aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
good: I'm doing art again, which is fun and relaxing
bad: DW still isn't the best visual arts platform and I've been blocked on my fic for ages (though I might be getting back into that soon)
ugly: this entire week has been an absolute emotional haymaker and I want to crawl into bed and sleep for 24 hours
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
Sometimes it just feels like I've got absolutely nothing going on and some weeks it feels like everything happens like a ton of bricks all at once.

This is definitely looking like another "bricks" sort of week. February's not going to be a fun month is it.
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
The State of Fandom, February 1, 2019:
  • A popular blue website is banning content tangentially related to NSFW subjects in an erratic manner, causing a mass exodus to other platforms
  • Dreamwidth's gaining users
  • I'm seriously considering starting a DeviantArt
  • And now: people are starting to talk about lemons again

When did I fall in a time travel machine?
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
In light of the latest tumblr fuckery: supersaturated eyestrain edition, I am so glad that the reading page here uses the same theme as your own blog and the CSS formatting is easy to access.

I've probably spent a couple hours just tweaking the CSS so I can write naturally and fiddle with image sizing and blank space as little as possible. It's so nice to be able to manage your own margin sizes. I'm still not used to not seeing my own posts on my reading page, but I've got to admit this is probably more efficient.
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
I've been spamming some friends with messages recently, trying to get my head around some of my ongoing problems with Inquisition. Why the game can feel tedious to play. Why I don't like most of the companions, they're just kind of... there. Why I always feel unsettled and alone even in the big fancy castle I'm supposed to be in charge of. And then I hit on it (more than a week ago, but I needed some time to organize my thoughts and write this post).

Read more... )
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
Thirty days. Three games. One meme. 30 Day Dragon Age OC Challenge.

This challenge was composed by myself (aubergion) (DW, Tumblr, and Ao3), meridok (goblinthief on Tumblr, Ganymeme on Ao3), serendipitousoracle (Tumblr and Pillowfort), and mossandrock (Tumblr)! Now updated for uniformity, completeness, and looking nice on Dreamwidth. Spoilers for all main games and the Trespasser DLC.

This meme/challenge was explicitly designed for original characters (OCs) who are either a Warden, Hawke, or Inquisitor, but if you want to use it for someone else, we’re hardly going to stop you. You’ll find the full body of the questions/prompts below. The name’s a bit long for a tag, so we suggest using #30dayDAchallenge.

Week 1: Who Are You, Again? )
Week 2: Why Did You Do That? )
Week 3: What Did You Do? )
Week 4: Bonus Round! )
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
We can read other people's reading pages? That is... fascinating. It's like a wiki walk through friends-of-friends until you find more people that interest you. This is such a different site from what I'm used to.
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
I've been on Dreamwidth about 1 month now. Since the day Tumblr announced it was imploding.

The funny thing is, I haven't really been affected. I follow about 100 blogs there, all fandom-related. I don't post a lot of original work. Everything I post is SFW anyways, because I am shy. I have never been searchable via Google because I do not want someone on Google to find me randomly - which means, due to the switch to have search results listed first instead of tags, I have not really gained any followers in the last 2 years. And if I were to be flagged NSFW, I would... be made unsearchable? Big whoop.

I'm the sort of demographic Tumblr probably wants to keep around - a quiet, safe for work, mostly apolitical, content creator/reblogger. But I'm halfway to being gone anyways, because their ridiculous policy makes me feel unsafe. Not just because I could probably do a still life of a cantaloupe and be flagged. But because I'm also a young, queer, nb person. And under that sort of ridiculous policy, I know that people like me will be disproportionately impacted. People looking for support. People showing off their love. Because to some people, our existence is not safe for work. Not safe for children. Not safe for anywhere.

Even if I am not affected in a single way, I cannot feel safe there because of who I am.

I don't think they understand that.

It's not all bad though. Having come here just seeking something a little more stable and less legally tenuous than Pillowfort, I have found I actually really like Dreamwidth. I was never on LiveJournal in its heyday. I browsed it a bit, but I never had an account. My fandom experience went straight from forums (ah, Mugglenet) to Tumblr.

I was part of the earliest Pillowfort beta wave, but I was never super active. It just didn't sit right. I couldn't figure out why. But now I'm here, and I like posting again. Dreamwidth feels more private. Its format naturally encourages longer text-based posts - like this! The tag organization is phenomenal. In contrast, the dash-focused experience favors images, quotes. Bite-sized bits, easily consumed in a few seconds and on we go. There's a lot of pressure - to be witty, to be eyecatching, to be seen. I never imagined that part of why I was getting fed up with Tumblr was the very format of the site itself.

