Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Character Exposition

While regaling a new character with the team's previous exploits can be pretty fun, in some games there are often points where new characters need to be told large amounts of world building exposition - often in a big lump sum at the start.  This is often the case with new characters in World of Darkness - new vampires or Changelings, etc.  If you skimp on this, or simply paraphrase it, the player of the new character might have difficulty figuring out their characters' own thoughts on the subject since the describer's biases aren't revealed and therefore they don't know how their character might have tilted.

So what's the best way to do it?

You could think about introducing a character who is either strongly biased or an interesting take on the situation.  That way the players can all remain interested (as can you), in seeing how this cynical elder Sheriff who desires torpor will describe all of the trouble-prone covenants.  The new slant to it all will keep people from getting bored as they're told, once more, about the basics of the game world.

Or you could contrive a way for them to be more deeply engulfed in the world.  Give them a quick run down of the covenants and then have them introduced to several single-covenant-run-soirees who can give them a pretty good feel for the groups.  Throw in a badly treated yet apparently loving it ghoul and you should be able to cover much of vampire in a nut shell.  Oh, and you can always describe the reactions of their Beast rather than having to get someone to say: "By the way, it doesn't like fire!"  I mean, any vampire passing a man lighting a cigarette gets that sneaking suspicion.

So that's just a couple ways to deal with the exposition.  Create or choose an NPC that'll make the conversation fresh and exciting (unless you have a PC who happens to make it all sound new) or simply throw them in the deep end and introduce them to as many canonical elements as you can in a quick space of time - namely one or two sessions.  Can you think of any other ideas?

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