The Sky Breathes All Life - OOC





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  1. #1
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    The Sky Breathes All Life - OOC

    The Sky Breathes All Life



    The Elves struck first.

    It was really only a matter of time since the discovery of the half-breed. Enraged at the finding, the Elves of Neila lashed out at their neighbors, blaming the Humans, who did nothing but point fingers right back. Decimating the Humans cities of Milys and Sharniq, the Elves were set to rampage across the skies in their newly developed air machines, raining destruction from so far above that no arrow could reach. Needless-to-say, the Humans of Constancy got the hint, and forming an alliance with the Dwarves of the Perfect Carving to the north, conscripted never-before-flown airships of their own. After weeks of skirmishes, Human intelligence caught wind of the Elves' major offensive plan - they were to launch every airship they had in one assault against the Human capital, in an angered-fueled effort to stomp out the source of such impurity. Responding in kind, the Humans and Dwarves began to mobilize their entire sky-fleet as well...

    The stage was set for the first major, and largest, airship battle the world had ever seen.

    __________________________________________________ _____________

    To state now, this recruitment thread has been opened because of discussions originally had here. Since, the following players have been chosen:

    AmorFati
    Eluvan
    Nonlethal Force
    Jemal
    Shayuri
    Lord Wyrm

    Alts can continue to be posted, just in case anyone drops out as the game goes on.

    That being said, here are some more details...

    I'm approaching character creation a little differently than usual. What I want in this thread are CHARACTER CONCEPTS, complete with a personality and background of how you ended up assigned to an airship and what you do there, even if you aren't part of the fighting force also assigned there (though you CAN be part of that if you want). Keep in mind that these airships are large enough to support small communities, so all manner of professions can be found there. You WILL be under martial law while on the airships though, so be aware. Also include the classes that you're wanting to play, and what level (from 1 to 4 or 5) the character is intended to be. You will start the campaign just prior to the battle mentioned in the intro, but not yet in the air.

    I'm allowing all core races except for Half-Elf and all core classes, plus all NPC classes from the DMG. I wouldn't be against any other weird races as long as it doesn't get crazy and is FULLY explained in the background of the character. As far as books go, I have the core books and Races of Faerun, but I don't have any of the Complete books, but you can use whatever you want as long as someone else can vouch for the validity of your mechanics. Also, try to steer away from Psionics, but if you really want to, get with me and we can discuss how I want it to be handled.

    Anyway, once I have the backgrounds of the characters laid out, I will assign a level to each person based almost ENTIRELY upon that character's history. Once the level is assigned, I'll open up an RG Thread where the completed characters can be posted. I'm doing this because I want to get a truly good mix of characters in the party, as opposed to characters that work well together because it was planned out ahead of time, so the Wizard might be level 2, and the ship's cook might be level 5.

    UPDATE
    Since the game is starting, exact levels of alts will not be decided until one is needed, so for now, the only thing important is the backstory. Like I previously stated, anyone can throw one up here as an alt-in-waiting, and if one is needed, I'll let you all know!

    In addition, this thread will stay up as the OOC for the main game taking place in the Playing the Game forum. That being said, hopefully the only posts I see here will be new alternate character submissions and posts from the players themselves. Thanks!
    Last edited by tylermalan; Tuesday, 4th October, 2005 at 07:34 PM.

 

  • #2
    Sounds great! Will work on a more detailed concept later on, but this is what I've got so far:

    Poleil was a young woman roaming the streets. The highest bidder got the price; that was how she was taught by her supperiors. Till one night. Her customer, a rather wealthy noble, demanded more than he payed for. It wasn't the first time this happened, and at first Poleil went with it. Then something snapped inside of her. A few minutes later she left the room, a bloodied trail following her down the stairs and out on the streets. She wandered the streets in a red-hued daze for several days untill she was picked up by one of the "mothers" of her guild. "I have been looking for you Poleil. What happened with <censored> was... unfortunate. However, it is time you knew. The House deal not only in pleasures. Consider it your first test of many to come."

