Poludnica

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Hurray and thank you! Looking forward to it!


Hello! I'd like to submit Verene Tanaquil, human wizard, for your consideration. I've also submitted her to another WotR recruitment thread - I hope that's okay. If I get accepted to one I'd of course withdraw immediately from the other. I've never done PBP before, but I've GMed for a game of IRL friends for over three years now. I have no problem with posting once or more per day.

In terms of mechanical party role she'd be providing battlefield control, utility, and buffs rather than blasting. In terms of roleplay, she's the Loyal Skeptic, through and through: an 'atheist' foil (though hopefully not an obnoxious one) to more religious characters like paladins and clerics, who still shares their strong moral compass and desire to help people. The basic concept I had with her was "disillusioned failed cleric who's been looking all her life for a sign and never found one, so turned to arcane magic hoping to make discoveries that will help more people than the gods can."

Mechanically, Verene would need to be adjusted from 25 to 20 point buy, have her starting gold increased, and possibly pick an additional trait and a drawback, but those are easily done. She has the Riftwarden Orphan trait and will be going with the associated Archmage path. Her specialty is Divination (Foresight) and her opposed schools are Necromancy and Enchantment. Question: if she has money left over after buying gear, is it okay to use it for writing more spells into her spellbook? If so, what price should each spell be? Thanks.

Further notes on the concept:
Lest this character concept seem unnecessarily drama-producing in an AP that's highly likely to feature major themes of religion - Verene isn't the type of Fantasy Atheist who hates the gods, thinks they're unworthy of worship, or picks fights with believers. She respects the good gods and those who serve them. Her problem is, "How do I help, if they don't want me?" and she's decided that the answer is "By making my own way." Of course, that's not to say that she's completely conquered feelings of rejection, envy, and resentment of the gods and those they have chosen to bless. If she became friends with someone who fit that description, it could eventually cause friction between them.

Ultimately, I'd like her to realize that the disappointments she went through as a young woman were for a reason, and that reason was that she was very much needed in another role in the Crusade, allowing her to make her peace with gods in general and Iomedae in particular - but that would be much later, if it happens at all.

As a side note, the character concept is essentially someone middle-aged, who realizes too late that she has wasted her youth on a foolish dream. However, since many GMs would be understandably reluctant to let a caster take the middle-aged penalties/bonuses, she's officially 34, still in the adult age category, and statted as such.

Description:
A human woman of average height and build in her middle thirties, Verene has straight dark hair just beginning to show a few strands of gray. Fine lines trace the edges of her mouth and clear, expressive gray eyes, but they seem the kind earned by smiling rather than frowning. Her pale skin and arched brows betray at least some Chelish or perhaps Ulfen ancestry. She is generally found wearing warm, practical robes, with her hermit thrush Thamyris on her shoulder or hiding in her hair. Reference picture.

Personality:
As a spiritual pilgrim and wanderer for almost her entire adult life, Verene has more experience than many with the astonishing diversity of people in the world. She is mostly inured to unusual appearances, and forms her opinions of others based not on looks but on whether their words and deeds show compassion, humility, and self-sacrifice. By nature, she's friendly; by necessity, socially adroit, having often been alone in unfamiliar places. She is quick to laugh, slow to judge, and sympathetic to a fault: a good listener with a keen appreciation for the ridiculous in everything, including herself. She tries hard to say nothing that would not pass her mother's threefold test of, "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" However, while she's open about the superficial aspects of her experiences, she is private about her past disappointments and deeper feelings, preferring to keep conversation lighthearted. And when she truly loses her patience, watch out - behind the easy charm is a formidable intellect that can coldly and thoroughly dissect someone's character in a few sentences.

Background:
An orphan of the Crusades like so many others before her, Verene was adopted as a baby by a family of devout worshipers of Iomedae in Kenabres. From an early age she desired nothing more than to aid her parents in their fight, and to honor the sacrifice of the birth parents she couldn't even remember. Her resolve crystallized on that day of fire, fear and blood when Khorramzadeh the Storm King first came to Kenabres. She burned to pledge herself as a blade in Holy Iomedae's hand, to be able to send demons shrieking back to the Abyss and to keep her loved ones hale and whole. For four years she trained and toiled to shape herself into a weapon of the Lady's will. And on her eighteenth birthday she kept her vigil, all the long night through; and at sun's rising swore her vows, body and soul now and for ever to the service of the Just Queen of Heaven.

