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For your outer trigram, again, identify the nature of the trigram and select a moving line and trappings. I didn’t mention this earlier, but if you’ve already got any moving lines in your trigram, you don’t need to add one.

So, now we’re going to talk about the reasons that your character bears these trappings. While the inner trigram describes the nature of your heart, the outer trigram outlines your circumstances. The next step in creating a character is understanding how these flow into his trappings. To illustrate this, let’s draw a hexagram. After casting the yarrow sticks, I get (grey lines are moving):






This character is Li on the outside and Gen inside. So, I’ll pick some Gen trappings. For these and the Li trappings that follow, I’m going to italicise the trappings I’ve altered for changing lines:

  • Gen crushes the things he loves.
  • Gen is unfriendly, but welcomes strangers.
  • Gen guards something of little obvious value.

And Li trappings:

  • Li is educated in the learned arts of reason and debate.
  • Li pushes himself away from a person who nourishes him.
  • Li has a hawk on his shoulder.

Now, we come up with reasons for the trappings. The reasons for the inner trigram’s trappings come from the character’s own needs, preferences, and actions, while the outer trappings come from the caprices of fortune and society.

  • Gen crushes the things he loves because he can’t bear to have them no longer need him.
  • Gen is unfriendly, but welcomes strangers because he distrusts those who are close to him.
  • Gen guards something of little obvious value because it reminds him of happier times.
  • Li is educated in the learned arts of reason and debate because his family’s wealth bought him a good schooling.
  • Li pushes himself away from a person who nourishes him because her family will never approve of that match.
  • Li has a hawk on his shoulder because the local government requires him to know how to hunt.

So, now we kind of have a vision of this character; he’s had some difficult family history, and that’s sort of perturbed his core of inner strength, so that he’s forced to turn to this outward display of strictness and military bearing…

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Thousand-Leaved Grass (working title) is a game about the mythology of an imaginary China, where archetypal and amazing mortals interact with and challenge gods, magicians, and other larger-than-life stuff of legend– and, through nothing more than their extraordinary-but-mortal courage, wit, and strength, become the stuff of legend themselves.

Shreyas and I are going to alternate posting about stuff, but to get the ball rolling, I’m going to post what I remember of what we have so far. It’s a bit of a cop-out for an initial post, since everything here is a total jumble of collaboration; don’t look at this as a post of what I’m bringing to the table, so much as me picking through the scant leftovers and trying to piece together what Shreyas and I completely, savagely ripped through earlier today.

The sacred geometry of chance

Character creation is based on the Yì Jīng. There are eight character archetypes, called Bagua, which correspond with the eight trigrams; these will have certain trappings or descriptors (maybe Shreyas will list them in his post; that would be awesome); choose three of the trappings, around which you then build a character.

Once you’ve got a basic concept, look at the three trappings you’ve chosen. Think about what’s going on internally within your character; if any of these specific trappings are conflicted (ie, a trapping is “always in a state of creation,” and you want your character to have serious creative blockage), turn that whole line into a broken one.

Once you’ve done that for all three, think about how your character looks and presents itself to the rest of the world. Decide what the world sees– keeping in mind that some things which are whole might appear broken to people which do not understand things!– and make the lower trigram.

Once you’ve created your hexagram, look it up in the book (which will have massaged/reinterpreted passages of mystery based on public-domain translations of the Yì Jīng). The definition of your hexagram is the challenge you are facing, or the lesson you must learn. Character growth happens by mending and breaking lines in the trigram.

I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten, but it’s almost 3 AM. Scooter will have to fill you in with his next post.