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 Post subject: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:23 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1278
One of ARG's strengths is it's ability to create a concept in a wide variety of ways, with mechanics following. For my primary I knew he would be a Coryani Legionnaire follower of Cadic that would be spontaneously awakened. When I started working on mechanics, my nationality, religion and race were set first, then background and I played around with the different archetypes to figure out which best fit my concept.

So, once you have your concept in mind, where do you find yourself starting mechanics-wise or if you only have a partially formed idea, what parts are usually set quickly and which ones do you tend to work through?

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:59 am
Posts: 750
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada
I tend to work from concept first. Thus far, race has been easily determined, and I've usually had an early hunch as to which archetype I would be using. The character I had the most archetype issues with is Raseri. I have built him as an expert, divine, arcane and martial. While my other characters more or less fell into place, I really had to work to get Raseri where I was happy with him.

What I ultimately ended up doing was looking at the talents I wanted to be able to use with him, and seeing which archetype would make it easiest to get those talents. I really had to figure out how I wanted him to play, and find the mechanics which would allow me to do that.

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Akira Currier
aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Val Grand Master (Martial 2.10)
aka Leif of House Borghild - Skohir Human Myrmidon (Martial 2.4)
aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2381
Location: Central Alberta
I start with a story.

My first Arcanis Character in the 3.5 days was a gnome from Canceri. I made up his entire backstory before I even touched the actual pen-and-paper for a character sheet, and then designed a character (at the time a Fighter 6/Rogue 4) to fit the story. My next character (after I got more of a feel for the system/group I wrote a full backstory, including multiple family members. This one I worked more towards an end goal (Warrior of the Eternal Flame), and made a character to fit that.

The same is true for my ARPG character Haakon: I made the character and his motivations first, and then designed what I wanted out of that from there. I've gone back a bit on that with some of my secondary characters which are more mechanically driven, but even they have fleshed-out characters too.

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:12 pm
Posts: 1032
For me, it varies. Sometimes I have a character "story" I want to build. Sometimes there are mechanics I want to try building a character around. Sometimes it is something else.

Some characters, I knew what race they'd be for story reasons. Others I chose a race based on the mechanics.

Some characters were "obviously" a particular archetype. Others I've built as multiple archetypes to see which worked best. One time I thought I knew which archetype fit but didn't like the result and rebuilt it with another archetype that worked out better.

I tend to like hybrid caster/fighter type characters. Templar is probably my most common background (simplest way to do a hybrid with divine casting).

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Steve Wilcoxon
Ss'kethis - Expert Holy Champion of the Fire Dragon 3.1
G'hyu'thyh Sungha - Martial Templar of Illiir 1.7
Eryk Bauer - Martial Awakened 1.2


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Portland OR
Tukufu started with a mini. I wanted to paint & use a Malifaux guard mini that had a pistol and a sword in a reverse grip. Visually I thought it was very striking. My development of PCs tends to be "holistic" with some mechanical and fluff happening together ... and influencing each other.

I had the initial idea of a quasi musketeer era "James Bond" who would fight with fast light weapons and have the skills to to swing from chandeliers or jump from a moving chariot onto moving carriages. Maybe skilled in fisticuffs. I was leaning martial...

That concept probably meant Altheria, which lent itself to knowledge skills which started me thinking toward archeology and trap finding. James Bond as a concept was exchanged for a hybrid of Indiana Jones and maybe Fox Mulder...somebody who thought of himself less as an elite secret agent and more as a reluctant hero.

Finally it was at that time that I (sshhh) got a special character cert from my time writing for the Invisible Kings Program. And the mechanics of the cert pushed me towards psionics. Put that in a blender and you get the kernel of Tukufu. I vaguely paired back the "martial" components and started thinking of ways to use the Arcane Archetype and still have some fighting skills.

That was the initial development of the fluff side with some mechanical consequences.

On the mechanical side I always do skills first. It's one thing to say you want to be a great diplomat...but if end up with only 1 rank in persuasion you haven't captured your build very well. So Tukufu was further refined as I figured out what was most important to me. Perception & trap finding? Social skills? Knowledge skills? How that balancing played out influenced my mental image as it became clear to me that Tukufu would be better at Perception than any single knowledge skill (he thinks you need to be out in the field making discoveries! Not buried in some dusty archive)

Finally I did talents to elaborate on the "cool variations" of what I could do with my skills. Initially I plotted my way out to Tier 3. That was great until it was pointed out to me that Arcane Archetype and Warrior Mage didn't work with Flintlocks (have to use a melee skill) so I had to rebuild as an expert.

Skills are better now, talents are harder. Very happy with the current end point

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2381
Location: Central Alberta
Another question which can be raised from this is what is the most MECHANICALLY important thing about your character as a starting point for you? Do you think "I'm going to make a Val!" or "I want my Prowess to be super high!" or "I want to be from Solanos Mor!"? What point of the character creation process was what drew you in first?

For example, with my Nierite (Haakon), I knew he was going to be either a val'Emman and val'Virdan due to the backstory I created for him. As such, I began at that point. I also knew he was going to be religious fanatic and a Nierite, and from there I determined to go Divine and Initiate of the Gods. Everything else kind of flowed from that point.

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:34 am
Posts: 960
Location: Southwestern Ohio
Many things have inspired me to build characters. Sometimes it's a mini, sometimes an image I see online, sometimes I see a path/class I think is cool and want to play. There really is no one answer in my case.

