[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on November 17th, 2012, 8:30 am

Aidara wrote:I think one of the things that scares people off from playing bad guys is the idea that they are going to be killed off. People don't want to put that much effort into a character to lose it just because they are on the opposing side as everyone else.

A bad guy can be played just as well and survive just as well as the "good" guys if you think about it and play to your skills, but I don't think a lot of people are really willing to develop a bad buy, instead wanting them to start off on "Badass" status.

What I'm trying to say is I don't think bad guys necessarily have to be putting themselves in harms way at every turn like people seem to think they do, therefore increasing the chance that they'd be offed. Lots of bad guys use little minions and expendables to do all their evils.

Just my two cents. :)


You make a few good points there. I have always held that a good bad guy is one who doesn't think they are bad. They do bad things because they believe it as a means to a greater end. They don't go around exacting their will directly on others, they indeed use others to achieve this.

The fear of being offed by the good guys is a definite deterrent for players wanting to create "evil" characters however if they do it right, the good guys will never know who it is that is causing all the mayhem. This gives the bad guy time to build skills and become capable of fending off the good guys when they finally do come knocking.
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Wrenmae on November 17th, 2012, 11:07 pm

It has long been my goal to develop my PC into a respectable villain type. I'm hoping a few plans in the RQ work out so I can give him a cause as well, rather than making him a loose cannon with high hypnotism. I think a villain often needs motivation to pursue their tasks. True evil is rarely passive, but much like Gillar suggested in that it's about the drive that makes them 'villainous' characters. Imass, for example, fights for Syliras, for 'justice' but I doubt he would have any qualms killing those he views as adverse or contrary to that cause. Rayage will selfishly use those around him in his own quest to create life and transcend his limitations.

A villain, at least in the 'true' sense might be considered an agent of Rhysol or Krysus, but to them, their cause may be just as 'righteous' as an agent of Sylir. My eventual goal is to try and create a destabilizing agent, but really only as a precursor to deeper plot and character complications. Whether I reach that goal or not remains to be seen.

I appreciate the look into Krysus and I'd love to see some more blessed (or cursed) with her mark thoroughout the game.
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This PC has the Blight gnosis. As such, you as a player need to be aware of what that consists of. Wrenmae has an invisible aura that amplifies sickness and disease. Wounds may become infected, small sneezes may become coughing, and a slight fever may become more serious. A nuit's body will also break down faster in the presence of the Blight. These effects may not be immediate, but within the few days following your encounter, the symptoms will manifest. Some sooner than others. I cannot control your character, so creativity will be left up to you. Best wishes and stay healthy!

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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Tanjun Vorot on November 22nd, 2012, 2:53 pm

Well... I'm aiming for Tanjun to join the Mortanis at some point, but with how she is right now...... that's going to take a while.

She is, right now at least, a girl that is cruel, mad in the insane way and totally crazy. She loves torture, to her it's just playing. Causing pain and death is what interests her the most and that combined with a childish mentality, I don't think she would survive long if she would exist in RL.
She doesn't care one bit about anything, well except for a small bit of pride of being Ravokian.

At the moment I'm fleshing out the mental change, which got triggered by a letter informing her that her brother is most likely dead, which causes her brain to relapse back to her childhood. Everything she does during fall and the last part of summer will be hard for her to remember. She's forgotten almost completely about her brother, yet remembers that he's dead.

I'm not sure what Krysus would think about this girl. Somehow I can't envision it >.<
I do think that Tan would adore her IF she knew about her. A goddess who's realm is in causing pain and death? What more could she ask for? She would be Tan's idol.
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on August 23rd, 2013, 11:09 pm

I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that to everyone waiting for thread moderation/grading from me as well as price list additions help desk requests and business approvals, I am a bit overwhelmed right now. I am in the middle of twelve hour work days and am way behind on mizahar stuff to begin with. I will do my best to tackle the vast to-do list I have here this weekend but I won't be able to get it all done right away.

I will hit the help desk first, then businesses, then price list adds, then grading, then hopefully try to revive my sultros quest. That's the plan anyway. Sorry to everyone who is waiting on me. I'm not intentionaly ignoring anyone.

