I just backed Outerlands Season One

If you haven’t watched any of Area 5‘s work earlier they are a production studio that has specialized on making videos for video game companies. Their latest works include a documentary for Naughty Dog’s big 2013 hit game Last of Us and another for the 25th anniversary of the well-known legendary Street Fighter series.

For me I know Area 5 not because of these documentaries that they’ve started making lately. But rather through a video podcast they started doing on the internet video network Revision 3, named Co-op, which I think was quite similar to their earlier show The 1Up Show for the now discontinued video game site 1Up. It was a weekly episode with some sketches centered around video game culture starring the five crew members combined with casual discussions of the video game medium, often featuring beautiful shots of San Francisco.

So this documentary series which will run for six episodes seems to be something more like A Life Well Wasted, a podcast about video games that I’ve talked about before, than their earlier Co-Op. Meaning it’s a documentary about the people who loves video games rather than video games themselves. A video series about enthusiasm and love, documenting the different forms people choose to express these feelings through.

I backed this because I like the people behind the project and I find the subject interesting. From what I’ve seen they know what they are doing and their craftsmanship isn’t just on the amateur level, they know what they are doing. If you like the subject and think it’s a documentary series that need to exist then I think you should help them to reach their goal.

-B

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Summarizing the year; I read some books.

This year is about to end so here is one of my year-
end post trying to summarize the year of 2013. I will be posting one each Monday throughout December, each 
taking a look into a certain area of entertainment. 
It shall be as an autopsy, digging through my guts to find what kind of popular culture I'd put into my 
digestive system during the year 2013. Or maybe it's 
more a list for myself to remember what I did spend 
my time on during the year.

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Hardly education
All them books I didn’t read
They just sat there on my shelf
Looking much smarter than me

Text from: Modest Mouse’s Education

This year I’ve probably read more books than any other. It’s just recently that I’ve begun to read a lot of books. In my youth I managed to get in some Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, though not much else. In high school I for the first time read a book that really altered the world around me. George Orwell’s 1984, is an amazing book that I urge everyone to read. It might still be my go to book for answering the question of my favorite book.

Thirteen books in total, everything from last years big young adult hit The Fault in Our Stars, to neurotic comedian Marc Maron’s book Attempting Normal. It’s a fine mix between drama, science fiction, non-fiction and some educational books about the art of film making.

I started the year of reading both John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I’m pairing these books together not because I read them one after the other, but because they are both books about two people suffering from illnesses that they will probably carry with them throughout their lives, and they are both at once entertaining and also offers a view, be it fictional, into the lives of people with these specific illnesses.

The first, by John Green, is a romance book about a teenage girl, Hazel, who suffers from lung cancer. She’s forced by her parents to participate in a support group for cancer patients and it’s here that she meets a boy in which she falls in love. I bought the book 9780525478812_custom-7eb6cc16a8a3f2266865895e1718ac9e9d6232e0-s6-c30because it topped some “greatest books of 2012”-list and so I bought it without knowing what I was going to get. As I started reading the book I hated it, I hated it in the same way I don’t like certain “smart”-labelled romance movies targeted to a teenage audience. Movies with well read teenagers talking with a rapid pace spitting out clever remarks. But after a while I got really into the book, and about halfway through I couldn’t put the book down and read it in one swoop. This is also one of the few books I’ve cried while reading, maybe not few, maybe only. It’s truly great and for what I know it is getting turned into a movie so look forward to some sick teenagers making out in a cinema near you soon.

The second, by Mark Haddon, is a detective book, kind of. It’s a diary written by a child with Asperger Syndrome. He goes to a special class and is encouraged by his teacher to write a book, so he starts to write about a case involving the murder of his mark_haddon_curious_incidentneighbors puddle, Wellington. It follows him partly being a detective and questioning people in his neighborhood, but also just some notes about his day-to-day life and his relationship to his recently separated parents. It is a bit as if a child had written it, a child with a huge interest in mathematics. The chapters are divided into pi-numbers and some of the pages have drawings on them. It might seem a bit silly, but I thought this was a great book as well. A light read about a boy with a somewhat a topical diagnosis in the autistic tree of psychological illnesses.

