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“Mini-Me”: Inspiration for Character Creation

I’ve already had someone created in my image. He’s evil, he wants to take over the world, and he fits easily into most overhead storage bins.” ~ Dr. Evil (Austin Powers 2, 1999)

I was making lists earlier this week for my upcoming trip to GenCon.  I am big on lists, particularly when preparing for a trip.  Like what needs to be packed away in the suitcase, and what needs to be readily accessible in the car?  What books, music, electronics should go along to GenCon?  Have I got all my documentation for hotel accommodations, event schedules, press pass, et cetera?

So as I am printing out documentation, and organizing what books to bring, it suddenly hits me: I did not have a single Characters created for RPGA events!

So far, at PAX East and Origins, I’ve been typically playing pre-made Characters provided for events.  Except for one session at Origins where I “borrowed” a Character from another Player – a nifty Wizard/Psion Hybrid (is that a Wizion or a Psizard?) – I have yet to actually develop any LFR Characters of my own.

This is what I get for running not one, but two, D&D 4E Campaigns: I have stopped thinking like a Player!

Now most of the Players I know have two or three Character concepts already built and waiting “off-stage” in case one of their main Characters should happen to meet an untimely demise.  Not that I am a super-killer Dungeon Master or anything – in fact I hate killing off Characters as a rule because it messes with my finely honed sense of campaign continuity – but I think that 4E Players just like tooling around with Character Builder.  And admittedly, the program is fun to use, and with it constantly being updated with new content every other month, there are plenty of new Character concepts to mock up.

Now it has been around 6 or more years since I have played in a Dungeons & Dragons game, and that was 3.5.  As far as 4E goes, I have logged tons of DM hours, but seem to only “play” at conventions.  So I really needed to come up with some Character concepts and put something together if I am going to be able to play at GenCon RPGA events or even get into a pick-up game in the “Embrace Your Edition” free play which will be happening all weekend long.

Given I had not done any major Character Building in some time, I was not sure what I really wanted to play in a D&D 4E adventure.  Frankly, I am one of those Players which will come to a table and say, “I’ll play whatever the party needs.”  I have no real favorite among the Character roles.  So far I have played a Striker, two different styles of Leaders, and two very different styles of Controllers (one was a monster in that Underdark RPGA event at Origins), and all at conventions in LFR events.  So when suddenly presented with the choice, I found myself feeling like there was WAY TOO much to choose from in Character Builder.

So to limit my options, and to present myself with a bit of a role-playing as well as Character Building challenge, I looked to an outside source for my inspiration – my old miniatures box.

A Few Mini… er Minor Decisions

I have been collecting miniatures since I started playing D&D and other RPGs, so to say I have an “old miniature box” is somewhat of a misnomer.  I actually have several boxes of fantasy miniatures, one old dresser drawer with some sci-fi minis and starships in it, and three cheap pistol cases with “favorite” character minis which I bought mainly because they looked cool.  By the way, for minis you really want to protect, cheap plastic pistol cases are awesome to use for storage, as they come with interlocking “egg-crate” foam linings and close clam-shell like, so it makes no difference which side you open first – the minis are always locked in place.

So I went straight to the pistol cases looking for inspiration, as they contain fantasy minis I bought over the years on a whim, picking them up here and there whenever I saw a mini with “personality”.  Some minis I bought with the intention that I might build a good villain around it for my game, but others I bought because I just liked the way they looked.

And while sorting through the cases, I decided that it was best if I created four Characters, one of each role type, so I would have an option to fill in any party gaps which might arise.  After much digging and squint-eyed scrutiny – literally squint-eyed, as my glasses still don’t let me see close up like I used to – I had a dozen miniatures arrayed in front of me.  Then I put back my least favorite four, and then yet another set of four again, until I was left with my four candidates for Character Generation.

The Four Who Were Chosen… to attend “The Best Four Days of Gaming”

Now under the most recent RPGA LFR Rules v1.99, you can now create brand new Characters of 1st, 5th, 8th, and 11th Levels, which is good because I think walking a 1st Level Character into Tyranny’s Bleak Depths, set for the P1 Paragon Band of play, would be pretty much like dropping a frog into a cuisnart.  So I set about creating my Characters at 1st Level, and will have to decide over the weekend which of them to elevate to the Paragon Tier.  But in the meantime, here is what I have come up with:

Lucien Silverwing: A Half-Elf Paladin of Bahamut, an orphan from Waterdeep who was raised in the faith of the Dragon God of Justice by a very strange foster mother.  Upon reaching manhood, he has learned his Auntie Ardentia was actually a Silver Dragon in disguise, and now he is driven to excel at any personal cost, in the tiny hope he can somehow impress even her. lucien mini lucien
Kruln of Lost Torfell: An Elf Barbarian from the destroyed village of Torfell in Aglarond when marauding Thayan refugees tore through the region.  Now sworn to vengeance, his rage knows no bounds when he sees Thayans – or any other oppressors. kruln mini kruln
Draccus Blackhelm: A Human Warlord, youngest of four sons to a Baron from Baldur’s Gate.  But he is a noble in name only, having so many older brothers that he cannot even be called a “spare” heir.  He vainly practices his martial arts of command against the day when he might be called to take up his family title. draccus mini Draccus
Aidan Stormbrow: A Human Druid of the Fflok from the Moonshae Isles, who spent many years as a quiet Sage.  But his studies into diverse lore have opened his eyes to divine Invocation, and he has forsaken his scroll-filled library to satisfy his drive for greater knowledge and power. aiden mini aidan

I have included PDFs of the four 1st Level Character Sheets, which you can access by clicking the portrait. I would enjoy getting some feedback regarding these Characters, and any recommendations or suggestions would be most welcome!

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!

Images Courtesy of Wizards of the Coast sources: Martial Powers, Primal Powers, and Dragon Magazine.

About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


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