Temptation of Immortality

(Written by myself and Matthew, the player of Alastair.  This is a character study long past their time in Second Life.  Thank you Matthew, I appreciate the stories you and I have shared.)

She appeared before him, stepping from the shadows of the corner of his study.  Ancient books set among flickering firelight weighed down the heavy shelves that lined the wall.  He knew her form well, soft pale curves carved from porcelain perfection. She was made of shadow and light, a monochrome specter save for the long locks of crimson curls framing deep black eyes.  

He let out a startled gasp when he saw her, his eyes going wide.  She smiled when she saw a ripple of surprised lightening shimmer across his eyes.  

“Good to be remembered.” She murmured, her true voice was madness to hear, echoing wildly of the moaning masses of her demonic domain.  He had heard it before, oh so many years ago.

“Ach… ‘ow could ah forget?”

His voice was nothing like she remembered, gone gruff with age.  How many years has it been? 40? 400? Time had been so slippery between them.  His long black hair gone thin and grey, though he never lost that boyish gleam in his eyes.  That bright spark of curiosity that had so drawn her to him, despite him being trapped upon the mortal coil.  Even his godlike powers could not keep time from his bones. Thunder eventually goes silent and storms only exist so long as there is a planet on which to have them.

She was larger than that, her being cast out over the entirety of creation, her death was still such a painfully long time yet to come.  Inhuman black eyes trail over him as he struggles to his feet, the grip of age is heavy upon his joints yet he still manages to leap up from his chair to greet her on his feet- old hands that held some of the rarest mysteries of the world, now clinging for dear life to an oak cane.   

She gathers herself from shadows, drawing light into her flesh as she steps further into the room.  Darkness clothes her and she flicks her two twin tails slowly behind her, a small sad smile curling her lips at the sight of him.  

“Oh Alastair,” she whispers, “You know I can ease your burden.  I can pull you from the mortal coil, We could be together until the cosmos returns once more into the arms of the Void.” Her fingertips brush his cheek, a gentle caress of past affection.  

He looks at her for a very long time, memories of their time together flashing through his mind.  His chuckle rumbles low, a reminder of the power he wields vibrating through the air between them. A little shake of his head flits strands of grey down over his shoulders.

“Ah Vedis, Ya really dinae know wha its like due ya?  I’m not mean’t ta live f’ever. Heck! I’m not even certain I want to!” He straightens his shoulders and pulls on his vest down with a jerk.  He still had that aura of strength about him. Despite the years between them, he was still the god of the storm. His energy snapped and crackled in the air between them, lifting his hair up from his shoulders, nearly floating it back into place.  “Look Lassie, ya know I love ya, I cannae help but ta love ya till ma grave. Tha’s jus’ it, d’ya see?”

Leaning on the cane, he pulls up the sleeve of his robe revealing the marks. The tattoos pulsed with the fury of the storm, still visible- even unnaturally dark- against the aged skin of the old Scot.

“In mah life… what all ah’ve done… ah’ve held more time than ah should’ve, and more power than mos’ men imagine. Fer all a tha’… there’s a price t’pay. An’ ah pay mah debts, lass.”

His eyes meet hers again, and he gives her a wan smile. “We both know it canna’ happen, lass. We ‘ad our high times… beautiful ones.”  The flicker of pain that tightens his lips doesn’t go unnoticed by the demoness. “Ah’m tired of seekin’ more. ‘Ventually, the Dhoo’ll come fer me… or Le Baron- tho’ ah don’ think ah’m in ‘is jursidiction. D’ye know… I’ve met w’ Death so many times now- should ah be scared when it comes roun’ one las time?”

He shakes his head softly and runs a thumb over her the back of her perfect, porcelain hand.  “But m’time is runnin’ up, Vedis.”

She nods reluctantly.  “This is love.” She sighs with a wistful smile.  “I thought it a lost memory, but I remember why I have come to hate it.”

His gaze softens, “Vedis, ah will always love you- but ah’ve Lorelei, an’ our boy, Dougal.  They are everything ah ever wanted, lass. S’ a happiness tha’…” he struggles for a moment, trying to find the right words, “Ah couldn’a have had any other way…”  He prays she understands.

Her gaze drops and she nods, she would never be the one who could give him what he needed, she knew that all to well.  “I just hate to see you suffer so.”

