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We are not.

It is my growing personal conviction that there's a culture clash between this place and our particular group. Every single time we've tried to engage with people here, it's ended up exploding in our faces. I'm woman enough to admit that some of that is likely on us - no one in the Alliance is a particularly meek or amiable personality on the best of days (there's a reason I act as the group's spokesman), but a larger part of it is on folks who seem to be surprised that we're not willing to job our faces off to inflate win counts around here and grovel at the feet of Da Champs until we've 'earned our place'.

I think you're misconstruing interactions you've had with specific people with Guild's Arena section as a community. This is problematic because:

1. The people in question are probably more tied to the TZDL, given the back and forth that has occurred. The TZDL, in terms of staffing and numerous people participating, are not "from" Guild, so attributing any interactions you've had with them to the community here isn't really accurate. This is, admittedly, a guess. For all I know, maybe one of the "home field" players like Melon or LeeRoy jumped down your throat at some point in the past. I can't really say, but I do know that the most recent friction hasn't been between you and Guild players, it's been between you and Zone players.

2. Guild's "home" population is very small and unlikely to be uniform in attitude. There's, what, maybe a dozen home-field players that are regularly active? "Regularly" being a relative term, considering the dearth of posting that was going on prior to the TZDL. It's somewhat difficult to imagine that a nearly dead community could muster up the wherewithal to make a group of people unwelcome when they can't necessarily dredge up the time or effort to keep their community active.

I'm from off-site too and I've never had any of the issues you've described with the people on Guild, and I'm pretty certain that it has nothing to do with any difference in personality, being that a) people in most fighting communities tend to be more assertive and argumentative as a general rule, so it's not as though your group is unique in that regard and b) I'm easily capable of being as acerbic and abrasive as anyone and it has had no real effect on how people perceive me.

RPGuild's Arena doesn't really seem to enjoy the sorts of fights we do, and we don't enjoy the sorts of fights we keep finding here. Everyone in the Alliance cut their teeth on a tier of combat where star systems were legitimate targets, and we all like savoring combat and drawing out a fight for twenty, thirty, or more turns over dozens of exchanges. A true display of each fighter's versatility, adaptability, inventiveness, and perseverance in the face of unrelenting, unflagging war. One Punch-y instagib five-post fights are not considered marks of skill or distinction for us; they're considered marks of scorn for a player considered beneath the attention and effort required of a proper fight.

We've decided it would likely be for the best for us to withdraw from play here. You don't want us here, and we don't particularly feel like being here anymore. Why keep pretending otherwise?

This seems like a personal failure, if I'm being frank. Aside from being inaccurate -- having judged several fights from RPGuild players including LeeRoy, Melon, Pollen, and others, I can say with a relative degree of certitude that their fights aren't particularly short nor geared towards being ended as quickly as possible -- it's also not especially logical or conducive to actually gaining anything from cross-community interaction. If you're going to participate in cross-site play, you generally follow the house rules until you've established some kind of rapport with the other community. You don't show up to someone else's game night and then demand they play your game. You play theirs, and if things go well then you can suggest your own game.

It's illogical to hop across a figurative pond to someone else's community and expect them to play by your rules, your preferences, and your communal mindset, and taking that approach effectively dooms you from the start. If you're not willing to adapt to the communities you travel in, then the onus for any failure-to-launch is really on you, not on the community. You can't expect a community to play differently for a complete group of strangers. If you want to enter a new community and get people to play your way, you generally have to play their way first.

I should know, being that I've been active on Gaia, NSider, Valucre, RPGuild, in the TZDL, and in numerous other communities, all of which have varying rulesets. In every instance, I've adapted myself to that community's way of doing things, while also explaining my own community's approach. Because I've been willing to adapt, I can in turn get people to adapt to my way of play. I can go into any of those communities -- those that are still extant, at any rate -- and say "Hey, I want a fight, and I'd like to fight according to my rules and preferences." I'd get plenty of people willing to do so, because if I jumped into one of their events, I'd adapt to their approach.

