April 29, 2010 – 10:46 am
It was late. Very late. The Stormwind tower bells had stopped ringing so they didn’t wake people up, sort of late. Still, in the second floor rooms on the courtyard of Stormwind University, two lamps were lit. A student, out after curfew and expecting only the light of the full moon to navigate, ducked past the window unnoticed, initial illicit thoughts brushed aside to see the professor sitting, alone, at his desk.
Elsewhere in the apartment, Aely sat on the floor, surrounded by various pamphlets, brochures, colorful handwritten notices, and advertisements, all of them covered with flowers. She sighed.
Arrens voice floated out from the other room. “Is it really so vexing, love?”
“No. I ken wha’ we want. Jus’… they all look th’ bloody SAME. How th’ Light do folk actually PICK anythin’?”
His chair scraped lightly against the floor.
“Dinna ye innerupt whate’er yir readin’ jus’ t’… ”
“I finished that one, and if I don’t stand up for a few minutes, I will fall asleep and wake up having drooled on one of my student’s papers. Show me this confusing pile?”
Aely gestured at the sprawl of colorful paper on the floor around her, each promising fresher flowers than the last – some even promising out of season flowers, shipped in from the other side of the globe or procured through some form of herbalist’s magic. Arrens knelt down, rifling through them for a moment. An impish grin slowly crept across his face.
“You know, there’s an old student’s theory that when their professors get behind on grading, they use a very efficient gravitational method to determine who gets A’s.”
Aely looked at him quizzically. “Yeh?”
“Mhm. You see, some students – particularly those who fail – have conjured up the idea that when faced with insurmountable piles of papers, a professor simply takes them to the stairway and tosses them down. Any paper that reaches the bottom gets an A, and the papers closest to the top are graded as failing.”
“Tha’s bollocks. Ye work long hours, ‘specially ay th’ end term.”
“Its utterly false, yes. But perhaps we might use that particular brand of logic in our favor in this case?” He gestured at the haphazard mess of flower advertisements.
“I’ll na tell th’ cleaning staff if ye dinna.”
“Not a word.”
Aely hastily bundled everything up into a loose pile. “Stairs outside?”
And so, at nearly two in the morning, the headmaster and his fiancee stood on the courtyard stairs of the University barely containing their giggles. With a flourish, Aely launched the entire pile of papers, letting them fall in a colorful snowstorm of pink and lavender and pale yellow. After several seconds, they settled randomly on various stairs, a few papers escaping the confines of the steps and landing in nearby bushes. Aely shuffled down the stairs, gathering up the fallen papers, to see what could be found at the bottom.
Only one advertisement had actually made it all the way to the bottom – a very simple brochure for a florist and supplier from Southshore, whose advertisement featured purple and white Stratholme lilies.
April 28, 2010 – 1:01 pm
We’ve all done it. The more you raid, the more likely you’ll have an oops and cause a hilarious wipe. My most recent Pally!Fail was an attempt to put Hand of Sacrifice on our Tank in phase 3 of Putricide… and hitting DI instead.
What if, upon being the source of Epic Fail, we were then required to (a la elementary school detention) write out our failures on the chalkboard a certain number of times?
- I will not DI the tank.
- I will not death grip the boss.
- I will not stand in the raid and get them all iceblocked.
- I will not stand in the Yeti.
- I will not move when Flame Wreath is cast.
- I will not tank in my Frost Resist gear.
- I will not tank in Blood Presence.
- I will not do an entire progression raid in my RP hat. (or my Chef hat)
- I will not misdirect the kitty druid.
- I will not tricks the fury warrior on the pull.
- I will not throw the Tainted Core to the person kiting Striders.
- I will not use Cleanse on Grobbulus.
- I will not facepull with half the raid outside.
- I will not die on the elevator boss.
What would YOU be writing?
April 27, 2010 – 11:13 am
So I have this druid, Annylais.
Annylais Eldersong, to be truly specific. Her FlagRSP is as such:
“Of average height and build, Annylais is most remarkable for her hair, which is very long, very green, and peppered with tiny braids on which are suspended an assortment of feathers, seeds, and shells. The glow of her eyes is mismatched. She doesn’t seem to talk much.”
Which is all well and good, except it doesn’t actually help me roleplay with her at all. I’m running into the problem of playing a female Druid in the current Druidic lore. According to most things I’ve read, female druids are a rarity, and a very new thing in Elven society (women were priestesses, men were druids). Which leads me to the following options:
- Annylais isn’t really a female, but should be gender-swapped to be a male Druid. This is an option, but I don’t have a male druid RP idea either.
- Annylais is very young. This isn’t something I like, and it doesn’t fit her at all.
- Annylais is a wilder, wielding druidic magic without really knowing what she was doing, outside of the bounds of society, possibly with an unusual God/ess patron. This is (to me) the most workable solution, since it ties into her mismatched eyes. It’s also the easiest solution to fall into Cookie Cutter, Special Snowflake territory.
- Annylais wasn’t a druid until recently. I’m not sure I want to go this route, since it’s awfully close to Angoleth (who has always wanted to BE a druid, but couldn’t because she was female and because she has no magical aptitude whatsoever). I’d rather not have two characters so close to one another.
