Friday, March 18, 2011

Iversdotter Archetypal Image and Riannos

Ingra Eagle-Shield Iversdotter -- an Iversdotter Battlecrafter

Ingra is tall, with light blonde hair, Nordic features, and a muscular and buxom figure. She wears her hair in complex Viking-style braids, but with part of her head shaved in a kind of Viking-Punk look. She is in her late 20s or early 30s. She has a series of Norse runes tattooed across one cheek and down her neck. She has a lot of piercings, from ears to nose (not a bridge, please) to lip and perhaps further south. She wears a leather bustier and leather pants -- both sexy but practical-looking, perhaps patched. She has a long dagger on her hip, and one hand -- curled into a fist -- has nasty-looking bone spurs jutting from her knuckles, forming a kind of brass knuckle. Her expression tells the viewer to back the fuck off.

Picture after the jump

Remarkable, imposing image, isn't it? It stunned me when I first saw it. How badass is she? Interestingly, apparently, there was quite a bit of discussion between my fiancee and Amy Clark about how she should look -- what part of her head is shaved? Which runes are tattooed? Where exactly? These are, needless to say, questions I didn't really have answers to, as my non-visual mind couldn't think of what exactly would look best, and left it up to Amy and my fiancee -- and what a result!

I do have two problems with Ingra as she's presented here. First -- while this isn't a problem for an individual Iversdotter, who can work out however they like -- as an archetypal character, she's got the wrong physique. I imagine the typical Iversdotter as having more of a runner or gymnast's musculature -- slimmer, with smoother musculature instead of the bodybuilder's physique Amy brought to the table. Of course, when I asked for "a muscular and buxom figure," I guess that is a logical place to go. Second, I wanted an example of  Bloodshifting here, with scary-looking bone spurs growing from her hand. As it is, it looks more like she's holding a weapon, not that she is a weapon. However, as a whole, it's a very lovely look for the Iversdotters.

I don't really have much of anything else to say here -- the Iversdotters are the most popular bloodline among my playtesters, and don't need anything in the way of rejiggering (let's hope that doesn't turn out to be dramatic irony). So let's move on:

Riannos. Our newest Realm. I have no idea where or what this is. The name popped into my head, and it stuck around on my list of Realms to develop. All I know is that the name seems somehow peaceful, and a little Irish, reminiscent of the name Rhiannon. So, a peaceful, maybe Irish Realm. Hmm. Green and verdant, lots of pools and forest glades. Who, if anyone, would live here? A Disney Princess comes to my mind -- Sleeping Beauty, I believe. Should this be a Fairy Tale World? Tempting, but no. Doesn't fit the mood of the campaign world.

More mythological, perhaps -- a place with warring gods inspired by Celtic theology. In ancient Celtic mythology, the Tuatha de Danann -- gods/demigods/heroes -- ruled the land and constantly attacked by the Fir Bolg, the original, savage natives of Ireland. So let's copy this, but change it enough to keep it separate from its inspirational choice. Thus, we'll not even look at the specific people who make up the Tuatha de Danann. Instead, we'll focus on the basic concept -- noble men and women settle a wild land, and are harassed by barbaric natives.

Real-Life Inspiration: Well, the obvious inspiration is the American settlers and their conflict with the American Indians/Native Americans/First Nations/what have you. This is good. As you know, one of the central conceits of The City of Lives is that there are no black and white situations! The feeling of the majority in the US has gone back and forth over time -- centuries ago, everyone though the settlers were in the right, bringing culture and religion to the ungrateful, savage natives. These days, people see the invading settlers as evil (watch Avatar), forcing their own values on the poor natives and slaughtering those who didn't surrender. The truth is, as is usually the case, more complicated -- both sides has needs that could not be met without taking something from the other side. So that's what we'll explore here in Riannos: that both sides have their valid points, and both commit atrocities against the other side.

Theme: Well, we've got two possible themes here: "Noble warriors fighting against barbarism," or "No side is in the right." Both are appealing -- but the second is much more City of Lives. So the two sides -- the Natives and the Settler, for now -- both have good points and horrible tendencies. Sounds good.

Twist: The classic secret type for opposing groups is a greater threat, so that the opposing groups must join together or be destroyed -- a good example is the cowboys and Indians joining together to fight ETs in the comic and upcoming movie Cowboys and Aliens. Let's use this, but keep in mind that the Natives and Settlers might not be able to get along even in the face of a great threat. Who's the threat? The Niontians? The Shertasi? Something unique to Riannos? A terrifying plant elemental controlling the entire forest comes to mind, but I'm not certain. Any thoughts?

Next time, we'll take a look at the Grate-Scratcher archetypal image and travel to the new realm of Kivia!