My career as a roleplayer started off with me being the Dungeon Master in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I’m not sure if I was a particularly good one, as I never felt as if I had a good handle on the rules. There was also the occasional fighting between the party members, about rules and decisions made, about players powergaming, as well as some fighting between the party members regarding entirely different matters; I recall prior to a session two of the group members had had an encounter, with one of them hitting the other in the arm with a steel pipe or some such. I’m not sure if either of them showed at that session.
Since then, there have been a couple of attempts at playing the newer, non-advanced Dungeons & Dragons together with my new roleplaying friends (who fortunately do not hit each other with steel pipes), with me being a player rather than a DM. For the latest attempt a year or two ago, my original idea was to play a half-orc priest who worshipped the drow deity of ooze, Ghaunadaur, as I found the concept of an ooze god to be delightfully absurd, and could lead to some fun creative religious customs. This would also allow me to utilize the pun, “I have come to spread the good ooze!” and variants thereof. But as my character would then have to be evil, as the deity had an evil alignment, and with two others of the four participating players planning on playing evil characters as well, the idea was scrapped in favour of playing a good character to try to keep the campaign from becoming a conjunction of increasingly depraved acts . (Though as it turned out, only one player ended up actually playing an evil character in the end.)
So in an act of masochism I chose to play a young half-elf druid instead, despite generally loathing elves. I’m not that fond of druids either; they are like the hippies of the fantasy genre, being all about free love, wildlife preservation, and hemp. To make my character more bearable, and to keep my soul from exploding, my concept for her was that of a valley girl. Thus Sassandra, aka. “Sissy”, was born. I’m not sure to what extent I was successful at playing out the valley girl idea though, and whether or not my conception of what it means to be a valley girl might be mistaken. But I generally tried playing her as being cheerful, naïve, and devoted. For some reason, she also ended up having sex several times with the bard of the group (hi Kristian!), hopefully making the other players feel a bit awkward and embarrassed.
To go with my character, I decided to try writing a halfway entertaining background story, which I’ve been wanting to post here for a while. As we’ll be making yet another attempt at a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, now seems appropriate.
The Story of Sissy
Hiya! I’m Sassandra, or ”Sissy” for short. My friends call me that. Though, it’s been a while since I’ve really spoken to my friends. I guess I have new friends now. If I can call them friends… It’s hard to tell at times. And they don’t call me Sissy for short, either.
Anyway, moving on! (Or “I digress” as the elders prefer to say.) I’m a druid. Just like my father was. Or, at least I think he was. That’s what my mother told me. You see, he’s an elf. Yes, a genuine elf! That’s pretty cool, huh? But I never met him myself. He left before I was born. My mother doesn’t like to talk about him much. Whenever I ask about him she gets this sad look in her eyes (can you get a look in your eyes? Sounds kinda weird), which makes me feel pretty bad. She usually spaces out, or tries to change the topic. I have managed to learn a thing or two about him though, like the fact that I’m apparently named after his mother. (Though, strictly speaking, that isn’t really something I’ve learned about him, I guess…) I wonder if her friends used to call her Sissy, too?
Anyway, moving on (or digressing) again, he left, and my mother pretty much raised me on her own. I guess he had some important elf errands to run. You know, elves are known for being able to live, like, hundreds of years – maybe even thousands of years! So I wonder if, like, their experience of time is totally different from ours? Maybe he just told my mother “I’m stepping out to get some fresh air, I’ll be back in a minute”, then fifty years later he returns and is all like, “Whew, that fresh air did me good!” I wonder how my mother would react to that. I’m sure my father had a good reason for leaving, though. I bet he was a nice person, even if I’m kind of mad at him for leaving my mother and for leaving me. But I don’t think druids are all that good at this family stuff, you know.
So my mother raised me all by herself. As my father was an elf, that makes me a half-elf: half human, half elf. The best of two worlds! I haven’t really had any problems with it, except for some of the means boys being mean at times, calling me names like “Little Miss Pointy Ears”. Some of the girls, too. And asking stuff like, “Where’s your daddy today, huh? Is he coming back soon?” That’s really mean. So I spent a lot of time in the forest, and I had a couple of hiding places I used to avoid the other kids. (Though some of them were nice when they weren’t teasing me, kinda.) I remember I used to walk around, looking at the trees and plants (or do trees qualify as plants, too? I think they deserve their own mention anyway – they’re huge!). I got a book from my mom (which she’d borrowed from one of our neighbours) and I tried to see if I could identify any. It was so peaceful and fascinating.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget the animals! They were a bit shy at first, as was I, and I had a couple of bad encounters – like when I had hid in the burrow of a badger but without knowing it, and that one time with the squirrel. I tell you, I couldn’t as much as look at nuts for days after that! But there was this fox momma – a vixen – who let me play with and help look after her cubs. That was really rewarding and cool. She even one time helped me shake off those stupid boys. I got more familiar with the animals in the forest and I made some really good friends. Though they weren’t all that good at calling me Sissy for short either, but that’s just the language barrier you know.
