The main character of Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine is the eponymous Chuubo.
It’s going to depend on your game whether he’s the protagonist or the Gandalf or the MacGuffin, starting with whether he’s a PC (which is the only way he’s ever going to make it to protagonist level) and moving on to the question of how many of the PCs are connected to him in some way. He’s probably going to veer towards the Gandalf figure, and that’s OK.
Who is He?
The character archetype title is “The Wishing Boy.”
Now, all the characters in CMWGE come with a set of variations, and at least one variation switches sex, because I don’t want the character’s sex to be a big factor in which character you pick. In games where the HG recommends or hands out characters, I definitely don’t want it to be a big factor—there’s no way that that wouldn’t eventually lead to someone somewhere not having fun.
So I don’t really like that the archetype title is gendered. If you’re playing Shokyou, instead, the Wishing Girl, it’ll probably seem a little weird.
But . . .
So, Geoff Grabowski redlined me once for using “crafter” instead of “craftsman” in an Exalted thing, because crafter is a sucky word. I mean, it’s better than craftperson and all, but I see his point.
Similarly, “the Wishing Child” is an awful phrase, even if it beats “the Wishing Underaged Personage” or “the Entity, Typically Something of a Youth, That Wishes.”
I gave some serious thought to “the Wisher,” and I have to admit that not wanting people to confuse it with Wisher, Theurgist, Fatalist when I was giving spoilers like this was a big factor in choosing not to do so. So there’s a chance that when it comes to actual print material, I’ll make a last-minute veer to Wisher, because when you have the whole book, you’ll notice pretty rapidly that it’s not the WTF game, and also, the people who have the whole book are less likely than the people who read this post to know what Wisher, Theurgist, Fatalist is.
So, anyway, that’s why he’s “the Wishing Boy.”
Right, but who IS he?
As Chuubo, you’ll be playing a very ordinary boy.
He lives in a rustic little Town. He gets ordinary grades, like Bs and Cs but sometimes a B+ or an A. He’s ordinary at sports. He likes to sit out on the sidewalk of his street and eat ice cream or play jacks or talk to his friends or pet the neighborhood cat.
He’s ordinary and he likes it that way.
But just because he’s not very strong, and he’s not very smart, and he’s not very fast, and he’s not even very charismatic—just because, in short, he’s pretty much all-around ordinary in every sort of way—that doesn’t mean that he can’t go down to the vacant house at the end of his cul-de-sac and go in and close the door and unroll his plans and get out his saw and hammer and nails and wood and build a Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine that grants wishes.
Because, obviously, in fact, he can.
It’s right there, just exactly like his hand-drawn Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine plans suggest.
Let’s see. What else?
So, if you’re playing the Wishing Boy, your favorite foods will probably be teriyaki and ice cream. Your blood type will be A. Your animal will be the Snake, which doesn’t mean actually mean your character was born in the year of the Snake (because most of the characters are the same or of similar age) but is probably just me hinting slyly at the fact that if Chuubo really wanted to he’s pretty sure he could turn himself into a 108-mile-long snake.
and here I must be very clear on this to prevent any possibility of confusion—
that there is any circumstance under which doing so would help.
I’ll talk a little more about his powers at some point, but I’ll summarize them right now.
Functionally, Chuubo is an Aaron’s Serpent with:
- 5 MP (generic)
- Affliction: Ordinary
- Affliction: Hapless, and
- Bond: Worrier
The last measures his general ability to stress out over trivial irrelevancies, such as the fact that he might not be flossing properly or not knowing what people do with the soda cans that he drunk from and then recycled. (Seriously, it’s a problem. Just for an example, what if they train sewer rats to chew them down and excrete them as part of the recycling process, and by recycling his cans Chuubo is indirectly kissing every last trained sewer rat? Or what if they’re not really being used for recycling at all, but for something more sinister? That kind of thing can happen, and it’s always extremely nefarious when it does.)
You’ll notice an absence of miraculous abilities. There’s a reason for this: I haven’t actually given him normal miraculous Traits. He can do Imperial miracles, which is to say, he can make wishes, or at least, one wish per day. He also has certain powers that I hypothesize will resemble the powers I’ll assign Aaron’s Serpents in a hypothetical Aaron’s Serpents book that is far enough in the future that it’s exceedingly unlikely I won’t have better ideas by then if it happens at all. So let’s say, instead, that his “certain powers” are thematic cousins of the powers that will be available to angels in the Royalty of Heaven, since that book is likely to come out before I change my mind or develop things much further, except that, much like the Noble and Excrucian characters in this book, he’s a bit understatted compared to the projected norm.
You’ll also notice the absence of mundane abilities. He doesn’t get to win mundane ability contests, being Gandalf and not Aragorn. If he’s left to work in peace he can accomplish any ordinary task in a praiseworthy fashion, but distraction, conflict, and things that take unusual skills will give him trouble.
He doesn’t really have very many variations. There’s Shokyou, the Wishing Girl. There’s the completely extraordinary version where instead of being a totally normal boy, Chuubo is a totally normal boy with GLASSES. Also, if you really absolutely can’t handle life without playing Haku from Spirited Away, you can play him as a mostly ordinary-seeming boy who is secretly a river dragon.