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Quertus
2019-03-10, 06:08 PM
When you create a character, what do you want / expect, and what do you do to make that come about?

(I've tried to start this thread several times, and always lost the post trying to include too many examples to explain what I mean. So, apologies, but this version's going to be short and cryptic.)

Do you want to be an effective tank? Do you want Sempai to fall in love with you? Do you want to take over the world?

What do you do to align your concept, your sheet, and your play experience with your expectations?

I may all most sourdoughs quotations ask more specific questions later.

Mastikator
2019-03-10, 06:59 PM
Explain what I want to the DM and he helps me achieve it. It helps me build a character that can achieve those goals, it helps me temper the goals with the setting and campaign, it helps the DM adjust the setting and campaign for my benefit.

MoiMagnus
2019-03-10, 07:05 PM
I have 3 "algorithms" I use to create characters:
1) Technical goal found by accident. "I just read this supplement/homebrew/combo/... and found an interesting feature, so I want to build a character just for that feature". Those characters usually don't end up being played, because I just build them "for the fun".
2) Least annoying choice. "Other players already chose their characters. Goal is to have a approximatively balanced team, while not making choices that I consider as 'boring' or 'uninteresting'.". This is how I proceed when I'm discovering the system we're playing in, or when I don't have any inspiration.
3) Mental projection of a character. "I have a character in mind, I know its personnality, I know how he behave, I know how the way he fight look like, how can I build something as near as possible from my mental image within the system?". This is how I build my NPCs. This is how I build my favorite PCs too. However, those characters tend to be weaker than the characters from "2", because I know how I want to play them even before actually building them. Which mean that if I've decided my character will not use any conjuration, then I might take it as a forbidden school even if that school is OP in the system, because I don't want making a conjuration to be better than the other choices I have during a fight.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-03-10, 07:45 PM
I read the rules and use them to make something which fits what I want? I may be missing the point of this question. This seems sort of obvious to me.

Mike Miller
2019-03-10, 08:54 PM
When you create a character, what do you want / expect, and what do you do to make that come about?

(I've tried to start this thread several times, and always lost the post trying to include too many examples to explain what I mean. So, apologies, but this version's going to be short and cryptic.)

Do you want to be an effective tank? Do you want Sempai to fall in love with you? Do you want to take over the world?

What do you do to align your concept, your sheet, and your play experience with your expectations?

I may all most sourdoughs quotations ask more specific questions later.

I think you should all most sourdoughs quotations, but otherwise work with your group. Session 0 helps everyone figure out what they want and how to achieve it along with the GMs input. I use the campaign setting information to figure out what kind of character would work along with the party.

Quertus
2019-03-10, 09:43 PM
Explain what I want to the DM and he helps me achieve it. It helps me build a character that can achieve those goals, it helps me temper the goals with the setting and campaign, it helps the DM adjust the setting and campaign for my benefit.

Good. I'm glad that "the technique I actively avoid" is represented in this thread. I hope you'll stick around to fill in some huge gaps in my knowledge.


I read the rules and use them to make something which fits what I want? I may be missing the point of this question. This seems sort of obvious to me.

Hmmm... Well, compare your answer with that of the poster above you.

I made this thread as a precursor to several other, more specific threads. Maybe you'll find more traction in them.

EDIT: IIRC, you've made characters with some rather grandiose plans in mind.


I have 3 "algorithms" I use to create characters:
1) Technical goal found by accident. "I just read this supplement/homebrew/combo/... and found an interesting feature, so I want to build a character just for that feature". Those characters usually don't end up being played, because I just build them "for the fun".
2) Least annoying choice. "Other players already chose their characters. Goal is to have a approximatively balanced team, while not making choices that I consider as 'boring' or 'uninteresting'.". This is how I proceed when I'm discovering the system we're playing in, or when I don't have any inspiration.
3) Mental projection of a character. "I have a character in mind, I know its personnality, I know how he behave, I know how the way he fight look like, how can I build something as near as possible from my mental image within the system?". This is how I build my NPCs. This is how I build my favorite PCs too. However, those characters tend to be weaker than the characters from "2", because I know how I want to play them even before actually building them. Which mean that if I've decided my character will not use any conjuration, then I might take it as a forbidden school even if that school is OP in the system, because I don't want making a conjuration to be better than the other choices I have during a fight.

