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Personal Focus (fleshing out a character)

posted Oct 29, 2017 14:38:41 by John Beyer
So in August before I even ran my first session (last night) I started experimenting with the life path generator (LPG). I started by reimagining a character from LUG STNGRPG. What I noticed was how much more developed that LPG made my character feel. But it still seemed to lack the depth of the TV characters. My solution was to allow 3 additional focus, but they had to be personal in nature and not career or positional based. Here is how I do it.
1. UPBRINGING BONUS FOCUS: The player names a hobby or activity that the child loved or was forced to do (play piano, collect bugs, go fishing).
2. ACADEMY BONUS FOCUS: The player names an activity or creative outlet they picked up while in the Academy (football, bar hopping, chess, holo-LARPing).
3. POST ACADEMY BONUS FOCUS: THe play manes an activity or creative outlet they are learning or indulging in since leaving the Academy (Vulcan meditation, botany,games of chance, cultural studies (pick a culture)).

Example: My Character Doctor Illeena Lotz (human) grew up on Vulcan where she learned to love brain teaser and logic puzzles. In the Academy she perfected her swimming abilities and was on the Academy swim team. And finally since leaving the Academy she has become a foodie, seeking out and trying new foods and eating establishments wherever she is posted (nothing beats real food cooked by real beings).

My players liked this addition and have embraced it. Our group has a Vulcan who plays bocci ball who is encouraging others to form clubs on DS9 and the GAMMA 7 outpost.

These bonus focus may never come into play, but you never know, the Bajoran security officer (all so reimagined form LUG game) has carousing/bar hopping and is eagerly awaiting her return visit to Quarks Bar.
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4 replies
Lancel said Oct 30, 2017 15:16:44
I tend to like bringing in non-job related focuses as well. For my characters I've taken to introducing a broad focus that lets them do their job on the ship effectively (Conn Officer gets Starship Helm Controls and so on), a more specialist focus (Chief Engineer gets Warp Drives and so on), and a focus based on strong personality attributes and/or hobbies (Acting, Music, some kind of athletics, and so on). It's been a bit of a challenge trying to select focuses that are useful without being unduly broad, but that sort of ratio is largely what I've arrived at. If the character changed careers (shifting from say Science to Command), then I'd probably change a specialist focus to something from that former career, maybe something that still held some relevance to the new field. It would be more useful and besides a character would be more likely to retain knowledge from a previous field if it continued to be useful in their new career.
Eric Stearns said Oct 31, 2017 03:38:27
I tried to shame my players into stop with the meta-game thinking when a couple of NPCs showed up with things like "Ballroom Dancing" and "Chinese Checkers Grand Master" as Focuses - their medical, scientific, operational and engineering based focuses suddenly look a little...dry. :D
The idea of extra non-game focuses seems like a great idea, I may just steal this one. :)
jonrcrew said Oct 31, 2017 13:34:47
I have to admit, I'd probably just let the players throw these things in when it seems appropriate, but this would be a good way of encouraging it if the players aren't prone to doing that :)

Another approach would be to have a player sacrifice a Momentum or Determination point (depending on what you think it's worth) in play, to bring in an appropriate interest. I use this with my Savage Worlds games - a fate point/benny can be spent to add an element to a scene or character Fate-style.
TimKellogg said Apr 12, 2018 15:41:42
John Beyer - now that you have played with them for a bit - do your Main Characters use these extra Foci? Have they ever been a factor in a game? Are you still doing this?
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