We have been at it since day one, that ugly and...well, let's just stick with ugly...launch. Even through the lag muck and server instability, you could read the stars and see the potential. Right off the bat it was only for the tough, and we barreled through the glitchy log-ins, the shaky starter zones and the wretched "lawless" starting areas and found our way to the rafts. Some were able to get to our island after 3-4 hours of learning how to tack, zig zag and fight through server borders and with a full stack of human hides, and then some were finally rescued after what seemed like days of being eaten alive by scorpions and crocodiles, only to quickly get used to dying to the cold, the wolves, the alpha horses, the water, the sharks and each other's general noob mistakes.
Yes, with the known developer, we did try to ARK it, or Dark and Light it...hell, we've even tried to Life is Feudal this one....and Atlas is just NOT those games. Some visuals and sounds are there, but the depth and options and functionality is just SO much more. What really took the game from just another ARK expansion to, the potential mmo of the decade, was getting out on our first schooner, the SS Skjoldr (video below). The experience was entirely PvE, but when you have 13 people packed on to a single vessel and the guys repairing the ship are as vital as the helmsman steering and the deckhands manning the sails, it became something I haven't seen in a game since our friday night flights on the Decimator back in SWG.
We have had just a blast learning the game and surviving our island and our neighbors over the past couple weeks. Though it may appear as if we are well off enough, growing from 30 actives day one, to more than double that now, we absolutely could use more folks interested in living the Atlas life. Whether you are interested in navigating the high seas, captaining a brigand, farming the tundra, mucking through politics, taming elephants or exploring the massive (30-40 hours of sailing from one end to the other) world, it is all here and we have many members willing to help you get started.
Here is a few screencaps and videos to give you an idea of what we have been up to:
From the sister studio of Wildcard, makers of ARK: Survival Evolved...
ATLAS: The ultimate survival MMO of unprecedented scale with 40,000+ simultaneous players in the same world. Join an endless adventure of piracy & sailing, exploration & combat, roleplaying & progression, settlement & civilization-building, in one of the largest game worlds ever! Explore, Build, Conquer!
Early access, Thursday, December 13th (Update: delayed release to December 19th) [Update 2: delayed release delayed to December 21st]
Xalt defeats Elric for 2018 Fantasy Football Crown
Xalt's Zappers smirk at expectations, knock off Elric's Arksters in 171.07-127.47 rout
Both teams exceeded their projected point totals, but it was Xalt's Zappers who got the victory, cruising to a 171.07-127.47 win over Elric's Arksters. Elric's Arksters earned a 3.86-point lead on Saturday behind Joey Bosa (2.18 points) and Mike Williams (1.68), but Xalt's Zappers held the lead the rest of the way. They were led by Matt Ryan (25.46 points) and Damien Williams (22.53). Ben Roethlisberger (42.22 points) and T.Y. Hilton (19.4) led the charge for Elric's Arksters in the loss. This marks the second time this season Xalt's Zappers have beaten Elric's Arksters, after winning 118.28-117.7 in their last matchup. Xalt's Zappers end the season at 12-4, while Elric's Arksters finish the campaign at 9-7.
Sunday Early There were players with standout moments on both teams early Sunday, after which Xalt's Zappers owned a 125.41-53.13 lead. Matt Ryan had a 75-yard touchdown pass and a 44-yard touchdown pass for Xalt's Zappers, while David Njoku had a 66-yard catch. T.Y. Hilton made the highlight reel for Elric's Arksters with a 55-yard catch.
Sunday Late Both teams had players with big-time moments on Sunday afternoon, but it was Xalt's Zappers who took the lead, 148.54-96.80. For Xalt's Zappers, Robert Woods had a 39-yard touchdown catch. Ben Roethlisberger made the highlight reel for Elric's Arksters with a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 49-yard pass.
Sunday Night Harrison Butker had a 54-yard field goal for Elric's Arksters, who trailed 171.07-118.27 after Sunday Night Football.
It is generally a rarity that finds a single player game a feature of CotP articles, however, over recent months this game has entered my personal top five games of all-time and has passed my hourly steam totals for Mount & Blade, Fallout 4 and Skyrim in the process. What the....yeah, I know.
So many titles over the years have claimed that it allows its players to "win" the game "their way" in an "open sandbox" environment. Well, we cannot get the time back that we spent realizing that those developers were still significantly limited in the scope of what any individual's personal definition of in-game "freedom" actually means. For me, M&B and SWG came close. Unfortunately, both those games (or their EMU reboot) are either approaching or have surpassed the ten year mark of their seemingly eternal impending latest release. Enter Kenshi.
Freedom is a fun word in Kenshi...yes, you have the freedom to stay solo, group up with a squad, make a vegetable farm, join a faction, enslave a faction, slay the champion, be the richest hermit, recruit an army of robots or build the great city....blah blah, boring. Now, the freedom to fail in the most unique form possible...that is the true gem in this game. I will give you just the one example:
My squad is epic, I will tame the badlands and establish a civilized trading outpost...plan = awesome. Headed for the abandoned fishing outpost. Acid rain, not fun...put up tent, survived. Reached fishing village, it is not a fishing village. Really freaky "skin" people pour out of all the village buildings. We put up a good fight but were overwhelmed. One by one, my squad members were....stolen. Knocked out, picked up and taken to some of the village huts. What is going on here? Then the screams. Agonizing screams from my captured squad members. No idea. I am the last one to go down. KO'd, picked up, taken to a nearby hut....
I died from blood loss.....after I was put into a grinder that peeled my skin off.
WHAT IS KENSHI?
