Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Making A Character: The Ballad of Donna Nesbit and The No-Good Guys

I can kinda use this as a
profile picture for the character?
My little brother is GMing a campaign, and it is in a setting I don't normally play or GM: The Wild West at Tech Level 5. So I'm gonna do a bit of a walkthrough of putting together a character. My assigned role is Store Owner, and I am given a blurb from which to create a character. So let's see what we can do with this.

The Rundown

For the blurb, my character has the following properties already decided for him.
  • He is a widower who lost a wife and child in the Civil War.
  • He fought as a guerilla for a while before heading out west.
  • He started a general store out west
  • He has "mellowed out"
  • He believes that whites are superior
I am told a list of equipment which I own, and I am told that part of my objective is to also be charming in order to potentially woo a partner.
I take all this basic information, that I have 150/75 (wew, that's a lot) points, 5k starting cash, and put it together in GURPS Character Sheet, and get this.
Not even a first pass

Ok, so, that's not really a character yet, just a person holding things. So let's see what kinda life story we can derive from his backstory. I can't think of anything that comes to mind from the first bullet point, maybe a guilt complex or a revenge complex, but moving onto the next bullet point, he knows how to handle himself in combat, so let's give him some military skills. He has a general store, so he needs some skills for management there. He has a mellow personality, so let's see if we can give him something to match that. Then there is his racism, probably his most outstanding disadvantage. I think the first bullet point I'm going to represent as a Sense of Duty to Women and Children everywhere combined with an Intolerance to Union Soldiers. Let's take another look.
First Pass Page 2
First Pass Page 1

Ok, so we have the beginnings of a character here. We have a bunch more points to spend though. Looking back, he was a guerilla after the Civil War, so I think that means he has the workings of a secret background, and probably one that has life ending consequences if he is discovered, let's say he used to go by the name "Monterey Huxtable," but that is a long forgotten name. We can also add a bit more points, and I kinda want to give him a cavalry saber, so let's also give him ambidexterity so he can handle his sword in either hand. I think it's fair to give Combat Reflexes as well since he was in combat. Also, just because I like it, a bunch of fast draw skills.
I am bumping up against my point limit now, but I have a lot more room for disadvantages. Let's see where we are now.

We are lacking a few basics here. He is a gentleman, so he needs to keep himself groomed, and he really needs a bag to hold all of his supplies. I remember that he has "Mostly mellowed out" so I give him a slight temper. I think it'd be neat for him to really like horses, so I give him a quirk that says he doesn't tolerate disrespect towards them. I need to get a few more points, so I give him Miserliness. It's a good advantage for a fledgling merchant character. I make him really attractive and charming so that he can handle himself in a conversation, I have to sacrifice on IQ, unfortunately, but hey, if I get a few more points, I can fill it in.
The final, almost finished result is this:

There's a teeny bit of stuff I could still do, but for now, it is mostly in shape. I got some rough edges to round out, and I now have a few ideas to expand on his bio, and I'm almost ready to play a game.


  1. This is a very informative article, and I feel like it's definitely a good read for the GURPS neophytes in the group. This is exactly how I want people to go about planning out their character. Try to understand the character; where they're coming from. What kind of skills would they possess? Is there anything in their past that might come back to haunt them? What kind of personality do they have? All in all, this is a very insightful article.

    1. Oh, I liked this adventure. *cackle*

  2. Good article. Since the picture is of a Confederate general, is your character an ex-Reb general? If so, his military skills should be re-examined. On the other hand, The Union had military dunderheads who made it up to two-star general, why not the south? Former Confederate officers turn up in the oddest places. Ask John Carter.

    1. Good thoughts! I just liked the picture, but yeah, I agree the skill set isn't much for "officer material."


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