Chakat Thoughts

Chakat Swiftwind

‘Kats gonna ‘kat.

So I’d like to discuss this sexy piece of pinup art I got from @Inkrend recently.  (Side note:  This is the SFW version – my furry art galleries have the NSFW version.)

First a little bit of history.  Back when I was foxing around on Second Life, I got introduced to ‘taurs and found them somewhat fascinating.  Researching them led to the chakat universe, which took some of the basic concepts of Star Trek and re-spun them with a furry bent.

The chakat race is a race of feline hermaphrodite taurs, with a primarily female appearance, created by Bernard Doove a.k.a. Goldfur.  I believe this was among the first of the “original” furry species to really take off in popularity- which eventually led to others such as Sergals and Dutch Angel Dragons.

Anyways, I thought a bit about what I would be like if I was a chakat, and decided to actually create hir to “reserve” the character and name.  I ended up fully embracing hir for probably close to a year as my fursona, before awakening to dragonhood.

A bit over a year ago I revived hir to be a character in a story I had written, and establish a  place for hir in the chakat universe.  This led to a few more art pieces, which I’ve previously shared and a renewed personal interest in hir as a character.

While the previous art pieces I’ve gotten have been great, a minor pet peeve has been that they’ve never gotten hir bust size quite right.  Shi is supposed to have fairly large breasts, but none of hir depictions have really shown it well.  This one, on the other hand, does.

Another thing I like about this is that I get an impression of maleness as well, which is very fitting for a hermaphrodite in general, and hir in specific, as shi tends to lean more towards hir male side.  It may just be me, or it may not have been intentional, but combined with the fact it actually got hir bustline right this is the best depiction of hir yet!

This actually also inspired a re-evaluation as well of how I’ve been representing myself.  I know there are some that have multiple characters, while others have an identity tied to a single representation of themselves.  I myself fall into the latter category, with my dragon self being in all ways a reflection of my inner being.

Basically, I considered that if I had gotten this picture earlier, would it have made a difference?  At heart, I still believe that I am dragon, and after consideration, I don’t believe I have the right mindset to truly be a chakat, unlike some others I know out there.  Chakats are naturally polyamorous – they have multiple mates at any given time, and jealousy is something that is not natural to them.  As hermaphrodites, they are also naturally bi, though they may have individual preferences towards one side or the other, much as single-gendered folk have preferences for certain parts of the body.

As much as I could see the above art representing me, and with how aware I am of my feminine side, I unfortunately fit neither of those qualifications.  To start with, I had the opportunity to explore how I felt about both genders online by playing a herm, and male anatomy just doesn’t excite me.  Herms that I have found attractive have been mostly due to their female attributes.

Secondly, I am also definitely not polyamorous.  If I consider someone my mate, they are mine and I would not feel comfortable about them screwing other people – though to be fair this goes both ways.  I also would not feel comfortable screwing someone else while being in a relationship.  I don’t have any problem with open mateships in and of themselves; they’re just not for me.

Chakats are also fairly even-tempered.  While I can be in general, I’ve gotten rather angry at times.  My temper is overall far more draconic than it is chakat.

All that aside, I could see myself playing hir online again at some point, but ultimately shi is a much smaller aspect of my being than my dragon self, and barring being more active on Second Life again, there’s not much of an opportunity for me to do much besides write about hir or get art.  If the opportunity presents itself though, shi’s definitely on my short list, and I would love to be able to play hir in a Traveller campaign or something similar.

And I finally have a picture I can point to without qualifications and say “That’s hir!”

Worlds of Whimsy Addendum: Makai Knight and Makai Priest

Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns.

Yet by the blade of knights, mankind was given hope.

So, a while back I got most of my IRL gaming group interested in a live-action show called Garo and it’s sequels.  The concept is basically modern fantasy – if an object becomes infused with enough negative karma, it can act as a gateway for demons from the Makai, which is basically an alternate plane of magic and evil.  These demons then come through and possess or replace people to feed on humans.  There is an ancient order of protectors that then fight them in secret to send them back where they came from: the Makai Knights, who fight them with sword and armor, and Makai Priests, who use magic and hand-to-hand combat.

