#120 – “The Slightest Spark”

With so many updates really and a few even skipped as of late, I thought I’d put one up a little bit early for a change.

We’ll continue getting aquainted with Areen in the coming future; I haven’t assembled a cast page entry for her yet, and I’ll probably save it for a little while until people have first had some time to see her first hand.


40 Responses to “#120 – “The Slightest Spark””

  1. 1 Yerdiss
    June 24, 2009 at 22:12

    Lovely page :) I found the emphasis on “Captain” by Areen quite wonderful! And you managed to make Areen’s face very open and kind. She seems to be a very likable and sociable person.

  2. 2 TC
    June 24, 2009 at 22:48

    Captain Complain hah made me laugh, keep it up, this page just proves that no one should mess with the gnomes.

  3. 3 Bluf
    June 24, 2009 at 22:56

    VERY love page. that umm “Gnome paladin??” made me laugh and she seems a very adorible and charming shorty for the group and i’m looking forward to seing more of her :)

  4. 4 Xsear
    June 24, 2009 at 22:58

    “… Oh, Paladin Lightspark… \n I didn’t see you there…”

    How rude! xD

  5. 5 Phearlock
    June 24, 2009 at 23:23

    First impressions at least remind me a lot of Mazzy Fentan, the noble halfling warrior in baldurs gate 2. I noticed when I started hearing her voice when reading the chat bubbles. ^^

    Tiny warriors (or in this case, a paladin) are sometimes a bit too cute to be taken seriously though, which I’m sure I’ll see a few cases of. Anyway, yay for early update, gief moar. =D

  6. June 25, 2009 at 06:50

    Oh, look! It’s captain complain! ^^
    Lovely page! :) Keep up the good work!

  7. 7 Messai
    June 25, 2009 at 09:00

    Captain Complain ftw :P

    but Gnome Paladins!!!! WHOOO

    if only that existed then i’d had a reason to roll a gnome :P

    Areen looks so adorable <3

  8. 8 Illidan
    June 25, 2009 at 16:16

    Wow… Areen actually looks a bit like a friend of mine! 0_o :D

  9. 9 Weertangel
    June 25, 2009 at 16:30

    Phearlock, now that u mention it, aside from hairstyle(going from the picture, not the ingame image) they look quite alike, small but noble. Hell, for all we know Nhani got her inspiration from that game for this character ;) btw, Mazzy Fentan was also a paladin, not a warrior.
    1 inpression i do get from Areen is that she seems a little arrogant, must be a paladin thingy…
    For the rest, keep it coming! looks great like always!

  10. June 25, 2009 at 21:14

    I expected to see Tiny what she was gonna say about the gnome,not only one quote “Oh look,it’s Captain Complain”I am sure in the next page Tiny is gonna make some friendship with that gnome,they are both small so they have same opinion,I wonder what Hani will think between of these two….maybe she will be jelious because Tiny never had other friends exept Hani and now is about to gonna have!

  11. June 25, 2009 at 21:17

    Can you show some Nothrend gear on people?Because Nothrend gear looks more specific (they have cooler graphics too!)like those shoulders with spikes on it!And some Nothrend weapons too!

    • 12 Nhani
      June 25, 2009 at 21:29

      The problem with Northrend stuff is generally twofold – primarily, the Wrath-compatible modelviewer I use is.. quirky when exporting things, to the point where it will occasionally randomly crash when exporting some things, so presently, obtaining Wrath gear textures and models can be.. bothersome. The second issue is largely also part of what’s good about it – it’s heavilly stylistic. A great deal of Wrath armour only works with its specific visual set, and a great deal of it also looks very much like winter clothing.

      I intend to trade up Hanis’ sword eventually – I might pick one from Wrath when doing so. (Then again, I might not. Depends on what I catch a liking to) But I have no specific plans for applying Wrath gear. There’s a few leather peices that I really do like the look of, but most of that would really only be suited in winter temperatures.

  12. June 25, 2009 at 22:47

    Gnome paladin?

    I demand fanart of Areen in the Paladin Tier sets!!!

    • 14 Taercenn
      June 25, 2009 at 23:21

      But paladin tier sets look so silly.

      I think Areen looks cute!

      • June 26, 2009 at 00:04

        I disagree. With the exception of Tier 3, most of them look more than good enough. Besides, I could easily make digs as to how silly the rest of the class tier sets look to, but that’s not here or there.

