It's funny, I never had particularly strong feelings for or against beetles until seeing them mount-sized in WG. Now I've spent the last 15 minutes or so following Scorp's image links and researching different species, and it's brightening this cold, rainy, dreary afternoon.
Always happy to spread my crazy fascination with bugs!
Just answered your beetle question in the Q&A thread, btw.
BTW, it's actually shown up in SYWBAA before, as the weapon of choice for Bob the Blue Orc.
Yep, I've always loved that halberd piece. So wicked-looking. I cut and painted that black one for Bomm years ago, before I even started making SWYBAA. I always intended for him to "upgrade" to it in SYWBAA at some point.
Regarding beetle mounts for the Dwarves: What species of beetle do you see as the premium, most desired mounts, and which ones are more common, garden-variety? In Into the North, Atlas warbulls seem pretty valuable, but I was wondering if all beetles are rare and difficult to procure, forcing poorer dwarf clans to use big goats or boars; or if beetles are essentially the dwarven equivalent of horses, with different varieties and levels of quality?
The Khepridin beetles are generally used only underground, in Nidavellir. When on the surface, dwarves may ride large goats/boars, or just ponies or small Nordic horses. The beetles are naturally averse to bright light and have poor eyesight, preferring to navigate in the dark using their other senses. That said, the Desert Dwarves ride Khepridnir almost exclusively, night and day, since they consider them a sacred part of their heritage, and because the beetles are very adept at traversing shifting sand dunes.
As for the types of beetles, preferred breeds vary by purpose and by clan.
Since scarab-type beetles are specialized for digging (with modified forelegs and head plates for moving soil quickly), these are used for tunneling more than for war. They may also be used for transport and draft animals, since they are extremely strong.
The war beetles are typically the males of any family with long horns and/or mandibles, like Rhino and Stag beetles. Different clans favor different breeds. The Atlas is favored by Clan Firebeard, who breed them to be red or iridescent orange in color to match their clan's fire motif.
(I could probably sit and come up with different uses for different types of Khepridnir all day, since there are so many kinds of beetles - beetles make up a quarter of all known animal species! - but I'll try to restrain myself.)
From now on, I'll be posting all the new Wulfgard LEGO stuff in here.
NEWEST (these are sort of work-in-progress): Bomm, Dagfari, Brenna, and Vegnar. I would like to paint some gold highlights on Vegnar's armor and possibly Dagfari's hammer at some point... Also still looking for good hairpieces for when they take their helmets off.
Nice 'mechs/exosuits! I really need to make use of those little ball & socket joints some time...
I like the Sarran-inspired one best of course, but even that's not absurdly impractical enough to be a Sarran mech. Add some wings and/or blades on various parts of the body and then maybe it'll be anime enough to be a Sarran mech.
1. This varies from kingdom to kingdom, tribe to tribe, even individual to individual. But in the vast majority of inheritance cases, the oldest male heir is favored. This is the rule throughout the Imperial heartland, though some kingdoms break with this tradition, such as Rimegard (Adrianya is actually the heir to the throne after King Eltan), and some kings will name specific heirs if they think their next relative in line is unworthy. Among the independent tribes of the North and the South, there may be other local traditions, such as splitting one's property between heirs, or even deciding an heir via trial by combat... but despite these various exceptions, primogeniture is the most common rule.
2. It's certainly possible that a mage can claim sanctuary in a temple. What happens after that depends on local priests and officials - whether they would defend the person, violate their sanctuary, or only allow it for a time. In the case of demonic cultists, as you mentioned, it would almost certainly not be allowed (they might even incur the wrath of the gods themselves), but priests of some gods might view all magi as unholy abominations and throw them out. Temples of Astra have been known to defend magi at least until their "guilt" can be sufficiently proven. This has caused a few conflicts between the Templars (and other Knights of Astra) and the Inquisition, the former of which do not actually hunt "regular" magi, and the latter of which are not actually associated with the temples.
Sorry for the vague "it depends" type answers, but if you'd like to ask about a specific location/group I might be able to give more specific answers.
1. Was Judas Mars a member of the Armed Forces of Xarkon?
2. If yes, what rank did he hold in the military?
Judas Mars was a general in the Xarkon military, but later in life, he became disillusioned with war. Becoming something of a pacifist, he retired from the military to use his doctorate in biology to help people instead of killing them. Some of his research into genetics may have been used in the Enomeg project, much to his dismay. He was under suspicion of aiding the enemy when he disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was declared dead. Some suspect he was silenced by the Crown, possibly even with the help of his son Lucas, who never spoke to him again after his turn to pacifism.
