[Lady Blackbird] Meet Kale Arkam
Kyle is described simply as “A burglar and petty sorcerer, first mate and mechanic of The Owl.” That’s all you get in the realm of character/roleplaying notes. The Traits reinforce the descriptors in the sentence, and the Keys & Secrets (think of them as major issues of the character that should/will drive his personal story) just add an extra bit of info (Kale’s greedy, has an unbreakable bond of friendship with Captain Vance, and has a mission he wants to complete at all costs). Beyond that, it’s all up to me how I portray Kale.
Having there been already one session of this game, wherein the crew valiantly escapes the clutches of The Hand of Sorrow, we started our tale about an hour after that. We were all in the ship’s mess hall, regrouping, and eating some food cooked by me.
We started off a bit slow while everyone got into character. Arnold slipped right into the role of Snargle the goblin (who has a Key of Banter) and started chatting it up. That made it easy for the rest of us to join in. During those early scenes, I was still feeling Kale out, and the few lines I had I played him as confident, sarcastic and determined. After an almost-suicidal escape maneuver from a giant sky squid, I pushed for the responsible thing to do, meaning refueling in some space-forsaken planetoid where I gambled a lot and would not be a welcomed sight.
While most of the crew headed planetside for provisions, I stayed behind to do some repairs. I also stayed behind with Lady Blackbird and it was during my one scene with her that Kale truly emerged. My personal nervousness about playing after so long, playing over Skype, playing a game new to me, with a new player at the “table,” all these got combined and refocused into my roleplaying. Kale suddenly was shifty and nervous, almost nebbish, talking a mile a minute, playing with his hands, looking all over the place (my fellow players could obviously not see these gestures over Skype, but nevertheless it was what I was doing while talking in-character). He delivered his message to Lady Blackbird, that Captain Uriah Flint was waiting for her and that it was his mission–beyond her hiring the ship to transport her–to deliver her safely, “in one piece,” to the Captain (hitting my Key of the Mission right there).
I then told her, “You make me nervous.” Which surprised *me* as the player! She asked why, and I told her it was because she was a noble, and I’d had some run-ins with some of her peers here and there. What houses have you had dealings with? she asked. “Oh, well, I can tell you, not yours.” Tell me of one of those dealings, she said.
“Oh, there was this one time, at a ball, there was this young noble girl, very pretty, and we danced, and well, you see, I mean, I swear, it’s not like, I just ended up with, well it was a misunderstanding, really, I stole these rings from her, but that was all a misunderstanding because what I really was after was the bejeweled sword she was wearing, but the jewelery, well, it was so easy… I was a bad person; I’m trying to be better. … … That is a very shinny golden vase you have there, Lady, very valuable, I can see. … I’ll be in the engine room, if you need me, which you won’t, but if you do, just bang loudly on the hull, I’m sure I’ll hear it, or use the comm system, as well, yeah. Good evening. Deliver you to the Captain, in one piece. Engine room. Yes, later.” As he walked away, Lady Blackbird could hear echoing through the halls, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
After the game was over, the guys were nice enough to comment about the portrayal, and I believe it was Mick who said the two magic words: Steve Buscemi. Yes, that’s precisely it. He’s both the confident mo-fo that can be cool as a Reservoir Dog, yet nervous and shifty and yappy, all in the very same portrayal. That’s my Kale Arkam.