6. Character Generation

In previous lessons we have established how a character looks. Now we need to give the player a chance to create one.

6.1. How it will work

A fresh Evennia install will automatically create a new Character with the same name as your Account when you log in. This is quick and simple and mimics older MUD styles. You could picture doing this, and then customizing the Character in-place.

We will be a little more sophisticated though. We want the user to be able to create a character using a menu when they log in.

We do this by editing mygame/server/conf/settings.py and adding the line


When doing this, connecting with the game with a new account will land you in “OOC” mode. The ooc-version of look (sitting in the Account cmdset) will show a list of available characters if you have any. You can also enter charcreate to make a new character. The charcreate is a simple command coming with Evennia that just lets you make a new character with a given name and description. We will later modify that to kick off our chargen. For now we’ll just keep in mind that’s how we’ll start off the menu.

In Knave, most of the character-generation is random. This means this tutorial can be pretty compact while still showing the basic idea. What we will create is a menu looking like this:


STR +1
DEX +2
CON +1
INT +3
WIS +1
CHA +2

You are lanky with a sunken face and filthy hair, breathy speech, and foreign clothing.
You were a herbalist, but you were pursued and ended up a knave. You are honest but also
suspicious. You are of the neutral alignment.

Your belongings:
Brigandine armor, ration, ration, sword, torch, torch, torch, torch, torch,
tinderbox, chisel, whistle

1. Change your name
2. Swap two of your ability scores (once)
3. Accept and create character

If you select 1, you get a new menu node:

Your current name is Silas. Enter a new name or leave empty to abort.

You can now enter a new name. When pressing return you’ll get back to the first menu node showing your character, now with the new name.

If you select 2, you go to another menu node:

Your current abilities:

STR +1
DEX +2
CON +1
INT +3
WIS +1
CHA +2

You can swap the values of two abilities around.
You can only do this once, so choose carefully!

To swap the values of e.g. STR and INT, write 'STR INT'. Empty to abort.

If you enter WIS CHA here, WIS will become +2 and CHA +1. You will then again go back to the main node to see your new character, but this time the option to swap will no longer be available (you can only do it once).

If you finally select the Accept and create character option, the character will be created and you’ll leave the menu;

Character was created!

6.2. Random tables

Make a new module mygame/evadventure/random_tables.py.

Since most of Knave’s character generation is random we will need to roll on random tables from the Knave rulebook. While we added the ability to roll on a random table back in the Rules Tutorial, we haven’t added the relevant tables yet.

# in mygame/evadventure/random_tables.py

chargen_tables = {
    "physique": [
        "athletic", "brawny", "corpulent", "delicate", "gaunt", "hulking", "lanky",
        "ripped", "rugged", "scrawny", "short", "sinewy", "slender", "flabby",
        "statuesque", "stout", "tiny", "towering", "willowy", "wiry",
    "face": [
        "bloated", "blunt", "bony", # ...
    ], # ...

The tables are just copied from the Knave rules. We group the aspects in a dict character_generation to separate chargen-only tables from other random tables we’ll also keep in here.

6.3. Storing state of the menu

create a new module mygame/evadventure/chargen.py.

During character generation we will need an entity to store/retain the changes, like a ‘temporary character sheet’.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

from .random_tables import chargen_tables
from .rules import dice

class TemporaryCharacterSheet:

    def _random_ability(self):
        return min(dice.roll("1d6"), dice.roll("1d6"), dice.roll("1d6"))

    def __init__(self):
        self.ability_changes = 0  # how many times we tried swap abilities

        # name will likely be modified later
        self.name = dice.roll_random_table("1d282", chargen_tables["name"])

        # base attribute values
        self.strength = self._random_ability()
        self.dexterity = self._random_ability()
        self.constitution = self._random_ability()
        self.intelligence = self._random_ability()
        self.wisdom = self._random_ability()
        self.charisma = self._random_ability()

        # physical attributes (only for rp purposes)
        physique = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["physique"])
        face = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["face"])
        skin = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["skin"])
        hair = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["hair"])
        clothing = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["clothing"])
        speech = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["speech"])
        virtue = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["virtue"])
        vice = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["vice"])
        background = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["background"])
        misfortune = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["misfortune"])
        alignment = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["alignment"])

        self.desc = (
            f"You are {physique} with a {face} face, {skin} skin, {hair} hair, {speech} speech,"
            f" and {clothing} clothing. You were a {background.title()}, but you were"
            f" {misfortune} and ended up a knave. You are {virtue} but also {vice}. You are of the"
            f" {alignment} alignment."

