Filkin’ Around: Black Abbot

Maybe I should stop listening to that binaural beats/lucid dreams stuff to fall asleep. It actually works pretty well… but the resulting dreams can be a bit, well, strange.

Sunday’s livestream featured semi-gimpy rogue Vic discovering anew just how VERY badly she sucks against undead as she tried to get herself flagged for Abbot along with LrdSlvrhnd and later Retsans (and even a bit of Citi thrown in for good measure).

Orchard was kinda sobering for Vic. When I say she sucks against undead, I mean she really, REALLY sucks. Badly. She’s 30, running level 14 quests on heroic elite, and struggling with stat damage and neg levels. Not pretty, and far from the generally-very-capable-even-if-she’s-no-Even Vic I’m used to.

She’s still never finished the heroic Orchard wildy, and I’m pretty sure she’d never run any of the quests on heroic, either. So she had nary a sigil piece to her name. Fleshmaker’s was pretty easy. Ghosts, mostly the same, until we got to Cholthulzz… and Vic, who almost never uses featherfall, beat Slvr down the falls by a wide margin, making her the sole target of ol’ Cholty’s wrath and resulting in her spending much of the end fight sequence completely helpless thanks to her 0 Con score. Yeah. Stat damage sucks. Would’ve been embarrassing if she’d died. LOL

Slvr was already spouting a good deal of maggro (mephit aggro) even before Vic headed to Orchard, because he’d been soloing Inferno on another toon and was somewhat more than heartily sick of trying to chivvy the right mephits to the right places. He’d already informed me in no uncertain terms that he was NOT going to run another Inferno… but luckily for me, Retsans took pity on me, Slvr ended up staying, Citi logged in, and we had actually a fairly enjoyable run.

We followed that up with several sigil-piece-farming runs of Vol. Poor Vic. I think now she’s got at least two or three of every sigil EXCEPT #5, the center frame. Luckily it can drop in any quest. Unluckily, that probably means a lot of Vol farming and neg levels from the quells.

I’m probably going to be doing a lot of heroic Orchard runs, because as much as I really do still hate Abbot, I seem to hate it just a little less every time I run it, and now I’m actually kind of hoping to get us all flagged and run it for guild night. Even’s the only toon I have who’s flagged, and until recently, she hadn’t even run it this life. You’d think with 19 toons on Thelanis, only two of whom are below level 16, I’d have flagged at least a few more… but no, they’ve all led blissfully Abbot-free lives so far. Acanthia did run the occasional Abbot during her first life, but has yet to flag in this one.

But anyway, about those binaural beats and isochronic tones and lucid dreams meditation audio files… I was sort of half waking up very early this morning, and somehow I started hearing Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” in my head, and I kinda felt like I’d been having a weird dream about Abbot flagging, so I donned my filk tiara (which was actually my prize for having the highest word count in my region for 2016 NaNoWriMo), and came up with “Black Abbot.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the original – first, shame on you! Luckily, I try to always link the sources of my inspirations, so here you go. For those who like to sing along, I used Karafun’s karaoke version in my video.

I was lucky enough to see Starship perform “White Rabbit” live, oh, many years ago. Grace Slick sounded even better live than she did recorded, and Mickey Thomas played a couple of riffs with his teeth. The next day, as my friends and I were leaving the hotel, we saw a guy walking across the parking lot and singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” at the top of his lungs. He walked right over a parked car, grinned and said “good morning” to us… and then we realized we’d just met (kinda) Mickey Thomas. Good times!

