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Panpiper

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About Panpiper

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    Standard Superhero
  • Birthday 01/16/1959

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  • Biography
    Bookworm, martial artist, repentant psychic, dried out drug addict, paramedic, pseudo-apostate libertarian, debater, knife maker, SCA basher, professional gamer, speculator, pornographer, and nascent social commentator...
  • Occupation
    Pornographer

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  1. I presume you are familiar with 'Here There Be Monsters' by KillerShrike and company? http://www.killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/HereThereBeMonsters.aspx
  2. Re: How do you build a vampire template in 6E? No... No... You 'transform' it into a vampiric horse! ;-)
  3. Re: How do you build a vampire template in 6E? I might recommend: http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php/76575-Subsidized-Buy-in-Subsidized-Hold-Back If a player earns 3 XP per game and banks it all for 13 games in the system linked, thy will have 100 character points in their GM XP pool.
  4. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) So true that if such a talent could be used to build something, it could also be used to take it down. I was thinking that if such a school of magic existed, they would either be superweapons, the fantasy equivalent of small atomic bombs, or there would be a counter enchantment that would be available that could turn stone impervious to such manipulation. Quite possibly that enchantment would have been something researched by the Stone Molder school itself. If any normally built castle can be reduced easily by stonemolders 'as well as' a castle build by stonemolders, stone molders will have employment opportunities only in reducing walls built before the school existed. Because nobody will build walls anymore. They will be too costly for something too easily neutralized. However if stonemolders developed their craft 'and' came up with a transforming enchantment that would make stone impervious to their magic, then they would have massive employment opportunities, for building things themselves, charging extra for the 'impervious to stonemolding' enchantment, as well as casting that enchantment on stoneworks built by normal means.
  5. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Iron shod doors thrice the height of a war horse opened thunderously under the strain of the males. Battle armor glistening in the torch light, a grizzled matron of countless combats strode through with purpose. "Imperious General, the technoworms have a new report about that vortex they've been babbling about." The Centurion groveled before the throne of the Victrix. The general favored this Centurion who wore battle honors. "Why would you disturb me with this? I have little time and no patience for the concerns of scientists. I have wars to plan and victories to savor!" She might have no patience for scientists, but she would listen to this warrior with as many scars as years. "Aye Victrix," If anyone deserved that title it was this General, "but they say now that this vortex is no longer just a curiosity but now may well be a gate, a gate to a new world General!" "A new world?" The general muttered in thought, absent mindedly scratching under her armor at the scar of where her left breast used to be, "A new world, new enemies, new battles..." She shook herself. "But can this be? It is more seemly of tales that males might tell to while away the hours." "The scientists believe it so, Victrix." The Centurion had her doubts, but the scientists were very excited. "They are of course too cowardly to test their theory themselves, but they suggest that perhaps a reconnaissance would be in order." The General harrumphed at their temerity, but the worms were right. If a new world were at their doorstep, they could not let the opportunity go unchecked. They were likely incorrect, so the general would not risk her seasoned veterans on such a boondoggle, but there were other options. There were war prisoners slated for execution who might appreciate a chance at reprieve. * The split in the sky shimmered as something dropped through. It was a long way down. "Oh Shit!" Wind blew across Alahandra's ears, or not wind so much as the sound of her picking up speed as she dropped. Oh well, at least it will be quicker than what that general had planned, Alahandra figured that was her last thought as the ground rushed up at her. Then she noticed the tree, sticking up at her like some frigging phallus. Oh the irony. The tree top bent and snapped, Alahandra bounced to a branch and it snapped too. Bounce! Crack! Smash! In seconds the tree was demolished and Alahandra hit the ground flat on her back. She lay there for a while. She stared up at the sky. She could just about dimly make out a shimmering point so very high up. That high... "Ouch." Alahandra started to take inventory, trying hard to not move in the process. Two arms, check. Two legs, check. Her mind scanned her body. She would be feeling pain for a long time, but all her parts seemed to be there. The question now was whether the scavengers would eat her before she bled out. She had all her parts, but she was in bad shape. She lay there some more. And then she herd a scratching, scrambling sound. Alahandra feared that this time, it was it. Some hyena pack had shown up for an easy meal, or worse, vultures. Hyena's would make short work of her, but vultures would eat her alive! Then she heard muttering. A human voice muttering. She couldn't understand what was being said. The ancient face of a hag thrust itself into her view, inches from her nose. It spoke a few words, with an accusing tone. Alahandra's nose curled from it's breath. Roughly, but without inflicting any extra damage, the hag's hands explored Alahandra's injuries. Bandage and splints she applied. Then the hag produced odd instruments and waved them about in the air, it's voice cackling. And Alahandra felt strangely better. The hag wandered off. Alahandra lay there some more, still not able to really move, but not feeling so much any more that she would wind up scavenger food. She waited a while. Then the Hag came back leading a burrow. She started tugging and pulling on Alahandra, hauling her onto a travois. Then she got dragged off, the travois of course helping her to feel her every injury with every bump. They stopped 'finally' at a rude hut. More dragging ensued till she was inside on a rough bed of rags. Hag mutters accompanied hag fidgeting with cookeries. Alahandra managed to move her head just enough to watch, as the hag prepared something that might be edible in a dirty cauldron. The meal done, if one could call it that, the hag came back to spoon feed Alahandra a thin stew. Dutifully Alahandra swallowed, trying to not think too much about what she might be swallowing. Swallowing hurt. Shoot... 'breathing' hurt. Feeding done, the hag again had it's face over Alahandra's. It was speaking. It kept saying one word in particular over and over, pointing at her. "Ganesh!" It said. "Ganesh!" Alahandra tried to repeat the word, but all that came out was a croak. The hag threw up it's hands in disgust and wandered off, muttering to itself, and Alahandra drifted to sleep. For weeks Alahandra was nursed by the hag, slowly regaining her strength. Her wounds knit, her bones mended, she was able to sit and even help with preparing food. And she had started to learn Hag Speak. Apparently this hag was more than just an old woman with cantrips. She was an ancient, how old was hard to tell. And she knew magics, big scary magics it would seem. Alahandra didn't believe in magic, not until she came through that gate anyway and saw the hag do stuff. It was her that had opened up that gate apparently, intending to summon something for a great task, a retribution of some kind against great enemies. Obviously the spell had gone badly wrong. The hag called her Ganesh. Alahandra tried to tell the hag that her name was Alahandra, but she kept being called Ganesh. Alahandra tried many times to get a name out of the hag, something to call her other than hag, but she muttered something about names and power and would not answer. Alahandra worked at her recovery, training daily with a quarterstaff the hag had. Her rifle and pistol were smashed beyond repair. But Alahandra was an extremely well rounded soldier as were all the women of her unit. She could handle herself just fine with a quarterstaff or pretty much any other weapon she could get her hands on. Her strength returned, she was none the worse now for her great fall. She didn't know if the gate was still open, but she couldn't see it when she went back to examine her landing spot, to gather what gear she might that wasn't destroyed by the fall. She was quite certain that even if the gate was still open, any other unfortunate the general sent through would fare even worse than she. Then one day, her now back in form, the hag waved her off, rambling on about something involving work or task. She shooed her away from her hut, gave her a bag of cooked tubers and the quarterstaff and sent her on her way. Alahandra got the message, she was to leave now. She tried to thank the hag, and the hag looked at her strangely and waved her hands in the air cackling again as she was so want to do. And she stormed off into her hut, and closed the flap. So there she was, an amazon soldier alone in a strange world, possessing little more than some torn clothing others in this world were sure to find odd, a stick for a weapon and a rudimentary command of Hag Speak. She had no idea where she was or where she was going for that matter. She found a stream, and followed it's flow. Who would have thought she would come to this. She'd been born to a small nation of free people that was unfortunately in the path of conquerors much larger. Her people trained hard so that they would be ready to sell themselves dearly when the time came. And when Alahandra had been captured her people were still fighting hard. There was nothing she could do for her people now. She now had to find a place for herself in this world. Her first contact with others was a small band of extremely unlikely characters, who had made camp where she had herself intended to make camp as the sun was setting, just outside of some strange ruins. She greeted them amicably, though staying cautious, for who knows how strangers are received in this world. Her caution proved prudent when those she greeted responded with similar caution. They were surprised perhaps that she had approached so closely to their camp without having been seen before greeting them, but stealth was a habit ingrained in Alahandra from a great many years of training. What surprised Alahandra was that they were all males! Alahandra tried valiantly to address them in her Hag Speak. The others exchanged blank stares and shrugged their shoulders. Alahandra figured it was probably because she spoke really 'bad' Hag Speak. Then a robed one stepped forward, the others in the group she encountered all wore ancient style armor of various sorts. The robed one waved his hands and chanted. "Who are you and what do you want with us?" The robed one questioned, in impeccable Imperial Common. Alahandra failed terribly in her attempt to hide her surprise. "You speak common? But..." She looked about at the strange land she was in. The mage waved off the question, "I speak whatever is necessary for us to understand one another. Now again, who are you?" "My name is Alahandra." "Just Alahandra?" The mage cocked his head. Apparently second names were in common usage here. "Alahandra Ganesh" She replied. Why not. She'd been given that name by the one who had saved her life. The mage was taken aback. He looked at his compatriots and exchanged a few words with them. They too seemed oddly struck by what was said. The mage turned back to Alahandra. "Ganesh means 'Avatar'."
