Character a day #1 – Dorcas Dene

Over on Twitter is the character creation challenge – make a character a day for an RPG (or RPGs) of your choice. So, it’s time to take the Inferno character creation rules out for a good run out. It’s a chance to introduce some of the various Inferno houses as well.

Some of these characters will be based on literary or historical figures. Some will be created from whole cloth. Today’s is…

Dorcas Dene, House Libra

The character: The Victorians loved a lady detective, which was slightly odd as nineteen century ladies were forbidden from entering the profession, but nonetheless, the literature is full of them. Dorcas Dene’s unique characteristics were that she was a master of disguise, having previously been an actress, and mostly dealt in crimes which had to be resolved discretely, to leave the good reputation of the victims intact. Sometimes the crimes were murders, but often they weren’t.

House choice: ‘Consulting detectives’ are often found in the heroic House Aries, but I’ve decided to put Dorcas in House Libra. House Libra run the Inferno club, and are responsible for maintaining its secrecy. Dorcas’ discretion and knack for resolving situations outside the public eye is sure to be useful to them.


Dorcas’ investigations are often long, sustained affairs, and she is very organised, frequently coordinating her friends and assistants in complex plans, so Focus 4. She’ll need a good observation score, but not much else in the Genius category, so Genius 2. Her social skills are a strong suit, mostly around deception, so Influence 3. Finally, she’s always careful to ensure that she doesn’t come into personal physical peril, so Prowess 1.


Key skills for Dorcas are going to be Investigate, Observation, Decieve, Persuade and, since she isn’t above aquiring evidence while disguised – Skulduggery. So four points each in Investigate and Observation, three each in Decieve, Persuade and Skulduggery. The one remaining point will go into science – Dorcas seems likely to take an interest in new discoveries in forensics and such.

Talents and Reputations

Dorcas is frequently referred to in the novels as ‘the famous detective’ Dorcas Dene. So we’ll give her a two point reputation as a famous detective.

We’ll definitely take the House Libra Talent ‘Understanding Nature’ which gives +1 card when trying to get someone to betray a confidence. From list of Air House Talents ‘Skilled negotiator’ which gives +1 card to reach a deal or compromise also looks appropriate.

To avoid getting accidentally broken while making observation tests we’ll take the general talent Inspired, increasing her Inspiration by 2. We’ll also take the ‘Disguise Artist’ talent, allowing her to appear as any kind of person she likes.

And while she doesn’t do this in the novels, we’ll take the much more impressive ‘Master of Disguise’ talent, allowing her to adopt the guise of specific individuals, provided she has sufficient time to research them.

As a final touch we’ll spend her last point on a chronicler. In the books her adventures are related by her friend Mr Saxon, and being able to put a suitably adjusted description of events into public discourse is something House Libra would value.

Secrets and scandals

While Dorcas knows a great many other people’s secrets, and has suppressed a number of scandals, she doesn’t appear to have any of her own. So no bonus points for Dorcas, but no baggage to resolve either.

Where she fits in

Dorcas looks like she’d be a very useful member of an adventuring party. She’s a capable investigator and would be a dab hand at infiltration, although if she gets into any physical trouble she’ll need help from elsewhere. Her high focus also means she’s likely to take a leadership role in group challenges of a social or investigatory nature.

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