The Ultimate Guide to RPGing

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by AwesomenessKON, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Got any advice? Post it here. Lets cover it all and leave no rock unturned! Come one, Everyone!

    Got a question, post it got your answer. I'll start...

    What is your thought process on creating a character?

    I have researched this one and all results point toward two things I have found.
    How to create a hero for a story
    Spoonys video describing everything that a DM wants from their players.

    These relate nicely and provide a great base for logically thinking though this process, but what is your process?

    Everyone tends to think about this differently and some barely think about it at all and some on a scale only gods can remember exactly what they typed.
    Anyway, what is your process and how does it normally amount to the character you love to make?
  2. I begin with a base concept, and just keep adding to it until it is a fully fleshed out, then I look at it later and change a few things, and a few more, and all that, until it looks completely different or the same but better. This is how I make characters
  3. I usually try to pick two or three base concepts for a character's personality and go from there.

    Example: quirky and shy. Now I am seeing with my mind's eye a picture of a younger woman with light brown, curly hair pinned up behind her and away from her oval-shaped face. Green eyes, small mouth, upturned nose, and big, round-framed glasses. She's holding a book flat against her with one shoulder up and her head cocked to the side, and she's smiling softly. Her clothing is somehow fashionably mismatched and very modest.

    The image just now popped in my head and I ran with it because of those two words. If I were to change the words to grumpy and asshole, that image of the girl disappears and a new one replaces it. Now I'm seeing an old man with a shotgun in old, worn work clothes with a shotgun at his side. He's glaring at a car passing by on the road in front of his property. Wild hair, long beard, storm-gray eyes.

    The fun part about character creation is challenging your mind to make new and interesting characters. Take the two words from the first example and force the old man in the second example to fit the image, or vise versa. The hard part is erasing the stereotype of him that your mind wants to keep there. Where the above examples encourage your brain to form the first thing that comes to mind, the next examples are all about forcing your brain to work with you and help you mold the new character by ignoring what your brain wants you to see.

    Quirky and shy: now I'm seeing the older gentleman with the storm-grey eyes at a computer desk, tapping away on a keyboard. His face is clean shaven, long and thin in shape, and he is writing out the plot for a new comedy sitcom. He doesn't have too many friends, but the ones he does have he cherishes enough to include pieces of their personalities into the characters of the show, along with funny one-liners they may have said to him at one time, which he writes into the dialogue.

    Grumpy and asshole: now the girl from the first example is sitting on the edge of her bed in her best friend's bedroom, screaming at her boyfriend on the phone. Her hair is long, dark, and flat-ironed to perfection. Her nails are long and manicured, her clothes are more or less expensive and in style, and...well, this may be the weather talking, but she's holding a medium pumpkin spice latte in her other hand. Its threatening to slosh over her hand and burn her if she doesn't quit jerking her hand around while she screams into her cellphone.

    Keep in mind, I am not a professional - just passionate! What works for me may not work for you, but I sincerely hope it does.
  4. [​IMG]

    Being a long time GM I've made so many characters up on the spot that at this point I just random roll myself a few characters via a list of traits and characteristics. Repeat this as many times as it takes until I find something I feel like playing.
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  5. What are your thoughts on making an evil character? There are many opinions on whether it is a good/bad idea, but I want to know YOUR thoughts.
  6. Context is everything. Why is he considered evil, what is his defining traits. Why drives him? Is he just a greedy bastard? Is he a tricky socipath who legit lacks empathy.

    Is he genocidal, kill everything type of evil? Then he might be a bad choice for a rp where you are working together. I play a guy called Mr Fox in a rp on another side. He is driven by desire to distrupt and cause chaos due to being a trickster like in the fables. He is without a doubt what most societies today would call; Evil. He feels nothing negative as he light a guy on fire. He doesn't care for colleteral damage when he goes after those who he feel have slighted him. He is meant to be antagonistic and evil, but he is not flat. He has dimensions to him, he has emotions and motivations. He just doesn't do positive emotions. At the most he is gleefull at the death of others.
  7. First, define evil. A pragmatist who leaves the innocent to die so he can fight another day isn't necessarily evil--he's cowardly, certainly, but not evil.

