Channa Ti, Pathfinder


Legacy of Fire

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Yay, Pathfinder #19 finally arrived at my FLGS, and my initial impression of part 1 of the story arc is good.

Edit:
As a minor observation, I'm slightly surprised a druid would be nauseated by a gnoll's breath - particularly if she has formerly been a comrade of that very same gnoll, and I would have thought would have grown accustomed to the smell.

However, I note the comparison to a dog and I've never had a pet dog; if you have a dog around, do you become used to the smell of its breath, and does that being used to it go away if you spend any time apart from it?

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

However, I note the comparison to a dog and I've never had a pet dog; if you have a dog around, do you become used to the smell of its breath, and does that being used to it go away if you spend any time apart from it?

It depends on what the dog in question has been eating.. a domestic dog has bad breath, but it is easier to get used to. I would imagine that wild dogs, eating flesh and having it decompose in their teeth, would have breath that smells quite a bit worse.

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Matthew Morris wrote:
Just read part 3. I'm beginning to understand her code of honour, I think.

Glad to hear it. :) Channa does have a code of honor, but it's definitely a home-brewed one.

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Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

However, I note the comparison to a dog and I've never had a pet dog; if you have a dog around, do you become used to the smell of its breath, and does that being used to it go away if you spend any time apart from it?

It depends on what the dog in question has been eating.. a domestic dog has bad breath, but it is easier to get used to. I would imagine that wild dogs, eating flesh and having it decompose in their teeth, would have breath that smells quite a bit worse.

It would also depend upon whether or not the canine in question, dog or gnoll, is right in your face or a few paces away. Also, your opinion of the canine. People are more inclined to put up with unpleasantness from creatures of whom they're fond. When someone has killed your associates and dragged you to a slave market, you're programmed for anger, annoyance, and revulsion. Under such circumstances, your reaction is likely to be somewhat stronger than, "Dude, Tic Tac. Seriously." :)


Hmm. Would you see Channa as sometimes being conflicted between her head and her heart? Logically, she expects people to betray her, and/or for things to not be as they appear, but it still hurts her in PF #19 when she thinks that Ratsheek has simply sold her into slavery?


Elaine Cunningham wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

However, I note the comparison to a dog and I've never had a pet dog; if you have a dog around, do you become used to the smell of its breath, and does that being used to it go away if you spend any time apart from it?

It depends on what the dog in question has been eating.. a domestic dog has bad breath, but it is easier to get used to. I would imagine that wild dogs, eating flesh and having it decompose in their teeth, would have breath that smells quite a bit worse.

It would also depend upon whether or not the canine in question, dog or gnoll, is right in your face or a few paces away. Also, your opinion of the canine. People are more inclined to put up with unpleasantness from creatures of whom they're fond. When someone has killed your associates and dragged you to a slave market, you're programmed for anger, annoyance, and revulsion. Under such circumstances, your reaction is likely to be somewhat stronger than, "Dude, Tic Tac. Seriously." :)

Ah. The stomach churning is partially psychological from the sense of betrayal?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

I just found this thread! This is great stuff!

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Hmm. Would you see Channa as sometimes being conflicted between her head and her heart? Logically, she expects people to betray her, and/or for things to not be as they appear, but it still hurts her in PF #19 when she thinks that Ratsheek has simply sold her into slavery?

Yes, that's true of Channa. She's what I'd call a "hopeful cynic." She expects betrayal and she's alert for it, but at some level she's sad about this. Intellectually, she tells herself that humans are naturally duplicitous and she shouldn't fault them for being true to their nature, any more than she faults a jungle cat for hunting and killing its food. Accepting something as true doesn't necessarily prelude wishing it were otherwise.

Having been raised among elves who considered her a half-caste witch child, she has no expectations whatsoever of finding a place among her father's kin. Her affinity for water manifested early and in strange ways, and among the elves of the Mwangi Expense, with their close connection to the land, she felt almost literally like a fish out of water. (Keep this bit of backstory in mind when you're reading episode 5.)

Circumstances have made Channa a loner, but there's a corner of her heart that longs for a place where (or a person with whom) she feels at ease and at home. The closest thing she has is her identity as a Pathfinder, for her natural curiosity fits this role perfectly.

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Elaine Cunningham wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

However, I note the comparison to a dog and I've never had a pet dog; if you have a dog around, do you become used to the smell of its breath, and does that being used to it go away if you spend any time apart from it?

It depends on what the dog in question has been eating.. a domestic dog has bad breath, but it is easier to get used to. I would imagine that wild dogs, eating flesh and having it decompose in their teeth, would have breath that smells quite a bit worse.

