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Old 09-12-2020, 09:42 PM
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A Night of Masks and Monsters


Game SystemDungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition


FlavorIntrigue, Investigation, Light Horror


Theme… such a lovely place


Story Hook
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One month ago...

The clock in the tower struck five, a warning to the late night revelers the sun would soon arrive. Musette paid it no mind. She took Alonzo by the cuff and pulled him along the canal to an empty plaza away from the taverna crowds.

"You are the goddess of the moon," said Alonzo as they found a seat on the edge of the canal, letting the bottoms of their shoes brush the tranquil waters. The air was brisk, though they hardly noticed. A night of spiced wine kept them warm and full of pleasant feelings. And, for Alonzo, poetically inclined.

"Your hair is dark and mysterious like the night," he continued. "Your eyes sparkle like the stars. Your nose–"

Musette placed a forefinger on his lips. He had been crafting poetry for most of the night after learning her name, and she found she enjoyed looking at him more than she enjoyed hearing him.

"Shhh," she whispered. "No more words tonight."

"Then what would you have me do?" he asked before kissing her finger. Not waiting for a response, he kissed the back of her hand, then her wrist, then worked his way up her arm to her exposed shoulder, and then to the nape of the neck, finding the soft spot just beneath her ear that made her shudder so exquisitely. When he ventured to her lips, they kissed deeply and passionately, until she pulled away for a moment and discovered it had become much lighter outside.

"Alas, I’m afraid our enchanting evening is soon coming to an end," Musette said playfully.

"Do not torture me so," Alonzo replied. He pointed out across the waters. "Look, even the Marquis continues his festivities. Surely we could do the same." The pair had sat beside the bridge that spanned the canal to the stately Castel di Maschera. If they were quiet, they could hear the music from beyond its high walls. Everyone in Ibrido knew of the Marquis and his lavish parties. Few held such status as to be invited.

Musette stood, smoothing the wrinkles of her gown. "I hear the Marquis is drowning his grief in wine and excess. One would think two years was time enough for him to accept the loss of his wife to the plague."

Alonzo leapt to his feet and took Musette in his arms. "Oh, how I would despair for an eternity if I ever lost my true love! There is not enough wine and cheer in the world that would ease my pain, unburden my…"

But Musette had stopped listening. The sky had become light enough that she noticed a twisted shape lying in the center of the square. It appeared to be a large bird.

"Oh my," she gasped.

Alonzo followed her gaze, quieting his verse, and his eyes soon widened. "I’ve never seen a bird of such size," he said. "The poor creature looks like it fell from the sky."

The pair walked with hesitant steps towards the thing. As she neared, Musette realized she saw not a bird, but a man in a kind of bird costume. He wore dark dress trousers and shoes, but from the waist up he was bare, with the addition of great blue-feathered wings.

Only when she drew close did she see the truth. The man wore no costume. Instead of arms, his shoulders sprouted into enormous, broken wings. Feathers grew from his skin in clumps. From his jaw extended a bony beak. His lifeless eyes were open, staring at nothing. Blood was everywhere.

Musette heard a loud scream, and immediately recognized it as her own.


About the Game
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A Night of Masks and Monsters is a published Dungeons and Dragons one-shot campaign. I am adapting the campaign for play-by-post while putting my own spin on the story. Though I'm a newbie DM, I consider myself an excellent writer of stories and have experience with game design. I'm using this game as an opportunity to get my feet wet before committing to a larger story in my own custom setting.

The game takes place over a single night. You and your fellow players assume the roles of adventurers who recently rescued a traveling nobleman from a group of bandits. As a reward, you are gifted an all-expense paid trip to luxurious Ibrido, the Venice-inspired city of canals. Prospero, the Marquis di Maschera, has heard of your exploits and invited you to one of his exclusive masquerades. What should have been an evening of fun and frivolity soon turns into something much more sinister.

I’m looking for 3-5 players to roleplay through the campaign. I’d prefer players who have not yet read or played through the adventure, though if you have it’s not a dealbreaker. Both new and experienced players are welcome! There should be an opportunity for a variety of character types to shine, whether it’s investigating the mystery, sneaking around the Castel di Maschera, or battling monsters. For simplicity, I’d prefer you stick to the Player’s Handbook for character creation, though we can discuss material from other published sources as long as it fits the setting. Because this is a short campaign with no advancement, feel free to experiment with a race and class you haven’t tried before. No evil (or chaotic-neutral) characters are permitted. All players should be able to work together towards a common goal.

You won't need character sheets until the game starts, but so you know where we’re going, characters will start at level 4 using a standard array. Hit points will be max for first level and average for the remaining. Your level 4 improvement will be an ability score adjustment only – no feats. You’ll use the starting gold for your class for equipment purchases.

