Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stay Alive! - Character Backgrounds

Gen Con is not too far away, so I need to get back to the task of getting this game ready to go for 12 strangers that have never heard of me or played in my GM'd games before. This is always a daunting task for me, even when I know the rules very well.

For the game back in February, I toyed with the idea of basing characters off of the real life players. I think that had both a positive and negative outcome. The positive was that the characters were all playing themselves in a building that they were actually sitting in at the time. It was not hard for any of the characters to imagine where the rest of their families were, how hard it would be for them to get home, and other such things that would come to mind if such a situation would actually occur. The negative was that while it is fun to play yourself, sometimes you don't want to play yourself. After all, this is supposed to be a role playing game - the idea of playing yourself with your own abilities, talents, and potentially limitations would decrease from the potential enjoyment.

Artwork © 2012 Jeremy Mohler, used with permission

What I think would still be something cool though would be some manufactured and random backgrounds for the generated characters to have that could be determined before we start that game. This would add a bit of a mix and also some ulterior motives for each character that would be a secret only to them, unless they wanted to share with the other players. In a setting such as a zombie apocalypse, the person with family waiting at home will have different objectives than the recently divorced person with no kids and no family.

Artwork © 2012 Jeremy Mohler, used with permission 

I plan on creating some pre-generated characters to save time at the table. At the same time, I plan on having some background ideas the characters that could help drive them to make some decisions that maybe the player would not do if playing himself.
  • The police officer with a history of being corrupt
  • The business person who has a drug habit
  • The soldier that is trying to get back to his wife and kids
  • The normal looking person who was in jail awaiting trial for a serious crime
I have a lot of work to do!

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