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  1. - Top - End - #271
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Dr Bwaa RE:Amolarr II
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    This seems like a weird phrase to me. Your intent is clear enough, but this could be read as "he chose to be physically weak, because that was in the best interests of his tribesmen", which is obviously not what you're going for.
    Didn't even consider that, fixed
    The "trap" does not come across clearly enough here, in my opinion.
    I see what you're saying, and I'm not entirely satisfied with how it looks written down, but I really can't think of a way to fix it, especially since that is basically word for word how it happened in the session.
    It needs more elaboration, an earlier introduction and example of them sticking around and specifics about their perstering the guards before you can say "our persistence won out".
    It's not really a quality of the party so much as how they are acting in this situation. I'll change it up to make it seem less defining I guess.
    This line is a cop-out.
    She's taking comfort in the fact that she actually believes in these people. I don't think the rest of the paragraph works without this line.
    Really close together to be repeating a stand-out word like this.
    It's the same defiance. There is a flash of defiance at Bronn because she's annoyed at him, and then she goes back to freaking out.
    Did she actually steal anything just now? You didn't mention it and it seems like she wouldn't have (necessarily), but this line makes it seem like she had some pickpocketing success that she's basing her judgement on.
    Nah, she was just going to talk them out of it. Wasn't very well thought through. I'll fix it.
    Not in a great mood, is she?
    Wait until you see what she does when someone she actually cares about is threatened!

    Re:Amolarr III
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    how the heck do you pronounce this guy's name
    Kuth-ool. The other guy is Sol-ooth.
    The content of his speech doesn't mesh well with "droned", at least not without more description. If he's acting bored or being otherwise just barely polite enough not to be actually offensive, that should be clarified.
    You're right, I wasn't really satisfied with this sentence when I wrote it but I kind off wanted to get to the mind raping part.
    Okay, she's working for this dude, sees him in dreams, and so on, but she doesn't have a better name for him than "the man in black"? Even if she doesn't know who he actually is (likely), she would at least have a personal name to refer to him by in her thoughts.
    She does but it's a weird situation that I didn't want to write in. This is the same guy (Andrew) from AIGilstad's snippet- his name is sort of a big secret that she kind of found out on accident when she figured out how to use the blood bond. She's actively excluding it from her internal monologue because he can read her thoughts. I'll probably go ahead and do some preceeding events to build up their working relationship instead of plugging ahead with the story, which makes me grumble because really epic stuff happened last session that I want to write about.
    Given the derision she already holds for this man, I think "stupider" would be appropriate here.
    EFF YEAH DERISION!
    *lay [[see TANGENT]]
    Oh dear! I've provoked a tangent of opportunity!
    Again, there's this awkward dissonance between calling him just "the man in black" and being intimate enough that they share a blood bond and she's looking deep into his eyes.
    Through normal, respectful eye-contact that a confident evil maniac would display in the prescense of her superior she saw that he was getting tired. He is getting tired because he's fighting a never ending war against a god in the god's own realm. This isn't really that intimate. He actually just shows up like this to a lot of people, but I think that's more the DM's story since he's snippeting now.
    WAT. ...Everything went better than expected, I guess. You could really work the tension here; any genre-savvy reader is going to react like I did when she foists this random demand on him (that is, "oh dear lord she's screwed"); you could definitely milk the interaction for some more drama, even though she is clearly pretty comfortable with him.
    EFF YEAH TENSION! I can do that!
    Ahaahahahahahahaha. Hahahahaa. Ahaha. That is pretty damn boss.
    The man is a boss. If I ever wade through the mountains of backstory necessary to set up for the next set you will be impressed.
    I should hope not! That is all kinds of ill-gotten power right there (what are you guys, like level three?); it's time to abuse the everloving hell out of it!
    Yes. Yes we were.
    In this case, there's clearly need for him to speak, but I see no reason why Kepesk shouldn't control his reply to her to be as convenient as possible--no stammering, no confusion (after all, he doesn't really have a will of his own at this point), just a nice, convincing show for the two guards.
    I can do that. Makes more sense.
    Oh man I am all kinds of loving this plotline. Great job with the badass misuse of power; great targets; great dialogue (if it can be called that when one person controls everyone else's parts of the conversation); great descriptions. I am hugely looking forward to the next installment.
    Thanks for enjoying it! The next installment will probably be background on who Kepesk was at the start of the campaign and how she came to be loyal to Andrew and THEN I can get into super cool blue dragon crime ring stuff. I can't wait to read yours and return the favor.

  2. - Top - End - #272
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Lord_Gareth's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    So, I shall be writing more soon. The question is, do you want:

    1. A snippet about the feast directly before Ragnarok in a Scion: God game. The party is crashed by the most uninvited of guests.

    2. A peek into the origins of the Kinslayer, Kristina.

    or

    3. A peek into the origins of Colors, the girl from the "Monster" snippet (who is, for all future reference, not the girl with the stained glass hair in the Host of a Thousand Princes).


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
    My extended homebrew sig

  3. - Top - End - #273
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Lord Gareth I vote ragnarok! Because if it's who I think it is I love that guy.

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    mebecronck's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Dr Bwaa
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    Thanks for the comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I frequently imagine my many characters in situations they wouldn't typically find themselves in, just to better understand their character. The whole "Cronc goes to Anger Management" story came out of one of these imaginings. I found it so entertaining I wanted to write it out.

    To address some of your comments. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, and left it to the reader to fill in for some of the obvious blanks. Like the expression on Cronc's face, or the things he was smashing. As for why Cronc was still there in the last scene ... mainly for the comedic impact (screw logic) ... or if you need logic, it could have been Cronc returning for his second session, and commenting on "good breaking".

    As for the "Okay?!", I think of the doctor trying to create a relaxed atmosphere rather than professional one. I also think he said it more to himself and under his breath. Also, Cronc was always laying on the couch, so the "Okay" was more out of confusion than anything else.

    The hardest part in writing this was finding a consistent way to reflect Cronc's poor language skills. It's hard to spell improperly while close enough so that people can still understand what is being said.

    I haven't really felt much like writing ... at all ... for some time, but I have some ideas on some more Cronc shorts running through my mind. "Cronc Goes to the Asylum", "Cronc Goes to Jail", and my new favorite "Cronc Goes to the WWE".

    Some of Murphy's other laws.
    "Professionals are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs."
    "No plan survives the first contact intact."
    "If it's stupid, but it works, it isn't stupid."
    -Capt. Edward A. Murphy-
    Newton's Law of the Road
    "The object with more mass has the right-of-way."

  5. - Top - End - #275
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Question: so... I know there's a restriction on discussing real-world religion, but I don't know how far it extends. I'm working on a snippet, but it's for a Demon: the Fallen, and religion is, well, kinda a central part of the game :-) Any suggestions as to where the boundaries are?
    Our Shadowrun game is pretty much one long string of bad ideas, fueled by enthusiasm.

  6. - Top - End - #276
    Titan in the Playground
     
    TuggyNE's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Quote Originally Posted by Pisha View Post
    Question: so... I know there's a restriction on discussing real-world religion, but I don't know how far it extends. I'm working on a snippet, but it's for a Demon: the Fallen, and religion is, well, kinda a central part of the game :-) Any suggestions as to where the boundaries are?
    I'd suggest taking it to Board/Site Issues, but in short: discussion of purely fictional religion should be fine, just make sure it doesn't go real-world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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  7. - Top - End - #277
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dr Bwaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Gareth:
    Oh man; tough choices. I've wanted more on Colors and Kristina since you introduced them, but Ragnarok Party sounds awesome, too. I think I'll cast my vote for the Kinslayer.

    @PaperMustache
    This is the same guy (Andrew) from AIGilstad's snippet
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That makes two pairs of people writing about the same campaigns now. Way to make my bookkeeping job harder, guys.

    I can't wait to read yours and return the favor.
    I can't wait to have it done!

    @mebecronck
    Cronc Goes to the WWE
    YES PLEASE.

    @Pisha
    Question: so... I know there's a restriction on discussing real-world religion, but I don't know how far it extends. I'm working on a snippet, but it's for a Demon: the Fallen, and religion is, well, kinda a central part of the game :-) Any suggestions as to where the boundaries are?
    The board/site issues forum is probably the right place for this as tuggyne said, or else PM a mod and hope for the best. Generally speaking though, if you're discussing religion within a snippet from a game, you're probably safe.
    Bored? Come for our stories; stay to share yours.

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    Awesome banner/avatar by El_Frenchie!

    Play chess? Look me up! (bwaa)


    Formerly known as lordhenry4000

  8. - Top - End - #278
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    So that's one for Ragnarok and one for the Kinslayer. Voting's still open, folks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
    My extended homebrew sig

  9. - Top - End - #279
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    Eurus's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    So, I shall be writing more soon. The question is, do you want:

    1. A snippet about the feast directly before Ragnarok in a Scion: God game. The party is crashed by the most uninvited of guests.

    2. A peek into the origins of the Kinslayer, Kristina.

    or

    3. A peek into the origins of Colors, the girl from the "Monster" snippet (who is, for all future reference, not the girl with the stained glass hair in the Host of a Thousand Princes).
    Ragnarok! Scion always needs love.
    Avatar by araveugnitsuga.

  10. - Top - End - #280
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    This. Took. Too. Much. Time. I don't know if it's any good, but there are metric craptons of backstory before anything that happens next makes even the slightest amount of sense. So here is the first part of the campaign involving Kepesk before she became a horrible horrible person. Preceeds The Destruction of Amolarr by a LOT.

    Friends and Masters Part 1
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    I’ve left the dragons to their dessert at last and set off on my own for once. My sister was sad to see me go, but she promised she would look out for me back home while I was away. No one leaves the blue dragon syndicate, but no one ever said anything about an extended vacation and boy did I need one. I used to function as a sort of go between for them, keeping tabs on the syndicate’s various holdings in the towns surrounding the city. Important work to be sure, a job my sister always took very seriously, but much too tedious for me. I had always dreamed of a life of adventure, and now was my chance.

    I spent the first month of my grand adventure alone, sloughing from tavern to tavern looking for work. I did some manual labor around the town, nothing to write home about but I was getting paid. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice led only to an empty coin purse and a bit of an ale fixation. I had never gotten the chance to do much drinking at home, and one too many interesting strangers got the better of me. It was around the time a halfling snuck up between my legs, sopping drunk, and tried to chew through my coin purse in a disturbing attempt to rob me that I decided to forgo alcohol for the foreseeable future.

    I decided that I needed a plan, and set about observing the habits of more successful heroes for hire. I made it my business to befriend the sort of people who came to the bar late at night with blood on their clothes and platinum in their pockets. It quickly became clear to me that the most lucrative jobs were those that could not be handled alone. The richest and most powerful adventurers I talked to came from groups of widely varying skill sets. I talked to a Pharasmin cleric who had just joined up with a dhamphir to take out a lich in the eastern kingdoms and were now chasing a bounty north with a half-orc. I asked if I could travel with them, but the cleric politely rebuffed me when I told him the meager amount of magic I was capable of, saying I was likely to get in the way.

    I made other attempts to gather companions, but in all cases the results were the same. I would venture out with some on a trial basis, but in the end I merely held the group back and they would leave me behind when they moved on. I needed to make myself useful for some reason other than a few paltry magic tricks. The solution presented itself in due time.

    “Ey!” the barkeep yelled one night as I was fretting over some tea, “I’ll not have any of your kind in my bar!” For a moment I feared he had been talking to me, some folks don’t like half-elves and I had been lax in hiding my unnaturally pointed ears of late, but as I looked up from my cup I saw the real culprit. An enormous green orc carrying a firearm of some kind was standing in the doorway looking perplexed.

    “Me just want have bar!” the orc stammered, “look! Me have coin!” I saw him hold up a bag full of gold pieces. He had my attention.
    “Pipe down, Gar” a human in a wide brimmed hat came to stand next to him, “put yer valuables away before they get nicked.” He approached the barkeep purposefully and adjusted his lapels to reveal two holy symbol. I recognized one as that of Pharasma but I wasn’t familiar with the other, a simplistic depiction of a butterfly.

    “Preacher, I don’t care who your god is,” the barkeep replied, stone-faced, “I will not allow monsters in my bar.”

    “Inquisitor” the man corrected, giving the barkeep a meaningful glare. I felt I could stop this before it came to blows.

    “Hey, barkeep” I called, sliding the last of my gold to him, “they seem like decent people, how about I buy everyone a round and we can all get along?” It was apparent that the only thing that would cause a scene would be to argue the point further. None of the other patrons seemed bothered by the orc.

    “If he makes trouble, I’ll take him out myself” another man offered, he was a half-elf in leather armor who carried an intimidatingly large elven curved blade. The barkeep grunted his approval grudgingly and the newcomers each took a seat at the bar.

    “Thanks for the round” the inquisitor muttered as he pulled up a chair next to me, “name’s Milo, servant of Desna and Pharasma. The green one is Gar, he’s a gun man if you can believe it. The sullen one’s Malakar, last surviving member of some barbarian tribe, what was it again?”

    “I am the last son of Eagle” Malakar grunted, burying himself in his ale.

    “Yeah that’s right” Milo confirmed, “a barbarian without a tribe, now there’s something you don’t see every day!” I felt for the lonely barbarian, and wondered why Milo wouldn’t shut up about it. For his part, Malakar was making a noble effort not to start a bar fight right then and there.

    “Well I’m Kepesk,” I interjected, “Kepesk of the southern dragons. Skilled negotiator and sorcerer. Where are you headed?”

    “North, west, wherever the money takes us.” was Milo’s reply, “Why? You looking for protection?” Protection?! I was quite capable of handling myself thank you very much. The thought of enlisting the protection of a half-copper holy man and his band of blundering misfits was laughable. Even for a sorcerer of even my limited training. I made a concerted effort to remove the offense from my tone before responding.

    “Looking for work” I corrected, “it is difficult to pull off any of the real jobs in this business without at least some capable company.”

    “Is that so?” the inquisitor remarked, “well it seems the only job worth doing around these parts is some mine infestation. Goblins keeping the miners from doing their jobs. The reward is paltry but we might could milk it for all it’s worth if you lent us some of those negotiating skills you’re so keen on.”

    “It would be my pleasure” I said, hoping that this group would be different from the others.

    “Good, good” Milo seemed suddenly preoccupied, I saw him focus on the room at large and cast a spell to detect magic, a bit uncalled for. He cast it several times so that the potions in my bag were glowing conspicuously along with a few trinkets in the possession of a bard and a lonely looking old man.

    “Rat thieving bastard” he grumbled, glaring at the bard who had not moved since the newcomers had entered, “I’ll show him.” He got up angrily to confront the bard.

    I regarded the old man for the first time, he looked rather lonely sitting at that table all alone. Perhaps he might have some work for us, or some spare coin for a friendly traveler. Usually magic items were a sign of wealth after all and rich people were always good for a fleecing. I walked over to his table and sat down next to him.

    “Evening sir” I said politely, “mind if I join you?” His eyes seemed to linger on my face as if he recognized me for a moment before answering.

