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Psylisa's Guide to Freely - 6/26/20

Welcome all, to another edition of Psylisa's Guides! You didn't think I was going to forget the guide, did you? Things have been quite crazy both in the larger world and my world lately, so I'm a bit behind on everything. I hope everyone reading is staying safe. On to the champion!   Freely is a Gold Find and Support Champion. He increases your divine favor directly with his Adventurous Tale ability. When you want to add Freely to your formation, you can swap him with Minsc (Slot 7).  

CNE Blog Highlight

 

Statistics

----- Core Stats -----
Race: Halfling Class: Bard/Warlock Alignment: Neutral Good
Age: 42 Affiliation: None
STR: 13 DEX: 17 CON: 10
INT: 8 WIS: 10 CHA: 16
  Role: Support/Gold Eligible for Patrons: Mirt    

Buffs/Debuffs

Requisition - Fruit Stagger - Shield Follow-Through - Border Opportunity - Cornucopia
 

Abilities

Eldritch Blast: A beam of aquamarine crackling energy streaks towards a random enemy.   Luck of Yondalla: Freely, and any allies granted this ability through his specializations, have the Luck of Yondalla backing them up. Whenever they attack, one of the following Lucky Breaks occurs completely at random, affecting all enemies hit by the attack. Each Lucky Break can be applied on each enemy once for each Champion with Luck of Yondalla. Each application lasts for 15 seconds, so even if 10 Champions are attacking a single enemy with Luck of Yondalla, the actual Lucky Break applications on the enemy will vary over time.  
 
  Unlucky For Them: The total effect of Luck of Yondalla: Opportunity is increased by 100% on enemies affected by it. This buff applies once to the total value of the applications.
  An Adventurous Tale: If Freely is in your formation when you complete an area for the first time, he keeps track of it for future tales. When you reset your adventure, you'll collect an additional .01% of Divine Favor for each area Freely tracked, stacking additively but applying multiplicatively. Freely does not have to be in your formation when you reset to gain the additional Divine Favor, but he does need to be in your formation when you complete an area to increase his bonus. The bonus resets when you complete your adventure. This ability is buffed by feats and equipment.
  Cutting Words: Freely distracts enemies if he is within 3 slots of a Tank Champion who is under attack by at least 1 enemy, increasing the overwhelm point of such Champions by 5. This ability is not buffed.
 

Specializations

Trust in Law: Grants Luck of Yondalla to all Lawful Champions in your formation. Affected Champions now cause Lucky Breaks whenever they attack.   Value Neutrality: Grants Luck of Yondalla to Neutral Champions (on the Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic scale) in your formation. Affected Champions now cause Lucky Breaks whenever they attack.   Always Expect Chaos: Grants Luck of Yondalla to Chaotic Champions in your formation. Affected Champions now cause Lucky Breaks whenever they attack.
 

Ultimate Attack

I Will Not Deafen: Freely grabs his sword and launches himself toward an enemy, showering green and red lightning in his wake until he smashes into his opponent for massive damage. It also applies all four Lucky Breaks on that enemy or any they didn't already have.
 

Achievement:

Everyone Got Lucky Complete 500 Areas in a Full Formation Empowered by Luck of Yolondalla.
 

Equipment

Slot 1: Global DPS Slot 2: Luck of Yondalla: Requisition Slot 3: Unlucky For Them Slot 4: An Adventurous Tale Slot 5: Ultimate Damage Slot 6: Ultimate Cooldown  

Who should I focus on?

My advice: 1) Freely 2) Deekin 3) Walnut
 

My Thoughts

Freely's Gold ability is a bit odd in that it increases direct favor by a % as well as providing a gold boost through Luck of Yondalla: Requisition.   In 500 areas cleared (without geafeats), you can expect a ~10% increase in Divine Favor gained. Not too shabby, and you don't even have to use him in your final levels! I can see players getting a 2x bonus to favor with decent gear.   For Azaka formations, he should absolutely be utilized over Catti-Brie. Assuming you are using Drizzt, Catti will provide a 2x boost to your Gold Find, which is a low bar to beat. Speaking of Azaka, if you are using Freely solely for Gold Find/Favor, then you'll most likely want to pick his Lawful specialization. Azaka, Drizzt, Krull, and Nrakk are all lawful, as is Spurt with Freely always getting his own buff - bringing the count to 6 attackers buffed. Don't forget his Fortuitous Feat to increase the base value of Requisition by 40%! The question for you Azaka fans out there will be whether you sub out Regis and Wulfgar in exchange for Lawful champions that can apply another stack of Requisition. I think if you're over 200% Requisition, you absolutely should. And that doesn't really require much gear to achieve.   In terms of Support, Freely will not disappoint. Even gearless, he'll slide in with an e9-e10 buff ability, depending on how many stacks of Opportunity you manage to get. His key will be applying at least one stack of Opportunity to activate Unlucky For Them as well as the gear increase for it. Keep in mind, that with no stacks of Opportunity, you lose out on both the gear increase and the skill damage increase, so it's extremely important to keep this debuff up. It should also be noted that Yondalla will activate per target hit, so attacks that cleave/pierce become very valuable. As a debuff, it also double-dips with certain abilities (such as Stoki's Ki Explosion). Briv/Zorbu combination (they are both Chaotic; Zorbu pierces, Briv cleaves) along with Morgaen (attacks twice) and Avren (attacks three times) ended up pushing my levels quite a bit. Unlocking Freely's DPS potential will be reliant on using a champion that can double-dip on the debuffs (such as Stoki). Stoki is simply the easiest fit here. If you are lacking her or other champions that can double-dip, Freely's DPS potential definitely drops. Depending on your gear, you might consider other options.
 

Verdict

Support: 8/10 (10/10 if using double-dip mechanics) Gold: 10/10
 

TL;DR

 

Open Bugs

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RESULTS of the State of the Game Survey: April 2020

Weekly/Important Megathreads:
Weekly Discussion Megathread
Edelgard Legendary Hero Battle Megathread
Legendary Hero Banner Megathread
Green Grapple Voting Gauntlet Megathread

 
Hi all,

It’s time for the results!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond - we had over 1600 responses, which is great! These insights wouldn’t be possible without your time and support.

As always, neither myself nor this survey are associated with Intelligent Systems or Nintendo in any way. Please direct feedback about the game itself to the official channels.

Now let’s get into it!
 
Previous Survey Results: February_2020_State_of_the_Game_Survey

~ Demographics ~

54.3% began playing FE:H in February 2017, with 22.6% more joining during the first year of the game. 13.0% of respondents joined during the second year, 7.8% joined during the third, and 1.5% joined during the fourth year (the last 3 months).

The age range breakdown of respondents is as follows:
  • (2.9%) 12 – 15 years old
  • (15.0%) 16 – 18 years old
  • (23.5%) 19 – 21 years old
  • (20.7%) 22 – 24 years old
  • (27.0%) 25 – 30 years old
  • (8.5%) 31 – 40 years old
  • (0.9%) 40+ years old

77.5% of respondents identified as Male, 17.7% as Female, and 2.6% as Non-binary.

18.5% of respondents have never missed a daily login (though note that this option was added many hours after the survey’s release). A further 44.2% have missed less than a month’s worth of logins, 12.8% missed 1-2 months, 9.6% missed 3-6 months, 4.7% missed 7-12 months, and 3,8% missed over a year’s worth.

34.8% report being F2P, while 29.8% have spent less than $100, 16.2% spent between $100 - $499, 6.3% spent between $500 - $999, and 10.4% have spent over $1000.

34.8% last spent money on FE:H during the fourth year of the game (the last 3 months), while 12.0% last spent money during the third year of the game, 9.4% last spent during the second year of the game, and 6.6% last spent money during the first year of the game.

~ Summoning ~

“Which of the following banners have you used orbs on at least once?”
  • (63.0%) Harmony Amid Chaos
  • (57.0%) The Start of It All
  • (56.4%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
  • (51.8%) Journey Begins
  • (47.3%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
  • (43.2%) Familial Festivities
  • (37.2%) Double Special Heroes

“Which of the following banners did you use the most orbs on?”
  • (23.4%) Harmony Amid Chaos
  • (16.9%) Journey Begins
  • (16.3%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
  • (14.4%) The Start of It All
  • (8.5%) Familial Festivities
  • (8.4%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
  • (6.6%) Double Special Heroes

“What was your favorite banner?”
  • (23.8%) Harmony Amid Chaos
  • (18.3%) The Start of It All
  • (14.9%) Journey Begins
  • (13.5%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
  • (8.5%) Double Special Heroes
  • (7.8%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
  • (4.9%) Familial Festivities

“Did you spend money specifically to summon on any of the banners below?”
  • (7.9%) Harmony Amid Chaos
  • (7.8%) The Start of It All
  • (7.1%) Journey Begins
  • (6.7%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
  • (4.3%) Familial Festivities
  • (4.2%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
  • (4.0%) Double Special Heroes

“If you could only pick one method of making old Seasonal heroes available, which would you choose?”
  • (46.4%) Seasonal heroes are only available once a year on a re-run of their original banner
  • (25.7%) Seasonal heroes are only available through Double Special Heroes banners, and no seasonal banners are re-run.
  • (6.5%) Seasonal heroes are only available through Legendary and Mythical banners, and no seasonal banners are re-run.

43.8% would like Double Special Heroes banners to continue excluding year-one seasonals, compared to 31.9% who want them to include year-one seasonals.

4.19/5.00 is the average rating of how satisfied respondents were with the new feature allowing for your choice of free 5*-focus after 40 summons on New Heroes banners. 80.9% rated their satisfaction at a 4/5 or above.

36.1% reached the 40 summons needed for the feature allowing their choice of free 5*-focus on Journey Begins. 63.9% did not reach 40 summons on Journey Begins.
Of those who reached 40 summons, 51.2% say that they spent more orbs on the banner than they would have if the feature did not exist, while 19.8% say that they spent less orbs that they would have. 28.9% reported no change in orb spending behavior as a result of the feature.

~ Hall of Forms ~

“In this Hall of Forms, which Forma was your best unit?”
  • (56.7%) Olwen (WoT)
  • (10.6%) Leif
  • (10.1%) Finn
  • (9.9%) Reinhardt (WoT)

“In this Hall of Forms, which Forma was your worst unit?”
  • (34.0%) Leif
  • (26.3%) Reinhardt (WoT)
  • (22.3%) Finn
  • (3.5%) Olwen (WoT)

2.70/5.00 is the average rating of the addition of Forma Souls. 36.5% rated their feelings on Forma Souls at a 2/5 or below, while 16.2% rated 4/5 or above.

11.6% purchased a Forma Soul, compared to 88.1% who did not.

Of those who purchased a Forma Soul, 30.6% used it on Olwen (WoT), 29.7% used it on Leif, 26.1% used it on Finn, and 13.5% used it on Reinhardt (WoT)

Of those who have not purchased a Forma Soul, 71.1% say that they would never purchase a Forma Soul regardless of who is featured, while 28.8% say that they would if a certain hero was featured.

Of those who would pay a non-zero amount for a Forma Soul, $9.31 is the average of the amounts respondents would be willing to pay for a Forma Soul with no additional orbs.

~ Limited Hero Battles ~

47.5% completed all of the available Limited Hero Battle maps on their hardest difficulties, compared to 51.5% who did not.

19.5% needed to reference guides, videos, or other players’ clears in order to complete Limited Hero Battle maps, compared to 75.6% who did not.

3.19/5.00 is the average rating of preparedness for the Limited Hero Battles. 29.4% rated their preparedness at a 2/5 or below, while 44.4% rated their preparedness at a 4/5 or above.

64.6% had enough heroes to form a fully-built team of four for all of the battles, compared to 28.4% who did not.

3.38/5.00 is the average rating of how challenging respondents found the Limited Hero Battle restrictions. 15.2% rated the difficulty at a 2/5 or below, while 48.2% rated the difficulty at a 4/5 or above.

3.44/5.00 is the average rating for enjoyment of the Limited Hero Battles. 20.4% rated their enjoyment at a 2/5 or below, while 51.7% rather their enjoyment at a 4/5 or above.

~ Divine Codes ~

52.4% feel positively about the use for Divine Codes, compared to 7.3% who feel negatively. 38.5% are neutral.

“Which of the following Divine Code paths is most appealing to you?”
  • (27.2%) Holy War (Leif, Deirdre, Sigurd, Lewyn, Ishtar (Performing))
  • (22.0%) Awakening/Fates (Cordelia (Summer), Robin (M, Fallen), Owain, Xander (Performing), Corrin (M, Adrift))
  • (14.2%) Blades/Sacred Stones (Lilina (Valentines), Amelia, Nino (Fangs), Ephraim (Winter), Hector (Valentines))
  • (9.1%) Radiance (Leanne, Elincia (Performing), Lethe, Tanith (Valentines), Greil (Valentines))
  • (7.7%) Mystery/Shadows (Caeda (Bridal), Celica, Genny (Picnic), Palla (Spring), Kliff)
  • (5.1%) Heroes (Alfonse (Spring), Ylgr, Bruno (Spring), Fjorm (New Years), Laevatein (Summer))

“Which of the following Divine Code paths do you believe is the best value / best overall path to spend Divine Codes on?”
  • (25.5%) Awakening/Fates (Cordelia (Summer), Robin (M, Fallen), Owain, Xander (Performing), Corrin (M, Adrift))
  • (22.0%) Holy War (Leif, Deirdre, Sigurd, Lewyn, Ishtar (Performing))
  • (16.6%) Blades/Sacred Stones (Lilina (Valentines), Amelia, Nino (Fangs), Ephraim (Winter), Hector (Valentines))
  • (7.5%) Radiance (Leanne, Elincia (Performing), Lethe, Tanith (Valentines), Greil (Valentines))
  • (3.0%) Mystery/Shadows (Caeda (Bridal), Celica, Genny (Picnic), Palla (Spring), Kliff)
  • (3.0%) Heroes (Alfonse (Spring), Ylgr, Bruno (Spring), Fjorm (New Years), Laevatein (Summer))

51.4% got both 5* heroes from the Limited Time Compile path 3, while 25.6% only got Kagero (Spring), and 5.1% only got Camilla (Spring), while 15.8% got neither.

3.04/5.00 is the average satisfaction rating with the options of Limited Manuals offered so far. 27.3% rated their satisfaction at a 2/5 or below, while 32.8% rated their satisfaction 4/5 or above.

