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Kim Zolciak — Gambling addiction
It’s a Saturday night in lockdown London and I have nothing better to do other than research some tea on our Bravo housewives and rewatch classic reruns of the Real Housewives of Atlanta (season 3 is HISTORY). Kim Zolciak became the subject of my research (well, more like digging) and I noticed she was consistently linked to rumours of having a gambling addiction. Unfortunately, the Daily Mail seemed to be the only other source which obtained a detailed amount of information, primarily from Don’t Be Tardy S08E03 ‘Nirvana, Nevada’ (I can’t believe this show has 8 seasons?). I was curious, so I streamed the episode. When the Biermann family first arrived on an RV road trip to Las Vegas, their suite was luxurious and spacious. Kim quickly went on to mention she’d barely be in the room because she knew she wouldn’t sleep and instead, spend all night long in the casino. Well, she was right. Long story short, Kim shows all signs of having a severe gambling addiction. She sacrificed 11 hours of sleep (and it didn’t seem like a sufficient amount of time for her) choosing to stay up all night (from an RV road trip with her family to Las Vegas) switching from the gaming machines, poker, cards — anything that was gambling. Brielle didn’t get any sleep either and kept Kim company all night. In the show, Kim was seen throwing $100 in the machines repeatedly. Kroy had a strict curfew of their RV to departure LV at 08:00 to visit the Grand Canyon. It was 07:58 and Kim’s eyes were hypnotised by the slot machines and she was snappy to anyone (Kroy) that reminded her that they’d have to leave soon. Understandably, he was getting frustrated. She referred to gambling as her ‘therapy’ and a ‘slice of heaven’. Kroy said he doesn’t know any therapist that would recommend 11 hours spent on an activity. Sources are saying she has spent about $250,000 on gambling and is therefore likely to be crippling in debt. Kim reportedly then went onto purchase thousand dollar scratch cards. The producers asked Kim’s younger children (sorry, I don’t know their names but they seemed maybe age 5 and 8?) if they knew what Kim was doing. Her child responded ‘yes, it’s where she goes to get money.’ At the end of the episode, the producers also asked if Kim managed to win big — or leave empty handed. She hesitated and then said neither, she’s more or less the same in terms of her financial status. Kroy snorted and then Kim looked away from the camera and drank from a red cup. Side note: Brielle questioned if a rock formation within the canyon was a volcano, to which her mother responded, “Just be pretty, honey.” TL:DR: Kim a history of a gambling addiction and this is evident on S08E03 Don’t Be Tardy. I watched, so you don’t have to. She’s fixated on gambling and spent 11 hours with Brielle doing it, it’s her main focus of the trip to Las Vegas. Her husband is finding difficulty controlling her habits and she cannot balance her family time and her gambling time. It seems as if she lost more than she won and reportedly has a debt of $250,000. EDIT: thank you so much for the award! 🤗❤️
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
Chae’Sol stood at the centre of a large command deck, meticulously peeling the protective film from his new captain’s chair. The sensation of the slow but steady yielding of the film, the sweeping line following the contours of the seat in flowing curves; it was incredibly satisfying. Finally, with one last gentle pull, the last of his chair was uncovered and he stood back to admire his throne. Aside from the freshness of the seating itself, there were shiny new holo displays, touch sensors, and comms relays that were within easy reach of his seated fingertips. This ship would be the jewel in any fleet, a prototype Dreadnought made by the infamous Bardul of Shi’an. The Gowe Military faction had run into financial problems, and it had been left unpaid and unclaimed. What sorcery Kadir had used to find it, and purchase it, he did not know. His comms unit beeped and Danyd’s voice came through. “Chae’S-” -He grumbled incoherently- “Captain, we’re ready to get underway.” The Niham turned and sat back on his pristine chair, swinging his long legs over the armrest. “That was quick, Chief Engineer Ef’Yto” Danyd grunted at the use of his title. “Aye, these Awakened are efficient bastards.” The Satryn looked around at the enormous engineering bay. The entirety of the Porkchop Express could comfortably sit inside, and two of them could likely squeeze in. “Plus, this thing has never been used; feels weird not having anything to work on. It’s state of the art, and I’m having to read the manuals on half the new systems.” Chae’Sol laughed, looking around at the Awakened as they were preparing their workstations. “Yeah, this command deck is a little intimidating. Even the Niham Armada didn’t have ships like this. There are fifteen weapons stations here, what in Tulseria’s name were the Gowe planning to do with this thing?” “No idea.” The chief engineer walked to the large seat in front of his new work terminal, and hopped up onto it. The protective covering squeaked. “This thing has more firepower than half their fleet, it must have been something big. We’re lucky Kadir found out about the graveyard of unclaimed ships from one of his contacts.” The newly-minted captain swung his legs down and sat up, straightening his black uniform and white collar. “That’s another thing: how does he have so many contacts? I was in the Tulseria-damned military, and I had no idea they would sell us fighters and weapons.” “I know the feeling.” Danyd watched a junior engineer – Lily, an Awakened who wore a headband in her silver hair that sported long Kittran ears on it – begin running diagnostics on the Hoban Field Generator. “I'm aware he got the automated weapons for the system port from my people, somehow. As for how he accomplishes all he does, I think his time working with that fancy Anatidae councillor opened more than a couple of doors for him.” Chae’Sol stood, running his fingers through his perfect hair. “Doors, windows, rear entrances and damned secret portals, all leading to a dark realm of shady deals and supplies. We have an Imperium Capital Ship for Tulseria’s sake! Nobody knows where he got it, or where he’s now hidden it.” He looked at his holo display, noting the specks springing blinking into existence as the other ships of Federation origin came to life. “Let’s just be glad he’s on our side.” The chief engineer tugged at the green collar to his uniform. “Our side used to be a damn sight smaller.” Lily had finished her diagnostic tests and sent the results to his console. Her report included an adjustment that would create a potential three percent increase in crystal efficiency, and a small drawing of a smiling leokit with a crim-bar. He groaned, then reported back with, “We’re ready to go when you are.” The Niham strode confidently across the command deck, stopping to stand in front of the huge vid screen at the front of the room. All around him were his crew, made up mostly from the Ashi, Awakened, and Kasurians. “Let’s get this show started.”
