Part II: Conventions
Part III: Born Tabula Rasa
Part IV: Mechanical Guidance
Mike Says: Challenges
Switch #1: Rolling When You Want To
Mike Says: Switch #1
Example: Requesting Challenges
Mike Says: Dice Thresholds
Mike Says: Difficulty Ratings
Example: Rolling Dice
The game has yet to start. Your GM has told you a bit about the
imaginary world that your character will inhabit, but you still have
only vague ideas about the entire situation. All of the other
players have gathered and are beginning to settle in. This is
your first session. This is character creation.
Sit down and discuss the nature of the upcoming game with your Game Master. Make sure that she feeds you information about setting and conflict so that you can insert yourself into the game world. Think about the type of character that you want to play, and how that character can and will affect the game world. Think about what sort of person he is, or perhaps what he will become. Think about where he has come from.
When you have a general idea of this character in your head talk with your fellow players. What type of characters are they planning to play? Can you bounce ideas off of them in order to help develop your own, still-fuzzy notions?
Now grab a universal character sheet especially designed for PERSONA. On this blank sheet of plain white paper, write a name. Ideally, this name should be your character'sthe one he gives to those who ask. Even better if the name somehow reflects the type of personality your character embodies. Perhaps try to choose a name that suits the genre or theme of the game yourself and your fellow players have decided to emphasize. Next to your character's name also record the number of starting Character Points that the GM has decided on. These points are the game's sole currency, of which you will spend to purchase various Fragments for your character. We suggest beginning with thirty-five points.
A name and a number are the only things you need to write down before the game gets underway, but you must somehow also communicate your character concept to the other players. PERSONA is designed to allow for maximum flexibility when it comes to character-building. As a result of this choice, you should only define what you must as the need arises in-game. However, in order to build you must have a foundation...
Imagine a movie that's just beginning. The military leader sitting in the conference room turns to his advisory board and says, "There's only one woman I know of that could pull off a stunt like this." Cut to a figure, clad in black leather, racing down a lonesome highway on a motorcycle. Suddenly a crowd appears to cheer her on as she drives her bike up a ramp and over twenty flaming cars. She lands on the other side, unharmed, skids the bike to a screeching halt, and takes her helmet off. Her dark hair shakes in the wind, and she immediately pulls a pair of sunglasses onto her face. Theme music. Roll title credits.
You have your concept in mind, but these are only loose ideas. Over the course of a session, these ideas will change and evolve into a character you would never have anticipated. When a game of PERSONA starts, every player needs to envision his character as both a concept and as a blockbuster movie introduction. What thirty-second sequence of events best describes your character? If you are the GM, then encourage your players to narrate their introductions so that everyone at the table will have an idea, as enigmatic as it may be, of the other characters. You, the player, should take advantage of this opportunity. It's your chance to have the spotlight, to show off, and to engage the other players. Drop hints about what you think your character will become. Be mysterious. If the genre fits, don't be afraid to go over the top. Sometimes it's better to exaggerate then to get lost in the shuffle. Remember that no one has ever seen this character before. What do you want their first impression of her to be?
If every player introduces his character as a movie intro then everyone will have had the spotlight for a minute even before the GM has had her first word. In this way, PERSONA smoothes the transition from character creation to roleplaying. Think about this in another way. You are in charge of the events contained within your character's introduction. You, and not the GM, can choose what sort of in-game action to open the campaign with.
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