Author Topic: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them  (Read 2152 times)

Taven

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Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« on: February 26, 2009, 07:49:32 PM »
Biographies and How to Use Them

Code: [Select]
Biography           (Character)

   As the name of this command suggests, this command allows a player to
access/annotate a historical account of their character's life.  Its
intention is to provide a means to update a character's story beyond his
or her initial background as significant events unfold.  Entries made into
a character's biography must conform to the same standards and style of a
background.

Notes:
   It is strongly suggested that you not use this command in rooms with
message boards, to avoid inadvertently writing personal information to
the boards rather than one's biography.

   Be advised that this is not to be used as a personal diary, blog or
notepad.  This is not an electronic sticky pad to jot down ideas, thoughts,
or things to remember.  A good rule of thumb is to write entries where your
intended audience is expecting to read and be enlightened by the story of
your character's life.

   You may not delete your initial background.  The delete functionality is
provided mainly as a courtesy in the event there are problems during adding
an entry.

   You should 'save' after adding an entry to your character's biography to
avoid losing any data as a result of a crash.


A few additional notes...
  • You CAN view your characters bios after death, by following this link
  • There is a limit to the number of characters in a bio; it's 16384 characters (Thank you, Fathi, for that number.) If you have written a long bio, you may have gotten a [MORE] to read the rest of it. The character limit is past nine of those [MORE] messages, maybe more. It's unlikely you'll run out of space.

Many players don't use bios. It's too hard to figure out, or too time consuming. Sometimes, you don't know what to write about, and the day-to-day things seem hard to justify writing. The formatting can be challanging at times, or you might just not have the motivation to do it. So, how are biographies used? What sorts of things are O.K. to write about, and why would you want to?

First, I want to be clear that there is no single "right" way to write a bio entry. This article contains many suggestions and ideas, but a player may well find their own preferences about bio writing, which may or may not follow along these guidelines.

If you have questions or comments on this, please don't post them here, there is a discussion thread here. Posting them here will defeat the point of the thread, which is for reference purposes only. Information here is not hard fact supported by staff, but ideas and suggestions by players of the game.


« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 01:22:57 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 07:50:42 PM »
Biography Types

History/Background

In addition to the initial background, it can often be helpful to make additional biographies outlining a character's history. It helps to further flesh out a character, their motivations, thoughts and feelings. In addition to letting you as the player better understand your PC, it can also help Staff understand your PC's actions or motivations.

Some topics you might consider for this are as follows:

  • What were your PC's previous relationships? What do they want out of a relationship? What are their views on sex?
  • What's their family like? Does the PC still talk to them?
  • What's the character's view on Magickers? What "truths" does your PC hold about them?
  • What's your PC's view of other cities? For example, what a Nakki thinks of Tuluk or visa versa.
  • What's your PC's life outlook, and what did that grow from? (Like, help others, or rob them blind? Why?
  • Has your PC ever done spice (if in 'Nak)? What type? How did they get it?
  • Is your PC law abiding? Even if they aren't, what are their views on the Law?

It's HIGHLY unlikely you'd write a bio for every single one of those things, but those are a few ideas for the sorts of things you can do. It can be helpful to have a part of the title in your biography specifiying it's type. For example, you might title a bio "Continued History: Opinions on Vile Gemmer Filth" or something similar.


Thoughts

Most biographies are usually done in the third person, although some players prefer to do them entirely in the first person. If you're doing your biographies in the third person, then switching it up a little and recording your PC's direct actual thoughts and opinions on an event (in the first person) can be refreshing. It can help capture the feel of a certain time frame, and show how your PC's thoughts have changed if you look back at it later in time. Using it in situations where a PC is moving from one culture to a different one (a tribal visiting the city, a Tuluki in a merchant house visiting Allanak, etc.) it can very accuerately show changes in thoughts and opinions over time. While you can splice these in where ever, it can be helpful to have a "Thoughts:" heading in the title. That way, it's clearly marked as being different from the other third-person bios, and will be less jarring if read at a later date.


Analyzation/Review

This is like the "Thoughts" type bio, except for people who usually write their bios in the first person. First person for establishing a mood and feel to a PC can be extremely helpful, but many times there can be other things happening that your PC just doesn't pick up on. For example, Amos the half-giant might not realize that his "pal" Malik has been taking extra coin from him, but as a player you'd notice. A bio like this can break the monotony of first person and give you a chance to anaylize events a little more. How likely do you think it is that Amos will notice? Why hasn't he yet? What might Malik be upto, even if Amos doesn't realize it? What clues did Amos miss? Generally, if not all your bios are in first person, you can work this into the "normal" body of a third-person bio. Again, a title header is suggested to help with the flow of your bios, and make the perspective change less jarring.


