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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Arcana Character Creation

I figured I've been working on this world long enough, and I finally came up with a system that should prevent me from getting too bogged down with posting, so I'm going to finally kick this off as a bit of a Christmas present to everyone.

I'm looking for an absolute minimum of 4 players - one for each Caste. The maximum I am willing to go is 8 players, with a maximum of two per Caste. If I somehow get more than 8, then those with the best character submissions will be the ones who get in the game. I'll let the signups go for a week or two, so people have a chance to work with me on their characters - you can PM me on the boards, or if needed contact me via Skype for a more in-depth discussion.

At the start of the game, you will be in a village named Tamlinsen on the far eastern borders of the Empire – close enough that you’ve seen the odd desert tribesman (easily recognized due to their bright, almost unnaturally blue eyes, unheard of in the Empire). You have heard rumors of war in the soft, night-time discussions of your parents, and have seen more and more airships flying overhead, always over to the east, always over the mountains. As you start out, you will effectively be youths born to your village, currently being trained according to your caste (determined at birth). By the beginning of the game, you will be just about to begin your Trial – where you confirm your caste and, in game terms, gain your first special ability. Effectively, this happens at 18 as a sort of coming of age ceremony. You have no idea what the Trial entails – you just know that most pass their Trial, and then never speak of it. Those that do not pass… well, they never come back. (Rather, they do, but you’re seen as casteless, leper outcast unclean, no one acknowledges your existence… you get the idea).

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Name: Your character’s name

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Gender: Male or Female

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Age: 18 (yes, you must be this age, no, no exceptions)

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Race: Human (yes, there are different races, but not in the Empire – it’s only just encountered sentient races, see History in the world info section)

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Destiny: What Major Arcana I drew for you, how you think it has impacted your character’s life

Flaw: What Major Arcana I drew for you, how you think it has impacted your character’s life.

You have two signs you are born under – these signs are always of the Major Arcana (I.e, Fool, the Magician, ect.). One sign is your Destiny, the other, your Flaw. These will have impact on how your character develops in the world, as well as how others view your character in the world if they know of them (which is seen as common knowledge in your village, but once you go out into the wider Empire few have the ability to just ‘see’ them). Furthermore, these do have implications in the game’s combat/ability learning system, which I’ll go into at a later point.

In this case, when you state your interest in the game via a post here in this thread, I will randomly draw two Arcana cards, one for Destiny and one for Flaw. I will post these on the board for you to reference – I suggest taking a look at the Wikipedia entries for the ones you draw, and think of how a person born under those signs may be treated, and what caste might be appropriate. For instance, someone born under the sign of the Fool for their Destiny/Flaw might have a tendency to rush headlong into things before really stopping to think about it, or may do things that may be very wise yet at the same time very foolish. Basically, take a look at the card meaning, both reversed and normal (there are plenty of sources in various places online), and write down how you think it might have impacted your character’s upbringing and choices in life.

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Caste: (Blades/Wands/Cups/Coins)/(Specialization – specialization reasoning/history/i.e why your character chose this specialization)

When you create your character, you must select a caste. This caste decides what type of character you are, and what abilities you may acquire farther down the line. Inside each caste is a specialization that you also choose. You are born into your caste, but it is considered up to you how you wish to explore the nature of that caste throughout your life – this is considered to be your specialization inside of the caste. Inside of each caste as it stands are two example types of specializations – however, if you have additional ideas for specializations, simply run it by me and we can see if we can come up with something. No abilities are set in stone right now, and you’ll get your first ‘special’ one at the end of the Trial. See Castes down in World Info for a bit more information.

Blades – Warriors and soldiers. Strength. Blades operate as the Empire’s guardians – their jobs are generally seen as protecting their local community as guardsmen. Some instead turn to monster hunting, while others join the Empire’s military. They are the Empire’s premier fighters.

Blades are trained in the use of all weapons, and are skilled in both close combat and long range fighting. They eventually may gain abilities further increasing this, becoming paragons of martial combat.

Two types: Melee vs. Ranged. (note, if you choose melee, you can still use a ranged weapon, just not as well – and vice versa).

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Wands – Farmers and Builders. Endurance. Wands (or Staves) serve the Empire by being the ones who build it – the blacksmiths, the farmers, the engineers, the hunters – it is upon their backs that the Empire survives. They are also the closest to the land, and in some cases it appears that the land awards them for their service.

Wands may choose one weapon (often either a weapon that functions also as a tool, such as a hammer or axe, or a ranged weapon such as a bow or a gun). Furthermore, they have the ability to create the machinery that the Empire has grown more and more reliant upon – a mad mix of technology and alchemy that works… most of the time. There are cases where certain members have drawn power from the land itself, granting them mastery over beasts or causing the very land itself to rise up against their enemies.

Two Types: Inventor vs. Druidism – creation/use of steampunk style tech with alchemy such as guns, airships, and warmachines – the so-called ‘ red magic’, vs. the use of druidic style ‘blue magic’ that pulls on the magic of nature itself, allowing for the taming of beasts/monsters and the use of the land.

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Cups – Clergy. Intelligence and Wisdom. Cups of the Empire are the mages and priests – those who guide, looking for signs and portents in the constellations above while utilizing their magic for those around them.

Cups rely upon the magic that they are born with. Mages draw from, and are reliant upon, the magic in the world around them – as they grow stronger, they can draw from bigger, larger sources of magic such as leylines and nodes. They are generally only trained in basic self-defense with a staff, as often enough their ability with magic is more than enough defense. Priests, in contrast, use the magic inherent in their own souls, using their own life force to heal and enhance themselves and their allies. While generally they stay away from armor and weaponry, there are rare cases where they follow a more martial route, such as the Knights of Heaven and other such organizations.

Example specializations: Mages using ‘black magic’, or Priests using ‘white magic’.

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Coins – Merchants and traders (and rogues). Dexterity and Charisma. Coins (or Pentacles) of the Empire are the merchant class – those who buy and sell the products that the Wands create, often travelling from town to town peddling their wares. Though not official, the caste of Coins is also the traditional caste for thieves and rogues.

