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New joinable NPC idea (drafting stages)


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So, I've been toying with an idea and wanted some feedback and advice lore-wise/believably-wise. If the community's knows of any potential plot-based conflicts that could arise from other more popular mods that I rarely use, that would help too. Some words of warning! I've never modded a thing in my life, and I'm not as familiar with the forgotten realms or DND as a whole as many of the mod-authors here. I'm learning it all as I go. But, I have an itch to write and plot bunnies that won't go away, so please be kind and patient. These are still very early stages and I'm open to ideas/critique. None of these details are set in stone and characterisation may be iffy still. Some of this may never make any cosmoligical sense, but I'd like to get it as close as possible, within this DNDverse

I intend for a player's first encounter with this NPC to be in one of the rooms of the Planar Sphere, maybe the one with the myconids/minotaur(? the one that isn't the lizard people). Part of this was borne out of a desire to give the planar sphere more plot beyond playing to Valygar's angst-ridden magic obsession, or to facilitate CHARNAME's questionable idea of a remote-learning apprenticeship. I'd posit it as something more than a planar-hopping space ship, and that by maintaining a balanced volume of species from different planes, demon-Lavok was able to use it not only for planar travel, but time travel as well. This didn't go down well with the powers that be, which is where said NPC comes in... 

Aasimar(deva) // female // Neutral // mage(diviner)
STR:10
DEX: 13
CON: 14
INT: 17
WIS: 13
CHA: 12

"To look upon a person is to see a multitude of possibilities, one choice affecting another in a chain of occurrences, stretching out into infinity. Yet, no single one ever finds itself in the same place. It leads me to wonder if these decisions are ever even our own, or rather a collision of forces affected throughout a multiverse beyond one's control."

Theil is a Movanic Deva from some celestial plane, or other, assigned sometime in 1280DR(?), to balance Lavok’s planar sphere, which had inadvertently stumbled upon a means to time travel. Too powerful to let loose, but too valuable to destroy, a balance of primal forces would ultimately serve to maintain the sphere in stasis as the deva’s will served as a counterbalance to the malevolent presence that the necromancer has invited into his mind. Over the decades, her tenure with Lavok would see her role go from jailor to friend as they witnessed the planes and the passing of time from the confines of the sphere.

Eventually, her time spent in the sphere as a lone figure standing in opposition to her diametric counterpart would come to shake the young Deva’s beliefs, challenging her own moral preconceptions of goodness and order and the role it played in the wider multiverse. The shift of her moral centre jostles the tenuous equilibrium within the sphere, which, over time, begins to destabilise. Tolgerias, at some point, comes to understand the true nature of the sphere, and through his own machinations, succeeds in drawing the weakened sphere back to the prime material plane. Intent on using it for himself, and reluctant to alert more of his colleagues to his discovery, he contracts CHARNAME's scrappy band of mercenaries to obtain the means to entering the sphere, off the books.

Now, with the sphere deactivated and her ward dead. Thiel is a deva trapped out of time, and morally adrift. With no clear road set out before her, she signs on with [CHARNAME]’s band to explore her newfound freedom in foreign lands. 

-- DESCRIPTION --
There's an enigmatic countenance to the woman before you, she who you found in the deeper regions of the sphere. Her features are young, her stature slight, yet she carries herself with the bearings of one who has met multiple lifetimes head on. An initial take would suggest that she is a human of thirty winters or less. Her skin is pale with few markings, and her hair is like the autumn leaves. Most notably, however, is the veil that ever hides her eyes. Perhaps she is blind, and her perceptions are a result of divination, which she claims to be in her blood. The rest of her is otherwise nondescript. Quiet and aloof, she hangs at at the back of the group on your marches.

--FIRST ENCOUNTERS--

Theil: Bhaalspawn.

T: Hold. There's no need for alarm. 'Twas a statement, not accusation. What brings you here, I wonder.