I’ve also read some science fiction books with the popular post-apocalypse book series Wool, the recently screen adopted Ender’s Game and a classic in the genre, Brave New World. Mr. Aldrous Huxley’s book I got recommend to du-skona-nya-varldbe by a friend who knew how much I like 1984, but I didn’t think it was all that great. It seemed to drag on for the most parts and I didn’t find it to be all too interesting a read. If you don’t know it already Brave New World paints a picture of a future where the human race is grown and we are breathed into a structured class system. Our genes are altered and with some Freudian childcare tools are made to become a certain kind of person. We are also given an unlimited supply of drugs which let us pleasure ourselves out of reality. I never got a clear view of the world I was reading about apart of these clear divergences from the real world. And when it got clear where the story was going I lost interest and just read through it not because I wanted to know what came next, but because I wanted it to end and be able to put it back in my bookshelf.

Wool, by Hugh Howley, is set in an post-apocalyptic world. A society of people live in a silo beneath the earth and stay there to survive out of reach of the poison which lives in the air outside. The only view of the desert landscape outside are through cameras mounted on the outside, and these are in need of cleaning once in a while. There are certain rules which you have to follow and if wool-uk-cover-finalsome citizen in the silo does not they are sent out to clean these cameras, then they collapse and join the rest of the corpses outside the gates. Wool omnibus is a collection of five books which were at first released separately as eBooks online. The book started out great, the setting was interesting and there’s a mystery to the books which you want to figure out as you’re reading. At times it felt as Lost did at its very best, and it handles it’s mysteries a lot better than Lost did. Yet I lost interest in the book towards the end. I stopped reading it as frequently as I had done and for a while I just let it lay untouched for a long while. I don’t know why really, it just carries on a bit to long I think. I also found that we got introduced to people late in the book, but at that point I didn’t want to read about them. I wanted to read about the adventure of the people I already knew and cared about. The book has an end, but I know that there are two other series of books in the series as a whole. A part from Wool, which is the first part in the Silo series, there is also Shift, which is set before Wool, and also Dust which is set after Wool. I’m probably not going to read these, I thought Wool’s ending was satisfying enough and I’m not all to eager to read more from the world Wool created.

The 80’s science-fiction classic Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is the best book I’ve read this year. It’s about a super-intelligent ender's gameboy, Ender, who’s the third child in his family. He’s an experiment altered to lead and be a great warrior in a war against an alien species. Both his older siblings are also super-intelligent, though its him, the third attempt, which gets drafted to an outer space military school. Here he’s pushed to and sometimes beyond his limit and are asked to the unthinkable. At this school there is a great emphasis put into games, simulations and sports and Ender quickly rises in ranks and gets put in charge of a platoon of children. I thought this book was wonderful, especially after I’d read it and could see how the whole story was put together. I highly recommend this book to everyone reading this. I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t know if I ever will, but I’ve heard that it cuts out a lot of things from the book. So even if you have seen the film, read the book also.

With all that fiction out-of-the-way I’ve read and purchased a lot of nonfiction books this year. During the summer I read a thick red book about the hacktivist group Anonymous called ‘We Are Anonymous, Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous and thewe-are-anonymous-inside-the-hacker-world-of-lulzsec-anonymous-and-the-global-cyber-insurgency Global Cyber Insurgency’ by Parmy Olson. It was a great read about a group of outcasts using their computers and social media to try to demonstrate and make their voices heard. Or you know, just for the lulz.
I got strangely nostalgic for a time and place which I never really saw or got to know about some time afterwards. The book talks a lot, of course, about 4chan, and even though I never was a very frequent visitor of the site I had some friends who were and they would share some of its crazy antics with me. Such as the huge protests outside of Scientology buildings, trolling on the Tom Green Show and random ramblings of a collective of bored and/or mad geniuses.
As I finished the book I also watched two documentaries, one called We are Legion about Anonymous which touches on some of the same subjects as Olson’s book does, and the recent documentary We Steal Secrets about WikiLeaks which is also somewhat related.

