The Cast List: Introducing Chadam of Star Wars: The Old Republic

I confess, there are certain classes/professions in the Star Wars setting that do not appeal to me at all.  The top of that list is the Bounty Hunter.  Blame it on Boba Fett backlash; I always felt that he was overrated-sure, he had the cool armor, but he needed Vader and a heap of Imperials to get Han Solo (and of course, Solo was my favorite character at the time, so that didn’t help), and then he wound up killed by a blind smuggler with a pike and a Sarlacc.  So it drove me somewhat nuts that the Expanded Universe for Star Wars had to find a way to dig him back out of being digested for a thousand years and overcompensate.  When Star Wars Galaxies was a thing, my opinion didn’t improve when a heap of content was thrown into the whole “Jedi vs Bounty Hunter” thing they had going there, at the expense of other professions; that said, I didn’t really have a big issue with them actually, you know, hunting bounties-it was what they did!  If only the Smugglers in that game had been able to smuggle as THAT was what THEY were supposed to do, but that ship is long, long gone.

So, I have some prejudices against Bounty Hunters as a class.  That’s probably why this class was the next-to-last one I did in my work to level up all eight classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  But hell, I’m a completionist sometimes, and so I put together my future Grand Champion of the Great Hunt.

You can run, but you can’t hide. A job’s a job.

Chadam started out simple enough:  I wasn’t going to go out of my way to have him kill and eat kittens Dark-Side, but at the same time, he wasn’t going to be the nice guy.  I wanted him greedy, but with a code:  he did the job, and he got paid.  He would move heaven and earth to make it happen.  Not an evil character, but not exactly a role model.  Smarter than a thug, but not interested in the bigger picture or deep philosophy.  In other words, someone well suited for the fringe and not comfortable in the halls of Imperial power.  (Boy, did that go south on him…)

In appearance, my first goal was to use a different body type.  For those unfamiliar with the game, there are four body types for each gender.  I tend to use body type 2 for my males; fit, athletic, strong guys.  But I wanted Chadam to have a more imposing presence, so I went up a notch-someone who makes you think of a space marine.  As far as species went, well, I was still going for a wide variety among my characters, so I went with a Chiss, a popular Expanded Universe species who recently got canonized with the on-screen debut of Grand Admiral Thrawn.  His out fit look varied a lot during my gameplay; for a long while, he used a sort of turban-styled headgear and whatever mission-reward armor he could get.  Eventually, I was able to get a damaged set of Triumverate armor off of GTN (damaged in appearance, not in stats).  Later I picked up the restored version of that armor.  The icing on the cake, though, was the final helmet I used.  At one point, I looted a Sith Warrior helmet that was just too good to ignore.  I thought that a mildly terrifying helmet would suit Chadam just fine for his work, so I finally settled on the look shown on this post.

I went with the Mercenary advanced class, and went with the pyrotech discipline.  Because plasma fires are fun.  The Merc was chosen because I didn’t really want him to be the Boba-lite kind of character (well, I sure blew that one, when you look at the image above).  The dual guns made him an amusing mirror for my Smuggler main, who was took the Gunslinger path.

I actually got to like Chadam as I played him.  Sure, he had no problem shooting and executing people he was hired to off, but he wasn’t big on collateral damage.  He was interested in a fast credit-got along great with Gault-but Mako helped keep him more or less ethically honest.  He had no issues taking advantage of advertising-there are two moments in the game where a bounty hunter can effectively advertise himself to the galaxy at large, and man, he did it.  He came to respect the Mandalorian code, though, and his struggles tended to come in when that ideal came into conflict with his desire for ready cash.  The result of this all meant he was mildly Light-Side in nature-there were a heap of Dark-Side choices that kept him fairly balanced, not the least of which involved the reason why we got a Chancellor Saresh in power in the Galactic Republic.

