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I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet (by Kelly Killoren Bensimon) -- Part One
NOTE: Although I was originally planning on posting this whole review at once, I was about a third of the way through the book when I realized that I was already quickly approaching the full length of my previous posts. So, in the interest of making this a pleasant experience for us all, I'm sharing the first half now, and will follow up with the second half in a few days. And honestly, KKB's writing reminds me of Inception in that it's almost certainly hazardous to spend too much time immersed in any single sitting. So fasten your seatbelts, and enjoy the ride! ------- So, a lot of you guys have been asking about Kelly Killoren Bensimon's I Can Make You Hot! (wow, is this what it feels like to be an influencer?), and I am thrilled to report that my adventure through this book's 264 pages was even more confounding than I could have possibly anticipated. I have a feeling that I'll need every ounce of my strength if I want to have any shot at conveying to you all exactly how bonkers this purported self-help book is, so -- without further ado -- let's begin. I Can Make You Hot!, subtitled The Supermodel Diet, has a fairly straightforward premise. Kelly, who "has done it all when it comes to nutrition and her body," will share her hard-earned wisdom with us, her humble readers. Or, as she says in her own words on the back cover:
In I Can Make You Hot! I'm going to clue you in to all the tricks I've learned from a variety of experts and that I now use to live my own life. I want you to be the best you -- happy, attractive, shapely, interested, interesting, and most of all, smokin' HOT!
The blurb promises that the experience of reading this book will be "like rooming with a supermodel and going on a diet together." Truly, only someone with Kelly Bensimon's tenuous grasp on reality would say this as if it were something exciting, rather than a scenario taken directly out of the third circle of hell. But before we can truly learn what it means to be HOT!, we're treated to a foreword by none other than Russell Simmons. As he shares with us:
Kelly is a great mother and is constantly instilling strong principals [sic] in her daughters. In my opinion, that's the essence of being HOT. Kelly is smokin'.
And just like that, I Can Make You Hot! is knocked out of the running for First-Book-I've-Read-By-A-Bravolebrity-That-Is-Also-Free-From-Glaring-Typographical-Errors. Better luck next time, champ! In case you were at all hesitant about Kelly's suitability for the job of helping the less fortunate among us reach their maximum potential, Russell clarifies:
Her beauty truly comes from within, and her clear internal compass and well-balanced lifestyle is what makes her an arbiter for what's hot. She has always had her own individual road map and is one of those people who beats to their own drum. Many are amazed by her leaps of faith and courage, which are products of her sustainable soul. And back to that energy! I used to think: If we could only package it. And now Kelly has!
I would kill to be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Russell Simmons and Kelly Bensimon. But all of these endorsements are making me impatient to dig into Kelly's advice, so I skim over the next few pages and arrive at the introduction: "What's HOT and What's Not." Almost immediately, Kelly reassures us that she was not always the gorgeous, talented socialite she is today -- "No. Let's just say that I was never one of those tiny, cute blonde girls who guys named their hamsters after." Excuse you what?I literally just walked away from my laptop to go talk to my boyfriend and make sure I'm not just ignorant of some otherwise well-known traditional male courtship ritual in which young men adopt rodents and christen them after the women they love. That doesn't seem to be the case, although please reach out if you can shed any additional light on this situation. Reasonably enough, before we can learn how to be hot, we have to know what hot is. Fortunately, Kelly wastes no time in getting us up to speed:
When I was trying to come up with a title for this book, I kept asking myself how I would define what I love. "HOT" is the word that best describes what I love, and it's not a word I throw around lightly. "HOT" is attractive, unique, and first-rate -- never mediocre. Avril Lavigne made a video called "HOT." There are "HOT" issues of all my favorite magazines. Hotmail.com was given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service, and www.urbandictionary.com, whose definitions are created by their readers, defines "hot" as (among other things) attractive, the best, and someone who makes you wish you had a pause button when they walk by because you don't want that moment to end. (I want you to feel like that "someone.") Health, wellness, and fitness are always hot topics. "HOT" may be a buzzword but it's also how I describe the best there is and the best you can be. I've used the words "smokin' hot" for everything from a killer chicken wing red sauce to a coveted couture gown.
There is…a lot to unpack here. My leading hypothesis is that Kelly must have accidentally exposed her internal circuitry to water and started shorting out while writing this passage, causing her to string together a rambling parade of incoherent sentences with no relationship to one another, save a tangential association with the amorphous concept of hotness. Also, it's factually inaccurate. A cursory Google search reveals that Hotmail.com was not "given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service." Rather, the service's name was selected as a reference to the use of HTML to create webpages, as is more apparent from the original stylization, HoTMaiL. I know from her savvy allusion to "www.urbandictionary.com" that Kelly is capable of navigating the Internet, so I'm disappointed that she's made such a careless oversight within the first three pages of the book proper. Kelly next takes us through a few scenes from her past to illustrate how she has come to understand the true meaning of "HOT." Here are just a few of the assorted pearls of wisdom that Kelly is gracious enough to share with us:
Is skinny hot? Naturally skinny is hot. Starving yourself in order to change your natural body type in order to get skinny is not hot.
For me, the ultimate HOT girl is the nineteenth-century Gibson girl.
…Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and didn’t let it stop her from pursuing a sport she loves. She's smokin' HOT.
pregnancy is smokin' HOT
I'm distracted from my diligent note-taking by a line that truly makes me laugh out loud.
I don't want to pretend that I'm "just like you." To do that would be disingenuous, and you wouldn't believe me anyway. But I may be more like you than you think. My hair may be ready for Victoria's Secret, but my values are still Midwestern.
I appreciate the honesty! As I continue reading, I am pleased to learn that I am, in fact, already consuming this piece of literature in the appropriate way. As Kelly says:
I urge you to make notes as you go along, either in the book itself or, if writing in a book is anathema to you, in a little notebook to use as your own personal guide. Jotting down ideas as they pop into your head is the best way to process them and be sure that they don't leave again before you've had a chance to commit them to long-term memory. Then, if you've made a mistake, when you go back and see it there on paper, you'll remind yourself not to do it again. Or, as I like to say, you'll avoid getting bitten by the same food dog twice!
Bitten…by the same….food...dog? Never change, KKB. (As an aside, what's the oveunder on Kelly having even the slightest idea what the word 'anathema' means?) If I'm being totally honest, this book is making me feel a little superfluous. What more can I add when the source material is so impenetrable to begin with? How does one parse the unparseable? Newly humbled, I suppose I'll have to be content with just gaping in confusion alongside the rest of you. And now that I think about it, what better book to build me up from these insecurities and encourage me to be my best? In the words of Kelly herself:
After all, why wouldn't you want to be HOT? What's the alternative? Being "not so hot"?
The book is organized into seven chapters, one for each day of the week, focusing on seven distinct facets of hotness. We start our journey on "Monday: Make a List -- Plan and Prepare!" and are immediately blessed with another one of Kelly's philosophical ramblings:
To me, living well is the only option. What, after all, is the only alternative? Living badly? Who aspires to live badly? I want you to live well, and that's going to take some planning.
Eager to improve myself, I read on:
What are your goals for yourself? If you're going to make changes in your life, you need to have a plan, you need to prepare, and you need to take the time to get it right -- so that you don't wind up wasting your time. This is my plan, and from now on it's going to be yours. Monday is going to be the day you make a HOT plan and prepare for the rest of your week. Let's get started together!
I can't help but feel like this is one of those answers that beauty pageant contestants give when they don't actually know how to respond to a question. Or like a motivational speech written by a rudimentary AI. I can't quite articulate exactly what it is that makes Kelly's writing seem so utterly devoid of logical coherence, but it truly falls into the literary equivalent of the Uncanny Valley. Reminding us that "this isn't just about budgeting your food; it's about budgeting your life," Kelly peppers us with even more helpful tips -- "You don't want to be that person who is snacking while you're shopping. That's not hot -- period." and shares a stream-of-consciousness-style list of "Staples I keep in my house." Which may possibly be some kind of freeform postmodern poetry. Judge for yourself. Kelly advises the reader to "get out your calendar or PDA" to get a sense of your schedule. "Then use your PDA to find the closest well-stocked market and go there. Making life easy for yourself is what it's all about." Now is as good a time as any to clarify that this book was published in 2012. I'd be lying if I said reading so many consecutive Housewives memoirs hasn't made my grasp on sanity a bit shaky, but I am fairly positive that 2012 was not a banner year for the Personal Digital Assistant. Kelly has taken the time to pluck out a few particularly incisive pearls of wisdom throughout the book to highlight as "Kelly's Cardinal Rules." I would love to help clarify exactly what this one means, but I'm afraid I'm utterly clueless. One thing I do know for certain, however, as the chapter comes to a close, is that "human contact is HOT; texting is not!" The week continues with "Tuesday: A Little Ohm and a Little Oh Yeah! -- It's All About Balance." It is imperative that you work out, says Kelly, adding, "I've never met a smokin' hot couch potato and I bet you haven't either." Her personal exercise routine, as she shares, combines aerobics and yoga "because life is all about balance." As she quips, "I'm sure even Gandhi cracked a smile from time to time." A panel titled "HOT Tip" admonishes the reader: "Don't call it working out because exercise shouldn't be work!" If you'd like to spend a morning in the style of Kelly Bensimon, it's as easy as eating "a couple of oranges" and drinking coffee -- "I love coffee; I would probably marry coffee if it proposed." She also lets us in on some of her secret, highly advanced workout routines designed to maximize your time in the gym and propel you towards your full potential. Such as the "Happy Twenty," in which you run for 18 minutes and then do 2 minutes of squats. We get further instruction on the hottest ways to run on the following page, where a two-page spread advertises "a few of my HOT tips for having a fun run." To ensure that you're able to start your journey to HOT as quickly as possible, I've taken the liberty of transcribing one of her most valuable nuggets below:
Run in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I took a lot of flack for this when they filmed me on Season 2 of the Real Housewives of New York City. The thing is, I think that people walking down the street while texting are a lot more dangerous than a car. Drivers will go out of their way to avoid you (accidents are too much paperwork, and they really mess up a day), but strolling texters will walk right into you without even seeing you. You could also get smacked by a shopping bag, a stroller, or even an oversized purse. Sidewalks are really obstacle courses. Beware!
Kelly shares some standout tracks from her workout playlist ("It's much more fun exercising to music!"), including the perennial pump-up-the-jam classic, "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. With no regard for thematic continuity or overarching structure, the next page is dominated by the header "Get Leggier Legs."
An April 10, 2009, article about me in Harper's Bazaar captioned one of the photos "She's got legs." I was born blessed with long lean legs, but I work very hard to keep them looking the way they do. I'm tall, but I could just as easily have long, large legs. And long and large is not hot. Unfortunately I can't give you my legs. But I can help you to be the best you can be.
Truly inspirational. I think. We continue on with Kelly's advice for "how to avoid the 'freshman fifteen," accompanied by a list of what she refers to as "Kelly rules." These run the gamut from near-sinister
Get rid of any negative thoughts. Negative-town isn't Fun-town.
For every cheeseburger and fries, you owe me 12 cartwheels on the quad with your friends.
to bizarrely specific and also racially insensitive.
If you starve yourself for a day because you want to lose weight for Homecoming, you owe me 5 minutes of sitting Indian style in a corner and meditating on why you thought that was a good option.
Upon further reflection, I think I would actually be extremely motivated to stick to a diet if the alternative was being reprimanded by Kelly and forced to think about my poor life choices. As a scientist myself, I was ecstatic to see that Kelly has drawn from a diverse array of scientific disciplines to develop her HOT tips and tricks. Physics, for example:
From Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion A body in motion stays in motion. The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So if you want to step up your exercise routine, try running in sand instead of on the pavement, or bike through gravel. That way your body will have to work harder in order to stay in motion.
Even biology has something to teach us about how to be HOT:
You are a living organism; life is an organic process. You need to be up and active, ready to enjoy the process. Be open and available and ready to do fun stuff. Participating in what you love is HOT.
I'm truly impressed by Kelly Bensimon's unparalleled ability to reframe the most basic common sense as divinely inspired wisdom. We see this in lines like
If you're feeling a bit frazzled and you need to calm down, you might want to take a yoga class.
or, as we read in another "HOT Tip" panel
Don't be afraid to drink water while working out.
I refuse to believe that this is a problem any person has ever faced. Even Aviva Drescher is not afraid of drinking water while working out (although, for the record, she is afraid of aluminum foil). Kelly closes out this chapter by encouraging the reader to "do one thing every day that takes you out of your comfort zone." If you find yourself lacking inspiration, she provides helpful suggestions, such as "try a fruit you've never eaten" and "try tap dancing." As she asserts, "there's nothing more foolish than sitting on your butt when you could be moving your body and having fun." I turn the page, and the clock rolls over to Wednesday -- "Diet = 'DIE with a T.'" Cute. I bet Kelly would find that Tumblr post that's like "she believed" to be unbearably clever. She wastes no time in letting us know:
I don't believe in diets; diets are for people who want to get skinny. I want you to be happy. If you feel good about yourself, you'll make good choices. If you starve yourself to be skinny, you'll be undermining your sense of self-worth and you'll be unhappy every day. Eating well -- a variety of high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods -- is for people who want to be happy -- and if you're not happy you won't be hot! Happy is always better than skinny.
This is starting to feel like some sort of word problem from Algebra II. If happy is better than skinny, but hot is equal to happy, diet = die + t??? Kelly tells us that all women fall into two categories: overachievers and underachievers. Being an overachiever is good, and being an underachiever is bad. Here are some things you can do to become an overachiever:
Make good choices.
When in doubt, have fun.
Kelly's motivational-phrasebook app apparently starts to glitch out right about here, but she continues on:
Stay positive and move forward. This is your last try at today. Yesterday may not have been great, but, today is better -- you just need to see it that way. The choice is up to you.
The idea of someone being in such a dark psychological place that they are able to find inspiration in those words is so deeply sad to me that I can hardly bear to consider it. Thankfully, Kelly has already taken a hard left turn into what I think is some sort of extended metaphor:
I've already said that you need to treat your body like a Ferrari, but maybe you prefer a Maserati, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, or even a Bentley. Whatever your luxury car of choice, if you treat it well, it will increase in value; if you treat it like a bargain rental car, it's just going to wear out -- and being worn out is not hot!
Ah, yes, I'd momentarily forgotten that cars almost always increase in value after they're purchased, and don't have a culturally ubiquitous reputation for losing most of their resale value immediately. Solid analogy. Apropos of nothing, we get a "HOT Tip" list of "model diet secrets that DON'T work." I'm extremely glad that Kelly encouraged us to take notes while reading -- I'd be devastated if any of these pointers had escaped my attention.
Eating Kleenex to make yourself feel full does not work.
The Graham cracker diet does not work.
Drugs do not work.
Well, I suppose this clears up some Scary Island confusion. Had Kelly indeed been doing meth (as the reported cat-pee smell might suggest), she would be fully aware that many drugs are, in fact, extremely effective ways to lose weight. But lest you start to lose faith in the expertise of our fearless leader, read on: "when it comes to food choices, I've probably made every mistake in the book." By which she means that she ate Chinese chicken soup before giving birth to her first daughter and it made her sick, so she ate a turkey sandwich before giving birth to her second daughter and she didn’t get sick. To be perfectly honest, I'm struggling to find a way to apply this wisdom to my own life, but I'm sure it will become clear in no time! Kelly is relatable for the first time so far in the following passage:
When I was accused of being a "bitch" on national television, I was really upset. My response was to find comfort in Mexican food and margaritas for lunch and dinner three days straight.
But we promptly return to form on the next page as she recounts her daily diet of "2 green juices," "a KKBfit lunch," and "a KKBfit dinner." I'd like to take a moment to appreciate how generous it is of Kelly to share her wisdom -- earned through a lifetime of catastrophic missteps -- so freely. It certainly didn’t come without a cost, as the following anecdote illustrates:
On the last day of my juice fast, I took my older daughter to a Yankees game where we gorged on sushi. (Yes, they have sushi at Yankee Stadium) As a result, I was stuffed and blinded by carbs when A-Rod came up to bat and hit a home run. Was I able to savor that A-Rod moment with my daughter? Absolutely not. I was in a food coma. Will I ever let myself be thrown into a food frenzy again? No! Lesson learned: I made another stupid food choice, and because of that choice I missed that home run moment with my daughter. From now on, when I go to a Yankees game I'll have a small hot dog instead….I want you to do the same.
