Character Woes



  • I'd have put this in the Mu* peeve thread except I couldn't find it if it exists. Regardless...

    It's so fucking annoying when I come up with a concept I really like and enjoyed researching (course, I enjoy researching anything but that's beside the point), app him, get him approved, and then... NOTHING. He doesn't come alive. I can't find his voice. RPing him is an effort, struggling to think of what he would say and how he would react. Trying to play him is work I"m not enjoying at all and there's really nothing I can do about it. He either works or he doesn't. All that work and effort, both on my part and on staff's, was all for naught. Frustrating.


  • Admin

    Has he been in any actual plots? Interesting ones, relevant to the character's nature in any way?

    When I first start playing a PC it's a struggle until I find his voice no matter what he's about. This process is not at all made easier (and in fact is probably turned harder) by generic vanilla bar scenes in which he has to find something to talk about when there's nothing happening.

    Get him in hot waters, see what he sweats out.



  • I have way more ideas than I have time and inclination to play them.

    I've come to terms with the fact that, for me at least, what makes a character really work and what doesn't is more alchemical than I'd like to admit. I have to make a few PC connections that bounce off their personality well. I also have to find little tics that are fun for me to play. I once couldn't get into a character until I decided he was basically incompetent at certain aspects of his job, at which point he became entirely amusing to me. I've also taken to trying to establish a major NPC in their background that I can build the PC against. I can't map out every relationship, but I can decide how they get along with their step-father/boyfriend/roommate off-camera, and figuring out that dimension of their life that's never really RP'd helps me in how they relate to other PCs.


  • Admin

    It's often not in your hands. In fact creating an interesting character (which for some people means someone with a rich background, specific thematic ties to complicated concepts, a quirky enough personality, etc) can make him a lot harder to play when on the grid.

    For instance playing a survivor of vast supernatural phenomena, a veteran mystic who's seen too much, can easily make it bland to actually hit the grid and find not much is happening. Those aspects of his personality won't be easy to come out while mixing it up with the random ghoul from next door whose interests include pop music and Call of Duty.

    My favorite characters have always been flukes. I started playing them and something clicked because of what other people I happened to run into who had room in their IC lives for mine, and I don't think I had poured more or less effort or creativity into them than others whose names I couldn't even remember any more. That's how how it works.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said:

    For instance playing a survivor of vast supernatural phenomena, a veteran mystic who's seen too much, can easily make it bland to actually hit the grid and find not much is happening. Those aspects of his personality won't be easy to come out while mixing it up with the random ghoul from next door whose interests include pop music and Call of Duty.

    I try to stick to the principle that RIGHT NOW should be the most interesting period of my character's life, and make their backgrounds and thematic ties work toward that end. That doesn't mean they can't have been an international superspy or a world-famous fashion model-slash-actress or a member of the SEAL team that shot bin Laden, just that I have to come up with some reason why their life today is not just a series of wistful glances back toward when cool stuff was happening to them.


  • Pitcrew

    @Autumn said:

    @Arkandel said:

    For instance playing a survivor of vast supernatural phenomena, a veteran mystic who's seen too much, can easily make it bland to actually hit the grid and find not much is happening. Those aspects of his personality won't be easy to come out while mixing it up with the random ghoul from next door whose interests include pop music and Call of Duty.

    I try to stick to the principle that RIGHT NOW should be the most interesting period of my character's life, and make their backgrounds and thematic ties work toward that end. That doesn't mean they can't have been an international superspy or a world-famous fashion model-slash-actress or a member of the SEAL team that shot bin Laden, just that I have to come up with some reason why their life today is not just a series of wistful glances back toward when cool stuff was happening to them.

    This this this. I've gotten a lot of appers talking through their character worrying about not having enough interesting things in their history. But really, what makes characters hook into the game and have interesting RP so rarely (in my experience) has to do with crazy stuff in their history. It has to do with them really hitting the grid and working to make connections and get involved in things.

