Author Topic: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus  (Read 1824 times)

DustMight

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Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« on: November 12, 2017, 08:54:33 PM »

I haven’t played in a good long while and not seriously in an even longer while. Of the races I’ve enjoyed are those that really have interesting psychology – the dwarf, the mul, the half-elf.

I’ve always been biased toward a very specific, very concrete dwarven focus – something difficulty but achievable, something possible but difficult. Likely my bias was strengthened by an immortal once commenting on an application “Good Focus” when I submitted a very specific, difficult but achievable focus – something like “become leader of the Black Moon clan” or some such thing.

Since then I’ve seen posted (a number of years ago) a staff member and players in support of general, vague or even impossible-to-achieve foci – an example of which was “to fly to the moon.”
In preparing to submit a new application and considering playing a dwarf, I was reviewing the helpfile on focus and found this odd:

“As a tip, do not make your character's focus too specific.”

Is the suggestion really to have an unfocused focus? I had thought that a focus should definitely be specific – an actual attainable, specific goal. In short, a focus.

Later in the helpfile I find this:

“a focus should neither be impossible nor easy - but rather, something that is possibly attainable over a long period of time if it is worked hard upon.”

and this:

“typically attempt to find one single goal (called a Focus) to which they adhere, and they will never abandon that goal for as long as they live”

Which seems to support achievable, reasonable (as in – in the realm of possibility) goals.
Indeed, the list of example foci list difficult but completely rational and possible goals.

In the interest of not having my application rejected – I ask your thoughts on Dwarven focus. Outlandish? Possible? Examples you have used?
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Grapes

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 09:41:33 PM »
Heh. I had a good one but it's too soon. A good,  creative focus can facilitate some very interesting RP opportunities and character quirks, imho. I try to think of something no one else would pick when musing on possible future characters. Master the sword? Um, not for me. Paint caravan road hot-pink? Ok, there we go.

After much palm greasing, sycophancy, and lobbying, maybe the ministry of the city would consider the health benefits and morale boosts assosciated with the shade of pink known as "Hot".

EDIT: And thusly, Stubbums the street-sweeper was born.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 09:43:06 PM by Grapes »
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Lizzie

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 08:47:07 AM »
An oddball dwarf whose coded skills include physician-type skills/brew/etc.... to formulate a hair-growth solution to baldness.

A manipulative conniving (but altruistic) dwarf might want to eradicate the mul race by infiltrating Borsail from the inside.

Open up and successfully run a brothel for dwarves.

Get spice legalized in Allanak.

The options are endless really. Something that theoretically might happen some day, but isn't likely, that a dwarf might be interested in enough to obsess over it.
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nauta

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 09:23:52 AM »
“As a tip, do not make your character's focus too specific.”

Sounds like you are on the right track.

If I had to guess, the 'tip' here is to make sure the focus isn't 'achieved' with some particular specific task, e.g., collect the fifth rock you find on Nekrete three leagues east of Allanak.  (Although now that I type that out, that'd be kind of funny.)  I think it is a tip so that you can keep pushing forward in your development as a dwarf: a focus, in a sense, motivates you to do certain things and to keep plodding away; it generates a lot of content for you: you'll do strange and whacky things just to pursue that focus, sometimes against your own best interests, or against the best interests of your friends and allies.  Hence, if the focus is easy to achieve, e.g., breathe, then I don't know if that'd motivate your character to do much (other than breathe). 

That said, there are probably plenty of virtual dwarves with really easy to achieve foci.  I kind of think it is more a suggestion or tip to make the focus a more active part of your character's psychology: as something that motivates you to get into strange situations.

So too if the focus is completely impossible, its hard to see how that is going to motivate you. 

A more opaque or vague or open-ended fuzzy concept for a focus --- become an expert at rock types --- seems like it would both be harder to achieve and would keep on motivating your dwarf in a variety of ways --- learning mining techniques, exploring, etc. --- than a more specific focus might --- become an expert on red rocks, for example --- and also more than an impossible focus might --- fly to the moon --- because impossible ends (become a round-square) are hard to get behind.