The character completed the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, but I have yet to run him through the Eternal Throne (just like in my leveling work, the BH is near the bottom of the list).  He knelt before Valkorion not for any desire of power, but because he saw what happened to the last guy who didn’t kneel; in other words, sometimes the best thing you can do is lie to the guy with all the power and hope you get another, better opportunity.  Which, honestly, he sort of did, since Arcann chose that moment to go after his father-but as a result, Valkorion keeps harping on that initial kneel-down, and Chadam only wishes he had an option to say to the dead Emperor, “Hey, you know I was only doing that to buy some time, right?”  I think the worst thing for him in his future isn’t the possibility of taking the Eternal Throne-it’s that he’s going through all this and not getting paid.  (I do seem to recall him having Gault funnel some of that loot from that treasure run into profitable enterprises, though.)

I can safely say that while the Bounty Hunter is still not on my list of favorite character types in the setting, Chadam is still a character I enjoy; sometimes, it’s not about “good” and “evil”; it’s about having credits and not having credits, and the things you will or won’t do to get them.

 

The Cast List: Introducing Bill (of Borg) of Star Trek Online

I promised a non-tactical based captain for the next installment of the Cast List (for the Star Trek Online guys, anyway), and I deliver!

So, who assimilated whom?

Bill was either the second or third character I made for Star Trek Online, and I made him for one reason only (among many others): I had a lifetimer sub from pre-launch, and since I had the ability to create a Borg captain, I was damned well gonna make one!

Bill was my second Starfleet guy, and I was already going with a pattern.  My initial Starfleet captain-Walt-was a Tactical captain flying a cruiser; I was interested in mixing and matching ship types with captains, so I wanted Bill to do that sort of thing as well.  So I made him a Science captain, and I threw him at the Escort class of ships, eventually winding up in a Defiant variant.  Back then, there weren’t nearly as many ships as there are now at the upper levels-and I keep considering finding a new ship for him, but keep deciding against it.  Unlike what you see in the picture to the left, Bill’s ship-the Integral-is loaded with Borg tech; in fact, he was the first guy I went into the effort for to get the three-piece set of Borg technology from the original Special Task Forces related to the Borg, before Reputation became a thing, and I have the visuals enabled, so there’s an awful lot of Borg attached to the hull.

Originally, the character of Bill was designed to wear the old late 23rd century uniforms, as originally seen in The Wrath of Khan.  Thanks to some really stupid moves from Cryptic/Atari in the earliest days of the game, they attached that costume code to retail items to promote the game; not a big deal, honestly, except they had the brilliant idea to just use a single code instead of unique codes.  This meant that it only took one person out there to put the code out into the public domain.  (This is why the devs eventually just made the damned thing free to claim; I’m not sure what the status on it now is, though.)  Full disclosure:  I saw the code out there, and I used it-but I felt guilty and purchased a DVD that had the code in it to salve my conscience.  It was arguably my favorite Star Trek uniform that’s ever been on the screen, so I really wanted a chance to use it.

That made it all the more ironic when, eventually, I decided to update the uniforms to what’s on the picture above.  Of course, that’s sort of hard to tell, since my primary bridge crew is…well, let’s go back and do some story time.  Early on, when those aforementioned Borg task forces came out, word came that you could get a Borg science bridge officer as part of an achievement.  This had me dreaming of one day, perhaps, having an all-Borg away team.  It never happened, but I did the next best thing.  Over time, I got the veteran reward of an android bridge officer, and thanks to some circumstance that I can’t even recall, I got a holographic science officer.  So every member of my team is, in some way, technological and mechanical in nature.  Three Borg, an android and a hologram.  How’s that for a crazy bridge crew?

I didn’t have much in the way of story concept behind the character.  There were a significant number of lifetimers at launch, and so there was a lot of liberated Borg floating around as captains-not to mention the even larger pool of people who had access to the Borg Bridge Officer at the same time.  Fortunately, there were a couple of places where one could locate liberated Borg if you look back at Trek history.  There was the Borg Cooperative, for example, introduced in Star Trek Voyager, and liberated drones from Unimatrix Zero from the same series.  I decided, though, to go with a different branch-one freed by the original liberated Borg, Hugh, introduced during Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I figured that Hugh would have definitely become the Big Deal Leader guy as the first to be freed and returned to thinking as an individual, and wouldn’t have stopped with the ship he wound up on-or simply stayed on that nameless planet that the android Lore manipulated a bunch of liberated drones.  Hugh struck me as the kind of guy who could create a revolution.  (In the Delta Rising expansion, in fact, you can encounter Hugh, who seems to have thrown in with the Cooperative).  Anyway, given Hugh’s simple name, I figured that other liberated Borg who had been freed by Hugh would adopt similar names-thus, Bill.

