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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 147 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Character Prompting Sheet  (Read 12884 times)
Storn
Member

Posts: 228


« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2006, 08:58:04 AM »

Brigit having already filled out the sheet, comes up with "Diamond"  The tough as diamonds brick who is a Hilton in this world.  Being a big sister adn a damage soak is important to her.

Neil comes forward with wanting to be the "dark advisor" (my words now).  The guy who might suggest the dirty way of doing things, the expedient way of doing things.  We all ask a bunch of questions about if this is going to derail the group.  But really, Neil wants us to challenge him when he comes forward with the expedient solution.  He wants that dialogue...and he wants us to know that his most important relationship is the team... that he is closer to super villainy than the rest of us... but doesn't want to caljole or dictate and play power games too much because he respects us.  He is a bit lost on what his Powers are..but is grokking on the role within the group.

Joe settles on the Fire, Wind, Water and Earth martial artist of the 4 Seasons Temple.  Being the leader/diplomat and The Chargen Cover Sheet prompts how much Presence each character should have.. Diamond being the higest presence in her diamond form.

I have nothing for me.  Still fumbling around for a concept.  Someone says we need a Conscience if Neil is going to be the Expediator.  That starts me thinking... a 'Paladin" concept is tossed out... and that sorta grabs me, but I sorta doesnt.  Great suggestions from the table suddenly gives me an Insight.  I like characters literally with Insight.  So much so, I then start to build a mystic who's actual codename will be Insight.  A Powerset of Light.. can see far, can throw mystic lightbeams around, a Healer, has Precog abilities (GM's control only not to derail plotlines).  Cool.  I'm happy.  I start to fill out my sheet.

James speaks of his character being very optimistic after filling a section out.  We all get that, cool.  He will be our "level puller" and launch many a misadventure.  We all like that. 

Neil gets an Insight too... his character will Steal Powers from foes, permnently.  But does it rarely.  This is a cool, dark power... and allows for just an odd assortement of "starting" abilities.  It sparks off conversation of how much should we 'reign' in Neil, how much he wants to be reigned it.  By the way, "Reign" becomes his codename late in the evening.  He works he is noble class, specifics to follow later.

The rest of the evening is spent fine tuning and actually building the characters roughly.  Neil did have a scene to start the game with,but we never get to it because of folks getting tired.  James and Brigit leave... upon goodbyes, I think it is obvious that everyone felt like we had crafted a pretty good cast to jump into whatever the winds of fate were going to blow at us.

James, Neil and I sat around for another hour and 1/2 crafting and talking and analyzing.

In conclusion:  While I talked about what was happening at the table MORE than what was happening on the Chargen Cover Sheet... I feel that it really did help to have it.  It was no silver bullet, but it gave us all a starting place to begin the conversation.  Definitely the role of the individual within the group was hammered out for each of us... that seemed to be an important category for us.

I'm looking forward to playing!

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Nuadha
Member

Posts: 30


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2006, 09:28:31 AM »

But I'm cool with that and want James to have this character because often he takes subtle, overly complicated in mechanics terms, characters... and they are not all that "super".  This is a guy who can stand up to a whole lot of punishment.  I'll come up with something else... what?  I don't know.

Hi all.   This is James.

To clarify a little:  I came to the game with one very strong idea.  I didn't want to play another character who constantly gets his butt kicked.   I've been a little frustrated that for some time I've been building characters who are either of little use in combat situations (a common situation in a Champions game) like "superhackers" and mages or characters who are really good at one role in a combat but has one or more huge weaknesses in combat that end up getting him or her knocked out.    (For example, I had the swordsman who is super-agile but only has human defenses or the energy blaster whose best attacks tended to leave him exhausted and open to counterattacks.)    I felt this was leading to me, as a player, dreading combat since it often seemed to highlight the weaknesses of my characters who were usually more "bag of tricks" characters than front-line fighters.   Dreading combat  seems a bit counterproductive in a genre known for butt-kicking.
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RDU Neil
Member

Posts: 152


« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2006, 10:29:31 AM »

The actual use of the Character Cover Sheet was very interesting from my position.  I'd come up with it thinking that not all players would be able to answer every question... but that it would guide our discussions to discovering that final bit of "Why is this character cool to play?"

Brigit:  At one point, in discussing her place in the group and her desire to be the "Big Sister" we saw this as he taking the "informal leader" role in the group... next to Joe's "Tactical/Team Leader" role.  Joe put it his terms... "Yeah... there is the Lieutenant... but then there is the NCO... Brigit gets to be the NCO."   Brigit literally grinned and bounced in her seat at that... clearly one of those "tells" that she is excited to have that position.  She was also the only one at the table who really new what she wanted to be "Best at..."  It came down to soaking damage... taking the hit (also dishing it out, but that was secondary).  I think this gave her confidence in the "survivability" of her character to the point where she could then enjoy thinking about what was really cool about playing... which were the Big Sister/NCO/Trusted member we all look up to role. 

