Archive for the “Mannyac” Category

Pop quiz, hotshot.

So, what happens when you’ve been playing a video game for a very, very long time and you’re bored?

What do you do?

What DO you do?

Experience and boredom. A dangerous combination.

What I’m doing is combining race swapping with race/class specific quest items to mess with people and pay tribute to my best friend Manny, all at the same time.

See, here’s the thing.

I like lightsabers. Back in the day, there were lightsabers in World of Warcraft, and I had a character with one (lost long ago on a server far, far away), but I don’t any longer.

I also like Warriors as alts.

I have one at level 85 (or 86, or something), a Worgen. Kinda okay, but the look of a Worgen Warrior isn’t stirring my interest, plus, no lightsabers.

When Cataclysm came around, a lot of stuff changed. One of them was the lightsaber. They’re pretty darn rare nowadays. Used to be super rare world drops, might still be, not really the point.

There IS still a 100% guaranteed way to get a lightsaber in the game.

Roll a Gnome Warrior.

The Gnome Warrior starts in the revamped Gnomeregan area, and the level THREE quest Arts of the Warrior gives you a Very Light Sabre. With stats! Totally transmoggable.

But I don’t like playing Gnomes. I wanted to make a female Night Elf warrior like my bud Manny used to play.

Also, the Very Light Sabre is a two handed weapon. I wanted to wield it in one hand, like a, dare I say it? A lightsaber. I could go Arms and two hand it, but I wanted to have it in one hand. Kinda the point, bored and messing with stuff, don’t be typical.

Ah!

But what if, WHAT IF we were to start a Gnome Warrior, get the Very Light Sabre, race change to a Night Elf, level up to 38 and then switch to Fury for Titan’s Grip?

And what if I had two heirloom Bloodied Arcanite Reaper two-handed axes to equip?

And what if I were to transmog them both to look like the Very Light Sabre two-handed sword? Something you can do now, you know.

Why, if I were to do that, it might look something very much like this; Warrior transformed

That is what my Warrior looked like in Eastern Plaguelands, when I was wearing the cultist disguise for the quest to blow up the cauldron, with my main hand weapon enchanted with Crusader, and no enchant on my off hand.

Note how wispy the unenchanted Very Light Sabre looks in that pic.

Looking at the picture, it occurred to me, I hadn’t even begun to plumb the depths of this rabbit hole.

The Very Light Sabre, when unenchanted, looks ephemeral. Not very saber-y at all. The glow associated with Crusader bulked up the apparent ‘blade’ pretty nice, but applied a strong white tint.

So, what would happen if I started messing with different colored weapon enchants? The blade itself is a glow, and weapon enchants appear on your transmog so I’d be applying a glow overlaid on a glow.

Ah, what fun. What fun.

You might get something like this;

Crusader and Elemental Force

Which is what you get with Crusader in your main hand and Elemental Force on your off hand.

Elemental Force? But isn’t that a higher level enchant? Why, yes it is, enchants scale with weapon level now so you can use ANY ENCHANT YOU’D LIKE irregardless of former ilevel restrictions. Use a MoP enchant on your weapon, by all means, the effects scale down… but the enchant stays the same. :)

So, interesting. A little red added to the blue, doesn’t bulk up the forward half of the blade at all, but interesting effect.

How about going all in on the red?

Twin Greater Savagery - red

Let’s try one of the more vibrant reds in the game, twin Greater Savagery.

That’s pretty cool, but you clearly see that the wispy end of the Very Light Sabre doesn’t get converted by the weapon enchant. In this case, I tried it in combat and it looked REALLY cool, but what would happen if we overlaid a solid blue enchant on the wispy blue Very Light Sabre?

Maybe something like this?

Twin Windsong - blue

If you compare that shot of twin Windsongs with the earliest shot of an unenchanted Very Light Sabre, you’ll see the Windsong has bulked up the wispy blade graphic, making them look like true lightsabers.

Here’s another view, not very good I know, Hellfire Peninsula has a bad filter;

Twin Windsong - blue posed

See, now this is the kind of trouble you get into when you know about weapon enchant colors, unique items from racial and class quests, tricks to transmogs, class mechanics and how easy it is to grind Justice Points to grab some heirlooms.

And there is still farther I can take this, I haven’t even farmed up the JP to upgrade all my Heirlooms to be good from 80 to 85 yet!

One of the great things to look forward to is, I get to start browsing for brown cloth items to try and make a Jedi Robe appearance, and I get to really scour the plate drop lists for transmog gear to farm that would look good on a Night Elf dual wielding lightsabers…

Way back, the first few months I played WoW with my friend Manny, he had two characters he loved, the male Dwarf Hunter (and his cat), and his female Night Elf Warrior.

