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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 04:56 PM
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Felines of Hipster Suburbia

-
Felines of Hipster Suburbia
A Fate Core Setting


We’re all full up, so applications are closed. PM me if you would like on a list for potential replacements.


“Through all this horror my cat stalked unperturbed. Once I saw him monstrously perched atop a mountain of bones, and wondered at the secrets that might lie behind his yellow eyes.”

H.P. Lovecraft, The Rats in the Walls




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No, magic is not dead in the modern age – it’s not even sleeping. The world just grew remarkably blind to it, like the dank, earthy smell of a car’s upholstery that a driver no longer notices because she wallows in it daily. The Seelie Courts that congregate in coffee shops, the ley lines that snake and pulse beneath curated walking trails and wifi signals, monstrosities that stride among the ignorant masses in vaguely human guise, and antediluvian cuneiform etched in the cement foundations of cookie-cutter homes erected throughout the urban sprawl – an entire world seething and scheming just out of sight at the beating heart of our 21st century world; which is only temporarily held at bay by you.

You are the enlightened, the vigilant, working behind the scenes to preserve the fragile ignorance of the human populace. You are members of your neighborhood Parliament who garrison your territory and expel the darkness that is ever encroaching. While the world slumbers, it is you who strive with tooth and claw and a legacy of ancient magic. Also, you’re cats…



Cats…?
Yes, Cats.

But wait. Hear me out – I don’t live in my parents’ basement with seventeen cats and furry pajamas. I have never willingly sent a photo of myself cradling a feline to loved ones as a holiday greeting. I own exactly zero cat sweaters. In short – I’m not that guy (or at least I don’t think I am) and you don’t have to be either.

When I first came across this system I discounted it as well, assuming myself far outside its target audience. But I was so very wrong. If you derive any joy out of Dark Intrigue, exploring the world from Alternate Perspectives, confronting Wild Creatures in an Urban Setting, or playing Under-Powered Protagonists – check this thing out.

Oh, and if you are that feline obsessed aficionado, then by all means bring that energy and insight. No judgment, you’re awesome.




SETTING AND FLAVOR


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You, the players, will determine much of the direction of this game, as is the sweet spot with all Fate games. This system sings when you play Competent, Proactive, and Dramatic (Flawed) characters. Your characters are all Cats that
  • Live in a Suburban/Gentrified area of a large city in the Pacific Northwestern U.S.A.
  • Have Burdens (humans that you either live with or are responsible for) and “normal” cat lives of your own
  • Belong to a neighborhood Parliament (loose coalition of cats responsible for guarding that territory) which holds you accountable

Outside of those broad strokes, we will create much of the specifics and hooks together as a group. In fact, there will be many times throughout the game that I will ask you to help me create a world that you continue to find evocative and compelling.

For my part, I intend to paint in bold, Burtonesque Colors that highlight parts of the suburban world that I find fascinating. I intend to inject spooky, Gothic Elements of the supernatural that fall more on the quirky/creepy side of horror than most games in that genre. (We will also establish safety boundaries before I introduce any potentially traumatic content). I will also explore the Peculiarities of Feline Life in a world built for humans.

It will be heavy roleplay, as well as quirky and hopefully humorous at times. Obviously this type of game doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I believe it really takes flight when we all buy into the reality of being cats in a magical world.

Inspiration For a bit of inspiration, you should read Neil Gaiman’s short story – The Price


There will be threats on several fronts of both mundane and supernatural nature, as well as threats to your Burdens (humans who belong to you) or territory, and I will key off of what you find interesting and what you proactively pursue



SYSTEM AND EXPECTATIONS


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We will be using the Fate Condensed system, found here. (Fate Condensed has slightly different rules than the published setting world book below. Where they differ, we will use the new Condensed rules)

Setting specific rules/options are from The Secret of Cats, found here.

There are also further options in the Feline Magic supplement, found here.

(All three of these are offered as “Pay-what-you-want” titles, so you may acquire them for free and then support the fantastic authors later if you like what you find – which I encourage!)

I love teaching Fate to new players, and am happy to help out those that have never tried it before. However, please make sure that you read the rules and system! My job is much more manageable if I’m helping guide you through things you’ve already read than trying to explain it from scratch (the book does that so much better than I).

