LOTRO Character Intro: B

This is to introduce my husband’s (currently) only LOTRO character (you can see my characters Th, L, and E at these links).

Although my husband, Christopher, has been playing video games a lot longer than I have (a bit more successfully than any attempts I’ve made previously), he keeps so busy that we never thought he’d sign up for anything like this. He rarely even attempts games that are nowhere near as involved as something like LOTRO. Heck, for the longest time, he barely watched TV and movies. We were (and still are, for the most part) painfully behind on watching even the few things we want to see.

So when he signed up for LOTRO and started building his dwarf, I was very excited.

I’m sure part of that was we had been playing a Middle Earth-style RPG, keeping rules loose and just having fun since it was the two of us. Of course, it takes time to build even basic things, and with him being so busy time between gaming took longer and longer.

LOTRO made it easy to “escape” to Middle Earth much quicker. So it was a great idea!

Meet B, the Dwarf

B is a dwarf, obviously, and brother to Th. He is also a Champion. I can’t remember, but I think he went with the red tree trait. His attacks are a little different than Th’s. He has had a variety of weapons, but tends to use two (one in each hand), along with a bow or a crossbow. In fact, Th is waiting for B to decide what level 50 Guild weapon/s he wants. He’s just been too busy to get back on that. Ha!

He has a sweet face, doesn’t he? Just like my hubby!

B is always wearing a hooded cloak or something covering his hair. But he actually has fairly long hair!

Another not-so-fashion-oriented Dwarf

B tends to take after his brother as far as outfits go, but I suspect it’s because I haven’t had the chance to show him too much with cosmetic outfits and the wardrobe. Plus, he was trying to focus on buying enough storage for all the stuff he needs to use (and all my characters continually send him).

Enjoying a pipe with his brother, Th, in the Shire. This would have been fairly early on in B’s adventuring.

A cheerful and playful Dwarf

Unlike his grumpy brother, B is a little more high-spirited and is always interested in running around. He can regularly be found jumping up and down, climbing on things, or… well… let’s just say he’s also got a love of the water. He usually attempts swimming in just about every body of water he comes across (his favorite seems to be the backstroke). Everyone is worried he will go for a dip in the Black Pool outside of Moria. There’s just no stopping him.

“Ach, Brother! You’ll scare the fish!” B finds it hard to resist checking out the water, apparently.

He misses his “girlfriend”

Although B had fun adventuring with his brother, he especially enjoyed running with the elf L, and they seemed to have a little something going on between them. They would attend some festivals, fireworks, and concerts together. A nice way to relax without even having to fight and quest — yet the two of them did quite well together with their different fighting styles. And L seemed to relate well to B’s silly sense of humor, even if Th and their friend thought something wasn’t quite right with him.

This is what our friend arrived to see in the kinhouse one day. I wish I still had my screenshot, showing her character’s arrival to these two passed out at the table covered in ale. πŸ˜‰ (yes, her character laughed when he saw us.)

B doesn’t look too excited about the snowman he built during the Yule Festival. He’s not really into festivals, apparently.

L enchanting B with a song on the lute, while they wait for their friend to arrive in the Misty Mountains.

Crafting, always crafting

B also has the prospecting skills that L and Th have, but he uses different ore for another craft: jewelry! I think it’s actually referred to as a tinkerer, but the main items seem to be jewelry and tokens (these are slotted to improve skills and stats — I don’t think they really show up cosmetically like weapons and armor, unless I’ve missed something).

Yet another forge screencap. Apparently our characters all practically live in front of the forge. πŸ˜‰

At least he can make some interesting jewelry with what he mines!

One of the crafts B needs to work on a little more is cooking. Amusing fact: Christopher is actually the cook at our home. I can cook, but it never fails… somehow he ends up “pushing” me out of the kitchen (it’s a small kitchen) and taking over. So I usually just let him do it. Plus he likes peace and quiet so he can focus and get the sequence right without me distracting him. πŸ˜‰ No complaints from me, however! I get the chance on occasion to cook by myself when he’s away, and he’s a good cook anyway! Yum!

I’m actually hoping to help him soon with the cooking skills. I logged on as B to get a screencap of him cooking, because Christopher forgot to send me one, and I know my scholar E can grow many of the things he needs. The rest he can buy. The good news is I think a lot of leveling can be done simply by continued processing of what E gives him. For example, taking the grain she gives him to make flour, make a pie crust, make the pie filling, then make the pie. I love when crafting allows you to work like that, especially if the resources are fairly easy to get. I can understand why he gets frustrated though. He needs to organize his inventory better, and it can be hard to hunt for everything (not everything is under the same folder, so there is a lot of looking going on for those steps/recipes).

Cooking at the oven. B needs to get to that craft soon. E has been farming, and a lot of the produce is taking up valuable storage space!

Current location

B is currently in Echad DΓΊnann in Eregion with my elf E, working on quests building up to Moria. Gaming has slowed down quite a bit, as Christopher has so much to do with his job (lots of overtime/deadlines/events) and his creative projects. He can’t wait to step foot in Moria, though!

B standing on the table in his house. Thanks for reading!

The next, and last of the LOTRO intro posts, will be a brief mention of one of my friend’s characters.

Posted in Friends, Hobbies | Tagged , , | Comments Off on LOTRO Character Intro: B

LOTRO Character Intro: E

This is the last of my own LOTRO character introductions (the first and second are located here and here).

Next up, will be an intro for my husband’s character, and the last will briefly cover our friend’s (although I won’t be covering all of her characters, and most likely not in detail). Then I’ll probably take a little bit of a break from LOTRO-blogging for a short while. It has been fun blogging about something a little different, and I’ve especially enjoyed getting fun screenshots, even with my limited computer and skills! πŸ˜‰

Another elf!?

I mentioned that I wasn’t interested in playing a human, and I’m (shockingly, I know) not really a big fan of hobbits. I love dwarves, but I couldn’t bring myself to having the two dwarves “fight” for my main attention. I do have an interest in eventually playing a Beorning, but those aren’t free to build (wait for a sale) and I want to do that with hubby — his most likely only other potential character. One seems to be enough for him for now.

