Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Character creation dungeon

    Would it be possible to create a dungeon that builds a character by playing it?

    By which I mean, you and 4 (or more) or other players start playing it with blank sheets, and stop playing it fully stated out.
    Last edited by Shinizak; 2021-01-09 at 01:41 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    What way are you talking about? A normal dungeon in a points based game where your points are up in the air until you solidify them by spending them on something (your clutch "it's a good thing I've always enjoyed fiddling with devices to see how they work" means you get to open locks and disable traps from now on), or a more general character prologue where your build comes from how you respond to questions with maybe some RNG to spice things up? Both are very possible.

    Note, however, that as soon as your system is written down on paper that meta builds will exist. People will plot out the optimal ways to spend their points and then look for ways to justify their ideal builds in the initial dungeon. They'll also work out and possibly memorize optimal responses if your game has response trees for prologue character creation. If you spice that up with RNG you have the usual problems of RNG character creation (you're sure to have people whose entire character career is made easier or harder based on their luck in the first session), plus you get to rediscover some of the flubs of RNG background that have already been made. I think some iteration of Traveler was most infamous for this, where your character could die before character generation was complete.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Not only can it be done, it has been done. (Although technically it's not a dungeon, but an entire island that has a dungeon as one of its locations.)
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I've tallied up all the points for this thread, and consulted with the debate judges, and the verdict is clear: JoeJ wins the thread.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    So it's like the beginning of Fallout 3?
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    So it's like the beginning of Fallout 3?
    Yeah! Kinda. That'd be the closest approximation.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Dec 2019

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Fallout 3 (or older example of questionnaire in TES: Arena and TES: Morrowind) way is only really suitable to a game where you are in some sense as weak as you want to be, and there is no expectation of any parity between PCs and NPCs. They are also a single-player video games where cutscenes are acceptable and expected, and even ridiculously long ones are appreciated by some players if they are good. And even then, Bethesda's extended character creation may work for some but Mount&Blade's one is so bland that I've never heard about people ever doing it for flavor reasons (though it's unskippable so intead just assigning stat yourself you do look up the guide and then assign depending on what stats and skills you want).

    I do not think that any non-obvious results (enemies are attacking across the narrow bridge; hold them at bay: get some fighting prowess, try to destroy the bridge: get some form of gadgeteering or trap-finding, bandage the dying NPC: get healing) will be appreciated (again, this can work in a single-player game because you either lose 10 minutes to restart and play it right this time or play a character not 100% to your liking because it's interesting). In a class-based game like D&D it can be outright disastrous. Note that aforementioned 1e adventure (as far as I can understand without reading it) seems not to start with a blank slate but with a defined 0lv character which can grow into lv1 character, so it's more of a case of starting with a low-level chracter or maybe even strictly average character (a plenty of video games did that one too where no matter what your build is going to be later in the game you still need to fight some rats with a rusty dagger, maybe do a little fetch quest you can do in less than one minute, maybe cast some spells from the scrolls, so you know what magic is even if you are not going to play as a mage). Schrodinger's characters may work when it's players explicitly deciding "Seems like someone needs to walk through those corridor of swinging blades, so I'd better have some good evasive abilities and above-average move". It's significantly harder in D&D than in point-buy systems (even partial point-buy like WoD is more forgiving), but in theory it can be made.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2021-01-10 at 09:40 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Fallout 3 (or older example of questionnaire in TES: Arena and TES: Morrowind) way is only really suitable to a game where you are in some sense as weak as you want to be, and there is no expectation of any parity between PCs and NPCs. They are also a single-player video games where cutscenes are acceptable and expected, and even ridiculously long ones are appreciated by some players if they are good. And even then, Bethesda's extended character creation may work for some but Mount&Blade's one is so bland that I've never heard about people ever doing it for flavor reasons (though it's unskippable so intead just assigning stat yourself you do look up the guide and then assign depending on what stats and skills you want).

    I do not think that any non-obvious results (enemies are attacking across the narrow bridge; hold them at bay: get some fighting prowess, try to destroy the bridge: get some form of gadgeteering or trap-finding, bandage the dying NPC: get healing) will be appreciated (again, this can work in a single-player game because you either lose 10 minutes to restart and play it right this time or play a character not 100% to your liking because it's interesting). In a class-based game like D&D it can be outright disastrous. Note that aforementioned 1e adventure (as far as I can understand without reading it) seems not to start with a blank slate but with a defined 0lv character which can grow into lv1 character, so it's more of a case of starting with a low-level chracter or maybe even strictly average character (a plenty of video games did that one too where no matter what your build is going to be later in the game you still need to fight some rats with a rusty dagger, maybe do a little fetch quest you can do in less than one minute, maybe cast some spells from the scrolls, so you know what magic is even if you are not going to play as a mage). Schrodinger's characters may work when it's players explicitly deciding "Seems like someone needs to walk through those corridor of swinging blades, so I'd better have some good evasive abilities and above-average move". It's significantly harder in D&D than in point-buy systems (even partial point-buy like WoD is more forgiving), but in theory it can be made.
    You could cut it down to skip out on all of the "personality" and "choices" stuff or just summarize them. Eg "your older classmate stole your birthday present, what do you do? a) start a fight, b) tell on him c) try to negotiate/barter with him d) do nothing" and these leads into personality traits and background bonds or whatever. You could probably finish one in 10 minutes if you already have an idea for how your character should react.
    The walking around simulator and tutorial bits can easily be eschewed.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Dec 2019

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    You could cut it down to skip out on all of the "personality" and "choices" stuff or just summarize them. Eg "your older classmate stole your birthday present, what do you do? a) start a fight, b) tell on him c) try to negotiate/barter with him d) do nothing" and these leads into personality traits and background bonds or whatever. You could probably finish one in 10 minutes if you already have an idea for how your character should react.
    The walking around simulator and tutorial bits can easily be eschewed.
    a) This is exactly what happened in TES I and III I mentioned. Still unlikely to be welcome if it is mandatory, and to be used if it's optional it should be very good - you are in effect running a "carrer advice" or at least a role-in-the-hobby advice based on nothing but a single quiz. Most DMs wouldn't have either knowledge or time to make such thing.

    b) OP's asked about a dungeon, so at least some interactive play is expected.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    a) This is exactly what happened in TES I and III I mentioned. Still unlikely to be welcome if it is mandatory, and to be used if it's optional it should be very good - you are in effect running a "carrer advice" or at least a role-in-the-hobby advice based on nothing but a single quiz. Most DMs wouldn't have either knowledge or time to make such thing.

    b) OP's asked about a dungeon, so at least some interactive play is expected.
    Eh a vault is basically a high tech dungeon. Just remove the lasers and tech and you'll be golden
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Area 51

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    one thing you could do is have something akin to choice lists in terms of cards,

    or you could begin with magic 8 ball style answers to problems,

    then sort them in colors, like blue for intellectual challenge/encounter,
    red for combat encounter,
    yellow for skill test,
    green for whatever's left like social.

    Then you hand out some cards, and as the players encounter stuff, they can either play a card, or turn in a card to get some other card.

    based on which cards they play per challenge, you would have your choose your own adventure stat/ability/skill matrix.

    Like if you had a "swing sword" or "cast magic missile" pair of cards, one of these is clearly magic user.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Davis, California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    I did this for 3.5 with an ad-hoc design I handwaved. The effect was sort of boring. The players already knew what they wanted for characters. Instead of adapting their build to overcome the challenges they just went with their pre-planned builds and filled them in as the first session progressed. I wouldn't do it again for a class-based system.p

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    San Diego
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    I did this for 3.5 with an ad-hoc design I handwaved. The effect was sort of boring. The players already knew what they wanted for characters. Instead of adapting their build to overcome the challenges they just went with their pre-planned builds and filled them in as the first session progressed. I wouldn't do it again for a class-based system.p
    This is more or less my experience. I once started a commoners game for 3.5 with the intention that over the course of the adventure, each character would basically replace their level with a PC class based on how they solved problems.

    What ended up happening, is that they already knew what they wanted to play, so they just played very crappy versions of their class. That was fun and all (it was a silly game), but the point is that they'll be 1 of 2 outcomes.

    1) The player says, "Finally! I get to play what I wanted to in the first place!"
    2) The player says, "Wait, hang on DM. Just because I identified that moss and bottled some strange liquid doesn't mean I should be an alchemist, I mostly snuck around and tried to flank things..."

    Now, your players could get a sense of satisfaction from option 1, like they're graduating to the big leagues and now the REAL adventure begins... But that is a different goal than assigning classes based on performance.

    Assigning class and/or skills based on a introduction sequence of some kind (dungeon, questionnaire etc...) works in video games because the player is still learning the rules of the game and trying to find what playstyle is most fun for them. With most TTRPGs, your players usually read through the list of class/skill options and select the one(s) that sounds the most fun to play before the game even begins. Although some games, like Traveller, enforce a degree of randomness to skills...

