The Orange Feather

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wildebeast-gang asked: Hey, Wes! I have a question. I recently started writing out the storyline for a game I'm DM'ing for a few friends starting next month. I created a NPC that I have taken a liking to (mostly because I made him as if I was going to play him.) and he's a half-fetchling NG Inquisitor. My question is this; How do you feel about DMs using NPCs as guides for their parties and how would you personally go about doing so without making it seem as if you're being bias with the character?



You’re not going to like this answer, but I’d save him.

You’ve obviously put time and work into this character and he sounds awesome. Maybe… too awesome.

If you’re the GM your #1 goal is to make sure your players are having a great time. Your #2 goal is to tell a great story. Several goals after that involve making sure you’ve got the rules handled and game elements prepared. So, like, goal #37 would be “play my awesome inquisitor.” But there’s going to be temptation to maybe kick that goal into the teens, maybe higher.

The appearance of impropriety is often the same as actual impropriety. Even if you’ve got your game together solidly, even if you introduce your character and things go smoothly, there are still likely players around your table who know this is your Mary Sue. They know he’s not going to fall to a stray kobold’s crit and they’re going to wonder at his every success—and rightly so, he’s the character of the game’s god. They’ll have a right to be critical, and that’s even if you’re doing everything by the books. It’s a tricky situation and you really don’t want even the potential for that rivalry in your game.

My suggestion would be to put your fetchling on the shelf and introduce a cool, but more mundane character who can point when the PCs need someone to point, but who can otherwise fade into the background. And if that character falls down the black pudding well, then so be it.

Alternately, if you want to split the difference—and understand that this is still tricky and still puts its foot into Mary Sue territory (we all know what a Mary Sue is, right?)—you could make your character a villain. That will mean that his role is ultimately to be defeated by the PCs (and then maybe comeback as a graveknight and be defeated again), but at least it gets him in the game. At the same time, though, there’s nothing more GMs are accused of more than having a Mary Sue villain, so, careful.

The best solution I can think of is to get one of your layabout players to run a game as well and get your character in that game. That will scratch your inquisitor itch and assure that his adventures are won 100% by his own awesomeness.

Best of luck!


This is mostly definitely true, but I think I’d add a couple other possibilities. For instance, if the NPC only shows up every once in a while to help guide the party, rather than be constantly present, that has a better chance of working — though the players will likely wonder who this guy is and why he seems to have all the answers. (Maybe that can be part of the story though! Do they trust him? Who is he serving?)

But I’ve also been running a game recently (Serenity RPG) in which the players are the crew of a ship, and I played the captain. It was partly an experiment but I think it worked for a couple reasons: I set up the expectation right from the start, I told them when they were making characters that an NPC would be their captain at least to start with, so they could make characters around that expectation. It was nice because then at the start of the campaign, I could help guide them well from adventure to adventure — “We’re going to do this, now” — and while they could disagree and debate, it helped structure the first part of the campaign. But I also made sure she took a back seat to the player’s choices — I even said, “It would make more in-story sense for Lia to make this decision, but I don’t want to take agency away from you here, so you guys make the plan.” I did not want to play Lia as a main character; rather, she was there to support the players and the story. And finally, I knew that she was ultimately going to get killed — which just happened, at the “mid-season” climax. Now they’re captaining themselves, but they have a direction for the story thanks to Lia. (Also they had a very touching funeral service. One of my players almost cried.)

So I guess that’s to say it can be done if done carefully and with very particular goals in mind? But if you just want to play that character, then just play them in someone else’s campaign.

Filed under tabletop rpg NPC mary sue serenity

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Huge stone mesas rolled past the cart, the smell of chocobo wafting back on the desert breeze. Sun blazed across the sand, and Dawrik’s pupils narrowed to slits in the back of the cart as he watched the landscape roll by. He’d been on the road a week since leaving his tribe in the Sagolii dunes to seek out the great citystate of Ul’Dah.

“By your outfit, I’m guessing you’re an adventurer,” a merchant sitting across from him said.

Dawrik glanced at the shirt and vest that lay crumpled on the wooden floor. He’d shed them long ago, hating the feeling of restriction he had in them. He shrugged. “Seems like the thing to do.”

“What are you looking for out here?” the man asked. He seemed affable enough.

The expected answered floated through Dawrik’s mind: glory, power, wealth. He shrugged again. “Just seems like fun! Looking for something to do. See the world. There’s only so much sand a cat can take.” He grinned.

The merchant laughed. “Ul’Dah’s not exactly free from sand,” he said, and scratched at himself. “Tends to get everywhere.”

“Tell me about it. At least it’s something new.”

He’d run out of things to do, back home at the Forgotten Springs. He’d been a decent hunter, that kept things a little interesting, but they never strayed too far into the dunes, what with the beastmen about. He’d talk to any traders that came through, but they were getting fewer. He’d conquered all the men in the tribe that he could, even that one with the scar on his thigh that had lost his wife in the Calamity. Dawrik had been a comforting presence to the older soldier, a reminder of what it was to be alive. But that only lasted so long before he grew bored again.

And he hated the feeling of being cooped up. Hiding in their homes by the oasis, the fur of his tail standing on end as fire rained from the heavens. Powerless to protect himself, watching those who were supposed to protect him hiding right along with him. He’d been only thirteen then, when the war came and the Calamity struck.

He’d needed to get out of there. He needed to see the world. He needed to do something — anything, really. Why not adventuring?

