Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nowhere

Friday or Saturday, June 13 or 14, 1650

Delfig awakes, uncertain as to where he is.

To begin with, he has been stripped of most of his clothing. He has a shirt, and a loin cloth, and breeches. Nothing else. His feet are bare.

All is utter darkness. He can feel stone under his hands and against his knees. The blindness is disconcerting, as he literally cannot see his hand in front of his face. But after some minutes, he begins to perceive that the there a very narrow band of light that can be identified on his right ... he moves towards it, and finds that it is the slit under a door - he can feel the wood on this fingers, and can feel the depth of the slit. It is nothing more than a quarter of an inch. He presses his face to the floor, and cannot make his eye close enough to the floor to see through the slit. The very dim light seems steady, but he can tell nothing more about it.

An examination of the door first reveals that there is no doorknob, on either the left side of the wooden slab or the right. But after a time, Delfig finds a wooden flap, which he can lift - peering through it, he can see a gently lit hall, about ten feet long, reaching away from the door. He can see no other doors in the hall, nor any torches ... but clearly the light he sees comes from torchlight, from somewhere beyond his sight. The light of the hall is no more than one might find in a dark room on a moonless night - for the walls are not yellowed with light, but blue-black. Just enough that he can make out the shape of the hall, and its features - but nothing else.

He might call out, but no one comes. And when he surrenders the flap, and looks around him again, he will find his eyes have adjusted somewhat, to the degree that the cell he is in - for it is a cell, about 8 feet by 6 - is lit almost as well as the hall outside. The source of this light proves not only to be the door, but also an opening in the ceiling - unobserved previously. This opening is about six inches square, and by looking up through it, Delfig can see a hint of light, a reflection at best, that might be natural, although he cannot see the sky.

Delfig has nothing, nothing at all, except his clothes.

34 comments:

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Am I still at -6hp?)

I will look to see if I've been wounded, marked or if there is some sign of trauma or blood letting on my body.

Do I have my mental faculties and knowledge as a bard or was the loss of "bard" only due to going negative? Do I still retain my spells?

Alexis said...

Good question.

The likelihood is that you are, in fact, at about zero hit points. I reason that the creatures want you alive ... and for that reason steps have been taken to heal you. There would be no specific signs of trauma, and no, they have not drained any of your blood.

Blood has to be fresh. They probably are not interested in opening a gate at this time.

Yes, you have your faculties and knowledge as a bard. But you cannot throw spells without your instrument. The loss of 'bard' is only due to going negative.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(I didn't expect to be able to cast, since I don't have my instrument, but knowing if I'm a "bard" or not was important *chuckle* - I'll update my Charsheet to 0 hp.)

I will sit and listen. Just listen. Listen for movement, listen for voices, listen for any sounds that might give me an idea of where I am at.

I will also pray, to Jan and God, for either release from my fate or rescue.

I will do this until I'm either fed or pass out from exhaustion.

Is there a place or bucket for the obvious?

Alexis said...

After some examination, you will find a place in a corner, where a stone pulls out and reveals a four inch wide hole. It is the only thing that seems to meet with what you're looking for.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Alright. If it smells like that's the place, then that's the place.

I'll do what I had indicated previously until I'm fed or I fall asleep from exhaustion.

(I saw the note about busy day, no worries. I figure this is going to be an odd running thread with the imprisonment.)

Alexis said...

Yes indeed, food does come. There is a hammering on the door, and the flap opens. A plate is pushed through - it waits for Delfig to take hold of it.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will take the plate. "May I have water?"

I will inspect the plate and what is on the plate.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Has been a busy week)

A leather waterskin, in not very good shape, is thrust into the small hole. Whomever the guard is, no sound or answer is given.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(I figured - no worries.)

I'll take the waterskin and plate. I'll smell the food carefully and water carefully.

Does either smell like it's been poisoned or has a medicinal smell?

Alexis said...

Neither ... although identifying if it were poison is outside of your pervue.

The food does smell somewhat foul.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Nothing that smells like it would knock me out - I was thinking with my medical experience I might be able to identify anesthetics.

Ah well... I'll hold my nose and eat the food and drink the water.

What is the plate made out of?

Alexis said...

I think quite probably the plate would be made of iron.

Ah, forgot the medical experience; might be inside your pervue after all. But it becomes evident after quite a few hours that there's no poison in the food.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Is the plate collected later on? Does it seem like a long time or a short time?