Jaym sat with a bowl of Tony the leokas cereal in front of her. It wasn't just a catchy advertising slogan - it really was great. She and Elizabeth had worked together so much in the engineering section of the Porkchop Express that they had become close, often spending their free time together. Indeed, Elizabeth currently sat opposite her, carefully rebuilding a power coupling and occasionally tapping at her datapad. Shortly after the results of her most recent tap played out, Elizabeth paused her work on the power coupling. Without speaking, she held up her datapad so that Jaym could see. On the screen was Tony and his mate Jolie, and Skeena’s voice could be heard excitedly talking about collecting urine samples from the female. Jaym screwed up her face at first until Skeena announced the pregnancy test was positive. Tony was going to be a father! She couldn't contain her joy and screamed loudly, grabbing the screen and running all the way to the bridge to show the others. Ranjaz was stretched out across the captain’s chair as Jaym burst in, and didn’t open his eyes until she began shaking his leg. Even then he didn’t pay much attention. “I told you not to let Elizabeth play with any more systems till after the mission.” She blushed slightly, as their last improvement had inverted their water treatment system and blown six power couplings. "It's not that!" she said, holding up the datapad and starting the video. "Look!" At the first syllable of Skeena's voice, Ranjaz sat bolt upright. The video held his full attention, and when Tony's impending fatherhood was announced the Kittran's whoops of delight could be heard all through the Porkchop Express. He reached underneath his seat and retrieved a small, fluffy bed, then picked up Aiov. Ranjaz led his unusual dance partner in a quick spin of joy before replaying the GalacTube video for her. “You’re going to be an Aunty!” Eruwenn leaned back in the large seat that had once been Embar’s. “I didn’t think they were related?” The Kittran nodded. “Aiov is Tony’s sister. Aaron adopted them both, and that’s how human families work. They just keep adding members, like a Dular adding shells to its burrow. Family is family.” Cygna pressed a few buttons on her Navigator terminal, moving the video to the main screen as well as starting it over. “I still can’t believe you keep one of these under your seat. I mean, it’s a leokas!” Ranjaz held Aiov up and they briefly rubbed noses. “Just a little one!” The Anatidae laughed. “I can see living with the human has had quite a profound effect on you.” With one of his trademark grins he held Aiov out towards Eruwenn. “Wanna nose rub?” "Ah," the councillor said, shrinking back from the offer, "despite her size she is still a predator, and I am not quite ready for such a close encounter.” From the pilot seat Ripley stood, taking Aiov from Ranjaz. “She is not a toy.” She briefly snuggled the tiny leokit to her chest, then passed her to Jaym. “Take her for food and exercise; she must grow up strong.” Jaym also cuddled the wriggling Aiov close, and not just because the little leokit was adorable. Aiov had tripled in size, and was becoming a bit of a handful. “Thor was preparing her food; I’ll take her down to him.” Once the junior engineer had left, and Ripley returned to the pilot seat, Ranjaz began tapping on the console in front of him. “Looks like we’ll be free to take the shuttle down to the surface with the next group.” Cygna drummed her fingers on the arms of her chair. “I didn’t realise it would be so busy.” Ranjaz shrugged. “There was a quake on the fourth planet, so mining colonies are shut down while the nerds poke around. Along with that, we got three big freighters waiting for resupply. That’s a lot of bored folks looking to kill time.” Ripley grunted, prompting a chuckle from the Kittran. “You don’t approve of their choice of leisure activity?” After their few cycles together Eruwenn was already learning a lot about her shipmates. Ripley, for instance, wasn’t one for talking. She decided to interject before the Captain irritated her too much, as they would need her focus soon enough. “Gambling and pleasure palaces are not to everyone's taste, of course, but these sorts of things are covered under local governance.” Without skipping a beat Ranjaz replied, “I know that’s the official line, but you sure as shit have tax codes for all of it. If you want to look down on folks, don’t pretend you aren’t profiting from it.” Cygna, ever defensive of her mentor, jumped in. “That’s a bold statement for someone who never paid a credit in tax until it was automatically deducted from his Galactic Federation pay.” Ranjaz laughed, then continued, keeping his voice care-free. “Taxed on what? I never owned anything.” Eruwenn could see the trap her junior was walking into but decided to let this be a learning experience. The Kittran was wily, and the Anatidae found him entertaining. Cygna, as she had predicted, scoffed at his claims. “I’ve read your file. When you were arrested you had a ship, five shuttles and thousands in valuable goods confiscated.” “Exactly!” His eyes lit up as he cornered her. “It was confiscated because it was stolen, so I didn’t own it. Imagine a world where you can keep stolen goods if you pay tax on them. Even I think that’s crazy.” The Fae’Dan paused, and the anger evaporated from her voice as she realized what he had said, replaced by a slightly impressed tone of surprise. “Well, maybe, but… Really? You stole all of it?” Ranjaz shrugged. “Or won it. I’m pretty good at Dalcho.” Cygna perked up. “I play Dalcho myself, we shou-” “No,” Eruwenn interrupted. Some lessons were too expensive. “Do not play Dalcho with someone who can get free priority entry permits to a casino.” The former operative shook her head. “I’m a great player, you’ve seen me in the council chambers. I took that Ley’Rulian trader for five hundred credits.” The Anatidae smiled kindly. “And he had five shuttles when he was arrested.” Cygna slowly turned from Eruwenn to Ranjaz, noticing his grin and the sparkle in his eye. It was most definitely the smile of a predator. He gave a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, it’s been a long time since I played. No gambling on Galactic Federation ships, you know.” He laughed again. “Oh wait, you read my file.” The Fae’Dan nodded. “Perhaps we should focus on the mission.” She gave a slight bow to Eruwenn before returning her attention to her console. Ranjaz looked at Eruwenn and stuck out his tongue. “Don’t ruin my fun!” The Ambassador smiled. “I don’t play Dalcho, but there is a human game called chess I quite enjoy. Perhaps we could play sometime?” The Kittran gave a nod. Keeping his voice neutral, he replied. “I don’t know that one, but there’s another human game we could try. Poker?” "We have permission to dock at the holding ring and send down a shuttle," Ripley abruptly called out. "Let’s get this whatever it is and make the rendez-vous.” Both of Ranjaz’s fangs showed as he grinned. “If we’re going to pull a job on Chisola Prime, first you’re going to need to look the part!”
Aaron walked down the corridor of the Hive ship, the strange spiderlike creature trailing behind him as he followed one of the corpse vines as it receded deeper into the ship. He turned and watched the creature, which shrank back from him and crouched low to the ground. “I’m sorry I kicked you. You simply startled me; you don’t have to hide.” The lighting never changed in the endless corridors of the ship, and only the most uninteresting of doors deigned open for him. At this point, he had lost track of time completely. Through perseverance he’d made several important discoveries. The bulbous shapes in the flower vase room were seats; he was fairly certain of that after finding another room with bodies sitting in them. The vines that came for them were the ones he was now following, and by now he must have seen hundreds of dead Hive. The second discovery was that the Hive came in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were two main ones, as far as he could tell, and the first were the four legged kind that had so kindly thrown him in the rejuvenating jelly bean. The second was bipedal, and looked a hell of a lot meaner. While the ones he deemed workers looked somewhat like ants to him, in shades of reds and browns, the second type looked much more commanding. Their carapace had thicker layers of armour in green, gold and red, and was spiked at the shoulders and joints. Even their legs had spines and to top the look off their heads were much more angular. Whether they were soldiers, commanders, or something else, he didn’t know. Through observation of the corpses he had discovered the most confusing feature yet: a strange section in the centre of their abdomen that was filled with what seemed to be a grey fluid. Ahead of him, not skittering away like the rest, was an aphid that no longer emitted a pale green glow. Something whooshed overhead towards the slow and sluggish aphid, and Aaron instinctively threw himself to the ground before he realized what it was. "That's how you get kicked!” He stood up, brushing himself off. “Fuck, that scares the ever-loving shit out of me every fucking time.” The huge creature looked up at him and whined as it munched on the sick aphid. He was probably imagining the apology in its eyes, but Aaron still shook his head. “I know, I know. It’s your job. They clean the floors, you keep their population healthy. Just stop leaping over me like that, fuck. I’m going to have a heart attack.” It whined and backed away from his angry words, and he tried to keep his voice to calmer tones. “Don’t be like that. I’ve told you enough times.” When he looked down the corridor again, the retreating corpse vines had disappeared around a corner. Aaron began to jog after them, and after he'd put some distance in he heard the pattering footsteps of his terrifying shadow. He tried to pay it no mind. Once the vines were back in sight he slowed and followed behind them, singing his direction song quietly to himself. “Left, right, straight. Left, left, right. Straight, straight, left, left. Right, right, straight, right, right.” The ship was massive and, other than some areas smelling funkier than others, there was no variation in lighting, decoration or layout. The song was his map back to the rejuvenation pod, which was his only safe source of hydration. His companion padded along behind