Sunday, April 22, 2018

Character Creation: Rockalypse

I may be running a one-shot of this next week, so I should make a character, but really I want to do it because the little sticker I put on my books to note which ones I still need to make a character for won't stay on this book and it's bugging me.

See? 

The Game: Rockalypse
The Publisher: Four-in-Hand Games
Degree of Familiarity: None with this particular game, but it's Fate core and I'm pretty familiar with that.
Books Required: The Rockalypse book and Fate core.

Rockalypse is a really interesting game. It combines a post-apocalyptic game (any type will do) with the "let's battle by playing songs at each other" kind of magical realism of Scott Pilgrim. I suppose that Starchildren might be a good inspiration or companion, too.

Anyway, if I were actually playing this game, we'd start by designing our apocalypse and deciding what kind of Aspects it has, but since I can get away with not doing that and still make a character, I'll skip it.

I start out by choosing, as usual, a High Concept and a Trouble Aspect. My High Concept requires that I choose what instrument I play, if any (it's perfectly cool to be a roadie or whatever).

Now, I run into trouble here because I don't actually play any instruments. I can sing a little bit, and I took guitar lessons for a few weeks once, but I don't have the finger stamina for it. But I can probably get by playing a bassist. I like playing support characters, and being the backbone, keeping everyone steady, sounds fun. I'll take Unflappable Bassist as my High Concept.

Unflappable characters can be boring as hell, though, so I need a Trouble Aspect that pops. I think I want my bassist to be the lost prince or Chosen One of some cult; he ran away (or got lost, Lion-style) when he was very young. He's got a birthmark on his chest in the shape of a rabbit, so he's the Lost Scion of the Rabbit God.

Then I get two Group Aspects, but there are attached questions - how did you join the band, and what have you done to support the band? I'll go with Follow the Bass for the first one (there was a terrible dust storm or smoke cloud or something and my guy played the bass and led people out, and some of those people formed a band!) and Windowbox Gardener for the second (he grows herbs and other plants in the bus - because we apparently have a bus - that the group then eats).

Finally, I get a free Aspect. I'll take See the World With New Eyes. My bassist has a weird visual condition; he sees things in different colors than other people do, which means different things pop out at him.

Skills are next! I get the standard Fate core array (one at Great, two at Good, three at Fair, four at Average), but the combat Skills and Provoke have been removed and replaced by Rhyme, Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony.

Well, I know I was Rhythm to be high, but I want Harmony to be my Great (this guy smooths things over). So I'll put Rhythm at Good. I'll put Empathy at Good as well. I'll put Notice, Physique (because there's a stunt I want) and Crafts at Fair, and for my four Average Skills, I'll take Contacts, Rapport, Drive, and Will.

Stunts, then. I know I was Got the Music in Me (once per song I can clear a stress box with Physique). I like Lift Me Up (lets me clear a bandmate's consequence by taking stress, which dovetails nicely with the first one). And then I'll take Start the Groove (additional free invoke the first time I Create an Advantage during a song).

I have three Refresh, and I'm fine with that.

My bassist is slim, with long black hair that hangs in his eyes. He has sleeves tats up and down his arms, that just look like atonal color mishmash to everyone else, but he can see what they really represent (it's kinda personal, man). He favors big floppy t-shirts. His hands are always dirty from gardening and he smells loamy and earthy, but he chews peppermint leaves so his breath is minty. His name is Bean (he's got a mononym, like other famous bassists - Flea, D'arcy, etc.).

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Preppin' the Games, part one

As one does. As usual, this is gonna include thought processes, plot spoilers, and general things-players-shouldn't-know, so if you're a player in one of my games, skip this post (or like, just don't read the stuff for the game(s) you're in, but that's easier for some than others. Plus I'm not even sure if anyone in my games reads my blog. Anyway. This is a long parenthetical. Send help. I can't find the exit.)

(Wait, there we go.)

I'm doing Blades and Promethean today, I'll do Chill and Night's Black Agents tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Promethean: Leaving Lexington

Monday we ended a story in Promethean. I think we may actually have lit a fire under some collective asses, but I know that I'm definitely more hype to run the next story than I was, so that's good.

