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Lazy Genius
2011-06-02, 02:49 PM
So I read about the CHALLENGE (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178673), and since I've recently begun to like writing more and more, I thought that I might as well give it a try. By this time, after a single week of participation, I've begun to notice that simply having all my things scattered around this forum (and even the myth-weavers forum, since I'm also posting some stuff there), isn't a very good idea. So I decided I needed a place to put all the things I write, and then, if applicable, give a link to the context of the post.
If you're wondering why ...
So, if anyone reads this, I won't expect a full-length critical evaluation, because there's going to be around six (or more) works of two-hundred-and-fifty (or more) words per week, going by the CHALLENGE guidelines. Apart from the regular things I post like descriptive player/DM posts, I will be keeping a non-regular, fictional Journal called 'The last Duskblade' with two current entries.
... the name of the notebook ...
The works below are not posted in the chronological that I wrote them, and instead sorted by type, first the Journal entries, then DM posts, then player posts. Player posts are then sub-categorized into the different games they're in. Within each category, the entries are chronological, and updated into the OP if something new is posted at a later time.
... is 'Rob's Notebook...' ...

The last Duskblade

Motive:

Iím writing this not because I want to, not even because it needs to be told. I write this so that more people understand what being a duskblade is really about, and so that the true art of arcane channeling will not be forever lost. As it is, I am the only duskblade I know of that is still native to this plane of existence. Pretenders do exist of course, but those are just people who can cast spells and are practiced in swordplay. No, true duskblades, like myself, venerate the art of combining our knowledge of the arcane arts with our techniques of martial prowess; this is the way I was taught it so many years ago.

More than the fact that people understand what duskblades are, and that we donít learn sword and spell separately, but as one all-encompassing skill of magical warfare, the actual things duskblades can do should be preserved. Being the last living duskblade that I know of, I have assigned myself the task of recording everything for the histories. Call me fateís scribe if you will, but Iím a mere mortal who wants to record what he sees and does. For the devoted reader, if this is ever read at all, small details will be revealed in small fragments and little pieces every now and then.

In conclusion to this introduction of sorts, I would like to say that being a duskblade isnít merely about the things we do, but the things we stand for. Other than the fact that we can do hocus-pocus and swing around a big blade, nobody really knows what weíre about, our morals, I seek to solve that.
The Basics:

So before I go all out about explaining what we do, the most important thing to remember is that people arenít aware casting spells and combat is exactly the same thing to duskblades. This is because people fail to look beyond the customary and think that everyone wearing armour is limited in his arcane casting, as the many well-read wizards and spontaneous sorcerers are. The standard warmage answer is that they have specialized training and limited focus, but this doesnít really cover the mechanics. The real deal about casting spells that duskblades cast, is that we donít have our movement-limitation lessened; we simply do the movements more subtly, though still easily recognizable by spellcasters as such. This is why we are eventually able to wear heavier and more restricting armour as time goes on, we advance our technique further.

I could go rambling on about this, but the day I remember fully mastering this technique has always been a memorable day to me, so I'll describe the actual experience instead. As is customary for apprentice duskblades, they stand in the middle of a yard, with a warrior on one end, a mage on the other. The task is then to switch fighting one and the other every few seconds, until youíve disarmed the warrior and overcome the caster. When I was in this training once, I turned around to find the caster, and I raised my hand not wielding a sword to make the counterspell movements exactly as I was told. Not only did the spell not fail, I felt no resistance to the casting of it, there wasnít a chance that the spell was going to fail. As time went on, we learn to not only be combat-ready and spell-casters, but cast the spells through our sword, making them one and the same.

Of course, a journal like this one shouldnít be just what duskblades in general do, but what the last duskblade in specific has done in his career. I wonít actually go as far as to say that my life is exciting, but my career is far from over. I like to see myself as a mercenary with morals, and I will describe what Iím doing in any given day from this point on, in an attempt to illustrate my abilities through actions rather than words. I guess I should introduce myself though; my name is Johandion Correthavel, though Iím often called Johan, or even Joe for short.
Exposition, part 1:

Iíd like to tell you about this one time when I was locked in battle with a heavily armoured man, who was not aware I had any magical ability. This will aptly demonstrate how underestimating a duskblade is a grave mistake, as we often surprise such foes with our magic. I was doing a job for a local lord, who had trouble with an invading goblin army. The irony in this case, though rather beside the point, was that this man was hired by a different lord to do the same job. His strategy seemed to be that if this lord hired him, anybody hired by anyone else canít do it, because in his mind, he should do it.

