16 August 2009

The Loner

I am reminded of an article I read once (I don't remember where I read it) that was talking about the tendency of gaming characters to be loners. It's really not surprising that in games which emphasise the free-wheeling high powered adventure, characters are likely to be free-wheeling sort of people with no bonds to hold them down. After all, it's really not likely that a middle-age middle-class middle management corporate drone is able to just pick up at random and fly to Rome to help stop an international espionage plot. Better to have a young, fit, unmarried guy with no restrictions on his ability to plunge headlong into excitement.

But there's something to be said for breaking the mould a little. I once played in a rather non-standard game; it was a crossover of all the World of Darkness games, and though we started out as mortals, we soon ended up with the three main players running a Vampire, a Mage, and a Werewolf. My character, the vampire, was a teenager plagued with family issues resulting from a murder that he witnessed, so has had to move in with the other characters. The mage was a married guy, and after a couple of years of in-game time, he ended up with a daughter. I still remember the daughter, Alexis; she was a a very smart and capable kid.In fact, one of my favourite moments from that game was when she fell into a well. Her dad leapt in after her, only to find that she had been caught on some crossbeams halfway down the shaft while he had fallen all the way to the bottom. He assured her that my character was on his way down to rescue her, and told her to just hold still. She responded by saying, "No shit, daddy!"

My point is, having family members in game can add to the excitement, and don't necessarily serve as impediments. There's a disadvantage in GURPS that allows your character to have a ward; usually a child, but potentially any sort of person that depends on him for survival. Perhaps he's caring for his grandmother, who's confined to a wheelchair. Perhaps he's a foster parent. Perhaps his wife is blind. There are lots of possibilities. But I've never seen that disadvantage purchased. I haven't had an opportunity to take it myself; the few games in which I've been able to play have been suitable for a character with a dependant.

But even barring the ward option, there's always the potential for partners. I've seen characters with boyfriends or girlfriends, but only twice that I recall have I seen married characters (in one case, two of the players were playing characters who were married to each other).

But I think it's worth a shot. Maybe James Bond would never be able to work as a married man, but there are plenty of games in which having someone that must be accommodated with every adventure can add to the enjoyment. Give it a try! You might find that it makes for a better story!

Anyway, that's what I was thinking about today. Be sure to tune in next time for some interesting (if random) games topics. Until then,

Game on!

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