Shepherd's Manor

The First Session

Collaborative Character and Setting Creation

The first session for UA is unique- it involves collaborative character and setting creation.

Here’s the tl;dr for upfront- what you should be thinking about right now, as the campaign is prepared.

  • You are all Agents of a Room of Renunciation- and that involves particular rules. Keep these rules in mind as you think about your character.
  • Think about things you would like to be included in the campaign- anything from creepy pictures, NPC ideas, to things from Book 3: Reveal that you particularly like. You have a say in the setting.
  • If there is anything in particular you would like to make sure is not in the campaign, you can either message it to me or post it and we’ll avoid the topic.

I will be keeping up a mind-map so you can visualize at each step, because some of this can seem pretty overwhelming when presented as just text. People can go in any order for any of these steps, so long as everyone is involved.

Here’s a character sheet template; make a character and copy this into it.

Step One: The Big Picture

You are Agents of Shepherd’s Manor, a Room of Renunciation that flips lackeys into leaders. This is a powerful tool.

Here’s open questions, and the order we’ll resolve them in:

  1. What is the Cabal’s first Objective? Objectives are described in UA3 Book 1: Play pp XX, but if people are confused about them I can write more about them to clarify. One special rule for this campaign is that the collaborative Objective is something you seek in spite of being Agents, not because you are Agents of the House.
  2. What is your relationship to the Unnatural?- that has two main questions here-
    1. What was your trigger event?- How did you discover that the Unnatural was real? This doesn’t have to be the Manor, but it might be.
    2. How broken are you?- You can put up to five hardened notches in the Unnatural Gauge. You don’t have to use all five if you don’t want to, and it’s not necessarily better or worse to have more or fewer. Here’s an official UA handout with some useful advice for notching gauges.
  3. Who and what is here? Each player gets to add one element to the setting- a location or a person that you want to play a role in the campaign, and adds a connection to an already-established element. At the first stage, it’s probably best to connect an element to your PC, but it’s not required.
  4. What is your Obsession?- Simple enough. If you want to play an Adept, remember that your Obsession must relate to your school of magick. Note that here I want to know what makes your character get up in the morning- not what Identity you want to flip-flop on.
  5. Who are you?- Define one Identity. You have 120 points to distribute between your Identities. You don’t need to add Features yet, but it’s not forbidden. Starting Identities must have at least 15% and no more than 90%. A good starting number is 30%.
  6. GM Input after you have all decided on setting pieces, I add an element of my own choosing.

We’ll be taking these one at a time- don’t worry if you have no idea for the answers of some or all of these yet.

Step Two: Get Plugged In

  1. Relate to a PC- Add a line between yourself and another PC and define a Relationship as stated in the Rulebook on p XX- responsibility, guru, favorite, mentor, and protégé. Consider a but about the relationship.
    • Note that a character’s Relationships describe how that character sees their position, if someone else decides you’re their Protégé, you don’t disagree here. You can freely disagree in play, though.
  2. Add another Identity- As in Step One.
  3. Link Two Elements- Connect two elements that are currently unrelated. You may also add a new element at this stage, but it’s not necessary. For this step you do have to get permission to link something to another PC, though.
  4. How did you become an Agent?- Related to the above- tell the story of your own Renunciation.
  5. Relate to the Cabal- Pick an unassigned Relationship and assign it to the Cabal. That’s how you view it.

Step Three: Dig Deeper

  1. Notch two Gauges – Pick any two (non-Unnatural) Gauges and add up to ten Hardened notches between them. Again, you don’t need to spend all ten notches, and more notches is not necessarily better.
  2. Link to a PC – Define a link to yourself and another PC. This doesn’t need to be one of the five Relationships, but it’s allowed to be. You should avoid linking again to the same PC, unless you want to clarify that particular relationship.
  3. Fulfill Passions- Write down what each of these are in a clear and concise way. Remember that once per session per passion you can flip-flop or re-roll a roll related to your Passion.
  4. Hone the Obsession- Decide what Identity your Obsession applies to- and it must be an Identity, not an ability. If you’re an Adept, it must be your school of magick.

Step Four: Foils and Fine Details

  1. Notch two Gauges – As you did in Step Three, notch the two remaining gauges with up to ten points between them.
  2. Add an Element and Connection – One more element, and one more connection. You don’t necessarily need to connect the element that you added this time.
  3. Identity Features!- Add the two Features of your identity, and allocate your remaining points. You can also define any other Identities at this stage.
  4. Pay the Piper- Add up the number of Hardened Notches you have and divide by five, rounding up. You have that many Failed notches. Distribute them as you think fits your character.
  5. Mental Health Check In two parts:
    1. If you have five Failed notches in a single gauge, congratulations! You’re mentally ill. We’ll discuss what that means for your character.
    2. If you have more than twenty total Hardened notches, you’re a Sociopath. That involves pretty specific rules in this setting, and you may want to consider reducing your Hardened notches.

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