Never mind the cat, where was I when the lights went out? Not in as much dark as you'd think.
Bit of an odd power-cut last night. First a flicker. Then the net went dead. Then my house went dead (took me a moment to realise as the laptop seamlessly switched to battery) (oddly my modem and hub still ran, some internal power source I wasn't aware of?). Then nearby houses went dead (at which point my modem and hub didn't ran).
Still a lot of street lights on though. Once I put my candle out and let my eyes adjust, there was quite a bit of ambient light, more than enough to move around easily without bumping into things. No wonder astronomers complain about light pollution. The night just ain't night any more...
Friday, 31 October 2008
Never mind the cat, where was I when the lights went out? Not in as much dark as you'd think.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
I was right, it was a Tomorrow People episode! The entire episode hinges on Russ Abbot...
...and Russ Abbot tries to go overboard, but can't quite manage it. One can sort of get his passion, but he doesn't quite manage to pull off the manic overload the full possessed version needs.
Not a bad plot overall, but once again back to a mass hypnosis episode? Didn't The Christmas Invasion do this already? And it was incredibly fortuitous that he didn't pick on Taurus earlier. (And I did spot the solution when it first happened anyway.) It's also amazing that only Sarah Jane's crew noticed and managed to get to be the ones to solve it...
Anjli Mohindra is already fitting in, and clicks nicely with the entire team. It's almost like Maria was never there. Tommy Knight also pulls off the "I'm an outsider" without descending into moping. Everyone's in their groove.
A decent episode, although some wider issues (of how this works in the wider DW unvierse) are avoided.
Next time: Not sure what's going on, but not entirely entranced by it...
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The Coen Brothers don't make the easiest of films to watch. A lot of patience is needed as many plot threads are introduced with barely any connection between them. As I don't have that much patience, this probably explains why I took a long time to start liking Burn After Reading.
Because there is a lot going on, one can't simply summarise the story into one line. Yes, there is a CIA source of information that is used, but that is only part of it. There's also the man who's cheating on his wife (and is quite creative at building things). There's a search for love while being blind to right under the nose. And there's divorce...
They do all tie into each other. One does have to give the Coen brothers a bow for their skill at crossing the story lines, with a nice tie up at the end where there is the message of what the overall message of the movie is. And I liked what that was. A last humourous touch.
The movie was written with the lead actors in mind, so it's hard not to see the actors instead of the characters. Still that does keep them distinct, and George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich will always be recognisable. (Although I did expect to see Tilda Swinton as a blonde.)
Another fine example of the Coen brothers work.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
I wasn't there on my usual day due to the Fright Night, but I did shark in on the next day (after someone else dropped out).
Got in for two mods. In the first, we entered some place that was extremely familiar to all the players, although not so much the characters. Featured the return on an NPC well known to many of the players, although the characters didn't know. Fortunately, without knowing what was going on, I did something brilliant right at the beginning, so managed to give us an easy ending. B.C.N.U.: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Next we return to the long standing problem of why the building is what it is, despite the many distractions that continue to plague us. We don't solve the issue... more or less... The Corridors of Power: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
(Then more after game chat: part 1, part 2.)
Monday, 27 October 2008
Spookiness ensued with few survivors. Fright Night 2 happened, and I was there!
First up, we were occupants on The House on Appletree Lane. For the first hour we didn't really encounter any horror that the GM planned, as the players just being in character was terrifying enough. As a group of recent flatmates, we managed to reach the point of wanting to kill each other pretty quickly, as we were just being ourselves! My character was elderly Corbett Mason. He liked to paint on the balcony. However, a few days ago he found himself surrounded by a grey corridor and closed stone doors, behind which came screams. Thus, if closed doors = screams, then open doors = safe. He left doors open. All doors. The bathroom door was particularly scary to the others. As long as the door was open he was happy. Presuming there was a door still there...
Second, we encountered Death on the Streets. Far more mechanic in this game, based on A Dirty World. The mechanic was rather confusing. The rolling was fine, but the moving points around and stuff was overly complicated, mainly due to not knowing what did what. Plot-wise, we were chasing down some deaths, but it wasn't really clear what the plot we were supposed to be following was. Any success seemed rather accidental. Oh, and combat in this system can be very deadly very quickly. Why anyone would have only one point in vigor is beyond me...
