Nov 30 2020

Shady’s Solo Adventure: Scene Three (Actual Play)

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Telekain, Guildmaster of the Golden Compass Society

Picking up where we left off…

The avian Guildmaster of the Golden Compass Society fluffed up into a happy puff of blue and orange. “Shady!” he beamed. “Shade-Of-the-Candle, it has been too long!”

“Hey, Telekain,” said Shady, tossing her tricorn hat onto his desk. “I like the new digs. Ol’ Kresthianze’s skull has never looked better.”

“I was thinking of some silver fittings to hold it in place,” said Telekain. “Too extravagant, do you think?”

“Nah, go big or go home, I say,” replied the tabaxi, with a grin.

“Maybe,” said Telekain. “But I know you better than to think you just randomly dropped into my offices. Looking for work, perhaps? ‘The Lightbringers’ may have gone their separate ways, but you know you’re always welcome here.”

“Not work exactly,” said Shady. “But you’re one of the best information brokers I know. I’m looking for some intelligence.”

“I don’t know how much of THAT you’ll find here, adventurers are not known for it,” said the bird, and made a click of a laugh in his throat.

“I’d resent that if it weren’t completely true,” Shady replied with a smirk, and sat on the corner of his desk. “But seriously tho, I’m trying to find out what’s up with a shipment of munitions going from here to Dragonwatch Keep. I thought maybe if you could put your ear to the ground—”

“Munitions? You mean like 200 tons of alchemist’s fire?”

“That’s… very specific,” said Shady. “But it sounds promising. What do you know about it?”

“My dear Shady!” said Telekain. “It was one of my teams that confiscated it!”

“Oh really!”

“You and your merry band of misfits aren’t the ONLY skilled adventurers in town, you know,” replied the Guildmaster, with no small amount of preening. “I’ve been cultivating quite the collection you know.”

“Uh huh.”

“But yes, two weeks ago now, one of the Lady Patrician’s scouts discovered a gunrunning operation out of a hidden cove near Saltar’s Port, and asked us to see if we couldn’t discreetly take care of it. It was a… mixed success. Most of the gunrunners escaped to sea with their wares, but they were forced to abandon an overladen barque. You probably saw it being brought into dock.”

“That ugly black-painted thing, looked like it would fall to pieces if the pilot sneezed?”

“The very one!”

“I’m amazed you could fit 200 tons of anything onto that deathtrap.”

“Just so,” said Telekain. “That’s why they abandoned it. Anyway, it was enough that the Keep paid us for the commission, even if we didn’t exactly dispose of the gunrunners.”

“Why isn’t there a public bounty on these guys?”

“That, you’d have to ask the Lady Patrician,” said Telekain. “I think she may be worried about reprisals if it went sour, they’re an imposing lot, with something like four ships. Well, three now, I imagine.”

“Reprisals? Phooey. Half the Sea Lancers are sitting around port bored… well except for Ainsworth. We could wipe out three ships of gunrunners in an afternoon.”

Telekain gave a shrug-like wave of a talon. “Like I said, you’d have to ask her, all I know is what I’ve heard.”

“Hmm,” said Shady. “So where’s this cargo of alchemist’s fire now?”

“In the Keep’s storehouse I would imagine,” said Telekain.

“Then why did you bring it up when I mentioned a shipment going to Dragonwatch Keep?”

“Because that’s where it was earmarked to go,” replied the Guildmaster. “Dragonwatch Keep was slated to buy it, and for a very good price, I’m told. Until Cardinal Maraldo stepped in.”

One of Shady’s ears flicked. “Maraldo? What about him?”

“Well you know his keen interest in piracy, smuggling, and the like,” said Telekain.

“Oh yes,” said Shady. “I know.”

“Well he knew about the shipment almost before we did! He must have a remarkable network of informants. Anyway, he brought the matter up to the Council of Lords and argued that the shipment was too valuable to just sell off, so they nixed the deal—much to the Lady Patrician’s annoyance. I suspect in her mind she’d already earmarked just where all that gold was going to go, only to get pipped at the post.”

