Monkey by Peter Frain

Monkey by Peter Frain

Today we look at player Immortal creation.

This character generation example follows the new character generation method of five story steps.

Each step is played out one to one with the player, and you go round the table doing each step with each player before moving on to the next step. As you go through each step you build up the story of the character, and for new players you explain the basics of the setting as you are playing the story. No more half and hour monologues from the Narrator explaining the ins and outs of the Western Heaven 🙂

At the end of each story Step, you assign game objects to the character. Game Objects are their Attitudes, their Professions, which tell you broadly what skills they have, and Magical Powers/Tools.

Finally you play out an Action, in the form of a challenge to the characters. Cards may or may not be pulled to resolve the Action, but if you do you use the Game Objects which are already written down.  Other players sit back and listen, but what we found useful in so far to explain why the group was together was for other players to mention their relationships to the others characters offstage. For example after the first character told their story of what they did in heaven, the other players mentioned that first character in their stories.

Step 1 Origins

Monkey’s player decides that he starts his story in early primordial Earth, and is a product of that magical forces acting on a magical stone.

The four elements acted upon a stone egg, and from it a Stone Monkey was born!
He joined a tribe of Monkeys who he meets shortly after.

Origin: Animal Spirit

Monkey’s first Challenge

One day the tribe came across a huge waterfall cascading down a mountain. They were curious. The cheeky stone Monkey, suggested that whoever could jump up to the top of the mountain and see what was there would become king of the tribe. Several large apes tried, but only the Stone Monkey succeeded and became their king!

The player decides that Monkey’s raw physical agility and cheek is what drives him to step forward and try to jump up. This gives him his first Profession and Attitude. A Simple Action (see Day 13 the Rules) is performed Cards are drawn for both Monkey ( a basic draw of 2 plus an additional card for the Cheeky Attitude) versus 3 cards for the resistance of the Mountain, the highest cards of each hand are compared and Monkey’s player is Victorious!

The following is added to Monkey’s character sheet.

First Profession: Monkey Kung Fu (Mixed Style) 2
Attitude: Cheeky(Yin)

Step 2 Going to Heaven

After a while Monkey realised that like all mortals he would grow old and die. This made him sad.One of the Elder Apes seeing the normally exuberant Monkey depressed asked him what was wrong and after Monkey admitted his troubles he suggested that Monkey find a wise Taoist Sage to teach him the arts of immortality. Therefore after traveling the world of mortals he meets the Patriarch who taught him the Taoist magical arts. Monkey gained his religious name “Sage aware of Vacuity”. Predictably the cheeky monkey got in trouble with the Patriarch, and Up in heaven the wise Planet Venus, advisor of Celestial Jade Emperor, took notice of the rise of power of Monkey on Earth and decided it would be a good idea to invite him up to heaven to keep a closer eye on him. Once in heaven The Great Sage of Vacuity was given the position of looking after the Jade Emperor’s horses. There he is given the name “Great Sage Equal to Heaven”.

Monkey’s 2nd Challenge: Keeping his position in Heaven

Eventually Monkey realised that he had been given a position of little importance and run amok in heaven as a result. The Jade Emperor sent his heavenly armies, led by the demon hunter General Li,the Pagoda Throwing General, and his son Prince Natha to subdue the rebellious Monkey. But alas they were soundly defeated and Monkey was only calmed when the Planet Venus offered him the position of guarding the Peaches of Immortality in the Queen Mother of the Western Heaven’s garden.

This time the player picks the second Profession based upon Monkey’s studying with the Patriarch and an Attitude of Rebellious for his disrespect for Heavenly authority.  Another Simple Action is performed to see if Monkey is victorious against the massed armies of Heaven and the result is a tie. This means although Monkey is on the surface victorious, there is a compromise/complication which in this case is his pacification with a new post in Heaven which brings him back under their authority.

