Character Creation

The 6d6 system allows a lot of variation in how characters are created. As long as all the players start with similar Character Point totals the game will be balanced. Groups are encouraged to use whichever method of character generation suits their style of play.

The Quick Character Creation method presented at the front of this book makes use of archetypes to guide the creation of characters. This is a quick and easy way of generating characters and is recommended for new players or anyone in a hurry. More experienced players may wish to use the archetypes as starting points and adjust the selection of advantages as required.

Standard Character Creation

Standard characters are the recommended starting point for new characters in a game world. They have nine meta-character points split as four dynamic potential, two static potential, two recoup and one free resist. They also have 70 character points spent on path and other advantages. The CP may be spent in any way the players wishes, with a few limits.

  • Using CP, characters must buy one or more path advantages from the paths listed in the setting or approved by the Game Leader.
  • Only life and ability advantages listed on the chosen paths may be purchased with CP.
  • Any equipment allowed by the Game Leader may be bought using CP as character equipment advantages.
  • Path, life, ability and character equipment advantages are purchased using the points / buy method with a minimum cost of 4 CP (for a 1d6+0 dice value). Higher values are allowed.
  • Any mundane equipment may be selected at no cost with the Game Leader's approval. All mundane equipment has a dice value of 1d6+0.

All additional narrative elements of the character are the player's choice though it is recommended these are discussed with the Game Leader.

Bespoke Characters

For true custom character creation, paths can be ignored and players allowed to select any advantages they wish. However, the starting CP allowance should be reduced by 10 points as the players no longer need to buy path advantages.

If a more 'old-school' style of role playing is desired, characters may be given a random number of points. Each character starts with 50 + 6d6 CP (which averages to 71 points) to select their paths and advantages. This approach reflects the pot-luck aspect of life with some players 'better off' than other characters.

Creating Balanced Characters

The key when creating characters is to remember actions require multiple advantages to be combined. Players picking individual advantages without thought as to how they will combine end up with an underpowered character. However, it is possible to go too far the other way. With a finite amount of dynamic and static potential, characters can only use a limited number of advantages in an action. When a character's advantages are focused on a single area of expertise, many will go unused and those CP are wasted.

A good starting character has a focus, a role where they will be expert and able to take actions using all of their potential. For this they will need four dynamic advantages and two static advantages they can use together. Characters should also have a secondary focus where they can play two to four advantages. The combination of advantages for both roles should be obvious and intuitive, combinations no one will disagree with. This solid selection of advantages will allow many variations, giving the character the flexibility to deal with unique situations.

Paths

Character Paths drive the selection of advantages with each path making nine other advantages available to the character. The more paths a character selects, the greater range of advantages they can choose from, but each path costs 4 CP. The more paths a character buys, the less CP they have for other advantages.

Three is good number of paths for most characters. This costs a minimum of 12 CP, leaving 58 CP available for other advantages (assuming a 70 CP character). The three paths make 27 advantages available which will be more than enough not only for character creation but also for future character development.

Paths should be chosen in line with the character's primary and secondary focuses. They should not just make useful advantages available - the path advantages themselves should be useful in their own right. The chosen paths should not have too many duplicate advantages on them as this limits the range available to the character.

Life

Life advantages are vital. Without a sufficiency a character will end up dying very quickly. A balanced character will have a minimum of three and should have at least four if combat will be a regular occurrence in the game. In planning the character's primary role and selecting their advantages, a player should remember that Life advantages are lost through injuries. If a character places too much emphasis on Life advantages they may find themselves with a greatly reduced range of options once the character is hurt. Ability advantages are rarely lost and are more desirable as the backbone of a character.

One aspect of Life advantages is their generality and they can be justified in many different types of actions. Taking one or two Life advantages outside of or only tangentially related to the character's roles gives the player something to fall back on when all else has failed. Sometimes just having a single advantage to use with concentration can be enough to get the character out of a difficult situation.

Ability

Ability advantages are where a players can really focus their character. Skill advantages tend to be more narrow in their uses than Life advantages but are still relatively broad in their scope. Skills related to the character's role will be usable in many actions.

Other types of abilities such as Environment and Knowledge tend to be static, as are the more powerful abilities often with meta-effects. A good mix gives the character a core of dynamic advantages usable in most actions plus two or three static advantages they can use to boost key actions. This lets the character put together actions using most or all of their potential when circumstances allow it.

