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Trash pick up in Kenner LA on jan 9th
I forgot to post on here about my ongoing cleanup going on at Lakeside Boat Launch next to Treasure Chest Casino. I have 2 people going with me so far so, if interested, it's jan 9th at 12 in the afternoon. Hope to see more people there!
Hey all. My name is Brandon and I am organizing a trash cleanup of Laketown Lakefront Trail in Kenner. The area where Treasure Chest Casino is. I'm a part of a community called coldweathercleanup and they marked January 9th as an international day of cleaning. Since I'm just one dude trying to figure this out any comments and insight would be appreciated. I will have trash bags available, but bring your own trash picker upper if you can. Let's start the year off right by making our towns and cities a cleaner place folks.
First chapter here: https://www.reddit.com/HFY/comments/cbg4gs/damage_control_chapter_1/ So, this one's going to be a deep cut. If you haven't read the novels I've done before, this story throws you in at the deep end, and it spoils at least one major plot point from the 6th novel, Skin Hunger, as well as several other major plot points from other novels. If you want to catch up with that stuff, https://hellskitchensink.com/ check it out here. If you'd just like to jump into things, this is what matters: There are Atlanteans, an apparently fish-like race who have recently revealed themselves to humans, who have a population of approximately 50,000 and who are on the verge of extinction, and who were recently partially responsible for a near-catastrophe involving a war between a psychotic god of dreams and a primordial entity of stasis, and are trying to make amends. There is supernatural craziness. There is a top secret branch of the US Military- or possibly intelligence services, or maybe even just running loose- referred to as the Esoteric Forces of the United States. There's a lot of damage to control. ----
Chapter 3: Hel
USEF Report Dagon, section C (Culture), Paragraph 5-11, Rank HEL-6 Almost all of the 'threat' posed by the Atlanteans is, fundamentally, cultural. It is also largely unintentional. While the Atlantean capacity to develop gods is formidable compared to individual humans, their population is .001% that of humanity, and their rate of population increase is hovering at just shy of 0%. They cannot meaningfully invade us, and they sacrificed the element of surprise that could- conceivably- have let them conquer us. They are not a threat directly, and any genocidal actions on our part would not change that- The damage the Atlanteans can do has already been done. Obviously, the reverse is not true. The Atlanteans are a very small, discreet, and largely insular minority. These have historically been poorly treated in America, and literally every other nation. While legislation has been passed to recognize them as a protected minority, the current administration has shown a certain disregard. The survival of the Atlantean culture is threatened in a number of ways, not least the possibility of a repeat of the Neanderthal extinction. There is substantial evidence that humans and Neanderthals crossbred. This no doubt contributed to the gradual extinction of the Neanderthal. The possibility that someday the only sign remaining of the Atlanteans will be a certain cast of the eyes, a certain hair color, or a few dozen introns on the end of a DNA strand, is disconcertingly likely. Back to the issue of culture. Atlantean culture is broadly monarchic. Because of its small population and strained resources, collectivism has been endemic. These traits are likely to fade, but because of the long lifespans and conservative attitudes of older Atlanteans, this fading is likely to take place over decades, or even centuries. Many younger Atlanteans have begun to emigrate, many of them to other countries. This is a pain in the ass for security purposes, as almost all Atlanteans have access to information that is destabilizing, but the most we can hope to do is mitigate cultural harm by encouraging their integration. Large Atlantean populations- a thousand or more- have settled in the mouth of the Amazon River, the Thames, on the eastern shores of Puerto Rico, on the coast of New Orleans, and off the shore of Kyushu. Smaller populations- a hundred or more- have taken up shelter off Australia by Rottnest Island, the Vietnam coast near Hai Phong, in the Mozambique Channel by Madagascar, south of the Canary Islands, the Strait of Gibraltar, Copenhagen's bays, in the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, and a sizable population in Lake Erie, right by Buffalo. The largest political push that the Atlanteans have been showing is for renewable energy sources and less water pollution. The Atlantean Queen, Ku-kaili-moku-polemo, has made a dramatic push for intervention in the Pacific Trash Gyre. There have notably been no Atlantean populations settled in India or China, possibly a commentary on the state of their ecological systems and water pollution; Unfortunately, this has also been a cause for increased tensions between the two nascent superpowers and the USA. More domestically, Atlanteans have managed to tap into the 'Crystal Spires and Togas' new age movement. While not fitting the classical Greek image of Atlanteans, their spirituality has attracted adherents to a number of small schools of meditation. While these might be uncharitably referred to as cults, the Atlantean attitude towards divinity and free will has largely kept them on the 'church' side of the divide. While the media has questioned the wisdom of Atlantean teachings being spread in the wake of the near-catastrophe last September, the EFUS attitude has been that creating a home-grown population of human divingeneers is worth the relatively small risk; We can't get this genie back in the bottle, but we can ask it for a few wishes. Chief Researcher Cherry H. Verne The helicopter was a misery. Loud, suspended above the ground, uncomfortably exposed. The jet, on the other hand, was a wonder. It moved through the air with only the most modest occasional turbulence, high above the clouds. I stared out of one of the windows, my breath caught in my throat as I watched the clouds drift far below, like sand dunes deep beneath the sea. Even the fastest currents of Atlantis had been limited compared to this speed. Atlantis had been small, and centralized. The humans lived across the vast and desiccated skin of their world, and sometimes they had to get from place to place quickly. Without the advantages of being able to leap between worlds with the intercedence of their gods, they came to novel solutions. It was not as convenient, but it wound up pushing them to greater heights. We travelled at speeds where the air itself became a kind of fluid, thick and turbulent, full of currents and doldrums. It was glorious. "Fucking son of a bitch," growled Miller. "The news got out. The Exquisition and the Peers are sending a delegation to join us. Using the goddamn Concorde. They'll be there before we will." His eyes flickered over to Smith, narrowing. "I know you like to think of us as having our lips fastened thoroughly to the royal teat, you metallic fuck, but I loathe those imperialist assholes. Not least because we both know they will demand the death of the Archmage. I didn't leak word, and nobody I told would. On the other hand..." Her eyes drifted over to Pagan. The Major sat on the far side of the aisle in the small craft, silently listening to the conversation. "The official policy of the Mexican Government is that any supernatural being found to be contravening the law in aid of organized crime, or taking the life of a human, is to be executed." The unspoken subtext in that statement was clear to everyone. The Mexican authorities would not want anyone to find out about any deals they cut. They would have good reason to keep the mission a secret. So, had someone betrayed one another? Or was the presence of an Archmage just that difficult to hide? How on earth had everything devolved so quickly? Miller groaned. "It gets worse. Chatter suggests that the Tongxinheli and the Indian Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation have learned about this, too. They're likely to get involved." "And they are hardly known for throwing away a useful resource," said Smith, teeth gritted. "Fucking arrogant pricks. What are they thinking?" "That the United States is unlikely to go to war over a man who, according to official statements, doesn't actually exist. They'll be out of their environment, though. They won't have access to heavy equipment- I don't care how secret the supernatural is, East Asian ordinance going off on U.S. soil is going to go over like a lead balloon. Their supernatural advantage will be..." He chewed the words for a moment, frowning. "Harder to judge. Both are capable of substantial, if inconsistent, supernatural power multipliers." "I am sorry," I said, finally pressured by sheer curiosity. "But- these groups-" "The Tonxinheli is a grab bag of mainland hick priests, Hong Kong triads, Tibetan monks working under duress, and Mongolian shamans, all being pressured- financially, diplomatically, or personally- by the Chinese government. The Ministry..." His face darkened. "They feed people to monsters," said Smith. "Usually poor, or undesirable." "No actual evidence of that," grumbled Miller, but not very loudly. "They've got some nasty alliances in the supernatural world. Blood's a lot closer to the skin, down there. Her Majesty's Most Loyal Exquisition is British. They mostly deal with faeries, because the fuckers are thick as flies over there, but we usually have close relations with them. The Peers started as an old knightly order descending from Charlemagne, and rose to prominence after World War 2 turned the Franco-German border into the largest source of Undead ever. There are rumors of a 'Bloody War' that they were involved in before that, but mostly, they're a bunch of overly religious technology-obsessed freaks." "You are playing an incredibly brave card there, metal-boy," said Smith, an eyebrow raised. "I did this to myself because I was suffering from severe PTSD, quadrapalegia, and had been manipulated by a psychotic monster. They did it because they thought pacts were unholy." He looked out the window, his brow wrinkled. "This is bad. This is fucked up on a scale that defies simple Murphy's Law. Everything's coming together too quickly." He shook his head. "Hope we're not putting our foot in another hornet's nest." I tried to think of something comforting to say, some way to encourage my superior officer. None were obvious to me. I settled for patting his shoulder companionably. "What is our plan, Sergeant?" "Twofold. We need to strike fast and hard when we get in, which means dividing." He gritted his teeth. "I hate to do this to you, not least because I want you close by where you can watch for ambushes, but I need you to check out the hotel. See what you can find out there. Any chance you can track down what supernaturals were in there?" "I can promise nothing, but if anyone can..." "Good." Miller nodded to the two foreign officials and the four men who had stayed silent in the back of the plane, dressed in heavy black fatigues, masks covering their faces, heavy weapons sleeved over their shoulders. The men were anonymous, but I could read them beneath those masks. Pulses of belief both strong and weak- One nostalgia, one fear, one anger, one loathing like I'd never seen, one joy and innocence, one ambivalent melancholy. I could see such things in the unguarded, and often, those who wore masks left their souls very bare indeed. "What will you be doing, Sergeant, if I may ask?" "The mission profile says that our man was bilking a local casino, the Treasure Chest, using... Well, they weren't entirely clear, but he'd won enough money to be odd. There's a possibility he may be going for one last big score there. Major Pagan, Jissika Smith, and I will be keeping an eye there. Privates, you'll be keeping an eye on the local traffic and making sure he doesn't rabbit without us knowing about it. If we don't find him in the next few hours, it's going to be damned near impossible to figure out where he goes. And if he goes to ground..." He didn't have to finish the statement. This was a man who could afford to spend decades in hiding. The plane landed in New Orleans, where we were studiously ignored by the locals. On the streets, I drew more than a few surprised glances as I walked, and even the occasional venomous look. There were a handful of Atlanteans in the city, but I did not keep my eye out for them. I slipped through the crowd without notice or care, making my way towards the hotel where the scene had been found. The police had not yet been notified. The scene of the crime was untouched. As I entered, I was struck by several things. The lack of blood, for one thing. The fact that, aside from the now-clearly-severed arm, there was no sign of the men supposedly murdered in this room. The lingering aroma of divinity. And finally, a slender, hard-knuckled fist. I awoke, in a large metallic room. A slender young man who nonetheless had wrinkles around the corners of his eyes from too much smiling was studying me. "Are you alright?" he asked, softly, in heavily accented English. "Sorry about the blow. Are you well?" Had I been a person entirely unlike myself, I might have responded violently. Sent current surging through the metal walls, fried every other person within, fought and struggled. Instead, I nodded. "You didn't strike anything particularly vital. Blow to the head, but I do not feel murky, or concussed." I studied him for a moment. He was slender, not very old, and his head was shaved bare. His warm brown eyes twinkled, and he wore a loose saffron robe. He had hit me at least as hard as Miller could, and he blazed with oddly tinted belief. Practically a furnace. The others... Three of them were humans. One of them was tall, broad-shouldered, a pair of black sunglasses over his eyes, dressed in a white business suit. A gun sat in a holster under one armpit, and a leather bag under the other. The second was dressed like a tourist, a colorful T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. He sat with the same ramrod stiffness I had seen in Pagan. The third had his hair up in a bright white turban, wrapped elegantly, with an impressive mane of black hair surrounding his face on all sides. I knew something of the significance of the garment to certain religions, but I did not recognize this specific variant off hand. This man was- I studied my memories- Latino, or Indian, judging by his features. The others were East Asian, I thought. Chinese, I decided, from the context of who was expected to get involved. The last person in the truck was not human in the least. Nearly seven feet tall, skin black not like a human's but like a burn victim's. Wiry but with muscles like coconuts stuffed into a stocking, her proportions were almost comical, massive tusks forcing her mouth open, growing in place of her canines. A long, red tongue hung out of her mouth, dripping reddish saliva onto the floor almost constantly. "" said the man in the tourist's clothing, "" He was speaking Mandarin Chinese. I had taken the time to learn Mandarin. The tonal nature of the language was unusual, but I had mastered it quickly. "You are safe," said the young man who had hit me. "What are you?" I asked, frowning as I studied him. That belief- Was it belief? Or divinity? He did not feel like a god, but he was not entirely human, either. I had read files about the human phenomenon of 'Heroes'- those who were, in a sense, gods made out of still-living humans. Was this what they looked like? "A humble monk," he said, bowing his head