Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Character Maps

I'm trying to plan for my Saturday WOD game. I'm putting thoughts towards what I want Eile to do and why.

I decided to use an older mechanism that I like a lot. I call it a "map".

I take a piece of paper and put Eile's name in the middle of it. Then I put the names of the other characters in the game in a rough circle around Eile's name. Then I draw "relationship lines"- direct lines to/from people she's directly encountering on a regular basis, dotted lines for less firm ones, and so on according to my personal system. (I don't have a scanner nor do I posses any sort of electronic artistic abilities or I'd offer a nifty illustration of said mechanism.)

Then I draw lines from characters to OTHER characters to help me figure out where their influence lies, who they interact with (as known to Eile), and what obstacles and/or objectives they might present.

I make notes to myself  about each character in question, usually thinking in terms of :

what happens if I continue in a straight line with my plot ideas with this character?
What if I put or encounter obstacles between here and where I want to go in my plot lines with this character?
What if I go in a circle/around this plot line with this character?
What if I look at this from every OTHER angle and try something different?

(This thinking mechanism is totally not of my own imagination. I stole it whole cloth from Piers Anthony- and I believe it's some form of logic formula.)

Right now I have a bunch of papers (there are 12+ characters in this game) that look like a drunk kid Spiro-Graphed all over them.

But it's a neat visual way to help me think during game.


  1. In the one and only supplement for Sorcerer, Ron Edwards goes into great detail on how to use relationship maps to create sessions. Mystery writers use them all the time. They are wonderful because when you have a line connecting two characters, all you have to do is to apply pressure to that relationship and drama ensues.

    Have fun this weekend!

  2. That's a great idea for anything where you want to get a good sense of how characters might interact or relate to each other.

  3. Good luck drawing any lines to me. Right now you only know one other person I'm associated with if that even. muuuuhahaha.

    See ya Sat.

  4. Tom Reed said...

    Very interesting, I hadn't thought about doing this until I had a friend pick me up a copy of the Smallville RPG. The player characters are all built by utilizing Pathways Maps...
    Origin-Youth-Focus-Road-Life changing event-Priority-Modu operandi-Motivation-Identity