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Hephaestus' Forged Letters

Things To Come

2009 is almost over, and I bring to you my second annual look forward to things to come in the year to come. As you'll no doubt agree, last year's was almost completely accurate, so I'm sure you're itching to know what I have for you this year.

You may remember the recent Frost Class sloop release, and I'm sure you're wondering what the next custom job to float out of the Ringer shipyards will be. Well, I am proud to present a sneak preview of the Destroyer Class Sloop!

As you can see, the first big surprise the Destroyer Class packs is a twin, forward firing large cannon. This is quite a piece of hardware for a sloop, and takes its toll - you'll be able to fire one double-shot per turn, which will knock the sloop back one space.

More surprises come on the next deck, where we find four more large cannon. These will need to be fired in opposing pairs, or else the sloop will be capsized.

Also added to this scene is a hatch to the new below decks area...

Below the hold is the officer's lounge, where pirates may relax, chat over rum and cigars, and play parlor games.

Below the Officer's Lounge is the Arboretum deck, a place for the captain to come and perform all important silent contemplation when on a cruise.

Finally, the bottom deck of the sloop is the Lost Temple Of The Octopus God Deck. This was a common feature of British military vessels of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. This gave British vessels a great tactical advantage over Spanish vessels, whose crews simply had no pool of lava into which they could throw sacrifices.

So, I'm sure you're excited as I am, as Puzzle Pirates ushers in a new era of historical authenticity for 2010.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Seasonal Science - Results!

Over the past three days, I've been all over battling all kinds of folk and finally, we have enough data to perform an analysis!

Now, as the previous post stated, we're looking for the mean average score of participants in each category, where the highest possible score would be 18 (for an Able participant utterly pwning me) to -18 (for myself utterly pwning an Ultimate opponent.)

Before I get to the scores, I must first point out an error in my experimental design: in jumping onto an ocean and fighting the first ten or so participants who sent me a tell, I was effectively challenging the ten players with the quickest reactions on each ocean. I don't think this was necessarily something that invalidates the result, but it certainly didn't do an awful lot for my self-esteem. So while I think the ranking is correct, I think maybe if I'd been more random, the average scores would all have been lower, and I wouldn't have given away quite as many prizes as I did.
(I was also fortunate enough to jump into the middle of a sea battle in which we met and defeated the Widow Queen! So I can tell you that whatever headgear it is that guarantees victory, it is not a ludicrously bouffant hairdo.)

The average scores, for each category, in reverse order were:
Rank-based Hats : 2.25
Normal Hats: 2.8
No Hat: 3.22
Seasonal Hats: 4.47

An incredible result for the seasonal hat there!

It would seem that in general, then, a hat is a handicap for the swordfighter, likely blocking their peripheral vision, distracting them at crucial moments, and so forth. The fancier and shiner the hat, it would seem the worse this effect becomes. This becomes obvious when we consider the constituents of some off the hats in question:

1 unit of basic cloth = 0.7kg , 1 litre volume.

Captain's Hat
7 units of fine cloth = 4.9kg, 7 litres volume

6 units of fine cloth = 4.2kg, 6 litres volume
10 gold nuggets = 4kg, 10 litres volume
2 units of iron = 15.6kg, 2 litres volume
TOTAL = 23.8kg, 18 litres volume

When you look at it that way, it's hardly surprising. It's amazing that someone wearing a crown can actually stand, never mind engage in a sword fight. Even the captain's hat works out to be rather unwieldy, and hampers one while trying to walk through narrow doorways.

Which brings us to the Seasonal Hats. Since they actually improve performance, they can't be made of heavy materials. And we know this to be true - seasonal items cannot be made in tailor shops, and are created in the Palace Shoppe, using the hopes, dreams and kind thoughts of good little boys and girls. This is why wearing one has such a positive effect. Cephalopod obtains this material by distilling good little girls and boys in his laboratory. It's an excruciating process, but no effort can be spared in order to bring holiday cheer to you, our wonderful players.

