This is the 20th installment in a series of previews designed to introduce newcomers to Chronoplex. In this, the fifth in a series about typical characters found in the Plex, we follow the trail of characters who know their way around the Plex.
Description: Whether leading tourists, locating a castaway, or pointing the way for an explorer, guides are experts on travel in the Plex. They know their area of the Plex like the back of their hand and are willing to share that knowledge… for a fee.
There are two basic types of guides: the local expert and the route expert. Local experts learn about a specific GTL or a parcel while route experts learn about a particular circuit of tubes. Either way, guides have deep knowledge of a narrow region. Whereas explorers seek out new tubes and new GTLs, guides tend to have an affinity for a particular area or route and learn all they can about it. It isn’t enough to just know where to find the nearest tube; guides want to know where all of the tubes are in a given area, the best and worst ones to take, places to eat and rest along the way, the most interesting bits of history about the area, etc.
This isn’t to say that guides stick to the highlights of an area. Quite the contrary; good guides know that it’s more valuable to know the pitfalls and dangers of an area and they strive to learn just as much about the bad as they do the good. Whether they’re in a tourist town or a bug-filled swamp, guides love their area for what it is and want to share it with, or possibly protect it from, others.
Many believe that guides are only useful within their own area and are lost outside of it. While there is some truth to this, guides shouldn’t be underestimated. While they may not know specifics outside of their home region, guides can still draw from local knowledge and find parallels with it that can be quite helpful in many situations.
Relationships: Guides are, by necessity, normally easy to get along with; it’s good for business. But guides are also use to dealing with people only so long as their journey lasts, so they normally don’t have many deep relationships. They truly do love their adopted area, so anyone wanting to get close to a guide must love, or at least respect, the GTL(s) almost as much as he does. Conversely, the fastest way to draw the ire of a guide is to disrespect or damage his favored region in any way.
Spanning: Leading others through a given route is what guides do, so they willingly, and frequently, span within their area. They are normally loathe to leave their home region, but will do so if it is in the greater interest of their homeland or those who live in it.
Talent Focus: Guides benefit most from aptitude and charm with a secondary focus on agility and savvy. Guides have to have deep knowledge of their home area and the charisma to share it with others, but they also need to be able to traverse routes and make use of their surroundings when necessary.
BONUS! Since this is the 20th preview, I thought I would throw in a treat. Here’s an extra entry on typical characters found in the Plex. In this entry we meet one of the most industrious of the characters in the Plex.
Description: Everyone is familiar with the saying regarding mailmen: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” Add “nor the fabric of space and time” to that and you have the couriers of the Plex. Couriers are the backbone of civilization in the Plex, connecting GTLs that would otherwise be almost completely isolated from each other.
At present there are two main factions among couriers: the Postal Couriers Brotherhood (The Brotherhood) and the Sanctioned Postal Carriers Union (The Sanctioned). The Brotherhood existed long before the Caesian Confederation. It was the first group formed to encourage communication between GTLs and has a proud history of volunteer service. In contrast, The Sanctioned are relatively new. They were formed by the Caesian Confederation shortly after the Temporal Articles of Confederation were ratified to regulate the timely delivery of mail to all parts of Caesia.
Both factions are proud and dedicated, and, with few exceptions, both factions despise each other. There is open aggression and frequent conflict between the two groups regarding which is the better courier. However, while sabotage and skirmishes are common between the Brotherhood and the Sanctioned, it is tacitly understood that the post should remain unharmed. In a way, the competition between the two has actually improved the speed and quality of service as each is constantly striving to out-deliver the other.
There is a third postal faction in play, although it remains off the radar: the Shadow Post. These couriers are charged with delivering post and goods that senders would like to remain… discreet. The Shadow Post has little interest in competing with the Brotherhood or the Sanctioned, though they take their duty every bit as seriously; possibly moreso since losing any letter or package could cost them their life.
Relationships: Couriers are among the busiest of all spanners. They are normally on a mission to get to a certain location within a given timeframe, so they can’t be bothered with pleasantries along the way. It can be tiring to try to keep pace with a courier, but when it comes to efficiency in travel, couriers can’t be beat.
Spanning: Couriers span constantly, but they have a fixed route and they follow it doggedly. If they go off course for any reason they can usually find their way back easily enough, but if it puts them behind schedule then they won’t be very pleasant traveling companions.
Talent Focus: Couriers need agility and endurance with a secondary focus on will and savvy. Couriers have to be fast and tough to get the mail through, but they also have to be mentally strong to stay focused and clever enough to find the fastest way between destinations.
Thanks for following the progress on Chronoplex. Check back in two weeks when we explore the shadier side of common characters in the Plex: The Looter.