Blaugust Day 25: Asura Alt Collection – The Rest (GW2)

The other asura in my alt stable are nowhere near as formed as the first three.

I just made them to have them, and start them on the whole birthday gifts process, while filing them on the “to someday level” list.

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Shood is literally the youngest of the lot.

I made him fairly recently, when I realized I was probably never going to get anywhere further on my human female elementalist (seeing that she is both conveniently at a really good level for opening champion bags for cloth items, and also rapidly running out of clothes options that isn’t just bare skin and boobs.)

Some day I’ll get around to leveling him over level 5.

I could use an experience scroll, but then I’ll have to have level 20 gear prepped for him to get started and all that. So, meh. Another time.

I see him as a bit of a young prodigy, probably the equivalent of a nobleman’s son of some kind. Other than that, backstory is still pretty much open for now.

(And yes, this time the naming is very much on purpose to sound very close to Shodd, and Shud, and Shudd… What? Sue me.)

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Shuddi is probably the first purposefully cute and snub-nosed asura I’ve tried to make.

I’m oldschool and belong to the “ugly-ass Vekk is how most asura ought to look” school of thought, but well, I’m running out of ugly asura styles and need a bit of contrast.

So we get cute, but serious, Shuddi.

I really wanted to name her Shoddi, to play on “shoddy” since she’s an engineer, but someone else has cleverly already thought of that and sniped the name first. So I got the next best thing, and continue my chain of asura names that sound/look all fairly similar.

Right now, she’s mostly just a bank mule. I’m likely going to level and max out my charr engineer first, so her fate is pretty much to sit in Rata Sum and hold my junk for now.

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Shayddi is the oldest of the spare asura alts, not counting Kujl or Shudd.

I made her very early on when I realized that my norn thief just wasn’t really doing it for me. Despite the fun contrast and backstory of a thug-like runty norn thief, the fact of the matter is that however runty a norn gets, he’s still a goddamn big norn.

That means super-readable combat animations, which means I get pwned on a thief, whose schtick is that they’re supposed to be all stealthy and stuff. So he goes into stealth for a couple seconds… when he comes out, people go “Ah, look, the fat fellow is still over there! Pewpewpew” instead of “dammit, where did the tiny squirt run off to?”

So I said, well, maybe I ought to try it on another race and see if it gets any better, or if it’s just my lack of thiefly skills/mentality or my latency to blame.

Sadly, I never got around to that experiment either. Discovering other classes seemed more fun, after I’d already tried out most of the thief skills and traits on the norn. Maybe someday.

I went for something almost anorexic scrawny on this character. I have the vague idea that she has more of a street rat background. Not so much academically smart, but very very cunning. Probably even murderous, given those eyes. I steered away from Minnie Mouse-cute, and tried to do something almost tomboy-ish, in a vein similar to all the female street rats out there who dress like boys (warning: TV Tropes link!) and are absolutely mistaken as male by 95% of the populace who evidently aren’t using their eyes.

(And yes, her name is a play on “Shady.”)

And that’s all of them for the moment. I am still missing asura necro and asura mesmer. (And revenant, eventually.)

Only a matter of time, I’m sure.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 25.

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Blaugust Day 24: Asura Alt Collection – The Warrior (GW2)

I find it very tedious to run dungeons.

My charr warrior that was originally planned as a dungeon/fractal runner somehow ended up as a Teq and Triple Trouble Wurm killer, hanging out around Sparkfly Fen and Bloodtide Coast.

Between hanging on to PTV soldier gear (for Tequatl before it could be crit) and accumulate a great deal of blues and greens and champion bags and dragonite ore from all those chests being opened, plus a few tonics for in-between waiting fun, plus consumables for the “need emergency dps” moments, his bags are overstuffed.

That usually means I get through 1.5 dungeons before my inventory overloads and I start looking around for salvage kits… and realize that I’ve left the copper salvage kit in my other pants (aka the WvW alt, that also needs to salvage on the fly, or the cloth salvaging alt, etc.)

Which leads to extra stress attempting to sort and clean inventory on the go, while the rest of the group is in “go go go” mode trying to finish the other 1.5 dungeons.

