Even Now

Funz and failz in DDO

The 411 on OurDDO September 9, 2014

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not sure where the hosting on the original OurDDO site stands. To bore you with the personal details, I was using a domain and server space I’d bought from my brother, who’s owned a small web design company for several years. He’s since taken another job and didn’t have time to run his company, so  he sold it almost a year ago.


As of this writing, my domain and hosting are still intact, but most of his former customers have had to move their sites elsewhere. I have no idea if my site is sticking around or if it’ll be gone in the next five minutes, so I’m in the process of changing all of my links to the backup site I set up a while back (which, thanks to the lovely grimorde, is now displaying everything properly).


If you don’t already have it, you can reach the backup site – which is now the main site – here.


Meanwhile the issue with the feed script dropping posts seems to s-l-o-w-l-y be resolving itself. As feed aggregator scripts are notoriously unreliable, I think that’s the best I’m going to be able to do with it for now.


After talking to a number of people, I’ve set up a forum on the new OurDDO site. It’s blank so far, gotta get some basic stuff set up, but I did change the boring default bluish-grey theme to green because, y’know, priorities.  LOL


I actually had set up a forum probably a year ago or more on what’s now the old OurDDO site and had a couple people help me get stuff set up, so I’ll probably copy a lot of stuff over from that and then recruit some beta testers before opening it up to the public. The new forum is mostly aimed to augment Players Helping Players.


As always, feedback is appreciated!  :)


Battlebard! September 8, 2014


Sometimes I really need to have a little faith.

The other night, I asked Slvr, “Do I want to work on sagas with Even, or take Dissy into Thunderholme and get her killed?”

Slvr generally knows what I want better than I do, so when he told me to take Dissy to Thunderholme, I logged her in (although I lamented to him on AIM, “But she’s gonna DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!”, to which he replied, “I have faith in her!”).

I wasn’t optimistic – my level 26 gimpish first-life Drow bard, alone in a level 29 wilderness? Well, not QUITE alone; she grabbed the level 24 rogue hire because I didn’t know how hard the traps would hit her, and she ended up bringing her owlbear as well to keep aggro off the rogue while he disabled.

Dissy’s intentionally built more as a support toon than as a soloer. She has yet to earn a single XP in any destiny other than Fatesinger, mostly because I’ve just never felt like farming destinies on her. So she has no handy twists, or even fate points with which to twist anything.

But her Fascinate worked surprisingly well against the undead in Thunderholme, while her Song of Capering and Otto’s kept the Cult of the Dragon necromancers from being able to do anything except dance. Even the rare encounters – she got something like eight of them – didn’t give her much trouble. The biggest problem she had was completely breaking her Elyd Edge on the battleragers (’cause I forgot to grab her a Mutineer’s Blade from the shared bank) and having to turn to her Mad Lute.

I’d only been planning to take her as far as Dagan to flag her for Fire on Thunder Peak, but I’d gotten pretty far through the levels when I realized I’d gone the wrong way (me, lost? NEVER!) and was actually headed for *gulp* Sarva.

I wasn’t too worried about Dissy’s ability to take out Dagan. But Sarva… Sarva and her minions are another story. So when I finally reached the very bottom of Thunderholme and saw her standing there in the center, I decided my best option was to park the rogue and owlbear by the shrine, invis Dissy, and sneak over to get the journal.

Oops. I must’ve double-clicked when I told the owlbear to stay put, because he followed Dissy in, and of course Sarva saw him. Uh-oh.

I summoned the rogue, had Dissy play Sustaining Song, and buffed as fast as I could. Then I started spamming Dirge and sonic spells interspersed with Siren’s Song.

It got pretty ugly. I had to rez the owlbear several times, and the rogue once or twice as well. And Dissy came scarily close to dying herself more than once.

But Sarva’s red bar dropped to a sliver and then poof! she was dead, thanks to Siren’s Song going off at a VERY opportune time. Dissy and her hires took out Sarva’s minions, looted, and recalled, because by that point nearly all her gear was in serious need of repair (plus it was around 6 am and I kinda wanted sleep).

After facing Sarva, taking out Dagan the next night was a piece of cake. So my gimpy little bard is flagged for both dragon raids, where I have no doubt she’ll die frequently and ignominiously… well, almost no doubt. After all, I didn’t think she even stood a chance against the ordinary mobs in Thunderholme, let alone Sarva and Dagan.

So look out, Aurgloroasa, Nevalarich, and Tharaxata. Dissy’s coming for you!


Players Helping Players launches September 1, 2014

Players Helping Players

As promised, Players Helping Players is now up and running! It’s still in its infancy, but I have big plans for it.

Friday night I happened to be on Thelanis at the same time as Dean from DDO University. He’d seen my earlier post about getting Players Helping Players started and very kindly offered any help I needed, including the use of his content. He also has guilds and teaching characters on every server.

As part of Players Helping Players, I’ve been debating adding a forum to OurDDO – not to compete in any way with the official DDO forum, but to provide an alternative source to get help. Unlike Turbine, I don’t have to deal with the issue of offending paying customers, because I don’t have any. So I’ll have much more freedom to edit or delete posts that troll, grief, or bully, and to sanction users who make such posts.

If I add the forum, it will undoubtedly be a much, MUCH smaller community than the official DDO boards, so the pool of knowledge will also be smaller. But I’m hoping that the smaller population will also mean a more friendly and welcoming experience for players who want help with DDO basics.

I’d really love some feedback on this. Do you like the idea of adding a forum to OurDDO? Why or why not? If implemented, what features would you like to see? What features do you think should NOT be included? Would you use the forum, and if so, for what?

A big THANK YOU to everyone who’s been supportive of OurDDO and Players Helping Players – I could never undertake either without the help and support I’ve gotten!