Verily! Heed her words of wisdom, lest ye not also lose the precious chance for thine own A-Rod moment. But don’t think this caution means that you have to get caught up in the minutia of your day-to-day. On the contrary, appropriate planning means "you can stop obsessing about your carrot intake and concentrate on what it is that's going to make you a great person in life." To help illustrate this point, Kelly introduces us to the "Kelly pie."Otherwise known as a pie chart. This is a helpful way to really visualize how much time you'll have now that you can cut that pesky carrot-pondering out of your day! Kelly even offers some thoughtful "hints" to divide your pie:
Celebrate your own health. We take health for granted.
Get up in the morning and say, "I'm so grateful to be where I am and look the way I do," no matter what your size is.
Tell yourself you look HOT, because you do.
Believe in your ability to make good choices today and every day.
Be mindful of what you eat. If I have to be mindful of what I eat, so do you. We're in this together.
Ooh, sorry Brad, I won't be able to make it to this afternoon's meeting -- it actually conflicts with my daily session of believing in my ability to make good choices today and every day. No, I understand how that could seem like an abstract sentiment rather than something that actually takes up time within your daily schedule, but if Kelly has to do it, so do I! And to be honest, my day is packed enough as it is -- it takes at least a second or two for me to tell myself I look HOT (because I do!), and I'm just worried that if I try to squeeze anything else in, it will cut into my mid-morning health celebration. Wish I could help! In a strangely threatening aside, Kelly commands: "Write down what you ate for the last two days. Don't lie. We can start fresh tomorrow, one bite at a time." In a section titled, "What I Eat Every Day," Kelly enumerates her "three go-to breakfasts": "two oranges or a plate of mixed berries if I'm not going to be very active, all-bran cereal or some other high-fiber cereal with almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk if I'm going on a long run, riding, or doing something else that requires extra energy, and on weekends, I love making pancakes to eat with my girls." As should be apparent, this is far more than three breakfasts. I am irrationally angry, in the same way I was when a Bachelor contestant said their favorite food was a charcuterie platter. That's cheating. (And yes, I do strongly identify with my Virgo moon, thanks for asking.) Kelly inexplicably (apologies if I've used that word for the zillionth time already) tells us that "a plastic cup that says 'Forced Family Fun' from www.themonogramshops.com makes the smoothie go down with a giggle." Also, "sitting alone in front of the TV eating ice cream is not hot!" We are then introduced to one of Kelly's more advanced strategies, which she calls "Energy Economics." This means that you might need to eat more on days when you are busy and/or exercising, and less on days when you're relaxing. So many innovative ideas, this book has really packed a punch for its < $5 price tag! Another ingenious idea? "Stuff cabbage, sweet peppers, tomatoes, or even onions with ground meat, chicken or turkey seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake until the meat is cooked through and the vegetable is softened." Granted, I have been a pescatarian for almost a decade at this point. But disemboweling an onion, jamming it full of hamburger meat, and cooking it for some indeterminate amount of time at an unspecified temperature seems…wrong. Circling back to her theory of Energy Economics, Kelly explains,
If I don't eat [well], I'm violating my own laws of energy economics and my body goes either into inflation mode (too much energy when I don't need it) or recession mode (not enough energy in the bank for me to draw from). The key is to create economic equilibrium: eating well so that I feel good, which allows me to be happy.
I am begging someone to start a GoFundMe where we raise money to pay Kelly to explain how the economy works. The next page introduces us to "The KKB 3-Day Supermodel Diet," which is less of a diet and more a random assortment of miscellaneous health-related sentiments that reek of the 2009 pro-ana tumblrsphere:
Chew your food 8 times instead of 3 or 4.
Brush your teeth and chew mint gum as soon as you finished eating. When your mouth is fresh and minty, you'll be less tempted to eat again.
The final tip ("nurture yourself") includes a reminder to "blush your checks [sic]." Which may be a typo, but could also very well just be some strange Kelly saying that no one else has ever used in the history of the English language. On the next page, we're introduced to "Kelly's Food Plate."Which other, less sophisticated people typically refer to as the food pyramid. Kelly also takes a brief aside (in a feature box labeled "hot button issue") to expound upon her favorite delicacy, the humble jelly bean:
If you're a fan of the Real Housewives of New York City you probably remember that on Season 3 I took a lot of flack for eating jelly beans and talking about processed and unprocessed foods. I was actually making light of that food snob moment. Who stops at a gas station and asks for carrots? Did you bring your organic food cooler with you on this road trip? The important part is not to be a food snob; but when in doubt choose the best option. Sometimes it's better to be happy than it is to be right. Was I able to make my point? Clearly it wasn’t in the cards at that moment.
This is a truly stunning synthesis of her experience. Underestimate Kelly at your own peril -- this girl has been playing 4D chess for longer than we know. The chapter continues with some tips from Kelly on how to make the most of your meal planning and shopping experience. And no -- you have no excuses:
There's absolutely no reason why you, wherever you live, can't eat "colorful" foods. All over the country there are "gi-normous" supermarkets where fruit and vegetable aisles are bursting with every color of the rainbow.
I am starting to get a "gi-normous" headache trying to make sense of this chaos. Kelly's advice that we can "mix and match what's there to make a FrenAsian or an ItaloGreek meal" is not helping. We also get some tips for how to grocery shop responsibly:
Always go with a list and never buy more than two items you planned on taking home.
This is incoherent, right? I know I need to wrap up Part 1 of this write-up pretty soon, because I've read this sentence at least two dozen times trying to make some sense of it, and am still at an utter loss. I assume she's left out a negative somewhere, but at this point, I realize I've already thought about this tip for approximately ten times longer than Kelly ever has, so I'll move on. For the third or fourth time so far this book, Kelly segues into a literal grocery list. To be fair, this is a very effective strategy to take up several pages with minimal text. And what could be more compelling than
Shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs
Truly the voice of a generation! Decades from now, English teachers will be teaching their students about a fabled wordsmith who once uttered those eternal words, "shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs." Because this book has absolutely no respect for logical cohesion, we are hurled immediately into a diatribe about how expensive it can be to buy organic -- "I recently walked out of an organic market having paid $400 for just three bags of groceries." As I read on, however, it becomes quickly apparent that Kelly has no idea what the concept of 'organic' even means:
"Organic," in any case, seems like something of a misnomer to me. I know the Food and Drug Administration has regulations for certifying foods organic, but to me, for foods to be truly and totally organic, they would have to be grown in a test tube or a greenhouse with no exposure to the natural elements.
Well, sure Kelly. If that's what you would like to use the word "organic" to mean, be my guest. She tosses us another crumb of helpful guidance, but it only serves to make me feel exceptionally sorry for Kelly's daughters and everything they have to endure:
Plate your food as if it were being served to you in a fine restaurant. Use a fancy foreign accent as you invite everyone to come to the table. Or try saying it in French. My girls love it when I announce, "Le dîner est servi!"
We learn in yet another "HOT tip" that "fast food doesn't have to be fat food," and Kelly tells us for the eighth time that she eats two oranges every morning. In what has already become a recurring theme for me in this book, the following passage makes me desperately curious to know how Kelly thinks science works:
One question people frequently ask me is whether I believe in taking vitamins or supplements, and the answer is "yes, I do," because, even though I know my diet is healthy, I can't be sure that I'm getting all the nutrients I need. All the vitamins and minerals we need can be found naturally in foods, but how do we know, even if we're eating a healthy diet, that we're getting everything we need?
I flip back two pages to confirm that Kelly told us quite recently how important it is to read nutrition labels to know what is in the food we eat (to make sure we avoid foods "whose labels are full of words you can't pronounce"). Exactly how she is reading these nutrition labels yet still manages to have no inkling how anyone could possibly begin to assess their vitamin and mineral intake eludes me. She continues:
I don't want to take that chance. I think of the food I eat as fuel and vitamins as my oil -- my body's engine needs both. Vitamins and supplements are not food replacements, but we're exposed to so many environmental toxins on a daily basis that I believe we need to supplement our diets to counteract all the harm those substances can cause.
I can certainly think of something that is causing harm to my psychological stability at this particular moment, which I should probably take as a sign to wrap things up for today and go read some incredibly dense Victorian prose or something to remind myself what a properly constructed sentence looks like. Promise I won't leave you waiting for long!!
This is a long one. But it’s worth it. I promise. James Altucher the author of “Choose Yourself” said that he learned (through multiple life-crushing failures) to divide his life into 4 buckets (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) and he works on each one every day. He noticed when focus dwindled on any one of these 4 areas the other 3 would also fall. Life was and is a balance. Mental Strength - Women love to see drive and passion in those that they date, and I encourage you to set a standard for yourself to only seek women with that same trait because they rock. Your mental strength will drive the other 3 strengths. It’s not only about intelligence, it’s about fostering tenacity and ambition, because as they say, “intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings.” 1a: How knowledgeable are you about the world? Do you know what’s important to you in the world and what’s unimportant? Do you know why that’s important? 1b: How easily are you derailed from a task? How much discipline do you have when focusing on a single task? 1c: When you’re at a party or meeting someone new, do you find yourself struggling for things to talk about with them? In what areas do you struggle? 1d: Can you push yourself when doing things that you don’t want to do? 1e: Are you negative until the positive is proven? Do you blame others when things go awry or look for what you could have done to improve and make a plan? 1f: Are you aware of what content you’re putting into your mind and how it benefits or hurts you? 1g: Your living space is often strangely connected to mental strength. Look around and see what it says about the way you think. Does your living space look like the embodiment of your mind? Why? Further Reading to Help You: Mindset by Carol Dweck : People talk about abundance mindset on this community all the time but this book is a crucial resource in bringing that mindset into ALL aspects of your life. The author provides concrete examples of how fixed mindsets lead to failures and how growth mindsets have changed the world. Deep Work by Cal Newport: We’re going into a crisis of focus in the world; those who master focus will readily leave those who don’t behind. Physical Strength - In the book “Man’s Guide to Women by Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman they tell a story of a group therapy session containing 40 couples where the instructor asked the men to raise their hands if they’d ever felt like their life was threatened. A little under half of the men raised their hands so the instructor probed further to ask why and when they were threatened. Some men had been in wars, one was a police man, they mostly had one or two individual single stories of feeling threatened at some point in their lives. The instructor then asked the women if any of them had ever felt that their lives were threatened. Every hand in the room went up, and they DIDN’T have isolated stories. Feeling their lives were in danger was a common yearly if not monthly occurrence for most of their lives. This story blew my mind. Now I’m not saying women are defenseless daisies; I’ve met women who could kick most of our asses handily. What I’m trying to convey is that physical strength isn’t just about having a six pack to feel cooler than someone who doesn’t, it’s proof of your own inner strength, discipline, and your beliefs about yourself. Socrates puts it well “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” A few questions: 2a: Do you know the limits of your physical strength and are you actively pushing on them to help them grow? 2b: Are you familiar with how much pain you are able to endure and push through? Do you know what dealing with pain feels like? 2c: Do you feel capable and safe in a room filled with people? 2d: Have you ever been in a fight? If you got in a fight would you immediately lose? 2e: When was the last time you challenged yourself physically and rose to that challenge? Further Reading: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins - I struggled to NOT put this book in Mental strength as Goggins mind is as tough as nails. He may have the toughest mind in the world, However, I didn’t run marathons or exercise vigorously before I read this book so I think it helped push me physically too. Goggins helps you understand that you have SO much more potential but it’s lying at the other side of pain so you run away from it. Don’t. Run towards it. There is a whole world that most will never see on the other side. Emotional Strength - In Karen Brody’s book Open Her, she uses an analogy of two types of men at the dog park to represent how there are two types of relationships she sees that men have with their own sexuality. The first man has a goofy friendly dog who runs free, it does what it wants when it wants and although endearing, and maybe even exciting at first, it’s eventually clear that the owner has a tenuous relationship with their dog. They are not truly connected. The second man’s dog is still a free spirit but the two are very connected, there is a respect and a control between them. The dog is at his command and looks to him for control. I find this to be true of people’s relationships with their emotions as well. There are those who control their emotions, and those whose emotions control them. 3a: Are you aware of where your emotions come from? What opens your own floodgates and why do they open? 3b: How well do you deal with failure? Who do you blame? What do you do? 3c: Do you have a support group of people you trust and who you feel you can tell anything to? (Note: it is regularly advised that this person should NOT be your partner) 3d: Do you invest the same amount of focus and growth on your friendships as you do with your relationships? Write a list of how you would like to be treated in friendships and a list of your friends, and now flip it, use that list of what you want and improve your friendships. Treat them the way you want to be treated WITHOUT any expectation of return. It will enrich your life. I would bet anything on this. Further Reading: The Gifts of Imperfection By Brené Brown: Although I like Brené’s other work, this book changed everything for me. Brené breaks down 3 characteristics of a well-lived, whole-hearted life that will make you (rightfully) question and examine your own life. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: Charisma is trainable. It really is, and this book breaks it down in 3 easy to understand traits that will literally change your life and the lives of those around you if you learn how to harness them. EVERY person I’ve met who is a leader in their field readily demonstrates a mastery of one of these 3 traits if not more than one. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon: I would recommend reading this book once a year. It’s the pinnacle of growth in self esteem. It’s always worth re-visiting. Spiritual Strength - Beyond theistic beliefs I believe Spiritual strength comes from the full alignment of one’s outer self with their inner self and a trained ability to stay present. I dated a wonderful woman for a while who had the following poem written and framed in her bedroom. It shifted my perspective on what a relationship meant and why being spiritually centered was so damn important. The Invitation by Oriah “It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive. It doesnt interest me what planets are squaring your moon... I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes." It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” 4a: Do you know who you are? Could you actively and honestly describe yourself to someone without using physical features? 4b: Do you have a list of standards and values that you readily stand up and would even fight for? 4c: Are you on a mission in your life? 4d: Are your actions centered and honest? Do they represent who you are? 4e: When you look at your own eyes reflection in the mirror in the morning what phrases or statements do you hear? Are they positive? Negative? Why? 4f: Do you have a strong relationship with your inner voice? How often do you listen to it and do what it says? Further Reading: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson: A great book for anyone to read, it’s not as much about nihilism but more about understanding and acceptance. Open Her by Karen Brody: I believe this book pairs perfectly with the well-touted 3% man by Corey Wayne. Like Ying and Yang. Corey shows you what works and Karen explains deeply why it works. Although Karen writes this book for men I suggest you use it to set standards for what you want in a partner as well. ` WAYYYY TL;DR If you get nothing else from this post, try to put emphasis on these 4 areas of your life (Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual) and see the difference it makes. I promise you there is no better way to live that I’ve found. Best of luck on your journey. I hope these resources help you as they’ve helped me. Edited: some typos and phrasing for clarity
Hi everyone! This is another unsolved case from Spain. This one in particular has been ranked by various Spanish crime and mystery polls as one of the most intriguing cases of our country. This is, as always, a long read. But I hope you can enjoy it. Here it goes;
Madrid, Spain Wednesday, August 13th, 1969 A 20-years old firefighter walked into an old abandoned farmstead colloquially referred to by locals as Casa de la Viuda (Widow's House), near the municipality of Hortaleza. He would later tell LE that he frequented that place on his spare time; the old house was spacious, and he liked to go there to exercise and keep himself in excellent shape -as his job required him to be. Since it had been abandoned, the farm was frequented by locals at night only, as at the time it was used as a lover's lane. However, the morning of that August 13 his routine would be shattered in the spookiest way possible. There were lots of old tools, furniture and other agricultural paraphernalia there. Among these there were several large tinajas(a type of jar-like and big recipient typical of Mediterranean and North African cultures, often used to store water, oil, or grain). One of these was particularly big. That morning the firefighter, motivated by curiosity, decided to peek inside that big tinaja. And that's when he made the disturbing discovery. There was a dead woman stuffed inside. Knowing that the police would secure the area for preserving evidence, the firefighter exited the house avoiding touching anything. He got into his car and drove to the nearest police station, informing LE about the gruesome finding. A team of investigators drove to the scene. The woman was naked. A black turtleneck sweater was wrapped tightly around her neck. Her blue jeans and her panties were later found down around her ankles. She was young, her age at the time estimated to be somewhere in her 20's. Her bleached hair was of a very pale shade of blonde which, along with her at the time fashionable late 1960's clothing and her silver shoes and purse, inspired a there present LE investigator to eloquently define her appearance as 'like a space doll'. She stood 160 cm tall (or 5'3''). Slender complexion. He face had been battered, but later on it would be ruled that the cause of dead had been mechanical asphyxiation. More specifically, her killer had squeezed her throat hard with one hand, as the finger-shaped bruises on her neck attested. She had numerous defensive wounds in the form of bruises. Death had taken place less than 48 hours earlier, and her body was barely entering into the first stages of decomposition. The swelling in her face wasn't due to the decaying process, but due to the blunt trauma-induced inflammation. This detail would make the identification process much harder than expected. There was some dry blood on her cheeks and her clothing, but no traces of blood were found on the tinaja nor around; she had been murdered somewhere else and then dropped there later. The contents of her purse, as well as the pockets in her jeans, were examined. This didn't produce any evidence that would point at the woman's identity. A strange piece of evidence was found trapped between her clenched teeth though; a small golden medallion with the following inscription embedded on it; LUCI 13-12-1962 Could her name be Lucía? And what was that date referring to? Obviously, it couldn't be her birth date, since the body belonged clearly to an adult woman. Investigators at the scene pondered that maybe it could be the name and birth date of her daughter. This clue was used in the investigation. The soil at the abandoned house showed that her killer had dragged her all the way to the tinaja where she was found in. It also showed that a car had been there. Based on the tire's pattern and the approximate wheelbase of the vehicle, investigators concluded that the car used to take the woman to there was a Renault 4L, a very popular car back then in Spain. What is more; they could also find a dent on the metal frame of the property's narrow gate. It was likely caused by a car speeding through it. Although the gate was narrow, anyone who could drive a car could easily go through it slowly. However, it seemed that someone -likely the killer- had rushed through with their car, hitting the frame in their way out, and probably full of anxiety about being seen dropping a body there. The investigators managed to retrieve samples of red colored car paint from the dent, which gave them more information about where to look. A red Renault 4L. It seemed that the tinaja, which was made of clay, had created conditions on its interior that had slowed down the decaying process in spite of the summer temperatures -tinajas make a rather cool storage space by keeping the heat out. Because of that, LE investigators managed to produce an excellent fingerprint profile from the murdered woman. It took the team just twelve hours since sampling her fingerprints to find a match. Keep in mind this was back in 1969, before fingerprint registries were in electronic form; the team had to split into several groups to compare (visually) the fingerprints with the registries of different public agencies. Twelve hours was a really quick time for a fingerprint match back then. The fingerprint match came with a strange surprise. It was found by the team that had been assigned to compare the sample with the fingerprints from the Registry of Foreign Passports. According to the match, it belonged to Kerry Payne, an American citizen. Born on December 25th, 1944 in Venice, Italy. Her parents were Richard and Nuria. The additional information in the registry mentioned 'housewife' as her professional occupation. With the new data about her identity, LE tried to contact her family and relatives to tell them the unfortunate news about her death, as well as to move forward with the murder investigation. However, things would just start to get weirder and bizarre. Payne's parents could not be located. Neither the US embassy, nor the personnel from the nearby USAF base in Torrejón de Ardoz could find anything about her within their databases. However, a matchbox advertising for a nightclub in Raleigh, North Carolina, had been found in the crime scene near the tinaja inside of which the woman had been found. The presence of this item had made investigators to put a lot of faith in thinking that sooner or later a relative of Kerry Payne would be found. The matchbox set them to contact North Carolina's authorities, leading them into another frustrating turn as this move didn't produce any results; There were no matching records of any Kerry Payne fitting the woman's personal information. It was almost like Kerry Payne, also known as Tinaja Girl and Space Doll, didn't exist. So who was that dead woman really then? Where did she come from? And of course... who killed her, and why?
