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 Character Creation - Proper Order

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Gala
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PostSubject: Character Creation - Proper Order   Mon May 03, 2010 7:22 pm

Ok, I have been playing SR since 2.0 was hot off the presses, and DND even longer than that. Let me tell you all, there is a definite proper order to character creation. However, before I go and ruin it all for everyone, let's have some posting in to see what order you all think things should go in.

Rules:
Don't leave anything out.
Don't assume that everyone "knew" that step goes there...
Be silly!
And, if all else fails, post a picture of the political cartoon in last Sunday's paper.

I think that covers it all. Wink
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 2:33 am

No takers yet? Ok... I will get this started then.

In general, I have come to notice that most people build their character in the following order (Note, I consider this to be almost entirely backwards):

Race
Qualities
Attributes
Magic/Cyber
Skills
Gear
Contacts
Background Story
Knowledge Skills
Languages

Now that I have the ball rolling... Comments on the above order? Did I miss anything? Why is this "backwards"?
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T_Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 2:42 am

I usually start with the general idea behind my character, the background and IC stuff. Usually, this will get modified as I work, but it gives me a general notion of where to direct my efforts. So, my order usually goes like this:


Character Concept/Background
Character Role (this can sometimes come before concept)

Attributes & Metatype (when metatype hasn't been determined by my background.)
Active Skills
Knowledge Skills/Languages
Magic/Cyberware
Gear
Contacts (when not playing a smuggler or investigator. If so, these go just below knowledge skills.)

Qualities are a wild-card. Sometimes they come right after attributes, sometimes just before contacts. Just depends on what I'm looking for in terms of gameplay, or whether I need the extra BP.

After all's done, I go back and flesh out the basic background, accounting for any changes created in the process.

I'm only ever silly with character whom I intend to be silly. Otherwise, though I'm doing this for fun, I try to create a character that is as believable as possible. This helps me to get inside their head much more easily. If I'm not able to do this, RP drops considerably.

And... why the Sunday morning cartoon? Generally, I draw my character's pics myself in RL, and try to find something suitable on the net for this site.
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 7:16 am

Being Silly, and the Sunday morning cartoon, were both my attempts at putting some humor into the post. I was hoping for exactly what I got!

As for order, I like the way you put that together. I COMPLETELY agree that Background/Concept should ALWAYS be first in character creation. How can you possibly make any sense of what you are putting together if you don't already know WHO?
I also agree that the Character Role/Archetype should be second (except when it was pre-dictated by the GM/run). Usually, with a few general exceptions, the character role is already dictated by the background, so once the background is completed, the role is obvious.

In terms of a major difference, I do Contacts next.

I will give more reason for how I do things, and why I may differ from T-Hawk, but I want to withhold my comments a bit and let some other post in.
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PostSubject: Character creation order   Tue May 04, 2010 7:38 am

Something that helps me get in character is picking the street name for the character first... Other than that, I agree with the general flow outlined by the other two...
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 8:24 am

Street Name? What an interesting turn of subject... I'll bite: Tell us more about this!
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T_Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 9:24 am

I'm interested as well. Sometimes a name can be an interesting bit of extra gloss on a character I've made, and other times its just there to have something to call them. So it intrigues me that you can start a character with just their handle.
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Dura
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 9:46 am

I find that the most important bit of information decide on- one that should really be chosen first before you get into any further into the design process- is whether the character is left- or right-handed. Really, the entire character creation process falls into line after that one crucial decision has been made.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 9:50 am

I can honestly say I've never heard that one before. I think you'll have to elaborate a bit for us.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:02 am

My process

Concept/Character Role
Race
If character is Mage/Adept: Magic, spells, and foci
Attributes
Qualities
Skills
Gear
Contacts
If I find I am sort some bp in one area, readjustment
Review sheet
Build backstory
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:05 am

I'm with T-Hawk... We definitely need some elaboration on the right-handed vs. left-handed thought process.

And BTW: I am glad we posted this discussion, it is getting pretty interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:10 am

So Bear, you do magic gear, specifically, early. That is interesting. That is usually almost the last thing I consider, in the case of magic gear, or anything else. With the unique exception that if I happen to write some magic gear into my character story, I allocate for that immediately.
Why do you have magic gear so high in your priorities?

You all may be noticing a pattern here. For me, everything is about the story. Whatever I happen to write into my background story, I allocate for in build. I can't even think about a character until the story is written; ESPECIALLY considering that there are so many possibilities for completing any potential design requirement. Without the guidance of the background story, how am I to know that the character desires one way to complete a design over another?
Example: See my incorrectly named "Paraplegic Mage" post. There are already 3 different ways to complete the requirements for that character, and I am about to post 2 more. Reasonably considered, there are a multitude of possibilities for completing any particular design requirement.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:18 am

I put magical gear high up because, as anybody who really knows me will tell you, I am a power-gamer. If I have a mage, he is going to get that force 4 power focus.
Before people even consider jumping on the whole "That's not good roleplaying" I am an avid roleplayer, and quite decent at it I believe.

The reason backstory is so low on the totem pole is I can't write story until I am inspired. I need to know what my character can do, before I can shape why it is he does it. Too many times I have seen people build elaborate backstories for characters who couldn't do half the stuff their backstory would lead one to believe. Ex special forces who couldn't run half a mile are an example.

