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Creating Characters
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:15   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Default Creating Characters

Creating Characters

Hello fellow gamers!

I’ve always felt that characters are vital for adding theme and personality to any army, so I decided that I would share any wisdom that I might have about creating characters. I think that when creating themed characters, you should follow these guide lines:

1. Name
2. Background
3. Wargear
4. Friends and Allies

Name

Choosing a name is vital for the feel of a character, a Dark Eldar torture-master called Timmy just doesn’t cut it. If you’re stuck for names, try making compound words, such as ‘Painferax’ or ‘Dakkagit’.

Titles can also help, it feels great to have a character whose title you extend after each victory. My Tau commander’s full name is ‘Shas’o Tash’var Kai’ure Hi’as’, or just ‘Commander Songblade’. Likewise, you could have an ork called’ Warboss Dakkagit da Burna of Medusa and da Overfiend of Tartaruz’, who you call ‘Boss Dakkagit’. It’s very simple, but it works.

Also, you can try having different names for your characters, like Commissar Yarrick is known as ‘Yarrick’, ‘The Commissar’, ‘Da Old Wun Eye’ or ‘Clawry’ (ok, I made ‘Clawry’ up), or Slaanesh is sometimes called ‘The Dark Prince’ or ‘She who thirsts’.

Our example, Boss Dakkagit, is hated by those Imperials he rules, who call him ‘The Tyrant’.

You could try creating a alien version of your name. Pretend my name is James (which it isn’t). If I collected Eldar, my Farseer might be called Jaime, and if I collected Space Marines, Jamius.

Try looking at history for cool names. Whilst Warboss Chukka Norriz isn’t very subtle, Brother-captain Horatio is.

If you’re still stuck for names, try giving them a name of a planet. Just like you get people from York called Tom York, a guy from Pravis IV might be called Tom Pravis.

Try some things like that, and you’re bound to find a name you like.

Background

Obviously, having a good background is central to having a goog character. Try to make it realistic, and bear in mind that for instance a member of the Tau is unlikely to have ever visted Cadia, and vice versa.

Try and include things like what the character looks like and where they normally can be found. Homeplanets are essential, and are good anchors for the character's location. In Boss Dakkagit's case, he was from the world of Kakrax, and started life as a stormboy in the Goff clan, but he was visted by Gork and mork, who told him that 'red wunz go fasta' so he became a speedfreak. Likewise, Commander Songblade's second in charge, Commander Skystrike was originally a Devilfish pilot until she showed tremendous skill on the battlefield.

Add to the background after every battle. If you beat some Tau, add 'Tau-stikka' or whatever to your character's name, and write something down in his or her background. Campaigns are the best place for this as you can get a whole story going instead of just some disconnected events. In this way the charcters goes from a little picture to a rich mosaic and you can really feel that his or her background is true, not just made up to fill gaps.

Wargear

Many people overlook wargear for theming characters, but it plays a very real role. Imagine if instead of just having a power weapon, your Chaos Lord has the Nightblood Blade, which was forged in the heart of the warp, and corrupts its creator. What if instead of your character's trademark item being a a piece of clothing or weapon, it was the massive scar he got across his eye when he fought at the battle of Cadia?

Consider that wargear might reflect your character's personality- a crazy pyromaniac might have a flamer, but a Space Marine captain who fights shoulder-to-shoulder with his men as an equal might just have a Bolter. Whilst sometimes giving equipment that you would not normally take feels like shooting yourself in the foot, it makes for a much better picture fluff-wise.

At the risk of self promotion, I'd suggest looking here to give you some ideas: http://forums.tauonline.org/index.php?topic=55586.15. Don't post though, it's a very old thread!

Friends and Allies

Could also be entitled 'known associates'. What I mean by this is who has the characters serves under, or served over, met or fought. For instance, Commander Songblade was a quite young Shas'el when Puretide was at his peak, but rejected an opportunity to be taught, revelling in originality. He tutored his pupil Skystrike in this way, but allowed a younger pupil, Newheart, to follow Puretide's teachings.

Maybe your Chaos Lord served under Abbaddon the Despoiler, but was banished after that time you suffered a crushing defeat against the Tau. Sometimes it's good to use 'real' characters, but often it's best to intertwine yours with other. A masterful example of this are the characters in FT's Four Winds of Chaos, who all fall in and out of connection with each other.

Try thinking of the following connections: enemy, friend, associate, boss, underling, family member, rival. Remember that you can be a rival but not be an enemy, like if maybe there are two captains who ar excellent friends, but love to count kills against each other, like Legolas and Gimli in Lord of the Rings.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

Songblade
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:40   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

With regards to good names, check out the random name generator from the excellent webpage behindthename.com - http://www.behindthename.com/random/ - here you can tick off say, historical, biblical, mythological, ancient and theological names. Choose how many given names you want for what gender and voila. Excellent inspiration.

Nathan Eliyahu Adoniram could be a librarian
Hector Amariah could be a famous general
Zacharias Phoebus could be an inquisitor

Taken in a huge (I mean HUge) database of insane amounts of names you can find in the world. Also, where they came from, what derivatives there are, what meanings they have.

Fast, easy, brilliant and absolutely necessary if you like a little roleplaying on the side. As rpg GM this works wonders for me. I see no reason why it cant be used here too.
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:41   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Thanks Esque, I'll check that out.
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:44   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Very nice. Some of this I've already done unconsciously, such as giving the hero exotic weapons but using 'counts as' to make him legal from the rulebook, and piecing together my name for my hero's name. There are some good ideas in there I'll have to try out on my characters, however.
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:47   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Thank you Droids. If anyone has any suggestions for further content, please tell me!
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:47   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Nice article Songblade . Helped with a few things, [though most I already knew]. The 'friends' part was the most useful to me, and also 'wargear'. Thanks .

[Pssst: Use the Spell Checker ].

Thanks for the link Esque, .
I now have a Necromancer called Rajiv Uzziah ;D.


- Shadow
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Old 27 May 2008, 12:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Creating Characters

I'd recommend existing characters as background in order to make them legal, and in order to get decent point costs. If not you should find a way to add point costs to the creation. Say, a powerful eldar psyker could easily be a character based off the ruleset of Eldrad, while a wild slaanesh close combat daemon could use the stats of Khârn. As long as the codex is the same as the "host" army you intend to use the character with, there are no restrictions. A lesser daemon, "counts as" Kharn, would be fine with most folks, perhaps even in tourneys. If you want to change it completely, try to keep within the bounds of the wargear you have, as well as say, add xx points to the cost every time you add a wound, or some wargear that this person could not legally have, besides the cost of the wargear, or whatnot.

Remember, it has to be accepted by your opponent as fun. Even consider adding a drawback, like slow and purposeful, vulnerable to blasts, a weapon that gets hot, wounds himself or his allies, or something else. Noone wants to face a marine terminator captain with C'tan rules and an extra assault cannon that costs 165 points.
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Old 27 May 2008, 13:09   #8 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Very true Esque.

Thanks Shadow, I'll do that now.
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Old 27 May 2008, 17:00   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander Songblade
I hope you enjoyed this article.

Songblade
I did. Have a +1 cookie ;D
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Old 27 May 2008, 17:07   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Creating Characters

Wow, thanks Fish.
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