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Help, My Characters Are Independent!

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  • Help, My Characters Are Independent!

    So, I've just started running a game of Aberrant, moving the timeline up so that Galatea explosion occurred in 2018 with attendant differences in technology. The players have built their characters, but I'm having trouble working out how to link them together to begin with. For characters we have:
    • Barnaby Wilde, a wildlife photographer and owner of a number of nature preserves with the ability to create long-range portals. Barnaby has kept his nova nature quiet since he erupted.
    • Corvo Corid, a mashup of Harry Dresden, Rorschach and Jessica Jones who moonlights as the vigilante 'Raven' using his mega-strength and stamina.
    • Rebecca, a supergenius telepath who basically acts as a think-tank all by herself for her computer company.
    • Steve 'IGNOS' Buchanan, a professional famous person with flight, Immolate, invulnerability to fire and flames for hair, along with a hefty slice of mega-charisma.
    • Stephen 'Dr. Megabyte' Fortran, a cyberkinetic would-be hero with a bit of a martyr complex.
    • And a speedster/living advertisement board who has yet to be given a name.
    I'm just really not sure how to kick the campaign off - what kind of thing to throw at the players that could bring them together in some fashion. I was intending to let them make the characters and then build the plot around that, and I told them so, but I didn't really anticipate that they'd make such a disparate bunch. Any help in this would be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    I usually just ask the players why they are together. I figure there are one of me and many of them. They should come up with a better idea than I can.

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    • #3
      With a little bit of work, you have two sets of two that probably know each other and a pair that can easily be worked into those other two. Let me explain:

      Wilde and Buchanan could easily know each other. Maybe Buchanan treats Wilde's nature preserves as a cause celebre, or any other situation where the nature preserves are in some way backed by Buchanan's celebrity, whether donation of time or money, or whatever it may be.
      Fortran could certainly be an employee at Rebecca's company, and she'd want it that way. Maybe he wouldn't be Chief Technical Officer, but probably fairly high up given she'd most likely know his secret.
      The other two are only slightly more difficult to slip in. Corid, for example, could be a low-to-mid office drone or such in Rebecca's company, while superspeed could be in the celebrity/ad circles Buchanan is already in.
      This makes the only trouble linking the trios together. That may be accomplished by having the groups individually handle the same larger conspiracy from different angles, only to meet up a bit before the BBEG shows up to be defeated. Think in the same vein as how many versions of the Justice League have ended up banding together.

      This all assumes a lot about the individual characters' lives that aren't immediately written in the original post. However, if those things can be bent towards the common good of the story and the game, you have yourself a way to introduce everyone and (hopefully) keep the group together.
      Last edited by Inertial Frame; 07-09-2018, 05:15 PM. Reason: Dotting i's, as it were.


      "At the risk of sounding like a murder hobo"

      Attributed to Nyrufa.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Inertial Frame View Post
        With a little bit of work, you have two sets of two that probably know each other and a pair that can easily be worked into those other two. Let me explain:

        Wilde and Buchanan could easily know each other. Maybe Buchanan treats Wilde's nature preserves as a [i]cause celebre[/], or any other situation where the nature preserves are in some way backed by Buchanan's celebrity, whether donation of time or money, or whatever it may be.
        Fortran could certainly be an employee at Rebecca's company, and she'd want it that way. Maybe he wouldn't be Chief Technical Officer, but probably fairly high up given she'd most likely know his secret.
        The other two are only slightly more difficult to slip in. Corid, for example, could be a low-to-mid office drone or such in Rebecca's company, while superspeed could be in the celebrity/ad circles Buchanan is already in.
        This makes the only trouble linking the trios together. That may be accomplished by having the groups individually handle the same larger conspiracy from different angles, only to meet up a bit before the BBEG shows up to be defeated. Think in the same vein as how many versions of the Justice League have ended up banding together.

        This all assumes a lot about the individual characters' lives that aren't immediately written in the original post. However, if those things can be bent towards the common good of the story and the game, you have yourself a way to introduce everyone and (hopefully) keep the group together.
        That's tremendously helpful, thanks. I did miss out a few things, but I think I've worked out a workable scheme of connection that I can pull on (Dance on my strings, puppets! Dance!) so I think I'm set-ish. Now I just need to work out the initial impetus.


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        • #5
          "You all meet in the Amp Room. Max Mercer is sitting in one corner holding a treasure map."

          ... Okay, maybe not.

          Aberrant is a wide-ranging game where there's plenty of room for personal concerns and clashing loyalties, so it's good to have a mutual hook to begin with, but for disparate group like this there are still universal concerns like the various conspiracies and power groups that affect every Nova. I once started a series that was meant to deal with the ongoing conspiracy plots by asking "where were you when you heard Slider died?"

          Discussing ideas with the players is a good way to start. Underlying connections, a mutual contact or conflict, and the like are all good.

          There's also the option to start in medias res and work out why the group came together in retrospect, though the players might argue assumptions that don't fit their idea of the character. You could ask in advance how they'd approach the situation and see what overlaps, for example how they'd prepare to assault a Mite factory - scout ahead, sneak in, use telepathy to scan someone going in, and so on, (If someone says "why would I ever do that?" you'll need to work that through.)


          Craig Oxbrow
          The Trinity Continuum freelancer

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          • #6
            Start with an event that they would all attend for independent reasons.
            For example a new park/zoo/facility of some sort is holding its grand opening and for what ever reason it is getting a lot of attention both good and bad.
            Wilde is there either because he wants to take pictures or as a keeper of nature preserves he finds the whole thing offensive and is protesting.
            Steve is there because there will be a lot of attention and cameras, all of the things he loves.
            The speedster could be there for similar reasons, depending on what you mean by 'living billboard'.
            Rebecca is there because the whole thing is computerized and her company got the contract, a really big and challenging contract requiring her expertise.
            Corvo and Stephen are both there because each has a reason to expect something bad is going to happen, and they're right...cue bad guys.

            The characters are all in proximity to each other, though still unassociated, when something bad goes down that requires each of them to act or let innocents suffer.
            The heroes rise to the occasion, separately or perhaps with some level of teamwork as they work to save people, however it goes down in the eyes of the general public (and numerous cameras) they are now a team.
            Sometimes the expectation of the crowds can be enough to push people together.

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            • #7
              2ptTakrill that's actually quite a brilliant idea.

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