once. "" said the man who I now strongly suspected was the leader of this small group. "Does he speak English?" I asked, feigning lack of knowledge. Their assumptions were a useful tool. "He understands it," said the monk, giving me a warm smile. "I am more proficient, so he asks me to translate his words, so they are not misinterpreted. We are aware that the Atlanteans have made many agreements with the Americans. You more than many. We wish to offer you an alternative." "" "You have a choice in the matter, of course. We do not intend to abduct you. But if you should wish to explore your options, to experience what another government may be willing to offer, you can." He was elaborate. Eloquent. Trying to confuse his compatriots, whose English was not as good. I wondered about the wisdom of sending only one man who understood English so well. "Monk," said the man in the white business suit and the sunglasses, and his English sounded like he'd spent his entire life in the south, "don't go scarin' the lady by acting all vague and odd." He stepped forward, and settled down on his heels, coming level with me, eye to eye. "The monk's in this job because the government leans on his people, because that's the only way he'll work. The Political Officer there is here to make sure that he doesn't go AWOL. But I'm here because the PRC pays damn well. What you're looking for, what you want, they can provide. You just have to be willing to work together with them." "" asked the black-skinned creature, in some ancient and esoteric dialect of Hindi. "" murmured the man in the turban, in the same near-forgotten language. "" Alright, perhaps I cheat a bit in learning languages. Being able to read the soul of a man makes understanding them much easier when they speak. It was not the kind of talent I would ever broadcast. People were far more honest if they believed you could not understand them. I would hate to take that comfort from them. "What do you want from me?" I asked, allowing a tiny hint of the trepidation and fear I felt ease into my words. "" said the man in charge. "" "Nothing serious. We were alerted by contacts in the US government of a..." The man with the sunglasses paused, and frowned at the monk. "Bodhisattva?" asked the monk, amusement flickering in his eyes. "Of a very potent being," said the man in the sunglasses, forehead wrinkled in an obvious glare at the monk. "Since your people ain't been interested in joining the PRC, they've been... understandably tense. We find out about something that could give the Americans a greater advantage. Understandably, we want to avoid that." He smiled. "And if we can persuade you to give us a greater advantage, as well..." "I... I'm not sure. If I were to betray them- There could be repercussions. Strikes against my people." "" said the man in charge. "" "We just need a distraction. A chance to help this guy- Victim of at least a couple of genocides- escape from the governments that perpetuated those genocides." The man in the glasses smiled. "You know about the Westerners’ history. We never did anything like that." I did not correct him. "How will I contact you?" "Don't worry about that. We will know." The man in sunglasses winked as he patted me companionably on the shoulder. "Magic." I did not detect magic. I did detect the faint spark of electricity in the tiny thing he'd planted on my shoulder. It had sunk into the slick material of the raincoat. "" asked the political officer. The man in sunglasses smiled. "Consider it. Whatever you're looking for, we can certainly offer it." "I'll think about it," I said, letting the nervousness flow through my words. Disguising the planning, the certainty, that hid beneath. I would not switch sides. There were a thousand reasons, but they all condensed down to one. The game of sides was just that: A game. It was a distraction, and in the face of annihilation, a lethal one. These humans were positioning themselves to have the strongest position on the chessboard after it had been set on fire. The most logical solution to this was to destroy them, utterly, giving them no choice but to throw their efforts behind the EFUS. It was my side- By chance, but that was reason enough. As they stopped the truck- We had apparently been in the back of an 18-wheeler- and allowed me to return to the city, I strategized internally. If I simply alerted Miller or destroyed the scrying device, it would scare them off. Let the prey know that they had been scented. But if they committed themselves to the conflict, they would be forced to see it through. I studied the bug, and my brows knit. It was delicate, finer than an eyelash. That such a small, inconsequential thing could be used to track me, to transmit sound, was... impressive. Also annoying. I would have to avoid discharge. There was no question that something so delicate would be destroyed by the shocks I could produce. The phone in my pocket rang. I took it out, fumbling with the interface. The phone was a phenomenal device, though a strange one. An invisible network of oracles, allowing people across the world to speak, find information, plan things. I had seen the way humans cared for theirs, placed so much belief and thought into them. The only thing that kept them from awakening was that they were fragile, and not built to last. That was a terrible crime, to me and my people. To make a tool that was disposable. To create a tool that was never meant to be more. You built to last, because that was how you made a tool truly great, growing more potent with the years. This... I tried to think of the words to describe it. Child soldiers. Cancer-ridden fetuses. A thousand dark images. Then I hit the 'answer' button, because it had been ringing for nearly half a minute while I stared blankly. "Yes?" "Yeagerta! It's nearly sunset, I've called you three times, what's the news?" I shook my head. Strategy. "I was-" I let the silence hang for just a moment, as though I was planning to tell Miller. Showing the foreign agents what they expected, a self-interested person who thought themselves loyal, who had to talk themselves into betrayal. "Distraction. It took longer than I thought to sniff out the crime scene. I'm on my way now, and I've got bad news." "Shit. How bad?" "Your men might not be dead. They might just be hostages." "Aaaaah, double-shit! We tracked him down to the Treasure Chest Casino, but... Well, things are a little bit fraught here. Get here as quick as you can, I could use a voice of reason, or alternatively, another pair of fists." "Yes, Sergeant." I made my way to the address, up the stairs into a cheap motel, and into a doorway. I knocked twice, and the door opened. Major Pagan had a large machete in one hand, standing halfway out of her chair. She settled as she recognized me, and the ivory-handled machete disappeared like smoke in the wind. Jissika Smith had been holding a slender bone needle, carved in scrimshaw. The other three members of the room were somewhat less calm. The man and the woman in elegant evening dress were in a pact, I could tell- And the woman was visibly not human, her skin the color of silver, tall, thin, elfin, almost as tall as me. She stood with her long, delicate hands folded in front of her, the man with a drink in hand, the scent of sharp alcohol filling the air. The last... Well, I couldn't guess at their gender... was actually quite like Miller. The lines of electricity were not as all-encompassing as in him, but still encompassed the limbs, and significant portions of the torso. They sat at the corner, a weapon still drawn. I didn't recognize it, precisely, but it hummed softly, and clearly had a right side and a wrong side. The wrong side was aimed at me. "Fuck's sake, Anseis, you crazy bitch, she's more human than you or I am." The weapon was slowly raised towards the ceiling. The woman, superficially, did not look particularly odd. She was delicately built, slender, with skin as pale as milk, and rich golden hair, blue eyes piercing and cold. She was androgynous to the point that Miller's description of her was the only reason I could settle on 'female', and the long leather jacket she wore seemed wholly inappropriate for the hot, muggy environs. "You were studying the crime scene. Any sign of their assailants?" "Four demons. The archmage himself was not there. All of the demons left substantial traces of power. I'd say centuries old, at least, maybe more. I don't know what they were exactly, but..." "Four?" said the British man, an eyebrow raised. "You could distinguish them? Hell's bells, the man has four pacts?" "I suspect so," said Miller. "The mechanics aren't well-known, but being able to make and raise your own supernatural flying monkeys is probably going to make it simpler. So, one big, fat target, and at least four unknown bogies." He looked up. "I bet you've got a solution in place already." "The Heinlein is within firing distance, isn't it?" said Anseis. "An obvious solution suggests itself. Archmage or not..." "I'll accept any solutions that don't involve firing a weapon of mass destruction at a riverboat full of American citizens," said Miller. "I'd suggest coming up behind him and slitting his throat," said the British man, a slender stiletto appearing in his hand as quickly as Pagan's machete had disappeared from hers. "But if he were that easy to take down, I suspect someone already would have." "Three teams," said Miller. "One team evacuates the ship. That's Jissika, Punk Barnes, and Lady Featherbottom. One team confronts him- That's you and me, Anseis, we've got the best chance at surprising him or being able to take whatever he's got waiting for him. If there are any civilians hurt as collateral damage, I'm ripping you limb from limb. Then the last team- Major, and Yeagerta- You commandeer the ship. Once it's empty, you take control, move us away from the docks and out into open water." "He may be able to escape the ship regardless," said Anseis, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Yes. But he'll also be where a round from the Heinlein won't kill anyone I care about." This brought a smile to Anseis' lips, though not to her eyes. It was interesting, the way time skipped. It could move at a snail's pace as adrenaline and fear and violence made the brain rush, made it record every moment in brutal slow motion in the vain hope that it could make the right decisions. It could speed by like a shark through a current when nothing was happening and too much awareness would drive you mad with boredom. I observed the way the time passed, fast as lightning, until the moment when Pagan pushed open the door. "Department of Homeland Security," I said, holding up a forgery so good that the government didn't realize it was a forgery. "We've got reports of a lone wolf terrorist on the ship. You need to evacuate immediately while we get the situation under control." The men in the boat’s wheelhouse didn't argue. They looked happy enough for the unexpected vacation, if slightly worried about their prospects for employment tomorrow. Pagan checked the ship's controls, while I watched the screens. The British man and his fairy lady, along with Jissika, guiding the last of the passengers off of the ship. Unmooring it. The people on the ship were slowly streaming off, Miller and Anseis pushing through them, watching the crowd. "So," said Pagan, conversationally. "You joined the EFUS. Why?" "Chance," I said, checking for any sign of our target. "That doesn't seem like a very good reason," said Pagan, an eyebrow lifted. "It's why every patriot does what they do." “Really?” She smiled. “But you were not an American. You had a choice. You came into this world, and you chose them.” “Geographical convenience. And… I suppose… a lingering debt.” I smiled half-heartedly. “It was an American who saved our queen, and another American who offered us shelter. I am confident that any country would have done the same.” “Optimist,” she said, and there was a wry smile on her face. I realized I was seeing her amused. And there, in the main casino floor, in front of an unfamiliar but colorful table, a very short Native American man stood with a grin, one leg crossed in front of the other, leaning back against the table, cornered by Anseis and Sergeant Miller. He was dressed in an extremely fine black suit. I flicked a switch, and sound came through from a black grill beneath the screen. The man- I had to assume the Archmage- was speaking. "-already in place, ready to carry out simultaneous strikes throughout Washington D.C. You're already too late to stop me. I might remember it under torture, if you want to try." "My heart weeps," said Aneis. "I invite you to tell us, or I will shoot you-" It was amazing how quickly things went wrong. The entire ship lurched, throwing the three agents on the ship's edge onto the dock, tearing it free of its burdens. On screen, Aneis let out a single sharp scream of rage as something huge and sharp-toothed latched onto her leg, and then she was gone, water gushing up through the jagged hole in the floor. Miller was wrestling with a small, slender girl, built like a waif, who was also apparently overpowering him in a bear-hug, while a big man with bizarrely long and well-groomed facial hair, sticking out like whiskers, lunged at him from the side. The Archmage laughed, and was gone like a shot, running for the deck. "Things are going downhill," I said. "I'm going to go stop him from getting away." "Hey, if you run off with him and the US starts fielding a bunch of Archmages, I'm going to gut you," Pagan said, her voice calm and matter-of-fact even as I set out onto the deck. The short man was glaring down at the water, his arms crossed. "You are under arrest," I said. "I don't think I am," he responded, and I blinked. "I'm sorry to hear that. Would you rather be dead? Several of us want you dead." I studied him quietly. Were those listening to me already moving in? Had they taken the bait yet? If I could capture him... "You know, what I don't get is, you Atlanteans were being wiped out by humans. That's why you left, right? Ever since you came back, I've been turning it over and over in my head. Why would you come back? Why would you side with the people who genocided you before?" I blinked. "Because times change." "Really?" He grunted. "Give me another ten thousand years to think about it, maybe I'd be ready to make peace too. But I'm not quite there yet." He judged the water again. "I really am much faster than you in the water," I said. "Even if your abomination tries to stop me, I am definitely going to kill it, and catch you." "My! You're very certain about that." He looked over his shoulder at me, and grinned. "I've been doing this for a very long time." "So have I. Why?" "Why what? There are a lot of answers." "Why did you leave the spider there? She didn't have orders, or training. She was just an abandoned thing." "She was a tool," said the man, still distracted. "A thing to be used, and disposed of. That's what they all are." "Demons?" "People." He looked up, and his grin was wide and a little bit frightening. "Oh, those two bought the 'I'm fighting for my poor benighted people' thing, but fuck my people. Fuck them all. They thought that they knew what I was. Words like Yeahnáglóshii, Skinwalker... They thought they knew what I was. They thought it was simple. That I was neglecting my duty, that I was a monster, a freak, because I didn't believe that a simple accident of birth meant that the tribe was owed my power." He looked up at me, his head tilted. "God, all of this is going right over your head, isn't it? You're like me. A freak of nature. And because you're guilty about it, you'll spend your life trying to make up for the gift you were given." "It is funny," I said, though it was about as far from funny as it could be. "I never even considered