    The next months Poleil was trained in the use of nunchaku, sai, shuriken, kai and other weapons of the ninja. Her mind and reflexes was trained so as to better avoid danger. She was taught where to strike her opponents for the best effects, and how to use the shadows to her advantage. And now she is on her first, official mission. It is somewhat two-fold; protect the ships captain (or high-ranking officer, a noble on board or something) while under cover as a harlot. The second part of her mission is to eliminate a low-ranking officer (or soldier, priest, whatever) that have neglected to pay The House for services previously hired.

    Thinking the Ninja class from Complete Adventurer. Preferably level 4 or higher. Aiming for high Charisma, Wisdom and Dexterity. (In that order). Con and Str is not that important, but Int might be semi-important. Will act mostly as a seductive (will try, anyway ) woman who roams the ship, having access to most of it. Most believe she is the captain/officer/whatever play-thing, and only a few know her true identity.

  • #3
    Okay, here it goes. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you can see what I am going after with Sye:

    CHARACTER DESCRIPTION:

    Sye Dillinger - Human. 5'4, 115 lbs. Sky blue eyes, Golden Blonde hair.

    CHARACTER BACKGROUND:

    Sye Dillinger has always been normal – for a child lucky enough to be educated. In school, she had her areas in which she excelled, but she also had her areas in which she was absolutely awful. She was great at learning the history of the land and even appreciated debating about the various reasons that history had taken the course it had. She spent many hours in study over the various lands and kingdoms and tried to soak up as much knowledge as she could humanly absorb. He goal was never to prove herself to be more knowledgeable than the next guy, she just wanted to learn.

    But of course, there also were the more physical aspects to schooling. She never did very well at all with fine motor control sports. Catching and throwing balls was just not her thing. Wielding a sword often gave her trouble. For her own protection, she did manage to pick up the use of a dagger – but even that was never as good as her father had wanted to see. As she tried the more physical sports, Sye was able to pick up and use the crossbow with some success. But in this regard she has always considered herself sub par.

    Then, there were the arts. Music came naturally to her. Writing also was a skill she enjoyed. She loved to write lyrics, poems, and even short stories. But to combine both talents into one masterpiece and set her poems to music was simply joy for her. Her father grumbled in that there was no money to be made in poetry, but he loved her anyway. Her mother merely smiled and said that she hoped Sye would find a husband who liked poems, because otherwise it would be like living with her father for the rest of her life. Sye just smiled at her mother when she said this and went out into the woods to study.

    While in the woods studying her precious history, Sye’s mind began to drift off. She wasn’t quite sure what was happening, but it almost seemed as though her eyes became fuzzy for just a moment. When her eyesight cleared, a handsome and wealthily clad young man stood before her. He asked Sye, “Wouldn’t you like to run away with me and share in my wealth? Look at my lavish clothing and the luxury that I live in. This could all be yours if you want it.” Sye laughed out loud and replied, “You sound just like my father. He says that money is one of the main goals in life and keeps encouraging me to use my talents in a way that will earn money. Rather, I like to do things for others that make them happy, regardless of whether it gets me anything or not!” The young man thought for a moment and replied, “Well, I am a prince over a small kingdom. Wouldn’t you like to come away with me and help me rule it when my time comes?” Sye again laughed and replied, “I don’t think so. I have my own kingdom here. The woods and the forest are my muse, I listen to them with a kind ear and they inspire my talents. I don’t need the troubles of a kingdom to weigh me down.” Once more the man thought, and he even sat down on a nearby stump to ponder. “I know. I’ll just be honest. You are a beautiful young woman, and your beauty has captured my eyes. I must have you as my future queen, and I must be honest about how I feel!” Sye laughed once more. “Physical beauty is fleeting. You may think me beautiful today, but in sixty years when my face wrinkles and I am old and fat – will you still find me beautiful? Beauty truly comes from the person within, not from the physical appearances on the outside. Again, I must decline.”