It would also depend upon whether or not the canine in question, dog or gnoll, is right in your face or a few paces away. Also, your opinion of the canine. People are more inclined to put up with unpleasantness from creatures of whom they're fond. When someone has killed your associates and dragged you to a slave market, you're programmed for anger, annoyance, and revulsion. Under such circumstances, your reaction is likely to be somewhat stronger than, "Dude, Tic Tac. Seriously." :)

Ah. The stomach churning is partially psychological from the sense of betrayal?

That was my intention, yes.

How you respond to someone is very much influenced by your attitude toward him. You might be able to tune out a friend whose table manners are less than stellar--someone who eats too fast and too loudly, talks with his mouth full, and so on--but the same behavior in someone who already annoys you would probably be intolerable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Does Channa use a Wayfinder?

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
andrew berthiaume wrote:
Does Channa use a Wayfinder?

I havn't seen one mentioned, doesn't mean she doesn't have one, it may not be on her during this particular trip though... especially after being captured as a slave


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
andrew berthiaume wrote:
Does Channa use a Wayfinder?
I havn't seen one mentioned, doesn't mean she doesn't have one, it may not be on her during this particular trip though... especially after being captured as a slave

Good point. Forgot that detail.


Elaine Cunningham wrote:


How you respond to someone is very much influenced by your attitude toward him. You might be able to tune out a friend whose table manners are less than stellar--someone who eats too fast and too loudly, talks with his mouth full, and so on--but the same behavior in someone who already annoys you would probably be intolerable.

I can confirm that from personal experience.

Contributor

Today's post on the Paizo Blog (click the link in the gray bar, above) is entitled "Half-elf, all druid, no tree hugging." Many thanks to the Paizo folk for giving me the opportunity to guest blog.

Some of the post will be familiar to the folks reading this thread, but I hope you'll stop by.


Thank you, Elaine for telling us a little more Channa Ti. I really like your take on druids. Much more interesting than the common approach.

Ben.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I think Elaine Cunningham’s Channa Ti has gracefully introduced us a concept how a seemingly peaceful druid class sit in a little harsher world of Golarion. It reminds me of Counselors and Kings Trilogy by her, which was almost an only source of mysterious Halruaa in those days. Novels by an excellent hand like of hers sometimes speak more words and draw more pictures than any adventures or sourcebooks. I don’t want to see Golarion driven by “cannon” novels, but I dearly want novels of this kind. Thanks, and I love your novels, Ms. Cunningham.

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AGITIGA wrote:
I think Elaine Cunningham’s Channa Ti has gracefully introduced us a concept how a seemingly peaceful druid class sit in a little harsher world of Golarion. It reminds me of Counselors and Kings Trilogy by her, which was almost an only source of mysterious Halruaa in those days. Novels by an excellent hand like of hers sometimes speak more words and draw more pictures than any adventures or sourcebooks. I don’t want to see Golarion driven by “cannon” novels, but I dearly want novels of this kind. Thanks, and I love your novels, Ms. Cunningham.

Many thanks, Agitiga.

I agree with your view of shared-world novels. Granted, there are times when the various Powers That Be decree that a big change is best depicted in novel form. I have no real problem with that approach, but my own preference is to write stories that work within a setting. I am, at heart, a writer of historical fiction, and that's how I approach shared-world novels. It's not my job to create the world, but rather to try to understand that world, to create characters who are shaped and defined by it. Yes, these characters will in turn shape the world in which they live, as do we all, but that's not the goal of the story.

You would have to ask the editors about their goals for the upcoming novel line, but I would be very surprised to see Pathfinder become a novel-driven setting. For one thing, it's a new world, and the sense of discovery will fuel a lot of stories. It's a world that's adjusting to some very major changes; for example, the Age of Prophecy is over, Chexliax changed significantly a while back, and much of the world was affected by the huge meteor that hit about 100 years ago. In short, it is already an unsettled world. As such, the setting offers enough inherent drama and scope for storytelling to keep novelists busy for a very long time.

An element I consider vital to a good gaming/fiction balance is communication between novelists and designers. If my experience with "Dark Tapestry" is typical, then I'd say Paizo seems to have a good balance. Editorial notes included input from designers. This helps keep the story within the setting.


(Edited, spelling corrected)
[humour] Hmm, the demise of Aroden a century earlier was from unknown causes, but now you say there was a meteor round about then... Have Paizo just allowed you to spoil the occurance of another Earthfall event, Elaine? :D [/humour]

But mix-ups aside, the world is very unsettled, yes. The slow decay of imperial Taldor, the rebellions of Cheliax's colonies, possibly (although it was a few centuries earlier) the founding of the Pathfinder society are all shaking things up.
And unsettled and uncertain people do and will believe odd things. (For example the wizard masquerading as a god on the edge of the River Kingdoms.)

