Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 26

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 25

There’s a Chinese proverb that I love, “The Empire, long divided, must unite: long united, must divide.” Unity comes and goes. Same thing happens to the Hykman League in this post. Previously they united four races, Human, Elf, Hobgoblin, and Rana. Now everything falls apart. The Hobgoblins go independent, the Elves factionalize, the Humans war upon each other. And… evil wins! Why does evil win? So that good adventurers have something to strive to defeat of course! It’s all about making interesting campaigns later on. Navillus spreads his influence out of the Upper Maw into the Eastern Maw.

737 NA: The Hobgoblins, enthusiastic at the new found technology of the Humans, built cities to gather their people in the forest. Cities were built at the head of each of the rivers in Halusho: Drukana, Nazarak, and Tentomrozan in order from west to east.

A faction of Elves was outraged that the Hobgoblins were allowed by the Hykman League to settle in the Halusho and the Mandibles. The faction split from the League and went into the forest “back to its roots.” The faction named itself the True Arrows. The True Arrows formed an elite soldier corps to hunt Hobgoblins and any who associated with them.

738 NA: The return of Navillus and the actions of the True Arrows put too much stress upon the Hykman League. The Brotherhood of the Living Immolation revived and clashed with the Revered Administration in the streets of Hykma and the Hearth. The frustrated poor enacted their revenge fantasies on the rich. The streets were stained with blood and both cities descended into chaos. A bloody civil war wracked the Hykman League.

The Hobgoblins broke off regular relations with the Hykman League having learned enough to maintain a civilization of their own. The Hobgoblins created schools with a sort of Hobgoblin agoge (Spartan training). The Hobgoblin militocracy conscripted armies in the three new cities.

Tension mounted in the Elven forests. The armies at New Prestounasi redeployed and martial law was declared. The armies struggled to maintain peace, defend against Hobgoblin raids, and contend with the True Arrows. The armies were called to return to Hykma – by both sides. The generals refused to return, staying in the forest, fearful of aiding the wrong side.

739 NA: The Grez researched improved ice magic and architecture. They used their improved skill with cold magic to create ice golem creatures. The Grez formed armies out of these ice golems in Reesrevoton.

The son of King Hrotomak, Tenzomak, conscripted a new army to defend his beautiful city of Syluk.

740 NA: The True Arrows kicked the Hobgoblins out of Shianosoth and reestablished the ancient Elven city. Many of the old buildings were left as ruins, reminders of what happens if Hobgoblins are allowed free reign.

741 NA: The Elves of Rotandean and Crodolan feared that the civil war might spill over into their territories. Rotandean created an army. Crodolan’s mages used their enchantment magic to charm the commanders of the Hykman army to stay in the forested city. True Arrow leaders convinced the people of Crodolan to mercilessly execute the Humans within the army. A new Elven army was formed at Crodolan to defend from reprisals.

In Hearthland, the Metal Dwarves realized that their military was ill-suited for fighting the undead abominations of the Grez. A new military organization was created, vastly superior to that of any other nation. Promotions were now based on intellectual merits instead of connections or prowess in battle.

742 NA: The Hykman Civil War ended, leaving a wake of carnage and a strong military presence in both Hykma and the Hearth. The Brotherhood of Living Immolation took control of both cities, though the proxy of the Revered Administration still remained, now many of the Administrators were themselves members of the Brotherhood. The Revered Administration had too many things working against them, the infiltration of their order, the burning fanaticism of the Brotherhood of Living Immolation, and the greed of Revered Administrators.

In honor of their victory, the Brotherhood of Living Immolation built a massive and wonderful temple to Navillus in the Elven Gardens of Hykma. While the true nature of the Brotherhood of Living Immolation was still concealed under infinite veils of secrecy, the temple was a rallying point for common men.

-GoCorral

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 27

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 18

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 17

Now I know I said the great figures were named from now on, but there is one notable exception, The Hero. The Hero is like everyone’s favorite folk hero, but larger. Greek mythology gives a decent comparison. Theseus is the local hero for Athens. Agamemnon and Jason are the heroes for Argos. Odysseus is the hero for Ithaca. You get the idea. Every Greek city had a local hero. The Hero of Gurutama is like that, but he is the local hero for everyone. And not how Hercules is the national Greek hero. I mean that almost every city on Gurutama has a myth about how The Hero visited them and learned so and so skill or slayed so and so monster.