I think I'll like it here. I need more icons.
aubergion: custom Taiwanese Sara Ryder from Mass Effect, looking up (sara ryder)
Whoops forgot to actually screenshot a single time during this entire quest anyways here we gO

Back to playing Andromeda. Successfully rescued Moshae Sjefa from Voeld, where it turns out the kett are.... turning angara into kett? And possibly would do it to other species as well. Hard to say. I'm not entirely certain what the mechanism is here. There seems to involve some brainwashing, some time in a pod from unknown purposes, and then sticking them with giant needles filled with kett DNA?

Why are there pods?

Seriously, it doesn't seem like they do anything if you still have to needle up the prospective convert anyways. And convert is definitely the right term given how religious the kett are about the idea of turning other species into kett. Is that even a sustainable method of maintaining your species? What happens when you run out of non-kett?

There was a boss fight! With some rando called the Cardinal, apparently a former angaran woman. Went past fun and into annoying. Trying to shoot a tiny ball macguffin that kept floating around with my slow-ass sniper rifle and having to do that six times was just too many times. The stun effect lasted a good half a second, and that's being generous. Had to do the fight twice (and still didn't remember to save OR screenshot, RIP me).

And we finally got to explore Aya. It's so beautiful. I love that they didn't shy away from the place being saturated and bright. I got an awful lot of information on angaran law and some public opinion letters that's all going straight back to the Nexus, considered buying a very expensive fruit, and got scanned by a biologist grandmother. For science!

Not a hugely eventful session, all things considered. But next time: the vault on Aya!
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
I've never really thought of myself as a fic writer. I don't find writing super easy, generally, or relaxing in the same way that doing a sketch is. But in fic as in all types of creation, there's a point where you just have to say "this is as good as I am going to make it". Any tweaking is just going to modify things in a horizontal direction at best. Stop poking it. Just say fuck it. This is done.

Anyways on that note - I wrote a fic! Part of a fic. One chapter, which is a reasonable amount of fic. Second chapter's half-done, so I feel like I'm making progress. It's about Zevran. And Rinna. Also Taliesen, and the Warden, but it's mostly about Zevran, and the nagging thought that I could really do something with Rinna, a canonically elven woman, being a sincere contender for the Antivan throne.

Never to be Told, on AO3.
aubergion: custom Taiwanese Sara Ryder from Mass Effect, looking up (sara ryder)
A picture of two angara from Mass Effect: Andromeda
Oh boy. So I'm moving on with my Andromeda playthrough and... what the hell is with the angara design? I like the male angara design, on the left. It sort of reminds me of what you'd get if you crossed a teddy bear with an octopus. But the female angara is deeply weird and offputting. Like the modelers tried to make her human-esque and hot but also look like a male angara, so what you get is this weird uncanny valley barbie botox face on an alien body featuring a tiny plastic surgery weirdly human nose. Oh my god. It's been four games. You should be able to do better than this! Let female aliens look weird and inhuman for fuck's sake.

On the plus side, they're not shooting at us, so there's that.

At least Aya is pretty. And Voeld is... interesting. Fun to drive around but a bit one-note aesthetically thus far. Very very very cold. Terraforming it with Remnant tech is going to do awful things to the ecosystem. Can we put in applications for a few hundred alien immigrants to Aya instead once we deal with this kett thing? Aya is nice, and we're probably not going to drive a whole bunch of alien woolly mammoths or whatever to extinction by moving there.
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
As of Inquisition, we have seen 4 possessed Wardens throughout all of Dragon Age media:

Sophia Dryden: alive when possessed, became a ghoul
Kristoff: dead when possessed, became undead, spirit not corrupted
Anders: alive, spirit and mage merged, spirit became ‘corrupted’
Fiona: alive, possessed, demon was evicted, apparently cured of the taint

So here’s the thing. In canon the Warden has run off seeking the cure for the Calling so they can live happily ever after, with the blessing of their LI should one be in the picture (or literally just with their LI, in the case of Zev). Fiona got the cure during the Calling before she conceived Alistair, and I refuse to believe it was Maric’s magical penis that cured her on principle.

brennacedria on tumblr proposed that spirit possession was the cure. But here we have Sophia and Anders, both of whom demonstrably were NOT cured simply by the mere act of possession. Here’s the thing though - they’ve still got the spirit as a rider, unlike Fiona. Given the evidence, I propose this is how the 'cure’ works - if a demon (or spirit - I’m going to use demon for convenience) possesses a Grey Warden, the taint transfers to the demon. If the demon is evicted, it will then take the taint with it. I suspect the actual mechanism of the taint is something like a magical retrovirus - the demon takes the magical part and after that happens the immune system can fight off the virus part on its own, given time and rest and the like (explaining why Fiona still shows physical symptoms at the end of the Calling according to people who've actually read the book - she’s still sick, just not Blighted).

