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Author Topic: Playing the same character against themselves...  (Read 4736 times)
kirby1024
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Posts: 6


« on: March 01, 2006, 07:40:58 PM »

I'm prepping to start facilitating a game of Capes, with at least one superhero concept all ready to go. That concept is a Cloning superhero, ie she makes dupicates of herself. I figured that it would be cool to use her as a vague allegory for the many parts of any ordinary person. As such, it occured to me that it wouldn't be all that uncommon, say, for two players to take the Cloner and both play her, and importantly play her on opposite sides of a given conflict.

Now, Debt seems to be at least vaguely connected to characters, rather than players, so it brings up a question that I can't seem to find the answer to within the book - If two people are playing the same character, on different sides of a conflict, how is debt handled? Would you state that each instance of the character accrues their own debt, or would you claim that they share a debt "pool" in regards to each other? The rest of the resources seem fairly straightforward, as they're conceptually connected to players, not characters, but the Debt issue doesn't seem as cut-and-dried.

Anyone?
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Zamiel
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2006, 08:23:25 PM »

Now, Debt seems to be at least vaguely connected to characters, rather than players, so it brings up a question that I can't seem to find the answer to within the book - If two people are playing the same character, on different sides of a conflict, how is debt handled? Would you state that each instance of the character accrues their own debt, or would you claim that they share a debt "pool" in regards to each other? The rest of the resources seem fairly straightforward, as they're conceptually connected to players, not characters, but the Debt issue doesn't seem as cut-and-dried.

Anyone?

I think its a fair given that one Character (as defined by a character-sheet) can only be on one side of a Conflict at a given time. However, as we were discussing in an earlier thread, a character (non-capitalized, defined as one game-setting-entity) can be represented by multiple Characters. That is to say, there's no reason you can't have two Characters, "Billy Multiple (Positive Aspect)" and "Billy Multiple (Evil Aspect)," and throw "Billy Multiple (Cowardly Aspect)" and "Milly Bultiple (Parallel-Dimension Version of Billy Who Possesses the Positive Aspect's Body From Time to Time)" into the mix as well.

The distinction between Characters and characters probably deserves a bit more discussion in the game text itself. Multiple Characters can share the same body, even, just as one Character can represent multiple characters, the classic Mook Swarm being the prime example.

Hope that clarifies things.
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Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
Zamiel
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2006, 08:25:12 PM »

It occurs to me that I forgot entirely to address Debt.

Debt is associated with a Character, not a character, so each aspect sheet will accumulate Debt independently.

Debt is attached to Characters, Inspirations and Story Tokens are attached to players.
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
kirby1024
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2006, 07:36:29 PM »

This then brings up the next interesting question - If the character instances (all representing the same Character) peform some action that effectively forces them to become a single instance again (and assume that the players agree to this happenning), what happens to the debt that the other instances accrued? Is it just kept around until they split up again later (Safe for the Character)? Or would you conglomerate it into the same pool (dangerous and icky)? I expect that it's the former, but I'd like a second opinion on the matter. Either possibility has some drawbacks and some advantages...
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Zamiel
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2006, 07:49:51 PM »

This then brings up the next interesting question - If the character instances (all representing the same Character) perform some action that effectively forces them to become a single instance again (and assume that the players agree to this happenning), what happens to the debt that the other instances accrued? Is it just kept around until they split up again later (Safe for the Character)? Or would you conglomerate it into the same pool (dangerous and icky)? I expect that it's the former, but I'd like a second opinion on the matter. Either possibility has some drawbacks and some advantages...

Honestly, the new "combined" character should get an entirely new Character sheet, which, of course, won't have any Debt on it until its gained some in play. This neatly takes care of the problem altogether.

