Archive for Llewelyn

Werewolf of Gold

So I’ve had an idea bouncing around for a bit, regarding the Elder Scrolls Online werewolf, and my werewolf character in specific.

First, a bit of history – you can skip this if you want, as it’s mostly just to give an idea of where I’m coming from. When I started, I made my usual Khajit and Argonian characters, which covers two of the factions in ESO, but I needed something for the third one.  I also wanted to make a dedicated crafter, and due to the way the racial styles work and the rarity of it, I also wanted to make an Imperial character as that gives them the Imperial racial crafting style for free.  So I hit on the idea of making a werewolf to give myself a “furry” type character without paying to unlock the ability to make any race on any faction. Looking at classes, I jumped at the Templar class, as the idea of a werewolf paladin presented an interesting dichotomy.

Once I actually got my werewolf bite, I found out there was a timer on werewolf form, and it was fairly short at first, though I quickly maxed the skill tree out, which does add some extra time – usually enough to last through a boss fight at least. As a paladin archetype, I was looking at white and gold armor, and I wanted to get some armor that hinted at her status as a werewolf in human form as well, and there happened to be a crafting style available that does just that as well.

As I was looking at making basically golden wolf-shaped armor, that actually reminded me of another franchise I enjoy – GARO!

Garo is a Japanese live action series, that was originally aired at midnights and advertised as a “Hyper Midnight Action Drama.” It was very clearly intended for adults, and focused on a main character in our modern world who battled what were essentially demons with just his skill, his sword, and a set of golden mystical armor he could summon.  This armor is made from the same stuff as the demons(called Horrors), and he could only wear it for 99.9 seconds before it starts devouring him, body and soul. And it just happens to have a wolf motif.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

The creator of Garo stated that he sees the armor as the equivalent of Ultraman’s Specium Beam – it is supposed to be a finisher. The main character will often fight without the armor until it is actually needed, and in one of the seasons it was literally used only as a finisher except when they had a real “boss fight” on their hands.  This actually mirrors how I treat werewolf form on my character – I only pull it out on bosses and tough fights, since it can only be activated as a “finisher,” which is another part of what got the gears turning.

In the Elder Scrolls universe, werewolves are considered a curse by the general public, though followers of Hircine(including PC werewolves who go through the questline usually) consider it a blessing. There’s a questline in ESO which talks about losing reason and the beast taking control, and they found their own unique way to address that.  The NPC involved in the quest seems to lose a lot of his reasoning capabilities, but the PC obviously never does, and at least in ESO you can still communicate with NPCs while shifted(though that could just be a conceit due to the fact it is a MMO).

The parallels just seemed to jump at me when I was driving, and  I could totally see her using the werewolf from the same way the armor is used in Garo, and the timer is actually there for a reason, to explain why she can’t just shift and stay shifted unlike other werewolves in ESO.  Like the armor has to be removed before it devours the user, she has to shift out to keep the Beast from fully taking control.

Now as I said, there are ways to extend the timer, and I can see ways for those to actually make sense as to why.

  • Devouring corpses – This can’t be actual devouring, as it works on mechanical things like Dwarven machines. (I know, gameplay > lore, but bear with me.) I see this as taking the “heart” to honor Hircine, and Hircine, being pleased by this, interceding to grant additional clarity and extend the transformation time.
  • Taking damage – I can see this as the pain is helping her stay focused.  Each stab of pain from the hits reminds me of who she is, and when she is not being hit, the bloodlust of the beast starts to grow again.
  • Running with other werewolves – Normally I don’t get to do this much, but this could be a similar thing to method 1.  All the PC werewolves are servants of Hircine, and when they run together this magnifies his power/presence, allowing them to control the beast for much longer, and extending more for each werewolf manifesting their wolf shape.
  • Feral Pounce ability – This one is the one I’m least clear on as to how it extends the shifting. Since you land rather hard, perhaps it’s just the shock of landing acting just like the pain from taking damage?  Or perhaps focusing on the target for a precise leap requires enough concentration that it pushes back the beast slightly.

Even being force-shifted out in combat makes sense, as in Garo the protagonists have had to shed their armor a few times when they’re still technically in combat due to the timer.

But just like the protagonist of Garo, as a servant of Meridia I see her as a “mamorishimono” or “one who protects” as the translation goes. She honors both Daedra, acting under Meridia’s auspicies to serve the Light, but using the methods of Hircine in his aspect as the Hunter.  I don’t know if there is a lore explanation for the limitations on werewolf form in ESO, but the above approach is my headcanon now on why it works for her the way it does.

Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns.

But by the blade and claw of knights, man and mer are given hope.

