Dragon Species: Amphitere

Am. Amphithere DragonThe only species of dragon that dwells within the new world is known as the amphitere. These dragons are often confused with draconian serpents, but it is important to note that this species does have wings, therefore it is considered a dragon. Though images of the amphitere have been seen in Europe, their native land is, and always has been, North and South America.

There are many kinds of this species, but two stand out as the standards. The feathered amphitere makes its home in Mexico and northern South America. The most famous of this species came to be known as Quetzalcoatl, the deity worshipped by the Aztecs. While it was unknown to the Mexican people during that time, what they were doing was simply appeasing the beast who they believed would make sure the sun rose every day. From this mother dragon, many feathered amphiteres were birthed and now populate the southern world. It is said that finding a feather of an amphitere will grant great prosperity for years to come, and when one is found, it is often displayed prominently in the home.

On the other hand, the norther amphitere sports much less feathers than its southern brother. It still has a feathery mane, but its wings are more like that of European dragons. The reason for this difference is the large open areas this dragon must fly through to feed itself. As it makes its home on the plains of the United States and western Canada, it requires a more efficient flight mechanisms in order to reach the great distances needed to catch its favorite pray – the American Buffalo. This species also has a harder time finding nesting spots, so this contributes to its evolution.

It is also important to note that both species have evolved past the use of legs. This may be because of the type of prey they seek, and why, unlike their African cousins, they have no longer use of them. They are still able to carry off prey using their snake-like bodies, and their feathers have the ability to shine when turned the correct way in the sun to blind and confuse enemies.

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A Look at Hell: Nine Levels

IGustave_Dore_Inferno_Canto_21‘ve always been interested in fantastical religious things. The most recent fascination is with Dante’s Inferno and the nine levels of hell. For some reason, I find the strange descriptions just intensely interested, so much so that I want to put myself or some character in that setting. It’s not that original of an idea, but I just want to explore it a bit.

For those that don’t necessarily know about the stories, the nine levels of hell are described as different sections to punish those that have committed different levels of atrocities. The first level is Limbo, described as simply a place of emptiness reserved for unbelievers. Though it’s not nice, it’s also not as bad as the other levels and holds people who were good in life but simply didn’t believe – like Socrates and other scholarly people. The final level, where Satan himself resides, is reserved for those that are betrayers of country and religion. Here Judas and Cassius are held.

Personally, I don’t really believe in all this, but it has to be taken in context. During the time that it was written, the church was very corrupt. While Christianity had already taken root in the Western world at this time, there was still a lot of problems with it. Priests were selling blessings and trying to get people to pay to make sure their children and other loved ones “got into heaven.” So this divine comedy was written in response to it, saying that those that carried out these awful acts would be sent to the ninth circle. The others that were considered unpure, like whores and manipulators, would go to another circle, but were certainly not as bad as the pope at the time that encouraged these behaviors.

I want to send a character here to fight their way back to the top. I want her or him to explore these levels, though more in a physical sense and not allegorically. That’s the best part – taking something that isn’t meant to be literal and turning into a setting. I’m not sure why this intrigues me so much, but this is going to be an adventure!

Inferno” by Gustave Dore is a public domain work.

Swordsman: Splendor

spelmDamage is the key for all Splendor disciples. Unlike most other classes, Splendors truly are the glass cannons of Jianghu. They are a pretty popular class, not only for their high exo attack, but also because the main protagonist in the story is also a Splendor. Though they have low HP and defense, with the right practice and cultivation, they can be a power force in any situation.

Unlike most classes, Splendors excel in both PVP and PVE. This is mainly because of their high damage, but they also have a few stuns that can help them escape if need be. Their first two skill sets are mainly up close, but their third has quite a bit of distance to protect that low defense.

Their first skill set is called “Splendor Sword” and contains a few useful skills. Weakening is a great PVE skill as it reduces the targets defense. This is great against bosses, making it easier to take down their HP. Frost Nova is a nice radius attack that has a chance to freeze enemies, and Storm Charge can stun as well as bring you closer to the target.

“Sword Sect” is the second skill set and contains quite a few more useful skills. Batter is great for PVP and PVE as it dazes and slows the target, though it is a very close range skill. Phoenix Prey is perfect for large group PVE, able to gather targets together and then follow up with Chilling Fury to freeze them in place. For PVP, Nodelock can stun an opponent, and Hostile Grab makes them unable to act during the skills duration.

“Chi Sect” contains the highest damaging skills in a Splendor’s repertoire. It also contains the first distance basic attack, which comes in very handy considering the low defense and HP this school has. My favorite is Blade Tornado, which has a huge distance range and can slow targets. Besides this, Barrier Blast is a great way to escape if you are too close, followed by Lower Cripple, which allows you to dodge while using it as well as slowing targets further. Swordwave is also very nice if you can get it charged up all the way: great to PVE and causes a frozen status. When you are surrounded by close range targets, Blackhole can send them flying. Finally, Cloud Ripple is a great skill to use in the air that can slow targets further.

This class is actually a great class for beginners. It’s easy to control, and though it has a lack of good stuns (mostly slowing skills), it’s can be great in both PVP and PVE, group or single. Plus, come on, they have a sword. Who doesn’t like a sword? Remember, though, Splendors are not good when facing larger groups of enemies, so build up your HP and defense to counter this.

 

Anime Review: “Phi Brain”

r7gxAgain at Crunchyroll, I find something new. I swear, that site is the death of me. Anyway, for Anime Thursday this week, please welcome Phi Brain: Puzzle of God. While the concept was a decent idea, it began to take the feel of Yu-Gi-Oh! after a while. What do I mean? Read on.

There are three seasons in this anime. The first season consists of introducing all the characters for the most part. Kaito Daimon has loved solving puzzles his whole life, but his childhood friend Nonoha Itou can’t solve them for crap. Instead, she participates in pretty much all sports, drama club, and is strong as an ox. One day, Kaito is exploring a puzzle maze deep in some ruins and “forms a pact” with an Orpheus armlet, which attaches to his arm and increases his thinking speed.

When the two friends both transfer to Root Gakuen High School, they find that the ability to solve puzzles is highly valued. Those that are good at them gain titles and are able to hang out in the Title Lounge and eat lunch for free. Of course, Kaito demands to gain one of these titles, so he challenges the holder of the Gallileo title – Gammon Sakanoue. Much to Gammon’s dismay, he is beaten, and Kaito gains the title Einstein. However, now that he has a title, the others in the school with similar honors seek him out. He challenges the two with the titles of Edison and Da Vinci, winning both times. While at first he is unaccepted into his new position of honor, eventually the three accept him.

But a strange organization called POG is creating dangerous puzzles in the city. They seek Kaito out and force him to participate in deadly “Philosopher’s Puzzles.” What didn’t make sense to me is why they were trying to kill Kaito via puzzle. If they wanted him dead, couldn’t they just go ahead and kill him? Also, the puzzles that they make are so immense and I wondered how these characters were getting the funding to make these giant things. Of course, Kaito solves all the puzzles, and in exchange, gets the prizes the puzzle givers offer. The prizes include anything from antique cars to strange maps. Continually, these puzzle givers chase Kaito down and force him to solve their puzzles by threatening him with things like “solve the puzzle or Nonoha dies.” It all seemed really rediculous. If you wanted to kill someone, why would you give them a puzzle that can be solved?

Anyway, Rook, Kaito’s friend from his grade school days, shows up and reveals that he, too, has an armlet. At first, they suspect nothing, but Rook begins acting strangeley, demanding Kaito do puzzles given by the POG. If he solves all the puzzles, he can become a Phi Brain and solve the Puzzle of God. Apparently, if the puzzle is solved, the solver can gain the Book of God and control reality itself. What made no sense is that Count Pythagoreas, leader of POG hid it in the Puzzle of God, but he wants it back. Does he not remember where in the puzzle he put it?

The armlet worn by Rook begins to take over his mind and make him obsessed with beating Kaito. The final puzzle the two face causes Kaito to have to chose between killing his best friend and gaining the Book of God. But Kaito figures out a way to do both, causing the armlet on Rook to break off. Rook then turns the POG into a helpful organization, assisting him and his new friends through the next seasons.

The second seasons brings forth a new organization called the Orpheus Order made of five people who claim to know Kaito from his grade school days. The leader, Freecell, claims that Kaito caused his mother’s death and wants revenge. Each of them have a replica armlet and harass Kaito and his friends to do a puzzle with them. But instead of getting annoyed, Kaito wants to save them. So the team go against the Order and of course beats them, but that isn’t the end of it.

A strange man named Herbert appears, and tries to destroy Kaito through puzzles, because his attempts failed in the last season. Again, why is everything about puzzles? If he wanted Kaito dead, why didn’t he just kill him? So Herbert forces the gang to take on a dangerous puzzle, causing the building to collapse. Herbert dons two armlets, and Kaito tells him how dangerous that is and vows to save him (again with the saving just kick their ass and move on already!). But the armlets have taken over his mind and he can’t control his words or emotions.

In order to finally get what he wants, Freecell captures Nonoha, and brings her to the Himalayas. There, he forces Kaito to take on a Puzzle of God (there’s more than one?) and play a sort of game of tag with Kaito. It’s a very anti-climactic Puzzle of God as I’m thinking it’s supposed to be ancient ruins, but it’s some high-tech thing. Of course Kaito wins again and everyone becomes friends.

Finally, the third season, some girl named Raetsel appears and brings Kaito’s freind Jin into the picture. Rook and Jin and Kaito were friends back in grade school, but Jin is much older so he was like a mentor. Apparently, Jin’s memories are gone, and Kaito has to solve puzzles to bring them back? WHAT IS WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF PUZZLES IN THIS ANIME? It’s like Yu-gi-oh! with puzzles! Kaito has been claiming the whole series he can “feel the puzzle’s emotions” or something like that. I don’t know, but it was a struggle to finish it. No one dies, everyone becomes friends, and the characters are 2D. Really it could have been done a lot better.

Anyway, bringing back Jin’s memories causes him to be possessed by Orpheus, who has bypassed death to possess people in order to have eternal life. It’s revealed that the Puzzle of God (which one?) is actually a way to find a new host for Orpheus. There is no real prize. So of course Raetsel and Kaito face each other in the Puzzle of God in another non-ancient, easy puzzle that really just made everything anti-climactic. Then apparently, Jin can’t become un-possessed, because Orpheus is mixed in with Jin’s mind. But something happens and everything is all better. Oh and again no one really dies because everyone is a genius.

Probably a 5 out of 10 on my ratings scale. Two weeks wasted watching this stuff.

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Inspirations: Strange Happenings

800px-Some_people_have_a_strange_idea_of_what_constitutes_a_preserved_aircraft!_(5349067683)While driving home one day from the grocery store last week, I spotted something unusual: a tow truck carrying a mail truck. While this is not so strange I stopped driving, it is uncommon. From then, I decided that this would be a good thing to write down. Maybe I could use this “strange happening” as some kind of story starter. So for the next few days, I kept track of these things in hopes to be able to use them in stories.

While I didn’t get much out of them, I did think it was a good idea, so I kept writing them down. From silly license plates, to dogs acting crazy with their owners, to mothers greeting their six kids from the school bus. While these acts aren’t “strange” per se, they are just a rare sight, so I write them down thinking they can inspire me when I need it.

I also use stories that people tell me for this category as well. Funny or not, they always serve to give me some kind of ideas. Once a friend told me how he saw a car that had a license plate that read “John,” and drove by the man driving it and said “We know all about you, John.” While John was utterly surprised and shocked, the friend laughed about it for years later. Even something like that can bring an idea.

Have you ever seen anything uncommon? Maybe something like an animal you don’t see on a regular basis, or something on TV that is out of the ordinary. Write it down, and you may be able to use it in the future.

Some people have a strange idea of what constitutes a preserved aircraft!” by tm is under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Beeping No More: The New Smoke Alarm

smartalarmHow many times has your smoke alarm gone off while you are cooking? How about that annoying chirp it makes when the batteries are dying? 99% of the time, that infernal beeping doesn’t even note an actual fire, and people often don’t even use them because of how annoying they can be. But Tony Fadell, designer of the iPod and a smart thermostat for your house has done it again. He’s invented a smart smoke detector that doesn’t beep, but talks, and can tell you exactly where the trouble is.

