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Thread: D&D Snippets

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets

    I seem to have gotten into the habit of Megaposts. Please bear with me.

    Lord Gareth, Endgame, parts 1 and 2: Gah, did I get stuck on reviewing that one. For some reason, I just couldn't get it on the first several readings. And then, after I let it sit for a couple of weeks, I re-read it... And it fell into place. Damn, that was good.

    I like Summer's characteristic straightforwardness. I like how Spring marches into a mundane's head and opens his brain with a cheerful smile. I like how Winter finds with dispassionate ruthlessness - until something breaks in their minds and they start going on until they just die.

    Autumn is harder to understand. And probably could have been creepier, for they are the children of Fear. What is the Mask?

    Anyhow, waiting for part three eagerly!

    I *will* take you up on the steampunk elf challenge in a couple days' time! Though that's probably going to be more Navy Seal elf... It's a longstanding fantasy of mine that has yet to take form. I'll review yours and Lord Raziere's story ASAP after this post, though.

    Lady Moreta, Leith: I kinda have to agree with Lord Gareth here. The style is good, as usual, but the composition stumbles. Your piece is long, but doesn't tell us anything about Leith except that she holds her fathers bow very dear, and the tasks he gives her, as well. Very Lawful, she seems. But not much else. I'd like to see her character more established.

    On an off-topic: I, too, would like to hear a more expanded opinion on the Jailin stories, if you're up for it.

    Darkpuppy, A Strong Arm and a Sharp Eye: wonderful! I enjoy it when stories suddenly go off elsewhere because of chance. It seems so very human, and it always gets my interest up. I loved how it was all stoic and then very ironic. It makes the world believable.

    Opposite and Good Craic: Finlay is good. I like especially how you play to the name and the mythology around it. You could get the correlation even from the first piece, and after the second one, well, the Irish fangirl in me squealed a bit. I hope you expand more on that!

    I did have a bit of a hard time reading due to the slang. But that's my problem in this case, not yours. What's a pigsticker? A kind of knife?

    And you kind of lost me at first on who actually fought when the brawl began. I had to re-read it to make sure.

    Big Teej, The fight in the mountains: same general criticism as before. Modern expressions used in each piece make every piece harder to read. Your style here is inconsistent. I can't get a feel for the character. Is he intelligent or stupid? Is he playing or is it serious? How the heck does he know the word "melodrama"? These little things make or break the story.

    The Extermination of the Draken Tribe is better. Far better. The man is simple, not stupid. He can cry when it's appropriate. Even though you use uncharacteristic words again - "migration" comes to mind - it seems more appropriate, because you can believe the character from a tribe with a history of movement would actually have such a word.

    "Pain is painful" is always redundant, though. Your piece is no exception.

    Nonetheless, "open my face to the sky" is a very good turn of phrase.

    Darkpuppy again, Lamb of God: He is a Lasombra, isn't he? Or at least a candidate for being Embraced by one? :) I like Father Michael. Morgana, however, would tell him that the sin of pride comes before all of those others he's committed and is their cause. She knows, she's been there.

    He's still a priest because he can influence people better? He seems to believe in God at least in part yet. Just desperate enough to do God's work.

    Anyway, the story flows fine. I can't really find anything to nitpick here.

    And my own, because, like Darkpuppy, I hate just posting critique, though I really should do it more often.

    This is an excerpt from a large work of mine, which is unfortunately in Russian and is hardly snippetable, because I'm trying to make a complex storyline. It is the story of Roderick (Morgana's sire) and Lindbergh (a Tremere), and their rivalry over the course of 500 years. But there's a few bits that might stand on their own, and I may be translating them from time to time. This is a piece that focuses on my only favorite character groups to play that hasn't been on this thread yet - the Tremere. Warning: fanon present - our city usually plays the Presidium all on a second-step bond to the Clan, and the Rodolpho on the third.

    For those who don't know what the Tremere are - they're mages that turned themselves into vampires through an experiment on immortality gone freakishly wrong. Like most mages everywhere, the initial group was too damn proud to admit it. And so the younger initiates usually thought vampiric magic was the best thing since the invention of fire, and only those who were mages in their human life (and the Tremere Embraced their share of those, including Lindbergh) knew that it was scraps from the table. This is a story of how another Tremere comes to realize this truth.

    If any of you have access to Dvorak's Humoresque, I wrote this piece to it. I can't find my favorite version, but any one with violin and piano more-or-less does the trick. Of those available on Youtube - Josef Suk's.

    Black Foam
    or
    Horribly angsty 600-year-old vampire, Hermetism, and a need to resist "I-told-you-so".