Last time, there was a lot of water and some sapped Pyros and some visions. This time, we had to wrap up those visions, because recall that last time Matt and Feather didn't get to have their collective vision. So!

Matt and Feather find themselves walking in a cave. They follow a light and emerge from an archway into an immense mineshaft with gigantic gears in the walls. Feather recognizes this...she punched it at one point. From behind them, they hear a voice and turn to see a searing light.

The light speaks to them, and reveals that since Feather stood up to "the Machine" and Matt is generally into angels, the Principle is showing them something a little "behind the curtain." It tells them that the beings they've talked to haven't all been qashmallim - the skull cowboy dude that they saw waaaaay back in Tuscon was an angel, a servant of the God-Machine. The light also reveals to them something that happened in the past. It shows them a throng of Prometheans walking to the edge of the pit with the gears. One Promethean is big and deformed, and they hear him called "Cancer Boy." And then they witness another one shove Cancer Boy off into the gears. "Don't shed any tears for Cancer Boy," says the voice when Feather expresses concern.

It reveals that by greasing the gears this way, the Machine changed something. The Principle isn't sure what exactly happened, but the Machine is looking for something and the throng appears to be involved somehow. Matt and Feather ask a couple of questions, and the voice says that the Machine and the Principle have a complicated relationship and that the Machine is much more rigid. The Principle wants Prometheans to complete the Great Work, and it's flexible on how that happens - it has to be, that's the nature of the Pilgrimage. The voice tells them, too, that they'll meet a rebel angel soon, and what they do to or for him will shape their path.

The two of them come back to the present. The throng reflects on their visions (and the players make the "interpret an Elpis vision" roll), and they take their various steps. Skip (whose player got a dramatic failure on that roll) sees himself with bloodied hands and decides that he needs to continue breaking things, so he resolves to learn Cobalus from Avalon. Avalon, for her part, thinks about the universal milestones and realizes that she's not really any closer to one than the other (she's only got ceratio and multiplicatio to go), it just depends what she does next.

The throng (and Lurch) talk about the God-Machine and the vision. Enoch recalls that Hank's memoir (which, remember, is the fictionalized account of a Ramble) mentions Cancer Boy, and Avalon recites the relevant bits. The throng actually threw two Prometheans into the gears, but the first one jumped willingly (and came back from the River, as Prometheans do) while Hank pushed Cancer Boy because he was angry. And, lo and behold, one of the other Prometheans present was named...Jesse. The same Promethean who'd created the Athanor at which they were presently sitting? Probably.

Matt goes into the crypt and meditates at the Athanor, trying to get back the Pyros it had taken. He winds up learning the secrets of Phosphorum, and learning that it was about risk, passion, death, and ephemerality - life is fragile, and that fragility is beautiful. He realizes he could learn more, but only by embracing the Refinement. He does, and in so doing achieves his milestone for Explorer (find the Phosphorum Athanor).

The throng talks about what they'd experienced so far, what the various ephemeral beings they'd seen might be, and the implications of what they'd read in the Ramble. They wonder if they could find Jesse, but they aren't at all sure where he might be and the Ramble didn't give a clue. Virgil mentions that one of that throng, Marty Black, at one point created an online resource for Prometheans, so Avalon gets online and finds it.

Jesse had, in fact, logged on, and not all that long ago. See, in-game, it's June 2008, and he logged in back in May, talking about how three people were killed on the same night, in the same way, in locked rooms...in three different cities. He mentions going to investigate, but the throng doesn't know if he went to Columbus, Tulsa, or Detroit.

Detroit, of course, is where all the craziness with the God-Machine went down, but Columbus is closer, so the throng decides to pack up and head out there. Lurch, though, asks a favor - could they take him to a hospice, first?

They drive him to such a place, and Enoch asks if he wants anyone to go in with him. He says no, but maybe wait around, since he isn't sure how this is going to go. He goes in, and then a while later walks out, stops, and stares up at the sky with a strange look.