That said, I can totally see a dwarf who has the focus of 'discover every rock type' and then, upon discovering that the moon is a rock type, starts working towards making a wagon that'll get them to the moon.
as IF you didn't just have them unconscious, naked, and helpless in the street 4 minutes ago

whitt

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 09:58:36 AM »
Here's what I wrote up for my dwarf's focus a few years back.  I forget where I got the template from, but it really helped me stay *ahem* focused.

Actual Elements:
Survival Skills.
Cultural Acceptance.
Be the Gith.

Steps to achieve:
1.Survival Skills:
Build basic wilderness survival skils.
Establish where Gith congregate.
Learn the geography.
Learn to forage and survive in that area of the world.

2.Cultural Acceptance:
Inquire with those likely to have some knowledge of Gith culture.
Learn to communicate with the Gith: Learn Heshrak, Allundean as a precursor?
Watch and Observe the Gith in the wild.
Learn their ways, traditions, and mannerisms

3.Be the Gith:
Live where the Gith Live
Dress as the Gith Dress
Mimic Gith behavior outside of Gith lands.

Result is a dwarf who needs the support of civilized folks to get started, but ultimately does not want to live amongst them. He will be quick to join any expedition through gith lands, asking questions the whole way about how do the gith attack, where, what do they take. Believing Heshrak to be a form of Allundean he will befriend Elves or even barge in on conversations between Elves but only so long as they speak Allundean. He will gather up the Gith gear left in the sands, repair it, and then endeavour to trade it back to the Gith in order to curry favor. Eventually he will be less and less seen in civilized areas, more often roaming Githlands until he finds himself attempting to live within a Gith base of operations.
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valeria

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 01:50:03 PM »
My favorite dwarf focus was to have the perfect family.  The dwarf didn't have a family growing up, since her parents went off to dwarf, and having the perfect family was what she latched on to.

She first needed to find a good male contributor.  She joined the Byn, where most of the male dwarves hung out, and also to learn to protect her future family.

She had a thing about skin conditions since her first kid was born with a skin mutation and she had to abandon it in an alley, since it was not perfect enough.

She fought with blunt weapons because if a toddler accidentally got hold of one, it wasn't likely to do permanent harm.

She was subguild physician, to be able to nurse her kids through illnesses (or to humanely euthanize then if they got ill too often and were sickly and thus not perfect, since abandoning that baby was traumatic and all).

She was crazy about baby-proofing her apartment.  She went through like 4 apartments before she found a sufficient ground floor one.

She eventually stored to raise her family virtually, because it's no fun RPing a helicopter parent.

Jihelu

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 03:24:27 PM »
My favorite dwarf focus was to have the perfect family.  The dwarf didn't have a family growing up, since her parents went off to dwarf, and having the perfect family was what she latched on to.

She first needed to find a good male contributor.  She joined the Byn, where most of the male dwarves hung out, and also to learn to protect her future family.

She had a thing about skin conditions since her first kid was born with a skin mutation and she had to abandon it in an alley, since it was not perfect enough.

She fought with blunt weapons because if a toddler accidentally got hold of one, it wasn't likely to do permanent harm.

She was subguild physician, to be able to nurse her kids through illnesses (or to humanely euthanize then if they got ill too often and were sickly and thus not perfect, since abandoning that baby was traumatic and all).

She was crazy about baby-proofing her apartment.  She went through like 4 apartments before she found a sufficient ground floor one.

She eventually stored to raise her family virtually, because it's no fun RPing a helicopter parent.
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650Booger

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 06:00:40 PM »
focus: become the personal jester/court entertainer for the highlord tektolnes
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Delicious_Marinade

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 04:55:55 AM »
Focus: Hug every person in the known.
Class: Assassin

Everyone will think you're just a goofy, lighthearted basically joke-character, but for every person that hugs you willingly, you have to be SCHEMING. "How can this person help me hug more people?"