    “Of course, my dear” he replied at last, “I believe I would like that.”

    The man was a retired adventurer who had fought in the war that had marked the end of the idyllic old kingdom and gave rise to the new. The wars had taken place before my time, so I found myself unable to relate to his laments of how much better it had been before the war. It struck me after a time that every time he would make eye contact with me he would get sadder. I wouldn’t have said anything, except it seemed he might be about to break into tears.

    “Sir?” I asked cautiously, “Is everything okay? If you’re in any trouble I can help you. I’m an adventurer.”

    “You just remind me of someone,” he replied, no farther away from tears, “someone I lost.”

    “Sounds like a sad story,” I coaxed, “perhaps sharing it would help?” The old man sighed heavily.

    “When my daughter was around your age, she was beautiful just like you and beloved by all who knew her.” He started, “She had fallen in love with a travelling bard. They were to be wed, but on the day of their wedding a dark shadow passed over the land. I told her that it was an evil omen and that we should postpone the ceremony, but she was insistent that it go on as scheduled. At first the ceremony went according to plan. It was the proudest moment of my life to see her so happy, but something happened to her as they exchanged their vows. An evil presence possessed my daughter at the altar, twisting her into a raging monster. The groom was her first victim, then the priest. I had to drag her to the ground and strangle her myself…” The man could not continue after that, and elected to take a long swig of his drink to fill the space.

    “That was 15 years ago to the day,” the man whispered, “I’m sorry for staring, but the resemblance is uncanny.”

    I don’t know if it was an act of mercy or of stupidity on Milo’s part that he chose this moment to bring his frothing lunacy to the table at this moment, having given up on the bard. He plunked himself down next to the old man and started prodding at the amulet he wore around his neck.

    “You know that bard over there had one of these same amulets on him,” he said suspiciously, I wondered if all inquisitors were like this, “what’s it for?”

    “What this old thing?” the man straightened up immediately, “it’s an old trinket from the war. A gift from a wizard for saving his life. It isn’t for anything really. A good luck charm.”

    “I am an inquisitor. Please, try lying to me again.” Milo insisted. For what it was worth he was probably right about the old man lying, but his methods were embarrassing. Give a man a holy symbol and he’ll think he has the power of a god. I decided to help him get to the bottom of this.

    “May I see the amulet, sir?” I asked sweetly, playing off his admitted paternal feelings towards me. I had never had a father, but if noble old men were any indication they were gold mines. He handed it over easily. It was made of silver and shaped like a wolf’s head. The crafting was beautiful and it was inlaid with blue gemstones for the eyes. It certainly looked like it stood for something important and a simple spell confirmed that it was magic.

    “You said the bard over there had one just like it?” I asked Milo.

    “Yeah, I know his kind. Probably stole it.” The inquisitor grumbled.

    “Do you mind?” I asked the old man as I rose, “I’ll bring it right back.” He made no move to stop me. I crossed the room where the bard, a halfling with an assortment of string instruments, was readying himself for another song. When I showed him the amulet, recognition flashed in his eyes.

    “Hey, do you have one of these?” I asked innocently, offering up the amulet. In response he pulled his sleeve back to reveal an identical amulet strapped to his forearm.

    “Aye lass” he admitted, “what does it mean to you?”

    “Oh nothing,” I conceded, the man was obviously waiting for some kind of password that I did not have. A secret society then! This was exactly the sort of adventure I had dreamed about for so many years, “but did you know they’re magic?”

    “No I didn’t” the halfling lied, his demeanor changed once he realized I had little idea what the amulet was for, “what does it do?” The magic was unrecognizable as any school of magic I was familiar with. Probably obfuscated on purpose to hide the trinket’s true nature.

    “I can’t really tell,” I admitted, feigning ignorance, “but do you know what this reminds me of? Those secret societies in those kids stories about the old kingdom. They always had some kind of symbol like this that marked their members.”

    “That’s quite an accusation to make, lass,” the bard said deliberately, “someone who was part of such an organization would be a dangerous man indeed.”

    “Oh, I wasn’t implying that you were a member,” I remarked casually, “I just assumed you stole it.” That set the man to laughing, a relief given the dangerous connections he had just admitted to having. I looked away from the laughing bard for a split second, and in that second the little bastard took a shot at my ass, slapping me like some kind of whore.

    I spun to confront him, fixing him with a chilly stare. The little man shrugged at me innocently, as if to deny he had done anything. It really didn’t bother me all that much, but in a tavern full of weary male adventurers, precautions had to be taken. Standards had to be set. Examples must be made. I charged my hand with the strongest evocation magic I had. Electricity crackled and snapped between my fingers as I hit the halfling with the back of my hand as hard as I could. The electricity discharged into his face on contact with a satisfying crash.

    “You would be wise to show some respect in the presence of a blue dragon emissary,” I threatened, “we do not take kindly to such insults.” The man was in complete shock at what had just happened to him. He wasn’t hurt badly, my strongest evocation magic was still pitiful at best, but I had made the impression I wanted.

    “I meant no disrespect, lass” the man managed, “I had no idea you were one of them mafia types!”

    “Former” I flashed a smile that let him know we were even.

    “Is that so, well it just so happens I’m in the business of finding folks with a certain potential” he said, “you never know when you’ll need powerful allies.”

    “And what use could a simple bard have for such powerful allies?” I asked. The rouse was up, and I was about to find out the truth about these people.

    “That’s it” the barkeep said suddenly, thrusting a finger at the orc who had slammed down his drink at the start of my altercation with the bard, “I don’t care who pays for his drinks, I want this thing OUT!” Malakar moved to oblige him, but the orc seemed disinclined to cooperate. A fight would inevitably break out between the two, and as it did the bard motioned for me to follow him outside. When we had escaped the disaster of the barbarian-on-orc brawl taking place outside the bar, the bard offered me his explanation.

    “My name is Gareth. I am a member of the Brotherhood, a society that traces its roots back to the start of the old kingdom. We have widespread connections and deep coffers.” He spoke quietly so as not to be heard, but there was a certain excitement in his tone, “The problem in the mines is bigger than the townsfolk realize. Goblins aren’t smart enough to get organized and take control like that all on their own. They’re being organized by an outside force. A spell caster if reports are to be believed.”

    “What would you have me do, and what would I get in return?” I asked.

    “For information on this man, the Brotherhood is prepared to offer you and your party 5,000 gold and initiation into the organization on a trial basis.” It was a good deal, and a lot more money than anyone else had offered us.

    “We would be happy to oblige” I said with a smile.

    “Good. Now take the old man back his amulet. Tell him Gareth sent you, he’ll know what to do. Good luck” he said before walking back into the bar. When I gave the old man the password he looked more weary than he had before.

    “I had hoped you would stay out of this” he sulked, “but it is true we need all the help we can get. After you gather the information, make your way to the city of Driscoll. That is where the Brotherhood is based, and where you will make contact with an agent who will debrief you.”

    I thanked the old man and went outside to find my companions. Malakar and Gar were slumped against a tree, exhausted while Milo fussed over them and tended to their wounds. I had found a perfect niche with these people and for the first time since I left home I felt completely in my element.

    “Good news, boys” I announced, “ I found us some extra money to clear out that mine.”

    “Really?” said Milo, “how much? From who?”

    “A thousand gold to pass between us” I lied, “and really, a lady never tells.”

  11. - Top - End - #281
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dr Bwaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @PaperMustache
    First: I'm restructuring (wow that doesn't look like a real word at all) your spot in the Snippet Compendium like I have in a couple of other places to better reflect multi-snippet "chapter breaks". Is there a name you'd like me to use for the campaign as a whole?
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    I’ve left the dragons to their dessert at last and set off on my own for once.
    The "for once" is a little strange, considering the circumstances. It has more of a familial crossing-the-street-without-mom-holding-my-hand feeling than the escapist sense you're going for.

    I used to function as a sort of go between for them
    I'm fairly sure that "go-between" should be hyphenated.

    sloughing from tavern to tavern
    Sloughing is one of the most disgusting words in the English language, in my opinion, so I'll never really be averse to seeing it used in any context, but I don't think it necessarily belongs in this sentence like this. It means "shedding" or "casting off", which certainly provides a very graphic image of her activity, but not necessarily the one you were aiming for?

    nothing to write home about but I was getting paid.
    Idioms are a great chance to do world-building. This particular phrase makes me wonder if she's routinely writing home?

    It was around the time a halfling snuck up between my legs, sopping drunk, and tried to chew through my coin purse in a disturbing attempt to rob me that I decided to forgo alcohol for the foreseeable future.


    I made it my business to befriend the sort of people who came to the bar late at night with blood on their clothes and platinum in their pockets.
    I've always wanted to do the LFG thing in a campaign. This is a very nice desceription (this whole paragraph, really).

    my unnaturally pointed ears
    Would she refer to them as unnatural? It's fine if she does; you should just be aware of what this says about how she perceives herself.

    An enormous green orc carrying a firearm of some kind was standing in the doorway looking perplexed.
    AWWWWW YEAAAA. And perplexed is better than angry, at least!

    “Me just want have bar!” the orc stammered, “look! Me have coin!” I saw him hold up a bag full of gold pieces. He had my attention.
    And the attention of every pickpocket within three blocks. Also I really like this Orc already; he's had one line of dialogue and only a touch of description and he's already coming across as a very sympathetic character. Well written.

    “Thanks for the round” the inquisitor muttered as he pulled up a chair next to me, “name’s Milo, servant of Desna and Pharasma...
    Now that's how you join a party.

    The sullen one’s Malakar, last surviving member of some barbarian tribe, what was it again?”
    What sullen one? I'm looking all over for a mention of him but I can't find one. The other half-elf reads very clearly like a random dude already sitting elsewhere in the bar.

    For his part, Malakar was making a noble effort not to start a bar fight right then and there.
    How do we know this? Is she projecting, because if such harassment were leveled at her, she'd have had trouble avoiding a fight? Or is Malakar grimacing or using other facial/body language to indicate that he has anger, and he's struggling to keep it in check?

    The thought of enlisting the protection of a half-copper holy man and his band of blundering misfits was laughable.
    lol. I do have to wonder though, where did this hostility come from?

    well it seems the only job worth doing around these parts is some mine infestation. Goblins keeping the miners from doing their jobs.
    At least it's not giant rats.

    If you’re in any trouble I can help you. I’m an adventurer.
    Ahahahaha. Really? Awesome.

    “Sounds like a sad story,” I coaxed
    This line does not feel the least bit coaxing or comforting to me.

    The man could not continue after that, and elected to take a long swig of his drink to fill the space.
    This feels a bit awkward. The second part of the sentence is good, but the bolded part is pretty stilted.

    I don’t know if it was an act of mercy or of stupidity on Milo’s part that he chose this moment to bring his frothing lunacy
    Okay, if the earlier harsh internal comments about Milo were unexpected, this is just plain weird. I, at least, have not gotten a sense of anything that I might refer to as "frothing lunacy", though I do absolutely love that phrasing.

    “What this old thing?”
    Comma after "what".

    “I am an inquisitor. Please, try lying to me again.” Milo insisted. For what it was worth he was probably right about the old man lying, but his methods were embarrassing.
    Hahaha. Question though--as a skilled negotiator, why didn't she already notice that he was lying? Or at least why doesn't she give herself some credit--surely she belives she can tell when people are lying, so why would she trust this inept cleric over her own judgements?

    I had never had a father, but if noble old men were any indication they were gold mines.
    Ahahahahahahahahaha.

    A secret society then! This was exactly the sort of adventure I had dreamed about for so many years
    Aww. You've got some really good contrasts between her practiced social graces and her youthful naivety.

    “That’s it” the barkeep said suddenly, thrusting a finger at the orc who had slammed down his drink at the start of my altercation with the bard
    This is temporally very awkward. Was slamming his drink what caused the bartender to lose his patience? The information we get here seems kind of randomly placed, and out-of-order.

    Tell him Gareth sent you, he’ll know what to do.
    That comma should be a semicolon; and wouldn't it be extremely obvious already that Gareth sent you? I mean he just saw you walk over to him and have a private conversation!

    When I gave the old man the password he looked more weary than he had before.
    "More weary" is an awfully awkward thing to say. "Wearier" is much nicer, but honestly I don't think that's the adjective you want here; you want something that better communicates the disappointment and resignation the guys's feeling at having this girl who looks just like his lost daughter (assuming that story was true, as we have no reason to think otherwise) get into dangerous guild dealings.

    “A thousand gold to pass between us” I lied, “and really, a lady never tells.”
    Heheheh. Very nice closing line. I'm very much looking forward to some more low-level misadventures from this party.
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  12. - Top - End - #282
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    @PaperMoustache

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    Heh. I still love her skills at manipulation. It's well written and does an excellent job at capturing the character of everything involved.


    Now. I'm done procrastinating with enough work to write again!


    Madness...or not

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    In case you were wondering, three people in a floating basket isn't all that comfortable...particularly when one is in plate mail and all are armed. Still, the three of us did rest, a little. Just enough to dream...

    I found myself in a...space. I couldn't see anything about it clearly. In front of me were the silhouettes of four beings. They had several sets of wings, and many eyes. I don't know how I could see their eyes in a silhouette, but I did. I heard one of them say "Come, and see."

    I approached, and saw a man in a white cloak, bearing a white bow, riding a white horse. The voice waited for me to take that in, then spoke again.

    "Your name is Conquest, as is your purpose. Go forth."

    With that, I awoke. Kol and Aileph were awake as well, and Jessica was hovering at the edge of the basket.

    "Warlock. I take it ye saw that as well."

    "The white-cloaked man, called Conquest? Yes, paladin, I did."

    Jessica, however, was shaking her head. "What do you mean?"

    So we took turns recounting the dream. "I'm a little jealous...I can't dream."

    "You aren't missing much. Last time this happened, we saw it happen later. Sleep time is over. We need to keep watch."

    We had gone over most of a sea, and come to a vast desert. I could see nothing but blurry sand.

    Incidentally, it's even more unpleasant when your eyes see through darkness.

    But the worst was when we came to a town in the midst of it. Kol was right to have us on watch. The man in white was there, shooting every zombie in the place. We saw no living humans, and he apparently didn't see us. Likely for the best.

    Some hours later, we reached the spot that the compass said the tower would be at. The exact spot, which I realized when I found a spot where the needle just began to spin madly.

    No tower in sight.

    I turned the compass to see if it was upward or downward of where we stood. The needle continued to spin madly.

    Bloody wizards.

    Jessica spread her wings.

    "I'm going to go check on my friend."

    And she flew off. Straight upward.

    Kol and I shared a glance.

    "Kol...does the fact that she's going to check on a flying 'friend' we didn't see worry you?"

    "Yes. Too late to worry about it, though."

    "That's almost our motto..."

    Aileph stood up and started to trudge after her.

    "I'm going to make sure everything's all right with her."

    I couldn't think of anything to do, so I took out the journal and start writing.

    Then, I felt a pain in my stomach...and saw blood spread across the pages.

