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As mentioned yesterday, the Wednesday night players surprised me yesterday and decided to do some character creation samples for the sf roleplaying game that I'll be running when the physical copy of the game comes out.

Donna, David, and Kendall arrived at my place around 6:50 pm or so last night, and we got ready to game after chatting for a few minutes and just catching up on the couple of weeks or so. Once things settled down for the evening, the three players and I got down to the character generation process for the River of Heaven science fiction rpg. Both David and Kendall are huge fans of science fiction, and Kendall is a fan of "hard" science fiction, so she was looking forward to seeing what this game was all about and had given some thought to the type of character she might play after having gone to the River of Heaven website.

I have to say that it was an interesting three or so hours of character creation, quite fun in its own way, and somewhat different than the Friday night group's experience with it to this point. As I mentioned in the Friday group blog entry on the subject, I'm not going to go into details on the game universe and the mechanics here, but suffice it to say that the players had a really good, creative time with the River of Heaven game system last night, and there were some interesting characters created for it.

Donna had given a good deal of thought to stuff prior to doing up the character, as she'd spoken to me about the game during the week or so since seeing the Friday night group blog entry. She created the character Haliopurnia (Hali) Richter-Lang, one of the younger uber-rich kids from one of the main Houses of the Kentauran Hegemony. Rather than be the rich kid, she created a character who got bored with the House life she led as a child, and became an explorer. She went for several Augmentations that would give her a couple of advantages in that regard, and jotted a few notes about the character personality and history. Quite a neat little character.

David, as mentioned is a long-time fan of science fiction, and is particularly fond of some of the works of C.J. Cherryh and Frederik Pohl. He decided to go a little bit outside the box, per sé, and created Heraldo Magnusson, a Salvager from one of the Outremer worlds whose methods come across as somewhat pirate-like, but who has a heart of gold deep down. I thought he was creative in the Augmentations he selected, and I can see a lot of promise to this character.

Finally, Kendall took a bit of time deciding on a few aspects of her character, but didn't really have a firm idea of what she wanted. In the end, she used the random point allocation method for her Attributes, and let the numbers lead her. When the smoke cleared, she created Helena Gallun, a soldier who served in the Hegemony military, now retired, who works for whoever can pay her the bezaints, but who enjoys adventure for its own sake as well. She made her somewhat gregarious, gave her the Augmentations needed for her profession, and then added a few little bits and bobs (notably a hobby skill, sort of) to the mix.

Overall, the Wednesday players seemed to have a good time creating the characters for River of Heaven. They each commented on different aspects of the game system in terms of stuff they liked and disliked (there were no real dislikes, so much as an element here or there that didn't seem to fit their views of "hard" science fiction), but all agreed that the character generation process was painless, that the game universe seemed interesting and big enough to explore various types of themes, and that the Skills list was "reasonable". The Augmentations threw them off a little bit at first, but when they came to understand them a bit better, things went pretty smoothly. As Donna pointed out, it was all about choices to be made and consequences to be dealt with. David saw some of the parallels to Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space, and he told both Kendall and Donna that he'd let them borrow the first couple of books in the series to read, although Kendall mentioned that she was going to re-read John Scalzi's Old Man's War, as there were elements of that she could see in the game.

Anyway, a fun evening of gaming and character creation, and River of Heaven seems to be a hit with the Wednesday night gaming group as well. I'm really looking forward to running the game campaigns, though I'm getting somewhat impatient waiting for a physical copy of the rulebook to hit my snail mail box!


John Kahane

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