This happened in a clearing I had set up camp for the night, and he entered demanding what I do there. When I answered he instantly drew his blade and assaulted me without hesitation or warning. So we were locked in battle, trading blows here and there, when I started talking tactics with him. I commented on his style of swordsmanship, which made him angrier than he already was. During this, I purposefully did not use any spells against him, and when the moment came that I mentioned magic is much more effective than the way of the sword, he scoffed and let down his guard laughing.

ďYou mean to tell me magic is better, but you donít even practice magic yourself? What a hypocrite!Ē In this, he was dead wrong, however, and with his guard down, I channeled the touch of a ghoul in the blade I had been using for the fight, and sliced at his thigh, not hoping to injure him outright, only connect.
ďAnd how do you know I donít practice magic?Ē There was a moment of dark surprise in his look when he felt the touch take effect and paralyze him from head to toe.
Exposition, part 2:

There arenít many things people will die for, but a firm belief in a way of life is one of them. The battle with the man devolved into a fight to show what was better, pure physical battle or physical combat strengthened by magical effects. I wouldnít say that of course I won this fight, but it wasnít particularly hard to show the man that my method was superior. He only attacked, slicing me into pieces being his ultimate goal. I had spell effects, from electrocution to freezing, which I cast and delivered through my sword, and it didnít even end with that in particular.

The man was so firm in his belief that when he was obviously beaten, and I offered him a chance to yield, he only paused momentarily to find the best spot to attack me again. Itís not so much that thereís so many people like him that are against mixing magic with swordsmanship, itís only that people donít all know itís even possible. Those that do know about the possibility view the two as completely separate skills, which it doesnít have to be. Duskblades train in the kind of things that makes the mix of swordsmanship and magic almost one and the same things, and instead not a mix at all.

Duskblade training involves more than the actual combat strikes and spells, the training that we do to increase our concentration on spells in the heat of battle is only the beginning. The signature duskblade ability, the things that makes us stand out from any other character that attempts to cast in combat is called Arcane Channeling, and truly, it is an experience one never forgets or unlearns. They say masters of swords make the sword an extention of themselves, this is what duskblades do when they channel spells through their weapons. More on this later.
The Party and Training:

Stubbornness is not something I dislike in and of itself, more so do I dislike the effects stubborn people have on a meaningful discussion. Sometimes the effects are so extreme that stubborn people become completely impevious to logical reason and proven facts. More rarely, this level f stubbornness rises to an even higher extreme, where itís actually somewhat amusing, and you start to enjoy the level is willing disbelief involved, though there is a fine line between enjoyment and annoyance therein. I mention stubbornness because other than surprise, it is the single most common reaction to the way of the duskblade. This is more than disbelief at the possibility of our abilities, because that would disappear as quickly as a demonstration can be given. No, stubbornness in this regard is simply denial, denial of the duskblades and the mix of arcane and martial prowess in general.

I travelled extensively with one particular band of adventurers for quite some time, before they grew old and died. Of them, the only member still alive is Falgrim, the dwarf, though heís growing older as well, and is not as strong as he used to be in the old days. Falgrim, aside from being the only one still alive, is also the one I didnít get along with when we were still adventuring because of the exact type of stubbornness Iíve described above. Dwarves tend to be adamant in their mindset, and Falgrim was no different up until Dairessel passed away. Dairessel was the Halfling in our party and only died about a century ago. When we went to the funeral, as the only outsiders, Falgrim and I discussed how our fateful adventuring party had ended and we had a casual spellcastersí duel for fun when we were interrupted by an invasion in the local Halfling community. I immediately grabbed my weapon and rushed for aid, and it finally dawned on Falgrim, despite the countless earlier demonstrations, that the two usually separate styles truly did come together in my type of combat. Falgrim is the lasting and most extreme example of denial Iíve witnessed in all my years, but there are those people wherever I go. This has actually increased in frequency as the duskblade population declined.

Letís not dwell on things that we canít change though, I want to tell you about my adventuring party, as they truly were great people. Of course, Iíve just told you about Falgrim, who was our spiritual guide and priest in dire straits, he doesnít have another century to live if my count is correct. Dairessel, a Halfling, functioned as our scout if need be, and was extremely infrequently caught off-guard, most of the time this was only because she was fast asleep and I hadnít yet woken her. Then there was Avlashtau, of the Everdream cabal. She had mastered the arcane arts like I shall never do, and taught me a thing or two while she was still among the living. I was sad to see her leave, as her and Samuel were the ones best able to relate to my skills, Avlashtau related to the magical prowess, Samuel to my martial abilities. Samuel was a military man born and bred, using physical force wherever socially accepted and planned tactics extensively. This leaves Varerf, who always seemed to be able to inspire us with his gnomish optimism, no matter the circumstances. Iím sad to say Varerf died most recently, a relatively early death for a gnome, but only the good die young, and he truly has been an inspiration.

