A Dwarf with a Focus - an example

Started by Halaster, June 04, 2024, 09:58:23 PM

THE PERFECT STEAK, by Halaster with Eurynomos edits

As a young dwarven teen, you're sitting in a tavern, savoring your first real drink, when the conversation shifts to "really great food in Allanak." You listen intently as the regulars debate who cooks the best chalton. The talk shifts to inix and other animals, then finally to mekillots. One grizzled patron recounts a mekillot steak he once had, and how utterly magnificent it was. The younger folks around him listen with drunken awe. You notice their admiration for him, and your thoughts zero in on mekillot steaks. You've never seen a mekillot, only heard it's a gargantuan lizard-thing from the Salt Flats, capable of squishing a full-grown half-giant, not to mention a dwarf. Massive. Utterly massive. The conversation directs your thoughts, and you dwell more and more on mekillot steaks. You leave the tavern that night, still thinking about it. Mekillot steak. Mekillot Steak. Within a few days, it becomes an obsession.

In a moment of pique, you realize your life's focus -- to cook the most amazing mekillot steak Allanak has ever tasted.

You're fairly smart, and like most dwarves, you have a long-term mindset and an abundance of patience and drive. You tentatively start talking with your closest friends and family, realizing this obsession won't be fulfilled in a day, a season, or a year. It will take dedication and practice for many years. So, you start learning to cook. You have little to your name, so your early attempts are barely considered food: sub-par travel cakes, rat meat, occasional scraps of jozhal or scrab. But you quickly develop a skill, and your friends begin to know you as "a decent cook." You begin to collect a small collection of knives and utensils, personalizing them and adding new tools to your repertoire to enhance your abilities. You start to visit the bazaar of Allanak in the early hours of the night after long days of cooking, purchasing odd spices and ingredients from dubious sellers for favors or for coin.

By the time you're twenty, you're known among your peers as a fair cook and arrange to cook for a local vendor stand in the bazaar, getting a small cut of the profits. It's more money than you've ever known. You do this for a few more years, still visiting your spice vendors and doing odd jobs to make enough money to afford a life, earning a reputation around the bazaar for your skills. All this time, you cannot keep your mind off your ultimate goal: cook the most amazing mekillot steak Allanak has ever tasted. People try to distract you from this goal with their own goals or obsessions, but you honestly don't have the time for it.

Eventually, you land a job as a cook at the Gladiator and Gaj Tavern. It's nighttime hours, cooking for drunks, but you turn it to your advantage. You spice the food up, adding larger than normal helpings of salt and herbs. The drunks love it. They come in eagerly to taste your latest chalton dish or mystery meat stew. Your reputation grows; people recognize you on the street, pat you on the back. But that thought is always there: cook the most amazing mekillot steak Allanak has ever tasted. Mekillot steak. Mekillot.  Mekillot meat is rare and very expensive, beyond your means. You save small amounts of 'sid over the years, and your account with Nenyuk isn't too bad, for a cook.

Finally, a breakthrough: Lady Fale hears about you and insists you cook for her, wanting to "connect with the citizens and eat like they do!" You're not quite sure what that means but you smile and nod and meet with the Lady Fale and her retinue.

With thoughts racing about how this could fund your purchase of mekillot meat, you gladly join House Fale's servants and assimilate with the kitchen staff. It's an amazing setup! Beyond your wildest dreams! You quickly impress the staff, and the Fale nobles are genuinely impressed by your food, recognizing your potential.

Years pass, and you save more money, often talking in the kitchen about your obsession. Initially, the staff laughs it off as nonsense, but over time, they understand your sincerity and drive. They ask if you've ever tasted or cooked mekillot meat, and you admit you haven't. Conversations lead you to understand you can work your way up to that. You focus on jozhal meat, perfecting it, then move to inix meat, another large lizard-like creature. You spend years perfecting inix meat, preparing for the day you can try mekillot meat.

You learn who the best local butchers are, befriending them over the years. You need the best butcher to make the perfect cuts so you can cook the most amazing mekillot steak Allanak has ever tasted. These friendships are genuine, the bonds you formed with these people are real, but always with that goal in mind. The spice vendors you first visited in the bazaar begin to introduce you to their children and call you one of their best customers.

After years of faithful service to House Fale, you find yourself in your late thirties. You've still yet to cook mekillot meat, though you did try it once from leftovers at a grand Fale party. It wasn't bad, but it ignited a new fire in your mind, constantly thinking of ways to cook it, what herbs to use. Unknown to you, your obsession reaches Lady Fale. Pleased with your skill and dedication, she surprises you by having an entire side of mekillot meat delivered to the estate for you to start learning how to cook it.

The slab of meat is enormous, bigger than you, probably as big as a large human male. You invite your butcher friend over to discuss it, and you agree on the best cuts to maximize attempts at perfecting the recipe. For the next few weeks, you barely sleep, your legs ache from hours standing in the kitchen, experimenting, pacing, talking to yourself. Finally, you settle on a recipe: lightly salted, a number of wild desert herbs, slow cooked for hours. One younger Fale, an odd man who gambles away more than his stipend, wants to taste this perfection. You serve it to him, and he declares it his favorite dish, convincing his family to throw a party for the city's elite to debut your mekillot steak.

The day comes, and the party starts. You conscript the entire Fale kitchen staff, assigning tasks they excel at. The meal is prepared and served to the nobility. The conversation, initially about the latest fashions, halts as the aroma reaches them. Silence falls as they taste the meal, and your heart skips a beat—why are they so quiet?! Then you realize: they are so enthralled by the taste that they've stopped talking to enjoy it. After a few agonizing moments, the conversation resumes, every guest declaring it the best meat they've ever tasted.

