Friday, May 23, 2014

[Karazhan's Story] 2.14: I heard A Storm Was Coming

      After a short chat about my experience in Meridian, I waved at Ziara and headed down to Lakeside. Immediately, I was accosted by a dozen suspicious eyes. All the villagers seem to wander out of their homes and stare at me. I guess that made it easier to talk to them? It was kind of creepy how they all followed my every move with their eyes, as if trying to see into my very soul. Okay, enough of that nonsense, Kara!

     "Hello there." I greeted the first person I came across, a young girl sitting on a barrel and swinging her legs. She'd stared me down as I approached, wary and sharp, but not nervous or afraid. Definitely odd. "Hello above-lander. Do you like jellyfish?" The girl asked, cocking her head sideways. I blinked. She blinked. "Above-lander? What do you mean by that?" I asked finally when she didn't do or say anything else. The girl hopped off the barrel and wandered into the house behind her without answering and I felt mildly insulted. What a brat.

    "Another fine day in the above-land, is it not?" Said a male voice behind me, and I whirled around, magic surging to the forefront of my mind. An old, wrinkled, grey-haired man was standing behind me, having apparently walked up while I was talking to the kid. There it was again, that "above-lander" thing. "What can I do you for in our fine village?" The man asked, and though his question seemed innocent enough, he was carefully watching my face as if trying to sense my true purpose. Either these people were paranoid in the extreme, or something suspect was definitely going down in Lakeside. I placed a hand casually on my hip and made a vague gesture around me with the other.
     "Oh, you know. Just exploring Freemarch. I'm new here, so I just wanted to see all the wonders that the march had to offer." The man squinted at me, as if trying to decide if I was telling the truth or not. I kept my face blank and open, and he grunted. "Well, see ya don't get into any trouble, ya hear? We got enough problems without nosey outsiders!"
    "What do--" but the man ignored me and shuffled away pretty quickly for an elder. I huffed. Looking around the tiny main street, I spied a brightly colored market stall down the way and eagerly made my way toward it. Merchants usually had good gossip about the town they sold their wares in.

     "Hello, I would love some of that tasty looking seafood dish." I said in greeting. The woman, dressed in the usual fare of Freemarch, peered at me from under a wide brimmed hat. She scowled at me. "Don't question me! Nothing is amiss here! Nothing is wrong!" She exclaimed, and sharply turned her back on me, pointedly busying herself with setting out more dishes. I blinked in surprise. Okay, when they said the people of Lakeside weren't friendly to outsiders, they meant it. This was definitely trying my patience, and I'd like to say I had a lot of patience when dealing with people.
     "Alright than." I replied finally, slowly. "Soooo sorry to have bothered you." I gave her one last, confused glance before walking away from the wooden stall. Once I'd left the shade of the awning, the sun beat down on my dark skin again full force. I beginning to get quite frustrated.

     The next villager I came across, I grabbed her by the arm, perhaps a little roughly and forced her to face me.
    "Hello there." I said, too brightly. The woman gave me a black glare. "What do you want, Bahmi? I'm just a normal human doing normal human things." She tried tugging her arm out of my grasp and I tightened my hold, guilt abating somewhat at her sharp tones.
     "Nu uh." I waved a finger in her face. "You see, when you say things like that, before I even get a chance to ask anything, it makes me feel like there's something your hiding from me. Care to tell me what that is, hmm?" I shook her for emphasis, and the woman blanched, glancing around her uneasily. Her eyes grew wide and seemed to glisten. Startled, I let go, thinking maybe she was a sensitive sort and could have sworn that when she blinked, her eyelids crossed her eyes horizontally instead of vertically. Realizing she was free of my grip, the woman turned and dashed off. I sighed, blowing a strand of limp hair off my forehead. Okay, this was getting ridiculous.

     I kept walking further down the road and saw the docks that the Faceless Man had mentioned. It was an extensive set up, with wooden planks extending out into the bay and several tiers of balcony up the bank. A small shack stood sentry to the side and the whole area abruptly smelt of day old fish. Right away I noticed what was wrong here. Though Lakeside was a fishing town and made its coin by selling what they caught in their nets, it seemed that the docks were full of boats and canoes. You'd think on a fine sunny day such as this, the men would be out casting their nets and poles? Furthermore, there were actually quite a few people on the docks, but none of them seemed to actually be doing anything. Instead, they were mostly lounging around, avidly staring into the water as if waiting for inspiration to strike. Definite warning bells going off there. And then I spotted something I'd seen before. A strange, sinister looking symbol stamped on the side of a pile of wooden crates at the edge of the bank. A bright blue diamond icon with a book and a curled tentacle inside, tiny enough that no one would look twice at if coming to inspect progress in shipment, and yet a huge red flag to someone who had dealings with dragon cults. I stopped cold and stared. Oh my spirits! They were right, the Abyssal were in Lakeside. They had infiltrated the village, and I had no idea how deep it went, or if the village was in on it, or just being used. Should I go to the mayor and confront him? Warn him? Should I warn the poor children in the village who were surely innocent? I gnawed my lip anxiously a minute before realizing that the men on the dock were making note of my presence. Turning on my heel, I walked back through town as casually as I could, feeling the judging eyes of the villagers twice as strongly. Once outside the low town wall, I quickly ducked behind some boulders and crouched down, staying still and quiet to ensure that no one followed me. You can never be too careful and I had no desire to lead the Abyssal back to Ziara, or alert them to the fact that I knew they were here. We had to catch the entire branch of them here, not just a handful of individuals. Not to mention, I'd like to know what they were even doing here in the first place. A tiny fishing village seems rather underwhelming for the actions of the cult. But than again, everyone knew that most of the followers of Akylios were insane, so maybe they didn't need an actual reason to be here causing mischief.

     After several minutes, I confirmed that no one had followed me and quickly made my way to the ledge where Ziara was hiding out, making sure to go a circumspect route instead of using the road, in case the Abyssal were watching.

     "Ziara! It's true, there are Abyssal cult members here!" I exclaimed breathlessly as I climbed up the ledge. I glanced up and noted that the small woman had her gun pointed at me again but moments later she seemed to recognize me and lowered it. She stared at me. "They must be preparing something, but I don't know what. I saw crates with the Abyssal symbols on it. And none of the villagers are acting normally. There's definitely something bad about to go down here and we need to figure out what the Abyssal are doing and fast. I have a feeling their operation is almost complete. We need to possibly evacuate the innocents as well!" I paused and waited for Ziara. She continued to stare at me. I stared back.
     "Uh, hello, Ziara? Are you okay?" I asked, feeling a mounting concern for the slight woman. She startled and shook her head, light coming back to her eyes. "What? Oh, sorry...I can't shake the feeling that I'm being watched. All the time. These eyes watching me." She shivered. I glanced around, catching a bit of her sudden paranoid behavior and half expecting one of the strange townsfolk to jump out at us. When nothing happened I awkwardly coughed. "Did you hear what I said?" I asked gently.

     "What? Oh yes! The cultists you saw at the docks are no doubt just foot soldiers following orders. Those behind the real operation are no doubt elsewhere, hidden. The Abyssal love to stay hidden and watch events from afar." She glanced around and shivered again. "You know, I've seen people slipping out toward the remains of Meadow Farm. It's an old farmstead that burned to the ground last year. Everyone in it died. It was quite tragic." She pointed back behind me and I turned, glancing about. Aha, there. Across the open march I could see the blackened remains of an old farmstead, about a mile from here. "Something terrible approaches, I can feel it." Ziara said suddenly. I stared at her. Yes, she'd definitely been out here long enough, the poor thing. Her investigation had gotten to her. I made a mental note to tell the Faceless Man to consider replacing her and letting her have a rest. Ziara seemed to misinterpret my look, because she frowned at me.
     "What? You can't possibly expect me to go with you? I have to stay here and keep an eye I was ordered to. Besides, I still feel someone watching me. I don't want them to know that I know."

     "Uh, sure." I replied uncertainly. I turned and climbed back down the ledge, keeping an eye on Ziara as I went. It wasn't that I didn't trust her, per se, but...her flighty and confused mannerisms were definite cause for alarm. Ziara's behavior seemed to be growing more erratic by the hour, and I wondered if maybe there was something else going on here. Some outside influence that was causing her to have that reaction. It wasn't a comforting thought and I sincerely hoped the same thing wasn't happening to me. The sooner I could figure out what those cultists were up to, the sooner I could stop them and their strange actions.

     It didn't take me long to figure out what was going on at the Meadow Farm, and it wasn't pretty. Even before I saw it, I could smell the scent of charred, days old corpses. A smell I had grown quite intimate with during my experiences at the end of the world. Breathing shallowly to help mitigate the stench, I crept cautiously up to the main farmhouse. The building was a burnt husk as Ziara had said, with only two walls standing. All windows had been shattered, and blackened timber was scattered across the yard. Belongings and typical farmyard supplies lay scattered around the building, as if dropped suddenly, and yet there was no indication that anyone had even attempted to put out the raging fire that had claimed the farm and the lives of everyone who lived there. The poor family. I automatically murmured a Bahmi chant for the easing of restless ancestral spirits. But that wasn't the true horror of what was going on here.

     The moment I'd carefully climbed over the debris to take a peek inside the shell of the building, I felt dread pool in my belly and my mouth went dry in horror. There were bodies. A whole mountain of bodies. Piled up in the center of the burned out building. And not just what you'd expect for a family that had burned with the house. No, there were dozens of them. And none of them looked burned. Oh spirits. I did something than that I thought I'd never do. I prayed for the doomed souls that had met their gruesome end here. I didn't even see eye to eye with the gods, but it just seemed the appropriate thing to do when witnessing such wholesale slaughter. It looked like a whole village lay dead here! I froze. A whole village...eyes wide, I stared harder and to an ever increasing horror I realized that I knew some of those faces. In fact, that little snot-nosed kid that had acted so rude to me not two hours ago was laying right there, partially covered by another body. Mouth open in terror, body contorted in extreme agony. I couldn't believe my eyes. How had she ended up here, dead? Of course, I knew how, but my mind just wasn't willing to accept it. I was quite intelligent, if I say so myself, but it was like I just couldn't grasp what my eyes were seeing. Somehow, the people of Lakeside were all dead. From the amount of bodies, I'd have to say a good two-thirds of the village lay here, perhaps more. Which means...that those "people" back at the village were...what? Imposters? Cultists? I had no idea the Abyssal cult mages were this skilled at transmogrification. This was definitely not good.

     Quickly I scrambled backward and tripped over a loose board in my haste to get away from the scene. I felt filthy, shaken and unclean, and convulsively wiped my palms on my jerkin. Oh spirits. I couldn't get the sight out of my mind. I backed up into the yard, still staring wide eyed at the burned building. This was definitely a wake up call to the kind of horror and damage that the cults were capable of if not stopped. With a new determination and grim steps, I made my way back to where Ziara was hiding out, not even paying attention to the trip. The spy saw me and immediately her face fell into distress.

    "What, what is it?" She asked, anxiously scanning the surrounding area and rubbing her arms. I quickly explained what I'd seen, putting great emphasis on the gruesome nature of their deaths, and Ziara's already pale face went milk white. She made a sign of the gods, and I wondered idly if she was once a follower of the Vigil, before the Defiants had come to Freemarch.

    "This is way worse than I had feared." Ziara admitted, looking distressed. "I need to report to the Faceless Man as soon as possible. We need to locate the Fathomlord of this group before they complete their goal, whatever that is." I must have looked confused, because Ziara chuckled humorlessly. "A Fathomlord is like an army general. It's a title they give to their leaders. Usually this person has become so maddened by that monster Akylios that they aren't even human anymore, taking on aquatic personalities and physical attributes. They are quite disturbing to look at. But it makes it easier to locate them." She seemed to consider something, tilting her head to the side and listening to who knows what. She nodded after a moment.
     "Yes, I can almost...hear it. I think the Fathomlord is messing with my mind. I think. It's hard to remember things anymore." She trailed off, a soft look of confusion overtaking her face, and I snapped my fingers up near her face. "Hey, focus!" I cried, alarmed.

     Ziara looked startled, than thankful. "Thank you. He's quite powerful. You need to stop him Karazhan. I...don't think it would be a good idea if I came with you. He seems able to...influence me." She seemed to struggle saying that.
     "I'm sorry." I said, not sure what else to say. "I don't know what to do to help. I only know some weather magic and a few healing spells. Nothing about clearing the mind. I promise I will look into it when I get back to Meridian." She gave me a strained smile. "I think if you kill him, it will release his hold on me. I have faith in you. You are a Defiant after all." Her smile became genuine and I smiled in return.

    "Okay, consider this Fathomlord as good as dead. Can you give me a direction?" I glanced at the town angrily. I was itching to put a stop to this monstrous "man" and his followers. How dare he come into my home and mess with my people!
    "Only that he is in that direction. And I'm sorry to say that I think he's located underwater. I hope you can swim." She tried to make it a joke, but it fell flat. I considered it. Could I swim? Before my death and subsequent resurrection as a magitech creature, I would have definitely said yes. Living on an island sort of guaranteed you knew how to swim, or at least be able to stay afloat in deep water. But now, I'd only recently grown familiar enough in this new body to perform the advanced spells I'd learned before and not trip or hit my head when I forgot my new height. I hope I didn't end up floundering in the water. I nodded anyway. I didn't have much choice after all. "Of course yes, I know how." I replied, trying to appear confident.

