The Dyric Rone Discussion
So, I didn't intend this to be a literal essay, but I have a lot to say and wound up writing a lot. I'll truncate it as best as I can. This is basically going to be the definitive break-down of Dyric Rone, particularly in relation to #159 but also as a whole.
Dyric Rone. In all honestly, finally saying goodbye is truly bittersweet. Dyric's been a big piece of me ever since I joined Heroica back in 2011 during high school. I like to believe the journey Dyric's been on has in some way been a reflection I've been on, both as a person, and a writer. Dyric's risen from a cocky but broken, hurting kid, to the Assassin of the Light, to a bonafide Hero and now a Veteran of Heroica. He started as a headstrong young rogue who eventually found a passion in diplomacy and negotiation, despite somehow never finding himself in a class that would make the best use of such skills. He’s gone from a guy who could barely keep his feet under him in battle to an absolute monster with his crossbow. Trying to find a way now to tie all that up was daunting. I know I’ve bounced around the idea of a heroic death for Dyric ever since #53, but the time never felt right. Dyric always had more, new avenues to grow in. Veteranship felt like a pretty natural step, and I'm glad he got there.
That said, the initial concept for Dyric in #159 isn't quite what wound up coming through. Initially, I felt I needed to ask where Dyric had been. I wanted something dynamic and different, and coming off his recent developments, it seemed natural for him to have stepped out of Heroica at some point (likely after the failure of the Guts election) and playing Robin Hood in the streets. Between a loss of hope in Heroica as a system and the arrival of the Founders, judging Heroica just as he believed they would, Dyric found himself in probably an all-time low. Dyric's usually a pretty diplomatic guy, so being able to play him as a little hot with the Veterans and some other characters while still feeling in-character was cool. Still, I quickly remembered why I try to avoid playing brooding characters, which is that they're exhausting.
So, with that in mind, I carved out my general direction for Dyric. That is, I decided I wanted to get Dyric back on his high horse, and in the end, I wanted this quest to be the 'most Dyric' Dyric had been. I wanted to have some genuine fun with him. So, I played him off a wide range of people in a wide range of ways, had some good humour with him, and also was finally able to let him use the Assassin class to its fullest measure. Like WBD said, Dyric has stuck Assassin for a long time, mostly because he just works as the steely, snarky bowman calling targets from the back. But I've always felt like there was reach potential in the Assassin class that had never quite been fulfilled, and I set my mind on breaking it to the best of my ability. I think we finally got there with this quest.
A big asset in breaking Dyric's class was Bellanotte, and I loved their little side-arc together. She's been pretty unmentioned so far in the reflections, but I loved the way Dyric was able to encourage her and how that reflected Dyric's own character as someone who just essentially sees good in people. I never felt super comfortable just leaving her as window dressing, and so I made sure Dyric kept involving her, and it wound up working out in a cool way. Tied to that was Dyric's side-quest with the town watch and paladin soldiers. That whole exchange is peak Dyric democracy, and so I tried to double-down by alluding to as many of his quests as I could. You really get the sense of the growth and history behind this guy now. And then, the four kids being on the chopping block gives him a great motivation for the endgame, especially paired with his fascination with the Miracleworker. More than that, his dead-set motivation also gave him a cool license to be wrong. Dyric's done picking middle roads at this poitn and chooses a side; and as Throlar justifiably calls it, that might be the wrong move. But it wouldn't be true to Dyric's character to do anything else, and that was a lot of fun.
This is already getting long, but there was one more major thread I wanted to address, and it really sums up his entire path. I mentioned a few times the lower stakes I felt through my part of the quest, and I think that gave Dyric a chance to be the funniest he’s possibly ever been. I didn’t really think anything of it initially, but in looking through his full growth, I think it’s perfect. Quest 19 Dyric is a cocky, over-confident, hurt kid who ran his mouth off and ran into fights. Encounters with Wren and genuine warfare broke him, and despite all the bravado of being the Assassin of the Light, I think his confidence was genuinely shattered for a while. I think that really comes out in his interactions with Thothwick in #53, and his self-doubt in #65. His damaged connection to Karie in #84 stung, and coming to blows with his countrymen and almost with fellow heroes in Baltarok clearly shook him. I don’t think any of this really stands out in isolation, but reflecting on his broader arc, it seems a pretty clear theme. He’s definitely grown in a lot of areas in that time, especially as a negotiator, but I don’t think that early confidence has quite come back in full until he finally sees Eubric starting to heal in #159. And while a lot of his best humour came from my mistakes, I think they were pretty successfully spun into Dyric’s bravado falling on his face in a sort of Thor-in-Ragnarok sort of fashion. And it works. In #19 his confidence was him overcompensating for whatever hurt he was going through, but in #159 his confidence is hard-won and earned, and he just seems sure of himself for once. And while he blunders, that never keeps him down. There are definitely many serious Dyric moments through this quest that I’m quite proud of, but I think what I’m fondest of is bringing Dyric full circle, and letting his optimism finally pay off. He can sit under his own vine and fig tree now because he’s fought to get there.
And then, of course, buying a place for himself. I think you for the comments you’ve already given regarding his epilogue, the quiet simplicity of it really does just feel right. I don’t think I need to expand on that anymore than is there; after years of searching and years of fighting, Dyric’s finally found his home.
Man. That’s the end of Dyric Rone. Again, it’s hard to say goodbye to a character who’s been alive for so long, but I can’t think of a better place to let go of the snarky, idealistic, burdened assassin who could talk his way out anything and refused to stay down. I want to give thanks to Sandy, of course, for building the sandbox for this amazing world and letting us play in it, and especially letting me create my own little corner in Duplovia. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go back and explore it in full. (By the way, that city build in Dyric’s epilogue was originally the set for Delfrin in the third quest that wasn’t to be. Most of the background character were going to be NPCs at one point or another!) I also want to give huge thanks to WBD, for orchestrating this powerful finale, to Zepher letting me into an ungodly number of quests and constantly challenging me both as a player and a writer (seriously, your storytelling is like crack, tell me you’re still working on a story of some kind. And post your damn ending synopsis :laugh:), to Flipz for giving me solid build advice through the years and being a solid friend to me and Dyric, and to all the other players who I’ve been able to bounce Dyric off of through the years. It’s been an incredible ride, and one I don’t think I’ll forget. Thank you.