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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

It’s that time of year again — time for the #FFW Furtive Father Winter blog post exchange!

There’s one week left — until 15 December — to sign up for the exchange at red cow rise. Then Akabeko will put everyone’s names into the Father Winter hat and send out recipients on 16 December.

I’ve really enjoyed participating in this event the past two years. For me, the most fun thing is figuring out what kind of post to make for my recipient and putting it together. Then, I love seeing what everyone else has come up with. The gifts I’ve received have been wonderful, too!

I had to think a bit before I decided to sign up this year; BTH and I are starting our Christmas vacation a little earlier this year than we have for the past couple of years and will be at relatives’ houses for the whole #FFW timeperiod. Still, I think I’ll have enough “downtime” to do my own thing that I’ll be able to make an #FFW post for someone — and I can’t wait to find out who that person will be!

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I’ve been waiting all year for Pilgrim’s Bounty to come around again so that I could make this outfit for Kaohana:

Bountiful Nomad

Outlander’s Pauldrons/Stonecloth Epaulets, Greenweave Robe, Wise Man’s Belt, Heavy Linen Gloves + Seer’s Cuffs, Umbranse’s Staff
The accessories in this set would look equally good with the Native Robe worn by the Bountiful Feast Hostess. Using the white Stonecloth Epaulets, this set can be worn by a character in the low 30s. I think the brown Outlander’s Pauldrons coordinate with the robe better, but they require a level in the low 60s. The staff I am using is a Winterspring quest reward, but any plain staff will do. I’d love to use Nimar’s Tribal Headdress with this set, but it is no longer obtainable and thus awfully hard to find.

Tome has reminded me that Amerence is once again hosting the Blog Azeroth Thanksgiving Event.

Since last year’s BATE, I’ve discovered, enjoyed, and added to my blogroll Repgrind, Mr and Mrs WoW, Plaid Elf, Luxy, Umlaut Paradots, and Contested Territory.

During the past year, several of you have done wonderful things for me. Repgrind helped me add Al’ar to my mounts list, when I felt like we’d just barely met. To this day, I often think of and am thankful for her generosity when Kaelinda’s favorite flying mounts macro brings up that gorgeous pink phoenix. Umlaut gave me some timely inspiration and encouragement to get my Warrior leveled and into Throne of Thunder LFR for the amazing Warrior T15 set. Just recently, Matty‘s ignition of the Old Ladies Raiding Guild has filled the void left after JD’s Laid Back Raid programme petered out.

When I saw the Firelands on the Old Ladies Raiding Guild schedule, I considered temporarily faction-swapping Kaelinda so that she could (hopefully) pick up the Mantle of Closed Doors. A little later, it occurred to me that if Transmogrification really will be getting upgraded (I’m guessing patch 6.1 or 6.2), it shouldn’t really matter which character collects all the spiffy-looking stuff I want to make Transmogrification kits with. So I’ve been taking Kinevra, who is still level 85, to OLRG instead.

This weekend, the OLRG graciously carried Kinevra through the Firelands. I beg to differ with Matty’s report that, other than a Spire of Scarlet Pain, nothing particularly interesting dropped. Although the Mantle of Closed Doors didn’t drop, the next best thing — the T12 Mage shoulder token — did, and I won it!

Of course, I had to make an outfit with it right away!

Hot Stuff!

Jewel of the Firelord, Firehawk Mantle, Death Speaker Robes, Sash of the Burning Heart, Enumerated Gloves, Extravagant Boots of Malice, Archmage’s Staff*

Thank you, Matty, for letting me tag along with the OLRG!

Through participating in the OLRG, I’ve added some new people to my battletag friends list. One of those new battletag friends was Prinnie, and this week, she invited me to run some Siege of Orgrimmar LFR with her. I hadn’t run any LFR for about a month; I’d felt more like faffing around with alts than pushing Kam’s progression. An invitation to run with a friend made a world of difference — LFR really is so much more enjoyable in a group of friends than on my own.

How thankful I am for my blogging friends!

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I have multiple outfits to share for the thirteenth Batinna’s Dress Up theme today!

This spooky ensemble combines ideas from two outfits I originally designed for the fourth round of Mog Madness.