I also, half jokingly, read LaVey’s book The Satanic Bible. In my teenage year I was interested in both LaVey and Crowley and the occult and satanic, as many teenagers probably are. I read a lot about it on the internet but never read the book itself, so I ordered itThe_Satanic_Bible_(book_cover) online and read it. It felt as though I’d read most of the book already online when I was younger. I didn’t really like the book, it doesn’t seem to be all to controversial, but I can see how it was back when it was released, and probably especially in the country of LaVey’s origin, USA. But reading it now it just seemed silly, of course there are a lot of fairly uncontroversial views on how you should live your life, but it’s hard to see through the chose of font and the cheap snake figures that begins each chapter.

A book about video games during the recent era of the now previous console generation called Extra Lives, why video games matter by Tom Bissell. It’s a collection of essays his written about his time spent playing video games and thought on the media. There are some interviews with game designers such as Cliff Bleszinski and Peter Molyneux. I don’t reallyextra-lives know all that much about the video game industry and its history. This book might cover mostly recent releases and gaming trends which are still somewhat current but it’s at-least something. Compared to other entertainment-medias such as music, film and literature I have a lot more insight into those older forms of entertainment than I do of video games. But also video games has the dilemma of age and growing obsolete a lot quicker, which this Conan video is an example of. A part from Indie Game: The Movie, another book by Jim Rossignol, This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities, and perhaps the A Life Well Wasted podcast, I can’t name any other.

There were a lot of reading spent on books about film making as well. Three in total ranging from topics of screenwriting, editing and directing. ‘Save The Cat! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need’ by Blake Snyder I heardsave-cat-last-book-on-screenwriting-youll-ever-blake-snyder-paperback-cover-art about from the screenwriters behind the 2012 animated Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. It’s was during an interview with Jeff Goldsmith on his podcast The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith. I think I grasped quite early on where it was that author Blake Snyder where coming from as he shared his advice for achieving success in the Hollywood system as a screenwriter and could contextualize the text and it’s lessons. I’ve shared my views on this book before. That comic was based on a Twitter conversation where I asked for recommendations for books on the subject on film making, and he told me to forget everything I’ve read in Snyder’s book and get Walter Murch’s book In the Blink of an Eye instead.
in-the-blink-of-an-eyeWalter Murch’s book mostly talks about film making from the perspective of a film editor. On his WikiPedia page there’s a paragraph stating that he’s the only editor to get Academy Awards nominations for films edited on four different systems. In his book he talks a lot about the history of editing, how it went from analog to digital. He talks about the process of editing and certain methods different directors use. Also shares his philosophy about film editing and it being close to a dream in it rapid cuts and blurring of time and space. I though this was a great read, but the greatest is still to come.
on-directing-filmFor I also read a small book by David Mamet on Directing. It’s mostly transcripts from talks he has held on schools. He talks a lot about how he thinks about acting and of what to show with the camera. There is a section of the book where he and the audience collectively creates a scene together, and it’s great. He turns down the students suggestions and tells them why and really goes to the core of cinematic story telling. I haven’t read a lot of books on the subject, but I thought that apart of the actual work this book has thought me the most on how to make film.

I also read two book by two different comedians that happens to be two of the biggest podcast-hosts today, Adam Carolla’s ‘In Fifty9780307717382_p0_v1_s260x420 Years We’ll All Be Chicks… And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy’ and Marc Maron’s ‘Attempting Normal’. Adam Carolla’s book is mostly a lot of thoughts and complaints about today’s society and Marc Maron’s book are a collection of stories from his life as a comedian and a nervous person who’s lived through many failed relationships and who found his peak late in life through his podcast.
There’s been years since I listened to Adam Carolla’s podcast and I got the book lent to me by my brother who really liked it. I didn’t, there were some parts of it that I liked and thought was funny but in broad strokes I thought I’dMarc-Maron_ATTEMPTING-NORMAL_bookcover-cover1 heard a lot of his material used in his podcast already. I guess if you’re a big fan of the guy you’ll like it a bit more.
Marc Maron’s book I liked a lot more. I’m a fan, let’s be upright about is, I listen to his podcast and liked his show well enough, I think it had potential and could get better with another season. There were some parts of the book which I recognized from his stand-up cd’s and others which I’d heard through his podcast or on different talk-shows. But I liked the book I thought it was really funny at parts and I read through it quickly in a few well planed sittings.

