Wednesday 26 April 2017

Astronomica II: Usurp the primarch ending

I should preface this with a disclaimer, just 'cause, you know?

This could be seen as crossover fanfiction, and I don't really mind if you see it that way.  It involves the protagonist killing Guilliman, a subject I know the internet can get quite artistically wound up about; sorry if it rubs you the wrong way, I didn't mean to offend.

Disclaimer over.

Recently, there's been a fairly major discovery made in Astronomica II: Fading Light.  It's not massively interesting as a quest on its own, being mostly a fetchquest at its heart, but it is pivotal to reach one of the most shocking endings of the Wrath of the Primarch DLC.

Here's a basic overview of the questline, along with important dialogue.

Initiation of the quest begins within the Phalanx, fairly late-game surprisingly, although you do need to have previously attained Greyfax's book "Insights to the Northern Martian Dialects", either by killing her or by taking it from her chambers in the rare time she leaves them.  One way to do this is to lure enough pink horrors into the corresponding corridor so that Greyfax's priorities are overridden; another is to attack her, force her to leave her aggro range, then balance her on your character until you enter (get pushed into) the door, after which you have a few seconds to pick up the book from her desk.

Anyway, once you have the book, head into the arcanium below the bridge, making very sure nobody sees you enter (or every human on the bridge will aggro upon your return), go down to the third basement and search the shelves for a book called "My Concerns Regarding our Recent State of Affairs".  Where it is located can be random, so bring a lot of medpacs-- or alternatively, have the Bloodlust litany equipped to regain health from visceralling the daemons; both this and the location of the book are actually governed by the Luck stat, higher luck meaning the book may be closer to the far end of the arcanium, so begin your search there.
Usually when you try to read this book, the usual "you cannot comprehend the written text" message will appear, but if you have Greyfax's book, you will learn the "Betrayer's gait" emote.  Go and find Cawl and perform "Betrayer's gait" before him when he asks you to kneel.

"What is this?  Thou'rt privy then to my fears?  What madness betook thee, to find such hidden data!  Thy fate then is sealed, except I may kill thee, and so keep my knowledge alone?"

Choose "Accept fate" over "Accept death" and he will give you a Profane Gasket Shard.

"My fear is for our Lord Guilliman, so'st thou know.  He is a mighty lord of lords indeed-- but he is weak, even as only expectant of an undead Primarch.  I hath seen thy path.  I know of thy strength, thy resolve.  What wouldst thou give for the might of a lord of lords, hm?  Wouldst thou take upon thy soul guilt unfathomable, in exchange for power equally so, yet untainted by Chaos?  Oh, and please remember.  Tell naught of this to anyone.  I am alone in my concerns; there were others, many others who are all dead and now only I remain, but why though, I canst not know...  Trust only the fallen."

At this time, Cawl with grant you a second Profane Gasket Shard.  The item description reads, "Once the sons of god walked amongst men, choosing heirs to the light of Terra and conferring to them their most secret fear.  This sigil, formed of an unrecorded alloy most obscene in the eyes of the Cog, was distributed amongst those once many who shared in that fear."
Cawl's intention seem fairly clear at this point, but what will you do?  Will you ignore what seems to be a seed of heresy, or will you let it grow?

"Oh, 'tis thou.  What brings thee here?  I am in hardly the mood to train thee, get the gone."

Choose "Give gift" and select either Profane Gasket Shard.  You might need to select it several times, as Cypher may refuse it initially.

"But this... this is a profane gasket shard.  So Cawl hath his successor found.  In thee, no less.  Hm, I expected more of that old man-- but I forego myself.  Yea, I wert privy also to his fear.  Guilliman is dying, thou know'st.  So he hath been these last ten millenia.  How indeed, can even a Primarch, one with no great psychic presence such as the good lord, remain sound and hale, and yet undead?  Well, what thinkest thou?  Is it not clear to thee thy fate?"

If you choose yes, then Cypher will take the proffered Profane Gasket Shard, and you leave... But, of course, it's not going to be that easy.

"Off to slay a primarch then?  Assassin!  Thou wert a greater fool than I thought-- or more courageous than credit allowed, though I doubt thou'rt so.  As I am, my duty here is to the good lord first, and so to place myself before any threat to his title!"

The Cypher fight is enough for its own description, but that's for another time.  For now, I only stress that you must NOT perform any visceral finishers when he's down, in case you accidentally crit and kill him.  Of course, you can kill him if you wish, but that makes the rest of the quest near impossible to finish.  If you leave the chamber with him below 10% HP, you'll meet him on the stairwell before the barracks.  Talk to him and he will put "Cypher's call sign" into your auspex.

