We’ve all been there: Roll dice, input stats, write down numbers, choose equipment, pick skills, roll for hit points, check your math.
Then check your math again.
Creating a character is often fun, but it’s often just as monotonous.
But we have some ideas to spice things up.
The first: Have a session zero, or character creation session.
For our next adventure, I’m having my players roll up characters together. I’m gearing up to run Curse of Strahd, the new adventure from Dungeons & Dragons, and I want the group to come together to create all the characters together rather than rolling up PCs at home and introducing them at the table.
I drummed up plenty more ideas on how to change things up, give the players some bonuses and help craft a party together.
Using all of these would be crazy, but pick one or two and let us know how it went!
Ask each player, “How does your character know [major NPC]?”
Roll dice. The highest roller goes first. He states a name and a class or role. The next player states how they know that character and their own class and role. The third player states how his character knows one or both of the first two. Et cetera.
Have the group create an entire cast of characters. Each PC is created with group input. Them the players each choose a character. Then the player is allowed to tweak the PC to fit their own ideas or play style.
Make every character come from the same village, serve in the same army, work at the same place or come from the same prison.
Create a villain first. Them have each player state how their PC knows that villain.
Offer several bonus options. Then each player gets to pick one feat, stat bonus, magic item, wealth or other bonus (say, speed or initiative) to add to their character.
Assign each player a random feat BEFORE character creation. That will likely lead to the player designing the character around the feat and thinking about their PC in new ways.
Each player rolls a die to choose a random race. Then create your character.
Pick several locales and assign each a character trait, feat or other bonus to that place. Players must pick one of those locales as their origin point, and they receive that bonus.
Give out teamwork bonuses. For players that determine their characters are friends, teammates or partners, give those PCs a +1 that stacks with other bonuses any time they work together (assist each other in a check, attack the same enemy, etc.)
Give each player 2 points. They may use each point to alter their character in a way approved by the DM. For example, they could use a chaotic alignment if you outlawed them otherwise, reroll a bad ability score, take a skill bonus, etc.