Manny hasn’t played in many a year, but having made this character and bopping around with her, it takes me all the way back.

Good times. Good times.

How much better when I’m running down the streets of Stormwind, and someone stops me and asks me where the HECK I got the swords from?!?

So.

What do YOU do with your dangerous knowledge when it’s the wee hours of the morning and you’re feeling bored?

Comments 3 Comments »

This isn’t a storytime, but it is rambling about fun old role playing game sessions, so, what’s the difference?

I heard something on the radio this morning that reminded me about a really fun role playing campaign I ran back in the day, and I wanted to share.

One thing I miss is having gaming friends to hang around with and swap stories of “This one game, man, you should have been there, it was awesome, here’s what happened…”

There are basically three layers of flavor to role playing gaming.

There is the fun of creating the characters, settings and stories, and imagining the fun you’re going to have.

Then there are the actual game sessions, where you try and not only survive but thrive despite whatever tricksy scheme your evil bastard of a GM has planned.

And then there is the telling of tales about how awesome those game sessions were. “You remember that one time Ryan’s dwarf was supposed to be Mannys’ wizards’ bodyguard, leading the way into danger to protect his young charge, and when the magic flying dagger whipped across the room at Ryan, he announced “I duck”? Boy, the expression on Manny’s face was just priceless as he took a dagger right to the chest, wasn’t it?”

I don’t gots no group here to BS with… so I guess that means you’re stuck with it. Sorry.

This story doesn’t really have a point, except to prove I’m a mean GM and I’ll go to really stupid lengths for a joke. But then, you knew that already.

Back in the grand old days when I was in the US Marine Corps, no matter what duty station I found myself, I quickly gathered together a group of like-minded gaming deviants.

I put together my first such group when I was stationed in grand old Twenty-Nine Palms, California, for electronics school. 

The groups weekend activities were based around a set schedule, including two of the key desert activities.

You see, in the High Desert, there were basically two key activities; drinking and exercise. We simply added a third; gaming.

Our gaming group on the weekends had a marvelous tradition we followed for the entire year we were in electronics school together. We would work out, running or rock climbing or playing racquetball and lifting weights. Then we’d hit the beer garden, and grill steaks and lobster tails slathered with honey butter, wrapped in foil. When the butter started steaming out of the foil, tails were done. We’d eat the steaks, lobster, and drink beer (Fosters or Keystone Light) and down some Fuzzy Navels over ice until it was time for Doctor Demento to come on the High Desert radio station. Yes, that’s right, the ONE High Desert radio station. Then we’d listen to the Doctor, followed by gaming until daylight. That would be daylight of the second day, of course.

It was a rough life.

For gaming rules, we liked to swap around systems just like everyone back then did, but one that stood out was Palladium. If you put together all the hinky character creation rulebooks, like Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas and Super Spies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and whatever, you could end up with, and I did, a humanoid white begal tiger martial artist with super speed and super strength and natural claws. Just to see what you could whip up. This was before Rifts came out, or at least before much in the Rifts product line came out.

With such wide open wackiness, the campaigns tended towards outrageousness.

Well, the name of the campaign was “Black Ops and Ninja Trollops”. The players all made characters that were to be part of this super high powered secret government-sanctioned agency out to protect the country from things that usually only appeared on the pages of the National Enquirer. The bad guys AND the good guys wanted to operate under the radar, but things tended to escalate rapidly. Usually involving high explosive and rocket launcher duels in downtown Miami. There is a lot GOOD to be said about rocket launcher duels when riding jetskis, or when on skies towed by a speedboat.

Every time the heroes returned to base, located in South Florida, I made sure that it was wildly different, and not a little frightening, especially any time they had to visit the dreaded “R&D”. I ran R&D as some nightmare of frightening mad science, with a lethality-for-humor rating straight out of Paranoia. Every mission, there was some reason they just HAD to visit R&D, for experimental weapons testing, or a new detecting gadget to find the MacGuffin, or, and this was critical, a new vehicle.

You see, I started a running gag where, every mission, no matter what they did or how they tried, their vehicle would get blown up.

These characters are super-secret super spies with super awesome gadgets. AND they’re played by Marines who love electronics. AND Palladium had extensive rules for designing awesome super cars and weapons systems.

You put those things together, and the players spent more time trying to design a vehicle that could blend into the Miami lifestyle AND be imprevious to me blowing them up than they did trying to beat the bad guys.

