The Witcher RPG: Kassya – Witcher Backstory

Following on from my previous post “Getting into Character: The Witcher RPG”, here is the backstory for Kassya, my Gryphon School Witcher, and the baggage she is bringing to the game we are playing.

I found this email on Google, which helped me envision who Kassya was, just a bit rougher around the edges and with the traditional Wicher eyes. Kudos to the artist because it is badass and it really helped me.

I don’t remember a lot about my life, mostly because my childhood was a haze of trials, blood and alchemy. Then there are other parts which I choose to forget. I was born in Cidaris, the location of which I actively forget everyday of my life. My parents, those people whom I’d rather think dead are very much alive. It is thanks to them that my last few years have been peaceful, and relatively quiet. They take care of…my sister, Niezska…whom in truth is my secret, the one thing I must protect and ensure stays alive. That was simply not an option around me. You see, Niezska is a young girl, probably not so young now; it’s been a while. But despite her life being short, her fate and mine is one of danger.

I spent my youth in the Kaer Y Seren. It wasn’t my choice. None of this was. I’m not sure most people choose this life of darkness and emptiness, but for my parents his was the only means for survival. So I don’t blame them; but I do hate them for it. It was there where I trained as a witcher, and it was there where I met the most despicable human to ever live: Kaehl Wryn. I don’t know much about him, only that he hates my guts and will take any opportunity to destroy anyone he sees fit. I am surprised he did actually make it through the training. It’s like that little weasel had some agenda against everyone and everything in the school, like he thought he was better than the rest of us – he always seemed like an entitled brat whose parents probably considered a gift instead of a curse. And for some reason, his hatred found a perfect landing spot on me. I always did what I had to do. I survive, and I don’t brag about it. Life is unforgiving, and that’s something I already knew before I went to the Gryphon School. Kaehl clearly didn’t. And I hope it really stings when he eventually learns that lesson if he hasn’t already.

Continue reading “The Witcher RPG: Kassya – Witcher Backstory”

Getting into Character: The Witcher RPG

Hey guys! It has been a while since I have written a post, as lately I have been very focused on recording our podcasts and bringing interesting topics regarding geek culture to your ears rather than your eyes. But my writing flow is ready and back for you, so from now on, as we have reached our episode 20 benchmark, we shall be bringing you podcast and blog posts in a more balanced way. So today, to break the ice, I decided to share with you the back story for an RPG character that I literally started impersonating just yesterday. And the reason why I wanted to tell you about this is because this is really not the type of character I would play in an RPG so it has been a bit of a challenge though it has taught me a few things. So, I will share my thought on the subject with you and then leave you with the edgy backstory for my Witcher Kassya from the Gryphon School.

To Witcher or Not to Witcher; That is the Question

Being a Witcher was not my natural inclination and shouldn’t be a surprise for those of you who know me personally or have been following us for a while. I am not the kinda combat heavy player, and I tend to have characters with deep complex human emotions, ideals and wishes. I am a very emotional player: I feel my characters and so they feel too. Therefore, the prospect of an incredibly low empathy did intimidate me a little to begin with as I was making my character. I am not one to shy away from a challenge though, so I spent my time trying to fully understand who would Kassya be as a Witcher so I could come up with her back story. The book is good in the sense that it allows you to flesh out a lot of the background and life events and it is helpful to help you create a fully fleshed individual. Before deciding to be a Witcher, just rolling for my normal human details it was established that I was going to be of a nervous nature, indifferent to most people, but someone who valued honour. The dice also determined my parents were alive, I had a sibling who felt indifferent towards me but that I valued dearly and that there was a dark secret in the family that could bring its doom. In the process of trying to reconciliate this, I eventually decided to be a Witcher, and my fate was sealed: I was assigned to the Gryphon School which suits my play style better than Wolf or Bear may have, and my back story determined I was also given a child by Law of Surprise, as well as a rival Witcher. And suddenly Kassya made sense: no wonder she was so apathic and dulled inside. So, I tied all the knots together and you can see this in my back story (upcoming post).

Continue reading “Getting into Character: The Witcher RPG”

Manaburnt Podcast – Episode 15: RPG Character Death

Time for another podcast episode! This one is with James Campbell-Prager again, and our regular guest Mike Jarvis to talk about the death of the player character in RPGs! How cheerful!
You can listen through Spotify below, or find links for all other places to listen at anchor.fm/manaburnt

 

Coping With COVID19 With Love Nikki

So, no surprises here, the quarantine means that I have a lot of time in my hands. We have done several recordings for the podcast (yay), but I’ve also played a lot of video games. The Love Nikki Dress Up Queen Community has been very active through this entire ordeal and there have been many exciting challenges to do so I have been making lots of designs, and I’ve had to make space in my account so, I am posting up some pics from challenges I’ve completed – old and new.

A few of these come from the “Tag Challenge”, which involved doing a design with a tag that categorises clothing into a particular theme. Also, because I’m not just a basic designer (duh), I added little descriptions/titles/stories/concepts to the images to understand what was it that I was trying to create. So, here we go.

