Author Topic: Survival Guide IV  (Read 1167 times)

Tooley Bostay

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2017, 07:17:00 AM »
Wanted to extend my thanks for all these reviews, Matra. As usual, they were incredibly insightful and worthwhile to read. Every author is no doubt grateful for your commentary, as I know I am. Didn't agree with everything you said, but that ain't a bad thing. Important part was that you were honest, and honest reactions from an observant reader are hugely valuable to every author here. And more importantly, there are a lot of pearls of wisdom here to take as well! Study up, mates, 'cause this guy is published and knows he stuff.

We're all the better for your feedback and engagement with the community, mate.

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2017, 12:00:08 PM »
While everybeast holds their breath I figured I take a look at the top 28 and figure out some spitball pairings. Lots of species crossover for capital R style Romance. Also a lot of potential story crossovers. Here are just a few I noticed after making a master list broken by species, age, sex, and general demeanor.


A Caravan of Stoats

Komi, Jasper, Tope, and Aldridge are all stoats, with a Female to Male ratio of 1 to 3. Notice any common theme throughout? They're all badasses of varying degrees. Some a little more crazy than the others (Komi and Tope) but all four of them are hard and capable beasts ready for some action. Plenty of interplay there.

On the Romance front (because yes shipping is important how dare you say otherwise) Komi and Jasper have a TON of inherent chemistry...also a TON of inherent barriers. Jasper might know Komi from her old life, which could lead to her stabbing him or bringing them closer. Maybe he even served under her. What I do know is Komi would benefit greatly from Jasper's steady hand. You could say the same for Aldridge too, and they both could start a new life together and leave the harsh vermin world behind.

...or we can just double down and have Komi descend into vengeful madness alongside Tope. Get her a couple of bags and let them have at it. Though, I don't see Komi buying this kind of oddity, and I don't see Tope as the "works well with others" kind of beast.


A Mischief of Rats

Jasmine and Thrayjen are in the same category, and then there's Silas off to the side. I don't see much interplay on the Romance front because Jasmine is 15 and may or may not be an alien, and Silas is a family man. But I do see a bit of interplay in Silas taking Jasmine under his wing, or Thrayjen and Silas somehow linking their bad pasts.

But what happens when we add the Flying Rats? Kali adds a splash of color to the otherwise brooding species pool, and Bechtel's unique vision trait might require an extra set of paws. Inherently Kali and Bechtel work well together - Kali sings and Bech can identify targets - but a no go on the Romance front since they're different bats.

Combined with the rats? I see Kali and Jasmine getting along since they're both tavern sweethearts (well, at least Jasmine is until stuff happens) and Kali could also help the former slave rat and redemption rat boys lighten up a few thousand pegs. Or they can all jump under Bechtel's wing and start a cowboy part. I imagine Bechtel perches on a large rock, spits out a wad of chewin herb, and starts the He Man Goodbeast Haters Club with "I've hurt a beast before. Down old El Paso. Still feel em twitchin." And his sage rat brothers nod and spit into the fire.


A Scurry of Voles

It's raining voles? This is kindof a reverse of the rats. There's Adeen by herself and Sly and Hoober stuck together in another category. I'm not sure if Romance is in the cards for any of them since Adeen is, well, kinda at the bottom of the emotional barrel. However...

I could see Sly being just the cure for Adeen's woes, for each other's woes. Sly is a drunkard who can't keep himself or his story straight, so he could use some focus. Adeen is nothing but fixation and mania and she could use some levity/healthy spontaneity. Hoober is in the same position, but they'd probably be a lot healthier for each other overall. He's a little older (30 where Adeen is 22) and a lot more carefree. Again, they could teach each other lessons with a lot less Grog and Lying involved.

What about our vole from another mother? Strathcomb enjoys him some mud, but I could see his righteous charging about driving each and every vole mad. Adeen would call him haughty (or maybe join in in earnest viva la revolution?), Sly would call him a simpleton, and Hoober, well, Hoober would probably join in and then get lost mid revolution because he saw a pretty seashell or something.


A Skulk of Foxes

Diamond, Lacey, Kentrith, Altra, and Blu. Poor, poor Kentrith. He's already a bit stuck up and a bit battered from living in the crater. He's also the oldest at 32, but the others are all somewhere in their 20s so it's not too creepy Romance wise. But realistically...?

A strongfox, a liar fox, a barbarian fox, and a family fox. I don't see Kentrith fitting in with any of the four. Maybe with Diamond since, by the time the contest starts, Kent is familiar with the arena and the ins and outs of performing there. He could show Diamond the ropes, and then Diamond could show her his fist when he gets too snippy. If Kent is all sorts of battle hardened then there's a real Romance in him and Altra since they'd both be bad mother shut your mouths.

But for real? Fox pact. I can see Diamond championing Blu and Lacey. Blu would take to Diamond's positivity self-image quest as she tries pulling herself from the hard times muck. And Lacey might even hit up Diamond with "teach me your ways" for flattery points while she enjoys free protection from her buff friend.


The Fur Tubes

Faye and Ander walk into a bar (ouch) and meet King Malukh for drinks, while Maeve waits outside because she's too young and too full of arrows.

Faye and Ander are actually the same species, but their compatibility is at an all-time low. They're so interested in themselves, and so driven by the trivial, that the only way I see them forming up is if they see each other through a window pane and think its a mirror. But that would never work. Ander looks at himself 400 times a day and Faye is only attracted to anything gold colored. Maybe if Ander wears a super fancy hat?

Malukh and Maeve is a no go Romance wise since they're so far apart age wise. Remember, it's half your age plus seven for when it's okay to date young, so that leaves Malukh at 20.5 year olds and up. Maeve dodge that arrow at least, but I wonder if she'd make a sweet squire to the King of Everything. Or maybe he's a crazy uncle of hers from the ferret family she's trying to rescue.
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2017, 08:02:45 AM »
I promised my voting spread and I'm giving you my voting spread. Not continuously throughout the contest, but from the app phase. Think of this as an after-the-fact category wrap up.

