Varis listens to Lakota's tale with interest, leaning forward to better hear her voice over the din of the common room. It seems he isn't prepared, however, when the same question is asked of him. He pauses for a while, looking down at the table and fiddling with his pipe. "I come from the West Marches. There's not much to tell." With that, he stands. "It was nice to meet you both. Forgive me, but I must retire." Varis bows slightly before turning and heading for his room, with painful memories threatening to resurface.
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Lakota wishes Varis a refreshing sleep, watching him as he heads toward the stairs. She has studied people for a long time and she knows something is wrong, just not what. Did she say something offensive? She replays her words in her mind and cannot pinpoint anything that would cause such a reaction. Therefore, it must be something outside of her scope of influence and thus not something she needs to worry about.
The shardmind glances around the room. It has been steadily clearing out for some time as people’s bodies run down and they must retire to unconsciousness. The thought of lying there with your awareness turned off is something that fills Lakota with both disgust and a bit of fear. They are so vulnerable when they sleep. She often finds comfort in standing over them and guarding their sleep, seeing it as another form of the protection she can provide this world and its people. She will remain downstairs throughout the night and make sure that nothing threatens those who sleep in the rooms above.
Lakota turns back to Stalford. “And what of you? What brings you here to Solis to lend them aid in their time of need?” The way she puts it sounds like he is a gallant paladin rushes to the aid of the desperate.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
Stalford watches Varis go and looks back to Lakota. His conversational diversion had just dried up.
"Me? You know how it is. People need help and I can give it. Anyway, the hour is dragging on, I ought to get to sleep so I can be up on time. Good night, Gatekeeper." And with that, Stalford pushes out his chair, and retreats, er, retires.
OOC: Moving on... You can fill in the blanks at your discretion.
As daylight begins to creep up over the horizon, you all gather in front of the throne room. If the throne room isn't the biggest building in the village, at least it's meant to be the most impressive looking: despite being only one floor, the building towers a good twenty to thirty feet in to the air. Thick stone columns flank three sets of ornate double doors that lead in to the main chamber, and there is a elven village guard with a halberd standing in front of each pillar.
The square in front of the building has been cleared of all civilian traffic. You can only imagine it was out of fear or respect for Gorin... The mammoth centaur stands at the top of the steps leading in to the chamber, massive greataxe crossed in front of him, motionless like a statue. For all you know he's been there all night, and no matter how much you look at him he doesn't move a muscle, his eyes staring straight ahead. He doesn't even appear to be breathing.
The square is virtually silent, except for the occasional village guard or village archer moving through during the shift change.
In addition to the five of you there are three other unknowns in the square:
- A halfling, obviously a rogue, who goes by the name of Dink. The only reason you know his name is because he's been systematically introducing himself to everyone he sees - you, the other unknowns in the group, guards that pass through the square, etc... - speaking his name with a high squeaky voice. He even tried to introduce himself to the centaur, despite being no taller than the beast's hip, but didn't even get so much as a look in his direction, much less a verbal response.
- A short, stout dwarf, dressed head to toe in scale mail, trying to maintain his grip on his warhammer. He seems to be swaying in the wind, his eyes barely open, and every now and then he clumsily drops his hammer and reaches down to recover it with a gruff "'scuse me...". Bothor is convinced he is quite drunk, or at least hasn't overcome the effects.
- A young human who is obviously a wizard, wearing an immaculate white robe (complete with pointy hat) and holding a quarterstaff. During the entire wait in the square, he continually tries to perform parlor tricks - lighting the end of his staff, calling forth gusts of wind at will, conjuring a spectral hand that twirls his staff like a baton, etc... - doing everything as if he was performing to an audience in a stage show. After every major action he performs, he holds his hands outstretched and pauses, as if he was waiting for applause. The fact that he doesn't get any doesn't seem to phase him, and he continues his tricks with enthusiasm.
Before you could react further, the main set of doors to the throne room open and another dwarf walks out. He is in full plate and with a heavy shield, and is wearing the same colors and markings as Gorin.
The centaur straightens up as Brell walks up alongside him. "All present and accounted for, sir."