him, a friendly nightmare to accompany him on his seemingly endless journey. “We really need to give you a name.” He wished he had his phone with him so he could channel all his nervous energy into making a video. “The audience demands a name. Plus, I won’t be able to sell merch without one.” He turned and looked at the creature. “I’ll probably have to create space-halloween first, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find that you’re cute to some species.” Aaron returned to following the corpse vine, waving a hand high as he spoke, gesticulating to the heavens. “The name is what matters: a good name makes all the difference.” He began seriously pondering the naming matter. “Aragog, Shelob; you know, lean into your size for a characterization. But then again, that's not really going to make people like you.” He looked back over his shoulder as the unnamed beast trotted happily behind him. He assumed happy, at least. It now tended to make an odd gurgling noise after eating, and it roamed closer to him than before. “You know, I never got to name Sassie – she’s my dog. I told you about her yesterday, or the day before.” He really was losing track of the days he’d been here. “I got her from a rescue. She was skinny, and so damn angry, with scars on her legs and under her fur. I had to have special visits before I could keep her. Prove I was worthy.” Talking helped take his mind from the gnawing emptiness in his stomach. Hydration and nutrients osmotically obtained from some weird pod were nowhere near as satisfying as a burger and a cold beer. “Her first visit, she had a rubber ball. It was her only possession, and she loved it.” There was a touch of pride in his voice. “Took me an hour before she gave it up to play. The lady from the rescue centre said I was the first.” He choked up, blinking back tears. “Anyway, couple more visits and she got to stay. Crazy dog was such a handful. She once tried to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. Got her legs over the first branch and just dangled, kicking her back legs.” He began chuckling to himself. “She once tried to jump through a car window; some guy was parked at the lights as we walked past.” He was just chatting now, lost in his memories as he walked. “You know the type, loud radio, windows rolled down on a sunny day, annoying the shit out of everyone in the town. He tossed some litter out of his window and she just launched herself at him. Scared the life out of me at the time - funny as fuck now, of course.” He laughed again. “Then there were the swans. Man, were they not ready. She loved to swim – I told you that before – swimming and splashing was her favourite release. Well, that and chasing rabbits which is, kinda, how I ended up here. Anyway, she would just swim up and down, right past the ducks and stuff, somehow never interested in them. Then one summer these swans came along...” He paused, realising his new friend didn’t know what a duck or a swan was, or even summer, probably. Before attempting to explain, he realised they also didn’t understand english, so it really didn’t matter. “Anyway, swans being belligerent bastards, I called her out of the water straight away. Those mean white fuckers chased her all the way to shore.” He turned around, now grinning broadly. “But, once her feet hit the ground in the shallow water and she was able to stand, did those sons of bitches turn and swim away as fast as they could.” He paused, trying to remember his original point. He really was very hungry. “Oh yeah, so trying to stop her fighting everything that moved meant I didn’t have time to teach her a new name. Figured it would be confusing to her. Sassie she was, and so Sassie she stayed.” There was a tightening in his chest as he thought of her missing him. “Took a lot of years and a lot of time for her to get where she is now. I know Alexa will take care of her, but still, it’s my job, and I need to get back to doing it. She won’t understand…” He choked up completely, taking a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and returning his monologue to its original course. “Anyway, names. Names matter.” “Maybe you’re a girl monster. Charlotte?” He shook his head. That name just didn’t seem fitting. “We could call you Peter Parker? Although, you’re more of a man-sized spider than a spiderman... Parker Peter? Then again, big, scary spiders say one thing to me. Australia. You like to jump, we could call you Roo? Or, how about Ozzy? Or Bruce? Hmm, that’s a sharks name though… can you swim?” His train of thought derailed suddenly as he saw an open door ahead of them through which the vines were receding. The pair of them continued walking behind the vine until it disappeared into the doorway and Aaron ran forward, pulling something from his pocket. He’d been saving the foil wrapping from the ration bricks, folding them together to form a wedge. He jammed his makeshift door stop under the bottom corner of the door as it began to slide shut. It ground to a halt. “Boom! Told you it would work.” He stood and finally looked into the vastness beyond. Through the doors was, somehow, a rolling meadow, complete with trees, giant mushrooms and plants he had no name for. Vines were also everywhere, receding further across the great wilderness. “What the hell? I thought I was on a spaceship? Am I underground?” Staring intently at the sky, he stepped onto the deep moss beyond the door. He looked at the wall around the interior and saw it was rock, and more plant life clung to every crack and crevice. As he walked slowly forward his eyes followed the vine as it headed for a large, colourful, monolith. He approached and saw that its shape was similar to the vase flowers. He watched as the corpse vines deposited their cargo on top of the monolith. Not on, he corrected himself;they were dropping inside. He looked back to the door, nervous that it might close and lock him in. A large black shadow lurked just beyond the door, and he was torn. Should he explore this 'outside' world, or retreat to the place where he at least had the rejuvenation pods? He looked up at the sky, basking in the warm and invigorating embrace of the sunlight. He blinked at the brightness, being cautious to not look at the sun directly, and something else suddenly caught his eye. It was, incredibly, a door. A door that floated in the sky. The thing about human eyes is that they might be easily fooled, but a shift in perspective can easily change what you see to something entirely different. Aaron was looking up at a ceiling, like the one in the Atrium back on the Azrimad, but a hundred times more convincing. Once back inside the doorway he watched the spiderling he was beginning to think of it as a friend dancing back and forth a short distance away. It seemed… happy. “Ok buddy, I’m back.” Aaron’s stomach made a loud gurgling sound and he rubbed it, trying to squeeze the hunger away. Fingers found muscle easier than usual, and he knew he was definitely losing weight. “We should head back. I need sleep.” He thought for a moment and made a final decision, bending down to pull the foil wedge clear. “I doubt there’s a communicator or command deck in there. Let’s go home, Ozzy.” The trip back was uneventful, Aaron sang his direction song as they navigated the labyrinth. A few more aphids were snacked on by his leggy companion, but his own legs were heavy by the time he was almost back to the jelly beans. Despite being exhausted he had made two stops to create another pair of flower vases for the aphids, as well as scattering a ration brick as he passed by. The aphids waited, as they always did, till he and Ozzy were far enough away before enjoying his bounty. Still, the human derived satisfaction from their presence. Exhausted and weary, Aaron was glad to finally make it back to the room he was reluctantly calling his temporary home. As the door to the rejuvenation pod slid open he was met, forcefully, by the barrel of an energy rifle. Unfortunately for Aaron, due to a considerable height difference, the barrel had struck him squarely in the groin, and he instantly fell to his knees. He came face to face with his attacker with tears in his eyes, clutching his tenderness and coughing. From the other being came incomprehensible yelling, as well as a lot of gun waving. Also, there was coughing. Aaron, eventually mustering enough self-presence to do something other than deal with the after effects of the gun-to-groin encounter, wiped the moisture from his eyes and tried to butt in to the one-sided conversation. "Relax! I'm the one who just got snookered in the fucking balls, here! Why in the world are you so mad?"” The gun was pressed to his forehead by the tiny attacker, who shouted something unintelligible with their black eyes focused on him. They paused to cough, then stepped back, glaring at Aaron until they seemed to feel comfortable enough with the situation to take one hand off of their weapon and pull out a datapad. They held it up, and Aaron frowned at the familiar but still unintelligible colours that swirled on the screen. Then a small vent at the bottom of the device squirted out a puff of sickly sweet scent. Aaron pulled back from the odour. "What the fuck was that?" With some distance between them, the human finally got a good look at his opponent. They were barely waist-height, furry, with a long nose and dark banding across their brown fur. The banding was heaviest across their eyes and although that’s where the similarities ended, it was enough for the human’s brain to forge a connection. “Listen, Rocket, there’s a virus on this ship. You need to get in the jelly bean. Trust me.” The rifle was thrust at him shakily in one hand, the tablet again was raised and a swirl of colours and shapes greeted him. “I don’t speak fucking winamp plugin!” On the wall behind his captor Aaron spotted a dull orange aphid, struggling to climb the wall. He smiled as he slowly leaned to one side. “Have you met Ozzy?” The huge arachnid leapt over them both, causing the newcomer to blindfire at the wall. Aaron seized his chance and snatched away the weapon. He grabbed the newcomer by the front of their armoured uniform and slammed them to the ground. They cried out in pain and began their incomprehensible yelling once more. The accompanying coughing fit was bad, and Aaron dragged them to their feet. Realising that his solitude had caused him to revert to English, he switched