Author Topic: How to make an interesting character  (Read 4784 times)

Marauder Moe

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How to make an interesting character
« on: August 26, 2010, 12:52:41 PM »
Let's make this a happy/civil/constructive thread, everyone.  The GDB seems to need it today.


Anyway, let's discuss how you could go about making an interesting and deep character.

1) Pick your base theme.  This is usually the outermost stereotype that people will perceive first, and defines the outline of your character. 
*The gruff fighter
*The attractive and polite aide
*The sly elven 'rinther

2) Create an outward twist.  Add something either visible (scars, tattoos, traits in mdesc) or readily apparent (common mannerisms, speech patterns) that is unusual and/or runs counter to your theme.
*The gruff fighter with a flower tattoo
*The attractive and polite aide with a scar
*The sly elven 'rinther with meticulously groomed hair

3) Create an inward twist.  Design something unexpected that people would learn once they get to know the character a bit, often their background story. 
*The gruff warrior with a flower tattoo who was born into a family of merchants
*The attractive and polite aide with a scar who used to be one of those street urchin NPCs
*the sly elven 'rinther with meticulously groomed hair and ambitions to live south-side

4) Create a secret twist.  Invent something that the character would never admit to anyone but the most trusted friend or two. 
*The gruff warrior with a flower tattoo who was born into a family of merchants and has a hatred for the local government for some past injustice
*The attractive and polite aide with a scar who used to be one of those street urchin NPCs and has a half-elven half-brother
*The sly elven 'rinther with meticulously groomed hair and ambitions to live south-side and has a taste for human women

5) Add more twists as you see fit, though there is probably an upper limit on twists beyond which the character becomes too inconsistent.

6) For each twist, come up with a story that explains and/or describes how the character came to be like that.


Anyway, that's one method.  Thoughts?  How do the rest of you do it?

Zoltan

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 01:24:27 PM »
http://www.armageddon.org/original/showSubmission.php?submission=549

That's how I do it, though to a much lesser extent on "rebound" characters. It's actually pretty similar to your method, Moe, now that I think about it.

What I always love to interact with is a character with layers and/or a player who is fucking -adept- at portraying their character. Those two things usually go hand-in-hand, but they don't have to.
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Thunkkin

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 01:36:57 PM »
I like to read Zoltan's guide for inspiration.  I think your original post might be a good comment in his guide, Moe.  Ultimately, I follow a method very similar to both of you - I either have some interesting interior twist or a single, interesting mental image of the character which I then flesh out.  The second part of Zoltan's comment above is where I have trouble.  I often build my character's secret, interior life too deeply into the character such that it is never or rarely revealed.  Meanwhile, the tasks of whatever role I'm in (soldier, merchant, schemer, etc.) take over and I become so focused on pursuing broader plots and "getting things done" that the interior twist fades and fades.  I really need to work on becoming 'adept' at keeping my character-building at the forefront rather than my "role-fulfilling."  The next time I play a long-term character, I'm determined to stick to my character's inner twists and weave them throughout all my playing, rather than just at very rare moments or not at all.
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Anaiah

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 02:14:15 PM »
Great posts so far. Something else which is interesting, I think, is to choose, before getting in game for the first time, two things:

1. The character's Achilles heel (Their deepest weakness, the flaw that could easily be their undoing).
2. Something that your character would either die for, or let their life go to hell over because it means more to them than themselves.

Granted, they can both change in time, but it adds a really nice depth.

And from Zoltan's guide: HEMOTE HEMOTE HEMOTE!

Some of the most amazing, deep, interesting situations are touched on through use of this and the watch command.

About 50% of the kudos I've ever received as a player were for this. It takes the surface of what you're doing and adds subtext.

Okay, so you're nodding and listening as your Sarge is telling you about the gith-slaying expedition you're about to set off to... how would your body language express what you're feeling there, what's in your head? Are your shoulders minutely slumped? Are you rolling your eyes? Miming your fingers and thumb open and closed behind your back because you wished he'd shut up?

So you're lying to the militiaman interrogating you about that flash powder. Does your character have a tell? Maybe your nostil flares, or your heart skips a nervous beat, or sweat beads out across your brow.

While there are, of course, some scenes that such things will enrich more than others, hemote is one of the most overlooked commands in game, and it's sad, on a level, because you're missing out on so many layers and so much depth you, and others, could be bringing to the scene.
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Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 06:16:37 PM »
Other random thoughts:

Zalanthas is a harsh world, and your character's background should be harsh too.  Murder their friends and relatives.  Torture, frighten, and damage them.  This will leave you with a natural set of things they hate and things they fear.

For every way your character is unusual, they should be solidly average/Zalanthan in ten other way.  Not only does that help emphasize your twists, but it keeps the climate of the setting intact.  (Conversely, please realize that just because a character goes contrary to the setting/documentation in one aspect, it doesn't mean that the character as a whole is defying the docs/setting.)

Create your own Armageddon "hard mode".  Manufacture restrictions on your concept and on your play that are likely to hinder your character in accomplishing whatever goals you have for them.  Phobias, vices, mental handicaps, physical handicaps, emotional handicaps, whatever.

KankWhisperer

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 06:34:19 PM »
Live longer than a week.

Personally I like to make them fairly average background wise and let the world shape them how it will rather than come in  with everything preset.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 06:38:38 PM by KankWhisperer »

Barzalene

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 06:41:09 PM »
In your off hours, when you can only play the game in your head, don't only dream of your pc's victories, but imagine their defeats and embrace those too.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
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Spoon

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 06:54:12 PM »
Insert flaws. My favorite are the double-edged character traits which serve as both strength and weakness.

Also, vary characters from past ones. Stop and think 'How is this PC's personality different from my last?". I think some people get bored with characters because they spend most of the character creation process on guild and appearance. Start with the personality, then work the appearance and guild around that.

Synthesis

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 06:58:47 PM »
Too much personality is what gets characters killed early.
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Spoon

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2010, 07:29:34 PM »
Getting killed is what this game's about.

a strange shadow

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2010, 07:36:11 PM »
Too much personality is what gets characters killed early.

Unless I deliberately make a more subdued character, mine tend to have an overabundance of personality, which puts them in the line of fire pretty frequently. Those same characters also tend to be ridiculously long-lived. I haven't had a character die in years... I just retire them when I feel their story is done. (FWIW I'm not trying to be smug, here, I actually wish I could just go out in a blaze of glory at times, instead of just fading away.)

So I think your argument is flawed, or maybe I'm an exception to the rule.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 07:43:52 PM by a strange shadow »

Wolfsong

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2010, 07:45:32 PM »
Personally I like to make them fairly average background wise and let the world shape them how it will rather than come in  with everything preset.

I find I do this a lot - I'll make  fairly generic background and basically design a PC - but only basically. I'll let their IG experiences and the people they meet shape them, and then go back and expand on their background when I have a more thorough feel for how, why, what they do. Putting too much effort into a PC, days of planning, only to have them die a few hours after commencing is one of my biggest burn outs, so I try to avoid that.

As for playing the game offline - I tend to do this, too - mostly again to get a feel for how a character might react to any situation IG, no matter how far-fetched or ill-conceived. I'll think about how they might say something, in what context they might say it, how the meaning of a single word might change in relation to who they're saying it to, facial ticks or common gestures, why they do it, etc. I mean, to be fair, I have a 45 minute to hour and a half drive to class one-way, so I have nothing really better to do, either.
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Synthesis

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2010, 07:50:33 PM »
Too much personality is what gets characters killed early.

Unless I deliberately make a more subdued character, mine tend to have an overabundance of personality, which puts them in the line of fire pretty frequently. Those same characters also tend to be ridiculously long-lived. I haven't had a character die in years... I just retire them when I feel their story is done. (FWIW I'm not trying to be smug, here, I actually wish I could just go out in a blaze of glory at times, instead of just fading away.)

So I think your argument is flawed, or maybe I'm an exception to the rule.

I think you probably play females, and you're probably very adept at navigating the social dos and don'ts of Armageddon politics, so you know just how far you can push that personality before it starts becoming a liability.  When a newb makes a character with "personality," they tend to dramatically overstep the bounds of what other players will put up with.

And you have to -really- be a complete ASS, a rogue mage/psi, totally clueless, or exceptionally unlucky to get blatantly PK'ed as a female.
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Beethoven

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2010, 07:59:16 PM »
I hope it's not pushing the limits to say that my character is both subdued and has quite a bit of personality. I don't think those things need be mutually exclusive.

a strange shadow

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2010, 08:06:15 PM »
Too much personality is what gets characters killed early.

Unless I deliberately make a more subdued character, mine tend to have an overabundance of personality, which puts them in the line of fire pretty frequently. Those same characters also tend to be ridiculously long-lived. I haven't had a character die in years... I just retire them when I feel their story is done. (FWIW I'm not trying to be smug, here, I actually wish I could just go out in a blaze of glory at times, instead of just fading away.)

So I think your argument is flawed, or maybe I'm an exception to the rule.

I think you probably play females, and you're probably very adept at navigating the social dos and don'ts of Armageddon politics, so you know just how far you can push that personality before it starts becoming a liability.  When a newb makes a character with "personality," they tend to dramatically overstep the bounds of what other players will put up with.

And you have to -really- be a complete ASS, a rogue mage/psi, totally clueless, or exceptionally unlucky to get blatantly PK'ed as a female.

You know, I've wondered about that myself. My next character will be male.

Drayab

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2010, 08:34:24 PM »
Let's not confuse antisocial behavior (eg - blatant disregard for social norms) with actual personality. You might think these things are related, but I would say only superficially. These kinds of characters certainly stand out, and by that definition, they are interesting.  Yes, having a maverick around does tend to make fun for those involved, but at the same time it messes with my suspension of disbelief. Self preservation is a strong instinct! IMHO, people ought to keep that in mind when trying to play a believable character.

jhunter

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2010, 09:00:27 PM »
Insert flaws. My favorite are the double-edged character traits which serve as both strength and weakness.

Also, vary characters from past ones. Stop and think 'How is this PC's personality different from my last?". I think some people get bored with characters because they spend most of the character creation process on guild and appearance. Start with the personality, then work the appearance and guild around that.

I prefer to have a loose outline of personality first and then flush it out more deeply as I start playing the character. I think that can work just as well as having it completely planned out beforehand. Sometimes, I think it works out better.

Ampere

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2010, 10:06:19 PM »
All you have to do is sit back and wait for the game to erode/shape their personality.  Depth is difficult to fabricate, but easy enough acquire by staying alive. Of course, the player has to actively pursue their toon's development throughout.

Continuing with my derail.  To play an interesting character, just be entertaining. People do enough absurd crap in this game that it's easy to milk a laugh by reacting realistically.  Don't be a douche or anything, unless that's your thing.

Personally, I maintain subplots to continually hone my toon's personality.  I doubt that your life's dream is to get a modest promotion at some dickshit firm. That's the role. What's the dream?
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Is Friday

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2010, 10:21:50 PM »
Too much personality is what gets characters killed early.

Unless I deliberately make a more subdued character, mine tend to have an overabundance of personality, which puts them in the line of fire pretty frequently. Those same characters also tend to be ridiculously long-lived. I haven't had a character die in years... I just retire them when I feel their story is done. (FWIW I'm not trying to be smug, here, I actually wish I could just go out in a blaze of glory at times, instead of just fading away.)

So I think your argument is flawed, or maybe I'm an exception to the rule.
I think you're an exception to the rule. I mean, if you're playing that character that sits at the bar and flirts with people and doesn't do much else--which it doesn't sound like you are... then yeah.

I've had over 2 dozen female characters (I play females mostly,) professionally assassinated, murdered in public places, murdered in non-public places, left-for-dead, tortured to death, and so on and so forth. Usually the people doing this would be GMH leaders, Templars, militia, gang members, and desert elves.

If you aren't taking risks within the reasonable bounds of your character and the environment--you just aren't playing to have fun. You can play female PCs who get murdered or maybe just attacked (if you can get away/be a badass.)

All you really have to do is get over the "I don't wanna make this person mad" mentality. If they don't "belong" to anyone, i.e. House, gang, important person--then fuck em*. Do whatever you want to them. They don't deserve your respect, because you either a.) work for someone more powerful or b.) are on the same social standing as them. All you gotta do now is bribe somebody to beat his ass. Hire a gang, hire the militia, bribe a templar--make someone else that's powerful a friend. Make that fucker pay for whatever insult he slung at you at the bar.

I have many,  many times bribed militia, gang members, assassins, and people of that seedy variety to just beat people to a pulp. Believe it or not, the other person gets it after that. If you get someone to bring them within an inch of their life and they value that character, they will roleplay like they value their life--accordingly.

Murder, corruption, betrayal.

* By fuck em I mean fuck them over. Not mudsex them.

sidenote: If you're playing one of those characters who "defends" people at the bars when they're being picked on--you should instead take a step back and take into account just who is involved. If some Tor officer is embarrassing some half-elf, you shouldn't get involved unless you're supporting the officer. If some human is picking on the elf, and you're human... you shouldn't be getting involved unless you're supporting the human.

And most importantly, if you're a man and some woman is being singled out and harassed--you shouldn't be her white knight, because no pussy is worth getting killed because you disrespected some gang/officer/powerful guard with friends.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 10:27:14 PM by Is Friday »
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a strange shadow

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2010, 10:31:44 PM »
I think the moral here is "do what your character would do, and damn the IC consequences."

Often, doing what your character would do edges on the side of 'survival', though there will be cases where they're willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good (or the insane ideal). Sometimes they actually survive that, and sometimes they don't.

Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2010, 10:52:37 PM »
I think the moral here is "do what your character would do, and damn the IC consequences."

Often, doing what your character would do edges on the side of 'survival', though there will be cases where they're willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good (or the insane ideal). Sometimes they actually survive that, and sometimes they don't.

Agreed.
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Thunkkin

  • Posts: 1966
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2010, 11:01:34 PM »
So, for a thread about designing interesting characters, I think we've collected enough "I just wing it" responses.  I think everybody does that to a certain extent - everyone's characters (hopefully) grow and change based on their experiences.

I'd be curious to see more responses about, well, character design.  I'll throw out an idea that just popped into my head.

What about the Meyers-Briggs personality test?  I've suddenly got half a mind somehow to pick a result at random and then figure out how/why a Zalanthan would have that personality and those traits.  This would immediately flesh out a history while also providing a nuanced guideline for how the character interacts and thinks once in the game.  I think this would push me to play concepts and personality types that it might otherwise never cross my mind to attempt.

Anyone else have other methods or ideas?
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Barzalene

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2010, 11:11:40 PM »
I often start from a place of what if?
What if everyone I ever loved or cared about turned their back on me?
What if I was beautiful and resented that people assumed I was getting by on my looks. What if I tried really hard to act as if I weren't? What if on some level though, I counted on being able to get by on my looks and was afraid to admit that to myself?
What if I was a slave and a bondmate to a mul, and and I'd done that for thirty years, and I was a valued and trusted slave? What if I woke up one day and realized I wished I could do something just for me? Like learn to sew or fight or ride a kank?
What if I had abusive parents and a funny voice and I was angry at the world because I felt like my life was harder than everyone else's?
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Twilight

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2010, 11:13:02 PM »
I try to avoid making "literary" type characters.  Cliche.

Whether normal or extraordinary, I only occasionally do literary characters because putting a twist on a character to make them interesting just seems fake and forced to me.  Rather, I concentrate on their background and what brought them to this point in their life, even if it was rather bland and ordinary.
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Aaron Goulet

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2010, 11:34:21 PM »
I used to use a questionnaire I designed a while back to help flesh out characters during the creation phase (some of you may still recall this, as I posted it online), but after killing sixty or so characters, I developed a new approach that works better for me.  It goes something like this:

  • Step 1: Formulate a concept that sounds fun to you.
    Whether you want to explore the world, backstab rats in the alleys, or mingle with your chosen society's elite, it's always a good idea to come up with a general idea of what you would like to do with your new character.  This will give you the foundation for both your background and your guild choices.  Be wary of making it too specific; Armageddon MUD is full of twists and turns, and you may find that the plans you had for your character are suddenly no longer possible, or even desirable.  If you keep things simple, you will have an easier time adapting to new situations, and even save yourself some unnecessary frustration further on down the road.

  • Step 2: Interview your character.
    For the purposes of demonstration, let's assume that you have chosen to play a human assassin/bard in Allanak, with the goal of becoming an aide and using your influence (and occasionally your daggers) to strike against anyone that would defy you.  The first question on your mind should be, "Why?"

    Your character could answer with a casual shrug, "Because I want to be popular and well-known," or they could exclaim, "I've taken shit from everyone my entire life, and I'm not going to put up with it anymore...  I'll make them pay!"  They are very different answers to the same question, and both warrant further questioning.

    Let's assume that the answer is the latter.  Who was giving your character a hard time, and why?  Why didn't your character's parents step in?  Were they the perpetrators, or are they simply dead?  How far is your character willing to go to defend his or her ego?  What would it take to convince him or her to break the law?  What would it take to convince him or her to take a person's life?

    The point of this exercise is to learn more about your character's motivations (the "why") his or her feelings (the "what"), and even his or her methods and behaviors (the "how").  Whether or not you decide to write it out or do it in your head, you should eventually find yourself with the necessary pieces to put together a full background.

  • Step 3: Write a description.
    A lot of people tend to write descriptions before they have worked out their character's background, but I have found that it is easier for me to tailor my character's physical characteristics to the life they have lived rather than the other way around.  If you know that a bully pulled a knife and cut your character when he or she was little, that scar that barely misses his or her eye suddenly has more meaning.

  • Step 4: Decide on your character's speech and mannerisms.
    You know just about everything you need to know about what is going on inside your character's head, as well as what he or she looks like, but what about their outward behavior?  Based on your character's personality and his or her physical characteristics, decide on how your character speaks, and what kind of vocabulary he or she uses.  Also, try to come up with a few compulsive behaviors for when he or she is bored/angry/sad/embarrassed/stressed; consistency will go a long way in creating a believable character.

  • Step 5: Fine-tune your application.
    When I finished my current character's background, it was almost 2,300 characters long; too long for the background editor.  In this step, weed out the trivial details in your character's background, and fill in any gaps you find.  Proof-read everything.

While it seems like a lengthy process in writing, in practice it only takes about thirty minutes to an hour to write up and submit a new character, depending on the complexity of the application.  I'm not saying that this is the "right" way to do it, either; in fact, I don't think there is a right way.  I took the time to write this post in hopes that it might help others too.
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boog

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2010, 11:51:26 PM »
I usually do much better and stick with 'character themes' if I plan someone out thoroughly beforehand.