(Side note: the production company for Garo did license the armors to Final Fantasy XIV, so you can actually earn them and use them in that game – but as far as I know it’s just for appearance and cosmetic use and doesn’t have any of the limitations etc the canon armors do.  Especially since in the Garo-verse women can’t become Makai Knights, but that’s a whole other thing I won’t go into here.)

*Blows the dust off*

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I updated this.  that’s the problem between meaning to do something and actually doing it I guess.  While I haven’t had any deep writings to warrant writing about here, I have gotten some art since.  Then I finally get an idea for something I want to write about, but when I came back to check on it, I found out I’d already written just about everything I was already planning to write on this!  So I guess I’ll make this a more general update post then.

Rolling the Dice

Still haven’t found a new gaming group and the LFGS I used to go to closed earlier in the year so no way to find a game that way either. The play-by-post Pathfinder game I was in with Jasmine died off as the GM had life issues, and the 4th ed D&D play-by-post has basically been on pause since December – funnily enough the only people still responding right now are the GM, me, and the other player that I had my initial intro thread with. Not sure what’s going to happen there yet, as the GM has not clarified what he wants to do as we were about to go into an encounter.

I got back into WoW with a female Tauren frost death knight using the white and blue skin – I mean it was just begging to be Frost in those colors! I got into a raid guild my dad was running with already, and when I actually started raiding with them I was blowing up the charts DPS-wise a lot! Cleared a lot of content and raids, and even got the challenge appearance for the Frostmourne swords on her, but raiding fell apart near the end between people wanting harder progression, a few folk who couldn’t do mechanics, and people showing up.  I did part of the Antorus raid, but I had to move WoW to a VM because it kept crashing in WINE for some reason I couldn’t figure out.  This of course made it significantly more annoying to do anything with, but performance was still great, despite it stressing my 5-year-old computer to the max.

Black Friday weekend though I saw that Elder Scrolls Online was available with Morrowind for 50% off.  I’d heard that it ran fine in WINE now, and had been eyeing it, just waiting on a sale like this to pick it up.  So I bought it, threw it on my 1TB SSD, and tried it in WINE.  Once I got past the launcher patcher sucking and redownloading many many GB again, I found it was working great, with the only glitch being the first and water textures glitching a bit, which was unsettling at first but something I could live with. While it took me a bit to wrap my head around how the skills worked, as it was fairly different from any other Elder Scrolls game, the rest of it felt like a legitimate TES game, compared to everything I heard about how it was at launch.  A double XP event started shortly after, and away I went!

As a side note, ESO is largely to blame for why I’ve been quieter in all my other channels, Twitter, Discord, and Telegram among them. There’s just SO MUCH to do! And I mean beyond just the daily stuff, though that’s a time-eater too.  I’ll actually probably come back to this later, or make a separate post about it.  Probably the latter, since I’d like to talk about my characters and stuff.

Funnily enough, I haven’t felt the urge to go back to WoW at all since I picked up ESO, and it was right after I paid for 3 months time.  Too bad you don’t get anything beyond access in WoW, like how ESO gives cash shop currency so unused time isn’t wasted.  Ah well.

Being Social

My social life is fairly unchanged from where it has been as well. Thanks to that WoW guild I finally had a reason to get Discord running regularly, and I got sort of involved with the Discord.Iv’e been less present there due to the previously mentioned ESO eating most of my free time, but I’m keeping a claw in.  I also joined a “server for dragon singles” but honestly haven’t paid any attention to it – first due to the chat being more interesting, and then due to ESO. Still single and open though for any interested dragonesses!

As far as meatspace, as I said, with no gaming group I don’t have anything besides work and shopping that gets me out of the house.  Would like this to change eventually, but with no FLGS there’s not much out there to get me out of the house, and as I mentioned in a previous post I have to keep furry/dragon stuff on the DL around work folks, and I’m finding I did enjoy not having to tone that down around friends when I did have the group of local friends I hung out with.

Department of Post Corrections

Finally, there’s a couple addendums and updates I’d like to make or add to existing posts.

Buried Seeds of the Future )

It’s a Transformation Revelation!

I did eventually get that commission I was pondering, leaving Swiftwind out of it due to how shi became her own thing and how shi didn’t really fit thematicly.

Gender Changers )

I’d like to re-address this more contentious post as well. Since I wrote this a year ago, I’ve seen a different slice of the trans culture, so to speak, by way of Twitter, and the perspective there seems vastly different from what I saw on the Transformers forum I mentioned. While there no doubt are trans folks who just want to be their target gender, and do NOT want to be called trans, just man or woman, there is a segment of non-binary folks that have adopted trans as a way of describing their gender rather than relying on any of the (fetishized) other descriptors of the in-between states.

So yeah, some trans folks don’t want that to be considered their gender, while some do, and as a self-chosen label, it is their right to ask to be called that, and in that respect I was wrong.  I suppose it’s all just a bit of a mess.

