Feints & Gambits: This Is Who We Are

This past Saturday was the character creation session for the Feints & Gambits campaign that I’m starting up. After a little bit of schedule juggling, I managed to get all six players in the same room for the session, which is vital for the DFRPG character creation to really shine ((The game sessions themselves are going to be quorum-style, with a minimum of three players. That should make scheduling easier.)). Start time was delayed slightly by the Santa Claus Parade ((Tied up traffic in the downtown area, and several of the folks were coming across town.)), but we got underway around 8:00, so we were able to wrap things up by midnight.

I had a little surprise for the players, as well: I had burned a little of the midnight oil, and managed to get the setting bible for the game completed and printed for them. So, as they walked in, I handed them each a copy for their very own ((Those of you who might be interested in seeing the finished document, it’s up on our forum in .pdf format here.)), which they seemed to like ((And then, of course, Sandy found a typo within two minutes.)).

Everyone in the game knew the basics of character creation, either from the playtest or from Spirit of the Century, so there wasn’t a lot of set-up that I had to do. We jumped right in, following the phases in the book, and sorting the characters out. Along the way, we had some discussions about different parts of the game: Aspects, Powers, Stunts, Skills, and the like, as players had questions.

Once again, the group character creation really shone. The group brainstorming about Aspects, discussion of character motivation, clarification of background, all of it really fed the whole process. I know that at least a couple of character concepts changed and clarified for the players, and I think everyone came away with a character that was made better by the input of the group. And it was really great to see the players getting more interested in, and more excited by, their characters.

Now, if you read over the setting bible, you’ll see that the fey are a really big factor in supernatural Dublin ((Of course they are! It’s Ireland, for crying out loud!)), and they came up a lot in the character creation, as well. Pretty much every character has at least one encounter with the fey in their background. And these encounters are never good. Why am I commenting on this? Well, because it’s really showing me what the players want in the game. They don’t like faeries, so it makes sense that the fey courts are going to be frequent opposition, or at least complications, in the game.

This is such a useful tool for the GM. After all, we’ve got four different overarching threats in the setting bible, but the players all zeroed in on the fey courts. Not Baba Yaga and her crew. Not the political situation. Not the Church-sponsored strike force. The fey courts. It’s showing me what they find most interesting, what they think is the main theme of the game, and how they look at that theme. Rich, rich fodder for building scenarios.

Not that I’m going to focus everything on the fey courts. I mean, the city creation session comes up with so much stuff that I’d be an idiot to ignore everything but one aspect of it. But it does mean that the fey influence is going to be prevalent and pervasive. And most likely annoying for the characters.

I took a little extra time swapping around the novels for the guest-star phases to make sure that the net of connections spread wide enough. I wanted to make sure that everyone got two different guest stars, and guest-starred in the stories of two different characters, giving them connections to four of the six characters in play. It just makes it easier to draw everyone together if the network has more connections.

So, who are the characters?

  • Aleister Usher, Venatori Guardian
  • Kate Owens, Wiccan Seeker
  • Rogan O’Herir, Were-Cat Stalker
  • Firrin O’Beara, Changeling Social Engineer
  • Nathaniel O’Malley, Angry Irish Spellslinger
  • Mark O’Malley, Irish Mystic Hacker ((Not hacker in the computer sense, you understand. Hacker in that he tinkers with the ideas and rules of magic, mainly looking to circumvent them.))

Once the character creation phases were done, we talked a little about what the next steps were. The consensus was that everyone wanted to stop for the evening, and to assess the more mechanical bits of character creation – Powers, Skills, Stunts, etc. – on their own, with me answering questions and providing advice via e-mail. So that’s what we did.

So far, I’ve seen at least preliminary builds from three of the six players, and they all look good. I’m getting excited to run the game. In fact, I’ve scheduled the first one for two weeks from the character building. That should, I hope, get them moving on finishing up the characters. I think I’m going to be doing some playing with the Glass Bead Game, as suggested by Rob Donoghue on his blog, to put together the first session.

It’ll be fun.

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7 Responses to Feints & Gambits: This Is Who We Are

  1. Chris says:

    I think the chosen conflicts in the novels also reflected our level of knowledge. Not many of our characters appear to have political connections, and a few have knowledge of the street level gangs. Just more fodder for us to find, you know?

  2. Sandy says:

    It’s “Santa Claus”… just saying.

  3. Rick Neal says:

    Yeah, I did mention the typos. Was in a bit of a rush to finish, didn’t get a chance to properly proof it.

  4. Rel Fexive says:

    I love that your avatar on your forum shows a particular entry in the RPG index 😉

  5. mrsleep says:

    I just read over Feints & Gambits Bible and am officially terrified of running a Dresden Campaign.

    That’s a hell of a lot of research and creation. It made for a great, albeit intimidating, read.

  6. Rick Neal says:

    Do not be intimidated. The document you looked at is the result of the fact that I’m a technical writer by profession – when I get a glob of information, my impulse is to organize it into a document and flesh it out. And maybe add some graphics. And a table of contents. And then print them and bind them for my players. But I don’t do an index, and neither should you!

    Wait, what was I trying to say?

    Oh, yeah. The document is just my own little quirk. The actual research is spread among the entire group, with each person just doing a little bit of research on what interests them. The creation took place in a four-hour chunk, with everyone brainstorming and riffing on each others’ ideas. The actual notes that we came away with were three of the high-level city sheets (one of them half-filled in, and another less than that) and two of the location sheets. And the only reason it was that much was because we were all having such fun with it.

    You don’t need to do that much. You don’t need to do any more than is fun for you. Don’t be intimidated. Go for it. Run a game. Honest.

  7. mrsleep says:

    Fine, fine. I’ll try it eventually. Right now I’m involved with the crazy bastards at House Games who torture and murder their way into your heart.

    Now all I need is time and money…

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