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Archive for the ‘Story/RP’ Category

It had only been in the past few years that Tauren Druids had begun to feel Ysera — no, not Ysera, for the Great Dragons had spent their Aspect powers defeating Deathwing — the Emerald Dream itself calling them to walk its green shadows. Having no millennia-long tradition of Dreaming in specially-constructed Barrow Dens, as the Kaldorei Druids did, Tauren Druids who heard the call of the Dream tended to simply shift into bear form and find a snug den before entering the long slumber.

Standing at the mouth of the small cave in the mountains high above Mulgore’s golden plains, watching the gently-snoring gray bear curled into its furthest corner, Kamalia had never felt so lonely.

Kamalia and her closest-age cousin, Ronada, had been inseparable companions since childhood. They had traveled and explored the whole world — and the other world of Outland — together, growing in power and skill side-by-side. Karazhan, Zul’Aman, Serpentshrine Cavern, Naxxramas, Ulduar, the Trial of the Crusaders, the Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, the Throne of the Four Winds, the Firelands… all of these dangers to Azerzoth, they had faced together, with Ronada tanking and Kamalia healing.

That year in Northrend when the guild needed a moonkin more than another healer, so Kamalia’s sister Kerisa had raided Icecrown Citadel with Ronada instead, began the cousins’ slow drift apart. During the Cataclysm, Kamalia became so weary of the demands of constant raiding that she quit shortly after the defeat of Ultraxion and the reclamation of Wyrmrest Temple and the Dragonblight. Ronada, however, continued on to help bring down Deathwing. When Pandaria had been discovered, Kamalia and Ronada traveled together again to explore the new continent… at least until Ronada began raiding the Mogu and Mantid strongholds, and Kamalia declined to participate.

Though she no longer spent most of her time with Ronada, Kamalia hadn’t been alone. Her sisters, some Tauren friends, and her Sin’dorei friends had all eventually come to Pandaria, and they saw each other frequently. She’d also made many new friends among the Pandaren, especially in Halfhill and the surrounding farming communities.

After the Siege of Orgrimmar had dragged on for six months, Ronada, too, had wearied of raiding. The Emerald Dream was calling her. Kamalia had not felt sad or lonely when she had come to see Ronada safely off into the Dream half a year ago, but now…

When the Warchief’s Heralds had brought the news of the bizarre change in color of the Dark Portal and the invasion of a new, strangely-equipped sort of Orc, Kamalia had not gone immediately to the battlefront. She had come here, hoping to be able to rouse Ronada from the Dream, so that they could once more fight together. Kamalia had not begged or pleaded for Ronada to come back, merely told her cousin of her own excitement and anticipation. For a few moments, she had thought that Ronada might be waking. But then the bear settled back down into what seemed to be an even deeper sleep.

Sighing, Kamalia turned from the cave and began attuning her Astral Recall. Whatever strange new world now lay on the other side of the altered Dark Portal, she would be exploring it on her own.

~*~*~

In the spring, BTH decided to take a break from WoW. His guild had defeated Garrosh on normal mode a few times and was banging its head against the heroic modes — and after it had attritted enough people that even forming a 10s group became difficult, BTH decided he needed some time off from raiding, too. Plus, Elder Scrolls Online was coming out, and he’d really enjoyed Skyrim. He’s spent the past six months or so playing ESO and a variety of non-MMO games. Since D&D 5e came out a few weeks ago, he’s really been getting back into D&D.
Now, with Warlords just around the corner, BTH is not sure he even wants to come back to WoW. His guild hasn’t changed their raiding times, and the raiding times that worked well when we were in Atlantic Canada don’t work well now that we’re in the Mountain West. The guild has also decided to server transfer, and he doesn’t really want to server transfer his character. So he’d have to look for a new guild if he wanted to raid — and if he’s going to play WoW, he wants to do real (not-LFR) raiding. He’s not much interested in all the stuff that I still enjoy doing in Azeroth.
Which leaves me looking at playing through a new expansion entirely on my own for the first time… another indicator that Warlords has a fairly high probability of being my last expansion of playing WoW.

