Saturday, October 12, 2019

An Autumn Fashion Show

Autumn is my favorite time of year. On one hand, there's the cool crisp air, freshly picked apples, and the symphony of colors as the leaves fall from the trees. All images of peace and relaxation. On the other hand, there's the tricking and treating, conjuring spooky images and atmospheres, and wearing costumes ranging from the lighthearted and adorable to the gloomy and ghastly. And then there's my favorite event--LOTRO's Fall Festival and all of the wonderful rewards that come with it. Each of the outfits below features a barter reward from the festival.

As some of you may know from Twitter or the Issue #132 of the Beacon, Rangers of the West, is hosting the server-wide fashion contest, Frights of Fancy, on Sunday, October 27th. Both Makaia of Style of Middle-earth and myself will be presiding as judges. There are two main categories--"Scariest Outfit" and "Autumn-themed Outfit." We also had a third theme planned, the "Look-a-Like," but after much debate, it was dropped from the program. This part would have had players dressing up like major characters from the lore, specifically from the time period between The Hobbit and Return of the King. Seeing as Gladden's not the busiest server, we didn't want to risk having too few people for too many categories. (This could be brought back if we have enough interest on the forums! *cough cough*)

Even though I can't enter the contest, I plan on dressing the part on my Minstrel and changing outfits with each theme. The first outfit, featuring an elegant red dress, falls into the Autumn one. The second outfit, featuring a black dress embroidered with barren branches, fits in the Scariest one. (This is a modified version of an old outfit.)  And the third outfit? This is my interpretation of Eowyn, for the scrapped Look-a-Like, before she secretly joins the ranks of the Gondor-bound Rohirrim.

Enjoy the festivities! I hope to see many fellow Gladdenites at next weekend's fashion show!

Head: Circlet of Fresh-picked Flowers (Sunset Orange, Farmers Faire barter reward)
Shoulders: Songmaster's Shoulders (Orange, bartered from the Minstrel class trainer in Ost Galadh)**
Back: Cloak of the Autumn Sun (White, Fall Festival barter reward)
Chest: Long-sleeved Summer Dress (Red, Summer Festival barter reward)***

**Shares same skin as the Shoulder of the Lady's Grace, bartered from the Minstrel class trainer in Lothlórien for an elf-stone from Dâr Narbugud.
***Sunset Orange is a wonderful alternative to red. The dress looks slightly, but noticeably brighter.

Head: Ceremonial Hat of the Written Word (Black, bartered from the Skirmish Camp Cosmetics vendor under Moria light armour)
Shoulders: Embroidered Mantle of the Pathfinder's Artifice (Black, T11 Tailor recipe)
Back: Wyrmscale Protector's Cloak (Black, T7 Tailor recipe)***
Chest: Gown of Autumn Nights (Black, Fall Festival barter reward)

***Available at Lalia's Market at the time of writing this. I believe this alternative is 100 MC.

Head: Circlet of the Westfold (Default, Rise of Isengard pre-order cosmetic)
Shoulders: Expeditionary's Mantle (Walnut brown, Mordor landscape quest reward)****
Chest: Dress of the Anórien Autumn (White, Fall Festival barter reward)

****This skin also has the chance of dropping from creatures within the Mordor daily resource instances.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Visions Unseen

"And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power."

          ― The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"

I've been reading the LOTR books again and this passage spoken by Gandalf caught my attention. It speaks of two worlds, the Seen (the one in which corporeal beings exist) and the Unseen (the one in which non-corporeal beings exist). Very few beings had the ability to cross between the realms--namely the Valar, Wizards (the Maiar), and the Elves who once lived in Valinor. The Ring-wraiths could also exist in both worlds simultaneously, though I'm not quite sure if the wraith-world they exist in qualifies as the Unseen. It might qualify as a border realm. The One Ring also had the ability to draw the wearer into that place. At the very least, these realms were similar. And within the Unseen realms, the beings that freely walked them appeared differently. The spectral forms of the Nazgul would be one example. The brilliant aura manifesting itself around certain Elves like Glorfindel (or Arwen and Elrond in Jackson's film adaptations), which Frodo saw as he was succumbing to the Morgul-steel's curse, would be another. Not much else is mentioned by Tolkien regarding the Unseen realm, leaving it a largely speculative subject.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Memories of the Last Alliance

It was exciting to come home on Wednesday evening and discover that The Minas Morgul expansion was available for pre-order. I wasn't expecting it so soon since the Vales of Anduin region hasn't been out very long! I did pre-order the expansion almost immediately that night, wanting to get my hands on all those new cosmetics, steeds, and the Stout-axe race. I'd known we'd be exploring the Morgul Vale, specifically, Minas Morgul itself, and I was hoping we'd be returning to explore other areas of Mordor, like Nurn (that gate in southeastern Talath Úrui was such a teaser!) It turns out that wasn't the case. After watching Friday's Q&A stream, I learned about "Mordor Beseiged," the other area mentioned on the expansion page.

As it was explained, we'll be playing a character living through the final year of the Second Age, specifically during the Siege of  Barad-dûr. If I understood MadeOfLions correctly, Mordor Besieged acts as a sort of session play styled zone, allowing us to retain our character's skill sets and appearances while experiencing someone else's narrative. Certainly an interesting way to tell the new story! Though specific details weren't revealed, I hope the Siege of Barad-dûr's addresses the end of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, the deaths of Anárion, Elendil, and Gil-galad, the temporary defeat of Sauron, Isildur's acquisition of the One Ring, and the numerous sorties between Sauron and the Alliance.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pastel Brilliance

My, it's been a long time since I've uploaded an actual outfit. The summer kept me unusually busy, preventing me from investing any quality time in LOTRO and leaving me a backlog of outfits. However, it gave me the chance to gradually complete the Cosmetic Weapons Project. I haven't anticipated giving it any major updates in the future, except for new crafting recipes or when new vendors with swords and shields are added. It took over a year to add 1000+ images to that database! I'm glad it's finished, but there was an unforseen cost. I've almost used all of my free storage on Blogspot. That means I'll be cutting down on outfit images, starting today. I've even considered removing some from earlier entries as well, just to extend the life of Material Middle-earth.

Storage issues aside, there have been a handful updates to LOTRO in my absence. I've barely started Vales of Anduin and I very much need to complete it. Since the number of Embers rewarded from Skarhald dailies were reduced, I'll need the Vales dailies to supplement them. I often convert those extra Embers to Figments for cosmetics and housing items. And that brings me to the next topic. The Curator NPC. With the end of the Summer Festival, that particular vendor vanished. I was saddened to hear that, as I was still collecting those items. I wish that SSG had announced the Curator was a seasonal NPC months earlier...or at least from the very start. But now we have Rowan Raspberry...and new cosmetics to collect!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Heavy Shield Skins, Part 2

The second installation of the heavy shields collection embodies bartered shields, world drops, and dungeon chest rewards.

Algraig Heavy Shield of Resilience - Bartered from the Grey 

Company reputation vendors in Enedwaith

Eoscyld - To be honest, I'm not sure if this is a world drop. This is 

a level 50 shield, which means it could drop randomly from creatures 
in the Carn Dum, Urugarth, or Rift raid instances. Or it could be loot 
from one of the bosses within those instances. Being an old item, 
details on this have vanished over time.

Sergeant-at-arms' Heavy Shield of Eruilan - Bartered from the 
Skirmish Camp

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