It’s assumed you have fancy clothes to wear to the party and are free to be creative without spending additional gold. Masks will be provided at the door.


Posting GuidelinesPlayers should be able to commit to posting 2–3x per week, no less than once per week. I don’t want to drag out what should be a short game. To help, there’s no requirement for Pulitzer-quality posts. I’d much rather you post a single sentence to keep the game moving instead of waiting until you have time to write something more. During dialogue scenes and combat, I will try to respond to each post to simulate the back-and-forth between DM and player that would occur at a table.


House RulesCombat order will be players then monsters, or boss then players then minions. During the players’ turn, you will act in the order you post. Other rules will be announced as needed.


ApplicationPlease include the following in your application:

Name:
Race:
Class:
Background:

Elevator Pitch: BRIEF pitch on why your character belongs in this game. Sell me on your character! You can include a physical description or a personality description or both if you want. Picture optional.

Writing Sample #1: On a recent return trip to Waterdeep from some adventuring, your party encountered the Viscount Runo Vondindus getting robbed by bandits. Write a post in medias res describing part of the rescue. Be creative, and use the prompt to reveal something about your character. Make it as long or as short as you want, and have fun with it!

Update for clarification: Your writing sample can be set anytime leading up to the rescue, after the rescue, or even just referencing the rescue. If the scene involves the rest of your party, feel free to make up teammates for now. We can retcon them after the fact and change them to the other characters accepted into the game.

Writing Sample #2: Reproduce the action your character took in the above rescue (or one of the actions if more than one) in a one to three sentence “post”. This writing sample is to simulate what it would look like if you had only a few minutes to make a post and want to convey an action your character takes.

The deadline for submitting an application is September 27 and is subject to change. I won’t be providing formal reviews, but I’m happy to answer any questions in the thread. I look forward to getting a good group together!
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Last edited by Spoonybard; 09-17-2020 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:43 PM
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Applications

Player Name Character Name Race Class Status
penbeast0 Pietro Human Rogue (Arcane Trickster) COMPLETE
flapdoodle Rekeg Simar Half-Orc Paladin (Oath of Vengeance) COMPLETE
Daendil Kestrel Half-Elf Barbarian 1 / Rogue 3 (Swashbuckler) COMPLETE
Nasrith Marvolio Ravinac Human (Variant) Druid (Circle of the Land) COMPLETE
Ysolde Ah'lmira (Mira) Evansea High Elf Wizard (School of Evocation) COMPLETE
Thaco Garen Hightower Half-Elf Bard (College of Whispers) COMPLETE
gavins38 Elwin Hertoris High Elf Cleric (Knowledge Domain) COMPLETE
Delirium Aliton Lightfoot Halfling Wizard (School of Enchantment) WIP
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:18 AM
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Pietro de Memmo-Monegario
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Name: Pietro
Race: Human (variant?)
Class: Rogue/Arcane Trickster
Background: Noble/Courtier

Pitch: Pietro is trouble waiting to happen. Too young, too rich, too fond of taking chances, someday he is going to get into trouble that his money and name won't be able to get him out of. But not yet. He isn't a regular member of the adventuring company, showing up irregularly and without notice, but he always has interesting information that has made the other members of the company good money here around Venice. That, and well, he's fun.

He smiles quickly, laughs easily, is always up for a dare or an adventure. He flirts constantly, but never commits, though no ladies have ever complained. Sometimes, his humor has a nasty edge, but it's a dangerous life as a paid bravo or adventurer and humor with an edge hits most of his companions just fine, as long as that edge isn't turned on them.

Writing Sample #1:

Pietro sat with his feet propped on the table in front of him, brooding into his wine. Waiting around was always the hardest part of adventuring. He had so little time and wasting it like this always put him into a mean humor. Across the table, Ysolde the mage was regaling the Rekeg, the big half-orc, and Marvolio, the former merchant prince, with another one of her stories. Pietro wasn't actually listening, her stories always followed the same story arc. There was an impossible task or puzzle, the great mages were at a loss, and Ysolde, the young genius, confounded them all by a unique use of a low level spell to solve the mystery and save the day. To be fair, some of them were true. He'd heard it all before though, heard this one before tonight even. By the twelve, he'd had enough.

"Come, Ysolde, with your wits all aglitter. Let us have a contest, a wager, a flight of fancy to wile away the wait. I propose a challenge, extemporaneous poetry. Rekeg and Marvolio are welcome to partake if they wish. The title, hmmm . . . "An ode to my nose," in honor of that dangerous Frenchman who was in here last month.