    I looked up, seeing a figure on the horizon...and a second arrow.

    A dream, and a death...

    But this time, my soul doesn't wander far.

  13. - Top - End - #283
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    One of the reasons that I've been so slow posting my own stuff recently is that I've actually got two large-scale writing projects that I'm working on.

    The first is the Joseph's Gap story that I've posted five snippets from so far (and I still owe you guys another edit of part 5; I haven't forgotten even though you all have). As I've mentioned before, part six is underway, but taking a while due to there being a lot of stuff to cram into it as well as my attempting to change my snippet format slightly for this story (they are getting longer and hopefully a bit stronger in terms of detail and characterization). This one is also being somewhat sabotaged by the fact that I'm also separately working on the snippet I mentioned over in this post.

    I am also simultaneously working on what is technically a background for a high-level D&D character I play, though since its conception it has developed into a much more full-fledged story that will be closer to novel-length by the time I finish it (ugh). I've posted one draft-snippet here (the second snippet in that post) from that story as well, although it's not as great as I'd like. The story doesn't lend itself to snippeting as well as JG because I'm trying to focus more on its literary merits, so snippetting is likely to involve posting long chapters, or a lot of context, or both, but I'm okay with that if you are. The plus side to this one is that I already have a lot written, which gives me a buffer that I could start posting while I keep working on other things.

    So the question I have for you guys is, which would you be more interested in reading next? If I know that at least someone wants me to write more of one of these guys in particular, it'll (hopefully) inspire my motivation glands to do something useful for a change. So what do you folks want next?

    • Joseph's Gap VI: Slime, Muck, and Filth
    • Laelah Vrenn (heavier prose and I'll probably start at the beginning)


    @Winds
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    "The white-cloaked man, called Conquest?
    I definitely thought the voice was telling Kalach that his name was Conquest; I had to go back and reread it several times to pick up on the fact that apparently the four silhouettes were speaking to the white-cloaked man, even though there were looking at Kalach?

    Incidentally, it's even more unpleasant when your eyes see through darkness.
    What is? This is a kind of weird line and I don't know that it adds much value as it is. What is it that you're trying to convey--directly and implicitly--with this?

    shooting every zombie in the place
    With what? Magical energy? Bullets? Arrows? Given the setting I can't take any of those things for granted; you've gotta give me more or I can't picture it.

    We saw no living humans
    Is the man in white not human?

    Jessica spread her wings.

    "I'm going to go check on my friend."
    Wat.

    "Yes. Too late to worry about it, though."

    "That's almost our motto..."
    Haha, it really is.

    Aileph stood up and started to trudge after her.
    What? How? Didn't she literally just fly away?

    I couldn't think of anything to do, so I took out the journal and start writing.
    So Kol is now standing around awkwardly I guess?

    Then, I felt a pain in my stomach...and saw blood spread across the pages.
    Standing around awkwardly not watching out for arrows, apparently. For that matter, how do you get shot by a guy on the horizon when you're flying around in a hot air balloon?

    But this time, my soul doesn't wander far.
    Great line
    Last edited by Dr Bwaa; 2012-09-26 at 08:50 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #284
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    @Dr. Bwaa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    I definitely thought the voice was telling Kalach that his name was Conquest; I had to go back and reread it several times to pick up on the fact that apparently the four silhouettes were speaking to the white-cloaked man, even though there were looking at Kalach?
    This impression is correct. The event is at several removes, I need to make it clearer next time...



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    What is? This is a kind of weird line and I don't know that it adds much value as it is. What is it that you're trying to convey--directly and implicitly--with this?
    Darkvision. It doesn't have any such effect in-game, but I imagine the dazzling effect of the desert by day would be...unpleasant...for someone who sees straight through darkness.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    With what? Magical energy? Bullets? Arrows? Given the setting I can't take any of those things for granted; you've gotta give me more or I can't picture it.

    Bow and arrow. I had mentioned that as his weapon, but I'll work on the details.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    Is the man in white not human?

    Not really...but the party didn't know much about it at the time.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    Wat.

    Our reaction in character...and I only knew what that meant OOC because we've had more than one DMPC with her class/feat/skill build.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    What? How? Didn't she literally just fly away?


    Honestly? This point (Kol and Kalach being shot) was the beginning of a session where the paladin wasn't there. We decided on what to do with him after the fact, to figure a reason why he wouldn't have been present for that section. IC, he wanted to be sure she was safe...but couldn't keep track of her.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    So Kol is now standing around awkwardly I guess?

    Something like that.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    Standing around awkwardly not watching out for arrows, apparently. For that matter, how do you get shot by a guy on the horizon when you're flying around in a hot air balloon?

    We weren't in the balloon...we had been trying to get into the invisible/flying/buried/however this one was hidden tower.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bwaa View Post
    Great line

    This cutoff was because of a forum error, actually...but if it works, it works!
    [/QUOTE]



    Next snippet: Side effects may include loss of body, loss of equipment, loss of sleep, loss of...

  15. - Top - End - #285
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Dr Bwaa I vote for Laelah Vrenn. Also, thanks for your critique of my last snippet, I'll get around to editing it eventually. In the snippet compendium, would you mind putting Friends and Masters above The Destruction of Amolarr since that's how it is chronologically? Or is is important to you that they be organized in the order they were written?

    @Everyone I really can't think of a good name for my story, and neither can anyone in my group... Any ideas?

  16. - Top - End - #286
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    I have no attachment at all to the particular formatting of your content in the compendium; if there are ever any changes you'd like me to make, just ask! I do them in order of posting by default just because it's consistent (and frequently the real chronological order is unclear). That goes for everyone else, too!

    As for a name for your campaign, I'll think on it!
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  17. - Top - End - #287
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    ...Wow no posts for a while. Let me fix that with moar low level shenanigans and Kepesk's first encounter with the man in black.

    Friends and Masters Part 2
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    We set out the next day for the mine. I had slept well, but my companions had not been as fortunate. Gar had run into some trouble finding an inn that would house an orc for the night, and Milo had stayed up late trying to find accommodations for him. In the end the pair had taken to the woods for the night, burning through precious supplies. They seemed adamant that Malakar and I share in their crankiness by making the two hour hike to the mines as uncomfortable as possible. I didn’t know which was worse, the orc or the inquisitor.

    Gar grumbled loudly during our trek, gun in hand. He would beat it against his hand as if itching to blow holes in something. As disconcerting as Gar was, Milo took it upon himself to make our walk doubly wretched. He didn’t respond to my attempts at conversation in the slightest, he just seethed the whole way. His eyes darted from Gar to Malakar to me as if he were inspecting us. As soon as one of us wasn’t paying attention he would strike at us with a personal question or a passive aggressive statement.

    “So how did you two sleep?”

    “’Cause you know, I’m feeling a little sore myself.”

    “So you’re from the south.”

    “Aren’t there, like, evil dragons in the south?”

    “You’re a half-elf. Why do you hide your ears, half-elf? Are you hiding something?”

    This went on almost endlessly until we finally reached the mine. We stood around awkwardly for a few minutes, knowing someone had to go in first but not wanting to upset each other. Finally Gar let out an impatient huff and stomped forward himself.

    The mine was abandoned for the most part, although there were obvious signs that goblins had been through recently. Half-chewed bones of dogs and pigs littered the ground and the smell of filth was everywhere.

    After a while we reached a fork in the tunnel. Milo insisted that Desna, his goddess of luck, would show us the right way. I had my doubts about how much a deity could possibly care about which direction we took, and they were not put to rest when the inquisitor pulled out a gold piece.

    “Heads we go right, tales we go left” he announced as he flipped the coin. We ended up going left. I knew there was no arguing with a man of faith. Endless arguments with my cleric sister had taught me that it was best to humor the pious.

    I was just about to remark on how fortunate we had been to have evaded the goblins up to this point when everything went to hell. Gar hadn’t been paying attention to where he was walking and the rest of us noticed the trip wire too late. The orc stumbled over the trap, snapping the trigger. He had just enough time to look back at us, confusion and fear in his eyes, before an explosion rocked the cavern. The tunnel collapsed, burying the gunslinger under the weight of the rocks. Malakar rushed forward to aid the fallen orc, flinging chunks of rock and dirt over his shoulder in a frantic attempt to dig him out. I knew better, even before I heard the dreadful sound of scuttling feet and the gurgling language of the goblins from the direction of what was now our only exit.

    "Goddess of luck, huh?" I grumbled as I summoned my dragon claws in preparation for combat. I had never found much use for my ability to grow scaly blue talons in place of hands in the past, but I was grateful for my draconic ancestry now.

    The goblins came at us four at a time. There were certainly more, but the narrow walls of the mine prevented them from swarming us. I slashed at the first one, scraping its face ineffectively. Milo drew his crossbow and finished the thing off before it could smack me with its tiny mace, but another stepped forward to take its place.

    We needed Malakar as soon as possible, but he had been caught off guard by the attackers. By the time he gave up hope on the cave in, I had already been shot with several goblin arrows. The pain made me long for the potions I had stored in my backpack. When he finally stood against the monsters, however, the fight turned squarely in our favor. He roared with rage as he drew his curved blade and dove forward to slash through the first wave of goblins in a single, bloody swing.

    Malakar made short work of the remaining goblins, needing little help from the rest of us. When the fight was over we turned our attention once again to the pile of rubble. We dug the orc out eventually, but too late. His body was broken, already cool to the touch, and caked with blood and dirt.

    Milo knelt and whispered a prayer over his fallen friend’s body. Malakar stomped off and started kicking the tunnel wall in frustration. I waited respectfully for my companions to compose themselves before I knelt over the orc myself and began to collect his things.

    He had his gun, a worthless broken thing that I hoped I could sell for scrap, some rope, gun powder, and a pitiful amount of gold. The poor guy had probably been pickpocketed in the bar last night without realizing. I sighed and put the items in my back pack. It was only then that it occurred to me that Milo and Malakar were glaring at me.

    “What are you doing?” Malakar managed. I was confused at how hurt he looked.

    “Taking his stuff?” I responded innocently enough, “what, were you gonna bury him with it?”

    “Some respect for the dead would be appropriate, Kepesk.” Milo spat.

    “I have plenty of respect for the dead” I huffed, “enough to understand that he’s not here anymore. This is his corpse. You can bury him if you want, but this stuff isn’t going to do him any good. Not anymore.”

    My companions were not pleased with me, but they took the orc’s body outside to bury him. I took the opportunity to poke around the parts of the mine we had already cleared. The goblins we had fought had come from a rather large dining hall at the end of the right corridor. There were even more scraps of bone and meat here, and splattered blood on the walls for good measure. The scene was enough to turn my stomach. I cast a few hasty magic detection spells so that I could put this place behind me.

    When I did so, however, I was immediately struck with what I could only describe as the most powerful and horrifying magic I had ever witnessed. Whispers flooded my mind, speaking over one another in languages that I did not understand. Mirth and anguish cut through me simultaneously and seemed to reflect off of each other endlessly. Hideous laughter chilled the blood in my veins and I began to shake with fear. I concentrated all of my will into identifying this magic, but it was from no tradition that I was familiar with. I could not even identify it as originating from any known plane of existence. The magic grew stronger and the voices grew louder until I was forced to wrench my gaze from it. My companions found me minutes later on the floor, clutching my head in my hands and muttering frantically.

    “Kepesk, what’s wrong? What happened?” Malakar demanded, lifting me to my feet.

    “Did something attack you?” Milo insisted before I could answer, “What did you see?”

    How could I describe what I had just witnessed? It didn’t have a name. I couldn’t explain it in any way that would make sense. I could hardly bring myself to speak, much less venture a hypothesis.

    “M-madness” I managed finally, “s-strong magic. L-left over from s-some spell. Cast. M-middle of the room. D-don’t use any m-magic in here.”

    Milo walked to the center of the room and poured some holy water over the place where the magic was the strongest. A new odor mingled with the blood stench in the room, rotting corpses and brimstone.

    “Accursed ground” Milo sighed, “you’re right, something bad has been here.” I could tell he still did not assume anything out of the ordinary. This was not the work of any known entity, arcane or divine, of that I was sure. But as I still found it difficult to compose myself, much less fathom the terminology I would need to describe what I had seen, I settled for simply leaving the room.

    Continuing down the corridor, we were ambushed by another group of goblins. A few archers crouched in holes in the ceiling and more with clubs advanced towards us. We made short work of them, they were no match for Malakar’s barbarian rage, and continued on.

    Further in we saw a single goblin in plate armor. It was standing in front of a door and did not seem to notice us as we approached. I would have questioned the thing, as it did not seem hostile at the moment, but Malakar ran forward before I could say anything and sliced the strange thing in two. So much for diplomacy. We turned our attention to the door it was guarding.

    It was locked, of course. I hazarded an attempt to detect magic. As I feared, the same insane power cut through my mind, terrifying me no less than it had before. I managed to compose myself better this time, the power hadn’t come as such a shock this time, and I relayed the information to my companions with an admirable lack of sobbing.

    While we were inspecting the door, however, we failed to notice what had become of the bisected goblin. It’s top half hung in the air as if suspended on strings and it clutched its weapon unnaturally as its head lolled to one side. It swung at Milo, but missed.

    I found myself too dumbfounded by the floating corpse to act. The jerky movements and the dripping blood were too much for my already rattled nerves. Malakar was stunned into inaction as well.

    “It’s being controlled,” Milo barked as the grotesque marionet raised its blade for another attack, “swing above its head, cut the strings.” Malakar did as he was told in his confusion, slicing some force above the goblin’s head and dropping it to the ground again. I hoped it stayed dead this time.

    The door was a baffling mystery to all of us. Malakar refused to go near it as Milo and I inspected it. We were about to give up when, on some whim, Milo tried knocking on it.

    “What was that supposed to do?” I taunted, annoyed that he wasn’t taking this seriously. He shushed me, concentrating on the door.

    “How do I do that?” He said aloud. He wasn’t making any sense.

    “How do you do what?” I asked. More shushing.

    “Knock on the door” he instructed, “you’ll see.”

    I squinted at him incredulously.

    “Just do it, okay?” I reached out tentatively and rapped on the door.

    “The puppet master requires new tribute. Only those who have served the puppet master in this way may enter the realm of mirrors.” A deep voice answered me inside my head.

    “Tribute?” I asked out loud.

    “You must slay something in the name of the puppet master to gain entry into the realm of mirrors.”

    “Who is the puppet master?” I asked. No answer.

    “What is the realm of mirrors?” Nothing. I sighed and turned back to Malakar.

    “We need to kill something in the name of some puppet master to get in here” I explained, “we should deal with this after we kill some more goblins.”

    “I have a better idea” said Milo as he pulled the dead goblin off the ground and pulled a mace out of his backpack, “lets deal with this now.” Before we could stop him he began banging on the goblin’s metal armor. The sound echoed through the tunnel and it wasn’t long before we heard more scuttling and guttural goblin speech.

    “I’m not killing anything in the name of some guy I’ve never heard of” Malakar grumbled, “it’s probably evil!”