Second Profession: Taoist Sage 2 (from his studies with the Patriarch, although I could quite have easily picked Rogue for his lazing about in Heaven).
Second Attitude: Rebellious (Yang)

Patron: Planet Venus
Enemies: Prince Natha and General Li the Pagadoa Throwing General

Step 3 Monkey’s Magical Weapon

One day while lazing around the Peach Garden, Monkey casually remarked to the Planet Venus that a guard such as he should have a great weapon to perform his duties. The wise planet suggested that he visit the Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean, who had a great store of magical weapons. Once there the Dragon King eventually showed Monkey the Great Iron Staff of the Pole Star, which could shrink down to the size of a needle or expand to vast size, and being made of star metal was very heavy. Monkey successfully lifted the staff as if it was weightless, and despite protests from the Dragon King took it as his own.

Magical weapon: The Iron Staff of the Pole Star stolen from the Dragon King of the Eastern Ocean.

Monkey’s 3rd Challenge keeping hold of the new magical weapon

Eventually the Dragon King arrived in Heaven to protest the theft of the Iron Staff, and Monkey was sent to King Yama’s realm, the 12 Hells where the dead go, as a punishment. Monkey managed to trick his way out by sneaking out of the Hells and erasing his name from King Yama’s book of the dead, which holds the name of everyone who is dead and the time and manner of their death. Just for the fun of it, Monkey also erased the names of several elder monkeys from Water Cave Mountain.

Monkey’s player comes up with the above and between them and the Narrator they decide not to run a Simple Action, since its such a cool story that leads nicely into …….

Step 4 Monkey gets expelled from Heaven

The player determines Monkey’s Weakness first by drawing a card from the deck and consulting the list of Weaknesses:

Weakness: Undisciplined: You were promoted to the ranks of the celestial Immortals, yet at every opportunity you were rude and unruly. Eventually, the Jade Emperor expelled you from the Western Heaven, and ordered you to learn humility and manners on Earth.

This leads to the following bit of the story, detailing Monkey’s expulsion from Heaven:

Eventually Monkey got in trouble again, this time for eating the Peaches of Immortality just as they had finished their thousand-year ripening and were expected at Queen of Western Heaven’s party. Once again rather than take responsibility he runs amok in heaven. This time he is subdued by Buddha who hears the sounds of mayhem from the Eastern (Buddhist) Heaven and decides to come over and help his friends in the Western Heaven. He tricks the egotistical Monkey into racing to the end of the Universe,where Monkey graffiti on four pillars, and Back, when in fact he never left Buddha’s hand, as proven by the graffiti on Buddha’s four fingers. Buddha then imprisons him under a mountain, saying that he will stay there until a Buddhist Monk comes along who needs his help and who will redeem him.

Step 5 Monkey is imprisoned on Earth

Monkey spends four hundred years imprisoned under the mountain. He is eventually freed when Tripitaka arrives, and recruits him as the first of his pilgrim helpers on his Journey to the West

In this step Monkey’s player picks his final Profession: Rogue, despite Monkey not doing a great deal while trapped under the mountain (Prisoner) would be a dull choice, so for his final skill we are going to choose one that is in keeping with his actions that got him there.

Monkey’s final character sheet looks like this:


Origin: Animal Spirit
Yin Cheeky
Yang Rebellious*

*Being of Animal origin Monkey relies a bit more on his natural instincts, which means his Professions below have slightly lower values, but to compensate has a dominant attitude which gives double the card bonus during Actions.

Monkey Kung Fu (Mixed Style) 2
Taoist Alchemist 1
Rogue 2
Weakness: Undisciplined

Magical Weapon: Iron Staff of the Pole Star
Powers: Flight, Shape changing.
Monkey also wears a Golden head band that was placed there by the Goddess Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, so that Tripitaka can use to force him to behave by invoking the Headache Sutra, which causes the headband to painfully constrict. Technically this is Tripitaka’s Magic Item, but is noted here so Monkey’s player is painfully aware of it.

Day 15 of 23 Days of Monkey, Kickstarter starts in 8 Days on 8 January 2017.