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  #1  
Old 11-20-2019, 03:51 PM
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At the Gates of Horn and Ivory

Summary
Game SystemCustom d6 System (see below for details)
ThemeAverage people with extraordinary powers navigate a universe fraying at the seams
FlavorDark fantasy, modern, horror, dreamscape
How long has it been since you last slept?

The hours tick by, but your eyes remain open, your mind alert, dulled by the slow passage of time.


Two gates the silent house of Sleep adorn;
Of polish'd ivory this, that of transparent horn:
True visions thro' transparent horn arise;
Thro' polish'd ivory pass deluding lies.
~The Aeneid

Elsewhere, there is a man who has not slept for days. He dares not. For when he sleeps, he dreams, and when he dreams, men die.
Game and Player Application InformationI am looking for 1 to 4 players for the first chapter of this episodic game.

Players new to RPGX or PBP are welcome!

Deadline: Unspecified, but at least a couple weeks


 
SettingWilliamsburg, IL, USA -- a quiet midwest town in the heartland of the United States; nothing interesting or exciting ever happens here

Mark Thompson (Mayor)

Vickie Cross (Sheriff)

Barbara Grey (Vice-Principal / Dean of Students at Williamsburg High)

Upcoming events: WHS Winter Formal Dance

FAQ & House RulesSee here for answers to commonly asked questions and variations on the standard rule set!

 

 

 
Player Character Applications
Player Character Talent Status
mobbyJason L BloomRewrite RealityComplete
NadeAshe MichaelsPsychic SuggestionComplete
auntmousieChuck WooleryTime ManipulationComplete
ihinkaA.C. WentworthASMRComplete
ItsaVerbConstance HarringtonDramatic SwooningINCOMPLETE
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Last edited by moozuba; 11-26-2019 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:47 PM
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Constance Harrington


Last edited by ItsaVerb; 11-26-2019 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 11-21-2019, 01:19 AM
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Interested. I seriously dig freeform games.

I need a day or two to let a character gel though.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:02 AM
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I should be able to resist this... But I really can't! I hope I can fix my PC (posting this from work) in time to produce a character
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Last edited by ihinka; 11-21-2019 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 11-22-2019, 03:37 AM
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Jason L. Bloom


Name & Nickname: Jason L. Bloom, Mister Bloom to his students, merely Bloom to the other faculty members at Williamsburg High.

Physical Description:
Jason is a scrawny old black man with a wispy white beard & thin white hair that wraps around his head like a wreath. His back is curved like a question mark now, although he used to stand tall & broad. He wears a thick pair of tortoiseshell glasses & soft earth tones. He wears colors like burgundy, textures like corduroy. His eyes are the color of blood & chocolate & an old manilla envelope.


Personality:
Routine is solace for Jason Bloom. Gerald Ford was the president the last time one of his opinions changed. All he wants is a spot in the earth beside his dead wife & a quiet place to read until then. He shows his face at one school event each year ó Homecoming ó & frowns from the beginning of the football game to its end. He refers to his classes as lectures & thatís what they are.

Background:
When he was young Jason wanted to march. He wanted to wave the banners & shout with the crowd & fight against the injustices that grated against his bones like shards of glass. But eventually he gave up on the world, or at least the idea that the world could be saved. He met a white woman named Lizzie & they inexplicably fell in love. They met at a rally in the Bronx, his hometown. When she asked him to settle down in her hometown, a freckle on the map called Williamsberg, he pretended to hesitate. But he was happy for a chance to have a safe & easy future.

He found ó or rather, she found him ó a job at the local high school, teaching English of all things. Heíd always liked poetry, heíd always known its power. Lizzie's father's good word to the principal & an easy competency test was enough to land him the position.

But Lizzie died in a car crash just months into their happily-ever-after. Jason had been driving. They buried her next to her grandparents. Then people of the town turned on Jason like a pack of rats. That was 42 years ago. Mr. Bloom has grown cold inside the shell of himself since then.

What's been keeping you awake?
It was awfully cold that first school year in Williamsburg. Jason found refuge exploring the literature he was supposed to be an expert of. A handful of dead poets became his only friends in the town as that first year bled into the next, then into five, then into four decades of teaching one crowd of kids after the next. Jason loved how the poems stayed the same as the world changed all around him.

