TriangleArrow-Left.svgSeptember 2020 Issues of the Questaholic Magazine November 2020TriangleArrow-Right.svg

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cover by evilphan

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Bulletin - October 2020

Greetings Clan Questers!

This month's bulletin is going to test your eyes and ears. We’ve been busy this month but not in the traditional sense… ;)


Website changes

In September we brought out a number of changes to our website. These changes include readability improvements across the board, a new members’ homepage, a new wiki homepage, and a new join brochure for prospective members! We want our website to be a destination where members can always catch up with what’s new in the Clan Quest community.

The new members’ homepage found at clanquest.org features an event calendar, social feed, unread forum posts, and recent announcements. The new wiki homepage aims to get you started creating wiki content and provides a more clear site map to help you find what you’re looking for. It also features links to all our guilds, the Questaholic, and has a neat little “This Day in Clan Quest” history feature.

What’s more, if you know someone is thinking of joining, just send them over to clanquest.org and they’ll learn all about our community. There they’ll find a quick rundown of our guilds, meetups, and learn what makes this the best online community in existence. You can read more about these changes here.

Desperate Measures in Youtube
Desperate Measures was released at the end of July and our community did something witty with it. You can now see the results of that on our YouTube channel. Voice acting and generally fun shenanigans were had and now you can see bits and pieces of the Clan Quest play through at YouTube.com/ClanQuest. It’s safe to say that this will likely become the norm for all new quests released.

That’s all for this month, we’ll be back next month with all your Clan Quest updates as we head into November.

~Shane for Clan Council

Article by Shane

Hoods all. Remember last month's Ramblings?

You don't...I see. Hm. Oh wait you do! Great, so, and I quote: "Stay tuned for next month, for there will be a surprise article that will give you the insider look on one of the best RPG's this world of ours has ever seen"

I'm very proud to present you, in this edition of Questaholic, to David Ballestrino Valverde, creator of Exiled Kingdoms!


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Yeah, he really looks like this


David is a spanish game developer which fits in the category of "I'm not old but I'm not young either" person. He was born in a country that had been ruled by a dictator for almost 40 years and was just begining its transition to long-lost democracy. As in every iron-fist-conservative country, playing games was not something considered the springboard for a future career.

Yet here he is today. Being interviewed about his life and his very own game. I would've loved to record the interview like I've done in the past with Tanis, Leo and Ytse, but my technical problems just keep getting bigger! Enough talk now, enjoy!



-Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and where do you come from?

I would define myself mostly as a programmer and a roleplayer. I’ve been trying to make videogames since the first time I put my eyes on a computer, at age eight. And since my teen years back in the 80s and 90s I have been a tabletop roleplaying fanatic. I married and started my wonderful family while being pretty young, then I worked as a programmer for years and eventually founded a small company related to e-commerce and other boring “adult stuff”. Back in 2014 I decided it was time to make my childhood dreams a reality, and here we are.


-If my maths are correct, you should be around 35 years old, right? How was it growing up in Móstoles?

I am 45 and grew up in Madrid. I had a pretty typical childhood, although I was a bit on the “weird” side, always by myself, reading books, writing RPG adventures for my friends or trying to write code for my ZX Spectrum on a notebook. Keep in mind that nowadays most kids and teens consider themselves “gamers” but, in the late 80s and early 90s’ Spain the picture was very different.
[Editor's note: I have failed as a mathematician, a reporter and a detective, all just in one question. Nice]


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The 'Torres Blancas' building in Madrid, 1980.


-When I was 3 years old, my uncle gifted me with my very first game, Age of Empires. That wonderful game marked my future gaming life in regards to preferences and style. What was your first approach to gaming? Do you think that was what eventually drove you to creating Exiled Kingdoms?

My first approach to gaming was the ZX Spectrum I got for Christmas in fourth degree. The Spectrum was a low-cost home computer that was very popular back in the day; it had plenty of games but my parents were strict and rarely allowed me to play since it was “a waste of time”. Still I learned programming with my 48Kb Spectrum, while trying to make games for myself. The later big influence for me was tabletop RPGs. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, AD&D, Rolemaster, Call of Cthulhu and so many others. I had the luck to have a wonderful group of friends and we played all those games with a passion. It’s hard to find a single “defining” influence in my gaming tastes like the AoE one you mentioned, but a pretty good one would be Pool of Radiance, a D&D RPG from 1988, as well as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay tabletop RPG. The former pretty much defines even today what I’d call the perfect way to offer an open-world experience to a player. The later is no doubt my greatest inspiration for writing content, in particular the contrast of grit and light humor, the epic amidst the grotesque.


-How would you describe Exiled Kingdoms to someone that has never played any kind of RPG?

Exiled Kingdoms is an adventure. Its main focus is exploration; there is a rich and vast world, and you can go anywhere. There’s things to do in faraway towns that you really have no reason to visit, except that you saw the name on the map and wondered what you’d find there. And in those faraway places there’s all kinds of adventures to be had, sometimes epic but also often humorous and unpredictable.


-Can you describe your creative process? How and when was the whole Exiled Kingdoms idea born?

I am an improviser. I begin writing a dialogue to find out what the character will say. I draw a map and then imagine what cool things to fill it with. Of course this is just the kickstart, because improvising has its limits; later I come up with better ideas and I realize I need a specific location in the map, or that the dialogue is not fulfilling a certain quest purpose, so I have to alter it. In the case of dialogues, I have to rewrite them many times. Not just to “correct” them, but also to make them shorter, and shorter again and again. It’s a mobile game in its origin, and you can’t spam the player with walls of texts too often or you’ll break the rhythm.

When I was thinking about making EK, I noticed mobile RPGs were for the most part following the microtransactions model which I absolutely despise, so I wondered what would be the demand for a “real” RPG, a game that you could just play without being forced to “log-in” daily, or pay for every inane thing you want to do. Turns out there were millions of gamers like me, looking forward to an RPG that was just that, a game.


-How was the process of finding your team? How did you recruit them to your development effort?

I made the game by myself. I used plenty of Open Assets under Creative Commons license, and in the late years of development I hired a couple people to draw some portraits or produce sprites, but other than that it’s a one-man game.


-I find it interesting that EK was initially released to mobile devices. What made you jump to computers? Do you think it has boosted participation and interest in the game?

EK has graphics and UI limitations in its PC version due to this mobile origin, so I was reluctant for a long time to release it on PC. It is not the PC game I would have designed, but since so many players requested it week after week, I decided to adapt it for PC. Well, I am so glad (again) to have listened to my players! It has sold well and received good reviews, plus now I know much better the Steam and GOG platforms and it will make Archaelund release smoother.


-I have played as Mercia in Crusader Kings II, which was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, and, while playing EK, I discovered that one of the realms in your game has the very same name. Was that a coincidence? What about Thuram, Varsilia and Ilmara? Where do those names come from?

I love history so yes, I borrowed it; it’s a rare case for normally I just make them up trying to find a sound that inspires the right feelings. I don’t think I’ve borrowed a historical name elsewhere in the EK map, but there’s plenty of easter-egg like character names, whole towns have populations named after some of my favorite writers, musicians or the like. However I put great care in not making it too evident, I don't want to break the immersion.


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The Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Mercia


-Now that you mention you love history, and as a history fanatic myself, I gotta ask...If you had the opportunity to travel back in time and experience a certain historic moment, where would you go?

If I could time-travel, I’d always visit the future. History is amazing, and I read history books from all eras, be it ancient, medieval, or the XXth century… but those “interesting times” sound really inconvenient to live in. I would, however, love to watch Liszt playing the piano or see lost wonders like the Colossus of Rhodes.


-Is the Colossus of Rhodes your inspiration for the great statue of the Andorian Empire?

Indeed it was, it is the Colossus of Anthur, greatest port in the Empire.


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The Colossus of Anthur


-Who would you choose as the most interesting person to ever walk on Earth?

Hard question, too many good choices. I just can’t pick one, wouldn’t be fair for the others.


-Ok enough chit-chat, back to the matter at hand. I was very sad when I discovered that the island of Varannar wasn’t entirely accessible. I have, however, read that you are planning on expanding the game. Is there something you can tell us about that expansion? Does it mean more areas, more skills, more quests, more companions, more what?

This is supposed to be “secret information” but I guess a few things can be shared. That’s what interviews are for, after all. This update will not be focused in one specific region, instead it’ll add places like Solliga, the Elder Forest and others. There’ll be content for the levels that need it most, that is, 14+, and some content where a post-Ark character will be challenged. I want to create new Skills, but after so long without modifying the code I still can’t confirm it. Stability of the game is a priority.


-One thing I love about RPG’s is questing. You have managed to create an incredibly good story with a lot of side quests, all of that while giving the player the option to just level up and not having to follow a dotted line. Choices do matter and I thank you for that. Did you have all possible endings and choices planned out before starting to develop the game, or how did it all end up working out for you?

I did not plan most of it. That was my style when I ran tabletop RPG adventure: strong preparation about the setting, factions and history, but the unfolding of events and the little details, I let them come out as I work. I normally have very clear ideas on what I want to do, in broad terms. Things like, in Mercia this is going to be the tone, the conflicts, the jokes. I thought very carefully about the “conflict” in the main quest, but I wasn’t absolutely sure about the possible outcomes until I was writing the 1.0 update, the one that added the Ark.


-Have you managed to complete all achievements for the Steam version? Even the ‘Epic Plumber’ one?

I have them all but I kind of cheated; for testing purposes I loaded one of my mobile saved games, so as soon as I opened the game most of the achievements popped. But I have completed the Sewer of Horrors myself on two legitimate playthroughs on Android, yeah, and let me tell you whoever designed that quest has issues!
[Editor's note: for those of you unaware, the 'Epic Plumber' achievement requires you to complete the hardest quest in the game on Hard or Ironman difficulty. I've played for almost 100 hours in Casual and haven't even dared to start it!]


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The achievement on Steam


-Are all the puns and dad jokes your creation?

Can’t put the blame on anyone else I’m afraid. But… I regret nothing!


