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Author Topic: Character death, removal, transformation or cloning  (Read 3699 times)
Filip Luszczyk
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« on: September 28, 2006, 06:14:19 AM »

I've been pondering how the game would work with Comic Code that would allow character death, in specific circumstances for specific characters, or without any limits. Actually, this could happen even with the example Comic Code from the book, as far as destroying places or items is concerned. Now, what to do if the character is killed (or even simply removed outside the scope of the scene in some way) in other player's narration or in the effect of resolving a killing conflict? Three options come to my mind:

a).The character is dead, and the player can do nothing unless he has some other character in the scene, or introduces new character with the next page. That would be rather harsh, especially if killing a character would be allowed in normal narration if no preventative conflict exists at the moment.

b).As above, but introducing new character in the death one's place would be possible immediately and for free. I feel that something doesn't fit here, but I'm not sure what.

c).The character "lingers" in the scene even if he's not longer there in the story. Obviously, the character would be rather constrained in his actions, as justifying ability usage would become difficult (but still, it's possible to use abilities by describing flashbacks or the effects of their retroactive usage, or even other characters talking about the removed one).

Since there are no rules for removing the characters from play in the game, I'm inclined to treat option c as the one suggested by the contents of the book. It makes sense to me and fits what I'd like to do with the game, but then, in a more down to earth grim & gritty game it probably wouldn't feel very appropriate. Have anyone ever tried something like a or b?

Another related thing I'm wondering about is how to solve something like, say, turning the character into a frog in the effects of narration or conflict. As I see it, it's either similar to option c (character constrained by the narrative context, but the player still able to use the same abilities), or a new character should be introduced as soon as possible to represent the new form. If the latter, should the older form be removed from play or at least temporarily "blocked" from affecting the scene? I can see how "spreading" the same character over more than one sheet could work in the rules, but I'm not sure if the game was supposed to work that way.

And the final issue, slightly connected - is it possible to introduce more than one "copy" of the same character in the same scene (like with non-unique cards in most CCGs)? I suppose that if it's legal, the debt and used up non-powered abilities should be tracked separately for each copy? (but if so, logically it would also be possible to dump debt-heavy character sheet alltogether and introduce fresh copy of the character later) Basically, that would allow for highlighting the importance of a specific character in the scene, by giving him more actions and effectively more screen time. If this is possible, would it also be legal for the "copies" of the character to be introduced and controlled by more than one player (that could work for playing out internal conflicts, or if two players wanted influence over the impact of place or item character in the scene)?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2006, 09:15:12 AM »

Since there are no rules for removing the characters from play in the game, I'm inclined to treat option c as the one suggested by the contents of the book. It makes sense to me and fits what I'd like to do with the game, but then, in a more down to earth grim & gritty game it probably wouldn't feel very appropriate. Have anyone ever tried something like a or b?

I haven't, but it sounds interesting.  Would you expect the new character to come in with their check-off abilities unchecked?  'cuz, y'know, there are scenes in which I'd gladly kill my own guy for an opportunity like that :-)

If the latter, should the older form be removed from play or at least temporarily "blocked" from affecting the scene? I can see how "spreading" the same character over more than one sheet could work in the rules, but I'm not sure if the game was supposed to work that way.

And the final issue, slightly connected - is it possible to introduce more than one "copy" of the same character in the same scene (like with non-unique cards in most CCGs)? I suppose that if it's legal, the debt and used up non-powered abilities should be tracked separately for each copy? (but if so, logically it would also be possible to dump debt-heavy character sheet alltogether and introduce fresh copy of the character later) Basically, that would allow for highlighting the importance of a specific character in the scene, by giving him more actions and effectively more screen time. If this is possible, would it also be legal for the "copies" of the character to be introduced and controlled by more than one player (that could work for playing out internal conflicts, or if two players wanted influence over the impact of place or item character in the scene)?

