#RPGaDay Day 5: Character Stories

Today’s #RPGaDay Question:

August 5: What story does your group of players tell about your character?

When your group talks about past games, what story (good, bad, or embarrassing) gets told about one of your characters?

This one is fairly easy for me as, as I have mentioned earlier, I don’t get to run too many long-term characters, and because it made such an impact.

It’s funny that it made such a strong impression, because in the end, all it was was a sentence and a nice view.

It made a big impression on me too. More than 20 years after the fact, I still have the character sheet in my active file~


What does all that mean? The video above explains some of this, more than enough to get the sense of why this is a tale told about my portrayal of a character, but if you have the time and inclination to read more, check under the ‘tomorrow’s question’ box  below for more of the details.

Tomorrow’s Question:

What is something that an RPG group has done for their community?


The Details… many of them anyway…

There was a fun and successful multi-GM experiment we did before I moved to Korea for “a year” what feels like a thousand years ago now, wherein we took on an ambitious Chronicle for Vampire: the Dark Ages. The details of how the sessions were run and the overall Chronicle was organized can be read here.

As a result of the multiple Storyteller set-up for this Chronicle, this turned out to be my longest contiguous run with a character in the World of Darkness. It also, as it turns out, has been my longest run with a character of any kind since then. Don’t worry, it wasn’t my last time to play, by far, but it was the last time to really get to experience campaign play as a player. This time next year will mark twenty years since the story I will share here took place.

The character started out as a well-connected and socially-capable noble with expansive ties to the upper crust of both Kindred and Kine alike. This was a risk on my part given the combat proclivities of many of the original players, but the gamble paid off. I did not follow my normal patterns of character advancement in Storyteller, but rather built from a wide base, little by little, focusing on Backgrounds and quietly expanding the already significant influence the character held at the start of the Chronicle. As time passed, and his capabilities grew he stepped little by little out of the darkness of backroom conferences and confidences, and into open political maneuverings that served as a smokescreen for his actual ambitions.

By the time he was in a position to achieve those ambitions, most of those who might have wanted to oppose him, appreciated him, or were beholden. It was a curious sensation as a player to be in such a large group (8-11 at any one time) and to, like a Cainite would, know that some of the characters in the room (the other GMs) know what you can do and what you are up to, while others have no idea what you have up your sleeve and are doing their best to manipulate you (politely) to their advantage.

After a lengthy run with the characters a freak dice-event occurred and the Prince horrifyingly fell to the claws of a Lupine. While that threat was beaten and cowed for a time, we knew they would rise again. What made this worse was the rise of what would become the Sabbat, and the instability that its fires would bring. While most of the characters by that time had leanings toward the Sabbat, we also had leanings toward comfort. The duel threat of the Lupines massing, and the Sabbat rising made it clear that nothing about our safe haven on the Iberian peninsula was going to be the same from that point forward. While powerful, we were not what the Prince had been, nor could we expect to reforge his alliances in time to matter.

After a memorable debate I decided that it was time to forego my own dreams of rising to Prince (so close!) but at the same time to reveal to the others exactly what the I had been able to accomplish. It was time to step into their full view, and if the Sabbat would be the path we would follow in this nights, then they could gaze upon the truth of my power and fear it.

While this set-up is lengthy, the actual tale told is short, and I guess it sort of encapsulates the way I play when using a character I like and have had a chance to grow into.

Leaving the debate and the politicking, I went to the highest point in the city, a castle-like structure under my control and one of the rallying points of my mortal army, and stood for a time gazing out over the rooftops and distant mountains. With the Sabbat coming, and the Lupines licking their wounds and growling, none of this would be mine. Therefore, after all the work put into attaining it – all of which I could see that I would have to surrender to the whirlwind of destruction about to come – it would not belong to anyone else, either. It was time for change and I would be the blazing spear tip of that change.

With some of the more closely aligned characters in attendance, I spoke above a whisper for the first time in the Chronicle and stated to my man-at-arms, “Burn it down.”

That statement ended that phase of the Chronicle and from there we departed to other time periods for playing the dramatic changes wrought by the Sabbat. The first and last words of dialogue exchanged in the Chronicle were spoken by my character, the first a whisper and the last a command. The first words were, “Let me show you to the Prince,” and the last showing them what a Prince of the new era looked like.

The city was razed to the ground and no trace of it left for future generations to find and wonder over. It was made to be as though it and we had never existed.

It is his last words, “Burn it down,” that form the tale told about my character. A very short tale indeed. Despite the brevity, and the length of time which has passed since, I miss both playing him, and the group in which I played him very much, even after all this time.

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