This one was from the “Chinese Classical” Tag. I called it Moonlight Serenade. It reminded me a bit of that melancholy moment in Wuxia films by the lake with a flute.

Continue reading “Coping With COVID19 With Love Nikki”

My Name is NPC#4 – Or Why You Should Give NPCs Actual Names

Just yesterday night, I returned to DMing the RPG Alex and I are working on, and that most of you would probably be aware of due to Alex’s magic with cartography and making pretty maps. Well, my post today will not have to do anything with this topic, but something I find that in RPGs is often taken for granted: NPCs. What would you actually do without your good friend Joe the Tavernier telling you that there are monsters attacking the caravans coming in and out of the settlement? Pretty much nothing. Although player interacting is – in my opinion – crucial for a good game, without the NPCs the DM would be 100% bored and the players most certainly lost. So today I am gonna dedicate the post to the many Joes and Daves you’ve encountered in many tales.

One thing that always fascinated me when I was little of the RPGs my parents played, was that my dad always had a quirky character waiting for something to happen in the story and mess up the party – I would love to say help out, but I probably don’t remember that well to confirm such thing….And the thing was that, although this was always my dad, these characters were never the same. Not one merchant was equal to another, nor where the Innkeepers always jolly or informative, neither were his villains always monsters. These were fully fleshed people with thoughts, emotions and agendas – the latter being perhaps the most important one. I believe this is how NPCs should be. The world your roam for your own personal reasons is full of other people, just because Jack didn’t turn up to play, it doesn’t mean that Kronk the Barbarian that you just helped out doesn’t get his 5 minutes of glory. Nevertheless, I find that a lot of people struggle making meaningful NPCs, and even worse, useful NPCs that help the story move forward and add to the narrative. Continue reading “My Name is NPC#4 – Or Why You Should Give NPCs Actual Names”

“Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Tunes & Lyrics to Get your Creative Juices Going

 

Have you ever been listening to some tunes and thought to yourself, “OME, this would make a great RPG plot/story line/character concept”? If you have then you know what this is going to be about – and if you haven’t, dudes, you need to get your musical mojo on because music is a great source of inspiration for all sorts of things! These are things I have been thinking about for some time, so, forgive me, but some of these ideas are a bit more developed than others. In any case, I hope you can see how they could work.

Oh, and prior warning, this includes, a fair amount of METAL! :8

Rhapsody of Fire – The Emerald Sword & Dawn of Victory

If you are in for some high-fantasy stuff, this is perfect. Both songs are really fast paced and they scream epicness. Starting with Dawn of Victory, I think it is pretty obvious but here is a lot of stuff for a very cool battle/fight.

Continue reading ““Wouldn’t That Song Just Make a Great RPG?” Tunes & Lyrics to Get your Creative Juices Going”

To Bard or Not to Bard? How to be The Cool Lute Kid

This is something that bothers me endlessly, and lately there has been a few conversations or situations where the topic has come up and I’ve really decided to put my foot down for once and for all. It is no surprise in the geek circles I move, bards always get all the crap thrown down their way – ALL the memes in the internet are about bards did or didn’t. Bards are useless characters. Bards can’t fight. They can’t think either, cause you know, apparently the only stat they know how to use is something charisma related and sometimes not even that. Bards are no good in social situations, they certainly are not made for politics, or war…God damn it, so What Are Bards Good For?! :0

Well, guess what?! The true answer is EverythingIF you know how to use them.

It all comes down with how people play games, and how many, many people choose to play bards cause they think it would be cool and adventurous…or that is what they tell their mates. In reality these people ain’t got a clue and would just try to see if they can get away with the rock star behaviour, cause that seems like a legit enough connection to reality. This is the way everyone’s idea of a bard in an RPG looks a bit like Assurancetourix (which for some bizarre reason in the UK is called Cacofonix?! missing the joke btw, cause in French the name sounds like assurance tout risque o assurance tous risques – an all risk cover on your insurance policy…But hey…).

Admit it: you are the kind of horrible human being that just laughed and thought of a friend because of the many, many times something like that has happened in-game. Well let me tell you, if that how you think this works, you don’t know how to rock n roll – which for sure means you immediately do not qualify for the job!

Continue reading “To Bard or Not to Bard? How to be The Cool Lute Kid”

“Armed for Battle”: a backstory for Brunihild for the One Ring

A while back you may have seen my character creation process for Brunihild for a game of the One Ring I did not get to play – yet. You can see the character creation here https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/brunihildtheonering/

As a very thorough player that I am, I cannot create a character without giving them a back story – does not feel right. How am I supposed to know who they are if I don’t tell others?! But this is no news – everyone knows I am the best bard in all of Krynn! (I will tell you about it one day). So this the background for Brunihild. I am a massive Tolkien fan, so I have tried to keep the story consistent, not only with One Ring dynamics, but so I would fit in within the general narrative sphere of Middle-earth:


Continue reading ““Armed for Battle”: a backstory for Brunihild for the One Ring”

