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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 54 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Characters of Aspect  (Read 5221 times)
Zamiel
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« on: February 10, 2006, 03:43:01 PM »

I've been considering a fairly off-hand question regarding Capes lately.

Essentially, it can be summed thus: Don't heroes with alter-egos really qualify as two characters? Peter Parker and Spider-Man really have two distinct sets of ways that they effect change in the progression of the story, after all. Moreover, they shouldn't really ever appear in the same Scene together (save in hypnogogic psychodramas or, in Banner's case, after a Scientific Event), so they can't really have an Exemplar relationship.

We can take this a step further, in fact. There are character concepts that beg for multiple representations. The cold-blooded assassin who's a free-spirited playboy when not on the clock, the conniving socialite who dabbles in black magic and who eventually takes the throne, that sort of thing, all characters who have variant aspects of their personalities which have reason to possess different Attributes.

This likewise begs the further question: You can bring a new character into a Scene by burning a Story Token. How does a character leave a Scene? Is it purely voluntary at the end of a Page? If so, can the player bring in a new character at the beginning of the next Page for free? Can it happen at all? This is fairly important for Scenes in which, say, villains may want to leave the location while the heroes are "other occupied" with an unresolved Conflict. Arguably, its perfectly legitimate to say the Character (as opposed to the character) can't actually leave a Scene, as mechanically their actions taken previously off-panel may have some residual, new effect. That is to say, the Viper successfully resolves "Goal: The Viper escapes with the loot," but could still affect "Event: The scaffolding begins to fall on by-standers," with "My Corrosive Spit eats further into the bars, weakening their support," even after he's, technically, left the location.

It occurs to me there is a perfectly reasonable way for two aspects of a character to appear in the same Scene without psychodrama, and that's if those two aspects are in direct conflict over the goals of the Scene. Spider-Man wants to go swinging after the criminals while Pete really needs to get to his date with MJ. They just end up manifesting their desires and inner dialogue through the same narrative body. This doesn't work for all, or even most, such possibilities, but its interesting.
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 04:46:54 PM »

I love breaking characters out into chunks.  It makes for great fun, particularly when you have two (or more) players playing different parts of the same person.  Check out this writeup of Doctor Rebecca Achilles.

So, mostly fanboy raving about the idea.  Push it further!  The notion's got legs.
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Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Zamiel
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 06:32:06 PM »

So, mostly fanboy raving about the idea.  Push it further!  The notion's got legs.

I actually have a fair number of recent posts on my blog (http://zamiel.livejournal.com) about recent Capes rambling, largely free of any Forgeisms like SIS or GNS Theory, so its actually somewhat readable.

The question still remains if its reasonable to assume that once a character is involved in a Scene, only more can be added, none leave, due to lingering narrative affect. It certainly makes sense, if so, but it could really use an explicit denotation in the text.

(Yes, in the back of my head I've already started designing Capes 2.0. This should terrify you in deep and abiding ways. :) )
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 06:38:47 PM »

Oh, just to be clear what I meant:  I was indulging in fanboy raving about your idea, not the other way 'round.

Yes, my experience is that since the rules give no rewards for removing a character from a scene, and contrariwise do reward keeping them in, people figure out ways to narrate their affecting the scene even after they're gone.

And yes, the prospect of Capes 2.0 does give me a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Less so when I think about someone else designing it, of course.
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Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Zamiel
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Posts: 145


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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2006, 04:21:29 AM »

Oh, just to be clear what I meant:  I was indulging in fanboy raving about your idea, not the other way 'round.

Oh, that I got. I thought it was weird, but I'm not so far gone that I can't indulge my ego in relishing fanboy raving. I'd rather have fanGIRL raving, but we get what we can.

Yes, my experience is that since the rules give no rewards for removing a character from a scene, and contrariwise do reward keeping them in, people figure out ways to narrate their affecting the scene even after they're gone.

Right. That makes much sense, then. It certainly fits with the architecture of the rest of the mechanics, which pleases me to no end, indeed. A little obsessive about consistency, me? No, never.

And yes, the prospect of Capes 2.0 does give me a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Less so when I think about someone else designing it, of course.

*laugh* Well, I suppose that makes perfect sense. I'll remember you said that when I come trudging back in here with an InDesign multi-part document that re-presents the Capes mechanics with even more examples and further discussion of "How you can achieve things like you've seen in the comics, movies, and brooding walking-the-moors romance novels!"

(Actually, that's one of the key positives of Capes, in my view -- it has enough and sufficiently lengthy examples to convey what play is intended to look like. While there are a few rough spots (some caught in the errata, like "When does a Scene end?" and some that could use just more explication, like secret identities and multi-characters), the vast bulk is all good, happy-making stuff. My readers have noted, on multiple occasions, that I've certainly been waxing more rhapsodic about Capes than I really have about any game since Wushu. This is quite the endorsement, since I'm a bit of an obsessive collector of the RPG industry.)
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
Zamiel
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Posts: 145


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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2006, 05:38:04 PM »

You know what happens when I get answers to my questions?

Bad things, I tell you. Bad things.

Like: http://zamiel.livejournal.com/999394.html
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
kirby1024
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2006, 07:15:20 PM »

I recently had a brilliant thought of making a Capes character that, effectively, comprised of two different superheroes, that only manifest in opposing circumnstances (my thought was a light-manipulator and a dark-manipulator that switched at sunrise and sunset, with two conflicting personalities).

Which, now I think of it, makes some brilliant Conflicts, like "Finish what I'm doing before the sun sets"...
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