He looks over the group, visibly counting each person to make sure everyone's there.
"Right then... Bring them in," he says, then turns back towards the doors.
"Yes, sergeant," Gorin steps forward and raises his voice. "Please form a single file and present all weapons for inspection before entering the chamber."
OOC: You are welcome to elaborate on this inspection process in your introductory actions below.
One by one you are escorted in to the throne room: a massive chamber, one hundred feet long with a vaulted ceiling. Two rows of ornate pillars flank the main area, a long stretch of brick floor that leads up to a raised platform. Atop the platform are two thrones upon a large rug.
Against the back wall are two large statues depicting Corellon on the left and Sehanine on the right, and standing next to each of them is an archer. Each archer has bow in hand, at the ready in case anyone falls out of line.
Against the back wall ther is also a large curtain that displays what could only be the seal of the village of Solis. You note that the curtain falls short of touching the ground, and there appears to be a door behind it, no doubt leading to the Lord's personal residence.
The group is divided in half by Brell as you enter: Lakota, Patrin, Stalford and Varis are instructed to line up side by side to the left side of the throne (in that order, Varis being closest to the throne); Bothor, Therin (dwarf), Elric (human) and Dink (halfling) and to the right (in that order, Dink being closest to the throne).
A single guard - wearing chainmail and carrying a large halberd - follows the group in and stands near Bothor. You can tell by the markings on his uniform that he is of higher rank than the average guard, possibly a lieutenant.
After everyone enters and takes their instructed places, Gorin closes the outer doors and takes his position near the entrance. He returns to the same statue-like stance he had outside, axe crossed in front of him.
Brell moves up to the platform. "Lord Laris will be out shortly," he says softly as he moves the curtain aside and disappears behind it.
Elric seems to be having difficulty putting the light out at the end of his quarterstaff, and accidentally fumbles it. As the staff strikes the floor, the sound echoes repeatedly throughout the chamber. Gorin groans noticeably as the wizard picks up his staff; he has yet to put the light out.
OOC: I'll give you a chance to comment on the situation before proceeding.
Lakota will travel with those whose names also appear on the notice, or at least those she recognizes. She greets Stalford, Varis, and Bothor good morning but otherwise does not speak unless spoken to.
It does not take long to walk to their destination and Lakota stops, gazing upon the centaur standing motionless at the top of the steps that lead into the building housing the throne room. Gorin is the first centaur she has seen and she finds him fascinating. He does not even seem to breathe and she wonders if here, in this amazing specimen of a man, are the improvements she was looking for among the races.
Only once she has studied Gorin does she turn her attention to the others in the square that she does not know. It is not as if she has a choice, for a halfling named Dirk has grabbed her hand and is vigorously shaking it. She exchanges names and watches as he quickly moves on to the others she arrived with.
There is a human in long white robes, a hat, and holding a staff. He looks like the typical wizard types she’s seen in books. He seems to be eager about showing them what he is capable of and is busy with parlor tricks. She would be more impressed if, instead of lighting the end of his staff, he could stoke a fire hot enough for a forge. Perhaps his gust of wind can knock an enemy from the sky. Now that would be worth seeing!
It is the third person that draws Lakota’s attention and she feels a swelling of pleasure at the sight of the armor clad dwarf holding a warhammer. Her right hand reaches over to touch the warhammer hanging from her side. She is eager to introduce herself to the dwarf and discuss with him such things as where his hammer was forged and where he is from. The shardmind does not move a step, unable to put thoughts into action before the main set of doors to the throne room open and out walks a face she has seen before. It is the dwarf she spoke with yesterday at the security building.
She lines up, presenting first her warhammer and then her crossbow to the soldier collecting the weapons before moving off into the throne room. She patiently waits her turn, seemingly unaware of the short passage of time before she is escorted into the throne room and instructed to stand next to a kobold. He is not the first she has seen of that race and is a bit surprised to find one here, so far from home and tribe. He must have something to offer if he has been chosen to come before this group, which means she should not lightly discount him as so many are likely to do.
