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Entries and Voting For Writing Contest 1 - Character Concept

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Update: votes are in, please look a few posts below the entries. :D


OK here are the four entries I received. I made the decision to rearrange the formatting a little to make them more similar to each other, I hope it does not irritate anyone to have their entry rearranged.

Voting:

1. If you entered you are required to vote. Others may also vote, but votes will not be accepted from accounts created in the last week.
2. If you entered, you are required to rank your own entry as number one.
3. Rank the entries as follows:

1 (best) your own or your favorite if you did not enter
2 (second best)
3. (etc)
4. least good

4. I would like all votes PMed to me by Sunday night if possible, or PM me if you want to vote but can't until Monday or Tuesday.

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Entry A - Tessa


Realistic Name: Tessa Delacroix

Fantasy Name: VaSaSor

Other Name: Wednesday’s Child



Description:

Her thick black hair is matted and wild. Eyes that once sparkled have now taken on a sunken and haunted look. The deep circles signs of a many sleepless nights. To the casual observer she looks like someone who spends most of their time partying hard.But those days are long gone. While Tessa tries to eat regularly everything that has happened to her the last 6 months has left her with a gaunt waif like appearance. The once well-fitting designer black dress now hangs a bit loosely and despite the quality it is starting to look a little worn. She ideally toys with a silver cross hanging from a black choker, the only piece of jewellery she wears apart from silver chain around her right wrist.



Background:

Until 6 months ago she was an up and coming ad executive and socialite from a well off old money family. Not big money these days but still enough to afford the privacy and benefits that befits someone with a name old enough to care. Her family expected great things from her and had many plans for her future. They fully expected her to grow out of reckless early twenties lifestyle. And as long as she kept her indiscretions private, short, and out of the public eye then things would fine.

All that was until shortly after she turned 25, then the dreams began. At first it began with just waking up in cold sweat and panic. But gradually more details began to seep through she still couldn’t remember much. Just fire, pain, and a claw like hand reaching out for her. Occasionally she’d wake up with the odd bruise or what looked like a burn. And since the incident when Jacob a long-time friend with benefits woke her in the middle of the night because she had been thrashing and screaming in her sleep from the nightmare she always sleeps alone.

The nightmares where bad enough but when she started to peel back the layers and seek help from those her around her things quickly began to unravel. Tessa began to see the world around her in a very different way. There were things all around that no one else seemed to notice. Call them demons, horrors, spirits, monsters whatever but they walk amongst us and there effect can felt even if they pass unseen. She quickly learned that as long as she pretended she couldn’t see the things around her then they wouldn’t see her either. But if they did catch sight of her then it was time to run and hide.

Of course she like those around her thought she was going insane and cryptic remarks from her grandmother about these things coming from bad breeding, soon lead her to uncover a dark family secret. Her parents were not who she thought they were. Her Eldest brother was really her father and her mother was from a long line of crazy woman who has died recently in an asylum where she had spent most of the last 20 years locked away and heavily sedated to stop her constant tortured screams and ramblings about fire and the beast.

Secretly guided by The Lady Tessa has slowly begun to accept her fate and due what she can to protect those around her. Recently she managed to save a group of children at an old amusement park by binding and caging a malevolent trickster who was injuring children to feast on their tears of innocence. Since then creature which was calls itself Id has started to help her by providing advice, when it’s not taunting her. But everything comes with a price and while Id may sometimes act like an ally he also lies.Not all the time, but just enough.

Things of Interest
  • Tessa is hunting for a being she can only describe as the darkness. It takes everything from a person and leaves them empty shell to carry on as a hallow person. Any aid the player can provide in finding and defeating the darkness would go a long way to ease Tessa’s burden.
  • The Lady has told Tessa the Sidhe Tarot a deck of 22 cards holds the keys to unlocking her families cursed destiny. She has found a few of them but if they player can find any for she’d gladly trade anything she has.
    Dialog:

    “There are more of them every day, they walk and talk and move past people unnoticed from the rest of the crowd. But I can see them. They’re hollow. Empty on the inside, I don’t know how better to describe it than that. It’s like a monster movie when there is the odd zombie walking through a crowd of people. Except in this story they don’t eat people they’re just there and no one seems to notice. There was only a few at first but now I can’t walk down a street without seeing dozens of them. I wonder how long it’ll be before the city is nothing but hallow people. Will anyone else realise it before that happens? Will they care?”

    “Haha, you want to save me? That’s sweet. A year ago I would have thought that was a bad pickup line and got you to buy a drink to see where the night would take us. Not that I’m going to complain if you want to buy me a drink now. But maybe I can’t be saved, maybe I deserve this…”

    “Thank you, I can’t believe you found the Wheel of Fortune card. Only 17 left to go now. This means a lot to me, not that I don’t know why you did it. It’s been a while but you deserve your reward. You can’t stay the night but we can at least together for a while. Let’s just enjoy the moment because sometimes these fleeting moments are all we get.”

