RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.
Which RPG have you played the most in your life?
As I said on Day 4, the RPG I’ve played most sessions of is Unknown Armies. But I covered that before, so instead I’m going to talk about the RPGs that I’ve played most different campaigns or settings. That’s much harder, and I’m not sure I know exactly the answer. It could be Fate Core, but I talk about that enough, so instead I’m going to go with Psi*Run and Fiasco.
What makes these games so interesting is that every session is completely unique. For Fiasco, that’s mostly as a result of the playset you use. I can’t remember all of the playsets I’ve ever used, but a few that jump out in my memory are:
For Psi*Run, on the other hand, it’s down to the questions you ask and the order in which you answer them in the game. And that means that Psi*Run can get wild. I’ve had Psi*Run games based in the modern day, which is the default setting, but also I’ve had ones set underground after the apocalypse, or on a spaceship, or ones that hopped reality. Games have ended with player characters being captured, defeating the Chasers, being the Chasers all along, turning into dogs, eating reality, or personally carrying the Sun around the Earth forever. Like I said: wild.
When I first started posting about group character generation, I did not expect it to be such a theme of my blogging. And yet I find that I still have things to say about it. As I have not been able to play in a single RPG this week, this is what I’ve been doing instead…
The Court of Miracles
My friend Louis is running a game based on the Three Musketeers stories. My character in this game was raised in the criminal underworld, the Court of Miracles, and in the next session we’re going to explore it a bit.
As a conscientious player, I didn’t want to give Louis the task of inventing a ton of characters from my backstory, so I decided to invent a few NPCs that he could use (or not). To do this, I decided to follow my own advice (from my first group character generation post) and randomly generate some Relationships using a Fiasco playset. Since this is about the criminal underworld, I used a Mafia-themed playset called Hit the Mattresses! by Loki Carbis, and tweaked the results to suit the specific time and setting. For example, “Third Family mediator and the one who doesn’t trust them” came up a couple of times, and I simplified this to “one doesn’t trust the other”. I also ignored options about law enforcement and civilians.
The result? It worked amazingly! The relationships web gave a very solid framework to build characters on, and I’m really excited to see how these characters are used. I’m not going to give any information here just yet about the characters I came up with, since they haven’t appeared, but I can confirm that Fiasco playsets can help generate some really interesting groups of NPCs for your game, in any system.
Last week, I talked about the importance of group character generation at the start of long-running campaigns. I gave examples of lifting mechanics from games like Fiasco and Smallville to improve cohesion of adventuring parties and make campaigns more character-driven. When I submitted the post, I had no intention of writing anything more on the topic, but in my natural internet wanderings I found several things this week that build on exactly the things I discussed last time, and I was drawn right back in.
I am a huge believer in doing group character generation at the start of a new RPG campaign. I don’t just mean getting all the players in the same place to do character generation, but actually doing it together. Of the RPGs I’ve played in, nearly all of the ones I’ve enjoyed most have made character generation a group activity.