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 Character Creation Tips

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The Dreamweaver

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Posts : 57
Join date : 2012-01-24
Age : 26

PostSubject: Character Creation Tips   Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:53 am

Creating a character is the first step and core of all forays into roleplaying. They are your viewpoint and your vehicle for everything you do. The task of, in effect, creating a complete imaginary person can be daunting at first, but many find that their character completes themselves. Once a concept and skeleton history is laid out, often ideas solidify and details fall into place as you roleplay. The first step is a concept.

Character Concept

What kind of character would you like to roleplay? A curmudgeonly old man with powerful arcane magics? An enthusiastic and naive youngster, set on being the paragon of knightly honor? Maybe an avaricious mercenary with anger management issues. Once you've decided on a concept, think about how they got there and what made them that way – An old man doesn't grow curmudgeonly living a life of ease, surrounded by friends and family and a youngster doesn't hang on to naiveté long in a harsh environment. Once you have a concept and the beginnings of a personality down, it's time to decide on a character history.


Character History

This may sound like a lot of work at first, but there's no need to chronicle your character's entire life from birth to present – In fact it's often best to leave some gray areas and wiggle room in case you later decide to revise or bring to light new things in your character's past. It is good however to come up with some basic ideas on where they've come from. What is their family like? How big is it? Do they have a family? Friends? What experiences growing up shaped them into how they are today? How might where they grew up, cultural institutions, religion, and organizations in the setting have affected them? What viewpoints and contacts with NPCs and other roleplayers might their history have given them? Having laid out the character's concept and how they got to be that way, it's time to get more specific.


Motivations


What does your character want? Fame? Money? Good friends and good times? Humble service to his or her chosen patron deity? What motivates your character will serve as a rudder in their interactions with others and the decisions they make for themselves. This often grows naturally out of character concept or history.


Quirks


What makes your character unique? Are they very tall? Have a reedy, high voice? A habit of scratching their cheek when they're nervous? Utterly convinced that horses are disease-ridden vermin just waiting for a chance to spread their insidious pestilence? Little details can add an extra dimension to your character, and can be unique and defining as they fall back on old habits time and again.


Ask Questions

If you don't know something or want more information on something (Like the state of the war in Skyrim, how the specific guild runs in Riften, the nuances of the Thalmor in each of the holds, how the academy itself runs, the sorts of interests current academy members hold, etc.) then ASK! Many members of Frozen Ambitions are interested and involved in rooting out every last bit of Skyrim lore. We'd be happy to answer questions, provide information, and help you create an interesting and rounded character.

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A (Very) Brief List of Common Cliches

Some things that may seem like a great idea at character genesis turn out later to be potential pitfalls to making your character fully fleshed out, believable, and enjoyable to roleplay and be roleplayed with. None of these are ironclad "do not do" rules, but are presented to make new roleplayers aware of possible hurdles to making a truly interesting and original character. If you have a concept you're dying to try out that's inseparable from one of these, by all means try it! Just be careful you don't go careening off the edge of walking cliche or other roleplayers may have difficulty taking you and your character seriously.


The Lone Wolf – Who wouldn't want a strong, independent character who could care less if the world around them went up in smoke? It's an appealing idea, and one that can lead to a very stand-out character if done well. On the other side of the coin it often leads to difficulty getting involved in roleplaying sessions as your character stands on the sidelines, being independent. Lone Wolves are often unfriendly, and chasing away other characters with a stern look is loads of fun right up until you realize that now you have no one to roleplay with.


The Dark Past – Tragic, dark, or villainous pasts is a great way to add a lot of zest to a character in a hurry. It's also a potential way of making other characters uncomfortable, especially if your character's history is alluded to often. No one's life is idyllic, so don't shy away from conflict or hard times if that's the angle you'd like to take; just keep a mind towards moderation. A character with loads of baggage can scare off others and become difficult to roleplay.


Vengeance – A timeless theme, and a powerful one. It can serve as a very strong motivator for your character... And an obsession that keeps them from taking advantage of what is going on in the community. Other characters will probably not care about your character's vendetta unless it involves them too, or they come to care about your character as the result of roleplay interaction. Even then they may shy away from taking a direct hand in exacting payback.


Amnesia – A very popular choice; after all, it saves you the trouble of coming up with a backstory, generates an interesting quirk, and gives a motivation all at the same time! Three for the price of one, right? The difficulty is that no backstory can actually become a handicap as you attempt to flesh out your character, find reasons for why they are the way they are, and dig for things they can talk about. Add this to the fact that it really is VERY popular – amnesics are a dime a dozen, and the idea's been nearly beaten to death. There's also a danger of it cheapening your roleplay, doubly so since as above mentioned, chances are nobody will care that your character is amnesic until they get to know them.


The Epic Hero - It can be tempting to make a heroic character with a hidden past, grand destiny, and mastery of unique artifacts or powers. Every epic needs a hero, and someone needs to fill the role, right? Well, not really. This is an MMO and nobody gets to be the hero, or even necessarily all that special. If others have difficulty relating to your character, they'll have difficulty roleplaying with you.


Other Origin – This is the only one I'll directly condemn. Saying that your character comes from another planet, another dimension, Era, or modern day Earth changes the world setting of Skyrim into something else. It means that either your character is insane or that Skyrim is part of a metaverse – something beyond the scope of Elder Scrolls. This is something to be avoided (unless your character is in fact a nutter and simply thinks they're from somewhere else).


There are of course others not covered here, but this list is meant to be illustrative and not exhaustive. If you're concerned your character concept may be overdone or want a bit of help with creative tweaks, don't hesitate to approach us with questions!
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