- Some solution I’ve not thought of.
Which is where you guys come in.
I’m looking for help, and I know my readership is creative and interesting, so I’m going to take the cop out and see what you guys can come up with.
Right now Annylais is dual specced feral/boomkin. I have no idea what she will eventually do once she hits 80, but I’d rather focus on her RP than on her raid roles, since I have both tanks and healers at endgame right now. I really like both feral AND boomkin specs, but have stuck with mostly feral for leveling (because melee/stealth is hax). I’m open to gender-switching her, but not to faction switching her.
What I don’t want: I don’t want a druid that’s always in (X) form. She’s already expressed a strong preference to mostly be in her elven form (though of course, if she’s going to go sneaking around, she’ll do that as a cat). I guess I want her forms to be tools that she uses rather than crucial parts of her identity.
If you guys have any ideas, I’d LOVE to hear them, especially those of you that are much better versed in your Elven/Druidic lore than I am.
April 23, 2010 – 9:27 am
This is one of those amorphous blog post ideas that I’ve had rattling in my head this week. It may or may not make a successful post – I’ll leave that up to you guys to decide. (Or rather, I’ll wait to see if I get a bunch of confused comments. )
Character strength can be a really hard concept to define. Sure you can pick up on a few things that make characters “strong” – defined, consistent personalities, depth of personality and story, the ability to be an agent of change and to change and grow themselves. But those are all pretty “fluid” topics, and we could go into huge lists of ways to make a character stronger, or ways to increase their depth, or whatever.
A lot of times, though, people suggest giving your character a weakness to make them stronger.
Which seems, quite honestly, counterintuitive.
Giving a character a weakness doesn’t mean necessarily that they become weak. It’s almost more applicable to say “give the character balance”, but since people usually have no trouble giving their character awesome-traits, the discussion usually boils back down to giving your character some not-so-awesome traits. While you can always throw an unrelated weakness into the mix, it’s possible to have weaknesses grow from strengths (and not in that really kitschy way that people talk about for job interviews).
One way to do this is to take an event or situation and answer a few questions about the character, to see how it works out.
As an example, since this sort of thing came up in RP this week, let’s poke around in Aely’s brain a little (if you don’t mind my presuming that Aely is a strong character).
Aely’s backstory contains some pretty dark times. That’s not unusual, since most of Azeroth has been involved in wars for all of recent human memory (the Elves get a bigger perspective on this one). Within those dark times she experienced some pretty heavy trauma that left her both physically and emotionally scarred.
That event left her stronger – she rebuilt herself physically and mentally, is a much more solid, stable person, and has very concrete beliefs because of it. She also has strong motivation for being a better healer, particularly of certain types of wounds, and is extremely protective of the people she cares about. But that event also left her weaker – heavy trauma like that has far-reaching mental implications, and if she is surprised by someone else suffering from something like what she went through, it makes her extremely upset. If that person is someone she cares about, it’s worse, because then she feels guilty for not being able to get past her own physical and emotional reactions to be able to help them. She wants to be able to protect the people she loves, and when she fails to, compounded with her own mental issues getting in the way of her being able to care for people, it makes her pretty upset.
Looking at the description of Aely, there’s kind of a formula that can go towards helping other characters:
1. What is the event? (Obviously this should be something significant for the character – either good or bad)
2. How does the character react before, during, and after the event?
3. How does that event make the character stronger?
4. How does that event make the character weaker?
5. How does the character think about and relate to what happened? How does that affect future events (if it affects them at all)?
From that formula we can take an Orc that spent time in the internment camps (a horrible event). He suffered from the lethargic lack of energy and mental fog due to lack of demon blood. During the internment, he became almost mindless, afterwards he hated himself for not fighting more strongly and developed an ingrained hatred of Humans, and a distrust of all Demonic and Shadow magic. He also took to training himself in the shamanic arts, and is extremely loyal to Thrall and to his comrades in battle.
This, in the end, makes him a stronger character – he is thinking about what happened and reacting to it, being introspective about his own reactions, and acting on what he finds. He is stronger physically and mentally, and will be very hard to dupe into any sort of subservient position in the future. But it also makes him weaker – hatred and irrational fear can blindside even the most stable of characters, and while that might not come up in every single story or situation, if he is written and played consistently with those traits, then that one event is responsible for character growth, character depth, character strength, and character weakness.
When people talk about how to build good RP characters, they often suggest creating “balance”. Hopefully this will help spark some creativity towards dealing with character creation.
Life-defining moments don’t all have to be good, bad, happy, or sad – but every life has a few defining moments and experiences. (Obviously not every event will be life-defining or life-changing – that will depend entirely on the character.) Sometimes those happen over a period of time (like both Aely and our Unnamed Orc), sometimes they happen in a sudden moment. Either way they can affect a character from that point forward.
Thinking about a character’s defining moments (and how they react afterward) is a good start toward creating depth and believability.
Since it’s Friday, feel free to take the formula and use it like a “Friday Five”, either for a character you already have developed and active or for a new one you imagine up in your head.