Final score: Insane 1, Death 1. Not a bad rating.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
This was based on a book. I really hope the book was a lot better, 'cos this movie was just bad. Even the director said so.
Most of the movie is straight forward, and most of it can be gotted from the trailer. Fine, not brilliant, but action orientated and can be withstood without too much pain. But then they get to the point of everything, and the big moment that's in the trailer (and the movie starts off with), and what happens next... when everything goes to pieces. Suddenly big plot points are brought up that haven't been touched on previously, and huge motivations are revealed that we're suddenly supposed to think are important, and... the ending happens. So incredibly not worth the build up...
Vin Diesel is his usual gravely voiced all action self. And Michelle Yeoh is just brilliant as ever (and we don't buy her Sister Act, you don't hire her in an action movie if you don't play on having her bust chops). And Melanie Thierry... is easy on the eyes, if not incredibly believable as the wunder-kind. The only other actor of note is the Merovingian... I mean Lambert Wilson. Not a movie for moving performances.
Frankly, don't stay for the ending. In fact, don't even bothered turning up for the movie before then either.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Yep, more Heroic style Cthulhu role playing.
The first lot kicks off with me playing at being a GM. And what's going on isn't just what it seems (one of my best moments was when I got Logan to admit "I have no idea what's going on"!). However, as is much easier to see in hindsight, should have been split over more than one night. And that would also have meant that the final stunning event wouldn't have happened. Oops. Bad Blood: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11.
Next day, it starts off with an easy CSI mission, which I join in part 5 instead of going off catching a movie and going to WARGS (which is only happening as I can shark in, which wont be happening often now with TJ ramping up his sharking). Still, I finally got the chance to game with our Czech Republic player Sanskrt. Hotel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
Then we continue with the evolving storyline of the KBC building, although it is beginning to wear. Fortunately, we end with having to take it up next play session, which won't include me. Construction Crunch: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
(Then some after game chat, not worth bothering with.)
Since Paul has been a bit busier than usual, after a gap, we present TSV 60! And I have more than a few influences in this issue.
First up, in no particular order, School for Scoundrels, a piece I did with Peter Adamson (which could be read as "a piece Peter did that I inserted a few comments into"). Although I do agree with him that it is largely a dry recitation of facts with little to excite the senses except for a out there piece of theorising (which Gary Russell denied) and artwork by Peter. It was all kicked off by Divided Loyalties and its Year One segment, a terrible book, but one I would reread over touching The Quantum Archangel again (Gary also said that if he had remembered, Anzor would have been in it).
Also I contributed to Radio Rezzie (yay Cheetah!), but really that's all Erato. (And that was an attempt to visually represent the music of the Blue Danube. Artistic challenge, tick!)
More sololy, I wrote the review of The Invasion of Time. Mostly stands up to being readable, but even now could do with another once over. (My reviewing streak really kicks off next issue.)
However, far more work is needed on my The Foundation of Science. Originally a four-part piece that got cut way down, still remains incoherent in parts, even to the writer! (My policy on revising my stuff for the archives is: I wrote what I wrote, so will only correct typos.)
And not just me in this issue. More Andrew Pixley! A discussion of the Benny books! (And I'd like to revisit the range along the lines of other range revisits that have been in the magazine.) Unflappable Tetraps! Ever so subtle nob gags! And more!
(Including far better commentary by Paul and Alden.)
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
So after dealing with the doggies, we took a break for some of us to become shiner (some might say, Paragon like) and pick up the Dwarven Fighter before looking into the nearby cloak room and discovering a morningstar. Meh. However, the temptation of the messhall beckoned...
When the paladin stuck his head in, the heat was on. Literally. As in more damned firey harpies. Six of them this time, but no human minions. We hesitated a moment to become buffed, then burst in and split the party.
Fortunately, they didn't mass us. Unfortunately, they didn't mass us and allow us to use our abilities to attack multiple targets. We were still able to lay the smackdown, and it did seem to go easier than last time (obviously we needed a Dwarven fighter).