Until eventually, sleepless, reading a battered paperback in his office at home ó the words didnít seem so familiar anymore. In fact he was positive the letters were rearranging themselves before his eyes into strange new messages ó warnings, perhaps, or orders.

Jason was enthralled by the book like he hadnít been in years. Pouring over the same pages twice left him with two different poems, each with its own strange twisted ending. The words wavered before his eyes like the air above the stove. He spends his nights now transcribing the same poems onto scattered scraps of paper, trying to pin the words down, searching for some solution to the shifting puzzles on the page.

What's on the surface?
Mr. Bloom is the teacher you canít remember the name of. Heís the man who has worn the same sweater every Tuesday since before his students were born. Heís left the same comments on the same essays written by generations of Williamsburg students. Except latelyÖ Jason has been acting strange. He doesnít seem to be bathing consistently anymore. His ties are stained & wrinkled at the beginning of the day. WHSís Vice Principal, Barbara Gray, keeps an eye on him nowadays. She watches Jason at his desk in the teachers room, mumbling & squinting at the yellow paperback in his hands. It seems heís cracking. But sheís been trained for this, sheís read about the signs. She just hopes he can keep it together until the end of the school year at least.

What lies beneath?
Lizzie & Jason were having an argument before the accident. He used to remember the details. Every word of that fight used to be printed in black & white in his heart & in his conscience. But those details arenít so clear anymore. Jason worries that the townspeople might have been right when they told him it was all his fault.

Favorite Childhood Story:
T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

Exhaustion Talent:
Language is messy. Something is lost when thoughts are converted to words, then something is lost again when words are translated back into thoughts again. Itís a miracle anything is ever communicated at all.

But sometimes when Jason hears someone say something, & sometimes when he reads something someone wrote, the words explode in his head. Itís like suddenly seeing a constellation in three dimensions. He can understand what they really meant, the full subtext behind the language. In other words he can use a scrap of language to read someoneís mind.

Madness Talent:
Mr. Bloomís words become true. He scribbles Itís raining on the back of a receipt: the sky begins to drizzle. He murmurs Iím happy into a cup of coffee: joy flows down his throat. Threats from Jason Bloom literalize instantly. Wishes immediately come true.



howdy! i'm wicked new to PBP & RPGX, so any feedback whatsoever would be helpful. sleep deprivation is very interesting to me personally & this character sorta came together in my head like a dream, so i'd love the opportunity to play.

does anyone have a resource or two they could share for finding a decent character portrait ? googling "sad old black professor" didn't provide what i was hoping for

Last edited by mobby; 11-25-2019 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:10 AM
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ItsaVerb, I am expecting truly stellar heights of awfulness.

auntmousie, gel away! There's absolutely no rush.

ihinka, I'm flexible with the timeline. Let me know if it gets to be a few weeks out and you need more time.

 


mobby, it seems we share a fascination with sleep deprivation and dreams! Of course, now I'm going to have to go read T.S. Eliot. It's been a few decadesyears.

Oh! And on the character portrait front, don't sweat it too much. I like finding images to work from for my own characters and will incorporate some into my DM posts, but you don't have to have one. My rule of thumb, though, is to search for the basic premise of what I need. If I was looking for a picture of a man like Mr. Bloom, I'd search for "old black man" and see what came up.
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Last edited by moozuba; 11-22-2019 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:26 AM
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Moo! You are back at dming, interesting.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:45 AM
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I’ve been looking to come back into PbP after a long absence, I love freeform style games and don’t see enough of them here. This sounds pretty epic and right up my street so yeah, count me interested
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:37 PM
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MoonZar, I'm gonna give it a try, at least. I haven't played D&D or Pathfinder for a few years now, I think, and so much of what I'd learned about the rules for these systems has slipped away. I figured a super-simple system like this would be doable, though. Give more room for story and less for arguing about whether being grappled on the ground gives a single or double penalty to attack rolls.

Nade, hey hey! Me too! I look forward to seeing what you cook up.
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Old 11-24-2019, 03:07 PM
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I hope this is along the lines of what you’re looking for — if not let me know anything you don’t like and I’ll amend.

