Archive for Roleplaying

Diary: Anchorites of the Void

Posted in Diary, Fun, Roleplaying, Shadowpriest with tags , , on August 18, 2009 by Natarumah

Shadow PowerFor thousands of years, my brethren were among the Eredar. Children who grew up with whispers in their minds, allowing them to see the intents of others, to read and control their minds. They had insight beyond renown, yet were quiet and withdrawn. Then came Sargeras. He corrupted two of my people’s great leaders, making them generals in his infernal army. And yet, some remained, with hope in their hearts and the future in their minds.

Now known as the Draenei, fugitives, we fled the world in shining ships aided by the luminous Naaru. And the whispering children would be the guides across this great black Void, to places where we could hide for short periods at a time. No one questioned how we knew the Void so well. No one questioned where we took us. We were oracles, navigators, and caretakers.

Yes, caretakers.

For even the Naaru have their dark secrets, that which they do not wish to share with their allies. And we knew. They claim that they do not wish to burden their allies needlessly, but in doing so they have allowed openings in the armor of truth and honor they wear, for us to use. For you see, when the Naaru grow weak and their light dims, they become of the Void. Their mind devolves and turns to destruction by shadow, causing pain and suffering. They go into exile willingly, entombing themselves alive until their light burns bright once again. And in their tombs, it is only we that hold them company.

Like mothers tending to their sick children we read them stories, whispered tales to them we heard whispered to us before. We shared with them our darkness, knowing it would be safe with them forever. Then the Blood Elves found us. No one questioned how. They boarded the vessel we had arrived in, near the distant world of Azeroth, and sabotaged it beyond repair. No one questioned how they knew how to do it. No one perceived our hand in this, the whispers of intuition we shared.

For you see, we had arrived at our final destination. There was no longer a need for a vessel to travel in. We had come home.

This is the first installment of a series of diary entries detailing the Anchorites of the Void. While originally meant as a background story for my character during RP, I found that it nicely fills in a number of gaps in the story that is told during the Burning Crusade. In sharing it with you, I will also continue this story on into the events of Wrath of the Lich King, and perhaps even the next expansion if I get enough hints and inspiration. ^_^

Dark Tasks

Posted in Roleplaying, Shadowpriest with tags , , on February 2, 2009 by Natarumah

achievement_halloween_cat_01You may have noticed it when roleplaying as a Shade, that the reception you get at other roleplayers is only slightly short of that given to Warlocks and Death Knights. Indeed, a disturbing tendency for Death Knights on my server is to go for a set of goggles, hiding the tell-tale blue glow, and start roleplaying as grim Paladins. No, my friends, they are not the same. No matter how hard you try, you cannot hide the stench of the grave, the weight of the evil deeds on your soul, and the blue chill of the grave bleeding out of your eyesockets.

That said, there are a lot of ways in which you can captivate people with your presence, your story and your way of acting.

Let’s review a few possibilities…

The role of a priest in a traditional community is that of healer, keeper of lore and mediator. Like tribal shamans, they are the memory and conscience of the people whose needs they serve. And be aware,  priest is a profession of servitude. Not only to the power that is worshiped, but also the people that join in this worship.

Even a Shadowpriest serves this need, even though the audience is a darker one. Perhaps you give advice to the local thugs on which kind of vengeance is appropriate for a particular slight, hoping to elevate them to greater wickedness and subtility. You may be the strong arm of the cathedral in Stormwind, bringing their message across with undeniable faith (but please, no Scarlets. That has been done to death now).

In Darnassus, the temple holds many open spaces that may be used for an oratory for a small audience. Make an invitation on the realm forums for a sermon, and hold on here on the values of protection, vengeance and strength of conviction. Or, find an other group of roleplayers that often scout/patrol an area and be standing by for healing and empowerment should they be assaulted (Mountaineer, a Dwarf/Gnome guild on my server, often patrols Arathi and the Dwarven district in Stormwind, for instance).