There is a fascinating blend of people in the throne room and she indulges in studying each of them as they wait for Lord Laris to arrive. The wizard seems to be having some difficulty and Lakota wonders just how well he is able to control his magic. At the moment, he would be the perfect beacon for a lighthouse, or to draw their enemies straight to them.
The shardmind does not suffer from a case of nerves. Lakota knows that whatever will happen, will happen. What would be the purpose of worrying about it? It would not change the outcome any and thus worry is a wasted action. She does take the opportunity to study those she is with. Their faces move in the most fascinating of ways and she is not certain which one is more interesting as she turns her head to gaze at the others.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
"Mornin'", Bothor greets the Shardmind as he enters the common room. His head aches terribly, and it seems to burst apart if he does not remedy the situation soon. He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to will the pain away, but it only helps to relieve the pain caused by the searing light of the morning sun. The painful throbbing in his head doesn't subside at all. If anything, it increases.
He walks up to the innkeep to demand an ale, but he is refused the drink. The man knows about the enlistment, and hurries the hungover Human outside. Bothor tries to save himself by stammering "But, but..", but the innkeep would have none of it.
With his eyes squinted near-shut, Bothor makes his way over to the throne room, walking alongside the troupe he encountered last night. He faintly remembers them, but if asked, he cannot recollect any of the conversations. Only one in particular seems completely unknown to him, a Half-Elf, by the looks of him. He started to introduce himself along the way, but then, before a sound escaped his throat, stopped himself. With the headache throbbing in his head unabated, he wasn't sure if he could hold up a conversation at this time. Perhaps he could get to know the man later, or perhaps not, and he would stay a nameless face, lost in his mind as a fleeting memory.
As the group enters the square, the apparent waiting room for the enlistees, Bothor starts to fumble with the keg strapped to his back. Still blinded by the sun, it takes him a while before he finds the little tap at the side of the wooden container, but then, twisting around to reach the thing, he expertly fills his own old, worn mug. "Aaaah, that's better. Can't stand that headache any longer."
Just as he lowers his mug from the long first swig of ale, the Dwarf enters his vision. Swaying in the wind, obviously drunk, the short fellow makes for an entertaining sight. He even goes so far as to mentally bet against himself the exact moment when the bearded man will fall over. Strangely, however, every time he drops his warhammer, dangerously leaning as he bends to pick it up, he manages to right himself at the very last moment. "Huh. Why doesn't he fall over? Maybe this time? Gah! He did it again! Unbelievable."
Bothor's little game comes to an end when the throne room is opened and the group is herded towards the entrance. Bothor finds himself walking at the very rear of the group, just behind the drunken Dwarf, and is puzzled when the gigantic Centaur asks for his weapon. "Weapon? Why? Are we going to fight something? Did I sign up for a fight? Really? I have no weapons on me, though. Look, see? No sword on my hip, no dagger hidden beneath my robes. Really, man, I've got nothing! Why would a beggar like myself need a weapon? I'm not going to fight anything! I've given up swordplay a loooong time ago."
Somewhat uncomfortable after the inspection, Bothor tries to keep silent during the next moments, but he can't help bursting out in laughter as the wizard fumbles with his staff. He quickly snaps a hand to his mouth, still shaking, and raises an apologetic hand at the guard standing behind him. He notices the Dwarf chuckling as well, though, so he claps the man on the back, trying to share his amusement. The force of the blow, certainly not intended, makes the short humanoid stumble a step forward, dropping his hammer once again. Surprisingly, the man still doesn't fall over, simply reaching down to lift the weapon again, glaring at Bothor with blood-shot eyes. Bothor mouths an apology and offers the Dwarf a swig of his drink to cool his spirits.
Stalford is awake earlier than any save the shardmind, and awaits the others in the common room while he eats some eggs and bacon. He doesn't seem to mind the early hour, and is as bright and cheerful as he had been the night before. As each new face enters the room, he greets them with a good morning if they had spoken before, or a smile if they had not. When the other recruits are ready to go, he walks with them, neither leading the way nor falling behind.
In the square, Stalford walks with his back straight and his hands clasped behind his back. His eye flits back and forth, taking in the details of the room. He smiles and shakes Dink's hand, but doesn't make any move to introduce himself to the others, though he goes give the centaur a smile and a respectful nod.
