Teachers and Students

Teachers and Students

In Kannagara, teaching is an important part of the game. It is a way for personae to develop, and a way for personae to help characters to develop. In addition, the relationship between teacher and student is an important one, and relationships between people are another important feature of the game. That means that Kannagara needs good rules for teaching.

There are two ways that a persona can be involved in teaching: as the teacher, and as the student. In theory, we could use the same rules for both, but at the moment I would prefer not to. Having someone keep track of experience points for all characters is likely to be too big a burden, and characters cannot use the same advancement rules as personae anyway, as they do not have much opportunity to do things that are important to the personae’s narrative. So, at least to start with, I will create different rules for the two situations, and in this post I want to consider what happens when the persona is the student.

First, a teacher is a source of study, and as such has the same statistics as a book: experience point bonuses, elements he can teach, details of content, and features. However, a teacher is also a human being, and so the persona should be building a relationship with her teacher.

This could, of course, be a central part of the story, involving all the personae. The rules for the effects of building a relationship should certainly allow for that possibility. However, the default assumption has to be that the relationship with the teacher is part of the background of a single persona, and that while she might build a good relationship with her teacher, the other personae might know him as little more than a name.

This can work in two ways. First, the group could organise one-on-one sessions to deal with the relationship between the persona and her teacher. For certain groups, this might be a very useful option, while for others it might be incredibly disruptive. Therefore, this needs to be clearly possible, but also very clearly optional.

The other alternative is to have building the relationship be part of the persona’s downtime activities, but with an influence on play. For example, the persona discovers that, in order to improve her relationship with her teacher, she must do something, or learn something, and then that becomes an individual goal for that persona, one that she tries to achieve during the story. In general, there need be no secret about why she is trying to achieve something, nor need she do it alone. Indeed, it is often better if she is open and gets help, because that makes her teacher an important part of the background for everyone.

This is, you may have noticed, still very vague. This is because I have not yet discussed the rules for building and improving relationships, so I do not yet know what kind of rules go into this framework. Those rules are due for discussion soon, but there is one last point about advancement to consider first. In Kannagara, personae do not just become better at what they do, they can also completely transform themselves. How does that work?

4 thoughts on “Teachers and Students

  1. This kind of ties in with my comments on the previous entries. In the context of the game being about a persona improving herself, a teacher is something very similiar to a book. With a book the persona would first have to test her skills in order to find the book, borrow, buy or steal it and then analyse it (maybe its coded, or written in an old language, or written by a crazy person). With a teacher likewise you first have to find him, then persuade him, befriend him, and then have to try and understand what he is trying to teach you, not just because the topic itself might be difficult, but also his teaching methods. And then, both with the book and the teacher, you have to preserve and protect them. The book might get stolen or damaged, and the relationship with the teacher might worsen, if you don’t tend to his wishes.

    So, while I agree that all these things (books, teachers, creations, achievements, skills, knowledges, …) should handled differently in terms of “fluff”, they could all follow the same set of rules.

    1. This time, I don’t agree. Building relationships with people is an important part of the game; building relationships with books is, typically, not. Teachers should follow the same rules as other people, because they are people, even if they have some features that match those of books.

      Put another way, I want to emphasise the similarity between teachers and other people more than I want to emphasise the similarity between teachers and other sources of knowledge.

      1. Yeah, saying that living people (like teachers) and inanimate objects (like books) are the same thing might not have been the nicest thing I ever said 🙂 but I only meant that in terms of the rules (crunch) they could be handled in a similar (or even equal) way, whereas roleplaying-wise (fluff) they can still be handled completely different. It much depends on how the interaction with other people is going to be handeld in this game. Here’s an incomplete list of possibilities from the top of my head:

        A) Social interaction is completely handled by the rules. No talking, let the dice decide!
        B) Social interaction is handled at the game table, the Gamemaster portrays the character, the player portrays his persona. The game result depends entirely on how this conversation ends.
        C) Same as option B, but with some Charisma based dice rolls to back it up, only vaguely put into rules. Most RPGs I know handle it like this.
        D) Same as option A, but after rolling the dice the interaction is played out at the game table, taking the previously decided end result into acount. (Not sure if this even makes sense)
        E) Social interaction is played out at the game table for the fun of it and in order to provide information to the players and advance the plot, but it is completely detached from the rules. That’s how my adventure games handle it.

        Also let’s not forget that there might not be such a clear distinction between living beings and inanimate objects in Kannagawa. The book might acutally start talking and become the teacher 🙂

        1. F) Other. This will be covered in detail in later posts, and part of it is what I have to write this week, but social interaction will be rule-supported. It’s too important a part of the game to be left to “make it up”; it would be like handling magic in D&D using option B.

          So, talking books aside (and yes, they are a possibility, that’s true), there do need to be mechanical differences between people and books, at least in the current state of the game.

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