Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Trunk Diary: Voss

December 5, 2022

So, I’d managed to heal my body enough that it wasn’t going to fall apart on me, but that really didn’t do anything for my mind, which still had a ton of ghosts in it that all wanted out, or at least wanted to destroy me.  The answer to that was supposed to be on Voss, which is a planet that has some kind of mystical tradition, but one separate from that of the Jedi or the Sith.  Given their abilities, both sides really want them to join their side, and so I got roped into helping our local Sith Lord, Darth Severin, do exactly that.

First, my own cure.  It turns out that there are rituals that involve visions that would allow me to face down the spirits in my head, but when I did the first ritual it seems that they wanted to try to guilt me by showing me my past deeds and arguing that I failed or betrayed those people.  The problem is that I didn’t.  Zash betrayed me and that’s why she ended up the way she was.  The woman leading my cult seemed to be hinting that I had passed over her love or some other such garbage but that wasn’t in the picture.  The problem with their attack was simple:  I’m not at all guilty over the things I’ve done.  I’ve always done what I think right and justifiable.  So their attacks had no impact on me.

That wasn’t enough, though, to get rid of them.  To do that, I needed another ritual with the help of a Gormak shaman.  Now, the Gormak are the other species that live on Voss, and they and the Voss are bitter enemies.  And the Voss hate them so much that they don’t want to ever have any of them leave the planet, which otherwise would have been the perfect solution for their war.  As it turns out, in helping Darth Severin I discovered that the two species were the same, corrupted by a world corrupting influence spawned by the Jedi coming to Voss in the ancient past and trying to use them in a war against the Sith.  I decided to reveal this to the Voss elders when Severin wanted me to simply tell them about the Jedi part, and he was very angry since he thought that lying to them would bring them to our side, while telling them the truth made them more focused on internal matters and the fallout rather than joining in a galactic war.  But this is why Sith like Serevin are terrible for the Empire, because they would have found out eventually and then been angry at us for lying, while here while the news split them they would be grateful to us for telling them the truth instead of using it for our own gain.  Keeping them out of the war is enough to ensure that we don’t horribly lose it, and they’re more likely to be allies in the future if we don’t lie to them … and if they reconcile with the Gormak, they’ll be even more powerful allies.  Severin, like most Sith, is too short-sighted to see any of this.

So, what was the one thing the shaman wanted for helping me?  To get off the planet.  But I agreed, even though it might anger the Voss.  My own life is more important than their stupid superstitions, and I figured I could get him off the planet without drawing attention.  With him using a sacred stone to make the ghosts fightable, I defeated them again and managed to reintegrate my mind and, more importantly, to shut them all up.  Of course, the Voss managed to find out about the Gormak I was smuggling off the planet, but a simple “Force Persuade” was enough to get him to forget it happened and let me move along.

After this, Thanaton challenged me to some kind of ancient ritual called the “Kagath” to take place on Corellia.  So it’s time for me to gather my remaining resources and take him on there.

Trunk Diary: Belsavis

November 28, 2022

Is anyone surprised that the Republic has turned an entire planet into some kind of super-secret prison for their worst prisoners? No?  Then is anyone surprised that to save money they built it on top of and around an existing super-secret prison filled with technology and prisoners that they didn’t know about and don’t understand?

While the Empire is stupid enough, the Republic is stupid in a really, really strange way.  See, the Empire would probably do the same thing, but they’d do it so that the Sith could get access to those technologies and Dark Side power and whatever and have ready made facilities and labour to help with it.  It doesn’t look like the Republic thought of that.  They found this secret planet with facilities here already and said “Hey, instead of building the things ourselves that we understand, let’s just use this!  What could go wrong?”

Well, the Empire could figure out that you’re keeping some powerful Sith here in stasis and use all of that stuff you don’t understand against you, figuring that they could always leave if things got too out of hand, for one.

