Shining Dodecahedron

One geek's views on role-playing and games in general.

This place is all about discussing paper-and-pencil roleplaying games. I'm Jay, and I run this joint, but that doesn't make me smarter than you. This will all work best if I say things, and you say what you think about them, lather, rinse, repeat. With luck we can all understand the hobby a little better. If you have a topic that you would like me to start a thread about, post a comment here. If you've got something to say about characters (my ongoing topic du jour), post a comment here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Character Context Again

OK, so nobody is playing along with my little exercise, so I'll have to pontificate after all. :-(

When you play a character, you need cues to tell you how that person would act in the situations that arise in the shared imagined space (SIS). Those cues are character context. Character context (CC) can be direct or indirect.

Direct CC is a line between the imagined character and you, the player. If you're playing Champions and you have a psychological limitation like "Afraid of Heights", you have a some direct CC. That is, without reference to system, setting, or color, you know how to have your character act if the situation involves being in a high place.

Indirect CC is a line from system, setting, or (rarely?) color through character to you, the player. This is where character stats come in. The numbers may primarily be for use with the techniques of play, but they also tell you things about your character that can translate into contributions to the SIS.

Here's an example. Last week I was running a playtest session of Gallant with my regular group. We were using pregenerated characters. The heroes get to a point where they need to break into a chateau. They decide that the thing to do is climb into a window on the second floor. Mike (one of the players) decides that Henry's character should do it, because he has a higher Bravado score. Bravado indicates, among other things, the hero's willingness to charge ahead into dangerous situations. This decision was made based on character traits implied by the numbers on the character sheet. Indirect character context all over.


Anonymous Emily Care said...

Hi Jay,

Here's a reply a million years later. : ) It's funny, the general term I like for what you're talking about is Creative Constraints. It's pretty much all the cues: character stuff, setting elements (quantified or not), social structures (rules & mechanics that tell you who gets to say what), plotting and flow mechanisms (scene framing, plot arcs..) and what have you. I just thought it was funny that that happens to be a CC term too!


Saturday, July 16, 2005 1:57:00 AM  
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Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2005 11:54:00 PM  

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