Thursday, November 21, 2013

The NPC progession & character creation

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy bringing old characters (mine or others) back to life in the form of NPC's in my games. This way the back story that I or a friend originally created can live on or evolve into something new.

The Pathfinder game that I'm working on will be no exception... but it will take some serious work on my part to bring back some of my favorite characters into a fantasy setting.

Since about 1997, I've primarily focused of playing or storytelling White Wolf's World of Darkness games. Most of these games have been in a modern setting. While many of the character concepts can be easily translated to a fantasy realm, there are those that will just not do like the hacker character that I've re-envisioned from a ghoul in a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP to a house-bound Glass Walker for Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Although it could be done with some serious tweaking of the concept, I'm just going to let it go as there are a plethora of other characters I can use.

I'm planning on spreading these NPC's out across the land, but I'm sure that there will possibly be 1 of them that will travel with the players depending on if there's a major gap in the parties needs.

So that got me thinking about character creation. I'm actually considering the first session of the game to bring everyone together to create their characters at one time. This way, we could try and strategically craft each character to fill the roles for the party. I've done this a couple of times before with the mortal campaign, and it seemed to work well.

For those ST/DM/GM's that allow players to have technology at the game table, how do you regulate players from being distracted by going online? I'm torn on technology at game for a number of reasons:
  1. It's a distraction to players and they frequently lose track of their place in the game.
  2. Not all players have the necessary books for the game, and I would like to be able to share my digital copies as well as other specific online resources.
  3. Sending players an IM for secret communication is easier than slipping them a written note.
  4. Allowing players to use computers or similar tech for character creation will allow me a chance to gather copies of everyone's character sheets easier.
Depending on the location of the game sessions, the solution to the online issue could be as easy as not allowing players access to the wifi. If the sessions are held at a public place, like our LGS, then I don't really have control over that.

For the books I have digitally, it's easy enough for me to have them available to download from a thumb drive. Certain online resources, such as, are invaluable to have access to. If only I could find an offline program that had the same functionality of that site, with all the information included. (You'll have to take a look for yourself to know its usefulness.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The beginning dilemma

So, I want to make this campaign epic and memorable so that the players will remember it and stories will be told for years. I have the overarching concept for the game, plus the end result for the finish. There is even a clever way of getting the party together. But right now I'm stuck on the horns of a dilemma...

Do I start players at 1st level characters, or do I advance them so I can get them into the meat of the epic?

I plan on having experienced players for this game, so it's not like we'll have a huge learning curve to get through... but the way I'm bringing the characters into play, they won't necessarily be accustomed to their skills and class specific stuff like spell casting.

I feel that if I start the characters off at 1st level, there may be a level of boredom for the players as the tediously advance to a level where I can begin running them through on of the adventures I've scouted for this campaign.

I know that reading this may not make much sense to some of you, but I don't want to give away my surprise for this game. Think of it like watching M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" or "Signs" for the very first time. You didn't know what the twist was or where it would come into play, but when it did come, you were amazed... or at least amused. I'd like to try and get that feeling from my players.

I've already been able to adapt a couple of modules from 3.5 to get the characters to at least 3rd or 4th level, and that's almost enough to get them ready for the larger campaign.

I am planning on giving the players a brief questionnaire that will help me to give the world a feel that they would enjoy instead of playing everything cookie cutter canon. My intent is to give the campaign the fantasy feel of whatever setting world they choose, but give it enough customization to liven it up and give it a more personal feel. (i.e. Inclusion of black powder weapons. Use of undead.)

I welcome your thoughts and opinions.

I think the next step I'm going to take is developing my NPC's and figuring out a clever way to organize character creation.