But Iomedae was silent.

At first Verene thought she had displeased the goddess. She performed rituals of purification and of penance, and tried again. And again. Her father and mother attempted to comfort her, telling her that she could serve the Crusade in other ways; pointing to the spiraling birthmark on the back of her neck as evidence that her path might lie elsewhere. But Verene would not listen. Whatever her birth parents had been, she was and would be Iomedae's servant. She became convinced that the goddess was testing her faith, and eventually embarked upon a pilgrimage to the holiest sites of the church, scattered across Avistan and Garund. It led only to the same silence, and to her first crisis of faith.

If Iomedae would not hear her prayers, Verene thought, perhaps another god would. Perhaps in her narrowminded insistence on the One True Way, she had been shutting herself off to signs from a different faith, one where her true destiny lay. She entered an even longer period of wandering and self-reflection, seeking out temples large and small, familiar and foreign, giant cathedrals and secret mystery cults, and asking for the lowliest work they had in exchange for learning something of their faiths, morals and philosophies. Some places she stayed only a week or two; others, months or even a year. But if at the end of the year no sign had come, no sacred peace, no certainty, Verene moved on. The gods did not hesitate to make themselves known to the ones they did choose, after all. And no answer was its own kind of answer. She had to trust that she would know, when she had found her path.

But the gods were silent.

So came her second crisis of faith, the one that growing up in a Crusader city, shepherded and safeguarded in every way by divine intervention, had left her unprepared for: The gods did not care. Or they did, but not for her, and not for most people in the world. For Verene had now seen too many desperate prayers in desperate circumstances go unanswered to cling to her old childish faith in fate and mysterious ways. It was the closest she came to true anger, but even this was unsustainable. The miracles worked by divine magic, for some people, were real. They did real good in the world. It was simply that they were unfairly and often randomly applied, rarely helping the most vulnerable lay believers who needed them most. And only those who had sworn themselves to a higher power could work the greater magics of healing - well, and those who had so mastered arcane powers that they might as well be gods themselves.

And so Verene came home, a dozen years later, defeated. There was no point to having faith. The gods were playing their own game. If they were going to hear you, they would, whether or not you even knew you were praying to them; and if they weren't, they wouldn't, no matter how deeply you believed or how obedient you were. Her new perspective saddened her parents, but they reached an uneasy peace by avoiding the topic. After a time, Verene found piecemeal work as a translator of Tien and Vudran, which she had learned on her travels. And she applied herself to the study of simple magic, putting all gods and religion as far out of her mind as it is possible to do in Kenabres.

After three years, the passage of time has made it easier to laugh as well as wince at the memory of those painfully well-intentioned and self-serious days of her wandering, but it has done nothing to soften her convictions. And magic comes easily to her mind, far more easily than enlightenment ever did - but it does not feel like victory.


Writing Style:
Three Years Ago

The road is bad.

In one sense, of course the road is bad. Go to any given corner of the world, and people may dress differently, eat differently, walk and talk and fight and even sleep differently, but the one consistency will be: the roads in late autumn will be bad. If this is normal, can it really be bad?

In another sense, Verene watches as the cart jounces from rut to rock to sucking mud with bone-jarring force, and doubts that its passengers care about normal. Those who can are walking, to spare the horses, but the cart's current occupants are not so lucky. "Convalescent's better than dead," one of the older soldiers joked to her around the fire last night, "but not so's you'd notice."

He smiles at her now, grey-faced, and says hoarsely, "You've a pretty voice, lass. Don't suppose you know the mountain song?"

Verene bows her head. She knows the one he means. As the cart rolls inexorably toward Kenabres, she takes a deep, steadying breath, and begins to sing.

"On tomorrow's painted wagon, in a yester-dreamin' day
I rode to heaven, never thinkin' I'd be back this way
Now I'm standing at your doorstep, with my halo turning gray
Open up your gate, Marianna..."