  1.  You know what I am? How?
    1. (She tugs her cowl lower) Some things are more apparent than others... Fewer things are impossible to ignore.
  2. Another demon! Kill it! (Attack)
    1. Oops, that's my exit. (disappear) {end}
  3. Adventure, excitement and treasure! Especially the treasure.
    1. Indeed? I suppose you won't be disappointed. This ship has seen many planes, and its owner a magpie of sundries, living or otherwise.
  4. The sphere locked us in.. But who are you?
    1. I am no danger to you. Not without cause.

      Did you finally come for Lavok? Yes. I feel him fading beyond the door... Yet it lingers, barely. The sphere is unstable. I should remain here. But, beware the lower levels. Two others of the prime have found their way there. (A smile) Though I doubt they'll be a match for you.

      Perhaps we will speak again after.

.

Theil: Faerûn… (She looks up from the map upon your approach) That’s where we are, yes? I have only seen snippets.

  1. What do I care? Get out of my sphere, you’re on your own.
    1. So be it. [dimension door(?)]
  2. It is. We’re in Athkatla, specifically, in the Amnish regions.
    1. I see. I am unfamiliar with these lands beyond his musings. But, it seems this is where I must be. Should you be willing, my magic is yours. For a time, at least.
  3. No, I have no need for your help right now.
    1. Hm. I’ll remain here then, till I’ve gathered my bearings. [end]
  4. Yes, join with me. [end]
  5. Are you sure? You should know, I intend to track down an old friend. The journey to her may prove treacherous.
    1. Indeed? She must be special, for one to go to such lengths for her return. To a child of Bhaal no less.
      1. She is like a sister to me. I won’t leave her to rot in a Cowled Wizard’s prison.
      2. She is family. It’s my duty to keep her safe.
        1. Then let us tarry here no longer.
      3. Are you sure? I’m hunting a powerful mage. It will be dangerous. This is not a journey for the faint of heart.
        1. (smile) I believe I’ll prove up to the task.
      4. I couldn’t care less about the whelp. It’s Irenicus I’m after, and where she is, he’ll be as well.
        1. Do you count all your friends so lightly? Fear not, I can hold my own till we part ways.

--SAMPLE DIALOGUE--

T: I wish to thank you, for what you did for Lavok.

  1. It wasn’t a problem.
    1. You say that so easily… Is it kindness or apathy that makes it so?
  2. I could hardly deny a dying man’s last wish.
    1. Even for one such as he?
  3. He seemed remorseful in the end.
    1. He was… or so he would claim. Can you trust the remorse of one who could be so cruel?
  4. I did what anyone would have done, wouldn’t you?
    1. Once, I might have. But for myself moreso than for him.
  5. The demon in him made him do those things.
    1. Will it change anything to know that he let it in? Lavok knew his crimes. Eternity was to be his penance.
  6. He’s dead, there’s little point in speculating as to why.
    1. Our choices make ripples. Nothing truly ends, not even in death.
  7. I did it for the loot. Kicking him out like it was a good deed was just a bonus.
    1. Practical. A sentiment that he would have no doubt appreciated. May I ask how you found yourself in that place to begin with?
  8. I didn’t want an old necromancer’s corpse rotting in my sphere.
    1. Practical. He would have appreciated that, if wasteful. May I ask how you found yourself in that place to begin with?
      1. The Cowled Wizards tasked me with seeking out a murderer. But it was not as it seemed. Valygar convinced me to help end his family’s curse instead.
      2. Another bounty, another day. The Cowled Wizards sent me to hunt a murderer, but it was a lie, so I took to the sphere myself instead.
        1. You mean the two who were in the lower levels? I see… A fitting end. 

--PID--

(Her gaze seems fixed on a point beyond the horizon)

  1. (Watch her.)
    • (She moves with an easy grace of one well accustomed to the road - arms swaying gently at her sides, her gait even and measured. She is quiet but for the muffled thuds of heels to dirt and the soft rustling of her robes.)
    • (Absently humming an errant tune, she picks, at her right sleeve, some dirt and ash from the fight before, and you catch a whiff of singed rose petals, cinnamon, and something medicinal.)
    • (She's scratching at skin under her blindfold, pushing it higher than you've seen, and you catch a glimpse of turqoise underneath. Her hand slides away when she catches your gaze.) Did you need something [CHARNAME]?
       
