CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Behind the Curtain

My Process for Random Roll Background
Last week someone on reddit asked me about my process in making determinations for what I’m going to do with my randomly rolled characters. In the Friday write-ups I mostly just focus on the background with an occasional notation on a trait or feat that the character intends on taking, but little more than that. So for this week’s article I’m going to really go over how I come up with the backgrounds for these random characters.

To show the process I have I will use last week’s character as an example. You can find the random rolls here and the finished background here. My work begins with determining what class the character might choose. The problem is that as I write, things might take shape that I wasn’t thinking about, so I begin by narrowing it down. Including occult classes and alternate classes – like antipaladin and samurai – there are 39 classes, so this can be a chore.

Taking a look at the stats we have two high, charisma and dexterity, one above average, strength, and the other three at average. This made the narrowing down a bit easier. To begin the process I removed classes where the stats just wouldn’t make a good fit. Eleven for both wisdom and intelligence took most arcane and divine casting classes out of the running from the get-go. The constitution of ten meant being a Barbarian or a Kineticist was right out. Lastly, Gunslinger uses wisdom to determine grit, taking that class out of the running.

Next we had to look at non-stat game elements. Being chaotic good meant that we could get rid of a few alignment dependent classes, so Monk, Paladin, and Anti-Paladin were out too. Worshiping a god of athletics I decided that I wasn’t feeling any of the other casting class including Bard, Skald, and the occult classes. Hailing from Numeria I decided against the oriental themed classes as well. And finally I just didn’t see Vigilante as working here so I crossed that off the list.

Heading into researching other portions of the character I’m left with seven classes: Brawler, Cavalier, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Slayer, and Swashbuckler. Then I head to my three biggest resources; the PFSRD, Archives of Nethys, and the Pathfinderwiki. I start by looking up catfolk on the wiki. There’s very little there except that they are most often found in Garund. This doesn’t help me because this character is from Numeria, specifically from a catfolk settlement in the Land of Fallen Stars. That left me having to make up quite a bit, which is fine. Not every avenue of research will produce fruit.

From the background information alone I have some ideas. Catfolk are mostly tribal, so even though these ones have settled they’ll have some tribal customs. I needed a way to have the character worship the Empyreal Lord Marishi so I worked in the idea that prominent members of the tribe had their own gods. To add to this, and work in the aspect of a pariah as a mentor, I added the idea of god-talkers; Oracles who would reach out into the beyond and find a tribesman’s personal god.

That leaves a lot of information to be worked in; the betrayal by a close friend or family member and the reputation or fame seeking drawback. Since his family are peasants I figured it might be another family member looking to rise above their rank. To give this family member a reason to betray him I also gave him a rival. I tied that all together by having the older sister being pursued by the rival and her turning in her brother for breaking the taboo of having a personal god to better ingratiate herself to her suitor.

This all worked out well but I was still missing something. I needed to really hammer home the class I was going to go with.  By this point I had kind of narrowed it even further to Cavalier, Fighter, and Swashbuckler but I need a reason to pick one of those classes. Looking at the cavalier listing on the PFSRD I found the thing that cemented that as a choice, the Order of the Cockatrice. This really connected with reputation and/or fame aspect of the random rolls.

It was a toss-up between Cavalier and Swashbuckler and it was a hard choice. But then when I was looking through the archetypes I came across the Daring Champion. I could effectively have my cake and eat it too, so everything fell right into place.

Even though I don’t post a lot of the rules options for the character I write, I do research them while writing. Referencing back to the catfolk entry in the wiki I was reminded that the Blood of Beasts book had come out and I decided to look and see if it had more on catfolk. The first thing that jumped out was the feat Graceful Athlete, seeing as he is more dexterous than strong, I knew that he had to have this feat. The second feat listed was Mobile Acrobat and I thought this two would work out great for the character.

Lastly, there was one bit I was considering, but it would have to be approved by a GM. There is a prestige class that fits this character to a tee; The Darechaser. The only problem is that it is specifically for worshipers of the god Kurgess. Personally I think it fits in nicely with Marishi as well – seeing as the two have similar portfolios – but again it would need to be approved.

And there you have it, that’s how I put together one of my randomly rolled characters into a fully realized background. How do you piece together random rolls? What process do you use to research a randomly rolled, or any character really? How much do mechanics reflect how you  write your background?

Hopefully a peek into my thought process will give you some ideas for the next character you build. If you find the CRB helpful in your gaming life, please consider supporting this endeavor. A pledge of as little as one dollar a month on Patreon, or a onetime donation to my paypal can help keep the lights on while I concentrate on producing new content for you.

The CRB has been growing as a community on social media. Please join us on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter, and my inbox is open on all forums for questions, comments, and discussion. And if you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to get the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions through Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment