October 31, 2008 – 1:41 pm
One of the things about being avidly into the character and storyline of my Warcraft characters is that I get rather attached to them. They get fleshed out, and they get descriptions and histories that make them more than just the pixels on the screen (in a way). One of the ways that they become unique is through actual physical descriptions – which has always been something that I and other people that interact with me have had to use our imaginations for (since all of the Warcraft models for Female Human are exactly the same).
That is, until today.
You see… one of my new guild mates happens to also be a fantastic artist. And he’s offered his artistic talents to the guild in the form of black and white character portraits in exchange for in-game gold (something most people would have to pay real life dollars for).
I got to look at some of his earlier work, and was totally blown away – so I sent him my gold and a character description for Aelflaed. What I got back was way beyond anything I could’ve expected, especially for someone that I’ve only just met, and who (to my knowledge) doesn’t read this blog.
I could easily go on and on for paragraphs about how well this captures the character I’ve created, and how her personality shows up in that half-grin and cocked eyebrow, and how she’s pretty like the “girl next door” without being “hawt”… but I think it pretty well speaks for itself.
So thanks Lans (who is really Joe Rinaldi, and to whom I give ALL credit to this picture) – you’ve totally made my week.
October 31, 2008 – 11:17 am
Welcome to the October 31 edition of the Friday Five! Each Friday here at Too Many Annas you’ll find a list of five questions to spark your roleplaying/character creativity. Feel free to answer in the comments, use them as a blog post of your own, or just think about something from your character’s perspective – there aren’t really any rules!
We’ve had some sillier Friday Fives recently, so this week lets be a little more serious – it is, after all, All Hallow’s Eve!
(And yes, I know these are hard, so feel free to skip around or just answer one or two!)
- Did/Does your character have a good relationship with his or her family? (as a whole or individually)
- How does your character relate to his or her guild and friends?
- If your character knew he or she would die tomorrow, how would they spend today?
- Has your character ever lost someone close to them? How did they die? How did that affect your character?
- How do you, as a roleplayer, tackle the question of death in a video game where resurrection spells and spirit healers abound?
Read the rest of this entry »
October 30, 2008 – 11:15 am
This takes place last Friday, during the Riders (and others) full time guard of the Pig and Whistle tavern during the Zombiepocalypse. Be warned – zombie gore!
Aelflaed wasn’t entirely sure who’d come and woken her at 3:45am – her lack of sleep for the last four days had made waking up harder and harder. Pale lamplight bathed the upstairs corner of the Pig and Whistle as she strapped on her armor; at least tonight she’d remembered to sleep with her cloak and gambeson, so they were warm and comforting around the cold steel.
She peered at her left foot as she pulled on a thick pair of wool socks. At some point, she’d lost her little toenail, and the side of her foot was bruised and bloody clear up to her ankle. Wincing, she pulled on a heavy boot, hoping the plates would help protect it until she could get it healed properly.
With a cup of hot coffee and a soft cheese sandwich, she stepped out into the crisp, pre-dawn air, her breath barely catching on the fall chill. This was her favorite of the watches – there was something about the blackness before dawn that was just more pleasant than the blackness after midnight, especially if there were going to be Zombies.
Two street lamps washed the cobbles in front of the Pig with a soft yellow glow, and somewhere a couple of crickets set up a squeaky duet. Leaning against the doorframe, she settled in for a four hour watch.
Nikova Raskol hadn’t really let herself think on this new plague much. Still mourning the loss of her sons and grandson, she stalwartly marched through Old Town with her basket of red rags, ignoring the chaos around her. If they could face death at the hands of other men, then she’d be damned if she couldn’t stand up for herself against a couple of mindless undead.
When the four lisping, shuffling creatures came around the corner at her, though, she was less than sure of herself.
Lost in a scramble of unpleasant thoughts, a skitter of tiny legs across the back of her neck jolted Aelflaed back to reality. She swatted at her hair, knocking loose one of the oddly luminescent cockroaches that had taken root in every inhabitable part of the city. With a shudder and a bright flash of light, she obliterated it, and then spent a few minutes getting the bug guts and glowing taint off of her armor. Scrubbing at her neck didn’t make the crawly feeling go away though.
She heard more than saw the oncoming group of plagued dead, their half rotten feet making a sick, slurping, scraping sound on the rough cobblestones. With a deep breath and a quick prayer, she steadied herself for whatever was going to come around the corner.
The wait wasn’t long.
Two of the creatures wore some kind of patchwork armor – she could only assume they had once been guards. Slamming into one with her shield, she spun around to the left and caught the next in the face with her mace, telling herself that she’d retch later when its head crumpled like an overripe melon and splattered all over the pave stones. A quick shock with holy energy and the other armored zombie fell lifeless.
A flash of divine light and the remaining three of them stood stunned while she quickly stopped the disease as it attempted to crawl up her arm.
Two down, three to go – pull ye’self t’gether, woman.
The next one fell quickly, cleansed of whatever demonic taint had raised it. Not much fight in it, really, though the basket of red rags it carried was unusual.
