Monday, October 2, 2017

Old News: My First Character

The word you're looking for is "basic"
This past weekend was GDEX, Columbus's biggest video gaming expo. I wish I could tell you it was amazing... but I'm writing this article beforehand so I don't have to do it over the weekend. I'm sure it was pretty awesome, though, so make your plans for next year and come to Columbus, Ohio in late 2018! Maybe by then my company will have our video game out!

Anyway, this week we're doing some Old News, and you can expect more of these as the year closes - I just don't have time to run as many games. I like the opportunity to tell a story I enjoy, and to review some of the lessons I was taught by my old DM.

I'm also starting to think about music articles. In addition to the steady stream of blog posts, I've been writing music tracks. I could always post the tracks and go over how I created each one, or I could do some higher-level analysis of how I'm structuring the overall soundtrack.

We'll see. For now, on with the story!

Old News: My First Character

Ramirez Cabanillas was born to a royal family of elves. The second son of his house, he never took his noble training that seriously, preferring to flirt with women and play his lute, which usually went hand-in-hand.

However, his older brother died unexpectedly, thrusting Ramirez into the position of heir to the throne. Unable to accept this responsibility, Ramirez fled home, joining up with the Adventurer's Guild in Terresvania, a country known to be full of fear and adventure. He met a few friends, including a boisterous tiger-man, a sassy wizardess, and a mysterious gypsy woman. They went on several adventures in the forsaken land, uncovering mysterious magic and saving a family of powerful spirits.

The group began to disband, however, and Ramirez wasn't ready to return home. Instead, he traveled with his tiger-man friend to the land of the catfolk, in the distant southern deserts. While staying at an inn, he finally received a letter from his father asking him to return home, and the revelation that one of his companions was actually his half-sister. However, that same night, an assassin sent by his uncle blinded him.

Ramirez was crushed. He had finally been accepted by his father, only to learn that his uncle had slain him and taken the throne. On top of that, he was no longer fit to rule, his eyesight completely gone. Abandoning his country, his half-sister, and his throne, he threw himself into one last Guild mission.

However, he was more than useless, a burden to those around him. Though he shunned responsibility, he valued his independence so highly that being cared for by others was unbearable. Once the mission had been completed, he took his leave of the Guild.

He traveled for years, alone. He crossed the ocean after begging for passage, trading his musical talents for coin. Once he reached the continent on the far side of the sea, he heard of a swordmaster who had been blinded in a great duel, but had learned to fight with his disability and become a master once more.

Though it took more years of painful travel and exhausting searching, Ramirez found him in the great city of Solkane. Solkane was an ancient and highly magical city, where great warriors gathered and many cultures crossed paths. Here, Ramirez began to put his life back together.

I'm back, baby!
Under the tutelage of his master, Ramirez became assured of himself once again. He began to "see" using the magical energy of the people around him, and his skill with a blade became unparalleled. He finally found a place to call home.

It was around this time that he was rather forcibly recruited into a secret society called the Godslayers. Eight great champions of Solkane had fought and died in a dragon attack on the city, Ramirez among them. However, all eight were brought back to life by a swordsman whose skill completely surpassed theirs. This master told the newly-resurrected champions that they would now be taught a new level of skill in combat - the ability to literally slay Gods.

Ramirez learned this new style, but years of travel and fasting had made his constitution weak. Among all the Godslayers, he was most often the one who would leap into the fray, die, and need to be brought back by their master. The others jokingly called him Ramirez of the Nine Lives.

The group battled several Gods, and learned some disturbing truths: the Gods of this world were dying, and not just by the hand of the Godslayers. The era of Gods was ending, ushered along by the Godslayer's master, who was revealed to be the ancient demon Grendle. Additionally, the All-Father, the creator of the pantheon of Gods, was dead at the center of the Godslayer's dojo. It was by consuming his flesh that the Godslayers had been brought back to life.

The Godslayers revolted, and joined forces with a group of crusading knights to stop further destruction from happening. However, they weren't able to stop the fall of the Gods, and the final God fell to Grendle's blade.

The Godslayers disbanded for a short time. Their battle had left much of Solkane in ruin, and an ancient city had been discovered beneath its surface. The Godslayers began to teach the skills Grendle had taught them, not to carry on slaying Gods, but to prevent a Demon from harming the world so greatly ever again.

Ramirez studied with his master during this time, developing a unique style of blade forging that could use the currents of the air to strike distant opponents, while singing aloud. He had finally brought the music and swordsmanship of his life together. However, there was something he had forgotten, and it came back to remind him.

His half-sister appeared in Solkane, with Ramirez's uncle in tow, visiting as a foreign dignitary. Ramirez avoided his uncle, but couldn't avoid his half-sister, a skilled tracker. She told him how their father had been a terrible ruler, and the elves who he could have ruled were happier under their uncle. Though she meant it as a biting insult, Ramirez felt a weight lifted from his shoulders. He could finally kill that part of himself. His responsibility was gone.

However, he had changed quite a bit from his youth. Now, responsibility wasn't something to be avoided, but to be treasured and worked on. He took his master's grandson up as a student, but the boy struggled to learn the sword techniques of the sightless while he could still see.

Solkane's underground city had proven dangerous, and a race of ancient titans now threatened the surface. Fearing the worst, and still frustrated by his failure with his student, Ramirez took custody of a young child, the son of a dear friend, who had a great destiny. The child was to bring peace to the world, though it scarcely seemed possible at this point.

Ramirez took the child and fled Solkane, leaving it to whatever fate it might meet. The other Godslayers remained, hoping to save their city against all odds.

Ramirez and the child traveled the world, searching for a place where they could do the most good. They met many struggles in their travels, but always persevered, thanks to Ramirez's strength. He taught the child everything he could, from philosophy and swordplay to the survival lessons he had learned in Terresvania so long ago.

Finally, they arrived in Kuulinair, a country torn by a religious civil war. Ramirez found a group of heroes who had taken in many orphans on their journey, and travelled with them for a while. Though Ramirez, as an elf, had a long lifespan, the many deaths and resurrections he had undergone had aged him considerably, and many of his companions saw him as a bitter old man.

However, Ramirez realized there were a few in their midst who had good hearts and could take care of the child better than he could alone. So, he stayed with the group as long as he could, finally giving his life in a battle to rescue the child from death's clutches.

Thus ended the tale of Ramirez, who spent his entire life searching for a place that could give him meaning, and finally finding it in the life of a child.
You kids and your adventures
P.S. Apologies to my former gaming group. I'm sure all the places and people we played had really cool names, but I can barely remember any of them! I'm not great with names...

Thanks for reading!

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