Shady pondered this for a moment, as a predatory grin began to slide across her face. “Now THAT’S interesting,” she said.

“Hmm?” said Telekain. “What?”

“That’s very interesting,” she said again, staring into a corner and idly scratching the tip of her chin with a claw.

“What? What’s so interesting?” demanded Telekain. “Do you know something you’re not telling me?”

Coming back down to earth, Shady leaned forward and booped Telekain’s beak. “If I did know something I wasn’t telling you, would I tell you I knew something I wasn’t telling you?” She hopped to her feet and collected her hat.

“Shady! What IS it?” said Telekain. “After all we’ve been through, don’t I—”

Shady grinned. “If you don’t want me to lie, don’t ask me questions I can’t answer,” she said. “But I will say this: you answered my question beautifully. Thanks, Scissorbill, I owe you one!”

“If you were really grateful, you’d stop calling me ‘Scissorbill!’” Telekain shouted at her retreating back, but Shady was already gone.

Lady Patrician
Dragonwatch Keep
Captain Dryden Ainsworth
Wharfmaster Fean Wavecrest
Sea Lancers: Kia (Captain of the Recluse)
Sea Lancers: Sterling (Captain of the Silver Corsair)
Sea Lancers: Adric (Captain of the Blue Fin)
Cardinal Maraldo


Steal the alchemist’s fire
The privateers’ rivalry
The L.P.’s intrigues
Ainsworth’s botched security vs. Shady’s spying

Next Scene: A chat with the Lady Patrician

Nov 29 2020

Shady’s Solo Adventure: Scene Three Groundwork Meta

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Shady looks longingly out to sea.

Continuing where we left off…

I feel like there’s a weakness in the core premise. One shipment of munitions by itself hardly seems critical enough for all this skullduggery. Time to refine it a bit. EVENT MEANING ROLL: Focus is 56: “PC negative” (something about Shady herself? O.o), action and subject are 4/93: “Fight of weather.” Um. What? XD The L.P. doesn’t think Shady can navigate storms? That doesn’t make any sense.

Reply hazy, try again! EVENT MEANING ROLL: Focus is 19: “NPC action,” action and subject are 13/85: “Decrease of technology.” Okay, so what NPC? Characters List 4: Ainsworth, or Persons of Interest 6: Cardinal Maraldo. Well huh, what could I do with that?

Maraldo is a high official in the church of Pholtus (“The Blinding Light”), paladins and crusaders who are sworn to seek justice, law, and order. And Maraldo believes in this creed, even if in his own case he tends more to an authoritarian streak, favoring the law and order part over the justice part. Why would he pursue “decrease of technology”? He believes in “might for right,” and also conveniently believes that what he does is right, because he’s the one doing it. If there’s munitions to be had, his view is going to be “We should have it, to keep it from ‘falling into the wrong hands’, and also to better smite evil with.”

Soooo… what if the secrecy is to avoid conflict with the Cardinal? The Lady Patrician would love to have munitions for Everkeep, but she might very well love a pile of gold from Dragonwatch Keep even more. What if the munitions were captured (from pirates/smugglers/gunrunners, whatevs), but instead of confiscating and using them, the L.P. has decided to sell them to Dragonwatch Keep over Maraldo’s objections? The “Judge/Balance” result from Scene Two isn’t about the whole region—it’s about the balance of power within Everkeep itself!

That could also explain why Ainsworth actually put “munitions” on the wharfmaster’s log—maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a secret at first, but the decision was made at the last second, “The answer is ‘no,’ I am therefore going anyway?” But Ainsworth knows Shady well enough to know that she has no love for Maraldo, and isn’t likely to go stirring up trouble with him, which is why he didn’t try to take her prisoner to keep the secret.

