On Character Creation

Role-playing games are games about characters: Who they are, what they do, and what happens to them. In most games, a character is the lever through which the player interacts with the world, and even in broader games the actions of characters are still primary in terms of what happens. What this ends up meaning is that game setup for a role-player, the act of character creation, takes on much more importance than setting up would in most board, card, or other tabletop games. 

Character creation is game setup, yes, but it’s also a game in and of itself, and was the solo act of role-playing well before solo games were popularized. Making characters is fun, and many of us who either couldn’t find people to play with or had more desire to game than time would make sheaves of characters who would never be played. As this was the one way everyone could interact with RPGs, friends to play with or not, it created a shift towards games with interactive and evocative character creation systems. Making choices was fun, though rolling random dice and seeing what you got could be fun too.

So where are we at with this? Character creation has broadened significantly since the days of D&D, and games now have longer, shorter, simpler, and way more complicated character creation methods. Each one generates different results and puts you in the head of your character in a different way, and not just because of math. This past week I had a gaming weekend with my primary gaming group, and as preparation I made characters for games of Legend of the Five Rings, Twilight:2000, and a couple others. It was the first time in a long time I had sat down to make a really involved character, and it made it clear that character creation can provide a lot more than stats if you want it to.

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Crowdfunding Carnival: August, 2022

Welcome to the Crowdfunding Carnival for August! You know what time it is, it’s…well, you might not know what time it is, because while yes, it’s ZineQuest, 2022 is both the first and last year ZineQuest will take place in August. It’s ultimately a little confusing, which may be why Kickstarter moved next year’s ZineQuest back to February before this one even happened! Nevertheless, it’s happening, and there are a lot of zines to go through, just like every year.

Because it’s August it’s GenCon, which means that usually crowdfunding channels are a bit quiet as many designers and publishers look to the con for promotion. This does seem to be true this year, though there are major campaigns on each of the competing platforms which are worth a look.

The big news under the carnival tent, though, is ZineQuest. It is day three as of this writing, and the initial flood of projects looking to start strong on August first are already out in the world. How are things going?

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I Have The High Ground Review – Dueling Wits and Flourished Capes

You might be knights or fencers with your blades crossed for sport or mortal combat. But what if you were hackers vying for control of a contested server? A murderer and the aggrieved loved one avenging their victim? What if you’re assassins and ex-girlfriends, or in a boxing match, or a bar fight, or even just a school talent show? So, who will you be? What will you do? There’s only one way to find out. Pick your weapons, push the limits, flourish your capes whenever justifiable, and play through a session of I Have The High Ground from Jess Levine!

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