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Let Marrow Bone and Cleaver Choose (While Making Feet for Children's Shoes) · 10:33pm April 19th

I fucking suck at DnD, and I had a very bad week.

Those two things have nothing to do with each other, but this blog is about both.

Before anyone asks -- the next blog in the Sunset Shipping Contest series is drafted, half of it is written, and it's absolutely going to happen, don't worry. I simply am not in the right headspace to keep writing it, so it's on pause till I get my bearings back. It's about how to write drama! And how to make people cry! Very good stuff. I'm very pedantic in it.

In the meantime! This is a happy blog, but in a very weird way.

I'm writing this on a sunday, right, and I can safely say that this has been the worst week of my life. Like, bar none. I had to deal with a lot of things that came out of nowhere all at once, and I had to take a lot of harsh decisions that are going to affect a lot of peolpe, and it was hell. But I think I made the right choice, and I managed to solve the problem in time, and I believe things will only get better in the long run.

So I am absolutely mentally exhausted, and can barely hold a coherent thought in place? But things are getting better, so I'm fine. It's weird.

Anyway, I'm probably going to be kind of offline for a while, at least in the website -- not really, I'll still check it and comment in places if I feel the need, I guess? But I won't blog or whatever in like, I don't know, a month? Prolly a month or so. Listen, right now my brain is a puddle, I need to take a break and not worry about Creating Stuff. Else, I'll just burn myself too much.

Which brings us to DnD.

I've got friends who like DnD a lot. I kind of suck at it? I played in highschool, and in college I played with a friend and it was fun, but like, I'm not good at roleplaying, I keep breaking character because I won't shut the fuck up if there's a joke worth saying. And I don't know the rules and am too stupid to memorize them so I need a lot of handholding, when I'm playing.

One of my friends doesn't mind it, though, and he always says that he enjoys playing with me 'cause of the jokes. I always refuse his offers to join a weekly DnD game because I don't like doing things I'm bad at (that's why I write instead of, say, having sex with people) and because I'm kind of busy. I have little free time, and the one I have, I spend it writing.

But I'm taking a break from that, right?

So yeah, me being shit at DnD is that guy's problem, now.

I am still very, very bad at roleplaying. First game's next week, and I've no idea what I'll do. But I was told to come up with a character concept, and after some feedback on the setting and so on, I wrote a little comedic short story -- one that works as the character backstory, but also kind of as, idk, original fiction?

I don't really do DnD, as I said. I just wrote a bit till I got a character, and then I went "yeah fuck it I'll play this."

I'm happy with how it came out, and it's a very me sorta comedy, and you don't need to know jackfuck about the campaign or the game or the setting to get it? So fuck it. As I'm not going to blog in a bit due to mental health, here's a present to keep you warm in the meantime. I hope you enjoy it, and stick after the ending -- I'll come back to talk some more.

Casimir Vesna-Domrada peaked at childbirth, and he’s still better than you. 

Everything else is irrelevant.

Listen: picture the ideal baby, the single most beautiful, cherubish, soft-cheeked little thing. Think of fine-weaved locks of hair, smooth skin, a smile that makes the sun hide in shame. Think of green and golden eyes, a voice of silver cotton.

You’ve got it? Right. That child looks like a fucking gargoyle compared to little Casimir. If little Casimir asked you to throw this baby down the stairs, you’d do it, you’d believe it was the right thing to do, and the gods would agree. We’re at that level. Those are the stakes.

Casimir was the second child of two families. On the one hand, we’ve got the Vesnas, and—where to even start? A pig feasting on rotten trash has more dignity, and chances are, it’ll smell better. The Vesnas have greasy skin, beady little eyes, and they’re too fat to walk, so instead they just waddle. Despicable little idiots—but churn one like butter, and money comes out.

In a province of merchants and fishermen, they own the boats. Getting rich is hard, but staying rich is easy, as long as you have no dignity, and do not mind having no friends.

On the other hand, there’s the Domradas. Tall, big-eyed, they’re only human because no other race wants them. Distantly related to the Surtova House—rulers of the country—the Domradas have dignity, in that wonderfully medieval way that means they just adore marrying their own cousins. 

