Character Concept

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-Howard Thurman

You are a character out of legend. While not Snow White or Peter Pan, your story may be similar. It may be that instead of Cinderella you are more like one of the stepsisters, or even one of those enchanted mice. Design your character with as rich a background as you wish, and we’ll be flexible with what we will allow. This is a game about stories, and you should feel free, within the limits of the game world, to write your own.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Make it fantastic, but use common sense. Cottington is about common people facing the uncommon, and learning to be heroes. You are the Hobbits not Elrond or Galadriel; you are the Baker and his Wife in Into the Woods or Schmedrick the Magician and Molly of The Last Unicorn, or Mrs. Frisby of the Secret of Nimh.

Who are you?

  • Names are important, as are professions and skills. But you are more than a name. Who are you really?
  • Don’t name your character Jack or Jackie. The Jacks are an organization in the Houselands, and that would just be confusing.
  • Don’t name your character Prince or Princess, or other noble titles. Also, you are not the heir to the throne of Farraway or the Prince of the House of Diamonds. Cottington is a story about common men and women dealing with the uncommon.
  • Don't use names that are Headers (Hunter, Archer, etc), Professions, In-Game Groups, or other words that are "Traits" in Accelerant.
  • Children form the foundation of many fairy tales and fables, but we ask that you play a character that is at least believably close to you in age. You see what you see, after all.

Where are you from?

  • Without exception, all characters are from the Houselands (including the four Houselands, the city of Farraway, Cottington Woods, and the Wanderkin).
  • Though you must be from a Houseland, several cultures are available that may influence your appearance and the way your character acts. Don’t search for a culture on the world to fit your needs. If you don’t immediately see one, just ask. If it isn’t on the map, we can probably add it. The Written World is vast.
  • Cultural clothing from distant places is allowed. With roads and water routes, the Ways, the Mists and even goblin Door Magic, traders have covered the lands. Consider, however, that Cottington is a working community. It’s very possible you will find yourself crawling through passagesor running through the woods.

Who are the people and what are the moments that had an impact on your life?

  • • Who is your family? Your mentors? Your friends? Do you have rivals or enemies, and if so, who are they? Are they alive or dead? If alive, where are they now (do you know)? Who are the people that had an impact on your life, and why?
  • What are the events, and who are the people, that changed or influenced the trajectory of your life? It could be as simple as a kind (or harsh) word that led you down a different path, or it can be as life-altering as the death of a loved one, a failure, or a personal quest.
  • You don’t need to write a long history, but think of the people and the moments that led your character to be who they are, feel the way they do, have the loves, desires, fears, and ambitions that they have. Now tell us about them!

What motivates you or drives you? What goals do you have?

  • Your story should be incomplete. If your own personal tale is done when the game begins, you won’t have room to grow.
  • Don't forget your struggles and desires and flaws. We encourage people to take on aspects that create interesting stories and allow for characters to react emotionally and grow in the course of play. For example, If your character is struggling with their fears, be willing to run away or huddle in a corner in terror from the Monster that has creeped into the room.
  • We have an occupation system in place, which acts a money skill and replaces any need for a maintenance fee. Generally speaking, however, the folks who live in Cottington Woods are not rich.
  • Do not create your own religion, civilization or culture.
  • Our apologies, but player characters cannot be Jacks, Riding Hoods, Grimm Brothers, or Monks. That may change through gameplay.
  • You may have been a soldier or a mercenary, but you are not one now. Cottington is not currently at war, and not many folks therein can afford the services of a mercenary. When threatened, the people in Cottington Woods generally pick up their torches and pitchforks and face the threat themselves.
  • Please read the Introduction and Chapter 16 of the Rulebook, which addresses Ethical Concerns! Characters in Cottington Woods are encouraged to be “good” and ultimately to be "heroic". They do not have to be “pure”, and a bit of "darkness" (internal strife or flaws) can always make things interesting. But we will not reward evil behavior. Don’t play evil.

Why are you coming to Cottington Woods (and why would you stay)?

  • You have come to Cottington for a reason. The default reason we provide is to schedule your business with the other members of the Cottington Woods community, but you are welcome (and encouraged!) to come up with your own. Also consider the reasons why your character would stay (or return regularly) once they are there.
  • Come to each event with a goal or goals that you can accomplish on your own. Don’t be disappointed if those goals are not met, since every other character will have goals of their own, and they may be counter to yours.
  • We’ll have events for you to join or things to overcome, and we’ll attempt to spread those events around, but having your own agenda will make sure you always have something to do. This is a game about stories, and you should feel free, within the limits of the game world, to write your own. It's a good idea to give your character a reason to interact with other characters, as well as be interested in many things.
  • If you are considering being part of a group or team, you could be part of a single homestead, or it could be a collection of tradesman traveling together to town.

How would you face the uncommon?

  • Cottington strives to tell the tale of the common people faced with the uncommon. Consider: how would your character react to the uncommon? What would you do if you heard a cry for help in the dark woods?
  • What do you fear? Loathe? Love? What are you curious about?
  • What do you think of fairies, and what would you do if faced with one?
  • What of monsters that once only existed in tales your parents told you as children?
  • What are the lines you would never cross? What are the ones you would, and for what reason?
  • What does your character secretly (or overtly) strive to be? What do they hide from the world, and what do they show? Do you like yourself? Why or why not?

