I have been asked recently to create a character for a pick up game. “Just create a character,” it was told to me. Just create a character? Are you crazy?
I can’t just jump right in, write a few stats, come up with a name and say I’ve created a character. I’ve created a list of numbers. That isn’t character. That isn’t epic! I’m going to explore this more in a series of posts describing what a game is about, but these numbers are nothing more than the mechanical representations of the narrative character. If I have no narrative, how can I truly represent something? Anything?
To create a character, I need to write their story, possibly a novel. Fate Core handles this very well in their phase trio, and Jadepunk simplifies this concept with the storytelling aspect creation system, and I recommend everyone use at least phase one for their character in every game.
Create your character’s story. Decide who they are, where they trained, who they trained under, what matters to them, why do they care about the goals of the group, what do they think about the other members of the group, etc. Create them narratively, then you can properly represent them mechanically.