Let's see, Steam sale RPG games with character creation that I own and enjoyed with an $8 budget:
- Divine Divinity is $0.59, good old school game. Play a fighter or a mage. The rogue is gimped and everyone has the same skill trees so just don't play a rogue for any reason unless you want to screw yourself over.
- Deus Ex (the original) doesn't have character creation but it a fun RPG for less than a buck.
- The first two Witcher games are also super cheap but they aren't for everyone (and again no character creation).
- All the Fallout games except the newest one are under your budget.
- Mad Max doesn't have character creation but I enjoyed the hell out of that game so I'm just throwing it in because man it was fun.
- I enjoyed all the Shadowrun games by Harebrained Studios and they're all less than $8.
- Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was fun. I have no idea how well it stuck to the pen-and-paper game (and it has some bugs, fan patches help) but it's $5.
Seconding Vampire: Bloodlines, it's an extremely good game for its price, lots of atmosphere, very faithful to the setting (played V:TM for over 10 years). Nice dialogue, progression, although YMMV on the ending. The journey is fun but i always thought that the ending was a bit underwhelming. Still, a very good game. Combat is good, and there are ways of sidestepping combat entirely
which is always fun for a second playthrough. There's also a hidden super-hard mode if you choose to play as Nosferatu - Means you cannot be seen on the streets
because you're so damn hideous that it's an instant violation of the masquerade. So you have to navigate through the sewer systems, which otherwise can be completely missed on a normal playthrough - that's fun. Music is also great. The soundtrack they chose for the game is amazing, and i thought the voice acting is pretty good all things considered.
Legend of Grimrock 1 & 2 are pretty good, and, together, they're both under your budget. They're great ORPG's in the vein of Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Pool of Radiance.
If you haven't already played it, the O.G Neverwinter Nights is an amazing game
but sadly the NWVault imploded and lots of the best mods are forever lost in time - but folks have rebuilt on the Nexus and there's still content being produced for the game, which is pretty impressive considering the original was released in 2003. It really is sad that the NWVault imploded, but still, fans have archived much of the content over on https://neverwintervault.org/
as well. The Enhanced Edition is out and condenses most of the content for the game, but not all of the DLC
, there's still some content you have to buy. But the vanilla Enhanced Edition has most content and it fits your budget. Endless hours of adventure await, and i believe there are still very active servers and communities focused on RP and character building. NW is truly one of the best D&D based games to have ever come out.
Pillars of Eternity is also a pretty good game, and made in the vein of Planescape: Torment, which is one the best games ever. Both highly recommended, and both cheap and under your budget. If you haven't played them already: DO IT.
Of course, TORMENT: Tides of Numenara is pretty amazing, and also highly recommended.