Society has been changing: the School of Mediums has merged with the Church, the Autarch’s barrenness threatens the dissolution of the Royal Line, and powerful corporations seek to shape and modernise the social, sexual, domestic and economic lives of their citizenries.
Felix & Connie
I recently joined a roleplaying game of which the world has been developed/created by two friends. It makes use of Fate Core; we have already started with the game. We are a group of 5 players, of which one is the game master. I don’t want to talk about the Fate Core System, but more about the world wherein this game takes place and more specifically the development of my character. I will use the post to create kind of an online character sheet, and it will most probably change over time as the game develops and my character develops more.
Before I start with my character description, let me just give a summary of the world. (This tabletop version is derived from a LARP originally called Three Spheres, Two Cities, One Cranium developed by Felix and Connie. Felix is spearheading the drive to make it more of a tabletop game.) Halfaxa is the name of the world wherein the game takes place. Within this world, the game takes place on the continent Allemand, and a large part of the game plays against the background of two competing city states, namely Saraband and Tambor representing different ways of life / world views. Corporations have a creeping influence in both cities and the world at large. Due to past catastrophes (a disappearing moon and the poisoning of the air) the world is in decline; knowledge/technical advancements have been lost. To survive and compete a whole business has developed around the mining / rediscovering of advanced artifacts from the past – named cryptofacts – that can be re-used, re-purposed and traded. Between the two cities there is a shared university, called the University of the Two Cities, where my character lives / hide.
What makes this world interesting, is the gender politics. And in some sense this makes this game so powerful, because it engages you to un-think many of the toxic gender stereotypes, we struggle with in our own world. And, as a queer trans woman, this is an interesting experience/experiment. I am quoting here from the summarized source book, to give more context, and then I will give a summary of my character:
“The people of Halfaxa traditionally have no fixed differentiation between genders. A 60 day hormonal cycle renders most individuals receptive to conception during their ‘circumambient’ phase, in which period it is possible to catalyze impregnation during intercourse; meaning that all/many Halfaxans have the capacity to both fertilise and carry a foetus. While circumambient, a person becomes particularly alluring to those around them.
The traditional Halfaxan family consists of three ‘tethered’ members, who circulate roles and responsibilities according to the reproductive status of their tetherings (determined also by individuals’ political and social standing and economic potential). Steadily declining birth rates have created a focus on reproductive health, and spawned a massive pharmaceutical complex dedicated to improving the likelihood of conception. Richer families may be able to afford hormone treatment, occasionally achieving two pregnant tetherings at one time. This is taken to be at the least a sign of social status, and a celestial blessing to the more religiously inclined.”
My character (short blurb):
Our characters were developed in a communal session, but also through discussions with the game master. Obviously, one’s character is deeply lodged within one’s own frames of reference, world views and meaning horizons.
My character’s name is Jyn. And I am a living cryptofact brought up in the DAG (Department of Archaeology and Genealogy), which forms part of the University of Two Cities. Through fleshmelding, Jyn has tried to fit in, or, from a different perspective, hide. (Fleshmelding refers to the process of shaping and changing the body/flesh of a person through various techniques and transplants. Within Halfaxa there are skilled practitioners, of which some is outlawed.) If it becomes known that Jyn is a cryptofact, mining companies will come after them. Various body modifications have been undertaken by Jyn; the most visible modification is their eyes. (Molly from Neuromancer is an inspiration, but also Nebula from the Guardians of the Galaxy. )
The place and date of origin of Jyn is unknown. Jyn was discovered by a travelling group of archaeologists doing various digs to find cryptofacts beyond the Fumes (rural space between and beyond the two cities). When Jyn’s body encountered the atmosphere, it became “alive” again. The academics took them back to the University of Two Cities, where they have been staying/hiding the last few years. Jyn has proficiencies in academics, crafts, physique and athletics.
About DAG: I am a big fan of Umberto Eco. The Department of Archaeology and Genealogy, is inspired by the Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. The monastery of the Name of the Rose is an inspiration for the DAG.
Over the next few weeks, I will add further to this description and built out my character.
(Side project: I am trying to get my two friends, Connie and Felix, to write this up and publish it, because I think this is really great world they created – that can critically engage their players.)