Breathing Life into a Frost Wyrm: An Exercise in RP Research

This post is going to be something a little bit unusual for this blog. Instead of tanking, guild leadership or raiding, today’s post is going to be brought to you by the letters R and P. I’m going to walk you through the process of researching a change or addition to your character’s RP so you don’t run afoul of a lore nerd like me. As an example, I’m going to use my own research project as it unfolds. Hopefully you’ll come away with this with a better knowledge of RP construction, respect for the lore, and frost wyrms… the topic of this research.

Allow me to set the scene. I just completed the ICC “Glory” achievement and got my frost wyrm mount. The letter that the mount came with mentioned that this drake had just broken free of the Lich King’s control and now had a mind of its own. The letter also implied that this drake was intelligent and not some mindless undead. This intrigued me, and I began wondering if I could work my lovely new mount into Udiyvli’s RP.

The first thing I need, obviously, is to confirm the intelligence of a frost wyrm. Where to start? For frost wyrms, I can’t think of a better place to begin than Sindragosa.

http://www.wowwiki.com/Sindragosa

There’s some interesting information, but not much general information on frost wyrms. It is, however, interesting to note that Sindragosa’s final thoughts, as she died in pain, slowly, blind and alone and unable to reach the Dragonblight, were thoughts of revenge. This sure goes a long way to explaining her anger issues and all the yelling.

Let’s continue our research by clicking of the link to frost wyrms…

http://www.wowwiki.com/Frost_wyrm

Now this is more like it. Right off the bat, we get a huge piece of information. Frost wyrms do not come from the blue flight exclusively. They can come from any flight. It’s also stated here that the first frost wyrms were raised by the Ner’zhul incarnation of the Lich King, not Arthas. This may seem like an obvious point to those of you who played Warcraft III, but for me, having not played it myself, this was one of those “obvious” facts that I simply never thought of before.

Moving on, we find two more vital bits of information. First, they are indeed very intelligent. Second, they generally do not have any memory of their lives before reanimation. Sindragosa may be an exception to this, or perhaps it’s just the feeling of anger that carried over with no memory of what caused those feelings.

Our next critical discovery is a big one… all frost wyrms who are members of what is known as the “Frostbrood” are all blue dragons. Also, as the “Queen of the Frostbrood”, any frost wyrm identified as Frostbrood would in some way report to Sindragosa.

So what do we know about Udi’s mount so far? Well, it’s a “Frostbrood Vanquisher” which means, as a member of the Frostbrood, it reported directly to Sindragosa. It was also a member of the blue flight in life and almost surely has no memory of that life. There’s absolutely no way that it was a member of any other flight, as it is cannon that as a Frostbrood member, it was blue in life. We also know that it’s as intelligent as any other drake, and is thus capable of speech and complex thought. We also know from the letter the mount came with that it’s female.

So what about a name? Well, this is where we run into a possible issue. The list of notable frost wyrms is made up mostly of names given to the wyrm after reanimation. There are four apparent exceptions to this; Sindragosa, Glacion, Sapphiron, and Sarathstra.

Sindragosa, of course, was the prime consort of Malygos. Sarathstra we know little about, but based on the -ra at the end of her name, we can conclude that she was of the green flight in life. These two seem to have legitimately kept their “life names” after reanimation, but what about the other two?

We also know little about Glacion, and while the -on ending would imply he was a black dragon, a name derived from the word “glacier” seems unlikely for a black dragon. Therefore, this is probably a name that was given to him after reanimation and not actually a life name.

Sapphiron is a bit confusing. He has a black dragon suffix of -on, but a name derived from the word “sapphire” which seems perfectly fit for a blue dragon’s life name. In this case, lore comes to the rescue. Sapphiron was a blue dragon in life, and kept his name upon reanimation. He was also an important and trusted part of Malygos’s flight. So, even though he has a non-standard name suffix for his flight, it is cannon that he was a blue dragon named Sapphiron.

Taking this all into account, we find that of the four notable frost wyrms with names that could be their pre-reanimation names, two of them are confirmed to be life names, one is strongly indicated to be a life name, and one is very likely to actually be a post-reanimation name. Of those three who have life names, two were extremely important figures within the blue flight.

What can we conclude from this with regard to Udi’s mount? Simply put, it’s very, very unlikely that this particular frost wyrm would have a life name. It’s also unlikely that it would have been given a specific name, since it appears that frost wyrms without a life name are likely named by their handlers. This particular frost wyrm was probably not the mount of some Scourge commander, so it was probably never given a name.

This actually presents a great opportunity for a “scene” in Udi’s story. This all adds up to make it highly plausible that Udi would not only be the one to name this frost wyrm, but that the drake may appreciate the act of being named. I can imagine Udi asking what its name is and being told that it doesn’t remember its name and was never given one. After some thought, Udi would come up with a name, perhaps even a Taur-ahe name, and the drake’s attitude toward her would warm slightly.

For me, when I need a “Taur-ahe” name, I consult Cherokee dictionaries. Udiyvli’s name itself is actually Cherokee for “Shadow”. So, let’s start there… it’s usually not possible to find Cherokee words for anything other than basic things, and most Cherokee words are actually rather long when written out. Therefore, it’s best to keep it simple when looking for a good name. My first attempt? “Ice”. Simple, yet fitting.

There are two results for “ice” in Cherokee. Unesdala (ooh-nay-sss-dah-la) and Unastalv (ooh-nah-sss-tah-luh). I rather like the sound of Unastalv. It flows well, and sounds suitably feminine. Unastalv it is! So, let’s use a little common sense to fill in a bit of her personality and see what we have for Udi’s mount now…

Name: Unastalv (Ice)
Gender: Female
Flight: Blue
Pre-Reanimation memory: None
Personality: Conspiring. Untrusting. Very selectively, yet intensely loyal.

Why that personality? Well, think about it. She’s only recently broken free of the Scourge, and is for the first time aware that she has no memory pre-reanimation. She’s lost her memory, lost her purpose, and is suddenly cast out into a world where her own kin (living dragons) would be far more likely to kill her on sight than give her a second glance. Imagine being in that position. Imagine knowing what you should be, but having no memory of that past self, no way to regain it, and no hope for even a minimal return to what you were.

Unastalv is going to distrust people by default. She’s going to conspire and plot to make sure she comes out on top in any given situation, because she knows no one else is going to look out for her. She has to do it herself. Yet, if she does find someone she can trust in, that trust is going to be absolute and her dedication to that person complete and unwavering. Udiyvli’s act of accepting her and giving her a name from Udi’s own sacred language is the first step down that road of trust.

So, what about alignment? Good ol’ Dungeons and Dragons style alignments are fun to come up with for characters. Udi’s alignment is Chaotic Good, so let’s pick something that’ll fit a freed frost wyrm, but not conflict too strongly with Udi’s own alignment. These two are supposed to be partners after all…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alignment_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)

While you might think that it’s not possible for a frost wyrm to be anything but some flavor of “Evil”, there’s something you need to keep in mind. This isn’t simply a frost wyrm. This is a freed frost wyrm. Even without memory of her life, she is going to revert back to a more natural alignment for her people. Red and green dragons are usually Good. Black, of course, is usually Evil. Bronze and blue, however, are normally Neutral. In fact…

http://www.wowwiki.com/Blue_dragonflight

As you can see from the vital statistics box on the right, blue dragons are usually Lawful Neutral.

Neutral works fine with Udi’s Good, but Lawful can be in conflict with Chaotic. Besides, given all she’s been through, it’s unlikely Unastalv would fit the blue dragon stereotype alignment perfectly. She can’t be Evil and still fit with Udi as a good partner, so let’s keep the Neutral part and explore options other than Lawful.

Looking at True Neutral and Chaotic Neutral, we see some very fitting traits in Chaotic Neutral. Things like “selfish concern for their own goals” and “desire for freedom” spring out especially. She’s a recently freed frost wyrm who doesn’t trust anyone. I don’t think you could get any more fitting than Chaotic Neutral.

So that about wraps it up… say hello to Udiyvli’s new mount, partner and a new part of her RP and any post-Icecrown stories I write about Udi.

Name: Unastalv (Ice)
Gender: Female
Flight: Blue
Pre-Reanimation memory: None
Personality: Conspiring. Untrusting. Very selectively, yet intensely loyal.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at how I research and create new characters for my roleplay. There’s so much information out there to be had that it’s really not hard to create something fun and interesting while staying within the bounds of lore. If this has encouraged even one person to do a little more legwork to avoid breaking lore, then I’ve done what I set out to do.

Advertisements

~ by Udiyvli on 09/11/2010.

4 Responses to “Breathing Life into a Frost Wyrm: An Exercise in RP Research”

  1. This is a great article! I was afraid I was the only one who obsessed over how mounts fit into our character’s life.

    In fact, when 3.2 was released I went nuts immediately gathering the tokens necessary to get the Argent Charger and the Unicorn so my Paladin’s mount would have *three* skins depending on if he was dusty and gritty from action in the field, all scrubbed clean and outfitted for a parade or if he was just preening around free of any barding.

    My guild is pretty close to the Ulduar and ICC drakes so I’m excited to incorporate them – especially the Rusted Proto, since I felt really bad about what happened to Razorscale and like the idea of taking care of one of her kids.

    • Thanks! I’m always a little concerned with going the RP rout with a post since so much of my content is on raiding and tanking XD

      • I’m an RPer in Raid Leading and Tanking exile myself, so I empathize! I don’t RP anymore really, but I *will* go to silly lengths to tell stories about my characters to myself, regardless.

      • Kind of the same with me. I write long, detailed, lore-abiding stories about my characters and post them to my guild’s forum, but I rarely actually RP in game. I think it’s mostly because I simply can’t find RP happening in a setting that fits my characters. As a player of mostly Tauren, the extreme proliferation of high drama Blood Elf RP just doesn’t really feel like a fit for me. Also, there just aren’t many places in game, at least Horde side, that are well suited to RP outside of Silvermoon. It’s a vicious cycle. XD

        It’s OK though. My characters are much more enjoyable to play when I’m inside their heads. Arthas was a thrilling, surreal victory viewed from inside Udiyvli’s perspective. It even lead to development in her own story that I had not planned till after it happened and, from being in her character, realized how it would change her. If that makes any sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: