Some Tells Over the Weekend

Xilo is back playing ddo, for how long? God maybe the only one that knows.

For the last few days he and I have been chatting via Google’s services. I have half been trying to catch him up on all the changes that have happened and half letting him know that while he is with in 2 levels of me now that doesn’t mean I am ready to have him a long on quests just yet.

However, on over the weekend we both where on at the same time. Queue uncomfortable tells. He asks me if we can group up and hang. I let him know I am working the bravery bonuses and that he is still a little high for me yet. He is 15 on his TR I am 13 I almost am ready to level to 14. I have already moved to level 11 quests, mainly to have quests that I can solo on hard when everyone else is farming in the graveyard.

Do you know how hard it is to tell a bud sorry your to high of level for me? Less hard then telling my wife but still hard. And Xilo is good at laying the guilt trip. Almost as good as the wife. 🙂 But as we have talk about before, help or get out of the way. I think Xilo logged not long after I let him know he was too high level for me, don’t think I saw him log on again. 😦

I also got a tell over the weekend, “Great Bio” I replied as I always do; with a “werds, thanks.” and moved along. But it got me thinking maybe my bio is some thing to talk about.

In my bio I have a little blurb about Ddocast and Ddococktailhour. But then I try to take note of that first death each new life. As a reminder to be careful and to try to not make the same errors again. This life was in New Ring Leader, on normal. I had just done lots of elites, and a hard. Didn’t think normal would be any big deal and took a triple crit to the head. Lets just say that was a hard one to add in the old bio. I copied the combat log into my bio and tried to forget.

Oh I also think there is some comment like “ I am the greatest” or something.

So what is in your bio?

Lets Break out the Dice.

After a short break of I don’t know, two to five years, I will sitting behind a Dm screen. This time I will be Dming for my son another dnd dad and his son. My mother in law might be joining us too. I know my life is strange sometimes.

This will be my son’s kinda sorta almost but not really first dnd game. We tried a few years back when the boys were around 8 or so. It didn’t last all of 20 mins. But yesterday the boys had a birthday (yes the boys share a birthday). Remmie, my son turned 12 and seems excited; so we are trying again. I hope that game will act as a motivator for him to do some extra reading (damn Tv/video games) and to get his homework turned in. DnD is what saved me back in the day.

So what edition? 3.5 of coarse. 4th would be fine as well but us dads thought it would be best if someone knew the rules. So that limited us to 2nd – 3.5; hence it winning.

I get to dm because I am the one with the most Dming experience, and I kinda brought it up… See both of our families are going to GenCon in 2012. So we were talking about things and some how it made sense to get the boys going on the dnd mindset.

So what am I going to be doing? My standby staples:
Shadows of the Last War
Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade
Grasp of the Emerald Claw

Which means, we are going to be set in Eberron. Giving me a whole world of quests to run. 🙂 this campaign might become the DDO pnp edition. 🙂

Any way I will try to keep you all posted on things. I know I am not the only Ddo dad with a ❤ for pnp. So lets see what we can learn together.

Circle Jerk Mini

For you that don’t know guest or host a few podcasts, some DDO themed other no so. One of which is a pay for cast named Circle Jerk, it is a kind of book review type cast. Although it doesn’t sound like it will stay that way for long.. Right now I only have one episode out. But two more are on the books to be taped soon. Today’s post will be a kind of mini version of that show.

I have been reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Think I just finished reading the 7th book
Dead Beat. Looking at the wikipedia page 13 books have been published with a 14th in the works.

I have to say I am loving these books. I really enjoy books with that theme of strange in todays “normal” world. I also read and love the series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton. That is also in that vein of the supernatural in modern times. And I see on the wikipedia that Butcher claims to have been inspired by this books as well.

What I like about the Dresden Files books is how magic “feels like it could be real”. Also the books have a great sense of humor to them.

Now I liked and still like the short lived TV show on Syfy (think that is how they are spelling it this week). But I understand now why the show failed. It didn’t rally its base.

We all know the book is always going to be different the the movie/tv show, Lord of the Rings might be the exception?? Not sure as the movies weren’t balls busting slow to the point I asked for a refund with out finishing them. Not saying I did that with LotR, but I did.

Seems to me with all the reboots and whatnot a few Dresden Files movies, trying to say as true as possible to the books or at least to the world with its own story/s, could do really well.

Of course for like 9$ you can pick up the first book. And it even looks like you can get them on Audible for less then that if you don’t like to read.

Anyway, I like them and if you haven’t tried one yet it is worth the money for sure!