    Instantly, her eyes clouded over once more and she fell into a light sleep. In a matter of minutes when she awake, she found herself face to face with a pixie. The pixie looked to her and replied, “Sye, as much as I tried to tempt your heart, you proved to me that you heart was not capable of temptation. I tried to tempt you with money, prestige, and beauty but you held fast. I tried to tempt you with flattery, lust, and adulations but you were not interested. More than that, you honored my woods with your speech. You have proven yourself much unlike the rest of the humans around you. And I would like to give you a reward for your loyalty to the true spirit of life within you. Ask, and I shall reward you.” Sye again smiled and replied, “It is not right for me to ask for a gift, I did not do anything to deserve it other than be who I am. If you desire to give me a gift, then give me what you feel is honorable. I would much rather receive a gift that is true from your heart than one that is requested by my own. I would be honored by whatever you would present to me.”

    The pixie again smiled and bowed low. “Again you honor me. Let me then give you this: my friendship. I am Lamark, a pixie of this forest. Whenever you should have need of me, just come to this forest and call out my name. I will hear you calling and will come to honor our friendship.” With that he approached her face and kissed her on the nose. He then sat upon the same stump as the image of the beautiful young man had sat – and Sye and Lamark talked. For the next several years they often spent afternoons talking in the forest. As Sye grew older, she would bring her fiddle into the forests and perform poetry and dance for Lamark, who would often join in the dance and be inspired to add his own poetry. The rest of her schooling years were spent in this fashion.

    One day, however, the time for her schooling came to an end. It was time for her to marry – or at least support herself through work. Her father came to her one night – drunk. He had just been laid off from his job and wasn’t handling the pressure well. As he entered her room he startled Sye and she jumped up to meet him. He grabbed the top of her shirt in an attempt to balance himself and the shirt tore – nearly exposing her chest. Her father looked at her through his drunken eyes and began to lecture her. “Let’s see where your history gets you in life! Let’s see how much money that history can make you! Let’s see where that fiddle-playing and dance lands your sorry good for nothing freeloading butt!” He struck her across the cheek out of a drunken rage. “Only place you’ll every find work is as a ‘lady’ in the taverns!”

    Sye knew that he was under a lot of pressure and also knew that he didn’t know what he was doing because of the alcohol. She began to sob as she ducked under his arms and ran down the hallway and out the door. She did not remember to grab another set of clothing on her way out. As she entered the cool air outside the house she fell to the wet grass. “I forgive you, father. I cannot accept what you have done and said, but I still love you.”

    Sye picked herself up off of the ground and ran into town. She swore off any alcoholic drink on account of what it had done to her father that night. Fortunately, as she ran into town she met an amazing traveling minstrel by the name of Jacobus. Jacobus saw her trained musical talent and immediately knew how to put it to work. He taught her to dance and recite her poetry while he played on his mandolin. He played his pan pipes while she played her fiddle. Under the tutelage of Jacobus she learned the lifestyle of a traveling minstrel. But she learned far more than that. Sye learned how to talk people out of a drunken stupor. Sye learned when to begin a simple or amusing debate to free up people’s tongues – and eventually to open their pocketbooks in appreciation for a good evenings entertainment. Sye learned that her talents were useful, even if she couldn’t wield a dagger well. And through it all, whenever she returned home she reacquainted herself with Lamark and sang of her journeys with Jacobus. Even Jacobus thought that Lamark was wonderful – for a pixie.

    And then one day it happened. Jacobus grew deathly ill. The doctor said something about consumption. Something caused him to lose his strength and to have horrible fits of coughing. She began to play more and more solos in taverns and inns, playing to make Jacobus smile as he watched than anything else. Eventually Jacobus died; Sye mourned the loss of her mentor and closest friend. For the first time since the night when she was struck by her drunken father – she felt alone and unsure of where to go.

    Then she heard the cry one day by the town crier. “The humans and dwarves will wage war on the elves! Anybody can serve; all hands are needed to defend our land! No person too small, no ability will go unused!”

    She knew what to do. She said so-long to Lamark. She refused to say goodbye, because she vowed that if she survived the war then she would return to Lamark and tell him of her travels and the war. Before too long she found herself serving upon an airship.

