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Character creation sessions: Do you do this?

I do character creation sessions...

  • Always

    Votes: 70 24.4%
  • Usually

    Votes: 112 39.0%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 56 19.5%
  • Rarely

    Votes: 38 13.2%
  • Never

    Votes: 11 3.8%

  • Total voters


Are you mochrieing me?
Validated User
Usually for tabletop, unless we've in a real hurry to get started gaming.

Even for pbp it'll usually be in a group thread rather than individual PM or emails to the GM.


Registered User
Validated User
Rarely, and when we do it's pointless anyway because some people will have already made their characters (or at least decided what they're playing) in advance.


RPGnet Member
Validated User
I voted "Always" but after reading the thread I guess I'm more of a special snowflake.

I (and the other GM's in the group) always dedicate at least one session to detailed campaign pitch and character spitballing, but usually there is only some basic crunch done at that time. The players come up with one or a couple of character ideas and then go off on their own to do the mechanical stuff, with assistance from me if desired or if I'm the one who owns and/or knows the rules.

However, my gaming group's situation is fairly different from what seems to be the norm in that we have several games going at the same time with slightly different constellations of players and we see each other socially outside of gaming. (Particularly me, my flatmate and his girlfriend, who are all regulars in the group. It also helps that nowadays everyone lives within 15 minutes walking distance of each other.) This means we get to talk things over several times between the character pitch session and the first time we play so there's room for a lot of back-and-forth about concepts, niche protection and game mechanical questions. However, usually most of the crunchy stuff is done solo, though I wouldn't say in isolation since I'd expect to be updated on what they're doing. Nearly all of us are system-tinkerers anyway so we enjoy talking about the mechanics.

Even for a game like Smallville where character creation is designed to be a session unto itself I prefer to have a pre-game session for character concept discussions, if for no other reason than that there's one or two players who need time to come to grips with a character concept. I can be that way myself - I often need to massage a character from high-concept form into firm mechanics and that can take quite a bit of time, both actively working on it and just letting it simmer in the back of my head.

So, anyway. "Always", but with caveats.

Mike McCall

Registered User
Validated User
My groups do a character creation session 95% of the time, but a good third of the time we do, we might as well not have. We end up with the usual motley assortment of strange people thrown together with little rhyme or reason. We're getting better at it, but somehow character creation becomes more about sharing the books than it does about coming up with a coherent party.

Edit: Reading the thread, I realized the one consistent exception. We have a series of pick-up games with a pile of (more or less) free-for-all characters. Anyone can build a character for the pile at any time, as long as they build it within the conceits of the pick-up game in question. But those games (well, most of them) are specifically designed so that the characters can be randomly tossed into any randomly-generated scenario. They're not your standard ongoing campaign (though they do have a continuity of sorts), so it works.

The one where we do have problems is a Warcraft game where the premise is a LOT more flexible in order to accommodate multiple factions. We have one guy who insists on playing his factionless troll every session, no matter how hard it is to work in. Every time it's a bad fit, I end up wishing we had better guidelines for things. But that might just be my one-true-wayism about everyone trying multiple characters in a game sneaking out of the box I keep it locked in.
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Aspiring World-Builder
Validated User
I haven't in the past, but it doesn't seem like an entirely bad idea. (While I can see not wanting to clue in the resident munchkin, "keeping their characters a mystery," in my experience, tends to be shorthand for "doing something slick.")


Use the singular they!
Validated User
I strongly prefer to hold a character creation session, attended by all players.

That said, it doesn't always happen. At the moment I'm playing in a game with a rotating roster (of both PCs and players), and all of us create our own characters on our own time. Then again, the premise of the game has us working as retrieval agents for a patron, and we're supposed to be a motley crew with disparate backgrounds and motivations. We also have a webforum specifically for the campaign, so we can coordinate class/role choices and do a bunch of roleplaying to establish relationships online, between face-to-face sessions.
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Just Tonpa...
Validated User
Rarely, in last years only SotC and Dresden Files have required a full session (or even few sessions in DF's case) to come up characters. We do finalize the characters at the start of first, generally shorter, game session which still ends up being mostly game and only small part character creation. We like to get into game and it also seems that the characters personality really comes up inside game.



Registered User
Validated User
I have always done character creation as a group. if someone shows up with a pregenerated character, I tell them to go through the steps with everyone else and at least make sure their character isn't going to fuck shit up. About half the time, something or other changes about the character to fit the group, and folk have shown up to character creation sessions with pregens maybe one fifth of the time I do them. It's standard.


The GM Is Your Friend.
I voted Always, but I guess it's Usually, because sometimes we have new players enter an existing game and it's not practical to dedicate a session to them.

But assuming the group is all together already? Yes, absolutely always. I think it's very important to build characters together as a group.


Platypus Rises
Validated User
Never. I don't like crunchy systems which require hours of character generation and I like to discover my character in play. Having to define all sort of aspirations and relationships for my character before I've even met him plain doesn't work for me.
What the hell does that have to do with the question?
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