How are your characters born?

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How are your characters born?

Post by Guest on Mon May 17, 2010 12:48 pm

Every roleplayer goes through the process. You read an interest check, and immediately think of a character who would fit into said environment. Your thoughts travel over the possibilities and an idea forms, you nourish it and visualize until you have something coherent that you can type onto the screen. A new character is born. Now, the thought process can vary wildly from writer to writer, and that's the reason I made this thread. I want to know, how are your characters born?

For me, the first thing that appears in my head is a sillouette. What is my character's physical form? Is he tall, short, fat, skinny? How does he stand, what are his mannerisms? This is accompanied by a loose sense of his personality that I further flesh out by asking myself questions. "Why is he where he is?" "How did he get there?" "What is he doing, and how is he going about it?" From this mix of raw information a character is made, and this is generally my writing process as well. So, FOG, I ask you this question:

What's yours?

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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon May 17, 2010 6:27 pm

GREAT topic, Elric! Thumbs Up

For me they start as kind-of ethereal nothings. I have some abstract notion of what they should be, but I don't yet have any visualization of what they are. Sometimes I start with a character's purpose and pick a name that I think will fit, and then I start sculpting.

Other times I already know more clearly what they should be like. If I want to make an elven mage, for example, I start with what kind of elf he is--usually the gender is already decided unconsciously. Is he Noldor, Sylvan, Gilded Leaf, Lineage 2, Guild Wars, Hylian, Drow, Thendari...? After I have that, I'd pick an element for his magic, or use some other sort of magic system. Then I imagine what clothes he might wear. The face usually comes last, actually.

Other times I might randomly create a picture, and I'll think of a name, and the character grows from that.

Sometimes I'll pick a fandom to base a character off of, and modify it to where it's completely my own, whether I start with a name first or end with one.

I guess each character starts differently, for me. Smile Each one has its own story of how it came to be. I think that's marvelous. xD

At least that's how it goes with major characters or role-play characters. With minor characters, they either start with a name or a purpose -- most often with a name. I like to name even my minor characters as much as I can, probably because I often have languages that the names come from, which makes me want to make more names like that. ^^

Maybe I'll post again if I think of more ideas.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by MoiraofWords on Mon May 17, 2010 6:51 pm

I start out with a personality. I know how they feel, and what they are like, but the rest fills in to fill the palate. That is, unless I have a power/ability/weapon choice/etc. Then, I choose that first and model around it. The core layer is what I need to compose the rest of my characters.

Pretty much, I start with a concept, and it becomes the innermost layer of the onion that is my character. It is the substance of the being that I play.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Rigi on Mon May 17, 2010 10:00 pm

I tend to start out with a very faint concept, or a faint image. Often the characters I make are for dA clubs, with elements, so I think of what kind of angle I want to have on the element. Next I try to clarify the visual features. If it's someone I have to draw, I think of clothing, hair, emotions, physical traits that then reflect onto the personality. If it's for a roleplay, I think of personality before appearance.

Backstories just sort of meld into what the character is representing.

It's all very visual and foggy until the final refining.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Lara on Wed May 19, 2010 2:29 am

I tend to start out with a general sense of where I want the character to go, which usually comes to mind when I read through a roleplay (or whatever I'm creating a character for). What kind of character would I enjoy playing in this setting? What kind of things would they need to be able to know/do in order to make it even more interesting?

The first hints of the character's personality come out at the start, when I come up with their purpose. Why would this character like this? What makes them act the way they do? Specific quirks tend to come later on.

Gender/age/name all seem to come around the same time, whether it's immediately at the start of the concept idea or at the very end of the thought process. Appearance starts at this phase if it didn't come to mind instantly when reading the topic information.

Background that doesn't tie in with any of the above tends to be one of the last things I come up with, along with the rest of the personality. Coming up with the background usually leaves me going back and changing around other aspects of the character as I decide that something would fit better.

