Stories

Starting a Story

When you decide to start a new Story, think about what kinds of themes you want to explore with your character. Do you want her to be a brave warrior, fighting for the people she loves? Or would you rather see her have to solve difficult problems without resorting to “easy” solutions like violence? You can change Stories later, but try to pick something you’ll find fun and interesting. Talk to your GM as well; he might have some ideas for a Story that would be a perfect fit.

Each Hero can have only one Hero Story at a time, beginning with the Story you create when making your Hero. Upon resolution or abandonment of a Story, Heroes are free to move on to their next tale. Players may feel free to keep notes about future Stories they may want to tackle, but their Heroes should each remain focused on the Story at hand.

To start writing a Story the player should create a short name that acts as a conceptual reminder of what your Hero wishes to accomplish. This is the mantra the Hero repeats to keep her mind on track:

  • Absolution: My negligence led to the destruction of my home; I’ll never let that happen again.
  • Revenge: I’m gonna make ‘em all pay for what they did to me.
  • Cleanse: Monsters have plagued my life. I cannot rest until they are destroyed.

Once you’ve written the concept down you can move on to writing the ending, or Goal.

Reaching a Goal

There are two aspects to the Goal of a Story. First is the ending, a specific action that your Hero must take to finish the Story. You should know, without a doubt, when your Story has been completed. Endings do not contain suspense for the players and while they should telegraph the player’s desired outcome, the Hero might not know them. As such, it’s often best to write the ending in third person:

  • The plague that wiped out Samuel’s people returns, but this time he takes action.
  • Hector lies dead at Leannán’s feet.
  • Elias uncovers the connection between Ingrid and Helmuth.

Write an actionable sentence about what your Hero needs to do. You don’t need to determine every tiny detail right now, just a broad scope of what your Hero wants to accomplish. Endings should be flexible, capable of changing enough to ensure they never become unattainable. If a Hero discovers her ending is unattainable, she should be able to change it. A player should work with the Game Master to determine a related ending.

The second part of Goals is the reward. Hero Stories award new Advantages, increase a Trait or Skill, or change a Quirk. When you write your Goal, be sure to include what you want for your Hero from the Story and then make sure to work towards that Goal during the Story. A Story’s reward can be a bonus point in a Skill, a Trait, or a new Advantage. Much like writing an ending, the reward should be explicit:

  • This is a four Step Story that will earn Samuel the 4 point Miracle Worker Advantage.
  • This is a three Step Story that will earn Leannán Rank 3 Aim.
  • This is a three Step Story that will earn Elias a chance to drop his Farmkid Quirk.

Taking the Next Step

Knowing the Goal helps you know the ending, but sometimes the road to getting there isn’t as clear. That’s where the Steps come in. This is the action that
puts you on the road to your Goal. Like the Goal, every Step should be an achievable item. However, unlike Goals, they can be as detailed as you like. During Hero Creation, and whenever you create a new Story, you only need to know the next immediate Step. This is the action that puts you on the road to your Goal. Don’t worry about outlining the entire progression of your Story, as you’ll often find what you need to do next is determined by what you just accomplished. Instead, just focus on what’s directly ahead of your Hero.

When writing a Step, write a short sentence that declares what the next thing your Hero needs to accomplish in order to progress his Story:

  • “Treat my first patient in the Áki Klinikka.”
  • “Question Degarmo.”
  • “Substantiate a rumor to Ingrid’s whereabouts.”

Once that Step is completed, the player may write her next Step at any time. She could do it immediately following the completion of a Step or she can wait a bit. Until she writes her next Step, she cannot advance towards her Goal. If her next Step becomes unattainable for some reason, then she can strike it from her list and write a new Step replacing the lost one.

Rewarding the Journey

Your Story gives you rewards when you reach your ending and accomplish your Goal. The number of Steps in a Story determines the kind of Advancement your Hero earns.

  • Skills require a number of Steps equal to the new Skill Rank. A new Rank 1 Skill only requires a single Step while improving a Rank 4 Skill requires a five Step story.
  • Advantages require a number of Steps equal to their cost. A 1 point Advantage only requires a single Step while a 5 point Advantage requires a five Step story.
  • Quirks require three Steps to change, allowing a Hero to change any existing Quirk to a different, or wholly new, Quirk. You cannot have the same Quirk twice.
  • Arcana, both Hubris and Virtue, require four Steps in order to change. Heroes may only have one Hubris and one Virtue each at any time.
  • Traits require four Steps to shift a single Rank from one Trait to another Trait—so one Trait rises, and the other falls—or five Steps to increase by 1 rank (which may only be done twice).
  • Corruption requires five Steps to remove. Redemption is never easy or quick.

Story Starters

Here’s a list of sample Stories. These can, and should, be tailored to your individual Hero. This list is not all-inclusive; almost anything can become your Hero’s story, but these can work as starting points:

  • Amnesia: You aren’t quite sure who you are or why you happen to be here, but you are pretty sure that somebody does. After all, they wouldn’t be trying to kill you if they didn’t, right?
  • Cursed: A curse could be something as simple as the inability to sustain serious relationships or something as complex as being doomed to live forever, until you fall in love. With every curse, three things need to be decided: what causes the effect (the trigger), what that effect is, and what can be done to end the curse—its penance.
  • Hunting: You’ve lost something. Something very important. Perhaps it’s a Syrneth artifact, passed down through the generations, that you’ve let slip through your hands. Maybe it’s a husband who skipped out on your wedding. Maybe it’s a man running from justice whom you’ve sworn you will hunt to the ends of the world.
  • Lost Love: She used to be the light of your life…and now she’s with your family’s nemesis, wearing his ring on her left hand. He used to be the one you’d walk through the Abyss for…and now he’s with her, that plotting and scheming shrew who ruined your family’s name and reputation. Lost Love is a dangerous Story, for it strikes at the heart of a Hero. You were once in love—perhaps you even thought it was true—and now it’s gone.
  • Obligation: You owe someone something. Perhaps he saved your life or helped you out in the past. Now you must repay the favor. Or maybe, in a moment of drunken weakness, you blurted out your devotion to his cause. You believe in keeping your word, and you’ve made a promise to someone (perhaps even yourself ) that you will not break…even if it costs you your life.
  • Rivalry: She isn’t your enemy. In fact, she could be your best friend. Whoever she is, she’s in direct competition for something that’s very important to you. She could be a rival suitor for your true love’s hand, she could be competing with you to get that position in the Lightning Guard, or she could just be a fellow duelist who’s a touch better than you.
  • Romance: After many months of flirting, poetry and moonlit walks through the park, you’ve finally won the affections of a beautiful maiden or a handsome young man. Or so you think. It takes a great deal of effort to keep the fires of romance burning. If you neglect the hearth for even a short while, the fire can die. And neglecting your lover may cost you…
  • Vendetta: Don’t call it revenge. Revenge is for suckers. Don’t call it justice, because that’s too forgiving. This is something altogether different. You owe somebody big time, and killing isn’t enough. No, killing is merciful compared to what you have in mind. You have to hurt her, and hurt her, and hurt her. When you’re done, Legion may be waiting for you, but you don’t care. When they see what you’ve done to her, they’ll welcome you with open arms.

Example Stories

Prince’s Curse
Rosario Giulietta Concetto Bicchieri once refused payment to a Prince, and she has been unable to find true love since.
Ending: Rosario is happily married for at least two years.
Reward: Convince (Rank 4)
Steps:
1. Have Peppi Calligaris, a wealthy shoemaker, fall in love with me.
2. Take Ermanno Sapienti’s advice to find out if Prince Falisci had me cursed.
3. Convince the Fate Witch in Prince Falisci’s employ to lift my curse.
4. Leave Peppi at the altar and run away with Ermanno Sapienti.

Indebted to the Vendel
Kristoffer Albertsen took out a sizeable loan from the Vendel Banker Joe Carlsen and can’t afford to pay it back.
Ending: Joe clears Kristoffer of his debts.
Reward: Deadeye Advantage (Rank 3)
Steps:
1. Convince Joe to let me work for him instead of making payments.
2. Travel to Vodacce to “see to the interests of the Vendel League.”
3. Burn down the Primo Banca.

Stories

Les Mousquetaires du Roi Soleil sven