Comrade Vladimir

Vladimir is a retribution melee caster (magic tank) who waits for targets to come to him before metering out spine crushing damage. He is built to soak up everything the opposition can give him and pound them for trying.

Lore: Comrade Vladimir was a naval infantry hero of the Red Rustok-Nestra conflict who became first among equals by crushing all enemy resistance. After the war Red Rustok scientists took advantage of the great bear’s physique and used their cutting edge science to augment him for the Greater Glory of the People’s State.

Vladimir has journeyed to the Fields of Strife to demonstrate to the galaxy the State’s unquestionable superiority. With augmentation of ice, fire, and his own brand of bone crushing might he will best all those who oppose the Red Rustok State.

Early test sketch of Vladimir

Q: Freeze and Thaw (90)

Vladimir swipes ice with his right paw and fire with his left. This attack hits targets within a 180º radius in front of him. Targets are momentarily slowed as the ice chills them to the bone and then their movement speed is increased slightly when the fire paw hits them.

Damage 100/110/120/140%

Cool down: 11 seconds

W: Panic Roar (100)

The great bear roars and all targets in his immediate vicinity temporally are struck with fear. NPCs cannot move or fight, heroes afflicted cannot move, but can still attack.

Panic: 1.5/2.0/2.2/3.0

Cool down: 15 seconds

E: Furnace of Rage (50)

The gray bear drops a barrier of brimstone from his furnace which surrounds him in protective fire. All incoming damage is reduced by 35% for the duration. Enemies that attack Vladimir while the barrier is active take 50/60/70/90 damage and suffer movement slow. Additional hits incur progressive 5% damage increase.

Cool down: 16 seconds

R: Red Blizzard (130)

A large area around Vladimir is engulfed in a momentary blizzard. Targeted area deals 140/185/230 physical damage and applied a 70% movement slow.

Enemies that hit Vladimir during this time receive an additional 75/100/125 damage and bonus slow. Additional hits incur progressive 5% damage increase.

Cool down: 90 seconds

Hadiya the Werehippo

EDIT: (10.10.14) – Zane Kinney did a really cool concept piece using Hadiya. Fear the hippo!

EDIT (10.9.14) – A little feed back and a little more thought later I’ve changed a little about the way Hadiya works. Chomp and Charge to Shore have been sketched as well.

The werehippo on the warpath Hadiya is an aggressive melee hero who can dish a beating and soak plenty of damage. Her skills provide mobility and crushing direct damage and she can stand up to the worst of physical attacks. Hadiya dances, spins, and crushes the opposition.

Hadiya is from a distant race of swamp dwellers who call the mangroves of Nigetia home. The Nigetians trained her in their fighting style, which looks remarkably like a dance, so that she could represent their far culture in the Trials of Strife. She spent her childhood dedicated to this one cause. On the eve of her passage to the trials she was cursed by the hag Nikto and now must integrate the hippo spirit that inhabits her body into her fighting style. She learned to let the hippo emerge at just the right moment on the threshold of the Trials.

Q: Chomp (80)

Hadiya quickly sends forth her hippo form three times. Any target caught in the attack cone takes damage and is pulled close to her.

90/100/110/120% damage.

Cooldown: 12 seconds

W: Restlessness (120)

Grants Hadiya 90 bonus move speed and 10% damage reduction. After 3 seconds, deals 80,105,130,155 magic damage to nearby enemies and stuns for 1,1.25,1.5,1.75 seconds.

Cooldown: 15 seconds

E: Thick Skin (0)

Passively grants stacking shield against physical damage equal to 4,4.5,6.5,9% of Hadiya’s maximum health on ability use. Shield last 6 seconds

Cooldown: 0 seconds

R: Charge to shore (140)

Target direction to charge. Any unit encountered in the path is dealt 140,180,220 physical damage and is pushed to the side of Hadiya’s destination.

If an obstacle is encountered enemies take 50% additional damage and a 0.8 second stun.

Cooldown: 60 seconds

New Things

Admittedly, I am a far happier person when I stick to the predictable. Want to take me out for something to eat? Take me to someplace I know well enough to avoid looking at the menu and I’ll be a happy. I usually ignore alternative driving directions because they might take me along unknown roads and into unexperienced traffic messes. And I spend the greatest effort in my day-to-day affairs sticking to a predictable schedule so that both Aral and I can exist in the tranquility that results from that sort of routine.