He waves it away, “A small price t’pay for all ah’ve seen and done.  A small price t’pay for the memories that ah carry with me now.” A slight wince as he turns to the window, and chuckles. “‘Ere… y’remember tha’ idiot dragon that crashed yer castle?” He looks down at the marks again- a sigh rattles in his chest.  She snorts in amusement.  

“Agin’ ain’t s’bad, lass.. Ah’ve got all these memories t’keep me company. S’ the stories, Vedis- y’ unnerstand? Folks hear th’ stories… and they remember.”

She cocks her head, “Stories are no match for reality.  At best they become legend, at worst they fade into time.” She steps up, resting a hand upon his shoulder, she seemed so small for such a vast entity, “I can keep you writing your stories.” She smiled up at him, the glimmer of crimson tears dancing in those pitch black eyes. “I keep age’s cold grip from your bones.”

Alaster smiles and pats her hand, walking her over to sit near him on the couch.
“Ah lass…if’n there anythin’ ah’ve learned from a life of finding legends- s’that they’re th’ single bes’ way fer a man t’be immortal. Y’ still drink tha’ ol tea you liked? Ah might ‘ave some round here…”

Laughter bubbles up from her throat, eyes twinkling “You were always one to have tea with the strangest of creatures.”  She shifts and the shadows shift with her. She settles down on the couch, her movements as graceful as ever. “Magicians and fools don’t fear death, and you have never been a fool, Alastair.”

The old face splits into a wide grin- it was always good to see her laugh. “Ach, yer kind t’say so… “ With a grunt, he stoops and drops the last few inches into his armchair. “OOF! … Ahh, but per’raps it was foolishness kep’ me alive all those times.” He reaches over to the small end table and tips out two small tumblers of scotch. “Nah.. Death was never a true enemy t’me, lass” he murmurs, offering her one of the glasses. “Fate, though… tha’ was always a bitter pill t’swallow.”

Her fingers curl around the glass as she watches him behind cool eyes, “I am not known for my kindness and I hope you don’t take my offer as anything of the sort.”  She pauses to look down at the glass, the amber liquid swirling within. “You were the only one who took me on my own terms, you treated me as more than just a Demoness.”  Her gaze is drawn back up to his. “I never understood why.” Her smile was wry. “You were so smart, so cunning, yet your kindness never wavered. Even when I showed you none.”

Alaster sipped the liquor through pursed lips, intently enjoying the smooth, smoked peat aroma. He raised an eyebrow, a small smile of his own appearing behind the glass. “S’tha’ wha’ immortalities good for, then? Pertendin’ y’ don’ have qualities ah know y’ do?” He set the glass down gently- he doesn’t trust his fingers to hold their grip for so long. “Y’ said yerself, lass- tha’s love. Cleverness is well an’ good… s’what y’ do with it tha’ matters mos’.” He shrugs slightly. “Y’ were never jus’ a demoness, Vedis- no’ t’me any way.” He smiled. “Ye’ could be a right terror… b’ ah never once doubted ye were capable of goodness an’ kindness. Tha’ was enough.”

Her tails would curl and uncurl by her thigh as she watched him, her fingers playing over the top of her glass.  “Then come with me, Alastair.” She scoots forward on the seat suddenly, setting her half finished drink aside. “I could show you such sights, worlds beyond your imagining.  Come with me and watch your grandchildren and your great grandchildren thrive.” She pins him with an intent stare, knowing full well she could simply escort him away, but giving him the respect not to.  “Just say the word and I will ease your pain.”

He studies her for a moment- he’s seen that look on her face before. Reaching over, he picks up his glass again in silence. After a sip, a deep sigh comes up instead of words. “Y’ make it sound wonderous, lass… an’ per’raps a part of me would want it. But… “ He pauses again- the old doctor in him trying to choose the right words. “Lass… d’ ye ever go down t’ the sea anymore?”

She blinks, nodding slowly, “When I can, when it’s safe.”

Alaster nods. “Aye… d’ye no’ sometime watch the sun go down into the horizon? See the sky change’s colours, the clouds turn t’ wafts o’ pink an’ purple in th’ golden light?” He leans back, picturing it in his head as he speaks. “Supposin… suppose the sun never set. Suppose y’ could make the skies blue forever… or suppose y’ could wave yer ‘and, an’ make that sunset stay jus’ as it is, fer as long as y’ like… ‘ow long would ye hold it, lass?”