"Thou'rt set in thy way then, assassin?  I then have no choice, I suppose.  Here.  Shouldst thou need me... take my call sign.  I promised Cawl that none living should know of our plot save thou... and if thou fail, it means killing myself.  I must admit, I like not the prospect. Heh heh heh..."

You can now summon Cypher to fight alongside you, but only in +30 threat factor battles, but be careful with him as he can die, particularly to the Lord of Change that the Barren Husk summons in the docking bay, and you're really going to want him in the final boss fight of the DLC.

Now you need to somehow gain audience with Roubute Gulliman himself before day 15 of warp travel.  You could do this normally in the three-day process, or you could instead take a quicker (at least two hours) but infinitely more dangerous path: fight your way up to his command chamber.  Blocking the way are his honour guard and a stabby custodes, so bring as many medpacs and agility buffs as you can-- and be prepared to die a lot.  Honestly, if you thought the shooty custodes on the Cadian Fragment was tough, at least he kept his distance!
When he dies, make sure to pick up the Fragment of a Custodian's Integrity, it's important, I promise.  If he doesn't drop it, I hope you saved at the foot of the stairway...

So having reloaded and refought the stabby custodes for the second and last time, you'll now be in the command chamber.  To trigger the fight (and make it a little bit easier), throw a melta charge-- the only grenade with a chance of staggering at the primarch-- and while he's staggered, close the gap as quickly as possible and try to get a backstab in before he turns around.

"What is this madness?  Thou dare usurp the last hope of humanity for thy selfish gain?  Leave this place now, and I may yet spare thy life, wretched assassin."

If Cypher is still alive, the cutscene will then carry on with him summoning in beside you; if not, the cutscene ends there.

"Cypher... once fallen, forever fallen, so say'st thy father.  Thou'rt worse than his mentor, bearing such relics of foul portent against thy lord so."
"I would have no reason to affront my lord, were it not for a more pressing cause."
"... if it is so, then I accept such fate as befalls us.  Come then, and partake of thy god's wrath!"

Note that this cutscene and the ensuing fight will only begin if you have met the following criteria:
1: you possess a Profane Gasket Shard in your inventory
2: you have killed the Custodian outside
3: you've damaged the primarch in some way before he sees you

if you didn't kill the custodian, he will follow you in and alert the primarch to your presence, starting the fight prematurely and giving you no time to manually summon Cypher.  If you didn't manage to land a hit on Guilliman, you'll have to reload the area.

Roubute Guilliman, the last boss of the DLC, and what an intense fight he puts up!  Made all the worse as having  summoned help on your end almost doubles his health pool, though Cypher is pivotal to the fight and not worth leaving out.  While so little is known about his moveset, I can't offer much insight and only a few opportunities to safely attack him.

Firstly, when he skips forward and raises his sword for a downward strike; dodge towards and slightly to his right (carefully, or this attack might one-shot you), unlock, turn around and backstab.  If he retaliates with a spin attack with his gauntlet, dodge away, another melta charge, then back in for another backstab.  This should leave you with enough stamina-- if you're a decent enough level to even be facing him!-- to dash away and recharge, being careful in case he starts shooting.

Secondly, if he starts shooting, get as far away from him as possible.  If you have any working sidearms of your own, this is a good time to put a few shots in before his next move.  Be extremely careful, as Guilliman can dupe you into running one way before catching you with a second line of fire; being heavy bolter rounds they can stun lock you-- no shield or spell will deflect them, and if you get caught against a pillar you're done for.

After firing, he will either charge with sword or gauntlet, or leap with either one, sometimes both.  The leap is fairly easily dodged, allowing you to get a hit in if he led with his sword, or keeping away from the shockwave upon landing if he led with his gauntlet.  His tracking when dashing is super-precise, you need to dodge to his right at the last possible moment, being prepared to repeat if he turns around.  Unlock before you dodge, and keep away from his left side at all times, he has the most brutal grab attack of any boss so far.

Thirdly, try to hit him as often as possible.  I know this sounds mean, but Guilliman automatically regens, and if you leave him even a few seconds' reprise, he can regain twice as quickly!  This is why Cypher, being the only shooty follower capable of strafing, is the most useful summon in this case; while his pistols only scratch away at his health pool, they distract him from buffing his regen.

