View Full Version : [Exalted] Grade a Character Backstory

2010-06-18, 07:36 PM
Well, as some of you may know, I have a habit of making character backstories before the characters themselves, then posting them on the forums to see if the character seems like a viable one in the games you would run.

This is one of them.

Behold the Ghost Snare, Scourge of She Who Lives In Her Name, Arlen Pagiel (and yes, I reused that name)!

They say Lady Adorjan chooses her champions for their insanity. We Scourges revel in madness, they say. We know we're obsessed and deranged, and under the tutelage of the Queen of Bloody Gusts, we learn to enjoy it. We have to, given what we're paid to do.

I do not know if I am proof of this being a shallow impression or just more evidence for her being as insane as she claims, but I am an exception-I hate my madness. It's already hurt too many people. That's why I keep angylkae around, even though I hate the sound my past makes-silence reminds me of my lady, and the danger obsession brings to those close to you. Plus, it keeps her away. Always a bonus.

I was the son of an Outcaste Water Aspect Guild merchant, though he didn't marry my mother-she was his butler to be precise (and yes, I know that's inaccurate-it's just that "maid" implies she wasn't the head of the servants). From a young age, however, my father noticed that I was...odd. Distant. Aloof. Alien. Truth is, while I was perfectly sane, I wasn't sane in the same way-I have difficulty thinking like a human. Truth be told, the only friends I made were my father's summoned demons. They have such a simpler psyche then humans, who have all these conflicting motivations at their core-for a demon, any spirit really, you know what they are and you know what they want. Much less of an emotional puzzle.

Thankfully, my father, rather than being the oh-so-abusive girlfriend beater I understand many akuma had for a parent, was an understanding sort. He realized that I, while I would never quite be a good socialite, I was an ideal thaumaturge. So, he tutored me in the fine art of enchanting and ritualism, and my Essence soon awakened. As I grew into my teen years, I learned how to pretend to be shy instead of strange, almost halfway normal. Even so, I never truly connected to the people around me. I felt sympathy and charity for them, sure-you don't have to understand a psyche to see it's in pain or needs help. But never empathy-that was reserved for my demons.

Then I met Seanna. The only other human who I thought could be as alien as I was.

Mnemon Seanna was the daughter of a Wood Aspect we had met several months before on one of my father's trips to Nexus. He had invited us over for some ceremony of friendship or another (Realm culture is not my strong suit) and I found her doing her favorite hobby-creating arcane sigils based on her Silurian studies. I, being a bit of a sorcery buff myself, joined her and chatted her up. We soon found each other to be the mental oddballs we thought to be unique in the world, observing the world we lived in, but never truly a part of it. For the first time, I found myself looking forward to seeing someone unrelated to me by blood, and we became pen pals. With every visit, we grew more and more attached to each other, until one day when we were both 16, where we finally admitted we were in deep love with the other and shared her bed. I will not get into the details, but suffice to say, when one has made the assumption all one's life that he will never grow that attached to someone, and then shatter that delusion in one night of passion with another making that same revelation, the result is...quite memorable.

Pity her father made the mistake of offending the Walker in Darkness.

Ever heard of Abyssals? Probably, given how the Ebon Dragon knows when lying is detrimental to the all the Yozi, and thus, him. Disgusting, evil parasites that shouldn't even be alive anymore. We may be born from the same Solar Exaltations, but we Green Sun Princes are creatures of rebirth-those things bring nothing but death and disease. Worse than the Traitor Sun. At least he has some modicum of compassion and honor, and his world is still a world, in any case.

My father and I had just returned to Nexus to ply our wares, our next trip from the one Seanna and I had made love, and I had bought an engagement ring after receiving the blessing of our families. As soon, as I arrived at her manor, however, I could tell something was wrong-normally her father kept amphesliae in his yard to ward off intruders and thieves-amazing what Teakettle Courtiers can do. They had escaped, however, and I realized very quickly that their bindings had slipped. Hoping that it was just a broken oath-something the old demonologist had long prepared for, which is why he only summoned "safe" demons-I ran into the house, to find a vision of horror. Mutilated bodies, necromantic sigils, walking dead-none compared to the shock I felt upon seeing Seanna frozen to the very ground with a look of absolute horror on her face, right in front of her sobbing father.

And why? Because, as I learned later, her father had protested the treatment of a particular slave ghost that one of the priests of the Black Psychopomp had bound to him.

This would have been painful enough for a normal person, but for me, it was like all light had been stolen from my soul, leaving only a cruel taunt. Even the channeling of my grief into hatred didn't help, as I knew how weak I was-just a normal mortal in a very cold and unforgiving world, so all I could do was fantasize about the destruction of the monsters who did this.

Then, I discovered that my father's family had been a little desperate in trying to awaken the Terrestrial blood within them...

You see, my paternal line was originally an offshoot of House Iselsi, and all that implies. The Empress' purge had not managed to destroy all the Terrestrial members of his branch, but "five" is hardly a number worth noting in genealogical terms. They did, however, have access to much Infernal lore, and knowing Kimbery's power over bloodlines from the Lintha, they decided to make a family-binding pact: They would have her imbue their blood with far greater power to Exalt it's scions, in return for allowing more of the Sea Who Marched Against the Flame's blood to thrive-every fourth generation, a number of children would be born that, in the seventeenth year of their life, would manifest Lintha characteristics. That's why I have gills, but more importantly, the copy of the Broken-Winged Crane that the clan had used to contact Kimbery would be given unto the first child to manifest in every generation. Guess who that was?

