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Posts Tagged ‘Dragons’

Eeek, yet another nearly month between posts. Well, this is again due to work, primarily, as I’ve changed to a new more senior position that requires considerably more of my time and effort. And well, this is also a bit of dry period for this blog, between anime seasons, since I’m not of the mind to be posting about individual episodes for the most part.

What I have been doing alot of, again, is sketching. I still seem to on a run of explosive colour since christmas. There was a time when I swore by monocrome, but I guess those times are behind me and colour is here to stay; since I’m still cranking them out after two months.

This time, specifically, I’m posting up a treble set of the NPC’s from my long running Dungeon’s and Dragons campaign, Retoria, which is now well into its second season. It had a bit of a stall recently wherein I had GM’s block and had to briefly run the Tomb of Horrors instead, but I think I’m inching past that now after a bit of improvisation and a slight player shakeup. I was becoming a little worried, since it would have been a bit of a shame to have to suddenly end it after all this time; I mean, assuming the PC’s don’t end up destroying the world, there may well be a third season of them playing descendants of their descendants. Heh.

Anyway, onto the sketches. First of all, my newest sketch, and a recurring character from the first and second season of the game, the bumbling time mage girl; Victoria of Taiidaan:

She first showed up in the original campaign imprisoned in a pirate ship, where she thanked each of the PCs by name despite them never introducing themselves, and teleporting off. This confused them quite a bit. Of course, in their second meeting with her, she didn’t remember them at all, because for her it was the first meeting… ah the wonders of chronomagery…

Anyway, she helped the PCs return to the ancient past of the Dragon Wars to prevent a terrible alteration in the timeline that caused the extinction of the Drakahn. In the second season, she was initially the Archmage master of one the PC’s, and has been meddling in their affairs ever-since, including closing some amusing time loops that they didn’t realise existed, like how one PC fought a level 1 Owlbear in the first session that led to him being obsessed with the creatures (and passing this onto his daughter). Turned it was so weak because it came from a domesticated Owlbear enclosure set up by him in the future that got in the way of Victoria. So he is responsible for his own obsession. LOL.

Since she is originally brought up in the ancient Taiidaani Empire (which has significant parallells to Ancient Rome and is totally not named after a similar empire from Homeworld, LOL) I tried to put some Roman touches into her design with the relatively unembellised mage robe, braided ring of hair, and the jewellry. Of course, pocket watches are essential to the vocation, and are probably taken from the future. (Present day Retoria is verging on Renaissance~ there are primitive firearms, clocks and flying ships etc.).

The PC’s are currently in Ancient Taiidaan in fact, attempting a heist of the Emperor’s armour, which turns out to be the breastplate of the Goddess Corticarte and his source of eternal life. They have realised that this act, assuming they go through with it, will cause a genocide to prevent a worse genocide, so they’ve been having a bit of moral quandary at the moment.


After that, we have the two Silverscale twins; Darien and Mirielle. They are the children of Alicia Silverscale, a rather important NPC from the first season of the campaign, and her (eventual) husband Alain Alamont; inheriting their mothers Silver Tail and their father’s golden hair; as well as, of course, the Sapphire Eyes that mark them as Drakahn Nobility and true descendants of the Dragon God Rahlyah.

Here’s Darien Silverscale:

As crown duke of Silesia, the southernmost Drakahn nation, he is set to inherit the state from his parents whilst Mirielle enters the Princess Waltz. Since the first campaign, Drakahn/Human relations have become alot more cordial, especially between Renais and Silesia, to the point where Darien spent a year training his Archery at Hassan with Brigit Yulear (also the mother of one of the PC’s in the second season).

Since he’s a high Charisma Archery Warlord; I had a fun time trying to get a good mix of masculinity and prettyboy into his design; which I think I pulled off fairly decently, though I think he errs slightly towards prettyboy; a bit like his father.

He’s been in the party on several occasions since they first saw him outside the Tower of the Master Maker aiding in reconstruction after a bizarre meteor shower (although he was mainly evading the insistent courtship of vain Susie Drayke at the time!), including helping the investigation of Zakura Fafnir’s severed contract with one of her angels (again, Zakura is the mother of one this generation’s PC’s), and the discovery of Teres Couslind; and then a period where they investigated the Dwarven ruins amidst the low-gravity jungles of Golgotha.

Since Mirielle’s victory in the Waltz, and Silverscales ascenscion to House of Royal Retainers as a result, he’s been bogged down with ceremony and paperwork, though, poor guy!