That’s one of the reasons why I wasn’t at all bothered by helping Commander Callum, a member of the Imperial Guard, rescue the Dread Masters, even though it meant going directly against the Republic Warden and his lawman … superior, I guess.  They weren’t much of a threat, but I let the Warden live at the end of it all, but killed the lawman to show that I was indeed a threat.  Plus, his arrogance really bugged me, and once someone has tried to kill you and there’s no real reason to keep them alive a true Sith can indulge themselves on occasion.

The other reason is that I figured that the Dread Masters were arrogant and powerful enough to chafe at being revived just to help win a war, and so they’d want to get their hands on real power.  The people who had that power now obviously weren’t going to want to give that up, and so it would destabilize the power base and hurt the Sith.  I didn’t really want the Dread Masters to win because they relied on fear and to try to win loyalty purely through fear sounds insane to me, but I didn’t think that for all of their power they’d actually be able to take over the Sith and so would end up being disposed of once they’d served their purpose.

As for me, there was supposed to be some kind of ancient healing device here that would fix my body, if not my mind.  It turns out that the machine was sentient and had been imprisoned here by the things it had created so that it couldn’t oppose them, I guess.  It offered to fix me completely if I freed it.  Now, I wasn’t sure that it was telling the truth and I’ve seen enough powerful things that were lying about things like that in order to get free and take over, but it really did seem like it was only interested in creating things and could be limited to Belsavis, and it’s not like the things that imprisoned it were some kind of paragons of virtue, so I decided to free it.  Maybe that will bite someone at some point, but given that this thing thinks in terms of centuries it’s not likely to be me.

Anyway, it kept its word, and now my body is back in shape after the damage I did to it with the ghosts’ power.  Now it’s off to Voss to try to heal my splintered mind.

Trunk Diary: Round One

November 21, 2022

Having gathered up what I thought were enough ghosts to take on Thanaton and with their voices in my head getting a bit disturbing, I headed off the Dromund Kaas to confront him.  I really should have been careful not to get overconfident and to make sure I understood more about what was happening before I tried to use it.

On the plus side, I did beat Thanaton.  He had a flunky confront me beforehand and after I took him down easily I unleashed my ghosts on him and he ended up blasted across the room and into the wall before he could do anything.  So that part worked.  The bad part was that doing that left me in even worse shape than it left him.

See, it turns out that what the ghosts didn’t mention is that controlling and unleashing the power of these ghosts is really draining, especially since none of them really want to be there, even the ones that I pacified instead of forced.  So I didn’t have the power and control to keep all this in line and focused, which is why I ended up hurling Thanaton against the wall, and trying that knocked me out.  Because of that, Thanaton was able to get away and stay a threat to me.

That’d be bad enough, but it isn’t the worst of it.  The strain on the body is so intense that at this point, well, it’s breaking down my entire body.  If it isn’t fixed, it is going to kill me, probably in a horrible way.  So not only can’t I use that power, it’s going to kill me whether I use it or not.  At this point, I have to wonder if it’s even worth it.

Of course, right now the choices are that either I master it or I die, and I didn’t fight my way out of slavery to die.  Fortunately, a couple of other Sith had tried to master this before and faced the same problem, and so set out to try to cure themselves.  Unfortunately, it’s not clear if they managed to succeed or not.  But beggars can’t be choosers, so I’m going to have to follow their path and hope that at the end of it there’s a solution.

Zash also noted that the records of one of them had a duplicated section right where the information on where to go next was.  It seemed like it had been done by Thanaton to prevent someone from trying, well, exactly what I wanted to try.  So I broke into his vault by using Force Persuade on his guard.  It was a surprise that it would work because you’d think that someone like Thanaton would know better than to use guards who are so weak-willed that they fall for that.  I almost wonder if he was setting me up, but I did get the information I wanted.  It turns out that there might be some kind of healing technology on Belsavis, and the the mystics on Voss might be able to fix me up entirely.  I need some extra clearances to land on Voss, so it’s off to Belsavis first.  Hopefully it can at least keep me alive long enough to find a true cure.

Trunk Diary: Hoth

November 14, 2022

The planet Hoth is a little cold.

