Tag Archives: gaming

Daily Journal 3-21-2014


My first week back to the land of the living has been busy and I’m so thankful!!  If you’ve read my previous posts from the 18th and the 28th, you’ll know that I’ve been feeling b l a h for quite a while, so getting some pep back in my step feels like a big deal!  I wish I knew what exactly to attribute it to as I have been eating a little better, taking an herbal supplement, and spring has finally graced our hillsides with warm breezes, but I like to think it’s because my Shoulder Angel has been looking out for me ♥

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This popular new Puzzle Quest spin-off has exploded with popularity in the months since its launch October 3, 2013; it’s currently available on Steam, iOS, and Android.  This version of Puzzle Quest has a lot of intricacies and more strategy than the other games in the brand and the learning curve is steep.  After recommending the game to several friends and then helping them get started, I decided to create this go-to guide to starting a successful Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign campaign.

Check out my Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign  Strategy Guide Site

Click to visit my Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign Strategy Guide Site

The site will change as the game changes so bookmark it to check back for new and updated content.


Like the Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign Guide page on Facebook!


Follow @MPQDRguide on Twitter!


My Skyrim Journey: Part 4


Start following my journey from the beginning:
My Skyrim Journey: Part 1

Cockatiel alduin Skyrim dragon


Jorrvaskr, the Companions' Hall in Whiterun

Jorrvaskr, the Companions’ Hall in Whiterun

I still needed to go check out that dragon at the watchtower, but first I thought I might get some helpful goodies by helping a Whiterun resident, named Amren, retrieve his family’s sword from Redoran’s Retreat.  The Companions of Jorrvaskr in Whiterun also asked me to visit that location to kill the bandit leader and make the area safer for townsfolk.  Two birds with one stone, right?  Redoran’s Retreat was a pretty easy and small cave area with a few bandits and, as promised, a bandit chief.  Lots of sacks and barrels of food items abound so I filled up on snacks and even used the kettle to cook a few meals for later.  In the back of the cave there was a chest which contained the sword Amren had tasked me to find.
For solving the Trouble in Skyrim, Farkas gave me 100 Gold and referred me to another Companion, Skjor, who then told me I needed to pass a trial to become a true Companion to make sure that I’m honorable.  What’d he think I just did?! Whatever. I can totally use the XP (and the loot 😛 ).  I returned Amren’s father’s sword to him and he taught me his father’s sword and shield technique which added a level to my Block skill and one to my One-handed fighting skill.  Bonus!  He also gave me some piddly amount of Gold.  But his training helped me to…

Level Up skill screen skyrimLEVEL UP!

I reached level 6 and chose to put a point in Health.  I increased my Two-handed skill twice with the Barbarian specialty (2/5) which will now give me 40% more damage when using two-handed weapons!

Merrygold applies to be a Companion at their hall in Jorrvaskr

Merrygold applies to be a Companion at their hall in Jorrvaskr

I paid Farkas, a Master of Heavy Armor, to train me one level in that skill.  When I ask him about the mission Skjor has sent me on, he tells me that he will be my Shield-Brother on the task and will watch me to judge my honor and readiness to become a Companion.  The task, he explains, is to travel to a location that a scholar had described, and to find a blade-piece of “Wuuthrad”, Ysgramor’s famous weapon.  All these vowel-light names have me a bit confused as to where we are going and what we are getting and who it’s for.  But whatever.  All I hear is “Lets go kill some bad guys and get LOOT!”
Farkas tells me he will meet me at the speculated site of the piece of Wuuthrad, called Dustman’s Cairn.  He runs off without me so I head to the Warmaiden’s to smith some better weaponry.  I leave Whiterun and head out across the plains being careful to avoid the tower where the dragon was seen.

On the way I pass some giants and mammoths,

mammoths and giants skyrim

So that’s what that map marker means!

find another NIRNROOT(!) by a creek bed,
Nirnroot near Whiterun, Skyrim and whistle a jaunty tune.
I soon meet Farkas at the top opening of Dustman’s Cairn and I wonder what he’s been doing all this time.  Probably doing pushups to look all manly and grimy and stuff.
Hot.Farkas meets at Dustman's Cairn

Dustman's Cairn... or colon... you decide. map

A map of Dustman’s Cairn…
or colon…
you decide.