    The direction Ziara indicated led to what is known as the Lake of Solace, a little inlet between Freemarch, Shimmersand, and Droughtlands. It was sheltered and protected by the elements by the rocky expanse of those regions and the waters were always calm, albeit cold. I'd read some interesting things about the lake, how there is a legend of an ancient city buried in its depths from long ago that contained secrets to vast power. That the lake bed was littered with relics and artifacts of another age, but no one dared to excavate them because of the vicious creatures guarding it and the powerful currents that would sweep an unsuspecting explorer out to sea before they could even cry out. All in all, not very encouraging. At the edge of the bitter cold water, I gazed out to the far side of the lake, where I could just make out the far bank of Shimmersand. Picturing that beautiful desert brought a pang of sadness from the other souls. I suppose one or two were desert dwellers. I took a deep breath. No more stalling.

     Despite how cold the water seemed, I didn't end up even shivering as I waded out until I could no longer touch bottom and waved my arms and legs to stay afloat. The water was clear and smelled fishy like most sea water, lapping gently about my chin. My braids clung to my neck in wet clumps. I took a deep breath and plunged under, hesitantly opening my eyes. I really hoped I didn't get any gunk in them. To my surprise, I could see just as clearly underwater as above. Huh. It felt like there was a thin film over my eyes, protecting them from the water and its contents, and even the pressure that builds in the lungs after a few minutes holding your breath seemed nominal. The perks of being an immortal creation just seemed to keep on coming. Not that I was complaining. I swiftly gained my bearings and dove deeper under the water, heading in the general direction Ziara had indicated. As I swam ever outward, the ground kept dropping away and I thought maybe I had to be half a mile underwater now. This lake was deep! The pressure in my lungs became more noticeable, and I took a break to swim to the surface for another deep lungful.

    Down again, and I began to notice strange pillars among the weeds and fauna. Large oblong stones, as tall as the pillars along the wall of Meridian. I felt dwarfed by their immense size. Strange glowing runes pulsed faintly along the columns. I stopped next to one and took a few moments to memorize the layout of the runes. Maybe there was some truth to the legends after all. I felt excited to be seeing this. Witnessing such a fascinating historical find. But first, I needed to put a stop to that fiend. Where in the hells was I supposed to find him, anyway? The pillars became more frequent, along with the crumbling remains of other structures, and I found the Fathomlord between four such columns. He was analyzing one of them himself, running "fingers" over the carved runes. I use the term fingers very loosely because as Ziara had warned, he definitely looked more monster than human, sporting a tail, bulbous eyes, and webbed hands. He was also slightly greenish. He seemed to sense he wasn't alone, for he whirled around, incredibly fast in the water, and his eyes widened when he saw me. He snarled. To my surprise, he opened his mouth full of jagged teeth and I actually heard the words.

     "Who dares approach a Fathomlord! You'll suffer a fate worse than death, fool, for staring into the depths of the Abyss. Akylios wills it." His words seemed to ripple and echo oddly underwater and I took a moment to marvel over the fact that I could even hear the spoken word underwater, or that he could speak it without getting a mouthful of water instead. I've never fought underwater, and I froze suddenly. Would I even be able to cast spells underwater? Stupid of me to not try to find this out earlier...

     Pumping my legs to keep myself level in the water, I grasped my staff in one hand and concentrated on calling up magic in another. What spell would be effective underwater? I panicked. Fire was an obvious no go, would anything water based even be effective enough when surrounded by the element? I swallowed. The Fathomlord chanted something and a wall of force crashed into me, propelling me backward. Bubbles of air burst out as I hit a pillar. Thank the spirits the water created a cushioning effect or I'd likely have broken something important. Calling up the first thing that came to mind in a desperate attempt to keep him off balance and prevent him from casting, I threw my arm out and my spell...didn't exactly work as I'd intended. But it cleaved through the water and hit the Fathomlord. He made a squealing sound and I saw a red mist suddenly form in the water around him. The cultist became enraged and threw a rapid assault of spells at me.
     Thankfully I was more prepared this time and cast a net of magic around me, preventing the enemy magic from landing a blow. I could feel the mental strain of holding up the shield though. It was twice as difficult to perform magic underwater. I remembered all those poor innocent villagers, laying in a sacrilegious pile at the Meadow Farm, with no one to mourn them or even know they were gone, and the fury burned through me, giving me strength I didn't know I had. My next spell surprised even me. A sharp gale of watery wind burst forth like an underwater tornado and smashed into the Fathomlord, who'd seen it coming and had attempted to swim away. The wound I'd given him prevented him from reacting in time and the tornado tossed him brutally around in erratic circles. Blood began misting into the water in earnest and I grimaced. I regretted how cruel the spell was, but I didn't regret the deed. The Fathomlord gave a last wail before his long scaly body went limp. The tornado continued to fling the body around for several more moments, the spell having been fueled by my anger and sorrow. Emotions always amplified spellwork in unpredictable ways, which was why the priestesses had always warned against getting overly emotional about, well...anything really. Be like stone. Another thing I'd failed at in my training.

     I floated a few feet off the lake bed, staring in morbid fascination as my air spell slowly dissipated and the waters calmed once more. I hadn't even known what that spell was. Did that worry me? Yes it did. But I was grateful for it nonetheless. Finally the need for air drove me to the surface and I sucked in a deep lung full of it after breaking the surface. I blinked water out of my eyes and gazed around. Although usually I'd discovered I had a supernatural sense of direction since my new rebirth, I'd gotten distracted by the fight. I zeroed in on Freemarch's shore and headed for the strip of beach to the side of the docks so I wouldn't end up right in the arms of the Abyssal. I have no idea how long it will take them to realize that their leader was no longer around, but until then they were still an efficient unit. I'd realized that if you removed the head of each nest of cultists, the rest just sort of fell into disarray and infighting. All the better for us defenders that they seemed to be so disorganized.

     I noticed the difference in Ziara the second I approached her. She was less fidgety and paranoid and seemed far more relaxed, kind of how she was when I first met her. We took a few minutes to enjoy the fact that the leader was dealt with, but Ziara sobered quickly. "Thank you Karazhan, for dealing with the Fathomlord. I felt like my mind was unraveling! The good news was, right before you killed him, I was able to actually see what he was planning. It seems he's using Lakeside as a base of operations to attack Gramaton Station."
     "Gramaton Station? I'm not familiar with that." I confessed. Ziara nodded. "Well, you're not native to Freemarch so that makes sense. It's the training station for the Freemarch Wardens. It's where the Wardens are stationed. Their main forces and the barracks are there." We both paused and I tapped my staff in thought.
     "Hmm. They must have been planning a surprise attack to take out the station, thus leaving the other towns and outposts in Freemarch vulnerable and unable to call for aid. If they could take out the bulk of the Wardens, that would be a severe blow to the army in Freemarch. And to the Defiants. They...we...are relying on the Wardens as allies to help protect our own base of operations. This is bad news indeed. Do you think the slaying of the Fathomlord stopped it?" My hopes were dashed when Ziara firmly shook her head.
     "Unfortunately, no. He'd already given the orders. In fact, I'd be pretty confident in saying they may already be sending forces to attack the station and keep them from sending out couriers." She chewed her lip and looked torn. Obviously she wanted to go help the Wardens but her duties to the Unseen had been clear. Stay at Lakeside and spy on the villagers. Even though the Fathomlord had been slain, the Abyssal were still active in the area. It would take at least several more days until enough forces could be sent to clear out the Abyssal nest located here. Of course, I could, in theory, try to neutralize their threat as well by taking them out one by one as secretly as I could so the rest didn't catch on, but that would take time, and someone needed to warn Gramaton Station, or aid them if it was already too late.

