The Seeker comes from a toxic society and has found a new community in which to belong and grow.
Their central conflict pits tradition and upbringing against justice and developing their personal values.
- Immigrant from Heteronormia
- Privileged Background
(circle or invent one for each)
- Guarded demeanor, curious demeanor, uptight demeanor
- Foreigner’s clothes, old-fashioned clothes, elaborate getup
- An ancient sword, a brand-new sword, “That’s not a sword!”
Choose one column of stats, then add 1 each to two different stats.
Describe the Authority that governed your upbringing and choose at least six Commandments the Authority has issued:
- Always answer an insult with a drawn sword
- Never admit to your weak emotions
- Always cover your sinful body
- No intimacy until after a monogamous marriage
- Never give when you can sell
- Never let a weaker person fight their own battles
- Never fight a weaker person’s battles
- Always obey the Authority
- Always obey a certain type of person (gender, race, class, belief, elders)
- Never go unchaperoned (or at all) with a certain type of person
Tradition is a measure of how you feel your Authority would judge your behavior.
Your Tradition starts at 1. Gain a point of Tradition whenever you make a personal sacrifice to act in accordance with your Commandments, to a maximum of 4. When you are at 4 Tradition, you incur a Condition each time you act contrary to your Commandments.
Spend Tradition at any time to temper the wrath of the Authority, or to take +1 forward to follow your Commandments or Call on a Toxic Power.
When you break a Commandment and repudiate it forever, cross it off and mark XP. Write a Conviction expressing your new beliefs, something that contradicts the Commandment.
Each time you live up to a Conviction despite temptation or cost, reduce your Tradition by 1 and ask an onlooker if they agree with that Conviction. If they say yes, take a String on them and learn what holds them back from living up to it, if anything. If they say no, mark a Condition.
Convictions should be bold statements that stand in contrast to the Commandments. For instance:
- I will care for myself as I would my dearest friend
- Fear will not stop me from speaking the truth of my heart
- I will fight for the well-being of those targeted by the Authority, if they wish it
- I will atone for the harm I’ve done by liberating others from the Authority
- When I see something unjust, I will educate those who can learn to do better and challenge those who must be overcome
(start with the move marked and choose two more)
People Are People: When you talk about your home, roll +Heart:
- 10+: Choose 2
- 7–9: Choose 1
- Admit a flaw about your home; gain +1 forward
- Share something good about your home; clear a Condition
- Lie about your home to impress a listener; take a String on them
Hear Me!: When you shout one of your Convictions aloud in confrontation with those who hold a contrary belief, roll +Daring:
- 10+: Ask 2
- 7–9: Ask 1
- Why do you think you have to follow that belief?
- What does it cost you to follow that belief?
- What do you wish for that is contrary to that belief?
It Wasn’t All Bad: When you encounter someone whose perspective is different from that of your companions, share a relevant story from your home culture and roll +Spirit:
- 10+: Gain a String on them and either take +1 forward to interact with them or grant that +1 forward to a companion
- 7–9: Gain a String on them
In either case, they also tell you something interesting or useful about their upbringing.
Listen and Learn: When you ask someone what you should do in an unfamiliar situation:
- If you follow their advice, take +1 forward and clear a Condition
- If you follow their advice and it goes poorly, mark XP
Proper Courtship: When you’re Smitten with someone and perform an elaborate and roundabout courtship ritual
If the recipient responds properly, you each get +1 forward to protect each other until either of you breaks a Commandment, and they gain a point of Tradition that they can spend for the same effects you can
If they don’t understand that you’re Smitten, give a String to an onlooker who does understand
Silly Tourist: When you Figure Out a Person or Defy Disaster by playing the fool, you may additionally ask a question from this list, even on a 6-:
- What would make you laugh?
- What hidden threat or opportunity am I missing?
- How are you vulnerable?
Stiff Upper Lip: You can spend a point of Tradition to ignore the -2 penalty caused by Conditions. This effect ends if you violate a Commandment or at the end of the scene. When the effect ends, take a Condition.
Truths of Heart and Blade
I Don’t Belong: When you become Smitten with someone, say why, give them a String, and answer this question:
Which of your values do they openly violate or decry?
Not So Different: When you Figure Out a Person during a physical conflict, you may additionally ask one of these questions, even on a 6-:
- What prejudice do you hold?
- What tradition do you most value?
Playing the Seeker
You spent your formative years in a deeply toxic society. Spend some time fleshing out that society and the Authority that governs it. What is a symbol, custom, phrase, or other shibboleth associated with your society? When did you first have doubts?
Your answers will help the GM build the world the characters inhabit. If they have a pre-planned scenario in mind, they’ll work with you to make sure your Authority fits or give you some options for existing Authorities that might work well.
The Tradition track is a trap designed to keep you adhering to your Commandments. It might hurt to reject the culture you came from, but you have to do it if you’re going to live your authentic self and start to remedy the harm that you were part of as a member of the Authority’s society.
As a variant, consider a Seeker who is subject to two Authorities. Choose the same number of Commandments, but specify which Authority demands which of them and track Tradition separately for each, with a cap of 3 instead of 4. This Seeker might be an orphan from one culture and raised by parents of another, facing competing demands from their adoptive family and upbringing versus a culture they wish they could fit into. It could also represent a biracial or diaspora experience for a person who feels that they are being pulled in two different directions, neither of which match their own developing values. This is not to say that toxicity is inherent to these situations in the real world; this playbook simply focuses on characters who are escaping toxic beliefs to forge their own values.
A Seeker can easily become a Devoted, hewing to new values, or a Nature Witch once they finally feel like themself and want to see what the world is like. Their Convictions could also lead them to become a Scoundrel or Trickster, or they might be Infamous and regret their deeds under the Authority’s influence.