And his twin sister, Mirielle Silverscale:

Since Mirry combines dad’s natural aptitude for the Imperial Sapphire Guard style of fighting that utilises a Drakhan’s superior strength and balance to dual-wield Bastard Swords, and her mum’s swordmagery that allows her to make her blades invisible to light, she was immediately set to be one of the greatest female Drakahn warriors of her generation. Which, of course, is a mixed blessing, as such girls are expected to partake in the Princess Waltz, a battle contest between skilled noble Drakahn girls to determine the wife of the next King of the Drakahn, with their house being elevated vastly in status as a result.

Her mother Alicia was also in the contest, but was beaten by Helectivia Velorianne in the final match that resulted in her leaving for human lands to escape what she considered at the time to be a ‘runners-up’ marriage to House Alamont (and also concealing the secret that she was having an affair with one of the original 12 dragons, Araun, who ended being killed by the rogue Blade of Lagaard, Ettie).

In any case, more recently, the PC’s turned up and decided to help her in the contest. First of all by retrieving the ancestral Silesian blades from the Silverscale crypt, and then by actually becoming her retainers in the Waltz. Although she had some close fights against Sophia Tyrryn, Mir Argent, and Caitlyn Copperthorne, she eventually emerged victorious; and was declared Princess-Consort of Prince Logan Rahlever. Much to her relief too, they ended up sharing an interest in Ancient Draconic Poetry, much to Party’s amusement and the confusion of the Queen.


Whew, I wrote quite alot about the campaign, but I like to think of this as one of the tools that is allowing me to move on and create some new material by summarising the old in brief. To be honest, this barely scratches the surface of what’s going on, what with the impending war between the deities; the ressurrection of the eldritch goddess Illitheya, and the truth behind the Spirit Wars that gut the human population of the world down to merely a 1/4 of what it once was (though also result in the creation of the Aurican race).

Though I probably should get around to a midseason anime summary, I’m not making any guarantees here and now, since I am truly quite busy at the moment. Hope I didn’t bore you to death with this huge post; and at the very least there’s some pretty pictures, eh?

Stay tuned until next time.

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Well, Fairy Tail only just aired a couple of days ago and I also only just around to looking at the first two episodes of Yumeiro Patisserie, hence the delays on these being reviewed.

Anyway, I’ll do this first up:

Fairy Tail

Well, this was a nice introduction. Its the first opening episode that actually managed to impress me since Nyan Koi so far this season.  We meet Lucy, whom has fangirl joygasms over the Fairy Tail guild. A guy pretends to the so called ‘Salamander’ from the Fairy Tail guild, wooing girls with his magnetism magic. However, turns out he’s a slave trader. Fortunately, the actual ‘Salamander’, Natsu, happens to be in town (you guessed it, its our pink haired protagonist). However, his amazing entry ends in failure because Natsu gets seasick. Lucy uses her celestial summoning magic by summoning Aquarius, but apparently her control of her summons sucks, as Aquarius is a bit short with her and tries to drown everyone. However, this does put the ship back on dry land, allowing the real Salamander to demonstrate his Draconic Tactical Nuclear magic. Explosions and Lulz occur.

As expected, our protagonist, Natsu, seems fond of destruction (maybe he really is related to Lina Inverse?!). However, he is also apparently extremely suceptible to motion sickness and seasickness which is his excuse for being poor for the first two thirds of the episode (and hey, its actually handled in quite a funny way, so its okay). Its also redeemed by his later performance as he shows his mastery of various draconic aspects of firey power. (CG flames galore!)

Its brainless chaos at the moment, but it was fun. If a plot picks up shortly, it could be a great anime, so I’m interested in this. Some caps:
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Magnetism at its finest!
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Aquarius has a dinner date. She does not appreciate Lucy summoning her on short notice.
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A glare is worth a thousand words?
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It is delicious fire, you must eat it.
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Somehow I think of Kuro doing Mega Exe here, actually.
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Running away from the town guard is part of the job description for a fire mage. Well, it is when you manage several houses worth of collateral damage in a few punches.

Yumeiro Patisserie

Yay, an anime covering my favourite cooking passtime. That is to say, making sweets. Cinnamon Vanilla biscuits are my speciality, but I also make a mean cheesecake. Though you know something is wrong if you start to take recipe advice from an anime, I suppose. LOL. Anyway, this played out mostly as expected, though it had a slower pace than anticipated. In a way, I’m kinda glad I did episode 1 and 2 together. They do make a bit of a set. The anime follows Ichigo, a girl who looks like she fell here from Gakuen Alice (I wonder if its the same artist, actually, they look strikingly similar). She is remarkably normal except for her ability to eat cake. Which is superior. Yeah.

