One of the design goals for Spark was for the character creation process to take the least amount of time possible while still retaining the diversity of character options. I am pleased to say that I appear to have been successful, at the very least during my playtesting. I had two of my playtesters over this evening specifically to examine the process for making a new character. Each of them had some experience with the system and had previously made characters, yet they were able to achieve some impressive results. Typically they would have more guidance in the form of setting specific documents but this was partially an exercise in improvisation.
Cantina Scene: I set the scene as the Cantina from Star Wars and asked the pair of them to make unique alien characters, with no other restrictions. It took 30 minutes from conception to completion of the characters and both of them fit the bill.
Player A made Olivia the Octopod, a hard-drinking, fast flying, 8-tentacled pilot of a mid-size transport ship.
Player B made Grog, a hideous ogre-like alien who has apparently liberated the plasma cannon from a fighter jet for use as his personal rifle.
Tavern Scene: After that success, I directed them to attempt a similar exercise within a standard fantasy setting and it took another 30 minutes to finish these characters off.
Player A made P’eri the Magnificent, halfling wizard with delusions of grandeur. She was a wizard with a talking and somewhat intelligent elephant familiar.
Player B made Hali-h’imam, an eternal water elemental who is spending his time one the dry lands to watch the solids and learn their ways. While he has a harder time affecting the physical world, his quasi-material state also protects him from many forms of harm.
Some useful feedback was given, but I am fairly pleased at how well the system is functioning. Thirty minutes to make an unusual character is perfectly appropriate in my opinion. I would be eager for new challenges though, if any of you fine readers would like to propose a type of character for me, I will try to see if the current system can accommodate it. If it doesn’t, I will be happy to feature your character in the book.