Gaming My Way

23 Sep

How to Write Freedom into Your Background

This article is geared more toward games that take place in a setting that takes many realistic concerns, such as having a job, into account. As such, it may apply more to systems like Shadowrun or the Storyteller System and less to systems like D&D. However, some of this advice is likely to be good for any system. For the evil GMs out there wanting to restrict freedom… try to avoid letting your players get away with these instead!

1) Make sure your character has a passive income stream. Own a business. Have a website that makes money from advertising. Be a lottery winner.  Anything that means your character won’t be tied down to a job. Just remember, a GM can basically hose your income if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law or the wrong people, so play it smart and keep a stash of cold hard cash somewhere as well. You never know when your bank account will be frozen because your friends were dumb and you had to bust them out of jail. Yes, I had a character who did this once… on CCTV. Luckily, I didn’t have any money to lose, so it really just turned into a good time.

2) Have all relations be estranged. A girlfriend or boyfriend is completely out of the question. You don’t want there to be characters that can be used to blackmail you into doing something after all. If your girlfriend or a family member is captured, are you really going to stay at large, rather than turning yourself in for their freedom? Of course, you could rescue them, but then you’ve already bought into doing what you were expected to… and then you’ve lost the freedom to do what you want, when you want once again. Of course, this could be overcome by…

3) Lack of Morals. You worship one thing in life. Yourself. It’s all about you baby! You don’t worry about others, just the effects of anything that happens on you. With this mindset, it’s easy to do what you want, because you just don’t care what happens to anyone else. Just watch out for the police or city guard. Or the army if you manage to anger the wrong people. Of course, depending on the game, this can be particularly dangerous to the enjoyment of the players, so really, be considerate of others and avoid ruining their fun if you decide morals are an old fashioned concept.

4) Be self sufficient. This goes hand in hand with number one, or could possibly even replace it depending on your needs. Have a garden. Learn to hunt. Know how to build a house or other form of shelter. If you can provide yourself with food and shelter, you won’t need money for the necessities. Just for easy transportation. Even then, if you’re without money, but applying point number 3, you could always just steal a car or stowaway on a train. This is great if your accounts end up frozen. You can eat and sleep on the run, and all of nature is your home. You might want to learn how to fight too though. There be bears and wolves out here.

5) Learn a healing trade. Preferably magical or otherwise quick and easy. If that’s not possible, take what you can get, usually medical training. The longer you’re on the injured list, the less mobility you have. And mobility is freedom, my friend. You do not want to be on bed rest when the next epic quest begins… especially when it’s for the artifact of extreme plot significance. Besides, if you lack mobility, you’ll have a hard time running away from everyone you angered using rule 3. Or fighting them off. Besides, you really don’t want to be fighting when you’re already injured. A dead character is not a free character… unless you count his spirit.

So this concludes my list of ways to gain way more freedom than you should have. I don’t recommend utilizing all of these, because you GM needs some way to hook your character for an adventure. Of course, there could be games which demand this kind of thinking, and if that should ever come up, you’ll have a good head start. Minimizing the holds other people can have on your character is also not a bad idea, since you don’t want to be a puppet either. Just use caution if you decide on using a lack of morals as a ticket to freedom… it’s not an appropriate choice for every game.


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