Incest is a great way to retrieve entire dynasties out of the gene pool: first, they only fuck each other; second, nobody else will. The Domradas have long fingers, pale skin, and their teeth are crooked and yellow. They think they’re better than you. They really fucking aren’t.

The Vesnas and the Domradas hate each other. They despise each other, they want the others dead—so of course, of course, they forced their heirs to marry. The Vesnas wanted someone with more money, the Domradas would’ve loved someone a bit more familiar, but they all agreed to do this. They treasured the chance to spite each other.

Casimir Vesna-Dormada was the second son, as it was said, but the miracle started with the first. Dverik Vesna-Dormada, was the name of his older brother.

Maybe it was a trick of genetics—Vesna blood balancing Dormada blood, and vice versa—or maybe the gods like a joke now and then. Dverik looked fine. He was fine. A little pudgy around the waist, fingers long enough to play good piano—but better-looking than any other member of either family in generations.

Casimir was born next. Beauty manifest; the day he came to the world, thunder split open the skies—not in rage, but in reverence.

Gods damn it, what a good-looking baby.

He literally only got worse from there.

No way to help it, though. You can’t improve perfection, and have you ever met someone who didn’t change with age? As a newborn, Casimir was the archetype of perfection. As a baby, he was godly. As a toddler, merely angelic.

He aged like milk. Every day just a little bit uglier. Perhaps for the better; you could barely look at him right after birth, out of fear of being blind. 

Mind you, he had enough of a head start for him to be still exceptional. At age twenty-five, ugliest he’d ever been, he had a chiseled jaw and golden-green eyes. fine-weaved locks of hair. Still good enough to make most people doubt their sexual orientation.

When you grow up like this—surrounded by paintings of your infant self; forever overshadowed by what you were when you had no memory—the Universe flips a coin. You end up a narcissist, or you get into some diaper shit.

Casimir landed heads. 

Coddled up, constantly told by his parents he was the most beautiful thing on the land, he believed every word in that statement and made sure you’d think the same. Casimir wasn’t stupid, but he was more clever than smart; he wasn’t evil, but had Domrada spite to spare. Second-born in a noble family, he was rich, he was beautiful, he sang like an angel.

He was an asshole, how couldn’t he. But for all the obvious misgivings, he lived under the ominous ticking of the clock: every day uglier, every day lesser. His life was a tragedy written already—the fact that it wasn’t over barely mattered. 

But oh well, carpe diem, the bard said. Beauty is not everlasting, but that’s everybody else’s problem. Casimir was the best thing in the room no matter the room, and there’s a certain poetic charm in only losing against yourself. He didn’t despair. He just treasured every day and rubbed it on other people’s faces.

Dverik, his brother, had in exchange a terrible childhood. He was the favorite son up until Casimir was born, and then like fuck he was going to matter to anyone. First-borns get the family riches, and second-borns are to serve their brothers. But Dverik hated Casimir, and Casimir despised Dverik. 

Casimir won every goddamn time. He bullied Dverik so hard, it wasn’t even funny—only it kind of was, which made it worse.  

For what is worth, Dverik was older by a couple years, and certainly stronger, of thicker build. Beauty is androginous and nimble; Casimir was fair and tall and thin, he had aesthetic muscles, but could not throw a punch at all. In a fair fight, Dverik would have beaten the snot out of Casimir, he would’ve broken his perfect little nose and brought him down to our level, us mere mortals.

But Casimir, smart as he wasn’t, was absolutely clever. You don’t need compelling arguments when you’re hot enough. Remember: if little Casimir asks you, you throw your perfect baby down the stairs. This is not a hypothetical situation, and little Dverik broke multiple bones as a child.

Every time Dverik tried, Casimir would make it worse. Dverik killed Casimir’s hunting dog, so Casimir made the houndmaster beat the shit out of Dverik. Dverik broke Casimir’s lute, and Casimir made the houndmaster beat the shit out of Dverik. 