Coins have two weapons at their disposal – a quick tongue and a hidden dagger. Only the caste of Coins knows flickspeak – a sign language often used for hidden deals. The best merchants can have a spirited bargaining session out loud while the real deal is being made with their hands. Of course, when speaking doesn’t work, sometimes stealth and a pointed edge is needed… but for your honest merchant, such a thing is seen as a last resort. Far better to trick and cheat, than to take by force.

Example specialization: Merchant, born with a silver tongue, vs. Rogue, who instead relies on stealth and a pointed edge.

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Character Description:

A physical description of your character, including hair/eye color, basic build, clothing/equipment you tend to use (kept within common sense for growing up in a relatively rural steampunk village), your character’s personality, ect. No weapon choice needed, as that’ll be given in game just before you set out for the Trial. This isn't just a physical description - go into how you think your character might react to things mentally and emotionally as well.

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Further Background:

Any additional background information you wish to add to your character, aside from what you have already noted with regards to Destiny/Flaw and why you chose your given specialization in your caste goes here. Keep in mind that I've deliberately left a pretty good amount of stuff about the Empire open to interpretation - if you want to try making up something about it of your own, just run it by me and I'll see what I think about it. Be creative.

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Character Sheet:

Name:

Gender:

Age: 18

Race: Human

Destiny:

Flaw:

Caste:

Character Description:

Further Background:


Last edited by Ruan on Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:34 pm 
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World Info

The Empire of Arcana:

The Major Arcana, rulers and councilors of the Empire – these offices are filled by normal people, but upon assumption of the office both lose their names and become more than human for the duration of their reign.

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The Magician: Patron of mages, he is in charge of monitoring the use of magic throughout the realm, ensuring that it is not being abused and, if necessary, hunting down those who abuse their power. In an office well known for its’ high turnover rate, the current holder of the office has held it the longest out of all of his predecessors.

The High Priestess: Patron of healers, she is in charge of the study of healing and medicine, and the use of magic to aid thereof. Though the current holder is young, she is extremely well respected by the people for her efforts in bringing healing to those who cannot afford it.

The Empress: The female half of the two titular rulers, she makes the ultimate decisions regarding the day to day life in the Empire. Seen as the more caring half, she tends to seek compromise between two parties and focuses on mediation. If a case makes it high enough, it first goes to her for counseling. Only if she judges it important enough does it go to the Emperor. The current holder is wise and well respected, though it is a common knowledge that she is notoriously vain about her beauty (which even she makes fun of at times).

The Emperor: The male half of the two titular rulers, he makes the decisions regarding the disposition of the military and the protection of the Empire. He is the one who makes all of the final decisions and shapes the course of the Empire. He is the ultimate source of all of the laws in the Empire. Stern and unforgiving, most avoid bringing him into any judgment if at all possible. He has recently put more and more effort into the development of the military, leading to speculation of war.

The Hierophant: Patron of scholars, it is the Hierophant who determines the course of study and invention – what technology is safe, what technology is dangerous, what should or should not be used, ect. Recent years have seen an advent of what might be called steampunk or magitech – this revolution of science and magic has left him a busy, busy man.

The Lovers: An office with both a man and a woman – always lovers, but never married. They are seen as something of a wild card in the politics of Arcana, but they are most known for being advocates for change. They most often are brought in to provide thoughts on such cases regarding love, marriage, and divorce.

The Chariot: An office in the military, particularly the wing devoted to attack and conquest. When the Emperor says, ‘I want to invade this place’, it is the Chariot who says ‘yes sir’ and organizes the campaign. The current holder is a well-known warrior, who has often been seen in the company of the Emperor – a fact that has only lent credence to rumors of war.

Strength: Another office in the military, in this case in charge of both discipline and defense. It is his primary duty to hold the Empire safe against all those who threaten it. He is often seen arguing with the Chariot, as they both tend toward opposite extremes of the military spectrum.

The Hermit: Patron of prophets and astrologers, those who contemplate the world and the stars around them. He is the foremost astrologer and prophet, and his cryptic advice may steer the course of the Empire for better or worse. He wanders the Empire, never staying in the same place twice. It is due to him that beggars and poor travelers are always treated well – one never knows when it might be the Hermit himself, simply needing a meal.

Wheel of Fortune: Not an office, but rather more of an entity outside of time itself. Members of the Empire believe in reincarnation. It is believed that each person must spend at least one lifetime in each caste, then serve as a member of Arcana, before they are allowed into the hallowed halls of their heaven. Therefore, people often speak of ‘the next turn of the Wheel’ when
speaking of hopes for their next life. It is considered bad luck to speculate what happened in your prior life.

Justice: Before any case reaches the Empress or Emperor, it must first pass before the eyes of Justice or any of her servants throughout the Empire. Each Eye of Justice – commonly known as an Eye – always a Blade – serves as both judge and, if necessary, executioner. If a case is deemed too important, it can be appealed upwards to Justice herself – the current holder is a woman known to be proud, but fair.

The Hanged Man: Patron of philosophers, he is rarely seen, preferring to stay in his mountain retreat as he contemplates the world. His followers, celibate monks, have monastic orders called throughout the Empire. They are followers of the Moon, dedicated to discovering the mysteries of the universe around them. See The Moon for more information.

Death: The holder of the office of Death is one of the most feared, and yet at the same time the most respected. She is the court of last resort for caste disputes, and she and she alone possesses the ability to change someone’s caste. However, it is very rare for her to do so, for the Wheel does not often make mistakes. To change one’s caste is to undertake a Trial for Death herself – most fail, and die in the trying.

Temperance: If Justice and her Eyes are the judges, prosecutors, and executioners, Temperance and her Scales (always a Cup) are those who defend the people in the courts of law. They ensure that any defendant, no matter how guilty, gets a fair and just trial.

The Devil: He is very little spoken of in the Empire, but he is the spymaster of the Empire. He is very rarely seen, but his fingers – a castelord suddenly changing his mind over night, an enemy of the Empire suddenly dying from poison at his dinner – are felt manipulating events throughout the Empire. It is he who does the dirty work. No one knows who he is, or what he looks like.