that. I was always grateful that I could do something, anything, to help the people I loved. And while I hate demons, I could never imagine treating a tool so carelessly." I tilted my head. "Why do you do all of this?" He grinned. "Why not?" It was about the least heartening answer I could have gotten. “Are there really demons set to terrorize Washington?” “Yeah. They’re called Senators. I was just fucking with those two, seeing how they’d react under stress. It’s always interesting, isn’t it? Being above them all. Watching them play their games, and knowing that you’re playing a far more interesting game.” "Get down on the ground." "You know, I'd fight you, but-" He winced. "Looks like three of the four demons I spent centuries cultivating, strengthening, have just died. That's a blow." He shrugged. "I can always make more, though." He turned towards me, grinning. "I can still take you on with just one." "I'd like to see that." He straightened his shoulders, and grinned cheerfully, lifting one arm theatrically, his sleeve slipping down to the shoulder, exposing the bronzed, wrinkled skin. "Nothing up my sleeve, and presto change-o!" He blurred. I was already in motion as he jumped into the air, and I felt him slip through my fingers. Conservation of mass and energy did extremely strange things as he rocketed up nearly twenty feet in the shape of a small, very fluffy white bunny. A massive owl swept down out of the darkness, its divine energy muted so that I hadn't noticed it above me, and then was gone again, winging towards the swamps along the river with the archmage. I brushed my arms as I stood up, annoyed that I hadn't caught him, but watching. The ship was already shifting to follow him at a fast clip, and there was only so long a bird like that could fly. Sergeant Miller stepped onto the ship's deck, looking well-worn. He was missing an arm, and I stared for a moment. "Sergeant, are you okay?" "Fine, fine," he said, absently, glaring around the deck. "Tell me he didn't get away while I was putting down that fucking goonch." "What? Oh, no. We are in pursuit." I looked forward, narrowing my eyes. "Swamp village. Old, looks abandoned. We're maybe five or six miles away from it, going at ten knots." "Yeah?" said the sergeant, and he frowned. "Oddly detailed." "Just keeping my eye out, Miller," I said, and hoped he understood what I was saying. "Couldn't taze him?" "Not at the moment, Miller." "Huh." He nodded, his eyes on me for a very long moment. I hated the games. USEF Report Pallas, Appendix B (Known Accomplices), Paragraphs 69-76 Rank HEL-8 Not all of Athena's contacts and accomplices are as celebrated as the Cat of Paris. She is, after all, the Patron of Heroes, and this sometimes involves choosing people who no one would ever take for exceptional. Atina LeRoux is on the lowest end of these. Middle-class family, relatively unremarkable childhood marked only by a brief hours-long visit to a mental institution after she told a classmate she wanted to kill herself in high school, and three years of homeschooling from the age of eleven to fourteen that apparently permanently warped her social development. She took the LSATs twice, scored surprisingly well the second time, went to a mediocre law school, barely avoided failing out, passed the Bar, and then drifted. Her life up to this point has been marked by a distinct lack of focus or achievement. She's never done anything worth noting in the mundane sphere. She worked part-time legal work, keeping her head above water in New York City, until she moved upstate and tried starting her own practice, apparently resigned to the fact that she would spend the rest of her life in the same state of mediocrity. When the Jiang-shi known as Li Fang Fen (See USEF Report Hsien-Ko H1 and remind me to smack whatever moron convinced me that was an appropriate code-name) walked into her office seeking defense on a murder charge, it should have been a short path to an early grave or making a pact. Humans who discover the supernatural inevitably drift towards one of these two. Atina's only apparent talent is for paranoia. She has, in fact, managed to survive at least a handful of assassination attempts from supernatural creatures she has pissed off royally. Mostly by becoming a hermit. 90% of her socialization is with supernatural creatures at this point, with her only known pure-human contacts being her family, and some fry cook she's in an apparently unpredictable relationship with. This is all in keeping with Pallas Athena's strategies. In chess terms, Atina is a pawn. She's capable of very little, but is also generally below notice. The chances that she will figure prominently into one of Athena's schemes is extremely low, but the whole thing about pawns is that they take you by surprise, at an angle. Her resources are largely a surprising number of favors and control she's acquired in Binghamton, but she's still yet to put it to any particular use. As in the rest of her life, Atina LeRoux seems largely at loose ends. Aside from her connections with Jack Knife (See USEF Report Ripper FJ-5) and the Camazotz Jenny Nishi (See USEF Report Sparkly Vampires FJ-4), she has no notable power. One lingering concern remains: The Fishbelly incident. We still don't know what exactly happened in there, and no one in Binghamton is talking about it. The working theory is that Athena intervened directly, as she's occasionally wont to do. This in spite of the complete lack of any evidence of her presence. The mummy we interrogated after the fact claimed it was the work of a dragon, apparently traumatized by the encounter and prone to confabulation. We've combed the city from top to bottom, and there's no sign of anything that could be called a dragon. Every supernatural creature we interrogate about dragons gives the same answer: They’re extinct. I’m inclined to chalk it up to trauma. For now, I'd suggest stepping down surveillance to an occasional check-in. Given her position, means, and inclinations, Atina Leroux is a minor player. Chief Researcher Cherry H. Verne
Last Update: 7/27/2016 (including alphabetical organization). Please keep suggestions of sightings that are approx 5+ per hour coming to be added. For the most part, my personal playing has been limited to a few areas. While Pokevision (and similar apps) have made it easy to tell what's around, they don't tell the story of where to consistently get certain pokes in the city. So, here's my attempt at crowd-sourcing that information. We're not just looking for "I saw a Pikachu at this one stop once time," but are looking for those "natural habitats" to focus on when out hunting. If I had to put a number on it for definition purposes, we're looking for 5+ sightings per hour. Bulbasaur Lafreneire Park - Meadow near fountain before island. (posted by mia8788) Also, about 1/hour on lakeside of Audubon Park. Clefairy Lafayette Square (CBD) - Spawns roughly once an hour. (posted by SpiffyDrew) Doduo Lower Garden District - Magazine area from about Calliope to Melpomene where Barrel Proof and Courtyard Brewery are. (posted by twin_weenis) Also, generally heavy spawns around the French Quarter (posted by Tornare) Dratini West Bank at Timberlane Country Club, extending to Marlene Dr. just next to the Country Club. (posted by JFKexperience). Also decent spawn rate at Treasure Chest Casino (posted by Dexento710) Eevee Near Lake Castle in NO East along Haynes Blvd. (posted by StrategicNoob17) Growlithe: Jackson Square (posted by TomDaBombDotCom) Hitmonchan: Armstrong Park (posted by Apple_Jews) Horsea Lafreneire Park - Spawn is mostly around the edges. (posted by MethFred) Magikarp: 17th Street Canal (canal that separates NO from Metairie). Walking along the canal (Metairie side), I see about 8 per hour in the area that runs from Vets up to the Lake. See also: near Morning Call in City Park. Magnamite Treasure Chest Casino Area (posted by Dexento710) Psyduck If you're doing the 17th St Canal route for Magikarp, you should see about 4-5 Psyducks per hour as well. I think their "nest" is likely on the Metairie side of the canal. Shellder: City Park (posted by Apple_Jews) Also "more than normal" Margikarp per MethFred near Morning Call. Squirtle: Audubon Park- This is probably one of the more well-known consistent sightings, but if you simply walk around the Audubon Park walking/biking track, you're bound to see about 8-10 per lap. Voltorb Treasure Chest Casino Area (posted by Dexento710) Multiple Concentrations aka "Good Routes" Sandshrew/Staryu/Geodude/Onyx/Machop: Along levee from Shelter #1 to Canal on Lakefront (posted by Apple_Jews)
Oil rig explosion rocks Kenner, at least 6 people injured Sunday: Kenner PD (nola.com warning)
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 38%. (I'm a bot)
An oil rig exploded in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday evening near St. Charles Parish and north Kenner, according to Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor. Rescue boats are being sent from the Kenner Boat Launch at the end of Williams Boulevard, McGregor said. Kenner Chief Operating Officer Keith Conley said during a brief press conference that authorities are searching for another person known to have been on the rig at the time of the explosion. More than six organizations were aiding in the response to the explosion, Conley said, including the Coast Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Jefferson Parish, Kenner Police, St. Charles Parish, St. John Parish and several others. A Facebook update posted to St. Charles Parish's page noted authorities with the Emergency Operations Center are "Aware that an oil rig is currently on fire in Lake Pontchartrain and that it caused the loud sound earlier tonight." A Jefferson Parish update on Facebook described the fire location as northwest of the Treasure Chest Casino, which seemed to be operating as usual according to a representative who answered a phone call to the Treasure Chest on Sunday at about 8:45 p.m. One man, Roger Fernandez, uploaded a live video to Facebook of the fire, during which he said the explosion "Shook me out of my couch."
And I’m hyped as heck I’ll type this story before i doublecheck My Redditgifts profile for the millionth time All is want, is to ensure that I’m Through with answers, and funny too It’s time for the recap without further adou. Man those rhymes are getting worse and worse. Anyway, I'm back with another adventure calendar countdown. For anyone unfamiliar, I send my giftees on an immersive treasure/scavenger hunt every year for secret santa. I’m talking through my side of things just as a way to give you a peek behind the curtain. You can check the last three posts here, here, and here.
Wanna know what happens when an adventure doesn’t go quite as planned? Because this is what happens when an adventure doesn’t go as planned.
I give you: Constructed Adventure no. 46: The Archer Princess and the cactus pin. I was super intrigued when I learned my giftee lived in a small town outside Reno, NV. I was even more intrigued when I learned that she often did Legacy Horseback rides and was learning horseback archery. This adventure was going to be in the wilderness. After a bit of communication, I was relieved to learn that her and her husband would be fine heading into Reno. There was just so much more to work with. I landed in Reno, booked my stay at one of the cheap hotel/casinos (Note: They’re all cheap) and went scouting! I’d done the usual Yelp/Google/TripAdvisor scrape to find my best possibilities for stops and beelined to a cute little place called “Daughter’s Cafe.” This is a Restaurant built in a home. The Owner lives upstairs. She’s super cool and the food was incredible. Pretty sure I ate there every day. Anyway, unprompted, the owner told me about these wild chickadee birds that live in the mountains halfway from here to lake tahoe (about a 45 minute drive). She hand drew me a map and gave me a bag of seed and said “If you stand still, they’ll eat out of your hand” Unreal. So I drove up the mountain, rented up some snowshoes, and fed some chickadees. It was a magical experience that I HAD to send my giftee on. (note: normally I dont like having any spot have a longer travel distance than 15 minutes but occasionally I’ll make an exception). Also, since she did archery, I really wanted her to have to shoot something down. So I scouted a spot 5-10 minutes into the trail where she would shoot down a chest from a tree. After that spot, most of the other stops were pretty simple. She’d hit a few places in the Riverfront district, before stopping in at a speakeasy, then hitting an incredible hike, deciphering someone doing semaphore 100’s of feet away, and then meeting me up the mountainside under a fully decorated real christmas tree! When she got her initial package, it contained a little cactus pin. The goal was to signpost every stop with the pin. (Signposting is a technique puzzlemakers use to let players know they’re on the right track). Everywhere she went, she either found, or someone was wearing one of the pins! The day kicked off perfectly! The weather was temperate and everything looked up. My giftee and her husband hit the cafe, ate breakfast, and headed up the mountain. They picked up the snowshoes from a place midway to the spot. The guy behind the counter was kind of a jerk, but he still played along. Then they got to the spot. I actually passed them as they got out of their car! Me and a friend who I flew in (Same guy who helped me will all the other adventures) returned our shoes and then waited...and waited….and waited.... An hour passed by. Turns out there were two parallel paths with the same name! One was the correct path (Signposted with large roses along the way) and the other was the incorrect path. I made three big mistakes that led to this snafu:
I should have done more thorough scouting to notice the other path with the same name.
I should have been more detailed with directions and how long they should expect to take on the trek
I gave them my phone number at the beginning of the adventure but never got theirs. They ended up leaving the note with my number in their car.
So after snowshoeing 2-3 miles into the mountains, they decided to turn back to their car, get my number, and text me. Needless to say we were just a bit behind schedule. Once they got back to their car and messaged me, we sorted the issue and they found and shot down the chest with ease! They headed back down the mountain and continued their adventure. But we’d lost a ton of time on the day. Once i arrived at what was supposed to be the final location, it was getting dark, and it was brutally windy. I was pretty miserable up there and I can’t imagine they would want to be up there after snowshoeing such a long way! So I called it! I messaged them to stay in the speakeasy and order more drinks! I drove back to the spot, and gave them all their presents at the bar. It was so much nicer than up on a dark windy hilltop. So that’s it! Another adventure in the bag. Definitely NOT what I expected but still fun. I learn a lot of lessons after each adventure and sometimes hiccups happen! It goes without saying that if you’re ever planning a treasure/scavenger hunt for someone, don't hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to double check your plan and point out potential pitfalls you might have. Hope you enjoyed this recap. No shameless plug this time! Just a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to the mods and admins who run Redditgifts. Tomorrow is their day of reckoning and all i can say is
It's time for holiday festivities! In addition, there are big changes to Elite and Boss monsters in this update. There are also revisions to the Ice Magic and Deer skills. And, of course, various other things as well. Read on for more info.