“S’because the sunset ends and night comes they’re so beautiful.. It means y’ can wake up early an’ see a sunrise. Science an’ all ‘as told us where those colors come from- told us wha’ the clouds are made of, an’ how the sun works an all… but it don’ make it less beautiful fer that moment, Vedis, y’see? If ye get rid o’ th’ moment though… s’just scenery.”

Crimson curls frame her face as she looks into the flames of the fireplace, her dark eyes shimmering with the light of a thousand stars.  She knows full well that everything has a time, everything has its moment before disappearing into the crazy chaos that is the end. Immortality is just a matter of living longer than everyone else.  She closes her eyes, fighting fate to the end. When she opens them once more she offers him a smile. “You always were so stubborn. You strove to answer your own questions, to search out your own mysteries.  I loved the way you stopped to watch the sunset when we went on our adventures.” She looks out the window, something shifting around her.

She stands, uncurling from the couch slowly.  “If this is what you wish. Then this is my gift to you.”  She leans over and cups his aged cheek, her smile kind, despite the sharpness of her teeth.  “I shall remember you, dear friend. Until the darkness takes me once more. I hope that wherever you end up, you are happy.” She smirks and straightens, “I hereby declare you banished from my domain, and the domain of my brothers and sisters.  Your soul shall find no admittance into the infernal realms.” Finally, a singular kindness from the queen of the damned. “May your journeys bring you peace, Alastair. You deserve nothing less.”

Alaster can’t help but chuckle at the ceremony of it all. “Ach.. Kicked out of Hell, is it? Well, m’mother should be QUITE disappointed… she was always convinced ah’d wind up there- though ah ‘magine the neighbors’d be less than pleased t’see me.” Setting down his glass, he stiffly rises again, his hand cupping Vedis’s smooth, ageless cheek- a thumb brushing away whatever hints of tears may have been there. “Thank ye, lass. We’ll remember each other- that’ll b’ enough immortality fer both of us, hmm?”

An echoed laugh, and the warm sensation of a kiss upon his lips and she fades one more from view.  “It will be enough for me.” She murmurs before leaving him once again, alone in his study.


April’s Delights!

Dugan Cover website Large

If you aren’t following Dugan Apothecary on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you are missing out on some of my neat upcoming projects.

New Product!

I am working on making eye shadow kits.  Having a hard time finding just the right color?  I can help with that too!  Eye shadow available in compressed and loose powder, if there is interest I can include eye shadow creams as well!

Scent of the Month!

I have so many wonderful scents to share with you!  They will all be available as a beard balm, beard oil, lotion bar, and whipped body butter.  I will be posting more about this in a separate post so stay tuned!

Subscription Boxes!

I am looking at opening a Patreon for Dugan Apothecary!  Patreon will work wonderfully for my subscription boxes!  Sign up for the $25 or more level on Patreon and each month you will receive a box chock full of fun products!  Lotion bars, beard balms, beard oils, serums, whipped body butter, therapeutic oils, eye shadow, it changes every month so you can try out products you wouldn’t normally think to try!

Dugan’s Dapper Box (unisex) – You will have access to our full line of products! Lotion bars, beard balms, beard oils, serums, whipped body butter, therapeutic oils, eye shadow and any future offerings.

Dandy Dudes – You will have access to products that may interest those of the masculine variety! Lotion bars, beard balms, beard oils, whipped body butter, therapeutic oils, and any future offerings.

Delightful Dames – You will have access to products that may interest those of the feminine variety! Lotion bars, serums, whipped body butter, therapeutic oils, eye shadow and any future offerings.

I am still working out the kinks on the boxes, but if you are interested in subscribing, let me know and I will send you an email directly when they are up and running!

Find Your Moons

Perfection is a lie.

This last week has been a trial. I fell into a well of depression and anxiety that was crippling. I am blessed my work allows me to have weeks where I can work in fits and bursts because I was so swallowed by darkness I was barely functional.

During these times I don’t do trancework, I don’t perform Seidhr. I lay my offerings at the feet of the Gods and I hold on tight.

Most marketing professionals will tell you to keep things light. People don’t want to hear about your suffering when they look at your page and to an extent I agree. There is plenty of suffering in this world, why add to it?

Because by avoiding the conversation we stigmatize it. We isolate those who suffer. By always putting forth a positive face and a smile you lie to those who need the truth.

