Monday, March 26, 2018

Character Creation: 1001 Nights

I'm on spring break this week. I'm gonna try to do a character every day. If I can manage that, I'll be four weeks ahead of myself (remember I'm trying to do one character a week; right now I'm a couple behind).

As always, I'm happy to take requests. The list is here. For today, though:

The Game: 1001 Nights
The Publisher: Night Sky Games
Degree of Familiarity: None, I just read it.
Books Required: Just the one.

1001 Nights has some similarity to A Tragedy in Five Acts; it's about metanarrative, but also about the story of Scheherazade and the Arab culture in which that story happens. The game encourages tailoring the evening to fit the game and gives a bunch of suggestions about what kinds of food and drink would go with it. The opening to the game also includes this lovely sentiment:


Without meaning to wax poetic, learning about other cultures provides insight into our own, showing us what we take for granted and how it might be different. RPGs can present a way to gain that insight, and I think games like 1001 Nights (or New Fire, or Edhrigor, or even Cartel, if you think about it) can present some of that insight. And we could talk about the dangers of writing about a culture if you're not from that culture, or about the fact that white American dudes like me might find it easier to make up a culture than to cast a critical eye on their own, but we don't need to do that today.

Anywhichway, in making a character here we're making a Courtier, a character who at some point during the evening gets to be the GM (rather, the storyteller) and cast the other Courtiers as characters within a story. I like that idea a whole lot; I actually did something very much like this some years back when I ran a Deadlands Xmas special in which the PCs were listening to a Russian fable and took on roles within it.

Be that as it may, my first job here is to choose a general concept. There's a list, and one of the options is "the Falconer," which I really like, so that's my Courtier. Next up I need a name and a rough age. My falconer's name is Cassim, and he's a young man. I could give him a last name, but I don't think it's necessary. Oh, actually, I'll say he's called Cassim al-Walid (the newcomer) - the old falconer found him during a hunt and took him on as an apprentice.

Now I give my character "flesh," by putting down a sentence for each of five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch). These don't have to be the senses I engender; "hearing" could be something about how I hear or how I sound, f'rex.

Hearing: My voice cracks if I become angry or embarrassed
Sight: I am often staring at something miles away
Smell: The scent of fresh meat repulses me
Taste: My lips taste of honey
Touch: My fingers are light and deft

Next I'm to consider clothes. I think Cassim wears a red kaftan, though it's now fading a bit (it's old; his mentor gave it to him). He wears a thick leather glove on his right hand when he's training or working with the birds, and he wears a white taqiyah (working around birds, it's good to wear a hat).

Next I'd note down what I Envy about the other Courtiers, but it's just me so I'll skip that. My Ambition can key off an Envy, but it can also key off a sense, so I'll do that. Cassim's Ambition is to become respected, steady, and well-regarded - to speak with authority (that is, his voice doesn't crack anymore).

And for purposes of chargen, that seems to be it!