If the explanation seems confusing, here’s a short music video done using footage from one of the movies and the original opening song, which should give an idea of what goes on:

Side note, the original series was recently licensed by Kraken Releasing so give it a buy when it finally comes out!

Anyways, they were interested in actually making a Makai Knight character and put a bug in my ear about a homebrew class for Pathfinder.  Inspiration struck, and I sat down and worked out the mechanics for the Makai Knight, drawing on all the various series to attempt to cover all the capabilities they’ve shown, and break it down into a meaningful progression, and in an at least hopefully somewhat balanced way.

Like the Black Blade archetype for Magus, a lot of the class’s power are tied into the sword and armor that they essentially get for free – however, there is a time limit on usage of their full power.  In-show, if they wore the armor for over 99.9 seconds, it would attempt to devour them, and I tried to simulate that in-game as well, as a limiter on the power of “free magic items.”

As the Makai Priest is tied so strongly i concept to the Knight, I then worked out a class to try and properly represent the priests as well, borrowing heavily from the Witch, which they were thematically close to already.

For purposes of this post, I’ve put them into PDF form, to preserve formatting and allow for printouts for use at the game table.

Enjoy!

Makai Knight class for Pathfinder/d20

Makai Priest class for Pathfinder/d20

Future Imperfect – Cyberpunk is Now

Cyberdragon

So wow, been a while.  I meant to write this almost 6 months ago, but things came up and stuff was done, and I got distracted by other things site-related that I was considering doing first to the point I kept pushing this off.

Anyways, this was the other subject I referenced previously.  Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 20202, Neuromancer, and so on all painted a picture of a world wrapped up in cybernetics and wires, where man had enhanced himself with computers.  Nations still exist, but are much less important to the common man than the corporations they serve.  A lot of people think it’s still in the future, or that it’s a future that will never happen, but if you tilt your head just slightly, it’s pretty plain that we’re there already in many ways, and damn close on others.

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Future Imperfect – Virtual Transhumanism

So I was talking with a co-worker during some downtime recently, and the speculation it led to was quite interesting I feel.  It started with discussing how we’re in the future already that was talked about back in the 80s and 90s, but we just don’t recognize it(which is a topic I plan to go into seperately), and ended up with some discussion on how things may look in the near future, if we take current trends and run them out to a possible logical conclusion.

To start off with, let’s take a look at Shadowrun – take away the magic and D&D aspects, and it’s fairly standard cyberpunk.  In the original version, the Matrix was this world in virtual reality – VR and you could look like anything you wanted there.  Think Second Life, but with a full body VR, usually via direct neural interface.

As we worked on that tech in the real world, pure VR fell more to the side, partly due to the challenges of such tech versus the demand for such.  Instead, what grew up was a compromise; augmented reality.  Products like Google Glass and the holodisplay that Microsoft has demonstrated mix the virtual right over top of the real.  There are even games using similar tech now, such as the upcoming Pokemon Go.

As the developers of the Shadowrun system and universe updated it, they had to work in modern developments that were not expected back when it was created, such as AR and wireless, that people today might take for granted or see as near-future, and they had to do it in a way that made sense in-universe.  Thus came the wireless Matrix being available anywhere, after a fashion, and overlaid on the real world via AR to interact with.

Well, jumping off that idea, with AR you can overlay images to change how something looks.  What this means, is that fashion may take a sudden dive to the left, as the clothes no longer matter.

For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s assume that computational power is not an issue – cloud computing, etc tied into your visor/glasses/monocle/implants.  In much the same way that the studio was able to replace Arnold or his double in the later Terminator movie with his younger self, in AR your device could edit out a person’s appearance and modify it in real-time. Want some expensive, fancy clothes, but without risk of damaging or soiling them?  Let AR overwrite them onto your body for anyone tied into the network who looks at you.

The fashion world would be rocked, but adapt, and clothes would lose most of their appearance aspects.  Instead of wearing something to look good, you’d wear(or not wear) what was comfortable and affordable.  Most instances of clothes would become drab and utilitarian, while to the everyday folks they would be surrounded by a cavalcade of color and whimsy, full of outfits that are not physically possible.  In warmer weather, to a person not tied into the AR network, it might even seem as if he or she had walked into a nudist colony!

