1194 words Supporting Cast
Amnerestes and Klathedros
Two Atlantean Overlords for GURPS
by Phil Masters
These two Supporting Cast characters are designed as much to illustrate a point as to serve as NPC encounters -- although they should work just fine in the latter function, too. In fact, they could also work as sample PCs in a particular sort of game. The issue here is campaigns set in (or visiting) ancient Atlantis.
The version of that legendary land described in Chapter 4 of GURPS Atlantis can be used for all sorts of styles of play, from combat-heavy (bronze) Swords and (subtle) sorcery to tough "low fantasy" tales set during the end of a world. However, one approach that reading up on the subject of Atlantis may encourage involves melodramatic, romantic plots in and around the courts of that land.
This can be inspired by, in equal parts, Greek myth and Victorian fantasy stories. Both tend to focus on the courts and rulers of the places wherein they are set (with occasional excursions into the depths of the underworld, whether social or metaphysical). However, these are monarchies whose rulers have more or less absolute power, and who are driven more by their passions than by rational, realistic political concerns. In other words, this is high soap opera, with swords and (quite likely) interfering deities, and the world to play for, to win and lose. (Mostly lose, in fact. With the island scheduled to sink, sooner or later, this is an inherently tragic setting, though heroic individuals may survive to sail away into a lurid sunset with their true loves.)
PCs who have to visit these courts will usually have some specific objective in mind, and will have to thread their way through an overheated maze of ambition, decadence, and latent madness to reach their goals. (Alternatively, they may just become annoyed and look for ways to destroy the place.) However, ambitious groups with a taste for politics and a willingness to play unsympathetic or confused characters who may not even get on that well with each other may actually think about playing an Atlantean courtly campaign as "insiders" -- members of the court, perhaps even of noble or even royal rank.
Which is why the following characters might even be considered as model PCs, apart from their obvious functions as encounters or antagonists.
Amnerestes of Mneseusa
Age 16; 5'6", 135 lbs.; A dark-complexioned youth with a distracted air.
Attributes: ST 9 [-10]; DX 10 ; IQ 10 ; HT 10 .
Basic Speed 5; Move 5.
Dodge 5; Parry 4 (sword); Block 4.
Advantages: Claim to Hospitality (Atlantean aristocracy) ; Fearlessness +2 ; Literacy ; Luck ; Status 6 ; Very Wealthy .
Disadvantages: Chauvinistic [-1]; Hidebound [-5]; Youth (age 16) [-4].
Quirks: Enjoys praying and sacrificing; Quiet. [-2]
Skills: Animal Handling-12 ; History-7 [1/2]; Knife- 11 ; Lasso-10 ; Riding (Stirrupless)-8 [1/2]; Sacrifice- 11 ; Savoir-Faire-12 ; Shield-9 [1/2]; Shortsword-8 [1/2]; Spear-8 [1/2]; Spear Throwing-9 [1/2]; Staff-7 [1/2]; Teamster (Horses)-8 [1/2]; Theology-12 .
Languages: Atlantean (native)-10 .
Equipment: High-class clothes; fine weapons, armor and chariot.
The second son of the Prince of Mneseusa (p.AT75) was brought up to revere the old ways, and the teaching stuck. While his older brother learned how to rule and play politics, he learned how to pray.
He became obsessed with piety, spending much of his time in the temples to Poseidon. However, events suggest to some people that, rather frighteningly, the patron deity of Atlantis may truly, darkly favor him for this. His father and brother, sailing home together from a trip along the coast, were caught in a sudden storm, and their ship was lost with all hands.
Amnerestes has thus unexpectedly inherited power. However, this seems to have affected him little; he continues his life of prayer and dedication, although he is slowly being drawn into political affairs.
Note: This treatment of the character leaves open the question of how far Amnerestes's peculiar good fortune is a genuine sign of deliberate supernatural favor -- either from Poseidon or from some other being. He is generally lucky, and attained the throne through an accident, and the events in question do seem to suggest the involvement of a sea god -- but it could all be chance (if such a thing really exists in this deity-infested setting). If he is genuinely blessed by a god, Amnerestes could have Extraordinary or Ridiculous Luck, a Destiny, or even Poseidon as a Patron. For a really strange effect, give him Extraordinary Luck and a -15 point Destiny (thus keeping him balanced as a 100 point character); this sets him up as the unwitting but seemingly unstoppable agent of terrible events.
Klathedros of Atlantis
Age 33; 5'8", 140 lbs.; A slim nobleman with a permanent worried expression.
Attributes: ST 12 ; DX 11 ; IQ 13 ; HT 11 .
Basic Speed 5.5; Move 5.
Dodge 5; Parry 5; Block 5.
Advantages: Status +4 ; Literacy ; Very Wealthy ; Voice .
Disadvantages: Dependent (concubine, 20 points, loved one, 6-) [-12]; Duty (to Emperor, 15-, nonhazardous) [-10]; Enemy (Eumelian faction, 6-) [-10]; Secret (conflicting loyalties) [-10]; Sense of Duty (everyone he knows personally) [-10]; Workaholic [-5].
Quirks: Romantic; Tolerant. [-2]
Skills: Administration-13 ; Animal Handling-12 ; Area Knowledge (Atlantis)-14 ; Carousing-10 ; Diplomacy- 15* ; Poetry-12 ; Riding (Stirrupless)-11 ; Savoir- Faire-17* ; Shield-11 ; Shortsword-11 ; Spear-11 ; Spear Throwing-12 ; Teamster-13 ; Tracking-12 .
*Include +2 for Voice.
Languages: Atlantean (native)-13 .
Equipment: High-class clothes; fine weapons, armor and chariot (at his home).
Klathedros is a court advisor, loyally serving the Emperor Poseidophilios of Atlantis (p.AT80). Born into the Atlantean nobility, he was friendly with people close to the ruling family from infancy, and when his shrewd intelligence and natural skills became obvious, they began to pay attention to him. When it also became obvious that Klathedros was intensely loyal, with no overwhelming ambitions for himself, he was honored with a place close to the throne, and Poseidophilios has come to lean on his advice in many matters, and to use him as an emissary for delicate and important tasks when he can be spared. Somehow, he has made only a few enemies so far, and they come from groups who really do not have the best interests of Atlantis at heart.
What few people realize is that Klathedros is also loyal to his boyhood companion, the Prince of Azaeton. He is not a man to discard one loyalty when he gains another; rather, he struggles to reconcile his friendships and duties, despite the Prince's private ambitions. Furthermore, he is being emotionally manipulated by his favorite Egyptian slave- concubine, a shrewd young woman who understands him perhaps better than he does himself. It is possible that she has connections to the enemies of the land, and while Klathedros could never be turned against Atlantis, he may eventually be steered into unwise courses of action.
Of course, Klathedros is no fool, even if he lacks some self awareness and has too romantic an idea of loyalty. Anyone else seeking to use him for their own ends would be well advised to tread very carefully.
Article publication date: March 14, 2003
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