I had a discussion with my troupe recently about our upcoming campaign, and we were talking about characters and goals you should tell the troupe about at the start of the campaign.
It started with a comment about Ancient Magic, and if anyone wanted their characters to learn the Language of Adam or Babylonian Necromancy, they should let the troupe know all the way at the beginning that sometime during the saga the players will be dragged through Mythic Mesopotamia for several months, dodging Mongols. Because otherwise it's unfair on the storyguide and people who have mages and companions who prefer to stay put.
Then, in the same talk, we talked about the Merchant Adventurer companion, and how that would just be irritating for that player if everyone else was not interested in getting on a boat. It would be awesome, however, if other people were playing a non-gifted Redcap and a Seeker or even a Quaesitor - everyone has an excuse to wander the Mediterranean (or northern seas), but not feel chained to the one person's goal of commerce/magic learning/etc. They can work out a "okay, you stop here for silk, right next to this interesting-looking mythic ruin, and I'll deliver some messages to the nearby covenant."
Anybody else have any other ideas on mages and companions for a group so that, at any one time, everyone can be on the same page with a minimum of arm twisting and "the Tribunal/Quaesitor/Faerie Lord will kick your butt if you don't" plot twists?
A scholar who seeks remnants of the great roman and greek writings which are said to have survived in the far east/arabic territory.
We don't sit down and discuss things as such - whenever one of us goes off somewhere the other players take on parts relevant to the story. My magus goes to town, he'll be there for a game month (many sessions) so the other people act the part of those he meets. e.g. the Dean of the Goldsmith guild and his wife, people at the Mercere house, the lady he falls in love with. etc.
Almost always, there is a part that can be played. The other "mages" are busy doing activities which are announced at the start of the adventure.
I was thinking also, I guess in the converse, what happens if there's a player who loves him some City and Guild and wants nothing more than his companion to rise from journeyman through the blacksmith's guild. Sure, he's helpful to the covenant, but he sort of anchors the adventure in the town, so while other players can choose to be Redcaps or merchant adventurers or wandering Guernicus demon-hunters or whatever, there has to be a mix or else the group is set up to have a lot of disappointment on some side or another, I think.
So I'm looking for a way that a troupe can design their mages and companions to be complementary - sort of a "home team" of craftsmen, introverted or political magi, and others who stay local, and an "away team" of adventurers, treasure hunters, and redcaps.
I often work with a dichotomy between urban (Intrigant, noblewoman, Magister, churchman, merchant, beggar, thief) and rural (shapechanger, fairie influenced, hunter, monster-slayer) for my characters.
I think what you are looking for is a Saga theme.
Have each individual player brainstorm a list of descriptors that for them would be part of the perfect saga, i.e. things they would like to experience. Let them make a list of 30 descriptors, e.g. (corruption, demons, betrayal, combat, darkness, quaesitors, assassins, etc.)
then have them pick and prioritize the top 10.
when you meet next each person presents his full list.
after this each top 10 is written on scraps of paper with a name and the priority. Then have the troupe sit down and play a game of cards with their scraps.
put them all in one group and let each person pick one from the table and have him try to sell it to the rest of the group.
let each player do this thrice.
after this the troupe should be much closer to a description of the kind of saga they would want to play.
Based on this the players should be able to write out roles that would be necesarry to cover with player characters for this particular kind of saga and let them choose between these roles.
anyway thats probably what im gonna do in my new saga.
I run a much more casual game; I expect the process to be more of "I want this!" and then "well, then, everyone else should think of being..." and if there's no agreement, compromises will be made.
hehe. sure thats a great way of doing it aswell.
I guess its a job hazard to think design methodology into my leisure time...