Jude grew up interested in RPG's, starting out with video games. He had heard of D&D, and was eventually introduced to tabletop gaming by a cousin. Predisposed to it, he was hooked, and waited patiently for the chance to find others to play with. Once at university, his D&D career shot off, playing in at least one or two campaigns each week and brainstorming new characters in his spare time.
It was there that he met his wife, another geek enthusiast. She also played, and together they had many roleplayed and read adventures. They dated, and eventually married, and now they always had a gaming partner in the other. After graduating and moving away, Jude found new people to play with, and discovered Dungeon Mastering his own campaigns. Now all his brainstorming could be put to use for exciting NPCs and new ways to challenge and kill his players.
As life moves on, however, the kids begin, friends move, or there are simply more and more interruptions to a simple weekly game. They turned to MMOs, or even just RPG podcasts to have a connection to gaming. With the new Nerve Gear-powered DDO, there was suddenly the opportunity to experience face-to-face roleplaying with the convenience of online gaming and the immersion of LARPing, but with superior design and execution! Jude was quick to volunteer for beta testing.
In the beginning, there was simply playing through a few quests, seeing what was broken, or what links in continuity might be broken or exploited. He made suggestions for how different alignments might chose to complete a quest, or how different classes might be more readily approached by certain NPCs. Perhaps a rogue would be sought out by criminals and conniving businessmen, while arcanists would draw in paranoid or jealous folk looking for answers, as well as anyone needing aid would come to divine characters. Of course, any player could approach an NPC for a quest and find some way to complete it outside their traditional niche. Maybe if a player often sought out intrigue-themed quests, more of those NPCs would be directed to his attention.
Drawing from his own experiences and preferences, however, he made some proactive suggestions for established campaign setting material. His favorite being Eberron, he made his case for its inclusion, despite having already featured in the first D&D MMO decades ago. Even if they didn't set the game in Eberron, there were interesting ideas in the races (warforged, shifters, changelings), a pulp/noir world of intrigue and post-war recovery, and involving players in the intricacies of business empires and ancient prophecies through dragonmarks. In any event, one of the most important things to Jude was very good writing and AI for the NPCs, for those that played more as a single character than grinding along with friends and other players.
As part of the testing, he used many different classes and races. With martial characters, he got a feel for the melee combat; while he acted it out, having a good base attack and strength made fighting feel much easier, like the enemies were moving slowly enough for his amateur swings to connect. As a rogue, details were much more noticeable, while enemies were much more likely to be looking away from him if his stealth was good. And casting magic was interesting as well; he had to chant and wave his arms, but was free to make it up, follow a script, even follow a simple rhythm game for bards. Feeling the surge of energy run through his body was like nothing he could feel outside of the game, so when it came time to make his first real character outside of beta, he knew it would be a magic user.
As a tester reward, he decided to try out an exclusive race, a kitsune. They had a very magical feel, and he felt like being a little tricksy even as he chose to play a sorcerer. The sheer volume of magical power was fulfilling, and would hopefully last him through most situations. While he had tried several different avatars in his testing, including females to see how they handled, he chose a very attractive, sexy style for his kitsune, deciding he'd enjoy getting some attention to his advantage besides skills and magic spells. In the character creation, he spent a lot of time getting each detail just right, making his own fantasy girl. When he finally logged in, he was very satisfied, feeling both the magical power thrum through her body, and how sexy she both looked and felt in her little kimono. She could even change between her sexy regular human body, and her true golden-brown kitsune form. It was strange feeling her own muzzle, the fur was very soft and nice, and having a tail swish around was very disconcerting. It needed a lot of practice to control, and without concentration it tended to move on its own, flashing her bottom or knocking into things, even if she was supposed to be human! After a brief checkup, she couldn't wait to go talk to some NPCs and see if she recognized a quest she could complete through seduction. Turning off the mature content filter, she set off to explore the world anew.