Ashe Michaels
Description

If one was to view Ashe as per the aura that pervades from her, they would see her as she wishes to be perceived — the invisible girl. Standing at a distinctly petite 5’2”, it is fair to say that Ashe does not stand out in a crowd, her unremarkable form and features indistinguishable from those who are louder, more brash, and happier to be the receiving of attention than she is.

That is not to say that Ashe is not pretty, far from it. It is, however, more of an understated delicate prettiness than the sort of exotic beauty that would make those around her sit up and take notice. Ashe is both colour-blind and extremely short-sighted and wears spectacles to allow her to see — the result of an accident a number of years back. Without her glasses she cannot see, something that the thought of simply terrifies her.

Ashe does not speak often, and the reason for this is very apparent on the rare occasions she does so. Having been born deaf, Ashe communicates primarily through sign language, when she does speak her voice is both immature and inappropriately pitched.

It is a combination of these reasons that she is far more at home in the quiet confines of a library than out there in the wide open world.


PersonalityAt first glance, it would be easy to dismiss Ashe as being the stereotypical quiet bookworm type. This preconceptions would be doing her a disservice. Ashe is more than she appears to be.....however the problem is that she believes herself to be less than a whole person because of her deafness and short-sightedness. She is smart, capable and certainly stronger and more athletic than her bookish form would suggest.....or she would be if it wasn’t for a crippling lack of self-esteem that causes her to fail at whatever she tries her hand at.

Rather than allowing herself to see her for the person she is, Ashe has come to believe herself to be less of a person than others. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that originated with her parents. Although not neglecting or mistreating her, they have always favoured her elder sibling, perhaps seeing her deafness as a weakness or otherwise imperfection. This in turn has fostered the same belief inside of their now eighteen year old daughter. Ashe does not see herself as “whole”, and despite the fact that she has the ability to excel at whatever she chooses to do, her lack of self-confidence causes her to invariably fall short of the exacting standards she places herself under.

Even as she believes this, she embraces her condition. The deafness provides her with a nigh impenetrable shell from the world at large. She does not have to let anyone in who she does not want to be in — her world is her own private place where nobody can penetrate. It is both her strength and her weakness. She hates herself for it even as it defines who she is. What Ashe also realises.....and the thing that is her greatest fear, is that inasmuch as it is a protective barrier, and as much as she uses it so, her shell also has the ability to become a prison. Between her deafness and her short-sightedness, if Ashe were to lose her glasses her world would be both dark and silent. And it is the prospect of this, being locked away in the darkness, unable to see and unable to hear, that is her fear. It is this same fear that fuels her nightmares in the dark.

Despite everything and despite what people might think of her, Ashe is not weak or frightened. She is brave, wilful and strong. She is athletic and much much stronger than appearances would have you believe, yet it is in the intellectual pursuits where Ashe really shines. Impossibly clever, her sharp mind has the ability to perform complex calculations and equations that her intellectual peers would struggle to do — and despite everything she knows just how good she is.

But, like most things with Ashe, there is always something missing — or so she believes.

There are those few that Ashe has let into her world, and they would say that she is a gentle, kind-hearted soul, one who will always stick up for them irrespective of what it costs her — yet they cannot get her to see herself as they do, and that is her curse.


BackgroundAshe has lived in Williamsburg all her life. Most in Williamsburg know her as “that peculiar deaf girl who keeps to herself most of the time”. As a girl she wanted for very little, her parents were very well-off and they made sure that she had everything she needed. Everything that is except for parental warmth and affection. Her parents doted on her elder brother, Peter, to the extent that there was very little left over for her.

Perhaps they viewed her as flawed. It was something that Ashe came to believe, and as she grew older, it was hard to not believe that herself even as she felt the seeds of resentment and jealousy grow within her. Why couldn’t she be perfect, like he was, rather than the broken mistake that she came to believe herself to be.

Yet, it was not a bad life she lived, even if it set the tone for who she was to become. At school, and then college in turn, Ashe was an insular person. There were few she allowed near to her and to be close to her. One of them was a girl her age called Cassie. They met at school when Ashe came to her aid from bullies who were taunting her. They became fast friends in school, and then college in turn. Ashe taught her friend sign language, so that they could communicate. Ashe has many a fond memory of the two of them giggling at the fact that Mr. Bloom always wore that same, unfashionable sweater in class. Yet, for Ashe, she came to realise over time that her feelings for Cassie ran deeper than mere friendship. She struggled for weeks....months over her feelings for Cassie before finally one day coming to tell her.

