Connections and Perspectives

Connections are used to get players coloring the world “in character”. However, it’s randomness is both a blessing and a curse. Out of the 27 possible combinations from a freshly rolled chart, most players should be able to knock off at least one Connection. However, if it gets down to a good-hearted character having to “demand – lying – your nature” the Connection can be tough.*

Another option is to add another layer to a Connections card. Let’s call these “Perspectives”. Perspectives are much broader than Connections because they only deal with the subject of an in-character interaction. However, they can be tailored specifically to the game or setting. A very broad template is available here for download that can be used in almost any roleplaying game.

Step 1. Create Perspective subjects based on the main character creation choices.

The first Perspectives should be the major characteristics of the PC. Sometimes these are called “splats”, and they generally represent character creation choices such as race and class. Backgrounds, property, and anything that would provide a deep-rooted perspective or prejudice should go here.

In Werewolf the Apocalypse, I would choose to use the basics in character creation: concept, breed, auspice, and tribe.  In the 20th Anniversary Edition character creation  example (pg. 121), the character’s concept is “prodigal son” and he is a homid (human breed) Silver Fang (noble’s tribe) ahroun (warrior auspice).

If the character commented on something from one of these Perspectives then once per session (per Perspective), I would give the player a small bonus for further coloring the game with his character’s perspective (e.g., an extra d10 on the next roll). An example of using the tribe Perspective could be telling his pack the NPC ally’s advice was not worth much because the ally was a Bone Gnawer (scavenger tribe).

Step 2. Create Perspective subjects based on the secondary character creation choices.

Whereas the Perspectives from Step 1 should be ingrained in the character, the Perspectives in step 2 are less grandeur. They are more specific to the skills, jobs, and allies a character would have. These are momentary Perspectives that come from using abilities. How would one see the world if they could become invisible or fling magic missiles or call up the city mayor on a whim?

Continuing the Werewolf the Apocalypse example, I decide to allow once per session a rewardable Perspective each on Abilities (skills), Gifts (super powers), and Backgrounds (allies, holdings, and money).

The character has multiples of each, such as the three starting Gifts. However, for each session they will only be rewarded on a Perspective of any of their Gifts. This can of course be changed based on what focuses the gaming table wants. For example the player could give his Perspective on fighting with the Gift Falling Touch (knocks down almost any enemy).

Step 3. Create Perspective subjects based on the setting of the world.

These are much harder to define because they aren’t character-centric, and each setting could have wholly different Perspectives. The defaults here are World HistoryCurrent Affairs, and World Futures. These Perspectives should put the character into talking about his or her view on the world around. Some settings might have very good topics that are inherent to the setting (the cycle of magic, the gods, the war).

In Werewolf the Apocalypse there are three major forces that no werewolf can ignore (well, really four, but the moon already relates to auspice). They are the Wyld, the Weaver, and the Wyrm. I make a Perspective for each of these, and the player gets a bonus whenever he discusses something in light of one of these godlike forces.

Step 4. Use the Perspective subjects in play.

There is really no wrong way to roleplay a Perspective as long as the player shares some part of the setting or character with the other players. It doesn’t necessarily have to happen in-character as long as out-of-character explanations align with in-character actions. If a barbarian silently refuses to use silverware in the lord’s manor, and the player thoroughly details and roleplays the barbarian’s eating the 5-course meal without utensils, there is no reason that it would not count as a Perspective on a barbarian being a barbarian.

Below are some short in-character examples of what could count as a Perspective based on the above examples.

Tribe: While they talk to the Bone Gnawer informant, I refuse to look at the lowly werewolf. Everybody in the pack understands that the other werewolf is far beneath my Silver Fang rank.

Gifts: “I don’t care who I fight. Their belly will show as they fall to the ground with my touch. Then I, and my pack, will fall upon them while they use their last dying moments to curse Luna.

Weaver: “I’d rather not use my cell phone. It feels like I strengthen the Weaver’s web every time I make a call.”

*Remember that the Connection can still be made with plenty of connecting words. The character could “make a demand, where the demand is lying about their nature,” “make a demand that someone lie about their nature” or “demand that someone stop lying about their nature”.

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