He is the despot's despot. All must bide,
Late or soon, the message of his might.
Moder, the invisible, the legendary, always waiting on the next mountain top, always one more mountain away, is dead.
She died broken and crying, lurching and stumbling across a jagged, lunar landscape, shot by an unending barrage of poisoned arrows from an enemy she couldn't touch or target. Bernadette used walls and trenches and pits and a huge bonfire to turn her last fight into a nightmare of confusion and pain.
None of the creatures of the mountain came to Moder's aid. None of them could; walls had been built and the paths were cut and blocked. She fought alone and died alone.
It was a short fight. Bernadette had brought hundreds of arrows. In the end, most w…
(To the tune of "Houston," by Dean Martin)
Getting tired of this biome,
Want to quit and go back home,
But there's work that must be done,
And after that, I'm gone.
Gonna farm some Surtlings,
Gonna farm some Surtlings,
As it turns out, Bernadette already had a base at the northern tip of the island whose southern end hosts Moder. So, it seemed a good idea to go down the island from north to south, plant a portal near Moder's altar, and get to destroying her. Of course, it wasn't that simple.
Going "down" the island was repeatedly obstructed by large patches of swamp and plains biome. This made it necessary to try probing south by boat, which triggered the usual response of fog, foul weather, and general meteor…
Dammit, finally. Moder is revealed. Finally a vegvisir indicating the location of her altar.
Mind you, the bloody thing is over on the other side of the map, but at this point, Bernadette would have settled for anything short of the lunar surface.
In the end, the search went much the way she expected. She missed the island she was aiming for by quite a bit, to the east, ran into the obligatory huge storm and spent an uncomfortable night in a rough camp on a Black Forest shore, turned back north in the morning, found and followed a swamp biome shoreline, and by a mixture of luck and judgment -- mostly the former -- ended up following it through fog to the original intended landing place. She then beached the karve to be carved up by the custom…
One more river,
And that's the river of Jordan.
One more river,
There's one more river to cross.
The path to the south has two stages. The first is a fairly short sea journey to the island where Yagulth's altar is situated. The second is a slightly longer hop from the far side of that island to another that might contain Moder's altar. The first island has a large patch of meadows and Black Forest biome in its center, sandwitched between two areas of plains, with Yagulth's altar in the one to the west. The second island requires landing on its northern edge, a narrow stretch of plains, and crossing it to an area of Black Forest which should, hopefully, be large enough to allow the construction of a base camp.
The first jump has been successful, …
And Dragonreach was getting to look so comfy and domestic, too....
But all the turnips in the world won't change the fact that Moder is still hiding out and without her, Bernadette is stuck.
Having established herself at a mid-point on the way to investigate Moder's latest reported position, and Yagulth's altar, Bernadette set up the usual facilities, including a smelter and charcoal kiln, and then proceeded to explore the area. She cleared several burial chambers with the help of a friend, but none of them turned out to be especially profitable, and in the same company pushed over to the other side of the island and sacked two more Fuling villages, neither of which yielded totems, but both of which had lesser loot in the form of black meta…
Dragonsreach, alas, will not be reaching any dragons -- at least not directly. But Bernadette will keep it for her main base, at least for the time being. No point in moving too often, and the manufacturing setup there is superior to any of the other bases. It's also better defended; during the last troll raid, the trolls took one look at the moat, turned around, and stomped off. She'll leave them alone if they leave her alone. (Unless she needs their gold.)
Supplies are beginning to build up again. Turnips and carrots are no problem, nor is meat. Wood is being farmed, though the replanted trees look so nice that Bernadette is reluctant to cut them down again. The chief choke point is feathers for arrows, since Bernadette's preferred style …
The system events in this game really need a lot of work.
The only ones that are any threat to Bernadette are the drake attacks. And even then, if she can avoid accidentally falling through portals to the swamp and re-emerging wet, they're little danger.
The last Skeleton Surprise at Dragonsreach took farce to a new level of absurdity. The skeletons, who had almost no bowmen with them this time, dogpiled in a huge heap on the other side of the moat facing where Bernadette was shooting at them from the battlements, and proceeded to fall into the moat. And go splat, or rather rattle, at the bottom, since it's six or seven meters deep at that point.
It looked weirdly hilarious, like a rush for tickets at a rock concert.
There was also a Surtling att…
Exploring new mountain areas will almost inevitably entail sea journeys. Since there's almost nothing Bernadette likes less than travelling by boat, she decided to vary her routine by seeing if she was strong enough now to roll a Fuling village or two. And as it happens, there was a fortified tower and a village right down slope from one of her mountain outposts, Astrid's Hold. Time to visit the neighbors and say hello....
She did expect the experience to include being recycled a few times. It had taken three or four "deaths" before she got the hang of Sunken Crypts, after all. New environment, new challenges. It only took one this time, and even that would not have occurred if she hadn't run out of frost arrows at the wrong moment.
The chief …
Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day,
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
The battle was short, squalid, and anticlimactic. In other words, everything Bernadette had hoped and planned for it to be. The Elder had very little room to move with a moat dug around the altar platform, and so he scuttled back and forth for a few moments while she and a friend bombarded him with fire arrows, and quickly burned out. There was no outside interference; the moat saw to that. The result was two more swamp keys as backups to the one Bernadette had already and an Elder trophy to be hung on the outside of the main building at Dragonsreach.
"Little thing of blood and bone, I should have snapped you like a twig! Now I wither…
Bethany: Were they sent to Hell?
Metatron: Worse. Wisconsin.
(Quotation from the movie Dogma, since that's where I got the connection between cheese and Wisconsin.)
When your guide seems to be crazy and your inspiration comes up dry, what do you do?
Follow the guide. Maybe it just looks crazy. Or maybe it'll get you to the destination after a long, exasperating, but survivable detour.
Moder is missing and Bernadette can't find her. Inspirations have given her the runaround, although they've also led her to mountaintops stuffed with silver ore. And the mechanism that's supposed to direct Bernadette to Moder's altar is trying to send her to the Elder's altar instead, to refight a fight she cheesed her way through a long time ago.
Burning the Elder al…
The system events in this game need a bit of work. Skeleton surprise ended up a surprise for the skeletons rather than for Bernadette, even when she only had her second-line Level 1 silver sword with her. Whole groups of them were converted to steak knife handles with one or two swings and an enormous sound of rattling, an Apocalypse of the Chopsticks.
But we're getting a bit ahead of the story here....
It begins with yet another "inspiration" and the depressing fact that Moder moves her altar around quite a bit in different versions of the map. Not that that's unreasonable, considering that she can fly. But Bernadette wishes that when she sends that dream that ends "Seek me," she'd leave a forwarding address.
Once more with the thing that Be…
Angry troll is angry...
Bernadette sympathizes. The leeches can be a real nuisance. Of course, she whacked him anyway. The cash is always useful.
It was a good idea to go back to the island she'd just left. In the end, she and a friend found four Sunken Crypts and cleared well over a hundred pieces of iron scrap, plus the usual assortment of treasure and other goodies. There's a bit of iron scattered around the swamp too; she has yet to check the whole place with the wishbone.
There were two Surtling fire geysers in the swamp, both of them easily converted to centers for assisted suicide. For comic relief, there were system events involving Surtling attacks, the first of which was merely futile. The second was such a farce that Bernadette did…
Dig, dig, dig.....Moder still proves elusive, damn her. On the bright side, the search has brought Bernadette enough silver ingots to refloat the Spanish Armada. She'll never want for teaspoons in her life. And every second peak seems to terminate in a dragon nest with an egg in it. Nevertheless, the lady of the house remains stubbornly absent, and the runestones have gone crazy, giving directions to a new summoning point for the Elder, not Moder.
Cozy evenings in the middle of a howling storm, stuck half way up the side of a mountain in a cave or crevice, when even the wolves and drakes have had the sense to go home, are beginning to lose their charm of novelty. Time for some general tidying up and perhaps another effort at getting more ir…
That village site proved too much of a temptation for Bernadette. All that flat land.... the hoe is by a long shot the lamest of the tools, hard to control and erratic in its effects, and skipping all the misery of levelling a new site is a gift from the gods.
