shapeshade
 member, 108 posts
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 18:43
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Okay, you clicked on this, so do your best to hear me out. I grasp that most of you will very quickly think "well that's stupid" and I know how it sounds so I won't be hurt if you just leave pretty quick (please don't bother to comment if it sounds stupid).

If you like combat and hardly want any of the other stuff, I'm sure there's an RPG for you out there somewhere.

If you like role-playing and don't ever really want to mess with combat, I'm sure there's an RPG for you out there somewhere.

If you like the world-building/exploration stuff best and have little interest in the other stuff, I'm sure there's an RPG for you out there somewhere.

But... what if your favorite part of the game is character creation?

"How would that even work?" Yeah I don't know. But if nothing else it's an interesting thought exercise.

I mean just to kick things off I thought about:
--you make a party of characters, and then let's say we send them out on a long adventure... say over a very long stretch of land-- to the end of the world? (Of course it could be sci-fi outer-space to the edge of the universe or whatever, it could be cyberpunk for that matter or a few other things but let's just use typical fantasy tropes as the example for now...) And... it's very dangerous, and sometimes they die, and you make more characters to replace them who join the party... But each time someone dies, their level is distributed amongst the old or new party members... So you'd get a story of a party that loses members but always gains new ones, on this huge epic quest...

I mean, that's not completely stupid, right? Even if it was mostly a storytelling experience, it'd be interesting.

Maybe there's a better way to do it...? Maybe...
--when a character dies... then you make an ALMOST-entirely new PC to replace them... but it's really them, the dead PC, reincarnated. Maybe the game has elements where they level up as they work to remember their previous lives... Imagine a fighter who, in the heat of battle, comes up against, say, a frost giant... and he... he remembers... a past life... where he was killed by a frost giant...! When he was a sorcerer--! And suddenly the fighter can also cast Fireball...!

I mean, no one wants their PC to die (normally), so I understand that conceiving of a game like this, where there's a lot of emphasis on the importance of character creation, is a challenge...

And believe me, these two concepts (or are they just one big concept?) that I've brought up so far actually don't have as much character creation as I'd like... I'd like more... a game where the point is just to make rich, fascinating characters (and be rewarded for that accordingly)... but how would that... work...?

Help me brainstorm how this could work, anyone...?

This message was last edited by the user at 18:43, Sun 11 Aug.

steelsmiter
 member, 2036 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 20:06
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
It could work by using GURPS and doing one of the following

  • telling everyone "You have amnesia. only put the things you see in the mirror (e.g. physical attributes, Appearance related advantages and disadvantages, what level of wealth the clothes you are wearing should indicate, etc)"
  • Highlander Rules: Whether new or old, you have the same point budget, with older highlanders (or whatever) having forgotten large chunks of their powers and lives. Of course with highlanders, only one who kills other highlanders gets (maybe only some of) their powers/source. Having everyone get it could be a balancing factor.


The Freeform Character Generation for Modern AGE could also facilitate this as you wouldn't have to complete all 9 steps immediately, but

  • Your concept would be that you don't know your full potential
  • You would only need to spend what Attributes you could see, and probably no focuses initially until the GM says "does this focus seem familiar to you/anyone?"
  • Same for talents. If you're obviously Attractive or Affluent, buy those, and anything else that seems like it could be obvious but probably not much more.
  • Improvements could be decided on the spot: Do you know this person/organization? Was this a hard hit for you?


quote:
--when a character dies... then you make an ALMOST-entirely new PC to replace them... but it's really them, the dead PC, reincarnated. Maybe the game has elements where they level up as they work to remember their previous lives... Imagine a fighter who, in the heat of battle, comes up against, say, a frost giant... and he... he remembers... a past life... where he was killed by a frost giant...! When he was a sorcerer--! And suddenly the fighter can also cast Fireball...!

This idea could work well enough with a Modern AGE game too, if you started off Gritty and let Talents allow you to gain Pulpy or Cinematic level gains. (it's quite a bit easier to do in GURPS, but could be done in Modern AGE).
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 29 posts
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 21:54
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
FATE Core does this fairly well. Both in the phase trio right out of the box, and also the ‘character creation as play’ method.

I use the second one quite a bit, basically you start with a nearly blank sheet and you get to fill it in during play by declaring certain things true about your character as the story unfolds.

