Returning characters, reincarnations, and descendents

Madrigal is an ongoing campaign and a world with a long history. Madrigal 3 starts a new chapter in the ongoing story, we also want players with beloved characters to have an option to continue the story of those characters, though in a new and perhaps strange world far in the future.

In Madrigal 3 players of previous characters can continue their story in one of three ways.

  • You can play your previous character who awakes many centuries later to a new world.
  • You can play a descendent of your previous character, who carries the bloodline through generations into the current time of the campaign.
  • You can play a reincarnation of your previous character, a character reborn with vague memories of your previous character when game starts.

Although we are excited for players to have an opportunity to continue their characters, we also want to focus on the new campaign world and tell stories and drive plot using those elements rather than retell the stories of previous campaigns. To accomplish this the process for continuing your character is described below.

Playing an existing character

Before you decide to play your existing character, you will probably need to know three things.

First, in the time between campaigns there have been changes in the cycles of magic, the methods of fighting and warfare, and even the powers that people venerate that will profoundly affect your character. You will be recreating your character at 50 character points, and when game starts the world will feel strange and new to you. You simply won’t be as capable as some of the fully realized characters of the previous age. You can make your character with your starting points as you see fit; you have been dreaming for ages and those dreams could affect change in your skills.

You start at a base of 50 character points, but can earn extra points from a character history, a Paragon skill, and prop creations and donations like any character.

What About my Race?

One thing that can happen to a character in the dreaming is that you can enter the world as a new race as the magic of the Gate attempts to fit you in. If you’d rather play you old race then you simply select that race with the following exceptions.

  • Eluviar, Leindrel, and Malekyrg Elves are Faded Elves except their racial mark hasn’t fade yet.
  • Wayward races would have to work with plot to properly depict their old race.
  • Eurvein can keep their old full make up or use the new make up requirements.

Second, special items and effects have faded in the intervening centuries. Yes, you have weapons, armor, costuming pieces, and items you need to use your new skills. You can also be carrying normal types of adventuring gear you might have carried in the past such as lanterns, writing instruments, and blank journals or papers. Other items, including written notes and journal entries, have mysteriously faded – the writing destroyed leaving the papers or pages blank. Special skills that are not in the current rulebook are also gone.

Third, you’ve come forward many, many years and you did not simply hop forward in time. Your spirit entered the Crimson Gate sometime at the end of Madrigal 2 and it is possible that you have had dreams and visions while you slept. When you wake so many years later your memory of the past will not automatically be as crisp as you would expect. Although you can, when someone helps you to concentrate on the past, recount events of the previous age as you might remember them out of game, those memories will be vague as they first occur around you. You will be playing the game as if you were waking up renewed and refreshed, and your old memories will slowly awaken within you.

Wait, Why Don’t I Have My Memories?

While we won’t comment at this time on the in game reasons why this has happened, we have very specific out of game reasons why the detailed memories of continuing PCs have scattered.

As we envisioned players coming together, the one thing we wanted to avoid was players feeling forced into long sessions where they have to pour forth all the knowledge they learned in the past age. While this type of behavior makes perfect tactical sense, we felt it would just be un-fun for both the people forced to go through their histories as if they were catalogs, and for the players who felt compelled to catalog that information. We wanted to completely avoid that.

So What Do I Remember?

When you awaken in game you will remember all the personal information that makes you, well, you. Whatever bare necessity character history information you need to make sure you can play your character is there for you to use. Some of the proper names might be fuzzy, but we want you to be able to play your basic personality.

You will know any people from the past if you encounter them. If another PC comes through with you then you will know them, know their name, and remember how you felt about them. Likewise, in the unlikely event that you actually meet an NPC from the past in game your memories of them will start to come back to you. Our goal certainly isn’t to prevent you from interacting with characters you already know in a meaningful fashion; we want you to do that.

Details of the world that you learned in game, however, will be lost; at least at first. If you hear the name of someone or something in the past it will sound familiar to you. You might even feel drawn to it; like some fleeting memory when you just wake up from a dream. If you pursue it, or spend time with another character concentrating on that memory you can talk through it and it will slowly come back you. Each memory is like a treasure that you have to search out and find at your own pace. If someone tries to force you to remember too much you just won’t be able to.

How Do I Remember?

Every memory starts as a vague familiarity when something happens in game to trigger it. It will seem like a long series of severe déjà vu when you encounter something in game that triggers an old memory. You won’t immediate know why it sounds familiar, but the familiarity would certainly appeal to you. We leave it to (and trust) players to let memories come forth at their own pace, but we ask you to consider two things when you make this decision. First, what is fun for you? Second, what is fun for the other PCs? If pursuing a familiar name or concept sounds like it will be fun for you and another player, then we encourage you to explore it.

