I’m a great believer in the theory that at a Live Roleplay game, what you do in the game is a million times more important than what you do in your backstory. Therefore, I try to keep it pretty simple. Whilst not this particular character, I do have a character at another system whose backstory is, “I woke up in a hedge.”
Asim’s backstory comes from a single line from the Odyssey brief: “Assyria (capital: Assur/Nineveh; people: Assyrians) is home to the Hanging Gardens of Queen Semiramis and a land famed for the savagery of its inhabitants. Assyrian Immortals are feared above any and all others so fearsome is their reputation in battle.” I looked at it and thought, “Well, it would be daft to suggest that Assyrians are just the best fighters, since lots of other people will also be good fighters.” Therefore, I latched onto the ‘savagery’ aspect, and thus Asim was a born.
A warrior from the tribal desert, savage, and trained under such horrific conditions by his people as to be utterly without fear or sadness, emotions that would only ever slow someone down. That sounds like someone with the potential for a pretty fearsome reputation, if I pull it off right. OK, now why isn’t he with his tribe? Let’s add a bit of a soft spot – his mother, but as is traditional for me, let’s make it a bit weird. He’s not welcome in his tribe, since he killed his older brother in revenge for his brother attacking their mother and blinding her. Simple. Wait, why would the older brother do that? Because he’s a baddie, and dad died in some battle somewhere, maybe against Alexander, not sure.
So now we have a young Asim, unwanted-by-family, wandering the desert. He comes across Cyrus (IC group leader), develops utter fanaticism for Marduk. Done. Since we’d agreed before the game began that Asim would be chief immortal to the Sons of Marduk, I’m forced to add that he rose to that position by dint of utter dedication and loyalty, which are things I intend to roleplay. No-one ever needs to hear the backstory at great length, and any other of the Sons of Marduk who want to tie in can do so with relative ease, and a quick fudge-in in play.
In terms of how to Asim™, I generally follow the following outline:
- If there is something that would sadden or cause fear in a normal person, instead it should provoke a sarcastic or angry response.
- If someone does something you don’t like, tell them. Loudly.
- Be intractable and unyielding, except where someone finds a way to explain that Marduk would approve of another way.
- Be Persian(ish), but be a pretty bad one in that as soon as you are not completely calm, you’re a barely-civilised savage.
- If an opportunity arises to big up Marduk, preferably at the expense of another God, take it.
- If you enter a conversation and it’s not clear, assume they were talking about you or something you did.
- Despise anything that isn’t Marduk-related, particularly those things which could be considered distasteful or heretical.
- Never touch a dead body. If there is absolutely no choice, follow the oath you took to never leave someone behind.
- If someone suggests you’re not good enough for something or some action, you clearly are.
- Be arrogant. Know that you are better than everyone else. Tell them if you need to.
- Laugh at people, not with them. They are lesser than you.
- Scowl. A lot.
- Appear to be drinking a lot.
- Asim stands with his feet together.
- At the start of any fight, Asim’s first response is to study the opposition, forgetting about everything else.
- Asim hides his hands when he can.
- When Asim is fighting someone, he is arrogant in stance and movement. Where possible, he sticks his sword-arm above his head.
- When using a bow, Asim will rarely try a long-range shot.
I’ve just been trying to think as to whether Asim is a good guy or a bad guy. He’s definitely devoted to his cause, he’s definitely utterly loyal, and will fight to his last breath and beyond for anything he believes in. However, he’s also a calculated killer who won’t hesitate to obliterate anything that stands in his way, or even things that just have the potential to. I don’t think he’s either good or evil, such concepts are alien to him. Only his god matters.
Asim’s costume is all pretty key, however there are three bits that probably stand out.
- The armour. Oh god, I love that armour. It’s black lamellar scale, the prototype made by Tim at Darkblade after I asked him if he could do it, and his face lit up like a pinball machine. It reaches down to my elbows, and my knees, and is an absolutely beautiful piece of kit to wear. In addition, it fits the Persian brief *perfectly*, and is pretty iconic.
- The ‘Assyrian’ wrap. When not fighting, you’ll see Asim wearing a huge, striped piece of cloth that just wraps around, which he uses to hide whatever he is doing with his hands. It has the added advantage of making me look even bigger and more intimidating than my big, black armour does already. Bought from an opera job-lot.
- The red head-piece. Without it, one is naked! Bought from that same opera job-lot.
There are an awful lot of intense roleplay moments I’ve had with Asim, if only because he is so unyielding and aggressive almost all the time. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had shouting matches, screamed at people Asim deems to be unworthy, or otherwise Wrong. Special love to his wife, Ziba, for their 10 minute conversation of who was more important to them than each other, and how 100% fine with that they both were.
The fight against the Sikandergul Alexandrians is a real stand-out for me, since though there wasn’t really anyone I was interacting with (well, apart from getting thoroughly stabbed up), the lead-up to it was incredible. Eight heroes of the Middle Sea, outnumbered and heavily outgunned, being announced name by name in the arena by King Minos, and the tension and atmosphere in the arena was supremely hostile, at least to our foes. Filled with the hatred of decades, and spurred by the rage of the crowd, we stood and watched our foes file in, sneers at our lips and spit ready to be spat.
We lost, of course, but the intensity was supreme.
I’ll add any time that I overhear the crowd shouting Asim’s name. After all, as an arena hero, his goal is to have the crowd and the watchers shouting his name to the Heavens, where your god can hear you and approve of what you are doing. Marduk doesn’t require a lot of his champion, but fighting well, partying hard, and preferably winning at both are things Asim can thoroughly be on board with.
Asim never really had a goal to start with – after all, his name begins with an ‘A’ since I was expecting to be getting through quite a lot of characters at Odyssey. Instead, his goals developed in play through roleplay and arguments, hence some are a little more wishy-washy than others. I’ve left a couple out for Reasons. Goals are very much a fluid thing for me, I roll with what is going on, and any given goal could change at any given time.
- Get name shouted by crowd – check.
- Become blessed of Marduk for being amazing – check.
- Become Marduk’s champion – check.
- Collect enough titles to legitimately claim the title ‘Asim the many-titled’ – check.
- Obliterate another nation – working on it.
- Become immortal and everliving, in order to better serve Marduk, without becoming a God unless absolutely necessary and even then just being his squire, or something – check, kind of.
- Find a way to utterly defeat Nergal, once and for all, though probably without killing him – not so much.
- Marry a deity – not so much.
Photographer: Oliver Facey
Would you like your character to be featured? Head on over to the character spotlight page and just fill out the form!