Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Born: 15 December 1984
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Fairies, Fauns, Magic, Dragons, Unicorns, Fantasy, Elementals, Mythology, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Merfolk, Djinn, Pantheons, Monsters, Chimerae, Vampires, Therianthropes, Giants, Pegasi, Gryphons, Hydrae, Ganconers, Incubi, Nymphs, Reading, Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Dancing, Singing, Karaoke, Stage Magic, wings, costumes, shapeshifting, druids, shamans, wizards, witches, Shakespeare, Pencil-And-Paper Role-Playing Games (especially Changeling: The Lost, Changeling: The Dreaming, Scion: Hero, The Everlasting, Grimm, Fae Noir, Fireborn, Deliria, Castle Falkenstein, Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, etc), MMOs (especially WoW, Istaria, Everquest II, Perfect World International, Aion, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, City of Heroes, Shadowbane, etc), SCUBA Diving, Lifeguarding, Surfing, Renaissance Faires, Conventions, Faeriecon East, NC Merfest, Poetry, Halloween, Christmas, Camping.
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Last Seen: 21st October 2015, 9:38 PM
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17th September 2015, 7:33 PM
So, I have a bunch of costume pieces, but my pointy ears (bought about 12-15 years ago from a costume store that is no longer around) have been lost. I have been trying to find replacements, but all the other ones I've bought, including the awesome World of Warcraft Night Elf ears, various christmas elf ears, and several vulcan ears all universally end up unusable.
For some reason, the plastic/rubber/whatever just isn't shaped to be comfortable to my ears, it is impossible to hear, and/or my ears have to be squished and folded and bent to even get inside... and they usually fall off immediately.
I saw a LARP that used little elf ear tips attached with spirit glue to the top of the ear, and I'm curious about those, but I'm also not sure where to find a lifetime supply of spirit glue.
Has anyone else had these problems when it comes to ears? Or do you have recommendations for particularly comfortable ears?
28th May 2015, 10:10 PM
Soulfire, by Aspen Comics, is a story set mainly in the future. In this setting, high tech vehicles, cybernetic prosthetics, energy weapons, virtual reality, and advanced robots, are commonplace. However, it is also a world with secrets.
Before recorded history, magic existed in the world, and dragons shared the skies with the insect-winged Rahtumi people, the dark Sethoru with their more serrated wings, and human-dragon hybrids known as Nightstalkers. Humans also possessed magic as well, often used to increase their strength (with a powerful aura), generate blasts of magic, levitate, and see visions of the future. Furthermore, beings touched by magic seem capable of living for thousands of years. Corrupted magic can drain lives and energy, animate the dead, summon elemental and shadowy creatures, and control minds.
However, throughout generations, a single being, the Samsara, has been responsible for bringing magic to the world. One of them went bad, and was slain by a Rahtumi warrior named Miya using a magic dagger. This drove magic steadily from the world, causing the dragons to die out, a plague to sweep the land attacking all beings of magic, and the wings of those who possessed them dissolved and crumbled. Those affected by the plague take one last desperate stand against Rainier, a seemingly human knight who managed to use a magic staff of stolen dragons' teeth to turn the dragons against their allies, but the rahtumi warrior princess, Grace, saves the day, only for her dragon friend to die in her arms and her wings to crumble, leaving her to wander the world for an unfathomable length of time.
Until the present, when an archaeologist discovers a fossilized dragon and finds his dig is funded by the mysterious Rainier Corporation.
In the distant future, Rainier reveals that he himself was a descendant of the Nightstalkers, only to have his arms and legs torn off and burned by cruel townsfolk. It was for this reason that he tried to take control of the dragons, and with access to future technology he has gained limbs that can detach, levitate, and attack foes, as well as impressive armor... and he has constructed a massive mechanical dragon to terrorize the world. He has a small army at his side, armed to the teeth with devastating technology. He has the aid of a vicious named Abel and his swarms of insectoid droids. And he has hired Onyx, a Sethoru assassin who has regained her wings.