back to galactic standard to offer a warning about the disease. “You’re going to die!” A shocked look crossed their face as the human effortlessly lifted them and slam dunked them into a blue jelly bean. Ozzy gurgled happily through his aphid crunching. Aaron snatched up the energy rifle, but found it was difficult to hold due to its small size. He leaned over the jelly bean, noting the occupant drifting off to sleep. Hunger and tiredness were forgotten as adrenaline flooded his system. There was no way the newcomer was alone. He left the pod room to begin searching, and Ozzy seemed to pick up on his intention and followed behind, keeping close to the human. “Good boy!” He had no idea what prompted it, likely some automated response, and it was as though he watched his movements from outside of his body as he reached back and gently scratched the arachnid's head. He was rewarded with happy gurgles, or at least that's what he hoped the noises were. “You did good back there.” He made his way along the corridor towards the same airlock he had once chosen as his final exit. His recent suspicion proved correct as he heard a strange sound up ahead, as if someone was running a wet finger around the rim of a glass. He carefully leaned around the curve and saw another figure, dressed in the same uniform as the first. No fur on this one, although they were equally small in size, and they somehow looked like they were made of glass which couldn’t decide on a colour. This time he remembered to use galactic standard. “Keep your hands where we can see you. We’ve got you surrounded!” The figure was clearly startled, as the ambient resonating noise began varying wildly in pitch at the same moment as their colour shifted to a solid blue. Aaron cursed. He didn’t have a translator, having instead opted for learning standard and winging everything else. The whole federation knew standard, so he hadn’t truly considered getting the implant. “Something is wrong with our translators,” he continued to bluff. “Do you speak galactic standard?” A datapad was hastily pulled from a pocket, and as buttons were pressed the resonating sound became more rhythmic. From the datapad sprung noises. No, it was a voice! “Why do you speak Procyon? Where is Commander Bertolannixostraphes? Aaron began relaxing at the situation he found himself in, but inside he was brimming with joy. Finally, he could talk with someone! “There is a virus on this ship, and many are dead. If your commander is the raccoon-looking guy, I got them into a healing pod. They’re going to be fine.” Under his breath he added, “probably.” The resonating began and shortly afterwards the voice translated, “Who are you? Why did you not answer our communications.” Opting for honesty in the hopes of leniency, Aaron stepped into view. “I’m a passenger. I don’t have access to the ship's systems.” The newcomer was looking at the tiny gun, so the human tossed it forward. “I didn’t know if you were friendly. I can take you to your friend, and you should probably get treatment as well.” The now-orange alien walked forward, their movement accompanied by the strange sound of ceramic plates rubbing together. “That won’t be a problem, we Tricinic do not catch meat diseases. I am Tsy'lo, take me to the commander.” They turned to look behind them. “Where are the others?” Aaron pointed to Ozzy. “It’s just us two.” Colours swirled and the small glass person thrummed. The datapad spoke, “You are the last human, the Ambassador. Correct?” Turning and gesturing to be followed, he began to lead the way to the rejuvenation room. “I am the first human, Ambassador Aaron Cooper, professional bounty hunter. Just call me Aaron. Are you the rescue party? Is Alexa here? Did she bring Sassie?” It took a moment for the translation to come back. “I don’t know those names. We are the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad and we responded to distress calls and found this ship. Adrift.” They had walked a little way when Tsy'lo stopped and regarded Ozzy, who was still faithfully following behind. “Why does the achalo follow you?” “Ozzy?” Aaron shrugged. “I think he was lonely. So, were you sent into Hive space to find me, or are you on some top secret mission? You aren’t with the Sentinels, are you?” “Lonely? But it is an achalo.” Tsy'lo was confused and their colour visibly swirled. “Why would a rescue mission be secret? And, we weren’t sent, we were already here.” Now it was the human who was confused. “Like spies behind enemy lines? Is that why you are in Hive space?” The Tricinic hummed at a higher frequency. “It is our space. We are the Hive!”
Admiral Pelar of the third fleet stood in the centre of the training mat. On the floor around her were four tough looking Ashi, while a fifth was now squaring off against her. She blocked the jab and the surprise knee strike that followed, turning effortlessly to bring her elbow to her opponents ribs. With another deft turn she was behind him and kicking his knees forward. He tried to roll clear but she had anticipated the move and, as he rose, her spinning boot struck the side of his head. “Nice try gentlemen.” She walked away and caught a towel thrown by the drill instructor. “That last one has potential,” she said, and the drill instructor nodded. “Next time, I expect at least one of them to land a hit. If not, I’ll have you in the ring instead, to make sure you still have what it takes.” She saw the fear in his eyes. “I accept nothing but the best from the Third Fleet.” The medics ran onto the mat as she dabbed at her forehead, and she spotted Jar’Bek sitting on a bench nearby. She walked over to him and he stood, straightening what was no doubt an extremely expensive suit. “From one disappointment to another.” The lawyer smiled. “Imagine only seeing your son when he is paid to be in your presence,” he countered. She smirked. “Your tongue is still your most deadly weapon.” He nodded. “Ah, but it must make you proud to see me make use of the things you taught me.” Her face twitched. “I taught you to be a true Ashi, a soldier. I taught you to respect-” Jar’Bek held up his hand. “I’m here on my client’s business, not yours. And, as I am paid a considerable sum per gal, let us not waste their money on matters that are concluded.” He enjoyed the irritation on her face. “I am here to finalise the amnesty treaties, and conclude your membership as citizens of Earth.” The Admiral held up her hands, looking down at her combat training clothing. “I must shower and change first. Please, wait for me in my private office.” She smiled politely. “No.” His smile seemed to hover as if it was a mask that could slip at any time. “You may have disowned me, but I still remember your tricks. You knew the time of our meeting; you had me brought here so you could intimidate me with this display of aggression. Then you ask me to wait in your office amongst your memorabilia and trophies.” He watched the anger behind her eyes. “You really think these tired old tricks will work on me?” She sneered. “At least you remember something.” “Oh, I had the scars removed, but I kept the lessons.” He walked away. “My client's time is valuable and I have scheduled a meeting with the other fleet Admiral’s for later this cycle. Since we have no time for your games, let us go to the briefing room. My team is already set up. If you wish to shower, know that it is more of your negotiating time you are wasting, and I do so hate waste.” He collected his briefcase and walked out of the room. Captain Loring hurried after Jar’Bek, catching him as he entered the elevator. “You sure you want to antagonise the Admiral like that?” He leaned back against the wall of the elevator and relaxed, letting out a small sigh. “A little negotiating trick a Kittran taught me. Anyway, she is no longer my Admiral.” Elora’Tan leaned back on the opposite wall. “She is your mother, Jar.” “Ha.” Jar’Bek laughed. “She disowned me. This is the first contact we’ve had in I forget how many celes. Her first thought is to try and intimidate me with that display. She likes to beat on cadets, she likes to cause pain, and she wanted me to watch.” Loring gave a weak smile. “It forges strong soldiers. We can’t afford weakness.” The elevator stopped and Jar’Bek took a step closer to Elora’Tan. “You think it was weakness that made me leave?” He didn’t let her answer, turning and exiting into the hallway. His voice now resonated with authority as he growled, “In case you people have forgotten, the Ashi will operate under the same rules as the rest of the colony. My mother is not the law... I am the law.”
So, I want to make a clear and concise guide for any players who recently picked up Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age and Have finally entered the Post Game or for people who have already played the game and just want to make sure they have the best gear. If I make any mistakes, please let me know! First, lets start with the Accessories for each character: The best accessory in the game Hands Down is the Catholicon Ring. 2 For each character ensures you will not have to deal with ill effects such as sleep or confusion. This means you will need 16 gold bars, 160 perfect panacea, 32 royal rubies, and 48 Red Wood … Goodluck! You can craft this ring through the book Kings of the Rings, found in a chest in the Disciple's Trial - Cruel Crypt Some Key books you will need for forging (a lot of weapons require these; I usually refer to these when I say forging): Hero's Book of Basic Weapons, is found in the Tower of Lost Time. >! A Hero's Book of Better Weapons , found in the Disciple's Trial - Eerie Valley!< >! A Hero's Book of Brilliant Weapons, found by getting all wishes from Drustan.!< Big Hitters of the Battlefield, found in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite Making Things with Metal Kings, obtainable after turning in 110 mini medals Note: u/n00bavenger brought up a great point about armor. For a lot of characters, Exotoga and Seraph's Robe can be better than some of the armor I have listed. Its your choice but some of these can be better or worse than the armor listed below. These will help you get a majority of the best gear. If a item is listed with no item location, presume you can get it from the above books. First, lets start with the Hero. Hero Weapons: I cant really recommend anything as all are great, but dual wielding is good for damage and shield is good for defense. Your choice.
