Saturday, June 2, 2018

Character Creation: The Ward (ashcan)

I feel like doing something easy today, and a PbtA game is about as easy as you can get, as far as character creation goes.

I admit, too, I have an ulterior motive here - I need someone to run this game at Gen Con this year for IGDN. We've got two sessions on the schedule (Thursday night and Saturday night), they're both full so the games will run, and I need GMs. If you can take one or both, please comment or email me. You run a game, IGDN covers your badge.

On we go!

The Game: The Ward
The Publisher: Magpie Games
Degree of Familiarity: Some. I got a chance to play it at Breakout 2017, and it was a lot of fun.
Books Required: Just the one.

The Ward is a modern medical drama RPG. Now, I know you're thinking "wait, what?" And yeah, for me this falls into the same category as Pasión de las Pasiónes; it's a million miles from what a lot of people think of as a "roleplaying game," but if you're talking about doing exactly that - playing a role - and finding the fun in the drama of the situation rather than the mechanical/tactical gratification (or the violence), well, this game is baller.

(Not to say there's anything wrong with tactical or combat-heavy games, mind, just that games like The Ward scratch a different itch.)

So, with that in mind, The Ward takes its inspiration from TV shows like ER, Gray's Anatomy, Chicago Hope, and, for me, House (though it's not in the list of inspirations, oddly). Anyway, I need to first pick a playbook. There are only four: Resident, Nurse, Intern, and Specialist (unlike a lot of PbtA games, duplicate playbooks are fine). I'm trying to remember what I played at Breakout. I'm pretty sure it was the Resident. OK, let's play the Nurse, then.

(I could wax poetic about being a man in a career field that's typically seen as being for women, since, y'know, I do that in my day job, too, but let's move on.)

OK, so I start off choosing tags. I can be Cynical, Old, or Optimistic. Decisions, decisions. I think I'll be Old (man, an old male nurse, that opens up some questions).

Next, I fill in demographics and descriptions. I should also find a name. My character's name is...well, assuming this game is set now, and assuming "old" means "70s," my nurse was born in the 40s (ugh, he's a Boomer). Let's say his name is Frank, he feels like a Frank. I fill out the demo card on the sheet; Frank has gray hair and blue eyes. He wears glasses because of course he does. He's divorced (he used to really despise his ex, but it's been long enough now that he just kinda doesn't think of her much), and his next of kin is his daughter Marie. Frank is hunched, slow, and stern, but he's strong (he works out and of course his job is physically demanding).

OK, so now stats and specialities. I get +1, -1, 0 and 0 for my stats. I'll put my +1 into Nerve, my -1 in Brains, and my 0s in Guts and Heart (but I'm gonna take a move that gives me an extra point of Guts, so it's actually +1). Now I take two specialities. I'll take Emergency Care and Dependable.

Now I get two moves. I know I'm taking seen it all, which gives me an extra point of Guts, and then I'll also take move aside (if I show contempt in the medical theater, I can ask extra questions and the person I'm contempt'ing can't ask me anything; basically it makes me crotchety).

Ooh, now I must decide my addiction. Said addiction doesn't literally have to be a drug. I'm gonna say Frank is addicted to "how it was." He's not saying things were better in the 60s when he first started working as a nurse, but you didn't have all these damn computers and the charting and the young doctors who didn't speak English...

Oh, now, this is weird. The blurb at the top of the sheet says my Rep is -1, but then below stats it says +1. Well, the book says +1, so I'ma go with that.

Everything else is connections, which I can't do without a group, so that's me done!