But Cassie did not feel the same. She revealed to Ashe that she was dating a boy in class. This devastated Ashe and it split their friendship apart, Cassie believing it was too awkward to stay friends.

The walls came up round Ashe, even more than they had before. Here, inside her shell, or so she believed, it was safer to keep the world out. She was imperfect.....flawed. She had to be a flawed, miserable thing to be so rejected by her closest friend. How she wished she could be pristine, perfect, whole like these shiny, pretty people in their pretty worlds.

Yet she was not.

Maintaining her existence, Ashe came in every day to class. She left at the end of each day and she went home again. Her dreams, her ambitions amounting to completing college, getting her scholarship, becoming independent and having her own house. They were perfectly normal ambitions and dreams.

Yet they were also empty promises. False dreams. She was aimless, directionless and taking each day as it came until she knew what it was she was going to do with her life, a life that was both full and empty at the same time. The truth was, Ashe didn’t know where to go next, and separated as she was from the rest of the world, she had begun to fear that that direction was forever beyond her....


Other
Ashe’s DreamShe stands, the ground insubstantial beneath her. Around her, the wispy tendrils of an ethereal mist swirls and coalesces. It reaches out to her, and it wraps her up inside its ghostly embrace. The world around her fades slowly until it is nothing more than ghostly, fragmented pieces of something that was once familiar — yet at the same time alien to her.

This is not your world. You do not belong here.

The faint whisper echoes in her mind. It reinforces a truth that she already knows deep down inside of her. She does not want this world and it, in turn, does not want her.

She feels the softest touch caressing her cheek. A hand.

Ashe closes her eyes, and in the darkness a form takes shape around her. She sees brown hair, shoulder length falling freely. She sees blue eyes looking back to her, holding her eyes in her own. She sees features....feminine features, perfect in shape and form.

“Cassie,” Ashe breathes softly.

The world around her has dissipated now completely into nothing. They are frozen together, in a place where no one can interfere.

I wanted to..... in her mind she speaks the words she has always wanted to speak.

But Cassie shakes her head. She steps backwards, away from her former friend.

You don’t belong here. You don’t belong with me, in this life. This is where you belong. This is where you exist.... The words echo in her head, here in this dreamworld. Is this what Cassie’s voice sounds like? Is this what it is like to hear. Yet the words are like a knife, cutting into Ashe and tearing her emotions asunder.

Cassie’s hand moves across suddenly, knocking the glasses from Ashe’s cheek. As they tumble to the ground, Ashe gasps, trying to catch them to no avail.

The voice in her head continues....every one twisting the knife yet further. This is your world Ashe. The dark. Here, everyone sees you for who you really are. You are a broken, pitiful thing Ashe Michaels, to believe that I could ever love you.

Ashe doesn’t see. As she kneels, grasping desperately, her vision goes dim and blurred. She cannot see around her. Tears form in her eyes.

And then the voice is gone. There is nothing, save the darkness and the loneliness of perpetual isolation.


What's been keeping you awake? Fear of the dream. Fear of the dark. Fear of knowing that her friend, who she was once close to condemns her as she did in the dream. Ashe would stay awake for an eternity and beyond if it was possible for her to do so.

What's on the surface? What people know about your character? How do people react to you? Who do you think people see you as? The strange deaf girl who keeps to herself. She’s an odd creature, stuck in her ways and seemingly content with nothing but books and stories to keep her company — this is how they see me. This is how they think of me. They go out of there way to avoid me, and I’m happy with that. For as much as my deafness is my prison, it is also my paradise. There are times I wish that there could be more, that I could reach out and touch someone, to draw them in....

It gets lonely here sometimes.


What lies beneath? Your dark secret. Something that no one else knows about you. Perhaps a hint at your own personal madness: Ashe is not really the innocent girl that others often perceive her to be. Lately she has begun taking drugs. Having found that the drug taking has the effect of keeping her own personal demons and insecurities away, she has found herself becoming increasingly dependent on them. So far she has managed to successfully keep her drug taking secret from her parents and her peers, although the question remains as to how long she can keep that up.

However despite that, they still do not keep the nightmares away, hence her need to try and stay awake at night if she can at all help it.