I will also be putting out a call for possible assistant storytellers to officialy help with sultros and Xy in the very near future for those of you wishing to get involved. Stay tuned.
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on January 19th, 2014, 9:38 am

It's been a long time since I last wrote a Creator's Insight post. This one is going to be on Ssena, Goddess of Fear. This Goddess came into being while hearing Goss talk about the work she was doing with the release of Ivak and the following Djed Storm of 512. I thought it would be cool if a servant of Rhysol somehow infiltrated Ivak's prison and tried to disrupt things a bit. This idea developed into The Voice, leader of the Black Sun and Alvina of Mental Disorders, primarily Megalomania, stealing some of the vast amounts of djed released during Ivak's escape and ascending to full divine status. I felt there was a severe lack of dark-aligned deities and Fear fit a number of other ideas I had.

I mentioned in the lore entry on the Zith that they actually saw the Valterrian itself as a divine being due to it being the cause of their creation. Seeing as how there have been countless generations of Zith since the Valterrian, the concept evolved into this shadowy figure claiming to be of divine origin that was quietly spreading their influence throughout a variety of Zith colonies. When I created Ssena, I thought it would be interesting to have her capitalize on the primitive superstition of the Zith and bring form to this shadowy rumor. Ssena fit the Zith and vice versa quite well. Holding domain over the concept of fear, Ssena seemed a natural choice for Zith to flock to as they themselves use fear in their hunts. The hunt itself is one of the most important concepts among the Zith thus it makes for a perfect vessel for worship.

Ssena is an enigma among the dark gods. None really associate with her due to the power she holds. Even Rhysol, one of the most powerful of the divine and Ssena's former lover and master, is too scared to associate with her. Ssena knows Rhysol better than anyone and with that comes knowledge of his fears. Krysus is the only one who may one day approach Ssena seeking alliance or at the very least, a truce. Their domains however often threaten each other so lines have already been drawn. Ssena's drive to spread fear can often lead mortals to kill or even cause pain and suffering. She doesn't particularly like this however. Ssena is more psychological in her approach. It's the unknown that does the most damage. An example I used some time back was a scene from the movie, Silence of the Lambs. In the scene, the main character is in a house that is completely dark with no light whatsoever. The main villain is stalking her while wearing night-vision goggles. The main character knows that someone is there with her but can't see him. The villain makes some noise and even gets right up to her where she can feel his presence but still can't see him while he can see her just fine. That fear of the unknown is greater than any fear one may gain from physical threat or harm.

This is why I normally turn down many initial Ssena's gnosis requests for Krivas since a good number of them involve using torture, pain and/or death to inspire fear. Those sorts of acts attract Krysus more.

Ssena is not really a newborn god for the most part. She has been an Alvina since right before the Valterrian and gained a good amount of power and influence through her service to Rhysol as his Voice. She is as old as Krysus as far as divinity goes although her introduction to true godhood is still quite new. She isn't as "bratty" and temperamental as Krysus. Ssena is cool, collected and calculating. She manipulates through fear those who she deems enemies. She doesn't, as of this post, have a champion. That isn't to say that one day she couldn't have a PC or NPC champion though.

Ssena is still highly influenced by her time spent with Rhysol. She was the mother of the Druvin, at least the current generation of them. She will likely try to recreate this strange relationship though I haven't thought all that out quite yet. Her time as the head of The Black Sun has taught her leadership to the extreme. She knows how to get people to do what she wants, with or without fear. The fear only makes her ever more dangerous a leader. Her knowledge of politics and religion is extreme to say the least which only adds to the fear many other deities feel of her.

Her ascension has created a void within The Black Sun. I am currently pondering a storyline for that involving Gru'tral, the head of the Ebonstryfe. It may end up turning into a quest for a handful of Ebonstryfe/Black Sun characters but I am still developing all of that.
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on January 19th, 2014, 10:59 am

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First, I would like to direct those interested to the above post that deals with a little insight into Ssena, Goddess of Fear.

However, the purpose of this particular post is different. I mentioned Krysus a bit in the previous post and have detailed her much further in a few posts further back in my scrapbook. Now I have approved a few Krysus gnosis marks but I am kind of left wondering if some of these characters don't quite understand the gnosis. So I guess I should touch on Vexation a bit more.

Vexation is both a gift and a curse depending on how those marked choose to think about it. For those who choose to indulge in the benefits, they have the ability to amplify another person's pain quite dramatically. As they gain more marks, they can not only amplify existing pain caused from existing wounds but they can also cause pain without having an existing wound. A third mark allows one to create a terrible little servant akin to a familiar though still quite different. The creature, a Vexling, is created from a murdered body. Finally, the Champion can cripple and kill with the lightest of touches.

