Character Creation

"Once Upon A Time, in the land of Farraway, there was Cottington Woods."
-unknown Patron

The Cotting House sits in the middle of enchanted Cottington Woods, where it serves as a meeting place and the center of commerce for landholdings and craftsmen throughout the community. The House rests south of Collamoor and Asylum, north of Farraway and Halfway, east of Greencloud and west of UnderMarsh. Travelers from and to any of those places pass by the house each day. Thus far neither the High King in Farraway nor his reluctant vassal, the King of Clubs have laid claim to the tiny town, but itís young yet, and hasnít attracted much attention.

The surrounding woods are home not only to humans, and more distantly to goblins and to elves, but to the Fair Folk as well. And while itís wise to avoid fairies at all costs, in Cottington Woods itís just not possible.

The characters of Cottington Woods are those settlers whose will it is to make the tiny town thrive, and to do so they will have to overcome many obstacles, not the least of which is the Spirit of the Woods itself. Our players will explore fairy tales and fables in their darkest form. Wait, fairy tales? Donít for a second think that Cottington Woods is a game for children. The earliest stories were written as warnings of things to avoid.

Herein, there be dragons!

Weíre back to the basics.

  • • Player characters are mostly human. While Brer (animals), Golems, Elves, and Goblins will be allowed, the number of characters of those types will be limited and require Plot Approval to play.
    • Classic character types. We have fighters, rogues, magicians, priests. We also have witches, sandmen and Men of Science.
    • Damage is low. Health is also low! This extends not only to the player characters, but to the adversaries they will fight.
    • Skills are reusable frequently, but the number of actions in an encounter is low. The focus is on managing your skill use in a single battle, not over an entire weekend.

That small town feel.

  • The townsfolk are encouraged to seek solutions to their own problems, since asking for aid will often come with a price.
  • The characters will fill the major roles about town. Cottington is theirs, and they can develop it in the way they choose. They should be mindful of the Kingís Law, of course.
  • Each character is required to declare an occupation. Is he a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker? Cottington is a small town, and cannot afford to support those who do not help to support it.

Games within Games

  • The Merchant Board -- This ďmini-gameĒ will determine how the players want the town to grow. Occupations equal influence, and influence allows a character to vote on the direction the town will grow.
  • The Codex -- Part encyclopedia, part bible, part adventurerís journal, the Codex is a piece of lore that any player may possess. Researching the Codex will reveal more information that may be helpful over the course of the campaign.
  • Not every challenge will be won by spell or by sword. Things here like to play, and they make up the rules. Expect to swing or throw, but expect as well to miss a turn, or play a card, or move a piece across a board.

Fairy tale influence

  • Because Cottington Woods takes its inspiration from Fairy Tales, its morality is more polar than you would find in the real world. Good and evil deeds alike have profound impact, and the wicked will find that their dark deeds will have a true toll on their soul. Remember, in fairy tales, the hero often loses when they do an evil deed or succumb to temptation, but is rewarded in the end when they do the right thing.
  • Characters in Cottington Woods may be the common people dealing with uncommon circumstances, but they are still encouraged to ultimately be Heroic. This is a fairy tale, after all. Being good does not mean you have to be pure - the best tales are ones with struggles, internal as well as external, and a bit of internal strife and actual flaws makes things interesting. We will not, however, reward evil behavior, and characters that fall or become "wicked" should not expect to be able to continue playing their character. Staff will not mitigate the consequences of being villainous.
  • That said, the oldest fairy tales are dark. They deal with morality and difficult choices and sometimes with the fact that doing the right thing sometimes means some bad things have to happen. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes you will lose, but when you win, it is because you earned the victory.
  • We hope to challenge you, terrify you, bring you to tears, and make you shout with joy.

