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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
It really wouldn’t have been necesary to take so drastic a step as to remove your initial detailed outline, Ian.


No problem, just want to do the right thing. Did we have this step in The Parched Lands exercise? I thought we just laid our characters out based on what we knew of the setting, and then we modified the setting (mainly additional detail) and shaped the characters to ensure that was some inevitable connection between them?

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
My first idea is playing a Slave, possibly one of the Descended. His familly (maybe a wife and son or daughter?) are also enslaved but are owned by different masters. He has the oppertunity to flee to the Jungle without them or to remain and try and free them.


Is there an opportunity to work in a positive angle to staying in the City?

For example, perhaps he was captured because his family member was attacked and poisoned by one of the many dangerous animals in the jungle. In the moment of decision he simply couldn't leave him/her/them. However, while enslaved the poison is being treated, successfully albeit slowly.

So being in the City has a good benefit as well as being a bad thing. Having something like this will make the moment of decision, when the opportunity arises to escape, even more difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:46 pm 
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Hector wrote:
I'm considering a warrior. He's fairly experienced, having been fortunate enough to avoid being sacrificed thus far and until recently he's been a loyal servant of the Gods. Recently, however, he's getting tired; tired of the screams and pleas for mercy. That there's a young labourer girl who's caught his eye might also have something to do with it.


I would much prefer the sacrifices to be infrequent and willing. If the priests are already murderous and tyrannical then it will lessen the impact of the return of the gods. This society is stable. If sacrifices are frequent and unwilling then it will be difficult to see how anyone could rationalize it as being necessary or in anyone's best interests.

Your temple warrior could, on the other hand, be tired of his participation in the intrigues of the priestly class, tired of being asked to murder instead of battle.

I also think we should allow for the possibility of inter-city warfare, particularly as a source of slaves for the city. Where the objective of a raid is to capture rather than kill. This could be quite ritualized, where cities have agreements in place where slaves are returned after 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years depending on how close the ties are between the cities.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:12 pm 
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First of all I also like your third character concept and have nothing to add at this stage. Instead, let's talk about that:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
I would much prefer the sacrifices to be infrequent and willing. If the priests are already murderous and tyrannical then it will lessen the impact of the return of the gods. This society is stable. If sacrifices are frequent and unwilling then it will be difficult to see how anyone could rationalize it as being necessary or in anyone's best interests.

I have recently posted ideas on the sacrifices in the other thread. Generally speaking I see a certain necessity for the sacrifices to be a bit harsher, as we need some reason why the Descended are actually descending. The priest's rule must in some ways be stifling enough for the Descended to brave the murderous jungle, but you are right that it must not be so stifling that it is viewed as being contrary to the city-dwellers' best interests. Maybe the number of sacrifices need not be blown up to total number I have mentioned in the other thread, but maybe to seven per year? One main sacrifice and one for every harvest?

As you mentioned the return of the Gods, let's talk about them now. I have several ideas for how the return of the Gods impacts society negatively, but I originally intended to wait if one of you wanted to make the return of the Gods somehow part of their character concept; in this case I would have been happy to go with a player idea. I will now not do this, as the matter has become relevant.

My favourite scenario is this:
Last year, the Gods returned, emerging with their Servitors from their Forbidden City. Gods revealed themselves in every city, and everywhere they asked for the same – for children. They demanded half the children between the ages of six and eight, taking them into the Forbidden City.
This year, they (or rather their Servitors) have returned. They are again demanding children.

Thoughts?

Ian.Plumb wrote:
I also think we should allow for the possibility of inter-city warfare, particularly as a source of slaves for the city. Where the objective of a raid is to capture rather than kill. This could be quite ritualized, where cities have agreements in place where slaves are returned after 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years depending on how close the ties are between the cities.

Perfect; a bit like the Aztecs' flower wars. Agreed as far as I'm concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I would much prefer the sacrifices to be infrequent and willing. If the priests are already murderous and tyrannical then it will lessen the impact of the return of the gods. This society is stable. If sacrifices are frequent and unwilling then it will be difficult to see how anyone could rationalize it as being necessary or in anyone's best interests.


