The Mist: Redone botanic elves

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:13 am
dorchadas: (Pile of Dice)
[personal profile] dorchadas
A while ago, I wrote up a description of elves for a science-fantasy RPG setting I'm working on. I liked them, but they were based on elves as creatures of Faerie and didn't really have anything science-fiction about them at all, so now I went back and changed them a lot and I think they fit a lot better:

Elf
The elves have always been a people apart. Before the coming of the Mist, the elves were united by the Elven Court of the Elder Wood, the center of elven civilization. There the Queen ruled, advised by the oldest of her people and the spirits of the forest. Even the far-flung communities in other forests paid homage to the Elven Court, their bonds aided by the Emerald Roads that facilitated travel from elven community to community.

The Mist ended that forever. As it washed over the Elder Wood, the elves made a choice. Some of them gave themselves fully to the rule of the forest spirits, forsaking such technology as they used and following the dictates of their shamans. Others saw the changes that the Mist wrought in those creatures it touched and determined to learn from them. They studied the Changed, using all their magic to form bastions among the woods to hold the Mist at bay, and developed the art of fleshcrafting. The former are known as the wild elves, and the latter as the mist elves.

There are rumors of a third group, who fled underground to avoid the Mist rather than ascending to the heights. It is said that the Mist changed them as they fled, that they worship spirits of fungus and spider and unclean things, and that they have tunnels under the surviving lands and raid the surface for slaves. But theses are merely rumors.

Physical Description: Generally taller than humans, elves possess a graceful, slender physique seemingly made of bark, vines and foliage. They vary greatly in appearance, as wild as nature itself. They encompass the colors of all plant life, tending towards shades of green and brown. Their hair grows leaves and branches. The older they are, the more growths they have, sometimes becoming long twisted vines that hang to their waist or longer. Their flesh is wooden, smooth when they are young and furrowing more and more as they grow older until it resembles the gnarled bark of an ancient tree. Their eyes vary from virgin wood green, morning sun gold, rich brown earth, to deep sky blue, but always a solid color with neither pupil nor iris visible.

The wild elves live in the forests and frequently dress in animal skins or clothing of bark and leaves, whereas mist elves wear suits designed to keep off the mist and work with fleshcrafted creatures, or the symbiotic armor given to their warriors.

Society: Where the elves were once unified, now there is a great division among them. The wild elves are ruled by shamans who speak to the forest spirits and look up to the warriors who practice supernatural martial arts learned from the spirits of the animals around them. The mist elves delve ever deeper into the arts of fleshwarping in the hope of discovering the secret of adaptation to the Mist without losing themselves to it.

There are still some similarities, however. Both cultures have a deep-seated appreciation for artistry and craftsmanship, and whether it’s a carved wooden chair or a piece of living furniture, an elven artisan will always work to their utmost and take pride in their work. Magic is held is high esteem, and the lifeshapers of the mist elves and spiritspeakers of the wild elves are some of the most honored members of their communities.

Relations: Others were always suspicious of the elves because of their insularity, and their new behavior has not changed that. It is the wild elves who are the most well-thought-of, because while they are savage and unpredictable, at least their powers are understandable. Wild elves get along especially well with grippli and sesheyans, who share their wilderness homes. Whatever it is that the mist elves are doing in their living strongholds makes the other races nervous, and their appearance, swathed entirely in robes or with visible symbiotic grafts attached to their bodies, does not allay that concern. There are some elves who live in the patchwork human cities that sprang up after the Mist came, but they are often not entirely trusted there, even after long years of residence.

And here's a picture I found on the internet that's a pretty good visual inspiration:



Pathfinder game mechanics )

Exalted stats )

Maybe someday, I'll actually be able to run this.

It can happen here

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:05 am
dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Posting today instead of tomorrow because there's no farmer's market dinner this week. Now that the school term is starting at [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's workplace, her summer break is over and she can't consistently make time to gather ingredients for dinner anymore. There may be sporadic farmer's market dinners before the market closes in October--those meals are really good--but it's no longer a routine thing.