    I guess the first key to really understanding how to construct evil characters is realizing there's four states to the general moral compass: Heroes, anti-heroes, anti-villains, and villains. Then, within each, you have several different archetypes that vary wildly, from the sociopathic hero to the honourable villain.

    It's a lot of information to digest, but in general, evil comes in the following broad flavours.
    Evulz: Probably the worst kind of evil, these are the guys who kill, destroy, murder, and maim, just for the hell of it. Often considered insane, and rightfully so. The reason I'd define this as the worst kind of evil is because they commit villainous acts without just cause, rhyme, or reason. In a role play, this generally gives carte blanche power to the person wielding such a character to do whatever they want, whenever they want, so long as it's evil. This is often disruptive for everyone else at best, and outright a role play killer at worst.

    Sick Insideā„¢: These are a variation on Evulz that at least put a restraining order on the madness, usually by making a character put up a normal front to everyone else. They can be friendly--sociable, even--form relationships, and even save people. So what makes them evil? When put into situations of high stress (like, say, a fight) this character's sick and demented inner self shows its true colours and gets to work leaving a horrible maimed and tortured husk behind of what was once an adversary. They'll fight dirty to win, they have little honour even if they delude themselves otherwise, and most importantly, when they do evil shit they secretly love it. This is the best route for the more chaotic kinds of evil if you want them to fit in a group, since they're still capable of social interaction for one reason or another--its only in battles and high stress situations that their true nature is revealed and they revel in bloodshed and violence.

    Evil with a Cause: Another common variation, the man willing to do anything in order to achieve his goals. Killing civilians? It's alright if it means the enemy dies with them. Using slave labour? Acceptable consequence to construct Utopia! These characters psychologically are a little harder to play than Sick Inside, since you have to give them a reason for why they're willing to step on people to get the job done.

    Most importantly when crafting an evil character, you have to remember that they're still a human being. They have more than the desire and/or ability to mercilessly stomp on people: They have ambitions, dreams, some of which may even be admirable if not for the ways they go about trying to achieve those things. They may even grow to care about certain people, like an evil bastard who kicks puppies might still fall in love and protect their lover whilst retaining their complete callousness for the rest of mankind. In this way, you can have them form bonds and connections with the other members of the cast, either because they feel the need for social contact or because they're useful pawns in his or her little game of chess is up to you.

    As a side note, evil characters have their place like everyone else. So long as you can find a reason to have the evil character want to accomplish the same plot goals as everyone else, the evil character can function. You just need to make sure that they work in their group and commit evil acts where necessary, not just for the hell of it. "Just for the hell of it" is reserved for villains outright, and unless your story's protagonists are complete monsters fighting heroes, this villain can and will self-combust in the group.

    In summary: When making an evil character, ask yourself two questions. "Why does he resort to evil?" And "If I put him in a social situation with a couple police officers and a few civilians, would he self-combust or be capable of functioning?" If you can't answer the first question, or the answer to your second question is "no", you probably want to scrap that character and start over.

    So what can a villain bring?

    Antithesis. If the hero's goal is to save the helpless and the universe, maybe they'll be confronted with a situation where they have to choose one or the other. The evil character swoops in and executes the civilians to force the hero forward towards the proper objective, shepherding the hero in a way as to ensure that their common goals are accomplished even if it means others suffer as a result. Morality debates are very common with this, forcing the hero to think about their actions or the evil character to reconsider their ways.

    In short: An evil character can bring a lot to the table, but they need to share a common goal, and they need to have basic social skills. The randumb wannabe Joker psychopath archetype implodes inevitable and takes out RP's with it... But a good, morally black sheep that spouts selfish dialogue and can easily cut through the hard choices that traditional heroes struggle with? These guys can provide a lot of depth to a story.
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  8. Here's one that just hit me like a ton of bricks. I've talked to allot of people who have done table top rpging their whole life and are scared to death by pbp rpging. That got me to thinking...

    What could I say to convince them this isn't all that bad?!

    What do you tell a person like that to try a site like this who essentially is scared to try a new kind of RPG?
  9. PbPRP is just turn-based collective storytelling. You can take several hours or often even days to think about your reply, meaning no pressure. There's tons of new people too, always learning.

    Basically: If you like writing, go PbPRP. If you don't, well, then you won't enjoy PbPRP.

    ...Yeah that.