Also, remember what Cawl and Cypher referred to him as?  Yes, being undead, flame and melta works really well against him, so bear that in mind when choosing sidearms beforehand.

Now, it is possible to visceral him yourself, but the criteria for this haven't been found out yet: if you know of a fairly failsafe way to perform a visceral on him, let me know.

Once you kill him, take his items at your own leisure and either activate his command console or speak to Cypher, if he's still alive.

"Then 'tis done.  The Imperium hath for itself, a new saviour found.  I hope thou know'st what such a burden doth entail.  heh heh heh... Well, I must return to Cawl.  Seek me at any time, my good lord; if thou shouldst want my council, I wilt for certain oblige.  Go on then, take hold of what is now thine.  See for thyself the fate none but thyself wove for thee, and know the burden of a primarch."

So technically, that's the end of the DLC's content, but not the end of the game.  What transpires next is for another time, suffice to say you're geared up for the new "Usurp the primarch" ending...


Let's talk about what Guilliman drops upon death.  of course, he drops his set, the Armour of Fate, from which we learn that, "its inner workings are enhanced with life-sustaining technologies... protecting the wearer from even the most dolorous blows".  This armour has regen properties and allows you to parry pretty much flawlessly, so long as the weapon you block with doesn't break; though it renders your stamina pool almost half its worth, such is its bulk.

The primarch also drops the Emperor's sword, the Hand of dominion and the "Legion Salute" emote.  A neat little thing to note is, when you enter the chamber, Guilliman has a chance of not wearing his helmet for the fight-- but don't panic if he doesn't drop it, it'll be sitting on his command console for you to pick up.
The Emperor's sword is an ultra greatsword, and can only be made effective if two-handed, even in a strength build.  As to be expected, it is imbdued with flame and soulburns any foe it touches, making it extremely useful against psykers and undead.
The Hand of Dominion is impossible to two-hand, being a power fist, but its too heavy to one-hand.  Take it back to Cawl (or any tech-savant of your choice, but Cawl's the cheapest) and using the Fragments of a Custodian's Integrity and for the low price of 190,000 creds he will turn it into a shield/boltgun combo weapon.

So that's that!  Now you're fully decked out for the "Usurp the primarch" ending of Astronomica II, and by Throne are you going to need your new set!  The new final boss they added in the DLC is a shocker, if you have somehow kept away from the spoilers plastering the internet...

Bye bye for now.

Friday 14 April 2017

Commission work: Imperial Knight #3 finished!

Fey Hunt!  Fey Hunt!  Call high, call high!
We shriek to the twilight, the midsummer sky!

Savage our teeth in the winds of the Hill,
Our cry ringing savage, we rise to the call,
Fey Hunt!  Breathe the words to the lords of the kill,
To imperial honour and praise...
To the foe as we slaughter them all!

Cold hearts of stone, they encompass you now,
Redemption cries out with the rays of the plea,
The forest expectant, they all forgot how
Our eyes burn like suns through their lies...
As we rise again eternally!

Fey Hunt!  Fey Hunt!  Call high, call high!
We march into twilight, the midsummer sky!
Call to the fallen and rise with the light, silent
Sentinels forging a way through the lie!

 Endlessly searching and crossing the plains,
Striking out, with hate blazing from muzzle and flare!
Slaughtering thousands again and again,
In fire and ire the centuries' eyes...
Lords of the kill, bring them pain!

... and somehow, no matter how I try...
We left them all behind so long ago...
Death rains around us, still upwards we climb,
To the Hunt! 

Lifetimes to destiny, passing them on
To the children of Huntsmen whose fathers await,
Honour the memories long lost and gone,
Honour the Throne of your praise...
Honour to Rasia's gate! 

Fey Hunt!  Fey Hunt!  Call high, call high!
We shriek to the twilight, the midsummer sky!

So  much green!  Not a colour I'd usually paint, 'specially in this amount, so great practice.  And transfers-- oh Throne, the transfers were a nightmare--- but I must admit, they do look awfully good, now they've finally decided to work.

So that's that!  Hope you like him, Joe.  To the Hunt, then!  And I'll get back to painting skaven.

Bye bye for now.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Random hobby update: Custodes, also I've run out of glue

Fun game; get a bunch of skaven in a tight group and shout "CAT!"

Right, so to get this out of the way, I've been so busy I've run out of all my glues AT ONCE.  Talk about bad management; I'm waiting on a few more from ebay now.  If anything, it's a prompt to get into batch painting again!
While I'm continuing with the massive skaven order, I'll show you what else I'm working on, what I've bought with someone else's money and what I've been a bit of a nong and started.

