Wednesday, March 13, 2013
In our modern world we have rock stars, well and movie stars. These are folks that are so famous that people want to know everything about them. People buy magazines to read about them and watch “reality” TV to see their everyday lives. So who are the “rock stars” of your world? It should probably depend on the culture of the region. If they are very religious, the most popular people are going to be the best preachers. Best may have different definitions, but if the folks spend a good portion of their lives in a church or in prayer, they are going to be most interested in the life of the guy with really stirring sermons. If the town is into highbrow entertainment, it is likely to be the opera star, or perhaps the conductor, maybe the best musician. A powerful soprano, belting out the notes, will be the toast of kings and dukes. If they’re decidedly lowbrow, well, maybe it’s the town’s “best” stripper. Say what you want, but strippers can be extremely famous, though typically for a very short time. What if this is a military town? Is the general of the most famous (or infamous) regiment the rock star? Maybe a hero from a recent war. Maybe the military hasn’t fought in a while and the rock star is instead an athlete. An athlete might compete in a military exercise, such as archery, jousting, spear throwing, etc. Or he might be an athlete of a different type, more focused on games and not on the more practical military skills. Gamers can be rock stars too. If the town is one big casino, the best poker player may be the guy. Then again, think about how the Russians treat their chess players. One last look here - never forget the gladiators. So why does it matter? Well, I always think that “the talk of the town” is important. When my adventurers (player characters) hit a tavern in town, I want to have an idea of what they are all talking about. Otherwise the role-playing is flatter than a pancake. So when someone enters a tavern and sits quietly for a few minutes (as any intelligent person would do, unless they know everyone), I can say, “Everyone seems to be talking about the jousting tournament last week. It seems that they all have their favorites.” Also, I have a few PCs who make extra money as minstrels. The bards need to know the news of the day and the most popular songs. The songs, even the bawdy ones, are likely about someone. On rare occasions, the adventurers themselves might be the rock stars. Fame is not as much fun as it seems. Sure a couple of free beers are great, but do you really want people coming up to you all the time? Fame is also a very fickle creature. Fads change fast, and the former rock star could easily be superseded by any of the ones mentioned above.