So, building commenced. Bernadette decided to call the place Dragonsreach, as a sort of pious hope that she'll finally be able to reach that damned dragon. Log after log went back into the ground from whence it had grown, pointy end up. Since it's still a pain to get iron to this area, she chose to double-wall the entire compound, and double up on the outside doors, to make sure that even a Fuling raid (when they come -- and they will) is not able to penetrate the perimeter. Then, a l…
It's a very nice island. About 60% Black Forest and the rest swamp, neatly divided by a line down the middle. There's one Surtling fire geyser at least visible in the swamp half, but no sunken crypts to be seen. Doubtful if there are any in a relatively small and isolated area.
Too bad it's the wrong island. Bernadette drifted off course a bit, she's not very seagoing, and ended up on a smaller one half-way to her intended destination. Oh well...
It was okay as a stopover. She built a good base. Beat off the usual raids. Cleared a burial chamber, the first one in ages -- it looked pretty pathetic after all this time, with only a scattering of treasure and one lonely Surtling core to reward her efforts. Killed trolls. And killed trolls some m…
Aborigines, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.)
Oooookay.... either we can thrash around here for an indefinite amount of time, until Bernadette has levelled half the mountains in Valheim, or we can have a mysterious inspiration from "somewhere."
Bernadette, of course, chose to be inspired. It wasn't the inspiration she wanted, since she hates sea voyages, but it was better than climbing another butt-freezing mountain and every so often having one of the piles of stones take offence and attack her. Pissed off tree trunks are easier to handle, though the wood and resin and eyeballs they drop aren't as pretty as cry…
If Moder's spawn isn't on one mountain, it must be on another, amirite?
Well, I suppose so. Which one is the question.
East-northeast of the Elder's spawn there is a range of very high mountains, some of the highest Bernadette has seen on the map.
So, she want back up to the portal there and cut a switchback right up to the top. It took a long time to complete. It also accidentally intersected a silver deposit that yielded another 70 units of silver ore, which was nice.
Finally, she got to the top. And there was a stone tower there, a fairly substantial one. It didn't make any sense having a tower there, since you could hardly see the ground, let alone defend against anything down there. But nevertheless, a tower. There was also a dragon egg in …
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
To see what he could see
The other side of the mountain
The other side of the mountain
The other side of the mountain
Was all that he could see
The last silver ore deposit was in a fairly extensive patch of mountain biome, so Bernadette decided to dig around a bit and see if there was anything else there. There was something: exactly the same setup, a ruined mining cabin on top of an extensive deposit with a Stone Golem making a nuisance of himself in the neighbourhood. So, she settled in to exploit.
It turned out that there were two deposits, not one, almost next to each other but triggering the wishbone independently. In the end, they came to well abov…
The wise man delights in water; the gentleman delights in
We began with a choice between two paths. So we took a third.
Going north into the swamp towards a possible juncture with the road south from Carcossa remains an option. But there is no certain benefit in it. The road north could be a dead end on the left as it was on the right, and there are no further structures visible. This doesn't mean that there are no more Sunken Crypts to be found there, but looking for them will be a gamble.
Preparing for an attack on the Fuling village -- actually, on a stone defensive tower and a large settlement -- might easily be imprudent at the present time. The Fuling are the most capable enemies in the game to date, and Bernadett…
At the end, Stuffy said, "Not so dusty: how did it sound to
you, Sergeant Jenkins?"
"If you ask me, Sir," replied Taffy unabashed "like a pack of skeletons frigging on a tin roof."
There's another new system event to deal with after Bonemass's demise -- the Skeleton Surprise. A whole graveyard-full of bones throws itself at your walls and tries to batter them down. I may have mentioned it already.
Of course, with only a couple of minutes or so to do the job, they don't have a hope in hell of actually breaking in unless they happen to find a door that's been damaged earlier and not repaired. And it was rather mean of the developers to initiate this event right after the player gets Bonemass's Forsaken power, because a massive debuff on all for…
Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way...
But they haven't arrived yet. Another suboptimal outcome.
It turned out that the depth of the water rapidly increased as the bridge drew toward the other side. At about the two-thirds point, it became impractical to continue. It might have been possible to complete if Bernadette had been willing to tear down a mountain or two and build an earth and stone causeway to fill in the gap, but that would have been a waste of time, energy, and material. It's not even clear whether the piece of swamp that can be seen on the other side is part of the mainland, or on another island of its own; it's a bit to the east, not directly south of the four earlier crypts…
...to our regularly scheduled programming.
Which in this case, means finding a bit more iron, since neither silver nor black metal will be replacing it.
