The Role of Character Part 2
Last week we introduced that concepts of ability scores and races. This week we’re going to take them a step farther. With ability scores we’re going to look at explaining the choices we make, by putting them into our background. Then we’ll take a look at stereotyping the basic races and how it can effect our characters. Plus, we’ll touch on the delicate etiquette of playing a race in a mixed party.
When it comes to stating out our characters most of us don’t give our attributes a second thought. But what if we did? Could it lead to some future line of thinking that might effect futue decision making? If we use Pathfinder and D&D as a base we Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. If you look at your rolls and then attempt to define them is there a story that helps define your character?
If we go back to the modified rolls in part one (Str 15, Int 13, Wis 11, Dex 18, Con 15, Cha 9) and use them lets see what we can create. Let’s not forget that this character is the female orc. She is by no means a weakling but she certainly isn’t a rower lifter. I haven’t totally figured out the what made her go the route of fighter but I’m going to say she was a late bloomer. Maybe her village was raided and she forced into a warriors role. This could be an excellent explanation for why she might not be as strong as other fighters.
Her intelligence and wisdom are fairly average so I wouldn’t go into too much detail on them, but I might come back to them later if I come up with a good idea.
Her constitution is above average but not super high. It isn’t something that you need to define, but I have an idea I’d like to put into her background. Her grandmother was a sorcerer or an alchemist and as a child she fed our character an elixir that supposedly helps the ward of illness. When playing this character she might offer up the elixir to members of the party. She would definitely speak of grandmother in a particular way. I lean towards a certain amount of reverence.
Her dexterity is extremely high and I did that on purpose. As a child she had several cats that she always had to chase down and rescue. The result of following cats and kittens into trees, along ledges and onto rooftops has helped develop her sense of balance. He love for cats can be so fun in game. The GM might through some cats into the game to purposely create a red herring for her. There are so many fun things this can cause.
The last attribute is charisma. What makes this orc so anti-social? I haven’t totally figured that out yet but I’m leaning towards one of these two. At a young age she was somehow disfigured. Maybe she was kicked by a horse or a victim to a fire. Emotionally she was scarred and withdrew becoming an introvert. The other is that for some reason she just doesn’t like people – which could explain spending so much time with cats. I may go with with kicked by a horse so I can put a horse phobia.
Looking back at this we have a female orc that’s withdrawn from society with a phobia of horses, loves cats, and she cam to the warriors lifestyle later than most. Would you look at that; we already have a deep personality in this character that is revealing. If you are a cat lover you can already relate to this individual.
Now I’ll go through each attribute and create a small list of ideas that’s by no means comprehensive.
prisoner with forced labor
born into warrior caste – trained from birth
mason – brick layer – labor
attacked by creature at a young age that deals str damage
Education – training- school- apprenticeship
has a mental problem – ADHD or dyslexic for a couple of ideas
handicapped – deaf
You have traveled a lot – experience
It can also be from being taught
Maybe a family member was a philosopher
Born an raised in a hard to find part of the world or a cave.
You have never left your small town
Grew up in an area where you had to walk a fine line (cliffs etc)
The society you lived in taught everyone dance – or some other non skill based activity
Handicapped – missing fingers crippled hand
a klutz – how fun would be to play a stooge that walks into things
Farsighted this can really play into the above.
Grew up in a harsh environment
Disease or sickness
Near death experience that hasn’t been recovered from.
Beautiful – raised to be primped and proper
Before moving on to races I want you to think about some things that will affect what some of your decisions. We are going to start thinking about races, but I want you to put this thought in the back of your head. How does the strength of a each attribute reflect on the personality of a character based off the social norms of the racial culture. For example how socially acceptable is it for an elf to lack wisdom, or for and orc to be super charismatic? Do these things even matter? I think so and I hope I can show you just how important they are next week.