As discussed in a previous post, instead of a long swathe of out-of-character briefing document, we wanted to give players space to create their own characters. So we sent them a pack full of in character documents tailored to their character. Letter, telegrams, photographs, diary entries, pieces of art, newspaper clippings, books, maps, cigarette cards, all sorts. Each pack also contained an invitation from Godfrey Northmoor, the relative inviting them to Christmas; it also contained a wooden Christmas tree decoration with the name of the character on it.
The players had to piece together their own histories from these items. We gave them facts, which included relationships, secrets and problems. We left them space to figure out how they felt about them now, and what they might do about them. In hindsight, we think that’s partly why the players felt so emotionally invested in their characters.
In total, we created 533 documents, for an average of 23 per player. The leanest pack had 15 documents, the fullest had 41. In addition we added a selection of generic 1950s replica documents such as magazines, train tickets, cigarette cards etc., just for flavour.
It was a huge amount of work, but we were very pleased with the result.