Life is hard. There is little we can do to change that truth, but there is so much we can do to soften it. Compassion and kindness go a long way to making life an easier burden to bear. Having a community, a tribe to help you bear the burden is vital. Knowing that others have suffered as you have suffered, and survived, helps you to survive too.

I am blessed by wonderful friends who are more than happy to reflect my light back to me when I cannot see it myself. Their kindness and compassion, their stories of survival make it easier to focus on the end of the tunnel when the darkness will fall away once more and my light will shine out again. My moons. My saviors. I know I can depend on them because they know that I will do the same for them when the time comes.

I am feeling better, not perfect, but as I said, perfection is a lie.

When the darkness falls around you, may you find yourself surrounded by many moons to help light your way back home.

Some Advice from the Wounded

2017.10.18 - Weeping AngelsI don’t have to tell you life is hard.  You know that.  Hell, most of you are living that.  I get that.  I understand.  That struggle is real, it holds you down, holds you hostage.  You feel like you are so much better than you are achieving, or perhaps you simply yearn for a break in the clouds of oppressing circumstances.  Whatever, you know the feeling I’m talking of.  Life hurts sometimes.

It’s at those moments when we are at our weakest point, when our long struggle has us questioning every choice we have ever made, that the soft whispered lies that come from the darkness within begin to overwhelm us.

“I can’t do this anymore…”

“I’ll never get out of this shitty job.”

“I’ll always be alone.”

They linger far longer than any of us would like, months, years, heck, if you let it, a lifetime.  It sucks.

But life is a process.  We are designed to be tested.

This doesn’t lessen the pain, but instead works as a focus.  It gives you something upon which to move, a way to gird yourself and walk through the pain on to something better.

This pain you feel?  These trials that you face?  They are not the end.  They are not who you are.  You are more than that.  You are greater than that.  You have a strength you didn’t even know you had until you look back upon your tribulations and see just how far you have come.

It is easy to listen to the lies your brain tells you.  I see it in my friends from all walks of life.  I see it in the climate of the United States at large. (Damn right I’m getting political, just because I don’t post about it a lot, doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. People have been shouldering a great burden for years.  This darkness has gotten pretty widespread.)  But this is a process.  We will push through.  We just have to work through it.  The birthing pains of a new life, a new job, a new outlook, a new world, they hurt, but they bring us just that much closer to something amazing.

I would like to share my experiences on surviving these birthing pains.

  1. Stop.  Take a deep breath, and center yourself.  You aren’t going to do you or anyone else any good if you are overly emotional or hysterical.  Fully accept that this is a test of your character.  The only thing you can control is how you respond to it.
  2. Take hold of that thing of which you can control.  Your response to those things bringing you down.
    1. Anxiety, do what you can to be kind to yourself then sit back and ride the wave.  You should have tools that help you to manage it, use them. If you don’t have them, find some.  Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for using them.
    2. Life stress, brainstorm a plan, don’t worry about the details yet.  In the world you live in today, right now, where would you like to be in life, what type of person would you like to be?  Be realistic but take a moment to focus in on the best idea, the one that would bring you most joy, plan out a way to get there.
  3. Take Action!  Make sure you have a toolbox of healthy coping tools, make the changes in your life that lead you towards a better existence.  Even if they are baby steps they are still worth taking.  Moving forward allows you that small pulse of comfort.  You don’t have to be a prize fighter to win a war.  So long as you are moving forward, you haven’t given up the fight.  The weight you bear is heavy, but that doesn’t mean you cannot move with it on your shoulders.
  4. Create a support group!  Life was not meant to be lived alone.  Find others who can help you when the darkness gets too much to bear.  The load is a little lighter when carried by friends.  Be careful who you trust, but don’t give up trusting all together.  We are all fighting our own battle, it’s good every now and then to take a moment and sit at the fire with friends, to disengage from the war with people who understand how to refill your tanks.
  5. Give it time!  Change doesn’t happen overnight.  A big change takes a while.  Takes even longer when you are dealing with more than one person.  There will be good days and there will be bad days.  On the bad days, go back to step one.  You aren’t starting over, you are confirming your intentions and as all witches know, intention is key to great spellwork.

If this advice works for you, fantastic, if it doesn’t, find a better way, share it.  Promote compassion and kindness.

The world really needs it right now.


Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday 2017.png

May you find peace and contentment in the coming year.