        self.hp_max = max(5, dice.roll("1d8"))
        self.hp = self.hp_max
        self.xp = 0
        self.level = 1

        # random equipment
        self.armor = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["armor"])

        _helmet_and_shield = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["helmets and shields"])
        self.helmet = "helmet" if "helmet" in _helmet_and_shield else "none"
        self.shield = "shield" if "shield" in _helmet_and_shield else "none"

        self.weapon = dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["starting weapon"])

        self.backpack = [
            dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["dungeoning gear"]),
            dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["dungeoning gear"]),
            dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["general gear 1"]),
            dice.roll_random_table("1d20", chargen_tables["general gear 2"]),

Here we have followed the Knave rulebook to randomize abilities, description and equipment. The dice.roll() and dice.roll_random_table methods now become very useful! Everything here should be easy to follow.

The main difference from baseline Knave is that we make a table of “starting weapon” (in Knave you can pick whatever you like).

We also initialize .ability_changes = 0. Knave only allows us to swap the values of two Abilities once. We will use this to know if it has been done or not.

6.3.1. Showing the sheet

Now that we have our temporary character sheet, we should make it easy to visualize it.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py


STR +{strength}
DEX +{dexterity}
CON +{constitution}
INT +{intelligence}
WIS +{wisdom}
CHA +{charisma}


Your belongings:

class TemporaryCharacterSheet:

    # ...

    def show_sheet(self):
        equipment = (
            for item in [self.armor, self.helmet, self.shield, self.weapon] + self.backpack
            if item

        return _TEMP_SHEET.format(
            equipment=", ".join(equipment),

The new show_sheet method collect the data from the temporary sheet and return it in a pretty form. Making a ‘template’ string like _TEMP_SHEET makes it easier to change things later if you want to change how things look.

6.3.2. Apply character

Once we are happy with our character, we need to actually create it with the stats we chose. This is a bit more involved.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

# ...

from .characters import EvAdventureCharacter
from evennia import create_object
from evennia.prototypes.spawner import spawn

class TemporaryCharacterSheet:

    # ...

    def apply(self):
        # create character object with given abilities
        new_character = create_object(
                ("strength", self.strength),
                ("dexterity", self.dexterity),
                ("constitution", self.constitution),
                ("intelligence", self.intelligence),
                ("wisdom", self.wisdom),
                ("charisma", self.wisdom),
                ("hp", self.hp),
                ("hp_max", self.hp_max),
                ("desc", self.desc),
        # spawn equipment (will require prototypes created before it works)
        if self.weapon:
            weapon = spawn(self.weapon)
        if self.shield:
            shield = spawn(self.shield)
        if self.armor:
            armor = spawn(self.armor)
        if self.helmet:
            helmet = spawn(self.helmet)

        for item in self.backpack:
            item = spawn(item)

        return new_character

We use create_object to create a new EvAdventureCharacter. We feed it with all relevant data from the temporary character sheet. This is when these become an actual character.

Each piece of equipment is an object in in its own right. We will here assume that all game items are defined as Prototypes keyed to its name, such as “sword”, “brigandine armor” etc.

We haven’t actually created those prototypes yet, so for now we’ll need to assume they are there. Once a piece of equipment has been spawned, we make sure to move it into the EquipmentHandler we created in the Equipment lesson.

6.4. Initializing EvMenu

Evennia comes with a full menu-generation system based on Command sets, called EvMenu.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

from evennia import EvMenu

# ...

# chargen menu

# this goes to the bottom of the module

def start_chargen(caller, session=None):
    This is a start point for spinning up the chargen from a command later.


    menutree = {}  # TODO!

    # this generates all random components of the character
    tmp_character = TemporaryCharacterSheet()

        startnode_input=("", {"tmp_character": tmp_character}),

This first function is what we will call from elsewhere (for example from a custom charcreate command) to kick the menu into gear.

It takes the caller (the one to want to start the menu) and a session argument. The latter will help track just which client-connection we are using (depending on Evennia settings, you could be connecting with multiple clients).

We create a TemporaryCharacterSheet and feed all this into EvMenu. The startnode and startnode_input keywords makes sure to enter the menu at the “node_chargen” node (which we will create below) and call it with with the provided arguments.

The moment this happens, the user will be in the menu, there are no further steps needed.

The menutree is what we’ll create next. It describes which menu ‘nodes’ are available to jump between.

6.5. Main Node: Choosing what to do

This is the first menu node. It will act as a central hub, from which one can choose different actions.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

# ...

# at the end of the module, but before the `start_chargen` function

def node_chargen(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):

    tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]

    text = tmp_character.show_sheet()

    options = [
           "desc": "Change your name",
           "goto": ("node_change_name", kwargs)
    if tmp_character.ability_changes <= 0:
                "desc": "Swap two of your ability scores (once)",
                "goto": ("node_swap_abilities", kwargs),
            "desc": "Accept and create character",
            "goto": ("node_apply_character", kwargs)

    return text, options

# ...

A lot to unpack here! In Evennia, it’s convention to name your node-functions node_*. While not required, it helps you track what is a node and not.

Every menu-node, should accept caller, raw_string, **kwargs as arguments. Here caller is the caller you passed into the EvMenu call. raw_string is the input given by the user in order to get to this node, so currently empty. The **kwargs are all extra keyword arguments passed into EvMenu. They can also be passed between nodes. In this case, we passed the keyword tmp_character to EvMenu. We now have the temporary character sheet available in the node!

Note that above we created the menu with the startnode="node_chargen" and the tuple startnode_input=("", {"tmp_character": tmp_character}). Assuming we register the above function as the node "node_chargen", it will start out being called as node_chargen(caller, "", tmp_character=tmp_character) (EvMenu will add caller on its own). This is one way we can pass outside data into the menu as it starts.

An EvMenu node must always return two things - text and options. The text is what will show to the user when looking at this node. The options are, well, what options should be presented to move on from here to some other place.

For the text, we simply get a pretty-print of the temporary character sheet. A single option is defined as a dict like this:

    "key": ("name". "alias1", "alias2", ...),  # if skipped, auto-show a number
    "desc": "text to describe what happens when selecting option",.
    "goto": ("name of node or a callable", kwargs_to_pass_into_next_node_or_callable)

Multiple option-dicts are returned in a list or tuple. The goto option-key is important to understand. The job of this is to either point directly to another node (by giving its name), or by pointing to a Python callable (like a function) that then returns that name. You can also pass kwargs (as a dict). This will be made available as **kwargs in the callable or next node.

While an option can have a key, you can also skip it to just get a running number.

In our node_chargen node, we point to three nodes by name: node_change_name, node_swap_abilities, and node_apply_character. We also make sure to pass along kwargs to each node, since that contains our temporary character sheet.

The middle of these options only appear if we haven’t already switched two abilities around - to know this, we check the .ability_changes property to make sure it’s still 0.

6.6. Node: Changing your name

This is where you end up if you opted to change your name in node_chargen.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

# ...

# after previous node

def _update_name(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):
    Used by node_change_name below to check what user
    entered and update the name if appropriate.

    if raw_string:
        tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]
        tmp_character.name = raw_string.lower().capitalize()

    return "node_chargen", kwargs

def node_change_name(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):
    Change the random name of the character.

    tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]

    text = (
        f"Your current name is |w{tmp_character.name}|n. "
        "Enter a new name or leave empty to abort."

    options = {
                   "key": "_default",
                   "goto": (_update_name, kwargs)

    return text, options

There are two functions here - the menu node itself (node_change_name) and a helper goto_function (_update_name) to handle the user’s input.

For the (single) option, we use a special key named _default. This makes this option a catch-all: If the user enters something that does not match any other option, this is the option that will be used. Since we have no other options here, we will always use this option no matter what the user enters.

Also note that the goto part of the option points to the _update_name callable rather than to the name of a node. It’s important we keep passing kwargs along to it!

When a user writes anything at this node, the _update_name callable will be called. This has the same arguments as a node, but it is not a node - we will only use it to figure out which node to go to next.

In _update_name we now have a use for the raw_string argument - this is what was written by the user on the previous node, remember? This is now either an empty string (meaning to ignore it) or the new name of the character.

A goto-function like _update_name must return the name of the next node to use. It can also optionally return the kwargs to pass into that node - we want to always do this, so we don’t loose our temporary character sheet. Here we will always go back to the node_chargen.

Hint: If returning None from a goto-callable, you will always return to the last node you were at.

6.7. Node: Swapping Abilities around

You get here by selecting the second option from the node_chargen node.

