Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WILD Character Creation

Yesterday we had our first gathering to see if character creation for WILD worked. As always with these things, it's not until you actually put this into practice that you see what needs to be done, tweaked or tinkered with.

First of all, many thanks to my unsuspecting guinea pigs -
Tim, Cam, and my lovely wifey Debs.

L-R: Tim, Me and Cam (photo by Debs)

You can see on the table the WILD Cards that I spent a good deal of last year working out, in a traditional Celtic Cross Tarot spread. The tricky thing with WILD is that a lot of the game involves the characters' history, background, subconscious and unconscious. I means that coming to the game with a character that is just a pile of numbers will give the GM with a lot of work. While it's possible to play that way, especially if the characters are dreamsharing with an NPC (whose dreams they are investigating), it does mean that any buried fears, anxieties, hopes and desires that the player characters may bring into the dream with them are absent.

Of course, being so close to a project like this means that I forgot a basic element - accessibility. While I'd spent months pouring over Tarot card meanings, tailoring the images to reflect frequent dream images, as well as the narrative of the setting's backstory, I kinda forgot that my players hadn't. Hurrah for playtesting! The result of which is that the initially daunting spread that you make when creating a character (such as the one below, which is Debs' character's spread) can be made a lot easier by adding small summaries of the card meanings in text in the borders.

Debs' card spread for character creation
If the text is oriented to the player when the cards are laid out, it'll speed things up dramatically - instead of looking at, say "The Technocrat (reversed)" and having to look up the meaning in the illustrated guidebook (which is already being written), if the card has "weakness, subservience" on the bottom of the card (when it's reversed like that), then the player will instantly know what that card means for their initial look over the spread.

In this case, the card in Debs' character's spread is in the Adulthood phase of the character's background (which runs up the right of the Celtic Cross spread). It means that no matter what she had in mind for her character's background or profession, her character feels inferior to someone. Maybe her boss is taking her for granted, giving her too much to do, or taking the credit for her work.

Below that, in the Formative era, is the Ten of Focus. The image on the card is someone selling the technology to the military for financial gain. While the card represents money and inheritance, it could mean that her character gained a lot of money in her college years, but either lost it or ended up working for a big corporation that took over her work.

All of this would depend upon what Debs has in mind for the character when she came to the table.

The cards are also used to see if there's a particular way the character should be statted up - she has three Vision cards in her spread, so Vision's probably going to be her strongest Attribute, while she has no Strength cards. She doesn't have any of the Court cards (which relate to the "skills") so there's no obvious leaning towards a particular area of expertise, so that'll be up to Debs to create.

The card crossing the questioner (character) in the middle is the Five of Vision (reversed) which means hope and alliances. This card represents what is their biggest obstacle, fear, or what is holding them back. Maybe her character is so determined to prove herself, to overcome those who have control over her, that she is reluctant to accept help or assistance. This could be something that'll haunt her in her dreams, and shape the way she acts with those who share them...


Well, there's an insight into the character creation process. It's a bit complicated, but the actual game mechanics themselves are incredibly fast and simple, so hopefully once the characters are built, and their personal hopes, fears and histories are created, the game will speed up and lead to a thought provoking and yet exciting game.


cooper said...

far too much confectionery on the table...

David F. Chapman said...

The sugar is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes!!!