The drawbacks of course are pretty severe however the power one gains over others from the mark's benefits combined with the cursed drawbacks, further push the marked character toward expanding Krysus' influence.

The drawbacks of Vexation are what I think most people requesting the mark don't quite understand. The drawbacks are progressive; they grow day by day until the effects are crippling and deadly.

The first mark exercises its cursed effects on the marked individual at the beginning of the day upon first waking. They feel a simple headache that doesn't go away. As the first day continues, their pain grows and spreads so that by the end of the day, they don't just have a headache but also violent chest pains. The second day brings shooting pains in the arms and legs that builds upon the headache and chest pains. These pains can be crippling at times and go beyond just being a bit uncomfortable. They are also hard to hide by the middle of the second day. The third day is rather icky in that the marked person's skin literally splits open in a number of places across the body. It is very painful and causes a lot of bleeding. This is in addition to the pain from the first two days. On the fourth day, the person cannot function. They can't do anything to relieve the pain and will die.

The more marks a person has, the quicker the process. So at two marks, the person will skip just having the headache and chest pains so on the first day they will begin immediately with a headache, chest and limb pains. Three marks start the first day with all of the pains as well as the splitting of flesh. Four marks and the person will die if they don't kill or cause pain every single day.

How does one combat this cursed side of Vexation? They cause pain or death to another sentient being. I emphasize ANOTHER SENTIENT BEING. Animals don't count and inflicting pain on one's self is only a band-aid.

They must cause pain to ANOTHER SENTIENT BEING. Doing this buys the marked person a single day in their own pain progression. So if on day one they cause pain to another, they can function normally for the rest of that day. The next day though, they will wake with pain until they cause pain in another yet again. If a day of causing pain to another is skipped, then their is a debt-of-days that must be paid. So on day two, if you haven't caused pain to another and finally do so, you will only reduce the pain back to what it was on day one with the headaches and chest pains. You would have to cause pain to two separate people on day two in order to reset the pain clock and be pain-free for that day. If you kill someone, you reset the clock completely as long as you are no more than 3 days into it. No matter how much you kill or cause pain though, you can't stop the clock, you can only reset it.

I view this whole process as eventually becoming something like a drug. You cause pain and kill to keep your own pain away while eventually enjoying the feeling you get from being painless.

Also, when I say causing pain to another sentient being, I don't mean a light slap on the face or a light punch to the shoulder. It's got to hurt, the person should definitely know that they just got hurt somehow. I see the marked individuals being involved in a lot of bar fights or even muggings and such just to keep the pain at bay.

Now, I mentioned being able to inflict pain on one's self as a band-aid. It's a flimsy band-aid at that. Causing self-pain does not serve Krysus and to her it's a form of cheating. She has the personality of a bratty, spoiled, teenage girl and cheating on her isn't taken lightly. About all causing self-pain will do is eventually (and relatively quickly) gain Krysus' unwanted attention. This sort of attention leads to one immediately losing their positive gnosis mark and gaining a negative one. The negative marks have all the bad stuff and none of the good stuff. As far as holding back the pain caused by the mark, hurting one's self would only lighten the mark's pain.

Day one of ONLY hurting one's self would leave them with just a headache. Day two would leave them with the headache, chest pains and maybe just a few arm pains. Day three finds the person with headaches, chest pains, limb pains and minor yet constant bleeding from the nose, perhaps the ears and maybe even some other orifices. Day four, they die.

So, as you can see, inflicting self-pain will only make the process slightly more tolerable but one still has to inflict pain on another sentient being in order to survive. One could still function pretty well on day two by inflicting self-pain but by day three, even though they aren't suffering from splitting skin and profuse bleeding, it's still quite difficult. The problem from all of this doesn't necessarily come from the personal pain. For marked individuals, they can SOMEWHAT tolerate the pain enough to keep functioning at least for the first two days. The problem comes from those around them. It is not easy to hide the severe chest pains and limb pains as it all spasms throughout the body off and on rather regularly throughout the day. When you reach day 3 and your bleeding all over the place from numerous deep open wounds, people will take notice. Even if your just bleeding from the nose constantly and coughing up blood throughout the day, people will wonder if your really sick or maybe diseased.

