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Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past


aylwin13
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Recently I posted my 4000th post, over in the NGD forum. I posted a short story that I had written as a character intro for a PBEM that never happened. I was hoping that you folks on the boards would take a gander at it and let me know what they thought. I'd really like some constructive criticism on the story. If you notice something I could work on to improve my writing, let me know. Most of all be honest. If you've already read this over in the NGD, thanks. Anyway, here's the story:

 

 

Shadows Of Things Past

 

By John Sampson

 

 

Out of the range of the warehouse's lights, in the shadows gathered between the shipping containers on the docks, a young girl took a moment to catch her breath and looked again at the building. It had been a long and unproductive night, and just to put a topper on things it was now raining.

The girl looked very much like any other teenager in any high school. She was maybe 5'2" tall, and might have weighed 100 lbs. She looked to be in very good athletic shape, and was built like a gymnast. The only things that might have caused her to stand out were her clothing and her eyes. She was wearing a black and charcoal gray, long-sleeved leotard with black leggings; accented by a gold and silver colored belt. She had on light gray gloves and boots. She also wore a charcoal gray, waist-length cloak that was attached at her wrists. Completing her costume was a black, half-mask. It was cut to show the lower half of her face, and to allow her long, dark brown tresses to flow free down her back. There were reddish highlights in her hair when it caught the lights.

It was her eyes, however, that one could not help but notice. They were large, almond-shaped, and extremely exotic looking. They were colored a milky gray and had no pupils. They looked as if they were filled with fog. They were eyes that, once you had seen them, were never forgotten.

Her name was Dominique Tatiana Dubois, and she had been slinking around the Millennium City docks for almost an hour and a half. She had finally arrived at the location that she believed was her destination. The warehouse was a two-story, brick building with blackened windows where the second story would be. The entire building appeared to be completely dark inside. She did a quick search around the perimeter of the building, but everything was still quiet. As she reached her starting point, she glimpsed something out of the corner of her eye. She glanced up to the roof of the building, where she thought she'd seen the glint. It might have been a light reflection from a gun barrel.

I'd better take a closer look at that, she thought. With that Dominique stepped forward, into the shadow of the warehouse, and disappeared. A second later she stepped out of a shadow directly behind a man on the warehouse roof.

The man was obviously a guard of some sort. He was wearing a reinforced uniform and helmet, all colored green and yellow. He was armed with a high-tech blaster rifle, and was carrying an electronic device of some sort. The device was a black box, about 8-inches on a side. It had a half-dozen LED lights, three or four dials and knobs, and a small screen similar to a GPS device. His attention alternated between the device's screen and the area below him, around the building.

They were right; it is VIPER, thought Dominique. Let's take care of this guy first. She reached out to the shadows with her mind. The shadows reached out; first surrounding, and then grabbing the agent. While the agent was incapacitated Dominique stepped forward, clasped her hands together in a double fist, and struck him sharply across the back of the neck knocking him unconscious. She commanded the shadows to release him and he slumped senselessly to the gravel strewn rooftop.

That was easy enough, thought Dominique. It still amazed her that she was able to do that. The instructors at Ravenswood said that she would learn to do many other things with her ability, as long as she continued her training. The Academy had helped her in so many ways, since all of this had started some five years ago. As she stood staring at the building fog from off of the river swept around her, adding to the shadows already there.

 

---------------------

 

"Oui, oui Kitten we saw you, we saw you. Settle down, little one." Dominique's father gathered her up in his arms and placed her on his shoulders. The little twelve-year old had been waiting in the adjoining room a moment ago, and had come to them when they had called her. She hadn't, however, opened the connecting door to come into the room. She had suddenly appeared in the shadows under the dining table, and crawled out. Her mother Aleksandra looked on from the huge overstuffed armchair that she sat in with her legs curled up beneath her.

"May I do it again Father, may I? Please, please?" she cried, waving her arms and almost hitting the crystal chandelier above her head.

"If you feel that you must," her father said in feigned irritation. He lowered her back down to the floor. "Go up to your room and see if you are able to return here." Dominique squealed in delight and fairly flew from the room. As the door closed Henri sat down next to his wife and took her hand.

"Aleks, we must consult with someone about this. We have to make sure that there is nothing wrong with her." Henri's voice quavered as he spoke.

"Darling, she is fine," replied Aleksandra. "She is just different, that is all. She is a happy, healthy young girl with an unusual gift. I have made some calls and I think I've found the answer. There is an academy in Michigan, the Ravenswood Academy that specializes in teaching "gifted" students. They can also test and analyze her abilities."