Tobril wants to improve the pug scene. When ever I think about that I giggle a little. I know that I shouldn’t but I do. It is a funny sad state when it comes to pugs on Sarlona lately.

Tobril seems to think it has to do with vets becoming isolationists and not taking the time to really teach anyone. I think it has more to do with people dragging other new people through content. Not allowing the newbs time to develop their skills or foster a desire to learn on their own.

Ready for a back in my day story?

When the shroud was new I was busy leveling up my first CLR alt, Healzyounot. And it was a a few weeks before I was ready to try my hand at the new raid. I did some reading on the forums. Reading guide after guide. And one day I saw a Caffeine guild run looking for a Clr to round their group out.

Caffeine is a great guild BTW. And I never had a problem running with them.

I remember letting them know I was new, both via a tell to the leader and to the group once I was invited. I asked questions, and did what I was told as best as I could. We completed and I have enjoyed the shroud ever since.

The last few pug shroud runs I have been in have been a mess. People didn’t follow the leader’s requests, if the leader bothered to give any or if someone else stepped up and lead. I think that a most new people figure that the other people will carry them and I will just run around follow the group and kill stuff. Maybe figurer things out on the way.

While Vets assume that everyone knows what is going on, will ask for help if needed, or just is shitty. Some vets will ask if it is anyones first time or just give instruction like it is everyones first time.

Sometimes they just assume away and then talk about nothing for the whole raid never pausing to breath let alone to pause for a newb to ask a question. In these groups I normally end up taking off my headset at some point. I would love a mute player option….

Guess what I am saying is if your a Sarlona player and have some questions about raids look for Tobril’s sign up posts on the forums. I may or may not be pulled into his mess from time to time.

Geomagnetic K-index?

So with my new survival mind set in high gear and my self assurance that something horrible is on the way in the near future. I have been keeping an eye on solar activity. Thanks mainly to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

Over the last few weeks I have tried to keep an open copy of that page open when ever I am sitting at a computer. And check it a few times a day. With the mind set of learn patterns and picking the the terminology. Mainly as a way to know what is going on.

Monday when I got back from lunch I saw that there was a proton wave heading our way… Not knowing what that really meant I did some Googleing around and 1 didn’t think too much about it.

Today I get on Google and look at my news feeds and bam! reported aurora sightings stretching across the United States, from New Mexico and California to Kansas, Iowa, Maryland and New York, yesterday afternoon.

That is a amazing! Northern lights are called that because they don’t often drift that far south.

There is two reasons this happened. One a “large” solar event (or that is how it is being reported). Which according to what I read was not really THAT large, it was a G1 on 1-5 scale. Two, our Magnetic field is on its way to an all time low. So we got hit while we are down. Hence, light show.

As far as I know there wasn’t any major issues caused by the solar fun. But this is just the beginning. We are on a cycle of higher and higher solar activity with our only source of protection becoming weaker and weaker.

Mark my words, auroras will be showing themselves more and more/further and further towards the equator. And I for one am trying to get ready for some of the other less pleasant effects a real solar storm could have on us.

Just saying enjoy the lights. But keep in mind it also is a sign that dangerous times are upon us.

12and1, 12and2

Over the weekend I leveled to 13. So now Samius is 12 barb/ 1 fighter. I could not be more pleased with that fighter level. It allowed me to pick up Stunning blow, the faster attack enchantment and gave all the armor proficiencies allowing me use a set of Stonemeld Plate Armor I have sitting in my TR bank for a while now. The DR5/- is one better then my barb DR, has a funny camouflage clicky to play with and hell looks cool. With my Maul and the Stonemeld Plate all I need is a dumb winged hat and I could claim to be Thor. Well a new Thor anyway. 🙂

I went back and forth a lot on staying pure this life or adding the fighter level/s and after 12 I thought why not? All that love above was calling my name.

I am planing on taking another fighter level next level again; also for the feat. It will allow me to pick up another THF feat either finishing the chain or mostly finishing the chain.

That said if I do take that second fighter level I will not get a lot of time to play with the 3rd tear of the barb PRE. I wonder should I bother?

With 4 levels of fighter you get a 3rd feat which could be used to take Weapon Specialization netting me more damage sooner. As well as haste boost 2, and trip/stun 2 enchantment lines. All very handy things.

If I do the 4 levels of fighter loose out on trying the barb PRE to its fullest. And it makes taking anymore barb levels mostly point less as the gains would be fairly small.

I don’t know. What do you think?

