Upon talking to a lot of people about World of Darkness games in general, I’ve noticed that one common stumbling block would be the fact that a lot of people have difficulty comprehending the “classes” of the game. Whether it’s the 13 Vampire Clans of the old Vampire: the Masquerade or the 5×5 setup of the new Vampire: the Requiem, there’s a certain disconnect when people approach WoD games with the same character creation mindset of other games.
I find that the easiest way for me to build characters in a World of Darkness game is to come up with a complete concept for a person first, before I go out and start filling in dots. By giving myself a few minutes (or even a few hours) to mull over who the character is before I commit pen to paper does wonders when it comes to making the right choices to simulate the concept.
For most people, building characters tends to be an issue of fiddling with a system. Personally, I prefer to translate concept to paper using the language of the system. No more, no less.
Ultimately an rpg is meant to provide a system to simulate the physics of a fictional setting. And because it is such, any system worth its salt should be able to accept a given character concepts within reasonable boundaries. Trying to play a fantasy elf in a Vampire: the Requiem game is obviously out of bounds.
WoD games tend to have character options that work with a given philosophy or mindset. Conceptualize a person first, then slap on his affiliations later based on what makes sense. When it comes to most nWoD games, this divide is split up between:
- What kind of person the character is
- What the character wants to do
The first of the 5×5 splats, be they Path or Kith or some other term, details the nature of the character. This choice should reflect who this person is on the inside.
the second, Orders or Courts are largely a means to describe the character’s agenda. This is their calling, what they want to do with the fact that they’re no longer “human” or “mortal.”
This approach largely rewards those who think their character’s concepts through and make it easier for you to find a “niche” that works for you even if you haven’t even looked at the rules per se.