We’ve all had friends who seem to struggle with creating the perfect character for the next tabletop RPG campaign. And by friends, we mean us. All of us have had those moments where all those ideas for new characters bouncing around in our heads between campaigns just disappear. And the session zero gets closer and closer as you struggle to come up with something.
Happens to everyone. But to some people it seems incredibly crippling. While others who shall remain nameless (Shane) seem to go from brain blocked to “character, done” in a matter of an hour or less. And make epic characters to boot. How?
In this video Braden and Shane go over several strategies they use to take the smallest ideas and spin them into memorable and fun characters for any campaign setting. Make sure to give it a watch before your next session kickoff!
If you need any inspiration at all for helping to think of creative characters that video will help you do it!
A Single Detail Can Turn into a Character!
Trying to figure out way too many details in the beginning often causes overwhelm. That stress from feeling overwhelmed is usually the actual cause of brain fog or the feeling of being blocked.
Find a single detail you like. Maybe this is a feat. An interesting flaw. An odd quirk. A class you’ve always wanted to try out. Instead of trying to pain a portrait just start with a detail and start spinning out from there. Not while staring at the worksheet but make the story and see what that gives you to work with.
Create a “Imagine Being…” Backstory First
Shane’s story of his character Aiden was a great example of this. Imagine a background in-depth and let that dictate everything that follows. It might not be 100% efficient or min-maxed but it gives you the information needed in order to start pulling out details and turning that into important pieces like class, stats, alignment, and traits.
Let the Campaign Help Mold You
Just because you start somewhere doesn’t mean you need to finish there as a class. While not every campaign will have you going through a major evolution, sometimes you will. Just have a starting point and let the first few sessions and what’s taking place help you learn about your own character. You don’t need to be perfect right off the bat!
Just Give It A Shot
Sometimes one detail, one stat, one thought is enough to build an entire character around. Maybe it will be a killer, maybe it won’t. If in doubt and all else fails, just give it a shot.
My favorite character I’ve ever played, and I’ve had some amazing ones, was built from “Well I need a one-stat class because I rolled like utter shit. Bard? Sounds fun, lets try it.”
Everyone involved in that campaign talks non-stop about the character ever since, three years after the campaign ended.
We also have some detailed thoughts on how to roleplay a kenku in 5th Ed.
Or if you’re a true beginner just looking to ease in, take a look at our discussion on the barbarian class vs. fighter class in 5E dnd.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.