  13. 16 TheNic
    June 26, 2009 at 01:10

    how can you say that paladin T3 looks “bad” ((I know you didn’t really say that but you implied” but not T7, it looks the same but with different color, besides paladin T8 looks ridicolous, but so does all the T8 …

  14. 17 Kai
    June 26, 2009 at 05:58

    The one cute thing about showing the little gnome pally, a lot of butt shots of everyone else XD

    Now if only I was a guy. :P

    Still very very good. Man I WISH you’d post up a tutorial on how you go about rigging these guys! I even downloaded some prerigged/boned models to mess with, and I can’t for the life of me sort out how to go back and forth from editing/tweaking the mesh to messing with the bones. Or how to even add more then one model into a scene to pose.

    • 18 Nhani
      June 26, 2009 at 07:37

      Well I can post up a run through how the biped bone structure runs through Hanis’ upcoming rev 4 model, along with an idea of how I set up the envelopes, once it’s done enough. I’ve avoided making full tutorials though largely because I very much doubt I could make a tutorial that is more informative than those built into 3ds itself.

      I do the whole modelling process in three steps, though – first of all making the base model, then go on to align the biped skeleton to match the model structure and only rig it via the Physique modifier after – if there shows to be deformation issues I can’t solve with just adjusting envelopes (thus need to change the model or skeleton for), I remove the physique modifier, do the adjustments and then add it again and give it another try.

      It’s worth noting that when posing up the skeleton to match the base model, I have Figure Mode enabled, while when later testing if poses work (or just general posing), I have figure mode off so I can attach poses to animation keys; this way I can enable figure mode temporarily to snap it back to the base pose.

      The final step is making the morph targets – I do this last because morph targets require that the model doesn’t change, so the moment you have to add or remove edges or vertices, all the morph targets you have made become invalidated and have to be done over.

      Multiple models in a scene is easy – each model is saved in its own scene and file; I just use Merge to merge in the elements I need from their seperate files into the current scene.

  15. 19 Derrael
    June 26, 2009 at 07:11

    ”oh look! it’s the silly man who thinks that he has any right to stop us from mauling anyone we want to.” i really hope someone or something eats that little twerp soon…

    on the other side, the guard does seem to have a real stick up his as. i mean the guys knocked out are so clearly bandits of some sort that even Helen Keller would see that there’s something fishy about them.

  16. 20 dreamer
    June 26, 2009 at 09:47

    Hello Nhani. First off I’d like to say I apreciate your work and Beyond the Tree is one of the few wow-related comics that are worth reading at the moment. Yours is a very unique and esthetic one and it’s clear to everyone reading that you spend alot of time perfecting your work. That’s shows you’re choosy and it’s something to admire.
    But I have a bothersome discontent with the storyline. After reading 120 episodes I came to the conclusion that Hani slowly became a invincible, one-shotting, chuck norris/steven segal – “I never die nor get at least hurt” godmode warrior, so it’s rather pointless to wonder cos you already know that she’ll win EVERY fight she gets into and that makes things a little boring for me.
    Even if you wont treat Beyond the Tree as a story about wow characters, you’ll have to admit, in real life, even the best get hurt in battles especially when facing 3-4-5 enemies.

    • 21 Nhani
      June 26, 2009 at 16:23

      It really depends on what you compare her to – I’ve trivialized most battles so far because most of them have been.. well.. trivial. They’ve been intentionally unchallenging because the point with them wasn’t the challenge.

      Hani isn’t invincible and not all foes will be trivial. That said, for young Foonmall, many will be – and with her, the greatest challenges are more often those that can not be overcome simply by strength of arms.

      Beyond the Tree isn’t a story about wow characters, it’s a story about WarCraft characters – it’s not bound by gameplay conventions, mechanics or abitrary limits; it treads the path of myth, walked by characters so much larger than life. The travelling cast has more in common with characters like Varian Wrynn or Thrall than they do your average player character.

    • 22 Derrael
      June 27, 2009 at 09:56

      finally someone else who sees something odd in a comic folloving an omnipotent warrior goddes, with the personality of an anvil, going around and mauling everything that had the poor judgement to be born with a penis.

      • 23 Nhani
        June 27, 2009 at 11:17

        I actually always felt that Hani doesn’t really care whether her opponents/targets are male or female, and there’s even some battles where I made sure to add women in simply to express the fact. I’ve concluded though that doing that is alot of wasted time since, let’s be fair, the few people who actually care about which genders she’s fighting with don’t bother noticing, and the rest.. well, they don’t think it’s an issue to begin with.

        It actually hit a high point of rediculous when I was choreographing the fight with the three defias for #119 and found myself having spent over half an hour trying to figure out how the female defias and Hani might line up for poses before acknowledging what I’d concluded almost from the start – the poses of the male model lined up so much better with the visuals I had in mind.

        As a small aside, I find your condemnation of Tiny earlier highly ironic seeing how your usual input tends to be of pretty much the same nature.

