6w, 2dMerry Christmas6 comments · 98 views
Merry Christmas, everyone.
7w, 3dThe Old Hunters3 comments · 96 views
Just a few hours ago, I completed the Old Hunters DLC for Bloodborne by shamefully plinking Laurence, the First Vicar, to death with my Blacksky Orb. I'd have preferred to end the fight with a jumping overhead with my moonlight greatsword, but that damn second phase just turns him into a flaming bulldozer that crunches you up if you get in there.
I have to admit that the additional lore in the DLC might fuck with my casting and narrative for Undone by the Blood, but I see that as one more challenge that those delightful scamps from Fromsoft have decided to throw my way.
Favorite boss - Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower
She's the easiest of the DLC bosses. I'm not going to contest that, but I've never picked my favorite bosses by how harrowing the fight is. I like the hunter vs hunter aspect. I like her design; strongly reminiscent of Lord's Blade Ciaran. Hell, this should have been how you fought Ciaran in Dark Souls. The arena you fight her in is both simple and elegant, the music is the best of the lot, rivaled only by Gehrman's. That outfit too; a fusion of Cainhurst and Hunter's Workshop aesthetics.
Honorable mention for Ludwig the Accursed/the Holy Blade for several things. First, for being a really tough beefgate for the rest of the DLC. Second, for dropping the Moonlight Greatsword, which works very well with my mundane build hunter. Third, for kicking DSP's ass 61 times, forcing the King of Scrubs to ragequit the DLC without ever beating a single boss in it.
Least favorite boss - the Living Failures
Not that they suck. They're just the most "ehh" of the five. Getting gangbanged by deflated Celestial Emissaries didn't quite pump me up like the other bosses.
Hardest - Orphan of Kos
Fuck this boss. He bludgeoned me over and over with his yoyo dragon tooth. He made me farm blood vials the first time in a long, long time. I had to take a break to cool off and think about my life because of the building frustration. What a moment of triumph when I finally cut him down. Upside is that I get the Kos Parasite off him. Combined with the Milkweed Rune, I can become the tickle monster. Makes me want to build a pure arcane build just for it.
The areas are all gorgeous; the distorted Oedon Cathedral, the horrific, tick-infested river of blood flowing from the true headquarters of the Healing Church, the Research Halls, my favorite zone being a fusion of the Tower of Latria and the Duke's Archives, takes "creepy hospital/asylum to another level. The patients in there...shudder inducing indeed. Then, the eerie fishing hamlet to the hauntingly, bleakly beautiful shore of a seemingly endless sea.
Love the various weapons. It's nice that they rounded out their arsenal to make arcane builds more viable. I like the transforming covenant runes. Overall, a great DLC worth every penny.
9w, 4dOn November5 comments · 142 views
Yeah, take a look at it. This is my spectacular failure of an attempt to do NaNoWriMo. I just don't have the speed and time to do more than barely pass the halfway mark.
Of course, the real blame goes to Bethesda. Clearly, they knew that I was going to attempt this, so they scheduled the release of Fallout 4 on November.
17w, 5dWhat's Going On11 comments · 212 views
17 comments · 339 views
There's been a bit of rumbling about the site for a while since this fic showed up, and the comments I've seen have been mixed. I've mentioned before that I haven't checked it out for myself, now's the time to change that.
I'm going to try something different this time. I'm going in neutral, leaving this blog post open as I read on. I'll quote bits I want to comment on until the end of the first chapter. It may end up looking like a riff, but I'm not going into this fic hating it. However this turns out, it's just my thoughts as I read along.
Let's start with first impressions...
23k words as a first chapter? That's not exactly inviting now, is it? And it's made more poignant by having the succeeding chapters not even half as long. I suppose one should have braced for this when the story is 1.5 million words long.
War. War never changes.
And neither does this tagline. Oh, but wait. It's
“Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria…”
War. War never changes.
That's actually a nice bit of juxtaposition between the two opening lines associated with the two crossover elements.
I trotted into the sector’s communal bathroom, and immediately my ears perked to a familiar giggling. Walking past a stall, I glanced in at two mares employing unauthorized and probably ineffective washing techniques. According to the training manual, behavior like that in public spaces was punishable by whipping and restriction to C class rations, so it was pretty understandable that the pair looked up with some trepidation when they spotted me.
“Oh, it’s just Blackjack,” the dappled mare, Pastels, said in relief before flushing and snapping at her partner, “I swear, you are trying to get us flogged!”
