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Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~

Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~ published on 5 Comments on Original Character ask meme – Psychology edition~

Comment with a number and any Leif & Thorn character(s), and get an answer! (May be redacted when spoilery.)

1: What’s your OC’s biggest insecurity and how would they react if someone pointed it out to them?

2: If your OC wants to buy a firearm, what it might be for?

3: Does your OC behave differently around different people, if so with whom and how?

4: Would your OC want to involve themselves in humanitarian work ? If yes, then for what? If not, then why not?

5: How would your OC generally react to someone being verbally abusive towards them for no apparent reason?

6: Does your OC have a realistic image of their own intelligence?

7: Does your OC have any irrational phobias?

8: How is/was your OC’s relationship with their parents?

9: Does your OC feel a pressure to achieve or are they content and calm with doing what they can at the moment?

10: Does your OC guard their emotions by being tough? If not how would they?

11: How would your OC react to hearing they’re adopted?

12: What is one of the most primary things your OC feels that is missing from their life?

13: What kind of situations does your OC avoid the most?

14: If your OC gets into a fight with their best friend, would they wait for their friend to make up with them, or would they try to make up with their friend?

15: Does your OC consider themselves a good person?

16: Is your OC good at giving others validation of their feelings and making them feel understood?

17: Does your OC suffer from any mental health issues?

18: What kind of intrapersonal values does your OC have? (values about their self, what makes them feel like a valid person)

19: What boosts your OC’s confidence the most?

20: Does your OC hurt others often unintentionally? If yes, how?

21: Does your OC hurt others often intentionally? If yes, how?

22: How does your OC usually show affection? Are they openly romantic or more restricted with their affectionate emotions?

23: Does your OC tend to hide something about their personality/essence when meeting new people? If yes, what?

24: How would your OC react if they got humiliated by someone in a group of people?

25: How would your OC process the grief caused by the death of a loved one?

26: What is the most intense thing your OC has been battling with?

27: Does your OC practise any kind of escapism? If yes, what kind?

28: How would your OC react if a bully stole their lunch money in high school?

29: How does your OC behave on the face of a conflict?

30: What makes your OC defensive quickest?

(Original on Tumblr.)

D&D-Inspired Character Asks

D&D-Inspired Character Asks published on 24 Comments on D&D-Inspired Character Asks

(Original post here.)

Throw me a number or two along with a Leif & Thorn character, and they’ll answer those questions!

1. How many dead parents do they have?

2. How good are they at tongue twisters?

3. Biggest regret?

4. Are they formally trained or have they gone through a more organic learning experience for their skillset?

5. If they could hang out with one famous person in 18th century American History, who would they want to hang out with?

6. What’s their theme song?

7. What fictional character are they most like? Was this an intentional or accidental influence?

8. Paper or plastic?

9. What’s their dump stat?

10. What’s their best stat?

11. What is their favorite anime?

12. What’s their favorite beverage?

13. If they can use magic, what’s their favorite spell?

14. Most heroic thing they have ever done?

15. Most despicable thing they have ever done?

16. Are they a hero or a supporting protagonist?

17. What’s their favorite food?

18. Would they rather fight a hundred duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?

19. They have to go live on a deserted island. They can take one thing and one person. What do they take?

20. Are they religious? If so, what god or gods do they serve?

21. How did they become an adventurer?

22. Most amazing monster they have ever killed or helped kill?

23. Thoughts on death?

24. Do they have any interesting skills?

25. Favorite animal?

26. Expansion of civilization or the preservation of nature?

27. They’re at a tavern. They bump into a big burly angry drunk with a combative attitude. What happens?

28. What do they do between quests?

29. Biggest positive and negative influences on their life and development?

30. Would they smooch a ghost?

And we’re troperfied.

And we’re troperfied. published on No Comments on And we’re troperfied.

Awesome, Leif & Thorn has a tropes page.

Slipped in and added some of the language stuff. Now I get to sit on my hands and resist the urge to add tropes that would be spoilery for not-yet-posted strips.

Other misc notes from the artist’s desk:

  • I just learned there’s an herb known as Bennet. Looks like a certain background/cameo character just got very easy to name.
  • The sexy art challenge has been a runaway hit, and would love to keep getting prompts. Surprised to see that half of them so far have been for canon romances, and the other half are for total crackships — with absolutely nothing in between. Anybody want to take on the middle ground?
  • Current shortlist of Worldbuilding Things To Work Out: in-universe tipping cultures; global distribution of language families; wonders of the ancient world; logos of fast food places.
  • That awkward moment when you’re working on a map of your fantasy world…

    That awkward moment when you’re working on a map of your fantasy world… published on 9 Comments on That awkward moment when you’re working on a map of your fantasy world…

    …and you go looking for information on whether some detail is geologically plausible, and all of a sudden it’s ten hours later and you’ve thrown out half the map and are trying to give yourself a crash course in the development of planetwide ocean currents.