Once you have a seed of familiarity you can find a place with another willing player and talk through the memory with them. They have to lead you with a series of questions, and your memory will slowly be revealed through role play.

This process does not have to be permanent. You can, if you wish, reveal a memory in a role playing session and later have trouble again with the details when others are around. You can determine that it is still a little fuzzy if it will be more fun for you or other players.

Plot can also, through role play, awaken memories within you, either temporarily or permanently.

No Angst Needed

Another concern that players have raised is that it could be jarring and somewhat emotional for a character to wake up and find out everything they knew is gone. While some of this might be fun for some players, the time you spent dreaming near the start of the new campaign left you vaguely aware that time had passed. In those dreams you could have wandered the Deep Dreaming enough to have time to reflect and adjust to what had happened and how you might use your new skills. This allows a you, when you come into game, to determine that you have already had some time in the Dreaming to grieve so you can start in a frame of mind more suited for the adventures ahead.

How Did I Get Here?

At the end of the last arc of Madrigal, the Crimson Gate called to many of the heroes of Shadowfane. The call was compelling; more to some than others. Even for characters who left the Gate, and even after the Gate faded from this world, characters would hear the Madrigals and seem the familiar crimson glow in archways or old doorways calling to them.

Some characters entered that Gate soon after the last event, before it faded from the world. Some heard the call later, but certainly before the Night of Dreams. Sometime in the days, weeks, or months after the campaign ended your characters entered the Gate. All you remember from that experience is swirling lights of various reddish hues and the Madrigals playing softly as you, like the Gate, faded from the world.

Playing a reincarnation of your character

With this option, you are playing a new character that is the reincarnated spirit of your previous character. The spirit has somehow found its way back to the world and is reborn. You have lived another life, unaware of your previous existence. At the start of the game you begin to have strong feelings of déjà vu, and events trigger memories from the past.

Like existing characters, these newly awakened memories will not automatically be as crisp as you would expect. Although you can, when someone helps you to concentrate on the past, recount events of the previous age as you might remember them out of game, those memories will be vague as they first occur around you. You will be playing the game as if you were waking up renewed and refreshed, and your old memories will slowly awaken within you. Proper nouns and pronouns will be particularly hard to remember.

What Memories Will I Have?

In time many of your previous memories will return as emotions and strong short visions. Historical information and proper names won’t usually come forth unless that name was particularly relevant to you. Instead you will be looking for events and scenes in the current game that remind you of your previous experiences. At first these triggers will create seeds of familiarity; you will feel new feelings about the name, character, event or scene but you won’t know why.

As with existing characters, you won’t immediate know why something seems familiar, but the familiarity would certainly appeal to you. We leave it to (and trust) players to let memories come forth at their own pace, but we ask you to consider two things when you make this decision. First, what is fun for you? Second, what is fun for the other PCs? If pursuing a familiar name or concept sounds like it will be fun for you and another player, then we encourage you to explore it.

Once you have a seed of familiarity you can find a place with another willing player and talk through the memory with them. They have to lead you with a series of questions, and your memory will slowly be revealed through role play.

This process does not have to be permanent. You can, if you wish, reveal a memory in a role playing session and later have trouble again with the details when others are around. You can determine that it is still a little fuzzy if it will be more fun for you or other players.

Plot can also, through role play, awaken memories within you, either temporarily or permanently.

Playing a descendant of your character

This option allows you to play a descendent of your previous character. Countless generations have passed since the previous campaign (okay I know some of you *are* counting, bear with me) and although you bear your previous character’s Paragon skill and maybe their name you can only bring forth one, two, or three vague tales that have been passed down about them.

~ Tales should forego and forget proper names of other characters. Other characters will appear by their titles or appearances in a cool way that doesn’t have any proper name attached.

~ Tales should be about the heroics and/or tragedies of your ancestor, not about historical events or facts. It is likely that the actual events will be sorely exaggerated and maybe misunderstood, but the essence of your previous character can shine through.

~ Tales should help shape your character in a profound way. Otherwise, why be a descendant?

Momentoes

Players continuing their character can have one non-magical momento that comes with them from the last campaign. This could be a sword, or a piece of armor, or a symbol, or a family heirloom from the past. Players continuing their characters can be simply carrying them. Players creating a descendant can have an item passed down through the generations or find an item unearthed in some ancient hiding place. Players playing a reincarnation can somehow find the item, and perhaps that item is what begins their journey towards remembering the past.

