One of the things that makes or breaks any story are the characters involved in it, but creating great characters goes beyond individual personalities and delves into the experiences and social contexts of the world that they live in. In short, your characters should be opinionated.
Creating a living world is necessary for characters to be truly vibrant, and one of the best ways to do that is to look at current events and issues that characters are likely to engage themselves with. It is important to remember that in places where there is total agreement there is also little interest to be found: everyone agrees that the invasion of orcs is going to be problematic for the stability and sovereignty of the kingdom in the long run.
One of the major gripes I’ve had as a games reviewer is that a lot of the time games just don’t get a passable story down. The main root cause of this is poor writing, but not necessarily even with regards to the narrative. I’ve seen incredibly complex narratives, such as Dishonored’s, fail not because the core narrative failed but because the characters as individual parts of it did.
Most tabletop games take place in a world where death is a daily or weekly risk; they are glimpses of adventure, action, and risk rather than merely consisting of experiences with safety and security of an organized and regimented society. As such, characters tend to die, and many of these characters will be important. Some are meant to die, and others are not, but there’s a few general rules for the death of player characters that will keep GM’s and players happy. Continue reading
One of the greatest issues that I’ve seen when novices start roleplaying is the fact that they don’t understand some of the basics about creating a character. Most frequently, they’re used to video games or stories that either have very powerful protagonists or even if they’re used to video games that utilize characters similar to those in tabletops (games meant for playing in a cooperative group often take this path), they don’t really know how to create one of these characters from the ground-up in a tabletop system. Continue reading