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Author Topic: 1920's Era Character Creation  (Read 6281 times)
Fiercely Anochronistic
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« on: April 21, 2010, 01:44:28 PM »

Intro

So the setting this is aimed at will (eventually) be written up as an homage to movies like The Phantom, The Shadow, King Kong, The Rocketeer. Other influences will be pseudo-archeological evidence that I find interesting. Stuff like Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods various books on Atlantis (i.e. Charles Hapgood) and occult orientated stuff like Alistair Crowley and Edgar Casey. This will be an alternate history setting aimed at the years 1920-1945.

On Characters.
  I started thinking about all the heroes and villains portrayed in movies (like the ones mentioned above) and realized they all had the same archetypes. I broke PC's choices up into Archetypes and then threw in some primary and secondary characteristics. The secondary characteristics tend to be longer, more focused features of a character, while the primary are more like personality characteristics. When reading through the secondary characteristics, I realized the PC's should be given some kind of reward (most probably xp) when they have their character act accordingly. So that's something to think about as well.

 

 
Professions   Primary Traits   Secondary Traits
 
Adventurer
Aviator
Circus Performer
Debutant
Gunfighter
Magician
Mad Scientist
Mystic
Native
Reporter
Revolutionary
Sailor
Scholar
War Hero
Ambition
Charisma
Courage
Inscrutable
Lucky
Meddler
Occult
Pragmatic
Quirky
Reckless
Rogue
Searcher
Wise
Authority Figure
Caution to the Wind
Comic Relief
Conspiracy Theorist
Flim Flam (Wo)Man
Mistrust of Authority
Mysterious Funding
National Pride
Nerves of Steel
Notorious
Privileged Life
Quest for Truth
Small Town
Trustworthy
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 12:27:41 PM by Sarisa » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 02:34:48 PM »

Check out Spirit of the Century if you can find an actual copy with the setting stuff intact (i.e., not the mechanics-only SRD available freely online.) There's an entire chapter on this sort of material.

Remember prohibition, and the whole complex of speakeasies, bootleg booze, and organized crime. You could get a lot out of mileage out of gangsters (maybe a "Gentleman Criminal"?), law enforcement (either upstanding or on the take), and the various speakeasy scenery (all the illicit musicians, dancers, proprietors, and other staff).

If you haven't already seen it, go rent Some Like It Hot. It's an excellent film anyway, and it should get you in the right 1927 headspace.

When you get into actual game mechanics, I wonder how much of each archetype is suggestion/inspiration, and how much is "pick one, along with all the baggage". Seems like some characters could straddle the boundaries here. (Is Indiana Jones an Adventurer, or is he a Scholar?)

I feel like some of your adjectives and traits might benefit from some revisions. (Are all debutantes necessarily sarcastic conspiracy theorists? Are all scholars as venal as your two-word summary paints them? What exactly is the difference between an Aviator/Adventurer's "Courageous", "Reckless", and "DangerLover" traits, or a Dilettante's "Privileged" and "Privileged Life" traits-- and if there's little or no difference, why include them all?)

I feel like you use terms like "Quirky" and "Comic Relief" sort of frequently, and that might not be a good thing. (If I'm playing a character, oughtn't I be the one deciding whether or not I'm comic relief, or just how "quirky" my character is?) Quirky, in particular, is just really vague-- I feel like for a Mystic, you might get more mileage out of something like "Ancient Secrets" or "Inscrutable", for example. As opposed to "Quirky", they both give me a little more color, and a little more idea about what you're talking about.
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 10:32:58 PM »

First off, thanks for the reply Luminous.

 Let me just say this is basically a preliminary sketch of what I would like the PC creation to be like. The idea of characteristics , sketching out how each archetype would play out was sort of a way to get my (as you put it), in the right headspace.
 
  I plan on writing up descriptions and any mechanics for each characteristic as soon as I have time, and always the extensive revision. (Hell, I've still got Pinnacle revision to do) I've got a good grasp on what I want to do with each characteristic + some new ones.

 I think it might be a good thing that the characteristics such as 'quirky' have a wide berth for interpretation. I suppose I was trying to pick a word that would allow for PCs to push the envelope. Revisions will certainly take place as I write this up.
  I like the speakeasy vibe thing. It reminds me for some reason of Robert Johnson and his little pact with the devil. Could be some material there. I like gangsters, but in that eerie Godfather sort of way. Not sure I could provide the tools to recreate some of those feelings, though ultimately that would be up to the DM and PC's.
 
