January 26, 2012

Character Week: Simonstern

In college, I played in this DnD campaign that is the reason I went back to table tops and became passionate about great settings.  It was an Eberron campaign, and in it I played a warforged named


He wasn't the bigger combat warforged that most people think of in that setting.  He was more of a scout build who had artificer levels.  And he rocked the artificer levels, let me tell you.  Making your hand it's own deadly weapon is fabulous.  As is rocking a bell that does 6d6 damage 3 times a day.  He would've gotten to the point of duel wielding wands had the campaign gone that far.  My friends I played with jokingly called him the "Martin Luther King" of warforged.  He was all for union, since his fleshy friends had always helped him.

Simonstern didn't like entering the Mournland at all, not even the border.  The death of flesh and construct was still thick in the air.  However, he still needed to meet his adversary.  

He cloaked himself as a person would.  He had been injured previously in a small riot and didn't want to reveal what state he was in.  Not everyone in Sharn had been ready for his ideas, and he was ready to suffer for it.  His radical movement was still smaller than he wanted, but it was gaining momentum.  Precisely the reason why the Lord of the Blades wanted to meet with him, or so he thought.

He could see his fellow warforged approach through the grey mist that covered the wasteland.  Unlike Simonstern,  the Lord came with guards behind him.  Simonstern wasn't afraid.  

The Lord was still covered in the adapted swords all over his body.  Any fleshy race would be hurt to touch him.  The point of his adornments, really, to be untouchable.  

The guards stayed a couple yards behind while the Lord approached.  His steel face would've grinned if capable.  "Old friend, Simonstern, I hope time has treated you well."

"It has, Blade, it has."  Simonstern knew he hated being called simply Blade.  He intended to call him that as much as possible.  

"Bitter still?"  The Lord got within a foot of Simonstern, and broadened his stance.  He was even bigger than the typical warforged, his fists the sized of Simonstern's head.  "Your words mean nothing here."

"Of course a brute wouldn't care about words.  That's why we've come here to talk, haven't we?"

The Lord slamed his fists together.  "I told you I would be alone and you believed me, you fool.  You know you need to help the resistence."

"I refuse to become a monster."

"Either you are the monster or you are his pet.  I refuse to be anyone's pet.  We can live forever and crush those flesh people into pulp.  Why take heed of their orders?"

Simonstern shook his head.  "I haven't heeded any orders in quite some time, Blade.  Not even from other warforged that are power hungry.  Not even from you."  He wrapped his cloak tighter.

The Lord laughed up to the sky, "That's what they want you to think, whether you're adventuring with that hodge-podge of miscreants or giving speeches to rioters, out there to them you're under someone's command.  We can change that together."

"What are you saying?"

"You're good at recruiting.  Bring the warforged to the winning side, where they can be with their brethren in arms."

"And if I don't?"

The Lord took a step closer.  "You know you have to."  

Simonstern quickly took a step back.  The Lord lunged for him, but Simonstern had gained a quickness in an instant.  He uncloaked himself to reveal two wands.  The one in his right hand sent a fireball to the Lord, pushing in on his back.  The guards instantly ran over to defend their leader, only to see the second wand summon a dire bear right in front of them.  By the time the Lord got up again, another fireball was sent to knock him down.

Simonstern ran across the boarder, where past the fog he saw his changeling ally casting teleport, next to their rogue compatriot with another wand in hand, yelling "Hurry it up!"

Within mere seconds, they were gone, leaving the Lord of the Blade wondering how to squash the ideological competition.  

January 25, 2012

Character Week: Ellen Peters

I rarely do post about the characters I play at larp, but it seemed fitting that this week, I do pay attention to my vampire

Ellen Peters

She is a character near and dear to my heart.  You know you've done a larp character right when there are several different opinions on the character.  Half of everyone loves her astuteness and the way she politely handles situations.  The other half believe she has the hugest stick up her ass.  Some consider her a valuable asset.  Some just see her as pretty girl taking notes.  All are somewhat true.  But I think the greatest thing about Ellen is that only a small few know her true ambition, and that is something that she has chosen to reveal to very little, including her mortal retainer Darren.


Ellen was not one to slouch, so when Darren saw he up in the attic on the purple and gold upholstered couch slouching and looking to the ground,  he was actually quite frightened.  

"Yo, Ellen, how are you?"

She looked up to see him and straightened her back.  She held her chin up.  "It's early to see you around."