Kenshi is a single player sandbox PC game set in a vast and atmospheric ‘Sword-Punk’ style open world. With a mix of RPG elements, squad-based control and city-building features, gameplay is completely free-roaming and open: enjoy the freedom and potential to do whatever you want.
Set in an unrelenting world of bloodthirsty cannibals, starving bandits, brutal slavers and wild beasts, survival alone is a grueling struggle… You are not the chosen one. You’re not great and powerful. You don’t have more ‘hitpoints’ than everyone else. You are not the center of the universe, and you are not special. Unless you work for it.
Edit your characters, build up their strengths and watch them endure and grow. Train Your Skills in Robotics, Thievery, Engineering, Medicine, Weapon Smithing and more!
Play with one character or control a whole team; an army, even. Combat is Real-Time Strategy style with a choice of ranged and melee fighting styles
Build Your Base
Create and run your own city, manage an empire or simply wander the lands as a lone drifter. Research upgrades such as industry tech, weaponry crafting and trade goods
Wounds Affect Gameplay
Complex medical system where injured characters limp, crawl, bleed to death or pass out from starvation. Stem blood loss to avoid predators and replace lost limbs with robotic prosthetics
An original sandbox world. Lay siege as a warlord or make your riches as a trader… There are endless game style possibilities and the world will never stop moving
There is no level-scaling, the world does not level up along with you. At the start of the game almost everyone will be stronger than you and you’ll have to use your cunning to survive
Escape capture from deadly slavers & cannibal prisons, rescue your squad mates from grisly death and get them all home alive
Start A Faction
Keep to yourself, form an alliance or oppose other factions and territories of the world… good or bad
The ARK: Extinction map has been added to Drayvn's Server Cluster.
Link multiple maps on one server so that players can truly enjoy everything the game offers. You can live on the Island and still explore the dungeons on Extinction while using the dragon you got from scorched and the spelunking tools you got from Aberration.
Note: This is a private server cluster created by Drayvn and is open to COTP members who are able to conduct themselves in a mature manner.
Note II: These servers are not modded in order to provide some difficulty to those who can handle it.
Maps currently in cluster:
Forum Group Link:
Ok so I have been working on something cool for a game I am soon going to be getting into hardcore. The game Heavy Gear Blitz is a Tabletop War game with Minis and is very cool to play. I do not know the rules yet, but I have always been a fan of the Heavy Gear series.
The project I am doing is going to be making land ships for real life gameplay. What are land ships? Land ships are the mainstay of the armies of the North and South in the Heavy Gear universe. They range from Land Carriers being the bulk of the fleets, to battleships, dreadnaughts, cruisers, destroyers and frigates. But why do they call them land ships? Well, the reason being is in the lore of Heavy Gear, the main planet, Terra Nova, has a gravity that can allow ships to be built and used on land with hover capability. Instead of just having ships on the sea, you can now have them on land.
Here is a picture of one of them I am building in 3D:
This one here is going to be a Northern Battleship Land Ship. Percentage wise done of this model I would say 20%. It still has a long way to go. Needs more detail, guns put on it, the hover engines need finished, etc.
As I posted in the one thread, I finally found my calling and that is developing and doing stuff for Tabletop games.
Ok so over the past week I have been having more speed bumps in my life yet again. One being is my family in general is not in good health be it my father, couple of my uncles and also my one grandfather who I only have left of grandparents. Also, finalizing my withdrawal medically from spring semester and patiently waiting for what they will do with my grades and change them to just Ws instead of WFs. So, I have had a ton of stress of late and that being said I was giving though on the project that I am doing with some people. I thought to myself that if we concentrate on 3 projects at once, it will raise the stress to a maximum and I do not want that for anyone, especially not me right now cause my stress is already through the roof.
So, instead of doing 3 projects, we shrunk it down to just 1 project only. We got rid of the comic book idea cause comic books are rarely read nowadays, even the new marvel comics and dc comics. I will, however, still be doing a fan 3D art comic of Star Wars on my own time. We also got rid of the video game idea because we do not have enough people interested in helping with the project and also we would need a good amount of people who are knowledgeable on coding and scripting a video game so that's out of the question. We were left with one obvious choice: a tabletop game.
Now I talked to some of the people that are working with me on this project and they agree that a tabletop game maybe more feasible to get people interested than a comic and video game. Also, me being a 3D modeler, I can see about down the road investing in a 3D printer to print minis out that maybe used in the game. Be it a Tabletop Tactical Minis game or even a RPG.
The genre we are doing is still going to be mecha, that hasn't changed. The amount of games in general for mecha is few and far between. We have decided that it will still be that genre.
I look forward to posting updates on this in the future. Again, if anyone has interest in wanting to help out with this project, it is totally volunteer, please get in touch with me via discord, forums or even email. Thank you
Now to clarify before people get confused on the tags, the mecha comic is separate from the comic that will be worked on for the Enmity of Creation Project.
I had a great idea pop into my brain like earlier today and started thinking on it entirely. I thought to myself I need a good idea to start working on my artwork, something that I KNOW I will love doing no matter what. And these ideas came into play. What I am going to do starting possibly sunday, I am going to start working on a mecha comic and star wars fan comic.
I am going to do all kinds of artwork for both being 3D to regular 2D artwork. I am going to be doing the star wars fan comic totally in a different universe cause, 1. I am not selling this at all cause if I did I would need to get permission from Disney and that's a ton of paper work and 2. After the whole ruining of the universe that we know and love of Star Wars thanks to Disney, I do not classify the new movies as canon and I can't seem to do a comic in the EU cause people won't know what is going on unless you read the books.
