Thursday, June 02, 2005

Obligatory reading

One You should read what Jonas K. has to say about Stephen King and Vincent Baker. Two Read what Vincent himself has to say about character sheets! Everyone should read that, even my mother (well, you don't have to). At the moment, Vincent Baker is the shit, even if I think his blog is a bit too ugly. Three During the day I have updated the links with a few blogs to Forge-related people. Later I will see which Nordic links to rpg creators are worth having there. The problem seems to be that most of them doesn't update very regurlarly. That makes them much mor uninteresting.


Blogger Jonas Karlsson said...

What part of the character sheet article is interesting to you? I'm curious, since the whole thing seems obvious to me (as is often the case with Vincent) and I'm sure I'm missing something. Even if the sheet would be a description of the character it's never going to be a full description. That description is in the head of the player, and the GM and other players, and is what guides the player from moment to moment.

A related thought is that Vincent wrote in A complete game has... that you need:

"3) Rules or guidelines providing each player with an answer, at every moment, to 'what should I be doing right now?'"

I took this as meaning that this information should be on the character sheet, a misreading by me. But it's still something people do, when they get lost and don't know what to do next they look at their character sheet to see what their character would be interested in: "Hmm, I have 4 dots in Computers, I guess my character spend some time online..". But perhaps that behaviour is something you should try to avoid?

Oh, and I'd be interested in the Nordic links, as it's really hard to find any online discussions on or presentations of lajv and freeform.

3:30 pm  
Blogger Sven Holmström said...

"[...]and I'm sure I'm missing something."

Well, as far as I am concerned Vincent didn't really come to any new conclusions. I don't think that I after reading his post got any new clear view of what I want on a sheet, but in spite of that the article gave me several revelations during the read of how I should analyze a sheet in the future. I really thought I wrote this on the blog. Either I deleted it, or I it was just a dream.

"Oh, and I'd be interested in the Nordic links, as it's really hard to find any online discussions on or presentations of lajv and freeform."

Yeah. The main discussion is at G-punkt (I have that one linked). The few discussions that takle place on Sverok's forum is not worth reading. I think there is one more larpers sometimes talk about, but I don't remember it's name right now.

But to conclude: the Swedish online discussion in these matter is minimal, which is really a pitty, thinking of how many serious people that are thinking about this stuff. But there is some more, I will get back to that.

5:03 pm  
Blogger Jonas Karlsson said...

So, how are character sheets handled in freeform games? I'm not talking about documents during preparation, but about what players bring to the table. Do you usually have:

A) The background and/or the appearance and mannerism of the character.
B) A condensed and formalized document with "Strengths" and "Weaknesses" listed, for example. Not numbers of course, but descriptors.
C) A+B.

My view is that you usually have A, but have you heard of B being used somewhere? Also, is the ideal that you should know your character by heart, or is it socially acceptable to check up stuff in your characters background while playing?

11:38 am  
Blogger Sven Holmström said...

I guess what you talk about here is Swedish convention freeform (svensk konventsfriform or Finnish Frifeerm as it's called becuase of hysterical reasons). Cause we all know that sheets are used in a lot of diceless roleplaying.

In Swedish friform I have never seen sheets being used. But you almost always has a quite long backgorund text. How you should relate to the text is different from scenario to scenario, but the most common is definitely that you can have the text available while playing. Usually you don't prepare before the meeting, so you only read it once and the keep it for reference.

In most freeform there is not so much meta game, but a lot of OOC. The Alex scenario by Vi åker jeep, that I mentioned, seemed to have a lot of meta game, where you discuss the scenes and make retakes of scenes and things like that.

You know that me and Jonas Barkå wanted to make friform with character sheet. Especially Jonas is very much into friform with sheets, but we havent' fone any yet. (but the sheets are ready! They look really swell!)

We see it as a problem with the Swedish friform-genre that it's only meant for scenarios and there is not one example of this kind of stuff made for campaigns. The idea is that a campaign would gain more from sheets than a one-meeting scenario.

12:32 pm  
Blogger Jonas Barkå said...

I found the article about character sheets to be totally obvious, in the "not really worth saying" way. His point is that the character sheet is only a memory aid for the player and that the actual character is something entirely else.

Of course! But why would callig it a player sheet make it better? How would it help the game?

The main point of having character stats, as I see it, is that the players can communicate stuff about the characters in a precise language. If two players compete and both say "I'm really good at this!" it do not say anything about their realative levels of skills. If they say "70%" and "80%" they know how they compare to each other. What the players do with this information do not matter. They can roll dice, decide that the better one wins or that the the story gains by the better one loosing.

The point is that statistics make characters consistent over time and a sheet is usually a good way to keep these statistics.

In swedish convention free form there is little need for this type of consitency, so there is no point in having an "ordinary" character sheet.

9:52 pm  
Blogger Sven Holmström said...

Well, Barkå, regarding his conclusions I agree. And I guess the conclusions should be the main point. Of course the character sheet is for the player. But I thought the way of getting there was beautiful theory prose. Maybe Iäm disturbed.

10:31 pm  

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