Friday, February 11, 2011

The Religion: The Player Side of Things

Below I'll be taking a few points that happen early in the book and discussing how it might be useful from the player's point of view. This will include some spoilers so if you're looking to avoid such details, read no further.

"Bors," he said, "you're my oldest and most steadfast companion. But we three contracted to become rich men together and such we are becoming and so we have done. Whether we rise or fall, it's battle of a different sort we're engaged in now. Remember the motto you coined for us, Usque ad finem. Until the End. Until the very end."

When the party is first being generated, there may be some concerns or issues with the variety of materials that are allowed in the campaign and the inherent opposing natures of some of the classes. If the players can agree to work with each other, then regardless of their core believes and alignments, outside of actual restrictions in game, such as older editions where paladin's couldn't associated with known evil individuals, then the game should be able to proceed with few difficulties.

The real meat of the above quote is that despite their different backgrounds, Bors, Tannhauser, and Sabato, are associates, allies, and more; to the end. Players need to realize, at the start of the campaign, that acting in character is one thing, but causing so much distruption with other players that it effects the game itself? That behavior, in my opinion, needs to be booted out.

I'm not saying all of the characters have to love each other. After all, Bors and Sabato are not 'friendly despite their alliance to one another. Verbal sparring and one upping another against their foes should be the pick of the day.

In terms of character motivation, sometimes when making a character, the motivation comes through deeds. Most fantasy role playing games are set in a time when if one has the will and ambition, the world is literally theirs for the taking. In such a world, just getting by, or even doing well in your own business, might not be the standard or enough.

"They will harrow Hell on that island- and you and I are not among them to test our mettle." He clenched a barrel-shaped fist in anguish. "It's a violation of the natural order."

Here, Bors, a man whose blunt actions and thirst for violence are crouched behind the Church and the desire to test himself, sound like it comes straight out of Dragonball Z or some other anime show where the very act of testing your strength against a worthy opponent is the point of conflict in the first place.

This isn't that strange though. Think of wandering ronin who would demand to test their blades against other wanderining samurai. Think of the fame or notority to be gained by testing your own skills against anothers. Think of putting those skills to use for the greater good of a larger body then yourself such as a church, a guild, or in the case of Bors, his comrades.

By having motivations that the Game Master can understand at the ready, the players help the Game Master not only get an idea of what makes the characters tick, but how to add those opportunities to the game itself.

The Religion has many a fine character moment and players looking for ideas to inspire them could do far worse then reading through it.