I would like to maintain a minimum posting rate of one significant post per week and will do my best to match pace with anything quicker that you all establish. However, my own responsibilities ebb and flow much like your own and will go through periods of being highly available and those where I likewise can only post once per week.



Applications

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Name: What do others call you? (Maybe this is the name your owners call you, maybe it isn’t. Feel free to include both if they differ)

High Concept: Big Picture of Who You Are and What You Do.

This should involve personality or identity, maybe some aspect of your history or background, as well as what role you serve within the community (common or obscure). If you choose to master a school of magic (Alchemist, Illusionist, Namer, Shaper, Seeker, or Warden), that should be included in your High Concept.

I can help workshop these too, to strengthen or refine them. If you want some ideas, this comes from the Call of Catthulhu game and offers some good inspiration for different concepts.


Trouble: What Causes Trouble and Drama in Your Life.

This could be a personal flaw or temptation, a fear or struggle, or even another creature or nemesis that haunts you. The key to deciding this is: What do you want me (the GM) to repeatedly throw at you as a source of complication and strife?

Burden(s): Who You Belong to and Are Responsible For.

This could be a single person, a family or group, or even an entire area. Make it up and it exists (within reason). We all create this setting together.

True Name: The Deepest, Secret Truth of Who You Are.

Keep this secret if you want, or publish it here and we’ll pretend the characters don’t know. Either way, the best examples of these (in my opinion) are convoluted, cryptic, and poetic. If none of us are precisely sure of what it really means (contrary to most Aspects) I think you’re on a good path.

*My absolute favorite was: “The Smell of Rain on an Old Granite Gargoyle on Top of St. Francis’ Cathedral.” Brilliant. There’s so many cool ways that we can invoke/compel that if we’re creative!


Free Aspect: Grab bag.

Use this to explore something new or contradictory about your character, rather than double down on something already established. This could be connections you have, significant background or personality elements, anything that adds new depth and complication to you.

Feel free to look at examples from the last time this advertisement ran, or even leave this blank (we can work on it together through the game. You won’t be penalized in the application process for not having it.)


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Skills: Assign your one Great (+4) skill, as well as your two Good (+3) skills. You can do the rest if you’d like or define them later when you see how the full crew shapes out.

Stunts: Pick or Create (we can workshop if you want to create something unique) 3 Magic Stunts, and 3 Normal Stunts/Knacks. These can be subject to change if they don’t prove as helpful as you envision or overlap with other characters, but I want this part of Character Creation as it pushes you to wrestle with the rules .

Stress/Consequences/Refresh/Etc.: Everyone starts with 3 Refresh, 3 Mental Stress boxes, 3 Physical Stress boxes, and 1 of each Consequence (Mild, Moderate, and Severe). These might adjust according to skills/stunts but I can help and don’t expect it to be perfect.



Description: While this isn’t an Aspect (mechanical part of your character) like the previous categories, it helps me picture your character. What Breed are you (if distinguishable)? What makes you stand out in a crowd of felines? What are your preferred pronouns? Include a picture if you’d like.

*****


Upcoming… there are other components of your character sheet that we can define further either as the game begins or before. I will also have several questions regarding the setting that you can help me establish. I want to pick our crew, however, before we dive into that section.



”There are several cats smoothly moving about, which helped me greatly to relax, for I have always felt that no house is wholly bad where there are cats, and conversely, where there are several cats, a house is bound to be wonderfully charming.”

- Hans Holzer, The Ghost Hunter: Chilling Tales of Real Life Hauntings




Art CreditsCatthulhu by Carolinejamhour
Post-it Monsters by Don Kenn
Secrets of Cats cover art by Crystal Frasier
Black Cat Illustration by Dave McKean
Zeke Scream by MANSYC

Last edited by kdtompos; Sep 11th, 2021 at 04:41 PM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 05:01 PM
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Anticipated Questions/FAQ

So about how big is this region the Cat Parliament is supposed to be protecting?
I'm envisioning an area about half a square mile in size, maybe less. I want it big enough to have a good amount of variety, involve some foot travel, but also enclosed enough that most places start to feel familiar and detail matters.