I will start:

What can I say of my nose, it's as plain as the front of my face. Shall I sing it's beauty, the way the bridge arcs in the Roman manner, the breadth of the nostrils, the flare of the tip. It paints the emotions that fire within my brain. When I am angry, it flares with bravado. When sad, it moistens with tears that may not be shed. When disgusted, it lifts into the air with high disdain. Truly, it is a purveyor of the truth within.

And yet it is more. When I strive or sprint, it draws in the sweet air that fills my lungs and powers my muscles. When sick, it trumpets my distress for long distances with clarion sneezes and brassy bass honking into my silks with which no lesser fabric could do. It warns me of danger, of unwashed bodies lying in wait or subtle poisons lurking in my food and drink. And when I make love, it leads the way, tasting first of the delicate scents of my lady's fragrances, burying itself in the silken fragrance of her hair, nuzzling the soft expanses of her arching neck. And when I go further, there again, it leads, but that I lead to your imagination.

It is, with my eyes and ears, the way in which I experience the world in all it's beauty.

There, the thing is done. It is now to you, Mistress Elf, and possibly the others though poor Rekeg, I am afraid, is at a disadvantage in this topic I have chosen with his puglike probiscus flattened over the powerful muscles of his manly face. "


And with that, Pietro settled back to listen and scoff, or applaud, as the fancy took him. It was silly, but it passed the time.



Writing Sample #2:

Later. after the business had been done, Pietro slipped away with one of the servers, as he so frequently did. But this night was too hot, too still, for lovemaking. He gave her a hug and a tip and slipped out the window onto the balcony instead to enjoy the evening. There he Stealthslipped back into the shadows and composed himself to watch the streets. After a time, he noticed a darker patch that did not move with the changing shadows across the alley. Someone else was watching this street. Slipping down from the balcony, he Stealthfound a new vantage point away from and a bit behind the other watcher. Something was up.

After a time, he saw, or rather felt, the watcher stiffen. 3 men stepped into the alley, one a noble and two guards. A brave man to take on odds of 1 to 3, Pietro thought. But the watcher didn't attack, instead he stepped out and spoke to the noble. "Welcome, brother, don't you know walking alone is dangerous?" The voice was familiar, he knew this person and if this was who he thought it was, he didn't like him much. But he did like his brother. " But I'm not . . . " the answerer paused as his two guards pulled their swords and moved, not to attack his attacker, but to box in the now outnumbered noble. This changed things.

Pietro whispered a quick spell to Rekeg inside trusting the ongoing conversation to cover his tracks. , knowing the half-orc would still be at the table until the tavern closed. "Ambush, out front, gather the others and get out here." On our way, came the barely audible response. Pietro couldn't wait though, there were few enough among his social circle he could stand, he wasn't going to let one get stabbed by a nasty little piece of work like his brother. Slipping from his own ambush like a purple breath of darkness, he attacked first, rapier, plus sneak attackstabbing the little rat in the back of his throat.

There was a moment of confusion while everyone reassessed the situation, then the tavern door burst open and Pietro's friends exploded into the quiet street in a fury of light and blades. The ambusher was down, choking on his own blood, his friends ran, really, there was almost nothing to it.

But we did get an invite to the Marquis de Mashera's upcoming corroboree; well worth killing a man for.



Last edited by penbeast0; 09-22-2020 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:16 AM
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Love this. Perfect set and setting for a funky druid concept I've had rattling aroud in the back of the cage for awhile now.
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:19 PM
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Hotel California on chello? I'm in...
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penbeast0 View Post
Deal me in, let me think on character though.
Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasrith View Post
Love this. Perfect set and setting for a funky druid concept I've had rattling aroud in the back of the cage for awhile now.
Feel free to let that druid out of its cage, provided it's house trained of course

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Originally Posted by Daendil View Post
Hotel California on chello? I'm in...
I'm a sucker for dramatic covers of pop/rock songs in movie trailers. Figured I'd give it a go in a game advert.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:56 AM
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Since you mentioned no feats at level 4, does that also mean that the Variant Human is out?
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Old 09-14-2020, 06:17 AM
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Also, multiclass ok?
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Old 09-14-2020, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
Since you mentioned no feats at level 4, does that also mean that the Variant Human is out?
Human variant is ok! The reason for the "no feat" rule at level 4 is players will get more use out of the higher ability scores with the potential for better rolls, especially given this is such a short game. A human variant has its feat baked into the race, so they will still be able to take the ability score adjustment and stay on par with the other players.

If you go with a human variant, consider that I might not be able to design encounters to make sure you get to use the feat before the game ends. A combat feat will likely see use over others, however I'll add that this campaign is not combat-focused.

