As a player, you will create an alternate persona: a protagonist (or perhaps antagonist!) of the story, also known as your ‘character’. Character creation is relatively simple, but the considerations for what choices you make during this process can have long-term implications. Several themes dominate a grim & perilous game:
- Dire circumstances recast your fate. You were a normal, everyday person (or as normal as you could be in a Renaissance-inspired low fantasy world). But something in your immediate past changed the path you were on. Now that your life has changed dramatically, you find yourself amongst others who are in similar circumstances.
- Prejudice, come-uppance and violence are the hallmarks of your unfortunate birthright. The world you live in is largely ambivalent, cruel, and selfish. The fetid stink of the corrupt wafts from every cobbled street and echoing hillside. Its people are bound to a strict social stratum, and rarely break free from the yoke of servitude. You likely know little of the world beyond where you were raised.
- Bigotry is doctrinal and ethnic identity binds the community together. Sometimes, prejudice manifests in contradiction to one’s own traditions and religion. In other cases, it is driven by social or economic issues. Rarely is it driven by the differences of race. Perhaps in your case, it’s related to the caste you were born and the envy of your betters.
- Superstition is preamble to religion – people genuinely believe that wearing charms made from dried cat eyes will legitimately ward away riotous spirits and if one prays hard enough for rain, it will. Like everyone else, your character likely believes these things to be true.
- Religious practices and rote dominate every facet of society. You pray hard and sacrifice to your own gods so that they may save your soul from eternal damnation – for all are born unto sin and must absolve themselves before death.
- Medicine is truly esoteric; its practitioners few and far between. Quackery dominates the industry, where snake oil salesmen makes up the bulk of the field. True physicians are generally at odds with the church, believed to be necromancers with their odd pursuit of vivisection in the name of scientific understanding. It would not be uncommon for your character to imbibe mysterious remedies or other unusual concoctions to maintain balance of the “four humours”. Some even pay the same level of tribute to a local barber-surgeon as they would for a preacher.
- Sorcery is reviled by all and those who would dare call themselves true “wizards” are oftentimes burned at the stake for heresy. Most have a damning consideration towards magic in all its forms. But, should you pursue these higher mysteries yourself, these gifts must be hidden from the ignorant and taken from others who are of the same ilk.
- Capricious and sometimes sinister forces vie for agency over all. Behind the curtain, these dark powers play puppet master, pulling the strings of both cast-asides and the well-bred alike. They whisper into the ear of those chosen for a higher purpose. Perhaps, you have heard their whispers, too…
Given these considerations, its easy to believe that a nihilistic principle pervades the world in which your character lives. And it may be true. But, there is a glimmer of hope. Not all is lost, and fortune has smiled upon your character for one reason or another. There is a greater role for you to play in the grand scheme of things. It may not result in changing the world as a whole, but a certain path has been set before you. Ultimately, you must ask yourself how these circumstances will change your character. Will you:
- Embrace these deviant times for your own opportunistic ends, building a legacy and largesse for yourself off the suffering of those less fortunate and clever?
- Rage against the dying of the light as a glimmer of hope, knowing the considerable risks you levy likely breed only pain and helplessness?
- Struggle in the morass of grey, torn between justified violence, questionable intentions, and unyielding dogma?
The Gamemaster will share ideas about what additional themes they wish to define the campaign, as well as the long-term story arc you will play. It is recommended that everyone understands these themes, along with any other campaign expectations, before they create their characters together. But keep in mind that not all of the campaign’s secrets need be revealed by the Gamemaster, as your story has yet to be told. In short, an idea of where you would like to go with your character is helpful; an idea of where they’ve been is an absolute necessity…
STEP I – READ THE INTRODUCTION
Step II – LEARN HOW TO PLAY
Step III – DOWNLOAD THE FORM-FILLABLE CHARACTER SHEET
STEP IV – BEGIN CHARACTER CREATION (link fixed)
Feel free to use the “Comment” feature in Google Docs for feedback! We look forward to your responses! Alternatively, email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
All rights title and interest in and to (a) the ideas, concepts, brands and products the Playtest Materials arise from, (b) the Playtest Materials, (c) all related and underlying intellectual property including all trademarks and copyrights, and (d) any and all derivatives of the foregoing belong to Grim & Perilous Studios, LLC Questions and comments regarding these Playtest Materials can be directed to Daniel Fox (email@example.com)