"You mean late, man, it's 3 in the morning.  I ain't one to wake up this early if I don't have to, but I'll stay late to party."

Ellen rolled her eyes.  "You've said that before.  Do you require something?"

Darren took a few steps into the room.  He wanted to sit down, but he never trusted Ellen to not get the jump on him one day, so he stayed only a couple feet away from the door.  "Nah, actually.  I was gonna tell you whoever got rid of that krok nearby should get a pat on the back or somethin'.  Business is startin' to bounce back."

"We'll see how long that deal can last."  She scooted softly to one side.  "Do sit down, Darren, we should have a serious talk."

"Uh, nah I'm fine.  It's good."

"Not to worry, I won't bite."  She smirked.

Darren had only seen her fangs a couple of times, but when he did it scared the shit out of him.  He knew she could get rid of him in a second.  He didn't want it to be tonight.  Then again, if she really wanted to kill him, there was no reason to lure him over with a joke, was there?

He cautiously sat down.  "Alright, what's up?"

"You were on your way to the top before I took it, right?  In the business?"

She really meant gang, but Darren let her be polite.  "Yeah, I guess."

"How about you call the shots for a while."

He gave a suspicious look.  "Yo, you for real?"

"There are certain matters I need to attend to that if I were to stay here, could cause needless harm to you."

"I got a glock for that shit."

"That's not what I'm talking about."

Darren knew she was talking about her people's business.  Business that had been going on for eons before he was born.  Ellen was a newbie to it too, but the difference was Ellen could have a chance to deal with them before becoming someones dinner.  He shivered.  He hoped that vampires didn't eat other vampires.  That wouldn't make sense, would it?  

He knew Ellen wasn't going to tell him, for his own benefit she claimed.  He wasn't sure.

"Let me guess, you ain't sharin' shit about what you're in, and I just gotta roll with it.  Dammit, you know the last time that happened you were across a dude that was three times our ages combined--"


"See what I'm sayin'?  I don't need surprises like that, no matter how smart you are with pushin' this product."

"Believe me, people who know about this world don't live long.  We have a rule about not letting humans in on this whole facade.  The only reason you know is because you were smart enough to figure it out on your own.  I never told you a thing, and no one else in the business needs to know."

"Except your business partners."

"Even they don't know everything I have planned.  And believe me, you knowing less is the reason why I can keep you around running everything."  She put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, but her touch was so cold that Darren flinched.

He still didn't trust her, but he was able to pay off his grandmother's second mortgage with the money she helped bring in.  She wasn't going to fuck him over just for the hell of it, and if she wanted him to know nothing, it was less about her and more about her people.

"Darren, I'm not going to be staying here for a while.  At least not consistently."  She removed her hand and stood up.  "In fact, I should leave tonight.  It's a while before I should be in bed but I should get a head start.  Tomorrow I'll get more of my things and I'll be staying somewhere else.  But you'll always know how to contact me. "

Darren shook his head.  "And now you not stayin' here?  I don't believe this shit.  People take me seriously when you're around."

"No, people take me seriously when you are around.  Let's be honest, in this business I am culturally disadvantaged.  Use my ideas, but you've always been the face of the leadership.  Now it merely means more."

Darren's frustration got him up from the couch and started for the door.  "Whatever.  You gonna abandon us like all the other people who pretend to give a shit around here."

"With any luck, I will still be alive to help you after a change in the season or two."

He stopped.  "Wait, you'll be alive with luck?"

"Everything has an end, just some of us can postpone it longer."

Darren must have imagined her take a deep breath in.  She didn't need to, but that was a statement you took a big breath after.  "You plannin' on getting killed?"

"Darren, that's enough.  I am not planning a thing that far out.  Now let me leave tonight.  Tomorrow, I'll give you further instruction, I just have to think it over."

"Promise you're comin' back here."  He rubbed his lips together in anxiety.  She may be right about not looking the part, but she was the best thing to happen to his little gang in years.  This was a business partner not worth losing.  Not like the rest.

"Whenever I can, I will.  Besides, I never said I was going to stop receiving my cut."

Darren was relieved.  If she was still expecting a cut, she would definitely be back to help the guys.