  2.  I'd like your opinion of someone. (depending on influence)
    • Truely? (she watches you, her expression wry) We have better things to do than gossip like a weaver's circle, yes?
    • So, ask.
      • Aerie > Her anger is young and bright. Only time will tell where it will lead her.
      • Anomen > The young cleric doesn't lack for enthusiasm.
      • Cernd > For a stalwart guardian of nature, he goes to great lengths to run from his own.
      • Edwin > (laughs) He is chaos.
      • Haer'dalis > Yon sparrow is like the wind, afeared to stand still 'lest he cease to exist.
      • Imoen > How do you feel? To find your two fates so intertwined?
      • Jaheira > She grieves.
      • Jan > That curious little man... I wonder if he's aware of the truth in his tall tales.
      • Keldorn >  He is a rock. I admire his discipline, if not his choices.
         
  3. You lack the bearings of one without sight.
    • (She considers you for a moment) Perhaps because I am not.
      • Hah, I knew it! And it was a wild guess.
        • You jest, [CHARNAME]. Does this conclude your little interrogation, then?
          • Yes, I just wanted you to know that I knew!
            • You are a very strange person. [end]
          • No. Why the Ruse?
      • Then why the ruse?
        • It is simpler. I do not see as most people do, and the cloth helps more than it hinders. Some may find my features unnerving,
          • Unnerving? Don't tell me you're hideously scarred under all that.
            • No, Just different.
              • Will you show me?
              • Ugh, pass. I don’t need to know.
          • I find that hard to believe. Will you show me?
            • (For a while, the pull of her lips seems skeptical and calculating before it softens with a sigh) You may have surmised by now that I am not… native, but I don’t suppose there’s any point in such subterfuge between allies.
              (She tugs at the blindfold and pushes it up into her hair without ceremony. Underneath, her eyes are like turquoise stone, encompassing the iris and sclera, and her pupils are shining pinpricks of waning light. The skin around them transitions into scales - or are they quills – past her brow, patterned with an iridescent shimmer of a similar hue)
              I am a deva, or I was.
               I know not what I am now.
              • You’re beautiful.
                • (Her reply sounds automatic as she moves to tug the cloth back down.) Thank you.  
              • That’s not something you see every day.
                • (She lets out a soft chuckle as she moves to tug the cloth back down) Then you understand the secrecy.
                  • (stay her hand)
                    • I.. [CHARNAME]?
                      • (She eyes you warily as you trace the line of quills from her cheek to her brow, but eventually relaxes once her caution proves unfounded. A closer look suggests that the blue-green quills run further back around her head and her neck, disappearing down the collar of her robes.)
                  • (leave her be)
                    • Truth be told it will be a relief to keep it off while we’re outside the city. The fabric chafes after a while on the road.
          • Oh, Gods! Put it back on, put it back on!
            • (Her laugh is a bark and she watches your exaggerated flailing with amusement. It is some time before she tugs the fabric back down over her eyes and returns her attention to the road.)
  4. Ah... maybe some things are better not knowing, then.  
    • (She shrugs and returns her attention to the road. )

 

--PARTY BANTER--

Valygar: You knew Lavok.

Theil: As much as one person might know another. You have questions, Valygar.

V: I've been wrecking my mind over his passing. I believed him to be evil for so much of my life. How long were you with him in that sphere? What did you know of him?

T: I cannot say. Time holds little meaning in that place, but it felt like a dozen lifetimes.

T: But, more to your question, I suspect, I have known him long enough that there are no easy answers to that which you seek.

V: Then who was he in the end? Was he always evil, or was it all but the work of that demon?

T: We are each of us a spectrum of desire, ambition, caution and regret that stretches further the longer one exists. What is right or wrong moreoften comes in the telling, not of the making, young Corthala.

V: You speak in riddles! But I suppose it is the nature of magic-wielders to make excuses for their own. All the better to justify their own trespasses!

T: Perhaps you misunderstand... But if you desire it plainly:

T: Lavok was a man of vast knowledge and means, and the reality of the planes are wider than any one of us might know.

.

Theil: You should know. Lavok didn't return for you.

