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5. What was the first time you really connected to this character, if ever? Why do you think this moment made the character special to you? 

This sounds like it’s just one question but for me, it’s kind of two. The reason it’s two is because I connect with all my NPCs, and that’s how she started - a NPC, a temporary companion to the party. I kept reminding myself of that quite forcibly when she was first running with you guys, just to teach Darvin how to use Thieves’ Tools. But if you want a moment … funnily, it wasn’t exactly when you guys brought Alisaie back. Not quite. I was keeping as much distance as I could even after that, even when she’d basically decided to go along with you guys, just in case, I guess? Some part of me still figured that Alisaie was on borrowed time with the party. DM PCs Aren’t Done, after all. I think the first moment when I really, really let her be a character was during the Coryvel fight, when Froseth spent an action pouring his single greater healing potion down Alisaie’s throat when she got knocked unconscious (again).

8. What’s one weird personal headcanon you have for the character that’s not addressed or that you haven’t found a way to share yet? 

Those teeth and bits of bone from things she kills? Aside from the ones that she gives you guys, and some she sets aside for trade? There’s another reason. See, the People don’t really do musical instruments any more than they do singing, but they do make music of a kind; those who take their storytelling-dance seriously collect bits of their kills and wear them like charm bracelets and anklets, the size and thickness of each hollowed-out bone creating a different tone that provides something of a musical accompaniment to their dancing. She lost her original set with everything else she owns and hasn’t quite collected enough to make new ones yet.

11. Who or what was your inspiration when creating this character? How does it show? This can be visual, backstory, personality, anything. 

Honestly, I have no the hell idea. I put together a few ideas - mostly “unexpected!barbarian in a brothel” (doesn’t look the type, ice-themed in a desert, looks human enough but isn’t really … I wanted there to be layers even in a few-session throwaway character who would have been left in Al-Zorhai had Hazel not opened her mouth) and Alisaie was the result. Turned out well enough, I guess.

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5) ‘Most romantic’ is kind of subjective but if you want Big Meaningful Gestures, how about “basically fucked over the entire Illuminati and broke every rule about what information should never be given to an enemy faction just so that he wouldn’t lose something that really mattered to him, all the while never saying a word about how she felt because she knew he had a girlfriend at the time and didn’t want to complicate his life in any way”? Does that work? She loved him enough to fuck up her entire life with, as far as she saw it, zero hope that it would ever be reciprocated.

6) For Mychae, the most romantic thing Chris ever did was to modify and rethink his ideas on what constituted “the kind of romantic gesture my angel deserves” - when he realised she was uncomfortable with castle getaways and luxury stuff and started taking her to corn mazes instead.

9) Mychae’s favourite ‘small’ way to show her love (and for her, it seems small) is blending their occasionally varied tastes and interests. He likes cooking and wants to feed her stuff that didn’t come out of a toaster or microwave? Okay, sure; she’ll buy him kitchen equipment and make it extra geeky. He likes ancient texts and translating? She’ll build him mechanical ravens to sit on his shoulders, transcribe his notes, and occasionally shout “WHO DO VOODOO WE DO FUCK YOU!” at any Jawa who dares interrupt him while he’s working.

10) Every so often - entirely at random but always in public, Mychae will declare it “My Husband Is Awesome Day”. Always when they’re on a day out. She’ll shower him with confetti at intervals, tell anyone with whom she ends up interacting (shop clerks, waiters, bus or taxi drivers, whoever) exactly how awesome she thinks Chris is, and shouts things like “I have the best husband; prove me wrong! Actually, don’t, because you can’t! It’s science that my husband is the best!” She will do this all damn day, while taking him to the kinds of places he enjoys most.

28) Mychae/Chris ‘date nights in’ are always a little unconventional by the standard definitions. She considers it romantic when Chris lets her pick the menu and entertainment options - doesn’t fret about her eating habits when she orders in pizza and keeps her company while she plays Fatal Frame while cheering her on with “You’ve had ample practice with dealing with this kind of creepy nonsense by now" and having inspiration-thoughts about how a camera might work for dealing with the Gaki in various Kaidan parking garages, then curls up with her to watch horror movies until they fall asleep on the sofa, usually using Chewie as a pillow.

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Srina:

Past 4) Srina and her family didn’t actually argue. There were occasional debates, but more on specific points of detail than of overarching differences.

Present 14) What matters to her most right now? Same thing as always matters to her: doing the job in front of her, and doing it as perfectly as it’s possible to do it.

Future 4) Something they thought would happen in their future but didn’t, in a hypothetical future based on current events… She kind of figured she’d have been killed as a traitor, rightly or wrongly, by someone by now, or be obliged to disappear to prevent such from happening.

Jallira:

Past 10) Jallira didn’t really dream of doing anything growing up. There was a period just before she left for Coruscant where she wanted to be a Jedi of the travelling, adventuring, diplomatic sort … but then the Sacking happened and Ylsavis Garr happened and she had wanting to do much of anything beyond ‘what she was told’ beaten out of her for a very long time.

Present 8) Most important hobby / pastime is always going to be cooking, for her. It’s a way to help people through big problems and small ones, it’s a first look at understanding other cultures, and it makes people around her happy. Medicine is always going to be her calling, but cooking comes a close second.

Future 2) Jallira wouldn’t actively change anything, since she knows that changing one thing can have unknown repercussions in other areas, and she wouldn’t want to risk the happiness she’s found in any way. However, she regrets every life that was lost in the wars; the people she couldn’t save.

Alisaie:

Past 13) As far as Alisaie’s past goes, the really big life-changing moment was that day on the airship docking tower. She found out … well, just how bad her parents were then (one assumes they got worse later, given how they ended their lives) and, while she didn’t find out exactly what she was, she did find out about the wings and the healing, and thus the ‘not human-standard at all’. And then of course having to exile herself to keep from getting the whole ‘snitches get stitches’ treatment.

