Monday 1 February 2021

Your characters, your stories, your worlds

This is the round-up for the January 2021 RPG Blog Carnival.

First off, a big thank you to Rising Phoenix Games for such a nice handover from last month's carnival.

Campaign Mastery considers the impact of the current global pandemic on future stories and characters in our games:

"You can’t discuss a character of the 1930s or 40s without considering the impact of the Great Depression. You can’t talk about the 1940s (even if someone was a child at the time) without considering the impact of World War 2 on their lives..."

The Other Side shares the process of building a Basic D&D witch, inspired by Moldvay, as part of the #charactercreationchallenge:

"The witch class I am pairing with this is the one from Dragon Magazine #43 and using the guidelines set out by Tom Moldvay on what a witch should be..."

The Sea of Stars looks at the stories and characters in a novella through the lens of roleplaying game adventures.

"I think this is a good model for single character campaigns, the primary character has to be competent because there is just them at the core of it, I think this should be leaned into..."

Take On Rules takes us through an adventure design process somewhat similar to mine, although I am intrigued by the use of index cards and may well try it out sometime - if I can reduce things down from a page of A4!

"The end result of this preparation process wasn’t a fleshed out adventure. Instead, I filled my head and notes with ideas, images, and touchstones to draw upon during play..."

Shuttered Room presents a table of interesting reasons to be stumbling on newly rolled party members, ranging from "Solo Adventurer" etc. to the likes of "You were the doppelganger" and "Lovecraftian Resurrection":

"Either get yourself raised from the dead, or roll 2d6/d66 to see how a new character can be introduced mid-session, seamlessly or with a great thump of deus ex machina..."

Image (cc) toon13

Rising Phoenix promotes a narrative approach to character development, and the idea of levelling up more than just mechanically:

"Leveling up in D&D or Pathfinder type games could, with a few rules tweaks, be more meaningful. We won’t even throw out the core rules, I promise..."

Codex Anathema looks at the complex relationship between character building, world building, and the stories we build from the interaction between the two, in the context of current campaigns:

"When creating a new character, for me it’s essential to talk with my DM about his ideas regarding the campaign storyline ... I can suggest what I’d like to hapen to my character, and he can plan ahead and try his best to incorporate such ideas to his own..."

Roll4 outlines some simple rules for creating memorable NPCs by sketching them with defining features to be fleshed out over time:

"I’ve found if there is too much information, then the character’s don’t have room to grow. Too little, and they’re boring..."

Campaign Mastery returns with a deeper process for developing NPCs - or even characters - with interesting subtleties:

"Baggage. History. Everyone has it. Sometimes, you can use it, as in the above example, to make a dull process seem more real AND more interesting, to make a player feel like their character is really there, even if – as in this case – there is limited interaction required..."

Another second post, from Sea of Stars, continues this theme with questions for developing player characters and their connection to the world:

"Inspired by Judd the Librarian’s questions, I decided to write up a few questions to help people think about their characters..."

Roleplay Geek takes us through node design for a point-crawl adventure in Mega City 1:

"When designing the scenario from scratch you may go through this process multiple times as you focus in on what is important for each session. In fact having a node map at the macro level is useful..."

Full Moon Storytelling shares some tips for character names, and a second mystery post...

"Your naming conventions should embrace the fact that the peoples travel extensively..."

Of Dice And Dragons promotes the argument - that I very much agree with - that characters should be more than just stats, with some helpful links too:

"Building a character should be more than just selecting stats and the best weapon based on those stats. You should be considering the why..."

What a great start to 2021, let's keep the momentum going! February's carnival is hosted by Sea of Stars - where the theme is Gifts of the Gods.

Massive thanks, of course, to Scot Newbury for all the work maintaining the RPG Blog Carnival - and the RPG Blog Alliance network too.

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