The most important element of Roleplaying, whether it be fantasy, modern or Sci-Fi, is the character. Characters are the core of any game, as they are the point and purpose for playing. It thus follows that to create a good roleplaying environment, one needs to create a good character.
When one sits and thinks deeply about character creation, you may find that you use a certain method to create each character that you have made. You will usually follow a series of steps each time, dictated either by habit or by the system you are using. As an example, we will look at the 'traditional' way in which an AD&D character is created.
The 'traditional' process for AD&D is the roll-and-see method. It is reasonably quick, and can result in memorable PCs. This uses one of the prescribed methods in the Player's Handbook (ie Methods I to VI) and assign the scores to each attribute. You then pick a character class that best suits your preferences and that the scores qualify you for. I personally choose not to use this method, and it really doesn't require a lot of explanation.
I will describe the method I use, because I believe it gives a solid foundation for good roleplaying. To try and aid understanding of my "method", I will create a character as we go in an established campaign world.
The 6'4" Dwarf Method:
(Note: Dwarves are not politically correct, and so they use 'he' as a non-gender-specific title.)
The process is divided into seven steps, each of which is detailed below:
- Step One: What the Hell Am I Doing Here?
- Step Two: Where Did I Come From?
- Step Three: Where Am I Going?
- Step Four: Filling in the Blanks
- Step Five: Get the Hooks In
- Step Six: Get Ready to Rumble!
- Step Seven: Back to School