Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Updates on my Novel

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den! 

Today, I launched my Patreon campaign!  But before I give you a link to it, I'm going to explain some of the questions and concerns you might have with Patreon.

First off, it's not e-begging.  You see, Patreon allows for a concept called "patronage". Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors.  This allows artists to be able to focus on a financial unstable occupation and create works of art instead of having to take normal jobs that wouldn't give them free time to create their art.  Many famous artists, playwrights and others thrived on patronage by nobility.

Today, a LOT of Youtube content creators have gone to Patreon to supplement their income due to Youtube's changing landscape, the most recent being the adpocolypse that has affected 90% of the content creators that I watch being partially or fully demonitized. 

But Patreon has also helped artists, writers, even indie game developers.  It's allowing people to go for their dreams in a landscape where their dreams aren't exactly financially viable.  It's a great system for both creator and patron, because you can easily stop supporting a creator with no problem.

As for why I'm setting mine up now? Well, I'm in a rather poor state financially; I have trouble getting jobs, and when I do get them, I can't keep them for more than 6 months at a time.  I have a really bad sense of direction, so being an Uber driver is out, and I have health issues that makes certain jobs that I could get more difficult than they should be.  But with the support I'll get from Patreon, I'll be able to follow my dream, get my book published, and get paid for it as well!

So come check me out at https://www.patreon.com/seanakins, (Yes, this is my real name, but considering that it's going to be on the book, and how our ISPs can sell my personal information without my consent anyway, it doesn't matter anymore.), look forward to posts both here and Patreon, and stay beautiful freaks!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

SWTOR Cartel Market Items

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

So I'd just gotten my monthly subscriber cartel coin reward the other day, and I looked at the Cartel Market after the 5.5 update. And I shocked at what I saw; two formerly rare items right on the market; the Tythonian Force-Master Lightsaber, and the Cathar Honor Sword.

Now, on my server, these items were extremely expensive on the GTN; on the low end, people have sold them for 10 million credits.  And when I checked the day I saw them on the Cartel Market? The Lightsaber went for 14.5 million, and the sword for 45 million at the lowest.  You know how much they cost on the Cartel Market? 600 credits for the lightsaber, 500 for the sword.  The sword is essentially free for a subscriber; 1 month's worth of free Cartel Coins.  And the lightsaber is essentially free for a subscriber that uses a security key! So in essence, the only people who could buy these items off the GTN (since F2P and Preferred players have a 6 figure credit cap) can now get these items for free!

And I'm laughing at this point when I saw this; these people, who have held these items in their inventories/cargo holds for years from either buying them from other players, or having gotten these items when they originally dropped from Cartel Packs, are getting screwed by the fact that they're going to be super common now.  Now, at best, they'll only be able to get the low 6 figures out of them on the GTN from free players.  So keep that in mind when you're doing GTN speculation; no items will stay rare forever. :)

So anyway, I'm going to be launching my Patreon in the next few days, so I'll be doing a post on here and my twitter, so check that out when it happens. If you're a SWTOR player, check out my referral code, and stay beautiful freaks!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Assassin's Den Musings: The Problem with Batman

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

I know, I know, this is unusual; I've never talked about comics books on this blog.  However, it does link into something I am interested in; video games.  I was watching some youtube videos on the Injustice series; I watched the entire stories of Injustice 1 and Injustice 2, and I saw the focus on Batman and the Bat-family and all that came with it, and I realized something; Bruce Wayne is still Batman.

Hear me out on this; over the years, there have been 5 people who became Robin; Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake,Stephanie Brown and Damien Wayne.  There have been 4 women to become Batgirl; Barbara Gordon, Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown.  And there 3 men to be Batman; Bruce Wayne, Jean-Paul Valley and Dick Grayson.

