Tuesday, 11 May 2021



RPG systems are dimly aware of the early development of characters and a lot of them include apprenticeship mechanics. Going back to the days of Naval enlistment children below the age of 15 would often be caught up in the Admiralty's net and Victorian chimney sweeps and the factory mills took their own tragic toll of the younger generations. The point is that although most systems derive skills from professional experience and stats from genetic markers, child development is often overlooked for expedience but is in fact the prime time period when most of our character traits and socialisation are established.

This is not a matter of preference for the child of course as they are completely dependent on their guardians and environment and there are always a fair share of babies that get the rough end of the stick in each generation. Loss of parents either through death or separation determine outcomes as an adult to an enormous degree. On the other extreme if a child isn't socialised by about two years old then its is likely that there will be long term aggression issues that can settle  into the mid to late twenties and even then only with consistent therapy; this is the route to psychopathy of course.

So there is a sort of clash between character generation in most systems that comes across as a sort of shopping list when compared to reality where we are mostly defined by our child development. Whilst I have not envisioned any sort of system that would fit more accurately, it would be interesting to see if there is a system out there that does. This perhaps would strain the pick and mix mechanics of skills but would likely enrich the roleplaying side of the character and I suspect be a better gateway in to roleplaying for the beginner rather than the usual  puzzle solving grind it would at first appear to be. But of course all this is in the context of human development - what happens to the child when the parents of an elf with cyber implants separate is a little more of an existential issue - if only you could just change the chips in a child's head sometimes... lazy parenting with Disney plus is one thing but getting your game cartridges mixed up when plugging things directly into a child's cortex could literally be a no brainer.

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