To kick this campaign off I told each of my players the following:
“You are a youth between the ages of 17 and 19 years living in a small town (pop. < 1000) called Southvane. Southvane is situated along the Old Highway in the Kingdom of Naen. Naen is an idyllic nation dominated by rolling plains, hills, and savannah-like grasslands. Southvane is, for the most part, pretty peaceful – nothing of note happens in or around the town usually. Ever since the new highway was built some distance north of the town the traders have more or less stopped coming to Southvane with any regularity – travellers from other lands are more common but still very rare. Despite this peaceful outward appearance, Naen harbors a dark secret.
Every nine years, more or less, on the day of Valpurgis Eve (a festival dating back to the time of the Atlaneians) a mysterious being known only as the Tithe Collector comes to Southvane. This Tithe Collector examiines each of the children of the town and then chooses out some (based on what rubrick, no one knows) and spirits them away – never to be seen or heard from again. Sometimes the Tithe Collector leaves empty handed. Sometimes the Tithe Collector leaves with several children. No one is sure why this is so or why this is allowed to happen. But any attempts to interfere with the process are punished swiftly – if not by the town council and mayor then by the Naen Royal Army itself. The time of the Tithe Collector is almost upon Southvane once more – the ninth Valpurgis Eve in the cycle is but three days away when your story starts.”
I also asked that each player come up with the following for their character: A mother and a father along with a description of their trades/professions and/or current whereabouts. Siblings (if any) and their trades/professions (if any). A mentor from which the character is learning or has learned a trade or craft (can be a parent if so desired). A close friend. A rival. An important incident in the character’s life involving one or more of the above characters.
The players started cracking on that while I began to sketch out the details of the world and the general direction of the first few story arcs. I say the general direction because I couldn’t very well account for what kind of characters or choices the players would make so I had to keep my options open.
Mechanically, character creation was done using the Reign iteration of ORE. Players were given 85 points to build their characters with a restriction of only one Expert Die in any one skill at character creation and no Master Dice beyond the free one associated with the character’s native language.
After the initial process of crunching out characters was complete I had them calculate a derived attribute called Fate/Luck. Fate works almost exactly like Base Will/Willpower does in Wild Talents. Fate equals Charm + Command. Luck always equals Fate. Luck comes back readily, Fate does not. Fate/Luck can be spent to enhance rolls and gain certain, limited narrativistic powers in the game.
I also calculated a derived attribute called Essence for my own private notes until certain in-character occurances have happened. The characters have only recently (in real time) learned of the in-game concept of Essence so it’s safe for me to explain it mechanically here. Essence is divided into two main categories: Animus/Anima and Essence. Animus or Anima is the sum of the Body and Command attributes. Essence is equal to Animus or Anima and can be increased via XP. Animus or Anima and Essence are used much in the same manner Base Will/Willpower are used in Wild Talents – to allow for the activation of special effects, boost the effectiveness of special moves, and help to resist the influence of such powers.
More to come soon…