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So, anyone who knows me by now knows that I’m a big table top gamer. I’ve devoted quite a number of years of my life, money and time to painting, modeling and playing these games. However, growing up, there weren’t a whole lot of fantasy and sci fi mini options in my area. For the longest time this was dominated by Games Workshop and the assortment of games that they’ve offered. Over the years their minis have gotten much better than when I started, but their price has increased at an exponential rate beyond that which I could sustain multiple armies as I would like. Over the years I’ve been looking for replacement games, looking to Europe and beyond for game companies that may produce quality models and a quality game. Browsing through Kickstarter, I happened across Mantic Games, and a game called DreadBall. Intrigued by what I saw, I began to look even further into what they had to offer. Low and behold they also have a Sci Fi war game called Warpath, and what really caught my attention, a fantasy game. Of course the first thing I look for is Dwarves, which they have in quite a nice amount. Looking through the models, they are look very nice. They look like they are highly detailed and honestly they look like quite an army that I want to paint and model quite a bit. Thanks to The Beasts of War, I finally got my first foray into the fluff and background of the Dwarfs in Mantic’s game world, and I’m more interested than ever. The story surrounding them is quite solid and has all of the classic fantasy Dwarf tropes, though I do not mean that as a negative. Berserkers, kings fitted with gemstones, shield breakers. Everything about it sounds absolutely awesome. The price for what you get is pretty nice as well, and is certainly manageable, which puts another check in the win column for them.

The only problem is that where I live, there aren’t quite as many game stores as there used to be, and those that are still around aren’t always willing to take a risk and stock the models for newer games. So for now, I have to rely on the mini war gaming community to give my fix until I can get my hands on these models and game, and share them with my ever growing amount of local players. Because hell, even if I don’t ever get to really play it (which I will dammit, mark my words!) I’m still going to have a hell of a time painting up some Dwarves, and that is not a terrible fate. At the end of the day, I’m looking to Mantic Games to give me my proper Dwarven fix. Until then, I’ll keep relying on The Beasts of War to keep me informed on what looks to be an awesome game.  Hell, they’ve also done a Demo Game to show how to play the game, which is always welcome.

singature

There’s been a lot of hoopla about the ending to Mass Effect 3. People have been quite vocal about not liking it for various reasons. I’ve talked about it spoiler free on For The Lore, so be sure to the episode if you want to hear the reasoning without spoilers. That said be warned, if you haven’t beaten the game or looked up the various endings, this post will contain spoilers.

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A small community based rant

I’ve been mulling this over for a while, and finally decided to let the fingers dance along the keys. I love being a member of the WoW + community. I say WoW + because it encompasses so many more games now. SC2, SWTOR, LoL etc. We’re gamer geeks. We’re united under the wonderful banner of nerdery. To me, part of being in that community is not expecting anything other than to be a part of it and to support each other. Basically the old “treat others as you would have them treat you” thing again. Maybe an odd concept but follow me down the rabbit hole a little bit if you don’t mind.  Read the rest of this entry

This post will contain words that I detest, but never the less are necessary in the telling of this story. 

I hate bullies. I hate them to the very core of my being. All forms from the real world ones that want to shove kids around or harass them based on their race, creed, gender or gender/sexual identity all the way to the ones who do the same over the internet. When I see someone picking on someone else it stirs something in the very core of me to take action, to do something, to reach out and let the person being bullied know they aren’t alone. It’s something I abhor and will do anything I can to help stamp out. And yes, it’s something personal.  Read the rest of this entry

Expectation and perception

Be warned this is just my opinion, and is a collection of my thoughts on the topic.

With the recent release of Mass Effect 3, I find myself in a weird place. I want to play and enjoy the game, but part of me almost fears actually sitting down and playing it. I’m not afraid of the content mind you, though  I did almost piss myself a few times playing Insomnia but that’s a story for another time. Rather it’s a concern that the game won’t live up to the standards I have from playing Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. All of my bitching about the Origin software aside, that fear is one of the only things keeping me from muddling through the game on a console instead of a PC. But then it got me thinking about other games, and the thought occurred that we might actually be spoiled too much to really appreciate a good game right now.