 
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 09:16:50 AM »

Illusionist Primary Characteristics:Ambitious,Occultist,Meddler(?)
Secondary Characteristics:Quest for Truth, Caution to the Wind
  Illusionists are masters of deception. Using technology or skills not known to the common man, he or she has made a name for themselves. They thrive on misdirection, manipulation of the observers senses, and ignore morals held by others in the entertainment industry.


Mad Scientist Primary Characteristics:Quirky, Reckless
Secondary Characteristics:Mysterious Funding, Conspiracy Theorist, Quest for Truth
 Mad Scientists are obsessed with their work. They might be a scientist aligned with a particular government, or a rogue professional contracted out to the highest bidder. Often, they strike off on their own, to combine ancient secrets with modern advancements. They often believe in the idea of a new world order, with a basis in science, and they of course would be the decisive hand in ushering in the new era.
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 09:30:40 AM »

Luminous Crayon




When you get into actual game mechanics, I wonder how much of each archetype is suggestion/inspiration, and how much is "pick one, along with all the baggage". Seems like some characters could straddle the boundaries here. (Is Indiana Jones an Adventurer, or is he a Scholar?)


 Fair enough, I suppose that will be easier to answer once I figure out exactly what all this categorizing actually means as far as game mechanics go. I'm thinking of a pick and choose method now. You could build a character from characteristics and then pick a profession, or vice-versa. Not really sure yet. I need to dig a little deeper into the world for now.
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 10:51:46 AM »

Points of Interest:

New York City, America
Berlin, Germany
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Cairo, Egypt
London, England
Moscow, Russia
Paris, France

Destinations:
 El Dorado, South America
 City of Zinj, Africa
 Library of Alexandria, Africa
 Atlantis (Mu, Lemuria), Unknown
 Shang-Ri-La, Asia
 
Institutions:
  Times Square Building, New York City, NY, USA
  University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  Yale University, New Haven, Conn. , USA
  Mason Grand Lodge, London, England
  Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., USA
  Capitol Building, Washington D.C., USA
  Scotland Yard, London, England

Organizations:

League of Nations-The brainchild of Woodrow Wilson, an international league of countries involved in WWI.

Illuminati-Organization that specializes in the Occult. 'father' society of the Free Masons.
 
Rhodes League-A secret society in England, aimed at re-annexing the American Continent to Great Britain.
 
Ottoman Empire-Greatly Weakened after WWI, the Ottomans have lost most of their original holdings. The empire is on the verge of collapsing.

Children of Anubis-Protectors of ancient Egyptian artifacts, most importantly, the real Book of the Dead. Also aligned with Hapshepsut.  
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 01:08:33 PM »

Artifacts
 
Artifact Status:
    A condition given to an artifact that is directly proportionate to it's chance of being discovered/used/lost. Several status' may overlap; for example: An artifact may reside in a museum, but perhaps it is still fragmented, waiting for leading experts to figure out how to put it back together.

 
In a Museum
  Some lucky adventurer (and museum curator) has brought this artifact back to the civil world. This status is not necessarily restricted to museums, as it might be in the hands of a private organization or individual. Entrepreneurs are especially fond of using their vast wealth to acquire relics of the ancient world.  
 
Lost
   According to ancient records, the artifact in question has been misplaced. The probability of said artifact resurfacing is significantly higher than an artifact that has been:
 
Lost Forever Even in ancient times this artifact was lost, or destroyed in such a way as it will never be recovered. The chances of finding the physical artifact are slim, although evidence of it actually existing, being used and eventually lost are relatively easy to find.(relative to the artifact itself)
 
Fragmented
     Artifact has been separated, fragmented, or otherwise deconstructed. It is possible to re-assemble the artifact, with a chance of it's power being either greatly weakened, or greatly enhanced, via prophecy.
 
In the Hands of..
     This artifact has been found, or re-assembled. It is currently in the hands of an influential person, who knows exactly what it is and what it can do. It is already found, so it is more of a 'how to acquire' situation.

