thread: 2006-01-24 : Still More Character Ownership

On 2006-01-24, Gregor Hutton wrote:

Maybe I just have a personal disconnect—a distance—about owning characters wholly. I mean I like—in fact, I love—creating and playing characters in games. It’s just that when they’re out there, they’re _out_ there for everyone to see and modify. Everyone else I play with influences my character on every level I can comprehend. With their reactions to my character, and their ideas and actions, they incrementally readjust my a priori assumptions of what my character was/is. It happens in games, we should accept it. It’s not a heresy. I mean I think we already do it, we just don’t like to admit it?

The next bigger point is that for the good of the experience (story/events/whatever) it’s important that sometimes the character wins, sometimes loses, sometimes leads, sometimes supports, sometimes does _not_ change at all, and at other times changes in ways that we could never have predicted beforehand.

Often the GM takes on the role of deciding who is the “main character” in a story. Why? And how did they decide that? And who says what direction we are going in? Do we have to compete to be the protagonist? Sometimes the story unfolding just screams out the way it has to go. Go with the flow.


This makes VB go "I think we already do it too."
Why we don't like to admit it, I can't figure.

This makes TC go "Well..."
A lot of games don't make it clear that one person is the "main character" and the rest are there for support. If that's not said up front, it's only natural for people to compete for the limelight.

This makes GH go "Not always a competition, and not always healthy"
I've seen stories that were -- really at their heart if we had realised at the time -- all about one of the "minor" characters. A huge potential for something interesting. But as the player of that character didn't "compete" with the louder players he was getting zilch face time. We were all dancing round the coolest opportunity -- our egos butting just yards away from the real story. Fools! If only we had looked up.

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