Ten years BEFORE THE MAST coming to a close

It happens, from time to time,
that rivers join, only to part again;
this lessens in no way those days and nights
when they flowed as one river.
Part now as waters do; part quietly,
in loving kindness,
without doing harm;
move on serenely into newer days,
and newer nights,
and newer ways
of flowing.

(SEPARATION, by Suzette Haden Elgin)

Since this blog, when I decided what to do with it after having started it by mistake, was first dedicated to roleplaying games- related musings, here is my parting letter to the beloved crew of the site I have led during three volumes (or, rather, in three sequel-incarnations).

Who can forget the ten years passed since that Transfiguration holiday chosen as the official opening date of “Before the Mast”? Three years and a half spent on Invisionfree, in the story year 1719, four years and a half spent on jcink, in the second year of our story, 1720, and about two years on our third volume, CARIBBEAN DAWN. Ten years of pouring our love for the Age of Sail and my knowledge about the era into a coherent story to be written with others have passed, and the story has built up to an epic Caribbean saga. Thank you, all of you very much for keeping faithful to us! None of our achievements would have been possible without your constant help and contribution – all of you, those present now and those present a while ago.

I can’t list here all the writing partners that have imprinted their mark on our story but left the site during our eight years BEFORE THE MAST and two under a new CARIBBEAN DAWN. They and their contribution to our story is cherished. Most characters got a meaningful departure and will be remembered by the other characters and writing partners.

I think we don’t need anymore a list of active writers and characters, since these are who we have been, not receiving fresh blood for a while. Just a shout-out to JOELLE and JOUKO, who had been the first to complete their stories. Congratulations!

I am offering my warmest thanks, indiscriminately, to all the crew of “Caribbean Dawn”, who had been sticking with us until the end and to all those that have sailed with us BEFORE THE MAST through the good and bad, holding on the rigging, for all that you have done to make our story an interesting one, because only your continued and dedicated participation in writing our story has allowed our writing community to flourish. I consider you all to be my friends, and you all, even those who have left, mean a lot to me. My door, my heart and my e-mail are always open to you all. Thank you very much for keeping with us till the end! Don’t forget that, now and later, anytime, for you my e-mail and my FB are always open for you. (The Discord too, until I get bored of it and give it up, because I won’t open a new site, ever…. and I doubt that I’d ever roleplay again too, even if this might have a 5% chance if I really love the story and I feel inspired).

During these ten years, we have witnessed writing partners graduating high school and Uni, getting their first work place, getting married or having children, rejoicing for their milestones. We have witnessed character growth, story growth and brainstorming. I think all of us have learnt something from this site which wasn’t exactly like the many others around them, and we are richer in soul and mind due to our international exchanges of opinions and knowledge. We have grown, each of us, both together and apart, and now that it is time to leave behind a completed story, we are ready to fly and soar for new goals in life. Good luck! We have built together memories which I hope would stand the passing of the time.

We have been productive – up to 6-th of August 2020, the cut-off date for any statistics, in ten years BEFORE THE MAST and under the CARIBBEAN DAWN, after having deleted the ballast – OOC posts, unfinished bios, advertisements, etc. -we have written over 30,200 posts in 1,402 threads, on 3 sites, out of which only 54 abandoned threads (3.9%) – a good score, given that in most RPGs, unfinished threads are more common than finished ones. [i]We do finish the stories we start, unless exceptional circumstances!

The statistics are as follows: For Before the Mast 1719 we wrote over 16,500 posts in 705 threads, out of which 31 (i.e. 4.4%) abandoned threads. For Before the Mast 1720 we wrote over 11,500 posts in 552 threads, out of which 535 completed and only 17 (3.1 %) archived threads. For Caribbean Dawn we wrote over 2,200 posts in 145 threads, out of which 139 completed and only 6 (3.8%) archived threads.

That is a success! Also, it is a success that our story is complete. Only one epilogue was started and not finished, going under the unfinished stories. A few others remained untold, but the fate of some characters is meant to remain forever a mystery. THIS IS THE SUMMARY of our ten years BEFORE THE MAST and under the CARIBBEAN DAWN. And this is a damn good work, I might say – and a Fleet Admiral is usually reserved with praise…

And now, after having counted our blessings, I wish you a nice summertime – or, well, what’s left of it, and as nice as this strange year affected by a very annoying pandemic can be – and lots of success in all your further endeavours. Mine are counted in books and literary prizes…

I am offering my warmest thanks, indiscriminately, to all the crew of “Caribbean Dawn”, who had been sticking with us until the end and to all those that have sailed with us BEFORE THE MAST through the good and bad, holding on the rigging, for all that you have done to make our story an interesting one, because only your continued and dedicated participation in writing our story has allowed our writing community to flourish. I consider you all to be my friends, and you all, even those who have left, mean a lot to me. My door, my heart and my e-mail are always open to you all. Thank you very much for keeping with us till the end! Don’t forget that, now and later, anytime, for you my e-mail and my FB are always open for you. (The Discord too, until I get bored of it and give it up, because I won’t open a new site, ever…. and I doubt that I’d ever roleplay again too, even if this might have a 5% chance if I really love the story and I feel inspired).

During these ten years, we have witnessed writing partners graduating high school and Uni, getting their first work place, getting married or having children, rejoicing for their milestones. We have witnessed character growth, story growth and brainstorming. I think all of us have learnt something from this site which wasn’t exactly like the many others around them, and we are richer in soul and mind due to our international exchanges of opinions and knowledge. We have grown, each of us, both together and apart, and now that it is time to leave behind a completed story, we are ready to fly and soar for new goals in life. Good luck! We have built together memories which I hope would stand the passing of the time.

Of course, we can leave only with the TRADITIONAL SEA SHANTY appropriate for a ship being paid off – her being, in our case, our beloved site:

Oh, the times were hard and the wages are low,
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her!)
I guess it’s time for us to go,
(And it’s time for us to leave her!)

Leave her, Johnny, leave her
Oh leave her, Johnny, leave her
For the voyage is done, and the winds don’t blow
and it’s time for us to leave her.

Oh the wind was foul an the sea ran high
Leave her, johnny, leave her
She shipped it green an’ none went by
An’ it’s time for us to leave her.

She would not wear and she would not stay
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her!)
She shipped great seas both night and day
(And it’s time for us to leave her!)

Now I thought I hear the old man say
leave her Johnny, leave her
Just one more pull and then belay
and it’s time for us to leave her.

The sails all furled, our work is done,
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her!)
and now ashore we’ll take our rum
and it’s time for us to leave her.

There is a time for everything


beforethemastcalendar1“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,  a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes, the Holy Bible)


It seems so long ago now when I remember how, one morning I woke up to an offline on yahoo messenger, with a website address, and I saw “Before the Mast” skinned by Raven, with a banner and all empty otherwise. A few hours later, I got persuaded to become her co-administrator and to put my love for the Age of Sail and my knowledge about the era into a new RPG which should have everything we loved in others, while avoiding, at the same time, what we didn’t like.

We took pride in being not the regular, common RPG everybody sees around, but something different, more of an interactive story puzzle written coherently by several people, a puzzle matching together from various little stories and chapters. It promoted community spirit, open communication, interesting discussions, fun and friendship.

And after a strenuous work of three weeks of writing all kind of documentations, on Transfiguration Day – 6-th of August 2010 – we had the official opening. Since then, we had no offline day, not even for replacing the site’s appearance. But there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot – so the site, which had 3 volumes in the 9 years it had been ongoing, will close at the end of 2019.

Who can forget the nine years passed since that Transfiguration holiday chosen as the official opening date of “Before the Mast”? Three years and a half spent on Invisionfree,  (sorry, it was bought by Tapatalk and all the coding went to Hell in the transformation, not to mention also the Photobucket disaster) for Before the Mast 1719 and four years and a half spent on jcink, in the second year of our story, for Before the Mast 1720, plus the time spent on our newest volume, the third one, the more colonial-focused Caribbean Dawn 1720, which has its own two year birthday celebration on New Year 2020. The moment of its closing up, too…

Nine years of pouring my love for the Age of Sail and my knowledge about the era into a coherent story to be written with others have passed. We have striven to be a writing community of likeminded people, gathered together for doing a common project –writing together a soap-opera style, collaborative and consistent swashbuckling adventure story, each thread being a chapter of it. In this spirit, we kept discussing potential turns and twists and plotting them with the others, in order to fuel our inspiration and excitement about the story, to avoid inconsistencies and to put all the partners on the same wavelength, to write together towards the same objective.

Nine years are a lot of time, so writing partners have changed, characters have changed, the story has changed too with the sinking of some ships and the advent of peace in the West Indies. Nine years with joys and disappointments too, because nobody is exempted of them. And if nothing else, even this would be a reason to consider it an accomplishment – but I think we have much more.

We have built up an epic Caribbean saga. Some of my share of the story will be rewritten differently, in Romanian, into an adventure novel series titled The price of freedom. For now, I have definite ideas for 4 novels in the series, but 1-2 more aren’t impossible.

They say that people come into our life for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime. I think all of us knew that our site wasn’t meant for a lifetime, but for a reason and a few seasons. And the final season has come. I know that my stress and lack of free time won’t change in the next future. I am less motivated – or, rather, I have less life force to keep the site running, in the conditions that I can’t hand it over to anyone, as their lives had changed too in nine years, and their motivation had dwindled. So, better wrap up our stories, leaving place for a sequel which will never be written.