Many thanks go to the many pirates who helped me assemble the data for this investigation:

... and of course the many, many more pirates who volunteered to assist, but whom I was not able fight due to pressures of time. Your willingness to further the cause of Science! is greatly appreciated!

Seasonal Science

It's nearly Christmas and Lucky Dip time is here. But I'm not going to do just any lucky dip. Oh no. We will be using the lucky dip format for SCIENCE!

There's a question that has been plaguing the oceans since Azure, and that question is, is the brigand wearing the hat a better swordfighter? It's a question that's been asked since records began, is still asked in petitions today, and has never been answered satisfactorily.* Hence, this holiday season, we will be performing a huge experiment to discover just what kind of effect a hat has on swordfighting.

Here's how it's going to work. I'm going to come on to each ocean over the holiday, as Luckyhammer, and do a couple of hours of lucky dip swordfighting. I'll announce my arrival, and ask you to send me a tell challenging me to a fight, and telling me which sword you will be using. I'll come and fight you in the order I receive these tells, using the same kind of sword. (Please don't be too disappointed if you don't get a turn. In the two hours I spent on Viridian this afternoon, I don't think I managed to fight anyone who responded after the first thirty seconds after I broadcast!) Also, please don't send multiple tells, asking me when I'm likely to come, how long I'll be, etc.

I will divide the fights up into four groups: No Hats (people fighting me bareheaded), Event Hats (santa hats, top hats, etc), Ranked Hats (Crowns, Captain's Hats, and any other hat which might have a rank requirement), and other hats (anything else). I will fight bareheaded. As we predict that I will thus be at a disadvantage, it should not be considered a reflection on my swordfighting skills if the vast majority of you beat me.

I will then score each fight according to the following formula: S = W / R

W will be judged not only by the outcome, but the quality of the outcome. If I score an effortless win, that'll be a -2. If I win, but the fight is close, that'll be a -1. If it's very close, with, in my estimation, luck determining the outcome, it scores 0. If I lose after a close fight, that's a 1, and I get badly beaten, that's a 2.

R equals the significance of the result. If I am beaten by an Ultimate player, that's no surprise, if I'm beaten by an Able player, that's more of an upset. Therefore, if I lose, R will equal 1 if the opponent is Ultimate, 9 if the opponent is Able, with all other ratings being accorded a score according to rank. Conversely, if I win, a win against an Ultimate will be considered significant** and weighted 9, and if I win against an Able***, that'll be weighted 1.

I will add up all the scores of all the matches in each group, divide by the number of participants in the group, and thus we will have a normalised value which will be representative of the combat advantage given by each category of headgear. Stay tuned for results!

* - I believe various developers have categorically stated "no", but I don't call that satisfactory.

** - To be honest, it'll be considered miraculous.

*** - By no means certain.

A Postscript Writ in Blood.

In my last blog post, I informed you that I had rescued a number of black octopuses from Cephalopod and his evil band of Kraken's Blood counterfeiters. Many of you have approached me, full of concern, asking after the welfare of these creatures and generously offering to give one of them a good home. Well, the truth* be told, you already may have done! Let me explain!

Obviously, I was in fear for the lives of my wriggly little friends. After all, there's no OM magic that I can pull that Cephalopod can't just as easily. I thought at any moment, he might track them down and whisk them back to their squishy fate. I had one more trick in my arsenal. As you may know, one of the abilities given to OMs is the recolouring of familiars. If I could just dye them a different colour, Ceph would never recognise them, even if he did find them!

I hastened to my Secret Aboveground laboratory, and whipped up a batch of some rose pink Familiar Dye. Fortunately, these were octopuses, not parrots, so there was no fiddly work with paintbrushes to be done, just drop them in! Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan...


It would seem that the octopuses remained quite a deep reddish colour. What to do? These octopuses were now unlike anything else on the ocean... special... limited edition!

So, if you've opened a box and found a wine-coloured octopus in the last few weeks, now you know how it got there**.

* - For some values of truth.
** - Maybe***.
*** - Probably not though.