-Did you ever encounter a big obstacle when developing Exiled Kingdoms? If yes, what happened and how did you solve it?

Technical problems may seem to be “big” while you’re unable to fix them, but looking back there was nothing that truly stalled me or made me fear I wouldn’t be able to pull through. Nothing technical at least. During my first 18 months of development I was still on my “day job”, which was very hard, but necessary.

Well, there was one “incident” that for a while made me think everything was over. Three months after releasing the game Google decided to remove Exiled Kingdoms from the Play Store for absolutely no reason, and for a couple days I couldn’t even speak… however after the initial shock I reacted and started working in the iOS version (it wasn’t out yet), and after four days Google decided to lift the ban, so there was a happy ending.


-Is Exiled Kingdoms your first game? If not, which was it?

Yes, it is the first. There’s many unfinished projects but nothing even remotely close to completion. I even keep a 100 pages script for a Battletech game I wanted to make as a kid, I read it recently and it’s not bad! Lots of side quests, who would have thought.


-What are you working on nowadays?

Most of the time I work on Archaelund, but also on the next Exiled Kingdoms update.


-Is Archaelund some sort of a turn-based Mount and Blade? How would you describe it?

Since you ask your question with a comparison, I’ll answer with comparison to other games as well. Imagine you are playing Baldur’s Gate or any other traditional RPG in which you guide a party of adventurers. However while you travel and explore, you see the world in First-Person, much like in Elder Scrolls games. When battle begins, you will control the whole party from top-down perspective.

Beyond that unique mechanic, which no other RPG has ever implemented, it is quite unique in many other ways. The progression is based in Careers; you don’t make a Warrior character, maybe it is a Ruffian, or a Bodyguard, or a Squire… then after a few levels you turn him into a Knight or a Mercenary. There’s over 50 Careers in the game, but still the system comes out as simpler to handle than other RPG systems, yet very tactical.


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Archaelund's combat interface


-What can we expect from Archaelund? Where does the game take part?

It happens in the Exiled Kingdoms world, over a century later, when the Exiles decide to return to Andoria, the continent they fled when the old Empire was destroyed. They find an inhabitable portion of it called Archaelund, and as you can imagine there’s lots of mysteries from the ancient days to discover in that land, but also plenty of the conflict between the Exiled Kingdoms in this new land.

The game content will have a structure not unlike Exiled Kingdoms, an open world with no set order to explore, some epic quests for those inclined to save the world but plenty of other fun stuff to do. Humor and light moments, but a few dramatic ones as well. And it’s going to be incredibly big, full with details and secrets to unveil.


-What inspired you to become a developer?

If I look back to that 8-year old kid that learned to write programs in BASIC, I am pretty sure the motivation was to make games. Other than that I grew being a fan of sci-fi and in particular the stories about Artificial Intelligence always were my favorites, as a teen I tried to program some AI but of course I lacked the knowledge or tools.


-Did you originally plan to target the english-speaker player, or did you release the game in spanish at the same time? Why was that?

I wrote it all in both english and spanish from the beginning. It certainly slowed down the dialogue and quest writing, because EK has a lot of text, and I had to write it all twice. But I figured if I didn’t do it from the beginning, it would have meant weeks or months of translation to spanish. Obviously english is the biggest language in gaming, but in the end it’s about 40% of my players and spanish is spoken by hundreds of millions. Later on the wonderful community did the rest of the translations, something that amazes me. I am very grateful for that.


-I was born in a country where gaming is not considered a viable, or even legitimate hobby, especially in backward towns like the one I live in. How has gaming evolved in your part of the world from the day you were born until today?

It has evolved dramatically. In the Spain of the 80s and 90s videogames and arcades were popular… as long as you just played them casually and then really cared about football, cars or the latest musical hit. Taking videogames or fantasy too seriously was nothing short of a stigma. Good luck trying to have a girl to ever look at you after you’ve openly talked about “elves” at school! Only a decade later everything had changed, but me and the few friends that shared these hobbies were a small minority. Nowadays all universities offer degrees in videogame development and it’s all the rage, even if obviously still lacks the status of a “big career” like being an engineer or a doctor.


-As a game developer, do you think gaming should have greater preponderance than other activities? What do you see as pros and cons when playing a game?

Games are one of the most important things we have, as human beings. No less. Am I exaggerating? Probably you believe I am, but let me elaborate.

Animals play games, according to their intelligence. A dog is more “playful” than a cow, because it is smarter. Why do animals (including us) play games? because it is a formidable tool for learning and for interacting with each other. Just look at those lion cubs in documentaries, how they fight each other to learn valuable skills for hunting or to measure up against one another. A housecat that never has the chance to play with others becomes more aggressive, often biting its owners.

As human beings we have gone one step further: our games have rules. This is because we need to adapt constantly to circumstances and constraints in our lives, and the games make us better at that. Roleplaying games, and computer games have made it evolve even faster, with more complex rules and environments. But in the end it’s the same as with animals: we do need the games to learn, to reach our potential, same as a lion cub needs it. It is our strongest tool to learn and reach our potential... yes, even above school. The games we played as children, at least in my opinion, is what shapes our personality and capabilities the most. And while education is carefully designed by expert pedagogues and teachers, games are a wild area, pretty much ignored except for its entertainment and business value.

So in this scenario let me ask you, what does a child learn when he pays-to-win in a game? As opposed to trying harder and persevere. Or even compared to failing and giving up, which is also a valuable lesson.


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Nolan Sorrento in 'Ready Player One'. Do you remember that scene?


-If I were to visit your country, what do you think I should do first?

Pay me a beer, of course. Well, Spain has a lot to offer, it would depend on what you’re after. If it’s landscapes, the north. If it’s art, Toledo or Segovia. If it’s food, or fun, or beaches, you have plenty of choices.
[Editor's note: I have also failed at keeping track of how many people have answered this question with "Pay me a beer"]


-Many years ago, I lived in Cambrils. Have you ever visited that part of the country? What was the best aspect of the city? If not, where in Spain lies the place where you’d like to live your final days?

Final days! I still have too many games to make, ha! I’ve been to Tarragona and surroundings as a kid, multiple times, but not in decades. I remember Salou which I believe is close. It was beautiful however, the pines against the sea, the hills. I have good memories of the people and the landscape, but it’s been a long time ago.


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The port of Cambrils


-I’ve seen you have taken the time to reply to several reviews on the Steam page. I’ve never seen a developer do that, but maybe it’s just me not paying attention. Is maintaining communication with your player base a priority for you? Why is that?

How would I learn what I did wrong if I didn’t listen attentively to players? Exiled Kingdoms was once very different; only one difficulty which was current “Hard” setting, no way to save the game except at the inn, no vaults, too few skill slots… many essential things were added because of feedback.


-Can you imagine yourself as something else than a developer? If you had to change careers today and start again, what would you do?

A musician, or a writer.


Last one (I promise).

LOL


-My Clan has a lot of lurking developers. If they asked for advice, just general advice, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that if they stay true to their principles and really try to make a great game that is fun to players, it is going to work. And that all the effort is worth it in the end. Go for it! It’s going to be a long road, you’ll need to learn, there will be pitfalls, but as long as you advance a project just a little every day, it will end up being finished sooner or later.


I don’t think I can keep thinking of serious(ish) questions anymore. Thank you. Saludos desde Argentina!

Article by Choto

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Grand Strategy games series.

Chapter two: Crusader Kings 2.


Despite my most charming presence, I couldn't get Cory to write about Imperator:Rome for this second chapter of the series. But don't fret! For we have a wonderful noob this month anyway!


"Shood, noobs! You may know me as Fenn, or Questcaping, or perhaps Fenncaping, I guess? I'm here with the first in a series of reviews by various different people on Paradox games, reviewing the games Crusader Kings II and III with my big nerd husband JJ.

Now, the aforementioned big nerd husband is a big, BIG Paradox nerd. He's been playing CKII since 2013, the year after it came out; I, on the other hand, have been noobing along with the game (and all his DLCs, of course!) for barely a few months now. On the other hand, we've both been playing CKIII for the same amount of time -- barely a few weeks at the time of writing, since it was only released on September 1st. Brand new game reviews, hot off the press! This is cutting-edge stuff here, guys.

So, to begin with: I'm certainly no noob to grand strategy games. My mum played a ton of Civilization II when pregnant with me, so you could even say I've been playing them since before I was born...! I quickly followed in her footsteps, playing various Civ games in my childhood, picking up Civ V and Beyond Earth as a teen, then getting into Civ VI as an adult.

That's the background from which I'm approaching all this. As a quick overview: in modern Civ games, you play as a single leader of a single "civilization", and can choose to play that as you wish for a certain defined set of victories: dominate your opponents in battle, culture or religion, or perhaps say "screw this!" to Mother Earth and develop the tech to sod off the planet entirely. It's not particularly open-ended, though it develops a good deal over the course of a game (as the name suggests, one full game will span the entire existence of human civilisation-with-an-S).

Comparing that to Crusader Kings? We're in a very different ballpark here. Sure, you still play as a leader: you command armies, gain gold and research technology, all for the sake of expanding and/or enriching your territory. But in Crusader Kings, this territory might be anywhere from a single county or duchy to a kingdom or an empire! You can choose from any leader at the beginning of each game, and will have to play through the years in real time as they follow from there -- starting with whatever land they historically possessed, but taking them from there to whatever heights you can achieve. Your status over the course of a game is very much mutable, in that sense. In Civ, no matter how much territory you rule, you'll always be considered a "civilization"; in CK, you can begin by ruling some unimportant barony and conquer your way from there to an empire. Or, if you play it badly, you might end up watching your empire dissolve, keeping hold of nothing but that tiny little barony...!

I feel it's also somewhat more of a sandbox game than Civilization, too. Where Civ has a few defined victories to shoot for, Crusader Kings has nothing so specific. You can play up until the game's time period ends... if you want. And there's a score you can work on improving, related to the prestige and piety of your rulers. But what you'll often find is that people create goals for themselves, or even just take a game wherever they feel like.