Okay! I dig this. :) But now the big question: what actually IS the next scene? Shady’s been cut off here and doesn’t have much in the way of a path to pursue. She doesn’t care about the munitions qua themselves, she just wants to find some kind of angle to profit by, as her ship languishes on the docks. Attacking the Dragonfly to pirate the munitions is a winnable battle but iffy prospect, plus it would probably cost her Ainsworth’s friendship and definitely get her blacklisted in Everkeep. BUT, if Shady finds out about the conflict between L.P. and Maraldo, she can work that into a win/win for the L.P. by stealing the munitions back for Everkeep after they’re delivered, IF she can do it anonymously. That seems very much a Shady thing to pull, but she has to find out about the conflict first. And that means she needs to do more poking around.

The Moonlit Horizon is faster than the Dragonfly, so there’s no real time constraint in letting Ainsworth go ahead and leave town; Shady has some time to investigate. But where will she go? She knows the other privateers are also in the dark; she could try to find some kind of information broker type, or go straight to the Lady Patrician herself. Telekain?

Hmm. That’s a promising angle! So, next scene will be “Shady goes to Telekain,” assuming there is no modification or interrupt. But I’m out of time (and words) for this session, so I’ll have to start there with the next installment!

Nov 26 2020

Shady’s Solo Adventure Continues

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Picking up right where we left off

The Dragonfly was a more imposing ship than its name implied. A three-masted frigate, it dwarfed Shady’s own Moonlit Horizon and outgunned it by half. On the dock below teamsters came and went, loading the ship with stores. Shady sauntered casually among them, looking from crate to crate as any curious mariner might; but there was no sign of any munitions to be found.

“Shade-Of-the-Candle!” came a voice from above. “What are you doing poking your nose around my ship?” Shady looked up, smirking. Captain Ainsworth peered down at her with good-natured suspicion.

“Keeping an eye on the competition, what does it look like?” Shady replied. “It’s lean times for us little guys who don’t have the Lady Patrician’s ear.”

“We don’t have to be competitors,” Ainsworth said. “Come on up and sign articles, I could use an escort on this trip.”

“Ha! And have to hear you calling yourself ‘Commodore’? Not likely,” said Shady.

“More fool you,” Ainsworth replied. “Turning away easy money.”

“If it was so easy you wouldn’t want an escort,” said Shady. “What’s the journey?” (SHADY PERSUASION DC 15: 15)

“It’s not for the ears of the world to hear,” said Captain Ainsworth. “C’mon up, we’ll talk over a drink, I could use a break.”

(FATE QUESTION: Does Ainsworth intend to tell Shady the truth? NO)

A quick bound up the gangway and to the sterncastle of the Dragonfly led Shady into Ainsworth’s cabin. It was larger than Shady’s equivalent on the Moonlit Horizon, with a large table that doubled for holding large maps or hosting shipboard dinners. Currently it was covered with charts and logbooks, which Ainsworth was already covering by the time Shady stepped in. “There’s a bit of that crazy slime ale from Winnowing Reach if it suits you,” Ainsworth said. “Otherwise, help yourself to a bit of port.”

“Oh hell no,” said Shady, laughing. “Why do you even have that stuff?”

“Sometimes I want to impress visitors,” said Ainsworth. “I’ll stick with the port, myself.”

Shady chuckled as she poured the drinks; Ainsworth gestured for her to sit. “So what’s this journey of yours, then?” she said.

“Mostly precious ore and gemstones to Dragonwatch Keep,” Ainsworth said. “It’s a short trip, but if word’s got to pirates somehow…”

(SHADY INSIGHT DC 16: 17. She already knew he was lying because she saw the manifest; what she wants to figure out is why. EVENT MEANING ROLL: Why is Ainsworth (and the L.P.) keeping it secret from Shady? 23/23, “Judge/Balance”. It sounds like they’re worried that this shipment might tip the balance of power in the region. FATE QUESTION: Did the L.P. order Ainsworth to keep it secret because he was the only one she trusted? YES. That 23/23 is close enough to a double digit roll that we need a random event! Heck, what are the chances of two d100 rolls coming up the same twice? EVENT FOCUS ROLL: PC Negative. I think it’s time for Shady to open her big mouth.)

“Gemstones my ass!” Shady spat, slamming her drink glass down on the table. “Don’t LIE to me, Ainsworth! What’s really going on? Those are no gemstones you’re loading into your hold.” The Captain of the Dragonfly narrowed his eyes, but said nothing at this outburst. Shady glared at him for a long moment.

“Fine,” she finally said. “Nothing to say, huh?”

“I have my orders,” said Ainsworth. “If you want to stop being ‘one of the little guys,’ you’re going to have to learn what that means, Shade-Of-the-Candle. You’re sharp as a razor and you’ve got a good nose for the wind, but neither of those are any good without discipline. What does it matter what’s in my hold? If you wanted a piece of this job, you’d be expected to follow orders regardless of whatever it might be.”

(SHADY WISDOM SAVE DC 13: 9. She’s been goaded into saying more than she means to!)

Shady rose to her feet, coming nose-to-nose with Ainsworth. “I could deliver munitions to Dragonwatch Keep as well as anybody, and faster too. You might have more guns, but I’m way better for a chase and you know it. I don’t see why the Lady Patrician shouldn’t know it too.”

(FATE QUESTION: Will Ainsworth try to keep Shady prisoner so she doesn’t reveal the secret? EXCEPTIONAL NO.)

Ainsworth looked pained. “There’s no way you should know what’s in that shipment, Shady,” he said. “Somebody’s got loose lips.”

“And YOU should get better at covering your tracks, Dryden,” said Shady. “But I don’t give a damn about your munitions. I want to know why you’re getting jobs, and I’m not.”

“It’s not like that,” said Ainsworth. “You’re not being singled out. Even Kia, Sterling, and Adric don’t know. It was just going to be an ordinary job before… things got complicated.”

Shady’s brow furrowed. “What THINGS?”

Ainsworth shook his head. “Don’t want me to lie to you, Shady? Then don’t ask me questions I can’t answer.” He strode to the cabin door and opened it. “Go on, get out. Head back to your ship. In fact, you might want to take it to some other port for a while. Zan-Xadar maybe, or Oriab. If word gets to the Lady Patrician that you’ve been spying—”


“Well what else do you call it?”

“I call it trying to get a straight answer.”

Ainsworth looked away, pointedly holding the door open. “Go, Shady. There’s nothing more to discuss.”

“No,” said Shady. “I guess there’s not.”

Lady Patrician
Dragonwatch Keep
Captain Dryden Ainsworth
Wharfmaster Fean Wavecrest
Kia (Captain of the Recluse)
Sterling (Captain of the Silver Corsair)
Adric (Captain of the Blue Fin)


Steal the alchemist’s fire
The privateers’ rivalry
The L.P.’s intrigues
Ainsworth’s botched security vs. Shady’s spying
What are the complications?

Next Scene: Now you’ve made Shady curious. But first, some meta-work…

Nov 26 2020

On Being Thankful

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It would be easy to be glib today. “I am thankful that 2020 is almost over!” is a joke that writes itself, while also being an objectively true statement. Yes, the numbers on a calendar are purely arbitrary designations created by a consensual shared illusion, but they have psychological power, and 2020 has been fucking awful for me personally as well as on a national and global stage. So yeah, it’s there.

But I want to be grateful. This year of all years, “thanksgiving” as a concept is one that almost feels like a radical rebellion. The world wants to go out of its way to be awful? Well I’m going to work just as hard to remember what’s good, and to look towards a tomorrow that will be better.

