BlogDragon of Icespire Peak

Hi! I hope by reading this you have some understanding of who I am, but just in case you don’t, my name is Kate and I play Hazel Nightjar in the Burning Dice Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign.

The final episode of our first campaign has been released and I thought it would be an idea to share some of my experiences and insider thoughts from this entire process.

The art of creating a character, I genuinely find anxiety inducing and it always makes me feel really stupid. I can never remember how to do it, what stats are best for each class and overall I just don’t enjoy it. I enjoy picking my race and class, but that is where my enjoyment ends and the anxiety begins. When I was creating Hazel, I struggled with the limitations of what races and classes we could play (a limitation set by this starter campaign) and kind of just picked it at random. Nothing sang to me or really jumped out so I just picked. My only general thought process usually is, what animal-humanoid can I play and what class have I not tried? Oddly (and as I am sure you realise if you have listened/watched the entire campaign) a healer is not something I am good at nor interested in, but I had never played a cleric, and thought why not? I thought the war subclass would be a nice touch and I can fall back on some of my comfortable past experiences of strong female lead characters.

Perhaps one of my personal flaws/ limitations is that I never ever give my character a backstory or put any thoughts into who they are. I learn by doing and I am a firm believer in letting things happen organically, and so this is something I do with all of my characters. I let them tell me their stories and whatever happens in the moment happens and this is who they are. This can also lead to issues, for example I really struggled connecting with Hazel initially, I didn’t know who she was, her motivations, her personality or anything. Whilst this usually comes very naturally to me, with Hazel, it took a long time and I wanted to make her different and drop some of the traits all of my past characters have. But once I knew her or thought I knew her, I fell in love. I always love playing strong female characters; however, I always worry they come across as a bitch or trying to take the limelight. I feel that I toed that line and at times crossed, but I wanted to be fair to Hazel and who she revealed herself to be. Another issue I came across was at times, I would let my personal feelings about life in general bleed into Hazel and at times, I wondered who was saying these things? My actual job and work can be really stressful and when I had a bad day, I couldn’t always separate what Kate was channelling through Hazel and who Hazel was. Another thing I tried to avoid was allowing Kate’s love of nature and the natural world bleed into Hazel, but can you believe it… I just couldn’t do it; it happens so naturally and it is a constant theme through every single character I have ever played. We can’t delete who we are as people from our make-believe characters, at least not all traits! This is something that is so ingrained within me and it is who I am at my core, that even in fantasy I will always try and be an advocate for animals and the natural world.

However, as the campaign progressed and my love of Hazel flourished, I thought F it! Who cares? She will be who she is and if this is my personal outlet for stress then so be it. And so I stopped worrying about who was who, and just let it happen. I found that I relaxed way more, enjoyed it way more and if I screwed up, what does it matter? I think for me, knowing that others would see this and people who knew all of the rules would be judging, it added an additional level of anxiety. But, once again as the campaign progressed this feeling lifted and I could throw myself into it more.

Wants for Hazel

I have never been able to do accents for any of my characters, it is something I have been self-conscious of and what I worried about (if you can’t tell, I will over think and worry about nothing!) was being able to keep it up. So I fell back on my usual and just used my own accent, but with Hael at times I tried to make her sound more crisp than I ever would. But… Who knows? Maybe in the next campaign, I leave my comfort zone and try one 😉 (spoiler… I do).

I wanted Hazel to be physically strong as well as a strong female, but like I have said before, I was worried that she has come across as bossy or over compensating for something. I was also conscious to begin with how Hazel went down every session, I felt like I was letting her down and not playing her correctly. I blamed the limitations of the character at first, but then realised, maybe she shouldn’t constantly be charging into every situation and it is indeed my fault! But in the end, I owned that, I think. It became really fun and it was always exciting to see if this stupid scenario is what finally kills her (it doesn’t, can you believe?).

I as a player, have been lucky enough to play with my friends and I have had fantastic past experiences with Ben, Sam and Jordan. I think that is what shone through the most for me; we are all comfortable with one another on a personal level and I just learned to let go of my worries and embrace what was happening and that I was ultimately playing a game I love with some of my favourite people.

Going into the next campaign I plan to leave my comfort zone with some aspects, and Ben has created an absolutely breathtaking custom class and race just for me, but to also really lean into the things I love… She also has a back story 😉

As I am writing this, we have currently recorded our session 0 and the first session and I am so excited for this campaign. Ben has already begun an enriching; awe inspiring world and I cannot wait to fall down the rabbit hole with my favourite people.

I love forward to introducing you to Storri Varga and going on this journey with you all.

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely amazing piece of writing Kate I did get that from your character that personal feelings were involved a little but that what’s also made some of it great like frustration and anger coming through hazel must have been a little pent up inside for you but there’s nothing wrong with that it made the character who she was and became such a strong team member in the end which you owned overall look forward to the amazing work that will come from you all in the next campaign look forward to it.

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