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Have you ever lost that 'spark' for creating characters?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I used to get a lot of fun just out of creating characters, not even playing them. I would make at least a character a week with archetypes or abilities I hadn't used before, a background based on one of my own settings, or Golarion, or any number of other settings. Recently I seem to have lost that spark in creating characters, I find myself staring blankly at the Pathfinder srd trying to get some inspiration, but it is nowhere to be found. It's sad really.


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

It waxes and wanes for me.

Have you considered whipping up some characters using different rules or a different setting? Not all rulesets lend themselves equally well to all concepts.


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Since I only VERY rarely get the chance to be a player, I love making a new character. But since I'm the GM 99% of the time I find myself getting burned out making NPCs and Bosses for the final battles.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Have you tried looking at some 3rd party supplements to see if they give you some fresh ideas?

I will admit that I fall into the same group as Cal. I have tons of ideas for characters since I normally make tons of NPCs and bosses, or fiddle around with monsters.

Oh, interesting race/class stuff, check out Rite Publishing's In the Company of... line. If you see one you like, send me a PM and I'll get it for you. I'm partial to the Fey and Angel, but really any of them are cool.


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Get that spark back by flipping through real books when you make your character!


I find that ultimate campaigns character creation system really helps when I want to get down to business, but I'm far more likely to think character concepts up and not build them until we're about to play.

Like oh Warpriest of Gorum with these feats can do some cool things with Vital strike, then that's it. The idea is there but unless I decide to play it when I show up to the new game, it sits on the shelf.


I haven't felt the desire to make a new character for a very long time. Mayhaps a short break from the game will bring the spark back, burnout does happen you know.


i usually go and make 5-20 pc conepts at a time then take a break for a few months from making pc ideas and then make some more a few months later only problem is then i have to many pc ideas for what to play and its difficult to pick and choose


Perspicacious Wanderer wrote:
Recently I seem to have lost that spark in creating characters, I find myself staring blankly at the Pathfinder srd trying to get some inspiration, but it is nowhere to be found. It's sad really.

Well, that's a common thing when you work creatively. Don't restrict yourself to the SRD - books were already mentioned by Brother Fen, but technically anything can work as inspiration. A song, a dog in the park, the way your clothing is sorted, whatever. Diving into fantasy material might be still more fruitful, though.

And don't try to enforce it. A week without a new character is still a week you can use for a lot of other things.


depends completely on mood and whether I'm depressed or not. or whether I have a concept that strikes my fancy.

I can either be rather creative, exploring the possibilities of this concept or that, or completely lost between equally (un) attractive concepts, or even loster because there's nothing that I feel like playing.

Then again, if I really feel like making a new character, while I'm already playing, it's a bad thing, it means that for some reason, I'm fed up with my current char, or the game he's playing in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It happens. It's been almost a month for me; I've been through longer stretches, as well.

As others have already said, there's nothing wrong with taking a break. Look at other systems, read some novels, watch some movies, or even do something completely unrelated to RPGs. Eventually, something will trigger the creativity again.


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Just take a break. Not a big deal.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do you ever actually get to play any of your characters? I find that that is what gets me interested in making new characters, whether to find better ways to build the character I have or to plan for characters in future games. I know that I built very few characters during the 3rd edition era precisely because I did not have a gaming group to play them in.


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Try not to create characters solo. Spin out your ideas with friends, preferably in real time.
At the very least you will get some feedback on whether you have managed to break past Clever and gotten into Interesting.

If you are GMing, trying to focus on the story first can help.
If you are playing, definitely talk with the GM.
Either way, it is easier to create when you aren't in a vacuum.

Read books, watch movies, kick back in a public place and listen to people. My only really fully realized evil PC was created after listening to a couple ruthless executroids in San Francisco in 1980.

Looking for ideas outside of your chosen genres is often helpful.

You also need to decide if gaming is currently worth the effort and resources for you.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you are in a current campaign, all you really need is a replacement for your current character in the event that something happens to him, or a new character for your next campaign in the event that the current one is wrapping up. Anything beyond that is strictly for your own amusement and thus should be done only as long as it remains fun.


David knott 242 wrote:

Do you ever actually get to play any of your characters? I find that that is what gets me interested in making new characters, whether to find better ways to build the character I have or to plan for characters in future games. I know that I built very few characters during the 3rd edition era precisely because I did not have a gaming group to play them in.

Actually playing the char can be a secondary factor... I know I've converted some of my old chars from AD&D to PF and I have no hope of ever playing them again, and I like creating characters in D&D4 just to play with the mechanics...


Cole Deschain wrote:
Have you considered whipping up some characters using different rules or a different setting? Not all rulesets lend themselves equally well to all concepts.

QFT. I loved writing up PCs in the early 00's -- in fact at one point we had a fan-run NPC database that I helped curate. But little by little I burned out on the system's chargen minigame, until I more or less lost all interest in chargenning for its own sake.