There are some rules about your Momento, however.

First, it has no powers. It is unlikely it will ever have powers. We aren’t trying to start existing characters with magical items unavailable to new characters; we want everyone on equal footing. Maybe someday, if we feel the newer players are well established in the campaign and things are running smoothly, some plot member might have someone or something recognize a Momento but players should not have that expectation.

Second, the memories of your Momento are scattered, much like your memory of specific game events. For existing characters and reincarnations, the item has a seed of familiarity but that’s all, at least at first. For descendants the significance of the item is lost or misunderstood; if there are tales about the item then the proper names and nouns are lost and the tale has been modified over time into legend and hearsay.

Third, attempts to use Momentos to restart or resurrect plots or plot elements from the past will fail. We are interested in looking forward, not back. A holy symbol, as an example, will not be successfully used to create a following or cult of an old god. A symbol of an old order, will not be successfully used to pursue old hidden skills that players found in previous campaigns.

As the Game Begins

Some voice calls to you, rousing you from your slumber. The light and music around you feels like the crimson light of the Gate that took you from the world. You feel compelled to follow it, and as you do you sense others also approaching it…

 

So, you are playing a new character?

Madrigal is an ongoing campaign and a world with a long history. Madrigal 3 starts a new chapter in the ongoing story, and we are using this opportunity to move the game forward both in time and in story. Because of this, it is a great time to start a new character and join our game with either a fresh start or with fresh eyes.

New characters have the opportunity to explore the races and cultures of Aerune that have risen up in the time between campaigns. With this comes the opportunity to create a new character history for your character. We wanted to take some time to explain how the campaign is designed, what you can expect from a character history, and why your character might be drawn into the story.

A Sequestered Past

Madrigal is designed so players learn about the world in game. We understand that players are eager for lots of details to help fill out their character histories. The world, however, is a large and dangerous place, where travel and the passing of knowledge is difficult and not all that common. Although we expect the players to overcome these restrictions as characters playing the game, the average and even above average person in the world of Aerune does not have the opportunity to see or learn about much of it.

We ask that players, when they create histories, do so assuming that their characters have had a sequestered past. They can be larger than life characters, and can have some larger than life experiences, but for whatever reason the knowledge about the actual world is limited. Perhaps your family has kept you busy with mundane duties so you couldn’t travel as much as you would have. Perhaps your opportunities to really learn the history and cultures of the world were lost because you were trying to keep yourself fed. Perhaps you’ve been on the run and you have maintained a low profile such that you haven’t been able to gather lots of world experience. For whatever reason, your knowledge of the world is pretty much limited to the information about the cultures that have been released.

Cool Stuff Happens In Game

Madrigal is also designed so the cool stuff happens during the game rather than between game events. This means that we minimize or eliminate off board activity, restricting it to day to day activities you might need to survive. You spend your time gathering or purchasing food, maintaining armor and equipment, and otherwise preparing yourself for gatherings where many people meet.

We ask the same of your character history. While we definitely want you to have key moments to define who you are, we want to limit the truly heroic action to the game. We definitely want players to be able to create tidbits and scenes in the past that give them good material to role play with other players and characters. We also want players to be able to justify that they are well trained; a 50 point character is above the average soldier, bandit, or similar combatant in effective skill. Do keeping in mind that you are starting at 50 character points, and that some creatures like greater undead, Drowned Elf nobles, Vellingrim nobles, and the like are probably still too powerful for you to defeat, at least until you confront them in game.

Finally, while we have included a number of named characters in the rule book for characters to use in their character history, in the end you should not have a history that makes you so comfortable with a named character that you would have a special bond with them. We prefer those bonds to be formed during game.

Reincarnations and Descendants

Some new characters are reincarnations or descendants of previous characters from earlier incarnations of the Madrigal campaign. If you are making a character with these options you will need to read both this document and its sister: So, you are continuing a character?

The Story So Far…

In the days and weeks leading up to the first event, tensions between the Commonwealth of Blacktallow and Vellingrim have risen. Bandit attacks on both kingdoms have increased. Although the official reports claimed that Hobgoblins had staged the attacks, both kingdoms had accused the other of staging the attacks or even working with the Hobgoblin tribes and encouraged or financing the attacks. Skirmishes have broken out on the border of the two kingdoms, occupying the attention of both.