The room overlooked a courtyard with a mass of peoples from many races. And guard towers. With bow men. Who took pot shots at us. Right before the two Drow burst in. A mere two Drow no worries. A mere two Drow... that we could barely hit, some worries. Not that they seriously worried us of course (although the gnome shows signs of severe mental instability, but, eh, he's a gnome).
The boss did get away but was stopped by four of the female elite guardians. The leader of which was the person we had been paid to go and retrieve. Who took us to the leader of the island, laid out payment, and dinner, and invited us to sit down with her and her Drow pal...
Monday, 20 October 2008
Amidst playing HC, I managed to catch up with a number of programs:
Life on Mars, ep 2: still replicating the British series. Really hope they move on to original material soon.
Sanctuary, ep 3: the full series that screens on the Sci-Fi channel, this is the first episode that wasn't from the web-series (unfortunately the second episode fell far short of the promise of the web-version). Already shifting into "bizarro of the week", they rip of X-Files' Eugene Tooms. (I know I'm not the only one thinking it.)
No Heroics, eps 1 and 2: British series about heroes and how they are just as messed up as normal people. Mainly featuring them at the pub a lot. The British really get humour in a way Americans don't. A series that doesn't immediately seem like it would work, and yet it does.
My Own Worst Enemy, ep 1: New series staring Christian Slater, about a spy who has another personality that is a normal guy, and then the barriers between their minds start breaking down. Wasn't too impressed by the first episode, as I can see where the cliches will go, but will essay another episode or two before completely writing it off.
Friday, 17 October 2008
Yes, yes, scary clowns. Although actually well done, so I can sort of see what people are going on about.
New girl Rani(*) (Anjli Mohindra) is thrown right in it. She moves into Maria's house and quickly into her role. Yes, it's obvious, but still handled nicely enough that we can accept it without too much fuss and the adventure doesn't harp on about how she shouldn't be involved too heavy handedly. She should fit in well.
The story itself works because of Bradley Walsh as the villain. He plays the parts so well, and the make up is really well done. As I mention, I can nearly see why some people consider clowns as scary, a very evocative atmosphere is formed on screen. It does get a bit Buffy at times with the "strange events at school" (again), and the ending was on the weak side, but overall a decent viewing.
Also joining the cast is Ace Bhatti, the headmaster with the heart of gold, and Mina Anwar, who makes want to go watch The Thin Blue Line again.
The Sarah Jane Adventures are establishing their own ground, and moving away from the Doctor Who roots. But is that a good or bad thing?
(*)Yep, it's odd having a companion named after a villain.
Next time: maybe it's just because I watched a lot of Tomorrow People not that long ago, but I am thinking this could be one of their adventures...
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Logan had to move state (they finally ran him out of town). While thanks to Bert there was still gaming, it took a while to get the files processed and up on the net. Hence, there's a lot of stuff.
First up, while we are looking into several different things at once, we find our selves in the West. The Wild West. The Old Wild West. Fortunately, we have the return of TJ, and boy is that character appropriate! This started on the Friday and continued on the Saturday, so there is a slight interruption in the middle of the game as days change. I Want To Be A Cowboy: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.
Then we switch to Abel GMing for a while. He started us off with something that didn't unfold quite as he thought it would. It's amazing what a fumble roll will do. Join us for - The Chronicles of Greenman, Episode 1: Part 1.
Then we prove that KBC operatives are ready for action no matter what the job. And we live up to the fine name we've earned as we put our best efforts into working for the US Customs. It's All Greek To Me: Part 1, Part 2.
Surprise, we then hit the road, and head in familiar territory. To them. Me, I had no memory of these people, and, as I say, don't really give an hump towards it. Sigh. The KBC Warriors: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
The following weekend is more normal, as we get a case that doesn't rely on mind-bending insanity. But we try our best. The Naked Mad (Redux): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
Now, where were we? Something about Drow... there was an Angel in there somewhere... and the door that opened to a completely different island... something like that...
But before we had much of a chance to deal with that, the door closed and reopened to reveal three Drow and their female leader coming back, and it was on again. While some might have rated our chances of this as a tough fight, we barely blinked before they were down and out.