Edit:
Is it that there is almost a 'wild west' atmosphere about the world, with chances there (either real or perceived) for opportunists right across Golarion to grab at?

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:
[humour] Hmm, the demise of Aroden a century earlier was from unknown causes, but now you say there was a meteor round about then... Have Paizo just alowed you to spoil the occurance of another Earthfall event, Elaine? :D [/humour]

As you surmised, the meteor I mentioned was the Starstone, and no, I was not suggesting a second Earthfall. "100 years" was a brain blip. Not sure where it came from, but clearly, I should stay offline until this flu runs its course.

I suspect that two days from now I'll read everything I wrote today and wonder where ANY of it came from!

Later,
ec


Elaine Cunningham wrote:

As you surmised, the meteor I mentioned was the Starstone, and no, I was not suggesting a second Earthfall. "100 years" was a brain blip. Not sure where it came from, but clearly, I should stay offline until this flu runs its course.

I suspect that two days from now I'll read everything I wrote today and wonder where ANY of it came from!

Later,
ec

I think most of us with computer/internet access have had days like that at some point. Wishing you a speedy recovery. :)


Elaine Cunningham wrote:
I suspect that two days from now I'll read everything I wrote today and wonder where ANY of it came from!

Nyquil?

Here's to a speedy recover that sees you feeling better soon!

Apart from your suffering, I was happy to see that the word about Channa made it onto the blog. I hope it raises awareness about the good thing we've got going on.

Contributor

And now, for something completely different:

"Jack and Jill," a very short (under 1000 words) murder mystery, went online today in the new edition of Flash Me Magazine, an e-zine devoted to flash fiction.

I wrote this story a couple of years ago as part of the class materials for "Writing Across the Genres," a workshop I co-taught with Susan Onthank Mates. Each week we did an overview of a particular genre, and the participants wrote a one-page story in the genre-of-the-week using the nursery rhyme as a starting point. The variety and ingenuity in the participant's stories was amazing, and I'm fond of this little tale because it brings to mind a fun workshop and a great group of creative people.

You can read "Jack and Jill" here:

/Thread drift. :)


Flash fiction being known for its extreme brevity, not for an association with indecent exposure...opening scene aside.

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Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Flash fiction being known for its extreme brevity, not for an association with indecent exposure...opening scene aside.

Heh. Great observation. Now I wished I'd thought of that. :)


I can't wait till my one of DMs get past Second Darkness so we can play this and see Channa Ti!
*trembles*

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Flash fiction being known for its extreme brevity, not for an association with indecent exposure...opening scene aside.

Thank you, I was afraid of opening this at work.


Thanks for posting about "Jack and Jill." I enjoyed it!


Okay, about Pathfinder, #20, 'Justice Done, Betrayal Repaid':

I've been thinking about this one for a month or so now, and something bothers me about it - I think it might be that the word count seems spread a bit thin towards the end. Lots of description about the ship, and then very little by comparison about Chiron.
I don't know if this is a deliberate technique which has been used to indicate the slooooow pace of life onboard ship, and the relatively hasty and fleeting glimpse of Chiron by comparison, but I'm not sure that it quite worked for me in the context of such a short story.
Long slow description and then a change of pace to a relatively abrupt and scampered end; it hasn't grabbed me quite so well as the first installment in Pathfinder #19 did.

Nor am I sure why Channa Ti's 'newfound appreciation for money died shortly after Rees and I parted ways in Chiron's harbor'. Other people misuse it to Channa Ti's eyes; so what? Why does that make her feel guilty or disgusted about being well off, which is what I take the comment to be about? Money is just a possession which makes dealing with some people easier to Channa Ti, surely?

Anyway, some of my thoughts/feedback about the episode in PF #20.

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Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts, Charles. I'm sorry to hear that this episode didn't appeal.

Now, to answer your questions.

Narrative, and particularly description, is often used as a characterization technique. What someone notices and how she describes it, what she dwells on and what she dismisses--this can tell you quite a lot about that person's interests and values.

To illustrate that, here's a writing exercise I often suggest. The scene is a brightly moonlit garden. A pair of moths flit by. How would this be perceived and described by a grieving widow, a pair of young lovers, a thief who had to cross that brightly-lit garden to get to the house, a gardener, a laundress? People notice things that are important to them, and that's what they tend to describe. The widow and the lovers might dwell on the two moths, albeit with very different perspectives, but the thief might mention them in passing, or not at all. He'll be more interested in the shadows and hiding places the garden offers, and more concerned about the moonlight. The landress might hurry off to check if moths got into the chests of woolen blankets and garments. The gardener would probably know the common name for the moths and describe the garden in more detail than the others would. Same scene, very different descriptions.