So another elf it would be. And it also worked with why I wanted to build another character.

“So how does this craft work?”

While wandering around Middle Earth, mining for resources with my other two characters, I would see things for “scholars.” They were items I couldn’t touch, because I didn’t have the training to get them. I was curious how the scholar crafting worked, and if it would be useful for any of my characters or anyone else’s.

As it turned out, scholar crafting hasn’t been as interesting as I’d hoped. And it’s not easy, either. Resources never seem to be enough, and I am definitely at the mercy of Auction House prices, or worse… nothing available to buy, no matter the price. With scholar-craft leveling, I focus on another crafting aspect as much as I can (more on that in a moment), but that still takes time.

Finally getting to gather these resources… and wishing there were a lot more of them to find. πŸ™

I had also been seeing other players running around with “pets” — but these were not cosmetic pets, just following them around weakly. No. They were fighting too! And the fighting style was very different than my hunter and champion. And it all fit perfectly, in my mind, with another elf.

What a fighter!

I chose to build a Loremaster (LM). I guess you could consider them a weak wizard. Their fighting is with magic!

The armor you have to wear is light, and that scared me (especially after the issues with my medium-armored hunter for a while), but as long as you pay attention to how you play them and keep an eye on their basic stats you probably won’t notice.

You start off with a staff I think it was (although I’m very upset that I skipped her first introduction… thought I was turning something else off, and wah! So I don’t know her “story” and how powers are explained. I should really look that up and see if someone has covered that somewhere). At level 40 you get to use both the staff and an added sword.

The attacks are mostly distance-based, and wow do some of them pack a punch! Lots of stuns, and there is also a lightning attack that I’ve seen hit at least two — and there may have even been a third — bad guy. Mwahahah! But that’s not the only plus side to playing a LM…

Casting a spell to stun a warg (and moving the camera angle to the side slightly so I can see around my little friend there).

A stunned warg! I do so love doing that.

Solo first, but not really solo

She was also built to be my “truly solo” character since the first two were paired up with my hubby and friend. I also didn’t need her for any crafting resources for the others, so I could mostly play her freely as I wished. Except, she’s not alone.

LMs have pets that can fight, as I mentioned. It confused me at first, but online resources claimed a raven was the first pet. It’s now the bear (raven comes next). You get a little variety of fighting pets as you level up, and each have their certain specializations that work for different situations. However, when I acquired the bog guardian (the freaky-looking tall critter in the background of many of my images on this entry), I pretty much have stuck with that one. It’s always a level above my own character, it sticks by my side most of the time, has a nice variety of distance attacks (as well as bopping bad guys over the head too), and almost always attracts the bad guys’ attention taking the bulk of attacks while I barely get hit.

The downside of the bog guardian, as another LOTRO-playing friend of mine has put it: “boggy-butt.” Since it’s so tall and stays (mostly) behind you, it’s always in my way. I’ll situate myself, only to have ol’ boggy-butt run up behind me and either block my view or stand right where I’m about to click (I use the “tab” key for targetting during fights, but I’m talking about clicking on NPCs and picking up resources — I use my mouse instead of keyboard commands for many things). Even Christopher has found it distracting, and I will sometimes send him through first so boggy-butt will take up the rear so he can get settled in and start fighting before the inevitable “ahhh! You’re in my way!” happens.

I would post some of her pets here, but there are so many now that perhaps I will save that for another blog entry.

Questing with hubby

Speaking of questing with my hubby, this is the character that has now been paired with him. I’m hoping he is having fun, but I can’t tell. You see, fights don’t last very long with my LM and the pet. I’ve seen him a few times just stand there and watch (maybe he’s taking screenshots heheh). The flip side of it is that we don’t get to play often, and we can definitely push through quickly and get a lot done. So maybe, at least for now, he really doesn’t mind.

It has taken him a while to get used to this new style of attacks since he was used to playing with my hunter. It’s still distance-based (although she has a nasty staff-lightning attack for closeup fighting), but he knew when my hunter was about to set a ground-trap, and he’d let me do that first before sending a barrage of arrows. My LM has a lot of stun attacks. This is nice, because sometimes bad guys are standing next to each other. You attack one, you’ll pull more in. Not so bad with a group (and sometimes helpful), but stinks solo when you have light armor and need to stay away from trouble. Sometimes he’s forgotten (and I get tired of calling to him in the next room to wait), or he didn’t realize what I was doing and he starts attacking the person I was trying to stun for a while to take out the other bad guy.

Another favorite attack…

… a powerful lightning bolt! Sometimes this will hit multiple bad guys too. This one cracks up my husband, especially when he doesn’t know I’m running up to help him when he got into a bit of trouble. My bog guardian is about to start attacking next.

It’s just a matter of time and getting used to things, though.

And he’s doing me a favor. My LM has weaponmaking (forged weapons) as well, but she can’t mine for her own ore.

Not this again

I wish I could have skipped this crafting focus, but sadly I have a second character that uses it now. My dwarf also has it, but he can mine for his own ore. The hunter does not make things, but she can gather and process. Unfortunately, E is behind a little level-wise on the ore she needs from L, so it’s helpful for Christopher’s dwarf to mine for my LM — and the best part is, his particular crafting uses different things, so he doesn’t need what I use. But I also do something that helps one of his crafts.

How did all three of my characters end up working in front of a forge? Ugh! I enjoy this okay with the dwarf, but this is a little too repetitious.

Crafting for him too!

So scholars gather relics and create “spell-like” things, as well as make weapons from ore. One of the things you do as a scholar is making dyes and paints for cosmetics in-game. Thankfully, aside from gathering ingredients you find, you can also grow them, because farming is the last crafting focus. At first I thought I’d hate it, but as it turns out — it’s my favorite!

I was glad to try the farming craft once I discovered I enjoyed it. Especially inside the Thorin’s Hall farming area.