The holidays are upon us! While Alharth doesn't celebrate Christmas, it does celebrate Ri-Shin Day, and New Years' Day. Townsfolk who are your Friends will offer you gifts when you speak with them. (Make sure to have your favorite combat skills active in case they give you a piece of randomly-generated gear!) There's also a Ri-Shin festival waiting to happen in each city and township in the land, but they will need your help getting their trees assembled. Look for townsfolk in festive red Ri-Shin hats to get started. This year, there's also a new way for the community to work together. This is an experiment -- we've never tried anything like this before. You'll receive an introductory quest for this part of the event after you've assembled a few Ri-Shin trees. (If you're a Druid, you'll be briefed immediately upon login.)
High-Level Elite/Boss Changes
As mentioned in the last patch's notes, we're working on making high-level combat take longer. This will eventually include both solo and group combat, but we're focusing on group combat right now. Some of the big-picture details are in flux a bit as we experiment and see what's going to work (e.g. "how many Elites is a tank supposed to be able to handle at once?" answer: "we're not sure yet"). We've been improving the "tanky skills" in preparation for these longer fights, but it's been hard to get good tanking data because most high-level Elite monsters simply haven't needed a tank: a group of players could blast them to death in seconds. So it's time to make Elites live longer and see what happens! In this update, Elite/Boss monsters have a lot more health and armor, and Bosses deal less damage. We'll be watching your feedback (and our combat data logs) to try to figure out where to go from here. We may need to temporarily revert these changes, reduce them, increase them, or add more systems into the mix to address specific problems. Bosses (but not Elites) also deal less base damage than before. The actual amount varies by boss-tier and the bosses' personal stats, so it's hard to generalize, but at level 80 an "average boss" deals about 25% less base damage. Both Elites and Bosses deal less damage with their Rage attacks, also. The median reduction in rage-bonus-damage is about a 40%, but again it's hard to generalize too much. Here's some more details about the implementation.
Prior to level 35, elites/bosses have about the same overall health+armor, but some of their health has been switched to armor as a side-effect of the formulaic changes. This will make them a bit harder, so be careful!
Starting at about level 35, elites/bosses gain more health and armor than before. This increases fairly gradually until level 50, then it starts going up more quickly. By level 80, the total health+armor of most elites and bosses has almost doubled! (And a lot of that increase is in armor, which means the monster has more mitigation for longer.)
Elite/Boss Loot Changes
We've also added some additional rewards for killing Elites/Bosses. When you loot an Elite, you'll now automatically "find some Councils" on the corpse. The amount is based on the monster's level, with some random variance. Bosses also drop extra money in the form of Council Coinpurses. (And bosses with curses drop more money sacks.) Finally, the most deadly tiers of bosses have a higher chance to drop high-rarity gear. (These quick generalized changes were made because we didn't want to revise every monster's custom loot table just yet. But hey, maybe it's fun enough to remain permanent. Let us know what you think after you've had some time to try it out.)
Ice Magic Changes
Ice Magic is supposed to be a versatile wizarding toolkit: it can provide exceptional crowd control, potent survival tools, and decent damage, depending on which abilities you use. Its crowd-control abilities were already top-tier, so we've focused on other aspects of the skill in this update. There's a few nerfs and a lot of buffs. Fire Magic Over-synergy The biggest nerf to Ice Magic is actually a change to a Fire Magic treasure mod:
(Chest, Hands) "Calefaction causes target to take +45% damage from Cold for 12 seconds" => now +16% damage
We realized this mod was overpowered shortly after it was introduced, but it was a "let's wait and see if this is actually a serious problem" scenario. A lot of accidentally-overpowered treasure turns out to be fine, and sometimes an accident like that can really make everything "click" and help define a skill. But not this time. It was hamstringing our ability to make Ice Magic more powerful on its own, so it had to be reduced to a more reasonable level. (And it's still probably the most powerful cross-skill synergy mod in the game.) Cryogenic Freeze Cryogenic Freeze needs to take its rightful place in the Ice Magic survival toolbox. It has TREMENDOUS mitigation, and it's intended to be something of a "freebie" for Ice Mages: it's useful without needing to invest lots of treasure mods into it. The only cost is that you have to make room for it on your ability bar. (And treasure makes it more versatile and useful.) Of course, Cryogenic Freeze has the extreme down-side that you are completely frozen and cannot move. But now instead of a forced 10-second lockdown, you can control the duration precisely.
Cryogenic Freeze now lasts 20 seconds or until dispelled by using the ability again. The reuse timer is 20 seconds, which begins as soon as Cryogenic Freeze ends.
Power cost increased; all treasure effects recalculated in potency
Ice Armor, Ice Veins, and Shardblast Ice Armor has been buffed up a bit. We've also worked to make Ice Veins and Shardblast more useful. You can now use either one to reset Ice Armor's timer, allowing you to immediately put your armor back on. Which, in turn, allows you to take advantage of Ice Armor's healing mods again! This "Ice Armor loop" technique can be very powerful but requires a lot of treasure mods to reach full potential. It's also possible to use Ice Armor in a more passive role, and there are mods to support that style also (such as the ones that boost Cold damage).
Ice Armor: highest tier of ability has slightly higher mitigation (+27 vs crushing, slashing, piercing, and ice), and all tiers now grant extra mitigation from Elites (+54 additional at highest tier)
Ice Veins: power cost and base damage increased. All treasure potency recalculated
"Ice Armor restores 80 Power over 30 seconds" => "Ice Armor costs -19 Power and restores 51 Power after a 6-second delay"
"Ice Armor restores 170 Armor over 30 seconds" => "Ice Armor mitigates +16 Physical and Cold damage, and mitigates +32 more against Elite attacks"
"Ice Armor boosts Cold attack damage +34" => +50
"You regain 44 Health when using Ice Nova or Shardblast" => "Ice Nova and Shardblast deal +61 damage and cost -12 Power"
New treasure (off-hand): "Ice Veins heals +16 Health and resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)"
"Ice Veins heals 120 Health over 10 seconds" => 180 health over 10 seconds
Ice Veins is now marked as a Minor Heal ability (making it eligible for equipment that boosts Minor Heals).
New treasure (head): "Ice Armor instantly restores 80 health"
"Shardblast resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)" => "Shardblast deals +X% damage and resets the timer on Ice Armor (so it can be used again immediately)" *
Cold Sphere Changes Cold Sphere's old Rage attack (at high level) was a 10-second root. This was too much of a good thing and it's now a 5-second root at all levels. We've tried to make Cold Sphere useful in two different scenarios: for Ice Mages who are using a different skill as their primary damage source, they can invest in Cold Sphere mods to get a bit of extra damage on the side (plus its innate root is always handy). For players who ARE using Ice Magic as their primary damage-dealer, Cold Sphere's damage-boosting mods are often not worth using, but there's a new mod that gives it a Cold-vulnerability debuff. This makes Cold Sphere an interesting (but not mandatory) option for any Ice Mage.
Cold Sphere: increased base damage-boost of all pets level 50+. The "root" effect from their rage attack is reduced from 10sec (!) to 5sec
New treasure (chest): "Your Cold Sphere's attacks deal +24 damage and cause the targets to suffer +12% damage from future Cold attacks (non-stacking)"
New treasure (head, hands): "Your Cold Sphere's attacks deals +170 damage, but their Max Health is -80"
Other Ice Magic Changes Added a bit more damage overall. Nerfed one of Frostbite's mods, but don't be misled: it's still an extraordinarily good debuff. (And it will only become more powerful as combat duration increases! In fact, we may need to tone it down some more later.)
Ice Nova: power cost and base damage increased. All treasure potency recalculated
Frostbite ability: ability base damage increased slightly
"Frostbite deals +154 damage and raises the target's Max Rage by 79%, preventing them from using their Rage attacks as often" => "Frostbite deals +176 damage and raises the target's Max Rage by 33%, preventing them from using their Rage attacks as often"
"Freeze Solid resets the timer on Ice Spear (so it can be used again immediately)" => "Ice Nova deals +110 damage and reuse timer is -2 seconds" *
"Freeze Solid restores 161 armor to you after a 15 second delay" => "Freeze Solid restores 112 armor to you"
One-Tier Mods Changed\* You may notice a couple of asterisks above. Those are treasure mods that previously only had one "tier" of effect. The revised versions add more tiers to each mod, allowing the mods to become slightly more powerful at high level. This resulted in a slight quirk: pre-existing items with these mods are still stored as having the first tier of the mod. This means even high-level items will have the lowest-tier version of these mods. This isn't really a huge deal in terms of potency, but if you want to fix it, you can Transmute the mod off the item and then Transmute it back on -- it will be the appropriate tier when it's re-added. (And this month, Transmutation is cheap for the Ice Magic and Deer skills.)
The earliest animal forms were all experimental designs, and Deer was originally the prototypical "off-tank" skill. Then we decided that off-tanks weren't useful in a game without raids, so Deer was revised in a few other directions. But the most recent revision made Deer fairly tanky again, so let's build on that. Here's a fresh idea: what if Deer was like an "off-tank"? In old-school MMO terminology, an off-tank can act as a tank for an elite enemy (or multiple solo enemies), but may have trouble tanking some bosses -- although dedicated healers can help there. What makes them unique, though, is an ability to take over aggro for anyone... including a tank! (Hence the name "off-tank", because they can pull monsters off the tank.) We'll try to give Deer that ability and see what it's like. There's new treasure that gives you a new sidebar ability "Feign Injury", which "temp taunts" a target. Temp taunting works like regular taunting, except it decays at a rate of 20% per second. So a temp taunt of +10,000 would be 10,000 Taunt at first, then a second later would be recalculated as 8,000, then a second later as 6,400, etc. So this ability should help Deer get aggro from anyone, anywhere... at least for a few seconds. An off-tank should also have solid taunting and survivability, and deal decent damage. So that's what we'll try to do here. In addition, the Deer skill has always had incredible mobility (which is what makes them an interesting off-tank), and we want to keep that too. Rethinking Deer Pet Deer players can summon an ally deer to aid them. Previously these deer had an innate 300% taunt multiplier and were intended to be sort-of off-tanks themselves, sharing tanking duties with the player deer. We recently gave these summoned deer the benefits of our experimental genetics system, which could randomly give these pets incredible health and armor. Better for tanking! But yet... at high level, a well-equipped player deer can easily out-taunt and out-tank a pet deer. This just feels like an unwieldy design. We've dropped the idea that these pets are tanks, and focused them on damage. They no longer have an innate taunt bonus or souped-up genetics. However, they have higher base damage, and the pet's taunting-related treasure effects have been changed into a damage boost. There are also new treasure mods that summon additional deer for a few seconds at a time. This makes for a fun solo build, although it's somewhat mod-intensive and also pretty chaotic. But a fun kind of chaotic! (For those who don't want chaos, we've also bumped up Deer's more traditional murder methods.) It's useful to know that every attack your pet deer makes is considered a "deer kick". This is relevant for one specific treasure mod:
(Hands, Necklace) "Deer Kick implants insect eggs in the target. Future Deer Kicks by any deer cause target to take 310 Nature damage over 5 seconds"
This mod is unchanged, except that it no longer stacks more than four times: twice for each piece of equipment it can show up on. (That's *not* a limit of 4 stacks of damage, it's 4 stacks of the debuff that applies the damage!) Also, we've reworded the effect to clarify that pet deer can trigger the damage. Removed treasure mods We've tried hard to avoid breaking existing equipment by repurposing obsolete Deer effects with new ones. However, in one place this was impossible. A head-slot mod was removed without any replacement. If you had this mod on a piece of head gear, that item has become "Legacy", meaning it will stop working after a month. You can fix this by using a Transmutation table to remove the mod off of your helm, or you can speak to the Legacy Golem in Serbule to receive a randomly-generated replacement item. (Transmutation of Deer treasure is much cheaper this month, to help you adjust to these changes.) Specific Deer Changes
Doe Eyes: Power cost increased. Ability now resists more physical damage, especially against Elites, and lasts for 24 seconds instead of 10. (At level 77 it now gives 36 mitigation, plus 72 more vs. Elites)
"After using Doe Eyes, your next attack deals +169 damage" => "Doe Eyes reuse timer is -2 seconds, and after using Doe Eyes your next attack deals +190 damage"
"Doe Eyes heals 80 health" => "For 10 seconds after using Doe Eyes, you mitigate +36 from all attacks, and a further +72 from Elite attacks"
Ability "King of the Forest": base damage and Power cost increased slightly; all treasure stats tweaked slightly as a result
"King of the Forest gives you +15 mitigation of any physical damage for 20 seconds" => this effect was available on two slots, but only applied once. This was intentional at the time, but now we're trying to make all treasure mods stack together when possible. New (stacking) version: "King of the Forest mitigates +14 physical damage (Crushing, Slashing, Piercing) for 10 seconds. Against Elite enemies, mitigates +28 more"
"Cuteness Overload heals you for 114 health" => "Cuteness Overload Damage +270"
"Combo: Deer Bash+Any Melee+Any Melee+Deer Kick: final step hits all enemies within 5 meters and deals +100 damage." => deals +240 damage
Summoned Deer no longer have the benefits of the experimental genetics system, but have higher base damage
Summoned Deer no longer have an innate 300% taunt bonus
"Antler Slash has a 50% chance to restore 48 armor" => this effect has been replaced with an entirely unrelated effect. (head, chest): "You can use the Deer ability Feign Injury, and it temp-taunts +11300. (Equipping this item will teach you the ability if needed.)"
