#RPGaDay2020 Day 28 - "Close"
Today I'm going to talk about relationships in RPGs. My this, I mean how characters relate to each other, to the NPCs who make up their personal connections and even how those NPCs relate to each other beyond the existence of the PCs. Getting this right, and making it honest is a key element of truly successful storytelling, and is at the same time one of the hardest things to deliver realistically.
In my first game, personalities really came out, and we got some great interactions going:
- Lohrin was a bard and the party leader. He was leader because he was the most charismatic, and so was obviously the most qualified to be in charge. He was an idiot, kept alive by his team. From his leadership came the following expressions, still used today: "Good idea....SIR" and the term "Bardic Casting" (to represent a truly horrible use of a spell...like casting silence over the party, thereby rendering all casters unable to do anything. Yes, really.)
- Bud, the Ranger/Arcane Archer was the elf-hating sergeant. It was his duty to both save and not kill the leader. He resented both duties. Lohrin and Bud did not get along. Bud tolerated Corin, below, as one of the few competent Keeblers he had met.
- Kalen, the Rogue. Very talented. Very effective. Absolutely clueless in interacting with other people. He found Bud too cautious and Lohrin too wordy. Why did Corin have to interrupt his fun?
- Corin, the Wizard. Also very talented. Became Kalen's watcher, not officially but somebody had to. He respected Bud. He did not fireball Lohrin, but he would happily tell you that this was because he was an ice mage.
In one adventure, it was Sunday, and Hasan declared that Sunday was Family Dinner night...that all the children in the area had to attend, and guests were welcome. So...that was a thing. Sunday dinners became a ritual of the characters, because nobody wants to disappoint Mom. When the "new" family member came in, he decided the easiest path was to be Hasan and Cam's brother, and showed up at Sunday dinner, was introduced and the rest was history. Except Khayrat is a full gnome. How does that work? No idea. See above.
The nearest I've ever come to a romantic relationship in one of my games was when Lohrin the Bard was forced to marry a daughter of the King of a foreign country. The King considered Lohrin and up-and-comer and wanted that connection in the Thorinese court. There was no romance; it was an arranged marriage, though that relationship did generate some story time and amusement.
In my current game, though, one of the players has a crush on a bakery worker. This is wonderful. Things will work, or not, but the beginnings of his interest are playing out as a story the player chose, and so becomes both important and more realistic. And to me, this is the critical element. It's easy to just declare relationships for the sake of the story, but without real investment, it's hard to actually make the characters of a story close.
About Today's Art
Today's art is called "The Fam" and it comes from Sharaiza, an Italian artist. She specializes in animals, people and the interactions between them (among other things.) Her art tends to be bright, generally positive, and the characters are all represented with emotion. If there are multiples in the picture, they always show a real connection. The reason I chose this piece is that it represents the closeness that I feel is so important in bringing stories to life. This piece, with three canines and a boy illustrate that they are a definite pack, even if they are a different species.