Monday, December 10, 2012

Monster: The Noun - Character Creation Overview

Part of the reason why I'm doing this is because I realized lately that what I was doing wasn't trying to make fun of something out of the right place to do it. If you want to really truly and honestly make fun of something, the only way that's right, you have to do it through love. You have to love something and poke fun at its absurdities, absurdities that you indulge in yourself, in order for it to have the kind of funny I'm looking at.

This may be why the jokes that probably work at all are the ones that are the roleplaying ones rather than anything from the game itself. I've played it, I've been around it but I was never really in it.

Without further ado - the Character Creation Overview section.

“Is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured?”
The first step on your journey down the paths of blood that people fear to tread is to create your monster.  In order to do that you have to follow the steps we lay down in order without any modifications, lest those who understand these rules better than you come down on you harder than a Vampire who hasn’t eaten in a couple of weeks.  Your will want to spend as much time as possible because this will fix your character for ETERNITY and if you fail here there will be nothing but suffering and torment the whole time.
There is no pressure, it is merely the here and forever at stake.

Character Creation Overview
To make thing simpler, so that you aren’t constantly going back and forth on this like you are doing your taxes by hand for the first time.  You may reference this overview time and time again when you feel as if you need to find something to help you with your questions.  The main goal is to guide you down the well trodden path that many others before you have gone and many others after you will go.
This path is called, the stereotype.  You will find them in various different places and they are quite useful.  What these stereotypes do, if you haven’t heard, is to make thought completely unnecessary and allows everyone to fully understand who you are by merely looking at what you think your character should be.  There are many to choose from, some of the most popular are the dark and brooding bruiser who acts like they’re a lone wolf who doesn’t need a single other person in the world but in reality really wants a hug.  There’s the over-sexed femme fatale who can only see the world through a sexual lens.  There’s the sneaky thief with a mysterious past that will only be explained later on, a person with a heart of gold but has to hide for unknown reasons.  There’s usually one ex-priest, quite possibly two and one sheer and utter asshole.  There’s always someone playing the asshole
Some people view this process as the creation of someone who has a story to tell.  These people are fools and have bought into the lies and deceptions of others.  Everyone else is actually trying to take advantage out of every single loophole and possibility that they can.  They hope that you’re the person who make the “real” character so they can whip your sorry ass at every single opportunity.  Instead, you should do what they do, play the numbers and the percentages.  You want to be certain that you aren’t left behind when the insanity starts
An integral part of this process is the SM who should endeavor to work really hard with her players and oversee this process like a prison warden watches over her detainees.  She needs to crack down on them for using the rules in this book to give her a headache.  After all, why should she be the only one suffering?  The SM does have final say for all characters and needs to keep things like story and play balance in mind before approving anything.  However, if the players manage to sneak one by her she’s going to be stuck with that problem for the rest of the campaign, which will probably last until the end of this session.

Step 1. Choosing your Monster
What Monster you will play has a huge part on how you will build them.  If you feel the need to play the ETERNALLY damned vampire, then do so and be prepared to deliver moody one-liners to the rest of the team.  If you feel the need to play someone who is more in love with being an animal than animals then you might want to consider the werewolves.  If you just want to hug all the big bad nasties into submission then hunters might be what you want to play.  If you know that you’re a better roleplayer than those you see who dared to sit at the same table as you, then you could play a mage.  If this paragraph took you ten minutes to read because you were distracted by everything in the world then you might want to try fairies.
Whatever you feel like playing, remember the most important thing in this game is you.  Make sure that this is a character that you really want to play and leave the hard work of somehow getting all these different characters in the same room to the SM.  That’s why you roped him into doing the job in the first place.

Step 2. The Character Numbers
Now that you’ve got the monster in your head, you can now take one of the nice easy to print character sheets and fill it up with numbers.  There will be rules on how you do that, but the key part is that once you’re doing you will have to justify what you just did.  There are other methods that can be used, but this post justification method seems to be the most popular choice.  It allows for some creative background creation to explain why someone can do what they do.
The first section that gets numbers is your stats.  These represent what you think your character is like after all the boasting and bragging is done.  How much they can life, how far they can run, how attractive they think they are, how smart they want you to think they can be and all such other things.  These numbers will probably not change over the course of a game so you have to spend the most time here to make sure that you get the stats that you want.  A good SM will make sure the you can’t go back when you find out you needed a better stat some place else, it’s something she can use against you and she shouldn’t give that up too easily.
After your stats, the next section that has points are your skills.  These are like stats but instead of who your character is, they represent what they know and can do.  These will change a lot with the game itself.  The key thing is to watch everyone else and make sure that you take about as much time as they do.  If not they’ll look off your character sheet and cheat.
The third set of numbers you get is a stack of points for a whole bunch of “other” stuff you’ll never really use.  Backgrounds and money and information and gear and all that kind of stuff, things that you tend to forget as soon as the game starts.  The real use of these points is to try to find a way to sneak them onto your stats or your skills and hope that no one notices.  This is a fairly low risk maneuver that will only end up with the SM asking you to redistribute the points if you get caught.  To be fair, you could try to sneak those points somewhere else but we do advise against this course of action.  The first time you get caught, the SM will be on her guard and you’re more than likely to get punished harsher for future transgressions.

Step 3. Final Details
Now that you’ve finished your character’s stats, you’ll need to come up with a description of how your character looks.  That way, the other players can distinguish between him and the other faceless members of the general public.  There are some pitfalls that should be avoided but usually aren’t.  Situations where your character has a hair color that is not currently found on the planet without the aid of dyes and are generally frowned upon.  It’s okay to have purple hair, just as long as the drapes do not match the carpet.
Weird eye colors without the aid of contacts are discouraged as well.  If these Monsters are doing their best to fit in, then not being able to take out your cat eye shaped eyes at night is a good way to completely blow that cover.

4. Play the game.
Now that you have all the character information readily available to both you and the SM you are now ready to play Monster: The Noun.  While other games, which claim to be story based, will come right out and tell you that in RPGs there are no winners and losers they would be lying.  There are definitely winners and losers here.  Anytime you manage to slip something unnoticed past the SM, or do something that utterly frustrates her then you’ve scored a point.  Any time you’re able to screw over another player characters action to your character’s benefit, you’ve scored a point.  If you manage to get the last slice of pizza before everyone else realizes that it’s the only one left and you get to gloat about it internally for thirty minutes before someone goes into the kitchen and comes out demanding who took that last pice.  Oh, you’ve also just scored a point. 
Whenever a point is scored, it is appropriate to take you finger and mark a 1 in the air.  Some people feel the need to lick their finger first, to drive the point home, but this is optional.  This is done  to let everyone know that you believe that you’ve just managed to pull something.  Something funny enough that when everyone realizes what you’ve done they will fall down in fits of laughter.
Doing this has it’s own risks.  If everyone else doesn’t think you deserve to score a point there will be discussion and argument in regards to your ability to keep score.  Be prepared for yelling, screaming, hair-pulling, slapping and possibly kicks under the table.  Be prepared to be targeted, fairly or unfairly, by the other players. This focus should give you plenty of opportunities to turn their ploys against them to score more points.
Remember, this game is like a stage, you want to make sure the spotlight is on you as much as possible.  There are so many people playing that there can only be one PC who is important at any given time.  Make sure it’s you.

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