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Ok now, to business! Ladies and Gentleman! I present to you:
JONNY’S SMALL GUIDE FOR CHARACTER CREATION FOR BEGINNERS
This guide is meant to help GM's (and players) on the tasking of building a character for the PC's. This guid is incomplete, so it's here where I ask for your aid in this matter, and I'm open to criticism.
P.D.: NO NEED TO READ THE WHOLE POST, MAYBE JUST READ WHAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN AND COMMENT ON IT (ANY COMMENT IS GREAT HELP).
Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any of the original material quoted from the Pathfinder RPG system.
Ok, now, let's get started...
As often as it is seen when creating a new campaign for beginners, some of those beginners might not have a clue of what they are doing, and sometimes when creating the classes and characters the system of an RPG is so complex that we don’t really leave much agency for the player to decide what they really want to be.
So in the spirit of keeping it simple and more accessible to most players, here is a small guide that might help you aid your players to create a better character that suits them better. This guide also allows a tool that will help the Game Master understand what their players are expecting out of their play session. So strap in and let’s jump into the action!
STEP 1: EXPLAIN THE PREMISE!
Pathfinder RPG is a game about adventure, magic, monsters, and looting with friends! It may have many varied settings; it might be a high fantasy fairy tale full of all kinds of fey creatures, a noble quest bestowed on a group of worthy heroes, the tales of riches and plunder of pirates of the sea, or a grim tale of some foolish adventurers trying to stir the wheel of fate to something other than destruction, among others.
It is important for the player to know what they are going to be playing for them to create their character accordingly, so when explaining what the game you are about to play is about, just keep it simple (that means, not as long as the last paragraph).
To be honest, I’ve never used this phrase (my actual favorite one is, “you wake up beaten and blindfolded in a world unknown”), but that is beside the point. The point is it works! You can extrapolate thousand if not millions of adventures with the “band of adventurers” opening line. You might elaborate a bit more after you’ve given your initial statement, but just remember; SIMPLE = UNDERSTANDABLE
STEP 2: WHAT RACE DO YOU WANT TO BE?
Without frontloading all the information they need to know, present the player with the races they might be able to play with a short description of what makes them special. Additionally, in the description there can be a small space for some of the racial traits of the race. Alternative races are a reward, and players might not know why they want to play them yet.
Dwarf: These short and stocky defenders of mountain fortresses are often seen as stern and humorless. Known for mining the earth’s treasures and crafting magnificent items from ore and gemstones, they have an unrivaled affinity for the bounties of the deep earth. Dwarves also have a tendency toward traditionalism and isolation that sometimes manifests as xenophobia.
Elf: Tall, noble, and often haughty, elves are long-lived and subtle masters of the wilderness. Elves excel in the arcane arts. Often they use their intrinsic link to nature to forge new spells and create wondrous items that, like their creators, seem nearly impervious to the ravages of time. A private and often introverted race, elves can give the impression they are indifferent to the plights of others.
Gnome: Expatriates of the strange land of fey, these small folk have a reputation for flighty and eccentric behavior. Many gnomes are whimsical artisans and tinkers, creating strange devices powered by magic, alchemy, and their quirky imagination. Gnomes have an insatiable need for new experiences that often gets them in trouble.
Half Elf: Often caught between the worlds of their progenitor races, half-elves are a race of both grace and contradiction. Their dual heritage and natural gifts often create brilliant diplomats and peacemakers, but half-elves are often susceptible to an intense and even melancholic isolation, realizing that they are never truly part of elven or human society.
Half Orc: Often fierce and savage, sometimes noble and resolute, half-orcs can manifest the best and worst qualities of their parent races. Many half-orcs struggle to keep their more bestial natures in check in order to epitomize the most heroic values of humanity. Unfortunately, many outsiders see half-orcs as hopeless abominations devoid of civility, if not monsters unworthy of pity or parley.
Halfling: Members of this diminutive race find strength in family, community, and their own innate and seemingly inexhaustible luck. While their fierce curiosity is sometimes at odds with their intrinsic common sense, half lings are eternal optimists and cunning opportunists with an incredible knack for getting out the worst situations.
Human: Ambitious, sometimes heroic, and always confident, humans have an ability to work together toward common goals that makes them a force to be reckoned with. Though short-lived compared to other races, their boundless energy and drive allow them to accomplish much in their brief lifetimes.