So, maybe, I would be less stressed out if I had a second warrior, with lots of bag space, officially designated as a dungeon-runner and make him fully meta-compliant with the proper (and expensive) runes and consumables an everything?

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Thus was Peacemaker Yolo born.

And yes, I kept encountering the YOLO meme and kept thinking it would make a great asura name. Not to mention, be extremely hilarious to yell it in caps and then charge headlong into a bunch of mobs like Leeroy Jenkins, if entertainment and a combat initator was ever needed.

Naturally, there is no way in hell “Yolo” alone was available as a name, so we had to get roleplayer-creative and give him a title of some kind.

The Peacemakers are an organization that has always intrigued me within the asura culture. They’re like a police force (complete with golems) and defensive army protecting asura territory and patroling Rata Sum and its outskirts.

I’ve always wondered how they ‘fit’ within the general academic asuran culture where it’s all mainly about research labs and krewes working on individual projects and politicking their way to the top. Are they intellectual drop outs that turn to more physical military pursuits? Or are the peacemakers also a well-respected job occupation in asura culture? Then there are shades of military and thought police, I’m not exactly sure how far asura will go,  given their frenetic pursuit of modernity and semi-loose morals, in a way. And then there’s their relationship to the Inquest. I presume they’re somewhat at odds and the Peacemakers tend to jail the troublemakers of that faction, when they get too disruptive.

No concrete canon answers as yet. Just idle speculation. But enough to feel interested in naming a character as ‘belonging’ to that organization.

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I contrasted Yolo from Kujl and Shudd by making him an older asura.

Here’s a veteran of the wars, of a sort. This guy has been around the block a couple of times. He’s definitely a sergeant or higher in terms of police rank, whatever the asura peacekeepers use.

Is he set in his ways? Yeah. He’s probably a traditionalist of some kind. I see him as the most xenophobic of the lot. This guy is “for asura, by asura.”

Only asura are people. The rest, well, bookah is probably too familiar a term. He probably doesn’t call them anything at all. If he does say bookah, it’s probably with an intonation of “outsiders”/ “other” / “alien.”

He likely spends most of his time in asura territory or Rata Sum, only going out on special assignment to take down troublemakers that require SWAT team-like special forces (*cough dungeons cough*).

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I see him more as an inadvertently hilarious character.

The guy’s deadly serious, probably doesn’t have much of a sense of humor anywhere in him at all, beyond a dry wit.

He probably has no idea how adorbs he looks when he’s all suited in his get-up.

To him, it’s probably like standard operating procedure. Protective goggles, make sure your face is concealed to protect operative cover and anonymity, leave no witnesses, blah blah, etc.

If anything, I guess he likes that he looks young and spry when he’s all Batman or ninja-masked. “Still got it,” even after all these years.

And boy, does he hit hard with hundred blades.

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The benefits of being meta-compliant.

Sadly, despite having this guy in my alt stable, clean bags, dungeon waypoints finally ran to and unlocked and all, I’m still procrastinating dungeon-wise, so I guess the issue is just me.

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 24.

Blaugust Day 22: Asura Alt Collection – The Guardian (GW2)

Yep, a second guardian.

From very early on, I knew a charr guardian was going to be my main in Guild Wars 2, but coming a very close second was the idea of an asura guardian.

I was in love with the amusing contrast of really tiny yet really tanky, plus the fantastic asura combat animations, spinning around on a staff to empower, leaping and spinning everywhere like little dervishes with weapons way too large for them that pull them every which way with inertia.

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Shudd was my answer to that desire. (And we have seen him before, showing off various armor styles nearer the beginning of his career.)

Funny story about his naming – I knew he needed a proper asura name. One syllable, short and sweet, with two double letters in there somewhere.

You know, it’s a lot easier said than done.

I sat there for a good fifteen minutes, stuck at the naming portion of character creation, typing in any short, nonsensical but asura-sounding words I could think of, and coming to the conclusion that with the number of people playing GW2 that also care about naming conventions, a LOT of the possible one syllable word combinations were getting taken up… there are only so many vowels to go around and possible consonants to be arranged around them, right?

Somehow, the word “should” popped into my mind. (Maybe because the sequence of events went something like “There -should- be SOME names left, dammit.”)

There aren’t any repeated letters in that though…

So I tried, “Shodd.”

Nope. No go.

Erm, “Shadd?” Nothing.

“Shedd?” (Though it sounds silly) Nada.

Let us not try Shidd. (‘Tis a silly name.)

Eventually I went down the vowel chain, and badabing, Shudd got through. And hrm, sounds presentable to my ear. Works.

The great irony was when I played through the asura infinity ball personal story arc and realized that I had an NPC assistant named Shodd. Totally unintentional, but I suddenly had a pairing worthy of a law firm: Shudd & Shodd, World Domination Inc.

Then I got to Lion’s Arch, and realized there was another asura NPC, Captain Shud, in charge of the portals and on the captain’s council.

This was a perfect, if completely unintentional, demonstration of additional lore – aka how confusing asura names are to humans, yet utterly distinctive to the diminutive asura.

In my head, I could just hear it being patiently explained to a bookah, “No, no, you’ve got it wrong. It’s Shudd, as opposed to Shud… or Shodd,” each word carefully pronounced and articulated…

A giant question mark appearing over said bookah’s head…

…and the lil asura throwing up his hands and going, “Oh, forget it. Why am I even bothering?”

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Why -two- guardians, some would ask, when the one guardian could switch traits any time to be any build whatsoever?

Well, the idea was that my charr guardian was going to be built for solo wandering, to be mostly a one-handed weapon user, to be all hard-hitting berserker and stuff. The asura, on the other hand, was going to cleave a bit more towards meta, to do my group dungeons, to be a little tankier, to be used in WvW and we could achieve gear and build differentiation that way.

Best laid plans and all that.

It worked for a time. The meta of the day was the anchor guardian, so I faithfully picked up Knight’s gear, a hammer, a two-handed sword and so on. I did a considerable amount of dungeoning with Shudd, and couldn’t help but notice that I was picking up 95%-100% of the aggro of every fight and struggling to stay alive through self-healing, altruistic healing, renewed focus and pretty much every other trick in the book, while my group compatriots did nothing but dps (probably poorly too) and after that go, “Jeez, that was super easy. Piece of cake. Need harder difficulties!”

What? I was barely clinging on to life and it was so touch and go at certain points… And you want it, harder?!

Some time around the point between the Molten facility and the Aetherblade one, I realized I had finally had it with attempting to tank (or rather, anchor) for groups that couldn’t appreciate or see what was happening. Far better to split the aggro, let the ungrateful ones take a few hits of their own, and -feel- it, and all the stupid remarks about “easy peasy, need it harder” went away. I swapped to warrior for dungeoneering then, and retired the guardian.

He did, however, still see me through lots and lots of WvW. I swapped around cleric, soldier, zerker, zealot stats every which way, trying to figure out the best combinations, changing between tanky/bunker healbots, tanky frontline spearheads, not-so-tanky midline staff (lootstick) spam and basically played a ton of melee frontline in a zerg, during the best of times with superb commanders.

These days, I’ve been changing it up and playing more ranged backline (it’s also lazier and less stressful and easier to drop in and out unmissed) so poor old Shudd is sitting around unused, with bags still mostly bursting and untended to. Probably just a matter of time before things change again, I suppose.

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Personality-wise, Shudd is a lot more gregarious than Kujl.

His oddity, I suppose, is his adventuresome nature. He’s also off exploring the wilderness and interacting with all races of Tyria in a manner similar to the old GW1 hero, Vekk.

Yes, he is snide and snarky, like nearly all asura out there; he’ll cheerfully call you a bookah without thinking twice, but he’s not xenophobic about it. He’s in fact quite happy traveling and communicating with all races because to him, everything’s part of one giant lab experiment – his lab experiment.

Graduating from the College of Synergistics, he studies relationships and connections. You might call him a sort of sociologist or anthropologist, practising observational science. He studies various cultures, how they get along, relate to and interact with one another. He’s interested in psychology, history, economics and basically anything and everything that might suggest how it all synergizes into the Eternal Alchemy.

Because well, if he can understand that, then that’s it right there. The secret to life, universe and everything. Godhood, world domination, your heart’s desire, the fount of eternal life, the source of all magic, whatever, it all pales in comparison to the origin of knowledge, to understanding how it all ties together.

If the network of the Eternal Alchemy can be determined, mapped and understood, everything else would naturally fall into place like dominos following a chain reaction.

It’s going to take a life’s work. It’ll be a magnum opus, and possibly a swan song. It may mean slaying the Elder Dragons, if need be. So Shudd’s out there, observing, cataloging, fighting, searching for true facts and truth itself.

(And occasionally looking cute, in a gremlin-sort of way.)
(And occasionally looking cute, in a gremlin-sort of way.)

Everything else, well, it’s just stuff made in passing, inventions to kill time or serve a purpose.

The infinity ball? A toy.

The alchemagical devices that generate holograms like shattered dragon wings and his sword? Just utility tools.

His powered armor? #normalgeniusasurathings. Doesn’t everybody do that?

Whatever. The answer is out there. Somewhere.

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This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 22, and 42.

Blaugust Day 20: Asura Alt Collection – The Ranger (GW2)

I need another one of those quick posts again, because I’m seriously starved on time lately.

It’s all I can do to knock out one set of GW2 dailies (hit the three easiest – < 30 minutes), and then go on to one set of Trove dailies (fill the star bar – also < 30 minutes.)

I think Paeroka is on to something, showing off all her MMO mini-mes

Ditto Rowan Blaze, with his SWTOR character biographies.

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So, this is Kujl.

Pronounced “Cudgel,” as he will tell you sourly, if he deigns to tell you at all.

He shares the typical asura trait of assuming all bookahs fairly stupid and not worth conversing with, plus a little extra helping of bitterness for being teased mercilessly through progeny-hood for his un-asura-like name.

(No double-vowels, not even a double-consonant, not the usual short sharp exhalation of a one syllable male name, but a double syllable one slightly more typical of female asura names… the only thing vaguely respectably masculine is ending in a consonant… and the sexy ears, of course.)

Personally, I sometimes slip fondly into something more vaguely resembling “Cujo” or “Cujill” when I’m thinking of bringing him out for an sPvP spin, but it’s ok, we’ll whisper it and he already thinks we’re all a bunch of bookahs anyway.

He’s been level 39 for a very long time, having officially replaced my necromancer as my sPvP ol’ reliable some time back.

And he’s one of the rarer combinations of race and class – something I love my characters to be, so that they’re a little bit atypical and I can infuse a little more backstory into them.

Why asura ranger? Well, mostly because I thought the idea of a pet being as big or bigger than his ranger master would be hilariously awesome to play.

In my head though, Kujl is an extremely antisocial (probably even asocial) asura who doesn’t even want to mix with his own kind, due to said horrible childhood teasing making lab and school life a living hell.

Obviously, animals don’t judge in that fashion.

Since nature and the outdoors are where most normal and ambitious asura only venture to when their labs suffer an unfortunate accid- “learning experience” and require some ventilation time… or when they need test subjects… Kujl has probably discovered or decided that this giant free-from-rent-and-research-grant-requiring-(aka-political-schmoozing-needed) venue is where -he- will set up lab instead.

Being also a typical “I’ll show them… I’m a genius” asura, Kujl is busy pioneering work in “living” golems.

Yep, his pets are implanted with all manner of technomagical control devices for “guaranteed reliability” (fine print: beta version, some testing still required.)

It’s a curious thing, but I’ve always thought of Kujl as being fairly young, and his levels tend to match, I haven’t moved him beyond level 39, and not really sure I want to, even if I do want a level 80 ranger at -some- point.

Yet, he has a very old, serious, bitter soul.

He was one of the earliest characters I made, probably in one of the original five slots.

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I found a portrait of him at level 9, some time in Dec 2012, and I suspect he was made earlier than that.

At the time, I knew he was young, I tried to color him flamboyantly, yellow and purple “rich” colors, mostly because I was sick of dyeing all my alts some version of ebony, grey or brown for natural metal/leather colors.

It just didn’t quite click. He was kind of saying, this is not who I am.

I suppose we can assume he was still schooling at this point, dressing up in a more civilian style, if only to blend in, but just not comfortable with city life.

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Around 2013, I start attempting to level the ranger alt again, and give him a bit more of a makeover. He still has the purple intensity, that reflects the deep blue intenseness of his eyes. The yellow has been dialed back to something more cream-leathery, and more natural dark leather armor is protecting him on his ventures afar.

