Jord

Jord

Jord is a city for the common hill Dwarves of Cimmeria. It holds a community of over 36,000 Dwarves in its stone halls. The city proper lies beneath the confluence of the Cogardes River and the Delain Tribute. The city plan is dictated by the numerous grottos created by the rivers’ previous underground paths. The Dwarves expanded the original caverns to make a more livable and pleasant area for their daily activities. Conditions are ideal for the bearded folk, and a population of some 3,000 other races live above the city proper where the fertile soil is farmed and produce is sent below.

Jord is a royal city state ruled by a Dwarven king with all state powers focused in him. The king’s word is law and Dainlin, son of Doerlin, is the king. He has been for a hundred and fifty years. The main efforts of his reign have been in expanding mining operations and selling more metal to the Magical Lands and less to Xoria. He prefers to supply defenders in wars over offenders. In keeping with this policy, King Dainlin officially joined the Second Alliance against Xoria.

The city’s main exports are metals, stone, gems, and mushrooms. All types of metals are mined in the deep parts of Jord. Adamantite, zinc, iron, and copper veins all exist directly below the city. Mithral, gold, silver, and tin can be found at the Flower of the Deep mine to the northeast. The stone that is excavated is most often granite, but a large marble deposit exists close to the Flower of the Deep. Dainlin developed an expansion there a few years ago after eradicating the indigenous Drow population.

The mushrooms of Jord are grown with the advice and help of a large tribe of Myconid that live in the unworked caverns of the city. The small amount of Dwarven druids who live in the city assist the Myconid with magic and alter the fungus slightly to get all sorts of shapes, colors, and flavors. These odd delicacies are savored by the upper class in the Magical Lands. The Myconid circle leaders also make plenty of potions that are sold to the neighboring city states.

Jord’s alcohol supply is prodigious and almost matches that of Satronwook. Most of the grain alcohol is made on the farms above the caverns, but wine has to be imported. Luckily Dwarves aren’t fans of sissy wine, so not much is needed. They do need to import honey for mead though. Acquiring a colony of giant bees is one of Dainlin’s unexplored projects.

Jord’s military power was and is strong because almost every citizen is ready to arm themselves at the drop of a hat. Every person has a suit of armor and a weapon and most have magical, masterwork, or special material arms and armor. The police force of the city reports to Dainlin directly. The militia is well-equipped and well prepared with potions of cure and other things for every conceivable domestic disaster. 2,000 Dwarves participated in the defense of Phoenix and were captured when the Alliance abandoned the city. Rather than suffer a second defeat by bankrupting themselves to ransom the soldiers, the Alliance let the Xorians keep them. The Dwarves have been put to work as slaves, rebuilding the shattered defenses of Phoenix.

Jord is home to the third largest museum in the world, with only those of Troy and Damascus being bigger. It’s most famous exhibit is the mausoleum of dwarves, where all the renowned bearded folk hope to be laid to rest. Jovy, the human pirate and founder of Lordodo, is present at the mausoleum. He was given an honorary place there as “his beard rivaled that of any dwarf.” The museum holds many fine pieces of art, a gem collection, and a few minor artifacts.

Many changes have come to Jord since the city joined the Alliance. The city has focused on the exportation of weapons and armor to the other Alliance cities to the exclusion of Dainlin’s other pet projects. The capture of the Dwarven army has put an additional emotional strain on the citizens of Jord. They have pleaded with the King to defy the Alliance’s decree to not ransom prisoners. While Dainlin wishes to do just that, he will not as long as the Alliance forbids it.

In addition to the capture of the Dwarven army, the Battle of Phoenix also allowed for the recovery of the Fierce Axe of Dwarvish Lords. This Axe symbolizes the unity of all four Dwarf races, Hill, Mountain, Deep, and Duergar. The Axe instigated a Kingsmoot where all four Dwarven Kings gathered at Highhold in the Terror Mountains. The four kings agreed that King Torngar of the Mountain Dwarves would rule as High King as long as the entire Dwarven race joined in the war against Xoria. The Dwarven war machine has now begun to turn in earnest and will soon strike back at the Xorians.

-GoCorral

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Jeutontic

Jeutontic

Jeutontic is a city of 120,000 people built on the very tip of Gaia’s Navel. The city is walled on all sides, but has one unbarricaded entry point from the canyon. Twenty inch high steps go all the way down to the bottom of the mile and a half deep gorge. The steps widen as they go down as well, being about five hundred feet across at the canyon floor and twenty feet across at the top. The steps are made from Lumite, a type of granite that has been magically altered to glow white. The steps can be seen in the canyon from as far as ten miles away at Gaia’s First Wrinkle. After that Gaia’s Navel turns and the steps go out of sight.