Mechanics:
Verene Tanaquil
Female Human Wizard 1
NG Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +7; Senses Perception +2
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 dex)
HP 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Dagger +0 (1d4+0, 19-20x2)
Ranged Light crossbow +2 (1d8+0, 19-20/x2) or dagger +2 (1d4+0, 19-20x2)
Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +7)
0 - detect magic, mage hand, prestidigitation (DC 14)
1 - color spray (DC 15), summon monster I, identify
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1), Int 18 (+4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Scribe Scroll, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative
Traits Riftwarden Orphan (+2 to concentration checks), Friend in Every Town (+1 to Knowledge: Local and Diplomacy, Diplomacy as a class skill)
Skills Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (Arcana) +8, Knowledge (Local) +9, Knowledge (Planes) +8, Knowledge (Religion) +8, Linguistics +8, Perform (sing) +3, Spellcraft +8
Languages Common, Abyssal, Celestial, Vudran, Tien, Draconic
Special Qualities
Other Gear crossbow bolts x20
--------------------
SPECIAL ABILITIES
--------------------
Divination Specialization (Focused Arcane School: Foresight) Specialist wizards receive an additional spell slot of each spell level they can cast, from 1st on up. Each day, a wizard can prepare a spell from his specialty school in that slot. This spell must be in the wizard's spellbook. A wizard can select a spell modified by a metamagic feat to prepare in his school slot, but it uses up a higher-level spell slot.
Enchantment Opposition School A wizard who prepares spells from his opposition schools must use two spell slots of that level to prepare the spell. In addition, a specialist takes a –4 penalty on any skill checks made when crafting a magic item that has a spell from one of his opposition schools as a prerequisite.
Forewarned (Su) You can always act in the surprise round even if you fail to make a Perception roll to notice a foe, but you are still considered flat-footed until you take an action. In addition, you receive a bonus on initiative checks equal to 1/2 your wizard level (minimum +1). At 20th level, anytime you roll initiative, assume the roll resulted in a natural 20.
Prescience (7/day) (Sp) At the beginning of your turn, you may, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before your next turn, you may use the result of this roll as the result of any d20 roll you are required to make. If you do not use the d20 result before your next turn, it is lost.
Necromancy Opposition School
Empathic Link with Familiar
Share Spells with Familiar
Bonus Feat Humans select one extra feat at 1st level.
Skilled Humans gain an additional skill rank at first level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency Wizards are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a wizard's movements, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.
--------
SPELLS
--------
Spellbook:
0 - Arcane Mark, Bleed, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Disrupt Undead, Flare, Ghost Sound, Haunted Fey Aspect, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Resistance, Spark, Touch of Fatigue
1 - Color Spray, Expeditious Retreat, Grease, Identify, Mage Armor, Protection from Evil, Summon Monster I, True Strike
--------------------
GEAR/POSSESSIONS
--------------------
Carried Backpack (2 gp, 2 lbs), candle x5 (5 cp), flint & steel (1 gp), lamp (1 sp, 1 lb), money (.5 lbs), oil (1 sp, 1 lb), paper (4 sp), scholar’s outfit (free), scroll case (1 gp, .5 lbs), spell component pouch (5 gp, 2 lbs), spellbook (free, 3 lbs), waterskin (1 gp, 4 lbs)
Carrying Capacity Light: 33 lbs Medium: 34-66 lbs Heavy: 67-100 lbs Current 21 lbs (light load)
Money 0 pp 20 gp 3 sp 9 cp


Here's the more detailed background, crunch, and a writing sample for Verene Tanaquil, human wizard. I'll create an alias for her if accepted. Verene will be going Archmage path and mostly providing battlefield control, utility, and buffs rather than blasting. Question: if she has money left over after buying gear, is it okay to use it for writing more spells into her spellbook? If so, what price should each spell be? Thanks.

Description: A human woman of average height and build in her middle thirties, Verene has straight dark hair just beginning to show a few strands of gray. Fine lines trace the edges of her mouth and clear, expressive gray eyes, but they seem the kind earned by smiling rather than frowning. Her pale skin and arched brows betray at least some Chelish or perhaps Ulfen ancestry. She is generally found wearing warm, practical robes, with her hermit thrush Thamyris on her shoulder or hiding in her hair. Reference picture.

