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Flavortext: A series on flavoring hard to explain skills


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My name is Ed, and I am someone who is very big on using all of the different skills a class has to offer. And over my years of roleplay I've noticed that some skills don't see as much use in RP for one reason or another. Either they're too hard to explain, too vague, or just seem too game mechanic-y. So every few days from here on I'll be publishing my new series Flavortext, where I try and explain different skills in-game and give people ideas so that they can use them for their RP. I'll essentially be providing ways that you can RP your skills and describe them as functioning so you can try using them in-game.

For our first edition, we'll be covering:
Ranger Traps!

Traps are a very universal idea in real life that have appeared in almost every culture around the world. The idea is to lay a structure of some kind on the ground and then wait for either game or an enemy to walk into it to either kill them or leave them vulnerable. It's a pretty simple concept and can be as simple as a rope and counterweight to an entire pit filled with toxic spikes. Ranger's traps tend to throw this out of the window because the way we use them in-game is typically by placing them down in a matter of seconds and then watching them instantly explode into fire, ice, water, and sometimes literal snakes. Worse, we never get to see how these traps look- they exist as grey circles on the ground when placed. So how does one use them in RP?

My first and last step would be to think about the material. What we know between all traps is that they're ground placed skills that trigger when stepped on. So all we really need to do is decide what the other person is stepping on to cause a burst of flames or a ton of snakes to pop out. So here are some ideas that you can use for each of the five Ranger Traps.

Healing Spring
"Heals you and your pet. Place a trap that grants regeneration and cures conditions on allies."

In-game, this skill creates a trap that heals you when you step in it with low health. It then summons a shallow spring filled with water lilies and roots that seem to grow out of the ground from the center. It essentially summons a bunch of water that heals you and washes away conditions/toxins. So you have a few options. It can be:

  • A water lily that you grow from the ground up that detects when someone is hurt and summons healing waters
  • A seed planted in the ground that spawns a spring around it when it comes into contact with blood
  • A tiny water spirit that can sense when someone is hurt and creates a spring around itself
  • Or even a shell from a freshwater mollusk that releases cleansing waters and springs when cracked


Flame Trap
"Set a trap that burns foes
."
This is where problems arise. In-game, all it does is create a burning field of fire after it's triggered. Doesn't give us a lot to work with, but it does mean we get to be creative.  Picture:

  • A fire blossom planted into the ground that spews burning hot pollen when approached
  • A red hot chili pepper that releases juice that combusts when it comes into contact with air
  • A fragile pot of highly flammable sap that creates a field of flames when cracked or broken
  • Or a charred branch filled with a vengeful nature spirit that lights things on fire when stepped on


Frost Trap
"Set a trap that chills foes."

More of the same issue we had with Flame Trap- not very indicative of what it does outside of exploding outwards in a burst of ice. But it is notably the only trap that focuses on dealing high strike damage. So this does indicate that it not only chills you, but also has some kind of punch behind it. So let's see what we can come up with:

  • An ice rose that violently explodes outwards into shards of ice at the slightest damage
  • A shard of eternal ice that expands and strikes foes around it when cracked
  • A branch of winter-berries filled with juice that freezes and expands in contact with air
  • Or, if you want to get really childish, a tiny snowman inhabited by a grumpy Frost Spirit


Spike Trap
"Set a trap that bleeds and launches foes."

So this trap is the closest thing we have to a conventional trap. When stepped on, incredibly large spikes shoot up out of the ground to knock someone off of their feet and leave them bleeding. You can very easily say this entire process is mechanical and that the Ranger is carrying a complicated metal trap on them at all times to throw at people. But, this doesn't particularly line up with Ranger's overall aesthetic, and it isn't very easy to excuse your character always lugging one around, much less using it in the middle of a fight. And yes, you can argue traps shouldn't be used in the middle of a fight anyways. But if you want something less heavy than a big spike trap, here are some fun options:

  • A pinecone that grows massive pine needles out from itself when cracked to impale people
  • A tiny ball cactus that extends out all of it's spines to stab enemies when they get close
  • A yucca seed or root that grows into a mature razor sharp tree when stepped on
  • Or, a nature spirit shaped like a porcupine that lies in wait for enemies


Viper's Nest
(if you have a phobia of snakes skip this part)
"Set a trap that pulses poison on foes when triggered."

Spoiler

Remember how I said that some of the skills being vague let us get creative? Well this skill is very obvious in what it does. It is a trap filled with venomous snakes that all get agitated and bite you when you step on them. You can even see the snakes slithering away when it activates, and the fact that it pulses imply the snakes take turns biting you. So you have to ask yourself- how can someone feasibly carry around an entire trap full of nothing but snakes. Here are some ideas:

  • The snakes are actually toxic barbed vines that spawn from a seed that germinates when stepped on
  • The snakes are actually dozens of venomous nature spirits similar to the effect on Ranger Sword 2
  • The snakes are gathered from the environment with some kind of charm or bait and asked to wait in a position
  • Or, the snakes are just constantly on the Ranger's person at all times. Not unusual for a Nature Magic user
  •  

With all of that said, we've covered all of the various in-game traps. But don't be afraid to apply this same logic to other kinds of Ranger Traps that don't exist in-game. Maybe your Ranger can summon a trap that turns the ground into slippery mud. Or your Ranger places down a trap that summons thousands of bees. It's all up to you and your style of RP.
I'll be making another edition of Flavortext whenever I find the time. In the meanwhile, feel free to let me know what else you'd like to see me cover!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would like to see what the firebrand tomes would look like for non-human and non-elonians. For example, My headcanon for my main norn firebrand's tomes would be something like this;

 

Tome of Justice: Recounts the legand of Jora's hunt for the Nornbear

 

Tome of Resolve: Recounts the legend of the Spirits of Wild when they led the norn away from Jormag and Owl's sacrifice

 

Tome of Courage: Recounts the legend Aesgir Dragonrender and how he bravely stood against Jormag

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