Tabletop character creation and Live Gaming

29Sep12

Character creation is one of the biggest deterrents for new players; even many experienced players feel that character creation is the first step in simplifying RPGs and improving game play. Here’s an example: Alec loves Whitewolf’s storyteller system—an experienced Whitewolfer can create a full-fledged new character in 10 minutes. However, in introducing people to Whitewolf’s Mage, he’s found that no amount of instruction or personal assistance helps a brand new RPGer create a character in under 2 hours. Some of this time is spent navigating the huge amount of choice involved in creating a character for the first time; some is spent in sheer page flipping. At Appify, we feel we can help add structure to character creation and eliminate page flipping. Here are a few of the features of Live Gaming Character Creation:

Web-based convenience

Because Live Gaming is web-based, all information saved on the website (or in mobile device apps) can be accessed from any internet-capable device. No more losing characters, bring your mobile device as a character sheet and die roller in one!

Character creation wizard

A structured, automated, step-by-step process could help a great many tabletop roleplaying games. Only displaying one step of character creation at a time helps reduce the cognitive load and mentally-staggering array of choices. At a basic level, the player will go through pages dedicated to one facet of character creation: choosing classes, attributes, skills, items. The player will roll or assign points for the stats, while tool tips and help dialogues will provide immediate information about the stats and how they will be used. Secondary stats (such as health or speed in many systems) will be automatically calculated based on the player’s choices.

Later versions of the character creation wizard will support narrative character creation for tabletop RPGs. Instead of having to adjust abstract numbers, players can answer questions about the character’s past or personality that will calculate the character for them. Not only will this make character creation mechanically easier, the character creation will help define and solidify a character’s narrative concept. Narrative character creation will start building the character with a story, not numbers.

Character templates

Appify has received requests for character templates as part of the app. This way, new players and experienced players alike can jump into the story immediately. Because the character sheets include tool-tips, help dialogues, and rolls at the click of a button, even new players can quickly get a feel for what their character is capable of and how to play the RPG.

Version two of the character templates would be ‘fuzzy’ templates. A template could, instead of including exact numbers, include a basic character with some randomization. This way, even ‘template’ characters could be unique.

In-context help

Players don’t only get instructions while creating a character, they can get descriptions of stats and related rules by clicking an attribute, skill, power, or item. Clicking a character’s stealth skill gives a description of the skill, as well as common rolls or rules associated with the skill.

Built in die-roller and ‘score’ tracker

Attributes, skills, and powers can present a default roll (with the option to include modifiers) by clicking or tapping them. The die-roller would include built-in instructions, removing the need to consult charts or book descriptions.

The character sheet also keeps track of points: experience points, hit points, mana points, etc. Each of these come with instructions such as how to use experience points, or how fast hit points recover, again removing the need to consult tables.

* * *

Given the features above, we hope the Live Gaming Character Creation app will have all the basics a player needs to create a character and play without spending hours, or even minutes page flipping: no need for books, sheets, or dice. Of course, you can keep all or any of those traditional tangibles, and just use LGCC to speed play when desired.

If you’re interested in LGCC, vote for it to win $5,000 in the Salt Valley Tally app competition. Votes require email verification, but Salt Valley Talley will not spam you.

Have questions or want to request additional features? Please comment below.

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