Personality: As a spiritual pilgrim and wanderer for almost her entire adult life, Verene has more experience than many with the astonishing diversity of people in the world. She is mostly inured to unusual appearances, and forms her opinions of others based not on looks but on whether their words and deeds show compassion, humility, and self-sacrifice. By nature, she's friendly; by necessity, socially adroit, having often been alone in unfamiliar places. She is quick to laugh, slow to judge, and sympathetic to a fault: a good listener with a keen appreciation for the ridiculous in everything, including herself. She tries hard to say nothing that would not pass her mother's threefold test of, "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" However, while she's open about the superficial aspects of her experiences, she is private about her past disappointments and deeper feelings, preferring to keep conversation lighthearted. And when she truly loses her patience, watch out - behind the easy charm is a formidable intellect that can coldly and thoroughly dissect someone's character in a few sentences.

Background:
An orphan of the Crusades like so many others before her, Verene was adopted as a baby by a family of devout worshipers of Iomedae in Kenabres. From an early age she desired nothing more than to aid her parents in their fight, and to honor the sacrifice of the birth parents she couldn't even remember. Her resolve crystallized on that day of fire, fear and blood when Khorramzadeh the Storm King first came to Kenabres. She burned to pledge herself as a blade in Holy Iomedae's hand, to be able to send demons shrieking back to the Abyss and to keep her loved ones hale and whole. For four years she trained and toiled to shape herself into a weapon of the Lady's will. And on her eighteenth birthday she kept her vigil, all the long night through; and at sun's rising swore her vows, body and soul now and for ever to the service of the Just Queen of Heaven.

But Iomedae was silent.

At first Verene thought she had displeased the goddess. She performed rituals of purification and of penance, and tried again. And again. Her father and mother attempted to comfort her, telling her that she could serve the Crusade in other ways; pointing to the spiraling birthmark on the back of her neck as evidence that her path might lie elsewhere. But Verene would not listen. Whatever her birth parents had been, she was and would be Iomedae's servant. She became convinced that the goddess was testing her faith, and eventually embarked upon a pilgrimage to the holiest sites of the church, scattered across Avistan and Garund. It led only to the same silence, and to her first crisis of faith.

If Iomedae would not hear her prayers, Verene thought, perhaps another god would. Perhaps in her narrowminded insistence on the One True Way, she had been shutting herself off to signs from a different faith, one where her true destiny lay. She entered an even longer period of wandering and self-reflection, seeking out temples large and small, familiar and foreign, giant cathedrals and secret mystery cults, and asking for the lowliest work they had in exchange for learning something of their faiths, morals and philosophies. Some places she stayed only a week or two; others, months or even a year. But if at the end of the year no sign had come, no sacred peace, no certainty, Verene moved on. The gods did not hesitate to make themselves known to the ones they did choose, after all. And no answer was its own kind of answer. She had to trust that she would know, when she had found her path.

But the gods were silent.

So came her second crisis of faith, the one that growing up in a Crusader city, shepherded and safeguarded in every way by divine intervention, had left her unprepared for: The gods did not care. Or they did, but not for her, and not for most people in the world. For Verene had now seen too many desperate prayers in desperate circumstances go unanswered to cling to her old childish faith in fate and mysterious ways. It was the closest she came to true anger, but even this was unsustainable. The miracles worked by divine magic, for some people, were real. They did real good in the world. It was simply that they were unfairly and often randomly applied, rarely helping the most vulnerable lay believers who needed them most. And only those who had sworn themselves to a higher power could work the greater magics of healing - well, and those who had so mastered arcane powers that they might as well be gods themselves.

And so Verene came home, a dozen years later, defeated. There was no point to having faith. The gods were playing their own game. If they were going to hear you, they would, whether or not you even knew you were praying to them; and if they weren't, they wouldn't, no matter how deeply you believed or how obedient you were. Her new perspective saddened her parents, but they reached an uneasy peace by avoiding the topic. After a time, Verene found piecemeal work as a translator of Tien and Vudran, which she had learned on her travels. And she applied herself to the study of simple magic, putting all gods and religion as far out of her mind as it is possible to do in Kenabres.

After three years, the passage of time has made it easier to laugh as well as wince at the memory of those painfully well-intentioned and self-serious days of her wandering, but it has done nothing to soften her convictions. And magic comes easily to her mind, far more easily than enlightenment ever did - but it does not feel like victory.


Writing Style:
Three Years Ago

The road is bad.

In one sense, of course the road is bad. Go to any given corner of the world, and people may dress differently, eat differently, walk and talk and fight and even sleep differently, but the one consistency will be: the roads in late autumn will be bad. If this is normal, can it really be bad?