Present 10) It’s ‘wear’ more than ‘carry’ for most of it - because obviously her swords and a certain ring and bracelet - but also a pouch of spices, a pouch of coffee, a bag of those cranberry-apple sweets for Hazel, a significant amount of money (because she can’t just leave it lying around and never got around to asking Froseth to stash it in his Bag of Holding because honestly she’s still not quite at giving up on complete financial independence yet), cookies for Flitty, and Flitty himself.

Future 9) Alisaie doesn’t think much about the ‘getting old’ part, mostly because she’s died twice in the last couple of months and she’s not entirely convinced that old age is on the cards. But the couple of times when she allows her mind to go that way, she looks at Twilly and Miranda, and imagines them a few decades older, and figures she and Remi will be a lot like that, and maybe Healing Hands and Healing Light will mostly get use in easing the pains of arthritis … and one day their time will be up and it’ll be Ziriel to guide them to their well-earned place on the Celestial Plane - hopefully not for a very long time, and hopefully together, so neither has to grieve.

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Srina:

18) Does she have a ‘type’? Nnnnnnnnno. She’s been so many people with so many interests that anything like a ‘type’ gets lost in the shuffle. She’s perfectly happy to leave her thing with Aranar as a mystery to absolutely fucking everyone.

27) Whatever analog the GFFA has for Valentine’s Day is not spent on Port Knowhere. It’s usually a good time to reinforce her call girl alias. She’s very much a ‘that kark is just a made-up situation by various industries anyway and I’ll use it as is beneficial to me but it has no meaning’.

Jallira:

9) Favourite small way to show her love? Hot breakfast in bed and caff every single morning, timed perfectly to still be warm when Harridin’s starting to be ready to wake up.

24) How does she determine she’s attracted to someone? Well, it sure as hell isn’t physical appearance; that means absolutely squat to her. In all fairness, Jallira has only ever been attracted to one person in her entire life, and the ‘why’ of it is complicated. On the face of it, it was that he made her laugh, but it was more than that. He was kind and calm and had worked very hard to get a long way past his own tragedies. He was what she wanted to be, and what she wanted in her life, and because he’s a sentient being, that meant he was who she wanted in her life. No one else has ever even been on her radar, and I don’t think they ever could have been.

Alisaie:

12) What do I personally love most about Alisaie? …part of me wants to say “how she takes zero bullshit”, but … that’s not true. What I love about her is that she is loveable; that the characters and their players enjoy having her around. Yes, that encompasses her flaws and her merits all at once, but it means that I made a person - one who can stand with all of your well-developed and awesome characters. No character stands alone; their development and loveability depends on them interacting with others.

4) What ‘romantic gestures’ does Alisaie hate? …Pet names. You’ll notice that beyond a couple of very specific and very hard-earned terms, she uses profanities as terms of endearment (for instance, always calling Darvin ‘asshat’). It’s a thing with the People; they don’t throw words around lightly, and likening someone to food items or infants is just rude.

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No, but seriously, our next D&D session is going to probably wind up deep discussion about personal responsibility vs personal freedom, revenge and what is just and what happens when the two meet and when they don’t, what you owe your loved ones … deep philosophical stuff.

And I get to not only participate in that conversation but also decide when and if a truly epic time comes to crash a purple worm through a wall and interrupt the whole thing, just to see what they do.

And I have a week in which I have few to no obligations in which to figure that out because it’s my birthday on Wednesday and I have taken my traditional birthday week off. And even had enough leave days to take the following Monday, so once again I can skip the worrying about staying up late with my D&D group.

I’ll rant about some other shit later, probably, but right now I’m tired, Thursday was … well, a Thursday (my Thursdays are almost always shitty; I am Arthur Dent born again, I swear), and I really don’t feel like ranting. Instead I’mma veg out and ponder picking up DA:I again. Or maybe a hidden object game. Or, like, poke at Baldur’s Gate 3 some more, see what the new patches have in store. The format just doesn’t really do it for me. I like my tabletop-to-video-game adaptations more along the lines of Shadowrun Returns … which I could also maybe pick up again.

And do not. Get me started. On fucking Werewolf. I saw the reviews, I heard the shitty voice acting, I saw the robotic cutscenes and the loosey-goosey combat with all the weight and impact of being hit with a Pringle, and I don’t want to be Grizzled McLonerDude anyway. If we were going to have a Werewolf: the Apocalypse made, maybe something with the set-up of Shadowrun Returns and the graphics of Baldur’s Gate 3. If your nine-foot-tall furry killing machine going on a bloody rampage isn’t going to look impressive anyway, at least do a situation where you can pick your auspice and tribe and fill out your party with companions whose skill sets complement your own. Also don’t fucking talk to me about the enemy AI; normal humans who see crinos-form Garou are supposed to go temporarily insane, not stand there plugging away with a shotgun even while you’re clawing them in the face. Also-also, I get that there have to be limits, but let’s give a little respect to the glabro and hispo forms, okay? I loved going dire wolf in the middle of a fight and sliding into the middle of combat to get my jaws around Important Guy’s throat while everyone was busy freaking out over the crinos-form nightmare making abdomen confetti.

ALSO MAYBE GEARING IT FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN QUOTE THE SOURCEBOOK VERBATIM AND NO ONE ELSE WAS A BAD IDEA FOR AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT, JACKASSES.

…Look, I was already disillusioned about this fucking game. Thing is, I wanted to be pleasantly surprised. Instead I was vindicated when I didn’t want to be vindicated. I wanted to be wrong.

I was not wrong. WOE.

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As a birthday gift to myself (and also partly from @hyperewok1 - though it’s kind of a gift for him too, so maybe we’re like Hobbits, I dunno), I decided to commission some art. This is from @emegustart, who’s currently doing a Valentine’s Day Art Commission sale which I strongly encourage you to check out. As you can see, it’s worth every penny. Euro cent. Whatever.