For Swords, the best swords are the Supreme Sword of Light and the Hypernova Sword. These dual wielding will net you the most damage. You can get these item through: The story for the Supreme Sword of Light, if choosing "give me a powerful weapon" from Drustan and through the forge for the Hypernova Sword. You will need the sword you obtain from the fortress of fear or First Forest Whale Way Station if missed.
For Sword and Shield, the best sword is the Supreme Sword of Light and the best shield is Erdwin's Shield, exclusive to the Hero. You can get Erdwin's shield from: 100 minimedals turned in.
For Greatswords, the best Greatsword is the Brilliant Blade. You can get this item by: Completing the Wheel of Harma: Final Trial.
For Headgear, the best gear is Erdwin's Coronet. You can get this item by: Chests in the Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.
For Armor, the best gear is Erdwin's Tunic. You can get this item through Chests in the Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.
Erik Weapons: I would recommend daggers for their status effects, but its your choice.
For Daggers, the best daggers are the Dynamo Dagger and the Timeshear. These items are obtainable through: the forge for the Dynamo Dagger. You will need the Dagger you obtain from turning in 65 Mini medals at L'Académie de Notre Maitre des Médailles, Upgrade through aforementioned books. The Timeshear is obtainable through The forge, with a aforementioned book.
Swords: The best swords are the Metal King Sword and the Hell Sabre. The Metal King Sword is found through: the aforementioned books. The Hell Sabre is found through a 1/128 drop chance from a Barbatos found at Mount Huji or Champs Sauvage Whale Way Station.
Boomerangs: The best Boomerangs are the Galaxarang and Hunter's Moon (has lower attack than the Metal King Goomerang but the Hunter's Moon does full damage). You can get the Galaxarang through: the forge, obtaining the Meteorang through the Manglegrove Whale Way station. You can get the Hunter's Moon through: forging. You can get the Metal King Goomerang from the aforementioned books at the top.
For Headgear, the best headgear is the Pirate King's Cap, obtainable from Lonalulu post game quest; saving Kai at the strand.
For Armor, the best armor is the Pirate King's Coat, obtainable from Cobblestone's shop after repairing it.
Veronica Weapons: I would recommend Heavy Wands
Heavy wands: Aurora Staff (or God Bird Sceptre, but I personally would recommend this on Rab due to the unnecessary use for Veronica , given her high magical might already (999 with best equipment), plus the special effect is good on her and this Staff gives her more Mending.) You can get this weapon through wheel of harma 3rd trial and then upgrading the weapon through aforementioned books.
Whips: Hellbeast's Leash (or Über Gringham Whip but I give that to Sylvando since I think Sylvando has more uses for it compared to Veronicas heavily favored magic side). This can be found through Forging in the aforementioned books
For Headgear, The best headgear is the Crown of Eternity, obtainable from >! Forging, from a recipe book in the Sage’s Trial – Hoarder’s Keep !<
For Armor, the best armor is the Gown of Eternity, obtainable from same as Crown; Forging.
Serena Weapons: I would recommend Wand + shield
For Wand and Shield, The best wand is the Faerie King's Cane and the Metal King Shield. These are obtainable through Wheel of Harma Final Trial for The Faerie King's Cane and the Shield through Aforementioned books.
For Dual wielding, the best wands are the Faerie King's Cane and the Sceptre of Time. The Sceptre of Time is available through>! the book If I Could Turn Back Time found in Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.!<
For Spears, the best spear for her would be the Metal King Spear, found in aforementioned books
Headgear: The best headgear is Serenica's Circlet Found in the Sage's Trial - Fierce Forest
Armor: The best armor is Serenica's Surplice found in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite
Sylvando Weapons (based on charm): Primarily whatever gives you the most charm as those are the abilities you will use most
Whips: The best whip is the Über Gringham Whip, obtainable through aforementioned books, with the base weapon available at the Octagonia Casino for 750,000 Tokens
Swords: The best Swords are two Shamshir of Light. The Shamshir of Light is obtainable through Aforementioned books (can craft multiple)
Knives: The best knives are two El Stupendo. El Stupendo can be found through aforementioned books (can craft multiple)
Shield: Sylvando can have a shield with all his weapons besides the whip, so if you do not want to dual wield, use either the Shamshir of Light or El Stupendo with the Metal King Shield, Obtained through aforementioned books or if you are going for a pure charm build (although I would recommend some defense) then the Silver Shield is your best bet, obtainable at the trial island shop (33000)
Headgear: The best headgear is the Tiara Tremendísima, Found in the Recipe Book: Glam Gear for Go-Getters, from turning in 90 minimedals
Armor: The best armor is the Gladder Rags, found in the same book as the headgear
Rab Weapons: Wands are highly recommended
Heavy Wands: Best wand is the Godbird Sceptre, but this can be swapped with Veronicas aforementioned Heavy Wand. The Godbird Sceptre can be found in Tickington, after Clearing the Hall of Remembrance - Level 3
Claws: Best Claws are the Xenlon Claws, found through Upgrading the weapon received from the Wheel of Harma: Third Trial and using the aforementioned books.
Headgear: Apollo's Crown is the best headgear, obtained through the Recipe Book: A Guide to Godly Get-Up, rewarded for completing the Wheel of Harma's Final Trial
Armor: Potentate’s Pallium is the best armor, obtained through the recently mentioned book
Jade Weapons: Spears are preferred
Spears: Split-Pot Poker found through upgrading the weapon you receive through>! a chest in either the Fortress of Fear or the First Forest Whale Way Station!<
Claws: Personally, claws are useless, but I would recommend the Deicimators (the Xenlon claws are better but the Deicimators are exclusive to Jade. You can swap them with Rab but in my opinion they are useless). You can get the Deicimators through the aforementioned books
Gear: (In the switch version, there is a gear that makes you literally invincible, so I will list the best gear and the kinda cheaty gear.)
Headgear: The Xenlon Hair Ring found through the recipe book Shine On, Xenlon, obtained in the Wheel of Harma - Fourth Trial
Armor: The best cheaty invincible armor is the Hare-Raising Suit, obtained from defeated the incredibly difficult Superboss The Timewyrm, after beating Calasmos and Tickington (End of Time)
Armor: The best non-cheaty armor would be the Xenlon Gown, obtained from the aforementioned book
Eight(Hendrik) Weapons: Anything works, but I prefer Axe and shield
Axes: The best axes are the Galaxy Axe and the Kairos Cleaver. The Galaxy Axe's base weapon can be obtained from a chest in The Battleground and upgraded through aforementioned books The Kairos Cleaver can be obtained through aforementioned books
Greatswords: The second best Greatsword is the Metal King Gooreatsword (the Brilliant Blade is the best but I prefer that on Hero but you can swap the two). This can be obtained through Aforementioned books
Swords: The best Swords are Drustan's Sword and the Metal King Sword. You can get Drustan's Sword in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite and the Metal King Sword through aforementioned books
Shield: You can dual wield everything but Greatswords, so the best Shield for when you're not dual wielding is Drustan's Shield, obtainable from the Sage's Trial - Hoarder's Keep. This is best paired with the Galaxy Axe or Drustan's Sword
Headgear: Drustan's Helm, found in The Disciple's Trial - The Eerie Valley
Armor: Drustan's Armour, found in The Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite
Finally, For item farming, the best characters with accessories and gear are: Erik: Accessories are Pirate King's Pendant and Bunny tail. The best armor for him is the Vest for Success Jade: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie Veronica: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie Serena: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie The Bunny Tails can be stolen/dropped by Bunicorns The Uniforme Chic de l'Académie can be bought at the Quester's Rest in the Alter of the Starry Skies book in Tickington The Pirate King's Pendant can be obtained through post game story events The Vest for Success can be found through the quest Richie's Rock-Hard Roulette Challenge (Octagonia) I really hope this guide goes appreciated. If I missed anything or I got something wrong let me know. If the spoiler text is too much, let me know and I will remove it.
