Making lots of characters, playing the interesting ones

edited May 2013 in Story Games
Who should I credit for this wonderful idea? I can't remember now where I've stolen it from.


  • It's certainly in Bret Gillan's The Final Girl
  • Geiger Counter perhaps. You make lots of characters, some are protagonists but many are menace-fodder.
  • Zombie Cinema works like this, too.
  • A lot of old school and OSR games work like this too. You play the characters that survive, and they get more interesting over time.
  • There's the possibility you may have picked it up from Dungeon Crawl Classics' character funnel.
  • In a Wicked Age does this, too.
  • Zombie Cinema works like this, too.
    Does it? I don't think it does.
  • Does it? I don't think it does.
    It's the theoretical dramatic model that I used in designing the game. I mean, in practice you do play all the characters in the first act or two of the story, but then as soon as the characters are sufficiently known and understood, the useless ones get culled by the zombie hordes in order of utility and audience sympathy. This process presumably leaves the interesting characters to finish the actual story. In hindsight we may often say that the story that was created was about characters A and B, while characters C and D were really just supporting cast that was abandoned early on.

    As for where I got this idea, it was from theoretical discussions at the Forge. I think it might have been Vincent who phrased it particularly succinctly: in some games we do not know a priori who the protagonist of the story is, or even what the story is supposed to be about; rather, we play to find out. This was a natural fit for Zombie Cinema, as the zombie movie works in this way as well, and it suited my pedagogical goals well for the game to not have any spotlight guarantees: if your character and play sucks, please die already and focus on GMing for someone else.
  • FUBAR has been doing this for a few years as well...with each player (and the GM) making two characters, randomly resdistributed back among the players. Each player chooses one to be their protagonist, while the other is redistributed back into a "rogues gallery". Of the two redistributed back to the GM, one becomes the main antagonist for the story.
  • edited May 2013
    oops...double post.
  • This happens somewhat in Primetime Adventures, depending on how aggressively you pursue a big cast.
  • I think a lot of people come up with / have come up with this idea. I know a couple of folks who game in what one of them has described as "throw a lot of characters at the wall and see what sticks" style.
Sign In or Register to comment.