Character story and traits

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Post by Qeewee » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Character story and traits

Can't remember seeing a post like this, at least not in a very long time, so here I go:

I've noticed how many people delete characters a lot, make new ones all the time and such, while others stay with just one deep character that they enjoy.

Now the question I have is for everyone in this community, I'd like you all, especially people that have stuck with one character through the years (optionally months), to comment on what you want in a character. Nothing specific, but what you like to have in a background story of a character, or what you hate seeing in others, as well as descriptions, what traits are important to have in your character, even if a characters should pick a favorite God, food, etc up front before playing. If the answers are useful and not judging in a way that would offend new players or scare them off even, we might even sum it up and a GM/CM could make it into a sticky topic list that new players could have a look at before creating a character. (upon writing that last part I'm sure I've seen such a list, but far away from being at all satisfying in any way) so.. I think I got all I had on my mind concerning that topic into this question... Hope to see interesting replies.

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Post by Drathe » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:42 pm

Re: Character story and traits

I like characters that have a believability to them. We are all different as people/players and so should and are the characters, but, I find so many have no hates or dislikes or flaws, they are either totally evil or they love,like everyone, race and religion. I'm not saying there can not be these polar opposites but flaws and dislikes of character MAKE and shape a character.


(Post below, down there \/ sense, makes sense).
Last edited by Drathe on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Kaelyn Ianale » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Mmh, this question is both really difficult and really simple for me to answer.

I have had two main characters throughout my time in Illarion, which is about a total of 6 years now. They have been an elfess named Ayla To'lorn and a human named Kaelyn Ianale. While I have had my "alternative" characters that have come and gone, these two have stuck with me through the years so I can say that I know them and why they keep me coming back well.

What I tend to look for in my own character is a balance between being interesting but not quite a cliche. While both of my characters have traits that could definitely be considered cliches to their roles (Ayla's the stoic and overly patient elven Knight Has-been, Kaelyn's the rough and rowdy rogue with a superiority/alpha complex), I try to give each of them something that separates them from the herd. It's definitely a challenge that keeps my attention, constantly struggling against it. They basically have different quirks specific to the character, quirks that usually come from me personally and from habits they develop through roleplaying. This too is usually what I look for in other characters that they roleplay with. I look for a uniqueness among all of the cookie-cutter types and a willingness to flex and give to the storyline. I look for characters that aren't afraid to lose occasionally, that aren't afraid to admit defeat.

What I dislike most of other characters and try oh so desperately to avoid with mine (with varying degrees of success) are the typical "Mary Sue" habits. I've been roleplaying in and out of Illarion for countless years now and I've seen enough of the same acts to know which ones bore me almost immediately. The poorly-played arrogant bitches that never lose the toss of their dice, the unbeatable warriors, the oh-so-gorgeous you could drop dead by looking at them damsels, the evil guys that do stuff just to piss other lesser-skilled players off without any storyline gain... These are traits I despise seeing in other characters because it makes them far too stiff to play. There's no dynamics to their tales because they're all so much the same. If I could say one thing to new players, it would be "avoid the norm". If you plan to make a lasting character, don't make a character that is the idea of what you'd like to be in real life. There is a difference in putting a bit of yourself in a character (say, a habit of yours or a personality quirk) and making an idealist's version of you (the supermodel quality flower that can be bitchy when she wants).

As for backgrounds, I tend never to start with a "set in stone" background with a new character. To me, the most fun comes from discovering your character's backgrounds through the roleplay and stories they develop with other characters. Believe it or not, I've seen that current events ingame will somehow reflect to a story in the past. Case in point, when I first made Kaelyn 6 years ago, she was nothing but a... Well, a prostitute. She was a gypsy of sorts, sat around campfires and flirted with men. She had no story, she was just something fun to play. Over the years, as she got entangled with more and more characters and darker plotlines, she developed into this complex character with an even more complex background. She went from being an (excuse my language)everyday whore... To this woman of the desert with an entire tale of bloodshed, gore and deception. She was no longer just a gypsy, she was someone to be feared with ulterior motives. Because of my own experiences, I often recommend new and old players alike to give themselves room to flex when they're first developing a new character. Don't give them that detailed of a history - you have no idea what you might come up with in the long run.

TL;DR
- I look for uniqueness in characters that separate them from the everyday.
- I dislike characters repeating the most well-known cliches in the book.
- I look for flexibility in my characters and others, to more easily develop deep and lasting stories
- Don't restrict yourself right out the gate. Give your character a backbone but let the game flesh them out.

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Post by PurpleMonkeys » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Don't write a novel about a coat. Detail is nice, but I want to read a description/story in a few minutes, not half an hour.

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Post by Evie » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:11 pm

Re: Character story and traits

I have a few alts they have come and gone .. but Evie i have played for over a year she is my main character and my baby so to speak. When i started Illa, this was my first RP game.. and to say i was a duck out of water would be mild. the first time i was asked for a background story i was like what?? *insert deer in the headlights look*. as my Illa time has evolved and my character, i have now developed a nice background that fits Evie and is true to who she is. i have taken this approach with new characters as well . .. i play them abit. . find out who they are ...they let me know. often their story come dancing on the screen before my conscious mind even registers it. i usually never create a character knowing who they are ..not sure how many do it this way .. i know alot come in game with a full story. .i dont. play the alt a bit.. if i like how they develop i keep them if not.. well they go.. have had it work both ways.