Feel Free To Use This or Share This Without Credit as I Just Want to Be Helpful!
Playing cards make the ideal gift, particularly the many beautiful custom decks available nowadays. Almost everyone can use a deck of cards at some point, so they have an instant and universal appeal, especially if a deck has some customized artwork and is packaged in an appealing tuck box. In this list I want to focus on some of my favourite decks that have come out in the past year 2020. This year has been a challenging year for many of us in light of the coronavirus that has swept across the world. But in the middle of all this darkness, there have also been some bright spots, which include the brand new crop of custom decks that have appeared in the marketplace. The suggestions I'm making are very much a matter of personal choice, and other playing card enthusiasts might make other choices. I haven't seen each and every deck that hit the market in the past year, and there are undoubtedly plenty of other worthy decks that qualify for a list like this. I've also not included any decks that have haven't yet been produced, even if they have been crowdfunded. This list strictly covers decks that you should be able to obtain from online retailers and resellers. I've also not included so-called "hype decks" that sell out almost immediately at the publisher level (e.g. Fontaines), but only those that enter retail channels and are more widely and readily available. I've also included links to where you find them at PlayingCardDecks so that you can see images of the tuck boxes and cards for each item, and because they're the retailer I personally buy playing cards from the most. But you should be able to find these decks at most online retailers.
Several series of playing cards have become brands of their own, and achieved nearly cult status from collectors. This past year has seen some great additions to the line-ups from popular series that include big names like Jerry's Nuggets, Cherry Casino, and NOC. ● Jerry's Nugget Aqua Playing Cards - Jerry's Nuggets are a modern icon in the world of playing cards, due to the cult status of this deck, which was praised by cardists around the world. It was originally printed in the early 1970s, and was so much in demand in recent decades that copies fetched over $500 in the secondary market. A very successful reprinting of the original blue and red decks happened in 2019, and in the past year we've seen multiple reprints in different colours. Among my favourites in this series are the bright colours like orange, yellow, and green, which have all appeared in the past year. But there's also something for those who prefer a more muted look, such as steel and black. For more in this series, seeJerry's Nugget decks. ● Cherry Casino Tropicana Teal Playing Cards - The Cherry Casino decks capture a retro vibe, and are a throwback to the old fruit machines from gambling halls, with their distinctive cherry artwork. For me the real appeal of this series lies in the gorgeous card backs, which have a metallic sheen making them feel instantly different from all other decks. The face cards are all quite standard, so that makes them ideal for card games or card magic. Multiple new colours continue to appear in this series, such as Flamingo Quartz Pink, and most recently McCarran Silver. For more in this series, seeCherry Casino decks. ● NOC 3000X2 Purple Playing Cards - The acronym NOC originally stood for Nothing Only Colour, and in line with this the initial decks in this series were all very minimalist. Many people like to collect and use the NOC decks, and over time the series has evolved somewhat. The most recent releases show some new splashes of creativity, and with the NOC 3000X2 deck we travel into the future, past the year 3000. Vibrant purples and pinks inhabit the landscape of the cards, for a very modern and flashy look that is particularly well suited to cardistry. This particular deck is also available in a matching pink version. For more in this series, seeNOC decks.
There are several big brands that you can count on for quality, and this year was no exception, with big companies like Theory11, Ellusionist, and Art of Play all continuing to contribute wonderful playing cards to the market. ● James Bond 007 Playing Cards - When it comes to glamorous tuck boxes, it doesn't get much better than the luxury of playing card producer Theory11. This wonderful deck is a tribute to agent 007, James Bond. I collect most of the Theory11 decks, and this one is particularly terrific, with a supreme tuck box, and Bond-inspired paraphernalia on the court cards and on the card back. Close observers will find many Bond gadgets and more. Theory11 have put out several stylish releases in the past year, another one being the Hollywood Roosevelt deck. For more, seeTheory11 decks. ● Shadow Masters Legacy v2 Playing Cards - One of the companies at the forefront of the custom playing cards movement was Ellusionist and their Black Tiger deck continues to be a modern icon. While they've since been overshadowed by the many custom decks produced in the crowd-funding era over the past decade, they continue to produce some memorable decks from time to time that are worth picking up. The Shadow Masters Legacy v2 is a black deck in the classic Ellusionist style, and represents the kind of thing that made them great to begin with. A jet black background is the chief feature of this deck, and the red and white used for the artwork and pips stands out beautifully against the inky black. This deck compares favourably with any other deck from the modern era. For more, seeEllusionist decks. ● Yellow Wheel Playing Cards - The brand Art of Play is the home of influential cardists Dan and Dave Buck. Their Red & Blue Wheel decks are among my all-time favourite decks, with gorgeous metallic inks as part of a split-pip design. The Yellow Wheel deck is their latest entry in the Wheel series, that retains the original card backs but now in yellow. But the highlight is the card faces, with the split pips employing a stunning metallic silver that complements the cards beautifully. This is a completely custom deck that is certain to impress anyone who sees it. Art of Play produces many new decks each year, and their Henry & Sally deck is a fun novelty release also worth checking out. For more, seeArt of Play decks.
They are a very select group, but there are some notable designers in the playing card industry who have developed a real name for themselves, have generated a large following of loyal fans, and continue to produce high quality custom decks on a regular basis. ● Italia Radiosa Playing Cards - Italian designer Giovanni Meroni is the man behind Thirdway Industries, and his playing cards are in high demand from collectors around the world. His signature style is immediately recognizable in each of his decks, and this one is no exception. Along with its companion Italia Segreta, it's themed around the wonders and secrets of Italy. The unique court cards are the real highlight, showcasing Giovanni's usual creativity and style. The number cards are also fully custom. These are the kinds of decks that will hold their value well in years to come. If you want even more vibrant colours, check out Modern Idols, from the same creator. For more, seeGiovanni Meroni decks. ● Postage Paid Playing Cards - Behind the brand Kings Wild Project is Jackson Robinson, who is one of the few professional designers that actually makes a living out of designing playing cards. This deck was inspired by the idea of playing cards functioning as postcards, each with its own stamp and post paid stamp. All 50 US states are represented on different cards, and everything about this deck is fully customized. This deck was produced in only limited numbers, so it will be out of stock in most places. But if you're quick, you can still grab Jackson Robinson's General Admission deck, which applies a similar concept to tickets, with each card representing a vintage ticket stub from the early 20th century. For more, seeJackson Robinson decks. ● Kodiak Playing Cards - From popular designer Jody Eklund and his Black Ink Playing Cards Company, comes this delightful deck of playing cards that is geared to the poker player and collector. The cards have a very classic look, but offer a fresh take on the designs of the court cards and pips. Jody is highly respected for his approach to graphic design, and these cards will prove an excellent choice if you like playing card games, and want to bring something stylish and attractive to the table. For more, seeJody Eklund decks.
