We took some time at the start of the session to talk about the setup. We decided to switch to a truly fictive fantasy setting but to keep the french names. I made a new map before the session in case we decided to make the switch. We also decided to keep the background about the Gauvin family but not to put special focus on it, it just going to be the background of the two surviving characters. We also talked about character replacement (we lost two characters in our first session to the lightning bolts striking around the Tower). Since characters can easily die as the game quickly reminded us, we established that new characters don't have to be connected to the background of what happened in the fiction, we just roll them and they join the group, simple as this.
We also choose to use the gothic character career table created by Jack on Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque to add some random colors to the characters. We din't use the actual table, but a custom one where you choose your class and then you roll your former profession (I reorganized the table entries by class (and added some cleric and magic-user entries)). I also made this clear: this is what your character was before, but now for some reason he or she can't go back to this life. So in some way, all the character had their life ruined or messed up at some point and now this is why they are adventurers. I like this because it quickly give a character some foothold in the setting without defining his or her background too much (not defining it too much is very important). So the leading question for all the characters is some variant of: how come you can't work your former profession anymore? What happened?
For now the characters are:
-Aurore Gauvin, a magic-user & former dilettante.
-Rosaire Gauvin, a cleric & former priest.
-Martin LeVerrier, a fighter & former body-guard.
-(the player of the fourth character was absent.)
I will maybe post a game report later, but our first venture into the Tower of the Stargazer was really fun, interesting and mysterious. The session totally encouraged us to go on with the campaign.
About the map: this time I used fictive names, but most of the names I created are names that evoque something (in french). I like this a lot, because it fun, but mainly because it let me color the towns and the features of the map without having to define them. So we can wonder what those features are really like and this make us want to visit them. Also I like how with a fantasy/fictive map, what is off the map is totally undefined and mysterious. (I used some stone & metal references in my names to show the distant influence of the old races, like the dwarfs).
Oh I also choose to give the hex map to the players since drawing the map hex by hex in know and civilized territory was not very interesting. We will reserve hex mapping for truly unknown and wild regions.