Henri looked into his wife's eyes and knew she was right. "I'll start making the arrangements tomorrow."

 

---------------------

 

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and Dominique had just arrived home from the Academy. The limo pulled to a stop in front of the mansion that the Dubois' had called home for the last seven months. Dominique flung open the car door, jumped from the limo and rushed into the house.

"Father, I'm home," she called out. "Where are you Father?" She ran down the hall toward her father's office, still calling to him. The door to the office was closed, but as she drew closer she could hear him inside talking to someone.

I wonder whom he's talking to, she thought as she opened the door to the hall closet. She stepped into the closet, and reappeared in her father's office, in the shadows under the massive mahogany desk. Her father appeared to be concluding a meeting with two men. They were dressed in low-end business suits, and were wearing dark sunglasses. Truly unsavory types, thought Dominique.

"I'm certain that this will prove to be a very profitable relationship for all concerned," said the taller of the two men.

"With our support, your career will only move forward," added the other man. Her father opened the door and let the men exit the office. After seeing the men, Dominique knew she didn't trust them. Not one little bit.

I'm going to have to keep an eye on things around here, she thought as she passed back into the shadows, and out of the office.

---------------------

 

"I'm telling you, I will not do these things for you and your organization. This was not part of our agreement." Dominique could just imagine the look on her father's face, as she hid in the shadow beneath his desk. These meetings had been taking place for almost three years now, and she had been "sitting in" on them as often as she could.

"The things I have done before were questionable, but this is completely illegal." Henri rose from his chair and moved toward the office door. The other two men in the room had other ideas.

"You really have no choice, do you?" This from the shorter of the men. "You know what will happen to your family if these things do not occur."

"Yes, Henri is quite aware of the consequences if he fails to perform." This came from the taller of the two. "He will take care of things. He just needs a little time to think on things. Perhaps we should leave and let Mssr. Dubois contemplate his choices. We'll show ourselves out. Good day, Ambassador." With that, the two men stepped into the hallway. Dominique's father closed the door behind them. He leaned back against the door and rubbed his forehead with his hand. Dominique imagined that he must look like a prisoner who had just been locked in his cell.

Good thing that I decided to start collecting evidence on these goons, she thought. Father is going to need all the help I can give him to get out of this.

 

---------------------

 

"No more, I'm through with this. Have someone come and collect the files. I just want our lives back." Henri was pleading with the two men to just go away and to leave his family alone.

"If this is what you truly wish, we will communicate your request to our superiors. If they will allow it, we will come to collect everything and leave you to your future." With that they left the office and the house.

Maybe this truly is the end of all this, Dominique thought. That would be great, since I really am too big to be sitting under this desk anymore. She smiled at the thought and passed back into the shadow, and out of the office.

---------------------

 

"I do believe that that was the most wonderful dinner ever," proclaimed Dominique's father, as they came through the front door. "The prime rib was especially excellent. Wouldn't you agree Kitten?" he asked as he grabbed Dominique's hands and twirled her around the room.

"I still haven't figured out why you are in such a good mood this evening, my dear Henri," stated Aleksandra as she watched her husband and daughter spin around the room, finally coming to a stop in front of her. "You have been almost giddy since this afternoon." She put her arms around Henri, and laid her head on his chest.

Henri took her face in his hands. "Sweetheart, I'm just happy because everything is going to be fine, from now on. I feel as if this is a new beginning for all of us." He leaned his head down and kissed his wife's forehead, and then her lips.

"Ladies, I think it's time for bed." With that he put his arms around each of them, and led them upstairs to prepare for bed.

---------------------

 

Dominique awoke, from a deep sleep, to an urgent call of nature. She put on her slippers, and opened her door. As she started to cross the dark hallway to her bathroom, she caught the smell of natural gas in the air. For her to smell the fumes this far from the kitchen, the entire downstairs must be filled with gas. The tiniest of sparks would be enough to set off an explosion. She couldn't risk walking down the carpeted hall to her parents' bedroom. She stepped into the shadows in the corner of the hallway. Just as she crossed into the shadow realm an enormous explosion ripped through the mansion. A blood-red fireball some three hundred feet high reached, like a demon's fist, into the night sky. Dominique was knocked unconscious; but by being in the shadow realm was spared from most of the effects of the explosion. A few minutes later she awoke in the shadows of one of the Academy's classrooms. She was bruised from crashing headlong into a few of the desks, but was otherwise unhurt. She looked back into the shadows, looking back at the bonfire that had been her home these last four years. There was no chance that her parents could have survived the explosion and resulting fire. She closed the shadows on the vision of destruction. She felt no grief or sadness yet. Those would come later. Right now she felt only two things: minor comfort, knowing that she had another home and family, here at Ravenswood; and anger, at the men, and their evil organization, who had robbed her of everyone and everything she had ever loved. She made a vow that they would pay for what they had done. She would see to it personally. She looked through the classroom window into the night. Outside it had begun to rain, like teardrops falling from the sky. As she sat there with her back against the classroom wall, alone in the shadows, tears fell there as well.