I say that, and I mean it, but it always sounds so trite.  The world is in chaos right now in a multitude of different ways, and this coming year is going to be a hard one for so many people.  But together we are stronger, community is vital for the survival of the species, even if that ‘species’ is your local geeks or writers.  Human beings are social creatures, and with friends, everything is just that much easier.

So while I know life won’t be full of rainbows and roses, I can hope that whatever may come, you can find peace with it in your heart, and a contentment in your actions.

Lipstick Trials!

Did you know that make-up expires?  I knew it did in that vague “it can’t last forever” sort of way, but I didn’t really have a good idea of how long it lasted beyond “a really long time.”  Apparently “A really long time” is less than 15 years.  Luckily, my friends love me and were horrified when I told them I was using make-up old enough to wear it’s own make-up.

Clearly, I thought to myself, I need to toss some of my older make-up.  I spent a few hours tossing everything older than 5 years and realized I … haven’t bought much makeup in the last five years.  My caboodle had some eye shadow, a blue eye liner, moisturizer and a few brushes left in it.

Like I said, it has been a while.

So there I was, without makeup for that off chance that I wanted to look fabulous.  Plus there was a bunch of neat videos on YouTube on this fantastic thing call ‘contouring’ and man, it made the ladies look amazing.  I want to look amazing too!

I have been slowly picking up pieces here and there when I felt like I could afford it. Let’s look at some of the lipsticks I have gotten recently.


Ignore my completely unmade up face and focus on those yummie lip colors.  No seriously, I don’t have enough make up yet to do a full face look, so the lips are all you get.

  1. Nyx Slip Tease
  2. Covergirl? Sapphire
  3. Vivid
  4. Nyx Liquid Suede
  5. Nyx Slip Tease
  6. Covergirl? Pitch Black
  7. Lipsense Blackberry with Lipsense Opal Gloss
  8. Covergirl Outlast All-Day Color & Lip Gloss

#2 and #6 don’t have the brand on them and I got them at Walgreen with #8 so I am assuming they are the same brand.  If I’m wrong, let me know, I honestly have no idea.

I am loving Nyx!  It goes on well and the color is fantastic.  The Covergirl(?) brand is what I am used to, less pigment, smears everywhere.  It works for a brief time, but won’t have that all day hold I enjoy.

Lipsense is GREAT with hold, I couldn’t hardly get it off!  It burns like hell getting it on though, so that is certainly something to be prepared for.  Once it was on it felt fine and the blackberry is BLACK.  I love it!

I wanted nudes too, and Covergirl’s Outlast was fantastic for that.  It is similar to Lipsense in that it holds all day, but it’s not in that plastic-coating sort of way.  I like it!

That should do me for lipsticks for the year.  Though I am thinking one more nude, something not pink.

What brand/color would YOU recommend?


Wrecker or Builder?

The below is not my work.  But it IS something I want to remember.  I need to make sure my focus is in the right spot.  This poem came at a perfect time to remind me of what my focus should be on.


As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you wanted to build ?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.”

“I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do.”
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play’

Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square ?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can’

Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“O Lord let my life and my labors be
That which will build for eternity!”

Author Charles Franklin Benvegar

originally published in 1967 in “The Songs of the Free State Bards” compiled by Vincent Godfrey Burns.

Storytime! – The Odd Cyclical Nature of Life.

Storytime! – I kinda like posting these little snippets into my life because my story matters, god damn it, I am not going to let someone else write it for me.
Okay, so after the divorce I was still a Massage Therapist down in Illinois. To keep my license I had to do a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) a year. These CEUs were things like Ethics, Fascia Restrictions within Muscle Tissue and their Treatment, Energy Work, NMT training and the like. I’ve always been interested in healing people, but I took a very scientific approach to my Woo Woo healing, demanding results, instead of just accepting ‘conventional wisdom’. If I didn’t see noticeable improvement or never heard of any studies performed that proved it’s use, I simply didn’t use it.
That being said, I’ve seen some shit, so I still may go a little deeper on the mystical aspects than some are comfortable with, but everything I do is because I have some idea of what I’m talking about.
SO, I was looking into a Clinical Aromatherapy school and trying to save up when I met Mike. Needless to say, falling in love changed things. So did moving to Milwaukee and a shoulder injury that took away my ability to do massage entirely. That one shook me to my core. Here I had the perfect job for me and I lose it, completely unexpectedly. Taking classes for CEUs I no longer needed was the least of my concerns.
Things are calmer now than they were a few years ago and it’s allowed me to begin asking myself some of the big questions. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who do I want to be remembered as? What kind of person I want to be when they tell my story? I came to the conclusion that I want to be the kind of person who helps people. It never changed. I need to help people because that is who I am. Because I recognize the individual’s struggle and I want to make their burden easier to bear.
Clinical Aromatherapy isn’t an exact science, I dig it. But I’ve gotten back into it’s study with a vengeance and there is a lot more scientific information on it than I anticipated. Hospitals in France are using it with great results and we have some really good information from their studies. It’s a supportive therapy and very gentle. Exactly the type of therapy I prefer.
2017-10-22 14.28.38I’m geeking out.
I’m making stuff again and it feels fantastic. I feel… stable. It’s such a great feeling. I may not be able to continue to work massage, but I can still help people in some small way.
That’s all I need to make me feel like I’m ‘doing something important’ with my life. Something that matters.
So yeah. Geeking out on Clinical Aromatherapy. It’s a thing I do. 