Feed me – or maybe not August 20, 2014


Just a short(-ish? maybe?) update on some stuff, and then some other stuff. Wow, I sound like Mizz!

As you may have noticed if you’re getting here from OurDDO, the site’s been “misplacing” posts. I mean, a LOT of posts. (Geoff Hanna recently blogged about having the same problem.)

I’ve done a fair amount of looking into this, and it seems that it’s a common problem with feed aggregators (the nifty little scripts that pull in assorted blog feeds and display them in one place). I didn’t write the script that OurDDO uses; it’s a Google script. Unfortunately it shares the problem that apparently pretty much all aggregator scripts do: Because it’s pinging sites, in this case blogs, on a fairly regular basis, it tends to get flagged as being potentially malicious. At least that’s what several people on various help forums have told me.

I’m not sure why it’ll pull some posts from a particular blog but not others from the same blog, or why it’s not finding some blogs at all, or why it does seem to find nearly everything from others. It may be an issue with the cron job. Sadly, while I know what cron jobs are, I don’t know much about setting them up. If I can find a solution – and yes, I’m looking for one – I’ll implement it ASAP. Meanwhile, at least SOME of the recent posts are getting pulled, and there are links to EVERY blog both in the blogroll and, courtesy of the lovely grimorde, also in the slider across the top.

But now for new and exciting stuff! I’ve long felt that DDO can be confusing when you’re new and don’t know what you’re doing, and that it’s hard to know where to get help when there’s something you just can’t figure out. So pretty “SOON* ™ (read: when I finish making everything look nice and all), I’ll be adding a new blog kindasorta linked to this one, but standalone, tentatively called “DDO Players Helping Players.”

The idea is not to tell people what to do, but rather to help them figure out the basics and show them how to find answers on their own. From time to time, I’ll be holding question-and-answer sessions ingame; I’ll be hitting all servers eventually, and will vary the days and times as much as possible. The schedule will be posted on the new blog, which will also have a section called “Ask Even,” where anyone can send in their DDO-related questions (anonymously, if desired) to be answered here. And sometime down the road, I’m hoping to also include how-to modules on everything from learning to read the map to using the AH to quest guides.

I’m also considering adding a forum… we’ll see, as that would be a considerable amount of work to maintain and moderate. Please note that none of this is intended to replace the official DDO forums or DDO Wiki, but rather to complement them.

I’d love any and all constructive feedback on this. I do have a pretty detailed plan, but I’m always open to suggestions!


And a quick(-ish? maybe?) toon update… on Thelanis, Even’s getting ready to stow away her handwraps and pick up a shield as she prepares to TR back to paladin for her first life as a legend build. I haven’t worked out the details of her build yet; considering going PDK and splashing two levels of fighter.

Winnie, now that she’s reached epic levels and can play with destinies, is turning out to be much more fun to play. She’s caught up to Meren at level 24, so she’s feeling kinda proud considering she used to be my “backup” FvS who never felt quite right. She also finally sheathed her Whirlwind in favor of a Thunderforged greatsword, which along with ED stuff has turned her from a mediocre healer/buffer to a lean, mean, DPS machine.

Tirae ran the extended version of Haunted Halls tonight with Slvr, Shin, and Comic, and got rewarded for successfully tanking Miior by finding a Necklace of Mystic Eidolons in the chest! Alas, that was the only named loot that dropped for anyone in the quest. My Thelanis toons are jealous – while they have assorted Radiant Rings and Manuals of Stealthy Pilfering, not one of ‘em has ever pulled the necklace.

And I have a new toon on Argo, a druid named Fedelma (or “Del”). She’s an alternate alternate (yep, two alternates, not a typo) for the Summer Fling group that livestreams every Wednesday at 1:30 pm Eastern time. With Fling members Grim and Rach off to GenCon along with Samius and Lessah of DDO Cocktail Hour, last week’s run was shaping up to be just Bonnie and Cordovan, so Slvr and I got a chance to join in and run the Pit with them. Definitely a subject for a future blogpost; in the meantime, you can see our Pit run from Cordovan’s stream here, and from Bonnie’s stream here. Or if you’re pressed for time, you can see a “highlight” here!


Under the bridge August 11, 2014

Eveningstar bridge

I’ve been told that I’m too obsessed with the way some overly elitist people treat other players who they feel don’t measure up to their high standards.

Not surprisingly, the few people who’ve said that to me are some of the most overly elitist players I’ve ever come across. Yes, equality for all in DDO is a soapbox I’m happy to jump on. I’ve seen a number of my friends leave the game over the treatment they received from people whose egos far outstrip their intelligence.

For what it’s worth, ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I’m just as obsessed outside of DDO; I’m very committed to equality and safety for ALL. Race, religion, gender, orientation, nationality – bullies use all kinds of excuses to try to make other people feel bad about themselves. So if you think I’m overly obsessed, I think you’re the one with the problem.

Reading this post really opened my eyes to just how bad some Internet trolls are. In case you don’t want to read the whole thing (it’s a bit lengthy), the tl;dr version is that a woman discovers her husband has been bullying people online. When she confronts him, he admits it and refuses to stop, even when she tells him she’s leaving him. This guy chose to lose his wife – who happens to be pregnant with his child, btw – rather than stop bullying.

I’ve experienced bullying at many levels. I choose to say, “I’ve experienced bullying” rather than, “I’m a victim of bullying” because bullying is a reflection on the bully, not on his or her subject. I’m not defined by what any bully says or does to me. I’ve been bullied at one time or another by family members, schoolmates, co-workers, and yes, DDO players.

I’ve often heard that the Internet is a hospitable atmosphere for bullying because of the anonymity. Some people feel invulnerable when they have a computer screen to hide behind. But unlike some, I believe the Internet only facilitates bullying rather than causing it. Someone who bullies people, whether online or off, lacks basic human decency. Some people are just much better at hiding it in public, I guess; I’ve certainly never wanted to deliberately make someone else feel bad about him- or herself just because the Internet would make it easier for me to “get away” with it. Intentionally inflicting distress on another person is wrong. Period.

That’s no consolation to people who are being bullied. It’s hard to know the right thing to do. People who aren’t involved find it easy to say, “Oh, just ignore it.” In my experience, that really doesn’t help. Like, AT ALL. Most of the bullies I’ve seen in action are attention whores. The more you ignore them, the angrier they get. It’s as if they feel, “How DARE your world not revolve around me! I’ll show YOU!”

But even though ignoring a bully doesn’t help and may actually make the situation worse, it’s often still the best option. Trying to stand up to a bully on one’s own is largely futile; trying to reason with one, even more so. Bullies are very good at twisting your words around, completely ignoring the parts that make them look bad and taking the rest out of context. They’re also very good at lying about their behavior and denying what they’ve said, even to the point of deleting or heavily editing their posts.

In fact, bullies who are confronted about their behavior often paint THEMSELVES as the victims. “I didn’t mean anything by it! You’re too sensitive! Why are you picking on me?” It’s hard to call them on their bullying, because they have a million and one excuses designed to gain sympathy for themselves and make YOU look like the bad guy. Yes, they really do think that they should be allowed to say anything to anyone, no matter how hurtful, and that the only time there’s “bullying” is when someone tells them their behavior isn’t acceptable.

This kind of thing happens all too often in DDO. Players are ridiculed for having the “wrong” build or gear. They’re jumped on for honest mistakes.

Friday night, I led a Tower of Despair learning run. One of the guys who joined typed in party chat that he didn’t have sound so he couldn’t hear spoken instructions (which incidentally is something I’ve also seen players bullied over and even kicked from parties, because people are too lazy/conceited/whatever to take a few extra seconds and type stuff out if needed).

The LFM clearly stated that this was a relaxed pace learning run with my usual “gimps/first-timers welcome” clause, so I told the group, both over voice and in text chat, that I’d be taking a little extra time at the start of each phase to type out instructions. At this point, I got a tell from the guildmate of the guy with no sound. Turns out he’s deaf and had never run a ToD before, in no small part because no raid leader would ever take the time to type.

Well, we got him through it just fine, and he did very well. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I had when he opened the end chest and pulled his first-ever Shavarath trophies. Seriously. Best ToD EVER (which was also because Slvr was tanking shadows for the first time ever, AND doing it on his “gimpy” – his words, not mine – hagglebard, and he rocked it! And because Bonnie ran with us!).

I have friends who take grief because they don’t use mics, although they do have sound. I can only imagine the abuse this poor guy has had to deal with. But now, I have some new people on my friends list, and there’s one more player on Thelanis who now knows how to do ToD.

If you’re wondering what you can do to support people who are bullied, my suggestion is pretty much what we did Friday night. No, you don’t necessarily have to host ToD, but BE THERE for people who are bullied. Make an effort to include them and make them feel welcome without patronizing them.

Publicly befriending a bullied person, IMHO, does far more to stop bullying than trying to deal with the bully. It also takes the focus off the person being bullied without putting it directly on yourself, AND lets the bullied person know he or she is not alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how this works and why, I suggest taking a look at an excellent article about Feminista Jones’ #YouOKSis campaign. While Jones specifically aims to stop street harassment of black women, the principle behind her idea works for any kind of bullying behavior.

Because of the nature of bullies, I’m aware that I’m likely to get a lot of hate for this post. Bring it on. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m bullying the bullies, although I’m sure some of them will try to paint it that way. The difference is that what I’ve said is not intended to shame, humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise upset anyone, nor is it intended to put anyone down. I could sit here and tell people about bullies, but that’s just my opinion. To really see a bully for what he or she is, you have to see him or her in action. So if you’re hatin’, let it fly. Show us your true colors.

And since I haven’t done one in a while, I decided to throw in a filk. “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers works well here. After all, trolls live under bridges. But it’s also appropriate because RHCP vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote it to express the pain he felt at being ostracized by his bandmates after he got himself off of drugs. His struggle to still be part of the group while staying “clean” parallels the difficulty many of us have in being part of guilds or parties made up of people who troll or bully others.

Under the Bridge
(With apologies to Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Sometimes I feel
Like I can’t find a party
Sometimes I feel
I can’t get a chance
To join in the fun and
Be part of the action
Lonely I wander
With just an owlbear

I solo some sagas
‘Cause the groups are elitist
I work on my hit points
And beef up my gear
Still some parties shun me
They tell me I’m too gimped
I say it’s no big deal
But that is a lie

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It’s hard to believe
That some players are so cruel
It’s hard to believe
How they hate all the rest
At least I have honor
Kindness and compassion
Lonely is nothing
Compared to hatred

Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?
Why you wanna make me feel
Like I’m useless now?
Just because I’m not like you
Why’d you put me down?

Oh no, no no, yeah, yeah
Grow up, I say, yeah, yeah
For once

Under the bridge the trolls
Laugh and sneer and smirk
Under the bridge the trolls
Flame and act like jerks
Under the bridge the trolls
Show their nasty sides
Under the bridge the trolls
Make up all their lies

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh no, no, no
Yeah, yeah

Stop the hate


You’ve come a long way, baby July 21, 2014


Once upon a time, there was a little elf rogue running around Harbor in Thelanis, blowing up trapboxes, swinging a rapier, getting left in the dust by parties who only wanted Ingenious Debilitation bonuses, and generally just trying not to get killed.

