9 Tabletop RPG character creation tips!

character creation

So you’re at the start of a new adventure, traveler? You found a party, and you’re ready to create your shiny new character. But where do you begin? What are things you need to consider when bringing your character to life? We have 9 character creation tips to help you on your journey!

What is a TTRPG character?

Have you been thrown into the void by friends who want to start playing tabletop role-playing games? And you’re not quite sure what you got yourself into? Let us explain! 

A tabletop role-playing game is a form of a role-playing game, usually played in person, where the players play by talking to each other and rolling dice. The Game Master, also known as GM, runs the game and offers a story and scenario in a set world, which can be fantasy, sci-fi, or even steampunk-themed. Other players play a character in this setting and decide what to do in that given scenario.

Step 1: Take your time

Your character doesn’t have to be perfect before the first session, and doesn’t need to be set in stone. Why? Well, true magic happens when you play! You discover so much more about your character when you interact with other characters and the story. So don’t make it too difficult for yourself. Take your time with character creation, so you have a character you want to play.

Step 2: Don’t be scared of tropes and clichés

It might sound cliché, but you can play whoever you want. Do you want to be a fighter who settles scores with their fists? Or perhaps a bard who could end up in a fabulous yelling contest (interpret that how you will)? There’s nothing wrong with cliches. They exist because they have worked pretty well in the past. Cliches are familiar to everyone, and it might be easier to put yourself in your new role.

Step 3: Think of themes or concepts

What would your character do if they were about to lose their family? Or what if they have traveled with a circus for their whole life? Or do you have a certain aesthetic in mind, like a dreamlike forest? Thinking of a theme, concept, or mood surrounding your character can help shape them. 

Step 4: Use art and music to your advantage

Did you see character art that sparked an idea? Great! Did you hear a song that completely embodied the vibe and story of your character? Amazing! Art and music are a source of inspiration that you can use to your advantage. Maybe you have a favorite album that would be the perfect backstory, or a Pinterest board has the exact aesthetic you want. It’s a great starting point for character creation. Creating a playlist or mood board can help flesh out an existing character idea as well.

Step 5: Know your abilities and features

Before the first session, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the character sheet. You don’t need to know the whole rulebook, but having a character sheet can help progress the game and help you shape the intricacies of your character. Just make sure you have your character sheet ready when you sit down to play, and have read it once or twice.

Step 6: Communicate with your GM

You can always ask your GM for help when creating your character. Besides getting all your abilities and features straight, they can also help place the character in the campaign. This might help form an idea of your character and where they come from.

Step 7: Communicate with your fellow players

Nothing more fun than brainstorming with your fellow players and joining backstories! You can talk with each other about some ideas and maybe link some parts of your backstories. For example, your character collects rare seashells. Another character is a sailor who sells seashells alongside the fish they catch. You already know each other as buyer and seller, and it’s a fun addition to both of your backstories.

Step 8: Play the type of character you like

It doesn’t matter if you base your character on your favorite fictional (or nonfictional) character. If you want to escape reality as a female Indiana Jones, go for it! It will motivate you and spark inspiration. You can start with an example, and who knows, your character could end up completely different. But you have a starting point. 

Step 9: Use tools to your advantage

Do you like to put your character in the hands of fate? Consult character creation tables online or in books. If you have no inspiration, these tools are super useful to roll up a random character.

What now?

Do you feel ready to create a character? Perfect! If you want to know how to make an Æther Void character, keep an eye out for an upcoming article. Can’t wait? Check out our one-shot adventures! We’ve included pre-made characters, so you can experience what Æther Void characters have to offer.

What is your number one tip for creating a TTRPG character? 

Also read: Reintroducing Original One-Shot Characters