    “Damn. Hadn’t thought of that” the inquisitor muttered, turning to me, “how about you? You seem to be the most… evil… person here. You do it.” Evil? I had never thought of myself as evil. I wondered if he was referring to the way I treated Gar’s body. Perhaps I had been a bit cold, but evil? I supposed the minds of the righteous had little room for shades of grey.

    “Uh, sure. You set them up, I’ll knock them down” I answered, “with… evil I guess.”

    Finally the goblins broke the awkward interaction with violence. They only came at us from one side, thankfully. Malakar put himself between them and us and began cleaving. I tried to pick off the most wounded ones with a fairly weak lightning spell, but most of them dropped to Malakar’s blade or Milo’s crossbow before I had the chance.

    When there was only one foe left, Malakar maneuvered around it to block its retreat. I summoned my claws and dug into the little monster’s throat myself, mentally dedicating the kill as tribute to the puppet master. As the life sputtered out of the goblin, it began to rise into the ceiling as if on strings. It disappeared into the ceiling and reappeared outside of the door.

    I felt a little self-conscious as I approached the magical door again. The goblin backed away to allow me to grasp the handle, but cut off my companions.

    “Only one who has paid tribute to the puppet master may enter the realm of mirrors.” The voice spoke again in my mind, “You have served the master and may proceed.” The door was now unlocked. I swung it open, turning sheepishly to my companions.

    “Uh, if I die in here…” I started, but thought better of it, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

    On the other side was a room made entirely out of mirrors. Each of the walls, the ceiling and the floor were all enormous mirrors and at the far end was a chest. I walked over to it and tried to open it. The lid came up from the opposite direction, so that the side with the hinges was propped up to reveal the contents. Inside was some kind of rod wrapped in cloth. I didn't have to cast a spell to know that it was magical. It was practically humming with the insane magic that I assumed was native to this plane. I took it out of the chest, but when I tried to remove the cloth it would not budge. Any way I tried to pull the cloth only seemed to tangle it more. I tried to use it in a way that a wand or a rod might be activated, but to no avail. With another puzzle I returned to my companions who were still waiting outside.

    “There was just some kind of rod in there,” I reported, waving the loot in the air, “I have no idea what it does.”

    “Well that was a waste” Malakar grumbled and sliced the strings on the tribute, sending the goblin tumbling to the ground. It was probably for the best that we didn’t leave this puppet master with any extra help from us.

    We pressed on until we came to the end of the tunnel. A narrow staircase marked the only way to proceed further into the mine. I figured we had probably already cleared the mine of goblins, but it couldn’t hurt to make sure, and there was still the matter of the wizard the brotherhood wanted us to investigate. We ventured into the stairway single file. The narrow walls made our descent seem to take longer than it should have. When we reached the end, the walls of the mine opened up into a wide room. My companions stopped short once they entered the room, leaving me trapped in the stairway. Claustrophobia ate away at my patience and I pushed past them to get into the room for some air. Only then did I realize why they had stopped.

    Mirrored surfaces lined the walls of this room, radiating the same alien magic which had terrified me earlier, but this time we were not alone. A tall figure hidden beneath dark black robes stood at the far end. He was surrounded by the madness inducing power, casting into the mirror and chanting softly. No, he was not merely surrounded by it. He was the source of it, or at least he was bending it to his will. Against all odds it seemed he had not noticed us. It occurred to me that this was most likely the dangerous wizard the Brotherhood had sent us to gather information on, but this man was certainly more powerful than we were equipped to deal with. Not even Malakar’s brute force could get us out of this place alive if we tried to fight him. Was this some kind of test? Did the Brotherhood want us dead?

    My companions and I stood in the doorway awkwardly, looking to each other for some explanation. We needed a plan. Should we attack while the wizard was preoccupied and hope to gain the upper hand? Of course not, we would be dead in minutes. Maybe if we backed out quietly the man in black would never know we had been there. We could make it out of this to fight another day…

    No. If this was some kind of psychotic Brotherhood test of nerve, I would not come back empty handed and I would not be toyed with. I wrapped my hand around the magical rod I found earlier, this was an item of the same terrifying energy as this man was invoking. I didn’t know what it did, but if he wanted it badly enough I could use it as a stalling tactic to get the information we needed and run. I would play this game and I would show this secret society who they were dealing with. I stepped forward, catching a brief glimpse of my companion’s shocked expressions as I spoke.
    “Excuse me” I said casually, the man in black made no sign he heard me. I produced the rod from my pack and held it out to him, “I don’t want to interrupt, but is this yours?”

    The man stopped mid-chant, jerking his head to the side as he caught the reflection of the rod in the mirror. He spun to face us, revealing a masked face under the hood. His eyes were locked intensely on the object in my hand and when he spoke his voice dripped with hardly controlled rage.

    “That! That is an object of pure magic!” he barked, regarding the item as if it was in danger of being snapped in two, “You will hand it to me immediately and in return I will spare your unworthy life.” He lifted an arm to the mirror on his left and a perfect double of the barbarian stepped out and stood at attention.

    I had to talk him down fast before this got out of hand, “yes yes, of course” I remarked in an even tone, “but slow down. Are you aware that you’re being tracked?” The man’s eyes broke contact with the rod, for an instant making contact with mine and then flitting back. I took this as permission to continue.

    “We’ve been sent to gather information on your actions in this area on behalf of a secret organization” I mentioned.

    “The Brotherhood…” he muttered, visibly alarmed.

    “Yes that one” I confirmed, keeping control of the conversation. I smacked the rod against my opposite palm to keep his attention, the way one taunt a playful dog with a stick. “Perhaps if you would agree to negotiate with us somewhere more neutral we might be of use to one another.” The man tore his gaze from the rod, this time to regard me with amusement.

    “Certainly” he gestured to the wall behind him, “accompany me into the realm of mirrors, I assure you there is no more neutral place.”

    “Very well, that sounds ideal” I agreed. Even a poor judge of character could tell he was lying. It was obvious that he had some power over this realm, but to argue the point would be to show fear and I could not risk antagonizing him and losing control of the situation. “But to ensure my safe return, this will be staying with my companions” I said as I handed the rod to the barbarian. The man in black nodded in agreement as he gestured once more to the mirror.

    “Ladies first” he offered, but I was not about to walk blindly into an unfamiliar plane of existence alone.

    “We’ll go together” I countered.

    “As you wish” he shrugged and we stepped through to the other side together, leaving my speechless companions behind.

    I couldn’t see where I was going when I stepped into the mirror realm, but there was a brief falling sensation before my foot found purchase in a room identical to the one we had come from, but oriented oppositely so that the far wall became the stairway leading out. I turned and was able to see my companions on the other side. They were being attacked by the barbarian’s double, but I had no doubt they could handle it.

    “They can’t see or hear us” the man in black mentioned casually and I realized that he had been waiting for me to acclimate myself to the new surroundings.

    “Good” I replied, “So the Brotherhood. They pose a threat to your plans?”

    “The Brotherhood is an ancient organization with many agents and deep coffers” he replied, “if they were to interfere, they could very well ruin everything I’ve worked for.”

    “Everything you’ve worked for” I echoed, prompting him to tell me more.

    “The realm we are in now is a world of complete perfection” the man in black explained with a sort of manic passion, “a world free of suffering and weakness. I seek to bring perfection itself to the pathetic world you come from. To purify it by joining it with the mirror realm.” This was going better than I had expected, the man was too lost in his passion to hold anything back. The brotherhood would be impressed.

    “You say the world I come from” I prodded, “I take it that you are not from my world?”

    “Alas, I too am tainted by that pathetic place” he conceded, “but I have been enlightened. Only the worthy can commune with the mirror realm, and only the worthy shall share in my new world once it has been purified.”

    “And how are you going to do that?” I asked in one last attempt to squeeze information from him, but he was catching on to me.

    “I have answered your questions” he announced, “now what have you to tell me of the Brotherhood?”

    “I have been recruited by the Brotherhood as I mentioned earlier” I told him, “they offered me quite an attractive amount of gold…”

    He cut me off with a chuckle, “Ha! They offer you gold.”

    “…and initiation into their ranks” I finished.

    “If I had an agent within the Brotherhood, then perhaps when the time came…” the man seemed to ponder this, “Yes. Join me and I promise you more than gold. You will have ultimate power and a place in my new world.” What was it with wizards and ultimate power? Obviously he thought it sounded impressive. It struck me as a rather insecure thing to prattle on about.

    “Very good” I agreed, pleased with how eager the man was to trust me. “I will deliver the rod to them as proof of my loyalty and await your orders.”

    “No. That will not do. You must give the rod to me.” He said firmly.

    “My companions won’t like that…” I said, trying to imagine a way to get out of this with both my life and the rod intact.

    “Then I will destroy them” he reasoned.

    “No!” I said too quickly, I took a fraction of a second to compose myself, “the Brotherhood expects them along with me, it would raise suspicion for me to arrive unaccompanied.”

    “Then what do you suggest?” the man asked. I thought it over.

    “When do you need the rod?” I asked, “at the latest?”

    “Within the week” he said firmly.

    “Hmm… knock me unconscious” I decided, “ make it convincing. Attack my companions but let them escape with the rod. I will find a way to return it to you on our way to the next city after they have lost interest in it.” He seemed to weigh the option for a moment.

    “This will do” he answered finally, “but to ensure your loyalty to me, you must swear to do this thing by blood.” He withdrew a knife from his robe, sliced a clean wound into the palm of his hand, and handed the dripping blade to me.

    Being magically sworn by blood to an obvious genocidal maniac was not the most attractive prospect I had encountered in my lifetime, but I had come too far to die now. I sliced into my own hand, allowing warm blood to spill down my palm and onto the mirrored floor. He clasped his hand, still dripping with his own blood, against my wounded palm. I suppressed a wince of pain.

    “Now swear” He commanded.

    “I swear to do everything in my power to return the rod to you within the week” I managed. As I said the words I felt a burning arcane force infiltrate my blood. It started at the site of the wound but soon spread throughout my bloodstream. A small area on my collar bone scorched hotter than the rest. I tore my clothing back reflexively to relieve some of the burning, to no effect. A small Mobius strip had appeared where the pain was the most intense.

    “That is my mark” the man in black explained, still clasping our bloodied hands together, “it will allow me to keep track of you while you are in my service.” I could hardly understand him, the pain was so horrible. I found myself blinking back unconsciousness, then falling forward towards the portal.

    “I will be watching.” I heard him say. I felt more blunt pain in my upper back as he kicked me forcefully through the mirror, back to my companions and out of consciousness
    Last edited by PaperMustache; 2012-10-02 at 07:12 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #288
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Papermoustache
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    We set out the next day for the mine. I had slept well, but my companions had not been as fortunate. Gar had run into some trouble finding an inn that would house an orc for the night, and Milo had stayed up late trying to find accommodations for him. In the end the pair had taken to the woods for the night, burning through precious supplies and cursing the barbarian and I with a cranky orc and inquisitor. I didn’t know which was worse.
    I'm going with the inquisitor, since she was annoyed by him at the best of times...

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    The orc grumbled loudly during our trek, gun in hand. He would beat it against his hand as if itching to blow holes in something.
    Well, naturally.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    As disconcerting as Gar was, Milo took it upon himself to make our walk doubly wretched. He didn’t respond to my attempts at conversation in the slightest, he just seethed the whole way. His eyes would dart from Gar to Malakar to me as if he were inspecting us. As soon as one of us wasn’t paying attention he would strike at us with a personal question or a passive aggressive statement.
    Well, whatta ya know!


    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    After a while we reached a fork in the tunnel. Milo insisted that Desna, his goddess of luck, would show us the right way. I had my doubts about how much a deity could possibly care about which direction we took, and they were not put to rest when the inquisitor pulled out a gold piece.
    Well...if you can't decide logically, chance works. Done that so many times with randomly generated dungeons...

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    “Heads we go right, tales we go left” he muttered as he flipped the coin. We ended up going left. I knew there was no arguing with a man of faith. Endless arguments with my cleric sister had taught me that it was best to humor the pious.
    ...Also, she didn't have any better ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    I was just about to remark on how fortunate we had been to have evaded the goblins up to this point when everything went to hell.
    Naturally. Murphy's Law is omnicient, and has a nasty sense of humor.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    *combat*
    All very well described.


    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    Milo knelt and whispered a prayer over his fallen friend’s body. Malakar stomped off and started kicking the tunnel wall in frustration. I waited respectfully for my companions to compose themselves before I knelt over the orc myself and began to collect his things.
    I take it they're a pragmatic bunch where she comes from...


    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    When I did so, however, I was immediately struck with what I could only describe as the most powerful and horrifying magic I had ever witnessed. Whispers flooded my mind, speaking over one another in languages that I did not understand. Mirth and anguish cut through me simultaneously and seemed to reflect off of each other endlessly. Hideous laughter chilled the blood in my veins and I began to shake with fear. I concentrated all of my will into identifying this magic, but it was from no tradition that I was familiar with. I could not even identify it as originating from any known plane of existence. My companions found me minutes later on the floor, clutching my head in my hands and muttering frantically.

    Well described again.


    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache View Post
    “It’s being controlled,” Milo barked, “swing above its head, cut the strings.” Malakar did as he was told in his confusion, slicing some force above the goblin’s head and dropping it to the ground again. I hoped it stayed dead this time.

    Very thematic. Not very effective...


    From there, I'm gonna be lazy again and skip to overall impression. It's very well written, and the circumstances are interesting, but I'm a bit confused as to why he seems so much more stable in the later snippets.




    My next snippet: Kol meets his nemesis

  19. - Top - End - #289
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Winds
    interesting, but I'm a bit confused as to why he seems so much more stable in the later snippets
    Who's he again? If you're talking about the man in black it's because Kepesk's tone toward him changes. She isn't loyal to him at this point, which means he's sort of at her mercy. He's just another silly wizard obsessed with ultimate power, rather than a god-like figure as she thinks of him later. One of the reasons I wanted to go back and write their first interactions was because I wanted to show her fall from naive chaotic neutral runaway to reluctant traitor to outright chaotic evil fanatic. I hope I can tie it together effectively in the following installments.

    Thanks for reading my snippet :3

  20. - Top - End - #290
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dr Bwaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Before I move on to comments; anyone else have any opinions about which snippet they'd like to see next from me? Whichever you guys decide, it will be posted on Friday.
    Your Options (you'll get them both eventually):
    • Laelah Vrenn (starting at the beginning; thicker prose)
    • Joseph's Gap VI: Slime, Muck, and Filth


    @PaperMustache
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    In the end the pair had taken to the woods for the night, burning through precious supplies and cursing the barbarian and I with a cranky orc and inquisitor.
    Wow it took me a long time to figure out what you meant by this. I like gardens and the paths they may contain as much as the next guy, but this sentence really threw me for a loop. It's a really subtle problem, which is probably why it threw me so hard. You're talking about what they ended up doing the previous night. They're uncomfortable and generally unhappy, and you use the phrase "cursing the barbarian and I". What you mean (I'm pretty sure) is "and now, the barbarian and I are cursed with their presence", but given the tense and setting of the paragraph, it reads as "they sat around their campfire cursing our names." I'd split this out to make it clear that you're coming back to the (relative) present in your cursedness.

