For the character creation of All for One, we’re going to be using the Tag System, which is an evolution of the character system we’ve used for previous Crooked House events. We’re going to use this system to create and define your characters.
We’re also going to ask you to collaborate on defining some aspects for your cadre.
The Tag System
The Tag System is a collaborative way to create characters for LARP that is designed to:
- Define characters, their problems, flaws, and relationships in a concise format, rather than requiring lengthy documentation to do the same job.
- Leave gaps for the player to bring their own creativity to their character, while allowing the event organisers to steer the high-level design.
- Support briefing via IC documents and props.
- Support differing play styles scalably, while maintaining a consistent game setting.
- Spotlight a player’s particular gameplay interests, so that organisers who do not know all their players can focus their plot-writing efforts appropriately.
How does it work?
A character is initially defined as a one-line concept and a collection of tags – words or short phrases that describe how they fit into the world, drawn from a list defined by the organisers tailored to fit the game setting and play style.
In general, these tags are particular skills the character has that might be useful during the game, or they describe how the rest of the world sees the character, relates to them, or interacts with them.
Each player will select tags from a list, and submit them as part of their booking along with the one-line character concept. They might also suggest additional tags to indicate specific character elements they wish to explore. These might be reworked by the organisers to make them more widely useful, but the spirit of the new tags will be preserved.
The organisers then add more tags to the character to connect them more deeply into the game world and develop more opportunities to access plot-lines. This back-and-forth continues until a list is agreed, at which point the player highlights their two key tags. Once tags are agreed, the player can flesh out a bit more of their character’s background while the organisers start writing plot!
For All for One, each character will automatically start with the tag Cadet or Servant. Their player will then be able to pick more tags from a list we define. The current list is available here, but here’s a small sample of what might be in the initial list:
- Nationality (French, German, British, Spanish, Other)
- Class (Upper, Lower, Middle)
- Does It By The Book
- Nation Hatred (Germans, British, Spanish)
- Regional Background (Breton, Gascon, Norman, Parisian, Burgundian)
Some tags have variants, which you write in brackets after the tag. For example, Class (Upper).
Asked to pick 4 tags, a player might pick: Regional Background (Gascon), Troubador, Well-Read, and suggest a new tag: Old Enemy.
They would submit this along with a one-liner: “A cadet known for their refined taste and their love poetry, who nurses a dark secret.”
In response, the organisers might add: Nightmares, Well-Travelled, Nation Hatred (Germans), and suggest a more general reworking of the tag Old Enemy to become Thirst For Revenge. They’d also add the basic tags Cadet and their Cadre: Bleu.
On agreement, and after the player picks their two key tags, the character would end up as:
- Regional Background (Gascon) (key)
- Nightmares (key)
- Cadre (Bleu)
- Thirst for Revenge
- Nation Hatred (Germans)
So whatever else the character is, their defining aspects are that they are Gascon and have nightmares, and the player can expect their game to revolve around those things. Perhaps they will get caught up in a provincial political plot. Perhaps the source of their nightmares may become horrifyingly real…
Once all the tags are agreed, the organisers will go away and create plot. Pre-game, each player will receive a set of in-game briefing documents, tailored to their character, which will fill in some of the blanks and add depth to the tags.
For example, a letter of commission from the king, or instructions from a spymaster. These may – or may not – be obviously related to a character’s tags, but they almost certainly open gates for them to be able to interact with plot that affects them. From that point on, the player will flesh out their character with their personal history, and relationships.
We’ll be sending you a form out which asks for your initial tags and one-line concept.
Your one-line concept
Your one line concept is your opportunity to introduce your character. It can be in any format you want; maybe a quotation, a fragment of their past that’s particularly important, some epithet that’s used about them. It steers the writers so they can pick appropriate supplementary tags that suit your character, and also fit into the game they’re designing and interlock with other characters.
Select 4 tags that appeal to you. These are the characteristics that define you, and are likely to form the core of your game experience. This doesn’t mean they solely define you. Just because you have Hatred (Germans) doesn’t mean that you don’t also hate the English. Just it’s far less important to your character than Hatred (Germans). If it was terribly important, it’d be a tag on your sheet. “I may hate the English, but I am someone who utterly Hates the Germans!” Or, for example, Class – if you don’t even mention Class, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a class. It just means it isn’t a critical defining feature of your character.
There might be a theme you want to focus on you don’t see in the initial list, or a specific opportunity in the setting you want to be a part of – either way, suggesting a tag is the way to let the organisers know what you’re looking for.
Your key tags
During the character creation process, you’ll highlight some of the tags as ‘key tags’. The organisers will treat those as very important to your character, and your desired experience of the game as a player. They’ll pay special attention when writing the event to make sure there are story opportunities targeting those specific tags.
For example, in the character above, you might highlight Nightmares and French. Your character does have a Thirst for Revenge, but it’s far less important to them than their patriotism towards La Belle France or the weird horse-headed figure that chases them through their dreams.
Fleshing out the character
Your character is more than their tags. You might want to develop other relationships and skills; just remember that the rest of the world doesn’t think they define your character as much as those traits emphasised by your tags. They are foibles, quirks, minor pieces of history between particular characters – character flavour.
Once the tags are created, we’ll provide a system whereby you can list every character and player under tags that are relevant to your character. This means that you can see who is from the same region of France as you, or, or who else is Upper Class, and so on. It helps you to find and contact other players with shared interests and background; ideally, you can piece together common links before the game starts. It also allows you to deepen some of your relationship tags – for example, if you have Nation Hatred (Spanish), perhaps you can find a player with a Spanish tag and you might agree to be each other’s nemeses.
Some tags aren’t searchable. For example, someone tagged Spy couldn’t search for other people with the tag Spy. In those cases, if there’s specific information you think you need to know to flesh out your character which wasn’t in your briefing, then discuss it with the organisers. Likewise, if there’s a tag you think should be invisible to others, let us know!
We’ll be asking you to work together in your cadre to define particular aspects of it. This will be a separate form from the Character Creation form.