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Valucre

Chouette

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  1. Come at me...

    Was tagged and am available if there's interest, but it looks like plenty of people are already eager to answer the challenge. Also: Hell yes. I've done one of those before and it was crazy fun.
  2. Beyond all Mortal Ken (Forgotten Woods)

    They gather, they bicker, they try to find their bearings at the precipice of a great dark unknown. The wayward, the weird, the curious individuals who would rather walk together than alone. One wonders, one ponders: whatever will become of such a haphazardly put-together band? When perils, and devils, and fearful things besides might yet await them in these long-forgotten lands? Their tale is only just beginning. *** Turn away from this odd gathering- for just a moment -and look deep into the woods beyond. Rush past blackened tree-trunks and thick beds of moss, through fallen leaves and faintly glowing fungi, until you catch the barest glimpse of a color quite out of place in this dark and overgrown locale. Blue. A cloak stained seven shades of sky, moving slowly and quietly amidst the trees. Its bearer is blissfully unaware of all the ruckus behind her, let alone that she might have helped bring it about. Steadfast, she ambles on, sticking to her path without quite knowing whether she’s going the way she intended. Up ahead, a sudden sound breaks through the night. Rustling and scratching and stuffing, the noise of something alive and moving not too far away. The blue cloak stops short, casting about in surprise, and one edge of the bright fabric is caught on a low-hanging branch, ripped away in the heat of the moment. Calm returns quickly, however, as hidden eyes lock on to the source of the skittering. Only a squirrel. Nothing strange or fearsome, just a scruffy little rodent peering curiously down from above. The lady in blue relaxes. Unhurriedly, she raises one arm, extending a thin, pale hand from the folds of her cloak. The animal sniffs, considering. This stranger is large, or at least far larger than it, and any squirrel knows that it is best to stay away from such towering creatures. Yet in spite of this, it cannot help but move closer, drawn by a strange fascination that overwhelms its tiny mind. Cautiously, it hops down onto her outstretched fingers, then clambers up her arm and rests contentedly on her shoulder. “Good boy.” She gently strokes its back, running one finger through disheveled fur. “Now, little one. Will you show me the way?” The squirrel nods, then points with one tiny paw, and the lady follows its lead. Onward she strolls, humming softly to her newfound guide as they vanish into the endless dark. Behind them, a tiny fragment of blue dangles, limply, from a low-hanging branch.
  3. Powers and balance

