Mastodon

18 min read

Everquest 1 - Karana gypsies - camp and fire

Gitane

(Everquest I era) (part #2)


Sequence

This is the second half of this article. So you, like, need to first. I know, right ?

Advertisement

History (continued)

The end of the Age of Turmoil

Gitane eventually retired after suffering serious wounds in Doomfire  . She self-nursed for several years in Stonebrunt  , living in the Kejek village on the hilltops.

She was still in Stonebrunt, far from any major power, during the War of Fay  . Thus, she only learned of it after the fall of the House of Thex.

During the late Age of Turmoil, she came back to the Karanas to succeed her late mother as Queen of the Karana Gypsies. She reportedly married and had two children, though the records from that era are lost.

Gitane allegedly came alone to the ruins of Surefall Glade during the Age of War. She was there to recover Swiftwind and Earthcaller from the flames and take them to safety. That it was her could never be confirmed.

But there are records of a masked half-elf woman coming out of nowhere, beelining for a specific spot and diving headlong into the flames. The swords are thought to have been hidden there.

Gitane (Everquest half-elf ranger) portrait rotation

Fates

Gitane’s fate and that of the Karanas Gypsies remains unrevealed. But much later Theena the Nomad (also known as the Gypsy Knight Lady) stated that they had found safety from the New Rallosian armies by fleeing their ancestral grounds.

According to Theena this flight and the secret spells of the Gypsies allowed the majority of the Karanas Gypsies to survive the Age of Cataclysms.

In the Age of Destiny, one Karanas Gypsy family lives in the Isles of Refuge  – specifically Sandshore. These are claimed to be descendants of Gitane the Gypsy Queen of the Karanas, though they deny it.

Their daughter, on the other hand, has come to call herself Gitane. She has dedicated her life to rebuilding the Combine Empire.

Map of Northern Qeynos (Everquest video game)

The Northern half of the walled city of Qeynos, with the Silent Fist monk clan and the Temple of Life (a.ka. “The UFO”).

Soundtrack

Bratsch, I guess.

Description

Gitane has a nasty-looking scar over her right eye. She used to cover it with a smudgy, hastily-applied streak of red grease to make it look like decorative war paint. But she eventually gave up.

Her eyes are of an impossibly intense hue of green, and her wild, short hair is jet black. Like most half-elves she’s quite attractive.

She’s generally clad in light, silent chainmail of extraplanar origin, painted black and green for camouflage.

She also wears dark, faded red boxer-like wraps of fabric around her lower forearms, wrists and back of her hands. These cover burn marks in that area, and are rubbed in a scentless balm for burns.

Map of Stonebrunt Mountains (Everquest video game)

Map of Stonebrunt Mountains, with the Kejek village in spot B.

Personality

Gitane is an hyperactive adrenaline junkie with a seemingly bottomless sense of humour. She is forever babbling about this or that, making bad jokes and atrocious puns, and extensively sharing her feelings with her adventuring companions.

Aside from her volubilityTalking a lot, extroversion and extraordinary enthusiasm for danger, she is known as being a reliable and helpful fighter. She provides solid firepower – whether at a range or up close.

Though she was popular and greatly enjoyed her life as an explorer, fighter, mercenary and adventurer, she was forced to retire due to her wounds and her mother’s advancing age.

Despite the wariness toward an Ayr’dal Queen, it would seem that she was accepted as a ruler. How well she dealt with no longer exploring the big wide world and discovering new people and wonders is unknown.

Gitane is something of a Manic Pixie Girl  . Note the lack of the “Dream” part, as she isn’t interested in real romance at this point of her life. What she craves is danger, discovery and adventure.

Gitane talks in something akin to, like, Valspeak  or surfer/Californian English, since, you know, I needed a shorthand to convey her fun-loving, constantly-babbling and relaxed attitude. MMORPGs are not the best media for lengthy dialogue, and playing a motormouth was already a strain on my fast-typing skills (or rather my fast-typing-with-less-than-a-flurry-of-typos skills).

I know, right ?

Gitane (Everquest half-elf ranger) portrait rotation 2/4

Quotes

“I’m on it, guys ! Wheeee !!!”

(Nocking two arrows at once) “Hey guys guys look at this ! One plat I hit him in both knees at once !”

“And this is where, you damn pig, you learn what happens when you try to trick the Gypsy woman and she comes for you !”

“Okay, so, look – an erudite, a barbarian and a gnoll walk into a bar. Wait, like, you know that one ?”

“Ladies, gentlemen, gnomes, welcome to the magical, mysterious and slightly pungent Wakening Land  . Which is totally cool and I really like, especially the unicorns but not the holgresh  , who suck. Like, sorry about that giant back in Kael  but, well, you know, running is good for the health, and stuff !”

A level 1 Everquest Ranger

Gitane: “So, no, first I’m going to do the levitating thing on us both, because the idea is to cross pretty fast but if you cross too fast – which is what we’re totally going to do – there’s like a pretty good chance you’ll end up in one of these crevices or ravines, which are like always being hidden behind some lousy bush, and that would be bad…”
Martelmort: “Mmm mmm.”
Gitane: “…because down there there are sort of tribes of skorpikis  — I think that’s the name anyway, or something close to that — which are like centaurs, only you replace the horse with a very big scorpion and the guy with an Iksar  . Well, the top of an Iksar. The upper end. Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that they’ve been magically constructed, and there are like rumours that this is tied to this ancient Iksar leader dude, Venril Sathir  , but I digress. The point is…”
Martelmort: “Yes.”
Gitane: “… the point is that we probably can’t take down more than one or two, they’re supernaturally tough and they’ve got paralysing venom and they’ll eat you alive and they’re very weird and hostile and they look kinda like in constant pain, and they tend to drag people away underground, and well, you know, with our luck we’re gonna land on top of like six of them, so with the floaty stuff that’s one big problem of being dead and poisoned and eaten that we’re not gonna have, you see ?”
Martelmort: “How much coffee you have left ?”
Gitane: “That’s a/ my coffee and b/ not your problem.”
Martelmort: “How much sugar you have left ?”
Gitane: “That’s a problem.”
Martelmort: “When we get near Overthere  , I go buy you sugar because guards kill you but me they like. I give you sugar for your coffee, and you stop the talking until next morning. Deal ?”
Gitane: “How much sugar are we talking about, and do they sell coffee ?”

Ambrosie: “At this stage and on my mark, the archery team drops down and engages the giant gargoyles, one ranger per gargoyle. Keep them snared and running around after you – they’re just animated guardians without intelligence, so keep them focused on you and run laps to keep them out of our hair. After a while and on my mark, form up on Nuwar so her team can engage and dispatch them ; Kity might give an abort order if the healers are not ready. As soon as Nuwar’s team has the gargs busy, you guys switch your fire back to Terris   ; there will be a full burn order soon after that. Any questions ?”
Gitane: “Yeah.” (beat) “Like, why do some people dress up poodles as if they were people ?”

“Rangers, assume Trueshot  firing stance… on my mark… UNLEASH HELL !”

Map of Surefall Glade (Everquest video game)

Map of Surefall Glade, with the Rangers and Druids infrastructures.

Character concept notes

Ms. G. was a spontaneous development whilst playing, not a planned design.

Frex having her be from what-Everquest-calls-Gypsies communities was a random decision. Though vague annoyance at their cliché appearance likely played a role.

Building blocks

Originally, the components for the character were sarcastic references to dated, but classic, Romani characters in non-Romani art. Meaning :

  1. Georges Bizet’s Carmen, one of the big big operas in the world répertoire.
  2. Hugo’s Esmeralda from Notre-Dame de Paris (or rather, later reinterpretations of this been-adapted-a-million-times work).
  3. A classic piece of commercial art for French cigarette packs  . The dancing girl silhouette was a 1947 design.

The latter led to her nickname. Which meant that it had to play a role in the concept.

But the twiiiist is, I misremembered this design ! In my mind’s eye, the dancing girl wasn’t a clearly-based-on-1875-exotic-othering-imagery. Rather it was the smoke who was forming the fluid, dancing silhouette.

So I kinda liked the idea of the fluid, graceful dancer that no-one can touch or hold, floating to wherever she feels like along with the winds. It matched the nomadic theme… in a slightly sarcastic way, since the “Gypsies” in Everquest never actually roam.

(The Bizet and Hugo references aren’t too visible in this here profile. Since it’s a non-fiction piece, not a narrative.)

Everquest 1 - druid tree headquarters in Surefall Glade

The small druidic temple in Surefall Glade.

The plot thickens

Having the vaguely-referring-dated-1700s-and-1800s-tragedies character speak in a sort of over-the-top Valspeak was a random product of logistics (and trembling hands). But it was fun (“Love is, like, a Gypsy’s child, y’know and, like, it’s never known what law is, right ? I know !” ).

And it underlined there was nothing tragic and doomed and fated about this “Gypsy” for a change. Instead she was free from, well, everything. Except having to do corpse runs  .

The “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” term hadn’t been invented back then – we talkin’ 2000 or so. But of course the archetype had been there for decades. And it was *starting* to look iffy, at least among us smug over-educated people who know better than you.

Yet it’s fun to have a zany, high-energy, motormouth, hot chick (*of course* she’s hot) bouncing off the furniture.

Catch me if you can

So the crude counter was simply to have nothing whatsoever tying her down, beyond being an active guild member. That’s the logical prolongation of “an untouchable, graceful shape in the smoke” aesthetics.

And a lot of the minute-to-minute gameplay involved crossing dangerous landscapes using speed-enhancing, floaty, invisible-ish spells. Again with the free-flowing, can’t-be-pinned-down, can’t-catch-me thing. Since not being caught was critical in solo classic Everquest gaming – the monsters’ power being scaled to meet six-person groups of Player CharactersRPG characters played by a player, rather than the gamemaster or the computer..

Normally I’d thrown in additional character elements. But since it’s a game with zero intrinsic characterisation stuff, let’s stick with the small amount of texture we need to convey the setting and general ideas.

Hunt down the gypsy Esmeralda / Don’t let her flee / And vanish in the night

I’m not a Disney person (aside from liking the original Tron when I was rather young). So wasn’t really aware of their 1996 sort-of-Notre-Dame-de-Paris adaptation until, oh, 20+ years later.

But I *am* amused by the (vague) parallel evolution thing. Though to my regret I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of ripping off Disney.

Everquest 1 - the ranger house in Surefall Glade

The “rangers’ house” – the Surefall Glade headquarters of the Protectors of Pine. That’s where Gitane trained as a youth.

DC Heroes RPG

Gitane

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 05
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 06
Init: 021 HP: 030

Powers:

Air-Walking: 01, Cold immunity: 02, Fabricate: 04, Flame immunity: 02, Flame project: 05, Glue: 05, Ice production: 05, Regeneration: 06, Running: 05, Truesight: 03, Ultravision: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers but Ultravision are Mystic-Linked.
  • Air-Walking has a maximum Range of 0 APs from the ground.
  • Fabricate is limited to arrows.
  • Ice production is limited to attacking with raw cold.
  • Both Flame Project and Ice Production have a Range of but 02.
  • Regeneration requires all Actions for that Phase to be used.
  • Regeneration has a Range of 01. Gitane can heal herself, or others if they are close enough.

Skills:

Acrobatics: 05, Animal handling: 04, Artist (Brewer, potter): 04, Gadgetry (Bowyer): 04, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Military science (Camouflage, cartography, tracking): 07, Occultist (Occult knowledge, ritual magic): 04, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry (Melee, missile): 06, Weaponry (Archery): 07

Advantages:

Area Knowledge (Most of Kunark, Luclin and the Old World), Expertise (Fishing), Familiarity (Combine and Gypsy lore), Language (Barbarian, Combine, Dark Elvish, Dark Speech, Erudian, Elvish, Ogre, Thieves Cant, Troll, Vah Shir, some Elder Elvish), Insta-change (Wolf form), Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (Survival), Schtick (Lightning Release, Mighty Thews (Archery), Paired blades), Slowed Ageing.

Connections:

Silent Minority (High), Qeynos guards and nobles (High), Surefall Glade and Jaggedpine folk (High), Karana Gypsies (High), Sarnaks of Chardok (High), Coldain Dwarves of the Crystal Caverns (Low), Halas barbarians (Low), Firiona Vie outpost (Low), Freeport’s Temple of Marr (Low), Coldain Dwarves (High), Riverdale Halflings (Low), Dragons of Skyshrine/Claws of Veeshan (Low), Stonebrunt Kejeks (Low), Wayfarers (Low), Vah Shir of Luclin (Low), Katta loyalists (Low).

Drawbacks:

Authority Figure (later in life).

Motivation:

Thrill.

Occupation:

Adventurer.

Wealth:

005

Equipment:

  • MAGICAL SUIT OF CHAINMAIL [/STR/ 05 /BODY/ 05, Cold immunity: 01, Flame immunity: 01, Lightning immunity: 02, Skin armour: 01].
  • Greatstaff of the four winds [BODY 10, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 09), Sharpness (EV): 01, Descriptor: Slashing, Bludgeon, Lightning: 04, Limitations : Lightning has No Range but can be Combined with EV]. A sort of naginata forged by planar storm giants.
  • Stonewood compound bow [BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 05), Enhance (Range): 03 (cap is 07), Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 04, R#02, Limitation: Low Penetration, Descriptor: Piercing].
  • Fighting daggers (x2) [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing].
  • Several metallic bottles of coffee, enchanted to stay hot inside for several days.
  • A fireproofed, waterproofed scroll case with an impressive collection of annotated maps.

Rituals:

A collection of useful spells with significant casting times (and occasionally components), usually in the 3-4 APs range.
Examples include :

  • Water Freedom.
  • Flame Project (No Range but Can Be Combined with hand-to-hand attacks).
  • Flash (Steady Illumination only).
  • 2 APs of Claws Being.
  • Invisibility.
  • Lightning (No Range but Can Be Combined with melee attacks).
  • A version of Air Walking with an Area of Effect to make a small group levitate.
  • Etc.

Epics:

Earthwind & Swiftcaller [BODY 16, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 09), Descriptor: Slashing, piercing, Enchantment: 01, Slow (EQ) (No Range): 08, Limitation: Enchantment can only increase the melee AV of the wielder]. This represents a pair of swords. These are not commonly used in the field.

Gitane (Everquest half-elf ranger) in dark green and brown mail armor

With planar chainmail and greatstaff.


Design notes

See the FAQ for further discussion of scale for game stats in MMORPG. The WeltanschauungWorldview. – perhaps even the Vision™  – informing the power levels is that of a very early Everquest level.

Back when soloing was extremely hard, PC power levels low, the game pretty punishing, reaching level 50 was remarkable, etc.

Which means in turn that most adventurers have very reasonable stats. This also helps explain why taking on major mob requires the assistance of 71 of your closest friends.

In DCH game terms means that an old-school full EQ raiding party is essentially a military unit, somewhere between a platoon and a company. And uses the rules in World at War.


Technical notes

Like other MMORPG entries this is thoroughly simplified compared to to all the fiddly bits in EQ1. This is thus Gitane as I remember her, rather than the character as it existed in the game.

FWIW, Gitane retired a few months after Gates of Discord  , as a lvl 67 Ranger with 214 AA. She was in the process of replacing her Plane of Tranquillity chainmail with Elemental gear. So, not world-breaking elite, but highly developed.


Everquest 1 - female half-elf ranger in blue chainmail

DC Adventures RPG

Gitane (Ezmirella of the Karanas Gypsies) — Averaged PL9.8

STR STA AGL DEX
01 (02) 02 (03) 04 03
FGT INT AWE PRE
04 02 02 02

Powers:

Half-Elf ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Ayr’dal physiology
– Senses 1 (Low-light vision).
– Feature 1 (Extended lifespan).

Pupil of Maesyn Trueshot ● 6 points ● Descriptor: Skill
– Much stronger than she looks — Enhanced Strength 3 (Limited 1 to drawing bows).
– Endless quiver — Feature 1 (Unlimited ammunition when shooting bows).
– Throwing Mastery (Bows) 1, Improved Critical (Archery) 1.

Druidic magic ● 74 points ● Descriptor: Druidic, magic
– Spirit of the eagle — Movement 5 (Water walking, Trackless, Sure-footed 2, Safe Fall).
– Spirit of the wolf — Speed 4.
– Strength of the Elements — Protection 4 and Enhanced Fortitude 4 (both Limited 2 to heat/cold), plus Immunity 2 (Environmental heat/cold).
– Sylvan fire/frozen wind — Ranged fire damage 4 (Variable descriptor: cold).
– Ensnare — Snare 4.
– Magical sight — Senses 6 (Magical Awareness, Counters Invisibility, Counters Illusion, Direction Sense).
– Healing spells — Regeneration 5 (Concentration, Source (Mana), Reach 3).
– Wolf form — Feature 1 (Can turn into a wolf, but this is cosmetic).
– More obscure spells — Variable 4 (Everquest ranger spells), Activation (Standard Action).

Devices:

Magical chainmail ● 8 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Body armour, enchanted, planar
– Vitality enchantment — Enhanced Strength 1, Enhanced Stamina 1.
– Armour — Protection 2, Enhanced Fortitude 2.
– Gauntlets — Strength-based bludgeoning Damage 1.
– Silenced — Feature 1(as noisy as cloth would be).

Greatstaff of the four winds ● 8 points (Easily Removable) ● Descriptor: Weapon, enchanted, planar
– Strength-based slashing Damage 3.
– Quick-Draw, Improved Critical 2.
– Extremely hard to break — Feature 1.
– Thunderstrike — Linked lightning Damage 3.

Combat Advantages:

Close Attack 1, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 1, Improved Initiative, Move-by Action, Ranged attack 4.

Other Advantages:

Animal Empathy, Benefit (Ambidextrous), Connected, Equipment 3, Hide in Plain Sight, Languages 5 (Barbarian, Combine, Dark Elvish, Dark Speech, Erudian, Elvish, Ogre, Thieves Cant, Troll, Vah Shir, some Elder Elvish, possibly more), Tracking, Well-Informed.