STEP 3: WHO ARE YOU?
Making a few simple questions you can help player make the right choices for the character he/she wants to play. Be sure to keep these questions in mind when building the story around your campaign.
(these questions are 1 to 10 questions, then you add 8 to the result and that’s their ability score, or they could be Yes or No questions if you want to roll dice (3d6), and place the higher scores on the abilities marked with a yes).
• Are you strong and muscular?
Preferences and lifestyle questions:
• Are you religious?
Ask and listen
After having answered these questions, ask the player why he/she chose the answers that he/she chose. Don’t judge or try to correct them, just listen and you’ll know a lot more about your players and how you can help them enjoy themselves. Once you get to know the reasons behind their choices, ask them to write a short description about their characters in one or two lines. Tell them they may elaborate later on their character.
Name and appearance
This is also the time to give your player’s character a name, a nickname if it has one, and an appearance. These things are not just to write on a pretty paper and must be taken into account when playing (if possible). Additionally you might give them tools to build a costume portrait of their character, or skip the appearance features all together.
Nerfing / Buffing (you may skip this step)
So, this system gives out the possibility of having an overpowered player, or an underpowered one (the same as rolling dice to be honest) when you roll for the ability scores. To resolve this I have 2 suggestions, the boring one, and the creative.
The boring one is to try to accommodate your player to the 25 point buy system for Pathfinder ability scores. That means doing the math and adding or subtracting points on the abilities with the consent of the player. Let me clarify that while I find this a boring option, I think it is very useful, the problem with it is that you tease the player with the bad taste of what it could have been but isn’t (although sometimes it is necessary if he rolls 18 three times in a row).
The creative one adds more fun to the game! Usually a players is given 2 traits to choose from that will aid him on his quest to greatness. Say you have an underpowered player, add him 1 or 2 traits in addition of the 2 he might already choose. Say you have an overpowered player, and here is where it gets tricky. Add him a “weakness trait”. What’s that? Those don’t exist? Well make them exist, but be fair. I make the weakness bigger or smaller depending on how much I need to nerf the players character. I inspire myself in my own flaws to be honest, and just have a laugh when I see others roll playing it.
(Trait) Allergies: When coming into dusty rooms, or changing drastically of weather, or coming out of the water you have a 5% / 10% / 25% chance of being overcome by a sneezing frenzy that denies stealth checks immediately and gives you a -1 on attack rolls, saves, ability and skill checks.
This way to add a roleplaying aspect to the game and nerf the player in a creative way which can be fun for him and the other players.
Step 4 CHOOSING A CLASS
... ok, it's incomplete, but I'm eager to hear your ideas and suggestions =D
Lots, LOTS of progress in this piece. Won't show it yet, want to finish the papercraft coliseum (yup, papercraft coliseum) and make a video about this campaign. Still here is an important question I would like to ask to you all (it has less to to with challenge, and more with history):
WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY (or activities) OF THE ORC EMPIRE?
Besides having a cool setting, I want to answer this fundamental question for endquest reasons.
Any help would be much Appreciated!
I've been cooking up many things. Once I have this campaign a little bit more fleshed out I'll put a Video on Youtube. All your ideas are being considered, but I won't place in the campaign something I cannot manage. Personally I've considered a way to deal with an early uprising. If in the first few encounters the PC's revel and cause an uprising, they will take control of the dungeons, but not necesarilly be able to escape(the outer traps are still around CR 10, so I don't think they will be able to escape). If they do escape, the Campaign is named "World of Orc" not "World of the Arena", which means they can still experience the gruesome world through out the city... more on this later.
So Tim. Let me begin by saying you are awesome! You nailed it, those are exactly the issues I'm worrying about.
To be a bit more specific about the campaign scenario.
1.- This is a "slave revolt & overthrow" scenario with an open war at the end that might cause a massive orc extintion. The guards are lvl 8 orc fighters, the traps are almost CR 10, so escaping will be posible at one point, just not in the begining.
2.- I want this campaign to FEEL like a "you're lucky if you survive long enough to hit 4th" scenario, without necesarilly being that way. PC's might die and reroll characters, but what I really want is the experience to feel like a "I walked through the valley of the dead, and survived" kinda thing.
3.- I love me some bookworm casters. I won't take away the thrill the casters have from investigating the world. I won't give them cookies for free, but I might leave one or two crums down the way of spells they might learn or ways they could hide that they are studying magic.