    She could do most jobs, but she especially liked addressing those around her regarding the war. She could relate the historical significance of the battle as well as remind the troops of the reasons that they fought the war with the elves. She could lift their spirits and inspire them into courage through her ability to tap into the communal memory of who they were as people. She could give advice to anyone who sought an understanding about the typical tactics of elves and how they had been fought before. She was willing to do any job that her captain asked, but the job that she prized the most was being the rallying force of the troops and an advisor when needed.


    OTHER DETAILS AS REQUESTED:

    CLASS and LEVEL:
    Spoiler:
    As you hopefully picked up, Sye is a Bard. As to her level, this of course depends on how much grunt work she does, how much inspiration she can bring, and how much “advising” she can do. Ideally, I would like to start her at level 3 (or higher only if you see fit). However, I would be willing to play Sye at any level. As for character development, honestly right now I am thinking of taking her in straight Bard levels without multiclassing or using a PrC.


    NON-CORE FEATS REQUESTED:
    Spoiler:
    Extra Music: [Complete Adventurer] You can use your bardic music more often than you otherwise could.
    Prerequisite: Bardic Music ability
    Benefit: You can use your bardic music four extra times per day
    Normal: Bards without the Extra Music feat can use bardic music once per day per bard level.
    Special: You can gain this feat multiple times, its effects stack.

    Nymph’s Kiss: [Book of Exalted Deeds] By maintaining an intimate relationship with a good aligned fey (such as a nymph or dryad), you gain some of the character istics of fey.
    Benefit: Fey creatures regard you as though you are fey. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus on all CHA-related checks, and a +1 bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities. Starting with the level when you take this feat, you gain 1 extra skill point per level.

    Obscure Lore: [Complete Adventurer] You are a treasure-trove of little known information
    Prerequisite: Bardic Knowledge or Lore class feature
    Benefit: You gain a +4 insight bonus on checks using your bardic knowledge or lore class feature

    Versatile Performer: [Complete Adventurer] You are skilled at many kinds of performances.
    Prerequisite: Perform (any) 5 ranks
    Benefit: Pick a number of Perform categories equal to your INT bonus (minimum 1). For the purpose of making Perform check, you are treated as having a number of ranks in those skills equal to the highest number of ranks you have in any Perform category. You cannot change these categories once you have picked them, but your score in them automatically increases if you later add additional ranks in your highest Perform category. You gain new categories of your choice if your INT bonus permanently raises. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on combined Perform checks when using using two or more forms of Performance at the same time, such as a bard strumming a lyre while singing. In such cases, add the bonus to the higher of the two Perform skill modifiers.

    Rationale for asking for these feats: Given that Sye is a very non-combat oriented person, I hoped to make her shine in areas of Diplomacy, Gathering Information, and Perform skills.

    The Nymph’s Kiss feat I like because it adds a neat flavor to the background, although its benefits will obviously help out in Sye’s non-combat goals.

    The Extra Music will allow Sye to play a better “boosting role” in combat in place of her inability to melee. Even though the feat allows it, I do not plan on taking it more than once unless some of my other choices are denied.

    The Obscure Lore feat will help her relay information easier.

    The Versatile Performer is really just a flavor feat. I plan on taking Perform (stringed instruments) anyway to account for the fiddle. Anything that calls for a Perform check can be done through the fiddle in any regard. However, this way I can add flavor to her actions by adding dance or singing/poetry. If this feat is allowed and I get the appropriate INT score, I would use Versatile Performer to pick up Perform (dance) and Perform (sing) and Perform (poetry) in that order. As I said, however, while it does provide a +2 bonus to Perform skill, it is really just a flavor feat. And it is definately a non-combat choice!

    The other feats I am interested in are Investigator, Negotiator, and Persuasive – all of which are in the PHB. As you can see by my possible feat selection, I am truly trying to make a non-combat character who excels in an area outside of swordplay. The feats I would take at first level (Assuming they are allowed) would be Extra Music and Nymph’s Kiss (Human bonus feat). These would reflect her background. Assuming I would get to start 3rd level or higher, I would like to take Versatile Performer to also reflect her background.
    Last edited by Nonlethal Force; Friday, 16th September, 2005 at 11:51 PM.
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  • #4
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    I like them both, keep em coming.