Event Coverage

Typically, a biography will cover one important and different event, or a series of lesser events clumped into a group. Some players prefer to only write about very important or life-latering events, but covering the day to day is perfectly acceptable too. Generally, it's best to wait until you have a significant amount of "little" things before making a bio, since it will condense the number of bio entries you have. Another helpful way to go over things, even those you have already bioed about is every IC month, or half-month, make a bio specificly for reviewing what happened in that time. If you bio as events happen, then many times they'll only have a PC's inital reaction. In the long term, how did that event effect the PC? Do they even remember or care about it anymore?


Relationships

First, don't ever make a biography with a list of sdescs and names, with a few notes about who someone is. That's simply making a list or note taking in your bios, and that's not (as the helpfiles reflect) what the biography tool is provided for. What you can do, however, is talk about people your PC has met and any significant interactions with them. What sorts of enemies does your character have? Friends? Lovers? Is that lover just a convient place for sex, are you using them for something, or do you love them and want a family?


Others

The types of biography entries you make and what topic you pick to make them on is only limited by your imagination. Remember that they're there to tell and record your character's story, and aren't a list of facts. If you're worried an entry might seem too note-like then it never hurts to put a blurb in the front saying why this isn't just "notes" and how it's important to your PC. That SHOULDN'T be used to justify lists, or try to get around the stated purpose of bios, but if doing a bio entry that's not the usual, it can help staff understand what your goal was.


As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 07:51:36 PM »
Bios: When and Where?

Biographies can be worked on both in game and out of game. One important thing to remember if you choose to work on a bio while logged in,  if you're in the middle of writing a biography, your character CAN'T recieve ways, something that makes it an extra challange. In the helpfiles, they suggest not writing bios in the main rooms of taverns, in case you accidentally write it on the IC boards. It's best to write a PC's bios as soon after the events you're writing about as possible, so it's fresh in your mind. Trying to play catch-up on biographies is an impossible task. So, when can a player find the time to bio, then?

If you're doing them while not logged in, then anytime you can find time is a good one. However, some people like to do them while logged into Arm, to make sure they aren't missing anything. If this is the case, it's best to do it when you aren't interacting with anyone. Bio writing while idling is a great way to accomplish everything you need to. Another secret about writing a bio while in Arm: You don't have to finish a bio all in one sitting! At any time, you can type ".q" and continue playing the game as you please (but you should remember to "save" yourself after that.) If someone finds your mind, you can quickly type ".q" and not miss what they'll try to way you. At anytime you can do "bio edit <bio #>" and go back to revise your biography entry. Don't be afraid to make a biography entry and stick a "will finish later" in it, just to keep your titles in chronological order. That's a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Just remember, when you die, all your bios will be as they were at that time, including any unfinished ones.


« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 06:03:27 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 07:52:01 PM »
Ugh, bios AND reports?

Leader-type PCs are often required to send in email reports to their staff to keep them up to date. It can feel like you're just repeating the same thing in your bios and your reports, and get to be a tedious, unpleasent chore. There's a secret, however, and that's that bios can HELP you with your reports. That's right, a leader PC can make their reports shorter if they bio, and also make it easier for their staff to read. Basically, you'd outline an event and all the vital information about it in the report, as a blurb. Then you'd say, in bio "this title," #x there's more detailed information. That will make your reports shorter, easier to read, and still allow staff all the information they might need. If your reports are shorter, the most important things can be adressed faster.
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Jdr

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 08:12:47 PM »
I like to do my bios in 'diary' format, though. Why isn't this allowed when it makes the most sense to me? It's just as valid a form of literature as any other style.
Rickey's Law: People don't want "A story". They want their story.

Agent_137

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 08:35:24 PM »
I like to do my bios in 'diary' format, though. Why isn't this allowed when it makes the most sense to me? It's just as valid a form of literature as any other style.

is this the rule you are referring to?0
" Be advised that this is not to be used as a personal diary, blog or notepad.  This is not an electronic sticky pad to jot down ideas, thoughts, or things to remember.  "

I think it means you can't write about YOURSELF the player extensively. The bio must be focused on your character, his doings, his thoughts, etc. This means you can still write it as a  1st person diary by them,  or  from a 3rd person perspective.

Jingo

  • Posts: 4791
Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 08:36:51 PM »
oops. Ignore this.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 08:39:51 PM by Jingo »
Now you're looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.

Taven

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 08:37:37 PM »
If you have questions or comments on this, please don't post them here, but make a seperate thread. Posting them here will defeat the point of the thread, which is for reference purposes only.

Added: The discussion thread is here.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 01:23:42 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: Biographies and How to Use Them
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 10:42:48 AM »
        I've revised the article into something that's more submission form. I'm hoping to get any issues that may be lurking wrapped up before I submit it.




Biographies and How to Use Them

Many players don't use bios. It's too hard to figure out, or too time consuming. Sometimes, you don't know what to write about, and the day-to-day things seem hard to justify writing. The formatting can be challanging at times, or you might just not have the motivation to do it. So, how are biographies used? What sorts of things are O.K. to write about, and why would you want to? First, I want to be clear that there is no single "right" way to write a bio entry. This article contains many suggestions and ideas, but a player may well find their own preferences about bio writing, which may or may not follow along these guidelines.

Bio Tips and Tricks

There are a few things about bios that newer players, or even older players unfamiliar with the command, may not know.

  • You CAN view your characters bios after death, by following this link and clicking on the magnifying glass next to a PC's name.
  • There is a limit to the number of characters in a bio, you may have upto 16384 characters. If you have written a long bio, you may have gotten a [MORE] to read the rest of it. The character limit is at least past nine of those [MORE] messages, so it's unlikely you'll run out of space. If you do, you can continue the bio in a seperate biography.
  • You can also add character biographies without being online, or after their death. You do this by following the same link you'd use to view character bios, except you click on the green plus next to a PC's name.
  • You can always come back to a biography and edit it, if your PC isn't dead, but when you make a bio it will have the IC date of the time it was made added to it where you view it on the online tool.


Biography Types

History/Background

In addition to the initial background, it can often be helpful to make additional biographies outlining a character's history. It helps to further flesh out a character, their motivations, thoughts and feelings. In addition to letting you as the player better understand your PC, it can also help Staff understand your PC's actions or motivations.

Some topics you might consider for this are as follows:

  • What were your PC's previous relationships? What do they want out of a relationship? What are their views on sex?
  • What's their family like? Does the PC still talk to them?
  • What's the character's view on Magickers? What "truths" does your PC hold about them?
  • What's your PC's view of other cities? For example, what a Nakki thinks of Tuluk or visa versa.
  • What's your PC's life outlook, and what did that grow from? (Like, help others, or rob them blind? Why?
  • Has your PC ever done spice (if in 'Nak)? What type? How did they get it?
  • Is your PC law abiding? Even if they aren't, what are their views on the Law?

It's HIGHLY unlikely you'd write a bio for every single one of those things, but those are a few ideas for the sorts of things you can do. It can be helpful to have a part of the title in your biography specifiying it's type. For example, you might title a bio "Continued History: Opinions on Vile Gemmer Filth" or something similar.

Thoughts

Most biographies are usually done in the third person, although some players prefer to do them entirely in the first person. If you're doing your biographies in the third person, then switching it up a little and recording your PC's direct actual thoughts and opinions on an event (in the first person) can be refreshing. It can help capture the feel of a certain time frame, and show how your PC's thoughts have changed if you look back at it later in time. Using it in situations where a PC is moving from one culture to a different one (a tribal visiting the city, a Tuluki in a merchant house visiting Allanak, etc.) it can very accuerately show changes in thoughts and opinions over time. While you can splice these in where ever, it can be helpful to have a "Thoughts:" heading in the title. That way, it's clearly marked as being different from the other third-person bios, and will be less jarring if read at a later date.

Analyzation/Review

This is like the "Thoughts" type bio, except for people who usually write their bios in the first person. First person for establishing a mood and feel to a PC can be extremely helpful, but many times there can be other things happening that your PC just doesn't pick up on. For example, Amos the half-giant might not realize that his "pal" Malik has been taking extra coin from him, but as a player you'd notice. A bio like this can break the monotony of first person and give you a chance to anaylize events a little more. How likely do you think it is that Amos will notice? Why hasn't he yet? What might Malik be upto, even if Amos doesn't realize it? What clues did Amos miss? Generally, if not all your bios are in first person, you can work this into the "normal" body of a third-person bio. Again, a title header is suggested to help with the flow of your bios, and make the perspective change less jarring.

Event Coverage

Typically, a biography will cover one important and different event, or a series of lesser events clumped into a group. Some players prefer to only write about very important or life-latering events, but covering the day to day is perfectly acceptable too. Generally, it's best to wait until you have a significant amount of "little" things before making a bio, since it will condense the number of bio entries you have. Another helpful way to go over things, even those you have already bioed about is every IC month, or half-month, make a bio specificly for reviewing what happened in that time. If you bio as events happen, then many times they'll only have a PC's inital reaction. In the long term, how did that event effect the PC? Do they even remember or care about it anymore?

Relationships

First, don't ever make a biography with a list of sdescs and names, with a few notes about who someone is. That's simply making a list or note taking in your bios, and that's not (as the helpfiles reflect) what the biography tool is provided for. What you can do, however, is talk about people your PC has met and any significant interactions with them. What sorts of enemies does your character have? Friends? Lovers? Is that lover just a convient place for sex, are you using them for something, or do you love them and want a family?