The capability does not stop there, however.  If clothes can be overlaid, so can full appearances.  While flying may not be possible on a personal level, you might end up with a scene looking like a high-resolution realistic Second Life, as the only limits would be those set by the system.  Furries, otherkin, cosplayers, and many others would be drooling over such a capability to truly become their character, or their true self, depending on perspective.

There would have to be limits of course, as their physical bodies still exist, so likely there would be few taurs or other four-leggers running around, or tinies or macro beings for that matter. That aside, on one level this would appear to be a gateway to transhumanism – to become more than human.  Setting aside any social stigma such as exists now for furries and others of a kindred nature, you could be walking down a street and pass a wolf, a faerie, a sumo wrestler, just to enter McDonalds and be served by a tigress whose outfit barely covers her and a robot with visible gears and pistons. People could effectively be anything humanoid they wanted to be.

On the other hand, it’s all virtual.  Turn off the implant, take off the glasses, and you’ll find the boring, mundane, drab grey world still exists behind the glitzy facade, much like Las Vegas.  For some, that may be enough, and with less push behind it from the semi-human quarter, progress and research in that direction may slow or even halt entirely in some aspects.

With less need to take care of themselves physically, there may be increased health issues as well, though possibly less than some would think, as smell is not included in our little thought experiment.  Sound could be, however, providing voice-changers to all and sundry.

This idea however I could easily see being reachable in our lifetime, given the strides networking, parallel processing, and cloud computing has made in the past decade.  Safely gene-splicing to phsycially modify our bodies is much, much further away, I feel.  But with being able to gain the “perfect” body via AR, whatever your definition of perfect, may dis-incentivize  research into actually gaining that body, which may push the end result out even farther.  Then again, there’s no reason that VR couldn’t take off again, allowing people to move in VR and interact with people in the real world via AR, while in the comfort of their home, or maybe even in a computer if anyone manages to solve the problem of how to upload our minds and souls into our creations.

I guess overall I see it as a blind alley that we could easily head into. There may be a door that leads us to someplace unexpected, or we may end up having to turn around and start from zero once more.  Then again, the rumored singularity may happen and we just hop the alley wall into the unknown.

“You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometime…
You just might find…
That you get what you need~”

My Two Cents on Dollars

So, first post I’ve written on my tablet, but bed’s too comfy to leave and I got thoughts to chew on before I go to sleep.

It started by thinking about my current “entertainment” budget, then recalling how some friends of mine were scraping by, and how they think about money, and then how I treat money and what I’d found out recently about where I stand.

Maybe it’s best if I start with my situation.  My current job is salaried, and I honestly probably pay less attention to the amount than I should.  For example, there’s a bonus program going on for completing some training that we need to do anyways, but it had to be done on our own time.  I wanted to do it because it needed to be done anyways, and I had some art in mind I wanted to spend it on, but I almost missed the deadline because the money wasn’t that important – and it was half of a single paycheck in total!

Currently my life us fairly comfortable, though not extravagent.  Thanks to my current arrangements, bills are mostly covered, so most of my paychecks go into savings.  These are relatively temporary arrangenents though, so I still treat that money as if it was already spent, and ignore the total amount sitting in savings unless I need to move money. This keeps me from getting used to overspending and having issues later due to that.

My perspective on money is informed by this treatment of pay as well.  I still feel $200 is a lot to spend on anything, and spending $100-ish on single optional purchases still makes me internally cringe a bit. When I’m  using anything that’s triple digits in price, I usually go over it several times before pressing “buy.”  I still try to pay cash for most small offline purchases even!

Well I was looking at some statistics the other day about salary ranges and was surprised at the ranges.  I had thought I was in the lower-middle class range, but apparently I’m solidly middle class?  My dad before retirement was actually upper-middle, but it never felt like it growing up.  We never really lived like it either.

My friends on the other hand are in a worse situation, though it’s partly of their own making – they have too many dogs and cats to feed and care for, and at least one of them doesn’t really want to get rid of any.  They’be got 4 dogs, 9 cats I can think of, plus 2 more kittens, and then 4-6 people, depending on if either of those last two are covering their own stuff or not.

