The End of an Era… or something – AKA #Blaugust Day 31

As I sit here staring at my blank screen before writing my final Blaugust 2015 post, I find myself a bit at a loss. Yeah, that’s nothing new really. I find myself at a loss a LOT. Seriously, I don’t know how i’ve managed to churn out 31 of these things, i never know what to say. I don’t think you guys understand just how arbitrary it is.

Anyway. I had planned on doing something profound about why I decided to join Blaugust this year, and how it’s changed how I think about blogging, but I’m not even sure that’s entirely true. I’ve already mentioned that for the next week I most likely won’t be blogging because i’ll be out of state. Chances are, if I DO blog, it’ll be short and typo-laden because it’s going to be on my tablet. I think I made a post from my tablet a couple weeks ago, and i’m surprised that it came out as clearly as it did. I’m getting sidetracked though. The point is that while Blaugust has been a fun experiment, and I CERTAINLY don’t regret doing it at all, I’m not really sure it’s changed how I feel about blogging as a whole. That is to say, it didn’t change how I feel about it because before doing this I didn’t really HAVE any feelings about it. Blogging was just one of those things that I used to do, because it seemed like EVERYONE I knew was doing it (and man they totally were too), so I thought i’d get in on the action. I got in it for the wrong reasons, ended with the wrong mindset, and my old blog just faded away with a whimper because I didn’t like what it had really become.

This is a different case though. I may not always play World of Warcraft in the future, but I will ALWAYS play games, and my identity will constantly evolve, because I constantly evolve as a person. That’s kind of what made me decide to name this blog what I did. Who am I? What do I want the world to know about Achloryn? Well, I am a gamer. That’s been a big part of my identity for a long time now. I can mark a very real change in how I lived my life as a whole when I finally embraced that side of myself. Funnily enough, now it’s my “outside” life that I tend to keep closed off, but only from the internet. But of course, that’s just a safety measure. Not cause I think any of you readers are lunatics who would stop by my apartment and ruffle through my garbage or anything like that… (right?)

Anyway, with Blaugust now behind us I can settle into a blogging schedule (or lack thereof) that i’m more comfortable. I really strained myself at times to get 31 posts in 31 days up, but I am also glad I did it. If nothing else, participating in Blaugust has introduced me to a few interesting people, and that’s good enough for me. See you guys next week 😀

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Dragons and More Dragons – AKA #Blaugust Day 30

This has the potential to be one of my more incoherent blog posts. Since i’m going on vacation next week I have to evolve into a “real person” schedule for a week, which means that today I get to start the fun process of migrating my sleep schedule from 9am-4pm to 11p-6a/12a-7a like normal people. I mean honestly, who DOES that?

So. If you read my rant yesterday, you may have missed the comment that  C.T. left on my blog. Basically, I had somehow MISSED the fucking release of FFT for mobile. I’m not a little bit angry that I never knew about this, but the anger is quickly chased away by thoughts of playing Tactics on my wonderful (if beaten up) tablet. I will definitely be getting this thing, and soon… And now I have ideas in my head for Skyrim character builds based on the Final Fantasy Tactics jobs. Dammit you guys, I swear.

/ahem.

Anyway. so as i’ve mentioned previously (at least I THINK I have anyway) i’m playing 2 (4th ed) D&D games concurrently. One of my DMs has informed us that her life has gone SUPER ABSURD CRAZY OMG so she’s going to have to take a break from our game for a while (or at least DMing it because that takes a hell of a lot of work). Which opened up the door for one of our other players to step up and be a DM for a campaign HE’S been talking about for a little while. So we got started a little bit last night. Basic concept of the world it’ll be set in (it’s also 4th ed), what class/role we might play, and so on and so forth, you get the idea. I have decided that this time I am going to play a defender (tank). I mean why not, i’ve been tanking in MMOs for the last 5 years, so it’s about time I took that to D&D right? (My other two campaigns i’m a controller and a striker, so I had to do something different. I was a healer VERY briefly before I rerolled to a barbarian, because it turned out I was effing terrible as a healer). I haven’t 100% decided yet, but I think I am going to make my defender a Battlemind. Mostly because the idea of psionic power and augment points are a FASCINATING mechanic to me, so I think i’m going to do that.

And then comes the part that I have never been great at… writing up a character story. I have to decide who my character is, and WHY my character is who he is. Blargh. Sometimes I can come up with a glimmer of a concept and then I can run with it, and that’s all fine and good. Meanwhile my wife over here has written half of the story of her character’s life up to this point somehow and i’m just staring at her with a look of both confusion and anger on my face. Not real anger of course. Just the anger that makes me want to choke her when she talks about how bad she is at roleplaying then comes up with this FUCKING AMAZING character idea and just. Yeah you get the drift.

Anyway, so that’s what my weekend has mostly consisted of. And now I get to watch some football, play some Skyrim, and try to remember how it is that normal people sleep. I probably won’t be blogging at all next week (after monday) because I will be out of town for family things. Good family things, don’t worry. 🙂

Week 4 Wrap-Up – AKA #Blaugust Day 28

If my site viewer stats are of any indication, not many people care much for the Elder Scrolls lore posts. Well here is my response to that.

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Today’s not going to be another lore post, but that’s besides the point. The point of this blog has ALWAYS been about me and not anybody else. That may sound selfish but it really isn’t. This is me writing down my thoughts and ideas and anecdotes, or whatever I find fascinating for the day. People might read it. People might not. Sure it’d be great to have this huge super-popular blog with hundreds of readers a day, but in the end none of that matters. If I only get half a dozen views a day, then I hope those half a dozen people enjoyed what I had to say that particular day.

This whole Blaugust thing was an experiment for me. I can’t believe it’s almost over, but at the same time i’m so GLAD it’s almost over ahahah. I knew that pushing myself to do 31 blog posts in a row was going to be difficult, so in my own mind if I didn’t succeed it was always going to be alright. Somehow i’ve managed to muddle my way through 4 weeks of non-stop posts (even a couple days of double posting to make up for missed days), and there’s been some great support on twitter too. I jokingly made a comment on twitter yesterday to the effect of “PARDON ME WHILE MY BLOG SLOWLY BECOMES AN ELDER SCROLLS LORE BLOG” and I had a few people go “YES THIS IS A THING THAT SHOULD HAPPEN DO IT.” There’s an audience for everything. Which brings me back to this blog.

A couple of my blog posts have done really well. My post a couple weeks back about social gaming and depression was REALLY popular (compared to the number of reads I get for other posts anyway). It makes sense, in a way. I know a LOT of people who have social anxiety or depression or other issues, so I know some of those things I said really resonate with people. Especially among my circle of friends online, depression in one form or another is actually pretty common. Everybody likes to hear that they’re not the only ones who struggle with things, and some of the comments i’ve had on that post have been just awesome. I guess the (rambling, meandering, slow to come across) point i’m trying to make with my post is this. The numbers aren’t important. As long as i’m putting out things I need to say I will never be dissatisfied with this blog. I think that was a trap I fell into with my old blog. I started it out as just me rambling about World of Warcraft, but it eventually became a “what do people want to read about?” thing, and it really became kind of a chore. So, while I’ve stated several times that when Blaugust is over with, I won’t continue blogging EVERY day, I WILL continue blogging, and I will do everything to make each post about whatever is on my mind rather than what I think you want to read about from me.

Have an awesome weekend folks 😀

The An-Xileel – AKA #Blaugust Day 27

I have a kitty on my keyboard, and this is making it EXTREMELY difficult to type. I legitimately have no clue what to blog about, yet again (I sense a recurring theme here towards the end of Blaugust here). So. I guess I am going to do another lore segment. Mostly because these things are fun, and I have a really interesting topic today. It’s not a person, like my last few posts have been, but this is a… faction of sorts. The An-Xileel.

Towards the end of the 3rd Era, when the Oblivion Crisis was happening all over Tamriel, there was a group of Argonians (lizard people) in the Black Marsh gaining political power called the An-Xileel. Now, a little backstory is probably required for those who’ve never played TES IV: Oblivion. The Oblivion Crisis is the name for when Mehrunes Dagon tried to take over Tamriel by opening portals from his realm of Oblivion and allowing his daedric henchmen to storm the cities. In Oblivion, the main story is focused around your character putting a stop to Dagon, and ending the invasion once and for all. While the game itself is centered on Cyrodiil, the seat of the Septim Dynasty’s capital, you’re lead to believe that similar events are happening across the entire continent. Now back to the An-Xileel. The Black Marsh was nowhere near as well defended as Cyrodiil, but the Argonian army were the kings of guerilla warfare.

The An-Xileel had already been spreading anti-imperial propaganda around the Black Marsh. They were gaining power and support around the time the first Oblivion gates opened up. Now guerilla fighting is all well and good, but when faced with a seemingly limitless horde of fiery demons, hit and run tactics will only get you so far. In a last ditch effort, the An-Xileel effort prepared a counterstrike, into the gates of Oblivion itself. They sent a massive force of their best warriors, and rebuffed the invasion force to such a degree that Mehrunes Dagon reportedly closed all of his portals into the Black Marsh.