The mecha comic is also going to be fan made but I don't think I may get in trouble if I sold that one cause the company that made these games are no longer around. Yes someone owns the games themselves but I doubt even some of the copyrights on those games even exist anymore since the last game was made more than 18 years ago.
Anyway I will be starting to work on them on sunday when I can cause also sunday I maybe spending time with my mother cause it is also Mother's Day.
EDIT: The mecha comic is going to be not from a video game I used to play. I changed my mind.
This week is already shot for me to do anything seeing as how I am every day drowsy from the meds I am on so doing anything this week is probably fool hardy. That being said I will try to start on stuff Sunday.
What I intend to start on is artwork, Job Hunting and get some start on the Enmity of Creation Project.
I'm debating on either doing watercolor or something 3D to start working on for my artwork. OR...something big to work on for awhile. Not sure yet. I will also be starting to work on the project during the evening hours after 5ish EST.
As stated, this week is pretty much shot cause until I sort of get used to these new pills, I can't really do much except game to keep me awake and preoccupied.
I am drowsy at the moment thanks to the new medication I was put on by my neurologist. This is hopefully going to kill the migraines good. So far it's working only it has a serious side affect that I need to get used to. It's making me super drowsy right now so me driving anywhere is like out of the question. At least until the affects wear off that I'm not bothered by it anymore.
Also, likelihood of me getting a W on my classes for this semester are probably good cause the amount of documentation I am going to be sending to the school will be huge. Only drawback is I may have to pay back the school some money. It's a 50/50 chance, however, I did the withdrawal way after mid terms so me paying them back is probably slim. Me getting a reimbursement wont be big though. I may only get back few hundred dollars.
I had to redo my daily planner cause I was not happy with it at all. I was making it to rigorous to a point that I couldn't follow through with it. SO,...I am trying this new planner I made to make it less strict and more lenient on me. I will try my hardest to follow it to a T so I can start getting my life in order and not what has been going on for years.
So yeah I have been trying to do some artwork cause yep...I am withdrawing medically from this semester cause of incessant migraines that will NOT go away. This is only temporary. Will be going back to school in the fall. However, it will make my graduation date now sometime in December cause of this withdrawal. My gpa is intact, but my graduation date is not. Anyway, always a plus and minus to everything.
So, I will post what I have been working on. Been fooling around in DAZ and now that I will have more free time I will be doing loads more artwork and fiddling around with software programs.
Here is a glimpse of what I have been working on...(no insults about the body please...this is art.)
She is supposed to be a Dark Elf. I know you can't see the ears but trust me they are elven ears.
Will be doing more finer touches on this and putting in a background and other things.
More artwork on the way. So...Stay TUNED!
Edit: Another Model. Her name is Lady Erana De'Telmani
(NO bad comments plz...)
Ok so my tries to getting people interested from other discords I used to be on has failed. I was trying to get some people to help out with building the Tabletop RPG, however I found out those people turned out to be total assholes. Literally.
It's like when you leave for over a year from one server...the entire server turns into a cess pool of idiots.
That being said the idea of doing a Tabletop RPG is out of the question for now. I will try to find another means to get people interested, but for now the Tabletop RPG is on the back burner for good for now.
Well my semester is getting closer and closer to being finished and first year done for masters. However, likelihood of me doing good this semester probably not good cause my health has hindered my progress. I maybe put on academic probation so I have a chance of improving my gpa next semester. As long as i pull off good grades next semester, I'll be brought out of it.
Anyway, thats not this blog is about. What it IS about is what stuff I will be purchasing in the future to further my career as an artist. These range from software and electronics.
Here is what I intend to own here soon. Some of the things I already own:
Autodesk Maya (Already own)
Autodesk 3ds Max (Already own)
Zbrush (Already own)
Adobe Create Suite (Already own)
DAZ Studio (Own, however will be changing from that to Zbrush once I learn it)
Electronics and Peripherals:
DSLR Camera (Fuji Film or Nikon)
Wacom Cintiq Tablet
Yeah its a lot of stuff I need to get but I intend to invest in all of it.
As you guys can see, I have done a lot of work so far with some people and by myself as well on this tremendous project. The project is being called "Enmity of Creation" or another terminology would be "War of Creation". Each project (RPG, Comic Book(s), Video Game) will have its own title but will be originating from this same working title. They will also have pretty much the same storyline or stories intertwining with each other.
If anyone doesn't know what this is...it's a Mind Map. It's a better way to gather ideas and brainstorm for big projects. You start from a focal idea, which in this case is the working title and idea, and branch off to sub ideas, and so on and so on, til you get down to the most finute idea.
This is a very ambitious project, however, I intend to see it through to the end. Good or bad. This will get finished.
Well I had this idea running since last year and I thought to myself, "Now that I am working on a Comic Book/Video Game Project that is mecha, AND coinciding with each other...why not bring the RPG into the mix." So that is what I intend to do. Yes it is a TON of stuff on my plate...however, I need to do this in more ways than one. One because I need to keep myself occupied and working on things because my life as a whole needs to change for the better. Two, I need to learn how to multitask and do many things at once. I am not really good at it most of the time and need to improve.
Now, will this RPG be done before the others...possibly. Comic Book will more than likely be the first of the three to be done. RPG will be second cause of the complexity of it and Video Game will be rounding out the list. Video Game will more than likely take the longest cause of many things that need to be made sure works and how much time it will take to make it.
So, this weekend I think I will start on working on my artwork as a whole. I have been trying to brainstorm ideas for each of my strengths that I have and have come up with many so far. However, I want to do at least start on one or two this weekend.
Some of the ideas I have come up with range from Comic Book style artwork to 3D renderings and so on and so on. I am leaning on towards finishing 2 watercolor paintings I have already started and something 3D to start as well.