So, behold Remi Crestwind and Alisaie Featherfall, from our D&D campaign, and a pose that features in a Silent Image locket Remi gave to her mother. Which is also ridiculously adorable.

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Alisaie

38. How does she relax? Any specific activities? Why?

See, therein lies the problem. Alisaie actually really likes to read. Thing is, she hasn’t really had the opportunity since leaving Al-Zorhai because she owned, like, four books (a couple of books of poetry, an largely non-fictional diary-esque thing from a wyvern-rider in Belarys, and a thing about the evolution of Equitas fashion) and those were left behind like just about everything else she owned when she went after the red dragon that she died killing. She hasn’t bothered to mention this, of course. And the last time they hit a bookstore, she was way more focused on gifting others. Remi might have caught her looking speculatively at some of the shelves but since she was also focused on gifts for others … yeah, she doesn’t generally get to do her preferred relaxation activity anymore, which she generally likes because she likes looking at the world from a different perspective now and then.

65. If she could have one new superpower, what would it be?

I’m really looking forward to her getting access to Magnificent Mansion. She would build quite the palace for her friends. But then again … if either of the bards should have Resurrection, it’s probably her. (Her choice would be either Resurrection or permanent wings, probably the former because she’s selfless like that but gods damn it, eleven minutes aren’t enough for her, flight-wise.)

70, What about her lifestyle would she change if she had the ability?

Nothing. Nada. I mean, yeah, she’d like a permanent home, a place to call hers, but she doesn’t know what it should look like yet any more than Remi does, and all she knows for sure is that she wants it to be with Remi, and since neither of them are going anywhere until the world is properly saved and looking set to stay that way for five minutes, she’s happy with her lifestyle as it is.

Jallira

71: What weapon does she go to for offense?

Force telekinesis. It’s the only thing she trained in for basically all of her time as youngling and padawan; it’s her default. She only took to Niman so well because of how it incorporates Force-TK.

91. What’s her posture like?

Well, it used to be kind of huddled up on herself - shoulders up around her ears, not slouched (that’s disrespectful) but trying to take up as little space as possible. These days she’s a lot more relaxed in her posture, though she still stands quite straight and it’s not like she’s ever going to take up a whole lot of room.

92. What trait does she admire most in others?

That’s a toss-up, and depends on the situation, but at root it’s probably the whole “being comfortable in one’s own skin” thing. She knows how hard that is to come by, how few people have it naturally and how hard they’ve had to work at it, so she very much admires those who can walk that path and come out the other side successful.

Srina

7. Does your OC collect anything?

The closest she comes to collecting anything is usable idents for if she or someone around her needs to be someone else at short notice. And she considers that more ‘tools of the trade’ than an actual collection. It’s like building model ships, but useful.

12. How well would she handle being placed in a leadership position?

Well, given how she pretty much pulled everything together for getting Jallira out of the facility on Utapar, I’d say she’d handle it pretty damn well. She’s got the authority, she knows what she’s doing, and she’s seen enough commanding officers on both sides of the line to have a pretty good idea what’s going to work.

26. How does she sleep?

Very still, more or less one eye open, more or less one hand on the blaster or knife (depending on circumstances and location) that lives under her pillow. She doesn’t often share with Aranar because he’s a snuggler and that would be an impediment to getting up quickly if she has to, but when she does she stays on her side of the bed and him migrating to her side gets him an elbow in the kidneys.

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Answer

You Sophie’s Choice me so hard with this!!!!!! But to make life a little easier, I’ll go with the one I more or less play - Alisaie Featherfall, my accidental D&D PC.

10. What are some of your OC’s pet peeves? How do they handle it when the annoyance doesn’t stop?

Alisaie’s got a few pet peeves. Bad puns and undue self-deprecation, she’ll grab someone by the face and smoosh so they just stop. Anyone runs down her friends and they’ll wind up with an aasimar bard-barian in their face going, “You wanna say that again?”

16. How affectionate is your OC? How do they convey their affection? By being touchy? Or through more subtle ways?

Alisaie’s pretty damn affectionate for her, but she’s not generally touchy-feely about it - more so when it’s romantic affection, but not a whole lot because she’s mindful of boundaries. Mostly she’ll hair-ruffle when circumstances dictate, but that’s about it. Generally she’s not very verbal about it either. If she likes you, she’ll tease you like a sibling, she’ll ensure you have your favourite things when she’s the one responsible for the getting of the things, and she’ll offer the things she enjoys in order to share her world with you.

29. If a perfume was going to be made to represent your PC–

Yeah, I’m not even bothering with the whole of a question. Might as well just rewrite it “Scent of a Warden your OC” and have done with it. I’ve given this a lot of thought, actually. Alisaie’s bergamot and icy winds and steel with undercurrents of myrrh, ginger lily, cinnamon, mango and the tiniest hint of raspberry champagne - the cold winds of her adoptive homeland, the godly radiance that is her birthright, and the hints of exotic luxury she still carries around after her last job. (She was ‘entertainment’ at a fairly high-end brothel.)

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13. What color do they think they look best in? Do they actually look best in that color?

Alisaie thinks she looks best in red, and she’s close to right. White is probably better, but she doesn’t wear it as often (at least not unrelieved) because a) she’s seen enough plain old white to last her awhile and b) it seems a little too on-the-nose.

21. Why do they get up in the morning?

Well, if it’s a choice between getting up and staying in bed with a certain girlfriend until lunchtime, that’s a tough call. Or if you want a different kind of snark, I could go with ‘usually because Hazel’s shouting about cakepans again’. But mostly she gets up in the morning because there’s shit to do and see, people to entertain and protect, and a world to explore and she’s not going to miss it. (Well, not unless there’s the potential for aforementioned ‘staying in bed with girlfriend until lunchtime’ thing.)