This presents a number of difficulties for the marked. Well, I guess it would be considered difficult assuming you haven't given yourself over to the mark yet. Long trips are virtually impossible for the marked unless they are traveling in a large group where there are numerous people to hurt over the course of the journey. Problem is, it is doubtful that too many people would tolerate getting beat up each day. Of course you could find someone willing to help you with your little issue. A friend, loved-one or even a slave; it could be anyone more-or-less willing to basically take your pain away by themselves being hurt.

One has to keep in mind their surroundings as they can provide benefits as well as major challenges. If your in a city, especially a larger one, you can probably find plenty of people to beat up or kill to keep the pain away and if done right, not get caught. If your in a smaller city or even a more isolated section of a larger city, you may have to be more careful since everyone tends to know everyone making it harder to stay on the down-low as it were. Traveling via boat for extended periods of time can be dangerous as the ship's crew will likely catch on real quick to what's going on and send your ass overboard. However, if you have a slave and slaves are tolerated on-board, this could make travel on a ship easier. Being in any isolated area makes things very difficult as your choices for combating the pain are limited.

So really, the drawbacks, physical and social, of having Vexation can be overcome in a number of ways, some more effective than others. For those who don't wish to embrace the mark and Krysus outright, they can inflict self-pain to reduce the effects of their gnosis pain to reduce yet not eliminate the pain or own a slave and use the slave basically as a punching bag. For those in the middle of the road of accepting the mark or even those who have accepted it, bar fights, muggings and of course using slaves are all ways of keeping the pain effectively at bay.

There are ways of getting out of Krysus' marks if one really wants to while still staying alive but I would say it would require another god getting involved and it would likely cause Krysus to send the Mortanis to hunt the person down. It's finding the right god who will listen for one but then somehow convincing them of helping that is not easy.

I just want everyone to know that you don't ask for Krysus marks unless you really want a challenging roleplay that could potentially harm the playing of your character. Sure, you can create a really deep, complicated character and have a lot of fun playing them but you could also end up having a character that turns sour, dies or gets killed because of their mark. It's all in the nature of what Krysus and Vexation is.
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on January 21st, 2014, 12:57 pm

Warning: Rant Forthcoming

So this weekend I decided to look up some of the various magic disciplines and gnosis marks in the Character Sheet forum to see what people were practicing, learning, acquiring, etc. For instance, I was looking up specific terms such as, Magecraft, Alchemy, Animation as well as Chaon, Vexation and such. While there were a some instances of really good threads that were easy to read (as in quality grammar and coherent thoughts), there were some that left me staring at the screen while saying to myself, "What the hell is this?"

I will elaborate a bit more on the "What the hell is this?" part. It's not typos or grammar that really bother me all that much. What I found in those searches that really grinds my gears are some of the post formats along with power-posting. First, I am not dissing on power-posting. If a character or two, with or without a storyteller, have the time, motivation and ideas to knock out 10 or 20 posts between them, I have respect and a small amount of envy for that. What pisses me off is when I see posts for things like magic or gnosis that are roughly 10 posts long, plus or minus a couple posts, with MAYBE 300-400 words average (and that is a 10 post thread done between two people not 10 posts for one person). These threads then get gnosis marks awarded and/or 5 points in a magic skill. My irritation goes a bit further than just this though.

In the threads I am speaking of, and I am not mentioning any specific threads or participants as there are many with no single instance being more or less irritating than another, the storyteller has often made 5 or 6 posts and the player character has made 5 or 6 posts. Now there is usually no problem at all with such a thing. However, if your posts as a player character are only 300-400 words with half of them being dialog and the other half having little to no content other than just telling what is going on rather than showing, YOU SHOULDN'T BE GETTING GNOSIS AWARDS!!!!!!!!!! I don't care how many marks the thread is for. Most of the Help Desk requests for a Starting Gnosis that I've seen are longer than some of these threads where people are trying to get one or two marks. A gnosis thread should have length and quality with both aspects increasing with the number of marks one is trying to attain. Now I'm not going to start laying down word and post requirements for such a thing because to be honest, I really shouldn't have to. It should be obvious that 5 or 6 posts from a player character for a gnosis mark is unacceptable. It's unacceptable for one mark, it's down right loathsome for two marks and I would likely retire immediately a character and storyteller who tried that with a third mark. Gaining gnosis marks should be a life-changing event for the character. It should take them to another level of development and play a very significant role in who they are and what they do. Gaining gnosis marks doesn't happen simply by sitting down for tea with a god and talking about the weather. Usually you have to do a favor for a god or do something significant enough that would gain a specific god's attention. Once you have that attention or do that favor, the act of doing in itself should rock the character's world. Gaining the mark should actually be the icing on the cake with the actual process taken to gain it being the most important part.