A Tale Writ In Blood

This week, I've been asked to look into one of the game's greatest mysteries. Kraken. What are they? Where are they? Are they related to the sea monsters of Atlantis? Why does their blood come in buckets? And just how do the brigands get so much of it?

Well, gentle reader, let me tell you a tale. Because while this started out as a lighthearted experiment, it ended as one of the most shocking discoveries I have ever uncovered! So, if you have the nerve, the stomach and the spleen for it - read on!

My initial investigation led me to conclude that the best method of comparing Kraken DNA with Gorgonyx DNA would be to compare samples of the two. Having some Kraken's Blood handy, I needed to acquire a gorgonyx. Fortunately, these come in a handy pocket sized trinket size. I set out to acquire one, following the best practice in scientific procurement.

A Tale Writ In Blood

Having secured a gorgonyx, I took it back to my alchemical laboratory to perform an analysis.
A Tale Writ In Blood

I concluded that a more fruitful line inquiry might be to seek the source of Kraken's blood. It's well known that this commodity can only be found on board the toughest of brigand vessels. Hence, I resolved to find such a vessel, board it, and track it back to its origin.

Here we are! Attack!
A Tale Writ In Blood

Fools! They suspect nothing! The Brigands close in for the kill.
A Tale Writ In Blood

I feign unconsciousness, sneak away from the fray, and board their vessel!
A Tale Writ In Blood

A Tale Writ In Blood

I check their chart, and find they've come from the Redoubt of Depravity and Chaos. I jump ship, leaving my crew of swabbies to keep the brigands occupied, and make for their base on magical winds.
A Tale Writ In Blood

Making my way through the undergrowth of the isle, I come upon the ancient ruins of a building, rubble on the surface, but with stairs down, from which an evil smell eminates. I make my way down...
A Tale Writ In Blood

I find myself in a large alchemical laboratory. By the vats, presses, grinders and wringers, all stained a deep black, I can tell that this is where the stuff is produced. I hide behind a stone pillar, and observe a shadowy figure hard at work - it is Cephalopod! So, it is he who manufactures the stuff, and releases it to the brigands, to distribute to the oceans!
A Tale Writ In Blood

But what of the raw materials? What is is made from? Something sends a chill down my spine, so I do not approach Cephalopod to ask. I spot a store cupboard at the rear of the laboratory. Can this be where the secret is kept? I creep over to it, and with shaking hand, slowly open the door...
A Tale Writ In Blood

NO! It can't be!
A Tale Writ In Blood

I grabbed as many of the poor creatures as I could, and fled. But two terrible mysteries were solved that night - where 'Kraken's Blood' comes from, and why the developers won't let you have a black octopus...

Two-Fisted Tales Of Technology, Continued.

Further developments on my epic battle with Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway. Just the other day, some kind of EPIC FAIL happened with my monitor, which led to a big stripe of blue pixels appearing down the middle of the screen. Obviously, I need far less reason than that to invest in new kit, so I now have a big 24 inch monitor, with a nice 1920x1200 resolution. Which has this rather interesting effect:
Click To Embiggen

See what I mean? I now actually get more of the island in the main screen than I do in the minimap at the top right! That's clearly some kind of watershed, but whether I should be proud or ashamed, I'm not sure.

The Cat And The Canary

As I'm sure you already know, this month saw the introduction of two shiny new Oceans. Jade, of course, is our Spanish ocean, and Crimson is ocean tailored towards families and younger players. All this is in pursuit of our new goal - if you are a warm blooded mammal with even a passing interest in pirates, we want you playing YPP.

It was obvious to us that there was a need for a family ocean; though we can't allow younger children on to the main oceans, that didn't stop them trying! And really, there's nothing sadder for us than having to exclude a polite, enthusiastic young player just because they're a bit greener than we'd like. Hence, Crimson. But there is another section of the internet who are as yet uncatered to, and yet who show an almost unconquerable desire to participate in the game.

I speak, of course, of cats.

