Posts Tagged ‘Ready2Run’

Character Creation

February 13, 2017

I have been part of a gaming group for a while now. If you look to the right of this post, you should see the story archives and you can check out all of the tabletop roleplaying game characters I have made so far in various games. It is the nerdiest thing I have done which is saying a lot because I have attended Magfest and studied Star Trek starship blueprints. I really enjoy the camaraderie of making a story together. We have a great group full of funny and smart people and every session has great story twists. When I first started with them, I bit off more than I could chew with my first character. I created a face man character who would be a negotiator and while I can write that character, I found it hard to actual bring him to life. It was my trial by fire and I almost quit entirely because of it.

Pretty close to my disastrous first try at tabletop gaming.

Since then, I have created a soldier, a mechanic, a detective and a doctor. Lately, I have created a pretty vicious barbarian. I was thinking about my character creation process and I thought I would write a little about it because it is a really fun process. First, I read through the backstory and the setting of whatever campaign we are heading into. Everybody running a game so far has been really good about providing a good starting point for creating a character. Some of them were homebrewed and some of them were written by game companies but all of them provided all of the necessary background info. Plunging into a setting written by somebody else is really fun as I think of what position I want to take in it.

Both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar informed the movement and look of Bron in my mind.

For me, a character usually starts when some image sparks in my mind. Often, that image will give me the feeling of the character and maybe a mental movie. This is actually really similar to how my flash fiction on this site works. When I was reading the player’s handbook for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons, I was thinking about the origins of a half-orc barbarian. I thought about how tough it would be to grow up in a tribe where you were different from everybody else. I thought about how my character would have to fight every day to prove his physical superiority just to survive. That brought up the image in my head of Roman Reigns. A while back he had a catchphrase of “One vs. All” which really resonated with where I wanted the character to go. In his origin, Bron literally takes on several members of his former tribe alone without standing down. He will not give up especially when he has been enraged.

Sorry headphones user.

When I was filling out the alignment section of the character sheet, I got tripped up on the fact that orcs are inherently evil and half-orcs feel the call of the orc’s evil god in their blood. The phrase “I do what I want” popped into my head. I knew I would be joining a team of adventurers but my character had been nearly killed by the last team he had been a part of. I thought of Braun Strowman stating that instead of being on Team Raw, he was on Team Strowman. My character may be working alongside do-gooders but he is really looking for a good challenge. On any given day, he has bad intentions but those bad intentions are often focused on bad guys rather than good guys.

I turned this guy into an engineer and a drug addict. Fun!

Finally, it was time to figure out a name for the new character. For some reason, I got roundly mocked for naming my first tabletop gaming character Lionel which was the name of a guy I had known previously. My second character had the more generic name of James Garen. About that time, I participated in a forum version of D&D and created a character named Sabin which started a new tradition. Sabin was named after Chris Sabin, a veteran pro-wrestler (who got his stage name from the Final Fantast character). Phillip Brooks was named after the real name of CM Punk, a character who inspired his creation. Dean Wyatt was named after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, foreshadowing the character’s mental illness. Felix Graham is an exception as his name was created from a Harry Potter potion and the hero of the King’s Quest games. I returned to the tradition by naming my new Barbarian Bron.

I’m sure the party is going to get along well.

Of course, the final part of character creation is getting through the first session. As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” This is relevant both figuratively and literally for each character I have created. I can post character biographies or short stories on my blog all I want but at the end of the day, my character needs to integrate into the larger collaborative story. I left Bron’s origin open-ended because I was not sure how he would meet up with the heroes. When I arrived, the Dungeon Master gave me the idea that Bron was a bouncer at the tavern which was the starting point of the adventure. This subtly altered how I saw the character which sparked more ideas. In addition, Bron is now working alongside people who annoy the crap out of him. More than that, he is fighting alongside a cleric who actively hates him for what he is. Only time will tell if Bron will snap and actually fight with his so-called comrades or maybe he will grow to respect them somewhat.

Felix’ Epilogue

January 23, 2017

Felix carefully placed the jar on a shelf in his office and fastened the plastic display case over top of it. He wanted to make sure that it could never fall and break. It might be needed sometime in the future. It was not one of the enchanted ones. During his second adventure in Japan, Felix and his new friends had used a jar just like this one to trap a god. Felix had carried a back up enchanted jar just in case but Plan A had worked. Before departing for Columbia, Felix had traded the enchanted jar for one of the decoys as a souvenir. There it stood in his office but it could be enchanted just as the others had been and there were a lot of gods out there that could go rogue.