~ Feh Pass and Resplendent Heroes ~

57.0% feel negatively about the addition of the Feh Pass, compared to 10.1% who feel positively. 31.8% are neutral. Compared to last survey, this is a 13.6% reduction in negative feelings, with a 4.2% increase in positive feelings and the rest going to neutral.

30.7% have purchased the Feh Pass, compared to 69.3% who have not. This is a 6.7% increase compared to the last survey.

Of those who have subscribed to Feh Pass, 4.5% have purchased Resplendent Heroes separately, compared to 95.5% who have not.

“Which Resplendent Hero is your favorite?”
  • (19.5%) Eliwood
  • (17.9%) Cordelia
  • (13.3%) Sophia
  • (12.5%) Ike
  • (11.7%) Lyn
  • (10.4%) Azura

“Which Resplendent outfit theme is your favorite?”
  • (24.1%) Nifl
  • (18.8%) Muspell
  • (14.2%) Askr
  • (13.7%) Embla

“If you could only choose 1 of the Feh Pass features to make free, which would you choose?”
  • (41.7%) Auto-Start/Repeat
  • (27.8%) Resplendent Heroes
  • (14.6%) Expanded Summoner Support
  • (7.5%) Re-Act Button
  • (6.8%) Exclusive/Extra Quests

~ Miscellaneous ~

“Which game do you want a New Heroes banner from the most?”
  • (27.9%) Three Houses
  • (10.6%) Awakening
  • (9.2%) Radiant Dawn
  • (7.7%) Genealogy of the Holy War
  • (7.5%) Sacred Stones
  • (7.0%) Path of Radiance
  • (4.1%) Blazing Blade
  • (4.0%) Fates
  • (4.0%) TMS #FE
  • (3.4%) Thracia 776
  • (3.3%) Gaiden / Shadows of Valentia
  • (1.9%) Mystery of the Emblem / New Mystery of the Emblem
  • (1.8%) Binding Blade
  • (1.8%) Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light / Shadow Dragon

20.4% feel positively about the introduction of Duo Heroes, compared to 30.4% who feel negatively. 48.6% are neutral.

“Which color would you choose / have chosen for the Free 5* Hero: Fire Emblem Leads, assuming you got all colors?”
  • (60.1%) Green
  • (19.4%) Red
  • (17.8%) Blue
  • (0.9%) Colorless

46.9% were satisfied with their summon from the Free 5* Hero: Fire Emblem Leads event, compared to 48.4% who were not.

67.0% participated in the Voting Jubilee event, compared to 31.7% who did not.

36.4% want to see more Trio Heroes in the future, compared to 33.5% who do not.

“Which FE continent / world’s Mythic Heroes are you most excited for?”
  • (20.5%) Fodlan
  • (15.7%) Tellius
  • (10.0%) Jugdral
  • (9.8%) Elibe
  • (7.5%) Valentia
  • (6.4%) Magvel
  • (5.2%) Fates Continent
  • (4.5%) Archanea
  • (1.2%) Zenith

“How many of the Rokkr Remnant accessories have you acquired?”
  • (35.2%) 0
  • (6.9%) 1
  • (5.7%) 2
  • (4.3%) 3
  • (3.2%) 4
  • (3.4%) 5
  • (4.3%) 6
  • (3.6%) 7
  • (15.7%) 8

Heroic Grails is the most desired premium item currency respondents want more of, at 47.8%. Next is Dragonflowers (25.4%), followed by Refining Stones / Divine Dew (15.3%), then Sacred Coins (8.5%).

“How much do you care about your rank in the following modes?”
  • (2.76/5.00 average) Arena
  • (2.70/5.00 average) Aether Raids
  • (2.43/5.00 average) PvE game modes with player ranking boards
  • (1.82/5.00 average) Arena Assault

32.8% have not played any other gacha games besides FE:H, while 19.8% have played 1 other gacha game, 18.6% have played 2, 10.5% have played 3, and 18.3% have played 4 or more.

~ Intelligent Systems Approval Ratings ~

The approval ratings are calculated by the proportion of Approve responses compared to the number of both Approve and Disapprove responses.

Percent who approve of the way Intelligent Systems is handling:
  • 62.7% - The addition of new heroes / characters to the game (-7.6)
  • 63.9% - The gacha mechanics and summoning banners (+22.6)
  • 49.8% - The story/plot (+0.7)
  • 86.4% - Unranked PvE game modes (Hero Battles, Forging Bonds, Tactics Drills, Lost Lore, Hall of Forms) (-2.6)
  • 53.3% - Ranked PvE game modes (Voting Gauntlets, Tempest Trials, Grand Conquest, Allegiance Battles, Rokkr Sieges, Mjolnir's Strike) (-6.1)
  • 40.8% - Arena
  • 41.3% - Arena Assault
  • 33.1% - Aether Raids

30.4% believe Intelligent Systems cares about its Free to Play userbase (up 8.7% from the last survey), while 47.4% do not. Since the last survey’s result was the lowest polling for this question in the game’s history, the 8.7% increase brings us to 27.6% lower than we were before the drop).

28.1% approve of the way Intelligent Systems is handling Fire Emblem: Heroes as a whole (up 5.2% from the last survey), while 26.5% disapprove. Since the last survey’s result was the lowest polling for this question in the game’s history, the 5.2% increase brings us to 22.5% lower than we were before the drop).

A NOTE ABOUT METHODOLOGY: The overall approval ratings question above has traditionally been the exact percent of Approve responses, as a proportion with both Neutral and Disapprove responses. Note that this is different than the way approval is calculated for individual modes (the proportion of Approve responses compared to the number of both Approve and Disapprove responses), where Neutral responses are excluded. The difference in calculation has continued this way in order to maintain comparability with previous survey results.
For comparisons sake, the overall approval rating trend going by raw Approval percentage over the last 3 surveys is: 50.6% (Dec) -> 22.9% (Feb) -> 28.1% (Apr)
Whereas the overall approval rating trend going by proportion of Approve/Disapprove with the Neutrals excluded over the last 3 surveys is: 82.2% (Dec) -> 41.0% (Feb) -> 51.3% (Apr).
I’d be interested to know which you prefer / find more valuable, so if you have opinions on it, please let me know in the comments!

~ Bonus Questions ~

24.4% prefer Feh’s old voice (Kimberly Tierney), while 45.9% prefer Feh’s new voice (Cassandra Lee Morris), with 29.7% unable to decide.

“Who is your Favorite Hero added since the last survey?”
  • Lysithea is the winner, followed by Bramimond, then Y!Minerva.
  • Full results here: [Graph]

“Who is your Most Wanted Hero added since the last survey?”
  • Bramimond is the winner, followed by Lysithea, then Palla (Young, Trio)
  • Full results here: [Graph].

“Which character would you most want to get a Resplendent version?”
  • Robin and Corrin are tied for the win, though both also get vote-sharing between M/F versions because way too many people didn’t specify.
  • Lucina is the runner-up, followed by Lloyd.
  • Top 10 here: [Graph].

“What would be the best Trio and why?”: [Selected Responses]

~ Feedback ~

As always, I received lots of great feedback, both in your survey responses and in the thread itself. A heartfelt thank you to all participants for your encouragements and criticisms - these surveys wouldn’t be where they are without your feedback. But it’s not all serious; feedback messages also included:

This fantastic song parody by u/juuldude

  • #DeleteL!AzuraFromFEH2020 #JusticeForSeliph #Floofmomgang #ResplendentHinokaWhen #ResplendentAlfonse #JusticeForJill #JusticeForTelliusUnits #NoMoreElibe #JusticeforCanas #sephiranwhen #StayInsideAndWashYourHands
  • "*dabs to try and get a Legendary Seliph to exist*"
  • “according to all known laws of aviation everything still dies to reinhardt”
  • “Bernadetta was social distancing before it was cool”
  • “Emblian Empire is grateful for your hard work like always, but slightly annoyed the +10 5-stars question was left out just when I finally completed an old project!”
  • “Greetings from the massive salt palace of Grado, where Formotiis awaits to either be summoned in the upcoming Fallen banner or to destroy Askr for their impudence! (seriously though its been like three years come on intsys Lyon is RIGHT THERE)”
  • “hi I was tempted to give a meme answer for the amount I'd be willing to spend on a forma hero but I think you take averages for that stuff so i wrote 0 instead of 69420 you're welcome” – thank you for your restraint :P
  • “i’m saving orbs to +10 azura this june please wish me luck 🤞🤞🤞” – Beaming luck to your location!
  • “Imagine this, you were playing P5R a new FEH channel comes out so start to watch it. Morgana's voice is still echoing in your head. Are you going crazy? Has the quarantine got you you?”
  • “You need orders, please? CHOP the curve. Submit to Dr. Grima and stay home. Iiiit's time to play it safe. Let's not fly and let's not swim publicly unless we have to. I can't stop this thing. A safe distance away is right where I want you. You...like Ike to stay home where he won't spread anything. COVID is powercreep at Alm-alt levels, something nobody wants.”
  • “In Nino We Trust”
  • “so like FEH is letting us put actual children to war now like est is a whole fetus and kiran whacky ass put her and her sisters out on a battlefield to fight literal murder clowns and actual satan. like is that me or is that just a little messed up they should be home enjoying Welch fruit snacks while watching paw patrol”
  • “JILL. WHEN.” – I think I’ve been getting these comments for over 2 years now and they keep getting more desperate ☹
  • “Remember to stay safe! We're all in a Fog of War map on Classic right now.” – Strangely accurate
  • And greetings from Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, SEA, South Korea, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Alaska, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, The Bahamas, Fodlan, Ravnica, Renais, Tellius, the Alliance, and Bernadetta’s room
And some more personal inquiries:
  • “Greetings, ShiningSolarSword! Nothing to report.”
  • “Hey didn't you just do one of these on the Magia Record subreddit?” – Yep :D
  • “How are you holding up in regards to the coronavirus? Thanks again for still doing these in times like... this.” - I’m doing well all things considered, hope you are as well!
  • “Hello, this is Azura. I am very angry to be replaced, u/ShiningSolarSword. What even is a Norne and how could she possibly be better than the queen of Valla? I do hope you consider appreciating me in the future, it would be a shame if a certain survey-giver were to turn up dead in the future, not like that’s a threat or anything.” – Y-y-yes, definitely. *quietly foddering Alm to Norne*
  • “Norne's reign of terror has ended. Reddit user ShiningSolarSword has secretly accepted the way of the Reinhardt by brandishing the tiny-handed grinning Azura.” - *quietly foddering Duo Ephraim to Norne*
  • “Resplendent Norne + refine when?” – this person knows what’s up
  • “Can we have another gag survey? Quarantine is boring.” – not a bad idea 👀

~ Closing Remarks ~

If you missed out on responding to this survey when it was available, consider subscribing to FEHSurveys. This subreddit serves as a place to organize FE:H-related surveys, make new releases more visible, and make it easier for users to see when surveys are active.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! I hope you find the results interesting, and if there’s anything else you think can be discovered from the data, let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige!
submitted by ShiningSolarSword to FireEmblemHeroes [link] [comments]

PvZ Heroes Cards in Review (and some balancing suggestions) Part 6: Crazy

Part 5.
Welcome to a series I review every card in the game and explain how good a card is and what buffs, nerfs, and even reworks it could use to make the card playable or to tone down the power level of the card if needed. Today I'll be going over some crazy cards, the worst class on the zombie side, and try to fix up some power levels and adjust the aggressive nature of the crazy archetypes.

