Colombina's Grotto

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Colombina's Grotto

Postby Fela Meason on August 17th, 2011, 3:14 am

When ever I do play dead rising 2 now-a-days and I get to the stranded Siren quest I think of you :D

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Awesome! You've combined several of my favorite things: zombies, mermaids and myself. ;) <3 Bina

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This is Fela talking, This is Fela thinking, This is text, and This is someone else talking.
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Colombina's Grotto

Postby Colombina on August 19th, 2011, 7:33 pm

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Mer-Badger Thoughts...


Today is the first of a, hopefully, monthly or more installation, aptly entitled "Mer-Badger Thoughts". This is a spot where we get into the nitty gritty of creative aspects of the game, a forum for explaining things in a plain and OOC fashion that would be out of place in the lore.

This week, Mer-Badger is thinking about Ethaefal. Everyone's favorite hard to spell race. Don't worry, I have to double-check the lore to remember the "ae" placement too and I created the stupid name.


So what’s up with Eth? What are they here for?

In my immense shallowness, I felt Miza needed one of those surreally beautiful and wise races for all the pretty people to play. This spot is commonly occupied by Elves in other games/ fiction. However, I noticed Elves (supposedly ageless, flawless and oh-so-fabulous) were being downgraded to spiffy humans by many writers. If I wanted something that scratched the Elf itch, it would have to be a purer version of this original conception.

Then things got complicated.

I wanted a dose of something profoundly tragic and longing in the Eth that pulled their thoughts heavenward. They weren’t supposed to fit in or seem normal, but usher a kind of awe and pity when looked at.
Think of times in your life when you swear you felt something larger than you. When you looked at beauty and it broke your heart because you knew it was temporary and entirely outside of yourself. Some poets call this “the sublime”, but I think of it as a shadow of heaven. One can recognize shades of perfection and glory without ever tasting it, as if your heart was pulling you towards some higher knowledge. We all long for this, but what if you had it in your hands then lost it? That, for a time, beauty lacked grief. You not only beheld it but absorbed it and were a part of it, glorified. Then imagine being roughly punted from this state, alone, naked, without home and re-forming a life from scratch.

Ta-da, you are now an Eth.

Some reprieve is given to Eths. They can’t recall everything about their heavenly jaunt or even their prior earthly ones. They have principles and feelings that flutter at the edges of their consciousness, but nothing they can sink their teeth into. It’s nostalgia as opposed to concrete memory. When they are in mortal seeming, they get an unfiltered dose of humanity, all its pains and irritations. Which would explain why some are extra grumpy when not an Eth. They are no longer the best version of themselves.

An ideal Eth has wisdom, long-term views and immense patience. They’ve seen it all and survived. This is just another part of their journey and must exist for some purpose.
Conversely, an Eth may be frustrated, bitter and confused. Wondering why ascend just to fall? These Eth have a crisis of faith with their deity and doubt their usefulness in the world.

Nitty Gritty on the Looks

I hate finding pics for Eth (and I’m sure the players do too) because the only one that has done them justice is the one in the very top right of the wiki. Even that is imperfect as I imagine them with hair. Eths ought to appear as surreal and spiritual creatures. Portions of them aren’t organic, there’s a bit of miracle to them.

Horns resemble jade or glass at the touch and do not continue to grow. They are virtually indestructible and of an unknown material. If an Eth dies, I imagine his horns crumble away immediately. This is because the physical form an Eth is strongly attached to the soul/djed of an Eth. The horns should begin around the temples and sweep backward. A good idea is to think of them more as adornment than growth.

An Eth’s skin is flawless and will heal of nicks and cuts. Scars remain only if a manifestation of a spiritual wound. Physical cuts can heal if they are not mortal (or something like losing a limb). Up close, Eth skin would look a bit like smooth quartz on marble, but the colors and tints would vary.

Ideally, facial features have a lushness to them. No hungry waifs, they are like roman statuary come alive. Or even Pre-Raphaelite in form. Yes, you can make them thinner if you like, just don't starve the poor things ;) .

The Transition


So what does an Eth look like as they shift from one form to another? The transformation is both physical and spiritual so it should look like however your Eth feels about it. :) Just don't explode in a sea of pink glitter, that's Satu's job.

Well I hope that rambling jaunt helps with the question of Eths! I will happily answer any questions posted here, just don't forget my mermaid caveat!


