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[HQ] character concepts

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  • Christopher Weeks
    Mike, I ve decided to outline concepts the way some others are doing and let you comment on changes or whatever. Feel free to express your own personal level
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 3, 2004
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      Mike,

      I've decided to outline concepts the way some others are doing and let
      you comment on changes or whatever. Feel free to express your own
      personal level of interest. I've listed them in roughly my order of
      preference.

      A) A very unimposing, forgettable fellow from a big city in possession
      of a lost grimoire (set?) who is magically interesting in two ways. He
      uses apparatus to concentrate/gather/capture essence (like vis in Ars
      Magica). He also gives life to stuff. Recombined corpses as per
      Frankenstein, certainly. Candlesticks and clocks as per Disney's Beauty
      and the Beast, perhaps. Etc. Presumably he uses the captured Essence
      for the life-tricks, but what else? (There are two oblique paragraphs on
      Sorcery in the Wizardry chapter of HQ which is the inspiration for this
      character. But it sounds like that's in unnecessary complication in SW.)

      B) A rural witch. Love potions. Fortune telling. Midwifery. Drug
      manufacture. A familiar. Otherworldly contact(s). The whole nine
      yards. This could be a local (to wherever play starts) who's involved
      in some hassle -- pretty easy to imagine and wide open for motivation.
      Her culture isn't too important to me beyond fitting with what's listed
      above.

      C) A _really_ big guy. Maybe not quite (or fully) human. Demon hunter.
      Special accouterments and knowledge give him an edge against the
      unearthly. Sorcerers (summoners) and undead are close enough for
      government work, too. But it's not all rainbows and love for this guy.
      He's compelled to pursue this agendum for personal reasons.
      Competition. Jealousy. Fate.

      D) A member of the wee-folk (fairy or whatever). This character has a
      set of gimmicky powers like being able to find (conjure?) food and water
      anywhere, luck, flight, putting people to sleep, talking to animals,
      etc. I wouldn't mind being the captive or partner of another character
      or maybe a merchant that I'd buy as a sidekick or something. That would
      be kind of a role-reversal that might be interesting.

      E) A caravan merchant with seven wives (and room for more). Head of a
      nomadic family group engaged in buying low and selling high. Somehow
      always manages to keep the profits high enough to feed the family.
      Anarchist in pursuit of commercial freedom. Everyone over the age of
      six, in this family, is lightly armed. The bad luck in Sherezak means
      that trades can't happen and he's going to have to figure something out
      pretty quickly to keep the family from starvation. I'm thinking this
      guy was a city bureaucrat who tired of his job and just left. Maybe he
      stole some stuff to get started and he's been trading and traveling and
      building his family up for ten years.

      Chris
    • Mike Holmes
      I thought I had responded to this previously, but apparently it didn t post. I ve posted some notes on each character along with a potential issue for the
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 8, 2004
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        I thought I had responded to this previously, but apparently it
        didn't post. I've posted some notes on each character along with a
        potential issue for the character.

        --- In indie-netgaming@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Weeks
        > A) A very unimposing, forgettable fellow from a big city in
        possession
        > of a lost grimoire (set?) who is magically interesting in two
        ways. He
        > uses apparatus to concentrate/gather/capture essence (like vis in
        Ars
        > Magica). He also gives life to stuff.

        This fits the setting very well, in that essence is almost like a
        substance, and handled that way in many cases. Further, the game
        deals a lot with "constructs," things animated with magic (hell,
        there's a whole "construct companion" that just came out for RM). In
        fact, to let out a little secret, the "demons" that attacked Sherezak
        called Gogur are actually very ancient constructs. So this would be a
        fine thing. Could be that he's headed to Sherezak to study the
        creatures? Lots of possibilities here. In RM, constructs are way
        unbalancing - I'd like to see them in HQ.

        Potential Issue: Use the power for good, or for awesome? Rather,
        finding some cause to further with his abilities.

        > B) A rural witch.

        I love this idea, too. Something I've not seen tried yet with HQ, and
        which I'd really like to see. I think that the magic involved would
        be represented by HQ better than any other system I've ever seen try
        it. As you note, this character fits in most cultures. Could actually
        be a local to the play area.

        Potential Issue: Friends or enemies with the colony?

        > C) A _really_ big guy.