Chameleon among Wolves
Having clear that the whole Kerry Payne ID was fake, the investigation had stalled. Without knowing the woman's ID, solving the crime was off question. They couldn't trace down her last movements, nor question her family nor acquaintances. The investigators split once again in teams to look for other fingerprint matches, which took a bit longer time than the initial twelve hours before the first match. After a couple of days of arduous work the investigators managed to produce a second match -which turned out to be legit. Here's another surprising aspect of the discovery of this match; it came from the team looking for results on the public mental health internment records. And so they finally had a solid name. She wasn't American, nor Italian. In fact, her origins weren't at all exotic; she was Spanish. Natividad Romero Rodríguez (commonly addressed as "Nati") was born in the small town of Siles, located at 130 km (80 mi) east of Jaén, in the middle of the semiarid, deep Manchegan countryside. Nati came to this world on July 15h, 1941, which means that she was 28 years-old when she was killed. Her mother and her brother positively identified the body by an old scar on her right forearm. Picture of a young Nati Nati had been problematic from a very young age; volatile, kleptomaniac and narcissistic. She also developed an addiction to alcohol and used drugs during her teenage years. Her working-class family could not manage to deal with her extremely difficult behavior. At the age of 16 she was committed to a mental institution in Jaén, for a total of seven years, after two suicide attempts. In the first one Nati had jumped from the window of a 4th floor. The second time she had tried slicing her wrists on the bathtub. Nati, circa 1965 The investigators' inquires revealed that Nati escaped from the mental institution and moved to Madrid in 1964. She quickly adapted to the underworld and the night life of the big city; first as a pickpocket and confidence trickster, but soon as a prostitute too. She used the name "Tania" as her identity at the time. Fifty-something questioned people later (being shown Nati's pictures), the investigators found that she lived with a man named Juan between August of 1964 and some point of the fall of 1965. There isn't much information about Juan, except that he was a black man and had a large scar on his face. He apparently was a soldier, and was sent to serve at a navy base in Rota (some 480 km, or 300 mi, southwest of Madrid). Nati didn't follow him to Rota; instead, she remained in Madrid, surviving by making money 'out of the night'. Sometimes known by the name of Tania, sometimes by the name of Luci... and yes, also known as Kerry. She also liked to change her hair color very often, sometimes up to three times a week. These questioned about Nati -including other prostitutes- stated that she often 'worked' at the bars and nightclubs near the USAF base in Torrejón de Ardoz (active from 1953 to 1992), targeting American soldiers looking to spend some of their money on local women. She seemed to have a preference for black American soldiers, as she was often seen with them. When she was not heading to a hotel room escorted by an African-American soldier, Nati catered to local patrons posing as an American woman. She was reportedly very good at feigning an American accent, and she had discovered she was better paid for her services because of that. As for her personal life, Nati claimed to be a lesbian that the only thing she wanted from men was their money, and many people recalled her being physical with women (paid or not). Nati had, however, a worrisome tendency to seek very young girls for her personal pleasure. Her acquaintances also mentioned than Nati always looked 'off' or 'sleepy', like on drugs. Although when considering this point it's worth remembering that Nati was an alcoholic and frequent drug user, on top of suffering from serious mental illness. When she didn't look drugged Nati was seen either drinking, looking for patrons or just looking for a fight; she was a violent woman who made an extensive use of foul language and profanity. As the whole story unraveled, the investigators bumped into a big 'a-ha' moment when they learned that Nati had married in 1966. The name of her husband? Leonard Payne. American citizen. USAF Airman First Class, stationed at Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base. And yes; he was African-American. Nati and Leonard, around 1966 The marriage was blessed with two children later on. It was also blessed, more obscurely, with generous money transfers from the US. These transfers amounted an average of around $2,000 a month, which in 2020 is the equivalent to about $16,000, or some 14,000€. It's not clear what kind of family background Leonard had, but his monthly salary at USAF certainly wouldn't match such amounts of money. The origin and motive of these money transfers has never been clear. The couple had rented a very expensive flat to live in. Nati, with one of the children she had with Leonard In early 1968 Leonard, who has an avionics expert, was sent to Vietnam, leaving Nati alone in Madrid. At some point of that year Leonard went MIA in Vietnam, and soon presumed dead. Seems like not long after the news of Leonard's tragic demise were received the money stopped coming, and Nati's behavior became even more erratic and unpredictable. She was eventually arrested for drugging a teen girl and sexually abusing her, a crime for which she was sent to the Ventas Prison for Women. She spent eight months there. During her time in prison she became an inmate most of the women there avoided; Nati was too volatile, too unpredictable (except for the fact that she'd resort to aggression sooner or later) and always trying to smuggle alcohol inside. In one occasion she and other two inmates ended up in the infirmary after a disastrous attempt to produce moonshine; their drink contained enough methanol to poison them. Nati and one of the two women survived. The other one died. She was often getting into scuffles there, especially taking into account the nature of the crime she'd been sent there for. One night another inmate made fun of Nati's deceased African-American husband, using a pejorative racial slur. Nati reacted by walking up to that woman and smacking her with a heavy oil can so hard that the woman needed several stitches on her face. After her release from prison in early 1969 Nati moved in with one of her friends -a former prostitute- and her boyfriend. It's not clear if this couple was taking care of Nati's children while she was in prison, or if the children were sent to the US to live with Leonard's family. Soon after Nati was kicked out of that residence, after she had been caught stealing from them; this friend's name was Lucía, and she was the owner of the golden medallion that would later be found between Neti's teeth. Apparently, Nati had found a job at a club, but she was fired soon after for being frequently caught drunk at work. From this point up until her death six months later, Nati's movements become unclear. One night of late February a police patrol car found her lying unconscious and bloodied on the sidewalk at El Retiro Park. Someone had subjected her to a savage beating. The policemen drove Nati to a hospital and, after she received treatment, they tried to convince her to fill an assault report. However Nati -concussed and with her lips grotesquely swollen- refused to do so. She also claimed that she didn't know the person who had attacked her. The policemen didn't believe that, and suspected that she had been beaten up by a pimp or a patron. According to other sex workers, Nati had spent the spring and summer of 1969 resuming her routine of trying to get black USAF soldiers to pay for her services. However, she had also expressed some concerns about her own safety, confiding to her friends that she felt 'followed'. She didn't seem to explain to them further about these feelings though. Nati was seen alive for the last time at around 4:00 AM of August 12th, 1969. Whatever happened to her between that moment and the morning of the following day when the firefighter discovered her body was a complete mystery. By early 1970 the investigation had stalled and the case became cold. Ironically, it would take one particularly cold night about one year later to warm the case back into life...
Thugs and Knives
Madrid, Spain Saturday, January 30th, 1971 7th Barbieri Street, early morning hours. The Piloto Bar was full of patrons, as it was habitual on weekend nights. Everyone was having a good time on that gelid winter night under the warm roof of the bar. Patrons drank, smoked cigarettes and chatted with their friends, probably about football. Others would bet rounds of beers among their friends over a game of table football. A barman in his 50's named Pedro Herraiz was the owner of the bar. That busy night the 32-years old waiter Álvaro Coque was working alongside with him, as well as another waiter, a kitchen porter and the cook. It was a busy, but peaceful night until that guy and his friends walked into the bar. His name was José Antonio Sánchez Gil, but everyone around knew him by the nickname 'Pepe el Guapo' ('Handsome Pepe'). His good looks and his success with women made his nickname self-explanatory. He was a tall, intimidating man who, along with his friends, regularly terrorized the neighborhood. The 29-years old Pepe was a ruthless pimp with many girls under his 'protection services'. He used that fearsome reputation to drink as much as he pleased at the local bars without paying a cent. Standing up to him would mean having Pepe and his friends doing a number to the bar, trashing the place and assaulting the staff. Pepe ordered whiskey, as he always did. And he invited his friends to drink, as he always did. Everyone at the Piloto Bar knew that standing up to Pepe was a very bad idea. However, that night Pepe made a big mistake. It would be his last one. Apparently, Mr. Herraiz had stood behind the counter looking at Pepe as he drank, not hiding his animosity towards that thug. Then Pepe, probably feeling challenged, decided to cap the night off with the ultimate humiliation; he invited Herraiz to drink a glass of his best whiskey. A drink which, of course, Pepe had zero intentions to pay for. The 'invitation' was met with a counter-offer from Herraiz; Pepe and his friends should leave the bar immediately and never come back. Herraiz had had enough, and that drink suggestion had been the straw that broke the camel's back. Pepe then grabbed an empty beer bottle from the counter and smashed it against Herraiz's forehead, dazzling him. Almost immediately Pepe jumped over the counter and started beating up Herraiz; his friends soon joined the beating, and the floored Herraiz was at the receiving end of a brutal barrage of kicks and stomps. The Piloto's staff wasted no time; they all grabbed ham knives from the kitchen and rushed back out to help their boss. Pepe and his gang pulled out their switchblades and a violent knife fight ensued. It didn't seem that things would go well for the staff, as they were being outnumbered by the thugs. The cook suffered a severe stab wound in one of his buttocks. But the waiter Coque managed to catch Pepe off-guard (the criminal was distracted fighting someone else) and drove the long knife blade into his ribcage, slicing part of his heart. Pepe collapsed almost immediately. Probably emboldened after seeing Pepe finally being at the wrong end of a knife blade, many of the patrons that night at the Piloto bar joined the fight too, siding with the staff. Pepe's gang was now overwhelmed with punches, beer bottles and even bar stools. Around this time several police officers reached the bar. All except for a couple of Pepe's friends managed to escape the beating and flee running down the street. These who couldn't had to be rescued by the police officers; the scuffle and the agitation were so intense that the officers had to use their batons to dissuade the patrons from continuing their attack on these thugs. Herraiz, who had been badly beaten, was taken to hospital, and so was the cook because of his stab wound. Both men eventually made a full recovery. Pepe, on the other hand, was pronounced dead at hospital. His violent death surprised no one, and saddened no one either. In fact, locals joked around afterwards noticing the irony behind the fact that 'Handsome Pepe' had died, literally, from a broken heart. It seems that the man who put an end to his life, the waiter Álvaro Coque (a husband and a father of two kids who had no criminal record), faced minimal or no charges. That night the police officers made some arrests. Obviously the thugs that didn't manage to escape were arrested, as well as the most aggressive patrons that had still some fight in them. But they also arrested a patron in particular, one who during the melee had been seen trying to not to get involved and leaving the scene discreetly. His name was Gregorio Ávila Sotoca, more known locally as 'Goyo'. The reasons he had tried his best to avoid the fight had nothing to do with ethics or pacifism; Goyo was well known by Madrid's LE at the time. At 28, he was a mugger, thief, and a drug dealer. But he was known especially as a pimp. He had been the subject of a search and arrest warrant for the previous six months due to a string of robberies he was a suspect of, and had spent that time trying to keep a low profile to fly under LE's radar. A picture of Gregorio Ávila Sotoca, alias 'Goyo' Goyo was placed on a cell at the main police station -something he wasn't unfamiliar with. The police chief on command of Goyo's arrest that night was a man named Manuel Lista. Mr. Lista was a tall and big man who, in spite of his intimidating appearance, never used physical force against any detainee -back in the 1970's Spain police brutality was the norm rather than the exception, especially when the detainees were regular offenders like Goyo was. Instead, Lista preferred a slow and patient method of interrogation; without even raising his voice (looking almost fatherly, in fact) he would come up with the same questions over and over, staring into the offender's eyes. He would also question the detainees at early morning hours, waking them up several times a night. That weekend Lista was reportedly trying to make Goyo confess to pimping women and robbery charges. However (according to him and his subordinates) something extremely unexpected happened. Goyo finally broke down and said; "It's about that Tinaja Girl, right? Well, I killed her". Why would Goyo supposedly admit that is not clear. Apparently, he blurted that out after Lista had asked him many times "to start talking", but no one at the station expected him to have anything to do with Nati. Goyo told them that the night of August 11th, 1969 he was very drunk and had met Nati at a café-bar. They drank some more there and then Goyo proposed Nati to go to his place, to which she refused. Then he drove her in his car -a red Renault 4L- to the abandoned house where Nati's dead body was later found. Goyo reportedly told Lista and his men that once there they 'couldn't reach and agreement and Nati started nagging and making fun of him'. This enraged Goyo, who described to Lista how he put both hands on Nati's throat and squeezed until she passed out. After that Goyo slapped her face, trying to wake her up, until he realized that Nati was dead. Finally, Goyo stripped her naked, took her money and her jewelry and hid her body inside the big tinaja. Goyo also described how he was so full of anxiety when leaving that his car gazed the gate's frame, scratching the bodywork. By the morning he had stayed at one of his girl's apartment, and Goyo told her he was leaving later that day 'for a road trip'. He told her he was leaving to León (340 kilometers, or some 210 miles, northwest from Madrid) for a few days. However, Goyo moved into the apartment of another of the prostitutes he pimped. He later called the first girl and told her he was in León, although he hadn't left Madrid. He asked her if someone 'had asked about him lately'. Goyo returned from his 'trip' a few days after Nati's body was found.
