'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' Role Playing Game.
HoND RPG 'Frequently Asked Questions'
What is an RPG?
An RPG (Role Playing Game) is an interactive story-telling session, basically. Everyone chooses a character/s to play, and a forum, or in this case, a mailing list, is set up for all the members. The members will then narrate short scenes and events involving their characters that other members will join in with. If the RPG works, then a fully-fledged tale, complete with cast of characters, plot twists and various storylines, will emerge.
What is the HoND RPG?
The HoND RPG is the Hunchback of Notre Dame Role Playing Game. It is set in the world of Disney's animated film version of Victor Hugo's classic novel 'Notre Dame de Paris'. Therefore the main characters of the story are fairly true to the way they appear in Disney's version, with room for interpretation by the Players on the more ambiguous aspects of their characters. Characters and aspects of the book are also adopted into the Game, but the overall essence is based on Disney's version. The two main (ie: most popular) class of Players are Gypsies and Parisians, though there is room for more, such as foreigners or travellers. The settings (eg: Court of Miracles) are also the same as they appear within the film.
How many characters are allowed per person?
All Role-Players all allowed two characters; either one from the movie and one of their own creation, or two of their own creation. No Role-Player should have more than one character from the movie, as it is disruptive to the character interaction intended to happen within the Game.
When is the RPG set?
There is speculation as to when exactly the Notre Dame story happens - it's either 1482 or 1487. This particular Role Play goes by the idea it happens in 1482, and as we decided the Game should take place two years before the events of the Hunchback story, the Game begins in the year 1480.
What is the policy on "speaking for" other people's characters?
Ask Them First. Within a Role Play everyone mainly sticks to playing their own characters, and what you can envision someone else's character saying, the player of that character may have a totally different idea. Respect of everyone else's characters is the key here: you can set up a scene for a response from them, but do not write that response yourself unless you have first cleared it with the Player of that character. Collaboration on events and scenes are a big help in character interaction.
What is the policy on "acting for" other people's characters?
As above, Ask Them First. Taking a major action for a character eg; killing them off, is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. Taking an action, such as pulling a character into your character's arms for a big kiss is permissible, as the reaction of the other character will depend on that player. Injuring another character is also fairly permissible, although it would be more polite to clear it with the Player first. Another example, having your character fall in love with another Player's Character, would also be allowed, as the reaction to it would depend on the other Player.
What plot threads must we steer away from and why?
There is only one potential story line that is off-limits in the HoND RPG, and this is the meeting of, and interaction between, Judge Claude Frollo and the Gypsy Esmeralda. The reason for this is that Esmeralda, in every single interpretation of the story, becomes the object of Frollo's intense obsession. Frollo's player would have to act accordingly to Frollo's character - ie; be consumed by a burning obsession which torments his mind because it goes against his Christian principles and bigotry, and pursue a destructive form of action which would focus itself upon the Gypsy Population, leading to massive bloodshed and destruction. Of course, we expect a little bloodshed and destruction, but the form it would take in Claude's obsession with Esmeralda would lead to the eventual death of either or both characters, at which point the RPG would probably plummet into oblivion.
Who may join the RPG?
Anyone may join the RPG who is willing to participate actively in the storyline, follows all the guidelines, does not behave maliciously to any Player and who does not ruin the Game by continuously putting their characters into favourable or superior positions to the other characters without a just or logical reason that follows the pattern of the Game. An example of an 'unjust' reason would be a girl who joins the RPG as a Gypsy Character. Clopin, King of the Gypsies, is very popular amongst the female fans and this girl has decided that she doesn't care that Clopin has a wife he loves within this RPG, she is going to claim Clopin for herself. So she does destructive, inconsiderate things such as have Clopin come and claim he's in love with her, and then kills or mains Herlikin, his wife. Without heeding the other characters or the actual Role Play going on about her, she continues in a storyline of her own creation, continuing to unravel the continuity already set up. She has broken several rules with her actions and ruined the Game for the other Players. This type of behaviour is not permitted from any Player. The key to successful Role Playing is consideration of and communication with the other Players. Anyone who is prepared to interact with the Group is welcome to join!
What characters can they play?
When the RPG began, it was a first come, first serve basis in relation to the film. Each person was allowed one character from the film. It was the same situation with movie character's amours - first come, first serve. The movie characters of Quasimodo, Frollo, Esmeralda and Clopin have all been filled now. The role of Frollo's brother, Jehan, (from the book) has also been taken. and each character, bar Esmeralda and Frollo, has "another half" ie: a love interest. Other characters from the film, or the novel, such as the Gargoyles or Pierre Gringoire, are still available. The Players are also allowed to create their own characters, be they Gypsies, or Citizens of Paris, or anything else that is approved of by the Game Master, and join in.
May I discuss possible storylines offlist with other players?
Absolutely. While part of the fun of an RPG is the unexpected, and the enjoyment of improvisation, some structure is definitely required to keep things moving. We suggest that if you would like something crucial to happen, you e-mail the Players of the other characters who would be involved, and work out a rough storyline. This leaves room for variation should anyone else get involved, and keeps the spontaneity of the Game alive.
What should I do if I feel I am being attacked through the RPG with no reason for it?
An example of this is if you feel another Player is acting maliciously towards you or your Characters for personal reasons. Perhaps this Player will post a message to the list or to you privately deriding the way you play the Game, or the way you write, or behave in a condescending, nasty way about your ideas. Or perhaps they have their Characters behave nastily to your Characters with there being no motivation for it, and something you feel is personal and nothing to do with the Game. If you think this is happening, contact Alemeda, the Game Master immediately, who will help you decide a course of action.
How does one go about interacting with the movie characters (this includes Esmeralda, Clopin, Quasimodo and Frollo)?
NEVER assume you know how a character will behave just because you saw them in the film. In the RPG they have been adopted by Players who are free to interpret them as they see fit. So the key here is to e-mail those Players first and get clearance!
What happens if a role player reacts to a situation differently than I anticipated?
An example of this would be Esmeralda's Player setting up a situation inviting Clopin's Player into the action. She has Esmeralda ask Clopin if she can dance at the Festival that year, anticipating that Clopin's Player will have Clopin say yes. Instead, Clopin's Player has Clopin say no. In cases like this, where the action has not been arranged with other Players before hand: GO WITH IT!! RPGs are exercises in improvisation, part of the fun is there is never a dead certainty what will happen because there are other people brining their own ideas into it. If it something you really wanted to happen, don't complain - because it can still happen later on in the Game! There's always another opportunity if you play along. The only reason to complain would be if you had prearranged with another Player a series of actions, and the other Player did something else without discussing it with you. In a situation like this, unless it was absolutely demanded by the wronged Player that the scene in question be erased and started over, the action would have to continue, with a warning given to the Player who went against the prearranged scene. Otherwise the Game would just be interrupted and broken up. The important thing is to be as flexible as possible and go with the flow; it will increase everyone's enjoyment if the Game is an interactive, ongoing story where people are open to other ideas and opportunities.