Monday, January 01, 1990

Storymap Preparation--Institutions or Groups as Characters

Some “characters” in a storymap are not individuals but are actually representative of a group or institution. For example, a storymap might include the Citadel as a “character”. This can be useful for a few reasons.

First, it allows a character to use the I/C transfer rules to maximum effect, either by receiving I/C from the group or by transferring to the group. For example, imagine a prophet from the wilderness entering the Citadel and preaching a message of repentance. This could be gamed out mechanically as a transfer of Inspiration from the prophet to the Citadel.

Secondly, having a group as a character provides the necessary Attributes and Traits in case another character seeks to perform some action opposed by the group. A variation of this method can be used to determine the effects of ongoing actions between two groups. For example, a storymap that includes a war between two villages could occasionally use a Force vs. Force roll to determine the ongoing status of the war. This is a quick and easy way of providing a dynamic background without overwhelming the primary status of the players as the authors of the story.

Third, the group’s Attributes and Traits can be used for any individual who is a part of that group who is not otherwise included in the storymap. For instance, a nameless Citadel soldier might use the Citadel’s Attributes and Traits if he were ever part of a conflict resolution. Any I/C spent by one of these minor characters is drawn from the group’s pool of I/C.

Finally, including groups as characters allows for the formation of relationships with these groups or their interrelationships. For example, a storymap might include the Ark and the Citadel as well as an “At war” relationship so that another character could have a relationship to the “At war” relationship. (See Relationships for more information.)

At the same time, I would advise using group characters sparingly. Often, these groups exist only as background setting and do not need to be fleshed out in order for the storymap to be complete. Also, relationships with groups tend to be less intense than relationships with individuals, thus providing less driving force to the characters and providing less interest to the players.


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