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Erran

Foreword

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I made this blog category (Errandûrr) with only a few ideas to count on, hoping that they will grow, in time, into all they could be. I had them for several days now, waiting to be given shape, them and nothing else, and I guess I could not ask for more of a guarantee that putting them into writing is the path to follow now. I begin walking with both reticence and hope as road companions: the first because I don´t feel ready for the dark times of not being inspired, ahead, and the latter because I believe this road will eventually lead to you.

This post is concerned with my approach to role-play; as exemplified in the handling of Errandûrr. I will share here some thoughts about what it means to me, and maybe in general, to have just one character to invest in and take care of. I will also touch on the matter of character evolution with respect to the duration of playing, or in more precise terms: on the need for filling the apparent gaps in a character´s development opened by the relying on combat for leveling up. Lastly, I will present the idea of some means of finally getting to play with you, while continuing this lengthy process of adaptation to your world.

I believe it´s a good place, here, on the verge of what I see as a real breakthrough, to express gratitude towards the people who made me feel welcomed at TTW, so far - to Light, who first greeted and helped me get started with his advice, to Drew and Blackfox42, of the staff, who jumped to my assistance when I asked for it, and let me know I can count on it in the future, to DarkisnotEvil who answered my message, offering some GM help with my understanding of role-play, although I was not ready to receive it at the time, to Rellott who also made time to answer me, offering useful information regarding a PbP story I was following, to sarynkitamo, who nudged me to start playing, incidentally also offering a reader´s support of presence, through the comments, to RealWittyAlias, for much the same reasons, and last but not least (there is no first-last order, okay?!) to the people whose names appeared in the Recent Visitors box, throughout time, and to those who may have only made their reading known through that collective number of page Views: Thank you, guys! However scarce our future interactions may be, I will always feel that I share my accomplishments also with you.

A number of things contributed to the current state of affairs, of having just one character to give this much attention to. I have already expressed that inclination of building for myself as much a complex vehicle for expression as possible; although I soon found that complexity is not matched by a reduction in limitations, almost the contrary. And my posts so far have perhaps given ample demonstration of what could be called a beginner´s reluctance to touch the water. But I think these may not be the chief reasons. What I felt did clearly set a mental frame in which I begun to work on my character, was the observation that it takes a really long time for one to reach the highest level. Provided of course that the character stays alive. And the consequences of these were, first, that my tendency was to match the long play time with size of the other character life coordinates, and second, that Errandûrr became a long term project, capable of experiencing many transformations, and aimed at a conclusion, more satisfying the more elements it brings into a unified whole; of the character´s self-consciousness and of my expression. And, of course, he would have to experience the challenges of a DnD world gradually, so as to maintain good chances of reaching that satisfying conclusion.

To have just one character in play, at one time, means to maintain a certain constancy of expression, with changes to be went through only slowly, gradually, and only in strong relation to the events in the character´s life. I expect this could make a player feel restricted. Many of us know ourselves subjects to change, and perhaps we all meet here to share the best of what we can offer - like that energy of having fun, which I admire so. Also, I think it is correct to assume that playing different roles gives us the opportunity to express more of ourselves, even to experience ourselves in different ways maybe. Change is natural. And compared to it, sticking to one character, ¨for richer or for poorer¨ times, may seem the opposite, unnatural. But I feel that this seemingly unnatural way too has a place of well functioning in the order of things. When one dedicates to a character, when one commits as to a real relationship, something of that wandering nature of the soul´s surface breaks, and we find our capacity to rejoice unblemished, and even with added radiance, in that space of life which seemed limited, and now we get to know in its infinity. These are big words and I can only strive to live up to them. But the main take-away here is that one can feel good with just one character to take care of, if they accept not to escape the difficult times. On a lighter note (and hopefully not offending anyone...), having reached this perspective of a relationship makes me think I should have better chosen a female character XD But hey, I guess it will be about me and my soul; or me and a son, I don´t know... In any case, first of all, about me and a good friend, with Errandûrr :)

Having just one character in play also allows one to spend more time witch each event of an adventure, and even to give time to those uneventful periods and mundane situations which would have some reflection in the character´s heart; if only to set a contrasting background of recollections, what-ifs, and dullness. This blog category was created exactly with this purpose in mind - to give space for expressing Errandûrr´s thoughts, and thus more depth to a life meant to be driven along by action; or only the impression of depth, as well as I can imagine. By the way, I think it was a brilliant idea to make a blog possible on this site: not only does it allow one the personal space where ideas can be expressed non-obtrusively (let alone combining the joys of belonging and being able to welcome guests), but I now find it allows a similar space to my character; a space by which to connect with his experience, and perhaps with following readers, on much more points than playing a part of an adventure scenes´ whole allows. And in my character´s case, given his less usual background, having this blog space to use allows for something else, as well: to replace actual play, as you know it. I will explain this in the next paragraphs.