 

---------------------

 

As the breeze blew the river fog away again, and cleared the images of the past from her mind's eye, Dominique refocused on the warehouse. Looking up for a moment, she realized that the rain had lessened noticeably.

At least something is going my way, she thought. Well, let's see what VIPER is up to in there. Wiping away the tears from her eyes and shaking the water from her hair, she stepped forward - into the shadows and into her future.

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Well, a lot of folks have looked; but no one has replied. I had a request for the character sheet for the main character of the story, so (in the hopes of attracting a bit more attention) I will post Silhouette's stats. Here she is:

 

SILHOUETTE

 

Val Char Cost Roll Notes

9+10 STR -1 11- / 13- Lift 87.1kg/348.2kg; 1 ½d6/3 ½d6 [½]

23 DEX 39 14- OCV: 8/DCV: 8

18 CON 16 13-

9 BODY -2 11-

18 INT 8 13- PER Roll 13-

15 EGO 10 12- ECV: 5

13 PRE 3 12- PRE Attack: 2 ½d6

19 COM 5 13-

 

4+9 PD 2 Total: 4/13 PD (0/9 rPD)

4+9 ED 0 Total: 4/13 ED (0/9 rED)

5 SPD 17 Phases: 3, 5, 8, 10, 12

8 REC 4

51 END 8

30 STUN 7 Total Characteristic Cost: 115

 

Movement: Running: 6"/12"

Leaping: 1"/2"

Swimming: 2"/4"

Teleportation: 35"/70"

 

Cost Powers END

61 Shadow Offenses: VPP (Shadow powers), 37 base + 24 control cost, Cosmic (+2) (91 Active Points); Limited Class Of Powers Available (-½), Must have defined shadows to manipulate (-½), Not thru Hardened DEF (-¼)

0 1) Cold of the Shadows: Drain STR 3d6, Limited Range (Character and target must be touching same shadow; +¼) (37 Active Points) Real Cost: 37 4

0 2) Wall of Shadows: ENT 3d6, 3 DEF (Stops A Given Sense Normal Sight) (35 Active Points); Susceptible to Intense light (-½) Real Cost: 23 3

0 3) Arms of the Shadows: ENT 3d6, 3 DEF (Stops A Given Sense Normal Sight) (35 Active Points); Susceptible to Intense light (-½), Cannot Form Barriers (-¼) Real Cost: 20 3

0 4) Obscuring Shadows I: CE (causes normal darkness in the AoE) 16" radius, -4 to Normal Sight PER Rolls (31 Active Points) Real Cost: 31 3

0 5) Obscuring Shadows II: Darkness to Sight Group 3" radius, Personal Immunity (+¼) (37 Active Points) Real Cost: 37 4

 

37 Shadow Travel: MP, 75-point reserve, (75 Active Points); all slots Limited Power Limits Seriously (see below)** (-½), Not thru Hardened DEF (-¼), Must be defined (human-sized) shadow to enter & leave (no intense light) (-¼)

Notes: ** 'Port ranges are x1 when parallel to Earth's surface; x½ when perpendicular to surface

4u 1) Combat 'Port: Teleportation 25", x4 Increased Mass, Reduced END (½ END; +¼) (75 Active Points) 3

4u 2) Anywhere 'Port: Teleportation 10", x4 Increased Mass, Reduced END (½ END; +¼), MegaScale (1" = 2,000 km; +1), Can Be Scaled Down 1" = 1km (+¼) (75 Active Points) 3

 

20 Shadow-walk Sense: Multipower, 55-point reserve, (55 Active Points); all slots Only To Perceive 'Port Locations (-1), Instant (-½), Not thru Hardened DEF (-¼)

2u 1) Short-range Shadow-walk Sense: Clairsentience (Sight Group), x8 Range (1,200"), Reduced END (0 END; +½) (52 Active Points) 0

