With my brain now working, time to press on and make good on a broken promise.
The Game: Dark Ages: Fae
The Publisher: White Wolf Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: I bought it to have something to use alongside Dark Ages: Mage, but that game never got off the ground.
Books Required: Dark Ages: Fae, and either Dark Ages: Vampire or the free rules packet offered for download.
Ever have everything you want to say drop entirely out of your mind? Yeah, that just happened.
One of the reasons that DA: Fae requires me to engage my brain is that I suck at history. I really can't get with the subject. I can understand events and chains of events, but ask me which came first and I've no idea. With no links between the events, they exist independently. I've no idea what the world looked like in 1230, and no idea of what normal people did beyond "Farm. Hold pigs. Occasionally go to war."—and even that last one is out there, because the defining battle for English forces was the battle of Crecy and that's over a hundred years after the time of the game's setting. I've no idea what cities looked like, or what went on in villages... it's an alien world that I'm entirely clueless about. Which really fucks me about when it comes to making a character—how can one work out a concept for a truly alien world1.
But I'm waffling on.
The Dark Ages line was the first to experiment with applying Exalted-style "fatsplats" on to a main line; the rules were included in Dark Ages: Vampire and other games referred to those rules. Due to the core rules being locked to one splat, the "sanitised" rules were later put online. Making a core game out of those core rules is one of the reasons that the World of Darkness Rulebook is so popular.
I last read DA: Fae several years ago, so I'm coming back up to speed.
Step One: Concept
So, who or what do I want to make? The key choice right now is Origin—either a true Fae, a Changeling, or one of the Inanimae. I'm thinking of one of the latter, simply because the idea of a character who hasn't ever been human would help with my own lack of connection to the era.
Vyrid the Tempest-born only knows that he came from the darkened sky at the heart of a terrible storm. A mere bolt of lightning, he hit an old oak tree next to a henge and slowly woke up. He took his human form from the wise-folk who came to check on the henge after the storm. He's very much the embodiment of the storm's wrath, the power of thunder unchained. In Fae society, he's taken the role of an assassin for the Winter Court, though he's not exactly happy about the Court's position on the War of Seasons. A war is no good, rather the Courts tie themselves in knots with politics and petty feuds than senselessly murdering each other on a massive scale. The humans know him as the beast that comes with the storm, and he feeds on their fear every time thunder rings out.
For a Nature, I think he's a Rebel—He's not one for the idea that the Fae must go back to war, but he doesn't have the balls to leave the Court of Winter over his dispute. To tell the truth, he'd be against any court he joined simply because they'd have him as a member. He presents the Demeanour of a Survivor—whatever the world throws at him, he'll endure and try to come up with an angle.
Step Two: Attributes
Okay. Physical primary, Mental secondary, Social tertiary. He's a creature of lightning at heart, inherently hostile and spiky.
Physically, I raise Strength to 4, Dexterity to 4, and Stamina to 2. He's no more lasting than anyone else, but he moves and strikes with the force of a storm.
Mentally, I put three points into Wits and distribute the two remaining between Perception and Intelligence. He's very fast, but no smarter than normal.
Socially, I leave Charisma at 1, put two points into Manipulation, and put one into Appearance. He's spiky and twisty and not very likable.
Some days, the new system looks a lot better. This is one of those days. Anyway. Talents are primary, with Skills secondary and Knowledges tertiary.
From Talents, I put three dots into Intimidation and Kenning. His Fae Sight is strong, and he's a scary bastard when he wants to be. Two points into Alertness, Athletics, and Dodge to reflect his general awareness of the world and physical competence. The one remaining dot goes into Brawl—he knows how to fight, but he's better with weapons.
Skills-wise, I put one point in Animal Ken—he's good with birds. Two points into Archery and three into Melee deal with combat-effectiveness. Three points into Stealth and one into Survival cover the last of his training in the arts of the hidden killer.
In Knowledges, I put one point into Graymare, two into Investigation, one in Linguistics for to speak English, and one into Occult.
Step Four: Advantages
Backgrounds first: two dots of Resources, two dots of Contacts, and one of Status will do me. Willpower, Mists, and Weaving, comes from the Origin. One dot of Night Dominion comes free with the Court, and three more points to spend. Two more points into Night, and one into Dusk.
Right. Three Cantrips in Dusk and three in Night. Dusk Cantrips are limited to level 1, while Night Cantrips can go up to level 3. For Dusk, I go for Soar and Speed of the Wind right off—he was born of a storm, after all. Finally, Unlock works well for an assassin. For Night Cantrips, I want Nightshade for enhanced stealth, and Shriek is the voice of thunder. Finally, the Sword general Cantrip is a nice one, allowing Vyrid to charge a blade with the lightning that birthed him.
Step Five: Finishing Touches
Fifteen bonus points to spend. I drop four of them into a point of Mists; he's in touch with raw magic. Increasing Melee to 4, costs another two, then two points of Sprites costs two as well. Dodge to 3, Intimidation to 4 puts me at 12. I raise Willpower by one, then put the remaining point into a "Knives" specialty for Melee.
Looking over Merits and Flaws, I like the look of Known Echo. The wise-folk who tend the henge of his birth tell the story of a boy who bore the storm's wrath, and how all one has to do is whistle to take away the fear of thunder. Thing is, the story also includes his basic description. Three points there. I trade those for the Attuned Merit, giving me a wider timeframe in which to ply fae magics.
Two Echoes to define. One is whistling; that simple act can distract people from their fear of loud noises in the dark. The other is that he cannot enter a house protected with horseshoes. Originally, his Echo involved any iron but a horseshoe is the only iron most people will ever come across (this is tied to his electrical nature).
Mien. Four Lesser Features, one Greater Feature. He's graceful in his movements and always cold to the touch (Elemental Blessing), though very thin, with white hair reaching down below his knees and long black nails and teeth (Elongated Appearance). His eyes are the dark grey of an oncoming storm (Eyes of the Season), and his skin has a bluish cast (Skin Hue).
For the Greater Feature, I go for the book's choice of Elemental Form (Air). He's always at the centre of a storm, and he can command the winds as he wishes.
Vyrid wouldn't have anything to do with people if he had any say in the matter—they can expose him just by whistling, for the Mists' sake. He still haunts the village, scaring people with the threat of storms and the power of thunder, but that's growing tiring. He's recently joined an Oath-Circle, ostensibly to see more of the world but actually to divert some of the attention he's been getting recently. Just because he wants to be an assassin, that's no reason to suspect him all the damn time, but he'll go along with the Circle for as long as needs be—maybe long enough that he'll realise the benefits of emotions beyond the few that spring from base fear.
Name: Vyrid the Tempest-born
Physical Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Charisma 1, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2
Mental Attributes: Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 4
Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Dodge 2, Intimidation 4, Kenning 3
Skills: Animal Ken 1, Archery 2, Melee (Knives) 4, Stealth 3, Survival 1
Knowledges: Graymare 1, Investigation 2, Linguistics 1, Occult 1
Backgrounds: Contacts 2, Resources 2, Sprites 2,Status 1
Speed of the Wind
Flaws: Known Echo
Birthright: Rebuild Body
Frailty: Enhanced Echoes
Echoes: People whistling, Passing through a doorway guarded by a horseshoe.
0: Many tourists think that temperatures in the mid-20s (C, so 293.15K) and direct sunlight are somehow normal, as if real people usually leave buildings to anything other than cloud cover or night.
1: Doesn't help that if I had been born back then, I'd be the King's Second Pig-holder, or some shit. Class mobility pretty much didn't happen under the feudal system.