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"Joycean" Rolegame

Started by caio_maximino, January 20, 2005, 03:38:16 PM

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I´ve been thinking, Too-Much-Coffee-Headed, a few things about trying to transpose James Joyce´s HCE (H.C.E. is an individual, a married man and father, Humpty Dumpty, Napolean, the phallus, Swift, Joyce himself, ad infinitum; that is to say, he is – as suggested by the narrator of Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths" – at once man and everyman. He represents the multiple, intermingled and sometimes indistinguishable destinies of the entire human race, and this conclusion curiously, yet indisputably, blooms from a restless night in the mind of one nondescript individual. He also appears to be the "becoming" of one character or setting feature in other characters or setting features) to rolegames. That oughta be a terribly difficult task. Any ideas, suggestions, warnings?

Ben Lehman

Isn't that already present?



I don´t know. Is it? Do you have any idea of a system that utilizes any such mechanics? I would be very happy to know.

Eero Tuovinen

I think Ben means the character creation; it can be considered a potential of being everyman, collapsing into the actuality of being this one man. In this sense all roleplaying games have the potential for this kind of play. You see it sometimes happening, with the players switching character concepts and mixing and matching them, navigating the sea of possibilities.

But for stabile play... I suggest Humble Mythologies, to be found on these forums. It's an example of the principle: by concentrating on other things apart from the character, you get a situation where the character is really just a symbolic tag used in place of a person.
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Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, sure. But Howth Castle & Environs?

One idea would be just allowing a player to access a game's character generation system over and over, to suit. Then you could use anything.

On the other hand you might want a character with a mighty morphin' mythic persona. In that case you might want a list of archetypal traits and then 'incarnate' them into specific personae. In other words one player is Father/Warrior/Patriarch/Fool (or whatever) and another player is Mother/Lover/Earth Goddess/Irigarayan Two-fer-one. (I'm just thinking Anna Livia Plurabelle here because you're on the Joycean trip).

Then you might have a play structure like this: scene gets framed by someone. Player inputs character by (a) invoking a trait, (b) explaining how the trait manifests in the 'avatar' of his 'real' character that's in the scene. Play passes to next player, and the avatars get fleshed out simultaneously with their actions.

So in one scene father-warrior-fool is a tribal hero who seduces the mother goddess only to become her slave, and in another scene he's a shuffling nebbish who can't keep track of his kids but who makes a great cup of coffee, etc.