Greetings, folks! Another week, another update. Sorry if responses have been a bit delayed after three terrifying months of unemployment (and being ineligible for unemployment insurance, derp) a job literally flew out of the blue on the last day of this year. I dont know how long itll last, but at least for now, its 8-5, every day, which has taken a bit of a chunk out of my free time. This past week also got eaten up in all the clerical miscellany that getting started at a new place begets. All in all, though, its awesome to have a job, I like where Im working and the people Im working with, and in short, I will not starve to death. Hoolay! If I dont get back to you for a day or two, though, odds are its because I passed out before I checked my notes. xD
Anyway, lets get this show on the road! Today well be covering the NPCs and the unmasking process. And just to clarify: your judges will not be represented by NPCs. The judges are, other than evaluating your entries, not directly involved in the tournament or its setting. Just FYI.
Roderick is the gatekeeper for Usher Manor. Hes rather batty and will yell at people who get near him or his gatehouse, and not always coherently. If he doesnt yell at them, hes spying on them from the windows of the gatehouse or the murder holes of the gateway itself. The ragged old uniform hes wearing looks to have been washed the last time Roderick was bathed, which is never; his straggly white hair is still partially tied back at the base of his neck, but not very neatly. The smattering of black dots over his upper face are supposedly scars from a plague, the same one rumored to have taken his sight and the majority of his sanity. He is in fact quite blind, but is yet somehow very aware of the people and things around him. Due to his madness, nobody knows exactly how old he is, how long hes been there, or where he was from to begin with.
A city man, Doctor Tarr specializes in diseases, and has spent an unknown quantity of time on the manor grounds, investigating the aftermath of a devastating but bizarrely localized plague. He also left the city due to its restrictions on what experiments he could perform within city grounds. The doctor lives in the bottom of the clock tower and, should you visit him, can help patch up wounds or provide cough syrup or the like. However, hes just as likely to secretly inject you with some strain of something new and exciting, to see the effects on the human body if youre lucky, he may even test a cure on you as well. Hes more likely to run experiments on individuals he dislikes. A rather rotund fellow, hes always found in a shirt, black apron, and trousers, and normally with a fat stogie stinking up the room; if you interrupt him, hell wipe down his hands before touching anything as well.
Professor Fether is a renowned ornithologist, living in the carriage house; like Doctor Tarr, he is on the manor grounds for academic purposes, studying the particular breed of pigeon that roosts in the dovecote, which happen to live only on the manor grounds and seem resistant to most, if not all disease. Hes a good deal less likely to pull any surprises on you, though the carriage house is wallpapered in his detailed drawings of anatomical studies and dissections hes performed, and you may find a skeleton or a pigeon he forgot about mid-dissection. Or several. If you ask nicely, hell allow you to use one of his own messenger pigeons to send word off the manor grounds. If you hurt any of the native pigeons, he gets very, very upset, and wont help you at all. He almost constantly wears those ridiculous binoculars, which magnify his eyes to rather alarming degree; the bow tie is a constant companion as well, along with the faded smoking jacket and loose gray trousers hes too bony for.
Berenice is the ghost in the pond. A daughter of the Usher family a generation or two prior, she was engaged to a fellow studying dentistry, and one night awoke to discover hed done her the favor of pulling out all her teeth. When she found him down by the pond, gone quite mad, there was a struggle, and they both met their watery end in the murky pond bottom. Since then, Berenice has been searching the pond for her teeth, which were lost in the ponds mud, making the waters constantly clouded. If you speak with her, shes quite polite, but may ask that you help find a tooth in exchange for information. You may also be distracted by her mouth, which is still bloody and toothless; her lack of teeth does impede her speech a little. If she can avoid actually talking, she will, often attempting to communicate via pictures or pantomime, as she knows that her bleeding gums tend to upset people. Shes still in the robe and nightgown from the night she drowned.
This fellow, in the great tradition of many narrators, has no name, goes by no title, is known by no pseudonym, and will not give you any even if you ask nicely. He is, however, what is keeping everyone trapped within the manor grounds until the tournament ends. Killing him will not let anyone go free, and trying is not recommended, as it is a rather futile endeavor. He will neither hurt nor help any of the contestants. The mask cannot be removed, but it suits his rather sharp attire. You can find him in the mansion proper, but seeking him out is also not recommended, unless youre up for a round of pointless mind games. He will not directly interact with any of the contestants if he can help it, for the most part; he just wants to watch.
The Unmasking Process
Anyone can attempt to unmask an artist, including contestants, judges, and spectators. The process is simple: You, the accuser, send me a note stating who you think the contestant is. If you are correct, I wait until the judge rulings are submitted for that round, and then apply the appropriate penalty. You can only make one (1) accusation against one (1) artist per round. Its almost exactly like the board game Clue. If you suspect two artists are working together, list them both. If you change your mind and want to alter your accusation, too bad, suckah, wait until next round. I will respond to each note and let you know I received your accusation, but I will not tell you if you are right or wrong.
And going off of that, an important note: if you do suspect someone, please be careful who you discuss it with. The person youre talking to may be a judge, an opponent, or even that artist. I would advise you similarly to keep opinions you voice fair and mostly positive, so as to not unintentionally hurt anyones feelings.
And finally, as this has been asked a few times: reference sheets are not required to audition. When the final roster is announced, I will ask the 32 contestants to put sheets together, and give them a few days to do so before matches are announced. You are welcome to get a head start on one if you wish, but do not worry about sending it with the audition comic. This is something of a challenge to you all, as youll need to cold-turkey introduce a character and what makes them special without confusing or boring the audience.
Thats all for now, folks. Next update will have a more detailed rundown of the mansion interior, and anything else Ive forgotten to cover up to now. Good luck with those auditions!