Name: Ballough Hammerkeg
Class: Warrior (fury)
Religion: Holy Light
Alignment (Per D&D): Lawful Neutral
Traits (per CK2): strong, honest, gregarious, trusting, content, duelist
Monthly Archives: March 2015
Name: Ballough Hammerkeg
They don’t send me on these away missions often. As the main healer of our humble establishment, they prefer to keep in backup. So I sit there in my room and spend most of my day reading and occasionally treating a minor bruise or a cough someone caught and is then convinced he’s dying (I’m looking at you, Hwarnë). Sometimes, something interesting happens. I remember when we got attacked by that Iron Horde task force and the darfellan guest stepped right into a patch of poison Aeresham dropped, so I had to work my non-existent ass off to treat an alien poison on an alien individual. I’m not complaining, I like a good challenge. It’s different when I get to go on a mission. The field healing magic may not be exact and leave some ailments untreated, but it’s an interesting change of pace.
“Presumably, this timeline’s Lady Vashj’s failure to reach Illidan will lead to heavy repercussions when this timeline reaches our upcoming future. Lady Vashj still being present underneath the ocean will heavily influence the timeline. Although so far, the timeline seems nearly identical to ours, barring that one simple fact, it will have to diverge rather significantly when Nazjatar fails to rise from the sea floor…”
Rise? Or raise? Tarakan’s pen hung above the paper as he started thinking about this. Common wasn’t his first language. No, it had to be “rise” here.
His thought was interrupted when he heard someone entering his office. It was Anachronos, in his humanoid form, looking expectant. Tarakan put the pen away and straightened himself to talk.
“Lord Anachronos,” he opened with a slight bow.
“Greetings, Tarakan,” Anachronos responded, coming closer. “So I heard there was this re-weaving project you were spearheading. To help us deal with the damage caused by temporal refugees in the Prime timeline.”
Tarakan continued to sit there, without the slightest change in his mannerisms. “We already talked about this. You were supposed to begin exper-”
“Stop!” Anachronos said, suddenly raising his hand. “I haven’t talked about this. The version of me you talked to must have been from my future. I’ll wait until then.”
Tarakan just nodded, sighing impatiently. “I’ve been waiting for your future self’s response regarding that for months now.”
“You realize this is just because of a time differential. I don’t doubt my future self went with the results to you fairly quickly.”
“Yes, yes,” Tarakan said, waving his hand dismissively, “I know. Still doesn’t make the wait any less frustrating.”
Anachronos quickly turned around and went towards the doorway. “I better get going, before I cause any more temporal accidents.”
He left, but it felt like he disappeared right behind the door. He could have actually disappeared, so Tarakan didn’t pay much attention to it and continued his work. Squawk, so is it rise or raise? But then, he heard a noise in the corner. He quickly turned his beak to the source, but didn’t see anything there. Then it happened again, from another corner, and this time it sounded like a cackle of a shrunken goblin. What is happening? Tarakan rose from his seat and looked around carefully, but he still wasn’t seeing anything. He decided he’d check his Vision of Time for temporal disturbances and to his surprise, it was turned off. With all due haste, he snapped its parts around to turn it on, only to see it flashing bright red, as if he was in the epicenter of the temporal equivalent of an earthquake. That was troubling.
Tarakan quickly left his room, but stopped right outside. As he passed the threshold, almost the entire scenery changed in the blink of an eye. Anachronos was still there, just outside the door, talking to a blood elf. Tarakan approached him and patted him on the shoulder.
“Lord Anachronos, something strange just happened,” Tarakan said.
The dragon just looked at him surprised. “And who are you?”
Age: Refused to answer
Professions: Engineering (Titan Specialty), Alchemy
Alignment (per D&D): Lawful Evil
Traits (per CK2): genius, strong, ugly, eunuch, wroth, honest, cynical, cruel, impaler
Last time we ended up a bit abruptly. The post grew longer than I expected, because the story detail required for a full zone of an expansion was unsurprisingly large. I managed to detail the first four chapters of the zone’s storyline, which included a lot of worgen, arakkoa, and Wild Hunt lore. Today, we move on towards the last two chapters of the zone, leading up to the climactic resolution of the storyline began in the pre-expansion patch. This time I do not have long rants prepared, so we’ll head into the story proper in a minute.