Now, here's my problem; most of them went on to become something else. Dick Grayson became Nightwing, Jason Todd became Red Hood, Tim Drake became Red Robin, Stephanie Brown became Batgirl after her stint as Robin, Barbara Gordon became the paraplegic heroine Oracle, Cassandra Cain became Black Bat, Helena Bertinelli went back to being Huntress, Jean-Paul Valley went back to being Azrael.  But Bruce Wayne? He's the only constant Batman.  Both Jean-Paul Valley and Dick Grayson have given the cowl back to him.  The only time we ever see someone take up, and keep up, the cowl is in the DCAU series "Batman Beyond", where Bruce Wayne is a very old man, and cannot physically be Batman anymore.

Now, I don't have a problem with that. Bruce Wayne is the iconic Batman.  When you go see a movie or buy a bluray of Batman, you're expecting Bruce Wayne.  And the comics have to utilize the characters that are in the movies.  I get that, and I support that.

But that makes me think about Bruce Wayne's age; Dick Grayson, Jason Todd AND Tim Drake are all grown men.  Granted, Tim Drake is the youngest around 18-20 (depending on how much time passes in the comics), but Dick Grayson is at least in his late 20s.  Bruce Wayne was 25 when he started as Batman, and adopted Dick Grayson at 26.  Based on his age, he's running out of time to be Batman.  Injuries are eventually going to catch up with his age in time.

I know, I know, it's a comic book.  He won't be retiring, because DC wants to continue to sell books.  And there's weirder stuff that happens in comic books anyway, so of course, Bruce Wayne remains ageless.   But there was actually a very good story that shows Bruce Wayne aging; 1999's "Superman and Batman Generations", which starts in 1939 and shows Bruce Wayne passing on the cowl to Dick Grayson in the 60s, who is then forced to pass on the cowl himself to Bruce Wayne Jr in 1969 due to him being killed by the Joker (reminiscent of Jason Todd's death in 1988), only to take back the mantel of the Batman in 1999 after beating Ra's al Ghul in a battle in the Lazerus Pit. (Yes, it was as weird as it sounds, but it's comics, so whatever.")

Which brings me to the point of this post; I want to see Dick Grayson become Batman and stay Batman.  He's done the job twice, and did it very well both times, both after Jean-Paul Valley was stripped of the cowl at the end of the Knightfall arc, and again after Bruce Wayne's "death".  If DC gave a Dick Grayson Batman an ongoing Elseworlds series (DC's "What if" line), I'd buy it.  Dick Grayson put in the time, put in the effort, did everything he could to earn the cowl.  If anyone deserves to be Batman other than Bruce Wayne, it's Dick Grayson.

But I know it won't happen; Bruce Wayne's the iconic character; to the world, he IS the Batman, and he always will be.  In fact, to people outside the Batman fandom, they don't know that Dick Grayson's been anything but Robin.  They don't know about Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown or Damien Wayne.  So, yeah, I get it when DC just follows the money.  But still, I'd really love to see a series where Dick Grayson gets to become, and stay, Batman.

If I get any kind of response to this, I'll do a "The Problem with" other characters, like Superman and Spider-Man, but for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Assassin's Den Reviews: Crisis on Umbara

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

So, today, SWTOR Version 5.4 dropped today, and I'm going to talk about the Flashpoint.

I'll start with the mechanics.  You start on top of a train, fighting your way through a combination of Umbarans, who seem to use the Rattataki models, but without the head tattoos, and either Republic or Empire forces. Eventually, the traitor reveals himself (yes, it's a him. The woman most of us who THOUGHT was the traitor on Iokath is not the traitor, but they do work with him), and crashes the train, forcing you to fight through the forces you were fighting before and the wildlife, and face off against a couple bosses before the flashpoint ends.

Now, there's a boss fight that's currently bugged.  While still on the train, you fight a pair of Umbarans, as well as a bunch of spawning turrets. The fight has a Technician, and a Shadow Assassin.  But if you kill the wrong one first, the fight respawns.  You have to kill the Shadow Assassin first, or the quest completely resets.