That being said though, I like to randomly assign traits based on things that happen in game. My current character was simply random - I wanted to get into Arm rather badly and composed only a crude outline so I didn't have to fumble with quirks, perks, and otherwise. She's turned out well!

That being said though, I very much prefer to have a strict guideline, with characteristics, personality, things that offend and don't offend, etc.
Case: he's more likely to shoot up a mcdonalds for selling secret obama sauce on its big macs
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Old Kank

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2010, 11:13:23 AM »
Live longer than a week.

Personally I like to make them fairly average background wise and let the world shape them how it will rather than come in  with everything preset.

This has been my approach for a long time.  If you take an average personality and join a clan, and then live for 2-3 months, your character will usually have enough actual experience under their belt to be pretty interesting in their own right without any carefully developed character flaws.

That being said, my new test of an interesting character is, "How will they act in the face of death?"  When that band of gith comes around the next bend, or that silt horror defiler of death storms into the Gaj, is my character afraid?  Does he have anything to live for?  Is he brave because he no longer fears death, or is he brave because there are things he fears worse than death?

No matter how interesting of a character I create, I've come to find that most, if not all of my characters eventually reach the same worn-out plateau where most of their friends have died, where they've been through the trenches and seen it all, and where they've become skilled enough that they rarely have to fear a surprise death, and in the end they become so grizzled and hardened that all they do is sit around waiting for a fitting end.

I haven't figured out how to prevent that eventual slide into a veteran cliche.

Semper

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2010, 11:48:18 AM »
I haven't figured out how to prevent that eventual slide into a veteran cliche.

Thirst for power and recognition or something along those lines. Usually leads to corruption or rebellion. That usually leads to an interesting ending. Course, not every Zalanthan ever reaches that point...
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Twilight

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2010, 12:52:39 PM »
I haven't figured out how to prevent that eventual slide into a veteran cliche.

Die before you reach that point.  Or play a southern noble, so you aren't actually grizzled and hardened at all.
Evolution ends when stupidity is no longer fatal."

Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2010, 01:28:05 PM »
No matter how interesting of a character I create, I've come to find that most, if not all of my characters eventually reach the same worn-out plateau where most of their friends have died, where they've been through the trenches and seen it all, and where they've become skilled enough that they rarely have to fear a surprise death, and in the end they become so grizzled and hardened that all they do is sit around waiting for a fitting end.

I haven't figured out how to prevent that eventual slide into a veteran cliche.
I'm totally with you there.

I think a separate thread for brainstorming solutions to that would be a great idea.  I'd make one but I have a meeting in 5 minutes.

X-D

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2010, 02:01:48 PM »
I make a blank slate PC, he will have some very basic personality that will keep through his life, I make no flaws, twists or what have you. I make a basic and easy to remember and follow backround.

I then let the PC grow into personality, twists, flaws etc organicly. Much more fun for me and far more interesting. But since my PCs have an average lifespan of greater then six months, I can afford to do this.

Of course, that means I eventually run into the problem Old Kank stated.


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No matter how interesting of a character I create, I've come to find that most, if not all of my characters eventually reach the same worn-out plateau where most of their friends have died, where they've been through the trenches and seen it all, and where they've become skilled enough that they rarely have to fear a surprise death, and in the end they become so grizzled and hardened that all they do is sit around waiting for a fitting end.

I haven't figured out how to prevent that eventual slide into a veteran cliche.
I'm totally with you there.

I think a separate thread for brainstorming solutions to that would be a great idea.  I'd make one but I have a meeting in 5 minutes.


I tend to fall in there as well.

Although, Since I have played a large number of dwarves, I am good at finding something new for my PC to do.

Of course the entire "I've been around for 9 generations of PCs." That is hard to get past,  It tends to bog my play down some, making me or my PC more distant to each generation, it is very hard to get past that.

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Aaron Goulet

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2010, 03:07:29 PM »
Moral of the story: the rest of us need to start living longer.
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Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2010, 03:16:09 PM »
See, here's the problem I've found with "blank slate" type PCs (both playing and interacting with):  In those first few weeks of play, you've only got about 1 conversation's worth of things to talk about with other PCs, if that.  Beyond that, I think you're lucky if you come up with something worth chatting about once per RL week.

Personally, I absolutely notice when a new character shows up that obviously had a lot of through put into them.  It makes me want to get to know them, hear gossip about them, and interact when possible (sometimes even stretching the limits of types of people my character is willing to speak with).

And honestly, on the flip side, when I see another farmboy Amos who makes it a point to assure me that his family is boring (possibly so I don't ask more questions about details that haven't been invented), I want to leave them alone until they do something worth knowing about.

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2010, 03:30:46 PM »
I suppose, for me, that is exactly my point. Since I don't care if you find my PC interesting, specialy not early on.

Well, I never care, since I play for me and anybody else is incidental.

That and something that looks great on paper tends to not be so great in play. I've seen thousands of well thought out interesting PCs enter the game. I bet most of them have max backrounds, the player figured out every bit of past life, all likes, dislikes, fears, loves etc etc etc. And 95% of those PCs are stored or suicided in a couple weeks.

And to be honest, most PCs SHOULD be rather boring to start. Though you might have made them with 40 years of history, the fact is, they do not have that, and it is something easily seen through by other players as being at best a facade.

Even worse is the PC that was well thought out to start, lives a long time and is still exactly the same 6 months later. Yes, he was interesting in the beginning, now, man, boring. People who have everything worked out ahead of time do not normaly let the PC grow and change. Some might enjoy that style, I do not and will avoid the PCs.

Of course, it is all just opinion and preference. I like organic in game growth. I wish that it extended to 2 classes in fact, I do not think either of them should be aloud to be apped. But thats another topic.
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Lizzie:
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Riya OniSenshi

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2010, 03:38:32 PM »
I know this isn't what Moe's talking about, but it's been presented to me in-game quite a few times:

I don't see how telling everyone that I meet my life story the first time I meet them, or when someone I barely know asks, would make me more interesting, and without a specific personality type, my pcs can't/won't find that justified, either.

Becoming friends with someone up to the point where that could be a topic of conversation could be interesting, however.

I tend to develope pcs initially very similarly to Zoltan's guide, but I keep a lot of things basic, and let the first week or so of play give me a better shape. Somtimes I think of "twists" or whatnot to add that I hadn't originnally thought of, personality traits or habits develop, but I very rarely volunteer important background information/details to people who havn't earned any trust.  It's just like real-life - I'm not going to tell you about my secret painkiller habit because you said "hi" and sat down at my table in a bar without asking.

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Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2010, 03:44:33 PM »
I suppose, for me, that is exactly my point. Since I don't care if you find my PC interesting, specialy not early on.

Well, I never care, since I play for me and anybody else is incidental.
What I mean is it's about getting more interaction, not (just) entertaining other players.

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That and something that looks great on paper tends to not be so great in play. I've seen thousands of well thought out interesting PCs enter the game. I bet most of them have max backrounds, the player figured out every bit of past life, all likes, dislikes, fears, loves etc etc etc. And 95% of those PCs are stored or suicided in a couple weeks.
Forgive me if I'm a little dubious regarding these statistics.

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And to be honest, most PCs SHOULD be rather boring to start. Though you might have made them with 40 years of history, the fact is, they do not have that, and it is something easily seen through by other players as being at best a facade.
Wow... so if it didn't happen in-game, it's a facade?  That's really a really disheartening viewpoint, honestly.

I mean, don't get me wrong: a character with a lot of in-game history really is something special.  I know, I've had 3 PCs who lived more than 1.5 years.  Still, to treat someone's background as any less than fact is... well...   :-\

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Even worse is the PC that was well thought out to start, lives a long time and is still exactly the same 6 months later. Yes, he was interesting in the beginning, now, man, boring. People who have everything worked out ahead of time do not normaly let the PC grow and change. Some might enjoy that style, I do not and will avoid the PCs.
Again, I'm dubious regarding your evidence.  It seems to me that it'd be really hard to have a PC live for 6 months and NOT change, regardless of how detailed the concept was.

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Of course, it is all just opinion and preference.  I like organic in game growth.
Me too.

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2010, 03:55:57 PM »
I'd give names of some, but would rather not, don't wanna be seen as bagging on somebodies beloved long lived PC.

As to the dubius parts, Oh, I'm assigning numbers not actually keeping count, but it is still high from what I've seen and heard from MANY players over the years, Hell, you can see it on the boards.

How many threads have started with "I had this great concept, put it into play and it is a week later and I'm bored."

As to the written history part. One can only suspend disbelief just so far, as you well know. And even if you go along with it, you, the player are still sitting there going, Meh, that never "really" happened. And so, simply does not carry the same weight as things that did happen IG. I never said it was treated IG as anything less then fact mind you. but OOCly, you still know.

A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
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KankWhisperer

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2010, 03:59:07 PM »
I think people should have a general feeling about certain world powers.

I don't/do like <organization> because of <some event> to <this> extent.
I don't feel one way or the other or am ignorant of <organization>

A nenyuk clerk stole all my money one time so I refuse to make deposits.
Kadians always make me good deals so I shop there and refuse to buy from tribals.
Tuluki templars killed my uncle (I think), so I always try and avoid them.
Southerners are scum but I don't really care enough to insult one.

Merchant houses.
D-elf Tribes.
Tuluki Templars and Nobles.
Allanak Templars and Nobles.
Tuluki commoners
Allanaki commoners
'Rinthers
Stormers
Non D-elf tribals

Then know where your character has lived or been.
Sands.
'Nak.
Storm.
Luir's.
Pah.
'Luk.
'Rinth.