Favorite Childhood Story: Your character's favorite childhood story: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Exhaustion Talent: Ashe is capable of reading into another person with only the smallest of details to work on. For example, she can tell by a way another person acts what there current emotions are, and in some cases what has caused those emotions. A sidewards glance, he desires her. Cold, lifeless eyes, this girl is a killer. His face, his dress, this man is a serial womaniser....

Madness Talent: Manifested deep within her mind, Ashe possesses the ability to subconsciously influence the thoughts of another in a subtle way. For example, if an assailant comes at her with a knife, she can influence him to hesitate with that strike, making him question whether he wants to take a life, thus giving her the second she needs to dodge out of the way. She is unable to overtly change the way a person acts, instead her talent of manipulation is only subtle, she can only place suggestions within another persons mind for them to act on as if it was their own idea.

Last edited by Nade; 11-25-2019 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:48 AM
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Application:Charlotte Woolery

Name & Nickname: Charlotte "Chuck" Woolery

Physical Description: Chuck is a freakishly tall Sophomore on the track team. At sixteen years of age, she stands a hair over six feet tall, with long black hair that she usually ties into a ponytail. When running she will sometimes put it in a swim cap just to keep it from flopping around. She's athletically built, and sometimes teased for her "butch" features - including relatively small breasts and significant musculature - but hardly anyone dares say it to her face, because she's every bit as strong as she looks.

Personality: Though not shy as such, she's a hard introvert; she's never been on a date, or even a sleepover. Even her track teammates find that she's hard to get close to. Although she does have a few friends, they seem almost as if drawn at random from the student population - having relatively little in common with each other, besides Chuck's friendship. When her friends clash - which happens often, given they have so little in common - she generally runs away. Literally.

Background: Chuck's family moved to Williamsburg when she was seven years old. Her father had been an attorney at a big firm in Chicago, and set up his own practice. Her mother worked for her father as a secretary until the practice got enough momentum to hire someone, and then she went back to school. She's finishing up a psychology degree now. Chuck's parents are not religious, which can often make it difficult to make connections in a new town; indeed, most people who know the family (including those that call Chuck a friend) only know them because of her father's legal work.

What's been keeping you awake? There's always an excuse - homework that she has put off, an evening sprint to clear her head, a movie marathon on TV... but excuses aside, when she dreams, Chuck dreams that she's back in Chicago... back in her old life... back in her old identity.

What's on the surface? Competition seems like the only thing Chuck takes seriously. She's bright enough to be a scholar-athlete, but regularly blows off her homework until the last minute, and generally maintains grades just good enough to stay on the team. She has a few friends, but generally she would rather practice than hang out.

Chuck was raised atheist, and she has a tendency to rub some other students the wrong way when she spouts off about how life is meaningless and there's no heaven or hell. Although she definitely does have a sense of humor, it's very sarcastic and even nihilistic.

But she does take track seriously, and has been approached by a number of collegiate and Olympic talent scouts as a result. Some have counseled her to focus more on academics in order to get a scholarship; others have offered to hire private tutors, like the guy who sees her as America's best chance at a speed-skating medal. Chuck has, thus far, refused to sign on with any of their programs - instead sticking with her high school coach and her established routine.

What lies beneath? Chuck's biggest secret is that she was born male. She came out to her parents in kindergarten, and after much discussion and debate, they decided to move to a new town where their child could present herself to the world unburdened by other children and parents remembering her as Charles. Though done with the best of intentions, this traumatic separation caused Chuck to have depressive symptoms and some attachment disorders. Having internalized too early the knowledge that nothing is permanent, she now reflexively resists close personal attachments as a defense mechanism - effectively killing potential friendships before they can begin, to spare herself the pain of being abandoned by someone that she cares about. Indeed, her handful of friends are exactly and only those people who have stuck with her long enough to get past those issues. Generally they have known her since grammar school. Her mother's interest in psychology started because she was researching the interaction of antidepressants and hormone suppression drugs.

Favorite Childhood Story: Ozma of Oz. Not the Wizard of Oz series generally (which Chuck regards as stupid and childish), but that specific story - about a boy who, late in the book, learns that he's actually a princess that has been magically altered for the purpose of concealment. He - that is, she - decides to be restored to her normal self, over the course of a couple pages late in the book... pages that Chuck read approximately a hundred times, as though looking for the secret.

