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Guardian Askungen the green amazon

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Maltatai, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Maltatai

    Maltatai IncGamers Member

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    Askungen is Swedish for Cinderella the fairy tale character. She is a green javazon focusing of course in the green poison skills and the blue and green inner sight and decoy. She is also wearing green plate and a green shield and is forbidden to use curses other than the green terror. Shamefully, she wields weapons of other colors, but only because she failed to find a Lem rune to make them green.

    Being a green javazon she figures in my story representing environmentally concerned green parties as well as green grassroot movements protesting against top ruling establishments. She is joined by Ip the barbarian because barbarians are much in touch with nature and other such stuff that environmental amazons aspire to be. Askungen was left at home by the bowazons in a most stepsisterly way and had no help with the maintenance and cleaning. She could not find any green plate for ages until a colony of mice living under her hut offered help.

    [​IMG]

    Statistics
    The game was played with patch 1.13 and with no mods (like the Rune Word Mod) or extra stash or muling (like Atma and GoMule).

    Resistances (with shield and without Nadir)

    Fire: 75 but 30-40 for most of hell (also absorption from dwarf stars)
    Cold: 56
    Lightning: 75
    Poison: 37

    Physical Damage Reduction: 60 (40 with Nadir)
    Magical Damage Reduction: 44 (37 with Nadir)
    % Physical Damage Reduction: 11

    Life: 1005
    Mana: 138

    Poison javelin damage: 9000-10 000
    Plague javelin damage: 5600-5800
    Jab with Hone Sundan damage: 202-412 (+ 350% versus demons)

    Skills
    Passive and Magic Skills

    Decoy: 20
    Inner Sight: 20
    Dodge: 3
    Pierce: 3
    The others: 1

    Javelin and Spear Skills

    Poison Javelin: 20
    Plague Javelin: 20
    Jab: 1
    Lightning Bolt: 1

    Bow and Crossbow Skills

    Boooo!

    Equipment
    Hat: Nadir Circlet, Askungens Scintillating Circlet of Life Everlasting (socketed with Mal rune), The Face of Horror
    Armor: Full plate with perfect emerald and Sol runes
    Belt: String of Ears
    Boots: Rare boots with 36% cold resistance, 35% lightning resistance, 20% faster running, 11% magic finding
    Gloves: Chance Guards, Venom Grip against bosses, Laying of Hands after passing the Arreat Plateau
    Rings: Dwarf Stars
    Amulet: Amulet of Life Everlasting, Amulet of Teleportation

    Peace armor for summoning a valkyrie

    Weapons: Rare harpoon with 40% increased attack speed, 187% enhanced damage and 4% life stealing and unfitting golden color and tower shield with perfect emerald and diamonds, The Generals Tan Do Li Ga Flail (what on earth does the name refer to???), Black Flail (Boom!), Hone Sundan with Shael runes

    Charming resistance and life charms

    Equipment of Ip the Bold Barbarian

    Hat: The Face of Horror, , Askungens Scintillating Circlet of Life Everlasting (socketed with Mal rune), Tal Rashas Mask
    Armor: Gothic plate with Sol runes
    Weapons: Upgraded Coldsteel Eye, Malice Legend Sword after Act III

    Deaths
    Three. The first one was complete laziness on my part when Ip strayed into a pack of Hungry Dead in early nightmare on 8 players settings. So unnecessary. The second was when facing a bosspack of horror mages with conviction in the Ancient Tunnels in Hell. Ip died from what seemed like one shot. I was tremendously disappointed over that, especially since the mages could have been lured over corpses and blown up, which I did later. The third time was saddest of all, when Duriel tore Ip apart. That is so hopeless for melee hirelings. I honestly don't know what you are supposed to do. Tanking on your own is damn risky and Duriels knockback still makes it inefficient. Perhaps Shaftstop and Rockstopper would have done the trick, I don't know.