(Hands, Feet) "Deer Bash deals +120 damage and knocks the enemy backwards" => "Deer Bash has a 15% chance to summon a deer ally for 30 seconds"
New (ring): "Cuteness Overload deals +160 damage and knocks the target backwards"
New (Head, Necklace): "Pummeling Hooves deals +45 damage and has a 8% chance to summon a deer ally for 30 seconds"
"Antler Slash deals +X% damage" => "Antler Slash hits all enemies within 5 meters and taunts +Y". NOTE: this effect used to be available on two slots, Head and Hands. It is now only on Hands. See above about Legacy items.
"Psychic Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active" => "Psychic and Nature Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active"
"Nature Mitigation +34 while Deer skill active" => "Burst Evasion +8.5% while Deer skill active"
"Deer Kick Damage +85" => "Deer Kick Damage +45 and grants you -10% Fire Vulnerability for 10 seconds"
New: (main-hand) "Combo: Forest Challenge+Any Melee+Any Melee+Any Epic Attack: final step deals +150 damage and summons a deer ally for 30 seconds."
Live Event Token Prize Changes
We've revised some of Riston's special prizes so that they use abilities instead of items. For those that have already purchased a Vendor Fox in a Box or the Small Box of Space, the summoning item in your inventory has been converted to a skill book that will teach you the new ability. This skill book can only be used once, so use caution if you must transfer this skill book to another character on your account. Also with this change, you will have to purchase these items per character now if you wish to have it on more than one character on your account. Other important notes:
Once you learn the Vendor Fox in a Box ability, the ability requires you to have some type of crate in your inventory. Any crafted storage crate and most pet crates (when Animal Husbandry is released) will work to allow use of the ability. The crate will not be consumed. The cool down timer on the ability will reset in 2 real-time hours, but you still need to spend 2 hours in-game before you can use the ability again. (You can see that timer in your effects bar under the effect 'Boxed Fox'.)
Once you learn the Small Box of Space ability, there are no other requirements. Just use the ability to summon your storage box. The cool down timer for this ability has been extended to 90 minutes (from 60 minutes). The cool down timer on the ability will reset in 90 real-time minutes, but you still need to spend 90 minutes in-game before you can use the ability again. (You can see that timer in your effects bar under the effect 'Spaced Out'.)
As time goes by, we will slowly be adding more and more items, abilities and services to the game that will require Live Event Tokens. For this update, we have added a new 50 token prize! Find Riston in the Red Wing Casino to check it out!
Other Changes In This Update
Bug fix: Rabbit: "Bun-Fu Blast deals +80 damage and restores 44 Power after a 9-second delay" => this did not add damage to Bun-Fu Blast as expected
Bug fix: Rabbit: "Bun-Fu Blast deals +78 damage and hastens the current reuse timer of Bun-Fu Strike by 3 seconds" => this did not add damage to Bun-Fu Blast as expected
We are a living testament and celebration of love...
When my wife and I slept in our car for nearly three months, as a husband, I looked at this woman, my partner, my best friend, my Beloved, the one to whom I am mated, and as shitty as it was, I cherished the fact that she was with me. This was all last year, from Oct until nearly Christmas. I didn’t understand the complexity and simplicity of my own truth but, if I had to have nothing to call our own, she is the only with whom I would celebrate our emergence from that shit. I had romanticized the building of our life together by thinking that deprivation and squalor was a way to define our worth and value to one another. In some way, I had imagined that if we fought through the shit, we could, as a team, show the whole fucking world what it could like to really and truly know Love. And guess what? While we parked and slept at night in the parking lot of Hollywood Casino, trying to dodge the random security patrols at night, gathering our duvets and sleeping bags from the trunk, she never pointed a finger. Never accused me of failing to provide. Didn’t once click her tongue against her teeth, or call me a loser, or even utter a single syllable that hurt my feelings. When we were wandering around in “charity shops” as she called them, and I called them “thrift stores”, she reached out and took my hand. She took my hand with a pride that I had never, in my entire fucking life, had ever experienced. There was no shame, or “I hope that no one sees us”. She took my hand and interlaced our fingers and she went through these piles of used clothes… She held up shirts to my chest and asked me what I thought. She made sure I was always close by. She found a fucking duvet, which was a whole new experience for me, and she asked me to hold one end. She explained what the fuck it was, since I thought it was damn comforter. But she patiently explained the buttons, the bottom, the filling, the whole essence of a quality duvet. We were in a fucking “thrift store” with coins in my pocket, and no way of knowing when or if any more money was ever coming in, and here she was, eyes all alight to make sure that her husband was going to be warm if we had to sleep in the car again. A fucking duvet. That night, we pulled the car into the lower level where most of the RV’s parked, and we did our little routine. We got the comforter, pillows, sleep-clothes and new duvets out of the trunk. We changed clothes in the car while it was running with heat on full blast. In all of my shame and “wtf” as a husband, she would get dressed and ask me how I was doing with my “changing process”. She would ask if I needed anything at all. And then she did it. After we made sure that the car was warm, and that we’d gotten into our jammies and I was feeling like the most inept piece of shit on the planet, across the console of this 2001 BMW 740iL, right next to the gear shift, beneath the layers of clothes, comforters, duvets and my personal shame, she somehow found my hand and in the sweetest, most heart-embracing voice, with accent of hers, in the entirety of my life, she said, as if this was an everyday occurrence, “I love you, husband.” and squeezed my hand. I cried real, deep tears in my seventeen dollar Walmart sleeping bag that night. For me, my every wish had been clearly and honestly expressed in this woman that never held my past against me, that never groaned, complained or pointed out my errors. Instead, she said, blindly, in a fucking car, with no home or place to call our home… “I love you, husband.” When we woke up in the morning and tried to find a fast-food joint that was open, she held my hand and perused the value-menu with me. She would get her coffee, biscuit with pats of butter, two napkins and a straw. I later found out that she took the extra napkins in case we had to use them late at night with access to a public restroom. There is nothing uplifting about any of us, or this life of ours, I thought, unless you step back and begin to understand from a wholly new perspective, that for me, by being who she is, was, and doing what she did, she, for me, is the living truth of Love. How does someone sleep in a car, in random parking lots for nearly three months and yet, every night, they reach across and find your hand? When we went to the library to get warm, she found a way to sneak a note into my cheap-ass briefcase to tell me that she loved me. With my Beloved, I was living and experiencing the grace and truth of every deep and organic desire for expression and acknowledgement, living example and wedded truth that confirmed that Love is, real. And that I deserved to know it. To see it. To experience it. To call it my own. In June 2020, with COVID-19 a very real aspect of life now, this Beloved of mine is sleeping not too far away. Her shikibuton mattress, the frilly-scenty-misty-3-hour-thingy that she loves, and I learning more about each day, is just another layer of experiencing just how liberating the truth of love really is. And while she is asleep, and I am out here in our office, I am guessing that she is thinking about this amazing family of hers that has welcomed me and loved me unconditionally from day one. Because she, my Beloved, loves they, those who cherish her and Love her, have welcomed me into their lives. In the end, I do what I do because I know that dreams do come true. They may not happen how or when we think we want but, if we can embrace Truth, it is real. So what do I have that this person, this woman, the living and breathing treasure of hope and dreams-made-real want of me? Love intangible. Love approachable. Love unfathomable. Love. Real. Love. And each breath that I have, and with every moment of this life, I give it freely and wholly that she might never, ever wonder.
New main quest for Witcher 3: Covid Isolation, objective: Complete all quests in main story line and both DLCs on New Game + with zero failed quests. I missed it by 1.....this time. This is my Covid Isolation quest focus face. LOL
A Guide to the Differences Between JRPGs Ports and Enhanced Versions (Part 1).
A new day, a new guide. This is the hardest one of the guides I wanted to make, because the information is never easy to get, which is weird. So please forgive me if I missed some changes, and by all means tell me if I missed any of them or if any of them are incorrect. Since this list is really long, this guide is going to come in parts, this part covers:
Valkyrie Profile (PSX) vs Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP vs iOS & Andriod).
Chrono Trigger (SNES) vs Chrono Trigger (PSX vs NDS vs iOS & Andriod vs PC).
Star Ocean 2 (PSX) vs Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP) vs PS4 (JP.ver).
The Last Remnant (Xbox360) vs The Last Remnant Remastered (PC vs PS4 & Switch).
Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360) vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
Tales of Symphonia (GC) vs Tales of Symphonia (PS2 (JP.ver only) vs PS3/PC).
Skies of Arcadia (DC) vs Skies of Arcadia: Legends (GC).
Person 3 (PS2) vs Persona 3 FES (PS2 (English.ver)) vs Persona 3P (PSP).
Persona 4 (PS2) vs Persona 4 Golden (Vita vs PC).
.hack//G.U (PS2) vs .hack//G.U. Last Recode (PS4/PC).
Final Fantasy 12 (PS2) vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
Rune Factory 4 (3DS) vs Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch).
This is made for Ports and Enhanced versions, so No Remakes. So this is about differences between the different versions of Chrono Trigger, and not about the differences between FF7 ps1 and FF7 Remake.
The differences are taken from all over the internet, either from official sources, wikis, youtube, and even forums.
I cover all the changes for a game, unless there is too many, in which case I will highlight the ones worth mentioning.
Nearly identical to the Japan version but with minor fixes in the menu screen. In the Japanese version, Characters not in the party were unable to change or learn skills nor were they able change or remove equipment. The US version allowed out of party members to change and learn skills as well as change or remove equipment without being added to the party. Also in the Japanese version, Lenneth would unequip all her skills and equipment when switching between sword and bow. The US version 'remembers' the previous setting when switching weaponry and is automatically equipped with the skills and equip. Another improvement over the Japanese version is an improved item sorting option. There are a few instances of censoring such as Badrach's smoking.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP:
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth lacks the improvement made in US version. Rather than re-rendering the textures of the dungeon maps, TOSE cropped and upscaled the pre-rendered images to fit the portable console's screen, resulting in severe blurring in some areas. This version also removes the anime opening movie in favor of 3D CGI, animated movie. Certain key story-sequences were animated in the same style as the opening movie and can be viewed at anytime in the Gallery option in the title screen once unlocked in the story. The animated scenes include:
Alicia witnesses Barbarossa's execution
Lenneth's encounter with the Lord of the Undead
Lenneth and the Homunculi
A chance encounter between "Meril" and Lucian
Lenneth in Weeping Lily Meadow
Lucian's departure to Valhalla
The Sovereign's Rite
Other big changes are:
An enhanced version of the original game's localization
Square Enix cleaned up the original game's English script and additional voice over dialogue for the CG movies was recorded by New Generation Pictures, rather than the original company, TAJ Productions.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth iOS & Andriod:
This is the PSP version being ported to iOS & Andriod, with the following changes:
Enhanced graphics such as character portraits. >* Enhanced Text.
Anime cut scenes created by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio and animated by Toei Animation. A new Extra Mode Option was added that is divided into different categories of viewable extras, that are unlocked as you finish the game, and just as shown in the picture, they are:
Chrono Trigger NDS:
This version includes everything new in the PSX version, and also has big and a long list of changes and additions, which I will try to condense them as much as possible:
Ability to play using the two screens and the touch screen, or in classic mode through a single screen.
Added the Arena of Ages: A monster arena where You pick basic monsters and raise them to fight computer and wireless opponents.
Added the Lost Sanctum: A sidequest during the main game. It consists of two dungeons in two different eras.
Added the Dimensional Vortex: A extra Dungeon, available after beating the game once and appears in three different eras. Each dungeon is different.
A lot of New Items.
New Enemies in the new dungeons, in the form of palette swaps of old enemies.
One New Ending after finishing the Dimensional Vortex completely.
New Translation that changes a lot of names form the original version to something more faithful to the Japanese version.
Chrono Trigger iOS & Android:
Both versions initially were based on the NDS version, but later on got an update to make them similar to the PC version.
Chrono Trigger PC:
Everything on the NDS version is present here except there is No Arena of Ages. What they did add however is:
Unlocking the Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection. >>>* Practically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons instead of the original 3D models.
Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
New character designs and portraits.
No magic combo mechanic.
Crafting animations are now replaced by a still 2D image.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution PS4 JP.ver:
This enhanced version was released only in Japan on the PS4, with enhanced graphics and BGM, and a DLC that helps you with the gameplay.
This version is only available to purchase in the EU SquareEnix online store as of right now: Battles:
Turbo Mode is now available, and can be toggled on or off while giving orders to unions in battle. When on, battles play out at double the speed.
Crimson Flare, a new Arcana, is now available.
New formations, such as Eremurus Rain, are now available.
Enemies hit considerably harder.
Rare Monsters can have significantly higher HP than their XBOX 360 counterparts.
Arcana require substantially more AP.
Unique Arts now require AP.
Remnant Arts can only be performed by union leader, Weapon Arts now require high union morale.
Offensive Weapon Arts now increase morale when used.
Additionally, Arcana and offensive Special Arts now raise morale by a fixed amount.
