In a previous Ronin Roundtable, we mentioned a little bit about the Character Hooks mechanic we developed for Envoys to the Mount. In this Ronin Roundtable, we’re going to introduce you to not only the Hooks themselves, but how players select and use them, along with a sample of one of them.
At the beginning of game play, the Narrator will pass around a sheet that summarizes the Hooks used in the campaign. Players choose these Hooks based on the summaries, allowing them to focus on the role they want to play within the chronicle. This is an example of the Vata Hook summary:
The arcane runs through your veins as surely as blood does. You might be one of the pale vata’an, graceful and ethereal. Or you might be one of the umbral vata’sha, whispered about by the ignorant and superstitious. Regardless, you are an inheritor of the ancient legacy of the lost vatazin people. You might have been born to entirely human parents, or perhaps one (or both) of your parents are vata themselves. No matter your origins, you have found a place among the Sovereign’s Finest.
Choose This Hook: If you want to play a vata character in this campaign, a character with a mystical heritage who will begin to uncover ancient secrets about their people.
Once all of the players have chosen their Hooks, the Narrator then gives each a handout which contains the following information. We have included the Handout for the Vata Hook here as well, so you can see what it all looks like.
- Flavor Text: A quick paragraph that summarizes the character’s relationship with the Sovereign’s Finest, and very loosely defines their motivations. Ultimately, it simply contains a few evocative suggestions, which players should use as many or as few of as they like to help round out their characters.
- Bonus Traits: Each Hook includes one or more additional benefits the character receives for taking on this role. Many of them are mechanical in nature, a core conceit for the Hook. Because the hero basically has to have them to function in that Hook role, we’re giving it to them for free, so as not to unduly limit character creation choices elsewhere.
- Character Creation: This section makes some suggestions for character creation, suggesting focuses, talents, and specializations that expand the theme of the Hook in interesting directions. None of these are requirements, although the suggestions are made with the Hook’s role in the campaign in mind.
- Drawbacks: Of course, nothing comes for free, so each Hook also includes a Drawback. In many instances, this is a unique mechanic or even story limitation that isn’t so much to balance the additional benefits as it is to drive home the themes of the Hook and further enwrap the hero in the role the player has chosen.
- Backstory: Finally, each Hook includes three bullet points that are events or details that should be folded into the player’s concept of the character’s past. In many cases, these are not only tied into the assumed history of the character in that role, but they will also impact events that occur within the campaign. They include questions meant to help the player customize these details for their hero. They don’t have to share these details with the other players but should discuss them with you, the Narrator.
Don’t forget, you can also pick up the Nisaba Press anthology Tales from the Mount along with your PDF (also available on Drivethru), or select the add-on offer with the print version of Envoys to the Mount, for just $5!