Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY HELP & DISCUSSION' started by Astaroth, Aug 7, 2013.

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  1. Do you have a question or problem regarding CHARACTERS? If you want to know something about or are struggling with character creation, character development, character sheets, or archetypes, just post here and a Professor or volunteer will help you!

    #1 Astaroth, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  2. I am having a major problem with making a character I can emotionally link to as well as problems keeping them in the 'Not overpowered' mode please help me.
  3. In terms of balancing your character from a combat perspective, you almost want to think of it as if you are creating someone else's character in the RP you are also in. You want that character to be fun and interesting because it adds depth to the roleplay, but also be careful not to give them too much power because then it wouldn't be fair.

    Approach it with the mindset that, "if this were someone else's character, would I feel he/she is too strong?" And make the adjustments necessary from there.

    I know that some people have trouble looking at their own characters objectively like this, because of course if you created the character you know it's yours and of course you love it! Lol. If you have trouble trying to look at your character as if it's not yours, a good guideline to follow is to have your character be really good at one (MAYBE two) combat related skills. Then give them a few things they are only okay at (3 of these skills at most), and everything else they will have little to no experience with. Think of weaknesses too! Everyone has weaknesses. Even the greatest superheroes and protagonists of our time have weaknesses. This is what makes them interesting! If Superman didn't have a weakness to kryptonite, he would be a one-dimensional, overpowered, unstoppable crime fighting machine. Kryptonite doesn't make him a worse character, it just makes him more appealing.

    My belief on this is that because every person has a weakness, reading about a character with weaknesses helps us relate to them. It helps us see past our own flaws, because our heroes and protagonists can see past theirs too. So what if Superman is weak to kryptonite? Does he curl up in a ball and stop fighting the good fight? No. He keeps going, he keeps trying. This is the type of material people love to read, because then we can see a little bit of ourselves in Superman, and a little bit of Superman, in us.

    Usually this allows for you to still create a character you think is fun, and probably even one who is strong. Just not TOO strong.
    #3 fatalrendezvous, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
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  4. I usually find that if I am having trouble connecting to a character, it's because I don't know enough about them!

    Adding details to your character and deciding their motivation is vital to making them relatable. The more you flesh them out, the more you will feel a connection to them. Where are they from, and how has their history influenced them? What are they doing now, and what obstacles do they face? Who are the people in their life, and what do those people mean to them? Why have they made the choices that led them to this point, and what do they want from life? What are their dreams, hopes, fears? Those are just the basics. Keep building and adding on until they feel like a person and not just a prop!

    Don't be afraid to start from scratch, either, if they just aren't inspiring you. Sometimes characters just don't gel.

    Here are some handy links for helping you flesh out your characters:

    Character Backgrounds
    Character Design: Personality Part 1
    Character Quirks: Bringing Your Character Into Three Dimensions
    Character Sheet Tips
    Ultimate Iwaku Character Questionnaire
    Writing a Conflicted Character

    As to the power issue: I personally don't believe there is such a thing as a character that is overpowered, if you can write well. HOWEVER, writing high-powered characters can be REALLY tricky! If you have been running into problems with people saying you're OP, you probably do want to focus on balancing out your characters more. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    1. Give them weaknesses, as fatalrendezvous mentioned. These don't need to be physical weaknesses, like kryptonite; they could be emotional or psychological weaknesses, such as freezing up when people start crying, or a fear of heights.

    2. Look at how other people in group games are playing their characters to determine the general "power level" of the game, and try to match your character's skillset to theirs. If your character would be much more powerful than the rest of the group, you might want to dial it back.

    3. You don't always have to have superpowers or be a fighter! Power comes in all forms. Your character might be the brains of the group, or the glue keeping everyone together, or the jack of all trades. Focus on what basic human skills they have before you even think about their superhuman powers.

    4. Your character is probably REALLY BAD at something, and only passable at a lot of other things. They can't be good at everything!

