Character Creation advice.

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Character Creation advice.

Post  LoganAura on Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:12 pm

This might be a good enough topic to warrant a thread dedicated to it. A few bonus rules for this thread, well more requests rather than anything else.

1.) If you ask for advice, don't get upset when someone says that your Alicorn OC with a homemade "Princess of_" Desitny that's the love child of your favorite characters is a mary sue. You're putting your character out there for criticism, and while you don't need to take every little piece of advice given to you, you shouldn't be upset at what people say. On that same vein...

2.) If you're giving advice to someone, try to word it in a way that won't get them upset. For example:
"Why do you have X move? It's stupid. You should put Y in instead." is sort of rude.
"Hey, while X is a great move, I think Y fits more into your build." is better.

3.) When asking for advice, try to give a bit of insight into what you want your character to be. This isn't the Character designing thread (That's sort of dead), but the character /advice/. We don't want to make someone who'd like to put It's Over in their build a healer.

4.) This is advice for /their/ character, not your own. If you want to make a summoner build, but someone's making an It's over, don't tell them to put fire giant and bone mite and such in their. Try to keep to what the asker wants.

I think that's everything. Well, let's get crackin Very Happy

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:03 pm

A few tips of mine:

1) BE ORIGINAL. Nopony likes a stereotype, unless you do an excellent job of subverting or parodying it. The vast moajority of typical builds seem much more original with the right flavor, despite functioning differently; A Pastamancer can do most of the same things as a normal wizard, mechanically speaking; which one sounds more interesting?

2) Check the party you intend to join first, and try to build accordingly. I made that mistake on Mosstone, and while it didn't turn out so bad, it could've been a lot worse.

3) Don't be afraid to try something that may not work out so well. A decent GM will let you switch things out, provided the new stuff remains consistent with the character concept; worst case scenario, ask if you can start a new character (meaning, kill/lose/retire your old one and start over.)

4) When in doubt, roll it out! If you're truly stuck for ideas, don't be afraid to ask the Random Numbers God for his opinion, as well as your fellow forum-goers.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Lyntermas on Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:59 pm

...Well, might as well give this a shot.

I'm trying to create a "mad scientist" unicorn character, with a focus on mechanics named Torque. My take on it is that while his parents may fit more into the stereotype (Dad is Frankenstein, Mom is Poison Ivy), he's more of the "Only Sane Pony". While he has an interest in science, he keeps a level head and is not likely to endanger sapient beings for research. However, when he starts to work on machinery, he gets into a sort of manic glee. He snaps back to normal immediately, but it can be a bit disconcerting to see him at work. And let's not talk about how he acts during lightning storms.

The problem is that I have very little idea of how to expand on him. I've got the "Crazy Contraption" utility and the "Eerie Focus" flaw, but that's about it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Paper Shadow on Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:56 pm

For Utility Talents, Freaky Knowledge is always a good idea for a scientist, and Nimble Hooves will further boost your mechanics checks. With high Mechanics, you'll be able to Fabricate more complex designs, as you can use the Mechanics roll on the checks required, so there's a good idea. Since your name is Torque, Haste is another possible option. Other suggestions include Strengthen Substance, Weaken Substance, Pyrotechnics, Villainous Laughter, and This is Whining, and consider either Laughter or Magic as your element, as you can tie in an evil laugh with the activation of your Laughter Element, or be prepared for any situation with the Magic one. As for Combat Talents, if you decide to take at least one summon, I would reflavour it as a mechanical creation. If you choose not to take summons, a Save Ends build just screams mad scientist (Heck, the Art of War's Save Ends Class is called Alchemist), so look into one of those if you don't already have an idea for what combat talents to take...

Anything else?

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Dusk Raven on Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:15 pm

Ah, I was just about to ask where to post a thread about character design... perfect timing. Now I get to be reminded of how inadequate my own characters feel, and struggle with making myself understood...

Okay, well, first things first. I myself was thinking of working on skill/combat archetype before personality... which will likely require some asking and searching to see which moves would fit what I have in mind.