The Tower: Where the Tower goes, change follows like a whirlwind – he and he alone has the ability to overturn the Emperor’s laws at his whim. Few call upon him to champion their causes, for the holder of the Tower office is notoriously fickle, often causing just as much damage to those he helps as he does to those he means to harm. It is, for all intents and purposes, his job to see that the Empire does not fall to stagnation – therefore, he does all that is necessary to prevent it… even if it requires disaster, great change, or even revolution to do so.

The Star: The followers of the Star are less of an office and more of an ideal. The Empire is a firm believer in the power of astrology and portents, with every man or woman born under a specific series of signs that are believed to guide their life to their chosen destiny. It is the closest to a common ‘religion’ in the Empire, though there is nothing in the way of true worship.

The Moon: The followers of the Hanged Man are known also as the followers of the Moon. Not an office, but rather a concept that man can never truly understand the will of the heavens – therefore they follow the constancy of the moon as their guide. They often come in conflict with the followers of the Star, the general populace of the Empire, for they do not believe in destiny or signs or portents, but rather believe that through understanding oneself, one can understand the world and your place in it.

The Sun: The followers of the Sun are perhaps the most controversial of the four ‘religions’ of the Empire. The followers of the Sun believe in the divinity of the Arcana, and worship them as such, with the Emperor as the unwilling ‘head’ of their religion. While most in the Empire greatly respect the Arcana, they also know that despite the power of their offices that the Arcana are only human, and prone to make mistakes as anyone else. The followers of the Sun (often ironically called the Blind by followers of other religions) believe with all their soul that the Arcana are the ultimate source of power and authority on earth, and can do no wrong.

Judgement: All four religions agree on one thing – eventually, all are subject to Judgement. Eventually, as the souls of the Empire are processed through their lives in each caste (with some having to go through the same caste multiple times, having failed at it the first time through), there will come a time when the Wheel itself will stop, and all will be Judged based on their current state of their own souls. While there is always a crazy coot of a prophet saying that the end is nigh, it is commonly believed that if the Judgement does come, it won’t come in your lifetime, or even your child’s.

The World: The last of the four religions of the Empire, and probably the rarest seen, are the followers of the World. The followers of the World are most often seen in the caste of the Wands – those who work closest with the land who have eventually grown to worship the life of the land. Most followers of this religion tend to stay away from the cities and towns, instead living a life of harmony with the world around them. While seen as eccentric by normal folk, they are well tolerated and in many cases often used as guides in the wilderness areas less explored by the Empire. It is the followers of the World belief that the world herself guides them, and would guide all, if only they could listen to her call.

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The Castes:

As mentioned above in character creation, every person in the Empire (save for the Arcana themselves) are members of a particular caste – Blades, Wands, Cups, and Coins. Each caste is lead by Castelords, more commonly known as Kings, Queens, and Knights. The King is the primary Castelord, with the Queens as secondary and the Knights as tertiary. Any disputes between castes (or inside of the caste) are brought before these castelords and their followers before they reach any common court. The amount of authority one has in a given case is shown by the number of abilities they have been granted by their chosen Arcana Caste.

If a caste member wishes to formally change his or her current caste rank (having gained a new ability), he or she must undergo a fair Trial, chosen by the defender (considering that Death herself watches over these Trials like a hawk, they usually are very, very fair). These Trials range from duels (most often in the case of Blades), to contests of magic or invention, to pretty much anything that the defendant might come up with to prove his or her capability in the new rank. The higher the rank you have gained in your caste, the more power you have to order those below your caste rank around. For instance, if a One of Blades is ordered to do something by a Two of Blades, he does it (barring, of course, it being something unethical – at which time, the only source of recourse is taking the case to the castelords – generally a Knight in towns, a Queen in cities, and at the top, the King in the Imperial Capital). In the case of a castelord being unavailable, arbitration is done by the highest rank of the caste in the area.

After undergoing your first Trial at the start of the game, you will effectively been seen as a One of your caste.

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History:

As far as most people are concerned, the Empire always was, and always will be until Judgement. It lies on a continent fairly analogous to medieval Europe, with sea to the west and south, snowy wilds to the north, and mountainous desert to the east. In roughly the center of the Empire lies the Imperial City, the seat of power. There are major ports to the west and south, with other major cities often found based on river trade routes throughout the realm. The advent of airships and other such mechanika has resulted in towns sprouting up further and further in the wilds of the Empire, with it primarily expanding over the eastern mountains now that they can be safely travelled over. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the beginnings of conflict with the eastern tribes, who protest at this expansion. Similarly, the Empire has also been expanding across the southern sea to the continent to the south, where they have encountered a plethora of sentient races that have never been encountered before. Relations with these races are still tense, and it is rare to see one of these strange beings in the Empire proper – if anywhere, they are only found in the southern ports.

For the most part, travel along the main roads of the Empire is safe – the Blades generally keep brigands and monsters away from the roads. The farther out into the borderlands of the Empire you go, however the more wild and untamed the land is. Monsters abound in such land, and there where there are monsters there are those who hunt or tame them, even as the Empire slowly expands outward.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Location: What matter wounds? For each time he falls, he shall rise again and woe to the wicked!
Signups:

1. HimizujinEternia (Devil/Emperor) - Caste: Blade
2. Kajin (Hermit/Moon) - Caste: Coin
3. Salamander (Empress/Chariot) - Caste: Blade
4. SSJJared (Hierophant/Wheel of Fortune) - Caste: Wand
5. ThylordQ (Fool/Star) - Caste: ?
6. SSJ Bunbun (Lovers/Tower) - Caste: Cup
7.
8.

Anyone further interested just post here or contact me via Skype - I'll post up your Destiny/Flaw pairing.


Last edited by Ruan on Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:34 am, edited 5 times in total.
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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:24 pm 
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Got my Destiny/Flaw already, Devil/Emperor. I'm gonna make a Blade.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Caste is definitely gonna be Coin.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:41 am 
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Taking the first Wands Caste, already getting some wonderful ideas.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:00 am 
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Submitted my first pass at Valerie D'or, anti-authoritarian archer and daughter of a landowning nobleman.

Let's just say she doesn't like being a noblewoman.