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Last autumn, Laeleiweyn of World of Lae hosted a series of Alt Appreciation weeks to “celebrate all the classes!” For Monk Week, I designed a set of Transmogrification outfits intended to display a Monk’s devotion to the Way of a particular August Celestial. Because my first Monk’s inventory was already overflowing, I set the Pet-Battling Monk the goal of collecting the necessary items to actually create all of those Transmogrification kits in-game.

Xuen’s Strength


Red Crane Crown (LFR), Mantle of the White Tiger, Polar Vest, Brown Belt of Humbling Gravity, Righteous Leggings, Ghostwalker Gloves, Replica Darkmantle Boots, Inscribed Tiger Staff
Of course I had to use the Mantle of the White Tiger in a set for Xuen. Then the Polar Vest was the only really good choice for the chestpiece — nothing else looks quite right with those shoulders. From there, the outfit could very easily have become all blue. I chose these pants and gloves to keep the overall appearance lighter and more evocative of Xuen’s coloration.

Chi-Ji’s Hope


Moonkin Headdress, Barbaric Shoulders, Plainshawk Vest, Red Belt of Gentle Persuasion, Cabalist Leggings, Fingers of the Loneliest Monk, Mosshide Boots/Griftah’s Authentic Troll Shoes, Inscribed Crane Staff
Cranes are celebrated for the elegance of their long legs, whether standing or in flight. This outfit celebrates the elegance of a Monk’s legs during a Spinning Crane Kick by leaving them beautifully bare. If you don’t have invisiboots, the tall black Prospector’s Boots are the next best option.

Yu’lon’s Wisdom


Serpentskin Helm, Contender’s Leather Shoulders, Jinxed Hoodoo Skin, Green Belt of Hushed Wisdom, Ferine Leggings, Jangdor’s Handcrafted Gloves, Swampwalker Boots, Liuyang’s Lovely Longstaff
These brilliantly-colored leather leggings are a common sight on low-level Rogues, Druids, and Monks because they drop from a dungeon and have great stats. Making a decent Transmogrification kit with them, however, requires much higher character levels. The matching boots can be worn at low levels, but are a rare drop. There are no matching gloves. The reddish tones in these crafted shoulders harmonize perfectly with the reddish tones of the leather straps on the pants.
The Inscribed Serpent Staff would also be a good weapon to use with this set.

Niuzao’s Fortitude


Netherstorm Eyepatch, Riplash Pauldrons, Wicked Leather Armor & Gauntlets, Supreme Sash, Bandit Pants, Coal Miner Boots, Beakless Polearm
I wanted to use only Pandarian staves and each of the four Monk class quest reward belts in this Transmogrification project, but the Niuzao outfit didn’t cooperate very well. None of the staves from Pandaria seemed quite right for the Black Ox, whereas Abracadaver from ICC was perfect. I ended up using the Beakless Polearm instead, though, because I didn’t feel like farming ICC and this polearm not only looks awesomely badass, it also matches the one carried by my favorite Shado-Pan companion, Chao the Voice. Once I’d chosen a weapon, none of the Monk class quest belts looked as good with the overall design of the kit as this old-world green belt.
This would be a great Biker kit to use with a choppa!

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War Crimes

Well, I finally got around to reading War Crimes. I didn’t go get it right away when it first came out in early May because I knew I’d want to read it right away, and I’d decided I’d rather save it to be a book to read on the airplane to France at the end of the month. When I went to the bookstore a few days before we left, however, there weren’t any copies in stock — and I didn’t have the time to wait for one to be shipped in from another location (I bought the latest Brandon Sanderson tome, Words of Radiance, instead). I looked in the airport bookstores for it, but didn’t find it. When we got back to Canada last week, I decided to look for it at the public library first — I’m contemplating culling my personal library when I unpack it from storage after our upcoming move, and as much as I have enjoyed the WoW books that I’ve read, they aren’t among the books that I love too much to give away, so why buy a book that I know I’m just going to discard soon? But the library didn’t have it at all, not even at another branch from which I could have requested it. So I tried the bookstore again, and got the only copy they had in stock.