Every society claims The Hero as their figure. The Dwarves say The Hero was a Dwarf. Najarns say he was Najarn. Elves say she was an Elf. Rana say she was a Rana. And if you’ve caught on at this point, patriarchal societies say he was a man while matriarchal societies say she was a woman.

One thing is clear in each culture’s tales about The Hero is that s/he is an enemy of evil. S/he journeys the world and then goes to back to Najar with a Rana sword to defeat a great evil there. That much is true, but all other information on The Hero is in dispute. Whether a particular myth is true or not will be up to the DM that is in charge at that time.

563 NA: The Dwarven host issued forth from Syluk and crashed upon the walls of the Holy City of Najar in the largest battle in history. The Dwarves suffered under the arrows of the Najar and their strategies seemed to be constantly given over to the enemy. The Dwarven army attempted to storm the city, but they were repelled. The retreat to Syluk, at first organized, turned into a rout due to constant guerilla attacks in the night. The army scattered into the mountains. Many Dwarves were captured and enslaved. Others escaped and small Dwarven communities sprouted up within the Red Peaks.

564 NA: From the carnage a Hero was born. His initial years were sculpted by Najaran passion and the growing philosophy of Dwarven mechanization that had seeped into the Empire during the Dwarven occupation and integration. He drifted for decades throughout the continents of the known world. From the mighty Tiers of Golden Mach to the heights of Cui-Xoloc, the young man studied under sages and common men, learning mastery over all. And from his travels he gained incredible insight on the true plight of the Najar under the rule of their Black Emperor.

603 NA: On the misty shores of the Tonsil, the Rana forged a legendary sword for the young Hero, and at last he returned to his home, the Holy City and the seat of the Demon-God.

No one is certain what happened in the crypts below the fiery mountain, or if The Hero vanquished Navillus or died in the attempt. But silence sunk into the place in his wake, and the doors to the holy crypts were sealed. If The Hero returned, he did so without his sword, and he refused to speak of what transpired in the caverns. Regardless, all felt the Dark God’s influence shrinking away. The city of Najar nervously breathed in the freshness of the world…

The dwarves of Syluk rejoiced at the victory of the Hero over the Prince of Gorgoth.

619 NA: The Grez learned the ways of siege warfare. They prepared ice catapults, glacier towers, and icicle rams in the frozen north for an invasion that had long been brewing. The polar ice extended over the land connecting Ksilartlu to the Red Peaks and Najar. The Great Volcano of Najar fell dormant and blizzards and ice covered the ancient crater. The Grez sent all their strength to take over the city and kill all the inhabitants. Many died in the battle, including, some say, the Hero. Those who were not slain froze into terrible ice sculptures made by Grez magic. The world cowered in fear. None knew what to do in response.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

Dracula Untold Review

I saw Dracula Untold the other night in theaters.

It was decent, but not as good as the trailers made it seem to me.

The movie attempts to juggle a lot of different themes and ultimately fails on most of them.

The movie attempts to unify the historical story of Vlad the Impaler with the mythological story of Dracula. It does a decent job.

The historical story is heavily condensed, turning a three year war into something that takes about a week, but that’s to be expected when making a movie. The personalities of the participating characters are changed as well, but that was necessary for the story the script writers wanted to tell.

The mythological story is compromised to make Vlad seem more appealing to the audience. This is an origin story, so Vlad doesn’t start off as a horrible bloodsucking villain. He’s a family man who fights the Turks to protect his country as well as his son. He’s all but turned into card-carrying monster by the end of the movie though.

But if Vlad is a good person, how does he become a vampire? The “evil vampire” is a monster that is trapped by a curse within a cave. The vampire can turn someone else into a vampire. If that person does not drink blood within the next three days then they will turn back into a human. However, if they do drink blood then the original vampire will be freed from the cave to do horrible vampire things to people.

