Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Let's Build a Character w/ Six Truths & a Player Goal

This coming weekend one of the groups I'm in will be starting a new game. The GM gave a try to the Six Truths method for presenting the world, and I figured this would be a good chance to show how you can use those truths in building a character that should fit the game.

What We Know
The GM started us off with 6 Truths and a Player Goal to build the character around. With their permission, those truths and goal are shared below.

  1. The Rebellion is growing, and struggling, the year is 2 BBY
  2. After surviving a mission gone terribly wrong, you will be placed in Rebel Special Forces training.
  3. Superweapons like those provided by Du Walentyna make direct confrontation impossible, the only victory comes from clever, and dedicated teams of specialists operating in secret.
  4. Internal confusion and backstabbing hampers a fragmented Rebellion
  5. Force users aren’t so rare as the Empire would have you believe, and no one person can single-handedly change the course of history.
  6. “The criminals feeding off the suffering the Empire brings pose as much of a threat to the Rebellion’s shadow war as the Empire itself, and they are a second front that can not be ignored.

Player Goal: “I want to actively be a part of defeating the injustices of the Galaxy caused by the Empire and the criminal underworld that feeds off it.”

The Fun Facts
Of those six facts, fact Five and Six are the most interesting to me for character creation. The others are good too, but 1-4 are more about the setting and how the game is starting. These are good things to have, and to know to build around, but five and six grab me as being good things to have strongly in mind.

5 because it means force sensitive characters are not only on the table, but likely more common than otherwise seen. 6 because it means that with some focus being on crime, we have interesting opportunities to work things into a backstory.

Also, with the Player Goal also bringing the criminal underworld into play, we can help ourselves (hooray for personal plot potential) and the GM by having a character that has experienced the negatives of both the Empire and the Crime syndicates.

Narrative vs. Mechanical
Narrative vs. Mechanical is where style of player comes in. Do you build your story around the mechanics you want? or do you build your mechanics around your story? I tend to be the latter type, though sometimes I'll have an idea based off some part of the mechanical build. For example, for this game, I know I want to do the "Hot Shot" Specialization from the "Ace" career. So I'm going to keep that in mind as I build who my character is, then hang mechanics on that to form what they are in game sense.

Gender, Sexuality, Age, and Race/Species
Building a person I tend to start with the above four categories. I consider these in a lot of ways to be the foundation for a person. Everything we experience in the world is done through one of these four lenses.

There is nothing wrong if you know what each of these is for your character right away. Some people I know always play characters of certain genders, sexuality, and age ranges because it is how they can relate to the character. Others, like myself, are more open to variation. In this case, I'm going random.

How I do the random generation is a topic in and of itself, but for now I'll give my results: Female, Lesbian, New Adult, and Mirialan.

Backstory Tentpoles
From here we build the backstory tent poles. A tent pole in this case are the big story beats that happened getting us from A to B. So how does a female Miralan become a Hotshot Ace for the Rebellion? Well, first we're going to go back to those six truths - particularly 5 and 6 - and identify things we want out of this. We're also going to remember the assigned player goal: this character wants to help a galaxy being terrorized by the Empire and criminal syndicates. Also for the record, for a character backstory I recommend keeping to 4 tent poles if you can. It gives enough room to make an interesting story, but is simple enough you don't run the risk of easy breakage once game starts.

This character is not starting off force sensitive, but that doesn't mean it is gone completely. We also want them to have experiences with Crime, and this is Galactic Empire era Star Wars, which means all sorts of bad things like slavery are going on in the outer rim.

My tent poles are as follows:

  1. Given to a criminal syndicate for
  2. Learned to pilot with the Criminal Syndicate
  3. Escaped the Criminal Syndicate
  4. Joined the Rebellion
The Actual Backstory
Writing the actual back story is now just a matter of writing the "how" and "why" each of those tent pole moments happened. Along with that, I also want to be answering "why did this make the character want to take action against the Empire and Criminal Syndicates?"

Add Mechanics
Age of Rebellion doesn't have a ton of room for expression in mechanics for a starting character, but there is some. My choice of Miriallan is one such choice. I did it as much for story purposes as I did for visual aesthetics, as I did for the mechanics involved.

One thing I do like about most non-human races in this system is they come with a pre-defined weakness. For a Mirialan that weakness is a Low Cunning. I don't want to erase that. So I leave Cunning at 1. From here I go back and check my backstory to make sure being "clever" isn't a key part of the story. Other mechanics are assigned to fit the back story we have.

And in the end, I have a character.

A Final Note On Personal Story
The idea I want to emphasize with this is how I - as a player - use the Six Truths to build a character that fits in with what the game is about. I have a character with ties and experiences with criminals and a willing member of the Rebellion against the empire. From these, and with the Player Goal in mind I've built in personal stakes for my character with things that the GM has shown they're going to involve in the game. This should make it easier for the GM to include me in the game, and to leverage my backstory for other personal notes and hooks as the game goes along. More importantly though, it means it should be easier for me to keep my character involved in the game and as an animated and active part of pushing things forward.

Furthermore, withthese ties, my character can give other PCs a different view of what is going on and why they too need to fight to make that change.

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