Exhaustion Talent: As she gets exhausted, Chuck gets more physically efficient. Not necessarily stronger or faster, but she uses less energy for the same results. In practical terms, the less sleep she gets, the more stamina she has; as a result, she is a champion distance runner.

Madness Talent: When Chuck really loses touch with reality, time slows to a near standstill for her. Usually it's not for very long, but during that time, she can go practically anywhere, see almost anything, even move things around. In most cases, it's like the universe stops long enough for her to take a deep breath and regain her focus. But sometimes, when a deep breath won't cut it, she stays in that state even longer... wandering around, seeing the moment from multiple angles, even making slight changes.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:03 AM
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One OS reinstall later and I return with my character concept. Hope she meets muster and good luck to all other hopefuls

A.C. Wentworth
right-aligned image


Name & Nickname: A.C. Wentworth (given name: Arabella Wentworth Channing Allendale, Viscountess Allendale)

Age: 39

Physical Description:
~Eyes: Black
~Hair: Black
~Complexion: Fair
~Height: 5 ft 4ľ
~Weight: 117 pounds

A.C. is a petite woman, but she is by no means dainty. Even approaching forty she is strong and fit. A credit to her aristocratic origins her features are clean cut. With sharp cheekbones, straight nose and delicately angled chin. Her short haircut does nothing to detract from her femininity. But it does attribute an air of androgyny to discerning eyes. Her tomboyish looks and compact athletic body are often a cause of confusion as to her gender. Children in particular are the ones to mistake her for a man and yet are also the ones who couldn't care less if she was a 'boy' or a 'girl'.

A.C. isn't very concerned how she appears to other people. She likes short hair and keeping fit. How people perceive her has no impact on her or her life. So she is content to leave well enough alone.

Lately A.C.'s sculpted face and expressive eyes have contributed to her gaunt, tortured appearance. The insomnia doesn't help either.

Personality: We've all heard of the strong, silent type. It fits A.C. to a 't'. She is a guarded, private individual who doesn't open up easily to people. It doesn't stem so much from mistrust as from A.C.'s innate hypersensitivity when it comes to emotions. She feels all things more intensely than other people. So once she opens up, that's it. You're in! And if you should prove to be a bad apple, and hurt her in any sort of way it would be nearly crippling for her as she would have considered you a special person to have let you in so close.

Because of this one peculiarity A.C. perceives the world quite differently than other people. Leading to her guarded nature and private proclivities. She is highly empathetic and will feel readily burdened by other people's misfortune and misery. If not careful she is liable to fall victim to emotional overload and all sorts of emotional and mental trauma. As a result A.C. has strong walls erected to guard her heart of hearts, lest she be unable to function well in society. She will often appear aloof or even cold to people. When if fact they could't be further from the truth.

To those who truly know A.C. she is kind, gentle, warm and caring. Too caring. She will often burden herself with the problems of her friends. But at the same time will rarely allow anyone to help her with any of her own turmoils. Again it is not due to reluctance to share herself with others, as much as she wouldn't want to cause any pain or discomfort to her loved ones. Considerate to a fault.

Of course, A.C. is not without her flaws. As sensitive a person as she is, she is a terrible communicator when it comes to interacting with certain personality types. Assertive people who tend to show little regard for other people's opinions, even when they have the bestest of intentions, tend to grate heavily on A.C. She will avoid interacting with such people, even if extremely close to them. This will often lead said people to believe A.C. does not care for them, which is not usually the case. It is only that she tries in her own way to diminish any tension between the two parties knowing full well that there is little common ground there.

But even in general, her withdrawn, reclusive habits will lead her to be the person one contacts, rather then actively seek contact herself with her friends and acquaintances. She is not an easy person to get close to or even keep close to. But once she gives you her loyalty, you are under her care for good. Even if she doesn't remember to pick up the phone and give you a call once in a blue moon.

Background: The long and short of it is Williamsburg is A.C.'s hiding place. Her only real friend is Mrs. Zvonacek, a polish-American elderly woman who likes to mother-hen her younger neighbor. Mrs. Z will often cook for A.C., insisting she is way too thin. She will also often scold A.C. on her horrible sleeping habits.