They’re basically running off two incomes at the moment, with a third partially contributing via rent. Money is tight, and even $3 can seem like a lot at times I think.  They still manage to squeeze in some “entertainment” purchases, it doesn’t feel like they really budget well in advance.  They’re basically going paycheck-to-paycheck right now from my perspective.

Now I’m wondering if I should see if I can help with some electronic budgeting.  At a basic level anyways.

Now I’m not sure where I was going with this.  I try to treat money as if I don’t have it, track my monthly spending on “toys,” balk at big purchases, but a meal out every now and then or an occasional $3-$10 purchase doesn’t seem excessive.  My dad on the other hand will buy a 6-month sub to an MMO he hasn’t even tried yet and think nothing of it.  I’ve got a co-worker who has been subbed to WoW since Vanilla, even though he hasn’t played in years.  And then for the people I mentioned earlier even a month of WoW is a significant cost.

When you don’t have it, money is precious.  If you have a lot and start to use it, your mental scale for what is and isn’t expensive can change, which can then lead to trouble later if your supply dries up, which I guess is all about lifestyle.  Find the lowest lifestyle you’re comfortable at, then put all the extra away in case you ever actually need it. Even if you don’t follow a hard budget, at least track it so you can catch yourself if you start overspending.  At least, that’s what I’m trying to do.

After all, there’s two tips I’ve heard in the past. First, is that to have a comfortable retirement, you want to have around one million in the bank these days.  With inflation that will only go up.

Second, is that you want to aim for putting about half your post-tax paycheck into savings.  Right now that’she not a concern for me, but once my circumstances change as I expect them to, I’ll be using that as one of my budgeting guidelines to aim for.

It just feels odd that despite having the lowest need to be responsible with budgeting currently of those I’ve discussed, I seem to be being the most responsible.  And yet, I still seem to care less about it than others.

Speaking about being responsible, one last tip: credit cards shouldn’t be used as small change loan sharks, but as condoms for your wallet.  If you don’t spend more than you have and pay it off in full, it’s no different than a debit card in convienience.  However, if someone steals you debit card number, that money is gone until you convince the bank to reimburse you.  If they steal a CC number, you still have all your money while you work with the bank to cancel the fraudulent charges.  Finally, if you don’t pay it off, interest rates can lead to you digging a hole for yourself that you can’t get out of. I was headed that direction once, but used my current money-handling methodology to free myself from that trap.

Don’t really have anything else to add to this rambling now I guess, so I’ll call it here and see if I can actually get some sleep now!

Home Sweet Home

Welcome!

So between sufficient amounts of boredom accumulating and a lack of things to do in my various games, I decided to make a return to SL as I was feeling decidedly draconic recently.   When I got back in, I was reminded that one of the projects I had kept putting off was a renovation of my home there.

Snapshot_018

The OG Dragon’s Song, with a few of my touches.

Originally, before Kaitlyn passed on, we stayed in a small castle on the small corner of the Isle of Gazoo that we called our own.  It was a cozy little place more fitting to our tiny-sized selves, and home to many virtual pets that she kept there.  It had been there a while before we got together and once I “moved in” with her, I added a few things of my own, such as a Stargate, an art panel, and the stained glass window from the original Isle of Wyrms’ Cathedral, before it was bulldozed for the current version.

Now we’d discussed rebuilding it to better suit the both of us a few times in the past, but not much came of it.  I’d suggested having the building adjusted so it appeared to be built out of the side of the mountain, and maybe make it a three level tower, but between time we spent doing other stuff, prim allotments and such, nothing ever came of it.

Once it became solely mine however, I was torn between doing something with Standing stones that teleported to a skybox above, or a dragon cave built into the mountain itself.  I got as far as locating a cave building kit and trying to prototype a cave before, but the pieces did not have external textures so I had to build an outside wall, and I didn’t like how it was turning out so I trashed the work, and never got back to it until recently.

With time to kill and nothing better to do, I took measurements again and took another stab at building the mountain and cave.  I threw a ice plain about level with the top of the next plot over, followed by another ice wall angled down to match the slope of the ridge next to it, ending at the rock wall.  With that in place, I added some boulders to make a wall of rock, leaving a place for the cave, which I started on after that.