Feather, feeling the stirrings of Vitriol, gets out and approaches him and asks if he's OK. He says he is, and he understands. She asks what it's like, and he says "Someday, I think you'll know," and bursts into flames.

When the fire subsides, he's a little shorter (but still very tall), and he's dressed in scrubs. He asks if Feather is there to see someone, and she says that yes, she and her family came here in the RV to visit someone. The orderly, Larry, tells her that maybe she ought to come back a little later - they just lost someone.

Feather tells Larry it was nice to meet him, and gets back in the RV, having achieved the Pilgrim Role (Witness the New Dawn). The throng watches him go back into the hospice, where he works, apparently. They head off, and decide to get Waffle House before heading north to Columbus.

(NB: Hank, Jesse, Cancer Boy, and Marty Black were from my first Promethean chronicle, The Water of Life. The "three-murders-in-one-night" thing was the inciting incident in The Key.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Movie #454: The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol is...pretty much just like what it sounds. It stars Michael Caine, a whole fuckton of Muppets (voiced by Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, David Rudman), Steven Mackintosh, Jessica Fox, and Meredith Braun.

You know the story. Caine plays Scrooge, Kermit plays Cratchit, Robin plays Tiny Tim, Statler and Waldorf play the Marley brothers. Gonzo plays Charles Dickens as the narrator, with Rizzo the Rat as his sidekick and comic relief.

Now, for all the Muppety stuff, the movie plays it pretty straight. Scrooge is appropriately hard and doesn't make any silly asides or fourth wall breaks (Gonzo takes care of that). Kermit can be earnest and good-hearted with Piggy as his wife, and the scenes where we learn that Tiny Tim has died have some weight because the characters involved haven't been completely ridiculous previously.

The "casting" choices are pretty apt; I'm sure they used Gonzo as the narrator because Frank Oz is still around doing the voices, so Gonzo still sounds like himself, while those of us who have loved the Muppets all our lives still know that Kermit isn't Jim Henson (sadly). It works, though, because Gonzo is far too...well, gonzo to be anyone else. Likewise, Statler and Waldorf are far too fun to be consigned to minor roles, so it makes sense to split the role into two "Marley brothers."

The songs, though...hrm. They're not terribly long, but they're also not terribly interesting. "Marley & Marley" is about the best we get, and even then that includes Statler and Waldorf moaning like weirdos.

All in all, it's a good example of some of the weirdness that the Muppets got into in the 90s, and it's not a terrible interpretation of the source material. I think, though, that if I'm choosing a Muppet movie I'll choose a different one, and if I want A Christmas Carol I'll watch Scrooged.

My Grade: B-
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: The Muppet Movie

Monday, April 16, 2018

Chill: Stabbings

Last time, our intrepid group of envoys were out at the Loomis home, and a car had just lurched to life on its own, hitting several of them. Something is definitely Unknown-y around here.

(Side note: Anyone ever run a game of Chill where it was a hoax? I did that once - well, it wasn't a hoax per se, just a "mundane" serial killer - and it just felt kinda wrong.)

Anyway, Dee decides that she needs to go to the hospital, and Luther gets in the jeep and drives her (this is because Luther's player was out sick and Dee's player decided she'd rather bring in Annie, her new character).

So, the three remaining envoys decide to check out the house. They go up and knock - no answer, but the door's unlocked. The enter and start looking around the place; it's homey, clean but not tidy. There are pictures of Earl Loomis and his late wife, and some spoiled food - it looks like he's been gone for a while. The calendar in the kitchen hasn't been turned in three months.

Blake checks upstairs. The first couple of doors lead to a guest room and a sewing room, both untouched for a good long while, based on the dust. But then he opens the door to the master bedroom...

...and standing there is a man in jeans and a flannel, carrying a sickle, but with no flesh on his skull. He lunges for Blake, who backpedals, screaming, trying to bring up his rifle, but the man vanishes. The other envoys run to join him, but the creature is gone.

The envoys decide that this is bad - they're up against something they can't identify and they don't know how to fight it. They text Luther to tell him not to come back or bring anyone else, figuring they'll walk down to the road and get in Blake's truck, but then Annie pulls in.

