So Many Characters, So Few Campaigns


Advice

Radiant Oath

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With the recent arrival of the latest round of books (especially Knights of Lastwall, which I'm still over the moon about!), I've found myself in a familiar, kind of frustrating situation: A while back I'd had some discussion with you fine folks here about making effective characters that branched off into a a discussion of meta-knowledge about APs for character creation, and honestly this feels like kind of the opposite issue. I'm getting a BUNCH of cool ideas for characters, but the APs that we currently have (for 2e) don't feel like good fits for them. And when recruitments for other, non-AP, games happen, I'm feeling like it's better to start from scratch with something tailored to the GM's proposal, rather than try to shoehorn something that might not fit thematically. So where does that leave me?

Grand Archive

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The same place that you, I, and many others are in, concieving of many characters that will not see the light of day.


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I simply don't understand the appeal of characters 'fitting' campaign. And even barely understand the concept (apart from obvious blasters among spells, but even that is the base of some settings). If characters 'don't fit' it's their problem, not mine, now they have to make this work somehow. :)

Scarab Sages

Are your premade characters more mechanical, like a lizardfolk cleric-champion, or more narrative, like an elf demon hunter whose goalis to kill Treerazer?

Radiant Oath

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Errenor wrote:
I simply don't understand the appeal of characters 'fitting' campaign. And even barely understand the concept (apart from obvious blasters among spells, but even that is the base of some settings). If characters 'don't fit' it's their problem, not mine, now they have to make this work somehow. :)

It makes my BA in English Lit brain do the good chemicals when a character I play clicks seamlessly into the GM's narrative, enhancing the strength of both and the resulting story.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Are your premade characters more mechanical, like a lizardfolk cleric-champion, or more narrative, like an elf demon hunter whose goalis to kill Treerazer?

A little bit of both. Some are like "Wyrmblessed Sorcerer with Lightning abilities multiclassed with Champion" while others are like "Arclord of Nex Magus/Redeemer of Nethys who wants to push the nation to stop basking in Nex's reflected glory and pursuing his old, petty ambitions at the expense of normal people, as well as promoting responsible magic use and fighting villains who use magic to cause suffering and harm" or "Half-Elf Dwarf Druid-Alchemist who worships Cayden Cailean educating others on responsible agriculture, viniculture and apiculture practices to make magic and alchemically-infused alcoholic beverages to share with his community and friends."


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


It makes my BA in English Lit brain do the good chemicals when a character I play clicks seamlessly into the GM's narrative, enhancing the strength of both and the resulting story.

While not all of us BA's it's understandable. :) But there are different stories. For example about complete aliens (mentally or even physically, Golarion definitely allows for that), about malajusted or awkward people or simply people got in the wrong place at the wrong time. And these stories could be good or even great. Do such characters still 'fit' the narrative? If yes, what's the difference between 'fit' and 'unfit'?


In the rare occurrence that I actually play vs GM I choose not to make a character until I am given info from the GM who will be running the game and can ask questions.

I make mechanical characters too as a GM but I separate the mechanics from thematics in that case as I don't ever plan to play them, they are just synergistic tests.

As a GM I generally prefer people come to session 0 without ideas of who they want to play and approach the session 0 as a reason to garner inspiration from the material they are given and the ideas the party has settled on as a group.

Not saying either approach is the right one, just sharing my personal ideals.


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Errenor wrote:
I simply don't understand the appeal of characters 'fitting' campaign.

Because some people don't find it fun to build a full plate wearing, Dex +0 knight and then show up to a campaign designed around stealth and subterfuge. Or build a gunslinger when the premise of the campaign is survival and you wash up on the shore of a jungle with no equipment. Or a champion/paladin when the campaign is rogues working their way up the ladder to take over the guild.

There is a time and place for fitting a campaign.

Grand Archive

I feel pretty confident saying that building a lot of characters improves system mastery. Improved system mastery enhances future built characters. So, building characters that don't see the light of day, is not for naught.


