Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hold on Loosely

When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
--Othello, from Othello, Act V

I've learned to not become that emotionally invested in RPG characters the hard way.

You know, by having your heart (metaphorically) ripped out and stomped on by events beyond your control.

My old WoW Mage, Nevelanthana, got her name from a D&D character I played in my current D&D 3.0 campaign. She was a bookish type, a scholar who didn't suffer fools, and for a while our only spellcaster. But she'd met her end when a group of harpies ambushed our group, mind controlled another player, and he attacked Neve. The player proceeded to roll three 20's in a row, resulting in instant death by decapitation.*

After finally getting a Wizard for our campaign, she was effectively one-shot.

While I couldn't control that game**, I allowed Neve to live on as a Sindorei Mage in WoW. 

While not exactly how I imagined her, this old screenshot
of Nevelanthana does picture her in her element:
a professor's living quarters, books and scrolls included.

She got to max level in the Cataclysm expansion as a Frost Mage, and in my own mind I envisioned her as the younger sister to Quintalan, my first character I leveled with back in Wrath.

As this was an MMO, Neve died numerous times while leveling, and with MMOs you just learn to accept character death as part of the game. Sure, games such as Baldur's Gate or Jade Empire have a "you die the game is over" situation, but there's always the save file to recover from. The game is just that, a game and not a novel, and I've learned through countless slogs that you can't become that emotionally invested in your main character.

So I was shocked when I found myself becoming invested in the latest SWTOR expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire.

I'm not going to reveal any spoilers, and there are a few surprises in the main storyline, but for me, seeing this for the first time in a cutscene got me surprisingly emotional:

Chewie, we're home.

My comment above pretty much sums it up: We're home. 

The starship provided a true first home to you, and reaching the end of the first wave of KotFE Chapters and getting your starship back was such an incredible feeling. You may have lost everything else, but getting back your old starship gives you a grounding that you never knew you needed.

I don't know where the supporting cast found it, and right now I don't care. My starship is back, and I can breathe once more.

Who knew that I could learn to love again?

*I still can't believe he rolled like that, but what really got my goat was that he then proceeded to giggle insanely, while the rest of us were just stunned. This particular player doesn't play in our game group anymore, and I can't say I'm sorry to see him go. To this day, I still think he was just looking to sow chaos and to want to "do" as many female NPCs as he could find.

**This being D&D, after a few years of her being a ghost and doing whatever it is that ghosts do, she was recently given a new lease on life by the rest of the party, who had to travel into (effectively) the Underworld to barter with a Priest of the Dead to bring her back.

EtA: Edited the second last line to avoid saying "again" at the end of two sentences in a row. Things like that irk me.


  1. Another stellar Red article. :)

    I've never played D&D, but man, what a prick! Sounds to me like the people you play with are very important.

    KOTFE seems to hit the right emotion each time. I felt much the same when I saw my ship, and yes, it was unexpected.

    1. Yes, the people in your gaming group are a very important component to a good RPG campaign. That particular person was someone who seemed to have issues leaving adolescence behind. That he managed a series of rolls with an 1:8000 probability made that situation even worse.

      On the flip side, a pencil and paper campaign can be deeper and more satisfying than the best CRPG, because you're not limited to the capabilities of the PC and/or console. If you get a chance to try out a pencil and paper RPG in a group that you get along with, do it. If you're curious about RPGs, Wizards of the Coast has a (somewhat) reduced rules version of Dungeons and Dragons 5e available for free download, and Evil Hat Games has a pay what you want system in place for downloads of the FATE Core System, which is even more rules lite than D&D.