Into the Wilds: Character Creation

I have been away (teaching) for a long time and wanted to get back to some solo gaming.  I started by using the original set of Backstory Cards and the It’s Not My Fault cards combined with the It’s Not My Fault I’m Fantastic cards to come up with the nuts and bolts.  I decided to be in brand new colony on the edge of a medieval fantasy world where no sentient being had been before in recorded history.  I filled out the setting guide for the Backstory Cards and drew some random combos on the It’s Not My Fault cards for the main character and two secondary party members using the Tiny Dungeon 2E rules.  I didn’t actually play anything yet, but here’s how the intro shook out:


NPC: Kheirnuk Vengerd the Barbarian Scholar (cards drawn)
Heritage: Dwarf, Dark Vision
HP: 8
Family Trade: Mushroom farmer
Belief: All knowledge is worth preserving
Weapon Group: War hammer
Traits: Educated, Eidetic Memory, Berserker, Strong

NPC: Fal Dimar the Sorcerer Assassin (cards drawn)
Heritage: Human, extra trait
HP: 6
Family Trade: Magician school
Belief: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
Weapon Group: Dagger
Traits: Spell-touched, Sneaky, Nimble Fingers, Acrobat, Assassin

PC: Galathar Ernala the Ranger Alchemist (cards drawn)
Heritage: Fey, Bow Mastery
HP: 6
Family Trade: Cartographer
Belief: You are most alive when risk is involved
Weapon Group: Bow, Thin blade
Traits: Alchemist, Quick Shot, Tracker, Perceptive

Setting Grid

Individuals – Mizuki the child prophet, Sir Geoffrey Silvers the original charter holder, and Lucian Tivoli the eventual tavern owner and information broker

Groups – Copper Knives gang, Collective Council of Colonists, Builder’s Union

Places – Herb-rich meadow, Nectar River, Red Wood Grove

Events – Poisoning of the Chief of Watch named Joseph Crouch, Flood from the plane of water brings refugees with it, Woodsmen have been dying

I drew card numbers #2, 12, 24, 39, and 47 in the Backstory Cards (for those following along at home).

Scenario Set-Up

I then drew a situation from the It’s Not My Fault deck and got the following:

Where are you now: Strapped to the altar of something best unnamed.

What brought you to this: Ice has just swept across the landscape covering the terrain and many people in thick sheets of ice.

How it’s about to get worse: You can’t wake up.

My Story

So this is where the story ends: strapped to an evil altar to some long forgotten (and quite frankly, better forgotten) deity of definitely evil intent.  The otherworldly chirps, calls, and chants sound more like the jungle at night than anything else, but I still feel the electric buzz of magic building around me.  If only I could wake myself up.
Deities take Sir Geoffrey and his arrogance!  After the Month of Drowning ended with an uneasy truce between between our newly established outpost and the refugees from the plane of water, he decided to start taking advantage of their precarious position.  Even though our colony had pushed deep into the unknown territory of the Outer Forest, he didn’t let on lest the “merkies” find out we’re just as much noobs here as they are.  He wanted them to serve us for the privilege of being on our plane of existence.  (As if all life doesn’t have the right to live!)
The only place the merfolk refugees could take up residence was in the Nectar River which is unfortunate because that swift moving body of water has some magical healing properties.  Diseases are cured, wounds are bound, and one of the woodsmen claims it reattached his big toe after an ill-fated bounce of a dull axe.  (That particular incident has not been verified.). But for all that mystical whatnot, the healing does take time.  It’s not instantaneous.  For a proper healing you need running water from the Nectar almost every hour which was no big deal until a whole pod of refugees started living there.  Now Sir Geoffrey Silvers, minor noble from a minor province, major jerk with major entitlement issues, and original charter holder of the Silverhold Colony Company forces the merfolk to bottle water for us.  Oddly enough the water holds no healing properties for them, but I digress.
It’s like I’m floating above my own body now.  Above me, a swirl of green and blue spins faster and faster, making a rough oval about the size of a small hut.  Below me, I can see that my body is still breathing, so I guess I’m not dead yet.  No thanks to Geoffrey Silvers!
The merfolk started grumbling, and Sir Geoffrey felt they weren’t showing proper respect to the “Sir” part of his name, so things went south pretty fast.  While the merfolk can’t survive on land long term, they can come up in the air long enough to have a war of words which they did.  As it was about to come to a violent head, I spoke up.  No risk, no reward, right?  
Now, I’m no one special in this new colony.  I’m just a guy who’s handy with a bow and the alchemical skills (that’s really why I was selected for this expedition), but I figured since the Chief Protector, Joseph Crouch, had just been poisoned, someone had to talk some sense into that arrogant fool of a leader.  So, yeah, it was me that made that grandiose speech on the banks of the Nectar.  It was me that made it look like it was Silvers’ fault in the first place.  It was me that verbally backed him into a corner so that the only way he could save face was capitulate and back off the merfolk a bit.  He did, but oh my, he didn’t like it.  Not one bit.  And he saw a chance for revenge of both me and the merfolk when the ice started falling non-stop.
The altar my body is laying on had jutted up from the newly formed fissure in the ground.  The water of the Nectar flowed around the rocky outcropping before falling down into a hole so deep it may as well be the abyss.  Except that it didn’t fall all the way.  About halfway up it’s starting to freeze.  In fact, all the waters of the Nectar are starting to freeze and the ice is coming right up the rocky pillar that my compatriots and I are on.
Of course Geoffrey the Sliver (as I call him) blamed the merfolk for the ice.  They are from a plane of water after all, so it’s not a stretch to imagine them having some sort of control over the ice that just kept falling.  Me and my friends were sent to talk to the merfolk and put a stop to the ice “by any means necessary (wink wink)” straight from the horse’s mouth.  He knew I was not the violent type, but he also knew that out here in the wilds of the Outer Forest, we have to take care of our own because there is no back-up coming.  We’re out here to start a brand new civilization, and I knew the risk of not getting this thing settled.
So off we went, Kheirnuk, Fal, and myself, trying to keep from being frozen and encased in solid ice on the trek to the Nectar River ford.  And guess what?  It wasn’t the merfolk.  It was some kind of water plane demon claiming the merfolk had disrespected it, and that this plane had no right to access the sacred magics held within the river.  I tried to talk things out, tried to smooth things over, but one thing led to another, and we all ended up here on frozen altars getting ready to be sacrificed to some off-world baddie.
My hovering spirit looks over to the right to see that Kheirnuk is still breathing too.  That’s good.  If we could just wake up, he may yet know how to get us out of this mess.  The swirls over my head are starting to look like a portal, and even asleep and outside my own body, I can feel a chill coming out of it.
When the woodsmen first started dying, it was Kheirnuk that saved my skin.  They had been killed by arrows with no fletching, and since I’m the best shot around, Little Sliver assumed it must be my fault.  Lucky for me, Kheirnuk Vengerd, the great dwarven barbarian knows more than just fighting.  You wouldn’t think it to look at him.  He’s huge!  For a dwarf that is.  All the yelling, screaming, and bluster really gets across that  rip-roaring figther-type persona for Kheirnuk, but at heart, he’s a scholar.  He came on this mission “to gather and preserve that which is yet unknown.”  He’s a bookworm!  Well, that bookish knowledge helped him figure out that it was really tree dryads that had launched the fatal assaults on our woodsmen.
He seemed quite pleased with having figured out the mystery, but since we were friends before the colonization effort, he caught the subtle signs.  He saw me about to draw a weapon at the council meeting.  He now suspects that I’m not that loyal to the Collective Council of Colonists here at our newly birthed outpost.  (Please don’t call it Silvertown.  That’s not official yet.). What poor Kheirnuk doesn’t know is that I do have reason to be wary of the Council.  Besides Geoffrey the Sliver having it out for me, there is another on the Council that I have a bad history with, but no time for that story right now.
My spirit glanced to the right looking for Fal Dimar, my assassin friend with a penchant for magic.  If there are any deities listening right now, help Fal magically bust out of this sleep.  Dear goodness!  Something is coming through!
I met Fal back in the real world, in real civilization.  The capital city had called for Sir Geoffrey Silvers to come before the Emperor before setting out to destinations unknown.  It was a mutually joyful occasion for Emperor Lykar held no love for Geoffrey.  As part of the crew heading out, I had to be in attendance as well, but the night life was so much more fun.  Unfortunately, it ended up being a little too fun.
Life’s no fun without a little risk, so the week before the ceremonial send-off, I headed to one of the local gambling establishments.  I don’t mind saying that I’m actually a pretty decent card player.  I know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.  The bar that night had some pretty seedy characters.  After getting a few drinks in and keeping an ear to the ground for pertinent conversations, I realized this was a hangout for the Copper Knives gang.  They were some cowardly cutpurses who preyed on the weak rather than those who could afford it.  Not only that, but they started bragging about taking this old widow’s money.  Well, that was it for me.  I used every trick in the book and cleared them out of their cash that night at the card table.  I felt quite pleased with myself, in fact.  That is until the next morning.
Waking up a little late, I headed down to the inn’s common room for breakfast that I had hoped was still at least a bit warm.  Coming downstairs, I noticed the common room was empty except for three heavies with clubs talking up how I’ve got to pay back the Copper Knives or else.  “What’s the ‘or else?'”, I asked.  “I like to know all my options before I make a play.”  That didn’t go over too well.  Needless to say the next couple of days were spent me dodging one thug after another until the third night: WHAM!  Out of nowhere this dagger pins the foot of the latest thug to chase me right into the ground.  The thug’s whining and belly-aching while this guy kind of whisks out of the shadows, almost magic like.  He leans down and whispers something in the thug’s ear, and the thug gets real quiet and wide-eyed.  “Yer debts been paid,” he says all raspy like.  “See?  That wasn’t hard,” says the shadow man.  That’s how I met Fal.  Why he decided to tag along on this colonization effort (and how he got permission to) is beyond me, but I’d be grateful if he could save my life a second time.
The yawning portal…

To be continued…

I felt like that was a good start.  I tied in almost all of the Backstory Cards but I have one left to weave into the narrative.  I also know that at this point I’ll have to start using the rules a bit more than just free-flow writing, so I decided to call it a day for now.  Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to continue this sooner rather than later!