Of course, that’s an understatement on the level of saying that a sun is warm, the Imperial commanders aren’t as efficient as they could be, or the Sith are just a little bit nuts.  Hoth is, in fact, an entirely frozen planet, of no use to pretty much anyone for any reason.  So it’s perfectly reasonable to think that I might find a Force Ghost here, some Sith that wanted to have an isolated stronghold somewhere where no one would think to look.  Hoth certainly fits that bill.

But what was surprising is that the Republic and the Empire have both set up bases and outposts and are chasing large groups of pirates around on the planet.  Hoth is a nice … okay, no, it’s a barely survivable place to hide out, but nobody’s hiding here, or at least anymore,  The reason is that there was at least one big space battle in the system and a lot of ships crashed on the planet, and for some reason these ships had lots of interesting things on them.  Years and years later, both sides have come to try to dig up those things so that they can benefit them in the war that both sides know is coming even if they’re pretending they don’t.

This still wouldn’t make sense to me, but Doreau explained it to me once when we were talking about some pirates that ran away from us to Hoth.  A lot of battles, she explained, happen where they do not because that place is some really, really important place, but instead because events sweep the forces into areas that wouldn’t be at all important otherwise.  From what she knew of this one, there was some kind of minor skirmish in the area, but the ship that was crippled was an important one, so the one side rushed ships to defend it and the other to take it, and from there the force built and built with more and more important ships until it was a huge fleet battle with the best and most important ships each side had.  After the battle, neither side had the forces to stay and recover anything and risk starting the battle over again, and with other priorities they didn’t get back to it until most of them had forgotten the important things that were lost there until the records were declassified and they started chasing them again.

Yeah, there isn’t much that Doreau didn’t know.  And in chasing the Force Ghost, I might have gotten a bit of a replacement in an Imperial Reclamation Service named Talos Drellik.  He helped me find the tomb of the Force Ghost, who then demanded that I destroy a tomb/headquarters of the group of assassins who killed him, which Drellik also helped me find.  He was upset that I had to destroy it, but only asked me to let him document the tomb before we did so, which I was happy to let him do.  I didn’t really want to do it anyway and wouldn’t if it wasn’t for my life being on the line, and it didn’t cost me anything to let him take some pictures.  The ghost then came with me willingly and Drellik asked to join my crew, and he was useful enough that I let him.

The sad thing is that this man who is socially awkward and a bit obsessed with the past is probably the most normal person in the crew.

Speaking of normal people, I also helped out the Imperial forces against the Republic forces.  I first helped out the main base that was in danger of being swarmed over, running a bunch of missions that the Chiss officer suggested to his superior, a man who had newly taken over from the old base commander.  At the end, I was asked who should take over and I said the Chiss.  I don’t have anything against aliens, and he did do the better job, but I made sure to note to the obvious disappointed human that he had a big role to play in things as well, which gave him some hope for promotion.  Later, I had to face off with the leader of a cult who was using some weird survival techniques he had to kill a lot of Imperials.  When I confronted him, he offered an “honourable” combat in some kind of ice cave, but I’m not stupid.  Nobody suggests something like that unless it gives them an advantage, and I’m not crazy enough to try to “honour” my way past someone who doesn’t have any.  Finally, I found a hidden weapon buried in the ice with a ship that had gone down, and was offered a chance to take my pick from the wreckage before anyone else got there.  I didn’t take it.  I need Force power here, not conventional weapons, and I don’t want to be someone who steals stuff like that just to have it.

At this point, I probably have enough Force Ghosts, and things are getting a bit uneasy inside my head anyway.  It’s time to face Darth Thanaton.

Final Thoughts on “Space Crusade”

November 8, 2022

I finished it off a while ago, but here I want to talk about my thoughts on the Amiga version of “Space Crusade” after having worked my way through all the missions included on the disk.  I managed to complete the primary mission in all of them — although sometimes without any marines surviving — except for the last one where I was supposed to destroy the “Cube of Chaos”.  And I would have completed that one if I hadn’t sent one team of Marines after the secondary objective, as I only had a Dreadnought and a few other enemies to kill off when the team was wiped out, so having another Commander and a couple more guns available probably would have let me finish it.