Roleplay is a fluid hobby. It has minimal rules, upon which we can build a nearly endless number of variant rulesets and approaches. If you want to play across multiple communities, you have to be adaptable. If you you're unable to adapt, or if you're dogmatic about how you want your roleplay to be done, then community-hopping isn't really for you, and RPGuild isn't to blame for that.

If you can't or won't adapt to the communities you come into contact with, then it might be best that you don't explore other communities because that inflexibility will just create impasse after impasse and you'll never really get anything for your efforts. That being said, I think it behooves anyone who sincerely gives a flat fuck about this hobby to push themselves towards being as flexible and fluid as possible, because it's the only viable way to create cross-community connections that are going to allow roleplay to grow and flourish.

Being dogmatic and/or isolationist only leads to one thing: stagnant, shrinking communities.
Unfortunately for Lyra, she gave up another piece of information in the continued manifestation of her offense: that she shared the dubious honor with Caius of being, like he, a being of psionic power -- and one of no small means, it seemed. Caius not only registered the abrupt drop in temperature, but he also sensed the presence of another mind behind the downward shift as it expanded the cold outward from the stalks of grain. The same mind, it turned out, that he registered within the dark depths of the Shroud.

Caius understood, in theory, a great many things. He understood weapons, languages, the multitudes of myriad species and races that abounded the multiverse, the various forms of sorcery and esoteric energy manifestations. These he understood, on some level. But being a psychic, exerting one's mind to project their will onto reality; that Caius knew, inside and out. He knew it as he knew his own hands, and it was easier to kill a kindred spirit than a foreign one thanks to that intrinsic, fundamental familiarity.

As soon as she nudged her missiles in to avoid having them cast aside like chaff, Caius reacted. A portion of the outermost vectors of the swirling psionic energy collapsed inward, sealing the grains and their growing frost crystals within an encasement of energy. While some crystals did form, the amorphous nature of the psionic energy simply enveloped them with preternatural swiftness, like an amoeba grasping and surrounding a meal with its psuedopod. While Lyra could freeze all of the water vapor that might have been trapped with the grain-stalks and ice crystals, there wouldn't be enough expansion to matter -- she was apparently a manipulator, but not a generator, and so she could only work with what Mother Nature, in her capricious and fickle nature, saw fit to provide. Even if Lyra could flash-freeze an enormous breadth of the space around her, Caius's sphere of psychic energy and influence could simply expand as needed to encapsulate and isolate.

Each encasement peeled off of the vector field and collapsed once more in a bright, momenary flash of localized heat that evaporated any water or ice and left the grain-stalks as little more than ash. While Lyra's attack did little to trouble Caius, it did slow down the strand of his thoughts dedicated to psionic pursuits, as he was forced momentarily to deal with her trap. In another time and another place, Caius would have given a fellow psion high praise for that sort of inventiveness. However, that farmland was neither the proper time nor place, and Caius had no praise to offer.

The splitting of Caius's mind allowed him to deal with the defense while still projecting his own offense in the form of the discharged bullet. Caius's martially-minded strange of thought triggered the telekinetic energy sheathing the munition and with a secondary crack of gunfire, the seventy-five caliber round shattered into a dozen shards, flechetting the Shroud's surface, rather than flying through the hole spread open for its passing. What that would do to the Shroud was a question only Lyra could answer for Caius's curiosity.

Having dealt with the momentary surge of frost that Lyra tried to manifest, Caius's other strand of thought quickly returned to manipulating and manifesting a tulpa in one of the ten nodes on his armor. The tulpa's programming was relatively simple: draw ambient energy from the environment and from incoming attacks -- kinetic energy, heat, light, the like -- and translate that energy into psionic energy to fuel Caius's shield. The tulpa acted as little more than a simple circuit, a conduit through which energy passed, parsed, and was re-purposed. A simple thing, but useful.

Assuming Lyra hadn't acted once more, Caius would discharge another round from his Telekinetically-keyed Orochi -- this time, squarely at Lyra.

