One Shot: Caspian the Hero of Barleytown
Game: Fall of Magic
Theme Song: Drink the Water by Justin Cross
Keywords: Roguish, Compassionate, Rebellious
I've never played a Caspian before. Nor a hero of Barely Town. And so I made Caspian, a brash young man who was charming, sincere, and a bit of as schemer for the greater good. Barley Town is generally a congenial place every time I play Fall of Magic. So I tried to set up a different atmosphere than any other time I had played.
In Caspian's view, the Barley Lord was a tyrant who was oppressing the people. I didn't have much sketched out for this, but I knew Barleytown would have hanging people by the gates, an angry and oppressive Barely Lord, and people afraid to whisper of the rebellion that had been started, I also knew that Caspian had gone with the Magus to try to get help for Barelytown.
Caspian was a determined man who was a nobody up until recently, when he chose to stand up to the Barely Lord when someone was being punished and killed. It was then he became a hero of the people, a kind of Robin Hood, I suppose. He was dedicated to those he loved in that town and was eager to help them throw off the ownership of the old man who owned the town. Not much of this rebellion was happening on screen. In fact, most of it happened through implications and through one or two scenes in Barelytown.
Where it mostly showed was actually leaving Barelytown and going into Mistwood, where Caspian was late to the party because he was busy finishing the rebellion behind them. Caspian was a struggle for me to grasp because I tried to imagine how a hero would be made in such a small, country-like town. As a person from a small town, I knew they were usually upstarts who fought against the proverbial "Man" and helped the little people.
At his core, Caspian wasn't a hero. He was someone who couldn't look away. He was the kind of guy who got caught up as the face of a rebellion because suffering hurt his heart and he couldn't just stand by anymore. He was good with a blade because of his mother's teachings and good with people because of his father's bardic ways. He didn't have the breeding of a hero. He just had the heart and I really understood him on that level.
When I play Fall of Magic, I don't usually have a challenge in mind. I've played it so much I'm just there to push other players and witness what they come up with. Caspian was an attempt to have a dude hero in the story who was also sensitive to the other people in the party, and didn't proclaim himself the leader. I enjoy when I play men who default to women, to see how that looks in a fantasy setting, and how that plays out long term.
I wish I had played more of the game as Caspian. There are some really challenging and intense parts of Fall of Magic we didn't get to, but that I really wanted to with Caspian. I knew I wanted him to make hard decisions and to have that altruism challenged. It's impossible to remain who you are originally in Fall of Magic, and I wanted to see him grow, fall in love, and try to remain the sweet man he was despite time and darkness.
Caspian's darkness was something I wanted to see but hadn't yet. I knew he was the kind of man who would build and burn bridges as he needed to, not holding on to much besides a loyalty to his own people. Although he hated suffering, he would put his people before helping someone else. That didn't mean he wouldn't help others, just that if given a choice he would save his own. There was a limited altruism. And he hated authority. He saw corruption in the way the world abused the poorest and the least educated.
He would have called himself a simple man who just believed in the people's rights to live without oppression. It isn't often I play someone with that kind of narrowed view, but I felt, at his core, Caspian was a good person. I hope. When magic dies, it has a way of changing you. I did know that he wouldn't be impacted by the death of magic, but wanted to protect the world anyways. And that was his mark of goodness. That was the mark that would be challenged.
Ah well, maybe one day.