As much as I love writing and character building, I have this problem where I create characters for fun, but then get stuck on what they’re like as people. Visually, no problem, but the details are harder.
Yesterday, I took a bunch of characters I drew and created profiles for them through randomised means. The results are wild.
The Story Engine: Main deck, original booster pack, and the fantasy booster pack
Random colour generator
Behind the name
Random number generator
Taking the Aspect cards from my Story Engine deck, I drew cards to generate personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses. This was a little bit hit or miss as not all of those cards worked well as traits. For the most part, though, I wound up with some interesting draws.
Birthdays – roll 1d12 to get the month
Date – random number generator
Blood type – 1d4
1 – A
2 – B
3 – AB
4 – O
I didn’t bother with positive or negative, although if that matters to you, you could flip a coin or roll again with odds being positive and even being negative. Or the other way around. I don’t know your life.
My system for rolling their families worked out well initially, but needed some tweaking the more I used it.
Size – 1d6
Big – odd
Small – even
For a big family I rolled a d10 to determine how many people made up this family.
Small families used a d6, but in this case I used it to determine the number of children. When I started I used it to decide how big the family was, but after rolling a bunch of 1s it became clear that this wasn’t going to work.
In retrospect, that would work if you want to add a parentless character into the realm of possibility.
Sibling order is a little trickier and depends on the above factors. One of the characters I rolled had a 10 person family. In her case, I used a d8 to determine where she fell in the sibling chain – 6, as it turns out. From there, I used the following system to determine her siblings:
Boy – 1, 5, 6
Girl – 2, 3, 4
I went with this to give it a little more randomness than odds and evens. It generated the following result:
I used the random name generator to get the names of her siblings:
You could also generate her parents’ names, but I’m not often concerned with that, particularly at this stage of the character development process.
Smaller families are, for some reason, a little harder to generate. The character of Mavi, for example. She was one of the ones I used a d6 to determine family size. After rolling a 4, that left me with her, her parents, and a sibling. Using the gender table from above, it gave me a sister.
Older – 1, 4
Younger – 2, 5
Twin – 3, 6
I rolled a 3, giving Mavi a twin. An odds/evens d6 roll made Mavi the younger of the two girls. Another roll determined if they were identical or not. Evens says not identical.
So far so good, right? Yeah, not so much. While working on the character Cinnabar, it came out that she lost a family member. Ok, but how? And who? I created the following table to learn more:
Cancer – 1 or 3
Accident – 2 or 4
Murder – 5 or 7
Suicide – 6 or 8
The roll came up suicide. Further investigation through dice rolls using already established tables uncovered that her beloved Aunt Kirsten (her dad’s younger sister) committed suicide when Cinnabar was 16. This caused a family scandal. No one talks about it or her anymore, leaving Cinnabar to deal with it and her feelings alone.
With the family details out of the way, I moved on to their likes/dislikes. Getting favourite and least favourite colours was easy with the random colour generator. I had the bright idea to use that same generator to get gemstones and flowers. I also used it for food, listing foods that best matched the displayed colour. Some of them were harder, so I did some web searching for foods that best matched a given colour.
These are magical girl characters, so next they needed powers. I’ve been using Sparkling Nightmare for a while now to generate attack name ideas. It had the side effect of helping me determine what type of powers the characters had.
I could flesh them out further with other Story Engine cards, but I’m trying to work out just how to do that. I’m still new to these cards and exploring their potential.
I’m still working on getting their full profiles up. Right now, Amber is the only one with a fleshed out profile.