But first, though I'm not discussing or showing my vote throughout the contest, I will reiterate my voting criteria. These are the same guidelines I used for the previous three MOs, and I copied them straight from my old review threads. Follow them if you wish. Use them for a tie breaker if you're stuck one week. Or do your own thing, because there are no rules for voting beyond "one beast one vote," "be honest," and "don't play games."

###

How Does Matra Vote?

The magic of threes has me firm by the haunches. When weighing the success of a contestant there are - gasp - three questions I consider.

1- How strong is the author's writing?

2- How has their character developed?

3- How has the author/character influenced the game?

###

Tah dah. In order of personal importance preference as well.

Now, onto the meat. Looks like I nailed only 4/10. Make of that what you will.

How Did Matra Vote - App Edition

Beast with a Secret

Black Jasmine

An easy choice. I'm not sure there's another app in the entire pool which made me say "Why? Why!?" more than Jasmine. For some this "Why" was one of disgust and fear because they couldn't get beyond the details - a giant point in her favor since the writing invoked feelings. For me, I wanted to know why this thing acted the way it did. Was she even a rat? Was her feasting a choice? Most importantly: what would happen when she's in the arena, a confined space with violent beasts? Wonderful questions the other Secrets only tentatively provoked - Thrayjen's buried thing/past and Nokki's boy's night out.


The Traveler

Diamond

A personal choice for two reasons. 1: I'm an out-and-out sucker for physically strong women - see also my gushing concerning Vanessa Fern in MO1. 2: The other Travelers were beasts talking in a tavern. Hate me as you will, but I will wave the banner of "uninspired" and "a wasted opportunity" until my arms fall off, until the horse is properly composted. 2 aside, Diamond also brought a few emphatic links Jarl and Komi did not deliver. You feel bad for this try hard fox. You want her to succeed. The other two apps were a liar lying and Jane Bond dispatching redshirts.


The Thief

Adeen Pinebarrow

Tooley just about said all I would say in his recent review, forest walk metaphor and everything. Still, this was a much closer vote than I anticipated. Some days I enjoyed Lacey's app more because of the inherent lightness, and the fox's easy going nature would weave well in the arena. Most days Adeen kept the top slot for the writing alone, the weaving of devices and on-point descriptions. The tie breaker for me was when I asked myself "Okay, should you vote on just what's there or what could happen?" I went with what could happen, because Adeen is rife with history, implications, and possibilities. Lacey was just a con artist fighting her conscience.


The Healer

Jasper Hooklaw

Another easy vote for me. Jasper hit all the right buttons. He's a beast with personality, a hint of a backstory, strengths, weaknesses, and a manner worth following into the dark. Plus the scene ran active and gripping. The only part I didn't like about Jasper was the insert "oh, he's good with swords." Kentrith carried a high place in my heart too for the brass alone. A scene right with Nire? Risky, and I'm apt to reward risk even if it's not a 100% payoff. However, Jasper is too complete and too on point. Maeve is interesting but this is Chopped levels of consideration. A few formatting and grounding issues were more than enough to cut her from the running.


Beast with the Gift of Gab

Sly Speakeasy

The first difficult category for me because the knife of consideration cut so very thin between them. At one point I made an excel spreadsheet with a row of "does this app contain backstory/skilled devices/serious errors/etc" and a column for each character. Hoober fell out of the running pretty past because he's a lot like Faye in his "Here I am, I'm doing this, what's going on here, off I go." When caught between a vole with an entertaining progression and only a smidge of a backstory, and a bat of preference and depth hobbled by a slower scene? I ended up picking french fries over the seasoned and oven baked red potato medallions. Tastes might've changed if I'd voted on another day, when I wanted a more satisfying meal.


Beast Driven by Revenge

Tope Benwrath

My least or second-to-least favorite category. A common rat gets interviewed. An angry fox beats in some faces. A stilted stoat explains his game. One in a field, two in a tavern. They each got a coin in their buckets for different reasons - plight of the commoner is nice, I like angry strong women, and weird rituals are wonderful. What settled me on Tope is what settled me on a lot of my votes: the ritual tickled my imagination. How would this system work in an arena? What would Tope do if forced to fill the other bag, of if the bags were taken from him? What happens if he kills a goodbeast BEFORE his system allows him?


Beast Driven by Love

Ander

Wipe the surprise off your face. Blu and Minerva are both characters I resonate with, on the personal and as a writer. Blu deserved all the credit for showing a mother grinding through all the steps of protection and self-preservation in the face of utter hell. Minerva deserved all the applause for implying so much in an app, and keeping my interest, though very little meat appears. What settled me on Ander, who is not as well written as Minerva or as emphatic as Blu? The imagination factor again. I knew off the bat what would happen with Minerva and Blu. They're moms who will do anything. Ander is a wonderful wild card with some harsh lessons to learn.


The Silly Beast

Kali

Kali is not my favorite app of the pool, but she is certainly in the top five. It's been a very long time since an app caught me off guard AND made me laugh out loud. The screeching, the enthusiasm in the face of the obvious, and the personal goal stated from the onset? Excellent. The writing is a little wobbly when compared with her only competition, but in no way did Kali's author get an easy paw into the contest. I genuinely look forward to seeing what this bat will do, in the ways I wanted to see what dbag Ander influence the game.


Beast who Makes Things

Aldridge Moor

Maybe the toughest choice even with the narrowed field. They're both so complete and lovingly crafted. This is the classic Cake or Pie situation. Normally I'd say "who cares, we're eating dessert either way." The Pie of Aldridge is in his risky tense approach, in showing a slice of life over a tense and traumatic moment. The Cake of Strathcomb came in the 100% traditional and subtle-yet-impactful character development. Again, I'm apt to reward risk over anything, and Aldridge's author tried something new (maybe even intentionally) and won my vote for their effort.


