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Profile: Gwynara

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  • March 2, 2019

    The term 'witch' to me brings to mind the image of a woman who is forced to live on the edges of society. Many of the people within said society would still come to her for cures. However as soon as the plague breaks out she is the first to be burned at the stake. That mental image is the basis for this character, the one who aids and heals, yet ever to be cursed as outcast.

    Name: Gwynara

    Race: Breton (Breton mother, Redguard father)

    Age/Birthsign: Born under the Atronach on 4E 176, 13th of Sun's Dusk in Wayrest.

    Appearance: Average height and weight for a breton. Blue/grey eyes. Burn scars on left cheek and body, dyed red hair usually covering the scar.

    Apparel: To be updated.

    Equipment: To be updated.

    Skills: Strong affinity for magic in it's many forms. Other than skilled in art of healing through restoration and alchemy, most noteworthy is the connection with dream magic and matters related to diviniation and prophecy.

    Religion: Brought up with the teachings of the Divines. Nowadays is drawn closer to Vaermina through the daedra's manipulations.

    Alignment: Neutral Evil


    Flaws/Fears: Gwyn fears getting infected by diseases above all else. This may cause some irrational behaviour, such as overstocking on ingredients to craft resist/cure disease potions. (Also I'm afraid Gwyn isn't going to be all to happy when Peryite wants his quest to start. Wandering worshipper of disease incarnate? Cleanse it with (un)holy fire!) Furthermore somewhat afraid to spend all her magicka reserves as she can't regenerate those reserves naturally.

    Background: Sun's Dusk 4E 171, a young redguard legionaire by the name of Amerion is amongst the imperial troops retreating across the Alik'r Desert. In the now infamous March of Thirst. It had merely been weeks since he was sworn into service when the Aldmeri Dominion invaded Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. Already forced to fight for his life, forced to take lives. Many of his friends and new brothers in arms had already been killed in the first days of fighting. Even more were left on the sands.
    In northern Hammerfell many healers were awaiting the arrival of survivors. News had traveled fast and many in High Rock volunteered to help. This is were and how Amreion met her; Eolsette, a beautiul young breton woman. Love flourishes even in the darkest of days.

    In the following years Eolsette continued to be a healer for the Legion, allowing her to be close to Amreion. Untill the day he was voluntarily discharged as an ''invalid''. Eolsette awaited his return in relative safety while Amreion continued to fight the Dominion. Even after the signing of the White-Gold Concordat. Eventually Eolsette and Amreion got married while he was on leave. And she became pregnant with Gwynara. This was reason for Eolsette to move back to Wayrest, further away from the war which still raged on in Hammerfell. As such Gwynara spent the first 4 years of her live without her father. Fortunately he survived the war and in 4E 188 the three were reunited. Living a simple but happy live in Wayrest. Eolsette worked still as a healer within the city, also teaching others the arts of restoration and alchemy. Amerion was well respected for his contribution in the Great War and unofficially supported the city guard. Never wanting to take orders again, but caring deeply for the people.

    4E 188, the night's sky is lit with the light of a burning city. Corsairs have somehow made it into Wayrest, barely having met any resistance. Gwyn's family forced to flee in the chaos did manage to escape. However Gwyn did see her whole childhood being burned down, some of her friends laying in the streets with their throaths cut and seeing her father killing a corsair who had just wounded him. The stories she had heard of the War suddenly became far more vivid images in her head. After escaping over the Bjoulsae River in small boats, after walking even further, all the way towards the southern Jelhana region the three settled with Eolsette's father. Gwynara's grandfather wanted to escape city life many years ago and with like minded people had created a small settlement in the wilderness of the Western Reach.

    It was a generally peaceful live, barring the occasional raid from the forsworn in the region. Live being far more quiet than in the city, Gwyn committed herself to her studies. Taking after her mother she quickly rose in skills of healing and was keen to always experiment with new recipes for potions. Amerion would talk about phylosophy and political matters for hours, teaching the history of Tamriel and the Divines and the heroes of legend and all such tales.

    As peaceful as most days were, at night Gwynara was often plagued by nightmares, memories of the past. As time passed on these would include more than just memories of her own. Memories that seemed to be her father's were growing in number. Forced to witness her father fight in the War and to see wounded pass away when her mother was unable to safe them.
    Occasionally there would be events that seemingly had not yet come to pass. Every new nightmare more horrifying than the last. More and more frequent they became untill one night Gwyn was forced to walk the March of Thirst a voice spoke over the arid wasteland. An oasis was offered, an easing of the suffering. Perhaps a little naive Gwyn responded to the voice and this curiosity would proof to be all the voice needed to seduce her.

