Tower of Shadows, Chapter 0

This is a prequel chapter, to create characters and describe them to each other. You peeps are already the best of friends, having protected each other and beaten back brigands. Warm fuzzies!

So now let’s make the character sheets! You can do it however you like, but all I need are the stats and talent you pick. I will put them all somewhere for easy referencing, so you will be able to check it anytime.

Also, you should write at least a couple of sentences describing your character. You can write it on your blog, and have it pingback to this post, link to it in a comment, or leave it in a comment. We are already playing, so you may be awarded awesome points for your story. ^_^

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, since they may be helpful to the others as well. And remember, I’ve never run this game before, let alone in this format, so there may be things that come up we have to figure out. No problem!

One more thing, make sure to check the box for comment notification. That will be helpful for keeping up with what is going on.

26 thoughts on “Tower of Shadows, Chapter 0”

    1. I was going to do a loose deadline of a few days per chapter, to reply; that means some chapters could get really long, especially if we are doing combat. It isn’t so impersonal that I can’t follow up with someone if they are lagging behind.

      It should be relaxing, and fun, and we will have to make some stuff up as we go. ^_^

    1. Yeah! My idea is that folks could set up a + address for their character to use as their Gravatar. Something like, and have the avatar be that of my character.

      That way you can post in character, but still get notifications. ^_^

      Otherwise folk will have to use something like emphasis, or quoting their characters, “As such.”

  1. Chris and I were scheming up some additional tools to help facilitate this:

    -Using a wiki and/or github repo for keeping track of all the information
    -Using GroupMe or other group text app to help facilitate combat (might be easier, faster than having it take place in the comments)
    -At some point in the campaign, getting together in real life and playing out a round (if everyone is in SF)

    Just some thoughts…

    1. All great ideas! Totally shot down!

      Part of the reason we are doing it this way is because we can’t do anything in realtime. At least two of us have children, and prohibitive schedules. That is what gave me the idea to run it in the comments, since it isn’t time-sensitive.

      Normally I run games through Gametable, at some pre-determined time for combat, and use some kinda of fora for non-combat RP.

      Also, not everyone is in the Bay Area. However, those that are will slowly be absorbed into Iron Blogger SF, at which point I will award awesome points for extra drinks (just kidding [probably])!

      As for keeping a wiki and info tracking, give it a couple of chapters. I have a lot of ideas on how to do this, so let’s give it a try, and adapt to what we need. ^_^

  2. I wanted to clarify a few things about the game.

    First of all, this is an experiment, and while I appreciate the gusto folks can come into games with, it isn’t my intention to run a serious, deep game. There probably won’t be deep backgrounds and detailed histories going on. The decisions the party will make will be more along the lines of which path to take in the forest, or if they trust that merchant or not.

    Of course character interaction is where the meat of role-playing comes from, and I find that “speaking” in character is a strength of my gaming style. I just don’t want people to put a lot of effort into this, expecting to have it return. I would ease into it, if I were you.

    Secondly, everything should be discussed in the comments of the current chapter, which is this one at the moment. I don’t want this to become an e-mail based game, part of my intent is that it be out in the open, and transparent between players and anyone following along the adventure.

    Thirdly, this chapter ends as soon as everyone has made a character. That literally means choosing 6 numbers and a talent (and posting them here). Character backgrounds are great, and will get you started with awesome points right off the bat (from me), but they are not required for us to start playing. So post them as a reply to this comment, and we can get started! ^_^

  3. I think I figured out the gravatar…

    Here is my character. Let me know if I need to change anything.

    Introducing Wallace:

    Name: Wallace (real -name:?)
    +2 cunning
    +2 daring
    -2 char,
    +2 awareness


    Wallace was one of those rare goblins who was able to make a place for himself in society. It’s not that he overcame his darker urges, rather he was able to hide them. He was leading a comfortable and successful life as a a rare-items importer for a larger city(name?), when his world came crashing down around him.

    Character Goal:
    When Wallace’s brother found him successfully integrating to non-goblin life, his jealousy overcame him and he ruined everything for him. Wallace is on a quest to find and confront his brother, to what end, even Wallace doesn’t know.

    1. Great story!

      Wallace was probably set up in the walled city of Kern, about 10 days travel to the south. It is a port city, which is very favorable to enterprising merchants, as long as they don’t spread rumors of eating babies, summoning demons, and the worst of all, cheating other merchants!

      Wallace is interested in following the clue about the Tower, since during the daring raid on the brigands, one of them mistook Wallace for his brother, calling out his name, followed by a string of expletives. That was just before a variety of blades entered the bandit’s organs (in no particular order, but still…).

      Awesome Point (x2)!

  4. Name: Max Proverbs
    Class: Elf

    Talent: Nimble Attack

    +3 Daring
    -1 Charm
    +3 Awareness (2 + 1 from inherent ability)

    Story: Max grew up as an oddity among his elven brethren. While most were content to laze about the village and sing obnoxiously long songs, Max would slip away to go on various “adventures.” At the age of 5 he successfully found the legendary Spring of Delicious Fresh Water; at 13 hunted down and slew the dreaded two-headed skunk which had been terrorizing the local village with it’s pungent spray.

    As Max grew older, his obsession with adventure grew; he read all he could of historic quests and epics and insisted vistors regale him with their own tales. The elven elders discouraged this at first, but to no avail. On his 18th birthday, the elders sent Max from his village, imploring him to find the adventure he craved.

    1. Max no doubt first went to the nearby valley, where a human settlement had fallen on hard times recently (something about the local noble withdrawing support or some nonsense, silly humans and their complete lack of community!).

      What seemed like the last wave of young able-bodied humans to leave this gods-forsaken valley, were traveling to the fortified town of Wardhall. It is there where you got caught up in your 20th or so adventure, but this time with all these other folks who were very, very interesting!

      Awesome Point (x2)!

  5. Enter Lionel, Acolyte of Desol, god of life, light and cleanliness! (You may be seated).

    Brawn 12 (+1)
    Cunning 6 (-1)
    Daring 13 (+1)
    Commitment 15 (+2)
    Charm 12 (+1)
    Awareness 11

    Talent: Auras of Evil

    Little background: Lionel is the youngest of seventeen siblings born to a farmer and her husband in the highlands of Raque. He was sent off at the age of six to the nearest city to begin to learn how to feed and clothe himself. Lionel got in with a bad crowd right away and resorted to pickpocketing, watering down drinks and potions, letting the air out of cartwheels and generally teasing alleycats. He did these things badly. The natural talents of a thief were not there. Before being extricated from the thieves guild at age eight, he had at least made a few close friends.

    The little boy floated sullen down a lane with his head hanging down like so much laden wheat at the time of harvest. At the end of the lane he beheld a brilliant vision: A squat brick building, an old temple of sorts was glowing amidst the twilight! Lionel could hear screams coming from inside and now noticed the column of black smoke billowing out of the wood shingled roof and from every window. The temple wasn’t glowing, it was on fire!

    Lionel managed to rescue a couple of priests of Desol, dragging them out of the outer sanctum and into the street. A small crowd gathered to gawk at the spectacle. Repeatedly, Lionel ran into the burning building looking for the source of the screams. Each time, he could stand the heat and the smoke less and less. Finally, he trudged to the resting place of the two priests and collapsed, black snot flowing from his face, reddened all over from the cruel fire.

    He was taken in by the recovering preists of Desol. He was taught to read and write, bandage wounds and to purify water. Lionel was taught that there is light and hope in all living things and that it is each creature’s choice whether to share it or not. On the eve of his twenteith year, he was made an Acolyte of Desol. He traveled far south with a few pilgrims to where the party is now. For the last four years, he has been giving blessings of Desol, taking in meager donations and tending a tiny herb garden in the window box of the inn room provided by the church.

    He has a burning desire to do what is right, to promote justice and to protect the weak from the brutal.

  6. Klaus, the Charming Mage has joined the party!

    Brawn -1
    Cunning 0
    Daring -2
    Commitment +2
    Charm +3
    Awareness +2

    Klaus doesn’t seem like much, because he is mostly covered in his cloak and hood. The few times you have caught a glimpse of him underneath, you realize that he is covered in… bandages.

    In the battle Klaus seemed to have an abundance of daggers, in addition to the big book hanging at his side, which can also be used as a blunt weapon.

    The book is important to him, since he hopes to write down his adventures so that future generations of mages may learn about the world without leaving their towers.

    Generally well-liked and considerate, the only other feature of note is that if you get close to Klaus, he has the distinct odor of… onions.

  7. I’m loving the character backgrounds so far! Here’s mine, with stats pending a self-serving query to the DM:

    Vekkary fet Honn: Your average herding peasant, drawn when young and impressionable into a tax revolt. He took part in petty harassment of the guards of the realm on their collection duties — not much direct violence, that being a form of suicide-by-army, but made life difficult enough in the back country that the revolt was tragically successful: the local governor decided the valley Honn too much bother to collect from and withdrew common resources (closed aqueduct and granaries, stopped maintaining/patrolling roads, etc.), and the valley pretty soon failed to subsist. Vekkary emigrated to the nearest city, where he found that the best work a healthy rube can get was…. peon in city guard. Irony is not lost on him, but he took his work more-or-less seriously, considering that, as low grunt on the ladder, his assignment was in the dirt-poor quarter. He advanced in no particularly notable manner until he ends up learning some dirty facts above his pay grade and is stripped of arms on a pretext.

    At that point is where I could see a good splice with another character, though “from the same valley” could be fun too, especially if we didn’t play it as friends exactly. I think playing PCs with misaligned goals can be a lot of fun, as long as everyone involved is in on the dance.

    Character Goal: Vekkary is on (deniable) probation as an agent of the local spymaster from the intro. The spymaster wants to see if he can learn to pair curiousity with the sense to keep himself alive. The rest of the party probably doesn’t know that Vekkary is making his own separate reports.

    1. 1) According to the rules, if we don’t each have at least +1 Brawn, we’ll be automatically Encumbered by our packs alone, auto-failing every roll. ??

      Only if packs are Heavy items. Which they aren’t, unless you pack them full of loot or something. And if your first weapon is Light, Reach or Ranged, you should be fine.

      2) Relatedly, are any Reach weapons not Heavy? I was thinking of bola, which would be reasonable for a herding background: held at one ball, it’s a swinging strike at reach, held at both ends, it’s two mallets with a choke chain, and of course the designed purpose of ranged entanglement.

      Since I am being asked, I am gonna rule that weapons can only fall into a single category. If a weapon could be used for two categories, it requires a focus action to switch modes (like a ball and chain switching to a bola).

      That said, there shouldn’t be many multi-categorical weapons, and Reach weapons are distinct from Heavy weapons. ^_^

      1. Only if packs are Heavy items. Which they aren’t, unless you pack them full of loot or something.

        Ah! Good to know. From my one time going backpacking, I would have guessed differently. 🙂

    2. Okay, still hunting for a picture, but:

      Cunning +2
      Daring +2
      Charm +1
      Awareness +1
      Commitment -2

      Talent: Charger

      Light brown hair and short-trimmed beard. Carries a quarterstaff, dresses in brown trousers and wool coat over a very worn green shirt.

  8. It is always with great sorrow that a story teller must inform eir audience of the tragedy that is internal party conflict. Unfortunately, it can’t be avoided in this instance…

    Last night, as you were all gathered at the tavern, making plans for your journey, and enjoying the rounds of drinks that were flowing from grateful merchants and townsfolk, two of your party had a bit of a tussle.

    No one is really sure how it started, but before anyone knew what was happening, the Thief and the Dwarf were at each other’s throats, or more accurately, at each other’s mugs of ale. Accusations started flying. “You are a little too drunk!” “Well, leave it to you to steal the life of the party!”

    Fortunately, your collective actions were fresh on the minds of the patrons who turned them over to the town guard. Unfortunately, they will need to sleep off their hangovers (the guards saw no reason to stop the partying). You’ve been assured that they will be washed with the cleanest buckets to be found, and sent on their way as soon as possible.

    As the rest of you gather together before the gates of the fortified city, you feel eerily sober. What dangers, treasures and secrets will your adventure bring? Only one way to find out…

    Let me gather my notes, and then I will get Chapter 1 up. ^_^

  9. Lionel recounts his coins in his slim pouch tied around a sting of pumpkin vine. He scratches his head,

        "Funny that. It seems there should be more here."

    He cinches up the pouch and tucks the moneypurse back under his starched vestments. Mostly white, they are singed and glossy with remnants of a treatment whereby hot irons (clad in slightly larger cold irons) were pressed up against the linen fabric. The whole neckline was done up in ornate but clumsy looking french curve crochet.

    Lionel turns around and stares into the distance for a moment, frowns, then kicks the toe of his worn boot into the dust and sighs.

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