A butterfly suspended in mid-air. Its wings spread, caught frozen in between flaps, brightly coloured like a kaleidoscope. Greens and blues and pinks and yellows and violets and even more colours in between. Beneath it, a sea of wild flowers just as vibrant, just as colourful and the wings, identically so even, trapped in a moment where the breeze had pulled at them, bending their stems and bowing their heads. It was only this shift in the flowers that allowed the butterfly to be seen at all, the colours that matched and camouflaged the insect moved aside to reveal it in a moment of inconsistency.
Just a moment, and then it would be gone again.
A stylus swished across the screen of the tablet, adding a dark line at the edges of the butterfly’s wing. Then it was gone, erased, as Sidney chose a thinner brush and repeated the motion; she wanted the butterfly to be visible, but not too obvious. No thick outline dividing it from the surrounding flowers, she wanted the incongruent colours to be the first thing people noticed, then the outline second. Something like that anyway.
Finishing the line work on the edges, Sidney moved on to the inner wing. These lines would be even thinner, dividing the wings up into patterns, each little section like the petal of a flower. Draw a line, draw another, erase it, draw it again, draw another, erase the first line, draw, draw, erase, start again. She set the stylus down next to her and swiped a finger across the screen, sliding the drawing away so she could look at her reference images again; butterflies, flowers, stained glass windows. Flower petals were uniform in shape, but also overlapping, butterfly wings were made up of inconsistent shapes, but the overall pattern was symmetrical and stained glass windows were usually made up of more angular pieces, but the placement of colours was a lot more purposeful. Sidney wanted a little of each of those qualities really, but nothing she drew looked right to her.
She ran a hand through her hair, brushing back the bangs over the left side of her face and huffed out a breath. On her left forearm, she caught a glimpse of the thing that had gotten her stuck in this rut in the first place; a brightly coloured butterfly drawn in faded marker ink directly onto her skin. A moment of fancy had led to her doodling it on herself yesterday afternoon, in between helping her parents get stuff setup for the festival, and she’d been in the mood to draw something unbearably colourful ever since. Sidney had sat down this morning looking to do just that, hoping to spend a few hours getting the groundwork out of the way before going out to meet her friends only to get caught up in it and now she was almost done.
Emphasis on almost. Frustrating, but, as long as she could get this finished before the festival she… wait, when did it get so dark outside?
Reaching for her phone, Sidney checked the time and jumped out of her seat. She rushed towards her closet, throwing the phone onto her bed and ignoring the missed calls and texts for now as she hurried to pick out something to wear.
By the time she made it to the festival grounds, Sidney definitely felt a little frazzled; she just hoped she didn’t look it as she tried to flatten her hair and brush down the creases in her hastily donned clothes. In her other hand she held her phone, trying to type out a text one handed to William to find out where he was. It had been ages since they’d hung out and she had wanted to catch up at the festival, until she nearly forgot and missed the whole thing.
”Hey, W, where are you?”
Putting her phone away, Sidney looked up just in time to avoid bumping into a familiar face. “Oh, Audrey. How’s it going?”
Leo shuffled his feet awkwardly. He was really starting to feel bad about asking all of this, given how real this conversation was getting; it was supposed to be about figuring out what a bunch of dumb kids were doing in the woods at night, not digging up a strangers’ bad memories.
Maybe that was the point, to throw him off track by making him uncomfortable so he’d stop digging deeper into… whatever was going on. He wasn’t so sure it was just a prank anymore, but he still wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of spirits being real; a little less of a sceptic than before, sure, but not willing to fully buy into it yet.
If it was just to get him to feel awkward, it was working. Leo decided to just drop this for now. If something like this happened again, he’d come looking for this girl and get some real answers from her, but for now… he’d just answer her question and leave.
“Short. Like, really short. Long dark hair, kind of purple tinted; it fell in front of her face, covered one eye, but that might just have been because of everything that happened.” That was really all he could remember. It was dark and he hadn’t been trying to remember what she’d looked like at the time. “She used some kind of snake deck. Oh, and she was limping when she left.”