Maybe half to two/thirds the size of this map:
What's this part of town like? Is there a ___________________ or an __________________?
We're gonna define a lot of that ourselves. So if a _________________ really interests you, let's find a way to make it work. If it really feels out of place, we can workshop a way to get something that captures what intrigues you about that but still fits the aesthetic.

That said, I'm basing a lot of the current foundation in my head on the city I grew up in and a downtown/residential/park area that I know well. This offers some upper and lower class residences, commercial areas, large congregations of people, a bit of wilderness, etc. So there's potential for all sorts of things that could interest you. And the actual location is nothing but a ghostly foundation for me, which we will construct our own world all over and may only vaguely resemble anything familiar by the end.
Is this modern?
Technology-wise, that's the plan. As for the pandemic, I know that has changed much of how life works for us (and likely our pets) but I'm imagining this game as operating in an alternate potential reality where that never occured.
<More to come as I anticipate more, or common ones are asked>


Applicants:
  Player Character High Concept Link Complete?
1GrandCommander13 Ezekiel (Crowley) Otherworldly Seeker Here Yes (With Suggestions)

Last edited by kdtompos; Sep 2nd, 2021 at 12:02 AM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 06:36 PM
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This looks too great. I must get in! I'll be checking out this Secrets of Cats setting and thinking about my character. For some reason the cat at the top of the advertisement post is making me want to make a seer of some sort... I think I'll work with that.

EDIT: I am heartened to see that seers, as Seekers, are included in the rules for the setting.

Last edited by GrandCommander13; Aug 22nd, 2016 at 06:42 PM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 07:11 PM
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This game. Just... this game.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 07:15 PM
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I don't have time to add another game, but . . .

+1 for Fate Core anything,

and +1 for The Secrets of Cats. I've been playing this with my two middle children for about two months now. We are having a ball.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 11:46 PM
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This... This is amazing. I'm gonna read up on the secrets of cats book and get to writing this up

+1 For Cats?\
Application
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Name: Stark (Snowfur) (Marissa-Anne).

High Aspect: Lazy Guardian Warden
-Invoke: Thoughtful and intelligent, this aspect doesn't preclude the right or proper decision from being made. She may just not... act it out herself.
-Invoke: Aspect could be invoked in an instinctual desire to protect and serve those who need her, and/or the resources to do so.
-Compel: Often makes decisions based on what would be the shortest/quickest route of action, or the one that would take the least energy to act out.
-Compel: Feels a need to help and nurture those younger than her? Stern but still gentle in nature, will teach but will not take ******** as it were.
-Anchor: Soft Blue Blanket (small blanket given to Stark at a young age. Not only comforted her, but acted as a bulwark against the unnatural until she could come of age. Uses it as a place of rest and a source of guarding to those she cannot actively be around. Perhaps innately magical, perhaps the belief in its protective abilities is enough.)

Description:Old cat, some 12 years of age, crossbreed mutt of some Savannah breed. Extremely large and constantly stagnant, Stark stays pampered in the house of Old Lady Crowe and a quaint if not broken down townhome near the center of town. Rarely leaving the house unless in the company of Lady Crowe, Stark takes charge of not just the bed she rests in or the home the bed resides in, but the kittens of the residing cul de sac should she be truly motivated or mobile to do so.

Physically larger than most cats due to her breed, her mixed heritage leads to some interesting fur patterns, not only a shining white coat, but dark grey spotty colourations along her spine. Sleek fur because of Lady Crowe's care, she looks very unlike the servals her breed was originally crossed from.

Troubles:Objects at Rest, Stay at Rest
-Invokes:Familiar with good locations not only to rest, but not to be disturbed. Maybe gives some knowledge into good places to hide not only under objects, but on top of them as well. Once Stark finds such a location she is rarely compelled to move from it
-Compels:Feels the need to find the best place to stagnate in a new location. Find a new neighborhood? Stark'll find the best place to look over or overwatch the entire neighborhood at once.
-Anchor: Crowe House Chimney (Best place to look out for her neighborhood. High up and potentially concealing, actually the location of a nest of birds (maybe ravens?) from whom she holds a mutually beneficial relationship: Information for protection and mild companionship.)