It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. It’s almost a decade of my life invested in this site and story, and in the friendship with most of my members – my crew, as I used to call them. I kept receiving signs heading in this direction for the latest months, until I understood there will be nothing better waiting for me upwards… A man has to do what a man has to do. It is valid for fleet admirals and pirate captains, as well! Including for me. My roleplaying time will soon be over.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met,

our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.”

Btm calendar dec

It happened BEFORE THE MAST…

…once upon a time, on a CARIBBEAN DAWN… (Or what we have been writing interactively for nine years – don’t mind that the greeting is from the 7 years’ celebration).



“Behold! A cry from the crow’s nest.
A ship appears from the south west.
The years below deck that bored me,
All lead to what lies before me:
Hear the terror! Fires burn and cannons sound.
Fate awaits me, as the vessels circle round
See the slaughter – cutlass swings and pistols fire.
I hold my breath, close my eyes and hang on for
Death before the mast.”

– Alestorm

    Since the beginning of 1719, the alliances and hostilities between the European nations extend all the way to their distant colonies, causing the Caribbean Sea to boil with conflict as the War of the Quadruple Alliance begins to unfold. The English, French and Dutch have allied their forces against the Spanish, and from Aruba to the Bahamas and beyond, there is no quiet spot ashore or at sea.
    Besides the political turmoil that leads the colonies to the point of tearing at each other’s throats, the pirates and privateers are also on the prowl. Terror rules the trade routes, and both Spanish and English authorities have sworn to try and end piracy in seas.
    While the ships are fighting storms and enemies, on the islands life attempts to go on as normally as possible in the face of the war; people work, pray, drink, brawl, party, fall in love and break up. In a world where nobody is what they seem to be, everyone has their own secrets: the tavern owners and barmaids are spying for the pirates, the tanned merchant sailor with a charming smile is a mercenary following his mark, the youngest English Navy sailor is a girl in disguise, the French Governor is involved in shady deals with the pirates, including granting them hidden protections… Who knows what other secrets people could be hiding?
    During a working dinner with the English governor of the Bahamas – Sir Woodes Rogers – a strategic alliance was formed, with the English privateers agreeing to assist the English and French Navies in the ever present battle against piracy, as well as against the common enemy in the Caribbean: Spain. The daring plan agreed upon was to disguise their man-of-wars as defenseless merchant ships and pretend to be a trading convoy, a juicy piece of bait for both pirates and Spaniards alike who certainly would not be able to resist sailing into the allied firepower of the strong vessels, blinded by their greed… or will they be able to see the trap?

Meanwhile, the privateers and the Navies aren’t the only tricky ones in the Caribbean. The pirate ship, the ”Caribbean Siren”,  has been spying on the English Navy’s moves in Kingston, as well as watching for the arrival of a rich Manila Fleet in Havana. Nobody ever knows where their informants will be hiding, and their cunning makes them just as formidable a foe as the Spanish. Information continues to change hands as the weeks go by, and no one can ever be certain who has the advantage in this war…

Adventures of all kind

      Early in the spring of 1719, the French Navy ship

”Le Phenix” got lucky and managed to board, plunder, and sink the Spanish vessel ”La Princesa”, taking the Admiral’s daughter hostage. The French capitaine Raoul Duval looked forward to a sure promotion for his successful venture, as well as his valuable booty, but his luck was quick to change. His already damaged ship was boarded by the notorious pirate crew of the ”Caribbean Siren”, and not only was Duval taken prisoner, but his proud French flagship was stripped of anything with worth, including the high-born Admiral’s daughter. Yet surprising to everyone, Captain Duval, as well as the rest of his ship, were set free again, leaving his crew to wonder at what price they had been granted their liberty… 

      Back in Tortuga, the pirates partied the night away, celebrating the victory while the newcomers who jumped ship from

”Le Phenix” and ”La Princesa”  tried to fit in with the new crowd. But somewhere in the midst of the festivities, the pirate captain made a bad bet in a game of cards, and was nearly fooled into losing his sailing master. Fortunately, the bartered man managed to get himself out of the trade with a little bit of intimate service, and returned to the captain who had mistakenly bet him away. 

      In Cuba, when it was discovered that the Spanish Admiral’s daughter was missing, a mercenary known by the name of

El Moreno  was sent to retrieve her. Though he soon brought her home to her father safe and sound, he kept to himself the information that she had been all too willing to go with the pirates in the first place, and had been reluctant to be rescued… 

      Through March and April 1719, the French seamen were forced to spend a couple of long months ashore before their ship,

”Le Phenix”, was finally repaired from the damage the pirates had inflicted. But once the imposing vessel was back out on the high seas, the alliance of the English privateers, the English Navy, and the French Navy wasted no time in putting their plans of attack in motion. The three vessels assumed disguises as merchant ships, and by doing so managed to ensnare two pirate ships, when they then towed to Port-de-Paix. But much to the allies’ dismay, the ”Caribbean Siren”  was otherwise occupied, and didn’t take the bait… 

      However, the

”Siren” crew was not able to hold onto their streak of luck much longer. After an unfortunate succession of events, the pirate ship’s sailing master suffered an intense flogging after infringing upon the pirates’ code, and then was further tormented by the boatswain’s mate, who abused the already weak man while no one else was around. Feverish and frightened, the sailing master fled to Port-de-Paix, where some friends secretly helped him recover his help. But in an attempt to find the sick and runaway sailing master, the pirate captain, Sol Galvez, ended up being captured and imprisoned on the French island along with two other pirate men taken as “trophies.” 

    It didn’t take long for the pirates to formulate a plan to rescue their captain, though, and after sneaking their way into the fort where the men were imprisoned, they managed to free Galvez and return him to Tortuga.
      Not long before the pirates’ escape plan was put into effect, a mutiny ensued aboard the privateer ship,

”The Fate’s Hand”. The mutineers killed the acting captain and then took the ship they had captured from the pirates as a prize, renaming it as the ”Twilight Shark” and sailing under a newly elected captain. With a letter of marque from Nassau and a ragtag crew of men, the new privateer ship set off in search of prey, ready and willing to take on Spanish and pirates alike. 

      Fortunately for them, the privateers didn’t have to wait long before an opportunity for triumph arose. On the 23rd of June at St. John’s Festival, the Duchess of St. Albans made a startling arrangement with the pirates. She asked them to attack her husband’s ship, and kill him in the process, which the crew of the

”Siren” readily agreed to. After confronting the ship in battle, the pirates took the Duchess as a “prisoner,” killing her husband as requested. 

      But before the noblewoman could even be brought to solid land, the pirates found themselves in an encounter of a very different kind. On their way back to Tortuga under the cover of night, they were attacked by the

”Twilight Shark”. Although the details of the battle aren’t known to many outside of the two crews, the fact of the matter is that the pirates invoked the right of parley, and a truce was reached between the ships. The privateers took the Duchess with them and returned to Kingston, where they were received as heroes, and the pirates went home to fight another day…

      After the

”Twilight Shark” captured a Spanish galleon as a prize, they weighed anchor only to realize that Captain Sharky, as well as his trusted man, Kemba, were missing. Investigations made them understand that their captain and fellow crewmate won’t return anymore, since they had been sold to a slaver. So, they had to elect a new captain, who started gaining new prizes for them due to an original way of gathering intelligence. 

      Following a string of victories in battle, the

”Caribbean Siren” set out yet again on an expedition at the beginning of August of 1719, not knowing that it would be their last aboard the ship. They encountered the vengeful allied English and French Navies all too quickly once at sea, and the resulting clash came with disastrous results. How many of the crew survived this battle, which ended finally in the sinking of the ”Caribbean Siren”? It’s up to you to count them… But like the legendary bird getting reborn from its ashes, the remaining crew got regrouped again around their captain, gaining a new ship, the “Rising Sun”, new members and new victories… Will they win also against the forces of nature, as hurricane season is ongoing?

      The Navy forces are regrouping too after the taxing battle. There is a new British ship,

HMS “Sovereign”, with a new captain, ready to fight pirates, and the known French flagship, ”Le Phenix”, has a new captain, since the former one has been promoted to rear-admiral.

    A new governor arrived to Saint Domingue, the former one being recalled to France after having married away his daughter to the new flag captain. This means the complete end of the “closing eyes” policy against pirates selling their loot to the local merchants, and enhancing the war against piracy.
    Times are changing, and weather too. A strong hurricane hit all the islands and all the ships in the open sea at the beginning of October 1719.
    It took a great toll, both at sea and on land. At sea, our four ships had found themselves stranded on the same desert island in the Bahamas, where they had sought shelter from the storm. The pirates and the privateers had been forced to conclude a truce and cooperate for the time of their stay on the island, otherwise none of the two ships could get repaired and sail off. The Navy ships cooperated too, but they were allies anyway. And an alliance comes with a price – including the one of sharing the treasure discovered on the island… Only if the island of Inagua could tell us about the secrets it had witnessed during those days! Friendships forged between people who might find themselves, next month, exchanging broadsides in a battle, brothers found on opposite sides, and many more…
    Both on land and at sea, the survivors are facing reconstruction problems, mourning their dead and working to repair their possessions.
      Hispaniola was hit by an epidemic and it was in quarantine for most of the month of October. The rear-admiral and the captain of ”

Le Phenix” had risked on several plans when entering the harbour despite the yellow flag. 

    In Kingston, there was famine until the next convoy of ships with supplies arrived from the Windward Islands, as the previous ones had been not only hit by the hurricane, but also destroyed by a Spanish armada, against which the Vice-Admiral had sworn revenge. Said and done! A blockade against Cuba happened in November and December, with the help of the French allies and of the privateers.
      In Tortuga, the inn

“Elixir d’Armagnac” was attacked and looted by pirates remained shipless after the hurricane. Will the owner and the tavern maids succeed to regain the inn’s good reputation after having got the revenge, but not recovered the lost valuables?

    Once the ships returned to their home ports and their repairs finished, people attempt, more or less successfully, to pick up their lives and go on. The treasures found by seamen while stranded on Inagua will definitely help some of them cope with the aftermath of the hurricane. Others need something else than gold to soothe their grief… Some people are making plans for the future.
      The British Navy ship

HMS “Sovereign” arrived, in November 1719, to Port de Paix with a delicate mission for which it needed the help of the privateers and of the French Navy… They left, all allied ships, to blockade Cuba, as retaliation for the cutting out of the supplies for Jamaica by the remains of the Spanish convoy – which, if the hurricane didn’t side with the British, would have attacked Jamaica too…

    They got some blockade runners, some escaped them, but deep in the night, the French Rear-Admiral was hit by a crossbow bolt, the assassin succeeding to disappear in the waters. According to the message he left, he had been sent by the Spanish Admiral, not only with the intent to stop the blockade the hard way, but also as a revenge for the way he had taken prisoner the Spanish Admiral’s daughter, back in February…
    The pirates left on a new expedition too, as the freshly repaired and strengthened ship has swallowed a lot of money. And most expeditions come with a blood price…
    The privateers were cheated by the French authorities of their deserved shares, paid with their own blood, so they decided to take their vengeance and planned the sinking of the Spanish prize ship in the harbour, after being stripped of anything valuable, in a way which didn’t make them suspects. The looted goods got sold in Tortuga, where no questions were asked.
      The New Year Masquerade, celebrating in style the arrival of the year 1720, had its own mysteries – not only the usual flirting behind the masks, forging new relationships, and confusions of all kind… Anything can happen behind the masks! From negotiating secret exchanges of prisoners, far from the ears of the present allies, too busy flirting, to attempting to seduce a mark in order to apply the

coup de grace ! It turned out that the one attempted to be killed wasn’t the actual mark, Rear-Admiral Raoul Duval, but a victim of the masquerade disguising, the commander of Fort Charles in Kingston. Two other officers, one French, one British, were hurt severely in the assassins’ escape.

Relationships and Intrigues

    Love and romance abound in the Caribbean, and it is a well known fact that sometimes, the relationships, the scandals, and the gossip – both true and fabricated – can become as complicated as the bloody battles themselves.
      The tavern keeper from Tortuga, Maribel Vargas, fell in love with the most unlikely suitor, a young and innocent French pirate, without knowing that he wasn’t the only one pining after her. But a few months later, when learning the whole truth of the other man’s love, she made a painful decision, and broke the heart of her French courter to follow truer love with the pirate master gunner. (Said Frenchman got soon comforted by a lovely naïve Mulatto, whom he not only swept away to Tortuga, but he married her officially, circumventing the

Code Noir interdictions.) Would the lovers of the Tortuga women be so strong and understanding to help them get over the attack on the inn, happened in their absence?

    The French Navy Rear-Admiral Raoul Duval continues to stir up the Caribbean with his highly secretive and intriguing love life, which rumor has it consists of an ex-pirate male lover as well as a pretty mistress who is carrying his baby – or so he thinks… To keep the affair out of the way of gossip and scandal, the captain has arranged a marriage for his mistress, with no intention of letting her, or his child, out of his life anytime soon. Will the birth of his first son, in October 1719, influence him in any way? (Not too much, since at the New Year Masquerade he is finding a new mistress, of higher status than the mother of his child).
    Over the time, the French Governor’s daughter, Marie Josephine de la Bastide, has managed to raise the interest of not only two French Navy lieutenants, but of an English one’s as well. In the end, however, only one of them had the courage to ask her father to give them his blessing, and he obtained it. The wedding of Marie de la Bastide and Giles Laurent took place in early September, much to her father’s happiness, as he had to return to France soon, and Laurent has been promoted in recent months to a captain’s position.
    The noble ladies of Saint Domingue raise the interest of many men, not all possessing the blue blood and family fortune needed to court them. Helene de Croismare had found herself prey of nasty rumours affecting her reputation, following unchaperoned discussions with a few Navy men. Fortunately, her fiancé believed in her innocence and did not break the engagement. A few friends supported her too.
    And the intrigues were never ending…
It happened Before the Mast in 1720,…

Adventures of all kind

    The French Navy flagship, temporarily commanded by young lieutenants, had been the target of a mutiny attempt. The sailors’ discontentment with some of their petty and warrant officers and with a cruel lieutenant had errupted into a revolt after two of these officers killed two sailors. Blood had been spilled, but also a decent petition had been written. The Court Martial indicted and hanged the mutineers, re-assigned the crew, but the Rear-Admiral took into account most of the grievances in the petition, in order to avoid further mutinies spreading within the French fleet.
    The best men in the British Navy ship’s crew were sent on a special quest, in total secret and health… where only seagulls dared… Their task was to sink the biggest ship ever built without involving the allied Navies officially in this, but trying to seem a band of pirates. This was achieved with the help of the French allies and with some mercenaries hired on the spot, but also with losses on all sides.
    The pirate ship has achieved some successful expeditions – a British schooner full of gold, a French gabarre with expensive goods and a Kingston lady held for ransom – but a leak in the hull and a strong gale determined losses of lives and almost sunk the ship. Conflicts aboard led to dismissing some of the pirates also – better in Tortuga than marrooned on an island, since no lives were taken.
    As a result of the failed assassination attempt at the New Year Masquerade, the assassins turned their attention to their employer instead, learning on the way that other persons are interested in his death as well. While the death of Admiral Moncada resulted in Cuba negotiating a surrender and the Allied navies’ blockade being lifted, it also generated a fight for power among the Spanish high Navy officers, some of them being for peace, some for war – hence they decided to attack Nassau in February 1720.
      The epic

Battle of Nassau got all the allies involved in it, privateers included. Blood and gunpowder stained the sea, and the privateer ship “Twilight Shark”  got sunk, with some of its crew saved by other ships, including the French privateer “La Chanson.

    As for the British Navy ship, it was also involved in catching a stray Spanish ship which had succeeded to run away from Nassau…
    In Saint Domingue, a noble lady had been kidnapped by rebel slaves, and two adventurers went to her rescue. Would the slave uprisings extend all over the French colony? It is very possible… Intrigues of all kind were brewing also in Port de Paix.
    In the meanwhile, a bunch of smugglers led by a mercenary, with the help of a British Navy officer and a pirate captain, got on another investigation mission in Cuba, completed successfuly. If it will be of any use to the payer, it remains to be seen, though…
    At the end of March 1720, the pirates caught a Spanish treasure ship, getting the jealousy of other Tortuga residents. In late April, the captain’s and master gunner’s dreams of vengeance materialised in catching the slaver ship who had kidnapped and sold away women they cared for. Nevertheless, the revenge wasn’t as sweet when nobody knew the whereabouts of one’s fiancee and the other’s sister…
      The pirate council voted, at a frail majority, for sparing all the slavers’ lives, however one morning, four of the slaver officers had been found mysteriously dead. Some said it was poisoning, others

voudou, divine judgment or an epidemic the medicine couldn’t cure. However, it was only the start of the pirates’ misfortunes… Because upon their return in Tortuga, a group of shipless pirates planned to commandeer the “Rising Sun”.

     The pirate captain got a warning, though, and the invaders were awaited by armed pirates and overcome. Some died, the pirate captain got severely hurt too, but some of the invaders lived and kept conspiring with the spared slavers…
    The British Navy ship returned to its usual patrolling at the beginning of April, after having been repaired and reinforced. The French Navy flagship escorted a convoy with supplies to Nouvelle Orleans, having aboard the new fort commander. In the Mississippi Delta, they got attacked by villains who hoped to prey on a small merchant ship, so the fort commander made a triumphal entry into town.
    The privateers were out at sea too, fighting first Spaniards, then pirates, and the French Navy ship saved, in late May 1720, the privateer frigate, seriously damaged by a pirate snow which succeeded to run away.