Before taking down Bonemass, Bernadette had located and cleared a couple of Sunken Crypts on the coast to the south of Carcossa. This push was suspended to deal with Bonemass, but since north of Bonemass's spawn there is nothing much to be found, it's time to look south again.
The situation as it stands now is as shown here.
Instead of continuing south after finding three more crypts near to the first one discovered (Crypts B-01 to B-04), Bernadette decided to go north from her silver workshop, Mountville Portal (at the lower right of this map). This brought her to Seawatch and past a draugr v…
Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life.
Can you give it to them?
I'm growing bone-weary of killing greydwarfs. It makes me feel dirty and sad.
They come running up to you and throw a rock, and then you one-shot them so hard that the corpse ends up ten meters away.
Then you harvest their resin and wood and eyeballs. Our lamps burn with the resin from their bodies. Our portals find their destinations with their eyes.
I don't want to kill them. I just want them to go away. I'll plant as many bloody trees as they want if that's the problem. I just don't like it that killing them has become so banal and routine.
I don't like hating them for being so stupid and weak, either.
We share some enemies. They fight the undead as well. I…
Fiery the angels fell
Deep thunder rolled around their shores
Burning with the fires of Orc.
Bernadette has finally met the Stone Golem and he... underperformed severely. That's getting to be a theme for this game. Create a decently thought out enemy, model and animate it acceptably, and then slap it into an environment that conspires to cripple it.
What the Surtlings are to the swamp, the Stone Golem is to the mountain. Environmentally knackered.
The mountain environment suffers from what might be termed an excess of verticality. Lots of ups and downs, some of them very abrupt. This is not a suitable environment for a great hulking heap of magically animated boulders to be lumbering around in. In the most literal sense, he doesn't fit in. There…
And the silver rush is on.
Silver veins seem to be rarer even than buried Muddy Scrap Piles, but when you find them, they last a long time. I suppose that's to give the drakes a decent chance to line up a shot at you. It hardly matters. To a veteran of Skyrim, a drake is a pathetically easy kill. They hover in one place and make a lot of noise, and two hits bring them down. The Dragonborn should have been so lucky.
The first acquisition of the new age has been a Draugr Fang bow. I wish the damn thing didn't glow so brightly -- it gets in the way of the aim -- and of sneaking -- but the bow itself does good damage with a bit of poison thrown in, and it has double the knockback of the Huntsman bow. Bernadette also made Lox capes for herself an…
Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin
Boney wasn't exactly a flop, but he didn't generate much dramatic tension. Bernadette and her friend cheesed him in the suggested fashion, and he fell without much incident. All in all, probably the best result possible. Who wants an epic battle anyway? A victory will do just fine.
The parkour preparations were of minor importance. There wasn't much in the way of manoeuvre for our carefully laid obstacles to get in the way of. Bernadette tossed the bones into the green glowing mouth, while her friend perched on top of the skull. The battle only lasted about six minutes. Bernadette's friend drew most of the aggro for the first part of the fight, until Bonemass demolished the structure that she was standing on and s…
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
I'm planning to pave Hell and put up a parkour lot.
And I do know what I've got, and I want it gone. In the worst way.
I'll even set up a tree museum later if anyone wants to pay a dollar for a look at these slimy old trunks. A free piece of Ancient Bark with every ticket! I've got tons of the stuff now.
(I wonder if you could do tree farming in the swamp? Might be one way to get some use out of the place.)
Okay. Bernadette is set up comfortably in a strong stone building by the side of Bonemass's spawn point, with all the modern conveniences, a Comfort level of 16 (would be 17 if it wasn't necessary to have two beds in the place, with…
It's been a too long time
With no peace of mind
And I'm ready for the times to get better.
When I cleared and flattened a broad space in front of my main base for the Bonemass campaign, I was thinking mainly of self-protection. See them coming, be safe, that sort of thing.
I hadn't counted on it turning into the Circus Maximus on a busy day with the Roman public in a thumbs-down mood. There's so much combat out there without any help from me that going out to collect the meat has become part of the morning schedule. And sometimes it's just a madhouse.
Take today. I hear noises of battle and get up on the ramparts to take a look to find two draugr running like lunatics over the whole area killing every boar, neck, and deer they could get their h…
I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There has to be a little rain sometimes.