     "Okay, you continue to monitor the Abyssal here, and send for back up to help deal with the remainder of the force. I'll go to the station and help out as much as I can." I said finally, decisively. Ziara slumped in relief. I stood and dusted myself off, casually slinging my staff into the straps on my back.
     "Thank you Karazhan. You truly are what we need." Ziara said, a new reverent tone in her voice. I scoffed. "I'm just the same as anyone else who wants to protect their home. I was just given powerful tools in which to do that. I'll send a message to Meridian as soon as I can just in case you end up facing trouble. I hate to think of you out here all alone." I grinned at the spy and she waved a hand.
     "All in a days work." She quipped. I was relieved to see her normal carefree spirit coming back.

     We said our farewells and I wasted no time in setting my feet back on the highway heading toward the Gramaton Station. Ziara had explained where it was and approximately how big their force was. As I strode down the dusty highway my mind drifted back to what I'd seen under the lake. Those runed pillars were quite the enigma. I'd love to explore more extensively at some point. Perhaps I could unravel their mystery and write my own research paper on it! I wonder what the scholars of Meridian would think of that.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

[Gameplay] IV: Dimensions

      Here's the page on the much-talked about feature of Rift that has all players obsessing over. Dimensions. Everyone in Rift loves dimensions. What are they? Player housing. Very detailed, very customizable, player housing! Dimensions were introduced into the game along with the Storm Legion expansion in November, 2012. That makes it two years ago now. Time flies I guess, when you're having fun!

     When you first create a new character, you start off with a tiny little tutorial dimension with a tiny little house and a few things to build with. You are introduced to this dimension, and all the details that explain how to do things in it, when you reach level 8. Whether Guardian or Defiant, this quest is the same. It is called Introduction: Dimensions, and has you travel to the second quest hub in your respective faction's starting zone, where you will talk about dimensions with an NPC. They will explain to you what a dimension is, how to get to it, and how to place an object down in it. Just pay attention to the step by step process explained by the questgiver, as well as with a bit of trial and error, and you're good to go!

     Think of a dimension as a play house. You buy/obtain/get rewarded with a "Dimension Key". Then you can obtain objects to place inside your house to decorate it and make it your own. You can literally do anything your imagination will dream up. Some people turn their dimension into an RP waystop. Others make puzzles and challenges for other players to enjoy, while still other players just use theirs as a stashing place for all the dimension items they gain as they level, and keep telling themselves they will get back to it later. (PS: this last one is me lol).