If my hypothesis is correct, that means when Justice and Anders merged, Anders was 'cured’ of the taint - but Justice got tainted instead. Since they share a body and to at least some extent, a mind, that doesn’t help that much for anything. Look at this description of Justice's actions in the Anders short story:
Not the aftermath of a battle as I’ve known it, but a bloody abattoir of rent limbs and torn and eaten flesh.

This doesn’t sound much like some random demon - no demon I can recall eats flesh. But darkspawn certainly do.

The fact that Justice doesn’t show any corruption when possessing Kristoff’s corpse might have less to do with lack of Anders’ anger and more to do with Kristoff being dead at the time and therefore somehow unable to pass on the taint to his passenger. This could indicate something about the nature of the taint, possibly related to its inability to be harbored in nonliving material. It also reminds me of the effects of the Taint on the Evanuris, as described in the Arbor Wilds codex entry for Andruil.
aubergion: custom Taiwanese Sara Ryder from Mass Effect, looking up (sara ryder)
It sure is convenient that the way the Remnant-Creators liked to terraform planets is human-safe, certain incautious applications of killer robots aside.

Eos is habitable! Ish. We have successfully established our first scientific outpost. Watch for radiation. Maybe wear sunscreen? Bringing Vetra was such a good decision though. She really knows everyone. Peebee's interesting. Kind of reminds me of Dagna, only taller, blue, and actually romanceable. Drack is my new krogan grandfather and I love him.

I know Andromeda was kind of glitchy when it came out and not super popular but I'm actually really loving the plot as it is - Citadel species, fleeing the Reapers (though it looks like we left before ME3 so we don't actually know about the Reapers), seeking out new lives and meeting new civilizations in another galaxy. Especially since I'm playing my Sara as more scientific, almost a xenoanthropologist with her background in the prothean ruins. A scientist with a sniper rifle, but nevertheless. The gameplay is good too - the Nomad handles exactly like the Mako (for better or for worse) and I could do without the alien sudoko, but jumping around glowing platforms in the dark exploring ancient vaults? Sign me the fuck up. I forgot how much I just liked shooting things in Mass Effect. I almost want to reinstall the other games...
aubergion: custom Taiwanese Sara Ryder from Mass Effect, looking up (sara ryder)
update: I have a ship! It' s a very beautiful ship. This is a gorgeous game in general. I'm still not over my Sara's face. She's beautiful. I'm so happy.

I also have crew members, of which I seem to be able to flirt with... literally everyone except the salarian? In the first conversation on the ship? Honestly, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I know Bioware's got a whole thing going with player agency and love interests but like, I don't know these people? We just met and I don't even know why you're in this galaxy let alone if I want to kiss you. Despite Andromeda having been out for over a year, it was so unpopular I'm basically going into this spoiler-free except for the vague understanding that angara exist.

It feels too much like lining all the potential major characters up and being like "alright, prelude done, now which one do you want to bone". And I'm just like - this is very sudden? You are asking me to make a fairly major decision on not a lot of data? Can we do this another time when I know who the hell you are?

Anyway, next time: Eos!
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
I still really want to do is something with the three vanishing Crow mooks in the Taliesin fight.

See, at Interested/Care (and if the Warden doesn’t say “Zevran belongs with me now.”) Zevran refuses to fight Taliesen, offers all the Crows the choice to walk away from this fight - and then walks out himself. Along with three of Taliesen’s assassins. One archer disappears, and the backup ambushers never make an appearance.

I feel like the ‘standard’ route where Zev stays is a more resolute one. For reasons ranging from being unwilling to give up his freedom to defense of a close friend/new love, he chooses to fight. He cuts ties with the Crows and his past in one fell swoop. He chooses, unequivocally, to move on.

