Saturday, 13 April 2013

Campaign Trailers: Footnote

Megan pointed out that I had used a particular device in those last two trailers that perhaps needs a bit of explanation, as it might actually be useful to someone.

In his great RPG Over the Edge, Jonathan Tweet insisted that as part of character creation each player should draw their character on the character sheet. Even if you're not good at it, or you just scratch down a symbol or design that represents your character in some way. The idea was that this engages different parts of your brain, making you think about your character from a different perspective. I have always thought that this was a brilliant touch -- one of many strokes of brilliance in that game, and from Mr. Tweet generally -- and I have never forgotten it.

In the past few years, I have gotten players to do something similar during character creation by "casting" their character as a particular actor. As with Tweet's method, this gets you thinking about your character from a different angle, and perhaps even imagining ways that they might talk or act. For myself, I know that when I feel I have a firm grasp on the "voice" of a particular character, they're cemented in my mind... so knowing that my post-apocalyptic swordsman Magnus talked like Clint Eastwood really made him spring to life for me.

Although many players are not gifted with artistic abilities, my friend John notwithstanding, most players can think of a few actors in a favourite TV show or movie who they can imagine taking the part of their character. And like me, having that "casting" in mind may help them know how to start playing that new character.

You may have noticed that many of the characters in the last couple of trailers I posted were described as a particular actor, and this is mostly based on how they were "seen" during play at the table. (In some cases, there are new characters in there, or characters that I chose to cast during the writing process who seemed to fit a particular actor.) Now you know why -- this is all part of a larger effort at my table to approach many of our dramatic games from the perspective of a TV show we're imagining, one with an unlimited budget for casting and special effects (and able, if necessary, to snatch actors from forty years ago with a time machine and whisk them to the set).

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