Relationships and Intrigues

    Love and romance abound in the Caribbean, and it is a well known fact that sometimes, the relationships, the scandals, and the gossip – both true and fabricated – can become as complicated as the bloody battles themselves.
      The noble ladies of Saint Domingue raise the interest of many men, not all possessing the blue blood and family fortune needed to court them. An Austrian countess has got a French Rear-Admiral, a British Captain and his second lieutenant, all competing for her attention, but she seems to favour also a street dancer, whom she had taken under her


    Other two young, unmarried ladies of Saint Domingue, one of them the cousin of the Rear-Admiral, are prone to scandal for their unrestrained behaviour which can be misinterpreted. The death of the flag captain’s wife in childbed let him unconsolated and broken, so he asked for a transfer. The rear-admiral chose the very funeral to announce the promotions – would the new captain be better than the former one?
    In the nonconformist Tortuga, a cheated wife has befriended her man’s mistress. Two coloured young women, one of them married, have been spending too much time in the company of an Oriental young man who taught them an original way of self-defense. Inconceivable in a more civilised place! A former mercenary, now smuggler, made the pledge to be a pirate’s sworn brother. One would say the world is going upside down…
    The arrival of two new women aboard the pirate ship gave room to gossips, speculations and jealousy, especially when one of them is an accomplished sailor. But people would always gossip… Especially when one of them is appointed as first mate, no matter how capable she had proven herself in front of the crew.
    Peace with Spain was signed in February 1720. In late April its news arrived to the West Indies, so the May Day in Kingston was widely celebrated in a week-long festival, as the day Peace was officially instituted again in the West Indies. French allies and former Spanish enemies were invited to Kingston to the feast, and enough Navy men don’t know they had drunk or competed in strength games with pirates. A smuggler captain saved a young woman from thugs, and got wounded in the process, so now she is tending his wounds. Will a new love story blossom from this vulnerability?
    The rumours are flowing about everyone in the Colonies, and in order to counter them, the French Rear-Admiral gets trapped into a shotgun wedding he is not thrilled with. In Tortuga a double wedding is celebrated right after Easter, and some others are to happen in June…
    From France and Louisiana, there are also gossips about failing investments rendering rich people poor and making money vanishing. Who will be trapped in the Mississippi Bubbles, on the French and British sides?
    There is Saint Jean’s holiday in Port de Paix, corroborrated with a birthday party and a wedding in the upper class. Pirates in disguise might crash the parties too – but with them there will be never peace, as now all the Navies will ally against the common foe – pirates, making their trade more difficult to survive. The same holiday is celebrated in Tortuga too, offering some surprises around the midnight fires.
    And the intrigues are never ending…

What happened in the summer of 1720

    The pirates have remained shipless and marrooned on a desert island, as some of the the former slavers mutinied, plotting together with the survivors of the commandeering attack which had taken place at the beginning of May. The ones who were aboard the ship got sold to the French Navy and got to prison. Those stranded on the island were saved by a British Navy ship and they succeeded to return to Tortuga before the Navy captain learnt the truth about them. In his ire, it remained to him only to punish some of his crewmen for not telling him/ not knowing that those were pirates.
      In Port de Paix, a

princesse de sang‘s arrival causes turmoil in the high society… and even more havoc the day she goes missing. Soon a ransom letter is received by the Rear-Admiral, showing that she had been kidnapped by pirates who want some of theirs freed in exchange… He had to swallow his pride and make the exchange, for the princess’s sake (and his position), swearing revenge for later and sending all his ships in patrol, to hunt all the possible pirates.

      The pirates found allies to help them recover the ship, and went, with Captain Johnson’s two ships, to seek for their beloved

“Rising Sun”. Only that, when finally found, the “Rising Sun” got sunk by mistake, with a wrongly aimed cannonade from their allies. And the sound of the battle had alerted the two Navy ships in the area, HMS Sovereign  and Le Phenix, who came to investigate. 

      A doomsday battle ensued. Some well aimed fire arrows met the

Sovereign‘s ammunition bag, and the British Navy ship exploded together with its pirate prize the crew had just boarded. The French flagship succeeded to sink the other pirate ship and to fish out some prisoners, but not before getting raked by bow. Therefore, sixteen hours later, the flagship lost its fight with the water seeping into the ship through the damaged hull. The survivors’ story is told in our next volume,  Caribbean Dawn.Sharpen your blades, load your guns, drain the last sip of rum, and raise your sword to swashbuckling adventure, building a colonial paradise under a new Caribbean Dawn!

In the meanwhile, life was going on in all towns… 

It happened at a Caribbean Dawn in 1720…


The survivors

Pirates and navy men have survived the DOOMSDAY BATTLE and ITS AFTERMATH, but they remained shipless and were washed up or rescued at sea by various ships. Pirates and Navy men found themselves forced to survive together or die together, and, in this process, some discovered that the enemy’s representatives were just people like them, whom one could have befriended in different conditions. Some of them will actually end almost friends for life, tied by the adventures they had faced together.

In Martinique,  the surviving French Navy sailors and pirates encountered, after a long walk through a deserted area, a Native tribe (which had adopted some marroons too). They healed the French Navy master’s mate, who had been biten by a snake and started having fever and hallucinations. 

In Bequia, the survivors had also found a friendly tribe, who knew a bit of French, because some French from Guadeloupe were visiting them regularly, being allowed to take some wood for timber. The French ship helped them return safely. 

In Curaçao, the two former best men at a certain wedding – one a pirate quartermaster, the other a British Navy sailor – had been washed out on a desertic beach. They had to walk a lot until finding a farm of aloe vera, one of the few plants growing in that arid climate, where people helped them recover and reach the capital, a port wherefrom they could leave to Tortuga. 

The three pirates washed out on Isla Santa Margarita (or fished up around that island) had shown their devotion to the patron saints of sailors and voyagers, who had saved them. After a pilgrimage or two, resulting in some answers for the former pirate captain and his first mate, they returned to Tortuga, decided to give up their trade and find a safer ship to take them on.

    Other pirates and Navy men alike had been fished in the open ocean by ships passing by. In one case, the ship belonged to one of the pirate’s friends, and the survivors were taken to her, to Nassau, where they recovered until returning to Tortuga.

Adventures of all kind

In Tortuga, an intrepid wife decided to open a small bakery at home and started making the first sales. One of the rescued pirates got hired by a local cartographer. Her mapmaking skills are renowned. 

A newly hired smuggler was shocked to discover that Tortuga was a customary stop in their trips to Havana, but also that the town didn’t show its proverbial bad fame, being just one like many others on different islands. 

After the celebration of the pirates’ return, a sort of original council is held too, in order to establish what they are going to do next, how to get a new ship. Havana is the port where the adventure would happen, and some smugglers are willing to give them an (unseen) helping hand.

In Regla, everyone was praying to the patron saint of sailors, Saint Mary of Regla, ready to bring good luck and encouragement to her protegees. 

In Havana, in the harbour, midnight brought a stealthy pirate attack to the merchant ship Villa Rica. There were squirmishes here and there, but most sailors had been surprised in their sleep and they surrendered, being promised their lives.

In Port-de-Paix, a religious festival, the Assumption Vigil, is the best opportunity for various people to meet, to get acquainted and to gossip, to pray for the return of the seafarers… or to conclude various kinds of understandings with old acquaintances, with the thoughts mellowed by the Holy touch of the vigil music. This is how half-siblings who had never talked to each other meet and attempt to establish a connection, how past grievances about mutinies and executions are braided with recent gossips about sunken ships and missing seafarers, how flirts and love stories start or end. 

The former privateers jumped ship for more profitable and less risky ventures. Most of them found employment aboard smuggler ships. 

It is unusual for a woman to be the owner of a chandler’s shop, but it is possible. And her business is going well also because she is making friends in all places: in the herborist’s shop, at the religious procession, among shipwreck survivors and foreign officers. Good luck further!

In the open seas, a Navy ship met a privateerman and exchanged letters bound to their port of destination. A Scottish merchant ship got caught in a storm and one of the sailors injured himself. A small ship ran away from a storm, taking shelter in a cove, and everyone was curious to explore the island they drifted towards.

A smuggler ship’s crew found out suddenly that they were hiding a runaway slave, protected by the captain. 

Aboard “L’Amazone”, the crew welcomed aboard the British liaison officer before setting sail for Havana, towards new adventures. The day before, the survivors of the shipwreck outfitted themselves fully for the voyage. The chandler’s shop owner had a busy day.

In Kingston, the banker received bad financial news from London and he tried his best to minimize his risks by denying unprofitable loans. The rejected farmers had to find alternative solutions for obtaining some money. But it was just the beginning of the financial downfall… From France and Louisiana, there are also gossips about failing investments rendering rich people poor and making money vanishing. Who will be trapped in the Mississippi Bubbles, on the French and British sides? And how much would these men value when losing their money?

Relationships and Intrigues

Love and romance abound in the Caribbean, and it is a well known fact that sometimes, the relationships, the scandals, and the gossip – both true and fabricated – can become as complicated as the bloody battles themselves.

In Port-de-Paix, the reception of the new Spanish Admiral and his wife got way beyond warm. May the traditional beauty of the Spanish ladies have something to do with it? The new flag captain was seen showing the town to a pretty Spanish lady – nobody else than the Admiral’s wife. Was he looking for an additional way to strengthening the renewed alliance? 

The Rear Admiral received the most unexpected birthday gift from a mysterious lady, who showed him and his wife her secrets. Not the kind you would figure up, though… Can a birthday dinner between a Rear-Admiral and an assassin end well? Who says that the Rear Admiral doesn’t have some unusual friends? 

