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    What is chargen?

    Chargen, short for “character generation,” is the process in roleplaying games, particularly text-based games like MUDs and MUSHes, where players create a new player character (PC).

    This process can vary widely among different games but typically involves determining the character’s statistics, background, abilities, and other personal attributes.

    In some games, chargen is a highly detailed and complex process, involving dice rolls to set statistics, while in others, it might simply require filling out a form (app) or answering a series of questions.

    Chargen has been a fundamental aspect of roleplaying games since their inception, allowing players to create characters that fit their desired role or persona in the game world.

    Chargen FAQs

    How does chargen differ between games?

    In dice-based RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, chargen often involves rolling dice to determine a character’s base attributes like strength, intelligence, and charisma.

    In text-based RPGs, chargen might include dice rolls or consist of selecting options from menus or filling out a character biography.

    Can you change your character after chargen?

    One’s ability to modify the character depends on the game. In many games, some aspects of your character determined during chargen can be modified later, while others, such as the character’s backstory or fundamental attributes, may be fixed.

    What is the importance of chargen in roleplaying games?

    Chargen is crucial in RPGs, as it defines the character’s identity in the game world, affecting how they interact with the game environment and other players. In roleplaying games, a well-crafted character enhances the player’s engagement and enjoyment.

    Are there any common mistakes to avoid during chargen?

    Common mistakes include creating a character that doesn’t fit the game’s setting, overlooking key character details, or choosing attributes that don’t align with the desired character role.

    Can chargen be skipped in any games?

    Some games offer pre-generated characters or simplified chargen processes for players who prefer to jump straight into the gameplay without customizing every detail. These are sometimes called “guest” characters.

    Guest characters may be erased or reset when the player logs off, so as to free up resources or prepare for the next player who wants to try out the game.

    How does chargen impact gameplay?

    Chargen sets the foundation for each character’s journey, affecting how you interact with the game world and other characters. A well-thought-out chargen process can enhance your gaming experience by providing a clear character motivation and background.

    Also, keep in mind that while some games allow modifications to your character after chargen, this varies by game. Typically, fundamental aspects like backstory might remain fixed, while other attributes and minor details could be adjustable.

    Myths about chargen

    A common misconception is that character generation is merely about selecting physical attributes or skills.

    However, it’s actually a crucial step where players define their characters’ backstories, motivations, and personalities, impacting their role in the game world.

    Another misconception is that chargen is the same across all games. In reality, processes vary significantly, from simple selections to complex systems involving detailed storytelling.

    Chargen examples

    • In a MUD, chargen may start with the player selecting a race and class, then distributing points into attributes like Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence.
    • In a play-by-post game, chargen might involve writing a detailed character history and description, then submitting it for approval.
    • In a MUSH, players might navigate a series of rooms, each dedicated to a different aspect of character creation, like choosing abilities or defining personal traits.
    • In a tabletop RPG, players might roll dice to determine their character’s statistics and then choose skills and equipment based on those results.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."