Availability remains largely the same, except on Wednesday I'll be in the gym after work, so I won't be available until 9 or 10 am at the earliest. Same caveats regarding work apply.
The Shroud expanded outward, like a ship's sail filled by an unseen wind. Caius watched the expanding plane of darkness encroach on the horizon; although he remained outwardly calm, the sudden display sparked his enhanced syanpses into forcing a psionic reaction, picked out from the myriad of combat routines and techniques encoded directly into the multiversal mercenary's mind. The psychic energy of his spherical shield thickened, both like and unlike the Shroud: it grew, but rather than shifting outward, it began to churn and whorl, rotating in a vortex centered around Caius's armored form. The increased presence of psychic energy made the shield more visible than prior; a fata morgana mirage whipped and whirled around Caius, marking the expanded border of his barrier at approximately two meters from its center.

Behind the featureless casque of his helmet, Caius was impressed by what he saw -- at least, he was certainly impressed by the Shroud's ability to manifest in a large area with a certain sort of celerity. Both the micro-computer fused into the back of his skull and Caius's mind began to spool information together from the Shroud's outward behaviors and properties -- both those evident to his sight, and those that came to him from his preternatural senses. He began to form a dim picture of the Shroud in his mind:

First, it absorbed certain ambient energies; Caius's dynamic senses saw the way that it leached the local heat and light from its immediate area.

Second, and more importantly, the Shroud was not his enemy. Rather, it was a tool his opponent manipulated: when the Shroud expanded, the sapient mind he sensed did not expand with it, and more, it moved within the expanded phenomena. A definite target, then.

Of course Caius knew full well that he could be entirely wrong, and the thin inkling of understanding he possessed regarding the Shroud could be entirely false. It required due experimentation, then, to see whether or not his suppositions rang true or false.

Caius mirrored Lyra's movements, moving to his left as she moved to her right, keeping their paths parallel and maintaining the fifty-feet distance between them. Out came the six-fold burst of polar-iced projectiles, but Caius's newly-upgraded reflex shield dealt with them well enough: the rotating bubble of psionic energy acted as a vector field that rotated clock-wise around the psion. The vector of the rotation grew stronger the closer to Caius it was, so that the psionic energy worked ever-more strongly on projectiles that sought to mark him as their target.

Lyra's grain stalks, aimed squarely at Caius, came into the vector-field head-on and had their paths shifted aside, seeming to veer around the man in his stygian-black armor. Particulates of psionic energy, sheared and shredded by the redirection of the missiles, created iridescent motes around Caius; a miniscule cost considering the fact that redirection proved more energy-efficient than laying down a redoubt of psychic-energy armor for Caius.

Unflinching and unceasing in his matching-movements, Caius drew up his right-hand pistol, the Orochi seventy-five caliber pistol keyed to his telekinetic signature. A smooth feathering of the trigger with his index finger hurtled a hypersonic round towards his target: not Lyra, but the Shroud. Indeed, Caius specifically avoided aiming for the weight of sapience he felt in the Shroud, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that he was aware of her position. The entire sequence -- striding leftward, raising and discharging his pistol -- was a series of autonomous actions, dictated by the combat protocols encoded into his synapses.

Meanwhile, Caius's thought processes split apart into two strands: one reactive and combat oriented, the other fixed solely on the composing and enacting of complex psionic phenomena. He needn't utilize the technique to pursue both paths, but he found it much easier to do so, as the competing needs of each pursuit could be met without crowding over one another to get his conscious or subsconscious attentions.

The combative strand of Caius's thoughts and actions fixed itself on the interactions between he, his weapons, and his foe -- namely, how the Shroud would respond to being shot by a munition that could easily blow off a man's limb. The psionic-focused strand of his mind began to pool energy into one of the nodes on his armor, shaping and molding it to his whims in the way that a man might create a sculpture.. or a machine.

And so, outwardly, Caius's actions were simple: striding and shooting, seemingly casting aside his foe's attack with an unseen force. Inwardly, however, Caius's mind was a-churn with a multitude of mental maneuvers, a psionic engine running on all cylinders.

[Poop post incoming.]

A beam of incandescent light burst to life beside the barn, momentarily blanketing the structure in stark illumination. After the brief flash, the farm returned to normal, save for the smell of ozone and the slow, creaking opening of the barn doors as a man-shaped figure strode out of the structure.

