Archive for the ‘Roleplaying’ Category

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Theory of the Undead

June 7, 2011

So about the release of the new race/class combos to kick off Cata, I started a baby undead hunter because Nathanos Marris was one of the few undead I really liked. I played through their starter areas and off through Silverpine, eventually stalling in Hillsbrad (which probably had a lot to do with those Nightmare Fodder bears. *shudder*)

Now, one of the things that is really big in the lore here, without getting too much in detail for those that haven’t tried it yet, is that Sylvanas is getting to be less and less trusted by… well… everyone. She is especially having her freedom constricted by Garrosh, and there are hints that she is becoming a Really Bad Person. In fact, the evidence for her becoming a Really Bad Person is apparently so compelling that the commentors on this thread from WoW Insider are convinced she’ll soon be a raid boss.

I would like to pause for a few sentences here though and mention that it would be terrible for Sylvanas to become a raid boss. To take Sylvanas’ conflicted character, who has just the right amount of championship balanced against expediency to make her a real member of the Horde, and turn her into a one-dimensional raid boss parroting, “I R EVIL, U DIE” would be a travesty. Now, I’m not saying that everything Sylvanas has done lately is on the up and up, but I definitely think a lot of what she’s been up to is due to the pressure she’s under.

Just because a dog bit your face doesn’t mean it’s a bad animal if you’d backed it into a corner first.

That said, I’d like to continue on with my pet theory for the way undead work and why Sylvanas is actually really cool:

Imagine being undead. I mean it’s kinda hard to really know what it feels to have your ribcage exposed to the open air or to be missing your lower jaw, but try to imagine how hard it would be to continue simple existence. Every physical fiber of your make-up knows that it ought to be inanimate. In the vast majority of cases, your very soul knows that continued existence is unnatural. You generally can’t control the power that keeps your body animated, because it is the cause of your undeath, so you’re stuck walking around without a lot of control over how it’s done.

Also consider how the Lich King keeps (kept) the Scourge under his willpower. How is it that those who fall to the Plague wake up under the thrall of the Lich King? How does his voice stay with them? What is to stop more of them from simply claiming their freedom and walking off if they’re not in his physical grasp? Why does Bolvar need to wear the pointy hat?

My theory is that certain extremely powerful undead have the power to shelter lesser undead with the greater power of their will.

Lesser elementals cannot exist in our plane without their binding bracers, or something similar, to tie them here, but greater elementals can exist independently and summon lessers into existence with them because of their greater power and will. So too can certain undead hold the link to control for other undead.

I submit that once a poor soul is pushed back into existence from death, they must maintain their hold over their actions through power and grim determination or turn into ravening beasts who run in flocks but are otherwise unable to do much more than scrabble forward and moan about braaaaainssss… Not many run-of-the-mill souls are able to do this, however, and so they thrash about in an attempt to control themselves and manage to brush up against great power; enough power to return them to sentience. In most cases pre-ICC this power would be the limitless reach of the Lich King.

The Lich King’s raw power and demented will acts like a breakwater, creating a sheltered spot where the undead does not need to constantly maintain his own will to stay under control of his own wishes. Once there, the Lich King grants some limited liberties back to his new minion and gives it jobs to do, just like a queen bee. In the event that the undead had a slightly more powerful soul, the threat of having the breakwater revoked is enough to keep them under obedience for the sake of continued sentience. The Lich King offers control, at the price of freedom.

What makes Sylvanas neat is that since regaining her own will and fleeing the grasp of the Lich King, she then grew in power until she could make her own breakwater. As her power increased, so did her ability to hold more of the new undead who called themselves Forsaken. They wanted an out from the Lich King’s grasp and she granted it to them. Even better, Sylvanas doesn’t force her will upon those undead behind her breakwater. She gives them control over themselves, as much of their mental faculties as can be recovered, and doesn’t generally do much to limit them. Sylvanas offers control and freedom, at the price of loyalty.

I think she was truly astounded by the actions of Putress not necessarily because what he did was wrong, but because she’d honestly forgotten that undead could exist independently of her or Arthas if they had the grit.

Because of this inherent lack of control and the sheltering effect of greater undead, Bolvar is necessary; he doesn’t offer control, but demands it as a set of chains. The undead that are left in the world and not under Bolvar’s control are weak sparks. Most of them are ravening beasts with no sentient thought, and a few have developed enough control to be personalities and hold a few of their fellows, but that’s about it.