Attempting Normal probably won’t be the last book I will read this year. I got Ayn Rand’s book The Fountainhead lent to me by Z4’s Ken. It’s a thick book so I wanted to have read Attempting Normal before I started in on it, and then it took a little while for me to actually start reading Attempting Normal.
I’m almost a hundred pages into the book, it really grabbed my attention from the first scene. I really like the usage of language somehow, and even though one of the two main characters is a little less interesting than the other I like it so far.

That’s the first and probably longest (we’ll see) end of the year post. The next chapter focusing in on some of the music I’ve been enjoying this soon to be past year.

See ya

-B

Phony Gaming: Game Dev Story

1. Game Dev Story
2. Super Stickman Golf 2
3. Plants vs Zombies
4. Jetpack Joyride
5. Plague Inc
6. Anomaly: Warzone Earth
7. Kingdom Rush
8. Cut the Rope
9. Simpsons Tapped Out
10. Angry Birds

gdsKairosoft’s hit simulation mobile game shouldn’t be an unknown title to any video game fan with a smart phone. A game where you are in control of a video game development studio ready to take over the market. Filled with a lot of fun ways to create your own fun fantasy titles and a bunch of references to the industry. This is another addictive game defiantly worth the small number on its price tag.

The game starts up with a small company in a fresh little office space. To start things of you are given the power to name the company, be it something personal or a silly pun. From there the company needs a couple of employees. There are several different types of workers, as the game proceeds workers can get changed and evolve into other “classes”.
Game-Dev-Story-05

Each project gets stripped down to four basic video game areas, fun, creativity, graphics and music. Your studio can either do contract work for other companies or make your own game. When you do a contract work you get a short lapse of time to produce a curtain amount of points in some of these video game areas. When you make your own video game the set amount of points in each area is limitless and at the end of production your game will get review scores based on how well you managed to produce your game.

As you start a new game you get to name it, choose the genre and what the production should look like, if it should be a fast money grab or a well-made title. You also get to control which console it should get released to, if you have their license. All this factors in as you play through the game.

This is a pure management game through and through, you are managing your economy, training your staff, all to make the best game of the year and beyond. There are a lot of things to check and stats to read, though it isn’t to hardcore that you have to fight the limit of your handheld device’s screen-size. It’s well-balanced between casual addictive gameplay and a well made economy, with the occasional joke to lighten the mood.

cats

To say that this is addictive is correct, it doesn’t stop it’s always gives you a fun stream of gameplay. It isn’t that it’s hard to put down as much as it makes you forget why you would ever want to. Game Dev Story is that kind of game that you play and get in a state of timelessness where the hours fly away. One of the negatives for the game is its end game, if you’ve played it for a long while you’ll get to a level where you’ve won the game though the game keeps going.

I want a more hardcore end game with more difficulty after all the time and care I’ve put into the game. Although I know that this isn’t the game that Kairosoft made. They made a love-able, casual game that gets you sucked in and invested. And I don’t know that it’s all that fair 085661to expect the game to diverge itself too much from what it was made to be.

Game Dev Story’s graphics look a bit blockey though this is one of Kairosoft’s trademarks. They make games that look like a remake of a game on Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance. It might look a bit cheap to some but they have kept to the style and really made it their style in a lot of ways. As you scroll through the various mobile stories their games will stand-out and have a curtain look.

This game seems to be made with care. From the world building with its different console releases and video game conferences to all the industry gags this is a game by people who loves video gaming culture for people who feel the same. That said, the well-made, addictive game itself should stand on its own as a fun experience even if you just get some of the jokes. It’s truly one of the best games on the phone gaming market to date.

GameDevStory

Phony Gaming: Plants vs Zombies

3. Plants vs Zombies
4. Jetpack Joyride
5. Plague Inc
6. Anomaly: Warzone Earth
7. Kingdom Rush
8. Cut the Rope
9. Simpsons Tapped Out
10. Angry Birds

Plants vs Zombies Android LogoI spent way, WAY too much time playing Plants vs Zombies on PC. It’s the game that I’ve played the most out of all the games in my Steam catalog, granted I don’t play much PC games because I haven’t had a gaming dedicated machine since 2006 or so. But never the less this little casual, easy to play, simplistic tower defense has so much humor and is so fun to play that I shouldn’t feel bad for the hundreds of hours I spent playing it. but i do It made my third place of my favorite Android games, and it might even have gotten a spot higher up if I hadn’t played it so much on PC before the Android version.

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This tower defense game takes place in your backyard. Zombies are attacking and trying to get into your house and you have to place plants on your lawn to protect yourself. You start out with a pea-shooting plant which attacks zombies with its range attack. After every completed level you get another plant and get to choose before each level which arsenal of plants you want to play the level with. The economy of the game is sunshine, this drops from the sky and you pick it up and spend it building a stronger defense. It can also be produced using sunflowers.

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So the game screen is fixed on your lawn. The lawn is a 5×9 grid, where you can plant flowers on each one of the squares, and the zombies come attacking only on one of the five horizontal grid lines. It’s very simple to understand when you start playing it, and it freaks me out a bit because I need my lawn to have a perfect symmetry as I finish each level.

The game is made up of different chapters containing nine levels. As you play through the game new enemies are introduced and new plants collected. Each chapter have their normal standard tower defense games but it also throws in some mini-games for example the bowling mini-game. They are fun and a nice pause from the main game. And each chapter ends with a special level as well, where the rules and standard game-play gets changed slightly.

Besides its wonderful gameplay the game also has some really corny yet funny humor. Everything from the over-all concept to your neighbor CRAAaaaAaZY Dave and the different types of zombies you face. The different names and encyclopedia entries for each enemy and plants. This game is full of love and so much detail its hard not to see how much fun the developers must have had making this game.

The game is out for pretty much everything, I count fourteen different platforms on their wikipedia page. Popcap are working on a sequel to the game, ‘Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time’ which is due out any day now. I don’t know if I should be excited or worried, mixed feelings.

GREAT GAME!

2013-07-29 12.50.50

Traditional storytelling can never be Notch

During a panel with George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg and former Microsoft employee Don Mattrick about the future of entertainment medium, talks about whether video games could tell traditional storytelling or not came around. There have been a lot of talk about video games, comparing them with other mediums, and also Roger Ebert talking about why video games can never be art and a lot of talks in the same vein as these.

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas

I don’t necessarily think these talks are invalid or dumb. But I would like to talk about the things video games allow us to do that movies or narrative story-telling can’t. Instead of discussing why the rectangular shape won’t fit in the circular shape I want to write about the circular shapes made by brilliant video game designers and the large teams hard at work creating these games.

Video games are in fact games, structured forms of playing. Like playing cops and robbers on the playground, watching people play football or testing each others skill over a chess board, games let us restrict and structure the world around us to make it into something else. We get to run around our old familiar neighborhood but now with a plastic gun in our hand we’re hunting and surviving on a battlefield. Through the modern computers the original boundaries of the physical world can be overseen making it possible for us to create and manage worlds in Minecraft, fighting wars on space-ships and other worlds in Halo or co-operating to survive in Left 4 Dead’s zombie apocalypse.

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Nothing can let us live and breathe in another world the same way that play and games does. To be able to make mistakes or achieve goals through first-hand interactions, is something traditional storytelling has never been able to do. Taking control over an avatar and being faced with the consequences of its actions, although most games doesn’t strive for this, can never be felt the same through an interactive medium as a book, song, film or painting.

Of course its hard for us to be Frodo, to struggle with his responsibility as the ring bearer. The rings psychological grip seldom work through a computer monitor. Though games such as Tell Tales Walking Dead lets us feel the responsibility of handing out a limited supplies of food to a camp of hungry apocalypse survivors. If we want to we can always walk through Tolkien’s world exploring it through our own journeys and with friends in LOTR Online.