Channa is a druid with an affinity to water, so she's going to attend more closely to a sea voyage than a city. She's not interested in architecture, city planning, fashionable shops, public art, fancy little pastries, so she's not going to talk about any of that. She's pragmatic, so her observations have to do with function: This is a good, deep harbor and the docks are efficiently run. Here's the area where people sell things.

Narration and the level of detail also serves to depict pace. When Channa came ashore, she was accompanied by a fugative slave. This complicated matters and sped up the clock on an already time-sensitive task. Under these circumstances, long descriptions would bog things down.

You asked about Channa's attitude toward money. Since she is pragmatic, she observes that money makes certain tasks easier. But she also comments on how people treat her more respectfully, as if having money made her a better person, and her tone implies that she doesn't get their value system.

If you teleported a D&D or Pathfinder druid to a well-to-do suburb, I suspect he would be saddened and perhaps even appalled by the big SUVs, the sprawling chemically treated lawns, the huge McMansions that require vast amounts of energy to heat and cool, the massive shopping malls with big parking lots. A druid might appreciate the convenience of money, but what some people do when they have a lot of it takes some of the shine from those convenient silver coins. Channa's reaction to the excesses of Chiron was this: If this is the logical extension of what money does, then thanks but no thanks.


In nature some animals make a feature of displays of excess (for example birds with impractical plumage displays or that build huge nests), although often for the purposes of attracting a mate.
Is Channa Ti holding people to a different standard of behaviour than she would a peacock? (Although as a water affinity druid she might not care that much for most birds except as lunch... :D)


Just thought I'd chime in, new to this thread, and report I read all 4 Channa Ti stories this afternoon in one glorious setting. I was originally holding out until all 6 were out, but couldn't resist temptation.

Anyway, I love this character and your take on a gritty, unconventional druid. Very much hope we see more of your work set in Golarion!

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Charles Evans 25 wrote:


Is Channa Ti holding people to a different standard of behaviour than she would a peacock? (Although as a water affinity druid she might not care that much for most birds except as lunch... :D)

Some fish do the same thing, but they are bright and practical at once, not just bright for the purpose of being bright (fake eyes on tails, wasting energy on an angler fish's lights, Bright camouflage to blend with coral)... I could see her appreciate them if she sees a practical reason combined with the shows of wealth.

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Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:


Is Channa Ti holding people to a different standard of behaviour than she would a peacock? (Although as a water affinity druid she might not care that much for most birds except as lunch... :D)
Some fish do the same thing, but they are bright and practical at once, not just bright for the purpose of being bright (fake eyes on tails, wasting energy on an angler fish's lights, Bright camouflage to blend with coral)... I could see her appreciate them if she sees a practical reason combined with the shows of wealth.

Yes. Thank you.

Nature is profligate. Consider, for example, the number of seeds a maple tree casts off each spring. Reproduction is uncertain and competitive, and plants and animals develop strategies to ensure their species' survival. But few of these strategies devastate their environments; that would be counterproductive. Human excess, on the other hand, frequently involves strip mining, deforestation, polution, and paving over huge tracts of land. I doubt many druids would equate these practices with the evolution of color as a means of camouflage or reproduction.

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BenS wrote:

Just thought I'd chime in, new to this thread, and report I read all 4 Channa Ti stories this afternoon in one glorious setting. I was originally holding out until all 6 were out, but couldn't resist temptation.

Anyway, I love this character and your take on a gritty, unconventional druid. Very much hope we see more of your work set in Golarion!

Thanks, BenS. I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying Channa's story. Golarian is a great world, and I hope to visit again. :)


Elaine Cunningham wrote:

Yes. Thank you.

Nature is profligate. Consider, for example, the number of seeds a maple tree casts off each spring. Reproduction is uncertain and competitive, and plants and animals develop strategies to ensure their species' survival. But few of these strategies devastate their environments; that would be counterproductive. Human excess, on the other hand, frequently involves strip mining, deforestation, polution, and paving over huge tracts of land. I doubt many druids would equate these practices with the evolution of color as a means of camouflage or reproduction.

This past week there was a picture in a UK national paper of a swarm of caterpillars stripping a tree bare of leaves.

Locust swarms may only show up in Africa every few years but they are disasters.
Army ant swarms eat everything they can in an area, then move on somewhere else, eat everything there, then move on somewhere else...
The insect world exhibits tremendous environmental devastators of the 'eat everything and move on' type, which makes the sloppiest land-management of some human civilisations look responsible by comparison.

