Continuing on with our team of players, let’s take a look at the creation of Turin and Sar’kany played by Basil and Gary. Both are new players with different approaches.
Basil (long a) has never played a role playing game before and dove into character creation with both feet. He wanted to create a mage with a natural ability for medicine.
Unlike most new mages he chose to specialize in two magic specialties instead of one. Mages tend to need extra character points to purchase spells anyway, having two specialties plus the medical skills means he would need plenty. Hello, liabilities. So many liabilities.
There were four main ones that added to character backstory – two enemies and two fears. Again showing off its flexibility, Arrowflight allows a player to choose how strong the fears and enemies are from 1 to 3; the stronger they are the more points you get and the more it will effect the character in game play. In both, Basil took one at 2 and one at 3. For fears he took dragons (3) and snakes (2) and for enemies he took a dragon (3) and an ex-lover (2). That gave us a ton of material for backstory and we came up with a highly detailed one. Turin’s father was part of a group that killed a dragon infiltrating from Kilmoor. The dragon’s sire – Chal’em – swore to destroy all those who participated, and their families. Turin was the only survivor of a ritual revenge massacre and the forces from Chal’em’s province of Kilmoor are still hunting him. After he grew an ex-lover used her Illusion skills to prey upon his fear of snakes and has sworn to destroy him. All meaty stuff that we can bring into various campaigns but it does come at a cost. Those fears and enemies are going to force him into some tough situations and tough saving throws. But Basil is the kind of player who wants to explore all of that even if it brings the possibility of needing to make a fear check at the worst possible time.
Gary took the complete opposite approach. While having played the occasional role playing game before he is still new to the format and wanted to approach character creation more cautiously. Well, cautiously in that he took no serious liabilities. He did however want to play a Shal’taka. The campaign starts in Corvel where Shal’taka are almost universally seen as enemies so he is going to have plenty of challenges even without liabilities.
And a quick aside: as I have said before, I fall into the game master camp that says do your best to say yes to your players. Gary really wanted to try the Shal’taka even though it is going to present some serious difficulties at the start (and maybe longer) of the campaign. As long as he understands the challenges the character will face, I will let him do it. Other game masters will hold a stronger line thinking that the challenges then fall on the entire party. That’s a fair point and I think it really comes down to personal style. We will see how this plays out.
In any case through his lifeline Gary created someone with a merchant and military background. We went with a navy tradition as his inheritance roll gave him a ship. So now the party will have access to an 18 foot sailing cog which I am sure will come in handy. With the sailing background, a swashbuckling fighting style made sense. That style allows for shields. The shield, plus a Shal’taka’s natural armor value on his hide, plus some simple leather armor, and all of the sudden we have a serious tank for the party. Which is something I had not foreseen when designing the campaign and forces me to find creative ways to threaten the character. (Another reason I try to say yes to players is it usually ends up challenging me as a game master.)
We created a very simple backstory for the character. (My one addition to add a little spice the group dynamics is I made him from the Chal’em region of Kilmoor so he and Basil will have plenty of issues to role play.) His thinking is he will discover the character through playing. Whereas Basil discovered the character through the backstory and the liabilities (which is how I tend to do it as well). Different styles that created two fun characters with potential.
With our final post on character creation we will be looking at how two experienced role players tackled character creation when they were willing to have their backstories tied together.