  6. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) "Nice folks don't have as much nice stuff to steal usually." That's how Sly justified it to his 'friends' in the thieves guild. They would tease him about his squeamishness, how he leaves the regular townsfolk alone and only goes after 'Big Game'. Sly knew though that they were just envious, and too afraid to go after the big prizes. In truth though, Sly didn't go after the regular townsfolk, because they couldn't afford to loose the little they had. Sly was not in the business to make people's lives miserable, especially if he didn't need to. In fact Sly did so well for himself swiping loot from those who lived large off the backs of the regular folk, that he could afford to play games with the regular townsfolk. Sly would use his skills to break into the homes and shops of those folks who were in the most dire straights, and he would leave them 'presents'. Nothing so large or obvious that it would get them noticed or in trouble, but Sly thought it was hugely amusing to fill an impoverished family's shelves with food, or the like. The looks of utter perplexity on their faces when they discovered his prank was gutspittingly hilarious to Sly. Often those families would get awfully religious, offering up thanks to their god. Sly didn't mind being their god for a time. Sly had no idea who his parents were. As long as he could remember, and that was far back, Sly lived on the streets. Bigger kids took care of him and gave him jobs to do like being a lookout or making distractions. And they taught him, first just picking pockets, knowing how to bait&switch and such. But as he got bigger and more able to handle himself, he learned the rest of his trade as well. Sly was a smart one too, and he leaned his trade well. It was the really big prizes though that Sly most was interested in. The ones kept in vaults, or under guard, or those things that might be buried in tombs, that themselves might be locked and guarded. Great things, magic things, really valuable things, those were the real treasure. Living well was easy and little challenge for someone possessed of Sly's skills. And challenge was what Sly wanted more than anything. And the more Sly thought about it, the more intriguing it sounded, that quest those adventurers were talking about, that he of course eavesdropped in on.
  7. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) T'is an error to praise an intelligent child. Such was the belief, not wrong, of Talon's parents. Praise a child for work accomplished and especially tasks completed and you will raise a child strong in will and self discipline. Such is the key to success. Talon's father was a smith of high talent, sought after and commanding a high price for his workmanship. Talon learned a lot from his father, developing an appreciation for quality of workmanship and attention to detail. His father was a wealthy man by tradesman standards and so Talon was not lacking for educational opportunity. He was taught letters, numbers and scholarship by fine tutors. More, it was seemly for a smith to understand the use of that which he forged, and so Talon was schooled from a very early age in the use of weapons. For Talon, it was not so much the idea of learning to fight that lent him his enthusiasm for this instruction. Rather it was the discipline itself, the perfection of form, the perfection of mind to be found in the art. Talon learned the use of all the common weapons but quickly he focused upon the most beautiful of the weapon styles using an elegant cutting blade. It was perfection of the 'one' that he sought. So it was that when Talon started to evidence a talent for more than things physical as he reached puberty, that he was gifted with instruction at the academy. His father regretted loosing his son as an apprentice, but while he would never say so to his son, magics made his father very nervous, even though he did fairly often contract with the mages of the academy who sought his work as the foundation for their enchanting experiments. (The easiest enchantments simply enhance qualities already present, and so for the enchanting of weapons and armor, it is best to start with the highest quality to begin with.) Talon took to his studies with relish. While previously he had owned merely a few books (actually a huge extravagance on the part of his father) and had access to a few more through his tutors, at the academy there were hundreds of books! Maybe even as many as a thousand! Talon wasn't even sure he would have enough time to read them all! The morning is difficult for most to rise and be alert for studies. Not so for Talon, for his martial instructors did their own training at sunrise and Talon continued to train with them. And so he was alert and in top physical condition while most other students tried to finish their sleep. The other students didn't much appreciate the teachers pet that Talon soon turned into at the academy, but Talon was too busy availing himself of the opportunity of studying there to much care. Talon quickly discovered that there was much in common with the martial discipline and the martial application of magics. He found that the focus of mind and will essential to mastery of the art was the same in both, and that he had unwittingly been perfecting those very qualities he needed to master magics, the whole of his life. He started applying that which he learned in the academy to his training with his instructors in the guard. And he quickly discovered that he needed to tone himself down in order to not embarrass them. They understood though, and he was well liked, so they cooperated so that Talon could continue to hone both his magical as well as his martial talent while in practice. At the academy as well, his early training in the disciplines