Monday, August 29, 2011

Great advice from Neverwinter

I haven't made it all the way through the new Neverwinter book yet, but I found a piece of player advice that I just love. On page 19, in the Character Themes section, there is a sub-heading titled "Making Fun Choices," which I have excerpted below:
As you roleplay your character's theme, avoid making choices that you think might annoy other players or make them uncomfortable. ...
Regardless of what makes sense for roleplaying, sometimes it should take a back seat to what would be fun for everyone. When you're confronted with a situation in which you think your character should do something that you know the other characters will not like, think about how those chracters' players might react. Sometimes the mischievous, improper, or stupid thing you think your character should do adds to the fun of everyone at the table. Sometimes such an action only makes you the center of attention at the expense of making the fame less fun for everyone else. Make sure you know the difference. 
I was really surprised to see this advice in this book, and especially in the character theme section. Neverwinter is the stomping grounds of the ultimate self-sufficient loner, Drizzt; and character themes are usually constructed so they add power to characters and make them more self-sufficient. I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost all of the themes in Neverwinter are designed to encourage the PCs to work together, even when they might have radically different long-term goals.

This is a departure from other character themes that I have seen so far. Existing character themes tend to take a character up to the moment of their first adventure, but not a lot of them inform your future RP choices. The Neverwinter themes are tied strongly to the region and give your character a past as well as a direction for the future. The price of adding this specificity is that it makes the themes less flexible. I'm curious to see how this plays out in LFR. I think in a home campaign, these themes could add a lot of story hooks and make the party feel really connected to the game world. In LFR, I just dread sitting down at a table with 5 Neverwinter Nobles.

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