Monday, August 12, 2013

Finding The Character

Last night, actually just about 30 minutes before I started writing this, we had our first official session of the Star Wars Edge of the Empire game with the official released book. It was definitely a good time had by all, and due to group dynamic reasons I ended up swapping out my old smuggler pilot for a bounty hunter gadgeteer that also serves as the group pilot. Basically, while I still serve the role of pilot for the group/crew, I can fulfill more roles for them as well with the new character. The problem now though is I need to find the actual character to go with the stat blocks....

So How Do I Do That?
The first thing to realize when trying to find who a character is is that it may take a few sessions. Yes, you can have an idea for a starting point (more on this later) but it is going to take interaction with the group for the character to really come out. The old addage that you don't actually know a person until you see them pushed to their limits and tested is true for characters too. That takes time to find out, but still, we can get a little started right?

Starting Points: A History With Holes In It
The first place to start is the history you are making for your character. Make a history for them, but leave holes in the history. The bigger the holes you can get away with the better it is. Now, the places you define are for aspects of the character that you already know or need going in.

For example, my character int he Star Wars game has the Obligation of Oath. He has taken an oath to find his father's murderer and bring that person to justice. This means my history includes a dead father, the father being killed by a specific person, and also the origin of my character's skills.  My motivation has "Relationship: Mentor" which also means that somewhere along the way someone took the character in and taught them the tricks of the trade.

Now, these are big things that char gen helped with but you have similar things in every game. For example, a fighter needs a reason that they took up the sword or spear. A mage needs a reason they took up magic. Everyone needs a reason they headed off to become an adventurer. Define those things, but leave a lot of room - as much as you can - undefined.

Starting Points: Filling The Gaps
Now, once you are in character look for opportunities to fill the gaps with other story points. You'll know it when you feel it. It might be something small, like someone mentions a dead child and it clicks to you that your character had a younger sister or perhaps even a child of their own. Someone asks about a facet of the world and it makes sense to you that you'd know something about or have an opinion on it.

To give another example, as part of our starting adventure the group decided our starting ship would be a Wayfarer. The GM ruled the ship had 2, broken (engine less) Z-95 Head Hunters on board. The first thing that came out of my character's mouth? "Man, I haven't flown one of those since training with CorSec." Now, I'd never defined my character as ever having been part of Corellian Security, but I have 2 ranks of Pilot Space on the character so someone had to have taught them. The character also is from Corellia so that made sense as well. it also meant bumping my age up a little bit.

Still, now I have this neat aspect of my character to work with and further develop. The character was in CorSec, and that means police and military training. They were in the pilot program, so they likely have some dog fighting experience. Now the question is why did they leave CorSec? When did they leave? and are they on good terms? All things that can come up later in game and be fun.

Starting Points: Feel It Out
The rest of finding the character is to feel things out. If you can, try to focus on what you know about the character and who you want them to be. Now you have those things and you use them, but more importantly you keep them in mind whenever opinion points come up in the game. Which way does the character think? Which way does the character want to go? Grab that, feel it, and run with it. That'll bring you to the character.

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