    You might also check out:

    How to Make a Normal Character
    Mary Sue Makeover
    Weaknesses for Characters

    Hopefully that helps!
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  5. Thanks for these threads, more rpg forums should have these!

    Just a small question, what tips could you give me or problems/caveate I should avoid when writing a character with multiple personality disorder? It's a trait I would imagine that would take some care ^_^.
  6. I think the best way to try to present a character with any disease, disorder or disability is to research it. Maybe see how other authors have tackled similar characters, or also, see if you can find any online resources of first-hand experiences, or even just start with general research on how the disorder presents and how it develops. I've found that this disorder almost exclusively results from trauma of some kind or the other, whether it be witnessing something horrific, undergoing abuse or similar. The main treatment is therapy to manage or even eventually merge the personalities. There is no cure.

    But like I said, research is your friend. I know personally of one novel where the main character has MPD, called "Sybil", but this is a highly controversial story. It's proclaimed at being true, but has been proven to not have been.
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  7. @kimonka: Cammy is absolutely right in that research is the most important step! Be warned that you should steer clear of media portrayals of multiple personalities in film, TV, and books; it is usually portrayed very inaccurately. For one thing, the proper term is no longer "Multiple Personality Disorder", but "Dissociative Identity Disorder". Any source calling it MPD is either unreliable, outdated, or both. I recommend looking up psychiatric journals if you want to be as authentic as possible.

    A few things you definitely SHOULD avoid that media portrayals often get wrong:

    1. Dramatic and over-the-top shifts in personality. DID can be and often is more subtle. Friends and family may not even realize something is wrong.

    2. Demonic or serial killer "alters" (the secondary or tertiary or etc. personalities). Most people with DID are non-violent. DID is a response to a traumatic event and is the mind's way of coping with severe emotional distress by separating those memories and emotions. Of course there are exceptions, but they are definitely exceptions and not the rule.

    3. A large number of "alters". Most people with DID have one, maybe two alters. These alters usually represent something specific or serve a specific role in protecting the host's psyche. One of the reasons that the book Cammy mentioned, Sybil, is commonly accepted to be fake is her large number of attributed alters.

    It is good that you want to handle this carefully. Keep in mind that DID is a real disorder that real people have. Inaccurate portrayals contribute to how they are treated by other people who misunderstand them.
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  8. Okay so... *swings feet* I'm looking for an experienced character creator and world builder to work with me and help me flesh out the world I'm creating and the characters that go with it, plus a few of my roleplay characters. Lately I've been feeling as if they're not up to par and I really want to get them "just right". I'd also like a little bit of direction on playing characters but not reflecting my own personality in them, or being able to play characters whose personalities are not like mine, if that's possible. I know this is probably ridiculous, but I've been feeling as if my characters are melodramatic, possibly overpowered, and kind of ridiculous, all-in-all. Either pm me or post here please if you're willing to help, I'll find it! :)
  9. In my role play, Operation Polar Star, I am having trouble trying to figure out how to make the characters 'different'.
    This is alive got:

    Ford Brody-
    Veteran Ranger, seasoned warrior. Brody has killed hundreds of enemy combatants and has gotten to almost machine mode. When he encounters a near death experience that is outside of combat, he begins to shake and usually requires an emergency cigarette to calm his nerves. However, inside combat, bullets do not scare him. Nothing scares him in combat...not bullets, knives, grenades or even armor.

    Zinetula Datsyuk-
    Zinetula is young and hot blooded. He has not served a mission with the spetsnaz yet, but shows great potential. Zinetula specializes in multiple martial arts and is lethal in close range, which is why he utilizes silencers to silently take out his targets and get in close if he can. Silently, fast and deadly in close quarters, but never long battle tested. His only missions were hostage rescues on boats patrolling Somalia.