In general, genderized descriptors and genders themselves seem to be in major flux as the english language and Western society tries to figure out how to handle the long tail of gender expression. Gender constructs have been useful to a society in general as it allowed folks to get a quick grasp or mental picture of someone when discussing or reading them.  Men have a certain general look, as do women, and pronouns have been standardized over hundreds of years to take advantage of it.

Now, with gender being looked at as a spectrum, some folk just try to find the standard pronoun closest to where they fall, wile others have revived the singular “they” for a neutral approach, while still others sought to create one that tries to express themselves rather than using any of the standard ones, expressing in language what they are already expressing physically and mentally.  This sort of breaks the entire purpose of pronouns however, as it’s a coin toss whether anyone outside certain circles can even make sense of the many pronouns out there. It’s no more informative to those people than the singular “they”.  Heck, I’ve had people confused by my use of “shi/hir” in referance to chakat characters in furry circles, and that’s been in use for many many years among furries for herms! (Also the lesser used sie, but I always preferred shi as sie is also a pronoun in German, thus room for confusion.)

As I see it, eventually things will standardize out, either by the lesser used pronouns dieing off from lack of use much like ‘sie’ did, or being slowly adopted by the general population via general knowledge.  Until then, all I can say(and do) is be flexible, respect people’s choices in self-expression whether you think them stupid and offensive or not, and just do you.

‘Kats Gonna ‘Kat )

Finally, I want to wrap this up with some more self reflection on my own alternative gender self, Chakat Swiftwind. Pretty much everything I said previously still stands, in that I acknowledge shi is indeed a reflection of myself, but not the primary “me.” As I put it not too long ago, I am a dragon OS running on human hardware via driver emulation, and said dragon OS is also acting as a hypervisor for a chakat VM that tends to crash due to missing libraries. (The missing libraries in question are the chakat traits I do not possess myself, which “breaks” the chakat presentation a bit.)

I was actually reminded of the latter part when I did a bit of RPing with another chakat. Shi was a lot more of a snuggler than I tend to be these days, tending towards those things rather than discussion, though some of that wasn’t so bad.  Especially when things got intimate, though our interests diverged far enough in that respect that it seems to have died out pretty fast after that.

While I still haven’t really been able to do much with hir, I did finally, after probably too many years, get hir a real reference sheet!

Yes, there is an uncensored version too

The corset and leather jacket have already sort of become hir “default” outfit, but as shi is or was Star Fleet in the chakatverse for a time, I got a bust shot added as well, since I didn’t have any pictures of hir in that. The handpaw shot is for artists not familiar with chakats, which was a lot more than I realized – but then chakat numbers have been on the decline for years.

Funnily enough, right before I got the “real” referance sheet I was able to get an image by the artist I consider to be the defining one for chakats, Kacey Miyagami! She was doing an experimental flat color sketch, and it happened to fall within my budget range, so I jumped right on it.

Lookin’ sharp

Even though the only judge of what is “official” is Goldfur hirself, it still helps me feel a bit more “official” just having been drawn by Kacey, at least among the community.

Speaking of “Official,” I’m still of two minds about how Goldfur is integrating hir MLP fanfic-verse and the Chakatverse.  The Chakatverse started out as an imitation Star Trek, but quickly became it’s own thing to the point where Goldfur retconned some earlier stuff that had fanficc-y, for lack of a better word, ties to other things. Shi also explained hir own take on certain tech concepts which were fairly different.

Hir MLP fics on the other hand, while they do their own thing, specifically use canon characters such as Twilight Sparkle. They are undeniably fanfic at this point, and with hir current crossover story, they’re also directly tied into the future of the chakatverse. If it wasn’t for the canon characters being involved, I’d probably feel better about it, but it’s hir creation and shi can do what shi wants with it anyways.  The bit of story I wrote with chakatverse Swiftwind however was set in around the same time period… shortly before everything went south, but if I write any more I have to factor that in now as well, or just plain go my own way.  Since I’m playing in hir playground anyways with a chakat, I’m obviously going with the latter – though I’d prefer otherwise!

Probably my other disappointment is that I can’t really do much with hir outside of online – with the fur-friendly group I was hanging with gone, and work not really a good environment for it, I’m stuck with expressing hir online. Since dragons are fairly common and I’m among old school gamers, I can get away with putting up a few of my tame pieces on the wall at work, and I’ve even toed the line by using my dragon icons for avatars on a few programs. Can’t do that though with Swiftie.  Even if it was fairly neutral to fur, chakats would have their own baggage of sorts that a generic furry wouldn’t have to deal with.


That’s probably enough for now, so I’ll leave it at that.  Maybe my next post will come a little sooner than six months later!