Errenor wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


It makes my BA in English Lit brain do the good chemicals when a character I play clicks seamlessly into the GM's narrative, enhancing the strength of both and the resulting story.
While not all of us BA's it's understandable. :) But there are different stories. For example about complete aliens (mentally or even physically, Golarion definitely allows for that), about malajusted or awkward people or simply people got in the wrong place at the wrong time. And these stories could be good or even great. Do such characters still 'fit' the narrative? If yes, what's the difference between 'fit' and 'unfit'?

No, these characters don't fit the narrative unless the GM makes a specific work for them to do so.

And some players are fine with that. I know that personally if I ever bring a character who doesn't fit the narrative my pleasure will be vastly reduced, even to the point of switching character sometimes.
On the other hand, a character who really fits the narrative can be extremely satisfying to play.


I usually don't care about if a char or not fit the narrative in the convencional way. I think this is a player's work to choose what's the char background, story, and all it's characteristics and a way to fit in narrative.

OK I still require the he/she explain how and why his/her char ended in a caravan in direction of Plaguestone or why he/his come Breachill as a hero candidate. But I don't restrict if he/she is a human/poppet/skeleton that comes from another world or whatever. It's a TRPG and the char is a full choice and control of the player that can do watever he/she wants inside the rules and without offending any player.

Off course there are some consequences of choose more rare and exotic characteristcs like how some NPCs could react to such creatures in a scenario where they are rare but yet I don't restrict them.

In a multi-plane multiverse where the earth also exists and Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova is the queen of Irrisen and androids walks over Numeria I have little reason to restrict something.

Silver Crusade

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I definitely want a character that fits the theme of the campaign or knowingly breaks it.

To take Quest for the Frozen Flame as an example I'd find it fun to play a character that was born into the following OR a character that was deliberately designed from the outset to be an outsider (eg, a rich noble fop from some civilized land). But, in either case, I'd want to make a character that the other characters would value and would adventure with for reasons OTHER than "enforced PC bonding". I do NOT want the other people at the table (players or characters) to be constantly going "Why are we putting up with this s*$#e?")

Radiant Oath

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Errenor wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


It makes my BA in English Lit brain do the good chemicals when a character I play clicks seamlessly into the GM's narrative, enhancing the strength of both and the resulting story.
While not all of us BA's it's understandable. :) But there are different stories. For example about complete aliens (mentally or even physically, Golarion definitely allows for that), about malajusted or awkward people or simply people got in the wrong place at the wrong time. And these stories could be good or even great. Do such characters still 'fit' the narrative? If yes, what's the difference between 'fit' and 'unfit'?

I agree, PCs who are swept up the events of the story without strong initial connections to it can be compelling too, but I feel like if a party is made up of JUST those kinds of characters it can set up a situation where the players decide "Why are we even getting involved with this? We could just abandon this arc, leave and go do something else." So I try to make PCs who DO have connections to the narrative, to act as an anchor for the party. In a party of kitsune sorcerers, leshy gunslingers and android barbarians from all corners of the globe that just happened to be in the neighborhood when the story started, I play the plain old half-elf or dwarf cleric or champion that's grown up there and thus has some reason to want to be there instead of moving on.

pauljathome wrote:

I definitely want a character that fits the theme of the campaign or knowingly breaks it.

To take Quest for the Frozen Flame as an example I'd find it fun to play a character that was born into the following OR a character that was deliberately designed from the outset to be an outsider (eg, a rich noble fop from some civilized land). But, in either case, I'd want to make a character that the other characters would value and would adventure with for reasons OTHER than "enforced PC bonding". I do NOT want the other people at the table (players or characters) to be constantly going "Why are we putting up with this s#!@e?")

Exactly! In fact, there's at least one background for QftFF specifically written with that kind of character in mind (Ex-Mendevian Crusader). That's in fact the one I find most compelling out of the backgrounds offered.

It's just that I find a lot of players tend to want to play "break the theme" kinds of characters to the point you wind up with a party full of them and it feels way too "gamey" than "story-like" to the point where I feel I have to play something more plain just to balance it out.

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