4-11 costs
Valkyrie:
Ah valk, I miss the days of the turn 5 otk but those times are unfortunately, rightfully gone. The nerfs to regifter and final mission took a lot of the steam and power the deck had and now the deck ends up being a bit too slow compared to other options and plant decks that can easily take care of valk (unless you highroll) ending you usually turn 6. Not being able to find it consistently or get steam and early enough to destroy you zombies to your advantage make it a meh card and deck option. Even as a 4 cost 6/6 on curve it’s not even that good when you can play cards that can push damage instead of stat sticks and it doesn’t even scale that well past that as it takes too long in normal decks for normal use. The card needed a nerf but I propose a different nerf. A health nerf to 3 cost 0/3 or 0/4. But health doesn’t do anything to the valk combo it can still otk on 6? Yes and that’s the point, it’s supposed to be affecting the decks that would use it as a 3 cost 4/6. The deck was already dead when the regifter and final mission nerfs came into play and was hard to even get a big enough valk on turn 6 but it could sometimes happen but not often and oppressive enough that it was a feels bad moment. As a 3 cost card it has a chance to be run in many other decks than just pbs like impfinity or boog that want something that can scale when zombies get traded out and because it’s cheaper it doesn’t feel as bad when you play an overstated guy on 3 as opposed to turn 4.
Cosmic Dancer:
Expensive and understated and block charges a lot while giving you meh value. Absolutely horrible stats for it’s cost and doesn’t even put any pressure or meaningful damage as 2 damage on those turns becomes block charging damage and isn’t worth the tempo suicide for the random card that you would end up getting being turned into another block charger and the pool isn’t too good either to play this massively horrible stated card. If it costed 3 it would be much better and might be playable as a cheap chumper that can be used as an evo card the next turn and give some value since it doesn’t have as bad stats anymore and is easier to get value out of. Making it give overshoot 3 would be too much as 3 damage is a lot of damage to be putting to face and can stack up nicely with other cards too well so a cost reduction seems more balanced even if weaker.
Cakesplosion:
4 damage for 4 brains is never worth it because it never destroys any meaningful things above it’s cost making you end up losing tempo when you could have played a 4 drop with meaningful stats and abilities. What this card needs is to be able to destroy cards above its cost so by increasing the damage value it can be a tempo advantage if you take out something with a higher cost as control cards should work. Something like doing 6 or 7 damage would be a lot better as it can destroy a lot of plants over its cost while not being too excessive as it does cost quite a bit and you have to commit and it can finally gain you tempo by destroying something of a higher cost.
Flamenco Zombie:
This card ends up being too board dependent, costly, and understated for dancing which makes it get cut in many high end dancing decks. Dancing is usually about the board and big stats and this can provide and benefit of that but ends up being too variable to be good. The difference between 2, 4, 6, and 8 damage is way too huge of gap for it to be a consistent finisher for dancing as dancing cards often get traded out fast and you usually have only 2 cards out at a time and would rather play a bunch of other dancing cards for headhunter instead of a clunky lackluster finisher reliant on board highroll. I would rework this into a card more suited for dancing as it’s too swingy to be good. Sometime like a 4 cost 3/3 bullseye that does 3 damage to the plant hero if there’s a dancing zombie would fit the deck much more nicely as you wouldn’t need so many dancing cards to make up for the lackluster body and can get consistent and big damage value out of it with an actual decent body at a cheap and good cost.
Gargantuar-Throwing Imp:
A heavily Understated card. This card suffers from its horrible stats and the fact that you're zombies which means plants have to play into you which they likely won't because of the fact that it's just 2 damage to face. Making it a gravestone as well as giving it some extra health would massively help the card since it will get fronted more often with a weak guy and then you can get 2 gargs because of the additional health it has and can work with some splash combos as well. Making it have a water lane garg (like deep sea to 5 cost 6/6) would be an extra bonus if your lanes are all full from other guys and can guarantee some good damage in the water lane as well. It could possibly have different stats and be cheaper but that would be pushing it and might make it too good if too cheap since it can get out 5 damage guys with big stats early on and can be hard to deal with that early in the game.
Headhunter:
The best dancing synergy card to apply pressure with. It can seem like a block charger at first but if you look at dancing decks they always have a lot of dancing cards to spare like loudmouth, backup dancers, disco floors, and even disconauts for the evolution effect. It’s effect can usually deal massive amounts of damage as dancing zombies tend to be already cheap and even if you can’t spam that many dancers it still will have a tanky body that will last and put lots of pressure on the plant hero. A very great card that can do lots of damage in dancing decks, no changes needed.
Orchestra Conductor:
Massively understated with a mediocre ability makes it never worth playing over other 4 drops with better abilities since this is too board relent to make up for the lost stats and since it’s not a trick phase buff plants can play around the buffs fronting with weak plants blocking the damage that would be an wasting a turn. If it had better starting stats or was cheaper it would be a much better card to play and might even be considerable to run in swarm decks as it can be a massive boost to zombies making them hit harder and trade better. I like up the stats to 2/4 so it can be a 4/4 with an upside if you have a large enough board as making it cheaper might make the card too good since it can be too easy to set up board though it might be able to pass as a 3 cost.
Stupid Cupid:
Happens in the wrong phase so it never “freezes” anything meaningful. Like old cryo yeti it would always never target anything relevant due to it being in the wrong phase and would end up playing a turn behind. In order for it to see play it would have to trigger in the right phase by having gravestone. Like New cyro yeti, it would be a tempo card that would be able to take out plants that would be trying to trade zombies while also having a good body, maybe too good. You’d likely tone it down to 3/2 first as it might end up being too much tempo in one card since it’s a turn cheaper than cryo and the turn difference is a massive one and it having good stats and being able to trade with it without getting damage as well as doing that for other zombies might be too good.
Tankylosaurus:
This card sucks because the damage it does ends up being too weak and too random for it to be good targeting stuff that wouldn’t do anything if it hit instead of what you need it to hit (it having a chance to hit the hero always makes it so it’s at least a 50/50 which makes the chances to get value out of it very hard than if it was just plants), not destroying any meaningful plants because of how weak the damage is and being a block charger to face if it hits since 2 isn’t meaningful damage anymore that time in the game. What it needs is either to target either the plant hero or plants so that it won’t be as inconsistent and you can get guaranteed value out of it and/or do 3 damage to make the damage more impactful. Bullseye could be added but it wouldn’t really help if it still targeted plants and the hero so I’d go with the 3 damage so it can actually hit plants and the hero for a meaningful amount that can destroy stuff instead of it being meh damage. Another idea from Romaprof was to make it an overstated card, 6/6, with its ability to damage all other zombies by 1 on dino roar. This way it can mean something by having a lot of stats and have a home in splash decks that when to trigger every turn activating their abilities making the cards and itself a lot more useful Well not being able to be ran in every deck as it does have a downside.
The Chickening:
This never really does any good damage because it’s very expensive, happening too late for it to matter, it needs take enough targets (needs to take out at least 3) for to be worth more than just running plumber otherwise it doesn’t make up for the fact that you skipped a turn because it doesn’t have a body or at least draw a card (turn 4 is too massive of a turn to skip and even in control decks you have better 1 targets that are more impactful than this), and is only really effective against swarm decks which aren’t really prominent (or good) in the meta since it would field clear and get lots of use out of that for its cost. There’s 3 things that we can do to make this card better.Make it a 3 cost so it’s not suck a tempo loss when you play it and can get some combos on and destroy things on it’s turn while also not needing to destroy so much to make up for its cost, draw a card so it at least gives you some value back for playing such an underwhelming effect, or make it do 3 damage but it only targets Plants in a lane and lanes next door to it so it can actually do meaningful amounts of damage to plants for its cost while not being board clear because it’s restricted to 3 lanes so plants can play around this to make it a little less impactful so it’s not too insane.
Binary Stars:
If you asked me before March what I thought about binary I would say it’s a bad card with potential to be useful but it just feels a bit winmore. Now I would say it’s somewhat useful because of this deck being able to do massive amounts of damage with area and headhunter combined with other cards. It’s still limited in what it can do but now that it’s in a deck I don't know if I would want to buff it anymore. It’s in a couple decks right now that can make use of the doubling so i’m indifferent to giving it a buff or not but it would probably be a health buff since that’s where it’s main problem would be as it can sometimes be too fragile and it would help it too stick but that would be pushing it. An attack buff would make it scale too much as it will be +2 every 1 stat you give it.
Disco-Tron 3000:
This card comes way too late for it to be good as a swarm card. Swarm generally wants to start board building on early turns and end games on turn 6 and when this needs an empty board to be good and starts to swarm that late it ends up being way too slow for those decks. This card would have to cost less to be even considerable. Something like it being a 5 cost with upped stats would greatly help the card and would come on a much better and meaningful turn to swarm the board and block important attacks instead of coming when the game is going to end.
Foot Soldier Zombie:
Understated, bad phase targeting, and it’s restricted to 1 lane. It happens in the wrong phase for the plant targeting to be good, not enough meaningful damage for it to consistently hit the zombie hero, and even on top of that it only works on 1 lane so it restricts the amount of times you can even push damage and trade with plants to only 1 lane and the stats are horrendous and the damage it does never makes up for it since it again happens in the wrong phase. There are a bunch of things you can do to fix this card. Give it gravestone so it can take care of plants in a good phase destroying them since 3 damage means a lot while not being too excessive since it’s only in 1 lane, up the damage and stats so that it’s not such a waste of a body and can push meaningful amounts of damage to face (would probably only do damage to face so it’s not too versatile), or make it trigger off any lane so that at least it can be played where you want it to and trigger multiple times if you have some copies of it while also not solely relying on 1 lane being free to be somewhat useful.
Frankentuar:
Good stats, bad ability. It’s ability ends up being way slower than valks as it comes on a turn where you want to be playing things that can have a board impact and you have to set up a reasonable board for this to even trigger for it to be useful which is too hard to set up or keep your board to turn 5 and too slow where valk can charge up from the beginning allowing it to gain stats much faster and easier. You could make it cheaper and have less stats so it’s easier to set up but that ruins the garg flavour and It feels too much like a valk copy that’s just always going to feel worse than it so I want to rework its ability to fit in a different deck. If it triggered when a zombie got hurt it would be a lot better and even be a good play maker for a struggling deck while also triggering a lot more reliably and easier by just relying on zombies to get hit but not necessarily die instead of having to solely rely on your board getting wiped out which isn’t something you want happening that late in the game.
Hippity Hop Gargantuar:
Meh stats, bad ability. It creating random 2 or 1 drops that are delayed make this card not worth playing over other cards as the eggs usually get destroyed or make bad cards even if they survive. It’s stats aren’t that good either making it mediocre at best and the plant player can just ignore it to prevent getting value out of this without bad splash combos and doesn’t push any more damage than a card with a meaningful ability could push. For it to be playable the stuff it makes would have to be good but we can’t really do that without affecting the eggs since they are playable cards and it could break it if too good. If it made constant 2 to 3 drops at the start of turn with the eggs having a good amount of health then this might be able to see some play. You’d also push up it’s stats a bit so they would want to front it to prevent the damage that they would take making the ability trigger so you can actually get value out of it.
Imp-Throwing Gargantuar:
Bad stats, horrible ability. A useless 1/1 launcher with no bigger stats for It's downside makes this card unplayable as it just ends up clogging lanes and just serve a useless chump blockers that late into the game and can’t even be used as reasonable evo tokens since it’d way too late for it too matter and they have no good evo targets. What can we do to fix it? Add a better pool so it’s not a downside but an upside or give it some more stats to make up for the fact that the ability is a downside. You could also make it have better stats like 7/7 for the downside but i want the main focus and flavour of this card to be an upside. Something like making imps that cost 2 or less would greatly help it in making the ability an upside instead of a downside. Though this would make it a bit highrolly the stuff you can make from this can actually do damage and be a threat for the plant hero.
Gas Giant:
A decent card that’s out shadowed by faster options and also the fact that crazy midranged tools suck horribly. It a bit too slow to get to as turn 6 is where you should be playing cards with board abilities and this is too reliant on the plant hero destroying it and its when hurt effect isn’t even that impactful. It would be a bigger threat with better midranged tools as midranged controls early and then can drop big stated guys later on and this does that being at least 5 damage that can splash the board which would be fine enough. You could slap on gravestone but that wouldn’t solve its problem but it would help a bit. If crazy got more mid tools this could be a good card in the deck but for now it’s going to have to be a bad card until then.
Gargantuars’ Feast:
A mostly guaranteed game ender that sucks because you can never consistently get to it because of the lack of good control tools and being in a class that’s made to go fast. This card suffers from being way too expensive which makes it very hard to get to as a finisher in a fast paced game where turn 6 to 7 is usually when plants finish off especially with the lack of good control and aoe tools this game has. Sometimes it doesn’t even win if you lowroll with gargs and don’t destroy all the plants as you take a lot of damage as the control tools don’t really help you prevent a lot of damage and it doesn’t even block all the lanes. It could use a cost reduction to help get to it so you can actually finish the game instead of getting destroyed since plants have very strong tempo and aggro tools to finish games very early so this needs to come earlier to combat that. Something like a 10 or 9 cost would definitely help to actually get to play it instead of having to stall for so long with bad tools in a class that’s about going fast and putting damage on face. You could also make Gargs feast make gargs in every lane so it’s a truly guaranteed win but that’s just a problem of the control tools not doing their job in controlling effectively.
That's it for this post. Feel free to discuss the changes and tell me which ones you like and don't like and/or better changes and reworks you would have for them.
Also feel free to check out my progress on review other classes and cards through this doc if you're interested and wanna make suggestions or comments before I post my reviews.
Part 7 Soon™ (1-2 weeks and we switch over to solar next to change things up) .
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IT Pro Tuesday #105 - Discovery & Mapping, Video Tutorials, Linux Admin & More

Welcome back to IT Pro Tuesday!
This week, we’re looking for your favorite tips to share with the community. Please let us know those that help you do things more easily so you get better at your job!
As always, we’re updating the full list on our website here. Enjoy.
But on with this week's tools...! Here are the most-interesting items that have come across our desks, laptops and phones this week. EveryCloud has no known affiliation with any of these unless we explicitly state otherwise.
Popular Repost: Tool
Nmap (Network Mapper) is an open-source utility for network discovery and security auditing. Can be useful for network inventory, managing service upgrade schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime. Uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services they are offering, what OS versions they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use and much more. Runs on all major operating systems, and official binary packages are available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. Nmap suite includes an advanced GUI and results viewer, a flexible data transfer, redirection and debugging tool, a utility for comparing scan results and a packet generation and response analysis tool. heroz0r suggests it as an "alternative to the PingTools, AngryIPScanner, etc."

A Free Tool
Flying Squirrel was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for real-time discovery, analysis and mapping of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networks. Features integrated visualization and mapping and post-hoc analysis capabilities. 11bztaylor describes it as, "not absolutely amazing, but not bad. Used it awhile back when I worked as GS. Did what we needed it to do."

Tutorials
Jeff Geerling's YouTube channel features some great tutorials on Drupal, Ansible, K8s, tech, DIY, tools and more. DenizenEvil tells us, "I've been watching his Ansible series, super informative."

Another Free Tool
Linux Automation is a Lopi/Linux wrapper script to automate common system administration tasks. Our thanks go to CoronationStreetFan1 for pointing us to this one.

A Tip
Building on a previous tip of right-clicking while dragging a file to another location, (which gives you an option to either copy or move it), Frothyleet adds:
“If you are left-click-dragging, holding shift will toggle between the default (i.e., move toggles to copy for same-volume, copy toggles to move for different volumes)."

P.S. Bonus Free Tools
Get this week's bonus tools by visiting the IT Pro Tuesday blog.
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
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Gaarawarr's Guide to Greengrass - Year 3

Last Updated: April 8th, 2020, at 8:27pm PDT - Added tips for The Problem Solvers and Wheat from the Chaff for brand new players
Last Updated: April 2nd, 2020, at 3:15pm PDT - Updated Melf's upgrade info; guide complete unless I missed something
Last Updated: April 1st, 2020, at 9:41pm PDT - Updated Melf's Feat info
Last Updated: Initial Post
 

Event Introduction

The start of spring is traditionally marked by a day of peace and rejoicing, featuring beautiful displays of flowers in celebration of Lathander, God of Spring and The Morninglord. Unfortunately for the town of Triboar on the Sword Coast, their celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of a githyanki raiding party...
Greengrass runs from Wednesday April 1st, 2020, at Noon PST, thru Monday April 13th, 2020, at Noon PST.
You can find the official Greengrass blog post here.
 

General Event Tips

I highly recommend reading my Guide to Event Planning for basic progression information and ways to maximize your gains/efficiency during Events. There is too much information to put here as this specific Event guide is long enough already.
 
Don't be afraid to ask questions in the comment section! Also, I stream the game now and welcome any and all questions there as well!
You can find all of my Idle Champions guides here.
Good luck & have fun!
~ Gaar
 
Note: Event guides are always a work-in-progress and will update over time so check back frequently! I'll note at the top in the revisions area when it's complete.
Important: In Year 3 and beyond, there will be a lot to do to unlock all Champions Gear from an Event if it's your first time doing it. I recommend focusing your time and resources on Gear for no more than 2 Champions as a new player. You can still unlock all 3 Champions though, and should. Your Event tokens are a finite resource, as is your time, and it can be challenging enough to complete two full sets of adventures as a new player, not to mention have time left to do Free Plays for more gear. You also end up with fewer Chests for each Champion if you go for 3+ Champions per Event.
Feel free to ask in the comments about which Champions are recommended in the current iteration of the game so you can make an informed decision on how to spend your time.
 

