Friday, October 13, 2006

"Forget All You Know, Or THINK You Know"

You see, it's that I'm a perfectionist. That's why.

I am talking, of course, about my tendency to overthink stuff; in my head, I make things harder than they need to be. I know better, but I don't act like it.

I forget that stuff can be simple.

The other day I was looking through Treasure Tables, a neato GMing site, when I came upon this link: "The One-Sentence Character Concept Maker". Being that I always feel overwrought with angst because I can't seem to think up an original character EVER (oh, the weltzschmerz is crushing!), I was, like, "I'm'a click that link!"

So I tried it out, the one-sentence thing. It's simple, and it's sweet. It's open. I began to create.

  • A proud knight is determined to set something right before he dies.
  • A lonely sorceress seeks a companion.
  • A ruthless merchant is on the run from equally-ruthless competitors who want him dead.
  • An exiled elf is avoiding responsibility.
  • A malicious cleric is seeking revenge against someone who embarassed him.
  • A naive adventurer seeks fame and fortune.
  • A tortured, overdramatic bard seeks attention.
  • A soft-spoken master swordsman is looking for a challenge.
...well, paint me blue and call me Leroy. Five, ten minutes and I had 8 interesting PC concepts, each of which suggests all kinds of possibilities; the hard part over with, all I'd need is to flesh'em out, stat 'em up and play 'em.

Eight characters, where before I'd struggle to craft one super-complex, unique, innovative, different one. Eight. In 5 minutes. And that's with a toddler in the room.

A long time ago, I worked at a grocery store, bagging groceries. One day, I went out to get some carts from the parking lot; I was struggling with them when a guy I knew from high school came up, real cool, like James Dean (he was one of the cool guys that all the girls loved, too), and he said, "Here, man. You're thinking too hard." He showed me an easier way to do it -- and it worked.

So help me, that was 1992 and I still have not fully learned the lesson.

Folks, I'm a long-time GM who is, surprisingly, re-discovering how simple and fun this hobby can be. You're watching it happen; I'm catching up to where I used to be, before I went and decided I had to know everything.

I have their game stats. Did you know there was a sourcebook? Allen Varney, with Greg Costikyan. It's aces.