Realism in RP

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October Knight

Original poster
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
Fantasy, Horror and Sci-fi. I'll try basically anything though. I also love strange and unusual RP genre concepts. Different is good!
What do you do to make your characters believable?

One problem I had when I first starting writing and Role-playing (and it is something I constantly struggle with) Is making the characters I create seem "Real". So my question is what things do you do to make your characters seem like real people? I know this is a kind of broad question, but I am curious because I have several methods I use and want to see how other rpers do it.

Two things!

First: I make sure the personality of the character matches the background history. Everything in a person's past is the reason why a person behaves the way they do in the present. I always got really annoyed with people that played sunny happy sweet nice characters with broody dark horrible abusive backgrounds, but never explained WHY and HOW they were able to just forget all about it. Or vice versa playing dark broody peeps but not giving any good reason why they behave like that. D:

And second, FLAWS! No one is perfect. Nooo oooone. Real people have flaws. Even the nicest most awesome badass people must have flaws. And to make sure those flaws make sense, I build them or tie them in with the personality/history. And I always try to reflect those flaws in the rp at some point, instead of giving silly flaws that "aren't really flaws". I like to use them to cause problems and plot bunnies. XD
I tend to just generally make shitty insecure persons as characters, that's as realistic as it gets.
My characters can't win until the end. If someone is able to just get rid of their problems every step of the way they seem more like an intangible hero figure. Simply put failure makes them mortal.
Mostly what Dia said the only other thing for me is that I can get into my characters head and react. If I can "know" how the character will behave in a situation, I can play them. If not they become wooden and a stereotype for me. At which point there's no emotional investment to see how their story unfolds.
For me it's all about the speech and how they act. I play out conversations in my head all the time and I try to get in the heads of my characters. I tend to give them a quirk when they speak like. My favorite example, April, talks WAY too much and very quickly and has an accent. I like to make my characters speech very natural and realistic. Even her thoughts are very in-character, and being a bit...well...dumb, her thoughts follow suit!
Simply the way they interact with one another. Let's face it - RP's in general have very little in the way of legit scientific realism in them. The very fact that we have elves, aliens, demons, ghosts and shit pretty much destroys/contradicts a lot of our attempts to make things believable in the conventional sense. However, there is a different sort of realism to be found in the inner mechanics of an RP - "unrealistic realism" you could say, "soft science" and whatnot. Our laser guns in some generic SPESS MREEEENN RP run on a certain energy that is effective against a certain type of target and not so much another, your race of werewolfvampiredemonwhatevers have specific dietary needs and times of day and night they can be active and so on.

But all of this doesn't really matter that much. That's just "detail" realism, aesthetic, which is nice to have but it doesn't carry an RP.

IMO, the best realism is the sort that is a sort mix of emotional response to the actual IC passings, what the characters do relative to their own personalities, ways of going about, and knowledge on current events, and how the thing as a whole plays out. It can have the most outlandish ridiculous setting of some weird HIGH SCI FANTASY SPACE DWARF EXPLORATION whatnot versus something based upon hard science and precise scientific measurement in a lab setting but if the former gives me characters and events that capture something powerful about the general experience of being alive (albeit perhaps expressed in a rather unrealistic way), gives me characters who appeal to me based on my personal experiences as well as what I know about the world I live in and the various societies/cultures that take part in it, and essentially create something that resonates with heart and mind, then I'm afraid it's more "real" than all the overly technical scientific nitpicking out there.
I agree with Diana and Ocha : ) I dont know my characters tend to fall into areas or parts of my own personality that I am familiar with. If I can connect somehow to the character and understand them and why they are they way they are then it just fits. Granted not all my characters are really believable (and some of them are just insane) but I try to give them that bit of humanity that they need. No one is perfect, and its the flaws (i think) that make them more believable. Also...making sure that when I give them a personality that though I write it there is always room for change and improvement (or the opposite...falling flat on their face). No one stays 100% the same all the time. People's personalities can sometimes change depending on life events so I like to try and also make my characters able to evolve and grow/change.
The one character that I used to start my Roleplaying Addiction takes realism with a grain of salt. He is pretty much imortal and can turn his body into just about anything or anyone but, as it turns out, being immoratl sucks. He is constantly trying to find a way to die and has very bad personal skills... atleast at first.

And I remember it because it was inventive. And I still use him.