But now, it's time to take the cat out of the bag and reveal the traitor; Theron Shan.  Now, I ran this flashpoint twice today, before going on to finish up my Hand of Jadus playthrough; with my LSM Guardian Ragdat, and my DSF Marauder Yokonari, who romanced both Quinn WAY back in the day, and Theron.  So, in a very literal sense, both men she fell in love with betrayed her and broke her heart.  (Yes, I know her story in my storyline said that she didn't romance either, but how I do her in game and how I write her don't have to be the same.)  Ragdat sided with the Republic on Iokath, and Yokonari was the only character to side with the Empire, so I got to see the differences between faction choices, as well as having read Theron's letters in the datamine before.  So, here's my thoughts on the storyline.

Honestly, Theron's betrayal of a LS character makes as much sense as what happened to the Inquisition at the end of DAI's Tresspasser DLC.  It feels forced based on the personality of the PC.  DS, however? Spot on.  Theron says that he wants an end to all the conflict, and a DS character is doing exactly the opposite.

Now, I'm going to be honest, I'm kind of happy this is pissing people off so much; not only is it within his character (he pretty much WAS the DS option in Shadow of Revan, after all, even though he supposedly mellowed between SoR and KOTFE), but it subverted expectations.  Everyone was guessing women based on the female figure at the end of Iokath, from Kira to Satele Shan to Shae Vizla to Hylo Visz, and nobody guessed a man due to the misdirection. 

The best part? The betrayal was foreshadowed WAY back in October 2015; Valkorian mentioned a traitor in KOTFE Ch9, after talking to Senya.  That led me to believe that the traitor had to be someone who was there from the start, and someone who didn't die over the course of the game.  That meant Theron, Tora, Lana (who, despite being Sith, is the most loyal of them all), Sana Rae, Bewyan Aygo, Hylo Visz, and Dr. Oggurobb.  And only one of them who has the skill and experience to pull it off for all this time.

As for Theron's final letter, here's how it works; you get one letter based on alignment (LS or DS), and a letter to his lover, which is overridden by the DS letter if you place a bounty on his head.  You also get a letter from your romance, and I'm looking forward to seeing the letters from Jorgan, Dorne, Lana, Vette, and the eventual romanced letter from Theron to Baste'mer'ioz, whom I did an LS romance with Theron.

Anyway, check out my referral link if you play, check out my twitter, and stay beautiful freaks!

Friday, August 18, 2017

SWTOR Character Tales Update: Protagonists Character Sheets

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!  And today, we round out the character sheets with our protagonists, Ragdat and Mamine. 

Name: Ragdat
Gender: Male
Species: Rattataki
Age: 39 standard years (34 biologically, due to being frozen for 5 years)
Homeworld: Rattatak, but was found by the Jedi on Nar Shaddaa
Class: Jedi Guardian
Fighting Style: Battlemaster, but focuses on Form V (both variants) and Form II Lightsaber combat
Romance: Kira Carsen
Personality Profile:  "The galaxy has changed since you were frozen.  The Republic and Empire are no longer as strong as they were, and the Eternal Empire that Vitiate claims to be his true focus is now the dominant force.  On top of that, your family has disappeared, and you've got Vitiate stuck in your head, trying to turn you to the Dark Side with his 'help'.  It's strange that he's not actively trying to corrupt you, but this is merely a more insidious way to turn you, since his previous attempt at forcing you down that path failed in the long run.

But all hope is not lost.  Your family may be gone, but the friends and allies you made on Rishi and Yavin are still around, and they want to help you.  They're giving you the resources you need take on Arcann and the Eternal Empire, and a couple of your friends want to help you get Vitiate out of your head. And maybe now, you can take the fight to those who took so much from you, and get back to what matters; defending the innocent from those who would hurt them."

Name: Mamine (pronounced Ma-Me-Nay)
Gender: Female
Species: Cathar
Age: 36 standard years (31 biologically)
Homeworld: None (Exiled)
Class: Jedi Sentinel
Fighting Style: Battlemaster, but prefers Form IV Lightsaber combat, with a focus on the Jar'Kai techniques and unarmed combat
Romance: Archiban "Doc" Kimble, though she broke up with him when he proposed to her.
Personality Profile: "You've made great strides in rejecting the Dark Side, in climbing out of the dark hole you'd been unknowingly drowning in.  You now understand the consequences of your actions and how they affect others, and you take care to not hurt people intentionally.  And even though they can no longer legally acknowledge you due to the nature of a Cathar exile, you know you're making your parents and the shaman proud.