That little elf rogue is Victaurya, my very first toon, who was born on Dec. 8, 2010. Saturday night, then-level-27 Vic ran her first-ever Fire on Thunder Peaks (she died once because she got stuck crowd-surfing and once when one of the dragons hit her for 1100 damage, but did respectably in the kill count and tossed some scroll healing around), after which I realized she was getting really, really close to level cap, so Vey and I ran – wow, memory fail, I can’t remember what we ran, LOL. But it was enough to get Vic the XP she needed to reach level 28 and be capped.

It’s always cool to level up, especially when it’s a “benchmark” level like 20 or 28. On Vic, it was especially sweet.


Vic’s gone through a lot since that fateful Wednesday night back in the winter of 2010. As I was completely new to DDO, I went with one of the path builds – think it was Thief-Acrobat – and stayed on that path until around level 8 or 9, when my friend Ethan explained feats, enhancements, stats, and career paths to me. Up until then, she just followed her path, and the now-thankfully-ex-boyfriend told her what to spend her action points on.

Luckily Ethan knew a lot more about that stuff than the ex did, and also wanted to help me play a toon I actually liked to play. He asked what my favorite part of playing Vic was, and I told him I really liked being able to pick locks and disarm traps – two things that Even couldn’t do.

And speaking of Even, I rolled her up two days after I created Vic, because the ex had decided to reroll his fighter into a wizard and wanted a tanky type around to protect him. Unfortunately for Vic, this meant that her playing time took a serious nosedive for quite a while.

Anyway, Ethan suggested that Vic try being a mechanic instead of a thief-acrobat, and talked me through resetting her enhancements. And suddenly my poor neglected rogue was fun to play again.

She’s never quite gotten back to being my main, as evidenced by how long it took me to cap her. My intention with her was always to make her more of a support toon; she’s not as solo-able as Even or Acanthia or Jall or even Dissy, since her self-healing consists mostly of Healing Spring and heal scrolls.

But I’m proud of her. She’s never done any kind of reincarnation, so she’s still a 28-point build. But she can get her Search up to 102 just with self-buffing, and her other rogue skills can mostly hit the high 90s. And with decent party buffs in Shiradi, she can top 800 HP. Her UMD allows her to spot heal and rez, and her DPS, with a Needle and Quiver of Poison, is respectable.


I’ve been asked when I’m going to reincarnate her. It’s not something I really can answer. I don’t have any plans to TR her in the near future; as she is now, she does everything I really want her to do, and that’s all I care about.

There’s always room for improvement, and six more build points would certainly not go to waste. But Vic’s not even close to being done with this life yet. I can’t wait to see how far she can go.


Life gets real July 11, 2014

Jaded kobold

Been kind of a while since I blogged, huh?

Real life has an annoying habit of interfering with DDO. Various surgeries for both parents, trying to get established as a serious freelance writer, dealing with some medical issues my kitty has… it all takes a toll. I *need* my playing time to decompress; unfortunately that means my time for blogging and working on OurDDO gets cut.

Months n’ months n’ months ago, the lovely and talented grimorde coded a rather brilliant carousel for OurDDO, much like the “Featured Blogs” section on the old MyDDO. I uploaded her test file to the site, admired it… and kinda left it there, because there was still the drudgery of updating a ton of links and finding/making icons for 40+ blogs.

Anyway, I finally buckled down, spent several nights updating links and such, and then blew off NWO with Shin and Comic tonight (sorry, guys :/) to do all the icons and port everything over to a new site, because I’m having some issues with the hosting on the current site and want to make sure I have a backup plan. The new site’s got a small display issue I haven’t figured out yet, but it’s functional. I’m going to keep both sites going for the time being.

Sadly, I’m *not* going to continue updating the feed at present. I’ve had too many issues trying to find a site to handle it – small limits on the number of feeds you can add; serious unreliability; not being able to add/edit feeds; etc. I had high hopes for Yahoo! Pipes, but 1) it’s no longer actively supported by Yahoo!, from what I’m told, and 2) it kept “dropping” feeds because apparently the way it pings sites looking for new posts tends to get it flagged as malware. The current feed is operational, but doesn’t contain recent additions to the blogroll. I’m hoping to eventually have the time and ambition to come up with another solution, since I know a number of people like to use feed readers.


And now for some really awesome news – I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past several years, and I’m a member of a NaNo group that meets a few times a month. My friend and fellow NaNo-er Carrie submitted her novel, “Seashell, Stork and Apple Tree,” for Amazon.com’s Breakthrough Novel Award this year.

“Officially,” there were 10,000 entries for the award. So we were excited when she was named a quarterfinalist (top 100 in each of five categories). And we were REALLY excited when she made it to the semifinals (top five per category).

And now… SHE’S A FINALIST! She won first place overall in the Young Adult category, which guarantees her a $15,000 advance and a publishing contract with Amazon.com. Now she’s facing the winners in the other four categories for first place overall!

While Amazon.com made the selections from the start of the contest through the five finalists, now it’s up to a public vote. You can download and/or read free excerpts from all five finalists and cast your vote here.

I’m lucky enough to have read Carrie’s whole novel, because she E-mailed it around to our group for critique before she sent it off. But I’m not giving any spoiler alerts! If you have time, please do check out the finalists and vote… and if you happen to vote for Carrie’s entry, consider yourself gifted with virtual cookies from me! :D


A trivial pursuit February 27, 2014


I’ve auditioned for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” twice. Passed the test, but never made it further than that. I take the “Jeopardy!” online test every January; they don’t tell you if you pass that, just have to wait and hope their random selection process selects you (no luck for me yet). My family has refused to play Trivial Pursuit with me since around 1989.

Yeah, I have a thing for trivia. So when Turbine Community Manager Cordovan said in a forum post that he would be running trivia events to celebrate the eighth anniversary of DDO, I was SO there.


