deird1: Faith and Wesley, with text "rogue demon hunters" (Faith Wesley rogue demon hunters)
[personal profile] deird1 posting in [community profile] tabletop_rpg
I've always run games with the first session being purely character creation. You spend hours looking over the corebook, going back and forth on benefits, drawbacks, skills, and backstory, all while the GM scurries round monitoring, frantically hoping the group will end up balanced.

You know what? I think I've decided that pre-made, GM-created characters are almost always a better idea.

You can end up with a balanced party, that fits the type of plot, and, as a bonus, it takes all of five minutes for everyone to get to know the characters, before you actually get to start roleplaying! Yay!

I know some people hate playing characters they didn't create, but I really think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Date: 2015-08-05 02:46 pm (UTC)
eleanorjane: The one, the only, Harley Quinn. (Default)
From: [personal profile] eleanorjane
What we've settled with, after 15 years with a fairly stable roster for our small group is: decide in advance on system, scope, game style, "theme" (if any - eg all stealth characters, or a law enforcement campaign, or military characters, or what have you) and any amendments to normal character creation rules (eg starting at a more advantced level, starting over or underpwered compared with normal characters, etc). This stuff is all decided via group SMS and email in advance, guided by the GM of that campaign with questions and suggestions from players until we've got something everyone is keen on.

Then players make up their characters (or the bulk thereof) on their own time before the first game, and email the first draft to the GM. First session is finishing off any character creation details, a one-on-one prelude for each character, and then the initial meeting or in media res starting.

Really, for us, the key part is: the only way we can make sure it's all balanced ahead of time is for a) everyone to agree what they want ("I'm kind of in the mood for something epic and flashy and high-powered this time." "Okay!" "Fine, but can we do gritty street level next time then?" "Sure.") and b) the GM to set the scope. (No stats higher than X, or skills/powers capped at Y, or whatever.) This has historically given us the best results.

Mind you, we're all storytelling/roleplaying/character immersion tragics -- so playing a pregenned character really wouldn't work for us, and the numbers are generally less important than character identity and flavour. I can imagine our approach might not fit so well for a larger group, or for one with more of a mix of story-oriented vs numbercrunchy players.

Date: 2015-08-14 11:24 pm (UTC)
yaysunshine: The silhouette of a girl in a froofy dress holds a bow against a light background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] yaysunshine
Yeah, especially when you're working with crunchier systems, pregens are nice for getting to the playing part waaaay faster, especially when people are new to the system. I've also had pretty good experiences with games (a la Apocalypse World) where character creation gives you a set of options for a particular character type—"pick one", "pick two from these five", etc. It gives players the ability to make the character feel like it's theirs from the get-go, but it also cuts down dramatically on character creation time.

I also know that backstory tends to tie up some players, so I usually give my players the freedom to define parts of their backstory on the fly as dramatically appropriate and supported by things that are already true about their character. (This may not work for all groups and all games, but when it does, it produces some really interesting results.)

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