Grettir wrote:
I have recently posted ideas on the sacrifices in the other thread.


I responded there, agreeing with the weekly holy-day sacrifice.

What doesn't work for me is the temple as a abattoir, churning through daily or hourly sacrifices.

Grettir wrote:
As you mentioned the return of the Gods, let's talk about them now. I have several ideas for how the return of the Gods impacts society negatively, but I originally intended to wait if one of you wanted to make the return of the Gods somehow part of their character concept; in this case I would have been happy to go with a player idea. I will now not do this, as the matter has become relevant.

My favourite scenario is this:
Last year, the Gods returned, emerging with their Servitors from their Forbidden City. Gods revealed themselves in every city, and everywhere they asked for the same – for children. They demanded half the children between the ages of six and eight, taking them into the Forbidden City.
This year, they (or rather their Servitors) have returned. They are again demanding children.


Do any of the proposed characters have children? It feels a bit abstract if they don't.

For myself, I would prefer that the player characters discover that the Jungle was created by the gods to keep the people in the cities. Give them time to ponder why. Then have the gods return and that reason becomes clear and thematic.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Do any of the proposed characters have children? It feels a bit abstract if they don't.

You see, I don’t want to force any character into any kind of dilemma I have devised; coming up with such a problem is the player’s prerogative. I have thus designed the impact as something that is upsetting the existing order in a broader sense without making it by all means pivotal or thematic to the campaign.
The Gods have taken the children to Paradise, the devout say. The Gods have stolen our children, the impious say. Everybody is quite distraught. And especially the priests are worried. Their children have as of yet been spared; but if the Gods continue to need children, it’s only a matter of time till they are going to ask for children of the priestly class as well.

But then it’s just an idea, nothing I am especially in love with. I’ll happily have it be something else.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
I would prefer that the player characters discover that the Jungle was created by the gods to keep the people in the cities. Give them time to ponder why. Then have the gods return and that reason becomes clear and thematic.

This was your original idea – do you also have any idea just why the Gods have done this at all? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:44 pm 
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Hey, trying to catch up!

My first idea is an old warrior, a 60-something-year-old bodyguard to one of the priestesses (we still have those?) who really should retire, but is enslaved by his own sense of duty, devotion, and the belief that it's just too late to change now. He never had any children because there was nevery any time or place for it, a wife neither. But now, with retirement looming, he's considering volunteering for the sacrifices (if we're doing that) and simultaneously wondering if there isn't some way to still have a family.

This could work in great with the kids-are-gone idea, particularly if a child he came to think of as his own was at stake or had previously been taken. I could easily work in something similar for any other scenario, so don't feel bound by one or the other on my account.

I actually see a little bit of Colonel Tigh, from BSG, creeping in here, too. Characterization-wise, that is.

Jake

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:07 am 
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Grettir wrote:
My favourite scenario is this:
Last year, the Gods returned, emerging with their Servitors from their Forbidden City. Gods revealed themselves in every city, and everywhere they asked for the same – for children. They demanded half the children between the ages of six and eight, taking them into the Forbidden City.
This year, they (or rather their Servitors) have returned. They are again demanding children.

Thoughts?


Would it be possible that my Slave Character's son or daughter has been selected? This would be something to spur my Character to action, though what I don't know, how do you kill a Servitor, and free your kid without being noticed? :?

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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I also think we should allow for the possibility of inter-city warfare, particularly as a source of slaves for the city. Where the objective of a raid is to capture rather than kill. This could be quite ritualized, where cities have agreements in place where slaves are returned after 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years depending on how close the ties are between the cities.

Perfect; a bit like the Aztecs' flower wars. Agreed as far as I'm concerned.


I defintely like the idea, I just wonder where would these wars be fought?

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:19 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Do any of the proposed characters have children? It feels a bit abstract if they don't.


Grettir wrote:
You see, I don’t want to force any character into any kind of dilemma I have devised; coming up with such a problem is the player’s prerogative. I have thus designed the impact as something that is upsetting the existing order in a broader sense without making it by all means pivotal or thematic to the campaign.