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The Meeting

Continued from The Road to Dalaran

The meeting was held in a room located in a secluded part of Dalaran. As Lodur stepped into the chamber he took note of the faced she had grown to know over the years, those she would call family. Shadowriver, a Night Elf of calm and cool demeanor. As sure in the light as he was in the shadows of his profession. Next to him sat his life partner, and druid, Shenweh. She held in her a quiet strength. Few knew the true fires that burned deep in her heart. Yanlou, of the the former servants of the Lich King.He nodded at Loduer and Estherass as they walked through those assembled. Yanlou was one of the few guild members that knew the truth about Lodur’s recent transformation.

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The road to Dalaran

Continued from Savior

Lodur and Estherras had kept at a steady pace. Ahonan chirped happily while dancing between the lightning bolting between the spires of Lodur’s shoulders. The land was quiet for the most part. There were minor disturbances, but bands of heroes for both the Alliance and the Horde already had matters well in hand. The shaman and hunter continued on their journey to the north peacefully.

It wasn’t long before the large gears and pipes of an obvious gnomish construction came into view. Steam could be seen pouring into the air from the site, while wind socks and banners flowed in the tundra’s wind. A smile began to creep across Lodur’s face. He had quite a fondness for gnomes and their eccentricities. Estherras leaned forward in her saddle;

“You know, I often wonder how gnomes keep such large structures in tact. I mean they do have a penchant for blowing themselves up at least once a week.”

“You’re just jealous because the only thing you’re good at is making a mess for other people to clean up. Don’t make me remind you of that time in the Black Temple where you edged yourself just a tad bit too far into the room…”

“Point taken, but at least I didn’t blow up! Besides you were getting bored waiting for Heim to finish strategical planning. I’m just here to keep you young and on your toes!”

Ahonan landed in Lodur’s lap and curled up into a ball chirping happily as he drifted off to sleep. He patted the small gryphon’s head lightly and smiled. Lodur looked up, they were almost there. He could make out the forms of gnomes running around between what was likely aircraft making adjustments. Lodur always appreciated how nimble they were, and always enjoyed their company. Even if they all tended to be quite eccentric.

“Yeva should have already secured passage for us to Dalaran, so we should not have to spend too much more time in the tundra. I’ll be honest, I’m a little excited to see the guild once more. I wonder what their reaction will be.”

“Shock probably, Zabos may fall over, and that makes me happy.”

“Well, I did tell some of the guild what happened. Not everyone will be caught completely off guard. But I do suspect that most of them won’t know what to make of it.”

They continued on until they reached the outskirts of the airstrip. As they approached they were greeted by a green haired gnome. He nodded at Lodur and the two travelers dismounted.

“Greetings! You must be Lodur, your dwarf friend said you would be coming. I am Ahzek and I’ll be making sure you have a safe flight.”

The gnome looked over at Estherras.

“Although I was only told there would be one passenger, I’m certain we can make an adjustment. Please, follow me.”

As the two walked behind the gnome, they watched as he made quick hand gestures at the other gnomes. He lead them to the end of the airstrip where a biplane was being rolled into place.

“Ah, here we go. Um… she… er… only seats two, so you’ll have to share a spot, but… I think we should be OK. Maybe. Definitely maybe.”

Lodur looked at the gnome and back at Estherras.

“Well, only one way to find out now isn’t there friend?”

Lodur boarded the plane and took the seat at the rear, with the hunter following behind. The space was cramped but workable, and the two settled in for a cozy flight. Ahzek scaled the side of the plane, and positioned himself into the pilot’s seat.

“It’s not a long flight to Dalaran from here, but we do have to head over the basin and through an area that has seen some recent… um… non-living avian action. I highly suggest strapping in with the belt-o-matic 4000 and holding on tight, we may have to engage in evasive actions.”

Before Lodur or Estherras could reply, Ahzek started the engines and took off down the runway at break-neck speeds. Pressed against the seat, they were soon in the air. Eventually the plan leveled off and Lodur glanced over the side of the plane. Rolling plains of white snow went by far beneath them. Slowly the mountains ringing the north eastern part of the tundra came into view and the plan started to climb again.