The cave came together better this time, but I found out due to the size of the plot and the cave pieces that if I made it big enough to accommodate my full size form, it wouldn’t be able to be as large around as I wished.  I also found another issue with it, relating to the former castle.

You see, I wanted to leave some of Kaitlyn’s stuff as a memorial, and among the things i inherited were some of her virtual cats.  They were basically confined to the second floor of the castle(which had been our living room of sorts) and I didn’t want to just remove the castle completely, as I couldn’t move any of the objects she had left, such as the bed for the cats. So the first thing I had done before returning the castle was build a room around the room, so that the cats wouldn’t escape and so everything I couldn’t move could stay where it was.

Anyways, once I placed the cave in, I found it was tall enough it was poking through the floor of the new lounge area, which means I would have to dig it out.  Suffice it to say, that terraforming in Second Life with the in-world tools is a royal pain.

The last major addition was the observation balcony, and a third room to go with it.  Since we had a great view from our part of the Isle, I had wanted to have a observation balcony to take advantage of it.  That went in fairly easily, and everything else after that was furnishings and fine-tuning.  But why describe when I can show?

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And we’re back!

So I didn’t get around to writing for a while, and of course when I go to go write, I find out that a technical issue has had it offline since early February.  That’s been corrected now.

I still have a couple post ideas, but I want to give them their own posts. In the meantime?  More art!

The latest piece I won’t share here, as it’s of an adult nature.  I finally found an appropriate YCH I liked from an artist I liked and jumped on it.  It looks good in and of itself, so much that it’s almost a shame it’s explicit as it means it won’t end up on any walls in the future.  Well, except maybe bedroom walls, assuming I could find a way to get it printed properly.

Being Face-itious

Next, another set of stickers for Telegram.  I’ve only got to use about half of them so far, but these were lower priority before because they had less general applicability.  I do like having the ability to post mood pictures of “me” instead of generic smileys though or ASCII ones.

I did have someone ask about using them, which actually feels odd for me.  On the one hand, it’s a compliment in that someone liked the ideas I gave the artist(and her art too!), but on the other, it is “me,” an expression of myself.  There’s nothing that says others can’t use them though, so if they find them, more power to them I suppose!

Why, hello there!

This was from the Giraffle that @FeFairy ran on Twitter!  Entered as a “Hail Mary” attempt, and to my surprise got it!

I’ve also got two more pieces I’m going to commission once the artists I have earmarked open for commissions.  One will be related to one of my upcoming posts, and feature cyberpunk!me, while the other will be more fo an, ahem, risque nature, and will feature a kind of scene I’ve wanted for a long while too.  The only reason I held off on that one was because I didn’t know what lovely female might be interested to be in it, and I didn’t feel right using an existing character for it that was of the right type.

I finally got inspiration however, and in fact the subject I had in mind has become an actual vague character of sorts!  One of the artists on my short list for this pic should be opening up this month too, so if things work out I should be able to get both pictures.

That should about wrap things up for now.  There should be more posts in the near future, this time sooner rather than later!

Honnou Kakusei! (Instincts Awaken!)

Among my various geek interests, I also have a distinct like for toku aka live-action Japanese superhero shows.  One of the long-running franchises, Super Sentai, gets brought over to the US as Power Rangers, but the others haven’t had much success.

This year’s super sentai actually has a furry theme, but funnily enough while the fandom talks up Zootopia I have yet to see any mention of Dobutsu Sentai(Animal Taskforce) Zyuohger outside of the usual toku circles.  While ZyuEagle is human, the other four are actual anthros, potentially with human disguises(they have human actors, need to see how that plays out).  We’ve got a male Lion with dreads, a male Elephant with a bit of a Indian flare, a female Shark who has a mature woman vibe about her, and a female Tiger who so far seems like a feline copy of Amy from Kyoryuger.  The music is hype too, the first 30 seconds of the opening were released, and I can’t stop listening to it!  About the only thing I don’t like is the mecha this time around are minecraftish.

This is probably the first sentai I’ve been hype about actually since Kyoryuger, and that took me a bit to warm up to because of how over the top it was.  Go-Busters was probably the last one I was hype for before it started.  ToQger I skipped entirely after watching the first episode, and Nininger has been just okay.