Streamin’ with Even is live every Sunday night at 11 pm Eastern time, now on the official DDOstream! The show will still be hosted on my own Twitch channel as well, but if you’re watching live and want to chat, DDOStream is the place to be. Videos are archived on my YouTube channel. I’m usually on Thelanis, usually on Evennote, and usually have room, so feel free to send me a tell if you’d like to join! I’m also definitely open to suggestions on what to run next. You can send ingame mail to Evennote on Thelanis, or email me at evennote (at) gmail dot com. Thanks for reading and/or watching!  🙂

A Visit From Sir Picks-A-Lot

was the night before Festivult, and high o’er the realm

The airship cruised onward, NPC at its helm.
Our Cannith boots lay on the floor, all in pairs
So jumbled, but we were too tired to care.
From the legacy buffs on up to the top deck
Not one single gift had been opened, not yet.
And the bards with their songs, and the air sorc who zapped
Settled in while the barb dreamed of things that go splat.
When out through the porthole we spied something flashing
That couldn’t be good – we didn’t want to be crashing.
Up, up to the helm I, the paladin, did dash
“If there’s trouble,” I thought, “that’s why I’ve got shield bash.”
The deck was quite slippery, and rightfully so
For the sky had just opened and started to snow.
I rubbed at my eyes – through the flakes did I peer
At a miniature rogue, with a voice loud and clear.
He was little, so tiny, in some gear that he’d nicked
I knew in a moment he must be a… trick.
He seemed to be dreaming, and showed him no shame
As he sleep-called his fantasies, called them by name.
“Oi, Cellimas! Malicia! And you Tidy lasses
“Lift up them skirts and show me yer… stashes!
“From your tops to your skirts, to your waistlines so small
“Now come to me, come to me, come to me, all!”
But the women he called appeared not from the sky
For they were but figments of a mind far from dry.
So onto the deck he spilled, yes, it’s true
With a pack full of trap parts, and some thieves’ tools, too.
Now wide awake, he seemed quite uncouth
And rather a pervert, to tell you the truth.
As I shook my poor head, I started to frown
For he looked like he wanted to shake the ship down.
He glanced all around, as though casing the joint
I told him to leave, but he quite missed the point.
His belt buckle gleamed on a strap of jet black
It was obvious, clearly, that he’d stolen that.
His bag – how it bulged! Almost too much to carry
I’d met him before; it seemed he never varied.
From his thin little mouth his excuses did flow
“Just borrowed,” he swore, “this ain’t stuff that I stole!”
He asked for a drink, and said he was beat
And as soon as I turned, stole the barkeep’s best meat.
I spun him to face me, this sly little fellow
Then fearing my wrath, he started to bellow.
“Jus’ wanted a nosh, y’know, for my health!
“C’mon, you can spare it, this ship reeks of wealth!”
He winked his right eye and nodded his head
And I wished he would leave, as I wanted my bed.
He locked me in the Danger Room before setting to work
And cleaned out every guild chest, that greedy little jerk.
He drank all our broccoli juice, and then picked his nose
I looked away then, because that was quite gross.
He loaded his pockets with all of our treasure
He even stole our bard songs, yes, every measure.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he vanished from sight,
“Happy Festivult to me! Oi, what a great night!”

Filkin’ Around: “Call Any Hireling”

My guildie Comic Relief made the most of his 100th blog post, which detailed 100 things he likes about DDO.

One of these days I should do something similar. Heck, I could get to almost 100 things just by listing all of my cosmetic pets… but that’s a whole ‘nuther topic. For now, it’s enough to say that two of my favorite things about this game are my guildies and DDO parody songs.

Got ’em both covered with this one – it’s a DDO-themed filk based on a song Comic asked me to parody, oh, aaaaaaaages ago (in the comments section of this post, to be exact).

Spoiler alert: You get to watch Wyoh die in a fire!

Couldn’t find a karaoke or instrumental version, so I just plugged in the original song and slapped the new lyrics in the (now always visible, no CC needed) captions.

Filkin’ around: “Purple Worm”

Purple worm, purple worm

I’m sure anyone who read my last blog will be very glad that Niituna has been forbidden to touch the computer again. Ever. The strain on my Caps Lock key was incredible.