Dverik turned sixteen, became an adult, and fired the houndmaster with his newfound authority. Casimir went crying to Father, Lord Vesna. Father hired another houndmaster, and then together, like a family, they beat the shit out of Dverik.

Dverik knew finances, and fishing, and the fine points of commerce. He had money, and charm, and a bright future. Casimir knew how to pucker his lips and flip his hair to the side. Guess which one was more popular at parties. 

The family disliked Dverik, Casimir was their beloved—so marrying a cousin was out of the picture. Dverik tried, he really tried; he was a desirable bachelor and had a healthy social life, he seeked marriage openly and brazelny. But Casimir would come, every time, and sweep every one off their feet. He learned singing and cantrips, the fine arts of bardic knowledge, just to outshine his brother in artistic fashion. 

Close to thirty years old, an age quite unfitting for a noble, Dverik was yet to find love, yet to touch lips other than his own.

Casimir didn’t even like romance, mind you. He would steal men and women alike from Dverik—and then do nothing, toss them aside. He found love at an early age, the first time he had enough knowledge to look into a mirror, and with that he was satisfied for a lifetime. Who wouldn’t be?

The years passed. Casimir, still striking, became normal enough to get beaten up a couple times—but you can bet Dverik got the shortest straw every time. The family sided with Casimir, but the law sided with Dverik, the rightful heir. Things escalated. 

Then a couple things, at the same time.

King Noleski Surtova, who rules the nation because he had enough money to walk up to the throne one day and say, “Hi, now I rule the nation,” is unmarried. His sister, Natala Surtova, acts as the queen so far—but as soon as Noleski marries, her power will vanish.

How terrifying for her, then, to see Noleski courting Elana Lebeda, a member of the powerful Lebeda family. And how convenient that Lord Lander Lebeda, was accused of a completely random crime and had to flee the country—tainting his family’s reputation, making it impossible for Elana and the king to court each other anymore, securing Natalia Surtova’s iron grip on the throne.

Interesting times for the court. The Surtova family is not beloved, they’ve barely ruled for twenty years, and unjust arrests that rely on fake authority might just be what tips the country into civil war. Either the Surtovas fall, or they rise again, even more powerful than before.

At the same time, Father, Lord Vesna, is deathly ill. Which means Casimir is going to be under Dverik’s rule in the family; Mother, Lady Domrada, is unfit to become matriarch. Her parents are cousins and siblings both; incest has fried her brain so much it’s a wonder she can walk and breathe at the same time.

And the Vesna-Domrada are distant relatives to the Surtova family, and thus, to the king. Depending on how that whole business goes, Dverik might see his life change immensely for the better—or the opposite. 

Dverik called Casimir to his office, the night Father got sick.

Dverik was grave, but to the point. He explained Father might not last the night—definitely not last the week. These were troubling, difficult times, and perhaps a truce was needed.

Dverik didn’t like Casimir, but he could recognize his talents. His usefulness. Blood is thicker than water, and Dverik believed that together—maybe even as equals—they could make the family better than ever before.

Casimir spat in his face.

How dare you, Casimir said. How dare you, the one who never bent to my beauty, the one who witnessed me as a child and still manages not to love me, tell me you want me as an equal. This is not a truce, this is an insult. I am better than you. I peaked at childbirth, I die more every day, and I am still your superior.

Dverik was speechless, but only for a moment. Then, he asked. Was that what Casimir believed? For real? Was that all that mattered to him?

And Casimir replied with nothing but the truth: 

“Everything else is irrelevant.”

Casimir laid out his plan, then, right there. Father dies? So be it. Old greasy fuck, he never cared. Casimir was going to grab his second lute, which he barely played anymore, and his best clothing, and his pocket mirror, and his makeup, and he was going to leave. 

He was not going to serve the family, alongside or under Dverik. He was going to leave, with nothing but beauty and spite, and he was going to make a name for himself. Now is a time when people with bad morals become powerful, and Casimir had Vesna blood. He was a a fucking natural.