Does the light from above seem to vary as the time passes? I'm looking for a sense that the light source is the sun/outside versus a man-made source.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry fellows; posting this on all three threads. I'm sick and at home and sleeping most of the time. Just hit a wall, I guess)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Take it easy and rest. I hope you have a restful weekend.

Alexis said...

Delfig will find the plate is asked for when food is given again. As the day passes, light can be detected through the hole in the ceiling. A gleam of sunlight touches the stone above, which lights the room darkly … and when this sun has completely passed, there is a knock on the door. Delfig is order to push out the plate, where it is filled and returned. The same is then done with the skin.

Let me fit in here that, by Delfig’s count, he has been in the prison for 8 days. There is very little chance that he will think of something else he can do other than wait during that time.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

So roughly 8 to 10 hours between meals.

How big is the rock covering the hole?

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Would I have regained some hp or still be at 0?

Alexis said...

Ten hours between morning and evening, and 14 hours until the next morning.

Steadily, although the food would be bad, you are able to sustain yourself until you achieve full hit points.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OK, so here's the deal. I didn't want to heal. Rather, I wanted to establish the pattern of feeding, within a day or two [figure that would be 2 hp?] and then pull off what I'm planning, which is to use the rock to bend the plate into a crude triangle and slash at the hand as it reaches in. If it doesn't, when the food is demanded, I'll simply move to opposite the door and wait for someone to enter, and then attack them with my crude dagger/knife.)

Alexis said...

Fair enough.

Only, the plate (or skin) is all that comes through the slot. You never see the hand that pushes it (because the jailer is no fool). If you wait for the hand to push the plate further, all that happens is that the plate is let go, so that it falls to the floor on your side.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

What happens if I don't give them the plate back?

Do I ever see any of them spy upon me from up above?

Alexis said...

If you don't give the plate back, you don't eat that meal.

You see no signs that anyone is watching you.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I'm posting these thoughts here - having opened this discussion privately with the DM first.

----
If Delfig believes that he is to be kept as a source of blood, he will kill himself. That's why I've been asking about the jailer and the circumstances. If I/he believe that there is no hope, then that's what he'll do.

I'm not saying this to try and force your hand in any way. Not at all! I play the game to play the game and if the game has taken me to a cell with no hope of escape and only a wretched existence, then that is where the game has taken me and I have absolutely zero complains - as I hope you have no complaints either. Delfig's downfall was his guilt over his cowardice in not saying "no" to the original request for blood and thus his path was made. I/he feel(s) a certain amount of peace over having delivered Serafina to Hornung, and he feels in some way that the debt has been repaid. He would rather die at his own hand than be a method to open more gates.

Therefore, if he's certain that there is no hope, and he's timed it well enough, once the longer meal was delivered, he would use the rock to bend the plate into a sharp point and open up his wrists.

I like Delfig! He's just turned into a tragic character whose guilt and resolution to have his life mean something has come to a head. Like I said, I didn't want a railroad or deus ex machina to get me out of this imprisonment, but when I look in Delfig's mind, he has come to the resolution that Death is a better avenue than being a tool for Evil and more innocent death. He truly sees no way out.)

Alexis said...

There are some considerations that I should like to bring up, things Delfig is likely to think about while in that prison cell, and I want to be sure that they are addressed. There are three in all.

First,

When you say, “certain that there is no hope,” I must emphasize that no one can ever be certain that there is NO hope. The lack of hope is not a circumstance, it is a decision that one makes, that hope has not paid out yet, and so one despairs and therefore predetermines the future path rather than to give any more time to a given venture. You may say that Delfig has no hope, but you can never say there IS no hope.

Consider that for any person trapped in such a dungeon, any hope that may be had would certainly arise from the belief that there were forces greater than the individual, that might change the circumstances in such a way that the individual is freed - that the state changes its mind, that fate has predetermined a release, that the higher power cannot possibly let a good and decent soul rot in prison. These are attitudes that every prisoner holds, selecting and discarding such possibilities in accordance to whatever option brings the most hope that day. Eventually an individual considers that the state really won’t change its mind, that fate can really go either way, or that there is no higher power. And it is this despair that drives one to suicide.

But Delfig is not a participant in this world, but in the D&D world. He would have considerable reason for hope. A good and powerful paladin who has great reason to rescue his friend lives and acts within the world. Magic exists which could aid the paladin in finding Delfig (though magic also exists which could obscure Delfig). But the paladin is clearly strong, and would clearly be influenced by a kind woman towards whom Delfig behaved as a perfect gentlemen - and so up until this time, Delfig has carefully prepared his allies for such a time as this.