An international affair?
With that unexpected confession Goyo thereby became the main suspect for the mysterious murder of Nati Romero, the Tinaja Girl. When the word that Goyo had been arrested as a suspect for murder spread around, many girls mustered enough courage to speak up to LE about Goyo. It turned out that Goyo was a sadistic and violent pimp whose girls feared him enough to not to report even the most gruesome abuse. LE considered the girls' statements as very likely, as apparently they were quite consistent. In one particularly disturbing statement, Goyo had locked up one of the girls in his apartment and beat her up very badly. The girl managed to endure the beating, thinking that that would be all. But then Goyo had pulled out a pocketknife; this girl feared so much for her life that she jumped from the window (a 2nd floor) onto the street, and then hid under a car while a deranged Goyo screamed that he was going 'to rip her heart out' while looking for her. This girl had been found later that day by a police officer, who asked her who had attacked her. She insisted that a gang of teenage boys had jumped on her to take her money, never mentioning Goyo. What is more; Goyo had a big collection of 'tools' at home (he called them 'his toys') that he would use to discipline the girls. According to the women who came forward after his arrest, Goyo would administer, in his own words, 'pain or pleasure, depending of what the girl in particular required'. The full nature of these tools is never specified, though. A total of 54 women had come forward to tell LE what kind of monster Goyo was. Thanks to these reports, Lista and his team though they got a solid suspect in custody. It matched what they already knew about Goyo beforehand. He was often involved in street fights and had a reputation of being quick to pull out his knife when challenged or threatened. He was a very violent man, and the girls he extorted were absolutely terrified of him. Goyo was brought to trial. And then, when everyone thought that he'd be facing a long time in prison for the murder of Nati Romero, the whole case fell apart. First, Goyo denied ever having confessed killing Nati. He told the judge that he had been coerced into a confession and that he had been physically tortured. This wouldn't have gone further if not for what the defense came up with. Goyo had stated many times (according to the questioning with Lista) that he had used both hands to strangle Nati. However, the forensic doctor that had performed the autopsy had noticed that it just couldn't have been that way; whoever strangled Nati did so using only his right hand; the killer had used his left hand to pin Nati's right arm to the ground, making her more defenseless. Also, whoever killed her had hands much bigger than Goyo's (who was an average sized man). That wasn't all; Goyo said that after noticing that Nati had passed out he smacked her face several times trying to make her regain consciousness. But again, this didn't fit the forensic findings. Nati's facial injuries didn't suggest a few slaps in the face; they suggested a brutal beating, probably punched or knee'd several times in the face. Also, the facial injuries happened, in all likelihood, before being strangled, not after. The scenario provided by the forensic doctor and his team didn't suggest a quick murder like the one described by Goyo's confession. Nati had put up a tremendous fight against her attacker, reason why the killer had to pin Nati's right arm to the ground. The high amount of defensive wounds found in her body supported this scenario. If she panicked when she was attacked, she certainly did not freeze in fear. The confession is one of the darkest spots in this case. Manuel Lista was said to have never engaged in physical torture -which Goyo accused him of. However, his questioning methods could be considered psychological torture, at least nowadays. It's stated, though, that when Goyo was finally transferred from the station's cell to jail he had gone from 'dangerous hardened criminal' to a 'sobbing little boy' in the matter of a weekend. Because of the lack of evidence and the forensic findings pointing at a different story, Goyo was declared non guilty of the murder of Natividad Romero. This didn't mean he walked free though; he was sentenced to five years in prison for his pending pimping and theft charges. Goyo's lawyer appealed to the Supreme Court about his sentence; the appeal was rejected. Meanwhile, Nati's killer was still unidentified and likely at large. The Crime Brigade handed the case to the superintendent Antonio Viqueira. Viqueira (1916-1998) was a highly esteemed detective with an impressive resume; in 1958 he was behind the team that managed to catch the first official spree killers in Spain, José María Jarabo. He had also cracked several cult-related crime cases in the 1960's and 1970's, as well as apprehending a serial rapist who targeted prostitutes in the 1960's, using a clever strategy with the collaboration of the sex workers. Because of his brilliant career he was often invited for talks at Universities aimed at Crime Science students. Reportedly, he used to explain to these students that 'not only dead bodies talk; the objects found in the crime scene talk too'. And also that 'simplicity, along with logic, brings the truth to light'. Viqueira put his method to work in the Tinaja Girl case. Following his own experience, he paid attention to the objects found at the crime scene. Let's remember a particularly unusual item found near the tinaja were Nati ended up in; the matchbox. This matchbox was traced to a nightclub in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the United States. There was no way to buy it in Spanish territory, and locals would buy matches from Spanish companies. USAF airmen didn't frequent the abandoned house Nati was found at, making extremely unlikely that the matchbox had been there before Nati's murder. There were just two likely scenarios; a) Given her involvement with USAF African-American airmen -let's remember she had married one-, the matchbox belonged to Nati and b) it belonged to the killer. The Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base became the target of Viqueira's attention. He believed that the killer had ties to there. More so because according to the girl whose flat Goyo had hidden at, one time she casually discussed the Tinaja Girl case with him (whose investigation was often making headlines then) and Goyo had expressed; 'I think the Yanks did it, but don't go around talking about it'. In fact, Viqueira's inquires eventually led him to an USAF airman. He was known for patronizing prostitutes, was a physically large man... and he was also African-American. It seems that Viqueira managed to gather a significant amount of evidence against him, but the airman was never prosecuted. Some have speculated that neither American nor Spanish authorities wanted the case to move forward. A few words about US-Spain relations at the time. In December of 1959 Dwight Eisenhower became the first American president to make an official visit to Spain -some ten years earlier Truman had expressed his hatred towards the Francoist Regime, vowing to never visit Spain for as long as Franco ruled the country. Spain wouldn't receive the visit of another US president until October of 1970, when Richard Nixon met with Francisco Franco and the Monarchy at the Moncloa Palace. John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had avoided visiting Spain while they were in office; both were vocal about their opposition to the Francoist dictatorship. US-Spain international relationship was not at its best during that time, and it started to improve slowly with Nixon. There had been recently another incident that had created a conflict between both countries, creating a sense of distrust among Spaniards towards Americans; the 1966 Palomares incident, whose social consequences had an impact even up to 1986, year in which a public referendum was held in Spain about remaining in NATO -Spain had joined in 1982, but not without a significant opposition from a good percentage of the Spanish people. By early 1970's both countries had improved their diplomatic relationship significantly, a trend that would later continue with Gerald Ford (who visited Spain in May of 1975, six months before Franco's death). Because of this, some believed that the Tinaja Girl case couldn't move forward. However, this was not the first case Viqueira had to accuse an American citizen of a serious crime; in August of 1960 an American woman named Mildred A. H. had rushed her 22-month old daughter Marcella H. to the Torrenjón de Ardoz Hospital with severe head injuries. She said that the little girl had fallen from her bed. Unfortunately, Marcella succumbed to her injuries that night. An investigation led by Viqueira ended up proving that Marcella's injuries had been caused after she had sustained a beating at the hands of her own father, Allen W. H., USAF sergeant stationed at Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base. Both husband and wife were arrested for the murder of the little Marcella; Allen as the culprit and Mildred as accomplice. Allen W. H. faced a court martial and was sentenced to prison. He ended up at the Leavenworth Penitentiary, in Kansas, where his sentence included penal labor. Apparently, the day after he murdered his daughter Allen had showed up to work, and his coworkers didn't notice anything odd or amiss; he looked absolutely calm and collected.
Whatever the true reason may have been, the African-American airman was never arrested. It could have been because the evidence gathered by Viqueira was not enough to warrant an arrest, but there's not much information about this. Gregorio 'Goyo' Ávila Sotoca has been the only person to ever face trial for the murder of Natividad 'Nati' Romero Rodríguez. Besides the African-American airman, no other suspect has come up in subsequent investigations. Once all the forensic work was done, Nati was buried on August 25th, 1969 at her hometown of Siles. While her family was very saddened about her early dead, they said that they were not surprised; Nati had been a very difficult person since a very young age, and was a matter of time before she would end up dead. She lived very fast, and died very young. Another picture of Nati Goyo Ávila Sotoca passed away in September of 1998. He was 55-years old. The case remained cold until it expired in August 13th, 1989 due to statute of limitations. The investigation was abandoned more than 30 years ago.
Fishy things going on with ACR, or am I just bad??
So I started playing on ACR just a few weeks ago, started at free-rolls and played these tournaments until i built my bankroll up to about $50 without putting any of my own money in. I'd say I cashed in probably 50-75% of the tournaments I entered during the first 2 weeks I played. Now the last two weeks haver been absolutely abysmal for me. I have lost all of the bankroll that I earned before. I either have to deposit my own money or start form the bottom again and grind. The reason I'm writing this is because it seems that I have been getting played. Now there is no way I can prove this, but here is what has been happening. I went from cashing a majority of my MTT's to losing about 20 in a row to crush my entire bankroll. However, i'd say about 50-75% of my recent loses have been in questionable fashion. Most of the times I get knocked out I would be ahead in the hand, someone would try to bluff me, I call, and then they would hit their hand on the river. Now I know variance is a thing and I could just be getting the shit end of the stick right now. But the thing that has pissed me off is that it seems like the people I'm playing against KNOW they will hit the card. I will be ahead in the hand every time, by a pretty big margin, they might have 1-8 outs, but this person will reraise, call, and shove all in when they have no business doing so. Everyone has bad beats and I get it, but am I just paranoid here?? These players just absolutely fucked me when the odds were against them time after time. and they bet like they 100% knew that they would hit the hand. It would have been one thing if they were wary about calling or raising and took some time to think about it, but all of these times the player has snap called or snap raised or pushed all in right away. It makes me think that maybe ACR made it easy on me in the beginning, let me build my bankroll, then smoked me once I got to $50 in the hopes I would then deposit my own money. I just find it so weird that I went from playing so well, to get obliterated every tourney for the last week. Does anyone have thoughts on this ? I really do not want to deposit my own money after this last week. I'm either a bad player and shouldn't waste my time, in a really bad downswing, or ACR is rigged. Idk, if you would have seen these hands and how they played out, you would question things too. It just seems way too good to be true. Example of my last hand they busted me from a tourney: I had 54h, everyone limps into the pot with 1BB. Flop comes 5c Jc 4d, I have a 2 pair. I'm first to bet and I raise it to 2BB. Immediately get raised by this guy to triple my bet. I think well he probably has a pair of jacks but I doubt he has a two pair, so I reraise him in hopes to get him off the hand. I make it 600 to his 300 and then immediately again he raises it to 1200. So I'm thinking maybe he has something better, but im not really buying it, call. Next card comes and its a Qs. I check and the guy immediately shoves all-in. Now I know a lot of people would fold here, but idk I just followed my gut because I really thought this guy didnt have it. I call. He turns over a JAh. River comes and its an ace.... So the guy had no flush draw at all, no straight draw at all, and the only cards that could have helped him would be a J,A, or Q. So he had 8 outs, but there is no way he would have known the Q would be an out, so from his view he really he only has 5. 10% chance of winning that pot on the river and he shoves all in. Now this isnt the worst that has happened to me lately (got fucked by a guy with 2 outs, my AA against his 22, he spikes a 2 on the river after going all in on me). So I'm just a little confused and pissed off right now. Anyone have experiences like this?? The players all felt like they knew they were going to hit their hand. Fuck me, maybe im just bad... Tl;DR: Won on ACR for a few weeks, feels like a switch was flipped and now im getting destroyed by people that are behind in their hands and they spike important cards after shoving like they knew they were going to hit. Not just a bad beat, but completely dominated hands where im up at least 90% and they shove like they know they the cards and they know i will call.
Hey there, You may remember me from my post two years ago where I hit 1 Million CP as a Paladin at level 180 as F2P. Back at it again with 7 Million CP, still 100% F2P, here to answer any questions you may have but also providing a quick guide I just wrote to help out other F2P and P2P gamers. This was going to be a little bit longer (for instance the rebuttal section) but I've been writing it all day and I'm kinda mentally done/over it but like I said, I'll answer any questions (like last time) My progress from earlier in the week: https://i.imgur.com/SWPDlnY.jpg Socials: Twitter | YouTube | Twitch
First Things First:
L2R is a P2W game, at this point you'll need to spend something to remain competitive. I've been playing non-stop for over two years and am currently at 7 million CP as F2P. My results are not typical and if you think (oh hey, I'm probably going to start playing and this guy did it, I can do it too!) this is realistic, it's not. Paying even something as little as ~$10 a month (over the course of my play time) would probably get me 8+ million, not to mention have saved a lot of headache. With that being said, this guide is a F2P min/max guide, which I have to imagine quite a few P2Pers aren't properly doing either.
Rebuttal to old guides:
The biggest lie that I've read over the years was that everyone needs to get thier "Elite Set" (e.g. weapon and then armor) first because that helps out the most in Dungeons. That was barely true three months deep into the game, it wasn't true six months into the game, and it sure as hell isn't true now. Save your money, do NOT invest in your elite set until everything else is done. Currently there's no mobs that benefit from the weapon (that you can't already have in another form) and field mobs there's still one type (animal) that has yet to be added but obviously a 'Normal' mob ain't an 'Elite' one.
Things I wish I knew starting off:
Despite the numerical difference in weapon CP (whether ATK value or shown CP), the Attribute Bonus damage is a function of your character's attack, not the weapon. So even though your Normal Weapon might be 1/4 the CP of your PVP weapon, your character's ATK actually value might actually be 5/6 that of the PVP while equipping your Normal Weapon, so the 112% damage bonus would be (5/6 x 112% = 93.3% more or) 1.93x damage. Unless your Monster Attribute Armor has been UR'd and fully enchanted, there's a good chance your UR PVP armor will be stronger despite the lack of sizeable Attribute Defense. A 2-Piece SR 30 cannot match the bonus protection of your 4-Piece UR 40 PVP armor. Remember, the defense attributes are multiplicative, not additive, so the bonus protection is less than you think. The best thing you can do is compare your 4-Piece PVP Armor Stats (on your character sheet) versus your 2-Piece or 4-Piece Armor Stats. Do some quick napkin math and see which is actually better (don't forget your 4-Piece PVP set Final Damage reduction!). It's easier to gain attack than it is to gain defense, and that's a good thing. Attack is everything in this game, the faster you kill things, the faster you can farm and strengthen your character as a whole. For instance in PVP, it takes just 9 Attribute levels to gain 35% Bonus Damage yet 36 Attribute levels to gain 28% Defense. Gold should be considered expendable and used whenever possible (I'll talk about this later). Despite Gold being expendable, don't waste gold leveling up multiple sets unless you have an excess of gold (which you shouldn't as F2P/P2P). It's often better to forgo a set and then use the "Conduction" feature to transfer enchants from one set to another. Create a Spreadsheet and plan out your path to minimize the amount of gold burnt. Remember, the end goal is to settle your biggest bonuses on a single set as "Owned" (namely a full set of UR 40, at least +30, with +10 Attribute). Check the Forums (in-game) for Events often and be sure to do them, when available. Be greedy only with a backup plan; don't tired/drunk/rage enchant, just don't do it.