Around the world, signs of magic's return are noted by the few survivors of the last age. Grace has regained her wings as well, and has tracked down its source... a new Samsara named Malikai, an orphan who has no clue about his role in the world. Grace rescues Malikai from the cybernetic dragon attack and, with Malikai, his friends P.J. and Sonia, and Benoist, a cyborg gladiator, she begins a quest to introduce Malikai to the Five Masters... mystical entities hidden around the world who can help unlock their hero's potential. Over the course of their adventures, Sonia falls for Malikai, P.J. becomes Benoist's apprentice, Rainier brings the Nightstalkers back as cyborg frankenstein creatures, Grace falls for a female french Nightstalker, Malikai is revealed to be a Rahtumi himself (gaining orange-y butterfly-like wings only to swiftly have them torn off by Rainier... only for Malikai to manifest wings of aurora borealis-esque magic energy). New dragons and magical entities are born, and have to choose between the temptation and seeming unstoppable power of the chaotic side of magic and the light.
Ok, onto the nitty gritty.
All Aspen comics have incredible artwork. Michael Turner, the sadly-deceased founder of the company, was a legend, and since his death, they've kept up with the incredible quality.
As far as wings go, the Rahtumi and Sethoru (and Nightstalkers) look incredible, to say nothing of the dragons. Their wings tend to be a combination of insect (either butterfly or dragonfly) and pterosaur, and have a beautifully organic style to them. Each winged character is completely unique as far as wings go, and they often have glittering hair as well, giving them an otherworldly look.
That said, the magic in the story isn't very well defined, and is mainly treated as a power or a weapon, despite being treated alternately as a source of wonder and terror. There hasn't been any real use of magic for healing, or transformations, or illusions, or other traditional uses.
The characters might be a bit too pretty... of all of the major characters, heroes, villains, and otherwise, only Abel is anything less than totally gorgeous.
Aspen is also not one of the big companies, and therefore it doesn't have the resources, and production can be a bit sporadic.
Each author puts his or her own spin on Grace and her personality, which can make it difficult to get an idea of who she is. Rainier experiences a similar warping in each appearance. Malikai, as a teenager, is a little more believeably scattered, and his romantic conflicts with Sonia highlight the conflict between the allure of magic and a grand destiny... and the value of a life without magic and with humility. P.J. is fun and likeable, but not particularly deep, while Benoist has unexpected depths.
In the end, I do recommend Soulfire if only to get costume ideas... the art is that good. The initial story is probably the best, but you can be forgiven for continuing to read.
28th May 2015, 2:50 PM
Who else loves to catch and release fireflies/lightning bugs? With Spring turning into Summer, I'm looking forward to playing this childhood pastime again.
The fact that little glowing insects harken to images of fairies is a bonus, as far as I'm concerned.
28th May 2015, 2:38 PM
I have a confession to make: I really, really wanted to like this game.
It seems fairly simple, with a cool idea, a fun story, a comic included, and some cool characters, plus an interesting magic system.
Unfortunately, that's about all it has.
Pryzm: Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn is a PS2 game where you take on the role of Pryzm, a young unicorn with wings. According to the game, she is the unicorn of a prophecy who is destined to save the world, being the only winged unicorn to be born in generations. This is fine, except that all of the unicorn characters shown in the comic have wings, and Pryzm's unicorn teachers in the game tutorial might as well. If we're supposed to believe that other unicorns are wingless, they really don't give that impression, making Pryzm seem much less unique. Also, because she has to carry a passenger through the game, the young Pryzm is too weak to actually use her wings to fly. Instead, all she can manage is a double jump (referred to as gliding, but with no actual gliding going on).