Charlottesville affected me more than I thought it would. Some of it was reading accounts like this one from a local synagogue, about how the police refused to provide protection and they had to hire private security to protect from roving bands of Nazis. Or this account of weapons caches, similar to what happened in Rwanda, indicating that the Nazis were using Charlottesville as a training exercise for a para-military operation somewhere else. And then the President of the United Sates of America revealed that he's a Nazi sympathizer at a press conference, so the Nazis' goals were mostly achieved. Great. 2017. emoji head in hands

It reminds me of an old statement I read by a rabbi from centuries ago that history was divided into periods of persecution and periods of leniency. A lot of young Jews seemed to think that the cycle had been broken, at least in America, and that the concerns of their elders were overblown. I suspect they don't think that anymore.

At least the weather's nice. I'm not sure we've had a day over 30°C for the entire month of August and the weather report shows that it won't get higher than that for the next upcoming week either. Since my preferred clothing style includes pants at all times, I appreciate the deference the atmosphere is showing me.

I started playing Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (well, ゼルダの伝説:4つの剣+) and I'm filled with immense nostalgia for A Link to the Past. Four Swords Adventures reuses a lot of the sprites and music from ALttP, but also has a lot of toonification from Wind Waker. The bomb explosions are cel-shaded, a lot of the enemies are round and blobby, and the water effects are much more liquid-based than pixelized. The gameplay is all hack and slash, but I'm finding it surprisingly fun so far. We'll see if that's still true after I get past the second area.

It can't happen here

Aug. 13th, 2017 09:52 am
dorchadas: (Office Space)
[personal profile] dorchadas
This is about the Nazi rally yesterday.

Not about how the President of the United States of America is a Nazi, sympathizer, though he clearly is. Trump is perfectly capable of making strong, unambiguous statements when he has something he's actually interested in condemning. Saying "hatred, bigotry and violence on many side" is implicitly blaming those targeted by the Nazis as much as the Nazis. Trump cannot condemn racism and white supremacy because Trump is a racist and a white supremacist.

This isn't about the idiotic free speech arguments claiming that Nazis arguing that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I should die are equivalent to us saying that perhaps we should not. It's the worst kind of Is-Ought fallacy, arguing that because that's currently the way that the First Amendment is interpreted that makes it somehow the best possible interpretation. They may say that this sort of free speech makes America great, but what I hear is, "We will only come to your defense when it's already too late."

Well, it's about those inasmuch as I've mentioned them. Emoji Cute shrug

No, it's about the claims that this "isn't America" that I've seen from politicians. In response to those, I submit this article. Madison Square Garden, 1939. Twenty thousand people showed up to cheer Hitler and complain about Roosevelt's "Jew Deal." And before that, when the Nazis were laying out the Nuremberg Laws, the meetings they held on the topic repeated returned to American legal segregation as an inspiration. The Nazis were, of course, perfectly capable of coming up with these laws on their own, but the fact that they looked to America is a lesson that many of us need to remember.

This is America. Most of the problems we still have can be directly traced back to slavery and the legacy of racism it left. The lack of socialized health care (partially scuttled but southern politicians' fear of integrated hospitals), the police state, Republican voter suppression efforts, a lack of a robust welfare state...

The hatred is coming from inside the house.

Game Review: Kirby's Dream Land

Aug. 12th, 2017 03:23 pm
dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Happy 25th anniversary, Kirby!

I ordered a bon voyage Kirby plush since they were available for the anniversary, and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I started watching the Kirby anime, but of course, Kirby started out as a video game character. What better way to celebrate his existence than by playing the games that birthed him? I originally thought about playing Kirby's Adventure, the first Kirby game I ever played and the one that cemented my love for the series, but that's a several-hour commitment if I want to find all the secrets and unlock every part of the map. Kirby's Dream Land is bite-sized. I finished it in an hour and a half and it was fantastic.

Strange, coming primarily from later games, but fantastic.

Kirby's Dream Land eat enemy
Kirby, just let Waddle Dee waddle be!

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Toon Link happy)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Wind Waker is one of the few Zelda games I've played and beaten around the time it came out, along with only the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time. My sister owned a GameCube and kept up with the releases, though she never played the games for that long. She pre-ordered the limited edition--I still have the bonus disc with the Ocarina of Time Master Quest on it--and I'm not sure she ever played it, but when I came home from university that summer, I did. I played through and beat the game without reading any of the online invective about it and I really liked it. I didn't care about the happy, cartoony graphics. That was the year that Call of Duty first came out, and I was busy playing Morrowind and Warcraft III. Something light and happy was refreshing, especially when I spent every weekday at a summer job that I hated and was going to spend the next semester studying abroad in Ireland. At the time, it might even have been my favorite Zelda game.

