Even Now

Funz and failz in DDO

Feed me – or maybe not August 20, 2014

Discordette

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!

Winnabette

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

Victaurya

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.

Victaurya

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.

Victaurya

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.

Acanthia

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

Tirae

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.

Tirae

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

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

Tirae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

Armed and dangerous February 5, 2014

Club of the Holy Flame

If any members of the Players Council try to give me any problems, I’m ready for ‘em. See, my DDO friends take good care of me.

At least a few times a week, I’ll log in to find that someone’s sent me Potions of Wonder for Acanthia’s ever-growing collection, or hair dyes (especially sage). Sadie sends me Tasty Hams, just because (I think she’s hoping I’ll fry them up into bacon in the airship wok).

But the longest-standing wacky gift tradition I have is with some members of Monty’s. I don’t even remember any more just how it got started, but a few of them – Geek in particular – like to send me Clubs of the Holy Flame. Best dang weapon in the game! I occasionally reciprocate by passing back a few Clubs to them.

It had been a while since anyone had sent me a Club, but tonight, to my delight, Even found one in her mailbox when she logged in.

I freaking love this game. :D

 

Let’s get bagged January 29, 2014

Evennote

I get lost. A lot.

I once spent something like three or four hours looking for the entrance to Chains of Flame before giving up. Running the VoN 3 pre-quest with Baz the other night, I managed to get turned around during a lag spike and then had no idea where I was. I get lost in public areas. Vey and Abs and Sadie all know that if I’m in their DQ group, they better make sure someone waits at the entrance to Sands to lead me to the quest, because no matter how many times I’ve done it, I still can’t find it the next time.

Heck, I’ve put up LFMs that go something like, “IP, most stuff dead, hopelessly lost.” Once a friend of mine who was already running VoN 5 saw one of those; he dropped group, led me to the end, and then rejoined his VoN party. If the Maps page on DDO wiki had a phone number, I’d have it on speed dial. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag.

My friends are well aware of this – well, run more than a quest or two with me and it’s kinda hard to miss. I should have a macro: “Wait, where did you guys go?”

So I had this idea. Actually it wasn’t my idea; I’m pretty sure it was Keava’s. But it’s so perfect for me I’ve decided to appropriate it…

I want a bag of bread crumbs.

You know, like in “Hansel and Gretel.” The siblings leave a trail of bread crumbs so they can find their way home.

Even

I’m thinking a little bag of crumbs that equips to the trinket spot. There could be different sizes – maybe a hundred or so crumbs for people who basically know their way around and are just checking out a small area, right on up to the Bottomless Bag of Badass Bread for hopeless cases like me. Spice things up by making them available in different colors (Even wants green to match her hair, of course; Dissy’s partial to pink; Chalei has her heart set on ice blue). Put them in the DDO store and watch them fly off the shelves – I’d be happy to drop quite a lot of TP on something like that. *Especially* if it’s BtA instead of BtC, because spending my hard-earned points on stuff I can only use on one toon kinda sucks.

Just make sure the bags aren’t so big I could fall in, because you know… I can’t find my way out of a paper bag.

 

Instant karma January 25, 2014

Ivoire

I love the “pay it forward” concept – someone does something nice for you, and instead of returning the favor to them, you do something nice for someone else who needs it. Even though I recently passed my third anniversary on DDO (and never got around to blogging it), I still remember when I was an incredibly newbish newb and all the people who helped me become – well, a newb who isn’t new any more.

Slvr sent Vic a robe with a fox’s cunning clicky so she wouldn’t have to lug pots around. Vikkus sent her an anarchic rapier after her party abandoned her without loot. Dek (who I don’t think plays any more) gave Even her first heavy fort item and vorpal weapon. Once, back when I was still F2P, Even had run the first part of the Lordsmarch chain with a really good PuG. They were continuing on with the second P2P part of the chain, so I told them I’d have to drop and bade them goodnight. Oneill insisted on sending me a ship invite “for the next time you log in,” and as I was standing at the tavern selling and repairing, he dropped a guest pass on me and told me I was doing the chain with them.

Sooo many people – I’ve lost track of all the stuff Slvr and Baz and Shin and Comic and Vey have given me. Not to mention Keava, and my friends in Emerald Dragons, the very first guild I joined. And Monty’s, and a few folks from Renowned and aLi and… I’m going to stop there so I don’t leave anyone out, because it’s almost 4 am and my memory’s not great at the best of times.

I never asked for anything, and I always ask if I can pay for anything offered to me. I was lucky enough to have found great people who were happy and willing (and sometimes very insistent) to give me things I needed. And no one ever asked for anything in return. I’ve tried to reciprocate as much as possible, but I still feel as though I’ve received far more than I’ve given.

So when I come across a reasonable, considerate person in need of something, I try to help out if I have what they’re looking for. (Note: Standing in the Harbor on your level 20 legend build and asking repeatedly in the trade channel for someone to *give* you a full set of +3 tomes because you’re “new to this server” and don’t have any plat yet is neither reasonable nor considerate. Nor is begging for free hearts of wood in your former guild’s chat channel because you’ve decided you want more monk levels. And yes, both of those are real examples.)

I was on Ivy tonight and saw an LFM up for eNorm Cabal. Now, that’s out of Ivy’s range, as she only just turned 17. But the LFM description said something like, “No BB, just need relics.” I have a pretty healthy stash of relics sitting in a green bag in my shared bank, and this guy was clearly trying to *earn* his relics by running quests rather than begging for them. So I sent him a tell to see how many he needed, and he told me he’d managed to farm almost enough, just needed four more restored giant relics to finish his robes. So I dug them out, mailed them off to him, and told him to enjoy his new robes.

It felt good, and from the sincere “thank you” he sent me, I’d bet that he’s the kind of player who’ll pay it forward. And then it felt REALLY good, because I did my nightly AH check for mana pots – those things are beyond outrageous lately. I refuse to pay more than 12K for a major pot. I used to be able to pick up at least a few a week at that price, and now the ordinary mnemonics, not even greaters, commonly go for 15K. (And I bet most of those are put on the AH by people who put up LFMS for “healers only.”) Anyway, I do my search, and there’s a set of five major pots with a 25K buyout. 5K per major pot? YES, please! With the timing, it kind of felt like that was my reward for giving away the relics.

Nomadic mailbox

Meanwhile our little guild hit 55 last night when Acanthia turned in a saga. Our new ship was already bought, so she headed right for the airship showroom to upgrade.

On our old Windspyre ship, we tried putting the mailbox on the top deck, but it never showed up even though the hookpoint clearly said there was time left on it. So we put it on a hookpoint on the bottom of the lowest level, in the front of the ship. But it didn’t seem to like that location, because we usually found it on the floor above near the tavern. It seemed to like hanging out on the ramps, but sometimes it hid behind Sully the bartender, or buried itself partway in the floor, or hung out in some mysterious ether where we could target it but not see it, or it would just disappear completely.

The disappearing was annoying, especially since it seemed to happen more often when I had something to mail or had mail to read. But the wandering – we liked that. It was like having our own little quest on the ship – “Find the mailbox!” No XP or loot, but definitely fun. So I had just a bit of mixed feelings in upgrading the ship… but lo and behold, the mailbox still wanders, *and* so far it hasn’t disappeared yet!

 

The tomato theorem January 20, 2014

Tomatobutt

A few weeks back, Slvr shared something he’d seen on Facebook. It’s a cute little thing that explains Dungeons & Dragons stats in terms of… tomatoes. Yeah. Tomatoes. So next time you’re leveling up and trying to figure out how to distribute those build points, maybe this will help…

STRENGTH is being able to crush a tomato.

DEXTERITY is being able to dodge a tomato.

CONSTITUTION is being able to eat a rotten tomato.

INTELLIGENCE is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.

WISDOM is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.

CHARISMA is being able to sell a tomato-based fruit salad.

And just a semi-short update… managed to get all but three of my Thelanis toons to level 20 in time to get their free Epic Hearts of Wood. Even did an epic reincarnation immediately followed by a heroic reincarnation and is now enjoying life as a lvl 9-banking 10-almost 11 monk/rogue. (I don’t know which is weirder – seeing her unarmed in a cloth outfit, or seeing her actually doing damage to stuff.)

Our little Thelanis guild is up to seven members, and we were actually all on at the same time the other night! We’ve also changed our guild name, and we’re within a saga or two of reaching level 55 and getting our spiffy new Stormglory airship. (I blurred everybody’s name except mine, just ’cause.)

Flower Sniffers

I have a cool little feature for OurDDO in the works, courtesy of the amazing Grimorde, who’s doing all the coding. I just need to figure out which files to put in which directories. It’s SO close to working right now! Well, actually it IS working, there’s just a cosmetic display issue I need to figure out before it goes live; I probably have a script in the wrong directory or something like that.

 

Thank you to everyone who’s asked about my father. Overall he’s doing fairly well, although he did have a bout of pneumonia over the holidays. He even just started going back to work, which I strongly suspect is his way of getting away from my mother… but don’t tell her I said that.

 

And finally, I have another filk in the works – I’m working on a DDO version of “What Does the Fox Say,” hopefully with an MP3 to go with it because, um, there’s some audio that should really, really go with it. That’s all I’m sayin’.  ;)

 

 
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