Whether video games can come to the same level of story telling that the medium that Lucas and Spielberg has chosen to work in, I think it doesn’t have to be bothered with it. Video games has been telling stories for a long time and they may differ a lot more from books and movies more than they differ from each other, but they do actually tell stories. And the opportunity to be a tourist and investigate and interact with city 17 in Half-life 2 is something movies or books have never offered us. To read about Winston Smith going through a typical day in 1984’s London is probably the closest books or movies have gotten, as far as I remember. But it cannot compare to Gordon Freeman’s arrival at the train station. After his walk through City 17 Gordon meets up with some familiar faces and the story of the Citadel’s and combines fall to ruin.

HalfLife2_City17_TrainStationSquare

Of course I, for the most part, have a lot of gripes with video game story telling and the dialog sequences in most games. I think, pure typecasting and guessing, that when Lucas & Spielberg play Half-life 2 and get to a dialog they say, “see it can’t be Shakespeare because I’m jumping all over the place and couldn’t give less of a fuck about the story” and my problem is the same but I want to get rid of the dialog and the locking down and Lucas & Spielberg work in a medium that’s 100% locked-down. But Half-life 2 tried something new by getting away from cut-scenes so often seen in other video games.

To start a game of by having to wait X minutes for the world to get introduced to me is worthless video game story telling. Game must not be about fun and exploration, but they should be about game, movement, interaction. They should not be about reading a book or watching a movie. A while ago I started playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The game started with a lengthy sequence where I had to follow another character around on a tour, it continued into a locked elevator stage, and then the game deemed me worthy of its interaction. This introduction is a bad way to start, but I guess far too many games choose to start of this way, or even more restricted. The game also includes it’s fair share of reading material. A part from having to read on your television (or computer monitor) which really strains your eyes, this isn’t game, this isn’t play, this isn’t interaction, and it’s not the ultimate use of the medium.

So let’s try and make the best of the tools and medium we want to express ourselves through. Stop the comparisons between two different entertainment forms and ask why it isn’t the same. At the same time, world peace isn’t it about time we got it?

If thus had any affect or got any reaction from any human out there leave a comment. Complain, rant, fill in, praise it’s all accepted down below.

Grace

I had to grab something in the flat this morning, and I thought to myself, as it is friday and such, that it would be fitting to post an episode of the Journey, so here it goes.

Episode 13

 

And, I’ll better be on my way while the rest of the crew is still asleep.

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Tales from Tibia

Korak was new in town, a newly graduated sorcerer from Rookgaard who’d chosen to move to the mainland and start his career as an adventurer. Rookgaard had been his home for a while now, it was a small island away from the dangers of the Mainland where a soon-to-be adventurer could hone his skills. Korak had proven himself worthy in battles against the Orcs and as an outstanding cheese and pelt-trader. The interest in the noble practice of a Sorcerer was something he and his friends all had in common. Being able to shoot fireballs and deal death from a far spoke to them more than any arrow or sword ever did. His friends who’d left their training before all live in the northern city of Carlin where they made their living by rune-crafting or taking the ferry over to the cold ice-covered island Folda seeking items to trade.

He’d spoken to his friends Aqualizer, Jaggan and Wolfoz before hand and they were all highly awaiting his arrival. Having heard stories of the rampant crime and mischief that went on in the bigger cities he couldn’t help to feel a bit nervous before his permanent move away from his safe training-grounds. As he went to speak to the teleportation-statue he made sure that everything went as planed, he’d been planing his speech before hand going over it again and again in his head. Even-though he’d gone here before as his friends moved away this time was different. The echo from the statue might have been louder in this empty hall this time, and Korak had his friends in mind as he resisted his well-practiced speech.

The transport went fast and within seconds he was greeted by his friend Wolfoz on the other side of the teleport. His new home Carlin was bigger than he could have imagined. People were running up and down the cobblestone roads and treasure could be seen on display from the many apartment balconies. This was without a doubt the big city.

Wolfoz took Korak on a tour through the city showing of the sorcerer quarters where he could learn his new spells which he needed to survive and thrive in his new environment. The ability to light up his surroundings was something he liked, but he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed as he was promised greater magic tricks. They moved on and Korak was shown the sewer-system underneath the city where Korak would have to face of against multiple bugs before going north to Folda or east to the Goblin controlled Femor Hills. The tour ended outside of the city center, the depot where all your equipment, items and money was could be stored safely. The area was filled with people of all classes and with a variety of different languages. Droids were standing around eat fish, chatting with one an other as they were crafting runes of magical healing. Traders were screaming out prices for special loot they’d gathered or whole bags filled with magical runes. Criminals were trying to scam people for money or causing general mischief kicking bags of junk around the city crossing.