Ata’mal Spectre

Horseman’s Horrific Helm, Crystalvein Pauldrons, Chromite chestpiece & leggings, Symbolic belt gloves & boots, Sword of Nefarian’s Hand, Purple Trophy Tabard of the Illidari

These two cloth outfits are iterations of Hallow’s End outfits I posted in previous years.

Mistress of Flame and Shadow

Jewel of the Firelord, Silver-Thread shoulders gloves & boots, Chan’s Imperial Robes, Durable Belt, Staff of the Left-Hand Path, Stylish Black Shirt
When I saw this robe on the AH for a real steal of a price, I snapped it up and stashed it away for when my Warlock would be able to wear it.
A Mantle of Closed Doors would be the perfect finishing touch for this outfit at higher levels.

Hallowed Watcher

Jewel of the Firelord, Duskhallow Mantle, Watcher’s Tunic, Astralaan belt pants & boots, Black Mageweave Gloves + Bracers of the Black Dream, Torch of Austen, Grayson’s Torch, Orange Mageweave Shirt
I love the lacy sleeves and shaded stripes on the skirt of Chan’s Imperial Robes and the more easily obtained Hibernal/Venomshroud and Arachnidian Robes, but I’m not so fond of the giant spider motif. That imagery is fine for my Warlock or my Troll Mage, but it doesn’t really suit my Tauren Priestess. Fortunately, the Watcher’s Tunic has the lacy sleeves and fancy stripes without being so obviously spidery — and its colors are perfect for Hallow’s End!
I wanted to use the Circle of Flame with this outfit, but for all my lofty words about it being easily farmable, the drop rate is low enough and I waited long enough to start trying for it that it didn’t drop in a timely fashion. And I’d already purchased the Jewel of the Firelord for my Warlock…

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Brewfest, 2012

Brewfest, 2013

I would have been quite disappointed if there had been no Pandaren Brewmasters at Brewfest this year. But Blizzard remembered, and, even more delightful, their stock of small-batch Pandaren specialties is a complete cellar list of brews that can otherwise only be obtained from the brewmasters at the Celestial Court on the Timeless Isle.

This year, Kaoling insisted that as a Pandaren from the Wandering Isle, she must have a Pandaren Brewpack to tote around as she explores the rest of Azeroth. A hundred Brewfest Tokens are quite easy to obtain, so I obliged her.

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The Underpowered Death Knight quietly dinged 70 at the beginning of this month while digging up Night Elf relics in Feralas, hoping to open up a Fossil site so that she could find some suitable bits of bone and stone for Professor Paleo at the Darkmoon Faire. She’s gotten most of the XP for those last ten levels from sources other than regular questing — holiday tours, archaeology, Darkmoon Faire first aid & archaeology work, even a little bit of pet battling.

While I was touring the Midsummer bonfires in Outland with Kaumalea earlier this week, she reminded me that she wanted some platekini:
“It’s summer, it’s hot, I want to go to the beach!”

Although I’ve done a couple of platekini-type outfits before — my Paladin’s “Brightly Colored Shell” set and my Warrior’s “Silver Morning” set — I am not much interested in that genre of Transmogrification. Platekini is outside my usual standards of modesty, and my Tauren women definitely don’t need to wear platekini to be beautiful. The first paragraph of Prinnie’s “Thoughts” regarding her “Project Platekini” sums up my opinions on the matter pretty well, too. Still, I’ve seen enough outfits using the classic comic book superheroine metal bra look of the Glorious Breastplate that I wanted to try my hand at making a set with it myself. Kaumalea volunteered to be the model because she loves all things blue and the blue version of this chestpiece style is readily available as an Outland quest reward.

Although her log was still full of Hellfire Peninsula quests when she reached level 70, she felt that she could now skip straight to Mok’Nathal Village in Blade’s Edge Mountains to obtain the Nether Protector’s Chest. And, indeed, she was able to do the necessary quests with surprising ease. A quick search of Outland quest rewards in MogIt turned up some other items that combined to make a really quite pretty ensemble with the chestpiece, so off she merrily went to acquire them.

After experimenting with wearing “pretty clothes” while still using only the DK’s starter five abilities during Love is in the Air, I decided instead to expand Kaumalea’s ability/spell list to everything she can learn without choosing a talent specialization, but keep her gear restrictions. Between that change and reaching level 70, questing in Outland has gotten much less painful. She can now handle green and even some yellow Outland quests without too much difficulty. She still has to stop and eat frequently, and she’ll still die if she accidentally pulls more than one or two mobs at a time or neglects to account for a patrol. Howling Fjord/Borean Tundra mobs remain a significant challenge, however, so she will need to stay in Outland probably at least until she reaches level 75.

