April 2, 2010 – 11:06 am
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post like this, but I was talking to people over the last few days about guild-related RP and the subject of nightmares came up. Our resident villain has access to a lot of angry dead people – and a serious grudge and some back-dated hatred to go with it – and so various members of the Riders are getting nightmares and rather upsetting ghostly visions.
So here’s your ficlet prompt for today – 500 words is the usual cut off, remember, so keep it short and make your writing evocative:
Write a nightmare for your character, or a ficlet in which your character experiences a nightmare. It can be funny or serious, but try to get into the mind of the character you’re writing for/about. Remember that what makes a nightmare scary doesn’t have to be scary for /everyone/ – just for the person who experiences it.
Have fun, and leave me trackbacks or links to your fiction in the comments! I’d love to read what you come up with.
March 31, 2010 – 5:53 am
When I did the post about server histories last week, it was originally spawned by a discussion about the long-standing Feathermoonie tradition of Pantsless Wednesday. This is, I was told, an elven holiday of sorts, and I went off in search of a storyteller to find a proper retelling of the legend.
I found such a storyteller in Ceil Nighfury, and she consented to its publication (though explaining “the internet” was difficult, the concept of a periodical publication was one she could relate to). As such, I bring her retelling to you. Though she takes full credit for her retelling, the original idea is credited to Shirkata for the basis and, possibly, being the original Pantsless Nelf.
“Many years ago, long before Alliance and long before the fall of our beloved Hyjal, there were a great many battles between the Kal’dorei and Troll-folk. These were times of strife and danger, but also times of legendary bravery and strength. One of the greatest heroes to come of this time was the Sentinel Brightmoon. Brightmoon was no commander or leader, she was just one of the few simple sentinels who stood guard in a small, sleepy village in the thick of the Ashenvale forests.
In these warring times, danger came to her small village in the form of a Troll siege.
The Trollish force was huge and terrifying – skilled archers on ravenous raptors, witch doctors eager to hex her sisters into demeaning shapes, furious warriors ready to make necklaces of Kal’dorei ears. The sentinels of the small village prepared to be overwhelmed by their attackers and began praying to Elune in their desperation. Brightmoon prayed with the rest, and as she prayed, she began to feel a righteous fury fill her. She prayed harder and harder to the Lady above and became more and more furious, a berserking rage building up in her at the thought of these trolls coming to slaughter their villagers, to do unspeakable things to her sisters!
In her fervor and fury, Brightmoon threw off her armor and ripped off her clothing, letting the glorious moonlight shine down upon her nude body as she let out a terrifying roar and charged the Trollish force with nothing but her anger and her moonglaive.
Watching their sister charge so fearlessly into the enemy force inspired the other sentinels and they too tore their clothing from their bodies and charged, with howls that echoed through the forests. The rush of this clearly-crazed force of recklessly skyclad Kal’dorei women, with skin and blades gleaming in the moonlight, drove terror stark into the heart of the Trollish force. They retreated in cowardly horror, only to be cut down mercilessly by the brave sentinels.
This heroic feat, which fell on what would eventually be translated into the Humans’ calender as a ‘Wednesday,’ was celebrated for millennia afterward.
To remember Brightmoon’s bravery and the unlikely victory that day, we Kal’dorei bare our skin to Elune’s light. However, when we came to join the Alliance, we realized the Human, Dwarven and Gnomish culture did not look so favorably upon our practice, so we politely began limiting it to just the removal of leggings. And thus, what the humans call ‘Pantsless Wednesday,’ continues to modern times.”
-As told by Ceil Nightfury, to a highly skeptical audience.
(And yes, if you couldn’t tell, this is silly fun. No, we don’t run around on Feathermoon without pants on Wednesdays. At least, not usually.)
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March 30, 2010 – 11:24 am
Yesterday I talked about how I brought Annorah around from stagnation to a place, albeit a brand new, shaky, unstable place, within the Feathermoon RP community. Finding her welcomed in the group from a plot/story standpoint, I realized very quickly that she was going to be a difficult character to keep “in check” with regards to other people’s RP.
Annorah is a Farseer – a Shaman trained in the art of scrying and divination, of speaking directly with the Elements and using that connection not only to see the past and the present, but to look into the future. Her combat skills are weak, but her ties to the Elements are incredibly strong.
Which means, basically, that every time I RP her in that function, whether it be in a simple parlor “fortunetelling” trick or in a serious scrying attempt (as was done on Sunday for Bricu and Threnn), I have in my hands the ability to “god mod” and ruin other people’s stories. Giving Annorah the ability to see the future, as well as see (even remotely) anything going on in the past or present, gives her the opportunity to be incredibly powerful. But it also makes her really fun – and an unusual plot element or ability.
So how do I keep that in check, and make sure that I don’t accidentally squash someone else’s long-planned story?
First, I make sure that her powers are limited: by her own knowledge, ability to understand what the Elements show or tell her, the time she has, and the amount of preparation she puts into a Seeing. A quick scrying in a black bowl of water with a candle flame won’t yeild the same kind of complete responses that a fully prepared Spirit Walk would. I also allow for the Elements to say no, to speak in cryptic riddles, or to simply be unable to see something at a certain time.
By placing limits on the character and her oracle, I actually make her interactions more fun as well as more controlled. If she were able to simply stare into a candle flame and see anything and everything anyone wanted to know… she’d be kind of boring.
Those limits are not just something I place on myself though, which leads to the real way that this kind of a character actually works within a group.
(This answer won’t surprise many long-time readers of my blog.)