Kya hahaha! Hate it!

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:55 am 
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Actually it seems Ferret has taken the Wands-Tech Caste... so I'm thinking of going Cups Priest instead. It's still a maybe, I'm mulling around ideas...

EDIT:: Scratch the maybe, I'm claiming Cups Priest. This is gonna rock.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:06 am 
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Here comes Karina! Please feel free to comment!

Character Sheet

Name: Karina

Gender: Female

Age: 18

Race: Human

Destiny: The Lovers
Harmony and union, choices to be made using intuition and not intellect. Difficult decisions to be made not necessarily about love. Some form of test and consideration about commitments. Abstract thought, internal harmony and union, second sight. Possibly a struggle between two paths.

Flaw: The Tower
Negativity. Restriction of desires and imprisonment. Less sever forms of the above. Drastic change that may rob the individual of freedom of expression. Sometimes bankruptcy and imprisonment. more usually imprisonment within a set of circumstances which cannot currently be altered. Sudden changes out of one's control.

Caste: Cups - Priest

Character Description:

Karina is cursed, from head to toe, her body putting off an aura of powerful white magic turned in upon itself to drain life from her surroundings and heal her own body in the process. As such, anyone near her unfiltered form will find themselves quickly dying as their flesh begins to rot like with a plague. Because of this, she is an outcast and shunned by her village, forced to live on the very outskirts of town nearest the desert.

Karina is dark skinned, with deep brown eyes and jet black hair; she is covered in pure white bandages that never seem to dirty, even when covered in blood they tend to wash clean like a plastic. Under the bandages is a set of twin serpent tattoos, one white and one black, that cover her entire body and run down her arms to a white head on her left hand and a black head on her right. The bandages cover everything but her eyes and hair, and her exposed eyes shows a black line over her left eye with a white line over her right; part of the bodies of the snakes.

Because of her curse, her growth is stunted and while she’s 18 she has the body of a 14-15 year old, tiny and underdeveloped. However, with the way her body absorbs life she has the physical strength of about 2-3 fully grown men and thus trained herself in self defense in the form of Hung Gar (see Earthbending Martial Art movements). To facilitate this style, she wears thick black bracers with white-silver rivets in them as weapons.

Further Background:

Karina’s story starts in the womb, when a Priest of her village blessed her mother by drawing the Arcana cards to predict the babies Destiny and Flaw, a tradition in the small border village on the desert where Karina was conceived. The news that she would be The Lover brought her parents great joy, albeit short lived as the next card drawn was The Tower. They begged the priest over and over to draw again, and each time it was the same – The Lover, The Tower. It was a pregnancy filled with speculation and fear, but otherwise the remaining month passed by without any odd events at all.

Until labor began.

The Clerics assigned to Karina’s mother never saw anything like the way the woman thrashed and screamed, begging for her pain to end. They thought her quite mad or that the drugs the magicks they cast on her for pain had an adverse effect. The Clerics learned quickly they were wrong as the mother let out one final blood curdling scream as her entire body seemed to shrivel like a prune, turning dark and withered.

As her mother’s body crumbled into dust around her, there lay Karina in the quickly rotting afterbirth crying and protesting her violent awakening into the world. A Cleric went to scoop the baby up and moments later dropped her back onto the ground, his hands covered in great boils and burns. He declared the baby a curse then and there and drew a dagger to destroy the abomination.

Her father grabbed the Cleric by the wrist and threw the entire crew out of his home, using cloth to pick up his daughter without being affected. The next few years, it is said, the man became a hermit of sorts – staying in his home with his cursed daughter and trying to care for her. It is told that each time he was seen after that he looked thinner, and sicker, and older. Nobody knew when it was exactly when he died, but one day Karina was found wandering the village looking for food. The withered man found as dust in clothing inside his home.

Karina was captured by rope and shackle, as nobody wished to go anywhere near her; even the animals and birds fled from her. They drug her back into her home and locked her inside, intent on letting the cursed child die. However, the longer Karina went without food or water, the stronger the aura around her became, eventually sickening the entire village and making it so anyone who entered the home began to wither and rot; it was only later she learned this was because her natural White Magic had been born into her inversely – she stole life from around herself to keep her body alive.

So she was fed, thrown scraps and nuts and garbage to sustain herself on. As she fed, her body regained its strength and the curse seemed to lessen around her. She became the villages secret, it’s curse, a blight on the townfolk. Nobody was allowed to speak with her, even tell her what her surname was or about her parents. She never even knew the town’s name.

One morning when she was 7 years old she woke up and expected breakfast; but nobody came. That night she had a great nightmare about rotting bodies and festering wounds, and she could swear she felt the pain of those around her. Hours later when nobody came, she ventured to the edge of her home and looked out of her cage – there she found her guard dead and withered, the keys in his hand. After becoming violently sick, she reached out and took the keys; opening her cage so she could confirm her worst fears. The entire little village had died overnight, withered and rotting – her curse in her nightmare had gone wild and out of control.

So she ran. She ran far, fast, into the desert where no snake would bite her and no scorpion would approach her. She ran and ran, letting her thirst take her, her hunger starve her, the cliff faces be a ramp into a plummet that should have ended her life but she always woke alive. She never knew how many times the sun rose and set on her, how many times she should have died but didn’t… she had no idea how powerful her curse must be to sustain her wrecked body, but even the occasional oasis she’d come across dried up and died before she could so much as set her eyes on it. One day she saw a great wide bulk gliding underneath the sand, either a mirage or too large to even take notice of her curse. She knew then how small she was in this world.

So she sat in the sand.

And she waited for a death that would never come.

And then? Someone did come.

But it wasn’t death.

It was an old man.

And old man with a staff was walking towards her one morning, no matter how much she screamed for him to stay away; he kept on walking right towards her, speaking to things she could not see. He must have been insane and would soon surely die if he got closer, but her legs would no longer carry her and all she could do was watch in horror until the old man withered and died… but he never did.

The old man walked up with eyes that seemed to see what she could not, speaking very oddly as if he wasn’t quite connected to reality. When he looked at her, he looked right through her… One eye was normal, but the other was replaced by some sort of steel ball that seemed to see her in ways she couldn’t possibly imagine… then he touched her face and didn’t die. He was totally unaffected by her curse; she fainted on the spot.