This also explains the Forsakens’ fierce loyalty to Sylvanas, as she is taking on the burden of their collective existence and asking for beans in return.

Now.

There is nothing to back up my theory in game or in print. I know this, and this is why it’s my personal theory and not something I’m trying to pass off as Lore. I’ll also freely admit that I started wondering if this is the way the undead work after reading Mercy Thompson books really late at night (Specifically the relationships between Alphas and their wolves). In any case, I hope I’ve at least given you something to think about!

Two final things:

  1. I don’t actually like undead that much; they’re just not really my kind of race. However, I’d rather have Sylvanas as Warchief before Garrosh because I hate me some Garrosh. Like, seriously.
  2. Mercy Thompason books are pretty good. Werewolves, Vampires, and things that go bump… but they’re not written for preteen girls. The main character is 30-something and badass. As the series goes on things start to get more unbelievable, but that’s the nature of a fantasy series. Good books, fast reads, no hidden messages.
Okay, rant over!
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On the Elemental Spirits

April 7, 2009

firelordSo once again Etsugal and I were musing about aspects of Azeroth that are probably way to deep for anyone to muse about… except that we’re roleplayers and that’s just what you do. This time, it’s about elementals and the Elemental Plane.

The rule about elementals is that you do not talk about elementals. I mean, they’re trapped in the elemental plane. It’s actually somewhat strange that we have a character class entirely devoted to communing with and working with elementals because in their own way, elementals are Bad Guys. Way back in the day, before the titans, the elementals were the servants, lap dogs, and soldiers of the Old Gods. Old Gods are bad. They’re like… Well like the Aztec gods. Like Huitzilpochtli demanding hundreds of blood sacrifices to not destroy the world.

In any case, the titans arrive, lay out a picnic and sit around discussing how very fine this whole world would be if only those party pooper Old Gods would stuff it and let them enjoy their pimento loaf sandwiches. Well, like any good picnic nuisance, the Old Gods couldn’t just up and stop being annoying, so the Titans created the Elemental Plane, locked the elementals there, and then shoved the Old Gods down below the ground and figured they were done. At this point they start building things like dwarves and gnomes and Uldaman, Uldum, Uludar,…and a bunch of other things that begun with “Ul” too, I’m sure. Not very creative, were they? What this leaves us with, then, is a bunch of elementals from four opposing factions shoved together in one little prison. And this is where we come in. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Rp Server Envy

March 17, 2009

dice As was pointed out in WoW Insider today, the grass always seems greener. The other faction has it easier (Like the Sprite Darter thing, or the cooking recipe vendor, or the… No wait, back on topic.), the other class has it easier, you’d totally pwn if only you had <Insert Race>’s racial instead of yours…

Yeah, well… I have server envy. As was detailed in previous reports,* Earthen Ring is curiously devoid of active Rp, and most people (at least in trade) seem to belittle you for even trying. There used to be a lot of Rp guilds here, but most of them seem to have died off, or transumted into raiding or PVP guilds**. This isn’t to say that there is no Rp there***, but it’s rather sparse.

Honestly, until I started server hopping a bit more, I figured I’d missed something to the effect of:

  • Roleplaying servers have been removed from the game.

in the 2.1 Patch notes. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Aeodh mac Aodh

March 10, 2009

siege_engineA cheerful orange glow issued from the coals as a stocky dwarf pumped the bellows three more times and wiped her forehead on a rolled-up sleeve, grinning. Between the clanging of hammer on iron and the roaring of the wind over the top of the chimney, Aeodh and her father weren’t able to speak, but they did share their excitement in identical expressions of glee as the last piece of heavy-tank armor plating got its final shaping. Tomorrow, the piece would be heaved up against the side of the great war machine being built in their shop and bolted into place. Technically, there were still some minor things to clean up, aesthetic modifications to make, and the final check of all the fittings, but effectively this project was done.