    The orc grumbled loudly during our trek
    We know vaguely that you're headed for the mine, but you haven't given us (unless I've forgotten) a description of how far it is; over what terrain, etc. Some knowledge of this would give "trek" some much-needed context.

    Milo took it upon himself to make our walk doubly wretched.
    Well, obviously.

    His eyes would dart from Gar to Malakar to me as if he were inspecting us.
    Just "darted", or something like "continually darted" to show repetition. "Would dart" is subjunctive.

    “So how did you two sleep?” He snapped once, “’Cause you know, I’m feeling a little sore myself”

    “So you’re from the south”

    “Aren’t there, like, evil dragons in the south?”

    “You’re a half-elf. Why do you hide your ears, half-elf? Are you hiding something?”
    I thought this was a conversation at first. I like what you're doing here; I'm just having trouble figuring out a better way to make it clear that this isn't dialogue--maybe take out the paragraph breaks, and the structuring in the first one (the non-quoted part). You're also missing periods at the end of your quotes (you do this a lot, actually).

    This went on for a good thirty minutes until we finally reached the mine.
    Just my opinion, but I don't think half an hour qualifies as a trek (though they could have been trekking, I suppose; my standards are apparently different for those two versions of the word )

    We stood around awkwardly for a few minutes, knowing someone had to go in first but not wanting to upset each other.
    Okay this is hilarious.

    Goblins were not known for their cleanliness.
    This line feels a little weak; it's like you're justifying these as being specifically Goblin signs by mentioning a thing that isn't present, that Goblins aren't known for. I don't think the line is necessary; without it the reader just assumes that filth and discarded meat indicated Goblin presence.

    Milo insisted that Desna, his goddess of luck, would show us the right way. I had my doubts about how much a deity could possibly care about which direction we took, and they were not put to rest when the inquisitor pulled out a gold piece.

    “Heads we go right, tales we go left” he muttered as he flipped the coin. We ended up going left. I knew there was no arguing with a man of faith.
    This is a great moment. "Muttered" is the only thing that seems a bit weird; it has a connotation of him being unsure or embarassed, neither of which is appropriate for his character here.

    I was just about to remark on how fortunate we had been
    Coming right after the religious luck discussion, this is a great opportunity for some snark.

    The goblins came at us four at a time. There were certainly more, but the narrow walls of the mine prevented them from swarming us.
    Lots of words to say what is essentially the first sentence plus the middle of the second sentence. That is, you're communicating "Narrow walls ==> only four at a time". Everything else can be left implicit.

    I summoned my claws and prepared for combat.
    I believe this is the first time we've seen these "claws", chronologically-speaking. Give them some description.

    I slashed at the first one, scraping its face ineffectively. Milo drew his crossbow and finished the thing off before it could smack me with its tiny mace
    Oh, level 1 misadventures. The situation is simultaneously desperate and pretty funny.

    I had already been shot with several goblin arrows.
    Out of character, I know what this means in-character--specifically, you've got to be just about on the verge of passing out. But that's not actually communicated here.

    He roared with rage as he drew his curved blade and dove forward to slash through the first wave of goblins in a single, bloody swing.
    Aaaand great cleave steals everyone else's thunder (for the next couple levels, anyway).

    I waited respectfully for my companions to compose themselves before I knelt over the orc myself and began to collect his things.
    Lol.

    It was only then that it occurred to me that Milo and Malakar were glaring at me.
    I was wondering.

    “What are you doing?” Malakar managed, I was confused at how hurt he looked.
    That comma is not the right punctuation. Technically you could put a semicolon there (two distinct, complete sentences), but really they should be separate sentences since they're separate thoughts.

    “Taking his stuff?” I responded innocently
    Lol again.

    “Some respect for the dead would be appropriate, Kepesk.” Milo chided.
    What, is Milo her mom? "Chided" is something you do to your family members, not the stranger who's looting your buddy's corpse.

    tossing him the orc’s coin purse
    Does he catch it? He's being all indignant; getting the dead man's coinpurse thrown at him should provoke some kind of reaction.

    When I did so, however, I was immediately struck with what I could only describe as the most powerful and horrifying magic I had ever witnessed. Whispers flooded my mind, speaking over one another in languages that I did not understand. Mirth and anguish cut through me simultaneously and seemed to reflect off of each other endlessly. Hideous laughter chilled the blood in my veins and I began to shake with fear. I concentrated all of my will into identifying this magic, but it was from no tradition that I was familiar with. I could not even identify it as originating from any known plane of existence. My companions found me minutes later on the floor, clutching my head in my hands and muttering frantically.
    Very nice description, though it strikes me as a bit odd that her first reaction to "OHGODTHEVOICES" is to try to identify the particular magical effect in place (as opposed to cowering on the floor like she does after that).

    they were no match for Malakar’s barbarian rage
    Oh man, more than one rage per day? So stroooong.

    So much for diplomacy.
    Isn't that just the way of these things, though.

    I relayed the information to my companions with an admirable lack of sobbing.
    Ahaha. Again, I love Kepesk's voice.

    While we were inspecting the door, however, we failed to notice what had become of the bisected goblin. It’s top half hung in the air as if suspended on strings and it clutched its weapon unnaturally as its head lolled to one side. It swung at Milo, but missed.

    “It’s being controlled,” Milo barked, “swing above its head, cut the strings.” Malakar did as he was told in his confusion, slicing some force above the goblin’s head and dropping it to the ground again. I hoped it stayed dead this time.
    Okay, this is a really cool thing you've got going on here, but I have a couple of problems with it. First, you solve it instantly, which makes me think of that preposterous scene near the end of Hackers where a virus comes up asking for a cookie and The Plague is like "you have to type 'COOKIE' to make it go away, obviously." Second, the characters give basically no attention to this half-Goblin (lol) puppet. It's a really weird, incredibly gruesome spectacle, yet there's no reaction to it at all. Why nottttttttt?

    pulled a quarterstaff out of his backpack
    That's some backpack. No surprise on Kepesk's part that he was keeping a quarterstaff in there?

    “Damn. Hadn’t thought of that” the inquisitor muttered
    The inquisitor hadn't thought about the alignment of the mysterious voice psychically commanding him to kill things?

    “how about you? You seem to be the most… evil… person here. You do it.”
    This guy's moral compass is signed S. Dali.

    “Uh, sure. You set them up, I’ll knock them down” I answered, “with… evil I guess.”
    Oh my god they're all adorable.

    Finally the goblins broke the awkward interaction with violence.
    For the first time in history, the subject of this sentence isn't "the PCs".

    I tried to pick off the most wounded ones with a fairly weak lightning spell, but most of them dropped to Malakar’s blade or Milo’s crossbow before I had the chance.
    I really like how discouraged/useless you've got her feeling throughout this whole scene.

    “Uh, if I die in here…” I started, but thought better of it, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
    Heheh. First, her voice is still great. Second, her unintentional double-meaning is completely hilarious.

    “There was just some kind of rod in there,” I reported, waving the loot in the air, “I have no idea what it does.”
    Oh, I thought she'd left it in the chest; it wasn't clear that she'd managed to remove the rod-plus-cloth in the midst of all those "would not budge" words. Maybe clarify that a bit.

    “Well that was a waste” Malakar grumbled and sliced the strings on the tribute, sending the goblin tumbling to the ground. It was probably for the best that we didn’t leave this puppet master with any extra help from us.
    No one questions who had set up the previous Goblin puppet?

    We ventured into the stairway single file.
    My only thought was "yeah, but what's your marching order??"

    this man was certainly more powerful than we were equipped to deal with. Not even Malakar’s brute force could get us out of this place alive if we tried to fight him.
    How do you know? For all the information you have, he might just be a lunatic who walked down here, found the mirrors, and started babbling to himself. If it's because of the magic you're sensing, that needs more elaboration--after all, you've only got a "hint" of that magic, and from the mirrors. There's nothing to suggest (beyond metagaming likelihood) that this guy is way over-CRed.

    we would be dead in minutes.
    If he's as powerful as you seem to think he is, it'll take much less time than that.

    this was an item of the same terrifying energy as this man was invoking.
    It is?

    “Yes that one” I confirmed, taking control of the conversation.
    You're already controlling the conversation; "keeping control" or something to reflect (lol get it because mirrors) that fact would be a better choice here in my opinion.

    I smacked the rod against my opposite palm to keep his attention, the way one would to a dog with a stick.
    Good visual; very nice comparison, but the phrasing is really weird in the bolded part. The "to" doesn't make sense at all, and it sounds like the dog has the stick already.

    The man in black nodded in agreement as he gestured once more to the mirror.
    Because there is no way he could just have the barbarian's doppleganger trash the real party members and take the rod

    we stepped through to the other side together, leaving my speechless companions behind.
    Yeah, no kidding.

    They were being attacked by the barbarian’s double, but I had no doubt they could handle it.
    Oh yeah, there we go. I can't tell if Kepesk's being sarcastic in the second bit of this sentence, though.

    “Everything you’ve worked for” I echoed, prompting him to tell me more “and by that you mean…?”
    You're already prompting him; you don't need this last bit.

    “Very good” I said, pleased, “I will deliver the rod to them as proof of my loyalty and await your orders.”
    I would expect her to be seemingly-pleased but not legitimately pleased here. She obviously doesn't think much of this guy (yet); I'm wanting more snark in her internal monologue where we get to see what she really thinks of him. I just always want more snark. What a great word.

    ...Snark snark snark.

    “Then I will destroy them” he reasoned.
    Awesome.

    I will find a way to return it to you on our way to the next city after they have lost interest in it.
    How does she know such a thing is even possible? We know from the future that he can receive objects through mirrors, but for all Kepesk knows (and frankly, given the situation, she should very reasonably expect), he can only interact with the mirror realm through these specific mirrors.

    Being magically sworn by blood to an obvious genocidal maniac was not the most attractive prospect I had encountered in my lifetime
    Then life is good, right?

    A small Mobius strip had appeared where the pain was the most intense.
    Like, an actual one? A Mobius fleshstrip would be really, really gross.

    I could hardly understand him, the pain was so horrible. I found myself blinking back unconsciousness.
    This comes as a big surprise after her calm "assess the damage" a few lines ago. Maybe move things around a bit, or at least rephrase to have her fearfully looking back at her burning shoulder rather than "assess"ing.

    I heard him say as he kicked me forcefully through the mirror portal back to my companions and out of consciousness
    Nice ending; strangely I want more detail on his "kicking". Did he literally kick her back through the portal? If so, did he kick her in the head or something, to knock her out? This could use a touch more clarity (maybe he just punched her in the face and she feels herself falling through the portal again on her way into unconsciousness?). As usual, I can't wait for the next installment!

    EDIT: wow, my individual comment dumps aren't always this long, are they?
    Last edited by Dr Bwaa; 2012-10-02 at 08:40 PM.
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  21. - Top - End - #291
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Dr Bwaa I read your critique while I was in class and could not stop laughing at pretty much every comment. It was pretty inappropriate. Also awesome.
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    Just my opinion, but I don't think half an hour qualifies as a trek (though they could have been trekking, I suppose; my standards are apparently different for those two versions of the word )
    Maybe I'm just lazy. I don't trek anywhere... 30 minutes sounds like a lot to me, but these adventurers are probably in better shape than I am, so fixed!

    That's some backpack. No surprise on Kepesk's part that he was keeping a quarterstaff in there?
    ...I meant mace... that's actually important for later when he starts hitting me in the face with it.

    For the first time in history, the subject of this sentence isn't "the PCs".
    Is that a problem?

    How do you know? For all the information you have, he might just be a lunatic who walked down here, found the mirrors, and started babbling to himself. If it's because of the magic you're sensing, that needs more elaboration--after all, you've only got a "hint" of that magic, and from the mirrors. There's nothing to suggest (beyond metagaming likelihood) that this guy is way over-CRed.
    Fixed it so that she notices that he's actually controlling the terrifying mystery magic.

    Good visual; very nice comparison, but the phrasing is really weird in the bolded part. The "to" doesn't make sense at all, and it sounds like the dog has the stick already.
    Changed to "...the way one would taunt a playful dog with a stick."

    I would expect her to be seemingly-pleased but not legitimately pleased here. She obviously doesn't think much of this guy (yet); I'm wanting more snark in her internal monologue where we get to see what she really thinks of him.
    Added snark. "What was it with wizards and ultimate power? Obviously he thought it sounded impressive. It struck me as a rather insecure thing to prattle on about."

    How does she know such a thing is even possible? We know from the future that he can receive objects through mirrors, but for all Kepesk knows (and frankly, given the situation, she should very reasonably expect), he can only interact with the mirror realm through these specific mirrors.
    Just wait for it.

    Like, an actual one? A Mobius fleshstrip would be really, really gross.
    DM didn't say. Honestly I can't really picture it very well myself, but I ask him so many questions already I didn't want to be a bother, so for now it's written as originally described.

    Nice ending; strangely I want more detail on his "kicking"
    She fell forward and he literally just kicked at her to push her in so he didn't have to drag her. I fixed it.

    No one questions who had set up the previous Goblin puppet?
    O_O
    Not. Until. Just. Now. Damnit! How did we overlook that?! OH MY GOD THE DM WON'T TELL ME! THAT MEANS IT'S A PLOT POINT! The only reason we knew to knock on the door was because the inquisitor was metagaming! Damn it I'm a schemer not a puzzle solver!
    Last edited by PaperMustache; 2012-10-02 at 07:27 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #292
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    RE: Mobius

    Couldn't be certain secondhand, but I would guess a figure-8 scar rather than that sort of complicated deformity.

  23. - Top - End - #293
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Wow, some of the work on this thread is really amazing. I was inspired to write a snippet about an NPC from a pathfinder campaign I am currently DMing.

    Why I hate charm person
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    "Ugggh."

    My head feels like it was just trampled by horses. What on earth happened? I didn't think it was possible to have a headache this bad. I would guess that this is what a hangover feels like, but I'm still to young to drink. I sit up slowly and slide my legs off the bed.

    Not a bed. A bench. Huh? I look around, bleary eyed, at a dark featureless room with a heavy door on one side and a barred window on the other. A jail cell? Certainly not the first time I've woken up in one. But how did I get here?

    Rubbing my eyes, I try to piece together what happened. After a moment, it comes back to me in a blurry rush. A large room filled with rows and rows of barrels. A warehouse? A man with a mustache. He hands me a satchel filled with gold and platinum. Words are exchanged. The door is kicked off its hinges with an incredible crash. An ambush! I try to sneak towards the back door. A half-giant with a massive crystal hammer is charging towards me. He raises his weapon and...

    Smashes my head right in. I was out so fast that I don't even remember hitting the floor, but I'll never forget that sound. My own skull splintering and cracking apart. I quickly feel around to make sure it's back to its regular shape. Somebody must've had a real job scraping me off the floor. I shudder just thinking about it. No wonder my head is pounding.