But your greatest test is still ongoing.  Because now, Vitiate is once again in your head, but unlike before, he's not trying to dominate you.  No, he's offering power and 'wisdom', though you know the latter is nothing of the sort.  And the power that he offers no longer appeals to you, as well; you know that the power of the Dark Side only leads to pain.

When the time comes, you'll be happy to be rid of him, but right now, his knowledge of Zakuul's practices and rites is useful.  Still, you don't trust him.  He offered his power when you met him as Valkorian for a reason, and you want no part of it."

Now, I'm going to be busy for a few days, preparing for the solar eclipse on Monday; we may not get totality in my area, but I promised a few neighborhood kids that I'd play "science teacher" for them when it happens, and explain what's going on and why it's so cool.

But for now, check out my referral link if you play, and stay beautiful freaks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SWTOR Character Tales: Jedi Order Character Sheets

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!  It's time to redo the character sheets for the members of the Jedi Order who are not the protagonists!

Name: Vedere Marr
Gender: Female
Species: Miraluka
Age: 31 standard years
Homeworld: Alpheridies
Class: Jedi Shadow
Fighting Style: Form VI Lightsaber Combat
Romance: Currently none, formerly Lemda Avesta
Personality Profile: "With the majority of the Jedi Council gone and Master Satele missing, you are the de-facto Grandmaster, though you haven't officially taken the title due to your youth.  However, this doesn't change the fact that you're keeping the Jedi Order organized and protecting the people of the Republic, and directing them via the holonet.

However, this responsibility hasn't stopped you from your research into Ragdat's destiny.  You've seen the reports of what he did while you were chasing down the Children of the Emperor, and you've noticed his path intersect with Vitiate and Revan's at many points.  Their destinies seem to be intertwined, so you've retreated back to your homeworld and using the meditation chambers to see more clearly into the future.  And now that he's back, you've noticed that his destiny and Vitiate's combine.  Combine that with his efforts to stop the Eternal Empire, the Force seems to congregate around him, and you need to find out why."

 Name: Vhizdam
Gender: Male
Species: Miraluka
Age: 39 standard years
Homeworld: Alpheridies
Class: Jedi Sentinel
Fighting Style: Knows all 7 forms, but prefers Form VI Lightsaber Combat
Personality Profile: "Hard to believe that Vedere is leading the Jedi Order, but she's been through a LOT in the last fifteen years.  You remember her studying with your sister for the tests in their respective realms, and now, she's steeped in the mysticism of the Force.  However, no matter how powerful or knowledgeable he is, she's never been the greatest fighter.  She's always preferred deceiving her foes and striking from the shadows over a straight up fight.

And that is why you stand at her side, protecting her.  As one of the Battlemasters of the order who trains people in lightsaber combat styles, you know the best ways to keep this young Jedi Master alive.  If she falls, the Order will descend into chaos."

Name: Chas'Raan
Gender: Female
Species: Twi'lek
Age: 29 standard years
Homeworld: Coruscant
Class: Jedi Shadow
Fighting Style: Forms III and IV Lightsaber combat
Personality Profile: "Even though they fed you, clothed you and trained you, you've never really felt that you fit in with the Jedi.  Oh sure, you believe in the principles of the Order; of helping the helpless, protecting the weak and all that, but you've never really felt like you fit their mold.

Luckily, Vedere's leadership has made you feel more at home.  With so few Jedi left, Vedere has done away  with a LOT of the things that bothered you about the Order before, like the rules about attachment or emotion.  Today, you work as a scout for the Order, and by proxy by Ragdat's Alliance, to do something about the oppression of the Eternal Empire."
Special note: Similar to Corran Horn after her, Chas'Raan struggles with telekinesis.  Floating a stone is difficult for her, and doing things like throwing her lightsaber is nearly impossible. However, she excels in mind tricks, Force Cloak, and energy absorption. In fact, it takes an infusion of energy, through things like electricity, fire and other types, for her to use telekinesis with any power.

