Character Creation is probably one of my favorite parts of gaming. Wait… What’s that? I said I struggle last time, and second-guess myself. Yup I do, but I really think it is a ton of fun to create a new character, develop them in your mind, and then try to play through as them. It’s difficult to “stay true to character” if you don’t know what that character is all about. It is really easy to break the 4th wall and try to cheat your way around a situation.
I think some of the best moments happen when people stay true to their characters, and do something that’s in-line with their character but may or may not go against the party. Blackmail someone high in society? Sure! Taunt a demi-god into a fight when you’re already up against a baddie? Why not?! Steal gold from a vault protected by a dragon when the City Watch has already warned you that they’ll come after you if they find any missing? It’s perfectly good gold, and we worked hard for it, I’m taking some anyway.
The role-playing (RB) portion of the game is more important for a lot of people than the dice-rolling, spell slinging, sneaky stabbing (Combat) portions. I think they’re about equal, but if I’ve got to pick (I mean I don’t, this is my blog, I’m under no obligation really) I’d pick the RP. I think that’s where some of my favorite and most memorable moments have come from, weird, wacky, wild and funny moments that leave you laughing from game to game.
So, Inda, what’s her deal?
Typically I write up a short story or so to help me define who my character is. Some characters I get really involved with and write a lot of stories. My Victorian England character Alistair Burke has many stories written about him, his sister Annabell and his girlfriend Victoria Ashford. Including origin stories, between game role-playing, and just general writing for fun.
Other characters don’t get as much attention like Comaka the Half-Elf druid. I think I might have been worried to get to attached because we were placing them on a shelf and you never know when you’ll make it back to a character.
I do plan to write a backstory for her, to really clarify who she is and help me figure out how I’m going to play her, but I might as well let you in on that process too. I come up with some real “defining attributes” that I think about for the character, then make up something in their backstory that explains why they feel that way or act that way.
How does a Dark Elf (Drow) from the Underdark end up with a bunch of other people in an Adventuring Party? The Drow are nearly universally feared and hated in society, so how do they end up leaving the Underdark and working with others? Was she born there or somewhere else? If she grew up there did she leave on her own? Was she banished? Was she kidnapped? Was she smuggled out to save her life?
What drives her? She’s a druid, so she’s in touch with nature. How did that happen? Did she always want that? Did she have an encounter that drove her to it? Did she have an archdruid and grove she trained with? Did someone even train her or did she somehow learn on her own?
What’s she like in a social situation? Does she have a bitter hatred toward any non-Drow? How would that work with the rest of the party? Not so hot really… Maybe she suppresses it and just makes snarky comments? Nope, I’ve got a whole pile of snarky characters. Maybe… she doesn’t really get social norms and just says whatever she’s thinking in the moment? That could be fun! Sure, let’s do that!
Based on that, and many more random thoughts bouncing around, I’ve already made changes to her character sheet, including her background. No longer a charlatan, she’s now an Outlander. It better suits my thoughts for who she is and how she’ll behave in game. It just goes to show you that things can constantly change until you’re finally playing! Even then, you might have a generous DM (like I do) that will let you fiddle and fine-tune after a game or two to make sure you’re happy with your character. After all, the whole point of Dungeons and Dragons is that everyone have fun playing.
Look forward to one of my next posts when I give you the backstory in full, a short story of sorts.