thread: 2005-07-28 : The Ars Magica Knock-off Fishbowl

On 2005-08-06, Vincent wrote:

Underwriting a Character
When you underwrite someone else's chracter, you're saying that you think the character's cool and interesting, and that you want to see what she's made of. It's not simply that you're a fan of the character; it's that you're committed to the character and you want to take an active hand in showing us just how cool she is.

("Showing just how cool" is code. It's code for "trying to break her in public." You help show us how cool she is by challenging her past her endurance. This is not a happy love-fest kind of showing just how cool.)

As a character's underwriter, you're responsible for four things with regard to the character:

1. Framing scenes that center on the character. This is your responsibility alone; neither the creator nor the GM get to do this. (The GM gets to call upon you to do it; I'll say more about that another time.)

2. Bringing the character into scenes in progress. You share this responsibility with the GM and the creator.

3. Creating (i.e. playing) the character's relationships, if no one else already is; also helping to play any "extras" interacting with the character. Also, playing the character's inverse magical resources in conflicts, if the character's a wizard.

4. Suggesting to the GM and other players specific conflicts and character actions that'd engage the character.

Having no underwriter puts a character at a significant procedural disadvantage, what with the scene framing rule. Characters who have no underwriter are automatically supporting characters. They can go on to become principal characters in play - but that's by someone deciding to underwrite them after all.


This makes JN go "One per PC?"
This implies exactly one underwriter per principal character, yes?

This makes JN go "Breaking in public"
...goes a long way to establishing on paper just what's socially acceptable in this kinda game. We're all encouraged to test the mettle of the stuff in play? Heady stuff.

This makes JN go "Who gets to say stuff, and when"
The shared GM vision is a lot clearer, although it seems like we'll need to really think about how orchestration of all this ownership works. Mediating who gets to say stuff, and when -- that becomes crucial if we want to avoid chaos, too-many-cooks syndrome, and generally unsatisfying play. How do you write down rules relating to this kind of stuff? *scratches head*

This makes MS go "Underwrite the underwriter?"
So say Steve has underwritten Jane's character Ilfid and brings in a conflict character I happen to think is amazing. Can I underwrite this conflict character later in the game? Changing that characters status from occassional foil, to full time foil who happens to have her own issues.

This makes MS go "MS, I think so..."
V's last paragraph says that (1) the PC's underwriter gets to make up new supporting characters, and (2) that supporting characters can be underwritten and become principals through play. Right?

This makes JN go "Oops, that was me just above. :)"

This makes MS go "Thanks JN :)"

This makes JBJ go "I'm stealing this..."
...for a Firefly-inspired sci-fi game. The isolated covenant maps nicely to a starship...

This makes...
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