Speaking of toku, I’ve actually got a few other folk I know in RL watching it now, after using Garo as a gateway series.  I started with using Halloween as an excuse to marathon it, and they were hooked.  SO far they’ve watched everything except the two Ryuga seasons and the recent anime, but for a bit of a break I’m showing them Kamen Rider Gaim,  Turns out the main guy that was watching the stuff actually remembered the US adaption of Kamen Rider Black RX, just called Masked Rider over here.  I had Agito as a safer backup, since Gaim is a bit OTT to start also, but he was good with both, and I kind of want to rewatch Gaim – I’ve rewatched Agito maybe twice already.  Once those are both done, it’ll probably be time for Ryuga’s Garo seasons, then I might try either Gransazer, or Go-Busters.  Given most of those are 48 ep series, and we go through about 10-13 eps a night, that should provide enough for the next few months.

Game-wise because of said people I also re-subbed to WoW using in-game gold about 2 weeks ago. I’ve already made that gold back with alt garrisons, and I’m just a few Apexis dailies away from Draenor flying, so I’ll finish that this weekend probably.  After that, I’ll see what I need to roll to run with them, as that’s why I resubbed – though I also am runnign LFRs to finish my legendary.  I kind of don’t want to do real raiding anymore still, at least for now.  I got a server first on a Mythic raid end boss with a hardcore guild, and as far as I’m concerned I won WoW.  Doing that though killed my interest in raid, which is partly why I let WoW sit while I dabbled in Star Trek Online since April.

I am still playing STO too, just there hasn’t been anything much new since before the holidays.  There’s a anniversary event coming up though, and a new story episode focusing on the Temporal Cold War time shenanigans, which’ll be interesting.

Looking at WoW also reminded me that there was a pet in it linked to Heroes of the Storm – turns out you need to get to player level 20 for it.  I’ve started playing it, purely against low level AI and it’s actually kind of fun that way.  So far I’ve liked most of the heroes I tried, except Stiches.  Guess I’m just not a melee kind of guy in this game?  I didn’t expect to like Tassadar though, since he is support.

I also finally got myself a set of Telegram stickers, though it’s only part 1 of 2.  I didn’t have an idea for a full 22, so I only got 11, and now I’m just waiting for the artist to clear her queue so I can get the second set.  I’ve got enough of an idea now to get the rest, even if a couple of them are a bit weaker.  Even if I don’t use them all regularly in Telegram, in a way it’s like a bunch of smaller basic pictures for a decent price, so it’s not a bad thing at all.

llewelyn sticker set

2015: Running in Place

I knew it had been a while since I really wrote anything, but I hadn’t realized it had been three months!  Honestly, I just haven’t really had anything much to write at length about lately.  Most other quick thoughts either haven’t been worth sharing, or dumped on Twitter where they are a better fit.

Anyways, welcome to 2016, we made it another revolution around the sun without the world being blown up.

Looking at my last post, I did finish that story, and you can find it at several different sites:

Take your pick.  In addition, I did get that piece of art of M’Rel, the Captain from the story(and styled a scene after it a bit):

Captain M'Rel of the FSS ExcaliburI’ve got the next story featuring them in mind, but considering it took probably 6 months to get the last one written, don’t expect this one done any time soon.

Related to this, I actually have been considering doing a sort of character compendium, though I don’t know where the best place to do that would be yet.  Basically, my list of characters that I had in different RP universes mostly, with the stories and/or ideas I had for them.  On thinking over who is on that list, they’re pretty much all female too I’m realizing.  Heh, go fig.

I’m also on Telegram now, though I’ve mostly limited that to just a few RL friends.  May change in the future at some point though.  Anyways, I’m looking at getting some stickers coming up here for it, which I may share here, since it’s more little arts.  I’ve also got ideas for a couple adult pics that are looking like they may never happen, and at least one idea I kinda want from watching the new Star Wars.

