FRIDAY FEATURE #20

FRIDAY FEATURE #20

How you read your character

The characters are finally here and casting is complete. Phew. Here’s your handy guide to the character editor. First, this is what you’ll see after logging in:

In the participant list and the gallery clicking on a player now shows you their public character sheet (it’s white and almost looks diegetic). Clicking on “My Character” takes you to the Character Editor.

But, there are some things you need to know before you start editing your characters. Each character consists of a few different fields, and we will run them through real quick in this Friday Feature to help you make the most of the characters.

First, let’s talk about “review”. You’re free to edit your character as you see fit, but sooner or later a character has to “freeze” and not change significantly. When you feel as if you’re done editing your character, check the box “Submit for review” and someone from the fiction team will look your character over and either accept it (at which point many of the editable fields become locked) or get back to you with feedback. Don’t send your character in for review until you feel happy with the character.

In the first section of the character editor is your characters surname (already set and not changeable) followed by a field for your chosen first name. Click it and type a name.

Underneath that is your Haven ID (it’s your diegetic, unique identification number in Haven and this won’t matter right now). Then follows your group, your shift and your role (like “squad leader” or “head of maintenance”) if you have one. Finally is the name of the player playing this character (in this view, that should be you).

The next section contains character gender (how your character defines themself, which naturally might not be the same as you, the player), preferred pronoun and the characters age when the larp starts (it also calculates how old you were during Nightfall). Please read through your character to see if you need to modify your characters age.

On the left you have a feature we should have rolled out ages ago: upload photo. It does what is says on the button. Please select one that is neutral, shows more or less only your face, can be used diegetically during the larp and has your face roughly in the middle of the picture (as the image will be autocropped). We’ll talk more about the other things in there later.

Pre-determined values

Then follows some pre-determined details about the character – how long they’ve been in Thermopylae, a quote to set the tone for the character and a short description of your character, as well as a set of traits. How long you’ve been in Thermopylae is not an indicator of veterancy or badassness – you can be the baddest SOB on the block back in Haven but still only have been in Thermopylae for four days. Remember – personnel are rotated in and out in staggered periods. Unless otherwise specified, you either have recently just arrived (four days ago), or been here for a while (two, four or six months – if you’ve been here six months you’re one of the few who didn’t rotate back to Haven but instead stayed on to help with new transitions).

The description is a starting point for fleshing your character out. Use it together with the keywords for the character to think about who your character really is, how they behave, how they speak, what their motivations are etc.

Then follows two collapsible sections named Ideology and Personality. These contain the characters stance on the same issues you as players set as preferences when you onboarded. Note that the characters views might differ from the preferences you set. Unless you are neutral on an issue there will also be a description for your characters views on this issue. These values are not public, only viewable by you.

Pre-determined values

The Player Preferences collapsible is visible to everyone and is used to communicate what kind of play you’re interested in, and allows other players to more easily find suitable players to have relationships or plots with. These are “open hooks” for other players to act on if they wish, they are not preferences for organizer created content.

Preferences are a few common themes for plots or relationships, but there are also three preferences you can create yourself if the pre-defined preferences don’t really do it for you.

Backstory

Here’s the meaty part of your character creation process, the backstory parts. This is all filled out by you, so you need to take some time thinking about your character before you start filling these out. Get a feel for who they are.

The small info texts will guide you through the process, what each field needs to contain and who can view it (some fields are public, others are not). One field, for instance, is for creating one or two people that you know in Haven, that you will want have a videocall with during the larp or have them send you messages now and then.

There is no stress, so take your time filling these things out.

Relations

The first and most important thing to know about the relations is that they’re not customizable yet. The relationship-creator system is not in fully in place yet, so right now you can only look at your own pre-set relations, not describe them or edit them – and not create any new ones. This will be one of our main priorities after today to complete.

But there will be a few relationship suggestions in there from start, created automagically. They serve as a starting point to just get a few quick relationships to other characters out there. If one doesn’t work for you it’s fine, you will be able to cancel it or modify it later.

All the current relationships are two-way, meaning both you and the person you have a relationship to have the same reciprocal relationship. That doesn’t mean the relationship has to be two-way though. You might have someone as “Romantic Interest” but they might not like you at all, or even know you’re interested in them (diegetically speaking). It’s up to you and the other player to discuss and decide what your relationship means.

It might be worth noting that no relationships are written as confirmed, active romantic relationships. We feel this is up to you to opt in on if you want it. There are however quite a few people who have the relationship type “Romantic Ex”, meaning you’ve had something before. It might have been nothing more than a flirt that didn’t go anywhere, or you might have had a serious relationship for years before you broke up, it’s up to you. How you relate to eachother today is also up to you.

Here are the types of relationships your character might start off with:
Old Time Friend – A friend from long ago, simple enough. Doesn’t have to be close.
Close Friend – Someone who is emotionally close to you.
Friend – A regular friend, the most common relation
Companion – Someone you do a lot of things with but isn’t necessarily a friend. You’re united by a cause or interest.
Rival – There is some rivalry between you, for whatever reason.
Enemy – An active detractor, someone who doesn’t like you and will try to make your time miserable.
Romantic Ex – Someone who you share a romantic or sexual history with.
Romantic Interest – A distant flirt, admiration or someone you hope to get together with, or who might want to sleep with you. Up to you both if it’s two way or not, as stated above.

Finally, until the relationship system is 100% up and running, why not talk to your connections on the Lotka-Volterra slack server at https://lotkavolterra.slack.com/ ?

Later additions

We will be adding more stuff to the character and relationship system. First up is customizable relationships so that you can start creating relationships to other players. The character dashboard, “Social circles” etc are other features in the pipe.

And, finally. If anything feels off or weird about your character, or you have any questions or want feedback, get in touch with us (preferably at lotka@beratta.org)!

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