“I Want to Play Her”: Champion

My husband gets the Pathfinder modules in the mail from Paizo and usually I at least glance at the character on the cover when they arrive, but I somehow missed this one! When I finally came across it I was wowed (and annoyed that he hadn’t shown it to me, since he should have known I’d flip for this particular piece of art). You have to click through on this one and see the full piece, the details are amazing. This woman is badass. She’s fully armored and even has a helmet in her hand. Her armor is full plate and I counted at least five visible weapons plus a large heavy-looking shield. She’s got a great, believable sword, a longbow and full quiver of arrows, various small weapons, everything she might possibly need in combat. This is a woman who knows what she’s doing.

And check out that expression on her face! She’s determined and smart too! She may not be the strategist in her party, but she’s certainly not just a “tank” either. She’s got brains under that helmet and is clearly someone who weighs in on the advisability of a given course of action and probably the moral implications as well. I could see her being given a definite set of orders, weighing them in her mind and deciding to not follow them because to do so would be against the code that she holds herself, and likely everyone around her, to. This might easily be a holy warrior, but it doesn’t have to be. She could as easily be a fighter with as strong a sense of responsibility to something as a paladin. Maybe she even works for a crown. Or maybe she’s fighting against them. Who knows? Whatever she’s fighting for, she’s decided to do so after careful consideration and possibly a lifetime of lessons. This would be such a great character to play. I don’t think she’s necessarily the leader of her party (although she certainly could be), but she is definitely not merely a follower either. I love seeing fighters with more to them than just muscle and this woman most definitely fits the bill. An image of a male warrior with this same armor and expression would have drawn my attention too, the fact that she’s a woman is icing on the cake! This is a total win!

As a side note – I’m having trouble finding images for this series. There are painfully few great pieces of art featuring women who I would want to play. I’ve done enough of these that it should be clear what I’m looking for (to see all of them, check out the “I Want to Play Her” page). If you know of a piece of art you think might appeal to me, please let me know! It can be from anywhere. I tend to look for gaming art, but art from novels, animation, comic books, anything really is fair game. I don’t care the source as long as it fits the bill! Leave a link in the comments or send me an email at katie at pixiepalace dot com! Thanks!

Book: A Natural History of the Senses

A Natural History of the Senses
Diane Ackerman
1990 (Vintage/Random House)

General knowledge is that we as humans experience the world through five distinct senses – hearing, smell, touch, taste and sight. Ackerman explores each of these senses in her book in varying eclectic ways. She discusses historical, biological, psychological, artistic and any number of other aspects of our sensory experiences. Often she touches on how these five senses overlap and what happens when one or more of them are absent.

This book is full of evocative images and intriguing ideas, but it has very little real focus. Ackerman seems to have a near-unending supply of references and quotes, but she flits from one to another like a butterfly giving the reader little time to really focus on anything. The result is an utterly fascinating collection of facts brought together in a way that is at the same time seemingly organized and infuriatingly without direction. Portions of this book I really enjoyed reading, but I constantly felt like I was being rushed on to the next idea while the previous one was all but forgotten! It was rather frustrating.

I really wanted to love this book and I did find it really interesting – but not as a whole. The truth is that it doesn’t work as a whole, it’s just a collection of disparate pieces fitted together with a tenuous theme. The theme would have worked if it hadn’t been so obvious that portions of the book were pulled from elsewhere and had not been written with the theme in mind while other portions were written simply to complete the thematic picture, but that the author found them wholly uninteresting. It’s never a good sign when you can tell that the author was bored writing something.

I would recommend this book as something read in little pieces, like a bathroom reader. It just doesn’t hold up as a book when read straight through as is. There’s so much interesting stuff here, but it just doesn’t hold together that well, which is really a shame.

- Publisher’s Description

- Diane Ackerman’s Website

- Buy it from Amazon