Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

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Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Emperor_Fabulus » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:58 am

So, I’m winding up for my big Houses of the Blooded game on the 14th. I’ve got a wonderful setting planned out, and pursuant to the advice in the Narrator’s section, I’m cooking up a stable of Narrator-controlled characters (NCCs) to add to the mix. Here’s the rogues’ gallery I’ve come up with so far, alongside a little bit of the frame story to clue you on why they all are the way they are.


For a very long time (at least two centuries), the part of Shanri known as the Movancoast (Movanna in senatorial records) was a Domain under the Blooded of the Bear. Large enough to be a county but not a duchy, the Movancoast persisted as a rock of political stability in the northwest until the untimely death of Count Rohelio Burghe. An Autumn ven and famous hunter, the old Count met his end at the fangs of an ork no one had ever seen before, a maritime creature fully a thousand feet long that has been smashing the Count’s ships to kindling for weeks. He sailed out with his thirty best guardsmen, and they killed the giant ork, but not before it slaughtered them, the old Count included.

The death was sudden and unexpected, as were the repercussions – without the Count to keep his neighbors feeling secure, tensions mounted. When no one stepped up to take the Count’s place, the county fell into disarray as orks and bandits roamed unchecked. One of the Count’s sons has stepped up to take the reins, but he is not his father, and the county’s fragmented Provinces are now almost without leadership. Any ven sufficiently well-equipped could carve out a piece of the old Count’s lands and make them his own.

That’s where the player characters come in. They were all landless young ven until their parents heard about the collapse of Movanna county. Their parents, seeing an opportunity to snatch up land for their children, have since sent them to the Movancoast to make their own way in Shanri. Indeed, if they are ambitious enough, they might be able to take the whole county for themselves . . .


A real, genuine artiste
Popular with the commoners
Not very confident

Ancho is a good representation of the filial duty aspect of the Blooded of the Bear. He does not seek violence of any sort to achieve his ends – why take a risk of failing to kill your enemy when you can bribe him into being your ally? – but he won’t hesitate once he’s been backed into the last corner. He appears to be a benevolent Blooded, insofar as the Blooded are benevolent, and enjoys a great deal of popularity amongst the unBlooded. He is currently the Count in his father’s absence, but he has no real power past a few leagues from his castle. Many claim he is his mother’s puppet. They might not be wrong.

Ancho will do his best to try and acquire his father’s remaining lands without inflicting violence on other ven. When it becomes clear that he cannot reason with his brother at all, he will either fight his brother and lose, or agree to become a Baron under his brother’s shadow and scheme from there.


A bloody-handed killer
Popular with the nobles
Willing to listen to potential alliance offers

Taikei takes after his father much more than his mother. He loves hunting, dueling, anything that proves his strength (read: Strength). He’s the picture of the hot young stud that appears in so much literature – full of bravado and not much sense. The other Blooded like him because he’s decisive, entertaining, and good at hunting ork. The problem is that he’s far from his brother’s equal when it comes to the actual governing of a Domain. He currently lairs in the West Ring Coast, at the far western reaches of his father’s lands. He’s recently sent out the word that he’s interested in making friends to get what he wants – his father’s lands, or at least most of them (if the price for the listener’s assistance is some of the land).

Taikei will try his best to make actual, roughly equitable alliances with other ven, but his lack of patience will eventually get the better of him and he’ll all but declare war on his brother. Anyone could drop Espionage actions to learn what he’s planning, and will have juicy information to make use of.


Was the finest prima contralta in her prime
Doesn’t seem at all upset to be wearing the grey
Never without her white crow

Banta was Count Rohelio Burghe’s wife, and fixed in the minds of most of the Movancoast’s courtiers as the cool yin to her husband’s boisterous yang. She kept a tight house when her husband was alive, and probably stooped to rescue him from his own temper on several occasions. No one thought much about her until the old Count died, though. Now everyone is a little weirded out by the fact that she doesn’t seem particularly perturbed that her husband’s lands are being squabbled over by two dozen Blooded, only two of whom are her sons. She seems utterly content to sit on her hands and watch everyone bloody each other’s noses looking for the prize. It makes the cleverer amongst the Blooded wonder what Banta is thinking . . .