28. Would they prefer a lie over an unpleasant truth?

Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. Two reasons. First? Alisaie has had enough of lies from her parents, and the unpleasant truth of what they were was probably even worse for her for finding it out on her own the way she did. Second? After the criminals, her upbringing was handled by people who don’t lie well simply because of how they communicate, so she kind of lost the knack, if she ever had it. Particularly if she trusts you? Don’t lie to her. She’ll know, she’ll rescind her trust completely and it will take a very, very long time for you to earn it back.

A) Why are you excited about this character?

Because you the players are letting me play her, despite my being the DM? Because half of you bent every rule in the PHB to oblige me to play her? I mean, I love how she’s developed for her own sake, but nothing is quite as exciting as someone loving your character so much that they’ll throw out that kind of Hail Mary, especially when I was kind of sad to have killed her off. (I had reasons of the angst-and-object-lesson variety but what you guys came up with was so much better.)

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Cold desert nights were no deterrent when it came to Alisaie getting a good night’s sleep. The screaming from Attan, the cleric who was currently standing the watch? That was another matter altogether. She woke up with a start, only to be slammed back down into her bedroll by a goliath’s knee - Jorrid; clumsy little shit, she thought while wheezing and trying to get her breath back. A flash of divine radiance from outside the tent, along with further screaming, lit the fuse on the sort of panic that helped get the diaphragm back under control in a hurry, at least in the right sort of person, and Alisaie scrambled after her temporary hunting party, trying to figure out what had jumped them in the night.

When she saw what it was, she bit down on the pained cry of Why didn’t you listen to me?!? that she desperately wanted to aim at her colleagues. All that night she’d told them that the shadows in the corner of the cave formation in which they’d made camp looked strange; that they were moving, that she was sure she saw a gleam that looked like eyes.

You’re just imagining things, Alisaie.

Are they all this jumpy up north, Alisaie?

Seriously, Alisaie, they’re just shadows; get a grip.

Unfortunately for them, the ‘just shadows’ had turned out to be cloakers. Plural. Three of them. Alisaie had never seen one, but had read about them in the Silver Vault, and heard a few stories. One was bad enough for an experienced hunting party, but three? Three was a recipe for a hunting band getting overwhelmed, especially when the party consisted of three humans and a goliath who was mostly swinging his sword around like he didn’t know which end to hold. Jorrid never was at his best first thing after he woke up - not a great trait in an adventurer, but one he’d maybe grow out of … if he lived that long.

One of the cloakers let out a moan that chilled Alisaie to the core, though she refused to be more intimidated than that. She’d already survived too much to let cloaks with more teeth than manners take her down. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to hold true for the rest of the group. Though that might have had something to do with the fact that Attan was lying face-down on the cave floor in a distressing dark pool that Alisaie knew even without seeing anything much in the way of colour was his own blood. A moving, rippling shadow was on his back, and there was a distressing meaty ripping noise. A fourth cloaker. Wonderful.

This was bad. Not only was Attan a good person who didn’t deserve to die, not only was he their primary source of healing since Dev had skimped on the healing potions (“What do we need potions for? We have a cleric!”, he’d said in the tavern before setting out) … Attan could cast his god’s holy light onto objects. Cloakers hated light. Any advantage they could get in this fight was one worth taking, and the cloakers having targeted Attan first took that advantage away. Without much of a thought to the consequences, Alisaie ran for Attan and the cloaker trying to devour him, shrieking in a language that she’d looked up once and then shied away from, not liking the implications. It was the best language for righteous challenges, though, so she used it as she skipped on the axe entirely, not wanting to cleave through Attan’s back, and grabbed the cloaker by what her apparently better-than-average eyes told her was its neck. Stil shrieking, she pulled and twisted sharply, just so, praying to whatever god happened to be listening that these things had neck bones to snap.

By the grace of some god or other, they did. The cloaker left off its squirming and became dead weight in Alisaie’s arms. She pushed it off Attan and rolled him over, poised and ready to heal him as much as her strange innate ability would allow. If anyone saw her do it, when she’d hidden so long and so well up until now? Well, so be it. Maybe this was a sign.

If it was, it was a harsher one than Alisaie felt she deserved. It was too late for Attan; maybe only by seconds, but whatever she was, she was no cleric; she couldn’t restart a person’s heart.

Alisaie wanted to mourn, but there wasn’t time. Her companions were losing the fight; she could hear it all too well - and one of the cloakers was heading in her direction.

They don’t like light? Well. Let them hate me.

With that, she turned and extended her wings, giving the cloaker a face full of bright white-gold light even as she picked up Attan’s mace and caved its skull in. Then she waded into the fray, to see who - if anyone - she could still save.

The answer, when the battle was finally done, was ‘no one’; barely herself. For all their best efforts, the two remaining cloakers had torn Jorric, Dev and Serrys to shreds. Alisaie wasn’t much better off; her wings had kept the worst of it off her in the beginning, but her wings had a short shelf life, and her group seemed as terrified of her as they were of the cloakers. She wasn’t entirely sure whether that was because of the wings or the first true demonstration of how a barbarian rages in the white wastes of Eun-Bac, but either way it was a distraction they didn’t need. They flinched away from her, which was bad - she couldn’t heal them without contact, and couldn’t get to them through cloakers and their own fear.

By the end, only one badly wounded cloaker and one equally badly wounded adventurer remained, and Alisaie passed out before she knew whether she’d actually landed a killing blow. Coming to consciousness several hours later with a cloaker’s severed head in her lap wasn’t the nicest wake-up call she’d ever had … but the sight of a cloaker’s disembodied head was better than the sight of the rest of her hunting party.

They hadn’t even found the behir they were hunting for. Seeing how well a flock of angry outerwear had done for them, it was probably just as well. Alisaie gathered what she could carry - what the cloakers hadn’t spoiled - and then buried her comrades as best she could. After that, all she could do was get out of the cave formation and into the light of day again.

She watched the shadows the whole way. She, at least, trusted her eyes. She’d seen too well the consequences of doing otherwise.

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The day after Alisaie’s unprecedented resurrection was, it goes without saying, a far quieter day than the day that came before it. The Cupcake Coterie still had a ways to go before they found the temple they were looking for, so mostly it was travelling. What was odd, at least to Remi’s mind, was that the rest of the group was ranging fairly far ahead - still close enough to be within decent line of sight, but more or less out of earshot unless someone started screaming. It didn’t make a lot of sense on the face of it; Alisaie had travelled the desert wastes before, and if anyone should have been taking the lead to make sure they didn’t run into more of the sentient cacti or burrowing maws or any of the Alama-Ver Wastes’ other horrors, it was their aasimar companion.

Alisaie put their reasoning into words after about a half hour’s silent tromping through the desert sand: “They’re giving us privacy to talk. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know.” Remi wasn’t entirely lying. Given some of Hazel’s reactions to Ziriel’s appearance and all that came of it, it made sense, somewhere deep down. It was just that talking wasn’t exactly Remi’s strong point; not about things this deep, anyway. Non-confrontational unless swordplay was involved, Remi had little experience with, and even less enthusiasm for, situations that might end up getting as … fraught as the previous day’s discussion about the state of their relationship. People getting into her face with swords or sharp pointy teeth, Remi could deal with. People firing words at her and expecting her to fire them back … that was something else altogether. So she’d been ignoring it for as long as she was allowed.

Apparently, a half-hour was about what she was going to be permitted - though what Alisaie said next was a bit of a surprise. “Look, some concepts, I don’t put into words well either, so let’s get this over with so I can stop Nai pitching headfirst into another burrowing maw, okay?”

“Okay,” said Remi, with far more conviction than she actually felt.

Alisaie took a breath and began with, “I know I was tired and kind of … I guess overwrought? But you know, back from the dead, sacrifices made in my name, that’s some scary shit. Anyway, yesterday afternoon was a lot of yelling and flailing. But … you know I meant it. Right? I mean, I’m really hoping you did too, because otherwise I’m going to undo all of what you did yesterday by dying of embarrassment, but–”

Remi stopped, stretching her hands out towards Alisaie in what was partly an attempt to grasp her hands but was mostly just a slightly panicked flail. “No!” When she finally had Alisaie’s hands held firmly but not too tight (mindful of her gauntlets), she said it again, a little quieter: “No. I meant it. I want to be … talking … with you. And … other stuff. And seeing where it goes sounds … I want to. Yes.“

This was new ground for Remi. She’d had partners of sorts, yes, but it hadn’t got quite this … the only word was much … before. A fond farewell before shipping out after spending a week’s leave with some charming individual or other wasn’t quite the same as some of the feelings that had come to light during the whole resurrection incident. Admissions like this one were difficult and awkward, Remi decided.

She also decided that the difficult and awkward were worth it when Alisaie’s face lit up, quite nearly literally. “Cool,” she said, and as joyful as it was, her smile was also understanding, which made things a little easier. “We can work stuff out as we go. But I guess there should be another kiss to seal the bargain. I mean, unless you were after a handshake or something. I mean–” She wiggled her hands slightly, enough to flag up the hand-holding without suggesting that she wanted it to end. “–maybe the companies do handshakes differently, I dunno.”

Whether it was the idea of kissing Alisaie when it was ‘sealing a deal’ of that level of depth, or having the fact that Remi had initiated hand-holding highlighted in such a matter-of-fact way, or just the mental image of the look on the face of the minotaur member of her old company if she’d tried a ‘handshake’ like this with him, or just a release of the tension she’d been feeling since the resurrection, Remi burst out giggling.

Alisaie’s smile somehow got brighter, and before Remi could do much else, Alisaie pulled her hands free from Remi’s, bent to tuck her newly-freed hands behind Remi’s knees, and lifted, taking Remi clear off the ground, armour and all. Remi, obliged to either wrap her arms around Alisaie’s neck or fall over backwards in a most undignified way, chose the former, and the proximity of Alisaie’s face to her own just fed the giggle-fit.

“You are adorable,” Alisaie told her. “But if you keep giggling like that, they’re going to hear you, and that’ll blow your rep. So I guess I’m just going to have to help with that by muffling things a bit.” With that, she leaned forward and kissed Remi, ‘sealing the bargain’ as much as stifling Remi’s giggles.

It didn’t entirely help, at first. With Remi giggling at the ludicrous adorableness of the moment, and Alisaie catching the giggle-fit a little as she sipped relieved, giddy laughter from Remi’s lips like fine wine, they traded that cleansing, bonding moment back and forth between them long enough to nearly lose sight of the rest of the party. But it was only nearly, so that was alright. Starting a relationship with giggly kisses under a bright desert sun was just the grounding required for a couple who started their relationship the way Remi and Alisaie had begun theirs.

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So I have a new banner image now, courtesy @ladyzolstice​, who was kind enough to take a huge commission and get it entirely done in time for Christmas and throw in a little extra icon for me.

For those of you on mobile:

image

From left to right:

Darvin Taylor: Played by @fauxfire76​. Human College of Valour Bard with a couple of levels of Divine Soul Sorcerer (long story).

Barnabus Stumplefink: Played by an old friend of mine from the Daria fandom. Minotaur Echo Knight Fighter who is actually literally from Ravnica but there was an Izzet League accident (it was the only justification I had for bringing an Azorius Senate minotaur into a world that had neither).

Hazel Hearthheart: Played by @true0neutral​. Half-elf Life Domain Cleric. It’s odd to me that single-class characters are in the minority, but there are reasons for that. Which brings me to:

Remi Crestwind: Played by @hyperewok1​. Human Pact of the Celestial Warlock on a base of Oath of Vengeance Paladin. Remi was the one who blazed the trail for our multiclassers, though part of that was in-game character development stuff, entirely the fault of…

Alisaie Featherfall: Played by … well, me. Protector Aasimar College of Swords Bard on a base of Path of the Storm Herald Barbarian. She was a NPC. I tried to kill her off. They petitioned gods in some pretty impressive ways to keep her around. The Pact with Remi’s Celestial Patron was part of the result. The rest of the result was a DM PC that no one seems to mind.

