Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Discussion: Celebs In Your Games

It's not uncommon for people to cite celebrities, historical figures, and other famous folks for the look or mannerisms of a Player Character or NPC. And that's the basis of today's Friday Discussion!

Which celebs have used for inspiration or conveying an impression in your group?

I look forward to the responses, and may you have an awesome weekend!

17 comments:

Normal said...

Our gods are represented by dead celebs, not unlike Knights of the Dinner Table. Our god of music shares some similarities with Elvis, and our goddess of love looks not unlike Christina Hendricks of Mad Men. The god of knowledge is not unlike Ben Stein in voice, which is fun to play in deific messages.

Zachary The First said...

That's awesome, Normal! I've always wanted to try something like that.

Normal said...

Whoops! Obviously, only one of those is currently deceased. :)

Stuart said...

A lot of the NPCs in my game are inspired by Celebs (major and minor) more than characters from books/movies/tv. I like to think of it as "if this was a movie, these are the people I would cast in the roles". I find it helps give me a quick mental picture for the character so I can describe them, and helps with some of their minor characteristics and mannerisms.

For example, Seán Cullen is playing a part in our current Weird West game. :)

clash bowley said...

Hi Zach:

Well in our historical games, celebs of their time are common as grass. Of course our ongoing epic IHW campaign has featured both Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower, with Horatio bwing a major NPC who still corresponds to one of the PCs.

In one of our Cold Space games, Bob Heinlein was a Eocket Corps Admiral.

In an FTL Now game, the group ended up rescuing George W. Bush on September 11th, 2001 when the comet hit New York.

Other than that? Nada, amigo.

-clash

seaofstarsrpg said...

Often used for reference, "Imagine a young Clint Eastwood with a smartlink."

My Champions of the 1960s game featured lots of celeb cameos: Cassius Clay (just before he became Muhammad Ali), Elvis, the Beatles, lots of politicians, Ernie Kovacs and more. It was part of the fun of the setting.

I have also had the Doctor (as played by Sylvester McCoy) show up in both my Shadowrun game and in Legends of the Five Rings (!).

Ben Friesen said...

Most of my games tend to include wizards or scientists, which are all based on either historical or contemporary geeks. Alan Turing, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc. usually make an appearance in some form or the other. Since we play 4th edition most often, where true flight is limited, a version of the Wright brothers has shown up, only this time they're wizards trying to perfect the fly spell. I try to steal as much history and science as possible for my games.

Matt said...

My players just rescued John Dee from the castle of Don Juan. Man, that sounds lame.

clash bowley said...

@ Matt:

Out of curiosity, what game are you playing? Maelstrom? Principia? OHMAS? Something other?

-clash

Zachary The First said...

Clash has the same question as I do!

Steveo said...

I do the same thing Stuart described. It helps the GM keep the character personalities straight when they show up later (three weeks in game time can be a year in real time).

I have a recurring nobleman I based on Carson Kressley. The players love him because they never really know if he's hitting on them or just being flambouyant.

clash bowley said...

Yeah, Matt! That doesn't sound lame at all - it sounds awesome!

-clash

clash bowley said...

I forgot to mention, in our very long-lived Pawnee Oklahoma western game - using Sweet Chariot rules, and in our 17th campaign year - Theodore Roosevelt is a major NPC, a personal friend of three of the main PCs, and the godfather of the eldest sone of two of them, named Teddy after Roosevelt. Also appearing in that game over the years were people as diverse as Buffalo Bill and Cy Young.

-clash

Stuart said...

@Clash: That is all sorts of awesome and fun. :)

sirlarkins said...

I started "casting" celebs for my Pendragon games during our last big campaign. We also cast the PCs; the initial group of knights consisted of Ron Perlman (high size, low appearance), Benicio del Toro, and Selma Blair. In my ongoing series of actual play posts on my blog, I'll post pics of the NPCs we cast as they come up in the story.

Our Arthur is Christian Bale, Guenevere is Nicole Kidman, Lancelot is Hugh Jackman, David Bowie is King Oberon, etc. Sometimes we cast just based on looks, but oftentimes there's an element of either the actor's personality or a character they're known for playing that influences our choice as well. For example, our Ron Perlman character was cast not only for appearance but also for the fact that the PC's personality mirrored characters Perlman tends to play: gruff on the outside, but sweet and caring on the inside.

It's a great way of painting NPCs in broad, easily recognizable brushstrokes and a great way of differentiating characters from each other.

Eric Wilde said...

Good question. I read it first this morning and couldn't think of any celebs in our games. After sitting on it all day, I still can't think of any celebs in our games.

Zachary The First said...

Well, thanks for taking time to consider it!