Monday, October 29, 2018

Character Creation, All We Love We Leave Behind

Now that I’ve decided on what game I want to play as part of SGAM 2018, it’s time to start filling in some details for the characters. As my random rolls have left me with a “Standard Fantasy” setting, I’ve decided that I might as well go with the default setting provided with All We Love We Leave Behind, a small town called Avalon. It’s a vibrant trading community, though nothing terribly large or important. The bulk of the details will be answered as the play progresses. Though, a few of these are necessary to get the game started, so I’ll be tackling those in this post.

The first question to answer is, in many ways, the most important. Who is the Absent? Who is it that has left, and why have they left. Like almost everything in AWLWLB, this is determined by a random drawing of a card from a standard deck. So, I do that first. I have a fresh deck that I’ve shuffled quite a few times. Drawing from it I get:

Three of Clubs

All numbered cards from the Spades suite indicates that the Absent is a sibling. I want to define the Absent a bit further, so I turn to the Universal NPC Emulator and get the following results:

An Unconcerned Pioneer who is focused on Contact The Law, Chronicle Pain, and Acquire The Poor.

They’re starting to come together in my head. I wonder what their gender is, though, so I decide to just roll a D4, with low being male and high being female. I get a 2, so the Absent is the Writer’s brother.

My thoughts initially turn to the Dutch colonialist Adriaen van der Donck, and I decide to do a bit of a riff off of him. So, the Absent is Landon Pierce, a brilliant and charming young lawyer setting off on an adventure to a recently colonized part of the world, to serve as a Sheriff for an absent and wealthy landowner. He’s not just gone in search of adventure, however. Something happened recently to the family, some great tragedy. Landon is, to a certain extent, fleeing from the pain and memories of that tragedy, most likely after unloading on the rest of the family, including the Writer, and blaming them for what happened. His harsh words still remain, even if he himself is gone. Possibly related to this, he sought to get others to come with him, including the family, but none of the rest decided to join him.

As for the Writer, I also turn to the UNE and get the following:

A Docile Jouneyman who is focused on Accompany Wealth, Record Industry, and Aid Animals.

Unlike his brother, Milo Pierce is a simple clerk in a trading house. He never had the raw talent and charisma of Landon, and so has settled for a more traditional career, though one he still hopes will bring him some degree of success and prominence, even if today he is little more than a book keeper. His only true passion and outlet is his pet dogs.

Finally, I need to get my initial prompts for the first letter. I’ll be honest, at this point I’m a tad confused as to how to proceed. The rules state that after each letter, you should draw a card to determine what happens next. However, it gives little explicit advice on how to start the first letter. There is an example in the book though, and in that case, it started with a single draw, so I figure I’ll go with that.

In AWLWLB, play is resolved by drawing cards, with results determined by both value and suit. Face cards represent something positive has happened to the Writer. These events encourage him to move on in his life and gain a healthier perspective. If he gains four of these, the game ends on a positive note, at least for him. Cards with a value of 8-10 are negative events, but have no effect on the resolution of the game--these are merely the day to day struggles we all must deal with. Those with a value of 7 or less are Doldrums, intense feelings of despair that drive the Writer to lose all hope. Gaining three of these indicated that all hope is lost, and things end poorly. The suits of the cards further defines the general focus of the event. For example, Diamonds represent something to do with money or business, while Hearts indicate love or friendship or the like. Drawing my first card,  I get:

Five of Clubs

As this card is below a 7, I mark my first Doldrum on my sheet and consult the chart base to see what the Club Suit tells me, which is Anger. Looks like Milo’s first letter is not going to be a pleasant one!

Next time I begin the game properly. Join me on November 1st for the first installment of Left Behind.

Mechanics and Rules
The Everyone, Everywhere List by Erik James Olsrud
Card images from Wikimedia Commons, used under the GNU Free Document License.

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