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Unread 10th of April, 2011, 14:37
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Character Creation

Character creation is pretty simple. I'll cover all the parts of it and then I will put up a Character Template over in the Characters section for everyone to follow.

Name: Should be pretty Obvious

Concept: Just jot down 3-5 words do describe your character

Issue: A protagonist's issue is his or her most defining characteristic. It is that against which the character struggles the most. Much more than a character flaw, the issue is insight into how the character behaves, and how the character thinks about him- or herself. Through issues players have the opportunity to see the complexity of a protagonist that might otherwise stay hidden beneath the surface.

This is something the character continually deals with and is generally the focus in the character's spotlight episode (more on that in a bit). Characters always have an issue, but their issue can change over time as they deal with one and encounter another.

Screen Presence: Over the course of a television series, a protagonist's story will receive varying amounts of attention. In some episodes, a character will play a prominent role, while in others, he or she will be secondary or even tertiary to other protagonists. The level of story importance is measured by the protagonist's screen presence. In any given episode it will be either a 1, 2 or 3.

If it is a 3 the protagonist is the center of attention. This is the character's spotlight episode. Each protagonist has only one spotlight episode per season, where the elements of that character's story all come together. The player of a spotlight protagonist has more influence over the outcome of events.

If it is a 2 the protagonist plays a secondary role, and the player's control over scene resolution is reduced.

If it is a 1 the protagonist plays a minor role and will have a small amount of influence on scenes.

Our seasons will comprise of 5 episodes a piece. So each character needs to choose two episodes where they have screen presence 1, two for screen presence two and one for screen presence 3. We will also begin with a pilot episode which is in addition to the normal 5 episodes. In the pilot all characters have a screen presence of 2. Characters cannot have a screen presence of 3 in the pilot or season premiere episodes and no more than two players my have a screen presence of 3 in the same episode.

Traits: Traits comprise of Edges and Connections.

Edges are a kind of package of abilities, which can include skill, privilege, knowledge, and networking. Contrary to the name, edges can also include flaws or weaknesses. They're best presented with a story behind them, something that makes the character distinctive. For example, instead of "strong" try something like "bodybuilder". The latter implies a gym membership, subscriptions to related magazines, and a circle of fellow enthusiasts.

Contacts are permanent - or at least semi-permanent - supporting cast members on the show, and will make regular appearances. They can then provide the equivalent of resources or edges to protagonists when they appear in a scene, or they can evoke a sort of emotionally inspired tenacity in the protagonist, causing him or her to succeed based solely on love or anger or exasperation.

Players choose either 1 Edge and 2 Connections OR 2 Edges and 1 Connection.

Nemesis: Players have the option of creating a nemesis for their protagonists. There is no advantage or disadvantage, other than providing an opportunity to create part of the story. Two protagonists can share a nemesis, and a nemesis can even be the primary threat of an episode; however, the nemesis is probably a popular character on the series and shouldn't be permanently removed without serious forethought.

Fan Mail: Fan Mail represents the success of the show and the popularity of the starring characters. At the start of the first episode, a protagonist has a Fan Mail score of zero. During play, this score will hopefully increase as the player helps to create an exciting story for the protagonist.

Personal Set: Protagonists have personal sets, which help the protagonist to develop into a more complex character. Creating a scene that takes place on a protagonist's personal set allows that player to uncheck a trait that had previously been used during the episode.

Personal sets can also be shared by one or more - or even all - of the protagonists. Maybe instead of a set, it's a prop, like Sawyer's letter on Lost. Or maybe it's a mannerism that comes up in a stressful time, like when Ben on Felicity scratches the back of his head when he's talking about something difficult. The whole point is to create and environment that gives the audience cues about something important going on. When a player brings in the personal set, everyone else in the game goes, oh, we need to focus on character development now.
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