Friday, May 20, 2011

Walking Tall

I took a walk the other day. This isn't super notable, people walk all the time. I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I very much love the physical act of working out, but I hate how boring it is. I can't exercise to videos, because I find the people and programs boring and annoying. Listening to energetic music like Mindless Self Indulgence or The Blood Brothers or various metal bands can alleviate some of the mind numbing boredom, and podcasts work quite well too.

The best thing I've found though, if I can maintain the discipline and focus necessary to do it, is to explore my stories and my DnD plots while exercising and kind of separate the mind from the body. Most physical activity during workouts is repetitive and doesn't require a lot of forethought or consideration in my experience, at least not much thought beyond, "Is doing ten more crunches/push ups/etc going to leave me weak and groaning tomorrow?" Back to thinking. This is a great thing because my mind is engaged during the workout and I'm not doing the mental equivalent of mumbling "Blurg." for forty minutes or so. It is also great because it gets shit done.

While my ability to plan and adapt with my Hekinoe campaign has impressed even me at times, I am not what you'd call an ideal planner. I tend to start things, like my stories, willy nilly with little thought for the eventual outcome of events. While I'm not going to expose the whole behind the curtain situation of Hekinoe, suffice it to say that sometimes, I don't have everything planned out and am forced to adapt and alter the way things interact in the story of my campaign. 

So on this walk, I spent a lot of time thinking about Hekinoe and my formerly titled The Last Blade story, a name which continues to make less and less sense as the years go on, considering the major alterations to the naming and canon of the background material. Anyway.

During this walk, I was able to come up with a pretty epic (in scope) capstone for this particular campaign. This capstone for the campaign is entirely dependent upon my players paying attention to their surroundings and being willing to venture outside the walls of Meroteth, and perhaps the borders of The Known World. These are two things that were not exactly their forte during the previous campaign. Again, I don't want to allow anyone too much of a view behind the curtain, but I have a fifty year timeline for events that occur over the next fifty years across the face of Hekinoe (including places they have never even heard of that have not even been listed in the wiki, I am adamant that this world is not on pause until the players show up, and stuff happens whether or not they are there to see it) and how those events can be affected by or affect the players and how their actions or inactions alter the outcome of this campaign finale event. 

While the players ignoring the epic plot is not ideal, I have contingency plans for that as well. If there is no way to involve them with this plot (at least not without giving them a wise and mysterious quest giver, which I will not do), well, the consequences are dire, but I think I am ok with the potential outcome. Shit happens. If they do get involved with the epic plot, and fail, well, that would be bad. I have a contingency plot for that too, heh, and it is probably even more epic and kind of awesome. Jeremy would get a kick out of it I think.

Now, not all of the above is a result of my focused, undistracted, thought process during my walk. It was the walk that allowed me to weave it all together into an end game though, and I think how it all gelled together is pretty cool. I'm pleased with the whole process and what came of it. 

Back to Keroen Skathos for a moment. I spent some time thinking about him as well. If you've been paying attention to the blog and some of the stuff I've posted here, specifically, The One-Eyed Man story, you know by now that Keroen Skathos = Cenn the Reaver. If I've spoiled everything for you now, bummer, you should have payed closer attention to details. Hehe.

There is this one detail of Keroen Skathos, a defining feature that I spent some time thinking about. He has this thick, curved line of scar tissue on his forehead, kind of starting between his eyebrows and arcing over above his left eye. When he gets angry or the bloodlust comes upon him, the scar splits open and begins dripping blood and shit gets all balls to the wall bloody and dismembered. 

A long time ago I decided that Keroen Skathos received that wound as an injury from an ally. I noted that and saved it in the labyrinthine areas of my mind where I store a wiki of shit that has no good place to put it in the written world. After noting it, I proceeded on with the story and didn't spend one second ever thinking about the details of how the scar got there, beyond who put it on his face in the first place. I just figured that all those niggling little details would get figured out when I eventually wrote the story that the injury happens in.

Spoiler Alert: I never wrote that story. At least not beyond the first four chapters or so. Heh.

Seven years or so later, on a walk the other day, I settled upon the details of the injury, why it was put there in the first place by the ally, and what its overall purpose is for modern Keroen Skathos. It was this line of thought that eventually led my mind into the lines of thought that came up with the finale event/plot/whatever of  this current Hekinoe campaign.

So there is a story about me and my fat ass and some walking and planning I did. Huzzah.

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