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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Character generation meta-rules

    A topic I've been thinking about, since I had this dream is the subject of character creation rules that are not completely internal to character creation. That doesn't make a lot of sense, as I've written it, so perhaps it will help to talk about the dream first:

    "Last night's dream:
    We were playing (actually, I'm not sure I was there at all) a roleplaying game. It centred around some kind of monastery or order of knights or something like that. There was an organisational management kind of aspect to it, that fed into the character creation system, so for example, one could only play a non-human character once you (the group) had established good relations with those peoples within the story, which then unlocked them as an option for player "race". David, for instance, was now playing a little stocky satyr kind of dude called a "Throfen". A similar kind of dynamic applied to other sorts of character options.
    The character design and inventory system revolved around action figures and their accessories (kind of like Shadowrun Duels), which came out of the castle playset that formed the group's HQ. Figures and items came out of the central keep, which was some kind of enclosed 3d printer, with stuff unlocked in play.
    There was a bit of a Masters of the Universe vibe going on, in terms of it being kind of sword and raygun science fantasy. Jyan's character had just reconnected with the true faith of the order (so could now do the clericky kind of thing and he had a sword with a blade made of glow in the dark plastic, to go with his freshly-printed robe and surplice kind of outfit) while our little hooved buddy had tiny grenades on his belt.
    There was (at least, I think there must have been) a vaguely Ars Magica-esque troupe kind of dynamic here too, as I don't think players just retired previous characters when they added new ones with unlocked options."

    So what I mean is, regarding character options that are related to group plot stuff. You can only have a character of a given species if your group has unlocked them through questing. Likewise, until quests are performed to redeem the order, none of you can actual tap into true communion with holy power.

    How does this seem to people? It seems more than a bit weird to me, personally.

    Are there any games that do anything at all like this? The closest things I can think of is InSpectres' limit that only one player can play a supernatural being in a given franchise and Unlockables from Marvel Heroic Roleplay. Can anyone think of any other things like this?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Character generation meta-rules

    I think that could be a cool concept. I could easily see it imposed upon a game like D&D by stating that you start as level 1 humans (or just a few of the main races), and your options expand as you make contacts. Likewise, you have to find shopkeepers selling stuff before your home base's shop can sell them. I definitely like the idea.

    It could be it's own game, of course, with it more intrinsically tied to the character's options, but I reckon that would require a fair bit of homebrew.

    (Reminds me a lot of the Suikoden games, actually.)

    EDIT: for D&D, it is tricky in that you don't want to just recycle PCs. I can see it with, as you said, Ars Magica, since then you are assumed to have multiple PC-eligible characters in game.
    Last edited by JeenLeen; 2013-11-22 at 04:32 PM. Reason: added Edit, then fixed typo in Edit

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
    erikun's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Character generation meta-rules

    This sounds like a campaign idea, more than a system idea, with a generational concept. That is, the PCs go out and do their standard adventuring, and if they make peace with a group of elves, then the next "generation" of characters may choose elves as a race as well. Or have the option of playing a new character, with an elf as an option - this goes along with your Ars Magica idea.

    I'm sure there are video games which have the same basic concept available.

    Your Masters of the Universe example is purely a setting concept, outside of if the system actually has rayguns or not.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Character generation meta-rules

    Yeah, I'm not married to the setting. Or indeed any of it, the part in quotes is just straight description of the dream that prompted me thinking about it.

    The generational idea has something to it, but the timescale is too long for this, I think.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Character generation meta-rules

    If the game revolved around a group of mercenaries or other factions or peoples that would be actively trying to recruit. (i.e. this is what the "original" players do) Then it makes sense that you might be "collecting" new races and classes as you encounter them.

    Your mercenary group makes a peaceful encounter with a clan of dwarves. You now can recruit dwarves. You infiltrate a band of assassins you can now recruit assassins.

    Do something like…each player can have X number of characters. Each session (or each time you go back to base or whatever) you select what character to take on this adventure. (This would actually be great for groups with a more random attendance, allowing you to build a solid party on the fly.) The downside of course being that now players have to keep track of many items and characters. (Low Magic setting and everyone levels at the same rate?)

    I think it sounds interesting and would certainly satisfy some of that craving I am always having to build another character concept . I could imagine that it would put some extra pressure on the DM though. (But with that many characters killing some off is more "acceptable" I guess)
    Last edited by Calen; 2013-11-22 at 07:30 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Character generation meta-rules

    Well, in the dream, that kind of item tracking was dealt with by way of the action figures and their stuff. :)
    It seemed like things were fairly chunky though: eg. this character has a grenade belt and you can tell from the slots that he can hold x grenades. The order has these types of grenades available, so at the start of a mission, he chooses from those types and you clip them on his little belt.

    Even without the (rather baroque) action figure method, it wouldn't be that hard to track such things electronically.

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