Thursday 22 November 2012

Character Creation and Remote Gaming

So as long as I'm ranting about the downsides of character creation, here's another thing I noticed.  When playing via video-chat, character creation is a total pain(probably doesn't help when you're using your own customized system).  You can get through it but it takes time.  And it's awkward.  A player asks about some skill or dice roll and you're not looking at the same page, so it takes a while to understand the question and then for them to understand the answer.

Not to mention the logistics.  You have to send all the players character sheets, the list of skills, etc. and they have to open and read them, probably with multiple windows/tabs open at the same time.

OK, so one solution is to stick with something simple that everyone's familiar with.  Fair enough.  That at least solves the problem of questions, since no one should need to ask any.

The solution I find myself tending towards lately is random character creation.  Random creation is fun in it's own right.  You never know what to expect and it can be a fun process assembling the set of disparate numbers in into a living breathing character.  And it also saves a lot of time for video-chat games, players just need to click a button, give the character a name and maybe a sentence or so about who this guy is, and then print or save and you're ready to go.  Instead of 45 minutes of awkward questions and more-awkward silences on Google+.

So, DCC has a hilarious character generator that I would love to run a Google+ game session with sometime.  It's simple but has a lot of character.

As for the Polish Resistance game I've been running, my goal is to put my money where my mouth is and build an automatic character generator in the near future...


  1. I tend to have them do all the character creation on their own and email me the character sheets. That way I can look them over and print them out. Depends on how much lead time you have, though. I'm not crazy about randomized characters myself - it cuts against why I like to role-play.

    1. Yeah, I guess it really depends on what's right for your gaming group. My group is very "Homework Averse", so character creation in advance isn't really an option. And online it's so painfull--the DM basically has to go around and help one player at a time if they don't know the system, which is common for us, since we keep trying new things.

      Personally, I can't imagine having a bad time playing DCC as a Tax Collector with 16 STR and 4 Agil(a peg-legged tax collector?), a Halfling Glovemaker, a mute Minstrel(-1 Languages), or a Woodcutter with a very poor quality axe(-2). That's an actual party I just rolled up.

      What don't you like about random character creation?

      If you have players who want more control, you can do the generation and then tell them they can swap ability scores/skill points, etc. That might still save some time over manually rolling something up from scratch.