      • June 27, 2009 at 15:16

        To be honest,from all the episodes I have see,Hani respects her own gender (not the bad guys) She punched her own faction leader.She doesn’t give attention to the humans (race).But making the story about Hani repsecting everyone it goes away!Everyone will asking her if she can help them with their problems.

        About Tiny,Tiny because she is small she thinks she deserves respect,yes she does but she must respects the others too.Both Hani and Tiny never followed an order of Humans,if they did mostly they did it to confront them/him or for Te’len.I think Hani needs to calm down a little,and just listen to humans (race) and their orders.If she will maybe she will win their respect.But if the plan of humans gives negative results then there is no point Hani listening to them.

    • 25 Ilyara
      June 27, 2009 at 12:56

      Hmm, well I tend to think it’s fairly clear that this is supposed to be a heroic fantasy, rather than a very realistic one. Which I guess Nhani confirms.

      The point of heroic fantasies is not the fights really, it’s about establishing a series of strengths, which usually convey a sense of otherworldly and epic skill, and then challenging the hero with situations where they cannot be brought to bear. For example, during the Labours of Heracles, he’s asked to perform a number of feats that demand more than his incredible strength to achieve: he wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Hydra without the bravery and love of Iolaus and he has to use his intelligence to clean the Augean stables and to use his wits later to obtain the Golden Apples.

      Hani seems to have a similar amount of potency within the story as a player character does, in their own heroic quest, when they play the game: foes fall easily, as a rule, but we need to be careful not to become overwhelmed and we only really stop and pause for Elite foes. I suppose my interest in the character are her clear weaknesses: her inability to relate to others, chief of all, and her journey to overcome that. The rest of the cast are a similar draw for their own reasons.

      When she punches Staghelm, it *is* a very fun moment, but it’s also a failure of the character when faced with a test: self control, and looking out for the best interests of those around her, including Te’len and the High Priestess. She reacts and does what is right for her at that time instead: you can see why the Sentinels rejected her.

      The story is about personal growth rather than heroic deeds: it’s character based heroic fantasy, so we’re not going to see the heroes struggling with injuries unless they pertain to the story, we’re not going to see them starving and suffering from dysentery in bad weather either. I do enjoy more gritty/realistic fantasy sometimes, but WoW is not a very good vehicle for that, and I do enjoy this kind as well.

      The fact it’s character driven, well written, easy on the eye and features a number of women as central cast members is what draws me to it: not that you’re guilty of this dreamer, but one or two commentators really need to learn that being pro-women is not the same as being anti-men.

  17. 26 Messai
    June 26, 2009 at 19:22

    please do not ever mention the name of the supposed “leader” of the alliance ever again, i hate that guy so much >.<

  18. 27 Weertangel
    June 26, 2009 at 19:51

    why Messai? he kicked your but or something while u were trying to kill him with a horde raid group behind u?? i mean, he’s at least better then still having his son on the throne(got reaally boring to look at…

    And Nhani, it would indeed not hurt as u said to get their gear upgraded, just another suit on hani would be a huge inprovement, like the end of 1 part of the series. so u can acually see at their clothes that they have in some way advanced(and i don’t mean level or something like that) couse the standard gear they have now really gets boring to look at.(aside from Te’len, she looks awsome!)

    Anything would be nice! and maybe an axe or mace for hani just for a change?

    • 28 Nhani
      June 27, 2009 at 00:04

      Some of it ends up being iconic too, of course – while Te’len could fairly transparently change to another sort of druidic look so long as it involved a skirt, Hani is more difficult to change – there’s something about the way she looks that comes across as rugged and well-worn. I have no intentions of changing her overall look at present, though I have a few ideas what to do with her armament over time. I don’t expect her primary armament to ever not be a sword unless she somehow is handed a moonglaive however.

  19. June 27, 2009 at 05:56

    Add me to the list of people who wishes he could roll a gnome paladin.

    Of COURSE paladins seem a little arrogant. They have nigh-overwhelming prima facie evidence that God /the gods/ the Light is on their side, and generally approve(s) of their morals and the actions which flow from them. And paladins who habitually tread the path of justice (and also keep an eye out for hubris, easily their most besetting flaw) should be pretty confident that they will retain the favor of the Powers of Good.

  20. 31 Partiya
    June 27, 2009 at 08:46

    Hey Nhani! I’m a fellow Warcraft roleplayer who has been in the scene for exactly as long as you. Like yourself, I like to follow lore in my roleplays and I devote myself to a couple of characters and develop them fully rather than pop a bunch of characters up and struggle to keep them contained. Also like yourself, I am a writer and character enthusiast. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to talk a bit with you and discuss- well, all the good ol’ RP we get on World of Warcraft, eh? Hee.