  • #5
    From the journal of Tarthiel, Speaker of the Dead, as related by the Vampire and Diviner Rimris:

    "It was on the eve of the full moon, my great ritual was nearly complete. Long had I desired to raise an army of those like me. That was when my scouts reported the presence of the hunters encroaching upon my territory. It was not the first time I had church inquisitors come to hunt me down but these were different somehow. With my ritual's components gathered and ready I felt I had time to scry upon these interlopers and learn their secrets. When I attempted to center my eyes upon on them I met a powerful magical barrier, uninvited diviners were apparently not allowed to look upon these mortals. Unperturbed I scryed upon my nearby minions, still I could not see the interlopers. I ordered several mortals to steal items from them and bring me them in order to use more powerful auguries upon them. When my minions brought back several coins with the story that they had been given to them freely by the man in black I was astonished. I quickly ordered the sentries set to double and began studying the items.

    "Instead of the visions I sought I conjured phantoms of many dead creatures such as myself. Apparently the man in black had a sick sense of humor. I delved further into the mysteries of the coins and saw the man as a child, he played as any human child would and seemed to get along well with the other whelps. I flashed to his apprenticeship in a port city, a skilled worker, he rarely had his master correct him as he worked the planks steadily into ships. His beginnings as a craftsman went well and I saw him grow rich on his work as a shipwright. He worked diligently still and his business grew.

    "Then I saw it, agents of a church with which I am still unfamiliar with training their star pupil. Clearly he had had this training before, how did I miss this? He had guided my visions somehow, no doubt with the help of his mage friend. He was no cleric though, he was an assassin of utmost skill and a quick lip. I learned all I could of his fighting style with that damnable chain. Now I regret that but then it seemed the inteligent course of action.

    "The next morning while I slept he began his attack, later when I awoke only half of all my minions still lived. Apparently the man in black, who later that night I came to know as Vaeris, had killed many of them while they yet slept. Those who were awake for the attack were put to the sword by a beast of a man and a halfling wizard. They had managed to bring down the beast at the cost of many lives and the wizard had been slain by my spawn but Vaeris and a cleric yet lived and still skulked in my castle.

    "I made for the room of the ritual and began, if the interlopers were still in this area when the ritual was complete then they would join me as vampires. When the ritual was nearly complete I heard the screams of my guards and the blast of magic as the cleric tore through them. I continued my chanting bent over the alter but I did not have much of that before I felt the sting of magical silver in my back. The man had waited in the room of the ritual and I had not detected him warded though I was. I spun quickly catching him in the ribs with my fist. He had not expected me to be so old and powerful apparently. I felt his life energy flow into me and I made for his throat with my fangs in order to end the fight then and there but I failed to get a good hold. Precious blood spilled from his jugular onto the floor. I summoned several of the shades of those I had slain before and they set into him sapping his speed and strength. I returned to the ritual hoping the brief intermission would not interupt it now, not in this crucial stage. The sounds of the battle outside drew closer and the fight behind me sounded ferocious indeed. Then within minutes of the end of the ritual the sounds of the battle behind me ended. I let out a sigh of relief and continued.

    "Unfortunately the man must of been stronger than he looked because I felt the chain tighten around my ankle and drag me away from the altar. I fought back immeadiatly and Vaeris and I became locked in mortal combat. I attempted to bring more minions to my side but as they arrived the cleric engaged them having finally burst through our defenses. I managed to free myself of Vaeris's grasp and ran toward the battle weary cleric, catching her in my grasp I held her as hostage between me and the weakened man in black. I threated her life should he approach and backed toward the shuttered window. He merely smiled and once more brought his chain to bear. I was shocked by his callousness toward the life of his comrade and nearly feinted when he took her head off with the chain. I dropped the corpse from my arms as he rushed me. The impact from him, even in his weakened state, sent us both tumbling out the window and down to the rocks below. The sun engulf me in its morning rays before I hit and for sometime I assumed he had died as well.

    "Later I would learn from other spirits that he had survived, although badly weakened, and had sold much of his gear in order to restore himself to health and the youth I had divined before the fight. Last I heard was from a recently deceased mind flayer was he had once again commenced his training and had become deadly once more."