I couldn’t make the first one on Argonnessen – 11 am is earlier than I can usually get away from real life for DDO – but Tirae managed to get into the very first group on Cannith… and boy, was I surprised when she ended up being the first one to get three points, making her the overall winner! There was someone else with two points who got the first shot at a question everyone ended up missing, and I really thought that was going to be it.

I won’t tell you what the questions were, since there are more rounds on other servers yet to come and I don’t know if any of the questions will be reused. But they all had to do with DDO, and the first one I got right was a pure guess after two people got it wrong (and I thought one of them was right for sure). There were a few I didn’t know, a few I did but wasn’t the first one to answer, one I was pretty sure I knew which turned out to be my second correct answer, and then the last one, which was something that Slvr and I had talked about just a few days ago (and which I got screenshots of at the time), so that was pretty cool.

Everyone who participated got goodies, or swag, or whatever you want to call it. I ended up with Lawrence’s Robe of Trivial Knowledge, a code for 500 TP (which I think everyone there got), and Tirae’s very own snowy owlbear, which made her very happy because she’s been envious of the one my Thelanis toons have.

It was great good fun from start to finish, beginning with Cordovan TPing the rest of the party way, WAY up to the top of the Twelve to join him. I wish I’d thought to get a screenshot of Cordovan’s shield for Ben of DDO Gaming, who was in the very first group on Argo and mentioned on his blog that he didn’t get a good screenie of what sounds like a really cool shield. But I did get some other shots I liked.

Many, MANY thanks to Cordovan for taking the time to do this! I think sometimes there are people who feel a bit too “entitled” when it comes to DDO events. I hope everyone remembers that NO ONE is *required* to do ANYTHING AT ALL. But there will be more anniversary events upcoming, and it is incredibly nice of Cordovan to take it upon himself to spend an hour of his own time on each server doling out goodies and fun.

And just two screenies for now to wrap this up…


Tirae admires the view from the top of the Twelve after the event.


Tirae put on her new robe to hang out on the ship with her new owlbear.

There are still more events to come, so keep an eye on your LFM panel and good luck!


If they were Olympians II: Team Xen’Drik February 21, 2014

Eberron 2014

Now that I’ve done the rosters for Team Thelanis and Team Cannith, I thought my poor neglected favor farming toons might want to get in on some Olympic action as well. After all, they were included in the original “If they were Olympians” post back during the 2012 Summer Games, so it wouldn’t be right to leave them out now even though there are more of them this time around.

Team Xen’Drik


Badarsia (Drow barb, Khyber): Badarsia likes living up to her  name and being bad-arse. Her personality is very much in-your-face, watch THIS. While the average mob might laugh itself silly at the idea of a Drow barb, her competitors don’t see anything humorous about having to go up against her considerable freestyle skiing skills. Now if only I could convince her that using ski poles is not dual-wielding.


Caehlie (halfling monk, Argonnessen): The only thing better than a halfling monk is… TWO halfling monks. Caehlie’s always eager to be included but she’s not always the sharpest crayon in the box, so when bobsled driver Rhennie was looking for a brakemonk to complete a two-man team, Caehlie happily signed up. Now she just has to remember that it’s push at the start, pull at the end… she might need a lot of practice runs.


Daffodil (human druid, Wayfinder): The thought of her beloved pets all alone on the sidelines made Daffie reconsider going out for a winter sport. Instead, she decided to be a figure skating judge, where her compassion helps her dole out scores fairly… plus her trusty wolf companion can curl up under her chair and hope that there’s a fan or two who’ll throw bacon onto the ice instead of flowers and stuffed toys.


Daisie (dwarf cleric, Wayfinder): Some toons are built for speed. Daisie’s definitely not one of them. Stamina is more her forte. The 30-kilometer ski race (that’s nearly 20 miles, for us non-metric folks) will give her a great chance to use her second, third, and fourth winds to keep going strong when the speedier competitors in the race start running out of steam.


Ironica (human fighter/barb, Sarlona): Ironica was my very first favor farming toon and is still my favorite “off-server” character. She has big dreams and she’s willing to put in the work to make them come true. Olympic dreams don’t get much bigger than success in Alpine skiing women’s Super Combined, but if anyone can master both downhill and slalom, it’s Ironica, who was also the flag bearer for her team during the opening ceremonies.


Liai (halfling barb, Ghallanda): As she’s a halfling, I almost made Liai a monk, but there’s this little issue with her chaotic alignment. There’s just nothing lawful about her. Like her Thelanis friend Victaurya, Liai will be competing in short track speed skating. Unlike Vic, though, Liai is much more likely to be shoving opponents out of her way rather than dodging them.


Nekah (human paladin, Orien): You have to be really patient to be a paladin, because paladins are – well, they’re slow. Nekah’s a typical DoS non-athlete – can’t jump high, can’t run fast, can’t swim without being in danger of sinking. But her patience stands her in good stead as the coach of the cross country ski relay team. Plus, she can go into tank mode if any overly aggressive reporters start harassing her team members.


Petal (half-orc barb, Wayfinder): Petal’s never quite figured out that horcs generally aren’t slender and graceful. She loves ruffles and spangles and tutus and anything pink, and lots of other stuff that some people don’t think looks good on a “larger” girl. But I say if it makes her happy, she looks great! So she special-ordered some size 27 skates, glued sequins on them, got herself a frilly, sparkly outfit, and is all set to take the figure skating world by storm.


Rhennie (halfling monk, Sarlona): Rhennie’s channeling her natural monk love of speed into what she hopes is a golden career as the driver of a two-halfling bobsled. She recruited Caehlie to complete her two-monk team. The biggest problem she’s had so far is trying to find enough phone books to stack on the sled seat so she can see over the dashboard, or whatever the front part of a bobsled is called.