We all started out as novices of our chosen style and craft, but as we adventured we got to know each other and our skills better as time went on, I shared half my life with these people, and at first, all but Avlashtau couldnít believe my skills, only with a demonstration in our first real, life-threatening battle did they acknowledge it, and as Iíve said, it took Falgrim a lot longer than that still. This immediate acceptance from Avlashtau caused us to form a bond that I know is still not broken, even in her death so many years ago. Even my youngest grandson at the ripe age of three decades can still witness the love in my eyes as I speak of her, and heís never known her, only from the numerous stories I tell him about his ancestor.

Nevermind that, this is not a diary of my old and long gone adventuring partyís various endeavours; this is a journal about me, the last living duskblade. As I was saying, people tend to react differently to duskblade than any other type of person; theyíve seen enough wizards, enough sorcerers, even enough warmages, who drift on the edge of melee combat prowess just enough to survive should they encounter it. Duskblades donít make this list. Our main abilities lie in the fact that we are able to mix arcane and martial prowess, spell and sword are one in a graceful and deadly mix of movement. But more than this is the fact that our spells are more powerful against enemies weíve drawn blood from. This, combined with our unique ability to cast spell spontaneously quick and in the middle of a dance of blades, makes for one interesting foe for someone who doesnít know the first thing about duskblades.

Listening to an old man rambling on about his art must be getting a bit annoying though, and you require another example of how this comes into practice, how we do what we do? Very well then, Iíll oblige. There was one particular example of well-executed moves when we faced a rather cold-blooded white dragon, back in the day. The dragon had Samuel pinned to the ground and was quite literally pampering him with attacks when I decided something needed to be done and focused, quickly casting a spell to make my sword magically enhanced, then channelling a second spell through said sword to affect the dragon with adverse effects. I wonít go into great detail, but the bottom line was that this was the turning point in the battle, and that we won out through more determination after this. Simply put, we do what we do through unique and tailored training; no example can explain the amount of training involved; only a demonstration or attempting the actual training for yourself can show you what I mean by this.

However, I can give you a sample training session, one I often did while we were on the road, one meant for solo practice of techniques learnt over time. Samuel often practiced plain swordplay alongside me, going with particular set maneuvers of a kind, ingraining it into his mind, and more importantly, into his muscles, muscle-memory, if you will. Being able to do something has four stages: First is unconscious inability, you have no idea you cannot do said thing, most of the time because youíve never tried it, or you simply doesnít know it is possible in the first place. Upon learning of the ability, you go to the second stage; conscious inability. This is the stage where you first try to learn it, and know you are unable to. This is also where the training with masses of people comes in, none of them can do it, all of them want to learn to do it, and they train.

Third comes conscious ability. Most apprectice duskblades never go further than this stage, as this is where they know they can do it, where it is channel arcane spells through your weapon. They can do it, know they can, and must pay attention to what they do each time they attempt it. Finally, the stage of true mastery, there is unconscious ability. This is the level of mastery I have come to adopt and itís where anyone who can do anything wants to be with their abilities. Itís when you know you can do it, and have done it so many times before itís become muscle-memory, and you simply do it when you need to, you pay no attention to it, or any specific part of it, and in the case of duskblades mastering arcane channeling, this is where they can pay more attention to their target than on the spell, because once the spell is cast, you have no more control over it, but you have full control of the actual swing of your sword, or any weapon for that matter, the whole way.

The actual exercise involved in acquiring this kind of mastery for duskblades is in its most basic form overextending you in a safe environment. Generally speaking, overextending yourself isnít good, but it makes you reach new height, and in the safe environment of camp in the morning you can very safely practice the morning glory hours away with your weapon without trouble. Since spellcasting ability is limited, I donít actually practice this while casting real spells, I instead create magical effects that are only visible and have no real effect at all, but are still magical enough to work for the exercise. One or two hours of this before and after a good nightís sleep of this each day for a couple decades was what it took me to get the art of arcane channeling into stage four mastery.

DM posts in 'A Descent to Dissent', a solo game run by me.
Context here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200034)

... He had done it.

His comrades congratulated him, but warily now, gone was the young Duskling warrior, their comrade, their friend,and in it's place was one that would become the new shaman in time, the leader of the clan. As for Talisham, he let the praise wash over him, more concerned with his success, he was not just a warrior now, he was more, more powerful than he had ever imagined. His life was before totally before him, and screaming behind him.

