Taking a breather from another whirlwind day at work that will conclude with the aforementioned seminar with the greedy but nervous (don't believe anyone that tells you the stock market has recovered) and me in a suit...
Icewind Dale II is the shit! I'm not a big computer gamer - preferring the portability of my GameBoy Advance - but this one has me completely hooked. COMPLETELY! I finally made it through the second stage of the game last night, wresting control of a critical bridge from a ferocious assortment of baddies that would've allowed the evil horde to overtake Targos. Or something like that. The game's got a solid storyline but it's the strategy of the battles that's sunk into my brain. I've even had dreams about different plans of attack!
The battle for the bridge was intense - the game has an amazing soundtrack that really heightens the tension in combat - and it took my half-Elf Bard (my favorite character) sacrificing himself to pull it off. At the beginning of the battle, I had him turn invisible and sneak his way on to the bridge, surprising the two ogres charged with its destruction ("if we can't have it, no one can!") and putting them to sleep. Unfortunately, the wizard leader killed him before the rest of my party could get past the first line of defenses. I toughed out the battle instead of restarting, hoping that a Raise Dead spell would bring my Bard back w/o the apparent repercussions my human Sorcerer had to deal with from his earlier Resurrection. The Sorcerer, for some reason, is now unable to cast spells, making him a glorified crossbow artist that can't take a punch! In the end, after I successfully routed the rest of the bad guys, the party backtracked to the cleric on the other side of the mountain for some healing. After she raised my Bard, I made sure he was able to cast his spells and he was A-OK!
In my mind, the entire group gave him a big hug for his valiant sacrifice and they all danced and drank wine and made merry. I'm not sure but I think someone might've gotten lucky, too! You dirty little dwarf!
This D&D revival is totally taking over the fun side of my brain now, leaving just enough room for my regular comic books and fantasy football. Poetry is sitting in the corner pouting, complaining I led it on, thinking we'd get back together again. I may throw it a shot here and there but I think our time has passed.
In related news, I just finished reading the anthology Realms of Shadow, and have that old feeling I used to get in high school when I was into genre horror and mystery and believed I could write better than most of what I was reading.
Look out R.A. Salvatore. I'm coming for you. :-)