Character Exercise: Conclusions IC

Yesterday, I introduced an exercise for two people based on taking information and drawing conclusions. But there’s another use for it, one that can be done with two people but works just as well with one, one that’s a little more character-driven.

It’s pretty much the same sequence of events, with one minor difference: instead of the respondent responding as herself, she responds as a character. In this one, getting to the right conclusion isn’t near as important, and in fact might be counterproductive; it’s all about the character’s mindset. Which doesn’t mean it needs to be limited to one character; sure, you can spend the entire time with one character playing detective, but for two people who have large casts between them, it might make just as much sense to have the person giving the information specify which character should be coming to conclusions on it. And of course, since the respondent is fictional, this can be done just as easily alone as with a partner (though fun surprises aren’t near as likely when playing solo).

Being able to jump to conclusions as a character has a lot of advantages. One, of course, is further practice with the character’s voice, as with almost any character exercise. On the other side (particularly if a GM is doing this with one of her players), it creates a chance for both participants to get a stronger feel for how the character would react in any given situation, thus making him easier to plot for. Self-explanatory, but useful, right?

Another use is information flow. This isn’t just remembering what the character knows as opposed to what you know, though that’s got its uses as well. It’s also going to give you a better shot at doing things like making a smart character convincingly wrong, or justifying a character coming to a right conclusion when it’s not the most obvious one. After all, voice is just one expression of what’s inside a character; mental processes, logic, and thought-quirks are just as important, if harder to express directly.

Besides, it makes the whole speak-conclude pattern just a bit more interesting. I’ve found that there are things that make a job more amusing for me: doing it from either 6+ feet above or 2+ feet below the ground, doing it while engaging in a pun war, and doing it while channeling one or more characters, particularly the kind that would accompany the work with a constant stream of snark.

Just because you yourself have run out of conclusions doesn’t mean your characters can’t get in on the fun.

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