Pryzm lives in a world with five lands... the peaceful land of the Unicorns (where the tutorial takes place), and four lands warped by an infestation of corrupting thorns that transform the inhabitants into monstrous versions of their species. The marshy land of the nymphs (fairies and mermaids), the forested land of the elves, the mountainous land of the trolls (more like dwarves), and the land of the gnomes are infested by this plague of plants, turning their inhabitants into bird and swamp monsters, orcs, skeletons, goblins, etc. The Trolls, suspicious of the fact that the land of the Unicorns seems plague-proof, send one of their wizards to join Pryzm, and you end up playing both characters as the troll rides on Pryzm's back and you use both character's powers (which show various elemental effects in each land) to fight the corrupted denizens of the lands and free them from the thorns. Unfortunately, the effects of the powers are the same in all cases, and getting past the first few levels of each land can be extremely difficult. You also can't heal damage until the enemies are wiped out, which has led to my characters dying only to see the land blossom once the thorns die.
The music is pretty nice, and they got a professional comic book artist to do the comic included in the box. But the voice acting, while decent, gets repetitive, including Pryzm and the Troll yelling at each other to fight better and stop being so heavy. Apparently the titular Dark Unicorn is behind the thorns and plague after all (so the Trolls were right, after a fashion).
It would be better if your character was joined by a member of each of the lands' races rather than just the trolls, or if the magic worked a bit more effectively or if Pryzm could actually fly away from tough zones to recover or get out of range of attacks. My opinion seems to be shared by other gamers, since, despite the title, there has never been a Chapter 2 in the series.
27th May 2015, 5:17 PM
Ok, one of my problems with the Dungeons and Dragons games, no matter their edition, is that they are so focused on Tolkien's works that they at least initially don't allow any possibilities outside of the sort of characters found in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. While that has shifted slightly over the past few years, it still is the grounding of the series. I find this to be something of a crutch and it leads to unoriginal characters or people playing simply to win fights rather than encouraging roleplaying. For the same reasons that not every sci-fi series should be Star Wars with other names, fantasy games shouldn't just be Tolkien or WoW.
For those who aren't familiar with it, Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop game where players take on the roles of a group of adventurers in a fantasy world who are fighting for good in a fallen world of lost civilizations, fallen empires, and the interventions of gods, angels, demons, devils, elementals, wizards, giants, and especially dragons. The franchise might be the quintessential roleplaying experience, and it is fairly user-friendly, though guidance is helpful.
4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons came out when World of Warcraft was on everyone's lips, and in an effort to attract a greater audience, the game designers tried to cater to that audience. This has some rule simplifications which are appreciated... but it loses out on some of the flexibility of other game systems, and it can be a struggle for storytelling and roleplaying to show.
In general, the pattern is that the game rules come out... and then, years later, when the game is fading and they're considering starting the newest generation, they try and entice some last-minute players for the dying version by adding a bunch of new races and class options. Truly fey creatures are considered almost an afterthought.
That said, 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons introduces as part of it's cosmology a dimension called the Feywild, a vivid, colorful world of life and magic and mischievous creatures from the beginning. Unfortunately, the power of the Feywild is arcane magic... used by wizards, bards, necromancers, sorcerers, elementals, demons, and most magic items. There is absolutely nothing to distinguish the Arcane magic of the fey creatures from other kinds of powers unlike say Divine energy, or Primal energy (from nature spirits), or Psychic energy (from personal willpower and madness). What seems to distinguish fey creatures is mainly that they are good at short-distance teleporting ("fey stepping" into the Feywild and back) and have a penchant for enchantment and mind control spells. On the other hand, divine powers and gods and their servants are clearly described, as are the denizens of the elemental planes and the demons that dwell there (something else I'm not wild about). The feywild itself fits the description of many fairylands, in that it is layered over our world. It is also somewhat opposite the dimension known as the Shadowfell, a dark and gray dimension where the undead draw power and where souls of the dead arrive before being judged by the goddess of death and sent to their punishment or reward in the other planes).
Elves... Tolkien's ubermensch. In 4th edition, Elves are extremely nature-focused, and fill the roles that Half-Elves usually fill in other games. They make good rangers and live in the woods... and they're pretty much ignored thanks to the other new races (eladrin, tieflings, and dragonborn).
