Rough Notes for Chasing the Sun
Directly cut-and-pasted from my design document.
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Jasper - a hapless Solar scavenger
Mahi-Sura - a snaky Lunar herbalist
Dellano Rift - a methodical DB scavenger
Jasper is a reckless, feckless scavenger. Ever since his Exaltation, he has been searching for First Age relics and ruins which might have some connection to his vivid dreams of a past life. So far, he has been unsuccessful. My initial conception of him was Twilight, but I'm not sure now. He might be an Eclipse; probably not a Zenith or Dawn. I don't really picture him as a savant; he wasn't a hardcore scavenger until he Exalted, I'm pretty certain. He might have been part of another scavenger's team. They could have been wiped out by a booby-trapped tomb or something, with him the only survivor. If he managed to seize his late employer's assets, he's definitely squandered them all by now, on his fruitless quest to find the City of Gold, or the Shining Ziggurat, or whatever it is he sees when his eyes are closed. He has no idea where it is, and no real notion of how to find it, but he knows he NEEDS to get there, that his life won't make sense until he does.
Nobody (except Mahi-Sura, who probably came across him immediately post-Exaltation) knows that Jasper is a Solar Exalted. It's widely assumed that he's some kind of God-Blooded, or perhaps just under the effects of a spirit's blessing; he must be something special, to have survived the collapse of all his disastrous schemes.
It is pretty obvious that Jasper's primary Virtue is Conviction, closely followed by Valor. His Compassion is about average, but he obviously lacks Temperance. Jasper's Nature is Visionary. If he was to be represented by a tarot card, he'd almost certainly be the Fool.
- Note: The story's title references this. _Ikselam
Jasper is an athletic, young-looking man with sun-bleached hair and a dark, tanned complexion. He's very bright and enthusiastic, but also has problems with long-term planning. His charisma surrounds him like an invisible force field. He has a strong intuitive sense of right and wrong, and doesn't hesitate to follow his heart, even if it leads him straight up into the clouds or over a cliff.
Mahi-Sura is a relatively young Lunar, probably a No-Moon. Her Totem is some kind of snake. If it was Spitting Cobra, she'd have a neat special move to pull out at a dramatically-appropriate moment (spit poison in the guards' eyes, then run like the wind!). If it was some version of Rattlesnake, she could wear some kind of suggestive jewelry -- a Diamondback Totem would also have an extremely obvious Tell possibility. The River Province probably isn't arid enough to support sidewinders, and might not be forested enough for timber rattlers. Diamondbacks live in a variety of habitats, so they might be more plausible. Prairie rattlesnake would be the most obvious choice, but lacks the natural Tell of the diamondback -- I'd have to fall back on something more generic, like a forked tongue.
Mahi may or may not have been Jasper's spouse in a past life, and may or may not be his ex in this life. She was his scavenging buddy for a while, though, and still finds his charisma attractive. However, she's also practical, and doesn't hang out with him anymore because he's always got his head in the clouds. She would like it if he settled down and made something of himself, instead of chasing dreams. It's likely that she saved Jasper from whatever terrible fate befell his pre-Exaltation team.
Mahi-Sura has a small business as an herbalist. Like Jasper, she's known to be not fully human, but no one really suspects her of being Anathema; none of her medicines are magical in any way. She's Silver Pact, but doesn't really fit in with the "smash all civilization" crowd (as evidenced by the fact that she lives in a city).
In terms of Virtues, Mahi has pretty high ratings all-round, but her Compassion and Temperance dominate. She is a Caregiver. If she was a tarot card, she would probably be the Queen of Cups, or the Empress.
Mahi-Sura is a tall, lithe woman with dark eyes and wavy black hair. She likes wearing jewelry, and usually lines her eyes with kohl. Like her Totem animal, she likes to lounge about in the sun. She has an easy smile, and loves children. When feeling angry or threatened, she tenses up and gives very obvious signs that whoever is making her feel that way should stop pushing. If they don't, she'll snap; although it never lasts very long, her anger is swift and punishing for those on the wrong end of it.
Dellano Rift is an outcaste Earth-Aspect Terrestrial. He makes a lot of money by unearthing First Age relics, but considers himself an archaeologist, not a scavenger. He rarely puts his finds on the open market, instead negotiating arrangements with various governmental and scholarly institutions, and occasionally private collectors, to fund his expeditions. Many of his discoveries end up in the hands of the Realm or Lookshy. Rumors abound that Dellano has uncovered more than one First Age superweapon, but has deliberately re-hidden it so that no one will be able to use it.
Dellano is intelligent and methodical, and is a capable, if self-taught, natural philosopher; he approaches his ventures in a manner which would today be called scientific. This has stood him in good stead, making him one of the most successful Scavenger Lords currently active. Many have made bigger finds, and almost everyone gets better prices for their goods, but none are as consistently successful. Dellano invests most of his profits; his home and personal belongings are modest, although of high quality.
Every scavenger knows of Dellano by reputation; Jasper and Mahi-Sura have met him personally on a few occasions. Although he doesn't mind the amiable snake-woman, Dellano is unimpressed by Jasper's hot-headed, spendthrift nature. Dellano has few close friends, and has never married or had a long-term lover. He's married to his work, and doesn't really need anything else to keep him content.
Dellano is pretty obviously dominated by Temperance, with Conviction a close second, but is not particularly deficient in Compassion or Valor. His Nature is probably Bureaucrat, but could be Explorer, too. His tarot card might be the Emperor, or the King of Pentacles.
Dellano is a tall, lean black man, with dark eyes and dreadlocks. His features have an angular look about them, and his skin is slightly rough to the touch. He usually presents a rather dispassionate face to the world, but doesn't hesitate to speak his mind, and doesn't suffer fools well. He doesn't like to rush to judgment based on incomplete information, and prefers following a plan to acting spontaneously. If someone antagonizes him, he's likely to just ignore them.
Jasper is on a Quixotic errand to find the First Age ruins he sees in his dreams, believing they will help him understand his new powers and his connection to his past lives. This quest has so far been totally unsuccessful, and he is broke. Most of his friends and allies have abandoned him, seeing him as mad, doomed, and possibly both.
Today, Jasper wakes up from a vivid dream; something in the air tells him that this is THE DAY. This happens several times each month, but the sense of urgency and possibility is still compelling.
When he makes his daily visit to the scavenger camps, Jasper sees Dellano returning from an exhibition. He catches sight of an artifact, an artifact he has seen before. THIS IS IT! shouts his mind. He approaches Dellano -- who won't tell him where he found it. He has a generally low opinion of Jasper, and suspects he wants to claim-jump. Our hero retreats.
Jasper learns that Dellano plans to return to the site after picking up some supplies. He decides that there's nothing for it but to shadow him. He attempts to enlist the aid of his old friend, Mahi-Sura. The Snake Lunar tries to talk him out of his crazy plan; like everyone else, she thinks he's crazy, and on the way to destroying himself. Even Jasper's superhuman charisma and complete conviction that THIS IS FINALLY IT cannot sway her. He leaves. Mahi has second thoughts.
Jasper makes ready. He maybe has another apropos dream. He watches Dellano set off. After following them a short distance, he runs into Mahi. She decided to come with him, after all. The pair hit the road, just like old times. What adventures wait for them?
- Where do these people live? I'm thinking Nexus, but I am tempted to make it somewhere else in the Scavenger Lands.
Stuff to keep in mind:
- Jasper and Mahi-Sura's past relationship.
- Both characters' past relationships with Dellano.
- Set up a hook in Jasper's dreams. Some character should stand out, so there's the possibility that s/he can put in an appearance as a friend/enemy later on.
- Possibly hint at the existence of a villain who might intercept them on the way back to the ruin.
Obvious places this could go:
- Someone else seeks the site. Friends, foes, or both? Did they have relationships to Jasper in past lives? Why is the site important to them?
- They make it to the site. What do they discover there? What will the consequences be? What new adventures could it lead to?
- What is the exact nature of Jasper and Mahi-Sura's relationship, both now and in the past? What baggage is each one carrying from before they met? Did they know each other in a past life?
- They could be completely sidetracked by people they meet along the way, and have lots of adventures just getting there.
- They could reach the site really quickly, and have adventures based on what they find there.
- Dellano could be a friend or a foe. He could run into trouble at the site, or along the way, and be forced to throw his lot in with Jasper and Mahi. Or they might have to spend lots of effort just keeping him from detecting them. Or they could convince him that a partnership wouldn't be completely insane. How would he react to finding out that they're Anathema (instead of the minor God-Blooded he probably thinks they are)?
- Jasper might join up with one or more of his past-life Circlemates; they could then work together to try and save another who is now an Abyssal.
- These characters probably have between 100 and 200 xp under their belts. All of them have been Exalted for at least a couple years.
- Jasper definitely has Presence Charms, and I think he'll also have some Bureaucracy (Irresistible Salesman Spirit is why he still has food on his plate...). Probably also some basic combat stuff, and Awareness. He probably doesn't have much in the way of Investigation, Lore, or Occult. Might possibly have Ride, but has almost certainly sold any horse he might have once possessed by this point. I think his "signature weapon" should be a spear, just because I think pole-arms are under-represented. He is the quasi-mythical "well-balanced character," and has probably not penetrated too far into any given tree.
- Mahi-Sura has a sizeable chunk of the Lunar healing tree, and a decent number of the snake-themed Charms (big surprise there). She's probably plowed a significant amount of her xp into Virtues and other non-Charm stuff. Because of her chosen profession, she certainly has good Medicine, Occult, and Survival ratings, with appropriate specialties. Probably another spear/staff person.
- Dellano probably has mainly Earth Charms. The Awareness ones might be especially useful to him, as might certain Craft powers. It's likely that he's also explored the Lore tree to some extent. When it comes to fighting, he's probably a martial artist of some kind (another real shocker).
I. Intro a. Dream b. Establishing stuff on J II. Setup a. establishing stuff on D; we see the artifact b. establishing stuff on M III. Handoff a. J prepares to go on the road b. Dream
Great Forks is the place to be, for a couple of reasons. First, I just didn't want to use Nexus. Second, there are all kinds of GBs running around there, so it's not a stretch at all to say that no one really remarks on any extraordinary abilities displayed by Our Heroes. I'm also confident that I can come up with Great Forks color pretty trivially; as an added bonus, it's nowhere near as defined as Nexus. I can just make crap up and have it be true!
Jasper's dreams should involve a Circle from the First Age. I think they will not be given names to start with. I will just assign each one a distinguishing characteristic, and refer to them using that. They will hang out in a distinctive location, probably involving some kind of ziggurat. I thought of referencing the Tower of Babel this morning (I also thought of stealing the name "Sunspire" from Unreal, but stealing is wrong!), while I was still groggy, but I don't think that's a good idea anymore. The Circle should be involved in some kind of important but maddeningly vague endeavour, though, or something else which adds a sense of urgency to the dreams.
- some kind of unusual garment. A coat of many colors, a long scarf, a distinctive hat. Something which changes colors and/or form.
- a distinctive artifact. Weapons and armor are the obvius choices, but could also be something weird. An unusual hearthstone.
- an unusual appearance; scars, odd coloration, especially big or small, a striking hairstyle.
- a familiar.
- (harder) a particular way of speaking (or not speaking).
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