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Author Topic: Tobin Blackwood, Helmondsshire Merchant  (Read 4846 times)
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Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« on: June 11, 2013, 01:50:52 PM »

Name: Tobin Blackwood
Gender: Male
Age: 68
Race: Hobbit
Tribe: Helmondsshire
Occupation: Merchant
Title: Glib Hustler

Height: One ped, one palmspan
Weight: Fifty ods
Hair color: Salt and pepper
Eye color: Blue

Description (Appearance & Personality): The curly, salt and pepper top of his head is little more than a ped from the ground. He has bright blue eyes framed by crow's feet formed from a life of laughter. There's a dimple in each of his cheeks that deepens whenever he smiles. Nowadays his smiles are fake, forced expressions he uses like tools to pry into the lives of others with his friendly and open demeanor. It's a cold, calculated act. He'll make whatever money he can through that information, not caring who he ruins.

There are fine cracks in this image of his as a sociable and successful merchant. He develops a slight twitch in his left cheek at any mention of his wife. He won't even answer as to whether or not he has one. It is perhaps her absence that allows his continued devolution from a respectable hobbit and merchant. In any unguarded moment, he appears more as a wolf wearing a hobbit's skin. He almost seems to salivate at the thought of more money.

Clothing:
- Off-white shirts
- A dark grey hooded cloak
- Black leather vests, the leather cracked with age
- Black knee-length breeches or full-length pants, depending on the season

Strengths:
- He's been a merchant for thirty five years and knows how to maneuver people through conversations that seem innocent on the surface.
- He also has a small claim to wealth from successful sales.

Weaknesses:
- He will not discuss his past with anyone and will begin to lose his friendly attitude if pushed about it.
- He has no qualms about selling stolen goods. Guards sometimes suspect him of being involved with the local criminal element.

History: Tobin was content for the first sixty six years of his life. He lived in the Helmonds shire. He married his wife Lily in his thirty-fourth year. He enjoyed success as a merchant and made regular trips to the nearby human city of Nyermersys, selling hobbit-made jewelry. Lily bore him three sons that grew up to be good, respectable hobbits. His sixty-sixth birthday came, and his relatives celebrated it with a grand party.

It was the day after that party when he realized how boring his life in the shire had become. His sons were grown and out of the house. He'd come home from his trips to a quiet life with his wife. He found himself yearning to be gone again and began to spend longer and longer away from home with his trips to Nyermersys. He felt alive only when he was engaged in trade with the humans in the city. That thrill led to him taking greater risks with his trading, to the point that he began to buy and sell what he knew to be stolen goods. The day came when he simply stopped going home.

Familiar: A dappled grey hobbithorse with a curly white mane and tail by the name of Stybba. He's full-grown at a height of twelve palmspans, making him about a palmspan taller than Tobin.

Belongings:
- His clothing
- A wagon pulled by Stybba, used to transport wares
- A backpack kept primarily in the wagon
- A small measure of wealth in the coinpurse he keeps in the pocket of his shirt
- A bedroll for nights when an inn is not close at hand
- Provisions bought both for himself and for Stybba, also kept in the wagon
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 06:39:18 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Amabella Catston
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Half-Elf, Aellenrhim / Erpheronian


« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 06:43:57 PM »

Hello, fellow merchant!  grin I have some comments and questions in yellow.

His occupation and his tribe would be split in the title of the thread, so it would be something like:
Tobin Blackwood / Helmondsshire Hobbit / Merchant


Name: Tobin Blackwood
Gender: Male
Age: 68
Race: Hobbit
Tribe: Helmondsshire
Occupation: Merchant
Title: Glib Hustler

Height: One ped, one palmspan
Weight: Fifty ods
Hair color: Salt and pepper
Eye color: Blue

Description (Appearance & Personality): The curly, salt and pepper top of his head is little more than a ped from the ground. He has bright blue eyes framed by crow's feet formed from a life of laughter. There's a dimple in each of his cheeks that deepens whenever he smiles.

Rather than being grouped together as "Description (Appearance & Personality)" Just an "Appearance" section (for information like the two sentences above) would go here and a separate "Personality" section (for information like the sentences below) would be separated out, beneath the clothing section. One guide for physical appearance is to describe your character as an outside viewer would "picture" him initially, without having spoken to him yet or knowing anything about his true character (the more detailed the better.)

Nowadays his smiles are fake, forced expressions he uses like tools to pry into the lives of others with his friendly and open demeanor. It's a cold, calculated act. He'll make whatever money he can through that information, not caring who he ruins.

There are fine cracks in this image of his as a sociable and successful merchant. He develops a slight twitch in his left cheek at any mention of his wife. He won't even answer as to whether or not he has one.

Clothing:
- Off-white shirts
- A dark grey hooded cloak
- Black leather vests, the leather cracked with age
- Black knee-length breeches or full-length pants, depending on the season

The personality section would go here.

Strengths:
- He's been a merchant for thirty five years and knows how to maneuver people through conversations that seem innocent on the surface.
- He also has a small claim to wealth from successful sales.
Does he know how to read and write? It is much easier to track sales that way.

Weaknesses:
- He will not discuss his past with anyone and will begin to lose his friendly attitude if pushed about it.
- He has no qualms about selling stolen goods. Guards sometimes suspect him of being involved with the local criminal element.

History: Tobin was content for the first sixty six years of his life. He lived in the Helmonds shire (Helmondsshire). He married his wife Lily in his thirty-fourth year. He enjoyed success as a merchant and made regular trips to the nearby human city of Nyermersys, selling hobbit-made jewelry. Lily bore him three sons that grew up to be good, respectable hobbits. His sixty-sixth birthday came, and his relatives celebrated it with a grand party. It was the day after that party when he realized how boring his life in the shire had become. His sons were grown and out of the house. He'd come home from his trips to a quiet life with his wife. He found himself yearning to be gone again and began to spend longer and longer away from home with his trips to Nyermersys. He felt alive only when he was engaged in trade with the humans in the city. That thrill led to him taking greater risks with his trading, to the point that he began to buy and sell what he knew to be stolen goods. The day came when he simply stopped going home.

The history could possibly be broken up into smaller paragraphs, to make it easier to read.

When he branched out to stolen goods, did he only buy and sell stolen jewelry, or did he buy and sell other types of wares? Did he buy jewelry which was stolen by hobbits and sell them to humans, or did he buy jewelry which was stolen by humans, or both?

Did he only stay permanently in Nyermersis or did he want to go further distances? If he moved permanently to Nyermersis he could have taken his wife with him (or she could even become his accomplice). Did she quarrel with him, object to his leaving, ask questions...? Did other hobbits notice him being away from the shire so much? (if he threw a party, I would guess that he kept in contact with his relatives to some degree) Or is Tobin trying to protect them from his current lifestyle? The hobbit jewelry-makers would also not want to lose a potential customer...Basically I am asking more detail as to why he does not want to talk about his past, since it was described as being happy, even if the character himself may not readily disclose his reasons in an RP situation.


Familiar: A dappled grey hobbithorse with a curly white mane and tail by the name of Stybba. He's full-grown at a height of twelve palmspans, making him about a palmspan taller than Tobin.

Belongings:
- His clothing
- A wagon pulled by Stybba, used to transport wares This is probably a "horse cart". Since carts are frequently decorated to help draw attention from potential customers, a description of the cart would be great.
- A backpack kept primarily in the wagon cart
- A small measure of wealth in the coinpurse he keeps in the pocket of his shirt
- A sleeping roll for nights when an inn is not close at hand
- Provisions bought both for himself and for Stybba, also kept in the wagon cart
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 06:45:16 PM by Amabella Catston » Logged

Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 10:52:08 PM »

The slashes aren't required for the thread title. Mine has the exact same information as the one you suggest and looks more natural, in my opinion.

I intentionally grouped the appearance and personality together. The best descriptions of a character are the ones that will hint at that character's personality through the way the appearance is described. It feels more natural to me this way and still says everything both the appearance and personality sections need to say.

He doesn't know how to read or write. His education is no greater than the average hobbit's. My understanding is that literacy is fairly uncommon, limited mostly to scholars with a few exceptions (and a merchant could be one of the exceptions, but that's not the case for Tobin).

The tribe entry calls it both "Helmondsshire" and "Helmonds shire".

I don't think the details you're asking for in the history are necessary. Nothing in the history suggests the things you ask about his wife. The history makes it clear that she was left home each time, so it's a bit of a stretch to think that she might later become an accomplice of his. You're right that I could give more detail about how she felt each time he came home, but the fact that he came home to a "quiet life" each time implies that she put up with it.

I also don't feel the need to elaborate about the stolen goods: if they're just jewelry and if they're from humans or hobbits. There's no reason for him to limit himself to just jewelry once he started dabbling in stolen wares, and goods stolen from hobbits would be hard to come by in a human city. The very nature of stolen goods is that the merchant's not asking questions about the source anyway.

I'm also not going to limit him to Nyermersys. The implication is there that he wouldn't be happy settling anywhere, that he's going to branch out with his trading and travel elsewhere the more routine his activities in Nyermersys become. I intentionally left the where somewhat vague for the sake of making Tobin easily adaptable to any story he joins.

