Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hopping Eons into the Future; Yet Another Character Forms

Strike two for the Writers’ Huddle winter challenge. I got a little further this week; I opened a word document and saved it as the next chapter. I then began outlining the story arc of the chapter. Then I had to go to bed and didn't find time to touch it again since.

Even after two months, the feelings are still a bit raw for Jolene. I think, in order to finish off her backstory, I have to first figure out what her new present-day story will be. The more I focus on that and her in Gyateara, the less I should be thinking about her on Laerrnesse. I might be able to get back to my story then. Sorry, Shadow, you're probably going to have to wait until the end of the year to read her story now.

This leaves me in a bit of a pickle for the challenge, though. I already flopped the first two weeks, decided that maybe I'm just not in the right mindset to continue the story I set out as my challenge, and have four weeks left. Do I just pull the rip-cord?

Instead I went back to "A Writer's Book of Days" by Judy Reeves. It is now a week into February, and I'm still a month behind on the daily writing practice prompts. I've managed to crank a couple of those out over the week, but still not nearly enough for my liking.

While, including this blog post today, I'm on a nice five-day writing streak - longest I've had since the start of the year - I did miss three days last week. Also, while it didn't keep me four days of little stolen-away moments like the Amara story last week, I did have a prompt that kept me two days to finish due to time restrictions.

This whole working instead of writing thing while I'm at my job is really a hindrance.

I also didn't have time to go back and digitize my stories, let alone edit them. So I don't have anything new to share today.

Which reminds me, I had my journal with me when I went to Cyhyr and Ronoxym's for their Superbowl party on Sunday, and I completely forgot to have Ron read some of it as proof that I again wrote something under 1000 words. I also forgot to poke him about his challenge for this year: show me some sort of completed story/prose once a month; be it a full story, just a chapter, a flash fiction, an outline for a story, or a character bio.

I might really suck at this whole "Checking in on challenges for accountability" thing.... I need someone accountable for my accountability....

Anyway, my point was that I need a challenge that I can actually achieve, and writing more about Jolene doesn't seem to be achievable right now. I'm not excited about her any longer, and I need to find a way to jumpstart that excitement again. I also want to EVENTUALLY have my journal entries actually written on the day indicated, instead of a month later. So, while I'm trying to re-find my love for Jolene, I'll use the last four weeks of the challenge to try to play catch-up with the daily prompts.

I will now write two per day until I am caught up, or the challenge is over, whichever comes first. If I do manage to write at least two prompts per day, I will be caught up by the second entry on March 9th. Knowing me? I'll slack off some time and it will be about April that I catch up. Still, A GOAL IS SET!

We'll see how well this works, considering I struggle with just ONE prompt a day. Still, if I aim for two, I'm more likely to schedule the time to at least get ONE written. Right?

In the meantime, I've got yet ANOTHER character in the works.

For Christmas my family got Hubby the player's guide for a new roleplay game: Numenera. I don't have a name yet, but I think I have the broad outline for a character made up. The way you create your character for this game is that you are given the generic sentence "I am an adjective noun that verbs" and you fill in the blanks with the provided word types.

The adjectives are appropriately your "Character Descriptors." Within the core rule book, there are a dozen to choose from, and one of those can actually split depending on if you picture yourself using the stats for more technological or mystical purposes. The point of the Descriptor is to create your character's link to the starting adventure of the overall campaign. Depending on the Descriptor, you are given four options to choose from, as well as a bunch of bonuses for your character.

An example would be Intelligent:
You're quite smart. Your memory is sharp, and you easily grasp concepts that others might struggle with. This aptitude doesn't necessarily mean that you've had years of formal education, but you have learned a great deal in your life, primarily because you pick things up quickly and retain so much.

You gain the following benefits:
Smart: +2 to your Intellect Pool.
Skill: You're trained in an area of knowledge of your choice.
Skill: You're trained in all actions that involve remembering or memorizing things you experience directly. For example, instead of being good at recalling details of geography that you read about in a book, you can remember a path through a set of tunnels that you've explored before.

Initial Link to the Starting Adventure: From the following list of options, choose how you became involved in the first adventure.

  1. One of the other PCs asked your opinion of the mission, knowing that if you thought it was a good idea, it probably was.
  2. You saw value in what the other PCs were doing.
  3. You believed that the task might lead to important and interesting discoveries.
  4. A colleague requested that you take part in the mission as a favor.
~ Pg 35 of Numenera Player's Guide by Monte Cook
The nouns are the "Character Type," which is usually called the "Class" in other RPGs. There are only three to choose from, but they each become vastly diverse depending on the adjective and verb you choose. The three types are Glaive - your typical fighter classes, Nano - the mages, and Jack - short for "Jack of all trades"; your rogue-like classes.

On top of the adjective and verb attached to the Type, there is also diversity in the Type itself. Since each Type encompasses so many other generic RP classes, you can figure out if your Glaive is a brutish swordsman that used to be a town guard, or a primitive mountain man who has lived off the land his whole life, or a noble fighter of the people who believed he was blessed by some divine being. Player interpretation is key. Beyond that even, there are three different backstory options for you to choose from in order to pick how you became that skilled Type in the first place.

We'll use samples of Jack as an example:
You might hear people say that a jack is just the typical everyman (or everyperson), but don't believe it. You aren't like anyone else. You can do things that no one else can do because you do so many things. You're a warrior, you're a thief, you're a diplomat, you're a sage, and you're a spy.

When you choose jack as a character type, come up with an explanation for how you learned your wide variety of talents. Choose one of the three options described below. It will provide the foundation of your background and give you an idea of how you can improve....

Born Lucky
You seem to be better than most people because you are. Your ancestors were part of a genetic experiment, and your genes are superior to those of the average human.... Some of your genetic advantage might even grant you low-level psychic abilities that greatly resemble the "miracles" performed by nanos.

School of Hard Knocks
You learned things the hard way - on your own. Adaptive and canny, you express the true strengths of humanity in your ability to adjust quickly to circumstances, pick up new tricks to succeed, and ultimately survive when you probably should be dead....

A Cobbled Jumble
You're the product of generations of eugenics, bolstered by minor cybernetic enhancements, a few small psychic abilities, and the lessons of secret masters. In other words, you don't have one source of power or one explanation for your abilities - you have many, and as far as you're concerned, that's the best formula for success....

~ Pg 28 and 29 of Numenera Player's Guide by Monte Cook
Finally, and this is the part that makes things REALLY diverse, you have nearly 30 different verbs, or "Character Focus," to pick from. While the Descriptor gives your character bonuses and a reason for them to join the quest, the Focus gives you the battle options and your connection to at least one other Player Character.

Each Focus is about a page long, so I can't really give an example of the full concept. However, for the basic flavor, I'll sample the first focus: Bears a Halo of Fire.
You can create a sheath of flames around your body. You leave scorch marks wherever you go, and you can't handle combustible objects without first dousing your inherent flames. If you perform esoteries (or similar effects beyond the abilities of normal humans), all your effects are tainted with flame. Fiery visuals accompany your powers, and in some cases, your predilection for flame actually reshapes your abilities to take on a fiery nature where none existed before.... For example, force blasts from Onslaught are blasts of flame, and Flash is a burst of fire....

You probably wear red and yellow, or perhaps black.

Although most of those who take up this mantle are nanos, flame-wielding glaives and jacks are fearsome indeed.

Connection: Pick one other PC. Through a quirk of fate, your fire cannot harm that character.
Additional Equipment: You have an artifact - a device that sprays inanimate objects to make them fire-resistant. All your starting gear has already been treated unless you don't want it to be.

~ Pg 38 of Numenera Player's Guide by Monte Cook
So, even if every player picks "Glaive," there can be some vast diversity among the party. Between the 12 Descriptors, 3 backstories, and 29 Foci, just one Type can have over 1000 different character builds! And who's to say that one Intelligent Psionic Nano who Bears a Halo of Fire is going to be played the same as another? Player interpretation kicks in there to add even more diversity! If that's not enough, there's already expansions to the core books that add even more Descriptors and Foci....


I'm still struggling with my character a bit, though, mostly due to option overload. The personality that popped into my head is definitely more of the street-wise School of Hard Knocks Jack than the book-smart Nano, however, I loved the idea of the Port and Plug Nano. So, with over 1000 possibilities for me to build my Nano, I decide to start my very first character sort of "off-book."

She WOULD have mastered skills that would define her as a Jack, but this orphan was actually kidnapped off the streets by a cult who experimented on her. Cybernetic surgeries were done to "enhance" her, against her will. She eventually became strong enough with the numenera to break free of the cult, but a bit of her brainwashing might still remain.

She is now a Nano not because she wanted to learn about the numenera, but because it became her way of life. It is how she survived and how she will continue to survive. She has learned to live with the scarring and mutilation of her body. In fact, she now greatly sees the benefits of being able to master the mystical force around her, simply by plugging in a new piece of tech. She studies the ancients as well as nanites and how they make up the numenera force. She realizes that the more she understands the numenera and how it came to be, the easier it is for her to better wield it. She may not be able to undo what the cult did to her, but she will use it to its every advantage now.

This is still open to change, but based on the above build, my sentence is:
I am a Mechanical reluctant Plugs and Port Nano who Fuses Flesh and Steel.

However, I am also quite partial to the Descriptors: Graceful, Intelligent, and Stealthy.
I'm also quite partial to the Foci: Controls Gravity, Crafts Illusions, Focuses Mind Over Matter, Masters Defense, Rides the Lightning, Controls Beasts, Talks to Machines, and Bears a Halo of Fire.

In fact, prior to reading the other foci in their entirety, Bears a Halo of Fire was the one I was all but convinced I was going to take. Plus, Controls Beasts or Talks to Machines would have been fun with Shadow's Mountain Man character. I could mess with him with either focus option since the connections are for the selected PC to somehow disturb the beasts I control, which would annoy Shadow who would be One with Nature, or that the selected PC is terrible with technology and would make the machines I communicate with worse. It would end up biting me in the behind, but again, how flavorfully appropriate for a Mountain Man to mess with machines like that?

I also have a bunch of reference pictures for my lady - what I was working on for hours last night instead of writing or typing up my already written prompts - but I couldn't find one picture yet that depicts my character in her entirety.

Yet again a time when I lament not being able to draw....

I guess I should start with a name for her, though. I'm picturing something mildly Latino for some reason. Considering the world of Numenera is Earth eons into the future, who knows what name-structure is like? It will be fun to try to explore those options. I'll have to keep you informed with how I'm doing as I go.

By next week I should have at least one story typed up to share, as well as at least a name for this new girl joining the ranks.

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