Valygar: You expect me to believe that, knowing his past? Turn your lying tongue elsewhere, I’ll not listen to it.

T: We had been adrift for over a century. What reason would we have to return?

V: I don’t know, to steal the body of a blood relative like he did countless times before?

T: For all his faults, it was knowledge, not undeath, that Lavok craved, and he had divested himself of the need for new vessels a long time ago.

V: Not even with the demon in him compelling him?

T: No, the demon’s lust was for the prime material. Lavok was its cage as much as the Sphere.

 .

Valygar: What was your relationship with my ancestor? You said you knew him well.

Thiel: I said I knew him long enough.

V: For a fair time apparently. The Solamnic knights claimed you were already in the sphere when they wandered in.

T: (grin) Ah, I remember that day.

V: You're amused by their entrapment?

T: Hmm. You're a trapper, aren't you, dear huntsman? What say you of the drunk buck that wandered into your snare last eve?

V: I would not make light of a kill of necessity.

T: Yet still you smile at the memory.

T: The Knights sought adventure and the sphere provided. But it is buffetted by its whims.

V: You didn't answer my question.

T: (smile) I did not. You're as accomplished a trapper as he.

.

V: I need to know, did Lavok ever speak of us – of his family? Did he ever care how his legacy would come to taint everything in it?

T: (quietly) This road leads only to disappointment, Valygar. I’ve heard tell of how your own tale ends.

V: So he thought on us not at all, after everything? How could you befriend such a monster?

T: I will not speak for the dead, even less so of things I do not know. Lavok was a private man. There was a hardness to his manner that was at times impenetrable. But…

T: Though very little survives the passage of time, there were things on this plane that he never forgot. Once, he described a scene that resembled the forests near your cabin. I do not know what the place meant to him, but it was the gentlest I had ever seen him.

V: And you believed him?

T: I did, at the time… And it marked my fall. Make of that what you will.

.

Anomen: They say you are an angel, but I sense nothing remarkable about you.

Theil: You are correct, and I am not.

A: Hmph, and without backbone too. I would expect the righteous to fight for their honour!

T: You are dissatisfied with my answer.

A: Nay, I am disgusted. That you would so easily discard power and favour so readily heaped upon you.

T: What would you have done with this power I might have wielded?

A: Why, I’d purge the lands of its evils, or course!

T:  But how would you judge them?

A: What do you mean? Are you so blind that you fail to see evil when it stands before you?

T: Morality shifts constantly in your living world. How cruel would you be to a begger, if the coin you gave him with kindness sent him down a path of blind reliance? Or, your murder of the thief led those for whom they provided on to even greater crimes?

A: And you’d rather do nothing at all, I suspect? You are worse than weakness and your inaction serves no one.

Edited by athies
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This is really well written, I like it. I like the character concept and background.

The character doesn't strike me as someone who would say "Oops", or even "grin". I'm imagining someone like Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho, if you know who that is. But maybe that's just me.

A diviner requires 16 WIS as per the game rules. And personally I'd like her stats to be better, like 85+ total at least.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you :)

Hm, I'm aware of the name only. I imagine it'd be impossible to escape a century-long voluntary incarceration with your polar opposite without coming out a little unhinged or picking up a few quirks... even for undying beings. I don't picture her without humour, and her fall from lawful good to neutral, and potentially even further, has left her with some chaotic tendencies. But, outright grins will be few and far between, I promise! In truth, I imagine her interactions with Valygar to be about as unguarded as she gets. She and Lavok became quite close by the end, and the similarities between them make her nostalgic. 

I didn't want to inflate her stats too much, so I used a scripted dice roller to take the choice out of my hands 😂 Does this look better?  

STR:13
DEX: 13
CON: 16
INT: 17
WIS: 16
CHA: 12

 

Edited by athies
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You know, the kind of "cool and collected" character who never expresses themselves strongly? So she may "smile" or "chuckle", but never (or very rarely) "grin" or "laugh".

Any plan for a personal quest? Perhaps some encounters with other celestial beings because you let her tag along? Or that would be hard to make for a character who is "morally adrift" and has "no clear road"?

Any romance option? Or is she not available?