Apparently, this has fostered an immensely sensitive sense of taste in her though, which she inherits from her grandmother, who was a world class sweet chef. She impresses a teacher from the St. Marie vocational school for Sweets, and enrols there. Unfortunately, she has no actual practical cooking experience and screws up under pressure (especially since she is put in the top class). However, with a new determination, she tries practicing and makes a wish to the Sugar Fairy Queen. To her surprise (the wish was mainly out of desperation!) a fairy called Vanilla is summoned and, after a spartan training regime until she gets her dessert right, then becomes her partner to become an amazing Sweet Chef.

This is cute. I like a bit of cute from time to time. As I’ve already said, the art style is suspiciously like Gakuen Alice, an anime which was also cute and full of nice fuzzy feelings (but also a surprisngly decent on the action and cute romance front). It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out, at least. Anyway, caps:
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Fortunately, dad ends up paying. But she makes him spend 12,000 YEN on sweets! Thats £80 or $132!
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Its heavily implied that her grandmother also had a contract with a Sugar Fairy.
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You go girl! I mean, why not? Its not like other career options are flowering before you, eh?
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Wow, poor Ichigo had a kinda lonely childhood if the flashback was anything to go by.
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Even though I like making dessets, I would not want to be a ‘Prince of Sweets’, thankyou. Thats a kind of embarassing title…
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Klutzy Girl = Klutzy Fairy summon
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Also, theres the LOL evident in the fact that the Fairy is called Vanilla and she is called Ichigo (‘Strawberry’). Strawberry Vanilla, a lovely combo attack for all ages!

And thats all for today. Expect a certain special commemoration post within the next few days! Tune in then.

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I have no idea what I was smoking when I came up with that title line. Then again, that seems to be a trend for me, doesn’t it?

In any case, I’ve had yet another busy week. I’ve been doing a few extra hours at work to make up for the fact that I’m having this coming weekend off; and in my spare time, I decided that I was feeling masochistic and hence chose to actually start watching Polyphonica CrimsonS despite the obvious awfulness of the first episode.

Much to my initial surprise, however, the show actually gains some direction and momentum starting around the third episode; which, although not exactly seat-grippingly exciting, does meander along at a respectable pelt and manages to pull itself out, dripping, from the pool of mediocrity. Moreover, Corti is actually given the screentime and character development she deserves, and the relationship triangle is more accurately resolved.  So, actually, it has kind of redeemed itself slightly from its predecessor. I guess I revoke my prior rating, placing it up to, maybe a 7/10?

Of course, given the number of quiet periods I seem to occassionally be graced with at work, I’ve also been using that time to get my sketching arm back into gear. I had a while where I did very little artistic work (in a way, it was replaced with reading books~ I recently finished a Stephen Baxter and a Gregory Maguire book) so it was nice to have a spark to do something again.

My subject ended up being my favourite long-term important NPC from my 4e Dungeons and Dragons campaign: Alicia Silverscale, the 3rd princess of Silesia and runner up in the Princess Waltz. Here’s the sketch:
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As always, click to get a bigger version.

My setting has no elves, but instead has a few non-traditional races: Auricans, Drakahn and Necrists.

Alicia, as you might imagine, is a Drakahn, which is a quasi-dragon. (suddenly, the title of this article may now make some sense to you…) They resemble humans, but have large scaled tails, tiny horns, and draconic eyes. You can read the race article I created for the campaign HERE, if you like. It goes into more detail about the biology and stats.

She originally showed up in the campaign disguised as a travelling blacksmith called Alice, who appeared shortly after our Swordmage got his hands on Cali; whom she helped fix up. They escorted Alice to the port city of Shax whilst following another lead in chasing their village’s lost artifact, the Platinum Sword of Trayce. She in particular was described as a very attractive Drakahn, with her Silver Hair, Silver Tail, and Sapphire Eyes. Some random Drakahn monk on a pilgrimage going the other direction to her and party had a cartoon jaw dropping moment and was slapped by his abbot. Which was LOL.

The party eventually came to realise her importance in the ongoing plot; as when they ventured north, they came across a batallion of Imperial Sapphire Guard led by a Gold Drakahn called Alain, who was looking for his runaway bride…

They caught up with her again later on the Isle of Rosalind, where it became apparent she too was working against the Cult of Agon that were the initial antagonists. She showed up in style in full Silesian Battle Regalia; leaping off a cliff into a troop of daemons and insta-killing two of them, which inspired this (actually older than the above) picture:
b-Alicia-vs-daemons-intherain

They quickly discovered that she was a Warlord multiclassed in Swordmage, with one of my custom Swordmage Paragon Paths, Holy Saber.

