I learned this trick while impersonating a mortal on Decathros. Â If could catch a mortal's eyes, not meet Â necessarily meet the mortals eyes, but just look at the eyes I could hold an image of that mortal in my mind forever. Â I would know everything about that mortal at the moment, I could ask the mortal questions and I would know how they would answer, I would know things they didn't know about themselves they didn't know. Â Of course I only knew them in that moment, if looked them the next day or the next year, the captured image I had might answer questions differently. I caught Sengur's eyes before I had a name. It was the last leg of my journey through Decathros, when I went to visit my father and I found this man Sengur alone on my father's shore. Â He saw that I was cold and naked (I had been traveling as beast in the water). He gave me clothes and food even though and I could see he had very little himself. Â He told me was traveling hundreds of miles along to an Island on the far side of my father. Â I tried to return his gifts but still he insisted that I take them. We then sat and talked about our fathers for while, nothing specific, but he listened. That is when I caught his eyes and asked who he was.
Sengur of the WarkraÂ
Appearance: Sengur stands 5'8' tall has thick blonde hair, a sturdy frame and warm blue eyes.Â He presents himself in combat or in friendship with a slow lazy smile. His manner is straightforward and casual.Â He has a restless energy that keeps him moving or talking. Â He wears either the waterproof whale skin suit of his people while he is at sea, or the fur cape and brown leather leggings of an adult married Warkra man. Â
Personal History:Sengur is 26 years old, he is the oldest of 6 children, and he has five brothers ages 11-23. He was born during a time when some Warkra women (his mother included) would poison their female children to keep them from being taken by Saulkement raiders. Like most Warkra men he is in a polyandrous marriage. His wife is named Heatha, they have a strong physical attraction and enjoy sport together, but lack a deep emotional connection.Â She lives on the island of Sujak with her first and second husband. They have no children together.Sengur's father, who raised him, kept his children as sheltered as possible.Â They would reside most the year at the base of mount Gyd rather than on the shore like most of his tribe. Because of his father's attempt to isolate the family Sengur was 13 before he learned about the Saulkement islands and how the Vartans have oppressed, enslaved and murdered his people. His first encounter with the Vartans was when a galley washed on to Gyd in a storm. He and his father were conscripted to help repair the galley by bringing lumber down from the mountain.Â At his age maturation, 13, Sengur went to live with his Uncles and learn the way of the fisherman while his father remained inland Every few years starting when he was 16 or so one of his brother would join him on the coast.Â Sengur and his brothers became respected and admired members of the community. Sengur, today is seen as the defacto leader (though the Warkra would not use that title) of Gyd by the Vartans and the other Warkra treat him as wise and important voice among them.
Equipment and Skills: Sengur has a closed skin and bone sea kayak with a rudder and has a heavy sea canoe with a single outrigger.Â While at sea or hunting he carries steel bamboo harpoons that he uses a stone adaladal, he has the typical Warkra obsidian dagger and hand ax.Â As a personal weapon he carries a Yarrant Mace.Â The Yarrant Mace is mystical weapon stolen from the fire elemental nexus located beneath the Island of Gyd.Â When the weapon is wielded and strikes it target it delivers both supernatural force and heat.
Sengur is athletic and charismatic; he has no formal education but does possess a very general sense of his people's oral history and theology. He has been exposed to the many of the skill sets endemic to his culture and while detailed crafts elude him and he is an accomplished seafarer and fisherman. He received a basic martial education, participating in a view raids and being taught how to use a war club and history.
Associates and Reputation: Sengur does not command per se, but has the personal loyalty of twenty three Warkra warriors on Gyd not including his younger brothers and is very well respected by the Warkra on the other three islands. There are roughly three hundred men of fighting age on Gyd, but Sengur and his companionsÂ stand out because they are all accomplished seafarers who would not think twice about traveling the entire Spiked Sea in an open canoe and they all carry weapons (maces or hammers) made from Yarrant steel.Â At this time, when Sengur was encountered, the Vartanadel exiles on Saulkement did not know there was group was Warkra warrior armed with mystical fire weapons. However, some of the Vartanadel nobles on Saulkement have taken notice of Sengur, because never has there been Warkra man so respected among all the tribes.