Vlad takes this deal with the devil to protect his family from the coming Turk invasion. The three days don’t prove to be enough to stop the Turk invasion, mostly because Vlad wastes his second day doing nothing of significance. Vlad chooses to extend his gift into eternity by drinking blood. He then shares his gift with a few of his loyal soldiers and they wreck the entire Turk army. The tactics employed by the vampires reminded me so much of the short story Out of the Dark by David Weber that I’m sure the script writers read the short story as well.

There’s lots of actions and special effects. A few wonky camera angles that mess up the movie, but those are fortunately rare.

I think my main issue with the movie was the multiple different personas Vlad has. We all act differently in different situations and around different people, there’s nothing unusual about that.

My problem was that there was no obvious transition between Vlad’s different personas.

Vlad comes back home after encountering the original vampire. This is before he makes a deal with the original. The vampire killed two of Vlad’s most loyal soldiers.

Vlad returns to his family, puts on a happy face, and kisses his wife. She notices he seems distant and he says, “I was only distracted by your unbelievable beauty.” Vlad then goes on to play and joke with his children before tucking them into bed before having sex with his wife in the bathtub.

But he just saw two of his men killed by a demon a few hours before this? It is possible that he transitions this quickly. He probably needs to do so often as he is a military ruler of his country with the nickname, “The Impaler,” but the audience does not see this transition. All the movie needed was to show Vlad outside the door to his family room before going in. He could sigh and shake his head before entering, having mentally prepared himself for hiding the brutal murders he just witnessed from his family. Nothing like that is in the movie. It goes straight from a discussion with a monk about the vampire to him reuniting with his family.

That’s not the only issue. When Vlad first accepts the curse of the vampire he understands that it might cost him his soul. He realizes that later on while praying in a church. Yet when he’s about to lose his power if he doesn’t drink blood, he doesn’t remember. The person who he drinks the blood of doesn’t remind him either. There should’ve been some discussion of whether his soul was worth expelling the Turks from Wallachia and saving his son’s life, but there isn’t! We at least get an anguished scream from Vlad after he drinks the blood, but that’s all. No traumatic battle between good and evil within him over becoming a demon. Just a battle over the sin of cannibalism.

Who would I recommend this movie to? Probably not fans of the historical Vlad the Impaler. Too much of the story is changed to truly match the real version.

It feels more like a typical action/adventure movie. If you liked The Mummy or Raiders of the Lost Ark then this will be a good movie for you to watch. Not as good as those classics, but a decent movie with fighting and special effects to entertain you. The characterization isn’t great and the plot… Well we all already know what happens in the Dracula story.

-Mister Ed

Twitch.tv Panels

I did a little bit more work on setting up my Twitch channel and I think it is close to its “final form.”

Twitch has these things called panels that hang out below the video of a channel.

Panels Down There

Normally you’re just watching the channel or using the chat and not paying attention to what else is on the page. But what if you want to know a little bit more about this streamer?

That’s what the panels are for.

I added a little bit of basic bio info, some Disney Channel level interview questions, my computer specs, and a list of what games I play.

Here's what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral
Here’s what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

What’s next for the channel? Well, one of my friends keeps bugging me to wear silly hats while I stream, so that’s probably something I should do.

I still have a random frame dropping issue that I need to deal with. The easiest way to fix that is unfortunately just dropping the quality of the stream slightly.

That sounds bad, but having slightly less detail on the video is probably better than a huge ten minute section of my video having 1 frame per second.

Which brings up another issue, my internet speed. Bad news on that front as well.

There are only two significant internet providers in Davis, Comcast and AT&T. I use AT&T currently and I’ll be damned if I sign up for Comcast ever. That company is run by Satan.

But I already have the fastest upload speed available to me with AT&T. There is no way for me to boost my streaming quality except signing up for the better upload speeds offered by Comcast.

That’s just not happening. One of my friends posts a Comcast horror story every couple months. The most recent one was this guy who spent a year arguing with them on the phone for an erroneous $2000 charge. Comcast ended up calling the guy’s work and getting him fired because he wouldn’t pay their bogus charges.

Just… Not gonna get involved with a company like that.

Back to the stream! The internet speed thing means I can’t stream my League of Legends games. League of Legends eats up to much of my bandwith. If I stream at the same time the video quality will be reduced and my League game suffers some lag problems as well where I can’t react as fast to stuff in the game.