A few days later, the same high officer was seen in the forests around the town. His staff said that he would be absent a few days. What he might be up to? Just finding out that it is difficult to build bridges among cultures with very different, clashing values. What’s a path through the jungle for the French Rear-Admiral, for his Native guide, whom he thought he would impress in order to make his mark upon colonial diplomacy, seemed to be much more, and a reason for conflict. 

A noble lady had lunch with an inn owner, former prostitute, after meeting in church. They found out that, beyond the difference of status, women have the same main griefs.

The ship Acadie has arrived from France, bringing all kind of news and a rich heiress aboard. Also the British Navy liaison officer was there. Fortunately, he got welcomed by an affable innkeeper and invited to the Assumption Vigil, a good opportunity to meet new people. A couple of days later, he got an audience with the Rear-Admiral, waving together interesting plans for tying stronger co-operation bonds between the neighbouring islands. Soon he made new friends in the French Navy and got seduced by an exotic dancer. 

The Rear Admiral’s secretary helped the banker’s heiress around in her first day in town. Later, she had an original way to make the acquaintance of the British liaison officer. A French Navy lieutenant went to the bank to ask for a loan, while the Rear Admiral’s assistant offered the banker books and promises of meeting the colonial elite. 

A French Navy sailor is courting the owner of a chandler’s shop, bringing her books and presents from the most recent voyage and asking her out for that very evening. The same young man’s charms proved to be successful even with a blood princess, for an unforgettable afternoon. After a ceremony for the survivors of the sunk French flagship, she had granted him, a common sailor, a private audience, a really unusual event… The same young man saved a ship boy from drowning during the shipwreck, finding in the process that… he wasn’t quite a boy. After trying to persuade the disguised youngster that there were less risky professions for a girl, he succeeded to convince his recently widowed mother into taking in an orphan girl, to raise her properly.

A Navy carpenter has the surprise of his life when the woman he thought far away, in France, got right in front of him, telling him he was the lucky father of twins.

A little boy sings nicely and receives the promise of music lessons. The young boy shows some potential…Will he become a great singer? And who can guess that said tutor is moonshining as an assassin? 

A ship captain met a lonely lady on the docks and invited her to lunch. A week later, he received an invitation to her homecoming party. Who says that the French colonial nobility doesn’t know how to amuse themselves? A welcome party is a good opportunity for talking politics, building alliances and …dancing with a princess. The French flag captain and the British liaison officer were seated next to each other. A good opportunity for getting acquainted. Who might find a good friend? Who might find a love interest? It remains to be seen…

In Tortuga, the midwife was called in emergency by the chandler’s shop owner. The bad news about the sinking of the pirate ships in a battle with two navies had taken some tolls… Fortunately, things weren’t as dire, and the baby will be born in due time, not before.

More surviving pirates find their way home and start gathering in the welcoming inn, bringing with them two former British Navy men who decide to settle on this island – one with his sister and a new ship to work on, with his smuggler brother-in-law, and another with his best friend and lover, and with this pirate’s sister. from Curacao, and they found another young man having the same destination. Friendships can be made easier after having seen Death and returning from that dangerous edge. 

One of the surviving pirates proposed to his lover, a herborist, upon breakfast. Wedding bells will sound after they get a new ship.

An assassin and a smuggler were drinking tea together, exchanging the latest news. An Irishman arrived to Tortuga, interested in joining piracy. He received the first news and encouragements in the chandler’s shop, befriending the owner, then he was introduced to the people in the inn. One of the tavern maids accepted to show him, in her free time, the town. It seems they enjoy being together.

A pirate and a former Navy man befriended a jeweler who was ready to get a new life in Tortuga. With their help and the innkeeper’s, the jeweler bought a building and arranged it, together with his friend and the new apprentice, former slave, in order to open a shop.

In Kingston, an English merchant of Scottish origin helped a young compatriot with finding a job in his service. He also found out that the ship captain bringing him letters and goods was also a compatriot, without knowing about enmity between their clans. Both the Scottish merchant and the lad in his service, each one at his turn, were lucky to befriend another British Navy captain, too, who got invited to an inland tour, to various plantations.

The Colonies seem the most suitable place for unseeming friendships and love affairs. Two Navy captains of the allied forces, one young, one with lots of experience, were drinking together in a tavern, then visiting the town together. Long live the alliance! At another table, a corporal and a newcomer Londoner were having lunch together. 

A pretty laundress, with high morals, who had rejected a rich merchant’s indecent proposal, invited home a lad who had volunteered to carry her load. Is it how romances usually start?

A Navy captain is usually entrusted, when leaving a port, with letters of all kind. Some recipients are invited onboard to take the letters, but the luckier and wealthier ones receive his visit. The visit was granted to the Duchess of St. Albans, a young widow owning a big plantation, bringing her letters and news from London. Unfortunately, the letters were telling about new legal problems, so she invited over the magistrate, to get his help. But he seemed to focus more on the pretty slave, who needed the governess’s help in order to get away from a sticky situation. 

In Havana, the French flag captain has found the best guide to show him the charms of Colonial Spain. Does it matter anymore that she is married to the newly appointed Spanish Admiral? Their torrid affair could set on fire the fragile peace between the two countries, creating a serious diplomatic incident. 

In a brothel, a French Navy petty officer made a promise to a prostitute. He smuggled her aboard the ship and got caught by the First Lieutenant, who punished him, without harming the woman. 

The intrigues are never ending… But, in the meanwhile, life goes on in all towns. 

What happens next? Who will be fighting whom, and who will flourish under the new Caribbean Dawn? Whose lovers will weep somewhere ashore, and whose will celebrate, showered in gold and gifts? That’s a story which might remain forever untold… or which will make the subject of other interactive writing sites… or novel series!

If you want a glimpse into the future of some characters, you may find it in the EPILOGUES.




Christmas carols Before the Mast

The follow-up site we are writing on now is called Caribbean Dawn – http://caribbeandawn1720.jcink.net/ – and the story is continuing. Worth reminiscing now those seafaring carols 😉

Corabia cu gânduri a Marinei Costa - Marina Costa s shipload of thoughts


The story above doesn’t belong to me, but it is suitable. However, these below are a few known carols adapted during the years for the athmosphere Before the Mast – the Age of Sail RPG (ie interactive swashbuckling adventure story) we are writing together for 6 years and 5 months already:

Christmas in the West Indies

Christmas Season in the West Indies has its charm,
No matter if in the cities of in the pirates’ realm.
There is no snow the European mother country to remind,
But it’s closer to the athmosphere the Divine Child
Was actually born under the star in the Middle East.

On islands and on ships it’s an important feast.
Catholics are building rich scenes of Nativity,
Rhum adn punch flow on the throats free,
A good look coin is hidden in the King’s cake
If yours’, then choose your Queen, for party’s sake!

Pirates and…

View original post 400 more words

The world is upside down

It is nothing new that the world is functioning upside down in various aspects of life. Why not in the writing realm too?

As you know already, and as you can see from the blog header, I have published three novels up to now. Two others and a short stories anthology will follow soon, almost certainly all three to appear this year. I published with small indie presses, because this is what I have the possibility in the current book market conditions. Many writers more seasoned than me published with the same two indie presses, so I am in good company. (And they aren’t vanity presses, printing and dumping the books in your arms. No, they assure launching events, participation at fairs, the collaboration of literary critics, etc.)

I am glad that I have started to become a little known among the contemporary writers in Bucharest. If one googles my pen name (despite being quite common internationally) one can find something about one of my novels too. If googling the titles, there are few information about them, but they are, reviews and photos. I had good reviews from the literary critics at the book presentation events, I had my novels displayed at the bi-annual Bucharest International Book Fairs… all these are successes for a junior writer, with only 3 novels published up to now.

I think I have a few more good things to list, including being on some senior writers’ good list. It sounds lovely, but… let’s vent my frustrations too. And this comes with the warning that the Romanian book market, unfortunately, doesn’t resemble the English speaking books market, so most of the book marketing ideas I find online, in English speaking blogs, unfortunately do not apply. For example, the English-speaking literary world promotes very much e-books. Here they are negligible sold. Printed word is the base… where it is.

While the English speaking market is catering to nearly one billion people (there were, in Internet statistics, 400 million native speakers of English, to which to add 400 million speakers of English as a second language, in 2006, and I assume the population has increased in 12 years), the overall population of Romania was of 19.5 million people, out of which about 4 million are abroad, about 3 million too young to read my novels (below 14)… and from the remaining 12.5 million, about 40% or more are poor, too busy to survive and not reading anything else than an occasional newspaper or religious book. Sad, but true.  Of course, from the remaining people who would read in principle (some regularly, some occasionally) not all are fans of historical adventures fiction/ YA, what I am writing. This is a realistic analysis.

As far as I heard the publishers say (not only personally to me, but also in interviews on the internet) – and we have our “big fives” here too, plus a whole constellation of small indie presses (the equivalent of self publishing would be here dealing directly with the printing house without a publisher, which is recommended only for professional books which have already the distribution ensured or for people who print one memoir book in their lives to give to 50-100 people, not needing ISBN or anything), in my country a book (written by a contemporary national writer, not translations of international bestsellers and not books required for school reading like our classics) printed in 1,000 copies is already considered a best seller.  My novels were, 2 of them published in 200 copies, the first one in 300. It is the level generally the writers around me use.

Now, my sincere frustrations?

