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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

I Feel a Song Coming On...

Well, ladies and gents, looks like I finally found time to get around to this post...and it's a somewhat unusual take on character development. I've noticed that one thing that some people do is to find a theme song for their characters. This is a very, very cool idea. Having a theme song for your character can do wonders when it comes to playing them.

A Step Further
But why not do more than that? The thought came to mind whilst I was contemplating fast, easy, but solid ways to define a character. In my opinion, an iconic way of characterization will beat out a detailed profile any time, because in an RPG, it's far easier to play with an iconic characterization. You can dig out things that you never knew existed in the character. A song provides a very, very good outline for that.

What if you didn't just use it as a reference, though? What if you used it as an integral part of the character-building process? What if you took a simple, basic character description, and then attached it to a thematic song, building the character from there? Instead of having to hunt for a song that fits, you put together a character that fits.

For Example...
Let's take a very simple, basic character concept, and see what we can do by adding in a song. By combining a typical character concept with a distinguishing song, you can make an incredibly unique combination. So, then. Let us commence with...

A halfling rogue. Incredibly inventive, right? Oh yeah. Well, then. Take this incredibly standard character...and tack on a theme song.

Space Lion, from Cowboy Bebop

What would this character be like, if this one song was their guiding principle. Myself, I could see the character longing for the past, a character who has lost the world, and yet who finds a meaning to it every day. He tends to spend his evenings just staring out into the night, flicking the blade of his dagger back and forth with a tired sigh. What has he lost? What does he live his life for?

Hopefully, that sounds like something a bit out of the ordinary. Plus, any time you need to reflect on the character, you can just listen to the song, and glean some inspiration from it.

How Does it Work?
It won't be the same for everyone...I've learned that my own mind works best on the basis of connections. So, something like this is right up my alley. I find random things in the song, even though there's no words, and connect them to ideas that I've gathered about the character concept. Other people work in different ways, but it can still work.

Music happens to be one of those timeless things that most people can find something in, and it's one of those things that we've never really been able to explain fully. So, that's a lot of ground to mine for a character, and it works particularly well because no character can be completely explained either. Having a song helps to explain the inexplicable.

It's different, a tad unorthodox, but also worth a try, I'd say.

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