Sunday, December 23, 2018

Dragon Age II - Before I Ever Met You (eBook)

To celebrate winning NaNoWriMo 2018 (and the holidays!) I'm releasing this nifty eBook for the Dragon Age fandom. These vignettes were written by BioWare's writers to tease Dragon Age II, but they were released as simple PDFs and I thought they (and we) deserve a little something extra.


The book seems to be around 30 pages in most formats.


Front CoverBack Cover


For eReaders: 

Enjoy this ePub file on your favorite reader app.


Other eBook formats available: Adobe PDF, MS-Word DOC, Kindle MOBI.
PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BnjOr7JwRqho-QCmUBCcBffWrIhIdVPM
DOC: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CGW3WxTSe2tJqp9wyKGV4Z1F2IO85kez
MOBI: https://drive.google.com/open?id=14Oc2OBTB7hu0XgdyJMnSLRKg0yjJ2J-n





For Print Collectors:

(i.e. IF YOU INTEND ON PRINTING THIS OUT)

NaNoWriMo 2018 (I won!)






THING ONE:

So... I heard about NaNoWriMo in, like, 2001 (probably on LiveJournal).

In case you don't know, that means 'National Novel Writing Month' (a name it has largely outgrown). NaNoWriMo was one of the first fad months I knew about...way before variations involving drawing, not shaving, or abstinence.

I have been thinking about doing it for years, but there was always a reason not to do it...you know, life. This year, I told life to suck it.

To "win" NaNoWriMo, you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days (1667/day). I won. The manuscript is not currently complete, and is not publishable for various reasons, but I did it.




During the process, I also became a lot more familiar with Scrivener, the word processor program. To further my education, I also learned how to compile an eBook file (e.g., EPUB).


THING TWO:
I've been reading a lot more feverishly lately. I'm unsure what's causing this, but I'm riding the wave. As a result, I joined Goodreads.

On Goodreads, I found these Dragon Age "books" -- but they're not books, they're little vignettes. They were released as teasers for Dragon Age II, on the website, and are simple PDFs.


CAT IN THE HAT:
I converted the PDFs into one eBook file. I made a cover. I measured my copy of 'Hard in Hightown' to make sure it matched.

SO, TO CELEBRATE MY ACHIEVEMENTS IN NOVEMBER... 
I DECIDED TO SHARE THIS AS A HOLIDAY GIFT TO THE GEEK COMMUNITY!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dragon+ Magazine 'Herding Tahra's Cats' Companion - Isle of Catlantis


I love April Fool's Day.  

It's basically my favorite holiday, and my for-sure favorite "not-store" holiday.*

*Extremely basic way of saying "non-commercialized."  I make the distinction because I also vehemently love Halloween, and I also count my birthday as a personal holiday.  That's the top-three, folks.  Shout-out to May the Fourth, and Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Dragons Magazine has a long tradition of April Fools articles (a favorite of mine being Flaws for Commoners, Dragon #330).  The most recent issue of Dragon+ had good inspiration for me as well.  While not specifically intended for April Fool's -- the recent article on the artist Tahra's cat-people images, Herding Tahra's Cats, served quite well.

How It Played with My Group: Having solved the mystery of Secomber, and captured the fleeing criminal for a bounty, the group travelled north to Longsaddle.  After a day of shopping and gambling, they stumbled into an area where a Harpell wizard's spell component bag was attacked by her pet cat.  The result being an out-of-body plane shift, into the demiplane of the Cat Lord, and into the bodies of existing cat people.

APRIL FOOL'S, SCHMUCKS!

Most of the cat-characters were simply duplicates of the player's current characters, reskinned as appropriate with the kitty pregens, and the remaining characters from the article served as NPCs.  I created an image for King Furdinand (and added to the royalty with Queen Caterina, Baron Buttons, Earl Whiskers, and Duke Midnight).  The PCs had access to the organic and muscle memories of the characters they assumed, but also had their own knowledge as well.

What they didn't know immediately: the cat people were now in their bodies.  They'd remain in a playful and confused static state, safely at the Wayfarer Academy chasing rabbits and mice, unless a PC did something... like get them killed.  The more aberrant behavior was from a PC, the more aberrant their cat friend would be as well.  The spell would automatically wear off in less than 24 hours, and they'd be back home in their own respective skins.

So, my players filled the night with cat puns... doing their best to play their borrowed roles.  They fought a pirate rat king, and his evil wizard cat associate.  They bought catnip off some sketchy hamster brothers.  They battled temptation when mimics arrived looking like cardboard boxes.  They defended the king, and were heartily rewarded -- and that's when the spell wore off and the cat souls returned home to find themselves being honored in the royal court (much to their surprise).

If you want to also run a one-off night on the Isle of Catlantis, please enjoy the following things I've made (for use with traditional tabletops, or Virtual TableTop like Roll20).  Some are lifted from the article, some are original content, and some are reworked stuff I found on Google Images.