Will there be events that ultimately change her alignment into either this or that? Like a series of events and conversations that gradually shape her alignment into something less adrift?

Would Haer'dalis flirt with Theil? Imagine Haer'dalis flirting with Aerie and Theil at the same time and Aerie ends up getting mad at him. NO AERIE ROMANCE FOR YOU HAER'DALIS.

Edited by ABlake
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Posted (edited)

Yeah, that's what I meant. It'll be rare, if ever. Like I said, it's an early draft, and I'll keep it in mind!

There may be a personal quest of some sort, but I'm undecided... maybe in the Sphere or the old temple? It's all a bit ambitious at this point. I see her potentially branching off into three major arcs by TOB's end in terms of personal development and I'd like to keep the celestial beings to a minimum. Whether she's redeemed, remains status quo, or further descends revolves around how she comes to terms with what happened in Lavok's sphere. One idea was to involve Solar, the other was to have Lavok's demon-passenger be Demogorgan from the future or something. Both are outlandish... but the main point is that I'd like to involve as few 'new' characters as possible and instead expand on npcs that already exist within the game. There are so many custom npcs and quests now that I've been feeling a sort of bloat in my games. It's a pleasant bloat, but I'm afraid adding anything else that deviates from the plot will border on intrusive.

I'd prefer to work through interactions with existing events and people to shape her alignment. My understanding of Monavic devas is that they work with the prime, negative and positive planes as part of their jobs, so her current predicament could just as well be some divine being's convoluted idea of business as usual. She considers herself to have fallen from grace in any case, and her narrative will follow how she comes to understand morality in a multiverse, at least for now. She believes she falls specifically because she saw the potential for goodness in Lavok, and so began to empathise with his suffering under the heel of his demon passenger. But she does this out of kindness, and she can't understand why she is punished for it unless it's related to something she doesn't yet know. Up to this point, her understanding of these things had been a tangle of instinct and birthright, which is how things simply are outside of the prime.. I think? The only ones that seem to deviate are demihumans. If it happens to celestial or demons, they just aren't them anymore. 

Relationship-wise, she's available, but it won't be easy. She's occupied with her own concerns and romance isn't even on her radar. It'll be up to PC to put it there. She'll be receptive to attempts to pursue her if they have already established a strong rapport, and may be receptive to a casual relationship if a strong argument is made for it. I'm undecided at this point if I should tie her more extreme endings in with romances, but I do feel like it'd be appropriate... bearing in mind that extreme doesn't mean ideal. I personally feel like an evil romance will end in insanity, and a good one with ascension. Both male and female PC will be free to pursue her, but she's not interested in drama. She's curious about the material/wordly wants of the prime because they're tangentially related to her own personal conflict. This curiosity can be nurtured to encourage her to take a closer look, but her concerns are mainly abstract and Toril isn't home.

I'm pretty sure vanilla Haer'dalis flirts with basically everything with legs at some point. So yeah, that's just his way, if anything irreverence and joviality seem to be his defenses against the void... but, she has celestial blood. Wouldn't that be unpleasant for both of them? I imagine their first conversations to happen along the lines of 

H: Tsk, you're like a festering boil that crawled under my skin! 
T: And you're like the rash I can't reach but keeps growing. 

I actually haven't played with vanilla Haer'dalis for a long time now, and only managed to get the Aerie/Haer'dalis romance to happen once way back before EE. Does she get jealous when he hits on other women? Does he still hit on others when they're established? Whichever the case, I'll have to think about it. Like I said, Theil's not interested in drama, but if confronted, she'll likely give them both a firm put down or simply walk away. She has nothing against either of them at a baseline level, but I imagine you'd be quite done with that shit when you've lived so long. 

.

.

.

As an aside, one thing I know for sure is that I'll leave writing for the BG2:ee extended cast to the very end, if ever... I've tried, time and again, but the writing is just so horrid that I never get past the first few lines of dialogue. If anyone has a transcript or something of their covos and encounters, I'll reconsider it. 

Edited by athies
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10 hours ago, athies said:

I'm pretty sure vanilla Haer'dalis flirts with basically everything with legs at some point.