They tried spending all their money on super armor and weapons, they tried security systems, they tried driving stripped down crap AMC Gremlin hatchbacks (on the assumption that the characters were already suffering enough, so I’d let the cars survive… umm, wrong) they tried taking buses, they tried avoidance of collateral damage (having the agency send NPCs to ferry them to the drop off by helo, on the assumption I wouldn’t kill the vehicle if it was filled with innocents… ummm, wrong), they tried all sorts of things.

This went on for quite some time. It was really fun, having this running theme as a sub note to the campaign. Well, fun for ME, anyway.

Then, they went for psychological warfare.

One of my favorite movies, then and now, is Vanishing Point.

The main theme of the movie is one man having had enough with everything, all the rules and the petty bullshit, and pretty much taking off on a 100% pointless road trip across the country, hell bent for leather and letting nothing stop him, and in the process pissing off every law enforcement agency in the country. He has no destination that means anything except to him. He’s the driver, Kowalski with a K, and he’s gonna make it to his destination on time, and screw the world. He’s screwed up his career, his life, his love, his racing… he’s done. He’s gonna get this one thing right or die trying.

The car he drives in the film is an iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger, one of the last of the pony cars.

The guys sat down, and out of game designed a rebuilt 1970 Dodge Challenger, white in color, graphing it out and everything. Reinforced kevlar woven body panels, bulletproof glass, concealed rocket and machine gun ports, all carefully and painstakingly drawn out and detailed with exploded diagrams.

They sprung this on me, as something that their characters in the game had spent 6 months designing and building, and their finished paperwork was beautiful. They really poured their hearts into this thing.

They were pretty confident that this time, they had me. They figured there was simply NO WAY that I would have the balls to destroy my favorite iconic muscle car of all time.

I had to applaud their ingenuity, and their keen insight into applied psychological warfare as it pertains to role playing game GMs.

Their very next mission, they took the car.

Accordingly, their very fnext mission with the car, I placed them in the position of having to choose, themselves, whether to use their car to intercept a missile fired at the main highway that links the Florida Keys, or let the missile hit, RIGHT when there was a busload of nuns destined to be at point zero.

That’s right, I pulled out the busload of nuns bit.

They had to think about that one out of game for quite some time, and it wasn’t a unanimous vote by any means.

They drove their car to the point of impact, blasted the afterburners, rocketed the concrete barrier between elevated highway and open water, and blasted off the highway out over open water, bailing out just before the missile struck the airborne car, blowing it into itty, bitty pieces.

I am a bastard.

But, effort of that magnitude has to be rewarded.

I have a reputation, in my games, that the harder I make the players suffer, the greater the eventual reward. If they are really, really miserable and suffering, they actually get happy, trying to imaginewhat wonderful thing I could possibly be planning to reward them with.

This is a truly cruel act of training on my part. The worse my players suffer… the happier they get. This is wrong, but I can’t stop the process.

I also go the other way. My players tend to learn quickly that the better things are going, the easier things are for them in the game, the worse it’s gonna get. Players get to expecting that the cute little bunny rabbit is actually a death bunny with vorpal fangs, and blow it away on spec. Which, considering the effects of Monty Python on your average gaming group, is probably a smart move.

So, I made THEM make the choice to sacrifice their own car. That’s even worse than blowing it up myself.

BUT… when they called back to base to wail that they had no ride, R&D showed up personally at the scene of destruction to take over clean up… AND promised to rebuild their original ride.

That’s right… R&D. Taking over cleanup. And promising to rebuild the ride. Something that had never been done in game before. R&D never came out of their caves at base. Ever.

The horror that crawled over the players’ faces was astounding. I felt such pride at having crushed them to such a thorough extent.

The players fell all over themselves to get assurances that R&D would rebuild the car, but would add nothing new. Nothing! No death rays, no wings and rocket packs, no teleportation, nothing. They were having none of my games. They knew exactly what they wanted, and they forced the head of R&D to promise that they would rebuild the white challenger to the state it was before it blew up. 

I swore, both in game and out, that R&D would not isntall some kind of gimmicky gadget that would destroy the car again. I promised.

Then, slowly, you could see the hope begin to creep in. They’d suffered, hadn’t they? They’d earned a car, right? A car? Something the characters could get some token feeling of Miami Vice-ness out of? Maybe just this one time?

For the next few weeks of game sessions, the players had some really crappy loaners, up to and including the Goodyear Blimp, issued to them for their missions. And every mission, they checked in at R&D to see how reconstruction was coming along.