    Air. I get up shakily and move towards the window. It's so small that I probably wouldn't fit through it, even if I could somehow get the bars off. I rest my forehead on the cool bars and close my eyes.

    After what seems like a really long time, I feel stable enough to look around. Still in White Point at least. That skyline is unmistakable. I stare longingly at the people on the street below. I just want to go home.

    "Hoo."

    A snowy white owl, perched in the rafters of a nearby building, draws my attention. Aloysius. After gazing at me for a moment, he takes flight in the direction of the pier. I guess this means Basil got out OK.

    My head finally starts to clear as I watch Aloysius fly freely through the sky. If Basil is still out there, I have a chance.

    ***

    "You have a visitor."

    The voice knocks me out of my thoughts. I hear the scratching sound of a heavy bar being lifted from my cell door. I look over expectantly.

    "Bro?"

    It isn't Basil. It's one of the men that ambushed me in the warehouse. An adventurer. His face is wrapped tightly in a light fabric, leaving only a small slit for his eyes. He is wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants. Every inch of skin is covered. He is the only member of his party that I recognize from before last night -- Basil and I stole the seed from him. I get up from the bench and face him.

    "Hi there. I'm Qiz." His voice is nasally and quiet, almost as if he is having difficulty breathing. He walks funny too. I wonder idly if he's human. "And what do I call you?"

    "Adrian," I answer tersely.

    "Well then, Adrian, I'll get right to the point. I know you were trying to sell my seed to the Grey Guild last night. But when we came in, you didn't have it with you. What have you done with it?"

    I just leer at him. Does he really expect me to answer? As if I'm just going to give up my brother. The half-giant might have been able to scare me, but this guy barely comes up to my shoulders.

    "Not a talker, eh?" He continues in a conversational, yet somehow sinister, tone. "Have it your way."

    His eyes flash a crimson red as he starts muttering in a language I can't understand. I'm not good with magic, not like my brother is, but this spell I recognize. Charm Person. I realize way too late to stop him though. I can only stare helplessly as he finishes his spell.

    Crap. This is probably some kind of religious custom. I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I just smile at him nervously and hope he isn't expecting me to charm him back or anything.

    "So. You were telling me what you did with my seed?"

    I was? I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that says I shouldn't. Its probably nothing. This is Qiz! He came to visit me in jail before my own brother even came!

    "Oh yeah. Sorry Qiz, but Basil has it. Last night was just the first money drop off. Wait, you've met Basil, right?"

    Qiz gives me a puzzled look. At least, I think he does. Its hard to tell through that ridiculous mask. "No. Who's Basil?"

    Seriously? "I can't believe you haven't met my big bro! I really need to bring you over sometime. You two would probably get along really well!"

    Wait a minute, how could he not have met Basil? I guess we really don't hang out together much. I didn't even know his name until a minute ago.

    "Uhh... sure." Qiz seems distracted, like he isn't really listening. "Hey, do you know where Basil is now?"

    "No idea. Basil was supposed to exchange the seed tomorrow in Stormport, but after your ambush that probably isn't happening anymore. Honestly, Basil's probably coming up with an escape plan for me right now. You know how he is."

    "I don't... Yeah, whatever." Qiz sighs. "Well, I'm going to try and track him down. I'll probably never visit you again."

    Awesome. With Qiz out looking for Basil, I'll be out of here in no time. "Thanks Qiz. I owe you one." He ignores me.

    Qiz walks with his funny walk back over to the door. It opens instantly when he knocks. Stepping out into the dark hallway, he turns back to face me.

    "Oh, and... uhh... Adrian, was it? Don't mention this conversation to anybody. I was never here. Bye forever."

    The door slams shut and I am left alone once again. Strange advice. Though Qiz has never led me wrong before. Actually, I don't think he ever has given me advice before. Come to think of it, this is the first time we've ever spoken. That Qiz.

  24. - Top - End - #294
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @Winds That's kinda what I pictured too. Scarring or a tattoo of some kind. Whatever, it's magic. She could have a disco ball on her collar bone for all I know.

    @FireEyes CHARM PERSON YOU SAY?
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    Smashes my head right in. I was out so fast that I don't even remember hitting the floor, but I'll never forget that sound. My own skull splintering and cracking apart.
    And he's... okay? It sounds like his noggin split open like a watermelon. I mean, I know there are healers and all, but this doesn't seem like the kind of thing a quick cure light wounds will fix, and if he's stealing stuff he probably couldn't afford a resurrection.


    "Well then, Adrian, I'll get right to the point. I know you were trying to sell my seed to the Grey Guild last night.
    Hurr hurr hurr selling his seed.

    His eyes flash a crimson red as he starts muttering in a language I can't understand. I'm not good with magic, not like my brother is, but this spell I recognize. Charm Person.
    I love the description of him casting the spell.

    Crap. This is probably some kind of religious custom. I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I just smile at him nervously and hope he isn't expecting me to charm him back or anything.
    BWAHAHAHA! The complete turn around is hilarious and even though he's under a mind-affecting spell he's still in character.

    Overall I thought your snippet was... charming . Hilarious too. You really played the "perceives your words and actions in the most favorable way" part of the spell nicely.

  25. - Top - End - #295
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    No forums for agessss. I'll have a post up tomorrow; last chance to cast a vote.

    Also comments are forthcoming here, FireEyes :-D Welcome to the thread!

    @FireEyes
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    I would guess that this is what a hangover feels like, but I'm still to young to drink.
    Interesting; you're either telling us a lot about your character, your setting, or both, but I'm not sure which. I don't know of any pathfinder settings with a minimum drinking age, anyway. Also, "still too young to drink".

    A man with a mustache.
    Ohhh, mustaches are such fantastic descriptive pieces. Give me more about the mustache, even if it's just an extra word or two--bushy? Thin? Stiff? Peacock-like?

    I try to sneak towards the back door. A half-giant with a massive crystal hammer is charging towards me.
    Would be nice to see some clarity to the resolution to your backdoor sneaking attempt--did the half-giant appear there? Did he just chase you down?

    He raises his weapon and...

    Smashes my head right in.
    I can't decide if I like this paragraph break or not. I guess if I can't decide I don't have much room to criticize it

    My own skull splintering and cracking apart. I quickly feel around to make sure it's back to its regular shape.
    Gonna agree with PM here; this doesn't sound like the kind of injury you wake up from.

    I just want to go home.

    "Hoo."

    A snowy white owl, perched in the rafters of a nearby building, draws my attention.
    Haha I love this transition.

    I know you were trying to sell my seed to the Grey Guild last night.
    Hurr hurr hurr selling his seed.
    This was my reaction too, lol.

    I can only stare helplessly as he finishes his spell.

    Crap. This is probably some kind of religious custom. I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I just smile at him nervously and hope he isn't expecting me to charm him back or anything.
    Oh my god yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. This is one of the best handlings of charm person I've ever seen (all the stuff that follows, as well).

    "I don't... Yeah, whatever." Qiz sighs. "Well, I'm going to try and track him down. I'll probably never visit you again."

    Awesome. With Qiz out looking for Basil, I'll be out of here in no time. "Thanks Qiz. I owe you one."
    Again, very well done. This was a really, really entertaining snippet. As soon as the charm goes off, it's just nonstop hilarity. Very well done; I hope there's more!


    @PaperMustache, FireEyes
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperMustache
    Overall I thought your snippet was... charming .

    Last edited by Dr Bwaa; 2012-10-08 at 02:53 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #296
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    I was getting a "forums are down for database backup; try again in 30 minutes" message all yesterday, but apparently there was actually nothing wrong with them? Anyway, here you go! Also, I've edited my previous post to include some notes for you, FireEyes!

    A Very Special Girl
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    Randal Vrenn was a well-liked magician and trickster, who made a decent living with his wife and young son in their home outside Silverymoon by selling entertaining magical trinkets and joke items. His wife, Miri, was an artist and sculptor of considerable talent, and when the two collaborated on a project, the results were often some of their best creations. The most successful of these projects was a slender stone hoop, attachable to a wall or (with another of Randal’s products) sturdily suspendable from a ceiling. The ring itself had a natural, slightly-elliptical look, with intricate engravings on all sides. The device was actually a windowbox of sorts—plants could be grown in the ring at any angle, without roots or soil; the hoop would magically fertilize and suspend the plants in its center, gently supported to be perpendicular to its plane. Now, Miri saw them relatively often around Silverymoon; they were easy to recognize because no other devices allowed saffron to grow atop upside-down lilies. When she and Randal had shown off their first one a year ago, it had been quite a hit, and they were suddenly swamped with orders, including one from the High Palace itself.

    Randal and Miri had worked long hours to meet all the requests for the flower rings, and both had grown quite tired of making them long before the orders stopped coming, but neither was much inclined to turn away the excited customers—for two artists, a constant flow of commissions was a rare gift.

    Soon, the tides of work calmed down enough for the couple to stop and think for more than a few moments at a time. With another child on the way, they decided to use the substantial amount of money they had made on flower rings to buy a spot of land within Silverymoon proper, in the growing Southbank area. The move left them exhausted and poor once again, but they were happy, even receiving a wholly unexpected visit from Alustriel on the opening day of their modest new shop, to thank them both personally for the flower ring. The move also turned out to have saved their life—only a few tendays after they had left their house, the demons from Hellgate Keep drew up to the very edges of Silverymoon, and by the time they were defeated, the couple’s old home was long destroyed.

    Born to these two artisans in the Year of the Shield, Laelah Vrenn was the second child in the modest but happy family living in new Southbank Silverymoon. Her brother Ander, two years Laelah’s senior, was fascinated by the new baby, spending copious amounts of time attempting to get her to play with him. This took all forms, from challenging the infant to races, to yelling contests, to feeding her things he found in dark corners. By the time Laelah was old enough to appreciate the companionship, the two were loyal friends and partners in all mischief.

    Their parents wasted no part of their children’s youths. The pair were encouraged to play in the front part of the house, which served as the shop area. As energetic children always do, Ander and Laelah drew attention to themselves, and (Randal certainly believed) into the shop. He was the salesman, outgoing and friendly to the dourest Dwarven warlock, and it was rare to see someone leave the Vrenn household without a smile on his face. There were no more runaway successes like the flower rings had been, but the Vrenns made enough to live on inside the city walls, and they lived happily, indeed.

    As Ander and Laelah grew older, they took more of an interest in their parents’ crafts. Both Randal and Miri happily answered their children’s (frequent) questions, indulged their (equally-common) requests to try things for themselves, and dealt with the (inevitable) messes in high spirits. Both children showed considerable talent with each of their parents’ crafts. Laelah especially enjoyed calligraphy, which she learned at the same age as all children who could afford education did, but she picked it up phenomenally quickly. She loved crafting the letters and occasionally got carried away, looking down at a bit of parchment to find that she had scrawled innumerable ‘L’s onto it, chasing the perfect figure across the page.

    When her mother deemed she was old enough to start experimenting with pottery and sculpting, Laelah was quickly entranced by the beautiful, flowing shapes she could make, and her mother was secretly astounded at the precision with which her 8-year-old daughter worked the clay and the chisel.

    Laelah’s brother was little different, though he was more interested (perhaps because of his age) in his father’s craft—that of fun, jokes, and magical games. Still, the day came when 12-year-old Ander came home looking tired and flushed, and proudly announced that he would be learning the way of the sword as a squire under Sorn Aluthair. A gleam shone in the boy’s eyes as he talked, then, of joining the Knights in Silver one day.

    Randal recognized that gleam—his own brother had had it once, and had in fact become one of those fabled Knights. No doubt his visit two months ago had had something to do with the newfound warrior that Ander had discovered within himself. Randal had no desire for such activities himself—sure, the Knights were fabled across Toril, but his interests lay closer to the home. Nevertheless, he gave Ander his consent with a wink, which was when Laelah ran up to him, urgency in her eyes.

    “I need a job, too!” she said, dirty-blonde hair leaping about frantically. “I want to learn to be a Knight, too!”

    “You’re too—” Miri began to call from the back of the house, but Randal, kneeling in front of his excitable daughter, interrupted her in a soft voice; “No one can be a Silver Knight ‘til they’ve seen fifteen years, which is a little while yet even for your brother. He’s just going to be following some other low-ranking Knight around, doing errands for him and learning what he can from what he sees,” Randal spoke for the benefit of his son, as much as his daughter. “You wouldn’t want to do that, would you? He’s just going to be cleaning up horse poop!”

    “I guess not…” Laelah started, but then Ander cut in with new information:

    “Yeah, but I’ll be getting paid!”

    A brief pause shot through the air, and then Laelah’s frenetic jumping resumed, to the new tune of “I want to get paid! I want a job, too!”

    Her father laughed heartily as he stood up. “Well, my little flower, there’s something I bet we can find for you!”

    Laelah soon found herself in a job she’d never known was a job—a herald-in-training, that’s what she was! She worked at the Map House, helping people find all the maps they wanted to see, and making sure to tell them not to copy or take them. It was a lot of work, but she’d been told to expect that, and at the end of her first long day, she remembered why it was worth it: she left the Map House that evening with 2cp in her pocket!

    At first, working in the Map House was hard. There was a lot that Laelah didn’t know, and Esklindrar, the man who ran the place, didn’t have any patience for mistakes—they usually ended up in arguments when the patrons went up front to pay when they were done. It made Laelah nervous, so after her first day (into which she had been thrust without much more training than “show people what they want to see. You can take your time, but don’t look like you’re taking your time”), she came in early the next morning to ask one of the friendlier-looking loremasters to show her where everything was before she was supposed to start work. The older woman kindly obliged, taking Laelah around and explaining the layout and organization of the place to her. They were only about halfway through when Laelah’s first customers arrived, but she had already figured out the rest of the layout—or what she thought it ought to be, anyway—from the parts she’d seen so far, and so thanked the elderly loremaster and scurried off to help the young pair of Elves who’d just entered the House.

    When taking patrons around now, Laelah was already much more confident, and a couple times took a patron on a short detour through another part of the House, just to see if she’d been right about how it was organized—she had. The whole building was actually a cross-sectioned map of Faerûn, so that information was grouped roughly geographically and by population. There was a fantastic amount of information there about the North and the Heartlands, whose sections took up many floors each, progressing approximately East the higher up in the tower they were stored. Because of the cross-sectional nature, she realized, patrons would often get confused, because to go North-South across Faerûn they would have to stay on the same level, but any great distance East-West could take them up or down several floors, respectively. There were no directional mistakes from Laelah that day, or any other day after, and Esklindrar (and the other staff) noticed.

    For the first couple of days, Laelah returned home earlier than her brother did. After just a couple of his stories—of how he got to ride out (with escort, his mother pried out of him) to meet a platoon of the Knights in Silver, of how Sorn Aluthair had said Ander might get a sword of his own one day soon, and so on—she began staying later at the Map House, spending extra time simply browsing the maps herself. Crossing the Moonbridge after work in the eveningtime was one of her favorite things—the place seemed enchanted (of course, Laelah knew it really was), and she often stood at its peak for tens of minutes, twirling around on the smooth, softly-glowing bridge. Later, at home, she would show off her superior knowledge of the geography of the League of the Silver Marches, to her brother’s ill-disguised chagrin.

