Bad luck in Djanesborg

Tue Feb 24 13:23:19 CET 1998

The forces of Kototh (the bastards!) ate my Djani map file, so what you
see is what you get (it's not worth the effort to duplicate it).

      -- Burton

Burton Choinski, Peritus Software Services Inc.
bchoinski at
Date:         Wed, 4 Mar 1998 10:27:38 -0500
Reply-To:     Powers and Perils <POWERS-AND-PERILS at DUTCGEO.CT.TUDELFT.NL>
Sender:       Powers and Perils <POWERS-AND-PERILS at DUTCGEO.CT.TUDELFT.NL>
From:         "Choinski, Burt" <BChoinski at XSERV.BILLERICA-MA.PERITUS.COM>
Subject:      Character Motivations Example
MIME-Version: 1.0
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I have sent to Wout a PDF file of my character motivations system.  Feel
free to use, abuse or otherwise comment on it.  If you come up with
other motivations or good directions I have missed, send them along.

For most cases I have rolled two motivations, the first being the main
thrust of the character's actions, the second the reasoning behind them.
All motivations were honestly rolled.
To illustrate the system let me go into one of my group's experience.
The group was heading off to Djanesborg at the request of a Djani
ambassador to Caldo.  The Caldan player was a worshiper of a Healing
Goddess, unlike the rest of Caldo which performs Ancestor worship, so
she was a bit of a pariah.  Anyway, A duke up in Djanesborg needed the
aid of someone of her cult (their local priest being unable to do

Rolling motivations:
The Ambassador -- "To Promote Event" (Why? "To Avoid Event")
A simple guy.  He promised the duke he'd get someone to help or die
trying.  Mission accomplished. :)

The Duke -- "To Protect Group" (Why? "To Keep Life")
Well, it seems someone has the Duke against the wall -- aid and protect
them or your family finds you face down in the manor pond.  Going with
the past history, the group is a bunch of Djani traitors who are working
with the Korchi.
Obviously, there must be a leader to this bunch.

The Traitor Leader -- [to betray Djanesborg] (Why? "To Keep Control")
The first was not rolled, since whe know what he is doing.  The second
makes it interesting.  A Djani council member sees his support and power
eroding in the capital and is attempting to bolster it with the help of
the Korchi.  Their obvious desires are the sesation of Djani piracy at
first, probably a take over of Djanesborg at a later date.  This
councilman is therefore pushing hard to reduce the acceptability of the
privateers in Djani service.  The Duke found out through his
connections, and being in Novholm where a good number of privateers base
from, was told in not too polite terms to go along or kiss it goodbye.
I may have to later roll a third motivation for the duke to determine
some additional, weaker hold over him.

Now, why was the healer so ineffective?
The Healer priest -- "To Protect Belief" (Why? "To Destroy Life")
This twisted man, worships a god of healing.  he found out about the
Duke's involvement with something bad for Novholm and Djanesborg, but
had no proof.  To protect the citizen belief in the goverment his
solultion was for the Duke to die from some incurable ailment, allowing
the Duke's son to take over and right the wrongs.  To the godess this is
so abhorent his tie with her was severed, so he no longer could do any
healing at all. This explains his ineffectiveness.  However, that
goddess does not provide any spells to cause the ailment, so he must
have had a henchman...

Healer Henchman -- "To Promote Group" (Why? "To Gain Control")
A nearby Larbani tribal leader wishes to get some of the Novholm goodies
for his tribe, and has worked with the healer over the years to promote
the general attitude that "these Larbani are alright" with the people
and governement.
His underlying purpose is to have resources available to his tribe
(monetary, military aid) for some future activity.
The situation as of saturday's game:  The group came in and managed to
heal the Duke.  The player healer confronted the fallen healer and found
that he had fallen from the faith.  As events went on the fallen healer
fled and all of the temple initiates slain by Larbani (the ex-priest has
gone with them and may or may not be back later as an enemy NPC).  For
their aid the Duke has asked the PC Healer to stay on, with promises to
upgrade the temple and such.  They have accepted.

Now the fun stuff starts.  The PC healer has been granted the power to
resurrect the dead (she did it for one initiate, who I now have to
generate and create motivations for).  The Duke's "generosity" is thus a
way to cover his ass in case he gets offed.  This may well happen, since
he will now begin to puch back against the traitors.  As the characters
start pulling at this tangle of motivation strings the results will
start to be felt.

I need to work up the motivations of the Duke's son, other important
figures in the area that could be enlisted to help or hinder the cause,
etc.  From 5 hours before the game, with no clue as to what they had to
do up there (the game before they had just made characters, I had
nothing planned since I had no idea what they would make) I have the
beginnings of a campaign arc with all sorts of possible political
intrigue and scenario hooks.

Try the system and see how it feels.  Again, any suggestions for
improvements are very welcome.
       -- Burton

PS: A minor fly in the mix -- the fourth character's background was
quite interesting...his mother was raped, so he was illegitimate.  Later
on we found that he was nearly the identical twin of a high noble -- the
Prince of Djanesborg! (busy king).  The other three characters are
setting up home in the country and their new companion (who will join
them in saving their butts in the next session) is a follower of a
trickster god, likes to gamble, and is all to willing to run up a tab
and tell the other to "just send the bill to dad".

Burton Choinski, Peritus Software Services Inc.
bchoinski at

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