DR Hype – Please Stop Screaming


She stood by the edge of the treeline, shrouded in shadow. The hood covering her hair making the black marks upon her face even deeper in the failing light of the oncoming night.  She watched as the couple staggered over the hillside, the woman clearly pregnant.

Her eyes narrow as she assesses the situation, then steps back into the forest, making her way back to the compound silently.

~I don’t want to see you go, I don’t even want to be there~ Continue reading

Game Review: Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

For those of you who haven’t heard of this game, please take a moment to view the amazingly epic trailer above.

There is a lot of different reasons why I love this video game.  I’m going to make a list.

  1. It features a Pict as the main character and while it stretches the religion of the Norse, it doesn’t really break it.  The myths themselves are accurate and portrayed fairly well within the context of the game.  The Norse are the ‘bad guys’ in so much as they are the ones who caused the events that set off the story that you play in the game.  The Norse themselves are absent from the game itself.
  2. The graphics were stunning, but what made those graphics so amazing is that the game was actually acted.  The graphics are CGI, but the animations are motion captured and boy does it show.  This is one of the few games where it felt like the characters were actual people, and not something created to behave like people.  The eyes are what usually break that illusion and in this game, they eyes are nigh on perfect.
  3. This game explores mental illness.  The creators actually studied mental illness and had a group of people who actually experience mental illness who consulted on the gameplay and effects.  It explores it in a way that doesn’t pass judgement on those who suffer from these things, but as a way to show folks what these people deal with on a daily basis.  I have yet to find a game that addresses mental illness in a similar way.
  4. It is a shamanistic journey.  Outside of the mental illness aspects, this is a story of a woman going on a journey to save her loved one.  It hits several basic core aspects of shamanism and mysticism in varying different ways.  Combine that with the nordic mythology and it’s no wonder why this game is one of my favorites.
    The puzzles were fun and engaging.  Each area required you to think a little differently, yet still allowed you to utilize the skills you had gained in the previous areas.
  5. There are no levels in this game, so you didn’t have to worry about skill trees or equipment.  You immersed yourself into this world and just enjoyed the ride.  It was fantastic.  I didn’t have to worry about character build, the story told you all you needed to know.

It’s not open world, so there is certainly a specific path you had to take, but the story it wove made up for the more ridged outline.  It couldn’t have told the story with the same depth and engagement without giving you a little nudge every now and then.

They added a mechanic where there was a possibility of losing your game saves if you died too much.  I died a LOT and never lost the saves, so I don’t know what that threshold was but it was more than should be needed for sure.

If there was one complaint I had about the game and that was the fighting mechanics.  Senua is slow, and the monsters are fast.  That is okay but it means that in order to beat the fighting scenes you spend most of your time doing two things, dodging the incoming hit, and then following through with a slash of your sword.  No matter what you are fighting, that is pretty much the totality of the combat mechanics.  There is also no way to change target focus until you are hit, or you just so happen to hit the monster on your way to your current target.  It’s not a game killer, but it’s certainly less than ideal.  Luckily the combat was balanced by the puzzles, so in the end the clunky combat didn’t take up the majority of the game.

10/10  I would HIGHLY recommend this game.

Once you have completed your play through make sure to check out the little trailer included with the game, it goes into more detail with how the game was made and the various consultants that they had to make sure it was as true to life as they could make it.  Just be certain to do it AFTER you finish the game as it contains spoilers.