Creating an intriguing backstory and decent character personality come easy for me. Creating a decent build that can actually do what's advertised is where I put in the work.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:25 am

That does make sense.
That said, I rarely, if ever, end up with that force 4 power focus on build. Again, unless it's already allocated in the back-story, in which case it is a necessary portion of my build, I just won't still have enough points left for that kind of allocation when I complete everything else.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:28 am

The other main reason I bend over backwards for it, is foci are just so karma intensive. 32 karma vs 4 bp to bind, though also 100,000 nuyen. 32 karma can get you a lot. That is almost initiations right there.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:30 am

Heh. I too subscribe to the belief that munchkin-ing and being a good RPer are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, if you're doing it right, being a munchkin is just about getting your character to be able to do on paper what you imagine them doing in your head.

It's when you turn your character into the mathematical equivalent of a Mary Sue that it starts to get bad. Or when you allow mechanics to override backstory... or story in general.
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:46 am

I agree. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. They do, however, have to be mutually respectful.

I have a player in one of my games recently who put together a character for me in a completely upside-down fashion. I recieved the character sheet, then a few days later I recieved the back-story. After looking them over, it was very clear to me that the character was written in a fashion as to "maximize the build points available" for the archetype, and that then the back-story had been penned up to validate the choice of race/attributes/qualities/skills, in that order. There isn't a good way to describe this, but the character was choppy, and disconnected to himself. It was almost as if the character had been a modified version of one of the book example characters. But I knew that the player, specifically, was better than that, and could produce better work than that.
I asked the player to scratch the whole thing, start fresh from the back story, and resubmit (realizing that in most instances that would be exceedingly rude). The end result was an elegant marriage of backstory and character. They were mutually respectful, and clearly well concieved. The top-to bottom end result was so well considered that I elected to provide the player with a few bonus karma points at the end of the first session in reward for the synergy, and well considered story, of the character. It did not end up as a munchkin, although it was more than adept at it's archetypical function.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 10:49 am

I... was joking about the handedness thing. I do that sometimes.
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 11:02 am

You do not... you can't fool me...
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 11:05 am

Lol. What does it say about Gala and I that we jumped at that, thinking, "Oooh! Shiny!" Yeah, it was a good joke, Durandana.



Now, I certainly understand "choppiness" when it comes to someone min/maxing a character. It doesn't always have to be that way though, even when you build the character first, then tack on the background. Skuld was a character that Phantom, Wrecks and I min-maxed the **** out of, and she turned out to be one of the most fun RP opportunities I've ever had. Admittedly, we started out a basic concept, but she was defined almost from the get-go by what we wanted her to do as much as who she was.
It all really comes down to making certain that the character you're building "breathes." That you have a story that reads well, that imparts likes and dislikes, opinions and quirks to a character. To me, that's where role-play lives.
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PostSubject: What's in a name?   Tue May 04, 2010 1:06 pm

On the topic of picking a street name, I'll use a recent example. I had a character concept based loosely on Hannibal and Faceman from the A-Team (for those who aren't familiar with the original, go watch the movie remake!). Rough concepts: Charismatic, leadership, perceptive. I gravitated to the Elf race to maximize charisma, but that's as far as I got in terms of inspiration.

I had been reading "Wolf and Raven," one of the 1st gen Shadowrun novels, and the author talked about how he came up with the idea for Dr. Richard Raven. In that example, the inspiration came from a Rolls Royce, only the RR logo meant Richard Raven.

Simultaneously, I was looking through Arsenal and Augmentation for gear I don't normally use. I came across the Zeiss Sensecaster cybersuite (most of my chars have cybereyes!). This suite would increase the character's perception (yay!), and could also be considered high-grade enough to have free cosmetic customization. This is where it got interesting.

I started trying to pick a name based on a variation of eyes and colors - something that would make for an interesting character hook. I tried variations of "eyes," "sight," and colors in a variety of languages - Spanish, Russian, Chinese, etc.

After a while, I tried Irish Gaelic (a very interesting choice on Google translator), and, within a couple minutes had Suileor - roughly translated, "Eyes of Gold." Boom. Character concept. I figured Irish Gaelic might be related to Sperethiel, or at least might make a resurgence in the post-Awakened world. In any case, the char would be an elf from Tir nan Nog, which would explain why he'd know Irish Gaelic - and why he might have access to some unusual resources. The name led to an easy visual image of the character - gold flecks suspended in the otherwise natural-looking cybereyes.

Next came the backstory ("Why does he want to put together a team of runners?" "What's he doing in North America?"), which led to contact choices. Attribs and Skills came concurrently, finished up with gear and qualities to balance out the build points.

It was a good experience. Smile
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 1:22 pm

Very cool! Is that how all of your characters are put together?
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PostSubject: Creation Order   Tue May 04, 2010 1:44 pm

Gala wrote:
Very cool! Is that how all of your characters are put together?

This was the most extreme example of it, but it does happen usually to a lesser extent. If I had to put down a "general order"...

Character concept (very basic)
- country of origin
- Language/Knowledge skills (list, no points yet)
- Race
- Archetype
- special gear
- preferred weapon
- special qualities
Attribs (1st pass)
Skills (1st pass)
Name
Assigned skill points
Assigned attribs
Deeper character concept
Refinement
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Gala
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 1:46 pm

I like your order, and I really like how you included your refinements into the designing phase. For myself, even though I include them generally, it hadn't occurred to me to look for them in responses here. Well done!
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PostSubject: Re: Character Creation - Proper Order   Tue May 04, 2010 1:49 pm

Gala wrote:
I like your order, and I really like how you included your refinements into the designing phase. For myself, even though I include them generally, it hadn't occurred to me to look for them in responses here. Well done!

I really struggle if I skip finding the "hooks" in the initial character concept. Ends up being a thoroughly generic nobody, even if the character has ridiculous skills...
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