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A Roleplayer's Copybook: The Lazy Bard Challenge

Tags: #RP  #Story  #Challenge  #Writing 
  • December 3, 2018

    Yes. I always take a few soul gems with me to Bleak Falls Barrow.

  • December 10, 2018


    The Basics:

    Race: Redguard (Female)

    Born: Sentinel, Hammerfell

    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (leans toward good)

    Profession:  Scholar, Dwemerologist, Explorer, Tinkerer


    Sariah was born into a somewhat non-traditional Redguard family.  Her father was a scholar whose area of expertise was primarily Yokudan history and lore, though he had a passion for studying the Dwemer ruins that dotted Hammerfell.  Her mother was a former soldier and renowned archer who left the army to settle down and start a family after getting married.

    From an early age, Sariah’s interests gravitated toward her father’s scholarly pursuits.  However, her mother demanded that she learn the basics of sword and bow use along with their maintenance and care.  The family traveled across Hammerfell to various locations, most of which were in remote locations, where survival skills were at a premium.  Sariah and her mother would hunt for food, water, and supplies while her father explored.  In the evening, once the necessities were taken care of, Sariah would sit with her father and listen as he explained Yokudan history or the various trinkets and artifacts he would find.

    This lifestyle continued into Sariah’s young adulthood.  As she grew older, she would often accompany her father-to both help protect him and to explore.  Her passion for learning was only fueled over the years, and Sariah grew to love the mysteries of the Dwemer.  However, she also grew more cautious around their ruins, as they experienced more than one close call with Dwemer traps and constructs.

    One evening, Sariah had left the campsite to wander around and explore a region they had recently traveled to.  As she walked back to the camp, she began to hear voices.  It sounded as if her father was arguing with someone, so she quickened her pace.  As the campsite came into view, she saw four figures near her parents.  She immediately recognized them as High Elves—likely Thalmor, given their robes and armor.  She unslung her bow and crept slowly toward the camp, listening to the shouting.

    The elves were demanding information from her father about Dwemer ruins, to which he replied with somewhat vague answers.  Her family knew firsthand of the Great War, the rift between Hammerfell and the Empire, and the Second Treaty of Stros M’Kai, though those events occurred before Sariah’s birth.  She watched as the elves grew more and more impatient with her father as the interrogation continued.  She also noticed that her mother was slowly changing her stance.

    Suddenly, her mother sidestepped, drew her bow, and notched and arrow in one fluid motion.  She began yelling at the elves, demanding that they leave.  Without warning, her words were met by a blast of fire from the robed elf.  She let loose her arrow as her body was engulfed in flames—the flaming arrow embedding itself in the head of an armored elf.  Both died almost instantly.  The mage elf then turned his flames against her father.

    “No,” cried Sariah as she released her first arrow.  The sound of her scream caused him to look up as the arrow struck his neck.  Two arrows later, the last two elves fell without seeing the face of their attacker.

    That night, Sariah buried her parents and gathered up all her father’s notes.  Over the next week, she would look over the notes and artifacts and break down into tears.  Her grief was killing her, as she barely ate or drank.  Then, while crying her dehydrated, half-starved self to sleep on her parent’s bed, she discovered her father’s personal journal.

    She began to pour over it, consuming each and every word.  She read about her father’s love for her mother and herself, his fears, his triumphs, and his greatest discoveries.  She saw herself through her father’s eyes—how he knew she would surpass his scholarly knowledge.  He also made reference to a “Ring of Souls,” a ring he was going to give to Sariah on her upcoming birthday.

    Looking over her father’s cryptic notes, she discerned that he had buried it just outside of the camp.  She got up and ran over to where the directions led.  Falling to the sand, she began to dig with all her remaining strength.  She quickly uncovered a small box and opened it.  She stared at the mysterious blue, glowing metal and the intricate Dwemer craftsmanship for what seemed like hours before putting it on.

    As the days went on, she continued looking over the plethora of notes her father had made, though she could not unravel the ring’s mystery.  She ran across multiple references to a substance called aetherium and references to Skyrim.  She decided then that she would carry out her father’s research, so she packed up camp and began to make her way to the cold, bitter land of Skyrim.


    Sariah is an honorable Redguard and will act as such.  She holds to Yokudan tradition, just as her father taught her.  She respects most people, showing a great affinity toward other Redguard.  However, she despises the Thalmor for what they did.  She can easily get lost in thought, daydreaming about her parents, the history of the Redguard, and the Dwemer people.


