Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fate Core Character Creation

I am in the process of preparing a new Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition campaign for some of my college buddies, and wanted to do something special when it came to character creation. So I spent some time with my friend Google looking for some group character creation guidelines. In the process, I came across a Character Creation ruleset that is part of the Fate Core System, a  ruleset perhaps best known for being the engine that drives the Dresden Files RPG. After perusing the rules, I was quite impressed with how they helped players not only create interesting and unique characters, but also guided them through the process of linking those characters' stories to one another. Here's a quick summary of how that works:
  1. Each player comes up with a high concept and a trouble. The high concept is essentially a short phrase that stands in for the typical race and class in fantasy RPGs, while the trouble is something in that character's background or personality that consistently keeps him or her from living out this calling.
  2. Each player then comes up with a character background. This background includes their upbringing, an event that forced the character into his or her high concept, and that character's first adventure. Each of these steps turns into a short paragraph, and the first adventure is recorded on a separate index card.
  3. Each player then comes up with a secondary role in another character's background. The players pass around the index card with their first adventure summary to another player, and that player then connects their own character to that adventure in some sort of supporting or secondary role.
  4. Each player then passes the index card again, repeating the previous step. Afterwards, each character is organically connected to two other members of the group.
  5. Each player finalizes the rest of the details about their character. Only once these elements are complete does the player pick out the relevant stats and abilities of their character, based on the stories that have already been crafted.
I love the way that this makes characters that are primarily story-driven, rather than rules-driven. It also instantly creates camaraderie and connections among the group. So, with the above summary in hand, I incorporated those concepts into the standard character creation process for D&D 5th edition, and came up with an awesome first session to play out with my friends. If you're interested in my final document, let me know and I'd be happy to share it with you.

So what do you think?

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