Section II:Making YourCharacters

Your character is the most important part of the RPG. Without characters, there is no plot. In turn, good characters make for good RPGs and bad characters make for bad RPGs. You need to take great consideration in the character you create. Good characters take inspiration, motivation, and creativity, however, so it is not something you can just hop onto and breeze through it. Just like this tutorial, only time and revision can make it good. The more time you spend on your character, the better they will be.

Subsection II.I: Pre-made Characters

Many RPGs on the internet are based on anime and will require some of the characters from the anime it is based on to be in the RPG. If you are choosing to play an anime character, you have to be picky to the one you decide to play. The character's personality, history, and other characteristics are already laid out so you do not have the option of conforming the character to your preferrence or ability. Thus, you have to be able to conform to the character. Just choosing "the cool one" is not always the best choice. Sometimes, the coolest character is not the one you can empathize with and identify with. You want to play a character that you really like, but the character must also be one that's compatible with you.

For some players, playing the villain just isn't easy. They just aren't able to get into the role and play the character in an evil fashion. This is a case where, even if a player really liked the villain in an anime, it would not be wise of them to play the character in an RPG. Without that ability to be "evil", they will not be able to play the character correctly, no matter how cool the character is to them.

In contrast, some players cannot play very comical, "ditzy" characters. These players should simply not apply to be these characters and choose one that's more serious.

However, these examples are rather extreme cases. Many players may have a moderate level of playing each of these character types. A player may be able to play one villain because of the personality of the character, yet still not able to be a villain in general. Do not let this be a deterent to experimenting with the different types of characters you can play, but rather just know your limits and abilites to make the best choice.

Subsection II.II: Original Characters

Original characters are always best and usually the most fun to play! You have complete freedom and control when you start from scratch. However, they are also the most difficult in turning out to be good characters. There're several things to avoid and several things that are necessary to include.

One thing you want to avoid is inconsistancy. Does your character really fit with the story? If a certain race in a storyline has been destroyed, then it would be inconsistant to make a character of that race. If the storyline is set in a medieval setting and you give your character a gun, that is being inconsistant. Make sure your character fits into the RPG's story and stays there. This also goes for race and class information. Make sure your character's information matches that of the universal rules (ex. your character is an elf, elves respect nature, your character respects nature, character is consistant).

Trends are something you really want to avoid. The best RPGs have a variety of characters, not just a few popular types. To avoid trends, read the stats of the other characters already in the RPG. Once you find out "what everyone else is doing" you can avoid that to have a totally unique character. Creativity also helps with finding new ways to use old ideas.

Of all things to possibly avoid, power trips is the main one of all. Many people new to role-playing tend to focus on their characters' powers. They have a "my character must have kick ass powers!" fixation. Contrary to popular belief, powers are only a minimal part of a good character. Your character's powers and abilities should be the last thing you worry about. A character that only has good powers is very two-dimensional, like the superhero that fights, wins, and goes home. No conflict, no personality, no interaction, just powers...You get the idea.

Personality, background, culture, and goals should be the main things you focus on. Good detail in these areas are necessary for making a good, enjoyable character. Also, all of these areas have an influence on one another. Background can influence personality, background is influenced by the culture the character grew up in, and all of these influence the goals the charactr may have, etc. Thus, you must continuously review these areas to keep them flowing with one another.

A good, three-demensional character must have as complex and deep a personality as you can muster. If you can describe your character's personality in a single sentence, then there is not much to them. To have a good character, you must have plenty of ideas in your mind to be able to go into detail about them. There should always be a nice, descriptive paragraph about their prsonality that discusses as many sides as you possibly can. If you cannot think of much detail, then you either need to wait and give the information more thought, or choose a different type of character. Also, as with pre-made characters, always choose a personality type you know that you can play.

A character's history/background should be even longer than the personality description. You can summarize a good life story in a couple of paragraphs. The main events in a character's life are very important as they shape the character's personality, current life, and even their future in many cases. This also where a character is the most unique. No two people have lived the exact same life, and neither should your characters. Past experience is what shapes a character and influences the decisions they make in every day life.

Your character should always have a specific goal to achieve or reason for being in the story. A goal adds a little more depth to your character and also gives you, the player, a sense of direction in the RPG. Without a purpose for being in the story, your character tends to just wander aimlessly or just drops out of the picture. Having a goal will prevent you from having to make those "pointless" posts.

Needless to say, witing all of this will take some time. There is no way to make up a great character within a few minutes. Effort has to be put into the character, and effort takes time. If you want your character to be accepted into an RPG, these guidelines will have to be followed. However, please remember the "quality over quantity" rule. Two paragraphs of nonsense likely may be rejected long before one paragraph of general detail that's nicely put together and thought about. If you know you have a good idea but just can't get the small details, ask for assistance or submit the character to see, if rejected, if the GM's comments can help.