Then have a little blurb about how you became <class> and <subclass>.

I used to watch my <some character>'s back while he cut wood and etc.
They are  too old for that shit now so I have to find my own way.

Possibly:
I don't/do like <race> because of <some event> to <this extent>.
I don't feel one way or the other or am ignorant of <race>.

A dwarf used to beat my ass when I was a kid so I slightly hate them.
A half-elf saved my father once so I pretend to hate them but don't really.

human,
elf,
tribal elf,
dwarf,
half-giant,
others

I have these goals:
To get rich or die trying.
To get an expensive sword.

I have these (other) quirks:
I really like red heads.
I only look out for myself. I'll abandon anyone at the first sign of trouble.
I refuse to ride war beetles.


It seems like with a few of these kinds of things filled out you could be pretty interesting without being completely set in stone.
All subject to change but it might be harder for you to trust a dwarf but eventually you could etc.
More quirks as time goes on and changing goals (for non-dwarves).

Someone should make a little cheat sheet or something you can fill out.














Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2010, 04:05:24 PM »
I know this isn't what Moe's talking about, but it's been presented to me in-game quite a few times:

I don't see how telling everyone that I meet my life story the first time I meet them, or when someone I barely know asks, would make me more interesting, and without a specific personality type, my pcs can't/won't find that justified, either.
Agreed, and that's not quite what I'm advocating.  spewing out your background story without being asked about it probably isn't interesting to other people.  That's why I suggested that character should have an "outward twist".  Something apparent about them, either how they look or how they act, that is unusual but not readily explainable.  A mystery that people will want to solve (by interacting with your character).


Also, I'm not saying that anyone should (or even could) flesh out everything about their PC.  While I do like to have a lot of detail these days, I also like to leave myself room to flex the concept, especially in the area of personality (because I end up playing most of my characters somewhat differently than I envision them acting like).  Detail doesn't have to be limiting.

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Cutthroat

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2010, 04:17:28 PM »
That and something that looks great on paper tends to not be so great in play. I've seen thousands of well thought out interesting PCs enter the game. I bet most of them have max backrounds, the player figured out every bit of past life, all likes, dislikes, fears, loves etc etc etc. And 95% of those PCs are stored or suicided in a couple weeks.

And to be honest, most PCs SHOULD be rather boring to start. Though you might have made them with 40 years of history, the fact is, they do not have that, and it is something easily seen through by other players as being at best a facade.

Even worse is the PC that was well thought out to start, lives a long time and is still exactly the same 6 months later. Yes, he was interesting in the beginning, now, man, boring. People who have everything worked out ahead of time do not normaly [sic] let the PC grow and change. Some might enjoy that style, I do not and will avoid the PCs.

Just wanted to touch on this before offering my own advice.

For the first point, it seems counter-intuitive that a player that puts a lot of effort into a character application would suicide or store their character in a short time. Players regularly lament the loss of their (presumably) well thought-out special applications or sponsored roles after a short time, so there obviously is an expectation that a character's lifespan should be roughly proportional to work put into an app. If your statement is remotely true, I can get behind the idea that these characters are dying accidentally, and you are assuming that they are stored or have committed suicide. That has nothing to do with fun or lack thereof.

As for the second point, either you truly believe PCs should not have a unique personality until they are played for a reasonable amount of time, or, more likely considering your line of argument, you are confusing history with skill. New characters don't have a lot of skill (unless staff alters their abilities somehow), and oftentimes history has nothing to do with skill (though the initial background should certainly reflect the starting skills or a lack thereof to some extent). But all characters have some sort of history, and to be frank, it is ridiculous to say that is all a facade because it happened virtually, and I hope that is not what you're saying. It would certainly be odd if someone apps a warrior whose history includes 20 years of them being a master swordsman without any staff assistance, but that is obviously something staff are there to catch. You wrote about your PC with arachnophobia - was that something included in the background, or something developed during play? If it was the former, did you disregard it as a facade?

And to the last, what you're talking about is a static character. How static a character is has absolutely nothing to do with how defined a character is to start... or, put in another way, characters that are well-defined to start and characters that are vaguely-defined to start can all be static. Obviously, you and I both prefer dynamic characters, but the truth is characters with any sort of background can be dynamic. Being able to change a PC over time is really a simple matter, and a PC that exists for 6 months and hasn't experienced anything that could be considered life-changing seems, at least to me, pretty bland.

As for my advice pertaining to the original topic,

I like Marauder Moe's suggestion at the start, as well as what Aaron Goulet and Anaiah's suggestions. Weaknesses are very important to me, as a player. No one is infallible, and it's important to account for that. I like to write about my PC's personality, about things that won't necessarily go into a background but be kept in a place that can be easily changed, for my reference. When I write about my PC's personality, I like to balance perks with flaws - strengths and various things my PC is good at, likes, or likes doing, contrasted with things that they dislike, dislike doing, or are bad at. This essentially helps me check myself and prevent me from making a PC that is good at politicking, AND obsidian-mining, AND singing, etc. Instead, if I decide my PC will be good at singing to start, then they will invariably start off poor at dancing, or painting, or sculpting.

KankWhisperer

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2010, 04:37:51 PM »
Obviously, you and I both prefer dynamic characters, but the truth is characters with any sort of background can be dynamic. Being able to change a PC over time is really a simple matter, and a PC that exists for 6 months and hasn't experienced anything that could be considered life-changing seems, at least to me, pretty bland.

What exactly do you mean by dynamic. Not everyone is going to change their whole concept every six month such that they seem dynamic. Sure a character may be doing the same thing and the same job but that doesn't mean they haven't changed. So you see the same guy six months later and he acts the same in public to you who are probably a stranger cause your old character is dead. You don't get to see if they have changed internally. Maybe they are bitter or have turned traitor. To me it sounds like you want every long lived character to just go off on a tangent every time something bad happens to them? Oh he is still working for so and so and still hates Half-giants. NOT DYNAMIC.

Cutthroat

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2010, 04:46:56 PM »
Obviously, you and I both prefer dynamic characters, but the truth is characters with any sort of background can be dynamic. Being able to change a PC over time is really a simple matter, and a PC that exists for 6 months and hasn't experienced anything that could be considered life-changing seems, at least to me, pretty bland.

What exactly do you mean by dynamic. Not everyone is going to change their whole concept every six month such that they seem dynamic. Sure a character may be doing the same thing and the same job but that doesn't mean they haven't changed. So you see the same guy six months later and he acts the same in public to you who are probably a stranger cause your old character is dead. You don't get to see if they have changed internally. Maybe they are bitter or have turned traitor. To me it sounds like you want every long lived character to just go off on a tangent every time something bad happens to them? Oh he is still working for so and so and still hates Half-giants. NOT DYNAMIC.

You misunderstood. Let me clarify.

When I say "dynamic" I am referring to internal as well as external change. In fiction, static characters are those that do not change internally or externally at all in response to something that would normally change a person. Generally, dynamic characters change in the way that makes the most sense: in gradual steps. Some things about a person will never change, but some things will. A dynamic character is simply a character that develops with the plots they are involved in, and a vast majority if not all of PCs on Armageddon that I have seen are dynamic. In fact, it is extremely difficult to play a static character on Armageddon realistically, unless the PC is absolutely uninvolved in everything.

Mr. "Still working for so-and-so and still hates half-giants" can indeed be dynamic, if one of the many experiences he has been involved in has somehow changed him in the slightest.

There are articles on static and dynamic characterization, written with regards to fiction, on the internet. A good one to start with is http://www.k-state.edu/english/baker/english320/cc-static_vs_dynamic_characterization.htm What constitutes an important change, imo, is debatable, but anything that affects a character's thought process, personality or habits could be considered important.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 04:48:52 PM by Cutthroat »

KankWhisperer

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2010, 04:58:37 PM »
The problem is you don't really know if someone has changed internally.

I understood you just fine. What I am asking you is how are you judging a character if you can only see what they present to you. Unlike (some) works of fiction you only see what they want you to see unless you are Staff basically. If they do not spill their guts to you then you just don't know. You can't even apply the standards set by your web link.

Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2010, 05:01:03 PM »
Perhaps when he said "bland" he was thinking in terms of judging his own characters, not those of other people.

X-D

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2010, 05:01:39 PM »
Gah, Cutthroat, either I'm doing a far worse job of explaining or you understood nothing I posted.

First, like I said, go back and look at all the posts/threads on the subject of "looked good on paper" well thought out PCs.
As to others, Storage, is usually easy to figure out IG, accidental deaths, less hard, but if somebody walks into the silt sea, you can normaly assume suicide.

Next, I never said anything of the sort, I never said that a PC should not have a unique personality from the start. I in fact said something totally different. But one can be unique without having every hate/love/fear/twist/quirk thought out ahead of time. So your entire paragraph on confusing skill, blah blah, is moot.
As to the backround crap, again, as I posted before, the PLAYER...knows it to be facade or virtual. Sure, it does not matter IG, it really happened and IG you have to treat it that way. But from a player interaction/enjoyment standpoint, which is OOC, you still know that...no, it really did not happen.

As for the static char part, in one way, somebody can be applauded for remaining true to a template they made of a PC that they are still playing a year later, but a year later, all the PLAYERS that knew that PC a year before are going to find them far less then interesting. That does not mean they are a bad PC or player, but the topic is making interesting PCs, and making an interesting PC should not be only at inception.
A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
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Cutthroat

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2010, 05:12:43 PM »
Perhaps when he said "bland" he was thinking in terms of judging his own characters, not those of other people.

