Inspired in part by Nick‘s post about creating characters as a GM, here’s a bit of a brainstorm about my character for the new Buffy game I’m involved in, “Fall”. A game using the Buffy Unisystem rules.
First, the concept: I wanted to play someone who, like my character J.D. in Dan’s “Not Our Future” game, had no compass. I didn’t just want to play that character (well, I totally did but I thought I’d better try and mix it up) so I tried to think of a character who wasn’t just a misfit trenchcoat mafia type. While we were discussing Veronica Mars on Friday I thought of Logan. Messed up and morally confused (Veronica kind of becomes his moral compass), popular, arrogant and hella obnoxious. It was a great template to build a character on.
I fleshed him out with some details: parents are constitutional lawyers who used to be very controlling, ensuring that he got good grades, etc. Then his big sister disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Unable to cope with this, the parents withdrew. Throwing themselves into their careers and all but ignoring my character. With Lee’s help I decided on a US Presidential name for my character and his family. Calvin Coolidge Grant. Parents Rebecca and Jeffrey, big sister Martha, called Marty by Calvin.
Here’s the blurb I sent to the other players:
His parents, Rebecca and Jeffrey are high powered constitutional
lawyers with lots and lots of money. Up until 2 and a half years ago,
they were very involved in Calvin’s life, ensuring that he got the
best grades in school, private tutors and enough extra curricular
activities to get him into Yale, Harvard or Brown. Then Calvin’s big
sister Martha, who had been accepted to law at Harvard was killed in a
Since that time Rebecca and Jeffrey have withdrawn completely,
throwing themselves even further into their careers and all but
ignoring Calvin unless he needs bailing out from prison.
Calvin has reacted to the years of fierce control followed by
abandonment by acting out in any way he can, from bullying to
fighting, to property damage and drug use. Parties at Calvin’s place
are always roaring keggers full of debauchery, and they don’t get
raided because the mansion is in such a nice neighbourhood. Only the
uppermost echelon of the popular crowd get invited.
At school Calvin does the bare minimum to get by, hanging out mostly
with his best bud Mason Hutchinson and dating various cheerleaders and
cool cute girls who fall for his bad boy shtick and disarmingly
handsome smile.He has dropped out of all the clubs he was in
previously and is a regular visitor to both the principal’s office and
the guidance counselor.
Casting: Our group decided casting actors was a good way of getting a simple visual for each character. Also, as our GM pointed out, the game is set in TV land where everyone is pretty. I chose Jared Padalecki. Because he is so very beautiful, and he is also tall and buff and I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural. I managed to find this one picture of him looking vaguely bad boy-ish so that’s my character image there.
Songs: Ever since Slayers East, I have been slightly obsessed with assigning songs to my roleplaying characters. I find it helps me develop who they are. So far for Calvin I have Violet Hill by Coldplay, because of the power in the song, the references to death and the refrain “If you love me, won’t you let me know?
Everybody get dangerous by Weezer (set there to clips from Hot Fuzz rather well), because it’s about juvenile delinquency, and it’s kind of fun too.
Hysteria by Muse…I mean come on. It’s angsty and angry and yearning. It’s about wanting what you can’t have and getting completely messed up by it.
Stats: Actually giving Calvin attributes and skills….well, I ended up with a fairly even spread around the strength/dexterity/intelligence stuff. When it came to skills though I focussed. I gave him a high crime skill for forging notes and breaking into stuff, high in physical combat related stats, some drive and some computers. I gave him a bit more knowledge than seems obvious because he does have a background in researchy type stuff. It was in the ‘qualities and drawbacks’ section that I had the most fun. I loaded Calvin up with emotional and mental problems (abandonment issues and cruelty), recklessness, tragic love, the works basically. With those negative points I could afford to make him very rich and very good looking. I also got him a point of ‘hard to kill’ because that’s a trait I like in my roleplaying characters.
So there you have it. Look forward to future entries detailing Calvin’s exploits.