She woke sometime later, after dreaming of food and water and an odd heat on her flesh all over her body. When she fully came around she found herself in a cave with the old man sitting next to her, speaking to the air. What she could take away from his rambling is that she would survive and the power was now channeled, the conduits serpentine. She looked down at her body and found that a long set of tattoos had been grafted to her skin… two snakes, one white and one black, curling all over her body in a Celtic knot work style. The white snake flowed over her right eye and ended at a head on her left hand, the black snake flowed over her left eye and ended at a head on her right hand.

“Within the venom lay the cure.”

It was the only thing the old man ever told her directly, and his presence at that moment was so overwhelming that she fainted once again. When she woke this time, she found herself covered in white bandages, from the tips of her toes to her mouth, leaving only her eyes and hair exposed. She listened to the old man ramble again, learning that the bandages were a filter to her curse, stopping the life-stealing field around her from rampaging on its own. She was only in danger of doing so if her body was ever heavily damaged, or else her emotions were wildly out of control.

For years she stayed with the old man, listening intently as he spoke to the world around him… slowly, she began to understand his manner and learned how to use her absorption abilities to steal the wounds from others and let her own body heal them. She listened and she learned, channeling the energies into her body and making her strong, stronger than a fully grown man and getting stronger. She learned that as she grew in strength, her curse would grow in power as well but so would her control of it. She learned that, if she chose to fight her Arcana flaw, she could fulfill her destiny to be a great lover, a healer, and a savior. Her journey would be hard, riddled with fear and unreason, discrimination and pain; but if she kept on fighting she would eventually find her path.

It was the best time of her live with this odd old man in the cave; and for the first time she let herself be happy. The morning after she let down her guard, the old man was gone. Disappeared without a trace, not even clothing or dust left behind. Her despair returned with a vengeance and she fled the caves, running until she found a small little town called Tamlinsen. It was there she learned a few new things very quickly.

One; there had been survivors from her original village because rumors of what happened there had spread to this town.

Two; people quickly identified her, even with the bandages, as the Cursed Tower girl and she became an outcast among outcasts, even the casteless ignored her and drove her away.

Three; the strange old man’s training and techniques had been effective; she could walk among people without harming them – only if they touched her bare skin did the curse begin to drain their life-forces.

Four; people are very violent against what they fear, and through that she learned that her body was stronger than ever – taking arrows to the back, knifes to the throat, and rocks to the skull never did more than knock her out for a while; even the bandages repaired themselves and kept themselves clean.

So Karina found an abandoned old house near the edge of where the Casteless gathered and took it for herself, surviving day to day as a street urchin and a local legend which everyone avoided and children took dares running at the home and breaking windows, vandalizing it or even stepping inside to get a look at the wretched girl living within.

By the time she turned 14 she knew she would never grow into a full sized adult; the mal-nutrition over the years taking a toll even on her near-deathless body. Her lack of a monthly cycle most likely meant that she would be barren; just another cage on an already trapped body. At this point in her life she had nearly forgotten everything the old man taught her and gave into despair, even her sleep refusing to yield her rest as she was plagued by constant nightmares and when awake by the pain of those suffering around her; as her curse grew she began to empathically absorb pain as well.

Then something changed.

One night she woke, startled, her door hanging open with the sound of someone fleeing. Probably another child completing a dare and running away… it was after this night things in the Casteless area began to change. Someone was bringing them food; someone was bringing HER food. Someone was going way out of their way to ease the suffering of those around and to ease her suffering. For the first time since the old man someone was caring for her.

She tried to ignore it, tried to ignore this new feeling coming both from within her and from within the Casteless around her… but she couldn’t. At first she had no idea what it was, but soon some of the old man’s ramblings about The Lover came back to her and she realized that what she was feeling was joy. Joy for seeing life improve, joy for feeling cared for, joy for watching the world get a little better. She quickly became addicted and began to venture out into the town, looking for people who were experiencing joy.

Spying on others experiencing joy in life empathically became a drug of sorts for Karina; it was such an offset from the despair she normally felt in life. And knowing that every few days this mysterious boy, for she somehow felt it was a young boy, would care enough to bring her food made her experience joy as well. But it nowhere near enough… there was still too much suffering around her, too many people bound by fates they didn’t wish for or by being made Casteless. She knew all too well the pain of a fate she never asked to have.

Shortly after she began venturing out into the world, she came across a woman named Valerie D’or; that is, she found her bleeding with multiple bruises, a broken leg, and what appeared to be a deep knife wound in her side slumped against the wall in the alley of a local pub. For one moment she considered running to find help, but realized they would most likely pelt her with stones or worse. The old man taught her how to absorb damage and pain… and this girl would die if she did nothing. Her fear of her curse and wish not to feel anymore pain waged against her need to heal and her new addiction to joy…

“Within the venom lay the cure.”

Without another moment’s hesitation she placed her bandaged hands on the girls side and concentrated. She expected pain like she’d never known before as the knife wound sealed on the girl and ripped open in her side; as her leg broke and the girls knit and for each bruise erased a new welt rose on Karina’s body. She felt pain yes, but it was numbed by a wave of empathic relief and a surge of affection coming from the now conscious girl – a girl named Valerie D’or. Karina never knew healing and taking someone’s pain away could feel so good, and her body quickly dispatched of the damage done to itself in the process… faster than normal. Karina could not help but break into a smile.

A while of resting, introductions, and a short walk later Karina found herself in her very first pub (across town of course). Here she met Val’s friend Richter, who quickly forgot about the stories surrounding the little outcast when he learned that she saved Val’s life. Karina drank quietly, never telling her new friend that her body healed any of the drinks affects long before she could feel them. She sat and drank listened, all the while a shy smile sitting on her face.