Before us was more castle, first being a room of junk. Lots of junk. Some money, but mainly junk. The paladin just decided to go for another door, so we got into yet another fight. Seems to happen a lot.
The room contained humans. Lots of humans. One attack from the Warlord put all but one of them out, so they weren't a problem (although that last one keep kicking the Warlord something fierce). Oh, and harpies. Four of them. Two of which were fire harpies. Can you say constant damage just from being in the same area as them? Yowsa! Not to mention them alternatively immobilising, dazing and blinding us! That was just a pain to deal with, and there were times when it looked like we weren't going to make it. Nothing to do but get in there with the big hits. (And nothing of interest in the bodies either.)
After resting up, we encountered more halflings, who told us there were fire dog things above, a room of weapons and more Drow. And that someone evil would kill someone we were supposed to save in a couple of days (what? I didn't take notes, okay?). Since we were
foolhardy brave adventures, onwards to the dogs! It wouldn't have been too bad, except for more damned succubuses! Fortunately they weren't quite as capable as one might have thought, but there was some damage handed out at the hands of fellow teammates before the fight was over...
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
The aliens are coming! The aliens are coming!
No. Really. The psychic love vibrations have spoken! (And the bookies are listening? More fool them. Easy money, mate.)
But I have to admit when I looked in the sky last time, I did see a big beautiful thing that held my rapt attention... yep, big full moon last night. Very pretty.
How desperate was the Daily Star to run this? And for newspapers around the world to pick up on it? (Admittedly, it was in the Oddstuff section.) Is Bloosom Goodchild happy with her 15 seconds?
Keep watching the skies... there are some really pretty things out there, and dangerous too...
Monday, 13 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
The proper pilot of the American version of Life on Mars has now screen, and there have been a few changes since the pre-air. Most are good...
They've followed the British pilot a lot more closely in some things. Sam doesn't blab that he's from 2008 to everyone, and indeed he's been transfered from Hyde. Although I'm not sure why they did that last bit. Hyde isn't as recognised a district as it is in the UK, so it seems like an unnecessary nod (as I said, most bits are good, but there are a few strange touches). Annie is back to being a normal plod (Bureau of Police Women!), and we have Ray and Chris as usual. Even the future breaking moments are better handled.
One of the biggest changes is in the casting. I was never a fan of Colm Meaney as Gene. As Ray, he would have stolen the show, but Gene...? So, he's out and they have someone else in. However, it almost looks like they casted according to physical similarity to Philip Glenister as opposed to what is appropriate for Gene. But they definitely got themselves a big name: Harvey Keitel. Wow. Not entirely convinced he works as Gene either, to be honest. Will have to see.
Next week we get a proper US plot (hopefully), but I'm willing to accept this as a US translation... for now.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
And so we come to what could charitably described as an "ignominious end". This is the last Sapphire and Steel play by Nigel Fairs (as producer), Wall of Darkness.
Steel: Who are you? What have you done to Sapphire?
To be brutally honest (and, at this point, why not?), skip the first three parts and just go straight for the fourth. That's where all the interesting stuff happens, and the real meat of the story finally comes out, not to mention the ending... but I'll get on to that later.
The bulk of the story is about a shopping arcade and those beneath it. It appears there was a nuclear war, and now the survivors are trying to get by. Only, the war happened years ago, which comes as a surprise to most people. This reveals straight away that we are dealing with differing timelines, but the full extent of the matter isn't revealed until the aforementioned episode four. I don't want to give away that part of the story, but I like that Nigel decided to deal with that subject matter, without making it seem like exploitation (which so many other narratives around that
idea have been).
But, ultimately, when the real ending comes out, it reduces the previous stuff to all just padding. I'm sure Nigel was aiming for a (if I may be allowed to say) "big finish" to the series, and indeed it harks back to the very early audio stories as well as the TV series itself. However, I'm not entirely sure what he was aiming for. What exactly is the audience supposed to infer was going on? It could erase the entire season, it could erase the entire audio series, it could... just be really
annoying and vague. I have no idea if there will be a series four, but if so then there's a hell of a corner surrounded by paint to jump out from. (And, indeed, this does make all those "impending war with the Transients" moot.)
