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Character Creation placement

Started by Jared A. Sorensen, January 20, 2002, 08:32:29 PM

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I've often thought about putting chargen after the rules, and the thing I keep coming back to is that, in the rules, I want to say things like, "Check your Cool against a difficulty of 15."

Which, even if you know the base die mechanic, makes darn little sense to you unless you:

    1. Know what the Cool stat refers to.
    2. Know how much Cool ranges (and, hence, how hard the roll is).

    Or you tell them to add their attribute and their skill level together, but they don't know what their attributes are and they don't know how the game deals with skills.

    Now, you certainly could start the mechanics section by giving an overview of what statistics define a character, and then, afterwards, explain how those statistics are used, and then, after that, how you generate those statistics.  But it tends to feel to me that, while I'm telling you what a statistic is and how much it varies and all, I might as well tell you how to generate it and that's that.


Hi Jared,
Well, I have read *what* and *why* chargen first/rules second (as they predominantly exist).

Here's my take.  Character generation first but *minus* the numbers and stat crap.  Just pure character which also (can) introduce and illustrate setting and premise.  

I went so far as to say "don't worry about the numbers and stuff, we'll cover that later."



How about the combination of rules and chargen into one.  As one reads the rules he is creating a character at the same time.  This way examples can be given in a less removed sense.  Instead of the usual, Bob has a 6 STR and he rolled a 10 thus he succeeds at the str test.  It could be more like, Now look at your STR, anytime you roll strength test and you roll above that number you succeed.  Your no longer  learning the rules before or after you created a character, your learning the rules as you create a character.  And any examples are based on your character instead of some sample character.

Just a thought.

Le Joueur

Quote from: MarioHow about the combination of rules and chargen into one.  As one reads the rules he is creating a character at the same time.  This way examples can be given in a less removed sense.
Heck why not put everything together?

That's what I was suggesting when I presented this piece:

Quote from: IHere is what we have in playtest for Scattershot right now:

Introduction - Set the ‘Editorial Voice’

Chapter One - Basics
- Sample Characters
- How to be a player
- Using the mechanics
- Gamemastering

Chapter Two - Character in Depth
- How to create a character
- Genre specific mechanics
- What's in it to play?

Chapter Three - How to Use the System
- When to use the mechanics or not
- Genre specific mechanics (changes depending on the book)
- Whatever lists are needed by genre

Chapter Four - How to Use Combat
- Deciding on the proper use of conflict for your games
- Combat

Chapter Five - Who Plays All the Rest?
- Gamemastering
- Motifs and genre conventions

Chapter Six - Using Other Parts of Scattershot
- Fusing genre conventions from the other products

- Appendix
- Glossary
- index

We expect each chapter to be mostly about techniques rather than mechanics. The position of everything relative to the first chapter allows the reader to put everything into context as they read instead of wondering what the minutiae of characteristics are for or what characters need in combat or how a gamemaster needs to address the detail offered in character creation.
Strategically placed pieces of seeming fiction will actually be cleverly disguised examples that the chapter following it will rely heavily upon.  Subtle system characteristics will be doubly hidden and be referred to more than one chapter backward (such as "remember the example back in Chapter Two where...").

Another innovation we plan (and this is the reason for the extensive index), is combining creature, gizmo, or non-player 'cast' lists with the "Genre specific mechanics."  That way not only does each power, spell, or otherwise have a concise example, there is also a goodly list of base creatures/non-player characters/gizmos for the reader to start with.

Just another idea brought to you for Scattershot Games.

Fang Langford
Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!