I looked up images of a horse cart. They always have two wheels according to the pictures I found. But pictures of wagons showed them to have four wheels, and that's more along the lines of what I have in mind. I also don't feel the need to describe the wagon here. Tobin was more of a supplier and provided hobbit-made jewelry for human merchants to sell in their stores. The wagon's purpose is transport with nothing particularly unique about its appearance.

I know I'm being difficult. You took the time to comment, and I'm basically saying "no" to everything. My dream with Tobin is to write a character that's short, like CDs used to be ages and ages ago. I tried to make the entire CD less than a page long, but I didn't quite manage that.

I just don't feel the need to spell out everything that's happened to him in a five page biography (and five pages is modest - there are some whopping twenty pagers lurking around here). But no one except CD mods and commenters read the history of a character. I know I don't when I'm roleplaying with someone. I'll check their CD for appearance and maybe personality (and S & W if we're in combat), but it's very rare for me to read the history of someone else's character.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 11:03:45 PM by Tobin Blackwood » Logged

Roy Tmofl
The Mage of Flaming Light
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Human, Centoraurian.


« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 08:39:27 AM »

I noticed that you pretty much argued with everything that Amballa mentioned. Now disagreeing is completely fine and perhaps argue is to strong a word. But to tell you the truth I can't really find any flaws in what she recomends. As to smaller things like the name of the shire or dashes that really isn't my call. But as to expanding on your history and placing of categories. I think she points out some things that should probably be added to or moved around. I especially think that even if it's not in you it may be a good idea to check out other approved characters history as they are approved for a reason.
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Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Posts: 13

Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 09:38:55 AM »

I intend for this to be more of a template than anything.

In my opinion, any history is going to be an inferior story simply for the fact that it has to tell a character's entire history. That span of time is better suited to a novel.

The history has the basic facts of Tobin's life. Amabella's suggestions are not necessary to understand the character, so I'm choosing not to include them. It has nothing to do with the fact that Tobin chooses not to talk about his past. He'll remember it in great detail in any roleplay. But those will be flashbacks that are relevant to the roleplay when something triggers those memories.
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Roy Tmofl
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 09:45:40 AM »

Ok well there is your first problem. Even if a character had Amnesia they would still have to write about the history they forgot. I think you are correct about history size to a degree, however we are not asking you to write a novel. But more info would be nice. Everything in moderation my dear Tobin. So if you know something relevant to his history that pertains to his something as huge as his career it would be a great idea to mention it.
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Stupidity is also a gift from God, but one musn't misuse it.

Pope John Paul II

Magic and personal information.
History and equipment.
Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Posts: 13

Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 09:58:49 AM »

Everything relevant to the character is included in the history already. No facts have been omitted, and Tobin is fully aware of his history. Any flashbacks in roleplay would simply expand on the information provided in his history.

I think your point (and Amabella's) has more to do with the fact that there are things that are not outright stated in the history. The history does not say that Tobin did not take his wife with him on his trips. But it doesn't say that he took her with him either. It doesn't say whether or not he stayed in Nyermersys. In my opinion, the history suggests the answers to those questions without needing to blatantly state them.
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Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2013, 11:15:59 AM »

I'd appreciate it if you didn't use my CD to complain about comments your CD has received. They're both short CDs. That's the only valid comparison.
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2013, 11:28:17 AM »

A nice simple CD.  As a story mod, everything I need is included.

First Approval. Thumb up
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 11:39:25 AM »

Sorry. Didn't mean it that way. I just tried to be nice. Great CD.
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Tobin Blackwood
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2013, 02:34:19 PM »

A nice simple CD.  As a story mod, everything I need is included.

First Approval. Thumb up

You're awesome

I'll name my firstborn child after you.
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Seh'nara Celebrindal
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2013, 05:26:15 PM »

Hey Tobin! I've read through your CD, and I understand how you'd want it to be short. However, I'd like you to expand on your personality section. You're clearly not a cookie cutter merchant, what with the underhand dealings and such, and because of that dual personality, I think you need more elaboration on what his personality really is. I see no other problem with the other sections, so that's the only thing holding me back from giving you an approval.

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Tobin Blackwood
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 03:00:05 AM »

That suggestion gave me an idea about what more needed to be said about his personality, so thank you!

I've added to his personality a bit, and I think we're on the same page (or at least in the same book).
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Seh'nara Celebrindal
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2013, 07:37:14 PM »

Okay. I'll give this a second approval. Someone should be along to title you shortly. :D
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Tobin Blackwood
Glib Hustler
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Helmondsshire Hobbit


« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2013, 09:31:03 PM »

Thank you!

Tobin is secretly a shapechanger dragon, by the way. Hope that's okay.
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