The Beast Who May or May Not be Crazy

Leota Nettlekin

My least or second-to-least favorite category. I'm with Tooley's assessment 100% on this one: none of these beasts fit the category. This matters whether you agree or not. In MOs before this issue brought flak on many an app for shoehorning in their category's focus. I see no gray in any of these beasts. A snake is a snake, a cannibal is a cannibal, and a dumb hare is a dumb hare. Whereas Tooley went for the Wild Card of Azalea, I went for the clear display of skill tinged with possibility in Leota. She'd affect change with her age alone. Kentigern is out for blood, plain and simple. Azalea is a snake. Yeah, went for the nuttier nut, because otherwise it's just "the two beasts who're just themselves."
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2017, 06:07:15 AM »
I See a Red Door

Pitch: Tope searches for a slave named August in Northvale, runs afoul of street rat trickery, and loses control in more ways than one.

The big introduction for our fatalistic stoat who swings between black and white. I took a look back on my previous "reviews," and the vote spread, and the shift in what I felt then and what I feel now is marvelous. There's a definitive tone at play, and while we don't learn much of Tope in this introduction we get an intimate look at how he moves and thinks. I think a lot of the credit falls on two factors: A- Tope's author has more room for breathing than a 750-word app, and 2- you can smell the intention and direct goals in mind. Nothing about this entry messes around. There's little to no fluff (in content, language wise is another story I'll address) and we're immediately thrown into conflict after conflict. Tres bien. Let me continue with two points of praise and two points of improvement.

+ Fate as a specific voice is a masterfully creative idea. Why do we think beasts are crazy? Because we only get one view of what they believe. A man screams about the end of the world and we push it away because there's no followup. It's only his voice screaming so it's easier (and instinctual) to ignore the cries. This is where Tope's app fell over, because we (the reader) weren't offered an avenue inward. This entry's ending lines of "Yes, Fate whispered back, you did." opens up a world of possibility and connection. It's no longer a stoat playing his game, but a two-fold experience we readers can weigh. We SEE and EXPERIENCE this madness (or clarity, depending on your viewpoint) and are left to wonder how much is true or how much is Tope's design. Wonderful cliffhanger that'll pay off over and over if used well.

- The bowler hat is a striking detail in the worst way possible. On the literal end, the bowler hat came into existence in 1850-something. Is this setting is in the future and from that era and I missed the call? Whatever the answer, such a specific and unearned detail that's repeated so often affects the tone. Once the hat showed up? I couldn't help but read the rest of the entry as a scene out of a Downey-era Sherlock Holmes film. Fine if that's what you were going for, but I advise that repetition and extra details should occur only with purpose. It's nothing and neutral if Tope wears a non-specific hat. It should mean something (did he make it? was it daddy's hat? Is there metal in the rim so he can throw it?) if the item is pointed out.

+ Excellent spin on the Fate device towards the end, in taking it away from him. Spent a lot of the app phase wondering how Tope would apply his game within the arena. I never for once considered how Tope would change if somebeast took the system away from him. Can he keep track in his head? Can he recall where he stood - he kinda can since there's a reference in this post of him doing so. Question after question rises, but these are exactly the type of questions a writer should provoke. Less "another mystery for the pile" and more "this is going to immediately screw up this stoat, let's watch!" So keep playing. Let's experience the limits and oddities of this system so later, when it matters, we understand the "magic" and can guess and hope as Tope does.

- "Tope's jaw dropped as he watched the pieces of his world, the results of his every decision, the guideposts by which he lived scatter and vanish."
Stay away from this brand of narration. The success of Tope will lie in us experiencing his ways and drawing our own conclusions. The narrator telling us his world is ending because the system is lost is too obvious and too open-handed to accept. The counter argument is: "Well, the rest of the post mostly avoids this, so the narrator stepping out and pointing out the importance makes the line all the more important!" Fair in itself, but this is the baking equivalent of making a cake with a mix over scratch. Most people can't tell the difference, but most people will immediately recognize and prefer a cake made from scratch whether they realize why or not. A line like "Tope watched the stones scatter over the road, and dissolve into the cobbles with the rest of the world." lets us in. Then cut to memory to fortify, then hard cut to reality with the peacekeepers beaning him.
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2017, 07:57:22 AM »
He's Traded His Life for a Glassful of Tears

Pitch: A bat shot down and enslaved leans on the lessons of old for comfort and escape, yet he fails.

Yikes. A black parade of continual beatdowns and rug pulls for the gabby bat. I'm on board for the most part. There's a careful balance in how much misfortune rains down versus Bechtel's successes of spirit and lockpickery. The author never lets him out on top, never lets him seem too hopeful, and provides plenty of contrast for the audience's perspective - more on this in a bit. This entry is almost a stand-alone piece. With a few edits you could read this as a short story concerning the ambitions of man, or, rather, of bat ambitions versus systematic incarceration ambitions. We do not win when we fight within the system. We only win when we're above the system, as Bechtel tries (with his stories, songs, and lessons) over and over.

+ Contrast is the driving force of this entry, and of Bechtel's character. Look at every single interaction. The initial "Troglodyte" outburst against Rigtail, the belabored pleading with Tiltsnout, and the near-silent treatment for Ander. On one paw this helps the reader keep along because it's not the same droning tone over and over again - read, Ander's joy, the captain's trickery against an honest plea - and our expectations are challenged by the line. On the other paw this establishes Bechtel in a way no flashback or hard insert ever could. This is a smart bat. This is a considerate bat. This is a bat who learns a lot of harsh lessons as he attempts different approaches and clings to intelligence and knowledge for safety. All out of simple not-so-shaded back and forths with vermin who mean him harm and "harm."

- The first four paragraphs are much too much. I do not speak of the tone and framework setting introduction, the one in italics that reads like a chapter intro. I speak of the literal first four paragraphs spent to establish Bechtel's confusion and pain. Fine. It's worth making sure we know the bat is suffering, but this is the absolute first impression. We watch a bat we're unfamiliar with in pain for a paragraph? Sure thing, my interest holds as I wait for conflict. Over four, even if they are sparse? I was hungry for the "Oy!" or some sign of why I should invest. I harp on this because we're in first-impression territory, and it stands out in the otherwise meticulously manicured narration.

+ The bat's "sight" is used as more than a gimmick. So, in the app we get a pretty good idea of how he needs sound to see. Fitting for a bat, but not exactly compelling. In this entry we see why his unique sight matters. I speak of course about discovering the ship's hold alongside Bechtel as he echoed and discovered the rusty bars. I speak again of the mousemaid getting beaten, and Bechtel's painful awareness that gives him pause, and choice, and motivation. Therein lies the beauty of the device. Like Tope's Voice of Fate, we're guided through his world as he considers what his echolocation reveals. It feels very much like a dungeon master describing a vault, and we instinctively ask "how will this matter? What should Bech/I do?" I praise this because it would've been easy to establish the sight thing and let the narration rest on the assumption. Instead the author chose to weave the device into Bech's conflict - hears the mouse, knows the score, chooses to remain quiet, karmic cost later.

- There's no ending hook. I'm not saying Bechtel isn't interesting or that he doesn't face challenges and build threads of relationships (with Nire's mention in one instance, with Ander in the turnaround.) What I'm saying is this: What comes next? The Great Bat Escape fails and he's recaptured. Will he try again? Is he done for? What can I expect from Bechtel here on out? This is an instance where the stark ending does the character a disservice. It'd work if we knew Bechtel's overall goals (besides escape) and if he'd built anything towards his main goal (he's alone, gotta fix that.) As of now? I find myself saying "Well, that failed. What hope does he have now? What can I expect than a followup post of more beatdowns?"
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2017, 06:47:41 AM »
I Shall Not Want

Pitch: An otter mercenary fresh off a job, and fresh broke, receives a proposition from a Crater shrew.

Talked about this quite a bit in my app spread: Plight of the Common Man is an excellent approach for any contest character. The premise is universally approachable and malleable for whatever the plot demands. In Laurence's case, he's approaching PotCM as an easy-going bloke - loves a drink, plays The Game with able lasses, makes only two-step decisions - who is one thrust from choices he cannot avoid. I'm not talking about the alleyway ambush. I speak of Higgs and the inevitable noose of The Crater the shrew will put about Laurence's neck. Is what Laurence's author presented enough? Do I wanna know how Laurence will react when the rope tightens? Let's talk about this in detail.

+ We've the luxury of a blank slate. Laurence didn't enter the top thirty phase, so we don't know where he came from or what we should expect. This is a wonderful opportunity the author capitalizes on by keeping all of the otter's mysteries mysteries. There's some unworthy, hard-insert language like "No, he did not plan on dying today. Or anytime soon. He had unfinished business back home." but never do we get the entire picture. Given how relatable a beast Laurence is in his primal desires? And the introduction with him consciously weighing the life of a lost beast? Yes. Interest remains. A common but clearly capable beast has some history, some skill. It's like every action RPG introduction you've ever played - which is good! Let's go on an adventure, shall we?

- The trouble is the author will have to work hard in making all of Laurence's challenges real. Relatable and malleable can read as boring and uninspired should the trend continue. I'm not saying Laurence is this right now (it's the first post, so the author is assembling their tools) but there's danger of Laurence spinning in place. For example: Laurence flirting with Wander in this post, and earning very little through it, works because it shows the reader how Laurence operates, and sets up his wants and needs. If this flirtation continues in the next post without aim? Without a specific goal in mind? Then we lose faith in the mercenary's direction. Make sure you show consequences. Make sure that his actions carry a lasting influence on himself and those around him. It's a hard and mandatory step your fellow authors can help you achieve through cast relationships, and so on.

+ We needed a concrete look at Northvale and the surrounding area. Tope provided a bit of ground in his scenes, but the difference is we discovered Northvale alongside Laurence. We're taking in the narrow streets as he takes them in for the first time. We envision the twinkling lights in the blanket of snow as Laurence advances towards the town in need of shelter. Too many forget that a setting is as much a character as the cast members. Knowing that "the Arbington is da nicest inn" gives us ground, and tells us the reaches and limits of the town's society. Hearing Wander's fears and watching her reservation in action (along with all the other snubbing locals) shows us so much more than the alleyway ambush. Laurence's author hasn't created a masterpiece in Northvale, but the little telling details made all of its possibilities real.

- There's some weird tonal stuff throughout this post. Part of the problem is proof reading. There are some tense shifts and odd misspellings MS Word could've caught ('pore instead of pour' 'could instead of cold.') Another part is grounding the character, how the character perceives and is perceived. I praised the setting, and how the author made it a character in itself, but in the same paw we've lines like this: "One of the first things Laurence really noticed about this city was the compact architecture." Did he? Why are you telling us instead of showing Laurence squeezing through the streets? The information is there, and it works as presented, but repeated lines like these pull the reader away from the character. This is kinda like when a narrator asks a question. The reader answers and walks away with their answer. So don't give the reader the chance to pull away or doubt. Don't frame things as "Laurence figured he'd saw twelve soldiers and wondered why they were stopping all the school children" but as "Soldiers stormed through the streets, stopping suspicious students." Y'know, without a ton of Ss.
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Matra Hammer

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2017, 11:53:55 AM »
Mossflower Odyssey 4.5: The Beasts in the Cradle

Setting

Nire Borean takes the success of his Northern killing field and buys some property along Sampetra’s coast. After The Crater closes for the season, he rounds up his best servants and warriors (the cast) and sails them to his new tropical escape. Halfway there they hit a time vortex in the shape of a typhoon. The sailing boat becomes a yacht as the entire MOIV cast is flung into the future. They’re confused for a moment, but quickly sink into the ways of smartphones, actual hygiene, and food you don’t need to kill first.

Crater beefs fall, spirits rise, and Nire - the captain of the yacht, of course - cries land ho.

His Sampetra resort is called The Cradle, an assemblage of bungalows and dance halls and boardwalks “cradled” in a horseshoe of beast-made bluffs. Absolute privacy, extensive opportunities for fun and freedom, and all staffed on the back of the local monitor lizard population because modern Nire is still a hellish scumbag.

The moment they land every cast member scrambles off into the sprawl to gear up, since tunics and armor aren’t really great for the modern tropics. Then they all meet on the beach for a bit of fun and sand.