    A simple map of Ceannis has been around for months — you can see a section of it in this strip. Since that’s the country where all the action so far takes place, it’s the only one where I’ve needed a handle on the geography. So far, so good.

    (Shoutout to Amit Patel’s Polygon Map Generator, for providing the visuals I could hack together.)

    Problem is, the map has what I’m going to call European Fantasy Writer Syndrome: there’s a land mass on one side that extends off the edge of the map, facing a mysterious and little-known ocean that extends off the opposite edge of the map, and that’s it. (See: Middle-earth shows us the western coast of a continent; Narnia mixes it up a little and puts the ocean on the east.) What does the rest of the continent look like? Is there a facing coast, if you hike across Asia the land long enough? What if you go as far north or south as possible? Who knows!

    At least I knew a few of those details for Ceannis. If you go north, you get: Sønheim! If you go to the northernmost part of Sønheim…

    …and, whoops, stuck again.

    Did Sønheim have a glacial coast bordering a polar ocean? Did it extend up and over the pole? Did it go far enough to have another temperate coastal country bordering it on the other side? Was that even possible, or is there a good reason none of Earth’s major land masses are over the poles?

    After some googling — and filtering out these really earnest websites that want you to understand the scientific reasons why the Earth is totally hollow — I got to Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. Which not only has this kind of information, but is writing it for a target audience of laypeople trying to build imaginary planets.

    Assorted fun facts of the day:

    • Nothing wrong with polar land masses. If you flooded Mars, for instance, you would see high ground concentrated around the poles, and an ocean ringing the equator.
    • Although this means you won’t get major north-to-south ocean currents, and those are a huge influence in tempering a planet’s climate.
    • Currents aside, the water itself absorbs solar heat slowly during the day and releases it slowly at night, which is a big deal too. Make a big-enough continent with no inland seas, and you’ll get deserts that can skyrocket to 100 °F at midday, then drop below freezing at night.
    • If you have so little surface water that it’s relegated to non-connected seas, you’ll get individual microclimates operating independently.
    • (You can balance this out by storing extra water in plant life, or in really big underground aquifers.)
    • Also possible if you get a sea surrounded by mountains! If clouds can’t move into or out of the area without going through a rain shadow stage, you’ll get two independent water cycles.
    • And if you take away enough land interruptions to make a giant continuous ocean, the storms coming in off the sea will be awe-inspiring. (Pangaea had ridiculous monsoons.)
    • Our sun affects the tides a lot more than I had realized.
    • Plate tectonics, which push land masses upward, are the only reason our land hasn’t all eroded into the oceans.
    • Also, they’re the reason we have functional mining. Sure, you can dig deep mines to get at underground ore, but only if you have the tools for it…so you need some metal deposits shoved close to the surface to build the tools.
    • Desalinating our oceans would be a great way to destroy all life on Earth. Even the current real-world melting of our freshwater icecaps isn’t looking good on this count.

    As the research went on, I really did throw out half the map…and then rebuilt it. Faster, stronger, more powerful. Ceannis and Sønheim have a whole continent now!

    Plus some auxiliary land masses, an equator, a full set of ocean currents, lots of exciting new biomes, and a grab bag of cultural and historical implications. Magic means the population isn’t as completely at the mercy of the elements as they might have been — especially at their current level of spelltech — but there’s still plenty to work with.

    I, uh, may have had to split the data up into two files, because it got to be so much that Paint Shop Pro couldn’t save without crashing.

    Not gonna release the whole hemisphere right away. There’s a lot left to do, and parts that might change even more, depending on factors like “if I find some other cool geology thing and decide to work it in.”

    For now, here’s the Leif & Thorn small map, now that I know what happens off the edges.

    Thorn, disability, trauma, and the words we use

    Thorn, disability, trauma, and the words we use published on 5 Comments on Thorn, disability, trauma, and the words we use

    Really enjoyed this piece, “I’m Not a Person with a Disability. I’m an Disabled Person“, by Lisa Egan. Worth reading the whole thing. A few pointed excerpts:

    As a person with a mobility impairment, I am disabled by steps, stairs, escalators, being denied computer access as I can’t write by hand, inaccessible housing, and so on. To me, a flight of stairs without a lift as an alternative is the equivalent of right-clicking me and selecting “disable Lisa.”

    […]

    I hated my body when I was not allowed on school trips or when I was left in the classroom on my own while my classmates were doing something more fun. I’d get left in the classroom on my own with a math textbook — anything is more fun than that.

    Once I learned about the social model, I realized that my body wasn’t the problem at all. The reason I spent so much time in pain was because I’d get half a paracetamol every 4 hours for multiple broken bones.

    There was no need for me to be in pain; effective painkillers existed by the 1980s. I just wasn’t given any. Denying someone needed pain meds is an attitudinal barrier making their life needlessly difficult.

