I’m not one to brag.
I don’t usually do it.
But, I’ve been getting a lot of compliments lately and, as my husband so eloquently said: “You should write about that.” So here we are.
Compliments. That’s not a weird thing, I know. People get compliments all the time, right?
But, when your father’s compliments are sweet, pleasant gems like: “You look good. That’s new.” and “Did you lose weight? You’re not as fat as you usually are.” you understand why some nice, no-strings-attached compliments from someone other than my wonderful husband, and adorable children, is a big deal.
So as I was sifting through my personal messages on the Paizo website the other day, I read one that included the words, “I was taking a look through your Paizo profile…and just noticed who you are!”
Huh? I thought. Do I know this person from real life? Have I horribly offended them in the past in some way?
He knew me from something I’d created.
This is new for me.
On occasion, Paizo announces design competitions on their blog. These are short, miniature competitions where fans are asked to create a stat block on a theme, or something similar. I’ve entered nearly all of them, and done quite well. The most recent one involved creating Eleven, from the wonderful television show Stranger Things, as a Pathfinder character. Any level, any class… Your choice. Make her. It was a ton of fun! There were a lot of great entries, with a few class variations. In an effort to duplicate her many abilities, most of the entries placed her between CR 6 and CR 11, with a few brave souls aiming for lower CR ranges. I put in a version of El that made her a young telekineticist 7/psychic 4 (click the Spoiler button beside meloriel!). My brother (Theron Pearroc) put in a version that made her a young psychic bloodline sorcerer 9/loremaster 5 that made great use of the technology guide and the lassitude spellblight.
The first design competition I entered, challenged the entrants to recreate the final villain from Book Five of the Reign of Winter Adventure Path: Rasputin Must Die! using the rules from Occult Adventures. As a huge fan of that adventure path, and all things occult, I had an absolute blast with that challenge, although the stat blocks high CR and the many new rules meant that it was quite challenging! I ended up making him a CR 17 occultist, but if you’ve never played Reign of Winter, be forewarned! Reading my entry (or any entry) will definitely cause you to go “WHAT?!?” and have one of the many great surprises of that Adventure Path spoiled! Beware the spoilers! I earned an honourable mention in that competition, which made me literally jump for joy. Yes, literally, literally. I got at least an inch of air (which is big for me. I don’t jump…)
Happily, this is how my friendly GM knew me. He liked my entry, and not only remembered it, but USED IT. As far as compliments from total strangers go, I don’t think there’s a nicer one than that. Something I made for a d20 game, USED. By someone other than me?! Gasp! Haha. (And there was much rejoicing!)
But, it’s the second design competition I entered which made me happiest. In it, we had to recreate one of Pathfinder’s many iconic characters, and make them evil. Delightfully, deliciously, evil. It was really enjoyable to participate, and in the end I made a cruel version of Lini, the gnome druid. And I won. Not only did I win some store credit that I used to purchase some awesome Pathfinder Society Scenarios (the shipping and duty fees are too high to make buying physical books from their website manageable for me), but I also won a custom avatar which I rock on the messageboards all the time. It was a blast.
Now, that’s not the only delightful compliment I’ve received regarding one of my creations lately. I’ve also received a lot in regards to a character I’ve made. Who? My first (and greatest) Starfinder Society character, Julakesh Starfist. Julakesh is a bold vesk solarian who’s strong, proud, and entirely full of herself. She’s prone to accidentally insulted her companions with her generous compliments, getting herself into fights too dangerous to pound with her fists, and generally making people laugh. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In fact, in that analogy she’s more of a spoon than a knife. But I love her. She’s among my most fun characters to play. Ever. And that’s saying something.
She’s has been called “hilarious,” “great fun,” and “absurd.” More than a few people have mentioned that they love her, with the sweetest being “<3 Julakesh all the time always!” (Here’s looking at you, ElektraDawns! You made my day! Haha.) She’s received personal invitations to join games, and people seem to be pleased to get to play with her a second time. Her recent acceptance of an invitation to a game included excited squealing and the ever-eloquent (and very flattering) exclamation: “Yayy!” But the best compliments I could have possibly gotten?
“On so many levels she is my favorite vesk character I’ve ever seen!”
“…one of the finest vesk characters I’ve seen played since Starfinder was published.”
Seriously. If either of you are reading this, you’re SO NICE.
Now, I’m not saying Julakesh is everyone’s cup of tea. She’s not. I’m sure some poor person she’s played alongside has wanted to tape her mouth shut, and break my fingers to prevent me from typing. But, I am saying, she’s brought some joy to people–myself included–and I hope she continues to do so as her Starfinder career continues.
So who is this, Julakesh anyway?