In playing the game, I for the first time learned how it actually worked.  If you had a marine shoot at someone — or an enemy shot at them — the game rolled a set number of dice defined by the attacker against a defined number for the defender that you had to overcome with your total on the dice, and subtracted one “hit point” if you hit.  Marines were I think four or better, little gremlins were a one and so on and so forth.  Soulsuckers, on the other hand, except in any situation where they swarm you over with them, pretty much can’t be hit at range, which means you have to engage them hand-to-hand.  Hand-to-hand combat is different.  Each participant gets a roll of a certain number of dice based on their own abilities, and whichever of them rolls the highest number wins.  Obviously, the more dice you get the easier it is to roll a higher total, but a one-die gremlin can roll 3 and if your Marine’s two die don’t add up to that or more (ties mean that nothing happens) then they would kill the marine.  What’s really interesting about hand-to-hand is that it doesn’t subtract one “hit point”, but the difference between the two rolls.  Since most units only have one hit point, normally this doesn’t matter as any loss is an automatic kill.  However, in the case of Commanders and Dreadnoughts who both have more than one hit point, it matters a lot.  This means that Commanders are great against Deadnoughts because they can survive losing combats and with good rolls can take them out easier and faster.  However, it means that if they lose hand-to-hand combats they might lose a lot more of their hit points than you’d like them to, even against weaker opponents.  And they can only fight hand-to-hand.  But they get four dice — most of the best other units get two at most — which means that they are likely to outroll their opponents.  But if a gremlin gets a two and they roll a 0 and only have two hit points left, they can be killed.

What this means is that the game is really luck-based.  However, the RNGs seem to be biased to the low-end, so there are a lot of misses, which avoids it being slaughtered.  Still, since there are so many enemies with both ranged and melee attacks eventually the numbers will catch up with you and your Commander will take hits and your marines will get killed.  This ultimately makes the game a pretty brutal one, explaining why I ended up “winning” missions with every marine killed.  In the later missions, getting back without a loss is pretty much impossible.

The bad thing about the game, though, ties back to the number of misses:  the game is plodding for the most part.  The marines in general don’t get a lot of movement points, so it takes a long time to get to the mission objectives.  Along the way, they will encounter a lot of enemies who will all take shots at them and move towards them (especially if they are revealed by a scan).  That takes a while, and since most of them miss it ends up being anti-climactic.  In general, marines can only take out an enemy at a time — in hand-to-hand if attacked they can take out more — and they miss at range at lot and so it can take quite a while to clear out enemies.  Once you’ve cleared them out and completed the objective, it takes a long time to walk back to the area where you can leave the ship, with little to do … unless the game spawns a Soulsucker, at which point if your Commander is already dead the rest of your marines will likely soon be.  There are a lot of times where all you can do is watch the game and pick from some small options at some point instead of doing anything tactical.

That’s ultimately why I could, in general, only manage to play one game a session.  When things were hot and there were tactical decisions to make, the game was really fun.  When I was facing attacks from weak enemies that generally didn’t hit but fired anyway, in general I was slightly bored but could see an important goal in the future and so could stick with it and still have fun.  But walking back after completing the objectives felt way too much like make-work and so usually sucked all the fun out of the game, forcing me to stop until the next day when I could start with a fresh attitude towards the game.  Thus, I found the game fun, enjoyed playing it, and would play it again at some point, but wish that they had taken out some of that dead time so that the game wasn’t so plodding.

The next game I’m supposed to be playing is “Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds”, with a plan to play through all the campaigns.  I was working through the meatier tutorial missions, and in the last one I was told to fill in the gaps in the wall but to make sure that I put a gate in so that I could get out.  I did, and then filled in all the gaps, and then found a strange gap that I couldn’t fill in in the normal way, but filled it in anyway and went on with the next things I was supposed to do.  And then noticed that a worker was walking around outside the walls wandering back and forth and not coming in.  And it was a nova crystal miner.  Then I tried to move units through the gate and discovered … that there was a wall behind it and so nothing could go in and out.  What I think happened was that when I found a worker free and found that “gap” something was standing by the gate, close enough to have it open, so it looked like a gap in the wall instead of an open gate, and so I blocked it up not realizing that that was where my gate was, which was probably why I couldn’t fill it in straight across but had to go out and then back again to make that wall.  So after deliberately trying to avoid blocking myself in I did exactly what I was told not to do.  I quit that mission and haven’t had the time to go back to it yet.

