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Skyborn video game - Claret Spencer

Claret Spencer

(Skyborn video game)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more

Context

Skyborn is a very minor, but pleasant, 2012 Japanese-style RPG à la early Final Fantasy. It is more concerned about storytelling than being hardcore, and uses story conventions from romance novels as well as Japanese RPGs and pop culture.

It is a short thing, made using RPGmaker . RPGMaker is a toolset to make video games – usually old-school Japanese style-RPGs. Most RPGMaker-based games are done by tiny teams or even a single person. Which also means that they are quite affordable.

Claret Spencer being the heroine of the story, her profile is our main Skyborn entry. The other profile is about her companions.

This entry includes bad, nasty, brutish S P O I L E R S but they are in a separate, well-signalled section.


Background

  • Real Name: Claret Spencer
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Jake (brother), parents (deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Originally none
  • Base of Operations: The Industrial District of the sky city of Granminster ; later Mobile aboard her airship
  • Height: 5’4″ Weight: 115 lbs
  • Eyes: Quite blue Hair: Black (with dark purple highlights)


Video

A trailer for the game, to give a sense of place.


Powers & Abilities

Claret is a gifted mechanic. She’s adept with all sorts of technology, from fixing seemingly irreparable engines to building firearms from scratch. Despite her youth she has extensive knowledge of multiple areas of applied technology. She can also use computer workstations.

Furthermore, she’s a dab hand with firearms, and naturally ambidextrous. She usually fights with a pistol in each hand, and is confident in her gunfighting skills. Perhaps overconfident. Much of her firearms experience comes from handling a rivet gun to work. Somehow.

On the other hand she doesn’t pay much attention to the world and society around her if that doesn’t involve machines. She starts the game as a low-information sort of person.

Claret thinks she can solve most problems by talking loudly, shooting at stuff and/or building better tools. So far this philosophy has been successful.

Coggie

Coggie is a robot pet. It was assembled by Jake (with Claret’s sort-of-help) when he was a kid. It looks vaguely like one of those robot vacuum cleaners . Coggie communicates in R2-D2-like trills and beeps, which Claret seems to understand.

Though he fills a role very similar to a medium-sized pet dog, Coggie seems at least part-sapient . It could even pilot an airship, though perhaps in the same way that XXth autopilots could. It plays no role in combat, and little role when adventuring.

Coggie seems to move using wheels, and can presumably deploy little arms to pilot. It is capable of moving up and down stairs without hindrance, so the wheels are presumably on an articulated chassis.

Claret later upgraded Coggie with a radio (though it still speaks over the radio in bleeps and whistles) and a location tracer.

Gear

Claret relies on her custom high-powered pistols, often placing her shots. As she gets into even more trouble, she buys or builds additional weaponry and supplies :

  • A large fire attack (which we assume are incendiary grenades)
  • A poison caltrops attack (though the “caltrops” seem closer to shrapnel, really)
  • Supplies such as healing potions, and a branch of life that can be used to revive a fallen ally. Ms. Spencer sees this as tech, though it’s actually alchemical.
  • A protection field dampening incoming technological attacks (such as fast projectiles)

Claret eventually uses a unique suit of power armour , the Prometheus Engine.


Setting

Skyborn is a mixed fantasy/steampunk setting. This mélange is of course not unheard of. I think that Arcanum in 2001 was the first major video game to feature this mix, though some Final Fantasy worlds are better known nowadays. Torchlight is another example.

Skyborn title and heroine

This means a mixture of elements from heroic fantasy (especially magic, near-human species and monsters) and advanced technology with distinctive aesthetics. Though steampunk tech is often more advanced that real-world 2010s technology, it comes with XIXth looks with steam power, big brass knobbles, cogs and gears. H.G. Wells and Jules Verne tech, basically.

Human technology includes guns, airships styled like sailing vessels, sophisticated engines to drive those, flying clawed drones, legged robotic mini-tanks, and early computers (only seen in large, very wealthy corporations). There is even a power armour resembling the loader in the Aliens movie, though this is an extraordinary prototype.

A number of plants and compounds with magical properties are also useable via chemistry and alchemy. This manifests as typical computer RPG potions.

The names in Claret’s hometown of Granminster evoke Great Britain.

Invaded

One key feature is that the Human realm the story takes place in has been defeated and subjugated by the Skyborn Dominion, at least one generation ago.

Skyborn people are very close to Humans (they can even interbreed) but have bat-like wings allowing them to fly. As could be guessed (since their wings are too small to provide enough lift) they also wield potent magic. This is likely what allowed them to conquer the land. Humans do not seem able to use magic, though they have alchemy and technology.

The Skyborn are more an army than a civilisation. They are all about fighting and victory, with remarkably little in the way of art, commerce, the sciences without clear and direct military applications, etc.. The Skyborn are very disciplined and hierarchical, and they greatly value aggression and obeying orders.

This doesn’t mean that they are black-clad death’s head stormtroopers. Their depiction is closer to that of a modern, well-run army with superior discipline and an up-or-out philosophy. Conformism is demanded at all steps though, rather than curiosity (unless it’s about tactics). One gets the impression that the more a Skyborn departs from the usual soldierly profile, the more loudly they must support the party line to compensate.

One strongly suspects that the Skyborn aren’t sustainable without a vast base of conquered workers to feed and equip them.

Occupied

Since the war, the local Humans are kept under an authoritarian regime. They have few rights and Skyborn enforcers have extensive discretion.

For instance in Claret’s city, the various levels are linked with a teleporter (the Celestial Elevator), but the levels that Humans can reach are now restricted. This is even true among Humans. Claret, from the Industrial district, needed clearance to enter a high level for the Human upper class and administration.

Being wealthy enough to have your own airship and dock on the less secure levels is thus a genuine freedom.

Likewise trade with other Human realms is highly restricted. Three such domains are known to exist – Veridia, Dunnanberg and Ostgaard.

As a result, Humans know very little about the Skyborn, who keep themselves separated and among the upper spires. One the other hand, the Skyborn interfere very little with Humans activity. Beside, they probably wouldn’t understand much to running a real society.

There’s a least one free community of Humans living in hiding, away from the sky city but on Granminster turf. It’s called New Ark.


History

(This section has some tiny S P O I L E R S about the early game. Negligible, IMO.)

The Spencer siblings live in Granminster, one of their world’s multi-layered cities and the capital of the realm of Granminster.

Their parents were both mechanics, operating the Spencer Drydock & Repairs business and teaching them the trade. One day they vanished. Not having been given an explanation and feeling abandoned, Claret (then aged 6) thought that they had just left and resented them.

Spencer Drydock & Repairs

Jake was apparently old enough at that point to run the business. Claret soon became the star mechanic, and the business was good enough for Jake to hire Corwin, a lad he had found wounded in the street.

Though Claret loved her work, Jake said he wanted to rise in society. He eventually found a way to sell the shop and move on. Knowing that Claret would refuse, he dropped the news on her at the last moment, and gave her her share of the money. He also said that he had reached a deal where Claret could run the place… if she agreed to marry the new owner.

Claret went ballistic. A few hours later she stole their airship she’d just repaired, leaving her share of the money behind to pay for it. The airship belonged to the shop’s new owner, so she didn’t feel too bad about it.

Rebel rebel, how could they know ?

However, Claret didn’t notice that said owner — one Sullivan Chesterford — was in the airship’s cargo bay. He was remarkably gracious, offering to help Claret repel patrolling drones they ran into.

He then agreed to formally sell her his airship and not press charges, pointing out that he could easily afford it. It was apparently a trap. Spencer was soon arrested.

Though she had never paid much attention, Claret soon discovered :

  • The plight of the half-breed Skyborn/Human locals.
  • That her brother Jake was involved in the mysterious Red Spectre’s underground railroad for half-breeds.
  • And that the Skyborn authorities wanted her to infiltrate the underground lest they kill Jake.

Well, they should have known better than to mess with Claret Spencer !


History

(Now *this* section has genuine S P O I L E R S aplenty, about the plot of the game ! Which is bad since much of the game’s draw is to uncover information.)

Thrown into a cell for half-breeds, Claret discovered that Corwin was a half-breed. He kept that a secret, and had cut off his own wings to hide.

As the Skyborn authorities had anticipated, the Red Spectre burst in to let the half-breeds escape, taking Claret along. She soon determined that the Red Spectre, a Scarlet Pimpernel figure, was really Sullivan Chesterford.

Chesterford had only had Claret arrested in the first place to distract the guards. The constabulary had been about to stumble upon what was hidden in his airship’s cargo hold. By having them arrest Claret instead and leave with her, Sully had saved his resistance network.

Underground railroad

With the underground railroad, Claret discovered that her parents had been important members of the resistance back in the days. They hadn’t “left” – they had been killed by the Skyborn Dominion. Jake had never told Claret, as he didn’t know how to break it out to her.

Claret also discovered that her parents had been working on a master weapon. The “Prometheus Engine” was a suit of armour protecting against magic.

Claret had planned to betray the resistance to save her brother’s life. But now that she knew that both Jake and her parents had been partisans, that no longer made sense. Instead she launched an expedition, along with Sullivan and Corwin, to locate an old workshop operated by her parents.

This structure was hidden in a desert, away from the eyes of the Skyborn Dominion.

Master weapon

While travelling to the desert, the party recruited Chaska – a lonely mutant girl living in a coal mine, goin’ on down down.

After locating the workshop, Claret finished the bulk of her parents’ project. But she lacked a specific resource named “ether fuel” to power the Prometheus Engine.

As the party travelled back, they realized that the Skyborn Dominion had had Claret under surveillance the whole time.

Is everything lost ?

The resistance hideout and the hidden free village of New Ark, which she had crossed on her way to the desert, were both destroyed as a result. The Skyborn Dominion sarcastically honoured the deal by freeing the imprisoned Jake, since in a way Claret had delivered.

Claret was devastated. However, Sullivan realized that while the humans in the resistance had been killed, the half-breeds had been recaptured. It was still possible to free them. But they were presumably held in the highest levels of Granminster, reserved to the Skyborn.

Yet, the Spencers’ anti-magic armour, the Prometheus Engine power armour , might make the attempt feasible. If it could be powered.

Heavy fuel

Jake had a lead about “ether fuel”. Following it, the party ventured into the extremely dangerous, monsters-laden Nordenwald Forest.

There they unexpectedly received help from a powerful Skyborn hermit named Alda. Claret convinced to join their effort, to her and everyone else’s surprise. Alda had been looking for answers about the untold past of the Skyborn, and held little loyalty toward the Skyborn Empress.

While exploring ancient ruins, the party found a gate guarded by a dragon. After vanquishing the beast, they found a very old golem – who reactivated when Chaska touched it.

The golem speaks

The golem explained that Chaska was not a “mutant” but one of the very few Earthfeys left – which flabbergasted Chaska.

The golem explained that various kinds of Fey had been born with the world, and dominated before Humans arose. Looking at Humans work, some Feys decided to imitate them. Thus, they created golems. But these were limited, and the Feys decided to create better companions.

They kidnapped Humans and enhanced them to give them magic and wings. Thus were the Skyborn created.

The Skyborn were a brilliant success, but were aggressive, independent, and grew restless. They attacked Humans to let off steam, and eventually rose against the Fey, killing the vast majority.

The golem has spoken

Having told his tale, the golem shut down. But thanks to it :

  • Chaska learned whom she was.
  • Alda obtained invaluable information about the secret roots of the Skyborn.
  • Claret examined the power source of the golem, from which she could create ether fuel.

Alda decided to stick with Claret’s team to learn more, even if that meant fighting other Skyborns. She was also intrigued by how much interest the Skyborn Dominion had in half-breeds. There was little apparent reason for expending so much energy in keeping them alive and under lock.

Claret then returned to her airship and finalised the Prometheus Engine. But there remained the matter of reaching the upper spires of Granminister to actually deploy the Engine.

Moving on up

Sullivan arranged for a raid on his father’s company. He knew where to locate a permit that allowed certain executives access to the upper spires. Though taking the permit as Chesterford Sullivan would destroy his secret identity, stealing it during a raid was comparatively safer.

Once the permit was secured, Claret and allies participated in — and won — a series of arena matches and mystical fights. This allowed them to finish rounding up an arsenal of magical and technological equipment and supplies. Many of the weapons fielded had been built by Ms. Spencer using rare metals.

The assault with the Prometheus Engine was a success. The suit absorbed incoming Skyborn spells with ease and was a powerful war machine. As a result, the party reached the throne room. Despite Claret’s objections, Sullivan then ambushed and murdered the Skyborn Empress.

Moving sideways

It was indeed a terrible idea. The Empress had been maintaining spells that prevented the area from collapsing into another dimension .

As it turned out, slaughtering the Fey had been highly detrimental to the balance of magical energy in the world. But when the Skyborn realized this, it was almost too late. They were forced to keep the last Fey alive, their King, locked in a Fey dimension. However, just one Fey wasn’t sufficient to prevent an eventual dimensional implosion.

The Skyborn had thus been forced to sacrifice Skyborns by sending them to the Fey dimension, where the last Fey would involuntarily absorb their magical and life force and keep the dimension stable for a while. This is why the Skyborn Dominion was so interested in half-breeds. If they could cast spells, then they could be sacrificed instead, saving a Skyborn life.

(That all magic comes from the Fey dimension also explains why the Prometheus Engine needed “ether fuel”, actually some sort of Fey compound/energy. Perhaps “ether fuel” shunts incoming magic back into the Fey dimension, while draining some energy from the Fey dimension to power the Engine – which makes the Engine an unusual sort of golem).

Sacrifice

The fallen Fey king retained enough control to ask to be killed. As he had realized, the presence of Chaska was a game-changer. She was possibly the only surviving Fey. With his death, the Fey king would transfer his power and knowledge to Chaska. The girl would likely be able to keep the dimension stable without sacrifices, as she was much younger and healthier.

Though Chaska didn’t want to kill any Fey, there was little choice. Stabilizing the increasingly unstable dimension would save much of Granminister. Furthermore, keeping the dimension stable would likely save many magically active Skyborns and half-breeds worldwide, as they needed Fey energy to live.

Epilogue

For Claret’s companions’ fates, see the “Skyborn Companions” group profile.

As to Claret, she finishes establishing her shop on her airship. This becomes her dream travelling business. She is also considering buying back her parents’ old repair yards to create jobs for the surviving half-breed.

There is an implication that Claret and Sullivan become an item, but this is left ambiguous.


Description

Claret’s work clothes are frequently covered with engine grease, assuming that she has been working on a large machine recently.

She’s very pretty despite not caring about it and making little effort to look good. A sure-fire sign that she’s the heroine, that.

She’s reportedly on the short side, though during the game she gets an opportunity to imbibe a potion making her larger and stronger.

The half-gear she wears as a pendant was a gift of her mother, who wore the other half.


Personality

Claret is a blunt workaholic with a big mouth and a fiery temper. She’s very much in-your-face, and highly confident in her abilities and choices. Many of her emotions can be detected using a seismograph. She’s a smart and pragmatic person.

She often seems more interested in machines than in living beings. Coggie might be her best friend, and she gets irate when people do not take loving care of their mechanical possessions.

She’s somewhat remote from society, and cares little about people’s appearance, status or wealth. Claret is universally friendly and honest toward anybody not trying to harm her, and likes helping and solving problems.