Soak Up the Sun


Salvaged Ango’rosh Pauldrons, Nether Protector’s Chest, Stalwart Girdle, Lofty pants, Whiteknuckle Gauntlets, Bloodguard’s Greaves
I’d thought perhaps to use this chestpiece with the Symbolic or Imbued Plate pants that she already had, but in searching the AH for other coordinating items (before I decided to use quest rewards), lo and behold there were the Lofty pants for only 25 gold — a deal that was way too good to pass up!

Taunka Warrior Ice Princess




Circle’s Stalwart Helmet, Talonguard Epaulets, Nether Protector’s Chest, Stalwart Girdle, Lofty pants, Symbolic gloves & boots, Amber Filigreed Shirt
These blue items that Kaumalea already had on-hand also made a very nice set with the platekini chestpiece and pants.

One of my greatest difficulties with this particular alternative leveling project is not being able to use Transmogrifiable gear. I want to make Transmogrification kits for Kaumalea that synergize with her blue-and-white coloration. So I make the pretty outfits and do screenshot sessions with them, then switch back to her common and poor quality gear set for questing.

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“Wow… you’re tall, even for a tauren. And what happened to your face?”
“I’m not a tauren, I’m a taunka. We’re relatives of the tauren who live in Northrend. We all look like this.”
“Cooool!”

Alas, Matron is a title I will never obtain in-game until “School of Hard Knocks” is removed from the Children’s Week meta requirements. Although certain of my characters would like to be able to use that title, it doesn’t fall into the category of things I want badly enough to suffer through PvP for them.

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In mid-spring — or what she was told was mid-spring, back in Azeroth; here in Outland, there did not seem to be any noticeable seasons — Kaumalea returned to her lodging house one evening to find the public areas filled with chattering orcish and blood elven children. Surprised, she asked the innkeeper what was going on.

The innkeeper raised an eyebrow at her. “Ah, right, you’re one o’ them taunka from Northrend, ain’tcha? So you wouldn’t know ’bout Children’s Week. There have been so many wars everywhere that all the big cities have orphanages overflowing with children that have lost their parents. Once a year, the orphan matrons do a charity drive to get adventurers to recognize the cost of the wars by giving a little of their time to these poor kids.”

“But what do you, well, do with one of these children?” Kaumalea wondered.

“Oh, mostly you just let them follow you around as you do whatever it is you do everyday anyway. Usually, the kids have a few particular things they really want to do, too — places they’ve dreamed about going, famous people they want to see for themselves, that kind of thing. And it’s nice to buy them a treat or a toy or something at the end of the week, to help them remember you.”

Kaumalea looked around the crowded, noisy room. “It certainly seems to be popular.”

“Aye,” the innkeeper smiled. “The kids, they want you to remember them, too. They’re always taming little critters of one sort or another, and of course the orphan matrons won’t let them keep them, so they’ll give them to you. A lot of adventurers treat the orphans they sponsor kind of like a little sister or brother — write them letters, send them trinkets, that kind of thing. Those folks over there,” the innkeeper indicated an orc warrior and a troll hunter who were playing cards with two blood elf children, “have sponsored those same kids from the orphanage over in Shattrath for three years or so now. It’s great experience, they say — doesn’t strengthen the body much, but does wonders for the heart.”

Kaumalea considered this. She could definitely use more experience, in whatever form. The Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel had left her severely debilitated, making the usual ways that adventurers gained experience very difficult for her. It had taken her nearly a year in Outland to gain enough strength to even think about trying to return to her once-home of Camp Winterhoof, and when she’d gotten there, she’d soon realized that she wasn’t nearly strong enough yet to contribute meaningfully to the defense and provisioning of the tribe. So she had come back to Outland. She had surely created orphans herself during her time as the Lich King’s thrall. Because of her weakness, she was used to being careful, so she wouldn’t have to be any more careful than usual with a child in tow. Sponsoring an orphan was something that was certainly within her power to do.

Kaumalea had such an agreeable outing with the orphan that she sponsored from Shattrath — a clever-fingered blood elf girl named Ameridala who soon had her hair out of its customary braids and twined up into an elaborate crown never seen before or since on a tauren (or taunka) — that she decided to sponsor an orphan from Orgrimmar as well.


With the talkative orc boy Ezrom as her guide, she learned much more in a day or two about the history and heritage of this “Horde” that she had been swept up into upon being freed from the Lich King than she had gleaned during a whole year in Horde settlements in Outland.

“I am sorry,” Matron Aria in Dalaran said, “but only adventurers who have already reached their 70th season are allowed to sponsor the wolvar and oracle children. I have heard, however, that there is an orphanage of taunka children at Agmar’s Hammer in the Dragonblight; the matron there does not like to ask for help, but I am sure she would accept it gladly if you offered.”


“Oh!” said Matron Twinbreeze, when Kaumalea explained her intentions, “I had never thought of something like that, but, yes, it would be a wonderful thing for one of the older children!”

She introduced Kaumalea to a youngster named Omner.

“I miss my sister, Abish,” Omner said when Kaumalea asked him where he would like to go first, “She’s the only other member of my family who escaped when the Nerubians overran our village. She’s almost an adult, though, and she’s already started her real training to be a hunter. I think she’s probably at Westwind, where we’ve had a hunting camp forever. Everyone knows where it is — west of here, just this side of the bridge to Borean Tundra. That’s what made it such a good spot for the refugees from the Scourge attacks to gather.”

“I can’t wait until I’m old enough to start my real training, too!” Omner enthused. “Then I’ll get to be with my sister and her friends all the time!”

~*~*~

“Greatmother Icemist tells us a story about ancient druids trying to grow a huge tree in the middle of the Grizzly Hills,” Omner said next, “I don’t know how growing a big tree could fix the world in the first place, but I guess it didn’t work because she said the tree died. I don’t know if I belive that a tree could get that big, either. Can we go see the place where it was?”

“Wow,” Omner said as they flew over the fallen pieces of Vordrassil and down into Grizzlemaw, “that must have been some strong magic. Usually trees rot to splinters in only a few years after they fall, but Greatmother Icemist said that this tree fell thousands of years ago! I guess that strong magic is why the furbolg decided that this would be a good place to live.”

~*~*~

“Sometimes at night,” Omner confided, “I sneak downstairs and listen to the adventurers talking. Once, I heard one of them saying that he went to a place called the Bronze Dragonshrine, northeast of the dragons’ Wyrmrest Temple, and saw himself, only from the future! And then another one laughed and said that he’d done that, too, and then he’d come back later, and seen himself, only from the past, when he was there before! If we go there, do you think we might see me from the future and you from the past?”

“I wasn’t expecting that… I’ve always wanted to be a hunter. But I guess being a wind tamer wouldn’t be so bad.”

~*~*~

As they rode out of the pass leading to the Bronze Dragonshrine, Omner pointed at the great Titan structure rising up in the distance. “Wyrmrest Temple! That’s where the dragon queen lives, up on the very top floor. I’ve always wanted to see a dragon up close, and she’s supposed to be friendly… right? Let’s go!”

“I never knew that dragons could do that, change their shapes. It makes sense why they do it, but I’d still like to see her dragon form, someday. If her dragon form is too large for even that big room, she must be simply magnificent!”

~*~*~

Finally, Omner said, “I love to hear Greatmother Icemist’s stories. Matron Twinbreeze tells some good stories, too, about the place where she comes from. You know who has all the stories about our people, though? There’s an Elder named Xarantaur who knows everything! He lives at Tunka’lo Village. It’s on a mountaintop way up in the Storm Peaks, north and a little east of the frost giant place called Dun Niffelem. Will you take me to visit him?”

“That was so cool! Maybe being a wind tamer will be better than being a hunter, after all, if it lets me spend more time learning stories.”

Before returning to Agmar’s Hammer, Kaumalea took Omner to The Wonderworks in Dalaran. His eyes grew big and round as he took in the variety of toys. He inspected them all carefully, lingering longingly over the copper racers. Eventually, he chose a paper zeppelin kit, explaining that this toy was simple enough that maybe he could figure out how to make more, to share with the other children, from materials he could scavenge.

When Kaumalea at last came back to her lodgings in Outland at the end of the week, the innkeeper asked, “So, how did you enjoy helping the orphans?”

“It was good experience. It made me feel… warm. On the inside. I think I’ll do it again next year,” she replied.

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