In my game, we have the Secret Identities and Heroic Personas split with different Character sheets. This gets interesting at the beginning of a Scene when you declare you're playing, say, the Hero and another player takes your Secret Identity, but it generally works out quite neatly. (Typically if the Hero is in-Scene first, that's the physical body in-scene, and the Secret Identity takes a sort of "self-dialogue" position with regards to events ... which can be interesting when they end up on opposite sides of a Conflict! Not that this is particularly unusual. How many times has Spidey been drawn with a half-Peter face conflicted over what to do? Its particularly amusing with Doctor Heather Smith / Reese, whose Secret Identity is a doctor with Ninja Stealth and Acrobatics, and Reese is a gun-slinging vigilante who wouldn't dodge if you threw a house at her. Having Reese throw herself nimbly aside as someone fires a searing optic blast at her while internally gritting her teeth and saying, "I could have taken that!" is a hoot!)
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Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2006, 09:02:58 PM »

This then brings up the next interesting question - If the character instances (all representing the same Character) peform some action that effectively forces them to become a single instance again (and assume that the players agree to this happenning), what happens to the debt that the other instances accrued?

What was the answer when someone asked if a dog had the Buddha-nature?  "Mu", or something like that?

Apart from trying to sound all wise and philosophical and wanky, I think I'm trying to say "You've got assumptions in your question that don't fit with Capes, and therefore it cannot be answered."

Let's suppose you have four characters in a game:  "Xerox," "Xerox's cowardice," "Xerox's Id," "Xerox's virtue."  And, in the fiction, you've got an intergalactic gladiatorial stadium.  All four characters are in the scene.  A Goal on the table is "Who will win this fight?"

Now.  How many people, in the fiction, are physically present in that stadium?  You don't know.  There could be four (because of the cloning stuff), all physically duking it out.  Xerox's cowardice attacks from behind, desperate to just make the fight over.  Xerox's virtue wrestles to keep Xerox's Id from launching a lecherous assault on the box-seats of the Moon princesses.  Who will be victorious?

Or there can be one Xerox there physically (and maybe an Asteroid Beast).  Xerox's cowardice distracts him at key moments, desperate to just make the fight over.  Xerox's virtue wrestles to keep Xerox's Id from launching lecherous thoughts toward the box-seats of the Moon princesses.  What part of Xerox's personality will be victorious?

My take on things is that if you have four separate clones (the first case) and then you recombine them, they're all still separate characters.  It's just that they happen to be acting on and through the same physical body in the fiction (the second case).  People are multifaceted that way.  It doesn't even presupposed multiple personality disorder (although that, too, has a long and storied history in comic books).

So you're asking "What happens if some event in the fiction makes it impossible to play these separate parts as their own characters?"  My response is "There is no such event.  It is always possible to play them as their own characters."
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kirby1024
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Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2006, 09:51:08 PM »

And this, of course, is why I ask for second opinions - they let me see a second side that I may not have considered.

Thankyou both. Your answers have been most enlightening.
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Zamiel
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2006, 12:58:52 AM »

Or there can be one Xerox there physically (and maybe an Asteroid Beast).  Xerox's cowardice distracts him at key moments, desperate to just make the fight over.  Xerox's virtue wrestles to keep Xerox's Id from launching lecherous thoughts toward the box-seats of the Moon princesses.  What part of Xerox's personality will be victorious?

One of the truly interesting things about Capes, I think, is that there needn't be any Asteroid Beast present on the table as a Character at all for the Scene itself to be exciting and conflict-laden. It very well may just be a narrative conceit the players at the table use as a hook to puppet the real conflicts of the Scene, which is the struggle between Xerox' aspects, be they physical or psychological.

Its this parsimony (how's that for the vocabulary word of the day?) of modeling elements in Capes that I find helps keep Scenes really focused on what the players want. The act of picking what Character you want to bring in at the beginning of a Scene, knowing you need one which others will want to engage in Conflicts with so that you can gain game resources -- that is something you simply can't find in more traditional GM'd games where the roles are far more fixed. "The right tool for the right job" is too useful to give up.
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
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