The other pair Borg on the bridge officer crew don’t have as fancy names, still choosing to use designations like Seven of Nine did.  I named the hologram “Hertz”, a play on words for a doctor for both his holographic nature and a pun on what he treats.  The android has a more normal name, “Jen”.

Bill hangs around in the mid 50s as far as level goes, and represents a different method of leveling.  Back in the day, STO had exploration missions that were performed in star clusters.  They were basically the STO version of City of Heroes’ radio missions (or newpaper missions if you were a villain), a randomly generated mission choosing from a pool of maps, opponents, and goals.  Don’t bother looking for them now; they don’t exist anymore.  I still haven’t forgiven the devs for that stunt.  Anyway, Bill leveled up almost exclusively via exploration missions in the various star clusters; the only exceptions were the tutorial missions and the then-new Feature Episodes.  I haven’t really put much more into Bill since the early days, but I would suspect that if I were to continue to develop him further, I’d be tempted to push exclusively through Foundry missions-the next best thing to the old exploration missions.  The quality might vary on those dramatically, but then, people had no problem using the Mission Architect for their characters in CoH-why should I have a problem doing the same with the Foundry?  (Admittedly, a significant portion of the folks using MA had special “grinding” missions to do nothing but power level themselves, and I’d be shocked if similar didn’t exist in the Foundry….)

That sort of puts me in mind to consider a new series of posts that center on Foundry missions.  I’d been considering the idea of a new post series on STO from the Klingon side (much like I did with Rick Masters and the Temporal Agent angle), but worried that the experience would have a lot of repetition thanks to the tripling up of Starfleet missions to include Klingon and Romulan sides for the Cardassian/Borg/Undine content, not to mention the shared content for Nimbus and the ramp-up to the Iconian War.  But the Foundry offers some possibilities here.  (The con of this idea is that, well, Klingons don’t get as much nice stuff in anything, and that includes people putting time into developing missions for the Klingons with the Foundry.  Still….)

Anyway.  Bill’s in a state where I’m fairly happy, although there is one area that I sort of keep thinking about developing further.  I don’t do much in the way of crafting in the game, but Bill had been my main crafter in the beginning.  Crafting has gone through various iterations, but when the new system came in-the current system, that is-most of my crafting effort went to my Starfleet main character.  Buuuuut…Bill’s prior experience entitled him to a special crafting duty officer that would allow him to craft AEGIS equipment, one of the early starship sets back in the day.  It seems like it’s a damned shame to not have Bill work up the ability to craft stuff that makes use of that officer-and thus, the AEGIS equipment-for use later on.  Food for thought.

The Cast List: Introducing Zor’venrel of Star Wars: The Old Republic

The Cast List departs the final frontier for a little bit, to take a peek at a galaxy far, far away-particularly since I’ve spent a little time on this character to continue getting my primary characters through the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion.

I’m a dagger in your back/An extra turn on the rack/I’m the quivering of your heart/A stabbing pain, a sudden start! (Lyrics by Voltaire)

I will confess that it’s tricky playing an evil character sometimes in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Some of those dark side choices can be pretty dark sometimes.  But ignoring them just isn’t in me-there are bad people in the galaxy, and the Sith, by and large, are some of the worst.  All the same, if they’re totally evil, they become a bit of a caricature.  Fortunately, the story of the Sith Inquisitor gave me an out:  it allowed me to give a Sith one redeemable trait.  In this case, as a former slave, and an alien, he took serious issue with slavers and anti-alien people.  Of course, since he was a Sith, he tended to be hard on said people….

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Zor’venrel was, honestly, a potential ancestor for one of my Star Wars Galaxies characters, Zhaven Rel.  Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but the possibility meant that the character was going to be a Twi’lek, which was going to do wonders for the character in an Empire that was iffy about aliens in general.  I’d designed the character during closed beta, and even did a good portion of Korriban with the character during testing-and certain conversational choices I made gave him a new nickname in my mind:  “Darth Jerkass”.  (You can thank Overseer Harkun for that one; he more or less provoked the trollish nature of this character.)

When it came to dark/light side choices, I went dark-side hard.  There were a few moments where I took light side choices-he remembers his past as a slave, and wishes his life hadn’t started that way-but for the most part, he was out for himself.  Once he got to the Dark Council, he grasped its power with both hands; he never let go of the bound spirits he took towards his rise to power; he willingly knelt before Emperor Valkorion in the hopes of getting more power (and seeing Darth Marr get curb-stomped probably might have affected that choice); and in the end, he recently completed the Knights of the Eternal Throne storyline to rule the Eternal Alliance as its new Emperor.  He romanced Lana Beniko, who may be the one person he won’t sacrifice for more power, and killed off pretty much everyone who has betrayed him…or even really annoyed him (I cut a swath through the KotET characters; nobody got away with it as far as he was concerned…), and sacrificed the more useless of his companions when he had to make a choice.  No, Zor’venrel was not a nice guy, and it showed.

For his appearance, I went with the red-skinned Twi’lek, as a nod towards my former SWG spy, but I left the option on to show Dark Side Corruption; on this character, in addition to the veins and eyes, it paled the formerly rich red of his skin to a pale appearance, nearly leeching out all of the color.  The robes he got early on in his career looked like they really suited the character, so I maintained that appearance pretty much throughout his career; I’ve mixed and matched gloves and lower robes, and I may still keep doing so-but the chest armor was perfect.  While I’d originally used red crystals for his saber blade, I liked the look of the dark core/violet blade lightsaber crystals I’d gotten from some promotion or other, and used those ever onward.

It isn’t a stretch to say that Zor’venrel is the most evil character I’ve got in the Old Republic.  He’ll troll his enemies before killing them, kick a sick puppy, and drop a moon on a single enemy if he could be sure it would do the job.  His moments of light are few and far between, and I’d hate to meet him in a lighted room, let alone a dark alley.  He’s the villain of his story, and he’d have it no other way!

The Cast List: Introducing Venkoreth th’Reklaw of Star Trek Online

When one looks at the title logo for this blog, one can generally see a pattern in the characters I create-at least in appearance.  It’s also not hard to see that one of those characters doesn’t quite fit.  The story behind that is the story of Venkoreth th’Reklaw.

Speaking of balding, bearded characters….

When Star Trek Online was first announced, back before the day when Cryptic took over development, there was a lot of speculation as to just what the game was going to be like.  I kept saying that my plan was to create an Andorian redshirt (eg. Security); redshirts, of course, were infamous in the Original Series for being killed, often before the first commercial-indeed, sometimes before the opening credits!  It was to these unsung heroes that I decided I’d dedicate my character in the game to, instead of being a captain or one of those other big positions.  Well, time passed, new developers came on board, and what we got was very different than what I had envisioned.  I had a character in mind for the game as Cryptic revealed it, but since I was thinking of captains, I put the Andorian concept aside.

Almost.

What I did instead was take advantage of one of the shining details of the game:  the ability to create your bridge officers.  And that was the beginnings of this character.

Of course, developers being developers, they promised the moon on any number of occasions, and one of those was that they wanted to eventually allow max level captains to “spin off” characters from their bridge crew, promote them to captains of their own ships.  How they could have gotten this to work would possibly have been a coding nightmare, and in the end, it never happened.  When I figured that detail out (it didn’t take as long as you’d think), I decided that, “Gee, since I can save the appearance of the character on a file, why don’t I just make a new captain based on that?”  It wouldn’t allow the character to jump right into a higher tier ship right away, but I was certain I could push him to significant levels in a reasonable amount of time.  The final push that convinced me to make that move was the release of Andorian starships on the C-Store; who better to command one such ship than an Andorian captain?  And since I had an Andorian concept already just sitting there, well…!