    Vaeris is a human rogue/swashbuckler of twenty-four or so. While at the time of the fight with Rimris he would of been around eighteenth level and in his fifties currently he would be probably be around eighth due to the energy drain of the undead. While he managed to recover physically from the fight his mental facilties were affected leaving him at around level two which he immeadiatly began training up from. He has worked for an evil church for some time now and stopped Rimris because the church wanted power, not death and for some reason an army of vampires wandering around made them cringe. Vaeris as their best assassin and warrior was sent to put down the ancient vampire and succeeded where many good clerics and paladins failed. The fact is he was commander of the group when they entered and used his allies abilities to toy with the vampire and his minions before the final confrontation. His being on the ship is supposedly because he's an excellent shipwright, which he is, but in reality is because he is after a very particular enemy.

    Hope I can get in on this one it sounds interesting.
    Last edited by Lord Wyrm; Sunday, 18th September, 2005 at 06:29 AM.
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  • #6
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    A couple of ideas here...

    Aitchkay-twoscore and seven: Using the Warforged race from Eberron, and the Warmage class from Complete Arcane, this concept is a fantasy version of an artillery tank. Although Warforged have attribute penalties that really hurt warmages, the coolness factor is undeniable. Each "spell" is a new weapon that slides out of a concealed cowling, or is revealed as hatches and orifices iris open. Ever see Iron Giant? Remember the end? Something like that...only smaller. Personality-wise, the unit is manically friendly and overpolite, if prone to Freudian slips when upset with its owner. It is self aware and sentient, though conditioned to obey the orders of its 'master.' Perhaps it's a prototype dwarven golem that was hybridized with human wizardry and became unexpectedly self-aware? Perhaps it was deemed to dangerous to allow to wander, and so was placed back in storage...until this fateful attack, when ALL weapons were needed. Eh? Eh? (Note - that's a placeholder name and in-joke, not the real name under consideration )

    Thorn: The rogue/fighter/shadowdancer (one day). Wields a spiked chain with deadly force, dresses in black armor. Kinda gothy. An orphan of war, Thorn is motivated primarily by a desire to revenge herself upon the slaughterers of her friends and family. She's quiet, confident, and ruthlessly effective...though with a fragile underbelly she strives to keep hidden. Thorn would make a good scout, saboteur, and support warrior.

    As yet unnamed: A dragon themed sorceress! Taking some of the draconic feats from Complete Arcane, a primary caster with more flexibility than the Warmage concept, but still plenty of firepower when it's needed. This character is a bit haughty, though calm and good-natured. A touch of aristocracy perhaps. In fact, it may even be that her noble parents oppose her joining this battle, but she steals away to do it anyway! If so, she hides her true identity as well as she can, but for how long can the charade be kept up?

    Lily: A sinister warlock (core class from Complete Arcane). Combining some elements of Thorn and the sorceress, in that she's a darker sort of character, but uses magic; Lily fights to atone. Atone for a litany of sins, real and imagined...and most of all to try to account for the tainted blood that was hers by birth. She uses her powers even as she loathes them; hoping that using them for good will somehow balance the innate evil of their source. To get an idea of Lily's personality, consider the character of Constantine, from the Hellblazer comics, albeit less hard-boiled.

    Thoughts? Preferences?

  • #7
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    Preferentially, I like the Warmage one and the warlock, but concerning the warmage, I don't think the race will fit, so unless you can find another race to do it with...

    That being said, keep in mind I'm looking for a heavy background, which is why I like the Warmage concept, though I like the underpinnings of the warlock as well. I would say your best chance is the Warlock with a great history.

    Lord Wyrm, I like it, but I have to give priority to others, so stay on as an alt for now, possible inclusion once the inevitable drop outs start to happen.

  • #8
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    Just got home from work and will be working up a backround in the next 15 hours or so

    Edit: I'll work it up at work
    Last edited by LogicsFate; Saturday, 17th September, 2005 at 08:22 PM.
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  • #9
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    Ooooh... this looks exciting.