In another sense, Verene watches as the cart jounces from rut to rock to sucking mud with bone-jarring force, and doubts that its passengers care about normal. Those who can are walking, to spare the horses, but the cart's current occupants are not so lucky. "Convalescent's better than dead," one of the older soldiers joked to her around the fire last night, "but not so's you'd notice."

He smiles at her now, grey-faced, and says hoarsely, "You've a pretty voice, lass. Don't suppose you know the mountain song?"

Verene bows her head. She knows the one he means. As the cart rolls inexorably toward Kenabres, she takes a deep, steadying breath, and begins to sing.

"On tomorrow's painted wagon, in a yester-dreamin' day
I rode to heaven, never thinkin' I'd be back this way
Now I'm standing at your doorstep, with my halo turning gray
Open up your gate, Marianna..."


Mechanics:
Verene Tanaquil
Female Human Wizard 1
NG Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +7; Senses Perception +2
--------------------
DEFENSE
--------------------
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 dex)
HP 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3
--------------------
OFFENSE
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Dagger +0 (1d4+0, 19-20x2)
Ranged Light crossbow +2 (1d8+0, 19-20/x2) or dagger +2 (1d4+0, 19-20x2)
Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +7)
0 - detect magic, mage hand, prestidigitation (DC 14)
1 - color spray (DC 15), summon monster I, identify
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
--------------------
STATISTICS
--------------------
Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1), Int 18 (+4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Scribe Scroll, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative
Traits Riftwarden Orphan (+2 to concentration checks), Friend in Every Town (+1 to Knowledge: Local and Diplomacy, Diplomacy as a class skill)
Skills Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (Arcana) +8, Knowledge (Local) +9, Knowledge (Planes) +8, Knowledge (Religion) +8, Linguistics +8, Perform (sing) +3, Spellcraft +8
Languages Common, Abyssal, Celestial, Vudran, Tien, Draconic
Special Qualities
Other Gear crossbow bolts x20
--------------------
SPECIAL ABILITIES
--------------------
Divination Specialization (Focused Arcane School: Foresight) Specialist wizards receive an additional spell slot of each spell level they can cast, from 1st on up. Each day, a wizard can prepare a spell from his specialty school in that slot. This spell must be in the wizard's spellbook. A wizard can select a spell modified by a metamagic feat to prepare in his school slot, but it uses up a higher-level spell slot.
Enchantment Opposition School A wizard who prepares spells from his opposition schools must use two spell slots of that level to prepare the spell. In addition, a specialist takes a –4 penalty on any skill checks made when crafting a magic item that has a spell from one of his opposition schools as a prerequisite.
Forewarned (Su) You can always act in the surprise round even if you fail to make a Perception roll to notice a foe, but you are still considered flat-footed until you take an action. In addition, you receive a bonus on initiative checks equal to 1/2 your wizard level (minimum +1). At 20th level, anytime you roll initiative, assume the roll resulted in a natural 20.
Prescience (7/day) (Sp) At the beginning of your turn, you may, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before your next turn, you may use the result of this roll as the result of any d20 roll you are required to make. If you do not use the d20 result before your next turn, it is lost.
Necromancy Opposition School
Empathic Link with Familiar
Share Spells with Familiar
Bonus Feat Humans select one extra feat at 1st level.
Skilled Humans gain an additional skill rank at first level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency Wizards are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a wizard's movements, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.
--------
SPELLS
--------
Spellbook:
0 - Arcane Mark, Bleed, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Disrupt Undead, Flare, Ghost Sound, Haunted Fey Aspect, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Resistance, Spark, Touch of Fatigue
1 - Color Spray, Expeditious Retreat, Grease, Identify, Mage Armor, Protection from Evil, Summon Monster I, True Strike
--------------------
GEAR/POSSESSIONS
--------------------
Carried Backpack (2 gp, 2 lbs), candle x5 (5 cp), flint & steel (1 gp), lamp (1 sp, 1 lb), money (.5 lbs), oil (1 sp, 1 lb), paper (4 sp), scholar’s outfit (free), scroll case (1 gp, .5 lbs), spell component pouch (5 gp, 2 lbs), spellbook (free, 3 lbs), waterskin (1 gp, 4 lbs)
Carrying Capacity Light: 33 lbs Medium: 34-66 lbs Heavy: 67-100 lbs Current 21 lbs (light load)
Money 0 pp 20 gp 3 sp 9 cp


"Things don't happen for a reason. The gods are not listening. We are alone."

