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The Book of Hanz

Character Creation Musings

So, I've done character creation a bit. Mostly because I force my players through it for one-shots, since those often end up as a sales pitch for the game as a whole.

Anyway.

Through doing character creation, I've noticed that there are some things that are very quick, and some things that aren't. I've also noticed that some things are very valuable, and some things less so. Annoyingly, many of the things that are less useful are also the things that take the longest.

I've decided that I like scoping out the "First Adventure" phase as "your first spotlight episode". It seems to help players in coming up with stories (antagonists, etc.) rather than vignettes for their first adventures. It also eases some of the time issues that I've had occur. A nice side bonus of this is it gives me a pretty good idea of what the players think an episode/minor arc should look like! I don't see a lot of problems with this, except that it leaves out the possibilities for stuff that occurred before the "series starts". Luckily, that's handled well by...

I add the Early Life and Turning Point phases back in. I think it was Ryan Macklin that suggested this, and I think it's a great idea.

Of course, this only really works if you decouple aspects from phases, so that's a given. Fortunately, one of the low-benefit, high-cost areas that I see is defining aspects at character creation. At this point, the character is usually being felt out, and I always give the go-ahead for massive aspect modification after the first few session. So, if I'm going to do that, why not just allow for FAE-style aspect creation on the fly?

Same with stunts. Stunts have been the highest-cost, lowest-value part of character creation that I've seen from day one, so I've switched to FAE style, on-the-fly stunt creation. If people have stunts that they know they want at the start, that's fine of course.

I also only really ask that players fill in the top three skills, though I find that generally they do the entire pyramid.

Procedurally, I think this will go something like:

  1. Go around the table, come up with High Concept
  2. Go around the table, come up with Trouble
  3. Go around the table, do early life/turning point as appropriate
  4. Go around the table, do first spotlight episode
  5. Go around the table, do first crossing paths
  6. Go around the table, do second crossing paths
  7. Opportunity for people to write down aspects if they choose and get input
  8. Individually write down your top three skills and stunts as appropriate

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