OK.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
I would prefer that the player characters discover that the Jungle was created by the gods to keep the people in the cities. Give them time to ponder why. Then have the gods return and that reason becomes clear and thematic.


Grettir wrote:
This was your original idea – do you also have any idea just why the Gods have done this at all? :)


Originally, my thinking went like this:

The creation myth talks about a war between the gods and the demons. The gods found the children of men and sort to protect them. The demons found the children of men and sought to destroy them. As the final battle approached the gods talked to their priests, whom they loved most of all for their unceasing devotion, and taught them all things and gave them all wisdom. They explained that this final battle would see the final destruction of their age old foe yet the cost would be great -- it would be many years, if ever, before the children of men once again were granted the honour of seeing the gods face to face.

The battle was fierce. The demons hatred of the children of men ran deep. As they were forced from the realm of men by the gods they unleashed one last apocalyptic weapon -- the Jungle. It consumed everything. Lethal to the children of men it was, if anything, worse for the gods. Their very presence attracted the Jungle and it would race towards them, consuming them.

The gods retreated, summoning the children of men to them, and raised the mounds. Around the mounds they created the last bulwark against the encroaching jungle. They taught the priests how to maintain the defensive work.

The gods then built a weapon to destroy the tool of the enemy. As the children of men slept the river was built. The children of men awoke to its roar. The gods smiled upon the children of men, told them to watch the work of the enemy be destroyed. The children of men watched in awe as a wall of water coursed from the mountains of the north. They cheered as the wave crashed into their mound. They laughed as the jungle was covered as far as the eye could see for a day, then two, then a week.

As the water began to subside the tops of the trees began to appear. The tears of the gods could be heard all around the children of men.

The gods, diminished by the war, retreated to the heart of the mounds where even now they watch over the children of men, guiding their fates, protecting them from the ancient enemy.

At least this is what the priests have passed down from generation to generation (and goes some way to explaining why I wanted the flood to be seen as an assault upon the Jungle that fails, rather than a flood that is clearly there to purge the jungle of Descended).

The reality is different. Everything that the people can encounter is the work of the gods. The jungle is there to keep the cities fully -- or nearly fully -- populated. It reinforces that the city -- whatever its cost -- is a better option than the jungle. The flood is there to reinforce that fact as everyone is all too aware that many Descended are destroyed by the floods.

The gods need the cities to be fully populated for two reasons. On the one hand they want to see whether the children of men can be engineered into something useful. Their breeding programs, adaptation programs, and genetic engineering programs are time consuming and need lots of subject material. The main reason though is so that when they awaken there will be a plentiful supply of food.

When the gods awaken they do so in stages. Initially a handful, then a clan, and then the whole tribe. When the whole tribe is awake the city will have no human population as all are consumed by the waking process.

However the gods position is not so simple. The handful that awoke recently discovered that their breeding and engineering programs had been wildly successful. The children of men, little better than animals a millennium ago when the gods entered their slumber, are now industrious and skilled workers. Importantly the shapers have arisen from the population, workers capable of shaping the godstone. These individuals are very useful to the gods, precious even, able to perform some of the functions of the gods (though they cannot until the talent has been awakened) while the majority of the clan or tribe still slumbers.

So those that have awakened face the dilemma that their fodder has become more useful than mere food. Or at least some of it has...

At least this is what I was thinking as I thought about the big picture and considered my character's place within it.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:21 am 
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Crow Caller wrote:
I defintely like the idea, I just wonder where would these wars be fought?


Think ritualised raids rather than wars with battles. The causeways are the only way of traveling from city to city.

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:23 am 
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Jake Norwood wrote:
Hey, trying to catch up!

My first idea is an old warrior, a 60-something-year-old bodyguard to one of the priestesses (we still have those?) who really should retire, but is enslaved by his own sense of duty, devotion, and the belief that it's just too late to change now. He never had any children because there was nevery any time or place for it, a wife neither. But now, with retirement looming, he's considering volunteering for the sacrifices (if we're doing that) and simultaneously wondering if there isn't some way to still have a family.


I've always loved the Old Loyal Warrior type character, have you read Raymond E. Fiest and Jenny Wurts' Empire Trilogy? In there, there is a character similar, Old Loyal no family, he is the bodyguard of Mara. He actually comes to veiw her as his child.