    “I spoke to Id about that problem you were having. He was as cryptic as ever. But he did have some advice. He said that sometimes a door isn’t a door at all, that to go forwards you’ve got to go backwards while looking over your shoulder. And that when you least expect it 4 right turns will lead you to your destination.I tried my best, but I’m not sure if any of that will help you. Be careful though if you’re determined to carry out this plan of yours. The people you’re after are dangerous. And I’d hate it if anything were to happen to you.”

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Entry B - Molly


Name

Molly Baconsdaughter

Alternative Name

“A name composed of 1-3 real words ...”

Queen of Pipes

“A fantasy name that has no obvious meaning but ...”

Exhaustica

Backstory

Molly Baconsdaughter is a master hydraulic engineer. She’s developed a magical chair that one can sit upon whilst expelling waste. It will then take it away; out of sight, out of mind. It uses the flow of water to transport the undesirable matter from the castle to that outside area where the peasants live, never to bother anyone who matters again.

The thirty-two year old genius in question is from Bentley, a city-state known for its glorious waterworks, fountains and so-called “bath” houses. Young Baconsdaughter was pressed by her widower father to go to the academy and become a lawyer - the family business - but a watery mix of state-pride and a slight preference for dealing with machines instead of people lead her to hydraulic engineering.

About mid-way through her apprenticeship with an elder engineer, she got pregnant and was blessed with a healthy son who, among other things, needed to be changed a lot and as time passed, post-birth mental fog cleared and inspiration struck.

“What if”, she asked herself, out loud and while pacing back in forth in her room alone waving her arms, “we had pipes going this way and that and feces could be directly transported from homes to the end of the river such that it flows downstream, away from us and upon our enemies?!” (She was of course referring to the down-river city-state of “Tosserton”, as it was known to her people.)

With a cash grant from a local patron and help from the baby-papa keeping the little one occupied (and writing the grant), she drafted a novel system using levers and valves that’d store water to move the waste then refill itself. The system was built and it worked. It was a joyous win.

Tosserton either didn’t notice or didn’t mind, but as Molly often said, “not every day can be a winner”. Today her and her team implements these systems for wealthy customers all around the land.

Appearance, Notes

Four times out of five, Molly is seen with a pipe in her mouth, puffing smoke, biting it and sometimes just fidgeting with the damn thing. She always carries her notebook and pen. Frequently in conversations she seems to drift off to another world, then begins scribbling notes. She wears a violet shawl over a white blouse, black shoes and gold hoop earrings. She has an olive complexion.

She is rumored to sleep only four hours a day and holds a record in her home town for light oil and draft paper consumption. She has dark circles under her eyes. Her hair, which is black and curly, is cut somewhat short because she is (as she puts it) “lazy”.

She is rumored to have once fallen asleep standing while negotiating with the infamous Queen Deathspike. After reviewing her proposal, the Queen decided to perform the ceremony of fiscal wisdom which involved four hundred and thirty seven verses in the Ancient Tongue of the Damned. Near the end, a horrible ripping sound began which, for a moment, convinced the Queen that she had accidentally summoned Saturn, the harvest-god known for eating his son.

While the Queen distracted herself demanding answers from a wall-mirror, Molly’s accountant gave her a discrete nudge on the arm, waking her and the mysterious roar ended at that moment. The Queen was so embarrassed by the false alarm that she gave them the contract in exchange for their silence. (The story was later leaked by the wall mirror.)

Things Needed & Dialog Quotes

“Some vandals keep plugging the drain pipe with a nest and eggs. We moved them to a store house, but last night someone knocked it down, ate the guard, stole the eggs and re-clogged the pipe! Supposedly it’s a “dragon” but I’m smarter than that. Houses knocked down by dragons don’t fall that way. It was the Tosserton government. So I put a bounty on Tosserton. If you’re interested.”

“I want to get to the goddamn bottom of who is constraining the tobacco supply in this town. Someone is out to get me, I don’t believe any of these lies about pests eating the leaves, if animals ate leaves they’d be cows, cows can’t get into the store house look at the goddamn size of that door and if you get me a goddamn smoke I will fucking pay big.”

“Listen. I have a quest for you, and not some goddamn sweep-the-floors quest, this is serious and nobody’ll do it for me. I need you to go to Tosserton and get some Hemiflax Verconim. It’s an herbal blood pressure remedy I need but I’m not allowed in Tosserton anymore. I’ll pay premium if you can go fetch some for me but for the love of Saturn don’t say my name in front of them.”

“So my family and my workers forced me to take a day off.” (Takes drag of pipe.) “And I realize now that my family... Swapped my tobacco for something else. And I think feel OK about that. A little hungry, but OK.”