Start with concept, instantiate concept, see how it turns out?


I think you should all most sourdoughs quotations, but otherwise work with your group. Session 0 helps everyone figure out what they want and how to achieve it along with the GMs input. I use the campaign setting information to figure out what kind of character would work along with the party.

So, group discussion, attempt to divine a character who will work with both the adventure, and with the group / the party?

Telok
2019-03-11, 12:19 AM
Generally in this order:

1. Ask the GM & group what is needed and wanted. Less important when I'm playing with people I've gamed with 5+ years and a system we all know well. More important if it's the first or second time with the system or with less experienced players & GMs. Generally if I don't get past this one I just look at the offered character options and ask what sounds awesome without looking too hard at the mechanics first. But you can't do that with games with known trap options like D&D. Starfinder was pretty disappointing with this approach.

2. Build to fit the character. Incurable wanna-be romantic hero, minor noble businessman with a side of risk taking, gentleman sorcerer and fencing student, playboy knife fighting duelist, drunkard forced into being a paladin by his family, etc., etc. These always have a paragraph to a half page backstory, often with blanks for the GM to fill in names or details. To date only one GM, almost 20 years ago, ever filled anything in or used it. Works well in systems with lots of options and customization, not well in systems where customization is "refluffing" instead of mechanical support or GM approval. Non-D&D or early D&D are often pretty good here.

3. Build a character around an interesting mechanic, tactic, or bit of fluff text. Then add a bit of character. Easiest way to add character is to make the character a dwarf, load up DwarfFortress, and pick a random dwarf to copy the personality from. D&D 3.p was good for this, other non-D&D usually works well too.

Best is when all three line up.

Bad is when you can't really get a character that's reliably good at what they're supposed to do or there isn't any real mechanical support/options for a character.

As always a GM who is willing to ignore the rules or break the system can make a character in a bad system great, or a character in a good system terrible. Avoid inexperienced GMs in wishy-washy or mediorce systems.

Mike Miller
2019-03-11, 04:53 AM
So, group discussion, attempt to divine a character who will work with both the adventure, and with the group / the party?

Yes. Although, I nearly always DM, so I try to make it very clear what the party will face so everyone can have a character concept in mind that will contribute meaningfully. The concept changes over time, so it doesn't always work. However, that is what my group does. I try to give input without changing my players' decisions, unless they are picking something that I really think they'll regret (like soulknife in dnd 3.5 when the rest of the party are wizards/druids/clerics).

Earthwalker
2019-03-11, 07:10 AM
I donít think I have made a character in a vacuum in years. When I make a character I need to know the game / world I am making the character for to have something that fits.

So the first step is really looking at the world and then coming up with a concept that fits that world / system. The other players at the table influence my creation but only in making something that isnít trouble for the group. So if one guy makes a character that killed Nibblers on sight, I will not be making a Nibbler.

JMS
2019-03-11, 07:19 AM
I like characters that are interesting and effective. To get that, I will often choose an interesting idea, and find mechanics to fit that idea, before engaging in some healthy practical optimization to ensure my idea is effective. (Mostly play 3.5 and PF with this in mind)

Kaptin Keen
2019-03-11, 07:31 AM
Hm ... for me, character creation has always been sort of collaborative. If what the group needs is a cleric, I'm not rolling a mage instead. As a group, we've sort of just naturally kept the bases covered. So if I'm rolling yet-another-cleric, because the other bases are covered, I look for ways to make it fun and interesting.

