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A Hitch in Character Creation

Started by lumpley, February 12, 2004, 02:40:46 PM

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Tom pointed this out to me at VeriCon and a character creation session last night drove it well home.

When you create your character, you say something that you hope your character accomplished during his or her initiation: I hope my character learned to read, impressed the scriptorian, overcame his fear of blood, impressed her dad, whatever.

Then that's what's at stake for a conflict.  We set a stage - in the library with your tutor, say - and we roll dice, and we See and Raise through, and at the end you write on your character sheet "I learned to read 1d6" or "I didn't learn to read 1d6."

So far so good.

When what you hope your character accomplished is a change in his or her attitude or habits, you have to do things differently.  I need to find a way to communicate this so that new players will a) understand and b) go along with it.

"I hope that my character learned to stop swearing all the damn time."

If we try to play that out with me, the GM, taking the side of "your character failed to learn to stop swearing," it won't work.  It'll be awkward, ugly, and nobody will know how to Raise.  We'll sit there looking at the dice and each other and we'll hate it.

What has to happen is, I take the side of teaching your character to stop swearing, and you take the side of your character's bad habit.  I'm whoever or whatever wants your character to change, and you're your character's resistance to change.

Then the roles, who's opposing whom, fall nicely into place, Raises are obvious, and everybody's happy.

Like I say, I need to figure out how to communicate this.  How'm I doing so far?


Brennan Taylor

Very cool, Vincent. I think this is a great mechanic, actually. You explained it quite well, and with some polishing, this could be adequately explained in the rules, I'd say.

I don't know how this would apply outside the training area, but implementing it as a general rule would be interesting.

Emily Care

Sounds good Vincent. Can we try it out here?

I'm Emily's Bad Habit that wants her to procrastinate all the time.

What do you do?

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Black & Green Games


Quote from: Emily CareSounds good Vincent. Can we try it out here?

I'm Emily's Bad Habit that wants her to procrastinate all the time.

What do you do?

 What really nailed it for me was when Jared ran his guy through.  He basically said, "I'm going to try and learn the wrong lesson.  So if I fail, I'll learn the right lesson".  When I heard that I totally got it...counter-intuitive as that sounds.

 I might rephrase your statement as:  "I think my character is a real procrastinator so I want to try and learn 'Puts stuff off until the last minute' or maybe "Lazy'.  My trainers notice this and try to break me of the habit, so if I fail this I'll get 'Motivated' or 'Pro-active' or something".

 If I was the GM I'd say:

 "OK, your trainer sets you up with this huge sorting, filing, cataloging job in the temple's library.  There's huge stacks of books that need to be entered into a record and then carted off to where they need to go and put back on the shelf, etc.  He's told you that he wants it done in 2 weeks and that if you don't get it done you can't go home to visit your folks during the next break (or do something else you'd like to do)."

 And then we'd dice it out.  One of my raises (probably the strongest one) would be:  "The trainer keeps adding a couple new books every day which makes your task that much harder the longer you put it off."

 And you'd win or lose and you'd either get what you stated (the bad habit) or get what you secretly hoped for (not having the bad habit).

 Vincent, I might state that during character creation you're either trying to:

 a.)  Pick up a positive Trait at the risk of failing and getting a negative trait


 b.)  Pick up a negative Trait in the hopes of failing and getting a positive trait

 I think most people will do the former, but you can provide a short example saying "My guy was always afraid of snakes until his trainer tossed him in that pit and now he's Fearless".  Option 'b' is more of a backstory kind of thing to help color the character before he hits the trail.

[Edit:  Note that under Option b. there's nothing to stop you from just relenting and getting the positive trait.  Personally, I think that's fine.  Perhaps, if you take a Negative Trait to try for the positive, you could assign it the dice you'll use and roll those.  So if I take 'Lazy' at 4d6, that's what I roll in the contest -- so more powerful Negative traits are likely to stick and less powerful ones will go positive.]

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