The Four Cs of Characters

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I wrote this in my notebook while working on Petrograd and it seemed like a thing to share:

What makes a fit character for this game? The Four Cs.

Connected: The character has relationships (positive and negative) with other significant characters in the situation.

Committed: The character has a stake in the outcome of the situation, and will stay to see it through.

Capable: The character has the capacity to affect change in the situation by taking decisive action.

Conflicted: The character has beliefs and goals that are in conflict. They must make choices about which are more important, and which must be abandoned or changed.

I'm making all the characters for Petrograd (they're pregens, like in Lady Blackbird) and those are my parameters. I think those are probably applicable to other games, too. Burning Wheel character creation hits those notes, for example.



Blogger jenskot says:  

Love it!

Blogger jenskot says:  

Break up the 4Cs from their linked color, remix, and it still works...

> Connected - your stake in the situation is how you are connected.

> Committed - your belief is why you stay till the end.

> Capable - your relationships are how you can affect change.

> Conflicted - your stake in the outcome is in conflict.

Blogger Matthew says:  

Nice. It's that fourth C that seems too often to be missing and which really helps a game sing for me. It adds the necessary spice to the previous three elements if the game isn't only about overcoming the opposition laid down by the other players or a GM. I usually NEED to enter the situation not knowing/not having decided between two competing Goods. Therein lie the best surprises. For myself and for my fellow players.

Blogger Christian Griffen says:  

Yeah, I think these are quite universal.

In some scenarios/stories, "Committed" might be replaced with a crucible that forces the character to address the situation/won't let them leave. I.e., something external rather than internal (think Lost or most zombie movies). But it's almost more dramatic when it's commitment, because then everything that happens is a logical result of who the characters are.

Anonymous Anonymous says:  

A bit behind events here, but it seems this post pretty much resolves what people have been talking about on Story Games, re: a chargen system for Hackbird. Just make the 4 Cs required for a viable character, and let the players talk things out so that they're all able to fulfill the "connected" part.

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