Character Creation

I have been part of a gaming group for a while now. If you look to the right of this post, you should see the story archives and you can check out all of the tabletop roleplaying game characters I have made so far in various games. It is the nerdiest thing I have done which is saying a lot because I have attended Magfest and studied Star Trek starship blueprints. I really enjoy the camaraderie of making a story together. We have a great group full of funny and smart people and every session has great story twists. When I first started with them, I bit off more than I could chew with my first character. I created a face man character who would be a negotiator and while I can write that character, I found it hard to actual bring him to life. It was my trial by fire and I almost quit entirely because of it.

Pretty close to my disastrous first try at tabletop gaming.

Since then, I have created a soldier, a mechanic, a detective and a doctor. Lately, I have created a pretty vicious barbarian. I was thinking about my character creation process and I thought I would write a little about it because it is a really fun process. First, I read through the backstory and the setting of whatever campaign we are heading into. Everybody running a game so far has been really good about providing a good starting point for creating a character. Some of them were homebrewed and some of them were written by game companies but all of them provided all of the necessary background info. Plunging into a setting written by somebody else is really fun as I think of what position I want to take in it.

Both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar informed the movement and look of Bron in my mind.

For me, a character usually starts when some image sparks in my mind. Often, that image will give me the feeling of the character and maybe a mental movie. This is actually really similar to how my flash fiction on this site works. When I was reading the player’s handbook for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons, I was thinking about the origins of a half-orc barbarian. I thought about how tough it would be to grow up in a tribe where you were different from everybody else. I thought about how my character would have to fight every day to prove his physical superiority just to survive. That brought up the image in my head of Roman Reigns. A while back he had a catchphrase of “One vs. All” which really resonated with where I wanted the character to go. In his origin, Bron literally takes on several members of his former tribe alone without standing down. He will not give up especially when he has been enraged.

Sorry headphones user.

When I was filling out the alignment section of the character sheet, I got tripped up on the fact that orcs are inherently evil and half-orcs feel the call of the orc’s evil god in their blood. The phrase “I do what I want” popped into my head. I knew I would be joining a team of adventurers but my character had been nearly killed by the last team he had been a part of. I thought of Braun Strowman stating that instead of being on Team Raw, he was on Team Strowman. My character may be working alongside do-gooders but he is really looking for a good challenge. On any given day, he has bad intentions but those bad intentions are often focused on bad guys rather than good guys.

I turned this guy into an engineer and a drug addict. Fun!

Finally, it was time to figure out a name for the new character. For some reason, I got roundly mocked for naming my first tabletop gaming character Lionel which was the name of a guy I had known previously. My second character had the more generic name of James Garen. About that time, I participated in a forum version of D&D and created a character named Sabin which started a new tradition. Sabin was named after Chris Sabin, a veteran pro-wrestler (who got his stage name from the Final Fantast character). Phillip Brooks was named after the real name of CM Punk, a character who inspired his creation. Dean Wyatt was named after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, foreshadowing the character’s mental illness. Felix Graham is an exception as his name was created from a Harry Potter potion and the hero of the King’s Quest games. I returned to the tradition by naming my new Barbarian Bron.

I’m sure the party is going to get along well.

Of course, the final part of character creation is getting through the first session. As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” This is relevant both figuratively and literally for each character I have created. I can post character biographies or short stories on my blog all I want but at the end of the day, my character needs to integrate into the larger collaborative story. I left Bron’s origin open-ended because I was not sure how he would meet up with the heroes. When I arrived, the Dungeon Master gave me the idea that Bron was a bouncer at the tavern which was the starting point of the adventure. This subtly altered how I saw the character which sparked more ideas. In addition, Bron is now working alongside people who annoy the crap out of him. More than that, he is fighting alongside a cleric who actively hates him for what he is. Only time will tell if Bron will snap and actually fight with his so-called comrades or maybe he will grow to respect them somewhat.

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