Proving Honor  sounds easy enough! We descend the weathered stone spiral steps into Dustman’s Cairn.  Almost immediately I find a table with a two-handed weapon skill book called “The Battle of Sancre Tor”.  There are lots of mummified draugrs who must have been hella-rich ’cause they are all carrying Gold.  Soon enough, we are ambushed by -no, not bandits this time- enemies called the Silver Hand. They are all carrying Gold as well, but they all, oddly enough, using silver swords and some even have iron ingot on them (which of course, I loot!).  Hmm, curious.  I find out why when Farkas morphs into a hulking werewolf! After he clears the room of Silver Hands and returns to human-Farkas, he explains that he has been blessed to turn into a wild beast.  He says that the inner circle of the Companions has this blessing as well.  Not exactly sure I’d call it a “blessing”.  I don’t have much time to ponder this revelation because…


I reached Level 7 and added a point to Stamina.  I invest in point 1/5 of Juggernaut which increases my Heavy Armor rating by 20%.

I think Farkas is checking me out

I think Farkas is checking me out.

As we head out of the cairn, I am faced with a mighty Word Wall which teaches me the Thu’um: Yol Toor Shul, or Fire Breath.

We return to Jorrvaskr in Whiterun and I am officially and truly inducted into the Companions.  I am told that Companions have

Glory in Battle and Honor in Life.

Well said.

Joining the Companions at Jorrvaskr

Joining the Companions at Jorrvaskr


My Skyrim Journey: Part 3


Start following my journey from the beginning:
My Skyrim Journey: Part 1

Cockatiel alduin Skyrim dragon


My day began with checking my quest log and noticing that I had been given a choice of who to follow out of Helgen, Hadvar or Ralof.  Damnit! I never saw that there was a choice! All I knew is that there was a dragon swooping around and I was in a panic. I followed the first person I saw.  No wonder Hadvar wanted me to join the damn Imperials; I had chosen him instead of Ralof the Stormcloak.  To right my wrong, I decided to start over…again.  I re-made my character and got her as close to the last one as I could and restarted.  I was already bummed and frustrated though and read on a wiki and found out that the

re weren’t any lasting effects of picking Hadvar over Ralof; it just decided who would befriend you in the beginning.  So I nixed my re-run and went back to my original Merrygold and started back up at Riverwood Traders.

The first order was to head to Whiterun and let the Jarl know about the dragon attacking Helgen.  On my way there, I heard the familiar pulsating hum of the NIRNROOT! I plucked it from the edge of the riverbed and continued to Whiterun and discovered locations of farms and the Honningbrew Meadery.  I didn’t stop in to wet my whistle; I had news to deliver!


Whiterun (Photo credit: ShadowHeartsTwo)

As soon as I notified the Jarl about the dragon, Irileth runs in to say that the dragon has been sighted at the watchtower.  She wants me to come help since I’m the only one of them who has ever survived a dragon attack. Instead of hopping off to help her, I decide that the dragon can just wait on me so I can do some misc stuff round town and level up a bit first.  In Dragonsreach, Hrongar tells me,

I am not a man, just a weapon in human form.  Unsheathe me and point me at the enemy.

I talked to Mikael about Carlotta, started In My Time of Need, turned down the Argonian Ale Extraction (I’m no thief!…at least not for someone else’s benefit!), learned how to smith and alchemize, and then went to checkout the Companions and was eventually inducted.  I cleared out the Halted Stream Camp and got lots of…

you guessed it


I had to make about 6 trips fast-traveling to Whiterun to sell it all,  and before I headed out to take care of the dragon at the watchtower, I had about 3,500 coin.  I still needed one more sliver of XP before I leveled up so I hunkered down to sneak my way to the watchtower and leveled up my Sneak and myself!


I reached level 5 and chose to put a point in Stamina and to save towards another level in Speech.

My Skyrim Journey: Part 2



Start following my journey from the beginning:
My Skyrim Journey: Part 1

Cockatiel alduin Skyrim dragon

Merrygold Nord The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Merrygold visits the Riverwood Trader

So I am now a Nord named Merrygold.  Taller than most other residents of Tamriel and with a natural resistance to cold, I am ready to meet whatever destiny has in store.

