Professional PCs: About My Character (Part 1)

Professional PCs: About My Character (Part 1)

Do professional game designers make characters differently than other experienced and skilled players?

I honestly have no idea.

I kind of doubt either group actually has enough similarities that the question is even meaningful. But, in case anyone cares, and since I have sucked you in this far to my article, I’m going to use that thin excuse to tale this week to tell you about my character.

The Campaign

My wife Lj is beginning a new campaign she’ll GM, to be played roughly once a month at our apartment. Each session is likely to be a few hours, and include dinner. The players are friends, and the tone is going to be non-jokey (as opposed to “serious”), but likely light-hearted.

We began with a one-off adventure to introduce the PCs to each other, and then we are moving to the Reign of Winter adventure path. I know a bit about the LAST adventure in that path, but it’ll be a long time before that matters.

The Game System

Pathfinder. To keep things simple, but not limiting, the GM originally restricted options to the Core and ACG. She later added the APG, and allowed a magus.

Character Creation

The GM laid out that is was 25 point ability score buy, and everyone began with 300 gp. Since we’re using the APG, each PC also starts with two traits.

My Character

My PC process is one of first deciding what concept I am interested in, then working out a background, then choosing specific details and rules options. The concept is often a simple matter of picking a class and race, though sometimes it’s a more vague concept, such as “A necromancer who wants to understand why undead are all evil,” or “An older doomed hero who just wants to gain the immortality of being in legends and stories.”

I also often work with other players to form a cohesive group of PCs, especially for d20 games, but in this case that wasn’t practical timing-wise.

In this case, I decided to play Krokar, a ½ orc inquisitor of Gorum, the Golarion god of war. Let’s break that down a bit.


I picked my class first. Basically, I don’t recall ever playing an inquisitor PC. I’ve played one of everything else in the Core and APG, if I count 3.0 and 3.5 games going back 17 years. So the oldest Pathfinder class I’ve never played is an inquisitor, and I want to give it a go.

I was also influenced by the fact that I wasn’t able to work with the other players to conceive of a group together, as is my preference. One of the nice things about an inquisitor is that the class can fill a lot of party roles, depending on how you build it. At first level it won’t matter much, and if the group has a major gap (especially if the gap involves lore, spellcasting, or fighting) I can lean toward filling it as I go up in level.


I’ve played a lot of humans, so I wanted to avoid that this time. My last character was an elf, so I’d rather avoid doing another elf or ½ elf. I thought about halflings and gnomes, and no idea I liked for a Small inquisitor came to mind. I had a nearly three-year run playing a dwarf warpriest, which just ended recently, so I didn’t want to play another fighting-6-level-casting-divine dwarf.

That left ½ orc.

I’ve played a few ½ orcs, and I like them, but always as full bab fighting classes, or arcane spellcasters. So a fighting-6-level-casting-divine ½ orc felt new and interesting.


Once I knew I was a ½ orc, I wanted a name that had hard, short sounds. I played with a few until “Krokar” game together. I’ll probably work out a meaning later. It may even give me the push I need to do a whole new name generator for orcs.


So, I have played all good characters for the past dozen or so PCs I made. I liked the idea of not being good, but I had no interest in being evil. Especially since this is supposed to be a light, fun game whatever deity I selected, I wanted it to be one that supported and encouraged an inquisitor who was into team play. So, in the Big 20 from the Core, who are my options?

I worked on the Temple of Abadar not too long ago for Inner Sea Temples. That isn’t the same as running a PC that worships Abadar but it has some of the same effect – Abadar doesn’t strike me as new and interesting right now.

I’ve never run a player character that worships Calistria… but it didn’t feel like a pro-team-play build. And, importantly, I have an idea I like for a CE paladin of Calistria who can work with a group – but that won’t work for this campaign. So, I don’t want to do something similar now, then not be excited by that idea later.

Gozreh. Fine choice. Nothing wrong with it. No idea that supported team play and excited me came to mind.

Green Faith. I’ve played Green Faith rangers and a Green Faith hunter, so that seemed less interesting that some new deity.

Irori. I’d go too monk. And my last Pf monk worshipped Irori. Just didn’t excite me.

Nethys. My only active other current PC worships Nethys,and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to do something new.

Pharasma. I chewed on this one for quite a while. I had a female human militant midwife Pharasma-worshiping  PC idea I kinda liked, but the mixed heritage of a half orc made that idea seem insufficient. I thought about if I wanted to alter it to be more about difficult births, perhaps like those ½ orcs’ mothers go through… but that felt problematic. I decided I didn’t know enough about actual midwifery to play one, and that was my favorite Pharasma-based idea. I don’t have time to do the research right now, so I tabled this one.

Gorum. Golarion fans who know the non-evil, non-good neutral gods by heart will have noticed I skipped Gorum in my alphabetical rundown.

At first I dismissed Gorum. He’s CN, and that’s often code for CE for PCs. Also, he doesn’t feel like a team-player. But, while reading over him, I saw he has access to the Tactics subdomain from the APG. That suddenly clicked as interesting. A Gorumite inquisitor who focused on tactics would naturally think in terms of allies and teamwork and support actions. And a ½ orc with a greatsword had a nice visual appeal to me.

So I settled on Gorum. That just left me needing a backstory, to inform the rest of my character choices. Which we’ll talk about in Part Two.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on March 6, 2017, in Musings, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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