Thursday, January 2, 2014

Character Highlight: Balsa, Spear-Fighter of Kanbal (Fate 2.0)

Ah, January.

Named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions. Depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.

In his honor then, as we now all look forward to the new year of 2014 I am taking this opportunity to look back into the past as well: to the first published version of Fate (then called FATE 2e) back in year 2003.

This was the first version of Fate that I read, and the first that I attempted to hack. Even back then, the system was very much designed to be hacked, with multiple possible rules variants and advice for keeping things light and moving forward. For example, when discussing setting difficulties as the GM (sidebar, pg. 15):
"When all is said and done, setting difficulties is more art than science. While it is possible to provide guidelines for what reasonable difficulties might be, the GM will eventually find herself in a situation where she is going to have nothing to go on but her best guess.  
The urge in those situations is often to take several minutes to dig through the rules, looking for some explicit ruling - RESIST THAT TEMPTATION! We'’ve written the book, and we can assure you that rule is not in here, so trust yourself, and use your best guess."
 This reads rather refreshingly like a piece of advice that might appear in Fate Core ten years on. So although the particulars might change, the Core of Fate - being the philosophy that guides it- remains the same.

Looking through my old builds for Fate 2.0 today, I found one for the character Balsa from the anime Moribito, Guardian of the Spirit:

I won't post that build here: I am sure that the readers of the blog have certain standards, and my early builds were rather poor. But in the spirit of looking back as well as looking forward, here she is built using FATE 2.0 rules fresh for 2014:

Balsa, Spear-Fighter of Kanbal (Fate 2.0)
  • Bodyguard for hire: O
  • Jiguro trained me..reluctantly: O
  • I’ve vowed to redeem eight souls: OO
  • I know people everywhere: O
+3 Melee
+2 Athletics, Unarmed
+1 Awareness, Endurance, Impress
+0 Deceive, Languages, Lore, Riding

Fate Points: 3
Goal: "I will protect my charge."

  • Scratched (0):
  • Clipped (1): OO
  • Hurt (4): OO
  • Injured (6): OO
  • Taken Out (7):

A skilled warrior from the faraway land of Kanbal. She is 30 years old.

Balsa is pragmatic and intelligent and she does not hold much regard for class distinction customs. Despite her deadly skill with a spear, Balsa tries not to kill in combat. As a result her body is covered with scars.

She is the daughter of the former Kanbal King's physician who had discovered that the new King had poisoned his predecessor. Worried that his crime would be revealed the new King ordered the physician and his daughter, Balsa, be executed for treason.

To protect his daughter the physician asked the one warrior he could trust, Jiguro who was the first of the King's 9 Spears, to take her and run while he stayed behind. Unfortunately the King sent the other 8 Spears (while holding their families hostage) after them. Her guardian was able to protect her but had to kill all 8 of his former comrades to do so.

Later he taught Balsa how to use a spear responsibly after seeing her perfectly re-enact the moves she'd seen him use.

Although Balsa claims to be a simple bodyguard-for-hire; in reality she wields her spear in order to save lives in atonement for the eight lives that were taken to protect her when she was a child. 


*Edit 01/03/13 - Updated with character Goal, since I forgot it in my original build.

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