And believe me, "wherever they feel like" covers an extremely broad range of possibilities. What do you feel like doing this game? I quite enjoy collecting all seven deadly sins on a single character (in CKII), torturing prisoners for handy boosts to my own stats (in CKIII), or seducing my way across the continent (a constant across both games, and great fun until you're having to fight wars against your bastard children). What about loftier goals? Rebuilding the Roman Empire? Hey, why not do that AS A HORSE?! Or maybe you're feeling a little stressed out, and would like to relieve that by EATING THE POPE. (And if you want more tall tales like this, I highly recommend the subreddit /r/ShitCrusaderKingsSay. There's some wild stuff on there, to say the least...!)

You can absolutely play this game as a serious empire-builder; there are "silly" and "supernatural" elements that can be turned off if they're not your style. You can also play the game as a mediaeval depravity simulator. Choose your own adventure.

There is one "game over" condition you have to be wary of, though. The ruler you start with does not have an indefinite lifespan, and once it ends (from old age, sickness, murder, battle...) you'll find that you switch perspective to that character's heir. However, this only works if they're considered to be of the same Dynasty -- part of your legitimate family tree. Succession can be a rather thorny issue, with many different aspects involved: first of all is how the heir is determined in the first place, with laws that you'd preferably change to keep as much of your land with your primary character as possible. It's all well and good to hold ten different titles, but if you've got ten kids and they're all in line to inherit... have fun going right back to one...! Secondly, you'll want to ensure you're having good heirs in the first place. Find yourself a good spouse, and make sure to check up on their traits! Many things can be inherited, and many can also be passed on through education -- there's nature AND nurture involved.

And another thing: families don't always get along! Some can be ruthless backstabbers, always plotting to kill you for some reason or another (or even just none at all). Maybe they just happen to be your heir, and they're getting more than a little impatient about how long you happen to be living -- it's well within their capability to cut that down a little...! (At which point, you'll find your perspective switching to that of your own murderer. Little bit of whiplash there.) Don't fret, though, because you're just as able to murder them back. Scheming and intrigue is a big part of both games, and there's no shortage of foul plots to get yourself involved in.

That's the general gist of the game -- from what I've experienced so far. I wanted to include my husband's experience, though, as a far more seasoned player than I am.

So... how did he start out?

JJ: My first time playing CKII, I played the tutorial. The tutorial used to be -- I don't know if it still is now -- the King of Poland in 1066. From there, it took a lot of Youtubery to figure out all the quirks and mechanics of the game that the tutorial doesn't really explain. (Paradox Interactive is really bad at tutorials.)

I fell in love right away. It wasn't a game that was trying to be flashy or action-packed. It was sort of an RPG where there is no story: the stories just emerge as you play the game. I found that, as I learned every new mechanic, the game became deeper. And while I was able to sometimes cheese it a bit, I found that it was also easy to restrain myself, get into the character's mind, and let myself fall into the story.

{{Color|#8040BF|Fenn: Yeah, I really feel like the characters can drive you just as much as you drive them. There's always something new for the game to throw at you: perhaps a sudden Crusade leads your character from being shy and retiring to becoming a bold conqueror. Or maybe your character, once pure of heart, starts falling into all sorts of events that lead them down a path of villainy...!

{{Color|#00BF40|JJ: Yeah, you can really get attached to your characters. Even though they have no real dialogue of their own -- just whatever comes up in events that can happen for any character -- you still get enough story from their traits and the way they affect your game to feel like you understand what kind of person you character is.

Fenn: I'm still rather attached to a character from my very first CKII game, Petty Queen Gerròc: from small beginnings, and a dynasty that was close to dying out, she became the head of a vast family tree -- while consistently falling further into darkness. An event (from the Secret Societies DLC -- quite a recent one, from 2017) had someone suggest that she question her faith and instead turn to the teachings of Satan, and that led her down a glorious path of evil! Many dark rituals, sacrifices, tortures and burnt villagers' houses later, she became the leader of the Lucifer's Own society -- all the while presenting a good and wholesome image to the world and to her own family. Hell, one of her sons (my next ruler) even got named a saint!

And then, on her ending screen, all it had to say about her was her love of food. Just because she happened to have the "Gluttonous" trait. At least her many dark secrets died with her -- just as she would've wanted.

I've got another story that's far more recent, this time from CKIII. One thing I'm very good at doing in both games is winning Crusades -- and by "winning", I mean "turning up super early, doing a bunch of easy sieges when no one else is around, and getting recognised as the biggest contributor on account of that". That, if you play it right, can get someone of your choice installed on the throne.

So, in my first ever game of CKIII, the Pope happened to call a crusade for Jerusalem. I marched right in, won, and voilà: my eldest sister is now Queen of Jerusalem.

Not even a year afterwards, she suddenly converts to a Christian heresy named Adamism. A key tenet of this heresy is nudism, so now I keep having to see my sister naked whenever there's an event involving her. Lovely.

Anyway, the Pope is less than pleased with this. He calls another Crusade, just so we can kick her out and install a new Catholic ruler -- preferably one that'll stay Catholic this time round. Predictably, I win the crusade...

... and install my second sister as the new Queen of Jerusalem. Guess what? She promptly converts to yet another non-Catholic heresy! (Sadly, this one does not involve nudity.)

The Pope is decidedly peeved at this point. Third Crusade, hopefully the final one -- I win it, and yes, I have yet another sister to install on the throne. She may have leprosy, but at least she doesn't have heresy, so the Pope's fine with her.

For now.

I actually left off on that game around that point. I should keep playing, just to update you on how she goes. Will she turn heretic? Are we in for a fourth Crusade? What will I do now I've run out of sisters? Stay tuned!

What would you say is your favourite thing to do in the game?

JJ: For me, even though I could play as anyone in the world, I am very much the type who prefers to play as the most tiny, obscure character possible -- for a couple reasons. Firstly, I like being able to see my entire dynasty's story play out. If you play as one of the already established historical dynasties, like the Carlins, then at the end of the game, you have to look back at the family tree and see a distinct line between when you started playing and the history that was already put there beforehand. When you start as someone obscure, usually they don't have any ancestors in their records -- so when you get to the end of the game and you look at your family tree, it tells the entire story of just your game. And because the game is so long, you can actually get a bit nostalgic for the early days of your dynasty! "Aw, yeah! I remember him!"

Fenn: "Back when I was naught but a tiny little count on a tiny little island... I've been a lot of different people since!"

JJ: The second reason is because of the gameplay. Because you're not starting as an empire or a kingdom, you have very little to manage. In a way, this is both a challenge and a blessing. You can get your bearings much quicker, see the threats that need to be dealt with -- and they are BIG threats. But you also don't have to figure out what kind of influence some random Duke in some random corner of your empire has...!

Fenn: You like playing the underdog, eh?

JJ: Yes!

Fenn: I definitely get what you mean on smaller being much easier to manage. In some of my games, through various bizarre lines of succession, I've found myself suddenly playing as an heir who rules -- not just my current Duchy -- but a few kingdoms of their own...! Imagine my surprise on my very first game, as my control passes to one of good ol' evil Queen Gerròc's descendents -- and she's not just queen of my little slice of Ireland, but large swathes of Croatia and Italy to boot...! Believe me, I had no idea what to do there -- I'd gone from something that was relatively manageable as a complete beginner to suddenly having to deal with a whole load of things I had no idea what to do with. And, y'know, a couple of ongoing wars. Fun times.

So, with all your experience with CKII, how have you been finding its successor CKIII?

JJ: At first, it was a huge adjustment. Playing a game for seven years and then playing a game that has all the same elements -- but with a completely different feel -- made it easier to slip into than I imagine a noob would, but still very unfamiliar...! I started out having some really positive things to say about the game... and some really neutral things to say about the game. There wasn't anything I hated, but there were things I was pretty unsure about. Thankfully, as time has gone on, I'm only appreciating it more and more. For instance, the Intrigue seemed less hands-on than CKII -- and CKII was already pretty hands-off! But this turned out to be a false impression. In reality, Intrigue -- like a lot of systems in the game -- has been made more hands-on. And my not being used to that fooled me into believing otherwise!

Fenn: So what in particular has been changed it? What's more hands-on, even if it felt less so at first?

JJ: I think an example that's easier to understand would be the military. In CKII, for a good 95% of war, you basically just raised all your levies... and then it was basically a matter of who had more, won. Technically, it was more in-depth... but in practicality, the depth only came into play about 5% of the time. Now, in CKIII, you also have to consider Knights, which are characters in your court who you can interact with, and can even be your family. Or Men-at-Arms, such as specialised archers, pikemen, etc. which are the elite of your army that can make the difference between victory and defeat. That's basically it, but those two factors make a huge amount of difference!

Fenn: Absolutely! There were so many little interfaces in CKII that came up at the side during battle -- and which, don't shoot me, I basically ignored. Technically, you had things like archers and pikemen there as well, but did that really matter? All these tiny little numbers changing during a siege, all of which meant nothing to me, when really the bulk of the matter simply lay in getting huge numbers of soldiers and putting them around a castle till it fell.

Now, for one thing, "soldiers" are no longer a generic number, but now consist of different factions that you have to purchase individually and then upkeep: you're no longer just sending 2000 soldiers into battle, you're sending 7 knights (including two of your sons!), 200 archers, 300 pikemen and a whole load of levied peasant rabble into battle, and that feels so much more varied. In addition, there's a constant quality rating on any army you have, ranging from Low Quality to Elite Quality -- and in that sense, numbers are no longer as important in the equation, because even 500 Elite Quality soldiers are very easily going to defeat twice, even thrice their number in lower quality counterparts. It's a delicate game to be played in ensuring that quality remains high, involving lots of factors such as your own leadership or an army's morale, and all in all it feels so much more immersive.

So, I told you about my beloved evil Queen -- do you have any particular stories you'd like to share?

JJ: I've got stories of games I've done -- at the moment I can't think of any fun characters like yours, but there is something I've tried a lot in CKII.

