The Bard Project

WAIT! What happened to Ari!?

Not to worry, friends. Ari is alive and well in my imagination and living it up with an endless supply of sweet treats and sword training until I decide to play her again.

WAIT! Ari’s not a bard!

No, she’s not. When I say “Bard Project”, it’s actually just a little play on the title of my blog and the newest costuming venture I’ve undertaken. I know I haven’t posted in *checks* over half a year, so I’m not going to go over everything that’s been missed. Instead, let me jump into my new project.

A couple of months ago, Griswold decided to begin a new game with himself at the helm for a change. And so, Auerion and I began to play Pathfinder. It’s a very different style of game than I’m used to. Usually, I’m very fond of being able to role play and character build in game and actually be able to interact with the NPCs. Unfortunately, Pathfinder seems to be seriously lacking in these categories. I can’t get used to NPCs that ramble, and by the end of their quest objective speech I’m completely lost and end up just asking Griswold for a point-by-point overview. I don’t like not being able to interact with them like I’m used to, and I haven’t gotten much chance to develop my Bard character (see below) to her fullest.

On the bright side, I like how fast the game goes. We did four entire quests in module one in a span of a few hours, and a whole dungeon in module two in one evening. It’s nice to at least always be on the same page as to what is going on, and it’s REALLY nice to be on the same day! It keeps things a lot more focused, especially since I don’t live near the other players and can only do this intermittently.

So for this new game, Auerion and I each decided to move out of our comfort zone and play someone new (Auerion usually plays deranged, forgetful and simple, and elitist, while I usually play bitchy, holier-than-thou, and damned go-getter). After all, it’s no fun to keep playing the same character type over and over again, right?

For Pathfinder, Auerion took up the role of Barbarian in the group as a Highlander named Jhoven. Jhoven is very…. “simple”. I think he has an intellect of 6 or 7 (because Griswold wouldn’t let him go any lower), and he’s constantly making immature and lewd comments. And he likes to drink. Despite that, his caveman mentality (and did I mention a horrible forgetfulness? Is he part of clan MacDouglas, clan MacBrodie, or clan MacDougal today?) is coupled with a strong protective nature, particularly towards his little friend, my Bard, Melodie.

When I said that I wanted to play a Bard, Griswold made me promise that she wouldn’t be a depressed bard (Clover is suicidal, Ari is overly self-sacrifing, and Julia is just an out-of-control sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll teen). Thus, Melodie Thistledown was born (yup, another elf). She’s petite and chipper, even though she’s older than Ari. She plays a lyre harp and is also a sharp shooter with a short bow. She met Jhoven somewhere while on her way to join the Pathfinders and dragged him along (which gave Auerion an actual in-game reason WHY Jhoven would want to join in the first place). She always sees the light at the end of the tunnel (especially when she’s running towards it) and she is terrified of undead. She drinks and is adorable.

Wow, what a difference, huh? I wonder which of my other characters would tear her apart first…?

I’m still working on her backstory and character development, especially for role playing purposes. Melodie Thistledown is actually just an assumed name she took on when she began to travel as a bard so that her family (she’s noble) can’t find her. I have the idea that she was married or was about to be married, but either jilted the groom or ran away on her wedding night. I’m still not certain which I prefer.

In any case, I’m looking forward to getting in to her skin soon and figuring her out from the inside. Meaning, I look forward to playing her at the upcoming New York Renaissance Faire in September. As you’ve probably all seen with my previous characters (and I’ve role played and cosplayed as all of them), I really enjoy bringing a character to life both in personality and in costume. It’s interesting to interpret them for the “real world”, and especially to interact with people outside of our games at these types of events while in character. Although, it’s possible that I’ve overdone it with Ari at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

Melodie hopes to make her debut soon, so I’ve been working very hard to put her outfit together. She doesn’t really wear “armor”, so I’m looking forward to dressing a bit differently than I usually do. Oh, no corset! I can breathe!

The first order of business was coming up with concept art. Believe it or not, there’s really not much information out there on the fashion preferences of fantasy bards. So I basically had to come up with it myself. As a traveler and a performer, she’d have to be more mobile and showy than a paladin. But no so showy that she would really mind traipsing through a dungeon in her fancy pants clothes and possibly getting them dirty.

What I eventually came up with was a light outfit consisting of tunic(s), bodice, leggings, ankle boots, and a capelet (short cloak). The bodice doubles as “leather armor”, and she also wears leather bracers/arm guards for shooting her short bow.

The next step was figuring out fabrics and colors. Whereas Ari’s color palette is usually very predictable–blue, white, silver, black–I figured that Melodie would probably be a lot more colorful as a bard. But also, in reading about Pathfinder elves, it says that elves often take on hues and color preferences depending on where they’ve spent the most time. This led me to choose more of a natural, forest-like color scheme for her, in shades of Spring and Autumn. It wouldn’t seem like the colors all work well together–olive green, russet orange, brown, tan, gold, dark purple, dark blue–but strangely, when you layer them all together and look at them as a group, they create one cohesive harmony.

All of the materials are natural, using cotton, leather (I ripped apart a leather jacket and a hideous leather skirt), and even silk. It’s been a slow, but very creative and rewarding process to work on her outfit. And I’m really taking my time to make each element just right for the character, and for me.

One thing I look forward to with this outfit is accessorizing. There’s a lot of room to be creative and less plain and regimented than my other characters, so I’m eager to find small trinkets and elements to make the costume interesting. Things that Melodie might have picked up in her travels or collected, for example. They don’t even need to have a cohesion, which means that I can draw from many different cultures and ethnicities to make her outfit interesting.

As of right now, the capelet and bodice are complete, though neither has the hardware for a closure just yet (the bodice hardware is ordered, and I’m still looking to find or make the perfect closure for the capelet). About the only failure story of this outfit so far is Melodie’s lyre harp, which I found for an amazing price on eBay. However, it must have ended up getting addressed incorrectly, ended up in Bridgeport, CT, rather than Stratford, CT, couldn’t be delivered, and is now on it’s way back-to-sender… in Pakistan.

Oh well. Melodie will make pretty music, yet! Just you wait and see! ^.^

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2 Responses to The Bard Project

  1. She sounds like she’s going to be beautiful and a lot of fun to wear, your right I think the trinkets hanging from her will be the most fun, she needs a cool mug too, with a mermaid as the handle or something:-)

    • paladinari says:

      Why a mermaid? I was actually thinking of using my copper tankard, since I think the pewter one would be too shiny and fancy for her. I guess my pencils are going to have to find somewhere else to hang out on that day! lol

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