Well, I've got a new player in the group who is also new to role-playing. I've been trying to help her figure out what type of character she'd like to play before the Character Creation Session I have planned so I could give her more help than the other players, who've all RP'ed before.
Now I've already lent her the PF Core Rulebook. While chatting with her to see if I could get an idea of what she'd be playing, she told me she didn't really get the "character types." I take this to mean she didn't understand how the Classes function. So, I'm looking for some help.
I need to describe the basic ideas / concepts of the core classes for someone who has never role played before. Examples of well-known characters for each class would be very helpful, too.
Its pretty much doesn't get any simpler than the class descriptions in the Core Rulebook.
Barbarian: The barbarian is a brutal berserker from beyond the edge of civilized lands.
Bard: The bard uses skill and spell alike to bolster his allies, confound his enemies, and build upon his fame.
Cleric: A devout follower of a deity, the cleric can heal wounds, raise the dead, and call down the wrath of the gods.
Druid: The druid is a worshiper of all things natural—a spellcaster, a friend to animals, and a skilled shapechanger.
Fighter: Brave and stalwart, the fighter is a master of all manner of arms and armor.
Monk: A student of martial arts, the monk trains his body to be his greatest weapon and defense.
Paladin: The paladin is the knight in shining armor, a devoted follower of law and good.
Ranger: A tracker and hunter, the ranger is a creature of the wild and of tracking down his favored foes.
Rogue: The rogue is a thief and a scout, an opportunist capable of delivering brutal strikes against unwary foes.
Sorcerer: The spellcasting sorcerer is born with an innate knack for magic and has strange, eldritch powers.
Wizard: The wizard masters magic through constant study that gives him incredible magical power.
I think it would be helpful to ask the player what types of characters she enjoys reading about in fiction. The archetypes are there even in popular TV shows.
Does she like Abby from NCIS? Then she probably wants a character with loads of knowledge skills... which would point to a bard.
Does she like Sabrina the Witch? Well, then a wizard or sorcerer... sorcerer is probably easier for someone new to the game.
Someone fierce and in charge? Ziva from NCIS would be a good example of a ranger or inquisitor.
There are a lot of decisions to make along the way of course, but holding onto the core concept and how she wants to deviate from it should help.
You could also explain a bit about the game and the world and ask how she would get by if she were thrust into it. Take one aspect of herself or her situation in life and extrapolate it. This is how I have come up with some of my favorite and most complex characters.
+1 for dire Hobbit
Don't tell her what a class is about, ask her what she wants, expects of her character, and then tell her about classes that would more or less fit.
You might explan the basics of the world tough. Divine Spells with armor, arcane without. No guns. Supernatural fighters exist (monk).
And that's about it.
Don't put classes in little neat boxes, or your player will never be able to come out of it, or only very very hardly.
I mean if the first thing you get told of the bard is: he's a canny talker who plays music to buff other people, you will never use him for arcane archer or a sherlock holmes kind of type.
Just try not to let her think she should or can recreate a specific person. Altough she can make a sherlock holmes kind of person, she shouldn't try to make Sherlock Holmes, because he had the writer on his side, and she will fail from time to time.