The other day, someone asked me about my gravatar picture, so I thought I should probably give some credit where it’s due and also show off the entire thing.
The picture is of my paladin, Koralie, and it’s drawn by my good friend Sapheire. As I mentioned the other day, my paladin has been involved with an RP storyline that has been going on for about three and a half years. Saph writes the DK in that story, and along with being a great writer, she’s an amazing artist as well. She’s been nice enough to draw Koralie a few times over the years, and this particular drawing is one of my favorites.
Saph totally nailed her looks and personality perfectly in this drawing. I loves it.
I’ve always referred to Koralie as being my punk-rock pally, and there’s a very good reason for that. While I got into this briefly on my characters page, I’m proud of this character and wanted to feature her on her own.
Usually I’m not a fan of paladin type classes in RPGs. I tend to gravitate towards things like rangers and druids and thieves instead. Running around in heavy plate armor and calling down on holy power was absolutely never appealing to me. I had very little interest in playing a pally in WoW because of this. In fact, I think the paladin was the seventh class I tried to play, with only the warrior and DK left untouched behind it. I even tried playing a priest before I tried a paladin.
Wrath was a good time for paladins though, and my guild decided to launch a blood knight storyline that I decided I really wanted to be part of for whatever reason. Maybe because they looked cool on their chargers wearing their tabards. Maybe because I had pretty much failed at roleplaying on my druid. Maybe because I just wanted to have a good excuse to play a blood elf without feeling guilty about wanting to play the “pretty” race. In any case, I rolled up a paladin, named her Koralie after a French artist that I like, and set out into the world trying to figure out who she was.
When I first started playing around with her, I thought she would be a typical paladin. As I did some more research into the blood knights though, I realized I could do something more interesting with her. I started thinking it might be interesting to play a paladin that wasn’t just a typical lawful good personality. I wondered if I could even pull off such a thing in a believable way. And I wondered what it would take to have a character with more neutral tendencies turn into a holy knight (remember I was playing her in Wrath after they stopped doing the whole “suck a naaru dry” thing).
As I often do, I looked to people in my real life for inspiration, this time an old boyfriend of mine from college. He was decidedly a punk. Looked like a punk, acted like a punk, had very punk beliefs and tendencies. And yet, he was in the army. When I first met him, it had a lot of trouble understanding these two sides of him. He seemed like the last person in the world who would want to enlist, considering his general distaste for authority. Eventually one day I asked him about that, and his answer was simple, but made perfect sense.
“I lived about ten blocks from the World Trade Center when the planes hit it,” he said. “I woke up and walked outside and saw the fire and watched them fall. I had to do something.”
So writing a paladin with punk tendencies seemed more that possible. After all, I knew one in real life. When pushed by horrible external events, they can be faced to adapt in spite of their long-held beliefs.
And so that’s what I did with Koralie. She’s a rebellious woman who spent her life on the wrong side of Silvermoon’s law and then lost everything when the Lich King attacked Quel’Thalas and destroyed it and the civilization that the high elves knew. The character that I started playing in Wrath had only just begun to drag herself out of a depression that defined her for several years. When she managed to feel something again, what she felt was anger and an overwhelming need to pay the Lich King back. She was extensively trained by her father during her childhood to become a ranger, and she had absolutely no desire to follow in his footsteps. And so the blood knights were the best way for her to have her revenge.
Over time, Koralie’s character had taken on a life of her own with the help of regular RP from Saph, whose DK is Koralie’s closest friend and an integral part of her story. Having a DK friend might not seem the most appropriate thing for a paladin, but despite being a knight, Koralie retains much of her “eff what authority and society says I should do,” personality. And we’ve written some epic scenes for them, including one telling the story of the final battle against the Lich King at the Frozen Throne. To this day, it’s probably one of my favorite things that I’ve written.
Creating a compelling character made me want to play Koralie as well, and I discovered while playing her that I vastly prefer playing a melee dos class to a caster or ranged. Though my druid is my primary main, Koralie is my favorite toon. I obsess about her DPS and transmog and mounts, and chances are if I’m doing something in-game that isn’t healing a raid or leveling an alt, I’m probably playing Koralie. Though the druid will be leveled first in Mists, Koralie won’t be far behind, and I hope to have her hit 90 before the end of Brewfest.
One day I hope to take Koralie out of WoW and develop a whole new world for her basic character and story and write an actual book. I’ve already probably written a thousand pages about her, and I’d really like to see where her story would go outside of Azeroth. We’ll see! I’m pretty awful at world building, but in this case, it might just be worth a shot.