You may also be a hunter of corrupt thoughts and dark minds; Death Knights and Warlocks make easy targets this way. Stalk them as they walk, or hire some rogues to do the job (trust me, they like this sort of thing). Investigate the areas where warlocks are in abundance (The Slaughtered Lamb in Stormwind, the Warlock trainers in Ratchet, and the like) and start asking them questions. Slowly make the questions more pointed, make them question if they made the right choice. Make sure that when you leave, they know that becoming corrupted is a fate worse than death, a separation from all you stand for.

Shadowpriests also make great inquisitors, having experience with mind control, seeing through other’s eyes and bolstering others’ resistance to the influence of Shadow magic. Dark you may be, you are not corrupted. You are an avenger of the Light, hiding in the shadows. Let’s face it, you catch fish in the water, not on land. Why should you operate any differently?

What also may make the difference in roleplaying is faith. Say prayers on occasion, wish people well in your power’s name, and use (and reuse!) a common phrase or two.

“The Darkness provides”, “Humbled through Shadows, walking the Light” and “May the veil protect me” are but a few of many options. Be sure to be bombastic. Be grand, you have a destiny! Be wise and just, but stern. You are not a fool, or a martyr. You are a righteous force of vengeance, cleansing corruption with decisive force.

Keep this sort of thing in mind, and people remember you. And when they do, stories gather around you.

Have fun roleplaying, and make sure to involve others, and share the spotlight!

Pen and Paper: Ma’bra Temple

Posted in Roleplaying with tags , on October 13, 2008 by Natarumah

Since the launch of World of Warcraft, people have been using it as a platform for roleplaying as well as some good old hack-and-slash and a comprehensive collector’s game. Now, quite some time ago a pen-and-paper RPG was released as well (by now in its revised edition).

I will be starting a new feature, detailing non-canon locations throughout the sundered worlds of Azeroth and Draenor, as well as its inhabitants and some short plot-hooks that are nestled in each. These can be used both in your tabletop RPG game, as well as used as raw material for organizing RP events on your local RP server (like mine!). The first such location is, traditionally a Shadowpriest location.

Ma’bra Temple

Situated on one of the large rock formations floating in the Nether around Outland, this temple was once the center of worship of the Anchorites of the Void. Inching ever closer to whatever nether vortex will eventually consume the temple, the few monks still taking care of this monument are fatalistic in their beliefs, and welcome an eventual consumption of their physical forms by this representation of the Void.

The temple’s architecture stems from the same time as the temple of Karabor, and shares many similarities besides being a much smaller place. It has the same high-vaulted gloomy halls, with winding corridors and cells for the priests. The outside platforms look out into the void itself, and many of the monks gather here at times for prayers and introspection. The main hall of worship is shrouded with the robes of monks that passed away, ending their lives in Ma’bra. Each robe has a single sigil on the back, denoting the spiritual name of this priest now that he or she has become part of the Void.

The High-priest of this temple is the aged Draenei Bara’nandu, a hunched figure marking his age in the thousands, always dressed in austere grey robes marked with symbols of despair. Besides the general caretaking of the temple itself, he also oversees the ritual dousing and re-lighting of the Lantern of Ma’bra, the temple’s main holy relic.

The Lantern of Ma’bra is a large stone lantern in the middle of the hall of worship. It is a solid and simple design, with light purple crystal shutters which emit the purple light that is ever-present at Ma’bra. In fact, the light of the lantern manages to pierce the walls, so even though it is in a closed room, the light emanates to outside the temple and within. The temple is basked in a purple glow while the lantern is lit, acting as a beacon to those who study the void.

The “public figure” of the temple is Mun’duuro, the son of Bara’nandu. Even though he counts only a few centuries, he has the regal posture and the careful attitude of a Draenei several times his age. He accepts his task with grim determination, and defends the temple against occasional incursions.