– I haven’t recovered the costs on any of them. Yes, I have sold some, but the greatest amount was given freely. Now, to be honest, I knew from the start that I wouldn’t get rich from writing. I did it from my heart, and I loved when I received compliments about the books (not only from the critics, I appreciate more the readers’ compliments and questions, even if I know the critics’ are of importance for the accession to the Writers’ Union). This is when I felt they got their mission, to brighten someone’s day and to transport them to another time and place, offering them an insight on that way of living. But I would have appreciated if I succeeded to recover my costs. Some writers know business owners and get sponsors. (I had sponsors too, back in 1999, for my professional handbook in project management). I don’t know influent people who would be able to sponsor me, every cost is supported from my meager savings (given that I am retired now).  Yes, I sold books at various events… but the money received covered the expenses of the event, with very little margin (if any).

– I can’t reach exactly my target group, the high-school and Uni youngsters. Until now, my novels were bought mostly by grown-up or older people who were nostalgic about the style of novels they use to read, because these were the ones coming to the literary events.

…And everything needs more money. Half, I understand this as in the fact that if I try to expand my marketing network, this doesn’t come for free because this is what those people gain their living from – organising things, writing things. I am lucky that I haven’t had to pay for some things, though. There are friends who help me for free, and I thank them wholeheartedly. At my turn, I have always helped people for free, with whatever I could. It had never occurred to me to ask money, and I am always shocked when I am asked money for various things which, in my thoughts, shouldn’t.

In a world which wouldn’t function as upside down as it does, the writer should be allowed to write – like it was before the ascension of social media – and the others should do the marketing part. I am sure that Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas weren’t the ones to do much more than writing. Yes, they received their money after the books were sold, but nobody asked them money for publishing, for book launching events organisation and other things. Or, if now shedding money is a must because there are too many books published and no publisher assumes the economic risks anymore in this crisis economy, at least they should want the money from the sales! Not before recovering the costs…

One would say fame has a price I am paying. Even little fame. Others say it’s something wrong with me and my writing, otherwise merit triumphs. What I have seen and heard around me, says that it’s not only me, and not only merit triumphs. Besides merit, it takes good luck, knowing the right persons and maybe also having some financial reserves… But I still have the feeling that things aren’t how they should be. The system doesn’t function how it should. (Where does it?)


Feeling cheated

Sometimes I am feeling cheated of character development. Cheated in my writing, in the story we are writing together, not receiving the same thing I am offering, but only a tenth part. I have said before that nothing happens if you don’t write. Everybody knows it is true, still they don’t write even if they all declare they love their characters and they want the plots they have suggested and we have planned for months, waiting for their free time to actually write the story.

In some cases, this leads to “this has happened” decisions between writers, without showing how in a thread, but just mentioning it in passing in another thread. I this case, if I feel cheated of the character development, usually  there are remedies for this: some characters have journals and tell their version of the story, with their thoughts and feelings about it. Some characters, for whom it isn’t in character to keep a journal, might write a letter to somebody dear and confess there if it is a thing which can be confessed, or can open up to a friend in a certain circumstance. I guess one of these three solutions can be applied unilaterally in most cases, so that at least my characters gain the character development they have been cheated of.

In some cases, after waiting longer than anybody else would have had patience for, the thread starts and continues (from their side) with one post a century, written quickly, as if wanting to get rid of it instead of developing their characters and making them enjoy the story. I receive something emotionless, without letting their charachters develop through the plot, making them less than wallflowers. What satisfaction would they gain from this kind of writing, I can’t understand.

I do write my characters normally through the threads, giving them time to feel, to think, to watch, to react and to make the story happen, to take in through all the senses what happens. But by their lack of proper reactions, of a real contribution to a story they wanted/ asked for, I still feel cheated of my character development. They get even less than mine, too, but by their choice, because there would have been a lot to react to and vibrate to in my posts. And sometimes I don’t know what to do to fix the story, at least on my side.

I feel cheated, I feel that writing in partnership doesn’t attain that partnership feeling, that I am giving everything and I receive just crumpets in exchange, that I am doing all the work and the others are sabotaging their own character development, and mine as collateral damage. That the story isn’t anymore how it should have been, because it lacks… enthusiasm? Feeling? Life? And that if I wrote it alone from both characters’ perspective, it would have been more pleasant to read, more developed and immersing the readers into the proper athmosphere of the setting.

Christmas carols Before the Mast


The story above doesn’t belong to me, but it is suitable. However, these below are a few known carols adapted during the years for the athmosphere Before the Mast – the Age of Sail RPG (ie interactive swashbuckling adventure story) we are writing together for 6 years and 5 months already:

Christmas in the West Indies

Christmas Season in the West Indies has its charm,
No matter if in the cities of in the pirates’ realm.
There is no snow the European mother country to remind,
But it’s closer to the athmosphere the Divine Child
Was actually born under the star in the Middle East.

On islands and on ships it’s an important feast.
Catholics are building rich scenes of Nativity,
Rhum and punch flow on the throats free,
A good luck coin is hidden in the King’s cake
If yours’, then choose your Queen, for party’s sake!

Pirates and colonists tonight will toast
With warmest season’s greetings BEFORE THE MAST!


I saw three ships

I saw three ships aboard the site
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”
I saw three ships ready to fight
In the West Indies at war time.

And who was in those ships all three,
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
And who was in those ships all three,
According to their prior agreement?

Captain Crawford and Raoul were there,
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
And Sharky with his privateers,
In the West Indies at war time.

Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
In the West Indies at war time?

O they sailed into the straight
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
Wanting the pirate ship to fight,
In the West Indies at war time.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
That gunned down the “Siren” sank,
In the West Indies at war time.
Then let us all rejoice again,
“Before the Mast”, “Before the Mast”,
That those we love did survive,
In the West Indies at war time.

(The peace is settled already for a while… and all the ships mentioned there got sunk in battles some years ago).


Deck the site

Deck the site with gimps and holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
For the holidays to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

We have weddings, fun and contests,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
And witty negotiations,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the story grow before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the keys and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow us and write to measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
And you’ll surely get a treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old plot passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Let’s write joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Contests to win, story to further,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.


Longing for a real community


I think I have always been looking for a group of friends to write a story together, and discuss it, and get inspired about it. Not more social than other RPGs; some are more social than I would have wished, as in mindlessly gossipping and socializing instead of writing. I can also accept and I don’t mind being a small writing community. It happens. What saddens me is when people stop talking one with the other, stop saying “Happy birthday!“, stop plotting together the next steps of the story. I am mostly disappointed in the lack of involvement, of interest, of enthusiasm, of a real writing community. This means that the community spirit is lost, and it makes me think that what I actually wanted for the community doesn’t exist and I failed. I have been living in a dream, or maybe in denial.

It seems that when people are involved in your own goals and they aren’t for yourself alone, the outcomes tend to turn out differently than you imagined, if at all. It also means reassessing what is possible to happen (and making it happen), while keeping everything else as my dream of an utopic group of friends which doesn’t exist in reality. I know other sites have this community: people who actually communicate, discuss plots, twists, play games, see movies together… I achieve partially this – I am talking to all those who want to talk at least a little, but no others actually do, and the feeling of a community doesn’t exist. This is exactly what I am missing and longing for.

Each of us has a different personality and a different life. But instead of looking at each other as extraterrestrial beings, we should focus on what unites us, then expand our knowledge about the other aspects which are less familiar to us.

Why would I care about someone else except myself?” some may ask. “Why should I be interested in building a community?”

Just because you are human, and this is what humans do. Loneliness is not good. We have been designed to live in groups/ packs since early Stone Age. And community is good. It means all these (and much more):


“Why should I be interested in making friends with the other writers? I am here just to write. I have friends by my side, from school/ work/ neighbourhood. I had friends who backstabbed me and I am shy about making new ones.”

It is possible to have bad experiences; but if you aren’t trying (with caution, of course), you will never find good ones. And if you already have friends by your side, what harm is it in having some in various corners of the world as well? They can offer you a different kind of support and sounding board than the ones who are closer to you, just because their life experiences might be radically different. You can discuss with them about different subjects than the ones usually discussed with your friends from school/ work/ neighbourhood. How many of your friends who are so close are into writing and can understand you in discussing characters and plots?

Moreover, you are a writer. And writers do care about other people’s lives, details and circumstances in order to find later inspiration for the most diverse characters. (Even when writing in genres totally different than contemporary life, they can still be adapted and twisted to fit).

And we all are writers too. This is what unites us into forming a community and what should give us enough subjects to talk about, even if some of us aren’t exactly twin souls. A writing community has as purpose writing a story together. When this purpose doesn’t exist, and when the people don’t talk as much either, aren’t much of a community.


A writing community has as purpose writing a story together. When this purpose doesn’t exist, and when the people don’t talk as much either, aren’t much of a community. Writing with others has a social aspect, and it needs communication even for those who don’t become best friends (even if it is nothing bad with making friends, but not everyone is compatible with everyone), at least in the writing field: from plotting and synchronizing ideas, to getting inspiration, headcannons, exchange experience on research and on different aspects of the writing process. Until now, this has functioned with most people… and exactly when they stopped communicating, misunderstandings arose, because nobody is a mind reader. They just fill in the blanks with what they would have thought/ done./… and they aren’t the other person, to think identically.