Priyenne ‘Clarity’ Meloreth: Played by @lindira​. Tiefling … okay here’s where it gets complicated. Base of Arcane Trickster Rogue, two levels of School of Evocation Wizard, and then through character development Stuff she ended up with her first level in Pact of the Archfey Warlock (the archfey in question being one of the patrons of our last Pact of the Archfey Warlock). She went on hiatus. She came back. We were all so happy. Still are. ^_^

Froseth of Rimehook: Played by @miaaoi​. Silver dragonborn Way of the Four Elements Monk. Another one who doesn’t seem all that interested in multiclassing. Which is fine because while I acknowledge that multiclassing is fun and can be a beast … they make level-ups complicated.

Aval’aen ‘Ava’ Vanedar: Played by … honestly, someone I struck up a random conversation with in a queue for a Critical Role panel at the last MCM Comic Con I went to and who turned into a hell of a friend. Human Monster Slayer Ranger. No, her plush puppy Butterscotch does not qualify her as a Beast Master.

So that’s my party, and that’s @ladyzolstice​ art, which is amazing and seriously, check her out sometime. She was a joy to work with, and the finished product speaks for itself.

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I swear we will actually fight some shit soon in our D&D campaign.

But honestly, how can you really miss the combat that much when you have the following?

  • Levitation bubble gum
  • Literally red-hot candies that make steam come out your ears
  • Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans on ‘shrooms
  • Related to the two bits above, the two quietest and most sedate members of the party pranking the flaily cleric
  • An Archfey patron gifted with a lollipop the size of a gnomish child
  • Faerie dragons flying everywhere exchanging riddles, jokes, stories, songs and/or shopping advice for cookies and baubles
  • Gifting the bard-barian by gifting her girlfriend
  • The War Skillet

I’ll do video editing and write-up tomorrow (I have the day off) but … come on. Made of adorable and silly. I’ll almost be sorry when we get underground and they have to fight things.

…Not that sorry, but…

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Came across a post about the Critical Role Cleric Thing and … I admit I’m amused. I mean, it’s fair - you have your character, you have the image of what they’re going to do, and you kinda go with that, and cleric doesn’t have to mean ‘dedicated healer’. So you can get people running wild and free with the many glorious ways a cleric can fuck up their enemies … and then kind of don’t remember to stock up on healing potions or indeed have any way to peel themselves or others off the floor in a clutch situation.

My party, on the other hand? Oh, my party chugs their gods-damned Respect Healers Juice.

I mean, lookit us. We have:

  • Not only a cleric, but a Life Domain cleric. The bonuses a Life Domain cleric gets to healing are fucking absurd just on a base level and the spell list you can put together basically can mean that your party will never die. At least as long as you also remember to try to keep yourself topped up and get some decent armour because everyone can and will target you first.
  • A Pact of the Celestial Warlock on a base of Paladin. Take Lay on Hands, add Healing Light … you don’t even need Cure Wounds at that point (although it’s actually an option). Just dump some healing into your Life Domain Cleric, or into whoever’s fallen down on the melee line in a clutch situation, and you’re more or less good.
  • A Ranger who picked up Cure Wounds just because it’s always good to have a little extra.
  • An aasimar bard built on a base of barbarian who is very difficult to kill, has her own Healing Hands to drop a little bit of healing onto people just to get them back in the game, and also invested in Healing Word so she can shout some healing the Life Domain Cleric’s way if things go entirely to shit.
  • A monk who basically lives to chuck healing potions down the throat of anyone who needs one because “I am not exactly easy to hit  so I don’t need it as much; just get up and help me kill it, okay?”

That’s four party members out of the eight with the ability to heal by magic - three class-based, one class and race-based. And one who has no healing abilities at all but will sacrifice an action to dump a potion into your unconscious face if need be because He Be Like That Sometimes.

Incidentally, every way of playing is valid. I speak out of amusement rather than judgement. We have enough challenges in our day-to-day lives; we’re not in it for a brutal battle that might end our much-loved characters and the IC relationships we’ve worked so hard to forge.

…We’re here to win. All of us. Together.

The Cupcake Coterie, ladies and gentlemen. Ride or Die With Frosting.

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Answer

20. For Jallira: What was something they struggled with greatly and how did they overcome it? 

For Jallira? Try ‘everything’. She grew up - if you can call it that - with that asshole of a Master who used the confusion following the Sacking of Coruscant to try to make a weapon out of a strong Force-sensitive. She grew up - if you can call it that - with zero socialisation or sense of self, and while she got a lot of emotional input from others, she didn’t have any clue what any of it meant at first. Talking was hard; she’d been strongly encouraged not to. Being around such … emotionally charged people as the Marran tended to be was harder, because she had no idea how to block it out without blinding herself. But the thing she struggled with most was seeing herself as a sentient being with needs and desires whose worth was not defined by her usefulness. That one, she mostly managed with the help of the people around her, and the reminder that they had all the socialisation she missed out on, and that she’s not qualified to decide what she’s worth to others, and why, because that’s their call to make. A little over-analytical and prosaic, but that’s how Jallira deals with a lot of the shit-storm that was her early life and training.

29. For Srina: What is their weapon of choice, and what weapon do they dislike using the most? 

Srina likes sniper rifles most. She currently has a beautiful beast that she got Mychae to make for her (paid her a small fortune to do it, too) and that one she won’t even let Aranar touch. He can clean and maintain just about any of her other weapons, but not that one - the only ones who touch that one are Mychae and Srina herself. Beyond that … she can use just about any weapon you care to name, but she dislikes scatterguns. They have their place, but they’re too loud and obnoxious for her liking, and oblige you to get too close. Her take is: “If you’re going to get close, have the precision of a vibroblade or a garotte; don’t bother with spray-fire.”