    Here ya go:

    Alister Delbraeth (Aristocrat/ Fighter)... I envisage him as about level 3
    Human Male
    Age 19


    A lot of people would look at Alister, walking a pace behind his father in a presteen officer's uniform, and see a typical priveleged snot with his whole life laid out before him on a silver platter. And they wouldn't be so very far wrong. Alister's never known anything that most people would describe as hardship. He was born the only son of a very wealthy and prominent family with a strong military tradition, his father being the distinguished Captain Delbraeth. What's more, he never suffered the neglect that some children of wealthy families do. In fact his parents, and most especially his father, took a very active role in his upbringing.

    The problem, as far as Alister is concerned, is precisely that. He's never known a moment's freedom, a moment's independence from the stifling influence of his father. He's never been able to escape the crushing weight of the expectations that are placed on him. Ever since he can remember, his father has never stopped pushing him and testing him.

    His earliest memory of his father is sitting opposite him at a heavy wooden desk he could barely see over, in his father's study. It was a large room, but was made claustrophobic nonetheless by the shelves that filled every wall, full of old leather bound books, charts, and maps. His father's gaze was severe and unblinking as he waited for Alister's answer to the problem he had just outlined. Tentatively the boy spoke. "Manoeuvre a division of cavalry eastward as a distraction, ready to retreat if the enemy engages them, and then the main body of your forces can take the high ground to the west and fight on advantageous terms." His voice wavered, but he did not hesitate or mumble. He knew from long experience that was bound to result in admonition.

    His father just stared, a look of disdain coming over his face. "And what if the enemy does not stand still or take the bait you have offered? What if they simply retreat to the north and wait for us to leave our position? Time is not on our side. If I had done that, we would have been forced to engage them further to the north and would have lost all advantage we could possibly have had." He let his harsh words sink in as his son coloured and stared at his shoes, before eventually continuing after a suitable period. "Now listen to how I actually won the battle, and this time try to learn something. First, I issued orders to the first infantry..."

    And so on. There had been hours of such lessons every day, his father picking over his old campaigns in this manner. These days he was old enough so that his father's process of grooming him to fill his shoes had moved on to having him accompany him each day while he attended to his duties. He has recently even begun to delegate many of his decisions to his son, and then berate him openly for the shortcomings he perceives in them.

    All this might not be so bad if Alister truly wanted nothing more than to walk in his father's footsteps, but of course that is not the case. The spark of rebellion in Alister may be strongly repressed, but it burns brightly. He longs to break free of his father's shadow, and to live life on his own terms. If to do so meant giving up all his advantages he would gladly do so... if only he could find the courage to stand up to his father. So far though, it has not happened, and it seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

    It is, then, unsurprising that in his official capacity as an officer Alister tends to be somewhat bitter and abrasive. He has a natural flair for leadership, and a great deal of tactical intelligence, but he has no love for exercising these things - at least not so long as he is doing so in the way his father wishes him to. He's therefore not at all well-liked. There's natural resentment for the captain's son, who is so clearly given preferential treatment, and this distances Alister from everybody else and so forces him into that role that he himself resents. It's a vicious cycle, and Alister sees little way to escape it.

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    Lily Foster
    Human Warlock
    Age: 19

    Born in an orphanage run by the nuns and nurses of the goddess of mercy, Lily's childhood was troubled, and for more than the usual reasons. She didn't fit in well with the other children, for one thing. Her temper made it hard for her to make friends. Had she been physically larger, she might have become a bully. As it was, she was merely frustrated a lot. When she was twelve, she had a quiet period...and then started disappearing. She'd eventually turn up, in cupboards, under stairs, nestled away in the attic or basement...anywhere private...and be escorted back to the appropriate common areas. Only to vanish again.

    What the nuns didn't know, couldn't know, was that Lily had started coming into her powers, and was keeping them secret. She'd find places to hide, and practice. Finally she started asserting herself over the other children, swearing them to secrecy. It took some time, but the nuns eventually noticed that a new pecking order had emerged, with Lily inexplicably at the top. The other children were more afraid of her than any of them, and refused to explain why. Worried and suspicious, the nuns arranged to spy on the children in secret, and were aghast to find Lily ruling her playground with threats and dark, shadowy powers.