This is fine. I can get by without streaming League, but it creates another issue.

I’ve been wanting to stream my Sunday hangouts with my friends. We get together to play D&D and some video games nearly every Sunday.

The video game we play most often is League. We play at least one game every Sunday.

So if I’m streaming on Sundays, there’s gonna be this random gap in the stream when I leave to play League.

And this is also very strange for a Twitch channel. I imagine a viewer being like, “You’ve stopped streaming so you can play League of Legends? The most popular game on Twitch?”

Another option I’ve considered is throwing a switch to reduce stream quality while I’m playing League of Legends on Sunday. That’s probably a good compromise. I wish AT&T just offered better internet speeds though.

The final thing I’d like to do for the stream is to establish a weekday night where I stream every week on that night. Even if its just for half an hour I’d like to have some consistency. I think that’s the best way to build a fan base. Along with wearing funny hats.

-Mister Ed

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 13

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 12

The Dwarven curse of the Bwarlor created a subrace of Dwarves that were born to Bwarlor mothers and interbred with each other among Bwarlor society. But the evil actions the Dwarves took created another subrace. There was a group of Dwarves that regretted that action and a group of Dwarves that saw it as a necessary punishment for the beard rape of the Dwarven ambassadors sent to Bwolo Isle. The remorseful group of Dwarves grows to become the Metal Dwarves that remain in Hearthland. The vengeful group participated in greater numbers in the invacion of Najar. That group becomes even more corrupted and evil due to its proximity to Navillus and forms the Empire Dwarf subrace.

My personal image of the ideal Dwarf is a Metal Dwarf. One who feels great remorse for his ancestors’ actions and seeks to redeem them through his own just actions. Of course, good must come with bad so the Empire Dwarf subrace exists for the other side of the coin. When I was playing the Dawn of Worlds game I tried to get into the minds of the Dwarves where they always thought their actions were justified, no matter ho horrible. Now that I’m rewriting the timeline, I’m trying to see things from the viewpoints of the other races. The Dwarves don’t look so good from the outside…

Anyways, here’s the next part of the revised timeline.

394 NA: Nearly a century had passed since the Dwarven occupation and Najaran resistance continued just as strong as before. The old aristocracy, united by the will of Navillus, committed brutal, albeit subtle, sabotage. Shipments went missing. Rebels seemed too well armed and organized. Merchants manipulated the economy to thwart Dwarven leaders. Dwarves quickly learned not to go out at night, especially alone, as more and more were savagely attacked, their bodies hung flayed from Dwarvish establishments. The Najaran aristocrats claimed ignorance even as they infiltrated the Dwarven inner circles. Morale seeped away from the occupiers as they continuously rebuilt their missionary schools only to see them burned again.

And amongst the horrors of the occupation the Dwarven lords grew fat and decadent from their new found wealth. The pious behaviors encouraged by The Books were abandoned for the decadent pleasures of Najar and The Maw. They cared less and less for saving the souls of the Humans. Expanding their wealth and luxuries became the goal of the Dwarves in power. In the shadows, the Demon God’s cruelty seeped into the lifeblood of Dwarvenkind.

The Black Prince began to stir, silent during the Dwarven invasion he now whispering old eldritch words to his most devout followers. Soon he said to his people… Soon. But soon was a long time for the immortal Navillus.

412 NA: While the Merfolk were at war with the Dwarves and Elves in principle, many of the sea people continued their profitable trade with the invaders. Drolfo looked for zeal in his people and found it difficult to spot. A few Merfolk still sought battle with the Dwarves and Elves after the capture of Cynelle. The god of the sea raised those people to positions of leadership and ordered them to take Cyflenwi. The Merfolk sent all of their armies to Cyflenwi and handily took it. They claimed the city and its inhabitants for the Merfolk nation.

422 NA: Reesrevo demanded the icy reach of the Grez extend. The Grez armies sculpted and constructed massive glaciers all over the north.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 14

An Overview of Gurutama Part 11

The Grez inhabit or threaten any place covered by ice.
The Grez inhabit or threaten any place covered by ice.

