"The peals of the bells marked the first moment most of us knew that there was something wrong. It's not as though we ever saw any of the Tran, unless some second son felt like slumming at the market rather than sending his servants. A massive city in a massive empire, all dedicated to the glory of a clan of dwarves who never left their walled sanctuary. An empire of the dwarves...heh...an empire whose army was almost entirely comprised of races they'd made slaves. I sometimes think the dwarves took the surface just to see if they could; most of the cities, and most of the empire, are still down in those tunnels and we're just living in a tumor. An abscess swimming with puss and desperation, surrounded by furry, clawed parasites who sold themselves to monsters thousands of years ago.
I don't know how those furry parasites got into the Tran sanctuary; how they managed to penetrate the vaunted walls of this city, and then the guards, and then the Tran walls. I have no idea how they found their way into warded houses, what allowed them to enter the city in numbers sufficient to paint the walls of mansions and palaces with sweet, crimson Tran blood. I wish I did know, as I'd love to clasp the arm of whomever made it possible. In one afternoon they broke the Tran's back. In one afternoon they killed off an entire dynasty...at least here, in this city. Even better, the death of the Tran sent most of the other dwarves--anyone important, at least--scurrying into the tunnels. They said it was to debate who should lead, but I think it was for safety.
So that just left...everyone else. Of course, the city guard wasted no time in restoring "order," if you want to call pacification by the spear and due process through incarceration order. They rounded up every cant-eye, hornbrow, tail-dragger, scaled rat, and anything else in the city that didn't have ears like a dog and eyes that glow in the dark. They said it was for the preservation of order, they said that the strangers could be part of whatever killed off the Tran. After that, when they started plucking dwarves, and hardworking goblins, and even hobbo soldiers who questioned their orders after spitting a few too many old ladies...well, that's when people stopped asking questions. Besides, by then it was clear that we weren't going anywhere...the beasts outside the walls have never appeared in numbers this great, in all of recorded history.
Of course, the bells never needed to ring four times before either.
Between then and now it was the same tired old story...people killing each other, taking sides. Some of the army split off, declared themselves loyal to the Tran and its ideals. Far more joined up with the gray-skinned mindbenders, excited to push dwarves around and finally get a look at whatever the Tran were hiding in their little neighborhood. There's just the little matter of clearing out all of the beastmen who still infest that area, but the peacekeepers assure everyone it's just a minor setback, soon to be resolved.
And, of course, there are those like me. Those who refused to bow to our new overlords or beg the old ones to return. We saw a chance for freedom, and we rose up to take it. Sure, we're outnumbered. Sure, we have no shortage of enemies and no surfeit of allies. But if there's one thing we do have...it's heart. And by my grandmother's withered hand, which patted me with such loving care when I was young, our heart is all we need!"
-Eyepeeler, Goblin Shaman, monologuing at the severed head of a fourteen-year old dwarven girl while he happily gnaws on her femur in the smoldering wreckage of her family home.
Read This Part: Something very, very important that I’ve decided to trot out for this game is how I want to handle player applications. Many DMs only ask for a background when selecting applications- I’m not one of them. I obviously want you to produce your background, character description, and so forth, and I do place a high premium on excellent writing and a gripping story. However, I also want a character sheet, created in the format I displayed above. I don't have the Character Builder (I run a Mac) so a printout from that doesn't actually tell me much.
But here’s the thing: The character information regarding
Basically, your character sheet
Role, Class, and Stats should all be private, for my eyes only--everything else should be put on display for your fellow applicants to see. I don’t like the metagame that is starting to develop in 4e, where players look at a list of applicants, grok that there aren’t any leaders in the group, and then throw together a desultory Warlord in hopes of increasing their chances of making the cut. I think it often leads to players who are either working outside of their strengths, their interests, or their inspiration.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to take an all-striker party over a party that has, you know, healing. I’d still like to see a balanced group and I know we’ll need to have the major roles represented. However, I want to get there organically.
