Names, Appearance, Reputations
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Post by Veyska » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:58 pm

Start with a lemur species, ring-tailed to be precise. Give it fully-developed hands and opposable thumbs, a prehensile tail, an omnivorous predator's teeth, noticeably better vision, and make it smarter and more clever. Recolor its pelt to resemble that of a numbat, though with the black/white banded tail and black muzzle retained. Have a large number of its kind captured and raised for generations to be a combination of mousers, go-fers, and general helpers at a university located on a shadow built on a larger-than-average scale (were Dworkin built to this shadow's scale, he'd be around 12' tall and weigh around 12x as much).

Now, take one exceptional member of that species who lived primarily in the library. Give her an abnormally long life (she'd already outlived at least one generation of humans before coming to Amber, which is impressive for a species that only lives around two decades), a nascent ability for spellcasting, sentience and an unusually high level of intelligence, speech, and a level of curiosity for new knowledge that the professors at the university hope for and rarely find in their students. Then have Dworkin show up to recruit some professor or another (she suspects it was supposed to be the head librarian, her then-current master) and instead walk off with this one aberrant "lemur".

This is Asai. She has the curiosity of a ferret, the dexterity of a human, the climbing and leaping ability of a lemur (surprise, surprise), and a personality rather similar to that of a cat (though she's much more likely to go chasing after stories than strings and "catch" books or scrolls rather than dead mice). Dworkin introduced her to the court a bit over a year ago, just before last year's festival, and she walked the Pattern shortly after the festivities ended. A month later she returned and has been hanging (oftentimes literally) around Castle Amber ever since, but still finds her new position and location rather confusing. Everything's so small here and people keep treating her like she's someone important rather than just a helper and clever animal... She's mostly given up on correcting people when they call her a lemur (apparently her species existed instead of cats on her home shadow), but still gets confused when someone calls a "normal" cat a cat.

(Relevant physical info - ~38" long from nose to rump, ~54" long tail, ~28-30" 'tall' (as a quadruped) and ~4'11" as a biped, roughly 60lb. in weight)

Trump: Ace of Wands

Psyche: Absurdly high for a lemur, but her not-quite-human personality makes it hard to tell. (Mid- to High-Ranked)
Strength: Common sense says a lemur, even one as large as Asai, shouldn't be too strong but should be very agile. Common sense is mostly right, at least relatively speaking... (Amber)
Endurance: Hard to tell. She seems to catnap at the drop of a hat, but appears to only hit the "off switch" whenever she actually feels like it. (Mid-Ranked)
Warfare: She willingly admits nobody thought it was worth the effort of training the "cats" on her home shadow. However, she had decades to watch and decades to read texts on wars and combat and is remarkably adept at putting theory into practice. (Low- to Mid-Ranked)

Asai is known to have walked the Pattern and has at least some skill in spellcasting but details are sketchy regarding the latter - she tends to be furtive about it, possibly a habit from hiding it back on her home shadow.

  • Near-eidetic memory: She generally won't remember something word-for-word unless she tries to, but she rarely forgets the gist of anything (even if she wants to).
  • Finding things (especially knowledge): The library she lived in had at least two competing filing system factions - as a result Asai got very good at finding what she wanted in the midst of clutter and confusion (works best on physical items).
  • Magical mishap monitor: Young of any species are prone to getting into trouble - humans doubly so. Asai lived for decades in a university with a large arcane subschool - is it any surprise she's gotten very good at knowing when something magical is about to go haywire?
  • Acrobatic: Asai's species is (or at least was, prior to domestication) an arboreal predator - fast, agile, and equally good at climbing and staying out from underfoot.
  • Inhuman senses: As with "normal" cats, generations of domestication have not noticeably impacted Asai's senses. Her sense of smell and hearing are noticeably better than humans and, while her visual acuity is only roughly equivalent to a human's, her night vision far superior courtesy of a tapetum lucidum.
  • Extremely curious: One thing her species shares with cats is an incredible curiosity - and they have hands as well. Asai has all of that, and a scholar's love of learning...
  • Peculiar perspective (figuratively and literally): Asai isn't human, whether in her physical movements or mental thoughts, though her species was domesticated so there isn't a truly major disconnect involved.
  • Unexpectedly "big": She went from being a cat-sized (relatively speaking) servant/service animal to half-human sized royalty. She's still confused by this.
  • Mostly theoretical knowledge: Reads about more than she could hope to fully master, but likely has some skill at most things.
Last edited by Veyska on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Asai

Post by Joshua » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:31 pm

I figured I'd make a few notes on this for those who are reading it. There are a few concepts this highlights fairly well.

First off, I mentioned the Pattern was drawn 7 years before game start so Asai's reality isn't more than 7 Amber years old. That being said, time on other shadows can pass faster or slower. (And isn't always consistant. So even if it was 1000 years that passed, the time speed difference might be closer to Amber now.)

Next, people with potential to walk the pattern might exhibit powers before being selected, such as long lifespan. Sometimes these show up "innately" (when you're born), sometimes "7 years ago" (When the pattern was drawn), sometimes when you first set foot on Amber, and sometimes when you first walk the pattern.

Next, the scale issue. Asai's home has a few changes, not the least of which is that all creatures (including their "humans") are about 12x larger. This is fairly common, but most people avoid such lands of giants. Any laws like that can be defined, and the squared-cube laws don't always have to apply.

Last, this shows a good concept that isn't human. In the books, Amber is very clearly human-centric. This campaign does not have to be. I expanded what I wanted the world to be. In addition, since Amber is so new, some characters were not raised to nobility, while others were. I want that to be a bit of a theme.

Hope that helps, and thanks for one of the most interesting directions I've seen.

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