Talisham heard it before the other people gathered heard it, thanks to the competence he was given by his mantle, but the advantage didn't last long, as the sound was fast approaching. Turning around, Talisham could see the source of the screaming, a vague humanoid figure running through the woods, looking back repeatedly. The figure was screaming in fear, it seemed, running from something. Indeed, shortly after the figure crossed the treeline into the clearing where Talisham and his comrades were gathered, a mass of more monstrous figures could be seen.

The woman running, who turned out to be an elf, gathering from the grace with which she moved and the pointedness of her ears, didn't seem to notice the people that were gathered, or even anything around her, for that matter. She was looking back too much, with a look of utter horror on her face, panting, the screaming had stopped due to lack of air. She seemed to intent on running from her pursuers to even notice the fire ring, and tripped over it, falling right into the fire. "Ah! Ungh!"

By this time, her pursuers had reached the edge of the clearing, and it seemed at first they were elves also, but they seemed taller than an elf, and had sharp features. At a quick glance, it seemed there were a handful of these people. Before you had time to react, some of your comrades managed to stand up and take out their weapons, looking only toward the hostile band of humanoids, looking to defend their village if need be.
After Talisham moved around the fire to attempt to help the elf out of it, the pursuers, whose identity was still rather ambiguous, moved in closer as one, drawing bows as they did. Upon moving in closer the five that were clearly visible and separated from the jungle behind them seemed mostly humanoid, if sharp in features and slightly tall, except for a serpent's head, complete with long fangs and forked tongue rising from their shoulders in place of a humanoid one. "Huwag pansinin ang mga duwende, pumunta para sa mga nakatayo!" The commanding voice seemed to come from an entity other than the snake-like people already present, as none of their mouths were moving, and they all shifted the aim of their bows, and loosed their arrows. Of the five arrows loosed, only two struck true, both on a different of your comrades, both on ones that had already stood up. One arrow was particularly nasty and afflicted his right eye, blood squirting out of it as a result.

After this volley of arrows, your two other comrades, Manian among them, stood up as well, drawing their own weapons in a rush of movement toward the now hostile pursuers. The Shaman, who had been watching all this with quiet disapproval, strode over to the man with an arrow for an eye, and deftly removed said arrow in a quick movement. Just as this event was closing, an arrow sliced off the Shaman's ear completely, leaving a gaping, bleeding hole in its place. Upon looking for the arrow's origin, a creature could be seen emerging from the shadows of the woods. A creature that looked like a giant serpent, even more than the head of the previously seen attackers, this creature had the entire body of a snake, the only thing that betrayed its intelligence were its eyes. As for the origin of the arrow, two burly humanoid arms were protruding from the snake's body, holding a rather large bow.

Despite all this, the two men that had previously drawn their weapons, weren't fazed, and moved closer to the snake-like people attacking them, putting themselves in between the assault and their brethren. Their weapons raised, they moved slowly, wary for more volleys of arrows. The elf, recovering from her past session of falls, looked up at your outreaching hand, and grasped it fervently, attempting to get herself out of the heathen of flames. Once she managed, she looked again toward the snake-like people now standing in the clearing. Once had the painful revelation of her clothes being alight in flames, she began rolling on the ground almost instinctively, putting them out bit by bit.
As Talisham moved around to try and flank their serpentine attackers, the same commanding voice as before was heard, only now it seemed it originated from the larger snake-with-arms. "Ito!" It was clearly an order, and by the way he was pointing at Talisham, and the subsequent arrows flying his way, it was turning the attention to him. While they seemed able with their bows, every single one of the arrows failed to do any lasting damage, and either missed completely, or deflected off of his armour. The clear commander and leader seemed aggravated by this and grumbled another, short order. "Akin!" This second succinct order prompted the other adversaries to step back a ways, closing the gap between them and their commander a little.

Talisham's tribemates were still wary of the unusual creatures and approached as slowly as they did before, crouching low to the ground to drop down if need be. The Shaman, together with the last two allies of Talisham, excluding the elven lady, approached with the same level of caution. Though it is usually unlike dusklings to move slowly, these men have seen battles and think it unwise to charge in heedlessly. Thus, they move with a purpose, while trying to keep themselves alive in the process of getting there. The largest snake-man, the one issuing commands, clearly in charge, fired two arrows of his own at Talisham, but they both hit his shoulder and fell to the ground in pieces.