4.- PvP... it's awesome, and I would love to see 2 PC's fight to the death. But by the time they hit that mark I want them to know that they can choose not to fight and play their cards right so that they might survive. Martyrs might result from this, but that might be the start of the revellion.
5.- I would rather keep dead people dead bellow level 9, but I would rather not kill players till level 4. I don't want the game to be punishing. I want the deaths to be ACTUALLY REWARDING, not in the sense that you go "I'm gonna kill my character so I can reroll a new one" but in the sense that the final moments of the character where meaningful, even if after death they find only darkness. I want their deaths to shake the world, and I want rerolled character to be acknoledge about the great heroism of X character.
6.- This one was asked by Democratus. There might be one or two times where the PC's enter the arena alone, among other solo events.
Campaign actually starts "In Media Res" a battle. Waking up on a rising platform, chained by the ancles and hands (PC's have to figure this out) with loud shatters in Orc (which nobody knows unless there is a half-orc) surrounded by 8 friendly NPC's which are to scare to fight and assualted by 12 kobolds. After winning (if they do win) they are recieved by an ovation by the NPC's in the dungeons, and then they are subdue by the guards and humiliated, then thrown back to their cells.
I think I need more description to aid you with your question. What do you mean by "more magic oriented". Are you making a campaign where everyone is a wizard or something? Let me make it clear that playing only spellcasters is not easier, infact, it's pretty hard. If everyone is a spellcaster, who takes the hits? With no barbarians, paladins, and fighters, who will face the Siege Owlbear and survive? Without rogues, who will disarm the traps, or do the stealthy bits?
Here is the thing... you don't need to fight an Owlbear or disarm a trap for your campaign to be exciting. You can do away with most forward challenges and place more intelligence or social based challenges in the way.
I playtested TWO mini campaigns where every one was a wizard, and another where everyone was a rogue. They where AWESOME! But I knew ahead of time that the challenges and appeal of this campaign should be different. Not everyone wants to be an infiltrator killing guards and disarming traps while moving like shadows in the night. Not everyone wants to feel like a powerful spellcaster who can shoot rays and summon powerful creatures to the field or conjure powerful magics at will. Some people just want to cleave through kobold heads and take a hit from an ettin to the chest and survive.
Also, if I would've make my rogue clan fight a pack of ogres, I bet they would've died. Or if I made my wizards try to face a hulking monster... well, their flimsy HP would've drained in a second. If a guy wants to swing an axe, don't force him to shoot a ray. Variety is one of the reasons Pathfinder is so great, cause in the heat of the moment, that barbarian cant deal with that charm spell from that evil nymph, and suddenly he is hitting the party with his axe. Who will be there to save us from his low will save?... that is where casters come in!
So I'm making this campaign where Orcs rule the world and the PC's are forced to fight in an arena for entertainment of the orcs. So to survive they have to fight, and afterwards they are thrown back into the dungeons into their cells where most of the social interactions occur.
Thing is, I want my players to feel like they are being challenged with every encounter, but I don't want to set an unbeatable campaign. I just want to make them feel like badasses even though they are trapped in this cruel world. I've never before killed my PC's, so if it happens I want to know how to approach it.
Any help would be much appreciated!
Would you guys help me make a powerful elven race with the lore of the Eladrin from the Wizards of the Coast D&D? Also making a kind of high humans (Kardian) and high dwarfs (Durien or Durian, I'm not sure yet).
It is for a campaing about the begging of time on a long forgotten kingdom that dates before the prehistoric Era. A high racial point build is permited, and might be desired. Coment pls!
Tapir folk sounds awesome =D
If you're not convinced bout mole folk I will eventually do them myself. I mean, think about it, improved claw attack, improved burrow, blind fight, and the lore of the people of the underground, eating gargantuan worms and insects as much as cultivating carrots an potatoes with which they make the best cidre of the land bellow. They may also be slow at movement, but not vulnerable to bright sunlight (moles have skin over there tiny eyes, they literally don't need em).
I'm eventually doing that, and bug folk. Four armed fighter? Yes please =D
I like that dromaeon are unwise and rogue like =DI play mostly rogue, so I appreciate it.
I enjoy the armaka cause I was going to make a similar race myself; Topon or Talpidean(mole-folk).
