Day 11: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Alternate”

Weekend 2: Wild Things       Actual Prompt: Wildest Character Name

I follow fairly tame naming conventions for my characters with the amusing exception of a Star-faring hero by the name of Nova Ragelaser in a campaign where ridiculous names were required.

I reused this name a few years ago, this time making him a very serious Rebel sharpshooter. The name of course was said with a very, very different pronunciation to hide its spurious antecedents but pay some homage to the goofy names common to Star Wars:

Nov Ah Rahga Lahsay


I am not going to have this be the extent of my response today. Instead, I will share a wild campaign concept using an alternate prompt.

Out of Order

A challenging concept that I have used a few times is to move through different eras of the setting in a reverse (mostly) chronological order.

You begin with beginner characters for the system who are designed from the first as being drawn into the major events of their time and region. As the players grow accustomed to the setting and its challenges, their characters are developing attachments, ideas, plots and plans, and you explore those.

Later, perhaps after a satisfying triumph or a crippling setback, you leap backward in time to an earlier period of the setting and introduce characters from that time. Now the requirement to play beginner characters is loosened. A player can do so if they choose, or they can play a more mature character with the grounding in the setting that they themselves have, and the outlook of in what horrible direction the events of their day are headed…. to the future we have already played. What are they going to do about that?

As before, once a suitable point of play has been reached for a dramatic stopping point, you once again head backward in time – perhaps very, very far backward, and begin again with characters perhaps quite advanced if the players would like to try that. Again they face new challenges and problems suited to their time, but again they have the wit and foresight to see the writing on the wall as it were. They are fighting for causes, nations, ideals or ‘insert other macguffin here’ that now actually have some real hooks in the players as well as the characters they create.

Finally, once these characters have had a satisfying stretch of play, you return to the period of the first era of play and open the options to play the first set of characters, new characters, or a mixture and move toward an actual conclusion to the campaign.

This approach, much like and perhaps inspired by Lucas “starting” with Episode 4, allows us to explore high stakes and learn the setting at the same time, then get into deeper but less explosive stakes in the past as our engagement with and interest in the setting grows, only returning to the “present” for the ending of the whole campaign.

The upside of this approach is depth and variety of play. The downside is the length of time needed to explore each era to our satisfaction.


We look at Wildest Character Concept. I am trying to decide if it is time to revisit a character concept I have shared before, or go for another alternate question….


As has been my habit since the second year of #RPGaDay, I am also keeping pace with the prompts on video. The content of the video and the blog overlaps, but is not exactly the same, and where the greater emphasis on detail resides varies from day to day.


This is the second week of the fifth iteration of the monthly roleplaying gaming celebration launched by Autocratik for all forms of social media. Share your responses however you prefer to share. If you want to get involved, grab and share the infographic with the prompts and jump right in!

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