“Fun,” giggled the white mare, Misty Hooves from the bakery, nuzzling her. Misty was a chronic offender. I didn’t know if she liked the kiss of the whip or if there was something else wrong with her. Or both.
I sighed. In theory, I was supposed to discourage this kind of thing. However, it fucking sucked being the mare who was supposed to discourage this kind of thing. “You won’t think so if it’s Daisy doing the flogging,” I commented, and instantly their smiles disappeared. I couldn’t blame them. With the constant duty and honor bullshit, a little flank spank was one of the few reliable means of recreation, and a lot of the security mares got really... enthusiastic about it. I stepped under the spray and immediately jerked. “Cold!”
I would note this as a gratuitous bit of lesbian pony fanservice made particularly annoying because it shows up so early, but it does provide some characterization for Blackjack. So she's a figure of authority, but she's willing to cut ponies some slack.
Instantly, my ruby eyes popped wide at her cute flank and graceful tail.
I would applaud that the story didn't frog march Blackjack to the nearest mirror to describe her, but this is still an awkward place to start mentioning her ruby eyes.
What? I was security! I was allowed to break the rules when pursuing a fine flank!
So...that's less "reasonable authority figure" and more "corrupt cop".
“Right. You got me,” I said as I held up the hoofcuffs. “So?”
“Aww… don’t know the spell yourself? I thought all the security unicorns did. Marmalade does,” Daisy taunted as she stepped over me, making her way towards the atrium stairs. The vapid unicorn gave a slack grin and nodded, and then both of them had a good laugh as they trotted away. I rose, glaring at their backs before hobbling after the pair.
So any security mare should be able remove the magical shackles of any other security mare. That's going to pose problems when they have to actually restrain rogue security mares now wouldn't it? Well, security mares besides Blackjack I suppose.
Huge support pillars had been sculpted in a parody of tree trunks, and the support beams had been fashioned to resemble branches.
Why would they be a parody? Are they making fun of trees? The word may be close, but it's not the right fit.
Still, despite being made out of recycled poo water, the chips were pretty tasty!
There's a lot of exclamation points in this story.
“Which means you’re intelligent. Skilled! That you possess far more competence than a lowly security pony like myself!” I said as she hesitated. I almost had her convinced! “I’ll pay you in oral sex!” I blurted. Textbook turned the shade of a spoiled apple, and Rivets covered half her face as she chuckled.
There's a line between roguish charm and being sleazy. Blackjack doesn't have to worry about that line though, she's pretty deep in the sleazy side.
“I had no idea. I didn’t think you were into mares,” Rivets said with a smile, munching on her grass chips.
Lady, Blackjack runs around chasing mares and just loudly sexually propositioned a mare in a public place. She's not exactly very subtle. You've either only known her very very recently or you're dense enough to make lead seem like Styrofoam.
I glared down at the cuffs on my hooves, growled, and then bit the conjured metal.
Interesting. I thought that it was a magical construct like a green lantern thing. Are they creating solid matter out of nowhere or are they just summoning it from somewhere else?
“Do overmares ever?” Rivets countered with a snort. “Her mother was bad enough; I sure didn’t shed any tears when she died last year. But that little tyrant is going to…” and she drew herself up short, realizing that even though I was the most irresponsible mare in security, I was in security. She coughed, then gave a little shrug. “I’m just concerned about the stable. That’s all.”
And that was the story of my life. No matter how friendly I was, I was security. She wasn’t. I enforced the Overmare’s rules and punished those who didn’t. I sighed, my ears drooping a little. “Well, see you at the card game tonight?”
I like this Rivets. She's also doing a lot of complaining, which appears to be the usual pastime for the stable besides fucking, but she's making the best of what she has instead of constantly screwing up and pitying herself.
Everypony in Stable 99 had a job assigned to them from birth. Maintenance ponies maintained, security ponies secured, and baker ponies baked. The forty or so males in Stable 99 were no different: they were breeding equipment. From birth, they had their segregated quarters in medical and were signed out by mares for reproductive purposes and, more frequently, recreational. There were twenty unicorns and twenty earth ponies on the breeding rotation. Once a male reached… how old was it? Twelve? Fifteen? -- they were put into breeding. Of course, to keep the number in rotation the same, that meant that a male had to be taken out of breeding and retired.
So they're walking sperm banks. You know, just because you've been living underground doesn't mean you have to turn into drow.
Wait, scratch that. Let me talk about the dark elves from the Forgotten Realms for a moment.