From what I could gather so far of DnD games, there is a focus on combat, which assumes that the characters are prepared for combat by their background. Even at level 1, their class shows them equipped to face some opponents in battle, and certainly, none is left without any means of defense. But besides having played in the woods as a child, and the occasional tree-climbing, where, it must be said, the trees helped considerably, Errandûrr has no other training for facing physical dangers; while only his practiced self-control and socializing maneuvering could be said to have prepared against dangers of a non-physical sort. Also, in the next post, to be entitled ¨Preparations¨, I plan to show him training against imaginary adversaries, without an expert teacher´s supervision; and you can imagine how much that kind of training brings him near real proficiency. Another particularity of my character is that I made possible, in his definition, to start his first adventure - as in playing along other people´s characters - at level 1, 2, or 3. As I think I mentioned somewhere, level 1 corresponds to his having recently left the town, or to a time soon after, until which he would not have been able to practice the Ranger related knowledge learned from books; he just pretends being a Ranger, counting mostly on his familiarity with the forest. And level 3 I believe should match at least a few years of experience. These aspects of Errandûrr, to which I could add his personal goals, not related to usual adventuring results, led me to believe that it would suit him well to have his story, or alternative parts of it, first elaborated outside the usual PbP context; where he is to appear, eventually. In these blog pages for instance.

The important thing I have in mind is that leveling up through combat would not realistically depict his advance as wilderness guide and keeper. And that the gaining of experience points through combat should only reflect a previous experience of having dealt with many similar dangers in the wilderness; having grown that way. So leveling up would only show his adaptation to the particularities of a course of adventure, instead of an actual maturation process. What I would have him do is go through various situations, described through short stories, by which he would be shown to advance naturally in his chosen trade. If these situations include fighting, he would not gain experience points. The measure of his progress would be given by the variety of the situations and by time. Behind him, of course, there would also be my growing in familiarity with outdoors knowledge. In the following, I will attempt to show how these stories would not keep me isolated, but act as live or just past-building interfaces to usual PbP story writing.

First of all, the stories can take place in these blog pages or in the PbP forum section. The latter case being suitable, of course, when there would be willing companions among TTW´s players. Then, given that I do not have experience as either player or GM (nor could I make much of only read things), every participant would be free to take on both roles, alternately; and there would probably be no more than me and another or two other players in a short series. Participation is also possible here, in the blog section, through comments; and I am yet to determine a good system for this. The context would be more advantageous for the casual reader, as it allows less involvement. For example, a person could, in one comment, introduce a character, make or say something - thus relating to my character in some way, and then disappear; at least with that character, not to return until they would feel like. And to allow that entry, I would have to bring my character´s episodes to key stop points where things can happen. I would just write a ¨participation closed" comment, or something similar, before publishing a new episode, or before I start working at it, rather; or if there were too many comments to take into account (I wish XD). I stop here with exemplifying, planning to return with a suitable system´s description; that would be open to comments for a while, before being put to use. Perhaps it should be in the post published right after the next one, which is only introductory to Errandûrr´s evolution as a Ranger; containing specific preparations.

Second in order of importance, especially if it would happen that I would write alone, is the fact that these stories could be reduced to a continuation of his background, to be thus established completely up to the moment when I would be joining, with Errandûrr, a usual adventure. And the more material I have, the more adaptable it would be. Also, as long as I avoid using popular DnD settings names, or making reference to familiar traits, as those of famous figures and landmarks, names can be given at the time of joining the group-, leveling-up by combat adventure. I would thus offer me and the GM of that adventure plenty of buffer for a back-story´s growth, as well as the possibility to make use of initially skipped references at some later time, in the adventure. A third aspect is that these stories would allow the GMs out there to know me as a player and Errandûrr as a character. This would be useful, considering that I do not want him to die, not soon anyway..., nor do I expect him to reach his goals fast. And there would be enough time for matching schedules. And a fourth aspect I can think of now, although it is something of the whole situation´s background rather: I would have time to open towards playing with you as slow as I feel appropriate.

Wow... look at all this... Can I really make it happen?! ...I can´t say. Only that I´ll desire so from now on. It came as a surprise, you know? It often does, as I am mostly in the dark and asking for generic things; like to write with you. The light is often just that of a memory, a feeling from back when I could take part in quality interactions. This here looks like it could be the beginning of one. I hope... ... Um... There was something else I had to take care of, before... Oh, yes:

Before I close, there is a small technicality I feel I should address, for the sake of clarity in browsing my blog posts; especially in that future when their number would have considerably increased. I have until today used the tag ´character´ for posts in which I approached DnD character specific matters. In this character related blog category I will not be using that tag, as all posts can be understood to involve said matters. Instead, I hereby set up the custom of using the ´ooc' tag for each post from this category which does not constitute a part of Errandûrr´s story. And ´character´ will be used probably just for the introduction of new characters, in the Sidenotes category.

