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Author Topic: Questions for the PCs at concept?  (Read 3924 times)
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kevperrine
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« on: October 03, 2006, 06:14:43 PM »


I usually ask the players to give me some background on new characters in the form of some character and campaign questions.


For people not familiar with the setting  or  just to get the themes of the setting...
What would be several questions that you could ask players that would be specific to the Midnight setting  that  would help develop the character concept and idea?




As a basic bit of info for other GMs...
Many times I ask them to create a  3x3  NPC list for me.

Quote

I usually ask that the Players make sure to give me a few things for
each...
Name, brief description, how they are connected to the PC, where were
they last, any special powers/abilities, any suggestions for
personality, picture or image?


- 3 Friends: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who would help you
because they care about you. From your father, to a loyal fan, to
someone willing to die for you.

- 3 Contacts: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who would help you
because you pay or trade favor with them. From the neighborhood
bartender, to a police commisioner, to an old friend.

- 3 Enemies: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who dislikes, hates or
has a grudge on your character. From a childhood bully, to a someone
who thought you cheated them in poker, to someone wanting you dead.

- 3 Locations: Placed created in/for the setting that are connected to
the PC, someplace that is special good or bad to your character. From
the place your parents were killed, to your childhood home, to a place
you watch the sunrise.

- 3 Organizations: A group created for the setting that is connected
to the PC, something for which the PC has worked for or against. From
a police org, to a secret society, to a big corporate machine.


Continuing from there the players need to know that:

A. Once the NPCs are "handed over" they're totally the GM's to develop

B. These NPCs are not permanent in their "category", for example if
you do something roleplaying in-game that makes a Contact dislike you
then they might fall OUT of the "contact" and become an enemy.

C. These NPCs may or may not show up soon. I go with the note that
these NPCs aren't "canon" in-game continuity until I introduce them in
campaign. Meaning, I don't want players to say "I'll just go to xxx
for help". I'm cool with players asking to go find xxx but not just
assuming they'll be there waiting for them.
I've since added another note/idea to the 3x3 (essentially making it a
3x4).
LOCATIONS
These are areas that are of meaning to the character. They can be
anything from favorite hideaways to battlefields to whatever. For
example, in Serenity Shepard's planet would probably have been on of
those locations. Just as "Mr. Universe" might have been one of Mal's.



-kev-
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best,
-kev-
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 06:31:57 PM »

kev,

I have a somewhat guided set of questions that help them develop a character while also giving me some information around it, unfortunately not all players agree that it is a good resource to begin with and one has given me trouble with stupid answers and the other simply said he would not answer, period.

Meaningless to say he was the most plain character at the game table. Anyway, here are the questions I ask about their character, i usually grant them a bonus xp, so those who don't want to answer wil be startign behidn already. Wink

1. What is the full name of the character?

2. How does she look like? Try to address at least the following: how she likes to dress, what is your hairstyle, does she has any tattoos or birthmarks, what is her handedness, any other note that you feel necessary.

3. Where is your character from? What is the surrounding area like? Are there rivers, forests, hills, mountains, unique sites nearby?

4. What is your character's personality like?

5. What does she desire to have/ attain/ see/ do the most? Does she think it is possible to achieve it? Why? Are there any other objectives or dreams your character has?

6. What is your character's family like? How many brothers or sisters does she have? What is your relationship with them?

7. Who are her best friends? How are they like? How long have they known each other and what makes them so close? Describe them briefly.

8. Are there any interesting people she has known in her past or knows now? What about the people on her town, who are the greatest personalities around? Describe some of the people from her town.

9.  Does your character have any enemy? Who are they? What made they hate each other? How long have you known each other? How are this enemies like? Briefly describe them.

10. Has your character ever worked? What did she do? Why has she left it? Was she good at it?

11. What habits does your character have? When does she do it? How often? Why does she do it?

12. What does your character love to do or hate doing? What does she do in her free time?

13. What does your character think of life? What makes her think that way?

14. What scares your character the most? How long has she been afraid of it? Is there anything that explains it?

15. What are your character's ideals? What does she not tolerate? Who taught her those ideals? How does she adhere to them? (Strictly, loosely, others).

16. Has your character ever traveled to other places? Where has she been? What drove her to travel there?

17. How did your character learn the abilities of the class you chose? Had she a master? How long has it taken for her to learn those skills? What was her master like? What happened to that master? What kind of relationship do your character and her master maintain nowadays? How do they feel about each other?