Gold, gold, gold:
Gold should be considered expendable and used whenever possible, without exception. Everything that can bought for gold in the Daily Shops, Event Shops, and misc Event (tabs) should be bought with gold. Beyond that, you'll want to save/spend gold for your greatest gains first. 1) Never, ever forgo your Commission Listing due to lack of gold, this should be your #1 priority 2) Pay for 100% certainties first (Elixir, Mount, GeaEquip levels) and not gambles 3) Adena Vault can be restarted as many times as you want before killing the dragon. Keep running it until you find a good roll/luck as you'll likely never go into it again otherwise and the auto-clear with a bad roll might cost you millions of gold over the course of an expansion. 4) Save gold for Conduction although chances are you'll want to do all your gear in one swoop. Otherwise, you might get stuck paying double or triple to constantly move enchant bonused between your main set over and over again. Need gold now and not sure where to find some? Here's some things you can likely sell without repercussion. 1) 1/2 Hour Clan Relics, you should already have too many 6 Hour Relics to open them all. 2) Excess POB/RSS, leave a little in reserve but you should have way too much as is. 3) Talisman that are already registered (e.g Open Faded Talisman and sell the excess). Warning: This might change in the next patch. 4) Excess A/S grade Soul Crystals. Often it's better to wait for full drops than to upgrade SC and burn gold. 5) Excess crafting materials. A little harder to come-by but usually the rare materials are the limiting factor, not the common ones.
I can't believe this needs to be spelled out but I can't tell you how many times I see this mistake happen. 1) If your character is not in mortal danger of dying while AFK, do not use defensive abilities. 2) Prioritize movement and attack speed (e.g. passive buffs) over active abilities 3) Your chosen Rare attacks should match the mobs you're farming. A 150s CD Meteor Shower instant kills field mobs. Your 60s CD Missile Bolt also instant kills field mobs. Poison Strike is a 120s CD and Holy Shock is a 100s CD, both are just as good as Meteor yet have 30-50 seconds less CD. Use those instead. 4) Use the best weapon for the mob you're farming and if your weapon isn't good enough, find the mob that's weak to your best weapon. As long as you're +/- 4 levels of the mob in question, you won't be severly penalized for faming it. So why kill a mob at 1/2 the speed that you can be killing another? 5) If you're in the field, try not to farm on people. Not only will they negatively affect your farm but if they're stronger than you, there's a good chance they'll be leaching all the XP/drops from you anyway. So it's not worth it. 6) A little underhanded but if you're undergeared, join the group of someone significantly stronger than you. If you're moderatly strong and someone is way weaker than you joins, leave the group and farm by yourself. Note: You can farm in a group and as long as your group isn't near each other, no one will be negatively affected, while still gaining the party buffs from being in the same general zone/dungeon.
Free sh*t that you need to be doing:
1) Betting on the Colosseum - Once a month, costs up to 3 million gold, rewards 3000-9000+ tokens to buy numerous deluxe materials 2) Forum Events - Typically monthly, free to enter, rewards gold, reds, or sometimes deluxe materials 3) Betting on Castle Sieges - Once a week, free to enter (kill mobs for tickets), rewards up to 3 deluxe materials 4) Special Events - Typically daily, free or low gold to enter (typically dailys), rewards multiple bonus items or deluxe materials Other than that, do the obvious daily and monthly login rewards. Use the Monthly Login schedule to plan your gear leveling lines and influx of reds. For instance, rather than Combining items to try and get a random piece you need, it migth be better to wait a few days for that Limit Break Stone. Similarly, even if you don't play daily, at the bare minimum log into the game daily for the Temporal Rift Nightmare Ticket. 1 ticket every 3 days saves you 200 reds and that adds up super quick.
Free optimization routes/techniques you can exploit by actively using clan coins (which are a ton easier to make nowadays). 1) In arena, feel free to full buff yourself (or at least buy attack buffs) to make it easier to raise up the ladder 2) Before starting Hot Time, buy attack clan buffs to be maximize your HT 3) When field farming, buy the movement speed clan buff to more effeciently farm (keep in mind, you can buy multiple for hours straight) 4) Buy at least the 1x Elixir Essence Selection box and the 1x Ripped Recipe Fragment daily 5) If your Clan owns a fort/castle, you can buy the Core Buff/Adena Potion and Elixers if needed 6) Similarly, in Monster Summoning stones, you can use the Core/Adena Potion and clan buffs to maximize your efficiency
Armor Optimization Routes:
Unless you're currently getting slaughtered in Dungeons or Rifts, you'll want to use (at most) a 2-Piece bonus of Helmet and Boots. Why? Because Gloves and Chest have such a crucial stat line that not min/maxing your Gloves and Chest will actually determent EVERYTHING you do. Chest: High CP, Defense + HP, Gems: Def + HP (Good) Gloves: Med CP, Defense + HP, Gems: Attack + Crit Rate (Very Good) Whereas the other pieces are... Helmet: Low CP, Defense + MP, Gems: Def + HP (Good) Boots: High CP, Defense + HP, Gems: Acc + Evasion (Bad) Using the stat line and gem options, your Gloves should actually be the highest priority versus every other equip (even weapon) because the Gem CP scales equally between your Gloves and Weapon. So that 1,200 CP that affects your weapon will no longer be present when you take it off but if your Gloves picked up the 1,200 CP bump, that will apply to every weapon you use while they're equipped.
General (math based) Optimization Routes:
Awakening items has a 100% chance, therefore provide consistent gains and typically also reward Equipment Collection bonus CP.
The first LB for your Elixer, Gem, or Mount equip is 100% and typically 50% afterwards. So it's better to level up everything to 100% first before digging down and gambling with 50% chances.
With Runes, you'll gain the most CP by focusing on the basic higher chance Runes first (for instance at the "top") and then make your way down to the rarer runes afterwards. This will save you a ton of gold while also providing noticeable CP improvements.
Similarly to Runes, enhancing Mount equipment at lower levels provides as much CP as your +20 equipment yet requires fewer scrolls and might be double or triple the probability of success. Enhance your lower equipped gear first and then move onto the less likely to succeed equips.
With the new UR Mount System, it's often better to save your gold for stones to UR your basic mounts than to convert all into stones for low % Mount LBs (the final level, 29->30, is 10% and provides no bonus chances on failure).
If you're reading a section on min/maxing, I'm going to presume you have all the free cloaks first. If you don't, obviously your first priority should be to farm the dungeons for the cloaks and then equip them once you get them. Do not burn materials to craft the special cloaks, keep running those dungeons until it eventually drops. In my experience by the time I get to ~700 of the 1000 needed to craft, I already had one of the cloaks drop, just stick with it until you get a full drop. This should be your priority for full cloak drops (as F2P/P2P): 1) Enhance Pattern - Convert one cloak for enhancement, can gain substantial CP by using basic/gold costing materials afterwards 2) Salvage - Unless you're already capped, there's no reason to LB the cloak as the CP gain from pure levels alone will be more valuable 3) LB - Only LB once you're capped or near capped. Don't be like me and have a 33/38 because I kept LB'ing instead of leveling. Enhance Pattern is pretty much the definition of P2W as you have 10 chances to get your cloak to +65 or +100. The problem is your cloak has a chance of hitting a +1, regardless of the Enhancing material used. The most important thing of note is that using basic material your average roll is 6.5 and using High-Grade is 8. So on average, 10 rolls of basic material will get you the +65 but on average (even with High-Grade) will not net you that +100 (you'll be ~20 short). As such, your algorithm for Enhancing should follow: 1) Enhance all Cloaks, period. The bonus CP is too good to pass up. 2) Once you have enough materials to reroll, e.g. at least 30 basic patterns, reroll your lowest cloak first 3) Begin to reroll all the cloaks to the +65 target Now the actual algorithm: 4a) On a fresh reroll, use a High-Grade Pattern and see if you get at least a +10. 4b) If you rolled a +9, you can opt to roll the rest of it out using normal Patterns or try one more High-Grade for at least a +11. 4c) By your 5th roll, you should be at least +50. If you're not at +50, you can opt to normal roll or try again. 4d) If at any time you catastrophically fail, as fresh, it's almost certainly better to completely cut your loses and try again. Top Tier Imprint Effect: Garden Cloak (Atk, Pen, and Crit Resist) Cloak of Virtuous Blood (Atk, Crit, and Rare Skill Ignore) Awakened Embrion's Cloak (Atk, MP, PVP Crit Dmg Decrease) Yosef's Demonic Cloak (Atk, Crit Resist, and Rare Skill Decrease) Mid Tier Imprint Effect: Cloak of Red Destruction (Def, Resil, and Rare Skill Decrease) Hagio's Cloak (Def, HP, and Rare Skill Decrease) Mutated Roland's Cloak (Def, Pen, and Rare Skill Decrease) Low Tier Imprint Effect: Adventurer's Cloak (Atk, MP, Evasion) Blood Ranger's Cloak (Def, HP, Acc) Regarding 'Change Substat', be sure to use Magic Needles whenever you have a good stat you want to save. Magic Needles can be purchased once a week from the Special Shop for gold, so stock up as needed. Do not reroll without using Needles unless you have one substat you need and the rest of the roll is useless (e.g. MP, MP Recovery, and the like). Top Tier Substats: Cloak of Red Destruction Cloak of Virtuous Blood Mutated Roland's Cloak Mid Tier Substats: Hagio's Cloak Awakened Embrion's Cloak Yosef's Demonic Cloak Low Tier Substats: Basic Cloaks Prioritize PATK/MATK (respective to your character) on the top tier and the mid tier cloaks should focus on Crit Rate or P/M Defense (doesn't really matter which one TBH, that's why they're not bad either). For the most part, Crit Rate is the most valuable as, once again, attacking is the most valuable stat as this helps you more in PVE as well.
Daily Dungeon Recommended Resets:
Since we're all about min/maxing our red diamonds, we want to spend on the Daily Dungeon when it A) nets the best reward and B) costs us the least amount. As such, everyone, regardless of F2P/P2P/P2W should be resetting at least once on Saturdays and Sundays. Top Tier (Must spend): Saturday - 2 Accessory Maphrs (100 Reds) Sunday - 2.4 Universal Maphrs (100 Reds) Mid Tier (If needed): Any Day - 1.2 Universal Maphrs (200 Reds) Low Tier (If reds aren't a problem): Tuesday - 2 Random Weapon Maphrs (100 Reds) Thursday - 2 Random Armor Maphrs (100 Reds) Now despite the added cost, it's better to get 1.2 Universal Maphrs (1 Full Maphr + 20 Frags) than a random additional Maphr once a week. Over the long run, you WILL come out ahead by only getting random Maphrs but don't underestimate how greedy you might get by being short just one Maphr. The game thrives on greed and will punish you greatly for doing that. Personally, I'm only running Saturday and Sunday resets, having stopped doing Daily Maphr resets once I started getting low on reds. I think that's the sweet spot and all that's necessary as F2P/P2P.
Since the whole Agathion system is completely RNG based (except for Choose Boxes for Agas or Charms), the only real gold saving route is to "Strengthen" your Aga to the point where one of the Substats hits 100%. Now granted your 100% will stay 100% (as it cannot drop at all) but the respective gains from paying to upgrade further are not enhanced by having fewer categories. So you're effectively hit with Diminishing Returns and will often burn gold for small CP gains. Of course if your Aga is SR or Rare, you should level them up as the gold will not (realistically) go to waste but for S and R, it's honestly not worth the gold because as soon as you SR the Aga, you'll gain more CP consistently with less gold used. If you're fortunate enough to have a Selection Box where you can choose a full Aga or Charm, follow the obvious steps: If choose Agathion: 1) If you're missing multiple Agas, choose which Aga you're missing that you have the most charms for. 2) If you have all the Agas, replace whichever Aga is the lowest rank (e.g. replace an S, before replacing an R). If choose Charm: 1) If you're missing multiple charms, pick a missing charm for your highest rank Aga (e.g. pick SR charm of S/R charm) 2) If you have all the charms, towards the bottom-left it'll say "Charm CP" in a small box, tap the box to open the menu. It will display the CP of all the charms of that Aga you have selected. The color code for CP goes gray, blue, and then green. Replace your grays first and if you have multiple grays, replace the lowest CP gray first (so on and so forth).
Mana Stone Optimization:
Similar to Agathion, there's not much room for optimization but you can make some early mistakes that can cost you big if you're not careful. 1) Feel free to equip other classes' Mana Stones that provide no % boost yet give you passive stats until you get suitable replacements 2) Do NOT sell the stones once you have a replacement, pay to remove them as you can use them for upgrade material afterwards 3) Weapon Mana Stones provide no passive stats yet provide the largest raw % damage boost and as such are most valuable 4) For that reason alone, do not equip a different classes' weapon stone, it'll literally just cost you gold to remove 5) You'll get random Tier 1 and Tier 2 upgrade stones, save them for your respective Tier stones 6) The lower your Mana Stone, the less materials are needed to level it up. Use other classes Mana Stones at first for levels and then as they get higher in level, thereby requiring more stones to level, switch to full-on Tier 1/2 upgrade stones afterwards 7) Do NOT use Sayha's Protection for Tier 1 mana stones. Even at level 9 -> 10, it's still a 45% chance of success and you'll get unusable Mana Stones and Upgrade Stones pretty much daily now.
All professions aren't created equally. The profession system heavily favors tedious, repetitious smaller materials because when you craft an item (for yourself), you have a chance to getting bonus items for free. Since you can only max out a profession at 5 (that's not your specialization) you can then only get latehigher bonus items from whatever you chose your speciality to be. Furthermore, because of the Equipment Collection, the only stats they keep track of (for bonus CP) are Awakening Level (Blacksmithing) and Soul Crystals (Jewelcrafting). Alchemy and Enchanting grant no bonus CP anywhere (apart from Achievements, but that really doesn't count TBH). Top Tier: Blacksmithing Jewel Crafting Lower Tier: Alchemy Enchanting One thing of note, regarding Alchemy, is that while you can get bonus items from crafting Alchemy, there is no such thing as item bleed/overflow. So if you need 1 more Mystical HP Elixer to craft your Radiant and you get a bonus for 51 out of 50, that's a dead item and it literally does nothing for you. Similary, as you level up (whether character level or event), the game will give you random Elixers of which, once again, they might be 100% useless and therefore are just taking up bag space. Compare that To BS, JC, and Ench where if you get one extra item, you can use that on any other piece(s) of your equipment. Now using this knowledge, you can slowly leap frog your way to the target to hopefully not burn any materials unnecessarily. Start with Mystical crafting, jump to Radiant crafting, jump back to Mystical crafting, jump back to Radiant crafting... (so on and so forth) until you're basically to 2 of 2 and 49 of 50 respectively. This will lower the odds of a bonus craft and leaving you with a dead item. Final thing of note, regarding Enchanting, is that because it's the rarest Profession, you will almost certainly get Special Commissions (8 hour, 4 hour, or instant crafts) that will allow you to get Tokens quicker than every other profession. So for that reason alone if you're just starting now, it's probably a good idea to pick Enchanting.
Harvest Dungeon Optimization:
Fishing, regardless of level, gives you bottles for every 'Perfect' you get. These bottles contain random/numerous Profession Essences (talking 10+ Essences per bottle) which are used to craft high-level equipment. For that reason alone, save High-grade Harvesting Tools for Fishing and use Normal Harvesting Tools for everything else. Be sure to restart your game before Harvesting lots of Materials. I find that if my game has been running a while and I go into the Harvesting Dungeon, the process of Harvesting can be unpredictable and even downright ruthless. I typically use one Normal Harvesting Tool when first tapping a material to get a feeling for how quickly the minigame/QTE moves. That way if it goes incredibly fast or I mess up, I will get a 'Great' at the bare minimum or sometimes even a free 'Perfect'. Honestly, though, if you have quite a few Normal Harvesting Tools, it's usually a good idea to leave them on just in case.