Vicriia (Drow wizard, Sarlona): Her friends Dissy and Petal took up figure skating mostly for the pretty costumes, but Vicriia couldn’t care less about those. As a highly intelligent wizard, she appreciates precision. The very nature of figure skating – the skating of figures – is to be precise. Riia may not have the rhinestones and glitter, but her edges are clean and sharp, and her timing is spot on.


Vicynrae (Drow fighter/rogue, Orien): Vicynrae still looks as cheesed off now as she did at the 2012 Summer Games, but she’s decided to be more of a team player this time around. As the fourth-line forward for the Xen’Drik women’s ice hockey squad, there’s no  way Cyn will let her teammates get overconfident and blow a two-goal lead with less than four minutes left in the gold medal game, unlike some real-world teams I could name but won’t.


Yelenia (human cleric, Argonnessen): If everyone could be an Olympic-caliber athlete, there’d be nothing special about being an Olympic-caliber athlete. Leni is less likely to win Olympic gold than the Jamaican bobsled team, and she doesn’t have nearly as much crowd appeal. But as a cleric, she’s dedicated to keeping people healthy, and athletes eat. They eat a LOT. With Leni as chief dietician, food is one less thing to worry about.


Zylacia (human monk/cleric, Ghallanda): What the heck am I doing with a monk who’s not a halfling? No wonder I gave her some cleric levels. Lacie likes being a bit different. “Classic” winter sports aren’t really her cup of tea. She prefers to do something newer and fresher, so she’s joined the extreme sports crowd as a half-pipe snowboarder. Her monk agility lets her do some pretty complicated moves, while her cleric-ness is good for patching herself up after falls.


This has been a ton of fun to write, even though I started running out of sports! My toons aren’t mighty gods on a mountain sneering down at all the lesser mortals, but I love ‘em all just as they are.  :)


If they were Olympians II: Team Cannith February 20, 2014

Eberron 2014

Not quite two years ago, some idle wondering about how my toons might fare in London’s 2012 Summer Olympics led to one of my favorite blog posts. Now that the Winter Olympics are going on in Sochi, I figured it was high time to ask my toons what cold-weather sports they’d want to try. The Team Thelanis roster was posted yesterday; today it’s Team Cannith’s turn.

Team Cannith


Azida (dwarf ranger): Her short, stocky stature doesn’t keep Azida from wanting to go out for extreme sports. Not long ago, she traded her ho-hum pink braid for a cute acid green bob to reflect her  wild side. The new ‘do should make her easy to pick out as she grabs her snowboard and takes to the half-pipe, where she’ll attempt to land the quadruple twisting triple 1440 flip. At least I think that’s what she said it was called.


Bazma (dwarf monk): Bazma’s sole purpose in life is to someday solo the Pit on elite at level 4. Since I almost never play her, she’s been stuck at 4 for a while, and she really wants to get out and have some fun. So I let her borrow some plat from Tirae to get a pair of skis, ’cause she’s determined to be the Maven of the Moguls at this year’s Winter Games. The fact that the moguls kind of look like oozes made of snow is purely coincidental.


Holdinn (halfling cleric): Holdinn is loud, snarky and funny… and a complete weakling. Really. He’s got a strength score of 6, so he’s burdened all the time. Rather than attempt to lug around a lot of gear and equipment, he can be found in the broadcast booth giving color commentary on pretty much any event he can find. And eat your heart out, Bob Costas – as Holdinn’s a cleric, he can heal his own eye infections.


Mordreda (Shadar-Kai rogue/monk): Dred, as she likes to be called, has a lot of, um, “issues,” even for a Shadar-Kai. Contrary to what some of her teammates think, she doesn’t actually have a death wish, but  she does have a penchant for laughing in the face of danger. No one who knows her was surprised to find that she’s taken up skeleton. You have to be a little insane to throw yourself face-first on a tiny board and zoom through an ice course at more than 80 mph, and Dred is more than a little insane.


Quiaga (half-orc fighter): Like Winnie from Team Thelanis, Quiaga is competing in curling. While Winnie’s a sweeper, though, Quiaga’s the thrower for Team Cannith. Rumors that she practices by tossing dwarves are so far unsubstantiated… although it should probably be noted that both Azida and Bazma requested not to share a room with her.


Shaora (sun elf cleric/pally): There’s only so much gimpiness you can overcome. Shae was supposed to combine self-healing and divine casting from her cleric side with the tanky survivability of a pally, but seems to have gotten the worst qualities of each. But hey, what would the Olympics be without spectators? Shae’s got flags from all the countries, face paint in lots of colors, and a friends and family discount on scalped tickets from her Thelanis buddy Getting.


Shenlie (human druid): Shenlie was really disappointed that there are no winter sports involving animals. But Olympic-level security means lots of security dogs, so rather than compete in the Games herself, Shen summoned Susie, her trusty wolf, and devoted herself to the task of making sure all the athletes, coaches, officials and fans would be safe. She did take a day off to go visit St. Peterburg’s State Hermitage Museum and its famous cats.


Smaragdine (half-elf sorc): At first glance, it doesn’t seem like an earth savant would find much to do at the Winter Games. But after Rags watched Ted “Shred” Ligety dominate in the giant slalom, she just had to try it for herself. It kinda makes sense if you think about it, seeing as how slalom skiers shred snow while earth savants use acid to shred – well, pretty much anything they want to shred.


Syrmere (warforged wizard): It takes a lot of patience to deal with people always wanting you to toast their bagels for them. (If you don’t get that, you’ve probably never played a warforged.) Syrmere’s learned to use that to her advantage when she competes in the women’s speed skating 5000 meter race. Rather than go out too fast and then run out of steam, Syrmere waits and methodically plots the best time to make her move.


