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Narrative-Focused Character Creation • 2016 supplement

Liz Sander • lizsander.com

Create characters by taking turns to tell stories, and fill in mechanical details at the end of the session. On their turn, a player proposes a character, with a sentence or two for a basic character concept (“Brin the elf dresses roughly, despite her family’s wealth.”). The player then suggests a question or story. The goal is to connect player to character and character to world, so it doesn’t have to be serious or plot-related (“What is the worst argument Brin had with her parents?”, or “Let’s talk about the time Brin outdrank a minotaur!”).
Then role-play the scenario, with other players as NPCs, and the GM describing the setting and keeping the story moving. Try to interweave earlier characters into later characters’ stories. The GM can also get a turn to flesh out campaign NPCs like the tavern keeper. 5-15 minutes is a good time frame, so that each player can have multiple chances to propose characters. If a player really likes a previous character, they can suggest a new story about them. After everyone gets a few turns, players choose their favorite character and give them stats. The GM can use “reject” characters as campaign NPCs.

Author Comments (if any)

The goal of this supplement is to draw players into the world and their characters from the very beginning of a campaign. Thanks to Jeremy Green, Darcy Ross, and Brian Crucitti for ideas and helpful conversations.

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