The Game of Twenty Questions

These questions are designed to help you better understand who your Hero is. You can answer them or not; it’s entirely up to you. You can keep the answers to yourself or share them with other players. As you discover more about your Hero during play, you can change the answers if you like.

1. What Nation is your Hero from?
This question gives you a foundation upon which to build. When you understand your Hero’s culture, you will begin to understand your Hero. Imagine how her environment helped shape her personality. Your homeland stays with you no matter where you go.

(Note: This one is sort of a gimme, as all characters are from Montaigne)

2. How would you physically describe your Hero?
First off, is your Hero a man or a woman? Théah doesn’t have as many prejudices as Europe did in the 17th Century. Women are pirates, duelists, courtiers and any other heroic role a European would consider strictly masculine.

Aside from gender, how does your Hero look? Start at the top of his head and work your way down to his feet. Focus on the things that reflect his personality and the way he is treated by others. Which is more interesting—the fact that your Hero is blond, or that he wears his hair in a single braid and scents it with contraband Crescent lotions?

Build and height are also important in determining how others see your Hero. The average height in modern Théah is about 5’ 6", although certain nationalities are a bit taller or shorter.

3. Does your Hero have recurring mannerisms?
An accent, a nervous habit, or a peculiar expression of speech can serve as shortcuts to developing a personality. Too many can turn a character into a clown, so pick one or two and run with them.

4. What is your Hero’s main motivation?
What keeps your Hero going when his ship has been sunk and he’s marooned on an island? Is it greed, love, or revenge? Perhaps the Hero dreams of freeing his homeland from foreign occupation or hopes to find a younger sibling who was carried off by pirates.

5. What is your Hero’s greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
Is your Hero really good at one particular thing? Maybe she’s a master navigator and can guide a ship through the blackest night with only her wits to work from. On the other hand, does your Hero have something she’s terrible at? Maybe animals don’t like her, or she’s nervous around ladies and blurts out less-than intelligent comments.

A Hero with no strengths is difficult to keep alive; one with no weaknesses is
difficult to sympathize with. A Hero with both strengths and weaknesses has a more balanced personality and will develop into a richer role-playing experience.

6. What are your Hero’s most and least favorite things?
The secret of the soup is in the details. Does your Hero hate eggs? Perhaps the glistening sickly yellow of the yolk disgusts him. Maybe he has a favorite breakfast that he eats every morning, such as a cup of tea and a slice of toast spread with apple butter. Maybe it’s not a food that your Hero loves or hates but a particular sight or smell? Some people find great solace in the sight of the stars above them, while others aren’t happy unless they can smell the salt spray of the sea. This is a grand opportunity to add a touch of poetry to your Hero’s soul.

7. What about your Hero’s psychology?
Is it hard for her to restrain her anger or hatred? Does her passion always get the better of her? Maybe she thrives on the rush of adrenaline that battle brings with it and disturbs her comrades with laughter during a fight. Does a particular song bring her to her feet stomping and clapping? What song or play brings tears to her eyes?

8. What is your Hero’s single greatest fear?
It is a rare person who fears nothing at all. Even the greatest warriors may have a fear of heights or dread growing old. If your Hero is terrified of dying of old age and hears a rumor about a fountain that brings eternal youth, might he not search the world for it, even if the rumor came from an unreliable source? Sometimes a man’s fears propel him to his greatest achievements. Of course, many people fear simpler, more physical things than old age. Some have a dread of snakes or spiders, others have a horror of worms and slimy things, and a number of people experience panic attacks in dark, narrow places.

9. What are your Hero’s highest ambitions? Her greatest love?
When your Hero dies, what does she want people to say about her? Does she want to be remembered forever for her poetry? Maybe she hopes that tales of her battle exploits will outlive her. Maybe she just wants a small house and a loving wife, but ridiculous fortune keeps obligating her to go on one adventure after another. Perhaps she dreams of glory and a kingdom of her own, or a country reunited by her hands. If she could live forever, what would she want to spend eternity doing? Sailing? Wooing beautiful women? Cataloguing the artifacts left behind by the Syrne? Whatever her greatest love is, your Hero will take every opportunity to indulge in it.

10. What is your Hero’s opinion of his country?
Is your Hero a diehard patriot, blind to the flaws of his countrymen, or is he a man without a country, having grown tired of his homeland’s foolishness long ago? Most people are somewhere in between, neither hating their country nor believing it can do no wrong.

11. Does your Hero have any prejudices?
Is there a group of people that your Hero immediately turns up her nose at? Perhaps she can’t stand the smell of “those filthy peasants,” or maybe a Vodacce Fate Witch killed her brother. There may be no reason for the Hero to hate this group, but she believes there’s one. Traumatic childhood incidents can lead to a lifetime of hatred and prejudice that the Hero may never get over. For the sake of party unity, it’s a good idea to hate a group that you know none of the other players want as characters.

12. Where do your Hero’s loyalties lie?
Does your Hero loyally serve a certain noble? Maybe his loyalties lie with his family or his spouse. Perhaps his first concern is looking out for himself, or maybe he serves a greater cause.

13. Is your Hero in love? Is she married or betrothed?
Is there someone who makes your Hero’s heart beat faster? Perhaps she is already married to the love of her life. If so, do they have any children? How old are the children? Maybe she’s just betrothed to be married sometime soon, and the happy—or unhappy—event has yet to take place.

14. What about your Hero’s family?
Decide on a family name. Then talk about your Hero’s early childhood. List events that would have occurred before your Hero would even be able to remember them. Some of these events may be influencing your Hero’s life without him knowing it. Also, consider the family’s social standing. A Hero from a rich family will certainly have a different outlook than a Hero from a poorer family.

15. How would your Hero’s parents describe her?
This question reveals much about both your Hero and her relationship to her parents. Answer this one in the voice of your Hero’s mother, then go back and answer it again for your Hero’s father. You may come up with two very different answers.

16. Is your Hero a gentle?
Being a gentle means that your Hero attempts to follow the code of chivalry. Your Hero’s word is his bond. Of course, there are those who see you as foolishly old-fashioned, but there’s always the possibility of having a moon-eyed damsel or handsome young poet fall in love with you.

17. How religious is your Hero?
What sect of the Church does she follow? Religion is, for many people of Théah, their deepest passion. The Church of the Prophets has been the greatest power on the planet for over a thousand years, and for all the bureaucracy it has a number of redeeming qualities. It fosters learning and education, provides hospitals for the poor and needy, and is a great source of comfort for many people in their hour of need. True and honest people are often attracted to the Church for this reason, and they are more than willing to help it perform its good works.

Of course, there are many who see the Church’s actions as evil. They look at the Inquisition and the Crusade as prime examples. They hate the things the Church stands for and would love to see it fall.

Then there are those people in the middle, who either don’t worry about the Church since it doesn’t affect their daily lives or believe in a religion that is a variant of what the Church preaches, such as Objectionism. These people try to live out their lives with as little official contact with the Church as possible, either out of fear or lack of interest.

18. Is your Hero a member of a guild, gentle’s club, or society?
Contacts are important, and they can be made through these organizations. They are a source of adventures and information. From a role-playing perspective, many tangible benefits come from being a member of these organizations. Perhaps your gentle’s club buys a communal copy of the latest archæology journals, or serves tea and biscuits every morning to
members. The clubs your Hero joins also influence the type of people he meets. You find a very different crowd of people in the Rose & Cross than you do in Madame Josette’s Gentle’s Society.

19. What does your Hero think of Sorcery?
Not all people with Sorcery like it, and not all people without Sorcery hate it. It sometimes alienates people, and the Church preaches against it; some people will dislike you for no other reason if you possess it. On the other hand, some who lack Sorcery look at the power it brings its bearer and long desperately for magic of their own. They tend to purchase any runic items they can get their hands on, and sift through Syrneth ruins seeking mystic secrets lost to the world.

20. If you could, what advice would you give your Hero?
Take a good, long look at the other questions before you answer this one. Speak to your Hero as if he were sitting right in front of you, and remember to use the proper tone. You’ll want to make certain your Hero actually listens to you when you give him this free advice.

The Game of Twenty Questions

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