There are underlying reasons why the drow are so matriarchal and treat their males like shit. True to the spider motif they have, drow females are bigger, stronger, and possess a greater divine affinity than drow males. The principal drow deity, Lolth the spider goddess, also actively encourages constant domination and in-fighting among them to "weed out the weak". So the females have the means and incentive to dominate the males. Even then drow males were allowed to be fighters and wizards. They were considered expendable, yes, likely to be sacrificed to summon demons or whatever, but they weren't locked away and reduced to mobile cocks.
Why would they do this to their stallions? Population control? That would be better served by controlling the number of mares, not stallions. Why aren't they allowed to do anything else besides fuck? It's not hard for a stallion to be a repairpony and then fuck a bunch of mares when he's free. I don't think this was touched upon in the original. Little Pip was just sort of nonchalant about how "overmare" was they way things were. I doubt it will be touched upon here, the way things are going so far. It's just...there.
Yeah, except nopony ever asked me if I wanted them. She started for the exit. “Hey…” I called after her, and when she looked back, I sat down and raised my cuffed hooves. “You mind, Mom?”
That's actually a nice reveal. Smooth transition and the information was hidden temporarily without making it seem that it was being hidden. The only giveaway was that Blackjack thought a lot about how her mom was a security mare.
Technically, every unicorn, much less every security unicorn, was supposed to be able to do a whole slew of spells that I couldn’t.
You mentioned that earlier. You're starting to repeat yourself, Blackjack. If you're gonna whine, I'd appreciate fresher ones.
Okay, this was my chance! I grinned. “So… I’ve got ten minutes before I have to start my rounds. Can I swing by your quarters on my way for that flank spank?” I gave her my best ‘I promise you’ll enjoy it’ look.
She snorted, looked at me, and gave a flat ‘in your dreams’ “No.” Then she trotted away from me as I sat down hard, watching her go.
“Oh come on! I was being sympathetic! Nice! Midnight?” But she didn’t look back as she disappeared down towards the residential quarters with the rest of the mares. “Ugh, what does a mare have to do to get a little service in this place?!” I sighed, head hanging. “So unfair…”
That's...really disgusting. She's trying so hard to be sympathetic whenever she's complaining about being security, but it's hard to care for her when she's being so aggressively, stalkerishly, lewd. She reminds me of Princess Fatora from El Hazard, and that reminds me of how this scene would be perceived as twice as loathsome if she was a stallion.
“She’s the Overmare. It’s her job to keep us all safe,” I replied, almost by rote as my red eyes looked from one to the next. Only Rivets met my gaze.
Again with the self-description. My brown eyes can't take it.
I slowly slipped back from the table, leaving my bits behind.
Damn, she got so awkward that she left her va-- oh, wait she meant money.
She just looked at me with wary eyes. “Just... getting some stuff for Rivets.” Her soft voice was surprisingly deep for such a puny pony.
‘P-21: Breeder. Retire from service immediately,’ flashed on the screen of her… no… his PipBuck. “You’re the new P-21,” I muttered, staring down at his saddlebags and clothing.
Oh, okay. So their females are bigger than their males? Guess they're more drow-like than I first thought. Are they going to start worshiping spiders next?
As we struggled, though, I still had one advantage she didn’t. My horn flashed white as I wielded the baton in my magical grip. And one more thing I could do with telekinesis: with another thought, I triggered my PipBuck’s ‘Stable-Tec Assisted Targeting System’. The S.A.T.S. was a magical spell that momentarily slowed time almost to a stop and let me line up my attacks perfectly. Each attack cost some spell charge that had to build back up over time, but right now I wasn’t going to waste any of it. Three baton strikes to the head. The spell even gave me the probability of each strike landing!
You know, I fucking hate that spell. They should re-name it "Mookslayer", because that's what it does. It's like Inuyasha's Wind Scar, a move designed to wipe out all the faceless enemies, but always proves not enough for the boss monsters so there has to be a prolonged fight. The game had V.A.T.S. so you can turn the real-time shooter into a turn-based shooter in case you didn't have the reflexes or the patience to keep things moving at real-time, and probably so Bethesda can point at a feature and say "See? It's not just Oblivion with guns!" It wasn't a time-stop spell.
“Forget it. You can handle the little cock. I’ll report you’re bringing him in,” Daisy said sourly as she touched her bleeding nose and then glared at me. “One day, I’m going to have your fucking head on a stick, Blackjack. Promise you that.”