Banta is paralyzed by inaction – her husband’s death was sudden, giving her no time at all to prepare contingencies for the worst. Every time she examines the state of Movanna, she sees far too many variables that cannot be isolated and predicted. She could seize power, but she’s not sure she could keep it. Unless someone significantly changes the playing field, Banta will smile and nod her way into Solace, too afraid to move on her late husband’s lands.


A rish’i-suaven from the South
Drips with suaven-relevant paraphernalia
Has one brilliant, golden eye

Orodo Steele was born under a bad sign, or so he’s told – his golden iris is certainly unsettling to anyone who looks upon it. Rather than let his apparent handicap rule his life, though, Orodo has begun carving out his own piece of Shanri. He is a rish’i-suaven – not a q’val per se, but a holy man who honors the suaven just the same. He commands quite the trove of minor relics, and is unfailingly gracious and hospitable to pilgrims seeking to visit some of the many shrines he has overseen the construction of in his lands here and far to the south. Some say he would pay any price to acquire a relic, and only his relative poverty as a young Blooded keeps his Elk-borne ambition intact.

Orodo has an agenda – he has seen the power ven can acquire from properly worshipping the suaven, and he sees a chance to get leverage on his rivals – if a ven relies heavily on the suaven for aid, that makes him more predictable, since Orodo knows a great deal about the suaven. He’ll recommend that anyone get a little more religion, because that grants him a little more power over them. A little might be all he needs.


Known by some as the Lady of the Fans
Moves . . . oddly
Has very long and neat nails

The Baroness B’Van is slightly famous due to her family’s holdings. They make the finest courtier’s fans in all of Shanri. In keeping with the tightness of the family line, B’Van has been loaned some of the famous artisans to assist her in expanding her own lands in the Movancoast. She is never seen with the same piece of art twice, and is very eager to gift her family’s famous fans to her neighbors . . . for a reasonable price, of course. All this keeps her a popular topic of conversation, but what really drives the gossip mavens wild is her limp. No other ven in recent memory has had a limp – either their spectacular constitution heals them, or it doesn’t – but B’Van, oddly enough, has a limp. No one knows why, and B’Van avoids the topic with steely determination.

Poor, poor B’Van – her father was an Initiate of Mahl, and quite fond of making use of subtle orks for his ends. B’Van and all her siblings were treated as experiments by their father, who arranged ‘accidents’ so that he could fully understand the abilities of the orks he summoned through his Devotion. B’Van was chosen to suffer repeated attacks by a flesh-boring maggot-like thing, all while drugged to the gills with narcotics so she couldn’t properly remember the experience. That’s why she has a limp – the constant eating and reeating of her leg muscles resulted in them growing back wrong.


Blatantly mercenary and extremely honest about it
Known to be stuck with a bad Province
Had a bad thing with a sloppy Romance ending

‘Go to Movanna,’ Yness’ uncle said. ‘There’s Provinces for the taking.’ Yness had the good fortune to make it to the Movancoast in time to occupy a castle before the orks overran it, but he chose the wrong castle to stake his claim. The Eagle’s Summit is a fine castle with some highly productive mines in the surrounding mountains, but other ven have all snapped up the land around Yness, and now he is hemmed in on five sides with little opportunity to explore or expand. He’s stuck with a Province that’s currently a Castle, two Forests, six Mountains, and one unexplored region. He’s upset, and looking for allies. ANY allies.

Apart from just how desperate he is to get out of his current situation, Yness has no real secrets, nor any planned out destiny.


Genuine tough girl
Likes hunting ork
Has an excellent castle (the Red Dawn Keep)

When people think of the typical Blooded of the Falcon, they think of someone like Corasha. She’s tough as deer jerky, far more comfortable in riding leathers than a frilly dress, and would need four hours to list every kind of ork and beast she’s killed. And she’s only eighteen. You should meet her mother. Corasha was among the first to arrive when it was clear the brothers Burghe would have no way to keep other ven out of their father’s ripe, undefended lands, and has already put to rivals to the sword. She’s ruthless and fearless the way only a Falcon can be, and will not go quietly if anyone wants to take what’s hers.

Corasha has more backers than she knows – some Blooded of the Bear look on her and see another Rohelio Burghe in the making, and would be willing to endorse her claim if she’s willing to render payment in some fashion. She may get a sudden increase in power part of the way through the story.


Handsome, even for his family
Sponsor of all things puppet
Not an insincere bone in his body

Hiiten is what politicians would call a ‘stop-gap.’ He has no real political ambitions; he only went to Movanna because his sister, the Contessa D’Avrilio, asked him to lay claim to the area to hold it in trust for her until she had need of it. Hiiten has no guile whatsoever, and doesn’t like having to tell his Vassals what to do and how to do it. He relies heavily on his seneschal for everything, and would like nothing more than to return to writing operas and designing the puppets for the elaborate performances he puts on almost year round (he takes one week off to honor the suaven of his great-great-great uncle, Tapalo Yvarai). Convincing him to leave the Movancoast will be easy – to betray his sister, not so much.

Hiiten has a Cunning weakness. He really is a plump chicken ready to be plucked by a sufficiently prepared Blooded.


Absurdly lucky – almost suspiciously so
Currently unmarried
Controls the best perfumers in a hundred Domains

Zanna is a terror. Her parents were dreadfully afraid of getting the Aspect ‘Bad Parents,’ and so did everything in their power to keep a young Zanna happy – which has resulted in her being spoiled rotten. They began to realize the depths of their flawed parenting techniques when she turned twelve – and demonstrated no signs at all of growing out of her entitled nature. Zanna is unique in that her residency in the Movancoast is not a result of a successful opportunistic land-grab. Rather, her parents found a way to be rid of her and they took it. She is now the master of her own fate, for good or for ill, and woe be to the poor bastard who has to marry her.

Despite their attempts to loosen Zanna’s grip on their pant legs/skirts, her parents will come to her aid if she gets in over her head. It will just take a while, as they are several dozen Domains away. If none of the PCs are unmarried during character creation, she will probably eventually pick up a husband more competent and dangerous than her at some point.


Has a very unique blade
A known patriot
Already famous – killed a spectre-possessed ven

Young, smart, and a world apart are the best words to describe Losso. He’s made quite the name for himself by walking away with the prize from a ruin search – he already has a glittering orichalcum blade and won several duels with it. Then there’s that business where he killed a spectre-possessed ven. Losso is a celebrity amongst the Serpent, and it’s gone to his head. His brother has filled his head with glorious visions of his House in ascendancy, him at the vanguard. Losso has a great destiny; he just knows he does. Ask him. He’ll tell you at great length, with several examples of similar great ven and the occasional heavily-interpreted prophecy to boot.

The word ‘patriot’ doesn’t carry the same connotation amongst the ven that it does amongst us. To the ven, it’s generally synonymous with ‘lunatic with extraordinarily bad priorities.’ Losso fits the ven perception of the word. He places more stock in the concept of ‘House’ than most ven do, and his misconception may get him killed.


Nor interested in following fashion in the slightest
Perfectly willing to ally with anyone
Treats her husband like a footstool

We all know someone like K’Indra. As soon as you draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable, she’ll immediately walk over to it and put one foot on both sides. K’Indra was the youngest of fourteen children, and trying to get any kind of approval from her parents or elder siblings was a Herculean feat. K’Indra only really got attention when acting out, and that education taught her the best way to get ahead was to upset people. Consequently, K’Indra constantly rides the razor’s edge between being discreet about her Romances, sorcery, and intrigues, and being hauled in front of a jury for duels. Fortunately for her, she’s not an idiot, just willing to risk a great deal to further her goals. She’s a perfect fit for creating strife on the Movancoast.

K’Indra is an obvious force for chaos. She goes through Romances and alliances like tissues, and is just Cunning enough to escape the fallout from both, usually. She is interested in the Movancoast, but hasn’t made it her life’s goal. She can see the PCs are going to be key players in the upcoming times, and if any of them are unmarried, she will be perfectly willing to bump off her husband to put herself in a better position. If a particularly juicy PC is already married, then there might have to be TWO fortunate/unfortunate deaths . . .


Last surviving child of Onkoas Adrente
Supposedly the last practitioner of Onbar Blade Arts
Looks old beyond his years

Byria is an example of how the Age of Clandestine Blood can wear on a ven. He comes from a long line of Wolves known for their secret fighting techniques – techniques that other ven desire to give them the edge in duels and mass murder. His family has ever been the target of intrigues, as other ven do everything in their power to bargain or leverage the secret of the Onbar Blade Arts from Byria’s lineage. Byria is the last living practitioner of the style, his two brothers and four cousins having all met their ends via poison or ork. Byria was there to comfort his father, Onkoas, until he slipped into Solace, and now he alone is left. Byria has difficulty being close to anyone, his wife included – he suspects (often rightly) that their interest in him is only for the secrets he holds, nothing more. This has made him a very private and very prickly man to deal with, and anyone who does not handle him properly will find themselves getting a very final demonstration in the Onbar method.

Byria actually has no secrets worth mentioning. He has serious trust issues (more than would be healthy for a Clandestine Blooded), and they will be a barrier to any alliance the PCs want to make. The good news is that he’s still open to the idea, particularly if any of the PCs happen to be reasonably attractive women.


Has been the victim of an involuntary annulment
Bitter like bad beer
Looking for an out from Movanna

V’Ten was on the fast track until about a year ago. She’d snagged a prestigious marriage, had a decent amount of prestage backing her, and looked like she’d make Marquess before she crossed twenty-five. Then something happened and she found herself having to defend the legitimacy of her marriage in front of the Senate while her husband’s family scowled down on her from the plaintiff’s box. V’Ten is still not completely sure what happened – the claim was that she could not perform her duties as wife, and yet at the time she had a three-month-old daughter by her husband – but the annulment was granted and she was returned to her family with the insult Aspects “ Said to be Barren” and “Deceiver.” Whether the allegations were true or not, her family couldn’t have her moping up the place, so they sent her to the Movancoast to start anew there, and possibly snare a husband who hasn’t heard of her plight.

V’Ten represents a rare treasure in ven society – an ally with only one ulterior motive. She really wants to get her old life back, and will do anything to get it. The Movancoast is her opportunity, and she’s not going to let go of it until it’s clear it would be more effort than it’s worth. V’Ten does have one land mine in her yard that the PCs might actually step on: she is very interested in getting “Said to be Barren” off her character sheet, and if she can’t find a marriage, she’ll settle for a Liaison to prove otherwise. The scandal will be . . . considerable, since V’Ten will not only not try to cover it up, but give the full details, right down to dates and locations, with little prompting.
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Khuxan » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:25 pm

What a great set of ven! Are you planning to sketch out a map of Movanna?
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Emperor_Fabulus » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:34 pm

Thank you! And yes, I intend to make a map of Movanna. I'm still looking for a program that will let me create a map and update it, because if the game is going well, there'll be lots of erasing and moving of borders and deleting of the Domains of ven who have died. That, and I'm kind of curious to see what my players will say when I give them a map and tell them 'Choose where you want your Province to be.'
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:59 pm

That's awesome!
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby JohnWick » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:38 am

Looks good.

Be prepared for the players to change everything with one very clever wager... !
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby wunderworks » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:19 pm

Pst! Take a real map of an area of the world that you don't live in and your players aren't intimately familiar with. Open the image in Photoshop. Flip it and rotate it. Then randomly delete a country or two from the map. Create a layer over it and make that solid layer partially transparent. Trace just the outline of the land masses with a slightly thick paintbrush change some coastline if it strikes you as more cool. The fill the land with one color and the ocean with another. Mark a few important landmarks on your map. Actual capitals in the real world map are placed at generally important geographic focal points and can be re-used for this purpose.

Give it to your players and Bam! They'll love it. Plus, it has the bonus of having relatively realistic coastlines because you want an authentic map, not a real map. ;)

P.S. Go check out the map in the Wine Dark Sea cabal section. ^_^
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Khuxan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:10 am

wunderworks wrote:P.S. Go check out the map in the Wine Dark Sea cabal section. ^_^

Ah, I'd wondered why your map looked so familiar. You've taken the top quarter of Australia, all the way through Indonesia to - I think - the Phillipines, right?
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby wunderworks » Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:09 pm

Khuxan wrote:
wunderworks wrote:P.S. Go check out the map in the Wine Dark Sea cabal section. ^_^

Ah, I'd wondered why your map looked so familiar. You've taken the top quarter of Australia, all the way through Indonesia to - I think - the Phillipines, right?

You are correct, and the second person to have figured that out. :)
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Re: Notes for my game (Legacy of the Ocean Bears)

Postby Judd_of_Kryos » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:59 am

This is a splendid set-up.

What happened?
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