Character Seed: Glorious Revolutionary

Seed: Glorious Revolutionary

Concept: You grew up believing the Immaculate Philosophy, and were even slated to join their ranks. But something kept bothering you. Some of the teachings seemed almost… contradictory? But that couldn’t be. The church wouldn’t lie to all of creation, surely.

And then something clicked. You found a dusty book with radical thoughts in it; stories and legends which painted the Anathema in a sympathetic light. You asked questions of someone you trusted, seeking the truth. They betrayed you.

You were sentenced to be executed for heresy. They gave you one last chance to repent, but you stood by your convictions. And in the flames which were to take your life, the warm rays from the Unconquered Sun shone upon you. You survived your death sentence, but now the Wyld Hunt is hot on your heels, and you are still searching for the truth

Sample Character: “V”, former monk of the Immaculate Order

You grew up in a small farming village, which had a long tradition of religious service. While very few actually took vows of service to the Order itself, nearly all held extreme devotion to its tenets. So it was that you grew up revering those of the Order. While most of the village boys dreamed of being a Dynast and wielding great power and wealth, you dreamed of tearing the veil of ignorance from Creation, learning its secrets.

As you dove into the Immaculate texts, your first steps along the journey to priesthood seemed unerring. But something began to bother you… Some of what you read seemed to beg answers that were no where to be found. You wanted to ask questions, but something told you to wait, that it would be revealed to you.

On your fifteenth birthday, you took a trip to the nearby city of Glaringdell, a place renowned for its library. While not as expansive as those found anywhere on the Blessed Isle, it is nevertheless impressive for being found out in the Threshold. It was in the dusty aisles of the library where your answers were found: troubling revelations held within a small, black leather journal. Ramblings of a madman, surely. That the Dragon-blooded had their boots on the throat of Heaven, relegating worship when they have no right to do so. But what troubled you most of all, was the blatant claim that the Anathema were indeed the rightful rulers of Creation.

Horrified, you slammed shut the volume and quickly returned home. But the damage had been done. You knew what you read had been true. You confided in your childhood friend. But that same friend betrayed your trust, reporting you to the Order. Before you could flee town, you were accosted and tied to a stake, prepared for execution by burning.

You were read your crimes and asked if you would repent, but you stood stalwart in your newfound beliefs. The fire was lit, and as the flames began licking at your skin, a different kind of warmth suffused you. The Unconquered Sun himself deigned to Exalt you, and with a surge of Essence, you escaped your bonds and leapt into action. All who came against you fell beneath your righteous fury, and you set fire to the very same village you grew up in. And through the flames, you made eye contact with your friend, the betrayer. And then you fled, into the jungle, knowing the Wyld Hunt would be fast on your heels. You knew not where you were going, only that the truth was ahead of you, somewhere…

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Let’s Start from the Beginning…

And that beginning is called a Prelude. A Prelude is a flashback of sorts, a glimpse into your character’s past. It may be as simple as a one or two paragraph write-up, or it could be as elaborate as the first session or two of your game! With that in mind, let us dive a little deeper into Preludes and how you can use them to best enhance your game!

Many would be quick to say that Preludes serve to enrich your character’s back-story. While this is not necessarily incorrect, I think that is the least useful way to use a Prelude. So, you ask, what purpose do they then serve? To enrich a character’s personality. 

Also, this is a great time to explore your character’s exaltation! Some players choose to write that into their backstory from the get go, which is valid. But others might be interested in actually playing it out and sharing that awesome moment with their circle mates watching.

In a solar game I played with Corey and Jim, fellow hosts of the Deliberative Podcast, we each had our own individual Preludes to start. In them, Corey (as the ST) would pose a scenario to our character, giving us a problem we had to solve. We then role-played out how our character would do that, thus enriching our character’s personality in the process. We also had a baseline going forward of how our Solars would attempt to solve certain situations. 

In another Solar game with the same players, we each began in a town on fire. They started out small at first. Each of us was in our own little area. During the course of our trying to deal with the scenario, we stumbled into each other. It was then we saw the true threat: a giant fireball composed of burning insects soaring through the night sky, its destination: our town. It was then we knew that we would either work together and save our town, or fail and watch it burn around us. Not only did this give us each individually a baseline for how our characters act under pressure, but also it drew us closer together as a Circle.

So, I’ve convinced you Preludes should be in your game. So, how do you run them? Do you use dice? Do you eschew them for a more story-driven experience? The answer is: there is no right or wrong. It’s really up to you and the your players. If you think the situation would be better told without dice, then the answer is don’t use dice. If you want them to really test their character, then maybe have them roll some dice. 

Also, should Preludes be done one-on-one, or should they be done together as a group. My answer is both. There is merit in having very individualized Preludes, which allow both the ST and player to push the character further than in a group setting. However, group Preludes can help cement the Circle together as a cohesive unit and set the foundations for future drama within the Circle.

At the end of the day, your group has to decide if Preludes are right for them, and whether they should be individual, group, or some mix of the two. Dice? No dice? Your group is unique, and your game is one-of-a-kind. Do what feels right and which makes for a better story and you can’t go wrong!