You would think I would use the farmlands in the Shire to grow my vegetables, flowers, pipeweed, and whatever else you can grow. You wouldn’t think Thorin’s Hall would have their own greenhouse, but wow do they! It’s inside, slightly eerie, and very peaceful. It has its own music (practically puts me to sleep too, it’s so soothing), and barely anyone uses the place. I try going there every time I can, and I’m so thankful the farming tiers are so much easier to do. It just takes a little while, and hey… what Christopher and I don’t use (his dwarf cooks), I can sell at the Auction House. Yay money! To be honest, I’m a little envious I don’t have a place like that to go to myself!

It takes a little while to do, but it’s worth it and goes quickly in the long run for me.

What’s she like?

I haven’t really talked about her personality much yet, and admittedly I do very little with her character-wise. As an example, I kept referring to her as “my LM” instead of “E.” I’m really not sure why, I like her a lot.

Her quickly put together back story is that she knew my hunter L when they were younger (and I forgot to mention, L is from Rivendell, while E is from Lothlorien — their fathers would travel back and forth and take them to see the other, and they would write and stay in touch the rest of the time). This also makes me a little sad that all three of my characters will never meet, despite the fact I like to talk about how they all know each other, and the funny things that happen to them all.

E mostly sticks to herself and her pet companions, but she went a little overboard trying to impress the head of the kinship (my friend’s character). She ended up with a LOT of pipeweed while leveling her farming crafting and gave him several gifts. She must have been nervous the dwarf wouldn’t want “yet another elf” hanging around. It must have worked — dwarves do like their pipes. And ales. She really must grow some things to give to Christopher’s dwarf so he can make some ale soon! She also recently figured out where to gather things to get my friend reputation with Thorin’s Hall and went a little overboard gathering those for him. She definitely seems to want to get on his good side, doesn’t she?

Current location

She is currently in Echad DΓΊnann in Eregion, finishing quests in that area with Christopher’s dwarf, before heading through to the pre-Moria area.

Sadly, I keep realizing there are a lot of holes with this character skill-wise. I always forget, being my third character, what she has or hasn’t done. Already bad habits (such as skipping the main quests) are far worse — I ended up having to do lower level main quests simply so she could run the quests to acquire cosmetic pets. Oops. I have a feeling I’ll be having a lot more annoyances with her especially even as she continues leveling up.

But I love those awesome attacks, even if I do forget to do something she needs. πŸ˜‰

I can’t forget a shot of her on my favorite LOTRO mount — the Thorin’s Hall Reputation Goat. All three of my characters have one, and Christopher decided he simply had to have one too!

Thanks for reading! (pictured with a variant of the raven pet — the blood raven.)

Next up, my husband’s character intro!

Posted in Friends, Hobbies | Tagged , , | Comments Off on LOTRO Character Intro: E

LOTRO Character Intro: L

I’m going to try and push through with the last four introductions — once I’m finished with those, LOTRO blogging will be a little less frequent. I also may make a little side page for the characters and any other important information at some point to make things a little easier to remember who is who and what I’m babbling about.

I started with my first character, Th, and now I’ll go in order of creation of my own characters, finishing with (I hate referring to them as “supporting” characters) my husband’s dwarf and a brief mention of my friend’s characters (or at least one or two of them).

Number two!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how long my first/main character would last. I had no idea I would even create a second! Necessity turned out to be a driving force in creating her. It wasn’t that I wanted to try another fighter-type or race… it was because I needed her skills.

As I mentioned with Th, one of his “careers” involves making weapons. Some of them are from wood. While he can mine for ore himself, he cannot gather and prepare the wood. There is an Auction House, but even if I had enough “gold” to buy what I needed, I am still at the mercy of waiting for someone to post what I needed, in the amounts I needed. I decided very quickly that wasn’t going to work for me.

Building a character in a different way

I already had a male dwarf, so I thought this time I would create a female character and make her an elf. I’ll admit it: for some reason, I have no interest in playing a human in LOTRO. I spend very little time in human areas, preferring dwarves and elves. And surprisingly, I’m really not interested in hobbits either.

I actually started by looking up the crafting categories, and which ones could gather and process wood. The Forester intrigued me. Not only do they work with wood, but they also can process hides from animal-based kills (I certainly ended up with plenty of those), and from those you can make light and medium armor as a tailor. Also handy, they can mine for ore without having to deal with the weapon making annoyance. This could also be handy to feed my dwarf’s crafting needs.

So, a female elf forester was started — we will call her “L.”

Ah, at last! Wood! Precious wood for my dwarf to work on his woodworking crafting tiers! I was so happy I’d finally fixed that little problem of mine, even if it meant a second character to level up.

More of the prospecting and producing ingots business, but that’s okay. If my characters don’t need it, someone else will.

And hey, might as well do something with all those hides from animals and beasts killed while questing.

Something different to do crafting-wise too. Wait a minute… this seems a little familiar to *me*…. hmmm… πŸ˜‰

Give that elf a bow and arrows!

As far as fighting style, this character just screamed for the hunter category (think Legolas). Unlike Legolas and his shooting arrows while running around, defying gravity (running up falling stones *coughs*), I decided to go with the red tree trait, Bowmaster. Think more “sniper” than fast Legolas. I wanted a bit of power behind the bow shots. Since her armor would be medium, instead of the heavy I was used to with my dwarf, I was nervous how she would be able to deal with soloing. At this point, I knew she was a gatherer. A backup. I still needed her to advance level-wise, so I could get to the resources I needed.

As far as weapons, I also liked the double-sword look for her along with her main weapon, a bow. There have been times she’s ended up with an axe as well, but I’ve always liked the look of double-swords for her. Sadly, she picked up an axe when she gained access to Moria and since I’m still learning about Legendary Items (things change when you enter Moria), I’ve been too nervous to change it out to a sword or even getting her another LI sword. Perhaps once I feel a little more used to how things work with LIs, and the axe has been fully leveled up, she’ll go back to that look.

Although I do need to use it more often, she has the ability to sneak around. Either hiding while standing still, or “cloaking” and tip-toeing around. The only downside is once you do something, it stops working and the next time you can use it is a little while. It has come in handy though, and can be fun using. πŸ˜‰

And now for something completely different

Back to the fact her main weapon is a bow — I’ll admit, I was not fond of this “distance-fighting” weirdness. Especially since bad guys always ran up to fight anyway, which was annoying when her powerful bow-attacks took time to power up! I felt awkward, and instead of just running in (at least somewhat) confidently, I would skirt around trouble, picking out weak spots, nervously starting things and hoping she’d pull through the fight.

