My Interests

Star Trek Memories

Posted in Star Trek, Star Trek Online by ERJHolton on June 4, 2016

The Star Trek Online team recently started a lovely new blog series called “Star Trek Memories”, where various team members write a paragraph or two on what made them fans. (Part 1 here; part 2 here). It’s great for a couple of reasons–first, the individual tributes are touching to read; and secondly, it’s an excellent reminder that the people who create the game are fans as well. It’s a good exercise for this anniversary year, so I thought I’d share mine.

Probably my first memory is watching The Motion Picture at the cinema, at the age of 8. I remember being enthralled at the space scenes, and I’m sure I fell in love with the Enterprise during the ship’s lengthy introduction. I don’t think I got much else from it, being a bit young to really understand what was going on, but hey, spaceships!

Star Trek wasn’t on TV that much in the UK during that time. It would be on BBC 2 during the Summer months every couple of years, so most of my Trek fix during the ’80s came from books. James Blish’s adaptations of the original series, Alan Dean Foster’s adaptations of the cartoons, dozens of original novels. Through them I started to understand the messages and philosophy at the heart of the show, starting with IDIC–Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations; as Mark Lenard (speaking as Sarek) said on the “Inside Star Trek” record: “It has given us quite a lovely universe”. Other messages, of equality, exploration, cooperation, and tenacity, also resonated with me. Together they said “The future will be a better place if we come together, celebrate our differences, and work for it”.

That message, combined with the characters who embodied it, are to me the essence of Star Trek, and what made it the enduring cultural phenomena it is. May it live long and prosper.

Tagged with: , ,

Comments Off on Star Trek Memories

Star Trek Online: Tour The Universe

Posted in MMO, Star Trek Online by ERJHolton on March 3, 2015

While this will quickly become obsolete, I wanted to share the strategy and route I’m using to fully complete the Federation version of the Tour the Galaxy daily mission.

What is Tour the Galaxy?

Tour the Galaxy is a daily mission where you are challenged to visit all sectors of all sector blocks, except for Omega Leonis and the Delta Quadrant, within a time limit of 15 minutes.


Comments Off on Star Trek Online: Tour The Universe


Posted in Fiction, MMO by ERJHolton on November 25, 2013

“In almost all known cultures, there are songs and tales that celebrate the vessel as much as the voyage or the crew.”

“A starship is more than a collection of alloys and ceramic and circuits. Invested into each one is the hope of its designers, the pride of its builders, and the love of its crew.”

“As commander of this vessel, I promise you all—we shall bring hope and comfort to our allies; fear and defeat to our enemies.”

— Vice Admiral Elaron, excerpts from his speech at the commissioning ceremony of the USS Sky Road.

Comments Off on Fiction

The Evolution of a Character

Posted in Characters, D&D 4E, MMO by ERJHolton on November 29, 2010

The other day I was browsing through some of my older RPG files, with character sheets dating back to the mid ’80s, and I found an old friend.  Tibis Alhet, created 12th of October 1986.

Those who know me well, at least in MMO terms, will recognise the name Tibis—it is the name of my universal rogue, and my how he has changed in 24 years.

The original Tibis was an AD&D High-Elf Fighter / Magic-User / Thief.  I don’t remember too many details of his personality, although he must have had a habit of sticking his hands in harm’s way, as there’s a note in the spell book supplement that his right hand had “wonky fingers”.

The next time the name appeared in my consciousness was in 1999, when I was staring at the character creation screen for EverQuest, with a new Barbarian rogue, and it came to me as a character  name I’d used before with roguish connections.  It was here that the first inkling of my modern take on Tibis started to take form, as I put him down as being a follower of Bristlebane, the god of rogues, and a trickster figure.  Over the following five years in-game and in short stories, he moved between a boisterous professional, to a figure tormented by dark visions, to being a cynical opportunist, and finally as a retired semi-hermit continuously bothered by local thieves with something to prove.

About this time I was hoping to take him back to the tabletop, as I had bought quite heavily into Swords and Sorcery’s OGL EverQuest line.  Alas, though, none of my gaming circle was keen on the idea of playing a tabletop game based on a MMO, so this incarnation never got past the writing up of a converted character sheet for him.

In 2004 I moved from EverQuest to the sequel, EverQuest II.  Of course, I had to have a Barbarian rogue called Tibis.  Here I gave him some backstory that he believed that he was related to the original EverQuest Tibis, but he couldn’t be sure of the exact connection as he suffered from considerable amnesia, with a subtext that he was the original, flung through time and reduced in power and stature.  Given his adventures in the Plane of Time, I felt that this was reasonably plausible.

His character in EverQuest II was greatly influenced by the name of the rogue class that was open to him—Swashbuckler.  He returned to the boisterous, cheerful and slightly overbearing archetype that the class name implies and stayed quite firmly there, being reinforced substantially when Bristlebane was reintroduced to Norrath.

Since then, I’ve had a Tibis in both World of Warcraft and D&D Online, but neither game has the kind of background hooks that gave me the ideas for additional personality development that I had in other MMOs.  Warcraft almost had it with the Ravenholdt location and quest lines, but they were never expanded and since rendered strictly optional.

Finally, after Players Handbook 2 was released, I’ve found a new interest in bringing him back to the tabletop with the release of the Goliath race.  They share traits of being large, boisterous, strong and athletic with the Barbarians of EverQuest, and their take on life being a competition would be an interesting extension of Tibis’ trickster tendencies.  Alas, the most suitable deity—Olidammara—had been written out of fourth edition, but Avandra makes a decent substitute.  The only thing I’m hoping for is that Goliaths get an Essentials-style option for an attribute bonus.  Goliath fluff strongly indicates that dexterity would be in keeping for a secondary option, and regardless of whether strength or constitution becomes the fixed bonus I’d be happy.

It’s been a long journey for Tibis, from the tabletop to the MMO and (almost) back to the tabletop again, but he’s evolved considerably over the years and I fully expect him to continue to change as I bring him to other games.

Comments Off on The Evolution of a Character