Yes, we are here to write, and writing together means planning together, analysing possible outcomes for various options and choosing the best one, not only for one character, but for the whole story. And by planning together we are getting further involved in the whole story, not only in one character’s life. We are also mobilizing ourselves to to progress steadily the story towards the next episodes, instead of waiting passively to be entertained by reading others’ stories.

I wish for a dedicated community of writers – as many or as few as they happen to be. The activity, the involvement (including the community feeling) and the number of characters actively written when they are needed, instead of being left to pickle somewhere in silence, are more important than the number of members.

I wish the members to be involved in the story they are writing together. To be willing to write THE STORY, seeing the whole picture, beyond a character or two. To share characters freely (be they NPCs or other shared custody characters) and to discuss in groups plots and twists, planning the next stories, agreeing on outcomes by meeting half-way after listening to the reasons why a thing should happen or not and how. To discuss literary resources and aspects of the writing craft, to actively exchange experience. Maybe also to read books or watch movies in the same field like the story and to discuss them together, including from the perspective of enriching our story (without plagiarising, of course. Borrowing basic ideas only, especially if twisted and spinned of, is NOT plagiarism!).

A writing community should have been like NaNoWriMo all the time – in respect to the community atmosphere, not in number of words/ competition, neither in number of members. In the smaller sense of a community group of writers, who actually talk about their characters, plots, support each other. And I know RPGs which are a community too, smaller or bigger. I hope to find a way to enhance community spirit on mine too.

Desperate longing

“I’ve been to paradise

But I have never been to me”

These verses from Mary McGregor’s song characterize me lately, even if there might have never been exactly a paradise. I try to keep everything inside, but I am not sure how effective it is  since failure, fear, worries, uncertainty, tiredness, anger, depression are piling up inside, overwhelming me and suffocating me till my body starts giving the wrong reactions.

I don’t have patience anymore. Everything stresses me out. Everything annoys me. I need quiet of mind and happiness and creativity, but I can’t find them anywhere. I feel as if everyone wants a slice of me and I can’t share the pizza in so many slices.

I want some (good) answers and problem solving. At least if my efforts path to achieve them was clear and streamlined, I would breathe alleviated and start planning. But there are too many uncertainties, too many things outside my control and diligences which could go wrong and I am terrified by this process.

I won’t get, of course, any answers, any reassurance (except maybe empty words). And I am too tired. Still I have older and newer responsibilities and all are weighing on me.


Who are NPCs and why they are necessary

A player character or playable character (“PC” for short) is a fictional character in a role-playing game (RPG), controlled by one of the players, who imagines the way that character will act and, within the story setting. It is, actually, one of the main characters of a story.

Non-player Character: (abbreviated NPC) is a character that does not serve a major role, appearing sporadically. They are either minor characters used recurrently in more than one thread as a sort of background character to contribute to moving the story on or characters created for a specific plot and who isn’t likely to appear again in another thread. This secondary character is played by the individual who started a thread, by the game staff or offered to volunteers. Non-player characters populate the fictional world of the game, and can fill any role not occupied by a player character, in order to get the image of a larger world: allies, relatives, friends, followers, hired hands, bystanders or competitors to the PCs, helping the PC development or the story plot development. In my case, given that I am playing on historical boards, NPCs are some sailors on each ship, barmaids, merchants, other ships’ captains, PC’s family members, friends, acquaintances, or historical characters of power, such as admirals, the governors of the islands and their assistants, etc. Your story should revolve around the actions of the PCs, but the story’s world/ setting does not.

There are four kinds of NPCs: reoccurring characters, guest stars, featured characters and extras. The time a writer devotes to getting each of them alive should depend on how much time the NPC will be featuring in the story.

Reoccurring characters: These are the NPCs who form an integral part of the PCs’ social life, somebody to whom the PC turns regularly for help, advice or fight and for whom a PC would be willing to take an adventure. Reoccurring characters (relatives, friends, allies, enemies) show up in several storylines, at least briefly. For them I recommend posting a short bio, not as detailed as a temporary character’s, but mentioning their main characteristics for the sake of the story’s consistency. (I used to do this with secondary characters in the stories written alone too.)

Guest stars: These are the adventure-specific NPCs whom you don’t expect to show up again, but in that thread or succession of threads they are appearing often: victims appealing for help, key sources of information, villains. PCs will have fairly long interactions with them, but only in that specific story arc: at its end, the enemy gets killed, the friends are parting ways for a while, the damsel in distress cannot remain forever after with her saviour knight, etc.

Featured characters: Featured characters are NPCs who have smaller parts – a minor source of information, a folower or agent, the urchin boy who tries to pickpocket a PC, anyone with whom the PCs may exchange a few words.

Extras: Extras are the faceless people with whom the PCs must interact to get a job done: shopkeepers, port masters, government officials, nobles at a ball, etc. The PCs probably won’t say much if anything to them.

Most of the featured characters and extras and some of the guest stars are invented on the spot as needed – doing this well belongs to the writer’s skill. I recommend you to pick someone you are familiar with for a quick description: a character from a movie or a book, an acquaintance or relative, celebrities of all kind from now or from the past (leaders, killers, singers, writers, pioneers etc.).

We use them as filler, conflicts to fill the introduction of a post or short story. After all, what really matters is the PC’s fencing skills, not the fact that he had dueled with a less known villain; the fact that he got elected, irrespectively how many of his followers or rivals had voted for him, or the reason why he is already boiling in anger and misinterpreted the other PC’s words.

Some writers want to skip straight to the exciting part of the plots, giving up valuable opportunities for both character and plot development. But remember that a writer’s skill is reflected in the details making it real, building the momentum and providing clues to the main part of the story. Characters, both main and secondary ones, i.e. PCs and NPCs, are the blood and soul of a story.

Even if the featured NPCs or extras and the scene where they appear is less important than what comes later, sweeping over the scene in three lines may result in giving up valuable opportunities to examine a PCs way of thinking, motives or simply showing the PC as a real person with a normal life before the plot drama occurs. Or to the readers missing the clue the NPC is giving, foreshadowing future events.

If a scene matters enough to be included in your story, it deserves the attention needed in order to further develop your character and your plot. Rushing it is a sign of a less experienced writer, giving up building suspense for the reader, so pay attention to the details, this including the NPCs and especially the PCs impression/ reaction about them.

Playing NPCs

I chose to approach playing NPCs before dealing with creating them, because on my site anyone can use a non-playing character in a thread, less people creating a NPC and more of them using/ playing an already created recurrent NPC who has appeared previously in other threads.

In some RPGs, NPCs are exclusively played by staff, in others they are exclusively played by the person who created them (or the one who wants to play them needs the creator’s special permission). In some games, NPCs become adoptable full-fledged or temporary characters.

In other games, like mine, NPCs are played by anyone who needs them (e.g. a sailor might be needed by the captain, by all the officers or by a crewmate; a barmaid/ merchant by all who need their services), provided this NPC makes logic to be there. (e.g. a sailor on his ship or in the port where the ship is anchored, an admiral or a governor to convey an order in his area of competence, etc.). No special permission is needed, because in my opinion, this broadens the creativity, giving the possibility to more interaction and interesting plot supports, and, in addition, it eliminates the problem of busy players holding a thread/ plot. If somebody wants another character played exclusively by himself, he/ she has to make a temporary character, this is not a NPC.

A player is recommendable to take a NPC for a thread when he/she:

– is without a player character of his/ her own in that group/ location,
– has a PC unable to act for some time for IC reasons (e.g. for being injured, in prison, etc.),
– is very active and waiting for answers in other threads
– has temporarily more free time for RPGs, while aware that it won’t be permanent
– plays usually totally different characters and wants to branch out to another group

Why it isn’t advised that all NPCs to be played by the staff (who may play as many as they want, equally like any other player):

– a staff member has plenty of other duties to the board besides playing their own characters, while a player is able to focus completely on the NPC and bring it to life;

– another player may give the story a completely different perspective of the NPC, while still keeping him IC, giving all those he/ she interacts with more ideas and material to work with;

– the players can help with developing any details regarding the NPC’s bio;

– when the player is finished playing the NPC in that thread, (if we are speaking about a reoccurring one) the end product will be a more fleshed out character with greater personality, making it easier for the others to play the same NPC better in the upcoming plots/ stories;

– NPCs are an important creativity tool for most types of writers. They might rise to the occasion with a brilliant performance: cautious writers might enjoy the freedom of using a “disposable” character, bored/ uninspired writers might enjoy playing a different character for a change, shy writers might roleplay better a character with an already existing personality.

NPCs fill the introduction of a story plot, enrich the story line, spicing it up, furthering the plot, because they interact with the PCs and they are lot of fun to play. Consequently, for playing NPCs, we created a special account, NPC, which has a password that everybody knows.

Besides the various creativity-related aspects, my reasons for not giving the NPCs for adoption are that:

1) they won’t have as much interaction as to justify their adoption and the work of filling in the application for a temporary character. People would better make a temporary character of their choice which will get enough interaction with the others, and let NPCs only for fillers. Because always a ship or a town has far more people than we might get characters, be them temporary. How often could a governor be involved? Attending a party, a dinner, an audience or a public execution, how many posts can mean and how often might he be used? If he has to make 4-6 posts every 2 months, let’s say, it is obviously not enough to justify his adoption.

