thread: 2005-05-20 : Things on Character Sheets

On 2005-05-20, Bob the Fighter wrote:

I think Chris is mostly onto something, but the idea behind the Rorschach test comes to mind as a complication.

I see "building up" as this: using the game's options as a lunch buffet, an objective stimulus (psych 100, what!!) that can get our brains tingling. It doesn't necessarily provide characters, but it can sometimes provide lifeless elements that we can breathe into.

Consider Vincent's British family-man, with Thatcher's England as a given for our setting.
"Building down" could be "I want to play a closeted gay man with a lot to lose if he's outed."
"Building up" could be "I see that 'Middle Class' and 'Family Man' are some of the traits available. What comes to mind?"

I think that the 3rd ed. D&D "Hero Builder's Guidebook", and really any so-called "random background generator" for that matter, provides a similar Rorschach test, so to speak. You have some objective traits to choose from, usually pretty practical and/or skill-oriented in most games, and these help get your juices flowing.

I mean, they don't have to. I totally agree with the idea that they can limit your possibilities. The class system in D&D is a strong enforcement of Build-Up, and Vampire might be even stronger (since each clan[read: class]in V:tM brings an array of stereotypes with it).

Donjon, on the other hand, has a class system that really pushes Build-Down, since there *are* no standard classes or races per se, simply our preconceptions about the donjon-krawling game genre.

When people aren't too familiar with a particular setting, it might be a useful kick in the pants to push a Build Up, just to establish examples of roles. I agree that a sheet isn't a character, but I do think that it can provide a tool to place your character in the setting's social framework.

Unrelated but important: does anyone have any resources on managing a roleplaying group with varied Creative Agendas? Watching my CP's (character-players) handle char. creation suggests that I've got a pretty sharp Nar: 1 CP Gam: 1 CP split going on.


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