Year One Champion - Nrakk, the Githzerai Monk

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Two Champion - Aila, the Wild Elf Barbarian

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Three Champion - Melf, the Elf FighteWizard

You can read their original Champion Spotlight here.
Slot 12: Swaps with Arkhan, Azaka, Nerys, & Zorbu.
Good with: Elves; everyone
Eligible for Patrons: Mirt, Vajra, & Strahd
 
Class Race Alignment Gender Age Affiliation Role(s) Overwhelm Point
FighteWizard Elf Neutral Good Male 210 None Support 5
 
Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
17 15 14 19 11 10
 
Bio: Born into the royal family of Celene, he assumed the simple name of Melf eschewing a life of comfort as a noble to study the arcane arts and train as a swordsman. He delved in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk, the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and many other harrowing places honing his skills, knowledge and amassing powerful magic items. Melf sees himself as a weapon of weal hurtling toward the heart of the darkest evils in the realm. He is opinionated and has a touch of conceit that he is blissfully ignorant of possessing.
 
Base Attack Speed: 5 seconds
Basic Attack: Zagyg’s Needle - Melf leaps out and attacks the nearest enemy with his magic spear. If Melf has any Minute Meteors active, he fires one at a random enemy as well.
Ultimate: Melf's Minute Meteors — Melf summons six Minute Meteors that float around him. They are fired when he attacks normally and deal BUD-based damage to all enemies in a small area.
 

Interesting Abilities

Melf's Adaptive Support Spell: Melf creates a new spell to assist the formation. He customizes it based on the Champions in the formation and where Melf is placed within it. It increases the damage of Champions adjacent to Melf by 100% and that value is augmented based on some other parameters, each of which applies multiplicatively.
  • If there is another Elf (aside from Melf) in the formation, increase the effect by 50%
  • Increase the range by 2 if Melf is not in the front-most or rear-most columns in the formation (affects all champions within 3 slots)
  • Increase the effect by 10% for each unique race in the formation
This ability is buffed by upgrades and equipment (buffs apply to the final calculated value, not the individual increases).
Melf's Augmented Support Spell: Melf augments his Adaptive Support Spell for each Champion it affects.
  • Increase the effect by 50% on the non-dominant gender in the formation (applies to non-binary champions all the time)
  • Increase the effect by 50% for each slot away from Melf a Champion is (multiplicatively)
Melf's Speedy Supplement: Melf provides one of the following effects at random. A new effect is chosen at random every 50 areas (though it could pick the same one multiple times in a row).
  • Increase chance to spawn an additional enemy with each wave by 25%
  • Increase enemy spawn speed by 25%
  • Increase chance of double quest drops by 25%
This ability is buffed by equipment; note if the chance of double quest drops gets above 100% it will then always cause double quest drops with a chance to cause triple quest drops, etc. Likewise with spawning additional enemies with each wave.
Melf's Righteous Determination: Melf knows exactly what evil is. Whenever an enemy spawns it has a 50% chance of being deemed "evil" by Melf. Enemies that are deemed evil take 100% more damage from all Ultimate attacks.
 

Specializations

Bonus Adaption: Increases the effect of Melf's Adaptive Support Spell by 100%
Extra Supplements: Increase the effect of Melf's Speedy Supplement by 100%
Absolute Righteousness: Increase the effect of Melf's Righteous Determination by 100%
 

Equipment

Slot 1: Spear - Increases the damage of all Champions
Slot 2: Shield - Increases the damage of all Champions
Slot 3: Cloak - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability
Slot 4: Spellbook - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Speedy Supplement ability
Slot 5: Chainmail - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Righteous Determination ability
Slot 6: Meteor - Buffs Melf's Ultimate attack Damage
 

Feats

First slot is available at 60 while the second is available at 1140.
Default: Selflessness - Increases the damage of all Champions by 10%
Default: Supportive Ally - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 20%
12,500 Gems: Inspiring Leader - Increases the damage of all Champions by 25%
12,500 Gems: Melf's Medium Meteors - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Righteous Determination ability by 40%
Gold Chest: Encouraging Ally - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 40%
Gold Chest: Rushed Plans - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Speedy Supplement ability by 40%
 

Level Upgrades

  • 20 - Melf's Adaptive Support Spell
  • 40 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 50 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 60 - Melf's Righteous Determination
  • 65 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 70 - Melf's Speedy Supplement
  • 80 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 85 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 90 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 95 - Ultimate
  • 100 - Specialization Choice
  • 110 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 120 - Melf's Augmented Support Spell
  • 140 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 150 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 160 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 210 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 230 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 250 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 300 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 350 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 360 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 370 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 430 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 490 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 500 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 550 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 560 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 585 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 645 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 655 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 725 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 765 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 775 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 815 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 825 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 920 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 935 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 950 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 1010 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 1025 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 100%
  • 1035 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
Current max upgrade level is 1035
 

Formation & Mission Information

Once you complete the first mission, three Variants and a Free Play show up. There is a new formation that holds 10 Champions. It has an Event-specific format that I've done my best to re-create below.
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
0
0
0
0 0 0
0 0
0
0
New Player Formation & Specializations:
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
NA
NA
Bruenor - Shield Master
Minsc - Humanoids Calliope - College of Lore Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
Asharra - Elves & Dwarves Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe
Celeste - Life Domain
Hitch - Charismatic
This formation is for the first couple of runs where you're just not going to get enough Gold to get everyone on the field, let alone level people up into their power curves. At this point, Jarlaxle is focusing on being your Primary DPS while everyone else is set up to support him.
The following formation is for once you can get Hitch up into his power curve for damage and he starts outpacing Jarlaxle. You'll have to figure this out during your runs by swapping him and Jarlaxle around every now and then and seeing who's doing better in that Primary DPS slot.
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
Tyril - Moonbeam
Makos - Dark Blessing
Bruenor - Shield Master
Asharra - Humans Calliope - College of Lore Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe Hitch - Charismatic
Celeste - Life Domain
Minsc - Humanoids
This formation should get you through the Event as a new player. If you have other options or think a different DPS is geared better, try it out and see what happens! Swapping DPS around like this can help you figure out what works best for you with your specific items.
If you need assistance with formations, ask in the Comment section and be sure to list out what extra Champs you have so people know what to work with.
These are the rough Favor values you need to reach to make a Variant (Second through Fourth missions) show as Easy in terms of Difficulty. Keep in mind that this is just a generic rating system and some Variants may be harder than others, even when they show as Easy.
Mission Favor Level (Normal) Favor Level (Scientific Notation)
Second 20,000 ~2e04
Third 15,000,000 ~1.5e07
Fourth 1,000,000,000 ~1e09
 

Initial Mission: The Endless War (Melf)

Cost: 100 Bouquets
Complete: Level 50
Reward: Melf + whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Second Mission: Honorable Discharge

Cost: 1,000 Bouquets
Complete: Level 75
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Each Champion can only be used to complete 50 areas.
Gaar's Notes: Not gonna lie, this could be rough if you don't have much Favor. New players will need to remove all Champions from the formation and rely on Click Damage only through the first 25 levels and then build a formation on 26 to beat this due to lack of swappable Champions. Make sure it shows as Easy before starting. Even then, maybe wait until The Problem Solvers shows as Easy as well before starting this one.
 

Third Mission: The Problem Solvers

Cost: 2,500 Bouquets
Complete: Level 125
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Only Champions with an INT score of 13 or higher can be used.
Gaar's Notes: Well, this is basically your introduction to Strahd as a Patron, only in an Event. Here's a list of viable Champs with those that can be used with a Feat in ():
  • Slot 1: Sisaspia, K'thriss, & Turiel
  • Slot 2: Regis & (Celeste)
  • Slot 3: Artemis
  • Slot 4: Jarlaxle, Paultin, & Stoki
  • Slot 5: Dhadius, Xander, & Qillek
  • Slot 6: Asharra, Krond, & Shandie
  • Slot 7: Jim, Catti-Brie, & Farideh
  • Slot 8: Delina, Vlahnya, Hitch, & (Nrakk)
  • Slot 9: Makos, Morgaen, Birdsong, & (Drizzt)
  • Slot 10: Tyril & (Rosie)
  • Slot 11: Strix, Dragonbait, & Avren
  • Slot 12: Melf, (Zorbu), & (Nerys)
If you don't have a viable formation after this restriction, stock up on Favor before attempting. Get it to Easy, or even better, get Wheat From the Chaff to show as Easy before starting.
As a brand new player who may only have Core Champs and Melf, you may end up at a point where your Champs just aren't doing damage. At that point, try leveling up your Click Damage. Normally I don't recommend this, but I beat it that way on my gearless account with Core/Melf in the formation. So keep it open as an option.
 

Fourth Mission: Wheat From the Chaff

Cost: 5,000 Bouquets
Complete: Level 175
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Melf starts out in the formation with Melf's Righteous Determination unlocked. Only enemies that Melf deems evil can be damaged. Blockers, bosses, and boss trash mobs are always deemed evil. All non-evil enemies are invulnerable and can not even be attacked.
Gaar's Notes: Oof. Make sure you have a reliable tank for this one because they're going to get some work. Do not attempt this before it shows as Easy if you're new. This is going to be difficult without AoE DPS options. It's also going to take a long time... (pssst...set up your formation, level up your Champs, place familiars to level them up if you can, then go offline...)
If you're brand new and only have Core/Evergreen Champs plus Melf, here's a formation setup that should help get you through the early levels until you can get another tank in front. Basically, you're splitting damage between two Champs to help you die slower. Bruenor has his Overhwelm Feat slotted while Nayeli is in Devotion spec and Calliope is in Lore spec to increases survivability. Good luck!
 

Free Play

Cost: 500-2500 Bouquets
Complete: Level 50 to earn a random Melf chest
Reward: See above + whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Achievements

Recruit Melf - 1%
Recruit Melf, the Elf Wizard/Fighter
Melf's Vigorous Variants - 1%
Complete all three variants of the "The Endless War (Melf)" adventure.
Melf's Marvelous Equipment - 1%
Obtain a piece of gear for each of Melf's six equipment slots. (Event Champ gear does not come from regular SilveGold Chests. You can earn Event Champ gear from their specific Event Chests, Time Gates, and other limited-time Chests as noted.)
Melf's Free Play Slog - 1%
Complete area 275 in any "The Endless War" free play.
Melf's "Broken" RNG - 1%
Complete 200 consecutive areas with Melf's Speedy Supplement providing the same buff.

Adventure Information

Indoor # Outdoor #
30 20

Type Summary

Bosses
  • Aberration - 4
  • Humanoid - 4
  • Fey - 1
  • Undead - 1
Normal Mobs
  • Humanoid - 26
  • Undead - 14
  • Plant - 11
  • Aberration - 11
  • Beasts - 7
  • Fey - 3

Type by Level - repeats after 50

  1. O - Beasts
  2. O - Beasts
  3. O - Beasts & Fey
  4. O - Beasts & Fey
  5. O - Beasts & Fey > Fey
  6. O - Beasts
  7. O - Humanoid
  8. O - Humanoid
  9. O - Humanoid
  10. O - Humanoid > Humanoid
  11. O - Humanoid
  12. O - Humanoid
  13. O - Humanoid
  14. O - Humanoid
  15. O - Humanoid > Humanoid
  16. O - Humanoid
  17. O - Humanoid
  18. O - Undead & Humanoid
  19. O - Undead
  20. O - Undead > Undead
  21. I - Undead
  22. I - Undead & Humanoid
  23. I - Humanoid > Blockade
  24. I - Humanoid
  25. I - Humanoid > Humanoid
  26. I - Undead
  27. I - Undead
  28. I - Undead
  29. I - Undead
  30. I - Undead > Aberration
  31. I - Plant
  32. I - Plant
  33. I - Plant & Aberration
  34. I - Plant & Aberration
  35. I - Plant > Aberration
  36. I - Undead & Beasts
  37. I - Undead & Humanoid
  38. I - Humanoid
  39. I - Aberration & Humanoid
  40. I - Humanoid > Humanoid
  41. I - Plant
  42. I - Plant & Aberration
  43. I - Plant & Humanoid
  44. I - Humanoid & Aberration
  45. I - Plant & Humanoid > Aberration
  46. I - Undead & Humanoid
  47. I - Undead & Plant & Humanoid
  48. I - Humanoid & Aberration
  49. I - Aberration & Plant
  50. I - Aberration > Aberration

Community Event Discussions

submitted by Gaarawarr to idlechampions [link] [comments]

Music Access Moral Continuum (Please rank yours!)