    As promised the voice did help to ease the suffering of the nightmares. It would visit Gwynara frequently, help to understand what she was seeing, to regonize memory from omen, to interpret and remember the signs when awakened. The elders feared the source of the omens, yet they could not be absolutely certain wheter it was mystic or daedric in origin. Gwyn never did reveal if she knew herself. This was an increasing cause for tension. Pushed even further into the arms of the voice as her peers shunned her more and more.

    One of the first nightmares Gwynara has had was, what she had thought, to be of her own death. All consuming magical fire running wild in the settlement, herself unable to move as the flames licked at her skin. She had mostly forgotten the dream as it had only appeared once and that was long ago. Furthermore it was well known the stars had affected Gwyn greatly in addition to her Breton blood. She had little to fear from magical attacks, even more so after learning to control her own magicka.
    Time however would reveal that particular nightmare to have been an omen. Gwynara caught a disease so severe she spent weeks more death than alive, completely unable to move, eat, drink or respond in any way. Eventhough her mother was one of the most gifted healers she was powerless to cure the illness. During this time a forsworn party came across the settlement, they were out raiding for supplies in the area. Amongst them was a powerful mage who had recently lost his wife and son. When the group was met with resistance lead by Amerion, the mage let out his pain and rage by pouring it all into his fire spells.

    When it was over and the smoke dissipating in the wind there were fortunately only a few causualties to be mourned, Gwyn's grandfather being amongst those fallen. Amerion had made good use of his experience fighting against the Thalmor mages. And only a part of the settlement would have to be rebuild. Gwynara was less fortunate, large parts of her skin were boiled away. This time Eolsette was able to provide healing more effectively and safe Gwyn's life. The fire touched not only the skin, the disease was burned out aswell.

    Gwynara recovered her health, only the scars left as reminders of what happened. This does however include part of her face. People tend to be quick with assumptions based on what a person looks like. So when her hair was grown back enough it would be directed to cover up the scar, aswell as be dyed red. Both to catch the eye before the scar would, and as a nod to the fire that had caused the necessity.

    Eventually the time was coming for Gwyn to leave the settlement. Barely anyone was even trying anymore to hide their believe in the daedric origin of the visions. Amerion decided to contact his brother, Falion, in Skyrim. There had been some incident and word was that Falion left the College of Winterhold behind. Still Amerion knew his brother always showed interest in the daedra. Perhaps he could also help his daughter in ways that would be impossible by staying in the settlement. When offered Gwynara accepted the proposal without hesitation. The voice had already compelled her to take a journey to Skyrim with visions of the land.


    Fore-story: a.k.a. what to be up to in Skyrim, how will the story progress? (Next section does go more into actual gameplay).
    Gwynara will have to figure out that the voice is Vaermina ofcourse, that's going to be early on. It's not really a headcanon, but for the purpose of this playthrough I'll go with an idea. Dragons have an unique connection with time. The reason why Vaermina took interest in Gwyn because of the dragonblood, which allows the prince to tap into that connection. Futhermore through manipulating and grooming her there is a promise of a very powerful follower.
    Visiting Helgen, starting the main quest finding out about the dragonblood is going to be relatively late. Early game is going to be staying around Morthal, somewhat grinding skills, doing only small tasks. Getting the Skull of Corruption is going to be the start of venturing out more.

    That's also the time to pick up an actual questline. Which is also the time to mention another idea. Planning to go through all the major questlines, but some as Gwynara, and some are only witnessed by her through the dreamstride. Using alchemy to make a potion as recreation of Vaermina's Torpor. Guess it will be mostly guilds - dawnguard/main quest - dragonborn. (Good old Hermaeus Mora is listed as enemy to Vaermina. Two of my favorite princes pitted against eachother over a single character.) With various breaks to make it feel not to hectic, do some smaller quests in between aswell.

    Update: Any quest is fair game. But the witch will collect her payment.
    As Saffir says to Amren: "You can claim your sword, or you can keep your wife." Well, after paying Gwyn to retrieve the sword, Saffir will be taken as payment aswell. (black soul gem). Things like that.

    I still have absolutely no clue where the journey is complete. Hopefully at some point will have an insight on what will bring her peace, if anything can. And let that be a guide.

