How do you construct your characters?


  • Pitcrew

    @thenomain I do it the same way. :D


  • Pitcrew

    I usually have a base concept that I think will fit in well with the game (very very basic, often a trope if you will). For me the personality (usually the second thing to come) is largely determined by music inspiration. I almost always have an extensive playlist for a character concept before I even think about what they look like.

    At this point, I prefer collaboration. In the last years this has been mostly with people I know, but my all time favorite, long held PC (Ariadne @ TR) came about because I was able to then find a family that I felt looked interesting and I was able to app in without knowing anyone. Sometimes that doesn’t work out quite how one wishes it to because of the rapid pace of change and wikis not being kept up to date. But despite that, I was able to connect with some nice folks on the ooc channels and find some specific tasks and places where there wasn’t ample coverage.

    Once I have a few hooks in (or at least what I think are hooks in) to the in-progress game, then I work on my sheet. This is my most hated part of the process. If I could pay someone in xp to hear my concept, what I think I will be doing, and then have them translate that statistically into a sheet for me, I would. It’s just not something I enjoy.

    Once I have that, back to semi-collaboration to set some history hooks with people who seem interested, write a background that allows for more weaving in of stories post approval, and doesn’t answer every mystery from the past.

    Then I usually find a picture.

    Mostly I crave organic collaboration both pre- and post-approval, that is not heavy handed and enhances play in present and richness of background for all parties. It’s more fun for me, and I find it easier to invest in a game when others trust me with bits of their story and I’m not just creating something in a vacuum to launch on grid.


  • Pitcrew

    I usually have a theme; a phrase, quote, song, poem or something similiar. That generally throws out a concept, personality and occasionally an appearance - if not mood. Once I get that I start fiddling with mechanics - what sphere, what groups and subgroups, etc.



  • If the concept of the game doesn't inspire me, I generally look for a mechanical hook and then build a character around that, fleshing them out as we go.

    If the game does inspire me, I throw the vague statement of 'I'd really like to play there' into the bottomless pit at the back of my conscious mind and start looking at/refreshing myself on source material.

    For instance, T8S is interesting to me, so I dug out my copy of Under the Black Flag and downloaded a couple of Sabatini e-books. (Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk are out from under copyright and free!)

    Now, after a couple of days, I've got the character's 'voice' in my head. I know why he went down to the wine dark sea. I know why he hoisted the black flag (well, decided it was better than dying) and who he was before he cast in his lot for a short, brutal but free life.

    Now I just need to find a picture that suits the lean, small-framed, weaselly little man in my head and do a couple of test paragraphs. (I think he's going to be semi-literate, because he'd be the type to keep a journal.) When that's squared away, I'll app.


  • Admin

    @collective said in How do you construct your characters?:

    Now, after a couple of days, I've got the character's 'voice' in my head.

    I envy that. It takes me a few days after I start playing to get the voice down, and then even that's followed by a long, slow refinement.



  • @arkandel

    It's 50/50. If I'm not inspired, I have to do the same thing. And that isn't to say that my characters are fully formed before I ever start the app. Just that the general essence of who they are and two or three big, life-defining moments are clear in my head.


  • Admin

    @collective At first I know very little. I've got a very vaguely defined idea in my head of who my T8S character is, for instance, and the overall direction I plan to hit the ground running towards, but the rest is a complete mystery to me.

    That last part is by design, sort of. I could have probably worked it out in my head better but I've found it resolves more smoothly if it's done organically through his experiences and through running into the people I actually get to play with, in the plots we are involved in.



  • To take T8S, I know I want my character to be inadequately erudite, and sometimes quote Aristotle or an assortment of wholly outdated authors in reaction to the weirdness of the setting. Sure, the 17th century is the century of the scientific revolution, but we'll have none of that godless heretical nonsense, thank you.

    I don't know why that just popped into my head, but it did, and now I am having a hard time doing anything other than struggle to work backwards from that into an actually playable character concept.

    Other times I start with actual concepts, though.



  • @peasoupling said in How do you construct your characters?:

    ely erudite, and sometimes quote Aristotle or an assortment of wholly outdated authors in reaction to the weirdness of the setting. Sure, the 17th century is the century of the scientific revolution, but we'll have none of that godless heretical nonsense, thank you.
    I don't know why that just popped into my head, but it did, and now I am having a hard time doing anything other than struggle to work backwards from that into an actually playable character concept.
    Other times I start with actual concepts, though.

