Dynamic Character Creation

Character creation is an over-important yet underutilized section of gameplay. It’s where you make the most pressing choices for your gameplay, yet only few games actually try to make the act of creating a character interesting. Rather, it works as a barrier of entry, a puzzle to solve before you can play the game.

Interestingly, I would say that often play is deterministic of your character creation, because it also shows what you emphasize in the game even before the players get anything to compare it with. This also makes it important to understand your spheres of gameplay, because if you don’t understand them and create mechanics and player materials willy-nilly, the players are going to leave the character creation with strong preconceived notions about the game’s functionality.

I think making your character creation dynamic is the way to go. I understand that some people have a strong burning sensation to create their characters in full before the game, but making the act of creating a character a part of the game is a thing that ultimately will pay off.

Dynamic Character Creation

Creating characters dynamically out of nowhere can sound like an arduous task. But if you streamline your game to a point where this character creation mid-play possible without too many interruptions for reading paragraphs of text from the rulebook and stopping the action on its tracks, you can do it. My example is thus.

Imagine starting the game at downtime. Instead of starting with action right away, you start with explaining the relatively normal lives of the characters. The players will answer to simple questions to what they’re doing during their days, and they decide what features their characters will gain in accordance for this. This goes on until all the players have decided enough features for themselves, and the game starts with some factor that disrupts their normal life. If a player is struggling with the features they would gain from actions, others can give them suggestions for it.

Doesn’t sound that difficult anymore, does it? If the game is streamlined enough and the players have thought about their character concepts, this can be a working method for creating and introducing characters to each other. Players can also predetermine their characters by choosing the traits ahead of time, making the process even more painless.