Dungeons & Dragons Master


I started playing with my sister's teen friends when I was three (reportedly as a street urchin, and then as a wizard's cat familiar).  I spent a lot of my childhood "playing pretend" in many ways, with varying level of structure.  I started playing one-offs and visiting roles in other people's games around sixteen, but I had a job and no car... so nothing stuck until I was an adult.  I've played in many, many campaigns since I was about nineteen years old.

I've recently started DMing a group with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, set in Forgotten Realms.  There is a staggering amount of information to take in... and that's what I've been doing for the past six weeks.

I've never really DMed for a campaign.  I've goofed off with friends in casual RP that I narrated.  I ran a few d20 Modern one-offs on Roll20 when it was brand new.  I had no confidence in my ability to run a game.  I still, really, wouldn't say I do.

Recently, a couple of the players from those Roll20 sessions elected me their DM -- and wanted to play.

Knowing these players had seen a hearty amount of Acquisitions Incorporated, Critical Role, and the like could make any Baby DM nervous.  I'm no Mercer or Perkins.

I started off doing solo-sessions with my three purely online players.  A railroad ride through their immediate backstory, highlighting what I could about areas in Faerun (Icewind Dale, Candlekeep Library, the Lizard Marsh, the Misty Forrest, and The Seven Stringed Harp in Secomber).  Weaving the information they'd given me about their characters into a narrated experience, setting some groundwork.  I used these sessions to explain the origin stories, plot hooks, and NPCs their backstory had helped me develop.  I thought of these as being very similar to the origin stories in Dragon Age: Origins or the in-town prelude of Oregon Trail (right after character creation).  My three real-life players, in the same group, had individual conversations with me establishing their immediate history and character concepts.  This may not have been as rewarding, but being done socially, face-to-face, it was decidedly more casual.

My players are about half-experienced, and half green.  In fact, we probably have every plant metaphor in the group, sprouts to perennials.  As a result, I'm running an intentionally Trope-a-rama style campaign.  I want to highlight as much "Forgettable Realms" culture as I can to give some exploratory aspects to the world, but I'm also abusing the shit out of every RPG trope if it's good for the story.

My Player Characters: the very bardy bard, the broody storm sorcerer of the swamps, lawful-good paladin of justice, earthy-crunchy noble elf wizard, the dwarf blacksmith cleric, and a cocky blade-dancing anti-authoritarian.

Combining classic intros, "The Awkward Inn" and "Adventuring Company Coworkers," my players filed into the town on their own, on their way to meet with the recruiter for The Wayfarers (the aforementioned adventuring company)... at an Inn.  All expenses paid by the company, each player got their own room, a set of fine clothes, hot baths, and an unlimited tab for food and drink... but meals are communal affairs in the main room, at certain times.  Everyone gets to know one another, socially, as they wait for the last of the recruits (PC and NPC) to trickle in.

How I wrote the first session: "If the players do nothing, Secomber will suffer a potentially lengthy public trial on a man innocent of the crime of which he's accused.  The morale of the town will suffer as the trial is divisive and wrought with gossip.  Furthermore, the real killer escape justice."

Then I filled in some details, just brainstorming... wrote what the crime really was, and how it happened.  Donald DuBosc, husband of Cecile, is the town leatherworker.  They were happily married until recently.  Donald developed a drinking problem and began having an affair with a young lady in the town.  He feels immense guilt over this, and wants to move to another town.  He's arranged to sell his business, but his wife doesn't want to move.  Furthermore, his mistress also doesn't want him to move.  Town gossip is fuzzy, from overheard arguments between the married couple, as to which wanted to move or stay.  Donald and the mistress have an argument, at his business, about his leaving.  This leads Donald to drink himself to sleep, in his shop, that night.  In a rage, the mistress barges into the family home and kills Cecile.  Then, panicked, she rabbits toward the nearest major city (Waterdeep) to escape justice.  In his guilt, Donald succumbs to justice.
I deemed that the First Scribe to the Lord of Secomber was a politically ambitious man that wanted a position closer to Steward.  I played the Scribe as snobby and scheming, toward the players.  A big slimy fish in a small pond.  As a result, he acts as the ringleader, mover-and-shaker, and voice of the lead prosecutor in this tale.  He's a charismatic man, by all townsfolk accounts, and a strict father.  However, his daughter Lissie has began to secretly rebel.  Sneaking out to taverns, having an affair with the town's leatherworker, and plotting to run away to Waterdeep with her friend Vanna the serving wench.

I think I subconsciously wrote The Amy Fisher Story in Secomber.

First session tested Roll20 map and combat functionality, gave the players a chance to RP a bit, and solve a mystery (clues given during origin stories).  Highlighting Secomber's unusual public trial process, I presented a man accused of killing his wife.  He declared innocence of this crime, but in grief did not protest his potential penalty.  Everyone had to share clues, and gather more, before they could save the wrongfully condemned man from death. One piece of evidence was just outside town, and the gathering process brought about a small hobgoblin ambush. Then, depending on what evidence was presented, they might have to testify (less ideal) -- or submit them to authorities discreetly (as some of the evidence was scandalous, this would be better for town morale).