Burdens:Old Lady Crowe
-An old lady living in a small townhouse in the center of the cul de sac. Ancient, and afflicted with early sign dementia and hallucinatory schizophrenia. Has been living here for much longer than the suburbs have been of such "hipsterdom", but loves it all the same. All the youth in the area! Why, the streets haven't been this lively since... well. She can't really remember. She sees things in the shadows, whether due to her innate curiosity or not is questionable but doctors have been deigned to diagnose it as such. She lives peacefully in the area, getting deliveries of groceries paid by both retirement and alimony, with her gorgeous little cats Marissa-Anne and Rocco.
-Invokes: This aspect could be invoked for a safe house for cats around the suburbs that she meets. Lady Crowe is amiable to most cats, and because of the early onset dementia she may forget which cats she does own and which she doesn't. More likely than not if there is a cat in the house that cat will be fed and cared for until it leaves.
-Compels: Her need to be a guardian is stemmed from Old Lady Crowe's companionship. Not only did Lady Crowe give Stark all she needed from kitten-hood, Stark suspects that Lady Crowe can see more than many other burdens can.
-Anchor: Rocco (Stray cat of 6 years of age. One of Stark's first charges before she became more active in protecting the kittens of the neighborhood. Like a son to Stark.)



Got the small bits and pieces in the app in, if more is necessary feel free to ask?
__________________
Swear upon the oath, and may your adventures be fruitful
Update 07/05/18: Quick update on my situation; TL;DR: I'll be back soon
DM Death Count: 20 and counting

Last edited by KKristophDavion; Aug 25th, 2016 at 01:59 PM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 11:54 PM
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So, do you just want our names and our three short aspects you asked for, or did you want us to explain the aspects in our application as well? Because I'm (well, mostly) done figuring my character out. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out a good name for my character. The fact that there are only two example names in the book isn't helping at all.

Let me know if you want more details about those aspects, and I'll let you know if I figure out a good name.

Name: Ezekiel
Human Name: Crowley

Description: Oddly enough for a cat owned by a goth couple, Ezekiel's fur is white—okay, it's not that odd, since apparently "everyone" is getting black cats, so of course the Stellies had to buck the trend. His eyes are a misty blue-gray, and have a habit of glancing off at some unseen thing. He may not be a big or an agile cat, but he still projects an air of gravitas that few can ignore.

High Concept: Otherworldly Seeker
Anchor: Cat bed (Ezekiel's bed, a cushion that smells comfortingly of incense even when the Shellies aren't burning any, resting inside a wicker frame).
Invoke: Whenever a spirit rises and starts making mischief, Ezekiel can always make sense of it better than any other cat can.
Invoke: If another cat could sense something odd approaching the neighborhood, Ezekiel could tell you what it was, and what it wanted.
Compel: A mundane threat, like an angry dog, that most would take for granted can be quite unfamiliar to Ezekiel, no matter how many times he's had to deal with one.
Compel: More knowledge of the otherworldly comes with more interaction. Not all interaction with the otherworldly is pleasant.

Trouble: Which World is the Shadow, and What Casts the Light?
Anchor: The Never Tree (a tree in the park that isn't quite right, like it's too real or not real enough—wildlife and burdens alike avoid it, as it makes them uncomfortable).
Invoke: Ezekiel already lives with one paw out of the world the humans are familiar with, so when that world gets turned upside down he's quick to adapt.
Invoke: Some problems can be solved with a change in perspective, be that literal or metaphorical. Remove yourself from our reality (literally or metaphorically) and you've just reached a whole new perspective.
Compel: Sometimes it's possible to be too philosophical about things. If the world is just an illusion, why be concerned by what you see?
Compel: Being so tuned in to other realities means it's easy to be distracted by things that aren't relevant to the matter at hand.

Burdens: Trendy Goth Couple
Anchor: The seance room (a room that Matt and Lisa have furnished perfectly for peering beyond what two eyes are made for seeing).
Invoke: Having burdens that appreciate a spooky atmosphere can be good sometimes. Sleeping around a genuine crystal ball can make seeing the future all the easier.
Invoke: Matt's into spooky real estate, so he's always talking about it. Sometimes it's good for someone to have already done the research for you.
Compel: Having burdens that know just enough about magic to get themselves into trouble is no good. If Matt brings one more cursed book into the house, it's time to call a Warden.
Compel: Yeah, it would be so like them to want to take the whole family (them and Ezekiel) out to the coffee shop right when everyone was waiting for a crucial prophecy, wouldn't it?