For the rotating cast of characters angle, you could make that the extreme consequence. That is, when you mark off the extreme consequence ... retire the character and start with a fresh sheet that must be filled in.  Perhaps with an extra Aspect titled These Aren’t My Memories! or Weird Case of Deja Vu or something.
horus
 member, 837 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 22:04
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Okay... check out the character creation system for Classic Traveller.  You go through one to several (six is the usual maximum) terms of service, gaining characteristics and skills, aging, possibly dying, even.  If the Referee is doing the job rightly, your character will also meet people who help to shape his or her career for good or for ill as part of the creation path (but that's part of your background).

After all that, you get to start playing...
Alyse
 member, 674 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 [married since 2011!]
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 22:06
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
There actually is a published game that deals with playing characters who are successive reincarnations of one's original character: Generations, by Cosmic Mirror Games. It's not a freebie or pay-what-you-want title, however it is simple enough rules-wise that only the GM would need a copy.
StarMaster
 member, 325 posts
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 22:14
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Oddly, this isn't as farfetched as it might sound at first. I tried running a Pathfinder game where the characters were 10th level gestalts. It took quite a bit of effort to generate characters that turned out to be nearly unplayable.

If you think about this in Modern terms first, it gets to be a bit easier to see (at least, it was for me). After that, you could translate it into fantasy and science fiction and a dozen peripheral genres. Technically, you could also do all of them at the same time.

Having recently watch To Hell and Back (the Audie Murphy story), he started as a basic soldier and gained a battlefield commission and became the most decorated soldier of WWII. So that's clearly one 'character'.

I'm thinking that using Classes (regardless of what you call them... Archetypes, Heroes, etc.) would make it easier to develop and run. But you could also have just a Generic.

So, in modern times, you could start at birth... build the family you were born to, choose advantages and disadvantages, and then develop the character through grade, middle, high school, then college.

Some Classes you might work with: Politician, Military, Industrialist, Celebrity, Entertainer, Athlete, Inventor, Scientists, Priest, Doctor, Merchant, Tradesman, etc.

To make this a game, you'd have to have some way for a character to advance, which kind of means there should probably a goal that they are trying to reach.

For example, a Politician might want to become President.

Another aspect might be how to determine a winner. As opposed to competing against each other, though, how do you translate this into an 'adventure'? In a normal RPG, the characters are usually working together to achieve a goal. Would that be reasonable here? How do you determine the end of the adventure? Would you want to continue the development over multiple game sessions or keep each 'adventure' to a single session?

That's my two cents.
The Stray
 member, 112 posts
 When the Cat's a Stray
 the Mice will Pray
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 22:45
What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
This brings to mind Microscope.

http://www.lamemage.com/microscope/

Microscope is a game all about setting creation...where the act of creating a setting is the game. There's a start point and an end point, and then players take turns making stuff in between, focusing from large eras to specific events to playing out actual scenes in those events. I could see taking this model for "The life and times of X".

Also, want to second the Traveler rules...I found an online character generator using the Traveler rules, and had fun just building characters and seeing how their lives evolved.
shapeshade
 member, 109 posts
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 22:55
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
The Stray:
This brings to mind Microscope.

http://www.lamemage.com/microscope/

Also, want to second the Traveler rules...I found an online character generator using the Traveler rules, and had fun just building characters and seeing how their lives evolved.



I, too, found an online Traveller generator... played around with it just now... very interesting!

I like the things the rest of y'all are saying, too... Please, keep discussing!

Next, I'll go learn a bit more about this Microscope game...
Xiphoniii
 member, 81 posts
 Just a RPer
 Not much else to see here
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 23:21
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Okay, while not entirely avout character creation, there are two games off the top of my head that play with some of these themes. I'll go with the one that's a bit more of a stretch first.

Pheonix: Dawn Command is a card driven game where your characters have a set number of "lives," essentially. Each time you die, you are reborn stronger. In this manner, dying is literally how you level ip. The game prevents the "well i'll just jump off a cliff five times" problem two ways. First, it needs to be a heroic death to count, or you stay dead. Second, your characters don't have an accurate count. In Universe, you don't KNOW if this is your last life or not. So it needs to count.

The second game I know of is Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. It's based on Spire, in the same way a PbtA game is based on Apocolypse world. There's a number of different spinoff books with other settings and the associated rules, such as a Generation Ship, but the core book is post-apocalyptic. But not the part where everything is going wrong, the part where you're rebuilding. Every player has a "family" playbook, ranging from actual families, to cults, to gangs. Then you have a second playbook for an actual character. Each player is encouraged to temporarily play other members of eachothers families to facilitate trying to advance goals that aren't necessarily shared. And every so often, you have a timeskip. You roleplay and narrate what is happening during the timeskip, including some moves dedicated specifically to that. And your families grow in power(level up that playbook). And then you make an all new character for this new era. Wash, rinse, repeat, as you rebuild the world.
seraphmoon
 member, 92 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 00:45
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
I would actually have fun creating characters and not playing them. :) Back when I had more time and brainpower on my hands, I used to write up characters for games that I had no intention of joining, just for fun and brain exercise. Background/personality/appearance only, never bothered to stat any up. I'm a bit strange, though.

There are a couple of systems where character creation is actually a part of the game instead of a preliminary to it; off the top of my head I can think of DramaSystem, Good Society, and Spirit of the Century, but there are others out there. Creation is collaborative in all three, and can often take an entire session. DramaSystem is generic, but the other two shouldn't be hard to adapt to different settings.
OakMaster
 member, 118 posts
 "Choose you this day
 whom ye will serve..."
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 02:09
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
If you *really* want to have fun with character creation...

https://kevan.org/rumble.cgi?genre=hero&mode=rules

I played a game here some years ago, and ran another one.  Lots of fun...  :D
MalaeDezeld
 member, 112 posts
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 02:11
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
I could see it work if the players aren't playing the characters they create. Instead they play the one that send the characters. For example, the players could be gods that send waves of champion to raid an ancient tomb. Or at lower level, the players could be like Jafar and hire/blackmail small bandit to retrieve the amulet. And the GM role is to judge if the created character is able to complete the task or not. But regardless of success of not, it is clear the character is a one time thing only (the task required the character sacrifice, the next task kill them). So the player need to send (create) another character with their resources for the next task at hand.
thattripletguy
 member, 77 posts
 Just a guy, being a dude
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 04:32
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Burning Wheel is really fun for just creating characters, along with Good Society
icosahedron152
 member, 979 posts
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 18:59
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
I'll third Horus's suggestion of Traveller. It did a really great job of character creation, spending a long while generating a lengthy career history.

It would be perfectly possible to run several parallel semi-solo character threads, in which each player takes the lead in developing his own character, while the other players take on the roles of supporting NPCs in that character's thread, and the GM brings the plot points together into a story, adjudicates everything, and/or takes the role of the opposing NPCs.

There is a further advantage that, once this 'game' is complete, you could play an actual game of Traveller with the PCs you've generated.

Sounds very immersive. :)
StarMaster
 member, 326 posts
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 20:39
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Another option for mechanics might be Amber DRPG... a diceless game where the players bid against each other to build their characters. Never played the game, so I'm fully aware of how it plays, but this seems like an interesting option.

One player could be building a warrior while another is building a scientist. So one might bid high for Strength while the other bids high for Smarts.

I can easily see how this could also work for events as well. For example, School options could be Dropout, Graduation, Graduation with Honors, Graduation with High Honors, Graduation with Scholarship, Magnet School, Home Schooling, Early Graduation, etc. How many points are you willing to bid to get the option you want?


If each of us that responded to this thread created our own version, we'd each go with a different system. So, shapeshade, you should pick something that floats your boat.

And, clearly, the concept has merit, so maybe it's time to create your own game board here to discuss this further...
seraphmoon
 member, 93 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 23:07
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
Amber is interesting. It's much more focused on relationships and role-playing than other games of its time, and is designed around the idea that the PCs will be in conflict with each other most of the time. The auction part is solely for attributes, and sets up how the PCs fare against each other. As written, exact numbers don't matter, just rank. It's assumed that unless cheating or some other factors are involved the higher-ranked PC will always win in a contest of attributes, and that even the weakest PC can still wipe the floor with most non-Amberites. Points remaining after the auction can be used to buy powers and artifacts, which aren't ranked. You can increase your available creation points by doing things like taking bad-luck points, or volunteering to make OOC contributions like drawing maps, making session logs, or such. It's the only system I've played that has a built-in way to reward player investment.

In actual play, it really depends on the group. If your group is into Throne War-style games, focusing on individual character goals, and story creation, it's great. Dungeon crawls and mission-based games, not so much. I've found it works best when the GM is mainly an adjudicator and player of NPCs rather than a world- and plot-creator. With infinite possibility baked into the setting, it made more sense to me to have the players describe things to fit their visions, instead of limiting them with mine. I had the best luck running it online.

