Example Mechanical Proposal
Name: Alba Temple
Character Pronouns: she/her
True Self: Martyr
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 3
Skills: Artsy 1, Athletics 1, Empathy 4, Lies 3, Persuasion 3, Religion 5
Special Training: Academics 1, Local Lore 4
- Area of Expertise (Ghosts)
- Eye for the Odd
- Touched by the Devil
- Contacts (Church Ladies)
- Strong Stomach
- Striking Looks 1
- Closeted Lesbian
Alba torments herself about her sexuality, only “indulging” when she’s incredibly stressed, drunk, or both, and always attempts to keep these liaisons secret.
- Cursed Girl
While not everyone knows what Alba used to be able to do, there’s a general, ambiguous awareness that she was once “holy” and then fucked it all up. People tend to keep their distance as a result.
As a child, Alba Temple had some small local fame as a faith healer, but those abilities seem to have abandoned her. Now she mostly keeps to herself, working in a local shop to support her aging parents while trying to ignore the whispered rumors about what she could have done to cause her to lose God’s gifts. She’s still fairly heavily involved in volunteering at the church, even though she’s far from the “little blessing” she used to be, and seminary is still months or years of savings away.
About Your Character
What are your character’s most valued Norms? What shocks or offends your character?
Alba most values Stoicism and Charity—values instilled in her by her devout parents, who encouraged her to devote service to the local church (and congregation). She was expected to use her gifts selflessly, while the prosperity gospel elements of her upbringing meant she should be self-sufficient and need nothing in return. As a result, she is most shocked/offended by people who seem to be her opposite: those who are obviously, shamelessly “sinful” and self-indulgent. (In truth, though, part of her envies these people too.)
What is your character’s goal in life?
Alba has always wanted to serve in the Oshtigwanegon church ministry (so attending seminary is a goal somewhere along the way). However, right now she’s been forced to focus on more immediate goals like, “try to lay low until people stop thinking of me as the local cursed girl.”
What is your character’s day-to-day life like? Do they have any hobbies? What do they do to make money? How do they have fun?
After graduating from high school, Alba took a job in a local shop (either a local occult shop or a pawn shop would both be interesting for her; if it’s the former, she doesn’t like being around “devil stuff,” but the shopkeeper was the only person willing to hire her) to pay the bills and help support her parents. She still volunteers at church, though people are often wary of her. Sometimes, she takes odd jobs as a medium from the rare few who will acknowledge that it’s something she can do.
Describe your character’s personal life. What’s their relationship like with their parents? Do they have any close friends? Romantic relationships? Children or siblings?
Alba is an only child. Both of her parents are alive, but her dad is usually away, working as a traveling bible salesman; her mother is a homemaker who volunteers heavily with the church (I am open to tweaking details about Alba’s parents to make connections with other PCs). They used to dote on their daughter, albeit in a somewhat stage parent-y way, but have become distant since her “accident.” Alba has few friends her own age, and a limited dating life since she is also a closeted lesbian; if another PC wants to play a secret girlfriend, I’d be into that.
What are your character’s religious/spiritual views?
Alba is one of those capital-C-Christians and, both due to growing up in Oshtigwanegon and due to her own experiences, believes just as fervently in the Devil as she does God. She is also firmly convinced that she is a sinner—if her “accident” wasn’t proof enough of that, then the fact that she’s gay “clearly” seals the deal.
Your Character’s Struggles
How does your character deal with hardship and stress?
Alba has two basic “coping mechanisms” which definitely don’t merit that term: either she internalizes everything and presents a mask of gentle stoicism to the world… or, more rarely, she snaps and gets herself drunk enough to admit she wants to sleep with a woman (either anonymous sex partners and/or the PC secret girlfriend). She’s the kind of person who’s much better at being an empathetic advice-giver to other people than she is at dealing with her own problems.
What is one memory your character has of the unexplainable? Why has it stuck with them?