I played a PBP game (sadly defunct) where I deliberately introduced my character as a set of modules.  Rebecca Achilles (the spotlight character) and then "Rebecca's curiosity," "Rebecca's crazy inventions," "Rebecca's sordid past" and "Rebecca's dissolute lifestyle."  I recommend it, as a much more entertaining (and, in my experience, therefore more profitable) way to buff a character in a scene by giving them multiple representation.  Also, it encourages other people to say "Well for this scene I'm going to play 'Rebecca's Sordid Past' and fight you tooth and nail ... your past haunts you!" and you just can't go wrong with that kind of thing.
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dunlaing
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My name is Bill


« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006, 11:50:05 AM »

I was in that PBP and played Rebecca's Sordid Past. Playing Rebecca's Sordid Past was a lot of fun!

This was my first use of it:
Quote
Picked men push in certain hieroglyphics. They wince, as if in anticipation of the death-trap, but instead the door slowly grinds open, as if moved by a mighty hand.

"The power of the Pharoahs," one of the guards mutters. Then they stop, in shock, at what is revealed within.

A small woman, in dust-caked pants and a sweat-stained workman's shirt is fiddling with an apparatus of lenses and gears and ... well, gizmoes built in haphazard fashion around a large obsidian sarcophagus. Her black hair is drawn back and tied off with cord, to leave her free to peer into the eye-piece of a microscope.

Some sort of death-trap, laden with spikes and barbs, lies in disassembled pieces in the far corner of the room ... indeed, it appears that the woman crawled into the room from another part of the pyramid through the dismantled remains of the mechanism. An oversized greatcoat and a belt with two bulky pistols hang from the jackal-head of one of the statues nearby.

As the stones grind further apart, and finally settle into place with a bang, Doc Achilles looks up from her work. "Ah shit," she says with feeling. She picks up a lit cigarette that she wedged into the crevice of a decorative scarab on the sarcophagus, and takes a long drag. "Time flies when you're having fun," she says, exhaling a small cloud of curling smoke. "Dain is gonna be pissed."

VernichtungTräumer looks at this new element blankly and then nods. The hole in reality that used to be Colonel Brauer leaps at the woman, but the void that used to be his elbow catches on a strange piece of device lying among the remains of the booby trap, and with a loud POP, the air rushes in to fill the space that used to not be filled by Colonel Brauer. VernichtungTräumer prepares to summon the forces of death, for he can only completely annihilate someone if he knows their full name, and while this is clearly the notorious "Doc Achilles," he doesn't know her first name...

Gerhard gets up out of a pile of rubble and shakes himself off. He looks up and is confronted by an impossible sight. He can't possibly be seeing the girl he lost his virginity to, back on that lonely Frankfurt night. He shakes his head, but she's still there, standing up to the dreaded VernichtungTräumer. "Becky?"
http://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/GWS:Scene_Two

I thought I'd be playing it just to maipulate Tony, but it was a lot of fun just on its own.


As to the original post, I like option C. As to whether it works in a gritty setting, imagine that the Joker has just killed Robin and I'm playing Robin. On my turn, I can use Robin's "Youthful Ward" to narrate something like "Batman grimaces back the pain, sublimating the rage he feels over the untimely death of his young ward. Sublimating it right in the Joker's face."
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TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006, 01:26:24 PM »

Yeah.  Not to go all "Lion King" on you, but the phrase I keep in mind when playing dead or absent characters is "He lives in you."
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006, 08:32:07 AM »

Quote
I haven't, but it sounds interesting.  Would you expect the new character to come in with their check-off abilities unchecked?  'cuz, y'know, there are scenes in which I'd gladly kill my own guy for an opportunity like that :-)

Hmm, I haven't give it thought initially, but now I know what didn't fit there. I suppose that allowing bringing completely fresh character in such a situation could be a discouraging factor for anyone who'd like to kill other player's character. On the other hand, it opens an option for "tactical suicide" that you point out. I'm not sure if this is really a problem, though - probably that would depend on how much of blood opera the group wants.

One thing I'm sure of is that the new character shouldn't come with an action to use immediately, if the death character's action was already used in the same page.

Anyway, I don't think I'll need anything more drastic than option c for now.
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