(How) Should we judge people who access music from different sources than we do?
How long concerts, a major source of income for less famous artists, will be too dangerous remains to be seen, but if the financial incentive for musicians to make music is as strong as economists think, we could be in for a long and worsening dry spell. A hungry musical genius might not create the next masterpiece if the link to putting food on the table is severed. No better time to consider the payout-tied morality of different ways to access music. I hope you’ll share your opinions using the following framework or your own.
“Music” refers to an “indie” artist w/ all songs under a million views on YouTube (arbitrary cut-off point). I’m not talking about the “winners” in the “winner-take-all market” that is the music industry (and so many others).
u/classiscot , u/soulcoal , and other veterans of this forum employ a moral dichotomy of “paying artists” (good) Vs. “not paying artists” (bad). Or possibly a trichotomy w/ eMusic even worse than average pirates b/c subscribers are paying the company to steal from artists and record labels. There’s utility in this simplicity, but like most binary views it leaves out gray areas and the more complicated, inclusive reality of music access as a whole. I’ll leave out the likelihood, in my view, that eMu is still paying some artists/labels or they’d all abandon ship and/or file a class action lawsuit b/c I’ve harped on it a lot elsewhere.
Here’s a series of other, systematic ways of contextualizing the morality of remaining subscribed to eMusic in these difficult, uncertain times. I obviously prefer the more complex one.
DICHOTOMOUS: Paying artists (Bandcamp, streaming services, etc.) Vs. Not paying artists (Pirate sites, file sharers, much of eMusic, etc.)
“TRICHOTOMOUS”: Paying artists Vs. Not paying artists Vs. Charging a subscription fee to steal from artists
EXCESSIVELY COMPLICATED IN PURSUIT OF NUANCED OPINIONS:
To avoid going wildly out of control, I’ll limit myself to the 26 letters of the alphabet in my opinionated moral ranking, w/ A being “most moral/best” and Z being “least moral/worst.” Rather than drawing a line between moral and immoral, I'll punt and call letters K-Q “morally ambiguous” even to my all-judging self. I hope others will rearrange the alphabet (selectively…I’m not asking for hours of anyone’s time) with their own rankings. i.e. I guess/approximate u/classiscot’s as C, B, M, W (b/c it hurts eMu), T, P, V, X, Z, J (all helping eMu at the bottom of the scale) but solicit his actual input. Anyone else who’d like to weigh in, especially anyone who’s a musician or themselves in the industry, please do! Judge now lest ye not be judged thyself.
I’ve probably missed several obvious options and don’t know how to add more letters to the alphabet. A1, Z1, etc.? Maybe use my letters as reference points and insert what I’ve missed between them?
Note that D, J, L, & W directly involve eMusic. I gather most who do so disparage any financial support or interaction w/ eMu at all uniformly for simplicity’s sake, but given several ways to get music from the site, they’re worth parsing individually.
MOST MORAL
A. Get access for “free” b/c your job (or volunteer position) is to promote the artist (Clearly it’s the music industry’s loss if anyone commenting here is not actively working in it.)
B. Attending an artist’s concerts religiously, buying physical media from their merch table, direct GoFundme campaigns (As u/Soulcoal and others duly point out, this is THE major source of income for less popular artists who’ll never be able to support themselves any other way)
C. Use of Bandcamp to maximally subscribe to one’s favorite artist’s output (including full-priced purchases of full discographies).
D. Use of eMu tokens to purchase MP3s from eMusic (Blockchain. I still haven’t heard of any accounts of anyone actually doing this, but it should at least address accusations of non-payment of artists b/c it’s transparent)
E. Buy a new vinyl record or new CD at one of the dwindling brick & mortar stores that still sell them.
F. Listen to an independent radio station (i.e. community/college-based)
G. Listen to an old-fashioned commercial radio station (I’d say it’s morally ambiguous to listen to Top40 radio, though, but that my inner curmudgeon typing. I’m not even sure indie artists, new jazz, etc. even get played on any commercial radio stations.)
H. Borrow or otherwise listen to someone else’s copy (i.e. friend or family member’s) of an album they bought new, then buy more of it oneself. Burning a copy of it to CD-R rather than buying it would be worse, but does anyone still do that?
I. Buy a used CD or used Record online or at a used music store (Recent years show how dependent this means is upon people buying albums new in the first place. I welcome someone else to speculate how much buying a used CD helps the artist.)
J. Annual or monthly eMusic subscription (in hopes that it sustains eMu and will one day result in it being a viable business, doing its part to compensate artists, assuming it is still paying some artists/labels or they’d ALL leave the site)
MORALLY AMBIGUOUS
K. Innocently purchase a promotional copy of an album (i.e. as often happens in used CD stores that purchased stock from a radio station…only the disc itself or the interior of the liner notes, invisible at time of purchase, may be stamped with “for promotional use only”)
L. Purchase of discounted eMusic booster packs (a concession to Soulcoal’s distaste for them)
M. Paid subscription to the highest compensation-per-stream, non-gigantic service (currently Napster, or correct me if I’m wrong)
N. Paid subscription to a middling compensation-per-stream service (i.e. Tidal, Spotify, etc.). As I rant in a blog post, even if compensation improved, streaming services contribute to single-fication of music consumption and the death of the album, which I see as a moral injury. http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/Streaming%20Mad.html
O. Paid subscription to one of the huge corporations’ streaming services (Giving more money to Amazon, Google, and Apple, even if they pay more per stream than some, is morally ambiguous at best given things like their carbon footprints, enabling of crass consumerism, using market share to squeeze artists/labels, crowd out small businesses, and the possibility that unless anti-trust enforcement increases a lot they’ll someday own everything that people can purchase).
P. 7% of people (the same as the % who buy physical media or download from iTunes or elsewhere) surveyed in the link say they “don’t really listen to music,” which I think is evil and wrong, but I won’t force them to change their evil ways. Am I saying people should buy music even if they don’t listen to music? Kinda. To abstain or take the option of exit seems to be denied many Asian citizens (and probably elsewhere, too), where music is blasted in public over loudspeakers. I’m glad Skinny Puppy got paid for their songs being used at Guantánamo, but I’m sure detainees and other captive audiences aren’t much concerned about artist compensation. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/online-music-listening-preferences
Q. Free streaming service accounts supported by ads (i.e. Spotify. Even if you’re not bothered by your music being interrupted and financially supported by ads, I think it’s morally questionable, especially in the long term.) Kids I’ve talked to (some of whom equate music w/ Spotify or YouTube…scary!) who can’t afford a paid subscription need to talk to their parents about a family plan or listen to the radio, I say!
PROBABLY IMMORAL
R. Repeatedly doing free, 1-month trials of streaming sites and canceling before payment.
S. Streaming music on YouTube or other sites while using AdBlock on your browser (on the assumption that artists aren’t getting paid if ads aren’t being played) as one’s sole source of music.
T. Streaming music on YouTube from accounts not connected to artists themselves or their record labels (YouTube polices this but is pretty lax, especially for more obscure artists, songs, etc.)
U. Download all of a friend or family member’s albums that you like w/out buying any of it oneself (assuming they were originally purchased properly).
V. Knowingly buy counterfeit physical media. (In developing countries, one can still buy counterfeit CDs of surprising quality and selection, and around the turn of the 21st century, this seemed to be the primary means of people there getting to own music. Maybe it still put food on street vendor families’ tables? And as w/ pirated DVDs, there are upsides to spreading culture to poor people. This phenomenon mainly affected the most famous, I assume, who were losing the most revenue. I do know a ton of stores were shut down in China.)
W. Repeatedly signing up for eMusic’s 1-month new subscriber bonus under different email addresses (I read someone’s account of doing this and it struck me as entirely too clever, maybe a way to ensure that eMu’s non-payment of artists worsens, possibly an active contribution to sinking the site once and for all?)
X. Use of (Russian or other) pirate downloading sites
Y. Stealing records or CDs from a college radio station (this one is personally irksome, having managed one and been a DJ)
Z. Stealing one’s way into a concert, making a bootleg recording (to be sold for personal profit), robbing the merch table, hacking into a label’s website to steal its music. Then maybe stealing a backstage pass and sucker-punching the lead singer or bandleader, slashing the band’s van tires afterwards.
LEAST MORAL
Note that this is still a trichotomy. Placement in any of the three moral categories is just my opinion, and specific rankings are something you’re very welcome to argue for and change my mind. I hope the letters can be used as shorthand when doing so (i.e. One could argue X is worse than Z b/c it’s so easy and can be done on such a large scale.)
Perhaps some less moral options and certainly many morally ambiguous ones, IMO, can be offset by promoting the artist. You may tell me I’m deluding myself, but even if eMu is as horrible as some say for artists still on the site, I do believe that posting about them here, on FB, my website, etc. does a small but morally absolving bit of good to spread the word about what we all agree is mostly unknown music at this point.
My main contention remains that standard, dominant means of music access (via YouTube as on most of Reddit or other streaming services whether paid or free) categorized as “good” in a dichotomy b/c they do pay artists pay so little (literal pennies per month) as to be morally worse than an eMu subscription. Or at very least, getting on a high horse with a megaphone about how terrible eMu is compared to streaming is vastly overstated.
A streaming service subscriber who hopes artist compensation will get better somehow is, IMO, morally no better than an eMusic subscriber who is ignorant of its spotty record on compensation or who also hopes that it can become a viable business again and do right by artists.
In sum, yes, I’m still an apologist, maybe naive in optimism that eMu can still be a positive influence in a deeply unfair industry, whether or not it currently is.
submitted by chartreuseeye to eMusicofficial [link] [comments]