    I also totally agree with the previous sentiments that, a lot of the time, you really can't predict what's going to make a character hook and become awesome and what won't.



  • My backgrounds are usually pretty vague and open so I can make connections with people. and be all 'That totally coulda happened!' or 'We totally coulda known each other!'

    I also make my initial personalities for my chars pretty cookie cutter. Then let them develop as they may IC.

    I always have a vague idea of what I want my char to be but sometimes what they do gets away from me and they develop differently.

    Also, I have had characters I spent time making and figuring I'd enjoy the concept.. it just didn't click no matter the effort I put in. I am more inclined to say that if it's not working for you make something new. I am also a altaholic.


  • Admin

    I'm an one-alt-at-a-time guy. If I have more than one, the second is nearly never played. That means I'm pretty dependent on being well connected on an IC (and possibly OOC) level to find RP, since I can't simply switch to my vampire if nothing's happening around my werewolf.

    On the other hand the same thing has made me really proactive. I cultivate relationships with other PCs, I make sure my character is on their speed-dial if shit happens and I try to include them in anything I'm involved with whenever possible.

    Being sociable pays off in multiplayer games, who knew.



  • @Autumn said:

    I have to come up with some reason why their life today is not just a series of wistful glances back toward when cool stuff was happening to them.

    Considering our community's fetish for sleepy little towns jam-packed with the supernatural, playing a character who did assassinate the president of Bhurma with a fork or whatever and was just looking for a nice, quiet place to retire is pretty fun, especially if you make sure the "nice and quiet" doesn't happen, which means being proactive. Expecting someone else to take the reins and do anything but run coffee shop scenes is usually an exercise in frustration, in my experience.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said:

    I'm an one-alt-at-a-time guy. If I have more than one, the second is nearly never played. That means I'm pretty dependent on being well connected on an IC (and possibly OOC) level to find RP, since I can't simply switch to my vampire if nothing's happening around my werewolf.

    On the other hand the same thing has made me really proactive. I cultivate relationships with other PCs, I make sure my character is on their speed-dial if shit happens and I try to include them in anything I'm involved with whenever possible.

    Being sociable pays off in multiplayer games, who knew.

    I think that's what things come down to, really. Sometimes I hear players complain about not fitting in or not hooking into RP, but I've literally only seen them RP in two or three scenes. To a certain extent, I totally believe you just have to put in a certain amount of time. Some of it's not going to end up being super exciting, but just putting in work into cultivating new relationships tends to always be necessary.

    I have a friend who literally spits characters out fully formed -- she instantly has their history, their personality, their voice, etc. It is her talent, and she always kind of hilariously shrughands in a helpless manner when OOC chatter turns to the process of building characters, because it's not just not how her head works. But even then, she still has to go in and do the hooking work. You gotta be proactive. At the same time, you have to recognize that sometimes you will be proactive, you'll do all the things you should, but a character just doesn't hook. And that's okay!



  • I've lately come to the (obvious, non-revelatory) conclusion that this hobby is much more about engagement than anything else (free time, RP 'quality', etc., though obviously those things help one engage). And you have to actively engage with something as much or more than you have to be engage by it. When I can't get into a game or character, 90% or the time the reasons are mostly Me rather than It (even if the Me issue is 'This particular story-telling style is not my thing and never a thing I'm going to fully enjoy.') The other 10%, the game is Serenity-level terrible and should die in a game fire, but those actually are outliers. In general, if I'm not having fun, I'm not working very hard to make my own fun.



  • I so completely relate to this.

    I think a big part of why I have played so few characters and why I tend to stick with one for a good long while is that the first two weeks with a new character, learning/making up their ins and outs and finding their voice, are a bit of a struggle. I have to think about seemingly everything, even trivial things, because it seems to be part of the process for me. What would she want on her pizza? Who did she go to prom with? For me at least, these somewhat inane details actually make them feel real to me and with bizarre frequency actually reflect themes or more important stuff about the character. And then eventually they click and I no longer have to think so much about any of this.