I never let them see the car being worked on, but they could see the doors to “Lab 3″, and they could see crews rushing parts in through the doors, and sparks blasting out of the doors as they opened fro welders hard at work, and generally always got the impression that some serious shit was going on to rebuild their white challenger.

They got status updates on the percentage of rebuild completion. They got told that, due to the nature of the explosion being over water, finding all of the pieces was very difficult, and the biggest delay was making sure, as new parts were fabricated from scratch, that they matched the originals without deviation to six sigma levels.

They were being very diligent to remain strictly with the original design.

Finally, I could hold off no longer. The players had been very patient, but enough is enough. It was time for the unveiling.

The head of R&D proudly led them to Lab 3, where they were permitted to enter and view their white challenger for the first time…

The reconstructed space shuttle Challenger.

I am proud to say, even after all these years, that I have never crushed a man’s spirit quite as thoroughly as I crushed ‘El Destructo’ on that day.

Some people cried. Some laughed insanely. One lost it and sprayed Fosters all over my damn room.

El Destructo just kept repeating, in stunned shock, over and over to himself, “I told him a white challenger, and he gave me a white challenger. Why didn’t I say Dodge? Why oh why didn’t I say Dodge? I said white challenger, and he gave me a white challenger…”

It took a LOT of beer to get them through that crisis, but in the end, well…

I blew that one up too.

I still, to this day, cannot think of gaming in 29 Palms without remembering that proud moment, the unveiling of the white challenger. It was my Mona Lisa, my prime creation, my grand belief in mindscrewing the gamer brought to full, vibrant, luxurious life.

It was my triumph. 

There shall never be a finer gaming moment for me, and when I am old and grey, rocking on a porch at the nursing home looking back at all of the insanity that has been my life, I know that this, this one shining moment, will be one of the ones I treasure the most.

Comments 42 Comments »

This joke was forwarded to me by my buddy Manny, so you’ve probably seen it somewhere before, in one form or another. I don’t care, I’m sharing it with you anyway.

The Woman Marine Pilot 
        
The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment:  Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. 

The next day, the kids came back and, one by one, began  to tell their stories.  

There were all the regular types of stuff:  spilled milk and pennies saved. 

But then the teacher realized, much to her dismay, that only Janie was left. 

“Janie, do you have a story to share?” 

“Yes ma’am.  My daddy told me a story about my Mommy.  She was a Marine pilot in Desert Storm, and her plane got hit.  She had to bail out over enemy territory, and all she had was a flask of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife.”

“She drank the whiskey on the way down so the bottle wouldn’t break, and then her parachute landed her right in the middle of 20 Iraqi troops. She shot 15 of them with the pistol before she ran out of bullets, killed four more with the knife until the blade broke, and then she killed the last Iraqi with her bare hands.” 

”Good Heavens,” said the horrified teacher.  “What did your Daddy tell you was the moral to this horrible story?” 

“Don’t fuck with Mommy when she’s been drinking.” 

Comments 9 Comments »

As you can probably guess, this is a non-WoW post from Cassie :-)

I wanted to say a quick happy 8th wedding anniversary to BBB (10 years together now) and share a few photos from that special day with all of you (keep in mind we have a child now and no longer look as young, relaxed or peaceful as we did that day, lol).   :-)

Here’s the required formal shot (that we’ve shared before):

formal

One of my favorite pictures (the one we used for the 16×20 mat that we had guests sign (instead of a guest book), which now hangs next to our front door in the living room:

img_2864

BBB and his best man, the famous Mannyac:

img_2866

BBB and the Mannyac at the wedding rehearsal (yes, this is what I saw as I processed into the church from the back room and had to practice walking down the aisle toward – I probably should have run then) :-)

the-best-pic-cropped

One of my favorite pics of myself from that day (humorously enough taken in the boy’s bathroom at the school where I went from K-8th grade because it had a better mirror that the girl’s bathroom):

katie-in-mirror

Here’s to lots more years together!  I love you Bear!

Cassie

Comments 36 Comments »

Longtime readers will remember my friend Manny, whom for some strange reason I started calling the Mannyac… might have been that I missed him, and couldn’t annoy him in person anymore.

Anyway, he sent me another one… and I had to share it. It really… this story, like all of his others, really touched me. Deeply. At the end of it, I was so touched I was nearly in tears.

I hope that this story means as much to you as it does to me.

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE STORY

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University .

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down.

The elephant did that several times, then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn’t the same fucking elephant.

This is for everyone who sends me those heart warming bullshit stories.

Ahhh… Manny, you know how to really reach my emotions, man. I’ll carry that story, and the lessons it teaches, for a very long time. Peace.

Comments 16 Comments »

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