It was a good movie.  I avoided pretty much all the spoilers successfully, and heck, even skipped most of the trailers leading up to it, so I got some legitimate surprises.  It was also a good Star Wars movie.  I will say there’s no after-credits scene, which I found out the hard way. I also ahve to say that they picked the right trailers to go with it, as I’m at least mildly interested in all but one of the trailers attached to it – the exception being that “Chicago in a cage experiment” one. In IMAX 3D, one of them even did this awesome effect at the end with cinders(I think it was Warcraft) where it actually seemed like it was coming from behind me and I started to turn my head before catching myself.

Lately, I’ve been less in STO, though I got a pilot ship for my Romulan engineer.  Those things are wicked fun to fly!  I had so much fun actually that my Christmas gift to a couple people that play was gift cards to buy a pilot ship(or 3). I’m also sorely tempted to move my other Romulan into a pilot ship too, but I really like the design of the veteran Heavy Destroyer, and kinda want to keep her in that Skyhawk DD descendant.

The reason I’ve not been playing STO is I’d been plowing through Shadowrun.  I needed a bit of a palate cleanser as I was starting to burn out, so I tried Dragonfall, and got hooked this time.  I liked the story and characters enough I ended up playing through it a couple more times with different builds to get all the achievements as well, and see the different endings.

After that I got Shadowrun: Hong Kong during the recent Steam sale and while I like the expanded options, I didn’t feel it as much this time.  Partly from how they limit your background I think – my usual dwarf rigger/decker was a semi-poor fit for their story.  After the first playthrough I then went through again with a mage/face more tailored to teh story and while it worked well, the endings all blended into each other more than Dragonfall’s did.  I did get a kick out of the references, cameos, and callbacks to the previous game, but Dragonfall had a better story I think.  I did complete all the achievements on this game as well within 2015, though I got the last at 11:58 or 11:59pm!

Playing the Shadowrun games got me thinking about an old character concept I never got to realize for that universe – a werefox technomancer.  During the one(and only so far) Shadowrun campaign I played in, I ended up doing a variant of this character due to a rule conflict i found, and I didn’t want to look for a house ruling, so I turned her into a face/sneak using pistols – and then of course our first run was to an underwater wreck.  Plenty of wandering and combat opportunities, but no fast-talking or sneaking required. The party got split three ways too, but then the game got put on indefinite pause.

The idea I had was that since Resonance behaved a lot like Magic, maybe a fox shifter who was born Awakened in a urban area might have tapped into that instead, and become a technomancer.  In 4E shadowrun(don’t know if 5th changed this) you couldn’t have both a Resonance stat and a Magic stat and shifters were required to have a Magic of 1 as I recall, which put the kibosh without house rules. Her Matrix avatar would have been a fox, kind of a clue to her identity as such.

Now if I got the chance again, I’d see if I could get that rule bypassed a bit as I still think it’s a neat concept.  If I re-envisioned her again now though, I’d be tempted to make a couple changes. The slight twists I have in mind are that she’d have a drone “pet,” and that her avatar might instead be a female foxtaur, to combine both aspects of her Awakened nature. Technomancers, from how they should be played, sound like a good fit for a trickster archetype character too.

The main problem is I’m not sure if I could make her good with the drone and with doing Matrix things, or if that would cause her to not bee good enough at either.  There’s also the matter of how to make her drone “pet” work as a pet – having a sprite inhabit it or something.  It’s a concept I like, if I could make it work.  I only have access to a 4E book right now though, and I haven’t read up on the 5e changes yet.  Some incarnation of her would make my “memorable characters” list I mentioned earlier though.

Overall, 2015 hasn’t been bad at all – quite a lot of running in place in various aspects of my life, with only a couple changes here and there.  I dropped World of Warcraft(though I may pick it back up later), got heavy into Star Trek Online, wrote a story, got a few pieces of art, finally got a tablet, got a lot more Transformers(thanks to Combiner Wars being awesome), and changed roles laterally at work.  Oh, and allergies worked hard to kick my butt through large swaths of it.

Whether it’s good or bad that things changed little, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader, as some old books used to say.  We’ll see what 2016 brings, and if I have more to write about here or not!

More Trekkin’, More Writin’

So I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I wrote something, but I haven’t had too much to write about… at least on here.  My role at work did change a bit, making me busier than before, but not really anything worth sharing.