I think they've really upped the difficulty, but in a fair way.

A challenge I try in CKII is to start as an Ethiopian Jewish count, and rise from two little counties to the Empire of Israel. That is a game that I had to restart many, MANY countless times before it worked out, and 99% of the time, when I had to restart, it was mostly because... RNG just didn't favour me.

The Abbasid Caliphate and the Sultanate of Egypt are the two main antagonists of that runthrough. While there is a lot of buffer space between you, they very quickly get to you. And once they're there, they don't just vassalise you, they completely dethrone you -- which ends your game. So it's a ticking clock, and I had various goals before that clock hit zero, otherwise I would not be able to hold them back.

There was ONE playthrough where I got lucky. I was able to form Empire of Abyssinia and secure a strong foothold in Arabia. Through all that, I had enough military strength to fight
combo of all of that: enough military strength to fight the Abbasid Caliphate? who even then were shattered after multiple rebellions.

So I won. I had an empire spanning Ethiopia, Arabia, the Red Sea, one that was mainly Jewish...

... by sheer luck.

Whereas, in CKIII, the way I've felt so far is that -- no matter how many times I fail, I feel it was totally fair and I see what steps I could've taken to avoid my fate.

The exact same character exists in CKIII. I thought, yeah, I could do that run again as him. I haven't tried yet, but in what I've been playing? I feel like if I lose, it's not just because of RNG. It's based on my skill.

There's our experience! If you'd like to have a go yourself, both CKII and CKIII are on Steam.

Whether you're creating a kingdom or banging the Pope... have fun!"


Article by Questcaping

A Hard Fall.

Episode 2.

This story and our very own clannie that wrote it were nominated for the 2020 Golden Gnome Awards!


Silly bugger, Teiran thought, as she headed for the ladder to the surface. He mustn’t even know the right end of a training sword. Rather stupid, going around a bunch of monsters when you’re that unprepared…

As she emerged, a suqah greeted her with a swing of its cleaver. As she dodged right, it barely missed the black cavalier on her head, instead shearing off a chunk of blonde, curly hair.

“Mind!” she yelled, kicking it out of the way. “The hat! Shoo, bugger off!”

The suqah, grumbling, waddled away. The constant mists of the northern isles obscured the rest of the monster tribe, reducing them to shadowy outlines on the rocks. She dodged an ice spell flung her way and headed to the Lunar settlement.

I wonder what he was doing around here anyways, she thought. It’s a good thing I needed essences today. Maybe he was just trying to explore...

As she passed through the village’s wooden walls, she unfolded the note Cyrisus had given her.

I give the bearer of this note access to my bank and the contents within.

The message was followed by the letter ‘C’ and a long line of wavy scribbles, which she deduced was his signature.

He’s got nice handwriting, at least, she thought, noting the tiny, tidy letters. Must be a scholar or something.

She reached the bank. Looking up from the note, she scanned the line of tellers.

“Lessee. Which one of you might be friends with a badly inju— eh?”

She scrutinized the last man in the line. “Bird’s Eye Jack? Aren’t you supposed to be a pirate?”

Jack scowled. “Aren’t you the insolent fool who insulted my navigational skills?!”

“You were sending the ship around in bloody circles!” She snapped. “What kind of rotten navigator takes a boat on a carousel ride?”

“That was a jinx, you bilge rat!”

“Hey, if it weren’t for me, you’d still be stuck back at Pirate’s Cove!”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Oh, behold! The great adventurer Teiran, the world would crumble without her!”

“Whatever.” She slammed the piece of paper down on the counter. “You know a fellow named Cyrisus?”

“Yeah. What about him?”

“He’s in some caves up north. Suqahs did a bit of a number on him, I’m afraid. He needs help — he asked me to grab some armour from the bank for him.”

Jack narrowed his eyes. “If this is some sort of trick…”

She shoved the note closer to him. He picked it up and skimmed it.

“Fine.” He grabbed a set of keys off his belt and walked over to the vault. “Armour only. And if you try anything…”

“Hey, I might be a petty thief, tomb plunderer, looter, and part-time lawyer,” she said. “But I’m not some dirty scammer. If I were, I would have offered to trim his armour, not fetch it.”

Jack rolled his eyes again as he fiddled with the safe’s runic dial. “Oh, like you’re a reliable source of truth.”

The dial clicked, shooting sparks, and the vault rumbled. “Alright, the pocket dimensions are aligned,” he said, swinging it open. “Don’t mess anything up.”

“It’s just some bronze armour,” she said, stepping inside. “How hard can finding a brown platebody —” she stopped dead in her tracks. “Be?”

She scanned the vault, her eyes wide. Pile upon piles of magic logs gleamed, tidily stacked. Rune bars took up a good percentage of the space, occupying the entirety of the back. There were rows of potions, neatly labeled, just above a respectable pile of gold. Next to it was an even bigger pile of marble blocks. One side of the space was taken up by a floor-to ceiling wall of runes, from air to law to water.

What boggled her the most, however, was the armoury, where a not a shred of bronze was to be found. Or iron, even. Or steel, or mithril, or even rune…

“Are you sure this isn’t Zezima’s bank?” she said, bewildered.

“Quite sure!” Jack snapped. “Don’t you go insinuating that I’m incompetent at this job, too!”

She picked up a gleaming dragon helm. “Why does he even have all this?” She took inventory of the other pieces of equipment. “Splitbark, dragonhide, dragon chain… can he even lift any of it?”

She looked back to Jack, who shook his head with an angry scowl. “I’m not at liberty to discuss my client’s bank contents,” he said. “And in any case, I don’t have any bloody idea either!”

Teiran sighed, at an utter loss. “I’ll just go with a set that makes sense.”

As she gathered the armour, it occurred to her that she should check. She pulled out a set of runes and cast Contact, wincing as the spell buzzed in her ears.

“Hello?” she called out. “Cyrisus?”

“Oh! Hello,” he said. “Teiran?”

“Yes. Are you doing ok in there?”

“Yes. The biscuits you left are rather good.”

“Uh, thank you. About your armour…” She scanned the pile of high-leveled items. “Um. What are you looking for exactly?”

“What have you got?”

“Dragon chainbody,” she listed. “Dragonhide chaps, and a dragon helm. Very dragon-y. Oh, and some adamant boots. It should probably keep you protected enough.” If you can even stand in it.

“Oh,” he said. “It is rather nice… erm, can you switch out a few things?”

“Sure. What with?”

“Can you switch the dragon chain and chaps for Ahrim’s set?” he asked. “And the adamant boots for ranger ones?”

Picky, picky, she thought, as she exchanged the armour pieces. “What about the dragon helm?”

“No, that’s fine. That was a great choice. Could you grab an abyssal whip for me as well, please?”

“Sure. Do you need anything else?”

“No, that’s it. Thank you. Again.”

“No problem,” she said, grabbing a whip off one of the shelves. “See you soon.”

She let the spell fizzle. Jack gave her a dirty look as she started to stash the abyssal weapon in her pack.

“I said armour only!” he snapped.

“Well, he needs something to fight off the suqahs,” she retorted. “Besides, I’ve already got one of my own, why would I want to nick his?”

“Hmmmph,” Jack muttered. “Alright, you got his stuff. Now get out.”

Teiran exited the bank, mulling over what she’d just seen. I know some adventurers buy armour out of their league and train up to it, but this is an entirely new level, she thought. Several levels, in fact. Is he trying to impress me? But he had all that stuff before I even met him…

Several defeated suqahs later and she was back down to the mines; when she re-entered the little cave, Cyrisus was looking a good deal more cheerful.

“You came back,” he said, relief in his voice.

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“It’s just… you’ve done enough for me already. I was worried that you’d get sick of it. Or steal my armour.”

“That’d be shitty of me,” she said. “Besides, I’ve already gone to the trouble of bringing you back from the brink of death. I might as well see this through.”

“Thank you.” He tried to stand again, and Teiran rushed over, grabbing his arm.

“Be careful,” she said. “Here, let me help you.”

He managed to get on his feet and stay there. “I think I’ve got it.”

She let go of his arm and handed him her bag. “Here’s your stuff,” she said, carefully. I’ll have to watch out when you fall again, I suppose. Maybe I should have grabbed an iron set while I was still back at the bank…

“Thanks. Can you, erm, look away?”

“Yes!” She whipped around, her face burning. “Carry on.”

She heard the rustling of fabric, and the clinking of metal. And then:

“Ok, you can look now.”

She turned. He looked… well, like a war machine. She’d heard that anyone who tried wearing Ahrim’s robes before they were trained enough in magic were cursed with withering blight; however, if anything, he looked stronger in them. The dragon helm looked as familiar to him as Teiran’s cavalier was to her; and he wielded the whip like an expert, even as it waved and twisted in the air from the abyssal energy within.

She looked him up and down. She didn’t know any better, she would have thought he was about to fight the Kalphite Queen — not run from a bunch of suqahs.

Something didn’t add up.

“Alright then,” she said. “Spit it out. How can someone with a bank full of high-level equipment, armour like they’re about to go boss-killing, and magic enough to know what the Contact spell is, end up nearly getting beaten to death by a bunch of mediocre troll-thingies?”

Cyrisus avoided her gaze again, his face as red as the dragon helm he wore. “Well, um, you see…The thing is... the thing that I should say... the problem I have, for which you should know…”

“Out with it.”

He sighed. “I guess there’s no hiding it.” He took a breath. “I’m afraid of combat.”

“You…?” She turned the statement over in her head, and failed to find anything comprehensible in it. “What?”

Cyrisus sat down despairingly. “I've tried so hard over the years,” he said, looking down. “But I simply cannot gather the courage to fight monsters. I've learnt the techniques, I've got the equipment. I just get so afraid. My legs turn to jelly, I'm dripping with sweat. All I can do is run.”

“Oh.” She sat down next to him. “I’m… surprised.”

“Why would you be?”

She gestured to his armament. “Unless you’re off fighting the Corporeal Beast, I’d think you’d be pretty set in the combat department. Hell, you could probably off those suqahs in three hits or so!”