Of course, the hardest part will be Templars and Nobles. Then there's the additional complication on whether you wanna consider gith, breeds and mantises people.
That's why you pick assassin, and you spend lots and lots of time sparring and getting sneak and hide to master, so you can backstab-hug Nobles and Templars and leave them behind all confused and blushy.

Just imagine being the most serious, hardcore rip-scarred scary corrupt Templar, just relaxing after a long day of abusing your power, when suddenly:
Quote
Someone stands right behind you, abruptly wrapping her strong arms around you in a warm, tender embrace, immediately breaking off again and darting for the doorway with subdued steps.

Cind

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 05:39:30 AM »
I love playing dwarves, but I'm always afraid I'll change my mind about what I want to do while I'm logged in.

One time I had a human girl who was obsessed with cutlery and dishware and cooking implements. Dwarf-level, yes.
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Hauwke

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 05:58:24 AM »
How can you make a fork more efficient at carrying the food from the thing, to my mouth-hole? Thats the real question.

seidhr

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 09:27:58 PM »
Worst dwarf focus (also the most common):

To be the best at <coded skill> and/or fighting.

Voular

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 11:50:35 PM »
I think I had one dwarf once.. With a focus of finding a worthy master to serve.

Basically he wanted to be the best butler in the world. From what I recall it didn't work out. >_>
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Inks

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 11:55:20 PM »
I love playing dwarves. But I see a lot of bad ones and it makes me wish they were a 1 karma race.
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Veselka

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 01:40:09 AM »
Funny, I've seen a lot of well played ones recently. They give me the creeps and are unsettling.
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Grogerif

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 01:47:22 AM »
How can you make a fork more efficient at carrying the food from the thing, to my mouth-hole? Thats the real question.

Add more tines.  You have to experiment with number.  And with flavor enhancements, remember to not feel down when the first few flavor enhancements kill the test subjects.  Anything worth doing, is worth doing until perfected. 

LucildaHunta

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 11:48:13 AM »
I’ve had the urge to play a dorf for a while now. I just feel like I can’t come up with an original yet interesting focus. Playing one is on my bucket list though.
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Riev

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 01:02:19 PM »
I really think the secret to any good Dwarf Focus, like ANY other PC, is to break up the goal into sub-goals.

I always reference the dwarf I had who wanted to make a statue of his mother. He learned stonecrafting, sure, but he had to find the right amethysts for her eyes. The right stone for her body. Determining if I should paint clothing, or just use one colored stone, or multiple colored stones. What pose would be the most attractive and honor-filled? Is there a sketch or a painting of her, or am I going off memory?

Then of course, was the actual collecting of the resources. The doing. The making a mastercraft, and deciding if its "good enough" or if I need to spend another year working.


Or just be "the best swordsman in the Known" and AFK scrbas.
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LucildaHunta

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 03:24:29 PM »
That’s a good way to look at it Riev. My concern has to do with not picking something like “The best swordsman in the known” as a focus. Something that’s interesting, not overdone, both other players and I can have a good time playing off of.

I guess I just overthink things like that.
Just like the white winged dove,
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Sounds like she's singing
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Cind

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2018, 04:51:05 AM »
The way I see it, when you make the focus to be the best swordsman/fighter in the Known, you are immediately competing against 20-50% of the dwarven pc population, and their foci are not stamped on their foreheads so you don't know which ones they are. A few non-dwarves are doing it too. To me, there is no greater challenge.
Look, a petting tregil.  So silky...Feel him.

Cind

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2018, 04:57:33 AM »
I once had a dwarven woman whose focus was to create the best chamberpots ever assembled. She'd spend her days drawing renditions of different sorts of uncreated chamberpots in the Gaj or molding clay. When she was in her drawing mood, which was often, and which she considered the most important part of the process, she'd hardly realize that people were trying to talk to her, and would give short answers and immediately return to her emotes and thinks and hemotes as soon as possible. I liked those hemotes.
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Hauwke

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2018, 04:59:35 AM »
Being the besy fighter in the Known is a good focus, in and of itself. It is hard as balls to get better than some of the really long lived guys. And then you have to consider things like: Does that include Half-giants?Are they even capable of being masterful fighters in your dwarfly opinion?
What about magickers? If you fight one of them, are they allowed to use all the tricks at their disposal, much like you would your own tricks? And if not, why?