The elf, seeing all this from a lower point of view, decided to stand up. And, running her hand through the flames, it seemed as if she threw part of the flames towards the attackers, uttering some esoteric words. In mid-air, the spark of flame that was hurled, grew in size and slowed down, growing faster and faster until it seemed an entire hemisphere, consisting completely of flames alone was between Talisham and his tribesmen, and the snake-like attackers. The flames didn't seem harmful to Talisham's tribesmen however, as they weren't overly uncomfortable. Keeping her focus completely on the flames, apparently feeding off of nothing, but supposedly er concentration, the elven lady moved in closer to the wreathing flames thoughtfully. "Don't go through the flames, let them come." The elf called out in warning with a voice like a blazing inferno.
As Talisham breathed fire into the wall of flames, a loud roar of dissatisfaction could be heard, and a subsequent order, "singilin!" was all that was necessary for the snake-like people to come charging through the flames and into the hands of Talisham's tribemates. Before this maneuver, they left their bows where they were, drawing wicked-looking curved swords. Of the five smaller ones, one came straight at you, but fell down short, bleeding from blisters caused by the fire you blew at him and he ran through, the other four ran for a different tribesman, one for the priest, leaving the tribesman in the second line of defense not involved in melee. Talisham's tribesmates weren't as lucky as him, and their attacker reached them, swinging their blades through the air, and for one, through flesh, severing the man's limb, causing him to bleed to death on the ground.

In response, the tribesmen swung their own weapons almost in unison, some cutting through flesh of their own. After this melee was going on, the larger snakeman stepped back slightly to escape from the heat of the sheet of flames, and laucnhed two arrows at Talisham, the first of which grazed past his arm, drawing blood. The elven lady looked alarmed at the passage through her conjured flames, and ceased concentration, leaving it to simmer on its own, not quite dying out yet. Instead, she moved in clear range of the large snake-man, pointing one finger straight at him, and with the other hand reached towards the fire. A glowing pea-sized bead moved from the fire, over her arms, towards the snake-man, exploding in a great ball of flame right in his face. Unluckily for the elf, the surrounding trees caught on fire as well as the snake-man's clothes. "Oops."
To avoid confusion; Talisham, the PC is referred to as 'you', rather than Talisham from this point on.
Upon your attack, the large snakeman roars in combined fury and pain, and, with his clothes still on fire, his burns are starting to bleed through the skin damage, as well as the wounds you managed to inflict on him. "Dalasaydugos ... pumunta ang ulat na ito ... ito ay isang nawala sanhi." This time, it didn't sound like an order more as a last wish from a man who knew who was going to die. The other snakemen there didn't so much as flinch when the larger one said this, and even began fighting more fiercely, keeping themselves defended. The result of this, was that Manian was under attack by two of the snakemen, getting hit in the back of the head by one of them as he turned around to face them. As he fell, his tribesmen caught another snake-man on his arm, who seemed to have become too light-headed because of blood-loss. One of them even managed to get the jump on one of the snake-men that felled Manian. The shaman, locked in his own battle, seemed concerned for the well-being of the tribesmen, but more determined to put an end to this and deal with injuries later.

The large snakeman, seeing himself locked in melee, dropped his archery gear, and took out a particularly vile-looking curved sword, those of the kind not friendly to soft flesh. He didn't waste any time getting it to slash at you, and it hit you, but the specific focus of soul-energy into the purple belt hardened your skin just enough to glance away the swing. The elf, looking at the fire on and behind the large abomination of a snake, moved closer to it. When she'd firmly planted herself between two of your tribesmen, she spoke some more esoteric words, pointing at said flames, and they began to burn brighter, burning up the clothes and wood they were drawing from twice as fast. Even to you, these flames seemed somehow hotter than a normal fire. The large snakeman, however, was receiving the worst of it, and spat blood and sputtered as the flames were consuming him. With his snake head, the abomination seemed to have difficulty forming words other than the one he'd managed so far, but they did come out. "Don't ... feel ... safe."
With the wall of flames still in effect, you experience the heat radiating to this side of the wall when you attack the other snake person through it, and your skin starts searing as a response, blistering almost in mere seconds. Despite the repercussion, the swipe of your claw seems to do considerable damage to the snake, and you really teat him apart, almost slicing him in half while you do it.

The remaining two snake people seemed too determined to stop attacking, and focused on one tribesmate in particular to attack, flanking him on both sides. This proved rather effective, as the tribesman in question was less able to defend himself and fell victim to two vertical slashes from the curved swords. In response to these events, the shaman and the last remaining comrade took position on either side of the snake person that was closest to the central fire. The shaman managed to score a solid, bone-cracking hit, but the swing by the tribesman went wild, almost throwing him off-balance in the process.

These events all transpired with the elf in the very middle, looking a bit lost in all the melee. However, she moved back, keeping her conjured wall of flames on one side, a little bit toward the ever-expanding fire now enveloping the jungle outskirts the larger snake was still burning in, and, having drawn her preloaded crossbow, fired at the one snake not currently tightly engaged in melee, so as to have a clearer shot at him. But she missed completely, and only drew its attention and its fury-filled eyes were now locked on her.