In practice, Yet-Another-Cleric McClericsson will be a mix of fluff and crunch - the latest iteration is actually a 5e bard (by cleric, I mostly mean healer), who is highly morally flexible, and very effective at a select set of things: He's not a huge damage dealer in combat, of course, but he did manage to walk into an enemy lair after our ranger was taken captive, and walk out with the ranger in tow - just on social skills and a hat of disguise.

He's called Menelaus, btw, not Yet-Another-Cleric. If I do say so myself, I don't do bad names :p

doctor doughnut
2019-03-11, 08:24 PM
A fun character to play.

I really don't go for the idea of telling a DM ''I want to do X" and then having the DM ''make" that in the game. I'd rather make my ''want" generic enough that I can do it in the game, without the DM's help.

Hackulator
2019-03-11, 08:31 PM
When you create a character, what do you want / expect, and what do you do to make that come about?

(I've tried to start this thread several times, and always lost the post trying to include too many examples to explain what I mean. So, apologies, but this version's going to be short and cryptic.)

Do you want to be an effective tank? Do you want Sempai to fall in love with you? Do you want to take over the world?

What do you do to align your concept, your sheet, and your play experience with your expectations?

I may all most sourdoughs quotations ask more specific questions later.

As to the bolded part of the question, that is wildly different almost every time I play a game. I play characters who fill every role and have all different types of personalities, so it's not really possible to answer that question

Once I have a concept, I generally think about what the character absolutely needs in order to execute that concept in a minimally acceptable way and I figure out how to give it to the character. From there are start filling out less and less necessary things to the concept, until eventually I've made all the decisions. Anything left over is used to add flavor or mechanical effectiveness, depending on the nature of the game and how I'm doing so far in terms of flavor or mechanical effectiveness.

Quertus
2019-03-12, 10:56 AM
As to the bolded part of the question, that is wildly different almost every time I play a game. I play characters who fill every role and have all different types of personalities, so it's not really possible to answer that question

Once I have a concept, I generally think about what the character absolutely needs in order to execute that concept in a minimally acceptable way and I figure out how to give it to the character. From there are start filling out less and less necessary things to the concept, until eventually I've made all the decisions. Anything left over is used to add flavor or mechanical effectiveness, depending on the nature of the game and how I'm doing so far in terms of flavor or mechanical effectiveness.

Well, to the bolded part (and to everyone, not just you), the question is more, "what does your want look like?"

Expend resources to balance flavor and effectiveness, prioritizing what is most necessary? Is it usually X effectiveness elements, X+-1 flavor elements, or does sometimes one element carry significantly more weight, leaving you to create lots of elements of the other type?


A fun character to play.

I really don't go for the idea of telling a DM ''I want to do X" and then having the DM ''make" that in the game. I'd rather make my ''want" generic enough that I can do it in the game, without the DM's help.

Generic wants? Can you give some examples?

I definitely aim for "without GM help", so I can feel I "came by it honest" when I succeed or fail.


Hm ... for me, character creation has always been sort of collaborative. If what the group needs is a cleric, I'm not rolling a mage instead. As a group, we've sort of just naturally kept the bases covered. So if I'm rolling yet-another-cleric, because the other bases are covered, I look for ways to make it fun and interesting.

In practice, Yet-Another-Cleric McClericsson will be a mix of fluff and crunch - the latest iteration is actually a 5e bard (by cleric, I mostly mean healer), who is highly morally flexible, and very effective at a select set of things: He's not a huge damage dealer in combat, of course, but he did manage to walk into an enemy lair after our ranger was taken captive, and walk out with the ranger in tow - just on social skills and a hat of disguise.

He's called Menelaus, btw, not Yet-Another-Cleric. If I do say so myself, I don't do bad names :p

To what extent are your stores "what you intended" vs happenstance?


I like characters that are interesting and effective. To get that, I will often choose an interesting idea, and find mechanics to fit that idea, before engaging in some healthy practical optimization to ensure my idea is effective. (Mostly play 3.5 and PF with this in mind)

What makes an idea "interesting" to you? I'm... hmmm... trying to see what colors people paint their expectations with.


