Comprehensive Guide To Character Creation (v3.30)

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Comprehensive Guide To Character Creation (v3.30)

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:36 #1

This is an overview of the different options you have at character creation: choosing a name, culture, statistics, skills, starting scenario, starting location, game path. I try to give you enough information to make intelligent decisions when creating the game and handling the starting scenarios. In doing so I cover every part of character creation.

Please give feedback on the guide, since I intend to maintain and update it as long as I keep playing URW.

I've posted this guide to Steam, to help the influx of new players likely to be attracted by the release there. You can see it here: ... =634104582

Here is a video I made that covers the same material:

General resources

The most up-to-date information and chat can be found at the forum.
The Wiki is a good general resource.
There's an IRC channel devoted to the game where you can often find players who can talk to you about the game: ##URW on (see here for help)

Long-time player plotinus has made a Python script that can suggest a starting character for you, which is useful if you want a challenge. I find it especially useful for suggesting a name appropriate to the culture and gender you're looking to play. You can also ask UrwBot at the IRC channel, who can give you the same output, and much more besides.

What kind of character creation should I use?

'Quick and easy' entirely randomises character creation. It also makes this guide redundant. 'Custom' allows you to choose the features of your survivor, and is highly recommended. 'Custom - easy' and 'Custom - too easy' affect the skill selection part of character creation by allowing you to take chunks of skill points away from one skill and putting it in another. This allows you to min-max your character skill, taking from marginal skills like 'Flail' and 'Crossbow' or easy-to-improve ones like 'Climbing' and 'Skiing' and putting them into vital ones like your favoured weapon skill or Fishing or Trapping. With 'Custom - too easy' you can take one of skill points away from each skill; with 'Custom - too easy' you can take two. If you know what you're doing, this can remove the challenge from a game, so I don't use it. Experienced players almost always play on 'Custom'. Note that in the 'Custom' modes you can randomise your culture, starting stats, and starting location.

What should my survivor's name be?

Here is a list of common Finnish names. You're can also use UrwBot or plotinus's script (mentioned above) to get a culture-appropriate name.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:42 #2

What culture should I play?

Each culture gives a different range of statistics, starting skill bonuses, and starting equipment. The equipment doesn't matter a lot because you'll be replacing it pretty soon and the choice of starting scenario has more influence on what you get.

Your starting stats are the most important influence on your starting skills, so stats are the main thing people take into consideration when choosing a culture. The most popular choices are Kaumolainen, because they are the strongest, or Owl-Tribe, who have the best overall stats but low strength. Other choices can be made for a very specific type of game (say, Islander or Seal-Tribe for someone depending on fishing), for roleplay, or for a challenge (Driik are considered the hardest culture to play). Here is a comprehensive guide to starting stats for the different cultures which seems to apply for the current version of the game.

There are three broad cultural groups playable in URW. What group your culture belongs to makes a thematic difference to your survivor, such as how they look. They tend to have broadly similar stats as well, but each culture is distinct. The kind of settlements you find in the world vary greatly depending on their culture, so this matters a lot for your starting location.

Northern cultures: Kuikka-Tribe, Owl-Tribe, Seal-Tribe.
The northern peoples are more nomadic than other cultures, and wooden buildings (and the skills and tools to build them) is much harder to find there. Instead, people tend to live in 'kota', tents made out of furs stretched over a frame. They tend to be small, lacking in strength, but with very high agility, dexterity, and speed, making them nimble hunters and excellent bowmen. Seal-Tribe are specialist fishers.

Western cultures: Driikiläinen (Driik), Sartolainen (Sartola), Koivulainen (Koivula), Islanders.
The western peoples live along the western coast and the archipelago at the south-western corner of the map. They have low physical stats, and tend to do more trading, except for Islanders who are excellent fishers but poor otherwise. You can normally buy anything in Driik lands except for culture-specific items.

Eastern cultures: Kaumolainen (Kaumo), Kiesseläinen (Kiesse), Reemiläinen (Reemi). They live in the forests towards the east, and tend to have good physical stats, with Kaumo being the largest and strongest strongest people in the game (and most popular choice for a survivor). Hunting, trapping, and woodsman skills are common. They are also close to the Njerpezit, the foreign slavers who are based in the south-eastern corner of the map, so Njerpez are a common threat in Eastern lands. Njerpez are always hostile, but sometimes will run away if they don't fancy a fight.

Your choice of gender and player portrait is purely cosmetic, and has no in-game effects.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:43 #3

What season should I play in?

You have a choice of the traditional four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. This is an extremely important choice. The weather makes an enormous difference to your play, especially the cold. The period from late autumn through to late spring is one where much of URW is freezing, including frozen rivers and coasts, frozen ground for the coldest parts, lots of snow everywhere slowing you down, and no plants to forage. Freezing to death is a real risk, especially if you get soaked in cold water like from falling through thin ice.

Spring starts just as winter starts to ease up, so you can run around without wearing too much warm clothing on or without skis. But there is still snow, frozen rivers and coasts, and (in early spring) frozen ground to contend with. It's still cold enough that food spoils slowly and in the early spring the air is dry enough to preserve meat through drying, which is useful for a survivor who succeeds at hunting early on. Thin ice during the spring melt is as dangerous as anything else in the game, since it can break very unpredictably, leaving you numbingly cold and on your way to freezing to death unless you immediately start a fire and warm yourself up.

Summertime is much less dangerous, but you need to take into consideration that your food will spoil very quickly in the warm weather, starting to deteriorate within two or three days. Be prepared to lose most of the from a hunt due to spoilage. Typically, you can only eat about 10% of the meat from a reindeer or 5% of the meat from an elk before it goes off. The usual response is to either sell the meat within two or three days of cooking it, or to preserve the meat, but preserving food is not straightforward. In cold weather you can dry it, or you need to build a smokehouse, or you need to trade for salt.

Autumn is probably the easiest time of the year, since there are lots of plants to forage (berries, herbs, and roots). This is the only time of the year you don't need to fish or hunt for food. Villages start to harvest their crop (as will you if you've done the groundwork earlier in the year) which they offer for sale. Also, meat doesn't spoil quite as fast as in the summer but the weather isn't cold enough to be a problem. In late autumn the air is dry enough for you to preserve food by drying again. As a starting season this isn't ideal, though, because you're not leaving yourself a lot of time to prepare for winter.

Winter requires careful preparation to survive. Snow is thick, most waterways are frozen over (including much of the sea around the coasts), the ground is frozen, there is nothing to forage, and animals are less plentiful and give less meat. Freezing to death is a constant threat, and starving to death a real prospect. Starting during winter is one of the hardest challenges for a survivor, and should only be attempted if you know exactly what you are doing.

Your task throughout the earlier part of the year is to make sure you're prepared for winter. If you're prepared with warm clothing, shelter, skis, and firewood, the well-equipped survivor can do very well in winter. The animals you do find will have their thicker winter fur, making it warmer and more valuable (especially the white arctic fox fur). Anything not on skis is bogged down by snow, so you can easily chase them down. This is useful not just for hunting but also against the Njerpez, who may have better weapons and armour than you but can't navigate the snow all that well. This makes winter the prime season to confront the Njerpez and drive these slavers from your land.

I myself prefer to start in the Spring, giving myself the longest time to prepare for winter and establish myself. It gives me enough time to prepare fields, plant and harvest crops before they wither in the winter. Summer is probably the easiest start, since it avoids the hazards of the spring melt while still giving you enough time to prepare for winter.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:45 #4

What should my starting stats be?

At character creation you can choose 5 skills to receive a bonus. The size of the bonus is variable, depending on the extent that your stats synergise with the skill, with the effect that you will likely receive more of a bonus by marking a skill you already have a high level in. Nonetheless, you should use your 5 bonuses to tailor your survivor to the kind of game you want to play. The following are suggestions about what may be good to spend your bonuses on. Note that which skill is most important depends on what kind of game you play, and you can do without a high level in any skill through careful play and the smart use of rituals.

Unless I'm doing something very specific I always use my bonuses on Trapping, Fishing, Hideworking, Spear, and Bow. Trapping and Fishing are the primary ways of getting food in the game. You can get by with a lower trapping skill (especially if you have the 'Favourableness of the Trap' ritual, in which case you should use it every time you set a trap), but the rewards of having higher skill is pronounced. Fishing is a skill you either need to have high (at least 50%+, preferably as high as you can get) or not bother with since you need dependable successes in order to feed yourself with it. Spear and Bow is useful not just as combat skills, but mainly because they're important when hunting. For that reason, and because increasing weapon skills is very slow, you would want Bow as high as possible on most characters that will actively hunt animals with any regularity. Hideworking is very slow to increase (since you need to first hunt animals for their hides to do so) but extremely valuable, since you have so many uses for fur and leather where the quality matters. This is especially true for using the furs and hides as trade goods; for instance, the foreign traders that roam the map and sell the best military equipment only take furs as payment.

