Tabletop Tales: The Story of Arsène Vulpin

I thought it would be rather rude of me to not contribute something to the RPG Blog Carnival which I’m hosting for the month of July. So, here’s a post about my latest character who has (thankfully) survived the campaign he was in, although narrowly at some points. Bonus points to my compatriot Doctor Necrotic over at Daemons and Deathrays for his playing of his lupine character Moon Lotus. We affectionately called her Moon Moon, of course, for assorted reasons. I may also put his final stats come the end of the campaign, for those who want to use him as an NPC. 

Caution: this post is gonna be long!


 

“Does it look like I want to be in charge of a noble house? Thanks but no thanks. I’m not one for politics.”- Arsène Vulpin, heir to the House of Avardin 

Legends don’t often start out in a glamorous life. Urchins and thieves and poor village folk is how most adventurers begin their career.

Not for Arsène. Born a kitsune (a race of shapeshifting fox-folk) in the world of Ragnivald, Arsène was dragged through the rungs of life at a young age and in a “profession” that would physically and mentally scar him for years to come. Taken in at a young age by a slave caravan, he was used by clientele for sex and other pleasures of the body.

In Ragnivald, the fey folk are bountiful and consistently appear. As common as humans in other settings, kitsune are the exception. They are few and far between. So much so, that a young MALE Kitsune prostitute would bring any owner no small amount of coin in the time of his service. In Arsène’s case, this was ongoing. He was taken by the caravan at fourteen years of age, but did not begin “working” until two years later, after his new owners saw he was healthy enough to make their treks across Faustus Kil.

There were few things the Kitsune could do when he was not providing customers with the attention they paid for, but he found solace in both tarot card reading as well as dancing. Granted, his preferred style was belly dancing which was initially forced upon him by the slavers. Later he took rather large pride in his dancing, which at least helped him to dull the mental scars he had-

Quicker then he could remember, the stationed caravan was swarmed by a band of green-cloaked men: elven, based on their height and how he saw some with elongated ears. Arrows were shot, swords drawn and clashed with no mercy. By the end of the skirmish, all of the slavers were dead and the elves were going about freeing captives.

Initially, they found Arsène in his fox form: locked tightly up in a cage with two enchanted locks that kept him in this feral body. Once he was taken out of the cage, however, his innate magic surged once more and he was able to take humanoid form. The glint of gold in the sunlight, as the rays of the day reflected off a pair of slave tags around his neck: depicting a naked woman, and a gold price placed on the man for usage.

Arsène learned that these elves were guards and warriors in service to House Avardin, a merchant family dealing with  gems and whatnot. This caravan was passing through the family’s territory without permission, and Avardin did not take kindly to this. They did, though, bring the Kitsune to the man of the house, seeing that fox-folk are exceedingly rare.

Lord Cimmeril did the unthinkable: he adopted the young kitsune, affectionately named ‘Kit’ in the house, into his fold. Arsène spoke not a word while in the house, save in the company of an older elven gentleman by the name of Tethyn Silverymoon, House Avardin’s scholar.

He developed a close friendship to Tethyn, finding solace in the walls upon walls of books. More then he had ever seen as a child, it only took two months or so for him to devour every tome that Avardin had in possession. His inevitable reading would had lead him to a long-forgotten passage on Silvi Varilax eventually. In the common tongue, this was simply known as Arcane Archery.

Years had passed, and Kit had begun to develop his own rapport within the house: as a skilled archer whose abilities outmatched any of his company. Yet, he remained largely silent and barely spoke a word, even once he reached twenty five years of age. Again, the most he spoke was to Tethyn, who he bought up to about learning Silvi Varilax. His teacher was doubtful of this, but spent many weeks finding him an appropriate teacher. This came in a the form of a strange faerie being who simply asked to be referred to as Puck.  It pressed Kit hard, but  saw his abilities begin to take shape. Once Puck had given the Kitsune all the knowledge he needed, they parted ways.

At the age of 29, the still relatively young Arsène strode off into the world, away from House Avardin. This was one of the few times he spoke in front of all of his adopted family, and many had thought he lacked the ability to speak altogether.  He had said that he had confided solely in Tethyn, and spoke to no other. When lord Cimmeril asked Tethyn why he did not bring this up to him, he simply responded with “I made a promise. I keep my word,”.

He was gifted both a longbow and an enchanted whip before he set out into the realm beyond, and for a large time he simply wandered where he wanted to. Looking for other kitsunes like himself but having no luck, he mostly took up tracking jobs and odd services to earn gold. This gold, ironically enough, was used at inns and brothels. His view of sex and pleasure is that so long as it’s mutually agreed and not forced, then he is perfectly fine with paying for such services.

It was through this situation that  found Arsène checked into an inn known as the Leaky Wizard’s Hat with a whore at his side. Once business was all said and done, he fell asleep and offered the woman to share his bed overnight (there were wolf howls in the distant, and it would better for her to remain safe).

final_by_bambz_art-dc6ieoj
Commissioned artwork of Arsène, done by the lovely Bambz-Art on deviantart.com

Morning comes, and the woman is nowhere to be seen. In no small amout of worry and confusion, he looks out the window and sees not the town he checked into but a place he had never seen before:  the town of Dragons Meadow. The next day was learning he had been teleported to another world completely, which he later learned was called Zestra. This was the fate of two other travelers he had met in the tavern there, by the names of Torren Blacksky (a blind human Sorcerer whose abilities came from the mysterious Void), an Aasimar named Oyev (Paladin, Oath of Conquest) and a strange shapeshifting wolf-woman named Moon Lotus (werewolf-esque Battle Mage).