The adventure had certainly taken its toll. Before, Felix had only been on short missions that had not taken him far from Maryland. The first mission had caught him by surprise in Osaka and he had learned a lot from his cousin and her seasoned team of Legends. This latest mission had taken him around the world several times. Baltimore, North Carolina, Haiti, Ireland and finally Japan again of all places. Felix felt proud that he had constantly run into battle but to heal, not to hurt. He felt proud of stopping a zombie crisis in Haiti, animal poaching in North Carolina and rogue weather gods around the world. They had done a lot of good together and he hoped they would work together again.

They were not without their problems. He still wished he could have resolved Bartholomew’s problems especially. Bart was addicted to every drug known to man and probably a lot of drugs that were only available to the Aware community. Time and time again, he had wondered whether he was endangering Bartholomew’s health for the sake of the mission. After all, there was no time for an intervention was there? The truth was that Felix could only help the elf if he was receptive to it and the guy never hit rock bottom. In fact, he seemed to thrive on drugs. The end was coming and Felix felt he should visit the estate soon to check in on the rock star who had saved the world. Checking in on all his new friends would probably be a good idea anyway or at least the ones still in town.

There was a knock on the door and Felix was broken from his thoughts and brought back to Columbia, Maryland. “Come in!” He called out.

The door opened and Grace stood there and smiled. “I still can’t believe you are here. Welcome back, Doctor.”

“I can hardly believe it myself,” Felix said with a smile. “You held down the fort well. The place is still standing. In fact, it kind of looks even tidier than I remember it.”

“I try my best,” Grace said. She bowed her head in a gesture that clearly meant she was glad for the praise. “You have over three thousand messages, by the way.”

Felix’ heart skipped a beat. “That few, huh?”  It served him right,  thinking he could run a private practice and still go globe hopping to save the day.

“I’m kidding, boss,” Grace said with a smirk. “There are a few messages from family and a few recent issues but Dr. Henry covered things well.”

“I need to take him out to dinner. Probably several dinners,” Felix said.

“I’m sure he’s just happy to be retired again,” Grace said.

“At least until the next crisis. I’m afraid that’s a strong possibility,” Felix said.

“I’m proud to have a Legend as my boss. You know you have plenty of support around here.”

“I’m proud to be here,” Felix said. “Thanks, Grace.”

“You’re welcome, boss,” She said and went back to her reception area.

Felix leaned back at his little desk and hit the flashing button on his phone.

The voice that came from the phone belonged to his cousin May. “It was good to see you again, Lucky. Congratulations on saving the world and thanks for inviting us along. I’m sorry we couldn’t stay. We had our own little issue with Makoto turning into a dragon. Also, I wanted to kiss my daughter before she went to bed for the night. Your niece says hello, of course. You owe her a birthday party appearance coming up. We’ll make it easier and hold it halfway between where we’re each saving the world. Rest easy, Cous, because you might not get to rest for long.”

Felix knew it did not matter whether there was a thank you or a pat on the back or not but it was nice to have the camaraderie of his cousin and other experienced Legends. He would have liked to have a moment to talk to Jun in person but they had exchanged quite a few e-mails and phone calls since Osaka. Daisuke Inoki had been happy to see Felix again when Felix personally checked him out for injuries. Considering Felix had basically seen him come back from the dead, Felix had a feeling Daisuke would make it through the battle. You cannot keep the Lion of Osaka down for long. Everybody had checked out medically but Felix had recommended plenty of bed rest for everybody who could manage it. It was hard work being the doctor but Felix would not have given it up for the world.

Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 11

November 19, 2016

Felix Osaka

Felix, Makoto and Jun ran from the warehouse and out onto the street. A few of Daisuke’s troops were lying on the street, obviously injured. It looked to Felix like they were mostly stable but that was diagnosis at a glance. The dragon was lying on its side and was not moving. Then Felix’ eyes caught sight of a human body, lying on the pavement with smoke still coming off of it. There was a small crowd of Sentinels crowded around the body. Felix was already running in that direction when he heard Jun call out.

“Father!” Jun yelled as she started running as well.