I think the first 3D art I may undertake is a Fan Art of Star Wars. Ideas for that are numerous but I think my first 3D Image I may do is something of like a Star Wars Starship or Vehicle or something of that nature.
I will keep you all posted.
Well, I intend to be developing two different projects over the course of a certain time. One being a Comic Book and another being a Video Game. Both projects are a HUGE undertaking I might add, however, I am not afraid to do so. Cool thing about this is...both projects will coincide with each other in story. The genre I picked to develop both under is Sci-Fi Mecha. Now the actual storyline is going to be made from the brainstorming, mind-mapping, and storyboarding that will be happening here very soon. I already have come up with different ideas for what type of video game the video game project is going to be. They are as follows:
First Person Shooter/Sim
I will be narrowing it down to at least three choices that I will have whoever is helping make the video game to choose from. I already have some people in the works in helping do these projects. We will come up with a game plan to be able to achieve our goals on a certain basis. However, this is NOT mandatory work meaning this is all volunteer. I am not going to be pressuring people into working on these projects 24/7. No, that is one thing I will not do. We will be working this at a certain pace and only when we are able to.
My plan is this: we will have it start as a project that is totally volunteer. I can't do it as a paid project cause my finances are not as good as they should be. So that being said it is going to stay volunteer...temporarily. Now why is it only being temporarily volunteer? I will clarify the reason why. When we finish the brainstorming, mind-mapping and storyboarding phase of these projects and begin starting on the constructive phases (i.e. development phases), I will be starting up a patreon for the projects. What money that is being given by patrons, will be distributed evenly to people in the project as a gift from myself for helping on the project. I, however, will not be taking any of the incentive. Then, when the development phases are at a certain stage in either the comic book development, video game development or both, we will start a kickstarter to see how many people are interested in seeing this done.
I will remind everyone that this is not a video game made by a company like obsidian, valve, 2k, EA, etc. It may not contain voice acting in it. Unless of course I find a way to be able to get voice actors and a means to record the voice acting.
To conclude, I intend to see these projects through to the end. The Mecha genre of Video Games is as of late very stagnant. There is a new battletech game launching April 24th and a new MW game in the works, however, I do believe people want to see something different than seeing Battletech and Mechwarrior quite a bit.
I will keep everyone posted.
For me, there is nothing not awesome about the Christmas time of year. Living in Texas, despite having near zero chance of snow, this time of year still brings something magical to my home and my family. This list changes for me from year to year, but I always enjoy making it! I'll get right to the list, please feel free to reply with your favorites!
1. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
1964 classic clay-animation version.
2. The Snowman
1982 - Very touching story despite having no words.
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol
1992 - Always a top 5 favorite of mine.
4. The Polar Express - 2004
5. Elf - 2003
6. A Christmas Stopry - 1983
7. A Charlie Brown Christmas - 1965
8. It's a Wonderful Life - 1946
9. The Nightmare before Christmas - 1993
10. Rise of the Guardians - 2012
You know those places no one wants to visit? Let alone live there, mind you. Your friends and family, when they hear you say, "Come down for the weekend," they all start making excuses why they simply can't make it. That's what I mean, a place like that.
The military introduced me to many of those places, actually. Gaming became the best escape - the chance to gather with others stuck in the same dire mess of a situation and usually wearing the same uniform, too. Something to do together while the kids ran around in the yard outside or haggled over which toys to play with, and we adults all rolled dice in mad rushes across the table-top and cheered on every troll and goblin and giant spider that we made dead.
And hey! Someone tell me why there is always a giant spider! Ick!
But suddenly and eventually we would get orders again and stand to lose the precious people who made our days and weeks seem so much more fantastical and adventurous than we would have thought going along. Society seems to appreciate how tough it is on the Army brats. I can definitely swear it's pretty rough on the Army grown-ups, too.
So when one of my bestest buddies ever came up to me and handed me this boxy, little hard-drive one day, I was hard-pressed not to burst into tears. He one said, "Here, take this. When you get there, you call me up and tell me how much you loved this game. That way, we're still playing together." I think of him every time I fire up Origins all these years later, too.
So confession time, here.
When I first ventured into the world of Dragon Age: Origins, I didn't like it. No, no ... I know it sounds purely strange to hear me say that, considering the number of times someone's called me a "Bioware fanboy" these past few years. Like I take them seriously, even. Sheesh!
But truly. My initial steps into Thedas left me feeling just ... lost. I couldn't understand half what was going on, and I felt so much confused. I spent most of the time bugging my nearby husband with questions: "What's the Fade? Why does this guy glow? How did I even get into this blasted dream sequence, by touching some water? And what's with the fellow pretending to be a rat?" My husband became frustrated with me along the same time I became frustrated with the game and set my rig off to the side.
So he gruffly told me, "Why not try playing a different character? You might like playing a warrior better than a mage." Mind you, there are some words a wife never says aloud. "He was right" in that order are three of them. I figure I can type them into this little blurb here and you will all keep my secret safe, though. Thank you.
That's how I ended up first creating my first-ever Cousland.
That's when Thedas came alive, for me.
Seriously, though. I'll never be a "fanboy"! Stop calling me that! I'm a geeky nerd of a woman who spends her time exploring fantasy worlds where the difference between a mage, a warrior, and a rogue are my paramount concerns, dangit.
In Origins, the player character is "The Warden" - a raw, new Grey Warden recruit who's suddenly tasked with ... well, with saving the world, basically. There is a Blight impending, anyway. The Blight is a veritable horde of evil, vicious, and flesh-consuming monsters that burst out from underground like the fastest-moving Zombies you've ever seen. Hey, the Walking Dead has nothing like these dudes! And all of them are determined to sweep across the countryside killing every man, woman, and child they come across.
