By the time you get to this point, we should have spent a little bit of time talking about the current story-lines and ideas of what would work or wouldn't work in light of the current PCs, their current goals, and where they are/what they are doing.  We'll figure out a general concept, and then move on to specifics.  Even at this point, you need to keep in mind the requirement to be flexible -- I will not hesitate to push back.  Where I think your concept can be modified to fit, I will tell you how to do that.  If I think your concept can't be easily modified to fit, I will tell you that, too -- and I may not give you a detailed explanation about why.  Sometimes, it's just so obvious to me that a particular concept cannot be made workable that I don't find it useful for either of us to spend a lot of time talking about why.

Don't go radio silent during character creation:  When I re-open the game to new players, I generally receive half a dozen requests within 7-10 days.  This means I need to be able to gauge who is interested in pursuing the game, and who is just "browsing."   If you fail to post to character creation PM threads for one week, without any prior explanation ("I'm going on vacation!  I'm getting married!  I have to attend my own funeral!") or to otherwise make progress on your character sheet for one week, I will assume you are NOT interested in pursuing your application.  I will not prompt you during that time period; I will close your application and move on to the next applicant.   This is not me being mean or impatient -- I just don't spend my time anymore chasing after people.

Step One:  3.5 or Pathfinder?

This game started as a 3.5 campaign.  Somewhere in the middle, I decided to allow players to create Pathfinder PCs (or to convert, if they had an existing PC but preferred Pathfinder).  Today, I have more Pathfinder PCs than 3.5; NPCs can be either, depending on my whim.  You can choose either system, regardless of which plot you are in.  But whatever system you choose, that is the one you are stuck with -- all classes, feats, etc., must come from your chosen system.  However, you should know that even for 3.5 PCs, I use certain Pathfinder rules  for some skill checks (for example, Diplomacy or Intimidate or Handle Animal or ... well, any of them) where static DCs are less than aesthetically pleasing to me.  No, I'm not going to give you a list in advance of all the hypothetical situations where this may happen.  I also use the Pathfinder rules for item creation, even for 3.5 PCs.

Note:  Pathfinder characters will use the Fast Advancement Track.

Step Two:  Generating Stats:

There are two options for generating stats -- point buy or rolling.  In rolling stats, players start with a guaranteed 16 and the remaining scores are rolled in the Dice Roller 4d6 five times, dropping the lowest die each time.

The point buy system for 3.5 characters is "guaranteed 16 in any one stat +24-points for the other stats" (in effect, a 34-point buy).  Since Pathfinder characters using a point-buy start with 10 in stats rather than 8, the point-buy is "guaranteed 16 in any one stat +14-points for the other stats" (in effect, a 24-point buy).  You can roll first, to see which gives you the better result.  That will set your starting stats for level 1, but:

New PCs start at Level 6, so give yourself a bump in one stat.  Also, give yourself XP that gets you halfway to 7th -- in other words, 18,000 for a 3.5 PC and 19,000 for a Pathfinder PC.

Step Three:  Pick a Race ... But Not Just Any Race:

Racial options are restricted in this game for setting reasons:  You are limited to full or half-elf (either setting flavor, Shal or Quaj -- by the time you get to this point, you should know the difference), dwarf, halfling, gnome, or human or a Monte Cook-designed "giant" with a two-level adjustment.  (If you are interested in this, and don't have the book, let me know and I will PM you the stats.)  This is not open for negotiation.  I am not interested in your proposal for a tiefling, dragon, demon, etc. -- if that's the sort of character you want to play, then this is not the game you are looking for.

Please note that 3.5 elves (or Shal or Quaj) do not take the usual -2 penalty, are on average taller than humans, and reach maturity at the same rate as humans, but live centuries (not millennia).

Step Four:  Pick Your Class(es) ... But Not Just Any Class(es):

The core rulebooks are your friends here.  For 3.5 characters, anything in the PHB I or II except Dragon Shaman is available.  For Pathfnder PCs, the Core and Base Classes other than Summoner (for setting reasons, to be explained later) or Gunslinger (no firearms) are available.  (Please note that as you advance and want to take prestige classes or the like, those will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Want to play a cleric, bard, sorcerer or wizard?  See special house-rules and setting fluff info here.  That link also has a mini-FAQ related to various spell-casting classes, so if you're thinking about one -- check it out.

Important Note for All:  Planes, as such, do not exist:  There is only one other "plane," through which teleportation passes and in which monsters roam.  If you are contemplating a PC whose classes or prestige classes are heavily dependent upon the existence of planes (summoning planar allies, planar binding, knowledge (planes) and the like), then you need to reconsider what you are doing.  For basic summoning of creatures, the re-fluff explanation is that summoned creatures do not come from other planes -- they are crafted from magical energies in this one.  But beyond that, I am not going to tinker with redesigning classes or prestige classes to substitute prereqs or level abilities.

