This post is a preview of the Draculola game rules for making characters. The game is on Kickstarter, and this link takes you there. You can use the following section to make a character concept. (Characters by Rosie and Meri Sims, art by Emma Welch.)
If you’re not the Narrator of the Draculola game, you need a character. Use guidelines here to make one.
This section often refers to your character as “you.” The players form a friendly group of characters that have differing qualities, so they work well together during play.
Step 1: Create Qualities
You have three qualities—Origin, Style, and Skill. From the following sections, you can choose qualities or roll one six-sided die for that quality, consult its table, and write down what you roll. These qualities help determine what your kid is like and what they can do when you play the game.
Younger players, especially those who can’t read, might need some guidance here. That fact allows a fun interview process between Narrator and player or players. The players still roll for their qualities, but the Narrator and other players help round out the ideas by asking leading questions, such as, “It says you’re a beast monster. That could be a werewolf, a smart animal, such as a unicorn or warg (a wolf with human brainpower), or a fish person. What kind of imaginary beast or beast person do you want to be?”
Your Origin is the type of monster you are. Options can be found in this section, but if you have another idea, ask the Narrator to help you make it.
Origin (roll 1 die)
Beast. Some monsters are part animal, can change into an animal, or resemble an animal but are as smart as people. The wild centaurs who live in the hills are beast monsters. So are the shy fishfolk who dwell in the region’s deepest waters. Werewolves of the forests are beasts, and so are the unicorns of the woodlands. In the crags of the mountains live talking cave bears, guardians of nature, some of whom can transform into people (bearweres).
Ghost. Zitterstein is full of ghosts. Some are shades of departed persons, while others are spirits of nature who have gained humanlike awareness. Still other ghosts are beings born from strong magical or psychic energy. These “ghosts” include poltergeists, who like to trick people and hurl objects, and gloomy wraiths, who are born of sadder and scarier stuff. Ruins across Zitterstein are likely to house one or two such specters.
Human. Most of the citizens of Zitterstein are human. They live in little villages that dot the countryside. You might wonder why human is on a monster list, but many of these people are powerful like monsters. Some know sorcery. Others have a monster in their family tree, as with the living vampire-kin, the dhampirs. This magical legacy gives such individuals eerie powers. Other humans are so highly skilled or talented that they rival monsters in might. Kin of famous monster hunters or scientists can have this trait.
Puck. Mischievous faeries, pucks come in numerous forms. The small elves (also called brownies or gnomes), winged sprites, and goat-hooved fauns live in untamed places. These pucks like to use faery food, magic, and music to trick travelers or other creatures. Goblins who live under the mountains and hills are pucks, too, but often prefer to keep to their caves and mines. Some live in the dungeons under Castle Zitterstein.
Reanimate. As with ghosts, sometimes the dead don’t stay that way in Zitterstein, or they never fully die. By way of spooky magic or weird science, they become reanimates. The most common reanimates are skeletons who dance on holidays in Zitterstein’s boneyards. Revenants, zombies, and mummies, like some ghosts, return from the dead to reach a goal. A few reanimates were never alive. They are automatons most often made with once-living material, although their skin might be earth, metal, or rock.
Vampire. Undead are common enough in Zitterstein, but vampires are rare. Most vampires in the region are part of the von Zitterstein family, who control which vampires are allowed to stay in the area. Those without such a bloodline hunt in shadows far from the castle or are merely passing through. Visitors climb the steep hill to visit Castle Zitterstein at the cliff’s top and ask the leave of Draculola’s (grumpy) father, Count Nikolaus von Zitterstein.
Your Style is how you approach problems. Style is a major part of your personality, but not the only part. It’s just the mode you’re most comfortable in.
Style (roll 1 die)
Cautious. If you’re cautious, you take your time and pay attention to details. You’re good at looking out for potential trouble, planning and thinking ahead, aiming, reading others, and doing careful work. Your friends know you have a good plan or can think of what to do next.
Forcible. You like to use your might if you’re forcible. This Style can include bashing down doors and lifting weights with your muscles. You might instead use forceful magical powers to do what your muscles can’t, or you employ your forceful personality to influence and scare others. When the situation looks tough, your friends turn to you.
Hasty. You rush into things if you’re hasty. Before others get the drop on you, you act. You’re daring. Whatever’s on your mind, you say it. You’re also good at doing things that require quick action, such as disarming a trap that just activated, or instant responses, like dodging falling rocks or pushing someone else out of the way. If your friends look to you to spot other tricky situations or get things done quickly.
Showy. A showy person does things in a way that draws attention. You’re good at performing, inspiring others, and making foes look foolish or distracting them. People are bound to listen to or watch you if you want them to. Your friends rely on you for lifting their spirits and making distractions.