Last edited by GrandCommander13; Aug 26th, 2016 at 06:02 PM.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 11:23 AM
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Common Name: Paws-of-Stone
Human Name: Saint George (Father Ignacio found him on May 6th, eating a snake.)
High Concept: Warden Veteran of Ten Thousand Battles.
Invoke: Paws-of-Stone has been there and fought that. Dogs, cats, birds, raccoons, otters…anything that Nature can throw, he can catch. He may come out scarred, he may come out wounded, he might even lose, but he knows how to handle the fight.
Invoke: Paws-of-Stone has been around long enough that he can stop many fights just by offering to start.
Compel: The problem with being known as a fighter is that there's always that one puss that thinks he's got a shot at the title.
Compel: The flipside to the boys thinking they can take you on in a fight is that the girls think they can take you on in…not fighting.
Anchor: There's a cracked stone fountain dead center in the graveyard. Big ring, central birdbath, angel centerpiece. Dozens of cats can watch fights there. That's Paws-of-Stone’s preferred arena.
Troubles: Death is never far away
Invoke: Paws-of-Stone is good at killing. He's taken out dogs when he was younger. Unlike most cats, he tends not to play with his prey.
Invoke: Paws-of-Stone has seen enough death that very little fazes him, not even his own potential death.
Compel: Sometimes being a badass, fatalistic cat can get to you. Sometimes you have to let it all drift away with catnip and fight movies.
Anchor: Father Ignacio keeps a can of catnip right next to the bottle of gin in his desk.
Burden: Father Ignacio Lorenzo, generally described as “a nice old coot”. He is very Italian, very Catholic, and still very sharp mentally, if a little feeble physically. He enjoys soccer, old movies on a little television in his room, and still has that rock-solid belief in God even after all the things that have happened to the Church in his lifetime. There are usually two other priests who help out around the church as some kind of rotating thing; they live elsewhere, and since Father Ignacio can't ever remember their names, he usually calls them Peter. They all tend to be young and full of fire, and Father Ignacio is usually glad to see them gone after they've cleaned up around the place.
Anchor: Father Ignacio’s fourteen-inch color television, complete with tinfoil antenna tied to an exposed pipe. Father Ignacio has the television on pretty much 24/7, watching soccer or old movies like Rocky or Rocky 2.

Aspect: Polydactylic
Paws-of-Stone was born with six claws on every paw. It may have contributed to his success as a fighter. It definitely contributed to the number of fights he got into.
Invoke: Paws can grip and carry items with relative ease, leaving his jaws free. Gripping things up shifts by one shift.
Compel: Other cats can be disturbed by polydactyly. Social interactions can be reduced by one shift, depending on the cat.
Anchor: the Tennis Ball. Father Ignacio is particularly fond of playing fetch in the nave of the church, and loves seeing George running back with a tennis ball held in one massive paw.

Description:
Old Maine Coon, scarred and grumpy-looking. He lives at and patrols the old Catholic Church and graveyard that stands at the end of the street. Paws-of-Stone had seen four summers when he fetched up under Father Ignacio's roof. Father Ignacio is the Parish priest who runs the Gothic-looking building, with a couple of other priests who help out. The gentrification of the street has been looked on as a mixed blessing; Father Ignacio does so love his Starbucks, but could wish that his temptation wasn't within walking distance. Paws-of-Stone is charged with defending the church and warding the graveyard.

Last edited by Brainwired1; Aug 24th, 2016 at 09:21 AM.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 02:09 PM
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These are fantastic! I'm thrilled that there's some interest in this -- so let me answer some questions.

DescriptionI should have mentioned this at the beginning! I'll edit it into the initial post.

What do you look like? If you're a distinguishable breed, then note that as well. Man, what a silly thing for me to leave out.