Drow - Added in a later book, the Drow, or Dark Elves, are black-skinned, pale-haired underground spider-lovers, whose fallen goddess has become a demon queen. They are a matriarchy. They are slavers. They get burned in the sunlight. They are almost entirely EEEEVVVVVILLLLL... which is why players love to play them as good guys and runaways from their culture. And what everyone overlooks is that the word "Drow" comes from the same root as "Troll" in actual real-world mythology.
Eladrin - In past versions of D&D, the Eladrin were basically fey angels with alternate elemental forms, a chaotic "anything goes as long as evil is defeated and the good are saved" mentality. In 4th Edition, however, they are elves with pointy ears, solid gem-colored pupil-less eyes, and the ability to fey step for short distances. They are skilled at magic, and take on the "magic-noble-knight" role from traditional elves, while elves take on the "nature warriors" role. They really aren't very well developed, however.
Fey Pact Warlocks - Dungeons and dragons is split into two main character aspects: races (like elves, eladrin, and drow), and classes. Classes are like jobs or occupations, and are the main focus and the main developed feature in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Your race is pretty much static, but your class gets expanded and empowered as your character grows (which does make sense... a law student becomes a lawyer... a human doesn't become more "human" the more experienced he becomes). Warlocks are a new class for 4th edition. Unlike Wizards, who learn magic through extensive study; Clerics, who gain spells from through the intervention of their god or goddess; Druids and Shamans, who draw on the power of nature and ancestor spirits; Sorcerers, who gain magic powers through their heritage and the secrets of their blood and ancestors; and Psions, who manifest powers through the force of their minds; Warlocks make a pact with some sort of being. They serve this being in exchange for unearthly powers. Of the three initial pacts in the first book, the Fey-Pact is perhaps the most benevolent. While other pacts draw on demons or lovecraftian monstrostities for powers, the Fey Pact warlocks are given powers from a fey lord or lady. These powers often mimic the magic and traditional powers of faeries. The fact that these fey entities are left mostly undefined is both frustrating (its hard to develop ideas for your character's relationship with an entity about which nothing is written) and freeing (you're free to pay as much or as little attention to that relationship and define it on your own terms). Warlocks are gender-neutral as a class term (you can be a female warlock), and morality-neutral (I believe even a Warlock with a demonic pact can be good and noble, and one of the few roleplaying prompts in the game is that such a character is often rueing making that pact and putting their soul in jeopardy, and are desperate to find a way out of their situation or turn their dark powers to good ends).
Half-Elves - In many cases, Half-Elves are a race for people who want to be everything. They have some elven features and extended lifespans, but have the added flexibility of humans. While not as limited as Half-Orcs (who are basically an attempt to let players play as orcs), Half-Elves are often an uncomfortable hybrid race who finds themselves uncomfortable living among humans or elves. This is a common fey theme... but beyond that, Half-Elves have even less fey elements than elves or eladrin or drow.
Gnomes - Sigh. Gnomes can be interesting. But they are so fractured identity-wise. Are they fey beings... or mechanical Bavarian folk? Are they creatures of the Earth... or is that dwarves? Are they cute and clever tricksters... or is that halflings/hobbits? Basically, gnomes are good illusionists and have a knack for magic and tricks. Beyond that, they're a bit too splintered, identity-wise. Gnomes appear in the second player's handbook, I believe, not the first one.
Genasi - Genasi deserve mention because they are a reasonable replacement for many fey creatures. Technically, Genasi have nothing to do with the feywild at all... they are descendants of humans who either interbred with or chose to live on the elemental planes. In 4th Edition, Genasi start with features and powers from one element... fire, water, earth, air, or storm. As a unique feature in 4th Edition, Genasi have crystalline or fiery hair, brightly colored skin with glowing tattoos based on their element, and some of them are able to master the ability to shift between multiple elements (meaning such a character can fly using the air power, burn others with flames, take damage as if they were made of solid stone, breathe underwater, and launch lightning). Future books and magazines have offered other kinds of elemental manifestations, including ice, cinders, acid, void, plague, etc. The downside is that gaining all of those manifestations means that your character ends up with no other class features and so forth. But if you want to play a water nymph, a wind sylph, a frost sprite, etc... genasi are the way to go. Genasi first appear in the 4th Edition Forgotten Realms book. One of the players in my group plays a Void genasi, and he has some nifty teleportation tricks as a result.