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Entry C - Skyle


Names: Skyle Katherine, Scaffany, Serenity

Appearance: Long braided light orange hair, narrow shoulders, non-athletic build, blue flat cap, white tailed dress shirt over a light blue nautical sweater, fitting jeans with wing symbol near ankle, canvas sneakers. Her appearance in mind space varies.

Personality: Empathetic, considerate, silly at times.

Backstory: Skyle is a witch who searches through people's minds trying to find someone like her. In doing so, she encounters minds that are stuck by thought patterns called shadows. Resolving them frees the people troubled by them. The player found Skyle by following clues that she left behind, and helps her solve these patterns when she was stuck.

Wants: Skyle wants the player to find her and solve shadows.


"Peace is not kept by those who can destroy evil, but by those who are still content when there is nothing evil to destroy."

This was what Skyle said one day while we were lying on a crop circle, on a wheat field, as usual. The ripen crop blocked the view of the surrounding land, leaving only the sky, and the time for some random thoughts.

"Who said that?" I asked.
"A shadow." She said.

A 'shadow' is a troubled inner self. Skyle called them shadows because that is what they looked like when she saw them in people's minds. I've never been to someone else's mind. According to Skyle, it was mostly a benign place, but it could get very scary, very quickly, when the mind discovered an intruder. Sometimes when she came back she would become withdrawn and wouldn't talk. In times like that, I could only wait silently, so that when she would be ready, there would be someone to talk to.

"It is hard to imagine someone who said that is a shadow."
"He was a shadow because he couldn't decide whether he should keep those thoughts to himself. Do you think that often times something is better not said, even if you know that people could be helped by knowing it?" She said.

"I don't know whether it should be said, but in my experience, if you say something valuable when no one was asking for it, chances are people would just ignore it. Sometimes you need to have a certain experience to understand the meaning of what is said."
"But wouldn't that fill you with regret, if you find out later that if you had said something, it might have prevented the consequence?"

I didn't know what to say, but I was starting to get what the shadow was this time. The shadow was someone who had gone through an ordeal to learn a lesson that could have prevented it. He saw that someone else was about get entangled by the same ordeal, but wouldn't listen to his advise. He was trapped because he couldn't tell if he was wrong for trying to say something, or wrong for not saying anything.

I thought:

a) He should just say it. Then at least he won't regret for not saying it.
b) He should learn how to say it in a way that people would listen
c) He should believe that people could learn on their own
d) He should believe that for some lessons, people could only learn from their own experience.
e) He should believe that what was an ordeal for him wasn't an ordeal for someone else
f) He should do something so that the others wouldn't get near that situation in the first place
g) ...

I said: "Do you agree with what he said?"

"I think so, why?" She said.
"Maybe he just want to know that someone understands."
"Is that it?"
"Worth a try."
"Alright!"

* * *

Skyle found herself in a crowded place like a carnival. There was a big tent. In the tent there was an announcer with a top hat, the announcer said:

"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the fantasy character contest! The contestants will come to the stage shortly after these messages from our sponsors...!"

** Skyle sneaked into the backstage. **

The contestants were lining up in costumes. There was a paladin, a rouge, a ranger, an assassin, a dragon, a healer, a wizard, and a boy who hadn't made up his mind. The shadow around the boy showed Skyle that he was a shadow. Duh.

A teacher walked to the boy and asked, "Have you decided what you want to be?"
The boy said, "Um... I have some ideas..."
"You better hurry up, it is almost time..."
"Yes, Miss..."

When the teacher walked away, the boy took out a piece of paper from his pocket. He looked at it, then he folded it back up, put it in his pocket, and walked out of the tent. Outside the tent, he looked at his watch, as if waiting for the contest to begin.

"It seemed like he didn't want to enter the contest..." thought Skyle.
"Who's there?" the boy suddenly noticed that there was someone hiding and looked into Skyle's direction.

Skyle:
a) Is a cat
b) Is a fairy
c) Is the announcer
d) Is the teacher
e) ...

"Oh my! What big tent this is!" Skyle said, and walked out slowly.
"Little Red Riding Hood?" said the boy.
"Everyone knows the Little Red Riding Hood! Oh my..." Skyle saw that she got totally decked out in that costume with a picnic basket.

"The contest is about to start, aren't you going in?"
"Nope."
"Why not? I think you will win."
"I'm not going in unless you go in."
"That's okay, my character isn't as good."
"No way! Yours is the best!"
"Why?"
"Because yours is the only one that is truly peaceful!"
"How would you know?"
"Because every other character has something to do with fighting, but yours is different!"
"But being different isn't good. It just means no one wants it."
"I want it!"
"But you don't even know what it is!"
"Then show me!"
"Alright..."

With that said, the boy started to put on his costume, saying:

"I am a witch that can go into people's mind to help them when they are sad. Everyone is afraid of me, for fear that their secret would be known. But I don't give up, because I know that somewhere, someone will understand..."

