Campaign: Donahue O'Kelly

Character: Donahue O'Kelly
Game: Urban Shadows
Episodes Played: 3
Theme Song: Kings by Tribe Society
Keywords: Casual, Calm, Clever

I've played a lot of Urban Shadows this last summer. When I got invited to play a game with my younger friends, all of whom are now 20 - 22, I was hesitant. I didn't want to jump into drama the way I had run it for them. Initially I was going to make a down to earth hunter who had a lot of children she was responsible for. Instead, I ended up with a Veteran.

Donahue is a veteran. In Urban Shadows, that means they're someone who used to be supernatural but has since retired. He used to be a dragon, until a fae double crossed him and now he's just a mortal man. Having lost everything, Donahue relocated to a shit town in the middle of nowhere to run his artisan jewellery making store (also on etsy) and make a life for himself while he also hunted down the fae to get his dragon back.

He came into play in the game towards the season finale of the first season. To help temper this, I made him a fairly laid back, easy going man with limited to no interest in the supernatural. He was a man no one knew had been a dragon, and so he moved through the supernatural world with an ease of knowledge and gentility.

Like any once warrior and king, he bound two waring factions to a promise, ended a war, and had one hell of a party all within two episodes of joining the game. He's methodical, intelligent, and seeks out the easiest methods of conflict resolution that don't focus on fighting. In his world view, he generally believes that most people just want what's best, but often get bogged down in the stupidity of violence.

Donahue also doesn't judge people much. He tries to see things from other people's angles and tends to only get edgy when idiocy will lead to the death of others. Urban Shadows tends to fall into violence really quickly, so I wanted to make a character who would go out of their way to ensure that death wasn't the immediate answer to everything. He works hard to maintain treatise, entreat powerful figures, and forge harmony in the community. He's also a mortal, and I dig that he's had such influence.

One of the flaws I made for him, though, was an inability to hurt people's feelings. This manifests most often as he goes on a lot of tinder dates, not because he likes people, but because he feels bad swiping left. He also can't say no when someone asks for help. He will, at first, so he can stay out of trouble, but when push comes to shove he sighs and gives in. He won't crush dreams and won't give reality checks to people. He'll smile and help them and know it will fall apart, but is happy to let them learn that lesson on their own.

My challenges for playing Donahue came from the route of playing someone ancient and calm for it instead of angsty or angry. He's gentle. And a gentleman. I wanted to play someone who let others be the front runners and only stepped in when things were going South, and so far, he's done that quite well. I also wanted to play a male character. I've only played one other one, as playing a male has always made me uncomfortable, but I wanted to jump back in. I thought playing a supporting male character to many dominant, powerful, and capable female characters would be interesting and at times, compelling.

Largely I've been successful with Donahue. He's delightful, most people like him, and I've managed to bring in his archaic tones by adding them to his solutions to problems. Two groups fighting? Someone should get married. Person breaking the law? Geas. All of his solutions are old, but never death. It's been integrated in a way that I really enjoy. His quietness and slight exhaustion are more to do with age and watching younger people do fast, stupid, and often irresponsible things that are selfishly driven. He isn't selfish, which in and of itself is a feat in Urban Shadows.

For the future, I'd like to see Donahue withdraw a little more and focus a bit on finding the fae who has his dragon. Once I get enough advances, I plan on switching over to the Dragon book and kicking ass as the meanest motherfucker on the block. Not that I think his personality will change overmuch, I'm kinda hoping nothing does, just that he has power now, but that being himself again he'd feel more comfortable in his skin.

As for playing a dude, I'm enjoying it. Donahue's a bit of a player, but the playing field is equal for him. He isn't emotionally abusive or distant, just isn't interested in particularly bonding with anyone while in his squishy human form. Despite that hesitation he's still supportive and generally kind. He loves anything he can do with his hands, so carpentry, cooking, making jewellery in his dragon fire forge... he's a maker. He's also mildly terrifying when you wrong him.


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