Karina now had two friends, Val and Richter, and a still mysterious person who cared enough about her to sneak her food. Once again, Karina became happy. And once again, disaster struck the next night… the person who had beaten Val to near death found out that the cursed Tower girl had saved her and sought revenge; if it weren’t for Karina’s unique body she would have died many times that night at his hands. Val found her broken and bleeding in her squatters home and tried to bring her to a doctor, but at Karina’s request she instead brought food and waited as Karina’s cursed body healed the great damage done. It was that night Karina first explained to Val and Richter exactly what she was and what she had been through; to her great surprised they not only believed her, but stayed by her side.

The next day and through the following week, Val reprimanded Karina and demanded that she learn some self defense techniques. Karina had no wish to hurt anybody, but Val’s argument was always the same, “You’ve gotta stand up for yourself! Richter and I can’t be around to help you all the time!” It was this argument that weighed on her for many nights… for it inferred that they planned to stay with her. To really be her friends – so a week later she worked up the nerve to ask. They both looked at each other and laughed, “Of course we’re going to be your friends! Forever! We’re family now!”

Karina burst into tears and silently damned her curse for not allowing Val to hold her. That very night Karina made an oath to herself… that she would no longer be bound by her Curse. That she would break that mold and not only learn to control her powers, but eventually remove all the bandages and experience the real world with her real skin without killing anyone. And so, Val brought Karina to train with her older sister Jessica, who taught Karina the martial art of Hung Gar, a style based around footwork and strong forearm and fist strikes. Richter bought, through his connections, Karina a pair of riveted bracers that would serve both as a weapon and a way for her to not risk physical contact with the people she fought unless she needed to hit hard; for even through her bandages physical contact still drained life force away slowly.

Four years later Karina hasn’t grown too much, but her martial art style and her curse brings her great physical strength and her healing abilities have grown. She now seeks to take the Trial, both because Val and Richter intend to and because she wishes to further her studies in her curse and the power it grants her. She also still seeks the boy who has constantly fed her for the last few years of her life and thank him properly. No longer will she be trapped by her Destiny or her Flaw, no longer will she be bound by her curse, no longer will she allow herself to fear happiness. She is Karina, the Lover in the Tower.

And one way or the other, Karina will be free.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:30 am 
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Ssj Bunbun wrote:
the person who had beaten Val to near death found out that the cursed Tower girl had saved her and sought revenge; if it weren’t for Karina’s unique body she would have died many times that night at his hands. Val found her broken and bleeding in her squatters home and tried to bring her to a doctor, but at Karina’s request she instead brought food and waited as Karina’s cursed body healed the great damage done. It was that night Karina first explained to Val and Richter exactly what she was and what she had been through; to her great surprised they not only believed her, but stayed by her side.


Then, after Karina was tucked away and sleeping soundly... Richter and Valerie tracked down the asshole and did terrible things to him. Terrible things indeed...

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:45 am 
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Name: Mathias “Mat” Sauveterre

Gender: Male

Age: 18

Race: Human

Destiny: The Fool – Neither positive, nor negative, only unbridled potential; the cause behind all effects; the power behind all manifestations; the seeds of the end sown in every beginning. The Fool is not an arcana commonly born under, and as a result, it has had a tremendous amount of influence in the life of young Mat. Villagers look at him with reverence and fear, hoping for some great miracle, wary of some great disaster all to be brought about by his influence. Luck, it has been said to him many, many times, is on his side. Your actions, it has been said to him many, many times, will change the world. Your destiny, it has been said to him many, many times, is far greater than you could ever imagine.

It’s made Mat tired.

The constant praise, continued caution, and all of the attribution of his efforts and actions and choices to his arcana have put Mat in a state of complete and total apathy. People, places, things, ideas, actions, and duties: all of it seems so trivial when the end result is the same, “So like a Fool to take that course.” Not even the difference between good and bad can alter the outcome. And it has made Mat apathetic. However, he does not want to remain apathetic. He wishes to change this. To grow, and fix himself, and to remove these ideas that seem locked in the heads of the masses that a single aspect of you is the entirety of your being, that what amounts to the random drawing of cards can make a person unendingly happy or utterly miserable. Mat understands the hypocrisy of his actions, how very like a Fool it is to try and start such a thing, but so long as he’s the last Fool in existence, he’ll take advantage of whatever he’s got.

Flaw: The Star – Faith; Hope; Inspiration; A beacon of light to guide the lost through the darkness; The Star represents belief in one of its purest forms. But not all beliefs are pure, and not all actions that follow will serve the beliefs as well as one could hope. Mat is full of belief, very strong beliefs; beliefs that he is willing to change to world for. His thoughts and passions are so strong that he can often bring others to his side with his words and actions. His desires are so strong as to be almost hypnotic. But his apathy, and his desire to gain the end result leave much to be desired. People are oft to misinterpret what he says, and more often than that, he is prone to guiding others to perform acts that are not good and proper, and can ruin those involved, simply because the end result is something he believes to be right. Mat’s opinions on the arcana mean that he does not particularly focus on his darker star, and it has, can, and will lead down many dangerous roads.

Caste: Casteless.

Character Description: Mat is a tall boy, with a somewhat lithe build. One can see that due to the years of farming he has done with his family and the many chores that resulted from that, there is a firm set of muscles, and strength of body inherent, but it’s hidden behind limbs that still look too long for him. He’s fair of skin, with shortly cropped, messed silver-grey hair, and sunken eyes enhanced by dark bags underneath that reveals the lack of sleep he’s gotten over the recent years. Despite the somewhat gaunt appearance, his smiles are genuine, and he can light up a room when properly motivated, and the amount of energy coiled up in his body is incredible. It’s often hard to find him without his dark grey wool cloak buttoned up over a short sleeved white cotton shirt, and black, suspended slacks over work boots. A wood-chopping ax with a silver head is commonly slung on his left side. Mat has very strong opinions and openly despises the caste system. He dislikes arcana, and goes against the grain wherever he can. He knows how to pick his battles, and knows when it would better suit him to back down than aggravate someone, but if a person is being completely ostracized or defined by their arcana or caste, it drives Mat up a wall, and he stops thinking logically, and he begins to raise hell. Mat isn’t terribly smart, but he is charismatic, and knows how to formulate arguments, and while a majority of the time he shows extensive apathy towards all things, it’s clear that he’s trying to get over those particular feelings and actually experience real empathic feeling towards others.

