Finishing Touches

With your character’s abilities defined by the rules, you should put a little thought into who this person is and how you intend to play them. A good character is more than just a tactical playing piece; they should feel like a living, breathing person with their own identity.
The following list of questions is intended to give you a good concept of your character before you begin play. It may help to discuss your answers with other players, and your storyteller, in order that everybody has a strong idea of what each character is about. Tying each player’s characters together with shared backgrounds and common goals will result in a more cohesive party, and ultimately make running the game smoother.
Obviously, you don’t need to write your answers anywhere (or even bother answering), but putting a little thought into how your character fits into the world and what their history is like makes them that much more realistic and rewarding to play.

What is your name?
Is this your character’s birth name, or a nickname they acquired? Some groups, particularly the Tested and some villages, use titles (such as ‘sister’, ‘citizen’, ‘captain’ or similar) to address each other- if this is the case, which title does your character use?

How old were you when Mixi came?
The older your character was, the better they would have understood what was happening and the more they will remember of life before Mixi. Most characters will have been between five and twelve years old- those much older or younger are very unlikely to have survived. Obviously, your character will be fifteen years older than that now, so a character who was nine when Mixi came will be twenty-four now.

Where did you live?
The important question here is whether they lived in an urban area or not. If they did, they will at some point have had to abandon the towns as it became obvious that Mixi was still around.

What was your family like?
Who formed their immediate family: one or both parents, and any siblings? Were they wealthy or poor? Well educated? Dysfunctional? Did any of their siblings survive Mixi, and are they still alive?

How did your family die?
There’s no getting around it: you’re characters family are dead. Whilst some (those who became infected early on) will have been taken to hospitals, many will have died in their own homes. Often, older children will have cared for their dying family. Ask yourself how long it took them to die. Maybe they chose to end their suffering swiftly and cleanly, maybe there was some impassioned deathbed conversation between mother and daughter, or maybe they simply stopped breathing in the night.
Whatever is the case, all your characters family died horribly, and your character was powerless to stop it.

How did being orphaned affect you?
Many children will have been somewhat scarred by the experience, and some will have seen things that were thoroughly traumatizing. Maybe your character spent months, years even, stunned by what had happened. Maybe they came from an abusive family, and felt a sense of guilty relief that at least the beatings were over. Maybe you were young enough that you had no idea what was happening or why your mummy wouldn’t wake up any more. In any case, pretty much everybody will have been affected by what happened to them.

How long were you alone?
Not everybody immediately linked up with other survivors. Perhaps you spent years in the heart of the city, believing you were the only person left alive, before an emerging band of Skavvies found you and took you in. On the other hand, some children quite quickly found others like them and became organized. Many have happy memories of childhoods spent looting and playing among the empty cities.

Who are your friends?
Obviously, the other player characters, but… how does your character know them. Were they childhood friends? Did they meet up after Mixi came and help one another survive? Are they temporary business partners and nothing more?

How do you live?
Obviously, your character’s culture affects this, but be specific. Does a herder hunt game, trap animals, fish, or follow herds of cattle? What is a villager’s job within their community? What comodities does a Skavvie trade in, and who with? Your food, water and shelter needs to come from somewhere, after all.

Do you care about morality?
Does your character believe that some things are just ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? Where do they draw the line? Is violence acceptable to them? Murder? Torture? Do they have a ‘code’ they live by, and if so does this match that of their compatriots? For example, Herder society has fairly strong principles regarding things like ownership and territory- your herder support these principles, or do they merely go along with the general consensus?
Has your character ever stolen to survive? Killed another human? Hurt somebody they cared about? Put their life at risk to help a stranger?

What are your supernatural beliefs?
Do you believe in the supernatural at all? Many people recognize spirits and lesser gods, and perform small rituals to appease them. Others believe in one Abrahamic God, and still cling to what they can remember of tradition religion. Does your character practice one or both of these? How important are these beliefs to the character? Does your character have any superstitions or rituals, and where did they come from?

What are your relationships like?
Does your character have a lover? Many lovers? Do they have (or want) a steady partner, or a series of brief flings? Who do they find attractive? Does your character have any unusual kinks?

What do you do for fun?
Life is not all work, and most people in the world have at least something they do that doesn’t actively keep them alive. Does your character have a hobby or interest? Maybe they play cards, sing or have some creative pastime. Many cultures have large feasts, with food, intoxicants and so on.

What frightens you most?
This could be fairly straightforward; a fear of Mixi, of harm coming to your child or of dying young. On the other hand, it could be much more unusual. Many people will develop phobias from the deaths of their families or the events immediately after. Other characters might fear weakness, signs of sickness, violence or one of many other things.

What gives you hope?
The world is not a completely bleak place, and most characters have something they cling to when things are hard. They might treasure their child or lover, or they might be dedicated to some cause (possibly even the Tested or Messenger faiths). On a less grand level, some characters might have a passion for art, music or food that consumes them, or gain immense satisfaction from hunting, building things or exploring.

How do you feel about the dead?
Does your character bury or cremate their dead companions? Are they pragmatic enough to leave them where they fell or even to eat them? Do they respect the old corpses of Mixi casualties you find, or are they just another part of the landscape? Do they think you can contact or be affected by the dead, or are they just gone?

What do you want?
What motivates your character? Do they want profit, comfort, fame or to be moral? Maybe they have some goal they are working towards (such as conquering new territory for their tribe) or ideal they promote (such as a Tested cultist who subtly proselytises to other cultures). Either way, there has to be something that makes your character more than just another grunt.

What’s your great vice?
What is your character’s biggest weakness or hidden flaw? What holds them back or makes them repellent to others? Are they a coward? Addicted to alcohol or hallucinogens? Prone to violence or cruelty? Callous? Are they ashamed by this part of themselves, or do they accept or even glorify it?

What’s your great strength?
What makes your character heroic? What is their better nature? Are they honourable, compassionate or ambitious? What made them this way? Maybe they were taught that this behaviour was ‘good’ by their family, or learnt that it was necessary to survive after Mixi came.

What do you wear?
A character’s clothing reflects their lifestyle, from the masks and hooded coats worn by Skavvies to the furs and leathers worn by herders. It’s worth thinking about the kind of clothing your character wears: what’s it made out of? Is it elegant or crude? Does it display any sort of iconography, and if so why? Does it offer any physical protection or have any similar practical uses?

What do you look like?
What is your character’s hair like? Long, short, braided, matted, shaved? Do they have any scars? Are they missing teeth, eyes or fingers? What’s their build like- muscular, wiry or thin? A character is unlikely to be fat unless they are very high status. Do they have tattoos, piercings, brandings or scarification?

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