I kind of cheated with her new outfit; I created a boosted 65 Trooper, then just used the preview screen to put her lightsaber in her hand. I had planned on capturing the headshot in that armor too, since I REALLY like that scarf, but I made a mistake and chose the wrong eye color. And rather than go back and rebuild her a second time, I just decided to use the old picture for the headshot.

Gender: Male
Species: Pureblood Sith
Age: 50 standard years
Homeworld: Dromund Fels
Class: Jedi Sage
Fighting Style: Mastered Form I Lightsaber combat
Romance: Nadia Grell
Personality Profile: "You're tired.  Of the constant warfare, of the mistrust even after a decade, of people not listening.  The White Knights, the Republic, the Jedi Order...no one seems to trust you.  Your record should speak for itself that you know what you're talking about, but no matter how much you prove yourself, people seem to doubt you.

First it was the White Knights serving Vitiate.  Then, it was was the threat that the Hand of Jadus represented that was ignored.  And now, it's the importance of the Republic and the Empire working together that people are ignoring.  If it wasn't for the people who have seen what you've seen personally trusting you, those who have fought at your side and have been taught by you accepting your words without hesitation, you'd go off and become the wise hermit on a remote world that you'd thought about becoming after you left the White Knights.

But not all hope is lost. A few who believe you have powerful connections, and they've been working to stop what you've been warning about for over a decade.  And you'll fight and protect and teach until this war with Arcann, Vaylin and Vititiate is over. But once that's over, you're done.  You're leaving the Republic, the Empire, the Jedi and the Sith behind and becoming the hermit that you feel you're meant to become.  And once you do, you're not coming back."

Yeah, I added some more years to him, since Cavik96 once mentioned he seemed "too young" based on his initial profile and setup.  I agree, and thus, he's about a decade older.

 Name: Suthazi
Gender: Female
Species: Cathar
Age: 15 standard years
Homeworld: Cathar
Class: Jedi Padawan/Jedi Guardian Tank Focus
Fighting Style: Unmastered Form I and III Lightsaber combat
Personality Profile: "When people think about Jedi and war, the last thing people think is about the Padawan who loses their Master.  A few return to the Order's headquarters, but most fall, either to the Dark Side, the Sith or bounty hunters.

This is unacceptable to you.  As one of the few Padawans your age with any real combat training, you've been traveling the galaxy in Mamine's old Defender starship, forming what you're calling 'The Padawans' Collective', gathering other displaced Padawans and completing as much of your training as you can.

But no matter what you do, it's not enough.  You're one of the oldest of the displaced Padawans, and your training is far from complete.  You may be somewhat combat trained, but you'd die if you try fighting a Sith.  Also, you lack resources; only two members of the Collective have built their lightsabers, and while the mechanical components are easy to get, safe places to get crystals are not.  You'd try to make synth crystals, but you lack knowledge there as well.

But there's hope. Theron Shan found out what you're doing, and has been leading you toward resources and knowledge, and now, back to Mamine.  You were overjoyed to hear that she's alive, and you're eager to show her just how much you've grown."

Yeah, I added a year to Suthazi. But I figured "Maybe she celebrated a birthday just after Mamine disappeared?" and went with it.

 Name: Daashla Myr
Gender: Female
Species: Togruta
Age: 60 standard years
Homeworld: Shili
Class: Jedi Sage
Fighting Style: Forms II, III and IV Lightsaber combat
Personality Profile: "You've spent your life teaching the unteachable; training students that would have trouble following the Light to doing so.  And over the decades, you've had a great many successes, partially because of your own issues.  Many Togruta Jedi have trouble with their early training, due to feelings of isolation and depression due to your communal nature, and you weren't an exception.  But through patience and efforts taken to bond with your students, you've helped many Jedi get over their issues, or at least able to cope with them, and become great Jedi Masters.