I donít think I have made a character in a vacuum in years. When I make a character I need to know the game / world I am making the character for to have something that fits.

So the first step is really looking at the world and then coming up with a concept that fits that world / system. The other players at the table influence my creation but only in making something that isnít trouble for the group. So if one guy makes a character that killed Nibblers on sight, I will not be making a Nibbler.

I implement this by not bringing a "Nibbler". Give me parameters, I choose from my portfolio that which I'm most interested in out of what fits.

That said, I've played a Wizard around an Arcane Unearthed Barbarian before...


Yes. Although, I nearly always DM, so I try to make it very clear what the party will face so everyone can have a character concept in mind that will contribute meaningfully. The concept changes over time, so it doesn't always work. However, that is what my group does. I try to give input without changing my players' decisions, unless they are picking something that I really think they'll regret (like soulknife in dnd 3.5 when the rest of the party are wizards/druids/clerics).

You think in terms of contribution. Cool. When you do build your poem character, what have you expected to contribute, and how did you go about achieving that contribution?


As always a GM who is willing to ignore the rules or break the system can make a character in a bad system great, or a character in a good system terrible. Avoid inexperienced GMs in wishy-washy or mediorce systems.

This is interesting. If the system does not support your concept, ask the GM to change the system?

DMThac0
2019-03-12, 11:30 AM
It took somewhere around 20 years before I got to be a player, so when I made my character I went all in.

I wanted a character that had the ability to keep my party alive, I knew that the players were relatively new to the game so I wanted to have something that could save them in a pinch. I wanted to play a character that could be intelligent and charismatic yet dangerous from anywhere on the battle field...the trick is that I didn't want to rely on spells. I didn't want to play the edgy/angst ridden type, but I wanted to create a moral dilemma built into the character, so I created a backstory that could support this. I then looked at the DM and said "I'm sorry", since I knew that I was going to build something that was probably going to be a pain in the the tail. Thus was born Aerik, Hunter Ranger/Swashbucker Rogue, he's helped the party out of many a sticky situation, and he's had the party want to throttle him. He's there to help the party out of a personal sense of duty, but his own goals to find redemption are hidden behind his poker face. The DM knows his back story, they can do whatever they want with that, but I'll have Aerik respond to each situation as I feel is best, whether the DM/group anticipates it or not.

As a DM I want my players to create an alter-ego. I don't promote building a character to "fit" the team, I promote building a character that the player will enjoy. As such, that's the same approach I take for my character designs. I come up with a story about the character, whether he's going to fit perfectly with the group or not, and then I play him as an individual. Sometimes his goals line up with the group's goals, sometimes they don't, but I feel that is what makes the game fun.

JMS
2019-03-12, 12:00 PM
What makes an idea "interesting" to you? I'm... hmmm... trying to see what colors people paint their expectations with.
For me? It needs a cool trick or a few, or at least a neat way to fight.
Some of my favorite characters: Edriena, Gestalt Elan Warder//Vitalist (Dreamscared Press) who picked up some redemption flavor out of mechanics, so I ran with it, for a person ďpost-redemptionĒ who keeps others alive till they can be redeemed.

For a high homebrew Tristalt: A ďAngel of FateĒ that focused on fear, shadows and curses to pin down foes.

For a current game: Enn, Changeling Beguiler//Rogue who I flavored as a fey-born who escaped the Unseelie court.

Hackulator
2019-03-12, 12:06 PM
Well, to the bolded part (and to everyone, not just you), the question is more, "what does your want look like?"

Expend resources to balance flavor and effectiveness, prioritizing what is most necessary? Is it usually X effectiveness elements, X+-1 flavor elements, or does sometimes one element carry significantly more weight, leaving you to create lots of elements of the other type?


I'm not sure what you mean by "what does your want look like". If you mean, is it mechanical or RP based or thematic etc, as I said before, it can be any of those. Sometimes I'll have an idea for a mechanical trick or combo I want and build around that. Sometimes it will be a personality or theme. It can be anything really, I don't honestly understand people who always do similar things in games, for me that would get boring.

