View Full Version : Alternate Character Creation Ponderings [3.5e]

Neon Knight
2008-10-22, 08:39 PM
So, I was considering a game inspired by the opening of Jade Empire, which is a fairly standard kung-fu movie style martial arts academy. I was thinking that to further add to the flavor of the game, I could use a special method of character generation. What I had in mind is as follows:

Instead of generating ability scores in a conventional manner, I thought I would do something like this:

Give them a couple points in point buy so they can raise their attribute scores to something like 10 or 12. Then present them with a series of options, like so:

Test of the Spirit Animal

At some point during your arduous training under the master's keen eye, he subjected you to the test of the Spirit animal. Through exercise of one your physical capabilities and meditation upon one of your mental faculties, you became closer to this symbolic patron and improved your attributes.

Benefit: Select one physical attribute (STR, DEX, or CON) and one mental attribute (INT, WIS, or CHA.) You gain +2 to the attributes you select and gain the patron ship of a symbolic animal exemplifying these traits. For help naming your spirit animal, see below.

Spirit animal names consist of a adjective prefix determined by the mental attribute selected and a noun determined by the physical attribute selected. Examples are given below. Feel free to come up with your own:

STR = Bear, Lion

DEX = Fox, Bat, Hawk, Tiger

CON = Tiger, Elephant, Turtle

INT = Scholar, Thinking

WIS = Sagacious, Sly, Wise, Mystic, Inscrutable

CHA = Smiling, Benevolent

So, a student who selected STR and INT could have as a spirit animal Scholar Bear. A student who selected DEX and WIS could have as a spirit animal Sagacious Tiger.

There would be numerous tests presented during character creation, each building their characters while presenting them with flavorful and hopefully inspiring options.

So, what do you think of my merry little plot?

EDIT: Name changed to avoid confusion with SAGA.

Neon Knight
2008-10-23, 12:32 PM

I was seriously interested in what people thought of this idea. I was also hoping that you could suggest ideas for further "tests" as it were.

2008-10-23, 03:29 PM
Hmm its interesting, but you are going to have to put a cap on how many they tests they can undertake, otherwise players may try to abuse it and push all their stats up to 18 or higher. Other than that, its interesting, entertaining and very flavorful.

Neon Knight
2008-10-23, 04:40 PM
I was thinking anywhere from 3-5 tests. These tests were to replace normal ability generation like point buy or rolling.

2008-10-23, 04:56 PM
It's certainly a lot more flavourful, but it limits the characters. However, with a little bit of customizing, this could be applied to a wide array of character concepts. Take, for example, Benny the Rogue. Benny grew up in a huge city, and has never heard of or cared much for "spirit animals". For Benny, any non-materialistic concerns meant that you got knifed in the back while you were daydreaming, and your stuff looted. Benny was never much of a fighter, but she had uncanny skills at determining when things would turn sour and then running away before they did. Some thought her wise to do this, others merely praised her speed, and others yet just believed her a coward.

Benny, in game terms, had taken the following options at character creation:
Pacifist: +4 WIS, -2 STR. This character would rather sort out things peacefully than fight, resulting in deeper mental acuity at the cost of brawn.
Flighty: +4 DEX, -4 CHA. Nobody likes a coward, but that's just what this person is good at being, with the skills to dodge and run at the cost of face.

There could be a slew of such little options that a character could take at first level, appropriate for a wider range of characters and with swappable fluff. Not all of them would have to have penalties, but the more powerful ones would lose points from several stats at the cost of one.

Neon Knight
2008-10-23, 06:01 PM
The whole point of this was to reflect the fact that they were all raised in a monastery dojo academy school college place of learning type plus under a cryptic old master. They are all supposed to have certain common experiences, with differentiating results and responses to these tests. It's limiting, yes, but you can be just as creative within a set of limitations as you can be without them. It may be a different type of creativity, but it is still there.

2008-10-23, 06:15 PM
Yeah, but it doesn't really help if you don't want to be that sort of character, or even someone who wants better mental stats than physical ones.

Neon Knight
2008-10-23, 06:26 PM
I'm proposing this idea for a specific campaign with a specific concept, not as a replacement for general character creation. I assume that everyone who will play in this campaign will accept being "that sort of character" because being "that sort of character" is the whole point of the campaign. It's like running an only elves campaign or a paladin only campaign. It's a theme campaign.