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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The eye of the Beholder: 5 handy hints to character creation

Hi everyone,
Abe here and today I’m going to be spending some time talking about RPG’s, more importantly we’ll be talking about where it all begins for most players; character creation. For most people this may mean an interminable amount of drudgery rolling random dice to make your characters attributes, for others it is a chance to craft an intricate backstory complete with a binder full of required reading for everyone in your party. 
Pictured here: Fun!

It all seems simple enough but it is amazing how many times it just goes wrong, so sit back pour yourself a nice tall mug of grog and read these tips before you even think of picking up those twenty-sided dice.

#5 Beware the backstory
So, you’ve got your graph paper, your pencils and your dice and you are ready to go stomp some orcs. Well, hold up there buddy you still have to think up your character. This is the first hurdle and interestingly it’s also where most people trip up. Everyone wants their character to be cool but they forget that when you create characters this is normally the start of their epic journey rather than the end. By all means make that totally badass warrior who killed a hundred giant spiders in one day but remember his stats won’t reflect this. Just imagine him explaining to the other warriors in Valhalla how he died when he got shoved by a drunken farmer in a tavern brawl and hitting his head on the corner of the table and bleeding out, before writing his epic backstory. Remember, much like cycling, never adventure without a helmet. 

Never leave home without it.

#4 No tragic pasts
This one seems counter intuitive but bear with me, I know we’ve all been conditioned by countless years of Hollywood action movies that if there’s one thing our hero needs is motivation and what better way to motivate someone then a hell for leather quest for vengeance, whether that be for a murdered partner, wife or even goldfish. After all Batman lost his parents, the Punisher lost his entire family and even Blade lost three years of his life for tax evasion. 

I don’t care if these solid silver stakes are vital
for fighting vampires, you still need to declare them on your taxes

However, you will most likely be playing with a group of at least 3 people giving everyone this background will result in nothing more than 3 versions of Liam Neeson from Taken rampaging through a dwarven city. Although admit it, you’d totally watch that if it was the plot of Taken 4.

#3 Consider your setting
Every RPG has a world in which it is played, some are mythic lands lush with magic and swashbuckling adventure others take place in the cold indifference of space where monsters and the environment are equally out to get you. You should always consider where your party shall be playing, so having a hard bitten Marlowesque detective wandering around Rivendell would be jarring to say the least. But place him in a Cthulhu setting and watch him flourish, right before his sanity it ate by an indifferent Elder God.  

#2 Work as a team
Let’s face facts, nobody wants to be the healer. When given the choice between hurling magic at trolls or carving through the ranks of hapless minions with your barbarian you will always choose those options. But what happens when these characters succumb to wounds and fatigue, then it’s your time to shine… right before you move to the back of the group and wait to be called again. I’m not gonna lie to you here, nobody wants the job but hey take your turn, we can’t all be Conan all the time.

#1 Justify yourself
Not just a good skill in RPG’s but a good skill in life, and your parents said gaming wouldn’t have any real-world application.

Always ask yourself why your character should get this particular skill or equipment, even when playing ask yourself why this person is doing this action. If you’ve just betrayed your group to the Owlbears ask yourself why you have done that, also maybe don’t play a paladin.

There you go, I have imparted to you the sum total of my character creation knowledge. Go forth and use this information well, or don’t I’m not your father. Enjoy.
I learned it by watching you, dad!

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