Creating Brunihild for The One Ring – Brunihild Creada para el One Ring

So here is a character concept I developed for The One Ring game Alex was working on for an online forum, but that we didn’t really have the chance to go through with. However I very much enjoyed the proces and liked the type I came up with. Who knows, maybe I will get to play as her in the future:

Aquí os dejo un personaje para el  The One Ring, el juego de Cublicle 7 basado en la Tierra-media justo después del Hobbit y antes del Señor de los Anillos en la narrativa de Tolkien. Alex estaba desarrollando el juego para un foro online, aunque al final no pudo ser. Ha conseguido redirigir su campaña a esta narrativa tipo fan-ficción que escribe como si estuviese masteando la partida, pero bueno yo decidí seguir con el personaje, y bueno igual con un poco de suerte puedo usarla en un futuro próximo:

brunihild

I used the main books from The One Ring and the online character generator, which is extremly useful. Me limité a usar el libro de reglas original del The One Ring – aunque hay expansiones, tampoco quería complicarme mucho la vida ya que solo he jugado un par de veces – y este generador de personajes online que es muy útil:

http://azrapse.es/tor/sheet.html

This is really useful as well if you want to have a full discussion as a group about individual characters and how to link stories together – it saves the characters online and it allows you to chat amongst yourselves. Handy! Esta herramienta es genial si además quieres comentar una partida online o incluso jugarla si no tienes otros medios, porque te permite guardar ahí mismo los personajes de todos los jugadores e incluso sus fichas de trasfondo.

That’s all for character creation, but you can read her back story next. Y eso es el personaje creado. Su transfondo esta aqui – https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/backstorytheonering/

A Syren’s Call: Meet Cymoril, Daughter of Cacophony

This is Cymoril, my Daughter of Cacophony who I truly like. I have been playing Vampire the Masquerade for over 12 years now. I have played as every single playable clan. I have DMed/GMed in every single period, story-arch, multitude of different groups and dynamics. I have killed characters, I have made them suffer. But Cymoril is special. There is a narrative inside her that I like. I am not one for exploiting female attributes such as beauty and sex appeal with my characters – I’m hard-core, I kick ass, that’s what I do! But then I thought of giving myself a challenge.

The entire character has also been inspired by the art work of the amazing and undeniably good Maciej Kuciara. His character concepts for Showtime allowed me to understand the true nature of Cymoril. And this shows in her story – which I leave with you now:

My life is somewhat a lane of memories with twists and turns I will never be able to fully comprehend.

I do not remember my parents – sometimes I doubt I ever had any. The chasm of the 1920s spanned many on Earth, and some born to the ungrateful ended in cold crates awaiting someone to find them a home. Vague details of a hospice come to mind every so often…But all I can tell you is that my childhood didn’t matter much, except for the Jazz. Oh boy did I love hearing the bluesy notes coming out of the bars and cabarets of Quebec city center…I remember dancing around with the other girls while an old cranky witch would boss us around…I use to escape through the window quite often…Music was The Thing, if you follow me…When the war started, I entered the service – didn’t understand why all these people had to die and bleed…What was the point? Life seemed so short…I used to sing a lot while in duty, helping the typist at the office, making the coffee, cleaning, anything to earn a few dollars so the system would give me my independence and precious freedom away from the cranky house, with the cranky witch, in the middle of a currently infested with people old town; Quebec.

…And perhaps wishes come true. I took the habit of singing while feeding the ducks on my way back to the hospice. One evening, it was getting on, but I didn’t want to go…I kept on hearing things around me, I wasn’t feeling very well…Then I saw her. It was the 15/05/1950. I remember it because word in town was nothing but the conception of a rocket being able to fly to the moon as Dr. von Braun had announce on the papers the previous day…This woman, with her ruby-red curls, her polka-dotted dress and her bright crimson heels walking along the lakeside with 2 gents, like if they were her escorts. My sight followed her for a moment, while words of a song came to my mouth out of nowhere, some kind of swing, but with edge…

Next thing I remember the woman was inviting me into her car. She took me to a gig she was playing. She was a singer, you see, like we all are. She went back then by the name of Kassie. She roared on the stage full of soul and charm, she loved the limelight and everyone knew it, and everyone loved her. The chorister that accompanied her invited me to the backstage. Everyone was seriously mesmerized by her. How could one woman who I had never heard of before hold such power…? …The Siren signs and Ulysses gets lost at sea…That’s how. Before I realised, this woman turned to be not a woman at all, but a creature of the moonlight. She promised me another life, and afterlife before death. And the possibility of a song that would never end…No more hospice, no more cranky, noisy, grubby Quebec no more…So I took it.

Cassandra ‘K’ taught me all one can possibly ever know of the voice, of human psyche, desire, power, control, and otherworldly things. She said I would need them “for when you grow up”…Growing up…I’ll always be 21…And so, the showed carried on: we moved to the States, she went off to do some voice acting for Hollywood and I found myself in Beverly Hills…Too much glamour for my liking…And that soul, swing with edge captivated me…So here I am. It’s 1980, I am the lead singer of a post rock-grunge-drone band, and my name, is nothing but a memory…Twisted and lost, somewhere…In a lonely, quiet park, in Quebec old town…