Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Zorcerer of Zo in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge

Deciding not to mess with the Ogre Queen on day 25 of the #CharacterCreationChallenge

Back in the oughts Chad Underkoffler was producing some fun and innovate games and settings using his Prose Descriptive Qualities system. PDQ has something like a FUDGE structure in your character is defined by qualities that are Poor [-2], Average [+0], Good [+2], Expert [+4] or Mastery [+6], but rather than FUDGE dice you roll 2d6 and apply any qualities that make sense for the action, trying to beat a target number (usually 7). 

When the character takes damage, they reduce the ranks of their qualities, but can select the order (so if you lose ranks in a swordfight they don't have to come off of your Good [+2] Swordplay but might reduce your Expert [+4] witty repartee. You have to zero out everything (all qualities reduced to poor, then something goes below poor) to definitively lose a conflict, and qualities are pretty flexible – you might be better off taking the hit to Swordplay and then state you're fighting defensively while you mock and berate your opponent with your Witty Repartee, which will do damage ranks just as fast as sword hits will. 

Whatever quality you take your first hit to in a session becomes your story hook for next session. If you keep taking your Good [+2] Love for Princess Gwendolyn as your first hit, Princess Gwendolyn is going to come up somehow each session. 

It's a great, loose system for story that doesn't drive the story to specific outcomes. 

Zorcerer of Zo is one of those settings. It's a mash up of Oz and fairy tales and dozens of other things, but the primary concept is a tweaked Oz, with the green capital city and the four colored realms, but also fairy tale elements from around the world. 

For my character this time I went back to a classic and found the Charles Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty (https://thefairytalecentral.com/the-missing-fairy-invite-sleeping-beauty-commentary/) and found some lovely things: that the prince's mom was literally an Ogre who the king married for her money; that the Mother in law tried to eat her grandchildren; that there was no birthday deadline on the 8th fairy's curse. I've been going back and forth on what aspects of this to take for my character, but since the ZoZ setting already has a canonical sleeping princess (Morphea) I'm going with the idea of a princess blessed by the faeries where the last fairy doesn’t change the curse to sleeping, but pushes off the time. Yes, she's going to prick her finger on a spindle and die, but "Not until she has lived a full life". 

What does "a full life mean?" I don't know. The king and queen don't know, but they also know they can't coddle her away.  Crepuscula herself, upon learning the curse, agreed, because with the temper of an angel includes a righteous anger that cannot be contained. So she's roaming Zo, with the help and protection of her bodyguard, the former ostler of her father's castle and knighted when Crepuscula chose him for this job Sir Chauncy. 

Once upon a time in the Zantabulous land of Zo there was a PRINCESS from GIALLO named CREPUSCULA whose many fine qualities included 

Good [+2] perform all music with utmost skill

Expert [+4] do everything with wonderful grace 

Expert [+4] features and temper of an angel

Good [+2] Bodyguard, Sir Chauncy (who has Good [+2] Bodyguard, Average [+0] Ostler, Poor [-2] Knightly Graces)

Poor [-2] Will prick her finger on a spindle and die after living a full life. 

Maybe next time I do something with Prince Charming possibly being half-ogre….

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