Thursday, May 28, 2009

Following the guide... Part 2 (Character Creation)

This is the second part of my blog about rewriting A+ Fantasy and following the guidelines for organizing your RPG as put forth by Rob Lang. You can read the first part: HERE.

Okay... step 5 ... The section on Character Creation ... Things are getting sketchy now... a huge part of A+'s character design is all the skills ... ones which I haven't written yet. And character creation will be the biggest change for this version of the game when compared to the last. Getting rid of attributes and the grade structure has really freed things up and blown character creation and advancement wide open.

This part of my game is the most changed and so it's also the least written or developed. Rob's guide says to start by just listing the steps... it turns out, it not only helps to read things this way... apparently it helps to write things this way too. Not sure exactly what character creation was going to look like ... I just started listing some steps... 1, 2, 3.

At first I only had like 4 steps... then as I began detailing those, I realized that I needed to add another... so I did... and another. The thing is, listing the steps for the reader before trying to describe allowed me to organize my thoughts ahead of time and find my footing before I jumped full force into the muckity-muck details of it all ... and sure I had to go back a few times. (Ultimately, I ended up with 9 steps.) But the thing is, following this structure, this process ... it is not only organizing my game, it's organizing my creative process, and making my job as a creator/designer/author easier.

Maybe every one has a tightly defined process they work under and I'm the only creative scatter brain that jumps into the middle of my projects blind and trying to do too much at once... I don't know. But for me, so far this experiment has been enlightening. Following this process as it has been dictated by Rob has proven to be almost like working with an editor. I'll start to go off in some random direction, but then that internal voice will say, "No, Rob's guidelines say do this..." and I'll listen to the editor, and I'm back on task.

The process is not only helping me creatively and productively, but it's catching things that I might otherwise have missed. It's funny what you'll forget when doing something like this... like, "Choose a Name for your character." I didn't catch that one until I was writing the final part of the character creation example ... an example that doesn't exist in the original A+ Fantasy, but that Rob's guidelines say I should include. So I included it, and realized a basic step like "name your character" was missing. It may not seem like a big deal, but I am glad that I caught it and added a little bit into the game about naming your character, because that's about setting tone during play and a name can be very useful to role-play.

So, I'm done with the Character Creation part of the rules for now, and I know that I'll be going back to look at them again. I want to flesh things out some more so that my examples reflect the mechanics of the game properly... mechanics that I haven't entirely written...



Jeff Moore


  1. Glad you are finding my ghost editing of use! If you do find that you need to deviate from it, please do say how as others might find it useful to see the guide in action.

    Many thanks again!

  2. Thanks Rob ... my intent is to "stick to the plan" and see where it takes me. If I ultimately decide to do make changes I will be clear about what changes I make and why ... but the intent is not to. Right now, I don't see why I should. I'm really happy with the way the pieces are coming together.