Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Characters for 'Into the Blood Wood'

I reread these characters for a game I never ran at Relaxicon 2010 and decided to post it here-


To recover and bury the bones of lost friends- You could not go, before. The farm needed tending, and your parents needed you. The fence needed repair, and the south-pasture, ditching. But your Pa passed a few years back, and your Ma, just yesterday; and all you could think about, through the service, was how the friends of your youth went south, without you, and never came back… You are Horse

Horse is not an adventurer; he has no wish to go to strange lands, meet strange people, kill them and loot their bodies. He is like the farmers, in The Magnificent Seven or The Seven Samurai, or any of a hundred remakes of those two great movies. He isn't married, except to the land, his families' farm. He did, once, consider going adventuring, with his friends, and he only regrets not going with them, not the not going. He is a widower and has no living family, now that his Ma has passed; he is free to go, and come back, if he can...

Horse is a strapping big plowman, who likes a pipe, a good riddle, and a pint of bitters by the fire, of an evening. He is quiet and holds his counsel, but he is a deep thinker, slowly turning over a problem, like a field to be plowed.

Give me a clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and three hours march to dinner- and then to thinking. -William Hazlit

His favorite passage from the Lives of the Servants of the Goddess, is based on this bit from the bible-

'…the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.' Psalms 65:12-13


[Villagers tell Chris they collected everything of value in their village to hire gunmen]
Chris Adams (moved): I have been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.


You've got to have Faith!

In service to your Goddess- Called to serve, to witness for your faith and win the day for Good, your path has led you here, to these companions, on this quest. You are Gods-touched, ever since a fever, as a child, left you prone to visions and opened you to the possibilities… You are Faith

Faith is red-haired and green eyed, a daughter of the land, of the Goddess. She is a paladin, with the scars and healed bones of the hard service she loves so dearly; still young, but beginning to get old. She is based on the female paladin, Paksennarion, the Sheepfarmers' Daughter, from the excellent fantasy series by Elizabeth Moon, the books gathered together in The Deed of Paksennarion. TDoP is my favorite serious fantasy series (The Discworld books are silly, and full of insight into the human condition; I love them just as dearly, but in a different way…). Faith is also based, a little, on Faith from Buffy (just a little), and a female bodyguard, Balsa, from the wonderful anime, Moribito, which revisits, for me, the question of whether the good of the one outweighs the good of the many; do you save the boy, or the kingdom? If you are a hero, you turn yourself inside out, and spill blood, to do both!

'…the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.' Psalms 65:12-13

The local church is a fertility cult; the words to the marriage service are- 'Go, now, lie together, and bring forth children, of the land…"

I want to shine on you, and always, like the dazzling sun,
I will defend you, from all the darkness,
This is the truth from my heart.

-Shine, opening song from Moribito-

Chico: But who made us the way we are, huh? Men with guns. Men like Calvera, and men like you... and now me.

Calvera: If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep!
(Faith is the shepherdess (Shepherd Book), not with a crook or sling to guard her flock, but the blessing of the Goddess, and cold steel! (@Lee- 'Onward Brinnian Soldiers!' 8-))

Hilario: Even if we had the guns, we know how to plant and grow, we don't know how to kill.
Old Man: Then learn, or die!


To redeem cowardice- You ran, and left your comrades to die, years ago; you came home to the silence of the village, and crawled into a bottle. Now you can lead a team into the Blood Wood, and make right what once went so horribly wrong… You are Snake

When he came out of the Blood Wood, he knew that he would be hanged, if caught, and sure enough, he was. But the Old King was a clever man, and ruthless. He pardoned Snake and, far from being made an outlaw, he placed the King's Peace on him… strange mercy, indeed. Snake is wiry, tough. Skinny from years of alcoholism, consumption and bad diet. But the fire still burns, and he's still supernaturally quick. He is going to the Blood Wood, to die.

Hilario: The feeling I felt in my chest this morning, when I saw Calvera run away from us, that's a feeling worth dying for. Have you ever felt something like that?
Vin: Not for a long, long time. I envy you.

Lee: Yes. The final supreme idiocy. Coming here to hide. The deserter hiding out in the middle of a battlefield.


To do your duty to the Crown- The Old King decreed the quarantine, and for all of your adult life, you've kept it. But this morning the Queen fell under the 'evil shadow', and the King gave you leave to gather a team of malcontents and heroes, to make one more attempt on the Blood Wood. You are the Kings' Man, and will do his will, whatever it takes. You are Blackstaff

Blackstaff is a burnt-out old veteran, with nothing left but his duty, and his secret love for the Queen (or King!). He will do whatever it takes. A Royal Bastard? Hard to be sure, but that was one rumor. That would make him half-brother to the King. He had a young wife, once, but she ran off with a bard. Blackstaff doesn't like bards.

Vin: We deal in lead, friend.

Harry Luck: [Dying words] Well, I'll be damned.
Chris Adams: Maybe you won't be.


To save a lover from herself- 'The Sorrows', a wasting sickness of the heart and mind, which leaves its victims listless and unresponsive, has taken your true love, and you know that the cure lies in the Blood Wood, in the Pool of Sorrows; it has to! You are Romeo

Romeo is young and quick to anger. Good with a blade, too, but always running off to get into trouble and needing rescue.

"Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind." -The Princess Bride

Hilario: Very young, and very proud.
Chris: Well, the graveyards are full of boys who were very young, and very proud.


To find the cure for 'The Sorrows'- You are a great healer, but even you are no match for the wasting disease. Now your daughter is cursed with TS, and the only thing you can think to do is to cross the quarantine line, a hanging offense, into the Blood Wood, and find some answers… You are Doc

Doc is more thoughtful, but no less determined. He has a few tricks up his sleeves, as a loremaster and a herbalist; this is the young healer from Moribito, Balsa's 'Wife', but quite a bit older.

"As you wish!" -The Princess Bride

Village Boy 2: We're ashamed to live here. Our fathers are cowards.
O'Reilly: Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there's nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That's why I never even started anything like that... that's why I never will.

Very General Outline/Timeline for the Relaxicon (or any single-shot) Games-
1st Hour- What happens first and/or my goals as GM
2nd Hour- Rising Tension; how can I mess with my players?
3rd Hour- Big Fight/Obstacle to overcome, or otherwise resolve...
Cleanup; bring it on home!

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