I wish I still had my copy, but it's not hard to find used or as scanned PDF. Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is a recent release that's supposed to have streamlined and updated the original, in a similar setting.
atminn
 member, 46 posts
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 20:25
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
"Roll for Shoes" is a great, hyper-simple game where you build or discover characters through play.

It works best when there is a clear-cut task for the party to focus on (such as the epic world-spanning quest. I think it excellently supports a shonen anime tone of quickly growing in power, and would do well with high lethality or other means of characters leaving and joining the story.

Here are the 7 rules that entirely comprise the game (from https://rollforshoes.com/):
  1. Say what you do and roll a number of d6s.
  2. If the sum of your roll is higher than the opposing roll, the thing you wanted to happen, happens.
  3. The number of d6s you roll is determined by the level of the skill you have.
  4. At start, you have only one skill: Do anything 1.
  5. If you roll all sixes, you get a new skill specific to the action, one level higher than the one you used.
  6. For every roll you fail, you get 1 XP.
  7. Spend 1 XP to change one die into a 6 for advancement purposes only.

horus
 member, 838 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 15 Aug 2019
at 05:22
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
In reply to atminn (msg # 17):

Wow... that is simple.  I may crib that and use it in a game.  Seems like it would be a great simple mechanic for fast-paced play and useful as a streamlined mechanic for play-by-post as well.  Thanks!
shapeshade
 member, 111 posts
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 19:54
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
WELP, i went on vacation most of this week, and now I'm back!


seraphmoon:

quote:
I would actually have fun creating characters and not playing them. :) Back when I had more time and brainpower on my hands, I used to write up characters for games that I had no intention of joining, just for fun and brain exercise. Background/personality/appearance only, never bothered to stat any up. I'm a bit strange, though.


Me: I KNOW, RIGHT? That's what i REALLY want, is to somehow turn the essence of THAT into a solo-and-GM or multiplayer game somehow...


MalaeDezeld:

quote:
I could see it work if the players aren't playing the characters they create. Instead they play the one that send the characters. For example, the players could be gods that send waves of champion to raid an ancient tomb. Or at lower level, the players could be like Jafar and hire/blackmail small bandit to retrieve the amulet. And the GM role is to judge if the created character is able to complete the task or not. But regardless of success of not, it is clear the character is a one time thing only (the task required the character sacrifice, the next task kill them). So the player need to send (create) another character with their resources for the next task at hand.


Yeah, yeah, I like a lot of stuff you said there...



StarMaster:

quote:
If each of us that responded to this thread created our own version, we'd each go with a different system. So, shapeshade, you should pick something that floats your boat.


Yeah, I see what you mean, good point, I'll have to think about that...


quote:
And, clearly, the concept has merit, so maybe it's time to create your own game board here to discuss this further...


Ooh, okay, I am full up on games right now, but they're not all REALLY games-- many are just sandboxes where I tinker with various ideas... I can clear one up soon and replace it with a sandbox/workshop for THIS... Maybe even tomorrow...?

But, so, when I do... Who here wants an invite to it...?
seraphmoon
 member, 94 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 20:16
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
In reply to shapeshade (msg # 19):

I may not have the brainpower at the moment to actively participate, but I'd love to read and give feedback upon request. :)
shapeshade
 member, 112 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 00:02
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?

seraphmoon:
In reply to shapeshade (msg # 19):

I may not have the brainpower at the moment to actively participate, but I'd love to read and give feedback upon request. :)



Yeah, no, I don't mean for necessarily playing yet at this point, I just mean for discussion/feedback.  :)
seraphmoon
 member, 95 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 00:26
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
In reply to shapeshade (msg # 21):

That I expect I can do. :) Let me know if you do decide to start it up.
MalaeDezeld
 member, 113 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 01:54
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
I could join a workshop.
shapeshade
 member, 113 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 14:56
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?
MalaeDezeld:
I could join a workshop.



Here ya go:

link to another game


seraphmoon, MalaeDezeld, shall I just go ahead and add you, or...?

And... anyone else...?

If anyone else wants to be added, go to the new workshop link and ask to be added. (Don't do it here anymore, because I'm afraid I might not notice...)

This message was last edited by the user at 13:37, Yesterday.

Warbit
 member, 10 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 20:40
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 21:01, Sun 18 Aug.

shapeshade
 member, 114 posts
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 20:49
Re: What if Character Creation WAS the game-- or a lot of it...?

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was moot, at 21:02, Sun 18 Aug.