Aeodh resumed pumping as part of the coal bed started to darken, and her mind began to wander. After the first four daughters who took up tailoring with his wife, Aodh Steamsmith had decided that his next child would be a son, one way or another. One more bouncing bundle of joy later and he had Aeodh, his new “son”, wrapped in a blue scrap of wool and handed around the tavern for toasts. It was only about five years ago that she’d really started helping her father in his siege vehicle workshop though, even if she’d been in here “helping” since she was a baby. Truth be told, her first steps were made from her mother’s skirt over to her Pa’s toolbox when Ma wasn’t looking. Her father was just fit to bust with pride when he saw that, and knew he finally had the heir to the family business he’d been hoping for. Read the rest of this entry ?

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In which there was a lot of pondering.

February 24, 2009

Edit: This post is somewhat out of date as of… well, most of Wrath, actually. It reflects ideas based on game/quest/lore design that doesn’t really exist, especially since the chaos of the Cataclysm. It has nothing to do with a world in which Moira Bronzebeard is trying to rule the dwarves or a world in which Garrosh has visited Azeroth and become a faction leader.

While portions of both factions maintain some of the aspects I’ve highlighted here, the broad generalizations are much less accurate than they had been.

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So Etsugal and I were sitting around having lunch yesterday, and somehow go on the subject of Warcraft lore, and how everyone has a side. It was brought up how the Alliance is always seen as the “Good Guys” and the Horde, depending on point of view, are “Bad Guys” or at the very least “Monsters that Don’t Deserve to Live”. From this point, as is natural in rambling conversations about fictional universes that keep us from doing the homework due in two hours, it then branched out and we explored the classic Warcraft villains and heroes and tried to define what exactly we were talking about.

Now, the first way that we tried to define evil was, “Destruction. Ultimate selfishness, something for you on someone else’s tab. (Be it their money, time, or their physical, emotional, or psychological well-being.)” A hero, then, was someone who did things at personal cost for a moral or ideal. One caviot, of course, is that a hero to one side of a situation is often a villain to the opposite side. For example, the Burning Legion are Bad Guys; they want destruction and a world of their choosing at the expense of lots of other people. The Scarlet Crusade has lots of people fighting for a cause that actually does have good intentions, I mean: who doesn’t want to see the Scourge eradicated? On the other hand, they also want to kill us and anyone that isn’t human and part of their order so… Heroes? Sure. My heroes? Not so much.

I liked this because by these definitions, a farmer in the third war just trying to get the harvest in before fleeing the country from the Scourge is a hero. He could flee and be safe, but he knows that the army needs food and so he puts himself in danger for the sake of a greater cause.

And then I remembered a much better explanation of it all…

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Care for a little angst with that?

February 10, 2009

angstSo Etsugal (my partner in crime, you may hear some posts about her in the future) and I have been running around on Wyrmrest Accord, the new Rp realm that Earthen Ring just had free transfers to. No, no, no we didn’t transfer Mitawa or any such silliness! Sheesh! We’d never be that on the ball that we could actually get our act together in time to take advantage of the free move! No, I mean we both rolled a new little baby dwarf pair, priest and paladin. They have some good stories of their own, but this post… no, this post is about other people.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Field Book 1: Tauren Skeleton

February 3, 2009

field-book1

Tawadikata, “Hawk Eye”, is a tauren hunter on the Silver Hand server who spends her days exploring and taking samples around all of Azeroth. Her studies began as a fascination with the origin of the mesas of Thunderbluff and the banded rocks in the Barrens and have grown to include any kind of Natural History she can track down to examine.

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As I walk in this strange land, the other continent (or as the humans say “Eastern Kingdoms”), I find myself stalking through Alliance-held lands and examining what is there. It is about a fortnight and a half into my journey north from Grom’Gol Outpost in the Stranglethorn Jungle, and last night I stopped just within the sheltering crags of the mountains bordering on Westfall. As I leaned against Shteawa’s tawny side and began to drift off to sleep under his watchful eye and rumbling purr, I heard in the distance a series of lowing sounds.

Fully awake and curious as to the new creature out in the darkness, I hushed Shteawa and crept down the slope toward the sound. As I approached, the lowing got louder; accompanied by twigs snapping, leaves crunching, and a dull metallic clunking sound. I remember thinking to myself that whatever creature this is must either be caught in a trap and fearing for it’s life, exceedingly dangerous, or stupid enough to be unaware of the dangers posed by making so much noise at night. Read the rest of this entry ?