Guess I had a love of animals and nature from pretty early on. And what’s there not to love? They won’t tease you, and if you treat them right and know how to handle them they’ll even help you! Nature has a lot to offer – like berries! If there wasn’t for nature, there’d be no berries. I don’t think many people think about that. There’s a lot of neat stuff that wouldn’t be around if there wasn’t for nature. For example, without nature we wouldn’t have chairs. That would make dinner parties pretty uncomfortable.
That’s what druids – people like me – do. I mean, not dinner parties (at least not very often), but they make sure that the nature will be there tomorrow, and for all the tomorrows to come. They protect nature, making sure it doesn’t come to harm. There are evil forces out there which aren’t fond of berries, and who want to spoil the berries for everyone else. Druids also look out for animals as some of those evil forces also dislike squirrels and other rodents. (Are squirrels rodents? Are bats rodents? Got to remember to look that up.) And that’s what I’m going to devote my life to do.
You see, there are a few druids who spend some time in the forest near my village – or my ex-village, I should say. I only mean that I no longer live there though! Ex-village sounded kind of evil, like I torched it down or something, with the evil laughter and everything. “Mwa ha ha! You pathetic fools! You should have known better than to mess with the great Sassandra who’s really great!!! Go forth, my zombie minions! Like, desecrate the survivors and stuff! Feast upon their innards! Their suffering shall be used to both summon forth and quench the great forgotten gods of old, their screams of mercy heralding forth a new era of darkness, their blood -”
[The sentence trails off, several pages appears to be missing.]
“- R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”
Sorry, got a bit carried away. Guess my imagination got the better of me. Ha ha! Anyway, doing some of that digressing again; a friend of my father visited my mother now and then. Ever since I was little. He was an elf. He used to scare me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile, always looking all serious like. He’d ask about me, and he saw me as I grew up, and thought I could grow up to be a druid someday – just like my father. That I had what it took. So he took me in, becoming my mentor… master… guy.
His name is Elohir. He is one of the druids who does druid stuff real close to my ex-village. He taught me how to be a druid, how to become one with nature, how words were meaningless and how the rustling of leaves was the only language that made any sense, and what berries I shouldn’t eat. He also got to learn more about my rich elven heritage – did you know elves have more than twenty words for pointy? (All of which I guess are meaningless…) And he introduced me to the other druids of the High Forest – my elders. They have their own little Circle (which is what they call a bunch of druids living kind of close to one another (by druid standards) and who’re friendly toward one another (again by druid standards) and share news and gossip and help each other out and stuff – circle with a capital C, and they don’t seem to like it when I call it a “little Circle” – oh, and druids usually have an odd way of being friendly, but anyway!) which I will be joining when my training is done and I’m a proper druid. That’ll be pretty cool! I’ve never been in a capital-C Circle before. Maybe they’ll start calling me Sissy for short! (But I think it might by un-elder like. We’ll see.)
I have tried learning more about my father from Elohir, but he doesn’t want to talk about it much. He doesn’t really want to talk much about anything at all, really. He doesn’t like words very much. It makes it harder to hear the rustling of the leaves, I guess. I think I like the yips of foxes better though, and the squawking of birds, the howls of wolves, and the snuffling of hedgehogs. (But I don’t like the squishy sound a mouse makes when you accidentally step on it and I hope I’ll never hear it again – I’m really really sorry, mister mouse!) But I think I’m starting to kind of hear it… Maybe I’ll get it when I’m older.
He keeps talking about how balance must be maintained, though. How death is a natural part of life. How it’s natural and good that things die. I think death is really, really sad. I totally get that Faerun would be totally full if nothing ever died, but if I can save a bunny from death shouldn’t I do it? If I can stop a forest fire from happening shouldn’t I do that too? Druids are supposed to protect nature and animals and stuff, not just watch bad stuff happen and say it’s a part of life. I really don’t get it and I really don’t want to see all those beautiful and lovely things disappear and just watch as it happens… I guess there are some things I need to prevent and some things I need not to prevent, but drawing the line isn’t easy.
Anyway, I’m learning some amazing stuff, and I’ve seen things I couldn’t even dream of! And I’ve had some crazy dreams! Even if I don’t understand everything yet, and even if Elohir and the other druids I meet could maybe be a bit more friendly and chatty and be less of a bunch of serious and frumpy glumpusses, I’m really happy with my life right now and what it is I’m doing and of how I’ll (hopefully!) be able to make a big difference in the future and have my own area to protect from bad things.
With hugs and kisses,
(short for Sassandra)