Once she learns about what happened with her parents, Claret becomes determined to complete their unfinished master weapon. She also adopts Jake’s and Sully’s cause as her own.


Quotes

“You’ll be sorry you messed with Claret Spencer !!”

“I can’t stand it when people don’t take care of their machines !!”

“You sold ME as part of the shop ?!!?!”

(Revealing that she knows whom the Red Spectre is) “I can’t decide if I’m good, or you’re really bad.”

(Remembering her mother’s words) “Even scrap can be made beautiful. Nothing is ever too broken to give up on.”


DC Universe History

There are many points in the distant history of the DC Universe where such events could have occurred. Many advanced civilizations have been destroyed in Earth’s distant past. See the profile for the Shining Knight (Ystina) for more.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Claret Spencer

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Upholding Good
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Mechanic
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Wealth: 003
Init: 012 HP: 100

Powers:
Power Reserve: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:
Power Reserve can be used on any consumable Gadget or Artefact (usually meaning the Grenade Drawback or an Ammo score under 4) that she uses.

Skills:
Gadgetry: 05, Scientist (Computers): 04, Vehicles (Air): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Advantages:
Language (“Droid language”), Schtick (Paired Pistols)

Connections:
Chesterford Sullivan (High), Corwyn (High), Chaska (Low), Alda (Low)

Drawbacks:
MIA toward opening her big mouth

Equipment:

  • Magnum Pistols (x2) [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 05, Telescopic sight: 01, Ammo: 01, R#2]
  • REINFORCED LEATHER ARMOUR [BODY 04, Damage Capacity (Physical): 05, Bonus: Full Recovery Bonus]
  • Incendiary grenades (x3) [BODY 01, Flame Project (Area of Effect 1 AP): 04, Grenade Drawback]
  • Poison caltrops ejector [BODY 02, Claws (Area of Effect 1 AP): 01, Poison touch (Area of effect 1 AP): 03, Grenade Drawback]
  • Slow force field [BODY 01, Force field (Area of Effect 1 AP): 01, Limitation: Force field only vs. non-magical energy attacks and high velocity projectiles (crossbow bolts or faster)]
  • AIRSHIP/WORKSHOP [STR 10 BODY 09, Flight: 06, R#03, includes a 8 APs mechanics Lab and a Confined Headquarters]
  • Healing potion (x2) [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 02, Grenade Drawback]
  • Branch of life [BODY 01, Invulnerability: 03, Medicine (First aid): 03, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 02, Grenade Drawback, Bonus: all three Powers and Skills are Combined into a single Dice Action]
  • PROMETHEUS ENGINE [/STR/ 07 /BODY/ 06, Magic Field: 06, Projectile weapons: 07, Bonus: Magic Field has a Special +4 Volume Bonus. Based on the icon, the Projectile Weapons are some sort of mini-rockets]

Note:
During the game Claret has an option to imbibe an unique potion, making her taller and stronger (which she did in my playthrough). Add an AP of STR, two inches and 20 pounds after drinking it.

Pet:
Coggie [DEX 01 STR 00 BOD 01 INT 01 WIL 01, Radio communication: 09, Vehicles (Air): 03, Bonus: a location tracer is later installed, which is considered to be just a part of Radio Communication]


Design Notes

This reflects the game played on Normal difficulty, which isn’t meant to present a genuine challenge to people who have played JRPGs before. Still, I didn’t go too long on Claret & Co.’s statistics.

This implies that the stats of most people and monsters they fight are reasonable, as non-boss encounters are normally cakewalks. For instance only bosses should have Hero Points. Plus, the team routinely outnumbers its opponents, and powerful opposition must be showered in debuffs to win. So Claret and her friends can’t be that tough.

The stats for everyone are largely arbitrary. There’s no way to benchmark them and, beyond the usual issues with levelling grinds and equipment grinds, the combat system is abstract.

Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Skyborn CRPG

Helper(s): Darci

Writeup completed on the 26th of July, 2016.

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