Aqualizer appeared as the tour had ended and the friends went for a drink of wine on the roof of a nearby apartment building. Jaggan would not be able to join the group as he was away adventuring, but the three friends managed to have a nice time out in the open anyway. Being as excited as he was Korak drank plentiful of the red beverage and would fill several flasks with the alcoholic drink. The three friends would talk about the new world they had found themselves in and of parts of it that for them was still left unseen. They talked of the city of the Elves to the east and the mines of the Dwarfs south of there. And beyond that was the capital, Thais, even bigger than Carlin.

Even though Korak was fresh to Carlin, and had not seen as much of it as his other friends he also wanted to go explore these places. The move to the big mainlands and the city of Carlin was exciting but he wanted to know what else was beyond the horizon, not just go and visit the hunting areas surrounding his new home. It might have been the wine talking but he wanted freedom to explore and journey through the land after all that time spent in Rookgaard fighting orcs and trading cheese. He stood up and felt his legs weak after all the alcohol he had consumed shouting. “Let us visit with them elves, raid the dwarfs of their precious beer and have a grand feast in the city of Thais.” Wolfoz and Aqualizer stared at the drunk buffoon on the end of the table who’d until now had stayed rather quite with his wine in hand. The two wiser more experienced magicians exchanged eye-contact and then stood up, a lot more controllable than Korak and agreed to journey south.

The party of adventurers left the roof to pick up what ever equipment they needed for their new-found quest. Aqualizer search through his packed chest full of useful items, backpacks of runes to sell and food. It was well-organized through a system of chests and easily maneuverable if you knew how the storage system worked. Wolfoz took Korak to the pond in the park and using a newly purchased fishing rod Korak started to learn the valuable art of fishing. It wasn’t easy though he quickly learned the basics, as Wolfoz caught fish after fish on his fishing-hook. Aqualizer meet them at the pond and now, with his equipment and Wolfoz’s fish they were ready to leave the safety of the city and journey out into the wilderness. Korak took a flask of wine to his mouth as he waved good-bye to the guards on the wall surrounding his newly found home.

Under their feet the mud road run long, it stretched from Carlin away beyond the Femour Hills to the Elven City of Ab’Dendriel, their first destination. In the forests on the side of the road deer could be spotted running among the overgrown trees and bushes. If you go of the main road to far you’ll also encounter the Amazon warriors which roam the uncivilized parts in the northern regions of Tibia. The band of sorcerers heavily consumed the wine and fish as they traveled and soon found all the food had been eaten, and they hadn’t even reached their first goal on the journey yet.

As they got further east the Fumour Hills started to rise up from the ground. This was the place of Goblins, Orcs and worse, Cyclopes. This was place for novice sorcerers to hunt. Ill-minded adventurers could easily trick them onto the wrong path, lead them into the grips of a giant palm just to be able to steal from their dead corpses.

Eventually they reached Ab’Dendriel. This was a city built by nature with green walls covered in tree branches and vegetation. Korak’s first impression of the city was how bad it looked. It looked like an unattended garden left uncontrolled for years. The grass was uncut, the trees reached too far and took too much space. There was no structure to the city and he didn’t want to spend anymore time walking along its grassy trail. There were even tree roots growing across it and he had to make sure not to fall on them in his slightly altered state of mind.

Some meat was bought from the elves and then the party went on to down south towards the great mountain of Kazordoon wherein the city of the Dwarfs can be found. On one side of the road they still had the Femour Hills and on the other the Ocean. Korak blurred out hatred towards the Elves and said that Wolfoz probably could have caught some fish here straight out of the ocean.

The mountain started to take form and in the distance the three friends could see its giant wall rising up, the peak covered in the clouds. The road lead them into a narrow pass through the mountains, the pass was so narrow that on some places you would have problems going through if there were other groups of people coming from the opposite direction. The air was cool in here and not much sunlight got through. From the top of the mountain melting snow ran down the mountain walls and drops fell onto their heads.