Casimir might side with the Surtovas, or might side against them. He didn’t know, and he didn’t care; play it by ear. Someone’s gonna win, and whoever wins will do whatever Casimir says, and Casimir will start his own family.

And it’ll be better than Dverik’s.

And when Casimir is fifty years old, and his beauty is not enough to get what he wants, it won’t matter. Because Casimir will have enough gold to walk up to the throne and say, hey, I rule this place, now. 

He won’t ask. He’ll own an entire fucking army of houndmasters.

And just guess what order he’ll give them.

Dverik could have killed his brother that day. He very well could—Casimir was alone in his office, and Dverik carries a rapier, like the head of a noble family always must. But he didn’t. Maybe, in the end, Casimir was his brother, and fratricide is where the Vesna-Domrada draw the line. Maybe Casimir was just too beautiful to die yet.

He just asked—why. Why. I am offering you a hand. Please. Please, stay. Please, put an end to this.

And Casimir, beautiful Casimir, evil, clever, lovely Casimir, he spat at his brother again. He lived for himself, knowing his beauty slips between his fingers every second, knowing he’ll always get what he wants. 

He said, listen, with Casimir gone? Dverik was free! He could find a wife and sire some terribly fucked-up children. It’s in his blood, he’s a desirable bachelor, the bard won’t be there to steal the spotlight. You win this one, Dverik. 

But one way or another—love doesn’t work, so maybe it will be fear, maybe it will be hate, maybe exhaustion, resignation, submission, you name it—one way or another, when Casimir returns, he’ll look at his brother in the eye, and go, hey. Nice baby you just sired. Throw it down the stairs for me.

And Dverik will nod.

And he will fucking do it.

So Casimir left that night, and Dverik let him. That’s when our story starts.

Man I actually like this concept a lot. I didn't fucking plan to write a villain in the slightest, but while I was brainstorming ways to make my character poor (I wanted him to be a noble, but also penniless), my friend suggested him having an older brother, so Casimir wouldn't be the heir, but rather, the second son.

And I went oh that's cool! Oh wow Casimir should be an asshole to the brother. So I wrote the houndmaster joke, and I went "hahah this is worth keeping, I guess he'll be a bit of an ass", and then I kept writing, and I got to that ending.

And then I had to ask my friend if uh. Mate. Can I play an evil character? Cause uh -- I think this is an evil character. Call it a hunch.

Listen I know my audience, and I know half of you are super into DnD, but writing this I keep thinking writing and acting are nothing alike. I could probably write this character in a short story (genuinely like it enough I might do it, though I'd probably change the fuck out of the setting because I'm not that big into high fantasy) and I'd give it justice?

But like fuckin' hell. You don't get editing passes in roleplaying, you just say it right there. Scary stuff. I'm good at improv, but only when I'm improvising Aragón, if that makes sense?

Eh, I don't know. I will probably butcher the job, but the character is nice, and my friend knows my weaknesses and is super cool with them. I need a break, and fumbling around a skill I know nothing about, fucking up the most basic shit, and generally being an idiot, sounds like the exact kind of thing I need.

Keep yourselves safe, and have a fine one. These are troubling times, but I believe everything, eventually, ends.

See you as soon as possible. I'll probably come back with stories about how the GM thew a glass of beer at my face after I interrupted his monologue to injert a fart joke or some shit.

So, y'know. You have something to look forward to.

Comments ( 27 )

Self-insert fanfiction is frowned upon in this fandom.

King Noleski Surtova, who rules the nation because he had enough money to walk up to the throne one day and say, “Hi, now I rule the nation,” is unmarried.

A picture of democracy in (X) amount of time.

Author Interviewer

Despicable little idiots—but churn one like butter, and money comes out.

This line just keeps rattling around in my head. It made this blog worth writing, let alone reading. Much like Casimir himself, this backstory is a thing of beauty. :D

I wanna play D&D. D:

I keep breaking character because I won't shut the fuck up if there's a joke worth saying.

I fail to see the problem. You just described my entire playgroup. Including me, and I'm the DM.

they’re only human because no other race wants them.

This is a fantastic line and I'm going to have to remember it.

