Campaign: Ashley Luckett
Game: Blades in the Dark
Theme Song: Soul of a Man by Steven Stern
Keywords: Flirtatious, enduring, lucky
Recently, as some of you may know, I joined the Gauntlet Podcast as a host on the show and regular part of their group. It's been an amazing experience so far, and part of that means joining their games and hangouts online. The first game I managed to sneak into was Blades in the Dark, a game I've heard so much about but have never had a chance to play. I jumped at the opportunity when there was a chance I could get in.
As we sat down on our google hangout and began to be guided through character creation, I originally was making a female character named Magnolia, who was charming and lovely and very much the slide that the playbook wants you to be. The other two players also made female characters, and as I listened to them describe their characters, I decided I would play a guy, not because I didn't want an all woman party, but because there aren't many times when I play men, and I'm trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
So playing with a bunch of strangers, on the internet, which I've never done before, I decided to play the third male character I've ever played in an on-going game. So instead of my dollsome slide, I made a man who's happy go-lucky attitude is designed to hide the serious life questions he's asking himself. There's a lot going on with Ashley, and it surprised me how much I got out of him when I was just mostly making stuff up as I went.
As I started describing Ashley, I realized I had made a hybrid of Jack from Doctor Who and my Fable 3 character. He was flirtatious to a fault, found zero relief in romance or sex, but pretended to because it made him fun and outgoing. Ashley was once a dedicated military man until the colonial like empire continued to slaughter those who rose against it. He participated in that, did some horrible things, and after something horrific happened, he quietly disappeared during a skirmish and didn't return. For now, he's reported as MIA.
In the game, you're required to pick a vice. For my character, I chose pit fighting. He regularly gambled, but that was just a smart way to make money. He fought to blow off steam, as much to hurt others as to be hurt. Partly this probably some weird punishment thing, but I think honestly the physical stimulation helps numb what's going on in his brain. It also helps make his face slightly unrecognizable when military folks come around. I feel like he was higher up in the military. He doesn't talk about it, probably never will.
There are several ties to Ashley that I made all romantic. A crime boss he was in love with that he left when he was asked to do something that went too far. A person he fell in love while he served in the other country. Most of the ties are romantic, because I wanted it to break the mould of angry dude who has lots of enemies because he's just so righteous that he makes enemies for doing the right thing. No. Ashley isn't the right guy. He's a survivor, and sometimes that means cutting and running.
Overall I've designed him to be the one who goes in first, talks people up, and then throws a big bar fight when the team needs a distraction. He isn't the one doing the job. He's the one hustling the unsuspecting victim so his team can go in. He will always be the first to suggest they go drinking or go to the pits for a fight. I have no doubt Ashley will end up being the one who asks sighted, sincere questions but never answers them himself, and I'm excited to play the guy who brushes off emotional questions but asks them to his companions without flinching. I want there to be an intensity to him that maybe is only seen in quiet moments.
The challenge I have with Ashley is to actually be flirtatious and smarmy. I'm normally quite sarcastic and quick witted when it comes to gaming, but I'm trying to bend that into innuendos and sexual jokes, something which I struggle with deeply. I want him to always have a smirk and a kiss and a promise of more on his lips. Portraying that, especially online, may be difficult. I think once I get the hang of it and really ham it up it'll go well.
On the flip side of that, I'm really looking forward to dropping that in serious moments or when it's least expected. There will be that darkness I want to come out and play, and I don't want it to fire in a protective way. I'm not sure what'll trigger it, but I want it to be triggered in a way that's different. I'm not sure yet. But I'll figure it out. It's what I'm playing to find out, I guess. Who is Ashley after the things he's done and what will take to make him survive?
Is he a good guy or a bad guy? And ultimately, is there a difference between the two?