You and three or four of your smartest, boldest, most creative, and hottest friends.
I don't know that it's fair to list anyone as an 'est' in any particular category, but I certainly feel they met the criteria. Participants: Lee, De, Kate, Doyce
Someone choose an oracle. Your choices are Blood & Sex, God-kings of War, the Unquiet Past, and a Nest of Vipers. It doesn’t matter who chooses.
We chose Blood and Sex.
Someone shuffle the deck and deal four cards where everyone can see. Someone go to the oracle and read out its entries for your four cards.
- 2 of Diamonds ...A woman suddenly bereft of love and family, daughter to a long heritage of sorceresses and poisoners...
- Ace of Spades ...A field of herbs and wild flowers, alive with bees, where a certain half-bestial creature brings his many lovers...
- 3 of Hearts ...A sorcerously animate homunculus of a wizard, more clever than wise...
- 10 of Spades ...A wandering spirit, visible at will, an inflamer of human passions...
All together, read the entries out into a list of characters. Note the explicit characters, and read the implied characters too, and decide as you go and by your gut what counts as a character.
We identified as characters:
- The woman bereft of family, heir to sorceresses and poisoners
- Some patriarchal enemy group of that matriarchal lineage (which we didn't really use)
- The half-bestial creature
- The half-beast's lovers
- The bees (the players were quite, quite adamant that the bees were a character)
- The homonculus
- The wizard
- The passion-inflaming spirit
Everyone chooses one character from the list, except the GM, who gets the rest. It doesn’t matter who chooses first and who chooses second. As a group you can expand and contract the list as you go, at need.
In no particular order:
- Lee called hasty dibs on the homonculus
- De selected the woman bereft
- Kate selected the half-bestial creature, now made a 'she'
- Doyce took everyone else
Players: Give your character a name. Choose whether your character’s going to have a particular strength. Assign one die each to the six forms; higher dice are stronger.
Chiela, A woman suddenly bereft of love and family, daughter to a long heritage of sorceresses and poisoners
- Covertly d12, Directly d4, for Myself d6, for Others d8, with Love d10, with Violence d6
- Particular Strengths: Bee Magic (gm says: "The Appian Way")
Cupix, sorcerously animate homunculus, more clever than wise
- Covertly d10, Directly d6, for Myself d8, for Others d4, with Love d6, with Violence d12
- Particular Strengths: Show true form (gm says: "Horrific Visage")
Ursula, a certain half-bestial creature who snares many lovers
- Covertly d8, Directly d6, for Myself d10, for Others d6, with Love d12, with Violence d4
- Particular Strengths: Seduction (gm says: "Ursine Seduction")
GM: Give the NPC character a name. Copy the character’s description from the story sheet. Assign two dice each to the three NPC forms: action, maneuvering, self-protection. Choose whether the character’s going to have a particular strength.
Shahu Seen, the spirit that enflames passions (which I totally just copied from the example in the book)
Samson, one of Ursula's lovers, a noble son
- Action d12 d8, Maneuvering d6 d4, Self-protection d10 d6
Illabeta, one of Ursula's lovers, a well-born girl
- Action d10 d6, Maneuvering d12 d8, Self-protection d6 d4
- Action d10 d6, Maneuvering d6 d4, Self-protection d12 d8
- Particular strength: Swarm
The Wizard, Kuriguzal
- Action d12 d8, Maneuvering d10 d6, Self-protection d6 d4
- Particular Strength: Wizardry
Create particular strength sheets. Give the strength a name. Describe the strength. Describe the strength’s special effects: what it requires, and how it appears in action. Choose both a PC and NPC form the Strength is linked to. Choose one Significance option from potent, broad,consequential, unique, far-reaching.
Best interests GM starts, with one of the strongest of the NP Cs, and names two best interests for them. Each should represent a direct attack on at least one player’s character. From there, you and all the players take turns, until every player’s character has at least two best interests named and every NPC has at least one (and many have two).
- Kuriguzal wishes to recapture and punish the errant Cupix.
- Kuriguzal wishes to acquire the secrets of The Appian Way from its last surviving practitioner.
- Cupix wants to use the "bee magic" in conjunction with acquiring the soul of a 'changing spirit' (read: Ursula). For this, he needs the cooperation of Chiella and Ursula as a victim.
- Chiella wishes to enact punishment (on Ursula, one presumes) for the recent destruction of her family/the family apiaries.
- Samson wishes to continue his relationship with Ursula, perhaps unto marriage.
- Chiella wants to marry a noble of some kind to continue the family line.
- Illabeta wishes to expunge the shame of her dalliance with Ursula by marrying well, perhaps to the beautiful Cupix. She'd also like to see Ursula suffer vast indignities.
- Ursula wishes to mate with someone powerful to stave off the 'long sleep'. Also, as the bees of her meadow are the source of much of her power, she would like to utterly control them.
- The Bees wish to see the hive free from outside control, including Ursula plundering their hive.