    Tactics
    First, poison versus plague javelin. Both maxed, plague javelin was more useful most of the times with faster damage and clouds spreading through packs of enemies and not needing a hit check to poison an enemy. Poison javelin shines with the fast recast rate which is a huge benefit for the mobile play style I favored and valuable when you face large groups of weaker monsters like fallen ones, imps and ranged fetishes that spread out and run around. Poison javelin also has higher damage per cast. That is of great worth when you make hit and run attacks against enemies or formations of enemies that you wish to have to see for as few times as possible. A prime example were sirens. These cursing flying artillery regiments were quite lethal, especially for Ip, and would usually survive one plague javelin but not one poison javelin. So it wasn't that great to only have to wait ten seconds or so for the quicker plague poison to work if you had to go back for another attack after that. Lastly, with a Lem rune poison javelin would have ruled and conquered all.

    Askungen: Yes, and what do I get in hell? A Mal rune! Misplaced malware, that is!

    No character of mine has so far been as dependant on decoy as Askungen. In order to protect Ip, battles would begin the normal way with casting decoy to scout and attract attention. Once a group approached that was too dangerous, a new decoy would be cast closer to Askungen to block the group and also to enable them to be engaged closer to her than potential reinforcements ahead. Then Askungen would cast a javelin and retreat, hoping to separate them.

    If the group would be manageable in melee, a decoy would first be cast next to Ip to take pressure off him in the melee. If he proved to be able to tank properly, Askungen would recast it between Ip or herself and the direction of a possible other attack, so as not to be surprised. A very good example was when engaging spread out archers or mages, where the decoy served as a small wall between the engaged enemy and its allies.

    Since poison damage was often insufficient in itself, Askungen followed up with melee attacks from Hone Sundan or corpse explosions from the flail when things got too boring. Her javelin was a bit too weak to make it worthwhile most of the times. She sorely missed some regeneration, which would have gone superbly along with her high damage reduction. The generals flail was not used very often in the field, despite its usefulness. The spider cavern was one such place though, with lots of tough and poison resistant enemies against which the javelins were a waste of time.

    [​IMG]

    Progress
    Maltatai: Should I really write anything here or just leave a link to the story? It's all there, after all...

    Askungen: So few people reads that anyway, so we have just decided, with a qualified majority vote, that a shorter summary shall be written here.

    Maltatai: We?

    Askungen: Me, Ip and Kaylee the peaceful valkyrie.

    Maltatai: Thanks for being included in the decision making...

    Fine, then. Starting out with maxing poison javelin, Askungen ruled the beginning of normal with sensitive foes and open areas. From Act IV things slowed down and Ip was a most welcome addition with his tanking and high instantaneous damage. Askungen dressed in a rusty gemmed ring mail and gemmed large shield but it was not very stylish. She got peace of mind when she could summon tough valkyries in early nightmare even though Ip had died embarrassingly. I think it took all the travel to Act III to finally find a gothic plate with four sockets. Finally stylish armor!

    Other important acquisitions were a Pul rune and Ips cutlass. Two dwarf stars added nice safety and lots of gold. Chance Guards added more gold. Extra gold from monsters is usually an extra bonus, like magic finding. For a character with no extra space in her inventory it is quite important, I would say, to sustain charged items and not hesitating to buy lots of potions when required. Continued use of Nadir hats, for example, is a powerful tool that sort of implies lots of gold or item finding as well. Askungens amulet of life everlasting was a weak point in her equipment, in that it lacked a prefix. A chromatic or skilled amulet of the same would have made a big difference.

    Hell, then. Act I went alright, with dangerous irritating zombies killing the mood as usual and fallen ones falling to poison with ease. Archer packs were highly dangerous. Andariel was extraordinarily terrible and threatened to destroy Ip dozens of times. In retrospect, I should probably have played more aggressively against her but I hadn't realized by then how tough Askungen could be against bosses. Ip survived in any case which I considered quite a feat.

    Act II threw a world of anguish against the poisoning and physical team. Dual immune sand maggots, Cold Worm whose army appeared to be undefeatable until Ip donned Tal Rashas mask and hordes of resistant undead. On the brighter side, Askungen totally blew Fangskin into shreds which was very amusing and a big contrast to some other characters' experiences. Ip died twice, as mentioned. It was a sad day for the grassroots, even if Duriel could be taken down with the most classical of manners with thrown javelins and retreating. Boss battles would be so indescribably easier if you could make your hireling wait outside for a minute.