I'll note that Daisy didn't use S.A.T.S in return to sneak in some hits before moving on. I'm reminded of a spell, oh sorry, power, in the old D&D psionics handbook called "Temporal Velocity". It also functioned as a sort of time-stop spell. However, after the speeded up moment, the caster was severely disoriented for a few rounds as a result of being in a faster timeframe. S.A.T.S. doesn't seem to have any sort of drawback save for a brief cooldown.
Then I spotted the olive filly watching us from down the hall.
You know her name. Or is it another olive filly? Damn, now I'm getting confused.
“Oh…” Males in 99 lived in medical and were identified on their breeding roster by their designations. P for earth ponies, U for unicorns. Don’t ask me why the former wasn’t E; I’d never gotten a straight answer.
Who is she talking to? Me? I thought I was looking at the world through her eyes and she was narrating to herself. Am I some kind of passenger in her head?
“Nope,” I replied and took out the syringe of Med-X painkiller. I yanked the cap off the needle, jammed it into his leg, and squeezed the soft plastic tube to force the drugs into his system.
Guess she studied in the Dexter Morgan school for giving shots; able to find a blood vessel instantly.
There was a pop from his knee like a gunshot as he screamed, the limb jerking back into place.
I had a bone reset once. It was more of a wet, dull pop. It certainly didn't sound like a deafening explosion of gunpowder. Now, maybe it hurt like a gunshot, but Blackjack's not in the position to feel that hurt.
“Well… I suppose. He helped me with Scotch, after all,” she replied in far softer and warmer tones than ‘suppose’.
I like this. It has a subtlety to it and touches on the interesting question how fatherhood works in a stable. I'm thinking drow again (I keep going back to them because of this fic) and how matron mothers had a lot of patrons so the children of a drow noble house weren't sure who their fathers were. Normally, it wasn't important, then there's the whole deal with Driz'zt and Zaknafein, does Blackjack ever wonder about her father? Bah, it's not going to be touched upon further in this fic is it?
I wished I could just tell my mom things, but there was always a line. She would be my mom until a point was reached, and from then on she was firmly ‘Head of Security’. And that always came first.
You keep repeating this thought. This has to be like what? The third or fourth time to mention that your mom is head security first before mom?
He stood, then lifted his tail, carefully pulled out a bobby pin, and extracted a small screwdriver from his… body cavity.
This mare who loudly propositioned another mare in a public for oral sex, can't say the word "ass"...to herself.
Stable-Tec! Going outside! This was huge! Epic! A real game changer! With Stable-Tec here, all the Overmare and Rivets’s ponyshit didn’t matter. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be security anymore. Maybe…
Ugh...did she really just say "epic"? Is she going to talk in l337 next?
What was that noise and why was my mane crawling?
Your mane is crawling because it's been possessed by the spirit of foreshadowing.
The whites of her eyes were stained a solid piss yellow.
This is going to be an easy way to differentiate good and evil characters, isn't it? If they're described as resembling excrement in any way, they're bad news.
Her reeking brown teeth curled in a grin of pure glee.
Must be some new breed of super mutant with teeth-curling powers.
You!” rasped a pony from the door, a unicorn floating a rusty razor blade in front of her. I found something better… I hoped… in the rusty twenty gauge shotgun dropped by the earth pony I’d just killed. I didn’t even need to use the mouthgrip. I slipped into S.A.T.S. as she charged, the blade slashing wildly in front of her, the world dropping to a crawl. In the spell, I could target her legs, body, or…
The Mookslayer, of course.
There was an easy way to tell which way the raiders had come: they’d left a trail of blood from residential door to residential door all the way down the hall.
And she's correctly identified the enemy type despite this being her first time encountering them. That's some lucky guess there.
Inside one room, I saw a red bar moving towards the door, and I slipped into S.A.T.S. the second her head was in view. My glowing baton crushed her windpipe in a single lucky hit. Her yellow eyes bulged and rolled as she dropped a .38 revolver from her mouth; hey, I might have slept through two thirds of my classes and Textbook’s lectures, but I paid attention to my firearms training! My backswing smashed her temple, sending her slumping against the door frame.
And the Mookslayer does it again.
“Yummy!” Then she lunged, grabbing my leg and trying to bite through my security barding!
You crushed her windpipe, she should be dead from asphyxiation, but this could be an interesting touch of unreliable narrator. Blackjack only thought she crushed the raider's windpipe, but had not actually hit with enough force.
I suddenly became very aware of one part of him that wasn’t mechanical. A part that I was fairly sure was going to be inside me in a few seconds. I became aware of a whimper and looked over at a prone white shape. The Overmare. One of the filthy, yellow-eyed ponies was pinning her down and raping her, her mouth and flanks bloody. The idea was utterly alien to me, and I did all I could to tear my eyes away and hide my horror. Mares might occasionally force another mare against her will, a class A crime, but for a stallion to do that to a mare was… focus, Blackjack!
