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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mortality of Characters

I'll be the first to admit that I often reuse character's. Not just the concept, but the entire character. I have played 1 LARP character in 2 separate chronicles, and there have been a multitude of tabletop characters that I have been able to play again and again.

For the first time in my life, I'm actually taking a Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop character and bringing him to LARP. Unfortunately, this specific character won't convert 100% over to LARP due to the fact that several of the options available through tabletop are not currently available in the MES LARP rules right now. He'll have to be toned down quite a bit, losing starting generation plus a special merit that allowed him to actually have 4 in clan disciplines rather than the normal 3. We'll see how it works out in the end.

It's actually this character that I've brought back time and time again in several tabletop games... both as my PC and as an NPC in games I've run. My ex-wife and I actually went back-and-forth running games that involved this character and one of her design. This created a large arching story which I hope to bring to this blog in the near future. (I'm currently working to get proper permission to use the White Wolf specific terms without infringing on copyright laws.)

Another method of keeping your characters alive is to use them... or variants thereof... as NPC's in your own games. I insert characters from my previous games as NPC's into every game I run. Some may see this as a lazy method of designing your chronicle, but I enjoy reviving the old characters and allowing them to interact with new PC's under new circumstances.

When you run games with a common set of friends, these NPC's spark old memories of games past. I've even taken characters from a modern day game (Vampire: The Masquerade) and inserted a version of them in a fantasy setting (Dungeons & Dragons). This way you not only invigorate the former character, you also have the option to design them anew the way they may have been in a different world.

To give you an example...

A D&D game I ran several years ago was one of my M Night Shyamalan style games where I actually started the game with a twist. I had the players create regular D&D characters that they'd like to play, and the prelude to the actual game went something like this:

"We're all here, sitting at the table and putting the finishing touches on our characters. Each of you have told me you're ready, and I excuse myself to the bathroom before we actually begin. When the door of the bathroom closes behind me, there is a bright flash. When you wake-up, you are lying in a field. As you move around, you don't recognize your surroundings... and you won't seem to recognize your body as you look at it. You are also surrounded by others whom you don't seem to recognize."

The players soon realized that their personal consciousness had been transferred into their characters bodies. Everyone seemed to enjoy the concept, and I inserted character we had each played as NPC's. The one I recall best is my former Tzimisce priest from our Sabbat LARP game was a sorcerer that helped to guide them in their travels. Obviously the powers and abilities of the Tzimisce (mainly the ability to mold flesh and bone) were not converted, which is why I decided to make the NPC version a sorcerer... and less "evil".

I'm sure I'm not the only person who tries to keep a copy of their old characters so they can reminisce when they happily happen across them while cleaning or organizing. I try to re-invent many of these character from time to time. Even though the concepts are old, bringing them back to life helps get the proverbial creative juices flowing.

To date, even though I have had my fair share of LARP character die, I have never had a single one of my tabletop characters die inside of a campaign.

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