served him greatly. Talon blew through the early training, mastering several grades at once and leaping through the curriculum. Quickly he found himself studying much of what was not in the regular curriculum and having much time to practice. So he was able to focus on honing those martial magics, while the rest of the students were still practicing cantrips. He spent a great deal of time in the sanctum sanctorum, that special place in the academy specifically constructed to be able to absorb and contain the most powerful of magics. There Talon practiced for hours on end, just as he had learned to practice with his cutting blade. Attack, defend, counter, riposte all had their parallels in magic, like a chess game it was and Talon made certain to keep a whole range of stratagems well honed. His teachers saw him for what he was, a rising star, and already a formidable martial mage. He had spent years with them, and now a man he had well surpassed any regular graduate of the academy. And so it was that when the day came that their services were needed to deal with a terrible magical threat, Talon was asked if he would join with them. Talon quelled the leap in his heart, knowing that for all intents, this was his graduation, he soberly agreed, and kept hiding his enthusiasm. And so for the first time in his life, Talon left the security of the walls of his home city. Indeed, Talon had never even been outside of the high quarter, that (half actually) part of the city that the well off and nobility lived in. The 'below' as it was called in private, was an unseemly place where bad things happened, and Talon had never had a reason to venture where he might find danger. Him traveling now was the biggest lesson he learned thus far. It gradually began to dawn on him just how much of a privileged life he had led. He had known intellectually that others were less fortunate than he, but knowing that distantly in one's mind is very different from living that down in the mud, where he now found himself. The squalor and poverty of the people he passed, the utter disdain with which his instructors treated these people, all were lessons that drove deep into Talon's heart. How could he have been so blind? How could he have been so self centered? How could his erstwhile instructors be so callous? These poor people begged him for food, and he knew there existed magics that would allow him to feed them, but he had never bothered to study those magics! He saw people with terrible diseases, crippling injuries and had nothing in his arsenal that could help them. His arts were entirely focused on the give and take of combat, and such injuries were long past any combat healing. And yet he had found magics that could have helped them, if he had done more than speed read through them to get to the 'good stuff'. By the time they reached their destination, he was filled with a deep shame. How could the world be so, and how could he, he of all people, have been so ignorant? The academy mages approached the site where their magics were called upon. It was a great cave where the evil apparently had retreated to, and it had erected a barrier that the lord's men could not penetrate. The academy mages went to work attacking the barrier. And Talon too worked, but while it looked to any observer that he was assisting, what he was really doing was looking. His efforts were not efforts to break the barrier but to see past it. He had learned a very hard lesson these last few days, and he would no longer allow himself to act in ignorance. And see he did. There behind the barrier was a solitary mage, straining valiantly to maintain the protection and visibly weakening. Standing, waiting behind were a handful of others, weapons at the ready, and nothing about them looked evil. They were rather steadfast, grim and resolute. They were ready to make their last stand. Talon extended his senses and perceived a little further back in the cave, huddled by the wall, a great many men, women and children weeping in terror, all of them the same sorts of broken and downtrodden that he had seen along his trek here. Talon broke away from the rest of the academy mages, who paid him no mind, for few of them were as martially trained as he and they needed their full concentration to maintain their magics. Talon confronted the captain of the lord's forces who stood waiting eagerly to finish their job. "What is the meaning of this?" Talon demanded, "What crime have these people committed?" The Captain hesitated, perplexed as to why he would be asked such a question from one from that most elite of academies. "Why, they are rebels good Sir." And something inside Talon snapped. He'd never experienced it before. It was quite not in keeping with his training. Rage. A massive blast erupted in the midst of the academy mages, hurtling them aside. Unseen by Talon, the mage maintaining the barrier collapsed in relief. Talon turned to the assembled lord's guard and another blast flung them too, backward. Talon began flinging attacks left and right in utter disregard for the peril he had placed himself in. Alone, as talented as he was, he stood no chance against the forces he had just pitted himself against. But he was blind to his fate. He could not live and let himself be party to evil. And the lord's forces advanced upon him as the academy mages turned their power against him. And then there were shoulders standing side by side of him. A knight in shining armor, a cleric glowing bright, and the others of that handful that had seemed so grim, so resolute. They fought with him, they would stand by him, even if it meant their own peril. Talon would defend those who needed defending, as would these brave souls, no matter the odds. Such would be his path from now on. All they had to do was first, defeat this army.