Player Posts in the game 'For the Sun!', a solo campaign I'm in.
Context here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200470)
A lajatang, it must be someone either on the city guard, or someone that stole it from the city guard, trying to impersonate such. Samuel took the note with a quick look through the gash, and attempted a simple spell to repair the wall, after he took the lajatang out of it. I shall consult Juliana as to if I should go after the service this noon. Samuel nodded at this decision, and during the service that day, he conducted the service as regular, not overtly trying to hide the event this morning, but not speaking of it on purpose. If anyone notices and decides to ask, he will speak the truth, but attempt to comfort them by mentioning he can take care of himself and he hasn't gotten a sign from Pelor that he wasn't going to be fine, at least not yet.

Once the service was over, he went up to Juliana, and spoke a few words before handing her the note. "What do you think it wisest in this regard?" Juliana read the note thoroughly, though there wasn't much to read, and looked up at Sam, "Go, find out what this is. You'll just regret it later if you don't go, even if only out of curiosity, I can try to keep an eye on you from afar." Sam nodded thoughtfully and took the note back. "I shall consult Pelor and see what will happen to me if I go, and I can always protect myself from the Evil influences if need be." When she turned to leave, Sam reached out for her turned her around, facing him again, "don't stay too close, I should come alone. Just stay in the neighborhood so you can come if there's any trouble." With that, he prepared for the encounter that night.
Samuel seems satisfied with the reaction from the guard, and doesn't waste any more time in the bar, going back to the House of Light, the place he's called home for quite some time now. He plans to get an early rest, for an early rise in the morning. When he wakes up in the morning, he prays to Pelor for spells. Spells he's so comfortable using that he barely gives it a second thought. Spells that find use in a lot of different situations, while leaving the ability for sacrificial substitution if needed. I hope Charles decided to show up, as well as that guard from last night, I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Upon seeing Juliana at today's service, he tells her the events of the previous night, leaving out not a single detail, and she looks increasingly concerned in the telling. "You trusted those thugs? It was foolish of you, Sam. You're a visionary, I must admit I would not have given them the kindness of a chance to reconsider, but your judgement is clouded with hopes of conversion, those men could've literally stabbed you in the back and left you for dead." She doesn't explicitly say it was stupid of him, but she might as well have for the effect it had on Samuel. Sam can't do anything but agree in hindsight, however, though he did trust the men. "But look at it from the bright side, if this Charles doesn't betray you, we found another ally, and numbers are always welcome."
... well, my name is Robert.
I'm always open for feedback and/or criticism on my style of writing. One can never improve anything without knowing what's good/bad.

Lazy Genius
2011-06-03, 09:06 PM
Hm. I guess there's not too much enthusiasm, but I've made a new DM post regardless. I'm adding it into the OP as well as down here:
With the wall of flames still in effect, you experience the heat radiating to this side of the wall when you attack the other snake person through it, and your skin starts searing as a response, blistering almost in mere seconds. Despite the repercussion, the swipe of your claw seems to do considerable damage to the snake, and you really teat him apart, almost slicing him in half while you do it.

The remaining two snake people seemed too determined to stop attacking, and focused on one tribesmate in particular to attack, flanking him on both sides. This proved rather effective, as the tribesman in question was less able to defend himself and fell victim to two vertical slashes from the curved swords. In response to these events, the shaman and the last remaining comrade took position on either side of the snake person that was closest to the central fire. The shaman managed to score a solid, bone-cracking hit, but the swing by the tribesman went wild, almost throwing him off-balance in the process.

These events all transpired with the elf in the very middle, looking a bit lost in all the melee. However, she moved back, keeping her conjured wall of flames on one side, a little bit toward the ever-expanding fire now enveloping the jungle outskirts the larger snake was still burning in, and, having drawn her preloaded crossbow, fired at the one snake not currently tightly engaged in melee, so as to have a clearer shot at him. But she missed completely, and only drew its attention and its fury-filled eyes were now locked on her.

Lazy Genius
2011-06-05, 12:14 PM
In the spirit of keeping things going, I have made a new entry in 'The last Duskblade', where Johan catches a man off-guard with his magic.


The last Duskblade


Iíd like to tell you about this one time when I was locked in battle with a heavily armoured man, who was not aware I had any magical ability. This will aptly demonstrate how underestimating a duskblade is a grave mistake, as we often surprise such foes with our magic. I was doing a job for a local lord, who had trouble with an invading goblin army. The irony in this case, though rather beside the point, was that this man was hired by a different lord to do the same job. His strategy seemed to be that if this lord hired him, anybody hired by anyone else canít do it, because in his mind, he should do it.

