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Author Topic: Less Than Human options  (Read 2761 times)
Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: September 04, 2002, 11:32:37 AM »

Scott and I were driving home after our game on Monday and I started to think about our characters' "Less Than Human" traits and realized something.  As far as I can tell, the easiest traits to come up with involve speach or movement.  Two of the three examples in the rules relate to these and the other one I don't see as having all that big of an effect on the game.

Can any of you think of any Less than human characteristics that do not involve speach and movement?  I think this may be the big problem with character creation.  I think the rules should contain a large grouping of samples.

,Matt G
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2002, 11:48:50 AM »

Well, movement could cover all things physical depending on your definition. So, yes, that covers roughly half of possible actions if you extend it enough. But it breaks down into things like fighting, climbing, limb use, etc.

And speech, representing communication covers close to the other half. Though there are lots of other ways to affect a character socially. Like crippling shyness.

Similar, but much further reaching are mental limitations. Fear of Daylight (I took that). Stupid. Dense. Lack of Common Sense. A Vow of some sort. Lots of stuff here.

Health issues translate mostly to "movement" issues, but one could have "Tuberculosis" which would be period, and have all sorts of problems attached. Appearance sorta fits here too. Hideous translates, again, mostly to social problems.

One area that I can think of that's not represented, that ought to be, as it's classic, is perception. Blind, and deaf characters to varying degree are possible. One might even allow a lack of kinesthetic sense (touch), though that could also be used as a More Than Human simultaneously (which is a whole 'nother subject with regards to these traits). Smell/Taste just doesn't seem to fit the "crippling" clause.

Then there's just the odd. Flammable. Dissolves in water. etc.

Just some ideas off the top,

Mike
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2002, 02:40:42 PM »

Hmmm.  Y'all might be onto something here.  Anything that impairs your mental or perceptive faculties could impair communication.  Anything that impairs your health or that imposes conditions on your movement could impact mobility.

Note that Mike's "Fear of Daylight" restricts mobility during a portion of the day, and it could also impact communication by restricting when you can effectively communicate.

I *like* this insight.  It really helps crystallize what I've been saying about guiding principles.  Unfortunately, it doesn't address dramatic relevance.  I mean, you could pick something like, "Cannot speak unless totally alone," and at first blush I think that'd hinder the character's ability to interface with the story more than it would help.  There's still an issue about helping a player pick stuff with hooks in it.

Best,

Blake
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2002, 01:58:58 PM »

Quote from: Blake Hutchins

Unfortunately, it doesn't address dramatic relevance.  I mean, you could pick something like, "Cannot speak unless totally alone," and at first blush I think that'd hinder the character's ability to interface with the story more than it would help.  There's still an issue about helping a player pick stuff with hooks in it.

I'm not sure that this is the place to put those hooks in. Interestingly, as it stands there is little mention of background for the characters. Certainly you are to have a concept. But one glaring ommission that seems to get filled in by the players usually (though I've noted exceptions) is the linkage between the Minion and the Master. This is where I think the hook should be found. One needs to elucidate why it is that their character is in this relationship with the Master such that the Master has the power over them that he does.

It's not enough to be the Master's chauffer. A normal chauffer could run off if he discovered the Master's madness. The Minions know the Master, and what he's capable of to an extent. Yet they still stay. There needs to be an explanation for this with each character. Something specific. That issue should be the dramatic hook for the character.

For example, in our playtest, Josh was "the Rat Faced Boy" who the master had taken in as an orphan. So obviously it's the abandonment issue that the charcter is working through, and that keeps him hooked on the Master. My character was similar, and as an artificial creature had to deal with the fact that the Master was a surrogate father figure, but yet considered him to be non-human (which he in fact was). His Issue was his inferiority or artificiality.'

I think that if this is identified then you have a much better basis for dramatic development of the Minion. I think that the More than/Less than should judt serve for Pathos, and that we should stop putting the emphasis on it for hooks. That limits what I think would be fun traits that one could otherwise take.

Paul, when you came up with the More than/Less than, it was to differentiate characters, so that there would be improved replayability, and that the characters would have more depth. Which it does. Why burden the mechanic further with another duty.

And please consider making the "Issue" thing a requirement. I've seen quite a few characters who do not have a stated link to the Master, and it seems damaging to allow this.

On another note, often a minion's dramatic importance comes with their Contacts. For example, Danielle's relationship with her lost progeny was dramatic and thematic. Again, I think there is plenty here to protagonize the characters. Let's not force it too much.

Mike
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