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 How To Create A Great Character: A RP Guide

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PostSubject: How To Create A Great Character: A RP Guide   Wed 7 Dec - 19:07

Hello Players

Below is a guide, especially for those new to creative RP, on how to make a compelling character that will not only provide you with exciting RP but will thrill others to RP with you. It is my hopes that this guide will help those newer to RP or are looking for tips and tricks on to how to flesh their character out. I hope you enjoy reading.

So you want a character that you will not only enjoy playing, but others will enjoy playing around. There is a certain art to molding a character from concept to reality. Characters start with a simple idea or goal in mind. When famous writers first designed their characters, they initially placed themselves in the situation they are writing to ask themselves how they would react. It is this practice that makes a character feel real, because their actions reflect those the writer would do. The more 'real' your character feels, the more compelling they are and can become.

It is very easy to make a character that is good at everything. You can easily make a character that can climb mountains with their bare hands with no harness equipment as if they were just running up a slightly inclined hill or make ones that can fell armies by simply glaring at them. Not only is this unrealistic, but it is not fun to RP around this character, at least not for me. Sure, your character may be awesome in your eyes and have all the right answers to every situation, but that doesn't make them special. That makes them hollow and uncreative, no matter how much effort you think you put into them. A good RP world doesn't want Supermans or He-Mans. These are cliches and they should be avoided.

How to make a character feel real?

Flaws: Have them!

A character is the extension of a person. It is the persona of an individual in a fictional setting. A good character has strengths that define who they are and a backstory fleshed out. Great characters have flaws, weaknesses, fears, and most of all make mistakes.

"If there is one thing the people love more than a hero, it is to see a hero fail. Fall. Die trying" - The Green Goblin, Spiderman.

Why is Spiderman more popular than Superman? Give a moment to ask yourself this question before continuing to read. The answer will be: Because Spiderman is flawed.

Don't try to dig into it too much. Think inside the box on this and try not to justify anything. We all know Superman has his kryptonite that provides him with some weakness, but otherwise he is portrayed as invincible. That is the perception.

Flaws give a character a sense of vulnerability, that they are not invincible, immortal, or have all the answers. A flaw makes a character more unique, more realistic. Flaws can range from physical weaknesses to psychological ones. Hot-headed, shy, lazy, reluctant: all flaws. Blind, deaf, physically weak, sickly: also all flaws. What's your character's personality or physical flaw?

Fears

A great character can be fearless, or put on the visage that he or she is, but deep down he has them. He has a deep, dark secret somewhere, or he's afraid of something simple. We all know Indiana Jones is this great hero who dives fearlessly into archeological ruins, but he's also afraid of snakes! So give your character a fear, whether a minor one or something absurd. Be creative about it and consistent.

Backstories!

A character does not need to have an epic backstory to make them great. They don't need to be Luke Skywalkers with an epic past but a modest upbringing. I'm not saying these can't be great characters but I am saying that you don't need that type of backstory. If you look at Frodo Baggins, you realize that there is nothing special about him. He is the smallest, least experienced fighter of a fellowship of skilled combatants, yet he carries the greatest burden of them all. Despite his upbringing, he is a great character.

When writing backstories, beat back those persisting tendencies that make your character seem the center of the universe. These characters take more than they give and other players will find themselves rolling their eyes everytime your character approaches theirs. Try something subtle with an interesting twist that flung your character into where they are today. It is the present time you build on, not the backstory, that develops them into great characters. Are they the victim of losing their family to war? Are they searching the lands to find some way to remove a curse that was struck onto them? Or are they the ambitious adventurer setting out to explore the world? There are infinite possibilites, so use them!

Accept That There Will be Comparisons

Fiction has been around for centuries. Every character you come up with will have someone else similar to them, whether obscure or obvious. Accept that. Instead of stressing out that "Oh my character is just like X," do something that makes him different from X. That makes you not only striving to be original despite the comparisons, but shows your willingness to be creative. Players may sit there and think your character is like someone else's character or that they are just like a famous character, but do they know the details? What are you doing that sets that character apart from those comparisons? If you can answer that thoughtfully, then your character is NOT like Character X.

Use Lore To Your Advantage

Star Wars Universe is a rich setting filled with backstories and pre-made settings. Not everyone can write creatively enough and to many that is a detriment. Use Lore! It's right there for the taking. In moments you could make a character from a setting anywhere within the Galaxy and already have rich amounts of backstory. It doesn't take a loremaster to be able to close your eyes, pick a spot on the map, and research the area your finger landed on. Use lore to help in writing your character's origin, fleshing out their goals, and connecting things along their travels.

Likes, Dislikes: The Whole Nine Yards

What does your character like to eat? What is their favorite food? Favorite color? The more you know about your character, the more real they feel. Write up a list of things they like and what they don't like. The difference between a good character and a great character is not one defining detail, but a thousand little ones!

Know Your Alignment

Knowing your alignment can help fill in the gaps of your character's morality. You don't always have to follow it to the exact letter, because characters, as well as people, often shift back and forth from one thing to another. However, knowing your alignment and how to play it can be very helpful. If you're a evil character that tends to donate to poor people, that is not an evil action. That is a good (light side) action. So know your alignment and what is Dark Side, Light Side, Lawful, Chaos, Good, Evil and Neutral. They have definitions, so know the differences.

Adapt and Conquer!

Your character is supposed to learn and adapt as any intelligent being would do. They change their views, opinions, and generally at times question themseleves. Everyone does that. So should your character! Don't be afraid to have your character to grow and learn as they go. They could change their views on one thing whether for good or for worse.

Star Wars recognizes Light and Dark side alignment axis but the thing is that there is more than black and white. This guide will help you learn more about all existing 9 alignments.

WHAT IS ALIGNMENT?

A creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.

Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

GOOD VS EVIL

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.

Being good or evil can be a conscious choice. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose. Being neutral on the good-evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these folk maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place for people, or at least for them.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.

LAW VS CHAOS

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties.

Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

"Law" implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmental, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the lawful-chaotic axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.

THE NINE ALIGNMENTS

Nine distinct alignments define all the possible combinations of the lawful-chaotic axis with the good-evil axis. Each alignment description below depicts a typical character of that alignment. Remember that individuals vary from this norm, and that a given character may act more or less in accord with his or her alignment from day to day. Use these descriptions as guidelines, not as scripts.

The first six alignments, lawful good through chaotic neutral, are the standard alignments for player characters. The three evil alignments are for monsters and villains.

Lawful Good, "Crusader"

A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.
Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.
Lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Neutral Good, "Benefactor"

A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.
Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order.
Neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Chaotic Good, "Rebel"

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.
Chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment because it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Lawful Neutral, "Judge"

A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.
Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
Lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

True Neutral, "Undecided"

A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil-after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.
Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.
Neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit"

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.
Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.
Chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Lawful Evil, "Dominator"

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.
This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.
Lawful evil creatures consider their alignment to be the best because it combines honor with a dedicated self-interest.
Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.

Neutral Evil, "Malefactor"

A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.
Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.
Neutral evil beings consider their alignment to be the best because they can advance themselves without regard for others.
Neutral evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents pure evil without honor and without variation.

Chaotic Evil, "Destroyer"

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.
Chaotic evil is sometimes called "demonic" because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil.
Chaotic evil beings believe their alignment is the best because it combines self-interest and pure freedom.
Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

Final Remarks

It is my hope that this guide will help those new to RP create an interesting and compelling character that will bring forth great RP to those they interact with. Remember that this is a guide and not a requirement to follow. You may find yourself against some or all of the points of this guide. If so, then that is your style, so do what you feel is right for you and your character. I hope that this helps those who read learn something from it that can improve their character's development. Get creative, fall in love with your character's growth, and most importantly: have fun!
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