The continuing analysis of our first game session has been delayed by the recent illness of the author, and the need to actually create a formal playtest report. However he did want to share something with you in the meantime, although he was waiting for the other gamemaster to post before he did so, but he (yes, I often talk about myself in the third person singular and plural) shall now go ahead and post his character from Game #2:
Motivation: Become Human Again!
Territory: Good [+2] Jungle Sky
Profession: Good [+2] Monkeysquid
Swashbuckling Forte: Master [+6] Koldun
Other Fortes: Good [+2] Sidekick (Abu)
Techniques: Basilisk!, Unicorn!, Qilin!, Teleport!, Thunderbird!, Dragon! (all chained to swashbuckling forte)
Squeek was taken from the Green Place of Plenty early in his life and put in a Box of Tough Wood That Tastes Bad and Cannot Be Gnawed Through. Squeek was taken in this box to a Strange Place Where People Lived In Strange Caves on the Flattest and Biggest Wheeltree Squeek had ever seen and sold to The Nice Man Who Fed Squeek and Played With Squeek. Young as Squeek was, Squeek soon forgot most of Squeek's earlier life in the Green Place of Plenty.
Much Time passed and then came the Night of Terror. He awoke with a huge pain in his head. And the Tall Cave/building was on fire. He fled out of a window/Hole and raced through the maze of Strange Place/Crail until he hide in an alley, far away from the commotion, and collapsed unconscious.
That morning, the kind-hearted Abu, a tribesman visiting the city, found Squeek in the alley, and put him in a box to take home and nurse to health. It took three days for Squeek to return to consciousness and his mind was so full of foreign concepts and thoughts that he did not understand, including fragments of memories that were not his own, but those of The Nice Man. But it was easier not to think on those things for too long because it hurt and there were big gaps of nothing where there should be something.
It was about month later that a young cousin of Abu hurt himself badly in a fall, and Squeek discovered that he could heal at a touch. When Abu tried to determine what happened he was surprised when he heard a voice inside his head say *I don't know.* It appeared that a simple monkeysquid had two highly-prized Gifts, that of the Basilisk and that of the Unicorn. Abu soon noticed that Squeek had a third Gift not normally given by Vaoz that of the Qilin.
Abu and Squeek investigated the Night of Terror and discovered that an Archkoldun had lived in the mansion that had burnt down that night. Nobody seemed to know what had actually happened.
Time passed, and Squeek developed other Gifts, and integrated more of his memories. He does not really know what happened but he suspects that the Archkoldun tried to save his life by imprinting his memories on his pet monkeysquid.
Abu and Squeek have been travelling together for some years now, with Abu pretending to be a Healer with the Gift of the Unicorn, and Squeek his pet monkeysquid. Squeek realises how vulnerable and valuable he is in this form (can you kidnap or murder a monkeysquid?), so doesn't overtly reveal his abilities, and tends to work through Abu, who has actually become quite a good physician and herbalist through their association.
They tend to drift around the Skies most ships will take a Unicorn Healer for little or no cost (if they have room) due to the hazards that can be encountered. This is to avoid staying in one place for too long and somebody noting any strange behaviour on the part of Squeek. They have even been on several pirate ships (taken as booty), although not for long (do you really want to upset a person who can heal your wounds when you are in a high-risk environment).
Fortes: Good [+2] Physician, Good [+2] Herbalist, Average [+0] Traveller
Techniques: (I've forgotten)
This game was definitely going to take part in the World of the 7 Skies, and we were going to do our best to create unforgettable characters. The other player played a 50 year old Wingman from Kroy (who looked like he had been flying for a long-time and who everybody else assumed was crazy but who I knew wasn't). We both were well suited to the game milieu, which had far more to do with Jack Vance's Dying Earth (in particular the Cugel stories) than anything else. For example, the first vignette was a pirate attack by a troupe of actors who wanted to perfect their art for their next performance of The Pirate King of Ilwuz. The second vignette was getting accidentally involved in a Fek race.
There is a really strong temptation in the beta system to create a character with a Master Swashbuckling Forte. Increasing the Technique cost encourages this, especially for Koldun, which is a class of character that is driven almost entirely by their knowledge of Technique. So I did. Admittedly I could have gone with an Expert [+4] Koldun and remained faithful to the core character concept (the last two Techniques could have been anything except Chimera!).
One thing I definitely missed was the Koldun related Foibles from the old alpha-Portmanteau system. I spent a long time trying to decide what my Foible would be between Monkeysquid* and Uncontrolled Phenomena*. The last two Techniques were added with the later Foible, but not removed when I changed back to the original. I was thinking afterwards that Merhorse and Pegasus would probably be more appropriate Gifts. I wanted imperfect control of my powers, especially when something affected me at the instinctual level, as in my first reactions would be covered by my monkeysquid reactions and impulses. (You can put the man in the monkey, but you can't take the monkey out of the man).
The gamemaster missed a wonderful opportunity at one point (I didn't know what was really going on at the time), when we sighted an Air Shark in the Sky of Mists. Turns out it was a balloon decoy by the actor/pirates designed to distract the target while they board. Now my response was to run/teleport for cover in sheer panic (being bite-sized does that). We all thought (after the game) of how appropriate it would have been if my paniced reaction had been "Flame On" (admittedly I was only going to actively use the Gift to douse fires), exploding the balloon and setting fire to our ship's sails, and having to be rescued by the actor/pirates in their cloud ship.
The other thing is that Koldun do double-dip when it comes to the Gift Techniques (and this tends to strike the other players as unfair judging from their reactions). Not only by taking the Technique do they get the Gift, they also get the 1d6 bonus as well. Perhaps it might be wiser to seperate this into two Techniques the "Gift of [Gift]!" (which grants the Gift to the Koldun) and "[Gift]!" (which gives the standard Technique bonus). Although it could be argued that Koldun deserve this because they are the experts at using these powers and thus they deserve a synergy bonus
I shall finish with one of my favourite episodes of the game, was, when the other player discovered he had accepted being a rider in a Fek race (did I mention that he was Crazy*):
Other Player: "Ok! <pause> What's a Fek?
Gamemaster (reading from Book): "The fek is a giant venomous tortoise. Naturally solitary and mean-tempered, these Clydesdale-sized reptiles are nothing to trifle with. Immensely strong, their serrated beaks can snip through a forearm-sized bar of solid steel. Fek have been domesticated as draft animals, used in agriculture and the pulling of “fek-carts” along the triple-rail roadways that connect market villages."
Other Player: "Wow! That's impressive! What do they eat that they need jaws like that?"
Gamemaster and I (in chorus): "Fore-arm-sized bars of solid steel, of course."
Ahem. Perhaps you had to be there.
ETA: Important question for chadu: Do monkeysquids desire Sweet Sweet Uranium goodness?
- Current Music:Bound for South Australia (Traditional)