Firstly, some single figures.  A necron overlord; the client gave me a bit of backstory, in that he was accidentally awoken alone by Tau, and he has spent the rest of the time striving against them.  I'm still figuring out a way to portray this, so for now I'm giving him a suitable base.

The Alpha legion dark apostle I began a while ago has started to get a bit of paint on him now.

See, look.  I start with a coat of silver, then go on with watered-down blue and a purple wash.

Now THIS has been something I've been wanting to do for a while.  I'm finally assembling my custodes!
Well, technically not mine, I sold them, along with my remaining sisters of silence and a Talons box set that, weather permitting, I'll be picking up this afternoon.
To tie them all together, I decided on a simple chequerboard floor for them, also because I suck at basing.

The client (same chap as the skaven and two IKs, bless him) wanted them to be a little different form the norm while still being obvious; each being their own individual.  I knew for a FACT I wanted them to have Dark Souls shields, as in with the handles rotated.  Not like I'd know much about shields, I'm still struggling with the high wall of Lothric.  I've got Dark Souls III, by the way!

 I'm supposed to have eight assembled so far, but as aforementioned, I sort of ran out of glue... anyway-- from left then!  I gave the first guy the furioso's power blade on his spear and a literal pony tail.  Second guy has a greenstuff shoulder with a wing and the Slaughterpriest's body; the same base I used for my blog's mascot, Alone With a Dream.
The third chap is just Fabio, and the fourth needed a bit of extra padding around a shoulder pad that didn't want to fit.

And these three are pretty straightforward.  Two are even primed.  The client asked for me to give him examples of porcelain, obsidian and heavily weathered copper to decide on a decent scheme.

Ich liebe geld ausgeben!  'specially when it's somebody else's.  Calgar and the berserkers are for me, don't know why, just needed them.  You know how it is, tell me I'm not the only one!

No, actually, the berserkers are for if I ever wanted to put together a small kill team/30K force; I've settled on Word Eaters as legion of choice.  Infantry based, chain weapons and lots of weathering, what's not to love!
Calgar was for an idea I had a while ago.  I wanted to read Graham McNiell's Ultramarine series, and make a semi-dramatised audiobook series sort of thing.  If it ever went up on Youtube, it'd need some interesting graphics; having the characters to look at would be nice, wouldn't it?

The tzeentchy things are part of another IK commission.  The client saw Victory Awaits and wished for me to make him one to go with his Thousand sons.  He said he was impressed with my work.  I'm dreadfully flattered.

So that's that!  Right now, I guess I'll just paint until the glue arrives.
Bye bye for now.

Monday 10 April 2017

Commission work: Imperial Knight #2 finished!

The door of the crowded bunker leaned in, heralding a wash of mud and the sallow face of the commander; the whole of his gaunt body proceeded a moment after, bearing a scrap of parchment in one hand and the shoulder of the greencap vox in the other.
'On your feet, guardsmen!' he cried, sending the whole room into a frenzy, 'won't be long now before reinforcements make planetfall-- here,' he pushed the mouldy scrap under the vox's drooping nose and said, 'Pettibrough, the transmission.'
Vox Pettibrough was the only one who could read binaric vulgaris-- and barely at that-- and his voice was thin and reedy as the shattered message was relayed to the platoon.
'Glorious house Terryn... something something, breaking atmosphere two... "Aldrich", crusader... something father... and a bit about staying alive and the number of men left.  Sir.'  Pettibrough saluted and was manhandled back out into the trench.
'We've only got to wait for Terryn to arrive,' commander Bullywad said firmly, 'two hours, and the field will be ours.  Look alive, guardsmen!'
Lines of collapsing trenches circled the outpost, but so far heavy bolter fire had the better of them.  All their transport was gone, so retreating was out of the question, as was a final, glorious charge at the gate.  Their only hope lay on the wind, a heavy thudding of monstrous steel feet on the rain-soaked ground, ever drawing nearer.  Commander Bullywad raised his magnoculars and once again counted the grinning masks on the walls, once again turning behind to survey the valley stretching behind.  The heavy step of bullish corporal Crampkin beside him did not break his gaze.
'Sir,' the big Cadian girl broke the silence, 'they've opened the gate on the north side.'
'Not a moment too soon,' the commander murdered, 'our saviour arrives.'
Crampkin produced a telescope and gasped.