What I didn’t realize, is part of the problem turned out to be my old laptop.

When L hit level 48 and went into Eregion — because the place is RICH with resources, so of course I pushed her ahead and couldn’t stop questing — I first thought there was just no way I could do this without help. Even the simplest fights with at-level foes made me nervous, and each one felt like I might come close to defeat. How was I supposed to get to those wonderful resources if I was scared to leave the path? I’d always had trouble with Rivendell making my laptop freak out (all those trees, buildings, waterfalls… at least you were safe from being attacked), and the trees in Eregion were doing the same. Except this time, there were plenty of things that wanted to attack.

And then the inevitable happened, my laptop died, and my sweet husband bought me a new desktop. He didn’t want me to be without my favorite entertainment, so we looked for the cheapest gaming system I could afford. LOTRO was the first thing I did when I got it up and running. And when I logged on, I used L and went to Eregion. If anything would tell me if things were better with the new computer, that would be it.

And suddenly, I liked playing L.

(Pardon the user interface/UI… I’m a skill-clicker and have no idea or interest in figuring out how to game without it) I used to hate playing a hunter, but I’ve now come to enjoy her different fighting skills.

What a difference!

While the graphics weren’t lots better than what I’d been stuck with, they were improved. Mostly though, the computer was able to handle the speed needed — fights weren’t as scary or difficult. Quite frankly, they were more fun. Sure, I still needed to consider what I was doing, but it was actually working. I couldn’t stop playing L and questing in Eregion. Next thing I knew, she was staring at the gate to Moria. Eregion had been a blur with quests flying by.

It was a hard decision to make, splitting her pairing with my husband’s dwarf, but it made the most sense. Onward she went, solo again.

You can’t see her axe here, but she looks quite defiant doesn’t she?

Wait, what? She wasn’t solo this whole time?

Oh yes… in all the talk about creating L and what I needed her for, I neglected to mention that shortly after her creation, Th and my husband’s dwarf stopped questing together, and L took that spot instead of soloing on her own all the time (just most of the time).

In a funny turn of events, my husband who was able to play video games far better than I ever could, preferred gaming with me. Somehow, LOTRO ended up making more sense to me and I had more time to figure out what was going on (he is a writer and a podcaster, and his free time is full of all sorts of projects). With L leading the way, he was able to make better progress than if he’d tried gaming on his own. Plus — don’t laugh — it was a bit of a “date night” for us.

A bit of romance?

Yes, as it turned out, L became a bit of “me” in Middle Earth and Christopher’s dwarf is all “him” — so it was only natural that a bit more playful fun and flirting happened with these two. Instead of greeting each other with a simple wave or bow, my elf took to blowing him kisses and giggling at him.

Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Th, his brother. He has become an embarrassment to the family — the shame! Following that pointy-ear around like a lovesick puppy.

When I told Christopher that L was about to break away level-wise and enter Moria, he gave me a bit of a sad look. No, he wouldn’t be questing alone. Instead, he would be working with my third character. Another elf. No silly kisses and flirting. There are some sweet little messages when L sends him gems and precious metals for his crafting, however. And it’s not like he’ll never see her again. In fact, he can’t wait to get into Moria. I’m not sure if it’s because he too likes dwarves and can’t wait to see it… or if he’s hoping to catch up to L again.

Current location

While L is working her way through Moria, she is not doing all quests. Just enough to keep her levels going, and mostly focusing on the main epic quest books. She may be about to start heavy questing to lead her out the other door, on her way to Lothlorien — but her main focus still seems to be that of gatherer. There is always plenty that needs to be mined or crafted.

And while she is an elf, she has spent a lot of time around dwarves and appreciates their history. Hearing the stories of Thorin Oakenshield’s quest to reclaim Erebor, and now with Moria, she has come to like them and contemplate them. Their loyalty, drive, passion, strength, and ferocity have inspired her and made her fight harder as well.

She still sometimes sneaks back to the stone trolls in the Trollshaws, where Thorin, Bilbo, and Company were attacked, and just sits and thinks while looking at them.

Now this is a place in Moria an elf could get used to. Even if you can’t see the sky. A shame there are lots of bad things in here that want to attack though. Maybe she’ll have to come back and visit when the dwarves clear them out.

There has been a lot of bad blood between elves and dwarves throughout history, but seeing this once-great kingdom in ruins like this saddens her. Dwarves really are not so bad once you get to know them.

Exploring Moria has been both breathtaking, and heartbreaking.

Thanks for reading (yes, she is blowing you a kiss)!

Up next, my last character. Yet another elf… but a little different!

Posted in Friends, Hobbies | Tagged , | 2 Comments

LOTRO Character Intro: Th

As I mentioned, I’m not going to go into server/name/specific details since I already have players I game with and am blogging about it for fun. Also, just to cut down on typing out names over and over, I’ve decided to use the format many of my friends use when talking about family and friends in a private way… by referring to them by initials. I’m not sure how many names I will eventually talk about. My husband only has one character so far, I have three, and I’m honestly not sure how many my friend has (I really only interact with two of them on a regular enough basis though).

Also a reminder, that although I’ve become a bit obsessed with LOTRO, I’m really not a gamer. I’m still learning new things, and honestly although I’m definitely “getting around” a lot better than I ever imagined I would, I definitely am not fully up on what’s going on. There are times I have no clue what people are talking about if I read forums or tip pages, I don’t do things the “proper” way. It’s probably also why I am a little selective about who I game with. Folks who know I have no clue (and never will) what I’m doing and won’t be a lot of help on really huge team-based attacks. In other words, very patient people. πŸ˜‰

Format?

I also asked my husband how he’d like to see me do the introductions. “Should I introduce all three in one post, or go into a little more detail about each in separate posts?” He preferred the latter, and I suppose he has a point. It’s not just about stats or titles… in a way, I’ve created a bit of a character for each of them. It might be more interesting to get to know them each one-by-one.

“Th” the Dwarf

My first character, “Th” we will call him, is a dwarf. Of course! I also have no problem roleplaying (RPing) a male character… and let’s face it: In LOTRO, dwarves are a little limited gender-wise. Both look exactly the same (much to the dismay of many players, and I admit I quite like the look the dwarrowdams have in The Hobbit movies. Yes, they have facial hair, but I’m not a big fan of the “all looking alike” dwarf thing… male or female. Makes me think of cheesy garden gnomes). Regardless, I decided to go with a male character and I’ve very much enjoyed it.

Fighting Style

Next was his style of fighting. I don’t really recall doing much research into how each class was to play, but they give you little descriptions of the different fighter classes using Lord of the Rings characters… Guardian for Samwise Gamgee, Hunter for Legolas, Champion for Gimli I believe is how it went. Well there ya go, easy choice there! Dwarf Champion! But oh, more choices!

It’s all about the accessories

Do I let him use a two-handed weapon? A weapon in each hand? And what about his actual attack styles? Gah! Thank goodness for having an iPad to look up some things while I was making decisions in-game.

So I did decide: a sword and an axe (something I still try to keep with him even if there are better options to pick from), along with the allowed bow (not as powerful, but handy on occasion), and although this might not make a lot of sense to non-LOTRO folks: I went with the yellow tree trait, The Deadly Storm. His attacks are meant to spread out across multiple attackers (Area of Effect/AoE). Handy, especially when playing solo or when our group has wandered into trouble (plural). πŸ˜‰

His weapons have varied — different types/looks, as well as attack damage. That’s what the different colors are. When he ends up with multiple colors/attack damage, I always joke that he is lit up like a Christmas tree.

Building the character

So I ended up talking a bit much about stats there, unavoidable really, because in a way these stats helped start the shaping of the character. So let’s talk about looks. If he sort of reminds you of Thrain from the first Hobbit movie, there is a reason for that. Except he’s not missing an eye, merely a scar across one eyebrow. And quite a handsome dwarf Th is, if I may add!

Th is a typical dwarf. Loyal to those who have earned it, grumpy (especially while being made to prove himself to strangers by doing their endless tasks), and he absolutely worships the ground Thorin Oakenshield walked on — very proud of his heritage. You know he met Thorin once when he was younger, yes? That crazy wizard told him about the Quest to reclaim Erebor, and while discussing that with him, he had the absolute delight to meet Thorin. He wishes he could have gone with Thorin to help, but he was too young at the time. He was but a small dwarfling when the dragon attacked, and while he calls Ered Luin his home, he looks forward to the day he can see the Lonely Mountain again.

Saluting the bust of Thorin Oakenshield in the kin house. He really must get one for his own home!

A place to call home

And speaking of which, he does have a house. A medium-sized house in Ered Luin near Thorin’s Hall. It’s inside a mountain, which means screencaps are dark and somewhat fuzzy. In LOTRO, you can have small houses, medium houses, or your kinship can buy really nice BIG houses. With three characters sharing the house (and you can tell elves live there too, because they planted trees in the front yard. Really. Trees. Inside a mountain. At least he got to put dwarvish statues by the door, hmph!), the extra storage and “cosmetic hooks” for decorating run out quickly. In fact, that is one thing I’ve tried to pour a lot of focus on recently — stocking up on storage space! Oof. Apparently I’m a hoarder online. But back to Th…

Dwarf houses at Thorin’s Hall in Ered Luin are inside a mountain. It’s hard to get clear images (especially on weaker computers/lower settings like mine). It’s dark and there seems to be a hazy-lighting effect.

It’s a three-room house. A main large living area, a study to one side, and a bedroom off the other.

Apparently houses are mostly to hold all the loot you pick up from questing/fighting (trophies) and festivals. There never seems to be enough space.

And a brother

When Christopher made his dwarf (who I will eventually introduce), our dwarves ran together a little bit to help increase their levels to catch up with their waiting friend. At some point, they were running around in the Shire, and they met another dwarf who asked a little about them. Christopher blurted out that they were brothers, and that little story has stuck (and is a little amusing, that a husband and wife have two male characters who are brothers).

I admit, I haven’t really built up family history as much, and I haven’t even touched the bio section. Something I probably should do. Th isn’t married, he’s a typical overly-focused dwarf who obsesses about crafting and adventuring (bah, who has time for romance, especially when there is gold to gather!). In fact, he is a little too focused. The two elves he shares a house with continually hound him to change his clothes — he admittedly has not gone through many clothing changes. First, what he started off with (quickly abandoned), a dwarf-make hauberk, a spring festival outfit (after the aforementioned hounding by the elves to get with the festivities for once), and the start of some nice red armor. He doesn’t understand the need for many outfits outside of a good cloak in rain or snow. Of course, after stomping through the Misty Mountains and Forochel especially, he knows he needs something a little warmer. But if you craft enough, you spend plenty of time in front of comfortably warm, glowing forges. And even swinging a pick axe to gather ore keeps a body warm enough!

Can’t forget a career

Speaking of crafting, you can also choose careers in the game. I knew without having to think twice that I wanted my dwarf to work at the forge. I had a few choices, but he went with weaponsmithing. There are three “crafts” you are able to do and level up. Prospecting (gathering ore and working it into usable ingots), weaponsmithing, and woodworking. Woodworking is also part of the weaponsmithing (bows, spears, maces), but he can’t gather the wood on his own. That was a big annoyance for me, and why I created a second character who I’ll talk about next.

Mining for the ore…

… and making ingots and weapons from the ore. A dwarf always keeps busy!

The woodworking craft — this is where I had to create a second character to gather/work wood, so I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else or pay a lot at the Auction House.

There are even hobbies!

While he hasn’t done either in a long time, he also spent some time fishing. Several trophies on display in his house were caught in Rivendell. He also plays the lute, but after my computer crash (lost those tunes) and a LOTRO update, I haven’t bothered seeing what new songs I can load for him. I mean, let him learn.

I’m not sure if collecting mounts (ponies, in the case for smaller characters like dwarves and hobbits, and small goats) counts as a hobby, but although I swore I wouldn’t… all my characters are starting to build up a collection. Even pets!

A favorite way to get around Middle Earth: The Thorin’s Hall Reputation Goat.

Current location

At the moment, Th — who was my first and only character for a few months at least — is now in Eregion working through the quests, and waiting to start the preparation to go into Moria. My other two characters have or are passing him level and location-wise. In fact, his brother (level 50) has technically gotten closer despite being a level below him still (Th just hit level 51). He’s determined to stick with his dwarf-friend, but sometimes scheduling time can be difficult.

Thanks for reading!

Next I’ll introduce you to one of my two elves…

 

Posted in Friends, Hobbies | Tagged , | Comments Off on LOTRO Character Intro: Th

A “new” hobby to blog about

Pondering blogging about LOTRO — it has been over a year…

When I first created this blog, it was not meant to be for any one hobby. It was meant to be a place to point friends and family to when they were interested in knowing what was up with me. I have too many interests and hobbies, and I frequently have to put things aside so I can focus on others. There is one thing I’ve been doing for over a year that I have not really talked about. And it is still quite new for me, especially.

See, I am very clumsy with video games so I really have never played them and do not consider myself to be a “gamer.”

The non-gamer gamer-to-be

Oh sure, I grew up in the days of arcade games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and while I had played them a little… well, not as much as most kids my age did (not counting the really cool mini-arcade Pac-Man game I had — still, I’d hardly call my frequent play of that thing very good). We had one of the first TI computers (I can’t think off-hand which one it was, but if my memory is clear, it was essentially a keyboard with a slot for a cartridge), but again although I would play some of those games, I never considered myself any good at them.

I guess at most, Solitaire and a few similar games on handheld devices like my iPad were what I assumed would be my main game focus. When my husband bought a few game consoles, they only reminded me how horrible I was at them. If you think I’m embellishing, take my attempt at playing one of the Star Wars Episode I games (I think it was for the first Playstation). I was a huge Darth Maul fan, and desperately wanted to get to the level where you fought him. Ha! The very opening of the game had you on Naboo, starting off by walking across some fallen tree serving as a bridge. Yeah. I fell off and couldn’t cross it.

I handed the game controller to my husband and just watched him play. When he got to the part with Darth Maul, he saved it so I could play. With all of our friends being video game fans, my part was to sit and watch (still fun to watch, I admit!). But oh so sad for clumsy little me.

Fandoms introduce you to new hobbies…

And then came my fandom with The Hobbit, which sparked my interest in Middle Earth (that’s a story for another time). I had heard about these MMO games before, but just assumed it would be even worse for my clumsy self to attempt just walking around. I kept seeing bits and pieces of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), and my curiousity couldn’t be quieted. So I chatted with a friend and asked her to “tell me all about it!”

… and so do friends

After a lot of talking back and forth, and flat-out asking her if I had any hope of making it to any level of comfort and figuring things out, she finally convinced me to at least give it a try. So I held my breath, downloaded the game, finally got it working (there were a few quirks my old laptop struggled with), and built my first character. Then, not really knowing if I would be capable of hanging in there long enough to see if I would like it, I took my first step into the game…

I mentioned I was using a laptop, and it did not have a mouse. I had a touchpad. Big error there, but fortunately this was the early intro level. Chatting with another couple who play the game, I quickly took their advice and borrowed a mouse from my husband. MUCH better. I didn’t look like a drunk directionally challenged idiot anymore. I was however, absolutely terrified of the heights though.

Apparently in Middle Earth, they don’t know what handrails are.

Fear of heights, even in games

There is a section in Ered Luin, near Thorin’s Hall, with a winding staircase. I had such terrors of navigating up and down (and of course the quests insisted I needed to go up and down them multiple times), that I would have to stop, turn, and position the character properly before continuing. I wondered if I would ever get over that fear or learn to navigate more smoothly, with a bit more confidence.

Making it through the intro levels, into the real world of the game itself went rather quickly. After a little time (and reading online — thank goodness for LOTRO wiki sites), I acquired a pony and wondered how I had ever been patient enough with simply running on foot. Despite some confusion here and there, and learning things, I was quickly addicted to the game and enjoyed myself. I can’t actually remember when it happened, but I even convinced my husband to create a character and he sometimes plays with me when he has time. Mostly, I play solo, and of course I also play with the friend who convinced me to go ahead and give it a try. In fact, our two main characters try to quest together — I created two more characters so I could play with my husband, as well as quest alone without waiting for schedules to match up — and I consider the interaction between our characters to be just as much part of the story of Middle Earth as the game and quests themselves.

When did that happen?

I’m not sure when it happened, or when I first noticed it, but there was a point I returned to that winding staircase in Ered Luin and realized… I was zipping up and down without stopping or worrying I would fall off. I did have to stop and have a laugh about it.

Because even though I do tend to play the game a lot (skipping many aspects, while focusing more on others, and still learning new things about it), I still don’t consider myself a gamer. If something ever happened to LOTRO, I’m honestly not sure what I would do. I would hate having to start all over, building things up from scratch, learning how that particular game works, and of course there is my friend and my husband — it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Welcome home

I’ve always been an introvert (and I mean to the extreme), but I’ve enjoyed socializing online. IRC, forums, messaging, and email… and now I’ve found a new home online.

With that, I think I will be blogging here and there about LOTRO and gaming from the point-of-view of a non-gamer. I am sure it won’t be often, because I tend to keep blog entries limited so they do not bury my actual project posts. So if you’re not into that, don’t worry (and again costuming friends remember, I’m not finished sewing either, but there is more to me than just one hobby of course). πŸ™‚

“PRIVACY SETTINGS” πŸ˜‰

I also will be keeping some identifying details to a minimum. Characters will probably be referred to by initials, and I won’t be saying which server I’m on — this isn’t to say I’m anti-social (I do interact with strangers in-game when I can), but as I mentioned before the three of us and our characters are working through a story together, and I don’t want to accidentally get off track from that. I am saving the quests to run with them, and I don’t want to level up too quickly (yes, I have an XP disabler). That’s not why I’m blogging about it though — I simply want to write down things in case there is a day we can no longer log on. Since I have enjoyed my stay in Middle Earth so much, it has become a fun and important thing for me. Something to write about.