Mabar Stuff

I don’t know about you but I am just not in the Mabar mood, yet. Or at least I haven’t been so far. That said; I did do the littlest amount of Mabar last night.

I was finishing up C06 of elite, when Tobril logged on. The wife was already in the graveyard farming and what not. Tobril and I grouped up to chat, and he informed me all about his Mabar goodness.

Conveniently the door to the dragon opened just as I finished getting my end reward. And more conveniently I had not one, but two door watchers to let me know that it was scale time.

I am going to do a little roll back here so stay with me. 🙂

When I first logged on the wife and I were talking about how her farming was going. And she explained that it was going slow. Things like teeth and dust didn’t feel like they had a good drop rate. Driving me to take a sec and look in my bags for left over stuff. I have a few teeth and dusts as well as a few keys collecting dust.

Fast forward to the door opening: And I decide what the heck. And I ask Tobril how well people are completing in the 10-15 range?

Laughing he says: “Or, you can just get one of your 20s…”

Fine fine. I pass keys and jump on Java. Get in around the 2 min warning mark. And just pick a room, one that Tobril is not in.

There are already 2 guys my room but once they saw me they left and I was alone. Joking over mic, I start to buff and want to inform the instance that there is one else in my room. Turns out that I have set the default chat to Java to be a private channel and didn’t have a time to fix it as right away I was under attack.

Things went well the dragon showed up a few times. The first and last time I didn’t have any issues. The second time I had some issues. I wasn’t getting healed from Mass heals on the dragon, don’t think the dragon takes heal damage either. But with a quick F1 I healed up and beat down the dragon.

At one point while fighting the dragon some one ghosted into my room but that was about the same time I realized that I was running out of hps and I was more worried about me then him.

During the third dragon fight an arcane shows up and helps with a fire wall. But as the dragon was mostly dead and had 2 Dots on it I think it would have died anyway.

So 20ish mins. Got a scale and more then a few of those turn ins. That run dusted off the event for me a little and I have to say it was fun. However, I am not looking forward to spending all weekend farming bits. But there are about 3 items I want to craft so think at least one day will be needed.

Take some time to enjoy the event. And if your on S-Land and end up with extra motes falling out your butt find a mailbox and send me some.

Paying Due

Last night before logging for the night I leveled to 12. Oh 12 is great. Because big boy toys are at your disposal. I have a few Green Steel weapons I use including a Lig2 maul/short bow and a few different rapiers.

That being said I if hand wraps are my main weapon at this level I have Garments of Baddass and VampStone dust wraps that are my main weapons.

So any way last night I got my maul out of the TR cache and was stoked. And main a comment in guild chat about how pleased I was for the maul. And how I also needed to make a Cauldron of Sora Katra, weapon.

Tobril, who is a huge fan of the VampBloody Clever, thought some how that I was giving slight to the Sora Katra sword/s. To the point of sending me text messages, after I logged of for the night. And while I don’t have the raging hard on for them that Tobril does; I do really like the Sora Katra stuff.

I just like my lig2s 70% of the time more. 🙂

That said I am going to make a VampBloody Clever, tonight for Sam. It is a great weapon. Bodyfeeding, life stealing, +5 bonus and what human bane? Oh and bleed. It can go a long way to adding a lot of self healing to any melee that can use one.

Now I have watched Tobril use his VampBloody Clever to good effect over this Barb lifes. I have to assume that he has imp crit slashing to improve the already good crit range of the clever (I am using imp crit (B) to help with the mauls dps some). Giving the bodyfeeder property a nice wide range of numbers to work with. Add in the lesser vamp and you can sometimes heal up while beating down some mobs.

With this weapon super cleave the barbs get at 12 can net you life. Of coarse you have to have 11+ mobs around you, and a crit wouldn’t hurt but you get the picture. And maked the 1-3 points of damage you take from Frenzy managable.

Like I said I am a fan of the Sora Katra items, to both Sam and Java use at least one item crafted item during a life. In fact not only does Java have a VampFury Blade that he used while leveling, he also has a pair of VampStone dust wraps from his previous builds.

Before Sora Katra crafting was available I used a pair of unlocked Dream Edges on Java; A bodyfeeder/ Destruction was his weapon set. Not to say my 11/6/3 wiz/fgr/mnk had to hit issues all the time, but he could.

So just to be clear to everyone including Tobril I do ❤ the VampBloody Clever; just as long as I am trying to kill the baddie in the fewest number of swings so I can move on to the next guy I will have my maul in my hands. 🙂 But if I need to stablelize and win a long fight, say like last night in elite Deep when my healer kept dieing, the VampBloody Clever would have saved me over 100 pots.