DEMOLITION DAYS, PART 90

Continuing
We had three groups of demo wire: mine adit, ANFO on the mine floor, and just because, some black powder placed into the old, but unused, drill holes in the mine face. The party room was going to be detonated remotely. We decided to blow the face first, then the ANFO, then the adit. After the applause died down, I’d trigger the party room. Then, the final drinking light for this mine site would be lit. Tomorrow, we pack up and travel south.
But first!
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to your first abandoned mine demolition. This hole in the ground has become a menace, alas, through no fault of its own. But steps must be taken to remove it as a threat to society; to protect society from itself. I’ll let you cogitate over the irony of that statement at your leisure. Please, folks. This once was the provider of many a family’s daily bread, butter, and beer. A moment of silence. A moment of reverence. A moment of reflection. This is the place where you cut your subsurface teeth, where you lost your mining virginity, and now…we’re really gonna pop yer cherry!”
They laughed! They actually laughed loud and long. I was amazed. This was just my B-list material.
Dr. D and I alternated countdowns, Lucas was manning the detonators. Everybody, even the cooks, dish machine operators, and custodians joined in on the Safety Protocol song.
First went the face/black powder. A loud, rolling BOOM followed by the mine blowing a huge white smoke ring skyward. Not bad for a first shot.
Then the ANFO. Lucas needed to use the recently acquired replacement for Ol’ Reliable, my personal plunger-actuated blasting machine, as we needed the voltage and amperage. The ANFO shook everyone in camp, even set those in suspended hammocks rocking.
“We’re over a half-mile from the mine and you can actually here see the effects of low-explosives.”, I said, regarding the swinging hammocks. “Did the Earth move for you, too?”
Even that got a laugh.
Next came the mine adit itself. The sharp cracks of the dynamite were so distinctly different than the rolling thrump of the ANFO. People were getting a good physical demonstration of the differences in different types of explosives.
Everyone was about to clap, hoot, or holler, and head for the bar or leave when I shouted them down.
“What are you doing? Where are you going? We’re not done here yet, folks. We have a little bonus. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the death of the cess-pit. The end of the fetid party room. The cessation of the sewer some people around here went to have fun. Want fun? What could possibly be more fun than over 100 pounds of Torpex, PETN, RDX, Dynamite and Kinestik binary high explosives…and a remote detonator?”
All eyes one me grew three sizes that day.
“And I’m prepared to offer the honor of pressing the big, shiny red button to…the highest bidder!”
Consternation and grumbling.
“Actually, I kid. Before this, I had given a slip of paper to Dr. D. On that paper is a number, between 1 and 100. Here are some official guessing paper and pencils. The paper was recently outsourced from the DOI, so no fair trying to use any other. Now, write your guess down, a single number, between 1 and 100, one guess per participant. The closest gets the remote detonator and the honor of destroying the den of filth. In the case of prizes, duplicate ties will be awarded. You have 2 minutes before my number will be revealed. GO!”
Five minutes later, Dr. D announces the winner. There were no duplicates and my number was 86. Dr. I from Berkeley was the winner. She was a petite little hydrogeologist with a mean streak a mile wide. She grinned like a maniac when I handed her the remote detonator. She wanted to go immediately, but I restrained her for a 5 count.
“5...4…3…2…1…HIT IT!”
Whoa. Even though the mine was strictly closed, when that Torpex torpedo went off, the whole state probably felt it. It was very much like an earthquake. A very noisy, even that far underground in a closed-off mine, shatteringly brilliant earthquake.
Dr. I was ecstatic. “I did that?”
“Yes, you did. You’ll be receiving the bill in the mail.” I joshed.
It didn’t matter. Nothing could dampen the mood at that point.
Before lighting the drinking lamp, I recited a bit of doggerel for the crowd to close and commemorate our first victorious mine closing.
 “The Earth shakes, the ground cracks,
 And out steps fmax.
 Pleased as punch, fresh as a daisy,
 He watches while the world goes crazy.
 Strata shakes, structures tumble,
 Seismographs jump, formations crumble.
 When he’s finished, spent with sin,
 He returns as fmin.”
(fmax refers to the high-frequency band-limitation of the radiated field of earthquakes.)
It’s a geology thing…
They seemed to appreciate the effort. They loved that immediately afterward I lit the evening drinking lamp.
Dr. D, Lucas, and my own self had our cigars, drink, and maps. We were looking for our next contestant. Given the reaction of the crowd, I figured they’d be ready for something a little more ‘aggressive’. We had 11 days left, so it couldn’t be too far afield, as I didn’t want to waste time in transit, but here in Nevada, that wasn’t going to present a problem.
Lucas pointed out the Gobbler’s Knob mining area. It was studded with mines marked with the red ‘X’ of the Bureau indicating these mines had been vetted for critter populations and were slated for demolition, and there was quite the assortment. Sure, it was a good three and a half hours distant as a direct shot, or a full day for this crowd. However, we could just camp there for the last part of the trip; it would make a fine base camp. There were more than enough mines, in close proximity, of all types.
So, it was decided and announced. We’d all rendezvous at the titular Gobbler’s Knob gold mine area. I’d scout the area with Lucas and Dr. D, who would follow in his field car. We’d find a place to set up base camp. Sure, it was a diversion from the planned itinerary of the project, but that was at my discretion anyways. Given the shakedown at the Sharp Curve mine, we figure the less over-the-road travel for this crowd, the better.
I chatted with the concessionaires and explained our new plans. They were relieved, as once settled, they wouldn’t have to tear down and set up again every few days. We would be relatively closer to some larger cities, so they could assure us to continue the high quality of food and drink.
So, we were set. Lucas asked to ride with me and since he didn’t mind my cigars, so long as I shared. So Dr. D, in his rental field vehicle, and Lucas and I in the Hummer, hit the trail first. We’d be there in three or so hours. Real geologists don’t get lost out in the field, they just become slightly temporarily dislocated.
Not to waste any time, I had Lucas get on the radio and relate our plans to the Bureau. After this, he called the Nevada State Troopers and let them know what we were up to as well; just in case, as insurance. He called the local police in the town of Goonhaven, NV to warn them that we were on the way. They were most appreciative. They liked geologists and miners. They even gave us the address and phone number of the town’s single liquor store.
We had a radiotelephone lash up through the Bureau HF radio, so I had Lucas call the Boozerama and advise them we’ll need a lot of clear ice for the catering guys. Plus they might just want to go ahead and lay in a double, ok, triple supply of beer as there’s a gaggle of thirsty pseudogeologists on the way that are going to hang around for a week or more.
I asked them if they had any Russian Imperial Export vodka. They said they had some, but a good variety and supply of other brands. I thanked them and warned them again, that the geologists were coming. I also requested that they source some Bitter Lemon and a few cases of assorted Nehi flavors. They said they would try.
Always nice to phone ahead and give ample warning. Elicits discounts.
Lucas was a natural as a navigator.
“OK, Rock. Stay on the goat path until you hit Big Barn rock. Take a left and head up to Copperhead Canyon. Once past the canyon, go right on past Nellie’s Nipple and follow the arroyo. Once you pass Sniggler’s Gulch, hang a right and another right and we’ll be on the road to Gobbler’s Knob.”
I lowered my polychromic safety squints in place and said: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”.
I dropped the Hummer into low, stomped the gas, and leaped out across the desert; the trailer with nearly a ton of high explosives bouncing jauntily behind us.
Lucas started to protest, thought better of it, got us both a cold drink out of the back seat, just sat, white-knuckled it as he watched the desert fly by.
We made great time as we averaged some 60 miles per hour over the flat, rocky desert.
Well, maybe not average, but we did hit 60 mph until Lucas got too alarmed and worried feverishly over the trailer full of boom that was fast on our tails.
We pulled into the ghost town of the main Gobbler’s Knob camp. It was a large, open area up in the mountains. We got out and began our photoreconnaissance.
There was a lot of antique mining equipment and paraphernalia up here. Looks like we were either too high up in the middle of nowhere or perhaps the locals didn’t care enough to brave the route up to the camp area. It was as close to pristine as one could get in the region. It really looked like with a little spit and polish, one could fire up the mines once again.
The Gobbler’s Knob mining district covers an area of approximately 30 square miles in the Grunion Range in Nevada. Gold was discovered in the Gobbler’s Knob district in 1905, although quartz veins in the vicinity of the ‘Knob’ had been worked as early as 1866. The district immediately became one of the bigger "boom camps" of Nevada. The greatest production was reached in 1931, and since that time mining has declined until it was abandoned in the early 1940s. Placer gold, post-1945, from the deep gravels of the adjacent gulches have added to the total output. Total gold revenues from the area topped $550 million dollars.
The geology is extremely complex. The southern part of the district is underlain by closely folded Paleozoic rocks. These formations have been divided into five units, to four of which local names have been given. The oldest of these units, probably of Cambrian age, consists dominantly of siliceous mica-schist but contains beds and lenses of quartzite and dark sandstone and five beds of crystalline limestone. The total thickness exposed is estimated to be about 5,000 feet. Above this, and provisionally assigned to the Ordovician, is about 800 feet of chloritic schist, altered by thermal metamorphism to a "knotted" schist. This unit, in turn, is followed by 800 feet of gray limestone, partly altered to black jasper, which near the top grades into black slates. The lowest fossiliferous stratum is a thin bed of black slate' containing graptolites, which is separated from the underlying limestone by a thin layer of quartzite. The graptolites are of No-Kill-I (Ordovician) age. Above the graptolite bed is limestone similar in character to that below, followed by a great thickness of chloritic schist, with here and there thin beds of cherty slate and crystalline limestone. The total thickness of this group of beds probably exceeds 4,000 feet in the area mapped.
The Gobbler’s Knob mining district has produced an additional $350 million worth of copper, lead, silver, and rare earth elements. Productive rocks include the Pogostik Group, Euyankinme Quartzite, and Awfully Good Formation of Ordovician age, Lonesome Goose Dolomite of Silurian age, the Nowheyinhell Formation and Devil’s Dingus Limestone of Devonian age, and unnamed clastic units of Mississippian age, notably Bob’s Lime, the Coonskin Quartzite, and the Frammish metaconglomerates.
These rocks were folded into an overturned anticline and then broken by high-angle normal and reverse faults. Paleozoic rocks were intruded by a granitic stock having a rhyolite porphyry core and by rhyolite porphyry dikes. Primary pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, and sphalerite and tetrahedrite in host rocks of marble and diopside and garnet skarn have been altered by weathering to oxide, carbonate, sulfate and silicate minerals. Some mineralized rock contains remarkably high concentrations of rare earth elements and beryllium.
We had carte blanche out here. We were the only bipedal mammals, as far as we could see, for hundreds, if not thousands, of square miles. Lucas tried to raise any local folks on the HF, VHF, ULF, and CB radios. Nothing. We were isolated, but we had our traveling funnel-cake trailers bringing up the rear. It was as nice a field area as one could ask.
Lucas and I scouted the area looking for an area to erect Camp Central. I had almost decided in occupying one of the larger old miner’s shacks. That is until Lucas pointed out the local indigenous population of packrats, coyotes, possums, and probably fleas, ticks, mites, no-see-um’s, and snakes.
“Good idea, Lucas”, I replied after reflection, “Let’s find us a new spot to camp out.”
Dr. D can slaloming into the ‘Knob in a flurry of dust and flying alluvium.
“Sorry I’m late, Guys, “he apologized, “But I found an outcrop of jaspalite out in the desert. I just had to stop and take samples.”
He showed us the jaspalized lahar, or quartzified ancient volcanic mudflow, samples. They were a riot of colors. Blood red jasper, green jadeite, yellow topaz, bluish-quartz knots, and purplish purpurite, a purply-purple mineral species.
It was very purple.
Esme would have loved some samples to play with if all her lapidary equipment wasn’t already in storage.
Dr. D got out the Gobbler’s Knob topographic map and stood on the roof of his rental, another reason rental car companies hate geologists, peering through his binoculars.
Lucas and I were exploring around the old campsite when Dr. D called us over.
A short distance away, there was a prominent wavy outcrop of thickly bedded sandstone. It has some nice re-entrants, like little rocky bays in an ancient geological harbor. This was fairly close to the flat highlands of the main camp but would be a prime dwelling for trailers, with some degree of privacy and the off-site storage of nearly a ton of high explosives.
In front of the outcrop, was a flat, wind-swept sandy blowout area that would be prime for the catering trailers.
If we parked the Porta Johns behind the outcrop, they’d still be close enough to be of facility. But they’d be distant enough that we wouldn’t be gassed in our sleep if the winds shifted during the night.
Plenty of parking off-site a piece once the trailers were set. The general area showed no signs of being anything of a hydrological nature, so it didn’t act as a wadi boundary, nor were we camping in a dry wash. We should be protected from the worst of the winds and rain if the inevitable summer high-desert thunderstorm rolled through.
“Boom!”, I said, “Gentlemen, we have a camp! First come, first served. Let’s go claim our spots.”
We all smiled, piled into our respective vehicles and drove the 350 meters or so over a small rise to our new home for the next week plus.
I found a very secure dead-end slot-canyon for the trailer. I backed it in, disconnected it from the Hummer, and secured it to some rock bolts Lucas and I pounded into the very living rock walls of the canyon.
Lucas and I chose the next re-entrant to the left. It was one of the larger ones, plenty of space to park the Hummer and for Lucas and my tents. Dr. D selected the one immediately to the right of Trailer Canyon. His rental fit in parallel to the rock face, and he pitched his tent between the rock wall and his vehicle. He had a flat area to pitch his tent, drag out his work table, and sling his hammock between the car and the outcrop. He’d be protected from the wind and rain, and any onslaught other than directly vertical.
Clever dude.
He even erected a sun-shade he devised from a thick sheet of tarpaulin and some support pipes he scrounged from the surrounding area. We helped him fabricate this bit of brilliance with guy lines attached to rock bolts we pounded into the outcrop and extra tent pegs anchored deep into the desert floor.
Very clever. He was secure as houses now.
We were set and ready to go. All we needed now was the rest of the retinue to arrive.
Lucas went walkabout once we had dragged out my worktable and one of the coolers I carried. I was working away on my field notebooks when Lucas ran up with a 2x2 foot square sheet of what appeared to be weathered white Masonite.
“What you got there, Luc?”, Dr. D asked.
“There’s tons of this shit lying around”, Lucas explained, “All the same size and thickness. I figure we’re going to be here a while, so we gather some posts, and we have a supply of ready-made signs for the crowd when they arrive.”
So, Lucas, Dr. D and I spend the next couple of hours devising road signs for the new arrivals.
“Slot 1 =>. Slot 2 =>.” And so one for the basic trailer parking/tenting slots.
“Food =>”, which needed to wait until the caterers' arrival.
“Shitters =>”, again, had to wait until the Porta-San farm arrived.
And so on and so forth.
All in bright day-glow orange.
Lucas and I did a rattlesnake sweep through the entire camp area and found not even a shed skin. We did find a slot canyon cut clear through the outcrop that would provide great access to the Porta Johns behind the outcrop. It was like this place was designed for us.
The food trailers and Porta Sans arrived at virtually the same time. We directed each to the area we thought would be best for each. The Porta San driver agreed this was a good place for the loos, especially since they’d be out of the elements and still close enough to be a convenience.
The caterers hemmed and hawed a while, but over a cold beer or two, decided the areas we already designated would prove to be acceptable, with a few minor alterations. A little C-4 remade those minor alterations and relocated some errant boulders. Before you knew it, we were back in business.
We figured the day would be a wash as it would take these hydroheads most of the day to find their shoes, much less a distant campsite. So, Lucas and Dr. D went out in his vehicle and posted sings to help direct these hopeless folks to the campsite.
I stayed back at camp and pored over the maps, literature, and write-ups regarding the area and the mines it contained.
There were literally hundreds of mines out there. Some no more than small prospect drifts that chased a vein of precious metals until it petered out in a few hundred yards. Others were full-fledged scary-ass deep, hard rock mines with vertical transit shafts whose depths were measured in thousands of feet.
I discounted those the Bureau hadn’t vetted as to animal worthiness and those that were deemed animal sanctuaries. A quick count left me with 104 mines to choose from. Some I could close “Old School” with a bundle of dynamite and a quick tug on a set-pull-forget and toss fuse.
Others were so extensive, it would take me and a trained crew at least a week to explore, devise, set, prime, and charge the thing.
OK, I selected 10 easy mines for quick annihilation and set those aside as Class-1, the easiest bundle-of-boom, for later. Sort of a bonus as the project drew to a close.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to go all 1880s and pop the fuse on a bundle of stick dynamite then chuck them down a deep hole?
I know I would.
Then I chose five or six what I considered medium-class, or Class-2, mines. Multi-level, dry, no real obvious nasties like rotten cribbing, loose broke down piles of rock, talc…gad, talc… or noxious gasses. These went into pile number two.
Then I chose two that I considered Class-3 mines. Real bastards. Multi-level, flooded, raises, winzes, stopes, shifts, staves, shafts, tunnels, all sorts of fun shit. I decided that Dr. D, Lucas and I would discuss which of these we’d close. It was a point of vanity, I guess. I needed to nuke just one of these tricky fuckers to show the Bureau what they were going to be missing once I left. As well as prove what I can accomplish out in the field, even saddled with a passel of greenhorns.
With my field notebooks up to date, all my demolition paperwork in order, and piles of mine candidates to choose from, I declared the day a wash and lit the drinking light.
Dr. D looked at our supplies and declared it inadequate. Besides, we didn’t have any Bass Ale, his favorite tipple. He decides that he and Lucas would run into town, only about 75 miles distant, pick up the necessary supplies, and bet me a sawbuck he’d return before the first camper made camp-fall.
“You’re on!”, I said as I handed Lucas the cash for the wager. I also slipped him a few extra bucks if he found any good looking cigars, vodka, bourbon or beer we just couldn’t live without.
The concessions folks got wind of our plans and asked if one of their tribe could accompany Dr. D and Lucas to town with a couple of coolers for ice. They could make ice on-site, but it’d be hours before they had any in abundance. Dr. D had no problem with that as they could bungee the coolers down to the roof rack of the rental.
I asked Dr. D if this extra time to get ice would invalidate our wager.
In a flurry of dust and cigar smoke, he yelled out the window as he, Lucas and the food court guy hauled ass town ward: “No way! I’ll still beat them all back!”
I was essentially alone out in the wilds of Nevada’s high desert. Nothing much to do, I loafed around, wandered over to the boomtown remains and had a look round, and generally just mooched about waiting.
Back at Rock Central, as Dr. D had christened our campsite; as he had created, posted, and signed the signs to prove it, I was called over to one of the cook trailers. They had questions for me.
They wanted to know what the gunfire was all about the other day. They’d heard rumors of everything from armed insurgency to just some late-night target practice.
I regaled them of the story of the ‘Motorcycle Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight’ and they laughed and laughed. They were pleased to know they were well protected out here in the boonies.
After that, with nothing much else to do, I offered them all a beer or whatever else they could find in my depleted larders. They gratefully accepted and we sat around, just shootin’ the shit for a while.
Two or three beers in, one of the head chefs excused himself and returned a bit later with an unlabeled bottle of suspicious-looking clearish fluid.
“We keep some on hand for emergencies”, he told me, “But since they were working for the Bureau and had to conform to their rules, we were asked to run a dry camp.”
“Well,” I said, “As long as it’s kept under control, and as I’m the sole Bureau representative here; I don’t run a dry camp, so if it’s kept low-key, I don’t see a damned thing.”
After the whoops and hollers died down, I was presented an iced glass of very suspicious-looking homemade high-octane hooch. The head chef, who assured me he has CIA credentials, i.e., Culinary Institute of America, and knew how to run a still, promised me I’d find his latest creation most enjoyable. Or unusual, I forget which.
“Slurp!”
Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ on A Soda Cracker! That stuff was smooth.
No, not smooth. What’s the opposite of smooth? Sandpapery? Abrasive? Crenulate? Squamulose? Rock ripping?
He smiled broadly as I choked down that slug. I gasped for breath. My eyes glazed over. My ears were on fire. My teeth vibrated. My nose ran off. My tongue was contemplating filing for divorce.
It was pure loathsomeness. It was fucking horrendous. I hated the fucking stuff.
“Care for another?” he asked.
“Oh yes, please,” I replied.
A while later I heard a car approaching. Given the speed at which it was traveling, I knew without looking who it was.
Yep, five minutes later Dr. D roared into camp, sliding backward to a stop only feet from the lead chow trailer in a cloud of Cretaceous floodplain dust.
“Did I win?” he asked, as he looked the camp over. Lucas and the cook assistant fumbled out of the car as best their rubbery legs would allow.
“Sure as hell.” I replied, “Lucas, please pay the man.”
We helped remove the coolers of the roof of Dr. D’s car. Each was filled with a single crystal-clear block of water ice. Seems this old town still had an ice house and it was simple as squash to take dimensions of the cooler, and chip a chunk of the correct size off the glacier they had in the storerooms. The cook crew were ecstatic.
Dr. D found his Bass Ale and bought the town dry. Lucas had purchased a supply of classic field camp beers: Lucky Lager, Henry Weinhard's, Hamms, Blatz, Falstaff, Walter’s Bock, Grain Belt, and Buckhorn. It was frosty, ice-cold nostalgia.
Plus, Lucas found a bottle of George Dickel, Rebel Yell, and Hoggs Bourbon for me. As well as liters of Monopolowa, Popov, Bowmans’s, Royal Gate, and Ruskaya Vodka. He also admitted to a bottle of Yukon Jack and Captain Morgan for himself since everyone else was getting what they wanted. Plus three cases of really weird flavored Nehi soda. No Bitter Lemon though…he was disconsolate. But still smiling like a loon.
Dr. D had also stopped and filled his trunk with firewood purchased from a farmer on the outskirts of town. We stacked that centrally next to where we’d construct the communal fire pit.
The high desert. Out in the middle of absolute nowhere. Camping. Few creature comforts. A serious geology job laid out in front of us, a couple already behind us. Campfires. Good friends. Good food. Good cigars. Cheap booze.
It really was like coming home again.
Finally, some hours later, just as the sun was getting ready to bounce off the western edge of the desert, the trailers and campers began to arrive. They all caravanned, en masse so they wouldn’t get lost. Their tarmacked travels took them through many tank towns, so they stopped along the way for beer, booze, and other things to make the camp run that much more smoothly.
One after another, the tenters and campers pulled in. Dr. D, Lucas and I decided we had done enough for one day, so we sat at Lucas’ and my campsite, stoked a smallish campfire and decided to sample the wares of Dr. D’s sojourn to the big city.
The trailers all parked, first come, first served. No arguments, no bitching, no sweat. The tenters consolidated the northern end of the camp area, the trailers, the south.
The chow triangle was rung and it was dinner time, all right on schedule.
Deep-fried cod and chips, mushy peas, Toad in the Hole, Yorkshire Pudding, and roast joints of beef rounded out the British-themed meal. There was Spotted Dick, Banoffee pie, and Syllabub for pudding.
You had to eat your meat or you couldn’t have any pudding.
Maybe the chef really was CIA.
After tea, and before the drinking light was lit, I called everyone for a quick meeting to explain what I had intended for the next 10 days. I explained how Class -1, -2, and -3 mines were defined. I noted that we would, at minimum, close at least one of each type in our time remaining. Everyone would be in on Class 1 & 2 mines, but I’d only ask for volunteers for the single Class-3 mine, due to its inherent complexity and danger.
I also noted that since this would be home for the next near score of days, that I have access to VHF, HF, UHF, ELF, SW, and CB radios, with a lash up for telecommunications with the Bureau HF radio, if there was an emergency. I also have a satellite phone if there were any particularly spectacular emergencies. It was available, but not for idle chit chat. Perhaps, later in the week, I noted, I could allow a 10-minute call home for everyone if there was nothing untoward that happened in the interim.
There were general shouts of approval on all points. I asked for questions, and there were none. Either I was that good at covering all the bases of these guys were really thirsty.
“Folks”, I said, “The drinking light is lit. Remember, we muster front and center tomorrow 0630. Please bear that in mind. Naz dirovya!
After a catered breakfast of breakfast pizza, breakfast burritos, and breakfast Egg WacMuffins, I had the whole crowd assembled, most all sipping coffee and a few lamenting some real humdinger headaches.
“OK, gang”, I began, “Class-2 mines today. Class-1 mines are super easy, barely an inconvenience. I’m retaining them as door prizes for the best mine demolishers nearer the end of the week. I won’t say much about these exit prizes, but suffice to say, think 1880s, and bundled sticks of dynamite.”
That got the crowd’s interest.
As usual, I broke the crowd up into groups. Dr. D, being near as up as me on mine construction and dangers, so kindly offered to take one group in the morning so I could handle the second group in the afternoon, or vice versa, just for flavor. After that, we’d compare notes, ask for volunteers, go back in and charge the mines. Then, we’d retire to a safe distance and blow the living shit out of them.
We’d alternate, and when I wasn’t in the mine, he’d radio back what he thought would be appropriate to nuke these mines out of existence. I’d begin work on building the demolition charges. After which, I’d store them, then I’d take a group on a walkthrough. We’d all get together, have a powwow, get people’s impressions and concerns of the mine and formulate a demolition procedure.
That way, in six days we blasted out of existence six Class-2 mines. We were humming along like a well-oiled machine. No bitching, no kvetching, just lots and lots of questions, good food, cheap booze, and cheaper beer with mines closing left and right.
Things were actually humming right along. Until the afternoon of day 8.
Clouds rolled in, covering the skies with their frothy white, billowy cloudiness.
I was looking up to the unfolding aerial montage when Lucas and Dr. D wandered over.
“You saw it as well.”, Dr. D noted., “Best get the word out, it’s going to be a real toad-floater.” He and Lucas were old-time field hands out in the desert. They knew what was coming.
I agreed, this had all the earmarks of a major-league desert thunderstorm. Heavy rain, wicked winds, thundering thunder, dismal darkness, all split by jagged lightning.
I called for an immediate camp meeting.
“Folks,” I said loudly, so the cook crew could hear as well, “Look due up. We’re in for a real humdinger of a summer thunderstorm. As soon as we’re finished here, get back to your camp. Secure everything not nailed down. Check guy ropes and make sure they’re doubled-down. If it’s loose, pack it, or nail it down tight. I don’t know how many of you have experienced Mother Nature at her nastiest out in the field, but make no mistake, she’s got stuff that makes my best explosives look like Tinker Toys. Get sorted and hunker down. There will be wind. There will be rain. There will be wind. They may be hail, so tenters, you might want to call in some favors with the folks who have trailers. Questions?”
There were none, but Dr. D added, “Rock ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie here, gang. It’s got all the earmarks of being a nasty bugger. Prepare to take cover and hunker down solid.”
They saw that when the two most senior field trippers said that this was to be a real event, it’s best to listen and ask questions later.
The camp scattered. Lucas and I flattened our tents, no need getting them ripped to shreds.
I made certain the explosives trailer was nailed down, locked, and well-grounded. What are the odds of a lightning strike? Don’t care. I made double-damn uber-certain.
Dr. D flattened his camp and said he’d ride it out in his rental. I offered him a spot in the Hummer, as it was big enough for us to sack out if the storm lingered.
He declined. He said he’d be fine in his rental.
The cook trailers were stowed and secured, and if the Port-a-San farm took a hit, there wasn’t much now we could do but hope otherwise.
Lucas, Dr. D and I sat out in out camp chairs, with fresh cigars and beers, savoring the ridiculously salubrious pre-storm ozonic fresh air, awaiting the inevitable atmospheric show. The clouds above roiled, rolled, and built to astonishing heights. They grew as dark and foreboding as a volcanic ashfall. Over more beer and cigars, and maybe a tot of bourbon, we watched and waited.
And waited.
“Was this going to be a false alarm?” I wondered.
KA-HOLY SHIT-BOOM! The thunder roared.
Nope. Not this time.
We all sat outside admiring the coming show. It was going to be fun, lots of lightning and peals of thunder. Torrential rains, for certain, with that exciting hint of hail that might come for a visit.
Over beers, we sat, watched, and pointed out some of the amazing structures in a building series of cranky cumulonimbus clouds.
“PLOP!” the first drops of rain appeared. The camp chairs went into the back of the Hummer. Dr. D departed to his sanctuary and Lucas and I sat in the truck, fiddling with the radios to see if we could get any info on the storm.
KRRAACK! Lightning buzzed with a vengeance.
We’re in the high desert out here. Some 9,000’ plus above sea level. Puts us that much closer to the storm.
KABOOM! Thunder rumbled.
“Odd”, I thought, “Not much rain or wind…”
The Hummer rocked like it took a hit from an RPG. The rain and wind I wondered about had arrived.
If you had anything not locked down outside, it was well on its way to California by now.
Rain pummeled. Winds howled. Lightning cracked. Thunder rumbled.
And it got very, very dark.
Dr. D did a great job of picking out our camp location. The rain puddled, ponded, then ran off to the west. The winds, for at least a small part, were funneled around the campsite rather than lay waste to it.
But that’s where all the good things ended.
The hail began. Pea-sized first. Then marble-sized. Then organic, free-range, farm-fresh, egg-sized. Finally, high-velocity ice golf balls. It made a hell of a racket on the reinforced roof of the Hummer. I didn’t even want to think what it was doing to thin-sheet aluminum topped trailers.
It grew in intensity. Winds whipped even stronger. Hail bounced merrily of the outcrops, cook trailer’s roofs and the very ground. In short order, it looked as if it had snowed. The entire campsite’s grounds were covered with whole inches of accumulation of hailstones.
Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was over. The sun cautiously peeked through the waning clouds and lit the devastated tableaux for all to see.
Lucas, Dr. D and I got out of our vehicles to survey the circumstances. We brushed the icy accumulations off our tents and raised them so they’d begin drying. There would have been nothing left if we hadn’t collapsed them first.
Slowly, the rest of the campers showed up. They milled around the snow-like accumulation and just goggled. Many had never seen, much less experienced, such climatic fury firsthand.
Of course, everyone had to pick up and examine the hailstones. Then it happened, one northern wag decided that since it looked like snow, it must act like snow. One West Coaster was the first casualty. He took a hailstone snowball to the back.
That’s all it took, a snowball fight broke out. It was hilarious, even though I was less than amused when I played innocent bystander and took a snowball hit directly to the cocktail in my hand, spilling my drink.
“Of course you realize.”, I mused, “This means war.”
Many campers learned that day, through hard experience, you never start a snowball fight with Baja Canada and Real Canada residents. The carnage was spectacular.
It was a late night before anyone hit the sack. They were having too much fun.
I finally picked the last mine of the tour, the Gobbler’s Knob #33 shaft.
I gave it several days because it was a motherfucker.
Fully 7 levels deep. A central shaft that was 33’ across the diagonal, hence the mine’s name.
The deepest record we had for the mine was the last work face in level 7 was at 2,729 feet below surface level, more than a half a mile in depth.
The last reports were that level 7 might have flooded. Looks like I’m going to need some severely hardy folks to accompany me on this initial trek.
After dinner that night, I called a camp meeting. I explained the need for the initial reconnaissance of this mine, and I was looking for volunteers. This was an entirely optional mine, although I’d like input at the nightly meetings. You don’t have to go, but it’d probably look real good on those final reports I have to write up for everyone.
Yeah, no pressure. No pressure at all.
Of course, Dr. D and Lucas volunteered immediately. Truth be told, if that’s all that wanted to go, it would have been fine with me.
However, Dr. I, the Ms. maniac torpedo detonator from earlier, Dr. F, and Dr. H and his associate made the move forward.
“OK,” I declared, “That’s seven. Just in case, do any of you have technical rope-climbing skills? That might come in handy on this recon trip.”
Dr. H decided that it might be a bit too strenuous for him, but asked if his associate, Gary the Grad Student could accompany us. This guy was supposedly half-gibbon, he was that good of a technical climber. I almost told him to get bent as I didn’t need anyone showing me up.
Of course, I relented. I noted that we’d all meet here, tomorrow, fully kitted out with all our gear, at 0600 for the initial assault. We’d take the Hummer as it had plenty of room. The mine adit itself was less than a mile distant, but we’d get so knackered walking that distance even in the early morning desert heat, that I insisted we drive, even if it took a couple of trips.
There was a pretty good Happy Hour that night, but not for six of the more intrepid adventurers. We held off until after our explorations were complete.
I had copies of the latest mine schematics and handed one out to everyone.
“Carry this with you and mark it as you go”, I said, “Find something not on the map, like an ore chute, drift, stope, raise, or winze, make a note. Also, keep tabs on where you are at all times.”
All agreed as this was serious nut cuttin’ time. This mine could be a real killer. I doubt it’s going to cut any of us any slack.
After checking and re-checking our gear, at the mine adit, we synchronized our watches and rechecked our coordinates. Our ELF radios would work underground as would the mine GPS we had along.
To be continued.
submitted by Rocknocker to Rocknocker [link] [comments]

