A character building exercise

edited November 2007 in General Discussion


  • photoneater
    Posts: 182
    I've noticed that there are a lot of people here who are fond of fleshing out there characters beyond what is immediately needed to play the game.

    So, I thought I would share a little character building exercise that I picked up from an old gaming group I was part of, which I have grown to enjoy. I really like to do this with my groups to paint a well-rounded picture of the PCs.

    It's a pretty simple exercise. Just for the sake of demonstration, we'll use a totally made up character named... oh, let's just say Sam.

    Basically, it goes like this:

    * is afraid of anything insectoid.
    * can't sleep unless he can sleep with his back propped up against someone or something.
    * hates sweet foods.
    * acts like a tough guy around the tavern, but can't really handle more than one or two drinks.
    * was bullied by his older sister when he was a child.
    * likes the smell of leather
    * can't stand people from the northern regions, to the point of discrimination.
    * is fond of half-elven women
    * also has a lot of other aspects and tidbits about himself that are relevant to neither his character sheet or the story at hand...

    And basically, you just go, sharing all sorts of otherwise trivial facts about the character that may not come up while dodging aberrations in the Underdark. Anyway, that's basically all I have to say, I just figured some people might appreciate it. If anyone else has any interesting exercises they have used to expand on their characters, feel free to share them here!
  • AidanDark
    Posts: 56
    Adair Hollingberry
    Character in my friend's Planescape campaign, he was stolen from another entire cosmology (my homebrew) with no way home that he has been able to find.

    * Had very awkward family dinners since his mother does not agree with his pragmatist view of the divine (she's a cleric, he's an archivist.) They continue trying to work things out despite simmering hostilities beneath the surface.
    * Adair is uncomfortable with outright sensuality and eroticism.
    * Loves chicken pot pie and apple cider.
    * Loves libraries and owns one.
    * He feels secure and comforted when surrounded by books but a bit out of place in social situations. (Despite his good diplomacy score).
    * Has very little patience for subtlety and prefers getting to the point of the matter quickly.
    * Hates demons/devils because in his world they are one and the same thing and nearly destroyed it.
    * Adair is an extremely pragmatic person who considers using evil to fight evil as reasonable if it is necessary.
  • FemmeLegion
    Posts: 521
    Well, if anyone ever feels like adopting "Tisk":http://www.obsidianportal.com/game_contents/show/tisk for use in their campaigns, be aware of the following:

    * Tisk is unswervingly devoted to small groups, but has a very hard time thinking in "big picture" without suffering anxiety attacks. In her current campaign, she has been quite willing to assist her comrades in their grand overarching goals, but she refuses to give any thought to the idea that she is touching millions of lives. She would curl up and be afraid to do anything ever again if she knew the stakes were that high.
    * One of the quickest ways to hurt Tisk's feelings is to call her a whore. She has amazingly archaic views on female purity, she got that accusation often enough while she was with her troupe of jongleurs, and she's got an experience in her past that seriously blurred the line between consensual and nonconsensual (not going into details here!), so she has issues from that too.
    * Tisk is intensely loving and maternal, but she also has a disturbing amount of skill in sabotaging her own happiness.

    "Nicole":http://www.obsidianportal.com/game_contents/show/snarkbabe289 has a different version of the last problem - she simply tends to reject love and intimacy altogether because it's scary and involves taking a whole lot of risks and trust. Part of this is because I've done this and know how to play it, and part of it is to frustrate my GM, who loves to infuse romance into all his campaigns. (I flirted with the idea of handling the latter by having Nicole fall in love with the male PC in the party, but the player let slip to me that he isn't all that keen on romance at all, so I backed off from that.)
  • MythicParty
    Posts: 78
    Another great resource:
  • IceBob
    Posts: 98
    If any of you have ever played Shadowrun (arguably my favorite game), the Shadowrun Companion has a list of 20 questions for player characters that they suggest answering _before_ writing down a single stat. I found that to be very useful when making characters, and as a GM when helping the other players generate characters.
  • Jennifer
    Posts: 78
    I generally develop odd little bits of flavor for my characters as the game goes along. This may just be a result of the fact that I don't like blank time in the middle of my games, so I tend to just throw out random stuff that we can RP about while we're waiting for the GM to get organized or another player to finish chatting with an NPC. I see any time when the GM is occupied as an opportunity to RP with another PC. This works well in chat games when you have several players, especially, because no one is sitting around bored waiting for their turn, and the GM isn't getting spammed by comments from five people at the same time.
  • eleusis
    Posts: 8
    "Cleridin":http://www.obsidianportal.com/game_contents/show/cleridin is based on a dwarven cohort from an old campaign that ended up getting a shadow curse after traveling to the plane of shadows just to unlock a hidden cashe of treasure for the rest of the party.

    "Cleridin":http://www.obsidianportal.com/game_contents/show/cleridin ...
    * ...has never been with a woman or a dwarven woman for that matter.
    * ...hates to speak in common but loves to speak in Elvish when around elves.
    * ...doesn't like dwarven ale.
    * ...doesn't like fighting but he doesn't mind helping others in a fight.
    * ...mumbles when he reads interesting books.
    * ...stares at attractive women to the point of harassments.
    * ...practices draconic calligraphy.
    * ...likes elvish wine.
    * ...polishes his wands and other magical items to make them shiny.
    * ...hates sporting events.
    * ...was picked on, growing up, because he was different.
    * ...thinks that people should be more civilized and treat each other with more respect.
  • wyrmul
    Posts: 36
    "Shen Zhang":http://www.obsidianportal.com/game_contents/show/2632
    haven't filed his information out yet. But will be in the near future

    * Is nervous about climbing trees, while growig up he had a hard time determining branch strength and would often break branches and fall.
    * Likes to add a bit of grain alcohol to his hibiscus tea
    * Keeps his long hair in a tight braid coiled under his hat. His siblings used to use it as a leash when playing.
    * Enjoys the road for a short time, after a few days of travel bemoans the lack of civilization.
    * Gets annoyed when people call his practice kata's "dancing"
    * Doing figures gives him a headache. Especially those involving large sums of money.
    * Dislikes wearing the same clothing for more than a day or two. Becomes iritable if he does not have a chance to change.
  • FemmeLegion
    Posts: 521
    AvatarArt, I wasn't able to find the PDF at the link you gave, but I think this page may link to what you were after:

    "Errant Dreams":http://www.errantdreams.com/static/rpg
  • photoneater
    Posts: 182
    Damn, that site has a lot of neat character building stuff.
  • FemmeLegion
    Posts: 521
    I'm really intrigued by the idea of using a tarot deck to generate characters. Ultimately it's just another means of randomly generating characters, but there are often several concepts in a single tarot card, and tarot reading is very big on exploring how the cards relate to each other (_*why*_ are these three cards showing up in the same reading?), so I think I'd find it more fulfilling than something like an online generator.
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