Citadel at Whitepeak
In addition to a background, your character should have clear motivation. While every character in Citadel at Whitepeak shares a common goal: survive the training at the Citadel, Having a more specific, personal motivation can give your character more direction and personality.
Here are a few ideas for character motivation. Feel free to take more than one, combine several or make up your own:
- Eldritch Knowledge -You find ancient histories and profane rituals endlessly fascinating. You might relish the power this knowledge brings but the benefits are secondary. For you, arcane secrets have a siren song all of their own.
- Gain Power – You’ve seen how things work at the Citadel: The strong do what they please and the weak suffer what they must. You don’t intend to do any suffering. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care for your friends, but your priority is yourself first. Anyway, how can you help your friends if you can’t
- Defeat Evil – It’s not enough to withstand the darkness or to survive. You want justice for those who are wronged along the way. The heresy of black magic, the cruelty of the Fion Masters, the crimes of your fellow apprentices, whatever wrong drives you—one day there will be a reckoning even if you have to bring it about yourself.
- Help Others – Ideals and nations be damned, you just don’t want to see others suffer. You intend to get everyone out of this nightmare alive whatever the cost. Your fellow initiates will constantly be in danger, sometimes at the hands of one another, but you’re sure that the only way any of you will get through this is by working with each other. Live together or die alone.
- Honor and Glory – You want your name to be on the tongue of every lord in the land. You want every master in the Citadel to recognize you as the hero you know you are destined to be. Maybe you dreamed of becoming Fion the way some children dream of become astronauts or cowboys, maybe you just have a colossal ego.
- Nightmarish Visions – You have a terrible feeling about the Citadel. As the story progresses you experience prophetic visions of a terrible event. You know that if something isn’t done soon the consequences will be too terrible to imagine.
- Retain Your Humanity – No matter how bad things get you’ve promised yourself never to let it change who you are. They can do monstrous things to you, but only you can make yourself a monster.
- Return Home – You resent being taken from your home more than anything. You might be motivated by national pride, love of your family, or ancestral duty. More than anything, though, you want to return home.
- Survive – You’ve heard the stories about the Citadel. You know how few survive the training. And you’re scared beyond words. You don’t want to die.
- Keep Your Secrets – You have a secret to keep. Maybe it’s something you’ll learn from your Master after you’ve been apprenticed. Maybe it’s something from your past. Whatever it is, it’s a secret worth dying or killing for.
Working Out Your Backstory
Now that you have all the essential details of your character worked out, you should consider working out a backstory for your character. Depending on your character background you will need to answer a few questions about your character in order to fill out the specifics of their history:
- What village were you from? Was it deep in the wilds? Near the border with Sinnach lands? Was it in the heart of Adlyr territory, near the old house of the council of druids? How large was your village?
- Who were the major figures in your village? Were they simple villagefolk, rangers, druids, great warriors? Where did your own family fit in?
- If your character is a druid, who trained you? Was there a large circle of druids in your village? Only one? Were they approved by the Empire, widely considered puppets by the common folk, or did they practice in secret?
- Less than a generation ago, the Empire executed a druid council that attempted to seize power. In its place the Empire established their own council in its stead. How did these events impact your life? Were they dangerous rebels or rightful rulers? How was your family and village involved/impacted? What are their views?
- What noble lineage are you from? Some noble Sinnach lineages descended from Lord Sinnach himself, but most of those branches are many generations removed from the throne, each named after a more recent descendant. Others descend from individuals granted lordship by the throne, the most prestigious of these claim to have been appointed by Lord Sinnach himself.
- Who were your parents and what was their standing in the lineage? Were they warriors in a Lord’s service? Lords themselves? Heads of their line or several steps removed?
Where was your family’s hall? Was it attached to a fief? Was it located in the countryside or in Sinnapol?
- What is your family known for? Does your family craft anything (e.g., wineries, metalworking, goldmines, stonework)? Were any of your ancestors war heroes (see Chapter Two for a timeline of major wars)?
- Less than a generation ago there was a civil war among the Sinnach lords. The lines of the conflict fell, roughly, on Lords of the capitol, Sinnapol, and country lords to the east. Unexpectedly, the country lords won with the support of the Fion of the Citadel, a point of bitter anger for many city-dwelling highborn to this day. Which side of the conflict did your line support? How did they fair in the conflict?
- Were you a serf working the land on a fief outside Sinnapol or a peasant living in the capitol? If the former, who was the lord who owned the land? What was your family’s relationship with them? Were they kind or cruel?
- Did you live with your family, or were you orphaned?
- Were you able to make a living off a craft or trade? If not how did you survive?
- Less than a generation ago there was a civil war among the Sinnach lords. The war was long and bloody. Common folk were forcibly conscripted as foot soldiers by lords desperate to remain in power. In some of the worst conflicts in the war, foot soldiers died in droves in massive battles and forced marches. How was your family impacted by the conflict? (Note: if you’re an orphan in Sinnapol, the losing side of the conflict, you were likely orphaned by the war).
- What tribe were you from? Who was the Hovding (Chieftian) of your tribe? Who was the Prast (priest)?
- What was your tribe’s relationship with the Empire? Does your Hovding emulate Sinnach lords? Does he or she live in a keep or keep the traditional nomadic traditions? Does his tribe trust him?
- What was your prasts’ relationship with your hovding? Did your prasts approve of your hovding and vice versa? Did you prast preach against your hovding and the empire or hold their tongue?
- If you were a hedgemage, how did you fit into your tribe’s politics?
Did you pass the rights of Jakten, becoming a full adult? If not, did you attempt them, or were you planning on living a life of domesticity as a Kjed? If the latter, how are you dealing with the shock of your new life?