- Ryan Hart
Reading Your Character Sheet
Character Teasers will arrive within a week... know what you're looking at!
Within the next week, participants will get their first look at their characters when we release the “Teasers.” Teasers are the first page of the character sheets, and include an overview of who these people are. To help participants understand their sheets, it’s important to understand how the sheets are designed, what’s included in the Teaser, and what’s coming later.
The character sheets of Project Ascension are the participant-facing element of character design. Behind the scenes, characters connect to other characters, specific historical events, and pre-arranged conflicts to promote play. The purpose of the character sheets is to make the participants aware of these connections, in a manner that communicates what they need to know to play, but also leaves many mysteries to unravel.
To that end, all the character sheets are actually in-role dossiers that the Conspiracy has compiled about all the Stringers in Purgatory. When a participant reads their sheet, they’re reading what the Conspiracy believes to be true about their character. Each dossier was actually compiled by a specific Non-Participant Character (NPC), and other NPCs often leave comments on them. These later comments have a specific format, shown below:
<This is a comment I left in this blog, just like an NPC would leave in a dossier><Ryan>
<<And I’m responding to Ryan’s comment>><<Jay>>
The most important thing to remember: if a participant doesn't like something in their dossier, it doesn’t have to be true. They can change it, they just need to have an explanation of why the Conspiracy believes it to be true. So if the dossier on Kat’s character, BEAMER, says “BEAMER never bothered to learn much about computers, she can’t really hack at all,” and Kat wants to play a hacker, she still can… she just needs to account for the fact that no one in the Conspiracy (and thus, none of the other dossiers) know that she can hack. This allows participants to make changes to their characters without changing the underlying connections it reveals.
A Teaser sheet is the first page of a character dossier. They include a few things:
Biographical data, such as the character’s real name, their handle, and their IDent Code.
A “Professional Assessment”, which is a single sentence that captures the essence of the character.
An overview of the character, including how they became involved in Project Ascension, and what the Conspiracy considers to be their primary skill(s).
Some “Shadow Talk” from members of the Conspiracy, essentially gossipping about the character.
The primary purpose of the Teaser is costuming: we want participants to have an idea of who they’re playing so they can start putting together clothing, make-up and props. The Teaser doesn’t offer insight into many connections, such as historic events and ties to other characters.
The Full Dossier
After the team completes final edits and layout, participants will receive the full character dossier. It will consist of the teaser, plus five sections that connect the character to the narrative of Project Ascension.
First, the dossier covers “Personal History.” This consists of a series of densely packed bullet points that talk about the character’s childhood, what they did before they were revoked, and their life as a Stringer. Most bullets only indicate the year an event occurred. For example:
2017> Along with Jay Knox, Ryan founded Sinking Ship Creations/
However, some dates include the month and day (it’s written YYYYMMDD, so July 14, 2022 would be written 20220714). This is a connection to a major event… other characters have ties to that specific date as well. For example, a major event might look like this:
20180526> Ryan and Jay run Project Ascension for the first time/
On Discord, participants will eventually have a chance to talk to people connected with those dates, and the team will release a timeline of all major events closer to the event.
After Personal History, participants will find a “Psychological Profile.” Participants should pay close attention to this section, as it not only contains role-play information, but also connects characters to the various conflicts of the game. For example, it might talk about how a character feels about Ascension, or the current conflict they have with their crew. This part of the sheet contains the most plain language, so that participants gain a full understanding of their place in the major conflicts of the event.
The next two sections both describe connections with other characters. Under “Close Associates” participants will find a brief description of how their character connects with every other member of their crew. Under “Other Significant Contacts” they’ll find character ties outside their crew, and perhaps even with some of the NPCs. These entries contain just enough information to make a participant aware of the connection between the two characters; participants should feel encouraged to make new ties, or strengthen existing connections. Participants should use the Discord to create such ties with each other.
Finally, after the dossier establishes connections to historic events, core conflicts, and other characters, an NPC will give a “Final Assessment.” This is literally the bottom line about the character: where the Conspiracy sees that character’s place in the world. Participants should take it as a challenge to overcome the Conspiracy’s opinion of them as described in the Final Assessment.
Teasers will be released throughout July and participants can expect the full dossiers in August.