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[personal profile] innocent_man
I was trying to decide what character to make today. I thought about Apocalypse Prevention, Inc, but honestly after Stew's character-creating experienc doesn't fill me with a heck of a lot of desire to do it, and I haven't read it anyway. So let's do a game I have read.

The Game: The Play's The Thing
The Publisher: Magpie Games
Degree of Familiarity: Not much. I've read it, but haven't gotten a chance to play it.
Books Required: Just the one, though a complete of the Complete Works of Shakespeare doesn't hurt, either.

So, The Play's The Thing came out of the same Game Chef as our upcoming A Tragedy in Five Acts (coming soon from Play Attention Games, Inc!), which was Shakespeare-themed. It focuses on a troupe of actors putting on one of Shakespeare's plays. You make the actors first (so, kind of like It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show, in a way). Before actually playing you decide what play you're doing. The play...doesn't always wind up like it does in the script.

I like this game (at least in concept, though again, I haven't had the pleasure of playing it yet) because it asks something of the players. In this case, it asks that they know at least a little Shakespeare. I'm fine with games that are completely accessible to anyone, but I also don't mind games that ask for a skill set or reward a particular kind of play or are specialized.

'Cause see, here's the thing. There are a million games out there where the pitch is "roleplaying game in [genre] or [setting]", and that means, basically, you romp around, you get in fights, you follow a GM's plotline, but the mechanics don't support the game specifically. Instead, they model shit your character does, with the lion's share of attention on combat. This is the result of our D&D ancestors, and that's all fine, but y'know, we don't have to do it that way. I really feel like story games are a more evolved form of RPG.

Anyway. Making a character here requires I come up with a name and a brief description. I enjoy listening to Patton Oswalt, and I like his acting. He tells a story about bullshitting his way into the Batman Begins premiere and having Brian Dennehey tell him, "Character actors! No one gives a fuck if we're fat!" I want my character to be an older, rather plump character actor - fun roles for him would be Sir Toby Belch, Jacques, one of the two drunk dudes in the The Tempest whose names I forget (which is embarrassing), or, if he's stretching his theatrical muscles, Kent in Lear or Polonius.

My guy's name is Thom Orsino. It's a stage name; he was in Twelfth Night in college and his best friend played Orsino, and then died of an overdose a week later. His first name was Thom, so he took the stage name in tribute to his friend.

So now I do Acting Chops. I have a pool of six points, so I can split up 2/2/2, but what fun is that? I'll put 3 into Logos (which verbal acumen and control over the events of the play), 1 into Pathos (emotional resonance - not Thom's strong point, he'd rather make jokes) and two into Ethos (narrative understanding and setting of the play).

I get a Type, too. Thom's pretty clearly a Ham. His Offstage ability is I can spend a story point to compel another actor to call for him, and his Onstage ability is that I can yell "Cut!" without spending a story point. However, at Director's request, I must soliloquize, which fortunately I'm good at.

And that's it, actually, because the rest of the process would get done in play when we select the Play (and then make it the Thing, I suppose).


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