If you have a cat, know a cat, or live in the neighbourhood of a particularly intrusive cat, you will know that there is nothing a cat likes better, while you're carpenting in a blockade, than to leap on to the keyboard and join in. And from many of the "sldhfodidsssssdddddd" type petitions we receive, I can only presume that these cats are writing in in their hundreds to tell us all about it.

Well, their wait is almost over! Because we are now in the final testing stages of the first of our Yellow oceans, which will be specifically tailored towards pets. The first ocean will be Canary, and be tailored towards our feline friends.

But what changes will be made?

The first, and most obvious change - Humans Out, Cats In.

And of course, the puzzles will need to be changed in order to appeal to cats. This you can see here, with the new version of Bilging, which is 100% shinier and 200% janglier than before.

Pillaging will have changed. Much as rum needed to be removed for Crimson, cats also have their own specific needs:

And finally, one could not expect cats to be interested in defeating brigands:

I think you'll agree, exciting stuff, that's sure to please your furry companion. Tune in next month for news of the Violet Ocean, our joint project with SETI, which will be transmitting the client into the furthest depths of space, and analysing SETI data looking for Swordfighting data packets.

(Damned Martian speedhackers.)

Oh, it's ON now...

Curse you Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway. You win this round!

Tomorrow's World Today!

When last we spoke, I had just demonstrated 12 clients, running on five screens. Of course, at the time, the question in the air was, where can we go from here? Have the screens got even larger? The answer is, no. Quite the reverse.

Apologies for the ropey quality of the film. I have a better video camera, but unfortunately it's installed in the device I'm filming.

Fake? No. Top sekrit experimental iPhone client? No. :) The client runs on my home machine, which I can log into using a Remote Desktop client. It's not the most responsive client in the world - Swordfighting was utterly impossible, though I think Drinking might be a possibility. But certainly, it's now possible for me to log on and hassle you, wherever I am in the world.

Practical? No. We do not do these things because they are easy, we do them because they are stupid. But it does mean I can write this blog entry for you from this rollercoaster. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Tomorrow's World, Pt 2.

Well, we're just about ready to put 2008 to bed, so time to look forward to 2009. What will it bring? Who among us can part the murky veil of the future, and tell us what the future holds? No-one - Except the great sage Hephraedamus! In my last blog post, I took a look at some of the technological advances we can expect, today, I'm going to let you take a look at some of the upcoming stuff in-game.

Come with us now, as we gaze into his crystal globe, and see what awaits us!

SPRING - Shanty

Spring should see the release of the new Shanty puzzle. Unlike previous puzzles, Shanty will not be a new activity, rather, an addition to all existing puzzles. As you play duty and crafting puzzles, you will also be able to sing along to the in-game music; your performance in hitting the Shanty notes will boost your performance in the puzzle you're playing.

This will introduce a new level of challenge, and those wishing to maintain their Ultimate ratings will find themselves having to learn whole set of exciting new skills!

SUMMER - Magical Items!

Starting in a summer update, adventurers visiting Atlantis and the Cursed Isles will begin to find in their chests mystical components, which will allow blacksmiths, tailors and shipyards to create clothing and weaponry with magical powers! These rare items will unlock hitherto unknown high levels of play!

Don't be left behind! Be the first to own these essential bonus items, and show off your skills to others!

AUTUMN - Robots!

Previous Halloweens have seen the introduction of zombies, the Cursed Isles, and so forth, and the coming season will be no exception, with the advent of Robots!

Robots will be clanking into the game, and will come in brawling and swordfighting models, as seen above. Robots will also be able to open blacksmithing stalls on vulnerable islands, where they will make more robots, until eventually the island is overrun, and fall to their new mechanical overlords - and only you will be able to stop them!

The crystal globe is misty, but I sense that there may well be a bionic arm injury possible, and possibly a droid pet to follow you around, beeping.

WINTER - Alien Invasion!!!