So I guess the next post will be to introduce you to my characters. Here is a quick glimpse of them saying “hello” until then:

Of course, while I do try to get quality screencaps when I can, that won’t be my focus (and sometimes you just don’t have time to go turn things off or pose properly)… and my computer is only so powerful, so settings are lower than I’d like.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Friends, Hobbies | Tagged , | Comments Off on A “new” hobby to blog about

The Sketch of Happiness

Okay, I know… that sounds cheesy. But bear with me…

As you know, I go through these little moods (one lasted a very, very long time) and stop doing hobbies. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I do enjoy them. But it has been many, many years since I just really felt very happy working on art, regardless of whether or not it was turning out.

This past week, I had finished one drawing and was going to hop right to art the next day, but I ended up sick with a slight fever. The day after that, I was feeling slightly better, but sat down and started working on some things. I worked on some very quick note-sketches for a pack goat and its pack saddle, etc. Nothing worth showing, really. Then I started sketching a drawing of the pack goat with Thorin, walking around Ered Luin. I stopped for the day when my husband returned home from work. I very nearly started drawing again later, which is odd as my eyes were tired and I was starting to feel wiped out (still recovering a bit from whatever I had). I also very rarely draw unless the sun is out. Despite task lighting on my table, I also require the patio blinds to be open to help fill even more light in the room. So I stopped myself from working any more on the drawing — didn’t want to end up feeling crappy again.

The next morning, I couldn’t wait to finish my coffee and get back to the drawing. I forced myself to wait a bit, mostly because I didn’t want any caffeine jitters to cause problems. It didn’t take long before I was excitedly seated at the drawing table again though. And funny enough, I realized I was smiling, laughing… and just truly happy.

I’m sure some of it is the subject matter… I do very much enjoy drawing Thorin, and c’mon… GOAT! πŸ˜‰ I guess it was just something I needed to draw. I’ve been craving drawing it for a while now, and despite a little bit of a rough start, it started falling in place where I was happy enough with it.

From the dA page:

Back to Thorin (but of course)! ;) This in-progress blue pencil sketch is on 11×14 Strathmore drawing paper and will probably be transferred to Bristol for inking.

I’ve been obsessed with the story-not-told in Ered Luin (most likely also because I play LOTRO and love going back there with my characters). I like to imagine Thorin would go away on trips for trade and supplies on his own, so he could think and be alone. Perhaps here, he is thinking of happy days gone by, family lost, Erebor in its glory — the mighty kingdom of Durin’s Folk. And while picking up supplies, I am sure he is also searching for information: where is his father? Any detail. Any hint. Any rumor…. always searching and wondering.

Scanned in color, with the hue and contrast adjusted. Although, I did draw fairly hard with the blue pencil since I knew this would be used for transferring, and not inking over it.

 

View sketch here.

I’ve worked just enough detail in it as a reference. Still need to prepare it for transferring to thicker Bristol so I can ink it. Not sure exactly when I’ll get to it (Fridays and weekends tend to get in the way of progress for my hobbies).

But I think I’ll refer to it as my Little Sketch of Happiness. πŸ˜‰

Posted in Art, Hobbies | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Sketch of Happiness

First Drawing of Fili the Dwarf

Hmmm, it seems even when I try to focus and keep working on something things always pop up! For instance, when I finished this drawing of Fili (finally, took me long enough — I should have that put on a tshirt, right? heh), the next day I’d planned to work on some designs/concept stuff for an upcoming project… when…. ugh. I started feeling crappy. Took my temp and sure enough, I was running a low fever. And? Our a/c is doing its usual couple-times-a-year “not working, nope!” thing. I hate the heat. πŸ™‚

Anyway, this drawing was originally intended as a practice piece. Mostly to start forcing myself to build up photo references for another dwarf, and figure out how I wanted to draw him. It’s easier for me sometimes to use pencil, even though for so many years I drew with the intent of inking with a brush. It’s been fun getting used to pencilled art, and practicing with that again. Unfortunately, it meant something that should have gone rather quickly, took a little longer than planned (even with my usual breaks and stops).

From the dA page:

This was drawn on regular Strathmore drawing paper (11×14) first in blue pencil, then with regular pencils (F, HB, and 6B). I’ve been drawing Thorin so much (admittedly he is my favorite), I wanted to start getting used to Fili. I actually need to collect more photos of him for reference (oops!). Special thank you to FB Fili for being so patient and helping me find a couple detail refs I was having trouble finding. Lots of breaks between sections/parts, as usual for me these days.

You can see the original *very* rough sketch (before I fixed things I disliked about it) here,
and the blue pencil transfer the final drawing started from here.

View drawing here.

Now, hopefully yesterday’s “ick” will go away (still feeling a little off, but not as bad as yesterday), and maintenance will get my a/c running smoothly again. I want to get back to drawing, darnit! πŸ˜‰

Posted in Art, Hobbies | Tagged , | Comments Off on First Drawing of Fili the Dwarf

It’s always something, isn’t it? ;)

Some of the in-progress pile, currently taunting me and screaming for my attention. The rest are either in the sketchbook or in my head, distracting me. And some are waiting for me to purchase supplies I need… augh!

I seem to take a lot of breaks. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to work on things (who doesn’t like cuddling on the couch with their spouse, working their way through a Netflix series, or doing something new or random to refresh one’s batteries?). Sometimes I’m working out how I want to even proceed (depending on how I decide to finish a drawing, I have to use different supplies entirely, so all progress is halted until I decide). I also deal regularly with fairly crippling depression and anxiety, so hobbies are something very far from my mind (it doesn’t help, no… I’d rather just get out and hike/walk or not think at all about anything).

Looking back over various social media, I see a lot of halted progress and breaks. Instead of kicking myself for them and not getting things done, I just try to decide whether or not the break has helped. In most cases, it does. If I push through and “just do it,” the results are frustrating. The process is annoying, there is an underlying tension that shows through, and all enjoyment just gets sucked out of something I love making me question why I bother doing it if I wasn’t enjoying it? I mean, this is a hobby. This isn’t a job. And I never want to be in a place like I was, where I end up hating something I loved so much (since childhood) that I think I’ll never do it again.