I'm interested in applying with Verene Tanaquil, a disillusioned failed cleric who's been looking all her life for a sign. Finding none, she's given up on religion, but not on serving the greater good. She's decided to study arcane magic, with the ultimate aim of making accessible to all mortals the gifts that the gods reserve for their chosen few. She's a human wizard with the divination specialty, a (relatively) older woman who spent her youth in devotion to Iomedae and then young adulthood in religious pilgrimage and remote temples. (I understand if you as GM don't want to allow the age category bonuses/penalties, especially for a caster, so I'm thinking she'll be 33 or 34.) Her backstory could easily fit with the Riftwarden Orphan campaign trait, especially if one or both of her foster parents in Kenabres were a cleric or paladin of Iomedae.

Lest this concept seem unnecessarily drama-producing in an AP that's highly likely to feature major themes of religion - Verene isn't the type of Fantasy Atheist who hates the gods, thinks they're unworthy of worship, or picks fights with believers. She respects the good gods and those who serve them. Her problem is, "How do I help, if they don't want me?" and she's decided that the answer is "By making my own way." Of course, that's not to say that she's completely conquered feelings of rejection, envy, and resentment of the gods and those they have chosen to bless. If she became friends with someone who fit that description, it could eventually cause friction between them. In terms of general personality, she's quick to laugh, slow to judge, and sympathetic to a fault: a good listener with a keen appreciation for the absurd in everything, including herself.

Ultimately, I'd like her to realize that the disappointments she went through as a young woman were for a reason, and that reason was that she was very much needed in another role in the Crusade, allowing her to make her peace with Iomedae - but that would be much later, if it happens at all.

I'll have some preliminary stats for her up later today. Thanks for your consideration!


I'm interested in playing! The character concept I have in mind is a wharf-rat-turned-wizard, semi-recently washed ashore after being saved from a deadly storm by an encounter with a ghost ship. Human, probably, with an emphasis on utility, crowd control, and stealth rather than blasting; personality-wise, a practical survivor with an inconveniently strong curiosity, but not a bad person at heart. Certainly not the type of CN that only escapes CE because they failed out of Puppy-Kicking 101 at Villain School. I'm waffling between air elementalist and transmuter for a specialization. It might depend on whether the first-level spell "Air Bubble" is considered one of the air elementalist's spells or not. Probably bonded object rather than familiar, but if a familiar, a parrot, because come on. I'll have a more detailed backstory and stats up in an hour or so, hope it's not too late!

As for me, I've never played in a PbP game before, but I've been DMing for a group of IRL friends for about 3 years now, and been a player for years before that. I've also been lurking around these boards for a while, reading other campaigns, to get a feel for the conventions of PbP - what works and what doesn't. I know nothing about Skull & Shackles beyond what's in the Player's Guide. I'd have no difficulty with posting once or twice a day.


Everything about this story is perfect and amazing and makes me so happy.


Varisian Wanderer wrote:

I was just thinking this the other day! The Rose fits Shelyn wonderfully.

One of her titles is even 'the Eternal Rose,' after all. :) Not to derail too much, I hope, but I particularly like Shelyn because she's a love-and-beauty goddess who emphasizes more than romantic love and physical beauty. Love between friends, familial love, love for pets... basically, the best and most selfless parts of our nature, everything that's positive and runs deep - and so necessarily has the potential for immense grief. To me it seems that "The Rose" is speaking about all of those as well, right down to being the answer to a warning against "giving your heart to a dog to tear." (With apologies to Mr. Kipling.)

Varisian Wanderer wrote:

The Last Rose of Summer by Celtic Woman.

Wow, I'd never heard "The Last Rose of Summer" before, and it's gorgeous. The lyrics are so melancholy, almost fatalistic, that I wonder if it might also be suited for Naderi, the Neutral minor goddess who used to be Shelyn's assistant and is now patron of romantic suicides. I like the rest of your suggestions too!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Lots of interesting choices in this thread! I really like "Sol Invictus" and "Desert Rose" both for Sarenrae, "Blackbird" for Milani, "Requiem Aeternam" for Pharasma, "Sympathy For The Devil" for Asmodeus, and "Mossy Oak Song" for Erastil. Just thought I'd throw my own suggestions out there, particularly Shelyn, since hers leapt to mind immediately and no one had mentioned it yet.

