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Author Topic: Doing Fresh off the Boat?
Nakomé (Clanless)
Posts: 1
Post Doing Fresh off the Boat?
on: January 29, 2017, 20:35

How would you do Fresh off the Boat chargen? Especially with how Will gives you social ties, that sort of makes it a much less appealing stat in CG compared to others.

Posts: 421
Post Re: Doing Fresh off the Boat?
on: February 1, 2017, 09:21

As you surmised, Bethorm isn't designed for that particular campaign premise. We designed Bethorm to provide the players with all of the basic information they'll need to fit into Tsolyani society - making the fresh off the boat 'crutch' unnecessary.

If you really want to run that kind of campaign, though, you can simply treat Contact Points as a resource which your players may spend to form relationships with NPCs who they meet *during* play, instead of spending them beforehand.

Hope that helps,

Posts: 4
Post Re: Doing Fresh off the Boat?
on: February 1, 2017, 14:55

Ooh, "fresh off the boat" doesn't have to mean "No contacts." Here's a few possibilities:

Sháli, the Egg Girl
Female, age 19, no clan, no lineage, worships Avánthe
Appearance +1, Advantage: Connected
Provenance: born in the Foreigners' Quarter
"The Egg Girl" comes around every day, selling salted and spiced Káika eggs that she purchases by getting up before dawn and walking to the other edge of the city, where farmers sell their wares. She has the kind of face that people confide in, and she's privy to a lot of the local gossip. She is apparently the daughter of the hostel-keeper (himself a Tsolyáni citizen) who runs a squalid tenement of tiny rooms. Her "father" has promised her he will adopt her officially when she has paid off her debt to him. (In truth, he has no such plan, and does what he can to keep her around as a free worker. Shortly after Sháli was born, her mother caught the eye of a Medium Clan man, who accepted her as his second wife. When the woman revealed she had an infant daughter, however, the man refused to take the child in. The hostel-keeper adopted Sháli. (Befriend Sháli, and she'll give you the best deal on street-vendor eggs... and maybe an adventure lead or two!)

Grú'ik the Beaked Mouse-man (a Ninínyal, or "Pygmy Folk")
Male, age 20, no clan, no lineage, no religion
Quirk: Humble, and especially respectful of females, Talent: Stealth, Phobia: other Ninínyal
Provenance: from Yán Kór (a strangely cold and very far-off land of barbarians to the north)
When Grú'ik's attraction to his own gender was discovered, it was practically a death sentence. Amongst Pygmy Folk, their children are allowed to kill those who do not fit into the group. Grú'ik's former playmates attempted to kill him. He managed to fight them off and escaped by stowing away in a merchant ship. After it arrived in (campaign town/city), he snuck out, the ship's crew none the wiser. (The heroes can meet Grú'ik at the moment when some slaver thugs are trying to make a slave of him, and perhaps other foreigners, and rescue him. Lonely, and cut off from his own kind, Grú'ik could become a very loyal "Planchet" lackey to his saviors.)

Mother Lóshi, freelance healer lady
Female, age 49, Flowering Life Clan, Low Clan/High Lineage (hiJunái), worships Hnálla
Quirk: compassionate, Advantage: Educated
Provenance: from the current campaign town/city
This is an older woman with glossy black bangs, crows' feet lines, and sun-baked weathered-looking skin, a white cloth over her head. She tends to the ailments of human foreigners. She asks no money for her services, but grateful former patients donate enough money for her upkeep. She was originally trained by the Temple of Ksárul. Their constant inter-competition and intriguing drove her out (not to mention, her Low Clan status was an obstacle to serious promotion). She discovered her services were badly needed in the Foreigners' Quarter and this work has her brought a deep sense of fulfillment.

Lón Hú, self-styled "Fearless Lón"
Male, age 24, no clan, no lineage, worships animist nature spirits
Disadvantage: Unattractive 1, Quirk: Egotistical, Distinctive: 1, Guardianship 2: his mother and his two young siblings, Disadvantage: Dark secret- used to be a pirate
Provenance: Port Miyél in the Tsoléi Islands
He's stoutly built; he's got a nose like a round lumpy tuber and reddish-brown hair. He dodges a tragic past with a goofy smile and bravado. Lón's father was a pirate who fell victim to alcoholism, and Lón was forced to care for his mother and siblings. In his homeland, he became a promising young gladiator; he's got some small skill with a sword and shield. He and his family boarded the boat because he had learned about the Tsolyáni way of 'clans'. He longs to earn his way into one himself, even if it's Very Low Status... just as long as it's not cleaning dung. And not washing corpses. Oh, and not loading crates and barrels, either. He thinks he is better than that, and if you do, too, maybe he'll let you join him on his rise to stardom. If you're his friend, you might be able to talk him into some dangerous venture. (Fearless Lón paid for his family's passage by serving aboard a few successful pirate ships, and he learned Tsolyáni from sailors. He may have been instrumental in our heroes learning the convoluted and flowery Tsolyáni language.)

Changadésha (Sergeant) Nálum hiKhaiséna, Foreigner's Quarter guard
Male, age 33, Eye of Flame Clan, Low Clan/Medium Lineage, worships Karakán
Temper 1: set off by abuse of the physically weak
Provenance: from the current campaign town/city
Folks around here agree: he's an honest and likeable fellow. Maybe he's pious; at least, he practices his ritual weapon forms every morning. It's not common knowledge just how Nálum ended up patrolling this area. If you're his friend, though, and he's had a bit to drink, he just might tell you the story. When Nálum was a rookie, assigned to patrol the Sákbe Road, he caught one of his unit-mates roughing up an old man. Nálum lost his temper and killed his fellow guard. Nálum's clan paid Shámtla restitution to the other family, and Nálum was demoted to this lowly post.

Arikóbu hiVálikesh
Male, age 57, High Clan/High Lineage, White Stone Clan, worships an Aspect of Grugánu said to favor merchants.
Wealth, Lackey (Yógh, his eight-eyed Ahóggya bodyguard), Enemy: bandits, Reputation: delighted by actual magic, and folktales involving magic, Quirk: patient
Provenance: from a prosperous rural community
Word on the street is that, if you find this Arikóbu some charming local storyteller with a fanciful tale of talking furniture, flying cats, and whatnot, and he may tip you quite well. Arikóbu's father is a highly placed judge in the service of the province's governor. After a rash of assassinations of the family of various government officials, Arikóbu himself was raised out in the country, on his rich family's plantation. He is actually the heir to an aristocratic title of "Arsékmoi" ("Baron"), and a sizable piece of the family fortune. It is Arikóbu's dream to visit five of the "Stations of Brave Peripatation", a merchanting feat once accomplished by his grandfather. If the heroes could keep him safe as he pursues his goal, they would be well rewarded. Used to both the crude manners of his land's peasants and the fancy courtly graces of his mother's villa, he would tend to be tolerant of foreigners' ways, while willing to impart tips on etiquette.

Posts: 4
Post Re: Doing Fresh off the Boat?
on: February 1, 2017, 15:27

If you truly want to, you could give players the option for a disadvantage that was the inverse of "Connected". That is, for 3 less Contact points, they would get 1 Disadvantage point. More than one level of this would be abusive, and this should probably be reserved for a character with an unusually isolated background. This disadvantage was deliberately left out of Béthorm because anti-social characters in an RPG are problematic; we didn't want to encourage or reward it.

As I pointed out, even heroes "fresh off the boat" know *somebody*. Who else was in that boat? Sailors. The ship's captain. Fellow immigrants.

For me, the Contacts system is especially important because it allows just about the only dose of "Storytelling" style play (as opposed to "Simulationist", in which a player gets only as much control over the continuity as a real person naturally would have in that situation). Not all players want to be creative and have input this way, though. A pre-made Contacts list is more "simulationist".

In making up Contacts, there are things the players are going to have to know. They'll need to know these things to play anyways; we might as well get it out of the way immediately.

"No, I'm sorry, but you can't be best buddies with the head of the Thieves' Guild. The closest thing to one here was impaled 292 years ago. Darn those magical interrogation Mindbar and Retrocognition spells."

"No, you won't begin the game with special deals from The Town Blacksmith. Steel is extremely rare; you'll have to do some very special services to gain the Steelworking Clan's favor that way."

The default Béthorm campaign assumption really does give the heroes a big advantage for free: their clan. We didn't represent it, but, in canon, Professor Barker thought a d10 of moms and a d10 of dads was entirely typical. That's a lot of potential contacts! By starting the characters out as "Nákome", vulnerable and lowly clanless nobodies, you've shorted them a bunch of default status. I hope you've considered giving them a point for the Disadvantage "Outcast" and two points of "Poor".

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