What Is An RPG Character?

What Is An RPG Character?

Players enjoy playing their RPG characters in their favorite role-playing game.  But what exactly is an RPG character?

What is an RPG Character?

An RPG character is the player's avatar in the RPG.  The players use their character to interact with elements of the RPG game world.

The Game Master presents the players with challenges the characters in the story must overcome. Players try to accomplish these goals by controlling characters in the RPG world.

An RPG character is usually very similar to a character in a story. They have backgrounds and goals. They possess various skills and attributes at different degrees. RPG characters rely on these skills to help them accomplish their in-game goals.

When a player decides what a character would do when presented with various situations in the game, the player uses what they know about the character to make an educated decision on what that character would likely do under various circumstances.  Would they fight or negotiate?  It's up to the player to decide how their character would react.

RPG characters are often represented on a piece of paper called a character sheet.  This sheet contains information about character strengths, weaknesses, and backstory.

How Do You Make An RPG Character?

Most RPG games have a system for making new characters.

Usually, the player will create their own character, but sometimes the GM (or the video game) will give the players pre-generated characters.  This is normally done to get players into the game with as little prep time as possible and is a great way to get new players into the game.

RPG characters are normally created by throwing a series of dice to determine various physical and mental attributes and arranging the results according to the player's preference.  This level of randomness helps ensure diversity among characters.  Players don't like to be just like everybody else.

After determining the character's attributes, players normally choose skills and other talents the character might possess.  These skills are normally determined by the player's mental image of their character or may be dictated by the profession the character has chosen to pursue.

The final step of character creation is the purchasing of tools, weapons, and other possessions a character might acquire to help them accomplish the character's life goals.
 

What Are The RPG Character Classes?

Think of RPG Character Classes as the character's chosen profession.  What does the character do for a living?

For traditional fantasy role-playing games, the character classes might be Fighter, Wizard, Thief, or Cleric.

In sci-fi games, the character classes could be Merchant, Space Marine, Scientist, or Scout.

In many RPG games, character classes are used to package skills, talents, and gear into character archetypes appropriate for the genre and setting for the game.

Not all games are class-based, some are based on skills and skill packages.  In these games, the archetypes or character classes are built using skills.

So to be clear:

In class-based RPGs, character skills come from their class, which is their profession.

In skill-based RPG games, character archetypes are formed by putting together skills into related packages.


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