NamesNames - I was confused a bit as well regarding characters' names. The offset section labeled "A Cat Has Three Names," actually seemed to indicate four names in my understanding:
First - True Name - this is guarded closely, only revealed to those extremely close to you.
Second - Human Assigned - this is what your Burden(s) call you (Patches, Snugglebutt, etc.). For anyone else to use this name is demeaning and insulting.
Third (Fourth?) - Kitten/Adult Name - As a kitten you are named for something characteristic, but as an adult you adopt a new moniker (possibly keeping elements of your kitten name). This is the name that will be used most often.


AspectsSo far, the three aspects you all have included is all I'm looking for. Once we have the group, then I'd like to determine True Name and Final Aspect.

However, it would be really helpful if you could follow each aspect with an example or two of potential invokes/compels. This will help us all understand a bit better what you visualize with those aspects, even if it seems really obvious.

E.g. Trouble - Knick-Knack Pack Rat
  • Invoke: I'm familiar with a number of small oddities of human design. This could be invoked when interacting with objects that would possibly be represented in my collection of ferreted items.
  • Invoke: With such a collection of eclectic tchotchkes, this aspect could be invoked for access to a small and reasonably mundane (but useful) item, such as a car alarm button, duct tape, doggy treats, etc.
  • Compel: This could easily become a decision based compel in any situation where I would be tempted/distracted by a new bauble or trinket (especially one that would wisely be avoided) to either distract me throughout the scene or further complicate it by my interaction.
  • Compel: This could also become an event based compel in which an important or potentially dangerous item is noticed missing and on high priority to be found or dealt with, which fittingly enough I have recently stashed away in my personal collection. Oops.


AnchorsFinally, for those that already have characters set up, I would like you to now establish Anchors.

Rob Donoghue explains these best, so I'll allow him to do so; then I'll provide an example.

Blog Post Explaining Anchors

As he says, "Practically, anchors are super simple. They are a person, place or thing which you declare to be associated with an aspect. How exactly this is implemented can depend, but the simplest approach is that you create one anchor for every aspect on your character sheet."

For example with The Secrets of Cats:
ExampleIf your High Concept was Pampered Princess Namer, possible anchors might include:
  • Your diamond studded collar (A simultaneously gaudy and dazzling signifier of your high breeding and life of luxury)
  • The Jardin Félin (The immaculately manicured garden behind your Burdens' abode, with cat topiaries, fountains, and a hedge of catnip... all for your sole pleasure)
  • Mr. Ledesma (The landscaper who secretly lets you out of the yard/house when he comes by; as long as you're back before he finishes his work)
  • Snickerdoodle (Your Burdens' Doberman - a vicious, but furiously inbred watchdog that sleeps curled up at the front door)

And as Mr. Donoghue points out, all of these things may be true or come up in play as you create them; but by designating your favorite as an anchor, you are flagging them as an aspect you want to have screen time as a powerful embodiment of the attached aspect


Also, I hope to have some example places set up by the end of the day. I had a church idea previously, but I love that Brainwired1 already has established a fantastic church!

Last edited by kdtompos; Aug 23rd, 2016 at 02:14 PM.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 06:47 PM
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@kdtompos Cool! I'll actually set up a short description of my cat, as well as adding in the details that you suggested. Looking forward to the next step!

EDIT: Got all the pieces in, cool to think about considering that non-bipedial sentient rp is a rarity in most cases. Anything else that you would need added?
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Last edited by KKristophDavion; Aug 23rd, 2016 at 07:38 PM.
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  #11  
Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 07:15 PM
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Not that I'm opposed to playing a feline, but would you consider a raven? The idea is gnawing at me ....
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 07:21 PM
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This is very seriously cool. Great advertisement!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 07:31 PM
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Boom: invokes, compels, and anchors. I even decided to go with Ezekiel, because I doubt I'll do any better. Anything else you need from me? :-)
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 09:14 PM
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Wow, endorsements from RedRab and ItsaVerb! I'll take it.

And Codger, hell yes! I'll require that one of your aspects ties you to the cats, and you'll probably want this.

I'll check out the rest when not on my phone
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 09:29 PM
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Some questions....

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Last edited by KKristophDavion; Aug 23rd, 2016 at 09:36 PM.
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