As they went over the peak, they could see the snow give way to the balmy jungle of the basin. Hot springs and ancient titan technology kept the valley lush and green. As the trio flew toward the end of the basin approaching the mountains closest to Icecrown they began to see the signs of the undead corruption. A flock of gargoyles could be seen circling above the ice.

“If we’re lucky, they won’t notice us and we’ll be able to sque…..”

Ahzek was cut off by a deafening screech. The flock of gargoyles stopped circling and started towards the plane

“well… em… yes. This is unfortunate.”

“By unfortunate do you mean ‘we’re going to get knocked out of the sky and fall to our deaths’?” Estherras was already eying the incoming gargoyles. “Hey Lodur, think you can throw some lightning while I shoot things in the face?”

“I’ll do my best, but you know I’m not good with that. I’m a mender, not a breaker”

“Well, something is better than nothing. Start chucking bolts!”

Ahzek started to take evasive action as the pack of gargoyles reached the plane. Estherras let loose arrow after arrow.

“Hold this thing steady! I can’t get a clear shot!”

“If I do that they’ll catch us!” Ahzek was clearly not one for a fight.

Lodur leaned forward, “friend, you need to trust us. Hold her steady and head straight for Dalaran.”

Ahzek nodded and leveled out the plane. Immediately two gargoyles fell, arrows from both their eyes. Estherras whooped loudly as she notched another arrow. Lodur took Ahonana and gently put him in her backpack, he growled his displeasure. She then closed her eyes and focused inward on the fire that burned deep inside her. The spirits of fire answered and the air around the plane began to crackle and pop with energy. Instead of lightning bolts, orbs of pure electricity began to circle the plane. Every time a gargoyle attempted to latch onto the plane, an orb would fly out and strike it with an audible explosion of power. More gargoyles fell as Estherras continues to place arrow after arrow on target. They were well over Icecrown by now, and were approaching the boarders of the citadel. The screeches of the flying undead roused more of their friends from the ramparts. They were coming in too fast now.

“I’m out of arrows! Damn it! I’ve got nothing left Lod!”

The lightning shield was proving unable to keep up with the renewed undead assault, and the gargoyles scored hits on the wings and body of the plane, tearing chunks from it.

“Ahhhhhhh! No! She can’t take much more of this!” Ahzek yelled from the pilot seat. They Dalaran was in sight, and they just had to survive a little bit longer. Lodur dropped the shield and began to plead with the spirits of wind.

“Ancestors, spirits I beg you. Aid us in our time of need. Protect us please. Do not let this foul corruption destroy us!” The wind began to pick up, slowly at first. More chunks fell from the plane as it lurched closer towards Dalaran. The wind picked up speed, gusts batting the gargoyles and sending them careening out of control. Each time they attempted to swoop in on the plane, another gust blew them back.

“It’s working! It’s Workin…” Ahzek was cut off by the sound of the plane’s engine sputtering. “Oh dear. This is not good!” The engine coughed and died as the gargoyles fell back, deciding the prey was not worth fighting whatever unseen forces battled back. “Well, the good news is we’ll make it into Dalaran. The bad news is, it’s going to be a bumpy landing.”

Estherras laughed “HAH! It figures right? We can kill a god, but we can’t survive a little plane ride.”

Lodur eyed his traveling companion and then turned back to the gnome. “Do you not come prepared to bail in the case of an emergency?”

The gnome perked up “Yes! But oh, that would mean leaving poor Delores here to crash.”

“Friend, you can rebuild your plane, you cannot rebuild yourself. I think we should take our chances.”

“Yes, yes you’re right. Here take this.” Ahzek passed back two small backpacks to Lodur and Estherras. “Put them on, and when I say jump, jump. The altimeter-3260 should recognize our descent and deploy safety measures automatically!”

“Should?” Questioned Estherras.

“Well, only one way to find out there. Here we go, we’re over the edge of the city! JUMP!”

The gnome launched himself from the plane with Estherras and Lodur right behind him. They were heading right for the landing zone of Dalaran at break neck speeds. On time, all three backpacks deployed their chutes and their descents slowed. They watched as the plane veered right and plummeted down, missing the walls of the city by mere inches as it fell to the earth below. The trio landed and were immediately rushed upon by healers and mages.