But before we do that, I wanted to give the proper attention to an actual game design point lost somewhere in the body of the text. It’s about the garrisons and Dream of Creation, and how their question is solved by me. In short, in every zone your central quest hub contains an Outpost – a special, unique building that contains a few garrison services. The first is the mission table, which works just like the one currently in the garrisons. The second is the work order table, which replaces building up an actual garrison. The work order table lets you assign a follower with the proper profession trait to a fitting work order. The resulting items are then left in the box outside the Outpost. If you had an inn in your garrison, there is also a headhunter waiting for you (it might not require building an inn – TBD). Your bodyguard followers are also found there, awaiting your orders. Finally, in all of Emerald Dream you have one garrison ability, Call to Arms, identical to the one from Shadowmoon/Frostfire. That resolution allows you to continue the best aspects of a garrison, without the “facebook game” aspects of it. And yes, the new zones do give you new followers – I just didn’t decide on them yet.
Welcome back to Game Design Exercise, where I try to write up an expansion to World of Warcraft as I would have done it, despite about three or four people total caring about what I post here! As I would have done it, if I had a thousand pairs of hands and a mountain of money to spend. Really, it’s my wish fulfillment fantasy, taking the best parts of various expansions and doing them in the context of the Emerald Dream. Like I said in the last post, I’m in a slightly resigned mood when it comes to these. In the time since the last post I’ve been thinking about various other design options. A Dishonored sequel about an Overseer who becomes the next Outsider! My original game idea about playing as a guild, which turns out to be a lot like Garrisons: the Game! Ultimately, all of those ideas are extremely unlikely to become anything more than ideas and with this one, at least I have a few more people reading it. So I might as well keep going.
Now, to end the rant, today we’ll embarking to the first zone of the expansion proper, Verdant Plains. Like in Warlords of Draenor, I decided to go with an Alliance/Horde split between starting zones. In part because I thought it worked, and in bigger part because I decided the entrances to the Emerald Dream become the racial mini-capitals for the new races. It would be like Alliance players entering the Cataclysm zones through Bilgewater Harbor. So today’s post is the beginning of the Alliance storyline, and involves several factions, including Greymane Crossover (a new Alliance reputation faction), Skettis Exiles (the arakkoa racial faction), a continuation of the Wild Hunt storyline and an introduction to a few new elements.
For some time, Mr. Krasha was looking for people interested in going to one potential mission, one that wasn’t very popular among most here. Ever since our crews started going out into the other worlds, we all heard about the Xa’tac and the terror they sown across known worlds. This “Space Scourge” was furthermore rumored to recently re-emerge after centuries of presumed extinction at the hands of the Burning Legion. So when the boss was informed by the Gnadra that our gnomish friends, Captain Matus T. Manks’s crew, was abducted and held on that world, few were interested in actually going there. I know it’s common among the adventurers to quote Draenor for being so savage, but this world was the home of an interstellar empire of terror and undeath. Even if they are presumed to be dead, who knows what kind of terrors still lurk within? And we weren’t too far off.
PREVIOUSLY: Time and Again, part I
Tarakan was tied up to a chair in a dark room. When he woke up there, his first instinct was to timewalk away but not only were his legs tied to the chair, his gear was gone as well and as a hunter he had no magical powers of his own. Through the few beams of light coming from a hatch in the door he managed to spot a strange, red stone lining the walls. Red stone… he heard about it before. Tarakan’s brother encountered it. A stone that negates all magic where it’s around so no one can enter the room magically, including the arcane serpent being unable to phase through the walls. Most people would have no idea how much time has passed. But he was not most people – he was a Timewalker. Time was his domain.
