GreenTongue
 member, 960 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 19:49
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
What must you know about your game character in order to play a RPG?

Are just the stats enough to get started or do you need a multipage background with established relationships?
tmagann
 member, 704 posts
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 20:26
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 1):

That depends on the DM and the Game System. I'm good with stats, although:

D&D 5e requires a bit of background as well, as part of the character generation mechanic.

And Gurps (and similar games) often need disadvantages explained, and Social Disads require background info that goes with them.

There are probably more game specific reasons why just stats doesn't work for some games, but in general, stats are enough for some of us, where possible.

But some GMS are more worried about story than mission/quest goals. They want background, and pick that over mission/quest aiding stats.
pawndream
 member, 190 posts
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 20:38
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
I am not a proponent of writing out a ton of information for roleplaying characters. All I need as a player, and what i require in the games I run are:

One sentence character concept
Brief Background
Brief Personality

Brief means a couple of sentences. Nothing crazy. Relationships and that sort of thing can be discovered during play.
Piestar
 member, 860 posts
 once upon a time...
 ...there was a little pie
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 21:30
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
Not much. Stats of course, class, race and gender are useful. I like to start at ground zero, so background in next to nothing.
evileeyore
 member, 482 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined August 2015
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 21:37
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
Considering I've started play without a name or description of the character, let alone stats, background, etc (amnesia scenarios), I can go pretty minimal for the right GM, system, and elevator pitch.

I've also run that game, though it was a "build your amnesiac character through the first few sessions" game.  Some players like it more than others.


However having said that, as a rule I always have Name, Stats, and Description written out for the character and at least a bare skeleton of a background so I have something to hang the meat of the personality off of.
nauthiz
 subscriber, 715 posts
Mon 19 Apr 2021
at 22:34
What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
In think it's very much dependent on the premise.

I've quite enjoyed games where the group collectively sits down and comes up with a web of relationships, past events, etc so that by the time the game proper starts you have an excellent idea of who it is you're playing and who everyone else is too.

In quite the opposite direction I've also participated in games in which, intentionally, you knew from absolutely nothing to very little depending on the game.


Generally I try to be a "less is more" person.
A name, whatever mechanical bits are necessary, and a rough sketch of were they came from and how they've arrived at wherever the game is starting.  Especially when you're not playing with people you know I like having the freedom to shift things on the fly to best suit whatever group dynamic starts to form.

Unless the GM is specifically looking for more details and such established beforehand because they'll potentially be making use of them.  Then I certainly don't think it's a bad thing to work all that out prior to the start.
Hunter
 member, 1646 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 00:18
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
pawndream:
I am not a proponent of writing out a ton of information for roleplaying characters. All I need as a player, and what i require in the games I run are:

One sentence character concept
Brief Background
Brief Personality

Brief means a couple of sentences. Nothing crazy. Relationships and that sort of thing can be discovered during play.


Usually this, but I've started games with nothing but a name before.  I prefer not to fill out too much in the beginning and let the character grow as the game goes on.  Sometimes, too much in the beginning is simply too much.
donsr
 member, 2241 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 00:21
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
I always  ask for a backround, from my players, a simply  very short  history of 'what brought them here'

when they do the stats  and stuff, and  i add on what i do from my end, the players  are set with some kind of personality, as well as   thier  'job'. From there on in. RP is needed to build the charcter more.
Jewwk of Shuu
 member, 36 posts
 "I cast: Pro: Sandwich"
 GM: "But WHY?!"
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 01:07
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
It's largely dependent on the setting, group, and system.

Generally speaking though, my preference would be to have minimal backstory. Perhaps a few paragraphs sketching a broad idea, accompanied by basic stats.

That way I don't feel locked into a "narrow concept."

And by far, the most fun bits of role-playing for me are the unexpected spaces found from interacting organically with the other players over time.

Of course, as the game progresses the character will be pretty well fleshed out.
Piestar
 member, 861 posts
 once upon a time...
 ...there was a little pie
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 01:27
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
On RPoL, I find a lot of inspiration from a good portrait.
facemaker329
 member, 7338 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 03:08
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
What do I NEED?  Next to nothing.  A name, a general type, and a ballpark understanding of abilities, and I'm ready to go.  I've had friends invite to their games, pull me aside, and say, "So, I need someone to run this NPC for me.  I haven't bothered with stats yet, because I don't know how relevant they're going to be to the game, but this is what the guy is and this is the kind of resources he has, and this is his general reputation.  Go."

When I'm building a character that I intend to play, I tend to be far more elaborate than that.  A name, most of the stats, a general background, and the basic gear are what I usually put together, at the very least, before I feel like I'm ready to play that character.  And when I say, "general background," I mean GENERAL.  Like, "He's a Marine Corps sniper, no family, didn't have any real close personal connections until he joined the Corps so that's become his life."  I feel like I need that much to give me a grasp of who the character is so that I can play with some sense of consistency, rather than changing the character significantly every time I sit down because my mood is different that day.

And, yes, sometimes characters inspire me and I get FAR more specific than that.  But I feel like I need that much, at the very least, to give me some idea of who the character is now, and how he got there, to establish a trajectory to follow for his story arc.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 449 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 03:48
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
Personally, I take a name, a race a gender and a skillset, then I tailor said background to make them the absolute best at the chosen skillset as I can make them be.  The rest comes later, as I play them.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1152 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 19:16
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
"I'll be an elf."

"More detail, please."

"I'll be an elf with a sword."
Sir Swindle
 member, 306 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 19:50
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
A beer, some chips. That's about all I need. I'm perfectly capable of improvising everything else about a character as I play. What the game is and what these numbers on the character sheet mean is a plus.
silentmouse
 member, 33 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 20:18
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
I think from a technical perspective, that depends on the game and what the GM wants from the players. Many, that I have seen, either rely on the character creation mechanisms in a system, or have a character sheet for the player to fill out.

From a personal perspective, I have found there's a fine line between knowing too much and too little about a character for me. If I know too little, it's harder to get into their head and figure out how they would react to things. If I know too much, I feel boxed in by the history and personality. Somewhere between nothing and everything often works best for me.

I also think that this is a question only you can answer for yourself. As some have said, they can play with the bare name and race, or even less, but for others, they need more. I would suggest playing around with character creation to find the mix that works best for you.
Brianna
 member, 2236 posts
Tue 20 Apr 2021
at 23:38
Re: What Is The Minimum You Need To Know About Your Charater?
I prefer games with more roleplaying than just combat/roll play, so I want some background.  however, as long as I have a pretty free hand to make it up as we play, I don't necessarily need to start with much.  If the character is not low level though, I'm not likely to create on with a pretty good idea of their history, because their skill set grows out of their past experiences, though it can sometimes work backwards too.  Also sometimes characters surprise me when we get playing, with a bit of history, etc or attitude, that I didn't expect.