A great mystery envelops the origin of Gaia’s Navel. No river ever flowed through the ravine and no titanic battle ever took place to scar the landscape. Thus it is assumed that the spot is the actual belly button of Gaia, the Earth Mother. Many clerics have petitioned the gods about where the 125 mile long crevice comes from, but the Olympians remain silent on the issue.

Thousands of people have come to Jeutontic to “walk the navel.” The journey through the canyon takes about eight days by foot and there is a small reprovisioning post on the western end. No steps exist on the west side. Instead there is only a massive cliff face. The ledge is scalable, but the climb is extremely difficult, taking three days for the most experienced to complete. The cliff has been nicknamed Dragon Cliff because it kills more people than dragons.

There are many caves and connections to the Underdark in the walls of Gaia’s Navel. This territorial oddity has led to Jeutontic’s greatest problem, attacks from the Underdark, and the city’s greatest advantage, training and selling the flying animals that settle in the upper caves. Griffons, Hippogriffs, Wyverns, Pegasi, and even a few Nightmares, known collectively as aerials, have made their homes in Gaia’s Navel. The people of Jeutontic have been capturing and domesticating the beasts for hundreds of years. A few of the animals are trained to be exported, but most will not fly farther than two hundred miles from the city. They become sick and die if forced to, almost as if a geas/quest was cast upon them. This training regime was implemented to combat theft. Fewer aerial rustlers will take the beasts if they know they can’t be sold for profit abroad.

Despite the limitations of the aerials they are still used in the expansive import-export activities of the city. Outposts have been set up within the 200 mile radius that the city aerials can fly to. Aerials fly goods to the perimeter where they are transferred to land-based caravans. The aerials fly back to Jeutontic with commodities dropped off by earthbound merchants. Larger and heavier cargoes that are too big for a single aerial to carry are placed on aerial wagons. The aerial wagon is basically a large tarp draped between two or more animals. With this invention most of the goods that are traded with Jeutontic can be transported between the city and the outposts quickly.

Of course a few cargoes weigh too much to be carried even by the largest aerial wagon of six griffons. For these huge loads the people of Jeutontic have elephants. Elephants were originally imported from India as a status symbol for the upper class of Jeutontic. Eventually, one intelligent merchant, Sharlada, realized he could use the gigantic beasts to move his goods from his warehouses in the city to his shops. The practice eventually spread to other businessmen until elephants became the norm for transport of goods and people throughout the entire city. Sharlada opened his own elephant ranch in Jeutontic, so that the useful animals do not need to be imported from India. Sharlada’s descendants still own and administrate the ranch which proudly bears his name upon the entrance.

All these creatures being used for transportation and labor puts the people of Jeutontic in a mood for animals. Thus exotic pets of all kinds are popular with the people of Jeutontic. Pseudodragons, cockatrices, shocker lizards, and other slightly dangerous pets can all be found for sale in the marketplace. Jeutontic is the best place to go if a magician wants an exceptional familiar. The most prized exotic pet in Jeutontic is called the Kanroji. It is a magic type of fox that has nine different types of breath weapons, fire, cold, acid, sonic, electricity, force, sleep, positive energy, and negative energy. Kanroji are known to grow very large in the wild, but once placed in a mage’s servitude they will stay the same size until their master’s death.

With the numerous pets, aerials, elephants, and people running around Jeutontic, waste disposal becomes a serious problem. The citizens of Jeutontic have come up with a rather ingenious solution, fertilizer. The city’s daily tons of excrement are exported to other parts of the Xorian Kingdom or used in the fields of Jeutontic to grow food to feed the inhabitants of the city to make more fertilizer. A wonderful circle of life.

Jeutontic is the biggest trading stop between Cimmeria and Persia. All commodities that travel by land have to pass through the city or risk the wild plains where bandits and monsters live. Xoria has levied a five percent tax on all goods that pass through Jeutontic except wheat and hay. Some smugglers try to sneak valuable goods through the gates by concealing them in hay, but all wagons are checked by the guards of the city. The city watchmen always seem to know when a merchant tries to smuggle something in. Magic is suspected, but no one dares confirm this theory.

Jeutontic is one of the most critical cities for the Xorian Kingdom and the one most at risk. It is the kingdom’s main source of income because of the numerous caravans that pass through it, but it is also the first city Persia would attack if the Great King decided to invade. In the unlikely event that a united Cimmeria successfully invaded the interior of Xoria, Jeutontic has been designated as a fallback point. Finally, Jeutontic is the logical expansion point for the creatures of the Underdark due to the tunnels of Gaia’s Navel. The city suffers near constant attacks from Drow, Svirfneblin, Duergar, Dromites, Mindflayers, and the other denizens of the deep. Jeutontic’s citizens have developed effective defenses against all these enemies.