First Response To People: Sengur's first goal when confronted with new people, any person, is to form a connection in order to define their relationship to him. Â He has a deep empathy, with people, all people, and we will immediately look for and find some connection with a person. Very often that connection is as a provider, his empathy allows him to quickly assess a person's state and then his first action or thought will be to help.
Emotional Compass: In addition to his empathy, Sengur is first a problem solver but he is also unsympathetic. His lack of sympathy may seem to be at odds with his empathy, but relates to another his prime characteristic an: extremely low standards for personal safety and comfort. So while Sengur may recognize immediately that you are cold, hungry and frightened, and he will try and solve the problem, he will not have strong emotional reaction to your state. If he fails or no solution exists he will not attempt to comfort you nor he will feel bad for you, because those things would not strongly effect him.Â He may seem exceptionally callous to some close to him because he will not ask how they are doing or express any concern.Â This is because he believes he knows how they feel, determined there was nothing he could do about it and moved on. People that put up a lot of guard and refuse to form even a minor social connection in order to establish the nature of their relationship upset Sengur.Â Sengur's attitude towards them will become more hostile.Â He is made uncomfortable by people with, which he has an ambiguous relationship.Â He would rather deal with a known enemy, than an aloof and mysterious stranger.
Motivations:Â Sengur generates goals and personal desire based on the needs of the community.Â However, he is extremely self-motivated and outwardly focused.Â This is what makes him a leader, his goals are ones that he placed upon himself based on his perception of communal needs.Â As opposed to goals that increase prestige or standing in the community. His sense of self is heavily tied to the Warkra peoples.Â But their approval is only a minor motivation, he wants to be liked, and needs to belong but his feeling of connection to his community is so strong that he can't imagine being disliked or isolated.Â Thus while he might fight and act tireless to defend the community from outward threats, within in the community he takes it for granted.
Personality:Â Sengur is even keeled, direct, gregarious, restless, confident in his abilities and humorless.Â He is always drawn towards confrontation, too much so and can't just let things go, but he is not drawn in anger.Â Indeed avoid confrontation is more aggravating to Sengur. Â He is joyful and pleased most of the day, he takes satisfaction in hard labor and in groups of people.Â In a group he likes to take charge and direct things preferring to lead people in sports or projects rather than in discussions or purely social activity. Â He is a charismatic leader with a strong personal presence. His leadership is in the Warkra style of leadership. The Warkra believe it to be an incredible insult to give anyone a direct order or to hold oneself above anybody else. Thus Sengur leads by discussing the goals or needs of the group. Example of his style are as follows:'We really need to do this don't we?'Â 'Do we think this would be a good idea?' or 'I'd really to like to take another look at that cave, who is with me?'Â Wit and irony escape him, if forced to sit still, Sengur would rather listen to song or watch the sunset than hear a story or tell a joke.
What he will do:Â Sengur was raised by a gentle man but came of age in a violent time among a people that accept sub-lethal inner personal violence as part of adult life.Â Sengur will hit, strike or beat those that insult him or block his actions because that is what his society calls for. Â Sengur will kill in combat or in cold blood if he believes he is in the right. He takes no specific pleasure in these activities. Worse than killing, to Sengur's mind at least, he will ostracize or banish a member of the community if he believes that person has betrayed it.Â He will steal from or cheat foreigners but only if he believes it will benefit the community. He will also risk the lives of his companions to achieve his goals and would lay down his own life if need be. Â
What he won't do:Â Sengur will never contemplate living anywhere but the Spiked Sea.Â He will never take the side of an outsider against a Warkra, no matter what the Warkra has done. Â He will never let harm come to his brothers, and he will never give up his belief that the Warkra culture and way of life will go on.Â Â
Â What he doesn't know about himself:Â Sengur has never been in his love and never experienced strong personal loss. If he develops a strong emotional or romantic attachment to a woman than he begin to shift his sense of self towards that relationship.Â Sengur also a latent sense of ethnic superiority and xenophobia (both strongly frowned upon by Warkra culture) and though he is not conscious of this desire, he wishes that the Warkra were an isolated people without cultural challenges.Â Finally, he has the unrealized capability to use his great empathy aggressively and sadistically.Â Sengur is not one for great personal connections with people, but he has them with his four younger brothers and could have it with a woman.Â If Sengur were to feel powerless to protect those that he has a deep personal love than he will use his empathy to access the weakness of his opponents and ruthlessly exploit it.
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? Responses (5)
can't get this formatted
Reads like a write-up for a character that is going to make it into a novel. There's far more detail here than would probably make it into a game, but he would be fun to write about!
The only thing I wish you had included was a little more backstory, the 'how he actually became a leader' part. I get that he as strong charisma and empathy, but without a partial listing of his deeds, it's hard to understand exactly why he is the most respected man on the islands. How did he get that magical mace, for instance?
I am surprised at your view that this is more literary than game orientated. I made an effort to write it as a gaming resource and not as a part of some piece of fiction. What is more surprising is that you are the reason I tried to make this a gaming resource. In your discussion of Cheka's hardcore porn novel you wrote
'Citadel is a website billed as a resource for the game masters, and occasionally players, of role playing games. This ideal is enforced both by the submission categories (Lifeforms, Items, NPCs, etc) and by the overwhelming number of forum posts. My main objection to this piece is that it does NOT serve in this capacity.'
I chose this style in particular because of your comment. I wrote this up the way I would write up NPC notes back when I GMed. In my experience PCs don't care to hear about the past exploits of NPCs and as a GM what I really needed was a clear idea of how my NPCs are going to respond to having their pocket's picked, torture, jokes and so forth. I always thought the game was very wet cement and I hated when I would have NPC act of character or saw a better way to handle the situation once I left the table. Backstory is fun to read (because hey it is a story), but when prepping for an RPG NPC backstory was never much use to me.
Shadowrun was the toughest cities with 100 of millions of people, open ended mystery or heist plots and not telling who the PCs are going to talk with. But perhaps I am wrong, this may be more information than most would put in the game-at any rate off topic.
As for the fire mace, that was a late addition, and really was extraneous. I felt a sell out for including a description of his equipment. I am going to try and link this guy to plot or other NPCs. What information does Dossta need for a good NPC?
You, sir, are a bloody good writer and probably a better GM than myself. In the end, I should probably stop commenting on NPC write-ups until I've written more than one or two myself :P
Let me rephrase:
There is more detail here than *I* could use in an average game. That is not a failing of the sub or of the NPC, but of my abilities as a game master. That doesn't meant the sub needs any less detail, just that I probably wouldn't use it all.
As for backstory, I think it's important in an NPC, because it tells me what that NPC is likely to talk about. Backstory is a quick and dirty tool that helps me see where an NPC is coming from, so I can infer what they will do now.
What do I look for in NPCs? I'm not a good person to ask, really, 'cause I'm a pretty inexperienced GM. But the best resource I've probably seen to date is Masks by Engine Publishing. It's quick, to the point, which makes the NPCs easy for a newbie to use. http://www.enginepublishing.com/files/Masks-1000-NPCs-Preview.pdf
Despite the numerous typos that I can spot, I really do think this particular format of writing up a NPC neat as it provides a very comprehensive picture of a character in a very succinct way. One thing though, I almost thought this will be a write-up of the Son of Saulke(?) since the opening blockquote was written in his voice and also the summary says 'one of the movers and shakers' so I was picturing a NPC more grand than Sengur who is well-respected among the Warkra but only has the personal loyalty of 20 odd ppl.