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One you've been waiting for:

The Game: Geist: The Sin-Eaters
The Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Well, my name's in the credits but I've not had a proper playtest yet.
Books Required: Geist: The Sin Eaters and the World of Darkness Rulebook

I'd write a preamble, but I'd have a hard time being objective. I know I want to do something different, and I'm considering turning away from the thinkers that characterise many other characters. I want someone who can kick ass and take names; someone tortured by the randomness of death who finally has the power to do something about it.

One thing to note: I'm not going into krewes. I know, I know, that could seem like a cop-out. But the thing is, doing this on my tod means I can't make a proper krewe. Not yet, at least.

The first four steps are the same as any other World of Darkness character, so let's tackle those first.

Step One: Choose Concept
Everyone who becomes a Sin-Eater was touched by death in some way or other. Other thing to note, it's been too long since I last made a female character. I could go down the typical road, but bollocks to that. Kit Rayner always had weird and vivid dreams, like when old Mr. Patterson told her what he'd really done to Jimmy Marsden all those years ago. Benjamin Patterson had been dead six years, but Kit's dad was a cop and on a hunch he trusted his daughter when she said that he had to look in the basement of the old Patterson place. He went into the basement like she said, and two days later a fire destroyed the whole building. The police didn't find any evidence of arson, but they did find the bones of Jimmy Marsden so his parents could give him a proper burial.

Kit was always a tomboy, and took up karate when she was nine years old. She stuck with it, enjoying the focus of hard work as a distraction from her dreams. In her sophmore year, she made her high school's track team; about the best sporting achievement possible for a girl who'd rather die than be a cheerleader. That fast-tracked her onto a sports scholarship at Penn State.

Her dad died six months after Kit started college. He'd got caught in the crossfire between two gangs. Returning home for the funeral, she made sure to take his spare revolver back with her, fearing what'd happen to her mom. That funeral really drove it home to her: dreaming about dead people didn't do dick to help her deal with actual, tangible death. She drank herself to sleep every night for the next two months, trying to fill the sudden hollow void in her soul. Four months after he died, her mom had a bad stroke. The ambulance took four hours to arrive, thanks to a Midtown pile-up. Kit barely had a chance to hold her mother's hand as she lay in the hospital bed and breathed her last.

Kit lasted thirteen days as a barely-functional alcoholic before she put her daddy's old revolver to her head and pulled the trigger.

Step Two: Select Attributes
I'm thinking Kit got into college on an athletics scholarship, but was bright enough to stay on. Physical primary, Mental secondary, Social tertiary.

Physically, I see her as being tougher and quicker than normal. Two points into Dexterity and Stamina, one into Strength. Mentally, I drop two dots into Intelligence and Wits both. Looking at Social now, I'm thinking she's always been a bit weird, a combination of odd looks and sleep deprivation. Nothing in Presence, one in Manipulation, and two in Composure.

Step Three: Select Skills
Mixing things up, here. Physical remains primary, but this time Mental's tertiary and Social secondary.

Physically, she's on an athletics scholarship so I drop three dots in that. She got into normal sports by way of karate and judo, and she's had excuses to put her skills to use, so I drop two points into Brawl. Her daddy taught her some tricks for driving stick, and how to shoot a gun: one point in Drive, two in Firearms. She's naturally aware of who might notice her and how to avoid that notice (Stealth 2) and has spent plenty of nights sleeping off a heavy one on the Park Bench Hilton (Survival 1).

Socially, she's not afraid of physically confronting people and threatening violence (Intimidation 2), and she knows what other people—especially other drunks—want to hear (Empathy 1). She had an on-again off-again thing with a sorority girl called Lola shortly after starting college, during which Kit learned to behave whether people expect black-tie and ball-gowns or loud music and cheap booze (Socialize 2). She's learned enough from occasionaly sleeping rough to avoid getting mugged, killed, or worse (Streetwise 1). With the last dot, I think back. Kit's been covering up what she's actually encountering most nights, and that's made her a passable liar (Subterfuge 1).

Mental skills are a sight easier. I give her a dot of Academics from school, a dot of Investigation from her father, and two dots of Occult—one from trying to work out her dreams, and one gained after she came back.

Step Four: Select Skill Specialties
Oookay. Three to go. Athletics gets "Triathlon", because that's what she was in training for. She learned to drive in an old '76 Camaro, and she's loved that car like nothing else since, so that's her Drive specialtiy. Finally, she's great at getting drunk people to open up, so that becomes her Empathy specialty.

Step Five: Add Sin-Eater Template
But first...

The bullet carved a path through Kit's frontal lobe, a path laid out by sorrow and loss. A true only child, her parents were her best friends. Losing her dad was hard, but seeing her mother lying there in that bed just put out whatever embers remained in her heart.

Her room-mate came back early to find Kit collapsed on the floor, surrounded by blood. She dialled 911. An ambulance was on scene ithin three minutes ("Where were you for my mom?" Kit didn't scream, what with being unconscious or worse on the floor). In the ambulance, she was technically dead for six and a half minutes. Six and a half minutes of insanity. No sky, just endless rock worn between the feet of the dead. Crowds of them, people everywhere. No sign of her parents. No sign that anything cared that she'd just blown her brains out. The final punchline to the cosmic joke: strive and die and nobody gives a fuck.

Something took her hand. She tried to focus on it, but her eyes kept sliding off. She could see the figure only out of the corner of her eye, a rough silhouette of a man with no real presence. She felt its hand touch hers, and words materialized in her mind:
Not yet, surely?

"No. Not yet."

She opened her eyes to bright light, lying on a hospital gurney. Nobody had come with her, she could feel him. The empty shelf where something once stood, the missing meaning to life and death, the fifth Beatle and the fourth Wise Man. The Forlorn Hope. She still couldn't see Nobody except out of the corner of her eye, but she knew in that brief instant that what Nobody wants, Nobody gets.


* * *

Right.

An Archetype isn't a "splat" so much as it is a philosophy; it's more akin to a Virtue or Vice than to a Tribe or a Covenant. Kit could be a Celebrant or a Gatekeeper, but they're both more in keeping with who she was than who she is. Kit's back for one reason: to try to put a scrap of meaning or justice into the whole business of death and dying. To that end, she's a Reaper.

The Threshold is defined by what almost killed you. Driven to suicide by loss and grief for the family she'd never see again makes Kit one of the Silent, those killed by deprivation.

Psyche starts at 1.

Two Keys. As one of the Silent, I get either Cold Wind or Stillness. After a while going back and forth, I pick Stillness; it just fits better into the overall picture. Kit's returned with fury burning in her heart, so I pick Pyre-Flame as her second key.

I have three points to spend on Manifestations. I pick two dots in the Caul, and one in the Rage. Evidently Nobody can dish it out but isn't too fond of taking it. The Stillness Caul invites Nobody into Kit's body, making her shadowy and hard to remember, while the Pyre-Flame Caul inverts that, turning her into a source of ghost-light and spectral flames. With the Pyre-Flame Rage on top of that her flames can burn so bright that people aren't safe. The Stillness Rage on the other hand is the tool of an assassin, for those times when her victims don't deserve to know that Nobody's come for them.

Morality is replaced by Synergy, which starts at 7. I'm tempted to leave it there for now.

Finally, she has a keystone Memento. In this case, Nobody gave her an old button. It's faded, but if you look hard you can see that it was originally for Nixon back in '76, but someone's scratched the paint away to make the words "Nobody For President!" This Memento has the Threshold of Death by Deprivation, and the Stillness and Passion Keys.

Step Six: Choose Merits
Thinking on Kit's martial arts training, I pick up the first two dots of Fighting Style: Kung Fu. I also go for two dots of Fleet of Foot. A dot of Contacts (Penn. State Students), and Barfly takes me to six. The last point goes on the Ceremony: Finding; I think she's spent a lot of time looking for everything from people to meaning, and the Ceremony can really help her out.

Step Seven: Determine Advantages
Willpower works out at 4, Initiative is 6, Speed is 12, Defense 3, Health 8. Her Virtue is Hope, and her vice is Wrath.

And you know what, I think that's me done!

Name Kit Rayner
Archetype Reaper
Threshold The Silent
Mental Attributes Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3
Social Attributes Presence 1, Manipulation 2, Composure 3
Mental Skills Academics 1 Investigation 1 Occult 2
Physical Skills Athletics (Triathlon) 3 Brawl 2 Drive ('76 Camaro) 1 Firearms 2 Stealth 2 Survival 1
Social Skills Empathy (Drunk people) 1 Intimidation 2 Socialize 2 Streetwise 1 Subterfuge 1
Merits Barfly,Contacts (Penn. State Students) 1, Fighting Style: Kung Fu 2, Fleet of Foot 2
Willpower 4
Synergy 7
Virtue Hope. The world can be a better place if some of the bad die young.
Vice Wrath. Sometimes, the definition of "bad" gets a little flexible.
Initiative 6
Speed 12
Defense 3
Health 8
Psyche 3
Manifestations Caul 2, Rage 1
Keys Pyre-Flame, Stillness
Ceremonies Finding

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