Felix realized the man practically still burning on the streets of Osaka must be Daisuke Inoki. Thankfully two of his Sentinels grabbed Jun and held her back and let Felix past. The red cross on his bag was very helpful for making it clear that he was a doctor. Felix could see how bad it was now that he had gotten closer. He knelt down and started to check Daisuke out.

That was when the dragon started to move. Felix went to get up to try and protect his patient somehow, even as a human shield if it was necessary. Makoto was already moving toward the dragon. Before it could go anywhere, she drove her staff into its eye. Blood drenched Makoto and the dragon started moving again. She turned toward Felix.

“Heal him!” She barked at Felix.

Felix turned back to his patient and extended his willpower. He reached for the well of power where his healing came from. The well was dry.

“I have nothing left! I couldn’t carry any potions on the stupid plane, either. We need to get him to a medical facility so I can treat him!” Felix yelled at Makoto who nodded grimly.

“Arrange that!” She yelled at a nearby deputy who started running for their vehicle, pulling out their radio. “I fear he will not make it, Doctor.”

Felix was about to argue with that statement when Jun elbowed the two deputies holding onto her and rushed to her father’s side. She fell to her knees and embraced him with tears sliding quickly down her cheeks.

“Father!” She cried out again.

Felix kept checking his vital signs. “Jun, please. I need to work. If you don’t move he’ll die,” Felix said. It was necessary to hurt her to save the patient. At least, that’s how Felix felt at the moment and it was not a moment for second guessing.

Instead of moving, Jun started to glow softly. That soft blue light extended to Daisuke slowly. Felix recognized what that magic was. It was a deep, untapped well of healing magic. He blinked and checked vital signs again and noticed Daisuke’s heart beat was getting steadier. The burns were now healing quite quickly. He stood up and looked at Makoto in surprise.

“She’s healing him!” Felix said in surprise.

“The world is full of surprises,” Makoto said in her familiar flat tone but she had a small smile of relief on her face which was mirrored by Felix. Ren had helped May out of the warehouse and they were witnessing it as well. They were lit by the now pulsing blue glow of Jun’s healing light. Everybody was touched by it. Felix briefly pictured that part of his own story when he saved hiss sister.

* * *

So many things happened once Daisuke Inoki stood up again. The scene was cleaned up as everybody was moved to the hospital’s secret floor. Everybody seemed to be OK. Still, Felix found himself floating from room to room and checking on everybody. This is why Felix found Jun sitting alone in a waiting room.

“How are you doing, Jun? I find nobody asks the healer how they are,” Felix said as he entered the room.

“Everything is going to change now,” Jun said, looking down at her hands. “I have always worked to develop my father’s strength in myself. My father has so much strength to bring evil to its knees.”

“There are different kinds of strength, Jun. He was helpless before you brought him back from the brink. That is not weakness.” Felix said. He briefly wondered if Jun had thought he was weak.

“It is just that I have trained so much in martial arts,” Jun said. “I don’t know what to do.”

“That time was not wasted,” Felix said. “You know that martial arts teaches discipline and focus which are both things a magic user needs. Besides, nobody is telling you that you have thrown your last punch. I took oaths to do no harm which I take very literally. You may be a different kind of healer.”

“So what do you think my path forward is?” Jun asked. Felix felt that her humility and search for a new truth was a good sign.

“I can’t tell you what to do. I can only tell you what I would do. My cousin May is a great person to know in the area and Makoto’s little team could use a healer when I go home. If nothing else, I think May would be glad to lend an ear to you. I am also only a phone call or an e-mail away. Most importantly, I can see how much you value your father’s guidance. You need to talk to him,” Felix said.

“Yes. I believe there is wisdom in that. Do you think that I am a Legend now?” Jun asked.

“Do you think you are?” Felix asked. He knew the answer and, from her smile, he knew Jun knew it as well.

“Yes. Something my father never quite achieved,” Jun said with a satisfied smile. “I will make my family proud.”

“I think that is a good attitude to have. I think you’re going to do a great job,” Felix said. He had great faith in Jun. She had impressed him in such a short time. He had seen residents in hospitals with less nerve and way less fortitude.

“I have much to do,” Jun said. “Will I see you again before your vacation is over?” she asked as she stood. Felix got the message.

“Sure. We should all have dinner together before I leave. Your father is invited too.”

“I would like that. I will ask my father,” Jun said. She looked ready for what came next and Felix envied her for it. He held out his business card and Jun took it.

“See you later, Jun,” Felix said.