Caius ignored the lurch in his gut that accompanied every displacement. Having one's mass scattered, ferried, and re-coalesced through a beam of light did not, the psion found, feel especially good. Still, it beat traditional forms of atmospheric entry, which were slow, bumpy, and inaccurate. Landing an orbit-to-surface shuttle on the farmland probably would have demolished the barn and any other structure in the immediate area. All the same, he'd need to correct his ship's AI on its spatial placement; it very nearly displaced him into the same position as a tractor.

Black body armor covered him like a chitinous shell of matte-colored ceramite, each piece molded and fitted together smoothly. Silvery slivers of metal decorated the armor here and there, running up and down the length of his torso, counter-point to the glowing nodes that were set into the black ceramic material at regular intervals. He wore his helmet, although he doubted the necessity of its air-filtration system: he was on some variation of Old Earth, where the atmosphere was perfectly safe. Still, better safe than sorry where any potential foes were concerned.

Pistols clung to his hips, mag-locked in place to his armor. His hands rested easily on the weapons, fingers curled around the grips molded to for his hands. The Psi-HUD read off his ammunition count: twelve rounds in each weapon. As far as outward appearances were concerned, those were his only weapons.

Ahead of him loomed something black and gloamy, like a concentrated shadow that resisted the sun's obliterating illumination. In his dynamokinetic perception, he saw the way it deadened the local electromagnetic field, although he couldn't guess as to how. Absorption, perhaps, or simply some underlying diffusion of force and energy? The multiverse held a myriad of mysteries just like the Shroud.
More importantly, Caius sensed the presence of a mind inside, or part of, the Shroud. It stood out in contrast to the rest of the farmland. A sapient mind had weight to it, a sort of density that simpler minds -- like those of the various field mice and birds in the area -- lacked. He didn't try to read it; just being aware of its presence was enough.

Caius couldn't discern whether or not his enemy was within the Shroud, or was the Shroud. Not that it mattered. He hadn't been hired to study his opponents, he had been hired to fight and to win. Frankly, what purpose his employer saw in having the multiversal mercenary partake in something like a tournament was beyond Caius's pay-grade. All that mattered was that there was a pay-grade to be had; he didn't earn his keep by asking why he pointed his guns at something, he did so by pulling the triggers.

Caius's autonomous psionic shield reflexively triggered into existence in response to sensing another sapient mind in the area. A bubble of psychic energy warped around him. It was vaguely visible, iridescent like oil reflecting sunlight in water. The pistols unlocked from his hips and the weight of each weapon settled into his hands.

He stopped just in front of the barn, having only taken a few steps, still a good fifty-odd feet away from the dark phenomena of the Shroud.

"Well then?" he asked, as if he expected to answer.

Maybe he did.
This week:

Wednesday: 7am to 12 pm*, and then 10pm to 11:59pm.
Thursday: 12 am to 12 pm, then 10pm to 11:59pm.
Friday: 12am to 12 pm. I go back to work Friday night at 10 pm.

Similar days next week. Basically, I'm free all Wednesday night and Thursday night.

*Is dictated by whether or not I get out of work on time. Scheduling and staffing issues abound at work right now, meaning I may not get out of work until as late as 3pm, which shifts my sleeping hours somewhat.
I'll put something together whether or not it gets used. I was intending to do so for other projects anyways; this will be a good warm-up and a teachable moment to show people how to construct characters while examining some of the concepts that go into said construction. I actually just wrote an essay/discussion on how we define character powers and give them shape last night. Been putting together a little catalog of the ideas I've been bandying around for the past five years. Figure someone might get some use out of it.
@Darth They gotta learn some time. You aren't doing them any favors by simplifying things.

@Dark Light I will be messaging you later today. And in that regards, if it's ok with you, I'd like to be your mentor. I feel we'd make a good match.

I'm doing them a pretty big favor by simplifying things because I'm:

1. Making it immediately easy to grasp without minimal potential complications.
2. Putting aside concerns regarding character balance in order to focus on learning how to play
3. Giving them a quick, easy means of crafting a combat-capable character and giving them a guideline on which to build.