    I'm not even trying to go for a fully educated character, because when it comes to the humanities, the average well-educated person of that era is ... intimidatingly well read and grounded in languages and the classics. My BA doesn't stack up. Latin, Greek, rhetorical training, poetry, natural histories and the classic Greek lit and Roman political works, probably French and/or German if they have scholarly or literary pretensions and a working knowledge of their artistic traditions.

    Yeah. I'm not qualified to play an Enlightenment era scholar. :D



  • Wait, there's more to a character than looking for a hawt PB and then being smug and aloof on the internet?


  • Pitcrew

    @tinuviel No there isn't. Don't let them lie to you.


  • Politics

    @sunnyj said in How do you construct your characters?:

    @tinuviel No there isn't. Don't let them lie to you.

    This coming from you, darling?


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede

    alt text

    Busted!


  • Pitcrew

    The flu I had the other week has left me with a cough and asthma attacks... Which left me, today, wanting to play a neonate vampire who was a severe asthmatic in life and every so often becomes conscious of the fact they aren't breathing and has minor panic attacks over it.


  • Coder

    @auspice

    How do they speak without breathing?

    So speaking is yet another reminder.

    Mind you: No migraines.


  • Pitcrew

    @thenomain said in How do you construct your characters?:

    Mind you: No migraines.

    Character who begs to become a vampire to escape migraines?
    (It'd be tempting af IRL.)


  • Pitcrew

    I usually start with a base concept or archetype. Sometimes (often) that'll boil down to "basically <character> in <setting>." I like twists on archetypes, but going completely off the rails just strikes me as pointless--why would I play a Ventrue if I just wanted to play them as a Bruja?

    I usually keep background as minimal as I can during CG, which is sometimes a strain on @Aria and other people who like things set out in advance. I just like to make it up in play, once I figure out what makes sense for the PC. Until I get a feel for it, I don't like nailing things down beyond a few character-defining points.

    I try to keep my PCs pretty well-rounded, even when it's suboptimal from a min-max standpoint. I'd rather have a PC who can hold a conversation and read beyond a fifth grade level and whatever their deal is than someone who can do one thing better than everyone. I also tend to buy above-average intelligence, unless being kinda dim is part of the concept.

    I don't have an issue with reusing character traits. Or, for that matter, remaking characters wholecloth. (FIGHT ME) If I don't have a specific concept in mind, I'll fall back on some of the same tropes more often than not. (Sarcastic, verbose, often criminal, usually an anti-authority streak.) Should note that my only current PC is pretty much the polar opposite of that in every respect... I pretty much have to Karl Urban the dialogue on every pose I make. (Possibly relevant that @saosmash made the character as a roster, I just play the guy.)

    I usually do come up with one or two character flaws for a given PC, things that are just flat-out negative, but most of their 'flaws' come up in play as aspects of their personality that you can't really separate from their strengths. Like, he's either indomitabley resolute or pig-headedly stubborn, depending on the circumstances and PoV.

    ETA: oh, and unless it's baked into the concept, I usually play my characters as having been at their thing a while. Doesn't mean they need to react to impending apocalypsi with "oh, it's Tuesday already?" (unless that's earned in-game), but I usually play PCs where this isn't their first rodeo. I'm making someone ex nihilo to go in this situation, and anything that makes it feel like they have a history helps my immersion.


  • Coder

    It depends for me, sometimes I want to play a specific concept, sometimes I just build the sheet and then decide what personality and history an individual would have to /get/ that sheet. Sometimes I find a picture or other source of inspiration and run with it.

    The only character I am currently playing is probably the least effective character I've ever made.... for now... but eventually.... oh yes.


  • Pitcrew

    Sometimes I will be randomly watching a movie or a show, and something sparks, then builds from there into a concept, etc. Sometimes I'm trying to build something for a specific game, depending on a need. (this is my most fail method)
    If i have a ghost of an idea, sometimes I will let Youtube lead me around random music, and see what leads to things.

    As for reusing, there are a couple of character concepts I love. The faces, names and details may change, but there's something that remains.



  • @macha Oh man. The number of times I've watched a film or a show or something and think "That'd be a neat chara... eh, effort."


 

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