Trunk Diary: Quesh

November 7, 2022

So, I had to come to the toxic swamp of Quesh because one of Thanaton’s minions was going after the two remaining apprentices that I inherited from Zash.  Unfortunately, despite my rushing here as soon as I had heard, it was too late.  The apprentices were dead.  Since they’d at least helped in saving my life, that was a real shame.  I would have liked to have brought them along on my journey to see if they could accept my goal of destroying at least the Sith that are most deserving of my vengeance and maybe the entire order.  Their killer actually spoke civilly to me and I might have been able to win him as an ally, but I take brutally killing people who helped me personally and so I ended up killing him.

Quesh itself is a place where the Republic is manufacturing — or at least taking advantage of the manufacture of — adrenals to give boosts to their troops.  Of course, the waste from that is toxic and is pretty much what makes Quesh a toxic swamp.  So after dealing with Thanaton’s assassin, I didn’t have any issues helping the Empire break it up.  This is just another example of how hypocritical the Republic is, as I’m sure they justify all of this as what’s necessary to oppose the “evil Empire”.  I wonder if the Republic would have to invent a threat like us if we didn’t exist, so they could do all the horrible things that they say we’re terrible for doing while wringing their hands saying “Oh, but we have no choice because look how evil our enemies are!”.  Yeah, they have a choice.  They don’t want to take it, but don’t want to be blamed for taking the “evil” choice either.  At least the Sith tend to be brutally honest that they’re taking that choice because that’s the choice they want to make.  If only they didn’t like that choice so much.

Of course, dealing with the adrenal trade meant dealing with the Hutts.  I hate the Hutts.  They’ve built a culture around lawlessness and betrayal and then get upset when people don’t trust them and betray them in turn.  That’s probably why I ended up killing the member of the Three Families who helped us.  Normally, I’d like to keep deals we’ve made, but he bugged me, and tried to bribe me which I take personally.  And I didn’t like him to boot.

After this, Zash said that I should take an apprentice from the latest ones on Korriban, because I was going to need some prestige to survive killing Thanaton.  I wasn’t happy with the idea and wanted to stick with Ashara, but since she’s the one who knows these power struggles better than me I figured it’d be best to listen to her.  Harken, the guy who “trained” me, is the one training this group.  I told him not to play favourites and he told me to come back in a while when he’s weeded out the losers.  I’m not sure I want an apprentice that he considers a “winner”.

Trunk Diary: Taris

October 31, 2022

Taris is a hell-hole.

Well, I guess that’s only to be expected on a planet that was bombed into oblivion by Darth Malak’s Sith a long time ago, but from what I’ve heard it actually wasn’t all that much better before that.  Sure, the city itself was nice, but the undercity had Rakghoul monsters that were pretty much the only things that really managed to thrive after the bombardment.  The Republic wants to rebuild it.  The Empire wants to stop them from doing that.

I’m siding with the Empire here, and worked against the rebuilding.  The reason is that the Republic isn’t doing this to help people.  If they wanted to help people, they’d get a lot more bang for their buck on a host of other planets.  No, they’re turning this into a symbol, and big middle finger to the Empire by rebuilding something the Sith wiped out.  That’s why they’re doing this and shipping people back who had homes here before and all of that.  I have no problem tweaking their noses and making their symbolic gesture more realistic.