“I know. But…” he winced. “I just can’t get myself to cooperate. I just think about how I can’t endure… or that I don’t know how to win… or that I’m just not good enough…”

“Nonsense.” She patted him on the shoulder. “You’ve gotten far enough to wield dragon armour, for Guthix’s sake! I’m sure you’re good enough to fight suqahs. And other, stronger things.”

He looked up. “You think so?”

“I know so,” she said. “And I’m sure it’s all in your head.”

“That’s why I came here, actually. You’ve been through all the dream trials, yes?”

“The ones where you race moon-people and hop on clouds and chop troys? Yes.”

“I have, too. I was hoping the Lunar Clan could help me again. See into my dreams and conquer my fear of combat, if that’s possible.”

She shrugged. “I don’t see why not. You were trying to find the Oneiromancer, I suppose?”

“Yes. She’s around here, right?”

“Wrong suqah-infested part of the island, I’m afraid. She’s on the south end.”

“Oh.” He got up. “Well, that was stupid of me. I don’t want to have to go near those monsters again —” he shivered “ — but I don’t have much choice, I suppose.”

Teiran got up. “Tell you what,” she said, offering him a hand. “I’ll come with you to see her. If any suqahs go near you, I’ll knock ‘em off. Deal?”

“I—” his eyes widened. “You really don’t have to. You’ve done enough for me already.”

She grinned. “I’m an adventurer,” she said. “Helping people is part of my repertoire. With the promise of massive rewards, of course. And having seen your bank, I know you’re not short on that sort of thing.”

He grinned back, and took her dragon-gloved hand. “You’re a shrewd businesswoman, is what you are. Fine enough — you help me, and I’ll return the favor.”

“Deal.” She hefted him off the floor. “Here’s the plan. You run as fast as you can to the south side of the island, and I’ll stay close and hit anything that tries to attack us.”

“No need. I’ll find my own way there.”

“Past the suqahs? Yourself?”

“Heavens, no. I have my own methods. You go on ahead.”

She gave him a strange look. “If you say so. Uh, see you there.”

“Thank you again!” he shouted, as she headed out of the cave again. “I’ll pay you back for all the fish, I promise!”

Strong enough to wield an abyssal whip, and knock-kneed when he sees anything more frightening than a goblin. What a weird guy. she thought, as she climbed up the ladder. What a weird day.

And why do I have the feeling that it’s going to get weirder?



Article by Chaos_Elemental

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Xurdones Reviews:
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

When I first heard that this movie was being made, my immediate reaction was: “Why? Who is this for? Who wants a new Bill & Ted movie after thirty years, and more importantly why are we listening to that person instead of getting them the psychiatric help they so obviously need?” Having now seen the movie, I guess I got my answer. In other news, there are some very nice young men in white coats coming to take me on a little trip.

Okay, okay, let me back up. Bill & Ted Face the Music is the third (and, hopefully, final) installment in the Bill & Ted franchise. The series began in 1989 with the cult hit Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and if you haven’t seen it then I don’t think describing the plot will explain why it deserved two sequels (and a Saturday morning cartoon, and a breakfast cereal, and…). All you really need to know is the high-concept logline of the series: Bill S. Preston, esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) are a pair of California metalheads and best friends whose garage rock band, Wyld Stallyns, eventually forms the basis of a utopian future. Time travel, and time travel shenanigans, feature heavily.

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The persistent popularity of Bill & Ted is an odd phenomenon; on paper these are, at best, goofball comedies that should get a polite chuckle and fade into obscurity. The first film is a series of historical-adjacent comedy sketches, loosely threaded together over a frankly absurd plot, and the second is a slightly self-important philosophical rambling that seems to be a half-hearted parody of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, of all things. What ultimately makes the films work, in my opinion, are the characters. For all they represent many of the very worst impulses of Generation X, Bill and Ted are fundamentally likeable; they’re not very smart (in the first film they’re failing their high school history class because they think Joan of Arc was “Noah’s wife”), but when the chips are down they’re resourceful, capable of self-reflection and self-improvement, and they have an infectious, unflappable optimism. Nothing gets these guys down for long.

That characterization is a large part of what initially drew me into Face the Music. The third film opens with the titular duo, now pushing fifty and their star long since fallen, still making increasingly desperate attempts to unite the world with their music. After yet another failure (featuring a combination of theremin, throat singing, and bagpipes), Ted admits that, after twenty-five years of failure, he’s finally tired of trying. That was the point I decided this wasn’t going to be merely a lazy retread of the first movie, and that the characters actually have grown and changed.

Anyway, this newfound apathy can’t be allowed to stand, else there’d be no film, so the duo are interrupted by the arrival of Kelly (Kristen Schaal), a time traveller from the 27th century who brings them to the future to answer for their failure. Informed that “the song that unites the world” must be performed that very night, or else all of reality will fall apart, and faced with the fact that they’ve been trying and failing to write this song for thirty years, Ted hits upon an idea: if they know they write it at some point, why don’t they just go to the future and get the song after they’ve already written it? Try not to think about the ways this doesn’t make sense, because the film itself certainly doesn’t. This forms the A plot of the film: Bill and Ted visiting future versions of themselves, pursued by a robotic assassin (Anthony Carrigan) sent by Kelly’s mother, who believes that killing B&T would also save reality.

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The B plot focuses on the boy’s daughters. Thea Preston (Samara Weaving) and Billie Logan (Brigette Lundy-Paine) are their fathers’ daughters: unemployed layabouts with no apparent ambition beyond listening to music (which, to their credit, they have a deep and varied appreciation of) and stanning their dads’ band. They happen to see the guys disappear into Kelly’s time machine, and when she comes back they insist on helping. In what’s more of a direct homage (some would say ‘rip-off”) of the first film, Billie and Thea use the time machine to assemble a supergroup of famous musicians, including Mozart (Daniel Dorr), Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft), the legendary Chinese flautist Ling Lun (Sharon Gee), and 21st-century rapper Kid Cudi (as himself). The two plots intersect for the climax where (spoilers) Wyld Stallyns saves reality.

So, I’ve been watching the development of this film since at least 2016, when Alex Winter confirmed that there was a script and a director. My biggest fear was that they were going to do one of two things. The worst thing they could have done was make a completely un-self-aware rehash of the first film, with fifty-year-old B&T still talking and acting like fifteen-year-old B&T; that was my fear having watched the first trailer, which focuses on some of the most B&T-like moments from the film, and there’s something really sad about a 55-year-old Alex Winter spouting pseudo-philosophical gibberish like it’s still 1985. A whole film of that would have been excruciating.

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The second worst thing they could have done was, well...have you seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Do you know that scene where Strong Female Protagonist and Morally Complex Antihero are running away from Stormtroopers, and decide to flee the planet in an unseen “piece of junk” spaceship, and then we pan over to the Millennium Falcon, and the music swells and the camera lingers on it for just long enough for it to be creepy? It couldn’t have been more blatant if JJ Abrams himself got in front of the camera and said “See, it’s the things you like. Now like my movie you sheep!” That was the second worst thing they could have done to Bill & Ted: wallow in past iconography, but with none of the things that made the original film actually watchable. That movie would have been overcooked popcorn: I’d have eaten it because I like popcorn, but it would have been unsatisfying and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Fortunately, Bill & Ted Face the Music avoided the worst of those fates. There are some elements where the film wallows in its past iconography, but those moments are mostly given to the daughters, who are different enough from their fathers to make it palatable. It’s by no means a flawless movie; don’t go into it expecting hard sci-fi, and there are some truly odd narrative choices. Kelly is a largely redundant character once both time travel plots get underway, but the film seems to derive great humour from cutting back to her arguing with her mother via cellphone; the robot assassin is converted into a friendly sidekick for the third act, but he contributes nothing of consequence except for some very repetitive comic relief; there’s a final moment of emotional closure between B&T and their wives, calling back to an early scene, that feels like unearned character development.

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All of these are legitimate criticisms, and pointing them out is very valid and smart and also handsome of me, but I want to talk about the film’s message. Shortly before seeing the film, I read an interview with Bill & Ted creators and franchise writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, and they talk about the theme of the movie:

"Ed Solomon" wrote:

It's not that Bill and Ted have to write a song that is so great that the world is going to be saved, it's that something has to happen to get everyone to play with each other.

Look, I don’t want to get political here, but our species has, historically, not been great at the whole “recognize the basic humanity of those who are different” thing. While we’ve made massive strides in that direction, in many ways it feels like the last few years have been a backslide, and sectarianism and xenophobia feel more prominent than ever before. And that’s on top of the global pandemic that is very literally dividing us more than ever.

Bill & Ted Face the Music looks at that world and says that we can achieve universal harmony by getting everyone playing along. Not to deny the differences between us, or to force everyone to bend to the vision of a single person or group, but to combine our individual tastes, talents, and perspectives to make the world a better place for everyone.

This film is not perfect. If you’re a fan of the franchise, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes of your life, but I wouldn’t use this movie to sell anybody on the concept of Bill & Ted. But that basic message of hope and optimism, that the problems facing our society are tractable (if not simple), is worth celebrating.

Be excellent to each other.

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I give Bill & Ted Face the Music 69 Air Guitar solos.


Article by xurdones

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Forgotten Lore II: A history of clues


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Given that Derp is the author of this article, it is unsurprising that the second installment of Forgotten Lore delves into the history of clue scrolls.

The Treasure Trails D&D was released in RuneScape on May 5, 2004. Ever since that day, many adventurers have been tirelessly hunting and completing clue scrolls in their (perhaps futile) desire for riches and glory. In recent years, Jagex has been expanding on the lore surrounding Treasure Trails. The highlight of this lore expansion was the quest You Are It, released on May 8, 2018 – almost precisely 14 years after the D&D’s original release! This article serves as a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge regarding Treasure Trails lore, and central to this knowledge is the (in)famous enchanter Charos.