18. Is there anything your character always has with her? What is it? How did she get it?

19. Note at least five important events or situations that have happened in your character's life

20. What made your character leave her home town? Does she expect to return sometime? Who will be there waiting for her? Did she leave a lover behind?

21. Does your character have any allergies or phobias? How strong are they? How did she develop it?

22. What does your character carry in her pockets? Why?

23. What does your character think of herself? Why?

This is the second of three questionaires, the first is focused on learning what the player wants out of a game and whether the group likes the same things or not, and third asks about the game pace, rate of combats and roleplaying and so on, a way of letting them give me some specific feedback instead of the usual was cool, was not cool, or sucked.
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kevperrine
Insurgent Commander
***

Spell Energy / Taint +2/-1
Gender: Male
Posts: 422



« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 06:43:07 PM »

kev,

I have a somewhat guided set of questions that help them develop a character while also giving me some information around it, unfortunately not all players agree that it is a good resource to begin with and one has given me trouble with stupid answers and the other simply said he would not answer, period.




That's a great list and I have used similar lists before...  I'll likely post it on my wiki for this campaign. 
Sometimes though this is "too much" for me to decipher.

Thanks for the list for sure  but  my more specific goal was wondering about any questions that might be good to ask players that give a particular bent on their character's concept and personality for MIDNIGHT.
Stuff like maybe:


What's your greatest physical fear? 

What's your greatest mental fear?  

or even more background specific like

Describe the worst encounter you've ever had with an agent of evil.  (a Legate, Orc, etc...)

What friends and/or family have been killed, abducted or tortured by the enemy.  How?/Why?/By Whom? 

If all hope was truly lost and you could not fight anylonger against the Shadow in the Norht what would you do?



things like that...  any other ideas that make the dread of doom creep into the questions?
-kev-
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Bleak Knight
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AKA Draug


« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 08:58:00 PM »

I made this one (and posted it) for old AtS, a few weeks before it's crash.

1. Where and how did the character grow up?

2. What was the character's childhood dreams?

3. As a child, what was the character afraid of?

4. What experience or experiences put the character on the path he or she has chosen?

5. How did the character discover his or her heroic path?

6. If he or she has done so, who or what was the first sentient creature the character killed or maimed?

7. What are the character's defining qualities?

8. What makes the character feel good, happy or worthwhile?

9. What fuels the character's negative emotions?

10. How does the character react toward new people?

11. In who and what does the character place his or her trust?

12. Who and what does the character care about?

13. Who and what does your character view as his or her personal enemies?

14. What is the character's view of the world?

15. How does your character react to the supernatural?

16. What is the character's opinions on power and authority?

17. What kind of places does your character like or dislike?

18. Does the character possess any long-term goals?

19. How and why does the character justify any violence he or she commits?

20. If he or she could chose, how would the character want to die?


Note: I kept this within 20 questions, so as not to swamp potential players. I'd rather have some good answers than a horde of mediocre ones.
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smeagol
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Gender: Male
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Hiding from Shadow


« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2006, 12:36:59 AM »

Just to help the discussion progress, here is a short article found in Signs & Portents #37, about character background. It is simple yet could help give the spark for inspiration for a character concept.

* 101 Character Backgrounds.doc (83 KB - downloaded 345 times.)
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kevperrine
Insurgent Commander
***

Spell Energy / Taint +2/-1
Gender: Male
Posts: 422



« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2006, 02:49:37 AM »

Here's what I ended up going with...

ABILITY SCORE BONUSES - Go from 24pts to 29pts!!

You can earn 5 BONUS points for the buying your Ability Scores going from a MEAGER 24 points to a HEROIC 29 points! Here are the assignments that award those points. You MAY choose to do parts, each part is award as shown below.



Creating a "3x3" for your Hero = 3 POINTS

A "3x3" is a simple idea I created long ago. It allows YOU (the players) to help co-create our setting by building NPCs that the GM can choose to use in the game. You should create the brief information for the idea that relates to your character allowing the GM to build from that point on.
Please include: the NPC's name, brief description, how they are connected to the PC, where were they last, any special powers/abilities, any suggestions for personality and if you choose an appropriate picture or image. Check THIS SAMPLE to get the idea of how to do a 3x3.