When the boy turned around, he was wearing a blue flat cap, a white shirt loosely tuck into blue jeans that ran down to a pair of canvas sneakers.

"Oh my..." Little Red Riding Hood dropped her basket.

"It is pretty boring isn't it. There is no monster to fight, no conspiracy to uncover... just the actual problems that make people sad that they don't admit or try to solve..." the boy continued, "In any case, I can't enter because I only know her first name.

The boy reached into his pocket and showed her the piece of paper. It was a form, but nothing was filled except a first name.

* * * * * *

Dialogues: (see above)
1. A shadow's words
2. Skyle would try
3. Skyle as Little Red Riding Hood
4. Little Red explains

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Entry D - Cara

Name:

1. Cara Manipola
2. Keriwine
3. Meadow Clay-Weaver

Appearance:

Cara (or Keri or Meadow) is moderately short for her race (5' 3" in human proportions). She has brown hair (or crest), tanned skin, and green eyes. She is a young adult (20 in human years). She often smiles, crinkling the corners of her eyes, but when concentrating on a project or her thoughts she looks solemn. Her top is cream-colored and her bottoms are faded blue; this could be a blouse and jeans or a blouse and a jean-colored skirt. When she wears jewelry it is generally in the copper/amber color range, whether made out of metal, wood, or gems. Buterflies, sheafs of wheat, or suns would be good decorative motifs for her clothing and jewelry; particularly she should have a barette or other hair decoration in one of these shapes. Colors of gems or additional decorative elements can also be drawn from the rest of her color palette – pale green such as heat-treated amber or peridot, blue such as saphire or lapis lazuli, white such as moonstone. For shoes she would wear moccassins, loafers, or ankle boots (as appropriate to the setting) in the same copper/amber color.

Backstory and Personality:
Cara is unfamiliar with the culture of the place she has recently found herself living in. She is wary of finding herself regarded as scandalous or heretical because people have already reacted this way to her a few times when she has spoken her mind without knowing that the locals would disagree vehemently with an idea that was common where she was raised. A high-ranking local man (older, married, perhaps the mayor or other pillar of the community) has taken her in and is attempting to "civilize" her and marry her off to a local man. Cara appreciates being provided with food and shelter while she tries to orient herself to this new place, but does not appreciate being treated as a child in terms of being told how to behave, what to think, and who to marry, with vague threats of disciplinary punishments if she doesn't cooperate. When the player encounters her she is trying to decide whether to go along with the idea of marrying a local man or whether she won't be able to be herself unless she abandons the safety of her current position to either be a scandalous outcast or leave completely.


Tasks For Player:
Task 1. Cara asks the player to subtly find out about the men in town that she might marry. There are two candidates Cara's 'adoptive father' approves of, and two he doesn't. The player must discover who the disapproved-of two are by speaking to the NPC at the local inn or bar. Then the player must talk to all four and present a report to Cara. The player gets to choose whether to recommend one of the men or recommend Cara leave town. Task 2. Depending on the player's choice in task 1, Cara either asks the player for help preparing to leave town or asks the player to arrange things such that the 'adoptive father' is forced to allow one of the disapproved-of candidates to attend a ball where Cara can meet him (and the player will also be present at the ball). Cara is a craftswoman or mage specializing in transmutation and item-crafting, so appropriate rewards from her would be an act of transmutation, a crafting recipe, and/or an IOU to craft the player something epic later after she has either gotten married or left town and established herself somewhere else.


Dialogue:
Cara's Dialogue 1. "Oh, you're not from around here? Me either. I'm still trying to figure out what's scandalous to do and say around here, since it's completely different from where I grew up. You may want to be cautious yourself – I heard it hasn't been that long since someone was lynched for heresy around here." Cara's Dialogue 2. "Sir Millcraft has been very kind to take me in, but he isn't concerned with what would make me happy so much as with making sure I fit into his orderly town like his mental image of a proper young lady. I know how dangerous it is out there, but I can only stay here if I can find a way to be myself."

Cara's Dialogue 3. "Before I came here I trained as a craftswoman [or transmutationist]. Although I don't have any equipment here, there are still many things I could craft or teach another to craft."

Cara's Dialogue 4. "You think Jareth wouldn't be scandalized or disapproving of me even if I was completely myself around him? But, Sir Millcraft doesn't like him, and watches me like a hawk. How can I meet Jareth to see if he's truly someone I would want to marry?"

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I will say I like C. It has what I like to call "hints of talent". The passage depicting a contest with a boy who hadn't decided is parsimonious, dense, possesses emotional content (if it has resonance with you). It "paints a picture" effectively. At first glance it seems drowned in bureaucratics and formalities but this individual (it's clear who but I won't say, as per the rules) could write anything.

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