Does this mean you can’t mention something class-specific in your character vignette? Of course not. If your warlock grows fat on the souls of the slain and you give me a combat piece, I have absolutely no objections to you depicting his ripping a screaming specter out of a Despot Goblin as three of its partners try to bring you in. But then again, if it were me writing that story I might very well be playing a Seeker who unleashes the goblin’s spirit to torment his friends, or a Battlemind who wreathes himself in the ghosts of his enemies as a way of reflecting his temporary hitpoint gain. For the story part of your application, try to get creative.
short, I want characters who creatively embody their roles and powers, but definitely feel like part of this game world, and have backgrounds that tie them into the cultures and power groups of this world. I want to tailor the plot of the game, or at least certain nuggets therein, to the individual members of the party-- to do that, the characters much fit within this world rather than being a really cool collection of stats.
Also, don't min-max. Don't do that to me, or the game. Wow me instead. Entertain me, and your fellow potential players. And by all means, please apply.
If you have questions, please PM them to me. This policy allows players to ask questions they might not want to spoil to other applicants. I'll post relevant questions and answers here for the edification of the group. And now, off to play Torchlight (seriously, whenever you're reading this I'm probably off to play Torchlight).
IRON FIST IRON FIST IRON FIST IRON FIST IRON FIST IRON FIST
haha. Please oh please can i be recruited as a reader. the story was very cool. I dont exactly have the time to play, but I read your small novel intro, and i am very interested in where it goes from there.
*edit whoops the tran arent the furry guys. my brain isnt working. i still want to read it (re-read the whole intro again) *
What excellent timing! I've been waiting to see this game show up, and I'm just now recovering from illness and jetlag (but alas, not insomnia). I have something in mind, different from what I usually play. Starting to put it together now.
Question: Are backgrounds allowed, and if so are there any restrictions?
Ooh! I'm interested! I'm thinking about a Drow Rogue!
Just kidding, i did in fact read the entire post, and have determined that I'm not a horrible person by your set standards. I can't take Drow Rogues either I'll hop on in here with something hopefully halfway original once I shuffle through my stuff
...You had me at Rapid Advancement. =P Higher levels are fun! But very few run them. ;-;
I'm assuming there's still an elf description to be added to the Kingdom of Tran stuff? I've gotten the impression that they're second/third rate citizens, but I'd like to see more about how exactly they've diverged from the forest dwelling mysterious and pretty archer folks DnD core stuff depicts them as, before I decide whether I wanna go down that route, or pick a different background point to start with. I'm having difficulty envisaging a half-dwarf, half-elf, heh...So I'm wondering if there's physical changes involved. =P
Description: What you see before you is a massive orc, muscled flesh cascades down a scarred and tattooed frame. The hulking man's face bears a scar on his left cheek starting at the lip like and continuing to his left ear. And though his face shows no trace of humor, the garish half smile seems to add a certain levity to his features. His clothing seems to be an amalgam of many different creatures, sewn together from necessity; but his shoulder boasts the head of a massive wolf.
His right hand is missing the finger tips of the ring and little finger, but grips the base of a
Mechanically a Maul
mighty axe. The cumbersome look gave the appearance that it could have unbalanced him, but he seemed to have little difficulty in carrying it. His left hand clenched the femur of what appeared to be a horse, this being half out of his mouth as he chewed very deliberately on his last bite. The appraising stare from the giant man seems to fall on those he deems a worthwhile fight. It's clear from his confident stance that he is undaunted by anything life may throw at him.
From the looks of his bedraggled clothing and unkempt appearance he is most obviously a refugee seeking sanctuary in the city. But for his appearance it would be hard to say he truly ran from the threat, so much as went somewhere that would pay him to kill the beasts. And with further inspection his eyes fall upon you, a growl rumbling in his chest. Clearly not a creature of intelligence.
Ah, I love character submission time more than Xamas!
It's a close tie with Halloween.
I'll answer a few of the questions that cropped up, then crop my answers and put them in the OP.
Also, as this has been of interest to a few people, the Tran Elf and Half-Elf information has now been added, and they are angry dudes.
Finally, because it couldn't hurt to stress this, be sure that your character description includes an explanation for how they ended up in the city mentioned in the vignette, as that's where the game is taking place. The city is very much Locked Down, with all of the tunnel entrances to the belowground sealed off, and the gates shut and barred (not to mention surrounded by beastmen).