I also had to work with another Sith named Thana Vesh.  She was pretty much the archetype of the sort of Sith I hate.  She was powerful, sure, but way too confident in her abilities and way too interested in hurting and killing people to think straight.  So, of course, she managed to fail a lot of her missions and get captured at least once doing that.  Her master Gravus didn’t seem that impressed by her attitude and used me as a foil to try to show her restraint, but it didn’t work that well.  I had a chance at the end of all of this to kill her, but I let her live.  You’d think that given my attitude I would have taken the chance to kill such a Sith, but she’s young, and there aren’t all that many ways things can end for young Sith with her attitude.  They overextend themselves and get themselves killed.  Or they learn restraint and harness their power.  Or they attach themselves to a powerful enough Sith that they can act on their desires without facing too many consequences for it.  If it’s the first case, then I don’t have to kill her.  If it’s the second, then she might end up as an ally somewhere down the road.  And if it’s the third, I’ll probably end up killing her when her master sics her on me.  Either way, I didn’t need to do anything now, and she might learn how things really are at some point.

Speaking of that, I had a chance to teach a Jedi that the Jedi Order aren’t any better than they think the Sith are much of the time.  At least the Sith are honest about it, but the Jedi often become masters of rationalizing the nasty things they want to do in the name of “serving the Light”, which means following their instincts and what they want to do and claiming that it’s “The Will of the Force”.  A young padawan named Ashara was getting visited by the ghost that I wanted to capture — turns out that I’m not the only one with Sith in the family tree — and so I had to convince her to let me into the compound to talk to it and, at the same time, to take the opportunity to convince her to doubt the Jedi.  She was proud and headstrong and that was my way in, but I tried to present myself as a reasonable Sith to show her that one can indulge in those things without turning into a monster.  Seems like I should have spent more time talking up the rewards, because when she let me in she had told her superiors about me and said that she didn’t believe that I was a reasonable Sith.  So her superiors tried to kill me and I killed them and captured the ghost — negotiating with it instead of just capturing it — and for some reason Ashara decided that she might as well join me as she probably wasn’t going to be able to go back to the Order after getting her superiors killed.  This wasn’t much of an endorsement and makes me wonder what her real objective is, because it really sounds like she was going to come with me no matter what I said.  I have to hope that the reason is because she’s being pulled to the Dark Side instead of her deciding that she would make a good independent double-agent.

After this, it looks like my inherited apprentices are in a bit of trouble, so it’s off to Quesh to help them.

Trunk Diary: Horror Tropes

October 24, 2022

When my quest for revenge started with my picking up a Force-powered monster who wanted to eat people and kept threatening to eat me, I couldn’t help thinking that this was adding horror elements to an action/suspense story.  Then when I entered a number of tombs including ghosts and insane people soaking in Dark Side energy, and then was saved by my ghost ancestor, it just felt even more like that.  Given what happened here, I’m starting to think that the action and suspense elements are being added to a horror story.

Yeah, I finally found out what Zash’s big plan was.  She told me to come back to Dromund Kaas and to the tomb that she had prepared for the ritual, where she revealed the downside of being a Sith:  she had pretty much burned her body out with her dark rituals and needed a new one.  What that meant was that she wanted my body and had spent her time building me up so that she could step into my body and retain most of her power and influence.  Obviously, I didn’t want that, but she had been preparing this for a while and had more knowledge than me, so I had to realize that I was probably going to lose.  At least, until Khem intervened and broke up the ritual, despite not having any idea how to actually do that or what it meant to do that.  He’s so much like Hamr …

And that was important, because while Zash wanted to take over my body and kick me out, it didn’t work that way for Khem.  Instead, she moved into his body … and he stayed.  And so the two of them are now sharing his body, and of course are fighting for control.  And, of course, both of them want me to help them kick the other one out so that they can take control of the body.  And what a wonderful choice it is for me, as I can choose the monster who keeps talking about eating me and doesn’t really bring much to the table other than brute force, or someone who knows a lot of stuff that I might want to learn and knows how to work the politics of the Empire but who tried to betray me and probably would still rather have my body than Khem’s.  To be honest, if I ever have to directly choose which one to support I think I might just let them fight it out.

