Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A tale of two Pritcherts

Last week or so, through the forum version of our Scion game, I was notified that Deputy Nathan Pritchert needed to turn in his gun and his badge. As Nathan, I was mortified. The backstory written for him had him wanting to be a cop since he was young. With this loss of identity, Nathan was nothing more than a rudderless ship. Sure, helping people and killing monsters is all well and good, but I needed more.

That's when I gave Nathan an ex-girlfriend. With his nature listed as Gallant, I decided to refine his Gallantry. Not just anyone that needed help. I narrowed it down to his ex-girlfriend, Alison Edison. For every titan spawn or deranged human he helped take down, he was doing it all to protect Alison. The trickle down effect. Nate kills a basilisk, well, it can't go and hurt Alli. There's a logic to it. Somewhere.

I introduced her in a post set after the group's adventures in Terra Incognitae. Nate's lost his job but he's reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend. It gives him something to strive for. I thought of Nate as someone who needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He needed to see that when all is said and done, he'll have something to come home to.

Then I decided to flesh out Nate's backstory even more, starting with the incident that put him in the hospital. This time, however, I had the girlfriend to add in. That wasn't the hard part. The hard part for me was to portray the helplessness one feels when a loved one is in the hospital. Jessica says I did pretty good, so I'll take her word for it.

As the backstory grew, differences between Nate the fictional character and Nate the RPG character were starting to show up. I kept adding little details to him that I didn't want to put into the RPG portion because I didn't want to bogart the game away from Morgan. His girlfriend, in the course of the five pages or so that I had written, became his fiancee. The proposal scene that I wrote was the one "romantic" scene I had ever written. How'd it go? I don't know. I was never programmed to feel human emotions. Again, Jessica seemed to like it, so I'm good with that.

I realized my conundrum soon after letting Jessica read the story. Not counting RPG Nate, I had two Pritcherts in two different times. In the story I was writing, I had him post-visitation but in happier times. He didn't have any special powers but he had a fire in him. That fire was Alison. Present-day Nate was all about keeping his secret to keep Alison safe. It made him extra mopey. I did not like that.

While talking to Morgan about her, he said that if, in game, I revealed my secret, there would be dice rolls involved. Game wise, I'm cool with that. My story-wise, I was not cool with it. So I had to make a decision.

Fast forward to today. I decided that while yes, Alison does exist in the game world, I would only use her as a means to re-cap the story. The blog posts I've written involving the both of them in the future would eventually be interspersed into the story I was writing, provided I had enough pages to justify my little writing experiment.

This is the first time in a long while that I've been excited about a writing project, so I hope I can stick with it. And in both universes, Nate will be using his Vigil Brand on Alison.


  1. Just FYI, when I told you dice would hit the table, that's kind of an open ended thing. See, with the use of willpower and/or legend (the very fact of being a Scion) you can more or less ensure the results became what you wanted them to be. Getting a mortal (Alli) to reciprocate feelings for you is a very mundane task really.

    I didn't want to tell you to prevent character growth, I just wanted to let you know that such intense character growth is worthy of making a central aspect of the game progression.

  2. I didn't think you were trying to warn me away. I would have felt weird if I threw this in there, without telling you, and then all of a sudden, this little bit of the game is about my character.