I've got in mind a unicorn, specializing in a combination of light and darkness. This will likely lead to what I call healing and hexing - a combination of both overt healing (light) and subterfuge (darkness).

As for personality... well, my best characters (or at least the ones I like playing the most, which tends to directly affect character quality) are the ones with a little bit of myself in them. In this case, the aspect of myself that will be carried over is duality.

Everyone has what I call "facets" - like different sides of a die, they're sides of our personality that are displayed to different people under different circumstances. We treat our friends differently from our acquaintances and treat strangers differently from enemies. Our behavior can change on our mood, which in itself can be influenced by many things. I think a good character has a number of facets that get shown to the viewer at different times...

(Excuse me while I try and figure out what the hay I'm talking about)

Anyway, with this character? With some facets - particularly opposed ones - he's going to act VERY differently. Kind and loving to friends, cold and merciless to enemies, and sometimes either one to strangers. In particular it's the shades of grey I like - where him, he may act in one of several very different ways, entirely depending on factors that might not be apparent. This may be due to conflicting motivations - for strangers, for instance, he has an innate distrust of those he doesn't know, but this conflicts sometimes with his natural kindness (or desire to be kind, anyway).

Gosh, inner conflicts are fun. I think that's going to become a theme....

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Lyntermas on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:23 am

Paper Shadow, thank you VERY much for your post. Your advice was comprehensive and well thought out, and will be a great help in designing my character. Kudos to you!

Dusk Raven, I found a few ideas for your "duality" character.

Light (Healer) themed:
Medicinal Training
True Sight
Celestia’s Light
Forcefield
Combat: Cleric

Dark (Subterfuge) themed:
Many Utilities under the "Skullduggery" heading
Nightwatch
Light Trap
Stealth Mode
Form of the Rat
Combat: Rouge

These are merely suggestions, and I don't have many ideas of exactly how to balance them out (particularly combat). I leave that to your discretion, or to someone more mechanically minded than I.

As for personality, don't forget that both of these "sides" are part of a cohesive "whole". Was your character brought into the light from the dark (a pickpocket who was taken in by a kind healer, a la Jean Valjean), or vice versa (a field medic who found that one covert killing could save hundreds of soldiers)? Does your character actively struggle with his/her opposing skills (optimism vs. cynicism, wanting to trust others vs. fear of getting hurt, etc.), or have they come to some sort of peace about it ( For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to kill, and a time to heal)?

Just some ideas, hope they are useful to you.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:46 am

Lyntermas wrote:Dark (Subterfuge) themed:
Many Utilities under the "Skullduggery" heading
Nightwatch
Light Trap
Stealth Mode
Form of the Rat
Combat: Rouge

That typo never fails to crack me up.

Anyways, my tun to ask for for help!

My new character for Khan Of The Steppes is a goat shaman, who through sheer talent and determination, has earned a position of responsibility in his tribe.

I need a little bit of help flavoring the combat build. The way it works is:

Round 1: Gather Energy

Round 2: Dark Bargain - Mind Over Matter

Round 3: Gather Energy

Round 4: Dark Bargain - Curse Eater

Repeat ad nauseam, with little variation in order to keep PiPs flowing or used. Later on, I'll be able to make use of Hellfire Rain / Kindle Pain to add to that fun (I'll need the Dangerous talent first).

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:02 am

Lyntermas wrote:Paper Shadow, thank you VERY much for your post. Your advice was comprehensive and well thought out, and will be a great help in designing my character. Kudos to you!
I aim to please. I also just realised Metalcrafting would be a cool idea, so consider that as well...

