When you’ve hung around role-playing as long as I have (remember, I’m 3000 years old, for Marr’s sake!), and when your interest in theater in high school (EZ, I’m thinking of you right now) found an outlet in creating and playing interesting characters on tabletop and then later in MMORPGs, you end up with a stable of stock characters that end up being reused some. Take for instance, a 3000-year-old red-headed elf who is oh so VERY charming.
Another one of my stock characters started out as a pair, a half-orc sister and a half-elf brother, Allyson and Alfred Sweetvine. At first, I played them together in a 2-characters-each homebrew D&Dish campaign. Their comedy routine had Allyson as the straight arrow fighter, and Alfred as the roguish and good-looking, but willing-to-bend-the-rules little brother, whom Allyson nagged constantly.
The characters took on a life of their own, and my rl spouse took over primary duties for running Alfred. As for Allyson, as I got to know her better, I decided that she was very dark skinned, her father most definitely did NOT rape her mother, it was a love match, and they had settled down in a small cottage in the South Wood, but he died when she was very young. Their mother, being a druid, became the resident witch, healer, and all-around hippie woman to the nearby village.
Alfred is a sweet talker, and in his current incarnation a bard. Allyson is much larger, and prefers the, ahem, direct approach. She’s a bit bitter about the amount of prejudice a half-orc is met with in her culture, and especially about what that did to her romantic prospects. While she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and intimidation is definitely a tool in her arsenal, she rejects any hint of “wildness” or “rage”. She wants to represent, after all.
After some thought, we chose Michael J. Fox to represent what Alfred looked like, and for Allyson, I thought first of Queen Latifah as personality, and for physical type: Serena Williams. Allyson’s theme song is Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”.
So, I had a very unusual reaction to the recent dust-up at the U.S. Open. If you live under a rock, you might have missed the fact that Williams vented a little fury at a line judge that called her for a foot-fault during a match point in the semifinals.
When I heard that much, my reaction was to think, “That sounds like something Allyson might have done.”
If that’s not weird enough, I then heard that Williams offered to stuff the tennis ball down the line-judges throat. My very-warped perspective offered this response: “Wow, did I ever pick well for Allyson’s RL model!” Then, I read this, from the Christian Science Monitor:
What Williams unleashed on a lineswoman who called her for a foot fault in the decisive game of her semifinal match was primal. The lineswoman scurried to the chair umpire for safety. Meteorologists might have been inclined to place Flushing Meadows under a severe storm warning for the space of 20 Sunday evening seconds, so raw and powerful were her emotions.
As much as she rejects the rage (she will never take a barbarian level), it’s still there. Along with the pressure to always represent while spending most of your life among those with whom you don’t quite fit, and who at times seem all too eager to see the worst in you.
I wrote that paragraph about Allyson, mind you.
Recently we talked about recreating Allyson and Alfred for a 1920′s Call of Cthulhu setting. We thought it might work well for Allyson to be a barnstorming athlete of some sort, and Alfred her manager. I think maybe she should be a tennis player.
By the way, I don’t condone William’s behavior, nor do I think it permanently stains her character. She lost it, and she should take her sanction standing tall and proud, and move on. And win. A lot. It will feel real good, I’m sure.