You’re playing a one-shot at a con of an RPG — set in the contemporary world — that’s complex enough that the GM has pregens for you, i.e., chargen at the table would take too long.

As far as those pregens go, how much of the personal details (name, gender, ethinicity) would you prefer to decide at the start of play?

22 thoughts on “You’re playing a one-shot at a con of an RPG — set in the contemporary world — that’s complex enough that the GM has…

  1. William Nichols has a good suggestion. We’ve done this dozens of times for Saturday Night Space Opera. All the identifying stuff should be left to the player. Provide a few options for other things, but predetermined is okay too.

    One thing that’s never gone over well: telling a player they have to play a particular gender or age. Or play someone a certain way. That removes player agency and saps all the fun out of it.

  2. < ![CDATA[William Nichols has a good suggestion. We've done this dozens of times for Saturday Night Space Opera. All the identifying stuff should be left to the player. Provide a few options for other things, but predetermined is okay too. One thing that's never gone over well: telling a player they have to play a particular gender or age. Or play someone a certain way. That removes player agency and saps all the fun out of it.]]>

  3. So for me, I said “none”, but if I’m a GM, I usually leave gender blank. While I’ve seen people willing to play a character of a different ethnicity or religion from themselves, and to treat it quite seriously, even in a convention experience (after being told to do so), I just cannot get men to play women seriously in numbers that are necessary to make doing so at a convention something I can count on.

  4. < ![CDATA[So for me, I said "none", but if I'm a GM, I usually leave gender blank. While I’ve seen people willing to play a character of a different ethnicity or religion from themselves, and to treat it quite seriously, even in a convention experience (after being told to do so), I just cannot get men to play women seriously in numbers that are necessary to make doing so at a convention something I can count on.]]>

  5. I guess a key thing to consider is how much demographics goes into impacting the scenario?

    In some games (and story genres) this stuff falls way back into “extra flavor” category – for example superhero and action-pulp spy/crime stuff goes this way. In which case, why NOT let people just pick whatever?

    But other games/scenarios, the demographics matter a lot, and you may have to make sure you’re not getting a mix of characters that don’t really make sense for the scenario or produce Unfortunate Implications? It’s best if everyone has an idea of how much those things will matter and either are ok with pregens that define those things or are willing to paint within pretty tight bounds that make sense.

  6. < ![CDATA[I guess a key thing to consider is how much demographics goes into impacting the scenario? In some games (and story genres) this stuff falls way back into "extra flavor" category - for example superhero and action-pulp spy/crime stuff goes this way. In which case, why NOT let people just pick whatever? But other games/scenarios, the demographics matter a lot, and you may have to make sure you're not getting a mix of characters that don't really make sense for the scenario or produce Unfortunate Implications? It's best if everyone has an idea of how much those things will matter and either are ok with pregens that define those things or are willing to paint within pretty tight bounds that make sense.]]>