6. For Mychae: Have they ever committed a crime, or something they felt was wrong? What was it? 

Erm. Well. She’s commited a lot of crimes, but most of those were generally crimes against Imperials or the pressure-vent sort of contraband and occasional trespassing and little things that she’s generally done to help others, so she doesn’t count those. But there was life pre-Marran, and even extra bits and pieces between her more altruistic runs thanks to a group called the Syndicate. To be fair, she doesn’t remember much of what she did with the Syndicate anymore (mostly because I don’t remember much of what the Syndicate did, and that largely because it didn’t seem to do much until the big kerboom that ended with Sedryn and me abandoning the guild because we were getting guilt-tripped in the middle of a scheduled Op), but I do recall there was a mission to blackmail a politician to get another politician in power. It involved some fighting and some gaining control of the local holonet, and Mychae doesn’t normally mind doing that kind of shit … but this wasn’t her ‘normal’. She’s an “ends justify the means” girl, and the ends she was working towards at that point were less than altruistic. Both politicians were dirtbags; just one dirtbag was offering the Syndicate money to do the dirty on the other one, so there she was. She didn’t like it, and got way disenchanted by the whole affair, which was why she was so gung-ho about joining the Marran. At least they generally only hit douchebags who actually deserved it.

11. For Alisaie: What are your character’s coping mechanisms? 

Depends on the situation, but her default is, “Go up somewhere high off the ground and have a good hard think”.

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Answer

A religious headcanon for Alisaie: Half the reason Alisaie pays attention to Auril’s specific worship is because people have, in the past, kind of mistaken her for Auril’s avatar upon the earth and she does the formal worship thing as an apology.

A love headcanon for Jallira: She still skirts around the word - with friends, family, husband … even daughter, at least ‘verbally’. Her love language is very quiet, and subtly demonstrative … and, for Mae and Ami, goes beyond words in a very deep way. She’s only managed to show Harridin the once, when she let him ‘see’ himself through her metaphorical eyes, so all she can do is hope that her leaving him breakfast and caff every morning and seeing to things that make him comfortable and happy before he even consciously recognises that he wants them is enough.

A work headcanon for Srina: She will never, ever admit it … but this particular role is Srina’s favourite of any job she’s ever had. She can still do what she’s best at, and she’s entirely indispensible, which is all she’s ever wanted (she doesn’t care about the scale; she just wants to be the person that people can’t do without), and she’s given the freedom to do what makes sense within the context of her orders … it’s a constant game of dejarik and balances her on-point planning skills with her developing skill at planning ‘on the fly’, thinking three moves ahead even when things are still happening around her.

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Answer

For Jallira:

1. How does your character sleep? Peacefully, fitfully? What position do they sleep in? What is their typical bedding like?

How Jallira sleeps largely depends on how much ambient emotional noise is in the area. She’s not much of a tosser and turner, but she’s picked up enough typical sighted mechanisms that she’ll pull a pillow over her head if it’s too emotionally ‘loud’ while she’s trying to sleep, and curl herself into as small a ball as possible. It doesn’t help, but it’s a reflex now. On an average day, though, she sleeps peacefully enough, and tends to eschew a pillow because she prefers using Harridin’s chest for that purpose. (Also means she doesn’t steal covers because she’s curled up too close to do so.)

29. If your oc was in a video game, what would their idle animation be? (When the player stays still for too long, the animation that plays.)

…Jallira kind of is a video game character, but we’ll gloss over that. It’d be either a head-tilt like she’s listening, or a quick dig through her medical bag like she’s cataloguing and assessing the contents.

40. Are there any habits your oc has picked up from people around them? Do they know where they’re from? Does your oc try to stop themselves from doing it?

The only habits Jallira’s picked up from other people are … well, generally actively encouraged by those around her. Regular meals, for a start. Honestly, because she doesn’t ‘see’ people, those little fidgets and things that most people pick up from those around them kind of pass her by. The most she does is mimicry of the sighted people around her, and that’s more or less deliberate.

For Srina:

2. Does your oc have dreams or nightmares? What are they like? Is there a recurring one?

I mean, everybody dreams; it’s all just about whether you remember them. Srina is probably one of the more lucid dreamers you’ll ever meet who isn’t a Force-sensitive. Her brain uses the down-time to go over scenarios in her head to figure out the best way of dealing with them. Srina’s brain is a very efficient place.

20. Does your oc have any pleasure that embarrasses them so they keep it secret? Or are they open about all the things they enjoy?

Srina doesn’t let anyone know she enjoys anything. It’s not about embarrassment, though; it’s just that that’s giving away way too much. Her pleasures, like everything else, are held loosely, ready to be discarded if such becomes necessary, and people knowing them would bind them to her tighter than she’d like. The closest she comes is the occasional micro-hint. But I think the only one that’s a total secret even to the empath of the party (because it doesn’t come up much given they live on a desert moon) is that she likes polar sunbathing. She won’t let anyone know that one because Aranar would insist on taking her to do some and he drools enough over her in her usual gear and doesn’t want to deal with his reaction to her in a two-piece.

38. What signs tell that your oc is nervous? Do they fidget, is it in their expression or the way they say things? Or are they very skilled at hiding it?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. There are zero signs that Srina’s nervous because Srina is basically never actually nervous. Tense, yes, but in that predatory coiled-spring way. Having a minimum of three ways out of every situation, catalogued in order of the likelihood of blowing an ident and the size of the dry-cleaning bill, helps with that a lot.

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Answer

6. which party member do they relate to the most?

Mychae’s kind of been pulling back emotionally from people for a long time. She still wears her happy jovial chill-face in company, and she likes everyone well enough, but … well, last time she really related to someone they kind of vanished and she’s decided that’s not happening again. But after some thought … I figure at this point it’s a toss-up between Srina and Nyomi - “I just want to do my job without it getting complicated and stupid, and yet here we are again”.

7. which party member do they understand the least?

Again, Mychae tends to be good at understanding where people are coming from on an intellectual level, but on the basis of, “Okay, I get it but I don’t get it” … probably oddly, but X’antho. I mean, on a surface level she gets where he’s coming from but she’s occasionally has moments of, “…How are you still alive?”

17. what do they dream about, when their dreams are their own?

She doesn’t. Or rather, she tries really hard not to. She still has night terrors from that mess with her biological father so at one time it was mostly as-needed tranquilisers and dream suppressants but now she’s actually figured out that she can use some of her abilities to at least let it be a lucid enough dream that she can remember that it’s not real, and that it’s long over, and that she can wake up whenever she wants.

59. what is a quiet passion of theirs?

Mychae has never been quiet about anything she’s been passionate about a day in her life. But the one that really stands out is the dancing. I mean, she spent a year under cover on Dromund Kaas as a professional ballerina. You don’t manage that unless you’re damn good. She does also maintain an alias specifically for signing up to Core World dance competitions, because she didn’t spend three years perfecting her Corellian Tango to wind up only using the training to kick someone in the head.

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Answer

If I recall correctly, Remi’s first impression of Alisaie was entirely physical, given. Sort of, “Wow, okay, yes, she could be fun to spend an evening with” followed closely by, “She’s from my home city and has a brain, even better”. Alisaie’s was, “Ooh, I’m a fan of the dark-haired butch ones” followed by, “Successful adventurer; this is going to be fun whatever happens; wonder if I can travel along with them? I still want to be a Brass Arrow and travelling with her would be WAY more fun than it would have been with that last bunch of sexist jackasses”.

First kiss was, depending on Remi’s contribution to it, searching. Some prostitutes don’t kiss on the mouth, but Alisaie tends to use a kiss to find out as much about a person’s proclivities in the moment as possible. So searching and experimental and very, very thorough, learning the shape of Remi’s mouth with lips and tongue and the occasional very light nip of teeth.

Alisaie’s contribution to the wedding? Oh, she’d petition hard for it to be at Hearthhome (because Twilly and Miranda, understanding how hard it can be for some parents to let go because of Miranda’s own family issues, could help keep a leash on Corri), and petition even harder to have Hazel perform the ceremony no matter what potential flail might ensue. (There’s a nod to Sune in wedding ceremonies in most places, but generally it’s all about decorating the ceremonial space and looking as nice as possible and generally luring the eyes of a love-and-beauty god to the place so she can see the love about to be celebrated and bless the union, rather than speaking vows to her; Pelor’s the sun-and-life god, so the vows go to him.) Mostly because, “C’mon, Ree; it’s basically family and since when has anything we’ve ever done been that solemn? We need some silly and flail or it doesn’t reflect us properly.” Also, her being a bard and being pretty up on various cultures’ marriage traditions, she’d insist that some local flavour from the place they’ve been be thrown into the ceremony - not the desert waste tradition of wearing matched brands (the rings will substitute for that) but Anbir’s shared family sigil presented on an item of clothing for the first time, Egref’s tradition of timepieces that start running when the ceremony ends to show the couple how long they’ve been together and chime once per hour on their wedding anniversary, the shared Goldendale / Cedargrove tradition of presenting a carved knotwork wooden spoon (like the Welsh do) … all that as her way of saying she wants to be married in every tradition. But she’d totally teach Remi the very seldom-done Pair-Bond Dance of the People (because the People do not pair-bond much; most hunting bands are polycules, and marriage usually only happens up north when people really want kids), which involves, in early stages, beginning with the newlyweds dancing with their parents (if any survive) before sort of weaving together with new spouse and leaving the family members to bond in a separate aspect of the dance. Jenna and Lanark would offer to serve that role for Alisaie. Corri would cry. A lot.

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Barbarian stereotype: “I just hit things.”

Barbarian reality: “I am the only one in this party with both the common sense and personality to actually plan shit.”

Bard stereotype: “I will fuck everything that moooooooooves!”

Bard reality 1: “Yeah, it was a living, but now get between me and my Paladin and I will fucking END YOU.”

Bard reality 2: “I have this massive crush on the elderly scarred veteran who takes no bullshit running the local blacksmith shop but I’m scared to even flirt because she’d laugh in my face.”

Cleric stereotype: “Be calm, be healed.”

Cleric reality: “I have a hammer and I’m going to make this asshole as flat as possible; just … from standing, to pancake!”

Fighter stereotype: “I just hit things.”

Fighter reality: “Okay, lemme just get my pince-nez and notebook…”

Monk stereotype: “All is One; we will flow as the water and all will happen as it should.”

Monk reality: “…I don’t know what to do with any of this.”

Paladin stereotype: “I am the protector of all; only my god needs protect me!”

Paladin reality 1: “Yes, Mom, I’ll be careful… No, Mom, I don’t need a sweater… OH MY GODS MOTHER…”

Paladin reality 2: “Yeah, okay, my god protects me … which one, again?”

Ranger stereotype: “A wolf is my companion; I am ONE WITH THE FOREST.”

Ranger reality: “I have a living plush puppy named Butterscotch.”

Rogue stereotype: Edgelord

Rogue reality 1: sobbing with joy and cute overload over aged Pomeranian

Rogue reality 2: using stealth to hide because shyness and social anxiety

(Tiefling stereotype and reality: See above)

Warlock stereotype: “I toy with terrible eldritch forces!”

Warlock reality 1: “I made a deal with a Celestial to save somebody’s life and restore a dead barony in the name of Light.”

Warlock reality 2: “My Archfey patron wants whimsical mischief involving cute animals and sent me clothes shopping.”

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