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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180528


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Character Foundation III - On Stage
We are now on the final stage. Prepare for launch.

Making characters real is part of the gaming experience. It is more than just the mechanics - that pile of organized numbers and rules bits. It includes all the bits of color, thoughts, and history. All that makes this a roleplaying game.

Now you may be making a character the MoonHunter Way. You may not. It all depends on your GM and Troupe. These Posts will help you set up a solid foundation to play your character off of.

To review: there are three (and a half) ways to create your character foundation.
  • The Questions - (and answers)
    Questions - The Character Sheet
  • In your Head - "trying the character on for fit"
  • On Stage- Various "soft" scenes before play starts

Each of these ways is a way to riff upon the character. You can touch upon each of these riffing processes in your own order and time. This is just the order that makes the most sense.
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Riffing on The Character - On Stage

First, let MoonHunter be frank. If you have been following this Blog (or my posts) you have read about Riff 3 before. The information is going to be presented here in a foundational way.

This Riff happens when the group or part of the group is together. The time for this is from Sessions 0 to Session 1: The Character Creation Party (session 0) to The First Session of play. If your troupe doesn't do a character creation session, (they should), this would be during the pre-game phase of things.

By this time in the process, The Character is mechanically done and the other foundations should be done. Okay... Done enough so that the player feels really comfortable with the character and has a "reflexive knowledge" of the character. A classic case of Yes, Mostly for most players.

In truth, there is only so far you can go by yourself. From here on out, any real progress will come from the interaction of others through the character.

At this point in the chronicle, the players should have "unoccupied time" while the GM is focused on others (or their own little world of plots, game pieces, and grand themes). This is when "play" for the third foundation can happen.

It is play... actual roleplay and such with others.

Players will work up scenes on various stages and with various characters from the cast. Each player will recruit other players for other the characters in the scene (and maybe aGMs (*1) ).

The point of these exercises is to interact with other players/ characters. This helps everyone get a better feel for their characters. Also characters "in play" often come out different than characters on paper or in your head. So "in play" is the best way to come to understand the character.

Now many of you might be asking, "What kind of scenes?" Well Prelude scenes of course; scenes that occur in the character's life before the arbitrary line of play starts.

  • Where did you start: A getting off the boat scene, a leaving home, an arriving at school/ castle/ etc.
  • Places you have seen: You go to The Great Temple or some other important place. What do you do there?
  • People you have met: This is establishing a starting relationship with another character. Sometimes you need the GM for this one, but which important NPCs have you encountered.
  • Relationships with Organizations or The Enemies:
  • Best moment in the character's life:
  • Worst Moment in the character's life: Losses, broken hearts, burning villages, uncles dying, those tragic moments that motivate heroes.
  • Most important Moment (recently):
  • Life changing moment. : This is one of those moments in a person's life that changes them (and usually what leads up to it and follows too).
  • When they left home for the last time (or the first time).
  • When you meet this other character: This is usually for protagonist characters, but it could be for any major character in the chronicle. Those first moments and first impressions color the character's relationship with the character forever. This can be done for every character with every other character before the chronicle starts
  • Their first "solo adventures: This is often better as a prelude scene with the GM or aGM, but things work out.
  • Adventure in the Past: You had an adventure when you were younger (other characters might be involved). You can opt to play out this adventure to get a feel for the past. Soon after this is finished, the events and the characters of the past adventure should "pop up in the present".

Now this gives you a chance to play out the scene with an audience. Part of this is for practice and interaction with the character. The other part of this is flashback learning about the character for the audience - your fellow players. Some players opt to play (or more accurately perform) these scenes in front of the entire group.

If you need to, you can set up an aGM (Assistant GM) (*1) for any scene in this pre-play. You are not asking someone to take over All the GM duties. You are asking them to step in if anyone needs rules help or combat moderation. (If they are inclined, the aGM can do narration and description of the scene or events.) If the Assistant GM/ Stage GM needs help or wants advice, they can always talk to the regular GM.

Remember, these are practice scenes. Characters are a lot like clothes, you have to try them on and wear them for a bit before you really get to know them. See what is important when playing the character. These can be everyday events or scenes where the character is in situations they normally would not be.

The advantage of practice scenes is that you can often opt to "do over" and redo the same scene until it feels right.

There is an aside here. One could spend time doing Play Around scenes: Take your character out to lunch in the commissary. (MoonHunter tends to think of his characters as actors for an old-style movie company... so they spend time in the commissary or around the craft table.) Put them in other costumes and situations. Have the character to do something normal, like change a tire or going to the market shopping, even though they may never do "normal" things. Play around scenes are ways to push the characters in odd directions and see how they go.

Some GMs and Troupes consider this completely optional, but others make it mandatory. Some GMs will award token EP for each scene completed. Some will provide drama points or some other meta-game currency. Some set the bar very high and say the character is not allowed in play until they have done X number of scenes or at least Y number of scenes of a specific list.

It needs to be noted that now is the time to make any last changes to the character (informing the GM of said changes). These changes will come up spontaneously in the scenes you do with the others. This could change things in Foundation I questions or things you discovered in Foundation II scenes. You could even find a new "hook" for the character when "using The Method".

By the time Session 1 ends, a player should have a strong character and know how to play them. Sure things are going to change over time; some of these changes might even be planned. Sure there will be curve balls that change everything or new ideas/ tweaks you want to add to the character later, but the foundation is there to build on.

And by playing out prelude scenes with others, you (the primary player), the GM, and the rest of the troupe, will have a strong foundation to play from.

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Yes, this does rely heavily on Stages, Casts, Major and Minor Characters and flashback scenes. Before this post, you easily could have inferred this process on your own after reading these. Still, this ties it all up in a nice bow... on top of the wrapped of packages of the other two foundation posts.

(*1) Assistant GMs or aGMs. (Some people call them mini-GMs). These are players that the GM taps to run some aspect of their game. Normally they are assigned a stage or a job. Some will use full GMing abilities (narrate, modify the setting a little, add NPCs) others will just feel comfortable moderating rules. (In some games an aGM might be in charge of magic (keeping track of stars, time of year, and magic modifiers) or Combat (See Combat Monster running combat.) As long as they don't go overboard, it will be fine. The GM is just another player, but with editorial controls. Other players can add little things to the game... items in a room, new places in the setting, extra conflicts, new NPCs - allies or enemies- from their past, and so on. All with the GM's permission of course, but that is just editorial control.


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Spelling and links have been updated. I don't know how the unspellchecked/ ungrammarchecked version got posted.
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