Student Loan Default: The Guide (reuploaded)

The original guide that was recently deleted here: https://www.reddit.com/studentloandefaulters/comments/cg1fd7/student_loan_default_a_guide/
I take no credit for this post, just happened to have it saved in a document and thought I'd be doing an injustice by not sharing this information once I saw the original post was missing! All credit goes to the original author, and without further ado...

Student Loan Default: A Guide
I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time, and seeing that person be in $500,000 of debt and no one really helping him on studentloans, I felt it was time to summarize everything I’ve learned. While there is great information on this sub, it is not centralized. It requires some digging. I hope now to bring all of it to the surface.

Definitions:

Strategic Default: When a borrower realizes that he or she can spend less money by not paying a loan. The borrower waits out the statute of limitations and then either settles or waits the debt out.

Shills: People who are paid to prevent the spread of student loan default information

Statute of Limitations: The number of years your state requires before a debt can no longer be collected.

Cosigner: The poor person who is just as legally required to pay your loans as you are

Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion: A tax rule that states any US citizen can earn up to about $100,000 a year in another country and report their US taxes as 0.

Fraudulent Transfer: When a party tries to move assets to someone else in order to avoid a lien on their property.

Lien: Essentially when the government slaps a bill onto your property forcing you to pay off a debt before you can sell the property.

Income Based Repayment (IBR): Federal loans can be paid with 15% of your discretionary income (money earned after taxes) instead of a higher, unpayable amount

Aggregate Student Loan Limit: The total amount a student can take out before the federal government or a private lender stops authorizing new loans

Wage Garnishment: When a court forces your employer to take out a certain percentage of your paycheck to pay back a debt

Bank Levy: When the government or a court takes all of the money directly out of your bank account to pay a debt

Private Loans: Loans that originate from anyone but the federal government. These loans have a statute of limitations and less power but higher interest rates.

Federal Loans: These loans have no statute of limitations, the government can collect anything you earn to get these back, and they come with IBR which is manageable

Sallie Mae: The worst private lender on the market. They only offer deferment for four short years.

Forbearance: A period where you do not have to pay your student loans, but interest accrues.

Deferment: A period where you do not have to pay your student loans, but interest does not accrue.

Credit Score: A number that tells people how responsible of a borrower you are.

