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  1. For just about all of us GMs or DMs for you old school-types (which includes me!), sooner or later, your players are going to be creating either completely new player characters or PCs to replace one they may have lost... For far too long, I've seen people come up with some pretty generic origins for their character. If their origins are now big deal, IMO, I think it makes it a little or a lot harder to imbue them with a great personality. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing on people playing their characters any way they want to, I just want to help equip them with some extra dramatic or imaginative 'muscle' so they're a LOT more memorable rather than the typical rogue, barbarian, wizard or whatever. A word of warning to you GMs. This column will focus most of the original work on you because it is your game and campaign that they're going to be playing in. With that being said, grab a notebook, put on some great inspirational music or maybe a favorite fantasy movie playing in the background and lets go! First of all, once a player decides what they want to play, its on you the GM to help them flesh out their character. If they're playing an elf, dwarf, hobbit, gnome or just about any other race, how do they fit into YOUR campaign? Are elves aloof and mysterious or are they despised for their arrogance as well as their immense life spans? Where do they come from & what's their homeland & culture like? IF you don't know this at all, how are you going to pass that info onto your player? After you've answered that question, then you've got to figure out how that class or maybe even an exotic class they REALLY want to play 'fits' into your campaign. BTW, Do NOT let someone EVER create either a race, class or any combination thereof if you're not completely comfortable with it, no matter how much pleading or coercion whether it be subtle or not. Otherwise, you're going to eventually surrender your game to power gamers. If you're OK with that, go ahead. Otherwise be very careful! Secondly, now that they have their race figured out, what about their class? Are they going to play a standard fighter or do they want to play a monk, a wizard, a rogue or something else that might be even more exotic? Do those classes even exist in your campaign? If they do, what role do they fill in your campaign and are they popular, feared or maybe even spoken of in quiet whispers and furtive glances? Think about that. Imagine what would YOU think about wizards if you were a commoner or maybe even a Janti (my word for nobility in Kalandria, my home brew campaign). No matter what their class, take a few moments to create a couple of organizations for them. If they're playing something as lowly as a fighter AND they come from a civilized urban background, then where IS their hometown? Oh sure, more work & notes! Of course, if you have any kind of passion for your campaign though, this is gravy! The nice thing about GMing FRPGs is that you can borrow or steal just about any idea or material from any of your favorite sources, whether it be the 3 Musketeers, the Black Guard, or just about any other idea you want. Change a few things and then put a line or three of text behind each order, organization or guild that you decide. Of course, you COULD just ditch this but then IMO, your world would be a little smaller and not nearly as captivating. You don't have to create the whole world, just a small corner for your players to originate in. If your players discover that they COULD become the newest member of The Silver Wolves or the Ghost Fingers or the Foebane, wouldn't they want to be? Pump up the order or organization with a couple of lines of text if you want. Create an NPC or 2 that is their master, mentor or sponsor. That way, it ties them that much closer to the order. Now that you have their race & class figured out, what about their actual history or background? Do they come from a family, are the orphans, from a tribe or maybe raised by the Royal Order of Mages from a young age? Maybe they're an escaped prisoner, a survivor from a shipwreck (maybe NOT an accident?) or they cannot stand the idea of being the 11th generation of farmers just like their ancestors were? Of course, most of this info SHOULD be their idea but that's no reason why you cannot help them flesh out their PC. If you give them a few 'pegs' with which to build their PC, they can be cool, interesting and fun to play! Of course, I COULD go on and I also know that there is loads of more info I could put in here but this is my first (very imperfect!!) submission and hopefully, it will spur some creative juices amongst the gamers out there.
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