2u 2) Long-range Shadow-walk Sense: Clairsentience (Sight Group), Reduced END (0 END; +½), MegaScale (1" = 1,000 km; +1), Can Be Scaled Down 1" = 1km (+¼) (55 Active Points) 0

5 Shadow Sight II: Nightvision 0

 

5 Shadow Defenses: EC, 16-point powers, (8 Active Points); all slots Must see the attack (14-) (-½)

7 1) One with the Shadows I: Combat Luck (9 PD/9 ED) (18 Active Points)

5 2) One with the Shadows II: Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 25% (15 Active Points) 0

5 3) One with the Shadows III: Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant, 25% (15 Active Points) 0

 

4 Shadow Powers: EC, 10-point powers, (5 Active Points); all slots Only when in shadows (-¼)

3 1) Strength from the Shadows: +10 STR (10 Active Points); No Figured Characteristics (-½) 1

12 2) Hiding in the Shadows: Invisibility to Sight Group (20 Active Points) 2

Aikido

Maneuver OCV DCV Notes

4 Dodge -- +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort

4 Escape +0 +0 29 STR / 39 STR vs. Grabs

3 Extend Ch'i +0 +0 STR+15 to resist Shove; Block , Abort

3 Hold -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, 24 STR / 34 STR for holding on

5 Strike +1 +3 2 ½d6 / 4 ½d6 Strike

3 Takedown +1 +1 2 ½d6 / 4 ½d6 Strike; Target Falls

3 Throw +0 +1 2 ½d6 / 4 ½d6 +v/5, Target Falls

4 +1 HTH DC

2 Weapon: : Batons, Staffs

 

Skills

3 Acrobatics 14-

3 Breakfall 14-

3 Bureaucratics 12-

3 Computer Programming 13-

3 Security Systems 13-

3 Professional Skill 12-

3 KS: VIPER operations (INT-based) 13-

2 KS: Aikido 11-

2 Language: English (Fluent Conversation)

0 Language: French (Idiomatic, native accent; Native Language)

3 CK: Paris, France (INT-based) 13-

3 CK: NYC (INT-based) 13-

3 CK: Millennium City (INT-based) 13-

0 Everyman Skills

3 1) Hiding in the Shadows: Concealment 13-

0 2) Acting 8-

0 3) Climbing 8-

0 4) Conversation 8-

0 5) Deduction 8-

3 6) Paramedics 13-

0 7) Persuasion 8-

3 8) Moving In The Shadows I: Shadowing 13-

3 9) Moving In The Shadows II: Stealth 14-

0 10) TF: Cars and trucks

 

Total Powers & Skill Cost: 253

Total Cost: 368

 

200+ Disadvantages

15 Secret ID: Dominique Tatiana DuBois: Frequently (11-), Major

10 Unusual looks: light gray, milky eyes w/ no pupils (Easily Concealed; Always Noticed and Causes Major Reaction; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses)

15 Hunted by UNTIL: 8- (Occasionally), More Powerful, NCI, Mildly Punish

20 Hunted by VIPER: 8- (Occasionally), More Powerful, NCI, Harshly Punish

10 Hunting VIPER: (Uncommon, Strong)

20 Psych Lim: Code Vs Killing (Common, Total)

20 Psych Lim: Committed to Destroying Viper (Common, Total)

10 Psych Lim: Recurring Nightmare of the Night Her Parents Died (Common, Moderate)

5 Susceptibility: Sight Flashes, 1d6 damage Instant Uncommon

5 Vuln: 1 ½x STUN Sight Flashes Uncommon

5 Phys Lim: Painful Sensitivity: Light (-3 to all Skill and Characteristic Rolls made while exposed to the stimulus) (Infrequently, Slightly Impairing)

10 Social Limitation: Registers as a mutant (Frequently, Minor)

23 Experience Points

 

Total Disadvantage Points: 368

 

Background/History: Dominique was born and raised in Paris, France by her parents Henri and Aleksandra. Her father was the French diplomatic ambassador to the United States. Her mother was the lead ballerina in the Moscow International Ballet. They met in New York at a command performance of her troupe. Henri was taken with her the instant she stepped on the stage. After the show, he took flowers backstage, to her dressing room, and the rest as they say is history. Russia and the Ballet didn't want to lose their lead dancer, and so forbid Aleksandra from seeing Henri. So she defected. Henri called in a few favors from his diplomatic contacts, and helped her to gain political asylum in the U.S. They were married only weeks later, after a whirlwind romance.