    Spoiler
    Show
    The Tremere Conclave was familiar and festive. Nights of freedom, won from the world itself. Foualliet, in his usual nonchalant manner, with all interested parties present, made his usual offer for Lindbergh to join House Presidium and gain the corresponding Blood Bond. Lindbergh gave his usual nonchalant refusal, then excused himself, and left the general post-council party. Freedom indeed - if bound by our own rules. Four young magi - among them two familiar faces, Anselm and Johannes - walked past the older magus, and the signs of respect they gave him reminded him of why he'd wished to have no company. Our own freedom.

    Lindbergh turned into one of the less lighted corridors, where the merriment would not reach. Tonight he would use his freedom not to celebrate another two years of unlife, and not to meet with the few friends that he'd only got the chance to see at the all-Clan gathering. He would stay in silence, in meditation. He would not have come to the Conclave at all had there not been reports to give. It angered immensely those who wished him dead for their games: the fact that his name appeared, year after year, century after century, in the roster of those who would speak before the Clan. It used to make the magus happy. No longer. Now he was made happy only by peace, even though he would not have thought of it that way. The times when he could wish for peace had long passed.

    He did not wish for it, then. And mayhap for this lack of desire, when he heard a hoarse voice come beyond a half-opened door, calling his name, he did not dare to simply walk past, pretending to not have heard.

    Even such a simple breach of the rules was not easy for him any longer.

    Lindbergh stopped and flung the door open. The man who slumped on the floor in a far corner would have curled into a ball - even the dim light of magical lamps hurt his eyes - but had no strength to.

    "L-l-lindberrr... Ai.. Hel..."

    A glass bottle lay broken on the floor next to him, and the sour smell of some unknown concoction filled the air.

    Lindbergh looked around carefully and, noticing no danger, approached.

    "Ethan. What happened?"

    "N-n-n-nit..noth.. Well. Willl... Passss. Its-self. S-stay."

    The magus lowered himself onto the floor by the alchemist, and Ethan fell heavily into his hands, back first, and stared into the ceiling with unseeing eyes. The alchemist's pupils were red and dilated, and his fangs had lengthened, as if from hunger. The reaction seemed natural to Lindbergh. If the concoction was poison of any kind, the vampiric body would spend blood to try and heal. So the magus held the alchemist firmly with one hand, both supporting and preventing a sudden attack in case the alchemist's Beast gained control, and picked up the shards of the glass with his free hand. It used to hold blood, of course. But what did the blood itself hold?

    "Ethan? Anrie Ethan? What did you drink?"

    Silence. Lindbergh then risked to give a wayward glance to the memories that should have remained, and strongly at that, on the broken glass.

    The images were strong indeed.

    ...The ice of two dead hands on the yet-intact bottle. One in burns that would not heal without special aid even through blood. Another clad in a white silken glove with gold needlework - the official guise of House Rodolpho, the Diviners' House.

    "Master Ethan." Really? Rodolpho himself? The velvet voice that spoke as if into a void even when it gave a name could belong to the first and last House Head only. "Are you truly certain that you want this insight? Our methods take a toll on the psyche."

    "I am an alchemist, dear colleague, and all of the results of my Magisterium I test upon myself!" Anrie's voice - changed? Dried out, desperate? A mere few.. No, a few dozens years ago it was so different. Or was it not? "I think your potion could not make a thing worse. And may the immortal, eternally rising from the ashes phoenix be my witness, I have paid more than enough for it!"

    And then Ethan's hope and despair mixed with Rodolpho's distant regret, and the diviner relinquished the bottle...

    Anrie moaned and started shaking, and the magus was forced to return his mind to Vienna, to the Conclave, to one of its buildings with so many Tremere and so many decisions to make, to one room where a very old acquaintance was losing what remained of his senses.

    "Anrie, can you hear me?" Lindbergh spoke, knowing that it was now important to just speak, to be guiding light and Ariadna's thread, to help his colleague pass out of the murky waters of vision. "Anrie Ethan, colleague, magus, alchemist of House Aurum..."

    At the last, the alchemist arched his back and cried out, but soon fell limp again. Tears of blood flew in rivulets from his open eyes.

    "Ethan!" Lindbergh raised his voice a half-tone. "Alchemist of House and Clan Tremere! What do you.."

    "To the Devil! To God! To the Devil and all Angels!" Suddenly cried Ethan, and twisted to grope at Lindbergh's shoulders. Unseeing pupils rolled back and forth uncontrollably: the potion was working. "May the Devil take all alchemy! What am I.. What could I? What we are? I.. What are we!

    "Anrie, what do you see?"

    "SEE!" Always naturally high, now the alchemist's voice rose to a screech. "Lindbergh! You knew it at the very beginning, when we were young? Why did you not tell me then? Why did you not convince me? Why did you lie, you had known then, you had known!"

