It turned out that the people he had been planning the game for had all flaked out, leaving him plus the four of us and possibly his roommate, who was too sick to come out and meet us. It also turned out his world was supremely flexible in that there was very little already in place. Andy began sketching something, and a while later (as we discussed things such as types of campaigns and magic systems and such) he showed us a map of a world he and a friend had worked on a while back. It turned out we liked the world more and more, but Andy knew the world better than anyone. I can't remember who suggested it, but the net result was that Andy is now the GM. We also decided to play in GURPS which worried me at first, since I may've seen the sourcebook in gaming stores... maybe.
Right off the bat I came up with the idea of an Elven ranger (those of you who gamed with me in Utica can just skip the feigned heart attacks) but with, for me, a huge twist -- a non-angsty background. I spent that evening and well into the morning generating the character, and discovering that I like GURPS in the process. I especially like how charisma is an RP tool rather than a stat and how they only have four stats. I love not having to roll dice, but instead being able to apply points. I made the conscious decision to make an older character (24 Elf-equivalent, though it looks like Andy will be using my favorite model; namely that Elves age like everyone else until they hit mid-adulthood, then simply stop aging for a long while. So she's actually 24), and put 48 of the 100 points toward skills. I ended up with a character with only one (barely) above-average stat, but who can do a lot of stuff and do it well. No name yet.
That night I considered. A long time ago I began writing a story in which the main character, an Elf, has a really cool gift (true music) and a hideously angsty background. Since Andy's world included a cataclysm around 1000 years ago and since that's when my character's village had gone off and isolated itself, I thought she might be able to fit in. I made her up to have the same fighting skills as the unnamed ranger, mostly because so far we have a magic user (in a world where magic no longer works reliably) and a bookish alchemist. Since we haven't heard back from the original GM or his roommate, we have no idea how badly we'll need fighters.
It seemed like there might be problems integrating the story character into someone else's world, so after discussing it Andy and I agreed I should go with the ranger. However, the problem with her non-angsty background is that it gave her no reason to be joining a party or even to be in the area where the others are. I got around that by making her history sort-of angsty but not heavily so, and I also finally came up with a name for her. Probably on Friday we'll all be meeting again to get preliminary stuff done. For a while it's going to be every other week, since we'll be in Chapel Hill the week after, and then in Rome/Indianapolis two weeks after that. However, here's what I came up with:
Lyrilin Fayarel was born about twenty-four years ago in a Wood Elven village. Her childhood wasn't anything much worth noting, save that she exhibited far more curiosity about the outside world than pretty much anyone else in the group. Her tribe was if the sort that would try to steer people away from the village but wouldn't harm them unless the people forced the issue, at which point the death would be immediate and nigh on painless. They preferred to herd them away or, if necessary, to confront them and ask them to change their route, backed up with threats if needed. In other words, non-aggressive in a no-nonsense kind of way.
There were a few "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" moments with Lyrilin, but she ended up being very adept at things involving nature and eventually settled in to be a ranger. After her probation period ended at the age of 22, she was assigned one of the farthest ranges with overlap on either side by experienced older Elves. For two years she happily went about rangering, often staying away from town for six months running, and very much enjoying the amenities when she visited. While out in the wilds she developed a habit of talking to herself, animals, and inanimate objects. She also taught herself to sing and make pipes, aided by perfect pitch.
A few days ago an emergency flare went up from the village. Lyrilin and the two others went rushing back, taking several days given that they were on the outer range of defense. By the time they got there, it was too late. All of the people, down to the newborn infants, had vanished. The buildings had been left standing, but someone had made sure that they would never be habitable again. Everything was methodically destroyed; books had pages torn out and shredded, instruments had their strings cut or something done to the airways, every wall had holes bashed out, all windows were shattered, all of the dishware had been broken, the list goes on. Oddly enough there was little sign of bloodshed, as if they'd been caught completely by surprise, and there were no corpses.
Indeed, it would have been fairly easy to track them, since a village full of people, especially non-rangers, are not exactly subtle in their passing through old growth woodland. It was when they started tracking that the three rangers discovered that there had been murders; all of the other rangers in the network had been neatly killed, almost certainly too suddenly to give off any alarm. At that point one of the three had a sanity check and noted that if these raiders had been numerous and well-enough planned to take out most of the defenses and then to force all of the villagers into a march, that three rangers were not going to be able to do anything.
As the campaign begins, Lyrilin and her two companions will be heading in the vague direction of where they believe people and/or other Elves are. They have no idea how the enemy missed them or, if the enemy didn't, why they were allowed to live. They have no idea who the enemy is or what s/he/they wanted with the villagers. All three have varying levels of familiarity with the common language, and of the three, only Lyrilin has doubts about what they've heard about all outsiders. Even given that Lyrilin is not happy to have to involve outsiders, but she at least hopes that they're not truly as bad as her people made them out to be.
I also have no idea who did it or why; that's for Andy to play with if he wants to. We have agreed that the people are alive and are not going to be tortured into Orcs or any such, and that it will be possible to save them. Furthermore, since so few were slaughtered, Lyrilin and her companions have every reason to hope that the people aren't dead, hence alleviating some of the angst potential. Finally, Andy has free reign to do what he wants with the two companions; they can join the party as NPCs or the three can split up and join different parties in hopes that three separate parties have a better chance. Or something completely different could happen.
The only drawback to being married to the GM is that I know how utterly twisted he can be.