Wilden - Wilden are creatures of nature. They resemble a mix of humanoid with plants, and a somewhat feline aspect of facial features (shaped out of leaves, thorns, branches, etc). They can shift between different natural aspects to become more mobile, more defensive, or more damaging.
Changelings - In this case, changelings have nothing to do with the typical fairy creature. Instead, they resemble gray aliens with pastel colored hair. They can alter their appearance at will. They have traditionally been known as doppelgangers.
Witches - Another class, Witches are actually a variation of the Wizard class. The wizard appears in the first player's handbook, but Witches only make an appearance in Heroes of the Feywild, near the end of the 4th Edition run. Witches have more traditional fairytale powers than wizards, generally, but otherwise follow the same pattern and rules.
Tuathans - A hidden tribe of humans and half-elves introduced in the Heroes of the Feywild Book, Tuathans have some minor fey powers such as taking on smaller animal forms or unusual luck. They have only limited background, though.
Fey Beast Tamers - Supposedly, these characters have attracted the attention of a supposedly fey creature. However, the options are an Owlbear (like a griffon, but flightless, and made of owl and bear instead of eagle and lion), displacer beast (an indigo panther with a pair of tentacles emerging from it's shoulders who is very hard to hit since it projects an image of itself some distance away from its actual location), a fey panther, and a blink dog (a teleporting dog). None of these creatures really have a mythic resonance. Instead, all of them are creatures that came from other sources and thrown into the fey category because the game designers were too lazy to come up with anything interesting. That said, the feature of having a pet to help you fight is pretty useful, and I have made use of a young owlbear for my character. The owlbear is part snowy owl and part polar bear, and I called him Dandelion Wish.
Hamadryads - one of three fey races introduced in Heroes of the Feywild, Hamadryads make great mystical and social characters, dazzling people with their beauty and manifesting the powers of the plant world. A good choice for tree lovers who were disappointed with the elves, eladrin, and wilden.
Satyrs - One of the three fey races introduced in Heroes of the Feywild, Satyrs make excellent bards and rogues, and have a number of traits that help them blend in and interact with humans in various ways. They generally do a good job of keeping the satyr nature true and interesting.
Pixies - The reason I decided to write this entry. Pixies are one of the three fey races introduced in Heroes of the Feywild. They are tiny winged individuals whose eyes shift between eladrin-style eyes (in the company of other fey creatures) and humanlike pupils (around humans and other races), with various insect wings. They are small enough that they can share space with bigger characters. They can fly as high as 20 feet into the air. They can communicate with animals (which is fun, but somewhat limiting since animals are only able to talk about stuff they understand or notice). They can shrink human-made objects down to their size so the pixies can use and wield them. They can turn invisible for a short time. They are fairly fragile, however. I made a pixie swarm druid (a nature mystic who can command plants, animals, the weather, the elements, etc, and who can turn himself into a swarm... in my case, a swarm of butterflies) named Snapdragon (hence my name here). Pixies are usually better at more social or intellectual classes, like rogues, bards, and wizards, rather than druids, but overall, it's been fun.
So all in all, dungeons and dragons 4th edition can be a fun game, with a lot of fey elements. That said, you have to do some digging for them, which isn't worth it for a game that's out of date. The current edition of the game, 5th Edition, has yet to come up with most of these elements, though the Genasi, Eladrin, Elves, Warlocks, etc, have made appearances.
15th March 2016, 10:16 AM
21st October 2015, 9:01 PM