Shelyn: "The Rose" - I'm partial to Leann Rimes' version, though Bette Midler made it famous.

Why?:
Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you its only seed.

Pharasma: "Oh Death" - Jen Titus

Why?:
No wealth, no ruin, no silver, no gold
Nothing satisfies me but your soul
(...)
Well I am death, none can excel
I'll open the door to heaven or hell.

Erastil: "Calling My Children Home" - traditional, my favorite version is Chris Webster or Emmylou Harris.

Why?:
Those lives were mine, to love and cherish
To guard and guide, along life's way.
Oh God forbid, that one should perish
That one alas should go astray.
(...)
I'm lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling... calling...
And come back home someday.


Great ending to a great story! I really enjoyed Larem. Characters who react with cleverness to powerful evil entities offering temptation and beat them at their own game are just the best. :)


Chris A Jackson wrote:
I like this very much, and with all due respect to the above comments, how can you look upon a disabled character in the opening scene of a story, and not knowing anything about how or why they became disabled, decide that they are not, were not, or won't be heroes?
Itchy wrote:
While I won't disagree that there have been a lot of rogues and "gray" protagonists in the Web Fiction and in the novels, I don't find the characters in this story to be "gray" At least, not yet. They certainly are desperate.

Maybe I wasn't clear, or maybe these comments are responding to someone else. I didn't mean to imply that I thought that the protagonists of "The Weeping Blade" were antiheroic at all, at least not in the way that I meant the term. (In the traditional sense of being main characters who are weak rather than powerful, they might qualify as antiheroes, but I have no problem with that kind of antihero.) Just the opposite; I meant to contrast them with many of the recent short story protagonists, who have been antiheroes in the modern sense: characters who are powerful or effective, but amoral. By contrast, even after just one installment of this story it seems clear that Larem and certainly Beetle are heroic, in that they want to do the right thing by other people in the slums, and what's preventing them is fear and practical concerns. I really like that, and found it refreshing!

As for which characters have been sympathetic or not, it's of course very subjective. For me, it's harder to find rogues of any stripe lovable, and basically impossible if said rogues don't have - well, maybe not hearts of gold, but at least hearts of mostly-decent. The main characters of "The Irregulars" were doing good things, but they were very ruthless, and I couldn't like them much. I certainly didn't like Krunzle either, though I didn't think it was fair to count him as recent since the story featuring him was from last year. But Marcov from "Best Served Cold" was a new low, as a self-admitted rapist and murderer. And again - these stories were well-done, I'm not judging people who like 'gritty' fantasy, very long redemption arcs can be interesting, etc. They're just not for me.


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Oh, this is exciting! There aren't a lot of disabled heroes in fiction, period, and I'm really interested by this premise. It also does seem like there have been a disproportionate number of very dark gray antihero protagonists in the web fiction lately ("Best Served Cold," "Bastard, Sword"). Or maybe it only seems that way because the ones there have been, have been so extremely unsympathetic. When the only recent altruistic protagonists are terrorist abolitionists, who are ALSO decidedly unsympathetic, and besides them there's... well, a lot of lovable rogues with very mixed success at the 'lovable' part, it does start to seem like a one-sided world. Lots of people must like that kind of thing (see also: the popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire), but personally I find stories in the genre of Bad People Doing Bad Things To Worse People (what TVTropes calls "Black and Gray Morality") to be both boring and obnoxious.

Which is not to say they haven't been well-written, and I'm certainly still glad that Pathfinder Tales and the Web Fiction exist. I'm just glad to see stories like this one too, where it looks like the protagonists aren't perfect people or even necessarily powerful superhero types, but they want to do the right thing.


Oh, my. Sold, please and thank you, and that makes three books now bought solely on the strength of the fiction posted here. I have to wonder why more publishers haven't adopted the business model of providing short stories for free in order to get readers interested in new authors, rather than continuing to publish print anthologies of reliably uneven quality, at an equal or greater cost to the reader as a full novel by an author they trust. At least for this reader, that choice has always been very simple, and has probably resulted in fewer books bought in the long run.

tl;dr: I'm glad that your Web Fiction section exists, not just this excerpt in particular. :)