Character Concept Ideas

Jakey

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This guide is going to provide a few character concepts for people who still did not decide what they are going to roleplay. Hopefully, after reading it you will have a basic idea of your new character or some addition to your existing one. Have fun.

Note: This was originally written for a game set in the 1500s, not all information found here is valid for our setting — but it should give you a couple of ideas.
Reference: Mage the Sorcerers Crusade - Crusade Lore [1998] p28-33



Artist
You capture the miracle of life. Vital, perceptive, free of the constraints of ignorance — you and your work embody this new age. God's creation is a living thing; the Greeks and Romans realized this, and you strive to follow their example. Your hands and eyes are always busy painting, sculpting, sketching or perhaps experimenting with music. If you're fortunate, you have a patron who supports your work. Otherwise, it's a hobby for the twilight hours. A truly lucky artist has time to follow the latest innovations — perspective, colour theory, architecture — and Classical achievements dredged from the ruins. If you don't have that luxury, you use what you can to capture the essence of God, nature and man.

Bandit
Some people have more than they deserve. You right that wrong. While the common folk starve, rich tradesmen, nobles and the stinking offspring of them both flaunt their riches in full view. Daring mutilation, the gallows or the iron cage, you sally forth to plunder the bastards. Perhaps you're a vagabond living off other people's wealth, or a soldier out of work scouring the countryside for something to eat. It may be that you're a highwayman — not the gallant hero of later legends, but a dashing fellow just the same — or a gypsy whose quick hands and sharp blade ensure that she is fed. Morality is for other folks — you live for yourself. A bandit need not be a murderer to get his wish; you might be a cutthroat, a trickster, a seducer or a sneak. Whatever methods you employ, the goods of another are swiftly your own.

Bastard
You were born to nobility yet denied its privileges. Your behaviour is never scrutinized as is your 'legitimate' siblings', so you can get away with scandalous activities. Insecurity is the price you pay — you could be turned out of the house at any time for overstepping your bounds, and you know you'll never inherit anything. You probably resent your family; yours is not a rare lot, but your shame is never silenced.

Beggar
Cast off by society, you rely on the kindness of others. Perhaps gambling debts caused your present state of affairs, or fate, plague or war crippled you. Maybe you're just lazy. In any case, you maintain a sense of pride under your pathetic facade. You know secrets that others would kill for, and might speak them — for a price. After all, who cares what a beggar thinks?

Craftsman
Where would they be without you? People need what you provide. Leatherwork, shoes, jewellery, weapons, tools — the list goes on and on. After years of apprenticeship, mistakes and experience, you know your business. You might be a youngster just learning the trade; or perhaps may possess authority, such as a title in a guild or a reputation for fine work. In any case, you pursue handwork with dedication and finesse. The Lord smiles on good labour.

Diplomat
War is a costly way to do business. You specialize in making deals, using words and schemes to achieve your goals, or those of your lord, without battle. Your skills of persuasion, logic and deceit suggest a natural mediator. In the service of prince, merchant, Church, you do what you can to make differing parties agree. Intrigue is a natural aspect of such affairs; you understand the secret language of half-truths, favours and misdirection as if it were your native tongue. Long journeys — by foot or horse — are part of the trade. It's not an easy life, but you have your reasons — position, ideals, cash or adventure — for enduring it.

Explorer
The world is as vast as your ambition to see it. The courts of Cathay, the cities of Arabia, the farthest shores of the Indies... not even the sky is a limit to you! Leaving clan and country behind, you make adventure your companion. Harsh travels and near-death scrapes have made you strong, but the marvels you discover are worth every hazard. You've learned vital skills — seamanship, herbalism, medicine and the arts of war — along the way. After all, no one else will save you from disaster. Someday, the angels won't be looking, and the Reaper will embrace you; till then, face the wind, laugh at the Dark Powers, and keep your feet on the less-travelled road.

Farmer
Everyone dies without food. It's your place under Good to set the tables of your land. It's hard work under the best conditions, harsh weather, heavy taxes, war and plague undo your labours with sickening regularity. You were probably born to a farming family. Maybe you're a poor crofter, living off a patch of dirt and under endless obligations, or a wealthy cottager with large fields and hired hands. Harvesters don't lend themselves to adventure, so you've probably left the farm behind. Are you a runaway? A refugee? A vengeful peasant? Whatever your future role, you were born to the land. Crops and animals are your life's work.

Heretic
You know in your heart that the Orthodox perspective is wrong. Perhaps you were raised in a secluded town where things are taught differently. Maybe you're just a rebel who refuses to accept what God's messengers relate. You could have been born to a faith that few around you share. More likely, you received a vision so powerful that it opened your eyes, and you have been unable to swallow the accepted truth ever since. In any case, your radical faith endangers you. Keep quiet about it and trust no one. Torment and the stake are heresy's price.

Inquisitor - Inquisitors weren't a thing in the 1000s.
God is not mocked. Nor are you. His enemies are your enemies and they are everywhere. Rumour depicts you as a somber executioner, but that really isn't fair. You know how to laugh, how to love, how to put down the torch when the crisis is past. But the Devil is at the door, and God's children must be protected. You possess rare skills — book-learning, faith and warcraft — they help you pursue this task, and you have seen the demons that infest the House of the Lord. Your task may be interrogation, diplomacy or ferreting out lies; the savage witch-hunter is only one aspect of your trade. You most likely investigate heresy with calm questions and veiled threats. The Church stands behind your, and the angels guide your hand.

Midwife
No miracle is more common — or more deadly — than childbirth. You know the secrets of womanhood, and many people shun you for it. Some call you a heretic or worse; these are bad times for the wise women of Christendom. Yet when a baby comes, the gossip ends and your work begins. Aside from your birthing skills, you understand herb lore, nursing and other, more esoteric mysteries. You were probably taught your arts by your mother, who was tutored by her own. Yours is an ancient and valuable profession. Let no one scorn it.

Monk
Chastity, piety and poverty characterize your life. Monks are the working class of the clergy, whether in transcribing books, farming or teaching rich children. However you assumed this position (poverty, dispossession, compulsion or deep faith), you probably take it seriously. This is still a pious age, despite the corruption lurking behind the cathedral walls. The Lord is watching, so you try to make Him proud.

Noble
Your father was of aristocratic blood, as was his father before him. Your lot in life has a long legacy, one to be respected, valued and, above all, passed on. You could be a lowly page, a knight or any other lord beneath the kind of your land. You could have been the first-born son and posses your family title, lands, manor, peasants, and liege duties and responsibilities. Or you could have none of that power or prestige, depending on how many brothers precede your right to authority. If your family is poor, you could own nothing and wield no power, even if you were first-born. Indeed, you may have inherited your father's debts. As a second son to impoverished lands, you might not even be able to afford the armour expected of noble station. However, no matter how fate has smiled or frowned upon you, you are among the lord of society and must be respected by all lower status — or so you believe.

Nun
You are married to God, entrusted to teach unruly girls and guide women. Chastity, virtue and honesty are the foundation of a nun's life; whether you follow these path-stones depends on your dedication. Some do not. You may have been cast into a nunnery to keep you out of trouble, or perhaps were sent away because your father could not afford a dowry/ Perhaps you joined of your own piety. Regardless, you are not nearly as powerless as you might seem — people listen when you speak, and the Blessed Virgin stands beside you. Prayer is your companion and humility your bread, but you have a mystique that lends weight to your presence.

Outsider
What are you doing here? Perhaps you're here for the Convocation or your work in some barbaric city as a favour to the Order. You may have been born to this land but follow a creed that puts you at odds with your countrymen. You may be a Pagan, gypsy or Moor. Perhaps you travelled from a place no one has ever heard of. Be alert and watch the shadows. Trouble always comes for you, so have a quick word and ready knife when it does.

Pardoner
Travelling the world and selling salvation, you collect donations to ensure safe passage into Heaven. For a flask of wine, you'll allow a lord to keep his concubine. For a few pieces of silver, you'll pardon mortal sins of the flesh... including your own. A priest with a sense of duty, humour and business, you provide the Vatican with necessary funds. The Lord's city requires gold for its ministry, and sinners need some form of absolution. Scripture grans you license to do your work, so don't question its honesty. Silver is fleeting; salvation is eternal.

Philosopher-Scientist
Nothing happens without a cause. God is a master artisan, not an arbitrary tyrannos, and Enlightened men can discern the patterns He left behind. Steeped in the lore of the Greeks, the Romans, even the Arabs and Turks, you seek the rhyme and reason behind natural phenomena, divine influence, human behaviour and the invisible ties between all three. You spend your days in contemplation and your nights in study as the servant of some rich patron. Perhaps you're a scholar, a curious monk, an artisan or an author. Regardless, your search and declaration shed light on the dark corners of the universe.

Priest
God's flock is wayward, and you must shepherd them. You are a servant of the Lord and the Church, and ministrate the Pope's will. The clergy offers many positions, from lowly parish priest to archbishop or even pope, though to hold such awesome status and have dealings with magi is unlikely. You probably tend to a small church and a small or urban flock. Education — Latin, literacy and Biblical lore — are integral to your role, although faith is not. You might have joined the Church because you were second-born to a poor nobleman who could not afford the lifestyle you hoped for. Then again, you could be truly pious and hope to do the work of God. Perhaps that's why you dare work with people. Someone has to save their souls.

Sailor
A tar's life is brutal — cold, cramped, torn between peril, boredom and the lash. Yet you wouldn't have it any other way. The open sea offers freedom that few men ever know, and the excitement of a new port is more intoxicating than rum. Most likely, you were impressed — seized from the streets one night. Perhaps you began as a stowaway, slave, pirate or simply a lad (or disguised lass) with a hunger for discovery and a strong arm — it doesn't matter. Tarred timbers and salt breezes are your life now, a life you love and loathe in equal measure.

Servant
The rich are helpless without you. Deep down, you realize that. Luxuries demand maintenance, and you know how to keep things running. Perhaps you're a favoured servant, privy to your lord or lady's scandals. You could be a lesser worker — a groom, a scullery wench, a groundsman or even a slave — without respect, but given tools and trust just the same. Are you proud of your work or jealous of your masters? Do you perform your duties, or shirk them when you can? You might be the foundation of your household or a rat in its walls.

Spy
You are not what you appear to be. Some patron or cause enlists you to burrow holes in your social surroundings — to watch, to gather, to steal — and you do so with skill. Capture means sentence to a horrible death, so bend your will to the mask and cloak yourself in others' trust. Perform favours for your marks — if the masquerade ends, you'll need all the help you can get — and keep an eye on the door. Sooner or later, it will be time to pull the tapestries down, and it would be wise to be long gone when they fall.

Tavern-Keeper
A tavern is neither quiet nor peaceful, and you wouldn't have it any other way. Maybe you're an innkeeper, a goodwife, a wench or a bouncer — no matter! Your fingers are in the grub, and your hands are wrapped around the tankards. Gossip and a good hard punch are fine survival skills, and the talk you overheard would turn a bishop's spy green with envy. It takes savvy to run a tavern, too; you wouldn't believe how many thieves there are around here! Few highfolk ever know your kind of freedom. Let 'em look down on you — they're far more prisoners than privileged! Who buys the next round? Let's sort things out in the morning.

Tradesman
Merchants are the social enigmas of your time. They belong to none of the foundations of society, yet are pervasive and relied on by commoners, clergy and nobles alike. Perhaps you were a peasant who escaped your lord's lands for a year and a day and won your freedom. Or you might have been a nobleman who turned to trade to compensate for an impoverished family. Or you might simply have wanted to see the world. Whether you're a travelling merchant or a sedentary craftsman, you have found your calling. You provide the goods that everyone from the country manor to the city square has come to demand. Yours is the way of the future; before long, everyone will rely on your services for their needs. Before that day comes, your plan to enjoy the freedom and independence that your life affords. Just watch out for the competition.

Travelling Player
You're a vagabond tool of Satan, if the tales are right. You live outside law and country, prancing for the groundlings in a mask or painted face, then leaving in the morning. Applause and freedom are your food and drink; good thing, too, since players are notoriously poor. Still, you have your "family" — a gang of roustabouts like yourself, pantomiming passion for a free meal and a bit of squeeze on the side. The work is hard, the living more so, but the open road is the only place to be.
 
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