Today, we create the characters for our Ptolus campaign. One of the players drops out for RL reasons, and we are now at three players and one DM (me).
This is more a boon than a curse, to tell you the truth.
Our Seven Spires campaign had 6 players last year, and even though the game went wonderfully and we were all quite satisfied by it, I knew that for the players, a lot of time had been spent watching other people do stuff during combat situations. I particularly disliked situations where a player wouldn't know what to do, or would have talked out-of-character waiting for his or her turn, and would then declare than s/he didn't know what to do. That would make everyone wait for no benefit whatsoever.
With three players remaining from our original group, there is a chance to get things moving harder and faster. That's cool for the game and I think the remaining players feel the same way as I do.
I distributed the Ptolus Player's Guides last week, and in one player's case, two days before the actual characters' creation.
The first thing that surprises me when we gather: all the players have actually read the entirety of their Guides. And they are all liking it very much.
Nobody has a clear idea as to what they want to play. We spend some time discussing, and I propose to narrow the amount of game mechanics used for PCs, at least for the beginning of the game.
For the Seven Spires, we created some characters using a wide variety of sources. Arcana Evolved, D&D's Player's Handbook, "Complete" series, Complete Book of Eldritch Might, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual... you name it. It was time to come back to the basics and simplify the game, and creating new characters provides us with the opportunity we needed.
Then, we discuss what would be the ideal starting level for the characters. I am thinking about level 1 or level 3, like we did for our Seven Spires characters. Everyone seems excited to start with level 1 PCs and work their way up the ladder. This is agreed upon and we move on.
We discuss about group dynamics, the types of roles that would be useful in an adventuring group. I tell them that we could go for classic archetypal roles or have a specialized group. During a moment, they almost decide to all play sorcerers and wizards but the decision shifts in about 20 minutes of conversation to a more classic set of characters. Both ways would have been fine by me.
The second thing that surprises me: the players use the information of the Player's Guides right from the start. Instead of creating iconic D&D characters in a vaccuum, they instantly think about previous employments, relations to this or that Ptolus faction. Awesome.
The results. Three characters, two natives from Ptolus, one from Kem.
- Female human monk from Kem (NG) basing her spirituality on a connection between the stars and the body, one reflecting the other. Adept of the Old Man and a frequent visitor to the Temple of the Watcher in the Skies.
- Female Shoal elf rogue (CG) servant to House Sadar. Her parents live on Emerald Hill and do not approve of her service. She in fact wants to "spy" on House Sadar, but she hasn't seen much to date (she's a minor servant as of now and has no access to private quarters and the like).
- Female human sorcerer (LG) from House Nagel (actually from the family. She spent feats on this background and I will make it work out) who lives in Old Town. She has a deep admiration for the Knights of the Golden Cross.
We generate ability scores using 4d6-drop-lowest, then generate skills, saves, weapons and leave the remaining components (mainly feats and miscalleneous equipment) for the beginning of the next session.
I ended up shuffling through the big book for a long while after we parted. There is a lot of stuff I will be able to use in relation to their choices in character concepts!
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