    This friendly rivalry lasted for some time. As Laelah had thought, it took much longer than Ander had tried to tell her it would be before he got a sword of his own. When, one summer evening, he finally did come home with one, it was old and a little worn, but he cherished and polished it late by the evening fire. It was two days later that Ali, the friendly old loremaster who had shown Laelah around on her second day, sat down with the young girl for her noontime meal.


    “Mind if I sit here, Laelah?”

    “Of course not! Is that all you’re eating today?” Laelah knew that the old woman always brought a small lunch of purple hipporafi mushrooms and flex moss, but she couldn’t think of anything else to say—Ali normally ate in the staff lounge, not out on the sun-baked sandstone steps of the entryway.

    “How many years have you got, girl? Thirteen? Fourteen?” the woman asked, her eyes crinkling energetically as she talked, and popped a mushroom into her mouth. “These are so good. Would you like one?”

    “No, thanks,” Laelah replied, “I don’t like mushrooms that don’t grow on trees.” She wrinkled her nose at the prospect, and her companion laughed. “And I’m only ten-and-two-thirds,” the girl added as an afterthought.

    Ali’s eyes widened for a moment. “Ten and—well, it’s no wonder you haven’t—” her voice became a mumble that Laelah couldn’t hear.

    “What did you say, Ali? Why haven’t I what?”

    Ali cleared her throat before answering. “You’re a bright girl; you know that? I mean, really talented.”

    “Well, my ma says I’m a good writer, and my pa calls me ‘his little Moonstar,’ but I don’t think—”

    “A good writer, eh? I’ve never seen you write, Laelah, though it comes as no surprise that you’d excel—your Chondathan is beautifully expressive for a girl your age. Will you do something for me?” The old scholar produced a quill, inkwell, and a scrap of parchment from the folds of her robes. “Would you write my name on here for me?”

    Only the briefest of half-eye-rolls separated the end of Ali’s sentence from Laelah’s accepting of the proffered quill. Adults were always surprised if she could write anything beyond her own name—though she knew that was because many of them didn’t know the symbols for anything else. Laelah dipped the quill in the inkwell, inspected its tip for a brief moment—this was a very nice quill—and then wrote “Ali Felaidinai is a very nice woman who likes smelly mushrooms.” When she handed the quill and parchment back to the loremaster for inspection, the old woman’s eyes were wide and her jaw a bit slack.

    Woha ne inpedit…” She took the parchment, still staring at the younger girl, who quickly asked, “What does that mean?”

    Ali gathered herself finally, and managed to respond “It’s Illuskan, and—”

    “Oh, I know. I was wondering what it meant; I haven’t heard those words before. ‘Woha’ sounds kind of like ‘Waohe’, for ‘skill.’ What does it mean?”

    A moment’s pause, and then “It means ‘prodigy,’ dearie. You were very close. It's an idiom meaning approximately ‘what incredible talent,’ which is what you have. I’ve seen very few people—full Scholars and Mages, mind you—write like that, so fast and clear. And you know Illuskan?”

    Now it was Laelah’s turn to be shocked—Ali had just compared her script to that of the Mages! “I-I, but, well yes. Yes, I know Illuskan—my parents insisted—”

    “Well, young Lady. I believe I have seen and heard just about enough.”

    Laelah opened her mouth to speak, but the old woman cut her off: “Did you know, when you first came here, I thought you were a new young girl from the Conclave looking to make a little extra coin without joining the Spellguard. Well, obviously I soon learned that was not the case, and did a little looking around to find out who you were. The daughter of Randal Vrenn, no less! My grandson Ubil positively adores your father's toys. But then I had to wonder why you weren't attending school, and now it's obvious; you're still underage. But, I wasn't lying before, girl. You’re something special. I watched you that day, when you'd just started working here. You had the whole place mapped out long before you let me leave, didn't you?”

    Laelah nodded shyly.

    “See, I knew it! A bona fide lauenth al lauetar!”

    Laelah’s cheeks burned, and she lowered her eyes to trace a beetle across the light sandstone. “I practice writing a lot; it's not that special! I'm certainly no—”

    “You know Elven, too, do you? I should have guessed. Well, Laelah, you must know you can't stay here forever, as much as Esklindrar might wish it. You're going places, young lady! I've talked to your parents, and they have given me permission—if you wish it—to petition the High Lady Alustriel for your early admission into the Lady's College.”

    Laelah sat in stunned silence on the smooth stone steps, and Ali chided her, “Oh, come on, it's not that bad, is it? Come now, what do you say?”

    The young girl turned her head up to look into the face of the old woman. “I—I—yes! But I—”

    Now Ali smiled. “No buts about it, kiddo. I'll send a petition to Alustriel right now. And you, dear, need to get back to work.” A smile winked in her eyes as she stood, and swept gracefully back inside the old building, leaving Laelah on the stairs, blinking in wonder.

    Sorry for the double-post.
    Last edited by Dr Bwaa; 2012-10-09 at 10:44 AM.
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  27. - Top - End - #297
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Yay forums are back to normal!

    @Dr Bwaa
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    when the two collaborated on a project, the results were often some of their best creations.
    d'aaawww

    With another child on the way, they decided to use the substantial amount of money they had made on flower rings to buy a spot of land within Silverymoon proper, in the growing Southbank area.
    I feel like there should be some mention of them having kids already. "Small family" in the opening paragraph could easily mean just Randall and Miri. Just a mention of how many they have initially.

    She loved crafting the letters and occasionally got carried away, looking down at a bit of parchment to find that she had scrawled innumerable ‘L’s onto it, chasing the perfect figure across the page.
    I just really like this sentence for some reason. It and the rest of the story so far has a sort of whimsical tone to it.

    she left the Map House that evening with 2cp in her pocket!
    ...commoners

    At this, Laelah could no longer contain herself. “Ali! I never realized you were given to such hyperbole! I practice writing a lot; it's not that special! I'm certainly no—”
    I know she's supposed to be gifted, but I can't really see a ten year old using the phrase "given to such hyperbole".

    Overall I thought this snippet was adorable. I was sort of expecting something horrible to happen to them all just because they seemed so happy, but now that I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen I'm excited to see what happens next with adorable genius girl Laelah.

  28. - Top - End - #298
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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    And lo, I hath arisen like a zombie from its coffin...

    *cough, hack, wheeze*

    Anyone else hate catching a cold? Oh, and welcome to the thread, Fire Eyes. That said, I can have a snippet up by tomorrow, assuming anyone is interested of course.

  29. - Top - End - #299
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    Reading your snippet reminded me that I like writing snippets. So now there are more snippets.

    Friends and Masters Part 3
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    I woke up outside the cave. Milo was standing over me casting healing magic. The divine energy knit the wound on my palm together and restored my energy, but the pain in my shoulder lingered. I clutched it reflexively as I sat up. There was no need to ask what had happened. Both Milo’s robes and Malakar’s leather armor were scorched in places and we were all covered in ash. I guessed the man in black threw a fireball at them. He would have had to do so very carefully to miss us all intentionally. I was glad that neither of my companions were students of the arcane, that wasn’t a spell most people escaped.


    “How long was I out?” I mumbled, feigning confusion.

    “A few minutes, we got you out just in time.” Milo answered, helping me back to my feet.

    “Did you keep the rod safe?” I asked Malakar. The pain in my shoulder subsided briefly when I mentioned the rod.

    “Yeah,” the barbarian smiled, “the guy chased us half way out of the mine yelling at us to give it back to him, but we gave him the slip.” He pulled the thing out of his bag and I felt the mark on my shoulder warm gently. Before I realized what was happening I felt my arm twitch towards the rod, but I played it off as a stretch as my feet carried me over to him. I hadn't counted on being compulsed. It was a weak but persistent charm, designed to leave my mind intact while I completed my mission. I could probably suppress it if I needed to, but right now was the perfect time to put my plan into action anyway. I swore I would do everything within my power to get the rod back, so it was time to start taking the decision out of my hands.

    “Good.” I said, choosing my words carefully, “It’s very important. Give it to me now and I can keep it safe.”

    “I can keep it safe better than you.” The barbarian countered, offended as I hoped he would be at my implication that he could not look after a simple magic item.

    “Perhaps, but I’m the only mage among us. If anyone can figure out what it does, it’s me.” I countered, dialing forward the urgency in my voice. If he thought it was important to me he was sure to keep me from it.

    “You’re acting strange. I think I’ll hold onto it for now.” Malakar said as he tucked the rod into his backpack once more. The mark punished me with a dull pain.

    “Okay, but perhaps when we rest for the night you might let me study it?” I asked sincerely, leaving the urgency out of my voice so as to assuage the fire in my shoulder before it got any worse.

    “Sure.” Malakar agreed with an almost apologetic smile. The pain dulled.

    We finished our business in town that afternoon, all of us eager to move on. We collected the town’s pitifully small reward and some supplies before setting out for the brotherhood’s headquarters in the city of Driscoll. We were on the road before midday.

    I hate travel. The city was a week long journey on foot. None of us had horses and the town hadn’t paid us enough to buy them so I was cursed with the tedium of walking. After the initial excitement of starting the journey wore off, taking any hope for conversation with it, our walk was silent and boring.

    Usually when something bores me I at least have the freedom to think about something interesting. Evocation magic had always been a subject I enjoyed playing with, although I was not nearly studious enough to understand it the way a wizard might. I also enjoyed working through problems in my head, scheming the perfect words to say or the most effective actions to take to get what I wanted whatever it may be. This time however, whenever I would start on one of these tangents to entertain myself, I always came back to that rod. I realized my daydreams about lightning spells were being twisted into a desire to electrocute Malakar. Any thoughts as to how I would short my companions out of their gold from the Brotherhood were almost immediately diverted into plans to deceive them so that I might take the rod for the man in black. The mark was twisting my will in a much more subtle and powerful way than I had initially thought and it made me seethe, realizing that I was being manipulated. For a while I convinced myself to think of nothing at all, but the tedium nagged at my mind. Perhaps I should go over my options for obtaining the rod. Just to be sure I was in control of the situation.

    During my watch I’ll take the rod out of his bag. I should take the rod out of his bag now. That’s a terrible decision, there’s no way he won’t catch me. Do it next time he’s in combat, you know how single minded he gets. Take it when he’s knocked out after combat, he always sleeps after he gets into one of his rages. Knock him out during combat. Kill him. Take the rod.

    “What are you doing?” Malakar had stopped walking and was looming over me. It was then that I realized I had been fumbling with the buckle on his backpack.

    “Nothing” I managed, thinking fast, “I just wanted to make sure you had healing potions.”

    “I… do have healing potions.” Malakar responded suspiciously, “You could have just asked.”

    “Right, sorry about that. I’m just so bored right now.” I said and resumed our walk.

    In the distance I saw a blessed distraction from my compulsion problems, a man standing squarely in the middle of the road wearing a top hat. The rest of his clothes were common and he leaned on a walking cane. Perhaps an interesting stranger could distract me from my inner turmoil.

    “Ho traveler!” I called out to him, but he did not respond. Perhaps he couldn’t hear me yet? As we approached, Malakar seemed to grow suspicious. He drew his elven curved blade as if he was sure this man was a threat. Milo readied his crossbow.

    “Greetings friends” the man wheezed as we drew near, he was filthy, “where ya headed?”

    “Driscoll,” Malakar spoke up, “and yourself?”

    “Oh I’m not going anywhere.” The man grinned, “I’m working this area on behalf of her majesty.” I had no idea who he was talking about. As a diplomat in the service of the southern dragons it was my job to be able to identify world leaders, and there had not been a queen or indeed any true royal family since the Old Kingdom. Barons, councils, the odd would-be emperor in the east, but no one had the poor sense to call themselves a king or a queen.

    “Well we don’t want any trouble.” Malakar was saying, “Give your queen our regards.”

    “I’ll be givin’ her more than that,” the man grunted as he drew his sword, formerly concealed within his cane, “you see, the birds in this forest demand all travelers pay the queen’s tax. Otherwise they get angry. Isn’t that right little birdies?” A volley of arrows from every direction answered him, striking the ground at our feet.

    “Now give us your valuables and you’ll be free to go.” The man grinned.

    Malakar didn’t seem in the mood to be robbed. He charged the man, hacking at him wildly with his blade. A small voice in the back of my mind reminded me that he was vulnerable in combat and that I should steal the rod, but self-preservation overrode the compulsion for now as the pair clashed blades. The bandit swung with precision, but Malakar was a thunderstorm of blows. He swung and spun, slashing all around him so that I would not be able to approach him without being hit. With my will temporarily my own again, I summoned magic armor to protect me just in time to deflect an arrow meant for my neck.

    Milo fired arrows into the trees and I saw one archer drop to the ground wounded. I aimed my limited magic at the next archer but it didn’t seem to faze him. Luckily Malakar was dominating their leader badly enough that the archers were forced to focus their fire on him. Milo seemed capable of picking off the archers one by one, so I summoned more shielding magic to protect me and stepped around Malakar and the bandit to flank him. An arrow got through my protective spell, but I was able to cast a stronger lightning attack from close range to the bandit. Another swing from Malakar sent him down.

    Kill him. Take the rod. Bad plan, especially since he had already thrown himself into the bushes and was dragging the remaining archers out of the trees and beating them unconscious. The compulsion subsided as I accepted that killing Malakar was not within my power.

    The bandit was unconscious but alive. I took the liberty of binding his hands behind his back while Milo searched his belongings. The desire to steal the rod from Malakar had distracted me from the prospect of gold, a new experience for me indeed.

    “Looks like enough gold here to buy us some horses at the next outpost!” He announced, “We’ll make it to the city quicker this way. Oh, these shoes are nice.” Not even I would have thought to rob the bandit of his shoes; perhaps this inquisitor had dragon blood in him. We picked the man clean of anything valuable and went on our way.

    It was getting late, so we decided to make camp for the night. The mark was insistent that I take the first watch. The thing was persistent but not bright; I realized that if I took the first watch Malakar would find me out when it came time for his turn and take the rod back. This raised my spirits and when I volunteered myself, the dull pain subsided.

    Once my companions were asleep I snuck the rod out of Malakar’s bag. I assumed the compulsion was responsible for the excitement I felt having it in my hands, as I had given it little thought before. As I sat down at my post again I tried to bite back the alien emotions that convinced me that this was the most important item in the world and that I should give it to the man in black. When I could not, I smirked in defiance at the thing anyway. Yes I would return this item to the man in black as soon as I was able. I scanned the forest as if to mock the compulsion. Unfortunately for it, the man in black was nowhere to be seen. A pity, for I had surely done everything in my power to return it.

