Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Comments on the Fiftieth Beginning

[It seems like I ought to make some comments about the fact that I've reached the 50th Beginning.  It does seem like a milestone.  But I found come comments on The Game in my files and if I post them here, I get to throw them away.  That's irresistible.  So I'm going to post them first and see if I have anything to add after.

Fifty beginnings.  And the old files are still looking full. That's 1/20th of a thousand.  I'll get there.  Oh, and both The Game and the comments are from the eighties or early nineties.]

The Game was an experiment in rolling up characters, characters with definite personalities, without using the background of an given game system.  [Yes, I was referring to games like Dungeons and Dragons.]  I decided to use a personality description system with which many people are at least vaguely familiar, one from which a personality could be generated using a twelve-sided die.  In other words, I used astrology to roll up horoscopes for my characters to match.

It's not that odd an idea, when dealing with magical game systems.  In fact I've been trying to imagine what a world in which astrology worked as palpably as divine/arcane spells, a world on which the stars actually compel, would be like. [Among other things, I assume that there would be government control of astrologers and a black market in at least false or incomplete predictions.]

Using this system to generate personalities does not require a belief in astrology, nor is it only useful in fantasy systems.  This method is useful for players who enjoy getting into a role and being someone different while gaming, but who have difficulty creating a complex character.

The characters in The Game were generated by rolling signs for the following 'planets':  ascendant, sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter (the ascendant is the sign "rising" on the horizon). There are many different ways to interpret the effect of the planets.  If you check out three different books from the library, you'll get three different interpretations.

If you don't want to wade through the literature, or even dabble in it, I'll provide a quick list.  It doesn't exactly match any system I've ever read about, but then it's meant to create characters rather than to reveal them.  Also, in the story each planet had to be represented by some immediately noticeable change in the characters.  The effect of the planets is therefore different in the story (and is listed in parentheses).  

Ascendant:  impression given to people meeting the character (color of robe).

Sun:  main need, goal, or personal ideal (decoration on the robe).

Moon:  unconscious motivation, what pulls at the character without being noticed rather than the goal the character pushes for - the filter that colors the character's perception (eyes)

[There is either a missing page or I didn't finish the comments.  I'll get back to this.  But let's complete the list.

Mercury:  mode of communication (type of voice)

Venus:  what you delight in and surround yourself with (basics of house)

Mars:  drive (I'll have to re-read and reverse engineer)

Jupiter:     (changes in house details)]

[The file also had a list of the Characters and their traits.]

Character 1 - Outgoing, romantically fickle, charming.
White robe with rich, gold trim; silver eyes 
Drives divided but perceptive enough to know this, restless, cheerful but aggressive.
Home has courtyard garden with fountain and pool and fruit trees.  House full of plants and soft pillows.  Thinks of home often.  Self-playing harp.  Hearty voice, almost a growl.

Character 2 - Blunt, intelligent, tightly controlled.
Purple robe with red trim; brown eyes
Slow to move, stubborn, but quick thinking
House of clouds, difficult to reach, galleries of art and curiosities, mystic laboratory.  Voice is a powerful whisper.

Character 3 - Brown robes with light blue applique.
Adaptable and eccentric.
Home is an apartment in a city with lavish tapestries and a continuous, changing stream of friendly visitors.  Has a big fireplace in a hot, sunny climate and big, bare windows.
Plumpish.  Melodious voice.

[Then there's a table of the planets vs the signs for the three characters.  I'll post that later, possible along with the table of traits for rolling up characters, which I've lost and re-written several times over the years.]

[No further comments on The Game being the 50th Beginning posted.  Maybe later.]

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