March 1, 2010 – 10:29 am
Once upon a time, ten Paladins went to Karazhan.
It was so much fun that, a year and a half later, they decided to go see if they couldn’t storm their way through Naxxramas too! So they gathered up as many of their Paladin friends as they could (somewhere between 7 and 10 Paladins were in the group at any given point in the run), set a meeting time, and headed in to have some fun with Kel’Thuzad’s undead minions.
(click any image for the embiggened version!)
Of course, with any raid group, the Paladins had to set up their buffs. This was… very very easy.
After everyone was buffed they all sat down to a delicious fish feast. Everyone knows that fighting on an empty stomach is a bad idea!
Paladins have a few natural born enemies in the world. Among those enemies? Death knights. So of course, any death knights encountered were killed in appropriately shiny fashion. (warning: eyebleed):
Their other natural enemy is, obviously, the undead. Kel’thuzad was probably cowering in fear:
To celebrate his death (and return home, of course), they all participated in the Great Paladin Tradition of Synchronized Bubblehearthing.
And it was AWESOME.
February 26, 2010 – 5:49 pm
Written for Marty’s “Shakedown or Drop” fic prompt at WTT:RP. It’s been awhile since I got to write about Annie Mae, and this was a hoot to work on. It was written by hand while on various airplanes and in various airports this week. I hope you guys enjoy it!
An old, weather-beaten hat sat on one of the barrels.
Adrian Gruber paid it no heed as he watched the Dwarven woman stack the rest of the shipment of assorted spirits. Dark dwarven beers, tasty wheat ales and spicy winter lager, a cask of hard cider straight out of the Hinterlands, and even a cask of Loch Modan’s finest single malt. Two small barrels of an experimental spirit – something called Molasses Firewater – rounded out the order. A project from the Dwarves living in the Wetlands, it was distilled from cane sugar molasses, and it kicked. Hard.
Gruber made a show of checking each cask off his list.
“An’ that’s th’ lot fer yeh!” A warm voice rang out from inside the shipping warehouse. “Now, yeh said ye have the receipt, Reese? No’ that I dinna trust ye, ‘course, jus’ need t’ be sure I dinna ferget anythin’.”
“I… uh. Right here, ma’am. Signed by the Missus Bittertongue her very self.”
“Och, aye? How’s th’ littlest Bittertongue then?”
“Hmm? Oh he’s just swell, ma’am. Didn’t get the bout of wasting sickness or nothin’!”
Nairi Stonemark peered at the man rummaging in his bag for a liquor order receipt. Up close, he really didn’t look all that much like Reese. In fact, he didn’t talk all that much like Reese either. And the wagon was free of any insignia or signage, not to mention that it was completely empty.
“Yeh no’ done yer normal rounds yet, Reese?” Distrust dripped from her voice as she stood, rather protectively, between the wagon and the stack of barrels.
“I.. uh… no ma’am. I woke up late, ya see, and… uh … with this fog, and then… you’re the most important stop on the rounds.”
Her hands settled on her hips.
“Righ’. Let me see that receipt up close then… Reese.”
Gruber handed it over and waited in the chilly, foggy damp. The forgery was, he thought, pretty darn good. The stamps were well crafted, and the signature was spot on. It was pretty much an exact copy of a shipping order he’d lifted from last year’s records at the wharf, with only the amounts and liquor types adjusted. She ticked off each measure accordingly, double checking it against the stacks of barrels behind her.
And then, as she reached the very bottom, her eyebrows suddenly migrated towards her hairline.
“Everything’s in order then, right ma’am?”
Nairi opened her mouth and then shut it again, as though unsure what to say. Silence hung over the foggy morning; the barrel wearing a hat made a very faint, barely perceptible clicking noise.
Then, in the process of a handful of seconds, the entire morning shifted gears. Reese Langston drove up out of the fog – the large, woodburned P&W sign clear on the side of his wagon. Nairi lunged at Gruber at the same time as he pulled a knife, flailing wildly as he tried to avoid her grasp. She hissed as his knife sliced through her forearm.