One brave prisoner met the end of his life at the hand of the executioner and his blade and just as Ulfric Stormcloak was called to follow suit, a mighty, dark dragon appeared in the sky overhead and rained his fury upon all at the butchers’ block.  Hadvar made me an accomplice in escape and he instructed me to run into a tower and through a, now ablaze, inn.  Fire and debris from the crashing dragon made for a dramatic scene but I and Hadvar escaped into a underground bunker with our lives.  Turns out that this dungeon was a great place to kill a few easy Imperial soldiers and get their equipment, and thus equip myself, and pick up some pretty basic weaponry and a bit of loot as well.  I learned how to pick a lock and even leveled that skill up while in the passageway because I just had to check out every locked cell to see if there was anything good inside…or bodies to loot 😀
I even came across a sleeping bear that I killed with a bow & arrow!  I might feel a bit ashamed, but it was a big bear that surely would have eaten me! I took the cavern’s dead ends to pick up a bit of extra loot and was beginning to get the hang of the Kinect voice commands (boy, there are a LOT) which seems somewhat helpful at this point.  Hadvar and I finally emerged out onto the side of a snowy mountain and proceeded to make our way down the winding path.  Adventure is sure to meet us at the bottom.

I talk to Hadvar to find out that the dragon that attacked Helgen,  was the first to be seen in a century and because it appeared at a time fortuitously sparing Ulric Stormcloak’s life, it must be something the Stormcloak rebels are using as a tool.  He also tries to persuade me to join the Imperial Legion even though they were the ones who were just trying to behead me.

“It was just a mistake”, he says.
“A clerical error”, he says.
“I’ll put in a good word for you”, he says.

…I tell him that I’ll have to think about it.

On our way to the town at the bottom of the hill I spy a small encampment of bandits, which I swiftly kill and loot to gain a Black Mage Robe and a skill book, and I also discovered Embershard Mine and a Guardian Stone.  I pick the Warrior Stone there and I decide to go ahead and enter the mine to see see if I can mine some shit.  Outside of the entrance I find a Woodcutters Axe- looks useful.  Inside are some bandits but I ably dispatch them from this mortal coil and investigate to find a pickaxe, a skill book, a blacksmith’s forge and grindstone, a workbench, lots of coin loot, and gems.  Oh yeah, there was also a few veins of iron which I mined until it was depleted and then tried my hand at some smithing. Bandits are easy.


I reached level 2 and chose Stamina (so I could carry more loot!) and Speech.  I’m gonna be like Rico Suave 😉

Over the river and through the wood to Riverwood we go!  Hadvar introduces me to Alvor who tells me some stuff about politics, Ulfric, and dragons and shit and I really don’t care at this point, but he offers me some free loot, so it’s all good. Then I get mixed up in some two-men-love-one-lady kinda bullshit (A Lovely Letter Quest) and I totes-mcgoats tell Camilla that the dudes are fighting dirty over her.  Faendal wins the day and I ask him to be my archer.  Which is handy because then I go in to the Riverwood Traders and am asked to retrieve The Golden Claw from Bleak Falls Barrow by Lucan Valerius.  Why the heck not?!

View from a bandit fortification at the foothills of Bleak Falls Barrow. Skyrim

View from Bleak Falls Temple, a bandit fortification, at the foothills of Bleak Falls Barrow.

Faendal and I start to climb a big-ass mountain, kill some baby bandits, loot the hell out of everything, and enjoy some views on the way.


I reached level 3 and invested a point into Health and Speech.

We head into the Barrows and fight more bandits, some draugrs (creepy skeleton-zombie-mummy things), and a dude who lies to me about the Golden Claw…and so he must die.  I finally find the claw and solve all the puzzles and successfully reach the end of the Barrows where a Word wall teaches me the Thu’um: Fus (Unrelenting Force).  I find a totally sweet cache of loot behind the waterfall of the Word Wall before getting out of dodge.

Word Wall Thu'um Fus Bleak Falls Barrow

Word Wall Thu’um: Fus at Bleak Falls Barrow



I reached level 4 and put a point into Stamina and Smithing.

We fast-traveled back to Riverwood, because I didn’t have time to crap around, and gave the Golden Claw back to Lucan, who was most appreciative.  Good deed for the day done.  I took some pictures to commemorate my awesomeness and saved my game.

The Golden Claw Lucan Riverwood Traders

The Golden Claw is returned to Lucan Valerius at Riverwood Traders