When enemies do appear, he dons a set of grim adamantium armor, adorned with symbols of fear and shadows, shrouded with chains. From the end of each chain dangles a small prayerbook or a censer alight with incense. His hefty adamantite warmace sports a large diamond-shaped head, thorns emerging from all sides. The enchantments placed upon it give it a menacing purple-black glow, and the presence of the temple’s power make the weapon even more menacing and domineering. In battle, Mun’duuro sports an adamantite face-mask which has no holes saves for the eyes, essentially making him a faceless opponent. He shows enemies no mercy, not with his withering spells, not with his mace, never.

The newest priest to join the brotherhood is actually a sister: Lila’makaah is a young Draenei orphan whose parents were mortally ill from fel energies caused in battles with the Burning Legion. Seeking a place of refuge and solitude, they died at the temple and left their baby girl in the priests’ care. She is at the age of her teens, and as such feels cramped by the dour and humorless temple, and its morose caretakers. She feels she has no place here, and wants to explore the world outside. While the priests may argue that this is indeed for the better, they also believe that she needs more experience and study before setting out in the cruel outside world.

Plot hooks

  • Strange shadowy beings have assaulted the temple, seemingly only warded off by the light of the temple’s relic. Even so, this poses a tremendous risk during the short time it is doused and relit. Outside help may be called in, as the priests’ shadow magic has no effect on these creatures. Whispers circulate that these are the spirits of deceased priests, who have returned from the Void to devour the living. Some of the more fanatical priests have contemplated ritual suicide by standing outside on the platform during the “dark time” before the lantern is relit and allowing themselves to be consumed.
  • Lila’makaah hires outside help to “rescue” her from “a priesthood of evil priests who want to sacrifice me” as a ploy to leave the temple early.
  • The aged master of the temple has fallen ill, and his duties now befall to his son. Because of this, he no longer has the time to also arrange the temple’s defenses. Outside adventurers and heroes are hired to provide an active defense for the temple until the master recovers.
  • Eerie sounds echoe through the temple, and their source is unknown. These chants last for days, even at times when all priests are gathered. Experts on the magical arts claim that this is a summoning, and the fact it lasts so long means it is a very powerful one. However, no one knows who is summoning or what is being summoned. Again, outside help is brought in to solve the mystery.

In all cases, outside help means the players (whether tabletop or on an RP server). On RP servers, a good way to represent the temple is by gaining the Raid ID of a raid that completed BT (But while the reset is still a way off) so that this scenario could be played out in BT. Get some friendly people to play the temple’s NPCs, and arrange your very own (murder) mystery!

Hymn of the Black Crusade

Posted in Roleplaying with tags , on September 22, 2008 by Natarumah

Carefully bound scrolls of heavy vellum inscribed with silvery runes that glow with moonlit gloom are distributed among the followers of the Shadow faiths, along with small travel-worthy codici containing prayers to the Void. The scrolls are commandment and invitation alike to join the Black Crusade to Northrend…

The Hymn of the Black Crusade

“Embroider your cloaks with sigils of darkness, and adorn your robes with talismans of Gloom. Finish your prayers at your sepulchural shrines and weave your wisdom on life’s shortening loom.

Caravans of midnight-black horses carry doom-plated warriors to the water’s edge harbor, where oiled up sails strike wind under sailormen’s ardor.

Cast your voice to the wind, a hymn of dark praise, to the humble priests marching to end Northrend’s disgrace. Dusk-furred hounds jar at the chains, held by keen-eyed huntsmen and the purest of maids, as the warlords align to prepare for their raids.

On the icy plains of Northrend our tents shall amass, like burials shrouds preparing for a dusky church mass. Under the fury of the winds last rights will be read, for the Lich Kings’ unlawful children, the dire walking dead.

And among the hooded councillors and gloomlit candles, shall be the deathdealers, rogues and their gambles. Our wispy grasp shall be around Kel’thuzad’s neck, as the warlocks shall effort to keep their demons in check.