Similarly, for your second question it's incredibly mutable. Some concepts can be executed accurately with a minimum of mechanical resources leaving a lot of room to add flavor or additional effectiveness. It's a pretty organic process, and what I want can also change a lot from the beginning to the end, either because I decide what I was aiming for isn't functional or possible, or I just end up with a better idea.

Morgaln
2019-03-12, 12:09 PM
I rarely get to play characters since I'm almost always the GM, when I do, these are my steps at creating them:

1. Ask the GM whether the story has a specific theme the character should fit into. E. g. if the story focuses on spionage and infiltration, the setting's equivalent of a knight of Solamnia would be a rather poor choice for a character.

2. I'll wait for a spark of inspiration to strike me, some first idea on what the character should be based around. This can be anything, but usually it is either a certain race/class combination, a specific concept (e. g. vigilante crime fighter using McGyver-inspired tactics) or a defining moment of the character's past (e. g. conscripted soldier who deserted in the first battle and then got taken in by a mercenary group)

3. Once I got that first idea, I start statting the character. I select a class (if applicable to the system), then fill in numbers. Obvious stats that need to go with whatever I decided on in step 2 get filled in first (e. g. the vigilante is a WoD character, he needs points in crafts, stealth and science to do what he's supposed to do; the mercenary is a Dark Eye character and needs good weapon skills). Once I'm done with that, I'll start allocating whatever stat points I have left. At this point, I'll try to come up with reasons for why the character would have those stats, and that helps filling in the blanks in who the character is and how he got where he is now (i. e. personality and backstory). By the time I'm done, I'll have a basic idea how the character would think and act, and the stats to go along with that. I'll also have a backstory, usually with a number of hooks for the GM to use if they want to.

4. If the character turns out to have a backstory that is so defining that it would have to be incorporated into the story, I wil talk to the GM again and find out if they are willing to go that extra mile. If yes, great, I'm done. If not, back to point 2. Most of the time, I come up with two or three concepts, build all of them and don't decide which one to use until we sit down at the table for the first time anyway, so discarding one character in favor of another is not a problem for me.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-03-12, 01:09 PM
I usually start with a basic role, depending on the needs of the group. If everyone's a melee type, I'll cover some other niche. My current character started with "Let's see...we have a burn everything wizard, a paladin, a barbarian...we need support."

Once I have a very general role, I start playing with building mechanical skeletons for characters. If I have inspiration, I'll go with that. If not, I'll start building until I do have inspiration.

So for my current character, I started off with a "dwarven cleric" and a "warlock/bard multiclass" (warlock for a bit of damage, bard for utility, multi-class because I wanted to play with multiclassing) as my broad concepts.

From there, I try to find a hook for the character. Something unique in personality or background or something that speaks to me.

The dwarf ended up with the hook "involuntary cleric"--he was chosen by a gnomish god as a cleric (he was raised by gnomes, so...) and has the bad habit of arguing with his god. More flavor than anything, just subverting the "zealous follower" motif.

The first bardlock got me on the "what if Disney princesses were men, and as seen through a distorted window" theme (because I needed names, so I used Disney male-lead names). The first one was going to be Sleeping Beauty--loved by nature, animals all over him...and not so fond of it. "Why won't these birds leave me alone!" IIRC he was going to be named Valiant (aka Prince Charming)

The second, following the theme, ended up being a melange and kinda went off the deep end. He (now she) was kicked out of Court Minstrel school in Waterdeep[1] for a bad set of voice changes at puberty. He then lived on the street for a few years, thieving and busking. Later he made a Pact with a servant of Milil for "the world's best voice" in exchange for "doing good in the world". Turns out the servant figured that the best voice belonged to a famed opera singer. A soprano opera singer. And gave him the body to match. It fits her personality--she's a bit volcanic. Later, after adventuring some, she awakened her bardic magic, basically spring-boarding off the warlock bit.