# in mygame/evadventure/chargen.py

# ...

# after previous node

    "STR": "strength",
    "DEX": "dexterity",
    "CON": "constitution",
    "INT": "intelligence",
    "WIS": "wisdom",
    "CHA": "charisma",

def _swap_abilities(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):
    Used by node_swap_abilities to parse the user's input and swap ability

    if raw_string:
        abi1, *abi2 = raw_string.split(" ", 1)
        if not abi2:
            caller.msg("That doesn't look right.")
            return None, kwargs
        abi2 = abi2[0]
        abi1, abi2 = abi1.upper().strip(), abi2.upper().strip()
        if abi1 not in _ABILITIES or abi2 not in _ABILITIES:
            caller.msg("Not a familiar set of abilites.")
            return None, kwargs

        # looks okay = swap values. We need to convert STR to strength etc
        tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]
        abi1 = _ABILITIES[abi1]
        abi2 = _ABILITIES[abi2]
        abival1 = getattr(tmp_character, abi1)
        abival2 = getattr(tmp_character, abi2)

        setattr(tmp_character, abi1, abival2)
        setattr(tmp_character, abi2, abival1)

        tmp_character.ability_changes += 1

    return "node_chargen", kwargs

def node_swap_abilities(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):
    One is allowed to swap the values of two abilities around, once.

    tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]

    text = f"""
Your current abilities:

STR +{tmp_character.strength}
DEX +{tmp_character.dexterity}
CON +{tmp_character.constitution}
INT +{tmp_character.intelligence}
WIS +{tmp_character.wisdom}
CHA +{tmp_character.charisma}

You can swap the values of two abilities around.
You can only do this once, so choose carefully!

To swap the values of e.g.  STR and INT, write |wSTR INT|n. Empty to abort.

    options = {"key": "_default", "goto": (_swap_abilities, kwargs)}

        return text, options

This is more code, but the logic is the same - we have a node (node_swap_abilities) and and a goto-callable helper (_swap_abilities). We catch everything the user writes on the node (such as WIS CON) and feed it into the helper.

In _swap_abilities, we need to analyze the raw_string from the user to see what they want to do.

Most code in the helper is validating the user didn’t enter nonsense. If they did, we use caller.msg() to tell them and then return None, kwargs, which re-runs the same node (the name-selection) all over again.

Since we want users to be able to write “CON” instead of the longer “constitution”, we need a mapping _ABILITIES to easily convert between the two (it’s stored as consitution on the temporary character sheet). Once we know which abilities they want to swap, we do so and tick up the .ability_changes counter. This means this option will no longer be available from the main node.

Finally, we return to node_chargen again.

6.8. Node: Creating the Character

We get here from the main node by opting to finish chargen.

node_apply_character(caller, raw_string, **kwargs):
    End chargen and create the character. We will also puppet it.

    tmp_character = kwargs["tmp_character"]
    new_character = tmp_character.apply(caller)


    text = "Character created!"

    return text, None

When entering the node, we will take the Temporary character sheet and use its .apply method to create a new Character with all equipment.

This is what is called an end node, because it returns None instead of options. After this, the menu will exit. We will be back to the default character selection screen. The characters found on that screen are the ones listed in the _playable_characters Attribute, so we need to also the new character to it.

6.9. Tying the nodes together

def start_chargen(caller, session=None):
    This is a start point for spinning up the chargen from a command later.

    menutree = {  # <----- can now add this!
        "node_chargen": node_chargen,
        "node_change_name": node_change_name,
        "node_swap_abilities": node_swap_abilities,
        "node_apply_character": node_apply_character,

    # this generates all random components of the character
    tmp_character = TemporaryCharacterSheet()

        startnode="node_chargen",  # <-- make sure it's set!
        startnode_input=("", {"tmp_character": tmp_character}),

Now that we have all the nodes, we add them to the menutree we left empty before. We only add the nodes, not the goto-helpers! The keys we set in the menutree dictionary are the names we should use to point to nodes from inside the menu (and we did).

We also add a keyword argument startnode pointing to the node_chargen node. This tells EvMenu to first jump into that node when the menu is starting up.

6.10. Conclusions

This lesson taught us how to use EvMenu to make an interactive character generator. In an RPG more complex than Knave, the menu would be bigger and more intricate, but the same principles apply.

Together with the previous lessons we have now fished most of the basics around player characters - how they store their stats, handle their equipment and how to create them.

In the next lesson we’ll address how EvAdventure Rooms work.