Right. I have no idea what's going on in the minds of other PCs other than my own, except I can make inferences about what appears to be. Whenever I do that I can reasonably guess that another PC is changing, because it is being reflected outwardly in one way or another.

Gah, Cutthroat, either I'm doing a far worse job of explaining or you understood nothing I posted.

First, like I said, go back and look at all the posts/threads on the subject of "looked good on paper" well thought out PCs.
As to others, Storage, is usually easy to figure out IG, accidental deaths, less hard, but if somebody walks into the silt sea, you can normaly assume suicide.

Next, I never said anything of the sort, I never said that a PC should not have a unique personality from the start. I in fact said something totally different. But one can be unique without having every hate/love/fear/twist/quirk thought out ahead of time. So your entire paragraph on confusing skill, blah blah, is moot.
As to the backround crap, again, as I posted before, the PLAYER...knows it to be facade or virtual. Sure, it does not matter IG, it really happened and IG you have to treat it that way. But from a player interaction/enjoyment standpoint, which is OOC, you still know that...no, it really did not happen.

As for the static char part, in one way, somebody can be applauded for remaining true to a template they made of a PC that they are still playing a year later, but a year later, all the PLAYERS that knew that PC a year before are going to find them far less then interesting. That does not mean they are a bad PC or player, but the topic is making interesting PCs, and making an interesting PC should not be only at inception.

OK. I know some people grow to hate their well thought-out characters. I also know that others regret losing them. I'm not going to ask about your method on how you find obvious suicides and come to the realization that the character must've been intensively planned out.

I agree that one can be unique without having various things thought out ahead of time. The sentence you wrote  "And to be honest, most PCs SHOULD be rather boring to start." is a poor way of explaining that position, because it equates boringness with lack of development, but I can stand by that position.

I also agree that characters aren't only interesting because of how they start - it's the experiences in the end that flesh out a character. The plans for a character at the start are, at best, the first step towards making an interesting PC. Each step is as valid and as important as the last.

Edit: to add this is going to be my last post arguing against the ideas of others in this thread. If anything, I'll add thoughts keeping in topic with the original post. If you want further clarification, PM me or make a new thread about it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 05:27:31 PM by Cutthroat »

Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2010, 05:13:47 PM »
Gah, Cutthroat, either I'm doing a far worse job of explaining or you understood nothing I posted.

First, like I said, go back and look at all the posts/threads on the subject of "looked good on paper" well thought out PCs.
Can you give us some examples?  Or better search terms?  "Looked good on paper" only returns this thread.

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Next, I never said anything of the sort, I never said that a PC should not have a unique personality from the start. I in fact said something totally different.

But... you did say:
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And to be honest, most PCs SHOULD be rather boring to start.
???

That doesn't seem "totally" different to me.

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But one can be unique without having every hate/love/fear/twist/quirk thought out ahead of time. So your entire paragraph on confusing skill, blah blah, is moot.
I dunno, I also sort of thought you meant this as referring to skill:
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Though you might have made them with 40 years of history, the fact is, they do not have that, and it is something easily seen through by other players as being at best a facade.

If you're not talking about skill, what exactly is it that said 40-year-old character doesn't have?

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As to the backround crap, again, as I posted before, the PLAYER...knows it to be facade or virtual. Sure, it does not matter IG, it really happened and IG you have to treat it that way. But from a player interaction/enjoyment standpoint, which is OOC, you still know that...no, it really did not happen.
Except... it really did happen.  It's in my character's background, which has passed immortal approval.  It's documented fact in the game world.

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As for the static char part, in one way, somebody can be applauded for remaining true to a template they made of a PC that they are still playing a year later, but a year later, all the PLAYERS that knew that PC a year before are going to find them far less then interesting. That does not mean they are a bad PC or player, but the topic is making interesting PCs, and making an interesting PC should not be only at inception.
No one is trying to say interesting PCs happen only at inception.

I started this thread suggesting, however, that interesting PCs can happen at inception, and how one might go about doing that.

X-D

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2010, 05:44:39 PM »
Yes, it is in the backround, staff passed it, so it did happen. No arguement. But OOCly, no it did not happen.

I make a 40 year old PC who lived through the gith invasion, it says so in the backround, he was in the fighting, this that whatever. Alright.

That makes for interesting stories and reasons for his fear of scales and hatred of anything hunched over.

But Other players know that he really did not live through the gith invasion...Not the PCs, From a player perspective, or at least this player, it actually makes the PC LESS interesting.
Combined with the next part, if a PC should be more boring to start. Yes, they should. When you start a PC, no matter what virtual history you wrote up, you do not have ANY of the things that would come with that if it was real history. You don't have friends, other then virtual, you do not have enemies...other then virtual, you do not have contacts, you don't have money, you don't have a place to stay, no stories have been told about you, no songs sung.

If you pop out the box spouting all these past deeds you just get people nodding IG and OOC they think, whatever newb and go on their merry way.

It is more interesting to see that PC who has led a boring life to this point, but something brought him/her out into this more dynamic life along with the rest of our PCs. It is interesting to see the growth and change, the friends made, the enemies killed or avoided...etc etc.

As to the "looked good on paper" part, Heh, I wrote it that way because there is no easy way to search it. I did not mean for you to think I was talking about some thread you might have missed. But over the last 10-12 years I've been reading the GDB, I've seen MANY posts on the matter.

Really, so, if I check the thesaurus I'm gonna find that Unique and boring are antonyms or something? No, I won't.

But the entire reason I even posted to begin with was to point out that a fun way to make a PC who is interesting to play (important) and interesting to others (less important) is to leave as much open to growth as possible while having a unique personality to start and work from.

Personality is nothing more then a style of thinking, it colors everything else you experiance. Twists, quirks, likes, dislikes, all the other things mentioned are not personality.






A gaunt, yellow-skinned gith shrieks in fear, and hauls ass.
Lizzie:
If you -want- me to think that your character is a hybrid of a black kryl and a white push-broom shaped like a penis, then you've done a great job

Marauder Moe

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2010, 06:04:22 PM »
Yes, it is in the backround, staff passed it, so it did happen. No arguement. But OOCly, no it did not happen.

I make a 40 year old PC who lived through the gith invasion, it says so in the backround, he was in the fighting, this that whatever. Alright.

That makes for interesting stories and reasons for his fear of scales and hatred of anything hunched over.

But Other players know that he really did not live through the gith invasion...Not the PCs, From a player perspective, or at least this player, it actually makes the PC LESS interesting.

Combined with the next part, if a PC should be more boring to start. Yes, they should. When you start a PC, no matter what virtual history you wrote up, you do not have ANY of the things that would come with that if it was real history. You don't have friends, other then virtual, you do not have enemies...other then virtual, you do not have contacts, you don't have money, you don't have a place to stay, no stories have been told about you, no songs sung.
As you said, he has his stories, fears, hatreds....  ??? ??? ???

Why do those things not count?


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If you pop out the box spouting all these past deeds you just get people nodding IG and OOC they think, whatever newb and go on their merry way.
I do actually somewhat agree that a background of being a great Gith War hero does create an unfortunate schism because you know they still have the skills of a newb.  It's also rather cliche, and not particularly interesting in my opinion either.

"Impressive" is not the same as interesting, though.  What if instead of your character being a great war hero, they were a street urchin who barely survived the invasion?  Perhaps they're mentally damaged from watching their family get raped and killed by the gith.  Figure they're a scrawny little thing with a meek personality, completely unsuitable for the fighter lifestyle, yet has driving desire to learn combat and someday kick some gith ass.

That's the kind of "interesting" I'm talking about.

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It is more interesting to see that PC who has led a boring life to this point, but something brought him/her out into this more dynamic life along with the rest of our PCs. It is interesting to see the growth and change, the friends made, the enemies killed or avoided...etc etc.
Why is transitioning from boring to interesting more interesting than transitioning from interesting to interesting in different ways?

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As to the "looked good on paper" part, Heh, I wrote it that way because there is no easy way to search it. I did not mean for you to think I was talking about some thread you might have missed. But over the last 10-12 years I've been reading the GDB, I've seen MANY posts on the matter.

Really, so, if I check the thesaurus I'm gonna find that Unique and boring are antonyms or something? No, I won't.
::)

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But the entire reason I even posted to begin with was to point out that a fun way to make a PC who is interesting to play (important) and interesting to others (less important) is to leave as much open to growth as possible while having a unique personality to start and work from.
Perhaps I should have clarified that I was interested in discussion on creating/designing interesting characters.  I thought my initial post implied such, but looking back I see it wasn't particularly clear.  I apologize.

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Personality is nothing more then a style of thinking, it colors everything else you experiance. Twists, quirks, likes, dislikes, all the other things mentioned are not personality.
Not sure what this relates to, but I do mean "make and interesting character", not solely "make an interesting personality".

Old Kank

  • Posts: 665
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2010, 06:08:37 PM »
I agree with X-D on this one.  I don't want to discourage anyone from creating a well-thought-out PC, but I don't think that necessarily makes a character interesting.  

I don't worry about a schism between skills and history, I worry more about interactions between people.  When your PC enters the game for the first time, everyone else in the game is a stranger to them.  When one character begins relating his life story to the stranger next to them at the bar, it feels like really, really bad fiction.  On the contrary, if you wait a couple weeks until your character has made the kinds of friends that it would make sense for them to relate their life story to, usually they have enough in-game time behind them that that their life story conversation is less interesting than their conversation of in-game things.