A single gunshot rang out – a thin whisp of smoke rising from behind the barrel. Gruber fell, clutching his shoulder, his hat rolling away into the grass.
Reese climbed down out of the wagon in time to grab Nairi and pull her behind it, eyes wide as he sought the source of the bullet.
The hat moved.
Annie Mae crammed it down on her had as she climbed over the barrel and came to stand over Gruber.
“Think yer real bright, aint’cha? Not above forgin’ receipts an’ liftin’ booze already paid fer? An’ then attackin’ th’ woman responsible fer assurin’ it’s safety?”
He stared up past the barrel of her rifle and into unblinking green eyes and didn’t bother to respond.
“‘Bout what I figgered. Ya’ll ain’t worth much when a body catches on.” Annie stepped firmly on the knife that he’d dropped. “You got a good reason I ain’t gonna fire a sister shot right inta yer skull?”
“Right. You don’t get th’ hell outta here pretty damn quick, the fact that yer still here’s gonna be reason enough.” She gave him a swift kick in the ribs, hard enough to get him moving. “Now GIT.”
He got, leaving his knife and hat behind.
Slipping the safety back on her rifle, Annie strapped it between her shoulder blades. She grinned at Nairi. “Sorry ta make ya wait, ma’am. Needed to be sure he’s the squeak. Yer arm’s alright, then?”
Nairi managed a return grin. “Och, aye. Nae much a scratch t’ worrit oan. Guessin’ yer th’ lass th’ Fox mentioned I ought t’ watch out fer, ‘case th’ shipment tried t’ get pinched?”
“Yep, that’s me. Annie Mae, and nothin’ but a pleasure ta meetcha.” She tipped her hat.
“Nairi Stonemark, at yer service!”
Reese finally got past the insanity that had so rudely invaded his morning to speak up from somewhere behind his wagon. “What the HELL just happened?”
“Sevens.” Annie spat. “Tryin’ ta make off with yer hard earned booze.”
“Done a fair forgery of shippin’ receipts too – ‘cept I’m a mechanostrider’s aunt if Tarquin’s still stampin’ yer shippin’ receipts his own self. Lately’s just been th’ Al’Cair lass.” Nairi handed Reese the forged document. He took it, blinking at it as though it might bite him. She wrapped a bit of cloth around her arm and moved to start loading up the barrels into the Pig and Whistle’s wagon.
Annie nodded and gave a sharp two-note whistle. From behind the warehouse came a short, well muscled Paint horse. “Good ta see ya ain’t too spooked, huh Meggsie?” After picking up the discarded hat and knife, she gave the horse a quick nose rub before clambering up into the saddle. “Meggsie” snickered softly.
“That’s sorted then. If ya ain’t needin’ nothin’ more, I’ll be off. An’ Ill tell that ol’ Fox we got his hen house all nice and safe again.”
She tipped her hat and rode off into the fog, hoof beats echoing long after she was out of sight.
February 26, 2010 – 12:25 pm
Sorry for the silence – I’ve been out of town (and getting to meet Arrens! woo!). Regular blogging will resume Monday!
February 23, 2010 – 6:38 am
Not every roleplay situation or interaction will be entirely player driven.
World events, faction leaders, holidays, and quests are all potential roleplay sparks. But given the “whole world” aspect of such events and characters, there are some things that you’ll want to avoid when you’re picking up that kind of roleplay though, usually where it starts to impact things that are out of your character’s control.
(There’s been a lot said about claiming relationships with NPC’s in your backstory, so I’m going to leave that part alone.)
Say you want to write a story set in Icecrown, about the Argent Crusade. It’s possible that Tirion Fordring might make an appearance in your fic somewhere – after all, he is the leader of the Argent Crusade. If you hang around there long enough, you just might see him! And, since he’s a charismatic leader, it’s not out of the question that your character might drop him a salute and have him smile and salute back, or say something encouraging. Tirion’s a nice guy, you know. Even if he is a badass too.
