My new goal, as described two days ago, is to use stories to acquaint the player with the personalities of the actors. In doing this, I have found it necessary to come up with my own descriptions of the characters before I can write up the stories. Here is what I’ve got so far:
Camiggdo (Klast female)
Camiggdo is a master manipulator. She has a lot of hate inside, but masks it well. She’s also very ambitious and desperately wants to be Shepherd. She has no genuine goodwill toward anybody, but she does have a strong sense of protectiveness towards a few people. She is absolutely ruthless about lying, but is also very careful about the use of lies to advance her position. She is highly intelligent and an excellent speaker of eeyal — even eloquent, one might say. Whenever she does the right thing, it’s only because she wants to be perceived as doing the right thing. She fools just about everybody into thinking that she’s a decent person, but people who know her well neither like nor trust her. She presents a friendly face to Nynub, Zubi, Soome, and Koopie, but Skordokott and Gaustusu see right through her and she knows it, so she makes no effort to fool them. She’s probably the only person who’s not intimidated by Skordokott. She trusts no one.
Caronycoorck (Jomkar female)
Caroonyccoork was the only Jomkar child born for during a 12-year period. As such, she was adored, coddled, and doted on by all the Jomkar grandmothers and has a concomitantly inflated sense of her own importance. Many people resented her because of this, but she has matured out of that stage and now most people acknowledge that she has outgrown being spoiled so richly. Nevertheless, they still tend to think of her as something of a weakling and not too bright. She’s certainly charming and “well bred”.
Skordokott (Tayran male)
This fellow is complicated. He has a tender heart and was a happy, gentle child, but he was scarred by early experiences; although a few older people remember him from childhood, his gruffness intimidates younger people. He has a strong sense of personal honor and is very private, like most Tayrans. He does not open up to anybody but often demonstrates good will through his generosity. He prefers to relate to others through dominance rather than trust or friendliness. Once, in his youth, he committed a secret crime for which he now feels everlasting guilt. On another occasion, he suffered a particularly cruel betrayal that still troubles him; he simply cannot comprehend how others could be so evil. Skordokott has never been a member of any social group; he is a loner through and through. He is absolutely self-assured, but he’s also usually right in his opinions; this has given him an undeserved reputation for pride.
Zubenelgenubi (Srol female)
Everybody calls her Zubi. She’s young, a bit naive, and full of fun. She likes just about everybody, and very much wants everybody to like her. Her eagerness to be liked causes her to bend the truth sometimes; she’ll never say anything hurtful. Concomitant with her readiness to lie is a weakness in detecting other’s lies. She is completely unassertive and never stands up for herself; she has many doubts about her talents and doesn’t think that she deserves to be Shepherd. She loves to gossip about people and their relationships, even if she does embellish the truth to make things seem happier than they really are. Zubi is good friends with Camiggdo but is quite nervous around Skordokott. She’s uncomfortable around Soome, although she likes him very much. She treats Gaustusu with great respect but is not close to him. She’s great friends with Nynub and really opens up to her. She’s also on good terms with Koopie, although not especially close to him.
Gaustusu (Frem male)
Gaustusu is the oldest of the acolytes. The normal procedure is for an acolyte to retire as soon as a promising replacement appears, but in Gaustusu’s case a succession of eeyal-incompetent Klasts forced him to remain long past the typical retirement age. He is a bit too old and tired for the intensity of dream-combat, but soldiers on respectably. He’s wise and keeps his cards close to the vest. He’s not cynical; he’s an excellent judge of character and is particularly good at sensing lies. He likes Zubi, although he doesn’t think that she’s ready for the Shepherdship. He makes no attempt to intimidate anybody, but neither is he intimidated by anybody. He also has warm feelings for Nynub, but he holds Camiggdo in contempt.
Soome (Lokweel male)
Soome is a mellow guy; he’s easygoing and laid back. He is an excellent leader and enjoys vast respect because he is such a good people-person. If the Shepherdship were awarded on the basis of leadership skills, Soome would be a shoo-in.
Koopie (Ripi male)
This guy is a character. He’s big with practical jokes and sometimes seems to rely on humor as a social tool to compensate for weaknesses. He’s reasonably bright and has a good heart. He’s fairly honest, but he’s still capable of the occasional act of misdirection. When pushed into a corner he’ll react with surprising fury, but otherwise he keeps his temper under control.
This suggests an interesting possibility: that the player could play any of the actors. There’s no reason to restrict the player to anybody in particular. That will give the game some variability without the confusing abstraction of variable personalities.
I have already made substantial modifications to the novel to clean up the various contradictions. But now I need to expand it with stories that reveal more about these personality traits.