There are many character generators out there, mostly to help DMs come up with NPCs on the fly, but none of them are quite right for my needs. You know what that means, don't you? I've gone and made my own! My generators are system agnostic, but you can easily add any system-related options you want. The generators are not meant to draw up statistics, either. They focus on evocative details that give a greater and deeper picture of a person.
The Medieval Character Basics Generator sets up a number of important details that are major aspects of just about any character: Age, Reputation, Virtue, Vice, Recent Events, Desires, Physical Condition, Hygiene, Profession, and Initial Impression. The Basics Generator file can be found here.
The Extras Generator covers details that can add a sense of realism to characters, but aren't necessarily important to know for first impressions or chance encounters: Availability, Habits, Hobbies, Sense of Humor, Religious Adherence, Religious Association, Religious Attitude, and Sexual Orientation. You can download the Extras Generator here.
The Character Background Generators whip up a lifetime in two clicks. The Family generator covers Family Wealth, Family Lifestyle, Family Reputation, Parents, Early Parental Relationship, Parents Now, Relationship with Parent(s), Siblings, Relationship with Sibling(s), and Extended Family. The Family Generator file can be downloaded by clicking here.
The Events & Misc generator covers Childhood Homeplace, Friendship History, Major Childhood Event, Major Teenage Event, Major Young Adult Event, Major Adult Event, Major Middle Age Event, Romantic History, Marriage, and Children. Family Wealth might clash with Family Lifestyle, but some people live beyond their means or are close-fisted. If your character is an adult, you could ignore the Middle Age Event or add it to their adulthood experiences so far. Download the Events & Misc Generator file here.
You can download any or all of the files, depending on what strikes your fancy. Then, you can go to the RPGChartMaker site and use the Load button to load the file you choose. You'll need to load one file at a time, but you can do so in separate browser tabs, if you'd like. If you like the generator options as they are, you can just hit the Roll! button to get a result.
If you want to change the entries inside the lists, you can add new entries in the List Entry box, or click on an entry and hit the minus sign to delete it. You can drag and drop entries between the lists, too. If you don't want a list to be included in a roll, you don't have to delete it; just uncheck the dice icon next to its name. If you want to use different colors or fonts, you can do so by clicking the color palette icon and selecting new options. You can then save your modified generator to your drive so you can use it again, whenever you'd like.
This doesn't take away the need for creativity; you'll still have to interpret the results, explain how they fit together, and perhaps change or ignore some aspects to suit your needs. But the generators should work well for both DMs and players. Did the PCs just take an interest in a nobody sitting in the tavern? Need a character for a game you were invited to at the last minute? Click away!
Here's a sample of what the generator looks like:
Let's look at a character I rolled up:
Age: Ancient, Reputation: Unknown, Virtue: Self-Control, Vice: Sloth
Recent Event: Riot, Desires: More Time, Physical Condition: Decaying
Hygiene: Pleasant, Initial Impression: Ashamed, Sense of Humor: Cynical
Availability: Often Visited, Habits: Bragging, Profession: Carter, Hobbies: Juggling
Religious Adherence: Agnostic, Religious Attitude: Humble, Religious Association: Small Group
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
This is a truly aged character who's in bad shape and probably dying. This person is social but doesn't have much of a reputation; this could be because of their constant bragging. Since the character is so old and being a carter involves hauling things around, it's likely the profession is what they used to do. But why do they seem to be ashamed? Is it because of what they've done to live? Or perhaps they're ashamed of the recent riot they witnessed? Either way, they will probably want help with their woes, since their sloth gets in the way of fixing their own problems. And if their sexual orientation never comes up, no harm, no foul. They could be a common elder about town, or a fixture at a local inn. All we have to do is decide about their gender and give them a name (and I offer name lists and generators elsewhere on this site to make naming easier).
Let's learn more about this elderly character through the Background Generator:
Family Wealth: Poor, Family Lifestyle: Destitute, Family Reputation: Accepted
Childhood Homeplace: Isolated Home, Parents: Multiple Parental Figures
Early Parental Relationship: Parents Together Lovingly, Parents Now: Parents Alive, Divorced Resentfully
Relationship with Parent(s): No Contact With One Parent, Estranged, Siblings: One Sibling
Relationship with Sibling(s): Infrequent Contact with Sibling(s), Uncomfortable
Extended Family: Moderate Extended Family, Estranged, Friendship History: A Few Stable Friendships
Loving, Major Childhood Event: Catastrophic Accident, Major Teenage Event: Family Financially Ruined
Major Young Adult Event: Changed Professions, Major Adult Event: Overcame a Phobia
Major Middle Age Event: Acquired a Scar, Romantic History: Many Partners, Only Sexual
Marriage: Married Once, Too Young, and Children: Fertile, Multiple Biological Children
Since the character above is so old, it's unlikely that their parents are still alive, so those results can be removed. Their family was ruined by a catastrophic accident, forcing them to live hand-to-mouth. Upon growing up, the character took any work they could, becoming a carter because there was so much to do. Instead of relying on family, they look to a few close friends. They've had many partners over the years but none are close; it's likely their early marriage ended in divorce, but they have many children. (You could roll again on the Relationship with Sibling(s) list to indicate how they get along with their kids.) If you wanted an event to mark their old age, you could roll again on the Middle Age list. And voila! Now we know where they've been all these years.
Everyone has a job of some sort, a niche that they fill. Most people spend a good deal of their time working and some jobs come with a lot of politics. Was the local butcher framed by a competitor, who put poison in some meat delivered to the nobles? Are the guilds at war? Below is a small list of professions for NPCs taken from my own thoughts and the 2nd edition Dungeon Master's Guide. They are mostly general categories (I am not going to list every kind of cook, for example). If you have any suggestions, feel free to email them to me.
Animal Trainer / Breeder
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