Fantasy Adventure #2 is a dark fantasy setting. Unlike Adventure #1 which has all the trappings of "classical" fantasy, #2 requires the players to create human characters in a world where life is cheap and integrity is a liability. Much in the spirit of the great gaming blog Tales of the Grotesque and the Dungeonesque or the horrible fantasy books The Game of Thrones, everyone is out for themselves.
I find these type of settings where the world is a swirl of grey instead of black and white suite good character development. In fact, rely on it. Since everyone is a turd what sort of polish can you bring?
OpenQuest is great for allowing a player to create a character quickly with much depth of character.
I also am not above providing pre-generated characters for a new group to chose from. Since I am still attempting to accomplish the blog's main goal of regularly playing role playing games with other people in the wilderness, immediate gaming with minimal prep is essential.
I also aim to give the players opportunities to organically foster group relations with "believable" hooks, themes, and plots. A well appointed list of character backgrounds with just enough detail to make the character interesting to play, fight and die can only help deliver a dynamic player group from the outset! This means you will want to offer your players many different character choices. Pick a system which allows you to generate characters quickly!
Starting the campaign in a city offers legitimate reasons for characters of diverse races and backgrounds to be found together, and with intriguing character descriptions it makes it even easier to start table dialogue.
One such character I can offer as an example is The Searching Sailor. Here are the background notes which were the springboard for quantifying the character's abilities;
Washed up on the shores as a child, superstitious peasants took you in as a gift from the sea gods. Much to their disappointment you only found happiness on the tips of the waves and the edge of the wind. Soon you left your poor village behind without a second glance and became a daring sailor on the open sea. Your quest to find your true origins has led to family secrets steeped in darkness. Do you pursue these tantalizing clues further? Or do leave them, like the miserable village of your childhood, in the misty fog of past days?
Any player with salt will have no trouble fashioning your traditional sailor skill set; navigation, swimming, cutlass and some other skills of personal preference will get the usual character creation work completed. Where OpenQuest aids in satisfying depth of character, your character concept, is the addition of the Battle Magic school of magic required to complete the character creation process.
My thoughts on Magic in OpenQuest for Non Magic Users comes into play here. For this sailor character I create an Enchanted Item and devise an Elemental Talent to spend the required magic points on.
I call the enchanted item the Brace of Burk, a leather embossed wrist guard. It can predict approaching storms two days out and detect land up to twenty miles away. Yes, I know the OpenQuest does not include these specific effects in any of the listed spells, but if you get anything from the OpenQuest it should be you can make it up. So, predicting weather and detecting land seem to be mundane powers in which Battle Magic would seem to thrive.
The elemental talent is restricted to the realm of Battle Magic if nothing else but to avoid taking on another school of magic such as Divine Magic or Sorcery. The character's latent elemental talent was first awakened when the brace was first donned as a piece of armor. So far it has given the Searching Sailor the ability to communicate with Air Elementals.