Casting characters as a wholeAugust 20, 2009
For a couple of months I’ve also had a mini-rpg, along the lines of Lady Blackbird in mind. I managed to put together a lot of ideas this week, and ended up working on characters, which made me really re-think a bit about how we design characters in rpgs.
Even when you have one person designing the characters, I started to realize that there’s a lot of subtle art to making a full cast- not so much balancing stats as much as balancing incentives, motivations, strengths and weaknesses of personality- characters who will have interesting times challenging and supporting each other, without making any direction a foregone possibility.
How much -more- difficult this actually is when we’re talking about multiple people, each making their own characters, possibly without an idea of the situation, possibly for the first time together, possibly without unity of vision/concept?
I expect this is why more games are successful when the system causes the characters to form/grow as a part of play rather than trying to set this all up before play. (That’s also discounting the fact that for many games, character generation plays a significant part of play, often requiring long term choices and system mastery…)
More to think on this.