Friday, April 30, 2010

Character - Sillia Aylomein


This is a character I've played in two Neverwinter Nights modules. I picked her name using NWN's random name generator, but "Sillia" really did end up fitting her silly personality. She was a total flake, but was really fun to play. I might remake her for a PnP game sometime.

Note, the locations mentioned (Alta, Fertilund, etc) are from my "Itropa" module, names I reused when I started my campaign world of Praktas.

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Dear Diary,
It's been a while since I've had a chance to write in you. I forgot to bring you with me to camp, and I've been waiting to write all summer. I learned so much this summer, about singing, and acting, and playing instruments, and everything else that comes with being a bard. My choir director, Mr. Luute, was a real stiff, with no sense of humor whatsoever. Maybe I shouldn't have put blue dye in his hair gel, but it was hard to resist. And the things I got to see! One time a classmate of mine got chased by a bear! And one time, at bard camp, I saw two grazelles fight! And one time, at bard camp, I saw a bunch of fairies fly by! There was so much to see and do, I hardly had time for my classes. I can't wait to go back. I hope this school year goes by fast.
-Sillia

Dear Diary,
Tomorrow I start school at "Virtuoso College" in Alta. I just finished decorating my dorm room; it's really cool. I've painted the walls hot pink and purple... I hope my roommate doesn't mind. I'm nervous and excited about tomorrow. My parents say it's an honor just to be accepted here, it means I have real talent. Mom says she's been putting money aside for years to put me here, so I hope I don't disappoint her. My parents left this morning; they're probably halfway back to Fertilund right now. Back to their humdrum lives of plowing and planting... it used to be my life too. I'm so glad to have this opportunity. I miss my family already, even bratty Chris. I can't wait 'till spring break so I can see them again.
-Sillia

Dear Diary,
I hate this place! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! Everyone in Alta is so stuck up. They laugh at me for not coming from a rich family. They make fun of my clothes, because I like to wear bright colors instead of their snooty black suits. Today a teacher yelled at me for smiling in class. Everyone's so serious here! Even my roommate hates me.
-Sillia

Dear Diary,
Spring break is almost here. I was planning to go see my family, but now I don't know. I have the chance to go on the "Musicruise"... it's a week-long boatride with a lot of famous musicians performing. I didn't think I'd be allowed to go, because it's during the same week as our mid-term exams. But my classmates told me they're moving spring break up a week to coincide with the Musicruise, and we'll have mid-terms when we get back. It sounds like a lot of fun... but... my family really wanted me to visit them for Spring break. So I guess I have a pretty big decision to make... should I bring the pink dress or the blue one to the Musicruise?
-Sillia

Dear Diary,
It's my second day on the Musicruise, and I'm having a great time. One of my favorite music stars told me I had a voice like an angel! He gave me so many compliments, I swear I was in heaven. Okay, he took some of it back after I refused to join him in his cabin, but I'm sure his compliments were sincere. I'm going to be a star someday, I know it.
-Sillia

Dear Diary,
My classmates lied. I missed mid-terms, and I've been expelled. I can't go home now, to face my parents. They'll be so disappointed with me. I managed to intercept the expellation notice before it was sent to my parents, so as far as they know I'm still at school. I think I'm going to keep it that way. I'm going to travel a bit, see the world, and try to become a big star. If I can make it big before the school year's over, my parents will still be proud of me. And I will make it big. I know it.
-Sillia

Character - Brynwyn Elswyth


Note: Brynwyn Elswyth was one of my first Neverwinter Nights characters. I played her on the server "The Silver Marches", and later used her on a couple of other servers as well. She was a very energetic, spritely character, naive but good-hearted.

Despite her seemingly-unsinkable cheerfulness, she did have a bit of a tragic backstory:

***

The sky explodes with lightning, and for a half second the world is consumed with white fire. A wet, shivering elf takes refuge under an ancient tree. She sits with her knees drawn up to her chest, hugging her legs. With each crash of thunder she buries her tearful face in her knees.

She is young, but not a child. She is naive, but not stupid. She knows the thunder won't hurt her. But still, she is afraid. Every rip of thunder punctuates her existing fears.

"How did I get here? Why am I alone? Why did I stray so far?" She asks these questions softly, nestling closer to the scant shelter of the tree. The questions are rhetorical; she already knows the answers, but doesn't dare ask the real question, burning beneath her dread: "Why am I such a failure?"

