Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Unexpected Development part 2: Electric Boogaloo

In light of this post by my friend Ross, I've decided to follow up on last week's post. As both gaming groups I'm in become a bit more consistent, I'd like to start incorporating examples and stories in my blog here, so I feel this may be a good point to start. Last week, I detailed some impromptu character development on the part of my martial artist, Syrinx. This week, I want to break down a few points of the character somewhat in-line with Mr. Watson's post. (Seriously Ross, if you don't have a doctorate, get one so I can call you Dr Watson already.) A lot of his points coincide with my own methodology so we'll break this down by those. 

Anyhoo, after the jump I'll dig into this B.

Step 1: What Do I Bring to the Table?

For this campaign we were testing out FantasyCraft to see how it works. In the sense of good scientific method I figured it best to try different classes to see how well they functioned. We ended up with a Mage, a Scout and an Emissary. Since FC doesn't presume you'll have a healer (nor is there a dedicated healer class. Ain't that cool?) I thought another combatant would do the trick, so I settled on the Martial Artist. Not as heavy a combatant as the Soldier but it still gets plenty of chances to spend Feats on combat related things.

Also going in the experimental mindset I wanted to test out the combat maneuvers. To do this, and to add a certain cinematic flair to combat, I specialized in Trips and Disarms. This would later add to the character's mindset, but I'll come back to that. So we have a spellcaster, a faceman and two combatants, one of which is more of a survivalist and the other more of a general brawler. Everyone has their own little niche, and we actually ended up with a good bit of chemistry.

Step 2: Identifying the Character

Once we had the base mechanics out of the way, next step was the character proper. Looking at the selection of species to play with, and some of the related Feats, I found out a decent combination that would surprisingly allow me to jury-rig a gorgon. That's right. I'm talking about snake-haired women who's gaze turns people to stone. I've always loved the old trope of the monstrous protagonist. (I hesitate to say 'Hero' due to PCs usually ending up as homeless sociopaths.) Something about the subversion of expectations appeals to my inner storyteller. It cost me some stats to pull it off, but sometimes you gotta suffer for your art.

Next item on the list: the weapon. As Ross's post will tell you, sometimes a "character's choice of weapon can define him greatly". This particular maxim has been my go-to for quick personality-traits for characters. To demonstrate: I am a huge Castlevania fan and the bullwhip just seems really neat, so I went with that one. The most common qualities associated with this weapon are usually less than desirable to me in my characters, so I wanted to see if I could do different. As mentioned earlier, we have a specialization with Trips and Disarms which works perfectly mechanically and thematically with this weapon that also has reach. The end result is someone who keeps others at a distance to strip away their defenses and knocks their feet out from under them.

One other point Ross brings up is the idea of keeping secrets. I'll admit that 95% of the characters I make have secrets. It's such an easy way to turn the group on it's head and upset the social strata of an adventuring group. As long as it's the good type of drama, I'm down for anything that starts a good in-character conversation. Lucky me, I had the perfect secret to hide: the fact of her being a gorgon. Something that, if it were revealed (especially at a poor time), could likely get her killed. To go with that I bought her some ranks in Disguise, so that I could hide it well. 

Step 3: Finishing Touches

At this juncture, all that was left was background and personality, and a few corresponding bits and bobs. Since she's in hiding and keeps people at arms length and we were starting in a Mongolian plains sort of analog I thought it best if she were hanging out among the nomadic tribes of the horse-lords. Easy enough to acquire basic necessities and easy enough to go unnoticed.  As much as I like to go against expectations I sometimes go with them to keep people one their toes. As far as personal interests, some bestiary entries on gorgons mention the love of statuary and other artistic pursuits. Let's go both ways on this one. An admiration for artistry and craftsmanship and a slight paranoia around statues that seem a touch too lifelike

Now for a voice. I settled on something refined with a hint of received pronunciation just halfway into a British accent which is dropped suddenly when she loses composure. Her dialogue flowed rather naturally afterward. Between my natural snark and some of the party's antics she quickly became a complete bitch, in stark contrast to the paladin I played during the Saturday group on opposing weekends.

Up to Date

So that's how the character was imagined, more or less. As was pointed out last week, some die rolls here and there now have me thinking about the parts I left blank, waiting to be filled in as we approach the next session this Sunday. Granted the group figured out her little secret out-of-character but it still hasn't been fully realized in-character yet. A few incidents have our mage asking questions about her true nature, but will the conversation continue or will he be sidetracked due to his own untimely demise/Cheating of Death?

Until next time! And remember, if they can't find ya handsome, they should at least find ya classy!

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