So one of the things I’ve been curious about is the idea of doing not just GM-related tools but player aids as well. One of the things I know I struggle with at times is coming up with a signature look, item, or behavior for a new PC. Something I can build some history around or the character’s way of looking at the world.
Well, let’s say my character is a fighter type. Fighters rely on numerous factors, from armor and weapons to fighting style, code of honor, and so on. Why not do something like this…
- Armor – none, light or heavy (styles might be determined later)
- Weapon – short, long, close, heavy, ranged (styles later, depending on world and genre)
- Style – smooth, patient, violent, defensive, strength (again, determine styles later)
- Code of honor – none, selfish, opportunistic, Bushido, spiritual…
- Stature – tall, proud, beaten, tired
- Goal – defender, attacker, sniper, protector…
If I choose a few of these – let’s say I end up with Armor: None, Weapon: Short, Style: Smooth, Code of Honor: None, Stature: Tall, and Goal: Defender. Interesting mix. I might end up with:
“Haki roamed the lands of the Free Kingdoms to prove his skills as a defender of the weak. Occasionally he took odd jobs to pay for his wandering lifestyle, but every day he sought a member of the downtrodden, weak, or injured peasantry who he could help. He would help them even if they didn’t want his help, which added all sorts of difficulties.
One day he approached a small farm and saw a large man astride a horse berating a smaller, older gentleman. Haki stepped in smoothly and challenged the rider to a duel. As was custom, the opponent was granted a moment to decide whether to accept the challenge or not. In that brief moment of hesitation, Haki pounced and slashed with his short knives in a series of smooth circular motions.
Surprised, the bigger man had no choice but to defend himself. He drew a large, rectangular sword and began moving through a kata familiar to the smaller man, swinging the big blade at his tiny opponent over and over again. The steps and slashes were easy to avoid and Haki slashed again and again at the man’s arms until his robe bled red.
When the big man could no longer hold his sword, he yielded to Haki and asked for mercy. The smaller man had no wish to kill his defeated opponent and granted leniency if the man would treat the farmer more kindly.
The big man looked at Haki with wide eyes. “Are you mad? I did him no wrong – he is my friend! We were merely debating the new taxes on rice production from Lord Shiro. Sometimes we raise our voices, but it was never in anger you fool!”
Haki shrugged, put his knives away, and continued down the road with his head held high to right the next ‘wrong.’ “
In a brief flurry of writing, I’ve come up with a new world to populate. Something of an ancient Asia, perhaps in the broad expanse of a China-like space. And somewhere on the road, Haki is causing lots and lots of trouble. Perhaps the PCs must find and stop him before he hurts more innocents in his quest to “right wrongs”?
Or we could go with (light/long/patient/selfish/proud/attacker)…
“Gardner was a simple man. He had little skill with a blade, but seemed able to last long enough to find the weakness in any opponent he’s faced one on one so far. As a sword for hire, he has served multiple times as an escort for trade caravans and the occasional rich traveler. He’s always ready for the next job, rapier and leather armor close by. But he’s never really found a place to call home or a group who would take him in for longer than a single job. Maybe it was the money thing. He was obsessed with it. Couldn’t stop talking about it… “
This could be a PC or NPC depending on the spin, though he might be an annoying guy to play on either side of the table.
Doesn’t seem like enough detail there however. Perhaps he needs a splash of color for his armor or a name for his sword. But I think this could be another interesting line to pursue…