It was immediately clear to me that something was missing in my new career as a professional streamer. And, no – I know what you’re thinking – it wasn’t a dedicated following full of enchanted viewers. Chasing viewers is for people who don’t already have them, and I have a well-deserved zero, thank you very much.
It wasn’t skill.
No, what I was missing was something to take the edge off the jarring starts and stops that wrapped each stream – and I knew just what to do.
The first step was to figure out how on Earth to use After Effects. Whether I succeeded at that remains hotly debated, but I did manage to cobble together an intro video.
Realizing only then that future streams would feel unacceptably lopsided, I panicked and threw together a quick closing video as well.
You, loyal reader, may recall that I have spoken from time to time of Percy Animé, my D&D character. In fact, a picture I painted of him sits framed behind me as I type.
Well, truth be told, I also painted a picture of different character—Gorf: a small frog-man with a penchant for stealing swords from his handsomest companions. And, yes, he is wearing a turtle-shell shield strapped to his back.
His catch phrase, as I’m sure you can imagine is: I am Gorf. Tell me your name and I shall tall you mine.
Disclaimer: Gorf was a created and played by acclaimed game developer Daniel Garma, who informs me that he is a member of the “Grung”.
March 2020 will forever be remember by the world for at least one thing: the introduction of Percy Animé – inquisitive rogue; catman; avid journaler. Alignment: neutral, to avoid scientific bias.
Coincidentally it’s also when I joined a D&D campaign.
But who is Percy Animé?
As a kitten Percy was “adopted” by a hag. And though he eventually escaped, he is still haunted by his time with her.
To learn more about him, we need only inspect these few pages from his journal that I found, torn and stained, in a dusty alley somewhere in the dank side of Waterdeep:
Percy clicked the last ring into place and the whole thing came apart in his hands. Huh. Simpler than I expected, he thought. The rough stone at his back dug its way into his awareness as he absently reassembled the puzzle. He pushed himself off the wall and was midway through tossing it into the depths of the alley when the most intriguing thing caught his eye.
A group of ne’er-do-wells entering a tavern, artfully painted with the filth of hard travel. There were five of them, mixed in amongst the rabble. All strangers from the looks of it, apart from two. Those two looked similar enough to be brothers, though it’s difficult to tell with half-dragons.
What were they doing in Water Deep, he wondered. What were they up to?
Percy smiled, ever so slightly. An astute observer might have just glimpsed his needle-sharp teeth.
What was a self-respecting tabaxi to do, but investigate further?
Slipping into the tavern, he edged along the wall as he took in its layout. The group of ne’er-do-wells stood facing one of their number, a human female, whose back was to the bar. Integrating into the group was as simple as weaving his way through the common-folk, caught up in their own lives. Planting himself just close enough, and just far enough away, for it to be ambiguous as to if he were with them or not. He focused on the female human as she began to speak.
“Introductions are in order.” She paused. “I am Zelinas Havellyn, member of the Knights of the Shield. We specialize in legal services. And debt collection.”
She raised her voice noticeably, presumably so as to carry to the rest of the tavern’s occupants. “So if you’re looking for legal services, look no further than the Knights of the Shield.”
“Now, if you would please tell me a little about yourselves.” She nodded to one of the towering half-dragons.
“My name is Sasuto, practitioner of the blade. It is all I have in this life.” He had two, in fact. Along with horns, and red scales which glinted despite the tavern’s glooms.
The matching half-dragon, but for a third sword and deep, black scales, sighed. He finished the drink in his hand and spoke next.
“I am Roronoa, master of the blade. Sasuto is my brother.” He grumbled.
Brothers. He’d never doubted it.
“Hi! My name is Chadley and I’m an acolyte of Semuan.” Wide-eyed and with a cheerful grin, he looked to be half-elven. Or perhaps a dainty human.
The last of them – a firbolg – rumbled, “I am Gygg. Druid of the spores.”
“Anyone else?” Zelinas asked, looking directly at Percy.
“Umm..” I should have seen this coming. Surely they’d see through his deception and mark him as the imposter he was. Surely. And then he’d have to injure one of them and flee. Perhaps Chadley, he looked feeble.
Percy’s mind briefly caught up in plans and contingencies, none of them ideal. There was nothing for it. He had to double down and hope they hadn’t noticed the interminable pause.
“Yes, it is I! Percy Animé. Famed catman of diverse interests and great skill.” He nodded to each of his presumed companions in turn.
Zelinas nodded back, and Percy let out a nearly audible sigh of relief. He hadn’t truly expected that to work.
— Percy Animé’s private journal
I’m sure there must be more, hidden away somewhere. He’s reported to be a cagey cat. Perhaps it’s buried, or knowing Percy, he probably zagged, storing somewhere no one would expect. What’s the opposite of buried? No. There’s no way it could be in a cloud. Are there spells for that?
Just how handsome is he?
In short, very. There are no known pictures of Percy Animé, so I took it upon myself to render a portrait of him in exacting detail, through the art of digital painting.
It looks a little washed out, printed on canvas. But now his portrait hangs behind me, in an elaborate wooden frame of custom make.
What has become of him?
Unfortunately there have been few sightings of Percy Animé since his time in Borovia; we only know that he left it alive, and well, if somewhat changed by his experiences there. Strangely however, there was a sighting of someone going by a similar name (Persy Von Catsing). This “Persy” looks suspiciously like Percy, but younger. He is a bard, or so I’m told.
If this seems strange and confusing, I was right there with you, but then I began to think. What if Percy isn’t tethered by time and space in the usual manner? What if he isn’t weighted down by them as we are?
It describes, at a high level, a background which takes another as its parameter. What if there are multiple versions of Percy Animé, free of the constraints of time and space. What if there are many Percy’s, but only one will prove suitable to be the Percy Animé.
It all started at Michael’s, as these things always do, with a box shaped like a book. You see I’d never played dungeons and dragons, but it turns out any DM worth her salt needs a way to roll her dice unobserved. The more sinister the receptacle the better.
Now I don’t know much about weddings, but I’m told presents are as important as presence, and sometimes more so. I think it has something to do with mitigating curses, but maybe I made that up.
There are so many options when it comes to wedding presents. I’ve learned from movies that toasters are always a good one. You can never have too many toasters. Or, you know, a towel or kitchen knife.
Useful. Decorative. But when it comes right down to it, boring. I decided to investigate further, and I’m glad I did because it turned up an unexpected fact. Turns out paintings are valid and even respectable wedding gifts.
I know! Imagine my surprise.
For various reasons (which I’d elaborate on if this post didn’t seem too wordy as is), a painting fit perfectly and moreover is what I decided to present. (more…)