Oh, and there's magic, elves and dwarves, and even a couple dragons to make the story even more fantastical, too. Yes, it's definitely my kind of story. With a few truly impressive differences to make it all the more interesting.
My very first playthrough of Origins became my personal "canon" take on the story, interestingly enough. That particular Warden of mine was everything I might have wanted a hero to be, anyway. Heck, not only did she steal my own heart, she stormed right across the camp to steal the heart of the king-to-be, too. He gave her a rose and they stormed the castle together.
Yea, that's me ... sappily pleased.
And oh, by the way.
My husband still hates Alistair with a passion.
I did manage to complete several more playthroughs of the game, though. All right, all right! More than several, even! But I was determined to explore the story from different perspectives and varied angles.
The most difficult playthrough for me to complete involved my Dalish elf. My own Mahariel was the most arrogant piece-of-work of a character I ever created for any playthrough of the game. She was caustic, rude, and outright bigoted against anyone who wasn't Dalish.
I didn't like her, so it's not a surprise she never successfully romanced one of the companion characters. She was too busy mourning for her lost friend and lover, and Tamlen's tragic fate consumed her in bitterness. In the end, I decided to sacrifice her atop Fort Drakon. Rest in peace, Mahariel.
I completed a couple of mage playthroughs, as well. Playing as a mage in Dragon Age: Origins is actually a bit of a task, mind you. I generally advise my friends exploring Origins for the first time to avoid the mage class when they initially play the game. The Fade can be daunting, first off. And then the combat in Origins tends to be clunky and rough. For a mage, it's a lot of standing off to the side and singing, "Magic missile, magic missile" over and over again.
Yea, yea, yea. I know ... Wrong game.
So yea, back to Origins.
My mage is invariably and always a Surana. That is, they're elves. I've tried making human mages, but they never seemed to feel correct to me and I always failed to progress past the prologue with them. So I stuck to the notion my mage in Origins is a pretty and quietly skilled elf girl and I adore her. I try not to think of her true fate, given that my "canon" take on the story has a Cousland warden rather than a Surana. Rest in peace, Surana.
Gradually, though, my own Warden took shape. The more I played, the more clear my picture of the character turned. Like I knew her ... like we were the best of friends, even.
I knew the Warden was utterly capable. She was sharply smart, like a whip. Educated and knowledgeable. She was diplomatic, too. But that doesn't mean she was any sort of goody two-shoes, either.
Diplomacy, as I see it, is a game of caution, rather. It's seeing the lies and manipulations clearly enough to navigate one's way through the messy mire that politics can be, really. And even using those same tactics to play right along. So my Warden was a pragmatist. She refused to be misused and remained determined to control her own fate.
And as a member of a noble, aristocratic family - a family second only to the King's, even - my Warden was keenly aware of her own place in the world and the obligations it demanded. Like any other Cousland, she was defined more than anything by the most incredible loyalty. To her family, to those she cared for, and to the people who counted on her. For her, nobility was no sort of entitlement. It was a responsibility, in fact. People depended on her and she refused to fail them.
Eventually, I knew so much who the Warden was, that I simply couldn't fathom seeing her any other way. Every playthrough started feeling so much the same. I was glad the second and third installments of Dragon Age introduced new heroes, even. The story needed to be fleshed out from all those other varied angles, too.
And then my husband tossed a challenge at me.
He said, "What if your Warden wasn't a woman? What then?"
Okay, so yea. It wasn't until he pointed it out, that I realized I had never played Origins as a male character. Which isn't to say I only ever play as a female in any game I play, either. I once had a DM try to poke at my sensibilities during a particular run of Dungeons and Dragons, by tossing a cursed ring at me that changed my gender. He stuttered when I shrugged and took to happily playing a character-suddenly-turned-guy, then.
But my Origins characters have always been female. No real reason for it. It only felt correct, to me. Which might be why my husband was adamant, that challenging my "canon" so much as that was beyond me. I think he was really bashing on my ever-lasting adoration of the Theirin bastard-king, actually. It didn't keep me from thinking on the story and what shape it would take if I only made such a simple and complete twist. As turning my gal Warden into a guy Warden.
... And hey! None of you pay attention to those plot wheels slowly gaining speed inside my head, either!
I was a month or so into joining an established guild called "House of Blackrock" when I met Oonagh (then Audria) and created a friendship that would eventually lead to the beginning of the Covenant of the Phoenix. I was level 12 and she was level 5 on the Darktide server of Asheron's Call. I was also just recently 22 years old and rocking my way through life in the fast lane.
I would love to say it was just so easy to formulate the plan that would eventually lead to this community's future successes, but that would be anything but the truth. First chance I got to make a real game-changing leadership decision, I fell flat on my face (The Rage of Angels incident), lost dozens of friends and singlehandedly cut this community's membership by 90%. Failing is pretty sucky in the moment, fortunately, it gives you the chance at winning in spite of previously failing...which is awesome.
We had a really good run in Asheron's Call, and made a lot of really good memories, many of them out of really bad situations. Apparently, this community has, as a whole, taken this ability to mind-numbing levels, which has, in turn, given the ten thousand or so members that have joined us over the years some incredibly good times. Most of the reasons that this community has really worked out is already stated in the guild charter, however, one unwritten standard has definitely set us apart....If you can manage to have a good time during a really bad quest, it leaves nothing but good memories.
Over the course of four years I have had the pleasure of being a part of this family. It brings me sense of peace to serve by my comrades, I serve with a sense of responsibility and honour to this covenant. I wish to do more to help our covenant and should any of my leaders ask of me anything I shall do it without hesitation.