I had plans, back in the day, to incorporate Judas Mars into a spinoff series. Dunno if that will still happen.
Gwent is the best game of the lot, IMO. Much more reliant on strategy over luck, and with my favorite art style of the lot (and the music!). It's also the most complicated, I'd say.
Though, all of them are plagued by "THE META" - the handful of decks that are competitive at the high levels until another patch or expansion comes out. THE META is the bane of all of these games, because once you hit a certain rank you start to learn every single deck that you will meet. You always know "oh, that's a Jade Druid" or "oh, that's the Scoia'tael Spell Buff deck". I'm kinda bitter about it because I was trying some new strats in Gwent today and I lost every. single. game. AAaarggghhh. My rank has grown too high, now I'm fighting the cool kids.
But yeah, there are cards in Elder Scrolls that let you move units between lanes, especially in the Agility deck. It's useful because moving a unit from the attack lane to the shadow lane gives it stealth. If a lane is full and you play a card to it, you can sacrifice a card, which can actually have benefits. And if a card summons something into a full lane, it will summon it instead in the next lane.
FREE GWENT TIP: One interesting mechanic of Gwent that I only just learned about (never saw it in the tutorials) is called Blacklisting. When you first draw your hand and get to mulligan 3 cards, each card you mulligan gets "blacklisted", meaning you will NOT draw another copy of that same card when you mulligan. Knowing this lets you make much more intelligent mulligans, by choosing the cards you definitely don't want to draw again first.
HEY HEY! I have moved my card game ramblings to their own topic in order to stop cluttering up the "what are you currently playing" thread.
The third and final card game I've been playing is Elder Scrolls Legends, which is basically Hearthstone but with a few key changes:
Instead of classes, your deck is made of 2 different attributes (each with its own color, like Magic: The Gathering).
The board is split into two "lanes." Creatures can only attack other creatures in the same lane as them. The right lane is called the "shadow lane", and any creature summoned there gains stealth until it attacks (except Guard creatures).
Each player has 5 Runes around their portrait. When their health drops below a Rune, it breaks, and they draw an extra card.
Decks have a minimum of 50 cards, which is kinda insane IMO, and increases the reliance on luck.
This last Rune mechanic is the most annoying one. You MUST have a lot of cards in your deck that draw other cards, or else you will start to run out of cards when facing an enemy with really strong board control. Because they will simply refuse to hit your face until they have enough power on the board to kill you in one turn. This happens all the time and is super annoying, but it's certainly an understandable tactic, because when an enemy Rune breaks, it can drastically change the game. They might draw a card marked "Prophecy," which means they can play it immediately, screwing up your whole plan or even turning the tide in their favor. "Rush" decks (mostly strength ones, like Werewolves, which transform when a rune is broken) can find themselves with an empty hand if they hit enemy runes too hard and too fast, and the enemy has enough control to counter them.
So anyway, here's the deck I've had the most luck with so far:
3x A Night to Remember
1x High Rock Summoner
3x Shrieking Harpy <---- EVERYONE runs this damn card; it's surprisingly effective, especially when played via Prophecy (drawn from a Health Rune being destroyed, which I will discuss below)
2x Camlorn Hero <---- Also surprisingly useful, especially if the enemy is low on health but walled up behind Guards
3x Cunning Ally <---- Been looking for a replacement for this because its ability fails to tick WAY too often, even in a deck of well over half Intellect cards
3x Dark Rebirth
2x Grisly Gourmet
2x Breton Conjurer <---- I only run 2 of this guy because it seems like the enemy NEVER lets him break his Ward; they always find a way to kill him first, which makes him a high cost for nothing
3x Elusive Schemer <---- just for the extra Draw
3x Lightning Bolt
2x Tome of Alteration
1x Vicious Dreugh <---- might should run 2 of these
3x Piercing Javelin
3x Winterhold Illusionist
3x Conjuration Scholar <---- best card for this deck
1x Conjuration Tutor
2x Golden Saint
2x Ice Storm
1x Supreme Atromancer
This is a deck I got off the web and modified. It's based around re-summoning via A Night to Remember, Dark Rebirth, and Winterhold Illusionist, making all 3 of those essential cards. Your other cards should all have really good Summon (read:battlecry) and/or Last Gasp (read:deathrattle) abilities to abuse via re-summoning. The best cards for this are ones that summon allies, especially the Conjuration Scholar, who summons a Frost Atronach. Use your damage-dealing spells and minions to control the board until you draw your really good cards like Conjuration Scholar, and then re-summon those a bunch of times to fill the board with Atronachs. This is mostly a control deck, but you should still hit the enemy's face pretty often so that your Golden Saints will work.