The gargoyles were no where in sight, and after an hour or so the three were cleared from any injuries.

“Well, I’ll give you this gnome, you sure know how to make a flight interesting. Sorry about your plane though.”

“Yes, well, nothing to be done about that now. We’re alive and I can try to salvage her later.”

Lodur walked over to the gnome and handed him a large bag of coins. “This won’t cover the cost of the plane or parts, but it will at least give you a good start. Thank you for the flight and may the elements smile upon you friend.”

Ahzek looked into the bag and saw the pile of gold contained inside. He gasped “Thank you miss, thank you!” He began to bounce and recite the new specifications his plane would follow. Lost in thought the gnome disappeared into the city proper.

“Well, now that we’ve almost died, and made a gnome very happy, what do you say we make our way to the meeting. Hopefully they haven’t started by now.”

The two thanked their healers and made their way into the city. Lodur placed Ahonan on her shoulder and he chirped, happy to be out of the bag once again.  It was time to meet the guild.

So as you can see the site has gotten a bit of a face lift. New theme and private hosting are all set up. What do you guys think of it? I’m going to be updating more regularly now that I’ve fallen into a rhythm between all the other sites I’ve been working on.

wow.com, world of matticus, Bored and Dangerous,and of course the for the lore podcast.

So that’s it for now, real content update soon!

Savior

Lodur and Estherras were enjoying each other’s company once again. Thanks in great part to the Dwarven companion Yeva, Lodur had come to really enjoy traveling with company. The two swapped war stories back and forth as they made their way towards the airstrip to the north, reminiscing about their narrow victories and they glorious deeds. Indeed if not for the fact that this was an Elf and Draenei the two could have easily been mistaken for Dwarves celebrating their many laurels.

The two wound their way across the plain it’s land at constant odds with itself. To the left was ice and snow freshly fallen, to their right lay hot springs and lush growths. The contradiction of elements did not detract from the beauty of the area and Lodur smiled content. About halfway to their goal the pair noticed figures collecting around a hot spring. There seemed to be some fevered movement as those at the camp bustled about. Without a word Estherras brought her weapon to bear casually while Lodur gathered a well of power. They had already been jumped once on their trip today, a second ambush was not unlikely. As their path carried them closer Lodur noticed what appeared to be an Elf clad in feathers, twigs and leaves. It appeared that a small group had set up camp around one of the springs on the plain, and now that they were closer Lodur could see they were tending the wounds of an animal. Lodur gave Estherras a quick look and the two made their way towards the camp. They made no move to mask themselves and it wasn’t long before the large Elf adorned with what appeared to be a Druid’s garb noticed them.

“Fandu-dath-belore traveler”  Said the Elf as he moved towards the two, “state your business here.” He spoke with authority clearly born of his station among his group.

“Well met brother druid” Lodur hailed back. “our business is simply traveling through your land here. We are on our way to Fizcrank Airstrip and we mean you no trouble, we simply saw that you were tending to a few injured creatures and I thought I would offer my assistance.”

“Ah, you are a healer as well then?” the druid eyed Lodur and Estherras as they dismounted. “I am Arch Druid Lathorius, this is a camp of D.E.H.T.A.!”

Lodur looked at the druid quizzically

“You have not heard of us or our noble cause? Very well then. D.E.H.T.A. is the Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals. We have come to Northrend to preserve that which the vile tyrant Hemet Nesingwary! His hunters have placed traps all over the tundra and these poor animals suffer for it!”

Lodur looked at the druid “I am Lodur, shaman of the guild Unpossible and student to Nobundo. While I have not heard of your cause before this day, I will lend what aid I can in mending these creatures.”

Estherras shifted uncomfortably a little. “Tell you what, I’ll scout around a little bit and make sure they aren’t laying anymore traps.”

Lodur nodded and Estherras disappeared into the plain. Shortly after Lodur set to work healing the mammoth calf inside the camp. They were back to full health and baying for their mothers in no time. Lodur smiled and stood up. It was honest work and the tundra would see these calf growing and thriving, as long as the Lich King was taken care of that is.

“Well done shaman, your heart is in the right place. While we clean up here I wonder if I could ask you to go forth and check for any more animals caught in the traps out there.” the Arch druid flashed a smile at Lodur.

“Certainly, though I suspect my companion will have cleared them out already.” Lodur turned and set about checking the plains for traps. Most were broken and tattered although she still had to smash a few with rather large rocks to disable them. After freshly smashing one Lodur heard a faint sound. She stood slowly and stilled herself. Looking around she could just barely make out a slight movement. The sound almost like a chirp could faintly be heard. Lodur headed in the direction of the sound carefully. It wasn’t long before Lodur was upon the spot. In a trap was what appeared to be a Gryphon hatchling, it thrashed about and locked eyes with Lodur.

Lodur knelt down carefully and spoke calmly to the creature. “It’s ok little fella, I’m going to get you out of there and get you healed up.” Lodur called to the spirit of the hunt to lend his words meaning the animal. “Calm yourself little one before you injure yourself further, I will help.” The creature calmed still staring at the shaman. Lodur reached down and carefully opened the trap. Scooping the hatchling up she placed the avian in her lap. Speaking the words of mending she summoned the spirits of water to tend to the animals wounds. Slowly the bones mended and the skin healed, and in no time it was taking a few tentative steps on it’s paws. When it realized it was fully mended it immediately charged into Lodur nuzzling her. “you’re awfully young to be on your own, where is your family? The Aerie peak is a long way from here.” The hatchling let out a small cry. “well it is not safe for you to be out here on your own. Come along, we’ll go back to the druids here.” She placed the creature on her shoulder where it perched happily.

In short order they were back at the camp. Estherras has returned but remained on the outside of the camp. Lodur strode in and informed the Arch Druid that the traps had been dealt with. “I found this poor fellow in a trap, he’s quite a long way from home. Do you think you could care for him for a time?”

The druid stroked the feathers of the Gryphonling “I am afraid we cannot, we have enough to handle here and the mammoth herds mostly tend to themselves once we heal them.” he looked at Lodur. “Perhaps you can take him with you, he already seems quite fond of you.”

The Gryphon bounded between Lodur’s shoulders. “Perhaps that would be ok. I am headed to Dalaran after all, maybe one of the magus there can help get him home.” Lodur scratched under the creature’s beak. “well, with that settled is there anything else I can do to help before we depart? I fear we may have tarried too long as is.”

“No, you have done enough. May the blessings of Malorne and Cenarius be upon you shaman. Be safe in your journeys.”

Lodur inclined her head slightly forward and turned back to Estherras.

“About bloody time! I was waiting for them to realize I make a profession out of being a hunter. What’s that you got there? A souvenir?” Estherras pointed to the hatchling.

“You would have been fine, besides helping the animals didn’t take too long.” Lodur fed a few scraps of dried meat to the Gryphon, “I found this one in a trap. I’m going to bring him to Dalaran and see if someone can help see him back to the peak.”

“Ah, fair enough. Have you named it yet?” Estherras and Lodur summoned their mounts and began their northerly trek once more.

“If I name him then I’ll have to keep him. I don’t think Andor would be too pleased with that.” Lodur chuckled.

“Yeah but if you don’t name him it will get boring when you yell at it ‘hey you get out of my provisions!’ at least a token name would be appropriate I think.”

Lodur looked to the sky thoughtfully. “Ahonan.” She looked at the creature. “What do you think little one? Do you like it? Shall I call you Ahonan?” The animal chirped happily. “Well then, it would seem that is settled as well. Shall we continue on then?”

“Let us! I’m eager to get to Dalaran, it has simply been too long since I’ve made fun of Zabos and I’m starting to hit withdrawal.”

New Faces

Lodur pulled the cowl of her cloak down obscuring her face further in shade. She Patted the neck of her Mistsaber, as they made their way slowly from Valiance keep towards Fizzcrank airstrip. The undead assault on the keep had slowed enough to allow a few travelers to move beyond the basalt walls. The winds were wicked and Lodur could feel the bite of the frost upon her face.

The Mistsaber slowed and a began to rumble a guttural growl. A rough noise replaced the sound of the wind. Lodur looked up to see two Orcs before her. Rough armor filled with spiked adorned their mantles. They smiled toothy grins as they dismounted their wolves and walked menacingly towards Lodur, speaking in a tongue she couldn’t decipher, but the intent was clear… violence.