This brings me to magic. Maybe I'm a little biased but I think we have a damn good collection of magical disciplines here on Mizahar. They are pretty free in what they allow which let's the players really use their imaginations when developing their characters and moving them in the direction of a mage. That said, I think there should be a little work put into magic threads, ESPECIALLY if xp awards of 5 are being handed out. Magic isn't always easy to write, I get that. I struggle with it myself from time to time but I do try to explain the magic use in a way that those reading my posts and threads can comprehend what's going on. The key is to describe and show how the magic is being used not simply narrating the effects. I saw a lot of threads in my search where characters were awarded 5 xp in a magic disciplines yet as a reader, I was left having no idea what magic was even be used in the thread. I mean, if someone is having difficulty with writing magic, ask someone who has done it before for advice or suggestions instead of half-assing it.

Still on the topic of magic; this is more an observation than part of the rant, I noticed a large number of characters that had Magecraft in their Starting Package at Competent Level. I am indifferent to that but I found that most of these characters never did anything with the magic beyond picking it for their Starting Package. It just seems like any skill taken at L2 in a Starting Package should help define your character concept at least as a starting character.

Coming back around to the idea of power-posting. Several examples of power-posting that I found were to get skills that made little to no sense for the character. I mean, undead mages dual-wielding swords while sporting gnosis marks from Ionu and traveling all across the land (not a specific player character in mind just something that sounded absurd) with Master level in 3-5 skills and Expert level in another 3-5 around 400-500 posts (OOC and IC combined) seems off to me. Then at the end of some of the threads were other rewards that made no sense; they had nothing to do with the actual threads and seemed like they were just cool little hand-outs for the hell of it. !0 posts total between a character and storyteller slammed out over the course of a day or so for high rewards is bad enough but when done for skills that don't fit the character concept, it's just asinine.

Of course it may just be my style and personal preference clouding my vision in this. When I make a character I design it in steps. First I try to find a good set of images that best represent the appearance I'm going for. Then I decide on a general concept such as a mage, fighter, rogue or whatever. Next I come up with the general attitude and outlook. What motivates the character? Is the character religious? What are their prejudices, basically I go through the 100 Questions to help me understand exactly what concept I am going for. Then I pick starting skills, gnosis and gear that best fit my concept. When doing threads to develop the character and tell their stories, I keep the character concept in mind the entire time. Based on the concept (refined through 100 Questions), I decide how the character might act or react in any given situation. When trying to gain skills, I don't go for what looks cool, I go for what matches the concept. Of course I may modify my concept as I go to better fit some skills but the modification is never immediate. It usually happens in-character over the course of many threads. I digress.

It just feels like some player characters are all about the "Hey, that looks like a cool skill, I think I'll Master that before anyone else because I'm just like that." OR "I want to be seen as a badass that can do anything." The only result really is a collection of threads that are difficult to read and have little to no content or too much telling and not enough showing.

The next thing that irritates my rash is the use of those box-codes that indent text to an extreme level. While I understand they make viewing Mizahar on your phone easier, and many of them are really well-done and can add to a person's posts, their use in these power-posted threads seems like someone is trying to fool everyone else by making it appear as though they have posted a lot of words. The reader's eye sees the way the text is framed and it almost looks as though the writer has produced more words than they really have. A 400 word post looks like a 900 word post until you stop, look again and say, "Hey, wait a minute, this person got 5 points in this or that and only did maybe 2,000 words spread out over 4 or 5 posts and maybe tried the skill a couple of times total?" I've graded threads with 1,000 word posts, and not 400 word posts heavily indented to look bigger but actual 1,000 word posts plus some with content included. While that sort of word count is far from a general requirement for the majority of threads, I would have to say that when going for 5 point xp magic or gnosis, it should damn well be a guideline.

