Ravyn Freewrites: Learning to Love the Character Sheet

Yesterday, I started riffing on the difficulty I have with character generation and the problems it poses. Today, I’m going to think about how I can fix it for myself.

First off, the difficulty of finding a concept—I’m going to talk to people. Earlier. And make sure I’m talking to them throughout the process. Granted, in earlier times this has mostly taken the form of griping, but I should be fine if I never get to the bits I usually gripe about, and feedback has always helped. A lot. Maybe see if we can do design as a group, just to keep everyone on the same page so the frustration at my speed doesn’t hamstring me.

I think one of the causes may stem from one of the first serious games I played in, in which my character’s inability to be particularly useful to a situation that wasn’t a fight (and sometimes even then) was something of a running joke. She was designed as a spy and blackmail artist, able to get into and out of almost everywhere, unseen, with the information she needed in her possession and the documents she’d raided right back where she found them. Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly relevant in that particular game, and being multilingual was rarely particularly helpful because the talky-people were standing right there. Avoiding that became something of a priority, which could explain my run of generalists. But if I find something that is necessary early on, it’s not going to be a threat.

Reading over the book! In systems where I’m overly familiar with the rules, I might not get any ideas because I feel like I’ve done everything I’ve found interesting. In ones where I’m not, there’s bound to be some mechanic with my name on it. Mostly, I’ve been reluctant to do this due to the other pressures on my time, but worrying about a build with no good ideas takes longer.

I might also see if my GM would let me come with a semi-incomplete build and clear notes on what I still haven’t used yet and what sorts of things I was thinking of. Sort of to see what’s necessary: “Hey, can I commit these two points to this skill?” Admittedly, that’s got the potential to be somewhat broken in the beginning, until the character’s settled in, but it does at least allow for figuring out whether it makes sense for her to actually have this skill or take this approach. And that way, it at least means I’m not committing to not having certain abilities I know it makes sense for them to have until I’ve had a little time to start racking up XP. Certainly, something similar worked with Aisling and her “I’m going to take a Compel on this, I’ll get the Aspect to you by next session” tendencies in the first part of the game.

If what’s worrying me is that the character doesn’t have enough dimension yet, it might make sense to pester the GM for a couple of scenarios that would fit with the world (if not necessarily the storyline) to give myself a chance to see if I fit in the character’s skin.

It’s all worth a shot.

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