It wasn't just the 3.0/.5 ruleset, it's D&D (and PF), with all of its legacy quirks and arbitrary restrictions. Other folks seem to not mind or even enjoy these oddities, but they gradually sucked all the fun out of chargen for me. 4e is better in this regard, but there are still a few oddities here and there.


Maybe you could try to come up with a list of very silly characters or some based on obscure characters from books, movies, etc. People might really hate a Drizzt clone, but most folks will think a PC based partially on Monk Lu from the kung-fu flick "All Men Are Brothers" is pretty original since few folks have seen that. Elric from the Stormbringer books might be a little too well known or not depending on your gaming group, but you probably know about some characters not all your friends are familiar with - go ahead and plagiarize a little.

I'll also base PCs loosely on real people like actors and musicians. I guess the question of "What would that person or character be like as a PC?" can generate some ideas. Maybe you could make a Bard or Skald who is nearly unintelligible when he's talking rather than singing and once bit the head off a bat.

Sometimes the personality of the character can be more important than the genre. For instance, in the movie "Your Highness", Danny McBride played a fantasy character who acted a lot like Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Down (who is a baseball player). If you decide to be one of Joe Pesci's movie characters but in a fantasy game that could work too. I have a halfling NPC named Harold Balzano (aka Harry Balz) who some people find amusing.


I'm feeling a bit burned out myself and our current AP has been a bloodbath. I'm on my third character by level 6 and REALLY need to have a backup in mind.

However something about the bazillion feats and game mastery needed in Pathfinder... just sucks the fun out of making characters for me anymore. I prefer to focus on the background and personality of characters rather than the nuts and bolts that make them work in this system.

Shadow Lodge

Some thoughts on this--

1) Think about race as a factor, I.e. don't pick a class, look at race and think a bit about what it is like.

For example, I have a culturally ulfen half elf who was a replacement character in Reign of Winter. He's 110 years old and about to become a great great grandfather when he left. He was basically loosing connection to his children who were dying of old age, his wife was 20 years dead and the next generation was increasingly remote.
His wife had been an (originally) captive winter witch, and so he decided to cross the border and see the land she had come from.

His granddaughter (another replacement PC) had inherited all the half elf genes, had her grandmother's talent for magic is making her feel like an outsider and so, she went with him.

2)Read-- I once read a line "don't eat anyone after you introduce yourself to them" my half orc Alchemist barbeque chef came from that.

3)Pick a piece of setting or a module. Did a pfs character who was in the crowd in the PFS Scenario "Among the Living". That's where Zypus noticed her, and it changed her life. What is it like to grow up in Falcon's Hollow or Whitethrone of Cheliax or a temple of Sheyln or whatever.

4)Translate a rw "type" into Golarion. My Stoner druid is totally into this.


As the constant GM, I rarely ever get to be a player. But I have lost that spark for creating important NPCs for games from time to time. It took me a week to create the king in part of my homebrew setting, though it was necessary as he is in love with one of the PCs and she likewise. I now have to do the same for the king's chief of the king's militia (which is different from the standard city watch) for the same reason, he and one of the PCs are in a relationship. It takes me forever to create a character that I want to be just right, and sometimes it's a tough chore to undertake.


I'd have to say no.
But then I also don't just sit around making characters as a hobby, or to fiddle with the rules.

As a player? I only create a new character as needed. This takes me about a week, with most of that time spent pondering non-mechanical aspects.

As a DM? When I create the npcs I need, I start with the non-mechanical stuff. Like creating a character for a book. Then I fill in the mechanical details as I need them. them


I actually have the opposite problem.
I need to STOP making new chars. 70 PFS chars is enough. Really. Really...

Which, I suppose is not very helpful for you, so...

How do you / did you normally come up with inspirations for your characters before you lost that "spark"?

- did you come up with the mechanics and what you wanted to accomplish with the character first? (ex. "I want a reach cleric that can also be a party face")

- or a cool backstory (ex. "man, wouldn't it be interesting to play someone who grew up in a Red Mantis safe house"...)

- or just an image or a line you wanted to exploit? (ex. "this pig farmer miniature is AWESOME, obviously I need a pig farmer pathfinder!")

- or maybe you like to play with characters that reverse common tropes or expectations? (ex. "obviously Erastil is down with poly, that's a LOT of potential family")

- or were you just trying to fill a missing role in the party? (ex. "Sneaky McMurderFace, Jr. just bit it and we're not even halfway through the Hall of Every Floor Tile is Trapped - guess I need to bring in a Rogue")

Whichever you were using, I recommend trying to spin a character using a different method and see if that helps bring back some of the fun and the "spark".


I only get to actually play 10% of my created characters, which puts out of the mood as well.
I can't make mediocre characters or something that I'm not absolutely sure that I want to play. So I've gotten picky and don't create as wild and crazy stuff as I used to do.

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