So finally, Neoncon is coming and it will be my first chance to publicly display my work on the Organized Play campaign set in the world of Akos. There is so much work to be done. Today, I am tackling one of the most complex aspects of starting a campaign like this: Pre-generated characters.
Why is it complex, you ask? First off, the characters must showcase and give some of the flavor of the world and its particularities. Second when presented with a character, everyone has their own view on how such a class should be put together. Third, you want to create characters that are relevant to the adventure but not necessarily focused to it. That last point is, I think the trickiest of all. If my adventures are all about traps, and half the party are designed to blow through them, then the challenge in the adventure become insignificant, similar if none of the pre-gens can deal with traps, then I simply cheat the players.
This is not the same as creating one-shot characters where I can think up of a scene or encounter where each of the PCs can shine or has the potential of shining. Those pre-gens will be thrown at any one of the many adventures currently in development. So my thought process is different. I can’t design a character just for one adventure, knowing he’ll be completely useless in the next.
Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. The Pathfinder rule set has come a long way from having those adventures that completely negated a character’s usefulness (such as the all-undead adventure vs. the rogue heavy party, or the elemental adventure vs. high-crit party).
I wanted to add a little meat to those characters, so someone sitting at the table is immediately gets some element of flavor with the character: where they come from, who their deity is, do they have any special contacts of ability. I like it when I play one-shot adventures that I receive some piece of information that is unique to me, something that sets me apart from the rest of the group OR that justifies my ties to it.
So what I did was to create characters that had flavor and uniqueness. So far, I have built five, but am trying to come up with a total of pre-gens. Each of them has a unique class, a unique feat, or a unique ability to found in our Player’s Guide. The goal is to present the new material we have while keeping the characters someone familiar to the players.
Now that I established what I wanted to accomplish, “what classes to do?” was my next question. In D&D, I always think there are four basic roles that need to be filled: the melee guy, the healer, the arcanist and the skill monkey (roughly, the fighter, the cleric, the wizard and the rogue). Looking at my list of races, classes and abilities, I came up with the following combination:
Thought creating pre-generated characters was easy? Trust, it’s a lot more complex that it seems at first glance!