Different options for weapon skills are very much possible. I like spears because they are easy to acquire (you can craft javelins with just a knife), very effective in combat, have good 'blunt' damage to be effective in downing animals without damaging the hides come in mêlée and ranged options (with javelins), and are very much suited to the setting. Axes are good since you're likely to have an axe with you most of the time. Swords, Flails, and Clubs (for maces) are the premier weapons for combat against humans, of which swords are relatively plentiful (Driik often sell them, most Njerpez carry them) and flails are the least common. Note that specialised combat weapons are bad for using for hunting, since they damage animal hides very badly (especially swords). Clubs are even easier to acquire than spears and are least likely to hurt the hides of animals you hunt. Shield can be useful to have, especially for dealing with archers, but note that two-handed weapons like spears suffer if they're used in one hand, and you need two hands to use a bow at all. Weapon skills that you should think twice about using a bonus on, or using at all, are Dagger (other weapons get bonuses for outranging a dagger), and Unarmed (which just isn't that effective). Crossbow is a marginal option: they can be extremely effective, but can only be got from trading with Driik and most survivors don't start with a high enough skill to make it worthwhile, especially not when compared with normal bows.

Other skills to consider include Physician, because it is very slow to improve but is literally a life-saver. Cooking seems like a strange choice to spend a bonus on because it raises naturally very quickly, but it's most useful right at the beginning of the game since better cooked food (i.e. tasty, delicious) is more nutritious and badly cooked food (i.e. bland, awful) is less nutritious. You lose out on your first hunting or fishing success if the food you get from it isn't very good. Timbercraft and Carpentry are both important for crafting with wood. Timbercraft speeds up working with wood, which is useful enough on its own, but also allows you to have higher quality boards from tree trunks, which can be a surprisingly good trade good in their own right (very valuable, but heavy and hard to transport). The quality of boards also contributes to many trade goods, like fox traps and player-made bows. Carpentry is famously tedious to increase, and makes a big difference with crafting goods like bowls and mugs which are often used for trade.

Here are skills that are generally not thought to be worth giving a bonus to. Building skill makes a big difference to how long it takes to build things, but you're not likely to use it a lot and your skill level makes no difference to the final result. Agriculture is also useful for getting food, but the proceeds from farming is high even at very low skills, and Agriculture raises quite quickly on its own. Ritual and Weathercraft make too little difference in-game to be worth spending a bonus on. Herblore is helpful, but can be trained relatively easily (by carrying some unidentified plant matter and inspecting it once an hour or so) and isn't normally important enough to have high right from the beginning. The physical movement skills (Climbing, Swimming, Skiing) all improve really quickly and can be practiced safely. There are life-and-death situations in which Stealth skill matters, like sneaking up on a Njerpez, but it's normally easy to train by trying to sneak up on wildlife. You don't need a high Tracking skill and it raises quickly on its own.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:46 #5

Where should I choose as my starting location?

The map is randomly generated every game, but it has a number of features that are similar from game to game: the vague placement of the cultures, and the vague shape of the landscape. Both of these feature in what you should choose, with which culture you're close to making the largest difference. A rule of thumb is that things are more settled in the south-west and most wild in the north-east. Driik territory is a popular place to settle because of how many items are available for trade. On the screen where you select the starting location, be sure to look carefully at the map since you won't be able to see it again in-game: your map will then be restricted only to places you've visited. Be sure to press the 'C' key to see where the various cultures are located ('I' hides the information box that covers part of the map). They are always in more or less the same place, but where the villages are is randomly generated and means the territory can change a bit between games. You can reroll where you start as often as you like, and have an option to restrict the selection to the home territory of your survivor's culture. You can also re-generate the map if you like (say, if Driik territory is very small).

