The Challenges of Being Yourself At The End Of The World
The End of World Roleplaying game is a set of rulebooks covering scenarios like Alien Invasions, Zombie Apocalypses, Revolt of the Machines and The Wrath of the Gods. As a roleplay group we have made attempts in the past to run zombie campaigns which borrow rules from Savage Worlds rules used in Achtung Cthulhu and Cyberpunk rules. The more successful sessions have been when we have played characters other than ourselves. So it was with dread that we rolled up ourselves as characters. How did we cope and what are the challenges we associated with this?
One of the biggest issues are the eternal optimists and the depressive pessimists in our group. We found these character traits came to the fore when marking yourself for abilities in this game. Some people put themselves at the highest rank for physical fitness attributes even though they get out of breath walking to the kitchen to get another beer and others simply under marked themselves.
The writers of the End Of The World series have realised this is a problem and rather smartly have included a vote system in the game where as you introduce yourself to the group and run through your skills the other group members get to vote on your skills and can apply penalties and bonuses to help even out your character skills and traits. The end result being your character becomes a more ‘honest’ version of you.
Another interesting dynamic for playing as yourself is if there are family members or close friends in the group you can feel obliged to tow the line in group decisions and even rush out to save someone even when your role playing brain is saying “Stay indoors!” This does allow for some excellent roleplay moments and group dynamics but may end up in some serious relationship counselling required. Our advice is to agree on some ground rules before you start. For example play as yourself but you are all work colleagues rather than friends and family members. Or go for it with the full on relationships and see how long it takes for divisions in the group to start.
When considering whether to purchase this game we read some reviews and some GM blogs and an interesting take is for the GM to actually play in the group at the start and be the de-facto leader of the group, this will help drive the scenario to a suitable place on the story line and then allow the GM to kill his player character off in heroic style.
Also, as role players people have taken different paths in our lives. In our own group some are great at IT and others great at Martial Arts, we have some good Martial Arts people who are also trained in weapons within the group. The problem being the more techie guys are less ‘powerful’ characters in these type of situations. Also, the game asks some searching questions about you and it can lead to someone having a good character and someone having a ‘on paper’ not so good one. It was an interesting idea though and for most of us it was a really good bit of fun. Fear not though, if your stats come out worse than you thought in this the game gives you a nice leg up. It gives you some advantages to help balance things out a bit. This was a nice tough.
So in conclusion, where we used to tremble at the one sided awesomeness of some of our groups perceived abilities we found this system allowed us to level the optimism out and allow for more balanced character generation. The relationship dynamics did come into play during the session but it added some spice to events which meant that the some characters took risks that with standard rolled up characters perhaps would not have.
Failing that you can just make up characters using the normal character generation system in the game. This works really well and we’ve done this as well.