He stalls somewhere around lvl 20ish.

When I next revisit him, probably at least a year later, I have a free makeover kit lying around, and I decide to check out the exclusive asura hairstyles.

I have no idea how to describe it. A mohawk? A ponytail? Something vaguely Aztec-inspired? But somehow, I know it fits. He’s grown up.

He doesn’t need that kid hairstyle with the purple hairband anymore.

He’s moved from kid to teenager to young adult, at least.

I take him PvPing. I’m relying on his totally nondescript lowbie leather armor to signal that I’m a nobody, not at all prestigious, I can be overlooked, I probably suck, maybe we’re small and sneaky, but that’s about it for the fear factor…

… We do suck. For quite a while, as I throw myself gleefully into build-testing the hard way, under fire.

But slowly, surely, one experimental tweak after another, as I and he grow more comfortable with his weapons and what he is capable of, I start winning matches. Not a whole lot, but enough to tilt me back to a 50% win/loss kind of ratio.

Several months later, GW2 opens its very first sneak peek of Heart of Thorns, and somehow in the closing of that, something funky happens to the old pre-launch early start accounts and Anet says that our particular version of game doesn’t quite exist anymore. They’ve given us the heroic edition of the game instead, and the heroic edition comes with an extra bonus GW1 heritage/legacy armor skin from the gem store… Take your pick, heavy, medium or light?

The medium Krytan armor looks to my eye like the best of the lot, and it really reminds me of my GW1 ranger, who spent quite a while wearing a style like that.

But do I even -have- a medium armor class who can wear it?

Oh wait, yes, I do.

Somebody’s come of age.

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Some months after that, I was on my scientific skins collection kick.

When it was done, I was struggling to figure out who else could use green skins besides my necro (who already sports Tequatl sunless styles and a rare dreamthistle skin or two.)

And then I knew who it was absolutely perfect for.

Scientific and steampunky, as in asura-like technology?

Green and acidy, as in condi damage?

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Thank you, Kujl. Take a bow.

(Just don’t take over the world while I’m not looking.)

This post was brought to you by the letters B for Belghast and Blaugust, and the number 20.

Tabletop Fiasco @ Geek and Sundry

I may be the last person in the world to find out about this. If so, my only excuse is a quote from a Tripod song:

If there’s four levels of cool
Then I’m at Level 3.
It goes freakishly cool people first
Cool people next, then there’s me….
And then my mum.

I Always Get Into Stuff, Tripod

But anyway, Wil Wheaton apparently does a webshow on Tabletop games over at Geek & Sundry, and besides a rollicking round of Munchkin with Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh and Steve Jackson (which was pretty fun to watch too,) there is a truly spectacular example of the Fiasco RPG, which is a must-see.

Fiasco is basically a tabletop roleplaying game that is centered around generating a good narrative/story based on well-laid plans going horribly awry for a number of characters. It’s recreating the plot of any Coen Brothers movie or heist film in a very entertaining, consensus storytelling fashion. (They do a better overview and explanation of the game than I can in the video, so feel free to just skip this and watch.)

 

I’ve owned the Fiasco pdf for a good number of years now, mostly because I developed a habit of collecting RPG systems in my youth and it got cheaper and easier on the storage space to hoard them digitally instead. It’s a thick 135 page tome that I’ve never managed to read from cover to cover, but was impressed by how its design and mechanics help to build up and prompt ideas for the players.

Characters must end up linked to each other via Relationships of some kind, there are a number of Needs involved (the prime rule of storytelling, what a character wants and what he is willing to do to get it) and some Locations and Objects to create a setting and have some key Macguffins to focus on.

Sadly, I lack friends with the patience to sit at a table for two to three hours and tell a collaborative story, and try as I might, haven’t gotten around to figuring out how a game of solo Fiasco or writing with Fiasco might work. I keep stalling at the setup as my brain fries trying to develop three or four interrelated characters at once.

Still, the show’s pretty good inspiration for yet another attempt at it some time.

And even if you have no interest in tabletop roleplaying games (or ad lib acting or writing stories) whatsoever, you should just watch the Fiasco videos above because it’s one of the best movies that was never made.