Which culture you're close to makes the most important difference to your game. Since there are important items that you need to trade for, like specialised tools or culture-specific items, being close to the appropriate culture makes acquiring them much easier. For that reason, it's very popular to start in or near Driik territory, since they are URW's traders and sell everything except culture-specific items. In particular, the various axes that speed up building a house are far easier to find in Driik villages than anywhere else, and you can reliably find metal weapons and armour there as well. In contrast, even everyday items like pots and handaxes can be difficult to find in remote locations. On the other hand, the most popular culture-specific items are weapons found in the north: the northern spear and northern bow. Kaumoläiset spears are very good weapons as well, which is found in the east. So, another popular starting position is inland in the north-east where you have excellent hunting grounds, and you're in easy reach both of a northern culture (like the Owl-Tribe) and the Kaumo. The odd-one-out here is a skramasaks from the Sarto (a large knife used for fighting) on the western coast, but this is a prestige item with little use in game unless you insist on fighting with knives.

The wildlife you'll find differs a little across URW. There are various animals that you can only find in certain parts of the map: grey seals around the south-western archipelago, ring seals at the north-western corner, lots of aquatic birds around the lakes in the center of the map, and so on. In addition, wild animals are more common the further you go from the south-western corner. Many animals are rare in the south but common further north: bears, wolves, lynxes, and so on. In general, wildlife is more common a little away from any settlement. But I've never been somewhere where there wasn't enough to hunt, not even when living in the heart of Driik territory.

The two cultures in the western corners, the Islanders and the Seal-Tribe, depend on fishing far more than other cultures, and if you live there you should too. These remote fishing communities are dirt-poor, but they always have enough to eat because with access to the deep sea (which doesn't freeze over in the winter) they have reliable food year round.

It's worth knowing the general lay of the land before you decide where to start, since while the map is procedurally generated its broad contours are the same every game. There is a northern coast with a range of mountains (not hard to cross) running parallel to it only a little inland. There is a small gap in the mountain range with a river that runs through it into Kuikka-Tribe land. To the west of this are the Seal-Tribe on the north-western corner. The northern mountain range has lots of caves and are an excellent place to find most kinds of large animals, especially bears. South of these mountains are the great central lakes where many different cultures live (Koivu, Kiesse, and Kaumo adjacent to each other, from left to right). Note that almost all of the water here freezes over in winter; only the rapids don't. There is a large complex of interconnected lakes and rivers that run all the way from the south of Owl-Tribe territory to the big inlet east of Reemi territory. The Njerpez live on the other side of that inlet. Going west along the southern coast you eventually reach the south-western archipelago, with the Driik living on the mainland and the Islanders in the outlying islands towards the south-western corner. There is normally a long river that runs from Driik territory inland towards Koivu land, which takes you into the central lakes and forests. As you go up along the western coast you find more open land as well as the built-up villages of the Sarto.

I myself like the settle on an island just offshore of the Driik, on a shore that water which doesn't freeze over in winter (you can only see the difference when some of the water is frozen), preferably close to the river running towards Koivu territory so I have easy access to the interior. Once you have a watercraft (a raft or punt) it's much easier to move along waterways than over land, since you can load things on the watercraft without being slowed down. This is especially handy when hauling timber for a building or the animals you've caught.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:48 #6

What should my starting scenario be?

What starting scenario you choose makes a large difference to the difficulty of your game. Some starts give you a lot of valuable equipment that otherwise you would need to build up to, whereas others put you in a worse position than normal. Except for the two 'neutral' scenarios which doesn't make a difference to your starting equipment, I split these into two groups: the 'comfort' scenarios and the 'challenge' scenarios. Choose an appropriate 'comfort' scenario if you don't want to go through the hassle of acquiring the items in question. Choose a 'challenge' scenario if you want to see if you can handle it.

The two neutral scenarios are 'The Unreal World' and 'The Village'. 'The Unreal World' simply places your survivor in the wild at your starting location. 'The Village' does the same, but now there's a village at the spot you've been placed.

Here are the 'comfort' scenarios in what I think is the order from the most to least beneficial.

I Want to Be a Fisherman: This equips you with a fishing rod and two nets. With even a mediocre Fishing skill the nets will secure a supply of food at little effort, since you place nets and check them every 40-50 hours or so (after 2 days, with a little grace period, any fish you've caught in the net die and become inedible) while you get on with doing the other things you want to do. Net fishing becomes less effective in winter, but using a fishing rod still works (even if it takes more of your survivor's time).

