Tales of the Peacock Knight
When determining a concept, envision all facets of your character. Is he human or alien? What does he look like? Did he grow up amid a palatial estates of a noble planet, or did he come of age on the savage streets of a megaslum? Is the character an outworld barbarian, utterly unfamiliar with civilization and its trappings? Is the character blunt or subtle? Brutal or sophisticated? Worldly or superstitious? Does he have any peculiar mannerisms or speech patterns? A favorite object or item of clothing? All of these things may help you focus your character and set him apart.
Here are some things to consider when formulating your character concept. Ask these questions to yourself, and try to answer as your character would (this can help you find your character’s voice).
- Are you human or alien? This is, perhaps, the most important decision to be made in terms of concept. Players contemplating running an alien character should be advised that this is a difficult roleplaying challenge. Aliens do not always think like humans do, and oftentimes have trouble interacting with predominantly human Imperial society. Aliens are often distrusted and ostracized.
- What was your childhood like? Your adolescence? The diversity of the Fading Suns galaxy allows for nearly infinite variety of back stories. Were you a spoiled and pampered noble or did you come of age on a backwater serf-world? Were you raised by loving parents, or were they distant and cold? Were you, perhaps, an orphan, taken by a monastery – or sold to the Muster at an early age?
- What is your social background? A character raised as a noble will have a tremendously different outlook on life than will a character born into serfdom. Do you expect instant obeisance from all or do you feel that you have to fight for every shred of property and dignity? Or were you destined for the Church?
- Do you have occult powers? When did you discover your occult powers? Some characters manifest powerful occult powers in early life, much to their chagrin if they’re stuck on superstitious backwater worlds. If you manifested early, where you ostracized? Hunted as a witch? Revered as a god? Did you keep your powers secret, use them to take advantage of others, or better society?
- What is your profession? Did you ever want to be something else? How do you earn a living? Are you an illiterate jack-of-all-trades, or have you mastered the secret lore of the guilds? Did you choose your profession, or were you forced into it by circumstance?
- Are you a believer in superstition or reason? Do you strive to recover the lore of the Second Republic, or do you feel that certain things are better left buried? Do you shudder when imagining the dark between the stars, or do you seek to discover secrets spiraling in the abyss?
- Are you a follower of a religion, or do you have faith only in yourself? The Church is an all-pervasive entity in the Fading Suns universe, and while it does great good, it can also be stiflingly oppressive. Do you place your soul’s trust in the Church, or do you scorn the beliefs others hold dear? Perhaps you are a pagan?
- How do you feel about technology? Technology in the Fading Suns world is not the user-friendly helpmate of present day. Known Worlders view technology as mysterious, unreliable, magical, and often inimical. Those who work closely with technology are often distrusted and occasionally branded as magicians.
- Are you happy with the status quo? Or are you a revolutionary? A criminal? Long live Emperor Alexius – at least that’s what everyone says to his face. Perhaps you feel differently. Are you a loyal Imperial citizen (perhaps truly believing that the Empire is acting in humanity’s best interests) or would you love to see the Empire fall? Perhaps your family was impoverished or destroyed in the Emperor Wars, driving you to sedition. Or perhaps you have a loved one in the opposite political camp – how does your patriotism affect the relationship?
- What are your important likes, dislikes, and goals? Do you have a loved one? A lost love? A dire enemy? The little – or not so little – things can be the most important facets of your character. Does your character like a certain type of food? Does he have certain speech patterns or mannerisms? Does he want to own a merchant line of his own – or do his ambitions run toward dethroning the Emperor?
There are an infinite number of questions to be asked about each character, and the more detailed the conceptual process becomes, the richer and more real the character will seem. At the heart of Fading Suns are the distinctions of class. Leaders aren’t made – they’re born. One does not get promoted to nobility; one must be the scion of generations of nobles. Suggested character roles, the social classes that make up the Known Worlds, are given in the Character Background section. These include the nobles, the priesthood, the merchants, the serfs, and the outsiders, be they alien or barbarian.