    Power is fun. I like being powerful. I like being dwarfed by the power of others. The dynamics of character strength within a story can add a lot of tension and create interesting situations you wouldn't see otherwise. In competitive situations (T1 tournaments and such) balance usually needs to be strict, since the majority of competitors will make their characters as overpowered as possible within the competition's ruleset. However, this thread seems to be focused more on power in a general setting- ergo characters acting in threads within Valucre -and I'd argue that in this case, balance can be a great deal looser. It can even be beneficial to have some imbalance within a setting. That said, for power to be fun, it needs to remain within two boundaries: 1) Does not unnecessarily restrict the freedom of other characters/writers 2) Does not break the established plot or setting (unless this is agreed upon as part of the story) Characters with power can act as an obstacle or opposition, and wield their power to harm other characters or change the course of the plot in some way- that's fine. Where things get less fine is when your character is so powerful that he/she leaves other players with no option but to submit (or complain OOC). Try to imagine some scenarios: I'd say a solid rule of thumb is to consider the possibility of your character and an unpowered human being in a thread together. Maybe your character would almost certainly beat an ordinary human in a straight fight, but could said human use the situation to somehow oppose them? As allies, would an ordinary human still be able to provide useful assistance with the problems your character will face over the course of the story? If the answer to either question is no, then it's probably best to tone your power down a bit. And no, 'but I won't use my full power' is not a valid excuse: having a character who can easily crush everything and is just holding back for the lulz is a good way of killing tension in any conflict they become involved in. *** Now, onto plot/setting. Everyone wants to be able to influence things, and it can be fun to use a powerful character to shift a plot or introduce some disruption into a setting, even for the weaker players. Maybe your character's power draws dangerous attention to your group of allies, or gets them in some kind of trouble. Maybe you bring a powerful necromancer to attack a small town where a party of adventurers is staying, providing a temporary challenge and perhaps a recurring antagonist. Where things get excessive is when your character's power makes a thread or setting all about you. Take the example of the necromancer: if he/she is so strong that the adventurers cannot defeat them and will likely be wiped out, then by attacking them you've effectively derailed whatever plot they were writing and inserted yourself as the greater threat. Rather than adding an interesting twist or detour to a game in progress, you're basically saying "you can't play your game, you have to play my game now." On a larger scale, if your character shows up in an established setting and proceeds to casually blow it up, you're pretty much knocking over someone's sandcastle. This might be fun for you, but probably wouldn't be fun for other players, unless you'd agreed on that plot beforehand. Again, let's go through some scenarios: If a thread is meant to be all about a certain character, or there's a pre-planned agreement among all involved to wreck a setting, then by all means, go nuts! If not, then it's simple: don't jump in with someone who derails a thread just by being there. *** So those are the boundaries, in my opinion. Unlimited power is no fun, but at the same time one shouldn't take this to mean that power is bad. On the contrary. Power is fun. It's been fun since the dawn of history: the ancient greeks wrote stories about heroes who wrestled lions to death and fought giant monsters and generally performed badass feats that rearranged the world around them. It's still fun today: cinemas are full of superhero films where big muscular men (and occasionally women) throw down with all kinds of wild abilities, wrecking buildings, cities, even planets. There are a few characters on this site who are nothing more than ordinary civilians going about their business, but look up a random character in the profile database and chances are they'll have some kind of awesome skill or magic they can use to royally fuck you up. Powerful characters can capture the imagination, create interesting opportunities in a storyline, introduce tension and excitement with their very presence. A mighty dragon might be able to tear its way through a group of brave adventurers with ease, but is this not what makes it compelling when they find a way to take it on in spite of this? An unbreakable golem might tower above his allies in both stature and strength, but it is this very power that allows him to stand firm and hold the enemy back while his friends make a daring escape. A warlord suddenly laying siege to a city with her massive horde can be a nuisance that disrupts everyone playing there- or, with proper planning OOC, she can be the monumental threat that everyone bands together against in an epic clash. Overpowered characters can be bad for a story if they excessively restrict player options or derail a plot, but they can also create options, improve stories, make things more enjoyable. A strict power limit or a system that equalizes all characters (like rolling dice to determine who wins a fight) can be a good way of regulating conflicts to keep things getting out of hand, but they also heavily restrict a story- why go against the majority and take on multiple player characters when the sheer weight of numbers guarantees you'll be crushed? Why fear the mighty sorceress when she only has as much power as any other one character? Why should my character rely on another to protect him when they're both equally strong? Is it really worth setting up a careful ambush to beat this enemy when I know I can take it in a fight? Having powers without limits can suffocate a story, but so can forcing them down to a restrictive level. Going into anecdote again: In summary: power and lack of balance is fun where it works with the plot and creates options for players involved. It's no fun where it restricts options and/or knocks plots off the rails. *** Like Mag said, it's difficult to make hard-and-fast rules to balance every power for every situation, and certain powers can be more dangerous in the hands of some players than others. That said, since it seems Supernal was asking for this, I'm going to fill in his template for a few powers, based on what I think sounds like something that could enhance a thread versus hinder it.
  4. [Quest] Bogus Booty

    Beast prowled. Beast hunted. Fire had ruled this land, but where was it now? The wizard had driven it out, cast it away like some minor nuisance. A circle of quiet desolation remained in its wake, a tiny realm of darkness, predators stalking within. At last, the hour had come. No longer did Beast plod like some tired giant, nor stomp as an armored brute might. He roved on all fours, padding smoothly, quietly, all the force and weight of his body held back in anticipation He had insisted on being at the head of the group as they advanced on the enemy stronghold. Was it not his right? He had fought for these mammals, killed for them, protected them as best he could- and now that the time had come to win glory, he would take the lion's share. The man from the farm had been weak, easily cracked, and the others had not needed Beast's help to break him. Nor had he been asked to gather allies for them. With little to do but look fearsome, a feat he could perform in his sleep, he had plenty of time to think on the coming battle, and how their prey would respond. Someone had seen Teddy's band when they first arrived in this town, he was certain of it. The rebels would not have been immediately aware of their objective, but the sudden appearance of a mercenary group might have been enough to set them on edge, make them cautious. Mammals were easily spooked by hunters, after all. Even this small push might have been enough to make them check in on their allies, their more vulnerable contacts, and one look at the farm would have revealed the disaster that had occurred there. Best to assume, then, that the enemy knew they were coming. How did this change things? Not so much time had passed. If the rebels had an established operation here, they would not be so quick to abandon their posts, especially if the constables were weak enough that they could only muster a handful of men. The enemy had the advantage of numbers, the advantage of terrain- likely they would see this as an opportunity. Kill those who came after them, then vanish before others could arrive. Bloody the nose of the governing order they hated so, score a defiant victory that could rally more to their cause. It was a gamble Beast would have taken. This was another reason why he wanted to be in front. As they cleared a mount and the old mining village spread out beneath them, Beast came to a halt. He threw out one arm, barring the way for those behind, then pointed to a cluster of trees downhill of their position. "There." He sniffed, frowning. "Seven males. Two females." Hiding themselves, ready to ambush a group passing through or to flank one moving past. He glanced over his shoulder, looking to Teddy and Roxanne. "Let me take some men. I will move out where they can see, let them think we are going where they want. You take the wizard boy, come from where they cannot see. When they move, you pounce." You slaughter. A shame that he could not claim that role for himself, but if the enemy had heard of his arrival they would be looking out for him, and being obvious to their eyes made him a better distraction. Besides, if he had counted right, there would still be plentiful prey in the ghostly town ahead.
  5. Beyond all Mortal Ken [Special Josty Edition]

    Honestly I'm not sure what to do really. On one hand I would like to try and be involved in some capacity, because it's a fun idea and it gives me chance to use one of my favorite characters. On the other hand, I'm still not entirely better (up and about again but still feeling pretty crap), and I now have a big RL backlog to deal with. I was taking too long to get the thread rolling even before I got hit with the viral wombo combo, and I doubt I'd be able to manage it well now, given the circumstances. So I think the best and fairest option for all involved would be for me to let you have the faction and keep doing what you're doing (assuming you're all right with this). If and when I can get my shit fully together, I can join in the thread (as a player/helper rather than leader, since I'm guessing you have your own plans for how things will go by this point). That way I'll still get to help out somehow, but I won't be holding anyone up or getting in the way of any plans made in my absence. Sound good?
  6. Bogus Booty OOC

    Aye, probably won't be able to get anything up for this round. Will try and rejoin the order next round after Wade's post depending on how I am at that point.
  7. Beyond all Mortal Ken [Interest Check]

    Not humans nor anything else with two legs, two legs, and a head. Creatures come in all shapes and sizes, after all, and it's not their fault to be born the way they are. What they don't like is civilization. Sounds perfect! I'll have 'em!
  8. [Quest] Bogus Booty

    Ah! This was better. This was how things were meant to be. It felt good to stand up on two feet again. Good to have blood on his claws, warm rivers dripping down his scales, a sour sting in his mouth and a harsh drumbeat pounding in his chest. Beast had hunted, Beast had killed. Beast would feast upon the spoils, grow fat upon their thick meat and cracked bones, use their broken bodies as fuel for his own. But that last thought was a lie. The world was civilized now, conquered by mammals and their herds, and the old laws were rendered unto dust. Forget this truth, and he would soon follow them. The thrill faded. His head drooped low, eyes closing, and he grudgingly reached down to pick up the bodies. He stomped back around the building the way he had come, carrying two bleeding mammals under one arm and one under the other, like they would carry rolls of baked wheat. One of them might have gurgled- perhaps he was still alive, but it did not matter. They were too weak to kill him either way. The other guardians of this place had fared little better. One with his neck torn open, one thrown through a window and studded with broken glass, and two turned to ice where they stood, staring blankly out at the world. Even the big one had been caught. Beast shivered, eyes flicking briefly towards the Wiz boy and his magic stick. He had underestimated that one. Taking care to stay well clear of the frozen bodies, the great lizard made his way onto the porch, dumping his own victims in a neat pile before grabbing the one that had been tossed inside and shaking him roughly- he didn't respond -then adding him to the heap. Beast carried on, stopping where Teddy lay and poking at the man with one dirt-crusted toe. No response there, either. He glanced at the others, shrugging, and sat down on the porch. A few red drops splattered down from his snout as he did, though it was hard to tell where they might have come from. "I will keep watch." From the sound of his tone, he didn't particularly care what they did in the meantime.
  9. [Quest] Bogus Booty

