Character Creation

Smallville

Since Mike suggested it, I’m going to describe part of the Smallville character generation system here.

There are a couple of things that happen in parallel. Chargen works as a series of steps. In each step, you pick a path for your character to follow from a chart (the path describes some stage in their life), and then you build up a relationship map.

The path chart is specific to both the theme (things like Alien origin, etc.) and rules of Smallville (granting skills, boosting stats, etc.). I’ll skip the rules bits and just list the titles of the paths at each step.

The relationship mapping part happens on a big sheet of paper. You build up a directional relationship graph between PCs (drawn as squares), NPCs or Groups (circles) and Locations (officially diamonds, but triangles would be a better choice so I’ll go with that). These symbols are linked with labelled arrows (like “works for”, “is disgusted by”, or “owns”).

There are some rules:

  1. Only the owning player can draw an arrow from their PC.
  2. When you add a new symbol, draw an arrow from your PC to it immediately, and you may also draw an arrow back.
  3. When you draw an arrow, it gets a label

Origin: Rich, Ordinary, Gifted, Strange (they mean mundanely strange here), Alien

  • Put all the PCs in the centre of the map, and link them all together with arrows in each direction (but don’t label them yet).
  • Add a new circle

Youth: Jock, Average, Geek, Outsider, Paragon

  • Add a new triangle
  • Link one of your circles or triangles to any other circle or triangle

Focus (what drove you): Money, Daily Life, Status, Technology, Paranormal

  • Link any circle/triangle to any symbol on the map
  • Link your PC to a new or existing circle or triangle

Road (the route you took in pursuit of your focus): Risky, Straight & Narrow, Lofty, Underground, Ethical

  • Link a symbol to a PC

Life-Changing Event: Advancement, Tragedy, Manifestation (new powers, etc.), First Contact, Destiny

  • Link your PC to a new or existing circle or triangle
  • Link a symbol to a PC

Priority (how you cope with the LCE): Friends & Family, Work, Moving Forward, Looking Back, Performance

  • Link your PC to a new or existing circle or triangle
  • Link a circle or triangle to another symbol

Modus Operandi (usual methods, often how you pursue your Priority): Reliability/Loyalty, Shady Business, Against the Grain (end justifies the means), Outside Normal Channels (well-connected), Special Gifts

  • Link a circle or triangle to another symbol
  • Link your PC to an existing circle or triangle

Motivation (why you do what you do): Others, Self, The Cause, The Job, The World

  • Link a symbol to any PC

Identity (who you are in the big picture): The Sidekick, The Foil, The Rebel, The Specialist, The Hero

  • Link any circle or triangle to another symbol
  • Label the arrows from your PC to other PCs

Character Creation

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