Perhaps the present topics would have made a good forum post. However, I could not say either with how much interest they would have been received, or if my way of handling them leaves enough room for dialog... You are, of course, welcome to express an opinion in the comments, if you wish. Thank your reading. I appreciate having you to share with. ~

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Updated 03-03-2018 at 11:55 AM by Erran (added a word; nothing important)

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Errandûrr

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  1. Erran's Avatar
    I will be using a particular style throughout Errandûrr´s episodes. A comment to this introduction seems like a good place to present it.

    In general, italics and ´single quotes´ will be employed for quoting (another´s speech, a book´s contents etc.) and to depict inscriptions (a tavern´s name, a book´s cover title etc.). Speech will be enclosed in ¨quotes (double)¨. Accentuated words are underlined. ALL CAPS will be used, as usual, for shouting. Parentheses() are for whispering. Outside of speech, parentheses maintain their usual role of conveying tangential information.

    The standard style (Black color, not in bold) will be used for all things external to my character (like the description of a place, or of an npc, the speech of an npc etc.).

    For my character´s behavior, actions and thoughts, the text will be set in bold. [Update: Bold is no longer used in combination with Black and DarkBlue. Colors, the lighter they are, the more they seem to need Bold to make words legible. But Black and DarkBlue text just stands out too much in Bold, and the contrast cannot be explained by emotions. I decided to keep the Bold setting for SteelBlue and Purple colored text, among other dark-but-no-so-dark colors because of the emotional emphasis Bold conveys.] Color will be used to indicate emotional content; while Black will imply emotional detachment. During the time I could dedicate to a study of colors-emotions associations, I was unable to precisely determine their whole spectrum. However, the following general guidelines may be sufficient for making approximately good choices:

    The emotions could be organized by the criteria of meaning inherent in the four suits of playing cards/tarot; and I give here a personal interpretation. The spades could stand for passive negative feelings, the hearts for passive positive ones, the diamonds for the active positive, and the clubs for the active negative. In this case, the spades and the hearts would cover a wider range of usual feelings than the other two categories. Consequently, wider ranges of color would be associable to the first.

    Thus, in my view, spades-emotions would be described by hues of brown (like SaddleBrown and DarkGoldenRod - to indicate nuances of loneliness, depression, dullness etc.; the Blue color could probably be used too), grey (like SlateGrey - to indicate coldheartedness), and muddy greens (for jealousy, greed maybe; Olive was the only example I could find).

    Then, hearts-emotions would be described by brighter hues of blue (like DodgerBlue, CornFlowerBlue; but not Blue itself! - for soft melancholy and romanticism which involves distance; also pity) and red (like LightCoral, DarkSalmon; but not Red itself! - to describe cheerful romantic or compassionate feelings which involve closeness).

    For the diamonds-emotions of being positive and energized, friendly and fair, Green and ForestGreen, which is very close to the first in hue, seem sufficient.

    And for the clubs-emotions, hues very close to Red are enough (OrangeRed for excitement, Crimson for anger, Red itself for having that extra energy of action that may hurt others or go into some unusual effort).

    In all cases of emotional content however, I will try my best to convey enough meaning through words, that the reader would not have to rely on the colors-emotions associations depicted here for understanding what happens.

    OOC will use MediumOrchid and BlueViolet for text, no bold, no italics. Exception make quotes, which will use the original formatting.
    Inline OOC will be enclosed within square brackets[]. Both the OOC button label and the brackets will be Black.

    Assuming that the page/background color has a light hue, I avoided light hue colors in my selection.

    I think I have addressed all the aspects of PbP text formatting. Of course, I will return to make appropriate changes when need arises. Again: These choices are just for my posts. I can´t think of any good reasons why anyone else would need to consult this reference...

    For more colors, see my tests and the official, complete list.
    Updated 03-15-2018 at 07:04 PM by Erran (mentioned a change in the use of Bold)
  2. Erran's Avatar
    My Wishes - no JavaScript version

    I present here the contents of the ´spoiler´ from Episode 1, Part 1 of Errandûrr´s story, entitled ´My Wishes´. The purpose is to make them available for future reference, also to those of you who choose to not enable JavaScript in their browsers.


    [OOC: Playing here allows me to keep Errandûrr´s fate under control.