Furry does not always mean Good

Been a while again, but life happens.  Still looking for a gaming group, though I got into a Play-by-post game with a gnoll druid, and I’m waiting to hear back on two other games(one also PbP) that I submitted Jasmine to.  I’ve also come up with a couple other characters I’d like to play in the future:

– A cheetah-styled catfolk faux-jedi that follows the Elements instead of any version of the “Force”, using a polearm wuxia-style.

– A cowardly kobold who fights with summons, and is bonded to an Outsider that acts like a personal Google search engine for anything he needs to know.

The cheetah girl is the one I’m more interested in at the moment, even if I’m still torn on names between Rahna and Kivarra.  The latter is one I was toying with originally, but I keep mentally changing it to Kitiara, which wouldn’t work because then every one would call her “Kitty.”  Rahna on the other hand is, like Sharilar used to be, a name I used before for certain types of characters(Sharilar was always a vixen, Rahna was originally a feline name) but never had a solid character to link it specifically to.

Anyways, to get more to the point of this post, while looking for games to try to join, I came across someone’s homebrew of Pathfinder, replacing all the normal races with Furry races.  When I went to glance through it though, I was left feeling kinda bored with it all.

You’d think, given the fact that if any RPG allows furry-style races, I’ll gravitate towards them, I’d be all over that.  Heck, the chakatverse could be considered an all-furry-verse, given no rubber forehead aliens or truly alien aliens have yet to show up(Side note: that’s begging for a story along the lines of the Star Trek TNG precursors one), and Ironclaw built an entire system around it, and I have no problem with either of them.  Why?

They’re not bland.

True, Chakatverse does have bog-standard furry animal people, but they’re alongside other stranger creatures and baseline humans, and there are repercussions to that.  They aren’t just treated like humans in funny suits, with no hook.

Ironclaw took the stereotypes and inclinations of each species they feature, then tried to figure out what a society built on that would look and feel like.  Again, there’s plenty of hooks here for plot and character, rather than a bunch of ordinary animal people doing people things and no influence from what they actually are.

Basically, if you could take a wolf furry character and replace it with a kangaroo furry with no impact to the character or plot, what is even the point?  If you can replace a zebra with an elephant with no impact, why are you even using a zebra?

It’s like the criticisms of a lot of standard fantasy.  You got your pointy-eared human, your stocky bearded human, your short furry-footed human, and your green-skinned fanged human, and if you just add animal human to that, is there any real difference?  Why play something different if it’s exactly the same, but with a different layer of paint?

To put it another way and borrow a comment from the twitter comment I made on this, one of the essences of furriness is queerness – and I don’t mean in the sexual way.  It’s something different, a different approach to things from the standard human way.  Again, if there’s no difference between the wolf-man and a normal man, then the wolf-man may as well be a normal man!

I also don’t mean throw in *Nuzzles* and *Pants* and “OwO wats this” and have no other difference apart from a few cutesy quirks.  To play off the above example, you have both the stereotype of the “lone wolf” and the social/pack/loyalty trends of wolves – so how would either of those impact the character or race in question?  If you took a actual wolf and uplifted them, what would they actually be like?

I look back at the characters I made, and each of the ones I’m proudest of would have lost something if they hadn’t factored in the uniqueness of their races.  Jasmine for example – physically, she’s a tigress with dragon wings, and if I wanted to compromise to get her in a lower power setting, I could make her as a catfolk, or just have her look like a tiger.  But she is rakshasa still, and doing any of that would sacrifice her story and what makes her unique and herself.

Sharilar also works as an example.  She could be just another black-furred vixen gypsy, but she is kitsune.  That has certain implications within various settings, and even more so for one who is also gypsy. (Side note: I know it’s a stereotype, but this is Fantasy and drunken Scottish dwarves are a thing too, so.) This not only affects her worldview, but also (and more importantly) how the world views her.

And my most recent character, Dusk.  She’s a gnoll, which carries just as much weight as the races above.  Gnolls are more bestial, supposedly have a touch of demonic blood, and are known for eating the flesh of other sapients.  They are also known for slaves and laziness in some settings.  They are born, grow quickly, live brutal short lives, then just as quickly pass away.  An anthro hyena girl would have none of that, yet all of it helped form who she is, even if only by going against the stereotypes.

Basically, just because something can be described as furry, or considered furry doesn’t make it automatically good.  Especially if it commits the cardinal sin you can commit in a game:

Be boring.

Transhumanism and Falling Stars

This post is basically the result of some #CommuteThoughts.  It’s like Shower Thoughts, but it happens in the car when you’re not thinking of things like what to have for supper, or why the idiot in front of you can’t drive.

Recently I finished watching through the end of Season 4 of Babylon 5, and I was always fond of “Deconstruction of Falling Stars” – the season ending.  It would have made a decent series ending as well, if it had come to it(though I know they did already film “Sleeping in Light” in case it had been needed).