    "Shh. Quiet," Lindbergh knew that if he wished to retain a hold on the alchemist, he would not be able to reach the spell component that would prevent Frenzy. But this was unlike the threshold of Frenzy. The alchemist's despair was so human that even the Beast seemed to hide from these feelings. "What had I known?"

    Anrie bawled. This was the first time Lindbergh had seen such behavior in a Kindred over six hundred years old. "Th-that all I am doing... Is useless, senseless, false and untrue! How, how could I have been so blind? How could you, having perfectly good sight, not enlighten me? Why?"

    "Why I did not tell you that all you do is senseless?"

    "Yes!"

    "But I do not know," Lindbergh said softly. "I do not know what you do, I have never taken much interest in alchemy..."

    "Lies! It is what makes us ourselves, what we are? Yet what ARE we, Lindbergh! This you had known!"

    "We?"

    Anrie raised his head and let go of the magus, then slumped against the wall, and closed his eyes. The flow of tears ended as suddenly as it had begun, and the magus soon began speaking much more evenly.

    "One can make gold of lead. That is true, yes?"

    "And if not gold, then silver." Lindbergh smiled. "Your ritual saved my chantry, remember? The werewolves..."

    "That is nothing." Anrie cut the magus off. "But gold can be made from lead, do you understand? A human can be made the perfect human being. And a vampire... Could be made into some other, better, higher creature. Is that so?"

    "Anrie, I am not an alchemist."

    "It is not so. Not so." Anrie's voice fell to a whisper. "Understand, Lindbergh... I wished to see our place in the Magisterium. I had done everything, gone through all the internal preparations - years of work - and I looked, and took this thrice, septem-cursed elixir from Rodolpho, and I saw... We... Lindbergh, the magisterium of gold has a place where it is very important to watch the black foam as strictly as possible."

    "Black foam?"

    "That is dirt. All of the dirt that ails the sick metal... It needs to be removed, always removed, for otherwise there will be no magisterium. Lindbergh?"

    "Yes?"

    "We are that foam."

    The alchemist fell silent, having choked on his words, and raised his hands to his throat, as if wishing to either strangle himself or to push the unruly words out. Lindbergh carefully took his hands and lowered them, and they fell, strength lost.

    "Tell me what foam means."

    "We... Lindbergh, we are not even the material. We are the waste, something that needs to be removed from someone else's Great Work. We are a phase without which there will be no Philosopher's Stone, bu we... We will not see it, not ever. There will be a transmutation in the history of the world, should the Great Alchemist desire it. But not for us. We will be carefully removed with a wooden spoon and thrown away, useless, unnecessary, dirty. Having become vampires, we are now less than nothing. Why, why did we do it? Who visited this fate upon us? It is unfair, unjust? Why us?"

    Lindbergh was silent. Words were less than nothing, as well. Ethan, too, kept his silence. Only after minutes had passed, he said bitterly, "I shall never see my dream."

    "Who knows." Lindbergh replied evenly.

    "I will never become..."

    "Who knows."

    "I... Lindbergh, you, you had known from the very beginning." Anrie opened his eyes, and now they held consciousness, and not the gush of a vision. "I now understand all that you have said about the magic of human mages, of the magic of the Tremere. This came together into one puzzle, a single trap. Why did you not refuse to participate in this blasphemy?"

    "Back then?"

    "W-well... Yes, back then?"

    "I wanted revenge. I failed at exacting it."

    "That's how it is, then... You wanted to kill us?"

    "Not you all personally. With the notable exception of Louis."

    "But so this filth would not exist?"

    "Yes."

    "And?"

    Lindbergh was silent. And then he replied, "I know not, Ethan. Even now, I do not know. Something is happening, as you have said. A Magisterium. I want to see it, even if this is the price. It has already been exacted from me regardless."

    "And even though you are mere useless filth yourself?"

    The former mage shrugged. "Let it be so, then. I wish to burn in a great pyre."

    Anrie shook his head sadly. "And I do not wish that. I wish to live, and for it to be life. And I do not know how I shall live on."

    "Forgive me, Anrie. I cannot help you."

    "I understand." The alchemist nodded sharply and got up, holding to the wall. "I know enough to understand that no one can help anyone in this. You have done enough for me. I an in your debt."

    "No. I have repaid you the debt of my first nights." Lindbergh, too, got up. "Where are you staying for the day?"

    "I will make it there on my own, Lindbergh, but thank you."

    "Very well."

    And the alchemist staggered out of the room. Yet he did not turn, and did not call for aid.

    Lindbergh then collected the broken glass and went to his own resting place. Sunrise was approaching and his heart was heavy.
    Last edited by Werekat; 2011-06-12 at 03:44 AM.
    There are thousands of good reasons magic doesn't rule the world. They're called mages. - Slightly misquoted Pratchett