The entire time that Annorah was scrying for Bricu and Threnn, I was in whispers making sure that she was only “able” to see the things that Bricu and Threnn were OK with having turn up at that point in their story. Bricu gave me an excellent framework, and I worked within it to make a meaningful interaction that left all of the characters with something to think about. (The lack of closure actually spurred on some other writing with Annorah, who is now one step more involved – but still very much on the periphery – because of her skills and training.)
Annorah actually did three scryings on Sunday evening – Bricu and Threnn’s, one for Arrens, and one for Ulthanon. Each involved at least a quick “tell me what you want her to see, and whether you want her to be direct about it” kind of conversation, others involved more planning. Arrens actually gave me the thumbs-up to do a little creative “seeing” for Arrens just to freak him out.
By keeping that line of OOC communication open, I keep the story progressing as the person writing it would like, while still having the creative (and very fun) element of scrying and far-seeing. The word of another character is final in these situations as well. Obviously there’s room for a conversation about what would or wouldn’t be see-able, but when someone says “I don’t want her to see more than XYZ yet, my character/the story isn’t ready for more”, that’s where Annorah stops – either because she gets tired, or something clouds her vision, or the candle gets blown out by a draft.
OOC communication makes the character “usable” – and makes it so that other people are curious and want to see what she might “See” for them.
Obviously most of this is character specific. Annorah’s particular flavor of “powerful” is relatively easily tempered by making sure that other players know what’s going on. But the same goes for other character interactions that contain power. Fight scenes, warlock summonings, anything having to do with powerful magic is best at least loosely worked out with other players. That way everyone involved can have fun and know that they still retain the ultimate decisions about their own character.
RPing is not about anyone else doing anything they want to your character and you being forced to respond to it. (That’s pretty unfair actually, because then you don’t get to decide, for instance, if your character gets their nose broken or – in extreme cases – is killed)
Communication, especially in situations where there is an exchange of power, is vital to allowing everyone to have fun with the RP.
Oh and PS: If you’re on Feathermoon and see Annorah around, don’t be afraid to ask her stuff. Though be warned, she lives with one foot in the Elemental world most of the time, so she can be a little bit strange…
March 29, 2010 – 9:57 am
It’s been awhile since I’ve done any extended RP with Annorah.
She was my raiding main in Burning Crusade, and I did a lot of RP with her while she was leveling, but once she hit 80, a lot of that trickled off due to attrition – most of the people she’d associated with while leveling rolled new alts or straight up quit playing for one reason or another. After Aelflaed hit 80 and I started RPing more with her – which led to joining the Wildfire Riders and her becoming my new main – my poor shaman, on whom I’d spent so much time and energy, got pushed aside, since she didn’t have a voice or a connection to the new RP group that I was playing with.
Which doesn’t, of course, mean I wasn’t interested in RPing with her. I’d just lost her voice, after losing the connections that she had to other people.
And that made me sad.
Unlike other characters that I’ve “lost” in the past, I really /like/ Annorah: I like her personality and her RP, I like her backstory. I like her being Draenei (as much as I’d love a Dwarf shaman).
Rather than letting her go into the character graveyard in favor of a new and different shaman, I decided I wanted to take a shot at bringing her back and finding her again.
So I started asking around. I knew I wanted to make the connection again, but I also knew just marching her into the Pig and Whistle wasn’t likely to magically work any better than with any other random new character would right now – the Riders are in the midst of a very dark bit of story, and forging a new relationship without a “connector” would be hard. In a sense, it would be like completely starting over, even with the same people I already knew OOCly.(Starting completely from scratch with a brand new group where you don’t have any connections already made is MUCH more difficult… but I’ll save that subject for a different post.)
Since I wanted to introduce Annorah peripherally and “logically” within a story, I started the following process to bring her into the fold slowly and without an awkward “first meeting.”
Step 1 was to make sure people knew about her or remembered her from TRI days in Burning Crusade. ICly, anyone that had done any raiding with TRI before Lich King would have seen Annorah around and remembered her for her healing, but I wanted to reforge that connection outside of a “battle” environment. I talked with various people OOCly about who she was and what she did (more on that in a later post). I made sure that a few people I trusted knew that I wanted to bring her back around. (This process started… months ago really, it’s not been a quick or easy thing.)
Step 2 was to be patient and work on finding a place that she would fit in. I kept her in my mind, and would occasionally bring her up, and in the end it was Arrens that made the initial connection for me. He had need of a Shaman who was accustomed to speaking directly with the elements, so he asked Aely if she knew anyone who might be able to help.
I took the connection from there (since both Aely and Annorah were part of TRI during Burning Crusade), having a little memory jog where Aely would suggest that Arrens spoke to Annorah. (Lots of A-names!)
Step 3, of course, was to follow through and make time for the RP to happen. Once that link was made, bringing Annorah around for RP was MUCH easier, since she had an explicit reason to be there. Even though I’m essentially using her as a plot device right now, she’s making connections to other people. Last night she spoke not only with Arrens, but also with Bricu and Threnn, as well as with Ulthanon and Pitchblack.
She’s certainly not part of the social circle in any way yet, but she’s done a favor for the Bittertongues, used her skills for several people, and gotten free drinks at the Pig and Whistle out of it. In the future, the Riders now have a connection to a Farseer should they need one, and Annorah’s got a little tiny thread of connection to the people I’d like to see her RPing with more.
It’s a small first step, but it’s a first step nonetheless. I really hope that it leads to more RP in the future!
I’ll talk tomorrow about exactly who Annorah is and how that connection was made, as well as a bit about roleplaying successfully with a character that has the potential to stray into godmodding territory very easily. See you then!
(And yes, to anyone following the various signatures that show up on these posts, this is the first time since I’ve been using them that Annorah’s has been visible on the blog. Yay!)