    Ramblings on gameplay/mods/skills/etc: (As if the previous part wasn't rambly enough). This section serves as a purpose to write down some of the thoughts that are going into this playthrough, mods are quite integral here. Because I play 'somewhat' heavily modded with ~220 active plugins, though hard to say how many are to give the game a vibe I enjoy and how many actually change the game itself. To begin with all my playthroughs start off with Live Another Life, an hour/and a half to make the appearance, let the mods perform initial set up, tweaking MCM settings to fit the playthrough and making a class with Disparity before finally chosing an actual start. Disparity changes the Atronach to +150 magicka, 50% magic absorb, no regen and can be selected right from the start as birthsign, rather than having to go to the stone. Experience disconnects skill xp from lvl xp. Also puts in place a cap so that it's not possible to get lvl 100 skill at character lvl 3. Vokrii to change the perks. Mysticism, Spell Research and Grimoire - Spell Mastery to change available spells and how to learn them. Spell Research also adds more depth to alchemy, that system is going to be a main part of early (to mid) game. No needs mod or frostall/frostbite, instead Cooking in Skyrim so that cooking is still a skill that can be increased but no system forcing me into it.

    For the actual skills restoration, alchemy and illusion I think will be the main ones to focus on. Vokrii includes perks to let healing do damage. Alchemy is more for the potions as I don't plan on having much in ways to get poisons to enemies. Mainly going to help getting magicka back and selling potions for rp. In illusion will try to avoid calm spells, Gwyn doesn't have a lot of peace of mind so it wouldn't fit very well that she could instill that magically in others.
    Dabbling in alteration, conjuration and destruction for extra survivability and rp mostly. Alteration is self explaining, destruction mostly for the runes, making staves more effective and have some low lvl spells as back up, conjuration will get back to below. Enchanting somewhere in between as scrolls and staves can help mitigate the no magicka regen aswell. Carrying max 1 staff and a few scrolls though while venturing out, adds some preparation aspect. Overall sounds a lot like a heavily invested allround 'build', not too sure that's what I want to end up with. (Right, forgot speech. It has some perks to make shouts better and might fit thematically for the prophecy abilities of Gwyn. Then again, might fit less with being an outcast).

    Mentioned conjuration, have the Dark Arts and Path of Transcendence installed. Want the option for more in-depth necromancy and lichdom to be in the world as a temptation for the character. Then again not sure if it would fit the arc. There's one perk that adds attack and movement speed to raised undead in Vokrii, would like to get that as a way to get a distraction in a dire situation. Take out one, raise as zombie of speed to nibble at his friends, use the commotion. But don't think I want to go full necromancer with an army of durable undead. Lichdom might fit though, immunity to disease, all the time in this kalpa left for (un)life and learning. Already skilled in restoration and alchemy as "to understand (un)death, one must first understand live." Could be a self made quest to learn about necromancy later on. Lichdom is out of the question. This build is a witch, not a lich.

    Becoming a vampire or werewolf also adds immunity to disease, only there are caused by diseases themselves. So they are out of the question here. Going into questlines from here ofcourse means siding with the dawnguard. For the companions have Enhanced Skyrim Factions which allows one to decline becoming a werewolf and still complete the questline. Could fit the character as a 'witch' to help cure the circle of their curse. However it's still a band of warriors and the character is pure mage. One way to deal with it is to attribute it to illusion magic to convince the members Gwyn's actually good with a blade. While the actual purpose is to help Kodlak. Because Vaermina allows the gift of prophecy (ill omen being Kodlak dying).

    Touching on the idea of 'dreamstriding' a questline. I have entertained the idea of writing encounters with various other characters that come through Morthal, hear of the witch and meet her. Some of my old characters of previous playthroughs for example. So far haven't really had the time nor the inspiration to make that worthwhile reading. Anyway, these could be the times to recreate Vaermina's Torpor and tap into the visitor's mind/dreams.

    Honorable mod mentions. Wintersun to include Vaermina more actively in gameplay, also buffs illusion. Reputation so the npc's comments change to reflect how they see the character. (Poor Gwynara though, going to reset most positive points to keep a lot of distrusting comments common). Missives to earn some coin and be more of an alchemist rather than always being an adventurer. Dynamic Potions to change effects to all be over time. Styx, demon puppy companion for an otherwise lonely character. Outlaws Refuges so there's a more immersive buyer of poisons in every major town/city. One With Nature to change animal behavior, possible to go full disney princess talking with animals outcast from society. Last but not least a house mod situated nicely in Drajkmyr Marsh, Halamshiral.

  • February 16, 2020

    It's been a while since I updated the profile, close to a year actually. Did play for a while with the previous iteration of this character, but there was a bit too much left to chance. Too much all over the place which caused a disconnection with the character.

