Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tail and Talon: The Whole Sorry Affair (Part 1)

“The almost nonevent that was the Wandering War of is perhaps one of the finest examples of a conflict fought without any desire for territory. The conflict between the Roc Descendants and the Yuan-ti Enclaves was brought about purely by natural selection alone, the Lizards fed on the eggs of young birds, the Birds fed on the dyeing old lizards. Depending on you're point of view, both sides were either entirely justified In they're aggression or not at all.
Irrespective of the causes and effects of the conflict, and indeed the rather unique qualities of a war fought purely with the intent of exterminating the other side, that is not what I am writing to discuss today. The wars effect on military dogma and social community at the time will (and has) be discussed by many better social thinkers than myself. Rather, today I am writing about one particular event in the wars era, the assassination of the Yuan-ti high command, an event brought about only by the wars rather unique circumstances”
- Roma Drangasti – Tail and Talon: Non Territorial Conflict and Mercenary Warfare during the Wandering War


Being the first in hopefully many Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, the now named Tail and Talon was the first blooding of me and my friends at Dnd and indeed role playing in general. Getting the whole thing going was hard enough, and was brought to a sadly abrupt end. The First session was made up of three players (one being myself) and one DM, being the only one with experience in dnd, we thought him best for the role. Funny how things would turn out.

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“Jocasta Lacroix had already quite a reputation before her part in the Wandering War. Born a half-elf orphan in a small rural village, she left early in life due to the locals misgivings towards her promiscuity and rather aggressive attraction to members of her own gender. Shortly after she would join the Andovian city guard. Her career was reasonable enough, but eventually she found herself cast out after an incident involving a succubus and and erinyes infiltrating the city. Jocasta successfully managed to save the city by keeping the creatures occupied, but her methods used were considered high risk and as such her employment was terminated.
Shortly after, Jocasta entered mercenary work, where she honed most of her ranger skills (and a few other talents). Her employment mostly consisted of body guard work for princesses and priestesses, though her interest in said clients often earned her declined pay and a slap in the face (unless it was a good day), which soon led to her taking more colourful contracts, which would eventually lead her to fighting in the Andovian-Wardovian civil war. Shortly after the wars conclusion she disappeared for a time, only to show up a year later with tales of 'other worlds' (most likely she had been planewalking, but there are no known sources to confirm this), and soon returned to private military contracting.”
- Alysoun Mifflinburg – No Dykes to Watch Out For: Mercenaries on the Road Less Traveled


Jocasta started life as a wet dream with a sword and a shield, I won't deny that, but the fact that she became something far more interesting says more about role playing than it does about me. Jocasta was the first character I created for a computer RPG which wasn't just a representation of myself, and in a sense was my first real crack of playing a role rather than doing what I'd do if I were there. I made her an aggressive lesbian because I couldn't think of anything more strange than that in a tolken-esque fantasy world, and by and large, Neverwinter Nights 2 pretty much gave me the freedom to do just that. By the end of NWN2 and its expansion , which resulted in a heart wrenching conclusion, Jocasta had grown on me like an extra tooth. She was soon added to the crossover cosmology of fictional worlds within my own head, and ultimately not bringing her back for a full blown dnd campaign would have been both an injustice to her, and myself.


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“Of Trust (Surname: Unknown) little is concrete knowledge. Like most Tieflings she was an unregistered birth, and her sociopathic tendencies would indicate either the lack of known siblings or a bad experience with one in the past. Trust made her trade through pickpocketing and confidence trickery. Had she stuck in one place for long she may have found herself scouted for membership into a resident thieves guild, but as it was, her loner lifestyle led her from one city to another. Her streetwise knowledge and survival instincts would keep Trust alive long enough to leave the shadows and inadvertently enter the limelight. After a brief stint in Andavia prison Trust would be approached by notorious bedwrecker Jocasta Lacroix.
Jocasta no doubt as unofficial hearsay has taught us, had only one thing on her mind, but Trust stonewalled the half-elf's advances, instead negotiating a cut in Jocasta's mercenary work, and the two of them became partners of moderate success. When word came of the local lords of Winterhaven paying good rates for the return of salvaged artifacts, it was time for fate to come knocking on Trusts door, to prove that even demon blood can play a part in the preservation of international peace.”
- Ezio de Sirenze – Here We Stand: The Teifling Peoples Road to Acceptance


Trust was the second female in the group, created by my friend who has a rather twisted sense of wit. Trust would certainly come in useful in game terms, and my friend chose to play her as vindictively as possible, resorting to pickpocketing and stealing at every available opportunity, especially from his own group members, and many a game would dissolve into a mad dash for loot as Trust would always attempt to get the most valuable items available, then bluff that there was none, which led to the rest of us pouring skill points into countering bluff.
Naturally the way Jocasta was played made Trust an obvious target for her affections (nee: randyness), and every attempt to seduce her was made, but unfortunately to no avail. This was all made even funnier by the fact that Trust would often attempt to seduce various male characters to coax more money or information out of them, and as with Jocasta's attempts, this fell flat every time.