    […]

    “Disabled” is the best word in the world for describing the barriers I confront and no non-disabled person has the right to try and take that from me.

    To be clear, she points out that she’s not saying “person with a disability” is Wrong or Bad across the board. Just that “disabled person” is the better term for her.


    So, okay, the personal angle: I have depression.

    Here, too, medication exists. Brain chemistry is more finicky than pain, so it took a couple years of trying meds that didn’t make a dent in mine, but finally, wham, ERIN used BUPROPION! It’s super effective!

    And “person with a disability” feels more accurate on my end. (Or, better, “person with depression,” because a nonspecific “disability” makes people think of the physical ones first.)

    Thing is, with mental health conditions, the context and perception is different. Outside observers can have a hard time distinguishing between the symptoms and your natural emotions. This is a Problem.

    Saying “a depressed person” sounds like “a sad person,” and that’s the wrong idea! Even when it was untreated, even when I’ve been smack in the middle of a serious meltdown, it doesn’t feel like normal sadness. From the inside you can tell when things don’t line up with your actual emotions.

    Seriously, I remember trying to articulate this to a therapist in seventh grade. Didn’t have the vocabulary for it at all, so the phrase I used was “I think [I’m crying because] there’s something wrong with my tear ducts.” And even this trained mental-health professional interpreted it as “oh, you’re in denial because you’re embarrassed to admit how upset you are.”

    Nnnnnnnnnope. Insert your favorite “you tried” graphic here.

    It’s not a facet of your personality. You can’t treat it by approaching it like a character trait that you have to work on. (Makes about as much sense as seeing someone with a backpack full of weights, and telling them to take some weight off by…exercising.) It’s a separate thing. A distinct noun.

    The word choice has to make that clearer, not more muddled.

    And, listen, I’m not gonna bite anyone’s head off if you use “depressed” in a context where it’s clear what you’re talking about. Right now I work with a group that does disability services, and that category in the database is “Disabled.” That’s fine.

    But if I’m referring to myself, it’s gonna be “person with depression.” The implications there line up best with the ones I want to get across.


    So let’s bring this around to Thorn.

    The backstory in a nutshell: Sir Thorn killed a dragon. Hooray! But in the process he was badly injured, and the aftereffects linger to this day. Boo, hiss.

    Physically, he has notable burn scarring on his left arm. And that’s after the best healing available in his magical fantasy country.

    Mentally, he has what in our universe would be called PTSD. That’s been brought pretty well under control by treatment too, some of it recognizable in our world (therapy!), some of it not so much (magically soulbonded cat).

    You can see some of the low-key effects in the strip so far. Nothing dramatic, no moments where he just aggressively cannot deal. (…Yet.)

    It helps that his world has a pretty good understanding of trauma overall. You’d be amazed what a difference that makes. There’s this one IRL study, which I cannot for the life of me find now, where someone got to the survivors of a disaster (boat sinking? earthquake?) and gave them all a one-page flier about common trauma symptoms and effects. Followed up a year later, and the PTSD in the group was way lower — less common, less severe — than average.

    More understanding, less stigma, good consequences all around. When Thorn doesn’t want to talk about his backstory, that’s out of a sense of privacy and boundaries, not because he’s been shamed into never talking at all. When he faces something that might play into his triggers, his teammates know it’s a reasonable risk, and will matter-of-factly offer to run interference if he needs it.

    (You would think there would be more fictional dragonslayers who, in the aftermath, have triggers related to fire….)

    Most of the time, these days, he’s functioning at a good level. Not a lot of active impairment. Most of the time, the people around him are not selecting “disable Thorn.”

    However:

    that is kind of what the dragon did, you know?

    Thorn’s conditions are the result of a specific event. One that was even more actively aggressive than “failing to provide treatment” or “designing things that don’t accommodate how his body works.” They were inflicted on him, and that’s an important part of how he thinks of them, and how he would want other people to understand them.

    The phrase “person with a disability” is timeless, eternally-present. “Disabled” is a past-tense verb, better for implying that this had a starting point, that it’s part of the texture of his personal history.

    And even in those moments when it’s not actively affecting him — after he’s had years of good support, and is generally in a pretty healthy place — the history is still significant.

    Kind of like how you would keep calling yourself “educated” long after you’re out of school (and, let’s face it, have forgotten a lot of the specifics). The experience was still a big part of shaping who you are today, and that’s what you’re trying to get across.

    tl;dr Thorn would prefer calling himself “disabled.”


    …in English translation, anyway. His native language isn’t necessarily going to break down these terms and their implications in the same way. But that’s a layer deeper than I’m gonna dig in a single post.

    Readers, any of you involved in disability advocacy in a non-English language, and/or have opinions about the politics of the lingo it uses? Drop a comment, let me know.

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