To me, what makes an interesting character is their personality, and I think that's such a fluid trait that having carefully crafted responses to any given situation can actually hamper it.  As KankWhisperer suggested, I think a quick and dirty idea of likes and dislikes, an odd personality quirk or two, maybe a physical tic, and a concept of the character's physical self (and an ability to portray that through emote) is all you need.

Thunkkin

  • Posts: 1966
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2010, 06:08:55 PM »
OOC they think, whatever newb and go on their merry way.

I played a character that had been castrated as a child by a band of raiders who killed half of the caravan he was in and mutilated the rest for sport.  I researched and wrote up a detailed bio entry describing the effects of this sort of castration, both on a person's long-term health if they survive as well as what happens when you are castrated before puberty.  This affected my characters mannerisms, sexuality, appearance, etc, etc.  Damn, I was such a newb.  If my PC had ever told you about his past, you would have just rolled your eyes and went on your way thinking "Newb."

And it's true, such character design leads to short-lived characters.  That one only lived for 7 RL months which is practically the same as storing after a week.  If only I wasn't a newb.

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Twists, quirks, likes, dislikes, all the other things mentioned are not personality.

Oh.

Money, contacts, skills, and in-game accomplishments are personality and all that other crap isn't.

I think I see why people seem to be talking past each other in this initially promising thread.
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X-D

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2010, 08:41:19 PM »
At least the rest of us ask questions to get things clarified and have a discussion rather then simply posting one bit of sarcastic anecdotal evidence in some kind of lame attempt to feel good about oneself while passing judgement on the thread and the people posting in it. Not even in the least bit on topic but oh so carefully worded so as to not get accused of flaming. Yes Thunkkin, if only you were more of a newb, at least then such a post would be forgiveable. But hey, why not piss back and forth at each other till the thread gets locked.
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a strange shadow

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2010, 09:25:44 PM »
For what it's worth, I agree with x-d. Add some spice and details to your character's backstory, sure, but the goal should be to make their played history the thrilling part. That's why we play the game - to live out a character's story in this sandbox of ours.

Lizzie

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #53 on: August 27, 2010, 10:39:11 PM »
I avoid going into great detail about my PC's initial backgrounds. I avoid trying to come up with detailed personalities for them. I've done that, and failed to live up to the details I created in advance. I don't come up with accents in advance - and I even try not to invent mannerisms prior to the hall of kings.

"Her mother was a poor rinthi whore who sold her to Borsail for 200 sids and a shard of flint. She was sickly as a child though so Borsail got their 200 sids worth and tossed her into the slave market, where some random trader bought her and set her out to mine sid and salt for them. Then the random trader died, and now she's grown up and has to fend for herself."

Something vague like that...and her personality will be formed while I'm playing her. I have no idea what my characters are like, until I "become" them in game. And even then sometimes it takes awhile for their personality to take shape.
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flurry

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #54 on: August 27, 2010, 11:54:08 PM »
I try to find a balance somewhere between heavily detailed preparation and completely winging it.

Too much advance preparation ends up feeling overly restrictive in my experience. I'd end up feeling a conflict between sticking with my prior planning and going with what feels authentic once I got rolling with the character.

My problem with totally making it up as I go along is that it becomes too easy to fall into old patterns. This creates this problem where new characters start to feel like minor variations on old characters.

What I tend to find helpful is to focus on one or two core traits that set that character apart from others I've played. Or maybe some simple rule(s) for how this character makes decisions. One of my characters tended to be drawn toward high risk behavior much more than would be my normal tendency with characters. So, whenever I'd start to feel uncertain about her decision-making, I kept that in mind. She also was very outgoing, which is also contrary to what is typical for my characters. So, whenever I'd find her in social situations, I'd try to play up her assertiveness. I find it helpful to decide on core traits like that ahead of time, or else my natural inclinations probably would end up leading me in another direction.
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Thunkkin

  • Posts: 1966
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #55 on: August 28, 2010, 12:08:12 AM »
At least the rest of us ask questions to get things clarified and have a discussion rather then simply posting one bit of sarcastic anecdotal evidence in some kind of lame attempt to feel good about oneself while passing judgement on the thread and the people posting in it. Not even in the least bit on topic but oh so carefully worded so as to not get accused of flaming. Yes Thunkkin, if only you were more of a newb, at least then such a post would be forgiveable. But hey, why not piss back and forth at each other till the thread gets locked.

I'm sorry, X-D.  From your usual posting tone, I didn't think you were one to take this sort of back and forth in a personal way.  I'll back off on the sarcasm that you detected.  Apologies.

To clarify for you, you have stepped into a thread about how to design interesting characters and made statements diminishing the efforts of players who spend time on a character's backstory by asserting that such backstories make you think "whatever newb," that such backstories don't add true interest to the character, and that such characters don't live long.  Other than attempting to discourage the people who spend time designing their backstories, your goal in this thread is unclear to me.  Of course, players who prefer to play with a "blank slate" character shouldn't feel bad either.  I've played plenty of those myself and it's a perfectly fine way to play the game.  And yes, my evidence is anecdotal, but then so is yours (welcome to the internet). 

I guess your point of view on this particular issue (I agree with you on plenty of others) is just so alien to me that I'm not sure how to respond.  So, to ask for clarification...

1.  If "Twists, quirks, likes, dislikes, all the other things mentioned are not personality" -- What is your definition of personality?

2.  Since you are absolutely correct that nothing is more pathetic than people who swagger on the internet about how awesome, skilled, and badass they are - and I certainly wasn't attempting to do that - let's take a totally fictitious background that isn't from any character that I know of.  Amos' family was all sickened by a terrible pox of which only he and his mother survived, their skin deeply marked.  The harrowing experience sparked Amos' interest in herbalism and medicine and, at least publicly, he claims that he's dedicating his life to finding cures to battle such terrible diseases.  In truth, however, his experience with the disease addled his brain slightly and he now suffers from terrible nightmares and panic attacks from his fears of "miasma."  He is so terrified of death now that he would be willing to turn to magickal or sinister means if it offered him a promise of keeping safe from disease or perhaps even eternal life.  Ok, that might be a lame backstory, might not.  But your claim is that such a backstory would be meaningless to you if you encountered a character with it, because you'd know that OOC that the family who died was virtual?  And this would not add interest to the character but would just make you think "newb?"
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X-D

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #56 on: August 28, 2010, 12:46:22 AM »
I love when people state tone when dealing in print.

There was no tone.

Of course I could post with Tone, Maybe Mali style posting so you fucking know when I am trying to give a fucking tone to my fucking post.

But no, It just is not in me.

As to the questions.

Personality is a matter of perception, these perceptions in turn influence reactions to things that happen to the person.

Now, we might just call some things by different names here, and I tend to think that is the case. But when I see somebody say quirks, flaws etc, I do not take that as personality but outward sign of past experiance. The basics of a personality might be that the person is bold, everything that the person experiances is then colored from that. They might be more outspoken, they will play down fear and other vulnerabilities, they will step into situations and take action. Sure, these things might show up as strengths and weaknesses but not personality....make any sense?

I am also not playing down somebodies backstory, even though I don't agree with having a backstory that is much more detailed then "Joe was born to a family, he likes doing these things, he was raised normaly/abnormally, we commence his story now."

I could write up a backround that my guy is the bastard son of Lord FancyPants the 3rd, that he spent his early life surrounded by concubines and later was disowned and tossed into the sewers where he then lived for five years before going to Tuluk to serve in the legions till he outed a rogue mage also in the legions but that mage managed to get him exiled as well so he lived in the pah for he next five years spending time with the Arabet. All of this explains how he learned bendune and has tribal accent, learned to be stealthy and some combat. And it is a great story that never happened, nobody ever heard of him, etc etc as I stated before.

And does that backstory and everything I put in it along with whatever quirks I throw in about hating mages and Tuluk and not minding the sewers while spending most his time trying to get laid make him an interesting PC or is it the way I play him?

And could I play him the same way without the long backstory? And which is really better, one that forces you, the player to keep to a very specific style for that PC from the beginning or one that allows you to gain it all through play? I don't know, but I prefer the second one.

This is why I posted to begin with, because nobody was posting the more open option of how to create an interesting PC that becomes even more interesting as he goes.

So I also added in how some people might feel on the matter OOCly, so what? It is something you might want to think about, if you like to write up elaberate back stories and personalities, it might attract certain players and might repel others. Something that newer players should know. I assume such threads are aimed at newer players because older players will not change the way they do things simply because a bunch of us posted methods.

To paraphrase, my point to posting was simply to offer up another style that had not been added in yet.

Not my fault people asked questions or made comments.

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brytta.leofa

  • Posts: 9480
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #57 on: August 28, 2010, 12:59:26 AM »
And it is a great story that never happened, nobody ever heard of him, etc etc as I stated before.

I feel so judged. ;)
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Synthesis

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #58 on: August 28, 2010, 01:08:56 AM »
I don't know how many people remember Lius, but he had a shitload of totally made-up stories that took place in his background, and it was awesome.  Of course, he was played by probably one of the best roleplayers to ever log into the game, so I imagine that helped quite a bit.
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Thunkkin

  • Posts: 1966
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #59 on: August 28, 2010, 01:15:32 AM »
I love when people state tone when dealing in print.

I just meant that you usually don't shy away from feisty back and forth.