First, the ending scene with the sun going nova was supposedly only one million years later.  For that to happen that fast, something serious had to happen, and there was undoubtedly some sort of story there, even if it was never told.

Second, I like the fact that the guy who’s watching all the clips enters a very Vorlon-like encounter suit, but this one has a human shape despite some minor Vorlon stylings.  Given that fact, it makes you wonder if the Vorlon actually used to look like their suit before they went all energy-like-being on the universe.

Still, it brings up a point – not jsut in B5, but in most sci-fi, the more advanced races tend to turn into beings that appear to be pure energy, however little sense it makes.  It’s often framed in the device of evolution, of moving to a greater purpose.

Evolution is not that however – it is simply adaptations to new environments, and so on.  Turning into energy isn’t exactly a mutation that would happen in nature on its ownIt could make some kind of sense as an adaptation to space, but even then, stepping across that boundary and somehow allowing pure energy to exist as a cohesive organized whole is not something we see regularly in nature.

There is undeniably a spiritual underlaying to it as well.  The idea of the soul made manifest, leaving the flesh behind and expressing itself in its purest form.  These races are so advanced they do not need flesh to exist, and are able to manifest as pure soul. It is one way to look at it.

Another way however, if one were to take that destination shown in B5 as fact, is that it’s an expression of transhumanism, just taking a lot longer than some folks would wish.  Rather than some blind evolution or transformation imposed by nature and mutations, it’s a conscious choice made by a sapient species, leaving behind the restrictions of flesh to interact directly with existence.  No more need for hunger, sleep, or other biological functions(though some might still experience them as a matter of choice – after all, he did look like a normal human until we went to enter the suit).

The explosion of people questioning and challenging their own identity shows we are already starting to turn that direction – questioning what is human, and choosing our forms as much as we can, rather than letting them choose us.  A lot of folk do not understand this and deride it, or take it to extremes to strawman it.  There’s an element of humanity’s tribal tendencies as well, the “us vs them” and the driving out of those who do not fit the mold.

One example I came across recently was someone afraid that the new Star Trek series was going to be an over-the-top agenda-pushing show(ignoring the fact that Star Trek ahs always been about morality plays and “liberal” ideas since the beginning).  His example was that Picard would have come out as this multi-feathered tri-sexed impossible creature and all the “tumblrinas” would congratulate him on it.

Looking at it, I already see two concepts here that seem to be what really is pissing the guy off, or at least what he doesn’t understand(or even try to) and thus fears and mocks.

First, there’s an unspoken implication given the reference to “tumblrinas” that this is a way of saying “I’m better than you.”  Because he is not accepting the identity he was born with and selecting(either consciously, unconsciously, or spiritually) a more fitting self, and then parading it around, the troll, for lack of a better word, feels inferior because he is still the same, plain ordinary human, as much as anyone made of starstuff can be.

To be fair, there is a segment of folks out there who do view that their differing identity makes them superior to the common man.  THIS IS FALSE. A dragonkin’s life is as valuable as the family in Kentucky living out of a rusty RV and making a living skinning deer while cursing “dem immigrants” as evil.  It’s all life, and it is not what you are that makes you great, but how you live and treat your common sapients.  That does not mean that if they threaten to kill you you shouldn’t fight back, or that you have to tolerate their ideology, but it is the ideology that makes the difference, not the fact that one sees their true self as having scales and the other doesn’t see beyond the inside of the next beer can.

Which brings us to the second point I’ve seen personally, and by that I mean in-person: not understanding the questioning of self.

There is a person I know in meatspace that does not understand the point of transexuals. He’s fairly conservative, and has kids, so he’s particularly sensitive to the false depictions of perversion that certain parts of the media will revel in. He’s a great guy, but doesn’t seem to understand how one can question their identity.

To get more specific, I happen to sit outside his office so I overhear conversations all the time, and one that struck me was him and one of our more liberal-minded staff talking about the whole bathroom issue.  From there, it somehow came across the idea of white people considering themselves black, and that being equally as valid.  While I don’t remember the details, the impression I came away with is that he was very much seeing it as “what you are is what the world made you” and inability to accept that just did not make sense to him at all.

I think that’s the second route to these sorts of misunderstandings – the people in question do not grasp how identity can be a choice.  They think that when you draw your hand in life, it is wrong to call a mulligan and redraw.  In the previous skin-related example, maybe the theoretical skin-changer just feels more attractive that way, or is much more comfortable in the culture associated with that image – much as the way furry identity will tend to drift towards the animal that symbolically resonates with you the best.

(Side note: I have not brought up transhumanism with this guy yet, but plan to at some point, just to see how he responds to that idea.)