The story of the character was tied to that of my primary character, Walter Frost.  Venkoreth-or Koreth for short (aren’t I clever?)-was Walt’s earliest friend in the Academy; during his cadet cruise, the Klingons (who were still at war with the Federation at the start of the game’s episodic timeline) managed to blow up the ship he was on, and he was one of the lucky few to be in an escape pod before it went up.  Damaged, he was still asked to serve with the newly put-in-command Lieutenant Frost.  If I had gone on to write any other fiction on this beyond what I’d done prior to the game’s launch, I’d have had him get his confidence back-a definite swagger-and eventually be promoted off of Frost’s chain of command and onto a new ship-a retrofitted Andorian Kumari-class starship called the Zihl.  I figured that since these archaic ships were in the game, and since the devs pointed out they were updated versions of these archaic ships, I’d run with it:  the Andorian Imperial Guard kept old shipyards with the specs dormant just in case the Federation fell.  But wiser heads realized, “Why don’t we just crank out these ships, since we seem to be losing ships by the dozens?”  The ship makes use of higher end Andorian phasers/torpedoes, and I felt that Koreth’s command would be a sort of cavalry ship-the kind that you see that shows up “just in time” when other ships are at their direst need.  Koreth himself was a tactical captain as well-yes, I’m aware that thus far, all three of my Cast List captains are tactical.  I promise my next one will be a science or engineering captain.

The uniforms, I’d decided early on, would be more of a darker coloration, reflecting a more military posture for this ship and crew.  I did maintain the traditional three-color set for Starfleet branches, with red showing command/tactical, gold for engineering/operations, and blue for sciences/medical.  The difference was that instead of being the primary colors, I used the colors only on the trim of the outfits.  I wanted a couple of “outsiders” for the main crew, too, so I used my pre-order Borg officer as one, and a Jem’Hadar from the Dominion arc as another.  This helped confirm for me the “rough and ready” nature of this crew.  I didn’t get exotic with the weapons on the Zihl:  I saved up Dilithium and grabbed upgraded Andorian phasers (mostly cannons, but I slapped a turret in as well) to stick with the whole Andorian warship theme.

Koreth got his push, and I managed to get him to max level in the game-and while he’s not a main character of mine, he IS pretty much the same sort of guy as most of the balding, bearded guys in my blog logo, because heaven forbid I play an MMO where I don’t have a character with that sort of appearance.  I even got clever with the name:  go ahead and spell out the last part of his name in reverse.  Sometimes I can’t help myself.

The Cast List: Introducing General Fralex of Star Trek Online

Let’s stick with the Star Trek Online theme for a moment, but shift over to the other big faction of the game:  the Klingon Empire.

Badass. Nobody can tell me otherwise.

The Klingons are a pretty interesting faction, if you ignore the fact that the game dialogue assumes that all of their captains are dyed-in-the-wool Klingons.  In fact, you can’t assume that:  you’ve got Orions, Naussicaans, Gorn, Ferasan, and others-not to mention the generic “Alien” which can be anything you can possibly conceive of.  And you aren’t limited to Klingon ships, either; before we even get into the C-Store ships, you have the potential of Orion and Gorn ships.  Indeed, a lot of the non-Starfleet sort of lockbox ships work very well in this hodge-podge of a fleet.  By opening up the Klingon Empire to such, the Klingons have managed to, in a weird way, become just as inclusive as the Federation.

Well, as long as you follow their code of honor (or at least can fake it).

All of which leads to this character.  The Talaxians have a bad rap in Star Trek, as their primary representative, Neelix, is viewed as “the Scrappy” (don’t believe me?  Here we are!).  So the species is looked at in a “planet of hats” sort of way (I’m horrible-two TV trope references in one paragraph) as being cheerful to a fault, interested in good food and good company.  But what a lot of people overlook is that their species took a massive hit in population, thanks to a war they fought.  So one might presume that there might be in their collective character an ability to be truly dangerous.

Now, I’ve been a lifetime subscriber to STO since the very beginning-literally a purchase on the first day they became available, before launch.  As such, I had the ability to create a Borg captain-which I did (I may speak of him in a future post).  But when the Delta Rising expansion rolled out, the developers added a little bit of extra spice to the stew of lifetimer benefits.  (Now a cooking allusion; what am I doing with this post!?)  Now, lifetimers could make a Talaxian captain.  Note that both of these species were available to both Starfleet and the Klingon Empire.  I’m sure a lot of players looked at that and went, “Really?  THIS is the species you give us to work with?  Why couldn’t it be a cooler one, like a Vaadwaur?”  (That was never going to happen; “cool” races are more likely to be in the C-Store than just given for free to Lifetimers; actually, I suspect it would be more likely to be a lockbox grand prize, these days.)