On replaying, it's still good, but the cracks stand out to me in a way they didn't then.

The Japanese title, as is often true, is simple and straightforward--kaze no takuto, "The Baton of the Winds."

Wind Waker - Ship firing Cannon at shore
Incoming!

Read more... )

I'm interesting!

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:54 am
dorchadas: (Default)
[personal profile] dorchadas
At our last class, Aya-sensei told me that unlike some of her other students, the two of us never end up staring at each other without having anything to talk about. A lot of her students are software developers, apparently, so that's a big portion of their interest. But explaining programming concepts to someone who isn't a programmer can be complex enough in a language both of you are fluent in, much less trying to do so in a language you're learning. I know what functions are, and while I might be able to explain them, I'd have to do so in very abstract terms like 箱のようなものだ ("It's something like a box") unless I looked up a lot of vocab during the conversation. In contrast, Aya-sensei and I mostly talk about food, travel, and TV, podcasts, and games during free chat, all subjects about which we have a lot to say.

"Function" is 関数 (kansū), by the way. I had to look that up.

Farmer's Market Dinner )

I ordered two pairs of pants recently but had to return both of them, one for being slightly ill-fitting and the other for basically being parachute pants. And then today, I noticed just before I left for work that my most-recently-purchased pair of pants from before that already had a hole in it. It's on the back of my lower leg so not in a vital location, and it's not like these pants fit that well already. But still, I thought I would be up two pairs of pants and now I'm down one. Emoji Uncertain ~ face

I took the afternoon off tomorrow and we're going out to India House for lunch, and after that we're going to have to go shopping for more pants. Maybe in a brick-and-mortar store, they'll be able to find something that actually fits me (30" waist, 36" leg). Though I'm not super hopeful, since I tried to get a dress shirt there before and they didn't have any with sleeves long enough for me...

Bon voyage, Kirb!

Aug. 8th, 2017 09:25 am
dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Kirby is my favorite Nintendo character, and this year is the 25th anniversary of Kirby. In Japan, they're doing all kinds of things to commemorate it, like a Kirby concert series or the Pupupu Train traveling shop, but of course there's nothing like that here. Fortunately, there are some good sides to global capitalism, and one of them is the ability to order limited-edition items from other countries. We already bought the omikuji 25th anniversary drinking glasses and need to make Blushing Russians or strawberry smoothies to drink out of them, and yesterday the Kirby plush I ordered arrived.

It was a bit of a surprise.

Bon voyage! )

It is very large. About a foot high, which means that I didn't read the description carefully. I was expecting it to be about half that height like the other Kirby plushes we have. It's extremely cute and wonderful to hug, but I'll need to find a place to put it...
Tonight [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd might watch the Kirby anime. It's a Kirby kind of day.Emoji Kirby heart
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Tea time!

This came in the same shipment as the Genmaicha Crunch, but after the bland disappointment of that chocolate it took a while god is to get to this one. Hōjicha (ほうじ茶) means "roasted tea," and it adds a distinct smoky flavor to the normal slightly-bitter taste of green tea. It's the kind of thing that should compliment dark chocolate very well if they can pull it off.

Spoiler: they can't.
Read more... )
dorchadas: (Genbaku Park)
[personal profile] dorchadas
At 8:15 a.m., August 6th, 1945, the first atomic weapon exploded in the skies over Hiroshima.

This year is the 72nd anniversary, but the effects still remain. Our Japanese tutor had a black-and-white photo on her kamidana of a young man, maybe in his early teens, and when we asked who he was she said that he was her brother. I met a man in Heiwa Kōen who had seen the bombing with his own eyes, though from the comfortable distance of his parents' house miles outside the city. The mayor of Hiroshima is the president of Mayors for Peace, who work for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

There's a ceremony in the morning with speeches, but what I remember is the evening. People write messages on thousands of paper lanterns and set them adrift in the Otagawa, bearing their hopes and fears down to the sea.

Genbaku Dome ceremony

There are more pictures of this year's ceremony here.

戦争が恐ろしすぎるから、世界に平和が広がるように。佐々木禎子さんとか鉄谷伸一さんとかのような子供が誰もいないように。世界は核兵器が二度と使われない場所になるように。俺は希望だ。
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