    Anyway, other than swapping out some screenshots I think this profile is complete before starting the playthrough. Would like to add some in-character notes. Maybe in the profile, maybe under here in the comments, or could be they'll just sit around gathering dust.

    If you are reading this, I am rather curious about other people's thoughts on the character.

  • February 23, 2020

    I think Morthal is a great place to start for a fringe alchemist, or a necromancer neophyte, and a good place to get some restoration pratice under their belt while roaming the swamps. If they don't think all Nords stink,  Benor makes an accomodating meatshield for those tasks that are beyond a young witch eg helping Lami in return for mentoring. 

    Poison delivery is hard for a noncombatant, and I find that illusion does trump all at the higher levels. However paralysis/lingering health damage gets to be a lifesaver when a bandit chief backs you into a corner, particularly with the Concentrated poisoner perk, if you use it for nothing else.

    If she is going to be shouting, I love the Speak-with-animals perk. The three speech trainers provide interesting paths too ...sitting round the fire with the Khajiits may or may not fit her.  (After all cats have fleas, fleas cause plagues heh.) Foxes are my favourite companion for my runnier builds, maybe your spirit pup finds substantiality in an ice wolf form.

    Ordinator has the dream perks in illusion, but I can see the appeal of Vokrii.

    What do you mean when you say your last attempt at your witch was too all over the place?  I like the idea of some of the questlines being dreams/visions. I look forward to see how you can tie everything together with the  Vaermina thread. Is there a particular reason you wanted to do so many questlines, eg Companions?

    Thank you for your update, it's inspiring me to maybe get thoughts of my latest outcast down on paper.

  • February 25, 2020

    Morthal has a great atmosphere, shame there is usually so little reason to spend some more time there. Good idea about using Benor to get set up, he fulfills a somewhat similar role as Amerion did in Wayrest. Might actually be quite appropriate figure to include. Usually don't play much with followers, this char especially, so it hadn't crossed my mind.

    Will have to keep a dagger handy for such situations. And maybe the blowgun for the DB/TG quests (basically blowpipe reskin for crossbow).

    Speak-with-animals would certainly fit the character! But with more than one animal it may feel more druid-y than witch I think. Styx also should run away from fights while still a pup, so it has no purpose in combact more aesthetic/writing reasons. (Just had to have Styx in a playthrough after coming across the mod to be honest).

    Have found no concensus in lore how diseases work in the Elder Scrolls. Except that magical diseases are a thing, just no conclusion if it is limited to magic or if bacterial/viral coexists. For my headcanon am going with the latter, though knowledge is limited at best. The khajiit aren't allowed/accepted in the cities, so there is plenty reason for sympathies. More than there'd be reason to avoid the cats altogether.

    Used Ordinator for quite some time, the dreamperks (aswell as the beartraps, which were a large part of the previous attempt) are missed the most for this character. Vokrii fits more closely to how I've been feeling about modding lately, not worth it at this moment to swap it out in favor of a few flavor options.


    Last attempt was me playing Spell Research instead of Skyrim. Which has been true for all my mages in some capacity since installing the mod. To the point where I knew most recipes for vanilla+dlc, apocalypse and shadow spell package etc by heart. So usually did SR as study-rp to get the general spells I'd want for the build and then go play it. Last attempt figured to use the knowledge to add some RNG into the mix. Instead of going for specific spells only use shared parts of the recipe and just go with whatever spells were picked randomly. Even decide on quests based on the type of magic (i.e. dark magic go do DB/volkihar side.), problem was that I unlocked dark and holy magic one after another as the first two spells. Didn't get much better after that.

    The only incentive to stop playing SR for a bit was to play the survival mods. Still think in theory it was a fun concept, the execution a bit to far removed from actually playing Skyrim. It was more 'just go exist in the gameworld'. (Definitely keeping the idea of a coinflip/dice roll to make decisions for future playthroughs.)

    Anyway the reimagining part came by adding the Vaermina angle and rebuilding my modlist. The latter always makes me want to play through things that are recently changed/added, the former allows narrative to play different character ideas at once. Quite often I start with a new character because I've had a new idea, play it for a bit, see how it works, get another idea, etc. The commissioned outfit is another reason I really want to spend more time with this one, it should really tie the aesthetic together. Best example in the 'newly thought out modlist' is that have done away with all survival mods, instead going for a simple cooking overhaul. It gives a reason to cook that isn't just a weaker potion, but doesn't force it. The small buff is helpful as preparation for heading out, while at the same time won't be missed too much if ignored.


    And I thank you for your reply! Hope you do write those thoughts down aswell!