I know that grading isn't always easy and in many cases it can get overwhelming. It's impossible to provide a comprehensive grading guide that addresses every possible aspect of grading a thread. Everyone has their own methods and perception of what is deserving of whatever amount of XP and everyone has their own perception of what constitutes a solid, content-filled post and well built thread. I understand all that. That said though, I would hope that players and storytellers alike would look around a little bit and see what else has been done as far as gnosis and magic threads go. I don't mean just one or two threads either. There are so many good examples of threads where the characters and storytellers really came together and created great stories with appropriate rewards. Maybe I will try and come up with something added to the gnosis write-up that offers some examples of good threads and good rewards to help players and storytellers have a better idea.

I guess it could ultimately boil down to what people are looking for out of the game as well as individual playing and writing styles but that really shouldn't be an excuse for lack of thought and attention, cutting corners, power-gaming and abuse of the game structure. If your not one who is able to or willing to post 1,000+ word post - 10 post threads, there is nothing wrong with that. However, you shouldn't expect to get immense amounts of experience and great rewards without doing a larger number of maybe short but contentful posts and threads. If your doing short posts in short threads over the course of a very short amount of time, you shouldn't be able to use those to power-game your character to Master skill levels with fantastic item rewards and numerous gnosis marks.

I know there is a good number of you out there who put a hell of a lot into your characters, into your stories and into pretty much everything you do as a player character or as a storyteller and I commend you for that. I imagine there are a good number of you who also get unholy pissed when you put all that work into it and then you see others half-assing and skirting corners in order to get to the same place or higher because their buddies helped get them there. I've been taking notice of this more and more as I dig around and observe. That is why I put restrictions on books and on item awards. It may not fix the past but hopefully it will help level out the playing field in the future. I will also be looking at laying down more details and guidelines for a number of different aspects on the game to help player characters and storytellers alike gain a better understanding of things that may not, for one reason or another, already be clear.

Now, to close all this ranting up. If anyone is pissed at or feels offended by my comments, that's on you, not me. Nothing here is directed to anyone in particular as the various sources of my own butt-hurt include past and present characters and storytellers alike along with past and present posts and threads. I just want to put this all out there and get people to think about things. We all know this shit is going on and only we as members of the Mizahar Community can do something about it.

Now, for something a little lighter. Below is a picture I found on the net to help illustrate my idea of character concept. I usually sift through the net to find images that look cool and may inspire me for a character. So, the image below says to me an Eiyon, also known as one who follows Dira, Goddess of Death. The girl in this image strikes me as a character who is very comfortable with death. I see her as having befriended the crazy old woman on the edge of town who talks to ghosts. So this character probably would have picked up some spiritism early on. I see her as confident and fearless when it comes to death just as an Eiyon should be. Her parents may or may not still be alive but chances are she ran away or was forced away due to her unnatural connection with the dead. She probably had something bad happen to her as a young teenager; perhaps her boyfriend or even her father was kidnapped and taken for a host body for a nuit. The girl then devotes her life to finding the nuit who did this. That would give her the primary motivation for life which could also lead her to seeking out ghosts and other undead to aid in her quest. So there, I have my basic character concept all gained from looking at this picture and trying to relate elements of Mizahar to it.

Then I would say that based on the picture, this girl is something of a loner. A traveler and wanderer who relates better with ghosts than she does the living. She is human, probably 18-20 years old. I would give her Wilderness Survival of 26, Spiritism of 15, Armorer 15 and Unarmed Combat of 9 for starting skills. I would request a Dira gnosis for her as well. Starting equipment would include the basics as well as bone armor and survival gear.

I would use the 100 Questions to further iron out the concept for this character and go from there.

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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gossamer on January 21st, 2014, 6:52 pm

I enjoyed this rant enormously. One thing I'd like to point out that I think people misunderstand too is simply this:

If you HD Ticket request for permission to either try to get additional or initial gnosis marks or ask as an ST to be able to run them, THAT IS NOT PERMISSION FOR THE MARK. That is permission to ATTEMPT the mark. That means, sure, go for it, go run a thread that challenges folks and write your heart out for your mark. That doesn't mean sure, give the player a mark in a thread. See the difference there?

I once had a thread ran for me for my Stormwarden to get a second mark. The ST in the thread ran her through the cleaners to get it... but its still one of the coolest threads (besides the one she died in) I've ever got to play in.
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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows where the rivers flow.
And I call it home. And there's no more lies. And the darkness is light. And nobody cries. There's only butterflies."


