Tweet of the Day: Magic From Technology
Another re-post, this one from my Urban Fantasy site, Sturm und Drang. This one is doubles as a short story of sorts so I hope you enjoy it.
My cousin is once again at the helm of our gaming group and he has offered to run two different campaigns (alternating between them every few weeks). The first is a return to Scion, an urban fantasy game where the characters play demi-gods while the second is an offshoot of the 3E (D&D) Freeport campaign using the Rune Quest rules (Pirates, Guns and Cosmic Horrors lurking in the shadows). In order to get a feel for the characters, he sent us a series of questions:
Swords against Sorcery: Character Questionnaire
Nicknames, If Any:
What do you look like? Eye color, hair color, ethnicity, distinguishing marks or features, clothing, jewelry, and gear…
What are your hobbies?
Who and where is your family?Where are you from?
Do you have any secrets, and what are they? Why do you keep them?
What do you believe in ? Explain.
Do you live in Freeport? For how long?
If you don’t live in Freeport, why did you travel there?
What motivation do you have to stay in Freeport?
What was your Background event?
Did any other character tied to your Background event? How did he tied his fate to yours?
What is best in Life?
And I could not but answer in the form of a short story.
From an article by Jonathan Jacob Tryst, for the newspaper The Swift
I made my way through the summer night’s haze inside the Salty Sailor, made all the more redolent by the thick smoke that clung to my clothes. Dodging wenches, sweeping tankards and puking drunkards I arrived at the back of the tavern. A cubbyhole sheltered a rickety wooden table, two simple wooden chairs and the subject of my piece. I convinced my boss that the paper needed an exciting story that didn’t come from the merchant side of the street. A peek at Freeport’s underbelly and to my surprise he agreed. I pushed aside the low hanging angler’s net.
“You’re late, mate,” said the stranger from under the hood of his cowl.
“Sorry about that,” I said.
“Well, let’s get on with it, shall we.”
I slid a small money pouch across the table, covered by my interlaced hands. In Freeport, few will pass the opportunity to snatch gold or silver if they see it. The bag disappeared into the folds of the stranger’s cloak. I took out a roll of parchment with a tiny ink bottle and pen, “Right then, you work for The Swift, eh?”
“One and the same, sir,” I said.
“Your money, your questions, your time, and your drinks if you’ll pay for them,” he said with a smirk.
“Oh, yeah.” I ordered ale for me, and rum for him. “Name?”
“K, just K.”
“No the letter K.”
“But my readers will want to know who you are?” I protested.
He raised an eyebrow with a tiny diagonal scar that matched the light brown hair that spilled from under his hood, “Those that know me, will know who am I. Those who don’t, don’t need too.”
“K it is. Well how would you describe what you do?”
“What is it that you think I do?”
He was playing games, perhaps trying to coax a few more drinks from me, although he only sipped his rum, his grey eyes darting to and fro no doubt looking for trouble. “You are a thief.”
“Gentleman thief and explorer, thank you very much.”
“A gentleman thief? I didn’t know there were different categories to thieving?”
“Of course they are. Just like no two pair of tits are the same, so it is with thieves. You have your cut purses, your merchants, your pirates and your thugs and then you have me.”
“And what exactly sets a gentleman thief apart from the rest?” I asked.
His smile widened, “You are a writer alright! Well, I liberate riches from those who have too much too give to those who have too little,” he said pointing at himself, “and do so while leaving them with a smile. Smiling men rarely give chase, mate.”
“And besides liberating wealth, what else do you do?”
“Gamble, travel, read, and romance the loveliest women my charms, rum and gold can buy,” he poked the parchment with a gloved finger, “and you can quote me on that, in that exact same order, if you please, sir.”
“And where are you from?”
“Form where else but here. I learned all that I needed on the streets of Freeport and at the gates of the Temple of Knowledge.”
“And do you have family in the city?”
He squinted, “Now that is an awfully personal thing to ask, mate.”
“I don’t need any names, Master K, just something to give the piece some depth.”
“Well, The Swift is nothing if not thorough, eh? Not like that rag, the Captain’s Logbook, eh? Nothing but filthy gossip in those pages, wouldn’t wipe my arse with it even if they paid me.”
“Of course not, about that family, sir?”
“Oh yes. Eight brothers and sisters, Me Mum died young, Dad remarried twice and well he tried his best to provide for all us, but I have that many cousins, aunt’s and uncles too, so, oft I went, to the streets, to the Temple and then to sea.”
That was an interesting tidbit, “So you traveled beyond the Dragon’s Teeth?”
“Of course, can’t know the ways of the world unless you traveled them.”
“And how many enemies have you made along those ways?”
“Enemies…” he rested his chin on his right hand while twisting his half-empty mug with the other, “few, maybe. A rival here, a competitor there, but enemies, no, I’m not in the business of making enemies, mate.”
“Few people are, but Freeport being what it is, it’s bound to happen.”
“Indeed, but I take care of my enemies right quick, mate. That’s why I pack powder and blade. Slash keeps my enemies at bay, Hellhound shoots them down at ten paces and Kidney’s Stone silences the rest.”
“And those are?”
“My rapier, my pistol and my dagger, names are clear enough, I think.”
“Of course. But why do you stay in Freeport?”
“No better place in the World, none by far. Sure, you got your whores, your robber barons and your killers, but you got your gold, your ladies and your odds here too. Life is a gamble from the moment you’re born, mate. Don’t you forget it,” he said with a wink and a nod.
I was getting somewhere, “Have you met anyone of interest in your travels, Master K?”
“I met sailors, pirates and escape criminals, although it’s kind of hard to tell the difference between the first two and the last was wrongly accused, or so he claimed. The lady on his arm was oh so very lovely, by the way!”
Another evasion, but I had just enough to fill in the blanks, “And what do you think is best in life, Master K?”
“A life well lived, mate!” he raised his tankard and downed the last drops of rum.
And now for some music: