Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Header!

I have a new header image for my blog! I am very excited about this, since I've been bored with the simple text header for a while. My blog now looks ten times cooler than it did before. I've had the sidebar pictures for several months, but since you have to scroll down to see them, they don't help decorate the page when you first load it. I may make edits to the header picture to make it look better (it's hard to find text colors that will show up well on picture backgrounds), but I'm pretty pleased with what I have.

Since I don't have anything else to say in this post, I thought I'd explain my picture choices for both the sidebar and the header. All of the pictures are taken from RPGs I have played, and all of them are in some way related to my "RPG called Life" theme. The sidebar pictures represent the Seven Ages of Man as described in Jacques' famous "All the world's a stage" monologue in Shakespeare's As You Like It.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
Taken from the opening montage of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, I have a Child of Bhaal infant. It's a pretty creepy baby, but kind of cool.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school...
Representing the school-boy I have Kipp of West Harbor, from the tutorial of the Neverwinter Nights 2 original campaign.
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow...
For the lover, I have Sir Anomen Delryn from Baldur's Gate II. Of all the potential lovers from the RPGs I've played, Anomen had the best cheesy lover kind of look to him.
Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth...
Chief Ashley Williams from Mass Effect represents the soldier. Her character class is appropriately "Soldier", and I get the sense she's fairly recognizable in that pink and white Phoenix armor. And I got her in a cool pose.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part...
I think ideally I might have had Keldorn for the justice, but since I already had two BG2 images, I decided to take Master Vrook from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He's old but not so old that he's unfit, and being a Jedi Master he's a fair character to represent justice, if not necessarily Shakespeare's idea of the justice. He is also probably more memorable than the other Jedi Masters in KotOR, since he showed up in the sequel as well and was voiced by Ed Asner.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound...
Deckard Cain, of course. He was in the original Diablo and will be in Diablo III, but this image is Cain in the Rogue Encampment in Diablo II. We love Cain--he has that handy item identification service, even if we never do bother to stay a while and listen--but he definitely counts as a pantaloon.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."
This "last scene" seems to include both the childish helplessness that may come soon before death and death itself. I chose a picture to represent the "oblivion" part since it was more interesting. Here I have a picture of triple-death from Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. It is the dead god Myrkul, former God of the Dead. Of course, dead gods float around in this other plane for a while, so to make him even deader than a dead god of the dead, my character has destroyed his spirit. See? Triple dead.

The four pictures that make up my new header image are not linked to each other but each represent the RPG called Life theme in some way themselves. In basically every RPG, characters have a certain number that represents how close they are to death. This number is generally called "health", "life", or "hit points"--I tend to use these terms interchangeably--but they basically all represent the fact that a character is alive. The image of the large red globe in the upper center of the header is the life/health globe from Diablo II; here it is full, meaning the character is fully healthy, but it will empty as the character is injured. The picture on the left of the header banner is my player character in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, standing at the glowing ash tree in the Ashenwood drinking a Potion of Heal, thus replenishing her life. The picture on the right is my Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn party at the Tree of Life in Suldanessellar, trying to retrieve the player character's soul from Jon Irenicus, the man in the glowing orb. And lastly, I have a shot of my Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. The screen shot is from the character profile page, which in addition to showing her "Health" statistic at the top right also shows the "Paragon" and "Renegade" bars. As the game is played, each bar will fill up according to the player's choices--Is Shepard a paragon of good and noble behavior, or does she have a rebellious streak, driven to get the job done without regard to the cost? But this shot is from the beginning of the game, before Shepard has made any of these decisions. She's a blank slate. She looks out, questioning What paths will I choose in life?

Well, that's the full disclosure on my pictures. Enjoy!

Edit: This has now been updated. See new post here.

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