And the ivory moon, pale and uncaring, lights up the banners our scouts will be bearing; a trumpet howls and is lost in the wind. We shall give Arthas the time to think over his sins.

Gather all children, of our lost and dark faith. Rise every shadow, worker and wraith!

Our march will continue until the world’s end – for the Black Crusade shall rise and devour Northrend.”

Cult of the Forgotten Shadow

Posted in Roleplaying with tags , on September 8, 2008 by Natarumah

After a summary and some ideas on roleplaying as a Night Elf Shadowpriest, it’s time to shed some light on one of the more insidious and misunderstood faiths in the world of Azeroth; the Forsaken priesthood of the Forgotten Shadow.

The road to dystopia

Upon the transformation to undeath as one of the Forsaken, what was once holy and virtuous becomes twisted and shrouded. No longer sure of their place in existence and still haunted by the enslavement of the undead under the Lich King, many find that the promise and reward of the tenets of the Holy Light no longer applies to them and can no longer give them the peace and comfort it did when they were alive.

This coldness and the cruelty of their existence is felt most harshly by Forsaken priests, once paragons and ambassadors to the Light, whose kind administrations saved the life of hundreds of Alliance warriors, yet failed to halt the corruption by the Scourge.

The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow

Founded in Death Knell, one of the Forsaken outposts, the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow is a relatively small organization that hopes to fill this void, and provide answers to the newly risen flock. Although still managing to wrest some semblance of holiness in their existence, most of the Forsaken priests turn to this path of shadows, replacing kindness with cruel teachings, and healing those in need with withering away those who deserve such fate.

Where the Light’s virtues are Respect, Tenacity and Compassion, and the philosophy hinges on the good actions of a person altering the flow of the world, the Forsaken have altered this philosophy to better match their current state.

Respect, Tenacity and Power are the virtues of the Forgotten Shadow. One should respect those who hold power, and expect this in return from those whose power is less than your own. Power drives the cult in its entirety, both magical and political, as it not only is an indication of how “blessed” one is by the Shadow, but also is a sign of mental prowess and charisma. Lastly, the virtue of Tenacity is shown not only in finding peace in one’s new existence, but also in outlasting the often deadly scheming of one’s fellow priests.

The Fangs of the Dark

Power, as the main virtue, will grant a follower of the Shadow the ability to manipulate and dominate existence, whether for good or ill. In so doing, this branch of the cult is known as “divine humanism”, where the worship of the virtues leads to a god-like power once fully understood and absorbed.

This scheming and fractitious nature of the Cult is also its main flaw; because there is no bond of trust between its members, which also results in a constantly changing leadership, there is no straight line in its teachings or its demands on the followers. Once a powerful and charismatic undead would rise to claim dominion over the entire cult, the Forgotten Shadow may become a real spiritual threat to the followers of the Holy Light. But until then, they bide their time in crypt-like monasteries or assisting their (current) Horde allies in their endeavours.

The Keepers of Balance

Some of the more benign priests of the Forgotten Shadow point to the need to balance life and death, Light and Shadow, and kindness and cruelty. These are the priests most likely to still have a touch of the Light in them, and are often more inclined to heal than to harm. Such priests also adhere to the additional virtues of Balance and Compassion, and seek to find a balanced state of existence which allows them to transcend the pain of undeath and become spiritually superior beings.

The Shadow Ascendant

The rarest of Shadowpriests of the Cult are the Shadows Ascendant, whose focus on the Shadow as an entity is of such purity and reverence, that they becomes as shades themselves. Slowly but surely losing their physical existence, they become more like the shadows employed by the Scourge, and fade from sight and hearing as they release their grip on their immortal shells.

Although unimpressed by power and not interested in politics, such beings are highly dangerous, as they become ravenous, almost mindless forces of annihilation in the end. Once the will falters, all that remains of them is the desire to envelop and consume.

Needless to say, these beings are rare as roc’s teeth, and solitary hermits until the day they are destroyed.