It ends up being a constant process until I'm finally satisfied with the character. Everything about a character is fair game for me to alter at any point if I decide that I like something else more, but once I actually start using the character, I stick with what I've got, unless it's something small and easy to change, or something to add in without disturbing everything else I've come up with.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by EverMan on Sun May 23, 2010 1:30 am

When I need a character, I steal them from books, games, and movies. I then change a few things, including name, a few physical features, and then maybe mess with their powers. Most of the time, I make up their backgrounds as is needed, depending on the rp, or as the story goes along. Probably not the best way, but whatever XD.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Blackrock on Thu May 27, 2010 11:12 am

I don't like to brag, but I'd class myself as a fairly imaginative person. I always have various scenarios, stories and characters floating in my mind (when you have 4-5 consecutive informatics classes, they kinda come naturally to you Razz). Right, so that's the first part. I have the idea of a character, a very rough concept. To put it bluntly: "He's a knight who fights with a spear and rides a dragon" or "He's pencil pusher in the army" or "He's a hunter who lives in a cabin in the woods" or...well, you get the idea.

Now, when I read about a roleplay and it manages to grab my interest, I start to think about which character concept can fit in. When doing that I, naturally, consider stuff such as the lore of the setting, races, traits and so forth. Little by little, an image begins to form in my head. I now have a solid foundation on which I can build upon. Then stuff like background - family, birthplace, etc.; motives, occupation and other such come in.

Through all this I may or may not have a visual idea of my character. If not, all the above-mentioned things come into play. If the character is, for example, aforementioned pencil-pusher, he would be somewhat pale, not very fit and would probably have weak sight. Of course, that's just a stereotypical representation, usually things aren't as simple as that. But lifestyle does come into play when determining physical features.

The most difficult part is actually a name. Usually, even in the beginning stage, I have some name attached to a character. But it's not clear, it's hidden under the surface. And I sift through tenths or even hundreds of them before I actually find one that "feels" or "sounds" right.

When all is said and done, I begin work on a character sheet (if required) which is always a lengthy process for me. That's about it really Smile
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Guest on Thu May 27, 2010 9:43 pm

There really isn't ever a set way to how my characters are created. It depends on the setting, the story, the elements and such. Is it fantasy, or modern, or sci fi? I may start out with a physical description, or perhaps a character with a strong opinion of what is happening in the story. Or perhaps I have just an oultine of a character that I know wants to act or fight in a certain way. It really all depends. I tend to let the role-play create and shape my characters, rather than trying to create characters that I want to make fit. I want them to belong there. I think, in this respect, I was most successful with Barthon Camlin in Sephiris: The Price of Peace. I love role-playing with that character because I feel like he fits in that world.

I started making Barthon Camlin by deciding where in the world I wanted him to fit in. Did I want him to be a human, or an elf, or a dragon? I decided humans would be the easiest to role-play, so I started with that. The next step was deciding where in the human lands he would be, and what part he would play. Kalon was amazingly free with his world, and let us create so much. So I created a knight, and the Order he belongs to. The reason I created a knight was because I imagined that being the sort of character that would hunt for a famed Goddess that had supposedly returned to the world after an extended absence. My knight fit the story, rather than me putting in a character I wanted to play that I would be forced to make work somehow. I took the elements of the story and molded them into Barthon Camlin. After I had the basic outline of who I was, I created Barthon himself, moving down the list of Kalon's character sheet (I think I might have skipped some and gone back to them later, but that is less important).

Anyway, I hope that makes sense. I am not always successful in that endeavor, but I do believe I was successful with Barthon Camlin. Simion Altus was just a benefit of an already awesome character. He kind of just came with the package.

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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Cypher on Fri May 28, 2010 10:13 am

The funny thing is, I don't usually visualise a character while looking at an interest thread. I have a stable of character concepts (usually just basic skeletons) sitting in my head that I take out and Frankenstein into the characters you see on any roleplay I'm in.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Eorzea on Fri May 28, 2010 12:49 pm

For me, I start out with the situation. I imagine what sort of situation would develop what type of personality. From the personality, I imagine how the character would be like. Then, I move on to his/her appearances, and subsequently, his/her fighting abilities and all others.

