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Letting the player build the char in the story

   
Letting the player build the char in the story

I'm teaching my little sister (13 y) D&D 3.5
I do this by letting her create a character, but not fill in any skills/feats/abilities. Just the bare basics extracted from the small background she wrote, like physical description, alignment, and deity.

Now she will be able to train certain skills, gain feats, train her abilities, and in the end join an Order to become a level 1 in a class she chooses. I'm just struggling a bit how to take on this bit, how do you exactly train for all these things? How do I give her the freedom to make her character how she likes it without ending it all in chaos?

I don't want her to end up with a very weird character, as it will color her experience with D&D.

let her make the character she wants to. Then craft the adventure to fit the character she has. It's the DM's job to make sure the characters that come to the table are relevant and viable. This is especially true of beginners. When a player is experienced, then the DM can lay out adventures and expect the players to rise to the standards or fail. Expecting that of a noob is sure to chase them off. Making them compromise their ideas to fit the constraints of the system can do that too.

Another thought... if your little sister likes 'weird' characters, then perhaps you should play a game with her that lets her do that. Either way, a DM must cater to his audience.

I would suggest a 'visible choices' approach. Many electronic games have these options as well. The premise is, when she enters a certain part of town, think of that area as the 'Character Advertisement Street'. Any classes you would like her to be, have a building there with a cryer outside recruiting or just talking. A fighters(merc) guild, a mage guild, a temple, a wilderness teacher, etc. Whichever piques her interest the most is where she will go, of course. When inside, the weapons she could pick from would be racked on the wall, letting her choose her path, and the trainer/teacher/priest can give her insight on the best path for her training. Abstract drills and classes that would be similar to feats and skills are possible at this point. Make sense?

I think by "weird", Sitethief means "non-standard build", and is concerned that such will put her little sister off on the wrong foot. She's correct. If you're gonna teach 'em, teach 'em right.

If Little Sis isn't much for number-crunching, a more story-based approach to character creation is actually a very good way to go. From the questions asked and the answers received, the options given and the choices made, you can pretty much nail down what kind of character she wants to play and tie that back to the mechanics of character creation in a very organic way.

Keep in mind that "freedom of choice" is not "freedom to choose anything and everything". As you're leading Little Sis through the process, craft the choices to cut out options.

"Does your character use magic?" neatly eliminates a boatload of choices, for example.

"Is she good at it?" helps narrow down the relevant ability score AND can be used to determine full caster vs hybrid.

Getting to a specific class choice is going to be the hardest part. Once there, you can simply say, "OK, wizards have a reputation for knowing this sort of stuff," and list the class skills. "Pick the things you'd like to be able to do. You can pick <<number of skills at max rank>> to be really good at, or you can choose to be trained in more skills, but not be quite as good at them."

Once you have skills, then explain the concept of feats. "Each character knows some special tricks that make them different from others of the same class. For example, your wizard might have a special talent for a certain kind of magic that makes it harder to resist her spells (Spell Focus). Or she may have figured out how to cast a lot of spells without the little props needed by other wizards (Eschew Materials). Based on what we've learned about your character, here is a list of special tricks - called Feats - that your character might know. Pick one."

By providing a short list, you give her the power to choose, but also limit her choices to things that a) aren't overwhelming, and b) won't gimp her character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarium View Post
I would suggest a 'visible choices' approach. Many electronic games have these options as well. The premise is, when she enters a certain part of town, think of that area as the 'Character Advertisement Street'. Any classes you would like her to be, have a building there with a cryer outside recruiting or just talking. A fighters(merc) guild, a mage guild, a temple, a wilderness teacher, etc. Whichever piques her interest the most is where she will go, of course. When inside, the weapons she could pick from would be racked on the wall, letting her choose her path, and the trainer/teacher/priest can give her insight on the best path for her training. Abstract drills and classes that would be similar to feats and skills are possible at this point. Make sense?
Yes! Exactly what I was trying to say.

*Shrugs* I taught my 12yo brother, 11yo cousin, and 8yo daughter to game at the same time. Granted, not D&D (which is an awful beginner's game, IMO), but the archetypes can apply.

My brother started with a ranger/bard type character (love my system for that- lets you build however you like+), which he later ditched for a paladin type (actually, more like an outsider warrior-cleric by D&D archetypes). My cousin went with the ever-so-typical NENAD type. He later dropped for a warrior treant with just a *little bit* of plant control magic (plays a lot like a self buff warrior druid). And my daughter has been having a blast the whole time as a water elemental slaughter machine. No, seriously, she's a vicious little monster. It's adorable.

So just let your sister run with what she feels like doing. When she decides she doesn't like it anymore, let her build something else and play that instead. It's all good.

Thanks a lot guys, I'm going to incorporate some ideas into the game.
Great tip on letting it be her story, that way she won't feel railroaded right away.

I've just read most of it, but if you still intent on only having her with her alignment, age, etc, but no skills, feats, etc. Maybe you could have her start as a simple peasant in a small city (abundant options) and have her go her usual day to day or things she likes to do, based on that, you give her some skills, maybe a feat or two and then, like someone said, sell her classes with a cryer, giving her a general idea of how it works. Maybe let her shift through a couple of them, to show that she hasn't chosen yet which one, and then have her agree on something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalD View Post
I've just read most of it, but if you still intent on only having her with her alignment, age, etc, but no skills, feats, etc. Maybe you could have her start as a simple peasant in a small city (abundant options) and have her go her usual day to day or things she likes to do, based on that, you give her some skills, maybe a feat or two and then, like someone said, sell her classes with a cryer, giving her a general idea of how it works. Maybe let her shift through a couple of them, to show that she hasn't chosen yet which one, and then have her agree on something.

That isn't viable at the moment since the story already started her as the youngest daughter of a local lord.

Then it can easily apply still, being the daugther of a local lord will give her even more options or easy access.




 

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