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Building Characters
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Building Characters

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Building Characters: A minimalist 96-page guide to creating memorable characters for any tabletop roleplaying system or setting.

Tabletop roleplaying is about characters. It’s something so fundamental and obvious that it’s often taken for granted. If your tastes run toward the wargaming end of the spectrum, a character is your game piece, the way that you interface with the system. For those who lean more toward the storytelling end, your character is a means of self-expression, the way that you can vicariously interact with the world and the adventures it offers. Building a character with an interesting background, then, will heighten your overall experience of the game.

In this book, we’ll explore what goes into crafting memorable and enjoyable tabletop roleplaying character backgrounds. We’ll look at how they influence, and are influenced by, the worldbuilding, adventures, and rules of the game. By the end you’ll have a whole toolkit full of ideas to work with, to apply however you choose regardless of the system, setting, or genre you’re playing in.

This book is system-agnostic, meaning is was not written for one specific tabletop roleplaying game. It’s not exclusively for Dungeons & Dragons, Fate, Vampire the Masquerade, Call of Cthulhu, or any other particular game. The examples are high-level and generic, allowing you to adapt and apply them to the system of your choice. It’s recommended that you read through the entire book at least once to get a sense of the contents, the flow of things, and the context for various ideas. You can then go back to individual sections as needed for reference as you’re creating characters.

For ease of reference, this book has been broken up into three sections:

  • Introduction: This is where you are now. A brief overview of what this book is about, the concepts that will be discussed, and ways that you can put it to use for your tabletop roleplaying game.
  • Character Format: The standard “stat block” for all of the books in the Building series, this descriptive block will help you help track roleplaying, worldbuilding, and adventure bits regardless of rules. This chapter covers the five components of the of the stat block: Name, Description, Purpose, Modifiers, and Story Points.
  • Character Elements: What other games call attributes, statistics, or aspects, elements are the building blocks of anything and everything that can be created for a tabletop roleplaying game. This chapter covers nine areas for developing character elements: Character Roles, Stages of Life, Dimensions, Motivations, Aptitudes, Life Experiences, Resources, and Wonders.
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1.9 MB
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For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
February 23, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on February 25, 2020.