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Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

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Character Name(s): Ra'as

Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Raas »

Hey everyone,

I wanted to do a proper OOC farewell here, as I'm currently engaged in a full lifestyle change which includes moving the family + starting a whole new career. It will be quite a while before I am able to fully participate in Underlight again, and as my kids are getting older, they are needing more daddy time anyway so now is the time for me to bow out.

So, I'll miss you guys and wanted to provide a proper farewell.

First and foremost I'd like to thank all of you for your time and energy in this game, which I think is really just a super cool and unique experience. All of the players from the original Cult of Bashir and the new Temple of Abundant Soul have been truly amazing and I appreciate all of your work in both, as well as others like the Wardens, the Guardians of Flame, and all the various story arcs we got into.

I could write a million call-outs and thank-yous. But for those of you who I have spent significant time with - Thank you so much for playing with me. I really love you all. Whether we worked together, fought or both, I enjoyed every last bit of it and I truly appreciate the time we spent together.

I have played Underlight on and off for...22 years or so (whew) and have gotten to know many of you. There really is nothing like Underlight and the people that play it are universally an interesting sort. For those of you that I've gotten to know OOC, know that i'll still be around in Discord so feel free to chat me up.

Character background:

I'd also like to provide a bit of context on Ra'as and his whole existence because I found playing him to be a super interesting and enlightening experience. I also found that he inspired some really extreme emotions, so maybe in reading through some of this you can find inspiration for your own characters, or understand more about what that character was up to.

Ra'as was always intended to be a religious fanatic, and that escalated quite quickly. I think the lore of the game lends itself very well to "deity" type RP's - Humans have always communicated through "archetypes" - Heroes, villains, etc. and the archetypes are frequently presented as gods and goddesses. In a psychic realm, its not a hard thing to imagine these archetypes manifesting as deity figures, so that's where the whole idea stemmed from.

Ra'as was very difficult to play because he was about as close to comic book villain as I could imagine someone being, and I was constantly facepalming whenever he succeeded. I was fortunate in that UL had lots of "villainous" characters the last many years, so he was able to blend in decently well.

As a character, he was modeled partly off of Jon Irenicus (Baldur's Gate 2) and partly off Hannibal Lector. I enjoyed the idea of a character that was truly insane - half fatherly lucid professor type, half completely psychotic and violent.

The original "Cult of Bashir" RP was exactly what it sounded like. Basically a Lovecraftian style Cthulhu cult within the dream. I was studying Islam and Judaism in college and basically curious how a real religion might play out in the Underlight world. Part of what I like about UL is that its essentially one giant sociological experiment, so introducing a more radical religion seemed a fun meta game, and it was.

The Second Temple had the same goals as the first, but tied in the lore of the old and I tried to inculcate some lessons learned to approach the whole thing with more finesse than the first round. This was, I think, very successful. The success was due entirely to players which engaged with the RP and helped to grow it into something well beyond what I alone could achieve.

I found Ra'as would routinely have "micro failures" in events and day to day interactions - events would rarely swing his desired way, but he was remarkably successful on the large scale cultural shaping of the dream toward his ends.

Some gameplay notes:

1) I intentionally spent almost 100% of the time on Ra'as recruiting, spreading the faith, and just generally anchoring all of his actions toward his ultimate goal. If you were in a conversation with him, he was probably trying to convert you, gather intel, or discern some way which he could bring leverage your existence to his advantage.

2) I barely cared about arts or spheres. I would occasionally do tasking sprints to catch up, but it was basically a non-focus, only did it because I had to.

3) Teaching - Ra'as would intentionally task toward getting others involved in events which were correlated with his overall goals. He would strive to teach his set of lessons (conflict, discipline, sacrifice, growth) through the tasks, or at least that was the intent.

4) I used a lot of real world religious fanatic behavior and was routinely horrified at how effective it is. I'd like to note that its important to think about these things because there are real world cults and religions that are far worse than anything we've cooked up in game. Be mindful of your friends and loved ones, and ensure that they do not become hypnotized by gifted orators.

Some observations:

1) In-group preference behaviors are extremely useful in the context of Underlight "groups". Giving special privileges and power and trust and autonomy toward your fellow "faithful" is a great way to build group dynamics. Similarly, Ra'as spent lots of time subverting the group dynamics of others - Sewing distrust, doubt, etc.

2) "Evil Characters" only work when they have first principles anchored in a goal. Ra'as routinely did all sorts of terrible, subversive things, but he also did lots of really nice, noble, generous things as well. The important thing was that his actions were pretty consistently anchored in his goal. If you don't have that, you'll find yourself at the whims of others and behavior may stop making sense.

3) For "worshipping conflict" Ra'as really didn't have to engage in fighting that much, and that was perhaps the most fun part of the game - Inciting conflict amongst others was basically his reason for existing and the characters in UL provided fertile ground for such mayhem. Thank you <3

4) I highly recommend a character sheet, if you haven't developed one already. I'll paste the one i used for Ra'as below.


Ra'as Character Sheet:

Alignment: Lawful Evil/Neutral-Evil
Class: Lucid Priest

Worldviews & Motivations:

Ra'as feels the Dream is a divine realm, that dreamers are something like Demigods, and that his Dreams serve a Divine purpose - perhaps even to achieve Divinity itself. He perceives the entities as deities in a Pantheon of gods and feels genuine awe at their works.

He's ultimately very self motivated but driven by faith in Bashir to whom he feels inextricably connected. He seeks to break Bashir free of his cage in the Palisade and establish a Divine Monarchy. He believes creating the "Cult of Bashir" was a good first step toward creating a Divine Monarchy but that the execution was too ham-handed. He now feels a requisite step is to inculcate the dream population with greater awareness of the Divine nature of the Dream and their own glorious potential. He refers to followers of Bashir now as "Chosen".

He perceives himself as on a heroic quest to achieve a greater order, and feels a moral obligation to burn down or drastically alter the current order to achieve it.

He feels that the pursuit of power without an overarching motivation is a moral failure.

He finds most other dreamers self-absorbed, and largely driven by mundane concerns. He believes most dreamers squander their precious mortality and he actively attempts to push dreamers toward large, heroic goals.

Character Traits:

Unlicensed Electrician: Ra'as is 100% incompetent with anything "mechanical" or "dream-tech". He is as likely to light a generator on fire as he is to turn it on. Ra'as will react to anything technical as inferior or utterly foreign. If he chooses to engage with a mechanical type event or item, he does so with the intent of ruining it or because he finds it "neat" but he has actually zero talent with that type of object. The most positive action he might engage in with this type of item is to bless it.

Obsessive Arcanist: Ra'as is obsessed with arcane artifacts and talismen. He will actively seek out knowledge of their locations and pursue them for his own ends.

FateSmith: Strategically uses persuasion and manipulation of people and groups toward his ultimate goals, to the point that he considers it an art or a craft, which he takes pride in.

First Chosen: Due to his long history with Bashir, a previous merging with Him, long wars, strikings, and his own sociopathy, Ra'as often feels one with Bashir - If other dreamers are unsure where Ra'as begins and Bashir ends, that is fine by him, because he isn't sure either.

Suspicious: Ra'as is usually suspicious of everyone's motivations, especially those who he perceives have long-term goals that are not aligned with his own.

Regretful Warden: He considers the Wardens a mistake - It was done largely as a survival mechanism after Bashir was "killed" and he was left with a contingent of loyal followers but no purpose, and a city that loathed wraiths. He would happily unleash the whole of the Palisade's entities and has stated this as an explicit goal.

Blood Rites: His preferred form of creation and ritual involves Essence and Lucidity. He believes the driving force behind creative work in the Dream is having the appropriate underlying motivation and sacrificing oneself or others (literally and figuratively) for it. He feels he has greater understanding of essence than the average dreamer.

Reputation Manager: Ra'as will spend significant time in Nightmare Form because it is perceived as cute amongst most of the dreamer population. He will actively downplay his own gravitas or deeds in public, so that dreamers are more likely to trust him, and his plans have a better chance of succeeding. He will also engage in social functions but almost exclusively to bolster his image to the populous. Ra'as is almost always polite, even to enemies. He is greatly put off by dreamers that are not polite.

Monarch: Ra'as thinks democracy is stupid and weak. He believes the city needs more direct control for security and growth. He believes Underlight should consolidate power and cease tolerating external threats and trespassers. For this reason he is disinclined toward joining houses unless he is Ruling.

Violent Tendencies: Ra'as enjoys violence when it is in pursuit of a greater ideal. He believes violence is the best way for dreamers to learn and grow, and that it brings them closer to Bashir. He thinks the houses should be fighting as often as possible, for their own growth, for Bashir's glory, and because he is comfortable operating in violent, desperate environments. He will happily kill in self-defense, but generally finds death itself to be deplorable and wasteful.

Equal Opportunist: He doesn't currently have strong feelings about the Kotoke or Hotai either way. He finds them smelly but useful. He will frequently remind dreamers the Kotoke are a threat to get them to fight.


So with all that, I look forward to seeing what stories you cook up and what characters you create in the future. I'll be lurking :) Feel free to AMA here and I'll respond over the next few days.

As for Ra'as, I don't know his ultimate end. Perhaps you'll meet again...in a dream.

"May His Eye be upon you" <3

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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Cherokee »

Ra'as has always been one of my favorite characters. I was only 15 when SoT launched and didn't know jack about roleplaying. I always looked up to the character for inspiration, and Jade has always admired him. I hope you return when life settles down a bit. Take care and keep in touch! <3
”My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night. But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!” - Edna St. Vincent Millay
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Tentacle »

There's so much that I could say, and yet it doesn't feel like enough. It also feels like it would be too much because if I wrote a eulogy, it would make it too real.

==== WARNING: Incoming Feels ====

You're one of those rare friends that provides a timeless friendship. Life and work can put up a barrier, but once it is bypassed, it is as if no time has passed at all. Reuniting again in this unique creative wonderland has been sublime. While I had no intention of bringing Magnilia to The Chosen, the random actions allowed the pivot, and the subsequent embrace of the Temple has resulted in the most profound character development for her since 2000.