Soon, the door opens and Brell comes out to get things started. Stalford is one of the first in the inspection line. He hears the centaur asking others to let him inspect their weapons, and when his turn comes, Stalford does not wait to be asked. He draws his sword from its sheath and presents it handle first to Gorin with a single, fluid motion. The big centaur looks it over for a moment, tracing a finger along the blade and hilt, before passing it back to Stalford, who sheaths it and enters the throne room.
There he presents himself before the empty throne, back striaght, chin high, hands behind his back. He looks like he belongs here, somehow. He doesn't make any perceptible movements, pointedly ignoring the wizard's fumblings to give the lad a chance to pull it together. He does note the 'hidden' room, however, and wonders why people employ such a design choice. Without the door being truly hidden, it's just an inconvenient form of door.
Patrin had been up since the crack of dawn, making his pre-absolutions to Bahamut. He had finished enough to get him through at least mid-afternoon tea before he would have to make more of them, then headed down for a quiet breakfast and the trip to the throne room. In his mind, apologizing for something after knowingly doing it became mindless. "I know I'm not supposed to," one might say, "but I'll do it anyway, and make up for it later." There was no effort involved, no act of foresight or contrition. If anything, it was the easy way out.
The kobold remedied that, in his own sort of fashion. Rather than do them as an afterthought, he decided to be Mindful in his breaking of the rules. If I do that, then I know which rules I may break, and which rules I can't; the better to honor Bahamut. There would be no line in the sand, extending eternally forward or back; in Patrin's mind, he only broke those rules which he knew he could break, because he had already apologized for doing so. To break any other rules would be heresy. He made certain, before heading down for breakfast, that The Weak had already gone down ahead of him. He was actually surprised by that, to be honest; in his experience, people such as The Weak would often not be fully functional until well after lunch. Not that it mattered to him; eventually, the man would come to see the light. In the meantime, Patrin ate his breakfast at the end of the bar, keeping well away from anyone else. Entry into the castle reminded him of his father. When one is a Paladin of Bahamut, as Hornan was, one's life is filled with inspections and reviews and all sorts of reviews of one's manners and posture and possessions. And when one is raised by a Paladin of Bahamut, one is subject to the same sort of reviews one's entire pre-adult life.
Thus, this was the very day for which Patrin had been trained. His leather armor was well-oiled, and didn't make the slightest creak or show any signs of stiffness. Each dagger gleamed before being carefully slid into their individual scabbards; there was no sign of wear and tear on anything. Not bad, considering he had put it together piecemeal over the past few years, to avoid his mother finding out what he was up to. Once settle into the throne room for the wait, his curiousity got the better of him. Situated between The Homunculus and The Officer, he was entranced by both. He had never been this close to a person of any sort of military caliber (except his father, and to a degree his mother, of course). And he had never even dreamed of looking at a real live construct (heh heh, he thought, that sounded funny). But he knew that he was getting too curious, so he tried not to look; or, rather, he tried to look without looking. When he failed at that, he decided to look elsewhere - ah, good, The Weak is here! - but it just was not the same. He ended up spending a good portion of the time - when he wasn't twisting this way or that - staring at his own boots, trying to see if he could polish them with his mind, making them shine like the mirror. All in all, it was very overstimulating.
• Ad Hominem— Attacking the person's circumstances, not addressing the argument. • Ad Hominem Abusive (Personal Attack)— Insulting the person, not addressing the argument. • Ad Hominem Tu Quoque— Saying the person's inconsistent, not addressing the argument. • Appeal to Authority/Belief/Common Practice/Consequence of a Belief/Emotion/Fear/Flattery/Novelty/Pity/Popularity/Ridicule/Spite/Tradition— Using emotion instead of Fact. • Bandwagon— Use of peer pressure. • Begging the Question— Assuming premises which haven't necessarily been agreed to. • Biased Sample— Using a sampling which may not properly represent the whole. • Burden of Proof— Shifting it to the wrong side. • Circumstantial Ad Hominem— Attacking the person's interests in supporting their argument. • Composition— Assuming that the whole has the same qualities as individual parts. • Confusing Cause & Effect— Assuming that one thing causes another because they appear in conjunction. • Division— Assuming that the individual parts have the same qualities as the whole. • False Dilemma— Assuming that only two options exist. • Gambler's Fallacy— Assuming the odds have changed because of past occurances • Genetic— Assuming a perceived defect in the origin of a claim is proof of a defect in the claim. • Guilt by Association— Attacking others who agree with the claim. • Hasty Generalization— Assuming a quality based on too small a sample size. • Ignoring the Common Cause— Assuming there is no outside cause of two connected things. • Middle Ground— Assuming the midpoint of two extremes must be correct. • Misleading Vividness— Assuming a colorful anecdote outweighs statistical evidence. • Poisoning the Well— Using unprovable claims about the person instead of addressing the argument. • Post Hoc— Assuming that something caused something else simply because it happened first. • Questionable Cause— Assuming that one thing causes another. • Red Herring— Using irrelevant evidence to divert a discussion. • Relativist Fallacy— Asserting that a claim may be true for some but not for the speaker. • Slippery Slope— Assuming the inevitability of one event based on another. • Special Pleading— Claiming exemption without justification. • Spotlight— Assuming individuals that get the most attention to be indicative of the whole. • Straw Man— Misrepresenting the opposing argument. • Two Wrongs Make a Right— Justifying something unethical/immoral as response or pre-emption to something else unethical/immoral.
Response to those who like to compare 4e to a Video GameShow
Also, I find that the "D&D 4e is like an MMO" argument is often a sign of someone who is deliberately being obtuse and/or is potentially ignorant of actual MMO play. As someone who only ended a 6-year World of Warcraft addiction a year ago, I can say that most of your bullet points actually don't match up to the truth of it.
In D&D 4e, you can choose a hybrid, you can choose to play one class as though it were another (people played Warlords as Bards frequently, when the edition first came out, and Rangers were refluffed to Monks), you can focus your class on its secondary role (a Warlock who is more controller than striker, for instance), you can multiclass, and you can create a particular concept (a mounted lancer, a charger, etc.) within the mechanics via feats, choice of powers, and choice of skills. You decide which set of stats you use--are you a Chaladin, Straladin, or Baladin?--and you have ultimate influence on how your character turns out in the end. Yes, powers require you to be using a particular weapon within your class's available selection, but the powers are not themselves tied to the gear. Powers tied to weapons or armor are typically powers that belong to the item, not to the character class that's most likely to use it.
Yes, there are only so many powers available, and these will be what you do in battle; this is all that the designers created. Yes, there is a time-frame in which they can be used; this has always been the case, even in the days of Vancian casting. Yes, there are suggested builds, but you can routinely ignore those if it pleases you; the only parts of a class you have to take are the class features, and even those have options at this point. But the only way that this can be considered at all conflatable with MMO character building/playing is if you are deliberately ignoring all of that.
In WoW, you choose a class and you're done. No multiclassing or hybridization, no way to mimic one class with careful building of a different one. There is a firm dividing line on what is a WoW class. No secondary roles or creative concepts, either; you're going to be what the class sets out to be, and that's it. You'll always have the same stat allocation as another of your class, because you get set numbers as you level up, and you've got at best four options--and that's only the Druid class--to build, and if you plan on running dungeons, particularly heroic level ones, or raiding, you'd better not even think of deviating from the single defined best build on the talent tree for what you want to do. It was only recently, with the complete tear-down and recreation of talent trees for Mists of Pandaria, that there was a concept of there being anything but the one best build that people who calculated such mechanical advantages (the folks on Elitist Jerks, for example), and the people who did things like achieve "World First" at various top-tier raids set precedent for.
