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 Mastering Character Creation

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Prisma*Illya
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PostSubject: Mastering Character Creation   Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:18 pm

Mastering Character Creation



In every rp, the story can only exist and move thanks to its characters. The rp experience is almost entirely restricted to the character you play and the ones being played around you. Because of how important a character is to the rp experience, I thought I'd spend some time on how to create and use a character properly.

A Basic Overview



So here's a typical character sheet. When looking at it, it seems fairly cut and dry. However, each section, no matter how minor or general, carries the possibility of development.

Quote :
Name:
Age:
Appearance:
Personality:
Biography:
Faction:
Weapons:
Powers:
The personality and biography are the most obvious parts, but look at some of the others. A character's appearance can affect who they are - a scar, mismatched eyes, just being beautiful - all of these can contribute to a person's attitude or insecurities. Age can certainly affect the way a person reacts to events around them, or the way they're treated. Weapons and powers can carry a story of their own, whether they were inherited, acquired through some trial, or stolen. Even the name - yes, the name - can affect the character. If someone is named after their father, it can be a motivation to get out from under their shadow.

Now, it's not necessary for every piece to be integral to your character as a whole, but the take-home message is understand that you can utilize anything as a source of depth for your character.

Motivation



Now, we're going to look at a more in-depth analysis on what makes for a good character. The most important is motivation - the why. Why is your character in the position they are in at the start of the rp (or when they're introduced)? Why do they decide to take part in the events of the rp? More specifically, why do they do the things they do? This is usually spelled out in the background on a character sheet, where you explain the character's history. Getting the history right is essential because it lays down the path for everything your character does and reacts to in the rp. Whether it's avenging the death of a loved one, living up to a father's legacy, or simply being the best at what they do, every character should have a motivation - and the deeper and more involved, the better.

Humanity



Give your character real problems to face, real decisions to make, and real weaknesses to overcome. The obstacles characters come across throughout the rp, no matter how big or small, should always highlight the character’s traits and enrich them in some way.

How does your character deal with a crisis? Does he fall apart at the seams, or does he rally like a trooper? If he’s constantly in control, what happens when he finally loses it? How does he handle feelings that tug him between love and duty?

Nobody’s perfect, and presenting your character with realistic flaws and ways to overcome them helps make them relatable. People are drawn to characters that are flawed, and thus more human. Whether hero, villain, or self-serving opportunist, every character should carry something that allows the players or readers to feel for them.

Tragedy



The best way to sell a character is to put them through hell. Pain, specifically emotional trauma, is the best way to explore deeper into your character’s psyche. Pain is the most effective and memorable way to make a character grow and change, whether for better or for worse. And pain is by far the most effective way to touch others. We can all appreciate and enjoy touching scenes of happiness and romance, but it's moments of tragedy and loss that truly tug at our heartstrings.

As I mentioned in the last blog, death is an incredibly potent way to achieve this. After all, which pain is more costly and final than death? The way in which a character dies, the reason that they die, and the last thoughts as they pass from this life to the next can immortalize even the most overlooked characters.

Interaction



Finally, it's important to realize that your character does not exist in a bubble. They're going to be interacting with many characters along the way, and these other characters are going to be the means by which they develop. As a result, it's an excellent idea to take time to research your fellow participant's characters. If you plan to have your character grow out of their weaknesses or short-comings, know which characters can help them realize their faults and encourage them to overcome them, It's a bit of a lazy trick, but it's entirely possible to build your character off another one - a rival or a love interest or even a long-lost sibling. If nothing else, understand how others will affect the development you've planned for your character and how you can use them to facilitate it.
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