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MoonHunter Sayeth 20171204

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Lights. Characters. and ACTION!
A Good GM Technique.

You design settings. You come up with plots. You are describing things right and left, droping just the appropriate terms in the appropriate amounts. After all that, you have to describe every notable character. Now you want to keep things Situational, Short, and Embedded. And sometimes just three key traits is not enough. Full descriptions and implying things about their personality can take a lot of time or some actual exposition to get across.

"If only there was a shorthand tool to help with this", you might ask.

"Well there is", I would probably answer.

Cast your characters.

Use an actor/ famous person or a notable fictional character (movies, series, books, comic books, or video games) as the basis for your character. This gives players and you the GM a hook to understanding the character.

Example:
The two guards in front of you at the gate... (after the pointless exchagne)... the Captain of the Guard saunters up. They might be reoccurring characters, but you need to get through this minor interaction.

Now try this:

The Two guards at the gate are being played by a young Luke Skywalker without the Force and a bitter older Hans Solo. (After some pointless exchanges, the kid following the rules and the other guard being snide.) The Captain of the Gate Guard saunters up. He is being played by John Wayne in his Prime. "Now what on Sam Hill is going on over here?"

Not only do the players have a good feel about what these characters look like, they have a good feeling about the personality of the characters (making up that they can not read the guard's appearance and body language and there isn't much vocal inflection or diction).

With dropping a few names, your players are now comfortable about who these people are and what they are like.

And since you, the person playing them, now have a better handle on them, it is easier for you to play them. (A strict straight up military man or playing John Wayne in most of his movies? You now have strong clues as to how to play the Captain. And that Sam Hill phrase just slips out naturally).

Another Example:
The Science Type is being played by Katherine McNamara (Clary - the red head - from Shadowhunters) but with thick glasses and her hair up. She seems fairly shy and strict.

One last one:
The Suit strolls in like he owns the building... and he might. The Suit is being played by Adrian Pasdar.

Who? Nathan Petrelli in Heroes? (Blank) Glen Talbot in Agent of Shield? (some recognition). Morgan Edge in Supergirl (lights go on). Tommy, he is the voice of Tony Stark in many of the animated Ironman and the Avengers shows. He looks like "This" (Holds up a picture from IMDB).

Note: Make sure the persona is known to your troupe, and or have pictures or write ups ready.

Casting Characters lets me spend less time characterizing characters and lets me add depth to lesser characters who might be important to the chronicle or reocurring.

In my supers game:
I use Curly, Larry, and Moe or Abbot and Costello as cops. We have Columbo (the only old school detective my group knows), Kate Beckett from Castle, and Dirty Harry, as police detectives they know on the force. I have a Doctor in the Emergency Room that is played by Sherlock Holmes. Ron Perlman is our Fire Comissioner.

Crowds and places can be filled in by pulling actors or the actors of entire shows. YOu can even twist things around... Captain Kirk and his crew could be the pirate crew (okay, maybe mirror universe kirk) or the Dr Who actors could be the people in a cab being menaced by the bad guys.

Poof. Instant characters.

Now you can extend this.....

Some people make Face Cards look another use for 3x5 cards. They hold them up to remind you who is talking. Plus having cards ready, let you "whip this out" on a moment's notice.

Now Players can do this too. You can "cast" an actor as your character. Thus you can have pictures of them (or at least a head shot). You might even have characterization to use as well. (My current character is Patrick Stewart, in 1964... he was the tough guy).

You don't have to take this all the way. Some people use them as roleplaying hooks, but ignore the physical appearance. Thus you act and sound like John Wayne, but the character does not look like them. The casted characters is a quick grab for a set of voice and manerisms.


To sum up

Now, do you have to do all this? No. It might be a tool you use all the time. It might be a tool you use upon occasion. You can use parts of this to fit your own needs. It is just another technique in your gaming tool kit to make your sessions better ones.
 
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