But if you’re an easily offended Prince fan, you just might want to stick with Tuna’s attempt at blogging instead of reading the rest of this, ’cause I’m venturing into kinda sacred territory here.

It’s been a pretty tough year as far as celebrity deaths go, and one of the hardest to take was the loss of Prince back in April. The Minnesota native was arguably the most brilliant musical mind of my generation… and he was NOT a fan of parody songs, having famously turned down “Weird” Al Yankovic’s requests to parody his music at least four times.

So I kinda feel a little weird about doing this. Wherever Prince is, if he should somehow happen across this, I hope he’ll know I mean no disrespect. I’m just pairing one of my favorite songs – “Purple Rain” – with a creature from one of my favorite DDO places.

Purple Worm

I never meant to eat that steadfast armor
I never meant to make my tummy hurt
I only wanted one time to eat you, human
I only wanted to eat you, human, ’cause I’m a purple worm

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
I only wanted to eat your party ’cause I’m a purple worm

I never wanted to be a bloodrock medusa
I only wanted to hang out underground
Human, you could never dodge me, silly loser
It’s such a shame when you get swallowed down

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm
I only want to eat you up ’cause I’m a purple worm

Human, I know, I know, I know about digestin’
It’s time for me to grab you, start to chew
And your hire too

You say you’re not a feeder
But you can’t seem to win on this turn
I think you better give up
And let me chomp you ’cause I’m a purple worm

Purple worm, purple worm
Purple worm, purple worm

If you feel how I’m sliming you right here
C’mon, slide right down

Purple worm, purple worm
I only want to eat you, only want to eat you
‘Cause I’m a purple worm

Want Your Blade, Jack

 

Sigh.

I’ve begged the chest. I’ve danced with it. I’ve hugged it. I’ve tickled the itchy spot behind its ears – or I would have, if chests had ears. I’ve cheered for it. I’ve shown it my right hand so it can see that I still don’t have a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers. Tonight, I even groveled before it…

… all for naught. The loot gods sit on their lofty perches laughing at my feeble attempts to get that elusive Jibbers blade.

Clearly I need to try something new. And so I thought, hmmm, what says “I care” more than a song written JUST FOR YOU, chest? OK, so I borrowed the melody from “Hit the Road, Jack” by Ray Charles (László Csotye’s karaoke version used in the video can be found here) and put together this little duet between Even-the-pally and Jack Jibbers.

Lyrics are in the captions – if you don’t see them, click the little “CC” button at the bottom. They’re a bit confusing – the captioning I used let me use formatting, so it was easy to distinguish which lines were Even’s and which were Jack’s. Unfortunately YouTube stripped the formatting when I uploaded the captions file, so it’s all ordinary plain Arial 28-pt text. Meh.

 

Keava gets a Jibbers!

 

At least now I do have definitive seen-with-my-own-eyes proof that Jack Jibbers’ cursed blade does indeed exist. I was starting to wonder! But the other night, I was about to make my nightly Two-Toed Tobias run and asked Keava if he’d like to come along. Turns out Keava doesn’t even own Three-Barrel Cove and had never run ANY quest out there. No problem, that’s what guest passes are for.

Right before we opened the chest, I told him he didn’t have to pass me the Jibbers if he pulled it… you see where this is going, right?

Uh-huh. On his FIRST EVER RUN, Keava pulled the Jibbers blade. I’m pretty sure Even was crying in the hot tub later that night. I’m a little disappointed, too. Not so much about not getting the blade, though…

Naturally the first thing we did was run around the wildy until we found some likely-looking mobs so we could get Keava killed and see the blade in action. I’d been under the impression that using the blade invoked an animation in which you dramatically stabbed yourself in the chest with it and miraculously rose from the dead. It’s not QUITE that cool. There’s a bit of black smoke, and then you’re just… alive. Well, kinda. You’re undead, and you have a scimitar sticking out of your chest. I would’ve preferred the self-stabbing animation, but it’s still pretty cool.