Every time Dverik tried, Casimir would make it worse. Dverik killed Casimir’s hunting dog, so Casimir made the houndmaster beat the shit out of Dverik. Dverik broke Casimir’s lute, and Casimir made the houndmaster beat the shit out of Dverik.

Clever, not smart. It cannot be overstated.

Exquisite mini-biodrama. I do hope you offer some highlights from the sessions. And yeah, if you can't stop cracking jokes, bard's the class for you. Have fun, and best of luck. (Also, don't be afraid to take notes on the basics so the twelfth time you ask something, someone can shove the note in your face. :raritywink:)

The houndmaster joke was indeed gold. I've DMed before, and were I the one running your campaign, I would absolutely allow an asshole character. I mean, one guy in my party was basically a Robot Ghost Viking Jedi, that much is nothing. Still, I have yet to play 5th edition, and was going to try out a bard. Just, like, the exact opposite of Casimir. A grizzled old sea-dog, who has seen everything and bears the scars to prove it. The sort of guy who will overhear people planning a quest in a tavern and will immediately launch into a dramatic cautionary yarn about how the last people who tried that died gruesomely, sometimes complete with ominous music played on his Hurdy-Gurdy. Which also happens to have a built-in crossbow for when things inevitably go pear-shaped for the umpteenth time.

Hope things improve for you -- but if this last week really was that bad, it would seem things can only get better!

And that's a hell of a backstory for a D&D character. Like, I think I usually max out at around a page or so. And it's just descriptive, not a story with its own goddamn narrative arc.

Oh PLEASE write up a short story of this.
Also, you're no worse than many other players I've either run games for or played with. I'd welcome you at my table. You'll do just fine, fart jokes included.

You'll probably be fine. The game is about having fun, so just focus on that. You're definetly playing a class that is more RP heavy, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be having a blast.

Also sorry about the sucky stuff, fam

I'm good at improv, but only when I'm improvising Aragón, if that makes sense?

It makes perfect sense. But therein is the essence of the roleplay improv - the journey is to bring the character to life.

You'll know you've succeeded when you reach a decision-point, ask yourself "What would this character do?" and they tell you you're wrong. There's a moment in the process where a character develops to the point where they control themselves. They become natural and guide their own way, frequently without active thought on your part.

(The second major point is when you discover how to tell them no even after they rise up.)

The best fantasy names are the ones that sound like professional tennis players, and I gotta say, you've done a fine job with this cast. Natalia Surtova sounds like she has a mean serve.

DnD, especially in a group where telling OOC dumb jokes and contriving horrible, horrible circumstances for yourselves is encouraged, is definitely a great form of stress relief at least for me. I DM for a lot of wild idiots and all of them manage to make my day every time we get together. I hope you have a good time and decompress from whatever happened!


Also me and my group. I remember the bvery day I gave up entirely at trying to run a sort of serious, horror-y campaign, and ye gods, that's 18 years ago from the date-stamp on that particular quest.

I must admit, or group (and me especially) tend more towards the mechanics-side first.

Especially me, look, I'm in the closing stages of completing 3.Aotrs, which is, I think, while technically a hybird of 3.5 and Pathfinder 1, so extensive it really constitutes its own edition at this point ((as it now runs to several hundread pages). I Do Rules, stuff okay?

But I must be doing something right all these years; it's taken the literal apocalyse to actually stop my group meeting every week, so I might be mad, but I'm mad in good company, it seems.

For whatever reason the group decided to let the half-orc barbarian make tactical decisions. With a wisdom of 8.
And he didn't even make the dumbest decisions of everyone in the group.
The DM thought a murder mystery would be fun and not too challenging for the group. We completed that quest by annoying the NPC who did it to the point of confessing just so the guard would take him away from us. We suspected this guy, but had absolutely no evidence. I think the last straw was the Half-orc barbarian trying to sneakily get information by stealing one of the maid outfits and serving tea all day with the hopes of overhearing something. He was 7 feet tall and obviously didn't fit, but he wore it anyway.