L2R - Lineage 2: Revolution, this cursed game CP - Combat Power, the universal stat(istic) that allows for quick comparison between characters F2P - Free to Play, spending $0 in a "free" game where typically its expected to pay money P2P - Pay to Play, spending nominal money to take advantage of inexpensive (although valuable) items/bundles (e.g. $10-100 a month) P2W - Pay to Win, spending excessive money to take any advantage offered (regardless of value) (e.g. $500+ a month) Reds - Red Diamonds, the free currency used to reset daily events, change item substats, and do general/misc things LB - Limit Break, to use a similar material or item and increase the level of your equipped version Min/Max - Maximizing your character's strength by lowering its weaknesses, typically "end game" optimization
Note to third-parties:
I do not consent to you posting this elsewhere without my explicit permission. Contact me first.
More Tales From 2+2: A Very Controversial $70k prop bet
I enjoyed writing up and seeing positive feedback from this post so I decided to write up about an interesting prop bet that came from the 2+2 poker forums that I feel went under the radar. It's way longer than I thought it would be but this story has it all: large amounts of money being bet, furious grinding, 25 buy in swings, community outrage and Doug Polk.
The modern cash game grinder may be surprised to hear that there used to be a Sharkscope style tracking website for online cash games, it was called PokerTableRatings or PTR. It tracked hands fairly accurately. Today, it doesn’t exist and has been shut down for years but it was a valuable resource for grinders and having one browser open to check out opponents was useful. PTR showed your graph and win rates at different stakes, it also had an achievement system. Some achievements were serious like ‘1 Million Dollars In Profit’ and some were less serious like ‘Check Raise 3 Times In A Hand’. One coveted achievement given by PTR was the ‘Ultimate Grinder’. This was given to the most profitable player each month at each stake, this was all tracked on the Ultimate Grinder Leaderboard. So for example: if you are the top of the leaderboard for 50NL in December 2008, you will receive the ‘Ultimate Grinder December 50nl 2008’ badge on your PTR profile.
The year is 2010. Johnathon Duhamel has won the WSOP Main Event. Poker, especially online poker is still booming. The grinders are plentiful. The fish are more plentiful. Posts flow on 2+2 like wine. Enter Silent_0ne. He puts out a proposition bet on BBV (Beats, Brags and Variance: a subforum of 2+2 which is the precursor to Poker’s weekly BBV thread). Back in the golden days of online poker and 2+2 it was common for large prop bets to be made on BBV. Silent_0ne’s prop bet is he will be the ultimate grinder for December 2010 at 100nl. No easy feat, the previous months' ultimate grinders had won between $12k-18k and Silent_0ne claimed to have never played more than 10 tables or ever played on Pokerstars. The odds were set at 6:1 odds in Silent’s_0ne’s favour. Jalexand42 was selected to be the escrow and judge of this prop bet, so he will be the middleman for the money and he will arbitrate any disputes. The rules were set down covered many different situations. The judge was confident of this:
Jalexand42: Just a quick note about the judging... I'm optimistic there won't be any controversy in this bet the way the rules have been defined. (#83)
He would turn out to be so wrong. Many 2+2 posters weighed their opinions in and started to place bets:
Chicago Joey (Joey Ingram): damn that is going to be interesting for a bunch of reasons(#46) Canoodles: If I was OP, I wouldn't take this for less than 100-1. (#18) Chinz: Settling for 6-1 and doing it on December when lots of SNE chasers are playing really high volume... You don't seem to like money. (#218)
Nearly all the posters doubted Silent_0ne but he seemed confident and Jalexand42 started collecting money. By the 28th November, with 3 days to go until the challenge begins the bets were placed and finalized, 14 people put up between $600-$3k. Silent_0ne stood to gain $67,500 or lose $11,250 from the bet alone. In just a few days he would put himself at the mercy of variance and would dedicate himself to destroying 100nl. If he overcomes this challenging month, he stood to win a significant amount of money.
December the first rolled in and Silent_0ne starting playing. It was a rocky start for him, he finished day two down more than $2k and received comments from 2+2 posters like:
ChicagoJoey [Joey Ingram]: lol trainwreck (#392) MinSixBet: are you still taking action? (#399)
But some posters really believed in him and were rooting hard:
Eaglesfan1: Forget about the leaderboard and focus on your game and playing ur best. (#406)
However things got worse and Silent_one seemed to be losing hope, on day 4 he posted this:
Silent_0ne: just got owned bad rly bad "hero call" for big pot set of 8s < set of As KK < AK bad river bluff shove set of 6s < str 10s < Js AK < AA AK on AK6 board < 66 AA < 99 on 974 board ^ all greater than 200 big blind pots could have prevented half of those if I didnt suck so much (#410)
Day 5 and Silent_0ne was doing better but was down a few buy ins, still far behind his target. Remember, he needs to be number one in profit in the massive 2010 pool of 100nl Pokerstars players. He posted this astonishing hand: Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em $0.20 Ante - 9 players
Silent_0ne: $568.55 UTG+1: $444.30 UTG+2: $519.10 MP1: $226.75 Hero (MP2): $257.70 CO: $250.00 BTN: $100.00 SB: $257.70 BB: $120.90 Pre Flop: ($3.30) Silent_0ne is MP2 with 9h9c Silent_0ne raises to $4.80, UTG+1 raises to $18.60, 1 fold, MP1 calls $18.60, 5 folds, Silent_0ne calls $13.80 Flop: ($59.10) 2h8s5s(3 players) Silent_0ne checks, UTG+1 bets $32, MP1 folds, Silent_0ne raises to $92, UTG+1 calls $60 Turn: ($243.10) Kc (2 players) Silent_0ne checks, UTG+1 checks River: ($243.10) 4s (2 players) Silent_0ne bets $127, UTG+1 raises to $333.50 all in, Silent_0ne calls $206.50 Final Pot: $910.10 Silent_0ne shows 9h9c (a pair of Nines) UTG+1 shows 9dJc (high card King) Silent_0ne wins $907.10
As you can see, 2010 was truly an amazing place for online poker. Silent_0ne was bringing out his inner grinder and was playing 16 hour sessions and seeing huge swings in the first week. Day 7 and he posted some hands that shocked the community and his growing fan base:
DPred123: wtf at those HHs. (#520) Transa: LoLolLololooLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL (#521)
Here are two of the hands he posted:
Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em $0.20 Ante - 9 players Pre Flop: ($3.30) MP1: $365.20 Hero (CO): $342.35 Silent_0ne is CO with 7s7d 3 folds, MP1 raises to $4, 1 fold, Silent_0ne raises to $15.50, 3 folds, MP1 raises to $41.90, Silent_0ne raises to $342.15 all in, MP1 calls $300.25 Flop: ($687.60) ThKc6s(2 players - 1 is all in) Turn: ($687.60) Ts (2 players - 1 is all in) River: ($687.60) 2h (2 players - 1 is all in) Final Pot: $687.60 MP1 shows AcAh (two pair, Aces and Tens)
Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em $0.20 Ante - 3 players BTN: $656.85 Silent_0ne(SB): $288.00 BB: $345.00 Pre Flop: ($2.10) Silent_0ne is SB with 4d4h BTN raises to $3, Silent_0ne raises to $12, 1 fold, BTN calls $9 Flop: ($25.60) 3h6d5s(2 players) Silent_0ne checks, BTN bets $18, Silent_0ne raises to $275.80 all in, BTN calls $257.80 Turn: ($577.20) Js (2 players - 1 is all in) River: ($577.20) 9c (2 players - 1 is all in) Final Pot: $577.20 BTN shows 3d5d (two pair, Fives and Threes) Hero Silent_0ne4h4h (a pair of Fours) BTN wins $576.20
Silent_0ne: barely ate anything last few days. i just get up and play, dont prepare anything. im playing right now btw. down around 2700$ for the month. im really dumb for spewing off 3k+ just cause i was tilted/ran bad, and snapped. another problem that people overlook is the extra attention i get at the tables for doing this prop bet. lots of regs can exploit my plays and then all tend to focus on owning me. (#554)
Silent_0ne had started the month on a $3k downswing, then won $2.5k before going on another $3k downswing in just one week. He must have felt desperate as after an hour and a half Silent_0ne had an idea and events took a shocking turn:
Silent_0ne: any interested if i give up 100nl and start tomorrow on day 7 at 50nl to try and get the badge there for 6 to 1. i wanna gamble and break even on the month, so im willing to put up 5k on this if any1 is interested? (#570)
This new bet must have seemed too good to be true. At this point he had been relentlessly grinding 100nl for a week, was losing badly, he was tilting, was likely playing more tables than he can handle and he’s a week behind getting to the top of the 50nl leaderboard. The bets started to pour in and within an hour he had 7 people place action. The community commented:
Absurd: This is adsurd (#601) jalexand42: Seriously, take a day to cool off. (#599) King Fish: I'd be interested but highly advise you to reconsider this and maybe take an hour and step back. Edit: will take $1800 to your $300 assuming same judge and escrow. (#574) loK2thabrain: I call dibs on first bet when he moves down to win the 25nl badge. (#700)
Everyone on the thread couldn’t believe what they reading, However, Silent_0ne seemed to accept that the 100nl bet was dead and he wasn’t getting the $67k prop bet win. He was willing to pay the $11k out and enter a new prop bet. Now, being the Ultimate Grinder at 50nl is his goal. Again, the bets were substantial and he had 8:1 odds in his favour for being the Ultimate Grinder for December at 50nl. The same day he made the new bet, he started at 50nl and was off.
The New Bet
Enter Fees. Fees is the 2+2 username of Ryan Fee (Currently on Team Upswing), at this point he was known for being a fearsome 2000nl grinder and writing Ryan Fee’s 6 max guide, which he distributed for free. In a world where succinct and good poker strategy was hard to come by, this was a valuable guide for many players. He takes interest in the thread on the 7th of December:
Fees i'll take all the action, PM me (#746)
Fees booked action late and the details of this booking were not listed in the thread. The next day, Fees acts a question about the rules:
Fees: what if kerpowski or jeffmet wins the ugl and he gets second? (#878)
Kerpowski and Jeffmet are players who took action against Silent_0ne. They are also 50/100nl grinders. The case of fellow grinders taking action was covered in the rules. A poster quotes the rules and informs Fees that they have to be existing 50nl/100nl grinders. Fees then asks the following question:
Fees: i think that implies at the same tables as him, but what if they just play completely different games and just win the ugl?
Remember these probing questions, they’ll become relevant later. By the 10th of December things looked tough for Silent_0ne, the player of the top of the 50nl leaderboard was already at $2.5k profit (50 buy ins). Silent_0ne was up $1.1k and estimated he was only 2-3 days behind pace. By the 12th of December he was still playing brutally long sessions:
Silent_0ne: just finished 11 hour session, too tired to post anything, ill go to bed for a couple hours then post graphs/hands when i wake up. was tilted throughout entire session, played 12k hands...eyes burn...ran bad for once (6 buyins below ev)
He also posted eight hands that looked pretty spewy, here is one of them:
Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em $0.10 Ante - 5 players BB: $50.00 UTG: $103.40 CO: $137.65 BTN: $133.00 Silent_0ne (SB): $144.60 Pre Flop: ($1.25) Hero is SB with AdQh 1 fold, CO raises to $1.50, BTN calls $1.50, Silent_0ne calls $1.25, BB calls $1 Flop: ($6.50) 6c6d6s(4 players) Silent_0ne checks, BB checks, CO bets $4, BTN folds, Silent_0ne raises to $14.75, BB folds, CO calls $10.75 Turn: ($36.00) 8h (2 players) Silent_0ne bets $25.75, CO calls $25.75 River: ($87.50) 4d (2 players) Silent_0ne bets $102.50 all in, CO calls $95.55 all in Final Pot: $278.60 CO shows JdJc (a full house, Sixes full of Jacks) Silent_0ne shows AdQh (three of a kind, Sixes) CO wins $276.60
Even people taking action against him gave him advice:
King Fish: I am speechless … It's NL50. Stop trying to get so fancy. (#1038)
But then, Silent_0ne has an explosive session and is up an incredible $2800 in one day, that’s 56 buy ins! The posters go wild as he moves into 3rd place on the 50nl Ultimate Grinder leaderboard:
vaike $3,142, 19.38 Hands BB/100
zzn1980 $2,833, 2.46 Hands BB/100
Silent_0ne69 $2,634, 5.19 Hands B/100
For the first time people are starting to believe that he can do this. Fast forward to the next day, December 13th and with another miraculous winning session he reaches number one on the leaderboard. He has $3.4k profit at 50nl and number two is close behind with $3.1k, if he can maintain his win rate of 6b/100 hands then he should have a very real chance of making an incredible comeback. 14th December. Fees posts:
Fees: still taking action, I want 2:1
Despite Silent_0ne being top of the leaderboard when he posted this and Fees already buying action Fees seemed willing to take 2:1 in Silent_0ne’s favour. Soon after, a poster in the thread reveals that:
tightmaniac: fees is 4th
It is revealed that Fees who is normally a 2000nl player is playing 50nl HU and is 4th on the leaderboard. HU 50nl still counts towards the 50nl leaderboard. With the higher rate of hands of HU, bigger winrates of HU and Fees' skill, it could mean he would soon reach the top of the leaderboard. 10 minutes after TightManic’s post Fees lowers his odds:
Fees: Looking to take action on this at 1:1 (#1180)
The judge weighs in:
Jalexand42: If fees' didn't disclose this to whoever has his action, it's obviously pretty questionable, although that probably should have been asked. As far as the prop bet tho, I specifically asked Silent whether HU players should be included/excluded and he said included. The rules clearly don't exclude some random player from dropping down and playing $50nl (or $100nl for the original bet). They DO clearly state that people who bet against Silent one as part of the prop bet are NOT allowed to interfere with the bet, but I don't have anything to do with whatever side action fees may have on this. I told kerpowski last night that I didn't want him to play HU to try to win the badge, since I felt like it was a gray area in the intent of the rules (since he obviously doesn't normally play those stakes). Kind of sucks for OP if this is going on, but I can't really change the rules after it's started since that would affect the people that bet against Silent. (#1196)
As of the 15 December Silent_0ne was still top of the board with $4.4k and most posters were expressing their displeasure if Fees were to continue playing 50nl. Silent_0ne drops this bombshell:
Silent_0ne: ‘2. Actions must be in accordance with the intent of having a fair prop bet. No actions (chip dumping, collusion, ghosting/coaching players on Silent_0ne's tables, etc) can be taken with the intent to affect the outcome of the prop bet. Violations will result in the violator's action being forfeited and may result in additional modification/extention to neutralize the interference.’ [Silent_0ne is quoting the rules here.] ‘The spirit of the bet is that OP is competing against players who 'really' play NL100, both ring and heads up.’ I know a friend of Fees and his friend said he was legit and everything. alittle after the bet started and action was full, fees approached me and my friend about taking additional action at 10 to 1. my friend and I took an additional 2.5k to his 25k and escrowed to wcgrider. the bet was under the assumption that the same rules as the 100nl bet were going to be used, and whatever the judge decides would be final. so given the quotes above, it is against the rules that someone betting against me should also be able to compete against me given that he does not regularly play at 50nl (he plays 6max 2knl and WON the UGL badge last month at that stake) also, im not allowed to play 50nl HU which is really fishy and easy to win the UGL badge at if you put in enough volume. regardless of if fees action is with Jalex or not, i think the same rules apply, because he is not a regular at the stakes and he accepted the same rules when making the bet with my friend and I going to eat something then start up a grind session, hopefully I continue to crush and run good, though my heart has sunk when I looked at fees in forth, and I feel ill and tilted (#1205)
Silent_0ne posted that he did a deal, off with main thread with 10 to 1 odds (Fees betting $25k to Silent_0ne’s $2.5k that Silent_0ne will win ultimate grinder 50nl) with Fees and that WCGRider (Doug Polk, currently of Upswing Poker and poker Youtube fame) is the escrow, not Jalexand42. Most posters now seem outraged:
King Fish: Wow what an angle shoot by Fees on this. This does help define the measure of what type of person he is that he is even attempting it. (#1207) Tumaterminator: sickest hustle ever. (#1210) kp1022: wait, doeboyfre$h is fees? he sat me in 50nl HU a few days ago FWIW after PTR'ing him , i asked why was he playing so low? he replied, "busto" (#1234)
Some of the posters were trying to play Fees at the 50nl in attempt to slow down his winning streak and tell Fees that he is breaking the rules. Silent_0ne expressed his displeasure and downed mental state:
Silent_0ne: this is horrible. im going to start my first grind right now. imo what fees is doing is against the rules and is unfair. i really hope i dont lose alot right now, but im in a pretty poor emotional state please whoever is decent, sit it up with fees and discouarge him to continue what hes doing. 2knl player won badge last month, makes big bet against me and decides to compete for 50nl badge against me... (#1267)
For the first time in a few days Fees posts:
Fees: Hey, Just to clear a few things up,
I haven't broken any rules, there isn't a rule that explicitly states that I cannot win the UGL.