Skills:

Acrobatics 3 (+7), Athletics 7 (+8), Close combat (Ranger weapons) 4 (+9), Deception 3 (+5), Insight 3 (+5), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 2 (+4), Ranged combat (Archery) 4 (+11), Stealth 3 (+7), Treatment 2 (+4) (Limited 2 to Revive and Stabilise).

Skills (Expertises):

Expertise (Riding and caring for mounts) 4 (+6), Expertise (Brewer) 4 (+6), Expertise (Potter) 4 (+6), Expertise (Bowyer) 7 (+9), Expertise (Cartographer/geography/first-hand knowledge of the land) 10 (+12), Expertise (Magic lore) 5 (+7), Expertise (Fisherwoman) 6 (+8), Expertise (Combine era lore) 4 (+6), Expertise (Gypsy lore) 6 (+8), Expertise (Wilderness survival) 9 (+11).

Equipment:

Big-arse knives Strength-based piercing Damage 2, Improved Critical 1 ● 3 points
Stonewood compound bow Ranged ballistic Damage 3 ● 6 points
Several metallic bottles of coffee, enchanted to stay hot inside for several days ● 1 point
A fireproofed, waterproofed scroll case with an impressive collection of annotated maps ● 1 point

Offence:

Initiative +8
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 1
Unarmed but armoured +5, Close, Damage 3
Big-arse knives +9, Close, Damage 3 (4 w/Chainmail), Crit 19-20
Greatstaff +9, Close, Damage 4 (5 w/Chainmail) plus 3, Crit 18-20
Stonewood bow +11, Ranged (5 Ranks), Damage 4

Defence:

Dodge 10
Fortitude 06/09**
Parry 10
Toughness 02*/03/06***
Will 08

* Without Defensive Roll.
** With Chainmail.

Complications:

  • Challenger of the Unknown Gitane is very curious, and a born explorer.
  • Motormouth She keeps talking… and talking… and talking…

Powers Levels:

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 8, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 9.
  • Points total 230 Abilities 40, Defences 22, Skills 47, Powers 82, Devices 16, Advantages 23. Equiv. PL 16.

Map of the Plane of Hate (entrance area) (Everquest video game)

Map of those parts of the Plane of Hate close to the teleport-in point (spot A). Some readers will understand why this map is here and smile, but this tiny joke is 100% reliant on nostalgia so you’re not missing much.


Notes

I ended up splitting the Expertises to facilitate parsing her Skills. She may look like a space cadet, but girl got science.

This is an EQ1 that was at a high level of development *for the times*. So the numbers are significantly more robust than for a run-of-the-mill EQ character. Especially since the narration angle is that she was one of the few persons in the world who made it possible to recover the epic swords, Swiftwind and Windcaller.

Throwing Mastery (bows) simply applies to archery rather than thrown weapons. It also means that her Strength is considered the applicable Rank when calculating Range (her Enhanced Strength applies).


Design notes

See the FAQ for further discussion of scale for game stats in MMORPG. The WeltanschauungWorldview. – perhaps even the Vision™  – informing the power levels is that of a very early Everquest level. Back when soloing was extremely hard, PC power levels low, the game pretty punishing, reaching level 50 was remarkable, etc.

Which means in turn that most adventurers have very reasonable stats – this also helps explain why taking on major mob requires the assistance of 71 of your closest friends.


Technical notes

Like other MMORPG entries this is very, very simplified compared to all the fiddly bits in EQ1. This is thus Gitane as I remember her, rather than the character as it existed in the game.

FWIW, Gitane retired a few months after Gates of Discord  , as a lvl 67 Ranger with 214 AA. She was in the process of replacing her Plane of Tranquillity chainmail with Elemental gear. So, not world-breaking elite, but highly developed.


Everquest 1 - Karana gypsies - Ezmirella and house wagon

The gypsy Ezmirella, looking kinda like Gitane and peacefully living with the band Gitane supposedly comes from. Mmm, that’s odd.

Silly bonus

Found this when modernising this entry :

Victoria Beckham, photomanipulation as fantasy half-elf

This was part of a stupid running joke where guild officers had been nicknamed after the — then highly popular in the UK — Spice Girls. Gitane was Posh Spice, hence this quickly-thrown-together amateur picture. Skeg, our fearless Iksar shaman guild leader was, of course, Scaly Spice.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Years of playing Everquest I.

Helper(s): Rgorman, Darci, Woodrow Hill. Maps from Everquest: The maps of Myrist.