Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LWaSH session 2: More character creation

Lost Worlds and Secret Histories

The Tuesday Night crew continued--but didn't quite complete--development of their Van Helsing Society operatives last night, and it was loads of fun.

The players finally got to do the "guest star" phases of character-building, meaning that they all picked names out of a hat and then had to figure out ways to work their characters into guest roles into each others' pulp novels. This lead to some weird and difficult chronology questions, and one character only got a single guest star in his book, since it took place too early in history for most of the group to logically participate in it (which, of course, lead to another book getting three guest stars instead of two).

I think if I had to do it all over again, I'd hack the standard SotC character generation so that Phase Three was the character's solo novel (and, probably, canonical first adventure), while Phases Four and Five are for team-up novels with only two stars each. I think that'd be a lot easier to manage.

Anyway, we didn't quite complete everybody's guest star roles, but we did manage to get a whole lot of skills-and-stunts stuff done. I'm hoping to help people finish up via email.

Highlights of the session include:
  • One player deciding that the aspect she got out of a guest-starring role was a competitive, anything-he-can-do-I-can-do-better relationship with the main character . . . which is the character's way of expressing a crush that's obvious to everyone but her

  • That same player deciding that her plane, "Blaze of Glory", is less a specific aircraft than a title and role that's bestowed upon any plane she flies . . . as long as the previous Blaze has been destroyed (That is so freaking brilliant!)

  • Much discussion--and even a drawing!--of Marko Kraljevic's arch enemy, a steam-powered war robot built by the Ottoman Empire called The Mechanical Turk

  • Lots of moments where people's various novel plots and the specialties of their guest stars clicked together perfectly

  • Cool decisions about where to get photos to illustrate the character sheets: Marko the Slavic folk hero is likely to be played by Rade Serbedzija, Arthur the gentleman thief will be David Tennant, and Abraham the cultist-fighting gunslinger will be Lance freaking Henriksen.

  • The Hitler character's "Unausprechlichen Namen" aspect, describing his state of metaphysical namelessness after his identity was stolen by the demon who went on to become der Fuhrer (people have trouble even remembering him, and could never possibly believe he's actually Adolf Hitler, even in the face of evidence)

  • Outside of the game, the near-unanimity of our Chinese orders, leading several of us to become General Tso's Army
So, all in all, a lot of good fun, and we're not even playing, yet. The hypothetical pulp novels this session produced are so cool I wish I could commission an artist to do a nice color piece for each, which I could then Photoshop into a set of book covers.


dirk said...

In light of the Mechanical Turk, I feel obligated to point you to Jane's latest work:

Matt Sheridan said...

Oh, hell yes. I did know that it had finally launched, but now that you mention it, it's about time I subscribed to the feed. That's basically the only way I can remember to read webcomics.