I'm not trying to scam/do anything shady/etc, when I made the bet I posted in this thread asking if a bettor could win the UGL […] anyway I'm going to try and win the 50nl UGL this month... I haven't done anything wrong and there is nothing wrong with me going for it.
Then, an enflamed debate about the rules erupts, almost every poster is furious at Fees
Silent_0ne: had a conversation with WCGRider over the phone. the assumption was that jalex is the judge of this bet, and his word is final. WCGRider is simply just an escrow. fees and I agreed on the rules of the bet and having jalex of the judge. #1352
Then WCGRider (Doug Polk) posts for the first time:
WCGRider: Wanted to make a quick post here because i talked to colin earlier about this and i want to clear up a few things. First off, I was never told i was going to be an escrow. I literally woke up with colins [Silent_0ne] money in my account. I was never asked anything, I was never told anything, I just was sent the money and thats it. So now im being brought into this to make a decision, which i dont think really is fair. I haven't read any of this thread, I haven't read the rules. Also, fees has to be one of my best friends here in las vegas, and I want that to be clear before i give my opinion about this. I think its sort of unfair that i get put into this situation.
jalexand42 then posts his judgment in a lengthy post (#1526) but I believe this excerpt sums it up:
jalexand42: So, while it is not UNFAIR of fees to be playing $50nl, he has CLEARLY taken actions that will influence the outcome of the bet IF he wins the UGL for $50nl for December. Fees would clearly NOT be playing $50nl (and in fact is still playing his normal stakes) if he didn't have action on this bet. Fees also clearly understood this was a questionable area with regard to the rules based on his posts in this thread and he did not clarify it with the judge. He posts also indicate clearly that he felt he was subject to the rules. Therefore, I rule that Fees' standing on the UGL for December WILL BE IGNORED for purposes of determining this bet if he wins.
Many posters praise Jalexand42. But Jalexand42 does not have the money from the sidebet between Silent_0ne and Fees. WCGrider does. Silent_0ne gives his piece of mind and a quick poker update:
Silent_0ne: yes, i agree with this [Jalexand42's judgment]. also, fees can keep the 25k in the bet without any forfiet. im just really happy things worked out okay. however i probably should have read this before my session I just played. probably wouldnt have spewed as much at the endodays been my worst day since the start of the 50nl bet so far. gonna play 1 more session later tonight and going to be in alot better and focused mood (#1561)
Then, another bombshell drops, a friend of WCRrider’s reveals that Fees didn’t even escrow his money to Doug: theskillzdatklls: Afaik, Fees did not ship his $25k share to Doug, only Colin [Silent_0ne] sent his part. (#1669) 2+2 reacts:
Handbaggio: LOL wtf, fees hasn't escrowed his bet??? (#1676) rnb0sprnkles: LOL and when I thought the drama was starting to die down, the thread gets even crazier (#1698)
Jalexand42 has a conversation with WCGRider to reach an agreement and reports:
Jalexand42: Okay, so here's the summary of my conversation with WCGRider:
He is only holding Silent & the_most's action, $2,500.
He did talk to Fees. Fees told him he was going to talk to Colin [Silent_0ne] today and 'hopes to work out something reasonable'.
I asked what that means, he said he didn't feel like he could tell me, because he felt like what Fees told him was as a friend, but that it sounded fair in WCGRider's opinion.
WCGRider said he thought my decision making sounded reasonable.
WCGrider said that noone told him what to do, so he figured he was just holding on to Silent's money.
I told WCGrider I was willing for him to ship me the $2.5k now if he was feeling uncomfortable, he said he'd wait to see what Silent & Fees work out. ( #1703)
Back to actual poker and Silent_0ne reports a bad losing session on the 16th December citing all the ongoing drama:
Silent_0ne: 22 buyin downswing im playing really bad right now, and I really wish I didn't have to think about and deal with all these other problems.
The community are rooting really hard to him at this point and are all telling him to stay strong. Things start to get messy when Jalexand42 speaks with WCGRider and Fees and in a long post ( #1957) said that WCGRider protested his participation was unfair and Jalexand42 accused him of not of not already sending the $25k to Jalexand42. Fees also tried to offer Silent_0ne a $1k buy out saying it was ‘super generous’, it was refused. Silent_0ne states that the reason fees doesn't want his money escrowed by Jalexand42 is that he is afraid that his bet will be forfeited due to breaking the rules. WCGRider chimed in to defend himself (he also spoke about playing 50nl-100nl and having a rough year, which is interesting as he developed into the top HU player for a time and couldn’t get action, even at the highest stakes.) The 2+2 community then debate and lightly harass WCGRider and Fees to concede and send the money to Jalexand42. Fees finally agrees to a 50% buyout.
On the 17th of December and Silent_0ne slips to number 2 on the leaderboards.
vaike $3,835 ,17.44BB/100
Silent_0ne69 $3,523, 4.25BB/100
Silent_0ne then makes a post that changes everything:
Silent_0ne : Hello everyone firstly, I would like to say thank you so much to everyone who supported me throughout this bet. i cant stress how much it meant to me to see any post wishing me goodluck, or someone pming me given me some life lessons and more encouragement. ive been approached by the bettors on numerous occasions regarding a buyout. the original buyout deal offered was 33%. eventually 37% was offered, and then 44%, and finally I agreed on 50% of total wagers from all 6 bettors as their buyout. I am not really satisfied with a buyout, and I was not the one originally looking for the buyout. the bettors wanted it and I decided to see what they had to offer. what I wanted was time to spend with friends and family throughout the christmas break. With continuing this bet, I do have alot of confidence of accomplishing it, but at the expense of isolation through one of the most special times of each year. My family was mad at me when I tried explaining to them I probably wouldn't be able to particpate in any family events and have much if any celebration of christmas. my goal the next 14 days was to just grind it out 10 hours each day with breaks inbetween, and sleep. Instead I will be able to go back to my regular, stress free grinding, and shipping 50% of the total wagers after half the month as gone by. In the end, including both the 100nl and 50nl prop bets, I made a net of roughly +20k. The other two options would be risking a net of -20k or a net of +60k. I took the variance free route, and all the bettors did the same thing. None of us wanted to lose the bet obviously, so I think we worked out a fair resolution with this buyout. I have no hard feelings against fees or wcg rider. Perhaps a different scenerio would have occured if the recent issues did not occur, but thats in the past now and i'm looking forwards to a postive future. (#2511)
So, in the end all the parties involved reached a buyout agreement on the 50nl prop bet. Silent_0ne would stop playing the 50nl prop bet and would be up $20k. The community replies:
Ditch Digger: Silent, nice job. 50% is more than reasonable. (#2516) kelnel: gg on +20k, u rocked!! (#2520) shhhnake_eyes: I call this the most anticlimactic finish ever. (#2522)
Link to original thread. Note: Please note I’ve tried to be impartial in writing this. Please let me know publicly or privately if there are any errors or you feel I misrepresented something or someone. The quotes I’ve included don’t always show the full post made but I’ve included the post number in each quote so you can read it on 2+2 in full context. If you want to be fully informed you should read the whole 2+2 thread.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. -Mark Twain-
When a new campaign starts, I sometimes get scenarios like this at the table:
DM: So if we would look at your character, what would we see? Player: Uhm, a Halfling Rogue. DM: What does this Halfling look like? Player: You know, short. Has leather armor. DM: What does the armor look like? Player: Uhm… Brown.
That’s not very descriptive or interesting, is it? As far as that description goes, this Halfling might as well have a plain leather corset on and is butt-naked when it comes to anything else. Plus, nobody can see that this character is what they call a Rogue, we can only assume what it’s good at depending on what it’s equipped with. When it comes to first impressions, this won’t do. Being aware of how one dresses themselves can open up a ton of improvements and positive possibilities. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging five-minute-long detailed descriptions such as in the My Immortal fanfiction nor am I going to give you a list of clothing articles and fashion faux-pas. I’m not an expert, I’m just a guy who read The Kinowear Bible among other guides and learned that the details matter while still being free to express yourself with confidence. What matters here is how your character is portrayed and how it expresses what’s on the inside. The third note is that it’s a fantasy game and not medieval reenactment. I’m not bashing people over the head with facts nor am I saying that it is essential to do this in order to have fun. But will you know if you haven’t tried it? Would you be satisfied with a plain description in the long run? Would people treat your character better if they see that it takes care of itself? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to try it for yourself.
The Difference Between Equipped And Wearing
See, the most important parts are the ones that are unseen. The wings don’t make you fly, and the crown don’t make you king. -Lupe Fiasco-
The equipment that your character is wearing is only the most broadly defined bare minimum of items that it wears. When you say you’re wearing armor, is it a bunch of shiny metal plates or is it a set of chains? And even if it is chainmail, is it just chains everywhere, is it with a tabard, or is it completely covered with some hints towards it? Clothing is more than what you slap onto your body. Clothing wraps around the body and you are free to add some articles if it doesn’t influence the rules of the game. Armor is mostly about what is on the torso, you’re free to add some headwear or cloth to it. Nowhere in the books will it say that you have to add ‘eye patch’, ‘scarf’, or ‘glasses’ onto your character sheet. And nobody will object to adding such a detail. Your character lived longer than the initial creation, so it’s fine to look a bit further beyond the bare-bones items that it gets. In order to add more interesting details to items and articles, you need to do some homework. Yes, you’re playing a game, not doing homework, but it’s not really homework homework. If you have an idea or want to expand on something, then history has the answers for you. Most fantasy settings are close to the end of the medieval era. Knights in armor didn’t exist for long and cities stopped building walls when the cannon was invented. But you can bet that if it existed, people found a way to make it work. Many clothing articles have different names and I can’t name them all, so it’s up to you to increase your knowledge and vocabulary to paint a picture in someone else’s mind.
I’m more proud of my upper body. Let’s just say I’m a typical female in that way. -Erika Christensen-
We are born with a body and we’re stuck with it until we die. Every body comes in differing shapes and sizes but it can develop changes in the span of time depending on how it is treated. A lot of people like to think that there is a single line from fat to muscular, this is unfortunately false. You can be muscular and fat at the same time. The bodybuilders you see have largely developed muscles and a low body fat percentage. Exercise alone doesn’t turn fat into muscles. So from that, what is your character’s morphology? Race tends to favor certain body shapes. Halflings are short with curly hair and have a big belly, Elves are lithe and their hair is straight, Dwarves are stout, broad, and tough, and Humans can be anything in between.
Body types come in generally three categories: Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic, and Endomorphic. Ectomorphic bodies have a relatively fast metabolism, are skinny, and have little muscle development. This body has trouble developing muscle more than trying to stay skinny. Endomorphic bodies, on the other hand, have a slow metabolism and can easily gain weight but also muscle. They need to watch their calorie intake and do more cardio in order to get in shape. And then we have the Mesomorphic type which is that category in between. A balanced metabolism allows for regular training but also gets none of the benefits. All of these types can get fit, yet need adjusted methods of getting in shape and even then it’s relative how ‘in shape’ will look like. A woman’s body goes beyond this. Their body language is more dynamic, fluent, and inter-combinational and their bodies accommodate that with general shapes called Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple, Pear, and Triangle. The trick to dealing with this is to put emphasis on visual weight. If you put a scarf on, it will guide the eyes more to the torso and away from the hips. Yet, if you have a large bust and small hips then it will look top-heavy. So take a purse instead to even that out. The same works with bright colors and patterns.
Faces are very diverse and are used by humans to recognize each other. The most common misconception that I’ve heard is that people with long hair are women and someone can only be a man if they have a stubble. It really goes to much more detail than this as there are masculine men with long hair and hardly a stubble on their chin. Gender can show itself in many ways such as the protrusion of the brow, the size of the nose bridge, the roundness/roughness of the law line, the thickness of the eyebrows, the length of the eyelashes, and possibly the appearance of an adam’s apple. You can recognize a gender at first glance most of the time even when the person’s head is completely shaved. Even if you’re not so hot on the details or describing faces, you can still pick from the following shapes: round, square, oval, heart, diamond, oblong, and triangle. These faces can exist through the combination of the jawline, cheekbones, and forehead shape. They only work on human-like faces, though. A Dwarf would have a more rugged bone structure and a strong nose bridge, an Elf would have more refined features, and a Gnome would have a remarkably large nose. So next time when describing the face, you can just set for a shape, mention the eyes and hair, and the rest are details. Hair, though, is seen as four colors: blonde, red, brown, and black. This is also from a human perspective, and it’s heavily generalized. Plenty of people with dark hair are thought to have black hair, but it’s actually very dark brown. Some hair seems light brown but is called dark blonde which falls under a gold-colored category. You don’t need to go into such detail, but mentioning if the character has platinum blonde and dirt blonde hair can add to the picture. The same can be said of hair types. Where is your character’s hair from straight to curly? How is it kept? And what does it do to the overall shape of the face?
Ask anyone about the three most essential parts about clothing and they might tell you color, size, and price. It’s understandable where that comes from, but it’s not entirely right. If the clothes are of the right fit, the right quality, and the right cut, then you can debate over the color and the price.
What I mean by the fit is that it fits the body as exactly as possible. The shoulder seams should be at the corners of the shoulders, the pants should fit with the extra space of two finger widths, a hat is not meant to squeeze the head tight or fall in front of the eyes. A smaller size can look constricted and easily tears. People with clothes that are too small look like they are about to pop out and constantly feel like they are suffocating. People who wear clothing that is too large look awkward and give off a strong sign that they don’t know what they are doing in the social sense.
Quality is about the material. Pinch your clothing and rub it between your fingers, now look for a different article of clothing and do the same. Do they feel the same? Look at the label to see what it is made of. Try to see which ones are more expensive and if there is any detail added to the fabric. Chances are that the finer articles have softer fabrics weaved in the threads. You can feel it, see it, and notice it by how strong the color is of the article. The moment the cotton gin was invented, people could finally wear clothing that wasn’t made from itchy wool but from the more breathable and softer cotton extract. Cotton clothing existed in medieval times but the plants were harder to manage in winter, most people had to work with wool, linen, silk, hemp, fur, and leather. Any of these can be combined and woven in different ways, but the price of the material could still be favored by those who could afford it.
The cut is often confused with the size. You can have skinny fit, slim fit, regular fit, and baggy fit with all the exact same size but they still feel different or some might not fit at all. You can have short but broad legs so skinny fit won’t be a good choice, and buying a large size and argue that it’ll be baggy anyway is a poor excuse. It’s important to know what the occasion is for the clothing. Work clothes can get dirty and might tear at the seams so it’s better to keep it short and easy to move in. Ballroom clothes are not for hard labor but for grabbing attention so it’s fine if it hangs loose or tight in places if worn for just one day.