And whilst I can see that real-world mining activities and metal-ore refining activities and their toxic waste production would cross over and likely cause problems in a fantasy setting such as Golarion, that might enrage druids, I haven't yet heard anything to indicate Golarion has wholesale problems with internal combustion engines, agrichemicals industries, petrochemical industries (plastics which don't rot!), wholesale tarmac or concreting over areas that creates problems with the water-table or with massive burning of fossil fuels in the quest to produce electrical energy.

And I am reminded of a dragon magazine article (sorry; I can't remember which number it was in right now) which featured grain nymphs. Civilisations may change the land, but in many cases nature just adapts and a different ecosystem moves in.

Now if Channa Ti is taking a position that 'nature should NEVER have to adapt', that seems a little fundamentalist to me, but I shall be interested to see if she takes the opportunity to level any small cities if she gets the opportunity at a later date... :)

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:


And whilst I can see that real-world mining activities and metal-ore refining activities and their toxic waste production would cross over and likely cause problems in a fantasy setting such as Golarion, that might enrage druids, I haven't yet heard anything to indicate Golarion has wholesale problems with internal combustion engines, agrichemicals industries, petrochemical industries (plastics which don't rot!), wholesale tarmac or concreting over areas that creates problems with the water-table or with massive burning of fossil fuels in the quest to produce electrical energy.

And I am reminded of a dragon magazine article (sorry; I can't remember which number it was in right now) which featured grain nymphs. Civilisations may change the land, but in many cases nature just adapts and a different ecosystem moves in.

Now if Channa Ti is taking a position...

No, she really isn't.

My only intent in bringing up modern excess was to illustrate Channa's response to the excesses of a particular wealthy urban island. Her reaction was an emotional snapshot, and it seemed both logical and natural to me, given her personality and background. Channa experienced and expressed her reaction but she didn't analyze it then and I doubt she'd be inclined to at a later, less busy time. She's not the type to engage in message board analysis. :) The long and short of it is really pretty simple: Channa doesn't care much for cities or conspicious displays of wealth and she said so.

It occurs to me that you may not like her off-the-cuff reaction to the carapice of Sothis, either: in her opinion, there are better places to live than inside a dead bug. Let me assure you, preemptively, that she has nothing against bugs, per se. ;)

Dark Archive

I haven't read it yet. Wanted to wait until all the books was out incase I get hooked. I have a tendency when I read to read nonstop and I think it would drive me up the wall to be unable to.

Yeah ok this is a pointless ramble i am bored today.


Elaine Cunningham wrote:

No, she really isn't.

My only intent in bringing up modern excess was to illustrate Channa's response to the excesses of a particular wealthy urban island. Her reaction was an emotional snapshot, and it seemed both logical and natural to me, given her personality and background. Channa experienced and expressed her reaction but she didn't analyze it then and I doubt she'd be inclined to at a later, less busy time. She's not the type to engage in message board analysis. :) The long and short of it is really pretty simple: Channa doesn't care much for cities or conspicious displays of wealth and she said so.

It occurs to me that you may not like her off-the-cuff reaction to the carapice of Sothis, either: in her opinion, there are better places to live than inside a dead bug. Let me assure you, preemptively, that she has nothing against bugs, per se. ;)

Ah. You mean being a dyed in the wool chaotic (I think you indicated her alignment to be envisioned as chaotic neutral in an earlier post) she reserves the right to change her mind, as frequently as the situation calls for. I had another question lining up on why she'd gone from apparently intended vengeance on Ratsheek at the end of Part two, to deciding she might be useful and helping her out, on catching up with her, at the start of part three?

With a temperament which switches round like that, I might expect it to be more appropriate for Channa Ti to be a wind associated druid than a water associated one though, air currents being famous for being fickle... :)

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Ah. You mean being a dyed in the wool chaotic (I think you indicated her alignment to be envisioned as chaotic neutral in an earlier post) she reserves the right to change her mind, as frequently as the situation calls for.

Actually, no--that's not what I intended. Not at all. Very few people's emotional reactions are 100% consistent with every possible logical extention of their reasoning/response. I think it's entirely reasonable for a druid who was raised in a jungle to have a negative response to a city. That she does not reacte emotionally UNTIL she has first weighed all potential responses against the depredations of various insect plagues or the plumage of peacock does not make her response any less genuine, or make her any more chaotic.

Quote:
I had another question lining up on why she'd gone from apparently intended vengeance on Ratsheek at the end of Part two, to deciding she might be useful and helping her out, on catching up with her, at the start of part three?