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Also, multiclass ok?
Yep, multiclass is fine. I'd prefer a single class to take advantage of the ability score adjustment BUT I realize that a one-shot is a great opportunity to test a class combination that you would ordinarily be locked into in a longer game, in case you don't end up liking it. A couple of warnings:
  • The setting is a single night at a fancy party at a nobleman's estate. Dipping into Ranger for the terrain and foe-type benefits, for example, would be fairly useless.
  • Keep in mind you would be slightly behind the other players in terms of ability scores.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:20 PM
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I like the idea of this campaign, and I have room for one more. I'm pretty active and I've never done this campaign before. It also sounds like it might coincide with Halloween and I'm all for that.

I see background on an app and either see it from the mechanical point of view or a narrative one, this time it went narrative so let's see where it goes.
Added short version of background
Added Elevator Pitch

Added both writing samples. Hope you like it!
COMPLETE


Rekeg Simar - DONE
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Name: Rekeg Simar

Race: Half-Orc

Class: Paladin of Torm (Oath of Vengeance)

Background: Soldier
 

Elevator Pitch: A tall, handsome half-orc who radiates bravery when you see him. Shone in armor and carrying the biggest weapon he can find, Rekeg is just as outgoing as he is strong. A large grin and energetic voice carry him through most conversations he gets into, plus a hearty dose of faith injected into most subjects. While not oppose to having a good time, the paladin knows when Torm is trying to get through to him. His god usually has more serious things to ask of Rekeg and violence in service is just part of the job position.

Writing Sample #1:
 


Writing Sample #2:
 


Last edited by flapdoodle; 09-21-2020 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:38 PM
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Admittedly Kestrel is a so called "canned character" someone whom I dreamed up but haven't had enough chance to play. I hope it's not a problem.

Kestrel
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Name: Kestrel (Adrienna-Lenndastriel-Beredeth)
Race: Half-Elf
Class: Barbarian 1 / Rogue 3: Swashbuckler (SCAG)
Background: Mercenary Veteran (SCAG)
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Alignment: CG
Ideal: (custom) In the end it comes down to skills. The better one wins. I'll win.
Bond: "Someone saved my life on the battlefield. To this day, I will never leave a friend behind."
Flaw: "My hatred of my enemies is blind and unreasoning."

Description: (larger picture)
Kestrel looks more or less like a human girl in their early twenties, only her slightly pointy ears hinting at her elven heritage. Her otherwise delicate features are offset by her fierce, almost rude behavior. Her shining bright blue eyes make most men turn their head. She keeps her long wavy hazel hair clamped to a ponytail, and she often uses a streak of black war paint over her eyes.

Background Summary: Lenna was born in the Ardeep Forest to where her moon elf mother retreated after her human father had abandoned them. Her once outgoing and open mother became secluded and bitter after what she experienced as the betrayal of her human love. Subconsciously she planted the importance of protecting their homeland and themselves from strangers deep into her daughter. As Lenna grew she aspired to become one of her homeland's scout-guards. But the meticulous style of elven martial arts didn't fit well with her hot blooded soul. While her body and strength quickly outgrew that of her elven peers, her motions remained clumsy and crude in comparison. She realized that her path was different. Driven by wanderlust and an aspiration for appreciation she left her homeland. She took on the name Kestrel and eventually became a sellsword.

Elevator Pitch: Why Kestrel belongs in this game?
  • Well she rescued Viscount Runo Vondindus (with the aid of her companions), that's why!
  • Also her warpaint looks just like a fancy mask (and I haven't even thought of that before) - that can't be a coincidence!

Writing Sample #1: Kestrel's heart sank as she peeked from between the bushes and saw the lifeless body of the carter nailed to his wagon by a spear. Such a senseless loss of a life. And for what? A few coins?
The murderous bandits were still at the scene. Two of them worked on prying the carriage door open, the other two were on the lookout, watching the road in both directions - she was right to abandon the road when they heard the noises.
Desperate pleading of a woman and a man heard from inside the vehicle. As Kestrel crouched back she felt her blood pumping in her veins ever stronger. She clenched the hilt of her daggers and looked at Derek with determination in her eyes. Derek seemed concerned. He grabbed her shoulder. - "Wait!" - he whispered - "We need a plan."
- "I have a plan" - she drew her blades - "They die!" - she hissed.
Billowing hatred colored her vision red as she launched from between the bushes with a blood chilling scream on her lips. She sprinted right between the two marauders by the wagon's door. As she passed the dumbfounded bandits, quick slices of her blades cut vicious wounds into their limbs. She jumped behind the back of the carriage preparing for the next charge. She heard the clank of Derek's crossbow followed by a thump as he picked off one of the watchers.
The last bandit thought the odds were against him and decided to flee. But Kestrel was not going to let him get away with who knows how many murders. She left her cover and ran after him, but she couldn't leave Derek behind. She threw one of her daggers at full strength right into the middle of the bandit's back. He collapsed.
In the next moment she cried out painfully as one of the marauders she injured earlier struck his scimitar into her side from behind. Her armor absorbed the worst of the cut, but she still felt the sudden warmth of her own blood. Turning around she saw the other wounded bandit closing in on her as well. This didn't look good: two against one, and only one of her daggers. The bandits' confidence was short lived however. Kestrel's grin only promised pain as Derek's warcry erupted from behind their backs.