    Best part is, both of us have Kal’Dorei characters with very similar attributes and even similar names that we’ve both developed through years of roleplay. And we both love Tyrande.

    The e-mail address to reach me would be sovietskyi at gmail dot com.

  21. 32 Messai
    June 27, 2009 at 10:19

    @Weertangel: Been alliance since day 1 ;) I just hate him because he’s an idiot, when every bit of life is at stake, he only cares to try and kill Thrall, while the orc has the brains to put his “Death-To-Alliance” plans aside when there’s a bigger thing playing :)

  22. 33 Meradana
    June 27, 2009 at 11:17

    It’s better that Varian is stupid and angry then Magni for example…

  23. 34 Nhani
    June 27, 2009 at 11:49

    I’m actually going to express a somewhat renegade opinion by stating that I think in many ways, Varian Wrynn is actually justified in some of his feelings. Though he’s showing lack of wisdom in ignoring the councel of Alexstrasza and most definitely approaching the problem the wrong way (Thrall isn’t the source), he has a point in that Thrall really hasn’t reigned in his people very well.

    Thrall is in a pretty tough position all in all, and Varian in his passion doesn’t bother making the distinction that people like Garrosh are the problem, not Thrall. I actually think he’s an interesting character, and sans Blizzards’ obcession with trying to swing the Pvp angle (though it’s preferable that it actually is explained than not), I actually think the Warcraft universe is richer for having him around.

    That said, I don’t think a single one of the characters I play actually like him!

  24. June 27, 2009 at 23:41

    Again awesome job dudette kudos.

    Though i allways thought all Gnomes didn’t have much ‘faith’ in the Light, hence no Priests or Paladins, i allways assumed one wouldallways jump out of the mold.

    As for the Varian discussion….i’m a horde fan boy, and i dislike him, but during his Lo’ghosh days, i liked him better.
    He really gave me the ‘Conan’ feel if you know what i mean, and the journey to his memories and his people was very well done.
    But ever since his journey is over, i didn’t like the attidude change much and i think he reacts 20 years to late and let’s his anger and hatred take the better of him.

    My only hope for Stormwind lore wise is Anduin, his son, and Valeera the belf rogue.

  25. 36 Ensorcelled
    June 28, 2009 at 07:53

    Nhani, I dunno if this will come up as a very late reaction to all of this, but I just recently found all of your great work and I must say I am at the very most incredibly interested in everything you have done so-forth. I have definitely made this a must bookmark to keep myself updated with all your hard work. I hope to see more to come and really do want to give you another thanks for making this so very fun to read :)


  26. 37 Ragefury
    July 2, 2009 at 02:35

    As I found some opinions quite interesting, I’ll throw in my word.

    First off, about their clothing – we’ve seen some examples in new clothes, especially Hani in a dress (not that it would fit her, seeing as she’s the warrior type and a dress would just make her clumsy). In my opinion, it would be nice to see Areen persuade Hani to get rid of those worn-out clothes and show her a sample of new clothes of which she can choose between in a leather store or something in any of the upcoming pages.

    Secondly, about Varian – I have no doubt we’ll see his wrinkled face anytime soon, seeing as our elven friends probably will spend a good amount of time in Stormwind before heading out for new adventures – and most likely Hani and Varian will give each other a good beating, if they live up to their short-tempered personalities.

    And thirdly, about the storyline itself – sure, we’ve seen Hani beat up both Twilight cultists and Defias rogues single-handedly, but I’m sure not all opponents Hani has to face will be as easily dealt with as they’ve been up until now.

    Still, keep up the good work and throw in some hillarious lines while you’re at it. ;)

  27. 38 Sarista
    June 10, 2011 at 13:27

    You could always give Hani some male arm guards, leg guards and shoulder pads they would be good for protection without taking away from her suit which i also like cos of the sort of rugged traveler look.

  28. 40 Amoranta
    August 2, 2011 at 09:09

    A gnome. <3 She's adorable. The group is complete! A paladin at that, awesome use of theoretical lore. Your photomanipulation is improving a whole lot too! I'm so hooked, been marathon reading this for hours. and here I thought I was gonna log on and do dailies… I blame YOU for this procrastination. :P

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Beyond the Tree is based on (when not directly using) the art resources and story setting of World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment.

That and all related and/or registered trademarks are the property of Blizzard Entertainment and Beyond the Tree claims no ownership of these or any affiliation with Blizzard Entertainment but hopes they'll have a sense of humour and appreciate it all the same ;)


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