Dominique grew up in Paris, learning French as her first language. She did, however, travel frequently to New York City with her parents. She learned English as a second language. She was remarkably quick at picking up new languages, and soon spoke it as well as she spoke French. She was a gifted student and was always at the top of her class. When Dominique was 12, her latent mutant abilities began to show themselves. After a few inquiries, her parents decided to relocate to Orchardsville, outside of Millennium City, so that she could enroll at the Ravenswood Academy. In the fall of 2000 she entered the Academy. While she was attending Ravenswood, her father was approached by a group of suspicious men, with a business proposition. Dominique was suspicious of these men, but it was her father's business. She had no idea that these men were members of VIPER. Her father ended up working for VIPER for the next 2½ years, doing a number of questionable, if not illegal things for them. They threatened to harm his family if he did not continue to assist them.

During this time Dominique was learning to use her mutant. At first it was only small progress, but with continued practice at the academy, she became fairly skilled at using them in a number of different ways. She was able to 'walk into one shadow and out of another, without crossing the intervening space. She would use this power to spy on her father when he met with VIPER, and to get into his private office to read the files that had to do with those dealings. She knew that she could gather enough incriminating evidence to shut down this branch of the organization. She just needed to figure a way to do it that wouldn't put her father behind bars with them. Unfortunately, her father wasn't going to give her the time that she needed.

Henri had finally decided that he had had enough. He could no longer live with his guilt, and the threat against his family hanging over his head. Just before Dominique’s 16th birthday, at the next meeting with VIPER, he told them that he wanted out. He would turn over all of the data files that had been accumulated, if they would only let him have their life back. He promised that he would never say a word about any of it, to anyone. They told him that he would need to meet with their superiors. He agreed, and was taken to talk to them. He repeated his request to be let out of their "partnership". The superiors spent some time attempting to persuade Henri to continue to work for them, but he was adamant. He wanted out. They finally agreed. They asked him to gather all of his files together, and they would come to his home to pick them up. Henri was ecstatic; his life would finally be his again. Or so he thought.

A day later, two of the VIPER men showed up to collect the files. Henri greeted them and they went into his office. Dominique and her mother were out shopping, so no one saw the other VIPER agents entering the house and setting their trap. They rigged the gas line to the stove so that a small leak would develop that night, after everyone was asleep. They also planted a small firebomb that would detonate after the house was full of the natural gas. They quietly left, and then the couriers also departed. Henri never suspected a thing. He just knew that a massive weight had been lifted from his shoulders. The girls came home a short time later and they all went out to dinner. They came home fairly late and went straight to bed. At 2:45AM a huge explosion leveled the Dubois mansion. The fireball reached some two to three hundred feet into the sky. By the time the first of the rescue vehicles had arrived, there was little left of the once grand mansion. No one walks away from VIPER.

At least that's what VIPER thought. Just before the explosion Dominique awoke to the call of nature. On her way back to bed she smelled the gas and immediately used her power to 'walk (as she had begun to call it) to go to her parents room. The instant she entered the shadows, the device detonated. She could do nothing for her parents, but by being in the shadow realm that she passes through to 'walk, she was spared most of the effects of the explosion. She was knocked unconscious and ended up in the shadows in one of the classrooms of the Academy. She quickly went and got the copies that she had made of the VIPER files. She had hidden these in one of the Academy offices, so that they wouldn't be discovered. Now she could begin to bring down the entire Millennium City branch of VIPER, and avenge her parents in the process. There would be time to mourn later.

Disguising herself with a change in hairdo and color, a mask and a bit of shadow she let herself be noticed, by VIPER, using her powers. Since they were always looking to recruit new operatives, VIPER had an assault team sent to bring her in. She gave them a good fight, but their teamwork and numbers were too much for her. They were doing just what she wanted anyway. They took her directly to their top-secret base. She had concocted a false identity that was good enough to fool them, and she was recruited on a probationary basis. She was given the codename Shadow walker, and during the next 10 months she was sent on numerous, covert missions. All the time she was receiving their training, she was gathering more incriminating evidence, right under their noses.

While Dominique continued here mission against VIPER, UNTIL was continuing to investigate the explosion at the Dubois manor. This was due to the facts that: a) her parents were prominent political figures; and B) Dominique's body was never found. While on one of her missions for VIPER, Dominique had a close encounter with a group of UNTIL agents. Shadow Walker's description was very close to that of Dominique, and now UNTIL is searching for her. She notified Headmaster Pelvanen of what had occurred, and continues to attend Ravenswood Academy. The Academy provides her with a safe base of operations as she continues her efforts to clear her father’s name and collect her inheritance.