Interwoven Stories

  • In an effort to keep that "small town, small world" feeling, we do try hard to interweave character backstories into the fabric of the world and make them central to our plotlines. We can't promise we'll always succeed in doing this as well as we want, but it is our goal.
  • We do not play a "sandbox" style game: this means that plots can be interwoven and often are (though it does not mean all plots are connected). You may find that the Magician taking you to learn about ritual magic is the person unknowingly being hunted by a villain in an entirely different plotline. Or the letters you find hidden in one module hold the key to figuring out where a PC's father is being held prisoner. We thus strongly encourage players to talk to one another and share information. (We will do our best to put information out in multiple ways, however, to ensure information is learned.)
  • This also means that everything in our game has a purpose. While we may put NPCs into a mod to provide some challenge or a fight, the TYPE of creatures you find and why they are there are always relevant. If you learn that a villain always has redcaps protecting them, and you go to what you think is the villain's tower to find the Treants and Dryads associated with a friendly PC, this is a clue about what is really going on.
  • We strive for a "Sixth Sense" style of plot: the information is out there so that you can piece together he was dead all along, such that if you were to watch it again, you would wonder how you didn’t figure it out the first time.

This is your story, too - Live It Up (Be Immersive)!

  • Remember you are surrounded by many other stories, and many other characters. Take the time to learn their stories and be a part of it. This includes NPCs: they each have their own backstories and their own motivations, and we encourage you to engage with them as you would PCs.
  • We encourage you to ask yourself: Is my roleplay increasing the fun of people around me? Do what you can to add to the immersive experience of everyone at the game.
  • Create a story for your character, and don't forget their struggles and goals and flaws. We encourage people to take on flaws that create interesting stories. Some of the most profound PC stories in Cottington Woods centered around characters learning to overcome their fears, or who fled from something that terrified them and how they handled the consequences, or who struggled to find themselves worthy of being loved. Allowo your characters to have emotional growth. We, as Staff, very much enjoy the internal stories of your characters as much as the external quests you may undertake.
  • Roleplay, roleplay, roleplay! Let your charact feel fear and be willing to run away, if the situation warrants it.
  • Do not create a character who is "impervious" or has "seen and done it all" and thus would not be emotionally affected by what happens to them. Unphaseable characters detract from everyone’s enjoyment, as LARPing very much is a forum to immerse and experience the stories around you. We want you to experience the emotional growth of your character in the course of play.
  • Please do not do something because you believe "plot wants you to." This is your story, and we want you to make the choices you believe your character would make.
  • We encourage you to be proactive. Please let us know of the things you want to do, so that we can support them in the course of the game! If you want to have a party, or start an in-game contest, please do!
  • Our goal in Cottington Woods is to tell a story where you, the player, have much agency and influence in the direction we will go. As returning players from Cottington Woods can attest, we often do not write the ending to plotlines, or write multiple endings and still toss them out when players do something unexpected. While we do have stories we want to tell, we especially want to be able to tell YOUR tale. We believe strongly in collaborative storytelling.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers"
-Hans Christian Andersen

Step One: Concept

We are pretty open about what we will let you play, but we insist that every character has a plot approved character history. To help with the flavor of the game, we suggest strongly that you decide on a concept before considering skills. “I am a sword and board fighter” is far less interesting than “I know the beast that killed my little sister is still out there somewhere, and I will be ready!” Remember that this is a game influenced by fairy tales. Your concept should be influenced by them as well.

Step Two: Occupation

What does your character do to support himself? Characters in the Cottington Woods game are not required to pay a maintenance fee. However, each character must declare what he does to support himself.
Your first occupation is free. Each level after the first must be purchased using character points, but offers the character additional in game funds at the start of each weekend event.

Step Three: Race

Players are human. There are brer animals and golems (both considered human), which require plot approval to play.

Step Four: Culture

Without exception, all characters are from the Houselands (which includes Woodlanders and Wanderkin). 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.

Step Four: Headers

Choose your header or headers. Consider the skills and flavor you want for your character. Be mindful that while taking multiple headers opens up more skills, it reduces the amount you can do with each header.

Step Five: Purchase Skills

Choose skills for your character.

Cottington Woods © Copyright 2012
Designed by Jonathan Heard