  8. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Bartholemue Blaine was born to a humble but hard working folk, devout in their service both to their lord and their faith. Many a time were he and his family tested. But they knew that was because they were close to god, for only those close to their god would be so deserving of such testing. Such were the teachings of the faith, and they were fervent. Every worship, Barholemue would be there with his family and the other devout of his community. Sincerely would he pray, for the tests he and his family endured were severe indeed, as their lord required much support for his holy endeavors. The extent of Bartholemue's faith was apparent and noticed it seems, as he was given special attention by the clergy, invited to wear vestments and assist in the services. It was a high honor that his family was happy to pay for, as poor as they were. Bartholemue showed great promise, his meticulous attention to detail was appreciated by the clergy who often would miss things. And his faith was unquestionable. It was decided that he be given formal schooling and was sent away to the Lord's church, there to study. He was taught to read, and to read the doctrines of his faith, to do so incessantly till they were a part of him, memorized. He learned the rites, the rituals, the words for blessings, the secret signs, and finally the mystery teachings, so very different from what the profane believed, the profane such as his family. This troubled Bartholemue, that his utterly faithful family should be taught one thing, when the clergy knew amongst themselves something else. He was told that this was the way of the world, that all religions were thus, that the profane could not understand the truths given to the enlightened. And he was inducted into yet more sacred rites, the rites of the flagellants, so that his doubt and the ways of the flesh could be beaten from his spirit. And still Bartholemue's faith endured, as his back bled virtually incessantly from his observations. Finally he was sent back to his village to work there as part of the official clergy. But when he arrived he found things different, very different. Not so much different in the way things were, but in how he now saw things, felt about things, so very differently than before. The less than devout were being purged of their apostasy with the very same flails that he used on his own back. And then he was ordered to help, for the lord required tribute and these faithless were shirking their duty. And then he found himself facing his family, and they too were to be beaten. And he stood there, trembling, as a war so secret waged in his heart, a war that had waged forever it seemed, a war so hard fought because his faith was true, while those who pretended to be true, were in fact not true at all. And then something in him broke. He collapsed to his knees, the world around him seeming to grow silent, distant and dark, as a great figure of light appeared before him. He felt the hand of the light rest upon his brow as he wept. "The truth is in your heart my son," spoke the great figure, "Not in the words of men. Follow not words, follow not men, follow the dictates of conscience, for it is there that I speak to you my son." And with that the figure was gone, and the day was bright, but he felt still the touch of god upon his brow. "Enough!" He bellowed, the sheer power of his voice resonating through the village as everyone stopped. He spoke with the authority of his god and none of these impostors posing as clergy had any power to resist. He marched through the village, seizing the flails and using them to whip the mewling liar clergy before him. They huddled in a terrified mass before him as Bartholemue turned to the people in what was once his village and spoke, still in that thundering voice; "You know the truth that is in your hearts..." He began... And he sermonized them with the truth in his own heart, the truth he knew came from the conscience bequeathed unto all by their god. And they heard, and they understood. And the heretics before him did not. He drove the weeping former clerics before him and marched them the distance to the lord's church, for there too the worship of his faith had been overwhelmed by the corrupt and the faithless. There too the heretics needed to be purged. But they heard of his coming and a few came to see while he was still distant. They saw, some fled, a few reported back. By the time Bartholemue arrived, the church was nearly empty, save for a very few who knelt quietly and prayed. They were the few who truly believed, who truly were devout, who truly wished to do god's work. He sermonized them, that they might understand, and they too wept. He then noticed that a large crowd had gathered outside of the church. It seemed that the whole town had gathered for they had heard of the driving of the heretics and had come to learn the truth of the matter. And so again, Bartholemue spoke with the authority of his faith, and spoke of the truth revealed to him in his heart, and how each of them had that same truth in theirs. And they were moved. Bartholemue looked to the trembling heretics, too exhausted from their weeping now to do more than whimper. He tore from them what vestments remained on their bodies, and drove them away. 'Begone, lest mercy be tempted! Begone!" They fled into the crowd, while the crowd was still in the sway of their sermon. Bartholemue saw the town's lord watching from afar. He knew now that the lord was not faithful at all, that he had used the church to his own temporal ends. He also knew that those days were now done. The faithless had been driven from the ranks of the church, the people had heard the truth, there would be no more using the church by this lord. But there were other lords who used their churches, other faithless clerics who preyed upon their faithful. Bartholemue knew that his work was not done, that his work had in fact just begun. He had a quest now, to spread the enlightenment, to restore his church. He would have to travel far, and the road might be hard. But Bartholemue knew in his heart that his faith would be with him wherever he may go, and whatever he may face. And he would not falter.
