Friday, February 10, 2012

Breaking Bad Season 3 Character Archetypes

Breaking Bad season three continues to build things from many angles and allows some characters that may not have had a chance to shine previously more showtime.

One of these characters is Mike. A former law enforcement agent, Mike is a 'cleaner', such as those in old assassin movies like The Professional or the original La Fem Nekita. He is the one they send in to get answers and eliminate issues. In many role playing games, the players will probably be characters like Mike. They will be the fist in the iron glove. In some though, especially those that might be role playing focused or heavy into allowing characters a great deal of custimization that doesn't rely on combat, it might be possible that the players will run into someone like Mike.

At times such a character can appear to be on the player's side, especially if both the 'cleaner' and the players have the same patron and employeers. At other times, especially if the cleaner is someone whose loyalties aren't to the players but to a patron, they may clash. In such isntances, it should be made clear that this is an individual whose skill set goes above and beyond the standard. If the players can witness it in action, they will have a good idea of what the character is capable of. If they go drinking with such a character, he should have horror stories for them.

One way of showcasing how skilled player character's are, is by showcasing another individual with a similiar but inferior talent. In this case, Walter works with Gale, a fellow chemist. Gale seems fairly standard in terms of his skill set, but he knows great work when he sees it. Gale, without knowing Walter, is impressed by the skill inherent in the 'cook' that Walter performs when Gale gets some of the drugs. This is not the first time Walt's skills are noted upon, but when there is a character that can do the same thing, but not as well, it allows the player character to have a little bit more of a stepping stone.

Another interesting use of characters here, is in moving the stars into action. Jessie initially starts off intenting to sell the meth to recovering addicts. His 'crew' find it difficult to do so. Jessie decides to show them how its done. The woman he approaches to do so has a child. This challenges Jessie's belief in what is right. His encounter earlier with children of drug addicts still weights on his mind.

When players or their characters showcase certain attributes, you can look at it like a flag saying "I want this" in the game. This may not always be true, but if the character does involve himself with orphans, their care and feeding, the Game Master can quickly use that as a hook by threatening the children. If one of the players is a weapon's collector, when he hears of a new ambassador from a far away land who uses a wide variety of exotic weapons, this should perk that character's interest.

NPC's should be there to expand the setting and fill the world with opportunities for the players to interact with it.