Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stepping Into Story Realms: Making Characters and Getting Started

By Julian
Once again it's time for the weekly Story Realms update!  We said we'd update Mondays, but haven't you heard?  Monday is soooo three days ago.  Get with the times! These days, Thursday is the new Monday.  Anyway, for our Story Realms update this week, we thought we would talk a little about the world of Storm Hollow (that’s the setting where the Story Realms game takes place) and how you get started making a character.  And here...we...go!

Enter a world of imagination.
WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO BE A POPPIN TOO?
One of my favorite things about character creation in Story Realms is that it’s actually a part of playing the game.  This is accomplished through something we call the Opening Scene.  When you sit down to play for your very first time, the storyteller running the game isn’t going to start going over the details of the rules or how a skill roll works.  The first thing that happens is the storyteller starts telling you a story about how you are whisked away to a strange new place.  See the heroes of Storm Hollow are called Poppins.  This is because they are people who simply “popped in” from a place called Earth and were imbued with amazing abilities.  So the hero you will play in the story is yourself transported to magical world.  The first place you show up is the palace of the Great Guardian.  She is the one who will ask you if you are willing to answer the call of heroes and become a hero of Storm Hollow.  If you say yes, she is certainly not going to send you out into the world as you are now.  She is going to imbue you with some power.  This is where the Great Guardian begins to ask the players some very important questions. 

WHAT TYPE OF HERO DO YOU WANT TO BE?
This is the first question she asks.  Choosing which character role you want to play will define what skills you are good at, determine your special powers, and help determine what magical artifact you will start the game with (everyone gets 1 artifact to start the game).  Once a hero type is chosen, it cannot be chosen again by any other player.  Amongst your group, your powers are always unique.  There are six hero types to choose from.

LIGHTBRINGER
Lightbringers are warriors that banish even the deepest darkness from the land.  They are courageous heroes that call upon the power of light to guide the way through danger.   

RIFTWALKER
Riftwalkers are expert explorers that can navigate treacherous wilds.  They learn and adapt to the strange and dangerous areas of Storm Hollow.  Riftwalkers can even change the effects of the environment to suit their needs.

SPARKCALLER
Sparkcallers can create pure forces of magic and bring them to life as elemental pets called sparks.  Sparkcallers can use sparks for various small tasks.  They can also charge sparks with energy causing them to imbue friend or foe with magical effects. 

STORMCHASER
Stormchasers are dauntless thrillseekers that can run straight into the heart of danger and come out unscathed.  They can push themselves beyond normal limits, avert magical dangers, and imbue themselves with the power of storm magic. 

TALESPINNER
Talespinners are masters of stories and can make epic tales come true.  They sense lore about people and can hear the stories echoing from important objects.  The words of talespinners hold such power that with the right tale they can actually make themselves or their friends more powerful.

WHIZBANGER
Whizbangers are brilliant inventors who can create handy contraptions and gadgets for any situation.  They carry lots of gear and if they don’t have the right tool for the job they can make a small automaton called a chug to do the job for them.
 After the players all choose what type of hero they want to be, the Great Guardian will ask you the next important question.

WHAT IS YOUR TALENT?
The Great Guardian will ask you to choose a talent that you believe you have within you.  The Guardian will give power to this talent and you will thrive when you use it.  What this amount to in the game is that when you act according to your talent, you get to roll a special die on any skill roll that increases your chance of success and can earn you boost tokens which are used to increase skill rolls and activate your best special power.  Every talent is also associated with one of the six magical elements.  You get to roll your talent die when you try to manipulate that type of magic (in Story Realms magic is just a skill so anyone can try to do magic).  Talents are the games way of encouraging players to really play their characters.  It’s a small but important reward drawing the player to act in character.  Again, once a talent is chosen it cannot be picked by anyone else.  Your talent is uniquely yours.  There are six talents to choose from.
CURIOUS
 Add your talent die when you try to search for clues, get information from someone or use water magic.
FLASHY
 Add your talent die when you distract someone, make a really big or really noisy effect, or use fire magic.
HELPFUL
Add your talent die when you aid someone else in their effort, make a team skill roll, or use life magic.
PROTECTIVE
Add your talent die when you guard an ally, prepare for danger, or use earth magic.

TRICKY
Add your talent when you play a trick, try to pass yourself off as someone you are not or use wind magic.
WILD
Add your talent die when you charge into danger, do something strange and unpredicatable, or use storm magic.

After you’ve chosen what type of hero you want to be and called out a talent, you get a unique artifact based on your hero type and talent.   You also then get to pick an adventuring kit which is kind of like your regular equipment.  However, you get to pick a new kit at the start of each adventure so it’s not exactly a part of character creation.  We will go into detail about kits and how they work later.  After the Great Guardian has imbued you with powerful gifts, you walk through a magical door and find yourself somewhere in Storm Hollow.

NOW WHERE ARE WE?
Right through this door if you please!
 Storm Hollow is a storybook world filled with high fantasy and new twists on many classic legends and folklore.  Magical lightning storms sweep through this valley regularly imbuing the land with magic.  Sometimes these storms open great rifts that remove parts of Storm Hollow and drag in pieces of other words.  Currently, there are twenty different rifts in Storm Hollow each with their own strange and unique scenery.  As the players continue to adventure, they will learn that they are not the first Poppins to arrive in Storm Hollow.  Indeed, many of the legends told on Earth are of adventures that took place here.  Alice Liddell is a hero to this land and her romp through Wonderland may have indeed been a grand adventure in the Wierding Wilds of Storm Hollow.  There are canyons left behind by the foot falls of the great giant that pursued Jack of Tales down his beanstalk, and Kintaro, Japan’s legendary golden boy, once defended the rifts of this world from powerful forces of darkness.  For in Storm Hollow, the darkness is a palpable force of evil.  Every shadow the day can cast and every patch of darkness laying under a moonlit sky could be home to a Dark Door.  These actual doors lying upon the ground, hidden in shadow lead to a place where vile monsters creep and powerful Night Haunts lurk.  They wait in the darkness plotting with their terrible minds fixated on the day they will open the doors and turn the world of Storm Hollow into a living nightmare.   Heroes have always come to keep this darkness at bay.  As you walk through that door in the Guardian's Palace, it falls to you rise against it once more.

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