162 Posts and a Year and nine months later, we are finished with the first part of Svante’s story. Svante had a long trip from child to adult. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.
When JayTee started his quest, I decided to start my own. Play by Post games weren’t really scratching that writing itch. I had two Exalted concepts that where difficult to fit in a normal Exalted game. One was an Eclipse who hid on the Blessed Isle (I used this concept as a basis for my current play by post game.) The other was this kid Sidereal who lived through the late Shogunate.
Originally, the kid Sidereal was a Chosen of Serenity who loved reading manga and having fun. I wanted to have the players choose the caste, so I left it up to a vote. When I first put the character on paper, he seemed more Chosen of Battles than Serenity. But as players made choices, Svante wavered between Chosen of Journeys and Chosen of Secrets. It was a close vote and Chosen of Secrets won out.
I made a lot of mistakes in the first chapter. One was introducing Nanny. Originally, Svante was supposed to exalt early in the chapter and have to deal with Arcane fate. I had envisioned a heartbreaking scene with Nanny where he ran home after his Exaltation and she didn’t recognize Svante. Instead, Svante kept running and running from his fate. Chapter one was left with a lot of loose ends.
Chapter two was when I introduced Svante to the rest of the Sidereal characters and tied up the loose ends with Nanny. To be honest I didn’t have much of a plot planned out. I just wrote this chapter a post at a time.
My darkest moment came in Chapter three. I almost bailed on this chapter. I lost a few players when I threatened to do that. Things weren’t working out properly and I was down to two consistent players. This was when I realized writing was hard work and to suck it up and write. It didn’t matter how many players I had. I will finish what I started.
Chapter four was where I learned not to give players options to completely avoid plot. The original plan was for Svante to run havoc around Yu-Shan with Ika. Instead the players wanted to go back to the school. So I had to find a reason for Ika to visit Creation. It ended up being a good thing because it gave me a chance to fix some characterization with the Dragonblooded kids. Unfortunately, it was the chapter were Haytham got character assassinated. I thought using a child Exalt who was more than what he seemed as bait was a great idea. Players rightly thought differently. So I used Haythem as a scapegoat for my bad planning. Which actually happens a lot to Haythem in character too.
Chapter five was where I hit my stride. I learned how to plot better and how to give better choices. I grew up in a tropical area, so writing descriptions was easier than the vaguely Asian settings of earlier chapters. And Rory was a great character to write for.
Chapter six was the most important chapter in Hero. Svante finds out the truth about his past. Meets his birth family. Becomes a sorcerer. This was probably my favorite chapter to write. I had so many plans for the Trial of Fire. If you chose to give up Akachi, you would have moved in with Kejak for a bit until you got sick of each other. He would have sent you to the Dragonblooded Military school full time. If you choose the fuck it option, you would not become a sorcerer and instead wander around Whitewalls for a bit. Ayesha Ura would have approached you and in Part two, Svante would have been a Gold Faction Archeologist.
Chapter seven was added because a player made a comment about Svante spending more time with mortals to learn more about them. Unfortunately, the votes shook out to Svante avoiding all the mortals in the chapter. He didn’t go to the temple. He didn’t visit any of the villagers. He just went straight to the gods. Frankly this was totally in character. Svante would stick with what he knew. This chapter is also where I decided to end the chapter on a cliff hanger. That was a bad idea.
Chapter eight…. Oh man. This is the one where work and the holidays threw me off my stride. I had some writer’s block at the end of the chapter. It wasn’t until the last three or four posts, I figured out where the story needed to go. The main thrust of this chapter was to transition Svante from a reactive child to a proactive adult.
So if you have any questions or comments about the quest, feel free to ask. Some I won’t be able to answer because the question may be answered in the next quest.