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Post by Qeewee » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Exactly the kind of replies I want! I hope more of you have opinions to add to this! :D

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Post by rakust dorenstkzul » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:02 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Play a stereotype, so you know what to either add/take away when creating another character.

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Post by Morbius » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:05 am

Re: Character story and traits

I like to give my characters some kind of twist that separates them from the rest, sure I’ve gone for the cliché ones from time to time, but that’s how we discover what works, and what interests as well as others players. As far as stories and descriptions, I usually don’t bother reading stories at all; I prefer to find out in game, especially the epic yarns. (I can’t talk; my stories are usually huge...) If I do though, generally just a nice well written one I suppose. One that flows and makes sense to me, or reflect why the character acts in certain ways.

What do I dislike in a story or description? I tend to enjoy something a little different. Something that makes me want to engage with their character, a little spark of uniqueness. For example: “Blah is a witch, Blah wears a pointy hat.” As opposed to “Blah has a small necklace around their neck that lets out a dull glow.” Both give the same impression, one’s just more subtle and in my opinion, more interesting. Characters that have an element of mystery usuall entice me too.

What traits are important to have in my character? Originality and avoiding the norm, trying to make your character as believable as possible, and just not trying too hard to be an awesome undefeatable warrior of death, because when you think about it... no one’s really like that. At the same time, not taking things too far the other way either. I don't want to run into high society orc scholars for example.. but that could just be me.

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Post by PurpleMonkeys » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:55 am

Re: Character story and traits

Morbius wrote:awesome undefeatable warrior of death, because when you think about it... no one’s really like that.
He doesn't know Chuck Norris.

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Post by Roscoe Arrowtree » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:32 am

Re: Character story and traits

Drathe wrote:I like characters that have a believability to them...
I agree with this statement.
When i was thinking of Roscoe i knew i would play a halfling.
I looked around different RPG websites where halflings were featured and i picked up their common traits (those that were evident across all games idea of a halfling/hobbit).
I decided that my halfling wouldn't be exceptionally strong, wouldn't be a magic user, wouldn't be full of hate and had the capability of acting like an adult despite his child-like appearance.

I looked over the games world map to decide his origins and decided "Why does every character HAVE to come from the mainland?" and thought this was just an Illarionism so... I broke it and decided that Roscoe would be Gobaith born and bred (The forests of Briar).
For his "class" (I know that Illarion is "classless" but I had decided that realism would be my boundary) I decided that he would be an "earth-bound" halfling, he wouldn't be a smith, miner or super strong/fast fighter.
I decided that he would be a forest ranger and as such i have only tried to raise skills that would be relevant for his role (Such as herbalism, distance weapons, farming, lumberjacking etc).

He also has several several skills that are not scripted such as animal husbandry and navigation.

I haven't got round to writing his story yet but there are no great tragedies, he is not fleeing military or governments and he has not performed any heroic deeds.
He is a simple forest ranger born and bred on the island like his father, his fathers father and countless generations beforehand.

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Post by Lord Arcia » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:09 pm

Re: Character story and traits

When I come across something that my character has never experienced I roll a dice or flip a coin.

Does he get pissed off? Does he think it's funny?

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Post by Qeewee » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:43 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Kaelyn Ianale wrote: the oh-so-gorgeous you could drop dead by looking at them damsels
Seen so many of those the past day that I had to bring it up.

People please start creating normal characters with flaws in their appearance, everyone being perfect is idiotic! Please stop all the "a woman of striking beauty" descriptions, or even worse , talk about "lips with forever sweet taste" and stuff like that :roll:
I know a lot of people that feel the same as me about this manner, and I'm quite sure there are many more.

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Post by Robert_Thwaite » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:55 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Qeewee wrote:
Kaelyn Ianale wrote: the oh-so-gorgeous you could drop dead by looking at them damsels
Seen so many of those the past day that I had to bring it up.

People please start creating normal characters with flaws in their appearance, everyone being perfect is idiotic! Please stop all the "a woman of striking beauty" descriptions, or even worse , talk about "lips with forever sweet taste" and stuff like that :roll:
I know a lot of people that feel the same as me about this manner, and I'm quite sure there are many more.
I agree and I also feel this is forced roleplay as it should be up to the players reading the story to decide how they perceive the target player.
Maybe to Robert he DOESN'T see "The most beautiful girl on the island with strawberry red lips who smells like peaches and is totally irresistible to men"
Maybe he sees an old/immature woman who puts too much value on "trying to look good" and whose "seductive actions" are jerky, unnatural or just very weird

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Post by Irania » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:02 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Qeewee wrote:
Kaelyn Ianale wrote: the oh-so-gorgeous you could drop dead by looking at them damsels
Seen so many of those the past day that I had to bring it up.

People please start creating normal characters with flaws in their appearance, everyone being perfect is idiotic! Please stop all the "a woman of striking beauty" descriptions, or even worse , talk about "lips with forever sweet taste" and stuff like that :roll:
I know a lot of people that feel the same as me about this manner, and I'm quite sure there are many more.
Way to pick my profile out of the list and poke fun, WeeWee.

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Post by Leon Demelii » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Character story and traits

Irania wrote:
Qeewee wrote:
Kaelyn Ianale wrote: the oh-so-gorgeous you could drop dead by looking at them damsels
Seen so many of those the past day that I had to bring it up.

People please start creating normal characters with flaws in their appearance, everyone being perfect is idiotic! Please stop all the "a woman of striking beauty" descriptions, or even worse , talk about "lips with forever sweet taste" and stuff like that :roll:
I know a lot of people that feel the same as me about this manner, and I'm quite sure there are many more.
Way to pick my profile out of the list and poke fun, WeeWee.

People can make their character however they choose. That's how the game works. I may disagree with some profiles but I have something called self control and I also realize their character is um... their business. Nor do I let it conflict with RP, like some people might do..

Honestly, are you really trying to tell people how to describe THEIR OWN character? I ask this seriously, btw...

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Post by rakust dorenstkzul » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:31 am

Re: Character story and traits

Personally, i think we should cut this here, since it's going to devolve.

As for RP, i think, the more flaws a character has, the more believable they are.

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Post by Qeewee » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:21 am

Re: Character story and traits

No, I didn't actually pick anyones character profile, if parts of what I wrote matched yours Irania that's a coincidence then, and maybe even something worth thinking about, because I pulled what I wrote out of thin air to avoid such comments like yours.
And Robert actually worded this a lot better, what I meant by my post is for people to stop forcing upon people how irresistibly beautiful etc etc they are and just let other people decide what their own charas think that "that woman over there" is irresistibly beautiful or not. Sure, it doesn't affect most peoples RP, many people either avoid these characters or just ignore that they think of themselves of irresistible etc, but it's still quite annoying that pretty much no one in illarion, women in particular, have flaws. It reduces the believability of this roleplay world when you can never meet an "ugly" or even "normal" woman that isn't one of the older players so bored out of his mind that (s)he made a 1-time character to troll with.

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Post by Irania » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:14 am

Re: Character story and traits

@WeeWee I know you're just jealous because I get all the RP time. :wink:

What sort of flaws make characters believable then because I personally can take every character (including my own) and find flaws in them as long as they are a fairly well played character. But picturing a character goes hand in hand with....you got it! #me!!!! Emoting is a big deal in Illarion and I don't think people do enough of it. There are many people in game that I admit I don't even have an image of because they never have and continue to not emote anything other than what their character physically does. They simply rely on the fact that it's shown in their profile.

What makes a character believable to me is that I can picture them in the game setting. If there is something off about someone and it doesn't seem to fit well then I generally just avoid RP with him/her altogether. It's not flaws in the physical appearance that make a character realistic to me it's how they RP it.

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Post by Qeewee » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:53 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Irania wrote:@WeeWee I know you're just jealous because I get all the RP time. :wink:
? ? ?
Irania wrote: What sort of flaws make characters believable then because I personally can take every character (including my own) and find flaws in them as long as they are a fairly well played character. But picturing a character goes hand in hand with....you got it! #me!!!! Emoting is a big deal in Illarion and I don't think people do enough of it. There are many people in game that I admit I don't even have an image of because they never have and continue to not emote anything other than what their character physically does. They simply rely on the fact that it's shown in their profile.

What makes a character believable to me is that I can picture them in the game setting. If there is something off about someone and it doesn't seem to fit well then I generally just avoid RP with him/her altogether. It's not flaws in the physical appearance that make a character realistic to me it's how they RP it.
You got some good points there, the game does lack #me emotes about more than what we have right now.
Also I'm gonna add onto that and comment on how many #me's are very confusing, emotes like #me hugs his/her brother/sister/lover/father/mother/friend/[name here] can be quite confusing for people that do not know the character who emotes' story or the characters that the emote concern. Also emotes about thoughts or #me picks up the sword he got yesterday from [person]. doesn't quite fit in..

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Post by Velisai » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:42 pm

Re: Character story and traits

I often see descriptions that mention where a char was born, what attitude they have to this or that, what god they follow and many other things that can't be in any way sensed by a stranger meeting that char for the first time. I don't want to know those things! It is ooc information that I read, because it is in a place it doesn't belong. Once read, I have to remember not to use it, because my char can't know any of it. Even worse, knowing everything about a char from the profile totally spoils the fun of getting to know that char in game. So please, for the love of demons, put it into your histories with the rest of the ooc info, so those of us who prefer not to read that stuff can easily avoid it.

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Post by Robert_Thwaite » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Character story and traits

Qeewee wrote:Also I'm gonna add onto that and comment on how many #me's are very confusing, emotes like #me hugs his/her brother/sister/lover/father/mother/friend/[name here] can be quite confusing for people that do not know the character who emotes' story or the characters that the emote concern. Also emotes about thoughts or #me picks up the sword he got yesterday from [person]. doesn't quite fit in..
I actually have this all written down in what might be a guide to emoting if i get round to finishing it lolz

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