Character A Day, Day Eight
Apparently, Not About Robin Williams Assimilating People
So, we lurch suddenly forward from the late 70s/early 80s where the rest of these article have clustered, into the new-retro-new-old-school age of… Mork Borg. There’s umlauts in it, but damned if I’m going to learn how to do them in this editor. Oh wait, it’s not hard. Mörk Borg. There you go. Anyway, this is a game where tremendously skilled graphic designers and layout artists have utilized all of their talent and experience to make it look like the game was designed by 14 year old in his basement using an old mimeograph, some scissors, and Xerox copies of things he made when the librarian wasn’t looking. It’s the grimmest of the dark and the darkest of the grim, with rules so “lite” they border on weightless, and probably 10 pages of text laid out over 96 pages of PDF. More importantly for my purposes, it looks like character generation is really quick.
Just to sum up what we’re dealing with, here:
There’s also some two-headed basilisks that are kind of gods, where each head hates the other one, and so on. Honestly, it kind of reminds me of Darkest Dungeon. Everything’s bleak, you’re going to die, so let’s go kill some monsters and take their treasure. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light!
An interesting twist is that each game day, the GM rolls a die, and on a roll of 1, a misery occurs, and on the sevent misery, the game, and the world, must end. What die? Ah, that’s the rub. It can be a D100, so that miseries occur rarely, or a D2, or anything in between. Clever. But this isn’t a walkthrough of the game (though in truth, it merits one; the layout may be painful but the writing is atmospheric as all hell), it’s “Lizard makes a character and then scampers off to finish watching the final season of Supernatural that he’s had festering on his DVR for a year.” So, let’s do this thing!
“You Are What You Own”
That’s what it says, and the Ferengi and I concur in full.
I am going to use the optional classes, as they sound too cool to ignore. Wretched Royalty? Well, I just finished another episode of “The Crown”, so, sure!
My backstory? According to the cunningly hidden table running vertically down the right side of the page, things were going well until “two young princes were kidnapped west of Bergen Chrypt and disappeared into the black crevasse of the eastern slopes”. I guess I’m going to rescue them. Or, maybe, claim I’m going to rescue them but actually I just want to find treasure and not attend another tediously hedonistic feast as we eat, drink, and be dissolute.
There’s a random name table near the front. I am Karva.
I start with 70 silver, a waterskin, and 4 days of food. Also, a small wagon, a silver crucifix, and two monkeys that ignore but love me. (d4+2 hp, bite d4)
Hit Points: 3
I have one Omen, which is like a Fate Point or Hero Point in other games.
I have light armor, which I will define as leather from the last beast of its kind, once lustrous and embossed and gilded, now worn and faded, but still useful. I am armed with a flail, which is, you know, just a flail. Not everything has a backstory. This isn’t Star Wars. OK, fine, halfway through typing out how I wasn’t going to come up with a backstory, I came up with one: The heads of the flail are the lead-filled and iron-plated skulls of three infants of a rival noble house, taken following a brief but clearly successful civil war, generations back.
The advantage of being Wretched Royalty is that I get two items from a special table.
- Snakeskin gift: A box, wrapped in snakeskin, containing a dagger with does 1d4 damage, but on a 1, the target dies instantly from the poison. Sweet!
- “Poltroon”, the court jester. A capering idiot, useless in combat, except he’s do distracting me and my allies get a +2 on attack and defense. I shall name him “Baldrick”.
Rolling on a few more tables, it turns out I am lazy and have an inferiority complex. (“It’s good to be honest, but what about your character?” “Shut up.”)
I am covered in blasphemous tattoos, and am a pyromaniac. Lastly, I have a rare, sought-after item. Hm. Let’s say it’s one of those “Hellraiser” style puzzle boxes, except designed by MC Escher. No sane person can figure out how to open it. Only the mad can see the pattern in its four-dimensional interlocking parts. All mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths outgrabe.
 This is why I, and most other artists/writers/etc, say “Ideas are worthless.” No one’s going to steal your ideas, it would be like stealing gravel from the side of the road. Ideas are everywhere and omnipresent and tumble madly, one after the other, though any mind. I mean, the process of thinking “I don’t want to think of a cool backstory for this” spawned a child process in my brain that produced precisely that, even while I was typing something else.
The time and talent and focus needed to turn an idea into something, that’s rare and valuable.