But you also have failures. And Suthazi was the most recent.  Your failure to truly connect with this girl, your lack of experience with her problems, caused her to die when the Eternal Empire attacked Alderaan. She didn't follow your orders, and attacked when she should have retreated, and perished in battle.

But masters like you are still needed. You've spent the last three years seeking out Padawans displaced by the war, comforting them, helping them get through their fears, and training them when you have the time. But you're only one Master, dealing with nearly a dozen students.  You can't connect with them all. But thankfully, you no longer have to, thanks to Master Vedere contacting you about Master Ragdat's Alliance.  Maybe now, you can succeed where you failed with Suthazi."

Yep, Daashla Myr is the second reason I decided to make the universes "dark mirrors" of each other.

And with the last group out, I'm ready to redo the protagonists character sheets.   And they're getting the smallest changes to them; pretty much an age, fighting style and romance choice update.  But for now, check out my referral link if you play, and stay beautiful freaks!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SWTOR Character Tales Udate: White Knight Character Sheets

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!  Today, we tackle the updated character sheets of the fallen White Knight Sith Lords.

Name: Yokonari
Gender: Female
Species: Pureblood Sith
Age: 34 standard years
Homeworld: Dromund Fels
Class: Sith Maurader
Fighting Style: Jar'Kai using Ataru, though she's added Djem So into her fighting style.
Romance: None, but has feelings for Casek
Personality Profile: "The White Knights are destroyed.  The identity of every single one was discovered by the Hand of Jadus, and he personally led the operation to destroy the organization, due to your mandate being the opposite of his master. And you and Casek were captured.

For two years, you were tortured.  Your dominant arm was ruined by the Hand's interrogators, and now requires cybernetics to be able to move and strength boosting armor to be able to fight with anything close to what you used to be able to do.  You also require other cybernetic upgrades even move around, thanks to...something that the Hand of Jadus did to you. 

It took Anstrisil's Rattataki mercenary pair to free you two, and even then, you've been stewing in your rage.  You've spent the last three years fighting both the Eternal Empire and the Hand of Jadus.  You and Casek will have your revenge on both the cause of your suffering and the those who betrayed you to them."

Name: Casek (pronounced Cah-zek)
Gender: Male
Species: Zabrak
Age: 32 standard years
Homeworld: Dromund Fels
Class: Sith Sorcerer
Fighting Style: Makashi
Romance: Ashara Zavros, though she thinks he's dead. Has feelings for Yokonari.
Personality Profile: "You never understood the lure of the Dark Side until your torture at the hands of the Hand of Jadus.  Your jaw being repeatedly shattered due to the dangers of allowing a Sith Sorcerer the chance to speak, you now require a vocalizer to speak and a mask to help you breathe and a tube to eat. The pain alone makes you now understand the rage that now fuels the both you, though Yokonari has it FAR worse than you ever did, due to the retrovirus they inserted into her genetic structure destroying her from the inside.

For the past three years, you, Yokonari and the Rattataki mercenaries have fought back against the Hand of Jadus' resources and searched for artifacts of power to give you all an edge that you sorely lack. You eventually found them, and destroyed the entire organization, finally finding the Hand himself. Yokonari was able to strike the Hand down not long before Anstrisil contacted you, but only after you tortured him yourself for three days.

But you know that the only way to have true revenge is take down the ones who made this all possible; Arcann, Vaylin, and Vitiate. Anstrisil has contacted you, and told you that Mamine is back and gathering allies.  And if that Jedi can get you what you need to strike back, then you will work with her.  But you will never be a victim again."

And in case you're wondering, no, the disease that's infected Yokonari is NOT the same one as the one that killed Nok Drayen, though it is based on it.  It won't kill her, but it does make her a LOT weaker, thus necessitating the cybernetics to get around, and the pain fuels her command of the Dark Side, thus, making her somewhat strong again.

I'll be doing the Jedi Order next, and then finish off with the Protagonists.  But for now, check out my referral code if you're playing, and stay beautiful freaks!