        Classic. Already covered in this game by Brand's character Thomas
        character to some extent, but there's always room for more. With the
        individual twists you have it would be very interesting. And, again,
        he could be heading to Sherezak to hunt demons having heard of it's
        infestation. We'd want to make him "Myri" by the way, as they're
        you're typical big dumb blond guys, often over 7 feet tall, and
        brawny beyond belief. Probably an adherent of Cay, god of strength,
        too, just to make him really classic. :-)

        Potential Issue: Overcoming character flaws like you mentioned. Like
        erring on the side of competitiveness.

        > D) A member of the wee-folk (fairy or whatever).

        Cool. Lots of options here, actually, in terms of what sort of fairy.
        This would count as your special background ability for
        the "species." I really like the idea of being somebody else's
        companion. Given the current location, the character could be from
        the swamp being investigated.

        Potential Issue: Again, liking the colonists, but worrying about what
        they're up to.

        > E) A caravan merchant with seven wives (and room for more).

        Fun, fun. More "city" Rhiani, it sounds like. Or was he a plainsman,
        who just happened to also hit the city a lot. Makes a bit of a
        difference. Anyhow, sounds like he'd be heading to the colony seeing
        it as a buisiness opportunity.

        Potential Issue: Maintaining family cohesiveness in the face of
        rampant change.

        I like all of these ideas. The most important thing is to pick the
        one that resonates best with you. As you mentioned to me, these will
        each probably become easier to pick as you think of issues for each
        of them. The ideas above are just to get the juices flowing, I don't
        actually expect that any of them are quite complete, and I'm sure
        there are other ideas that would be even better. Tell me what you
        think.

        Mike
      • Christopher Weeks
        OK, I m going to continue discussing the first two character ideas I listed and we can cull from there, if that s OK. ... This character s name is Seppo Irmen.
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 8, 2004
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          OK, I'm going to continue discussing the first two character ideas I
          listed and we can cull from there, if that's OK.

          I wrote:

          >> A) A very unimposing, forgettable fellow from a big city in
          >> possession of a lost grimoire (set?) who is magically interesting in
          >> two ways. He uses apparatus to concentrate/gather/capture essence
          >> (like vis in Ars Magica). He also gives life to stuff. Recombined
          >> corpses as per Frankenstein, certainly. Candlesticks and clocks as
          >> per Disney's Beauty and the Beast, perhaps. Etc. Presumably he uses
          >> the captured Essence for the life-tricks, but what else?

          Mike Holmes wrote:

          > This fits the setting very well, in that essence is almost like a
          > substance, and handled that way in many cases. Further, the game
          > deals a lot with "constructs," things animated with magic (hell,
          > there's a whole "construct companion" that just came out for RM). In
          > fact, to let out a little secret, the "demons" that attacked Sherezak
          > called Gogur are actually very ancient constructs. So this would be a
          > fine thing. Could be that he's headed to Sherezak to study the
          > creatures? Lots of possibilities here. In RM, constructs are way
          > unbalancing - I'd like to see them in HQ.
          >
          > Potential Issue: Use the power for good, or for awesome? Rather,
          > finding some cause to further with his abilities.

          This character's name is Seppo Irmen. Irzj, the demon that inhabits his
          mechanical beetle told him to go to Sherezak because the Gogur were
          available for study. Seppo is from a very large city but has spent most
          of his adult life traveling because he's afraid that (right or wrong)
          people will reject him for his non-conformist magical explorations. He
          travels with a mule-drawn wagon, some companions that he's made, and his
          sidekick-"wife." He made his wife too -- from the body of a murdered
          royal dancer and missing parts filled in with improvised replacements.
          The most curious thing about Mrs. Irmen is that seven months ago, she
          became pregnant. (Who knew?) Seppo's equipment and magical stores are
          kept in the mule. He has been occasionally selling one of his curios to
          wealthy men to keep himself and his retinue alive for the past few years.

          Seppo is middle aged and socially awkward. He hasn't ever been grabbed
          by a cause and has developed a cynicism to cover the disappointment that
          discovering a not very friendly or wholesome world. Finding such a
          cause is still a back-of-the-mind concern, but his immediate "issue" is
          recasting himself in the role of father when he's spent so much time
          selfishly.