“I will see you again, Doctor Graham.”

“Call me Felix.”

“Felix,” she agreed and smiled.

Felix walked from the room and turned right and walked down the hall. Makoto was standing there with her arms folded. Behind her was May and Ren. May was wearing a big grin while Makoto and Ren were neutral as usual.

“The magical terrorists have been thwarted, Doctor. We found a lot of explosives in that warehouse that could have been used to hurt more people. We also found hostages that have been treated and released. We would not have been able to do this without you,” Makoto said.

“So, do you want to do some sightseeing now?” May asked.

(of this tale, Felix’ story continues in the current campaign I’m roleplaying in. I will probably write more stories as well)


Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 9

September 24, 2016

Felix Osaka

“Are you sure you tracked that thing here?” May asked as their car pulled onto a street far off of the beaten path. Felix had listened to May and Jun question Makoto the whole ride from the Sentinel station. Motoko had claimed that there had been some magical residue on the HVAC grate on the outside of the building. They had climbed into the car and left Daisuke and his Sentinel team behind.

“The trail is clear as day to one of my abilities,” Makoto said and Felix wondered what exactly those abilities were. It was the first time he had wondered what sphere Makoto belonged to.

“How much farther did this thing go?” May asked, still sounding a little skeptical.

“I believe the question you are looking for is ‘Are we there yet?'” Makoto asked with a sly smirk.

“Yeah, I guess so. Are we?” May asked.

In answer, Makoto got out of the car and started to walk down the street. They all climbed from the car and Felix looked up at the warehouse that was Makoto’s focus. Thankfully, the place was in a disused part of town so there was no traffic. Of course, no traffic could also be a good sign that some evil mojo was driving people away. Of course, Felix and the rest of the team had had to convince themselves that the people inside were not evil. Something mystical had possessed them, crawled inside their skin and did their best impression of a human being. Regardless, it was time to bring the Oni into custody one way or another.

“I half expected this mystery to end at Osaka Castle,” Felix said gently. He must have said it to fill the ominous silence.

“Don’t worry, Felix. We’ll take you there after this is all over. I promise.” May said with a smile and Ren nodded with a half smile that echoed hers.

“The tourist doctor. We will show you things that are not in your guide book,” Makoto said with what sounded like a slight chuckle.

“I would like that,” Felix said with a smile. He knew Makoto was probably making fun but he appreciated the sentiment.

“I’ll buy you all dinner if we can make this a happy ending,” Jun said quietly.

“Deal,” Makoto said.

Before the team could reach the building, a tall thin man stepped out of the building. He was not just tall for Japan, he was at least seven feet tall. Felix instinctively slipped behind everybody else and Makoto joined him. She let her stern face slip for a second and smiled reassuringly. The worry drained out of Felix and it was replaced with certainty. Somehow, this young girl was able to inspire undying loyalty. He smiled back and Makoto returned to the front line.

“State your business.” The mysterious tall man said. His voice seemed to reverberate up and down the street.

“We have come for the Oni. Come with us peacefully or come with us unconscious,” May called out with a thunderous voice and paused for effect before continuing. “or dead.” Everybody tensed as if ready for battle.

The man barely smiled, snake-like eyes darted from party member to party member with deliberate movements. There was a coldness behind those eyes. He was standing in front of a giant loading door. The door started to pulse in and out slowly as if the door was breathing. Then there was a mechanical sound as the door started to rise. Behind the man was a row of armed men and women who definitely looked like bespelled animal rights activists. Behind the Oni was a two-story tall dragon. Felix’ eyes went wide as he could feel the dragon’s breath on his face. He could also feel the cold, hard gazes of the Oni.

“I guess you are welcome to try, gaijin and friends.” The man said, his voice hissed inhumanly.

“They are not alone!” Daisuke Inoki called out. He had appeared from somewhere with a whole troop of his sentinel deputies.

“Father!” Jun called out in obvious relief.

Daisuke smiled fiercely. “Apologies, but it took us some time to catch up. I do not mean to insult you but it looks like you could use some help. How about we take the dragon and you take the Oni?”

“Agreed. We shall see whose team finishes first.” Makoto called out.

The man gestured and the dragon lunged out into the street. Felix and the team dodged out of the way. Daisuke and his crew eagerly began to engage the dragon. Felix followed the rest of Makoto’s team into the dim warehouse to take on the Oni.

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