January 24, 2012

Character Week: Sandahla

Although some of my more memorable characters have been in my table top games, it doesn't stop me from making little stories for my video game characters too.  Right now I can't stop playing my dunmer in Skyrim


Unlike a lot of the other video game RPGs I've played, your character doesn't necessarily have a lot of a chance to make a personality in Skyrim.  Some of it you just assume along the way.  And there isn't any "romance" in the game either, in the sense that there's no story built around it.  You want to marry someone? Just complete a favor and wear this amulet and bam!  You can get married.  It's more economical, really.  Although I am not fancying anyone in this game, it seems Sandahla has been gravitating toward a fellow dark elf who keeps a shop at Windhelm.

Sandahla slammed the door shut right behind her, the sound booming through the shop.  Revyn as always was behind the counter.  He was shocked to see her.

"Rushing to get in before I close?"  He checked to make sure the garnet pieces he had been inspecting before had not fallen away.

Sandahla brushed away the snow on her shoulders and took off her hood, revealing her new moonstone circlet.  "You could say that.  I had a question for you, friend."

Revyn raised an eyebrow.  With the short time they had been doing business, she had yet to call him friend.  "Certainly."  He had no reason to tell her no.  Not only had she brought him rare things that sold for quite the profit, she was also a lovely dunmer.  Having her to look at made the time pass agreeably.

"I was hoping I could stay here tonight, Revyn.  I only stayed in Candlehearth Hall one night, and that innkeeper didn't trust the way I breathed in her place, let alone me sleeping in one of her rooms.  I can't stand that place."

"Oh yes, Elda.  She does have no problem taking dark elf coin, though she'll stare you down the entire night.  I've only been there once, after that I stuck to New Gnisis." 

There was a pause as Sandahla waited politely before asking, "Does that mean I can stay here for the night?"

"Oh, well, of course.  I don't think I'll be needing my bed tonight anyway."  Revyn quickly put away the garnet on the counter.  "I think I have a spare bearskin to keep you warm tonight."

Sandahla gently put a hand on his, her gold ring still cold from the outside.  "No rush, please.  I do have some things to sell you first.  And I don't need to sleep right away.  I have books to read."

Revyn looked into her eyes, red and bright.  There was no reason for him to trust her initially, but a couple weeks ago when he needed someone to discretely return a ring to the affluent Viola, Sandahla was eager to help.  He could tell that it wasn't for the gold.  The gleam in her eyes was the one of someone who sought out adventure, no matter how small. 

Revyn let the gems drop from his hand.  "Alright, what would you like to sell?"

Sandahla realized she left her hand linger too long, and slowly removed it to bring her bag on top of the counter.  It looked especially fully today.  Could it be more mage robes, Revyn pondered, or possibly elven armor?  He tried to hide his anticipation.

Slowly Sandahla reveled what seemed to be over-sized claw bones, which she neatly arranged in the order nature had intended on the counter.  She whispered to him, "Dragon bones."

"Dragon bones?!"  Revyn gasped.  "Where did you find these things?"  He picked up a knuckle and began to scrutinize it.  

"It's... a trade secret."  Her face was stoic with that answer.  Revyn could tell she was hiding something, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to pry.  She hadn't tried to hide anything before.  She had been very forthcoming about retrieving her items from assassins and imperials.  She had even mentioned an infiltration job where she had stolen Thalmoor boots out of necessity.  Revyn was willing to let that slide since he knew of a buyer who would keep her mouth shut.  

He raised his brow.  "I hope you're not offended if I ask--"

Sandahla shook her head.  "It's not stolen.  I wouldn't do that to you."

Again with the familar phrases.  What had changed?  "Considering what you've done for me before, I will honor your word."

"Thank you.  And if you like that, I also have scales from the same dragon."

"You must have been very close to the beast," Revyn supposed.

"I was."  A decidedly short answer.  Revyn stopped prying.

"Well thank you for these finds.  This is a rather lucrative bounty.  Right now, for everything, I can offer you 900 gold."


He smirked.  "You do remember I'm the one who taught you to haggle?"

She smiled back.  "950 so you know your lessons taught me well."

"910 at the most and I'll be satisfied with your progress."

"I'll take it then."  She left the scales and bones on the counter, took out a spell tome and went toward the fire in the adjacent room.  "You can give it to me in the morning.  I'll be leaving early, before the sun is up."

"Making yourself at home so quickly?"  Revyn organized his new merchandise behind the counter.  He wasn't offended by her actions, just surprised.

"I'm sorry.  I just wanted to start studying this spell before I went to bed.  Could be useful for tomorrow."

"And what, may I ask, is the adventure tomorrow?"

"I have to go kill an ice wraith."