I always hated that stupid song.
Why? Because it embodies a fuck-your-feelings attitude toward emotional distress that's probably best responded to by a rifle butt in the teeth. A slightly prettier version of the infamous "Asshole," but in reality worse, since delivered straight instead of sarcastically.
What brought it up? A little rain, sometimes. More specifically, being rained on for four days straight, with mist and fog and darkness at noon, Comrade. It's bloody annoying. I'm not here to count raindrops and a lot of the ground mist effects are painfully fake. When you step over the boundary into the Plains or Swamp biome and…
We fly though the night skies,
Flapping our fat thighs,
Picking up dead guys,
There goes one now.
Stack 'em and load 'em,
Bring 'em to Odin,
See if he know'd 'em.
Sometimes he does.
(From a completely irrelevant political blog, heaven alone knows how the Valkyries got in there!)
Have you ever wondered how this game is going to end? I can't see a five-person dev team creating an adequate Valhalla, and however well it were done, it would be a letdown. You finally get to Norse Heaven and spend eternity.... seeing who can burp the loudest at the table, I guess. There's a reason why literature spends more time in Hell than in Heaven. Heaven is a bore.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming....
Bernadette has been busy at a number of differen…
I appear to be running into Level 5 characters on my way to the Level 3 boss. Odd.
But it has its positive side. If things go on like this, I'll end up with more lox than a Saturn 5 rocket.
After giving up the southern push, I moved north and established a northern outpost closer to Bonemass, in a patch of meadows biome on the southern tip of the island he appears to be on. I already knew that the right or east side of that island is one long stretch of swamp, and a bit of probing showed that to the north and northwest of my new base, the meadows quickly yielded to a very narrow strip of Black Forest and then to.... bloody Plains. Again.
Not that that can't be turned to advantage. Up to the northwest, the west side of the island has a small l…
The mountain hath labored, and brought forth a mouse.
That last exploration.... really wouldn't look good if I had to draw up a balance sheet. Fortunately, the losses are in time and wood rather than blood and equipment. But it's still frustrating.
Going south down the coast into the swamp, directly away from Bonemass, might seem perverse. But the later game revolves around supplies of iron. Neither silver nor blackmetal will entirely replace iron as the basic material for weapons and armor; indeed, there is to date no blackmetal armor at all. This forces the player's hand: swamp-slogging is compulsory.
So I pushed a road south, along the coast, in my usual fashion. The wood is free, and it protects against attacks. Resistance was a bit stiffer…
We had to destroy the village in order to save it.
So I decided to take a rest from my mountaintop removal mining in the high cold areas of the map, and go sailing. I didn't really know how to sail the karve, the mid-range ship, but I figured that I'd learn. However, just as a precaution, I left all my iron armor and weapons behind and went with a second-string set of troll hide armor, albeit the Level 3 troll armor made possible by the obsidian upgrade to the workbench.
The precaution turned out not to be necessary, but there were a few close calls.
Instead of building a new karve at Outpost Three, the closest of my bases to the location indicated for Bonemass, I decided to sail one of the two I already have up from the south. The wind was f…
Crisscrossing the mountain's slopes with trenches and excavations is difficult work, since the terrain, including the bedrock level, is so irregular. It's also unusually hard to see where you are going; long stretches turn into literal tunnels when you burrow through a softer layer that has a hard cap of rock above it. And so far, no silver has showed up. But apart from that unreasonable hope, things have been going fairly well.
To begin with the biggest prizes, I now have two of the three eggs needed to summon the fourth boss, the dragon. They were in nests on mountaintops and were not difficult to remove, though their extreme weight demands they be moved one at a time. The drakes guarding them, described as a sort of mini-dragon, are not …
Born underground, grown inside a rocky womb
The earth is our cradle; the mountain shall become our tomb
Face us on the battlefield; you will meet your doom
We do not fear what lies beneath
We can never dig too deep
I didn't actually plan for things to turn out the way they did.
It began with what seemed to be a modest deposit of copper ore up the mountainside where the Black Forest biome begins to shade into the Mountain. Like a lot of "modest" deposits in this game, this one was much bigger than it seemed on the surface and digging it all out involved removing a large chunk of the mountain side.