  9. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) I suppose I should do a character background for a classic cleric. And maybe one for a more traditional mage as well. It would be helpful if someone looking for a 'standard' background could at least find one example of each of the classics. And I suppose Tristan is neither the average thief, nor the average ranger. I do have a conception for a 'stone molder', someone who has a magic talent they use as a professional skill, typically for 'sculpting' architecture rising straight from the bedrock. How does one get those tall skinny castles on the tops of steep mountains? Stone molders are the key. And the castles they build are strong too, for they are not made of bricks that can be easily knocked apart, the rock is sealed and smooth as glass. I am not sure how to define the power however and without knowing that, it is difficult to write the background. I always assumed it would be some sort of cumulative, area effect transform, the special effect of which would look like the stone in the area of his control would flow like telekinetically controlled water, rising and being molded to fit whatever shape the molder desired. Appropriate architectural skills would need to be taken to supplement the power, lest the resultant construction look more like what a child would sculpt in a sandbox. Anyone want to take a stab at defining a magic school based on a practical application of such magic?
  10. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) By the way folks, believe it or not, I do not possess an overabundance of imagination. What I do have to some small degree is a talent for writing and a love for characters and what might motivate them. ('If' I had a head for plot, I might make a decent novelist.) I could use sometimes additional inspiration. If you have a really cool idea for a background, but feel you cannot do the character justice yourself, try sending the idea to me. Your idea just might find it's way into Killer Shrike's online world. I should note that I am mostly focused on Fantasy, and while I might take a stab at a superhero background or something else, it would not come as easily.
  11. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Very much cool with this, yes. Feel free to include any and all such character backgrounds as I might concoct. Do you want to write up an optional/example point build, or should we simply leave these as fodder for the imagination? I'm not saying 'you' have to do the point builds. And in fact, there is nothing to prevent having two or more such builds, likely from different people, showing different ways to approach it.
  12. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Scheherazade was the name given to her. A proud name indeed and one fraught with expectation. She was the result of a breeding between two of the finest pleasure slaves in the land. Her mother gave the infant Scheherazade what love she could in the small time she had breast feeding her, but at an age that infants were sure to not remember later in life, she was separated and taken to be raised in a slave creche. Her breeder was quite happy as she matured, Scheherazade learning well the skills of dance and seduction that were the birthright of a pleasure slave. And Scheherazade knew her place, she knew that any sign of rebellion or noncompliance and she would be branded, and sold off to some brothel as a common whore. Her clean unbranded state was a proof of her having been bred for one purpose, to be the utterly subservient companion to whomever she was sold. Rarely did the breeding and training not take. Rarely however, it failed gloriously. It was as if the universe consipired to store all the freedom and talent of those who were raised perfectly tamed, and release it all at once, every once in a while. Scheherazade was one of those rare ones, rarer still for having the presence of mind to conceal her spirit and hide her lust for freedom. She commanded a small fortune in her sale price. Her breeder did well, a price for which he has yet to pay. She was sold to a great wizard, a Winder, a weaver of the wild currents of Vim, one of the most powerful mages in the land. It was the likes of he that could afford the price of the likes of her. She was fascinated by the power he wielded, the things he could do. And she knew, this was the road to her freedom, these magics, if she could learn them, would carry her away. And so she seduced her owner, she seduced him with every once of skill and talent she could muster. She was the best pleasure slave anyone could ever be. And it worked, the wizard fell in love with his slave. He would at first do little things for her, for he loved to hear her laugh. And reveling in her delight, when she asked to try herself, it never dawned on him to not try to teach her those little tricks that she so enjoyed. She got good at the little things. She played her game well. So utterly besotted was her master, that not once did it occur to him that teaching a slave dangerous magics, was dangerous. For Scheherazade was so beautiful, so exquisite as she laughed and played and loved him, or so he thoroughly believed. Scheherazade reached the point where she had enough grasp of the magics to finally slip away, and discovered to her great consternation that she did not want to. She might be a slave, but her master had in fact shown her nothing but kindness. And she was still learning, he was still teaching her. That was her rationalization to herself, why leave while she could still learn so much? But the troubled thought would occur to her often, then hastily beat down, if maybe her slave training hadn't actually done it's job? For a good slave was intended to love her master. And here she was, a