They had all been called, in some way, shape or form, by a being calling himself Duncan, who ran the Leaky Wizard’s Hat and always reading and writing in a large leather-bound book. Inter-planar shenanigans resulting in collecting shattered fragments of a long-dead (or so we thought) chaos deity, traveling to Sigil, Carceri, and even back to Faustus Kil and the faerie realm there. Over this time, Arsène has had many challenges along the way, not limited to but including:

  • Oyev himself. He never quite saw eye-to-eye with the Paladin, and despite traveling with the Aasimar for an extended period of time, never truly trusted him even when he claimed that he will always be loyal to the party.
  • Dealing with an arranged marriage. He did manage to get out of that, because it wasn’t what he wanted.
  • His distrust of firearms and technology. Ragnivald is a place of low tech, and he favored his longbow more than anything else. Until Oyev gifted him a custom made rifle, which he named Kasuf (Arabic for ‘eclipse’).

But there was one major event which spurred him on to trying to be a better man, and that was his confession of feelings to Torren. For months, he had been battling his heart and debated long and hard on what he should do. But Arsène eventually worked up his courage and professed his love to the Sorcerer.

Torren felt the same way, and the two have been inseparable, even when Torren had lost his memory briefly. It was because of  Arsène’s caring and re-educating the Sorcerer that he was able to remember everything that had happened. In all of Arsène’s years, he could not have believed that someone who was so broken of a man and who had literally seen a prior lover go insane would fall for him, a simple Kitsune who was hardly anything special. How wrong was he in thinking that.

Arsène, post vampire transformation. It is a huge change in his appearance. 

Arsène also became a vampire in the later half of the game, which caused no small amount of conflict in the party. Oyev and Moon Lotus immediately wanted to cure him of the vampirism, but Torren stepped in and defended Arsène’s decision on keeping his newfound abilities. And while Arsène has come very close to losing himself to bouts of blood frenzy and hunger, he has managed to stave it off…for the most part. When the change had occured, his midnight black hair had turned a stark white, his tan skin became  significantly paler (imagine dusty clay pottery), and his eyes became black and red. When he lost himself during his feedings, streaks of blood would fall from his eyes like tears. I also like to imagine that his ears became slightly pointed and were tipped with tufts of white fur.

I head-cannon that Arsène and Torren had run off to Torren’s original world, known as Daro, to deal with the problems he had left unfinished there prior to him being summoned to the Leaky Wizard’s Hat. After that, I’d like to think Arsène took Torren on a tour of Faustus Kil after all the craziness for some much needed rest and relaxation. And from there, more adventures.

 

Why I Love This Character

When I mean by love, I don’t mean in an obsessive anime fan girl way.

Arsène is a character who is very much unlike any of the characters I have played as of late/at all. I usually favor complete spellcasters, such as Druids and Warlocks. This guy could technically be a spellcaster but not really: his magic comes from his Arcane Shots.

Another giant factor of how he’s different is that I generally never have a character who specializes in weapons, especially firearms. I’m not a huge fan of weapons (I frankly find them boring in regards to everything else a fantasy setting can provide), so playing someone who prefers rifles and swords is strange for me. I got used to it though, and I’m not sure if I see the allure of Barbarians and  those sort of classes still.

His personality has a lot to do with it as well. A lot of my previous characters all had some sort of whimsical side to them as well as a child-like view of the world. Arsène? Not so much. He was perpetually in a grumpy mood, a heavy alcoholic at the beginning of the campaign and would find any reason to indulge in his personal kinks and desires. But despite that all, he did try to be a decent enough man, even though him and Oyev didn’t see eye to eye on many occasions.

His relationship with Torren also felt natural. At first, he did not truly trust anyone in the group, but did feel some sort of connection to Torren: as the both of them were not native to the world of Zestra, I suppose that’s what first started their close friendship which developed into something far deeper. At one point, Arsène had said to the Sorcerer that out of all the party members, Torren was the only one he would lay his life down for in order to protect him. Torren said the feeling was mutual on his end.

Torren was also the only one to support Arsène wishing to remain a vampire when Oyev and Moon Lotus wanted to turn him back with magic (Oyev) or outright kill him and resurrect him without the “curse” (Moon Lotus). It definetly gave some more tension to the group (as if there wasn’t enough already).

Arsène also wasn’t above attacking his party members if he needed to. At one point, Oyev was getting too full of himself after obtaining the position of a leader of a merchant household. Arsène told him “if you start getting your ego inflated and all that power goes to your head, I’d be more then happy to pop that balloon and knock you down a couple of pegs”.  Granted, Oyev’s self-importance could also be derived from his origins as being related to the fallen angel Lucifer but I digress.

Want to include Arsène into your story and/or quests? You can find his stats, abilities and whatnot here!

 

 

 

 

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