✦ Age: 26 (plus 34 years post-death) ✦ Gender: Male ✦ Weapon: Claw Hammer – A simple workman’s tool with a broad, flat head on one side for hammering nails into wood and a hooked wedge on the other side for levering nails back out. The only thing noteworthy about its appearance is its pure matte black finish, but it is otherwise unremarkable. It does, however, have a power; like a regular hammer, it can be used to nail things down, though unlike a regular hammer it does not need any actual nails to do so. When the hammer strikes an object, if there is an suitable flat surface on the other side of the impact, the hammer can create a projection of a nail which will pin said object to said surface; though the nail has the appearance of piercing the object, it causes no actual harm to the object, aside from the fact it was struck by a hammer obviously. The larger the object the larger the nail required and the more energy required; the duration of the effect will also be shorter.
✦ Appearance: Ogawa is a rather unassuming individual, standing at 5’ 9” and having a fairly average build. His face is plain on inexpressive, his posture is slouched and almost lazy; even his chosen weapon as a Reaper is dull compared to most. The only thing that really makes him stand out from a crowd is the way he dresses; flashy, expensive looking suits, gold jewellery and watches, dress shoes shined to a reflective sheen. The same things he used to wear while he was alive, back when Japan’s bubble economy had yet to burst and reckless spending was at a high.
Ogawa raised the cigarette to his lips, taking a long drag and making the interviewer wait awkwardly until he was finished; intentionally so, if the deliberate eye contact was anything to go by. He exhaled, blowing a plume of smoke into the air above the table and watching as it slowly dispersed around the room. It was only the sense of anticipation between them, the feeling that an answer was coming, albeit slowly, that prevented the interviewer was asking again or moving to a different question. The pause felt thoughtful, rather than negligent.
“I don’t know.”
More silence followed and Ogawa took the time to take another drag, shorter this time, before stubbing out his cigarette in his ashtray. “Well, I have an idea. Bullet to the back of the head I assume.”
There was another pause, then the interviewer put pen to paper and the sound of the nib scratching across the notepad broke the quiet at last. “I was out on a job; nothing too serious, normal day-to-day stuff. Normal if you’re a Yakuza anyway. I had a couple of our guys with me, younger faces, practically kids, but I knew them; I’d worked with them before. Next thing I know I’m waking up here; just as sudden as that. Didn’t hear or feel a damn thing.”
Folding one leg over the other, Ogawa leaned back in his seat. “Pretty sure it was one of them; the guys with me I mean. It could have been someone else, another family or something. but we were in our own territory, weren’t on bad terms with any other groups beyond the usual and I didn’t see anyone coming; trust me, I’m pretty vigilant about that sort of thing.” The Yakuza-turned-reaper let out a sigh. “I would have seen an enemy coming. The fact that I didn’t probably means it was my own family that took me out and I don’t have any idea why. It also means they used some kid to do the hit, which pisses me off almost as much as the killing itself. Use a damn professional if you’re gonna take me out.”
The reaper let out a sigh, but it sounded more tired than angry; it was an old annoyance at this point.
“I guess that’s why I stuck around; wanting to find out why I was killed. That’s also why I became a Reaper as well; to have a better chance of finding answers, in between the work we do. Besides, being a Reaper isn’t that much different from being a Yakuza; you’ve just gotta follow orders and pay your respects up the ladder, and not worry about getting your hands dirty every now and then. It’s good work and I’d say I was good at that sort of thing but… you know.” Ogawa raised a hand to the side of his head and placed a finger against his temple to mime a gun, then rocked his head to the side as if mimicking being shot. “Had to have been a reason, right?”
✦ Magic Branch: Familiars – Ogawa’s magic is based around summoning temporary familiars in the form of animals to do his bidding. Using written spell talismans he is able to summon various animals to carry out his orders, usually scouting, but can also include tracking and fighting. In order to make the process of summoning smoother and more consistent, Ogawa has tattooed the forms of the animals he is able to summon onto his body; when he uses his magic the animals are created in the image of these tattoos, making them look more like living pieces of art than real creatures.
✧ Tsubame: a swift flying bird, particularly useful as a scout due to the bird-eyes view it can get. Ogawa has a tattoo of a sparrow on the inside of his left forearm. ✧Kitsune: a cunning canine, able to track spirits using its sensitive nose. Ogawa has a tattoo of a fox on the outside of his left bicep, appearing to chase the sparrow down his arm. ✧Hebi: a serpent, able to sneak its way into places his other familiars cannot, but isn’t much use otherwise. Ogawa has a tattoo of a snake coiling around his right forearm. ✧ Tora: a powerful predator, it is the only familiar Ogawa is likely to call on in a fight. Ogawa has a large tattoo of a tiger covering most of his back.