“A Stoic, quite sole, the inner mind of Azreal of the Order of Bahamut was a closely kept secret, even to himself. Living the holy life in the chapter house at Kamalot, his masters eagerly awaited the day Azrael would leave the confines of the quiet stone walls to seek glory in his gods name, proving his worth to the order. This would be a long time coming however, as Azreal's dedication to occupying the chapter house, was almost indomitable.
Eventually his masters chose to favor Azreal with a most sacred mission, to travel to the small town of Winterhaven to secure its holy relics and prevent them from falling into the hands of the unworthy. Azreal was sent on his way with only a great axe, longcoat and everburning cigar to his name. He was soon joined by two serfs, who aided him on his journey, but the gods smiled on Azreal, for they knew he was destined for greater things. History would follow its course, and Azreal would successfully lead the assassination that would end the Wandering War. Weather Azreal subtly manipulated events to lead to this most glorious act, or merely followed the hand of his god unquestionably, is an enigma that haunts many historians to this day.”
- Tomas of the order of Bahamut – Oh Shining Day!: The Exalted of Bahamut


Finally we were joined by Azreal, my friends paladin who was occupied by a model of Ursarkar Creed from Warhammer 40'000, which led to many running jokes involving his longcoat and cigars, which despite being a lawful good paladin, would turn out to be the characters only motivation. My friend was probably the least into role playing and the most into skull smashing, and thus there were few dimensions to Azrael. As such my friend also found the lawful good alignment somewhat restrictive when he always wanted to go for the violent option.
Despite all this, Azreal remains probably the most well rounded character between Jocasta and Trusts extreme personalities. Given time and perhaps a retool of the character, Azreal could have developed into a more complex soul, so future campaigns may see him continue the fight for the glory of tobacco

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Chapter 1
Livin' Lovin' Losin'


“Day 1143768 – As per usual the kobolts are causing trouble on the roads, being a mixed blessing as they're presence here helps convey the illusion that Winterhaven is the capital city of adventure. As per usual a bunch of adventurers stumbled into town with said illusion. Logged In: One Human Paladin, One Half-Elf Ranger, One Tiefling Rogue (John, these Tieflings are becoming more and more common, I'm not a judgmental man, but I swear if I see any more I'm going to have to start a toll gate). Upon entering the village the adventurers followed the usual routine, talk a bit about the keep, ask for some help etc. Half-Elf Ranger was incapacitated for the rest of the day from consuming dwarfish spirits. Logged Out: Half a Liter of Dwarvern Tallisker. The other two went around town trying to scrounge some info, usual scratch-my-back-scratch yours follows. That Elvish womans being stupidly cryptic again, I wish she'd stick to the program and not act like Lord bloody Soze. Also, what the hell is that Dwarf Bard doing here? Logged Out: Two Rooms, Standard Candles and Cleaning Costs
Day 1143769 – Tiefling tried to woo the Lord, Hilarious. Logged Out: 3 Standard Meals. Adventurers split off for more info. Locals feed them the usual kobolt problem line. Trio are particularly troublesome when it comes to this errand, demanding money up front, horses etc. Tiefling tries to woo stablemaster, hits her in the tail with a horse shoe, Hilarious. Logged Out: 3 Horses.”
- Winterhaven Logbook – Exhibit B in the People of Winterhaven vs The Freedom of Information Act, AKA The 'Chosen Ones Join Queue Here' Case


Our First session got to a decent enough start, with the DM using the stock campaign that came with the Dnd 4th ed starter set. I was the only one with a properly painted model, but we had plenty of old Warhammer models and online floorplans to keep us going. Also me and the DM were the only ones with dice, go figure. The DM was chosen as previously mentioned, because he was the most familiar with the game, and because he'd announced that his character would be represented by a pound coin otherwise. The first battle was a toughie, mainly because the DM misinterpreted the rules, making our rolls against the kobolts much less effective (If you think this is bad though, wait till you see what our other DM does later).
Shortly after in the tavern Jocasta fails a test to see if her boasting about being able to stomach alcohol was true or not. It wasn't. All in all I thought the DM was a bit harsh on me, especially since it was my first ever game, and rendered Jocasta unconscious for a full game day. Later on he also introduced us to both his own character and a female elf, both of which were wayyyy too cryptic, earning him a bit of a reputation by making every character sound like they have a hidden agenda. Also, Trust spent ages trying to coax the reward out of a side quest without doing it. In the end, Jocasta and Azreal voted to do the quest anyway, which is where our second session would start.

Continues Shortly...

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Hey, this is General-Ebonrose, the founder of DnDeviants on dA. I've only read halfway through this yet (I remember you wanting a link posted up in the blog to it). I highly doubt anyone besides me has actually clicked that link. I think it would be entertaining if you were to copy it, and post in the the DnDeviant's blog. I'm certain a lot more people would be interesting in reading it.