Stories

Step 7: Stories

While Heroes work together to tell a larger story, every Hero has her own story to tell. Your Hero is no different. Stories are more than the things you tell everyone you’ll accomplish one day. Stories are also the road you’ll walk to get there.

Choosing a Story

When you decide to start a new Story, think about what kinds of themes you want to explore with your character. Do you  want her to be a brave warrior, fighting for the people she loves? Or would you rather see her have to solve difficult problems without resorting to “easy” solutions like violence?

You can change Stories later, but try to pick something you’ll find fun and interesting. Talk to your GM as well; he might have some ideas for a Story that would be a perfect fit.

Starting a Story

Each Hero can have only one Hero Story at a time, beginning with the Story you create when making your Hero. Upon resolution or abandonment of a Story, Heroes are free to move on to their next tale. Players may feel free to keep notes about future Stories they may want to tackle, but their Heroes should each remain focused on the Story at hand.

To start writing a Story the player should create a short name that acts as a conceptual reminder of what your Hero wishes to accomplish. This is the mantra the Hero repeats to keep her mind on track. For example, “Absolution: My  negligence led to the destruction of my home; I’ll never let that happen again.” Once you’ve written the concept down you can move on to writing the ending, or Goal.

Reaching a Goal

There are two aspects to the Goal of a Story. First is the ending , a specific action that your Hero must take to finish the  Story. You should know, without a doubt, when your Story has been completed.

Endings do not contain suspense for the players and while they should telegraph the player’s desired outcome, the Hero might not know them. As such, it’s often best to write the ending in third person. For example, “Hector lies dead at Leannán’s feet.”

Write an actionable sentence about what your Hero needs to do. You don’t need to determine every tiny detail right now,  just a broad scope of what your Hero wants to accomplish.

Endings should be flexible, capable of changing enough to ensure they never become unattainable.If a Hero discovers her ending is unattainable, she should be able to change it. A player  should work with the Game Master to determine a related ending.

The second part of Goals is the reward . Hero Stories award new Advantages, increase a Trait or Skill, or change a  Quirk. When you write your Goal, be sure to include what you want for your Hero from the Story and then make sure to  work towards that Goal during the Story. A Story’s reward can be a bonus point in a Skill, a Trait or a new Advantage.  Much like writing an ending, the reward should be explicit. For example, “This is a three Step Story that will earn Elias a chance to drop his Farmkid Quirk.”

Taking the Next Step

Knowing the Goal helps you know the ending, but sometimes the road to getting there isn’t as clear. That’s where the Steps come in. This is the action that puts you on the road to your Goal. Like the Goal, every Step should be an achievable item.However, unlike Goals, they can be as detailed as you like.

During Hero Creation, and whenever you create a new Story, you only need to know the next immediate Step. This is the action that puts you on the road to your Goal. Don’t worry about outlining the entire progression of your Story, as you’ll  often find what you need to do next is determined by what you just accomplished. Instead, just focus on what’s directly ahead  of your Hero.

When writing a Step, write a short sentence that declares what the next thing your Hero needs to accomplish in order to progress his Story. For example, “ Treat my first patient in the Áki Klinikka.”

Once that Step is completed, the player may write her next Step at any time. She could do it immediately following the  completion of a Step or she can wait a bit. Until she writes her next Step, she cannot advance towards her Goal. If her next Step becomes unattainable for some reason, then she can strike it from her list and write a new Step replacing the lost one.

If during the course of a Story a Hero realizes she must accomplish something before securing her next Step, that action cannot become a Step. A Hero needs to remain focused on her Story and avoid the temptation to meander.

Rewarding the Journey

Your Story gives you rewards when you reach  your ending and accomplish your Goal. The number of Steps in a Story determines the kind of Advancement your Hero earns.

  • Skills require a number of Steps equal to the new Skill Rank. A new Rank 1 Skill only requires a single Step while improving a Rank 4 Skill requires a four Step story.
  • Advantages require a number of Steps equal to their cost. A 1 point Advantage only requires a single Step while a 5 point Advantage requires a five Step story.
  • Quirks require three Steps to change, allowing a Hero to change any existing Quirk to a different, or wholly new, Quirk. You cannot have the same Quirk twice.
  • Arcana , both Hubris and Virtue, require four Steps in order to change. Heroes may only have one Hubris and one  Virtue each at any time.
  • Traits require four Steps to shift a single Rank from one Trait to another Trait—so one Trait rises, and the other falls.
  • Traits require five Steps to increase by 1 Rank, but this can only be done twice.
  • Corruption requires five Steps to remove. Redemption is never easy or quick. (See the Corruption rules in Playing the  Game, page 21.)

Story Starters

Here’s a list of sample Stories for your convenience. Each Story includes a few possible endings and suggested first steps. These can, and should, be tailored to your individual Hero but can work as starting points: Obligation and Romance.

Obligation

You owe someone something. Perhaps he saved your life or helped you out in the past. Now you must repay the favor. Or maybe, in a moment of drunken weakness, you blurted out your devotion to his cause. You believe in keeping your word, and you’ve made a promise to someone (perhaps even yourself ) that you will not break…even if it costs you your life.

Endings
  • My Hero is excused from his obligation.
  • My Hero fulfills his promise.
  • My Hero Gives up and abandons his vow.
First Steps
  • Have a serious talk to determine what I owe.
  • Travel far away from my family and home in service of my promise.
  • Convince someone else to take up the cause with me.

Romance

After many months of flirting, poetry and moonlit walks through the park, you’ve finally won the affections of a beautiful  maiden or a handsome young man. Or so you think. It takes a great deal of effort to keep the fires of romance burning. If  you neglect the hearth for even a short while, the fire can die. And neglecting your lover may cost you…

Endings
  • My Hero is happily married and retires from his life of adventure.
  • My Hero's lover is brutally murdered in front of him.
  • My Hero's life is finally too much and his lover leaves him.
First Steps
  • Save my love from the Villain.
  • Find the perfect gift for my love.
  • Make time to writ a letter back assuring my love of my imminent return.

Stories

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