There's the basic stuff:
But then there's some things I like to focus down on.
Elliot Almond, one of my favorite characters to have played, started out as a mishmash of six different personalities that were all downloaded into his brain. Here's the basics of his personality(s).
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Default: Dapper Dog. A Diamond Dog imprinted with a high class personality. Hates being called a diamond dog
Fighting: A heavyweight boxer who was generally an underdog
Transportation: A new york noir style cabby.
Healing: A field medic during a land grab war in an early era. WW1 style.
Social: A bartender during the pony prohabition.
Mental: A system mechanic from the near future.
But when I ended up trying to play him, they all sort of merged together into a cohesive whole that was really fun because of how multifaceted it was.
I'm not saying that every character should do something like this, but coming up with four to six personality traits can really help give the character some flavor for different situations.
A lot of RP is very much based on character interaction and development. Characters should change and develop over time through exposure to the story and other players/characters. This could be something as simple as going from hating everything to only hating certain things, or as complex as going from loving life to being bitter and reclusive.
The wants and desires of a character are very important, so figuring out a few of these can be really helpful. Here's some things to keep in mind:
- Try and find four to six things that help define the characters personality.
- Are they a neat freak?
- Do they train regularly for a sport or instrument?
- How is their relationship with their parents? With their friends?
- Fears, Loves, and Identity are all very important.
- There will probably be combat of sorts in any game, so think of how your character learned to fight. Did they play baseball, and so know how to use a bat? Are they into Autocross, and so know how to do stunt driving? Do they practice a martial art? Etc.
Negative Traits, Flaws, botched rolls, blunders, and personality
No character is complete without a set of flaws. Some systems like Savage Worlds actively encourage this with Hindrances. But you have to remember that there's no real way for the DM to enforce that you play them. You have to proactively let flaws and hindrances flavor your character. This can come up through character interaction, but another important thing to think about are botched rolls.
Some game systems have a kind of "redo" button that lets you undo a botch. While this can be good, sometimes it's better to let it slide and play out the consequences.
The main thing that separates a min-maxed munchkin Mary Sue from a full and fleshed out character is realistic actions, reactions, and consequences to actions.
If a character accidentally punches a Chimera in the face before giving it a chance to explain itself, don't back down. Deal with the consequences. If you fail your sailing roll and fly off the boat, don't undo it. Let the character deal with it. It builds up a report with the other players, and it builds up your character.
A person is basically the sum of their experiences. Good, bad, it doesn't matter. They all affect the character of a person. This is true for fake people too.
The Separation Between Player Knowledge and Character Knowledge
Always be sure that you don't metagame. At the least it can be annoying, and at the worst it can break a game. If you know something that your character has no way of knowing, Don't Let It Influence them. If your character suspects that a building is a front for the mob, and would normally charge through the door at full speed arms swinging, then have them do that. Even if you, as the player, know that there's really a family of nuns living inside. Then deal with the consequences as they happen.
As always, feel free to post in here for help from me or the other people in the thread.
I didn't inhale
- Joined: Feb 14, 2011
- Gender: Male