Getting to Know Me

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Postby Caelum on August 19th, 2011, 8:03 pm

Somebody feed Caelum a cheeseburger, stat!
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Colombina's Grotto

Postby Colombina on August 27th, 2011, 11:11 pm

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Mer-Badger Thoughts On...Gnora



So What's Her Deal?


Gnora is the goddess of balance, order and logic, not to be confused with Eyris the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Eyris is knowledge, where Gnora is about the application thereof. She is also a henchman of equality, but not the "we're all special" kind of equality, more the "you cannot know what is sweet unless you know what is bitter" kind of equality. She'd be a great personal trainer, but a bummer slumber party guest.

Like Viratas, Gnora is one of those ambiguous deities. Sometimes what is logical is not always the "nice" thing to do. Oftentimes, what's good and what's logical will align, but there are times when the individual must be sacrificed for the many.

She's basically every Philosophy Professor's dream. They love those morally ambiguous hypotheticals where our emotional gut and our head war against one another.
When Gnora looks at problems she asks, what's going to maintain the balance and keep order? I imagine people won't always like Gnora's solutions, because they can tend towards the merciless. (For all you geeks out there, think of her like a militant Batman figure. Circa Infinite Crisis.) Her followers are big picture people, though, and have come to terms with her approach.

Speaking of her followers...

The Ano Cult


I love these guys. Not only do they have an awesome school that forces them to court death everyday, they offer a great and varied roleplaying opportunity.

Being an Ano cultists means being both balanced in your knowledge and logical in how you advance it. So what's that look like? Well, you start by dabbling in many fields, but once you find out where you have a natural aptitude it's only logical that you excel where your gifts lie.

An Ano Cultist has a lean and hungry mind (like yon Cassius) and is often compelled to be selfless. With their comprehensive and analytical approach to things they are enormously effective as teachers, aides and advisors.

Ano Cultists seek a rationale for what they do and don't believe in vanity or time suckers. How they dress, speak and present themselves is all crafted towards making them more effective. If it is beneficial to be cheerful, they will indulge that aspect of their personality, if it is beneficial to be somber, they will be grave all day. It is not about what they want but about what must be done in pursuit of the higher goal.

Ano cultists may appear very dissimilar based on their aptitude, location and mission. At low to mid levels they tend to be ascetic, as they do not have the strength of moderation yet. Only as one matures in understanding, can a cultist freely indulge different aspects of their personality without being a slave to one. Until one masters this, it is easier to cut out an corrupting aspect entirely. Severing can help with this lifelong struggle.

Severing


Gnora's gnosis is the ability to dampen and control natural impulses at will: be it pain, hunger or emotion. It releases followers from being a slave to their appetites, or having their judgment clouded. I think of it as having a clear moment to think. Imagine being in an incredibly stressful crisis where everyone is panicking and you have the clarity of someone relaxing with tea and cookies. Imagine working with someone like that!

Gnora Inspiration


There are some fictional characters that I think would make good Ano Cultists. Here's a list that gives an idea of how cultists can look in various (and even flawed) roles:

Sherlock Holmes
Javert
Elinor Dashwood
Starbuck (Moby Dick)
Cassius
Thufir Hawat
James Stevens (Remains of the Day)
Spock
Antonia Shimerdas

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Postby Kendall Saarinen on August 27th, 2011, 11:38 pm

I love your "Thoughts On..." posts. They are always so interesting and of course, they show a more deep view into the ideas. While I have never worked with Severing (or Gnora for that matter) it was still really interesting to read. Also, I love you for mentioning Spock. +10 Awesome points for you.
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Postby Taln on August 28th, 2011, 1:39 am

Thufir Hawat! Dune! Definitely great reading your post. :)
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Postby Kendall Saarinen on September 16th, 2011, 2:08 pm

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Hmmmm... now I knew you were bad ass but when does the bad assery stop?




BINA REPLY:

Never, Kendall, never.

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Boy you know it feels good with fire back on your tongue."
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Postby Colombina on September 28th, 2011, 6:10 pm

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Mer-Badger Thoughts On...Benshira



It’s time to get real about everyone’s favorite pseudo nomad shepherds.



Origins


Let’s first address the elephant in the room. The Benshira are heavily drawn from RL people groups. Primarily those from ye olde fertile crescent/ Mesopotamia. Their city, Yahebah, has a strongly Moroccan feel mixed with Jerusalem. Part of me did this because I like players to tap into a bigger emotional resonance. They bring some excitement to the table because the creation rings true in a broader way.

I sometimes feel a bit of a cheater for this and kick myself for not doing something more outrageous like Ethefael. However, I realized something the other day. This similarity is only noted because it’s uncommon. “Wait, what?” you say. So hear me out on this theory.

European inspired settings are de rigueur for traditional fantasy. If someone has a Germanic/Anglo/Celtic creation it’s all par for the course. It gets manipulated of course, but it won’t raise too much attention. I love these cultures, so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Middle Eastern groups in fantasy? Not so much. It kinda jars the narrative for some people.

Typically, when people have a Middle Eastern vibe in fantasy, it tends to be of the Sinbad or Aladdin variation. Which is a little more fanciful and all the tropes are trotted out in all their splendor. This can be great fun. I love that vibe. However, I found that my interest and education growing up was actually based in a less fantastic version of the area. Lots of different people groups occupied the crescent, so I can’t do them all justice, but I picked up some themes and ran with them. I look at Ur, Hebrews, Berber nomads, Assyrians, etc.

Tribes and Tradition


Also important is the tribal element. Benshira love tradition and they stick together. Tribal arrangements are usually the first form of governance in cultures. You need protection from a dangerous world, so you look to your family. You are loyal to them and avoid doing anything that would detract from their numbers (e.g., marrying outside or leaving the area) and you don’t break up other “tribes” either. So to Benshira, adultery is both a political and personal offense.

Tradition is a form of order where formal proclamations do not exist. In the Odyssey you see how being a bad host is a HUGE deal. Why? Because hospitality was the only form of protection offered guests in a world without formal law. There is no one enforcing order in the Burning Lands. In Yahebah, yes, bit not out there. So how do you create an innate law? Traditions imposed by family and culture.
You pay a bride price, why? It’s tradition, but on grander scale it’s so when you get eaten by a Tsana, your lady isn’t hosed. She’s got her dowry to fall back on. You only go to the temple in Yahebah for sacrifice, why? Tradition. AND it helps keep the nomadic community a little more centralized. Some traditions linger just because they make you feel connected and remind you there’s something bigger out there than yourself. Without solidarity, Benshira are begging for trouble.

Yahal: That Guy


Some interpretations of Yahal, the patron deity of Benshira, make me sad. They can go towards the cruel or extreme with demands for faith like it’s cosmic entertainment. Or they show him as forbidding all other deities in follower’s lives. Yahal is actually really posi on other gods (well, good-aligned gods that is). More faith, more better. And the pursuit of faith isn’t just believing in a god’s existence. For Yahal, it’s belief in goodness; that it exists and it is meaningful even when all signs point to its oblivion.

And that purity bit? It’s literal and metaphorical. Be good to your body, you only get one, unless you’re a Nuit ;) . Also, don’t let your mind and heart get bogged down by negative and selfish things. Keep it clean, keep it pure.
Yahal is big on people finding a noble purpose and following it faithfully.

Benshira Personality


These people like to party. Not in the Eypharian style, but they go mad for family shindigs, especially weddings. Think of them like stereotypical Italians or Greeks. They are going to eat, sing, dance, argue and make you participate. However, if you’re a troublemaker prepare for a bunch of grandmas to make wards against you and to be thrown out on your ass.

Benshira like to haggle, it’s theater to them. If you bought something outright, most would be disappointed. And they probably gossip more than they should and tend to be stubborn. Change is a scary word. Being a good host is a big deal as well (like the Odyssey) and they frequently exchange gifts when visiting.

They have a pride of place and can usually trace their lineage pretty far back. Elders are respected, because it’s kinda impressive to live that long in the desert.

When it comes to the sacred, they tone it down and approach with all reverence. They are keenly aware of being spared the Valterrian’s destruction and other such calamities. These near misses have made their culture all the more precious to them.

In Closing


This was a long one! But I hope it gives you a better idea of the amazing Benshira.


Getting to Know Me

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Postby Oracle on October 31st, 2011, 4:21 am

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This is from my tiger pop's package.

I love finding things that make me think of you! :D
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Postby Bolden Denusk on October 31st, 2011, 4:15 pm

Wow! You bought your very own bag of Bina!!! :D <3 I want one too! Then we could all have some Bina in our lives! :lol:
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