Previous: An Overview of Gurutama Part 10

And I’m finally on the last race to cover in Gurutama, the Grez.

The Grez are the destroyers of the Trimurti theme we had for races in Dawn of Worlds, but in the traditional way we think of destruction.

The Grez don’t tear down buildings, or set people on fire, or wreck art of any kind.

The Grez are wraith-like beings that live in the frozen north and all they want is to expand their ice-covered territory.

The ice in the north started spreading out of the Grez’s home in the mountains of Glacierstone and as you can see, it now covers a decent amount of the top half of the Gurutama map.

The Grez can only live in extremely cold places. The Grez wish to expand where they can live, but in doing so they make territory uninhabitable for all other races.

The Grez are similar to the Walkers from Game of Thrones. They are cold beings from the north, expanding south using undead servants.

The Grez are ruled by a god figure called Reesrevo.

The Grez have come into conflict with the humans and the dwarves.

The Grez attack whenever a country looks weak, taking advantage of that weakness to add to their territory.

The Grez present an obvious villain in our Dawn of Worlds campaign. Everything they do is evil, even if it is necessary for them to do such things to reproduce/live.

Unfortunately, no nation has come forward in opposition to the Grez. They continued to expand south in the Dawn of Worlds game up until the very end.

The Grez also had a unique naming convention for their cities and the race itself.

Grez is Zerg backwards.

For those who have played Starcraft a lot of stuff probably clicked just now.

The ice is creep. Reesrevo is Overseer backwards and he is the Overmind from Starcraft. The undead servants are infested Terrans. You get the idea.

The cities, Reesrevoton, Ksilartlu, and Ksilardyh are Not Overseer, Ultralisk, and Hydralisk spelled backwards.

The Grez while a functional race in Dawn of Worlds are unlikely to be a PC race once Dawn of Worlds starts functioning as a campaign world in my group’s D&D campaigns.

-Mister Ed

Next: An Overview of Gurutama Part 12

Order of the Stick

I read a few webcomics and one of my favorites is called Order of the Stick.

There are different genres of webcomics just like any other medium.

My favorite genre combination happen to be humorous comics about video games or D&D written by physicists or computer scientists.

Anyways, Order of the Stick fits pretty well into that genre.

Order of the Stick is drawn and written by Rich Burlew, a game designer who now does the comic full time.

The comic is about a band of adventurers named the Order of the Stick fighting the evil lich, Xykon.

As you can see the comic is drawn in a fairly simple style which is occasionally lampooned by the characters themselves. For example, Roy’s feet are different sizes and there is a comic where he talks about how his big shoe goes on his left foot.

Speaking of Roy, the main characters of Order of the Stick!

Roy is the black guy on the far right of the picture above. He is the leader of the Order of the Stick, an intelligent and principled fighter who fights Xykon due to an oath sworn by his father.

Next is Haley, a rogue with a complicated past. She joined the Order of the Stick to earn money to pay her father’s ransom. She’s stayed on due to the good work the group does and because she’s started dating the next person in line.

Elan is the blond guy playing the musical instrument. He is hyper aware of storytelling tropes. He also has an evil twin, a good mother, and an evil father. Elan is a bit dumb when it comes to anything that isn’t a storytelling device, but he has a pure heart.

Durkon is the short bearded guy. He’s a dwarven cleric. He looks out for everyone else in the party. He has a strong sense of honor and is always ready and willing to do the right thing.

The short bald guy behind Durkon is Belkar. He’s an evil halfling psychopath. His journey with the party is basically a form of community service for murders he’s committed in the past. You’d think this is weird, but its a fairly common gimmick used in D&D. The cat walking next to the party belongs to Belkar and is named Mr. Scruffy.

Flying above the party is Vaarsuvius, an elven wizard. Vaarsuvius is arrogant and uses magical power to cruelly avenge the slightest insult. Vaarsuvius’ gender is never revealed in the comic and is joked about on a few occasions.

Xykon is close to achieving his goal of using an ancient evil to rule the world, but the Order of the Stick is ready to stop him. Of more concern is Xykon’s assistant, Redcloak, who is planning on double crossing Xykon at any moment.

That’s enough on one comic for now!

-Mister Ed