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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Traverse on January 22nd, 2014, 5:00 pm

I also really enjoyed this rant. I remember when I started on Mizahar, I was absolutely bowled over by the awesome magic, but far too petrified to do anything with it, so my first PC was completely uninterested in it. I am now having the time of my life slowly building up magical use on a novice level on one of my PC's now, I can completely understand the desire to start at 30 SP in a magical discipline to skip over the initial getting used to it, but for me there's something much more fun making your character suffer through all the failures that can come with writing through the initial learning period of magic.

The image is also a super awesome one. I had a PC in Falyndar start as a Ghost with her face as the avatar I believe, but seeing the whole thing she also kind of looks like a Myrian Maledictress (is that a term? Probably not, haha).
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[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on October 12th, 2014, 4:27 am

Ravok Revisited


So, looking back on the creation of Ravok and on my initial insights on the city, I realized that I never spoke much on the actual social/cultural/political design of the city. While things have changed to varying degrees since Ravok's creation, some core concepts remain the same.

First, the part where all things begin and end, Rhysol. At the center of everything in Ravok is the God of Evil, the Defiler, the Betrayer, Rhysol. I see Ravok as a mortal extension of Rhysol's own divine realm. He resides in both simultaneously and his influence is felt throughout the city. In the time between the Valterrian and the Djed Storm of 512, then known as The Voice, now Ssena, Goddess of Fear, was the one who acted as central leader of the city as well as Rhysol's religion. During this time, Rhysol treated the city as his own little playhouse. You see, Rhysol is something of a trickster; not to be confused with Ionu, God of Illusion. Rhysol's tricks are far from harmless and are truly aweful at times. In Ravok, he can be anyone, anywhere at any time. The bum asleep on the side of the street, the merchant peddling his wares from a cart, the beautiful woman in the bar who catches your eye, they all could be Rhysol individually or all at once.

No prayer in Ravok goes unheard. The catch is, only Rhysol hears them. Whatever divine strength that can be gained from prayer, is taken by Rhysol and used to bolster him and only him. Because of this, it basically impossible for any other divine entity to gain any real foothold in Ravok for to pray to another God is to pray to Rhysol thus revealing the existence of possible traitors. That last part is key. Rhysol is the God of Betrayal, thus by committing acts of betrayal, deceit and whatnot, who do you think is benefiting said acts? This is why the whole idea of uprisings and such seems like a doomed venture to me.

Now, even though Rhysol is the supreme ruler of all that is Ravok, he doesn't see himself as a leader. He does not tend to the day to day management of the city or of his formalized religion. This is where The Voice and Gru'tral were important. The Voice led The Black Sun and served as the earthly vessel spreading Ravok's influence. She was his High Priestess, daughter and lover all in one. It was Rhysol who raised her to Alvina status and named her the head of his religion. The Voice was the balance to Rhysol's chaos. She brought order and discipline in a megalomaniacal way. She was a charismatic, beautiful and wholly brutal dictator who found a way to make the people love her and by extension, Rhysol.

The Voice realized centuries ago that if you give people relative safety, security and at least the illusion of prosperity, they become docile, ignorant and easily manipulated. By making Ravok seem like a paradise compared to the outside world, The Voice and through her, Rhysol, had easy access into the hearts and minds of the people. The overwhelming majority of Ravok, LOVE Rhysol. If any person or group exists in Rhysol and does not accept him as the beginning and end of the city and the people in it, it's because Rhysol allows such an element to exist solely for the sake of driving a bit of confusion and strife.

With the absence of The Voice and now Gru'tral, the latter having set off in search of a new Voice, where does this leave Ravok?

The Druvin, children of Rhysol and The Voice, control the city. Their are alliances and there are enemies however, in the end, they are all still family. The Voice's influence still binds them together while Rhysol's blood pits them against each other. Like their father though, their actions are subtle as is their control over the various aspects of the city. To the people of Ravok, the Druvin are religious figures worthy of respect and/or fear with a small few actually loved. Those who are influenced by the Druvin are those who run the day to day operations of the city. Wealthy merchants answer to the Druvin while also providing wealth and power. The merchants control the city economy and the competition they create among one another drives supply and demand.