Basically, my characters are 'born' under the circumstances. I think it's makes it easier for me to fit in the character into the given scenario anyway.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by quakernuts on Sun May 30, 2010 1:37 am

Well to be honest, I don't have an idea as to what my character is going to be until I actually sit down and start typing him out.

It all starts with his name, and to me, that seems to make a character right there. Names are important because they sort of have a feel all on their own. If you want to make a badass, you need a badass name. Not like 'Greg Ruffles' or something like that. That's my opinion anyways.

Then, everything simply takes form from there. I make up on the fly just how I'm going to make my character be. Do I want them to be cool? Do I want them to be a total nerd and loser with the ladies maybe? I don't think about that until I get to that exact spot on the character outline. I only think about what I'm typing at that exact given moment.

When I'm finished, I get an orginial new character everytime. Almost like a mix-and-match sort of way of doing things. It works for me, so I'll stick with it.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Digital Muse on Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:34 am

quakernuts wrote:Well to be honest, I don't have an idea as to what my character is going to be until I actually sit down and start typing him out. It all starts with his name...

That's how I work too. Once I have decided to jump into a RP, I agonize over the perfect name. I'll sift through hundreds and hundreds for the one that sparks a chord and is appropriate for that world.

Almost always, once I find the perfect name, the characters write themselves, They whisper in my mind, "I look like this, I walk like that, I act like something else...no no, like this!"

There's also an element of my own personality within the character: the shy nerd, the aggressive bitch, the poet, whatever. It might even be a simple physical characteristic such as the scar in Kate's eyebrow in Sephiris: The Price of Peace.

To sum it up, my characters tend to write themselves.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Guest on Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:19 pm

For me it depends on what I'm creating a character for, but let us go with a roleplay.

If I read an interest check and I think it's interesting that's usually because at the same time a character idea pops into my mind. The idea is never the appearance, because I'm very bad at imagining things in my mind (which means that when it comes to looks I really have to think hard or force something out).

I'll talk about an example. The freshest character creation in my mind is the character for the one on one between Ryona and me (Shipwrecked Wonder). When I read the interest check I got this picture in my head of an aristocratic youngish woman that had no practical skills at all. It would be an interesting concept since she'd disappear from the comfort of a really rich family and come to rather primitive living with the added "bonus" of not knowing the language.

From there I started creating the society she came from, which I do by taking something I believe is interesting and go from there. And slowly it grows.

The last thing I choose is the appearance. Name can come whenever I decide to try and find it out. Either it's in the beginning or towards the end, it never seems to happen in the middle.

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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Mercinus3 on Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:17 pm

For me personally, my character creation goes something like this:

The first thing that usually happens to me is that a character idea 'pops' into my head based on what they have planned for their introductions into an RP of their specific choice. Shadow Claw, being one of those that have followed this idea (sort of), is a humanoid insect that has been outcast by his own species because of his intelligence. Instead of trying to be accepted, he manages to salvage a mining ship and changed it to something that he uses for his means of travel & became a mercenary. The most recent one I have in mind at the moment is an angel (no specific gender at the moment, probably a female character) is fighting a series of demons in a higher plane (ones where mortals believe gods exist) and is then banished into the mortal plane who (in turn) helps the characters in the RP to defeat the enemies that they face through a powerful magic that causes her to become weakened magically.

The next idea that I plan for my characters once I have an idea on what they are going to do is to flesh out their personalities. On one or two occasions, I tend to use some of the traits that I have as a person and use those to fill those needs, for example my ninja character, Ixion Ecthalion, tends to be stealthy (and often scare people when they see him standing next to them) and quite quiet around people are just two examples of things that I have as a person.

This then follows onto what role they are going to play as and what abilities they are going to have that suit that role. Using Ixion again, since he is rather stealthy and quiet, I've put him as a ninja and allowed him to have heightened senses due to his quiet nature (which can be helpful). I've also allowed him to be faster than the norm so he can fulfil his role as a ninja. For an added bonus (and something that I thought was cool at the time and turned out to be something that made him stand out) was allow him to 'meld' into the shadows, leading onto him being able to use shadow magic to his needs.