Quickly dodging the fourth as it ran at her back, she stuck her leg out, tripping it – cursing loudly as the bony shin smashed into the side of her own damaged left foot. Once it hit the ground, she broke its neck with her heel and kicked the now severed head far from its body, ignoring the gush of greenish black blood now pooling on the street as she turned to face the one remaining living dead.
The feel of slimy cold fingers around her throat suggested she’d miscalculated the fight. Hot, fetid breath, ripe with the sickly sweet stench of death brushed past her ear as the creature ground its fingers into her flesh, catching on her hair. Its tongue ran across the back of her neck.
Dinna think, woman, act!
She dropped to the ground, the limp weight of human combined with heavy armor ripping the creatures arm clean out of its socket. Throwing herself to one side, one good push sent the thing sprawling, and a hammer to the back of its head knocked it unconscious, giving her precious seconds to summon the energy to burn it into lifelessness.
The fact that Aelflaed was already sitting on the pavestones probably proved to be in her favor, as she reeled, head spinning with exhaustion and adrenaline.
You canna jus’ sit ‘ere. Ge’ the bodies ou’ o’ the fecking street.
Leaning heavily on her mace, she dragged herself onto her feet, wincing as she tested her left foot.
It’ll hold, an’ yeh can walk. Move, woman, a’fore ye fin’ ye’self more o’ a mess.
Two of the stinking, plagued remains were already burning, so she dragged the other three corpses (and one severed head) over to the pile, setting the lot aflame with another flash of holy energy. Looking up through the rising putrid smoke, she could see dawn’s streaks of orange and crimson flashing across the sky like bright ribbons.
‘S a day o’ death, an’ startin’ early. Red sky a’ mornin’, alway’ a warnin’.
She swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and vomited into the bushes on the side of the road.
Ye’ve gone soft, Aely, an’ ye got another three hours o’ watch, ye great ninny. Bes’ get back t’ the Post.
Bloody ‘ell, an’ I need another sammich.
October 28, 2008 – 11:52 am
Injury is one of the natural consequences of people fighting each other all the time. Two guys with armor and weaponry slashing away at each other – the likelihood is that ONE of them is going to end up wounded, possibly seriously.
Game mechanics make this easy to deal with – just cast a healing spell and “poof!” they’re all better. Magical cures and healing are widely available in Azeroth.
But sometimes, for the better development of a story, it works out that a character doesn’t need to get “poof” all better right away. Chronic injury and illness are ways of tempering a character and making them more real – and in a world where all maladies and malaises are cured by a simple “Abolish Disease” spell, it can make “realistic” a little harder to realize.
Characters that never get hurt or wounded – well, why are we fighting then? Obviously, if you just want to take the PVE approach, this is a game with resurrection mechanics. Nobody dies, nobody gets seriously hurt, and everything is happy happy let’s try the boss again. But if you are trying to develop your characters as people within this world, and they’re essentially tiny invincible Gods – that gets kinda boring.
Unfortunately, giving your character the Uncurable Illness of Doom can be tedious, as can the Uncurable Wound of Tragedy – especially if it’s forced on people around him or her without their having any way to deal with it. So how do you fix that, and allow your character to have realistic injuries and responses without being invasive?
- First and foremost – TALK to the people you RP with. Work on a story OOC with friends. Keeping the communication lines open means you will automatically have a way to work out snags and keep things fun for everyone involved. (This isn’t always my strongpoint, but I’m getting better.)
- Figure out just how much healing can do. For me, I’ve always believed that while healing can fix broken bones and open wounds, some things just take a little time (like bruises and sore muscles). This is one of those things to work out before hand.
- Be creative about injuries and healing strategies. Aelflaed has a broken foot right now – and it only took a few simple healing spells from another paladin to heal the broken bones. The problem was, she broke the foot while fighting – and continued to fight on it for three days, so her foot was swollen to the point that she couldn’t get her boot off. That involved more people, allowed for some creativity and laughter, and made for a realistic injury without it being able to be “poofed” away.
- Remember that sometimes just “healing” doesn’t make everything better. Real life illnesses can linger even after they’re technically “cured”, and injuries of cursed/demonic/spell origin may react differently to healing. Maybe you need a mage to help undo some magic that stuck after a battle, or your character is technically “whole” but retains some elements of the injury.
- Keep in mind the consequences of injury – major illnesses, injuries, surgeries, and traumatic events often change people. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes just a shift in perspective. How will what you’re planning affect your character in the long run? Do they get a really cool scar out of it?
- Don’t let injuries and scars define a character. Just like they don’t define real people, they’re just elements of a person’s history and personality. Keep it real – one dimensional characters are hard to play for long because they eventually become boring.
We play in the World of *War*craft – people are going to get hurt. Full time healers have their hands full, medic tents follow war charges, and there’s always going to be consequences. Can you ignore that, and play within the mechanics, making all healing just a spell cast away? Of course! But playing around with your characters to see how they’d react to something like this can be very challenging, but also add an extra layer of depth to a character.
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