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Personality is a matter of perception, these perceptions in turn influence reactions to things that happen to the person.

Now, we might just call some things by different names here, and I tend to think that is the case. But when I see somebody say quirks, flaws etc, I do not take that as personality but outward sign of past experiance. The basics of a personality might be that the person is bold, everything that the person experiances is then colored from that. They might be more outspoken, they will play down fear and other vulnerabilities, they will step into situations and take action. Sure, these things might show up as strengths and weaknesses but not personality....make any sense?

Oh, OK.  I totally get where you're coming from.  I tend to see these signs/scars of past experience as ultimately inseparable from the rest of who a person is, but I completely see your point now.  I tend to focus on the "nurture" side of causation rather than the "nature" side, so when I have a character who is bold, I tend to think, "What life experiences has caused them to be such a bold person?" rather than "How will this bold person face their life experiences?"  Seems like we're just tackling the issue from two different, valid angles.

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And does that backstory and everything I put in it along with whatever quirks I throw in about hating mages and Tuluk and not minding the sewers while spending most his time trying to get laid make him an interesting PC or is it the way I play him?

Both!  The two should be mutually reinforcing.  The best back story in the world won't make a character interesting if their player is bland.  Yet, varied and interesting back stories add spice to the game and also inform a character's actions.  As a player, I find it very enjoyable to be interacting with another character and to have noticed something about them but never thought much of it ... and then one day it's explained or I figure it out and it's one of those light-bulb moments that makes me suddenly understand and appreciate that character much more deeply because I know something about their childhood, etc.

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And could I play him the same way without the long backstory?

Well, now that we've figured out what we mean by "personality" ... in your terms, yes, because (for example) you could boldly face your character's experiences because you seem to approach personality as traits inherent to a person and you're interested in seeing how those traits then interact with various situations.  For me, the answer would be "no."  I tend not to see personality traits as inherent so I would have a nagging OOC voice in the back of my head asking, "Why is he behaving this way?  Does this make sense given his childhood (or whatever)?"  I get satisfaction out of seeing how past experiences create an unique person who then interacts with various situations.  Two different styles/interests, both equally valid, both tending toward a very different approach to back story.  (Though, of course, between my long lived characters, I love to play characters with a few strong personality traits and I just have a few sentences of back story in my head.  I find I lose interest in these characters quickly, though.  My long-term characters need much more).

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This is why I posted to begin with, because nobody was posting the more open option of how to create an interesting PC that becomes even more interesting as he goes.

That's clearer now, thanks.

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So I also added in how some people might feel on the matter OOCly, so what? It is something you might want to think about, if you like to write up elaberate back stories and personalities, it might attract certain players and might repel others. Something that newer players should know. I assume such threads are aimed at newer players because older players will not change the way they do things simply because a bunch of us posted methods.

Well, I know I've found posts/guides like those from Zoltan, Moe, Cutthroat, Taven's guides, etc., to be quite useful and to add grist to my imagination's mill.  I suppose I've only been playing a few years, so I feel like I have quite a bit of growing left to do as an RPer, but hopefully everyone can continue to learn.  It does make me a bit sad, though, to know that their are players who are repelled by back stories.  Yes, of course, the back story of "I am an awesome warrior ninja" or the back story you posted as an example are ridiculous but I don't think most of the people in this thread are writing that sort of back story.
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Rhyden

  • Posts: 4924
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #60 on: August 28, 2010, 01:32:30 AM »
Interesting topic. On one end of the spectrum, for lack of a better word, you have your "2-d" character with absolutely no personality or character traits. On the other hand, is it possible to have a character with too much personality? It's definitely not easy to find the perfect mix between the two, and it's not like there's a "right way" to create and maintain an interesting character. Sure, there can be characters who seem to have 0 personality or quirks like most people, but how do you really know? Maybe they're just acting super dull all the time but thinking zany, insane thoughts, or doing random, mischievous acts when nobody else is around.

I think X-D said it best when he said play the game for yourself, or something along those lines. If you truly are playing a character with 0 personality or traits, you're probably leading a pretty boring Arm career and won't have much fun in the process. Then again, is it even POSSIBLE to have a character without ANY personality? I for one, highly doubt it. I believe every decision your character makes will shape their personality. Whether or not they have character traits, quirks, or a cool background, every choice contributes your character's...character.

Although I like to keep my backgrounds fairly simple, I do think it's important to have a good idea who your character is, where they are coming from, and why they do the things they do. I'll never draw my character's entire personality before even beginning their story because I find building character as I go along the most enjoyable part of Arm.

So my advice is: start off simple, maybe with a few quirks, then expand and grow.
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Lithium

  • Posts: 414
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #61 on: August 28, 2010, 01:59:18 AM »
I avoid going into great detail about my PC's initial backgrounds. I avoid trying to come up with detailed personalities for them. I've done that, and failed to live up to the details I created in advance. I don't come up with accents in advance - and I even try not to invent mannerisms prior to the hall of kings.

Agreed

Aaron Goulet

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #62 on: August 28, 2010, 02:38:29 AM »
I just lost my long-ass response, so I'll try to summarize:

From what I have read, people seem to be under the impression that having a detailed background makes for a rigid character and that "winging it" results in a fluid character, but the truth is that the two are not mutually exclusive; it depends entirely on how willing players are to let their characters react and adapt when faced with new circumstances.  A problem usually only arises when someone treats their character's personality as an immutable thing, or when they are too specific when setting goals before getting into the game.  When you are creating a character, all you are doing is giving yourself a starting point.  Regardless of how you do it, all meaningful character development happens in the game (but only if you let it).

One of the concerns I have with "winging it" is that, in the beginning, the resulting characters tend to be pretty boring.  They have nothing to talk about, and they usually don't exhibit any "unique" behaviors that inspire curiosity; in short, there is no reason to get to know them.  I'm generalizing, of course, but I see it enough to think that it's worth mentioning.  Also, I've witnessed people recycle speech patterns, mannerisms, and even personalities, possibly without even realizing it.  It is human nature to gravitate toward the comfortable and the familiar, after all.

Again, this isn't the case with everyone (I've seen some amazing exceptions) and in the end, I think that both character creation methods even out after a few days' played; I'm an advocate for fleshing out your character for the sole reason that you actually have something to start with.
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jstorrie

  • Posts: 4564
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #63 on: August 28, 2010, 03:33:44 AM »
I always just wing it. Accordingly, I'm only ever playing one of five different characters:

- angry jstorrie
- kindly jstorrie
- stupid jstorrie
- sad jstorrie
- stoned jstorrie

However, people I play with frequently generally say they like me.

I don't bring this up to toot my own horn, but instead to suggest different strokes for different strokes, man. Most PCs will gravitate towards other characters whom their players find enjoyable, and groups of people with tastes for similar play will group together. Often, the most memorable characters for me aren't the ones who I put the most work into, but the ones who end up in a group with 3-6 other players whose playstyles I enjoy quite a lot.

This doesn't mean they're better players, and it doesn't mean the players I have less fun around are worse players. I liked Salarr Expansion Division more than I liked, say, Laila and Paryl's Jade Sabers, but neither group was made of better players or better people. Different people have different playstyles and what X-D likes doesn't have to be the same as what Thunkkin likes. There's plenty of room for everybody?

Barzalene

  • Posts: 7725
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #64 on: August 28, 2010, 03:57:28 AM »
In the end, you don't have to please anyone but you with your pc concept. If you don't like lengthy backgrounds, and you can fill out a vague outline, that's great. If you want to write a novel for each pc, and work from that, that's fine.
Both are EQUALLY valid. And so is everything in between.
What isn't valid is to not form any personality that isn't somehow code based.
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Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Aaron Goulet

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2010, 12:50:18 PM »
In the end, you don't have to please anyone but you with your pc concept. If you don't like lengthy backgrounds, and you can fill out a vague outline, that's great. If you want to write a novel for each pc, and work from that, that's fine.
Both are EQUALLY valid. And so is everything in between.
What isn't valid is to not form any personality that isn't somehow code based.

Exactly.
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Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #66 on: December 15, 2016, 06:00:32 PM »
Worth a bump, motherfuckers.
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boog

  • Posts: 10115
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #67 on: December 15, 2016, 06:16:52 PM »
A little excessive, and I think I've posted this link before, but I love using it:

http://roleplayingtips.com/articles/character_questionnaire.php
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Akaramu

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #68 on: December 16, 2016, 11:43:29 AM »
Something I couldn't have picked up from any guide I learned from a Fathi (and a bit from Reiloth) character: how to write amazing, interesting feels. I used to have no idea that feels can express so much more than a simple emotion. But now I can be a special butterfly too!

Play a mindbender sometime and befriend interesting characters. It's like roleplaying school for experts.  ;D

Miradus

  • Posts: 1415
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #69 on: December 16, 2016, 11:45:46 AM »
I just recently learned how to use "think" and also how to use that "say (Looking stupid) blah blah blah" thing.

But I still forgot to do it when an active conversation is going on. :(

Riev

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2016, 12:14:51 PM »
my favorite feels are like

You feel like him falling down those stairs face first would make your day.
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Malken

  • Posts: 8934
Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #71 on: December 16, 2016, 12:19:58 PM »
After 15+ years, "think" is still really hard for me because I feel like I'm explaining to myself why I'm doing/saying what I'm saying and while I understand the concept, it still feels weird.