    * 3 Friends: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who would help you because they care about you. From your father, to a loyal fan, to someone willing to die for you.
    * 3 Contacts: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who would help you because you pay or trade favor with them. From the neighborhood bartender, to a police commisioner, to an old friend.
    * 3 Enemies: NPCs connected to your PC, someone who dislikes, hates or has a grudge on your character. From a childhood bully, to a someone who thought you cheated them in poker, to someone wanting you dead.

Continuing from there the players need to know that:
A. Once the NPCs are "handed over" they're totally the GM's to develop
B. These NPCs are not permanent in their "category", for example if you do something roleplaying in-game that makes a Contact dislike you then they might fall OUT of the "contact" and become an enemy.
C. These NPCs may or may not show up soon. I go with the note that these NPCs aren't "canon" in-game continuity until I introduce them in campaign. Meaning, I don't want players to say "I'll just go to xxx for help". I'm cool with players asking to go find xxx but not just assuming they'll be there waiting for them.
I have since added two additional note/idea to the 3x3 (essentially making it a 3x5). If you wish you may replace ONE of the above 3x3 entries to include a Location and ONE to include an Organization if you like.

    * Locations: Placed created in/for the setting that are connected to the PC, someplace that is special good or bad to your character. From the place your parents were killed, to your childhood home, to a place you watch the sunrise.
    * Organizations: A group created for the setting that is connected to the PC, something for which the PC has worked for or against. From a police org, to a secret society, to a big corporate machine.



Ideas for possible Covenant Items = 1 POINT

Create 3 (or more) Covenant Items.
As you know Covenant Items are Midnight's version of D&D magic items. Each Covenant Item is individual and original destined for the hand of a "hero". If you're lucky your hero will find his/her destined Covenant Items. Covenant Items can be any type of traditional D&D magical iteam, the big difference is that they grow with you. So when giving your ideas please note: what the item is, any historical or story ideas, and it's basic power(s) that would interest you. I will then take those concepts and develop them.



Character/Player Questions = 1 POINT

Answer these questions in a short paragraph.
These questions will aid in creating ideas and stories that cater to your hero. It will also help flesh out your hero. You are welcome to create addional background questions. But these short answers are all that's necessary here.

    * Describe what your hero's glorious death might be.

    * Describe what your hero's worst fated death at the hands of [the ENEMY] might be.

    * What is the worst thing [the Shadow] could do to your hero? (this could include things done to loved ones)

    * Describe a victory that your hero would like to have against [the Shadow].

    * What action would your hero never do? (meaning type of action "like burn a village down", NOT a general idea like "give in to the shadow")

    * What would cause your hero to break down to sadness or fear?

    * What do you hope your heroe's honorific would be? (An honorific is a word or expression that conveys esteem or respect and is used in addressing or referring to a person. Honorifics are usually placed immediately before or after the name of the subject. e.g. Thok the Orc Masher!)

    * What would it take for your hero to turn traitor? (these can result from bribe or blackmail)

    * PLAYER: What's your favorite monster or NPCs to fight?!!

    * PLAYER: What do you most enjoy about RPGs & D&D? (meaning battling monsters, solving puzzles, political roleplaying, etc..?)




ADDITIONAL PRE-Game Character Creation Assignments

Below are other options for things you can do to build out your character, you can suggest additional ideas if you have them. If you do so you'll earn a CHARM for each new thing you do that your character can begin the game with for doing the extra pre-character creation work... IDEAS TO DO

    * find or make an illustration that can represent your hero
    * find a miniature that can represent your hero
    * paint your miniature
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2006, 09:51:49 AM »

Really really nice touch. Grin
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kevperrine
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Gender: Male
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2006, 03:24:48 PM »

Really really nice touch. Grin


thanks -  anything particular?

and
Thanks for helping me brainstorm folks!
-kev-
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Lycurgus
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2006, 01:03:24 AM »

I think the 3x3 thing is a good idea.  I came up with something similar for the superhero game I plan on running after my Midnight game finishes.
I was going to ask for 3 NPCs that the character interacts with regularly, 3 character secrets and 3 character goals and/or desires.  I also want the player to come up with the basic concept of a supervillian which the group would later have to deal with.

I haven't done the same for my midnight campaign. I was a bit rushed beginning the campaign.

The extra points is a good way to make sure that everyone does it.  I might look at doing the same sort of thing in my next campaign.
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