Dear Rowanheal,

“Had a blast with DDO static group last night. Btw bravery bonus needs to be cut. Too generous. Way too generous.” – Rowanheal

Oh my, lov what level are you? 6? 7? And where is your bravery streak at? 20ish? And correct me if I am wrong but aren’t you first lifers? I can understand your worry; at those levels with the skill level of your group members doing the level of quests your probably doing. I shared a lot of the same concerns.

You know what changed me? I started to notice how this life’s leveling was diverging from the others. And for me it was happening right away but I didn’t notice. I was running the same go to quests less, and hitting a wider range of quests; I normally would skip a few quests each level that the xp/time just wasn’t there. But getting a larger amount of xp for them made them seem worth doing. Sure there were still some repeat quests. But I found myself repeating less and doing other quests more. And until these last few levels the questing didn’t feel that much harder.

Currently I am level 11 (about 1.4 mill xp) running level 9s on elite. The challenge is about right. Even had a wipe and recall/start over in one of the red fins quests. And I am noticing that there has been a noticeable jump in toughness of the quests in the last few runs. I think at 12 that will change a lot with green steel becoming available.

Guess what I am saying is hold back your judgment on the bravery bonus for a little while longer. Or may be take a TR an alt or two and see how you feel. It is not ideal. But leveling to 20 on a double+ TR can be hard.


Bell Siphon

This last weekend I made a lot of good progress on my Aquaponic Gardening System. I got grow lights (so I can set it up in my basement), got a grow bed rockin (think I will make a second soon) tested how it will all go together. And I wanted to share with you a few things I found to be kinda a pain.

My biggest issue with the whole thing after paying for it, was getting the grow bed together. I am a programmer not a plumber. So learning how to plum the drain pipes and what not was a bit of a challenge for me any way.

My grow bed/s are concrete mixing trays or I think that is how they were marked. They are about 3′ by 4′ trays about 12 inches deep and ran about 9$. I really like them as they are cheap enough I can pick a few up and use them for a lot of different projects. They also have a good thickness to them, not so thick I couldn’t use a good razer knife to make some small cuts but thick enough that it would take a fair amount of work to put a hole in the thing.

I went decided that 1 ½ inch pvc pipe would be about right for my needs. If I would do this over I might go with a little bigger pipe. 1 ¾ to 2” would give me faster drainage and make finding some parts a little easier.

I also did a lot of research on using a uniseal vs using other bits to make a bulkhead type connection. Uniseals would be easier, but I would have had to order them. My local chain stores thought I grew a 3rd head when I described them. So I ended up with two bits to do what I needed. A male to 1 ½ pvc pipe fitting and female to 1 ½ pvc pipe fitting. Drilled a 1 ½ inch hole in the tray and used got the male to screw in to the hole. Added some fish safe cocking and attached the female and screwed them as tight as I could get them. And added a little bit more cock around my “bulkhead” just to be safe.

Now you want the water to drain about an inch below the top of your grow medium. So I cut a length of pipe to be about 9 inches. My bulkhead was about a inch tall. Making my grow area about 11 inches deep. Some were in the 8-11 inch range is ideal so I think I am going to be good. But I can always cut a little shorter.

With out glue I dry fitted my drain/stand pipe and made a Bell Siphon out of some 2” pipe. A bell siphon is just a pipe sealed on one end that loosely fits over the drain pipe to act as a straw so once the take starts to drain it can suck almost all the water out of the bed. Depending on the style of grow bed you make you might not want your plants roots to be soaked all the time. In my case I do not.

Once everything was dry I set my grow bed on some over turned buckets and filled it with water. To show my family how it would work.

But it didn’t. Not being real sure of why it wasn’t working I took a bottle of water that happened to be clear and cut the bottom out placed it over the drain pipe to act as the bell siphon. Once I could see that there was no suction, it dawned on me that I needed to attach a pipe to the bottom side of the drain taking the water down below the bottom of the tank. That water traveling longer out the stand pipe is what gives the bell enough suction to siphon the water up and out keeping the flow of water moving until there is enough air to break the suction. Other wise you would have to do some kind of over flow that pulls a plug not unlike your toilet. And that uses a lot more space and has moving parts to bind or break.

Here is a drawing of a bell siphon in case you decide you want to make your own aquaponic system some day. Believe me if someone would have explained that to me last week my weekend would have been a lot smoother.

bell siphon

Boy that was a lot of not Ddo related information, next time more DDo