    In conclusion, it doesn't work out as well as it first sounds unless you're specifically going for that initial feeling of "departing the prologue", so to speak.
    Homebrewers Extended Signature Yep, no more room in my actual signature ... on the bright side though, now I have room for a cool quote!
    If I had one ...
    Custom Avatar by ShadowySilence - He's a cool guy.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Wyoming
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    As mentioned, the problem is that players "build" their characters before ever coming to the table.

    So first off, you'd need buy-in. "Hey guys, we're gonna do this neat dungeon thing to create our characters, so please try to do it this way and not pre-build your character."

    Personally, I'd give every player an array of stats on cards and as situations come up, allow them to "declare" that their character has X stat relevant to solving the problem, or X skill. Once that stat and skill are used, that becomes a fixed element of their character, and they slowly run out of cards.

    Ideally, everyone will put their "good stats" to use in different situations (or at least few will overlap) in order to develop a robust party. But no guarantees of course. Maybe let them all declare one stat right at the start when they first "wake up in whatever dungeon-like thing" you've got them in.

    I think this approach might end up feeling kinda card-gamey though, probably with some system that as you play a stat or a skill card, you draw a new card from a pot containing additional skills or class features.

    ---------
    I played in one once where the characters were made for us, and we discovered the characters traits as we played. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. It's mostly memorable for me because as I discovered I was the bog standard fighter, I kept nat 20-ing on my rogue-like checks (bluff, stealth, deception, etc...) which was just kinda funny.
    Last edited by False God; 2021-01-15 at 04:37 PM.
    Knowledge brings the sting of disillusionment, but the pain teaches perspective.
    "You know it's all fake right?"
    "...yeah, but it makes me feel better."

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    I can't say as I've ever really enjoyed such a thing; in fact, off hand, I can only remember ever hating it. So I'm probably not the best to ask for advice.

    I *can* say that the way it interacts with "planning", and the stupid hoops players will jump through to try to force their characters down particular paths made everything feel really contrived.

    I guess my question is, what are you going for here? What are you hoping to get out of changing the character creation minigame this way? Based on my experiences, the most common answer seems to be, "to remove the last vestiges of player agency from my games" / "because 'getting to control how their character turns out' sets a bad precedent" - what's yours?

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I can't say as I've ever really enjoyed such a thing; in fact, off hand, I can only remember ever hating it. So I'm probably not the best to ask for advice.

    I *can* say that the way it interacts with "planning", and the stupid hoops players will jump through to try to force their characters down particular paths made everything feel really contrived.

    I guess my question is, what are you going for here? What are you hoping to get out of changing the character creation minigame this way? Based on my experiences, the most common answer seems to be, "to remove the last vestiges of player agency from my games" / "because 'getting to control how their character turns out' sets a bad precedent" - what's yours?
    My goal was to have something I could sit down immediately with a group and play without a session 0. But it's already clear the idea won't work and you NEED session 0

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinizak View Post
    My goal was to have something I could sit down immediately with a group and play without a session 0. But it's already clear the idea won't work and you NEED session 0
    For that goal - to begin playing immediately - allow my to suggest the series of calibration 1-shots.

    Everyone gets to bring whatever they want. If it doesn't work, it's just a single bad night, not a ruined campaign.

    Everyone gets to display their "range". You get practice with vocabulary, getting to know what the GM actually means when he says a "political sandbox", or that I'll happily play a sentient potted plant who considers things like "pressing buttons" or "moving under own power" to be superpowers beyond his ken.

    Then, at some point, you can make an informed decision about starting a longer adventure. "Wouldn't it be cool if characters XY and Z formed a party", or "who would y'all want to bring on <bootstrap adventure>?".

    In the hands of intelligent players, it greatly facilitates predicting whether certain characters will fit the story, will get along, will be enjoyable in a party. It turns what in most instances of session 0 I've seen is is guesswork into informed decision-making. It enables group insight into the characters, to allow the elevator pitch and the session 0 to blend together into a much more productive whole.

    It subtly encourages players to see their characters as having a life outside of the campaign, and adds "actual play experience" to the much less rich medium of "backstory". It provides the opportunity for players to practice with both personalities and mechanics before agreeing to sign up for a longer engagement.

    What do you think? Willing to give it a shot or 6?

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Character creation dungeon

    You could just play your intended normal first dungeon and let everyone leave their skills etc. unassigned until there's something they want to do
    Omegaupdate Forum

    WoTC Forums Archive + Indexing Projext

    PostImage, a free and sensible alternative to Photobucket

    Temple+ Modding Project for Atari's Temple of Elemental Evil

    Morrus' RPG Forum (EN World v2)

    If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended. That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear, and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream. -Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •