Who Am I In the World?

Well, obviously, that depends on what you do! Post Terminus is very broad in scope and open-ended in possibilities, and it can be daunting to figure out where you fit into things. In some writing RPs, including our previous one Halcyon Days, players are discouraged from doing anything too outlandish until you hit the uppermost tiers. Here, though, we'd like to reinforce the idea that your PC is a protagonist, not an extra in the sidelines of the oldest RPer's story. There is always room for growth and advancement, but even early on, the choices you make have potential to impact the world we all write in.

So, then, the question remains: "Where do I stand in the world?" When you look at a character, where are they at in terms of the general populace? To better clarify that, let's take a look at Skill Tiers and Esteem. Every skill that a character picks up has five levels of mastery. From bottom to top: Novice, Adept, Skilled, Master, Grandmaster.

What does 'novice' level mean, though? You're just picking up the skill, dabbling in it on weekends? No. Although we call it 'novice,' that's relative to how far you have left to grow in the skill. In truth, you can think of 'Novice' as graduating high-school. 'Novice,' in this context, means that you know as much as just about any average practitioner of the skill. Almost every adult in Araevis will be at least a Novice of one skill, and many will happily make a career out of that one skill.

Your PC, though? You start out with four skills at that graduate level (and possibly before you're an adult). So where does that put you? Starting out, your PC is among the top 10% of the population, with more knowledge and skill than nine out of ten people you meet.

Adept-tier would be like tech college, making you a professional in whatever you're studying. Consider that a bump up to the top 5%.

Skilled-tier is a full degree, you're an expert in your field. Top 3%, and people are going to remember you, they're going to look for people like you. A character who reaches this tier in multiple abilities is bordering on 'hero' territory and has greater potential to shape world events.

Masters make up the top 1% of the world. Grandmasters? Too small a group to assign a percentage, these are genuine legend territory. These are the Einsteins and Stephen Hawkings, people you will know by name if they've ever made themselves known.

That segues nicely into Esteem. I just spoke about how your mastery in one skill sets you apart from the population, but there's more to it than that. Your Esteem level, based on your total points earned, is a relative estimation of how well-known you are expected to be based on how much you've done in the world. Mind you, there will be variance -- if your character hides from the spotlight, people aren't going to magically know about them. If you choose to live quietly, tending bar in a tavern, people aren't going to be breaking your door down asking you to come save the princess.

But if you go head to head with an archmagi commanding a legion of daemons and raining lightning on everyone around, people are going to remember that, they're going to tell stories. They aren't going to talk about you as the doofus who forgot to bring a decent gun, but as the heroic soul who wasn't afraid to risk his life to lead others to victory.

You start out Unknown (1,000 Vigor), and like we said before, you're still in the top 10%. Notable (3,000 Vigor), like Adept, is around the top 5%, and Prominent (10,000) slips in that top 3% range. So far, not really different, right?

But you know, even if you never work your way up to Master in a single skill, if you keep growing and you broaden out, enhancing yourself in more varied ways, building multiple disciplines up to Skilled-tier, you're still separating yourself from the pack. Renowned (30,000) is up there in that top 1%, and if you reach Exalted (60,000), consider that the top 0.1%.

Why is it important to know this? Perspective. Perspective on yourself and on other players, perspective on the NPCs you create. You are the protagonist of your own story. Your actions, your adventures, they have the potential to impact the world, and you should write as if that's true. Other players may be traveling a similar path to you, those paths may intersect, and you may impact one another, but at no point should you ever think, "I am not as strong as he is, so I'm just a side character in his story."

The scope of your story will grow as you gain mastery and esteem, but you should expect your character to do things and attain things above and beyond the average citizens of Araevis. That includes relatively simple details like owning vehicles or creating mad laboratories, and plot threads like climbing the ranks of the underground or rooting out the evils of a megacorporation. At certain points you may even be changing established canon by doing things like transporting between planes or introducing new technology that didn't exist before.

And all of it leads to a richer writing and roleplaying environment for everyone.