Now, that all said, to bring it back around I wouldn’t see Star Trek pulling that kind of thing.  First, Picard the character seems rather satisfied with the identity of what he is.  With holodeck technology and especially post-Voyager(for holoemitters) anyone would be able to more directly become anything they wish, at least part of the time.  Also, in Star Trek most of these sorts of things are not flaunted, but just accepted as they are.  A character does not come out as gay as some big event, they just happen to like men and approach them just as easily as a straight man might ask out a woman on a date. (which, for some, isn’t very easy!)

It all comes back to an inability to understand that leads to fear, and feelings of inferiority, due to the same or to some bad eggs that do try to cast others as inferior for not questioning themselves.


On one other note, coming back to the original topic of Babylon 5, what really is the point of organic technology?  The few times we see it in the series, it’s cast as this almost mystical ubertech that seems like it is the solution to everything.  But what have we actually seen or heard it do that makes it superior in any way to normal tech?

The biggest advantages depicted seem to be growth, self-repair, and self-direction.  Everything else is just a symptom of the big “black box” hiding the inner workings by throwing their hands up and declaring it was because it’s so incredibly advanced it’s not understandable(which, to be fair, can be a valid point too).

Self-direction can be accomplished by a sufficiently advanced AI, which does not rely on anything organic, so I’m going to set it aside for now.

Growth and self-repair on the other hand are basically two sides of the same coin.  Rather than replacing a burnt out circuit board, the ship could simply regrow the connections much as we regrow a cut in our skin.  Feed it the right materials and it can grow from a tiny starting point into a massively complicated machine – after all, in a way we’re just biological machines!

You could accomplish the same results with self-replicating nanomachines.  Actually, in a  sense, that’s what the cells that make us up are.  Still, it does not require what we would think of as organic to reproduce the same ideas and results.  Somewhere out there could be beings of pure nanomachines, created by a now-dead race.  Life just like ours, but with tiny specialized artificial machines replacing the naturally-created specialized cells constructing our bodies.  And rather than exchanging DNA, they could combine programming code, do a diff-merge, and produce new life from the new codebase introduced into their nanomachines.

Unless by organic technology you mean technology that acts like life does, not technology that works from the same cells etc that we do.  Then maybe you could say they did have a point.

Then again, food labeling itself as organic suggests that other food is inorganic, and I don’t see pasta as being made out of rock!

Blue Foxdragon LFM for Heroic Social

So, I’ve never had a ton of friends, but it’s not ever really bothered me either.  I actually tend to be fairly introverted, so most of my friends have come from more extroverted friends and family introducing me to them.  When those aren’t involved, I tend to revert to being a dragon ninja, when it comes to social situations around people I don’t know very well.

I’ll slip in quietly, listening to nearby conversation, and if it happens to hit upon something I can discuss or like to(or an opportunity for a bad pun comes up <..<) then I strike!  If the conversation drifts away towards something where I can’t contribute, then I’ll do the same, vanishing like smoke.

Anyways, my last local friends outside of work have now moved away, as of last week, putting me back where I was a few years ago, with a couple differences that are making me feel the difference more strongly than back then.

You see, for a while I was gaming with a group of people at one of our local comic and game stores, but then our GM had some personal issues and the game sessions came to an end.  At the time I was also playing World of Warcraft, so I ended up just staying at home most of the time, playing and socializing via that.  While I didn’t get out of the house much outside work, it wasn’t a huge issue as I was still getting my “people fix.”

After a couple years of that, I was feeling the itch for a tabletop RPG, and heard from my dad(who had also been playing with this group) that a few of the folks were starting it up again, but this time playing at their homes.  At the time, I was on a shifting schedule for work so I couldn’t make it half the time, and didn’t pursue it, but eventually that changed, and I was able to start playing with them again.

Over time we started doing other things as a group too, and during that time I dropped WoW, picked up STO for a while, then kinda dropped that too to focus on my marathon run through ALL the Pokemon games(and my computer not wanting to run STO under WINE). End result was basically most of my social needs being met by hanging with the local group instead, and it got me out of the house too!  Somewhere in there I also spent a good amount of time on Second Life for a while, until some events and life being busy led me to neglect it for a large amount of time.

Now, I don’t have any local event stuff I really go to at the moment, and I don’t have any MMOs I’m currently playing(in part due to WINE’s issues with DirectX11 and most MMOs I’m interested in using that now), leaving me coming home to not much to do and no one to really see.

On top of that, I’m at the point where I feel ready for a relationship again.  Usually after one ends, I’ve tended to stay single for a while after before even starting to look, and it’s been a couple years now. Unfortunately, I barely have anywhere to even look currently, because of the above.

End result? One lost and somewhat lonely dragon.

It doesn’t help either that most “mainstream” activities for meeting people are not things I’m into.  I don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t really dance, which leaves people introducing me to people, and online gatherings pretty much.

