Saturday, 4 September 2010

Character Archetypes?

I was asked to create a filler game at short notice this week and wanted to try out a new character creation concept (well new to me anyway), character archetypes.  It's a halfway house between letting your players roll up their own characters or presenting them with fully written characters.

The archetypes are printed onto small pieces of card in the form of a TITLE, PRIMARY STAT & SKILL (or in the case of SBA a Primary Skill (at Superb +5) and a Stunt) and a BACKGROUND SENTENCE to provoke the players into writing their own background.  For example:


RAPPORT / Intergalactic Ladies Man

"Last one to rescue a young lady is a rotten egg"



SCIENCE / Scientific Genius

"Those fools at the Royal Society don't appreciate the possibilities of my discovery"

I used this method because:
  • I didn't have the time to pre-gen a bunch of characters for the game and write the scenario.
  • The players were relatively unfamiliar with the system (Starblazer Adventures) and the genre (Victorian Sci-Fi).
  • I find that players are less reckless with characters they've had a hand in creating rather than ones they're just given and this results in better roleplay.
So how did it work out?

I was quite pleased with the results.  I gave the players a few minutes to digest their choice and then did a small piece of 1 to 1 roleplay with each player to introduce their character into the game and to discuss some options which they might consider.  Each player then spent about 10 minutes or so fleshing out their character before we began with the opening scene.  I'll certainly be using it again and might consider it for other systems.

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