Charos
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The name “Charos” first appeared in the 2005 quest Creature of Fenkenstrain, in which the player finds themselves employed by the strange Doctor Fenkenstrain in a castle just northeast of Canifis. This castle served as the seat of power in the Lordship of the North Coast, a small and independent stretch of land on the northern coast of Morytania established at some point during the Fourth Age. Not much is known about the Lordship, though it is interesting to note that the graves in the Mausoleum and those scattered around the Haunted Woods are said to belong to deceased residents of the Lordship. The Lordship collapsed after its last ruler, Lord Rologarth, was murdered by the very same doctor whose employ the player has entered. After accidentally reviving Lord Rologarth and learning some of the land’s history, the player pickpockets Doctor Fenkenstrain and receives the ring of Charos.


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The ring of Charos was a central item in the Garden of Tranquility-quest, released just 7 months after Creature of Fenkenstrain. In this quest, the player needs to unlock the ‘full potential’ of the ring by bringing it to Wise Old Man in Draynor Village. During the reactivation process of the ring, it is revealed that Charos was a servant of Lord Drakan, the evil vampiric ruler of Morytania, and that he had made this ring as a tool to enhance one’s innate persuasion skills. The Wise Old Man tells the player that Charos had fallen out of favour with Lord Drakan, and would now most likely be dead. However, he warns the player that if he’s wrong and Charos is actually alive, Charos would naturally come looking for the ring that is his by right.


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The Wise Old Man also believed that Charos had a castle built on the northern coast in Morytania, the very same castle as featured in Creature of Fenkenstrain where the ring of Charos was eventually found. In the 30th edition of Postbag from the Hedge, the story so far was basically rehashed by Reldo, whose account is rather similar to that of the Wise Old Man. The attentive reader will realise that (spoiler alert!), at this point in time, we know Reldo is actually Charos in disguise. This certainly provides a twist of dramatic irony to Reldo’s writings in the Postbag, a prime example being the following passage:

"Reldo" wrote:

“I have read a few short and terrifying stories from Morytania that use Charos as a character, but these are all fictional, and generally make him out to be some sort of cowering and simpering fool. The documents I have detailing his life tend to disagree with these depictions, favouring instead an image of a remarkable man of especially impressive charisma. This, of course, you know, so I shall move on to answer your questions.”


You Are It
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The next installment in the story of Charos also happens to be the real chunk of story this article is concerned with: the quest You Are It, released (as stated) in May 2018. During You Are It, the player discovers a clue scroll in McGrubor’s Wood, which ultimately leads the player to Charos’ tomb underneath the very same forest. The player comes into possession of Charos’ necklace and incomplete journal; using the necklace, the player finds trinkets scattered around Gielinor that add chapters to the journal and restore the necklace. After the journal is completely filled, the player finally has access to a first-hand account of Charos’ life.


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In what is presumed to be the early Fifth Age, Charos was a servant to Lord Drakan, slaving away in his workshop to aid in Drakan’s quest to find the Stone of Jas. Aside from this, Drakan would often call on Charos and his wonderful inventions and enchantments to alleviate his frequent boredom. At one point in time, a Great Hunt – a Vampyric tradition where a creature is let loose in the woods and Vampyres would hunt it for sport – was approaching, and Charos was tasked with enlivening the Hunt. Consumed by mischief and compulsion, Charos had decided to dress up an elite bloodveld in House Drakan heraldry, with a wrecking ball, shaped to resemble the Stone of Jas (which Lord Drakan had been obsessively searching for), secured to its armour. This bloodveld was to be the subject of the Hunt.

When the Great Hunt started, the bloodveld jumped from its carriage and thundered through the forest, obliterating trees left and right with its wrecking ball. Filled with excitement, many vampyres scrambled through the forest in pursuit – however, Lord Drakan wasn’t so amused; in Charos’ own words: “He had interpreted it as an insult. I guess it was.”. Not intending to stick around for Drakan’s wrath, Charos used the chaos of the Great Hunt to make his escape. Using the power of his magical brooch, Charos could use the ability of shapeshifting to get around. He knew he had to move quickly, though, as he notes: “Drakan has a nose for blood, and he no doubt has a memory for mine”. He found temporary shelter with Lady Rolobrae, who was at that time the ruler of the Lordship of the North Coast. However, time was ticking, so he couldn’t stay long; in gratitude and remembrance, though, he left his ring with Lady Rolobrae. He managed to cross the Salve and enter Misthalin, where the Guthixian Edicts would protect him from Lord Drakan and his minions from Morytania.


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Unsurprisingly, due to his inability to go after Charos himself, Drakan put out a contract for Charos’ head, which had been taken up by mercenaries. Whatever time Charos had bought by crossing the Salve, was now severely limited. His next stop was in Draynor Village, where a childhood friend, Ino, resided. With the help of his brooch, he took on a random disguise and went to meet Ino. In an astonishing twist of fate, however, the disguise he had randomly chosen was actually that of Ino’s father! Ino used an anti-illusion necklace, which she had received some time ago from Charos himself as a gift (the very same necklace obtained during You Are It), to break Charos’ disguise. Cursing his bad luck, Charos was forced to move on.

As time went on, Charos managed to avoid capture using the powers of his brooch. However, the mercenaries hired to find him did not give up easily, and their measures to find Charos grew more desperate with time; eventually, they resorted to the murder of innocent craftsmen, and this began to wear on Charos’ conscience. Charos devised a plan to put an end to all this unnecessary bloodshed by faking his own death. He built a rudimentary simulacrum and had it walk around Catherby, where it was killed by a young adventurer.


Uri Molotov
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IIn a stroke of curiosity, and perhaps a sprinkle of narcissism, Charos decided to hire an undertaker by the name of Uri Molotov so that he could hold a funeral for himself. Disguised as his own grieving widow, he approached Uri and requested a discreet, yet ornate, burial. Uri obliged, and “Charos” was eventually buried in a hidden tomb underneath McGrubor’s Wood.

Satisfied that the bloodshed had stopped, Charos moved on in search of new disguises that would allow him to continue his research and inventing. Unbeknownst to Charos, though, Uri hadn’t quite moved on; as it turns out, Uri had racked up a sizable gambling debt from his past at the Duel Arena. In order to pay off his debts, Uri used his business as an undertaker to also rob the graves of the very people he buried. During You Are It, the player experiences a flashback in which Uri robs the grave of the deceased Duchess of Lumbridge. Of course, Uri had learned of Charos in his studies, and he couldn’t resist the opportunity to rob the grave of such a legendary inventor and enchanter. Specifically, he was looking for what he called Charos’ masterpiece: a wishbringer that could solve all of his problems.

Uri used the wishbringer to grant him more wealth than he could ever spend, and he wished for the wealth to be hidden from sight, so that only he could make use of it. However, this didn’t quite go as planned, as is noted in You Are It: “Charos was always the trickster. Everything he gave came with a price.”. Upon gaining his treasure, Uri was also cursed to become the one who guarded it, the person we know in-game as the Double Agent. Additionally, in all of his trickery, Charos left behind a crumb of the old Uri, who would forever try and undo the wishes that had brought this curse upon him. Hoping that selflessness would be the key to undoing the curse, he began leading adventurers to his treasures, treasures that he was also cursed to protect as the Double Agent. This is the origin of Treasure Trails as we know them now.

Of course, the You Are It-quest ends with the player destroying the wishbringer, freeing Uri from the curse placed upon him by Charos. Understandably so, this whole ordeal had made Uri weary of the treasures and the possible triggers that Charos had placed on them, so he would continue to aid players to find them. This is why, even though the curse is lifted after You Are It, players are still able to do Treasure Trails.


Trivia
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In the quest Desperate Times, the player returns to Charos’ tomb only to find a letter written by Charos himself. In this letter, Charos challenges the player to one more game; if victorious, the player would be able to empower his old necklace (the one found during You Are It). The empowered necklace would allow the player to remove Charos’ disguise upon being found.

Upon successful completion of the game, the player discovers that Charos had been disguising himself as Reldo, the innocent Varrock Castle librarian, all along! Charos explains that Reldo was the perfect disguise; Varrock is a central hub for adventurers everywhere, so he had easy access to any and all information he wanted. As Reldo, he also had the ear of the king himself, and the palace walls provided him some much desired security.

Three of Charos’ inventions featured heavily in this story: his brooch, his necklace and his ring. The brooch is presumed to still be in Charos’ possession, as it’s likely he still needs its shapeshifting powers to keep up his disguise as Reldo. The necklace and ring, however, are in the player’s possession. The ring, having been released into the game in 2005, can be used to interact with many characters in the game for different purposes, from unlocking different dialogue options to charming people into providing discounts on the wares or services they sell. There are too many to list here, but a personal favourite of mine is the fact that skill masters will sell their respective skillcape for 92k coins instead of 99k coins when charmed with the ring.


That concludes the Forgotten Lore article for this week MONTH [This is a Chotoedit. Come at me] ! I hope this article has whetted your appetite for Treasure Trails, and most of all, I hope you enjoyed reading it. See you next time!

Article by Derparnieux

First Impressions - Phantasy Star Online 2


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I haven't played that many MMORPGs in my lifetime. RuneScape was my first one and the only one I've stuck with for more than a few months (and paid for), though I've also played Lego Universe, World of Warcraft and some Final Fantasy IV. But a year ago when I saw that Phantasy Star Online 2 was coming to the west thanks to Sega I honestly got rather curious about it. At first glance it reminded me of Xenoblade Chronicles X as the art style and mechs looked similiar, but I knew the story would be very different.

In this article, I'm going to go over my first impressions with the game from the first 10 hours of playtime. The article is technically a bit late due to RuneScape 3's Archaeology and yak track grinds, but bear with me.

Starting out


I'm not going to bore you with details regarding the opening cutscene, but it's there and it gives some context to what's going on. A monster threat known as Falspawn is spreading across the universe, causing monsters to manifest on all sorts of planets seemingly out of thin air. You are an ARKS operative, a member of a group of combatants capable of using photons as weapons who are tasked with investigating this phenomenon and fighting back the Falspawn horde.