SPOILER ALERT FOR EPISODES 2 and 3 (Pathfinder Issues #20 and 21)

At the end of episode 2, Channa thinks about Ratsheek and the gnolls and observes that justice will be done, betrayal repaid. But to understand what Channa means by justice, consider what happened in episode 2. Channa helped a slave escape. That slave tried to frame Channa for the murder of her former owner. Channa anticipated this betrayal and had a means to balance the score: She kept the woman's slave bracelet and left it at the scene of the wine merchant's murder. The thing about Channa is that she's ALWAYS assuming that people will betray her sooner or later, so she prepares for the eventuality. If you betray her, there will be a price.

What you expect from life, however, is not necessarily the same as what you bring to it. In Channa's own words, from episode 3: "And though I might pretend otherwise, a vow means something to me. When I give my word, I do my best to keep it." This aspect to Channa's personality adds a complication to her dealings with Ratsheek.

Years ago, Channa and Ratsheek made a vow of mutual aid when they escaped together from slavery. When Channa learned that Ratsheek was a captive awaiting near-certain execution, that vow kicked in. If she'd run into Ratsheek in the barrens of the Brazen Peaks, she wouldn't hesitate to protect herself. But it's one thing to face someone who betrayed you in open combat, and quite another to stand and watch them die for a misunderstanding that your activities created. To recap: Channa is (falsely) accused of murdering a very wealthy woman. The gnolls do business in the area, so they heard about it and suspected that Ratsheek got a cut of the loot as payment for letting Channa escape in episode 1. They sold Ratsheek to make up their loss. In a way, Channa feels responsible for the gnoll's predicament. So she helped Ratsheek escape and, since rogue gnolls seldom survive long, she gave Ratsheek the opportunity to find a new community. It's true that Ratsheek's presence would help Channa get through the pugwampi cavern, but Ratsheek could have accomplished that without threatening Channa's life. If they both honored their earlier vow of mutal aid to escape danger, they both would have been fine. But Channa suspected that the gnoll would go for the dramatic gesture and planned for that eventuality. Ratsheek fell onto a sea of knives that were being offered to sacrifice Channa: Betrayal is met by justice. Channa would have sought the same result no matter the circumstances of her encounter with Ratsheek. If they'd met out in the Brazen Peaks, she would have set up some other means to deal with an attack/betrayal.

Quote:
With a temperament which switches round like that, I might expect it to be more appropriate for Channa Ti to be a wind associated druid than a water associated one though, air currents being famous for being fickle... :)

I disagree that Channa changes her mind to fit the situation. She changes her plans, certainly, but her actions in episode 3 were consistent with her early vows AND her determination that betrayal, if and when it arose, would be met with justice.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Ah. You mean being a dyed in the wool chaotic (I think you indicated her alignment to be envisioned as chaotic neutral in an earlier post) she reserves the right to change her mind, as frequently as the situation calls for.

That's something not necessarily limited to chaotics, dyed-in-the-wool or otherwise. It comes with being a thinking individual - though a lot of people choose order over chaos because it means they don't have to think for thsemselves, getting told what to think by others.


*Sigh*
Channa seems a very complicated character for such short pieces of fiction. Would you Describe her as impulsive?
Not sure that 'a water wraith going green' thing would cross over into pugwampi culture, but I take it that that was a 'give her something she can talk about as she wants' moment.
Pathfinder #22 with the fourth installment is due at my Flagship Local Games Store later this week (in the same delivery as the Innsmouth Arkham Horror expansion, alas for my poor wallet).

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Charles Evans 25 wrote:

*Sigh*

Channa seems a very complicated character for such short pieces of fiction. Would you Describe her as impulsive?

I would, yes. She describes herself that way, as well. In the first episode she notes that not much time tends to elapse between thought and action.

That said, she also tends to think in layers, and in that regard her mentality is somewhat similar to a drow's. Lest anyone misunderstand that observation, let me be clear that I mean only a drow's expectation of devious behavior and ability to create feints and counterplots, NOT the drow's ruthless ambition and Disney-villianess evil and BDSM wardrobe. :)

Quote:
Not sure that 'a water wraith going green' thing would cross over into pugwampi culture.....

I think that's a safe assumption. The village has an established trade with the elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and one could infer from Channa's inner dialog that the creatures may be native to those jungles. I would not be surprised if the use of a water wraith as a judicial tool is limited to this particular village, or at least, to an area not much larger.

Contributor

Elaine Cunningham wrote:
That she does not reacte emotionally UNTIL she has first weighed all potential responses against the depredations of various insect plagues or the plumage of peacock does not make her response any less genuine, or make her any more chaotic.

Yikes! Pardon the convoluted syntax. Somewhere in that thicket of dependant clauses, the intended meaning went astray. It should have read more along the lines of, "She doesn't weigh all potential responses against the [yadda yadda] before reacting; that doesn't make her response any less authentic, or make her any more chaotic."