'What in Throne's name have the fates sent us now?' she snorted, 'is this your Aldrich?'
Commander Bullywad nodded slowly.  Step by wavering step, Aldrich staggered up the valley, each heavy step shaking every joint in its vast, metallic body.  The grinning masks on the wall began to slowly turn their pintle weapons toward the horizon.  The commander seized up his personal vox-caster and hissed into the receiver to send a squad to cover the titan's passage, seeing with concern a familiar swathe of black shapes scuttle behind it, closing.

 Before long a scuffle had ensued around the oddly oblivious titan's feet; green and white clad guardsmen spitting ruby bolts of Imperial light into the scuttling black things who threw handfuls of long knives in retort.  Bayonets were bloodied, some men fell, and all Bullywad and Crampkin could do was watch, along with the grinning masks on the wall.

One of the black things lifted a long tube and, with a flash of green smoke, Aldrich staggered with its right knee buckling.  An awful, titanic scream of pain echoed back and forth, drowning out the attackers' thin, raspy cheers.
Then all went silent.
Weapons were lowered.  The black things began to advance on the titan, ignoring now the blades of the guardsmen, they clawed, stumbled, swarmed up the knight's legs, and to the commander's horror, climbed inside a ragged gash in the carapace, where they vanished.

  Almost instantly, Aldrich stood straight, shook itself, and continued to walk.  Now within ordnance range, shells began to pelt down like rain about the grubby blue and red monster.
'Call your men back, Sir!'  Crampkin urged, 'this is hardly martyrdom on their part!  Sir!'
Commander Bullywad mouthed a dry response but did not move to ths vox-caster.

Every time a fire-trailing missile scored Aldrich's hull, it would scream and stagger-- and almost as if to respond, his men, the commander's own men, still struggling with the scuttling black things, would turn around and climb up the titan's legs, up into his split carapace, where they would vanish.  A seeping, glittering mess of... something was making its slovenly way down the titan's front...

As it passed, a rain of mud and corpses, heralded by a bone-shattering peal of thunder told the officers their own trench had been struck.  Bullywad lowered his now-muddied magnoculars and saw Crampkin turning away towards the titan.
'Where are you going, guardsman?' he spluttered, 'Do not approach that knight-- that is an order!'
The corporal turned to regard him a moment and replied, 'but he's been damaged, I think I can repair him!'
Coproral Crampkin dropped her telescope and ran towards the lumbering shape, and all the commander could do was watch.


Well, that was sudden!  A week ago I don't think Aldrich was even primed!  He was a bit of a mission to put together initially, but once I figured out a solid method to put the corpses in, it was all pretty much downhill; a simple loyalist house scheme, nothing special paint-wise.

So that's that!  Pretty soon he should be parcelled up with Victory Awaits and sent across the big blue to their new home in the states.
Once again, do you want anything built or painted?  Remember to have a look at my commissions site and email me @ with your request!

Bye bye for now.

Saturday 8 April 2017

I won a prize!

I've got SO much on at the moment, not much time to post or anything, and it'd appear NZ post are withholding ALL my interesting post; a GW order, princess Mononoke OST, all sorts-- so between the new work environment and painting imperial knights, there hasn't been much happening, I'm afraid.

Still, I somehow won a prize!

Some of you might know fellow G+ dweller Thefallenstar and his Personal Painting Challenge.  If he fails to meet his own (often rather steep!) challenge within the month, a lucky follower becomes the Failwinner, who gets a figure built and painted 'specially for them; an interesting system, if a bit painful for him if the Failwinner ends up living in NZ...

 When Thefallenstar contacted me to say I'd won, I was rather surprised, and then very pleased that I could own a piece of someone else's work-- particularly his, because look at it!  The edge highlights, how vibrant and clean the colours are!  A far take from what I'm used to seeing on my bench.

I asked if he would very sweetly make a succubus for my (currently head-canon-only) DE faction, loosely based on a Big Sister from Bioshock.  White clothing, no visible face, a blaster and agoniser.

Also a yellow helmet, a trophy taken from an encounter with the Sagodjur Fjorlag perhaps?

So yeah, that's that!  Very short post to-day, just wanted to show off this exceptional piece of work, and to say thank you to the nice chap who built it.  Do make sure to check out Thefallenstar, his lot's pretty varied and he's going to be putting together a tyranid force based on famous kaiju.  Definitely something to look forward to.

Bye bye for now.

P.S  Commission work is steaming along-- having an Audible account certainly helps.  I sit down to paint after coming home at 2, and next I know it's midnight and Harry Potter hasn't even found out how Tom's diary works.