 

Personality/Motivation: Dominique is an intelligent, quiet teenager. She is an excellent student, and is an overachiever. She is very adept at learning new languages. She is also driven to take down VIPER, and by doing so avenging her parents' deaths. She continues to hide from Viper, who wants her back both for her powers and for what she knows about the organization. She is hiding so that she may continue to gather further incriminating evidence against Viper. This is a vicious circle, since the longer she evades Viper, and the more evidence she gathers against them, the more effort Viper will put forth in order to capture her.

She is quiet and thoughtful, but not inwardly withdrawn. When she takes someone as a friend she will open up, and is just as talkative and outgoing as any other teen. She won't give her trust immediately (due to what happened to her family), but once she does she will go to any lengths for the person she has given it to.

 

Quote: "Now you see me..."

 

Powers/Tactics: Silhouette is a low-level MA with high-level t-port ability, and misc. other offensive and defensive powers. All her powers are based on shadows. She can stealthily move in the shadows and then use her VPP to hamper or hinder her teammates' opponents.

 

Campaign Use: Silhouette can stealthily move in the shadows and then use her VPP to hamper or hinder her teammates' opponents. With her VPP, her shadow defenses, and her aikido skills she is quite capable of holding her own against the average agent. She would be a bit pressed to stand up to a meta-human on her own. She can also be the team "transport" with her additional mass 'port abilities.

 

Appearance: In most ways Dominique is a typical 17 year-old teenage girl. She is petite, standing 5’1½†tall, and weighs 98 lbs. She is in top athletic shape due to her martial arts and VIPER operative training. She continues this training at Ravenswood. Her hair is naturally auburn/strawberry blonde, but she dyes it a darker brown with reddish highlights in order to disguise herself from VIPER. She has large, almond-shaped eyes that are extremely exotic looking. They are colored a milky gray and have no pupils. They look as if they are filled with fog. She still has the wardrobe that she brought to Ravenswood, so she dresses in the most current, but tasteful, top fashions.

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Re: PC Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

I think the story is an enjoyable read. I haven't really gone over the character yet so I'll avoid that. You did say at the beginning that you wouldn't mind a little constructive criticism. The only thing that I would point out would be your use of commas. A comma delineates a pause. You use them in places I don't think they belong.

 

Here's just one example:

Dominique awoke, from a deep sleep, to an urgent call of nature.

Now read it without the commas.

Dominique awoke from a deep sleep to an urgent call of nature.

In this particular case I believe the removal of the commas gives the sentence the momentum it needs to convey at least a hint of the "urgent call of nature". Leaving the commas in slows it down needlessly.

 

I'd be hesitant to point out the comma thing for fear of sounding overly critical if you hadn't asked. Otherwise I think you have definite talent. Good pacing, nice use of flashbacks, and a well-told tale overall.

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Thanks for the comments Vanguard00. I've been told before about the commas, and I should know better. I tend to used them to seperate the sentence into sections, instead of using them for pauses in the sentence. I'll have to work on that. I'll be waiting to hear what you think about the character herself.

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

I enjoy reading character fiction. It seems like you were a little unsure of how to describe her in the beginning, using a lot of generalized words (accents mine):

 

"The girl looked very much like any other teenager in any high school. She was maybe 5’2†tall, and might have weighed 100 lbs. She looked to be in very good athletic shape, and was built like a gymnast."

 

I would have written it as:

 

"The girl looked like a teenager you'd see in any high school. She was approximately 5 feet tall, perhaps a little taller and weighed about 100 lbs. She appeared to be in excellent athletic shape and built like a gymnast."

 

I don't write professionally so you can ignore my critiquing. :) On to the story: simply put - I liked it. Starting off in the present and slipping back to the past to explain her current situation was nice.

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Thanks, Tech. Actually, I was trying to go for a "general" or "generic" feel, in that part of the description. There was no scale or tape measure present for the reader to take measurements with, so it was more like "eyeballing it", so to speak. Also, I wanted to make a more dramatic comparison of her wearing a costume, and of the look of her eyes. So I put it as "she looked very much like" instead of "she looked just like"; since most HS teenagers wouldn't have foggy gray eyes and run around in a costume. :)

 

What did you think of her character writeup?

