Retired: Ellywyn Mirnug
Game: Dungeons & Dragons 3.5
Episodes Played: ~50
Theme Song: King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men
Keywords: Hopeful, moral, amusing
Back when I was first living in Toronto, my then-partner started a group of gamers and called them the Association of Ryerson Roleplayers and Gamers... or... ARRG. It was a university gaming club and that's where I met Mina. Mina has been and continues to be my go-to for any game I want to play that's kinda crunchy. For years, that meant 3.5. Nowadays she dabbles in other games, and I'm super excited for Fate of the Norns in January.
But I joined a game of 3.5 D&D in the setting of Sandstorm. When asked what I wanted to play, I picked up where I had left off from my 2nd Ed game and wanted to play a gnome bard. Fuck I love bards. I love that there's a class designed to help keep the peace in a game most people play as murder hobos. I didn't know any of the players or the GM, except for my then-partner. Regardless of the thoughts on bards, I played one anyways.
I made Ellywyn Mirnug. She was a delightfully charming storyteller who focused on keeping records of the wildly changing times she lived in. Elly readily joined the party, for reasons I honestly can't remember, and began a fantastic adventure filled with drama, pirates, gods, wererats, and every sort of dragon possible.
This was during a time when I had little interest or understanding of indie rpgs and no concept of story focused gaming. I was into roleplaying but had been playing mostly D&D. So Elly was everything I figured a gnomish bard should be. She was chatty, honesty, the heart of the party, and so small no one would listen to her. Though no one listened, she often tried to mitigate the damage of arguments by talking sense.
Repeatedly her friends were killed and returned to life. Even as they saved the world and began to become called on by gods themselves, Elly remained a stalwart beacon of hope in a continued darkness. Her diplomacy scores were higher than I'd like to admit, and when she grew as much as she could as a bard, I cross-classed her into Cleric. Which is kinda the path my own life took as well. At the time it was because we needed a healer and I wanted to take a prestige class that required a higher Wisdom than Elly ever had.
As she became a cleric, she became the chosen of Garl Glittergold and played witness to the heroics of her friends. Elly wasn't a hero. She was there to observe and tell their story later. In fact, she wrote everything down as they traveled so she could tell the world what had happened and what would happen. I didn't realize at the time that she was Witness, but now, as an adult, I definitely understand her purpose in that story.
However, her friends died. Repeatedly. We were usually finding a way to bring someone back from the dead, and that eventually took its toll on Elly. A sort of grey depression began to sink into her and she felt defeated. Sure, they were going to win. They were chosen ones. They had the odds stacked in their favour. People were their followers. Still, it was the end of a journey Elly was all too happy to leave.
Every time I played her at the end I could feel the exhaustion in her bones. That, and she didn't want anything to do with her friends anymore. She wanted to leave. She wanted to live in the desert by herself and never be seen again.
The game ended and in my mind, Elly retired to the middle of no where, in a small happy little hut and stopped being known. There was a story she needed to tell, and she wrote it down and then never wanted to think about it again. I hope that's what happened with her.
There was no challenge in mind with Elly. She was one of my first long-standing characters. I just wanted gnome and bard. I wanted a happy character that wanted to talk to people instead of immediately fighting. She hated fighting. She didn't even attack people. All she did was inspire courage and listen to her teammates. I'd like to think she was an early prototype for what kind of games I wanted to play and the kind of characters I'd head towards. She was caring, outgoing, and playful. These are elements that commonly are found in most of my characters.
Elly will always have a special place in my heart. Her intensity and force of will were, of course, big parts of me, like all first time characters. I've learned a lot from playing her, and it helped me learn a shit tonne more about 3.5... which isn't a bad thing.