With the exception of those times where I need hiatus, my game is a constant; once a week, every week. Most of the others I’ve gotten involved in, though, haven’t been, or in some cases have involved very, VERY long gaps. How was I to avoid losing track of all those characters?
In most cases, I had a pretty simple system for keeping them fresh. There’d be electronic records of some sort, usually chat logs, and I would read them. Often, I’d go talk shop with someone online, and that’d mostly get the job done.
Some, though, got a bit more complicated.
The worst of them was Morgan from the one-on-one Call of Cthulhu game my boyfriend ran. What made Morgan unique were two things: one, that there were no other players, and two, that aside from things that worked their way into blogs, no part of her was in any sort of computerized format. Not the session logs, not the backstory, not even the character sheet. She hadn’t been regular enough in the beginning to work her way firmly into her head, the way some of my older PCs and quite a few of my noisier NPCs tended to. And sessions were spotty, varying based on the GM’s inspiration; sometimes there’d be a few in a month, sometimes there’d be a few months between two. My solution with her began with somewhat ritualized implements, based on that half-remembered lecture from psychology about people remembering things better when in similar mental state to when they learned them. So I used my ten-in-ten d100, the one one of my old groups had called “the ‘a dice’”, as Morgan’s die, used one of my old blank journals to take her notes, and even had a designated pencil. Speaking of which, the notes—they were copious, they were in her voice, and they involved a lot of editorializing, one-liners, speculations, and other features of an overthinker’s stream of consciousness.
Then there’s Aisling. While I have a couple of logs to work from, she was also mostly a live-game character; her game suffers from the lack of availability of its players, and right now I’m not sure when, if ever, we’re going to play next. There wasn’t quite as much room for note-taking, but on the plus side, she has a stronger voice and personality than Morgan, and more usefully stronger goals. Aisling knows who the enemy is, she knows what the assignment the game was last interrupted in the middle of is, and if I find myself losing track of her, I just go over what I know about the problem and start casting about for solutions.