It has a Path Feature, Sheath of the Blinding Faith, which allows one to bend light around their sword. Hence, invisible blade. (In mechanics terms, the invisible blade has its damage dice size reduced, but grants combat advantage against the first foe attacked each round). And yes, this idea is of course a homage to Saber from FSN, with her Invisible Air.

In any case, she then joined the party for the final couple of battles in this arc. Whereupon they discovered that the summoned ‘aspect’ of Agon that the cult decided to call down was actually a cock up on their part. He was called the ‘Betrayer’ in the legends. But it was actually Agon that he betrayed (LOL). So, the summoned Red Dragon in human form proceeded to blow the cultists head off (with a STR38 punch to the face, ouch).

He also happened to be the one Alicia was looking for… her old lover. And, much to her surprise and shock, he turned out to be one of the original twenty four dragons…

Unfortunately, the REALLY cocked up ritual meant a portal to hell was also opened, so their dramatic reunion was cut short by a Balor turning up to say ‘Hi!’. The Ancient Red Dragon assumed his true form and stayed behind, locked in combat with the demon, to allow Alicia and the party to escape with the girl sacrifice they rescued, as well as the Platinum Sword they were looking for.


EDIT: Because I was apparently bored, I decided to convert the above Alicia Sketch into a widescreen wallpaper for my own amusement. Which I’ll share with everyone as well, so here you go:
jt-Sketch-Alicia-is-a-desirable-drakahn

Just in case you decide you need a Desirable Drakahn for your Desktop. Go alliteration!

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever actually used one of my sketches for a wallpaper before, so this is a first. Yay! Or something.


Ahem, anyway, enough backstories and crazy sketches of Drakahn maidens. As you may be aware, we’re into the 10th-11th episode territory for most anime seasons right now. That of course means yet ANOTHER season is around the corner! (They seem to come so fast o_0)

As normal, I’ll post an analysis nearer the time. Usually, a summer season like the incoming one has generally fewer new shows than the Spring season, but we shall see.

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I decided today I’d attempt to write a little occassional featurette about VN’s and dating games I’ve been playing or have played, primarily since the FSN topic has proved so popular, but also because they’re a genre thats always interested me as a storyteller despite the obvious stigma attached to them (because of the erotic materials usually present).

My most recent play was the Dakkodango translation of Tears to Tiara, which is a recent and pretty interesting title by Leaf, who themselves are probably more known for Utawarerumono, among other things. I was immediately interested in this upon hearing about the translation, since it combines RPG elements into a Visual Novel, like Utaware does.

Its got an interesting Celt/Roman background going on; and gives its own interpretation of that sort of Classical/Iron Age era combined with the King Arthur myth. As in, your base of  operations is Avalon; and your nearest city of the empire is Londinium.

I won’t spoil much of the story, but it involves the exodus of a tribe, the making of a new king, and its full of mythical creatures, elves, angels et al.

The battle system is an unusual Pausable Real Time affair with other commands and skills and recruitment of minor characters in a way that somewhat resembles Disgaea’s system. But it works quite well, if not being tremendously challenging (then again, I’m not on the Hard difficulty setting, so…)

Naturally, our hero somewhat resembles Hakuoro from Utawarerumono in the fact that he’s a total pimp. Basically all of the female main characters sleep with him, some almost without reason (cough…Morgan, I’m looking at you…), though at least him accidently having to marry Llyr because he stole her Seal skin was LOL.

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Well, its an obligatory title screen shot, which shows Arthur, Rhiannon, and Arawn.

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Llyr’s going shopping, apparently. I rather like her as a character, and as a battle unit, since she’s got alot of useful water magic for healing and ice attacks.

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What were you smoking, Rhiannon? Well, at least this scene amused me, since Arthur shows off his amazing sewing skills, putting the House Elves to shame.

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Map of the area.

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Yes, Arthur, Taleisin IS creepy. I mean, who would trust a character who’s class is ACTUALLY ‘Spoony Bard’?

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Deploying units for a battle. You can only ever deploy 8 characters in a battle. However, there are 10 main characters, and as you can hire as many ‘mercenaries’ as you want. I have 5 of them. Hence, you’ll need to alternate to keep the XP up.

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Alot can go on in a battle. Thankfully, the A.I. is reasonable at keeping on top of things, so long as it doesn’t concern pathfinding. It also really needs to begin healing earlier, but then, at least you still have things to do…

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Octavia is, naturally, a wife of Arawn’s too…the Roman one…in case you can’t guess…

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Actually, this dragon went down surprisingly easily…I was quite surprised…

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Inevitable, but still amusing.

Heh, well, I quite enjoyed that little article. Perhaps I’ll do some more of these in time. Stay tuned…

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