    [​IMG]

    In Act III Askungen faced the dreaded spiders and they were vey hard. One had the insolence to be immune to both poison and physical damage and I just couldn't find the energy to spare. Ip proved to be a superb tank against unique monsters with his stun and bashing, which was quite a surprise and something of a comeback after his hopeless display earlier against Duriel. He even survived the dangerous hydras and Askungen proved to be immune to their firebolts. Mephisto could be successfully tanked and slowed down a lot after being whipped with the ever useful generals flail. His durance was very scary but fairly manageable, and yielded the socketed legend sword in which I made Malice.

    In Act IV, I had expected poisons to be useless and Ip to die. Neither happened, in fact, but it was close. Poisons did work well on burning souls, on all things. I have stared too much on their immune cousins in Act V. Doom knights were dangerous as always but they could be poisoned even if it went slowly. The decoy really saved the day in these situations. Hephasto had a big load of nastiness in him and was genuinely unmeleeable. With the River of Flame cleared out he could however be lured to follow and be poisoned time and again. It was very tricky since ran to engage him all the time but in the end the poison got him. The Mal rune was as mentioned a big disappointment. Diablo was worthy of his title and chased Ip and Askungen around and around with his unpredictable charges and spells. Initially I had intended to poison him like Hephasto but it proved to take too long time and be too risky despite the lessening of contact it would mean. Standing in one place and even tanking Diablo was easier but very dangerous. It was the closest Askungen had come to dying in a very long time when Diablo smashed her three or four hard times in a row and she had no purple potions left.

    Finally in Act V, burning dead archers and madly foul crows greeted Askungen. Javelineers followed and later sirens and their cousins. These were perhaps the most dangerous normal monster type of them all. In themselves, they were manageable despite the scary cursing. Decoys broke up their concentrated assault pretty well and cloaking worked wonders. The problem is when sirens retreat, which they do irritatingly much and often. Combined with their hideous off screen range it forced Askungen to chase after them, cursed, right into the arms and other extremities of waiting new monsters. The prime example being the frozen river with their charging vipers and reanimated dead, the latter sometimes having risen again when Askungen and Ip retreated from the next group.

    The ancients were outclassed on the very first try after a very lucky roll! Mana burn on all combined with stone skin or lightning enchantment and seemingly weak equipment. Askungen and Ip teleported one full lap around the summit which separated the ancients nicely.

    [​IMG]

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    Paired with sirens came minotaurs, doom knights, assailants (the improved sand raider) and flayer packs in the Worldstone Keep. Of Baals minons, Achmel the cursed was by far the most difficult. Cursed and with holy freeze, which made a maddening pair with Baals decrepification, and with his poison aura, he took many assaults to bring down. Ips malicious blade proved very important to prevent healing. The councillors were split up and Ventars demons were by now something Askungen ate for breakfast in spinach stews, since she had the Laying of Hands. She jabbed and stabbed so fast and hard they were locked in hit recovery in a most comical way.

    Lister was no joke, though. Fire enchanted and stone skinned, and with enormous poison resistance. Ip could for some weird reason seem to do bleeding damage. Askungen made him switch between his slowing coldsteel eye and malicious legend sword to sustain both bleeding and slowing. On the way back to Baal, now with flail and yari, they encountered a few straggling minions of destruction. Outclassed. After a few slashes with the slowing flail they broke apart like paper under the crushing jabs of the Hone Sundan. It boded ill for the lord of destruction.

