Character Creation: A Brief Overview
Creating a character for a LARP is very much like making up a character for a story. If you have played tabletop RPGs you may already have some experience with this. Every well-developed character should have attributes and detriments. Characters have certain knowledge and skills, motivations and behaviors that are uniquely theirs. While we read a book or watch a movie or TV characters often show us, if only for a moment, a glimpse into what “makes them tick.” Most often the best and most memorable characters have complex personalities with multiple dimensions. When designing a LARP character keep these things in mind. Make your character so that you will have fun playing him and hopefully others will enjoy interacting with you as well. The more definition you put into your character the easier it will be for you to role-play and the more real your character will seem. If you are Ugg the Barbarian fighter with nothing but combat skills, you speak to no one, and do nothing but fight it will probably not be fun in the long run. Do not feel locked into titles or descriptions. If you are a mage it does not mean all you have to do is cast spells and focus on magic, maybe you enjoy getting right up front and fighting with your staff! If you are a fighter you do not have to be one-dimensional, maybe you are trying to become a wealthy merchant and for now being a mercenary gets you good contacts and helps pay the bills.
At Realms of Adventure, character creation is a fairly simple process where you the player, get to make the major decisions about your character. In order to generate characters for the game, RoA uses a robust point based system that allows every player to create and develop their character in a way that they see fit. Every skill is assigned points values which have been balanced throughout to make the game flow smoothly. Additionally every player begins with the same amount of points so the system is fair with random luck having almost no place in it. (The one exception to this rule is in the determination of starting spells, covered later). As you continue to play your character, you gain more “experience” in the form of character points. In this way you can measure your character’s progress in points as well as accomplishments.
At Realms of Adventure, every player begins the game with 55 character points. If the player submits a detailed character background, in writing, by the beginning of their first event, they will receive an additional 5 character points for a total of 60. It is preferred that these backgrounds be submitted by e-mail as a Word or other compatible document two weeks prior to your first event. If this is not possible, a typed or VERY NEAT, LEGIBLE hand written background is acceptable. Writing a background is to your benefit, and the earlier we receive it the better. This allows us to write character specific plots and tailor the game to our players. Every time you participate in a full weekend event you will receive an additional 3 character points, and if you submit a “Post Event Letter” in the specified time (usually two weeks before the next event) you will get another 3 character points. In this way your character can gain up to 6 character points worth of experience in a weekend. Once again a PEL (Post Event Letter) is greatly to your benefit to complete. It lets us know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and is a great place to tell us about goals you have set for your character, what types of things you’d like to learn, what kind of activities you’d like to participate in and again gives us the ability to write plot for you! Basically it is best said as the more you give us, the more we can give you! If you never tell us what your character is like or what he wants to do, we will have a hard time providing what you will enjoy.
1) Choose your race/culture.
Decide what race you would like to play. Read through the descriptions and see what appeals to you. Try not to gravitate towards a particular race solely because you like the advantages they get. Choosing a race will determine quite a bit for your character so try to choose wisely! Every race has their own particulars such as culture, typical traits and classes available. If you choose simply to be a Human, this is by no means dull! There are 9 distinct cultures from which you can choose! Additionally if you have an idea for a different culture you can work with staff to make sure it fits in the game. There are many open areas on the map with room for hundreds (or more) of towns, villages and shires. This was done intentionally to allow for player creativity.
2) Choose your class.
Once you have chosen a race, you will notice that at the bottom of the racial description is a list of available classes. Typically, these are the only classes available to a member of a specific race or Human culture.
3) Decide on your character’s name.
Try to choose a name that you think would be reflective of your race and/or culture. Most people in the fantasy world of Realms of Adventure have a first and last name, but this is up to you. Try to avoid obviously modern names like Bob, Bill and Ted. These may be rejected as they will be seen as harmful to the game since they bring us back to the mundane world which we are trying to leave for the course of the game. Likewise avoid names like “Orcslayer,” and “Swordmaster” unless they are earned titles or nicknames from your background. Think about it logically. What parent would name their child such a thing? Lastly avoid stale, cliché, fantasy names like Conan, Merlin, Raistlin, and the like. These will not be allowed for the same reason modern names aren’t. A good rule of thumb is if the name has entered modern culture or has appeared as a main character in more than one fantasy novel, avoid it. If you choose a Highlander and insist on your last name being MacLeod, rest assured people will know where you got the idea. Lastly try to pick a name that is easy to remember if you can. During an event you will meet A LOT of people and remembering names can be difficult!