What follows is a pointless array depicting what each modernized cast member would wear and do when forced on a beach together.


Adeen Pinebarrow

Suit: Conservative and almost matronly. Hers is a one-piece striped suit in unassuming colors - black and white, horizontal stripes. Adeen is not there for showing off her figure or playing “the game.” She wears one towel as a makeshift skirt, and carries another she’ll drape over her lap once she finds a place to set up shop.

Accessories: Again, extra towels for modesty and convenience. Couple these with a wide-brim hat that’s as simple as her suit, a pair of wide-lense shades, and a pile of books she’ll have one of the monitor locals carry for her convenience. Her beach drink of choice is a Rum Runner she’ll sip from once and let sweat out beside her giant bottle of water.

Activities: She finds the nearest beach chair with the largest umbrella and sets up shop for the day. A pile of books she’ll half read, half use as cover as she studies everybeast else at their activities. She spends all day here, sometimes sleeping, sometimes chatting with anybeast who dares approach. All offers to join in on volleyball, swimming, and sand sculpting are turned aside. For her, the day of absolute relaxation is heaven. Only when the sun sets does she leave her fort and join in the end of the night beach bonfire, where she’ll lean against the nearest beast and fall asleep.


Aldridge Moor

Suit: Touristy and fun, while still being utility minded. He wears an extremely loud Hawaiian-style dad shirt left open, no shirt beneath. His swim trunks have cargo pockets, and he rocks sandals with socks...for about three minutes until Adeen snickers at him, and/or Komi hides her face in embarrassment, forcing him to remove said socks.

Accessories: He doesn’t quite realize sun vizors are more souvenirs than actual accessories, but he proudly dons one covered in Cradle logos. He’s so busy throughout the day that he doesn’t really hold his own accessories save a waterproof camera. There are many pictures of beasts putting their paws up in protest as he hasn’t quite figured out selfie etiquette. His drink is a standard affair pina colada because he heard a song about one on Nire’s yacht.

Activities: The King of the Beach. Aldridge is the one who buzzes about to make sure all the games are set up and everybeast has what they need. He’s one of the captains of the volleyball team, and picks Kali first even though he assumes she won’t dive or focus (surprise - she’s actually the best because she can hover and spike and guard.) He’s holding Adeen’s umbrella for a while - though it need not be held - trying to make small talk while she grows suddenly more attached to her books, and red of cheek. He’s joining Thrayjen and Kentigern in the surfing competition even though he doesn’t know how. And, at day’s end, he’s the one leading a terrible version of Don’t Stop Believing around the bonfire.


Kali

Suit: Unabashed color and joy. Our chubby bat somehow finds an adult-sized My Little Pony one-piece suit, complete with glittery letters, gem-tone characters dancing along it, and all the rhinestones. If this wasn’t enough, the suit comes with a built-in tutu, that shimmers in a rainbow of colors, and undulates along her bulbous belly. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s made flower tiaras for every. Single. beast.

Accessories: All of them. She has at least three beasts with her at all times, carrying inflatable pool toys, pool noodles, sand shaping buckets, trowels, a radio constantly tuned to Top 40s, and, of course, her own personal backpack stuffed with boardwalk treats: funnel cakes, cotton candy, and all manner of candied fruit. If she doesn’t have it now then she immediately grabs the nearest monitor or cast member and has them fetch it, enough to share with everyone of course! Drink of choice: a constant stream of virgin daiquiris, all the flavors they can make.

Activities: ALL OF THEM. In serious, she spends most of her day playing in the sand. She’s burying Thrayjen and Kentrith and turning them into mermaids. She’s creating a GIGANTIC sand castle and setting up a fun tea time for herself and any of the other ladies who accept her invitation. She quickly finds out that bat wings are not great for swimming, and serves as a flailing water hazard during the surfing competition. She drives the frozen banana vendor absolutely mad when she keeps eating her order and immediately asking for another. And, at the end of the day, her and Komi are harmonizing with Aldridge around the bonfire, fending off the largest sugar coma of her life, but happy.


Kentigern MacRaff

Suit: Dated and serviceable. He wears a 1920s full-body “swimsuit” complete with stripes, banded straw hat, and a curly moustache. The muscular warrior hare doesn’t quite fit into the suit, and he soon Hulk Hogan style flexes through the upper half, wearing the rest like a kilt for the remainder of the beach trip.

Accessories: Kentigern is there to do two things - impress and party. His accessories all revolve around whatever competition is going on. The volleyball match? You best bet he has gloves on for spiking. The surfing competition? Goggles and footwraps for grip. Like Kali, he’s also indulging way too much, and has a personal servant. It’s the one mouse on staff because he doesn’t trust the lizards to bring him anything. Beach drink: a steady stream of house beer straight from the bottle.

Activities: Impress and party. He’s the second captain of the volleyball game, and gets really, REALLY angry when Kali starts flying to block shots and spike. He’s in the surfing competition, and when he wins he does nothing but bellow Dropkick Murphys songs until everybeast walks away from him. Between the games he’s lifting weights for the sake of passing ladies, and challenging Silas, Thrayjen, Aldridge, to any brand of competition. A hotdog eating challenge between himself and Silas goes horribly wrong, and 17 light beers he drank come thundering up. A near dozen monitors are required to drag him out of public eye and to the infirmary. He limps back for the bonfire, nursing a single beer and joining in the song’s chorus quietly.


Kentrith Hapley

Suit: Caution and practicality. Our medic selects a pair of streamline, black shorts and a thin white tanktop. Nothing fancy, nothing challenging, but the Famous Crane is doing all he can to stay low and out of the spotlight. Unfortunately for him, not even a towel around his neck can hide his arena-cut bod from ogling fans.

Accessories: A single shoulder bag to hold all the pamphlets and maps he takes without hesitation. The bag’s original purpose was an on-the-go beach kit with bottles of water, sunscreen for sensitive noses, and even a change of clothes and extra towels should something rip or tear. By the day’s end the bag overflows with all the trinkets and little gifts he’s bought for everybeast else. Drink of choice: bottled water - it’s too hot to go unhydrated!