    Pavlo Moroz-
    Pavlo is a Ukrainian police officer who quit his education for public service. He has never killed anyone before, and wears almost 100lbs of protective gear. Pavlo volunteered to be on the front lines of the resistance and goes out of his way to save civilians caught in the crossfire.
    (Note, Pavlo has not appeared inthe role play)
  10. @Maddeline

    When you say "different", do you mean make them distinct from one another or do you mean make them stand out in general?
  11. Little bit of both..?
    The main issue comes to focus because they have to be similar for their jobs but if they are too similar, it's bland xP
  12. @Maddeline

    Well, you've already got one major distinction between Ford and Zinetula: Ford's age and experience. Zinetula is young and while he shows great potential, he's not going to have the same know-how. You say he's "young and hot-blooded", which could easily mean that he's also impulsive and at times over-confident (particularly if he knows he's got mad skills). Ford might very well be more cautious and level-headed. (I'm actually curious about your reasoning for his nerves in non-combat situations. You might want to develop that aspect of his character more because that's something that could be expanded upon a lot.)

    Ford is the obvious mentor figure here. What you'll want to think about is what kind of experiences he's had that will determine how he influences others. What's the worst thing he's ever experienced? What does he have to fight for? How does he deal with his role as a mentor? Does he have a family of his own somewhere or is he alone in the world?

    Zinetula is the brash new kid with great potential. The question here is what do you think he'll do with it? Will he learn to curb his impulses and become a hero, or is he too ruled by his emotions and his temper? Is he a bully or a protector? Does he feel a need to prove himself- and if so, to whom? Or conversely, is he full of himself? What was it like for him growing up? What's his relationship like with his father?

    Pavlo is the one who is least developed at this point, but it looks like you're going for a man who is the "heart" of the group, the kind of guy who values human life. You could make him the moral compass, the one who takes a stand for doing the right thing over personal benefit. I could see him being a medical officer. What drives him to save people? Is he religious? Is he the quiet type, or more social? How does he relate to other people? Does he value his life below that of other people, and if so, why?

    You're never going to have a wholly "unique" character, so forget about making your characters "different". There's no such thing as a totally new character concept. The key to having a memorable character is to develop them beyond two dimensions. A stereotype or archetype is a good basis for a character, but there has to be more to them or they're just another cliche. Give them their own stories and motivations and try to figure out what kind of dynamic they'll serve in the group. How will they play off of the characters around them? What will they bring to the table other than their base skill sets?
  13. Well, see, they aren't a group...
    Pavlo and the police are allied with the rangers, or will be later that is, but Zinetula is Russian spetsnaz- the Russians are invading the Ukraine and Zinetula is part of the Spetsnaz group hunting down Ford and his rangers.

    The main thing is, I don't want someone to be the bad guy. Russia is invading, but at the end of the RP I plan to unveil why and it will neutralize whatever karma stigma they have at the moment.

    Zinetula is doing his job and what he thinks is right, and Ford will just be following orders to halt Russia while Pavlo wishes to keep his people and country (Ukraine) independent.
    #13 Maddeline, May 11, 2014
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  14. @Maddeline

    Sorry, I think we got lost in translation. When I say "the group", I don't mean to imply that those three characters are a group, because I got the impression that isn't the case from your post. I mean whatever characters they might interact with, or the overall cast of the roleplay. I can see how I might have worded it so that it'd be confusing, so my bad.

    I think it's great that you're not painting anyone as an outright villain. That always makes for the most interesting story. It sounds like you have a good idea of everyone's motivations, which means you're on the right track for sure.
  15. Like I said- the major harp part is making them really stand out.
    With the exception of Pavlo, the characters are special forces. They are there because they have a common skill set- they are good at killing people and following orders.

    I just didn't know if by fleshing them out in different ways that it could differentiate them. I set up a rock, paper, scissors kind of thing (sort of)
    Pavlo is merely law enforcement- he lacks the training that those two have but he could care less about speed and ferocity- he is there to help people. Have a hundred pounds worth of Kevlar makes him a rock- he could take several bullets before fatally wounded. He is also a school drop out- he isn't extremely intelligent on top of his limited education, so he is like a blunt hammer that sees everything as black and white (morally).