Further Background: Mat has always been treated differently. His parents did not raise him as strict as his siblings, often encouraging Mat’s curiosity while his brother and sister were punished for their own. He was allowed to run free and stay out late. They held firm grip on him, but, they wanted to make sure he had room to follow whatever path his arcana may bring, or in the case of more negative actions, keep a safe distance so as to avoid fallout. The people of Tamlinsen treated Mat in a similar way, always watching for signs of good fortune and guarding themselves from the ill. Young Mat thought himself something of a god in this regard, thinking himself above the villagers for their reverence and fear. More than once he abused his privileges to bully some of the younger children in neighboring farms, and mock his siblings without punishment. Valerie D’Or became a frequent target after he made his way into Tamlinsen proper, because her reactions were always funny, and her behavior around her parents and the townsfolk were interesting in their own way. It was almost a reverse of the way the townsfolk treated him. But Mat still thought he was better than her, at the time. She was still limited by her arcana, and her expectations. But not Mat. Mat felt he could go anywhere, do anything, be whatever he wanted, because he was “The Fool” and that meant something special.

Mat’s father, Diodore, was a farmer who regularly did business with the Coins in the nearby town of Baen, in order to not only allow his farm to thrive, but to support the small inventions that Diodore liked to build in his spare time. Mat thought this could alleviate his boredom, and decided that he wanted to go with his father to Baen. After a long discussion, Mat was brought along with the warning to follow his father’s every command. When the two arrived in Baen, Diodore went into a shop to start a transaction, and Mat, following his father’s command to stay out of everyone’s way, and not bother his father during business, decided to explore the city.

Mat’s exploration led him to the slums, where the casteless made their homes, vainly growing meager scraps to eat using homemade tools, begging for coin from anyone who might pass by, and trying more than once to steal Mat’s own belongings. He was offended, at first, by all the people that tried to take his things. He was angry at them for being so mean, and smelly, and rude, and yelled at a few of them after one of them successfully snatched Mat’s coat. He tried in vain to take it back, but the casteless just ignored him, as though he wasn’t even there. Mat grew even more furious, and left the slums, but by this point, the sun was setting, and he didn’t know the way back to the store his father was staying at. He did however; manage to find the road that led back to Tamlinsen. With no other options in his mind, he set out into the night.

The trip took him a lot longer on foot than it had on cart, and Mat had trouble finding food and water. He was growing weak, and the heat nearly caused him to pass out multiple times. He was lucky that no bandits had made camp on the roadside, but in a stroke of ill fortune, no other souls passed by on the road, leaving Mat alone with his thoughts. After what seemed like an eternity to the young boy, he stumbled into the edge of the village.

Mat found himself at a small house, near the edge of the desert. Mat approached the cozy little home, finding it was empty. Starving and thirsty, Mat helped himself to what meager food and water was in the house, expecting whatever villager lived in it to find his actions bearable given Mat’s arcana, and situation, but something about the home spooked him, reminding him of the slums that had started this mess. When the door began to open as Mat was still in the house, he panicked, and hid underneath the solitary small bed. Mat was terrified, and worried about getting caught, but time passed, and nothing happened to the boy. Eventually, Mat fell asleep, waking up with a start in the middle of the night to find himself still trapped in the home, underneath the bed. Mat held his breath for a moment, trying to listen to the sounds around him, hoping that the people who lived there were asleep. Hearing the steady breathing of the home’s sleeping occupant, Mat slowly crawled out from his cover, and crept towards the door. Just as he was about to escape into the night and return home, a noise caught his attention, and he slowly turned around. The noise was coming from the bed he had been hiding under. Sobbing. It was quiet, and soft, but the sound was unmistakable, and as he looked at the source, he saw a bandaged girl about his age, with the saddest look on her sleeping face than he had seen on anyone before. Mat paused for a moment, before slowly opening the door and sneaking out to head back home.

When he arrived, Mat found himself simultaneously being scolded and hugged to death by his worried parents and siblings. Diodore had searched across the city for Mat, and when he stumbled across his coat in the gutters, Diodore had feared the worst. Questions were asked, and Mat was quiet for quite a long while. He thought about the casteless. He thought about the hunger and thirst he had from just a few days without sustenance. He thought about an eternity like that. Finally, Mat spoke, and asked about the people in the slums, and why they did what they did, and more importantly, who was that girl he had seen and why was she so sad? There was a long pause in the conversation, and Mat’s parents turned away, grave looks on their faces.

It was not even a minute later that Mat was banned from ever visiting anyone in Tamlinsen until his trial. It seems that his parents’ believed that Mat’s little journey had taken him a bit too far, and they did not like the ramifications of the event. Diodore took Mat headlong into the family caste, training him to be a Wand, Farmer, and Inventor like his father, while his mother, Collette, kept a close eye on him in the house, carefully watching what his siblings did around Mat, and trying to keep the extensive punishment fair to prevent rebellion on Mat’s part.

Mat, however, was merely starting to get ideas. He gathered ideas about the slums, and what it meant to be casteless from conversations he had picked up around town, but he was now starting to actually process the ideas. He was thinking about what made the people of Tamlinsen really tick, and why people treated each other the way they dd. Mat convinced his siblings to go out and spy on the girl if they could find her, every now and again, to see what he could find out. The result was usually the same. The girl was an outcast, none of the kids knew why and none of the adults would say why.

Eventually, the curiosity reached a breaking point, and Mat snuck out one night, and returned to the slums. After giving a tidy sum of money to a few of the casteless, he got the story of the girl born under the cursed Tower, and what that meant. Mat felt unpleasant. He asked for the stories, what brought them to where they were today. He asked about others not present, the dying or dead. He asked about other cities, other towns, the empire itself. Mat wanted knowledge. There was an entire world he had been unaware of, people who had literally been made “invisible” by the system they lived in. It made Mat physically ill. It made him think about those that were happy. How much of that happiness was earned? How much of it came from the toil of others, the suffering of the unseen or simple fate? How much of their happiness was just complacency for a system that had been around for too long?

