Perhaps the most important thing to consider when creating a character is the overall concept. Are you a naive, wide eyed young musketeer, looking to make your name, a rich old widow with a cynical streak, a wily courtesan with a heart of gold, or a bible-thumping cardinal, determined to bring the sinners back to the fold?
In the spirit of creating an inclusive game rather than a reenactment, characters in all factions and occupations may be of any gender. Your character gender need not match your own, but we ask that you decide if your character should be referred to as Madame or Monsieur, given a lack of period-specific forms of address for other genders.
When you apply for a ticket you will be asked to provide your top three choices of faction (see Factions for more). In order to balance the game, we will then assign you to a faction based on your preferences and the concept you provide us. Note that families and friends may be split across multiple factions. This is deliberate in order to foster more roleplay opportunities for everyone as you negotiate your various different objectives.
Any character may also choose to be part of a secret society. You will not be told who anyone else within your secret society is and being announced publically as a member of any of the societies will result in loss of social status. However, furthering the aims of the society will increase your social status, as long as you don't get caught!
Every faction and secret society has a specific set of objectives, but we will also work with you and your concept to tailor specific personal objectives, too, and you will receive a reminder of these with your character pack. Personal objectives could be as wide as something like 'have somebody write you a poem' or 'receive a promise of marriage', to 'set up a trade route to Prussia', 'be promoted within the military' or 'save your immortal soul'.
While objectives set out what you want, your resources set out what you're able to offer in return. This will depend on your character concept and background, and we will work with you to come up with two resources you bring to court. These could be relatively straightforward, like 'a necklace of rubies' or 'an indulgence from the Pope', more abstract like 'a fleet of ships in the Baltic' or even off-camera family members who could be promised in marriage or set up to take the fall for another character.
Every character will have a dirty secret which could be damaging if it got out, either to their own reputation or to one of their resources - perhaps they were spotted sneaking out of a cheap brothel, or their tailor is haranguing them for unpaid debts, or perhaps the great work of art they bring to the table is actually a forgery, or the trade route through their lands is beset by thieves. Again, we will work with you to come up with something suitable for your own character.
Your influence represents the people outside of the immediate court you can call upon to help. Each player has 10 points to spend in total, split among the four spheres of influence. For each point, you will receive a high and a low card of that suit, eg. 2 points in Cunning adds the ace and 2, and the 6 and 7 of spades to your deck. 4 points in Charm would add the ace, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of hearts to your deck. When you use your influence, it becomes more likely that you'll call on a particular sphere the higher your score in that sphere.
Charm (hearts) is your sway in fashionable circles, using your good looks, dress sense and social skills.
Capital (diamonds) is all about using your assets, cash or otherwise, to make an offer they can’t refuse.
Cunning (spades) might be using your influence by threats, extortion, thievery or deception.
Catholicism (clubs) uses your piety (or perceived piety) to bring the external influences to bear.
Put simply, every character at Le Deuxieme Etat will have a friend at court with them. This friend might be an old army chum, family member, lover, protege or family priest, but it must be another played character. We will do what we can to put you in touch with other players so you can arrange between you who you would like as your friend at court, but it is ultimately down to you to decide who you would like and what relationship you have. Having a friend at court means that every time they do something that would increase their social status, so yours goes up a small amount due to your close association.
Not only do we ask you to arrange a friend at court, but every character will also have a rival. Your rival or nemesis could be a slighted former lover, competition for a disputed title, or somebody who once wronged you or your family. Regardless, they must be another played character, and whenever something happens to decrease their social status, yours will increase a little instead. You might not be doing well at achieving your own objectives, but you can always scupper your rival's plans instead. This is the cut-throat world of 18th century French politics!