Moreover, where it comes to the consideration of a supreme being, Delfig’s belief would be much stronger than your own ... Delfig knows there is a supreme being. Moreover, in a sense, you know this also - he is that rather diffident, occasionally righteous fellow who answers your emails and posts upon this blog. This particular DM has reason to consider, and reconsider, the options, and little reason to see Delfig rot forever - or so you can conjecture to yourself, as Delfig would conjecture to himself regarding the supreme being he is familiar with.

Let me continue on another post.

Alexis said...

Second,

You cannot be so certain that you would succeed at committing suicide. The act of self-murder is not comparable with the act of killing someone else. It requires resolution and a level of constitution, as the body is full of natural instincts and resistances against anti-survival. If Delfig were to say, for example, that he wished to put his hand in a fire in order to seize a jewel, or a weapon, or a piece of charcoal, there would be factors demanding a wisdom or constitution check to determine if Delfig were able ... and this, of course, would depend on what was being pulled from the fire. A book that meant life or death, or Delfig’s magical instrument, for instance, would be different from an ordinary coin or a tinderbox.

In this case, it is Delfig’s life, and I could not allow the character to toss it away without first having to roll dice to determine if the character had the strength. Now this is a bone of contention with many people, who believe firmly that a character should be able to do anything, and not be affected by doubt, or indecision, or anything else that every human would be afflicted with if the thing to be done were REAL. But my world is an addressing of the REAL, and I would fail in my conceptualization of this game if I allowed characters willy nilly to do everything that seized their Hydeian fancy at a given moment - I don’t care who they kill, but cutting their own arms and legs off, our gouging out their own eyes - simply because the character has a restoration spell - I draw the line at making these things common and ordinary only because a player cannot for five minutes consider that a character would never truly do a thing like this, whatever healing powers existed. There would have to be a pretty good reason for someone to kill themselves, trusting to a resurrection spell, before it would make sense - and in any event, that player would still have to roll dice to succeed. Every uncertain thing in the game requires that dice be rolled to determine success.

Alexis said...

Three,

While I appreciate the arguments regarding character, and while I respect and enjoy the peculiarities of Delfig’s character itself, I wonder that there seems to be no place for the character of Delfig to grow. You seem to be taking the position that the Delfig that made the decision to return to Dachau, who had his eyes opened and who is now in a prison has no reason whatsoever to question any of those decisions, or to take account of his life or any of the decisions he has ever made that led him to the place he is at now.

I can tell you from personal experience, when I was arrested and thrown into a jail for the only time in my life, that is ALL I did. Not merely the circumstance that led me to my brief four hours in the penal system, but many decisions I had made in my youth that led me to rash behaviour, that had culminated in the assault charge I faced. I was not in jail for very long, but I can tell you that I reassessed my life very closely in that time. Not being of a criminal nature, and not being a physically aggressive person - and yet being blessed with considerable confidence - I very much questioned whether or not my passion was leading me down the blind road to hell.

You cannot tell me that after eight days in prison Delfig would not question his perspective on his chosen path, his faith, the manner in which he treated his parents, his parents treatment of him, every bad thing he had ever said to Avel and Andrej, or how much he would truly wish to be able to apologize and make good any hard feelings that might have been left there ... and indeed, with Emmanuel and with Jan as well. I do not say what those reassessments might be, but there would be great consideration there! If it should happen that Delfig finds his freedom, it should in no way be the same Delfig that entered the prison in the first place. People grow from such experiences - do not presume that Delfig could not. That his only behaviour would be self-destruction and the sort of stubborn insistence on always knowing the right course of action.

That stubborn insistence has landed Delfig in this place. Question, my friend, as Delfig would question, the wisdom of those actions.

You say you will not let yourself be used - because I made a comment about your blood. I find it interesting that you have fixated on this one thing, but c’est la vie. You do nothing if you kill yourself to stymie your enemies, for there are other bards in the world, other bards with less morales than Delfig, who would freely give. Consider instead that Delfig has knowledge of what is going on, and that murdering yourself HELPS keep that knowledge out of the hands of those who would do something to stop this horror. Complicity, however dressed up as nobility, amounts to the same thing.

I put it to you - while you are embracing the character as it has been, become cognizant of the character that it could be.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I think you've shortchanged the thoughts I've been giving this for a few days now, during the slowdown. Agreed that I'm not explaining it all with the usual verbosity that I seem to find myself in, but I have given a lot of thought to the first and third points. Having gone through situations where one has to examine their life and influences, it's not something I would take lightly, for real or in play.

I can't speak for the 2nd point, it's your game, your rules.

I'll reread your thoughts and consider them alongside the things I've considered.

Alexis said...

If you still wish to self-destruct, I will need 2d20 rolls.

Alexis said...

I have written other thoughts on the subject on the regular blog.

Andrej said...

Don't do it!

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I have given this thought over the past few days and I wanted to share it with you.

I stand by my assertion that Delfig would feel there is no hope. We all read about the POWs who survive, but we don't read about those who died, who simply gave up because they saw no hope, who took death as a release and surcease from whatever horror they faced. The world is full of people everyday who give up, who believe that the only hope is to take the choice that they have left.

Consider the fact that at every turn, Delfig has faced death at the hands of his decisions - death of the men he had to battle to get into Dachau, death of the people at the hands of the monsters caused by his cowardice, death of Jan, death of the guardsman after he could not catch Herieux and now he learns that his involvement has furthered the plans of evil and he is kept around only to be a tool. Delfig has not "carefully prepared his allies", Delfig has lurched from situation to situation, finding himself a pawn and worse, a murderer or an accomplice to murder.

Delfig's life, prior to Dachau, was one of shirking responsibility, of petty crime in search of self fulfillment. Delfig had no aspirations beyond himself and it was in Dachau that he realized how pitiful his life has been. In the past two months, he's had little success beyond trying to gain atonement through delivering Seranfina to Hornung and even there, he found himself of little help. As he looks at the decisions, he would not see providence, he would see waste and hopelessness.

You approach your characterization from your perspective of "never say die"; I see that in your words. You have a belief that Delfig would want to press on. Normally, I would agree with you, but I don't see that in this case. I think his perspective of the past few months has put him in a depression and a place where he does not. Delfig has no more tools left, no more con games to play, no more ways to do anything but face the sad wreck that his life has become. I've been around that despair and I know how total it could become.

It might sound like I've come to not like him very much, and you'd be right in that I don't like the characterization that I've come to see in him. But he is what he is and I can see where this would end because I've been around several people like him. People who've given up, people who would cry to God "why have you forsaken me" versus "give me strength."

d20 #1: 8
d20 #2: 15

Alexis said...

I think it carries characterization too far. I will confess that I've never run anyone who would take this approach before. I find it somewhat distasteful. You are quite right that I have a belief in 'never say die' ... it is because in life I want to win, and I don't understand the mental state that makes such a charity or explanation of a failure to survive.

I won't hold you to any roll to survive. You can be dead if you want. I am somewhat unhappy with the time I've spent describing and writing and supplying information to you these last thirteen and some months - since I am having the same feelings I would have watching a movie where a favorite character is unceremoniously hacked to death by an author who feels it is justified. I don't dispute the writer his privilege - but I despise the emotional cheapness of having the temerity to dangle the image in front of me only to snap it away again. I am left with a 'what if' perspective and quite a hollow, unsatisfied taste in my mouth.

Dress up the privilege however you will - I am affected by my emotions as anyone is, and I don't like the result.

I'm sure you would argue that the game is the game, however it comes out, but I don't agree. As a writer I become attached to things of my imagination - there's no reason I shouldn't become attached to things of yours. And where I have given my time and effort to enable your imagination - I am affected when it produces this sort of disdain for what you've made.

My intention was to use the power of the online campaign to make you wait for a period of 3 weeks, real time. Exactly as you waited in the Prefect's office, or at other times - so as to create the effect of having 'been in prison' for a period of 63 days. This three week period would have been no more than most players would wait between runnings. But it is clear you would not have wanted me to interject a friend of Hornung, who had found you by virtue of a locate person spell, who could bring you out of the prison and enable you to strike a blow at these two monsters who imprisoned you.

So Delfig is dead. That is all I can say.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

So he is.

I don't consider the previous 13 months to be a waste. It's been an exploration into your world and I'm grateful and appreciative of that. I put emotions and thoughts into participating as well. Those are not given lightly.

You subscribe approaches to my actions and justifications - privilege and such - that I'm not going to make, although they are not correct. I'm respectful of your emotional space to leave it be until/unless you wish to discuss it more.

Thank you for DM'ing this game.