    One nun took up Lily's cause, in contrast to the rest who wanted the girl out. She asked for one month. One month to turn Lily around, or she would step aside and not protest Lily's expulsion.

    The nun in question was, in fact, a latent sorceror, though she'd never taken her power far...and always regretted it. When she showed Lily some of her own ability, she formed an instant bond with the young girl. It quickly came out that Lily's abuses stemmed from the fact that it was the only way to get the other kids to do anything with her at all. Left to their own devices they just avoided her. Lily had to force the issue, or be an outcast. Unfortunately, she was right. By that time, the damage had been done and there was no going back; no fixing it. But Lily felt she'd learned her lesson as well.

    At the end of the month, Lily was allowed to stay...but to the surprise of all, she elected to leave on her own. At the tender age of fourteen, she apologized to the other kids, and said goodbye to the nun that had taken the time and effort to understand her, rather than simply shut the door on her...and left the place she'd known as home.

    When Lily left, she had a purpose in mind though. She wanted to track down her parents, and see what these powers were. She'd already surmised they were different than what she'd seen in the orphanage. Less limited in some ways, but somehow...darker as well. They still frightened her, and she was happy to try to put them out her head as the nun had suggested. Pretend they don't exist, unless you REALLY need them. And it did help. Armed with her good looks and her assertiveness, Lily was able to dig up rumors, even from fourteen years back. Rumors that led her to a small town perched near iron and copper mines in the lonely mountains. A wretched stone tower perched on a hill overlooking it.

    It was here that Lily learned the story leading up to her birth.

    Related to her by a friendly, and somewhat tipsy bartender, and an off-duty performer, Lily learned the story of Lucy, her mother, who had been seduced by a sinister man who had moved into the tower some twenty years ago when it was in better repair. When Lucy had vanished, the town rose up in a mob and stormed the tower. They recovered Lucy from within, but the man had gone, along with his possessions. Even so, they'd set fire to the cursed place, and returned Lucy to her parents. The poor girl, however, seemed in a daze, and she could not or would not come out of it. Though she ate and drank and did her daily routine, she did not speak, nor seem aware of where or who she was.

    Her pregnancy, when it became evident, sparked immediate controversy. Many townsfolk believed the baby should not live, as it was clearly a conception steeped in black magic and malignancy. Others contested that the baby be given a chance to demonstrate which side it walked on. In the end, it was Lucy that settled it. In the last month of her pregnancy, she again vanished...to reappear a few weeks later, exhausted and sick, but free of her child. Her fever had made her delerious, and she claimed the baby was stillborn. The following morning she was dead...hanged in her own room by the rafters. The door had been locked. On her bed was a note in her own hand reading simply, "I remember now. I remember everything. I'm sorry."

    Devastated by the news, Lily exploded in her temper, then collapsed into tears. She told the two men her story, and why she had sought her mother. Everything they'd told her seemed to confirm her worst fears. She was tainted, touched by darkness, and it seemed there was nothing she could do about it. The two men were taken aback, and more than a little afraid. They suggested that perhaps yes...that Lily's origin might have upset the balance of her soul...but that her actions could still have an impact.

    Lily seized on this idea with fervor. Yes. YES. So what if her powers were largely good for destruction? Did angels not bear swords and bows? If she destroyed only evil, then surely she could still be saved! Surely there could be redemption for her, if she worked to rid the world of the very darkness that coursed through her veins.

    And so she threw herself into her powers, developing them, bringing them forth. At the same time she studied various dark religions, faiths, and the cosmological planes associated with fiends. By understanding evil, she would become the perfect weapon against it. Finally, feeling she was ready, she decided to join the military at 18...two years after hearing the story of her parents, and finding her new path. She reasoned that the military could use her abilities well...and that she could use the training and experience it would offer in her coming battles.

    And so it came to pass that after one year in the service, during the darkest days of the Elf War, Lily found herself assigned to a ship in a desperate defense against a coming all out attack by the Elven Armada.

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