Hail and well met, fellow travellers! It is I, Natalie, who is here guesting as an author for By Any Means Necessary this week, as we go through some fun tactics for Character Creation! You’ll notice that I have this labelled as part one; this is because I anticipate there being a few more that will be added on to this series specifically dedicated to character creation. There are some out there who LOVE this process, and others who loathe it. My goal – figure out new ways to do character creation that create fun for the whole family. Or at least those that play RPGs. I find the character creation process to be difficult sometimes – I barely know what I want to eat for breakfast, which is a fairly small commitment. You can’t expect me to know what kind of character I want to play for months on end – that’s way too much of a decision for a Libra like me! This is why I devised several tactics to make a fun process out of character creation. For this first part, I’m going to cover my randomize tactic.
Rolling With it – Literally
I am someone who is a fan of name generators of all variants, so the fact that I come up with a randomized tactic is unsurprising. While I’m sure many a player has done this before (I am not going to pretend as though I invented ANY tactic I share, just ones that I’ve tried), my first time was when I was invited to play with a whole new crew of people. Prior to this, the only DM I had worked with was Joshua. And I was still pretty new to the game. I didn’t really know the universe, and I really didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do this time. It was kind of a blank slate. With no real inspiration drawing me any which way, I elected to do the most random thing I could think of – roll for it.
I rolled three different characters, with the idea that I would pick the one I got most attached to. First I pulled out the classes of any character I was currently playing (aka fighter and rogue, aww yeah multi-class) so that I would get something different. I assigned numbers to the race, class, background (as well as bonds/traits/flaws/ideals), and alignment, and then I rolled the stats for each as well (in order, as per the column on the left side of the character sheet). So I did this for three characters total. And then I had to explain each one to Joshua, who watched to ensure I didn’t cheat. By the end, I had devised three very different characters for me to choose from. I felt like by this point, I could either a) pick the one I felt the most attached to or b) roll a die again to see what I got. From this randomization, I ended with:
- A true neutral Elven acolyte, whose class I cannot recall, but they effectively made me think of Spock, so that’s what I called them temporarily.
- A dwarf of some sort that was so quickly forgotten, they were pulled out of the race, rather fast.
- A lawful good Elven ranger, with the folk hero background, who really reminded me of Robin Hood.
After much debate (especially over the alignment), I elected to go with the lawful good Elven ranger, despite my concerns about me being able to play lawful good (for the record, pretty sure I was awful at it). I ended up naming her Robynn Loxleigh, and she did actually adopt a bunch of street urchins and hired them to work for her in a storefront. Much stealing was had, she did eventually multi-class to a rogue (hahaha, no one is surprised), and despite me, she was pretty darn good. All in all, quite a wonderful character, despite being rolled randomly.
In line with my love of name generators, I love randomizers. So when I stumbled upon Who The F**k is My DND Character, I was hooked. Asides the fact that I already swear like a drunken sailor (and so this line of speech is really just me on any given day), I also love this because it gives you motivations. You can start to determine your flaws and ideals from the bit of background it provides. Also, you could literally spend hours coming up with new characters. It’s way too easy. But also just so much fun. I did a few randomizations, and here was my fave that I got:
I just really like the idea that they have no concept of personal space. It’s a pretty clear flaw. It’s also bound for hilarity. So if you’re about to enter into a potentially hilarious campaign, I’d recommend this generator – just keep randomizing until it speaks to you!
New Dice, Who Dis
Now, another randomization tactic that you can try is with a particular set of dice. I am in no way implying that you should go out and buy a separate set of dice, but we did come across these at Gen Con this year, and hoo boy are they hilarious to roll up a rando with. It covers the gamut of class, race, and alignment, requiring fewer charts. So really, if you’re someone who goes through a LOT of characters, maybe you should pick up these dice.
As an experiment, I decided to roll up three random characters, and try to flesh them out a bit more – for science! Also because I just wanted an excuse to use these dice.
Alright so here’s what we got, and here’s what I would do with each:
- The first image is a lawful evil halfling paladin – definitely oathbreaker. I’d probably play up some mysterious past, where they fell from grace. In his feelings of betrayal, probably killed someone who meant a lot to him, destroyed a statue or two of whatever god he once revered, and then left on a quest for power.
- Second is a chaotic evil half-orc monk – ridiculously zen, ridiculously evil. Raised in a monastery where he inevitably killed the lead monk to further his own gains in the order. Probably abandoned as a child, due to his half-orc nature, which is what led him to be selfish and ruthless. Uses his powers for evil, clearly, but is skilled in the way of punching things in the face. Never speaks – took a vow of silence eons ago. Probably the way of the long death.
- Lastly, we have a chaotic good dwarven ranger – I’d probably lean into this being the strange love child of Gimli and Legolas from Lord of the Rings (you are welcome, every fanfic writer who’s done that pairing). Bit of a rebellious teenage youth who runs to the woods instead of the caves; has a squirrel familiar. Probably a Beast Master. Favoured enemy is probably dragons.
So there we go! Three characters, devised in minutes. Well. A bit longer than that. But you know what I mean. Not too hard for someone who wasn’t able to come up with anything! Part 2, we’ll focus on finding inspiration – and I don’t just mean the bardic variety!
Tweet at us with which of those three characters you’d rather play, using the hashtag #BAMNCharacter – let us know if you’ve got a name in mind for any of them!
By Any Means Necessary (BAMN!) is a weekly blog where we try our very best to bring more fun to your Dungeons & Dragons games #ByAnyMeansNecessary!