Her mother's quiver lies in the mud beside her, half-sinking into the muck. She pats it with her hand, seeking the reassurance it provides. It is a symbol of both love and protection. Also beside her is a bow, but she has no love for the weapon. To her, it is the embodiment of death and failure, and she hopes to replace it with another bow soon.

Another clap of thunder, and again she buries her face. In the howling wind is her father's voice, urging her to be strong and chastising her to stop disappointing him. The familiar but heartbreaking reprimands actually soothe her, and the exhausted young elf soon drifts off to sleep.

And she dreams.

***

She awakens to the sound of furniture breaking. Brynwyn gasps, and sits straight up in her bedding. In the moonlight coming in through her window, she sees a huge form, smashing everything within reach. It is an orc, and its presence in her hut causes her confusion. She becomes vaguely aware of the commotion outside her window, the sounds of elves fighting off an orc invasion. Brynwyn stays perfectly still, too afraid to move or even breathe.

Brynwyn hears a scream. Across the room, her younger brother has awakened to see the hulking monster. Alerted by the cry, the orc turns and grabs the elven boy by his head, dangling him high in the air. With her brother in danger, Brynwyn finds a reserve of bravery and searches around the floor beside her, never taking her eyes off the orc. She stretches her fingers blindly until she finds the bow and a single arrow. She draws back the bowstring, aiming carefully but her arms shake. She only has one chance at this.

The orc's fingers encapsulate the elven boy's entire head, and the monster delights in hearing his pathetic, hitching screams. Brynwyn has no idea how many arrows it takes to kill an orc, but she hopes one is enough to make it let go of her brother. She aims for the creature's left eye, wishing she had more time to line up and steady her shot. With a quick prayer to Silvanus, she looses the arrow.

But her fingers slip at the last moment of release, and the arrow barely penetrates the orc's shoulder. It growls in pain, clenching its massive hands into fists. Her brother's head is shattered like an egg, and Brynwyn's own heart feels similarly crushed. The orc turns to face her, growling and snarling. She doesn't move as the orc moves towards her reaching out with its immense hands. She blankly watches the remains of her brother drip from its fingers. She no longer cares what happens to her. She drops her bow and lets her arms fall to her sides.

Suddenly, it howls in pain. It runs blindly around the hut, beating on the walls with its fists until it finally collapses to the floor, dead. There are several arrows buried in it's back. Brynwyn looks up and sees her parents standing in the doorway, bows in hand. Her mother looks at Brynwyn with concern. As she moves to comfort her daughter, her eyes fall on the headless body of her dead son.

And she screams.

***

Another loud thunderclap wakes Brynwyn with a start. The dream fades, as it always does. The memories still linger, still haunt her. The elf slowly realizes where she is... still sitting on the forest floor, in the rain and the mud, hugging her knees and shivering. She wishes she were home... but would not dare to go back.

She pulls her belongings closer to her, and huddles even closer to the tree.

And she weeps.



Character - Dervish


This is a character I've played on Neverwinter Nights. I might remake her for a PnP game sometime.

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"You can't join the guard," he said.
"You have to learn how to be a homemaker," he said.
"You're just a girl," he said.
"No daughter of mine is ever going to be a soldier," he said.
"Goodbye," I said.

I was the youngest of seven, the only girl in the lot. My father was the captain of the guard, one of the most respected positions in Cormyr. My mother died giving birth to me. I think Dad always kind of blamed me for that, on some level, though he would never admit it to himself. But more importantly, he didn't have a clue as to how to raise a girl. And he was always busy, training his men and fighting wars. Child rearing in my family was more of a communal effort, with each sibling doing what he could to help out. So in all I had six fathers, and I learned all I could from them.

It was a boy's upbringing. They taught me how to fight, armed and unarmed. Each had his own favorite weapon, and I learned them all. When I was ten, I won my first unarmed fight with one of my brothers. Of course he told me that he let me win, but I knew better. By the time I was thirteen, I could best any of them. By the time I was fifteen, I could beat three of them at a time. And when I turned sixteen, my father finally noticed what had been going on.

It was time to give me away, he figured. I was now the right age to find some nice young man, and spend the rest of my life in his servitude. The thought of marriage made me queasy. Volunteering to become some man's chambermaid and love-whore for the rest of my life? Why? I had no desire to commit myself to slavery, and I told my father so. But it was a moot point, my father said. No man would ever want me anyway, the way my brothers had raised me.

He said he blamed himself. By not getting remarried, he never introduced a strong female influence into my life. So now he tried to undo the "damage" that had been inflicted on me. He hired a governess, a prim, proper woman who was to teach me what it meant to be a lady.

