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Author Topic: Color-first character, part 3: ready for action  (Read 4900 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: January 28, 2009, 06:25:16 PM »

Hello!

Here's the relevant image:


Here are the starting threads:
Color-first character creation project
Color-first character, part 2: Getting this far
And Vincent is also maintaining the page of Color-first character sheets<per se<inform<ipso facto<on the sheet in many cases, so your answer may refer to other people or actions.



Best, Ron
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 04:46:17 AM »

Do you only want input from the original contributors, or can others take a swing, too?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 08:38:53 AM »

Hi Harald,

For this whole endeavor, in all threads, anyone can add his or her own character, and sheets for these new characters may certainly be posted at Vincent's page. I'm trying to model this for others by bringing in characters of my own occasionally (Solipsist, Primetime Adventures, Space Rat, for example).

Also, for any of the questions, anyone can bring his or her own character into it, just as Joel has done several times with his Sorcerer character Yaeta. I only ask that the people I mention get first dibs on the discussion for that question, or at least one or two of them.

Best, Ron
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 09:42:18 AM »

on the sheet in many cases, so your answer may refer to other people or actions.

There is certainly Situation in my character creation. Not only does the Solar System character creation begin with situation creation of sorts, but it also ends in it. In this case I created the character with situation in the foreground: the first step of character creation, the Heroic Event, gave me a solid image of a jungle girl living in an adversial relationship with other people living in the jungle. (I was always fascinated by the relationship Tarzan has with other savages in the novels.) The Heroic Event does not need to lead directly into play, but in this case it sort of does: Eleta lives in the jungle in a socially untenable situation, which is expressed by her Heroic Event.

The character sheet expresses situation in the Key choices of the player. In actual play the Keys feed into situations; in this case scenes that address issues of identity and independence. The character's actual, concrete situation (living in the jungle after having been cast out by the apes, in this case) is also determined as part of the character creation, but it's not written on the sheet.

If Eleta were prepared as a character for play, I'd need to go through the character's backstory with the Story Guide (or go through the character creation process with him, as is normally the case). The SG could then prepare the actual situation for play according to my instructions. The rules do not require it, but SS tends to create characters that are pretty solidly rooted in something or other situation-wise.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 10:38:06 AM »

Quote
Darcy Burgess
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 04:40:29 PM »

Hey Ron,

So, in Traveller, the biggest situation component is pre-determined before character generation begins; to a soul, every character is unemployed.  A pretty strong argument could be made in favour of the notion that character generation (cycling through the service tables) is all about how you became unemployed, which may or may not be situation.  No matter what, that history definitely informs situation -- it's really easy to tease a "what the hell is going on now?" out of the varied backgrounds around a table of Travellers.  As I mentioned in my presentation of Dame Kuula's generation, the filling in of fictional details during the service table cycles isn't strictly official; no rules tell you to do it.  However, immediately following the rules is a several-pages long example in which that exact thing is explicitly happening.

The situation element that's unequivocally part of character generation is the dischargeworld.  This is where you are right now, as play begins.  I think it's interesting to note that this is one of the last things you generate right before play begins -- it enhances the "there's the door...don't let it hit you on the way out" feel of being a Traveller.  What's also interesting to note is that the game is completely silent as to whether or not all characters share a dischargeworld, or are meant to eventually meet up, or just have parallel storylines.

Cheers,
D
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Kobayashi
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 05:49:33 AM »

on the sheet in many cases, so your answer may refer to other people or actions.

So Freydis situation(s), two things :

Barbarians of Lemuria assumes you'll be playing in sword& sorcery pastiche : every character is expected to be a wanderer in search of fame, fortune and/or power. This is the default assumption for the game and therefore the situation for all characters.

Freydis sheet gives me two elements I can build situations on : origin and careers.

Freydis is from Valgard : she doesn't live there anymore, why ?

Careers : why and how did Freydis has those careers ? I build a little backstory while creating the character (this wasn't an afterthought).

Barbarian : ok, this is tied to the origin, she grew up in a barbarian tribe
Mercenary : she was bored and decided to travel the world selling her talent as a swordswoman. Mercenary seems to be the best fit.

I wanted her to have the sorcerer career but didn't know how to justify it. I used the Slave career as a link.

Slave : she was made prisoner during a battle against an evil sorcerer.
Sorcerer : the sorcerer had used her as assistant for his foul experiments.

So my guess is she escaped and can now resume a life of wandering and conflict.

The situation steps are implicit, the rules never state "justify the link between your careers".
 
BoL is pretty traditionnal so now Freydis waits for the GM to throw situations at her. The GM can use these elements to build a fititng situation for her (freeing some slaves, take revenge on the sorcerer, learn that her past mercenary captain betrayed her, etc...).

So BoL gives you tools but don't really give advice on how you might use them to build up situations. It seems to assume that the players and the GM will do it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 11:25:44 AM »

It's hard for me to summarize the responses to that question, because to my mind, they speak for themselves. My only response is to look around at everyone and say, "You see? You see?"

But past experience shows that this isn't a successful conclusion. Not because anyone else is incapable of seeing the point, but because I'm not communicating what it is. It's hard for me to articulate it because generating playable situation in precisely the border between (1) character creation, post-creation prep, and all-group communication; and (2) the first scenes of play, especially moving relatively fast among different characters ... well, that's a skill I developed over many, many years. And since there was little to nothing in the game books about doing it, and since just about all the written advice or even direct instruction ("Introductory scenario") about doing it was screwy in some way, I developed it without using words. So I have few words for it.