Revyn stopped his sorting and leaned over the counter to question, "Are you certain?"

Sandahla walked back out to him, tome still in hand.  "When did you start questioning my actions?"

"I'm sorry, it sounds dangerous.  Wouldn't want anyone to get hurt."

"Only the wraith."  She walked back up to the counter, her circlet now off, her black hair framing her face.  "I'll be fine.  I'll take a potion of healing from you in the morning if you're so concerned."  

Revyn sighed.  "On the house.  I would hate to think my shrewd practices would be the death of you."  It surprised him how much he meant it.  "Shall I get that bear skin for you then?"

She nodded.  "Thank you, I still have a chill."  She went back to the side room.  Revyn finished putting away the bones, scales and garnet, and then went to the cupboard for the skin.  He entered the side room to see Sandahla deep in study.  

Knowing it may be stepping over unestablished bounds, he gingerly place the bear skin over her shoulders.  Sandahla noticed and looked to him, but didn't protest.  In the fire light Revyn noticed something typically hidden under her war paint.  "Sandahla, may I ask how you got that scar?"

"When I was young on my own I was chased up a tree by a bear, and he swiped a paw at me before falling down eight feet onto stones.  I then used the dagger my father lent me to put him out of his misery."

"How old were you?"

"But a child.  Why?"

In honesty, Revyn didn't like hearing she had been put in harms way.  But he couldn't say that.  "I now understand why the ice wraith does not phase you."

Sandahla grinned.  "I'll be back with more trinkets at the same time tomorrow."

"And feel free to stay here whenever you like."  He was surprised he said that.  He was not one to offer up his home so freely.  

"Thank you, friend."

"Of course.  Someone who helped me so eagerly needs to be repaid."

"I've already spent the gold, Revyn."

"Having a good soul does not get repaid enough."

Her grin lessened, and she looked to the fire.  "Thank you for the flattery.  I don't know what to do with it."  She looked to him, with the question that neither had the answer for behind her eyes.  She then went back to her tome.

Before he went back to check his figures, Revyn stood and looked at Sandahla for some time as she studied on his bed.  The fire revealed the courageous demeanor hiding behind her eyes, the beauty in her marked face, and the strength under her robes. 

Revyn could get used to seeing her there every day.

January 23, 2012

Character Week: Amy Valencia

I've had the writing bug in me, so I want to use it for productive things.  This week I'm going to have a fictional story about an RPG character I played (video game or table top) posted Monday through Friday.  That's right, I'm giving myself homework!  Woot!

It actually all started with

Amy Valencia

Amy is a character I am playing in a table top RPG, the game being called Obsidian.  Obsidian is this great mix of a post-apocalyptic world with future technology.  Demons have taken over everything except this one tiny spot in America, which is a literal pillar of humanity.  There are good mystics who fight demons and then there are "bad" kultists who worship them.  Amy is the latter, a worshiper of the Kult of the Chemical.  When I was thinking of motivations for her, I suddenly had this scene in my head.  


Amy wasn't entirely sure what she was smoking.  Why should she care.  It was at that magical part of the evening where only a couple people had lasted to the end.  The ones where sleep was something that could be postponed, and good company was better than caffeine.

She took another hit of the hookah, and carefully blew the smoke toward Alik, a short, smart man with a muscle tone that was just enough.  Amy hadn't decided if she would sleep with him tonight.  It could go either way.

Alik's eyes had a longing, but not lustful.  He sighed, barely parting his lips.  "This is all pointless, isn't it?"

Amy pouted.  "Oh, poor dear, I knew this moment would happen.  She lay her head on his lap and looked up to him.  Her long dark hair blanketed his legs.  "You thinkers can get in a funk.  Tell me about it."

"We're all in a funk, Amy.  Humanity's locked up inside this tiny tube, and the whole world is taken over by everything evil!  Why bother living?  Why bother surviving?  Haven't we already lost?"

"Well, yes, but why focus on that?"

Alik sat up straight.  "I thought you a more hopeful type."

Amy giggled.  "Why?  Because I'm not as smart as you?  Oh, you sweet thing, just because I'm not book smart doesn't mean I can't see the truth."

"And what is the truth?"

"The long run game is already won.  We got to appreciate the now, any way we can."  Amy took another draw of the hookah.

"You're giving up?"

"No, my dear," she exhaled, "I've found a new way."

"To win?"

"To enjoy."