Unfortunately, I don’t know where to go for those either.  I’ve logged into SL recently, but I don’t know where to go anymore. The Isle of Wyrms has been fairly quiet the few times I popped in, Aggro has been empty, and I’m a bit big for Luskwood. (Never saw many convos of interest there the dew times I went either.)  Most of the other places I knew are gone, and I have no idea where I can find other dragons, or furs in general that would be welcoming to dragons.

I’ve also wanted to look for Telegram groups, but I don’t know where to look to find them, as I have very few other people I actively talk to on it right now, and the one index site I found doesn’t give me a real good idea for what some of them are like.

I’ve thrown up a couple profiles on Pounced and elsewhere too, but not a single response from any of them, and Pounced has historically not done much for me in general.

As for work?  Well back when the chlorine gas attack happened at MFF a couple years ago, people here were making bad furry jokes, so I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable letting my furry side out among them.  Not that I haven’t left a couple hints, but only one person has even sort-of caught it, and he’s not around anymore.

(To be fair, being able to be open about being dragon in RL has been a luxury I’ve only had the past couple years, as it turned out most of that group I mentioned before had furry tendencies to begin with, to my pleasant surprise.)

Anyways, if anyone knows where all the dergs are hanging these days, hit me up on Twitter.  I don’t really look for comments on here anymore, after so long of getting nothing but spam attempts.

Also open to any tabletop RPG gaming – with the group basically broken up for now, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to play Jasmine in an actual tabletop game anytime soon, and I don’t want to let the awesome art of her go to waste.

Remembrance of Days Gone By

So I was just reflecting on as of this year, I’ve basically been sporting scales for 10 years.  That’s almost a full third of my life right now, and probably half the time I’ve been around furry content overall – though 9-9.5 of the remaining time was spent as a fox.

That set me thinking of commissioning a new art piece(not the one posted above) to commemorate 10 years of scales – maybe something transformation-related, going from one form to the other.  Still, it might get complicated if I included my snep chakat ‘sona I ran with for several months also, and if I should include my Arctic Wyvern that brought everything to critical mass.

You see, back in 2007 I started poking my snout around an area in Second Life called the Isle of Wyrms – I may have mentioned it here before. I found out about it from some other furs at an area based around the DMFA webcomic(shameless plug – – been reading it for years!) as they had a couple adult dragon avatars from there and were showing them off at Lost Lake.

Now back then, you could buy the hatchlings and the wyrmlings(think feral dragon equivalent of teenagers) at any time, but the full-size adults were only available four times a year – on the solstices and equinoxes, and even then in limited numbers.  Once you owned one, you could buy the rest at any time for customization, but you had to get that first spot at one of the hatching events.  The idea was to try and make it something more special than just buying an av because it looked cool.  These were DRAGONS, and deserved something more special.

Because I was curious, I ended picking up a Astral Wyrmling, as it felt the most dragonlike to me, and toyed around with it a bit.  I’m fairly sure I talked about this a long while ago on here, so I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say I went to check my logs to see when I had first gotten the Arctic Wyvern and found it was actually exactly 10 years ago yesterday.

As I probably said then, and in a tweet-chain that triggered this blog post, the Wyrmling may have opened the door a crack, but it was the Wyvern egg that slammed it all the way open and broke off the hinges.

There was a certain magic in the air that day – we were the testbed for the random selection that was used up until the final hatchings, replacing the old “who can click fastest before the sim crashes” method.  I like to think of it as letting fate and luck take the wheel more directly, as the former relied on reaction speed as well as luck on if the server would acknowledge it before the sim crashed.

We were spread across two sims due to population limits as the drawing began. There was tension at first as individuals were called out – at least until someone noticed that if you checked your registration token, it could tell you if you were one of the winners or not already.  The current version of the Cathedral was not complete yet, but this was the first chance many of us got to see it, as the eggs were located there to keep things under control.

Once we had our eggs, it was off to the sandbox to hatch them, wear the avatars, and tweak them to our specifications.  This is where the magic I spoke of was most felt – the becoming of wing and scale, tooth and claw.  Leaning to move in something much larger, how it worked, and sharing the joy and celebration of our new forms with all the other newly grown Wyverns.  This was also the premiere release of the Wyverns, which added another element of specialness to the whole event.

It’s kind of sad that the days of the hatchings are behind us now.  As time wore on, the crowds began to shrink, and eggs began to go unclaimed, until the decision was made to set the tradition aside as the amount of unclaimed eggs up for adoption had effectively removed the distinction. Folks who arrive at the Isles now seeking a draconic perspective will never truly get to experience the tension of waiting to see if you were chosen, the wonder of walking down the rows of IoW elders standing ceremonial guard to claim their new egg, and the joy and celebration of becoming alongside their wingbrothers and wingsisters as they explore their new selves.