“Anyway, gotta see the world before it gets destroyed!” he said.

The merchant laughed again.

The first entry in the ongoing adventures of my Final Fantasy XIV character-slash-adorable-catboy Dawrik Longrunner that I’m writing. Will post updates regularly, including gorgeous screenshots because it’s such a pretty game. Follow dawrik!

Filed under ffxiv fanfic fiction writing final fantasy catboy

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Dawrik Longrunner

Miqo’te Seeker of the Sun, Gladiator

World: Goblin

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

So I started a new just-for-fun writing project about the adventures of my gay catboy warrior that I’m playing in Final Fantasy XIV. I’ll be posting regular updates including gorgeous screenshots (it’s such a pretty game!) and cute gifs like these, over at dawrik. I mean, it’s basically OC fanfic, but I’m enjoying it and you might too! Please check it out and follow if you like it!

Filed under fanfic oc rp roleplay final fantasy mmo ffxiv gif writing fiction

361 notes

"I Have Ideas for a Game"



"Say I’ve got an idea for a game, or a plot for a game, what do I do? Do I keep it to myself, and not share it, or do I give it to a gaming company, such as BioWare, or what? Advice would be helpful, as I do actually have an idea." — fan question

You have two options:

1) Get a job with a game development studio. Work your way up to a position (such as a Project Director, or perhaps an executive position with a publisher) where you have the ability to get people to work on your games rather than vice-versa.

2) Raise the money and fund the game yourself. Depending on the idea, this could require a Kickstarter or (if you’re picturing a triple-A extravaganza) many millions of dollars. This will also require a lot of skill development and many sleepless nights on your part, and you may find yourself doing more work to actually run your new company than on the game itself. If your game idea is small enough, you may just have to do everything.

That’s it. There is no option #3 where you go to a publisher, pitch them an idea, and they take it and run with it and turn it into a beautiful thing—and you get the credit. Maybe this happens sometimes, but I expect that, when it does, it’s going to be people with proven track records doing the pitching, and the pitching is probably more geared to “give me the money to make this game” and not “here’s an idea for you to make this game”.

Because, if that ever did happen, they would take your idea and put a bunch of their own ideas into it until it eventually didn’t resemble your original idea whatsoever. Why? Because game developers (ie. the people who already work at the companies to whom you’re pitching) are full of ideas for games—from the brand new QA tester all the way up to the studio head. That’s why we got into the industry: because we love games and are brimming with thoughts over what kinds of games we’d love to make. I suspect everyone in the industry has a dream of the Ultimate Game they’d like to create one day. So that means the people who’ve worked their way to the top get the pleasure of actually seeing those dreams come to fruition. They are not looking for other people’s dreams… and, if they were, they’d find no shortage of them just down the command structure, with developers who’d sincerely love to work on their own brainchild.

Going to a developer and saying “I have ideas for a game” will get you a blank look and a “join the club”—or perhaps even a “fuck your ideas” (as Ken Levine so delightfully put it in a panel I was on with him). We have no shortage of ideas. That art of game development is not in the idea, but in the ability to execute on an idea.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is the blunt reality of it.


Ideas are cheap and plentiful as hell, and it’s rare to hear a good idea from a fan that someone at the studio hasn’t already thought of.

Does it sound like too much work to either get a job in games and work your way up to a position like Lead Designer or Creative Director, or to start your own company?

GOOD. Sit there and think about how much work that is for a few minutes. Because when you propose that a game studio make your idea a reality and give you credit, you’re proposing that people who have already done all that work (not to mention all the other people at the company who may not be leads/directors/owners, but have put in years of honing their skills, working grueling crunch periods, and competing with the (often hundreds of) other people who applied for their job) forgo getting their ideas — ideas which have generally been polished into something workable and marketable by years of experience in the industry — made in order to work on yours, while you sit back and reap the credit and other rewards of their years of effort.

So when, at a convention, you approach someone who worked on your favorite game with your Amazing Idea For A Game, and you get a brush-off or polite impatience in response, consider the implications of what you’re saying.

I guarantee you, though, that if what you’re saying is “I’m a big fan of your games, and I was inspired by them to get together with some friends and make this demo and now I’m looking for a publisher,” or (in tabletop), “I wrote this module and published it myself, and so far, it’s sold X copies; I’m interested in writing for a bigger company,” you’re going to get a different reception from most people who’ve actually made games.

In an industry that takes pride (rightly or wrongly) in tales of insane crunch periods and heroic efforts to save projects at the eleventh hour, demonstrably fruitful effort is something of a shibboleth for being taken seriously.

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I was watching Pokémon: Indigo League on Netflix and the Pokédex called Kakuna a “transitional Pokémon”

and then suddenly this happened

EEEEEEE I love this.

9,972 notes

The real story behind the war over YA novels






y’all should probably spend some time reading this

Oh my god this was supposed to be about books but it’s actually about my relationship with my parents I was unprepared for these feels

yep yep yep this

"The hot insistence on labeling YA as “trashy” and not fit for adult reading isn’t just about a visceral hatred of genre fiction. It’s also a form of denial from older adults who don’t want to engage with the issues faced by Millennials. If the validity of experiences underlying the desire to read YA can be eliminated, then older adults can feel less responsible for what they did to the generations that followed them"

Read the whole thing. Seriously.

(Source: se-smith, via galacticdrift)