Dragonlords of Dumnonia

Brett's Base Camp

Newsletter 1

January 31, 1998

Greetings! Welcome to the first issue of the newsletter for Brett's Base Camp.

Your normal editor for this feature of Dragonlords of Dumnonia will be Dragonrider Mannon (SlideNSpin@aol.com). But Mannon's player has been felled by the flu and bronchitis, so I'm handling the inaugural issue.

NEWSLETTER NAME

Notice that first word at the top of the page? "Newsletter"? Yes! We need a name! Send your suggestions to me at Legend@malcor.com or post them to the Message Board. We're a creative bunch of people, aren't we? Surely we can come up with something by the February issue (I hope, I hope!).

UPCOMING EVENTS

Here are the next three events that are scheduled for RPs!

Terran DateCenturian Date Event Desription
February 23, 199810.03.1998 Feast of Laughter at Brett's Base Camp on the Dumnonian Front Line; Battle; Aftermath.
March 23, 199816.05.1998 Feast of Pain at the King's Camp in Dumnonia; Need two additional plots.
April 27, 19982.07.1998 Feast of Shadows at Sandy Plains Castle in Dumnonia; Camel and Horse Races; Need additional plot.

Mark your calendars! And if you have ideas for those additional plots, contact a BOD member or post to the message board.

ADOPTABLE CHARACTERS

Want more characters but have no time to create them? An event coming up you want to attend, but your current characters won't be in the right place for you to have anything to do? No problem! Here is the list of characters who are currently up for adoption. If you are already a member, you'll be taking them as NPCs and won't owe anything in the way of maintenance. Simply send me a message at Legend@malcor.com if you want one of them, and "ye shall receive" <g>!

Or go to a location in the Gazetteers and look at the Rosters. There are other characters who do not have sheets who are listed as adoptables. I'll be more than happy to write up a bare-bones sheet for you if you want one of them!

HELP WANTED

We have two positions that we desperately need filled:

(1) BOD Member. We need someone to replace Sue Flaherty on the BOD of Brett's Base Camp. This position mainly entails keeping track of who is where when (no, you really may not be in two places at once!) and who is too injured to be participating in certain activities (not a long list at all, since magical healing is so readily available on the world).

(2) Banker. We need someone to keep track of who has how much gold. I haven't had time to figure out the starting amounts for various characters nor enter the purchase, bets, purses, and other things that have been coming up in stories or in play. Any takers?

RACERS

There are several of those adoptable characters mentioned above who own racing strings of camels or horses. This is a great way to get involved with a minimum of fuss. (And camels can be used for caravans as well!) Message me at Legend@malcor.com if you are interested in adopting a character with an approved string.

MEMBER BIRTHDAYS

Well, the only two birthdays within three months happen to be on the same day:

February:

3--Linda A. Malcorand Allison M. Mitchell

"Happy Birthday to Aliee and me, Happy Birthday to Aliee and me . . . " <g>

CHARACTER NATALDAYS/BIRTHNIGHTS

Dragonrider Ronilei is still working on this list. In case you hadn't noticed, we have an awful lot of characters, so the delay is quite understandable! We hope to have information for this regular column by the next issue.

FROM THE DRAGONKING . . .

Greetings, all! This column will be a regular feature of the Brett's Base Camp newsletter. Feel free to send me suggestions for future columns at any time to Legend@malcor.com. Usually I will try to address some aspect of life on Centuria. But for this inaugural issue I want to take up the thorny problem of character creation.

In another fandom, I once had a longtime player submit a new character for approval. To her utter shock, I opened the file, glanced at it and sent out her approval notice without asking her to change a single thing. That prompted her stunned message to me, "What did I do right?!" After I finished laughing, I decided to write a little article on the topic. What did she do right?