Situation isn't on the character sheet, because it's a feature of play, perhaps even of play a little ways into play. The only things on the sheet are usable components. And those usable components are not only found in explicit Situation-bait (e.g. Kickers) but also in every other "piece" of SIS material. And to cap that, it's actually the composition or (again) specific recipe of those pieces/types of SIS material that matters. Setting turned way up over here, System turned way up over there, some combination of the two in yet a third, Character with only a smidgeon of either in a fourth, and so on and on.

Does anyone have any better words, or rather, his or her own words?

Best, Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 04:09:25 PM »

I made up a fair chunk of situation (A group of people to play with) in mine. And, yes, the group of people that you play with is part of the situation in Thousand Kings.
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Anna Kreider
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 01:39:31 PM »

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 02:47:27 PM »

There's quite a continuum of stuff that feeds into Situation when play begins, isn't there? Obviously Situation can include material that has nothing to do with anyone's character sheet, it can include highly situational stuff on the sheet, or anything in between. I was looking forward to the Donjon description because in a lot of ways, a Donjon character is a little Situation-engine in a way that a Tunnels & Trolls or Elfs character (very close relatives) is not.

Ben, the other players are Situation? Either you're bloviating or this Land of a Thousand Kings thing is meta-meta-meta! Which I'm figuring out from your posts that it must be. Wanna explain that at all?

Best, Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 12:03:42 PM »

Hey, Ron.

Characters in Thousand Kings are, exactly, the players of the game. Further, all the player-characters are in direct communication with each other at all times. So any "situation" that exists between the players of the game is necessarily transported into the game directly.

There's additionally fictional situation.

yrs--
--Ben
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 05:12:09 PM »

i]to me as if such content is absolutely required. I suggest that others felt the same way and deliberately sought out those elements of game design which permitted it to be expressed.

risks does it produce for your character, or do you anticipate that it will produce? Contrast your individual choices which put the character at unusual risk (relative to most characters in play, as you see it) vs. those imposed by others (as required by that system or expected by you, which might be the same thing) and those imposed by randomized methods, if any.

Solicited input: Filthy Jackie (Graham), Yaeta Fae-Touched (Joel), Svenya Frost (Frank), Elena MacIntyre (Meg)

Best, Roto me[/i] as if such content is absolutely required. I suggest that others felt the same way and deliberately sought out those elements of game design which permitted it to be expressed.

risks does it produce for your character, or do you anticipate that it will produce? Contrast your individual choices which put the character at unusual risk (relative to most characters in play, as you see it) vs. those imposed by others (as required by that system or expected by you, which might be the same thing) and those imposed by randomized methods, if any.


Solicited input: Filthy Jackie (Graham), Yaeta Fae-Touched (Joel), Svenya Frost (Frank), Elena MacIntyre (Meg)

Best, Ron
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tonyd
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2009, 10:09:26 AM »

Funny... so today I'm writing the sections of Principia that tell you what kind of play experience to expect based on your choice of position. It occurs to me that this sheds light on the color-first discussion. I open up a browser, and there it is!

I presume that by "edge" you mean something that contributes to the "edginess" of your character, something that pushes them towards or even over the edge of situation. I see that as working towards interesting situations in play, but against the player or character's ability to keep situation under control. Character in Principia is about exploring this edge. Your choice of position flags the kind of situations you'll use to explore it.

The action matrix in Principia encapsulates this idea. This is a list of ways in which the player, through character, can explicitly control events in the game world. Each point of leverage can only be activated in a particular situation, and comes with explicitly consequences that the player does not control. They aren't situations in themselves, but they quickly turn into situation because they tell the player to set up a particular situation so they can achieve something specific, then instruct the GM how to make that situation spiral into another situation outside of the character's control.

This isn't glaringly obvious with the merchant character. It's much clearer for the swashbuckler character. In Principia, a swashbuckler who's engaged in a fair fight can spend a point of resolve to win that fight in the manner of their choosing - no dice rolls, no take-backs. However, the GM then decides if their opponent lives or dies. Alternately, a swashbuckler how uses subterfuge in a fight can immediately chose to kill their opponent, but the GM gets to dictate how it impacts their reputation and social standing. The action matrix defines the swashbuckler's general situation as one in which they get into fights, they choose between fair combat and trickery, and then suffer the consequences.

This is a bit harder to see with Ilja the merchant. When Ilja finds herself in a position to make a contract, provide services, allude to her exotic homeland, or fulfill a contract, she gains control over situation in particular ways, most of which have to do with producing cash, useful stuff, information, or relationships. The results of these actions say a lot about what people want, expect, and demand from her in return. As a merchant, she can quickly produce all kinds of useful stuff, which creates future expectations, which... she can then choose fulfill to produce even more useful stuff! When you play a merchant, this is the kind of situation you'll end up exploring.
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tonyd
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2009, 10:16:32 AM »

Hey, Ron.

Characters in Thousand Kings are, exactly, the players of the game. Further, all the player-characters are in direct communication with each other at all times. So any "situation" that exists between the players of the game is necessarily transported into the game directly.

There's additionally fictional situation.

I'm curious about this. How is this different from a dysfunctional group who bring their personal issues to the table and then play them out through their characters. Can this sort of dysfunctional play even take place in Land of a Thousand Kings? Does the game contain any system, color, or guidance that enjoins the players to communicate in a particular way that's intended to work around or untangle dysfunction in order to facilitate successful play?
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