After this, Thanaton decided to take me under his wing, but gave me a task first.  When I went into the tomb he directed me to, I had to face an insane Sith ghost who killed everyone who came near him, and was going to kill me until my ancestor intervened.  He then criticized me for going into these things unprepared, but I think he’s forgotten what it’s like to be a Sith.  The main plan of a Sith dealing with a rival is to put them into a position where they don’t have a chance of getting out of it.  If I had said that I wanted to take some time to research the tomb and prepare, Thanaton probably would have just killed me, and certainly wouldn’t have let me do that.  So I had to do what I have been doing:  walk into the trap and hope that I’m powerful enough to fight through it.  Yes, my ancestor has had to save me too many times and I can’t keep relying on that, but in all of these cases I haven’t had any choice.

At any rate, I learned how to capture and harness Force ghosts from another, more sane, Force ghost, and managed to capture that Force ghost and fulfill my mission.  Thanaton was incredibly grateful, and showed that by trying to kill me.  He believed he succeeded, but I survived and Zash’s apprentices — who are now mine — spirited me away.

Which is a good way to put it, because it’s clear that my connection to the spirits kept me alive due to Thanaton going for a fancy Force ritual attack instead of just cutting my head off, and in order to defeat him I’m going to need more Force ghosts.  So I’m off to find some, and am adding Thanaton to the list of people I want revenge on.

Vacation, Schedule and TOR

October 23, 2022

So, I used some vacation time recently, and usually after I do that I talk about it, but this time I didn’t do it, at least not right away.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  The first reason is that I didn’t really do anything all that interesting on my vacation.  I had decided not to play a video game and while I was planning on working on some projects about the only thing I managed to do was finish a story.  I did manage to catch up on a lot of the stuff I needed to do here around the house, which was nice, but that made for a pretty boring vacation.  And I finished playing “Space Crusade” and poked around a bit with “Galactic Battlegrounds”, which was nice, and also did manage to catch up on my reading, since the new schedule doesn’t leave me much time for reading.  But, yeah, not a very eventful vacation.

The second reason is that I’m currently pretty much filling up my weekday blog posting blocks with regular posts and so don’t have a lot of room to fit posts like this into it.  I had the “Original Sin” stuff on tap for Tuesdays, the Trunk Diaries come out on Mondays, Wednesdays is the Shakespeare, and Thursdays are horror movies.  Fridays I tend to try to get a Philosophy post in, so that means that I always have something set for or even scheduled for all of those days, making it difficult to fit anything else in.  Hence the story post coming out on a Saturday and this one coming out on a Sunday, and the curling posts being added to Mondays.  This may change but right now the only really flexible day is Tuesday and I have a lot of things I can put there already.

I have gone back to working from work more often, and built out a schedule to try and to get into a routine with for that.  And, of course, I ended up going on vacation after about three weeks which … doesn’t really help in establishing a routine since when I’m at home the routine is completely different from when I’m working from work.  I also wanted to run that routine until January which is when I normally reassess everything and so to not change it and … I ended up changing it.  The big issue was that I had planned on buying lunch on Wednesdays and then coming home to watch a horror movie to keep that stack growing, but the one place that I bought lunch at at least moved and the other wasn’t the same as I remembered it, which made buying lunch not as simple as it used to be.  So that was an issue, but I could have worked that out except that I also realized that the time was a bit rushed to watch a movie.  I had about an hour and a half available but if anything that I did before that ran long or if the movie was longer than an hour and a half then it wouldn’t work.  Given that, I found that I felt like I was trying to rush through the evening to get to being able to watch the movie, which was more stressful than I wanted.  So I shuffled that out of the weekdays and onto the weekends.  I also shuffled when I play video games and do projects.  Of course, I haven’t actually managed to really do that schedule yet because of other things that have gotten in the way, but for good or ill the base schedule is changed because it simply wasn’t working at all.