    Baal cloned himself. Askungen cast a town portal and got back. The clone was still there. Askungen ran away and cast a portal and got back. The clone was gone! Aaaand...that was it. When the green goons...grassroots...charged in and began to lay at Baal with the slowing flail and other unpleasant objects the demon slowed down and staggered so much that he could do just about nothing. Soon Askungen felt so secure that she brought out her yari, and away flew Baals hit points. Ip had slashed him repeatedly with all his might and malice (reducing defence with 100 per hit) which combined with a maxed inner sight left little to protect the lord of not especially much destruction.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion
    Askungen failed to become the poison javazon I hoped she could be. This was primarily due to not finding a Lem rune for a treachery armor, the holy grail of poison javelin users. It would also had made her weapon GREEN instead of the blasphemous golden. Alternatively one can go for lots of skills to improve the clouds but she was not very lucky with that and I did not spend very much time searching for such. Until Ip acquired the malicious sword, dual immunes were an absolute pain and impediment. It was utterly unnecessary since Malice is one of the easiest rune words to make. One of several serious oversights on my part.

    If her poison damage was unimpressive, she did manage to excel in other areas. With the tremendous shell of PDR and MDR coating her she was one hard nut to crack.

    Askungen: How dare you?! I'm not a nut! You are a nut!

    Maltatai: It's a figure of speech. You had a thick and strong armor plating, nothing more.

    Askungen: OK. Right.

    Maltatai: Her feats of toughness included but were not limited to complete immunity to hydras, near immunity to blowgun darts apart from the poison damage, fallen ones and probably the inferno from venom lords at the end but Ventars pack died too quickly and I was too proper and careful to try it out completely. Which was quite sad because that meant Askungen didn't get to make the signature comment about a warm breeze blowing today.

    And then there is the crushing physical damage. Hone Sundan did not (before the end) deal very much physical damage with just a point in jab but the crushing blow triggers very quickly. And the incredible revenue from Chance Guards meant a disturbing amount of explosions from the black flail. Incredibly effective against cats and claw vipers, among others.

    Even if I am very disappointed in losing Ip the three times I did it was a huge improvement from my earlier characters, and from a more logical point of view I do recognize that barbarians are hard to keep alive and very exposed when they rush into everything and everyone. Still outclassing town guards of course.

    The color theme and restrictions was a serious impediment. Life tap or weaken from wands might have saved Ip against Duriel, who knows? Weaken can be acquired from gloves too and that would have fit tremendously with Askungens other equipment, not to mention being able to get a fully Sol-ed plate and a highly blocking Rhyme shield as well. Her charms were on the whole of high quality which did compensate to some extent.

    Accomplishments

    Survival
    Immunity to several attacks
    Tanking Mephisto
    Killing Hephasto with textbook hit and run poison attacks
    Tanking Diablos magical attacks
    Humiliating Ancients
    Slaughtering normal minions of destruction
    Humiliating Baal

    Failures

    Making a malice sword too late
    Not managing to protect Ip
    Not finding a Lem rune
    Not getting regeneration
    Not getting mana leaching
    Minimal poison damage
    Unable to tank Andariel
    Unable to tank Duriel
    Unable to tank Diablos physical attacks
    Uncured Arachnophobia

    Askungen: What do you mean with arachnophobia? It is you and the rest of the world that are deluded and fail to realize the danger! They will trap us in the eternal web of doom around the whole world - the WORLD WIDE WEB! It has begun, I tell you! The spider conspiracy is evident!

    The Outrageous Taunting Of This Game
    Askungen: I am a javazon! How hard is that to get? Aaaargh!

    [​IMG]

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    Best Of Askungen
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  2. SunsetVista

    SunsetVista IncGamers Member

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    Amazing and amazing write-up! Huge congrats and thank you for all the lovely green jokes!
     
  3. maareek

    maareek IncGamers Member

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    This. This is good. I like this.

    I feel like there's always some disconnect between creator and consumer with these kinds of stories/projects since from the side of the creator it's nice and somewhat necessary to feel like people are enjoying and paying attention to what you're doing and yet from the side of the consumer there's really nothing that can be said that seems on par with how cool what's being delivered is (after all, if it ain't cool why would they be paying attention in the first place) so the feedback seems minimal/non-existent even if the enjoyment is deep and widespread. Can be discouraging, so it's always great to see when something like this is seen through to the finish.