A big pillar of light in the forest. Feeling something that compelled you to go investigate. Leo wished he could dismiss all of this as some big joke, say that the Obelisk girl was just weird and that this girl was just going along with it for a joke, but unfortunately he couldn’t. Last night he’d felt something too, something that kept dragging his eyes towards the forest like he was going to see something out there. A strange feeling that told him that the missing students were somewhere out there.
Hell, now that he thought about it, that Pine guy said something about that too; a light in the forest. He’d ignored the dude at the time because, frankly, he was being an asshole about it, but he must have seen something too. Or he was in on the hoax with that Haruko girl; weren’t they dating or something?
Leo uncrossed his arms, stuffing one hand into his pocket as the other went to scratch at the back of his head awkwardly. Okay, maybe there was some truth to all this nonsense. But, if that was true, then didn’t that mean he could also kind of sense these things? He’d thought there was something off about the forest as well, even if he didn’t see this pillar everyone else did, but that still meant he could sense it a little bit, right? Unless it was just so big even normal people could feel it.
“So, err, how’s it going? The search for other people like you?”
Would you mind taking a quick look at my deck and letting me know whether the Side Deck seems "good enough"? Like I said, I'm not sure how those work, and I do know Battleguard isn't exactly intended to be a competitive archetype, but I'd be happy to play some duels!
Do you mean extra deck? Side decks are a different thing, that we aren't using.
It seems fine. It works for what you're going for, which is just Earth Warrior beat-down. I would say to take out Powerload Ogre because it being unaffected by card effects is above the power level we are going for. I will say that it is expected that people's decks will get stronger as the RP progresses, so it would be good if you had an idea in mind for how to build off of this; or just another deck you can switch to at a later point.
EDIT: Also, what simulator do you use?
Dueling Nexus mostly, but if there's another one that you would prefer then we can use that instead.
Are you running these games on Discord over some online program? Do you intend to? And are the decks expected to be competitive in that regard, or are the lists just for the sake of the characters having a gimmick?
Duels are taking place on Discord and can be done either over an online simulator, or on Discord itself; if you choose the latter then either Ryik of myself will tell you what your draw is for each turn and you will play it out like a real duel. In other words, duels are not scripted and it is expected that you will make your deck good enough to at least be able to compete with other players' decks.
We're not making modern, meta decks though. You don't need to make it super competitive, but it does help to make a deck that is consistent enough to work in a real game.
(In other words, do I need to learn what Xyz, Link and Tuner cards are?)
You don't have to use any mechanics you don't want to use, but other players are using these types of cards so it would help to know how they work for when you duel against them. If you have any questions around rulings or things like that then I can help with that.
Crossing his arms across his chest, Leo stared at the abrasive Ra. So this girl was just going to feed him the same story as the other one huh? He resisted the urge to scoff or roll his eyes, feeling like the conversation would end immediately if he did so.
Alright, sure; spirits. The idea wasn’t any more believable now than it was then, but this girl clearly wasn’t going to tell him anything else if he didn’t at least play along. Besides, she was saying it seriously enough that it didn’t sound like a joke and she didn’t seem like the kind of person who just believed in fairy tales; too intense for that.
“Alright, fine. Spirits are real. So what was everyone doing in the wood last night? The other girl said she felt something from her room?”
Personality Description: More than anything, Sidney tries to be a laid back individual; someone who doesn’t stress out about things, who is adaptable and capable of rolling with whatever comes her way. She doesn’t always manage to do this, but it is what she aims for. As far as she is concerned this is the best way to get through life, to remain open to its opportunities and be able to roll with its punches. On top of this she tries to be caring; to be empathetic and helpful. There isn’t enough of that.
Aside from this she is an inquisitive and adventurous person, someone who is always interested in and looking for new experiences, new information. She hopes that such experiences will help to drive her creative passions and even if they don’t, she might discover something cool regardless.
Physical Description: Sidney is above average height at 5’ 7” and has a fairly average build, leaning a little more towards being stocky; she isn’t particularly athletic and is lacking in visible muscle tone. Her skin is pale, the type that burns more easily than it tans, and she had green eyes. She has a round face, button nose and dimpled cheeks.
Her hair is auburn, wavy and she keeps her bangs cut unevenly, so that they are longer on the right side than the left; this is done so that she can keep the right side tucked behind her ear on the right side but let her bangs hang down on the left. She had three piercing along the lobe of her right ear. In terms of clothing Sidney usually prefers to wear baggy, comfortable clothing; oversized shirts with the buttons left open over a plain t-shirt of vest, worn down, faded or ripped jeans and a pair of worn in boots. She is a big fan of flannel and canvas as the materials; the former for shirts and the latter for backpacks and jackets.