Finally, about the only video game that I play regularly is The Old Republic, and one thing that struck me about it is that for at least the last three characters I haven’t been doing the romances (which in that game means flirting with a love interest).  This is odd for me since I tend to really like the romance options in Bioware games and games in general (like the modern Personas) as I feel they add to a story and to a character.  But after pursuing Dark Side Jaesa on the Sith Warrior path — I went Dark Side specifically to try out that option — I didn’t do a romance with any of the others.  Well, Sledge Hammer, while he ended up in a kinda romance with Dori, wasn’t the sort of character to pursue them, so that was out.  There weren’t any really interesting romance options for Dori in the Imperial Agent story, so while she certainly would have been interested in a romance she wouldn’t have been interested in the options presented to her.  As for Trunk, while he was married in the show he likely wouldn’t be all that interested in Ashara who is the Sith Inquisitor option and his story of raging revenge doesn’t really align with him flirting with people anyway.  That being said, my next two planned characters are a Corran Horn ex-pat who will definitely romance Kira and a Benjamin Sisko ex-pat who will probably aim for a romance (I haven’t decided whether to make him a Bounty Hunter to align him with his Mirror Universe counterpart or a Warrior to fit with his normal approach) so I will come back to them at some point.  But it is odd that I dropped the romance options for so long.

Trunk Diary: Alderaan

October 17, 2022

I didn’t want to come here.  About the only thing as irritating and potentially dangerous as Sith are nobles, and pretty much for the same reason:  an idea that they are owed things solely because of who they are and an access to power that lets them take any disrespect out on others.  Doreau, of course, noted the differences, as the Sith are built more around earning and holding onto that power while the nobles better understand that their power only comes from maintaining the system that keeps them in power, but ultimately the results are the same:  a bunch of arrogant beings who will demand “respect” and torture and kill anyone who doesn’t give it to them.  That being said, I figured I’d play nice with them as part of my personal goal to see if I could build up some connections to them and a power that might not rival the Sith, but could indeed be useful against the Sith if used properly.

And I was kinda looking forward to seeing how a bunch of nobles acted when they came up against a Sith.

It turns out, at least on Alderaan, pretty nicely most of the time.  While there was some arrogance, for the most part the nobles and the military were respectful but not overly fearful, just the sort of people that I wanted as contacts.  Sure, the head of House Thul was an incompetent weakling that I had to save from being shot out of his own palace by his enemies, but for the most part the rest of them had reasonable requests for me to do and were grateful when I achieved them.  The most wrenching was probably the daughter of Stanel Thul, who had been abducted by the bug-like Killik’s along with a diplomatic team and I was sent it to retrieve them by her father.  It turned out to be too late for her, as she had been converted into what they call a “Joiner”.  She pleaded with me to let her stay with the nest, but I refused and forced her to return to her father.  Normally I’m in favour of people making their own choices, but she didn’t make the choice.  She was brainwashed into it by chemicals and pheromones, and so even when she protests that this is what she really wants I really have no idea whether or not she has any idea what she wants.  If the Empire can figure out how to reverse it and she with a clear head wants to come back, well, by then I’ll be long gone.

It made me curious what Doreau thought of them.  I’ll probably never know.

As for my own mission, again the nobles were quite accommodating.  My contact was Elana Thul and she asked me for a favour and in return she’d help me track down the artifact I was looking for.  Since I was trying to get in with the nobles, it was an easy choice to help her out.  Eventually, I found out that a Jedi had the key to the Organa vault where it was stored, and a quick search of the Alde library revealed that he had had an arrangement to be married to another noble, but backed out of it.  Chances are, he still loved her and I could use her to get him to meet me.  Either she hated him and would help or loved him and could be … encouraged to help.  It turned out to be a little of both, but she eventually arranged a meeting where I got the vault key and my artifact.  The Jedi didn’t make it.  Well, he did say he’d only give me the key over his dead body …

After that, my ancestor returned to warn me about Zash again and guide me to where his old lightsaber was being kept by the family of his retainers.  So, of course, it had been sold before I got there.  However, it’d been sold just before I got there, by the father of the last of his line, who told me where to get it.  I retrieved it and also encouraged the crime lord who had it to drop the debt of the girl who was the last of the family line of the retainers of my ancestor.  Well, she’d helped me get it back and it wasn’t her fault that it was lost, so she deserved the help.

Zash wanted me to come back and perform the ritual, so if there is a trick to this, I’ll soon find out what it is.