This last one, Flynn Rider, is the one that actually got played. And she's a lot of fun to play. Of the 3 female characters in the group, she's the most traditionally feminine. The barbarian? A total brute. The wizard? A giggling gnomish ball of fire and explosions.

So I guess the answer is...I throw a few nets out and see what I catch and run with it. It's about having a starting point, not a fully-developed character. Flynn has evolved in play--she's gone from being a bit fame-hungry (her goal was to be the best bard ever to show up those fools who kicked her out) to just hating cultists with a passion. Still helps people, quick to forgive...unless you're a committed cultist. Then you get one chance to repent. After that? You die. No second chances and may the Gods forgive you.

[1] we're playing through the Princes of the Apocalypse hardcover adventure, so Sword Coast/Faerun.

Thinker
2019-03-12, 01:56 PM
When I am a player, I like to make my character along with everyone else. We get to talk about what the game is about - genre, setting, tone, and what sort of challenges we can expect as a group. It might be post-apocalyptic survival, dungeon crawling, swashbuckling on the high seas, courtly intrigue, heists, monster hunting in modern day America, super heroes, or any number of other games. This is critical to figuring out what sort of character I want to play. Once we're on the same page about what sort of game we're playing, I can worry about concept.

Next, I look at the character options. If it uses classes/archetypes, I figure out how that will fit in to what we discussed before. I also like to be unique so if someone else is planning to play a super-strength powerhouse, I want to play something different. I want everyone at the table to be open about our choices and know what each other is capable of, especially the GM. I also am happy to receive feedback from the GM, particularly if it is a game I'm not especially familiar with.

Finally, I want our characters to fit together due to backgrounds, social connections, or some other feature of the game. Blades in the Dark accomplishes this with the Crew sheet. Powered by the Apocalypse does this through Bonds. In DnD it's your backstory. I want to know why my character is adventuring with these others.

What I want out of the character is uncertain. I don't often have a specific goal in mind unless the game calls for it. In general, I want to play out interesting situations, resolve conflicts, and solve mysteries.

I'm interested to see where you are going with this.

doctor doughnut
2019-03-12, 08:28 PM
Generic wants? Can you give some examples?

I definitely aim for "without GM help", so I can feel I "came by it honest" when I succeed or fail.


My default character is the wizard/scientist. In a general sense I like to play them as curious and inquisitive. So they are always looking to find something new or unknown. The reasons vary character to character: they might want fame, they might want money, they might just want to know....they might want power.

Telok
2019-03-13, 01:23 AM
This is interesting. If the system does not support your concept, ask the GM to change the system?

Not as such. More talking the character over with the GM to see what we can come up with to make the character work in the system we have. In a system like Hero or D&D 3.x there are sufficent options to not usually need that sort of thing.

However if you're doing AD&D 2e without splats, well the mechanics don't do much but provide a baseline. So if you want that expert knife fighter you talk to the GM. Which works in AD&D because it's really has a "massive collection of optional rules" setup and some decent house ruling advice.

But my last comment was more towards the fact that good GM, working with the players, can get good, memorable, characters out of systems with limited or lousy options. Likewise bad GMs can screw a character over even in a system that's perfect for making and playing the character.

And in my experience most new/inexperienced GMs need or want decent sets of clear and explicit guidelines to help run the game, which are quite absent in many many systems. For example the tropes of a knowlegable elder and a young neophyte traveling togather, or the villianous boasting monologue, exist partly as a method to import information to an audience. Many new GMs will find themselves confronted with the players not knowing something that their characters would know, often as a sidebar or bit of boxed text in an adventure. Without any guidance or forwarning the new GMs tend to flub this sort of information dump. Even after more than two decades in this hobby I sometimes have issues with this. Numerous times I've been subjected to a GM reading the next bit of an adventure book, looking at us, and saying something like "You learned this when you went to bard school and played the lute...". And the character was a barbarian witch-doctor who only had 'bard' on the character sheet because most of the mechanics matched the concept from level one instead of requiring a 6 level munticlass mish-mash that wouldn't work for crud for the first four levels.