War Crimes was a good, solid read. I have one major quibble with the writing itself — the continual shouting of “With respect, I protest!” got annoying rather quickly. I thought that surely neither Tyrande nor Baine should really have to shout to be heard so very often, and I probably would have been less annoyed if they had always “interrupted” instead. That aside, I enjoyed seeing a fiercer side of Tyrande — with only a minimal appearance from Malfurion — and a softer side of Sylvanas. I wondered/hoped for a time if we might see the effects of the side-plot with Sylvanas reflected in the game somehow; the way that plot wrapped up, we probably won’t see any effect on Sylvanas in-game, but it would still be nice to see the final effects for her co-conspirator appear in the game. I love, love the way Golden writes Baine and Anduin. I was glad to see Jaina finally beginning to heal properly. And Wrathion, oh Wrathion, you are such a brat!

I liked the use of the Vision of Time device to show events from the past. I didn’t really understand why Tyrande chose to show the Vision of the Hour of Twilight at the end of Thrall Go’el’s testimony, though, until I read Anne Stickney’s commentary on the book (part 1, part 2). That Vision showed the August Celestial jury what Thrall really did in choosing to move on from Warchief to World Shaman; it absolves Thrall of the choices made by Garrosh by showing that the world would have been even worse off had Go’el not done as he did. I had been expecting Baine to call a witness that would allow him to show the “Honor, Krom’gar, never forsake it!” moment from Stonetalon Mountains in a Vision and was surprised that it was not shown. I suppose, though, that that moment would actually have detrimented Baine’s case, showing how Garrosh had changed from better to worse, when Baine was arguing that Garrosh could still change from worse to better. Most of the Visions/witnesses and their testimonies were familiar to me, but I did not recognize the one about magnataur being used in a battle in Ashenvale. I don’t remember that from playing through post-Shattering Ashenvale as Horde. Is that event something that only Alliance players see as they quest through Ashenvale, or is it something that happens in a short story or in one of the novels I haven’t read yet (Stormrage or Wolfheart)?

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The preview of the new female Night Elf model released this week has inspired me to post this story, which I wrote primarily during summer and autumn of 2011.

~*~*~

I don’t remember the glory of Zin’Azshari or the decadence of the Highborne.

I don’t remember the War of the Ancients or the Sundering of the world.

My mother once told me that there were more kaldorei children born in the fifty years immediately following Illidan Stormrage’s creation of the second Well of Eternity and the planting of Nordrassil by the Aspects than there were in the previous — or following — five hundred.

Scorned, derided, and shunned by the kaldorei, the remaining Highborne kept to themselves, but we occasionally saw them walking around the very outskirts of Constellas, where we lived. As a child and a youth, I was intensely fascinated by their pale, solemn, haughty countenances and their richly-decorated, yet increasingly threadbare apparel. My parents grew tired of my continual pestering to know more about them. After my father’s patience finally broke and he shouted at me — “Arcane magics destroyed our world! They are forbidden for a reason! Do not seek after them any more!” — I stopped asking about the Highborne… but when I had come of age, my parents could not prevent me from associating with them.
(more…)

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(for reference: The Underpowered Death Knight and the Orphans, Matron Kaumaleia)

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Tauren, Taunka, Yaungol

What would a Taunka woman look like if she had the same facial structure as a Taunka man?
What does a Yaungol woman look like?

Perhaps something like this:

The Tauren is wearing the Lunar/Twilight/Raincaller set. The Taunka’s clothing is that worn by the guards at Camps Winterhoof and Oneqwah. The Yaungol’s outfit combines the clothing of Yaungol melee combatants with the chestpiece worn by Yaungol casters.

Figuring out the relative scale of the three races turned out to be trickier than I’d thought. I initially had the notion that Taunka were about a head taller than Tauren and Yaungol about a head taller than Taunka, as I’ve shown them in this picture — my initial sketches may make that more obvious.

