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Tutorial: Making An RP Character 
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Hi! This topic was created in hopes of helping you to develop a thoroughly fleshed out character...or at least the means and the thought processes that go into how I normally create my characters. I'll be going over the various parts of an RP Bio and discuss the things that go through my mind when addressing them.

Social Class:
Physical Appearance:

This is generally what I would say is the typical bio design, some will ask more of you, and some will ask less. It really depends on the setting of the RP and the host of the RP's personal preferences.


Name: show
What's in a name: The name of the character is actually a lot more important than one would think. When choosing the name of a character, the first thing I think of is where the setting of the world my character comes from takes place. Where is the character from? A typical white American will not give their child a Japanese name. What time period does the character belong to? The name Gertrude is not a name typical to the Italian Renaissance. When naming your character think about the parents of the character, and who they were.

Meaning: Not every character is named because of the meaning of the name. You don't have to go looking high and low for a name that means "fire" because your character has fire powers. That being said, if the culture from which the character originates is heavily involved with the meaning of names and words, then this should be mentioned in the bio.

Aliases & Nicknames: If your character has a nickname beyond a diminutive (shortening) of their full name, ie: Cassandra > Cassie, then you should state what event caused the character to gain such a nickname. This is doubly important for those who go by their alias.

If stumped for a name I personally use: I head over to the origins, or category list and it gives me everything I need and more.


Age: show
Common Sense: When deciding the age of your character, use common sense. Occasionally RP game masters will dictate an age range, however that is not always case and then you need to think about the physical, social and mental limits and usual capabilities of certain ages. This is done of course excluding superhuman or supernatural abilities. A minor is by far less intelligent than an adult, while an adult may lack the stamina and agility of a child/youth. Further take into account that minors (less than the age of 18 in most of the world), are normally under some sort of supervision in the present day. Be it their parents, relatives, foster parents, legal guardians, the government, etc. If for some reason both parents died in a "tragic event", the government will ensure that they are put into some sort of care. My point is, do not make your character an orphan living in the streets/fending for themselves in the modern era. It's highly unlikely, and cliche. (For those of you who have a "well yeah, but..." Good. This section is not for you. You best have a good bio to back it up.)

When/Where Returns:Once again, it is also important to consider when and where your character is. In Medieval Europe, men and women married a lot earlier than they do now. Youths also had a lot more liberties in what they could do then, though there was no large government organization to support them through to adulthood.


Gender: show
Male, Female, or Other...

Culture - The Revenge of When/Where: The rights of men and women changes by location and time period. Keep this in mind for your bio.


Alignment: show
While not typically necessary, it gives a good general direction of how you're going to describe the character's personality. Basically there are nine alignments. Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.

Lawful Good:A character that is lawful good is an upstanding, compassionate, altruistic, person who strictly sticks to a set of codified rules. To them, it is paramount that they obey and keep these rules, which were made generally to preserve peace, safety or just the general good of mankind, above all else. When faced with a conflict between doing something "evil" to preserve "good" or upholding the laws they are faced with great inner turmoil. Think paladin, or saint.

Neutral Good:A character that is neutral good is an altruistic person who acts without intent of preserving or breaking laws. Upon breaking a law or oath, the neutral good character will experience guilt, however it isn't to the extent of a person who is lawful good. Think of your typical hero.

Chaotic Good:A character that is chaotic good is someone that generally acts for the good of others, but their means of doing so may be deemed as destructive, or against the established laws. Think Robin Hood.

Lawful Neutral:A character that is lawful neutral sticks to their own principles or codes. They are bound by their principles and act accordingly be it good or evil. Ie: Someone bound by a family oath to help someone commit a crime, or bound by oath to help find someone. Think of a warrior monk.

Neutral:A character who is neutral is neither inherently evil nor good. This is a result of not being strongly taken by any side, being unable to choose any side, or simply refusing to partake in any side for the sake of balance or being beyond it all.

Chaotic Neutral:A chaotic neutral character is someone who makes choices of their own irregardless of the rules. They are in a word, unpredictable, as they may choose to work alongside another, until their motives change. They change with the wind, so long as it is blowing their way. Think of a free-spirited individual.