Mat started to sneak out at night more often. He made friends with the casteless. He brought them food and gifts, whenever he could. He took special care to bring extra for the Tower girl, as the casteless never seemed to run out of gruesome stories about her mistreatment. And all the while, a plan was building in Mat’s head. A plan to make things right, to end the ignorance, hatred, fear, and complacency. If Mat was going to be a Star guided Fool, then it would be on his terms. He would be the last.

Mat would end the Empire, and the caste system with it.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:57 am 
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Kajin wrote:
Ssj Bunbun wrote:
the person who had beaten Val to near death found out that the cursed Tower girl had saved her and sought revenge; if it weren’t for Karina’s unique body she would have died many times that night at his hands. Val found her broken and bleeding in her squatters home and tried to bring her to a doctor, but at Karina’s request she instead brought food and waited as Karina’s cursed body healed the great damage done. It was that night Karina first explained to Val and Richter exactly what she was and what she had been through; to her great surprised they not only believed her, but stayed by her side.


Then, after Karina was tucked away and sleeping soundly... Richter and Valerie tracked down the asshole and did terrible things to him. Terrible things indeed...


We're probably gonna have to write that story aren't we.

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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Location: Praise be to the sticky elastic bands of the Healing Gauze
[Name]
Richter Vanguard

[Gender]
Male

[Age]
18. Totally, completely, and irrevocably 18.

[Race]
Human

[Destiny]
The Hermit

[Flaw]
The Moon

[Caste]
Coin

[Character Description]
Richter is a Merchant Prince from an upper class family of traders. The youngest sibling out of seven brothers and sisters, Richter is a black sheep. The family outcast. He who shall not be mentioned at fancy dinner parties. When he was young, his parents sent him off to the village of Tamlinsen to live with one of the family's trader employees. No one knows the exact reasons why, but rumor has it the family doesn't want his unfortunate habit of mucking with the destiny of those around him to ruin their good fortunes.

Richter's shoulder length, shining blonde hair and piercing emerald green eyes are a sharp contrast to the dull colors he tends to dress himself in. From his cotton vest, to long sleeve shirt and dark but otherwise unremarkable leather boots, you would think that he came from a poor background were it not for the ornate scarf he wears around his neck. Silk and as black as the darkest of night sky, the scarf is embroidered with the designs of the moon in all its forms, from the fullest to the newest and all the phases of crescent in between. An obvious amount of care went in to its making, as anyone who knows Richter also knows he's always had it, yet it shows no stains nor signs of wear and tear over the course of its eighteen years in this world.

Further Background:
A member of the Coin Caste, from a lineage of Coin Castes dating all the way back as far as the family history can be traced. Though raised by a meager peddler, his family tends to send him an allowance of spending money so he'll never want for anything. He tends to use this allowance for gambling. And sometimes gambling and drinking, to mix things up. Though this is a foolish sort of way to spend one's money for most people, it usually tends to work out for Richter as he's a pretty good hand at cards and other forms of betting. A roguish sort with a swift tongue and a sharp wit, Richter is not above the occasional night of drunken shenanigans and debauchery.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:32 am 
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Got most of the characters in, and I want to get started. Those who have not submitted a character have until Sunday of this week to get the character in. If you don't get your character in by, there's no joining late - do not pass go, do not collect $200, you won't be in the game, period. Nearly two weeks is more than enough time for someone to create a character.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:58 pm 
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Location: The ultimate evil, with hot and cold running water!
Name: Leo Cadnivi

Male

Age: 18

Race: Human

Destiny: Hierophant: Leo has an inquisitive, stubborn mind. When early in his life he was tapped to join the Wand Caste, it seemed like a natural fit. And yet, that isnt truly what hi destiny seems to suggest. Leo bristles under the training his life has consisted of so far, learning the trades of craftwork and invention. He represents, to the surprise of those who hear his sign, the reversal of the Hierophant, the refusal of the status quo and the disruption of tradition. Also, don't let him tinker with your stove.

Flaw: Fortune. He's unlucky. Hes random. And his experimets have a 15% explosion rate. Fate always seems to have a kick in the head for poor Leo.

Caste: Wand - Inventor

Character Description: Leo's hair is a dark red, but the shortened tips are always burnt black. He is of medium build, with his arms slightly more developed than the rest of him. His skin is a dusky hue, and often smudged with grease or smoke. He has taken to a tendency of wearing goggles at all time, so as to protect his eyes. He wears a leather apron over a short white tunic and grey pants, and rarely changes his outfit even when hes not working. He is very sharp, but a bit spacy, and prone to strange ideas. But his temper is short as well.

Further Background: It seemed kismet. A child born under the sign of learning, who would then enter the caste of the Wand and learn the trades of technology. Everyone agreed that it was clearly the right choice. His parents. His village. Apparently the Cycle itself.

Everyone, but Leo. Although smart, he never had patience for learning and building, instead having a mind towards more athletic pursuits. Studying was something that other people did, he felt when young.

Indeed, if one were to compare his mind to that of others similar to him, Leo had the mental tools to much more easily succeed as a warrior, a joy in physical activity. For the longest time in his schooling, he suffered from lack of focus, and high expectations on him being subverted.

But for some reason, he never despaired. He kept going slowly, in defiance. When even his parents would whisper to each other that perhaps his path was muddied, he only got angrier, and more stubborn. He learned how, through reading, to best take in knowledge. While others apprenticing in his school learned the theories and techniques of the teachers, Leo instead learned the ideas that were written in book after book. While others worked to copy the prowess of their betters, Leo worked to create his own ideas.

And it paid off. Despite criticism over too much focus on weapon or dangerous looking tools, and an unfortunate string of bad luck that gave him the nickname Gremlin, Leo emerged slowly but surely as an expert. Able to create, at his age, items that were ever imagined. Not because they were too difficult. But because he had never learned that they weren't the sort of thing to make.

His teachers despair at his ability to disrupt things, whether by showing them up in some small way, or by having the classroom start on fire ad spew green smoke for the third time this month. "I swear it didn't do that in the model."

The mind too stubborn to give up on a fate that perhaps was never meant to be his, Leo stands poised for great things. Assuming he survives that chemistry experiment hes got planned for this afternoon.

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