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The Brain Storm

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Rellik San

Rellik San

    Adorably Bitter And Angry Cabbit!

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This is the new place to put down your ideas, be they half baked or fully realised, your roleplaying guides and any other information you would like to share with your fellow players, be it updates on your game or cool characters that you just won't use.

So post it in here and I'll provide links to individual posts and guides of notes in this first topic, consider this the Encyclopedia Inspirica.


World/Character Building Articles;
Character Building 101/World Building 101 - Rellik San

Pre-Made Characters;

Roleplaying Concepts;
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Rellik San

Rellik San

    Adorably Bitter And Angry Cabbit!

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Characters 101

Now, I know your all thinking "who the hell is this git to tell us how to generate a character?" but hear me out, you might learn something. Now all over Gaia, all I see are the same, tormented angst ridden demon/vampire/werewolf/angel characters, no matter what the setting, personally, I hate that, come on people you can be more original then that. Why not a vampire who's blood loss is so strong he must always find ways to feed as his only concern, as opposed to being angsty about not having a working heart. Also, I don't know about you guys, but think about this for a second, your a vampire, you've had your training, know you history and got some power... now whats likely to be your first reaction "Oh no... what have I become?" or "Right, those ******* that picked on me in high school are having it now?!".

Its all about motive, so first thing you should decide to make your character is whats their motive? power, money, revenge, acceptance, love, hate, honour, glory, knowledge, truth, lust... the motives you can have are endless, and will often put your characters actions into context. As well as defining a bit about your character.

But what is the force behind the motive? is the next consideration. Maybe they seek knowledge to find a cure for a loved ones illness, or maybe the knowledge is for much darker ends like finding and using an artifact to bring about the apocalypse. This adds another level of depth to the character that will give you an idea of what the character does (E.G. curing a disease would mean a raid on a biogenics lab, where as seeking an artifact would mean raiding a history museum).

Next up is attitude: Attitude is a big problem, as its your characters persona, the image your character will portray to everyone else and an image you as player have to maintain. Is your character cocky but kind, pessimistic and violent, self loathing but protective? three very unique and conflicting attitudes, for example, someone who is cocky but kind, will rush to save their friends, but tease their friends about it afterwards. Where as someone who's pessimistic and violent, wouldn't care about their friends, as they are probably already dead, but will go to the fight for the violence. Self loathing but protective, would probably sacrifice themselves (or at least try too) to save their friends, seeing it as the only way too make their life more then an empty shell. Three different reactions, to the same situation, each of them conflicting with the other, to make your character unique from the others.

Lastly powers, this is my biggest gripe, where is the fun in playing a demi god? Someone so strong with no weaknesses and able to blink out planets in a split second. Its not fun to play and its not fun for other players, as it puts them off wanting to interact with that character, instead, why not limit your power. Say for example, you have high powered energy beams, well why not make the energy flow so strong it harms you aswell as your target? Or something akin to a small nuclear blast, but results in the character falling into a coma. Maybe even an attack, that when used turns the character into a berserker, with no idea of friend or foe and whom just wants to fight. You still have power, but the power comes at a cost and opens up, often unexplored avenues of potential roleplay.

I'm not going to tell you about name's, age's, race's, appearance's etc. because they are up to you, they rarely affect your character from a roleplaying stand point. My points above, aren't to tell you what to do, what you can't do. But to guide you, into creating more mature, complex, interesting and ultimately fun characters to play. The kind of characters that will stick in your mind and make great stories to tell your other gaming buddies, as opposed to "I played an emo/vampire/angel again... I hung out in a club and fell in love with two girls." your stories will be "I had to break into the museum of natural history to stop that guy stealing the sword of Ansarok, but only I tripped the security, and got accused of being the thief." I know which story I'd rather hear.

World Building 101

Often setting is consigned to be purely; a high school, or our world but with vampires, or some TV show world. But why not build on that basis, for example lets start with the hardest to build up on, the High School setting, why just 1 high school? why not base it in a town with several high schools, why not make them all rivals, get a bit of west side story influence going. What about the world and style of these schools, are they based in the present, the 1950's or the future? 2 factors and already the world is taking better shape then just some vague high school that could be anywhere.

Next what type of people go to that school, is it the bikers and social outcasts that dominate it, the jocks and preps? maybe even the science geeks. Does the school have a required uniform or dress code, or is it come as you please? is it mainly african-american denomination or is it a typical middle class white kids school? Is it religious? if so which religion? all these questions and factors that need answering. And its not as though they are particularly in depth, but can be used to flesh out the world and give a better understanding of the characters location and whats deemed acceptable by the authority figures.

Another step often over looked is history, now I don't mean a full history, but some key events that might interest players and help to flesh out the world, like maybe it was used as a bomb shelter during the blitz, or is a converted hospital. This is mostly useful to games with a supernatural twist to them, as they'll help to set up encounters. Lets say its a supernatural game and the school is a refitted mental hospital, how will the spirits of the patients and doctors who died there react to the students actions, will it be with interest, or will it be violent reactions?

Lastly but by no means least, aesthetic, this will help draw an ultimate mental image of the place, and again, you don't have to go into great detail to acheive great effect, for example: The school is old, and run down, plaster falling off walls and lights often flickering. A simple description but it draws a powerful and universal mental image, without being obsessive about detail.

So lets put all these things into practice and I'll design a basic high school setting for a super natural game, using these steps:

An English boarding school in present day, out in the countryside, at least an hours drive away from the nearest village. The sports teams are the ruling class here, getting away with everything short of murder, the staff coming down hard on everyone else for the slightest infraction. The building was used as an evacuee home during the London blitz, but sadly got hit by a bomb, the effects of which are seen today with several of the schools wings being off limits. Its a grand design of a building, all stone arches and marble walls, often feeling cold and uninviting, but very well maintained despite that, more often then not, theres bits of scaffold somewhere renovating something or another.

Just a paragraph, that has given a lot of information, enough to draw some mystery and create a strong mental image of the place. for all of 5 minutes work. See thats not so painful is it? and without even needing a wall of text all the information you need is given.

So have fun crafting your own worlds and settings using these tips that extend to almost any setting, from a cold sterile space station, to an underwater acropolis.
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