Here's a few important features related to dimensions to help you get started!
  1. Getting to your Dimension
    1. When you first gain a dimension, it will show up in your inventory as a little key. You can find it by typing the name in the search box, or if you know which bag it went into. Right click the key to add the dimension to your collection. Once it's part of your collection, you can change the name, change the privacy (who has permission to see and enter(just you, friends, guild, everyone)), and switch out between more than one if you have several. The main dimension that is "active" will be at the top. On the left hand side will be several other options, including dimensions that your other characters own, public dimensions, and your guild dimension, which can also be accessed via the guild tab.
    2. You can also set or modify restrictions on what other players are allowed to do in relations to your dimension. Options include: entering your dimension, being able to move items around in it, being able to put their own items down in it, and being able to pick up the items that are already in it. PS, if you check the last option, that will allow other players to enter your dimension and take your things. If you don't want that, make sure you are not enabling that option!
    3. If you happen to exit the Dimension window and want to get back to it, the default hotkey to gain access to your dimensions again is the "[" key. The right facing bracket by the letter P. You can change this to something different if you want in the key bindings window, but at this point in the game, almost every key on the keyboard is bound up by something so keep track of what you're switching around.
    4. Once you click on the dimension you want to visit, you'll get a brief loading screen before you're whooshed off to that little pocket of Telara. Depending on the dimension, and how customized it is, you can hear music, see star mapping, and view all kinds of really amazing architecture. My personal favorite is the 'Vengeful Sky' Dimension. It's very beautiful, although the constant crash of lightning can get annoying.
  2. Customizing your Dimension
    1. When you first enter your dimension, or any dimension really, you'll have a little window in the bottom right corner. The large center icon is a wrench. If you have permission to edit, as you always will with your own Dim, you can click on the wrench. This will alter the window into "Edit Mode", and allow you to start customizing your dim to your own liking. You'll have four icons beneath the large wrench. These are:
      1. Placing the item-allows you take an item from your bag that is labeled as a Dimension Item and set it down in your dimension. In order to do this, you left click the item and drag it onto the screen. If the spot that you dropped it in is not to your liking, it's very easy to change it! Once the item has been placed in the Dim, it will become visible, and from there you can change it's size, location, exact position, and even axis. The hotkey "1" will also place items.
      2. Rotating the item-once a dimension item has been placed inside the dimension, you'll have the option to rotate it to any degree you wish, in any direction. When clicking on the rotate icon, 3 colored circles will appear around it. By clicking and dragging the circle, you can then tilt the item, moving it upside down, to the side, or down. The hotkey for rotating the item is "2" on the keyboard.
      3. Resizing-if you want your item to be larger or smaller, it's very easy to change that. Just click on this 3rd icon, or use the hotkey "3" to get the resizing bar. There is a limit to how big or how small the item can get, but it's quite within the range of possibility. Just click and drag the green line to resize.
      4. Picking the item up-if you want to remove the item from your dimension, or want to place it somewhere else without moving it within the dimension window, you can click this option, or using the "5" hotkey. The item will appear back in your inventory, reset to its original size and position. Also, if you have more than one of the same item, this allows to for fast and efficient placing of all the items at once. Simply press CTRL+D and click on the item already placed and the exact size, rotation and position will be copied to any duplicate items you have in your inventory for easy placement. To select items in groups and multiples, press and hold down the SHIFT key while clicking on the items in question. If you want to deselect the item, hold down the ALT key and click the item in question.
      5. Your full list of items-if you want to know what exactly you've placed in your dimension so far, you can click on the little icon on the left side of the Edit Mode toolbar that looks like a notepad. This is the "Placed Items" window, and will show you every item that has been placed in your dimension. You can easily edit the items in the list by clicking on them. From this window you can also gain access to the "Moving Crate", where all your items will go if you want to pack them up and move them to a new dimension. Than when that new dimension is activated, you can unpack the items for easy movement.
    2. Visiting Dimensions
      1. There are as many dimensions (or more) as there are players out there, and some are so amazing that they simply MUST be viewed at least once! So go out and check out all the cool dims that other players have created. And don't forget to also visit your guild's dimension, and if you have permission, contribute some of your own items for its use.
        1. Simply open the dimension window with the "[" key and select which dimension you want to explore. For instance, if you want to investigate the guild dimension, click on the guild tab on the left. The name of the dimension and its stats will show up in in the middle of the window and you can enter it by clicking the little icon.
        2. The "public" tabs are dimensions that other players have created and made available for everyone to view and explore. The "all time" tab is all active dimensions, and you can click on the options in the table across the top to choose how you want to view them. For example, if you want the most popular dimension, click on the "+1's" option in the tabs. This let's you know how many players have "liked" that dimension. When you enter a Dim, you have the option in the Edit Mode window to click a "+1" which is then counted toward a grand total of "likes" that a dimension receives. The more likes, the more popular the dimension is going to be. This is tallied by "all time" and "weekly" which is the public tab found below the all time option in the left hand side of the dimension window. In order to enter these dimensions just click the "enter" button on the far right.
        3. When you want to exit the dimension, just click on the little glowing open door icon underneath your mini map, or the same icon located on the Edit Mode window on the bottom right.
      2. Other Icons
        1. In the Edit Mode window while in a dimension there are a few other icons you can make note of. The little icon shaped like a person will allow you to type in names of players to invite them to view your dimension personally. This is handy if say, you want your friends to be able to easily find your dimension, or a random stranger. The other icon is a little blue shopping cart. This will take you to the specific location in the Rift Store where you can purchase more dimension items, for money, credits, or reward currency.
        2. Underneath these sets of icons, on the left hand side, is a number and a column. The number inside the little house is the level of your dimension. You can increase it by clicking the Plus + icon. The more you upgrade your dimension, the more costly it becomes. Upgrading your dimensions to higher levels also increases the amount of items you can place in it. Each dimension comes with a set limit of items allowed in it. Upgrading ups that limit.
        3. To the right of the Dimension Level is the +1's button and the amount of "likes" your dimension has received. Of course, you can also like your own dimension too! :)
  3. Dreamweaving
    1. A bran new crafting profession that involves Dimensions! Dream Weavers can craft all manner of awesome new dimension items, like special lighting, SFX, abilities, and a ton more!
    2. The fuel for crafting dimension items is easy to get, but hard to part with: Artifacts. That's right, all those shinies can now be turned into fun dimension items, if you're willing to make the sacrifice. The rarer the artifact, the more potent the crafted item.
    3. On top of all the dimension items DW's can craft, they can also create new dimension keys that can't be found anywhere else! Be warned, it's an addicting profession, and can become quite costly if you are a dimension whore.
    4. If your not too much of a fan of dimensions, or run out of uses for your items, Dreamweavers can also craft things called Dream Orbs. These are armor enhancing baubles that everyone can use.
  4. Dimension Keys (ranked from highest number of items allowed to least)
    1. 2520 item limit
      1. Castle Fortune, Dormant Core, Edge of Infinity, Endless Eclipse, Everywhere, Greenscale's Crater, Infinity Gate, Izbithu's Demise, Mathosian Cascades, Moonriven Breach, Octus Monastery, Polyp Promenade, Shadow Scion, Shal Korva, The Black Garden, The Spawn Pit
    2. 2000 item limit
      1. Anywhere, Azcu'azg Oasis, Bogling Boggle, Dream Hive, Icewatch Outpost, Malluma Track, Moonshade Pools, Shoreward Island, Stone Flask Tavern, Tempest Island, Three Springs, Tulan, Vengeful Sky
    3. 1520 item limit
      1. Central Necropolis, Peaceful Hills, Edgestone Ridge, Faen's Retreat, Fort Zarnost Breach, Gloamwood Glen, Haunted Terminal, Karthan Ponds, Strozza Estate Villa, Temple of the Abandoned
    4. 1200 item limit
      1. Atia, Auditorium Carnos Plaza, Deepwood Cottage, Hailol, Harrow Crypt, Kestrels Cry Ravine, Pus Swamp, Scarlet Gorge Cliff, Stillmore Vale
    5. 1000 item limit
      1. Breach Chamber, Dolcega Valley, Empyrean Mill, Faering Woods, Fetid Planes, Plaza Aurentine, Stone Grove
    6. 400 item limit
      1. Bahralt's Ascent, Daezez Wastes, Sanguine Shores (beginner Defiant dimension), Tower Meadow, Warden's Point (beginner Guardian dimension)

     Dimensions are a crazy fun feature of Rift that can take hours and hours of your time and you'll still not be done! There's just so much potential for so much fun and the customization is crazy. You are only limited by what you can imagine building. So many talented Dimension creators out there have built truly inspiring things! If there's something you want to add to your dimension, but you can't find the item, or it doesn't exist, then make it yourself! Put items together until you form the item you want! You can craft so many new things simply by putting items together and merging them into the item you want. You can add music boxes, sky projectors to change the stars, the weather, the atmosphere, etc., vendors, pvp options, and a dozen other cool things! You can even add a barkeep! There are even players out there who have entire blogs and websites dedicated to dimensions! They give contests, rewards, challenges, and much more for viewers. If dimensions are something you are interested in, check out many other online resources and don't be afraid to dive in! There's no right or wrong with dimensions and the sky is literally the limit.

Other Links:
      Dimension Guide- This is not mine, but is an amazing resource for dimensions!
      List of Dimension Items- An amazing player has put together this extensive list of dimension items, truly amazing dedication and deserves all the respect he/she gets!

References: The above links helped me a lot in making this blog post, as well as spending hours in and out of various dimensions and reading everything I could find on the Rift forums about dimensions. I don't profess to knowing everything there is to know about dimensions at all, and they do not belong to me, but to Trion, who were awesome enough to bring player housing to life. All information contained on this page is a product of Trion's hard work, or based on the two links above. None of it is mine! :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

[Off Topic] Patch 2.7: Bindings of Blood

Lots of stuff happening with Bindings of Blood! The most exciting of course, being the new souls that Trion has been teasing us with these past few months!!!! Here's a list of the cool and exciting new features that will be available woot woot!