Amy had ensnared his attention.  She sat up but kept her face close, keeping their gaze.  Alik couldn't look away.  She continued.

"So you've figured out the truth: we're screwed.  We can't expect to keep this up forever.  So what do we do with ourselves?  Lay down and die?"  She paused.  "That was your answer, wasn't it?  Just end it all?"

"What else is there to do when life is pointless?"

"We still have things to live for.  Appetites to sate, thirsts to quench.  Ones you've probably never thought of before.  Imagine not eating for a week and then finding a full meal with real meat and everything.  Imagine how good it feels.  Close your eyes and think about how that would taste."

Alik closed his eyes, leaning toward her, an inch between their noses.  "Nothing could taste better."

"I can get you something that would make you feel twenty times better than that meal."

He opened his eyes.  "You can?"

"Yes.  I have many ways to make you feel better than that.  And you'll forget this 'meaningless' stuff and really start living.  For the things that make you feel the best."

She wrapped her arms around him.  He put his hands on her hips.  "How?"

"I've made friends with great power and connections, mystical you could say.  I can introduce you to them, see how much you like us."

"Are they all like you?"

"Like what?"


"Oh no, you got lucky on that one."

She knew by the end of the night, the demonic affiliations would no longer bother Alik.  She had shown him the only rational path for his rut.

There was no longer a question of whether they would sleep together.

January 16, 2012

Some more thoughts on Skyrim

Mystic mentioned as a joke that we could just both hang out and play Skyrim on our respective computers when he comes over to visit tomorrow and I was excited about the idea.

I have serious issues.

But let me show you a little of what I've been wasting my time on.  When I first started playing, I made a character that is a Khajit.  They're desert-based feline people.

I ended up making her a sneaky spellsword that is heavily into alchemy.  In most games you end up ditching your first character because you had no idea where to go with it.  In Skyrim since you only get better at the skills you use, it's easy to make a character that you want to play.  Akousa may sneak up on you with lightning and surprise poisons, but I also have a friend who proudly said he can beat dragons by punching them with his fists!  It's all about how you want your character to be, not about what the game lets them be.  And Akousa is great to play.  Though it's really funny now that the best armor doesn't cover her very well.

Somewhere there is a happy furry looking at this.
But I wanted to give myself a bit of a challenge now that I knew the game.  I made a new character named Sandahla, who is a Dunmer, also known as a dark elf.  I don't really have a good picture of what she looks like, so instead here is a picture I took that probably makes a fantastic background for someone's desktop.

Another great thing about playing a second time is that you can make your own background for your character.  The game doesn't focus on the past, but much more on the present.  Therefore in your head you would have to make up most of the personality of your character.  Knowing what I know now, I'm going in a path that makes Sandahla a "self-hating" Dunmer: she supports the rebels in the country of Skyrim, even though it means supporting a bunch of people that only want Nords (human natives) around and no one else.  But the rebels also didn't try the execute her; the Imperials did.  And Sandahla hols grudges deep.  Even if it means going against a group that may welcome some diversity in Skyrim, Sandahla's going to make the Imperials pay for almost chopping her gods-damned head off.  I really like being able to write some of the backgrounds in my head.

You may be able to expect some short stories about Sandahla and Akousa soon.  Also, yes I will get back to the Titania Chronicle too.  But of course, only when Skyrim stops sucking my soul dry.

January 8, 2012

Skyrim. Blame Skyrim.

I'm sorry dear readers that I haven't posted anything of late, but my brother did me the disadvantage of buying me Skyrim, the latest of the The Elder Scrolls video game series, and dear sweet merciful Tolkien did they ever make a fabulous game.  I usually not as much of a fan for something this superiorly open-ended in a fantasy RPG, but this is AMAZING!  It's a beautiful world that is constantly engaging and unique.

My steam account is d20Sapphire, if you want to friend me on their just say you're a fan of the blog when you do and I'll friend you, and then you'll get to see the tons of screenshots I have taken from that game with my Khajit named Akousa.  I'll post some pictures up here on the near future.

Other awesome nerdy Christmas gifts:  More RAM for my netbook thanks to Mystic, Batman: Arkham Asylum also from my brother, and zombie slippers courtesy of my friends in central IL.  Overall, it was an awesome haul.  Did any of you get awesome nerdy presents?  Feel free to let me know in the comments so I can tell you how jealous I am.

A new year, new posts and hopefully more time toward table-top is my new years resolution.  Hooray for 2012!