Moving away from the story, Louise Jameson (whom I recognised before I saw the credits) gets the bulk of the play as has to be the emotional core, which she does well. The rest of the cast are good as well, although we are treated to yet more dodgy accents. Susannah Harker is almost not in the play, so no wonder David Warner is on the cover (and he is his usual sterling self).
We are also given a selection of Nigel's "Best of" moments from his time as producer, which do start to wear, but one can forgive his indulgence given this is his swansong.
This story does tie off the Sapphire and Steel series (although technically so did The Mystery of the Missing Hour), but in many ways I hope there is a series four just to negate the end of series three. We'll just have to see if the Corridor of Time tries to break through again.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Time and time ago, there was a UK radio show (no, really, there was) called "The Milk Run", a comedy program, about which there is very little that can be found on the web. Bits were remixed by Osymyso, and one such bit was a wee sketch (around 28 minutes in) about a topic we might find familiar, reproduced (without permission from anyone, but full credit to the show and its writer) below the fold.
REAL ESTATE AGENT: And, this is the lounge.
HER: Oh, it's lovely, isn't it?
AGENT: All original features. (lions roar) The lions are staying.
HIM: Wonderful. And the feeling I've been here before?
AGENT: No, I'm afraid they're taking that with them.
HIM: Oh, but it's lovely, isn't it, darling?
HER: We could set up a little sniper's nest in this window.
AGENT: Oh, you're a keen sniper are you?
HER: I do like to keep my hand in. (gunshot)
AGENT: Oh-ho, look out!
HER: What are the neighbours like?
AGENT: Yeah, well, it's the area, you see. It's a very mutlicultural area. They keep pretty quiet. They will occasionally try to kill you, but if you keep a low profile, you'll be all right.
HIM: I do like the house, but I'm not happy about living next to Cybermen.
HER: Oh, darling, they're not that bad.
HIM: Not that bad!? They come over here, they take all our jobs, they make no effort to learn our culture, AND they try to kill everybody. Remember when John had the Daleks move next door to them? He had Davros turning up to their doorstep at all hours. Drunk off his head, they left dead bodies in front garden, up on bricks, and the smell.
HER: You're just a racialist.
HIM: I'm not a racialist. What about Steve? He's an alien. He's all right.
HER: He's not an alien. He's from the Isle of Man.
Sunday, 5 October 2008
When I was flying in to Hamilton, it was all about getting through the airport and out the other side. When I was flying out, I had more time to appreciate the finer details. Such as the fact that Hamilton is an international airport.
That isn't something that readily comes to mind when thinking of Hamilton: airplane access to cities in countries abroad. Not that Hamilton is a small place, per se, being about probably number five in size (could check, but it's easier to make stuff up), but "Hamilton the center of international travel" is not something that most people would name.
And it looks like I'm not the only one having trouble with this. Travel is down from there, and Hamilton might not be an international airport much longer. It does look like Hamilton could be a good place to fly from, in that airplanes aren't chock full, and it's always nice to be able to relax without a thousand kids screaming in your ear, but I'm doubtful it's going to pick up significantly. Use it or lose it, Hamilton, but it looks like the people have already spoken.
The other weird thing about Hamilton was a domestic departure tax. Wha? Some bizarre plot to trap people there and grow the city population? A scam to help pay for their shiny new terminal? Recover the costs from not being internal enough? And just why couldn't the travel agency we booked with have paid this as part of their dues?
Friday, 3 October 2008
And it's back! Series two kicks off with a wee story that... isn't actually all that good. It certainly fits the Sarah Jane mold, and yet doesn't quite reach any interesting heights.
This reminded me of the previous Slitheen stories, in that this was once again a sequel monster, obviously the Sontaran. And... well... let's take a moment to think about how powerful the Sontarans are supposed to be. One Sontaran in previous stories managed to take on several fighting types and still come out on top. They are immensely strong, and not likely to do the stupid thing...