Lonely Settler: You start at a site with a couple of partially built cabins and the axes used to build them. You could finish the buildings if you like but normally it's worth your while to choose your own building site. But the axes you get from the scenario (one each of a carving, splitting, and broad axe, scattered around the building site) are extremely useful. You could do everything with any axe, but the specialised axes make these tasks much faster and offer sizeable bonuses to various kinds of carpentry.

Not All Who Wander are Lost: You are placed in the wilderness, next to a dead man, a burning fire, and with an animal with you. The dead man is your father (sorry for your loss) and is likely to have useful equipment on it. Take everything he has, he's not using it anymore. The animal is one appropriate to your culture: dog, sheep, cow, bull, sheep, ram, pig, reindeer. How beneficial this start is depends a lot on what animal you get, but all of them are useful. Dogs are probably the best, because of how much help they are when hunting and how they can save your life during dangerous encounters in the wild. Cows and sheep are very good because you can milk them (cows give more than sheep). You can load any animal with objects for them to carry, and bulls and reindeer are especially good as beasts of burden and you can load them with heavy items that would have slowed you down. All the animals can serve as 'walking larders' where they feed off of the land and you slaughter and eat them when needed (or in winter, as was traditionally done) as well as getting a useful hide.

Abandoned Camp: You start by a campsite with a shelter and various tools lying around; there's also some firewood, weaponry, and armour to be found. All these items except for perhaps the armour would be quite easy to find and trade for, but it's convenient to have them available right from the start. However, you can get most of the benefit from this scenario by doing the 'Living in the Wild' game course (discussed below) which gives you most of these tools and more besides. That would allow you to get the benefits from a different starting scenario.

Traps and Trapping: In addition to your starting gear you start with some traps ready to be set, and a shovel to help with digging trap pits. All of this is welcome, but not much to write home about.

Agriculture: You start with your normal starting gear as well as a shovel and some seeds. These are all the things you need to farm, along with a lot of elbow-grease. But you receive a shovel and some seeds from the 'Living in the Wild' game course. Seeds are cheap to buy and easily available at any village with farms around it in spring and summer. So there isn't much benefit from this scenario.

Abandoned Trap Fence: You start by a decently long trap fence in need of some work and are in possession of a shovel in addition to your normal starting gear. The main purpose of this starting scenario seems to be to show new players what a trap fence is meant to look like: a long stretch of fences with trap pits at spots animals would try and get through. Note that you need to patch up any open diagonals in the fence, since animals (and anything else) can move through them fine. This is like the 'Traps and Trapping' scenario with less gear and a fence at a location you don't know the effectiveness of.

Now on to the 'challenge' scenarios. Below I list them in the order I think of as the least challenging to the most.

Unfortunate Hunting Trip: You start next to the corpse of your father (sorry for your loss) with the animal that killed him nearby. Take everything your father is carrying and leave: you aren't equipped to take on the animal (one of a bear, lynx, or a pack of wolves). The animal doesn't disappear off the map when you leave, so you can come back later and try to find it in the same vicinity. Animals have migration routes in the game, so it won't be at exactly the same spot, but it will be out there, somewhere, when you're ready to face it (if you ever do).

There Be Robbers!: You start close to a group of robbers from the culture you're closest to. This start can be extremely dangerous, but also very rewarding. The possible reward is all the equipment the robbers are carrying. However, robbers are very dangerous in a straight-on fight, since you are likely to get surrounded, or their bowmen will shoot you down. If you lose you get knocked out, the robbers take most of your items, and you wake up having been dragged to a different spot and badly injured. That won't kill you, but early on it can make your game prohibitively hard and it's easier just to restart. Don't fight unless you can outmaneoevre the robbers and take them on one-by-one, preferably leading them into ambushes. Don't hesitate to run away; you can track the robbers down again later and take the fight on your own terms.

Runaway Slave: You start inside a Njerpezit camp, with only the bare minimum of equipment: your clothes, a tiny amount of food, and a knife. This is a lot like the robber scenario, except your worse equipped, the Njerpez are fiercer combatants, and the equipment you can get from them is better. With the weapons and armour you can get from the Njerpezit you could buy everything you need for all of your game. Your best bet is to run away, prepare yourself a little (like crafting javelins and clubs for the fight), come back at night, and ambush one of the Njerpez when it's alone, loot his corpse, and run away. With the items you loot from his corpse you can set yourself up for the rest of the game, and maybe come back later for the rest of the Njerpezit.