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I'm really enjoying this conversation. I like Channa's complexity, especially considering she is a character in a short, serial story.

I may have said this before, but I didn't think I was going to like her at all. I quickly came to respect her, though...which isn't the same as liking her, I know, but I do respect her.

Most importantly, she feels to me like a real person. In my experience, people rarely make sense when viewed from the outside. Being able to read Channa's inner dialogue helps us get some understanding of why she does what she does. But in real life, people aren't always sure why they do the things they do.

Channa Ti is far more self-aware than the average person. I get the feeling she spends just as much time analyzing herself as she does analyzing other people. Unfortunately, a great deal of her unhappiness comes from the fact that she also applies what she knows about herself to everyone else. She seems to say, "I do things for this reason, so everyone else must, as well."

When she sees reactions and behavior she expects to see, it only reinforces her belief that everyone is basically the same beneath all the trappings of civilization or anything else they put on.

That, to me, is one of the core tenets of modern fantasy druidism...nature trumps all, even when you think you're "civilized."

Contributor

Paris Crenshaw wrote:
I may have said this before, but I didn't think I was going to like her at all. I quickly came to respect her, though...which isn't the same as liking her, I know, but I do respect her.

Fair enough. And I suspect that if Channa was offered a choice between being liked and respected, she would prefer the latter.

Quote:
Most importantly, she feels to me like a real person.

This is probably the single best compliment you could give a writer. Thank you. That's my first and primary goal, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time getting to know characters--even characters in short pieces such as this one.

Quote:

In my experience, people rarely make sense when viewed from the outside. Being able to read Channa's inner dialogue helps us get some understanding of why she does what she does. But in real life, people aren't always sure why they do the things they do.

Channa Ti is far more self-aware than the average person. I get the feeling she spends just as much time analyzing herself as she does analyzing other people. Unfortunately, a great deal of her unhappiness comes from the fact that she also applies what she knows about herself to everyone else. She seems to say, "I do things for this reason, so everyone else must, as well."

When she sees reactions and behavior she expects to see, it only reinforces her belief that everyone is basically the same beneath all the trappings of civilization or anything else they put on.

That, to me, is one of the core tenets of modern fantasy druidism...nature trumps all, even when you think you're "civilized."

I agree that a first-person point of view gives a different type of insight into the protagonist's character and worldview than you get from a third-person POV. It's not always a more accurate image, because the reader is limited to what the narrator sees, how he or she values and interprets it, and how well he or she can (or choses to) describe it. Charles brought up one example of a limitation of first person POV: Channa didn't bother to describe the port city because she didn't think it was important enough to dwell upon but dammit, he wanted to know what the city looked like! ;) A third-person POV sometimes gives a more accurate view of a protagonist, and for some of the reasons you stated above. Most people don't know WHY they do most things. They may not understand a situation. They may judge others unfairly. They may excuse or justify what they do. Or they might be an "unreliable narrator," someone who's limited by experience, age, education, or other factors (Huckleberry Finn is the classic example of an unreliable narrator.) Using a third-person point of view, the writer can give hints to aspects of the character's personalities and motives that the characters themselves might not be aware of.

Your comments about Channa's self-awareness and analytical bent are interesting and insightful. I agree with you, for the most part, except for your observation that her attitude seems to be, "I do things for this reason, so everyone else must, as well." That doesn't strike me as accurate. Channa keeps her vows, but she doesn't expect other people to do so. She comments on some of her traits--impulsiveness, curiosity--without ascribing them to others. She sees herself as an outsider, and that pretty much preludes assuming that everyone think Just Like Her. But I think you're close. I'd ammend that statement to, "I do things for a reason. I believe everyone else has reasons for what they do, and if I figure out what those reasons are, I can predict what a person is going to do next."

I really like your observation about a druid's interest in the motivations that lie under the trappings of civilization. That's a major component in Channa's desire to figure out the people with whom she deals. But I don't think Channa believes everyone is the same under those trappings; for example, she expects Ratsheek to be a treacherous b%!~#, but she considers Gham Banni, her Pathfinder venture captain, to be a good man.

Thanks for sharing your observations. I really enjoyed reading this post.


Hi just got PF19 last week and just read the first part of dark tapestry. Very nice , Loving it already

Just wanted to say well done.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

(I got a compliment from Elaine Cunningham! X) )...ahem

Thanks to you, Elaine. I know I'm not the only person on these messageboards with hopes of becoming a professional writer (I've been an officer in the Navy for 14 years and I'm just now getting my first glimpses at the realm of semi-pro). The ability to dialogue with an accomplished writer such as yourself is an invaluable opportunity. I appreciate the time you are taking to share your experience with us.