  • 4 New Souls
    • Arbiter- a tanking mage!
    • Liberator- a healing warrior!
    • Physician- a healing rogue!
    • Oracle- a support cleric!
  • New Special Capes!
    • Well, to be fair, these capes come only if you complete the questline for each of the Souls listed above to get the lowdown on their lore, backstory, introduction, and gameplay! It's super cool. Obviously you'd have to be a rogue to do the rogue quest, and a cleric to do the cleric one, etc. You can get some really nice exp, a good cape, cool achievements and titles, and other fancy gear for your beloved character by doing these quests! Also, if you wander around the questhub area, you can pick up awesome books on the souls.
  • Big Class Changes
    • A few of the major Souls that got flung into the air were Cabalist, Stormcaller (my favorite mage spec) and Justicar.
  • Tier 3 Raids
    • SL Tier 3 raids now available for Greenscale, Akylios, Laethys and Maelforge respectfully, with upgraded gear and new achievements!
  • Lots of events and activities!
    • There's going to be a lot of busy players who enjoy doing the weekly events in Rift this patch!
    • There's Unicornalia (a special unicorn-centric world event where you can collect sparkle particles to collect and turn in for a sparkly unicorn pet or whatever else catches your fancy)
    • Temporal Flux- the same daily quests with chances at getting a new rare Empyreal Walker mount (personally I think it's ugly, no thx!) and other gear on the exotic vendor NPC that will be next to the daily quests in your major city.
    • Mathosian Mayhem- Adds special rewards and rare drops to zone events throughout the time this event is going on. Moonshade and Droughtlands seem to be the chosen zones, Rift says.
    • Summerfest 2014! With a beautiful Ravensong mount to aim for!
  • Plenty of UI Changes and Improvements
    • The macro UI
    • Crafting UI
    • Achievs UI
    • Preview Item UI- woot, I can see mounts and pets now finally!
    • More wardrobe saving spots for many more customizable costumes!
    • Last Names! Finally we get to actually, officially, have a last name in Rift! This is my first time playing a game where I can pick a last name! Soooo excited beyond belief for this! It costs credits, but I'm fine with that, I haven't spent any of mine yet anyway. You can have multiple words and even spaces in your last name, and it doesn't count as a title either, so you can be "Planewalker Raeslyn Windrose of Akala" if you so desire!
    • All old raid and pvp currencies were converted into platinum to get rid of a messy and cluttered up currency window
    • New Warfront! Blighted Antechamber. Not released yet, but will be at a later date! A new capture the flag style warfront that should hopefully keep the pvpers satisfied.
    • Changes to the Ascend-A-Friend program! Now it's all on the Rift store, and instead of just being gifted each tier of item for how many peeps you Ascend, you gain little blue star coins that you collect for each person you Ascend and you can than use toward buying a small selection of items. I already have the hat, puppy, and flamey horse so I'm happy!
    • Improved Patron benefits for the patrons that were crying it wasn't worth it.
    • New Launch window for "Glyph", the host program for all of Rift's games now, since they seem to be stacking up quite a few lol

And that's all the major exciting fun stuff happening this patch! Not a content full patch, but still I'm sure there will be plenty of things to keep me busy. Now I just need to decide if I want to buy the Dream Soul Pack or not....meh, I'm sure I'll get it lol! I would love having new souls to play around with! :)

~Dark out

Sunday, May 04, 2014

[Raeslyn's Story] 3.9: Secrets in the Pines

      A cold grey dawn was just peeking over the treetops when I finally made it back to Gloamwood Pines. At least I don't have to worry about not staying fit and in shape while here, jeez. After getting instructions to the medic's quarters, I quickly wasted no time in making my way there. I was feeling quite irked from all the run-around I kept getting in this accursed forest and I pitied the unlucky fool who decided to be difficult with me. At this point, I was definitely looking forward to doing some damage. When I climbed the stairs to the little dwelling, I wasn't very surprised to see Drusk Nightclaw bent over, examining a few morbidly slashed up bodies of unfortunate citizens that had been neatly set out on the balcony. How disrespectful. He straightened up and waved as I stomped by, but I only spared him an annoyed glare. The doctor's dwelling was small and simple and smelled like old blood and death. Tables lined the walls in rows with enough room to inspect whatever happened to be laid on them. In this case, more slashed victims. Doctor Oswell himself was a tall Mathosian in a dark brown robe with strange, darker stains across the front that I didn't dwell on overmuch. He had a rough patch of facial hair and looked exhausted and more than a little concerned.

     I stopped in the middle of the room, cleared my throat loudly for effect, and waited till he turned around and blinked in surprise. "Excuse me, but what's actually going on here?" I demanded sharply. The man opened his mouth and I held out a hand. "Nu uh, before you even say anything, just know that I've been to Tearfall Run, where I had an interesting experience involving werewolves and your everyday, innocent-looking Gloamwood Pines citizens. So think of something good before you start blathering lies." Oswell's mouth pursed into a scowl and he looked shiftily down at the dead body he'd been examining. I placed my hands on my hips, above my two main daggers, and tapped my foot for emphasis. "Well?" I demanded, when the silence extended too long. Doctor Oswell just shook his head helplessly. I growled. "Come on, give me some real answers!" I barked. "I want to know what on Telara is actually going on here in Gloamwood, because I feel like I've been led around by the nose like a fool on pointless little tasks to keep me out of the real problem. Why are Gloamwood citizens turning into werewolves? Why are they reacting violently to any light, rather then just moonlight? Who is this Hag everyone seems terrified of? Why are certain families under horrible curses while others are not?" As I fired each question, Oswell flinched, still not meeting my eyes, and he began nervously twisting his fingers.

     I waited a few more moments before impatience got the best of me. I was really heartily sick of all the secrets and misleading information. If he won't volunteer information, it was time to make him. I strode across the room, my boots making hard thocking sounds on the wood. I stopped and pretended to study a neatly arrayed shelving unit flush against the wall with multiple jars of carefully labeled bones and organs, as well as a few plaques. Oh my, this looks important. I could feel Oswell's eyes on the back of my head so I half turned and raised a long eyebrow at him.

     "Anything to say, doc?" I asked sarcastically. The man opened his mouth, than glanced at the door nervously. I shrugged, and "accidentally" pushed against the shelf, knocking half the contents to the floor. The doctor jumped, giving a small desperate sound of dismay and half lunged toward me.

    "Hey!" He finally yelled, his voice high and quivery. "Hey, what are you doing? Someone, help!" He didn't say it too loudly though, I noticed. Yep, he was definitely hiding something. After the sounds of the crash had settled, I turned and stared at him again. "Got any answers for me yet?" I demanded. He edged toward me, licking his lips nervously.

     "Please, have mercy Ascended! It was never my intent to falsify my findings! I was simply doing what I was told. was the mayor! Furtho Dragomir made me do it! He made me swear to keep any hint of what kind of attack it was, or even any theories, to myself. Go yell at him instead, you mad woman! He was the one who had a duty to the people. Just leave me alone." He was practically whining and I glared.

     "So that beast in Greybriar Hollow wasn't the culprit behind the attacks after all. I knew it!" I said, more to myself. Oswell nodded eagerly. "Yes, that's right. Furtho Dragomir had me conceal the truth-I don't know why. If it's truth you want, convince the mayor to give it to you. Of course, his bodyguards might object to your....methods of questioning." He glanced at the mess at the floor in abject misery. I snorted. Maybe next time he shouldn't let others pressure him into withholding important information about an investigation. I gave a brief mutter of thanks and walked out. Drusk was still there poking at the dead bodies and gave curious looks between me and the door. I just shrugged.