Suddenly, the door opened and a lot of light burst into the room – something especially painful for a cursed arakkoa. But in that burst of light emanating from the door frame he saw a human-shaped shadow. The shadow stepped in and the door closed behind him, as a faint lamp turned on near the roof. The shadow was no other but Khadgar. But not our Khadgar. It was a parallel Khadgar from this timeline, one that grew up to be a very different man. He was smiling and scratching his goatee, contemplating his captive.
“We meet again, Timewalker,” Khadgar said. “I must admit, I expected you to already turn into a dragon and attempt escape by now.”
Tarakan sighed. “I’m not a dragon. I’m a Timewalker. I am a mortal servant of the bronze dragonflight.”
Khadgar chuckled. “Mortals willingly serving dragons? Do you think we had no dragons over here? The capricious, gluttonous things wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from eating mortals standing around nearby.” Either dragons were very different in this timeline, or Khadgar was lying. “Especially ones that look like they would taste like chicken.”
Tarakan frowned. Cannibalistic jokes never amused him, and especially the numerous ‘do you taste like chicken’ lines from orcs who thought they were oh-so-clever. “You don’t know the first thing about us. And I’m not going to help you find it out.”
“We’ll see,” Khadgar said, “We’ll see how much pain and hunger a… not-dragon can withstand.”
Religion: Balerok doesn’t follow any religion. Balerok’s creator tried to get him into that old god craziness, but Balerok refused.
Alignment (per D&D): Chaotic Neutral
Traits (per CK2): Genius, Diligent, Proud, Deceitful, Ambitious, Arbitrary, Paranoid, Lunatic
Time travel. It’s complicated. And I don’t mean just the extremely powerful magic necessary to make it reality. Once you’re there, in the past or in another timeline, there is an almost infinite number of factors you have to take into account. Every step you take can end up undoing hundreds of possible lives. And every major change that brings a given timeline out of its alignment… out of its one, true fate can be disastrous. This is what the Infinite Dragonflight has been attempting for… forever, I will have to say because our mundane descriptions of duration or time lose meaning here. They attempted to throw timelines out of alignment, and thus to disintegrate them. Why? To bring chaos, entropy. And when all universes, all realities are destroyed, our entire multiverse ceases to exist and the only thing left are the Old Gods – external parasites from beyond all of creation. Without our universe to contain them, they are free. And perhaps they deserve to be free, but not at the cost of uncountable myriads of innocent lives.
Azeroth-28. An empty, dark corner of Dalaran, one that is ruled by a militaristic, jingoistic and magi-elitist Kirin Tor. One that enviously looks out to other worlds out there in the galaxy and seeks to dominate them all – but lacks the manpower and resources to do so. Not long ago, their Emperor, Khadgar, went into the white tower of Karazhan, using its temporal instability to seek new power that could overthrow the other worlds out there. He went missing for years and his Council tried to keep the Empire intact. Until, one day, he reappeared as mysteriously as he disappeared – having witnessed an alternate Azeroth, one much less developed and already embroiled in a conflict with yet another timeline. He saw this as an opportunity. Now they could command not one Azeroth, but two… or more. An infinite number of Azeroths, all striking out at the potential threats among the stars. But he underestimated the defenders this Azeroth had – the Timewalkers.
In that dark corner of Dalaran, suddenly a magical vortex opened. But this time, it was not another lazy mage quickly transporting himself from the top floor to the street. This time, it was a dwarf clad in bronze robes with the symbol of infinity on his tabard. Or rather someone that looked like a dwarf – it was, in fact, a bronze dragon, Keeper Morozdormu. And behind him, three more characters, subordinates, step out. An arakkoa hunter with a pet arcane serpent coiling behind him – Watcher Tarakan and Pita. Then, a red-haired human male with a hopeful look – Historian Llore. And finally, a dark-skinned, human-looking female mage – Weaver Agam. The four looked around until the dwarf spoke up.
“Alright, folks,” Moros said, “it looks like we landed safely, with no witnesses. Time to work.” He raised his left hand, with a strange hourglass in it. “According to our Vision of Time, we can safely stay here for just over a day. Let’s get digging!”