Creating Characters

Since NASCAR was scheduled for Saturday night this weekend, the plan was to spend Sunday afternoon building characters, take a break while the kids went to a church picnic, then play through the introductory session Sunday night.  As most well laid plans usually go, that is not what happened.

Things got going a little late.  We gathered after lunch, around 1:30pm or so, and started working on characters.  It was a lively session, with questions flying back and forth, and my attention was pulled every which way, trying to answer as many of those questions as possible.  We made good progress in spite of all that, but there was still plenty of details that needed filling in.

The kids went to the picnic, while I tried to gather my thoughts and figure out what had just happened.  During the process of entering the characters into GCA (GURPS Character Assistant), questions starting coming to mind about some of the character details.

Many of the questions centered around the character backgrounds that were presented to me.  Caity wanted her character to be the daughter of a town militia man.  I hadn’t planned on working any PC–NPC relationships into the campaign.  Patti wanted her character to be from a small village, the oldest daughter with three younger brothers, leaving home for some reason or another, presumably for adventure.  Oh, and her character was going to be a pacifist, a vegitarian, and a lover of animals.  I began to realize I had a challenge ahead of me.

Elizabeth’s character was going to be a wood elf who left home to study magic from the humans.  Her elvish magic could only take her so far, and she had a desire for more.  Her character was very shy, and an extreme pacifist, not willing to kill at all.  I was definitely going to have to do something about this.  What good is an adventuring party when half the characters didn’t want to fight?  And being so shy she didn’t want to talk to strangers?  Ugh!

Andy presented me with the most detailed and complex character background of them all.  His character was to be a former member of a town militia (by the way, what’s with PCs wanting to be members of town militias?).  He had been fired through the act of some unknown enemy that was out to get him (inflict harm, kill, etc).  This “enemy” had some how cursed him, changing his personality, making him compulsively reckless and impulsive.  He figured he’d have to find this enemy, eliminate him, then somehow remove the curse.  Well, that whole curse thing had to go.  As written on his character sheet, it was way over priced.  Any curse that can be cured should not give many character points as a disadvantage.  Also, his enemy was supposedly on equal footing (i.e. equal points) as his character.  As his character did not have skills enough to cast a curse, or enough wealth to pay someone else to cast the curse, neither should his enemy.  Bottom line: it was just too complicated for me to try to work it into the story.

So much for running a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, hack and slash campaign.  These players wanted to role-play!  I can be flexible, but some of these character backgrounds needed work, or I would go insane trying to work their stories into the campaign.  Remember, this is the first time ANY of us have played GURPS, and the first time in a very long time I have played an RPG of any sort.  So starting with Caity’s character, I suggested the following changes:

Gilwyn is the daughter of Duncan, the captain of the town watch in Mosport, the town where the adventure will start.  She is the only daughter, her mother having died years ago.  Duncan and Gilwyn have a great relationship.  He has spent time teaching her the art of fighting, so that she may better protect herself against the dangers of the world.  Achilles is Gilwyn’s faithful companion, a dog.  Supposedly Gilwyn has no sense of humor, but that is debatable.  After all, I’ve been told she can occasionally be heard saying, “Achilles, heel!”

Camelia, Patti’s character, is from a small farming community about half a day’s walk from the town of Mosport.  She has three younger brothers who have turned old enough to start helping out on the farm.  Her family has never been wealthy, and she has recently left home to see the world beyond what she knows, and maybe gain some wealth.  While she knows how to defend herself, she will not start a fight, and will only fight back to defend herself or her friends.  She’s quite skilled in the outdoors, and has an affinity with animals, even being able to occasionally speak with them.  This is a skill her family has never understood where it comes from.

Sylvie, played by Elizabeth, is a young wood elf, a mere 167 years old.  She has a love for the forest and the healing arts.  Like most elves, she has an inborn ability to use magic.  She prefers not to fight, but like Camelia, will defend herself and her friends.  She is very shy around those she does not know.  She usually speaks in riddles or allusions, making it difficult for others to understand what she is talking about.

And finally we come to Merral, Andy’s character.  A battle wizard, he comes from a city which employs both soldiers and wizards in the militia.  He chose the latter profession.  He is very curious and impulsive, often living on the edge, while at the same time selfless and charitable.  But Merral has an enemy.  Someone is after him, but he does not know who it is.  This unknown enemy somehow managed to get Merral fired from his position in the city militia, so Merral ran.  He is now far from home, seeking answers and trying to understand who is after him.

Tomorrow we shall finish up the characters, and start playing.

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