The hobgoblins have not only struck south. They have been seen roaming the walkways through Dremasque, raiding caravans of silk and even hunting the lizardfolk found there. The raiding has also disrupted supply lines to Morgrave and Kyrzenwold, causing both to have to turn their defenses to their supply lines. Morgrave, with its weakened lines, has seen an increase in undead attacks. With the Kyrzenwold Rangers distracted with watching the supply lines there have been kidnappings reported in that area. The hobgoblin attacks have thrown the lizardfolk into war, and Dremasque and Sollos are occupied with lizardfolk raiding parties. As tales of the raiding and fighting spread, more and more kingdoms and peoples have taken notice of the conflicts and stories.

While fighting erupted along the border to the south, and with the other nearby kingdoms moving to shore up positions weakened by hobgoblin or lizardfolk raids, the Guild Arcana was forced to investigate the situation itself. The Hobgoblin numbers have rapidly increased, and the raids have become more and more organized and bold. Caravans and merchant houses have been sacked, and travelers of all sorts have been accosted. Hobgoblins in record numbers have poured out of the mountains, threatening all nearby lands. With so many kingdoms embroiled in their own troubles, the Hobgoblin attacks have gone unanswered and the doorstep of the Guild Arcana has become all but impassable to merchants without heavily armed escorts.

The Guild Arcana hired scouts and adventurers to determine the origin and reason for the attacks. Reports back to the Guild Arcana traced the Hobgoblin attacks through the Forbidden Hills and south towards the mountains. In the broken lands south of the Forbidden Hills, the scouts reported ruins with strange lights. Some reported hearing music drifting from those wild and wooded areas. The lone scout to return attributes his survival, and the success of the mission, to a baleful and forlorn spirit that healed him after his scouting party had been defeated by Hobgoblin forces, yet refused to speak or interact in any other way.

These reports caused a flurry of activity among the Guild Arcana, and experts and scholars were brought in to determine what these ruins, lights, and music could be. Some countries and kingdoms sent what representatives they could, including Kyrzenwold, Sollos, Dremasque, and the Commonwealth of Blacktallow. The speculation produced several theories, though it wasn’t until members of the Illuminarium arrived that anyone produced any substantiated information. The Illuminarium, an obscure organization of mystics and sages whose goal is to unearth information lost in the three Cataclysms, claimed to have some insight into the ruins.

The order put a name to the structures; the ruins of the lost city of Nocturne. Those in attendance were shocked; that legendary place was swallowed by the earth during the first Cataclysm and eradicated, or so it was thought, from Aerune. The Illuminarium claimed that the ruins that had risen from the earth were ancient structures from Nocturne, and the order hoped that some of the magic of Nocturne had emerged with the ruins. The Illuminarium claimed its origins harkened back to the ancient city, and described Nocturne as it once was; a sprawling wonder filled with magic and music that, if tales were true, used song to bend spell and used magic to enchant songs.

Although the Illuminarium has called upon the kingdoms to provide forces to explore the ruins and fight back against the hobgoblins, most of the Kingdoms are embroiled in their own struggles and can scarcely afford to commit forces to fight for an unclaimed piece of wild and untamed land; ruins or not. It doesn’t help that the Illuminarium are an obscure and poor order with few allies in the courts. Although the Guild Arcana has made use of its impressive wealth to enlist mercenaries from as far away as the Free City of Ket, the Guild is too interested in protecting its own borders and keeping the merchant roads open to send forces through the Forbidden Hills and into the wild to explore ruins.

The Call of Adventure

The Illuminarium might have faded once again into obscurity, and the ruins of Nocturne with them, but the Tapestry, apparently, had other designs. Although rare in the current days, there are exceptional individuals that have been taught or somehow encouraged to follow the Aspects of Virtue and the Aspects of Strife. They uphold the ancient teachings from before the Night of Screams, and maintain the example of one of the Virtues or Strifes. These individuals, called Paragons, are the last folk to embrace those teachings

Paragons all over the lands have received dreams; visions leading them to the ruins of Nocturne. Some hear music, some hear laughter, others hear voices long thought silenced calling them forth. Some Paragons tell tales that they have heard the Sun speak to them, and others speak of the voice of the Moon. Whatever these impossible whispers and visions might mean, the phenomenon has sparked the imagination and interest of many folks.

With this new information, kingdoms near and far, although unable to commit major forces, have called on heroes and agents to go forth and enter the ruins. Paragons have begun to travel toward the Forbidden Hills to see what calls them from beyond. With the dreams of the Paragons substantiating the claims of the Illuminarium, other adventurers have also come forth. Nocturne did not only have tales of music and magic; the tales also told of great wealth and magical treasure that would no doubt have been buried with the city. If the ruins have begun to emerge, one cannot help but wonder if the treasures of that place have also surfaced…