Even if you don't run a re-summon deck, I would recommend pretty much always using Intellect (blue) as one of your two deck attributes/colors. Pretty much everyone seems to do this, because Firebolt, Lightning Bolt, and Ice Storm can't be beaten in terms of board control - and they can even be used to finish off the enemy hero (Lightning Bolt especially) unlike Lethal cards in Agility. I have a decent Intellect/Agility deck too, for maximum board control, but it just doesn't hit as hard as this one.
I've probably overstuffed it, but I found that this arrangement allows me to win wars of attrition, particularly against some AI challenges and most players at my level...which is the very bottom... >.> But it gives me plenty of troops for Foltest to buff, armor for my Dun Banner Cavalry to exploit or to otherwise keep my units in the fight, and plenty of lovely siege weapons that whittle the enemy down with satisfying "whoosh-thumps." I'm working on getting more Temerian cards to capitalize off of the Blue Stripes' ability, they definitely pair well with the Temerian Infantry. Those and the Blue Stripe Scouts seem to be the only cards with the same power, though. Ah well, it's still handy to be able to drown the enemy in numbers like that.
That's a BIG deck! Less chance of drawing your silvers/golds with so many bronzes... I usually see people build Northern Realms decks towards one of three things: Armor (usually with Radovid), infantry buffing (with Foltest), or Siege (usually with Henselt). Temerian Infantrymen, Blue Stripes Scouts, and Blue Stripes Commandos all have the same power, I think...
But it sucks, so don't try it. It's so hard to time all your buffs just right...
Having some extra cards can be useful though... because lately I've started running into Nilfgaard players whose tactic is to make you overdraw your deck until you have no cards left. Yes, that's really a thing. Reminds me of overdraw rogues in Hearthstone, which thankfully is no longer a thing in Standard mode.
In fact, my dwarves deck has been getting beaten a lot lately, so I've switched over to a variant of this netdeck instead: http://www.gwentdb.c...s-still-a-thing- only I don't have Coral, Muzzle, or Iris, so I'm running Hjalmar, Ermion and Jutta an Dimun instead. Anyway, it's a fun deck, but it takes some serious learning... pretty tricky. I screw it up a lot.
Just out of curiosity, do you instantly get Necromancy when you make a demonic pact? Or is that a separate thing?
A warlock with a demonic pact is almost like a twisted inversion of a priest, but instead of their god granting them power, it's a demon lord. Since their magic comes to them via the demon, nearly all of their magic is demonic in nature. So, yes, they all have access to necromancy. Whether or not they can actually perform powerful necromantic spells depends on the individual warlock's knowledge, skill level, and how many souls they are able to sacrifice, since more powerful spells require a higher price.
I may have a very blunt, and probably brutal question.
How much dead is Nova Refuge (universe) at this point?
lol, not that brutal - NR has obviously not been my top priority for quite a while now. But I am getting back into it! I'm working on getting the second novel (Saber's Edge) ready to publish next year, in time for the 10th anniversary of the first book (!). I've been writing in it every night lately, and it's coming along well. I'm also planning to update Warrior Born with a few small changes and new cover art, and reduce the price, to help promote the series. I might do a Kickstarter for it, as I did with Wulfgard, and of course supporters of my Patreon will be kept abreast of my progress. I will start posting about it here once I have more to show (artwork, etc.).
So I guess the answer is: it's obviously pretty dead right now, but I'm planning to resurrect it.
Reason I asked question number 2 is that I've seen many authors fall into a trap where travelling distances suddenly make no sense or are too inconsistent. Here's just hoping that won't happen. And even if it does, it's no big deal. It's the story that counts.
Minor spoiler: most of the traveling in the next novel will actually take place in space, between planets, rather than on TN, as I expand the scope of the story. So it shouldn't be an issue.