Good characters are something that fantasy fiction often lacks, in my opinion. While I loved reading the old TSR novels when I was (much) younger, I constantly felt like the characters were merely cardboard cutouts--or, perhaps, lead miniatures--who were being marched through a carefully crafted plot...an event-driven module, if you will.

I believe this is a natural, but unforunate, result of writing for popular settings, especially RPG settings...those who read the stories are often more interested in learning more about the setting than they are in the characters (unless those characters are big names within the setting, I suppose). After all, if I'm going to run games in the world, my PCs and the NPCs I'm using are going to be the most important people involved...what I need is description of the setting. Characters take a back seat to the locations and events, because it is the location and events that the customer is mainly interested in.

Even outside of writing for established settings, skimping on character development is a common problem for many writers (myself included). When we create a world or an epic plot, we want so badly to show off the interesting aspects of our world or to tell the fantastic story that we forget a fundamental principle: the stories that endure are about the people in them. (In fact, human history is less about events than it is about the people involved in those events.) I've heard a few authors describe how a well-developed character has taken a novel or story in directions they never anticipated, simply because they let the character's reactions drive the story.

I can see your point about Channa's personality, and I can't argue with your correction to my statement about her assessments of others. I see her placing value in upholding a vow slightly differently, though. (I realize that she's your character, but here goes... ;) )

One of my own observations about people is that the faults they notice in others are often the ones they recognize (and despise) within themselves. It could be that on some level Channa recognizes that nature doesn't follow a code of honor any higher than, "All creatures will naturally strive to meet their needs, and all actions have consequences." With higher order beings, there is an increased level of complexity, as needs often get confused with wants.

What I'm trying to say is that Channa may cling so tightly to her belief in the sanctity of a vow because deep down inside she believes honor is just another veneer of civilization, even though she wishes it to be otherwise. She loves Gham Banni (and I think "love" is appropriate, in a familial sort of way) because she sees him as an example of the good that can exist in people. She deals with Ratsheek both dispassionately, because she knows what to expect, and harshly, because of what she wants justice to mean.

I'd be interested to know what would happen if Channa came to believe that Gham Banni had betrayed her.

Contributor

seekerofshadowlight wrote:

Hi just got PF19 last week and just read the first part of dark tapestry. Very nice , Loving it already

Just wanted to say well done.

Thanks! Glad to here you're enjoying it so far. :)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Wondering what people did when books and characters were the only interaction readers had with authors. Has access to an author's vision of a character (which may or may not have been expressed truly on the page or that may or not have been interpreted similarly by the reader) lessened the reading experience?

Sorry 'bout that. Slipped into meta mode there.

Contributor

Paris, I agree that balancing character, plot and setting is one of a writer's primary challenges. In fantasy, however, the setting often takes on such importance that it's weighted at least as heavily as most of the characters. Consider the "look" of the Star Wars movies--the exotic locations, the ships, the variety of worlds and species. More importantly, consider the Force. This world-building element probably defines the series more than any one character.

I try to keep the notion of "setting as character" in mind when writing in shared worlds. IMO, it's not enough to plug in world-specific details. You need to do the same sort of backstory and "character development" when you're approaching the setting. And the reason for this, I think, circles back to characterization. People are products of their environment. If you don't have a pretty good understanding of the world in which your characters live, how can you possibly understand your characters on anything but a very superficial level? In fantasy, as IRL, the setting shapes the characters, and vice versa.

Taking this another step, BECAUSE people are shaped by their environments, fantasy gives us an opportunity to consider fundamentals of human nature. What changes, what remains constant, and either way, what does that say about the human condition? Early in her career, Marion Zimmer Bradley received some advice from a bookseller: "If you want to write science fiction, study science. If you want to write fantasy, study religion." I think that's very apt, but I would broaden the concept of religion to include philosophy and psychology.

Last year I spend many hours plotting a book with a writing partner (who, unfortunately, decided she no wanted to retire from writing and bowed out before the project was finished) and discussion the writing process. One of the things we came back to again and again was how circular the writing process can be. Plot and character--how do you separate these? Unless you're deliberately creating a 2-D chess piece that has the necessary abilities needed to negotiate a puzzle--think the symbology profession in The Da Vinci Code--plot and character are difficult to separate. Plot isn't just what HAPPENS to a character, it's what characters do WHEN stuff happens. Introducing a plot device can lead to very different results, depending on the character. If that character has any hope of coming across as living, breathing person, his or her responses have to a) feel authentic, and b) not only fit the plot, but advance it.

Yikes! Switched over into writing workshop mode for a minute there. :)

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