Campaign: Cara Harrt

Character: Cara Harrt
Game: Urban Shadows
Episodes: 1
Theme Song: Pack of Nobodies by Emily Wells
Quote: "Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like."

When I got the opportunity to play an online game of Urban Shadows with an all star cast, I jumped at it. When asked what I would play, I was somewhere between Wolf and Oracle. I finally settled on oracle, after playing around with the idea of being a religious oracle loosely inspired by the Warrens of the 70's.

In the 70's, there were a lot more paranormal hunters and their exploits were talked about in news papers. It was treated almost like a real phenomenon. I watched a few docs on people who claimed to have grown up in haunted houses the Warrens helped cleanse.

While I was watching this doc, one of the women in it mentioned how much PTSD her mother had from the haunting and how she never really recovered. I tried to imagine if that was real. What would it be like growing up in a house where a demon had possessed someone and no one believed you? Would you ever recover? How would you feel about the people who saved you? What kind of life would you live?

So I created Cara, a young woman who had been rescued by the Catholic church after a neighbour finally tried to help her. Nine years she spent with a possessed mother and was finally made a ward of the church in her teens. From there, she discovered her powers weren't just around the demon. Her mother, possessed by a demon, had etched markings into her skin. She believes these gave her powers. But they may not have.

Regardless, she's an oracle who's steadfastly loyal to the Catholic church and is a social worker who mostly works with those traumatized by the supernatural community. Ghosts are things she's especially sensitive to, given she's dealt with a number of hauntings for the church and as a social worker. They're so familiar to her she feels at home in their presence.

Cara was designed to be a little flighty and a little scattered. I definitely have played her that way, but there's also this streak of resilience and a quiet acceptance of misfortune that I find really interesting in her. It wasn't intentional, but after the first episode, it was pretty clear Cara wasn't shaken by too much in the supernatural world. Except, of course, a man named Smith who stares at her and makes her uncomfortable. This is because she looks like his dead wife from a long time ago. He once was a god, but now is a mortal without a spark.

She's under the watchful eye of Adel, a vampire who works for the church, as Cara does, and is rather protective of Cara. The oracle is fond of Adel, but doesn't really understand what the vampires particularly want her to be doing besides having visions at the odd time. They tested her and can confirm she does have the gift, yet they never seem to want to her to use it. For this reason, she trusts them, and because they work for the church, it makes her feel safe to continue to work with them.

Besides Adel, Cara also trusts Roman, an ogre fae who maintains the accords. The accords are something Cara holds dear, if only because she values peace, and a radical sense of love that she carries with her from her religious teachings. Roman helps her understand her visions. And she trusts him to do so because, well, he's honest to a fault and doesn't try to spin them to suit his needs.

Then there's Cutter, the wheeler and dealer scholar that Cara helps by guiding him with her visions. It isn't because she cares for him. It's because she's seen how horrible he can be, and the darkness he will welcome. So she's tried to ensure that he moves forward away from that path and towards a different one. There's a manipulative streak in Cara that I'm eager to explore.

I want her very much to appear to be the ingenue, poor Cara, but also be someone who sees the game and knows how to play. It's only after you've been caught by something she's done you realize the potential of what she's doing. It's only been one episode so I haven't had time to play the long game much, but I know she wants certain things, like the removal of the Summer Queen, the maintenance of the accords, and for more power to be consolidated for the church. It's not easy though, and it will require gaining a lot of trust before she begins to push back.

Given she's gone out of her way to act the waif and ask for help a lot, Cara seems to be doing what I plan, which is to be seen as the innocent, to some degree. She knows how Smith feels about her and isn't above using that to her advantage. Although she's pretty oblivious to how Adel sees her, she mostly sees Adel as someone in her corner, and tries to help Adel as she can. Pissing off a vampire is a bad idea.

Overall, I'm excited to play Cara more. I want to see what it looks like when people begin to realize she's not as kind as she pretends to be, or at least, see that she's willing to play the game like others. I don't know if she'll be ruthless, although I would love to see a scary oracle, as all the ones I've seen have been pretty soft. That may be a long term goal. We'll see how the next few episodes go. She's physically weak, but I have plans for her powers that will make her pretty terrifying.

Will Cara fall in love? Maybe. She's terrified of physical and emotional intimacy because when it happens, she has a vision of them. And well, her visions are never pleasant. They're painful as fuck and she always sees and feels things from the point of view of the victim. It means she avoids people touching her, and she avoids looking into the future, and most of all she avoids love and intimacy. It's painful, uncomfortable, and it means she's invaded someone's future without meaning to. She realizes how gross that is and so now avoids it.

But, well, oracles gonna oracle.


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