Last Friday night, I got my three players together to create characters for the Armitage Files campaign I’m starting. This was our first time through the GUMSHOE character creation process, and I was anticipating a few problems, but things went very smoothly. Turns out that character creation is not as difficult as it first seems, as long as you have a good idea of what sort of character you’re planning on playing and are willing to discuss things with the other players.
I’m going to come right out and say that having a good, strong character concept is vital to making the process go smoothly. I was worried that players who hadn’t read the character creation rules would be floundering when it came to picking skills, but that turned out not to be the case. One player hadn’t read the rules, but she had a solid, strong concept that she wanted to play, and we were able to map it to the profession, drive, and skills that worked for her very easily.
When time came for picking investigative skills, all three characters worked together to make sure that they got everything covered. But more importantly, they made sure things were covered in a way that made sense for their characters. The only investigative skill that got left out was Physics, so I just won’t make any clues that rely on that skill.
So, who are the characters?
- Roxy Crane, a thief and scam artist whose family has amassed a large enough fortune to give her access to the upper class.
- Aaron Moon, who runs an antique bookshop, does manuscript and book restorations, and never ever produces forgeries. Well, hardly ever.
- Dr. August Solis, on the Miskatonic University faculty of medicine, who has had occasion to assist the officials with a bizarre case or two.
I wanted the characters to have some history together, so I stole the novel-writing idea from FATE games, and had them each create a story, then add themselves into the stories created by the other two players. I put a couple of restrictions on the stories, to reflect the fact that I wanted them to have no Cthulhu Mythos knowledge or encounters, no magic, and no overt supernatural encounters in their past. Weird stuff was okay, but nothing that couldn’t be traced back to human agencies. Here are the novels they came up with:
Doctor Solis, with his strong background in forensics and chemistry, is approached by the Arkham Police to consult on the mysterious disappearance of a local occultist. Solis follows leads and discovers a disfigured body which he attempts to examine but is denied the opportunity by the police department. Solis catches sight of the corpseâ€™s hand and sees a ring with an occult design. He is referred to Aaron Moon who believes it to be a stylized Baphomet symbol. Aaron runs into Roxy, describing the body and ring, which she recognizes to be a local hood hired by a local book collector. The cops pick him up after an â€˜anonymousâ€™ tip.
Aaron Moon goes to Boston to confer on a recently discover personal library that contained several Andalusian – Judaic tomes. He discovered that the centre-piece of the collection was in fact a forgery and the owner accused Moon of switching the forgery for the original. Hearing the heated argument, just down the hall from the big party, Roxy sneaks in and distracts the owner so Aaron can flee. Doctor Solis uses his skills in forensics and chemistry to help Aaron prove his innocence to his clients.
Roxy had accidentally made the acquaintance of a young man who worked for the US Survey Department , at a local speakeasy. Returning to his apartment, they find his door ajar and documents stolen – the documents Roxy was going to nick – from an Antarctic expedition. Roxy approaches Dr. Solis at Miskatonic University to seek his expertise in Languages as a way of determining the potential value of the mysterious expedition documents. The documents are mentioned over drinks in the faculty lounge. Moon overhears and tells them that he had recently been asked to â€œquietlyâ€ assess some expedition documents. He tells Roxy where the gentlemen in question are staying…
So, there’s our cast of characters. I’m looking at next Friday night to run the first session.
I’ll let you know how it goes.