Next session I had a few options available (trying to provide a small sandbox to the players) -- but the players took the path of chasing down the real killer (who had fled).  This was my first custom dungeon, and it was kinda painful.  I made too many narrow passages, the group split immediately, and a couple of my players got to do very little but walk around.  The entire session was spent, basically, dungeon-crawling in a crappy dungeon.

Our third session fell on April Fool's Day.  Read more about it, here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Best CANONish FemShep (ME1)

If you want to do a "Canon FemShep" Mass Effect run: it's important to remember that Default FemShep is inconsistent through all three games.  That's partially because the engines are all different.  (Also, Default FemShep is kinda blah/gross no matter what.)

This FemShep not only looks "canon" but will also scale-up nicely as you play the trilogy.  

If you want to look like the FemShep featured in all the official (and fan-made) art... and still be a decent lookin' gal (without modding anything) I have the sliders for you!

This is the best Canonish FemShep for Mass Effect (1).

Commander Jane NMN Shepard

Here's a side-by-side comparison of "Default" ME1 FemShep and the one I use.



I made this collage of almost 20 screenshots to show different angles, lighting, etc.

Sarah Shepard
This FemShep is a slightly altered version of Sarah (redhead version) found here.

Below are the "sliders" for this canon-consistent FemShep!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Press Release: Formation of Erisian Empire

Obscure Micronation Claims Ownership of Dwarf Planet Eris


Group makes interplanetary land-grab without restraint.


Oklahoma City, OK -- (May 4, 2016) The newly formed Erisian Empire has announced that they are now the sovereign owner and ruler of recently discovered dwarf planet system of Eris.  


These bold claims came from then self-styled Queen Lodane of the Kingdom of Vivid.  She decreed, to her citizens, that the Vividian Kingdom has retired given birth to the new Erisian Empire (www.erisian.space).  An informal announcement was made, on April 30 at 11:11 AM CDT, among some community leaders.


When asked about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the newly anointed ‘Empress’ Lodane exclaimed, “The United Nations can kiss Uranus!  They can’t keep us from claiming extraterrestrial real estate.  U.N. treaties only apply to nation-states that are members, and they won’t stoop to acknowledge micronations. You know those jerks won’t even recognize Sealand? Ridiculous!”
Her strident statements continued. Referencing a parody Japanese anime, in which countries are personified and mocked, “Even Hetalia doesn’t throw that much shade!”


The planet, and moon, were discovered in 2005.  Since discovery, and rejection as "the 10th planet," the planet system has seen it's share of controversy.  Discovery and analysis of Eris forced the scientific community to categorize several Trans-Neptunian Objects, including beloved Pluto, as "dwarf planets."


The planet is named for the Greco-Roman goddess of chaos and strife.  Planet Eris’ only known satellite, a moon, is named for Eris' daughter, Dysnomia -- a personification of lawlessness.  Eris is known for starting the Trojan Wars, as the mother to the so-called “evil” contents of Pandora's Box, and being an inspiration for the Disney character Maleficent.


The Erisian Empire plans to sell deeds to land on Eris.  Deeds will be available, tentatively, on July 23, 2016.  Passports for Erisian citizens have also been announced with a release around Q4 2016.  No plans for Dysnomian land sales are being announced at the time.  


For more information about The Erisian Empire, The Kingdom of Vivid, or Eris Land Deeds, please visit WWW.ERISIAN.SPACE or call +1(714)69-4-ERIS


---


About Erisian Empire: A continuation of the now defunct Vividian Kingdom, the Erisian Empire is a social experiment and educational mind-game. Established to learn about concepts such as caste systems, economics, historical and modern politics, monarchies, theocracies, heraldry, vexillology, civil engineering, and more.  It is executed through personal interaction using artificial social constructs, establishment of state holidays, assignment of esteemed positions, social networking among citizens, and a loose foundation of legal philosophy.  Website: www.erisian.space


About Lodane Erisian: Lodane is a media producer and humorist.  She has published online content since 1995, and began writing and publishing a small-press print magazine as a teen.  Educated as a filmmaker, she has helped produce several independent film and video projects.  She enjoys making gaming-related content, religious and political satire, as well as occasionally performing stand-up comedy.  Website: www.lodane.com


Press Contact:
Lodane Erisian
PO Box 50311
Oklahoma City, OK
73140 USA
Phone +1 714 694 3747

lodane @ lodane.com

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Build You Alliance Contest UPDATE!

I WON!

Well, I won one of the runner-up positions.

I'll be getting an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, and I've already gotten my Free Month of SWTOR (along with 450 Cartel Coins)!

Very Excited!!

Here's a YouTube playlist with all the winners.
(playlist by SWTOR official)

STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ Build Your Alliance NVIDIA Contest Winners

<3 Lodane

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

FIRST!

This is the first post!  I wanted the blog to share my birthday... so, blog established on February 13th, just like me.

This'll be the place where all my Original Content will be going... so subscribe to the RSS feed, bookmark this page, and remember to check back often!

<3 Lodane