Kingdoms of the Mists
Ravenloft and 13th Age will be a potent combination because both rely on a deep involvement in setting and game environment. I am going to provide detailed information about the places and influential persons of the setting, and expect players to provide detailed information about their characters that tie them to the world.
Your occupation: Ravenloft is a setting of small villages and settlements separated by dangerous wilderness. The people here do not live in fear of dragons or orcs, as these creatures are unknown, but rather evil spirits, hags, lycanthropes, ghosts and so on. The terrors that stalk the common folk are more magical, and more personal than rading orcs. A hag doesn’t simply eat you, it plays with it’s food first, subtly and for a long long time. The villagers may have no idea what is stalking them, they can only experience the grisly symptoms. This kind of threat creates opportunities for investigators, vampire hunters, ghost busters and so on. Consider calling yourself and or your troop something along those lines.
Location, Location, Location: Where You Are From is a huge part of who you are and what you are doing. There are kingdoms that if you are from there, you almost certainly escaped. There are others where your may be very unwelcome. Knowing where you are from and where you are going will often be adventures in themselves.
Icon Relationships Matter: Choose your icon relationships carefully and make an effort to involve them in your role play and decisions. If you want icons to gift you with magic items and provide other aide, then they should expect to be important in your life. If you have a positive relationship with one Icon and provide assistance to his rival without considering your relationship, icon relationships will seem hollow and the game will be less rich.
Backgrounds: We’ll discuss these at the character creation session, but I would discourage one word backgrounds. Please don’t say ‘acrobat’, but write a bit about what experiences or circumstances gave you your talent.
As I said, Ravenloft demands a deep understanding of your character. The Campaign Setting included the following questionnaire, and I recommend reviewing it and answering at least a few of these questions when creating your character- the answers will suggest backgrounds and maybe even a unique thing, or if you already know your unique thing, this will help you imagine how it effects your daily life.
From the Ravenloft Campaign Guide:
So, as a final exercise, whenever you create a Ravenloft player character, place yourself in your hero’s mind and consider the following questions. This is not a test, and there are no wrong answers.
1. What do you look like? Are you alluring? Plain? Grotesque? Do you dress in finery or tattered rags? Do you have any scars or distinguishing features? A character’s appearance may hint at her past. For example, a fighter hunting the were tiger who infected her with lycanthropy might still bear scars from the attack.
2. Where is your family? Where is your homeland? Are you native to Barovia, or were you drawn into a quest from the arid Amber Wastes? Do you have a cozy cottage to call home, or have you been banished from your ancestral estate? Some players may believe that loved ones can’t be threatened if they don’t exist, hut consider this: a hero with no one to lose also has no one to turn to in times of need.
3. What is your greatest love? For what or whom would you make sacrifices? A romantic interest? A family member? Yourself? Your god? Magic ? Youth ? Knowledge? Power? Would you make a personal sacrifice or sacrifice someone else?
4. What is your greatest regret? Do you have any memories that haunt you at night? Were unable to prevent a death? Do you have a mental or physical trait that you despise? Did you betray a friend in a time of weakness?
5.What makes your skin crawl? What are your hates or fears? Many elves are disgusted by the acrid scent of gunpowder, and dwarves are said dislike the sea. Do you dislike the smell of livestock, or do you hate the sweltering heat of summer? Does witnessing an injustice set your teeth grinding, or does the sight of spiders send you in shivers? Do you find a race, culture, religion, or form of magic primitive or unnatural?
6. What fascinates you? What topics draw your interest? Do you attend operas, or do you read tawdry novels? Would you pore over the intricate patterns of a magic scroll, the strands of a cobweb, or the gears of a clock tower? Do you have a weakness for riddles? Do you live your life in search of new sensations?
7. What are your habits? Do you have any patterns in your life? A sorcerer might twist his beard when lost in thought; a caliban might collect “trophies” from slain foes; a bard might practice every night to hone her musical skills.
8. What are your secrets? Do you hide any thing from the outside World? Are you disguising a trait, or have you buried an event from your past? Why do you keep this secret? 1f your secret was revealed, would you merely be embarrassed, or might you face persecution or place someone at
9. Are you rational or passionate? Do you pride yourself on following your head before your heart, or are you a true romantic?
1 0. Are you sophisticated or superstitious? were you educated in the finest boarding schools, or were you raised by tanners who left their farmstead often to check their traps? A cosmopolitan character might be experienced in the skills of etiquette, while an unrefined peasant might know countless folktales about the fey.
11. How strong is your faith? Many denizens of the Land of Mists scoff at religion, believing that the gods have long since ceased to care about mortal concerns. If religious, do you worship the prevalent religion of your homeland, or have you adopted a foreign creed? Are you pious or zealous?
12. How self-confident are you? Do you continually question your own motives? Do you struggle with an inner darkness? Or do you stride boldly forth knowing in your heart that your actions are correct?
13. What drives you to adventure? Why have you taken up the dangerous life of an adventurer? Are you simply mercenary, seeking treasure? Are you on a hunt for vengeance? Are you driven by altruistic motives? Do you believe you have a destiny to fulfill? Are you trying to reclaim a stolen birthright? Are you struggling to be reunited with a lost love?