Ah, there's nothing like playing a DnD character that just doesn't give a shit. That just does what they want and damn the consequences.
Now, I'd normally tell people NOT to play a character like that when they first play dnd, because unless you know how your mates play that's a good way to get a stack of books as thick as Casimir's charisma score dropped on your face, but it sounds like you're a little past that lmao.
And it's not like my group is better; we've got a necromancer, a pirate, a literal man-eating monster, and a horrifying amalgamation of souls pressed into one very uncomfortable elf, and we're the good guys. . .

Despicable little idiots—but churn one like butter, and money comes out.

Ye gads, I love that line more than I should.

5246058 You too, I see

In my current campaign we're stuck in an idyllic small town during a faire day Groundhog Day style and my character (the paladin) has in no uncertain terms told the rest of the party they shouldn't bother trying to end the cycle and should simply enjoy themselves. It certainly doesn't help that the campaign we're playing has a world where just about everyone is either so beaten down that they walk around mostly soulless, or is just evil and corrupt enough that they don't mind taking advantage of the shitty world they live in. This dream is by far the best place my character has been in the entire time he's been trapped in this hellish realm and he's not shy about finally enjoying a respite from getting the spiritual shit kicked out of him at every turn.

Sometimes it's not just about going along for the ride or just doing whatever the party wants. Sometimes your character just gets the chance to speak through you and it may be surprising what they want to say.:twilightsheepish:

Playing DnD can be fun and great stress relief if you're willing to let yourself get into it. It certainly sounds like you've got the spirit of your character down. Now you simply have to get out of his way when it comes time to play. I'm not saying that's easy, hell I've been playing DnD for well over a decade and it can still be difficult for me to do. But if you're relaxed and with friends, then it doesn't really matter how well you play the game so long as you're making it more fun for everyone there, and from everything I've seen of you, I doubt that particular criteria will be a onerous burden. :rainbowwild:

I hope that you'll take the time to regale us with some further stories of Casimir and what your group gets up to. Often times sessions can become great fodder for their own tales, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear them from you.

Here's hoping things get better for you.

Good luck, Aragón!

Basically all of my actual-DnD-systems experience is with single-player computer RPGs, but my RPG group has been having tabletop games online over text chat (IRC, except in the group's early days) nearly every week for over nine years now; our longest single campaign ran from July 2014 to April 2018, and it was part of a trilogy starting November 2012 and ending October 2019. And I'm one of the two members who was there for our very first session and is still actively playing now, and I've been in almost all of them in between, mostly as a player but currently, and once before, as GM for our current main campaign.
Meanwhile, my writing output is, uh... yeah, not quite as extensive, to put it very, very mildly.
So I'd definitely agree that the ability to write stories and the ability to even also just in text act are not the same thing.
I hope you have fun, though! There are a lot of different ways to play out there, and it's definitely possible for a group to like and work well with yours! :D

You were right. That was a very Aragon story. In the very finest Aragonic tradition. Filled with one-liners that won't stay dead, along with characters you feel like you should punch, but somehow don't want to.

Lebeda? Surtova? Those are from Brevoy! In Golarion! You are playing pathfinder, aren't ya!

The real question now is if your DM is running Kingmaker, or his own thing in the same region...

If little Casimir asked you to throw this baby down the stairs, you’d do it, you’d believe it was the right thing to do, and the gods would agree.

To be fair, the gods have approved of murdering babies since Cronus eating Zeus at the latest, and that was his own baby. (The only difference between gods, titans, and protogenoi is a generation gap each, at least as far as the DnD definition of godhood is concerned)

through the alley
back from hell
WHEN you hear that steeple bell
You will say goodbye

(such good taste in music, Aragon :raritywink: )

It's a little more acceptable in D&D, especially when it's your first time and you aren't the DM.


Every time I get slaughtered like this in my own comments I understand why medieval kings hired a court jester to drag them through the fucking ground every time they opened their mouths.

Yeah, the entire point of the court jester was to be the guy who could insult the king to his face without being punished for it, because even in those days they understood the danger of echo chambers.

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