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Thanks, Tech. Actually, I was trying to go for a "general" or "generic" feel, in that part of the description. There was no scale or tape measure present for the reader to take measurements with, so it was more like "eyeballing it", so to speak. Also, I wanted to make a more dramatic comparison of her wearing a costume, and of the look of her eyes. So I put it as "she looked very much like" instead of "she looked just like"; since most HS teenagers wouldn't have foggy gray eyes and run around in a costume. :)

 

What did you think of her character writeup?

 

First, let me congratulate you on daring to use 'odd' numbers in her write-up, such as a 9 Str, 19 Com, etc. I'd read a few posts where people refuse to use stats like that because they're not being used to maximum effect. A little on the lower side of power yet still effective. It keeps well with her age and concept and I'll add, it's a refreshing pace from the 14d6, 6 Speed monsters out there. One question though: where did she learn the skill Bureaucratics from?

 

Oh yes, almost forgot: I liked the foggy eyes effect. You could have gone with something like 'Eyes that are as black as night' or something but didn't.

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Finally went back and looked over her sheet. Don't take this stuff too critically. I rarely review character sheets because I sometimes have trouble distinguishing between what might be wrong vs. something that's just different than how I'd do it.

 

So, bearing that in mind, take the following with a grain of salt (preferably attached to a margarita).

 

First, you do realize she'll run out of END by the second turn, right? Conceivably sooner.

 

In the VPP, powers #2 & #3 appear identical. My guess is that there are supposed to be modifiers on one or the other that aren't there at the moment.

 

Item #4, the Change Environment, isn't really defined. What's it do? Bear in mind that if it "calls shadows" as it suggests then the limitations on a lot of your other powers is going to be lessened (since many are dependent upon shadows, and you can apparently make your own, the limitation isn't worth as much).

 

I would consider Nightvision in addition to (or even in place of) the UV and/or IR vision.

 

Her Distinctive Features disad, while pretty cool, should probably only be worth 10pts. "Foggy eyes" could probably be disguised by simple contacts and/or sunglasses, so I'd make it "easily concealed".

 

By the way, her eyes aren't mentioned in her Physical Description.

 

I think the "extremely bright light" susceptibility is excessive--someone with a flood light or halogen lamp could conceivably take her out; heck, she'd die in a desert before the day was out--but that's just me.

 

Again, I enjoyed the read and the write-up.

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What the hell does a llama know about writing?

 

What follows is merely my opinion.

 

The flashbacks would have been better if split up by more of the present action. Not neccessarily easy to do without making things too confusing. I would have liked the revelations handed out a little more gradually.

 

Don't tell me he's a guard. Describe him and let me figure it out.

 

She looked to be in very good athletic shape, and was built like a gymnast.

This seems redundant.

 

Shock can affect different people very differently. Personally, I do not think she would have been so calm realizing her home and her father, who she obviously cared for, just went up in a massive explosion. I expected her to scream out and try to go back for him or something. Balling up in the corner of the room and crying seemed anti-dramatic to me.

 

Finally! A character with a functional relationship with their parents. How oringinal. Oh wait! You killed them. So much for the originality.

 

I like the shadow powers. Play that up a little more. Dark, swirling hands that embrace her and comfort her. The shadows are not a two dimensional thing without feeling. They live and breath and touch her. She can feel them.

 

Put more 'french-isms' in. We get one in the begining and then nothing further. It felt french...no wait...its not...what happened?

 

I hope this does not sound too negative. It was not meant to be. Overall, I enjoyed the story and look foward to more. I just think 'Great story. Loved it' does not help you.

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Re: What the hell does a llama know about writing?

 

What follows is merely my opinion.

And is appreciated. It helps to know what others think.

 

The flashbacks would have been better if split up by more of the present action. Not neccessarily easy to do without making things too confusing. I would have liked the revelations handed out a little more gradually.

This is a good point. When I originally wrote this, it was only a character introduction, so I really was going for the background and history, as opposed to the present. Therefore, at the time there wasn't much "story" to intersperse between the flashbacks.

 

Don't tell me he's a guard. Describe him and let me figure it out.

You're right. The reader is intelligent enough to figure that out.

 

She looked to be in very good athletic shape' date=' and was built like a gymnast.[/i']

This seems redundant.

A person can look to be in good shape, without having the appearance of participating in a given sport. The average people you see at the gym (not the body-builders) look in shape, but you wouldn't necessarily say,"Hey, he's a swimmer, or bike rider." When I added "...built like a gymnast..." it was to further describe what type of athlete she looked like. Gymnasts, for the most part, have a distinct physique.

