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Escaping the paralysis of choice in Character Creation.

As Neo eloquently stated: “Choice.  The problem is choice.”  The problem is choice. It is one of our greatest desires (to have many different choices) but it is also one of our greatest disadvantages (too many choices).  Yet in the world of RPG’s there is a need to have a choice, otherwise everyone is the same and that can get boring quickly.  So, is choice really the problem?  Or, is it more of a problem of players wanting to min-max their characters to be the best, in order just to have fun? 

Red Pill or Blue Bill?

The problem according to psychologist Barry Schwartz is choice, or more precisely too much choice.  To sum up the Paradox of Choice Theory: “Instead of increasing our well-being, an abundance of choice is increasing our levels of anxiety, depression and wasted time.”  Such an unpleasant thing!  Too much choice makes us upset and unable to make a choice. But, is that really so?  Since the publication of this theory, there have been a number of article published such as “Too Many Choices: A Problem that Can Paralyze.” and “When It’s Bad to Have Good Choices.”

Red Pill?  Blue Pill?

As gamers, we want to maximize our fun and often this is done during the creation of our characters in which we pour a great deal of time and effort.  But are we sacrificing our fun by maxing out what our character can do, instead of working with limiting our ideas of what it takes for us to have fun?

Red Pill? Blue Pill?

In the early beginnings of our hobby there was just a few choices: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Thief.  Then there came the Player’s Handbook of X, and Player’s Options: X.  Then the advent of 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons and the multitude of feats, ease of multiclassing, etc.  With 3.5 you had close to 27 books to pull from just to create a 1st-level character.  So many choices.  What class am I going to play, what race, what feats, oh my!!  So many choices! 

Yet, before there were so many choices I remember players of the White Box were attempting to add more choice so that they would be somehow different from each other of the same class and race.  So, is too much choice the issue?  Or, is it more of a problem of wanting to do everything with no restrictions?

I would argue that it’s our want and desire to be allowed to be given all the options, even though it might make character creation to overwhelming.  We demand more choice then get upset when we are given to much perceived choice. 


So What do I do?

So, if too many choices are not really the problem what is?

It is fear.  The fear of missing out is what really causes us the issues.  A nagging feeling that you need to have access to all the options so that you do not miss playing the most awesome character ever!  EVER!

So how do we make this better?  There are few ways to do this:

  • KISS: Keep it Simply Simple – Stick with what you like! Stick to the core races.  Stick to the fun basics that the system can and does offer.

  • Avoid Maxing a Character – In case you do not know what that means, it comes from the concept of Min-Maxing where you optimize a character during its creation by maximizing the most important skill and attributes while minimizing its disadvantages.   This is the true cause of choice paralyzation in role-playing games.  Try to avoid it.  Pick a character that you want to play whether or not it has the best strength or defense or armor.  The most important part is having fun.  However, if having fun for you is researching to death the best possible combinations then get to it.

  • Focus on Just One Thing – Like KISS focusing on one thing you want to do.  Want to play a fighter type, then stick to the fighter types, same with focusing on priests, mages or thieves.

Every game system has the four basic concepts in one form or another: fighter, mage, cleric and thief.  If you like being a fighter stick with the concepts and rules that deal only with fighting, if you like to sling spells from a distance stick with the mage concepts, and so on.


The Problem of Choice in Talarius Gaming

The Talarius Gaming System is built on the premise of giving a great deal of choice to the players in everything they do.  In the core rule book of Legends of Kralis there are a combined 40,000 different combinations that you can create if you so desire.  Oh my! Are there really that many choices?  Yes, and no.

While there are that many combinations there are not that many choices.  It all starts with your choice of species.  This really is the biggest and most important decision you will make.  It’s the biggest decision you really need to focus on.  That means looking over 15 core species.

If you want to play a fighter then choose one of the larger species as they tend to be the ones with the most health and are stronger: Bhahuul, Fhen Khanur, or Troll.

Because Talarius Gaming is a classless system, we decided to make the species the core choice that comes with most of the features that sets the standard for a basic, run-of-the-mill character.  Even if you stopped here with one species you can have a basic 15 different characters.  As each species comes with eight species abilities that can be used to generate a unique generic character.  With just that there are 120 basic combinations.

The Glory of Choice in Talarius Gaming

Unlike some of the more popular game systems where you may feel like you need to the official options that they have buried in other books and products.  In some cases you could potentially use or need 27 books to make a 1st level character.  That is insane. 

With Legends of Kralis everything you need to know to have all these options is just one book: The Player’s Guide.





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