Writing Sample #2:
KestrelWith a fierce yell she threw herself into battle. Daggers out she ran through between the two bandits by the side of the carriage, and jumped behind the vehicle's back to catch her breath briefly. Grinning she noted that both her blades were bloodstained.

 


Last edited by Daendil; 09-21-2020 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:45 PM
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Admittedly Kestrel is a so called "canned character" someone whom I dreamed up but haven't had enough chance to play. I hope it's not a problem.
Canned characters are fine! There's no need to create a character from scratch, especially if there's one just asking for a chance at an adventure.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:03 AM
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And complete. Baseline concept is a merchant turned druid in his old age. Trying a new spin on the old adventurer schtick.

Marvolio Ravinac
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Name: Marvolio Ravinac
Race: Human (Variant)
Class: Druid (Circle of Land)
Background: Noble

Elevator Pitch: Marvolio Ravinac is one of the rare adventuring few who has already lived a full life. Born to respectable parents - his father, a jewelry merchant, and his mother a singer - Marvolio lacked for little in his childhood. He benefited from formal education at one of the finest schools in Neverwinter, an informal one at the dinner table by his father, an unapologetic didact, and the trial by fire study of low politic that came from being the youngest of four siblings.

Outwardly an unusual pick to take over the family business, anyone with knowledge of the Ravinacs would understand. His eldest brother flatly refused to take over the enterprise, instead making his own way as a lawyer. In the act of rebellion, his oldest sister eloped with a troubadour and was disinherited. The brother closest in age to Marvolio left for Waterdeep to become an artist. This left the path to succession clear for the bright, youngest son.

Under his shrewd watch, the Ravanic Jewelry empire burgeoned, its tendrils stretching all across Toril. In his thirties, Ravnic Jewelry merged with one of their most significant competitors, an alliance sealed by marriage between Marvolio and the elegant Eleanor Palmier. What started as a union of necessity bloomed into a loving, respectful relationship. The couple had fifteen blissful years together in which time they moved into a villa outside the city, purchased a deed of nobility, and cultivated a stunning garden full of beautiful and exotic plant life.

Eleanor passed suddenly to a sickness that rolled through Neverwinter and beyond, culling thousands. Broken, childless, and having long ago lost touch with his siblings, Marvolio fell into a deep depression. The Ravanic Jewelry Company floundered before being taken over by a board of directors. The merchant at the head of it retreated deeper, finding solace caring for the myriad of plants he and his wife had grown together. He discovered he had an affinity to them, finding them and the small animals that walked among them sole bastion against his loneliness.

In time, he found he could understand them. He knew their intents, their moods. What music made them happy, excited, or melancholy. In the same way he understood the sheen of a diamond and the inherent worth of a contract, he began to understand the leaf's arch and the need for sunlight to inspire growth. A year went by where Marvolio communed with nobody except his plants. One day, in the early Summer of the year after his wife's passing, he reached a breaking point. Driven by the urging of his plants and the guilt he still felt at surviving his wife, he left the Villa to explore the world.

 
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:36 PM
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Name: Ah'lmira (Mira) Evansea
Race: High Elf
Class: Wizard Evocation
Background: Ah'lmira was a brilliant young mage and quickly rose through the ranks in her academy. Seeking additional knowledge and wishing to follow in the ways of her chosen goddess she left her Elven home to venture out into the human world with the hope that she could use her power and intellect to help guide and aid the lesser races.

Elevator Pitch: Brilliant thinks she's better than everyone else mage? Surely every murder mystery needs someone like this to provide interesting minutiae and provide historical details that might be missed. As Ah'lmira might say, "Surely one would wish to consider having the brightest mage of her generation at this soirée."

 


 
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The Sleeping Goddess continues her slumber. Once day she may awaken...

Last edited by Ysolde; 09-17-2020 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:36 PM
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I believe my app is complete. Any feedback is welcome.
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