          The main problem that I see with this character is that his antisocial
          loner-drifter background violates some HQ precepts and general good
          ideas. Anyone have any ideas for tying him meaningfully into a culture
          (his original or an adopted one) or perhaps a school of magic (rather
          than simply following a mysterious forbidden form)?

          I wrote:

          >> B) A rural witch. Love potions. Fortune telling. Midwifery. Drug
          >> manufacture. A familiar. Otherworldly contact(s). The whole nine
          >> yards. This could be a local (to wherever play starts) who's
          >> involved in some hassle -- pretty easy to imagine and wide open for
          >> motivation. Her culture isn't too important to me beyond fitting
          >> with what's listed above.

          Mike wrote:

          > I love this idea, too. Something I've not seen tried yet with HQ, and
          > which I'd really like to see. I think that the magic involved would
          > be represented by HQ better than any other system I've ever seen try
          > it. As you note, this character fits in most cultures. Could actually
          > be a local to the play area.
          >
          > Potential Issue: Friends or enemies with the colony?

          OK, she's a local to wherever the game starts. She's just starting to
          reap some trouble that she's been literally sowing for years. See,
          she's genetically male and fully functional and pretty successfully
          pretends to be a woman. When the local young women come to her for
          fertility blessings, she sometimes hypnotizes/seduces them as part of
          the ritual and impregnates them herself. (As an aside, I'm going refer
          to her as female because I think that gender is largely a social
          construct (except of course for the parts that aren't :-) and she's
          chosen to live as a female in virtually every way. Her name is Jodian.
          Jodian can speak to the animals, but her relationship with the
          exceptional Sahana -- an orangutan, is quite exceptional. Jodian
          consorts with all the local demons/gods as needed, respecting them
          equally and wary of declaring any kind of allegiance. She really does
          value and love her people, and is a valued community resource, but it's
          odd how so many babies have been born with a curl in their hair like she
          has and like most of the locals do not. Some rumors have been brewing.

          I'm thinking her issue is going to be working out her role with her
          people -- perhaps seeking the equivalent of an "away team" position to
          remove her from her surroundings while still allowing her to contribute
          to the collective. (Hey, is it OK if the locals operate in communist
          village groups like the American Hopi did or something?)

          The main problem that I see with this character is that her relations
          with home might be irretrievably damaged. Thoughts?

          Chris
        • Mike Holmes
          ... I like both concepts generally. The new information, however, is starting to shift them to being rather dark characters. Rather like Sorcerer (the Edwards
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 9, 2004
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            >From: Christopher Weeks <clweeks@...>
            >
            >OK, I'm going to continue discussing the first two character ideas I
            >listed and we can cull from there, if that's OK.

            I like both concepts generally. The new information, however, is starting to
            shift them to being rather dark characters. Rather like Sorcerer (the
            Edwards game) characters, actually. I don't want to stifle your creativity,
            but I did have quite a few dark characters in the last phase - any way you
            could see to either play the demon hunter, or lighten up either of these
            concepts a tad?

            I don't mind strong issues for characters, but keep in mind that in HQ, a
            lot of conflict is already set up for your character. So you don't have to
            have a lot of problems for the character to start.


            Oh, one thing for everyone, is that the rules state that you need to have a
            goal for the character. This is not a Kicker (though it can be), just
            something to establish the situation. Many of the characters proposed so far
            have goals implicit, already. Just wanted to mention that it's an explicit
            requirement in the end.

            Mike

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          • Christopher Weeks
            ... Explore with me what a dark character is. Even if I m ditching those concepts, which is fine, I think this is something I need to know more generally.
            Message 5 of 5 , Sep 10, 2004
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              Mike Holmes wrote:

              > I like both concepts generally. The new information, however, is starting to
              > shift them to being rather dark characters. Rather like Sorcerer (the
              > Edwards game) characters, actually. I don't want to stifle your creativity,
              > but I did have quite a few dark characters in the last phase - any way you
              > could see to either play the demon hunter, or lighten up either of these
              > concepts a tad?

              Explore with me what a dark character is. Even if I'm ditching those
              concepts, which is fine, I think this is something I need to know more
              generally. Maybe specific pointers to the behaviors you'd expect that
              would color the game play in ways you don't like would be the most
              useful way to do that.

              I tried on several occasions over the past couple days to come up with
              explorations of other concepts from my list and kept hitting brick
              walls. So I'll just wait to hear back on this issue and keep thinking.

              Chris
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