This happened in a clearing I had set up camp for the night, and he entered demanding what I do there. When I answered he instantly drew his blade and assaulted me without hesitation or warning. So we were locked in battle, trading blows here and there, when I started talking tactics with him. I commented on his style of swordsmanship, which made him angrier than he already was. During this, I purposefully did not use any spells against him, and when the moment came that I mentioned magic is much more effective than the way of the sword, he scoffed and let down his guard laughing.

ďYou mean to tell me magic is better, but you donít even practice magic yourself? What a hypocrite!Ē In this, he was dead wrong, however, and with his guard down, I channeled the touch of a ghoul in the blade I had been using for the fight, and sliced at his thigh, not hoping to injure him outright, only connect.
ďAnd how do you know I donít practice magic?Ē There was a moment of dark surprise in his look when he felt the touch take effect and paralyze him from head to toe.

Lazy Genius
2011-06-05, 06:04 PM
I'm kind of discouraged by the complete lack of replies, even after I've posted two new things, and the first things were posted half a week ago. But, the second part of a two-part exposition is now done for 'The last Duskblade', so enjoy:


The last Duskblade


There arenít many things people will die for, but a firm belief in a way of life is one of them. The battle with the man devolved into a fight to show what was better, pure physical battle or physical combat strengthened by magical effects. I wouldnít say that of course I won this fight, but it wasnít particularly hard to show the man that my method was superior. He only attacked, slicing me into pieces being his ultimate goal. I had spell effects, from electrocution to freezing, which I cast and delivered through my sword, and it didnít even end with that in particular.

The man was so firm in his belief that when he was obviously beaten, and I offered him a chance to yield, he only paused momentarily to find the best spot to attack me again. Itís not so much that thereís so many people like him that are against mixing magic with swordsmanship, itís only that people donít all know itís even possible. Those that do know about the possibility view the two as completely separate skills, which it doesnít have to be. Duskblades train in the kind of things that makes the mix of swordsmanship and magic almost one and the same things, and instead not a mix at all.

Duskblade training involves more than the actual combat strikes and spells, the training that we do to increase our concentration on spells in the heat of battle is only the beginning. The signature duskblade ability, the things that makes us stand out from any other character that attempts to cast in combat is called Arcane Channeling, and truly, it is an experience one never forgets or unlearns. They say masters of swords make the sword an extension of themselves, this is what duskblades do when they channel spells through their weapons. More on this later.

Lazy Genius
2011-06-13, 06:58 PM
I have been busy the past week, and with today's entry shall make good on the previous week's requirement, getting me up to speed to complete another week's worth by sunday. Get ready for a big read:


The last Duskblade

The Party and Training:

Stubbornness is not something I dislike in and of itself, more so do I dislike the effects stubborn people have on a meaningful discussion. Sometimes the effects are so extreme that stubborn people become completely impevious to logical reason and proven facts. More rarely, this level f stubbornness rises to an even higher extreme, where itís actually somewhat amusing, and you start to enjoy the level is willing disbelief involved, though there is a fine line between enjoyment and annoyance therein. I mention stubbornness because other than surprise, it is the single most common reaction to the way of the duskblade. This is more than disbelief at the possibility of our abilities, because that would disappear as quickly as a demonstration can be given. No, stubbornness in this regard is simply denial, denial of the duskblades and the mix of arcane and martial prowess in general.

I travelled extensively with one particular band of adventurers for quite some time, before they grew old and died. Of them, the only member still alive is Falgrim, the dwarf, though heís growing older as well, and is not as strong as he used to be in the old days. Falgrim, aside from being the only one still alive, is also the one I didnít get along with when we were still adventuring because of the exact type of stubbornness Iíve described above. Dwarves tend to be adamant in their mindset, and Falgrim was no different up until Dairessel passed away. Dairessel was the Halfling in our party and only died about a century ago. When we went to the funeral, as the only outsiders, Falgrim and I discussed how our fateful adventuring party had ended and we had a casual spellcastersí duel for fun when we were interrupted by an invasion in the local Halfling community. I immediately grabbed my weapon and rushed for aid, and it finally dawned on Falgrim, despite the countless earlier demonstrations, that the two usually separate styles truly did come together in my type of combat. Falgrim is the lasting and most extreme example of denial Iíve witnessed in all my years, but there are those people wherever I go. This has actually increased in frequency as the duskblade population declined.