Storn:  We had a great conversation about Insight's ability to "see the truth."  I initially saw him as the evangelist, passionate, "Do the right thing!" kind of guy... but the more and more Storn talked it was that he was the mouthpiece... the conciliator, the mediator, the peace maker.   I'd originally seen this as more of Joe's role... the one who makes the decision and has a sense of "balance" going on.  I still have lingering concerns that there will be competition/conflict in this role between the players... but we talked about it enough that I figure we can work it out in game play.  It did create a very powerful conversation we had after Joe and Brigit left, because my concern with the concept of Insight is that with his power set he will be "always right."  My concern that Storn will be upset if his character's "flashes of insight" lead to conflict (morale and/or physical) or that he misinterprets something that causes a conflict for the characters in the game.  When we talked about it, he was very open about whether he really wants conflict in the game or not.  If his character's insight leads to conflict... will it feel like Storn was "wrong" and "failed" and therefore he didn't get to explore what he wanted.  My problem is... without conflict or failure or being wrong... where is the drama and the story?  I think using this tool and process is really getting us into some very deep areas.

Joe:  Just a clue as to his truly gamist nature.   When building characters, we weren't worrying about points.  Build to concept... we'll look at points later.  Joe's concept was hugely more expensive than anyone at the table.  He was really into the crunchy "how's this going to be done with Hero" bits... but he was also very frustrated that it was so expensive.  He clearly felt like he was "cheating" compared to the rest of us by taking more points... that he had an unfair advantage, thus the challenge wasn't as great for him.

Me (Neil):  My use of the Character Cover Sheet turned out to be similar to what other's had warned about.  I had a very hard time filling out "best at" or "good at" or "niche"... but I immediately grokked on What does the player want to explore?  "Walking the line of misuse of power!"  Important Relationship?  "The team is my conscience."  Struggle to overcome?  "Power corrupts... but nothing is accomplished without power."    Powers and stats are secondary to my desire to have seens where I have to wrestle with using power effectively and not misusing/abusing it. 

James:  Storn pretty much said it all... but I do think that his character's "survivability" is also key to James feeling free to play up the personality and motivations that really intrigue him.  If it doesn't work for him, I think we have an interesting quandry.  For someone who loves comic books and the classic supers genre... what is he really looking forward to in role playing such... because beating up the badguy doesn't seem to create a sense of reward/accomplishment in him... so if not, what does?   To be honest, I've been struggling with this for years as his GM, because having players overcome combat/tactical scenarios is very rewarding for me... and I feel it needs to be fifty percent of the game at times... and this doesn't really move James much.  This character I have the least handle on... because I'll admit, even after many years, I have the least handle on what James wants.  I'm honestly using this campaign as a way to see if I can figure it out... or help James figure it out.

It should prove interesting to see how our ideas play out in actual scenes and play. 
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Life is a Game
Neil
dunlaing
Member

Posts: 308

My name is Bill


« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2006, 02:41:19 PM »

Brigit having already filled out the sheet, comes up with "Diamond"  The tough as diamonds brick who is a Hilton in this world.  Being a big sister and a damage soak is important to her.

I shouldn't say this, so I'm going to try to inviso-text it.
I know it's perfectly appropriate to the supers genre, but this bugs me. It bugs me whenever I see Emma Frost turn to diamond and it would bug me if I were in this game. Diamonds are not particularly tough. They're hard. There's a big difference. If you were made out of diamond and I shot you, you would shatter. If you don't believe it, take a woman's engagement ring and hit it with a hammer. Diamonds being hard just means that if they rub against something else, the other thing scratches and they don't.

Thanks. That was nice and cathartic.
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zornwil
Member

Posts: 86


« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2006, 09:23:37 PM »

This is a difficult and interesting part of the game, the real character definition, especially as it's done up front before play experience has further informed and clarified things.  I like this particular questionnaire as it's clearer, simpler, and easier to respond to than many others which get very detailed.  It also allows well for not-too-limited continued in-play character definition, a good thing IMHO because (like life) often (if not usually, which I think is more the case) the most interesting character definition occurs there.  But of course setting up characters not to stomp over each other and having a complementary (or otherwise geared towards a particular group dynamic) team to start with is important.  Tools like this are nice aids for that.  I appreciate the write-up of how it went. 

Some comments remind me how difficult it is on a couple fronts that come to mind.  The first is our own ability or lack thereof to bring a vision into fruition, and that has sub-components, one being the ability to articulate and another being the ability to define, among others.  One thing I like about DitV's up-front character creation process is that it includes, even in addition to group creation, an initial individual challenge played out in front of the group which in turn does help to immediately force crystallization of ideas and by example communicate that prior to "real" (group challenge) play.  This questionnaire certainly helps as wel, particularly in terms of at least ensuring thhat everyone understands at a minimum a couple character hooks, by the time it's done.

Another difficulty is the uncertainty that often accompanies character development in the early stages.  Some people feel strongly about not defining much up front, discovering it in play, and defining it by active reaction to the others and the world...I'm not weighing in on that, not the purpose of this thread, but the point simply here is that for some people it's hard to define characters up front.  Questionnaires/processes like this help as the group is together, but are limited in this regard, and I'm not sure of a good way to "force" this issue, anyway.
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- Wilson
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