Tirae (halfling monk): Monks love speed, and Tirae is no exception. The faster she goes, the better she likes it. She’s not as nuts as Mordreda, so she decided against skeleton racing, but luge suits her to a T (which is appropriate, ’cause “T” is what her friends call her). Her dark skin, black hair and Spider-spun Caparison make her easy to spot against the ice, and hopefully will be a nice backdrop for a medal, too.


Yttriemme (warforged artificer): Being an arti, Yttsie loves to tinker with stuff. She’s not really into sports, but she’s still found her niche at the Winter Games – after all, somebody’s got to keep the bobsleds in peak running order and make sure the ski lifts don’t get stuck, not to mention all the timeclocks and stopwatches that need to be perfect. Plus, the best perk of being the Zamboni mechanic is getting to drive it.

Next up: Team Xen’Drik!


If they were Olympians II: Team Thelanis February 19, 2014

Eberron 2014

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in full swing in Sochi right now, I decided it was high time to revisit one of my favorite blog posts. There are a few changes this time around, though. For starters, I have a lot more toons now, so I’m splitting them into three teams: Thelanis, Cannith and Xen’Drik. And they’ll be competing in some new sports, since last time around they were Summer Olympians.

So without further ado…

Team Thelanis


Acanthia (halfling monk): Acanthia loves to fly! She runs fast, she jumps high, she uses Abundant Step with abandon… and she’s been using it a lot in the Storm Horns, practicing for a moment just like this. She’s more than ready to take on the world in an event brand-new to this year’s Winter Olympic games – women’s ski jumping. She doesn’t really even need skis, but I hear the rule book calls for them anyway.


Chalei (half-elf sorc): Unless she’s attempting to nuke the living daylights out of something, Chalei spends an awful lot of her time dancing. If you were a cute helf girl and could do that cool ballet thing, you’d probably dance a lot too. As she’s a water savant, ice doesn’t faze her a bit. She’s no Meryl Davis, but look for Chalei to do well in the ice dancing competition with her partner and guildmate Zak.


Chartreusia (elf ranger): Char’s a pretty versatile girl, being equally at home aiming a longbow or wielding a pair of scimis. So she picked biathlon as her Winter Olympics sport, since she gets to pull double duty by both skiing and target shooting. Ski a little, shoot a little, ski a little more, shoot a little more, repeat until you get to the medal stand… once she remembers that she doesn’t need to pull back the string on her rifle.


Discordette (Drow elf bard): Dissy considered going out for ice dancing along with her best friend Chalei, but opted instead for figure skating because she didn’t want a partner stealing attention from her cute outfits. So she headed for the mall and then got out her Bedazzler. She might not land all her jumps and she still doesn’t know an outside edge from an inside one, but at least she’s gonna look good.


Evennote (human monk/rogue): You can take the girl out of her paladin life, but you can’t take the paladin out of the girl. Though she’s a monk with a rogue splash now, Even’s still a pally at heart. She’s not all that fast as monks go, but she’s a plugger. For the Winter Olympics, she’s competing in cross country skiing, where she won’t set any speed records, but will still be standing at the end. Slow and steady wins the race! … she hopes.


Getting (sun elf bard/cleric): What do you do when you’re an intentionally gimped hagglebard whose sole purpose in life is to be a bank and haggle toon? Getting has no stat points in strength or dex, so she’s not athletic at all… but I hear event tickets in Sochi are hard to come by. Psst – see that sun elf lurking in the shadows over there? That’s Getting, the most successful ticket scalper at the Games.


Ivoire (Bladeforged pally): If being shiny were an Olympic event, Ivy’d be coming home with a gold medal. Alas, there are no events where points are awarded for shininess. Bobsleds are really shiny, though, so Ivy’s going to be a brakeman (brakewoman? brakeforged?). Her high strength will help them push off to a good start, and she doesn’t have to worry about fitting into the sled – with all that shiny metal, she can BE the sled.


Jalliria (Drow elf cleric): Jall’s the quiet type and really doesn’t go in for sports much. She was having a hard time trying to pick an event to compete in when she realized that Olympians get a lot of bumps and bruises. So she joined Team Thelanis as medic-in-chief and is always happy to patch up her teammates – and anyone else who needs a bit of medical attention – so they can get back out there and win medals.


Merenwynne (elf Favored Soul): Meren’s always been a bit confused as to what she wants to do. She’s never quite figured out if she’s a healer or a caster, and she loves to melee even though she’s not very good at it. She enjoys skiing but couldn’t decide between cross country and ski jumping, so she was happy to discover that Nordic combined lets her do both. Sadly for Meren, doing both doesn’t necessarily mean she does either of them well.


Rivalel (sun elf cleric): Maybe Riva, being a sun elf, is responsible for the unseasonably warm weather at the Winter Games. The Olympic committee thought it would be best to keep her away from snow and ice so her Amaunator fire guard didn’t melt the venues. While disappointed, Riva knows she’s really not the winter sports type. She’s happily taken up the post of Official Snowboard Waxer.


Seregeth (Shadar-Kai rogue): Sere likes to live life on the edge, preferably on the edge of sharp things to add to her scar collection. She also likes to be sneaky, ’cause, y’know, she’s a rogue. For the Olympics, she’s trading her daggers for a snowboard and will take to the slopes as a member of the Thelanis snowboard cross team. She’ll sneak up on the other racers and use her bluff skill to make them think she’s not a threat… right before she goes flying by them.


Thangerie (PDK fighter): You have to be pretty tough to be a Purple Dragon Knight. Thangie isn’t fast enough to compete in speed events, but she can be immovable when she wants to be. She’s strapping on a pair of skates and hitting the ice as a defenseman on the Thelanis women’s hockey team. She probably won’t score many goals, but she’s not going to  let opposing players get the puck in on her goalie, either.