She comes into the house and advises the envoys that they probably shouldn't be in here, but since she's here as an envoy, not a lawyer, that's life. She didn't get the message about not coming, obviously. The envoys decide to head out. They go to the door, but when Willa opens it, he's standing there. He lunges out with the sickle, and Willa jumps back to shut the door, but he catches her on the forearm with the blade and slices her arm open. She shuts the door and he's gone again; the other envoys try to patch her up as best they can, but no one has medical training (or Protective disciplines, or Restorative disciplines, for that matter). The wound isn't life-threatening, just painful and messy. They check again and no creature, so they decide to head out, carefully.

But when they walk out to the driveway, they're all terrified of Annie's car, to the point that Willa and Jeanie suffer Trauma and back away. They decide to go with the original plan, walk down to the truck and take that. They start walking through the woods, mindful of the birds on the roof...

...and then they're back at the house. Horrified, they try again, walking down the driveway...

...and then they're back at the house.

Realizing that they're being trapped here, they decide to search the garage, figuring maybe they can come up with something. After several unsuccessful attempts to kick the side door in, Jeanie uses the Skeleton Key discipline, which works, but saps her Willpower entirely, leaving her overwhelmed.

They search the garage, and find a shelf with a bunch of bird-watching books, a sketchbook (which Willa grabs and gives to Annie), and a rack of tools...including a conspicuous space where a sickle would fit. Annie looks through the book and sees that it's full of notes about bird-watching and other wildlife sightings, but towards the end it mentions altercations with loggers "being rude" and a sketch of a strange-looking humanoid creature with pale skin and a round, hairless head. An alien? Loomis isn't sure in his notes. The envoys take the book, and note that they're not afraid of the pickup-truck in the garage...and actually, they're not really afraid of the car anymore, either. They pile in and start heading down the road...but then he appears on the goddamn hood.

He draws back and plunges the sickle through the windshield, and Annie slams on the brakes. He goes flying off the hood, and Annie floors it, but does not hear a satisfying bump, so they figure he rolled or teleported out of the way. She starts driving like mad toward the road...

...but then realizes she's driving back toward the garage. She realizes that too late and plows into the pickup in the garage. The airbags deploy and everyone loses some Stamina, but the real problem is that the car shuts off. He appears next to the car, walks around to Willa, and gestures. The window rolls down, and he points to the sketchbook, on the floor by her seat. She attempts to bargain with him ("I give you this, you let us go?") and he nods. She hands it over and he looks up to the crows on the roof, and they fly straight down toward the open window.

Thinking quickly, Annie kicks out the damaged windshield and helps the others out. They run for the house, and Blake and Willa get pecked a bit, but everyone gets inside more or less OK.

The envoys decide to hole up for a while, maybe wait this out until dawn. Annie checks the kitchen and finds some oatmeal, and everyone eats, rests, and regains some Stamina and Willpower (which is especially useful for Jeanie because it makes her functional again). They build a fire (figuring it'll stop any errant birds). After they've done that, they take stock.

They can't leave, obviously, and they're facing a creature that's fast, mobile, and deadly (and is toying with them). They decide to check the master bedroom and the basement, since they didn't look in either place and there might have been something they missed.

The basement doesn't tell them much - it's not furnished per se, just some loose carpet and a folded-up ping pong table. The master bedroom has some pills on the nightstand, and a safe in the closet, which Jeanie opens. Inside, they find a pistol (which Blake takes) and paperwork, including the deed to the house, marriage license, death certificate from Loomis' wife, that kind of thing. Annie takes pictures of it all and then goes to put it back, and he appears in the closet behind her.

He slams the door shut, but Annie tackles him (Colossal success!), knocking him through the sliding doors and onto his back. She then tries to hit him, but gets a Botch, so winds up on him but with a sickle aimed at her head. The others step in, though, hitting him with various pieces of fireplace end-irons (Blake shoots at him, but misses). Willa grabs his sickle and wrenches it out of his hand, and he vanishes again. He reappears a moment later on the bed, carrying a pitchfork, and moves to throw it. Willa runs over and stabs him with the sickle, ripping his guts open. Blake promptly loses his lunch, but Jeanie and Annie keep it together and strike him with blunt instruments (Jeanie had grabbed a mop because she's proficient at staff-fighting).

The creature stabs Willa in the shoulder with the pitchfork, and she goes into shock, just registering that it's happening. Jeanie, in a moment of inspiration, grabs the deed and starts heading down the stairs to the fireplace. The creature appears on the stairs, and Jeanie jumps the bannister, but it stabs her through the ankle and she crashes to the floor (Major Injury). She starts picking her way over to the fireplace, but it appears in front of her.

The others head downstairs, of course. Willa charges and pins it up against the wall, and Annie grabs the pitchfork and drives it into the thing's chest. It slumps forward and goes limp, and Blake drivers a poker into its eye-socket (not wanting to take chances). But it stays inert. Everyone kind of calms down, and Jeanie and Willa, badly injured but in shock, start feeling the effects. They take painkillers that they found around, and Annie calls Darnell to get him out there.

They have an hour or so to wait, so while Willa and Jeanie sit on the couch feeling floating, Blake and Annie drag the corpse to the firepit outside and burn it. It goes up quickly, and the crows gradually fly off.

Darnell arrives and does the treatment that he can, but he tells them that Jeanie needs a hospital and probably some pins in her ankle. They head out, and send in another team to sweep the area.

Earl's binoculars are discovered in the woods, not far from the fence separating his land from the logging company. There's a bullet hole in them, and a bloodstain on the far side of the garage. It looks like he was shot, dragged himself back to the house, and slumped against the wall. The other SAVE envoys (like, the ones that didn't get played) note that the sketch in his book looks like the description they got of "xaxog," the creature responsible for the events on the University of Idaho campus.

Annie gives the police a story about going to check in on a former client (she helped Loomis handle the estate when his wife passed) and finding the place trashed. The police look into the matter, and that includes looking into an incident three months ago where five loggers were fired on the same day.

The envoys, meanwhile, get to rest. We'll see what the next case holds.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Night's Black Agents: End of an Op (among other things)

Yesterday we ended an op in Night's Black Agents, but you know that because you read the title of this post and you're a smart person who can...know things.

(I'm tired and my ankle hurts and I'm running Chill in a few hours bear with me.)

Anyway! Last time the agents had taken over the prison transport plane that they were on. Now they're headed over the Faroe Islands, and they realize that they have just enough fuel to get to the mainland, but the pilots dumped a bunch before the agents breached the cockpit. And, of course, they're being tracked.

Gambone disables the transponder with Parker's help, and the agents talk about their options. They could do a water landing, but that leaves several hostages and of course the emergency rafts don't have oars and do have trackers. They could try and fly somewhere else and land on a highway or an open field, but the second they enter a country's airspace they're going to get noticed and probably followed.

Parker digs up their personal effects so that everything has their Symbol back (Stability was gettin' kinda low, there), and then wonders if the agents' stuff has been tagged or bugged - it's happened before. She and Hanover rig up a sweeper and check the stuff, and find that it's not bugged...but the transponder is still sending a signal. She checks the box and finds that the wires have been jiggered with, but it's still transmitting. She calls Gambone out, who protests that he just made a mistake, but she uses Bullshit Detector and, well, smells bullshit. She also remembers him tackling Hanover at the docks before they all got captured, and then figures it - he's sold them out.

Ess draws down on Gambone and they lock him into a seat. They question him a bit and he reveals that the conspiracy made him a deal - they just want Hanover and they'll let the rest of the group walk. Ess smacks him on the head, but the exertion opens his wounds and Ess passes out. This leaves MacAteer (flying the plane), Parker, and Hanover to discuss their options. They decide that Gambone is too much of a liability to leave alive - if they do, the conspiracy will turn him. Gambone opines that Hanover might be able to shoot him, but it would be too much for Parker's "British sensibilities."

Parker laughs. She used to do wetwork for MI5.

They decide, though, that Hanover is going to shoot him, but Gambone gets the drop on him (opening his bonds and snitching Ess' gun) and shoots Hanover's gun out of his hand, and then tackling him. Hanover grabs for his piece (if Hanover can get a gun, this is over because Shooting is his MOS), but then Parker comes up behind him and shoots him. Gambone is dead. Parker loses a great deal of Stability for killing a teammate; flying the plane is now pretty much up to MacAteer and Hanover, and they have about 3 points in Pilot left between them.

The group decides to cross into Sweden and find a nice farm to land on, but the second they cross into Norwegian airspace they get a jet behind them. MacAteer, fortunately, speaks Norwegian and tells the pilot that due to a mechanical error they've lost fuel pressure and need to land. The Norwegians obligingly direct them to a nearby airport and agree to help talk them down. That's no good; the second they land, they're back in custody.

They decide to do something risky - crash-land into the ocean. MacAteer puts the plane down in the surf. The pilot and co-pilot survive, as does one of the conspiracy guards, Parker, Hanover, and MacAteer. The other "clean" guard, one of the conspiracy guards, and Ess...do not. (Ess is already wounded, and the crash does just enough damage to kill him.)

They inflate the raft and grab Ess' body, and give the other raft to the pilots, but let the conspiracy guard sink. They quickly pull off the tracker and throw it into the surf, and then cover the raft with fire blankets to mask the color. They rig together oars and start paddling like crazy for Norway.

They hit the fjords a few hours later, blend into the countryside (they have their clothes, fortunately, so they don't have to wander around in prison garb), steal a car, and head for Sweden. They find a little tiny town and Parker contacts Sigge Carlsson, a friend of hers formerly of Swedish intelligence who's now a bit of conspiracy theorist and who can hook them up with a place to stay. She also puts in a call to a fixer and asset handler from Turkey name Polat Firinci - the agents are going to need help and the three survivors have tapped their assets pretty thoroughly.

The conspiracy thinks they're dead (their Hot Lead hit 10 when they crossed into Sweden), but they've lost two members, their science backup, all of their gear, and most of their intel. They need a plan...but that's next op.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Character Creation: Changeling: The Dreaming 20th

I mean, sure. I have some time right now, but I need to do something I'm familiar with, and people are getting their copies of Changeling in the mail so it's coming up in my various feeds.

The Game: Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition
The Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: Very yes. I developed this edition and I ran the previous ones pretty extensively. You can see other thoughts on the game and its development if you click the "changeling: the dreaming" tag on this post.
Books Required: Just the one.

OK, so! We start with Step One: Concept. I...don't know, really. I wasn't planning on this today. I think I need a theme song. Ooh, I got one.


I love this song, and it's perhaps more easily evocative of Promethean than Changeling, but I've done my two Promethean characters already and I think this would make a nice song for a sluagh. I played a childling sluagh with True Faith once upon a time, and that was lovely (Matthias was one of my favorite characters), but this time I think I want to lean more toward the romantic side of things, because love is a really fertile ground for dreams to grow in and hey, this is Changeling.

Anyway. The song, to me, is about people finding each other in strange and perhaps unpleasant circumstances and recognizing that they can have and enjoy their love even if how they got here was...maybe a bit wrong.

So I need a little more. My sluagh is pretty clearly a wilder (seeming in C20 isn't based on physical age, but even so I think wilder fits). I think I want him to be in his early or mid-20s. I also think I want him to be in love with a ghost. Sluagh can see them. His lady-love died some 80 years ago, and has only a few tethers to this mortal coil (Fetters, if we're reading Wraith), but she's found some burning Passion in this dark, whispery poet. Of course, what my sluagh doesn't know is that he reminds her of a love long dead, and sooner or later she'll either pass on or lose her last Fetter and fade away into the Shadowlands.

On the mortal side of things, my sluagh is a florist. He took the job after college (he has an associate's degree, but the experience was so Banal he barely got through it intact), and arranges bouquets and so forth for funerals and anniversaries and so forth.

He's pretty clearly Seelie. His Dominant Legacy is...hmm. I'd be tempted to take Orchid, but I did that for the character I made for Changeling 2nd Ed (who was also inspired by a Hozier song, as it happens). I think I'll say Saint. That'll be good for some angst (maybe Angst) down the road. For his Unseelie Legacy, I'll take Wretch. When this guy bottoms out, he bottoms out.

Step Two: Traits. Starting with Attributes, standard OWoD arracy, 7/5/3. Well, I know I want Physical tertiary, so I'll dump all three dots into Dexterity. Social can be primary because that's a twist for a sluagh, so I'll put three into Charisma and four into Manipulation, leaving Appearance at 1. Mental is secondary, so I'll put two each into Intelligence and Wits and one into Perception (he's a sluagh, they're pretty perceptive anyway).

Abilities! 13/9/5 is our spread and I can't take over 3 in any one trait here.

OK, Talents are primary. Two in Alertness, two in Athletics, three each in Empathy and Expression, two in Kenning and one in Subterfuge. Skills are tertiary, I just want three in Crafts, one in Drive, one in Etiquette...no actually, I'll move the one in Drive to Stealth. And then in Knowledges, I'll put two in Academics, one in Computer, and three into Enigmas and Gremayre. Cool.

Step Three: Advantages. Backgrounds, Arts, and Realms. Well, for Backgrounds, I want Resources (his job as a florist, one dot). I'll take a dot of Remembrance, and I'll take two in Dreamers (he has regulars who come in to buy flowers). One more dot. I'll take Holdings and say that the flower shop has, over time, become a tiny Freehold.

Arts, then. I just get 3 dots. Spring feels appropriate for this character, as does Oneiromancy. I'll take a dot in Autumn, too, just because he is a sluagh.

And then Realms. I have a feeling I'll be spending some freebies here, because I need Nature 3 to affect plants and Fae 4 to affect ghosts. I'll just go ahead and put 3 in Nature and 2 in Fae, for the moment.

Step Four: Tempers. This is easy. 3 Banality, 4 Glamour, 4 Willpower, and one more to spend in either of those two. I'll put it in Glamour.

Step Five: Birthrights & Frailties. These are just from my kith, so I'll just write 'em in.

Step Six: Freebie Points. I get 15 freebies, plus any I get from Flaws. Let's check those!

Well, I want Soft-Hearted (2 pt Flaw), and the True Love 1pt Merit. Those are the only ones that appeal, so that's a net of 16 freebies left. I'll put Fae up to 4 (costing me 4). I'll buy up Gremayre to 4, and then buy an extra dot of Glamour and Willpower. That puts me up to 8 spent, 8 left. I'll buy a third dot of Perception, leaving me three. I'll take a dot in Prop (my affinity Realm) and another dot in Remembrance.

Step Seven: Specialities. I get Specialties in any Attribute or Ability with 4 dots or more. I'll specialize Gremayre in Ghosts, Dexterity in Nimble, Charisma in Hopeful, and Manipulation in Florid.

Step Eight: Threshold and Antithesis. Well, my Musing Threshold is pretty obviously Create Love. My antithesis, though. I think it should tie into his Legacy somehow. "Allowing someone in love to suffer alone" triggers Banality for him.

Step Nine: Spark of Life! All the rest of the stuff.

This sluagh's name is Ashley O'Dell. He refuses to go by "Ash"; he thinks that makes him sound more masculine than he is. Ashley is pretty soft in his appearance and presentation. He's pale, his lips are so thin they barely seem to be there at all if he's not smiling...but he's often smiling, which is worse because his teeth are crooked and yellowed. His hair does not cooperate, it's black and stringy, and he basically keeps it full of product. He dresses in black most of the time, but wears a green apron at work and somehow it clashes. He hates jewelry; metal makes him itch.

Ashley's lady-love is a wraith named Lily. She died decades ago of some disease (Ashley doesn't know and Lily finds it painful to discuss it). She can meet him in dreams and they can interact there, and in dreams she looks about his age, with black hair and fair skin, except, y'know, pretty.

And I think that's it!