She lasted about a week, which was longer than the next three. Apparently I was unteachable, or I just didn't want to learn. My father was at his wit's end, and very nearly married a woman he didn't even like, just so I would have a mother. I put a stop to that.

I told him I wanted to join the royal guard. We fought about it for over a year, and I finally left. I decided to try life on my own, to prove to myself I'd make as worthy a soldier as any man. I kept limited contact with home, never letting my father know where I was.

And then I received word that my oldest brother, Tobias, had been killed in battle. I was devastated. His last wish was that I would be given his favorite blade, the one which he wielded as he drew his last breath - his prized katana. From that moment on, I swore I would master this blade, that it would become a part of my body and my soul. It has never left my side since, it my constant companion, whether I am fighting, eating, or sleeping. When I place the hand on the hilt, I feel it as if it were the hand of my brother, and we go into battle hand-in-hand.

My former goal - to prove myself as strong as a man - was a silly child's quest to bolster her own ego. My new mission is to master my brother's blade, to let it once again sing in battle. And then, in some small way, it will be as if he still lives.

May your soul rest in comfort, dear brother. Your spirit will live on.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

LFR: Inheritance

4/10/10 - The Game Keep

Module CORE1-1: Sembia: Inheritance (1-4) (Low Difficulty)

Characters:
Kryla (Matt) - Level 1 Dragonborn Sorcerer (Cosmic)
Kadar - Dwarf Warden
Naquami - Elf Druid
Rufio - Deva Artificer
Magnus - Dwarf Shaman

Another first; this was my first time playing two LFR games on the same day. It was a real pain in the back, but it was worth it.

This was not one of the better LFR adventures. The first hour of it was roleplay, which would have been great if the story had been a bit better. Instead, it was mostly rolling skill checks over and over again.

Rufio was our most valuable player. He was the only Level 4 in a group of mostly Level 1's, and his buffs helped out a lot.

In the final encounter, we fought a bunch of enemies who were insubstantial (only took half damage from all attacks) and could walk through walls. At first we thought we were screwed, until Magnus released his daily - a huge burst attack that wiped out all the minions and bloodied some of the others as well. It still wasn't an easy fight, but that move sure made the battle shorter. And a good thing, too - the Game Keep was about to close when we left.

Rewards:
Kryla took 400 xp, 75 gp, and a potion of healing. She's now only 40 points from level 2.

LFR: For Crown and Kingdom

4/10/10 - The Game Keep

Module CORM2-1: Cormyr: For Crown and Kingdom (1-4) (High Difficulty)

Characters:
Kryla (Matt) - Level 1 Dragonborn Sorcerer (Cosmic)
Dee - Drow Rogue
Meleli - Halfling Shadowy Rogue
Jerund - Half-Elf Paladin/Warlord Hybrid
Magnus - Dwarf Shaman
Wu Gan - Kenku Paladin

Well, Bryan and Rick both had to cancel, so this was the first time I went to one of these events by myself. I went ahead and started a new character so that Voranna wouldn't get too far ahead of her companions. Kryla is Rhogar's younger sister. She's best at social skills, especially Diplomacy and Intimidation. In battle, she's a bit squishy so far. In fact, the first time I got hit, I was instantly bloodied. But she did survive, and should be a lot more useful at higher levels.

The standout player this game was Magnus, the Dwarf Shaman with a giant toad for a spirit companion. He was constantly moving that toad all over the board, where it could do some really neat attacks/heals.

The most significant event of the session: The final encounter was a sort of skill challenge/battle, where we fought a group of baddies while trying to convince the big boss to surrender. The boss hit us pretty hard early in the battle, but we did eventually talk him into giving up. However, we still had to deal with his cohorts, who weren't interested in talking. So most of our group accepted the boss's surrender, and continued to fight the rest of the monstrous henchmen. Most of us.

Dee, the party's Drow Rogue, had been hit by the boss's earlier spell and wasn't ready to forgive and forget. While the rest of us fought the monsters, Dee went straight for the cowering, no-longer-hostile boss. Never trust a Drow.

Those of us non-Drow put off worrying about the boss/Dee fight until the henchmen were defeated, but we did wonder - once Dee and the boss were all that was left, which one should we assist? This is the kind of thing that can really divide a party. Luckily (?) it was a non-issue. Dee managed to kill him solo before we had finished off the other baddies, so we just accepted that and collected our reward.

Rewards:
Kryla took 560 xp, 100 gp, and an item reward.