Return of the Character Wheel

Before I start, I want to thank you for the feedback we’ve been receiving.  If you have not yet had a chance to, please leave us a comment in our feedback post.

It’s been a while since I discussed the Character Wheel.  Obviously, you’ve been waiting in frustration for more of my genius, but I wanted to give the concept time to bounce around in my head so it could truly be the ultimate character creation tool.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, please check out the introduction and first spin posts.

What we’ve covered so far is enough to generate significant details in each of the six categories.  In the next few weeks, I will be covering each category in detail, as well as providing a character sheet to supplement this process.  You can already check out a rough draft by downloading the sheet [.pdf] I provided in our 100th post.

One thing you’ll notice, looking at the sheet, is that it doesn’t follow the exact order of the wheel: Description, Motivations, Background, Attitudes, Relationships, Mechanics.  This is because that order, while useful for creation, isn’t practical for reference.  The truth is, these categories are entwined with one another in a way that makes complete separation impossible.

Instead, the categories are grouped where sensible.  Description and History are both part of the character’s Biography, and Motivations and Attitudes are both entwined under personality.  Relationships, on the other hand, span multiple pages and include a family tree (which, to be completely honest, is quite silly.  I only created it for fun, and because I can never remember how to determine the different kinds of cousins).

But, on to the exciting bits!  I’ve come up with something new!  You already know what Significant Details are.  What about everything else?  Well, they now get separated into Simple Details and Complex Details.  I know, I know.  It’s more complication.  But let me explain.  Simple details are like your Height and Weight.  These things can be quickly filled in, whereas complex details require thought and complete sentences.  In my thinking, each of the categories (excluding Mechanics) should have a handful of simple details to help launch a character.  They don’t take long, so they give you a feeling of accomplishment when you fill them in.

The complex details take time to fill in and evolve with your character, both as you take additional passes around the wheel and as the game progresses.

That’s all the new stuff for now.  I hate to make you wait for more, but it’ll be worth it.  After I’ve completed the posts and new sheet, I’ll put them together as a nice PDF that you can use at the table.  What you can do in the intervening time is assist me with feedback.  If I’m missing something, let me know.  If I’m being confusing, poke at me.  Gently, though.  My ego bruises easily, and then I start flame wars on Wikipedia.  It isn’t pretty.

All Character Wheel Posts

  1. Introducing the Character Wheel
  2. Your First Spin of the Character Wheel
  3. Return of the Character Wheel
  4. CW:  Description
  5. CW:  Motivation
  6. CW:  Background
  7. CW:  Attitudes
  8. CW:  Relationships