Skip to main content

Mad, Mad Libs!

The last, hugest piece I've been working on for Transylvanian Adventures was what my wife and I have affectionately called the "Mad-Libs" section of the character sheet. And, as it turns out, that has been the most asked-about section of the character sheet since it was introduced with the updated Winter Home pre-generated characters.

For those who still have not (warning: shameless plugpicked up a copy of the Winter Home Introductory Adventure yet, the Mad-Libs section (titled "My Story" on the character sheet) looks like this...


This section tells a player the pertinent facts about his character, while giving enough information for the player to roleplay that character immediately after reading it. Appearance, motivations, character flaws as well as what makes a character "heroic" are all represented in this section.

All generated through random tables.

It takes about 5 minutes and 4 dice to fill in that block. The tables deliver customized results based on a character's alignment and gender. So a Lawful-Male and a Chaotic-Female would roll on completely different tables. And "altruism" would mean different things to a Lawful character and a Neutral character -- while it wouldn't even be available to a Chaotic character.

It's an enjoyable process. I would compare it to creating a super-hero in the old TSR Classic Marvel Superheroes roleplaying game (a.k.a. FASERIP). You could sit down for an hour or so and make dozens of "mad libs" for characters. And with over 100 absolutes, over 80 principals, 80 appearance traits and over 60 Hobbies, you can get an idea of how many varied options are available for the characters of Transylvanian Adventures.

Here's another example (again from the pre-gens in The Winter Home):


There are also mechanical underpinnings to these items but they aren't heavy-handed. Take hobbies. Charlotte likes reading about ESP and Ulbrecht likes Sculpting. The mechanical underpinning for a Hobby is that it equates to one-half of a DCC RPG Occupation. So whatever bonus you'd give a character for an Occupation in DCC RPG, cut it in half and award it whenever a character can sensibly use a hobby. All the items you see in the "My Story" section have easy-to-remember, Tweet-sized rules like that.

Characters can also have more than one Hobby. Notice how Charlotte has more appearance traits than Ulbrecht? That's because her Personality score is that much higher than his. Everything from Height to Build to Fashion Sense to Absolutes and Hobbies ties back to a character's ability scores. This isn't some tacked-on system that you'll set aside and forget about once the game starts. 

The Character Story section has been designed so that it's useful at the start of a 0-Level Schoolteacher's career and equally useful when that character is a 10th level Valiant.

There's a method to my mad-libs.


Comments

  1. I was until now unfamiliar with said adventure .
    I must say you have sold me on it and I am head over to Drive thru rpg to pick up my copy shortly Cheers .

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Back on the Rack

It's been a long time. But I'm still here. Still working on stuff. Over the last few months, here's what I've been up to. I took a brief hiatus around the end of last year and the start of this year. The holidays are always busy. And work was busy as well. Work's really continued to be busy. I consider that a good thing but it does hamper my ability to devote time to writing. During this hiatus, I took the time to explore what the tabletop RPG community had been up to. I read a number of books, played in some games, ran some games, funded some Kickstarters -- all that stuff I enjoy doing when I'm not the "Transylvania Guy". This is generally a time when I collect ideas. It was helpful when I came back from hiatus to look at Transylvanian Adventures  again with fresh eyes. I've been in contact with a potential co-author for TA . He's very interested and a legit writer to boot. Because he's legit, his schedule is just as crazy as mine

Only Mostly Dead

Well, that went by quickly. It's been a couple of very challenging months here. I've been able to dive into TA sporadically. But it's not uncommon at this point for my work hours to be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later. So time has been at a premium the last few months. Here's a brief update to remind everybody that I am still, in fact, working on this. NTRPG I did not make it. I was on a plane with my 7-year-old and 5-year-old to fly them to the grandparents. I was optimistic that this would free up some time for the book but it didn't work out that way. As far as the book, here's where it stands. The Good I'm about a third of the way through re-writing the monsters. The new format works fairly well for me and exists in some strange place in between DCC RPG , 13th Age, and Dungeon World . As part of the Monsters section, I'm working on the Advanced Rule Options as well. This where the infamous "cleavage rule" joins us. The prima

Happy Halloween

Don't thank me. Thank Deadstop. Here to add some treat to your holiday are some of Dr. Frankenstein's prized creations with a few tricks up their sleeve. This is the first entry in the monsters section of The Hanging Judge's Guide to Transylvania . Enjoy. And don't forget to leave the lights on when you go to sleep. Transylvanian Adventures' Abominations