Also, no class will ever not have a specific set of powers; all Priests in WoW have the same baseline, with deviation only based upon their talent tree specialization, where a D&D4e player could take whatever power in their class pleases them. Any Retribution Paladin will be the same as any other in terms of powers, because that is what a RetPally is. Any Assassination Rogue will always have the same powers as another, etc. All powers are always on specific cool-downs, but will always be there when they start a battle, where a 4e PC might enter an encounter with only At-Wills, or without their Daily powers due to what plot has done up until that point. Furthermore, no power that is not already specifically tied to an item will ever "require" you have that item, to my recollection. Classes get all their powers based on class; gear only gives bonuses to stats, possibly cuts down cast times for abilities or cooldowns, grants temporary extra bonuses to stats (the latter two most often on the raid tier equipment), and on rare occassions an extra power that may or may not be valuable, as some are only special effects instead of valuable abilities.
Most honest/open response on why DDN needs to be InclusiveShow
I've always felt it is in the best interests of D&D to be as inclusive across the playerbase as they can be and still have a game. I've never felt though that making a game that was inclusive within a group was very useful or even desirable. DM's and players can decide amongst themselves what options or restrictions they want for their games. I tend to lean to the DM to make most of those decisions but again that is a group specific thing.
Having said that. I get the distinct impression that there are a lot of players on these boards who come from groups that generally ruled against their own desires. It's almost like they are an oppressed minority from a gaming perspective. I also get the impression that they tend to advocate against things that if available their fellow group members might like and vote them down on.
Do a lot of you feel this way?
Just for clarification...here are some examples... 1. Alignment restrictions as an option. 2. Alignment Mechanics 3. Martial healing 4. Races being included or not.
I know my perspective is not that I often play at tables where my likes are not represented. Instead, my perspective comes from the many years I spent being a bad DM. I was a bad DM because my guidance came from the books, and the books gave bad advice. The books told me that alignment was a useful approach to roleplaying, so I went with it even though it felt kind of weird to me. Now I know that, at least in my style of running games, alignment destroys rp. I trusted the books to give good advice, and it messed up my game. Now I'm much more mature as a DM, so I know how to take advice with a grain of salt. And I still learn new stuff every session I run.
I don't want future DMs to go through my problems again. There's a big enough DM shortage as it is. DMing well is hard.
The biggest thing I had to unlearn in my process of becoming a good DM was the idea that the game is a simulation of a world. I understand many DMs prefer a more simulationist approach, although I am always skeptical simply because I would have said the same thing until I learned and grew as a DM. This doesn't mean their approach is completely invalid, but it still gives me a personal twinge when I see a regression back to 3e era sim style gaming.
I also have noticed many groups where one or two old-school players run a whole group's playstyle because the newer players aren't even aware there are other ways of doing things. The newer players tell me stories of things they hated in the session, and I end up explaining to them how those things they hate are very fixable, and in fact are fixed in the newer edition of the game their older players have told them is terrible.
In regard to things like martial healing, I don't think it's necessary for it to be in the game for the game to be fun. However, the attitude that says martial healing is terrible and shouldn't exist is an attitude that, to me, reveals a wrongheaded approach to the game. Therefore, my fight for it to be an option is to help legitimize the more narrative approach that I think is what most players want, but many don't know is possible, because they've never been exposed to it.
Varis awoke at dawn, as he had become accustomed to since he left the Marches, but lay on his bed staring at the ceiling for a while simply listening to the sounds of the world through the window and the walls. He felt an urgency in the heartbeat of the world, almost like if he were standing at the top of a cliff. The days events would be the first in something world changing, of that he was sure.
The half-elf walked to the square a leisurely pace. arriving after the others had already assembled. He had been prepared for an awkward wait, especially after he had left Lakota and Stalford so abruptly the previous night, but Dink saw to that. Varis returned the halfling's shake with vigour, finding his mood lifted.
Varis handed Gorin his staff with a shrug. "Just a stick, my friend. But be careful with it." The old, gnarled staff was covered in carvings Varis had made over the years, and though it wasn't particularly useful as either a weapon or for walking, it meant a great deal to the half-elf.
Lining up in file as directed by Brell, Varis feels a little awkward, especially with being stood closest to the throne. Nevertheless, he is well versed in court protocol, and adopts a respectfully straight stance, though not quite with the militaristic rigidity of Stalford's. He casts his gaze about lazily as he waits for the lord to appear, watching the wizard's antic and hoping the drunks can get through the meeting without embarrassing themselves or Lord Laris.
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