Some guidelines for characters
I believe the point of playing games is to HAVE FUN. To that end, I’m not interested in killing characters. I am interested in running an exciting horror/metaphysical game that conveys a sense of fear, shock, alienation, confusion and dread to the characters… and also provides purpose, hope, redemption and entertainment. I have definite ideas for the metaplot, and some specific plotpints and character-types to help drive that plot. But I want to run a character driven game; as the metaplot unfolds the characters will act in their best interest, where-ever that takes the game. But for this to work properly, we’ll need to be playing with fully developed and fleshed out characters. Especially, I’ll need to know who and where your character is connected so I can work some personal motivations into the plot.
I’m not asking for a Myers-Briggs or MMPI analyses or even written up background stories. But I am asking that you give some particular thought to my questions below, and use the character development questions I swiped as a further exploration of what makes your character tick.
I’m encouraging magic and psionics and I plan to make this an integral part of the game. As a touch of dramatic tension, characters with these powers are not well accepted in gameworld, so they’ve had to learn to hide their abilities. This will be interesting at first, as I’ve never run a game with supernatural powers in my life.
If you build an Inspired, Gifted or Powered character, take the “Inspired”, “Gifted” or “Powered” qualities/attributes for free. This will leave you enough points to either stat up your magic OR, more likely HINT HINT have enough skills to function in a world that has forced you to live in secret.
Psionics rules are available in All Tomorrow’s Zombies, p22 and p31-38 and Witchcraft p225-236. There’s also some rules in Armageddon, pTBD.
There’s some rules for sanity tracking in One of the Living, p73. This isn’t CoC, and I’m not trying to drive anyone’s characters towards NPCville. I want to track madness points because this game could be a long running campaign, and I don’t think anybody in gameworld, even our heroic adventurers, can dance through the zombipocalypse unscathed. I also plan on balancing the sanity points with metaphysical interventions once the game has been running long enough, but your characters don’t know that.
As this is a contemporary setting, it would help us all if we flesh our characters out some. What connections and obligations does your character have to others? Are there any institutions that your character feels loathing or loyalty towards? How does your character make a living?
Above and beyond the typical RPG stats, here are some questions to help round out your character:
- Why is your character in the middle of BFE, KS right now? How did she get there? Is she planning on leaving or staying?
- How does your character feel about the barrage of news describing “unexplained” phenomena?
- Is your character religious? Spiritual? Atheist? Superstitious?
- What is in your character’s refrigerator right now? On her bedroom floor? On her nightstand? In her garbage can?
- When your character thinks of her childhood kitchen, what smell does she associate with it? Sauerkraut? Oatmeal cookies? Paint? Why is that smell so resonant for her?
- Your character is doing intense spring cleaning. What is easy for her to throw out? What is difficult for her to part with? Why?
- It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If he’s eating breakfast, what exactly does he eat? If she’s stretching out in her backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does she lie on?
- Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where is she going? What does she wear? Who will she be with?