Lawful Evil:A character of this sort has a set of rules that they enforce upon others, though they may twist it themselves in order to get others to do what they want. They may have qualities such as loyalty, or honour, though they are not against harming individuals. Think of a malevolent dictator.

Neutral Evil:A character that is neutral evil can often be described as a malevolently selfish individual who's priority is solely for their own benefit. They act for their benefit, even at the risk of others, to which they have no qualms. They will also betray others for their own benefit. Though they will not cause senseless mayhem or destruction if it does not benefit them in any way. They are not beholden to rules or penchant to random chaos.

Chaotic Evil:A chaotic evil is often described as "pure evil". They seek destruction and the suffering of others, if not solely for the sake of evil but for themselves. They do not like being controlled, or being told what to do and disregard all other lives beyond their own. They find weakness in those who hold to a strict principle or set of rules. Think of your typical evil demon seeking to destroy the universe.

Social Class

Social Class: show
Who Are You:While not technically necessary, unless specified by the host of the RP, stating one's social class is definitely beneficial. Your social class actually dictates a lot about who you are. Your pastimes, your thoughts on policies, the liberties you enjoy or lack because of your standing, and they way others view you. Overall it brings your character to life and further helps you think the way your character would perceive the world. These are all things that can be brought up in the biography or their personality. Once again, consider the setting from where your character is from. There is no royalty in America.


Occupation: show
Does not equal class:Your occupation, does not necessarily equal your class. Being able to wield a sword does not necessarily mean that you're a swordsman by profession. Stating the occupation of the character, once again, adds depth to the world as well as the character. Depending on the universe, it might not make sense for someone to just be a gunman for a living; characters need day jobs too.


Race: show
See more:Another not entirely necessary section of the bio, that normally isn't dealt with unless dealing with a world that has more than just "human". Often times people like to put 1/2 human, 1/2 <insert species here>, which is totally fine. It may wrap up loose ends with why a character has certain abilities, however, if your character is a hybrid species you should put a bit of information at the end of your Bio, or even in the race part as well, explaining the nature of the other species. What they're like, their abilities, their interaction with humans, etc.

Power!!:Above I mentioned race being a pleasant means of wrapping up why the character has a certain power, that being said, if the sole relationship to the other species is because he or she gets their powers from it, then you should probably take it out.

Who Am I?:A benefit of having a hybridized being is that you can discuss the resulting turmoil that the character goes through internally as well as by their peers due to their not being one species or the other. Which you can go into depth in the personality and bio section.

Tip:On the subject of hybrid beings, I personally think its a bad idea for new RPers to make characters who are half angel or demon, its incredibly cliche and usually a sign that the rest of the profile is going to be even worse.

Physical Appearance

Physical Appearance: show
This is usually where the first chunk of heavy writing comes in. And I actually have a good mental formula for writing an appearance:

1) I always start with the body. Firstly I state how tall the character is and the overall build of the character and their skin tone. Usually followed by a reason as to why their body is the way it is (through training, staying indoors all day, etc)
2) I then describe the character's face, since I'm fairly particular about eyes, I pay special attention to them. I start with the colour, then maybe the shape of the eyes, and the type of gaze, or feeling they convey.
3 )If I'm being a description freak, I'll also describe the mouth, the nose and even the overall shape of the face.
4) I then describe the hair colour and the style that it is usually in.
5) Followed by mentioning if the character has any scars, birthmarks, etc.
6) Lastly I summarize the overall physical appearance of the character.

The next paragraph then details the clothing. I move from head to toe, describing the various items of clothing, their colours and their potential use or how the character may use them if the clothing involves armour. Lastly, I state any accessories the character may have on.

Tip:While I personally am not fond of people who use pictures to describe their character, I think that if you are going to be using a picture to describe your character I'd suggest something you made yourself rather than something you found on google images. All in all though, people generally take written descriptions better, and you have a lot more liberty with the way they look.