City politics are also influenced by the Druvin. Laws used to be handed down by The Voice and Gru'tral and were enforced by The Ebonstryfe and the City Guard. Now, the Druvin, 10 in all, keep the city from falling apart. Rebellion is destroyed as soon as it is discovered. There is no mercy, no pause, no quarter. The Druvin are united on this above all things and any discovery of rebellion or rebellious acts will bring about swift and decisive responses which may include the release of a Dravlak. Silvas, Master of the Well of Madness, serves now as the head of the Black Sun and to some extent, the Ebonstryfe in Gru'tral's absence. He is quite possibly the most powerful Druvin alive now and through the use of The Well of Madness, he can monitor the darker, more twisted side of things in the city. Working with Silvas is Lazerin, head interrogator of the Ebonstryfe. The two have brought The Black Sun and the Ebonstryfe closer together and through the arms of both groups, make and enforce laws while also spreading the renewed word of Rhysol throughout the city. Lord Maathias, the Ebonknight, still commands the routine operations of the Ebonstryfe.

Below the Druvin are those who carry out their wishes. Most of these are members of The Black Sun and Ebonstryfe who serve in positions of power and influence. Advisers to powerful merchants, teachers at the Institute of Higher Learning, officials at the Center for Employment and Business Licensing, high ranking city guards, they all work for the Druvin.

I guess in short, the breakdown of power and influence goes like this:

1. Rhysol

2. Silvas/Lazerin

3. Lord Maathias

4. The other 7 Druvin

5. Ebonstryfe/Black Sun Members

6. Merchants/Law Enforcement/Education/City Guard/City Services Members

7. Average Citizen

8. Slaves

9. Outsiders

Moving on to what the city really FEELS like. As I mentioned before, Ravok is not a den of crime, chaos, villainy and discourse although this is the view many outsiders may have. On the surface, it functions like any other city. People live, work, play, pray, die and so on. Citizens, those officially recognized as such by the Ebonstryfe, can, at the very least, expect some amount of respect regardless of socioeconomic class, from the ruling parties of the city. That is to say they will not be made slaves and will receive full, unfettered protection on the part of the Ebonstryfe against any outside threat; including outsiders. Even slaves hold this protection against outsiders.

One may think there is fear and paranoia rampant in a city controlled by the likes of Rhysol and his Black Sun/Ebonstryfe. This however is not the case. Those who are loyal to Rhysol and/or at the very least, do not oppose him, are left alone and allowed to live their lives. The city is not one of anarchy like Sunberth. Gangs do not rule the streets. The streets, at least the well known, out-in-the-open ones, are safe to walk. Avoid the back alleys though. The people celebrate life and enjoy all the things Ravok has to offer. You see, from the moment the city was founded, it has been infused into the hearts and minds of the people that the outside world is dangerous, deadly and waiting to destroy any who step foot outside of the Ravok. This is why outsiders are feared and hated so much. This is why the people love Rhysol. The God goes so far as to even defy the forces of nature and keep the city in a constant climatic state. The Ebonstryfe keep the outside, outside.

Silvas and Lazerin hold citywide celebrations in the city center. Usually once per season, Silvas will address the people and proclaim something to celebrate. This includes a celebration of Rhysol, The Voice and of Gru'tral. All citizens are invited and food, clothing and various items needed for daily life are handed out for free by The Black Sun. There is dancing into the night and the Ebonstryfe holds near total domination of safety and security. The celebrations maintain morale and keep people happy. A happy population is a docile one.

Of course, the absence of Gru'tral and The Voice have caused terrible damage to the internal workings of the city. Without the Voice, Rhysol has become more unstable. He has gone so far as to (unknown to the public, not even the Druvin) begin experimenting on those in the city in innumerable ways for his own amusement. These experiments often involve introducing a completely unexpected act of betrayal just to see how people react or allowing a slave to somehow gain power over their master just to name a couple of examples. While these may seem small in scope, such things haven't been done to the citizens of Ravok with such frequency. Rhysol usually torments those in lands beyond Ravok. Ravok is less of a threat to the outside world than it used to be. The Druvin are less concerned about expanding Rhysol's influence beyond Ravok and are more considered about solidifying their own.

Beyond the internal political struggles, the people of Ravok still enjoy their art, fashion, religion and life. Ravok was one of the first cities to rise from the ashes of the Valterrian and the people take pride in that. They are patriotic and zealous, relishing the gifts life and their city has to offer because the outside world, to them, is literally hell.
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