    This rocked, and thank you for providing it to us.
     
    Zyr likes this.
  4. Atratees

    Atratees IncGamers Member

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    Great stuff again Mal.......very much like your style and very much enjoy your writing......Bravo
     
  5. Grape

    Grape IncGamers Member

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    This is awesome! Congrats! These adventures are always very funny and entertaining to read!
     
  6. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

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    Cool story, but quick question; deaths?
     
  7. NoisemakerArrow

    NoisemakerArrow IncGamers Member

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    Only the merc died, from what it sounds like.
     
  8. Jocular

    Jocular IncGamers Member

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    Awesome story!

    I was wondering, when did your damage reduced by integer noticeably improve your staying power? At what amount I mean. Because it sounds like it worked quite well.
     
  9. Maltatai

    Maltatai IncGamers Member

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    Glad you liked the story, and took the time to comment.

    Yes, only Ip died of course. It is a Guardian thread after all.;)

    maarek, very interesting comment. I think you are right, and it's bloody sad. It's like, the better you write the less encouragement do you get. Not a fun correlation.

    Jocular, excellent question. I have never taken the time to join the PDR debates but below here is a summary of my views.

    Integer damage reduction/Physical Damage Reduction/ Damage reduced by X
    I am used to the term Physical damage reduction (PDR) and will use it because it's quick to write.

    First, when did it noticeably improve my staying power?

    I can't say. I donned all the PDR and safety gear prior to entering hell so it was a step from 0 to 60. Together with the MDR that amount did provide a substantial protection.

    The following question is of course what amount is enough for a noticeable improvement?

    Here the debate is almost always only about "what amount do I need in order for PDR to function as an all-protecting answer to all physical attacks" and the answers are that most monsters don't do more than around 100 damage so over 100 PDR owns, and extra strong minons, bosses and uniques and champions do much more so PDR is useless.

    That focus is wrong in my opinion. PDR, like fire resistance, can not protect against any attack. Neither should be discarded because of that reason. The question should instead be:

    What amount of PDR achieves so much safety for me, based on my other equipment, skills and tactics, that it is worth the investment in equipment?

    PDR has some approximate amounts that are a kind of milestone, much like FHR and FCR have breakpoints. Which you aim for depends on a great deal of things, as mentioned.

    "Breakpoints"

    32. About 30 at least. Immunity to physical damage from Diablos firestorm. I'm unsure about the damage from Andariels poison cloud which is said to be part physical too. Immunity to blowgun darts from fetishes, apart from their poison.

    50. Skeletal archers of many kinds deal this amount of physical damage it seems.

    60. Immunity to tomb viper clouds (I think it's 56 but I may remember it wrong). Clouds deal physical damage each frame (the smallest time unit in D2, 1/25 second) which amounts to staggering numbers.

    75. Immunity to slingers with their piercing javelins.

    100. Immunity to many physical attacks from the weaker monsters.

    150. Immunity to physical attacks from just about all normal monsters.

    You can add many more breakpoints based on the beastiary of each Act. Now, let us add the tactical aspect that is so often lacking in the discussions. What kind of effect can we achieve from the incomplete protection of the PDR we wear? Here the breakppoints are not universal. They differ due to class, life, enemies faced and so on. Still, the enemies are the same. Ranged attacks are generally weaker and faster than melee attacks for example. Some breakpoints will be these (the level of PDR is described from 1 and up, with level 1 being the least amount with noticeable effect). I'm choosing the weaken curse as an example of crippling the enemy, because all classes can obtain it and it is economical to use. The words "if weakened" do of course always refer to the enemy being weakened. I'm not sure if this order is correct, it does differ between areas too.

    PDR gear protection levels:

    1. If weakened, ranged attacks do not lock you into hit recovery.
    2. If weakened, weaker melee attacks do not lock you into hit recovery.
    3. Ranged attacks do not put you into hit recovery.
    4. If weakened, strong melee attacks do not put you into hit recovery.
    5. Weaker melee attacks do not put you into hit recovery.
    6. Strong melee attacks do not put you into hit recovery.
    7. If weakened, immunity to ranged attacks.
    8. If weakened, immunity to weaker melee attacks.
    9. Immunity to ranged attacks.
    10. If weakened, immunity strong melee attacks.
    11. Immunity to weaker melee attacks.
    12. Immunity to strong melee attacks.