Others

The types of biography entries you make and what topic you pick to make them on is only limited by your imagination. Remember that they're there to tell and record your character's story, and aren't a list of facts. If you're worried an entry might seem too note-like then it never hurts to put a blurb in the front saying why this isn't just "notes" and how it's important to your PC. That SHOULDN'T be used to justify lists, or try to get around the stated purpose of bios, but if doing a bio entry that's not the usual, it can help staff understand what your goal was.


Bios: When and Where?

Biographies can be both worked on when you're logged into your character, and when you're not. The top of the article, "Tips and Tricks" has more on how to edit your biography if you aren't logged onto your PC. An unmentioned fact about writing bios when you are doing it when you're logged in, is that if you're in the middle of writing a biography, your character CAN'T recieve ways, something that makes it an extra challange. In the helpfiles, they suggest not writing bios in the main rooms of taverns, in case you accidentally write it on the IC boards. It's best to write a PC's bios as soon after the events you're writing about as possible, so it's fresh in your mind. Trying to play catch-up on biographies is an impossible task. So, when can a player find the time to bio, then?

If you're doing it while logged on, it's best to do it when there's no one around, and your PC has no IC obligations to deal with. If you have some time that is slow ICly, and no PCs immediately present, then that's the perfect oppertunity to write those bios. Another secret about logging in while writing a bio: You don't have to finish a bio all in one sitting! At any time, you can type ".q" and continue playing the game as you please (but you should remember to "save" yourself after that.) If someone finds your mind, you can quickly type ".q" and not miss what they'll try to way you. At anytime you can do "bio edit <bio #>" and go back to revise your biography entry. Don't be afraid to make a biography entry and stick a "will finish later" in it, just to keep your titles in chronological order. That's a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Just remember, when you die, all your bios will be as they were at that time, including any unfinished ones. Luckily, with the new online tool for submitting bios, you can go back and edit those. You can also add further biographies using that tool after death, so if you want to add one about the death of your PC, that's now possible.


Ugh, bios AND reports?

Leader-type PCs are often required to send in email reports to their staff to keep them up to date. It can feel like you're just repeating the same thing in your bios and your reports, and get to be a tedious, unpleasent chore. There's a secret, however, and that's that bios can HELP you with your reports. That's right, a leader PC can make their reports shorter if they bio, and also make it easier for their staff to read. Basically, you'd outline an event and all the vital information about it in the report, as a blurb. Then you'd say, in bio "this title," #x there's more detailed information. That will make your reports shorter, easier to read, and still allow staff all the information they might need. If your reports are shorter, the most important things can be adressed faster.


A Biography Example

Remember that there are many ways to do a biography, and none is really "right." However, this is an example of a biography that got a kudos from a staff member. The names have been changed, and the bio is a little out of context because it's alone and not it it's set, but the example should still be helpful.

As a Rinthi, Thalia's sole concerns were food and water.  You get them, you instantly eat them, and after you've devoured them, no one can steal them.  Anything else you get will just get stolen or forceably taken.  Thalia doesn't understand why Southies have so many -things-.  Once she would have considered a few small a fortune, but her time southside has changed that view.  Her stories she tells easily get a small per story, or at least a steak or some sort of food.  Amos has also been giving her food, and between that and mining or salting, she made over a LARGE...   With no real concept of what to do with it.  

While in the Rinth Thalia was something of a hoarder of items, it was never for the items themselves, which didn't last and got taken or stolen, but for the food they could get.  Now that her food needs are set aside, she doesn't really have a good idea of what to DO with all her coin.  Obviously, worship and give a proper amount to the Highlord, and use some to be a citizen, but what after that?  It's very interesting that -because- she's a Rinthi she doesn't feel much material need, since one might expect the opposit.  What she's taken to doing is buying anything that looks interesting for the militia, a good example being a Nenyuk-sigalled collar at Salarr.  She gave it to Amos, with no question or ask for anything, just to help and have something interesting to give.  

It's doubtful that anyone really understands how deep her lack of understanding of the value of coin goes.  The Lord Templar Hardnose gives her rewards, which boggles her, since she should be giving the militia and Templarite coin.  What probably illistrated her lack of value understanding, or her apathy towards 'Sid itself or items for her is that she bought a scroll from the herbalist.  At five small for something she couldn't use that MIGHT be interesting to the militia or a Templar, that being half of all her coin, it does tend to get the point across.  It also is interesting because even if people don't seem to realize it, Talia isn't swayed at all by money or things, so long as she has food and they would not be interesting to show the militia.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 07:51:48 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.