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After the cutscene, you're greeted with a character creation system. You can choose from four races; humans, Newman (basically man-made elves), CAST (machines, the one I chose) and Deuman (basically human-falspawn hybrids with recessive falspawn genes). It's actually quite capable, you can change the shape of faces and body parts much to your liking after choosing some base models and your class. Ah, right - the game uses class-based combat like most MMORPGs (RuneScape is a rare exception here with its classless system). There's a ton of different classes to choose from, I personally went with Braver who uses a bow and a katana. Each class basically specialises in two weapons, one melee and one ranged weapon, and there are some weapons like gunblades that any class can use. This is another similarity to Xenoblade Chronicles X, as it also has a melee and ranged weapon for every class. PSO2 offers everything from gatling guns to swords and summoning. The only thing you cannot change after creating your avatar is its gender, though this isn't a big problem as you can have multiple avatars per account.

Then you begin your standard tutorial and introductory mission on a woodland planet, with an AI partner. Nothing too specific to point out here, you're explained the basics of combat and you get a small boss fight at the end. After some cutscenes you'll arrive at the game's hub area, ready to start your adventure for real.

Gameplay


If you've ever played MMORPGs other than RuneScape, the controls are fairly standard affair. You can use either a keyboard and mouse or a controller to play the game, I chose the latter (wired Xbox One controller) simply because I wanted to see what it would be like. You have an ability bar of sorts on the bottom-centre of the screen, party health and "adrenaline" gauges on the bottom-left, a chatbox on the right and a minimap plus a potential objective on the top-right corner of the screen. You have two buttons directly mapped to attacks and a modifier that switches them to another set of abilities, so four abilities in total, but you are able to add additional abilities to the action bar. They work via a cursor that moves left and right and a button that activates whatever is currently selected, including healing items. In my case those were controlled via the D-pad and pushing the left stick in to use. Weapons and their assigned abilities can be changed via a scroll menu, in my case with the D-pad's up and down buttons. There's also a jump button and one used to interact with the environment, such as to pick up loot or to activate machines. Finally, you have a dodge/dash and a block button (depending on your class and current weapon, some classes cannot block) and one used to lock on to enemies and their body parts for easier targeting.

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The control scheme feels fairly solid overall for a "console" game. They're responsive, you can develop your character to take advantage of good button timings and it's fairly intuitive when you get used to it, but it's not perfect. Some actions would make more sense being mapped to different buttons and healing in the heat of battle is cumbersome, as you need to wait for the healing animation to finish before you can do anything, during which you're a sitting duck for a boss' finishing move.

Levelling up


You level up by doing fetch quests and slayer task-like quests from NPCs as well as from fighting monsters, so pretty typical. But unlike RuneScape, you have access to a ton of skill trees, one for every class.

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The skill trees aren't super-elaborate or complicated. For every level you go up, you get a skill point to use in your skill tree. It can unlock new class abilities, enhance existing ones, reduce incoming damage and a lot more, including giving you the ability to heal when performing a perfect counter attack on some classes and such. That said, later in the game you can unlock the ability to get a sub-class and unlock another skill tree from a class of your choice. I don't fully understand the benefits yet, though.

Speaking of quests, this game has a ton of them, though unfortunately they're nothing like those from RuneScape. Like many other MMOs, PSO2 has reduced them to basically checklists, more like the achievement system in RuneScape 3 or Achievement Diaries in Old School RuneScape. They have next to no plot (so far) and are really bare-bones, with the only goal of providing the player some kind of a reward. And that's a great segue for -

Story content


PSO2's story, after you reach the hub, is basically turned into a menu option on the mission select screen on the equivalent of a "guild" this game has for the place you go get quests and such in many other MMOs (not comparable to RuneScape's guilds). If you've seen a few fantasy game anime shows, you probably know what I'm talking about. When selected, you get a list of chapters - at the time of writing the western release of PSO2 has four chapters available, and I'm still in the first chapter. You choose whichever one you have available, and get another menu with one or more scenes to choose from. Yes, so far all story content has been cutscenes, outside of the main game, with maybe one combat event per segment that may or may not have any story leading up to it. The cutscenes feel fragmented at least in Chapter 1 as they don't feel connected to each other at all at least initially. You get some info here and there, but it's clear that there's little cohesion. I think it'll improve later on, but even if it does the fact that the story and the rest of the game feel so disconnected isn't a great first impression. These cutscenes should ideally be part of the missions you select and happen while exploring a new area with your party. I'm not impressed.

Other content


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If we ignore the story, at least the world feels surprisingly alive. Every now and then emergency missions appear and alert all players on the server, similiar to the world events from RuneScape 3, where you get to gang together to perform some feat. From what I've seen there's defending a mining colony from waves of enemies, taking down a massive warship with mechs and protecting a city from a Falspawn invasion. They're actually quite a lot of fun and bring variety to the gameplay of just rushing through randomly generated maps on different planets.

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You can also create your own NPCs that you can use as party members if you don't feel like playing with other players, and you can also use them to gather items. On the above image is my very own one, hanging out in my PSO2-equivalent of a player-owned house.

I have yet to see any PVP options anywhere in the game, but everything is centered around combat. You can trade items between players or NPCs, there's no skilling though you can craft your own weapons and such if you have the materials. There's also nothing to explore other than the randomly generated "dungeons" as the hub world is fairly small, a single spaceship, so basically if the gameplay isn't interesting there's little value left in the rest of the game.

Final thoughts

I don't really know what to think about this game. I kind of like the gameplay, but it's so similiar to most other MMOs it's not really distinctive enough. In fact at times it feels like a lazier version of Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, which is very similiar in its gameplay but you can actually fire your weapons exactly where you want instead of having to rely on the targeting system or dumb luck, and you're not constrained to one melee and one range weapon - you can actually have two of either if you want, a melee-only or a ranged-only build.

Since there's not much in the way of a catchy story, it's a big problem for me because I love games more for their stories than gameplay. RuneScape has very interesting lore and every quest tells an actual story, unlike most MMOs, but even in other MMOs cutscenes are usually not just a menu option.

Chances are I won't be playing this for much longer simply because it's too narrow-focused for my tastes. The premise wasn't bad, but the execution is lackluster.

Final rating:

  • Presentation (graphics): 8/10
  • Gameplay: 7/10
  • Story: 3/10
  • Variety: 3/10
  • Total: 5/10

Article by Diapolo10

Shood, noobs! (Again.)

Questcaping here for the second article of the issue -- this time, about the regular minigame events we do twice a week. For those not in the know, our Saturday events are at 9pm Game Time and our Sunday events are at 4pm Game Time; we'll generally have a different minigame for each of these, and will try to aim for those on Spotlight, for the sake of those sweet sweet Thaler gainz!

[quick chat] I have 1 Thaler.
[quick chat] But I have 99934848282 Thaler!

(well, not quite. god I wish. Road To 99934848282 Thaler here we go)

Things were a little different at the end of this month, and will continue to be throughout October: for the first time, Yak Track (currently Kerapac Track -- gotta love that lore) has been featuring "Play Minigames" tasks, requiring a certain amount of Thaler gained for completion. I personally have been loving this -- I've played more minigames in this time than I have in ages! And naturally, it's made the regular events all the busier and more enjoyable. Good way to break up the grind, eh?

Without further ado, let me recap exactly how enjoyable a time we've had...


Saturday, September 5th: HEIST

Kicking off the month with a bang, with one of CQ's favourite minigames!

No mantra of "H E I S T + 1" in clan chat today, though -- not with the Heist4Fun Discord to help us out! And with Heist already being a well-attended event at the drop of a hat... suffice to say, we had plenty of people joining us for this one -- enough that we needed two games going just to handle all the players!

After a (mostly) quick sorting -- Team A on the left, Team B on the right -- we were off! Several games were played, and it went really well...

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... for most people :P

So, our behemoth of an attendance list: from Clan Quest, we had 1ryb, Borosouro, Darkestnight, iScelza, Iskh and Questcaping (6 people), and from Heist4Fun we had Barca Tanker, JoeTribiani, Lakapoo2, LuvMeImWoman, Meulendijks4, nr, Onwoo and Skrumpf (8 people), for concurrent 3v3 and 4v4 games!


Sunday, September 6th: FISHING TRAWLER

"Hey!" I hear you say. "Fishing Trawler?!This was listed as Trouble Brewing on the event schedule published in last month's Questaholic!"

Well, yes, hypothetical reader with a photographic memory of each issue! And we tried -- oh my god did we try -- but in the end, we only managed to get five people waiting around to start a game. Tragic, but that's how it is sometimes.

And so, the decision was made: Trawler? Trawler. We didn't even have to change our nautical fashionscape!

(Or stop talking like pirates. Murphy may not be a pirate, but we sure are.)

Sadly, it was at this point that our good friend Borosouro left us: no Trawler for him. He's already got his shark tooth necklace, after all, and if he came along he might risk starting to get drops for a second...! And so, not wanting to start THAT ride all over again, he bid us farewell.

Truly, Boro was the real winner here. He didn't have to deal with any of MURPHY'S UTTER NONSENSE

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

On top of the leaky boat and how little he does to help you with it, can you believe that scalliwag of a seadog hasn't heard about the Mining and Smithing Rework?

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But you're not safe from the stone spirits, Murphy, not even here. For shame, Murphy. For SHAME

On a lighter note: one thing Murphy's leaky, ramshackle, so-holey-it-should-be-running-voyages-to-Entrana boat is good for... is providing ample nourishment for magic trees to go!

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We named it 1ryb. Bet you can't guess why!

Attendees were 1ryb, Darkestnight, Lithyas, Questcaping and State Bird. Also, briefly, Boro. He has graduated the School of Trawler to move on to higher pursuits, and I wish him well.


Saturday, September 12th: PEST CONTROL

Off to the Void Knights' Island, for the first of two times this month!

Relatively small team going for Pest Control here, consisting of Darkestnight, Earendil20, evilphan, Questcaping, Robotwars666 and Tyco elf -- but more than enough for us to get some good, successful games in.