Most magicians can perform their magic with any deck, but typically they prefer to do card magic with a deck where novelty and customization are minimal, so as not to distract from their magic. These decks are well suited to performing magic, and contain bonus gaff cards or other secrets that enable them to produce miracles not possible with ordinary decks. ● Card College Playing Cards - These decks are a tribute to the most outstanding modern teacher of the fundamentals of card magic, Roberto Giobbi. Mr Giobbi is the author of Card College, a series of best-selling books which are the modern gold standard for learning card magic. Available in red and blue, these decks are simple and practical for the working magician, and as a bonus each contains two double backer gaff cards. If you want more luxury, check out the stunning Luxury 3 Deck Set, which has even more stylish cards, individually numbered tuck boxes with unique origami style features, packaged in an attractive acrylic box - the ideal collectible or gift for magicians. ● Remedies Royal Blue Playing Cards - The Remedies decks come from popular creators Daniel Madison and Daniel Schneider, and this is a successor to the Remedies Scarlet Red deck. Many collectors love the Black Roses brand of playing cards, and collect whatever they produce. This blue Remedies deck has a classic and minimalist look with bold blue card backs, and is very functional and practical. The inclusion of a special Angle Zero gaff makes it ideal for magicians. ● DMC Elites Red v5 Playing Cards - Of all the marked decks I own, the DMC Elites is easily my first choice whenever I want a marked deck with cards that can be easily read from a distance, due to the clever and yet almost invisible marking system it uses. This deck has previously been released in several different colours, and now incorporates Tamariz's Mnemonica stack. All you need is the deck, but there is a terrific Passport book available separately, which will give you some great ideas for routines you can pull off with this great marked deck. For more, seeMarked decks.
Card flourishing has really boomed in recent years, and especially shines when cardists use a deck that has colourful and striking patterns optimized for cardistry, that enhance the visual aesthetics of cards in motion, as these decks show. ● Neon Orange Cardistry Playing Cards - This deck represents Bicycle's attempt to meet a demand for a relatively low-cost deck geared towards card flourishing. The card backs have a geometric design, and the faces are all identical and completely non-standard, showcasing the latest evolution in playing cards optimized entirely for cardistry. Bright colours ensure that the cards look visually appealing in fans, spreads, and flourishing moves. Alongside this vibrant orange deck is its blue companion, the Neon Blue Aurora deck. ● Autumn Circle Cardistry Playing Cards - Tally Ho is a classic brand that USPCC has been producing for a long time. The circle back design of the typical Tally Ho deck has become iconic, and is especially appreciated by those who enjoy card flourishing. Each year the folks at Bicycle produce some in-house decks for special occasions, and the Autumn Circle Back deck is a lovely result. The colours capture the warmth and glow of autumn leaves and the mood of harvest time, while the pattern on the card backs is perfect for cardistry. ● ArrowDynamix Cardistry Playing Cards - Given the high volume of cardistry decks appearing all the time, it can be difficult to come up with something completely original, but this minimalist deck has accomplished exactly that. Each card features a giant vertical arrow on the card backs, and a giant horizontal arrow on the faces. With carefully choreographed sequences and moves, you can create truly unique patterns and effects that you simply can't achieve with any other cardistry deck.
Do you love animals, or do you have an animal lover in your life? There are a lot of wonderful custom decks that are tributes to our four legged friends, or depict some of our favourite creatures. ● Woof and Whiskers Dog Playing Cards - The real appeal of this deck is the cute tuck box, which has cardboard ears that fold up, to complete the look of the friendly dog on the front of the box. I would have liked to see some more customization with the number cards, but it's still a very charming deck, with delightful custom artwork on the court cards and aces. This is one of two Zoo 52 decks, so if you like the Dog deck, you'll also want to pick up the Playful Paws Cat deck, which is equally cute. ● Aviary Playing Cards - There are a lot of independent creators that produce Bicycle branded playing cards with the help of industry giant USPCC, but this big name producer also releases its own in-house decks. This is my favourite of their four newest releases that hit the market at the end of 2020, and is a very classy looking deck with artwork inspired by a traditional look, but with adjustments to give it a custom feel, and the presence of several birds carefully positioned throughout the deck. Of the four new releases from Bicycle, the Sea King deck is also proving to be very popular. ● King of Tigers Playing Cards - If you're looking for a deck with bling, this is it. The card backs have a borderless tiger skin pattern, which has been printed with some of the latest technology that makes use of foil for a truly eye-catching look. The tuck box is even more glamorous. While the court cards are clearly inspired by traditional courts, the Jokers bring back the tiger theme strongly, and the tiger skin look recurs throughout the deck.
Recent years have seen some wonderful novelty decks themed around different kinds of food. These are always a great way to whet your appetite for a card game, or to show off to family or friends, and have proved a real hit with collectors. ● Squeezers V3 Playing Cards - Good luck getting your hands on decks from this extremely popular series from Organic Playing Cards, because they sell out quickly. These fruit inspired decks have delightful tuck boxes, and this grapefruit themed deck even comes in a tuck box that looks like a juice box, and is actually scented like grapefruit. The cards themselves are quite practical, but add humorous grapefruit themed elements to the court cards, and new bold colours. OPC's 2020 releases also included the watermelon-themed Carvers deck, while their current release sees the brand go in a slightly new direction with the corn-themed Shuckers. ● Noodlers Chicken Playing Cards - If you like the concept behind the Organic Playing Cards series, you'll probably also enjoy this deck, which has a similarly styled tuck box to the Squeezers decks, but represents a packet of ramen noodles. The orange colour on the card backs and pips has also been inspired by the noodles theme. The artwork on the court cards has a quaint and cute style, with each character depicted in a light hearted style quite different from standard courts, and all holding a bowl of noodles. For a final laugh, the Jokers provide us with the necessary packet of "chicken seasoning" to add to our noodles. ● Citrus Playing Cards - Created by Flaminko, the Deliciousness series has been somewhat overshadowed by the more successful fruit inspired cards from Organic Playing Cards. But I love the Flaminko decks, because they apply customization to all elements of the cards, including the pips. This novelty deck is well suited for card flourishing, card games, and collectors, and cleverly captures all that is juicy and wonderful about citrus fruit.
Music is another evergreen theme, and there's a solid range of lovely decks for the music lover, whether your taste is classical or more contemporary rock-and-roll. ● Composers Mozart Playing Cards - This deck is part of a series that also includes other composers like Bach. These decks are true collector pieces, and make a wonderful tribute to some of the greatest composers of all time. The tuck boxes have a very classical look, and metallic ink enhances the gorgeous card backs. Meanwhile completely custom artwork on the faces emphasizes a vintage and classical feel. They are great for music lovers and collectors, but if classical music isn't your thing, then check out the Rock and Roll deck. ● Piano Player Playing Cards - If the piano is your instrument of choice, this is a deck for you. The creative tuck box is available in two styles, one with two black keys and the other with three black keys, which means you can place two decks alongside each other to create a larger keyboard. Fully custom characters inhabit the court cards, with the keyboard motif returning in the details of the artwork. Small touches like this really make this creative deck a thing of unique beauty. ● Soundboards v3 Midnight Playing Cards - Remember the old walk-man cassette players? In the 1980s these revolutionary electronic devices were among the first to make your personal music collection portable. The Soundboards deck replicates the look of a classic walk-man, and the Jokers complete the look by bringing the cassette tape look into the box. This Midnight edition has a dark look, so you might also want to consider the red deck if you prefer a more traditional colour.
Fiction & Film themed Decks
Most of us love a good story, whether it's in the pages of a novel or on our screens. Here are some great custom decks that are loving tributes to some of the best from the worlds of fiction and film. ● Jane Austen Playing Cards - Fans of the classic novel will appreciate the loving treatment that Jane Austen's famous novels have received in this delightful tribute from the Art of Play label. Each suit represents a different novel, with the court cards featuring the lead characters in the story. The design of the characters is inspired by period costumes and reflects the fashions from the time in which the stories are set. The classy tuck case ensures that everything is nicely packaged and well presented. ● Star Wars Playing Cards - Theory11 achieved a real coup by acquiring the rights to bring the Star Wars brand to playing cards. They were the perfect company to ensure that the result was a classy deck that did justice to the world of the films. This pair of Light Side and Dark Side decks begins with a top quality and highly attractive tuck case, as we've come to expect from Theory11. The court cards all feature different characters from the movies, and the design is the perfect blend of customization and playability, making this a practical deck you can bring out for your favourite card game, or to give to the Star Wars fan in your life. A similar pair of decks was produced later in the year in White and Black. ● King Arthur Playing Cards - The result of a collaboration between Riffle Shuffle and Studio Muti, this pair of red and green decks tell the story of the famous Arthurian legend. For me it's a personal and nostalgic childhood favourite, in light of the adventure and imagination it evokes. But as impressive as these decks are, they pale besides the King Arthur Gold deck, which has gold metallic ink on the faces, and gold foil on the card backs, for a truly extravagant look. Inside and out, this is a stunning tribute to a timeless classic from the world of fiction.