I discuss my character here, not because of clout chasing, but to highlight what a fantastic opportunity you created. She too is a religious fanatic. She, too, is unyielding. Because of your storytelling, she was afforded a rare opportunity to flip the script and denounce her former faith, and in so doing, opened up the flood gates of spiritual growth. Because of Ra'as and the culture he provided and inspired others to take up (Sirus, <3 you) Magnilia is now a zealot with her own fiery conversion experience and luminous testimonial experience.

You. Did. That.

Thank you very much for all that you have given to the community. Thank you beyond measure for the rare and precious friendship we've CULT-ivated together. I consider myself truly honoured to have written stories alongside you for all of these many years. Playing with you has made me a better artist. Thank you for being so willing to collaborate with me, thorns and all.


"I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it."- Niccolo Machiavelli
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Trisha Pawm »

My frenemy Ra'as. Our interactions in game both in SoT and this version have always been really good and I've tried to have more personal interactions with Ra'as in this past year.

I decided to take Trisha in a very "Ra'as" esque RP. Which is why she is slowly morphing into a zealot that while of counter beliefs to Ra'as for the most part. They share alot as well and Ra'as's example is alot of what I base it off of. So I truely appriciate the RP's you've stirred in game and don't worry, the Heretics will take care of the Temple :P

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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Sorsha »

Ra'as is one of the great ones :) I'm glad I got the opportunity to play along side of you.
Congratulations and best wishes to you, your family and your new career. See you on the flip side.
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by OfF KiLTeR »

It was a pleasure seeing Ra'as in the game. The character possessed a drive an a clarity that was fascinating and was very successful in drawing other people in.

I hope to see you back when life allows!

Best regards,

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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by LadySilver »

Blows kisses! Had to do it one last time. I can say ra'as was the only "bad guy" Silver just couldn't stay mad at. That is meant to be a HUGE compliment. Thanks for adding to the dream.
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Elmer »

First of all, congratulations on your move and new job, always exciting to start a new chapter :)

As for Ra'as, Elmer has been a bit enthralled by Ra'as from the get go. Always looked forward to the "Sermons" and the discussions, he would always pester Ra'as, "when is the next Sermon?" Elmer always felt good because Ra'as seemed to be genuinely interested in Elmer's thoughts and opinions, seemed impressed by them and put him front and center.
He was warned more than once to be careful, because Ra'as would try to "convert" him, which I had actually considered at one point, but that would have been too much of a shake up for me to handle :lol:

Really well done character, thanks for giving us something out of the ordinary!

Take care and best of luck with everything.

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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by jtbadn »

Best of luck to you and the family Chris!

You have always been a hell-raiser to play with... I always liked that. . .

The thing Belom remembers most about Ra'as is that deep down, Ra'as has always been nice as one of his fresh cigars to Belom, mostly to everyone I think. What a wicked, twisted past he's led.. Characters like Ra'as make the game fun. Ra'as had a lot of flair.... I spelled that wrong for a reason.... one day, in discord... we was chatting about some of the art he'd been working up that we have all seen. That's when he said, accidentally of course...
hahah i thought it was a nice flair
Then I corrected him saying,
I think the word is Flare, not Flair as in Ric Flair geeez

So I shared this image, cause Ric Flair has such flare!


And his response,
Ric Flair looks remarkably like i imagine ra'as, minus the hair
I'll never forget that... I've always kinda pictured Ra'as as Ric Flair. then I found out, so did Ra'as's controller.


Chris, thanks for the memories dude. Hope we all see you again!

~Joshua (Belom)
~Belom Shadowkin, Master Scryer, Prophet
Origin: Idoaclese
Focus: Insight/DreamSeer
Home: Monastery of Shadow
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Shae »

Buh Bye! ...kidding. I know I'll still talk to you irl. I'm sad that you are leaving the game, but I know you'll be back. You left us for years, before. The game needs your character, and as you grow, so does Ra'as.

I've loved seeing the subtle changes and maturity. You've been seemingly more logical since you've been back, whereas in earlier years, you destroyed all just for the fun of it, and then logically put together a reason after the flames simmered down. (At least.. that's how Shae has seen it. Remember, she's gotten closer to Ra'as in this version, so you may have always been this way!).

I'll miss your snarky, cigar-laden comments, your logical brain and loyal heart. Know that you've implanted your irrational cultist soul in others in your house. The house will go on, much to Shae's chagrin. Shae will still miss you greatly when she dreams. No matter what she felt your mental capacity was, she truly felt that Ra'as was a dear friend to her, and would not lead her wrong. She felt safe around Ra'as, and she felt she could be her true self to him.

Kiss those kids and live the best life!! Please keep in touch with me. I like to hold on to the small UL family I have. You guys have always filled my heart. xox
Where are all the GateKeepers?!
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Gorgunsun »

Meh. No for real having you around was always going to be a fun dream. The Idoaclesian days were the days though. Come back when you can.
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Re: Ra'as Farewell For Now and AMA <3

Post by Liolira »

Enjoy your family Ra'as, congrats on the life changes.
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