So I'd say I'm doing the plenty of favors.

EDIT:: Just realized I probably sound snippy. Not meaning to, just haven't slept yet.
IMHO, that wouldn't be what the tournament was advertised as. Players didn't sign up for it expecting such a system, so i don't think it'd be a good idea to implement it now - unless we receive unanimous agreement from the participants.

That being said, i'm still a proponent of a more traditional approach. This kind of system isn't currently being used among arena members, so it won't be properly teaching the relevant skills or knowledge in terms of character creation - or at the very least, it might deliver a skewed perception of how it's done.

Every single Arena member uses the underlying premise of this system whether or not they realize it; all I'm suggesting is that it be enormously simplified in favor of making grab and go characters that can be easily and readily played without having to consider things like balance, character scope, and other myriad concerns that usually plague arena players.

Defining and limiting isn't complicating -- it's simplifying.
So, to elaborate on what I pitched to Rilla, I'll go over the basic approach. First and foremost, let me clear up a misunderstanding: what I pitched wasn't premade characters, it was creating characters from a specific set of options in order to simplify the character creation process and to ensure parity of power between the various characters; character balance can be an elusive concept in T1, and so by creating a system of abilities that everyone adheres to and chooses from, it gives us (the "mentors") a better opportunity to keep the playing field even for people. It's much easier to learn on a level playing field than an unlevel one.

The basic premise is similar to what you might find in tabletop RPGs: at character creation, you have a limited number of options to choose with which to build your characters, and these options are roughly equal in scope, if not necessarily in form or function. The categories would be Primary Element, Secondary Element, Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon, Armor, and a Passive ability.

Each of these categories breaks down further. In the Elements, we might have, say, six elements: fire, water, wind, stone, light, and shadow. Within each element, there is a total of ten "abilities" ranging from long range to short range, defensive powers, movement powers, and the like. Each player would pick three "abilities" from their primary Element and two from their Secondary. Example: I make a Fire-Stone elementalist. I choose three fire abilities and two stone abilities.

In the next three categories, we have equipment. We can keep it simple here -- a broad range of weapons, any two chosen, and one choice of armor.

The final category would be passive, which could influence how your character operates. They might be faster, or stronger, or more durable. something that fundamentally changes the way you approach playing the character in a simple way.

So, the end result -- again, not pre-made, but generated using pre-made concepts -- would look something like:

Name: Jimmy John Bigboulder
Race: Human
Age: 20
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 240 lb
Passive: Strong -- Character is stronger than average by X or Y margin (say, he can lift 2,500 off the ground and 1,000 overhead).
Primary Element: Stone
Secondary Element: Light
Primary Ability 1: Stone Defensive Ability
Primary Ability 2: Stone Movement Ability
Primary Ability 3: Stone Melee Ability
Secondary Ability 1: Light Melee Ability
Secondary Ability 2: Light Defensive Ability
Secondary Ability 3: Light Utility Ability
Primary Weapon: Roundshield
Secondary Weapon: Roundshield
Armor: Breastplate

Obviously there's a lot of placeholders here and it's not as though any of this is remotely finalized, but you get the idea. Just from the sample sheet above, we can look at the character and see that I made a big, burly brawler who, presumably, has doubled up on defense and on melee fighting while dual-wielding shields.

I can generate other examples pretty quickly. In this way, new players can learn how to shape and contour their character's ability to suit what interests them or inspires them: maybe they want to play a defensive-oriented character, or a highly mobile one. by picking and choosing specific abilities, passives, and equipment, they can easily do so without having to try to draw it out from a broad spectra ability like "element manipulation" which can be subject to a lot of questions (how, what, when, where, why, to what degree, etc).

Hope that clears things up a touch.

EDIT:: This would also be really beneficial in the instances where mentors spar or fight against new players, because it means that, while the mentor might have more complex ideas regarding a character's powerset, they're limited to the same tools as the new player, so the disparity in knowledge and experience isn't quite so stark.
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