I did finally max all my Star Trek Online alts, giving me 8 characters at 60, and 1 empty character slot.  I actually have a character in mind for it, but since there’s no appropriate ship yet for her I’m holding off and working on filling out my alt builds completely.

I do like the fact that each one has a different build and ship type, with different armaments.  On paper this means they all play differently, but in practice there is a some overlap between my Romulans, as they both use forward-facing setups with narrow arcs. The same applies to my Federation ships, as despite one being a DPS focus, one a tank, and one a drain boat, all three are broadsiders and thus are piloted somewhat similarly, despite the difference in what and how they handle things.  My KDF toons are probably the most disparate, as one is a carrier with a focus on fighters, one is a siege-style ship based on sitting in one place and broadsiding, and the last one is a torpedo/Wave Motion Gun type build with very little pure energy weapon damage.

In the case of all my STO toons, the ship is as much a part of their character as the toon itself, extending to their bridge officers as well. At the moment, I’m finishing the bridge crew and away teams of a couple captains, then it’s on to ground gear and upgrading everything.  In some cases, I’m not quite as happy with the actual bridge crews, but I’ve been able to justify them so far, with a bit of creative thinking:

  • My Caitian Federation captain has a melting pot of the “best” space and ground boffs.  Federation inclusiveness is a go, even if it is a bit of a stretch.
  • My Draenei Fed captain runs an all-Draenei ground crew.  The bridge crew is 2 Draenei, a Dwarf(using the Alien race), 2 semi-Night Elves(using Romulans) and the Heirarchy officer from the Delta stories. 1 non-Warcraft race is probably fine, I feel, as I could see them allowing a token representative to observe the Alliance in action.
  • My Borg Fed captain has a ground crew of 2 borg, a borg-looking Android, and a hologram, and most of them are on the space crew, plus a couple Romulans as it is originally a Romulan ship.  One of the easiest to justify and have good boffs.
  • My Gorn KDF with the carrier has an all-Gorn away team and an all-Naussicaan bridge crew.  In my mind they’re not truly KDF, so the Nausicaans are probably rebels as well. They do look similar in some ways, as well.
  • My Talaxian KDF is a pirate, with a Orion(looking) ground crew and Nausicaans above, though I’ll be adding a couple Romulans and a Hierarchy.  Pirates explains it all!
  • My Ferasan KDF is actually loyal to the Kzinti/Lyran state(noticing a pattern?) and will have an all Ferasan ground crew when I’m done.  Space crew is again the ubiquitous Nausicaans-for-hire.
  • My Fed-aligned Romulan is a Romulan supremecist and has a pure Romulan crew, apart from a Romulan-looking android and hologram, both fo which I consider Romulan-programmed.
  • My KDF-aligned Romulan was originally based off of Clan Jade Falcon from a different franchise, but I couldn’t really make a theme work on that so he’s another “Rebel” of sorts, his ship being crewed by Romulan and Gorn. (Which amuses me since they were enemies in Star Fleet Battles and it’s derivitaves.)

Setting aside STO somewhat, I’m also finally getting my first piece of art in several months – a picture of the chakatverse version of my STO Caitian, M’Rel, as she is the star of the chakatverse story I’m writing.  Originally she was created in STO as a stand-in for Swiftwind, as I just couldn’t see the chakat as a starship captain, but she’s grown into her own and the story that originally was going to focus on Swiftwind pivoted around to a slightly different concept and crew.

Now, the original story idea I had may still ahppen after this one, but I’ve been writing on and off on it since April or May probably.  I’ll write a bunch, then let it sit a while, then come back to it again.  It’s back to slow writing at the moment I’m afraid with my focus on STO and not being in a writing mood, but hopefully I’ll finish it within the next few months – I’m hoping the picture may help my inspiration.

I’ve also been sorely tempted to post it part by part on this blog, which may help in getting me to finally finish the thing.  My one fear in doing that is that with how long I’m taking writing it, that I may not pace it appropriately, or for that matter if I don’t actually finish it.  I am close enough to the end though that that should not be a concern.

Either way, we’ll see what lies ahead, especially with a new STO “season” starting in two to three weeks, which is also when my picture will likely be finished by…