Activities: He spends some of his day on the beach making sure everybeast is okay. This means getting dragged into the volleyball game, getting buried by Kali at one point, and Adeen asking him to stretch and adjust her umbrella a few dozen times for some odd reason. Eventually he wanders away when he notices a bunch of locals and tourists whispering and taking pictures of him. He first explores the boardwalk and buys all manner of trinkets for his friends, but then the Crane fans start gathering there. He then joins some inland tours, but hikes in exotic jungles and rock climbing makes him miss his friends. He returns by the time the bonfire is underway, and makes sure the stockpile has plenty of wood for those under his care.


Komi Banton

Suit: Fetching and sporty. She’s the hot mom with the athletic bod, though she really doesn’t understand this at first. Hers is a two-piece with a thin bikini-style bottom and a sport-cut, strapped top. Goes barefoot, and makes sure her tail is corded and wrapped for maximum streamlining for running and swimming.

Accessories: This bard discovers the magic of iTunes, and promptly bugs Nire for an iPhone, ear buds, and a bicep band for holding the lot as she charges around - all the waterproof variety, of course. On and off she wears a pair of stylish, thin sunglasses that are held in place by elastic bands. She doesn’t ask for extra accessories during the games - like Kentigern - and takes pride in doing it on her own. Beach drink: straight lemonade to quench that mighty thirst. Turns into a spiked lemonade as the sun sets.

Activities: Komi spends the first portion of the day absolutely annoyed. She has zero clue how much of a knockout she is in her suit - complete with abs and model tone - or why so many beasts are just staring! For her the skimpy suit is a simple choice since it’s hot out and why wrap up in all that extra fabric? She distracts herself at first by having sandcastle tea with Kali, and joining Kentrith in pursuing boardwalk shops. When that’s not enough, when the stares keep annoying her, she jumps into the games with gusto. For the first time in a long time she’s allowed to just let loose, and not worry about jealous old enemies or anything. Balls are spiked, she crashes into Aldridge on purpose during the surfing, and she even joins Kentigern for some bench press spotting. By the bonfire she’s super charged, and stays up until the dawn, truly happy and in control.


Minerva / Fable

Suit: Floral and intentionally colorful. Minerva wears a more conservative two-piece suit arrayed with flower patterns, and a gauzy hip shawl to help lighten up the fact that she’s a giant, musclebound lutran killing machine. Fable started the day in the exact same My Little Pony suit as Kali, but realized she wanted to be beautiful like her mom, so Minerva picked her up a one-piece with the same floral pattern.

Accessories: Unfortunately, Minerva is in full mom mode. She’s maybe three bags of gear, all stuffed with toys and books and snacks and what not - none of which Fable actually uses. There’s nothing in the containers for herself except a bag of candied nuts she’s not even sure she’ll like. She too sets up a camp complete with her own umbrella, spread of blankets, and cooler of drinks even though the whole damn island is full of servants. Her beach drink is “Fable, don’t go too far out! ...don’t let miss kali bury you too deep, ah….” Fable’s beach drink is the magic of Shirley Temples. She has one because mom says it’s okay, and then twenty more because Miss Kali teaches her how to signal the servants over discreetly.

Activities: Minerva clings to her child’s side because even with the time warp, even with the clear ease in the air, she doesn’t trust anything. She spends most of her morning sitting on the blankets, yelling at or to Fable to keep near or be careful. In spurts she tries relaxing, tries reading or snacking or getting some sun, but the old habits come swinging back. Eventually, Kali takes over and hooks Fable into her bat shenanigans. Once Minerva sees the bat isn’t going to eat her kid, and that even Komi is letting loose, she takes a swim in the ocean, meets a charming otter on the boardwalk that she promptly scares away by flexing mid laughter, and discovers ice cream - her new passion, favorite flavor is praline. With the help of some servants, she brings back about twenty scoops for everybeast to enjoy during the bonfire, and sings terribly along with Fable.


Rinam, The Pearl Dawn

Suit: The uniform adorned. She’s wearing a bright red pair of cargo shorts and a simple gray t-shirt with Lifeguard printed on the back. Not initially her choice, but they don’t make too many fun or appealing swimsuits for short, broad ladies, so she “joins” the lifeguard team and settles on a uniform - complete with hat and whistle and shades.

Accessories: Rinam’s ladder chair stands proud at the center of the beach, set back a little bit so she can observe all the beasts in her care. An array of boogie boards, life rings, and medkits line the rungs. But for herself? A guitar. She can’t play AT ALL, but she enjoys sitting up there and strumming out a few chords and scales in an attempt to capture the music of home. She doesn’t, but it amuses her to try. Her drink of choice: Sangria Slush. Her density gives her a high alcohol tolerance...and she’s not actually a lifeguard. The actual lifeguards are too scared to ask her to stop wearing their gear and drinking.

Activities: A ton of sweeping shots of Rinam sitting at the ready or just standing still where the surf meets the sand. Beasts offer a spot on the volleyball team, swim contest, so on, but she’ll have none of it. The sun on her fur, and the sand in her toes, makes her feel at one with All That Is. Throughout the day she’s visited by hopefuls like Thrayjen, who want her attention for affection or otherwise. All are turned aside until she’s drank a few dozen Sangrias too many, and the climb down the ladder chair becomes perilous. She turns 180 as the sun starts setting. She builds a sloppy but monstrous sandcastle to add to Kali’s fortress. She joins Silas and Sly at the boardwalk bar, and then some of the carnival games. And come bonfire? She’s the loudest voice of all - until the song is over and she drags Thrayjen by the scruff to the nearest bungalow.


Silas Hetherton

Suit: Common and piecemeal. He doesn’t seek out the newest fashion or anything even beach ready - until this day he didn’t realize beasts went to coasts for leisure. Instead he grabs an oversized MMA logo shirt - because it has skulls and a cool looking monster on the front - and a pair of basic shorts. He looks very much like the oversized teen son of a tourist family on cruise.

Accessories: At one point a boardwalk vendor shows Silas the magic and wonder of a metal detector, and the rat farmer even finds himself a few coins. But, other than that, he’s his own accessory. His drink of choice: whatever the bartender puts into his paw, because he’s Nire’s guest, and Nire’s guests don’t pay…

Activities: ...which is a concept Silas spends all day fighting. Even his momentary joy and the metal detector fades away because, hey, are you kidding me? Who needs this level of luxury? Like Komi, he’s put off and hesitant with all the posturing, but then Kentigern gets his bile high and starts turning every little thing into a challenge. Silas turns down volleyball at first, but a few choice phrases from Kentigern has him joining Aldridge’s Kali-buffed team and taking the hare down. Throughout the day the challenges continue, ending with hotdog vomit, and against his will he realizes “I’m having fun. This is fun.” The realization stuns him and he takes to the boardwalk, finding Sly at the bar, with Rinam joining soon after. He tries a few dozen new-to-him, wonderful, exotic beverages, and realizes “maybe there’s more to life than hanging onto the past.” Together the three bar flies balance one another as they stumble to the bonfire and sing their blues away.


Sly Speakeasy

Suit: The Yacht Club calls. Sly is the vacationer who wears khaki pants and polos during the day, and a leisure suit or silk button-up at night. You will not catch him dead in the ocean, or on the actual beach with those common idiots. Even if he’s poolside, it’s at a table making sure his collar is popped and his creases are sharp.

Accessories: Sly dives face first into the digital age. He’s a blackberry he uses strictly for business contacts, his personal iPhone with schedules and calendars, and a second iPhone with only dating apps installed that he passes out the number to to any able looking beasts. He’s a smoker of the highest order too, and uses the international waters excuse for lighting up all manner of substance in his custom, cherrywood pipe, complete with personalized matches and breast pocket carrying case. Drink of choice: grog doesn’t exist here, so he goes for gin on the rocks, twist of lime if he cares to remember.

Activities: Again, the beach is a kill zone for a beast of wealth and taste - and by wealth I mean unlimited credit from Nire. He spends the morning looking for ways to bend this in his favor, but soon realizes there are no 3rd-party stores or vendors in The Cradle. Everything on the boardwalk is under Nire’s control, and grift as he might he can’t really gain anything if everything is free and singular. This bores and depresses him, so he does the usual thing and finds the nearest bar. Yet, even the free booze doesn’t really fill the hole in him. He watches Kentrith and Komi stroll by on their shopping trip. He watches Minerva pick up an ice cream stand and run off. Yet, it’s not until Silas shows up that he figures things out. This beast looks ridiculous, doesn’t know a cognac from a candy bar. Yet...he’s happy with all the strange drinks. Or he’s found happiness. He spends the evening drinking and honestly trying to get to know Silas, and then Rinam when she shows up. Properly sauced, the trio amble down to the bonfire at night and join the other heroes. Sly drops his many phones and just doesn’t care. Not anymore.


Thrayjen the Blackwhiskers

Suit: Outrageous and beyond the bounds. The freedom and luxury of The Cradle sparks the “darkness” in Thrayjen, and he picks the first candy red speedo he finds on the rack. It is NOT big enough for him, and he does not care. No towel, no shirt, no anything else. The black rat from a foreign land dons his rubber band of a “suit” and graces the public with his glory.

Accessories: Of course he oils up like any two-bit beach hunk. Unfortunately for a rat his size - and being oily by nature - it makes him look like a misshapen, over-inflated otter. He tries owning it by using combs and clips to arrange his clumping fur. It fails. So he puts on some gloves and takes to the beach gym as his primary accessory, promptly horrifying all women and children when he starts a round of squats. Beach Drink: blood red Zombies on repeat, complete with a little umbrella each time - fit for a “king.”

Activities: Self-styled King of the Beach. He tries his paws at nearly every beach activity allowed. He tries helping with the sandcastle, but is promptly ran off by Minerva when the be-speedo’d rat gets too close to Fable. He gets buried and turned into a mermaid by Kali, but is promptly left to dig himself out. The games turn into a disaster because he’s too slick with oil to hit a ball, or stay on the board. And he’s so imposing and full of swagger than even his impressive displays at the gym’s beach are met with terror and panic instead of rapture. He gives it one last try by flexing before his true target, the “lifeguard,” but she doesn’t even look down. She plucks at a guitar, drinks her drink, and leaves Thrayjen to slouch at the ladder’s base and listen. He doesn’t follow when she leaves. Instead he watches the sunset, and allows a different instinct to take over. As beasts are collecting their gear and talking about heading in for the night, Thrayjen builds a bonfire. Aldridge leads a song, beasts no longer shy away from the speedo fire builder, and, in time, the “king” is dragged away and rewarded for his one selfless deed.
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Thrayjen

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2017, 02:00:13 PM »
Well obviously, Matra. Only the tightest tiny weeny slip for this royal beach bum. ;D

Komi Banton

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2017, 03:08:44 PM »
That was way too much fun to read! Thanks, Matra. I needed a good laugh.

Airan

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #39 on: October 10, 2017, 05:02:22 PM »
Haha, this was a lot of fun to read, Matra. An excellent summation of the characters. Maybe when MO4 is over all the contestants can write beach shenanigans together.

Now, where is my sketchbook...

Zevka

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2017, 08:56:12 PM »
What are Nire, Nix, Blue, Inkpaw, Eve and Bessie the Spider doing during this beach excursion?
"Never underestimate the power of a mustelid."

Aldridge Moor

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2017, 05:25:08 AM »
A question about NPCs! I got this one, gang. 8)


Nix

Suit: The professional athlete's choice. This is a blue one-piece Kneeskin, open-back, with a few minimal decorative patterns on the shoulders and sides. It would have cost easily $500. A pair of swimmer's goggles hang around her neck and when she's not in the sea, she's wearing a desert cap to protect the back of her neck from the sun. She elects not to wear anything on her feet, and despite the concern of others, gets no splinters on the boardwalk and no injuries when walking further down the rockier parts of the beach.