What about critters? Do you have to be able to fight them one on one with no weapons or do weapons count since technically an animal is already armed, but also, so are you, your hands and feet are weapons as are your teeth.

The issue I see with it as a focus, isnt the focus itself, its that people use it as an excuse to join the Byn and spar all day every day until they can fight 12 guys naked and unarmed.

hyzhenhok

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2018, 10:35:44 PM »
OP, you'll be fine. The imms are very flexible on what is a permissible focus. I've played foci ranging from "found a powerful clan of assassins" to "climb in social status" to "grow the best garden" to "repay the debt you owe your family."

But here's my advice for people new to dwarves:

First, make your focus something you don't need to keep secret and can wear on your sleeve. It's better for getting into the dwarven mindset if your focus roleplay can be external and visible. Save the secret evil foci like "kill all the humans" for later when you trust yourself not only with dwarven roleplay, but with lots of isolated, solo and internal RP.

Second, make your focus concrete but subjective. By this I mean it's something you can make small, concrete steps towards the goal while having your dwarf continually dream up more and more fanciful, complicated and difficult things to do as you go. For example, say your focus is to have the best, perfect collection of knives. Because "collect knives" is a fairly concrete thing that is well represented by game mechanics, it's easy to make regular, explicit progress. Oh, my dwarf acquired a new dagger. Progress. Hey, I met a craftsman who makes unique knives. Progress. Nice, I can finally afford a safe place to store my gigantic knife collection. Progress.

But because the "best collection of knives" is subjective, there is actually room for dynamism and growth as your dwarf's view of the "perfect knife collection" gradually shifts from "I'll just pick up every dagger I find" to "I now see only perfect daggers are worthy of my collection--time to abandon my apartment filled with cheap rinthi daggers" to "The best collection of knives will be solely of unique knives with important histories--and I can acquire my first by commissioning a custom knife made from templar femur and using it to kill a Sorcerer."

In other words, the focus is actually achievable, but you reserve the right to decide when and how the focus is achieved. This gives you a way to always have small, real things to do to make progress towards the focus while preserving control and flexibility over the character's arc.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 10:39:09 PM by hyzhenhok »

Delicious_Marinade

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2018, 10:46:43 AM »
Being the besy fighter in the Known is a good focus, in and of itself.

The issue I see with it as a focus, isnt the focus itself, its that people use it as an excuse to join the Byn and spar all day every day until they can fight 12 guys naked and unarmed.

That's basically it, really. I've grown a bit OOCly racist against dwarves just because so, so many warrior dwarves who wear that kind of focus on their sleeves are usually just no fun to interact with at all.

I think it's really important to consider how your character will impact the world in ways that aren't just... hitting things really hard.

Miradus

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Re: Thoughts about Dwarven Focus
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2018, 04:20:48 PM »
I love playing dwarves, but I'm always afraid I'll change my mind about what I want to do while I'm logged in.



A focus can be accomplished in stages. For example, one of my dwarves had as his focus to forge the weapon which would kill the God-King. But in order to accomplish that he had to become proficient in crafting normal weapons, proficient at riding in order to get out to where the rare resources were, proficient at grebbing to find them, and proficient in combat to be able to protect those resources and know what a God-killing weapon would be.

I've played a lot of dwarves and I've never had anyone pester me about my focus. If you can tie anything you want to do back to your main focus even remotely then you're fine.

Keep in mind that dwarves aren't just strong, short humans. They are a completely different species with a different set of mental processes. A human shouldn't be able to say, "I don't think becoming a master grebber has anything to do with your focus of becoming a noble" because a human doesn't think like a dwarf would.