Julakesh Starfist is a fierce looking vesk with horns circling the top of her head like a spiked crown. Her scales are mottled black that never reflects light and bright white that almost seems to glow. She is well muscled and just under seven feet tall. Clearly a warrior! Curiously she bears only one weapon: a small azimuth laser pistol holstered on her hip. A glowing orb of bright white light hovers around her, following her wherever she goes. During battle she grasps the ball of light and it energizes her fists, making them surrounded by a blazing, bright white light.
Julakesh is brave, bold and adventurous. Like most of her kind she revels in the glory of combat and competition. She loves exploring new planets and—most especially—being off planet. She’s most at home in the depths of space and enjoys floating around with her jetpack outside the ship whenever it is stopped.
Before becoming a Starfinder, Julakesh was a vesk soldier. She spent most of her time policing residents and putting down rebellious behaviour among the barbarous feline humanoids on Vesk-6. She treated her charges with respect but revelled in the opportunity for glorious combat, or competition among her fellow soldiers. As she rose through the ranks her chances for combat increased, and eventually she was given the opportunity to join a combat vessel bound for a fierce battlefield on another planet. She accepted the honour with great enthusiam and left Vesk-6 for the first time since she joined the military.
Unfortunately, a solar flare and the subsequent coronal mass ejection struck their ship, causing most of the systems to fail and the nearly all of the crew to die. Of those few crew remaining, all of them were left changed—three suffered slow radiation poisoning, one’s scales turned a sickly brown, one lost more than half his muscle mass and two suffered terrible mutations. The energy from the corona bonded with Julakesh in a moment of intense pain, leaving her capable of using the very elements of the universe as a weapon—the power of gravity and the power of the stars. She was no longer Vesk, she was something other. Something greater.
Through luck and determination, Julakesh and her fellow ailing soldiers managed to steer the ship back to Vesk-6 where they were taken care of by the military doctors. Julakesh was cleared for active duty, but found the next few years of work unfulfilling. Although she enjoyed combat as much as she always had, her gaze was constantly drawn heavenward, she knew in her heart she belonged among the stars.
Eventually she left behind her promising military career and set out into the unknown on a passenger ship travelling to Absalom station. As they took off into the beautiful void of space, Julakesh finally felt at peace. This was where she belonged.
Her travels have taken her far and wide since then, but as much as she loves discovering and exploring new planets and stars, she’s always happiest in the void of space, surrounded by silence and stars. She has recently joined the Starfinders, in the Wayfinders, and is excited to push new boundaries and travel the unknown depths of space.
Her love of glory and battle shines through no matter the circumstances, not only from her bright exuberant smiles, but also from her loudly exclaiming her joy for all to hear. She’s easily confused by long words, and has absolutely no understanding of advanced technology. She hacks ‘puters’ with a fist, and never lies. She’s a happy, energetic soul, quick to laugh and often smiling. She doesn’t have much of a verbal filter, and her well-meaning compliments tend to insult her fellow Starfinders.
She offers pleasant and friendly greetings…
“Greetings, companions! The honour is YOURS!”
“You look at least half-competent! Wonderful! If you’re a quarter as capable as I am we’ll be a formidable team!”
“Hail, friend-bug! We shall soon break bread and bones together!”
She provides compliments and encouragement…
“You are not as feeble as I expected!”
She’s always ready for a good time…
“Ah! Yes! Let us hope there are terrifying beasts and dangerous traps within this ‘mainframe’ they spoke of! THAT WOULD BE GREAT FUN!”
She’s always willing to lend a helping hand…
“Yes! You are very meek and pathetic! Be happy we are here to make you a winner!”
“After my mission and befriending your many soft people, I will pound you into the dirt many times! This will make you stronger! You will know how to use your weapons, then!” She thumps her chest and smiles. “If you are lucky, you will then be as strong as a child among my people! A great accomplishment! You will see! You will be proud! Bring honour to your name!”
“Ah, yes! Puters! I know these! When they make noises I don’t like I punch them dead! Many of my fellows do not like this. They caress the puters instead, with fingers and some invisible force called coding. You are one of them, yes? A lover to puters?”
And she’s always ready for a fight…
“BRING YOUR FACE TO MY FISTS!”
“TO BATTLE, FRIENDS! IT IS TIME TO EARN OUR HONOUR! AHAHAHAHAAA!”
All in all, she’s one colourful character, and I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about her as much as I enjoyed sharing her with you today. If you’re one of the delightful people who have given me kind words about Julkaesh, thank you so much for the feedback! It means a lot. To read more about Julakesh, you can check out some of her previous play-by-post games, including The Commencement, and Yesteryear’s Truth. Or, pop in and check out her current misadventures, in The Dire GM’s Solar Sortie.
Until next time,
I wish you honour and glory (and more than a few laughs)!
3 thoughts on “Competitions and Compliments”
Who knew there’d be an intersection between two of my favorite players, Meloriel and Elektradawns?
Such flattery! Haha. Paizo has a surprisingly tight gaming community. It’s a small world!