    I want him to first become a real Ranger and then to arrive as close as possible to his goals that, whatever happens with him from the moment I let go of control, he could look back on his life without much regret. Behind his development, it shall be my growth, both as a handler of Ranger oriented information, and (more importantly) as a role-playing partner.

    While Errandûrr is in training, there will not be gaining of experience points; and, consequently, leveling-up. Although it could be possible to play along characters developed in the usual way, because I´m not prepared to act as a usual GM, I ask willing participants to accept this same restriction, of not leveling up, for their characters. Errandûrr starts a bit below level 1, but every other Main Character can be level 1 of their chosen Class; the DnD 5e definitions, the only ones with which I am familiar, apply.

    Then, you could ask, if not leveling-up, what would define our characters´ progress? what would give us a sense of satisfaction, if not the freedom of wielding their advanced powers? I feel inclined to answer: Let us find out together! -and- Well, that´s the challenge! - But I add that small characters can be great in other ways than through the powers usually quantified by a game-world rules system, that it is the characters´ real character that makes them heroes, most likely. And, like they say, it will be ¨an honor and a privilege¨ to witness the light of your personality, and of your soul, beyond that, shining through the chosen roles. ...Does it sound like a burden? We should also be having fun. Although I may not be as able to provide that as you are... But I invite you along with the fun you know you can bring to a party :) My ¨specialty¨, which I hope for and pray to summon each time, is artistic expression. I aim for beauty, to interact with you in the beauty, in grace. You bring excitement. I´ll bring enchantment, ideally... Is it a deal? But if you´ll feel like bringing the enchantment too - and I know quality fun to be able of casting such a sweet spell on the soul... - I´ll be happy with just putting the story together and watching you soar. And, of course, if you´re not feeling inspired, or you´re just bored, I´ll be welcoming your return in as small an amount of participation you would find comfortable to express by; and I´ll try to make things as fun as possible, by myself. Anyway, what we have here is an opportunity to do things differently, and I believe - that is, I have this fateful feeling - that the restriction of not leveling up can offer us at least as much chance of enjoying our time together, as the course of traditional play.

    Another matter related to Errandûrr´s evolution is the slowness of it. And slow growth is motivated by the wish to keep him safe against dangers he could not handle. The reasonable justification for that will be in making him cautious, careful, with focus on prevention, rather than on facing perilous trials.

    Then, you could ask, if there is no real danger, wouldn´t we lose from the fun of playing? After all, we play also for being able to imagine dangers we would keep away from in real life. And to this I say that fun can be had at avoiding dangers, at being smart enough to stay safe, while we´re achieving something. That last part is key. The fun is in achieving things without being in danger, while a more careless approach would expose you to it. I aim at having and sharing with you as complex and as balanced a rp experience as possible. I want both realism and fiction, both safety and enjoyment, both to progress and to take my time, both to become a suitable play companion and to be with you as at the end of becoming. And I want more: for my expectations to be exceeded, something that only harmony between people makes possible.

    (continued in next comment)
    Updated 03-15-2018 at 02:27 PM by Erran
  3. Erran's Avatar
    (continued from previous comment)

    Another thing on my list is being nice and keeping things within the scope of what is usually called ¨good fun¨. For one thing, this implies that I don´t mind a few, occasional risqué elements, as long as they remain tangential to the story´s course, don´t interfere with the essence of the relationships characters have, and they are properly veiled for the eyes of whoever minor may be reading the texts here. Also, I´d like all participants to show respect to one another. After all, we should first be following the site´s rules, shouldn´t we? The goal towards which I hope you will join me is to have a good time while expressing the best of ourselves. I believe this to be the only way, in general, in which people can approach happiness the most (if not at all), and that it is worth curving naughty or bad tendencies for its sake. Now, I am ready to accept you with those too, but not as something to focus on, not as something to cultivate between us; the public being included...

    To end on a lighter tone, I would like to invite you to think about making Errandûrr´s story your story as well. And here is what I mean by that: I ask you to help me make this story a good one, one that we can all enjoy and look back at as to an accomplishment. To interact with you like this is something new for me. By calling you here, to play along a blog system-of-interaction´s lines, and along the lines of my above mentioned wishes - at least in reference to some of them, of course, I assume that I bring an element of novelty in your life as well. And what I hope is that this new experience might bring about a widening of our perspective on interaction. Would you like that? Then perhaps you will follow along, participating in different roles, some big, some small, and even entwine the faith of a character who represents you (more or less) with that of Errandûrr. I plan to make this story really, really long. And there will, most likely, be plenty of opportunities for many characters to take the stage, even if only in disparate episodes. Maybe you will even think of following Errandûrr´s story example and host adventures for your own lead character until you can join me here, again, with him or her. :) ]
    Updated 03-15-2018 at 02:28 PM by Erran