DFRPG : Beginning Characters

In the DFRPG series, we’re going to follow a group of new players – The Bad Batch – as they explore a completely new system and world.  We are working through the Fate-driven Dresden Files Role Playing Game.  This was especially exciting for me as I have read every Dresden Files book and consider the series to be a favorite of mine.

As a player, I put (often pretty outlandish amounts of-) effort into making every character I play.  By the time the dice hit the table, I have usually invested several hours at least into developing the character’s personality, history and equipment and will usually have some props to show for it.  I have literal closets full of props and costumes and journals and books that I have carved, created, written or plastered and pasted together for RP characters over the years of LARPing, table-toping and whatever other game-related hobbies the team drags home.  The Ginger loves this – she’s just thrilled every time she goes to put something in a closet to find it filled with PVC clubs and crates of glue sticks.

Usually my character obsession takes the form of a journal or bound book for fantasy type characters – but I’ve built my fair share of FBI surveillance files or police reports / arrest records for modern-day.  I enjoy putting this extra effort into making a character to make them unique and memorable.

Last night’s gaming session of Dresden Files Role Playing Game marked the second night of character creation for that game and that pains me to say.  I am not impatient when it comes to character creation at all (as outlined above) but really by the time I hit the gaming table I like to have all of that done and by the end of the first session in any system, I’m ready to start squashing some nasties.

Thus far my impression of Fate is that is not the norm.  The hours I would spend on my own time making a character special to me is instead built into the character creation process at the table with the other players.    There is an option for “on the fly” creation, but that seemed to not be the recommended means for first-time players like us.  So heading into the third session we will start building the city and the “faces”.

The concept character that I have is Touched by Power – he is an initiate Champion of God who has been fighting against his fate (and his faith) for over 100 years.  Part of the contract he has with the angel Azrael keeps him alive as long as he keeps actively searching for the sword he lost.  He lives and works in a homeless shelter in Saint Louis and works closely with the church there.

Name: Jeremiah Solomon Asher
High Concept Aspect: Washed-up Champion of God
Trouble Aspect: The Denarians Have His Achilles Heel

The High Concept Aspect is a result of his back story.  He was born in 1899 and discovered a 4th “Sword of the Cross” in a desert in Cairo while on an archaeological dig.  Until the 1940’s he was a Knight of the Cross and Champion of God working directly for/with the Angel of Retribution – Azrael.  During World War II he was drafted into the US Army where he met and fell in love with an Italian Woman.  She was captured by the Denarians and they bartered her safe return for the Sword of the Cross (actually a Spear in his case).  He willingly gave up the spear and the Church refused to help him get it back.  He’s still a Champion of God but he’s got some baggage.  The Champion bit is invoke-able by the player pretty easily – just as the Champion of God concept would be – and the Washed-Up component is invoke-able by Drip Dry pretty easily.

The Trouble Aspect certainly complicates his High Aspect!  They’ve got his Lady Love and his Spear – and he would do just about anything to protect both of those things.  But it is Invoke-able by the player any time his limits are being tested – there is not much an enemy could do to him that could top what has already been done.  And clearly invoke-able by the game master as his weakness – and his failure – weighs heavily on him.

Other Aspects:

Hatchet-Man for the Angel of Retribution

He is 114 years old because he is marked by the Angel of Retribution – granting him the extra years he needs to get vengeance on the Denarians and redeem his Lady Love and recover the Spear.  In exchange for this long life – and shot at Retribution – he does wet work for the Angel of Retribution – Azrael.  This has a certain amount of Intimidation factor to anyone in the know that could be invoked by the player to gain knowledge or scare others.

Headed to America, the Steam-Ship Ended Up in Cairo

An Important part of his back-story involved spending some of his youth in Australia.  He stowed away on a ship he thought was headed for American Ports that was, instead, bound for Egypt.  This Aspect represents the fact that his life has never really been his own – every action is guided by a higher power.  To his mind, though, this was a tragedy – he wanted to go to America and he’s in Egypt instead.  So this is invoke-able by the player any time I’d make a mistake – I could invoke this to turn the mistake around into something Jeremiah was meant to do.  The Game Master can invoke any time he wants Jeremiah to make a different choice.

Trust Me, It is Better When I Don’t Know

This aspect is about faith.  I can use it any time Jeremiah is headed blind into a situation, but the game master can use this to force Jeremiah into situations where he has know idea what is going on.  Take it on Faith, Jeremiah.

Sarge always said “Piss Poor Planning Produces Piss Poor Performance” and Jeremiah Really Took That To Heart

It’s wordy, but I think it gets the point across.  Planning is key to the character – these two almost became my Primary and Trouble Attributes because they do conflict a bit, but it is that conflict that makes Jeremiah who he is.  Invoke-able by the player when I can take the time to prepare for a situation – but invoke-able by the game master when I just simply do not have the time to plan.

Macguiver Doesn’t Have Shit On Jeremiah Asher

This one speaks for itself.  Without his Spear, he still has to face off against enemies that have him outnumbered, outgunned and otherwise totally outmatched.  But he gets out of every scrape through improvising.  I can use this whenever Jeremiah is in a situation where he needs to get creative on his way out – and the game master can use it to force him into those situations.

Skills: We had 25 skill points to work with. This was almost as hard as my Aspects!

Great [+4]:

Athletics – Everything I am reading about the system says that as a Melee Character, the Athletics is probably the most important skill.  So without getting too min-max-y I’ve made this my highest skill.

Conviction – Important for a number of reasons to the character, it is one of the Musts of his Template.

Good [+3]:

Resources (Forged Papers) –  As a 114 year old homeless man, he has had to collect identities, papers, and licenses for himself just to get by.  I’m going for something of a “Dean Winchester” vibe with the character – so a glove compartment full of fake ID’s is a big part of that.

Weapons – As a Melee character, Weapons was important.   Plus years of swinging the Spear gave him a certain advantage in this over even the marksmanship the USArmy tried to teach him.

Fair [+2]:

Endurance – Sometimes, Jeremiah has to run away.  Sometimes, he has to stay and fight.  Either way, he is going to be in it to win it.

Alertness – Years of being outmatched has put his head on a swivel.

Guns – Learned in the military – honed through years as Azrael’s hatchet man

Average [+1]: 

Survival – I really wanted this one to be higher, but there simply was not room in the tower for it.

Discipline – He has conviction, but years of misery and anger has left him pretty undisciplined.  But the work that Sarge did in the Army was not totally lost.

Investigation – Used to search for references to or signs of his missing spear.  He knows it is out there, somewhere.

Contacts – Low because they are mostly homeless or priests.

Stunts and Powers:  We are running “Up to our Waist” for a total Refresh of 7.  With the below Powers, Jeremiah has an Adjusted Refresh of 1.

Touched by Power [- 1] –  A Deal With Death

In the mythology I’m using, Ezra was a mortal man who ascended into heaven without tasting the “taint of death’s touch” – becoming the Angel Azrael.  He is the Angel of Death and Retribution and the patron of Jeremiah – making a deal with him that he’d keep death away until Jeremiah could redeem himself and reclaim the Spear he lost, in return Jeremiah must do some “wet” work for him.

Bless This House [-1]
Guide My Hand [-1]
Holy Touch [-1]
Righteousness [-2]

This is all still very preliminary – merely a view into the beginning phases of the game creation.

That’s all for now – we’ll get into the knitty-gritty in a few weeks when city creation hits full swing.  Hopefully the session after that we will actually be able to start smashing some nasties!

Roll high and have fun.

– Thirdwaller

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