3. Character creation: Choosing your race & background


Level 1
Sep 28, 2019

The Shardworld character creator takes complexity to new levels. “Complex RPG character customization on steroids” would be a tame description, given that there are over a thousand available species and races to pick from.

Besides the basic human/elf/dwarf/orc/gnome/beastfolk selection players are given the option to create anthropomorphs (animals on two legs with human intelligence), creatures and monsters available in the game as NPCs and enemies (ever wanted to play as a Giant Rat or an Insectoid, now’s your chance!), golems, possessed items and a slew of others. Then there’s the possibility to make hybrids, and the option to pick a sub-type of that race such as Night elves or Wood elves. In summary you can probably make your dream character.

Each race has unique perks and drawbacks. For instance, humanoid races may be widely accepted into cities and communities whereas animalistic or monstrous races may face discrimination or straight-up hostility from those same groups (that is NPC groups, genuine speciesism or racism from players to other players is against the game rules), but those same monstrous races may have access to settlements of normally hostile mobs, which humanoids are locked out of, and enjoy unique racial skills that other races lack. For the most extreme cases the game warns the player that their chosen race’s drawbacks will cause difficulty, ensuring that new players don’t accidentally get themselves stuck playing a character in an undesirably difficult situation.

The Shardworld does its best to be well balanced and fun for everyone, so no race is blatantly better than others. Further, as players progress through the game, racial perks and drawbacks become less notable: monstrous races can learn skills to disguise themselves and blend in or establish a reputation among NPC factions that they are trustworthy, whereas racial skills can be acquired by characters of other races using certain skills.

For players who insist that they made a wrong pick with their race, the option to use a ‘Potion of New Identity’ exists. This consumable allows them to give their characters a complete makeover, at the price of losing all their racial skills if they change their race. The consumable can be freely obtained in the game, but it has a ‘cooldown’ period between uses to prevent abuse.

Note: Like for skills, you may make up your own race and decide what pros and cons it should have, and what racial skills it should have access to. Use your best judgement and you’ll be fine.
The cooldown period for the ‘Potion of New Identity’ is one real-world month.


Upon creating a character players may choose a background, which determines how and where that character starts out. From “I’m the child of a rich merchant”, “I’m freshly enrolled at the mage academy” and “I work as the apprentice of an experienced apothecary” to “A group of vampires are keeping me as blood-cattle” and “I was washed ashore with no memory of my previous life” there’s something for just about everyone, giving an easy or more challenging start. Many backgrounds also assign some skills to get players started: The rich merchant’s child may be proficient in social skills and have a few levels into a merchant job but bad combat abilities whereas the blood-cattle prisoner would have resistance skills and possibly start out as an ‘Infected’ in the process of turning into a vampire. A character’s background also influences what equipment and inventory they start out with and may affect their reputation with some or another faction.

While harder starts are more rewarding if the player can survive and allow someone to level up faster or gain earlier access to some or another location, characters ultimately end up equally powerful for all the game content.

Note: Once more, this is a ‘Use your best judgement’ section. Racial and background-related start shouldn’t be too advantageous, e.g. being friends a powerful NPC or leading a large faction. You can have up to 10 skills at level 1 when starting out.