Mrs. Gneech and I have to move. Despite everything we’ve tried, all the hoops we’ve jumped through and how bone-grindingly hard we’ve worked, we simply cannot afford to live the way we have. To describe us as “unhappy” about this is the kind of understatement that Brits used to use when describing the Blitz as “a bit of a nuisance.” We are quite frankly devastated at seeing decades of savings wiped out, at having to lose our home again, at years-in-a-row of constant rejection and unemployment despite both being educated, experienced, hard-working, and talented. But even among this, there is room for gratitude: we are supremely fortunate to have somewhere we can go. We have friends and relatives both who have offered us places to land, somewhere to live besides “out of our car” or “on the street.” These offers aren’t made lightly—in some cases they would make someone else’s already-cramped arrangements even more so. That’s a profound act of kindness towards us, and I’m keenly aware of that and grateful for it.

A pandemic is ravaging the country. Fueled by the antirationalism of a bone-stupid nation, it’s killed hundreds of thousands and done long-term physical and psychological damage to so many more. But I’m grateful that in my own personal circle, only one person has contracted it so far. It was agonizing for her, and at one point she quite literally believed she wasn’t going to survive to the end of the day, but she pulled through. The experience has impacted her—it would be hard for it not to—but she is all right. I am grateful for that, and I am grateful to have friends and family who understand that science is real and protect themselves; I am also grateful to live in a region of the country where “science is real” is the prevailing attitude. I miss restaurants and conventions and all that jazz, but I am grateful to be among people who understand that to have those things back, we have to take precautions now.

I am grateful that the fascist is on his way out. I am grateful for seeing people dancing in the streets, for fireworks in London and bells ringing over Paris, because it shows that most people really do understand what’s been happening and what was at stake. The fight goes on, but this was an important victory and I’m grateful for it.

I’m grateful for Shade-Of-the-Candle. Life without my creative spark is gray, formless, and depressing. If I have to choose between being obsessed with something, or being dead inside, I’ll take the obsession every time. While I’m frustrated that I don’t have much ability to steer my artistic drive in directions I would prefer, I am still grateful that they exist. Around the new year or so this past year, when my despair at seeing there was no way for us to get out of our financial hole was at its worst, being able to draw Shady, to play Shady in D&D, and to come up with stories about my fuzzy problem child, was literally what enabled me to get out of bed some mornings.

Catra, eating a dumpling and being adorable.On a related note, I’m grateful for season five of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and Catra’s messy healing arc. I’ve written elsewhere about what I owe this series, so I won’t rehash it here. But it was important to me, and I’m grateful for it. And honestly, just look at Catra, eating a dumpling. Look! Isn’t that something to be grateful for? I’m grateful for Good Omens, I’m grateful for the Animaniacs reboot (of which I’ve only seen clips), I’m grateful the Twitterponies still exist, even if they’re quieter than they used to be.

As of the time of this writing, Mrs. Gneech and I still haven’t worked out where we’re going. We’ve dragged our feet so long that we ended up having to pay an extra month’s rent that we absolutely can’t afford in our current place, and we’ve got to get over it and move. Which means facing hard decisions where the only answers are various levels of “We don’t want that.” But at the same time, under all that, I feel a weird little flicker of hope, that I haven’t felt for a long time. I put Symphony of Science at the top of this essay because WitchieBunny reminded me of it last night. The past few years have felt like the world was collapsing in on itself (and my life was collapsing in on me), but there are bigger things and better things. I really do think things are going to start getting better soon, and I’m holding on to that thought.

I’m looking forward to a brighter tomorrow. And I’m grateful that it’s coming.

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Nov 25 2020

A Very Short Solo Adventure ¬.¬

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Shady On the Attack!

In response to my Playing Shady Instead of Writing Her post, RebelSqurl gifted me with a copy of the Mythic Game Master Emulator and a few other similar items, with a brief description of how he’s basically been using it to run solo adventures with his own characters. So, having today off, I dug into it, combining it with some of the random adventure generation tables in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and a few notions of my own to create a “random Shade-Of-the-Candle adventure generator.”

Learning the system and getting comfortable with it took most of the day, but I developed a very intriguing story premise by taking a few seed words, asking a few pointed Fate Questions, and then creating the first scene which I played out using Shady’s D&D character sheet. Now that I’ve got a feel for it, I’m looking forward to “running” Shady through the rest of this adventure, and discovering the story as I go!

For your entertainment, here’s what I came up with, so far. If the final product comes out well (and I think it just might), I’ll go ahead and write it as a full-fledged story.


Step One: Create Setup

Generated Keywords: pirate, Dragonwatch Keep, pursuit of energy

Shady has found out about a shipment of materials used to make alchemist’s fire on its way to Dragonwatch Keep, and would love to get her claws on it, whether to sell it in Everkeep or to keep it for the Moonlit Horizon.

FATE QUESTION: Did the Lady Patrician point Shady toward this?
RESULT: “Exceptional No.” The Lady Patrician has agents working against the capture of the shipment!

FATE QUESTION: Is the Lady Patrician’s agent somebody Shady knows?
RESULT: “Exceptional Yes.” It’s somebody that Shady’s close to.

FATE QUESTION: Does Shady know that the agent works for the L.P.?

FATE QUESTION: Are they lovers?

FATE QUESTION: Is the agent another privateer?
RESULT: “Exceptional yes.” It’s the L.P.’s best!

Step Two: Generate Lists

Lady Patrician
Dragonwatch Keep
The Privateer


Steal the alchemist’s fire
The privateers’ rivalry
The L.P.’s intrigues

Step Three: Create and Resolve Scenes

Opening Scene

A person of interest (the Harbormaster) sends Shady on the adventure
MODIFIED: Shady learns about the shipment by finagling a look at the Harbormaster’s log

“C’mon, Fean,” said Shade-Of-the-Candle. “There has GOT to be something. I’ve got a ship and crew both just baking in the sun and not a cargo in sight. Did Everkeep suddenly fall off the trade routes?”

Fean Wavecrest, the imposing, gray-skinned wharfmaster of Everkeep, blinked down at her impassively. “You don’t usually ship cargo,” he said. “And when you do bring it into the town, I always assume that it came from some other ship first.”

The tabaxi scowled. “Are you calling me a pirate?” she snarled. “The Moonlit Horizon is a licensed privateer. You’ve seen the letters of marque, signed by the Lady Patrician herself.”

“What the Moonlit Horizon may or may not be, there are no cargoes for her. Now move along, I have work to do.”

“How can you possibly have work to do if there are no cargoes in port?” Shady demanded.

“There are repairs, new ships to build, customs to levy, and hundreds of laborers to keep in line,” replied the goliath.

(SHADY INSIGHT DC 10: 2. She believes it. But she has another idea.) “The Dragonfly is prepping for a voyage,” she said. “How is it Ainsworth has a cargo and I don’t? I know he’s not on commission.”

“Captain Ainsworth has a private arrangement, you’d have to take it up with him.”

“But he had to put down something for your log.”

“He did. And your eyes will never see it.”

“Oh, c’moooon, Fean. Have I ever been anything but good to you? Give us a hint.” (SHADY PERSUASION DC 16: 17)

The goliath sighed. “I’m not getting you out from underfoot without throwing you a bone, am I?”

Shady grinned. “You bet your stoney butt you’re not.”

“Fine.” The goliath picked up his logbook, making a big show of holding up the logbook as if he were looking up something else, in a manner that Shady couldn’t help but see one of the pages. “What time is the tide today? Ah yes. Surely it must be soon. Why, it’s nearly upon us, isn’t it? I have it written down here.”

Shady’s eyes quickly scanned the page, until she came to the desired row. “Dragonfly, frigate out of Everkeep, Captain Dryden Ainsworth. Cargo: Munitions. Destination: Dragonwatch Keep. Leaving: Evening tide, 22 July 1704 N.K.” Shady’s eyes widened. Munitions could mean anything from cannonballs to empty muskets, but a shipment like that meant there was money involved.

