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Author Topic: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?  (Read 1075 times)

Itachi

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Re: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2020, 06:08:55 AM »
I would say it depends on if your game is character-driven. Personalities can make a game memorable.
This.

Also, sometimes having those mechanics in place makes that character drama playable in a way that would be hard to pull off otherwise. Games like Pendragon, Masks or Hillfolk, for example, by quantifying things like virtues, personality and emotional states make social interaction as fun and interesting as combat in other games.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 07:02:45 AM by Itachi »

zircher

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Re: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2020, 01:42:12 AM »
Having played long campaigns in both camps.  I don't think it is a good or bad thing.  For Spirit of the Century, the personality types in the Fate system really helped to bring the characters back since we used to play intermittently.  it was a handy tool for lite game play.  Same with Burning Wheel where instincts rewarded 'staying in character'.  I've also played a lot of games without those kinds of systems and the players had no problem creating their own personalities over time.  So, I would mark it as a style thing more than something essential.
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hedgehobbit

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Re: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2020, 10:41:11 AM »
Also, sometimes having those mechanics in place makes that character drama playable in a way that would be hard to pull off otherwise. Games like Pendragon, Masks or Hillfolk, for example, by quantifying things like virtues, personality and emotional states make social interaction as fun and interesting as combat in other games.

The system used in Pendragon is different from most in that the personality traits and passions in that game are a function of how the character acts. If a character acts in a Worldly fashion, he'll get a check and move his personality trait in that direction. Thus the character is free to grow and change over time as a result of play.

This is completely different from the much more common "Pick a Goal and Pick a Flaw" type of rules. I've found that these restrict character growth too much as a player will only roleplay a character flaw if that flaw is specifically mentioned on their character sheet (a problem made worse in a game like GURPS where the player earned points for taking the flaw). On top of that, if their are rules which limit how often these types of thing can change, certain characters can become tedious and annoying; for example flaws like "kleptomaniac" or "alcoholic". While it might be funny for Rocket Racoon to steal a battery and get the Guardians of the Galaxy in trouble, that really only works in movies. In an RPG, it's infuriating.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2020, 10:34:27 PM »
I could be wrong about this, but watching games change over the years, it seems to me that character personality has become increasingly codified, and built into game mechanics.
It's a strong trend, yes.

I find it's hard to do it well. In most cases players will take those 1-2 traits and turn their character into a caricature, and use it as an excuse for being a stupid arsehole. "I'm just playing my character!" It's endlessly amusing for that player, and annoying as shit for everyone else.

In my latest rpg writing I am not even using the word "roleplaying." It's an "adventure game." I don't know if it'll make any difference.

Players are no better or worse at thespy play than hacky play. But when players are bad at hacky play, their character dies and they roll up a new one, no big deal. When they're bad at thespy play, it just drags on and  fucking on painfully.
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consolcwby

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Re: Do Player Characters really need codified personalities?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2020, 02:24:13 AM »
I honestly prefer random back-story (CP2020) to suggest possible traits than codifying them. However, IIRC, wasn't it Top Secret that really started the whole traits thing? (That way you could create your own Super Spy whose negative trait would be Womanizing... basically a way to emulate the source material.) Or does this go all the way back to the Petal Throne days? I forgot if that had traits...

Anyway, I've always suspected traits to be a 'poor man's character arc' system for RPGs. But if one must use it, then make it as generic and open for extreme interpretation so players have a greater say in their own character. Agency over mechanics.
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