Monday, December 13, 2010

Character Creation vs. Game Play: Where's the Fun?

Just a couple quick thoughts and questions for the peanut gallery.

In a role playing game, should the character generation process be fun in and of itself?  If so, is it a sign of bad game design or good game design if the process is as fun, or even more fun, than the game play itself?

Just some thoughts rolling around in my head regarding PotA, the upcoming Gamma World 4ED&D game we're gonna play, and Utilitarianism's wacky idea of 'units of pleasure.'


  1. I know at least one guy that says creating characters is as fun to the game itself--which I hope isn't a commentary on the games I've run he played in.

    I don't think character creation has to be fun, but I do think it can't be too much of a chore.

  2. If it's fun that's great. If not that's okay; as long as it's not mind numbingly boring or complicated.

  3. I used to spend hours creating characters for Traveller. Unfortunately I could never find anyone to GM it for me.

  4. It should be fun, and is a flaw if it isn't. I basically don't even play games where it's a chore to make a character. I also think creation without a random element is a problem, as it is boring and presumes you have a good character idea beforehand. Any good game should allow you to roll-up a character for fun even if it won't be played, not make it a necessary evil you must perform before play.

  5. Mostly an echo here.

    It is good to have chargen that is quick enough that it doesn’t need to be fun. It isn’t necessarily bad design to not have it, but it is good design to have it. (Note that this can be a simplified version of a more involved system—like “templates”—as long as the characters you get out of it could have come out of the long chargen process.)

    Involved chargen is fine as long as it is fun. Again, it isn’t necessarily bad design to not have it, but it is good design to have it.

  6. I absolutely adore creating characters, though I'm much less into the min/max bean counting aspects. For me, it's all about creating an awesome background.

    Now a system that adds fun to character creation is great. I too spend much time creating Traveller or Gamma World characters that never were and the ICONS superhero game is a real treat.