Well, to start with, the character was extremely basic. Only the required fields and the background were filled in. The player decided to let everything else develop in the course of play. I recommend a little bit more, such as eye and hair color, so you can have a mental picture of your character. But keep those simple as well. My mundane driver's license says that I have brown hair, for instance. Well, my hair color is a lot more complicated than that, and in Europe I would be considered a blonde. But rather than try to explain all that on a character sheet, "brown" is a perfect description for a character's hair color.

Next, the family, though large, made sense. Sheets that have one sibling in every occupation possible, with the family scattered all over the world, are horrendous to approve. Consider having a family of weavers or a family that lives at a manor raising horses or a clan of support personnel who all live at the King's Camp. In real life occupations tend to run in families. Think of the Kennedy clan in politics or the Baldwin and Douglas families of actors. There are families who produce mainly soldiers, while others have a lot of teachers in their genealogies. It is extremely rare in the mundane world to find large families with members practicing a smorgasbord of occupations on a variety of continents. Such families would be even rarer in Centuria's medieval-, barbarian- and desert-style cultures. Yet most character sheets have these grab-bag families with no reason to them except the player's desire to have her character related to as many politicians, high priests, Guildmasters and other noteworthy individuals as possible. Sorting out the logic behind these families can tie up a character sheet in the approval stage forever.

Then came the character's background. Most backgrounds come through looking like stories for the fanzine, often complete with dialog. Instead, try to think of this section as what an encyclopedia would have as an entry for your character. If your character is a Dragolord, then, yes, he'll probably have a sizeable chunk of text. But if your character is a servant, one sentence could suffice. In the case of the rapidly- approved character mentioned above, not much had happened in his life prior to his appearance in the game. No rapes, murders, thefts, abductions, missing body parts, annihilated families, pirates, storms, wandering battles, or other mutilations and catastrophes that tend to be liberally sprinkled over most sheets. Boring, right? Wrong! One of the most fascinating character types that you can create is the average person, the normal guy in the extraordinary situation. With Centuria, our extraordinary situation is already established: We are fighting a never-ending war against the Dark One. It's a war we can't stop or negotiate our way out of, a war that is guaranteed to last until the deities sort out their family squabbles (which I can personally guarantee you will never happen <g>). Ordinary people need to become heroes to get through that, so you do not have to start your character out with additional disadvantages in the mistaken belief that those disadvantages will make the character different. They won't. Out of every hundred character sheets at least ninety have those disadvantages listed on them, so all you accomplish by putting such things in your character's background is to make her look just like everyone else. Plus, those disadvantages usually cause major character-approval headaches. Either the situation is impossible with the game's scenario or the problem would not arise in medieval-style culture or the Dumnonian legal system does not function the way the player wishes or something else prevents the troubled background from making sense. Also, a character who is too psychologically or physically damaged will not Bond with a Bronze, so putting such flaws on a character's sheet only ensures that the character will never get a Dragon.

Finally, one of the best pieces of advice a professor ever gave me for passing a test was to make sure that you follow the directions and that you answer the question that was asked. The same is true with character sheets. Make sure that you are using the current form for the correct club and that you have read the instructions (These do change from time to time!). Check to see that every required field has something in it, even if that something is the word "none." Also, double-check to make sure that all required kits and applications are attached and that their required fields are filled out. Incorrect and/or incomplete forms are common reasons for problems with character approval. (We hope to automate the character sheet process, so things such as missing fields will be routinely checked for when you submit from the website. However, the Dragonking needs a few more helpers to do all the other stuff that needs to be done before a website programming project of that size can be undertaken!)

There, then, are some of the frequent problems with character sheets and what you can do to avoid them. Remember, we have an event coming up, and only a handful of characters have been approved so far. Get your new characters in now, and keep them simple if you want a speedy approval!

Eternal Death to the Dark One!

The Dragon King

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!

And that concludes this issue of the Brett's Base Camp Newsletter (We really have to do something about that name!). With luck, your regular editor shall be seeing you next time (Send good thoughts!).

Exercise Master Krin

Return to the Dragonlords of Dumnonia Home Page