Finally, once I have all of that gathered and collected, I start to think about what the new character's apparel, appearance (these are generally features that are separate from their clothing) and their equipment/weapons. Using the ninja again, since Ixion is one, he wears sort of purple-coloured Japanese armour that allows him to be protected from encounters in case that something doesn't go wrong. The cloth is also purple, which is able to blend into the shadows well and having a crest on his helmet that gives him a sort of idea on how he is able to become a ninja. His face is covered, just like a fair few [i]true[/u] ninjas (sorry, Naruto) wear. However, instead on being the typical cliché on just to conceal his identity, I've done the covering of his face so that it hides the massive marring of his face that makes him such a fearsome sight and makes it easier to make the marring infected. Finally, with all that sorted out, his given weapons are a pack of shadow-magic enhanced shurikens (something that is common with ninjas) and a kama with a wicked edge.

Finally, ignoring the history part as that usually develops during the entire course of the RP, I just get their intro paragraph done and post it onto the RP that catches my interest.

~M3~
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Guest on Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:23 pm

Well, I'm a big fan of movies and film media, so much so that when I read novels and the like, as a bookmark, I have a list of all the characters that have had speaking parts and beside their names I put the actors/actresses that I imagine them as. Almost like a cast and role list. It tends to change a bit as the story progresses if I find it hard to imagine a particular actor acting in a certain way, until I find one that fits for the role.

So, my imagination is heavily tied to my knowledge and memory of films and actors(both big name and small TV show people). When I first look at a roleplay and the details of the story, I think of who I'd want to see in that situation or sometimes I'll have in mind a type of personality or physical appearance. I start to visualize scenes in the setting with the person and it helps flesh them out. And finally, I usually look for either an actor/actress to fit the part or just a photo to help cement their physical appearance and mannerisms in my head. It seems kinda restrictive, the way I go about doing it, but it's how I've been reading and writing for years.

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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Applepoisoneer on Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:40 pm

When a mommy character and a daddy character love eahother very much... No,I'm kidding.

My characters are usually inspireed by how I'm feeling at the moment and what I want them to accomplish withing the story. Although I'm not above recycling good characters for other rps. Even if it's just their personality in a completely differant setting.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by UnfortunateBountyHunter on Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:10 am

for me i ask myself one question, what would this character be like in the real world/ how would he think like what would she do if *disaster* struck.

the only real things that take a lot of time for me is the name, and the biography, however once I've got the name, it feels like I've hit the easy button. What's in a name? your biography, personality, age, occupation, appearance, etc...
i also try to make references, my first role-play character, raven, his personality reflects largely off of mine, as do his hobbies, and occupation.


Last edited by UnfortunateBountyHunter on Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to give some more information on how my chracters are born)

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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by Kingmaker on Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:38 pm

I start with a problem for the character, a direct challenge. Let's say, they're vain and a womanizer. Then I develop reasons for said issues, like the fact that they're a halfbreed mixture and a bastard son at that. From there, I associate major plotlines, like him hating his half-sisters, fearing his father, etc. After that, I flesh out the character, make them more believable and relatable. In the end, I flesh out the history, his total personality, and then, from that, I glean a name.
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Re: How are your characters born?

Post by The Thing Under The Sink on Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:43 am

I have several different methods of character creation.

First and foremost, if I see a thread I like, I'll think up what aspects of a character would best suit the basic scenario pained by the thread-maker. I draw from many different sources; the sight of a man walking down the street. A random picture in a DeviantArt gallery. A snippet of song. A poem I liked the sound of. All of these things come together in my mind, and before long I'm typing out a physical description and a fleshed-out backstory, complete with personality.

This method takes a day or so, while I let my subconscious mind fuse the disparate elements into one, workable whole.

My second method is to lift a character from a novel or a film that I really like. I'll change a few details to make them unique; personality, for example, their name, appearance and history.

This version takes me about an hour.

My last method is to dream a character. It happens rarely, say once every few years. These characters come instantly fleshed-out, with backstories and everything, and usually only need a few tweaks here and there to make them perfectly workable. The only trouble with these is finding a pad of paper and a pen and writing them down fast enough to prevent them from fading to wherever dreams go.
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