Even if it goes off while you’re cooking, it can tell that it’s not serious and warn you with a small chirp and a voice warning. What’s better is that you can let it know everything is fine by waving at it and turn off the warning. But if it’s convinced there is something more serious going on, it will respond with the traditional loud blaring and a voice alert saying exactly where the smoke is.

The ability to communicate with each unite to detect the location of the trouble is connected by an internal machine to machine connection. This means that you don’t even have to have wireless internet for them to work properly. That way, this system can even be used by those that don’t event have a computer. In addition, if you are out of the house and trouble starts, it can text message you exactly what’s going on.

Finally, this smart alarm, known as the Nest, has a battery life for the ages. You will never be awakened by that frustrating chirping in the middle of the night that your smoke alarm makes when it needs new batteries. The Nest uses lithium-ion battery capable of lasting up to five years, or your can purchase the plug-in model that never uses batteries.

If you choose the former, you can opt to have alerts sent to your phone to let you know when the batteries need changing. Even then, you still have quite a bit of time to replace them, so there is no urgency like the old kinds. In addition, it has a sort of night-light that glows different colors: blue for “all normal,” yellow for “something is wrong with the system,” and red for “trouble.”

Overall, it’s great that this annoying home appliance has finally been improved upon. While right now it’s a bit pricey ($130), hopefully a cheaper model may become available soon. Even now, the price isn’t all that bad for the changes it brings to the classic alarm.

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Swordsman: Sun and Moon Class

sunmoonWithin Swordsman, double-wielding is not all that rare. In fact, there are three schools that double wield their weapons. One of these is called the Sun and Moon Cult. While this class appears to be rogue-like, it is actually a bit different from the classic sneaky rogue.

First of all, the weapon Sun and Moons wield is called “Sawblades.” The are very large knives that almost appear to be machetes. These knives are used in a variety of skills, from burning to slowing, and even healing allies. This class is actually a lot better at PVE instead of PVP, but with the right build, it can be a great ally in any situation.

The first skill set that SnM learn is called “Sunmoon style.” This style include two very important skills that should be use in both PVP and PVE: Acala Power and Chi Focus. The first is both an attack and heal over time skill that can really be helpful for any situation. When used, a large copy of the player is summoned to do three deadly attacks, and the user and her allies gain the heal over time buff that also allows them to leach health from enemies. The second is a self buff that increases EXO attack and allows the user to leach additional health from enemies. In addition, Hook and Pull is in this style. While it is not very useful in PVE, it is quite handy in PVP where is can drag and stun opponents to the user.

The second style is called “Catch the Moon.” This style includes a few more PVP and PVE skills. For PVE, Sharp Stone is a great skill to use – it turns the user into a veritable whirling dervish, and allows her to move while the skill is being used. Using this skill makes her unable to be slowed and reduces incoming damage by a good amount. Earth Spin is also useful for dungeons (it is too slow for PVP), and can send enemies flying. For PVP, Fatal Chase can immobilize enemies as well as bring the user closer to her target, and Man Bomb is a great skill to take control of the battle. If you use Edge Will Tell right after Man Bomb, you can keep the opponent stunned for a few extra seconds. Finally, Rakshasa is perfect for right after Fatal Chase – this skill is a charge and counter, so as you charge it makes you able to counter any attack. When it is fully charged, it launches your opponent away from you.

The last style is called “Sun Banish,” and contains affective skills for PVE mostly. Inferno is a great skill against bosses, as it can burn quite a bit of their health down. Brimstone is a great AOE and grab for bringing mobs in to help allies, and Serpentine is useful in both PVP and PVE – it blinds and launches enemies to confuse and disorient them. Blitzbolt, though seemingly useful in PVP, is actually too slow. It is very affective in PVE though, along with Flame Wheel. Finally, Volcanic is a nice addition to any PVP skill setting as it traps an enemies for a few seconds and burns them.

Use this information, and your other skills, to make your own custom skill setting. I also highly recommend investing 250 Sycee ($2.50) in adding a second custom slot, allowing you to set a PVP and PVE set up. This make it much easier when needing to switch modes quickly as well as auto cultivating. In addition, I have included my SnM auto cultivation set up to assist in your leveling needs. Depending on where your auto cultivate, Acala Power may need to be adjusted. However, the rest of the skills are fine as shown.

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