Accessories: Komi's discovery of iTunes leads Nix down a dark path. She too has a waterproof arm-band containing a smartphone, but she prefers to listen to podcasts and radio dramas. On her other wrist, a waterproof fitness smartwatch. Her drink is the occasional can of hot green tea, bought from a vending machine that hasn't needed to be restocked for at least six months because nobeast ever buys anything from it and it's all labelled in foreign. When the nighttime comes, she tries each of the resort's varieties of port, settles on one, and gets quietly and happily drunk beside the fire.

Activities: Nix demands activity. She starts the day with several hours of 'recreational' swimming, out to the first shipping buoy and back again, until exhausted. Then to the boardwalk, for a relaxed and healthy lunch with her co-trainer Blue. They both make sure to pick something they've not tried before. Then she's picked for volleyball and although she takes a defensive position, when she does get her paws on the ball, she causes quite a lot of damage to the opposing team. Kali is about the only beast who can defend well against her. After volleyball, a two or three hour walk - perhaps up a nearby hill, or along a particularly rocky part of the beach where she can do some bouldering. By the time she returns, the campfire is at full strength and she joins the others and lets the evening while away on song and drink.


Blue

Suit: Freedom of movement. Blue wears a black neoprene one-piece, which protects her less muscular frame from the cold and shock of the ocean while still allowing for full range of motion. When she's not in the water she's got a massively oversized white t-shirt over the top of it, with some modern and trendy design - perhaps a spraypainted Stormtrooper or something similar. She doesn't have Nix's casual attitude to splinters and so a perfectly normal pair of flip-flops joins the t-shirt for her landwear choice.

Accessories: Aside from a waterproof fitness smartwatch Nix suggested she pick up, Blue brings nothing more than her own somewhat youthful recklessness and desire to try new things. She drinks bottled water through the day, with awful 'healthy' smoothie concoctions to accompany breakfast and lunch. She asks one of the servants for a pick-me-up as the campfire is being set up in the evening, and thus begins her fiery and extremely temporary love affair with Vodka Red Bull.

Activities: All of the sports. Blue turns out to have a knack for surfing, hollering and loving every moment of it, even the moments where she falls off. She takes Kentigern up on quite a few of his demands for competition, beating him in every race and then inviting him to the boardwalk, where the two compete at every game stall and keep meticulous score. She turns out to be excellent at hook-a-duck, archery and shooting. He has immense fun breaking a punch-o-meter and knocking down coconuts and cans. They return to the rest of the beasts with about twenty stuffed toys of various sizes for everybeast (or rather, nominally for everybeast but over the course of the day all diverted to Kali, who makes a nest out of them). After the volleyball competition, Blue joins Nix on her walk to cool down. She enjoys the bouldering and/or hill-walking, and they chat when they're not listening to music and podcasts respectively.


Inkpaw

Suit: Hawaiian Shirt 2: Eclectic Boogaloo. Inkpaw turns out to be outstanding when it comes to finding odd clothing, and turns up a Hawaiian design that, when one looks closer, is covered in dinosaurs. Kali gives the shirt many covetous glances once she's noticed the details. Aside from this, he's in perfectly serviceable dark blue swimming trunks.

Accessories: Heavens help the poor man - he voluntarily wears crocs. He wanted loafers for the bread-related pun, but realised very quickly that they would be destroyed by sea and sand. Just as well that he thought of Croc Monsieur while he was in the shop. He has an old Nokia 3310 for business calls, that he keeps protected from the water in a sandwich bag.

Activities: Trying to relax, but not quite managing it. Inkpaw is always thumbing at his business phone in its sandwich bag, always a little worried that something's going to happen to ruin his day. He accepts any drink that's sent his way and he finds himself joining Rinam, Silas and Sly in the group of people who have just about managed to unwind thanks to alcohol.


Eve

Suit: Hayfever in vixen form. Eve is clad in a ridiculously flowery summer dress with an equally flowery one-piece hidden beneath.

Accessories: Her sandals have flower motifs and her headwear is a sun-hat that appears to have dreams of becoming the truly ridiculous feature that every mother-in-law wears to every wedding ever. She has peony stud earrings that get lost sometime in the afternoon, and a pearl necklace that Kentrith reminds her to remove before the volleyball starts. She has a clutch bag, again floral in design, that contains various useful things - tissues, band-aids, painkillers and a spray-can of mace. She drinks raspberry lemonade to start with, adding increasing amounts of gin as the day goes by.

Activities: Sunbathing, and that's pretty much it. She sets up her towel and parasol in a tactically perfect location that doesn't need to move for the tide, won't get in anyone's way, and from which vantage point she can watch all the other beasts and all their activities. She sequesters Kentrith for sunscreen duty, and the medic stammers his way through the entire experience. Only when the sun is too low in the sky to be useful does she leave her spot, joining the others as the campfire is built. She gives up the remainder of her secret bag of snacking marshmallows for the group to eat toasted.


Bessie

I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this spider in a survival-horror context which this margin is too narrow to contain.


Nire

Suit: A suit. It's Nire, he clearly wears a very expensive and well-tailored suit.

Accessories: Shades and a phablet, on which he's always doing admin and taking phonecalls.

Activities: Nire is seen perhaps twice over the course of the day - grabbing a box of sushi from a boardwalk vendor at lunchtime, and walking the resort, on the periphery of the bonfire's light, at night. The rest of the day, he's technically a phonecall away if anybeast needs him. but the servants take care of everything and so he stays in his office to keep up to date on his paperwork.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:38:29 AM by Aldridge Moor »

Komi Banton

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #42 on: October 12, 2017, 06:36:04 AM »
Hah, and the silliness continues! Thanks, Alder!

Minerva

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2017, 06:48:41 AM »
Quote
Bessie

I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this spider in a survival-horror context which this margin is too narrow to contain.

Bessie in a one piece sounds pretty horrifying.

Thanks for this, Matra and Aldridge. It was a fun read.

Silas Hetherton

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Re: Survival Guide IV
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2017, 03:34:13 PM »
I imagine Nire would have Bessie on a leash, complete with bling collar and pink tutu.