Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Character Creation: Ten Candles

RPGaDay2017 is underway!


Unlike last year, I don't think I'm gonna do it here; August is just too crazy to blog every day between GenCon and going back to school. So what I'll do instead is do it over on my Facebook profile and then I'll collect it all when I'm done, at the end of the month.

For now, however:

The Game: Ten Candles
The Publisher: Cavalry Games
Degree of Familiarity: None; I've read it.
Books Required: Just the one.

So, I admit to some mild salt, here, because Ten Candles bears more than a passing resemblance to curse the darkness. I don't say that to suggest that Stephen Dewey cribbed from me; I don't even know that he even knew about curse the darkness, necessarily. The similarities aren't so blatant as to make me think "there's no way that's not influenced by!"

No, the reason I'm salty is because Ten Candles is so much damn better realized than curse the darkness, both in terms of production values and marketing. I mean, look at this damn page. That's a lot more people there giving positive blurbs than I think have ever played my game if I'm not there to run it.

Anyway, I'd be really interested to play Ten Candles at some point, but for now I'm just gonna make a character. No character sheets (the game uses index cards).

So, 10 days ago the world went dark, and there are creatures out in the darkness. The creatures don't have names, survivors just refer to Them. (See what I mean?) We start out making characters by creating a Virtue and a Vice. Normally what would happen is that all the players would make up one of each and write them on index cards, then we'd pass them on so you wind up with traits you didn't choose. I like that, but since it's just me I'm gonna choose my own traits.

OK, sure. So, for Virtue I'm gonna choose Level-headed. I want someone who can stay calm in a crisis. For Vice, I'll take Injured. (A note: "vice" is kind of misnomer, because all it means in game terms is that it's going to cause more problems that it solves.)

Next step is to read the module, which is just the scenario that you're playing through. Since Ten Candles is, of necessity, a one-shot (and everyone dies at the end), modules are pretty ground-level. The module isn't dreadfully important as far as this character creation goes, though.

So, step three is concept. Here's where I'd take the traits I got and synthesize them. I'll say my character is man in his early 50s. He's not a soldier or a doctor or anything cool; he's a parent (kids are grown and he dearly hopes they're OK, but rather suspects they aren't) and he's just generally decent at keeping his shit together. Yesterday he was walking into a destroyed storefront and he slipped and tore a muscle. Nothing heroic, nothing dramatic, just missed his footing, and it's probably going to kill him. His name is Albert Drusinski, but his friends call him "Droos."

Next step is my Moment. This is a scene or a beat in which the character finds hope. I think for Albert, it'll be "I will find hope in the pool hall where I hung out with my friends." I like the notion that Droos shoots pool with his buddies every night.

Next up is Brink. Now, again, normally I wouldn't write my own Brink, but since it's just me I'll go ahead and do it. Brink is what a character is pushed to or capable of because of the trauma of the world crumbling around them. So, I'll pretend someone wrote one for Albert that goes: "I've seen you hit yourself. You stood there crying silently and then you slapped yourself really hard three times and whispered 'get it together.'"

And that's really it. If we were really playing, we'd assemble these cards into a stack, top card is the active card (huh, that's another curse the darkness similarity, actually), and then suss out inventory, which is just what you as player have in your pockets.

Again, though, no character sheet, so that's about it!