Character and Setting Creation (DramaSystem: Heroes of the City)

The characters

The main cast

  • Elron, Prince of the Elves (Tom) 
  • Alec Alejandro Victor von Rose, Apprentice of the Archmage and a powerful sorcerer in his own right (Darren) 
  • Xathra, Warrior Princess (Sarah) 
  • Stefan, Mercenary Captain (Sean) 
  • The Nightstalker, Master Assassin (Nick) 

Character creation in DramaSystem is largely about determining what drives the character (their poles pull them in opposite directions) and how they relate to the other player characters.

The Heroes of the City series pitch throws in an extra question about where in the city the character resides, which faction of the armies that banded together to take the city from the Archmage they lead, and what their followers deal with on a daily basis. This gets some more setting development done up front.

Elron

My story is that of an elf who yearns to regain his people’s rightful place in the world. My poles are Security and Risk. My base is in the tower, surrounded by my elves who keep the rabble out of the heart of the city.

Xathra is my sparring partner and I want her to admit I am the better warrior (but she thinks she is).

Alec saved me from the Archmage during the final battle and I want him to teach me magic (but he thinks the power should not be spread).

Stefan is a mercenary to whom I owe money, and who wants a title from me (that I don’t think mercenaries deserve).

The Nightstalker is an assassin I have hired in the past and I want him to kill Stefan (but he has too much respect for his former mentor).

Alec

My story is that of a man torn between nature and nurture. My poles are Redemption and Control. My base is in my spire, attached to the tower, where my ensorceled slaves (created from the worst criminals from the prison) defend us from the creatures that regularly emerge from the portal inside it that I cannot close.

Elron is the elf who’s life I saved.

Xathra is the one I love from afar (but she only wants my help).

The Nightstalker is my twin brother who I wish to punish me for my treatment of him (but he loves his brother too much to do that).

Stefan is my patient who  I wish to train me as a warrior that I might win the respect and love of Xathra (but he is her father and does not want her to be with someone like me).

Xathra

My story is that of a woman bound by honour to be the best. My poles are Honour and Love. I camp with my people in the forest around the river.

The Nightstalker is the assassin who killed my father (although I do not yet know it). I want him to help me to find the murderer (but he is the murderer).

Alec loves me but I only want him to use his magic to find my father’s killer.

Stefan is my real father, although I do not yet know it.

Elron is my sparring partner who I want to admit that I am the better warrior.

Stefan

My story is that of a low born warrior seeking to rise to the nobility. My poles are Honour and Expediency. My men and I have taken over the slums where we maintain order.

The Nightstalker is my one time student.

Alec is treating the curse that the Archmage inflicted upon me during the final battle.

Elron is in debt to me, I want him to give me a title.

Xathra is my child and I want her to acknowledge me as her true father.

The Nightstalker

My story is that of a man who would be known for his heroism not his past. My poles are Acceptance and Notoriety. I and my assassins hide in the catacombs beneath the city from where we emerge to battle the twisted creatures that dwell in the sewers.

Stefan was my mentor who I wish to understand and accept my new path in life.

Alec is my twin brother.

Xathra is the daughter of a man I killed, I want her to understand my reasons.

Elron is my sometime employer.

The character started out life as simply “Nightstalker”, but this was quickly lengthened to “The Nightstalker”, modified to “Nightstalker, the” and then frequently referenced as “Nightstalker hashtag the”.

The NPCs

NPCs are created by the players and the GM on demand, so most of these characters did not exist until part way through the game. Balthazar, for example, didn’t exist until episode 3. It is convenient to list them here though.

  • Oriene, The Dwarf King 
  • Balor, The Dwarf Prince 
  • Sarissa, Apprentice of the Archmage 
  • Odson, von Rose’s Goblin assistant 
  • Ataria, Mother to Xathra 
  • Pira, Elven healer 
  • Dirk, Firebrand 
  • Toralas, Elven Guard Captain 
  • Balthazar, Devil 
  • Raphael, Devil 

We also had an NPC called Mattera who was one of the barbarians, but she didn’t do anything of significance and her presence made some of the narrative confusing, so I cut her from it.

The final battle of the city of Drakenfel

This section contains a few facts gleaned about the city while we figured out a little detail to build the campaign around.

The city was conquered by the Archmage approximately a century and a half ago and was freed very recently by the alliance led by the elves.

Victory was brought thanks to Alec giving orders that opened up ways for the heroes to sneak into the city while the unified army outside the walls launching an attack on the walls to cause a distraction.

It ended in a climactic fight during which The Nightstalker struck the final blow against the Archmage and Alec saved the life of the Elf Prince.

Sarissa, another of the Archmage’s apprentices escaped the city and is at large while Hellfire, the dragon, changed sides and purports to be willing to work with the Heroes.

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