    Unsettlingly perhaps, my drunken, corrupt, maliciously bored sheriff's deputy clicked instantly for me. I'm not thinking about that too much.



  • I've been doing this a long, long time and gone through more characters that don't work than those that ever have. I've yet to figure out why one does when five or ten don't.

    @Arkandel said:

    Has he been in any actual plots? Interesting ones, relevant to the character's nature in any way?

    Not yet. And while it might help, the question itself highlights the problem: his nature isn't there. There's no personality, no likes or dislikes, nothing beyond some words on paper that satisfies the demands of CG. It's the difference between having an owner's manual and riding in the car.

    It's just really annoying. In the past, I just toss the character and try again till one works in that setting, with those other players, on that particular game. Maybe I should avoid games with sphere caps or at least spheres with caps. Granted, it's a more unique situation when the game is just starting so perhaps the timing is just off for me.



  • @Eerie said:

    Unsettlingly perhaps, my drunken, corrupt, maliciously bored sheriff's deputy clicked instantly for me. I'm not thinking about that too much.

    I pretty much think I know why.



  • @Arkandel

    My favorite characters have always been flukes.

    Much the same here, though not always. But a number of the characters I've had the most fun with started out as either joke concepts (lol somebody should make a blah blah blah) or one-offs who were intended to get killed off or written out within a few months while I waited to play what I really wanted to play. Maybe not exactly what you meant, but still, flukes.


  • Admin

    @HelloRaptor Right. What I (think I) meant was that I can't see rhyme or reason in why one character becomes a favorite and another not even a memory. I put the same amount of thought in them then factors outside of my control seem to determine the outcome.

    It's about good timing, having game/sphere stability (I won't have much fun if everyone around me is knee-deep in high drama), finding a good cast of people having available time and feeling like investing it and of course those people actually liking my PC.

    Most of those aren't things I can do much about. So when it does happen, it's a kind of a fluke.


  • Politics

    @TNP said:

    I've been doing this a long, long time and gone through more characters that don't work than those that ever have. I've yet to figure out why one does when five or ten don't.

    @Arkandel said:

    Has he been in any actual plots? Interesting ones, relevant to the character's nature in any way?

    Not yet. And while it might help, the question itself highlights the problem: his nature isn't there. There's no personality, no likes or dislikes, nothing beyond some words on paper that satisfies the demands of CG. It's the difference between having an owner's manual and riding in the car.

    It's just really annoying. In the past, I just toss the character and try again till one works in that setting, with those other players, on that particular game. Maybe I should avoid games with sphere caps or at least spheres with caps. Granted, it's a more unique situation when the game is just starting so perhaps the timing is just off for me.

    Let me get settled into the game now that it's fully open and I'll see what we can do to help you out. I don't want anyone to feel like they can't get into their character, but the game is new and the first week or two are gonna be a little rough for everyone. Poke me on the game. I'm going to be running some sphere stuff soon that I hope will give peopel reasons to interact and chances to find their characters's voices.



  • @HelloRaptor said:

    @Arkandel

    My favorite characters have always been flukes.

    Much the same here, though not always. But a number of the characters I've had the most fun with started out as either joke concepts (lol somebody should make a blah blah blah) or one-offs who were intended to get killed off or written out within a few months while I waited to play what I really wanted to play. Maybe not exactly what you meant, but still, flukes.

    This so much. And boy it sucks when you have to follow through and off them.


  • Pitcrew

    I've often found that I enjoy the process of creating characters as much or more than actually playing them, but I've definitely had the experience of thinking that I've got a really good, interesting (to me) character to play and having it just not quite connect once they're on the grid..



  • Since it seems a fair number of people playing on Eldritch read these boards, it's simplest to put here that I decided to drop Joseph as he's simply not working after several scenes. I've done this long enough to know when to go back to the drawing board and make a new alt.


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