2) as NPCs, they may be used by everyone, and this is also an advantage meant to save some plots, when somebody needs a back up, a message-deliverer or even an adversary.

3) Supposing a NPC gets adopted and that player leaves after a while, the plot remains blocked and the character can’t be used anymore. Playing by anyone free and willing helps furthering the plot, because the reoccurring NPCs are less often appearing, but important for the setting. Also waiting several days to receive somebody’s approval to play a NPC lengthens a lot the posting time and kills the muse. As long as the NPC is played according to his/ her character traits expressed in the bio, anything else is a welcome addition (to the bio too.)

In all RPG stories, each PC has their own personal development throughout the story. The story events, the actions they took (and didn’t take) and their interactions with others combine to change the PCs in a variety of ways. Reocurring NPCs should follow similar arcs, especially if they interact frequently with the PCs, and sometimes a NPC could become a favorite because he was introduced at exactly the right moment for certain PCs, giving the sense that the characters are interacting with a vibrant world, not only with a limited number of PCs. Giving an NPC something that the PCs want, as an adventure goal or as a means to an end, intensifies both the story and the reaction of the PCs around.

Conflict makes characters interesting, and creates roleplaying opportunities. Every reoccurring NPC, who isn’t just a face in the crowd, needs a conflict, be it internal (hatred, clashes of values, a forbidden love, temptation) or external (rivals, dictators, feuding families, war, etc.). If an NPC is going to be involved in more than one scene, that NPC’s background needs to include a conflict that could involve the PCs, opening up story opportunities for the players, and the way of resolving this conflict could be the next adventure in the overall story. If the NPC is recurrently appearing as an integral part of a story line, his background should include a conflict that explicitly involves one or more PCs. The way of solving that conflict affects the story development.

For example, a spy who has certain characteristics is visited periodically by one of the PCs who buys information. One day, to his surprise, he finds the spy in totally different circumstances. Wounded, or in rags, or disguised totally differently. The spy is still alive and able to deliver the information wanted, but 1) the life of the city continued while the PC had been away at sea and 2) the one who plays the spy in that thread has the chance to play him a bit differently, to play out some fun and creative interaction with the PCs and to open up the possibility of the PCs getting involved in whatever had happened to the spy. Maybe the PC decides to undertake a side adventure as a part of the payment for the information received, in order to get revenge on whoever had harmed the spy. Or maybe their own goals intertwine with this side story, giving them an added spice.

When you give a NPC their own agenda, goals, and secrets, clashing with the PC’s or intermixing with their own, it helps with creating a richer story and gives the PCs more reasons to roleplay with them, to build tension and excitement. You should choose desires that create conflict for the PCs, opposing the PCs goals, making it harder for the PCs to achieve their goals, or leading the NPCs to aid to the PCs.

When the PCs do not have established goals, the NPC’s agendas should draw the PCs into conflict. The simplest way to ensure that an NPC has an effect is to ask, “What does this NPC want from the PCs and why?” If you make sure that you have a good answer for this and you play the NPC in a manner consistent with your answer, you will almost guarantee that the NPC will affect your PCs lives, making the NPC interesting, generating conflict and interactions with the PCs meant to further the story, giving the PCs ways of revenge against a NPC who had harmed them, developing allies and enemies for the PCs and making the story move along.

When the NPCs maintain their agenda, but must adjust their plans to account for the PCs’ actions, it means that the PCs are having an effect on the world around them, encouraging the writers to be more proactive and drawing them better into the story, irrespective if they decide to help the NPC or not, if the NPC chose them, or if the NPC is reacting to their efforts, highlighting the importance of the PCs and their characteristics.

Designing a NPC

There is a debate regarding how important fully designed NPCs are in any given RPG, but in general people agree that the more “real” a NPC feels, the more fun players will have interacting with him in character. Just as a player character has hopes, dreams, and goals, so does every NPC, and player characters getting in the way of them could lead to interesting encounters.

You (and “you” are the general player here, not only the staff member, because, for a better involvement in the game, I am in favour of every writer getting involved in shaping their environment, i.a. through creating NPCs) should better create a number of interesting NPCs, using brief descriptions, instead of making a few, highly detailed NPCs. Most NPC’s don’t have to be three-dimensional, they just have to appear that way to the readers. The average NPC can be summed up in a few descriptive words. The trick is to use broad strokes to describe him, then give him a noticeable personality quirk or physical feature that you can hang your writing on. Have something they do that they’re very good at, something they are known for, something they enjoy (a hobby or obsession), a goal or dream.

The format of the NPC bio used on my site is presented below, and the one who created the NPC first must fill out a NPC bio with the basic information needed by any other player when using him/ her (while logged on NPC account, because any person who plays him/ her might edit later to add a detail for further information which resulted from roleplaying).

NPC BIO (for recurrent NPCs)

Name: – this should be consistent with the name rules of the game you are playing, as if it were a regular character

Age: usually age influences behaviour, sometimes personality

Gender: self explanatory

Occupation: Whenever possible, use professions that aren’t so common in most games, so that one may think about a plot based around his/ her profession. The PC might not know it or he might know it; but you, the writer, should know, so that the other people who will play him/ her understand him/ her better.

Current Location: important too. The ones who’ll play him/ her later need to know if their characters or their partners’ characters can find him/her where they are or not. I won’t play the Governor of Bahamas in Cuba, especially at wartime, or if I play him in Jamaica, then the visit is a memorable one. If you play that NPC outside his/ her usual location, him being in the same place with your character (or your partner’s) must have a reason.

General appearance: give only the important details, not as elaborate as for a regular character. Skin color, hair color, eye color; old, young, or in-between; fat, thin, or average, gorgeous or hideous. Mention an NPC’s particularly distinctive feature if it’s the sort of thing that would immediately strike the PCs as unusual.

List one or two distinctive pieces of clothing or jewelry or colors that the NPC almost always wears, so that any player catches something about his/ her personality, and one can make a big deal out of it if the NPC ever appears without that item: is the NPC’s clothing clean or dirty? Neat or disheveled? Expensive or cheap? Carry a cane? Wear too much makeup?

Personality: give only the important details, not as elaborate as for a regular character. Personality should comprise one or two memorable characteristics, for good or bad: one major quirk, idiosyncrasy, weakness, power or behavior that makes him remembered. Cultural differences can make interacting with an NPC more interesting and challenging for the players. The NPCs are people, with their biases, prejudices, hidden agendas and rough edges, exactly like the PCs, influencing the story arc. And these can be also the seed of creative subplots or sideplots further, when a story needs something new/ different.

Mannerisms and Speech Habits: If the PCs interact with the NPC at length or over different times, they may begin to notice the NPC’s mannerisms (stroking a beard or moustache, playing with his/ her hair, gesturing nervously, fidgeting, biting his/her lip, etc.) and speech habits (stuttering or stammering, speaking loudly or softly, being verbose or being succinct, using accents, having favorite sayings, cliches, etc.).

History: give only the important details, not as elaborate as for a regular character. For the sake of story consistency, (only when it is the case) include names of the immediate family /friends/ lovers, and explicitly the relation to any PC. Giving an NPC a connection to one of the PCs is a good way to generate an active storyline. It can be a good connection (an ally, a contact, a sibling) or a bad one (an enemy from the past, a spurned lover, a half-brother who didn’t inherit anything) so that the players can know how their PC will act towards this NPC.

Anything else: (usually here enters the plot, if NPC created for a specific plot which involves several threads. If not, any other useful information.)

Some people recommend using various online generators for creating NPCs. I am not in favour of them, but I recommend instead using Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs in the characterization of NPCs. According to the needs pyramid created by this psychologist, people act and behave according to their needs, some of them being universally more important than others and anybody must fulfill each step before proceeding to the next one:

1. Physiological Needs: the strongest needs, because they are the survival ones – air, food, water, shelter.

2. Safety Needs. To feel secure in one’s surroundings, stability, and future safety.

3. Love, Affection and Belongingness Needs. To be accepted by others, have friends, feel needed, and the ability to give and receive love.

4. Esteem Needs. To be competent and receive respect from others. If these needs are not met, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.

5. Self-fulfillment Needs. A person’s need to be and do that which the person was “born to do”. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write”.

When creating your NPCs then, try to answer to questions related to Maslow’s hierarchy: How do they see to it that they survive immediate threats? What provides them with long-term security and companionship? What are they good at? What provides them with intellectual and spiritual satisfaction?

As a conclusion, the NPCs in your RPG stories add flavour to the setting, may offer a rumour, help or a bit of advice, even if they do not drive the action, and they can be the inspiration for new plotlines and conflicts. Please bear in mind that, while they are very important to creating a fun and interesting story, they can be dealt with in a simple, but skilled manner, using only an attitude, maybe an accent, and a couple of memorable details – even a detail which may be meaningless, but attention-driving, such as having two eyes of different colour or an addiction to chocolate.

Convincing your idle RPG partners to play them might be also fun and creating a new dynamic in the story. Test your writing skills by challenging yourself to create a reocurring NPC and to play one who is radically different than your usual characters, interacting with your RPG partners’ characters, for a memorable story.