At this point I thought: why not just keep digging? There didn't seem much chance that I would simply happen on some silver ore by chance, but then agai…
Gold for the master, silver for the maid
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But iron, cold iron, is the master of them all!"
Sunken Crypt 10 was the jackpot. I'd only half-seriously hoped to find 100 iron there; in the end, there were 94. That changes my iron situation from crisis to comfortable at one stroke. There wasn't even any strong resistance in any part of the tomb: one blob that I popped with an arrow through the first breach in the Muddy Scrap Pile plug, and no more than four or five melee zero-star draugr shot to death in the same way. There were no spawners and no Draugr Elite. Just piles of iron and a decent selection of other loot, including several pieces of chain. Easy p…
This patch of swamp isn't quite finished yet. I've located and cleared the ninth Sunken Crypt, and located the tenth. I doubt if there are any more, but I've said that before, haven't I?
To get to these crypts required moving away from the coast again and back into the heart of the swamp, so I went at it in full World War One style, with roadways palisaded on each side every step of the way. This is a quick and easy method to move across contested ground if you have stockpiled the supplies needed and have some idea where you are going.
The route to the ninth crypt was a bit mucky, but there was very little resistance. Stone and wood brought me to the door without any chance of my being molested from outside. There were a couple of world even…
My resources base to the south has turned into a temple to the spirit of André Maginot: big, expensive, invulnerable, and immovable. It's underlining a major defect in Valheim game design, which is that at some levels and in some cases, static defence is easily capable of overwhelming any attack that might be thrown against it.
With solid stone walls and a deep moat all the way around it (not visible here except a bit at the bottom right), there is precisely nothing that any game event can do about me when I'm inside here. An attack actually profits me. With the walkway around the top of the walls, it's easy to shoot down attacking draugr and skeletons. Worse, the attackers in their frustration take it out on the local wildlife. It's amusing…
After that long slog in the muck, I felt I deserved a holiday. Besides, I was running out of flint for arrows. So, off to the south for a resource collection run.
On the southern tip of my first island, to the south of my potions factory, was an abandoned farm with a good supply of wood and raspberries, near to a neck-infested coast with abundant deer and wild pigs, on the border there between the Meadows and the Black Forest biomes. It's a good place to harvest flints, neck tails, and leather scraps. I've set up a brewery, a foundry and a kiln there (the idiocy with Surtlings in the swamp has removed all need to be economical with Surtling cores).
There would be plenty of room here for pig breeding, but I find that too labor intensive for a…
Four more Sunken Crypts down. I believe I've found them all now, and they've become something of a routine. All have the same basic layout of three branches. Nearly all have a single spawner in one branch; one crypt had two spawners, and two seem to have had none, though I may have destroyed them without noticing by shooting blindly through partially destroyed blockages. Usually, the spawners announce themselves with a loud buzzing noise, but I'm not sure if all of them do. I usually managed to smash them from a distance with archery. Ideally, by the time I entered the room with the spawner, it would be destroyed and all the draugr shot to death. I prefer avoiding personal interactions with those things, thank you very much.
There were only…
I created a series of 20 puzzles/challenges that players can take on. Some are very easy; some are very difficult. Beat one room to move on to the next.
It's sort of like a LoZ style dungeon, but I'd call it an "escape room" rather than a "dungeon" since there's practically no legitimate threat of death.
There are 13 guidelines (you can't really enforce rules in Valheim) to make escaping an actual challenge. Sure, you could pound through a stone wall or build a ladder over the wall, but following these ordinances of the challenge will make it more fun.
You start at the center of the world in the ring of boss stones. That area is surrounded by high stone walls. Pass every challenge, and you will gain your freedom. Then you can see what it all lo…
Third and fourth Sunken Crypts down. The design remains the same, though sometimes one of the branches is blocked off by a wall or a collapsed section. The third crypt was as rich, if not richer, than the first two; the fourth was my first dud, with the side sections short and the central corridor collapsed. Still, I managed to get twenty or so iron out of it.
The sky up ahead is noticeably lighter. I think I'm finally approaching the coast. There seems to be at least one more crypt visible in the distance, and another Surtling geyser. I don't know whether I'll bother to farm that third geyser. The Surtlings depress me; they're so wasted.
I got what I wanted out of this stage of the game: the iron pickax for mining in the Mountain biome. And …
Faustus: Where are you damn’d?