Likewise, certain Enemy Arts now lower morale by a fixed amount.
Wards now affect the entire union.
Attributes required for formation upgrades are vastly different.
Healing no longer raises morale, and morale increased by Critical Hits has been dramatically reduced.
Union morale now fluctuates based on more conditions (IE: taking an action, successfully landing a hit, receiving damage, etc.). In the X360 version, union morale stayed somewhat static, usually changing when being healed, being KO'd/terminated, executing a successful Critical Trigger. It also did not drop to 0 whenever an offensive Special Art was executed, whereas it will do so on the PC.
Linking additional enemies together does not increase your Battle Rank further than having fought them separately.
Special commands, such as the use of David's Gae Bolg, are no longer interrupted by being raidlocked by a different union or having targeted enemy union defeated by an ally.
Allies now have the option to cure a friendly union's Curse status ailment via "Cure them even if it kills them!" command. This command is in the XBOX 360 version as well, but is only available when the union is Enthralled; it will not be available when the union is cursed.
Items are color-coded in the PC version, and a new preview feature lets you see what the item looks like in battle.
You can now toggle between viewing the stats of a weapon or shield and viewing a preview of what it looks like in battle.
Components and consumables are now categorized.
Items are now color-coded based on their rarity.
Creation or customization of some items require fewer components.
New items available via Blueprint 4.
Various weapon stats have changed.
Some very rare monster-specific drops can now be split from monsters (e.g., Godwood Timber, Spiritwood Timber).
The leader limit is no longer imposed. Unions can be composed entirely of leader units if the player desires.
Likewise, soldiers can now be set as union leaders.
The stat cap has been lifted for all characters to allow a maximum of 255 for each stat.
The Seven are now recruitable after completing Union of the Golden Chalice Task #70: For Our Lord.
Rush can now be removed from the active party.
Khrynia can learn the new Unique Art Dual Snowpetal.
Arts can be disabled, filtering which skills a unit may use in combat.
Leaders' requested components are displayed when viewing their stats.
Leaders' wield style can be changed depending on their equipped weapon.
Shields now prevent style changes mid-battle.
The following classes now prevent style changes: Guardian, Scout, Hunter, Wanderer, Thief, Alchemist, all Mystic classes, Vagrant, Mercenary, Aristocrat, Djin, Fortuneteller, Sage and General.
The experience required to advance Wield Style skills has been reduced, and the experience required to advance Weapon Type skills has been increased.
Three new classes are now available: Ataraxian, Cleric, and Ninja.
The Guardian, Fencer, and Warrior classes now require non-sovani wield styles, and are thus not available to Sovani.
The Gladiator class now requires Power Grip and Wards.
Hybrid classes (Item+Combat and Mystic+Combat) can now be achieved by units who do not start in one.
Some leaders now have a different weapon upgrade path, which caused some units to learn new Weapon Arts while others lost theirs.
Leaders can request weapons that do not coincide with their weapon upgrade path as long as they match their equipped weapon type and size.
Soldiers can now request weapon drops.
Some units have had their starting Unit BR level, stats, class, equipment, arts, and hiring wage changed.
The completion of At Hatred's End is no longer required in order to activate Things Unchangeable.
Duke of Ghor now has a … icon when you speak with him between the first, third, and fifth base battles.
The component requirements in The Assistant have lowered.
The DLC content is now unlocked differently; the majority of the extra content now requires the completion of certain guild tasks.
The Leader Extraordinaire guild tasks which required three units of a single class now only require one.
The Monsterslayer guild tasks require different enemies to be defeated.
New Game Plus and Hard Mode: After the epilogue and credits, you can now save your game. When you're taken back to the main menu, you can load this save to begin a new playthrough that carries over certain elements from your previous playthrough. You will also be given the option to start the new game in Hard Mode. Miscellaneous:
The PC version will warn you if you cannot leave an area without a fight.
Auto Save is now available, which automatically saves after having changed zones or having won a battle.
Battle Rank is now viewable outside of combat, in the party menu.
Battle Rank progression has been slowed considerably; it takes more encounters/enemy unions terminated to increase in rank.
Characters with … icons are now identified with markers on the map.
Enemies can no longer be respawned by saving and reloading an adjacent area.
New saving opportunities are now available, such as before the base's boss.
A warning message is now displayed if you attempt to save your game in an area which you cannot leave until you defeat a boss.
Mr Diggs's digging animations are now much quicker.
The loading screens that explained some of the game's mechanics have been disabled.
Many areas of the game have had their spawn tables altered or repopulated.
Starting battle music now coincides with starting morale in most battles.
"Turn the Tide" and "Beat the Odds" now play during the second half instead of after entering Elysion.
Union highlighting during the selection phase has been toned down (ie: ally unions don't look quite as blue).
Leaders in reserve no longer gain skills via the Rush only skill grind trick.
Soldiers now slowly improve their stats in reserves.
Camera in battle doesn't swing around as wildly anymore.
Mitra soldiers' idle stances now come in 2 varieties: the one shared by both male and female units and the one exclusive to larger male units, rather than just the "large male mitra" stance.
The Last Remnant Remastered PS4 & Switch:
Based on the PC version, also added:
Graphics now are in Unreal Engine 4
A new function to run faster on the overworld.
Extra save slots.
Yes I am salty about this if you can't tell, since they removed the PC version from steam.
The frame rate was lowered from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second.
The "Synopsis" option in the menu displays newer entries at the top
The Casino in the game is now actually fully playable with it's own mini-games, and chips to collecet and exchange for items.
The skits are graphically more dynamic. Portraits get larger or smaller quickly, swing from side to side, shake, and so on.
More post-battle animations.
Niflheim dungeon extended and 6 new boss characters, fought in 2 new boss battles.
New events to help raise affection.
Includes new side quests, new camera angles on some cutscenes, new animated cutscenes not featured in the GameCube version
Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC:
Improved character textures and improved some environments.
Dual-audio support: Japanese and English voiceovers, which neither the PS2 or GameCube versions had
Cutscenes support voice acting in both languages, but skits only have voice acting in Japanese. If you select English, you will just see the subtitles during skits. This is not a porting issue, as this is just how the GameCube version was.
While the original GameCube version ran at 60fps, the Japanese PS2 port which the PS3 Chronicles HD version is based off of ran at 30fps. The Steam version can run at 40FPS.
Random encounters occur less frequently and load considerably faster than the Dreamcast version, and EXP offered per battle is adjusted to compensate.
Graphically, the game sports mild improvements to character models, most noticeably adding individual fingers to the designs. The modifier volume shadows and (weirdly enough) point-mipmapping from the original release are still present.
One of the new sidequests available is Bounty Hunting. Sailor's Guilds offer information about each person on the bounty list as they are unlocked through story progression. After reading about them, they can be found in a constant location.
There are a number of new discoveries to be found.
A whole additional epilogue has been added, The Answer. This chapter is only available in one difficulty setting, which is supposed to be on par with Persona 3's Hard mode.
New Personas have been added
Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added to flesh them out.
Koromaru can now be taken on walks.
Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka being available at a different time
Several new Quests have been added.
New costumes can be worn in battle.
A new event involving Chidori Yoshino was added.
Naganaki Shrine was completely overhauled.
A hard mode was added.
Save data from Persona 3 can be transferred into the game,
The Answer is not included in this verion.
Added a Female Main Character, so now you can choose between the Male and Female MCs.
The game lacks 3D environments and character models (outside of Tartarus), all anime cutscenes are gone, the graphics and audio quality were compressed,
The storyline of the female protagonist features many differences from that of the male protagonist, such as new social interactions as well as Social Links.
New voiced dialogue.
Players have the choice of selecting Elizabeth or a male-equivalent named Theodore to be Igor's assistant in the Velvet Room.
The ability to pick who the protagonist spends the last moments of the game with. This feature is only accessible on a New Cycle
The Desert of Doors from the Abyss of Time seen in The Answer will still appear, however, in an extra feature known as the Vision Quest. In this mode, the party can fight stronger incarnations of the Full Moon shadow bosses — save for Arcana Magician — and partake in special battles that test the party's abilities. When all of the battles have been successfully met, a second optional boss can be fought: Margaret, Igor's assistant in Persona 4 and guardian of the Desert of Doors in P3P.
There are now two overworld save points; Aside from the log book in the Iwatodai Dormitory, there is also one on the main character's desk at school.
In Paulownia Mall, the police station is now the only place where the protagonist can buy equipment and sell items. Aohige Pharmacy is now a buy-only store, and Be Blue V is just a part-time work site and hangout to improve the main character's condition
From previous versions, two difficulty modes have been added: Beginner and Maniac alongside Easy and Normal in Persona 3 and Hard in Persona 3 FES:
A new tactic, "Direct," has been added to the game, allowing control of the party members, unlike Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES.
The "Wait" command is replaced with the "Defense" command, and will decrease the damage and any knockdown effects of the next attack the user suffers.
The game grants "1 More" to a combatant who attacks multiple enemies not knocking all of them down; the original Persona 3 required all hit enemies to be knocked down for a 1 more.
Party members who have been knocked down no longer spend the turn by getting up and can act as soon as they stand.
Upon landing a critical hit or striking an enemy's weakness, party members can follow up with a co-op attack.
Fusion Spells from the original Persona 3 are now activated from items instead of equipping a persona and selecting it like other spells.
Allies can now take a fatal blow to the protagonist for them if they are able.
"Dizzy" has been added as a status effect.
Returning to the main lobby in Tartarus no longer automatically restores the party, and must now be done for a fee via the save point (this cost varies based on the date in-game and status effects currently inflicted on the party)
Floors can be directly returned to from the entrance of Tartarus instead of being restricted to the restore point like previous versions.
"Tired" status no longer is inflicted during Tartarus exploration, and is inflicted to all used party members after leaving (this will only drop to "Good" if the character used was at "Great" during exploration).
Unlike previous versions, money found by party members when split up will now be given to the protagonist.
Party members' equipment and status can now be accessed at any time from the pause menu, unlike in previous versions, which required the protagonist to speak to them while exploring Tartarus in order to change their equipment or view their status.
You can now control Party members directly.
The protagonists only have access to one weapon type (instead of having access to all weapon types like in P3 and FES); the male protagonist wields one-handed swords, and the female protagonist wields naginatas. As a result, the Skills "Fist Master," "Bow Master," "1hdSwdMaster" and similar skills have all been combined into a single skill called "Weapons Master." Its skill card is called "Phys Boost," and all Personas which had learned a "master" ability (like Cybele with Bow Master) now learn "Weapons Master."
Personas now have the ability to produce a Skill Card when raised to a specific level. Each card can be used on any Persona to teach them a skill.
The Inari Sushi in Naganaki Shrine no longer grants random bonuses for item gaining and Tartarus explorations. Instead, it offers to duplicate Skill Cards, which will take 5 days to complete
New Difficulty levels have been added: Safety/Easy/Normal/Hard/Risky.
Several new music tracks.
Additional voice-over dialogue.
Chie and Teddie have new voice actors in the English version.
New animated cutscenes.
More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
New areas can be visited.
The protagonist can now explore Inaba in the evening when Dojima is not home.
The protagonist and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City.
New Garden and Bug Catching features.
The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the protagonist is fusing.
New scene skipping function
If the necessary criteria for at least the good ending are fulfilled, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
New epilogue has been added for the True Ending.
The list of Requests and the Fox' emas have been modified.
Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
Added Tag Team attacks: two members can team up to perform a united attack.
Added Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party.
Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect
A new gallery menu has been added: "TV Listings." It displays bonus content unlocked through the main game at any time.
Floors and chests in dungeons can now reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world, or visiting another dungeon.
Persona 4 Golden PC:
The game will run at up to 4K resolution with 60FPS+ as opposed to the Vita's 476p resolution and 30FPS target
Includes dual audio language and multiple text language. The anime cutscenes now also include subtitles
In the Steam version, the player may customize their difficulty setting at any time, in contrast to the Vita version only letting you do so on New Game Plus.The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters
The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters.
A brand new episode titled Vol.4//Reconnection, which takes place a year and three months after the events of Redemption
HD graphical update for the whole game.
Ability to restart the battle from the beginning if Haseo dies.
Movement speed on foot has somewhat increased.
The item stack size has increased from 50 to 99. The maximum number of item stacks in the inventory has increased from 30 to 90
Item menu shortcuts and sort features
When using an item in the field, pressing the X button repeatedly will cause the item to be used again without navigating the menu a second time.
The maximum number of Chim Spheres and Virus Cores the player can possess has increased from 99 to 999
Platforms now include the Platform Recovery feature, recovering a large portion of the party's HP and SP. It can only be used once per visit to a field.
Saku and Bo no longer switch the active player based on their level being even or odd. They can instead be selected as separate options in the Party screen.
Decreased the probability of allies selling the items the player give them.
Voice clips for returning characters and NPCs between games have been updated to use the Volume 3 clips from the beginning, except where said clips are unavailable.
Attack power has been increased and hit stops during attacks have been reduced to speed up the battle tempo.
Learning weapons proficiency increased and acquired experience points increased.
