We’re fixing to go over for the first gaming session of the new year (we’re a bit early).

My character in Vornheim is a spell-caster who feels particularly indebted to the Mother Superior of the orphanage in which he was raised (and has recently more or less outgrown) and the voices in his head which have never done him wrong. (When we got to the part in the Fate system where we had to start spending potential refresh, there was only one thing that I wanted to buy: That the voices were not, in fact, Cthulhu (or similar) when it comes to their fundamental malevolence.)

There are two types of spells in the game: spells that are always the same, every single time (think “Magic Missile”) or spells that are much more ad hoc in spirit (“these guys are really big… I’d rather cast Magic Javelin” or “these guys are really small and numerous… I’d rather cast Magic Grapeshot”) and my guy is a speciallist in the latter… at the cost of knowing anything (at all) about the former.

He’s also much more… well, let’s say “bland”… than my last couple of characters (based on Burn Notice’s Sam Axe and Dragonlance’s Tasslehoff Burrfoot, respectively). I’m going for the back seat of the car this time.

Have any of you guys generated any characters recently?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Bland? Don’t think of your character as being bland. Instead the character is a blank sheet of paper awaiting you to apply those touches and flourishes which will round him out into something completely interesting and unexpected at the outset.
    Unless you really were going for someone bland with a Ben Stein monotone, wears lots of gray and his dying words are “Tell my wife I said ‘Hello’.”
    Back in late October and a touch of early November I was creating many characters for my upcoming space campaign. Her name’s Amy Internet and she hails from a little rock hugging Proxima Centauri claimed by libertarians who made Robert Heinlein look like a fascist.
    Amy’s beginnings are odd. Her mother Ginseng von Ribbentrop fell in love with an artificial intelligence. The AI engineered seed to impregnate her then nine months later Amy was born. She learned to hunt rock crabs, shoot straight and not to take any crap from anyone even if they act all high and mighty being a member of the Glizzy co-op. In her late teens she discovered religion, bummed a ride offworld on a freighter bound for Leviathan station.
    Fifty years before the only habitable world Orca around Tau Ceti was destroyed when a warship travelling at relativistic speeds kamikazed with that world ending the lives of eight billion. Leviathan station was established as a place for quiet reflection, near-constant prayer for each one of the lost Orcans along with providing some R&R for crews who search the arc of rubble for anything which may be salvaged.
    Amy found her calling there, fixing ships, devoting herself to faith and helping folks when they need it but not when they ask for it.
    America Siddartha Internet has fallen on some hard times, her tools being stolen and license lost leaving her selling second-hand Saint Dusty souvenirs to tourists hoping to get back on her feet.
    Saint Dusty is another character unto himself. So far he’s not even going to be mentioned in the game beyond “Oh yeah, germy little cheetah tweak is wearing a St. Dusty t-shirt smeared with something like maple syrup.” Dusty is the first and only dolphin to be canonized by the HRCC. I’ve already taken enough space in your blog to go into detail.

  2. Any bland character is bound to be more exciting than an “exciting” character like Tasslehoff Burrfoot.

    It’s like Legos. If you’re creative enough, the stuff you build with the basic blocks is going to be cooler than the stuff you build out of those special shape blocks. Cooler and Sturdier.

  3. On a separate note, would you consider FATE to be newbie friendly?

    My current D&D game (3.5 rules with guns imported from d20 past and standard casters replaced by variant Warlocks) is really dragging, especially in combat. I feel like it might move a lot faster using FATE, but 2 of the players have been playing D&D for less than a year and have no experience with other pencil & paper RPGs.

    One of the newbies in particular has a very strong character concept, so I think she’ll take well to aspects. The other, who plays a doctor with a bit of mesmerism, is a little bit more of a cypher. He’s not as into the game in general (mostly because it’s kinda past his bedtime by the time we get started), and I don’t have a good feel for how he envisions his character.

    • How do you envision combat in the system? Combat in fate is much more plot-oriented.

      This pretty much means that combat isn’t exactly something that you can recreate with miniatures. There’s a lot less emphasis on “hit goblin with sword” and a lot more on “I remember that the bad guys were eating dinner when I came into the room… there are plates on the table, then? I pick up a plate and throw it like a frisbee into the face of one of the bad guys.” “It’s got a turkey leg and mashed potatoes on it.” “I take the turkey leg and take a bite of it as I throw the plate with the potatoes still on it.” “You’re going to need at least a 6 to pull that off.”

      • I feel like, if nothing else, that such a system will be more interesting for the other players. One of the things that makes combat drag is that people are not paying attention on other people’s turns, and need to re-orient themselves when their turn comes up. I hope that will be less of a problem with FATE.

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