Your moment arrives. Based on the judgement of the gathered nobility, you've cooked the most amazing mekillot steak Allanak has ever tasted. Lavished with money, praised by everyone, your name becomes known throughout the city. For a few days, you're high on life, reveling in the satisfaction of achieving your lifelong goal. But then sadness sets in, depression follows, and those dreaded words enter your mind: Now what?

Is your life over? Should you just walk into the Silt Sea? Be devoured by silt horrors? ... You wonder what silt horrors taste like. They have meat. You wonder if you could cook them. Maybe you could use the same recipe?

New focus: cook the most amazing silt horror dish Allanak has ever tasted.
"I agree with Halaster"  -- Riev

Let's hear your dwarf focus story?
"I agree with Halaster"  -- Riev

I played a dwarf whose focus was informed by his mother. Due to being a crippled escaped slave, she couldn't leave storm and her focus was to raise great explorers, and his became refined into becoming the most famous living guide in the known. Once in game, this turned into the usual getting sid for equipment and learning to fight and survive the wastes. Eventually he fell in with the Kuraci Fist under the famed One Shot Shatuka.

Over the years he rose in the ranks but would not life swear because in his mind he was still working up to his focus and life-swearing would prohibit that. There are many lands within Kurac influence he still needed to learn, but once that was complete he intended to move on. So he stayed the mercenary rank, but took on extra duties like training new fist and riding with outriders.

Sadly, I did not know about tamed mounts becoming untamed when left in a corral and he died to a pack of gwoshi left in the kurac corral after attempting to hop on one to ride.

Background and subsequent bio entries of a dwarf:

I was dealt a shit hand in the game of life.  Grew up poor in Allanak
where we just barely avoided the indignity of moving into the 'rinth out of
sheer desperation.  My scrabfucker of a father was from Red Storm and could
never shake the spice habit, so one day he got caught with a knot on him and
the soldiers cut him down.  Mother died of illness a year later and I was on
the streets, just old enough to eke out a living with my fists and my
cudgel.  The law's been in my way every day of my life, fucking me over and
keeping me down.  But I'll show them.  Some day, I'm going to prove that
Allanak's authority can't keep its foot on my neck forever.  People in the
streets will fear my name, and the law will learn what happens when you
treat me like dirt.  I'll start a gang, or a raiding band.  I'll show them.

[NAME] has a huge chip on his shoulder and wants to get back at Allanak's authorities
for subjecting him to such a deplorable life.  However, after years of
petty crime and fruitless belligerence, he has realized that he will only
accomplish his goal if he makes something of himself.  Being neither wealthy
nor a particularly great warrior, he just hasn't got the clout to get
anything done.

As such, he is considering his options.  One obvious choice is to join
the Byn and spend a year or two training and networking.  Another would be
to contact one of the shady gangs of the Labyrinth and make connections
there in order to work towards a place in their midst, but since he has
limited knowledge of the place and no acquaintances there, that seems an
unlikely path to take at this point in time.  Perhaps in the future.

While it's not a concisely formed list of objectives in his mind, the
pursuit of his revenge will likely unfurl as follows:
- Join the Byn for a year or two
- Make connections, either in the Labyrinth or Red Storm
- Join a criminal gang or raiding band
- Gain influence in either and guide them towards his goals

[NAME] has left the Byn and gone to seek the Masterless, a band of outlaws that he heard about
from Sergeant Oz. He joined them, though he was shocked and hesitant upon discovering that the
leader, [NAME2], is a witch. Still, water-callers are the least vile of them, and the
savage seems genuine enough in his claims of carving out a niche for those who want to live
without the fetters of city authorities. For now, at least, it's where the dwarf will stay.

Allanak had recently begun to permit dwarves to join the army, and one Lord Templar [NAME3]
contacted [NAME] in the hopes of getting the dwarf to enlist. He would never consider doing
something so utterly contrary to his focus, so he declined, whereupon the templar threatened to
exile him unless he infiltrated the Masterless, killed their leader, and took over ownership of the
outpost. [NAME] lied and said he would do it, having no intentions at all of complying.

    After robbing a noble house guard, [NAME] has been outlawed from
Allanak.  While he is comfortable enough living with the Masterless, who now
consider him one of their own (as he considers himself one of them), his
grudge against the authorities of Allanak has not waned.  He now considers
other ways to get into the city to sate his hunger for payback.  In his
mind, the city has inflicted such cruelty upon the lower class that he
cannot find peace until he feels that he has had revenge. 

    The Masterless are on good terms with the Crimson Wind, and [NAME] has
become friends with the mul [NAME4], one of their leaders.  [NAME4] has a
well-known history of fighting with the militia, and while [NAME] is not
currently planning to leave the Masterless in order to join the Red Storm
raiders, he is very open to assisting them in their feud with Lord Templar
[NAME3]. The only concern is [NAME4's] supposed alliance with
another band of outlaws led by a sorcerer, which worries the dwarf.

Having now spent the bulk of a year with the Masterless, [NAME] is learning
the way of living in these savage lands.  Still, he is determined to remind
the authorities of Allanak what can happen when they treat the low people
like  dirt.  While no major revolution is likely, he continues to ponder
ways to get back into the city.  War brews in the north, and he hopes that
when the armies march to contest this supposed copper lode, they will forget
about him and he'll be able to sneak back into Allanak.  Then he'll be a
real menace.  A man from the Labyrinth called [NAME5] has offered a way, but
[NAME] does not trust him.  The alley-dweller sounds like he answers to the

The first story about the Mekillot steak was amazing.

I have no stories to tell, but I have some idea for foci...

The first story is pretty great, but wasn't something that played out in game. Its just a story.

But it is a great way to show how a focus "evolves" over time.
Quote from: IAmJacksOpinion on May 20, 2013, 11:16:52 PM
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.