As promised I am now going go through the Stats-to-Who process of character creation. The Stats I will be working with is from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 because I think most people will be at least passingly familiar with that system (as it is the face of roleplaying). Below is a quick summary of the Stats:
Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency(spiked chain), Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes
This may not seem like much, and you’re right. A DnD character also has skills, equipment, attributes, and languages. But attributes are determined randomly, and the other bits aren’t really required at this point. For those unfamiliar with the spiked chain Fighter twink, this is the beginning core to a build that has many variations. The basic idea is that in DnD 3.5 you can trip your opponents from range with the chain, and if they try to get back up you get free attacks on them and can keep them lying prone. Over time you can add more area control maneuvers, damage, or whatever, but for now I am only going to care about the core. Now to the steps of character discovery!
Dungeons and Dragons is a medieval fantasy setting, so we can just look to works by Tolkein for a basis on what restrictions may exist. This mostly becomes a consideration for later steps, but it is important to establish where your character lives before breathing life into them.
2. What is it built for?
Since we haven’t pumped any points into skills and all of our feats are related to combat all we can say about our character’s abilities is that it can fight, and fight well. I’m also going to say the character is male because I am not comfortable with my ability to put myself in the mind of someone of a completely different sex/gender.
3. What is special/unique?
Luckily for us this is actually rather easy to pick out for our character. One of our feats is titled “exotic.” So while this may be a relatively common twink, it is uncommon for the setting (I told you that would come into play). So now we have a key question to ask ourselves: How did our Fighter end up using a spiked chain as a weapon? Perhaps he received special training, or perhaps he just spent a great deal of time with it. Because I can’t imagine a military that would train the use of chains I am going to go with him spending time with the weapon. A potential reason for this is being a prisoner thrown into gladiatorial combat. He is covered in scars as a flail weapon used by someone with no experience is likely to hit the wielder. Upon escaping his imprisonment he then decided to continue using the chains as a symbol of conquering his captivity.
4. What profession/background could explain his combined Stats?
As a specialized fighter he likely hasn’t joined a military, but instead may be a mercenary or a bounty hunter. But looking to what background we have developed so far (escaped slave using a weapon as a symbol of freedom) we can rule out bounty hunter as that may be against his moral code. We could also add in freedom fighter and/or vigilante. Perhaps our Fighter wanders the countryside helping the oppressed and freeing them from tyranny.
5. Do these answers produce more questions?
Since he was a pitfighter, does he ever show mercy to his opponents? Will he fight dirty as he had to before, or has he decided to leave that part of his past behind and rebel by becoming an honest opponent? Does he dislike nobility? Is it also guilt that holds him to the chain, and will he ever be able to let go?
This last part can go on for a long time, and is also where your character can truly evolve into your character. The process also never really ends. Once the game begins you may be confronted with situations you hadn’t thought about, but now you at least have a base set of ideas to base your decisions off of. Your character will continue to grow over the period of the game, and that in my opinion, is the best part.