I suggest the following though. Make the mole-folk and make them share the same language of the armaka. Maybe, terran, I dunno. XD
Also, I would love a full info of the races, sounds like fun =D
I think the title is pretty self explicatory, but just to clarify; I mean to do a campaing where the PCs are dragons. From little whyrmlings to great wyrms and maybe beyond. The monster manual presents many statistics that allready help with this motive, but there is a problem. The CR rating between different dragons varies widely (for example, the red dragon is 3 CR above the black dragon). Needless to say, this presents a problem. I've been trying to solve this via hit die fixes and abillity nerfs, but the balnce is so delicate.
I would really love some light on this matter. Thanx on advance =D
Thanks for your views on this =D
This actually sounds interesnting and complex. I see that good characters have usually 2 or 3 layers of deepness. The outside is the mask, like in this case, being ruthless, the other side is the interior, and I'm not sure which one is the third... but it is out there. Would you have any idea what that third layer may be?
Chief Splinterbone maybe? I'm bad at names really. I usually just steal a name from a pre-existing NPC. I don't care if the NPC I got the name "Silvester Hurren" from was an elven sword dueling instructor, I'm going to name my super-butler Silvester Hurren because I think the name fits well.
Haha XD don't worry, that's a pretty good name =)I might use it =D
I like this ideas a lot =)
Would you have a funny interesting name for the leader of a prehistorical tribe of humans?
So I'm making a campaign that is set on the prehistoric time of the magical land of Kanin. In that Era the troglodytes have a widely expanded set of nations that rule over the world and tame dinosaurs and such, while humans and the other races are isolated in caves and remote islands being tribes man and worshiping the elements. The only humans, elfs, dwarfs, neanderthals and hobbits on the main lands are either slaves, "herd animals" to feed ogres, dragons, and other beasts, or small groups of timid races that dwell in there hideouts.
Thing is, I want to make many interesting NPC's that can help the players feel connected and interested in this world. For example, I want to make a tribesman leader that sends the heroes on a journey to the main land, but I want him to be more that a quest giver.
So I open the discussion; what makes for a good NPC and what for a bad one?
I have an idea, something I've done once in a game and it worked PERFECTLY!! Don't kill the party, ARREST THEM! Bring them to lower than 0 non lethal damage and take them to jail, hand cuff them, and have them try to solve things with cunning or diplomacy.
Well the situation was very different, but the players did steal things from a local business and they where arrested for it. The party waited for the guards to leave the prison a little unguarded, then the sorcerer used charm person on the only guard left, the rogue freed himself and the guard was convinced to let them go. Before leaving the rogue flanked the guard with his own short sword (nice having ranks in sleight of hand I guess), and the rest of the party gave him the finishing touch. After that, they escaped out of the prison. It was pretty funny and it taught the players not to mess with authorities.
Robert Cameron wrote:
What a horrible situation, I feel for you!
Chaotic good you say...
A lawful character procedes with the rules of the society or his faith and believes in mind. A chaotic character makes his own rules.
Dudemeister my friend! you are now regarded as a trusted ally =D
Petty Alchemy wrote:
Stealthy infiltration/sabotage is something that's actually easier to run when there's only one person (since there won't be that fighter/cleric/whoever in heavy armor announcing your presence). There are a lot of adventures where heroes fight as a last resort, and have missions to retrieve information/mess up the production of weapons or whatnot.
I'm listening, would you care give me an example?
So, I'm making a campaing for my girlfriend who has agreed to game with me. She really likes high fantasy, and the world of the magic and fairies, unicorns, potions, nymphs, gnomes, glyphs, and so on. Still, a story to be compelling must have a conflict and a hero. But what will this hero defend if not a beautiful world.
I want to create a world where the pixie faires are born from flowers and halflings tap their feet to bardic music along with forest nymphs that dance to the tone. I know my girlfriend doesn't enjoy bloodshed, but she herself enjoys being the hero (she herself has wrote a fantasy story, where the main characters fend of evil gnomes and kill their leader.)
Might sound cheese to most of you, but still I need your help.
Help me create the story of this world and the "why" it needs defending.
I'll much appreciate it =D
If I may... I study comunications on a foreign country, so context tells me my definition of heroism and yours may differ.
I'm pretty sure if you have two sons law enforcement our views of heroism are drasticly different. So I would appreciate if you elaborate.