Awakening scenes can be skipped using the Option/Start button.
Some of the really tough enemies have been made a bit easier
Skeith’s general shot bullet speed has increased during Avatar Battles.
Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience.
Avatar battles now show a stun gauge over the enemy's head. Red diamonds have been added around attacks meant to be deflected using scythe slashes that are in range.
Added suspend feature during Avatar battle gameplay.
In Volume 3, the player is given 22 "Promise" greeting cards, meaning it is possible to do the "Forever in Love" / "Best Wishes" events with all party members in a single playthrough.
A new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with a large amount of items, best equipment, maximum money and chim spheres, and maximum level and affection for the respective volume.
Save files from Cheat Mode plays can be converted to the next volumes.
The videos from “The End of the World” Terminal Disc included with the limited edition PS2 release of Volume 1 are included in the collection
Final Fantasy 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only):
Addition of a "Zodiac Job System" featuring twelve jobs with individual License Boards corresponding to twelve zodiac signs
Addition of a 16:9 widescreen mode with menus and HUD at 4:3.
Addition of three new game modes: Trial Mode/New Game+ Strong Mode/New Game+ Weak Mode.
Pressing L1 will speed up gameplay. Conversations and events continue to play at normal speed.
Quickening doesn't consume MP. Now they use their own Mist gauge similarly to Limit Breaks from previous Final Fantasy titles.
Playable characters' starting LP, consumables, gil, gambits, equipment, licenses, and base stats have been modified.
You have more control over Guests now, they also gain EXP/Item/Gold.
Many magick spells and technicks have been tweaked, renamed and recategorized.
Obtaining Quickenings no longer affects max MP and Mist charges do not diminish when MP is consumed (unless the player is affected by a reversed Elixir or Megalixir). The player's MP is also unaffected by the depletion of Mist charges. However, effects that recover the player's MP will also restore Mist charges. One Mist charge is granted each time the amount recovered totals the player's maximum MP. Effects that fully restore a player's MP recover all Mist charges.
You can now fully control Espers, they also require MP to cast magicks
Almost all attacks now break the 9999 damage limit from the original by default.
New items have been added, such as Cura Mote, Bubble Mote, Domaine Calvados, Baltoro Seed, Dark Energy and various Meteorites.
Bacchus's Wine now has 100% chance of inflicting Berserk (previously it was 50%).
Several equipment pieces were added, while some available in the original release were removed or tweaked.
New Weapons added.
Most shops had their assortments changed. Many weapons are now available from shops earlier because of the job system, and were thus made weaker.
Treasures respawn by moving just one area away as opposed to two. Treasures were moved around, changed the items they can give, or were removed altogether. The "forbidden chest" concept was removed, that in the original prevented the player from obtaining the Zodiac Spear in Necrohol of Nabudis if they opened a wrong treasure.
Dark Matter can no longer be acquired from the bazaar, and selling the ingredients needed to make it in the original will result in making the Dark Energy instead. The Dark Energy is an item that does not charge up with Knot of Rust or Devour Soul and always deals 50,000 damage to each enemy in range.
Treasure chests are now in different locations and contain different items.
There are more traps throughout the map.
Final Fantasy 12: Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:
Remastered HD graphical upgrade.
English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration).
Original and newly re-recorded background music (switch between them in the game configuration).
Auto-save functionality added (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas)
Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
Ability to invert both the X and Y camera axes
The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.
Each playable character can have two jobs at once.
Job Reset function added; talk to Montblanc in the Clan Hall to use.
The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed.
Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Cure only affect a single target again.
Espers' HP values have been doubled, but other stats kept the same as in Zodiac Job System.
The animation for summoning Espers is removed.
A glitch concerning Dyce's character model has been fixed.
New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
Valve even went one step shadier this year with recycling
In 2018 we were allowed to recycle immortals for Battle Pass Points which was great for getting closer to Aegis etc. In 2019 they took away recycling for BP points and replaced it with recycling 5 immortals for 1 more extra treasure. Diminishing returns quite considerably. Well in 2020 they really screwed the consumer. This year you cannot recycle for BP points OR extra treasures. They give a measly 60 gold for the side shop now when you recycle an immortal, which by the way gives you absolutely jack shit (another mini casino within a casino). So essentially if you want the Ultra Rare drops from the immortal chests, you absolutely must throw around 200-300 bucks bucks at it because you cannot and will not be able to buy the Ultra Rares from the marketplace. Valve has made ALL immortals untradable/unmarketable until next year. So buyer beware, their business practices just turned full scumbag. Now wait and see all the downvotes from Valve shills. So sad that people willingly allow themselves to be shat on.
Do you play this 918Kiss Slot - Stunning Mermaid Slots before?
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A Constructive Criticism on Genshin's Current Experience
DISCLAIMER: THIS THREAD IS FILLED WITH MY PERSONAL OPINIONS AND EXPERIENCES ONLY, AS SUCH, IT MIGHT BE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER PLAYERS AND PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. This post is about criticism regarding Genshin Impact's current gameplay experience. This means, highlighting the good aspects of the game while shedding light on the current issues it has. This also means that it doesn't consider future known versions of the game, as it might be subject to change. MY GAMING BACKGROUND I have been gaming for 17 years, and have played over hundreds of games throughout the years, which also includes puzzle games, fighting games, RPGs, MMOs, RTS, FPS, MOBAs, and interactive games. I've watched games grow and evolve, fall up and down in trend, and see how it shaped gamers today. HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN PLAYING GENSHIN? As of now, I'm AR31. I haven't completed every sidequest, nor have found every chest in the game (yet). I have, however, completed the main storyline, finished completing the oculi (geo/anemo), finished some of the side quests (some because I haven't found them all), and currently 9 star up until Floor 5 on abyss (I don't do floors until I can 3* every floor). I'm at the point where the endgame feels sluggish. There's no more content to do except doing daily battle pass, burning up resins, collecting Philanemo mushrooms from Monstadt rooftops, and occasional mob hunts for ascension mats. Basically, at the point where genshin just becomes a chore. WHY AM I MAKING THIS POST? I love genshin. I've told my friends to try it out, and still explore the world even if there's rarely any more to look for, expecting there's more content that I might have missed. I started since early October, and I'm still excited to login to genshin despite it being empty right now. With that said, I am hoping that this post lightens up the current issues the game is facing, as well as show the games upsides and downsides. No game is perfect, but I believe genshin can be SO MUCH MORE than what it is right now. THE GOOD SIDE AND BAD SIDE OF GENSHIN WORLDBUILDING THE GOOD: Genshin's world is BIG. For a version 1 game with the promise of constant updates, casual gamers will always have content to look for. The main storyline is quite compelling, and exploring the world is initially very rewarding. It feels great opening chests, killing mobs, and getting loot. The scenery is pretty great, with a decent amount of flora and fauna without being flooded with cities and structures. There's also secret(s?) that tackle my interest (Nameless island in Monstadt, might be a few more). Monstadt and Liyue have unique experiences in exploration (Liyue IMO might be a mountain climbing simulator but it lives up to its name as the region of the geo element and it has a certain feeling of satisfaction reaching the top and then gliding down,while Monstadt has some areas where flying and gliding is important. Also, there's a middle finger mountain southeast of taishan mansion in Liyue). The bosses look GREAT and are actually frightening the first few times you see them. The music is beautiful as it has me listening to it even while in combat, or just simply exploring. THE BAD: There's not much else to find after your initial explorations. The chest respawns aren't noticable. Little mob variations (I have hilichurl sickness). Domain interior is recycled (every domain looks the same when you go inside) and domains don't have specific mechanics to look for aside from party comps. For a big world, there's few awe-gasping structures to be found in comparison to the world size. Most NPCs feel lifeless. THOUGHTS: Better respawn rate, add random-generated dungeons, more mob variations, add more interior design to domains, add more variation than time-attack combat, add more structures that feel mysterious and that goes deep into lore. Give NPCs more life (Give them voice at least). Arguably, the protagonist dialogues should be voiced too, but this is entirely my opinion, as some people actually prefer the silent protagonist (Persona style), but the witcher series somehow proved to me that voicing dialogues does indeed improve immersion. COMBAT THE GOOD: The combat system is great, it utilizes the party system genshin has, with elemental reactions/combos/synergies being the highlight of it. There's also launcher attacks that can possibly open air juggles. Limitless unit synergies. The dodge feels balanced thanks to the stamina in place. THE BAD: No midair attacks. I'm talking about attacks that you can do while you are in midair, not the dive attack. Fighting airborne enemies with melee units is annoying, and hitting weakpoints being exclusive to archer units for big units like the ruin guards/hunters feel a bit bad (I'm a bit mixed on the weakpoint part, since I somehow feel that that's what makes archers great, but the airborne units like the ruin hunter and the flies feel annoying especially when your archer dies.) Midair attacks are also important for air juggling if they ever do enhance air juggles. THOUGHTS: TBH the combat system is great, not much to say except that it would be great if we could do midair attacks or air juggles better, similar to DMC, pre GoW4, and KH, but possibly not as hardcore. UNIT DESIGN THE GOOD: Each unit is unique, usable, and well-designed (so far). The art is great or good at best, and each character's kit synergizes well thanks to elemental reactions, which make each unit great at any comp. THE BAD: Amber. THOUGHTS: Buff Amber pls. GAME DIFFICULTY THE GOOD: If you're just here to play the game for the story, exploration, and lore, then lucky for you, this game is playable and clearable with the free units given in the game. THE BAD: For thrill seeking hardcore players out there, the only way to have a challenge in this game is handicapping yourself (I tried to kill a WL3 Boreas with a level 20 Amber with some artifacts and weapon smashed in, enough to deal 2% of his health per hit of charged arrow and enough to get oneshot by anything except the ice he leaves on the floor which deals damage). THOUGHTS: For the open world, the difficulty seems reasonable. However, time attacks in domains aren't hard, there's no challenge aside from killing monsters faster. Of course this implies that the real challenge is building your characters, which is behind a resin system, and constellations, which is behind a paywall (of course for whales it's not a deterrent, but for f2ps, it's going to be a big problem if they make it something like kill 10 abyss mages in 30 seconds). My point being, the difficulty is not raised by (just) having better reflexes, but also by having better gear. My notion of "hard" is not a time handicap, but by punishing player mistakes, like slow reaction time, inefficient stamina use, or going in blind. The exception to this are the world bosses and elites, but domains can opt to have "hard" modes that give more loot, that is not time attack. However, I'm not saying that time attacks are ineffective at increasing difficulty, but making things spongier isn't the (only) solution, as it stands, I've never died to a boss (except on my amber vs boreas first run) or any mob, most of them was falling or drowning due to 0 stamina (jump attacks remove/reduce fall damage significantly, but can't be performed at 0 stamina). I might be wrong on how damage is on this game since I'm only on WL3. RESIN SYSTEM THE GOOD: ??? THE BAD: This is what I think of when I S*** so hard I get hemmorhoids and think this is the experience players should have when I play this game, because sitting on your PC too long and finishing contents in genshin means you're stuck pooping hard and painful just to raise your units past AR 30+ or so. Building a character can take a month or so, which involves: Leveling, Ascension, Talents, and TONS OF MORA. You also have to farm ARTIFACTS on top of that, since artifact stats are RNG, it can take you weeks, months, or a year to find the optimal stats for an artifact. For a game rolling out new content every 6 weeks, if they release better artifacts on top of a resin system, it will result in a very big problem: POWERCREEP. sure, this is a single player game, but all gacha games I've played have had this issue, at least at one point, and gacha games I've played are PvE oriented. Powercreep in itself is not a bad issue if it's at a reasonable pace, but since this is just version 1, I can be wrong and mihoyo might be good enough to deal with this. But resin is a very big hurdle to endgame. THOUGHTS: Either they be more generous with fragile resins, reduce primogem cost for resin refills, increase regen rate and max cap, and reduce resin cost for claiming treasure (all of the above at the same time) , OR make resin a drop booster, OR remove it entirely. There's barely any competitive aspect to this game that warrants the stamina system. It's not gonna keep players playing, new updates and content will. COMMENTS/OPINIONS ON OTHER CONTENT THE COOKING SYSTEM: Right now it's useless. It could be useful on abyss, but abyss doesn't allow food buffs. It's an interesting mechanic, but the only use it has is if you don't have a healer in your team (domains or in combat against an elite/world boss), or if a unit dies at which point you use food to revive them during a fight. Outside of emergency use however, There's really not much else. GACHA/GACHA RATES: First of all, I would like to clarify that, despite widespread info claiming "gacha" is a genre, it is, imo, NOT A GENRE BUT A FORM OF MONETIZATION. if you want to play using your money just go to your local casino or hit up your phone and download casino games. As such, "gacha" shouldn't be the defining genre of genshin, as the gacha is actually only restricted to earning units and rare gear, which is just a part of what genshin plays out; Genshin is, first and foremost, a hack and slash open-world ARPG. What this means for me, in big part, is that rationalizing the resin system just because there's gacha elements in obtaining units and rare weapons doesn't mean it should spill over to the RPG experience. Gacha =/= Stamina system. The rates for 5* suck, so to be fair, just reroll until you get the 5* unit you want and they'd still be usable in the long run. STAMINA/RESIN SYSTEM: As I mentioned above, Gacha =/= Stamina System, MMOs have them too, for a multitude of reasons. Gachas I've played do have stamina systems in place, but does that mean every gacha game should have one? the answer is simply NO. Genshin is unlike any other "gacha" game out in the market; and I hope it doesn't become one. CONCLUSION Genshin, as of now, is a great free game with an immersive 20-40 hours of gameplay. As the game constantly will get updates, it is expected that more hours of gameplay will be put in the future. with a development budget of $100 Million, and a reported $100 million in 2 weeks, players SHOULD expect more quality content. The game currently has a vast world waiting to be explored, compelling story, great unit designs, a deep and interactive combat system, with huge potential for more. Despite the game's greatness, it is ultimately held back by the resin system, which hampers the only potential endgame content this game has to offer. Rating: 8.3/10
A list of some surprising good fantasy books involving pirates.