But this semi-hidden route (it’s kind of tricky to keep romanced Zevran below 70 approval by the time you get to the Landsmeet. Like, the game's nearly over! And even then, there's a dialogue to get out of it) is more conflicted. It’s basically what happened to Rinna all over again, two people he loves more or less equally, pitted against each other by the Crows’ demands. That one unnamed Crow master in his past once said that his time would come, and here it is. A test of Taliesen's loyalty, at the cost of Zevran's life (I really don't think Taliesen's plan to make up an excuse would have ever gone over well, but the guy's already lost one lover so I can forgive him for being short-sighted).

When you recruit Zevran, he mentions that the only way to leave the Crows is death. When he leaves that alley, he’s saying, not in so many words, that is not the case - that you can leave the Crows and live to tell the tale. Walking away is an option. Not continuing this bloody cycle is an option. Not fighting is an option. (and he’s gambling on the Warden being able to deal with the rest of the assassins, but that’s a pretty safe bet. It’s the Warden.)

The offer to Taliesen comes first - maybe neither of the people he loves has to die and everything can be okay. Though he probably also knows Taliesen well enough to know he won’t take it. The offer to the other Crows, I imagine, is more of an improvisation, “well this feels like what I should say next” sort of thing. He probably hasn’t quite accounted for the fact that these newly ex-Crows have nowhere to go, half an idea of what to do with their freedom, are scared as hell that the rest of House Arainai (it’s probably an in-house contract) is going to come after them, and looking to him for directions since he’s done this ‘run away’ thing already.

Of course, from the Doylist perspective, all of what I'm picking at is probably just to keep the party from getting horribly massacred now that you’re down a party member. But it feels like, in that moment, the Black Shadow the Crows come to dread so could be born. Not through a rash of dead guildmasters (though that certainly makes an impact), but with Zevran offering the same mercy he was once shown - and by all appearances, some of the Crows taking him up on it. There’s probably a worse way to gather your party than in a dark alley after they were contracted to kill you.
aubergion: custom Taiwanese Sara Ryder from Mass Effect, looking up (sara ryder)
An East Asian Alec and Sara Ryder, facing each other, from Mass Effect: Andromeda.

I finally bought Mass Effect: Andromeda a couple days ago because I was salty at the DAI character creator and also it was $9 on Origin so at that point why not? I've gotten as far as the Nexus, which is not very far. But the CC is very unique - allowing you to stretch and squish but not really... alter the faces. That makes more coherent looking faces than DAI and lets the family match up well, at the price of flexibility.

Which is nice and all but holy crap there were two different East Asian presets with a matching badass dad and honestly all I want out of video games is to be able to make a face that looks like mine without fighting the game itself every step of the way and I got that. So flexibility can go fuck itself.

Standing there on the bridge with my dad and Captain Dunn felt... strange, but amazing. Just, being able to say "this is me" (with contact lenses) and I'm not alone in looking like that, in the first ten minutes of a game that isn't something like Jade goddamn Empire. I get to be in space with my dinky pistol and a broken helmet shooting aliens in the face. And it feels good.
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
The nice thing about Dreamwidth is that none of my D&D players are here, so I can dump my half-baked setting ideas here and share them without having to worry about spoilers. If you lot do show up here - get out! This post is Not For You.

The core tenet of my D&D setting is basically "screw lost glories, the golden age is now", with a side of applied magic, humanizing the Monster Manual, and asking "why are adventurers a thing anyways?". And a touch of the logistics of actual production of goods to spice things up (if your wizards need bat guano... where are the bat guano harvesters). In general, leaning in to the core wackiness inherent in Dungeons and Dragons instead of trying to make it something boring, generic, or edgy.

Read more... )
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
this is not how you handle a rebellion

Bodahn's rumors aren't in the toolset, which is annoying as heck, because there's an entire political plotline hidden in the endless loop of "that's what I've heard on the road anyhow"; and no one wants to deal with that. But I ended up poking at it out of curiousity and wow there's a lot of stuff here. Each paragraph is a separate rumor soundbite from Bodahn. Originally on Pillowfort, but I want to cross-post it here for posterity.

It all starts with post-Ostagar unrest and reactions (I think these are always available):
Read more... )
aubergion: a purple eggplant with glasses (Default)
Tumblr's on fire and Pillowfort's issues give me an increasing lack of confidence, so here I am.

I may start migrating some things eventually. Hey, anyone have any recommendations for slightly more stable sites than Pillowfort to host art on?