Archive for November 14, 2011

I admit it, even after being a long time GM, I often find myself having a dry spell when it comes to coming up with NPCs for my game.  It’s a constant problem that often tends to take the wind out of my sails when I’m in mid-planning.

Thankfully, Chaotic Shiny Productions came up with the Character Builder Generator Pack.

This little bundle of generators was cobbled together specifically to address the issue of character generation.  Whether it is for the uninspired player or the GM experiencing a lack of creativity when it comes to making characters, this neat little program can be a life saver.  The generator pack features eight different generators:

  • Character Generator – Is probably the go to for players looking for something new to try.  It incorporates most of the other generators to come up with a character with a specified gender and for a particular genre.
  • Name Generator – Names! The waterloo of many a GM.  Having options for genre are useful too.
  • Motive Generator – The Motive Generator is something that I found particularly neat, it’s a quick and easy way to sketch out the why’s of a character’s behavior.  The results are somewhat vague, but does lend enough structure to work with, “This character is motivated by duty, zealotry and greed. They are very self-aware about all of this. “ is an example result that paints a strong image of an NPC that the characters would be working with, or against.
  • Family Generator – This generator would be useful for players looking to build a network of relatives around their characters.  Each relative has at least a single hook or two to keep it interesting beyond “You’ve got an uncle.”
  • Opinion Generator – Much like the Motive generator, the opinion generator can be quite useful.  I tend to refer to it when dealing with the awkward situation when the PCs decide to chat up some nameless NPCs about a critical issue. “Is very informed about the issue, and feels strongly about it. Against it. The source of their opinion is a large news organization. Openly promoting their opinions on the topic.” is an example, and could be the springboard for all sorts of interesting interactions.
  • Appearance Generator – Appearances are helpful definitely, and having it here can make sure that the GM can pull up an interesting looking individual without falling to the same thing over and over.
  • Simple Character Generator – This is a neat little generator that technically does the same thing as the first Generator, but in less detail.  Still, it can be quite useful.  To demonstrate: “A stocky musican with an honest face. She is a sucker for mysteries, foolish bravery, excessive alcohol and irony. One of her hobbies is collecting stories.”  This sort of description pulls up an image of an adventuring Dwarven bard in my head, something I normally would not have thought of.
  • Tattoo Generator – The tattoo generator is an interesting program as it generates a random image and placement for a tattoo… possibly useful for descriptions and such, but of all of them I found this to be of limited usefulness in my games.  Still some people might get a kick out of this all the same, and GMs can even show the result to players, giving them a solid idea of what kind of tattoo that bandit crew had.

The Character Builder Generator Pack is a neat program that does exactly what it says on the tin.  The generators are great seeds for plot hooks and interesting interactions to go with the characters that they come up with make it a very useful thing to have.  I would highly recommend this for new GMs and those like me who don’t have that much time in their hands anymore, and it’s priced well into impulse buy territory at $3.95 or roughly Php 170.00