Monday, June 20, 2011

Badger, badger

When I came up with Eliah, my cowboy Deadlands character, I figured him to be a loner and a drifter, someone who had always been more comfortable on his own, never staying in one place too long. But he had been feeling increasingly lost, a sort of midlife crisis. He is 43 years old and he knows that it's a bit late in life for a career change. Besides, he's been a cowboy pretty much all his life and doesn't know how to do anything else. Yeah, there's always work to be found, but he's not really happy with the thought of settling down.

During the last two sessions, some things happened that I really need to think about. The group met Crow Indians and since one character was the long lost son of the shaman, we were welcomed and invited to partake in a ceremony that would allow us to find our spirit guide. Eliah took a night to think about it and in the end decided to give it a try. He certainly felt in need of guidance. During the exhausting and at times painful ritual, he did indeed encounter his spirit animal: a badger. That was not something Eliah would have ever expected to happen in his life and he's proud and happy, but he also need to come to terms with all the consequences this experience will have.

I certainly didn't plan for this to happen either and it's not something I ever thought about, so I'm just as overwhelmed as Eliah. But I love all the possibilities this has given me for him. When we were playing out the ritual, the GM asked us to choose an animal we thought would fit the character. I thought of all the usual animals (bear, coyote, elk, buffalo, crow ect.), but nothing really fit until the badger came to my mind. They are fairly inconspicuous, solitary and quiet, but don't get too close - they can be very aggressive and they will fight when threatened. So I chose the badger.

Of course there is a price to pay, an oath Eliah has to honour in order to keep the badger spirit happy. In the future, Eliah will not be allowed to back down from a fight. If he gets threatened, he attacks. If people want to intimidate him, it may work, but only for a very short time and then he will fight. It's a choice, of course - he can just walk away, but then he will loose the goodwill of his spirit guide.

Eliah can certainly handle himself in a fight, but until now, he would only fight if he absolutely had to. I have a feeling that this will change because his spirit guide will become very important for him. He doesn't yet know about it, it's not like he and the badger signed a contract. But the spirit will find a way to make it clear to him what is required.

I love it when something turns up in a game that means such a big change for my character. I want them challenged, they shouldn't get too comfortable in the life I have made up for them. Usually, I have things in my character's background that make it possible for the GM to have the character's life come crashing down around his ears. But it's even better when something happens that I have never thought about. It keeps things interesting.

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