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Submitted on
January 9, 2010


3,666 (6 today)

Masque NPCs and Unmasking

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 9, 2010, 9:38 PM

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 don’t know how long it’ll last, but at least for now, it’s 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, it’s awesome to have a job, I like where I’m working and the people I’m working with, and in short, I will not starve to death. Hoolay! If I don’t get back to you for a day or two, though, odds are it’s because I passed out before I checked my notes. xD

Anyway, let’s get this show on the road! Today we’ll 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.

Manor Residents

Roderick is the gatekeeper for Usher Manor. He’s rather batty and will yell at people who get near him or his gatehouse, and not always coherently. If he doesn’t yell at them, he’s spying on them from the windows of the gatehouse or the murder holes of the gateway itself. The ragged old uniform he’s 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 he’s 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, he’s just as likely to secretly inject you with some strain of something new and exciting, to see the effects on the human body – if you’re lucky, he may even test a cure on you as well. He’s more likely to run experiments on individuals he dislikes. A rather rotund fellow, he’s always found in a shirt, black apron, and trousers, and normally with a fat stogie stinking up the room; if you interrupt him, he’ll 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. He’s 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 he’s performed, and you may find a skeleton or a pigeon he forgot about mid-dissection. Or several. If you ask nicely, he’ll 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 won’t 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 he’s 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 he’d 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 pond’s mud, making the waters constantly clouded. If you speak with her, she’s 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. She’s 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 you’re 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. It’s 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 you’re 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 anyone’s 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 you’ll need to cold-turkey introduce a character and what makes them special without confusing or boring the audience.

That’s all for now, folks. Next update will have a more detailed rundown of the mansion interior, and anything else I’ve forgotten to cover up to now. Good luck with those auditions!

  • Mood: Optimism
  • Listening to: Requiem, Mozart
Add a Comment:
Fallen-Sama Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
hmmm... what are the npc's colors?
are you going to post full color pics later?
Eialyne Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
I really want to applaud you on putting together an OCT that allows for spectator participation. My lacking art skills have held be back from joining any, and this one will definitely help satisfy that urge to participate even if it's just from the sidelines.
RhineGold Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2010
Is everything going to be posted on your account, or should I start watching something else, too?
babypea Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2010
Professor Fether! Delightful.
AkiAmeko Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Will the individuals accusing artists be made public, or will they remain anonymous themselves? I'd hate to have someone hate me because I unmasked them. :P We need witness protection!!
wandering-dreamer Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
Just a question, how are spectators going to view this? Are you going to create a group that everyone submits to or will you post each round's stories in a journal here?
KingdomHarts Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
Looking forward to seeing how this works out so much. >;)
clamchowda Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
So, if someone making an accusation correctly guesses the artist, but fails to guess that said artist is working with a partner, does that count as a correct or incorrect accusation?
terriblenerd Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
If one of the team members is correctly identified, half the penalty is applied - they lose a vote for that round, but aren't subject to the tiebreaker portion of the penalty. That goes for any situation in which only half the team is unmasked.
BlueAxelgirl Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
Cangratulations on the job! Felicitations~

Question: Is there any benefit to a judge/spectator for unmasking an artist? (Other than perhaps aiding a friend in the competetition)
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