    As Beast's pack of mercenaries walked up to the farm and straight into the jaws of the other pack of mercenaries, he changed into something else. Became less like a man, and more like the thing he was named after. He was no shaman, had no spells or spirits to trick the eye, but then what need had he for witchcraft, when the small creatures already wanted to see him as an animal? Rather than raise himself to his full height and walk like they did, he kept down on all fours, twisting his shoulders up and back, hiding his thumbs beneath his palms, letting his mouth hang open slightly and his tongue loll out as he padded slowly along at Roxanne's side, sniffing at the ground. The patience and cunning in his eyes was gone, his movements stiff and plodding. A predator still, but a tamed one now, nothing more than a great exotic attack dog. It was an act he'd relied on many times in the past. The others stopped, and so did Beast, glancing blearily up as Teddy went forwards and then back to Roxanne, before turning his snout down again and pawing disinterestedly at the earth. The guards with their weapons took a long look, sizing him up, but in the end it was the woman who seemed to command the creature whom they watched, the redhead who might sic it on them with a single command. Perhaps some of them would still have eyes on Beast, but he did not think they would expect him to strike first. So he waited. Waited for things to turn bad, as he knew they would. Some mammals were good at hiding their anger, their pent-up fear and aggression, but Beast could smell it. This whole place reeked of it. Breathing in, breathing out. Claws scraping against the ground, digging in. Hold. Hold. Hold... A scream. Go! He struck first, taking advantage of the fact that they'd expect him to act on a command from another, of the fact that they likely hadn't paid attention to his pawing at the earth because animals just did that sometimes, and who thought to care? It wasn't as if some dumb Beast would be slowly, deliberately digging his claws into the ground and churning it up, breaking it into smaller chunks so that the moment he head something he could seize a massive fistful of mashed-up dirt and hurl it in their faces, small chunks and stones bouncing and stinging against them as a thousand dry brown pinpricks blew into their eyes, forcing them to flinch or turn away. To their credit, they recovered fast. These were trained men, possibly the kind who'd have set up ambushes themselves, and they grasped the situation quickly, drawing and firing at where Beast would have been if he'd charged straight at them. Unfortunately, he had not charged straight at them. He had charged past them, as they'd soon find out when a long, whip-like tail lashed out and wrapped around the ankles of one of the smaller ones and yanked him away to be dragged screaming behind the massive lizard now galloping off around the side of the farm. The red-haired one and the magic one were on their own, for now. Beast had distracted their enemies, even taken one of them for himself, leaving those two facing four armed and trained enemies. Not really a fair fight. Ah, well. Perhaps they'd leave the big one alive for him. He flicked his tail, slamming the captured mammal against the ground and knocking him senseless, just as he rounded a corner and came face-to-face with the two mammals from around the back, who were running out to see what had made so much noise on the far side of their farm. They knew something was wrong, had guns drawn already. Their eyes were sharp, aim steady, trigger fingers ready. One even had some form of barrier magic deployed, a circular shield protecting his front. It wasn't enough to save them.
  10. The factions are coming! - civil war, phase 2

    @supernal Thread is up.
  11. Hush, now. It is nighttime, and the town is lost in sleep, wandering the roads of a thousand dreams. If you listen closely, you can hear them- deep snores, soft breaths, dying wheezes, no two quite the same. Signatures, carved in the silence. Here and there you may also catch scribbles, such as the pop and crackle of a fire in the hearth or the scritching and scurrying of hungry rats or the faint murmur of conversation between those few nocturnal dwellers who don't know the meaning of bedtime. And footsteps! Let's not forget the footsteps. There's an artistry to them, a rhythm, such that each soft pad against the earth (heel-toe, heel-toe) fits neatly into the tapestry of the night's sounds, a cleanly drawn line amidst the scrawls emanating elsewhere. The wind picks up, and hums in tune. It's curious, excited. After all, these are no ordinary footsteps! This is the sound of a force of nature, beginning to move. A blue cloak floats down the road, carried by a pair of small feet that stride without the slightest deviation to the threshold of civilization. First it's the shadows of houses and taller buildings that fall behind her, then the long rows of crops rustling faintly in the wind, and finally the last fence marking the border. After that, nothing but barren road, thin grasses and scattered weeds. Then the shadows of the first trees. They fall over the lady in blue, enveloping her swallowing her whole. She does not hesitate, only striding onward, onward, onward into the dark of the wilderness, until she passes out of sight and is lost to the world. Forever.
  12. The factions are coming! - civil war, phase 2

    @supernal In a forest long forsaken, a false princess seeks to unite nature and civilization, quietly sowing the seeds of peace as war looms on the horizon.
  13. The factions are coming! - civil war, phase 2

    @supernal @HumanBean03 Interest check is up!
  14. The Forgotten Wood- Tread its forsaken paths, and ye shall find only grief. Those roads are not meant for the likes of man. So it has been said for years beyond counting. The Wood is not a place to be trifled with: people walk into the shadows of the gentle trees and come out... less. The place eats away at vulnerable minds, slowly devouring thought and memory until nothing remains. Of what resides in these woods, only rumors and legends exist. Some speak of a fairy race, who hid away there long ago and cursed the place so that no outsiders would ever disturb their mystic gardens. Perhaps there is truth to this, but none can say. None have ever needed to say. For centuries or more, the Wood has been left alone, a dark and silent corner of the world. Until now. With chaos taking hold throughout Terrenus, key supply lines have been disrupted, leaving many communities cut off and vulnerable. Nowhere is this more true than in the already isolated villages at the edge of the Forgotten Wood, where the flow of supplies from Ashville has slowed down to a trickle and the disruptive expansion of the Shawnee Loci has harmed vital crops used to feed the population. With poverty and starvation looming on the horizon, many are considering abandoning their homes and fleeing south to larger population centers. There is a growing voice, however, that advocates a different path. The leader of this faction, a mysterious and charismatic young woman, claims to have found a way into the Wood, and called a council with its denizens. If a small party of delegates can brave its forgotten depths and forge a pact with the mysterious creatures that reside there, perhaps there may yet be hope for two peoples divided since the dawn of living memory. Let the foolish and the brave come forward. Grief be damned- we shall make this right.
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