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.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's all about character

For me anyway. While we're waiting for me to finish my essay about context, I'm going to delve into characters a bit.

I should preface all of this by saying that I understand some folks don't think that an RPG needs to revolve around characters. All I can say is: sure, but it does for me. Your mileage may vary.

In my mind, the charcter is the input device that players use to play the game. It's the joystick of tabletop RPGs. Games can, of course, give the player resources and techniques for affecting the SIS that are not directly related to the character. But I think it's much better that everything is filtered through the character.

Anyway, I've got some thoughts brewing for a few posts about characters, but please post your thoughts about characters in RPGs as comments on this post. I would like to get a real discussion going.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like its a conversation.

Generally, the GM says, "Here is the game's concept."

The player says, "Here's what I'd like to play."

And then you are off to the races, seeing what is important in the character's back story, what kind of characters they create, their angle on the original idea.

In real play it has worked like this:

Paula came to me while I was writing in the little coffee-shop that is attached to the gaming store. She said that her boyfriend and a few friends were trying to figure out what system to use for a pirate RPG game.

My wheels started spinning. I posted a thread on about systems to use and came across Conspiracy of Shadows.

I e-mailed Paula and we talked about who to invite, how we could really only do a monthly game, etc.

I e-mailed the group about the conspiracy and how we'd make it together.

At this point, Paula already had a character in mind. I'd imagine he changed a bit with the group's cell creation but not too much.

We discussed concepts and met to file down any rough edges and assign a captain.

What I hope for in that initial blurb is to grab my players and get them thinking about what kind of character they'd like to play. I want a setting that is firm enough to stick but breezy enough to allow lots of play and wiggle.

The players' interaction with the initial concept is the character.

I'm rambling.

My point, if I have one, is that it is a dialogue that hopefully continues between GM and Player.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 8:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like its a conversation.

Me too. And yet so many people don't. Or seem not to want to.

I play with at least one person who hates starting a new game with me as a player, because I instantly bounce into a series of questions, looking to start that dialogue. And they don't like it at all.

"I've given you the game's basic concept, stop asking questions!"

Or, "Just tell me what you want to play, and I'll make sure that the game can fit it."

It feels as satisfying as punching fog, for me. But I'm not convinced other people feel the same way.

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