5crownik007
2019-03-13, 01:56 AM
Look at the world. Look at the party. Think of something fun. Make it. Make sure you have:

party role
back story shared with GM
fun

Mike Miller
2019-03-13, 09:40 AM
You think in terms of contribution. Cool. When you do build your poem character, what have you expected to contribute, and how did you go about achieving that contribution?

The last character I made (d&d 3.5) was filling in the role of melee brute. I expected to help defend the squishies and put out HP damage with some BFC. I went about this by talking with the group and DM to see what materials were acceptable. Thus, a crusader was born.

denthor
2019-03-13, 12:44 PM
Each character is different.
I have done these in the past:

Based on real people fighter
Back story parents were executed spies. Grew up with a Fagan type character (Oliver Twist) adopted by the church. Cleric/thief.

Based on a name rabbit had the run feet (pun made on purpose).

Took a game where elves were hunted and killed. Ran a 1/2 elf ranger that worship the most disgusting human God in the pantheon. Since he had to honor human gods to be allowed to live gramps took a cleric wife of a death god. Life is better then death and twist the law as much as you can.

What is interesting to me is each of those characters could not be duplicated at another table even running the same back story. I could not recreate the mind set.

Malphegor
2019-03-14, 05:15 AM
I sort of filter through media, fantasy tropes and characters in my head, go 'ooh, I want to apply this to that and see what comes out'.

And that's how you end up with shy necromancers posessed by their overbearing lich mother's ghost. Or a dwarf who wants to kill the gods who forsook his people's fort to be killed by an army of werehorse beakdogs. Or a butler who became a bird themed superhero after his employers died, his calling card a small black card upon which is written in silver filligree 'Nevermore'.



I'm pretty confident that you can build any character in any system, it's just building it well that I find challenging. But that initial image of what I want to play comes first, it's the motivating factor.

Party roles is a secondary thought for me, as that should come naturally in play after the character is introduced- if a group has a control wizard who's teleporting through time and summoning black holes to fight the neutronium golem, you'll naturally pick spells to accomodate that in roleplay.

You can have a party of many rogues, and it'll be fiiiiine so long as they're not all identical in character, even if their class is the same.

Names, I'm fond of bashing words from myths and legends together loosely connected to the personality.

Cliff Sedge
2019-03-27, 01:21 AM
[I have a lot to say here, so I'll split this up into 2 replies.]


When you create a character, what do you want / expect, and what do you do to make that come about?
...
What do you do to align your concept, your sheet, and your play experience with your expectations?


I'm usually the DM, but I've made a lot of potential characters. I usually just have a flash of inspiration whenever, or if I'm actually playing in someone else's game and the DM says, "Okay, everyone make a character," I'll just start rolling up / stating out the first thing that comes to mind.

What I usually want out of character creation is to try something different (i.e. something I haven't done before), but I tend to still stick with a couple comfortable archetypes that I'm used to.

What I want out of the game and the playing experience is just good ol' D&D: me and some other adventurers working together to complete quests, get some gold, get some cool items, level up, repeat.

What I want out of my own character along the way is to contribute to the party, contribute to the other players' fun, contribute to the DM's fun by biting on all hooks, getting immersed in the story, roleplaying in a funny/dramatic/cool way as appropriate, and find a way for my character to grow and change in a way that I didn't expect during initial creation.

What I do to make that come about is use my imagination. I never try to optimize stats. I try to give the character flavor and personality with abilities, items, feats, and flaws.

I think my first character (at least, the first I can remember 'cause it was back in the '80s or '90s) was a human male multi-class druid/ranger (AD&D 2nd ed. - I think they called it "dual class" back then) named Thael Eyan Han (or "Thael-han" for short). I was (and still am to an extent) all about nature and plants and animals, so those classes appealed to me. I wanted good combat ability, but also plenty of cool magic. A lot of the adventuring was outdoors - forests, coastlines, mountains - so there was plenty of druid/ranger stuff to do.