 

Shock can affect different people very differently. Personally' date=' I do not think she would have been so calm realizing her home and her father, who she obviously cared for, just went up in a massive explosion. I expected her to scream out and try to go back for him or something. Balling up in the corner of the room and crying seemed anti-dramatic to me.[/quote']

She wasn't calm at all. Initially, she is stunned as she appears in the classroom. She does look back to see if there is anything she can do. She realizes the totality of the destruction, and that there's nothing she can do for her parents. 'She felt no grief or sadness yet.' Now she's gone numb, or is in denial. At that point she begins contemplating her future, and her revenge on those who did this. Finally, she let's the grief take over. As you said, everyone responds differently.

 

Finally! A character with a functional relationship with their parents. How oringinal. Oh wait! You killed them. So much for the originality.

I had to give her the motivation for the fact that she is hunting VIPER, and plans on taking them down. Just blowing up the house of a wealthy family didn't seem like enough incentive. Besides, it makes it all the more interesting when the GM decides that maybe one or both parents didn't actually die in the explosion; and brings them back sometime down the road. We never did see the bodies, did we? :D

 

I like the shadow powers. Play that up a little more. Dark' date=' swirling hands that embrace her and comfort her. The shadows are not a two dimensional thing without feeling. They live and breath and touch her. She can [b']feel [/b]them.

 

I hadn't really thought about that. Very nice idea. I'll have to add some of that into the next revision (oh yes, there will be a rewrite :) ).

 

Put more 'french-isms' in. We get one in the begining and then nothing further. It felt french...no wait...its not...what happened?

 

Yup. Started out with good intentions and then sort of slacked off. I'll add that to the rewrite, as well.

 

I hope this does not sound too negative. It was not meant to be. Overall' date=' I enjoyed the story and look foward to more. I just think 'Great story. Loved it' does not help you.[/quote']

 

This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you. Any thoughts from other readers allow me to see things in a different light. Thanks again and accept some rep in appreciation.

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Re: Political threads are the new D20

 

Hey' date=' I already gave my critique. I guess people would rather argue politics endlessly than actually help a fellow board member out.[/quote']

 

Yeah, I guess you're right. Personally, I'd rather read superhero stories, than deal with most politics.

 

 

Don't worry' date=' alywin13. I will take the heat. My rep can handle it.[/quote']

 

I'd rep you for that, but I don't want to mess up all those pretty red squares. :D

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  • 2 months later...

Re: PC Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Really nice character background. Most of mine focus on the character going through stuff. Yours focused on her father and his troubles. Her anger/purpose came from his problems not hers. It was a nice point of view. I think I'll try it.

 

You have a nice writing style. Have you written more then the background? I'd be interested in reading about the character. Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'm not the best critic. All I can say is, it was an interesting read. The jumping around of the timeline wasn't bad. I prefer are more direct line but the story spanned years. So some time skipping is expected.

 

good stuff. :thumbup:

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Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Thanks for the response Greymankle. I've been away from 'Net access until today, so I didn't know anyone else had read this. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

 

Her background sort of wrote itself, actually. I knew that she was French, on one side; but at the same time she had to end up being based in the U.S. I made her father a diplomat and voila, she could grow up in NYC and France. When coming up with her middle name I didn't like any of the other French names I found. As I was scoping the names websites I saw Tatiana and said to myself, "that's her middle name." Now I had to have a reason for a Russian middle name. I decided to make her mother a defecting prima ballerina. Who else would a world-traveling diplomat fall in love with? At the time, it also left a major plot hook (I had no idea at that point that her parents were going to die). The Russians weren't going to let one of their premier citizens just leave, were they?

Then, when I had her 'port into her dad's office, I just decided that she dropped in on a clandestine meeting with questionable people. This led to them being from VIPER, using Henri's position to further their evil plans. The rest of the story just flowed from there. As I said, most of it didn't exist when I started.

 

As for any more writing: there isn't anything right now, but I have thought about revising and expanding this story into a novella, maybe. Just need to come up with a bit more story, and find the free time. Maybe a bit more arm-twisting might convince me. ;)

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  • 3 years later...

Re: Character fiction: Shadows Of Things Past

 

Thanks T_P.

 

The idea for this character had been around since 1983; 3rd edition I think. That was the time of 250 points, and I just couldn't build her with the "around the world" 'port power, for less than 350 or more. She sat around as notes, numbers and scribbles on a legal pad waiting for Megascale, and the 350 pt character to be born. These finally allowed her to be finished the way I wanted her to be.

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