Equipment

Whether to spend CP on character equipment advantages is an important decision for a starting character. Unlike life and ability advantages that are restricted by character paths, any equipment advantages the Game Leader allows can be chosen by the player. Character equipment also has three key benefits over mundane equipment. It can be used for Free Resists, used to anticipate with and can be improved above the basic 1d6+0. The downside to equipment is its specialisation making it less usable by the character outside of certain situations. Equipment can also be confiscated or run out of ammunition.

Players should only choose character equipment advantages if the item of equipment defines who they are or plays a major part in their character's focus. A warrior in a fantasy world may chose their armour or their sword as character equipment knowing they will get a lot of use and the benefits of character over mundane equipment will come to the fore. For other types of characters in other settings, particularly in those with little combat, the benefits may not be so clear cut.

Improving Advantages

The minimum any advantage can be is CP 4 / 1d6+0 but they can be improved by spending more CP. This causes a conflict between the player's desire to have a wide range of advantages and the desire to be good at them. It is the trade off between being a generalist and a specialist character. Both approaches are valid and it is down to each player's preference which they take, but extremes should be avoided. A character having only 1d6+0 abilities can seem very flat as everything is the same but a character with just a few advantages with high modifiers can be limiting as they often lack any advantages appropriate for the situation.

Any advantage can be improved, including path advantages, but which should be improved is harder to determine. Increasing the CP and dice of more general Life advantages provides an extra +1 or +2 on lots of actions. Extra CP on Life advantages also makes the character able to take more damage before dying. Ability and character equipment advantages are more limited in their scope but, depending on the character, one or two abilities may be used extremely often. Adding extra CP to these will make the character better at their primary roles.

Narrative Details

Characters are not just a selection of abilities. They have names, a race, a background, family and a financial situation. All these narrative details are left up to the player to create, together with the Game Leader.

Paths and advantages are just the skeleton of the character. Narrative details are the flesh giving the character life, and players should create as much as possible. Details such as height and weight, skin and eye colour, hair styles and favourite brand of aftershave all help the players around the table visualise the character, making the shared world richer.

Narrative details do not have a direct impact on advantages but can come into play when deciding whether an advantage is appropriate. A player with the Distinctive Looks advantage should know what about the character is distinctive. The difference between terrible scars from a fire and stunning good looks is significant and can have a real impact on how the advantage is used.

Group Character Generation

Character generation does not have to be a solitary experience. It can be a communal exercise in which players work together to forge a story that intertwines the individual characters to form a cohesive group. This is particularly useful at the start of a campaign to explain why a diverse band of characters has come to know each other.

Step One: Introduction

The Game Leader will set a starting CP budget for character creation, outline the world in which characters exist and the list of paths players can select from. They will also indicate the starting point of the adventure, such as everyone sitting in a particular tavern or working as crew on a galactic shuttle. The aim for the players in steps two to five is to create a story that ends with their characters at this starting point.

Step Two: Early Years

Going around the table in turn, each player picks one path and a single advantage made available by the path. As they do so, the player should describe the character's early years of life and their family background.

Step Three: Youth

Starting with another player, again go round the table in turn. Each player picks another path and then two of the available advantages from either of their paths. The player should describe the next phase of the character's life, explaining how the character grew up and the skills or abilities they acquired. At this point, the stories of some of the characters should begin to mix as childhood friendships are formed.

Step Four: Working Life

Once again, start with a different player and move around the table. This time, as well as a path, they choose three advantages available to add to their character. As with previous rounds, the player needs to flesh out the advantages with some details of this period in the character's life. They should also ensure that they know one or more of the other characters.

Step Five: Prelude to Adventure

Players now calculate how many character points they have left and use them to round off the character. In this step, the character can acquire additional paths and buy more advantages. They may also improve cards from their base 4 CP / 1d6+0 and acquire any equipment they desire.

As part of this process they should finish off the character's back-story, ensuring that each character knows some or all of the other characters. Each person's history should lead them to be at the starting point for the adventure the Game Leader identified in step one.

Random Paths

To help players move away from stereotypical back-stories an random element can be introduced. Instead of selecting a path at each stage of the group character creation process, two paths are randomly selected and offered to the player who must pick one of these paths for their character. This can help stimulate the imagination as the players have to adapt the character's history to whatever fate has dealt them.

You could leave a comment if you were logged in.
open/mechanics/core/charactercreationmethods.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/10 15:27 by tregenza
Recent changes RSS feed

The 6d6 RPG tabletop store is owned and operated by Chris Tregenza. Who also owns and runs Myomancy, a site about ADD / ADHD medication, Autism and Dyslexia Treatments and also site called Poosk. Chris also provides copy-writing, web design SEO advice to sites like Dingles' Games pathfinder rpg resources.