Developing Your Character

Posted: April 20, 2009 by Salvatore Otoro in Roleplay 101
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Black Church in Aracadia

The Black Church in Aracadia

Character development is the single most important part of your RP.  Think about your RL and how all that has happened to you in your life up to now has shaped who you are, how you act and react, what you are, and what you might do in the future.  Just as in RL, RP characters are better when there is a background story to them. Some examples:

  • A character is very fearful of vampires coming to close to him because of an incident that occurred some time ago where he was almost bitten.
  • A character acts very confident when being threatened by other characters because she’s lived a hard life and has always had to fight for survival.
  • A character reacts violently against a certain species, even though there is no conflict, because in the past that they’ve had bad experiences with them.
  • A character has developed into something they were not due to influences or happenings in their past.
  • A character refuses to take part in something because of past experiences.

There are many more examples that can be given, but you should get the general idea from the few I posted above.

There are a few steps I recommend everyone follow when setting up a character and their background.

  • Be flexible with your character’s background – nothing is set in stone and you can always change your past or modify it since very few will know about it much less in great detail.
  • It is up to you whether you decide to publish your past and how much you let others know.  Some characters will hand out a notecard with their background or why they were absent for a while.  Remember, what you have not revealed can be easily modified and changed should you need to do so.
  • Your past can either be associated with RL historical events or fictitious events.  They can be legend, lore, fable, or even your own creation.
  • If you have time, do some research on the internet.  Search for your character type, mix and match stories and events, and make it your own there are no rules governing your character’s past.
  • Be original.  Sure, your vampire can have their bio be part of the Twilight series but why keep it so tightly tied to one thing.  Mix and match and play around with scenarios to keep people guessing
  • Remember, this is your character and how you shape the past, shapes your present and your future.  You don’t have to do this right away.  You can start roleplaying and as you start to build on your character in the present, you set up it’s past.  Some roleplayers don’t work on their character’s background.  It is not required at all but it does however add depth and substance to your character.  It gives your character more to work with than just making certain things up as you go.  As you play your part you will come to see the importance of a background.
  1. Jaden says:

    I love this as well, this again is something that I wish someone would have told me when I started writing. This would have made struggling through those first few written Characters a lot easier.

  2. […] folklore, fable, myths, and events I created myself.  As I explained in my previous post regarding Character Development, your biography is all your own but flexibility is they key to doing more with your character than […]

  3. […] parts will give your character a base from which to work on.  There is more in my section about Character Development.  When I meet a new player, I do a mini interrogation hidden in these four questions.  I don’t […]

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