Apart from her A.C. really doesn't have any other close friends. There are the people she knows from work with whom she is admittedly civil and friendly, but only insofar as work goes.

Part of this loner existence is due to A.C.'s personality peculiarities. But most of it is due to her family history. The only person in the world who knew who A.C. actually is, was ruthlessly killed by his own son, Wenthworth Preston Allendale, who couldn't wait to receive his father's title and control over the family fortunes. Wentworth Channing Allendale, Viscount Allendale, was the only person who knew that A.C. Wenthworth is actually Arabella Wentworth Channing Allendale, Viscountess Allendale. He was her beloved grandfather and had had the foresight to shield his granddaughter from her father's dirty scheming.

Had it not been for Channing Allendale A.C. would have ended up betrothed to some dirty thug in league with her father that was promised a title should he provide Preston Allendale with financial backing and other unsavory aid. Preston had managed through various machinations to have his father committed in the hopes that this would transfer all titles and fortunes to him. Including the handling of his daughter's future. But Channing Allendale was nothing if smart and cunning. And of course it also helped he knew how rotten to the core his own son was. He'd prepared several contingencies to thwart any possible plots Preston could come up with and as a result the second Channing was committed to a psychiatric facility all titles and family assets were transferred to A.C. instead and agents of her grandfather hid the girl in the United States and labored effortlessly to keep her hidden from her father's wrath.

A.C. had been twenty at the time.

What's been keeping you awake? A.C. had always been a night owl and as such regular work never really appealed to her. She was filthy rich, of course, and didn't need to work a day in her life. But she risked exposure if she touched any of her family assets. Plus, she was never really one to rely on her family's riches. It was not how her grandfather brought her up.

So early on she settled on a profession she knew would help her keep a low profile. And she got to play games for a living. It was a win-win. Of course it meant working weird hours, but it didn't really matter to A.C. since she worked from home. It did mean her sleeping patterns were so out of wack that Mrs. Z would often talk A.C.'s ear off about it.

Still, A.C. had managed to adapt to it and found she was able to rest well enough even if she wasn't sleeping the usual eight hours a night as the average person.

The insomnia had appeared a couple of years back, at the anniversary of her grandfather's death. It had all started with a single nightmare that never repeated itself, but haunted A.C. during her every waking hour. A faceless man looming above her teen self. And pain. So much pain! And helplessness. And afterwords blood and agony! And her grandfather's inconsolable face, stricken with bloody tears. 'Forgive me, sweet girl! In the end I couldn't keep you safe from him! I should have choked the life from him with these.' The apparition had clenched its hands in fists then. 'It is time, sweet girl. Preston needs to pay!'

What's on the surface? To people A.C. is a beta tester for well known game companies. In her circle she is famous for her work ethics and her knack for discovering bugs and glitches. When people learn what she does for a living they usually tend to consider her an overgrown kid, who refused to grow up, and plays games day and night. Either that or that she's the stereotypical 'nerd'. The more open-minded and perceptive people can see past this facade, however. And A.C. doesn't care one way or another how people see her. She knows who she is, and so do the important people in her life. That's enough for her.

What lies beneath? When she was about fifteen her grandfather was forced to leave A.C. in her father's care, having to stay overseas for a prolonged period of time on some very important family business. Thinking Preston wouldn't dare to do anything to his daughter in the fear of having been stricken out of his father's will. Alas, when Channing had returned home he'd discovered his granddaughter forever changed at the hands of one of his son's acquaintances. Preston had hosted a party for some of his more unsavory business partners and in his drug-addled condition hadn't notice until it was too late one of them had managed to find Arabella's room and violate the young girl. The monster had brutalized her to the brink of death.

By the time Channing had returned, she was physically healed, but she'd repressed any memories of the incident in order to protect her fragile child's mind. Her grandfather had almost chocked Preston to death then. But his stature did not allow him such luxury. He let his son live for propriety's sake, but never once trusted him with Arabella's well being after that. Or in general with anything.

The rape left A.C. unable to have children. And memories of it have slowly begun to surface in her dreams in recent years.