Someday Sidney wants to have a tattoo, lots of tattoos actually, but until she is old enough to get one she will usually have some kind of artwork drawn onto her left forearm; drawn by herself is washable marker or felt tip pen. The design will vary depending on whatever she felt like drawing that day.
Backstory: Sidney may not be able to claim that she’s descended from one of the founding families like some of the other kids in town, but she’s a local through and through and family have been living in New Hope since at least her great grandfather’s days. Her parents run a local coffee shop in town, the kind of place that sells drinks, baked goods or just gives people a quiet place to hang out. When they first set it up they used to run to by themselves, but nowadays there’s usually a high school kid or two behind the counter, working part time or as a summer job. Sidney will sometimes help out as well, if they’re short-handed, but this doesn’t happen too often.
Instead, when she’s not working on school stuff or spending time with her friends, she spends most of her time working on her art; drawing, sketching, sometimes painting. There isn’t much else for her to do in a place like New Hope, small as it is, but even if there was she would probably still spend all of her time with a pencil or a stylus in hand. She has a collection of notebooks that she’s filled with all kind of stuff, some of it going back years, but recently she’s taken up digital artwork instead. It’s more convenient, less messy and honestly gives her way more opportunities to do this professionally in the future.
It makes it easier to upload her art online as well and keep a record of it; the best of what she draws gets posted to Twitter of Instagram, the rest just gets thrown onto the cloud and forgotten about. Her drawings attract a decent amount of attention and lately Sidney has even begun taking on the occasional commission; the money isn’t much, mostly because she doesn’t feel right charging too much for her work, but the chance to earn doing something she’d be doing anyway is nice. Once she graduated Sidney wants to go to college and study art somewhere, then move out to a big city where she was pursue it as a career. Not as an ‘artist’ exactly, her stuff will never be seen hanging in a gallery, but maybe as an illustrator of a graphic designer.
Hopefully that plan works out, because it’s not like she has a back-up plan if it doesn’t.
Notable Connection: Bryan Malcolm (Father) – Co-owner of the coffee shop that her family runs. Affable and good natured, Sidney gets her positive disposition from him. Sarah Malcolm (Mother) – Co-owner of the coffee shop, alongside her father. The sterner of the two, it was her who first sparked Sidney’s interest in art and who encouraged her to start making some of her own. William Mencia (Adventuring Buddy) – A long-time friend and the grandson of the man that her parents buy their baked good from to sell in their coffee shop. They share an interest in art, they share a sense of adventure and they share a desire to see more of the world.
Respond to these prompts in character: You're in class and the Fire Alarm goes off. Everyone begins to panic. “I guess I’d try and calm people down, but, I don’t know why everyone would panic when we literally have drills for this reason. If I can’t get people to listen then, I don’t know, I’d just leave; follow the drill. Then at least I could let a teacher know to go back and get everyone.”
You've made plans to go to the festival and are running late, but may make it in time to see the fireworks with your friends. On your way, you see a stranger with a flat tire on the side of the road. “I’d feel bad about it but I would just keep going. I don’t know anything about changing a tire so it’s not like I could help even if I wanted to. I’m all for being a Good Samaritan and all, but there’s not much point if there’s nothing you can contribute.”
You fall asleep in class and begin to dream; you're atop a ruined tower and a massive dragon circles overhead. You reach for... “My pencil. It’s not every day you get to see a dragon, so I’d try and sketch it and get the image down on paper as soon as I could. Although, it is a dream, so maybe I’ll draw a sword and slay the dragon to save the kingdom or something. I don’t know; that seems like the kind of thing you’re supposed to do.”
The world is so boring; you wish you had a super power. What do you wish for? “Flying. I definitely want the power to fly; it’d be so convenient to just be able to fly wherever and it would be super cool to see things from a new perspective. A literal bird’s eye view. Or maybe teleportation; there’d be so much potential in just being able to… go. Wherever, whenever, anywhere you want.”
You are suddenly reminded that tomorrow is the Midterm Exam. “I’ve never completely forgotten about an exam before so, I don’t know? Call in sick and study for the make-up test? Do they do make-up tests for Midterms? I guess I’d just wing it and do my best.”