     At the base of the spiral staircase that led to the mayor's house, I sighed. I really, really didn't want to go up there again. Just thinking about it made my mouth dry. Come on Rae, if you can slay riftspawn, you can surely climb some stairs...right? Halfway up, as I carefully avoided looking over the edge, I heard running feet from above. Around the curve of the stairs barreled a large man with a wicked looking sword. I cautiously moved to the side, being careful not to get too close to the edge. Maybe it has nothing to do with me. I'm sure there was just some disturbance he needed to take care of.

     "Halt! Lay down your weapons rogue, and come with me, on behalf of the mayor of Gloamwood Pines." Well, that answered that question. The man may have a sword, but he was hardly on par with my augmented skills with a dagger, and after a few spins and parries, I was able to cleanly knock him unconscious with a clout to the head. He was just following orders after all. More feet on wood warned that I'd soon have more company and I rolled my eyes. "Quick, bar the doors!" Came a loud shout. Ok, this was getting ridiculous. It wasn't like I was coming to assassinate the guy. I just wanted to know why he'd want to cover up the lycanthropy curse on Gloamwood and where it originated from so I could see if I could find a way to break it. I concentrated and forced myself to slip into the pocket between reality and the planes, becoming indistinguishable from the natural shadows that lay on the stairs. Two guards thundered past me, waving their weapons enthusiastically. I quickly made my way up the stairs before the strain of holding myself in shadow became too much. The door was indeed barred, and another guard stood firmly in front of it. Since I was already invisible to the untrained eye, it was simplicity itself to sneak up on the guard and daze him, knocking the bigger man to the floor with a kick to the soft portion behind his knee. As he staggered, I smashed the pommel of my offhand dagger into his temple, and he was down for the count. After that, I put my skill at lockpicking (something I'd picked up during my mischief-causing days at the college, much to my mentor's dismay) to use and was able to get the door open after half a minute of muttered elvish swearing.
     Just as I swung open the door, the two bodyguards from earlier ran up around the curve in the stairs and I waved at them cheekily before slamming the thick ironwood door closed and barring it with a slab of timber. A solid thud hit the door a second later, and I stepped backward in surprise, cautiously watching the door a moment to make sure it held.

     Turning around, I saw Dragomir standing stiffly by a shelf of books, looking like he was headed to his execution. I considered threatening him with just that, but decided the poor guy already had enough problems, so I smoothly sheathed my daggers and walked closer. Dragomir cringed back slightly, and then his shoulders slumped.

     "Alright, enough. I know you want answers."

     "You bet your lying heart I do!" I replied. I waited as he gave a gusty sigh and seated himself behind his desk, shuffling papers in a vain attempt to stall. I stared aggressively.

     "Very well, yes I told Doctor Oswell to mislead you. But only so he could work in secret to cure the afflicted! If it worked, you needn't have even known. It was our problem, not an outsider's. Sadly, his efforts have failed. Those afflicted with the werewolf curse are the old families of Gloamwood, cursed by the Hag for desecrating the forest. If the outside world knew of our curse, they would bring pitchforks and righteous magics down on us! My deception was only to protect the people from persecution. Now that you know our secret though, my only hope is that you will aid us in trying to find a cure. The afflicted werewolves aren't at fault here! I know we are close, but we just can't find a viable mix that works. Gwyddon Duskenleaf is the one leading the research. Please, I beg you, help him to help us! Before the Guardians in Sanctum find out. I don't want more of my people to be lost." He stood and looked almost he was going to get down on his knees and beg.

     I held my stern, unyielding pose a moment longer, before relaxing and nodding. "Of course I'll help you find a cure. I'm not some inquisitor sent here to judge the worthiness of your people and condemn them as creatures of darkness simply because they were cursed. And we can find a cure. All curses can be lifted. We just need to find it. If I had known this information earlier however, they might have already been cured by now, and lives might have been spared. It was stupid and pointless to hold this information from me." I glared. "There's nothing else pertinent to this situation that I need to know about, right?" I asked. Dragomir hesitated, before firmly shaking his head. "Good, there better not be!" With that, I spun around and unbarred the door. Immediately, the bodyguards swarmed into the room, swords all pointed at my tiny form. I held out my hands and raised an eyebrow.

     "Hello boys. What took you so long?" I quipped. Behind me, the mayor sighed. "Enough! Do not sully my halls with blood!" The guards backed off reluctantly, looking like they would dearly love to sully the place. Ha, let them try. Obviously they'd never tangled with an Ascended before. Well, not officially, I amended as I noticed one of them had a large bump on his temple. "Raeslyn is apprised of the situation and will be assisting us in finding a cure for Gloamwood'" The mayor continued. "Do not hinder her, and provide any aid she requires in her task." The henchmen did not look happy at that announcement, and I waggled my fingers at them while displaying a cheeky smile.

    Right, time waits for no Ascended! Or maybe it does? Who knows! I moved through the group of bodyguards, who parted reluctantly to let me through, and carefully made my way down the long, winding stairs again. Seriously, if I have to go up these stairs again...well...I just wouldn't. I traipsed all the way back through town, eyeing the townsfolk sidelong. Was that woman washing her linens secretly a werewolf? How about that man with the shifty eyes leaving the tavern? I couldn't tell a normal ordinary mortal human from a Hag-cursed werewolf, which was definitely troubling.

     "Alright, I'm in the know on the werewolf conspiracy, whatcha got?" I said first thing when I entered Gwyddon's apothecary store.

     "Oh, hello Raeslyn. How fares your morning?" The elf greeted me, as if I hadn't spoken so curtly. "Oh you know," I responded. "Exciting. Chased by guards, smashed some shelves, threatened the mayor, discovered a secret about an ancient curse. Still haven't found out who this Hag is though." I mused the last, rubbing my chin in exaggerated thoughtfulness. Duskenleaf looked a little taken aback.
     "Don't worry," I added, in case he was worried. "I don't plan to do any of that to you. I just want to know what you've discovered so far on how to cure the lycanthropy curse, because in case you didn't realize, tomorrow night is a full moon, and I for one don't intend to find out if an Ascended can become a werewolf. Could be kind of hard to explain to my boss." Technically, I didn't consider either Cyril or Shyla my boss, but it just sounded better that way.
      There was a long pause as he apparently needed a moment to absorb my words. I resisted the urge to tell him to hurry up.