slave, in love with her master. Fortunately for Scheherazade's freedom, though not so fortunately for her master, the Winding can be a dangerous magic. It came to pass one day, long after the day that Scheherazade had mastered enough magics to leave, that her master was working on a new spell and things went terribly wrong. She was not there when the thunderclap woke the tower, but she rushed in moments later to find her mentor, already dead, his flesh being torn from his bones by demons from some fell dimension. And more still were coming through the tear in space that the thunderclap had heralded! She howled with rage and loss and let loose her own magics. Vim currents hurricaned about her. Her master would have been proud, were he alive to see it. Beast after beast she cut down, pouring out her agony into their flesh. But they didn't stop coming through the hole, and with every one she brought down, now chasing her through the corridors of the tower, two more replaced it. And the other occupants of the tower were torn asunder, Scheherazade powerless to stop them all. Till finally she was at the top of the tower, nowhere left to run, and demons poured out from below. With a last cry of sorrow for her loss, she leapt into the air, the Vim currents lifting her high, her tears in the wake of her new found freedom. This is the story of Scheherazade, the Vim Dancer, originally incarnated in Killer Shrike's thread on Winding. http://www.herogames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1933100&postcount=7
  13. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) LOL! :-) Why thank you Lucius.
  14. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Wow Killer Shrike, I am flattered. Your site has been both a boon and an inspiration for me this last week as my passion for the Hero System has reawakened. I would be honored if these characters were made even more real by being part of a world. Who knows, they might even see an incarnation into the shared worlds of others around the globe! I would ask however, that you or someone else of great skill with the Hero System take responsibility for any final character designs that would go with my descriptions. I can write three such descriptions in the time it takes me to actually perfect a character design. (I'll agonize for hours over a handful of points.) I've gotten rusty I suppose in my long absence from tabletop gaming. I can give you basic writeups that you could tweak, make fit more closely especially the magics of your world, and perhaps fine tune the balance as well. Next up perhaps, Scheherazade, the Vim Dancer? "Once a slave, now the master!"
  15. Re: Character Backgrounds (free for all) Background Tristan was raised in a very loving family, merchants who traveled regularly from their home in Laucky Barony to several of the greater cities in the realm. They were great believers in virtue, especially in family, friends and community. Indeed they were keepers of a great secret, a secret worship of Anjill, the goddess of loyalty, protection and service. Tristan learned those lessons, that secret, and all was well, until it was not. He was eight years old when his parents were murdered in a strange city, Kerren, far away from home. Their goods were stolen, what guards or hired help they had, scattered or worse. And Tristan hid in a trash heap in silent terror as the deed was done. Alone he was, knowing no one and having no money or possessions. It is a miracle he was able to survive. Yet survive he did. At first it was by the simple expedient of eating from refuse and hiding where no one else would deign to walk. But his talent for hiding grew to a talent for staying hidden while moving and picking up much nicer food from stalls and merchants. He was careful to not take too much from any one merchant, lest it be noticed. And he felt guilty doing it. His parents were merchants. They were good people and he didn't like stealing from them, but he was hungry. It was the rich folk he wouldn't feel so guilty about, and so bit by bit, he learned the tricks of that trade. He learned to climb up through the shadows to places less guarded, he learned that locks are no barrier to the smart and patient. He was making out quite well for a twelve year old street urchin when the day came that he finally got caught. Fortunately for Tristan, those that caught him were goodly folk, who quickly saw in him more than a thief. They discovered he could read, an unusual talent utterly unexpected in a thief. And they discovered an extremely bright mind, able to quickly grasp complicated subjects. So it was that the clergy of Asuna took him under their wing. They gave him a warm place to sleep and food so that he no longer would need to steal. And they taught him their ways, expecting always that he would grow to join them in their faith, perhaps one day becoming clergy himself. But Tristain had been raised with a different faith. For him the study of Asuna was not a study of accepted doctrine, but rather a study of comparative religion. He tried to be careful of this heresy, for he was well aware that his clergy friends expected something quite different from him. He availed himself of their books to teach himself what he may. And he tried hard to read between the lines of what he read, to see through the single side of perspective that the devout are always guilty of. He learned much more than the priests of Asuna would have ever thought possible, about things they didn't even know were in their books. The precepts of the faith of Asuna, he could recite and argue as well as many of Asuna's clergy. What was his undoing was when they discovered that he was just as familiar with and just as able to argue for the Old Faith, and even the forbidden knowledge