That's really gross, and excessive. This is the first chapter and we've got a stallion's head being blown off with a shotgun, cannibalism and self-mutilation, a pony exploding into chunks of gore, rape...where do you go from here when you've set the bar so high and so early?
A Stable 99 stallion? How?
I actually like this bit if it's what I think it is. It's a consequence of a bad system coming back to bite them in the ass. It's potty-mouthed raider Driz'zt and potty-mouthed raider Zaknafein coming back to Menzoberranzan to give their house what for.
She flushed furiously. “Go buck yourself, Blackjack.”
You've already used the word "fuck". No reason to do this now.
“Sodomized,” P-21 said simply. I was really glad that Daisy didn’t have a shotgun at that moment. She did, however, launch herself at P-21 with the clear intention of smashing him into blue jelly. I was barely able to stop her. What, was he trying to get killed?
“How’d you know?” Marmalade asked curiously, but he just gave her a flat look and went back to work. “Rude.”
This is a needlessly disgusting detail that goes nowhere. Better off cut is what I say.
Luck saved me from a messy splat as bones churned beneath my hooves.
You know, you can only use that term for so many times before I start replacing "luck" with "the author".
Footnote: Level Up.
New Perk: Rapid Reload - All your weapon reloads are 25% faster than normal.
This wasn't clever when Kkat did it, and it's not clever now. If you want your character to develop new skills, show them developing these skills, like Blackjack practicing with various guns and how to reload them with maximum efficiency. Kind of similar to those bootcamp training montages when cadets disassembled their guns and reassembled them. Only this one is for reloading.
Good God, what if DannyJ did this for To Keep the Fire Burning?
ENEMY DEFEATED Firelink acquired 5000 souls, then allocated it to his STR and END
Well, that's the end of the first chapter. It's...really excessive. More so than the original I believe. This seems to be a pattern now for game crossovers. Chapter 1 is particularly long because the author wants the tutorial section of the game completed in the first chapter. It's not completely unbearable, I might come back to check on the next chapter, but so far it hasn't been so much as gripping as it has been vile.
This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Reckoning
Equestria's fragments have reunited, and the power of sunlight shines once more within Celestia. With the remnants of the Old Kingdom destroyed, the Abyssal Throne sent away, the threat of Gravitas defeated, and Black Rose no more, Equestria now faces the encroaching darkness of Oceanus and his rebels.
But the stage is not yet fully set. Twilight Sparkle and her friends must gather what means they may before the battle is joined.
Cover art provided by Obsidian Rose
After the siege of Bastion City and the theft of the power of sunlight, Spike takes on Prince Terrato's offer to train under the kirin, Seethe Scale. He must travel to the Western Barrier Land to gain the strength to help his friends.
Once there, however, Spike soon realizes that there is more for him to contend with in this harsh environment than developing his abilities.
Black Rose's elite agents serve her in various ways. To accomplish her tasks, their talents must be both great and diverse, requiring individuals from the far-flung corners of Equestria. To gather them is a difficult task in and of itself, a task that two siblings must deal with if Black Rose's plans could even have a chance to succeed.
Throughout history, the wolven have been known as vicious and rapacious raiders, swooping in from their frozen homeland far to the north in small bands to seize what they please from unfortunate settlements and caravans across Equestria's borders. For this one occasion, however, wolven raiders have acquired something that may be more trouble than it's worth.
Lexarius the steward, the alicorn sent by the Herd to aid those oppressed by the Everlasting Kingdom and their own tainted heritage, seeks to help those he considers his new kin. The first step, however, proves difficult as he must preside over a meeting that reveals old hatreds that may well destroy his path before he could even take it.
This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Breaking Point
Following the events of Breaking Point, Twilight Sparkle and her friends discover that Equestria's demise may not come from an enemy invasion, but from within. The Barrier Lands and the Heartland begin the slow and uneasy process of reuniting into a single Equestria, but this long-delayed joining is already in danger at its conception.
With Celestia's power in her grasp and her agents by her side, the wheels of Black Rose's plans for Equestria's future continue to turn. However, her brazen gamble has done more than just bring down a centuries-old barrier. Ancient powers begin to stir: the remnants of a dark period in Equestria's history, the immortal inhabitants of Celestia's homeworld, and a rising tide of darkness coming ever closer.