Where you run into trouble is if your story forces weakness on Tirion Fordring without his or Blizzard’s “consent.” If your character is a disillusioned old soldier and hates Tirion, and they charge into the Argent camp like a madman screaming challenges for a duel – which he accepts and then your character beats him soundly and injures him? That pushes the envelope too far, for a number of reasons. Tirion’s essentially a faction leader. He’s got guards. Someone running in screaming like a madman would be forcibly removed as a threat to his safety not allowed to run loose, let alone allowed to challenge him in a duel. And then to assume that your character is such a badass that they would beat him up and win?
There are a number of problems with this, not just in that you’re kind of pulling a “I beat up a lore character so I’m awesome”.
Those NPCs are there for everyone; Blizzard writes them, and all of our characters interact them. If your story backs one of those NPCs in a corner and forces some form of action/response/whatever on them or their organization, that story is now influencing the RP that everyone else has, and creating a situation that will cause conflict for every new RPer you encounter. If you have to explain to every single character that you run into that “No, Sylvanas really isn’t the leader of the Forsaken anymore. That guy Jimbob over there killed her last year,” you’re probably doing it wrong.
What’s the solution then, if you need a fall guy?
Write your own.
An NPC that you create or make up has no such complications. People write up, characterize, and then kill off/torture/do horrible things to their own personal NPC’s all the time. The difference is that YOU create these characters, and ultimately control them. They have no bearing on other players.
Once you start creating NPCs, it becomes kind of addicting! You’ll want to keep a list of who you’ve created (and who’s been killed off). That’ll help you manage where NPCs are at any given time, and help you remember which is truly a badass NPC and which is just a foil or a fall guy for someone else.
Blizzard creates and controls their own NPCs, and as such, you can’t just up and kill them. Or take their place. Or beat them into a bloody pulp and make them unable to do their jobs. How does this actively affect your RP?
Let’s take an example from my own RP:
Bryan and Elizabeth Cross, the proprietors of The Silver Shield in Old Town.
The Silver Shield – as a shop – exists. Bryan Cross is a Blizzard controlled and written NPC as a sheildmaker and blacksmith. Aely rents an apartment underneath their shop. If something were to happen in that shop, Bryan Cross couldn’t be harmed in a way that would make him unable to do his job… because he’s still there in Stormwind. I couldn’t kill him, or cut off his arm. (And I especially couldn’t get mad when someone else brought up that Bryan Cross was standing in his shop selling shields, because OMG I KILLED HIM NO HE’S NOT.) When I write things about Bryan Cross, he’s doing blacksmithy or shieldmakery things – or he’s being a responsible shopkeeper that’s looking out for his and his family’s interests.
His wife, on the other hand, is entirely fictional. Elizabeth Cross exists only in my RP and in the RP of people that choose to use her in their stories. If something terrible came of Elizabeth Cross, it wouldn’t affect other players at all. Should a story demand it, she is, essentially, disposable – not that I’d ever want to get rid of her. I rather like Bess Cross.
But anyway, I think that illustrates the point pretty well.
It all basically boils down to this: Blizzard NPC’s doing relatively ambiguous things consistent with their roles as NPC’s are fine in roleplay.
Matthias Shaw is a sneaky bastard without a lot of scruples – having him do sneaky scruple-less bastard things in a fic is pretty consistent (though it’d probably make more sense to make up a henchman of his). Varian Wrynn has a temper when it comes to Orcs. Thrall ultimately seeks peace for Azeroth. When you take NPC’s out of those roles and force them into your story (particularly as a way to increase your character’s Absolute Badass Value), you start to get into the realm of lorebreaking.
So use Blizzard’s NPCs wisely. They’re there as “untouchable” leaders for a reason; they’re the consistent thread that holds this world together. Taking them out, putting them down, and reducing their influence isn’t a particularly good way to get your point across, because it forces your story to be accepted (or rejected) by other players.
Write your own NPCs instead! And always be aware of the laws of Absolute Badass Value (if you’ve not read that post, you really should). Your fellow RPers will thank you!