    Ford is a combat machine. In fact, when he isn't fighting and experiences something life threatening he freaks out- his mind has trouble assessing threats that he wasn't trained for and dealt with hundreds of times. However, in combat he is calm, collected and calculating. He sees odds and ammunition and the mission- not a fear of death. He is the paper, able to take out almost any opponent that is slower than him. He obeys orders but questions everything, never blindly following orders like a Nazi war machine. This was his last service tour before hitting the maximum age limit for active combat service.

    Then Zinetula...despite packing an AKM, he has it outfitted for stealth. Sporting only a silencer, his bullet velocity and overall kinetic force is reduced drastically. He is the scissors- because if he can't kill in the first shots and resorts to his hand to hand combat skills against an armed opponent, he could lose. Pavlo is a pacifist at heart but if you shoot him he wouldn't hesitate to shoot back- and considering his Kevlar he probably would survive. However if Zinetula got the drop on Ford I imagine Zinetula would win- it's his element. He, however, has little actual combat experience and does exactly what he his told to try and prove his worth- not realizing it does more harm than good more often than not (he's young and makes mistakes, basically)

    At the same time though, Zinetula and Ford have to balance out. Zinetula is hot headed, Ford is calm. Zinetula is a beast in hand to hand combat and has only lost to master fighters, where as Ford has experienced a lot of combat and all of it's faces. Ford is an excellent shot, but Zinetula is great at staying hidden- Ford is a brilliantly fast thinker, but Zinetula is just as physically fast and unpredictable. It's hard because I want to, at the end, have the two as symbolism for Russia and the United States not being so different after all and that they can come together to accomplish a goal. That goal will start another RP if the Hype Train can get it rolling xP
  16. @Maddeline

    Honestly, it seems to me like you're doing a pretty good job already of making them distinguishable characters. I really like your rock/paper/scissors method; that's clever.

    The main thing it sounds like you're leery of is having them all come off too similar in terms of general outward personality/demeanor, all being disciplined military types. One piece of advice I can give here is to give them distinct quirks. This could be anything from being an unusual lightweight with their booze to having a tendency to ramble when on a certain subject to naming their gun by a girl's name to flinching every time they see a certain item, etc. Little things that add up to a bigger picture of who they are and where they came from. You've already got a few of these for Ford.

    And again, think about how they relate to people in general (when not in deadly weapon mode). Are they standoffish, or do they have a strong camaraderie with their fellows? Do any of them have a sense of humor, and what kind of humor if so? Do they have a distinct lack of humor? Are they alone in the world or do they have family, friends, loved ones? Varying these elements between them will emphasize their differences and build them as characters.

    And once you have established that contrast, you'll also have an idea of what they have in common, and that will play nicely into your plans for drawing parallels.

    One last idea: Play with your rock, paper, and scissor themes and expand that into their personalities more. Scissors are sharp, so you could give Zinetula a sharp tongue, for example. Rocks are immovable, and so Pavlo might be stubborn; they're indelicate, and so he might be a little ungainly. Paper seems flat and expressionless, but once written or drawn upon becomes a work of art... and so there may be something more to Ford than meets the eye, if approached correctly or provoked. Just a few examples of how you could follow through further on that metaphor.
  17. Where and how might I make a character sheet? I want to make this character, and am totally ready to do so, I just don't know where a character sheet might be.
  18. Thanks a lot! Where are the character sheets exactly? Or do I just make it?
  19. @Felic

    A lot of people put character sheets in their Blog. Of course, most Game Masters for group RPs will have a sheet of their own for you to fill out and post in the sign-up thread for that game.

    Personally, I have my own off-site character blog, but I pay hosting fees for that.
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