     He ended up having to explain everything to me twice, in the simplest terms, because let's me honest, I'm more of a physical, wack it with a stick and hope it works kind of gal rather then a read the instruction manual, carefully research the results, and perform studious experimentation type. And even after his explanation, the most I cared to remember was: he tried everything, it didn't work, now we're screwed. My only option would be maybe to contact Laria again, since she was the spirit of the wood, and would know more than anyone who would be throwing around lycanthropy curses. Hopefully. So I left Duskenleaf in his shop doing what he does best. Which was a whole lot of boring stuff, as far as I could tell. I needed to be actively doing something, while he completed his research on his next attempt for a cure, so I informed him of my intention to visit Laria again, and headed off for the nearest altar to summon her. Plus, I needed a peaceful moment away from the heavy darkness that seemed to have sank its claws into Gloamwood. And wasn't letting go without a pretty epic fight, apparently. Well, bring it on, Rae likes a challenge.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

[Lore] XXVIII: Mages

     It was before the Age of Dragons that the initial magic users among the High Elves began to study and exploit weaknesses in the elemental forces, harnessing and redirecting them against invading forces. This dangerous art had dire consequences, since a loss of concentration by an elementalist (the first mages were elementalists) could end in immediate and painful death. Despite these risks, the elementalists were effective at turning the tide of the Blood Storm War. Their art kept them away from the front lines and their minions inflicted heavy losses on the planar hosts invading Telara. Today this arcane art still flourishes across Telara and remains a key factor in holding at bay the numerous enemies of our world.

     Mages are the purest spellcasters. They do not entreat or bargain, or bow before Spirits and their patron gods to gain power and spells, although they may train and study for many years to learn the ability to summon weak-minded elemental beings from the planes to aid them in battle. They do not evoke or revere the holy light or wield their magic with righteousness as say a Cleric would. The cunning, strength, and agility that warriors and rogues possess hold no interest for Mages. They seek the purity of absolute elemental knowledge. Knowledge untainted by the glory of following an unknowable source, or the primal fury that drives their other magic-wielding brethren such as Clerics and Primalists. Mages don't bargain for their magic, or compel. They don't call upon a mighty spirit or ancestor to bless them in battle. They also spend much of their free time studying and seeking out further magical knowledge, which leaves them vulnerable in a fight that would rely on brute force or skill of a physical weapon. Magic is a tool, or a gift. A mage must never forget its fundamental nature.

     Magic touches and is drawn from the elemental planes that surround Telara and it weakens the barriers that keep the material and the immaterial separate. It weakens the laws of reality, even for a moment, to bend such powerful forces to their will. Of course, all active combatants who study the art of war know some form of magical aid. Clerics use magic to heal and support allies, and even to distract powerful foes unto themselves in order for their allies to safely concentrate on bringing that enemy down. Rogues can call on planar magic to grace their blades with added strength and speed, or to allow them to sift through the pockets between reality, gifting some rogues with the ability to "blink" from place to place, or become invisible to the untrained eye, or to coat their weapons with devastating magical ointments. Warriors can spend years with a master to learn the art of controlling entropy and death magic, becoming what is called a Reaver, or can gain knowledge in the opposite direction and wield the holy power of a patron god or spirit as a Paladin. A primalist can call on the magical potential and fury of the natural world around them, drawing upon the very life and air that we breathe to devastate foes and heal allies. But none can master the elements and the arcane like a Mage can. If you want something blown up, get yourself a Saboteur. If you want a powerful healer to protect you in battle and cure any magical curse or illness, find a Cleric. If you need someone quietly assassinated in the dead of the night, try a Rogue. But if you want wide areas of devestation, powerful earth shattering spellwork and thunderous storms of ice, burning waves of fire, dancing lightning, or the darkest of dark magics performed, best to call a Mage.

     The path of a mage is one which uses knowledge and magical skill to overcome reality itself. Mages learn the rules of reality so they can break them. They touch upon a power that doesn't care either way about morality, factions, good and evil and pays no attention to the laws that govern the univers (Multiverse?). To be a Mage is to impose personal will over the universal laws of nature. The more strong-willed the mage, the powerful their spells.
     Mages cast their spells by using their trained magical knowledge and innate talent as well as experience The more experienced and well trained the mage, the more devastation they bring to the field. Most mages learn new spells by being taught the incantation and instruction by a more skilled master mage, or by reading and copying texts in spellbooks into their own spellbook. A master mage can potentially have the ability to create their own spell if they so desired, as their knowledge and skill of the properties of magic is quite extensive.

     Mages can assemble a broad and versatile arsenal of spells. Many mages see themselves, not only as spellcasters, but as philosophers, inventors, scholars, and scientists. Many of the magitech researchers in Meridian are also accomplished mages and many of the scholars and seekers of ancient history are proficient in elemental magic.

     A mage typically needs to rest and eat healthy food after casting spells. The more advanced the spell and the longer the mage has been casting, the more exhausted the mage will become. An Ascended mage gains more strength of body and mind as well as stamina due to their unique status, and magic drain doesn't affect them as strongly, but an Ascended mage can still exhaust themselves into a stupor if they draw on too much magic at a time. That would require a lot of magic casting though and an Ascended would recover quickly. They would be vulnerable to attack while weakened, however, and would be just as easily overcome as a mortal mage if attacked at this time, with the difference being an Ascended would be able to essentially cheat death and resurrect themselves without the need for a ritual or lengthy and risky resurrection spell. When the need calls for a certain spell to be cast, the mage will allow her thoughts to retreat and will focus completely on that spell and the trigger word(s) needed to cast it, and it might look like the mage is in a trance while casting. When she has the spell she requires in mind, she will say or motion the trigger. All words, ingredients, and motions must be exact and carried through or else the mage could potentially miscast, misfire, or cast an entirely different spell by accident.

     Mages can specialize in one or more of the 11 "schools" of magic:
  1. Pyromancer-Fire Mage
  2. Stormcaller-Weather Mage
  3. Frostkeeper-Healer specialist of Ice and Earth Magics
  4. Necromancer-Reanimating magics, control of the undead, dark magic
  5. Chloromancer-Healer specialist of Nature and Life Magics
  6. Harbinger-Battle Mage
  7. Elementalist-Elemental Summoner/Conjurer
  8. Warlock-Entropy Mage, death magic, life draining magic
  9. Dominator-Mind control, transmutation magics, enchanter
  10. Arbiter- Defensive Mage, uses shields to protect others from damage
  11. Archon-Evocation Mage, steals the strength of others to benefit allies and self
     Some of these schools of magic match better together then others and compliment and boost each other, whereas others are so opposite that a mage might find herself struggling with skill and learning while trying to juggle such contrasting specializations. While it is not easy to switch one's specialization, it is possible to learn a new school of magic, at the loss of the old one. There is only so much arcane knowledge a mage's natural font of magic can hold.

     Often, mages are singled out and trained young, and in some cultures it is considered quite a privilege and honor to the family or household for a child to be chosen as an apprentice in the arcane. Karazhan is one such mage who was gifted to one of the many spirit temples in the illustrious city of Atia on the Ember Isles to study under a master mage. Most of the powerful and renowned mages come from the long lived races, as it takes many years to master and harness the energies of the Rifts and the raw elemental magics swirling throughout Telara, but it is not unheard of for a Mathosian or Eth to rise in the ranks, as their grasp of the arcane and elemental magic is quick and their ability to learn and study knowledge is outmatched.

References: I make no claim to any of this information! Rift mage info like the classes and the Planes all belong to the awesome Trion team! Details on magic, spellcasting, and battle info were taken from a World of Warcraft Roleplay website that I've forgotten the link to. But again, that does not belong to me either!