“Ark’ehnan poross” Lodur voiced as evenly as she could in common “I wish no trouble I am simply passing through.”

The two eyed the figure atop the large cat, not halting their advance. Lodur looked up, her blue eyes glowing from beneath the darkness of the hood. The two exchanged a quick set of words in a gutter language Lodur recognized as the orcish tongue. She stepped from her mount and with a quiet word undid the magic that bound it to this world. Turning towards the two orcs, Lodur began to gather power around her. The assailants stopped now, sensing that their prey was not as timid as they had hoped. Lightning crackled between Lodur’s fingers and her eyes. The two green-skinned creatures smiled toothy tusk filled grins and charged.

Before Lodur could react, one of the charging creatures hit the dirt, the other oblivious to the fate of his companion. When the orc was only a few yards away from Lodur she unleashed the gathering energy in a small storm of electricity. The assailant was flung up and back. It hit the ground hard and before it could get back up a great white cat was on top of it, the orc’s neck in its teeth. Lodur released the last remnants of the power held within and looked around. From thin air materialized an elf that walked over to the first fallen orc, and pulled an arrow from the creature’s neck. The elf then padded over to the cat and speaking a quick word in what Lodur recognized as Darnassian, the cat released the corpse from its jaws now looking for it’s master’s approval.

“Ah, miss. It looks like I came along just in the nick of time!” said the elf, the voice calm and enchanting. “although it does seem you are not without your defenses.”

The elf turned to face lodur, dropping its cloak to reveal features that were both fine and hardened at the same time. It was a face Lodur recognized very well.

It had only been a fortnight since Lodur’s body was snatched by the Lich King. No one from her guild knew about it and no one aside from Yeva, the prophet and Nobundo knew that inside this female shell was truly the essence of Lodur.

“Thank you for your assistance, though it was not required. I would however suggest we move somewhere else, least they become missed and any friends they have decide to go looking for them.” Lodur said with a smirk.

“That is not a half bad idea, perhaps I should ride with you for a while.” The elf summoned her mount and Lodur called back the Mistsaber, and the two were off.

“I’m Estherras by the way. What brings you up this way? Looking for adventure? Just taking in the scenery?”

Lodur looked over to the elf.

“I am Lodur.” she stated plainly, and then turned back to watch the road they traveled.

“hmm. I have a guild mate named Lodur. He’s much larger than you are though. Never pegged Lodur for a woman’s name”

“It’s not.” Lodur smirked again.

Estherras stopped her mount. “Wait a minute. What is that supposed to mean?”

“You never were quick on the uptake. Makes me think of the time I had to yell at you in the Black Temple, reminding you that fire was bad. ” Lodur chuckled.

The hunter’s jaw hung loose, “No way. No damn way! Lodur? What the hell man…er…woman? well.. this is something isn’t it? What the hell happened?”

“I’ll tell everyone at the guild meeting in a few days. A lot..” Lodur paused looking down at her new body. ” needs to be explained.”

“I’ll say. That better be one hell of a story or I’m going to be sorely disappointed in you. So where are you headed anyways?”

Estherras had caught back up to Lodur and the two were riding side by side again. Lodur glanced over to the hunter.

“Fizzcrank airstrip. I have a friend up there trying to secure a flight into Dalaran for the guild meeting. I’ve never trusted those mage portals, so I’d rather fly. Sadly Andor is not strong enough to fly in the cold winds up here yet, so I seek other means.”

“Fair enough. Mind if I tag along then? You seem to always have great misfortune that ultimately leads to highly entertaining adventures… or fleeing. One or the other.” The elf  laughed and Lodur chuckled as well.

“Alright, you might be useful after all. You’re taking my new body rather well, honestly I’m a bit surprised.”

Estherras shrugged “eh, We’ve traveled through time, beaten down a titan. Stopped a madman from dominating the world. twice. Defeated a few beings classified as gods and ultimately survived to tell the tale. This is by far not the weirdest things we’ve been through. Surprising, sure I’ll give you that, but not the strangest thing. ”

“At that you have a point. ”

The two continued riding at a casual pace through the tundra towards its northern border and the gnomish airstrip.