    I felt quite pleased with myself for the majority of my watch. The exact wording of my oath had not been an accident on my part after all. Doing “everything in my power” was not much after all. At my level of magical training I was thrilled to be able to read and detect magic. It was the man’s fault in the end for attempting to manipulate a master. My smug satisfaction turned to ash in my mouth near the end of my watch when the man in black stepped out from behind a tree to speak with me. So much for Plan A.

    “Do you have it?” He asked curtly. I found it impossible to lie to him in this matter.

    “Yes, it’s here.” I answered, producing the rod but reserving my will to avoid handing it over just yet, “but if it disappears now they’ll know I took it. Come back another night if you don’t want them to suspect me.”

    “I have engineered a solution to the problem of your companions.” he answered, producing what appeared to be a perfect replica of the rod, “A gift from the mirror realm. Give it to your companions and they won’t know the difference.” It seemed so reasonable, but getting the rod to the brotherhood was too important to me to let it end like this. I had to think fast or my own body would betray me.

    “Look you can’t be here right now,” I commanded, raising my voice slightly, “they’re going to wake up any minute now.” He paused. I thought I saw confusion in his eyes momentarily. I had caught him off guard.

    “They’re waking up!” I shouted outright, stirring my companions, “You need to go. Now!” The man glared at me from behind his mask and disappeared. The pain in my shoulder was throbbing at this point, draining my energy. If I did much more to upset his plans I assumed the mark would kill me.

    “What’s wrong?” Malakar whispered, blade in hand.

    “I thought I heard something in the woods.” I answered. We listened for a couple seconds.

    “I don’t hear anything.” Malakar grunted.

    “Is that the rod?” Milo appeared behind me, the rod was still in my hands.

    “I… uh… wanted to study it.” I responded lamely.

    “Give it here,” the inquisitor snarled, “before we have a problem.” I hesitated and he wrenched it out of my hands, unwittingly sparing me another surge of pain. It was out of my control again. He put it down his pant leg this time, giving me an impish look. If he was insinuating that I was too shy to slice open his trousers in pursuit of an object of value, then he was in for a disappointment. As it was he was just making this uncomfortable for both of us. I resumed my watch and waited for them to fall asleep.

    I became convinced that they were both asleep a bit hastily. The pain from the mark had not subsided since I had woken my companions and I was desperate to make it stop. I approached the inquisitor with shaking hands and attempted to take back the rod.

    “I’m still awake.” He growled, “Get away from me. Now.” I don’t know if I panicked or if the compulsion took over, but the next thing I knew I had charged my lightning spell and grabbed him around the neck. He seized with the jolt, but in the end it did not faze him. He pulled out his mace, which I realized he had been lying next to for this very situation, and dropped me with a single blow to the head.

    When I came to I found myself bound, gagged, and strapped to the back of a horse. I started to protest, but my words came out as muffled screams against the gag. I tried to wiggle free, but couldn’t. When I tried to summon my claws I found my fingers bound individually with twine.

    “Looks like she’s awake, Mal.” The inquisitor remarked.

    “Yup.” Malakar responded.

    “MMMMFF!”

    “She’s probably wondering why I didn’t slit her throat back there for attacking me.” The inquisitor turned to look at me, “It’s ‘cause you’re the only one who knows where we’re going once we get to the city.”

    “MMFF MY ME!” I demanded.

    “No I’m not going to untie you.”

    “Mffuffar?”

    No answer from Malakar. I gave an exasperated sigh.

    If walking was bad, being tied up was worse. The horse jostled me constantly so that I was never in a comfortable position. Malakar and Milo hardly spoke at all and when they did they didn’t let me hear them. I was bored and angry. At least the mark had stopped burning, although the compulsion kept twisting my discomfort into more anger. I couldn’t even take pride in my success in securing the scroll beyond my ability to return it, the mark wouldn’t let me. We still had five days to go as well.

    The first day I spent trying hard not to think about anything. It was an exercise in futility that my sister had tried to teach me. When she first became a cleric she would try to get me to meditate with her. She asked me what god I wanted to worship. I told her I didn’t want to serve any god. I just wanted to be a dragon. She suggested Apsu, the god of dragons. I said he wasn’t a real dragon. She smirked at me and told me to think about nothing. So I did, for five seconds. Then I went and played outside. I wished now that I had listened to her and learned to clear my mind. The only thing I ended up meditating on that day was Milo’s horse and its horrible gait.

    The second day I spent messing with the blood bond. I tried to figure out which parts of it were connected to the man in black and how much of my thoughts and actions he could observe or take control of. I didn’t find much out about him, but I learned a bit about how the mark and the compulsion affect worked. It was an insultingly simple punishment and reward system coupled with what I could only guess was a modified dominate spell. Interestingly it wasn’t connected to the mark itself. Assumedly you could have one but not the other, although I couldn’t think what use the mark would serve otherwise. I had to appreciate the genius of this wizard.

    The third day we passed through a town. I had not been aware of the compulsion for a while until then. At the first sign of people I thrashed and yelled against the gag until my throat hurt. The inquisitor explained to everyone that I had a bounty on my head, and not to pay me any attention. When I would not stop he hit me hard in the ribs with his mace. I felt sick and dizzy from the blow for the next several hours. I spent the rest of that day half-consciously hating the inquisitor. I thought of several ways to kill him, more to make him suffer. I would cut off his legs probably. Cut off his legs. Kill him. Take the rod.

    The fourth day I spent vaguely aware of my own thoughts. I tried to ignore the things I was thinking and pay attention to the passing scenery. It was weird to ignore the things I was thinking. I started thinking about ignoring the things that I was thinking. I tried to ignore those things too.

    On the fifth day the city of Driscoll came into view. I was aware somehow that we should hurry or the man in black would catch up with us. He needed the rod by today. The mark made me feel bad about failing him when I should be relieved at my good fortune and success. I tried to tell Malakar that we should run the horses but he had stopped listening to my muffled attempts at conversation. It was nightfall when we finally approached the gates of the city. I allowed myself some relief that I would soon be rid of these people and their horrible horses. That is when things got interesting.

    “I know you have done everything in your power to fulfill your oath,” the man in black’s voice rung through my mind, “but now I must take matters into my own hands.”

    Some sort of force field erected itself between our party and the city, and two hooded figures emerged from within. Milo and Malakar dismounted immediately to fight them. I watched them draw their weapons against the men who were obviously spell casters before the horse I was tied to bolted, carrying my back the way we had come.

    I was dizzy, bruised, and possibly concussed when my horse finally came to a halt in the middle of the road. It was dark and my vision was spinning so I couldn’t tell where I was. I felt someone cut my bonds and remove the gag. The next thing I knew I was being force fed e of my healing potions. My bruises and headache subsided as I looked up at the man in black. My eyes grew wide as I scrambled to my feet. I was sure he was going to kill me, but I saw amusement in his eyes.

    “I’m not going to kill you.” He stated bluntly as if he could read my thoughts, “I know you served me to the best of your ability. I still have use of you as a spy within the Brotherhood. I’m giving you another chance.”

    I stared at him dumbly.

    “Ah, yes, the compulsion.” He sighed, “You did not take well to it I see. I’m afraid you may have been more effective without it.” He put his hand on my shoulder and in an instant I felt him release my mind. I had not realized how much it had muddied up my thinking. The mark was still present but it no longer ached. I felt like myself again.

    “What would you have me do, sir?” I asked.

    “Return to your companions. Tell them that you were under a compulsion. Tell them anything you think is necessary. Infiltrate the Brotherhood and wait for my orders. If you need to contact me, you need only to make contact with a mirror and I will seek you out.” He sighed, “It is too late now for the scroll to be of use to me. You may take it to the brotherhood as proof of your loyalty.”

    “I will not fail you again.” I assured him as convincingly as I could.

    “By now your friends are probably fighting each other,” he remarked with a smile, “Go now, Agent of the Mirror. I will be watching.”

    I mounted the horse properly this time and began to trot back to the city. After a few minutes I felt the unmistakable presence of the man in black in my mind.

    “And Kepesk,” the voice lingered on my name as if it were a threat, “If you try to outsmart me again, I will kill you.”
    Last edited by PaperMustache; 2012-10-08 at 10:40 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #300
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dr Bwaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D Snippets II: The Snippetting

    @SleepyShadow
    When I was a kid, my parents were always keen on me washing my hands/practicing basic hygeine, which I obviously thought was ludicrous at the time. Now, though, I understand why parents want their kids to wash their hands--it has nothing to do with the kids; it is a purely selfish endeavor to avoid getting sick. I can count the number of colds I've gotten in the past two years by counting the number of times I've visited my family in that timeframe

    @PaperMustache
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    I feel like there should be some mention of them having kids already. "Small family" in the opening paragraph could easily mean just Randall and Miri. Just a mention of how many they have initially.
    Yeah, I experimented with a couple things here. Came up with a fix that comes with bonus clarity on another issue, as well.

    I just really like this sentence for some reason. It and the rest of the story so far has a sort of whimsical tone to it.
    I'm glad. I'm afraid the whimsical tone probably won't last much longer once Laelah grows up a bit, but you'll have to wait a while for that anyway; the next part of the draft is in much worse shape than the very beginning was.

    ...commoners


    I know she's supposed to be gifted, but I can't really see a ten year old using the phrase "given to such hyperbole".
    . . . I actually wrote that, didn't I? Good grief; it's not even slightly in character. Thank you for calling me out; my prose has a tendency to get ludicrously purple without my noticing it, typically in the worst possible places.

    Overall I thought this snippet was adorable. I was sort of expecting something horrible to happen to them all just because they seemed so happy, but now that I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen I'm excited to see what happens next with adorable genius girl Laelah.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it! I can't promise there won't be tough spots, but my usual desire to harass my characters seems to have given her a free pass (which is incidentally making writing her story a bit more difficult than, say, Brygar's, which is basically just me abusing him nonstop for however-many pages. I'll be snippeting and posting more of his background, as well, now that his campaign has started). You'll probably have to wait a bit for Laelah's next segment though; the transition to the first year of school needs a hell of a lot of work (it's still written as a backstory at the moment, which has had the unfortunate side-effect of producing zero multidimensional secondary characters).

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    Reading your snippet reminded me that I like writing snippets. So now there are more snippets.
    What I would give for your work ethic. Even when my snippets are already written it takes me weeks to post them.

    The pain in my shoulder subsided briefly when I mentioned the rod.
    I need an emoticon for my face here but I can't for the life of me figure out what. It's some kind of cross between 0.o and <.< and :? Couldn't be clearer.

    I swore I would do everything within my power to get the rod back, so it was time to start taking the decision out of my hands.
    Oh very nice. I wonder how much she can psyche-out her compulsion.

    If he thought it was important to me he was sure to keep me from it.
    Is there a real reason for believing this at this point? I guess she did go diving into the mirror and has generally not proved particularly stable, but has she come off as outright untrustworthy to them yet?

    The city was a week long journey on foot. None of us had horses and the town hadn’t paid us enough to buy them so I was cursed with the tedium of walking.
    It's clear what you're saying, but current the first sentence is organized to make the city literally a journey. Also, saying it's a journey on foot and then explaining that you're stuck walking is a little backwards and feels repetitive.

    Perhaps I should go over my options for obtaining the rod. Just to be sure I was in control of the situation.


    “What are you doing?” Malakar had stopped walking and was looming over me. It was then that I realized I had been fumbling with the buckle on his backpack.
    Oh boy. I like this compulsion and the way you're handling it quite a lot.

    He drew his elven curved blade as if he was sure this man was a threat. Milo readied his crossbow.
    Strangers standing mysteriously in the middle of the road are always threats.

    Isn’t that right little birdies?” A volley of arrows from every direction answered him, striking the ground at our feet.
    Oh, very nice!

    Malakar didn’t seem in the mood to be robbed. He charged the man, hacking at him wildly with his blade.
    Ahaha. "Surrounded? They're just archers firing from cover! Charge!"

    but Malakar was a thunderstorm of blows.
    Great phrase.

    especially since he had already thrown himself into the bushes and was dragging the remaining archers out of the trees and beating them unconscious.
    Melee fighters are low levels! HUZZAH! Also, just unconscious?

    We picked the man clean of anything valuable and went on our way.
    No mention of the archers? How many; what you did with them; nothing?

    It was the man’s fault in the end for attempting to manipulate a master.
    Her arrogance is simply fantastic.

    My smug satisfaction turned to ash in my mouth near the end of my watch when the man in black stepped out from behind a tree to speak with me. So much for Plan A.
    And her failure is equally so.

    “They’re waking up!” I shouted outright, stirring my companions, “You need to go. Now!”
    Lol. I like seeing the semi-panic at having to override the geas getting in the way of her usual subtlety.

    He put it down his pant leg this time, giving me an impish look. If he was insinuating that I was too shy to slice open his trousers in pursuit of an object of value, then he was in for a disappointment.
    Very descriptive

    “Mffuffar?”

    No answer from Malakar. I gave an exasperated sigh.
    Hehehe. Very nice party dynamics here.

    I couldn’t even take pride in my success in securing the scroll beyond my ability to return it, the mark wouldn’t let me.
    Rod?

    We still had five days to go as well.
    Aren't you going faster now that you've got horses? This sencence is a little dry, also; I'm not sure what I want from it but it just feels a bit lacking.

    I told her I didn’t want to serve any god. I just wanted to be a dragon.
    Ahahahaha. Adorable.

    I thought of several ways to kill him, more to make him suffer. I would cut off his legs probably. Cut off his legs. Kill him. Take the rod.
    This whole helpless sequence has been great.

    The fourth day I spent vaguely aware of my own thoughts. I tried to ignore the things I was thinking and pay attention to the passing scenery. It was weird to ignore the things I was thinking. I started thinking about ignoring the things that I was thinking. I tried to ignore those things too.
    Again, well-explained and relatable. You're doing a great job with her boredom.

    “I know you have done everything in your power to fulfill your oath,” the man in black’s voice rung through my mind, “but now I must take matters into my own hands.”
    Sort of true, I guess. He's not mad about her obvious ploy to keep it from him when he showed up that first night?

    Some sort of force field
    Describe it! This works as a description to modern-day readers, but it certainly wouldn't be recognizable on-sight to people in-setting, and probably not to Kepesk at all, given that she's presumably still tied to the back of the horse and can't actually see anything until after they've been forced to stop.

    two hooded figures emerged from within.
    From within... the force field?

    I watched them draw their weapons against the men who were obviously spell casters before the horse I was tied to bolted, carrying my back the way we had come.
    Ahahaha. Also, typo in bold.

    The next thing I knew I was being force fed e of my healing potions.
    “It is too late now for the scroll to be of use to me. You may take it to the brotherhood as proof of your loyalty.”
    Again it's a scroll. Did I miss something?

    “And Kepesk,” the voice lingered on my name as if it were a threat, “If you try to outsmart me again, I will kill you.”
    Great finish; I think the bolded part is unnecessary (since it clearly is a threat) but otherwise perfectly effective. Great snippet; writing from the perspective of someone with limited or no agency (in various forms, even) is tough but you pulled it off really well.
    Last edited by Dr Bwaa; 2012-10-09 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Fail-correction
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