And yet... Kaagh gets defeated by a bunch of kids! He can't shoot straight (although few villains have any ability in that area), he can't lift levers Clyde can, and resorts to thumping on doors held closed by Luke... The hell? What? He just runs around! He has an invisibility cloak, but doesn't use it after revealing himself! Frankly, he deserves to be de-pants'ed and drug around by his heels...
This is also the last gasp of Maria Jackson, before the new girl is introduced next episode. The wiki entry doesn't reveal why Yasmin Page left, but this is the second change of the main crew. Nice to see that things are constant, but Yasmin was a core part of the female connection of the show, so not sure how forced her replacement will be.
It's a fun enough story, but aside from the moving to America sub-plot, doesn't really feel like it's going anywhere.
Next week: Yay. Clowns. Yeah, 'cos they're never treated as creepy...
Thursday, 2 October 2008
Lots of gaming again this weekend. Richard might be having problems, and it's great to hear his gaming, but with him gone, I've got an in...
First up was a rather strange case, featuring the bathroom and what lies beyond... And I'm surprised no-one worked out the source I used! Anyway, I GM'd another mod due to Logan needing someone to step in while he organised other things. The Exploration of Holmes Aunt's Bathroom: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
But that wasn't the end of the day, and we got stuck into a wee case that suddenly exploded into something much bigger. An Obvious Case of Suicide: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
And then, the next day, I sharked in, only to get in just in time to continue the case started just above. Terrorists & The Last Tango In The Cubical Jungle: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.
While we had a lull due to brain death, we did just sit around and chatting. Gamer Talk 41: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Pixar do know how to make a good film. (One very notable thing they do is in their trailers: they do not hype up big names in the movie (if any). And they do have some big names in this movie...)
Anyway, Wall-interpunct-E is the story of a lonely robot who just wants a friend (or possibly "friend"), just someone to hold hands with. One might say "be careful what you wish for"...
Cute movie, and one that drew laughs from the audience (although there were more during the pre-movie short - yep, there's a pre-movie shoot. Neat!). Pixar go all-out with investing their animations with emotions and realism (as far as such realism can go) and given that we are dealing with robots, they really get a chance to shine. And definitely shine they do. Yowsa, that's good animation.
One surprise guest: Fred Willard! Great to see him suddenly pop up, and such a role made for him. There are other big names in there, but I'll leave you to find them out for themselves (as for the computer...).
As feel good as any other Pixar (although I never did get around to watching Cars, but that just seemed to generic "rich kid finds himself in city of non-rich kids"), and definitely a great way to spend a few hours.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
After suitable resting, we ventured further in the caverns of the Drow, barely pausing to note that the dwarf fighter had changed into a halfling paladin. We had a drastic decision ahead of us: left or right? We all decided on left, not least because the gnome said to go right.
Then we got zapped. Or rather, I got zapped, as I'm the only one who can do thievery skills, and of course there were traps. The Raven Queen help them if they ever discover traps without me... Got most of them not working, and only got halfway towards dead.
Inside their place was a large room, complete with table, a pantry, and halflings. Yep, halflings, whom the Drow enslaved for their own purposes (basically cleaning and cooking). Now that we were here, the halflings had a chance, and they took it. We stayed hidden as the halflings poisoned most of the Drow (look, Drow are evil, okay?), leaving us just the nightwatch to deal with. Just the nightwatch... and a bad-ass jailer (and his guard chap)! He was a tough take-down, with most of us barely able to hit him (a feeling we would experience again).
With the nightwatch getting nearer to arrival back here, we rearmed the zap trap, but in different squares (that'll teach 'em!), and ventured further, coming across an altar room dedicated to Lolth, complete with more human males, two snakes and two succubi (who liked slipped me the tongue!). More knockouts via magic fire later, we desecrated the altar and the warlord fell through the floor. Eh, these things happen.
Turns out, he found the other passage out, leading to a jail area with the elite female guards, one of whom died as she imparted the message of one of them taken away that we had to save. After getting the others out safely, and finding whiskey!, we went on to one more room, with merely an Angel to deal with. Yowsa! Talk about hard to hit. Turned into a slog once we knocked it into range, and finally put it down. (Yeah, we killed an Angel. It wasn't good or evil.)
After that was another door, which we went through to find ourselves on another island...