Warrior vs Mage
Let me say whichever superhero first came up with the idea of wearing a cape, he wasn’t really onto anything good. The number of times I’m treading on that damn thing or I throw a punch and it ends up covering my whole head. It’s really not practical. -Christian Bale-
This is a detail that is often ignored for cinematic reasons but I want to address it. If you are a rough-and-tumble dirty-fingernail kind of warrior, then wearing any loose garb or accessory is an easy hazard to get grabbed or caught on. Imagine having a dangling earring and someone just yanks at it, possibly tearing your ear in half. The same counts for hair, tails, scarfs, and dangling belts. Yes, it looks cool and is done for cinematic reasons such as dynamic movements, but for the sake of congruency, make your warrior have the least amount of dangly bits as possible. Keep hair short or tie it up, keep belts tucked in, tuck pendants underneath the shirt, and leave that armor dress for festive occasions. What is wrong with this picture? No, it’s not the anatomy. It’s not the magic. It’s not the environment, either. It’s the chest. Any woman who has practiced archery will know what I mean. If she would’ve held that bowstring any further back, she’d whip it against her chest on release, cutting off flesh and risking a misfire. It is said that the women of the amazon would amputate their right breast in order to become an archer. Yet, I recommend a chest guard for such things. There is a certain awe and strength in feminine beauty and wild chaotic combat that demands focus, causes bleeding, and inflicts pain is no place for someone who is dressed in a delicate manner. Plenty of media force feminine power as showing off skin or having an intimidating sex appeal. Yet what is really important when trying to portray physical beauty is the silhouette. You can be dressed for the occasion and still show off the goods. Sure, it’s not as elegant as a ball gown, but that’s not what armor is meant for. (Don’t worry, Samus, you’re a babe no matter what you wear.) Does that mean that mages get more freedom in what they’re wearing? Well, yes and no. Armor is constricting, can weigh down delicate movements, restricts breathing, and doesn’t even have pockets to boot. In order to wear armor you need to train and get used to how to move in it. Most mages don’t have the time for such training. So you will see mages either in loose robes or perhaps common clothes in order not to look too conspicuous. Another aspect of how mages dress is because they are associated with ceremonies. What they wear usually symbolizes something such as purity, a connection to the mystical, a dedication to the practice, or the tools necessary to perform the casting of a spell. It’s sometimes worn to drive the mystical feeling of it home.
I had a man come to me and he said, ‘Bob, I could never paint because I’m colorblind.’ So I thought today we’d do a picture in gray, just to show you that anyone can paint. -Bob Ross, The Joy of Painting S2E4-
Back in medieval times, being able to dye your clothing in a certain color was almost a luxury. Even the ability to dye drab white wool to a true stark white was a symbol of status. The materials needed to create dye ranged from wood bark to onion skins. Truly strong colors that lasted longer took longer to make and with more expensive methods. Strong bright red and green were often considered royal colors that were only allowed by nobility to wear. And then there’s purple, made from the guts of sea snails which were hard to find and would offer a steep price. This is why very few national flags have purple in them. So the common folk did have colors, but they were often drab, faded, and the poorest had common colors such as dull gray, boring beige, wool white, and dirty brown. Nowadays, the darker you can make your clothing look, the more expensive it looks. Adding a darker tone to color means mixing more dye into it. Expensive clothing has a good dye technique that can set the dye strongly in the fabric. Cheap clothing is often cheaply dyed and looks a bit drab and gray-ish. Whatever you are going for, being completely in black might sound cool but isn’t stylish at all. Even assassins would add something to it. Combining colors shouldn’t be rocket science. You can always start with the combinations of white, grey, black, blue, and brown in any combination. Combining these colors is safe and hard to mess up, but it will also result in some bland outfits. You can also add any color to the mix (except with brown which might be harder to combine with some colors) and still match without clashing. Men are aesthetically challenged in this regard as understated colors work better for them while women are free to wear plenty of brighter colors. If you want to know what I mean by understated, it’s any color that’s either a dark or pale version of a color or something most men don’t know the name of. Anything bright needs to be toned down for men. So if you want to go for something yellow, either make it very small/hidden or an understated version such as ochre, gold, or dijon. You still need to counter-balance a bright color with a neutral color to even it out. The brighter it is, the more you need other neutral articles to tone it down. As a rule of thumb, choose an uneven number of colors, either one, three, or five. If you pick one, make sure that it is in different tones. If you pick five, make sure that two colors match the eyes, hair, or skin. Ensure that bright colors are the smallest part of the overall look, a bit like how red apples look nice on a big green tree but not the other way around. It is possible to combine complementing colors such as red and green so that the red pops out a bit more, but balancing complementing colors needs a refined sense and a good eye. You need to get the right balance in order to get yellow and purple or orange and blue right. Characters with a naturally dark appearance are in luck. They can wear very bright colors as it won’t clash with their natural body. So if they don’t need to hide in the shadows, they can wear pastels and loud colors and still look fine.
There are two things in the world I can’t stand: People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures... and the Dutch! -Nigel Powers, Goldmember-
Take a close look at the culture that your character’s race has. Every part of culture and natural ability can be reflected in their native clothing. Tolkien described the halflings as wearing bright clothing in order to stand out to the larger folk, they have deft fingers that allow for a lot of fine motor skills, and they value a good meal from their pastoral environment. Can that influence someone’s outfit? You tell me. The same can be said of Tolkien’s elves who are adept at weaving and creating delicate ornaments. They think highly of themselves because they outlive many other folks and learn more lessons than any other. Everything about their look is about being slender. Their clothing accentuates all of this. The orcs from the Warcraft franchise are wild and value strength first and foremost. They don’t use a lot of complex plans or strategies as their muscles usually make up for whatever they lack. Lastly, Thrall’s orcs settled on wild plains with beasts. This all brings us to this style choice. Clothing is made from what is available in the environment, from sheep, cows, plants, silk, metal, or bone. Realize that you are wearing a combination of plant and/or animal materials right now (unless you’re reading this naked). Color and patterns can create some flair or lead the eyes of others to the overall body in a certain way. And details can accentuate an effect or drive home the heritage of a person. The same can be done with any item. A dwarven ax would look practical, angular, heavy, with an ancestors face on it, and made from deep purified steel. An elven ax would look slender, tapering to a point like their ears, sharp, and perhaps made of thick glass, a well-placed swing would cut something clean off. An orcish ax would be made of rock and bone, be dirty, chipped, and would rend off flesh if used with enough force. Even a human ax might look plain, but can still be described as made of steel with a wooden shaft, has a round edge, and is decorated with a symbol of their kingdom. With this information, you can’t have the excuse of having a non-descriptive weapon.
Guard: “You’ll kill us… with a soup cup?” Riddick: ”Tea, actually.” Guard: ”What’s that?” Riddick: ”I’ll kill you with my teacup.” -The Chronicles of Riddick, 2004-
I said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t call your Fighter a fighter. If it’s a soldier, let it be a soldier. If it’s a gladiator, let it be a gladiator. If it’s an executioner, let it be an executioner. All their outfits and weapons look differently. All their methods and backgrounds are different. They tell a story just by existing. But there might not be a single difference in how the class works. A class is not to dictate what your character is, but to support what kind of character you want to play. It’s a classification for the sake of clarity. Whatever it’s classified as, look for a theme and draw your inspiration from that. The same can be done with races. Don’t let the handbooks fool you, whatever is shown in the image is but a speck of the possibilities of how a creature looks. Your Aarakocra can look like a secretary bird, a parrot, or perhaps a bearded vulture. The fact that they are called eagle-people is not that important. What’s important is that they are bird folk, and still act and feel like bird folk when played. Character re-skinning is the same as a DM’s re-skinning. However, as a player, you can’t break the rules. You can’t simply switch fire damage to force damage just because you want it to. So try to separate the name of whatever it is but keep the mechanics and how they would feel when in use. For example, a club can be a leg bone if wielded by a savage, a rolling pin if wielded by a baker, or a ladle if wielded by a chef. The Grasping Vines spell can be done with literal vines but also with roots or kelp depending where you are. It’s not about what it is, but about how it feels. And how it feels is supported by the rules (the crunch) and what it is can be done by the description (the fluff). You can change the fluff in a lot of ways, and sometimes you need to ask your DM for it or get some inspiration from the setting. Either way, what is on the character sheet isn’t set in stone and doesn’t need to be cut-and-dried. The art lies in harmonizing all the elements to create something congruent. A perfect example is from @joennizart, not only for her artistic skill, but her concept as well! It is a Warforged Wizard made of porcelain. A Wizard is usually frail and initially not meant for brute combat, just like a porcelain doll. It is still a humanoid construct made from plates and wires, but it all matches and makes something with a unique and plausible look. So forget the images and wordings, those are more guidelines than rules. Try to find the essential parts as the rest is a matter of cosmetics.
Wear an unusual accessory to complete your outfit. -Chelsea Leyland-
Any added accessories should be about 5%-10% of the overall body. As a rule of thumb, consider anything other than the naked body and what it wears on the chest, legs, and feet as an accessory. This means that any bracelet, chain, pendant, pair of glasses, belt, gloves, cape, or head gear is an accessory. Anything I didn’t mention can be brought down to: If it’s worn on the wrists, on the head, on the fingers, or in a pocket, then it’s an accessory. Nearly everyone in the medieval times wore a hat to protect themselves from the heat or keep things out of their hair. Plus, it is a way to show status or a certain function. Taking off someone else their hat was seen as a grave offense or even assault. Nowadays, a hat is taken for many reasons but not always worn for function. Some dislike the concept of hats because it hides the face, making others hard to recognize (and thus hard to trust). And in movies you will see the main character not wear a helmet because it will hide facial expressions and muffle the voice. Yet, fighting without a helmet is a one-way street to get a massive concussion if you’re lucky. I count tattoos, piercings, and scars as accessories as well. Because you can overdo them. Sure, it’s possible to create an ostentatiously dressed character or embrace the sword and sorcery full body jewelry style. But that still depends on the character and the setting. They’re like the cherry on a sorbet, the dot on an ‘i’, or a ticking clock in a room. More of it doesn’t make it better. When using metal of any kind, make sure that the metal matches overall. Precious metals come in two basic kinds: gold colored and silver colored. These also need to match the overall color scheme so combining gold with yellow might not be a good idea because it clashes in a strange way, but you can combine gold with green or blue. A shiny metal belt buckle would match any silver-colored items, which can restrict your choices if you take it seriously. Scars and tattoos tell a story, and even if your character doesn’t start off with them, there might be a moment to obtain them down the line. People will one day ask about them, so be ready to think about why/how your character has it. It could’ve been because of an accident, because it symbolizes something, or it will always remind you of people that you have lost. If you’re wondering if I’m talking about tattoos or scars here, the answer is yes. Even if you have a character with skin that doesn’t hold ink, you could find a way to brand or carve it if you want.
A knight in shining armor is a man who never had his metal truly tested. -Unknown-
Did you know that the wearing signs of your pants are as telling about you as a fingerprint? The way you use your items are as idiomatic as yourself. The bite marks on a pen, the stains on a computer screen, the shrunken clothing, the ancient pencil case, the socks that are falling apart, the pants that went out of style twenty years ago, the faded red sweater, or the expired condom in a wallet can say something about a person without even saying a word. Your character has lived a few years, so entering the game with a complete set of brand-spanking-new items is somewhat strange. They might seem new to you, but the character has had some of these for quite some time. Your backstory and items that you get can do this little narrative dance during character creation. Perhaps your character is granted a certain object but then you can think about how it is treated by this character. Otherwise, a character might be complete with an accessory because something might’ve happened in the past. Or you get an item and you don’t know why, but with a little bit of thought and searching you will get the reasoning behind it or give some reasoning to it. Both ability scores and a backstory can help you out with these details. A clumsy person might have scraped knees or a patch on their eye. A muscular person might have ripped off sleeves because they were too tight. A poor person might have their clothes held together with a rope rather than a belt. Nobody else knows about the reasons behind these details at first glance and they don’t need to. It’s all part of getting through that process of knowing the party better.
The following examples are given to make clear that it’s not necessary to add each and every tip to your character. It’s okay to leave things out if they aren’t relevant or they don’t stand out. Just know that it should always be more than ‘Halfling Rogue in brown leather armor’. You get one shot to paint a picture, and a class alone doesn’t paint that picture. So each paragraph is a character, read on and I hope that it will give you new insights in how to give some extra flair to your creation. A chubby looking Human wearing wool robes that are two times too large for him, he has a round face with glasses that magnify his eyes and a floppy pointed hat. He is holding a bunch of bound papers with him. A young strawberry blonde-haired Half-Elf wearing a pastel turquoise frilly dress and holding a matching parasol. She has a disarming smile on her face but a sharp look in her green eyes. She is dwarfed by two muscular bodyguards she has with her. Both show a blank expression on their faces. A Minotaur with long ruddy-brown hair like a Scottish Highland cow, he is covered in chainmail armor with shoulder pads that seems to be scratched and dented as if someone scraped him over the cobblestones. His tattered tabard shows a cities’ symbol. His hair is covering his eyes and his horns hang low. The way he walks has this awkward gait to it, as if the upper body is swaying back and forth. A Human with pale skin, dark straight hair, and brown eyes. She is wearing a sleeping gown covered with a blanket over her shoulders. She is nervously looking around while clutching a religious symbol close to her chest. In her left hand she holds a clean but dented bedpan. An Eladrin with a faint blue skin and snow-white hair wearing a long gray coat with a high collar at the neck. His face is angular and gaunt with a sorrowful expression. In his hand he is holding a blue slender sword covered in rime and it has a handle made of black tree branches. A young Kalashtar who looks pale with tired eyes. She has ruffled silver hair and is wearing a plain purple skirt with a black vest. When you approach her she looks at you and you get a faint mental image of a writhing shadow on a stark horizon. A Halfling wearing a green tunic over chainmail and is sitting on top of a Bernese Mountain dog. In his left hand he’s holding a pot lid and in his right a miner’s pick axe. His face is round with blonde hair and blue eyes. On his head he is wearing a pot like a helmet. Both he and his dog have a badge made of gold in the shape of an apple. A Human of Asian descent clad in lacquered red leather armor plates. She has a stern and serious look on her face which is painted with make-up to make it look stark white with small red lips. Her black hair is held back tight by a top knot. She is carrying a glaive with her. A Warforged made out of parts that are of different metals, some slightly larger than the other. Its face is completely asymmetrical with a broad copper jawline contrasting the steel face and different colored eyes, one blue, one green. The way it walks is slightly tilting with each left step. Attached to its right arm is a straight blade. A Halfling wearing a white suit made of thick cloth with brown leather gloves with a honey comb shaved on the back and big brown boots. HeHis head is covered by a hood with a round windowed mask made of basket weaving with an attached halfling pipe. HeHis presence is met with a constant low buzzing. On hehis back (s)he is carrying a bee house. A round-faced Goblin dressed in a patched-up brown thespian’s costume wearing a purple cap with a lyre pipe. His right hand is covered with a sock-puppet that has buttons for eyes, one of them is dangling loose. A Human in a neat black from-fitting dress that has her blonde hair woven perfectly back and has small button earrings in the shape of skulls. She looks prim and proper walking with her back straight and with a calm but alert expression. And for a moment you could swear you saw a faint visage of a waving child behind her. A big muscular Tortle that resembles an Alligator Snapping turtle with a razored black shell. His neck has two red spots and around it he’s wearing a necklace with a carved wooden symbol of a shell. His arms and legs are covered in small spines. His claws are long and sharp. A skittish looking Centaur with the small frame and colors of a doe. Her chestnut brown wavy hair hangs loose except for one braided part held with beads and is parted by two nub horns on her forehead. She wears a white robe on her torso with a dark green stola over her shoulders. A lumbering Loxodon covered in brown fur with massive tusks. His left eye is closed and shows a visible claw mark on it. His right ear has a sharp bone pierced through it. His lower body is covered with a green with yellow kilt that has the skull of a deer on it. He is holding a long maul in his hands with a head made out of solid stone. A green-and-blue scaled Lizardwoman with a spike ridge on her head and circled scales at the point of her jawline like that of an iguana. Strapped over her torso is a black-scaled harness with a set of tiny fangs and a dried up blow fish. She has a rectangular plate made of bone pierced in her lower lip and wears a leather bracelet covered with symbols on her tail. She is holding a long blowpipe made of bamboo.
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