Tricky. If you’re tricky, you like to avoid notice until you want to be seen. You’re sly. Sneaking around comes easily to you, as does hiding or doing things unnoticed. You can trick or baffle others with fast talk, riddles, or deception. Tricks you play, like pretending to do one thing then doing another, confuse your opponents and amuse your friends.
Wily. If you come up with clever ideas and quickly solve problems with your mind, you’re wily. You’re good at studying any challenge and coming up with ways to resolve it. It’s hard to fool you and harder to fool you twice. You learn from mistakes. Your friends trust you to figure out puzzles and point out flaws.
Your Skill is something you’re good at. You can try to do anything, but you’re better at your Skill. Like Style, it’s part of how you solve problems. You also know how to help others accomplish tasks related to your Skill.
Skill (roll 1 die)
Athlete. You’re good at using your body to accomplish tasks. Swimming, jumping, climbing, and all sorts of physical activity are your strong suit. An athlete is also good at balance and speed. You could be burly, nimble, or something in between. This Skill also allows you to tell what it takes to accomplish athletic tasks, such as climbing a waterfall or hiking across Zitterstein in the rain.
Charmer. You know how to use your words and actions to get what you want. Charm is good for tricking, inspiring, and persuading people and other creatures. You can make others like you, or not. If you want to be, you can be very scary. Because you’re good at changing the way others feel, you’re also good at telling how they’re feeling. You often know when someone is acting strangely.
Explorer. You’re in touch with the world around you and love to be out and about in it. You know how to hunt or, at least, track, and you can identify plants and animals, and monsters that are like those normal creatures. Finding shelter and sustenance are also part of this Skill. You get along well with wild animals, and you might be clued in if they’re behaving oddly. If you or your friends get hurt, you can patch the wounds.
Magicker. You know about magic, whether its potions, spells, magical objects, or other supernatural effects. Even if you don’t cast spells, you can manipulate magic to learn more about it or change how it works. With this Skill, you could suppress dangerous magic or figure out what a spell is doing. You also have knowledge of magical beings, such as ghosts, faeries, and undead.
Sage. Lore and useful facts are your specialties. From ancient languages to reading the stars and modern science, you’ve learned a lot of things. Not only can you recall these details, but you also have ideas on how to apply what you know. Your sharp mind is also good at figuring out what’s true or the solution to puzzles. If you don’t have a fact handy, you often know where to look or who to ask for it.
Tinker. You can build and fix objects and machines, and you know how they work. Using tools comes naturally to you. If something breaks, you can fix it well enough for it to work until you have more time and tools to repair it the right way. You also know how to deal with dangerous machines, like traps, and how to pick locks. If you lack a tool you need, you can try to make one.
These qualities define your character’s core concept. They also apply in play when you need to roll dice. If a quality makes you better at a task, you are more likely to succeed at that task in the game. How rolling works is part of another preview, however.
Make Your Own
Make up your own concepts using the examples here. Then mention them to me on Twitter or in comments here. I’ll post them and list them here. Some might even appear in the book. Here are a few by the Simses (Chris, Meri, and Rosie) to get us started.
Pes Fluchfang, wily tinker beast. Although he looks like a hell hound, Pes is friendly and loves to act like a normal dog. He can also transform into a person, although he retains a houndlike look and demeanor. (From Georg)
Sraternej Božkovina, cautious magicker vampire. Sraternej looks like a little (literally) old lady. She’s seen as a reclusive herbalist of the Mondwald who some villagers visit for help. She often keeps watch over the forest in her bat form. Sraternej can also see the past of an object by touching it. (From Alex)
Samy, a showy sage ghost. She came from tellings of tales and stories to kids and uses to show up with colorful clothes. Being a bit translucent and appearing along lightning or a colorful flash. Helping with all wisdom from tales she loves to (re)tell and apply. (From Teylen)
Glamtri, flashy puck explorer. (Whoever calls me a brownie gets a face full of pixie dust!) I hail from the enchanted isles, and can’t wait to explore this land with my new friend #Draculola. (From Daniel Perez)
Bassam, tricky athlete beast (manticore). Bassam is a manticore, a tiger monster with a humanlike face, teeth like a shark, and a spiky tail. From the Blutberge (Blood Mountains), Bassam loves to climb, jump, and pounce. He’s a stealthy and cunning hunter. But he’s friends with Draculola and likes ear scritches.
Gigi LeGuk, hasty sage beast (fishfolk). Gigi is a fish person from the Traumsee (Dream Lake). She met Draculola during a night swim. Gigi loves to learn and talk about what she knows. She travels with Draculola sometimes to see new places and things.
Skittles, wily magicker reanimate (skeleton). Skittles, who can turn most of his bones and clothes into ghost stuff, found it to be too boring in the Arkador village boneyard. He rambles. Usually, he does so as a floating skull surrounded in ghostly vapors. He met Draculola when she mistook him for a mean will-o’-wisp she was trying to stop.
The following photo and art are by Georg Mir.