Money that Shade-Of-the-Candle was not collecting.

Not yet.

She smirked up at the goliath wharfmaster, who quickly slapped the logbook shut. “Right,” he said. “I’m going now. I wonder if I might find a few loose coins just lying around on my desk when I get back.”

Shady grinned, already spreading a bit of gold on the desk before making for the door. “You just might, at that,” she said.

Lady Patrician
Dragonwatch Keep
Captain Dryden Ainsworth
Wharfmaster Fean Wavecrest


Steal the alchemist’s fire
The privateers’ rivalry
The L.P.’s intrigues

Shady sneaking aboard (or snooping around) the Dragonfly to learn more about the shipment

Nov 23 2020

On Iko, and Why She Isn’t Working

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Shiny Chariot, one of Iko's Inspirations

So Plotline started a D&D game, running Dragon of Icespire Peak. Being a fool, I made a non-tabaxi character in the form of Iko, a half-elf (eladrin) draconic bloodline sorcerer, whose main gimmick is teleporting around blasting stuff. Her main inspiration was “Tracer from Overwatch meets Akko from Little Witch Academia,” a talented-but-troublesome would-be wizard who has a tendency to break stuff and make stupid mistakes, but manages to pull through in the end. In combat, the idea is that she would pop in, annoy baddies into tilting or chasing her around, and then pop out again, which is the Tracer angle.

In play, it has not worked. Like, even a little.

Roleplay wise, she’s a big snooze. Sirfox’s paladin dominates any social interaction scenes, to the point that even Iko’s draconic heritage doesn’t cut the mustard with dragons. In combat, she’s a damp squib, very rarely even landing a hit when she does finally manage to get into position, and even more rarely being a hit that the badguys notice. I end up spending the whole session in audience mode and frustrated.

It’s an odd place to be in. Obsidian had the whole freaking universe revolve around her, to the point that I finally had to stop playing her because I felt like it was hurting the group. Shade-Of-the-Candle is dynamic and moves scenes forward, is usually at least competent in a fight, and can be situationally devastating. To have a character just be a non-performer the way Iko has been has left me kinda nonplussed.

Some of the problem, I think, is that I just don’t enjoy wizards. My own personal power fantasy, fueled by a life of being clumsy and overweight since childhood, is to actually be able to run and jump and punch evil in the face with a body that doesn’t suck. Things like flying or shooting fire out of my hands, just don’t resonate with me. It’s also part of my general distaste for flashy magic and high-level superheroes. I can enjoy them in small doses, but they’re not where my heart is. But when you combine that with a build that also doesn’t work, and a character dynamic that ALSO also doesn’t work, and you’ve got a character that just isn’t pushing my buttons.

So as the group takes a break for December and we start looking at where things might go in the future, I’m thinking about what to do about Iko. I think she’s going to have to be retired and replaced with something else, but what? I don’t want to just clone Shady and drop her into Plots’s game, for several reasons. But I do want to get back to a character that I’ll find more interesting and will hopefully be more effective.

First, I think I need to just admit that non-tabaxi characters make me snooze and make it a tabaxi. Second, they need a personality that will make things happen. If this campaign has had one sticking point, it’s that we’ve spent a lot of time dithering and looking for the plot, instead of creating one. So the character needs an agenda. And finally, they need to be a martial type and a build that can actually be effective at the table. To keep them from just being a Shady clone, I’m looking at monk, ranger, or fighter. The personality is being a little harder to find, because I haven’t worked out an idea that speaks to me yet. My first idea was a Van Helsing-ish “monster slayer,” sort of “What if the assassins from Assassin’s Creed had the mission of killing dragons instead of authoritarians?” I’m not sure I could make that sustainably interesting, tho, and it’s not really a character that would work well in a group context.

Whoever it is, needs to be a mover and shaker and a coffee achiever, because Iko’s passivity is leaving me dejected.

-The Gneech