not sure what was going on. Crest asked Smalls, “Why should we believe these strangers?” 

“We are official members of the Expeditionary Guard. We were sent here directly from Castle Drachen!” Alaria said, trying to sound as big and official as she could. At this, the two men raised their eyebrows.

Crest

Crest wasn’t very convinced. He scratched at his beard and said, “The Expeditionary Guard?! Prove it!”

“Everyone has been saying that Cledus has been acting strangely this past week. Even you could probably agree with that! That’s because he’s not really Cledus!” Alaria tried to explain. Just then, another human appeared in this chamber of the cave. It was Bengie! He looked shocked at what he saw. “What happened here?”

“Bengie! You must remember us!” Dany and Alaria exclaimed. “Remember, we were looking to find Cledus, and you said that he wasn’t acting himself lately? You begged us to help him? He was killed by a wizard, and that wizard is using his form! This wizard is evil, he’s a follower of the Sun Wizard and we have to stop him! Please help us!”

Bengie

Bengie looked at Crest and Smalls and said, “Would you not agree that Cledus has been acting very strangely lately? He never used to drink. And he always said he hated going in these caves.” The men seemed to nod in agreement, as though more incidents had been happening throughout the town. “These two foreigners told me they were sent from the castle a few days ago on official business. Maybe we should question -“

Bengie didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence, because as he was speaking, Sullin reverted back into his true form. At that moment, Cledus’ real body reappeared at the entrance of the chamber. And at that moment… Sullin flung a fireball at young Bengie, killing him instantly. 

Crest’s eyes filled with horror and rage at the scene unfolding before his eyes. He unsheathed a large sword from under his cloak. Smalls followed suit; he pulled out a sword and they moved in on Sullin. The fight was back on!

Alaria tried to dart to the side but her crossbow attack missed. Dany readied herself by a crystal slab and began to charge up magic power once again. Crest and Smalls attacked Sullin with strong slashes and the battle was finally starting to turn in their favor. Sullin began to retreat and cast a False Life spell on himself, giving him extra HP. 

“You will never defeat the Sun Wizard!” Sullin cried out as Smalls tried to use a sword attack but missed. Danaeryzard shot another powered up Firebolt cantrip at Sullin, and Alaria slashed him with her short sword. In a final blow, Crest fiercely skewered Sullin through the chest. “Long live the Sunnn—” Sullin managed to say weakly as he began to gurgle out blood from his mouth. Crest pulled his sword back out of Sullin’s body and the wizard fell in a crumpled heap.

They all stood silently for a moment. The two men, Crest and Smalls, looked in dismay at the bodies of Cledus and Bengie in the cave. Dany and Alaria had no idea what to say, aside from offering condolences for the deaths of their friends and thanking them for coming to their aid in the battle.

“I guess this puts me in charge now…” Crest said, in a bewildered and almost fearful tone. “I have to tell Bengie’s mother what happened. I have to… I have to take care of so many things…” His mind trailed off and he didn’t finish his sentence. He turned abruptly and exited the chamber. Smalls stood in somber silence for a few moments, then sighed deeply and walked out as well. 

Dany and Alaria stayed behind for a bit longer. Alaria checked Sullin’s dead body and found hand-drawn building plans with notes written in a language she couldn’t identify. She put it in her bag and then the duo stood together in the cave quietly. 

“We never actually met Cledus. I wonder what he was like,” Dany whispered.

“Bengie was a good kid. He didn’t deserve this,” Alaria said disjointedly in response, lost in her own thoughts.

The partners looked at each other, finally realizing how tired and beaten they felt. They needed to rest and regroup. They needed to get back to the Inn. From there they would figure out their next move. From now on, they would not only be working to help the castle… they would be would be avenging the life of Bengie, and who knows how many other innocent lives that have been spent by the Sun Wizard and his minions. Now, this was personal.

……………………

And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