Mephistophilis: In Hell.
Faustus: How comes it then that thou art out of Hell?
Mephistophilis: Why this is Hell, nor am I out of it.
The Swamp biome is a dismal place at the best of times. At night, in the tangle of fencing I've erected to keep from being attacked by the swamp's various creatures, it's a scene worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, albeit rather quiet for his usually more spectacular tastes.
Third Sunken Crypt down, and a portal parked on top of it for good measure. The layout of all of them is much the same -- tombs are tradition-bound structures and you wouldn't expect much of a personal touch in them except for those built for people at the very top of the social structure. Three branches, two of which …
It was quite a day today....more like a couple of weeks in game, though with "days" that take up less than half an hour in real time, that's not hard.
First job was to push out to the left or "west" side of the island and find where on the shoreline the Plains biome begins. Once I got up there, mostly through Black Forest territory, there was a new sight -- the dreaded Deathsquito; two of them, actually, hovering over the small peninsula that juts to the "west" where the Plains biome hits the sea. So, with my nice new bow, I shot them both and got their needles, thinking I'd experiment with a new variety of arrow. Once home, it turned out that it takes four deathsquito needles to make twenty needle arrows. Pfft. I'll get some more later.
I was not pleased when I checked where Bonemass had appeared on the map. He couldn't have been much further from The Elder if he had tried. Maybe the two of them have professional differences....
The rest of the first crypt was uneventful. Apparently, all the muscle was concentrated in the left-hand rooms. There was no unusual loot to the center and the right, but a satisfying amount of iron scrap. The first major iron piece that I've made for myself is a Huntsman bow, of which more later.
Then it was time to tidy up, collect some resources, and extend the protected roadway in a new direction. I had already spotted another crypt still deeper in the swamp. Getting there involved taking out several draugr and skeleton spawners grouped together in what looked like a large burial mound, but the spawns weren't of very good quality and all it meant in the end was more draugr guts and steak knife handles for my dining pleasure.
On the other…
All is best, though we oft doubt
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about
And ever best found in the close.
The day ended better than it began.
It began with a whoosh and something large and dark one-hitting me, destroying a workbench, and departing into the night. It was a wraith. Teach me to let my health decline at a time when I thought no fighting was in the offing. Never mind walls; those buggers fly.
Then came my first venture into a Sunken Crypt. Being adept at making things difficult for myself, I chose to clear the left-hand rooms first. The results were nightmarish. There must have been a spawner in an interior room, which meant that progress down through three or four linked chambers consisted of advancing down a n…
It seems I was simply not far enough into the swamp. There seems to be a Sunken Crypt up ahead of my latest walled roadway, which I was driving more or less at right angles to the one I was constructing before and which seems to have been inadvertently pointed at Fuling territory. Now to bring the road right up to the gate of the crypt.... I've started a tree farm at my stronghold to provide the necessary supplies.
Nothing so pleasant as listening to frustrated draugr pounding helplessly on the other side of a good thick wall while you decide whether they are worth the trip outside to turn them into sausage casings. Get thee behind me, Satan!
Growing somewhat impatient about pushing a protected path all the way into what has proven to be a large swamp, I went on ahead to see if I could find out exactly how far that swamp extended. And got to the other side all right -- where I found myself in the middle of a Fuling village and was promptly wiped out.
I didn't know that I was in the Plains biome until I was under it.
Attempts to recover my equipment proving futile, I spent the next couple of hours going round to various old haunts to find the bits and pieces to rebuild it. Fortunately, since my chances of finding a burial chamber seemed so low, I was not carrying the Swamp Key and so don't have to light up the Elder again. I did lose the belt Megingjord, but I had more than enough…
Plan B was a qualified success. I found iron, and unlocked all the yummy recipes for it. But there were only eight pieces, after quite a lot of what charitably might be termed open-pit iron mining. This method obviously isn't going to make me the Iron Queen of Wherever.
I've got a foundry and charcoal kiln set up at my stronghold now, with a double-single wall to keep the trolls out. A couple of them had a try even before I had the furnaces installed, but they didn't even make it past the first fence. Trolls don't destroy spiked log walls very efficiently. They can do it, but they lack focus unless something sends them into a tantrum.
One of them ended up in the swamp bashing it out with leeches and draugr.
By the time it was my turn, there was…