How is it possible...
To hate yourself as much as I do?
To look down at yourself,
And break out in tears because of what you see.
And there's nothing you can do about it,
But try to change,
And be somebody you aren't.
Try to be the same person,
With a different shell,
And be perfect.
How can you hate yourself to the point you want to get rid of yourself,
Or to the point that you cut and bruise,
How can you hate yourself as much as I do?
How does one be happy?
Mari stirred next to the warmth of a fire burning near her. It was morning. She had cried herself to sleep. Beside the fire, on a rock, was a bowl full of water. She cupped it and examined it closely. She smelled it. ‘Fruit?’ She drank a sip then almost involuntarily drained the rest of the liquid from the bowl. She breathed a small sigh. ‘So sweet.’
The green canopy had been a wonderful covering from the morning shower that had set the leaves of the forest a-glitter. She had slept through that. ’Darn,’ she thought, ‘I miss wandering in the rain’. She thought of Tian and how they would get soaked together in it wandering in the forests of Dromund Kaas after her initiation had concluded.
They sat alone under a tree near some fern bushes watching the water on the large leaves.
“Do you see this raindrop?” Tian had looked into her eyes. “It has fallen from the sky and landed here on this leaf, but it did not do so of its own accord. It was made to do so and so it must. It doesn’t choose where to roll or what drops to join in its path, it is guided by consequence. It absorbs and is absorbed.”
She had leaned into his warmth and he wrapped his arms around her and continued, but she didn’t hear much of what he said. She listened to his steady heart beat… felt the steady, peaceful rhythm. She wanted to stay here. Not return to the dread that awaited her at the Citadel. Her master surely was suspicious her dallying with this light-leaning sith.
“Mari-love.” Tian whispered. “Seek balance… Love mercy… Exercise justice… Walk with the Force in humbleness… Don’t lose yourself in emotion, draw strength from it.”
The sun broke through a clearing in the canopy blinding her for a moment and interrupting her reminisce. She looked around her again, feeling something she could not place. ‘A presence? No.'
She moved soundlessly out from the copse which had sheltered her during the night, reaching out with her senses and touched something conflicted. It withdrew immediately. Then she felt a light press on her thoughts.
“You’re up.” said the thought… distinctly male… incredibly peaceful. She started at the intrusion. “I hope you enjoyed the refreshment. If you’d like, come south to the creek. We can talk there.”
‘Nothing pressing to do’ thought Miri as she looked again at the verdant landscape encompassing her. Quickly, she readied herself and set off.
“YOU WHAT?!” echoed the gravelly voice of Darth Granus. She shoved her way across her vast office space to look her assassin in the eye, nose to nose.
The assassin trembled as slowly his neck began to rise, held by another force. “We… we were… attacked my Lord. A… human, but … not… hum – “ His explanation was cut short as his vocal cords were being pressed.
Then his mouth contorted into a soundless, raging scream and his eyes shut vice-tight. His brow furrowed unnaturally as he writhed in mid-air.
“I WILL have my answer!” screamed Granus. Her eyes narrowed and she leered at him. Light distorted in front of them as if an inferno blazed from within them. Her face grew gaunt, but she pressed in, launching a scathing mental assault.
She had no mercy on her servant assassin, slashing and ripping at every part of his mind until at last she arrived at the scene in the forest and saw what transpired.
The assassin fell limp to the floor, a vacant expression on his face. Drool pooled from his lips where he lay.
Kourou winced. His eyes welled. He felt the assassin’s sanity leave him and knew all that remained was a fleshly shell where once had been a soul. Alive, but vacant.
'Nothing has changed.’ He thought, shaking his head almost imperceptibly.
Mari approached from behind him, clearing her throat as she approached.
“I’m sorry, Mari, if I mis-read your intentions but I thought helping you escape was the best choice… given the alternative.”
“You felt it too…” she said. She had been crying.
“I hate her.”
“Hate is a strong word…”
“I do! You have NO idea what I’ve been through!” Mari’s mind raced through a lifetime of memories and experiences with her old master, Darth Granus.
“You’re right, I have not been through what you have experienced.” Kourou conceded. “Can we at least agree that I have had experiences also?”
Mari watched him for a moment and looked up at the mid-day sky. A breeze caught her and lifted her silky hair, caressing her face. Every time she felt that kind of a breeze she was reminded of how Tian would cradle her face in his palms and press his forehead on hers before kissing her gently.
“Mari… what does she fear in you that she would hunt you?” Kourou asked warily.
....I hate this new "master", tho I dare not show it. She is quick to kill or maim just to show her power, and while she has power, I would crush her simply if this damnable collar could be removed without electrifying my cortex. A recent visit from an un-named Lord of the Sith drew attention to me as being a Full blooded Sith under the collar which is unusual enough, but after the Lord started stating I have some small measure of force power, my new "master" has all but put me under her new interrogator droid G0-T0 to find out my past. I gain nothing by lying to her and while it has gained me much pain, the truth is not to her liking.
....uauuarhRhhggg... "Beep boop Beep". "I told you before My family is pure Sith and of a Dark line, we made a decision to back the wrong Lord and he lost. The punishment to our family is their first born son in slavery and any female children are to become camp "attendants". I know my pain is mostly mental, yet I still care for my sisters and wish they were not experiencing their own form of torture".."Beep Beep boop" *lightning lances thru my eyes and darkness envelopes me*
...floating in pure darkness..."Thrive on your pain..." I am delerious, it can be nothing else...a distant chuckle sets me on edge. "Blood of my blood, you carry my lineage in you and will not die here. Your power will awaken soon and will be recognized as such. Your life will not be easy, but you will be fearsome in life as your brother was in death. A memory bubbles to the surface of my pain.