Not in game, sadly. In December next year, 10 ft lizards with tentacles for legs will invade the Earth. They'll be coming to steal our water supply, and farm humanity for food. We won't stand a chance against them. By early 2010, the dominion of man will be but a distant memory. Sorry to be such a downer. The Robots look pretty cool though, so it's not all bad, right?

Tomorrow's World

You may recall that a few months ago, I gave you a bit of a "Cribs" experience, and showed you my home setup, from which I OMed. Many of you seemed impressed with the multiscreen setup, but there were unasked questions in the air. Where now? Ok, you've got four clients open, but what if we need more? Dare you push this any further?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I dare, because I care.

(click to embiggen)

That's 11 clients, and a 44% increase in desktop real estate in real terms, over a six month period. And of course, we still have the netbook from last time, making 12 clients in total.

What does this mean for the future? Well, a similar increase in the next six months would yield enough room for 17.3 clients, and thus by this time next year, forecasts indicate that 24.9 clients will be available.

Of course, with this rise in client capacity, OMs will have to be upgraded to keep up. It's expected that training and a regimen of performance enhancing drugs will allow OMs to operate up to the 16 client level. However, to punch through the 16 client barrier, it's expected that the next breakthrough in OM performance will be through cybernetics.

This new speed modification technology will be implanted into the brain, connected to the cerebellum and the hypothalmus. This will allow OMs to concentrate for longer, analyse situations 50% more quickly, and allow them to synchronise their sleep cycles with server reboots, to minimise downtime. And all this is expected to shorten the OM's lifespan by no more than 30%.

Do not be alarmed, however, at the prospect that OMs may burn out. Three Rings are already working on a new breed of genetically engineered OMs, designed to be fully integrated with their clients.

I think you'll agree with me, then, when I say that exciting times are ahead.

The Curse of the Cursed Isles: Day 4

I awoke, to the sensation of gentle swaying, and thought myself back aboard ship. However, there was an uncomfortable ache in my wrists. I tried to move them to a more comfortable postion, only to find them stuck in place. I came fully to my senses, and realised that I was bound, wrists and ankles, to a wooden pole, that was being carried by two scruffy looking men in ragged pirate garb.

There follows an Excerpt from the Logge of Chatte.
Hephaestus says, "I say! You there! Where are you taking me?"
Shambling Eric says, "BrAinS!"
Hephaestus says, "Oh, I see. Look, you seem to be reasonable sorts of chaps. Why don't you just let me go?"
Decaying Ernest says, "BrAinS!"
Hephaestus says, "But whyever not? What have these cultists ever done for you? What do you get out of it?"
Shambling Eric looks at Hephaestus' forehead meaningfully.
Shambling Eric says, "BrAins."
Hephaestus says, "Ah."

The rest of the journey was completed in silence. Presently, we came upon a clearing on the beach, in which there was a village or hamlet of sorts, several bamboo huts with palm frond roofs. Out across the edge of the surf led a pontoon, moored against which was a sinister looking sloop. As I'd hoped, the means of my escape was here. I just had to escape, so that I could escape.

My bearers placed my pole down across a trestle near the fire at the centre of the circle of huts. As I hung there, I was approached by a new group, two scantily clad women with oddly painted faces, and a witch doctor wearing a large, round mask. The women tore off my shirt, and began annointing my chest with a sweet smelling oil.

"I say!" I cried. "Steady on! I'm a happily married man! Well, a married man at any rate!"

The women ignored me, and continued their task. The Witch Doctor then approached, and began mumbling something under his breath, while shaking a primitive rattle, which sprinkled some kind of fine powder over me.

"Look!" I shouted. "You can just cut that out! You may have enthralled these poor pirates and made zombies of them, but you'll find me a tougher nut to crack! Your rituals won't work on me!"
"This isn't a ritual," he replied, with a sinister giggle. "Oh, no no no."
"What on earth is it then?!"

For the other events of Day 4, see the blogs of Gaea, Galene and Cronus.
Or go to Day 5 for the nail-biting conclusion of Curse of the Cursed Isles!