Now, there is something to be said about that mindset of just pushing on and working on something regardless. Sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of my life working on things. A lot. I produced artwork left and right to the point where I realized quality was going downhill. I also have mentioned I don’t have a lot of space. So if I make something, it’s going to count.Β  I guess I’ve reached an age where I find myself thinking, “You know? This isn’t that important right now. Save it for when I’m in the mood to have fun with it.” It doesn’t help that I’m way too easily distracted — tons of ideas that all scream for attention at the same time… and that’s not mentioning the fact that I have way too many interests/hobbies.

Recently, I tried working on a drawing of Fili. I found myself getting agitated due to other things on my mind. Gouging into the paper. A break helped me get out of whatever annoyed mood I’d been in. Now, I need to transfer the sketch lines to a clean sheet of paper so I can continue, and as mentioned above I’m currently torn as to how to finish it. Ink or pencil? I use different paper for each, so I’m not going near it until I decide (and of course I’m flip-flopping constantly heheh). I’m trying not to work on anything else in my in-progress pile as I’d like to make myself finish it first.

Collecting reference photos and research for another project I’m hoping to work on soon is helpful, though. It needs to be done. So that’s been the focus to keep me feeling like I’m making some sort of progress. And there is another reason I’m feeling distracted again…

I was contacted recently about something very cool that could possibly happen this autumn. I’m not going into detail what it’s about right now — and it’s also not for sure just yet. Keep those fingers crossed for me that I make it through the final decision in late July or August though! Needless to say, I’m very excited and having a hard time forgetting about it and just patiently waiting it out. Gah. This is going to be hard. And of course, I’m nervous I’ll hear something sooner that would mean I didn’t make it to the final part. It would be disappointing, of course, but just being considered… well… I’ll write about that more when the time comes. πŸ˜‰

This morning, I pulled out some of my in-progress drawings and laid them out to take a fun photo. It was a little difficult to find enough drawings though. For some reason I thought I had a lot more in-progress things. Not everything is on a single page to be spread out like that though… some of them are still crammed in the sketchbook and in very early stages of planning. Still, it was good to look through and tell myself it’s not as bad as it seems how far behind I’ve gotten. Hopefully I can keep new projects to a minimum and make the in-progress pile get a little smaller over time.

And then, maybe they’ll be part of the “need to be framed or put away in that new portfolio I still need to buy” pile. πŸ˜‰

Okay, so two of these drawings finally have frames (this was an old photo I thought looked fun), but way too many drawings are unfortunately still sitting in a pile on a shelf waiting to be safely put away.

And just in case anyone is wondering, no… I’m not finished being a costumer. Due to some health issues, I’ve gained a little weight and refuse to start from scratch. I need to get things under control again, so once I can comfortably wear my old costumes I will add that back into the mix. Honestly, thinking too much about it is adding to the frustration and that doesn’t help at all (I’ve always been pretty fit and active, and not being able to do the things I once did has really gotten me down). So if it seems like I’m ignoring my costuming/sewing hobby… yeah, I kind of am for good reasons. First things first, all in good time. Bit by bit.Β  Etc, etc. πŸ™‚

Posted in Art, Hobbies, Personal, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Roac the Raven pencil studies

I wanted to ease back into drawing since I’ve been ignoring it for a couple weeks and I feel a bit clumsy at the moment. I decided to go back and revisit Roac the Raven even though I did put him into one of my drawings last year. I never finished some of his character studies I’d wanted to do.

From the dA page:

After taking another long break, as well as getting used to a new computer (old one gave out finally) and making sure I can still scan… I decided to do a little sketching. I’ve been meaning to go back to Roac the Raven and put down a little more of what I “see” in my mind. His bald “crown,” I wanted to be asymmetrical. Below the eye on one side, a bit of an eyebrow on the other. Felt a little awkward today — maybe I’d have had better luck “painting” it in ink. The darkest spots turned out a little choppy on the scan, but I didn’t want to do much to it. My main thought was to get a bit of character, and focusing on patterns and direction/flow.

Drawn on regular Strathmore drawing paper (didn’t quite fill the 11×14 space) with blue pencil first for roughing in the shape, then finished using 2B and F pencils. Scanned in b&w.

View sketch here.

“Before long there was a fluttering of wings, and back came the thrush; and with him came a most decrepit old bird. He was getting blind, he could hardly fly, and the top of his head was bald. He was an aged raven of great size. He alighted stiffly on the ground before them, slowly flapped his wings, and bobbed towards Thorin.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I love drawing birds, so I’m sure that won’t be the last. πŸ˜‰

Posted in Art, Hobbies | Tagged , | Comments Off on Roac the Raven pencil studies

The Annoyance of Change

If you follow me online, whether it’s here or on any of the social media I use, you probably noticed I went a little quiet.

Progress on sewing has already been paused for a while, but even drawing and sketching pretty much halted for the past few weeks. I admit I was in a distant mood and really didn’t want to work on anything (bah!). And then, it happened….

My old laptop finally had enough.

I knew it was coming. It was getting very cranky with me. Not wanting to start up (it’s almost like it needed coffee before it got to work, heh — I can understand that), locking up randomly, overheating often. Well, it finally said enough… and that was that.

My sweet husband got me a new computer, and I’ve been slowly installing things on it. Very slowly. It seems like everything I want to put on here gives me a little fight. Gah. And of course, realizing new versions of things changed (something as simple as a font I used to mark my art and photos… can’t find it, and can’t even remember what it was called), and figuring out what to do for now.

But all annoyances aside, it’s so nice to have a computer that works. A computer that doesn’t make you break into a sweat just being near it. A computer that practically beckons you to sit in front of it, open a program, and work on something.

So here’s hoping I can get back to art soon, and who knows? Maybe I will even get back to blogging a little more regularly. πŸ™‚

My new computer, with very welcoming wallpaper. πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately, there goes my dining room table. While it’s nice having SUCH a big screen to view everything, it and the tower are also very big.

Posted in Personal | Tagged | 2 Comments