… and I still don’t have one.

Filkin’ Around: Umber Hulk Eyes

 

Update 31 hits tomorrow! YAY!

To celebrate U31, aka “Gnomework,” and the fact that WE’RE GETTING UMBER HULKS!, I thought a filk might be in order. After seeing the glowy umber hulk eyes in this preview video, I thought “Bette Davis Eyes” as performed by Kim Carnes would make a good filk. I used a karaoke version for my interpretation.

Lyrics are in the video captions – if you can’t see them, make sure you have captions enabled!

I was originally going to just use a screenie and paste the lyrics in the body of the post, hence the small image size on the video – I just couldn’t be arsed to go back and enlarge the images after I decided to go with a video instead of a still shot.

And yes, I DO already want umber hulk creature companions…

Filkin’ Around: Dragon Bane (She’s a mother, all right)

 

Paladin Even is probably the toon I play the most simply because, as long as I’m actively trying to stay alive (and sometimes even when I’m trying to die), she’s nearly impossible to kill. But when I was looking for something to livestream earlier tonight, I decided to bring a different toon, because I didn’t think the world needed another video of Even farming wraiths in FoT.

So I grabbed Trici, my seriously underplayed but totally adorable lvl 16 gnomificer, and took a look at her adventure compendium. “Aha,” I said to myself, “she hasn’t run Mired in Kobolds yet. That should be fun!”

And fun it was… until the end. After mostly cruising through hordes of kobolds, Trici just wasn’t quite up to the challenge of a bunch of self-healing casters, plus their melee friends… and oh yeah, Varath, that big dragon who really wanted gnome hors d’oeuvres. It wasn’t until her third re-entry that she finally dispatched them – only to find herself face-to-face with Sinvala, an even bigger dragon who happened to be Varath’s mother. Sinvala was NOT happy about the death of her offspring, and NOT interested in hearing Trici explain that it was all in self-defense. She was, however, VERY interested in turning Trici into a soulstone.

What can you do when your adorable gnomificer becomes dragon bait? You can filk, of course! So I wrote a little ditty about Trici’s experience in Driftwood Mire. Sadly, no lyrics with the video, because I couldn’t find a suitable karaoke or instrumental version of “Renegade” by Styx. Hopefully you’ll know the melody well enough to sing along – if not, well, that’s why I always link the original!

 

 

          Dragon Bane

Oh, mama dragon, run for my life from your big sharp pointy claws
Spiked plants have put an end to my running, they just tear me all to shreds
Oh, mama dragon, hear me a-cryin’, I’m a gimpy little gnome
Fire breath is rainin’ down on my head and I won’t last very long

My time is up, hit points are down
She’s finally killed me
No dragon bane, it’s such a shame
This quest is just silly

Release now and go away
Get revenge another day
On the dragon mom

Oh, mama dragon, sorry ’bout your son but please don’t bite off my head
Hire won’t heal enough keep me alive, now I’m for sure totally dead
Scary mama dragon, hear me cryin’, I’m a gimpy little gnome
Fire breath is rainin’ down on my head and I won’t last very long

My time is up, hit points are down
She’s finally killed me
No dragon bane, it’s such a shame
This quest is just silly

Release now and go away
Get revenge another day
On the dragon mom

Oh, mama dragon, run for my life from your sharp, pointed, scaly claws
Fire breath is rainin’ down on my head and I won’t last very long

Filkin’ Around: “Pally”

 

Our little band of Flower Sniffers of Destiny has been shortmanning raids of late – raids because they’re fun, shortmanning because of the lag monster.

During a fun but failed (because we let too many good guys die) attempt to four-man Defiler of the Just the other night, Seki said that Even seemed impossible to kill.

