The First Children or: What To Do When You're The Only Kids In The World

edited June 2008 in Story Games
Here's the seed of a setting I've been thinking of off and on for a while but haven't gotten anywhere with. So... I'm just gonna toss it out there:

My mother was a wolf. My father was the wind. I am Wegaye. My senses are keen and my step is swift and sweeping.

I have this image in my head. I see young people walking around a world were man just sprung out of nature's other aspects somehow - as long as the two elements can meet it works. So far there are probably only a handful of them. They're basically living in the garden of Eden - untouched nature in perfect harmony, probably full of animals who the Children can talk to since they're in tune with nature too. Basically it's a creation myth in progress.

It's a lovely, colorful picture in my head... but nothing's moving in it. What the heck would you do in such a setting?


  • edited June 2008
    I'd try and nail down: Why did the first people appear? That would seem to create a situation to explore.

    Possibly, I'm totally looking at this in the wrong way. If so, correct me :)
  • Posted By: DeBracyMy mother was a wolf. My father was the wind.
    Made me think of Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. The main character's father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine.
  • edited June 2008
    Made me think of Cory Doctorow's</i>Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town<i>. The main character's father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine.

    Washing machine eh? Poetic in it's own way. :) I think I was influenced by Mike Resnick's 'Santiago' - the prologue opens up with: "They say his father was a comet and his mother a cosmic wind"... I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.

    I'd try and nail down: Why did the first people appear? That would seem to create a situation to explore.

    Possibly, I'm totally looking at this in the wrong way. If so, correct me :)

    Hey... as I said, I just tossed it out there. There's no wrong way to look at it. I hadn't even considered a "why" so it's a fresh thought for me. I'll chew on it for a while and see what comes up. Thanks!
  • It sounds like an interesting idea for a setting. And not only exploration, it sounds like it would encourage building as well, as the characters may be trying to establish some kind of society? But they may be too young for that. But building themselves as well. They are children, and their parents are not really the kind that can sit them down and teach them. So how will they learn and grow? Will they be like animals, or rise above that and set the foundation for human civilization?
  • Oh, and I noticed I didn't mention that this stubs of an idea is unbaked awesome cakes.
  • While talking about children and young people I picture them as in their teens. And I'm not sure they've grown from being babies, maybe they're just 10 or so right off the bat. Hard to tell - it seems to be happening off camera. :D

    Anyway, yeah, they'd probably be building some kind of society, at least unconsciously, learning to interact with others of their own kind. I picture the animals as capable of teaching what they know but that's hunting, survival and the animal code: "Stay away from fire", "Badgers aren't to be trusted" or something like that. Less fortunate are those without an animal parent: "He is the son of Stone and Fire, he has a cold heart and a flaming temper - you cannot trust someone like that, daughter Wegaye."

    I see some delicious mistrust between animals and those not partly animal. Is it justified? Are those Children really different?

    For some reason I think of the animal way to be the right way and to rise above that, to create weapons, build things and dominate nature is actually to fall. It's just a feeling I've got though, not some sort of goal in itself.

    Both Exalted and Princess Monoke has been inspiration to this whole idea. The later in a more obvious way and the former in a sense that I like the spirit of Exalted but I haven't been charmed by the execution. There's definitely room for kewl powahz even though it'd mostly be color.
  • Hrms, I'm getting a vibe here that feels like the players are in a fashion, defining humanity by the actions of their characters. Thats interesting. I'm not yet forming full thoughts surrounding this, but I'm sure some will come soon.
  • Yeah. I see action as being a individual, societal, and universal. That is, actions solve some specific hurdle, but also reflect some societal definition of humanity, and some universal quality or potential of humanity. It's a coming of age story, ultimately. But more than just growing from child to adult, it's about humanity's growth from instinct to consciousness.

    But most of that thematic stuff would be in the background. I think it would be too meta to have it front and center.