Personality: show
There is also a general formula that goes through my head when I'm writing the personality of a character. The first paragraph is usually how the character would describe themselves at the most basic level. The second paragraph is how the character deals with others. The third is usually the character's beliefs and how they live life. Interspersed I would briefly explain the reasoning why the character acts a certain ways in various situations. Ie: Billy-Bob was bullied as a child, so he has difficulty making friends, etc. Also, depending on one's personal taste, you could choose to summarize the whole of the character's personality in a few words either at the beginning of this section, or the end.


Background: show
This is normally the largest and definitely in my opinion one of the most important section of the bio. It's in this section that we get a glimpse into the soul of the character, and truly brings them to life.

The first thing I deal with is the conditions surrounding the birth of my character.
Who are the parents? (Does the character know the parents? If not, why? STATE A REASON.)
Why are they the parents? (happily married couple? unhappily married couple? one night stand?)
Anything weird happen during the birth, or near the birth?

After I've dealt with their babyhood I discuss the character's childhood
What were they like?
Any skills/hobbies/abilities they developed?
Relationship with the family?

Even if all of it was mundane and normal, state that it was.

After childhood, depending on how old or young the character is (or if anything majorly significant happened) I discuss adolescence. With younger characters I normally describe their adolescence and with older characters I may make a general passing if nothing significant has happened.
Changes the character went through as an adolescent?
Relationship with friends and family?
Important character building events/development of powers?
Goals? Motivations?

I continue likewise as the character progresses in life. Making sure to go over substantial events that effect various other parts of the bio. Ie: How the character got weapons? How the character got a certain scar? How the character got an ability? Why the character is the way they are? How the character got a certain job? Etc. They key to a bio is to wrap up most of the loose ends of your character. After reading your bio the reader shouldn't have tons of question asking "why does <character> do this?"

Common Sense Ain't So Common:When making your bio, use common sense. When writing in an event, ask if that would make sense. A parent beating their child on the front lawn isn't going to be able to just keep their child. Child services be comin'. A king isn't about to ask some murderous highwayman to be his bodyguard. Etc.

What new RPers should AVOID in RP Bios
- Tragic deaths of parents and/or everyone they love
- Child geniuses/computer whizzes, etc
- Child martial art masters, or of any skill that takes years to master
- Ancient curses without explainable origins
- Children who kill without any sort of personality changing repercussions.
- Children living on their own
- Modelling a character after something you saw on TV
-DOESN'T REMEMBER THE PAST - Never. Ever. use this as an excuse not to write a bio. You're not writing with your character's knowledge, you're writing with yours. So you can know things the character doesn't know. (If it makes you feel comfortable put it in a spoiler.)


Weapons: show
This section is relatively easy. By this point, you'll have already stated what your character has learned to use over the years in the background. Here you can simply state what weapons the character uses. If you want to be really fancy you can specify what the weapons look like, how the character got them, and how the character uses them. (If you haven't stated so already in the bio).

Tip:Unless your character has been given ample opportunity to train with multiple weapons (which you MUST state in your background). I don't suggest "uses anything" as a weapon. (Unless of course we're in some sort of martial arts RP)


Talents: show
In this section, you'd state the mundane skills your character has that aren't tied something that any other person of your species could have a knack or talent for. Ie: good at dealing cards, singing, fast runner, etc. If you feel that anything is unclear, don't be afraid to expand upon it.


Abilities: show
This section is where you would clearly and concisely explain the nature of the superhuman/supernatural abilities that your character may have. The origins of these abilities should already be mentioned in the background, so in this section you're simply describing how the ability works, the limits of the ability, and the character's proficiency with their ability.

Tutorial Closing

Closing: show
Alright, that's everything on the top of my head that I do/think of when making an RP character. I hoped this helped anyone who's decided to make a character.

Key Things To Remember When Making A Character:
- No one likes a Godmod aka extremely powerful character
- When you've finished creating your character there should be no unanswered questions about who they are.
- The background is the soul of your character, put the most effort in that section
- Common sense should be considered for all sections of you character profile


Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:22 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:32 am
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Country: Canada (ca)
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Sample RP Characters

These are a few characters that I've made over the years.

Dawn Star/Victoria


Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:27 pm
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