There were many different path to take as they moved south through the pass some so narrow that they wouldn’t be able to pass through or paths made shut due to cave-ins. They walked for a long while and read yet saw no sign of any civilization or a Dwarven city. Tales of dragons occupying curtain caves in the mountains sent chills up the sorcerers spine. The wine was now gone and not much food remained from Ab’Dendriel and their feet ached after all the steps onto the hard mountain underneath. After awhile they noticed that the mountain over their heads started to descend again down. The pass began to open up and they realized that they’d walked through Kazordoon yet not seen any sign of the city.

Up ahead was a bridge, this was near the center of the mainland which separated the southern parts including Thais and Venore from the northern areas which they had traveled from. They cursed themselves and questioned whether they’d seen any leads of civilization as they walked through the pass. The question came up whether to continue towards Thais and skip the raid for the Dwarven ale or if they should go back into the mountain pass and maybe from this direction they would see it. A vote was cast, Aqualizer voted to leave the Dwarfs behind and get down to Thais before it got late. Wolfoz was interested in the dwarfs and wanted the chance to meet with this strange beings who choose to spend their lives underground. Korak wanting to stick to his plan and get some alcohol into his sobering body adjusted his backpack and started to walk back the way they’d came.

It all looked pretty much the same from this angle as well when the came so deep into it that the sunlight couldn’t break through. They were all a bit grumpy now and the long journey had turned out to be a lot more tiring than they had hoped. Walking for a while not finding any entrance they decided to try the next opening of the pass they could find. Weaning of the road they’d stayed on since the journey started they found themselves in a narrow crack in the mountain wall which lead them to a hole in the ground. Aqualizer had his doubts about this being the way to the dwarf city underneath. Korak, being too bored of the journey not living up to his expectations went down to explore the lower levels of the mountain and then signaled up to the others to come down.

They went deeper and deeper into the mountain until they reached a large cave. There didn’t seem to be any dangerous creatures down here and the group continued until they come upon an opening in the cave wall. Surprisingly the sunlight hit the adventurers faces. There were a small patch of grass with trees and bushes surrounded by water outside of the cave. Unaware of where they’d ended up the group went out of the cave to have a look around the area.

A strange man approach them after a while speaking in a strange tongue unknown to the group. It was a hunter equipped with a bow wearing rare and expensive looking armor. He was angrily motioning for the group to leave him alone, from the look of it he’d been here alone for a long time. Korak, Wolfoz and Aqualizer didn’t care much for the incomprehensible man and started discussing where they were suppose to move on from here. After some arguing they decided to trace their steps back into the mountain and try again from there.

Walking back towards the cave entrance a deafeningly high sound hit them together with a smell of ash and death. The cave was bright and colored with a red blaze in-front of them. A thick black smoke towered towards the sky from the hole in the mountain and out of it came a huge beast at high-speed running towards them. Green scales covering its body from the tip of its large tail, across its stomach and over its face. Two piercing eyes fixed on the three friends and large fangs made to hunt and kill bigger victims than these tiny humans. It was a dragons cave they’d gone through, and to have passed through it once unscathed had made them three of the luckiest men in all of Tibia but this time they wouldn’t have the same luck.

Gripped with panic the adventurers started to flee for their lives. Aqualizer and Korak away from the cave towards the hunter, and Wolfoz down away from the group. The dragon took a turn and started accelerating towards the lonely sorcerer. Filling its lungs with air the beast aimed for the soon to be dead body and sent out a wave of fire towards him. Korak couldn’t just stand still watching his friend burn to a crisp and clenched his swords, running towards the beast. Swinging his swords towards its thick scale didn’t have any effect upon the creature. The dragon took his sights away from the burning Wolfoz and streached its long neck. A small sigh like sound was the last thing Korak would hear before getting his body bitten into two halves between the dragons giant razor-sharp fangs.

Aqualizer would be the lone survivor from this unsuccessful quest to reach Thais. He had stood safely by the hunters side and as the dragon was done with his friends the stranger stretched his bow-string with a magical arrow and went into battle with the hellish creature.

THE END