    Sources of conflict could arise from ostricization - perhaps the union that created them is forbidden, their parents might be rebellious, or their union was a mistake and they disavow their children. This is a bit more Greek and Hindu, a theme among polytheistic myths.

    Alternatively (or perhaps even mixed with the above) conflict could arise from some enemy. Perhaps it's, like you mention, children from only the elements. Or perhaps the raw elements. Or some other dark force, the void, shadow beings, evil animals, etc.

    Or, perhaps the conflict simply arises from problems with being different. Either caused by breaking the rules, or trying to be selfish, or other things, sometimes by accident, sometimes by lack of consideration for others. This fits with animistic myths that the setting reminds me of. And this one leaves room for the above options (sometimes there is a problem of ostricization, sometimes there are dark beings who can't be reasoned with) but as a rule, the children are simply a different form of people, one that the world/universe/nature recognizes as special and filled with more potential.

    Rising above being an animal is the way to go, for this setting. Otherwise, well, it seems like the idea is that humanity is something bad, so why not kill the children before it gets out of hand? The idea that humanity breaking away from nature leads to a fall is a Judeo-Christian one, and as such, doesn't really jive with the whole animistic driven mythos that I'm getting from it. Instead, I think the right direction is about the balance between nature and reason (or however you specifically want to frame it), the difficulty of maintaining that balance, and the potential for something greater by being able to walk that line.
  • I happen to have been reading some Native American creation myths recently, so the answer to 'what do they do?' could be stuff like:

    - Tell the sun when to rise and set; figure out what its course should be
    - Separate the underworld from 'our world' from the sky/heavens
    - Set up the cultural patterns that will be followed by generations. (This makes me think of a two-part game where in one, you play the First People setting everything up, and in another, you have normal natives, centuries later, struggling to apply that to their lives.)
    - Figure out where food is, how to get it, what to do with it.
    - Figure out how to provide shelter for yourself and your family.
    - Set up the basic family unit.
    - Set the precedents for wars and raiding (there's one amusing Crow myth where Coyote's wife is stolen a couple times, and both times he goes and steals her back, and his brother is all 'how can you live with a stolen wife?' and Coyote is 'Hey, when she was stolen, she learned some things, and besides, only the prettiest wives get stolen."
    - Recover things that are stolen
    - Steal things that people need
    - Die and be brought back to life a lot
    - Set up man's relationship with the various animals (emnity with those that hinder, harmony with those that help)

    And there's a lot more I'm not thinking of right now. The particular book I'm reading is pretty good; it's "American Indian Myths and Legends", collected by Erdoes and Ortiz.
  • First of all: belated thanks for some great tips - yes, rising above the animals is definitely the way to go with this and these myths that you've pointed to are definitely the place to look for more inspiration.

    I haven't been around much this summer (being a guide in a church originally built in the 13th century and getting to make a lot of music there kinda distracted me from forum hopping) but just last night these First Children broke into my conscious again. Thoughts about how life for Wegaye, daughter of Wolf and Wind, with her pack would change if she met this son of Stone and Fire; how the pack would first start to mistrust her, then shun her, in the end maybe even attack her... But alas, I've yet to find the game among these pretty pictures in my head. I'll keep on looking!
  • Posted By: DeBracyWhat the heck would you do in such a setting?
    Introduce an apple and a snake.
  • Posted By: DeBracyMy mother was a wolf. My father was the wind. I am Wegaye. My senses are keen and my step is swift and sweeping.

    Perhaps you already know about this but Bigby Wolf from the Fables comic book series is the son of a wolf and the North Wind.

    Also I second lpsmith and Daztur suggestions. There are lots of available mythologies out there, many common themes between the different stories. Each game session could be based on a particular theme (e.g. loss of innocence, tragedy, discovery, love and loss) and the characters would play this story, perhaps trying to fight against the theme and avoid the (inevitable?) ending that the theme suggests.

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