Obviously, I had a different reaction.  Along the lines of, “Okay, if this is the hand I’m dealt, how do I make it a hand worth holding?”  So what if they were Talaxians?  I was bound and determined to make a character that gave this species some respect back.

Enter General Fralex.  My first task was to work on the appearance of the character; most of the time, the default look of a Talaxian was…sort of dumpy.  I added a bit of height (not horribly much, but enough), got rid of the stomach fat, shaved the top of his head and gave him a beard-hey, it worked for the guys in the blog logo image, right?  I stayed away from the traditional KDF options for uniforms and went with the Intelligence uniforms that were non-faction specific.  (There really aren’t enough outfit options for the Klingons.)

Keeping him with the badass attitude I wanted to generate, I made him a tactical captain, although the ships he flew were wide and varied until he got high enough of a level to use the Kobali cruiser, called the Concord; I definitely didn’t want his final ship to be a standard Klingon starship, even though I’d used mostly Birds-of-Prey up to that point.  I’m still not completely wed to it, but it’ll do unless I come upon a different sort of ship that has Delta origins.  (I’d grab a Vaadwaur ship for the irony value, but those are lockbox ships, and tend to be expensive on the Exchange.)  Until then, he flies Concord.

His story is pretty much one a Klingon could get behind.  His father was in the Talaxian military.  During Fralex’s life, he bounced around mercenary crews, and eventually wound up in the Klingon Empire (how he got there from the Delta Quadrant is something I never really worked out, but it wouldn’t be hard to think of something-Iconian gateways, unstable wormholes, Q…), where he imposed his brand of disciplined tactics upon his Klingon crew.  He embraced a saying of Kahless, “In war, there is nothing more honorable than victory”, and backed it up with getting victories in a calculated, tactical manner, as opposed to zerg rushing enemy ships.  The crew caught on, and are behind him 100 percent.  It helps that he might have dispatched a few challengers to his command with the same ruthless efficiency he demonstrates in his approach to war.

The character is around level 55-ish in order for him to officially use the title of “General”, because it felt right that he be considered so.  Since then, he’s been more or less held in stasis-he’s at the first quarter of the Delta Rising expansion, and I’ve mentioned before how much of a slog that feels-and this has held up his forward motion.  This may change with the recent updates to the Delta missions.  But for now, I’m happy that I managed to advance a Talaxian captain to my upper ranks, and defy stereotypes in doing so; Fralex’s cooking prowess only extends to opening a can of whoop-ass!

The Cast List: Introducing Jenled Lar of Star Trek Online

Here we go-the first of my Cast List, one of my captains in the Star Trek Online MMO.

My attempt to redeem Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s uniforms.

The character’s name is Jenled Lar, and his creation came about for two reasons.  The first was that I wanted to use some of those uniforms I’d purchased in the C-Store over time; the uniforms from Star Trek: The Motion Picture get a lot of grief, and I wanted to see if I could do something with them that made them look a little less…bad.  The second was that this was during a period of time when I wanted to see about the RP scene in STO, and most of my other characters were committed to my main Fleet.

Right off the bat, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I’d purchased the Joined Trill species for this captain.  With some thought, I figured I’d make him a Tactical captain flying tactical escorts-my usual methodology was to mix and match ship and captain types (my main Starfleet guy, for example, is a Tactical captain who flies cruisers).  He’s not the first Tactical/Tactical character I’ve made (and I’m likely to come back to that in a future post)  The character’s appearance is a bit swarthier than my norm, but I figured it would make him stand out a bit more-as if the uniform wasn’t enough.

I managed to get Jenled up to level 50-ish.  That would allow me to put him into a Sao Paulo class escort, which is a Defiant variant-which includes a phaser quad-cannon.  I made sure to add photon torpedoes as the weapon of choice, as I wanted something that had a faster recharge time than my usual quantum torpedoes.  I didn’t go all out with gear-after all, the good stuff tends to go with my primary guys, the ones I’ve spent the most time with, and Jenled wasn’t one of them.