Favorite Childhood Story: Raised by an aging man, A.C. never got much in the way of the usual fairy tales other children would. In stead her grandfather would tell her stories of powerful and important women in history. Be it rulers like Hatshepsut, Boudica, Queen Elizabeth I, or women of science and adventure like Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart, warriors like the Amazons of legend or the onna-bugeisha Tomoe Gozen. It was as if her grandfather was trying to supply his granddaughter with a slew of female role models that the girl lacked while growing up without a mother or a grandmother. And young Arabella was absolutely enamored with all those women of power and grace and wit.

Exhaustion Talent: One would think that with the onset of exhaustion one's pattern perception and/or recognition would suffer. But it is not so with A.C. The more tired she is, the better she is at discerning patterns and discovering anomalies.

Madness Talent: Perhaps born of A.C.'s hypersensitivity or completely unrelated, but she has the power to manipulate the autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, of people. ASMR is purported to be activated by certain auditory and visual triggers. A.C. is able to either control what triggers it or the strength of the reactions to those triggers. Or even induce the sensations of ASMR without any triggers, but she needs unbroken eye contact in order to do that.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:14 AM
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Nade, I'm a sucker for well-written characters with disabilities. I actually suffer from extraordinarily poor eyesight (corrected with glasses) and have a close friend who is legally blind and volunteers working with blind teens and preteens. What sorts of drugs is she on? I assumed uppers since she doesn't want to sleep. Does she still have contact with Cassie? As in, do they see one another regularly at school or in other social situations?

auntmousie, Chuck is pretty stinkin' awesome! The concept is compact but relatable and the Ozma story is a fantastic tie-in. A few questions: is Chuck taking hormone therapy? It's mentioned way toward the end in relation to her mother's studies, but I wanted to be clear on that. Are there any emotional/psychological benefits to her change in gender identity and new location? It sounds as if she yearns for the connections she'd formed in her younger years.

ihinka, Very cool concept! Have you ever read The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler? I haven't finished it, but the extreme empathy angle is taken to the Nth degree in that story and it reminded me of your description of A.C. I am unfamiliar with ASMR except as something that was a fad for a while on YouTube, so I might need further explanation on what exactly the trigger produces in a person. Admittedly, I'm hoping it's not NSFW because that could be an issue. Does it tie in at all with the extreme empathy angle, and if so, how?

Everyone, my only concern thus far is that everyone is so insular, private, and defensive that no one will talk to each other and the monsters in the shadows will just flatten you all like a steamroller. XD
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:50 PM
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Hi, thank you for the kind feedback . Your assumption would be correct re: drugs. As for maintaining contact with Cassie, I think given the sort of person that Ashe is and given the nature of the rejection and the breaking down of the friendship, she would have built her walls right back up and just severed any form of contact she had with her former friend. It would have taken a lot for her to open up like that and that sort of rejection would have absolutely shattered her. They would see each other at school but it would be unlikely she would talk to her.

Ashe is a private and insular person, yes, but I guess extreme circumstances would have a habit of bringing people together in this case . I can see Ashe's defences and walls coming down over time, and I guess that sort of character growth and her learning to trust other again is something I would really love to rp in this game. And in addition to that, personally I think it would be awesome to be able to roleplay her teaching the others sign language .
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:29 PM
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moozuba, I haven't read that book, no. But I have encountered the severe empathy concept in a number of other media. And it's always been something I wanted to explore in a character.

As far as ASMR goes. I've researched it a bit. There doesn't seem to be any actual scientific research on the matter. But as far as people's reports of it go. As well as my personal experiences with it... Certain auditory and visual triggers produce sensory responses in individuals. Think of it as nails on a chalk board in terms of negative responses and let's say camp fire crackling in terms of soothing/positive response. I don't think it's anything NSFW. Rather it dances between the calmness/agitation spectrum. People who've experienced it report it's connected to a tingling sensation at the back of one's head. I have had similar experiences with some ASMR. Both in terms of negative and positive responses.

And, yes, it does tie in a little bit with her hypersensitivity. I'd imagine being so empathetic could cause her in extreme situations to become hyper in tune with something as fleeting and ephemeral as ASMR. But it could just as easily tie in to her personal history and some deeply seeded desire to sooth/agitate people to the extremes.

On the insular issue. A.C. is a loner for sure. And understandably guarded. But she doesn't go out of her way to stay away from people. She is just the strong silent type in a group that rarely speaks up, but when she does it's a bit of a 'wow, she speaks' moment
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