Student Loan Tax Bomb: After you have paid for 10 - 25 years on your federal loans, you are forgiven the rest. That is considered income by the IRS. You then add this “income” to your regular income for the year and pay the tax. It can be over $10,000.

Insolvency: When you are unable to pay your debts. This works well for defusing the student loan tax bomb.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you work for 10 years at a government job, you can get your entire federal student loan balance forgiven. In 2019, the feds are making it near impossible to collect. This could change.

A note on cosigners before we begin: Look, your cosigner is probably going to be very mad at you. Prepare for your relationship to be strained. You need to try and get them on the same page as you, and I do offer a tactic here to at least shift all of the financial burden off of your cosigner below. If you decide to do any of these tactics without getting your cosigner off the hook, there could be more risk involved if you or your cosigners have a lot of assets.

Strategy

Student loan default is a strategy. And to have a good strategy, one must plan as much as possible. You have to know all of your options. While strategy is your overall game plan, tactics are the individual options you have to get your strategy accomplished. Below are the tactics that you can employ to beat the student loan companies.

Tactics

Paying Your Loans: [low risk] In the rare chance you have anywhere between $1,000 to $20,000 in federal student loans and you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you should probably just pay the damn loans. All you have to do is set up an auto debit and forget about it. It will be about 15% of your income. You really want to try and avoid consolidating if you can, because it will count against some of your IBR payments. You would also lose your grace period if you did this. At the end of 10 to 25 years, you will be forgiven all of the loan amount you did not pay. That forgiven amount is considered income by the IRS, so you will be put into a higher tax bracket. I would get an accountant when this comes. In your case, your tax bomb will be low enough where you could probably just pay it. If you want to really shake things up though, you are welcome to try either the Asset Creation Tactic or the Madlad Method below. Here is more information on Income Based Repayment: https://www.studentdebtrelief.us/repayment-plans/income-based-repayment-plan/

Default Private IBR Federal (Staying Put): [low risk] The standard strategy here on studentloandefaulters. As mentioned above, for the federal loans, it’s best to just IBR and automatically debit your bank account each month and forget about it. For the private loans, this is where the game begins. Your overall plan here is to default, wait out the statute of limitations in your home state, and either settle the debt for less than 30% or just hope they leave you alone and you don’t pay at all. From this moment on, whatever you would have paid for your private monthly bill, sock that money away. Once you go past 120 days of no payments, you are in default. This is where the phone calls come in. They will start to harass you. They will call your work, your cell phone, your cosigner, etc relentlessly. Most likely, they’ll start doing this before you get to default. As they call you, you can either just give them the cold shoulder or start immediately acting like you do not own the debt. Never admit that you own the debt. Tell them you think they are crazy and have the wrong person. Inform your cosigner to do the same. Once your loans are sold to a collection agency, wait until they call you and ask for verification of the debt. If they do not provide it, you won. Chances are, they will be able to verify it, so just make sure you never admit to the debt on the phone or make a payment. If you make a payment, you’ll reset the statute of limitations. Do not give them five dollars, two dollars, a penny. If they do sue you, show up for court. Get a lawyer if you can afford it. You have to show up to court, or they win automatically. Even if you don’t have a lawyer in court, you need to make them verify the debt. You could still lose here. If you do lose in court, go to my tactic of “The Cat and Mouse Game.” They are playing a numbers game, and if you are harder to sue than John Smith down the street, they may prey on him or her instead of you. Now, there are four states in the United States that do not have wage garnishment: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. You could move there, and if you have barely any assets, you are considered judgement proof. This means you’re not worth the time to be sued, because you have nothing to take and cannot be garnished. Moving is hard, though, so that’s a personal decision. Also, from what I understand, if you do move to these states, you can switch your statute of limitations over to their states which may be less time until you cannot be sued anymore. If you do lose and just want to stop here, you could get your bank levied and you could be slapped with up to a 25% wage garnishment until paid in full Clarification: a lot of people do not ever get garnished, and bank levies are rare (they are non-existent on federal loans). Do not let this freak you out!. I repeat this is super rare and not likely to happen. Anyways, you have options at this point. If it does happen, try another tactic like leave the country or cat and mouse below.

Default Private Default Federal: [medium risk] Some of the wilder people have attempted to default on both federal and private loans in order to do a cash settlement. The same strategy above in Default Private IBR Federal applies, but realize that the US government could just step in and do an administrative garnish on you eventually. If you were living some sort of cash existence, you could potentially avoid them and then write them a money order and settle for 30% or something. This way, you avoid the tax bomb and would probably pay a lot less interest overall. If you do this and it works, I would love to hear about it.

Cat and Mouse: [medium risk] So, you want to avoid getting sued or you lost a judgement? You don’t have to sit back and take it. u/nowaysalliemae has successfully avoided being sued by essentially going on the run. You see, to be sued successfully, they need to know where you work. If you get sued, move to another state, and switch jobs, they have to do the entire process over again! This means find you, verify the debt, sue you, etc. You can essentially do this until your statute of limitations runs out. And then, you dispute the debt on your credit score. They take it off at that point, and you just saved a lot of money. I decided to put this as medium risk, because moving around a lot would require some luck. Especially since you would need to work wherever you go, there are a lot of moving parts here. I think it is totally doable, and if you are an adventurous personality type, it could be a lot of fun. This only works for the private student loan side, because the US government has a lot more power. You would still IBR your federal loans on this tactic. For more information, go through nowaysalliemae's post history.

Leave the Country: [medium risk] What if you want to avoid all of this altogether? Do you want a reset button on your life? You can just leave the country and start over. Seriously. Your credit score does not follow you across countries. The federal government cannot garnish your paycheck if you work internationally. You are not a criminal doing this. Furthermore, there is something called the Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion. Since you will still IBR your federal loans on this plan, as long as you make less than $100,000 in another country, your US income is zero. This means you just got a free education while you make money in another country. Once you pay zero for 25 years, you will have to defuse your student tax bomb. Tactic Below. Private companies do not stand a chance here. There are countries in the commonwealth such as Australia and Canada that are more willing to take you in if you meet certain requirements. You could teach English at a bunch of places. You could apply for residency at these places or be a perpetual tourist. A perpetual tourist is someone who essentially moves to a new country, goes to a neighboring country for a weekend, and then goes back to that new country they are trying to start a new life in*. This in no means you have to go back to the U.S. Ever. For example, you want to live in Panama forever, every 90 days, you take a weekend trip to Nicaragua. You come back to Panama after the weekend is over and get another 90 day pass. Rinse and repeat. This gives you another 90 days in your country of choice. If you make money on the internet, this strategy would work pretty well. You can just be a perpetual tourist or marry someone in another country and start a new life. This will not be a good fit for everyone, but there’s something exciting about this. If you are young, single, and restless, this could be the adventure of a lifetime. Here's more info on being a perpetual traveler and the FEIE: https://www.escapeartist.com/blog/perpetual-traveler-us-tax-code/

Suspend Payment Without More Debt: [low risk] So recently, it has been brought to my attention that there is a community college, Luna Community College (in Las Vegas, NM), that has tuition so low you could go half time all year for about 684 dollars. They have a small amount of associate's degrees. If you just want to stop paying without taking any more loans, this would be the way to do it. You could do this for many years. Luna Community College's tuition matrix: https://luna.edu/tuition_matrix

Convert Private Loans to Federal: [low risk] From this point on, these are my special tactics I’ve been thinking about. They might work really well for some people. So, you have a bunch of federal loans and a good amount of private loans. You don’t want to fight debt collectors or move around. Try this. This plan only works if you have a bachelor’s degree though. Anyways, there is a special loan offered by the US Federal Government called the Graduate Plus Loan. This loan is incredible, because there is no aggregate student loan limit. In other words, you can borrow as much money as you want here. Even a million dollars no questions asked. All you need is no delinquency or default on your credit report. If you do have these things, you can get a cosigner in on the plan. They won’t ever be responsible anyways because you will defuse the tax bomb at the end. This works to your advantage, because you could go back to school at the graduate level, get a diploma mill master’s degree online, use your room and board payment to start paying off your private loans ASAP. Just make sure you are doing whatever your school considers half time enrollment in order to avoid student loan payments while doing this. Once you’ve gone to school long enough and converted all of your private loans to grad plus loans, you could just go on an IBR plan. This will at least make your life manageable. You would have to defuse your student tax bomb once this is over. Tactic below.

Convert Federal Loans to Private: [medium risk] So, what if you wanted to go the opposite way? Maybe you want to convert all of your federal loans to private ones, default, and then leave the country? Hey, maybe there are reasons you want to hurry up the settlement process. You could essentially do the same strategy as above, but instead just borrow from Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, etc until all of your federal loans are paid off. Then, either cat and mouse or leave the country. I don’t think a lot of people would find a use for this, but hey who knows?

Asset Creation Method: [high risk] What if you wanted to not just pay off your loans but get ahead in life? Maybe you feel like using your student loan debt to your advantage. Thanks to the work done by u/BinaryAlgorithm, you could really come out on top here. Remember those Grad Plus loans we were talking about? Well, there’s nothing stopping you from continually borrowing all year on these loans, investing the room and board, and acting as if you do not have the debt in the first place. While I had originally said that rental property does not count as income, I cannot find any documentation proving this. You can still invest this money however you want, and you just defuse the tax bomb at the end (if anyone can find that documentation, please let me know). I did find that rental properties offer a lot of ways to reduce your adjusted gross income (management fees, advertising, etc), and these could reduce your income closer to zero. We’re not done here. Moreover, you could get a job that qualifies for Public Student Loan Forgiveness, enjoy your investments, and then pay for the 10 years. Be sure to convert all loans to federal before starting this tactic. I only put this as high risk, because the whole plan falls apart if Grad Plus loans get capped. Will they? Probably not, because those are the loans doctors and lawyers take out to go to their professional schools. It would take an act of congress to change the way the law stands now, but still, you should know that. This plan spans decades, so a lot can change. Also, having this many installment loans may lower your credit score over a multitude of years, but based on what everyone has found out here, it's not by much. For more information, go to this subreddit's search bar and type in "aggregate" and go look at BinaryAlgorithm's two posts on the subject.

Defusing the Student Tax Bomb: [low risk] So lucky for you, I talked to an actual lawyer and an actual IRS agent about this. This is completely legal and doable. Okay, so you were a good person and paid your IBR for 25-30 years. What now? Well, you’re about to be hit hard with a tax bomb. All of that money that is now forgiven counts as income on your taxes. This could mean a bill in the tens of thousands if you combined this with any of the other methods here—or just borrowed a lot to begin with. Luckily for us, there is something called insolvency. This means you are unable to pay your debts, and there is a really simple formula for whether or not you are insolvent. As long as you have more liabilities than assets at the time of student loan forgiveness, you are considered insolvent. In other words, right before you are about to be forgiven, like year 24 out of 25, you would take out a loan on something. All you would need to do is buy a house, buy a car, or buy something with a huge price tag. As long as your liabilities are way higher than your assets (like aim for 100K or something more), you are considered insolvent and you don’t have to pay any of the tax bomb. Boom. The IRS agent said this is fine. The lawyer said this is fine. I cannot believe this is fine. Where could you get the money to borrow for a house? Check Asset Creation method above. You could always sell the asset after the tax bomb is dealt with. For more information on defusing the student loan tax bomb: https://lawyerist.com/defusing-student-loan-interest-tax-bomb/

Getting Your Cosigner Off the Hook: So 90% of us have cosigners based on some statistic I read. These people are going to pissed at you, because they get harassed. If you have a lot of time to plan your strategy out, you can simply convert all of your private loans to federal ones. They are no longer responsible. The plan is above. Check out “Convert Private Loans to Federal.” Furthermore, if you are attempting to go the default route with private loans, you could potentially get your cosigner off the hook by refinancing your student loans without the cosigner. After you refinance, you could just default then. You would need good credit and meet certain requirements for this. Also, if you plan on defaulting, you might want to get your cosigner to transfer their assets to their spouse or someone trustworthy. Even though liens are rare, this could give you some peace of mind. As long as about 3-5 years go by, this is no longer considered a fraudulent transfer. Your state will have certain rules about this. If you are from Florida, apparently houses are untouchable there. You will need a lawyer to plan the asset transfer. At the same time, you may not be able to get your cosigner off the hook. Make peace with that. Student loans are brutal, so all you can really do is educate yourself and your cosigner and hope you come out on top.

Madlad Method: [high risk] Now, here comes my personal plan. This is what I’m doing, because I want to live a life on my terms and not really work for anyone my entire life. I’m also not a normal person, so this will probably appear crazy to some or most of you. So at this point, if you understand all of the methods before you, you are a powerful player in the student loan circus. You can do anything from fight the man to maliciously comply and bankrupt the system while becoming upper-middle class. I don’t really care for any of that. I want to go to a tropical paradise and make music for 20 years, so here is my interpretation of everything. I have some federal loans and private loans. I net about 25K a year through the Grad Plus loans, and I work about 4 hours a week in the online classroom. I take that federal loan money, and I sock away a few hundred every month to save up for my private loan settlement in about five years. Since I save 300 every month, I’ll have about 18K in 5 years when I go into default. I will settle ASAP. At the same time, I will continue to go to diploma mill universities, get master's degree after master’s degree, and move to a Latin American country where the cost of living is even lower. This way, my 25K a year puts me in the upper class of that country. I can live where I want and really do whatever I damn well please for as long as the Grad Plus loans are around. As an added bonus, I will already be starting a new life in another country where I can make connections and maybe even get married. I studied linguistics, so I know how to teach English. I can do that if I want a source of income anywhere. So there is my plan, and honestly, one day we might get someone in office who just wipes out all of this debt anyways. If that’s the case, I can just play the waiting game until all of this is over. Here are the rules on adverse credit history and Grad Plus loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/plus-adverse-credit.pdf

Final Thoughts: Defaulting on student loans is not immoral or a sin. It is a business decision. Everyone else gets bailouts, why should student borrowers be any different? You’re going to have to ignore the people who tell you why they think you should be a good little slave and pay your loans. Those people are not your friends. Those people are not on your side. Some of the best advice I ever received in life was you have to do what’s best for you. Also, if you have anything you would like to add to this or would like to challenge, please let me know. I want this to be as accurate as possible. I will be looking at this perpetually to make sure there are no errors. Take care. Good luck. You can do this.
submitted by PlsvoteforBernie to studentloandefaulters [link] [comments]

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