12 RPGs for the 12th Month: A Question of Character

Paul Mitchener came up with a new writing challenge on role-playing games called “12 RPGs for the 12th Month” (see the full list of questions here.)

Question 4: 7th to 8th December

Tell me about your character in an RPG you’re currently playing, or have played this year.

Oh, I have played a lot of characters, this year. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CHARACTERS!


Venture City (Evil Hat Productions): Run online by Bryanna Hitchcock. I played one of her pre-generated characters, I think it was Hornet, a Wasp-like character.

Dungeon World hack: The Land of Ten Thousand Gods (Sage Kobold Productions/Edmund Metheny): I played in two of Edmund’s online playtest groups, with Jewel the wilderness guide (ranger) in one, and Sabitri the shapeshifter (druid) in the other.

Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games/Fat Goblin Games): Run online by J Gray to playtest some of the material for his Castle Falkenstein supplements. I played Penneg the korrigan (brownie), a spy for the Second Compact and an activist for the Movement for the Advancement of Lesser Faeries.


The Lost Age (Leiker Games): Run by the designer at KublaCon, Keith Leiker. I played Dalkan, a calatar (badger-like humanoid).

Headspace (Green Hat Designs): Run by Kasi Jammeh at KublaCon. I played Clancy the infiltrator.

Fate hack: Call of Cthulhu (Evil Hat Production): Run by Dennison Milenkaya at KublaCon. If I recall correctly, I played a fake psychic suddenly getting real psychic manifestations.

DramaSystem (Pelgrane Press): Run by Brian Williams at KublaCon. I played a spawning space jellyfish, Mother of Many.


The One Ring (Cubicle 7): Run by Steve W. I play Ulfwyn the Swift, a Beorning wanderer.

Golden Sky Stories (Starline Publishing): Run online by Fish N. I play Shiroko, a fourteen-year-old crane henge girl who is a bit of an older sister to all the kids.

Honey Heist (Grant Howitt): Run by Karen Twelves for a game day at EndGame. I played Ursula Berry, a black bear and retired thief, wearing a flat cap. I managed to get lots of artisan honey.

Nephews of Dune (homebrew): A playtest by Steve P. of his homebrew set on Dune (Arrakis! The desert planet!), where I play Callista Aranos, an Ixian spice smuggler.

Ehdrigohr (Council of Fools): An adaptation from the Fate 2.0 version to Fate Core, run by Edmund. I played one of the pre-generated characters, Za’ayed of the Society of the Owl.

The Watch (Anna Kreider & Andrew Medeiros): Run by Bryanna Hitchcock. I play Teyka the Wolf from Clan Molthas, a single mother trying to raise her child even as she fights for the Watch. Deliberately set up as a Lone Wolf and Cub call-back.


Fate of Karthun (Evil Hat Productions): Run by lead writer Tracy Barnett at Big Bad Con. I played Kistkatsa, a Lizardfolk bard who reminded me of my beloved T’skrang bard in Earthdawn.

JUGGERNAUT (Bully Pulpit Games): Hosted by Brian Williams in Games on Demand at Big Bad Con. The characters are pre-generated; I was the results-minded Major Van Der Meer, still hoping to get the next phase of the project authorized so we could fight the Commies.

Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions): Run by Arthur Berman in Games on Demand at Big Bad Con. I played Lynniel Bonebreaker, a human barbarian. I collapsed the temple onto my own head (and another PC’s) rather than let the macguffin fall into the wrong hands.

Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne (Pompey Crew Design): Run by Gretchen Burneko at Big Bad Con. The characters were pre-generated; I played Berrick, the squire of Sir Hayden. Of course I was in love with the witch!

Mutants & Masterminds 3e (Green Ronin): Run by Edmund at Big Bad Con. I played Growltiger the Bane of Rats!

[Edited to add:]


Star Trek Light, a hack of Cthulhu Dark: A play-by-post playtest by Evlyn M. I play Ensign Tishale Brehan, an Acamarian Engineering officer on the USS Sussman. Teshale is ebullient, romantic, and geeky, but also world-savvy and saddled with friends in low places.

Dungeon World: Our Heroes!

Our Heroes - Ram, Rahi, Merit, and Kanta. Art by Claudia Cangini.
Our Heroes. Front: Ram the Holy Killer; behind him, from left to right: Rahi the Relic Bearer, Merit the Trickster, and Kanta the Mage. Art by Claudia Cangini, 2016.

We’ve been playing Dungeon World for over a year now, in Edmund’s own setting inspired by Southern Asia, “The Land of Ten Thousand Gods.” We’re nearing the epic conclusion of a big story arc so as a holiday present to the whole group, I commissioned a portrait of our four characters from the amazing Claudia Cangini. Tonight I unveiled it for the group and people sounded very happy — I know I am!

For those who, like me, enjoy seeing how a piece of art comes together, I will post the various steps of Claudia’s work. All images are in the slideshow at the bottom.

Continue reading “Dungeon World: Our Heroes!”

RPG a Day: A Question of character

25. What makes for a good character?

Katsukawa ShunshôIn your opinion, what do you need for a satisfying character?

Obviously, this will vary tremendously. A player character that is satisfying for me to play has to have enough drive to action, enough personal involvement in the story and with the other PCs to be moved to act. I have to be able to see clearly what she would do, rather than have to evaluate a collection of stats first. Some tensions are great, motivations to act in clear but divergent ways: divided loyalties, relationships, obligations, rivalries, codes of honour, etc.

A non-player character that I find satisfying to interact with has to have hidden depths, complexity, and both good and bad traits. Villains, in particular, are most interesting to me if they can almost convince us that they are the heroes! Almost. A good way to build that in is to use the “passions” (rage, noble, and fear stimuli) from Unknown Armies. In fiction, examples of good villains include Hans Grüber (Die Hard), Mr. Morden and Alfred Bester (Babylon 5), Mags Bennett (Justified), “Nucky” Thompson (Boardwalk Empires), etc.