There was several factors though that led to this, and I don’t know that any one of them changing would have made a difference.

  • Daryth, as far as I am aware, has effectively moved on – no new dragon or other avatar designs or updates have been released in years.  For her, this was her art, more than anything else, and as every artist knows, the muse can be a fickle thing.
  • Other creators have harnessed deformations and mesh to create technically superior(whether they are aesthetically is up to the viewer) avatars that were available 24/7, and a majority of Second Life I’d say would prefer that instant purchase and gratification rather than waiting months for a chance at one that isn’t even a certain win.
  • While people come and go, once you had the adult you didn’t need to enter again.  This meant that every hatching shrunk the pool of prospective dragons, and eventually that pool would be small enough to cause this sort of effect as well.

So while it was probably inevitable, I am still glad I got to experience a IoW hatching before it ended, and thankful for it as it helped me find myself, so to speak. The Isle itself and the community is still around after 11 years, which is practically an eternity in SL time. While the sun is no longer blotted out with dragon wings, there are many hatchies and other folk waiting to welcome a stranger into their fold, or welcome back old friends who may wing back from time to time.

With how many places I have visited in SL that have come and gone, there is still a certain peace in knowing there is still a home to return to.

I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Sims crashing like dominos from a runaway grey goo attack. I’ve seen entire furry continents rise, only to fade away.  Dragons, spreading their wings for the first time under the shadow of Cathedral. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

Time to fly.

Trans is not a gender

Alright, I think some people may disagree with what I’m going to write here, but I came across a few characters that brought it to mind, and I feel the need to write/talk it out.  Since that’s what this blog is intended for, away I go!

There was a statement I recall hearing from some real transsexual folks a while back, about how a MtF who completed her transition was not a trans man, but a woman, and the same applies for the other direction.  From a Transformers board I follow which seems to ironically have a decent proportion of transsexual folk, they want to be seen as the gender they should be, not what they are, and that’s how they present themselves.  If they could snap their fingers and be 100% the gender they should be, they would be in a heartbeat, much like many otherkin would do if they could become their species. (Also ironically, otherkin still tend to be looked down on by transexual folk, despite the fact that unlike their situation, it’s more spiritual than physical.)

Then recently, I came across someone who was getting rid of some characters, and I took a peek cause the thumbnails looked interesting.  A couple of the characters in question were female in shape and body, but with male genitals, and their gender was labeled as trans.

Trans is not a gender.  The people I mentioned above, who have to deal with the situation in real life, would consider this sort of character an insult, and in fact I’ve seen similar reactions to some mainstream depictions of such people that take the same approach.

Now, they could be in the middle of transitioning, but the art and descriptions gave the impression that this was their natural selves, and they were satisfied with being where they were on the physical gender spectrum.  Basically, it’s being used as a more palatably-named version of the old concept of the “dickgirl”/”cuntboy” concept. (Which some trans folk also find offensive, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Nowadays, there is a wider spectrum recognized in the matter of gender, which reflects itself in furry fandom.  You’ve got genderfluid folk, who go back and forth, or folk who identify as neither.  It makes perfect sense to have people who may identify as somewhere in-between, whether a full herm(with breasts or without), a “dickgirl,” or a “cuntboy.”

Now fair enough, people may be confused on these, and said confusion may make them angry that someone is challenging them, or it may make them think the person is simply doing it as a cry for attention, instead of who they are.  There may even be a few for whom that is true. Also fair enough that the two latter terms have been used as insults in the trans community for long enough that it feels wrong to use the terms, but frankly I just don’t have anything better at the moment.  And that, my friends, is part of the problem.

How do you describe the gender of such folk? Stick to the well-used terms despite their negative connotation? Make up something else and piss off the “anti-snowflake” crowd further? Or just go the smartass route(my favorite) and say “Gender: Yes”?

Now some may point out that fursonas have an element of fantasy to them. Some may choose to have their fursona mirror their real-life progress, and that’s fine. And they may decide to stop halfway between like the examples above.  But at that point, if you do stop partway on purpose, you’ve finished your transition, even if the endpoint is not a “normal” endpoint.  You’re not trans, you’re something else.

And honestly, I guess this has turned into more of a rant than a discussion or whatever, and people can claim whatever labels they like, but someone calling themselves trans as a gender does a disservice to the actual transexuals who are in mid-transition, and intend to go all the way because that’s what they truly see themselves as.

Trans is not a gender.

That said, I’ll go back to my hidey-hole now until the next time I get a bug up my tail to write about something, or when I finally get around to another art post, as I have gotten a couple pieces, and have at least one more in the works.  But that’s for another day.

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.


Makai Knight class for Pathfinder/d20

Makai Priest class for Pathfinder/d20

Future Imperfect – Cyberpunk is Now


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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