Dusk Raven wrote:Ah, I was just about to ask where to post a thread about character design... perfect timing. Now I get to be reminded of how inadequate my own characters feel, and struggle with making myself understood...
Well, to start off, you'll want high Precision and Knowledge if you haven't allotted your attributes yet, so I would recommend something like 5-8-9-6, 5-9-8-6, or 5-8-8-7. Brawn is the dump stat here because Acrobatics does most things Athletics does, and has the advantage of being improved when you put points into Precision for Stealth. You'll most likely want decent Perception and Persuasion as well, which is why Horse-Sense isn't the dump stat. Training in Heal and Stealth makes the most sense, but you could also opt for training in Mechanics, which allows you to commit sabotage, should you wish for your character to do that. Continuing from what Lyntermas said, your Cutie Mark will most likely be what your pony had started doing before realising about the other talent, so in the case of the field medic, take a CM in Heal, and the thief should have a CM in Stealth or Mechanics. If you decide that your backstory is that your character was aware of both sides of their personality at a young age, then you can have your pick. Meta-wise, I would argue that Stealth or Mechanics is more important than Heal in more cases, but you should always put your character before the meta. If your character spent most of their life as a doctor, it wouldn't make sense if their CM is a cloak and dagger...

As for Utility Talents, I’ve Read A Lot About It will allow you to have training in Heal, Stealth, and Mechanics, so I would highly recommend that. Medicinal Training will help with heal checks, Stealth Mode will help with sneaking, and Nimble Hooves will help with Mechanics checks. Thattaway! will allow you to find the target you are looking for, be it an injured ally or enemy equipment. As your character is very friendly to allies, consider The Most Dependable of Ponies or You’re All My Very Best Friends as utility talents as well. For extra healer suggestions, look into Celestia’s Light (the utility talent in The Talent Show expansion, not the combat talent), Detect Minds, Forcefield, and Spike, Take A Letter. For further subterfuge talents, I suggest Detect Thoughts, Howling Chains, Nightwatch, and Teleportation. Consider Loyalty, Generosity, or Kindness as your element...

For your Combat Style, I'd recommend an Off-Support Build. A Dedicated Healer Build is also possible, but that only supports one part of your character's duality personality, and won't help much if you are caught behind enemy lines. A Save Ends build also only appeals to one side of the personality, but if you don't like my suggestions, consider looking into some Save Ends talents. Your Special Move should either be Crippling Strike, Healer’s Grace, or Be Prepared. For Combat Talents themselves, I would recommend Syphon Life straight off the bat. It is literally heal and harm. You could use Divine Boon instead, especially if someone is under the effect of any reroll talent, but I prefer Syphon Life as it is resolved immediately, and can actually be used if you are by yourself. If you do decide to take Divine Boon, I would very highly suggest Inspiring Tune to go with it, but it's pretty good without it as well. Payday also deals damage and provides support in the forms of pips when you roll a 4, so if you focus your pips into that, you do good damage and give out pips. Other good support options include Friendly Encouragement, Healing Salve, Magnificent Melody, Miracle, and Valor. For more damage-y suggestions, look into Headshot, Hooves of Fury, Misdirection, and Venom-Serpent's Strike...

Grey Pen wrote:Anyways, my tun to ask for for help!
I'm going to need to know what type of shaman your Goat Shaman is before being able to truly nail down how to go about flavouring your combat talents, but as some quick advice, since you use Gather Energy and Dark Bargain as a way to get the most out of your other attacks, consider reflavouring them as stages of a ritual, with the final part (Mind Over Matter and Curse Eater) being the result of the ritual...

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:22 am

Paper Shadow wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:Anyways, my tun to ask for for help!
I'm going to need to know what type of shaman your Goat Shaman is before being able to truly nail down how to go about flavouring your combat talents...

Uuuummmm... the goat-y kind? Not sure what you mean here, I'm feeling a bit slow today.

Paper Shadow wrote:...but as some quick advice, since you use Gather Energy and Dark Bargain as a way to get the most out of your other attacks, consider reflavouring them as stages of a ritual, with the final part (Mind Over Matter and Curse Eater) being the result of the ritual...

That was my thought. I had hoped for some brainstorming on specifics though...

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  thematthew on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:25 am

Gather Energy: Call the Spirits
Dark Bargain: can stay the same honestly.
Curse Eater: Cleansing Rain
Mind Over Matter: Purging Fire
Hellfire Rain: Baleful Gaze of the Unrelenting Sun
Kindle Pain: River Brings the Mountain Low
Hangman's Noose: Share the Suffering of my People
Venom Serpent's Strike: Bound Together in Tragedy

Just some quick thoughts.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:26 am

Grey Pen wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:Anyways, my tun to ask for for help!
I'm going to need to know what type of shaman your Goat Shaman is before being able to truly nail down how to go about flavouring your combat talents...

Uuuummmm... the goat-y kind? Not sure what you mean here, I'm feeling a bit slow today.
Well, while all shamans summon spirits, shamans in fantasy settings usually specialise in summoning one type of spirit, usually of an element of nature. For example, a fire shaman summons fire spirits, and a water shaman summons water spirits. Stuff like that. I wanted to know if your shaman was like that, or if shamans and spirits aren't tied to an element...

Grey Pen wrote:That was my thought. I had hoped for some brainstorming on specifics though...
Gather Energy can be renamed Channel Spirits. Dark Bargain can be renamed Absorb Spirits. Assuming your spirits are non-element based, Mind Over Matter can be renamed Underworld Strike, and Curse Eater can be renamed Spiritual Healing. The post above also has good ideas...

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  thematthew on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:28 am

That post also read the character sheet, and suggested names for all his combat talents. Like a boss.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:53 am

Paper Shadow wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:
Grey Pen wrote:Anyways, my tun to ask for for help!
I'm going to need to know what type of shaman your Goat Shaman is before being able to truly nail down how to go about flavouring your combat talents...

Uuuummmm... the goat-y kind? Not sure what you mean here, I'm feeling a bit slow today.
Well, while all shamans summon spirits, shamans in fantasy settings usually specialise in summoning one type of spirit, usually of an element of nature. For example, a fire shaman summons fire spirits, and a water shaman summons water spirits. Stuff like that. I wanted to know if your shaman was like that, or if shamans and spirits aren't tied to an element...

Gotcha. Speeding up now.

The short version of my answer is that no, Cau'rha isn't tied to any particular element; by Caprine Spirituology (New word!) There is one Major Spirit for each of the main races, and then a number of Minor Spirits; the latter are merely the tools of the former. So a ritual would consist of a prayer of request to your assigned Major Spirit, to be allowed to more-or-less "borrow" the abilities of a Minor Spirit, followed by ducking your head from whatever falls from the sky.

Which makes it pretty simple, actually, to rename the talents as those different spirits. Why didn't I think of that!?

The renamed talents that I think I'll go with...

Ritual Circle (Gather Energy)
Gather Spirits (Dark Bargain)
Spirit Of Healing (Curse Eater)
Spirit Of Wounds (Mind Over Matter)
Spirit Of Vengeance (Hangman's Noose)
Spirit Of Pain (Venom Serpent's Strike)
Spirit Of Fire (Hellfire Rain)
Spirit Of Penance (Kindle Pain)

Thanks everybody!

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Dusk Raven on Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:09 pm

Hoo boy, a lot of stuff to respond to. I'll start with the combat stuff, that I have an idea of what to do with.

I've decided that my character's style of magic is effectively "power over life force." In that way, both light and darkness can be combined, as he has power over life and death, health and sickness. For him, it's just as easy to take life force away as give it... so it comes out a lot like a combination (in D&D terms) of a Cleric and a number of necromancy abilities.

Alternatively, since HP in Pony Tales doesn't necessarily mean actual physical health, it may instead be a case of using the powers of light to boost the resolve and will of allies, and the power of darkness to confound and weaken enemies. It also allows me to use some more in the way of buffs and debuffs, which I absolutely love.

Either way, I have a number of combat talents that can fit these themes:

First up, the basic, starting, pip-gaining talents: Energy Bleed (Draw Blood) and Syphon Life. Syphon life is a must-have, and Draw Blood appeals to me due to its +3 pips and ongoing damage, which comes in handy with another skill:

Fester Hex (Kindle Pain), which works pretty nicely when the ongoing damage from Draw Blood. Another option is Twice Cursed (Despair), which works with any save-ends including the aforementioned draw blood, and if I wanted there's a load of save-ends effects I could use and have fun with. The Special Move Crippling Strike (renamed Darkness Between the Stars) would go well with both of those.