The final bit for the character was story.  If this was going to be a character to RP with, I wanted to have something to hang on him.  I didn’t write up any big fiction for him (as I’m wont to do), but I did at least give him a background where he rose to command after decking his Commanding Officer; there were extenuating circumstances, such as that she was currently mentally impaired at the time.  That got him a transfer off that ship-with his former CO’s blessing-and into the center-seat of a new one:  the Gullwind (named after a ship from an old RPG I’d played long, long ago).

I actually did manage briefly to join an RP fleet in the game for a couple of weeks; but it didn’t really wind up being a good fit for me, and other fleets I’d looked over in that time really didn’t seem like they would be good fits either.  So Jenled stopped advancing, and he got put into the cooler.  I still enjoyed putting this character together, and remains a character I’ll occasionally play when I just want to mess around.

The Cast List: An Introduction

I’ve run into any number of occasions where, in between new content in the MMOs I play and the work on commenting on current character activity, I run into periods of time where there just ain’t all that much going on.  Whether it’s a minor content drought or a period of time where I haven’t really gotten much done in my assorted games, I sometimes run into long stretches were I just have nothing to really post about-and accordingly, sometimes there’s a significant gap in between blog posts.  (Or, on occasion, I am away from the nearest gaming computer and thus unable to do anything, which leads to “nothing to post on” and so forth.)

This hasn’t been a major issue of late; my rededication to posting up on the activities of new characters has helped a lot; but it’s always wise to look ahead.

It occurred to me that what I could do is have the occasional post that showcases past characters, then.  I’m an altoholic-I blame City of Heroes for that, but it was already beginning to bloom as far back as World of Warcraft.  I imagine the only reason it didn’t go hog wild in Star Wars Galaxies was that-at the time I played-there was a 1 character per server limit.  And even then, I just made a character on a different server.  (After the NGE, of course, they went up to two characters per server, and I added a pair accordingly; pre-NGE Jedi players were able to get three characters on the servers that had their Jedi, but that wasn’t a majority of the population.)

Ever since CoH, I’ve had a significant stable of characters.  I had well over thirty characters in CoH, over a dozen in Champions Online, about the same number in Star Trek Online, had at least six in WoW, over a dozen in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and heck, I even had two in EVE Online-a game which really didn’t encourage same-account alts.  Many of these characters had a story behind them.  (Many also didn’t-sometimes I made a character just to mess with them.)

I tended to come at creating characters from three potential directions.  The first was “get a look, and build on that”.  This works better in games where you’ve got a robust character creator, and particularly well with the super-hero game genre.  I saw outfit pieces that I liked, found a way to put them onto a character, and then started developing the character from there.  One character who came about from that sort of thinking was my recent character of Willforge in CO.  The second was “get a character concept, and build on that”.  If I have an idea for a character, I might build the character’s abilities and look around that.  Stellar Protector from CoH is a good example of that style.  Finally, I may find I want to try out new abilities and see how they work, and build around that.  There are probably too many characters to mention on that front, but Rick Masters from STO spawned from my desire to mess with the 23rd century stuff.

Anyway, that leads to the creation of a load of characters.  And it’d be a damned shame to let them all toil in obscurity.

So, just like I’ve done with my Building Character posts, I’m putting together a new category:  the Cast List, where I’ll pontificate on a single character I created at some point in the past.  By definition, these won’t be the ones who are currently being developed-that’s for my Building Character category.  The Cast List will be for the lesser lights, the characters who I’ve created but never really posted on anywhere-the ones who aren’t likely to see too much further work, either because I’ve gotten them to where I want them to be, or because I don’t play the game they were made for anymore.  (That’s not to say they’ll never see play again, though.  But there’s only so much time in a day.)  They will also usually be characters who haven’t been posted up anywhere else in a lasting manner:  in other words, I don’t expect to say much about characters who exist on the PRIMUS Database site for CO, Virtueverse for CoH, or the late and semi-lamented STO Geekipedia.  (Characters may well appear on a personal wiki if I ever manage to get one rolling again, though.)

So, that’s the lead-in.  How far this goes depends on how busy I get with the games; I’m thinking of this as the occasional mint after the heavy meal of my regular posts.  We’ll see how things develop.  There’s a fair chance we can expect one in the next week, though, since I’ll be away from the computer in that time.