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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 221 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Torchbearer Character Creation: Observations.  (Read 2939 times)
Shreyas Sampat
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« on: January 06, 2003, 10:24:52 PM »

So far, I know of 7 characters created for Torchbearer.
4 of these characters have been disgraced (most of them used that precise word, too) in their past.  One will be disgraced in his future, and one of the already disgraced folks is headed for another fall from grace.  Another's history explicitly includes a murder and that character's frenzied, irrational search for vengeance.  The last character, a servant to some sort of important persons, seems to be teetering on the brink of failure.  I didn't plan this.  I made two of those characters, the vengeance-driven one and the doomed one.  The other five were made by a friend of mine a few weeks ago, Christoffer Lernö a while before that, and three others at indie-netgaming.

We started to wonder about the disgrace-redemption theme.  I certainly didn't intend it, but there it was.  The characters were all shouting it from their own respective hilltops.  Discussing it, we came to the conclusion that the game sort of backhandedly built in the theme, with its discussion of the characters being (on the road to being) mythic heroes.  Mythic heroes always mess up at some point.  It's an integral part of the myth.

What's interesting about this is that the players all intuitively understood the need for characters to not simply be imperfect, but actually fatally flawed.  What's more, they (nearly) all hit on the same way to bring this about, while also leaving room for their characters to grow and change.  But all these characters were created independently, without an environment or other players to set them in context.  What would happen with a group of players sitting down to make a Sorceror- or Alyria-style relationship/story-map?  Will the macrocosm (play group) act like the microcosm (lone players) did?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2003, 06:55:53 AM »

Hi Shreyas,

That is just plain interesting. It's still anecdotal and terribly non-rigorous, but what the hell, let's take it as given. You have perhaps identified some strong Premise in your game design. As you say, it makes sense - mythic heroes are practically defined by failure at some point, by which I mean, not failure at a task, but failure of character.

H'm. So is there anything to be done with this in terms of design? No, I don't think so. It's there already, apparently. I think perhaps GM/play text might mention it, but how?

For that, only play will tell. Are any of these characters slated for actual play any time soon?

Best,
Ron
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2003, 10:52:07 AM »

I think it's possible that we'll run a game with the indie-netgaming characters at some point in the future.  That crowd's pretty unpredictable, though, so we'lll have to see what happens.

I was sort of suspecting that the design would bring something like this about, but certainly not something so obviously apparent.  The game text actually used to state, "Mythic heroes have mythic flaws.  A flawless hero is like a sculpture: lifeless and very difficult to make interesting."  I don't know where that went in the current revision; I guess it's time to go proofread again.
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