I’ve played World of Warcraft, the massively multiplayer on-line role playing game of great fame, since people actually role played within the confines of the world. When it was new I got sucked into it because a friend was playing and because it was arguably the climax of a pursuit I had invested a lot of time and effort into previously (starting way back with DiKU MUDs). So, for nearly a decade now, I’ve ponied up about $15 bucks a month and slogged my way through dungeons, guild politics, griefers and hackers while seeking purples and legendary orange tokens indicative of my dedication to this collective suspension of disbelief.

After a while this became sort of a habit. Something I kept doing because I have done it before, because I scheduled my life around this game. “Leave me alone, it’s raid night,” was a common refrain heard in my household. I don’t think I ever over did this indulgence, but I certainly invested my time and effort into it. Often gladly, some times even with great joy.

But here is where my story finds a kink. Last January, while attending Legendary Confusion, I met a representative from S2 Games. Unfortunately I don’t recall the guys name, but I imagine I could pick him out of a line up if pressed. Hopefully I can be forgiven, there were a lot of new faces and names and likely some drinking mixed in. Anyway, he handed me a short comic book about the new game he and his compatriots were working on.

I thanked him and tucked it into my bag next to a growing stack of interesting hand outs. There it sat, forgotten until just a few days ago.

Sometime this summer, when I was increasingly frustrated and bored by the same old slog I have labeled Pandarian Summer Funk, I somehow made it into the closed beta for Strife. I downloaded the game and played a little. Game play was exciting and new, tactically challenging even. Most matches were over in an average of seventeen minutes, which meant that I could pop open the client, get a quick game fix and return to real life satisfied. Compared to the cluster events that even Looking for Raid imposed upon me this was an exceptional advantage. Write a thousand words, play a quick match, fold some laundry — my days and life are not consumed by a little escapism.

As time wore on and the beta opened up I started looking into the story. The artworkS2 commissioned, both in game and for the game, is excellent. A very rich and involving world with just enough visual zing to keep the GPU warm. The character and world development feels a lot like looking over the edge of a crevasse on a deep glacier. You don’t see much on just over the surface, but you get the impression of depth. And the story itself, that the heros gather on the fields of Strife to practice their martial arts, requires no more disbelief than WOW ever did.

By September Strife had replaced all other games. Today I composed the basis of one of three new heros that have been floating around in my head (a werehippo named Hadiya, she if freaking awesome). In some small way, a way that I thought never to see repeated after WOW entered my life, my imagination has been captured once again by a game.

I’ve recently canceled my WOW subscription. Ostensibly it’s because I just don’t have that much time to play games these days, but you can add to this that I think Blizzard has lost the all too critical thread of their own story. They seem more focused on improving graphic rendering in game and concocting media sell-out events designed to pander attention than hiring good writers who can continue their formerly strong tradition of story telling. Seriously, Azeroth Cycles? This is some of the shit I am trying to escape while playing people.

Going through some of my convention stash recently I came across the comic I had been given last January. I pulled it out of its plastic and thumbed through the pages. Mostly inked over pencil work, nothing stupendous as far as a comic book goes, but in these pages I saw a group of people in love with an idea. Taking time and effort to perfect their craft and, more importantly, to tell a really cool, new story.

That’s gold, no tropes being repeated here, golden story telling.

EDIT:

If you’re interested in trying (and Strife is free to play) if you could use my referral link than you’d be buffing a true fan of the game. Click on through from here.

A Question of Etiquette

So, right now I’m feeling a tad bit confused and maybe a little stuck. I’ve been submitting short stories to a variety of venues in the SF world. Eventually, I get back a rejection notice. And while this is perfectly okay with me — I’ll simply move on to the next venue with the story to see if I can find a better fit — I feel a desire to reach out and thank the editor in question for their time.

I’ve done a bit of research. The “do you write a thank you note after a manuscript rejection?” query has been run on Google, but there seems to be a decided lack of advice on this one point of protocol.

So, are you an editor? Is a thank you note for your time and consideration something you’d appreciate? Are you a writer who sends thank you notes? Does this work for you?

Truth be told not having an answer for this one question is going to bug the crap out of me all day.

I Cannot Think of Nothing that Might Go Wrong

Yep, nothing…

Okay sarcasm aside, let’s take something like this to its logical extreme. One-hundred ton road trains crossing vast uninhabited Western wastelands of the west. Crowded stop and go traffic of over-populated urban areas. Stoned hackers who desire nothing so much as a truckload of fresh Chinese Twinkies. Man, talk about mash-up potential. Road warrior meets Minority Report. This has potential.

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents