Listening to: If I Had You – Adam Lambert
The bulk of the night went to character creation, as one might expect. While the options are sparse in some ways–only three cultures and three races, with the latter being either Human or incredibly specific other thing–they’re almost sprawling in other ways. Complications and Talents add enough texture to the game that I had everyone text me theirs so I can keep them in my notes. A couple of the complications even came up once we’d started the game rolling.
Everyone had really great backstories. They are mercenaries flying the airship Rum Runner. Going from who sat to my right at the table and around to my left:
Chrissy is a Victorian Vigilante (a la the song) named Novella Reed-Brooks, who fights crime under the moniker Penny Dreadful and uses bartitsu with a parasol instead of a cane. We referred to her as Batman continually, although she has no dead relatives. Instead, she escaped the Change Cage city she was born in to avoid law enforcement and her much-more-terrifying mother finding out about her nocturnal activities. One of my favourite things about her is that Chrissy took the Proper Sensibilities complication, which I call “pearl-clutching.”
Jared’s character is an interesting gymnastic move in character creation. A peeler (automata law enforcement) with a doll (prostitute) model body whose job it was to bring back those who escaped the CCCs, essentially an undercover retrieval agent. Her name is Viva-3. In pursuing Novella, she took a liking to the vigilante and decided to aid and join her instead of taking her back.
Nick is the captain, a former IAN officer inexplicably named Shadow Pico. Shae for short. When he saw that only upper class men can have that background, he gave her a gender-masquerade backstory ended in infamy due to his Kirk-inspired complication, Constantly Loses Shirt. Due to this, she is also a legendarily disgraced Public Figure, so she’ll be sure to run into some trouble in CCCs. Luckily for me, she is also a Narcissist, which played coincidentally well with my first major NPC.
I shouldn’t pick favourites, but I’m a book nerd, so Gama’s character is kind of my favourite. Victor is an upper-class-born Misbegotten who got out of his CCC right away and ran into the crew of the Ophelia, who are in possession of a Chrononautilus. They went back to, let’s say the rainy summer of 1816. He was hit by a lightning gun in a fight and afterwards met–perhaps was rescued and nursed by–Mary Shelley. She misunderstood his story, but as he said, he got an autographed book out of it. Later, he broke with the crew of the Ophelia and ended up with this crew.
All of them have great names. Ethan’s is Robert “Scrimshaw” Gale, a Skyfolk Inventor who drinks like a fish. Or Captain America. There’s little chance of him getting drunk unless he really tries. But he is scruffy and one of his particular skills is building stills and apparently he keeps up with others of similar interest. He’s also the kind of everyman who relates to each person he meets and responds to most situations with a Yes.
The group backstory is that each of the PCs was recruited by Mr Phil Onion, a crippled boatswain with an enigmatic nature. He set them all up at a boardinghouse, and found a ship and crew. He’s basically a Coulson. Everyone loves him and he made a lot of groundwork things happen. His motives have not yet been revealed.
Seriously, everyone legitimately warmed to this character and kind of created him together in a storm of laughter and conversation. I was explaining that the crew is made of regular guys but they can individualise them. Maybe play poker or Cripple Mr Onion. I am the only one who reads the Discworld, so I had to explain it, but by then it had been misheard and we all decided that Mr Onion was the go-to crewman and that he had even brought them all together. Like Coulson.
That’s what I’m going for with most of the NPCs. Genuine emotional connection. I love that lady, I hate that guy. To me, it’s one of the reasons to play Airship Pirates.
Looks like I’ll have to talk about the actual session in another post.