But now that I'm knee-deep into the academia clique community and that I do love hearing the sound of my own voice, I'm hoping that think and feel will come much more easier for me.
“When I was a fighting man, the kettle-drums they beat;
The people scattered gold-dust before my horse’s feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.”

Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #72 on: December 16, 2016, 12:27:26 PM »
After 15+ years, "think" is still really hard for me because I feel like I'm explaining to myself why I'm doing/saying what I'm saying and while I understand the concept, it still feels weird.

But now that I'm knee-deep into the academia clique community and that I do love hearing the sound of my own voice, I'm hoping that think and feel will come much more easier for me.

To me, it's not difficult to do thinks/feels. I quite literally wonder what my PC is thinking or feeling, and I replicate it. Once you start doing it, it's sort of addictive, and you can't stop. It really helps me get into the psyche of my PC, rather than the skin-deep motives/goals.

Maybe they say something nice to someone, but just below the surface, they hate their guts.

Maybe they are so disgusted with how someone is dressed, but they compliment them on their clothing.

Beyond the duplicity, I also use feels/thinks to re-enact memories, or sometimes psychotic breaks. The character I think Akaramu is referencing is Lantry Stetson, a Byn Sergeant who was the sole survivor of a Gith attack (background, before play). His best friend, Clay, would haunt Lantry both in his dreams and his waking life. He would see him in a mirage out on a desert training trip, or he would see him sharpening his blade at weapon maintenance. Depending on Lantry's state of mind, Clay was either infrequent or very frequent. Things like...

>feel like the image of the weathered, claw-ripped man hovers off in the mirage horizon, waving to you gently.

Feels / Thoughts are great because they give people watching your PC greater insight into a real character. I highly recommend doing them often.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

Raptor_Dan

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #73 on: December 16, 2016, 12:39:03 PM »
Sometimes it helps to explain to yourself why you're doing the things you're doing. By objectifying your internal responses, you can shed more light on the motivations for your actions, and perhaps discover that the reason you're doing something is not what you thought it was...

...though most just reinforce their own confirmation biases.

Alternatively, you're also explaining to others why you're doing what you're doing. Some may mistake your actions at face value, and believe you're acting how they would act in that situation, for the same reasons, when in reality, your motivations could be entirely different than they may seem.

I can judge you IG all day, but to assume I know your motivations and true intentions, without psionic powers, or probing further than the surface, would be just naive and put myself at a disadvantage when dealing with you.
I'm just looking for a general consensus. Or Moe's opinion. Either one generally can be accepted as canon.

Akaramu

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2016, 12:52:26 PM »
After 15+ years, "think" is still really hard for me because I feel like I'm explaining to myself why I'm doing/saying what I'm saying and while I understand the concept, it still feels weird.

That's how I felt for a looooong time, but eventually I started doing them more and more and now it feels weird to stop. I tone it down a lot outside of solo rp, though.

In Dreams

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #75 on: December 16, 2016, 02:37:13 PM »
I've only really embraced it much recently, but I've found it very fun to explore my PC's psyche. I don't think solo RP would be possible without it.

RogueGunslinger

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2016, 07:06:04 PM »
Just play consistently. Your own real life personality will be interesting enough to be entertaining and fun and the more you play the more you can build onto that. No matter how bland you think you might be your attitude, quirks and responses will make for compelling character as long as youre around enough for it to show through. So dont die or store.

Delirium

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2016, 09:35:55 PM »
Gotta disagree completely with that. Playing your real personality sounds like a recipe for disaster.  And lazy, to boot.

That isn't to say you can't have things in common with your character, but I'd argue the ideal is to have someone who is entirely a separate person, not just a fantasy avatar of yourself. I guess whatever floats your boat as long as you're staying true to the gameworld?

Playing yourself in an rpg kinda defeats the purpose of an rpg though.
"Our whole lives are just stories." - Vikings

Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #78 on: December 19, 2016, 09:37:28 PM »
Agreed with Delirium. Most of the fun for me is playing a PC that's the total opposite of who I am IRL.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

Patuk

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #79 on: December 19, 2016, 09:37:53 PM »
It's okay, RGS. You can still have fun.
Quote
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This tastes like ordinary meat.
There is nothing left now.

WarriorPoet

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2016, 09:42:40 PM »
I pretty much play my own personality. I just magnify parts of it and get to enjoy pursuing violent impulses, acting terribly, and treating everyone like shit.
We were somewhere near the Shield Wall, on the edge of the Red Desert, when the drugs began to take hold...

Miradus

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2016, 09:55:52 PM »
I am trying to branch out and play different types of characters but I find there are a few key elements that tend to slip through from my own personality.

Sort of like if you have a favorite author you start to see certain character traits in multiple novels, even if they don't involve the same characters and settings.

Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2016, 10:02:45 PM »
It's okay, RGS. You can still have fun.

I think this is also true, too. Do whatever floats your boat!
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

BadSkeelz

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2016, 10:14:37 PM »
Want to be interesting? React.

Have your characters react to things in the game world: things someone says, emotes from other PCs, echoes of virtual life.
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You really think BadSkeelz understands the concept of Wine In Front of me? This guy shot me as a townie when he felt threatened. The man's a neandrathal.

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Raptor_Dan

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #84 on: December 19, 2016, 10:34:54 PM »
You are never playing someone new, or different, and, in the same vein, you can never play yourself.

The depth of roleplay available on Armageddon allows for a more meaningful and divergent foray into our own psyche that differs from regular 'playing a role' that most experiences offer.

You cannot escape yourself. You will always have key differences that shine through in each char, but they are only your own magnified facets, and do not be afraid to admit and embrace that, because the light that shines through those facets is 100% unique and absolutely beautiful, even when it's terrible. You cannot escape yourself...

...but if you want to make a really interesting char, permit yourself to escape.
I'm just looking for a general consensus. Or Moe's opinion. Either one generally can be accepted as canon.

Miradus

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #85 on: December 19, 2016, 10:37:37 PM »
What if I react to things that aren't there? How interesting would I be then?


Raptor_Dan

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #86 on: December 19, 2016, 11:24:41 PM »
Feel and think are great for that, Miradus, but I really, really wish I could target things with think and feel.

feel ~miradus is going to kill you later this week.

I'm just looking for a general consensus. Or Moe's opinion. Either one generally can be accepted as canon.

Akaramu

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #87 on: December 20, 2016, 06:35:43 AM »
Feel and think are great for that, Miradus, but I really, really wish I could target things with think and feel.

feel ~miradus is going to kill you later this week.

YES! That would be fabulous.   8)

RogueGunslinger

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #88 on: December 20, 2016, 09:48:13 AM »
Gotta disagree completely with that. Playing your real personality sounds like a recipe for disaster.  And lazy, to boot.

That isn't to say you can't have things in common with your character, but I'd argue the ideal is to have someone who is entirely a separate person, not just a fantasy avatar of yourself. I guess whatever floats your boat as long as you're staying true to the gameworld?

Playing yourself in an rpg kinda defeats the purpose of an rpg though.

I think people put more of themselves into their characters than most realize, but that's kinda of beside my point. I'm not saying you have to or should play yourself, I'm saying that's all you need for an interesting character.

You don't need to try too hard to make some super interesting character with convoluted backstory and incredibly well fleshed out history and likes and dislikes, quirks or fears. You'll be interesting enough just being who you are. There's nothing you need to do that is hard or special to be an interesting character, you just have to play consistently, survive, and you will make friends and enemies.

You don't have to be an amazing creative writer to do it.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 10:17:54 AM by RogueGunslinger »

Miradus

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #89 on: December 20, 2016, 11:15:11 AM »
My backstories (backgrounds) are often pretty plain.

I like to live all the really good parts of a character's history, not document then. I like to think there's more life ahead of the character than behind them.

Reiloth

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #90 on: December 20, 2016, 11:46:54 AM »
I sort of waffle between having a complex background, to a tabla rosa background, and let the game change my PC, in both instances.

The complex background can offer an interesting twist to my PC's reactions -- I know how I, the Player, might respond, but it forces me to think "How would the PC respond?" Which can be challenging, and sometimes more stimulating. I find this to be especially true when i'm playing other races, especially city elves.

The tabla rosa background can offer a more 'in the moment' sort of gameplay for me. I have to pay closer attention to what's going on around my PC, and shape the PC to those events, rather than have them exclusively 'react'. As there aren't as many past incidents to compare to and think "How would the PC react?" I find myself reacting more as how I, the player, would react, and it can actually feel more immersive in a Virtual Reality sense.

As with most things, there's a middle way between the two extremes.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

nauta

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Re: How to make an interesting character
« Reply #91 on: December 20, 2016, 11:51:34 AM »
I usually have basic bitch as a background.  I too prefer to be boring virtually and exciting in the game, although I usually have a cache of stories about mother, father, brothers, cousins, etc., to fill out the boring times (most of these plagiarised from past characters and/or NPC backgrounds I've come across, I admit, with enough mutatis mutandis to make it different).

One thing to add to all of this: embrace the documentation.  There's the standard documentation about fear of magick, disgust at breeds, distrust with elves, etc.  But there's also rich documentation among the tribes and d-elves, at least; there's your relationship with the Highlord for those in Allanak; if you are playing a non-coded nomad you should have some cultural docs of your own; elves have all sorts of neat built-in quirks; there's the Sandlord in Storm; etc. etc.

All of this can add up pretty fast, and help flesh out your character's personality and past.  It's like free stories.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 11:57:40 AM by nauta »
Your mulish noble mindbender with a secret base warded against apparitions of psychically projected ankheg janitors.