He mentioned that again tonight, after a successful three-man Fall of Truth and a not quite as successful Fire on Thunder Peak, also three-manned. We were actually not doing badly in FotP until Even accidentally grabbed the aggro of BOTH dragons and couldn’t shake it. PDK flesh must be a gourmet delicacy to dragons; even when she turtled up and let Seki and Gonari – neither of whom is any slouch when it comes to DPS – go after the dragons, all the dragons wanted was paladin shish kebab.

Sooo, no completion since you can’t damage either dragon if they’re near each other, and with them both aggroed hard on Even, there was no way we were going to get them separated. Eventually Seki had to log – real life, sleep, that kind of nonsense.  😉

I considered recalling, but RESPAWNING HELLHOUNDS. And I do not – YET – have a hellhound pet.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. A couple hundred hellhounds later, my fingers were cramping up and I was feeling almost ready to pack it in. Almost, but not quite. “I’ll just keep going until she dies,” I told myself. I figured it wouldn’t be terribly long before I ran out of both mana and Lay On Hands. I was right – kinda. The outdated con-op goggles Even wears, although they took a heck of a beating, kept replenishing her spell points when she got too low to Cocoon. Her Lay on Hands regenerate – not terribly quickly, but fast enough. Oh, and she’s using Terminus, which tosses a hjeal on her every so often when she gets hit.

No, Even wasn’t going down without a fight. “OK,” I thought, “I’m just going to stop hjealing her.”

But there was the not insignificant matter of those random shield hjeals, and then there was this nifty thing called Eternal Defender – short version, if Even’s hit points drop below zero but not lower than her range of unconsciousness, she immediately gets a hjeal. And with her crazy high heal amp, it’s a pretty nice hjeal, too. Oh, and I can’t remember the exact number, but her range of unconsciousness extends pretty far.

I stopped blocking. I took off her armor (Breastplate of the Celestial Avenger). I unequipped her shield…

… none of which helped. She still stood there very much alive for an inordinate amount of time considering there were two dragons, a bevy of magma brutes, hordes of skellies, the occasional necromancer, and, oh yeah, those hellhounds, all trying very hard to kill her.

I don’t know exactly how long she actually lasted. She’d been going for quite a while before I got the idea to start up the video capture, and the first capture went for maybe 10 minutes before failing because I ran out of disk space. (Oops.) After that, I tried to stop each video somewhere around a minute; ended up with four short clips I strung together, chopped the beginning off so it’d match the length of the song, and put on my filk hat. (No, I don’t really have a filk hat. Maybe I should get one.)

tl;dr: I tried really hard to kill Even. It took a while.

Lyrics are NOT in this post because I FINALLY GOT CAPTIONS TO WORK! GO CAPTIONS! If you don’t see them, click the little “CC” button near the bottom right of the player.

Sadly, I don’t know how to contact Dolores O’Riordan to see if she’d sing my lyrics to the Cranberries’ hit “Zombie.” I used Karafun’s karaoke version for this video.

Filkin’ Around: Steelstar Killed My Gimpy Bank Bard

Alas, poor Getting.

 

My unfortunate, intentionally-gimped bank bard wishes she’d not chosen DDO’s 10th Anniversary Party for her debutante ball.

True, Scrag the kobold was happy to see her. And the Coin Lords gave her a nice salute when she arrived.

But then… but then…

Being a bard, she chose to describe her experience at the party via song. Not just ANY song, mind you, but a filk. Thus, my latest creation, to the tune of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles (which was the first video ever played on MTV, in case you didn’t know), is the Amazing Gimp-O-Bard version. While you’re reading the lyrics (and hopefully singing them in your head – or aloud – to the melody), try to imagine them as performed by a somewhat plaintive sun elf wearing a big mushroom hat and strumming her lute with a bouquet of flowers…

 

   Steelstar Killed My Gimpy Bank Bard

I should’ve buffed her hitpoints past one fifty-two
Played that one song to get her DCs up there too
But she got stunned and there was nothing she could do
Ow ow ow