Since at some point I'm going to have to do something with all those pips, I'm thinking of Stardawn (Second Sunrise) and Starlight (Midnight's Blade), the latter of which I could use on the second turn after Draw Blood and would make for a nice buff for long battles.

I'll have to do some more looking around to figure out the details, and figure out what would work. Also, I have a few questions for talents - having not read The Art of War, I'm not aware of all the possible talents. Is there a talent that, say, sacrifices some of the user's health to deal massive damage to enemies? That's one of the skills, or spells in my case, that symbolizes darkness in my mind (it was for an RPG project a long time ago, long story)? It would go pretty well with the life-force idea as well, along with a mass life-syphon, or alternatively something that allows me to buff/heal/revive allies at the cost of HP.


Anyway, as for professions, my character's actually an astronomer... or at least he's good enough at it to have it as his cute mark (keeping in mind one's profession need not be dictated or limited by one's cutie mark, as Rarity demonstrates) - a crescent moon with a star gleaming around the outer edge of the bright side (effectively a sunrise seen from space, if I'm painting the proper picture). Now, the "duality" I spoke of earlier may not be related to his career or even have a notable cause. It might be the duality of his powers (or the morality of his powers, if I go the manipulator of life force route), it might be a sheltered upbringing clashing with the real world (as I believe it is in my case), or simply a way of dealing with shades of gray.

Actually, shades of gray might be what he's all about, never believing in absolutes but always making decisions depending on the situation... with the result that circumstances may end up changing enough that he acts very differently from instance to instance.

Anyway, skills and attributes. I agree with high Precision and Knowledge. Don't know about Horse-Sense, but the only thing I wouldn't want in that attribute is social skills - almost any character I play is going to end up being socially awkward, and this character is designed that way from the get go. His skills will likely be in science and stealth... and possibly some of the "occult" as well. Of course, I'll have to take a longer look at that section of the player's handbook before I can make judgments on that... more posts shall follow in due time, I think.

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Re: Character Creation advice.

Post  Zarhon on Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:52 pm

Not sure if it's relevant to you anymore, Lynt, but your character pretty much sounds EXACTLY like the main character of Mel Brooks "Young Frankenstein", Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. He's got a bad past (his grandfather is *the* frankenstein), he's relatively nice and normal most of the time, but when he's tempted, lured and tricked into going back to his grandfather's mad science roots, well, he gets a bit enthusiastic.

It all really depends on what particular branch of mad science you are interested in, as well. Could you specify what type of science you'd be doing?

-Biological (genetics alteration, mutations, abberation and monster creation)
-Mechanical (robots, machines, insane gizmos, rube goldberg devices, steampunk, clockworks)
-Electrical (death rays, lightning weaponry, creating volatile electrical power sources, nuclear energy)
-Chemistry (life from death, lead to gold, explosives, elixirs of mutation and other things)
-Breaking the laws of nature (playing God in general via the previous mention methods)

Utility talent and racials wise, as a mad scientist, I imagine you'd go well with...

-Thunderborn (helpful)
-Personal Project (explosions and utility, packed in one!)
-Villainous Laughter (flavor, RP)
-Speak With The Dead (if you're playing God)
-Forcefield (to keep your monsters away, contain energies, etc)
-Derp (for flavor and utility)
-Create Crazy Contraption (a must)
-Fabricate (also pretty much a must)
-Medicinal Training (doctor skills)
-Weathercrafting (for convenient storm making)
-Lightning rod (see above)
-Pyrotechnics (for bomb nuttery)
-Teleportation (a good all-around skill to have as a mad scientist)
-Enchanting - Mcgyver + 3 of choice (repairing is useful)
-Howling Chains (easy biological experimentation)
-Memory to mist (easy avoidance of consequences)
-Metalcrafting (magneto powers for lab manipulation)

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