Based on my extensive study of Taunka and Yaungol NPCs, however, it’s probably more accurate to say that the Taunka and Yaungol shown in my picture represent the low-to-middle range of a size distribution common to both subspecies.

Taunka men are pretty consistently head-and-shoulders taller than Tauren. My player character Tauren woman’s shoulder comes to the armpit of most Taunka men, or to the elbow of the larger size used for Chieftains and the male guards at some of the Taunka villages in Northrend. A few Taunka men, generally vendors, are a bit shorter, but still about a head taller than my character. The size of Taunka women varies quite widely. In Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, and Grizzly Hills, some of the Taunka women are the same size as the men and some of them are only half-a-head taller than my character. Female Taunka NPCs who are very old or very young women, such as Greatmother Ankha and Nokoma Snowseer at Camp Winterhoof, tend to be about the same size as my character or even a little smaller. At Camp Tunka’lo in the Storm Peaks, however, all of the Taunka women are the same size as my character — I think the developers simply forgot to add the scaling factor!

The Yaungol invaders found in various locations around Kun-Lai Summit seem to be about the same size as the average male Taunka, with my player character Tauren woman’s shoulder coming to the armpit of a typical Yaungol melee combatant. The Yaungol casters found around Binan Village are somewhat smaller, perhaps only half-a-head taller than my character. The Yaungol at Deadtalker’s Plateau and Fire Camp Gai-Cho in Townlong Steppes are a bit larger; my character’s shoulder comes to the armpit of the smaller ones, to the elbow of the larger ones, and only to the waist of the “end bosses” of Master Snowdrift’s set of Shado-Pan dailies, Uruk and Cheng Bo. On the Timeless Isle, the Ordon Candlekeepers are about the same size as a Tauren player character, and Ordon Yaungol get continually larger as they get tougher going up the mountain, until one reaches Ordos, who is, of course, a Boss. On the extreme other end of the scale, the guards of the Bataari war banner located between Binan Village and the Chow Farmstead are very small indeed — smaller than my player character Tauren woman — so small that I think they must be mere youths, approximately equivalent in maturity to a twelve year-old human.

I always feel so bad about having to kill them all! And yet, it seems more merciful to do so. If you burn the banner after having only killed the pair you passed by on your way into the camp, the others yell “Ur-Bataar, Help!” and run around, panicked, until they run into the fire on the banner and catch fire and die anyway. This sad behavior reinforces my feeling that these wee little Yaungol are just children!

I can easily imagine this duty of guarding the war banner as one of the first martial opportunities a young Yaungol receives, a first step away from the chores of tending the camp and toward being a warrior who can help defend the tribe. If having enough strong healthy warriors is so important to Yaungol society and survival that even disputes of leadership are settled by non-lethal ritual combat (see “Dominance”), I cannot imagine Yaungol women being anything but warriors right alongside the men. I would guess that a Yaungol woman only rests from active warrior duties for the few weeks immediately before and after the birth of an infant, and that those who are too young for combat are mostly cared for by those who are too old or honorably disabled for combat.

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Thunder Bluff Warrior of the Insurrection

Vicious Pyrium Shoulders, any sleeveless chestpiece, Shattered Hand belt, Imperial Plate Leggings, Jade Tiger Gauntlets, Grim Sabatons, Thunder Bluff cloak & tabard, Ymiron’s Blade
The Thunder Bluff Warriors who are occupying Razor Hill during the Siege of Orgrimmar wear neither gloves nor boots. If you have invisiboots, such as Griftah’s Authentic Troll Shoes or Ancient Skeletal Boots, by all means use them! Keija does not yet have any invisiboots, not having obtained any either by raiding or by grinding the necessary Kor’kron supplies during patch 5.3, but the Grim Sabatons blend in with the pants well enough to produce almost the same effect.
The NPC belt is the same style as the golden-brown Shattered Hand or blue-grey Grimscale belt, but in a warm grey color that is not available to players. I chose to use the Shattered Hand belt because I felt like the warm tones harmonized better with the tabard & cloak. The Jade Tiger gloves contain both silvery tones to coordinate with the pants and golden tones to coordinate with the belt and tabard, making them the best choice of Keija’s readily-available gloves.
The NPCs carry Ymiron’s Blade + Saltstone Shield, a brighter recolor of the Angerfang/Splinterspear/Bladestaff Hammer that is not available to players, a unique and unobtainable 2H axe, or sometimes even the giant totem that every Tauren player character dearly wishes she or he could wield.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry


Wyrmslayer Spaulders, Bloodscale chestpiece & belt, Brutish pants gloves & boots, Dire Maul, Shield of Maraudon
Oh oh oh! Oh no! I totally forgot that I had wanted to make this outfit for my secondary Warrior for Love is in the Air this year until after the holiday had come and gone. Fortunately, I had some screenshots of the holiday decor from previous years that were suitable for compositing.

Tiller with Shovel





Straw Hat, Ramshorn-Inlaid Shoulders, Armored Chestpiece of Eminient Domain, Field Plate Girdle, Antique Reinforced Legguards, Crystalvein gloves, Subservient Greatboots, Green Lumberjack Shirt, Tillers Tabard, The Shoveler
This outfit owes a great debt to Freyana’s fantastic entry for the final round of The Amazing Transmog Survivor Contest.

Tiller with Shovel and Torch

Straw Hat, Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale, Kargal’s Breastplate, Marauder’s Belt, Togrik’s Legguards, Talhide Lined-Gloves & Boots, Wikket Wrap, Yellow Lumberjack Shirt, Shovel of Mercy, Grayson’s Torch
As it happened, it was more convenient for Kamalia to collect the low-level quest rewards than to watch for the identical Veteran’s armor to appear on the AH.
Fortunately, the Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale dropped for me on my first Trial of the Champions run. The first boss encounter is incredibly, exceedingly obnoxious to solo because the NPCs get to chain stunlock with no diminishing returns.
When I “Do the Right Thing” to get the shovel, I always rescue the humans and wish I could save the whole field of them. Poor things, they will need a lifetime of therapy to overcome the PTSD from that horrific experience.
Prior to Cataclysm, Captain Grayson offered his quests to Horde as well as Alliance, and I ran multiple characters up the coast from Grom’gol to his lighthouse in Westfall to get the torch. Nowadays, alas, though he remains neutral, Captain Grayson only offers his quests to Alliance characters. Horde characters should watch the AH for the Mistyreed Torch.

Tiller with Pitchfork

Straw Hat, Murkblood shoulders & chest, Brown Belt of Humbling Gravity, Expedition Pants, Silentleaf Gloves, Swift Cenarion Footwear, Blue Lumberjack Shirt, Nether Trident
At its core, this outfit is the same as my “Newsie” set. I’ve just switched out a few of the accessories.
Kate always wears one of her Monk class quest belts. Other characters should look for a relatively plain brown belt, such as the Belt of the Raptor.
One of the reasons why I picked this trident for Kate’s earlier Fisherman set is that it also makes a halfway-decent pitchfork for a Farmer set. The War Scythe or Grim Scythe would also be suitable weapons for a polearm-wielding class to use in a Farmer outfit.

Tiller with Staff

Straw Hat, Outlander’s Pauldrons, Blue Overalls, Willow Belt, Tangled Thread Gloves, Apprentice Boots, Red Lumberjack Shirt, Rosethorn Staff
I’ve seen several variations on the classic cloth “Farmer” look that use the Skein Woven Mantle. Indeed, I had one squirrelled away in my Transmogrification vault guild bank for Kaohana to use in a Farmer outfit. When I finally got around to making her one, however, I decided to do something a little different and use this set of shoulders that she already had soulbound, rather than adding yet another item to her overflowing wardrobe.
I thought about using a really plain “walking stick”-type staff model, such as Umbranse’s Staff, with this kit. The fancier Rosethorn Staff appealed to me more, though I’m not quite sure why it felt so appropriate for a Farmer. Warlock Farmers should of course use their Staff of the Left Hand Path/Staff of Justified Sins. WTB a Transmogrifiable Broom!

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