When we plan for a long-term campaign, we want to make sure that we're prepared for what is to come. This is why many people (myself included) advocate for a session zero, where everyone can sit down and share information, lay any necessary plans, work out schedules, and make characters together. I think this last part is sufficiently important, so we'll cover it in more detail here.
Making characters together allows everyone involved to get a feel for what is being brought to the table. You don't have to share every detail if you don't want to, but keeping a basic line of communication helps prevent doubling up on character niches, especially in smaller parties where such overlap might be a detriment to the overall success of the party. In short, it allows you to plan out your party composition without stepping on other people's toes.
There's also the benefit of double checking and learning. When building characters on paper, we sometimes miss something or overlook a rule somewhere, or perhaps just misread something. Having others around to double check things keeps people honest (especially for parts of the character that you might roll to determine.) It also helps newer players to learn the process of character building, especially if they're unfamiliar with it or haven't done the appropriate research on their own.
Creating characters in the presence of the GM is also a great idea. This way, the GM can help you keep your character tonally appropriate and up to the rules of the game and the campaign, and even help fill in proper nouns for the sake of backstory and such. Sharing the knowledge of your chaqracter with the GM ahead of time and not simply showing up to the game with a character also allows for them to personalize the experience, tailor making encounters and experiences that play off of your own skills and weaknesses as a PC, or even tapping parts of your characters backstory or goals for content in the campaign.
Doing all of this ahead of time gets everybody on the same page, and allows people to coordinate and interact like an actual unit. Maybe you even decide to link character backstories together. Even if you don't you at least have a better shot at avoiding in-character conflict this way, because you can make characters whose personalities don't outright clash in a harmful way. And a ore cohesive party tends to lead to campaigns that don't fizzle out, and to people having a good time. So it's generally a good idea to communicate this sort of thing.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.