When my younger brother died from an attack by a domesticated Hssiss, it was a prolonged death. He was talking in the throes of agony, and would occasionally shout in a language noone present could identify, until an old Sith Sorcerer came to visit my father about ordering some parts for his ship. My brother was almost gone, and yelled, "Yas kaboyur eim dai turedae". The Sith turns to my brother with hands raised up and lightning leaps from his fingers lancing lightning into my brothers dying body, insanely we all just stand there watching this unfold. The lightning fades to nothing and the smoking body of my brother twitches one time, as we hear, "I am free." and never moves again. The sorcerer just walks away to never come back. ..."Yas kaboyur eim dai turedae, is a black curse used when a force user is attempting to take over anothers body by coercion to transfer their essance into the new shell. The soul is disintergrated as the new host settles into the new shell." The disembodied voice echoes in my head. I am truly insane, there is no other reason I am hearing voices now. "Pain of a different type enters my neural pathways, and the voice is not so nice when it says, "Blood of my Blood, wake and fear NOTHING..."
...that memory lasted forever, but I know it is just a moments repast. *KAZOT* a light zap on the collar brings me to wakefullness immediately. "WAKEUP slave, Lord Malgar will speak with you."
"Slave for some reason I came to this miserable part of the world, and I have tested your ability, for some reason I do not know. I do know that you will no longer bare a collar, and will immediately go to Korriban for training as an inquisitor." With just a look at the "master" the Lord recieves the collar key and detaches the collar.
I take the time to fully examine my old "master" and commit to memory the look of surprise. I will see this look again when I visit this area after training. The Lord chuckles not un-similarly as the one in my dream and states, "Yes give in to your anger, feed your power with your hate, grow powerful." With a chuckle again, the Lord shoves me into the arms of his apprentices to be hustled into the back seat of a land speeder.
...I will be back to this hole and I will exact my revenge. I am powerful already, I must learn control and the Sith way.
Clothes and armor rested neatly on a marbled stone this early morning. A lightsaber nestled into the top of the clothes. The lush forested jungle echoed with the call of life. Footsteps paced along the ridge, following the path of the falls to their end, where a man stood. The grey mist lifted his spirits and the deafening roar created by the water crashing into the pool below calmed his nerves. The sounds of war could not reach him here.
Then there was a stillness. Foreign. Confused. Hurt. Pain. Release.
He jolted to his senses… He was wrong. War could reach him here.
His lightsaber flew through the air eager to meet his hand, but just as the saber-hilt touched his fingertips, it lurched away.
He followed his saber’s path to the shade of a bush.
“You’re off your game, Jedi.” called a female voice. She stepped from the shade into the open. “Or are you a Jedi?”
The man stood still, looking at her with calm, calculating eyes.
She sighed. “I can feel you searching. You may try. Though you may not like what you find.”
He closed his eyes. More pain. Confusion. Hatred. Love. Grief. His eyes winced. He watched her memories play before him. A man, quiet moments, laughs, tears, resolution, betrayal, a saber flash, emptiness.
“His name was Tian.” She offered, tears stifled by her voice. “He was… …special… …to me.”
He opened his eyes and looked at her. His gaze betrayed no emotion… but it was piercing, gentle, forgiving, and foreboding. His dark brown eyes found hers. She froze with anticipation.
“I am Kourou Kaminoko, also known as Rou.” He said. “You have experienced much and risked all to find me… why have you come?”
“Yet you know that will not sate the pain.”
She crumbled inside. Her brows arched slightly, betraying her acknowledgement. She deflected. “Your saber. I have never seen one like it.” She ran her thumb over the woven branches and vines that formed the hilt casing. She could feel the life flowing inside it.
“My people showed me… before the Jedi found me.” He answered. Nodding to the saber, he continued, “They sense the emotion of the wearer and... amplify it, if you will.” He stretched his arm out and the saber lifted from her hand. She resisted, wrestling to keep the saber in her grasp, but it left her all the same.
He held his saber lightly, inspecting it. “Mari`atu, won’t you come sit by the falls? I sense you have much you want to talk about.”
She balked. How did he know her name? She had been so careful to guard her memories, to only let the ones she wanted him to see be known. She trembled at the knowledge that he had let her pull his saber away from him. Who was he?
He stood there in his shorts, pushed his lightsaber through the air to where his armor lay and watched her. Her hands twitched on her sabers. “You have strength, Mari, in the force. But you are hindered at knowing it. Raw power can serve as well as this waterfall, unbridled, able to carve rock and mold it to its will.” Then he lifted his hand and a thin stream of the water shot out like a beam from the waterfall. He used it to trim off a stray branch hanging precariously over the falls, then let the water fall again to the pool below. “But learn to focus it, manage it and the power given you is magnified exponentially.”
The air was ripped suddenly by the hiss of a saber blade crashing down at the Mari’s shoulder. Kourou was there in the blink of an eye and to Mari’s amazement, was blocking the saber with his bare hand.
“RUN!” Kourou shouted, reaching for his saber again. Mari obeyed and bolted away from the scene.
The purple saber retreated and its owner materialized.
“What interest has an assassin with a conflicted sith?” Kourou asked, holding his own saber at the ready.
“Weakness! Weakness in her! It will not be tolera –“
His voice was cut short as Kourou held his hand up and lifted the assassin by the throat using the force. Rou stared at him, glaring into his mind searching his intentions. He had been stalking Mari. He had been sent by a Darth.
The assassin’s saber lit and swung at Kourou who’s own saber blocked the blow. Kourou dropped him and readied for combat. His saber-blade was translucent, blurring the objects behind it. A white glow emanated from the hilt.
The assassin lunged at him with strike after strike, in rapid succession. Then, in a final flourish, he had appeared as 5 individuals attacking at once. Sparks flew wildly as Kourou parried each blow and saw through the assassin’s force ruse at the last. The assassin’s hand came down with determination as Kourou lifted his blade and severed the assassin’s hand from its arm.
Kourou searched the assassin’s emotions. Fear. Hate. Revenge. “Have you learned nothing from your defeat?”
The assassin writhed in agony.
“Tell your master to pursue this no further. What she decides, she will decide, and she will be stronger. Go.”
Then he looked up and speaking to no one in particular, said, “The time of decision is upon you, Mari. What will you do?”
Mari had been hiding a short distance away, keeping her presence from anyone searching for her. She no longer cared that he knew things she had taken precautions to keep from everyone… that he knew she was within ear-shot now. All she cared about was the fact that she had been found out, and was now without a home. She tucked her bangs behind her ear and said nothing… then she cried.
For anyone who has actually bothered to read these (and this) blog post(s,) congrats, I didn't think anyone ever would. No comments, so it wasn't anything special, but oh well, everything I do is shite anyway.
Case in point; the computer I am using, and my inability to replace it. I've been trying my damndest to scrounge the money for a new one before this one gives up the ghost; I tried, and failed, as this comp will now only start in safe mode. And joy, I'm still short for enough to get a replacement. So yeah, this comp will fail anytime now, I can't get a new one, so I'm not going to be around. Not that anyone cares of course, but I thought I might as well inform you guys.
Add to that the enormous personal and family related problems I am having, and well.... now the title makes sense, doesn't it? Story of my life, really; struggle and struggle and Murphy shows up and things get worse. Oh well.
Maybe "things will get better" as people keep telling me.... I don't think they will, but who knows? Maybe my boss will advance me some wages.... Which isn't likely. Who knows, maybe someone I know will help out, though I doubt it...
On that note, I'm going to try to sell off the ships I bought for Star Citizen..... Perhaps one of the people here will buy a LTI Redeemer......
With that, I'm signing off, possibly for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever if my situation keeps getting worse...
Been fun. I doubt anyone here cares, But I'd like to think you guys do.
Where to start? Game of Thrones is shaping up to be a great show, Age of Ultron is awesome, Tomorrowland sucks, Mad Max is a great return to the franchise, and, oh yeah, ISIS is running nuts!
Long story short; So long as the Iraqi army are the only ones with boots actually on the ground, I don't see ISIS being taken out. Air power can only do so much, conventionally anyway.... I really don't think people are quite to the point of wanting to see a light brighter than the sun pop into existance. Same goes for seeing a certain mixture of chemicals rain from the skies. Ditto for our ancient buddy Pestilence, although that little Djinni isn't something you want out of his Trifoil and triple circle labelled bottle. Ever.
I do suppose you could go the Cookie Cutter route, drop a GBU-43, but unfortunatly, ISIS does have MANPAD's they looted. So that's out.
The real thing I am wondering is why Iran hasn't tried to take over Iraq with their own army; I know they are heavily involved with supporting anti-ISIS militia's and stuff, but we saw what happened with the Muj in Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded; they did their job, then turned and became a problem. Potentially same problem. But Iraq is so weak right now.... or rather, their leadership is. I mean, usually when one army has more troops and arms they win. Usually. But of course, Leadership is the trump card. More than a few great leaders have won with lesser amounts of troops and arms. Or, when one side has troops that cut and run at the first sign of problems, that can account for it.
Long and short of it is, the West will likely have to step in to handle matters. Again. Unless Iran steps in.
Breaking news! American Media has the attention span of a gnat and the priorities of Justin Bieber!
Confused? Let me clarify; Whilst people are dying in Nepal and the entire country is pretty much screwed, the American Media seems hilariously fixated on what is happening down in Baltimore, at least when it comes to TV and Satellite radio, with nothing but "Breaking News out of Baltimore!" reports constantly. Now, I've been keeping tabs on what is going on, and I do agree, something has to be done, as its rather hard for a man to sever his own spine and fracture multiple vertebrae whilst in police custody. Yes, I do agree that the rioting is bad Shi.t,especially when the freaking National Guard gets called out.
But for fucks sakes, it doesn't have to take up ALL the airtime, especially when there are other, arguably more news worthy things happening, like the aforementioned crisis in Nepal. Strangely, despite death, destruction, and chaos drawing reporters like a corpse does flies, major news networks are more fixated on Baltimore; while there has been destruction in Baltimore, its NOTHING like what we are seeing out of Nepal, where, for all intents and purposes, the countries capital is trashed.
I don't get it; is it "It's not OUR people" syndrome? Meaning that anything that happens in America automatically takes massive priority over a natural disaster? Or is it racism of a sorts ; "they're Asian, we don't care; 'Muricans first!". I mean, come on; the more attention drawn to this MASSIVE NATURAL DISASTER that happened, the more people will actually care.
Then again, massive media presence didn't help out that civil war in Darfur did it? People still dying, the funding drying up, shi.te even worse than it was, and not a peep out of major western media.
Or how about Haiti? Haiti is still all screwed up, and the money is literally being pissed away there, with corruption at massive proportions. But does anyone really seem to notice? Ehhhhh... no.
Honestly, I think Western Media needs to grow a conscience or something, because this is just absurd how things are going.
As before, not sure if anyone is actually going to bother to read this, but meh, I had time to kill, and I'm bored.