A not-so-hypothetical exchange with a player-who-will-go-unnamed:

Despite all the various classes, class variants and prestige classes available in 3.5 (or traits and alternative traits and archetypes and prestige classes in Pathfinder), nothing really satisfies me.  I want this spell progression from this class, and that list of feats from that class, and .... Can I mix/match to come up with exactly the options I want?


But, really, I like that piece from here and this from there.


But --

Stop it.  Please.  No.

Step Five:  Feats, Traits and Flaws:

Players creating their character in 3.5 receive one bonus regional feat at character creation.  (Those going with a Pathfinder model get to take advantage of the Pathfinder approach to traits and archetypes; you do not get a regional feat per the 3.5 model.)  The available regional feats for 3.5 PCs are listed in the "Cities, Countries and the Like" thread.  (If you need a description of the regional feat because you don't have the sourcebook and can't find it on-line, just let me know.)  If you are interested in taking a regional feat that is not listed for the region you select, please feel free to make your case for why that regional feat would be appropriate for a particular region.  I have on occasion permitted players to swap regional feats out.

Players creating their character in 3.5 can (but are not required to) choose up to two traits from the OGL list available on-line
here.  You can also choose up to two flaws, and gain bonus feats in exchange, per the OGL rules available on-line

You are also welcome to suggest alternate traits/flaws not on the OGL lists; if the suggested alternative comes from another published source, then please provide me with the source information.  If you are building new traits/flaws, then make your case and persuade me.

Pathfinder characters do not take 3.5 traits/flaws.  Instead, you can take up to two Pathfinder traits in accordance with the Pathfinder rules for such, which are available on-line here.  I reserve the right to disallow any traits, so make sure you ask before getting your heart set on one.  This game does not use Pathfinder campaign traits, nor does it use drawbacks.

If you are creating a 3.5 character, you take your classes, feats, and prestige classes from the 3.5 system.  If you are creating a Pathfinder character, you take your classes, feats and prestige classes from the Pathfinder system.  No mixing/matching.

Note on metamagic feats:

All spell-casting classes receive Eschew Materials as a free feat.

PCs who have traditionally spontaneous spell-caster levels do not incur the additional casting time penalty for applying metamagic feats to their spells.  There is no change for PCs who have traditionally prepared spell-caster levels, regardless of whether you are running them as prepared spell-casters or taking advantage of the home rule "all casters are spontaneous."

What feats are not available?

Step Six: Skill Points

There's not really much complicated about this, except don't bother putting any skill points into Knowledge Planes.  Because ... you know ... no planes.

Step Seven:  HP After Level 1:

Roll your die.  Re-roll 1s.  If you get half or more, keep it.  If you get less than half, take half.

Step Eight:  Starting Wealth

Starting wealth for 3.5 PCs is the standard 13,000 gold.  For Pathfinder PCs, it is the standard 16,000.  You can buy pretty much anything you want (if it's from something like the Magic Item Compendium,  just let me know, but you cannot have any magic item that exceeds 50% of your starting wealth.

Except ioun stones.  Never, ever, ever can you have an ioun stone.

Step Nine:  Write Down  Your Hero Points:

All PCs (both 3.5 and Pathfinder) receive Hero Points in accordance with the Pathfinder Hero Points model (with the exception that you can't use them for "return from the dead," as the general game rule of dead = dead still applies).  New PCs start with two Action Points; additional points are earned with each level-up, except you can never have more than three at a time.  NPCs will not have Hero Points.

More on that Dead is dead bit: There's no coming back from the great beyond here, even with Hero Points. (It's the difference between using Hero Points to "cheat death" -- and not get killed in the first place -- versus using them to come back from the dead.) That said, I am not the sort of DM who likes to herd PCs into life-threatening situations, nor do I care to kill you off simply because of the results of a random roll of the dice. (Accordingly, save-or-die spells will therefore work on the Pathfinder model.)  Death can occur, but it will occur because of the choices your character makes -- make a bad or stupid choice that could result in being killed, and you may very well end up that way.

Hero Points might be useable in some pre-death way to help set you up to do something reckless or foolhardy or AMAZINGLY CINEMATIC without actually getting killed.

Miscellaneous Stuff:

Religion and you:  With a few exceptions, religion is not of major importance to NPCs or -- with the exception of the Temple of Hamal -- to my concept of the world.  If religion plays an important role in your character's background, you have the option of using a deity from one of the standard D&D pantheons (but keep in mind that the world does not follow any such pantheon as a general matter).  In the alternative, you can create your own deity; please be prepared to create and explain which avatar(s) are expressed through that deity, how your god/goddess came to be worshipped in, and what role s/he plays in, your community and why s/he is important to you.  You also may want to check out the entry under Clerics over here.

What Prestige Classes, Feats, Spells, or the Like Are Right Out?

Back to the Game.