So after deciding to write a Tempeste RPG (which I’ve actually already done once, but trust me, the earlier version isn’t any good), I returned to deliberating over what to name base attributes. (If you missed my earlier post, I spent more time talking about the human soul than arriving at any conclusions). Thankfully, words come easily when mentally immersed in a world with a rich and complex aesthetic: discipline, finesse, grace, guts, nuance, passion, rapport, style, tenacity. Without even telling you about Tempeste, the words above begin to offer a sense of the world and the characters who inhabit it.
Initially, I thought I’d have a total of eight attributes, four that embody the four aspects of the soul (which, yes, will have its place in Tempeste) and four others for everything else. The four “soul attributes” were also to be called capacities and would relate to how much damage a character can take, e.g. physical damage, mental damage, etc. (to oversimplify)—but again and again, when I began thinking about what attributes would be used for what sorts of actions, I found that more than one attribute might be used for the same sort of action. In social contests, for example, should a character use Nerve or Anima? And what is Anima, anyway? I knew what it meant to me theoretically, but would it make sense to players?
So I was already pairing the “soul attributes” with the other attributes in my head, and I thought, can I reduce this down to just four attributes? And I could, and I did. As of this writing, the four base attributes for Tempeste will be Physique, Discipline, Nerve, and Artifice.
The other thing I spent a lot of time figuring out these past few weeks were the different character roles. I suppose first I should state that (initially), player characters in Tempeste are mercenaries, professional soldiers hired by the aristocracy to do their dirty work. So I came up with 16 different roles for mercenaries, using a mix of military slang and improvised slang (to account for those roles unique to this fantasy world): Angel, Bin Rat, Brass, Cleaner, Croaker, Driver, Fister, Grunt, Jacket, Sparks, Slink, Spook, Suit, Tac, Wolf, and Worm.
The next step? Figure out the actions and unique abilities of each role and which attributes they use. Amidst the haze of a headcold last week, I tried to figure out which attributes were preferable for which roles, to make sure there’s some balance, and I started jotting down a few actions under each role (wanting to toggle all 16 roles at once in some sort of organized fashion). But then I thought, fuck that. Fuck organized. Let’s get knee-deep in these, one at a time, right? Let’s not worry about balance right now. Let’s create content.
So, my next post will be all about the Angel role. Let’s figure out what it means to be an Angel—even though I don’t really have the rule structure ironed out. We need to know the people in this world and their actions in this world—which will in turn, flesh out the world and inform what sorts of rules we need.