So, with the power of true sorcery at my command-the debased, Brigid version-I began my career as a hunter of the undead. I was...pretty successful, actually, even defeating and destroying a nephwrack once. But I never forgot what sent me on my journey. Revenge drove me, obsession my food and drink. Eventually, it paid off-I found the Abyssal that had killed Seanna, a Moonshadow-that's the Abyssal version of Fiends, in case you were wondering-by the title of the White Raven of the Merciful Nothingness. But I wasn't a fool-I knew his powers were far greater then I had the capacity to be, so instead of striking him directly, I decided to find a little help destroying him once and for all. The Crane proved helpful in this regard.

Only later did I discover I should have heeded the warning about being unable to control Demon Lords through thaumaturgy...

To ensure that I managed to kill Raven, I summoned Zsofiska, who, to her credit, performed her duties to the best of her abilities. I do not blame her for the catastrophe that followed. She is, after all, a hunter, and she can not be held responsible for the indiscriminate nature of her powers. And she managed to control her predatory instinct long enough for me to produce an arcane link to the Abyssal. It was I who underestimated how difficult she is to focus. She succeeded in rending Raven limb from limb as I had ordered...but her storms razed the village he had laired in to the ground. Women, children, the elderly-all were rendered homeless or were killed by my recklessness in thinking that I, a half-mortal, could control my forebears.

They say that a heroic feat of the magnitude of killing an Abyssal makes one a prime candidate for Solar Exaltation...but I think the Second Breath realized there was nothing "heroic" about what I did. Only great wickedness and hollow vindication. Ashamed of my own actions, I hid in the woods, hoping to somehow forget the vision of what I had done.

Which is when, of course, my Coadjutor came to me.

I was long familiar with the sound an anglyka's fingers made, and I wanted never to hear it again. It was never very comforting to me after Seanna's death, but I knew that after what I had done, the constant strum of fingers on time would be almost physically painful to me. Of course, the Scourge Exaltation had other ideas, and soon, I found myself hearing the awful harmony of guilt-on-hatred emanate behind me. Needless to say, I was incensed. Did Zsofiska feel the need to rub in the consequences of my actions by sending her spawn to torment me? Did she want to show how weak I was?, I asked. "No", the harpist replied. "I am here to ensure you will never hurt those close to you again." Naturally, I was suspicious. I had learned of akuma from the Broken-Winged Crane, and I realized that becoming one would transform me into little better than an automaton. The anglyka chuckled at that, and shook his head at my rebuttal. "There is a much purer power", he replied. "One that will allow you to keep your will and serve the Yozi at the same time". With it, he told me of the Green Sun Princes, the fifty knights of Malfeas, chosen to be kings among demons. They were heroes like me, he said, fallen through their own inaction or mistakes but given a second chance by the true masters of Creation. He saw the potential to become one in me, he said, the Second Breath he carried within him showing him to me as a mighty Basalt Wolf, the huntsmen of winds. There was some part of me that didn't believe him-why wasn't that in the Crane-but I soon realized he had absolutely no reason to lie. Besides, I wanted to believe I could have a second chance. He could have been crossing his fingers as he played and I still would have believed him.

I don't remember much of my time in the Chrysalis. I don't think I was supposed to. What I do remember though, is the overwhelming quiet. So silent, to the point where silence itself had a noise. When I emerged, however, I knew I was different-colder, more focused, predatory. But then I realized that my Coadjutor had indeed lied about one part of the process, although I don't think he meant to-Adorjan had left my guilt intact.

So I made the journey across Cecelyne, where I found I had much more liking for She Who Lives In Her Name's divine hierarchy then that of my mistress...or so I said. Mostly I just wanted to get away from the reminder of my actions Adorjan brings. I excelled in her testing and training, and soon, I was given a Tomescu aide to fulfill my mission of impeding the machinations of undead-that's Bres over there. So, here I am, the so-called Ghost Snare.

And someday, I will atone for the death I caused-by assisting in the release of the rightful emperors of this world to purify it of it's sins.

So, do you like him? If not, could you point out what I could do to make it better?

2010-06-19, 02:12 PM
Is it too angsty or something?

Help a guy out.

2010-06-19, 02:13 PM
I know absolutely nothing about Exalted, other than it involved lots of RoC and powerful...powers.

But as a backstory goes it looks pretty good.

If I were grading on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best, I'd probably give it a 6 or 7.

2010-06-21, 12:12 PM
I know absolutely nothing about Exalted, other than it involved lots of RoC and powerful...powers.

But as a backstory goes it looks pretty good.

If I were grading on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best, I'd probably give it a 6 or 7.

RoC? :smallconfused:

On a 1-10 scale I would give it a 6, all though it's questionable rather or not what he did would net him an Infernal Exaltation rather then Solar. Solars don't have to be nice people.

2010-06-21, 12:19 PM
Rule of Cool. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool)

The entire premise, basically.