But mechanically I try to build the character to do what I want him or her to do. But I don't force it, if something in playing a mod or mods suggest another path based on in-character experiences I will often take that path. For instance something that happened at the last BI strongly pointed my primary character in a radically different direction. That may now not be true, but if it's upheld expect a different version of Haakon val'Ishi to emerge over time than was originally planned. Truth be told I enjoy these moments where a character I've played for a while gets shoved in a different direction. It's one of the things I enjoy about tabletop roleplaying. It's kind of like real life. I can tell you how I am today is not what I expected even a few years ago let alone when I graduated from college. Life's funny that way.

As for what I play, most often it does seem to be the "cleric." It's role I find myself drawn to more than any other. It's funny nobody seems to want to play the divine class all that much but they sure love having them at the table to heal! :)

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Michael T. Hebert

Haakon val'Ishi, Beltinian Exorcist 2.7 [Divine]
Ursula val'Holryn, Grand Master of the Tralian Hammer 2.2 [Martial]
Arun of Tultipet, Holy Champion of Neroth 1.10 [Expert]
Rikitsa val'Holryn, Psion 1.9 [Arcane]


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:06 am
Posts: 804
I generally start with an overall concept.

Example: upcoming Pathfinder campaign set in the land of dinosaurs; I decided on 'big game hunter'. Although the bow is less feat-intensive, I decided to use the heavy crossbow. From there a Ranger/Fighter build was generated with a sub-class netting full-attack ability (reload as free action) and using Vital Strike to boost the one-shot damage when moving.

ARG example: Benedik the Butcher started life as a 'double caster' concept (Divine + Psionics). That locked in Val as the race and there were only a couple of combinations to get the required casting during Tier I (or even at creation). As my 5th PC (and a concept test only), he needed to meet the concept out of the gate. To keep him long-term viable, the Expert archetype was the only option, and Backgrounds only unlock DSCI, so there was limited choices there.

The name came about while choosing which deity to worship. The combination of Anshar's favoured weapon and there being a Gate in Magra (Pirate Isles) set that as his nation. Being one of the most violent places on Onara that a PC can be from suggested a life history of blood and slaughter.

Thus he is: Expert > Val > Pirate Isles > Initiate of the Gods with 3 ranks in Arcanum (Cants + Meditation), Religion and Unarmed; Path of Stars (for gate opening) and Jack of Trades. He also has 1 rank in both Arcanum (Shamanism + Sorcery) for ritual casting (another concept I'm wanting to test in game).

Weapon Mastery I (Unarmed) is a handy attack boost but he doesn't have Pugilist yet to do real damage, forcing him to rely upon spells. Admittedly there are some really nasty buff spells available to Ansharan priests, so it won't be a problem short term.

His second game is online where he has revealed in this background that "The Butcher" has been earned three times. The first he admitted to was from whaling (chopping up a whale for the ambergris) but has so far been silent on the other two occasions (which even I haven't written down yet).

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LARG; Astra Tonsoria Ursula val¤Dellanov, Martial Former Tribune, Sword Sage II, T2.4
LA:5E; Barbara Duran-Dellanov, Former Tribune, Fighter 1
LRC:OP; Garrett "Hangman" Gibbson, Tech Hero


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:40 am
Posts: 2046
For Kelb, it started with some key concepts:
1) He would be a dark-kin that looked like and embraced his devil tainted blood to do 'good' and show that you can't judge a book by its cover
2) He would legally be able to carry a flintlock (Which meant Altherian since he wouldn't be a noble)
3) He would use a steel whip (Just really liked the weapon)
4) He would in some way be a bard, mixing magic and fighting
5) The archaeologist aspect was always a desire too

Planning out the character from this concept, I built him as an Expert and as an Arcane, but expert won out for skills.
I did the Templar route for a while for Cadic but the divine spells never felt "Bardic" enough for me so I rebuilt with Codex release into an Arcane user through a path.
Then I saw the Fighting Style Arcimous Primus and it captured the fighter caster feel well, which meant some tweaking of his background. He was always ex-soldier type having spent time in the shining patrol and Altherian Navy, but mechanically I needed a few things so he aged and was now a Veteran of the Altherian War
I really wish there had been a way to unlock Arcane (Eldritch) at character creation for an expert but I did it with a path.

In happy with where he is, but if there are ever any options for Arcane at creation or a relaxing of the requirements for Arcimous Primus, I would slightly change th mechanics but the underlying build would be the same.

John

_________________
- John Bellando

Kelb'Bakari Masalio, Dark-kin Altherian Corsair, Gentleman Archaeologist, and Wandering Bard
"The highest compliment an Altherian can pay you is to shoot you with his flintlock. It means you were worth the expense."


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 Post subject: Re: Character building - where do you start?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Portland OR
After rereading Hat & Cody's questions....

Mechanically I did two different things with the two major characters I've played in the Campaign.

In the Crusade arc I wanted to play a terror in melee who would have Sweeping Strike, Mighty Swing, Murderous Precision and the ability to smite. Those abilities led me to a talent driven approach to the build and I worked out how to get all those at or near character creation. Once I had the pieces that would get me those talents I went back and looked at skills, and filled in remaining choices. That was Eisener.

Eisener made sense in the context of the Crusade, but I didn't think he really didn't make sense in the context of a general adventurer. So I replaced him in the Coming of he Destroyer Arc.

So I turned Tukufu into my primary. Mechanically I did the opposite. I did the skills first. Many choices in creation were driven by getting the skills right. Once I was happy with that then I turned to finding what talents i either had or could embellish the outline with.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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