Umm no, I think he mostly just gives compliments without much intention of flirting. I don't recall him really "hitting on" anyone, tbh. He does remark on Viconia's attractiveness in a banter but then simply wonders if she would consider going into acting on the stage.

10 hours ago, athies said:

Does she get jealous when he hits on other women?

Not that I know of.

10 hours ago, athies said:

No joke, I'm at a point where I Ctrl+J Hexxat upon entering the Copper Coronet just to avoid that opening sequence.

: )) That bad huh.

Speaking of Haer'dalis, so what kind of bird would he call Theil?

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, ABlake said:

: )) That bad huh. 

Yeah, it's pretty bad 😅 I do it to Rashaad too... if I weren't afraid it would screw something up, I'd peace Neera's Red Wizard encounter just as easily.

26 minutes ago, ABlake said:

Speaking of Haer'dalis, so what kind of bird would he call Theil?

I've been trying to pick one. Bright lark, songbird... a thrush? I'm not very familiar with birds, but I think a common-looking songbird would be appropriate. 

26 minutes ago, ABlake said:

Umm no, I think he mostly just gives compliments without much intention of flirting. I don't recall him really "hitting on" anyone, tbh. He does remark on Viconia's attractiveness in a banter but then simply wonders if she would consider going into acting on the stage.

He flirts with Imoen too, something about how he's gladly help her forget her woes or something... maybe it's from one of the banter mods. :s I don't know anymore! It will be fun to imagine how they'd flirt, though I'll have to think about how Arie would react. I'm having some trouble picturing her own relationship with Aerie for the moment. I can't decide if Aerie would try to bond with her over their lost wings, or ask her to help regrow them. Theil would be perplexed as to how to respond to either of those requests...

Edited by athies
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I wouldn't touch such a topic. I mean, for me at least it would be controversial. If someone casted in AD&D regeneration\restoration\heal, aerie would probably have the wings back. 

So the whole topic is based on moot data. I guess that maybe one could say that her wings are not growing back because she was cursed in some way, but I don't know if it's a road one would go into, given that her banters, even modadded, take it as a given.

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Yeah, I wouldn't want to go there either. It's too game-changey even if she could, and too much work 😛 I could work with Aerie's kindness instead. She'd probably have a salve or other for fabric rash from her blindfold. 

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Posted (edited)

And because I'm better than making pictures than writing, I started work on her portraits to deal with writer's block 🥳 Progress is steady, and I think I'm a third ways done with critical PC/Theil talk for SOA. It's looking like there will be at least two personal encounters eventually.  

THIEL_BL.jpg.59cb03091f651ad510d2ced0d88ab060.jpg

Edited by athies
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Having fun coming up with Celestial phrases. I imagine it's beyond abstract where its alphabet and numericals are metaphors unto themselves within the context of the physical and philosophical construct of the universe (particularly since some of them are really long >.> so direct substitution wasn't going to work). Some of these are pretty lame, because I'm lame, but I rather like them. Based off information from https://dndtopics.com/languages/celestial

-------------
- CELESTIAL -
-------------
verb cap, noun lower

a = Sa,
b = flonn, 
c = siapsceth, 
d = ciaptoop, 
e = setfloom, 
f = hwoul, 
g = flolhwouth, 
h = flonn, 
i = el, 
j = theethweet, 
k = k, 
l = fliaot, 
m = eesem, 
n = thlann, 
o = hwinn, 
p = eanm, 
q = soot, 
r = sooth, 
s = hwulceat, 
t = pehweenm, 
u = scithhwo, 
v = oth, 
w = hwith, 
x = x, 
y = teack, 
z = z.

I will end you (I shall eradicate your existence from start to end.): el Sa'z(I a-z)
Eye(to see, insight, truth, blind, paranoia)   El'a (I-a),
Friend (cooperation, reliance and empathy between individuals): scit'hwoel (u(and)i)
me/i - el (always dimunitive
time - Zexteak (zxy), space-Te'akz(yxz)

Then you have the nasty words that are adapted from modern common because who doesn't want to sound like they're singing while they're swearing? 
shit - hwulceatflonnel-pehweenm
fuck you - Scithhwo'oul(f-u)

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