Consider the following:

  • Demons are anathema to the Word. Anyone who sees them will desire to destroy them or flee in terror. You don't bargain with them or summon them to gain power. They are an evil, destructive force.
  • Fairies are rarely "nice" just to be "nice." Even the "kindest" of fairies will generally expect something in return.
  • Don't worry if we ask you to change something. This just means we care and want to incorporate your history into the world and our plots. I promise you, we likely loved what you wrote, but want to weave it more deeply into our stories.
  • We are happy to answer questions, provide insight, and give advice on concepts, game world, history, culture and more. We very much wish to work with each player to create a character you will enjoy that will fit in with and also influence our game world and stories. Reach out to us!

Please inform us:

  • If there are things you’ve put in your history that you do not want Staff to do something with.
    (For example, your father died in your backstory, a pivotal moment that shaped your character’s life, but you do not want Plot to write a plotline where your father comes back from the dead. Please tell us this!)
  • If there are things in your history that your character doesn’t know, but that you as a player want Staff to know. (For example, you as the character only know that your fiancé was murdered and don’t know by whom, but you as the player inform staff in your history that he was actually murdered by your brother because you want that to be a tension point later on if and when it is revealed).
  • If you, as a Player, have goals for your character that your character doesn't have. (For example: perhaps your character has a hard time trusting people because of past trauma, and always keeps people at arm's length. Your character thinks this is the best thing for them, but you, as a Player, want to be able to grow your character and have storylines that teach your character it's okay to love again. Letting us know this is a goal you want for your character helps us make better storylines for you.)

Returning Characters (from Cottington Woods 1 or Tales from the Cotting House)

  • If you played in Tales, your character was caught up in the Change Winds of the Fairy Mists. This can serve as a reason why your character’s skills and abilities will change coming into the campaign.
  • If you played in the original Campaign but not in Tales, you can be caught in the Change Winds if you wish, but the passage of 15 years – and whatever adventures or not that occurred in the interim – can easily explain why your skills have changed. Think of something you learned 15 years ago but have not used in all that time; knowledge and skills do fade over time without active use. Please consider writing a character history “addendum” for this campaign that spans those intervening 15 years. Make new adventures

New Players/Characters:

  • The events of the past two games will provide a historical backdrop against which the new tale will begin, but with a few exceptions there will be no plots carried over from the past two games. We will do our best to not give Returning Characters an advantage over New Characters or New Players.
  • Plot Staff is available to answer your questions and help you create a character history that is interwoven into the world and stories. Please reach out to us at character @ cottingtonwoods.com with any questions.

The Change Winds

  • At the end of the Tales campaign, the Change Winds of the Fairy Mists swept through Cottington Woods. Players – whether returning or new – can choose to be swept up the Fairy Mists and/or affected by the Change Winds. The Change Winds are “an often invisible force or phenomena thought to be fairy in nature that causes “odd things” to occur.” If you want to make changes to your character (class, profession, etc) or want an explanation as to why you are “less powerful” or “forgot skills,” the Fairy Mists/Change Winds and/or the passage of time are a good reason!
  • Returning Tales characters do not need to be stuck in the Fairy Mists for the ~2 years between the end of Tales and the start of Cottington Woods 2. You could, for example, have any of these things happen:
    • You find yourself swept up, but when the winds die down are back at the Cotting House, with only a few minutes passing. You can then write up what you've done over the next ~2 years.
    • You find yourself back at the Cotting House thinking only a few minutes have passed, but it's REALLY BEEN ALMOST TWO YEARS. (i.e, you're going to start the first event of the campaign as if the last event of Tales had just happened. This is a great option if you don't want to write more history between games, or want to explore what's happened while you were away).
    • You find yourself stuck in the Fairy Mists for ~2 years, and you write up some adventure(s) that occur in that time. Or maybe you don’t remember!
    • You step out a few minutes/hours/days/months later, but you instead find yourself in <PLACE>, where that place could be anywhere in the Written World. You then have an adventure(s) finding your way home again.
    • Whatever other possibility you come up with that you want to submit as your history going into Cottington Woods 2
  • For new characters, you could also choose to have your character swept into, or step into, the Fairy Mists (you could think they are normal mists and not realize what you’ve stepped into) if you wish. You’ll emerge from them at the start of the game.
    • This can be a good option if you cannot think of a reason why you are coming to Cottington Woods, but you should consider why your character might stay once they are there.
  • We are more than happy to have conversations to help flesh out what has happened in the intervening years (or, for new characters, flesh out full histories and connections) and answer questions you might have: drop us a line at character @ cottingtonwoods.com.

Have fun with it. We’ll take histories of any length. We’re pretty open about what we will let you play, but we do insist that every character has a plot approved character history before we’ll allow you to play.

Important Note:

You must have an approved Character History to play Cottington Woods. This means that you must submit a history to Plot Staff no later than two weeks prior to your first event and have received approval to play that concept. Please submit concepts to characters@cottingtonwoods.com or use the Character History Submission Form.
Thanks!

Cottington Woods © Copyright 2012
Designed by Jonathan Heard