For defense against the massive armies of Persia, Jeutontic relies on Xorian battle mages. Persian wizards are obviously not from Cimmeria where magic thrives and are thus inferior to those from Xoria. The Jeutontic division of the Xorian army has also perfected an aerial cavalry unit to be deployed in the case of an attack from Persia. This same cavalry battalion would be used against the city-states of Cimmeria if they invaded, harassing interlopers from up to two hundred miles away from the city walls.

The frequent attacks originating from beneath the city are stopped by liberally causing cave-ins. When the underdwellers bring tunneling animals the Xorian army has prepared a special type of freezing water to pour into the caverns beneath the city. The liquid is far colder than any natural water and it releases a noxious, unbreathable gas. The freezing water has killed many of those who live below the city.

Should an invading army ever breach the city walls there is an inner keep for the army to fall back to. The keep does not have enough space or resources to support the large population of Jeutontic. The civilians of the city are taught this from a young age and that if a conquering force should enter the city proper they are to arm themselves and fight with all their strength. Thus the potential risk of an armed civilian population revolting is turned into a militia that still serves the crown. The keep itself is defended with large ballistae, stone-throwers, and a contingent of battle mages.

Jeutontic, led by Duke Prusu, joined with the Alliance in the First Alliance War against Xoria. Upon losing, Prusu was captured and executed. The city was placed under the rule of the vampiric Rage, Havoc. Havoc vampirized many people within the city and their used their might to subjugate the mortals of Jeutontic. The vampires undertook many raids into the Underdark, destroying many of the previously aggresive communities that lived beneath Jeutontic. Slaves were taken on these raids and even forty years later it is not uncommon for a Xorian family to have an Underdark slave.

After King Jevaninada II came to power his first act was to end the vampiric occupation of Jeutontic. He and Blendegad singlehandedly eliminated most of the vampires from the city. The city’s jubilant cries soon turned to sounds of anguish as the old vampires were replaced with new Dragovinians. Many citizens tried to move to Persia, but Blendegad devoured all who fled the city. The people of Jeutontic bowed their heads and offered their necks to the new vampires while simultaneously plotting rebellion. The rebels’ efforts haven’t produced any tangible results yet and the introduction of Dragovinian beasts to ceaselessly watch the streets and alleys of the city hasn’t helped matters.

-GoCorral

Heroic Thaddius

The DREAM!
Misdirection. The DREAM!

Continuing in the series of posts about how to beat the Heroic bosses in Hearthstone’s Naxxramas adventure, here’s Thaddius!

Heroic Thaddius has two advantages over Normal Thaddius.

First, he’s got 15 more health than the Normal version.

Second, on his first turn he automatically summons his own Feugen and Stalagg.

While he may start with two immense monsters, the good news is that they can’t attack on the turn he summons them and they don’t trigger their own deathrattles.

Even better, Thaddius’ Feugen and Stalagg will trigger your own versions of those minions. So if his Feugen has died and your Stalagg dies, then Thaddius is summoned to your side of the field.

Thaddius starts with a big advantage and this is the deck I came up with to remove that advantage as quickly as possible:
Hunter’s Mark x2
Arcane Shot x2
Tracking x2
Webspinner x2
Explosive Trap x2
Freezing Trap x2
Misdirection x2
Mad Scientist x2
Nerubian Egg x2
Eaglehorn Bow
Animal Companion x2
Deadly Shot x2
Unleash the Hounds x2
Multishot x2
Feugen
Stalagg
Kel’Thuzad

The ideal hand includes a Misdirection or a Tracking. You go first and play the Tracking if you need to find a Misdirection.

Thaddius goes second and summons Feugen and Stalagg.

Your turn comes around again and you play Misdirection.

Thaddius goes. He plays a minion and then attacks with Feugen and Stalagg. The Misdirection triggers and you pray that the two beasties kill each other. It’s a 1/3 chance that they will.

And that’s it. The deck has a few other methods for removing Feugen and Stalagg. Then it stalls the game out with secrets until you can gain complete control with a big Unleash the Hounds combo or by playing your own Feugen and Stalagg and getting a huge Thaddius on your side.

Really once you’ve got a Thaddius on the board you’ve probably won.

Other things that work really well against Heroic Thaddius are Nerubian Egg, Dire Wolf Alpha, Raid Leader, and Stormwind Champion.

Thaddius’ Polarity Shift hero power will always trigger Nerubian Egg, making it a cheap 4/4.

The Polarity Shift also interacts strangely with buffs that the other three cards have. The buffed attack (or attack and defense for Stormwind) is switched to defense, creating a permanent gain in stats. Then the buff is applied to the attack once again. If it keeps switching then your minions keep getting more stats. Leokk from the Animal Companion spell also takes advantage of this effect.

Cards to avoid against Thaddius are ones with zero attack. The Shaman is pretty bad because his hero power will be close to useless. Flametongue Totem will have the same swapping power that Dire Wolf Alpha does, but it dies in the process.

Regardless, the Hunter deck works and isn’t too expensive to craft. Plus, secrets are always fun!

-Mister Ed

Heroic Sapphiron

The perfect card to stall out Sapphiron.
The perfect card to stall out Sapphiron.

I fooled around with a few decks to beat Heroic Sapphiron with in Hearthstone.

I beat the Normal Mode version of Sapphiron with a simple Warrior deck. The Heroic challenge is obviously much more difficult because none of your minions will last longer than one turn.

I experimented with Warrior at first to beat the Heroic version, but found I just didn’t have the cards for it.

To beat Sapphiron on Heroic you need the perfect control Warrior deck with Shield Slams, Execute, Gorehowls, and Brawls. I just don’t have all those cards and they’re too expensive to craft.

I do have almost all the Mage cards though!

Here’s the Mage deck I used to pummel Heroic Sapphiron into the dust.

Deck list:
Arcane Explosion x2
Frostbolt x2
Counterspell x2
Duplicate x2
Frost Nova x2
Ice Barrier x2
Ice Block x2
Mirror Entity x2
Vaporize x2
Cone of Cold x2
Fireball x2
Feugen
Stalagg
Blizzard x2
Flamestrike x2
Pyroblast x2

The strategy is very similar to a freeze Mage deck. Stall the opponent out until they’ve run out of stuff.

With the perfect draw it’ll work to prevent Sapphiron from killing you.

Counterspell is very useful for getting rid of Sapphiron’s Pure Cold spell. Mirror Entity will often soak up a Frostbolt if it doesn’t let you trade for a creature.

But how do you kill Sapphiron?

The first bit of damage should come from your hero power. Use it on her whenever you can afford to.

The second bit comes from any left over Fireballs or Frostbolts you have after Sapphiron has played through her entire deck (You’ll have one if you’re lucky).

Most of the damage comes from the Pyroblasts and the combination of Feugen and Stalagg.

Feugen and Stalagg don’t do much on their own against Sapphiron. She’ll just destroy them same as any other minion at the start of her turn.

But because they die on her turn, Thaddius is also summoned on her turn. Then when your turn rolls around you can attack with Thaddius for a big pile of damage. In a pinch Thaddius can also take out a minion.

But two Pyroblasts and one Thaddius is only 31 damage. Where’s the other 14 coming from?

Hopefully from the latest Mage additions in Naxxramas, the Duplicate secret. The Duplicates should be played when Feugen or Stalagg are about to die.

When the little golems die, you can play them again to summon their big brother once more.

If you play the Duplicates for Thaddius, then you can still play him. Unfortunately, Sapphiron will destroy him before he gets the chance to do anything.

The same thing goes for combining Duplicate with Mirror Entity, so watch out for that as well.

The deck may not work on the first try, but I can assure you that it does work. Give it a try if you’ve got the cards!

-Mister Ed

Montana Home Invasion

A still from a security camera of Diren Dede stealing from Markus Kaarma's garage.
A still from a security camera of Diren Dede stealing from Markus Kaarma’s garage.

What topic do I want to write about tonight?

Hurray! It’s another sketchy self-defense/homicide case that went international on the news! (sarcasm)

I read this on the New York Times. You can check it out at this article.

So what’s the story?

Diren Dede was a 17 year-old exchange student from Germany going to school in Montana.

He thought it’d be fun to go out and steal stuff from someone’s garage.

He found an open garage and went in to take some stuff.

The owners, Markus Kaarma and Janelle Pflager, were cautious because there had been other burglaries in the area.

They’d installed cameras and motion sensors in the garage.

They chose not to actually close the garage all the way because they like to duck under it to smoke outside.

Not closing the garage didn’t make sense to my Californian mind at first. Why not just open your door to go smoke?

The case is in cold Montana though. The couple probably smoke in their garage and just duck down to breathe the smoke outside.

Anyways, Markus Kaarma saw the motion detectors. He grabbed his shotgun and fired into the garage.

Janelle Pflager says she heard someone in the garage shouting, “Hey! Wait!”

Montana law gives someone the right to use a gun against a home invader only if the trespasser is violently threatening someone in the house.

That’s pretty clearly not the case.

To make it worse, Kaarma had spoken with his barber recently about wanting to “shoot some kid.”

And there’s a purse at the back of the garage that was placed there with marked items, so that if it was stolen they could track down the thief.

So… it’s almost a clear case of premeditation.

They didn’t burglar proof their house. They set up stuff to tell them if a thief was in the garage. And Markus talked about wanting to kill someone.

The facts as I see them make the case clearly second-degree murder, if not first.

People have the right to protect themselves and their property, but there is a limit to how far that protection goes.

Kaarma could use his gun for intimidation, but when he heard Dede telling him to wait, he should’ve realized that firing his gun was a bad choice.

All that aside, I’m also a little surprised he could afford bail for a murder case.

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed

Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed