Lady Walker, returned to the City of Notions

Lady Walker is my new Player Character. Within the #InvisibleSunRPG, the PCs are described in a sentence ritual for the GM and other Players.

Lady Walker is a Bizarre Empath of the Order of Makers who Eats Knowledge.

How you get to that sentence is a process of reading through the rules and making personality and profession choices. This part of the rules is called the Key. You have five choices to make. You’ll have to read most of the Key (and some of the Path) to really understand the choices.

But perhaps before that, you should understand the premise of the Invisible Sun game. You are one of the Vislae (children of the Invisible Sun), laced with strong magics, previous history, and freshly returned to the Actuality (Real World) from the Shadows (a Grey world exactly like the Players already know.) There was a War, great and terrible, and much of the City of Notions (Satyrine) was evacuated when the weapons and damage became so horrendous that there was little expectation anything might survive. Now you are back (and ready to pick up your history and start the game.) Large amounts of the City are in ruins. Strange things are loose. The Dead wander.

Vislae have different aspects—literally versions of themselves that coexist but operate independently on different levels of reality—so vislae are properly referred to as “they.” Walker presents as female, with a deep fine textured skin of darkest earthen chocolate.

So the setting is deep and mixed well with mysteries. Magic is surreal, weird, and powerful, and every PC has their own take on that, even within the arcane choices made at the start.

So I’ll unpack the PC ritual sentence, without detailing all the various choices possible, to say something more about who Walker is and may become. Note the GM is encouraged to tweak things in the rules or during the game!

Step 1 for the character is choosing your arcane Order/Community. Walker is within the Order of Makers, and crafts magic into many forms. There are complex materials and long nights of work to create these arcane things. Money and time are precious and magical mistakes are somewhat common. This choice provides focus to how your magic best manifests. The rules speak of five choices here. For you old-timers in RP games, this choice is close to a character class.

Step 2 is choosing your Heart of magic, and thereby defining the most true thing about you, and perhaps the most open thing about you. Walker is an Empath. This means that feelings and thoughts come easily, and the surrounding flow from others is important. This choice dictates points allocated to your attributes and skills. The rules speak of four choices here.

Step 3 is choosing your Forte and thereby the most active part of your person. This is what you do best, or most uniquely compared to others. Walker is an Eater of Knowledge, hungry in the pursuit of information. (And in addition to the implicit hooks the GM gets from this, there are all kinds of other hints and suggestions in the rules for things that may influence and taint based on Forte. Colors. Backgrounds. Appearance. Clothes.) Forte has lots and lots of choices. Online I’ve also seen folks building their own Forte, so this really does get creative. There are 60 pages of Forte in the rules.

Step 4 is choosing your Soul, which is Secret and I shall say no more. Except that there are at least 13 Soul patterns by all accounts.

Step 5 is choosing your Foundation, which is the basic common thing that is so obvious. It is your history, where you came from, what you learned to be when you aspired to be an adult. It also constrains things about you, such as resources, wealth, property, connections to friends and associates. Alas, Walker is Bizarre and is not so well connected. The Bizarre may be strange but are not really concerned that people may know this and/or judge. The rules speak of eight choices here.

As you can see from the above, there’s a ton of choices to read through just to get an idea of what you want to mash together for your own PC. Just this little process done solo, results in some nice history, ideas, and direction before any collaboration gets going. But before you have your first adventure session, there’s a GM guided Session Zero, where things about your PC get shared, where your PC gets hooks and bonds with other PCs, where your neighbors are devised, and where the City of Notions gets some landmark love from a melting pot of Player Ideas.

More on this next time.

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2 comments

  1. When you described the Orders, you “sort of” forgot one. Let me underscore something you mentioned. Invisible Sun is not an RPG that is easily divorced from its own campaign setting (though I think you could use it to run a helluva Courts of Chaos game, but that’s a niche). So the four Orders, which do function a little like a character class*, are also social-political groups. Some more than others but they’re all communities, as you described. Except for the Apostates, who I think you forgot.

    Apostates fill a neat role in that they’re arguably very flexible, and don’t ascribe to an organization. No fraternity / sorority of mages for them, they are GDIs (Goddamn Independents). Yet, the game doesn’t pit Apostates against the Orders. So a player who doesn’t feel drawn to one of the game’s magical societies isn’t constrained by having to chose to align with one, and they also don’t need to feel they cannot intermix with other players who have.

    * Actually, while the Orders / Apostates do feel like a character class, PCs can can tailor their advancement in dozens of different ways, independent of their Order. Like Amber.

    1. True, and corrected above to 5 choices of arcane community.

      I decided before posting that if I stopped and actually talked about all the choices (I did not use) and what they mean, I’d be re-writing the rules and probably messing it up at the same time. So most of this is an introductory tease.

      That being said, I’m glad I got most of it right. Next, I think I’d like to post about the City as Magic, but since the game hasn’t started, that’s tricky to do. Perhaps the potential of the City as Magic Character is the thing.

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