Using random words to create characters

We here in the FKR sphere have a tendency to reduce game mechanics to the bare minimum. Usually, this starts with getting rid of hit points at character creation. Then, stats are dropped. Then, skills and abilities are condensed, shortened, till only their names remain, without rules attached to them. This continues, and often, what remains is just one roll to determine what type of character is played, like: “2: Pilot”, or “15: Bodyguard”.

Equipment and skills can be easily determined once we know what “class” we play.

I’d like to take one step further and get rid of predetermined lists of “allowed” character classes. I fondly remember the first edition of Over The Edge, a game where you can play every type of character you can imagine. One of the suggestions (either in the book, or on the old homepage) was to pick random words for inspiration for your character.

Let’s do this. You can either use an old dictionary or magazine or book, or you can go to the online Random Word Generator here:

I use the latter and click on “Generate Words” to create a character for the The Expanse setting:


Farewell: my character is new where he is right now. Or, no! Even better: My character had to flee from…
Hut: this reminds me, of course, of Jabba, the Hutt. So, my character did something to, or stole something from, a criminal. A crime boss, with a huge network and lots of connections.
Absence: Ah, it gets better! My character is an expert for absence, or in other words: he steals. Not the small stuff, but spaceships, cargo and the like.
Week: I turn that into “weak” – and I now I apply a tried-and-true technique: I imagine my character doing what he does best… so…

Zoom in: massive chest… right above the heart, a wound. Still hasn’t healed up. How did it happen? I see my character running, rifle in his hands, he’s running away from… five or six people, firing at him…leaping into the opened airlock of a small Terran spacecraft… bullets zipping past his head, the lock is slowly closing…he’s shouting, ‘go go go go go, damnit, GOOOOO’, the ship’s Epstein drive kicks in…BANG
AAAAAAAAAAAAAH, fuck fuck fuck
He’s been hit in the chest, blood is spraying, then

That’s my character!

Tim Walsh
massive build, blond hair, beard
lingering injury above the heart
spaceship thief with a stolen lightweight spaceship ("Quickstep")
wanted for something he did to a crime lord
Gear: rifle, old military clothes

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