A couple other characters I can remember from the 2nd ed. days:

- Robyn Rayne: a half-elf female fighter/thief - again, I wanted some combat ability, but with more variety. This was for a more unlock-the-doors, disarm-the-traps dungeon crawl adventure, so a rogue type made sense.

- Farak Kiri: male dwarf thief (ninja kit) for an Oriental Adventures / Kara-Tur campaign.

- Amaranth Kunzel: female human? elf? .. can't remember, only used her once .. paladin (samurai kit)-turned ex-paladin fighter (ninja kit), also for a (different) Kara-Tur campaign that didn't really go anywhere. I liked the idea of the disgraced paladin, who instead of being immediately executed by the daimyou/shogun for disobedience was spared and trained as a ninja for the shogun's "black ops" team.

My latest is my first 3.5e character. I first thought of just remaking Robyn Rayne, 'cause I think the fighter/rogue combo is my favorite. I noticed then that I rarely ever play magic-users. I don't think I've ever used a wizard. I did make a half-elf female, and I named her Robin Rain (or at least that's what her real name translates to in Common) but she was a bard who ran away from home at a young age and was raised by gnomes for 20 years. She recently did a multi-class dip into sorcerer for extra spell-casting goodness, and if she survives a couple more levels, I'll do another level each of bard and sorcerer then leave all that behind to pursue life as a monk.

So, yeah, I like variety.

Cliff Sedge
2019-03-27, 01:26 AM
[Other thoughts]



I may be missing the point of this question.

Yes, you are. The question was not "How do you make a character?" It was "What do you want / expect, and what do you do to make that come about?"



I really don't go for the idea of telling a DM ''I want to do X" and then having the DM ''make" that in the game. I'd rather make my ''want" generic enough that I can do it in the game, without the DM's help.

I feel the same way. I come from the old-school tradition of everybody made a character separately, according to the DM's constraints, and then everyone sees what terrifying dungeon or enchanted forest the DM has planned.

I don't do the "session zero" thing, but I understand its usefulness. My current way of starting a new campaign as the dungeon master is that the players don't start making characters until after the adventure begins. They come up with a name, race, and gender - then start roleplaying. The thing I've always hated about D&D is that 1-2 or more hours of game time get used up by everyone trying to come up with a character and filling out their sheets. It's boring. And if everyone makes characters before coming to the game, then usually the DM has to veto certain player choices, because the player didn't know or didn't follow the campaign's constraints on race/class/abilities/etc.

As the DM, once all the players are at the table and ready to begin a new campaign, I briefly describe the setting, the kinds of quests they'll likely find, some expectations on how players should behave, then I let them know what the race/class restrictions are, ask for character names, then they roll initiative 'cause it's game on! Everything else that goes on the character sheet, we figure out when it's needed.



I don't honestly understand people who always do similar things in games, for me that would get boring.

I can understand it, because while I like variety and always try to come up something different each time, I tend to stick with a few familiar and comfortable themes. For some people it's just easier; for others, it could be lack of creativity; or it could be a strategic choice: they know the character type, how it works, and know how to play it well. If it ain't broke, yadda yadda . . .


... It's a pretty organic process, and what I want can also change a lot from the beginning to the end, either because I decide what I was aiming for isn't functional or possible, or I just end up with a better idea.

This is quite true. A story should have interesting character development, and real people naturally change as their circumstances and life events change.

Sometimes, you can't always get what you want.

Frozen_Feet
2019-03-27, 03:46 AM
I often expect nothing and roll dice, then see if I can do something interesting with that.

Other times, I look at the game as it has progressed and make a character based on where I want to push to the game.

Yet other times, usually in freeform games, I pick a theme and then craft and play that character to explore that theme.

Whichever method is chosen, the most important thing for a character is play. What I want, and how to get it, is a moment-by-moment decision during the game.