Thursday, June 6, 2013

NPCs of The Court Adamantine - Michael Canar

Talking about your favorite NPCs is sometimes akin to talking about your favorite character; it's hit or miss in terms of interest. However, since Favorite NPCs is the topic of the month for the RPG Blog Carnival, I thought I'd write in a way that's useful to GMs, such as:

  • the roles that they played in the campaign
  • the ways they were characterized
  • why I liked them.

NPC of The Court Adamantine: The Rogue

Michael Canar is the human form of one of Isle Imperium's most notorious shards: The Renegade Warder. One of my character's two favored shards, Canar had a reputation as a constantly scheming shard -- cunning, charming, ruthless, and loyal to his friends.

To people he respects, he is very candid about having secret plans and personal agendas, but he wouldn't be Canar if he didn't often exaggerate, obfuscate, or lie outright about certain details. His long-term plans and willingness to fool himself into believing certain things in order to achieve his goals -- along with his many abilities, sequestered and stolen abilities, and secrets -- made him a beloved and feared figure in the Isle Legions. One part Odysseus, one part Batman; small wonder that he made it into the The Court Adamantine.

His roles were:

  • as a shard -- a source of mysterious abilities and information, a foil and sometimes an antagonist due to his agendas, a friend and confidante for PCs and NPCs involved in the game of shadows and espionage with its ever-shifting alliances;
  • as a person -- a reborn hero slowly remembering what being human is like, with contiguous memory and the ability to see plans through more easily without the occasional lapses in knowledge and consciousness that comes with being a shard; a loner or isolationist slowly learning what it means to be a sly, cunning, suspicious individual working within a large organization like a court. With his tendency to be restlessly inquisitive and working toward goals, he can be a bit like a monkey wrench thrown into plots of both PCs and other NPCs.
Characterization techniques:
  • as a shard -- since early on very little speaking to shards was done (we were often told that they weren't people, just tools), characterization was done through abilities of the shard -- listed and unlisted. Signature abilities with names like Implicate (which passed on damage and afflictions to others) and Discernment (which allowed an intuitive understanding of mysterious effects at play) gave a distinct flavor to the more combat oriented shards available. Also, the fact that the shard itself had a bank account in the Diamond Legion (separate from the shard bearer) clued us in to his affinity to costs and avoidance thereof.
  • as a person -- when he's at easy or his guard is down, he's arrogant, intelligent, and occasionally abrasive, much like a toned down master villain. But you know he's offended and possibly dangerously angry when he becomes very, very polite and charming. Long time friends will hear the knife being sharpened even as his face breaks into a warm smile.


  1. What game is this for? And I recognize Yvonne Strahovsky; who are the men? Do you usually use celebrity faces for NPCs?

  2. Hi Matt,

    This is for a campaign season that a friend of mine ran for us -- for many, many years! It ended with Isle: The Court Adamantine.

    Yes, we used celebrity faces a lot for the PCs and then for the NPCs. :)

  3. We used Instant / Basic Fuzion as the core, but the GM was responsible for building the mechanics of the shards on top of that relatively straightforward STAT+SKILL set of abilities, and several other figured stats.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.