Hurt, Helpless, and Afraid: You start in the wilderness with a knife, some clothes, and grievous wounds. This is the hardest scenario because you have all the danger of a challenge without the dependable source of valuable items that the robber and runaway slave scenarios offer. Doing this in winter, especially with a lower-powered survivor like a Driik, is the hardest start to the game. Your first task is to see to your wounds and make sure your situation doesn't get worse. Don't hesitate to use your clothes for bandages, and make a fire and rest by it if you're cold. Then comes the hard task of making a living from your difficult situation. Best of luck.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:48 #7

What game course should I follow?

There are three game courses, or rather two of them and an option to not follow a game course. The courses add some structure to your game by giving you tasks to do. If you complete all the tasks you get the opportunity to do one of the following three things: increase your stats by a small amount, improve three of your skills, or learn a ritual. This is the only way to improve your stats after you start the game, so most players take that option (the effect is small, though). You get to choose a new course after completing one. To sum up your options, do 'Living in the Wild' if you want a tutorial or the free useful things it gives you, do 'Advanced Adventures' if you want some interesting challenges, and choose 'The Unreal World' if you don't want to bother with a game course.

The Unreal World: This course contains no tasks and no rewards. You just enter URW and do what you want to do.

Living in the Wild: This is something the game's tutorial. You get introduced to the interface and game world by being told how to accomplish various tasks, and along the way you get given the equipment needed to do this, which you keep. The equipment you receive is: fishing rod, handaxe, shovel. You also receive a little bit of free food (a pike, some seeds for planting) and a skill increase (to Tracking). Since every start includes a knife this is all you need to become established in URW. If you want the helping hand, choose this course, and if you feel like it makes things too easy, skip it.

Advanced Adventures: This is a challenging course which will take a very long time in-game and multiple long journeys to complete. It is meant to give some structure to the games of experienced players; I use it for all my characters. To complete it you need to visit the south-western coastal regions (to trade for salt), to Kaumoläiset territory (to hunt and skin an animal with high-value fur there), to track down a bear, and to track down some Njerpez. You also need to forage for some plants, which is hard to do outside of autumn (since it's hard to find something you can harvest) and impossible in winter and early spring.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 03:50 #8

OK, thanks for reading, this is the end of the guide. Best of luck in your travels through the UnReal World!

This post is reserved for possible future use.

Joined: 10 Feb 2013, 07:51

28 Feb 2016, 10:02 #9

Good, solid, useful information.

I have nothing really to add to this though. Unless you wanted to do some follow up guides for more specific things like trapping and trap fences, house building, etc.

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

28 Feb 2016, 21:26 #10

Thanks, I've updated that section to put in more detail, and a warning (since min-maxing skills can make a game trivially easy).

Joined: 17 Mar 2014, 00:08

03 Mar 2016, 07:19 #11

I've added an hour-long Youtube video that covers the same materiak--check it out.

Joined: 30 Apr 2017, 20:08

09 May 2017, 23:01 #12

Does "quick and easy" really create a random character? Because it creates me always Kaumolainen character with the same picture and with the Village scenario. It looks like this is really quick and easy (this setup is rather easy and the character has decent stats) not "quick and random".

Joined: 19 Sep 2012, 08:38

10 May 2017, 07:43 #13

Strategiusz @ May 10 2017, 12:01 AM wrote: Does "quick and easy" really create a random character? Because it creates me always Kaumolainen character with the same picture and with the Village scenario. It looks like this is really quick and easy (this setup is rather easy and the character has decent stats) not "quick and random".
yeah, you're right. quick and easy means "i don't want to make any decisions" and so you get a sort of default character, kaumo (one of the easiest to play) and village.

If you want to make some decisions but not all of them, choose "custom" and then if you don't want to pick a culture to start from you can press 'r' and it'll pick a random culture for you.

If you don't want to make decisions but want something completely random, in the IRC channel you can say "urwbot, start" and it will tell you want to pick. if you want something fairly easy you can say "urwbot, start newbie" or "urwbot, start easy" and if you want a challenge, try "urwbot, start hard" or "urwbot, start insane".