Anyway, enough talking about other Old Soldiers lol, lets talk about yours

Quote:
This could work in great with the kids-are-gone idea, particularly if a child he came to think of as his own was at stake or had previously been taken. I could easily work in something similar for any other scenario, so don't feel bound by one or the other on my account.


Could you see him thinking of a Slave boy or girl in such away? If so then there is a potential strong tie there between our Characters, if my son or daughter is the same slavechild you have come to think of as a son/daughter or perhaps grandchild? It would also give my character a well placed ally when he moves against the gods. Assuming your Loyalty doesn't win out over your Passion, in which case I might be in for a short game lol!

Quote:
I actually see a little bit of Colonel Tigh, from BSG, creeping in here, too. Characterization-wise, that is.

Jake


I don't watch BSG but I just Youtube'd Colonel Tigh, LMAO you Son of a Bitch. I can defintely see an old Aztec Warrior/Guard like him lol. Should be fun.

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:37 am 
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I never went into as much detail as Ian however I have thought about the gods' role in the world a bit.

My intital thoughts was that they didn't create the Jungle, they simply transformed it into the deathworld-like Jungle it is today. They did this over a time, the reason behind it was that humanity would see their surroundings as a Hell on Earth. Then they rose the great mounds and made them a veritable paradise and took mankind from the Jungle and placed them in their Great Cties. In this way the "liberated" mankind, and "ascended" to "godhood".

I originaly saw the gods as nothing more than men who wanted to be worshipped, they discovered great artefacts and learnt how they worked, then they manipulated events that would lead to their "Ascension" I like the idea of these artefacts being powered by blood, either through Sacrifice or through the leeching of the wearer, who must then replenish his own sources. To these ends they breed humans like cattle and feed from them.

*Shrugs* just random thoughts. What's everyone elses thoughts on the gods?

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:13 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Crow Caller wrote:
My first idea is playing a Slave, possibly one of the Descended. His familly (maybe a wife and son or daughter?) are also enslaved but are owned by different masters. He has the oppertunity to flee to the Jungle without them or to remain and try and free them.


Is there an opportunity to work in a positive angle to staying in the City?

For example, perhaps he was captured because his family member was attacked and poisoned by one of the many dangerous animals in the jungle. In the moment of decision he simply couldn't leave him/her/them. However, while enslaved the poison is being treated, successfully albeit slowly.

So being in the City has a good benefit as well as being a bad thing. Having something like this will make the moment of decision, when the opportunity arises to escape, even more difficult.

Regards,


Sorry Ian, I missed this one.

I think having a positive reason to stay in the City would be cool, but perhaps not poison.

Actually I think it would be cool if Grettir cooked something up, so that in the moment of truth my Character will have reason to pause.

Still, I'm open for any other suggestion on postive reasons to remain in the City.

This is what I have so far for my character. He is young, maybe 19, his wife is maybe 18 or so. They have a young son, perhaps 5 years old. His wife works for the same Priestess that Jake's Warrior serves, and her son was allowed to stay with her.

Meanwhile he works in a more harsh environment, though also serving the Priests, from time to time he gets close enough to see his wife and son, and as mentioned on one occasion they have mage to brush their hands together, perhaps Jake's warrior noticed this exchange but has decided to remain silent? With the gods returning for the Second year in a row (My character was not enslaved the first time round) they have taken my character's son. Perhaps through Jake's character my Character's wife has mangaged to get a message to him?

So, any suggestions on fitting a positive reason to stay somewhere in there?

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:18 am 
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Another thought, my Character could easily be a porter Slave that goes between Pac's shop and the Temple. He could either be Pac's slave or a Priest's slave.

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Character Creation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:09 am 
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Hector wrote:
I'm considering a warrior. He's fairly experienced, having been fortunate enough to avoid being sacrificed thus far and until recently he's been a loyal servant of the Gods. Recently, however, he's getting tired; tired of the screams and pleas for mercy. That there's a young labourer girl who's caught his eye might also have something to do with it.


How about a young slave girl who just so happens to be my Characters wife?

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