When Alba had the “accident” that changed her holy abilities to death-y ones, she experienced a vision that she still doesn’t understand—a ghostly figure crying out words which she could not make out. Was that the afterlife? Was it Hell? She doesn’t know, but has fixated on it as her only clue as to why her abilities changed.
What is your character most afraid of?
Alba is most afraid of never being welcomed back into God’s arms, and dying a cursed sinner. Relatedly, she is terrified of being outed as a lesbian.
What does your character consider to be the worst thing they have ever done?
As mentioned, Alba harbors a lot of shame about her sexuality; other than this, her life in Oshtigwanegon has been relatively sheltered from direct hardship. Thus, she considers her sexual relations with women as her worst sin; each time she “gives in,” she tends to consider that the new “worst thing she’s ever done.”
Has your character had any traumatic experiences? Describe the one that affected them the most.
The clear answer here is Alba’s “accident”: When Alba was sixteen, a pregnant member of the congregation couldn’t afford health insurance, and decided to have a home birth; Alba was brought in to bless the labor and help the mother and child recover. Something went wrong, though, and when Alba tried to save the child, instead of healing the baby, she was instead “pulled along” with it towards death, resulting in her powers “flipping”…and the child being stillborn.
What does your character think makes someone or something a monster?
Alba has a pretty straightforward definition of a monster: the inhuman and unnatural (ghosts of human dead being a notable exception to this), and anyone or anything that has willingly aligned themselves with the Devil. In contrast, she has far more tolerance for the more human sort of monster, believing (perhaps to a fault) that anyone can be redeemed. There’s a bit of self-interest in that belief, since it’s what she wants for herself, too.
If you are a supernatural creature, how did you become one? Was it your choice? How has it changed your life? How do you hide your unnatural state?
Alba is not a supernatural creature, just a human with a close connection to the dead. That said, swapping from having “holy” abilities to death-y ones means she went from being a kind of golden girl to someone that is perceived as somehow broken—and in a bad, “God has turned His face from her” kind of way. She isn’t open about her new abilities, preferring to let most people think she only lost her “gift.”
Has your character ever left Nulpert County, or Winnemac? If so why? Why did they return to Osthigwanegon?
Alba has never left Nulpert County, much less Winnemac. She had anticipated leaving someday for seminary, but never ended up applying for any scholarships.
How has life been unfair to your character? Why does your character believe they haven’t gotten further in life?
Alba still doesn’t understand what she did wrong to deserve losing/flipping her powers; however, she has defaulted to assuming that the reason for this is that God could tell she was a sinner. She believes that if she could only redeem herself, her life would get back on track.
What is your character hiding from the people around them? What is their most closely kept secret?
This is pretty much a tie between her sexuality and her ability to work with ghosts. With the latter, she prefers people not know that she can do anything unusual, but helps the occasional person who hears a whispered rumor; with the former, she secret-keeps obsessively.
What is one thing your character believes about themselves, that isn’t actually true?
At the risk of putting too fine a point on it, Alba is actually a very selfless person who has convinced herself that she’s a horrible sinner. She’s not nearly so bad and (probably) not nearly so damned as she thinks she is, but will continue to have a hard time figuring that out so long as she pushes away anyone who tries to get her to question her dogma.
What does your character like about their life?
Despite her complicated relationship with her current abilities, Alba still believes she can use them to help, and that’s something that she likes and values. She likes when she can help people find what they need—whether it’s the right item from the shop or (more rarely) a chance to get some closure from a departed loved one.
What is your character’s proudest achievement?
Alba first healed a church member “by the power of the Christ and the Holy Spirit” when she was six years old, and the attention, praise, and assurances that she had a special connection to God stuck with her far more than any sense that what she had done was unnatural. While she is proud of all the healing she once did, she is proudest of the time she saved one of her grade school classmates from what would have otherwise almost certainly have been a fatal head injury.
Is there anything else we need to know about your character or their history?
In case it wasn’t clear from the other answers, Alba was a faith healer who mysteriously broke her own powers, and now works with ghosts. I imagine she’s currently 18-20 years old.