I love the creative space that role-playing games encourage. If it’s well designed, a game provides the structure that can cause creativity to flourish. In Dungeons and Dragons fourth edition, player character (and encounter) creation allows for vast creativity involving both design and artistry. Design, because the mechanics are engineered within specific parameters: a player group works best with a controller, defender, leader and striker, and each is best when created to perform certain functions. Within that framework there is infinite creative space with name choice alone, and it expands from there.
As I previously wrote, I’m creating a new PC for my weekly game. During this process, both design and art come into focus clearly. I tend to start with the artistic element, especially for longer campaigns. Sometimes, however, I do start with the design. In a game like 4e, what your character can do is very important. It ain’t called the ‘heroic’ tier because it’s a discussion group, after all.