 

Note: The Point of Artifact Status

Basically to give the PC's an idea (mechanics-wise) how foolhardy their mission into the steaming jungles or arid desert in search of an artifact might be.
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2010, 12:42:23 AM »

Revolutionary Primary Characteristics: Courageous, Charismatic
Secondary Characteristics: National Pride, Caution to the Wind

War Hero Primary Characteristics: Courageous, Lucky
Secondary Characteristics: National Pride, Nerves of Steel
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2010, 12:58:04 PM »

Sarisa


Luminous Crayon




When you get into actual game mechanics, I wonder how much of each archetype is suggestion/inspiration, and how much is "pick one, along with all the baggage". Seems like some characters could straddle the boundaries here. (Is Indiana Jones an Adventurer, or is he a Scholar?)


 Fair enough, I suppose that will be easier to answer once I figure out exactly what all this categorizing actually means as far as game mechanics go. I'm thinking of a pick and choose method now. You could build a character from characteristics and then pick a profession, or vice-versa. Not really sure yet. I need to dig a little deeper into the world for now.

 Maybe have a major, and the possiblity of a minor, so that your Indi could be an adventurer Major and a scholar minor?
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 12:40:59 PM »

Not a bad idea Vreeg. Maybe professions are declared but not actually implemented(and I mean the bonuses that I am writing up for each profession) until they reach a certain level/amount of xp. Something like that.

 As far as the bonuses go...I have not given it a whole lot of though, but I like the idea of say, Debutantes being able to find a servant almost anytime and anywhere. Whether it is the waiter at the latest gala or a porter in the city of Cairo.
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 02:48:29 PM »

>>As far as the bonuses go...I have not given it a whole lot of though, but I like the idea of say, Debutantes being able to find a servant almost anytime and anywhere. Whether it is the waiter at the latest gala or a porter in the city of Cairo.

Drolly amusing. smile

I'd also like to see the artifacts section detailed more. Maybe with more options or detailed rules. I think there is a lot of potential there-- it makes me consider creating a system designed solely around the acquisition of artifacts a la Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Uncharted-style.

Good work!
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 06:07:18 PM »

Thanks LD.

 I really like the tone of games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted. They learned well from the master (Indiana Jones).
 Which brings me to some more research...I haven't watched League of Extraordinary Gentleman in a while.

 Artifacts will definitely play a major role in the system. Not much else sketched out atm though. Thanks for the comments.
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2010, 09:53:50 AM »

Light Dragon


I'd also like to see the artifacts section detailed more. Maybe with more options or detailed rules. I think there is a lot of potential there-- it makes me consider creating a system designed solely around the acquisition of artifacts a la Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Uncharted-style.



 Anything ever come of that idea LD? It piqued my interest.


In Character


Gunfighter Primary Characteristics:Ambitious, Lucky
Secondary Characteristics: Nerves of Steel, Caution to the Wind

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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 11:46:02 PM »

Thanks for asking. I wrote something up and have a few pages, but it turned out to work much better as a short story than as a game system- still need to work some things out.

Basically I was trying to mash-up Borges/Italo Calvino/Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell/HP Lovecraft bibliophilia and logorrhea contrasted with Indiana Jones and artifacts.

I might try a redesign focused more on the artifacts than on the books and words (the game was becoming sort of like parcheesi and scrabble mixed with a board game and less like a rpg).
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 11:53:51 AM »

Theaters
  Commonly called 'adventure sites' (in D&D), these are the locations in the world that players actually get stuff done. Having found that ancient treasure map or artifact, spoken to the holy man in the village or caught wind of that new archaeological site the players have been led to this location.
 
   Places like Ayers Rock, the Grand Canyon, the city of Petra, sunken Port Royal, as well as mythical places: El Dorado, Atlantis, Zinj, Shangri-la all make excellent theater sites. Not restricted to exotic locales, theater sites may be found in common (but wholly overlooked places) Beneath the sewers of a vast metropolis, such as New York, dusty basements of national archives or museums, churches, and castles.

 Theaters are where the action takes place. Traps, ancient guards, the pursuing foe, this is the crux of the unfolding plot. Usually the goal is clear, and only the retrieval of the artifact, information , or vast spoils of wealth remain. Main characters are bumped off, villains defeated and great realizations are made.  
 


Headlines
 Headlines in the form of radio broadcasts, newspaper clippings, corner early-edition newspaper boys, and skywriting (yes, sky-writing) are excellent ways to introduce plot hooks. Conspiracy theorists may analyze newspapers, scrutinizing every odd looking character, arrangement of letters and numbers for some secret message.



Out of Character

I didn't want to let this thing die, so hopefully I can get my head back into it. I realize I'm basically just analyzing hero journeys from movies, but isn't that what rpgs are all about? Any suggestions?
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