Character Creation Is The Whole Game

(This column is posted at,, and Steve’s Tumblr)


OK everyone, here’s an amazing little game – the character creation engine is the game. So raise stats, unlock choices, play character – and this guy is looking for contributors/help!  So go on, try it then ask him how you can make it awesomer!

– Steve

Way With Worlds: Character Creation

Michaelangelo God Adam

[Way With Worlds appears at Seventh Sanctum and at MuseHack]

After spending last column talking about characters in continuity, in world building, it’s time to talk about creating characters themselves.

I held this off until talking about the role characters play because of all aspects of world building, Character creation is the one that can (and in my opinion, should) be the most complex. As noted, a character is in a way the summary of the setting, and in turn, extremely complicated. Because they’re complicated, a sense of where they fit is important.

Characters are your setting come to visible, relatable life. Or at least should be.

The problem in discussing “how to create” characters is the process itself is also unpredictable, personal, and unique for everyone – just as characters are unique. So I can’t give you a system or even a list of questions that’ll “do it for you.” In fact, I shouldn’t because we all do this differently.

What I can do is give a list of techniques i’ve used, I’ve encountered, and I’ve coached on to help you create characters. Some you’re doing. Some you aren’t. Some will work. Some won’t – but would work for someone else.

But you can find what works for you.

After all I said it wasn’t simple. People never are – and that’s what you’re creating.

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Way With Worlds: Where The Characters Are – And What

Crowd Of People

[Way With Worlds appears at Seventh Sanctum and at MuseHack]

You have built a world. You know it’s origins and its ecology, you know it’s people and their religion, you know technology or sorcery (or both) thta they use. You have a world that is a living-breathing creation, all in your head, and your documents, and your stories.

It’s time to populate it with characters. Sure you’ve probably started early, but we are going in order here.

Most of us creating worlds have them populated with people to tell stories about or to play (in the case of the game). Characters in a way are the start and the result of worldbuilding – the result of the worldbuilding we do to have people to tell a story about. More on that later, however.

So, where do you characters fit into all of this? Well, let’s take a look.

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