    Sariah has never had strong religious beliefs.  She respects the Yokudan pantheon but seems more interested in the gods of the Dwemer—Reason and Logic.

    Political Views:

    Sariah cares little for the lords and ladies of countries other than Hammerfell.  However, she will show honor to their position unless she deems them “unjust.”  Any outside noble who supports Hammerfell is an ally.  Anyone opposed to Hammerfell or openly supporting the Thalmor is not.  The Empire is not a friend.

    Why Skyrim?

    Sariah is headed to Skyrim to seek out the “Aetherium Forge” and continue in her father’s footsteps researching the Dwemer.  She will also quickly be drawn to the various ancient Nordic ruins, as she has the heart of an explorer.



    Major: Smithing, Archery, 1-H, Lockpicking

    Minor: Enchanting, Block, Speech, ???

    Other Items:

    Sariah is very competent at living off the land, as her mother taught her to hunt, forage, and survive.

    Sariah always carries her mother’s Scimitar with her.  Her mother’s bow was destroyed by the fire.  She also carries rolls of paper, charcoal, and other tools to write notes about her findings, just like her father did.

  • December 14, 2018

    An interesting character. Even the presence of Thalmor in Hammerfell makes sense (though it's rather inadvertent of them to be wearing uniform robes there).

  • December 18, 2018

    I made a tweak to Sariah's skills:

    Major: Archery, Lockpicking, ?, ?

    Minor: 1-H, Speech, Smithing, ?

    I am intentionally leaving some spaces open for her to grow as a character.  She can improve two minor skills into major skills after she trains them with a teacher, and she has room to add one more minor skill (again, with training).  As I thought more about her past, I didn't want her to have anything else at the moment.  She might know the basics of blocking, etc., but she just isn't proficient with those skills yet.  I think this will help her to develop more as a character while adventuring through Skyrim!

    Ok, off to start her adventure!

  • December 18, 2018

    I find roleplaying warriors kinda confusing skill-wise. I mean, with mages, there's a clear difference between, say an Illusion mage and a Conjuration mage, and so on, each school of magic has a different connotation to it, and it can play a part in a character's overall personality and behavior. With warriors though... it's not clear. How do I determine if they should be a sword and shield type, or a two-hander type, and should they use a sword, or a hammer, or an axe? An archer or a crossbowman?

    Well, it's normal for a character to not start with all the skills. What does Sariah do for living? How she earns her gold?

  • December 18, 2018

    Justiciar Thorien said:

    I find roleplaying warriors kinda confusing skill-wise. I mean, with mages, there's a clear difference between, say an Illusion mage and a Conjuration mage, and so on, each school of magic has a different connotation to it, and it can play a part in a character's overall personality and behavior. With warriors though... it's not clear. How do I determine if they should be a sword and shield type, or a two-hander type, and should they use a sword, or a hammer, or an axe? An archer or a crossbowman?

    Well, it's normal for a character to not start with all the skills. What does Sariah do for living? How she earns her gold?

    I agree! Warriors need some serious "hows and whys" when developing your character.  Otherwise, it is easy to swap from a sword to a mace just because you find a better weapon.  Or jump from 2-H to 1-H and a shield for similar reasons.  That's why I kept Sariah tied to a bow (her mother's best skill), but also left an attachment to the scimitar (the only item left from her mother), though she isn't proficient with it.  She might even gain proficiency later on (or even change from sword to something else), but that will be a story-driven change.  Also, given her "tinkering" mind, she will likely find the crossbow much more to her liking.  Envisioning this, I wrote that her mother's bow was destroyed--so there is nothing directly tying her to the bow.

    Sariah will earn a living by exploring ruins, collecting some of the valuables, and selling them...just like her father.  She will also help people when it serves a useful purpose (or it is a fellow Redguard in need).  She starts with her parent's savings, so she is able to make a few useful purchases after entering Skyrim before she must become self-sufficient.

  • December 18, 2018

    Sariah’s journal entries:

    17 Last Seed, 4E 201

    I finally crossed into southern Skyrim today.  The land is cold, but alive with vegetation.  The sands back home have been replaced with dirt and grass.  It’s beautiful in its own way, though I miss the warmth of the day.  I think Father would have liked coming here.

    Shortly after crossing, I ran into a traveling merchant.  He seemed nice, though he looked at me a little too much.  I parted with a map and some warmer clothing in exchange for some gold, though I think he desired a different form of payment.  Thankfully, the occasional tapping on the hilt of Mother’s scimitar kept our dealings civil.  The merchant had mentioned something about the Dwemer when he referred to Markarth, a city not too far away, but I couldn’t understand him very well.  It seems the Nord people are almost as large as their accent.

    Besides the merchant and a wolf, it was mostly uneventful.  The day seemed to end too quickly, so I had to make camp early.  I spent time foraging for wood and dressing the wolf in preparation for nighttime.  When the sun sets, the temperatures drop quickly.  It would be easy for an inexperienced traveler to succumb to the biting cold.  Thankfully, Mother taught me very well.

    I will finish eating my wolf haunch and go to sleep.  I think the wolf pelt will be dry by the morning, and an extra blanket will be very appreciated tomorrow night.


    18 Last Seed, 4E 201

    Using the map, I found and followed a cobblestone road toward the city called Markarth.  Skyrim is a fertile land, with flowing water everywhere.  After several hours of traveling, I noticed a dirt path heading off the main road.  Walking down the path toward me was a pair of wolves who seemed almost as surprised as I was.  They must have been hungry, as they attacked almost immediately.  I dispatched them, though one managed to bite my wrist.  I should have listed to Mother more when she was teaching me how to use a scimitar.  I really miss her bow.  Truly, I really miss her…

    I was low on food, so I spent a good part of the day dressing, skinning, and cleaning the wolves.  Just after cleaning my knife in the river, I heard the sounds of combat.  I followed the noises up the dirt path and saw two groups fighting.  After the battle was over, I approached them, scimitar strapped to my waist, and inquired about what had happened.  I learned that the victorious group was called “Stormcloaks,” and that they were fighting against the Imperials.  I recounted the similarities with their decision to break away from the Empire and Hammerfell’s actions back in 4E 175.  I learned very quickly that Nord’s don’t seem to appreciate the conversation.  They told me about Windhelm, their headquarters, Ulfric Stormcloak, their leader; asking me to head there and join them.  Shortly after that, they left.

    Looking over the battleground, I managed to find an unbroken bow and some loose arrows!  This was a great find, as I was almost as proficient with Mother’s bow as I am with her scimitar.  While searching, I noticed some ruins close by, so I decided to quickly investigate them.  They indeed weren’t Dwemer—most likely ancient Nordic ruins.  However, I was impressed that they were so well preserved, given their apparent age.  I bandaged my wrist, double-checked the bow and string, practiced drawing a few arrows, and gathered my wits—going over Father’s “To Do” list, before heading inside.

    Immediately after entering, a ghost appeared before me.  He warned me of “a great evil” named Hevnoraak.  Apparently, Hevnoraak was growing in power while the ghost, who was holding him at bay, was weakening.  He asked for my help in stopping Hevnoraak, and I agreed.  However, help would not be today.  My body was growing weak and cold as the evening approached, so I told the ghost I would return shortly.  He went back and sat in a throne that was occupied by his remains.

    I exited the ruins and set up camp—spending an hour gathering wood and cooking.  Dinner was more wolf, but thankfully I was able to make a fur cloak to help fight off the cold.  I am torn.  Should I assist the ghost stop this Hevnoraak tomorrow, or should I continue my journey to Markarth?

    Anyway, it is time to sleep.  Good night Father and Mother.  Please direct my choice.

  • December 18, 2018

    That's the thing, it's rather hard to come up with a story that would explain why a character uses this weapon and not that. For instance, I have a fellow who was born in a noble family and also is kinda hunter and eventually becomes a Companion. He uses a bow because with it he hunts and a greatsword because it's kinda the most popular Nord weapon, but is it the only way how it can be? What if he used a battleaxe or a hammer instead? Nothing would change, huh? Or I have an Altmeri warrior who uses a bow because it's faster than a crossbow, and sword and shield, because, well, I haven't seen many Altmer using two-handed weapons, and a mace and an axe somehow don't feel right for this lass, but that is kinda meta. And so on.


    It's really unusual for a Redguard to be a better archer than a swordsman. Redguards are obsessed with swords after all.

  • December 18, 2018

    Justiciar Thorien said:

    It's really unusual for a Redguard to be a better archer than a swordsman. Redguards are obsessed with swords after all.

    You are absolutely right.  I put archery up for possible options in the future, but I think I will swap that out for 1-H.  That makes the scimitar she carries more meaningful!  Thanks!

  • December 18, 2018

    Well, I'm not saying Redguards can't be archers, it's just that in their culture, swords have a special place, so that likely would be a primary weapon for any Redguard, even if they use a bow too.