    All this DISCOUNTING when the immunity to certain attacks like viper clouds kick in, when bosses do or do not put you into hit recovery and when a certain kind of unique or champion monster will be resisted or at least not put you into hit recovery. The there are stairtraps. Assume ten archers of various strength hit you, each dealing 110 damage. Nasty effect from a moderate amount of damage from each.

    So what level of protection is right for my character? Which one of these should I aim for? This is where we are back at what character you have and what kind of tactical needs you have. I will list a few archetypical characters as an example.

    Askungen: Post hijack! Hahahaaa! It has been democratically agreed that I shall take over the presentation from now! Let's start!

    1. The light archer. Puny bowazons and other archers like mobility and keeping the distance to the enemy. Above all else the archer does not want to get caught in melee or trapped in any way. Avoiding being locked into hit recovery by ranged attacks is worth a lot in this case, wouldn't you think?

    2. The hit and run ranged attacker. The poison javazon! She likes to be able to manoeuvre between enemy groups to make her strike where it hurts the most. She does not have the time to dodge enemy missiles. Immunity to ranged attacks and not being locked in hit recovery by even strong meleers makes her very safe.

    3. The hit and run meleer. The daggermancer, and probably the charger as well. He does not want to be disturbed by the ranged enemies. Immunity to them seems wise. Immunity to weak meleers is good but not required, because meleers typically attack the outer rim of enemy formations and don't get into their middle like casters sometimes do. Enough to avoid being locked into hit recovery from the weak meleers at least. The strong ones can often be controlled by the attacks of these characters. Like a charger knocking a thorned hulk through a formation of fetishes that swarm after him.

    4. The crippling caster. This screams necromancer but it is really applicable to anyone that takes the time to cast a weakening curse over their enemies before engaging in battle. Here all breakpoints become the ones being "if weakened". The rest is up to your tactics.

    5. The controlling meleer. This refers to the ones with melee attacks that disable the opponent so much that they are more or less rendered useless. Stun, smite, overwhelming damage, kicking, freezing target, knockback. These fellows can handle a small group of melee opponents flawlessly but have little time for anone else. Immunity to ranged attackers and weak meleers swarming around is desirable.

    6. The uncontrolling meleer. Me facing Diablo. As much as possible. She will want to negate all she can, whether aided by a curse or not.

    So PDR not only protects from certain attacks but it also UNLOCKS TACTICAL OPTIONS BASED ON THAT PROTECTION. Casters can position themselves better. Ranged characters can hold their ground against ditto enemies. Meleers can focus on locking out the few enemies that can pierce their PDR shell instead of spending that time dodging all enemies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
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  10. BlizzBallerSorc

    BlizzBallerSorc IncGamers Member

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    As someone who likes doing thorough write ups, and having unique concepts / back stories for characters, I immensely enjoyed this write up. It's an awesome project, and it has inspired me to make an Amazon. I've still never finished one.

    The green looks pretty darn cool as well. Made me think of the green children of Woolpit, though her skin isn't actually green.
     
  11. Maltatai

    Maltatai IncGamers Member

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    What's the deal with the children of Woolpit?

    Just so everyone know, the guardian thread writeup is nothing compared to the actual story it is a result of...
     
  12. BlizzBallerSorc

    BlizzBallerSorc IncGamers Member

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    I actually stumbled across them while trying to trace the modern conceptions of aliens as green men as far as I could.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_children_of_Woolpit
    Interestingly enough, though some later writers claimed the Children of Woolpit were from another planet, the original accounts do not. Furthermore, we don't see 'little green men' in literature really until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So this appears not to have direct ties to the larger literary / film tradition of green aliens.

    Your green character, along with the medieval aesthetic of Diablo 2, just reminded me of these green 12th century kids.
     

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