After the Oblivion Crisis was over, the An-Xileel obviously gained massive support from the people, and earned enormous political sway in the Argonian capital of Lilmoth. They used this power and support to secede from the empire, and turned their eyes to securing their borders. In the early years of the 4th era (some 200+ years before the events of Skyrim), the Argonians invaded Morrowind (homeland of the Dunmer or Dark Elves), preying on the weakness left in the wake of the daedric invasion. For centuries, the Dunmer had been making skirmish raids into the borders of the Black Marsh and taking Argonians into forced slavery, so this was the Argonians’ chance to send a clear message in response. The invasion decimated the already weakened Dunmer forces, and sacked several cities before the Great Houses (the aristocracy of the Dunmer) were finally able to halt the advance. The An-Xileel weren’t particularly interested in the land they took during the invasion, but the message they left was clear, and the Dunmer were scattering between the onslaught of the An-Xileel and the eruption of the Red Mountain several years earlier. They eventually were driven back to the borders of Black Marsh, but not before devastating the southern portion of Morrowind, and making it clear that they would suffer no more slaves to be taken by the Dunmer.

The Argonians secession from the empire marked the rapid increase in what had been an already slowly decaying unification. A century and a half later, Valenwood and Elswyr (home of the Wood Elves and Khajiit respectively) had been ceded to the Aldmeri dominion. Morrowind was a ghost of it’s former self between the losses during the Oblivion crisis and the Argonian invasion, and Hammerfell (home of the Redguard people) was on the brink of it’s own civil war. A few years later, the Aldmeri Dominion invaded on two fronts, which ultimately led to the events that occur in Skyrim.

Talos of Atmora – AKA #Blaugust Day 26

After yesterday’s absolutely worthless and blithering blog post, i’ve decided to do another lore-history study today. If you’re not a fan of Skyrim… WELL TOUGH SHIT. (No, seriously, I understand, but I really love exploring the lore behind this game, so please forgive my indulgence ;P)

If you’ve played Skyrim, you probably know the name Talos of Atmora, or Tiber Septim. He’s a pretty big point of contention in the civil war that’s happening throughout the game. The humans (especially the Nords) are firm in their belief that when Talos died he ascended to become the ninth divine of the Tamrielic religion (which doesn’t exactly have a name, as far as I can tell). However, the elves think this nothing more than base heresy. He was a strong general, and a good emperor, but he was still simply a man, nothing more. There are only eight divines, as far as they’re concerned. But the stories BEHIND Talos, before he became the 9th Divine, are far more interesting.

Now, as is usually the case when there’s two varying viewpoints as to exactly who Talos was before he united, and then became, Emperor of Tamriel. Both sides agree that he was a brilliant general under King Cuhlecain, who used the power of the thu’um (dragon shouts) to help him to many great victories. When Cuhlecain was murdered in the night, Talos ascended to power, taking the name Tiber Septim to rule the Third Empire for over 80 years.

In here, we find one of the key differences from the Church of Talos and the Elvish viewpoints. The “heretical” viewpoint, established by the elves, states that Talos himself helped orchestrate the murder of Cuhlecain, and blamed it on assassins from High Rock in order to cement his position as emperor. Apparently, according to the heretics, Talos had a sort of… problem solver named Ysmir Kingmaker, or The Underking, who was an immortal ancient hero and ancient king of Skyrim that could apparently regenerate himself when his body was destroyed. The Underking helped Talos ascend to power, and protected him in his battle to unite the empire under his banner. The Underking was later betrayed by Septim, who had ordered his essence captured in a soul gem to power an ancient dwarven artifact that would allow him to conquer the high elves’ homeland of the Summerset Isles.

The church of Talos has a different viewpoint on these matters. When King Cuhlecain was killed, another assassin was sent after Talos himself, and reportedly slit his throat, which didn’t kill him, but left him unable to use the thu’um anymore. Talosian doctrine has no mention of the Underking at all, and glosses over what could potentially be a very greedy, expansionist, and bloodthirsty early reign. There’s also the matter of his ascendance, after his death, which is really the largest point of contention between the church’s “official” story, and the “heretical” viewpoint. There are no actual documents (that I could find) that go into any detail about how or why he was deified, so one can only speculate how this transpired.

Centuries later, after the empire has become a shade of it’s former self, the Aldmeri Dominion declared Talos worship illegal across Tamriel, as a result of their peace treaty with the current emperor (as of the time the events in Skyrim take place). This event helped spark the Stormcloak Rebellion, which is featured so prominently throughout the main story of Skyrim. As it stands currently, there is no REAL way to determine which history behind Talos is the “correct” version, so it’s left up to the various players and historians to make up their own decisions.

This is more like a diary entry than a blog post – AKA #Blaugust Day 25

So today the Diablo 3 patch came out, and I never did manage to get my seasonsal crusader up to level 70 before the season end. That’s okay though. I’m sure i’ll get around to playing a character at some point in season 4, and with all the new set pieces and revamped old pieces (HOLY SHIT THEY FINALLY REDID THE HELLTOOTH SET FOR WITCH DOCTORS YAY!), it’ll be *awesome*.

Y’know, whenever I get around to it. Which i’m sure I will in bits and pieces at one point or another.

I sit and look at my steam list, or other places on my computer, where my other games are located and all I can do is shrug at them and then click on Skyrim. It’s not that i’m addicted to Skyrim (okay.. not SOLELY because of that), but I think it’s more because I just genuinely don’t want to play anything else. And that’s a really weird feeling for me. It may come back to my feeling of exclusively playing WoW for so long. Like I would occasionally play something not-WoW to give myself a break, but the majority of the time when I was playing WoW it was ONLY WoW, and that might have caused a part of my burnout with the game too.

For most of my life, i’ve never been an “exclusive” gamer. I’ve always played around quite a bit. Sometimes I would focus in on a game, but it was usually only until I beat it (like any of the various Final Fantasy games or something), and then i’d move on to something else, or back to something I had played before. Hell, right now i’m sitting here waiting for Diablo 3 to finish patching, and i’m just like “meh”. I actually don’t even feel like playing Skyrim right now, but I think that’s just cause I need a nap.

Please excuse the excessive babbling. This is even more babbling than usual for me. Back to normal (whatever that might be) tomorrow… Probably.

The Daedra – AKA #Blaugust Day 24

Holy shit you guys, one more week of this Blaugust stuff to go! I think I am going to do another lore segment today, as honestly i’m not sure what to write about.

Today I am going to talk about the Daedra in the Elder Scrolls canon. In an earlier post I talked about the Daedra and said that they were similar to demons, but this term is simultaneously under-descriptive and overselling it. See, when… creation happened there were beings who supported, and took part, in the creation of our plane of existence, called the Aedra (or “Ancestors”), and those who didn’t support it, and took no part in it (the Daedra or “not our ancestors”). Taking part in the creation of weakened the Aedra somewhat, as it required a piece of themselves to take shape. Meanwhile the Daedra gave no such part of themselves, so they are still at full strength.

Now, while there is a vast, untold number of minor Daedra in existance (and these are the ones you could think of as the minor demons, footsoldiers of a sort), there are also several Daedric Princes (or Lords or what have you). The term might be misleading, as they are all actually gender-neutral, but leave it up to us silly mortals to assign genders to everything. As such, all of the Princes have a particular way they generally prefer to manifest to people, but they can generally do so however they wish. Each Prince is the ruler of their own specific plane of Oblivion (which is basically a different realm of reality. It’s often compared to hell, but again, this only tells PART of the story), with each one of them having sway over a different sphere of influence. Hermaeus Mora, for example, is the keeper of knowledge, memory, and fate, whereas Sheogorath is the Prince of Madness (or more accurately, chaos). There are 17 Daedric Lords in all, each with their own sphere of influence, and realm in Oblivion.  Think of them kind of like the Greek pantheon. None of them are inherently good or evil, they all just have extreme views relating to their particular position, and with some of their realms (like Peryite being in charge of Natural Order and Pestilence. It may seem like an odd combination, but when you think about it, everyone has to die somehow at some point, because it’s just the natural order of things), it can come across FEELING evil, but honestly the Daedra don’t view good and evil in the same sense that mortals do.

Over the course of the various Elder Scrolls games, the Daedra play an important role to all the different heroes in one way or another. They all have a task they would like you to do, and upon completion of their task, they give you access to a powerful relic for a time to help you on your “heroic” quest. These quests generally tend to vary on the alignment scale in a way that is fitting to their sphere of influence. In Skyrim, for example, Meridia will have you slay a necromancer who is feeding off of the souls of people killed in the civil war and has taken up residence inside one of her temples. Boethiah, on the other hand, will have you take a trusted friend to an alter and murder them outright with a ritual dagger. Funnily enough, both of them are widely considered to be two of the “good Daedra”, by people who make such distinctions.

I’ve always found the relationship between mortals and divinity fascinating in the Elder Scrolls games. Daedra worship is generally… frowned upon, let’s say, by the public at large, but at the same time it’s also widespread. Even devout worshippers of the Eight Divines (who are Aedra) will still make a sort of… nod, or give thanks, to certain Daedra in appropriate times. One of the Daedra (Boethiah) is even considered to be allied with the temple of Stendarr (one of the Eight Divines, who is the God of Mercy and Justice), so go ahead and try to reconcile THAT in your mind. Daedra are actually pretty simple creatures in their way, but mortals are limited so their simple ways are actually rather complicated from our limited perspective. The mortal relationship with them is, as I said earlier, absolutely fascinating. I realize this kind of lore-heavy wiki-esque post may only be interesting to me and a few other huge TES nerds that I may know, but that’s alright. I have a lot of fun writing about things that I think about, and so I give you over 750 words on the friggin Daedra.