So I cheated. I already have a section devoted to cardistry, so I figured I'd sneak in a second category, by including some cardistry decks that all have a space theme. These decks all feature colourful visuals that work well for flourishing, but can also be enjoyed by collectors who appreciate their vibrant colours and exuberant designs. ● Solokid Constellation Playing Cards - This set of twelve decks captures the twelve different star signs. It was produced by Bocopo, a company well known for producing colourful custom decks that appeal especially to cardists and collectors. These decks are typical Bocopo offerings, with evocative colours that are unique to each different deck, to help capture a different feeling for each and every constellation. If you like vibrant colour, you'll certainly find something to enjoy here. ● Stargazer New Moon Playing Cards - Several different decks have now appeared in the Stargazer series, but the recent New Moon deck is probably my favourite. The circular moon that appears on all the card backs makes it an ideal deck for card flourishing moves like spins and twirls. The face cards have some truly vibrant colours, and capture well the feel of a night sky bursting with colour and life. ● Sirius B v3 Playing Cards - I fell in love with the style of the original Sirius B deck, so this third edition was always going to win me over. The court cards consist of a blur of colours that look like paints mixed together, and this style has also been applied to the pips. The colours are the real appeal here, and the signature design of the card backs also looks very nice in card flourishes.
I personally adore transformation cards, and consider them to be one of the most fascinating and memorable types of playing cards there is. The idea is that you take the pips and incorporate them into a larger picture that forms a unique work of art, for each and every card in the deck. ● Cotta's Almanac #1 Reproduction Playing Cards - This historic deck was first created in 1805 by J.C. Cotta, and was the very first of its kind. Themed on the "Joan of Arc" play by Schiller, the beauty and creativity of these cards will still win over collectors today. Lovingly produced in a high quality modern edition, this recreation is the first of the entire series of Cotta transformation decks that is being reproduced by PCD. ● 5th Kingdom Playing Cards - This deck is possibly my favourite original release from PCD in the past year. It is an outstanding example of the creativity and originality of a semi-transformation deck, where the pips have been cleverly incorporated into the artwork. Each suit represents a different culture, turning each individual card into a work of art that can be admired and enjoyed. ● Pack of Dogs V2 Playing Cards - This transformation deck is the work of John Littleboy, who has produced a number of such decks in his inimitable style, including Pack of Dogs, Kitten Club, Mermaid Queen, and Bag of Bones. The number cards are my favourites, and in this deck each of these represents a larger art piece with a dog. Each suit has a progressive image, so they don't feel totally unique from each other. It's more like a series of consecutive snapshots, and you can use flip animation to tell the story. Littleboy's Kitten Club V2 deck applies a similar concept to cats.
PlayingCardDecks doesn't just sell playing cards, but Will Roya also uses his wealth of experience to team up with designers and graphic artists to produce high quality custom decks under the PCD label. Here are some great custom decks that were published in-house over the course of 2020. ● Astronaut Playing Cards - This novelty deck is a delightful creation that will please anyone who has an interest in space and space travel, in light of its unique theme. The Kings are all depicted as astronauts, while the Queens and Jacks represent space travellers. The card backs have a futuristic look with neon lights, and this look carries over to the number cards, which are highly customized with unique red and blue pips. ● Beekeeper Playing Cards - There are plenty of bee themed playing cards already on the market, but the artwork style gives this one a truly unique feel. Two decks were produced, one with light card backs and the other with dark card backs. This is a great novelty deck for the collector, because there's especially some delightful creativity to be found with the bee-inspired pips, and the detailed custom artwork on the court cards. ● Testament Classic Playing Cards - This is a Biblical themed deck created by artist Ben Green. It's intended as an art deck, with the images on the cards depicting Biblical characters from well-known narratives. Representing a dual love for playing cards and a love for Bible-inspired art, this deck will especially appeal to the collector.
I'm a sucker for highly unusual decks with a high degree of novelty, and even though these are not ones I'd typically use for playing card games, they have very unique features that make them stand out from your average custom deck. ● Starry Night Puzzle Playing Cards - Fancy a deck that doubles as a jigsaw puzzle? This clever deck takes its inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, The Starry Night. The artwork on the card faces is all taken from the painting, and all the cards can be pieced together to make a single giant picture, thus effectively functioning as a large puzzle. Yet each card has clear indices so it's still something you can use for card games too. Definitely unique and out of the ordinary, this set of playing cards is a perfect choice for fans of classic art and paintings. ● Falcon Razors Deluxe Throwing Playing Cards - Rick Smith Jr has made multiple world records in throwing playing cards. His baseball background holds him in good stead, but anybody can learn to throw playing cards if you use the techniques Rick teaches. These throwing cards were a collaboration with legendary flourisher De'vo, and were featured in one of this year's viral videos from Dude Perfect, which featured Rick and his amazing card throwing. The cards are slightly thicker than standard Bicycle stock, to ensure extra durability and performance for card throwing. ● AQUA Invisible Plastic Playing Cards - If you're looking for something completely different, this might hit the mark. This is a ground-breaking deck that is the closest thing to being invisible. All the cards are made out of completely transparent plastic, after which a high gloss transparent printing is applied to selected areas of the cards to produce the designs and pips. So each card is effectively completely transparent, and yet you can see its unique artwork and determine its value and suit. The handling is surprisingly better than you'd expect for a completely plastic deck, and it's certainly something unique.
Other Gift Ideas
Do you want to let your gift recipient make their own decision about what to get, or are you not quite sure what to buy? Here are a couple of special gift ideas that might help out, even if it is to give your family or friends a convenient way to enable you to select your own gift! Firstly, there's a wide range of accessories available for playing cards, like card clips, card cases, and more. Alternatively, consider a gift card, which is available in amounts of $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. There's also the popular Pip Box Club, which has been around for over two years. Subscribers get a selection of decks and goodies shipped to them each month, and offers great value with each box. Boxing Day Sale: Right now you can take advantage of a special sale at PlayingCardDecks, and save $10 off any order over $30 by using the code box20. This coupon is valid from Boxing Day until the end of 2020. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!
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Popular Videos - Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa - YouTube
🛎Presidential Suite Tour at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa🛎 - Duration: 6:07. Slot Machine Wins By CHICO 1,231 views. 6:07. Las Vegas Penthouse Suite Red Rock Hotel & Casino ... Hotel Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Family Welcome, Regal Movie Cinemas, Children Game Zone and Beautifull Views Red Rock Canyon is a gorgeous national park located just a 40 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. With giant red rocks, enormous valleys and some of the m... Take an insider’s tour of Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, NV. 🛎Presidential Suite Tour at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa🛎 by Slot Machine Wins By CHICO. 6:07. Poolside Blackjack at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa by Station Casinos. 0:35. Las Vegas Resorts ... Hope you enjoy our walk through of the Red Rock Casino, one of the premier casinos in Summerlin. This casino is beautiful inside and out with an outdoor sho... ★ SUBSCRIBE for new videos every M/W/F & weekly live streams ★ Website: http://bit.ly/GottLoveMerchandise ★ If you’d like to support our channel directly... Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa provides the ultimate Las Vegas resort experience. Our resort hotel provides an idyllic getaway just minutes from the world-reno... This suite review is of the Signature Suites at Red Rock Casino and Resort. Thank you to our Casino Host Steve at Red Rock for the amazing hospitality and costumer service. This video also ...