Perhaps nowhere does storytelling so totally reverse reality as when it deals with pirates. It’s difficult not to like swashbuckling rogues tweaking the noses of the uptight British ninnies as they ply their brave way across the wild, lusty seas. Of course, actual pirates were about as romantic as the tortures they would inflict on prisoners, including holding lighted matches to the victim’s eyes or keel-hauling, where a sailor had a rope tied to each arm and thrown off the bow of a ship. The unfortunate was then dragged along the length of ship, scraping against the sharp barnacles and probably drowning. Fun fact: “Avast!” means “Stop!” or “Stand still!” not “Hello, fellow pirate!”
21. Corsair by Chris Bunch – 2001
Swashbuckling captain Gareth Radnor has taken command of the Steadfast. But the young captain intends more than seeking his fortune. He wants vengeance against the Linyati slavers who murdered his family. Crewed by a motley band of adventurers, his carrack plunges through the salty waves, striking at the Linyati wherever it can. And then he discovers something more compelling even than revenge: The Linyati aren’t human…
“Hard edged, salty… a fantasy adventure that will keep you up at night reading.” —Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara series
20. The Mark of Ran by Paul Kearne – 2004
Book 1 of 2 in The Sea Beggars Series In a world abandoned by its Creator, an ancient race once existed, with powers so extensive that they were seen as both angles and demons. Rol Cortishane was raised in a remote fishing village, ignorant that the blood of this long-forgotten race runs in his veins. Driven from home, Rol is trained in the assassin’s craft and tutored by the beautiful but troubled Rowen. Now they’ve set their sights across the sea in search of the Hidden City and an adventure that will make them legends, if it doesn’t kill them first. In the non-fantasy world, the Sea Beggars (the name of this series) really existed. They were a confederacy of Dutch nobles, who, from 1566, opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands. They arrived in large numbers to complain to the king, but some wit told the ruling Spanish regent not to worry, for the large group was “only beggars.” The angry group of nobles did not forget the appellation and henceforth called themselves the Beggars. The most successful Beggars operated at sea (i.e., were pirates) and were known as the Sea Beggars.
19. Of Shadow and Sea by Will Wight – 2015
Book 1 of 2 in The Elder Empire Series The Guild of Navigators (i.e., swindlers and pirates) has been paid a fortune to secure the Heart, a cursed artifact that will give wild power to its bearer. The Guild’s only lord is greed, their only loyalty to gold, and they would sell the Empire’s freedom for the promise of a quick coin. Author Will Wight is well regarded for his likable characters and irreverent tone. Most epic fantasies tend to be high-minded and serious, but Wight has a decidedly more down-to-earth approach.
18. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton – 2009
I’m not a giant Michael Crichton fan. Generally, I think his ideas and research are more interesting than the actual books he creates. This one’s fun, though. This book was unknown until after Crichton’s death—his assistant found it on a computer. However, there’s evidence Crichton was working on it, on and off, since the 1970s. Pirate Latitudes is a caper novel set in the high seas with a strong regard to the reality of the times. Because of this, it probably doesn’t belong in a fantasy list like this one. However, it’s a damn fine pirate tale, and that’s good enough for me. The Historical Novel Society notes: “Crichton’s portrayal of Port Royal and its inhabitants is far more grounded in reality than Disney’s portrayal. Crichton does not gloss over the slavery, addiction and brutality of colonial Jamaica, nor does he endow his characters with abilities beyond their training or station in life.” So don’t expect Jack Sparrow.
17. The Fox by Sherwood Smith – 2007
Book 2 of 4 in the Inda Series You might want to read the first book in the series, Inda, before diving into this one. Young prince and military genius Inda, forced to turn mercenary after conspirators engineered his exile from Choraed Elgaer, is gathering allies for a sea campaign against the piratical Brotherhood. But Inda’s attention soon shifts toward the ambitious Venn Empire, which wants to use him as a political pawn. The hardcover version of this book is significantly cheaper than the paperback. Go figure.
“[L]ively… spare yet complex characterizations and a narrative that balances sweeping action and uneasy intimacy.” —Publishers Weekly
16. Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding – 2011
Book 1 of 3 in the Tales of the Ketty Jay Series This is magical steampunk, so it’s a little nuts. I mean that as a compliment. Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something. Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinking himself to death. So when an opportunity arises to steal a chest of gems from a vulnerable airship, Frey can’t pass it up. It’s an easy take—and the payoff will finally make him a rich man. But when the attack goes horribly wrong, Frey suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in Vardia, trailed by bounty hunters, the elite Century Knights, and the dread queen of the skies, Trinica Dracken. Frey realizes that they’ve been set up to take a fall but doesn’t know the endgame. And the ultimate answer for captain and crew may lie in the legendary hidden pirate town of Retribution Falls. That’s if they can get there without getting blown out of the sky.
“Beautifully crafted prose and some remarkably imaginative scenes…and Wooding’s sprawling, multifaceted world and rough-and-tumble action will delight steampunk fans.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
15. The King’s Buccaneer by Raymond E. Feist – 1992
Book 5 of the Riftwar Cycle Long recovered from the ravages of the Riftwar, the land and people of the kingdom of the Isles thrive. Nicholas, the youngest son of Prince Arutha, is intelligent and gifted but vastly inexperienced. In hopes of hardening him, his father sends him and his irreverent squire, Harry, to live at rustic Castle Crydee to learn of life beyond the halls of privilege. But within weeks of Nicholas and Harry’s arrival, Crydee is viciously attacked by unknown assailants, resulting in murder, massive destruction, and the abduction of two young noblewomen. The raiders have come from a pirate haven and are no ordinary foe, while an enemy connected to dark magical forces threaten the lands Nicholas will someday rule—if he survives.
“Feist once again delivers a superior, rousing adventure.” —Publishers Weekly
14. The Pyrates by George MacDonald Fraser – 1983
The Pyrates is satire, send-up, and love-letter to what swashbucklers have become. It’s a Naked Gun take on Errol Flynn pirates. If you don’t know what “Naked Gun” or “Errol Flynn” is then I envy you because you’re about to discover some great stuff.
13. Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson – 2008
Book 1 of 3 in the Isle Chronicles Captain Declan Ross searched for riches that will free him and his headstrong daughter, Anne, from the piracy business forever. Bartholomew Thorne, an infamously ruthless pirate, seeks to destroy Ross and any who stand in his way of the legendary treasure hidden by a mysterious order of monks. Despite featuring a scene where a monk gets skinned alive, this book won a “Mom’s Choice Award” for family-friendly entertainment. Depends on the family, I guess.
12. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch – 2007
Book 2 of 3 in the Gentlemen Bastards Series Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land.
“[C]harming, unpredictable and fast on its feet and stands surprisingly well on its own given its convoluted plot.” —Publishers Weekly
11. Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe – 2007
Fresh from the monastery, the former novice finds himself inexplicably transported back to the Golden Age of Piracy, where an unexpected new life awaits him. At first, he resists joining the notorious Brethren of the Coast, but he soon embraces the life of a buccaneer, even as he succumbs to the seductive charms of a beautiful and enigmatic señorita. As the captain of his own possibly cursed ship, he plunders the West Indies in search of Spanish gold. From the stormy waters of the Caribbean to steamy tropical jungles, Captain Chris finds danger, passion, adventure, and treachery as he hoists the black flag and sets sail for the Spanish mainland. Where he will finally come to port only God knows…
“Wolfe…[fills] his story with duels, treachery, ship-to-ship combat and an abundance of accurate period detail.” —Publishers Weekly
10. The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick – 2008
Book 1 of 4 in the Cathrand Voyage Series Six hundred years old, the Imperial merchant ship Chathrand is a massive floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the Mzithrin Empire. But Thasha, the young noblewoman in question, may be bringing her swords to the altar. For the ship’s true mission is not peace but war—a war that threatens to rekindle an ancient power long thought lost. As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters, Thasha must seek unlikely allies—including a magic-cursed deckhand, a stowaway tribe of foot-high warriors, and a singularly heroic rat—and enter a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.
“Insane god-kings, miniature warriors and sentient animals fight over a powerful ancient artifact in Redick’s dramatic, complex debut… Both adult and young adult readers will find much to enjoy in this tale of sea-faring and bloody diplomacy.” —Publishers Weekly
9. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini – 1922
Book 1 of 3 in the Captain Blood Series This book is a little more subtle than its title would suggest. Dr. Peter Blood, is an Irish physician who was once a sailor and a soldier. In the aftermath of the Monmouth rebellion, Dr. Blood is arrested for treason. While he did not actually participate in the rebellion, rather he aided a wounded rebel, he is tried and convicted nonetheless. The sentence for treason is death, but King James II has the sentence commuted and instead sells Captain Blood and his fellow rebels into slavery.
“Glorious… I never enjoyed a novel more than Captain Blood.” —Norman Mailer
8. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark – 2012
Book 1 of 2 in The Assassin’s Curse Series Ananna abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. She wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiancé. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. And when the assassin Naji finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse—with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
“Clarke’s debut harkens back to the best in fantasy/adventure, offering rock-solid worldbuilding, satisfyingly perilous obstacles and a protagonist whose charismatic ’tude goes way beyond spunk. Ananna’s voice grabs readers from the beginning…and doesn’t let go.” —Kirkus (starred review)
7. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb – 1998
Book 1 of 3 in The Liveship Traders Series Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships—rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. Now the fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship, Vivacia. For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy. But the fate of Althea and the ship may ultimately lie in the hands of a ruthless buccaneer who plans to seize power over the Pirate Isles by capturing a liveship and bending it to his will.
6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – 1870
While his description of this new thing called a “submarine” is fun even for modern readers, it’s the brilliant but tortured Captain Nemo who steals the show as one of, if not the, best pirate in English literature.
5. The Walrus & the Warwolf by Hugh Cook – 1988
Book 4 of 6 in the Chronicles of an Age of Darkness Series On his 16th birthday, churlish Drake Douay finds himself exiled from his homeland amid a treacherous crew of pirates on the open sea. Through battles with sea monsters, mysterious cults, weird technology of a bygone age, and the warring gangs of two pirate lords, Drake explores a world of dark fantasy and betrayal with his keen wit and a sharp sword—his only protection from an early death. Readers are usually divided: this is either one of their favorite books, or the long litany of adventures becomes boring after a while.
4. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed – 2012
Book 1 in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms Series A finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Crawford, Gemmell, and British Fantasy Awards, and the winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel. The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. But these killings are only the earliest signs of a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn the great city of Dhamsawwaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
“Ahmed’s debut masterfully paints a world both bright and terrible.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
3. Mad Kestrel by Misty Massey – 2008
In a world where infants with magical powers are torn from their parents to be raised by the mysterious and powerful Danisoba, who have a monopoly on magic, Kestrel has managed to keep her abilities concealed—and herself free. First hiding in back alleys as a street urchin, she hid when they killed her parents, and then served as a young tavern maid before escaping to sea, where magic is cancelled by water. Now an adult, and the quartermaster of a pirate ship, Kestrel loves the freedom of living on the seas. But her way of life could end if anyone on board learns her closely guarded secret—that she has magical control over the wind. One day a black ship appears, and her life changes. Its captain is a handsome rogue of whom Kestrel is strangely, constantly aware. When Kestrel’s captain is led into a trap and is arrested, she gathers her crew and sets sail in relentless pursuit…
“This rollicking debut combines swashbuckling sea adventure, fantasy and romance with great success.” —Publishers Weekly
2. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie – 1904
Sure, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are great, but it’s the enmity of the pirate Captain Hook that makes this story exciting.
1. On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers – 1987
This is the inspiration of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but it’s different in many ways and stands well on its own. Puppeteer John Chandagnac, bound for Jamaica to recover stolen money from his uncle, becomes Jack Shandy after pirates attack his ship and force him to join their crew. Shandy’s struggle to accept his new life grounds the story for readers, even as Blackbeard and vodun magicians whisk everyone away to dreamlike lands where the Fountain of Youth itself awaits.
“Powers writes action and adventure that Indiana Jones could only dream of.” —Washington Post
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