Letís not dwell on things that we canít change though, I want to tell you about my adventuring party, as they truly were great people. Of course, Iíve just told you about Falgrim, who was our spiritual guide and priest in dire straits, he doesnít have another century to live if my count is correct. Dairessel, a Halfling, functioned as our scout if need be, and was extremely infrequently caught off-guard, most of the time this was only because she was fast asleep and I hadnít yet woken her. Then there was Avlashtau, of the Everdream cabal. She had mastered the arcane arts like I shall never do, and taught me a thing or two while she was still among the living. I was sad to see her leave, as her and Samuel were the ones best able to relate to my skills, Avlashtau related to the magical prowess, Samuel to my martial abilities. Samuel was a military man born and bred, using physical force wherever socially accepted and planned tactics extensively. This leaves Varerf, who always seemed to be able to inspire us with his gnomish optimism, no matter the circumstances. Iím sad to say Varerf died most recently, a relatively early death for a gnome, but only the good die young, and he truly has been an inspiration.

We all started out as novices of our chosen style and craft, but as we adventured we got to know each other and our skills better as time went on, I shared half my life with these people, and at first, all but Avlashtau couldnít believe my skills, only with a demonstration in our first real, life-threatening battle did they acknowledge it, and as Iíve said, it took Falgrim a lot longer than that still. This immediate acceptance from Avlashtau caused us to form a bond that I know is still not broken, even in her death so many years ago. Even my youngest grandson at the ripe age of three decades can still witness the love in my eyes as I speak of her, and heís never known her, only from the numerous stories I tell him about his ancestor.

Nevermind that, this is not a diary of my old and long gone adventuring partyís various endeavours; this is a journal about me, the last living duskblade. As I was saying, people tend to react differently to duskblade than any other type of person; theyíve seen enough wizards, enough sorcerers, even enough warmages, who drift on the edge of melee combat prowess just enough to survive should they encounter it. Duskblades donít make this list. Our main abilities lie in the fact that we are able to mix arcane and martial prowess, spell and sword are one in a graceful and deadly mix of movement. But more than this is the fact that our spells are more powerful against enemies weíve drawn blood from. This, combined with our unique ability to cast spell spontaneously quick and in the middle of a dance of blades, makes for one interesting foe for someone who doesnít know the first thing about duskblades.

Listening to an old man rambling on about his art must be getting a bit annoying though, and you require another example of how this comes into practice, how we do what we do? Very well then, Iíll oblige. There was one particular example of well-executed moves when we faced a rather cold-blooded white dragon, back in the day. The dragon had Samuel pinned to the ground and was quite literally pampering him with attacks when I decided something needed to be done and focused, quickly casting a spell to make my sword magically enhanced, then channelling a second spell through said sword to affect the dragon with adverse effects. I wonít go into great detail, but the bottom line was that this was the turning point in the battle, and that we won out through more determination after this. Simply put, we do what we do through unique and tailored training; no example can explain the amount of training involved; only a demonstration or attempting the actual training for yourself can show you what I mean by this.

However, I can give you a sample training session, one I often did while we were on the road, one meant for solo practice of techniques learnt over time. Samuel often practiced plain swordplay alongside me, going with particular set maneuvers of a kind, ingraining it into his mind, and more importantly, into his muscles, muscle-memory, if you will. Being able to do something has four stages: First is unconscious inability, you have no idea you cannot do said thing, most of the time because youíve never tried it, or you simply doesnít know it is possible in the first place. Upon learning of the ability, you go to the second stage; conscious inability. This is the stage where you first try to learn it, and know you are unable to. This is also where the training with masses of people comes in, none of them can do it, all of them want to learn to do it, and they train.

Third comes conscious ability. Most apprectice duskblades never go further than this stage, as this is where they know they can do it, where it is channel arcane spells through your weapon. They can do it, know they can, and must pay attention to what they do each time they attempt it. Finally, the stage of true mastery, there is unconscious ability. This is the level of mastery I have come to adopt and itís where anyone who can do anything wants to be with their abilities. Itís when you know you can do it, and have done it so many times before itís become muscle-memory, and you simply do it when you need to, you pay no attention to it, or any specific part of it, and in the case of duskblades mastering arcane channeling, this is where they can pay more attention to their target than on the spell, because once the spell is cast, you have no more control over it, but you have full control of the actual swing of your sword, or any weapon for that matter, the whole way.

The actual exercise involved in acquiring this kind of mastery for duskblades is in its most basic form overextending you in a safe environment. Generally speaking, overextending yourself isnít good, but it makes you reach new height, and in the safe environment of camp in the morning you can very safely practice the morning glory hours away with your weapon without trouble. Since spellcasting ability is limited, I donít actually practice this while casting real spells, I instead create magical effects that are only visible and have no real effect at all, but are still magical enough to work for the exercise. One or two hours of this before and after a good nightís sleep of this each day for a couple decades was what it took me to get the art of arcane channeling into stage four mastery.

Word Count Excluding Title: 1557