The Curse of the Cursed Isles: Day 3

Hephaestus' Log, 26th November, Breakfast Time. No Breakfast in evidence.

When dawn broke, I forged on, deeper into the jungle, and soon had become lost, or rather, more lost than I had already been when I was stranded on an uncharted isle, separated from my crew, with no credible hope of rescue.

I must have been stumbling around for hours, the vegetation preventing me seeing more than a few feet in front of me, when in the distance I heard drums and chanting. Since I had already resolved that the only chance of my salvation lay in the unlikely hands of the cultists, and lacking any other plan, I made for the commotion with all speed.

Some sort of ceremony was taking place in a wide jungle clearing. I got as close as I thought safe from detection, and drew my telescope up to my eye. The masked men were around an altar, preparing something. At last, one of them moved, and I was able to see what they were doing - the object they were creating was an effigy of myself. Though the head was a potato, it was still a good likeness.

I especially liked how they'd put a parrot feather in the hat made of broad red leaves, and in more friendly circumstances, I'd have been moved to award some sort of prize. However, seeing that doll told me two things; the cultist had long known of my presence, and most likely bore me ill will.

Tired of all this sneaking around, I decided to go on the offensive. There were only three of them, after all, and while they'd clearly seen me already, they didn't seem to realise that I had also spied them! Bursting from the undergrowth, I fell upon them, hammer swinging, and two were quickly seeing stars. However, the third had leapt away, and had snatched up the doll.

I gritted my teeth, gripped my hammer and advanced upon him. He backed away from me, and, drawing a long bone needle from his belt, drove it into the doll's left leg. There was an unusual sensastion of pins and needles, then the leg flopped dead, and I almost fell. However, I was made of sterner stuff, and hopped menacingly onwards. The cultist gabbled some gibberish about moons and stars at me, and drew another bone spike, and drove it into the doll's right arm. My arm fell to my side, and my hammer fell from my nerveless grip. But still, onward I hopped, faster now, hoping to rush him, and fell him with a mighty southpaw blow. However, a third needle to the doll's other leg cut me short, and I fell to the ground with an "argh!"

Thinking he had me, he advanced now, giggling and gibbering, raising a needle to the doll's head... I had moments to act, so I grabbed the first thing that came to hand, and heaved it into his face. He screamed and clawed at his eyes, dropping the doll. I sniffed at the noxious substance on my hand, and understood. As the owner of such an animal, I knew monkey poop when I smelt it.

The cultist's concentration was broken, and my paralysis ended as soon as it began. Snatching up the doll and my hammer, I rounded on the luckless cove.

"Right!" I snarled, "let's see how you like it!" and brought my hammer down on the doll's head. I believe it was at about this time that I lost consciousness.

For the other events of Day 3, see the blogs of Gaea, Galene and Cronus.
Or go to Day 4 where Hephaestus' epic adventure continues!

The Curse of the Cursed Isles: Day 2

Hephaestus' Log. Date th November 25th, Suppertime.

I awoke on the beach of a deserted inlet. After taking a moment to cough up a pint of sea water, and pick seaweed from my beard, I stood, and took stock of the situation. I realised that if I were to escape this place, I would have to locate some cultists, and commandeer one of their rafts. I headed off into the jungle, looking all around for signs that my compatriots had survived, and perhaps come this way.

Unfortunately, as I was looking over my shoulder, I tripped over something, and fell headlong into the jungle. As I slid to a halt, I gave out a little yelp - I was face to face with a grinning skull! I recoiled back in horror, sprawling to the ground, only to be confronted with another. Again, I recoiled in horror, then I realised - waitaminute. There's skulls lying around all over the place here. I could be recoiling all day. Instead, I picked one up. It rattled.