4) Decide if your character is devoted to a particular faith.
A number of fictitious deities appear in the world of RoA. Most characters believe in their existence and some choose a patron. If you wish you may choose your patron at the onset and it could affect you in-game. If you are unsure about the deities it’s probably best to wait and see what the faiths are like in-game before deciding. You can choose any time you wish. Also, you may choose not to follow any deity at all or even deny belief in them at your option.
5) Choose starting skills.
Every character begins with 15 character points, or 20 if they have submitted a detailed background. These points can be spent on any of the skills listed under your chosen class. Some skills are available to only certain classes (For example only fighters and monks can learn the skill slay), whereas some skills are available to everyone (For example Craft: Tanner). Generally speaking there are certain skills a given class excels at whereas another class can buy the skill but it is more difficult for them and thus the points cost is higher. Make sure you add up the points from the correct class sheet! When choosing skills also consider the column entitled “Self-taught.” Beginning characters can choose any skills on their starting lists, so long as they meet the prerequisites for the given skill. Once you enter the game you may only purchase skills that have an entry of “Yes” listed under “Self-taught.” If the entry is “No” you must be taught the skill in-game by a qualified teacher. This usually is not very difficult to do if you ask the right people. This is mentioned because it may be a factor in choosing starting skills since at the onset teachers aren’t required as it is reflective of all you have learned up to your arrival in town. Every character begins with 1 health point (unless they have a bonus based on race). It costs 1 character point to gain one additional point of health. Some characters such as mages and clerics have special areas to put there points into. For example in the case of mages they purchase mana at the ratio of 3 character points to 2 mana points. A character with spell casting powers begins with zero points in the given attribute (mana, piety, favor) and must buy points to power their spells. Don’t forget about this!
6) Write your characters background.
This will get you 60 character points to start instead of 55. Also it allows us to write plot for you. For more details on writing a good background, click here.
7) Send your information to RoA.
Hopefully we will have an online character submission working soon. In the meantime you can e-mail your character to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and your background (preferably attached as a word or text file) to us email@example.com.You can also mail us your character information and history separately or along with your preregistration. For our mailing address click here. Please give us at least 3 days if you e-mailed your information and we will e-mail you back to let you know we received it. If there are any problems we will let you know as soon as possible. If you put it in the mail, we regret we will be unable to let you know if it was received unless you enclose an e-mail address or a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Rewriting Your Character.
Although this step is not always necessary we felt it should be mentioned here. Once you start playing RoA you may learn things that change the way you initially thought about your character. Maybe you realize you love fighting and hate casting spells. Maybe you feel you chose your skills unwisely. Maybe you hate wearing tons of make-up as a Kelonian. Don’t worry! You can rewrite your character in whole or in part at any time prior to your 4th event. You can change race, class skills or whatever you want and not be penalized with any lost points. We only ask that if the change is significant you explain it well. If you keep your race and class and just want to change skills, it makes no difference. If however you can suddenly cast arcane magic you may wish to explain it. If you change race you will need to redo your character background to reflect it. Sorry but you cannot start a character as a Human and become an Elf after an event without anyone noticing. If you wish to change your character around or want to talk to someone about it click here. Once you make your changes however your character is locked and cannot be changed again. Likewise if it is your 4th event or later your character is also considered locked. Note that this also applies if you make a new character if the first one dies. Basically when a character dies you are offered the opportunity to make a new one and often this is done on the spot at the event. Since it is a new character you have the same 4 event leeway to make a new one if the character does not meet your expectations. NOTE – You may NOT rewrite your character as a multi-classed character unless that character is multi-classed.