Victaurya (elf rogue): Unlike Thangie, Vic is pretty fast. She’s been having a great time zooming around on the frozen river in Eveningstar. Short track speed skating is right up her alley. Her high balance score will help keep her from falling, and her respectable jump stat enables her to leap over fallen competitors. She’s been practicing hard, so she might just be able sneak in and steal a medal.


Winnabette (warforged Favored Soul): When you’re warforged, you have to come up with creative ways to keep dirt and gunk out of your joints. Winnie’s been using a little whisk broom for this. She’s gotten so good at it that she’s joined the curling team as a sweeper. One of the perks is that the curling broom has a much longer handle than her whisk, so it’s better for getting into those tough spots.


Zak (Drow elf wizard): If there’s anything more ridiculous-looking than the human female dances, it’s the Drow elf male ones. But throw a pair of skates on a male Drow and the dances don’t look quite as bad. Anyway, nobody’s going to be paying much attention to Zak once Chalei starts her helf ballet thing, so although he was a bit reluctant at first, he finally agreed to partner her in ice dancing… even though he thinks he’s far too dignified to do anything called a “twizzle.”


I’ll be posting Team Cannith in the next day or so, followed by Team Xen’Drik.


Fun for ALL IV: Stop. Think. Win. February 16, 2014


I’m a firm believer in the idea that a reasonably intelligent player on a gimped toon beats an idiot on an ubertwink 99.99% of the time.

Sere, my Shadar-Kai assassin rogue, definitely fits the “gimped” category. I really need to do some shopping and/or farming for her; at level 22, she’s still wearing mostly the stuff she came with. What few things she has that I’ve gotten her are still nothing to write home about – for example, I put her in a Parasitic Breastplate about five levels ago and still haven’t gotten her anything better. And she needs a +2 Con shrine to reach the 400-hit point mark.

So the other night, when Vey asked me if I had anyone 20-24 to run EE Carnival, the last toon I was thinking of was Sere. I told Vey I’d bring Chalei, and he said, “We could really use a trapper.”

Well, Vic’s a dandy trapper, IMHO, but she’s lvl 27. So I said, jokingly, “Great, I’ll get Sere and you can carry her stone from trap to trap.”

And Vey was all, “Bring her.” Which made me all, “OMG NOOOO, she’s gonna diiiieeeee!” But Vey kept being all, “BRING HER. She’s not gonna die. You’ll be fine.”

Oh, and did I mention we were short-manning without a healer? This had disaster written all over it.

Except it didn’t. Sere died a total of twice in all four quests combined, once when Crateos one-shotted her (which also took out one of our other party members). I can’t remember what her other death was; think it might have been a caster in Partycrashers. She needed a GH to find the traps a few times (and oops, she probably wouldn’t have if I’d remembered to swap in her search/spot item) but had no trouble disarming them.

And no… she did NOT pike. In fact, in three of the four quests, she finished second in the kill count, and definitely had enough kills in each of them to show that she was contributing.

Sere’s ability to be productive in epic elite content was definitely not the result of her build or gear. Nor was it any great skill on my part. I didn’t do anything that required a genius IQ or uber playing ability. But, I didn’t do anything *stupid* either.


I know Sere’s HP is low. I know she probably won’t survive pulling aggro. So I kept her in sneak mode most of the time, let the rest attack first and grab aggro, and only then did I move in. Pretty simple, really – but my gimpy toons have more than once carried the soulstones of better-built, better-geared characters played by people who rushed into a fight without thinking about the best way for them to approach it.

It helped that by the time we got to Big Top, we had a paladin who tossed a few Lay On Hands Sere’s way, and someone – think it was the bard – threw her a Cocoon from time to time. And it really helped that the rest of the party were smart, experienced players who were very good at keeping a gimpy undergeared rogue alive.

Sere was still about 20K short of level 22 when we finished the chain. A quick two-man EN Snitch with Vey almost did the trick – she was still 137 XP shy. Vey DDoored back to the start while Sere was still trying to figure out what she could trash to make inventory space for her shiny epic loot, and did one of the optionals to get her to 22.

I think a green steel HP item would be a good first step in un-gimping Sere. She flagged for Shroud a while back but hadn’t run it yet. Seemed like every time I put up an LFM, we filled without a healer so I ended up switching to Jall. (My groups are always gimp/first-timer friendly, so running without hjealz is not a great idea.) Last night she finally got her chance, and again managed to get a decent number of kills without dying herself (well, y’know, except for that one part after Phase 4). People were great about passing her shards of power, and she ended up with one regular, one great and one supreme. Looks like I’ll be doing some GS crafting tomorrow!

Earlier last night, Chalei ran her first ToD and had a great time once she managed to get and stay online. In the first run, we’d just dropped down to the doggie doors when I got a blue screen of death. Once I got the computer back up and running, it took me several tries before I could get all the way on DDO without crashing, and it was a nice surprise to find that someone had grabbed Chalei’s soulstone from the penalty box and carried it along so I wouldn’t be stuck there when I got back. The party was in Phase 2 by the time I got back on, and I crashed again about 10 seconds after I got rezzed, so I was kinda glad to get back on yet again and find out that there’d been a mishap with the shadows and they wiped, because that meant another chance for Chalei.

Second run went much smoother, except that Chalei was kinda forced to pike against Nyth. Any time she hit him with anything, he immediately aggroed *hard* on her. So she ended up having to stand off to one side blocking; I had some cure scrolls at the ready figuring that maybe she could at least be useful that way, but our two hjealers did a great job keeping everyone’s red bars up.



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