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Also of note is how on our last game here, we got ourselves the A-Voiding Conflict achievement! To do this, you have to have all barriers and all doors repaired at the end of the match -- which required quite a few logs and bit of stalling at the end, haha. Don't get that portal juuuust yet...!

Most of us went our separate ways at the end... except two. Tyco elf promptly abducted Darkestnight for one of his trademark combat boot camps. Pro PvM here we come


Sunday, September 13th: SHIFTING TOMBS

This one may not give Thaler, but believe me -- it more than makes up for that in the Menaphos rep it awards. If you're ever grinding out those quest reqs, this is the place to go.

It's a fun way to do it, too! Think group Dungeoneering, but simplified and limited to five minutes a pop. You can also get a bunch of XP in a variety of skills (there was a time when this was the only way I ever trained Runecrafting, would you believe?) or a decent amount of gold for your tomb-shifting efforts if you turn off all XP options.

Even if you don't, you'll still get a ton of Feathers of Ma'at. Check out 1ryb's loot:

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We had two concurrent teams going, one consisting of 1ryb, Kebabthief, Seth E Roth and Surge Aurora, and the other of Aearil, Chaotic Eric, Darkestnight and Questcaping. Few first-timers, but we got 'em into the swing of things quite quickly!

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I always mistake Ozan for a clannie whenever we do Tombs. Wonder what his CQ application would look like.


Saturday, September 19th: DEATHMATCH

Only limited coverage from your good pal Questcaping on this one, since I wasn't able to attend here! Instead, your good pal ILikeSlayer was in charge of hosting here: he reports that he, Borosouro and 1ryb were in attendance, and that he, uh... "learned to truly fear the chicken".

This sounds terrifying out of context. This is also terrifying in context: did you know, in Deathmatch, there's a certain powerup that summons a CHICKEN ARMY? That's right: for 45 seconds, whoever you're fighting will have a level 198 giant chicken spawned on them with every successful hit you make. Which -- let me put it this way -- is something that even the biggest liker of Slayer can learn how to fear.

No screenshots from this one, so I improvised.

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Yes, I think this image of me giving a friendly wave truly encapsulates the nightmare of bloodshed that is Deathmatch.

Seriously, though, it's great fun (and not just before I always murder everyone). I'll do my best to come next time (and murder everyone)!


Sunday, September 20th: FIST OF GUTHIX

Fenn's summary: Hahaa Xenon is terrifying help me

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Fenn's proper summary: Pretty intense hour of FoG games here! Nothing like a bit of one-on-one PvP to get you FRIGHTENED FOR YOUR LIFE enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

And then Xenoob turned up with his 2k rating and all his fancy tactics and hahaaaaa oh boy

(honestly I wanna see him go up against 4k rating Shiro sometime. :popcorn: )

I gotta be honest, I kinda questioned Xenon's decision to bring melee as his style -- it ain't the best for following people around, that's for sure. Suffice to say, though... Mutated Barge, followed by Destroy? Haha yyyyeah, that Destroys ya alright. I gotta say, I fled the very best I could, but still victim to that more than once in this hour of events...!

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(At least twice, apparently.)

He left early, though, leaving the rest of us noobs to duke it out ourselves -- largely because gear degradation made this an overly expensive endeavour. Hey, Jamflex, we got our t80 minigame armour, but where's our t92 minigame weapons >:(

Attendees were Borosouro, Darkestnight, evilphan, Questcaping, Robotwars666 and Xenon Ray.


Saturday, September 26th: CONQUEST

The first minigame event of Yak Track! Not the first clan minigame of the week, though: Barbarian Assault had been on Spotlight for the first three days, leading to a good few games being played (including this one as recorded by Miss Alaska, featuring herself, Chaotic Eric, Denniz, Questcaping and Santa Ends, plus several clannies on voice and Shiro Shana instructing).

As you can probably gather, Conquest was next up, with a few games having been played beforehand. (I don't have pics from any Clan Quest Conquests from this point, so have one I did with a friend where we spent the whole time spelling out "owo" with the units.)

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The event on Saturday was definitely the busiest time of all, though! It's been a while since I've seen the Conquest lobby so crowded, and it's definitely welcome to see.

I came along a little late (hey, it was a sleepy day for me). I was playing on mobile, which -- bar the occasional zoom glitch on game start, which seems to be fixed by lobbying -- works surprisingly well! Nice to see these old minigames functioning nicely on the mobile client.

Also worth mentioning -- I got my 1250 Conquest rating achievement here! Being allergic to the completionist approach means I'm never actually going to go for trim, of course, but it sure is nice to have got this one organically. I've played a lot of Conquest, and hope to continue!

Attendees (that I know about, since there may have been more before I showed up) were Aearil, Borosouro, De lta, evilphan, Fritzkrieg, llol mosnter, Questcaping and Robotwars666.


Sunday, September 27th: FISHING TRAWLER

What is this?? The second Fishing Trawler event within a month???

Well, why not? This minigame may have been around since the dawn of time (also known as 2003), but between the relative simplicity, the collaborative gameplay, and the burning desire we all share to keelhaul that filthy scoundrel Murphy, Fishing Trawler is always a hit with Clan Quest!

I'll admit it, though: it's mostly because of the Murphy thing.

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Ahem.

We had a great time, from the obligatory rest animation party beforehand (though no attempts to set Murphy on fire... not this time, anyway) to the triumphant shouts of Nice every time we managed to hit a catch of 69 fish (or the overwhelming disappointment if the counter swam right past it).

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Attendees were 1ryb (trawling on mobile -- another old minigame working well on that client!), Aearil, Chaotic Eric, Darkestnight, Denniz, Questcaping, Robotwars666 and Surge Aurora. Had some great games with a ship's crew of 7 (NOT COUNTING MURPHY), maxing out at a high score of 131 fish.

Darkestnight managed to pull off a duo run with one of the other attendees at the end, arriving back to port with all leaks plugged and not a trace of flooding. Shipshape, seadogs!



That was all for this month! For October, I'm trying something different on account of Yak Track, focusing more heavily on Spotlight minigames -- and also playing the spotlit ones outside the weekends, most likely.

So here's the full schedule for the coming Minigame Spotlight rotation: each minigame will provide 1 Thaler/minute for the dates listed. Saturday minigame events will always be on at 9pm Game Time, with Sunday events at 4pm Game Time. If you ever want a minigame group outside these days and times, ask in clan chat and/or Discord -- it's worth putting out an @Events ping!

The Great Orb Project: up to Oct 2
Flash Powder Factory: Oct 3-5
Note that the Sat and Sun events in the first week of Oct will both be Castle Wars instead: FPF is largely played solo, but feel free to go along with clannies!
Castle Wars: Oct 6-8
Stealing Creation: Oct 9-11 (including Sat and Sun events)
Cabbage Facepunch Bonanza: Oct 12-14
Heist: Oct 15-17 (including Sat event)
Soul Wars: Oct 18-20 (including Sun event)
Barbarian Assault: Oct 21-23
Conquest: Oct 24-26 (including Sat and Sun events)
Fist of Guthix: Oct 27-29
Castle Wars: Oct 30-Nov 1 (including Sat and Sun events)

See you there!

Article by Questcaping

Tyco’s RS crossword part 2

Hello my dear adventurers of Clan Quest. The elf of Nordic Lands here with a new harder Runescape 3 puzzle for you lorehounds and quest-seekers. Congratulations to Evilphan, Santa Ends and Surge Aurora for winning the previous month! The winners will be contacted shortly so they can collect their prices.
1st place: 1 Bond
2nd place: 5 million gp.
3rd place: 2 million gp OR a new action bar on demand.

So how do you enter? For each correct answer you gain 1 ticket. Guessing correctly on all riddles gives an extra 3 tickets. You have until the 25th of October to send the answer to Tyco elf via Discord or Clan Quest offsite.


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Article by TycoElf

Shood, noobs! For the third and final time this issue: Questcaping here!

Here's the answers to the clannie quiz posted in the last edition of Questaholic...


  • Which clannie is known for his incredibly handsome abs?
    Cireon (the Handsome), of course!



  • How much did Lady Klaw's baby weigh at birth?


  • The username Pop O is short for an earlier version of his username -- what was it?
    PopcornOcean. Kudos to Choto for pointing out he used to be Akadogman too.


  • Which clannie cosplayed Nomad to RuneFest 2019, placing second in the audience vote?
    Saxspieler!


  • Who is the current head of the OSRS Guild Council?
    Francine1225, as of April 28 this year.


  • Which clannie has made YouTube videos of almost every quest in RuneScape?
    • (Bonus point for naming the account used for these quest playthroughs!)
      Miss Alaska, on her alt account Ellok.


  • Which clannie is known for sending surströmming to other clannies worldwide (to be consumed at their own risk)?
    Oh, Tyco elf. How could we forget? (Choto and Pop sure aren't forgetting any time soon.)


  • Which three clannies were victorious in Clan Quest's Werewolf forum game? (One point for each!)
    Derp as the sole surviving Werewolf, Cho(r)to 300(0) for having sided with the Wolves, and Werecool for getting executed as the Jester.


  • Which clannie is also known as "The Grandmotha"?
    MsKonnan10!


  • Which two clannies maxed simultaneously at RuneFest 2019?
    DiAnima and Borosouro -- the former present in person at RuneFest, the latter playing from home. Glorious spam!


  • Name as many PMods currently in the clan as you can -- one point for each!
    Some of the PMods correctly named were Dawn, DiAnima, i herblaw, Questcaping, Shiro Shana, Tyco elf, and Vodka B.


Bonus image round:


  • Which clannie is this?

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Bit of a trick question: it's iiDefend, a near-doppelganger to Choto!



Congratulations to Choto for his score of 22 on the quiz! (Even if he refused to answer the surströmming question, on principle.)

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(also shout-out to Vi Nightshade for answering "Choto" for almost every question, and somehow managing to get 4 points anyway)

Choto went for the Fenn art prize option over the 25M RS GP, so I'll be showing the finished result in next month's issue!

Unshood, noobs :D

Article by Questcaping