She ran upstairs and tried to dirge that dev arti
His robo dog just knocked her down and bit her knee
Wish she’d dumped Heighten for a toughness feat or three

Ow ow ow
She’s now a soulstone
Ow ow ow
He silenced her notes

Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
He shot her up, it broke her heart
Ow ow ow ow ow ow

Her party favors – well, I guess they’ll stay with Jeets
The other devs she’ll never get a chance to beat
That oatmeal raisin cookie wasn’t such a treat

Ow ow ow
Some celebration
Ow ow ow
She’s bruised and achin’

Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
His lightning blast zapped her health bar
His rune arm tore her all apart

Ow ow ow ow ow
Ow ow ow ow ow

Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
His lightning blast zapped her health bar
His rune arm tore her all apart

He shot her up, it broke her heart
She missed him with her throwing dart

Oh, my gimpy bank bard
Oh, my gimpy bank bard

Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)
Steelstar killed my gimpy bank bard (Oh, my gimpy bank bard)

 

Getting vs. Steelstar

Another Ten Years


The 2.31 people who read this blog are probably familiar with my love of writing filks, or parody songs. Mostly my efforts have been funny, or at least were intended to be funny (whether I succeeded… yeah, jury’s still out on that one). There have been a couple of serious ones.

 

But I’ve never written a love filk. That is, until now.

 

The cosmetic pets, the Potions of Wonder, the hair dyes, the Valentine’s bouquet, the Clubs of the Holy Flame, the naked Shroud dances, the dragging of my gimps through sagas, and so, so much more…

 

I offer you “Another Ten Years,” set to “One Hundred Years” by Five for Fighting. (For the instrumental version I used, by Jewel KARAOKE, click here.) Lyrics follow, since the captions ARE. NOT. WORKING.  *grrrrr*

 

   Another Ten Years

I’m level 1 for a moment
Stuck on this beach, oi, no, I ain’t undead
Braving the cold
Finding my way ’round Korthos Island

I’m level 8 for a moment
Through Waterworks, kobolds gonna hate me
Next up, the Pit
I’m getting lost, enjoying the ride

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this

I’m level 12 for a moment
Now I’m VoN flagged, time to run my first raid
Getting snick-snack vorpaled
Killing still more minotaurs

I’m 16 for a moment
Defeated Tor, heading out to the Vale
To flag for Shroud
Can’t wait to make a Lit II longsword

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
Can’t wait to check out Eveningstar

DDO, I salute you
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this

Quests flash by on my screen
Now I’m banking 19
Inside Jeets’ dream
Epic quests still to come
Think of places I’ve been
I’m playing on

I’m epic capped for a moment
Looking back, what a journey
And I’m just dreaming
‘Til it’s time to TR and start anew

DDO, good times with you
Party wipes and rolls for loot
Dancing nekkid in the Shroud
Oh, the joy that I’ve found

DDO, oh oh ooh
DDO, oh oh ooh
DDO, oh oh oh, DDO

DDO, good times with you
PuGs and friends and guildies true
DDO, would you ask the djinn to grant me one wish
For another ten years just as good as this

 

DDO – the game, the players, the staff, and most of all my friends – this is for you. Just my own little homage to something that has had a tremendous impact on my life. A very few of you know some of the things I’ve struggled with over the years. (If you want to know, you can always ask; if I know you well enough, I might tell you.) It’s kind of ironic that some people, particularly non-gamers, think that my DDO habit means I have no life, when it is the amazing, wonderful, supportive friends I’ve made here who have helped me conquer my demons and start to really live.

 

I love you all, and I love this game. A very happy 10th anniversary to DDO, and a heartfelt wish for many more to come.

 

Note: I actually wanted to write an original song, but a) time constraints ’cause I wanted to have this published on the actual anniversary date (which I missed by a bit over an hour anyway, darn it), and b) I can’t find the cable for my MIDI keyboard, so it’s just a keyboard for now.

Under the bridge

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

The tomato theorem

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’.  😉