[RPG] How to encourage players to leave classes behind


I have veteran players of class-based RPG systems joining my GURPS 4e campaign. I am having trouble consistently during character creation in getting these folks started. They are all hung up on the work of character creation being given a strong kick start with the character/race systems being well-established. I have embraced the fluidity of GURPS, but find others are paralyzed.

The simple solution is templates. This however does not help the player grow, but simply hands them the same crutch they are accustomed to. I want to offer them some physical therapy for their RPG repertoire. I want to give them the strength to stand without the crutch. To have the confidence to start from scratch even if the character comes out similar to a standard race/class combination. I wish they have had taken the time to evaluate how and why they chose to go that route.

Players new to RPGs as a whole seem to take to it much better. Mind you I handle the mechanics for them. I simply have them describe the character they want and help them shop the skills and abilities to make it happen. I have attempted to do this with veterans, but there seems to be some sort of creative block.

Anyone out there have an ice pick for this creative block?

Best Answer

Start by talking about the characters as people, not as game pieces. Use the background of the game appropriately to give you ways to find out about them beyond game stats.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

  • In modern games, I have given players job application forms to fill out for their characters (we were playing a superheroes-for-hire kind of game).
  • Ask your players to write the blurb on the back of the imaginary book where their new PC is the main character. Or try riffing movie trailer voiceovers about them. You know: In a world where only corporations can own dragons, one troll has the power to see through walls. Only he can free the dragons from their corporate masters, but can he free his heart from the woman who betrayed him?
  • Or how about this? "You're all in the mead-hall, mourning the passing of a great hero. Tell me your favorite story about him/her!" Of course, the dead hero is the PC they're creating now.

The point is to start with a character and then create an in-game avatar to represent that person.

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