Turning it over in my hands, I realised that this wasn't just a skull. Someone had cut the top off, attached it with a hinge at the back, and held it shut with a locking clasp at the front, converting it into a grisly, yet somehow charming little object d'art, such as one might pick up in the souvenier shops of Cnossos to keep one's baccy in. Drawing my poinard, I inserted first the tip, then the little sharp spiky bits on the hilt into the lock, attempting to jiggle or prise it open, but it stayed firm. Not to be deterred, I bashed the thing against a nearby rock, but with similar lack of progress. While these cultists were clearly ghoulish headhunters of the worst kind, you had to admire the craftsmanship.

Appraising it with a craftsman's eye, I realised that nothing was going to open one of these things, short of the kind of heavy blacksmithing equipment that one can only find in a port. Fortunately for me, however, I always carry such equipment with me. I reached over my shoulder and drew my Ban-O-Matic 5000 Blacksmithing Maul from its sling, and placed the skull on the rock before me. With a mighty, overarm blow, I brought the hammer down on the skull with all my might.


For a moment, the skull stood, unmoved. Then, - bee-yoing - the lid flipped open, with a noise like a ruler twanged on a school desk. Looking inside, with some trepidation, I discovered... fifty three pieces of eight! Neat!

My eyes cast over the clearing. Now I knew what I was looking for, I could see that this place alone was the final resting place of some ten or twelve poor pirates. I gathered them together on the rocks, their sightless eyes imploring me, a mute testament to the terrible fate that had befallen them at the hands of the cult.

I jingled the pieces of eight in my hand, and did a quick bit of mental arithmetic...

*KLONK* bee-yoing
*KLONK* bee-yoing
*KLONK* bee-yoing...

Buy the time my grisly task was done, I was up to four hundred and twelve pieces of eight, and in two of the skulls, I'd found a fetching aquamarine bandana, and a pair of stripy pants.

Hephaestus' Log. Date, 25th November. Bedtime.

Have found the remains of previous explorers of the isles. It seems the cultists have beheaded them, converted their skulls into caskets for their personal effects, and left them in clearings and groves across the island. A ruthless freebooter might find it quite lucrative to loot these burial grounds... but had best be careful, lest he find his pants being stuffed where his brain ought to be...

For the other events of Day 2, see the blogs of Gaea, Galene and Cronus.
Or go to Day 3 where Hephaestus' epic adventure continues!

Cat out of bag, among pigeons.

After the recent announcement that there is a new kind of familiar in preparation, speculation has been rife. Well, I say speculation. Arguments, fighting and open warfare are more like it. On at least one ocean flags have formed sides along the "It's an owl, doofus!" and "It's obviously some kind of fish, fool!" lines. I think there'd probably be open war, if it wasn't for the fact the "Duh! It's a vulture!" faction wasn't poised to sweep in and take on the victor in their weakened post-conflict state.

I can't let this go on. It's tearing the game apart. I have to step in now, and at the risk of my position here at Three Rings, reveal exclusively just what this familiar is!

I was first alerted to the existence of the new familiar, when I heard Galene, Gaea and Hera whispering about it. They stopped when they saw me, however, which only served to make me more curious. I resolved to track one of them down, sneaked aboard Galene's ship, and hid. (Top Tip, would-be stalkers, if you're hiding, you may find that there's insufficient cover. Do what I do - bring your own elephant to hide behind. It makes you very difficult to spot.)

Soon enough, she came on board, and the amazing secret was revealed!

Yes, amazing though it may seem, it would appear that the new familiar is the Hephaestus Doll.

But wait, that's not all. What's this odd shape here?

Let's use the Three Rings CSI image enhancificator to clean that up.

Egad! And... Can it be...?


Well, clearly we're into very interesting territory here. The real question is how deep does this go?

Science Experiement!

What we clearly need here is some kind of supercollider to put this doll in. So I mailed them at CERN and asked them if I could have a go on their Large Hadron Collider. I waited a while but they've not got back to me on that, alas.

So, I had to make do with what I had, and sorted out something to hit an OM Doll really hard, to see what happened:

Developeron Particles!

So, what started out as an investigation into the shiny new familiar has not only solved that mystery, but also led us, quite by accident, to discover the fundamental particles of the universe, and the origins of existence itself. Which is nice.

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