of the Elder Gods! There are elements in the Church of Asuna who are not as forgiving as were his early friends in the church, and his transgressions in their eyes were as heresy, even though he had never formally sworn to their faith. It was the better part of prudence for him one day to take his leave, his street urchin skills serving him well as he quietly made his way out of Kerren. He found employ with a merchant caravan, a trade he had some recollection of from his youth. He felt somewhat awkward strutting about with a bow and sword as if he knew how to use them. But often for a caravan, the important thing was to 'look' like you were ready for a fight. Tristan remembered however that terrible night when looking proved to be not enough, and so he practiced with his props, as often as he might. There were those among the other guards who knew enough to teach. For several years he traveled, with several different regular caravans. He learned to be good with his sword and bow, and he was called upon to use his skills on more than a few occasions. And then it came one day that the caravan he was with found itself in the company of the Rangers, as his caravan was attacked by Bezzi raiders and the Rangers showed up to help drive them off. The Rangers noticed his talent with his bow and jokingly suggested that he aught to join them. Tristan saw the merchant to his destination, ending in Laucky Barony and then there he was, waiting for another contract. He met one of the Rangers who had helped defend the caravan he was with, and the two started talking about adventures, and the Rangers. His Ranger friend learned more of Tristan's history, and of some of the skills he had acquired while living on the streets, and realized that this was indeed a prime recruit. And so it was that Tristan was inducted into the Rangers and taught their ways. Tristan proved to be good at what he was taught. Very good in fact. Tristan developed a virtually uncanny understanding of the ways of raiders. He could track them unerringly, and once found, his bow rarely missed. For years he served with the Rangers honing his skills. So good did he become that he began to be sought out, at first by other Rangers for help, but ultimately by other persons sometimes distant from Laucky Barony. And those from outside Laucky Barony would pay him for his service, usually a lot more than he was paid to be a Ranger. Now Tristan is not a mercenary. He genuinely wants to do the right thing. The teachings he learned early in his life were not lost upon him. But those communities who payed him for his help against raiders who preyed upon them were every bit as deserving of protection as any other. And Laucky Barony had the Rangers, while most of these other communities had no one who could do the job. It was after much soul searching the Tristan came to the decision that the greater good was served by him leaving the Rangers so as to better serve those in even greater need. The fact that he earned more in the process was only a minor consideration. Appearance There is no mistaking Tristan and what he is competent at. He appears to be supremely well equipped, his gear meticulously placed for maximum utility. He wears a harness over a dark tunic, with glints of well oiled chain hinting of steel reinforcing his leather. Numerous pouches adorn him tight to his harness, keeping anything he might need close to hand. He carries a wickedly powerful longbow, a longsword at his hip and a mean looking hunting blade on his chest, two quivers can be seen, one peaking out from behind his right hip, the other over his right shoulder. His eyes are like a hawk, and one has the impression he really is seeing more than what the rest see. He is clearly at home with his gear, his weapons, his profession as a hunter, a hunter of men. And there is something about the way he moves, something perhaps unnatural, for humans are not built to move like cats. And can it be that he leaves no tracks? A dark cowled hunter in the night he is. A hero to some, a nightmare to others. Personality & Motivation Family, friends, community, these are the things that Tristan learned were holy. But Tristan has no family, and the life of a Ranger is a lonely one. His community tends to be whichever community has most need of his service. Tristan wants to be loved, perhaps more than most, having known it so thoroughly once from his family and then having lost it. But even more important than him having love, is them having the protection he can give them. That is the greater love, the love of sacrifice and devotion to duty. Love cannot be selfish if it is to be true. Tristan can be very sober, that is the lot of someone in his line of work. He sees much pain and sorrow. He knows however that he also prevents much more than he sees by being devoted to his work, and this brings him much comfort. For the kindly people of the world, he feels nothing but love, and in his experience, there are many more of them in the world than most people realize. Loving families, good hearts,wanting to do the right thing. And he will do what he can to let them live in peace. Some have questioned his convictions in the goodness of the world. How can he hold to such a belief when he sees the evidence of evil everywhere? The thing is that yes, he sees that, but he sees much more. He sees young couples kissing, he sees the look in the eyes of families that love one another, the camaraderie of friends and how they would die for one another if it came to that. There is much more to the world than sorrow. Those that see that easily find the motive to do the right thing. It is those who do not see that, those are the ones Tristan often finds himself hunting.
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