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Capital-C Character in Trad Gaming

Over on the 20' by 20' Room, Jonathan Walton is proposing a personal gaming experiment:

    In playing the first session of the Warhammer Fantasy game last night, I found myself floundering a bit without any systematic support that helped me figure out how my character would act or what his central goals and conflicts were.

    I'm trying to provide myself, as a player, with the kinds of tools and structure that I'm going to need to play this game effectively. ... I'm going to define a few beliefs and goals for my character, and then keep track of them in a formal way, noting when they change, using those moments of change as major turning points in my character's life, and making that a record of character development.

    I'm going to try doing this on my own, without formal system support, and see how it goes.


This seems to mirror some thought I've been having lately about having more meaningful character interaction in a traditional RPG (specifically relating to my interest in getting a Starship Troopers campaign going). Many trad RPGs resolve extended social conflicts with a single roll and passing advice on what situations might modify it, saving the dramatic pacing and meaningful tactical choice for the combat rules.

In an extension of the thoughts that prompted my Story Appropriateness vs. Risk and Tension post a couple of months ago, I'm especially curious about whether and how putting some effort toward capital-C Character development might confilct with the Party Mission mindset that RPGA Living campaigns seem to encourage (especially through rewards like Campaign Cards). To me, Accomplishing the Mission and Developing your Character can sometimes result in conflicting objectives (your character not doing its part for the team might be appropriate based on the character's emotional standopint, but when everyone else needs to nail the liche so they can level up, the other players may be less than sympathetic to your pleas for dramatically-relevant story).

Although you might imagine there'd be some separation between con-based Living games and personal campaigns, at least one local gamer has said that his group have a set of standing characters that they not only play socially, but also take to cons for Living play.

So, I'm very interested to see how Jonathan goes.

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