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 Character Development

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Kenta Takeshi
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Posts : 75
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PostSubject: Character Development   Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:23 pm

Back when Pluto was still a Planet, an old friend of mine helped me make my first character with these words:


Character development:
I cannot even begin to explain how character development is essential to RPing. Without spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and psychological growth, a character is nothing more than a one-dimensional figure of someone’s imagination. Treat your characters like real people, with real flaws. Keep them true to themselves, and keep them realistic.

On that note of keeping things reasonable and realistic… there is something disturbingly wrong if your character just saw people getting chopped up, mutilated, and dismembered in the most gruesome ways, and the only thing he/she can do is look sad, sigh, and walk away. Different people react to things in different ways, but c’mon now! They just saw the freakkin micro-holocaust! It’s one thing if he/she is used to seeing blood and guts and all that good stuff, but even a captain’s gotta think to him/herself something other than “Ah crap. Just killed good old Johnny. Guess I’ll need another 6th seat.” And if they do, explain why in their posts! What is your character feeling right now? How will they react to the loss of their loved ones after the mayhem?

My main concern is that people are going to go on with their merry lives as if nothing life-changing ever occurred or they didn't just experience something that was psychologically or emotionally scarring; unrealism can ruin a good RP. Horrific situations such as these are great times to reveal other sides of your character’s persona [for they DO have other sides to them, right…..?].


Unique characters:
It’s very hard to think of a character that is truly unique. Demon kids and rich girls with a heart of gold are hardly original. But don’t rip off the bad-guy or gentleman-who-likes-roses stereotype without a twist of your own.

Likewise, if you have an insane character –which are very fun to play, I will admit – could you explain why they are insane? Are they suffering dementia, schizophrenia? Are they a sociopath? What triggered this behavior? It’s not necessary, but it gives him/her some depth, and it lets others appreciate his/her insanity. Well, to some extent…


Powers:
Powers are nice. Powers are cool. But don’t give them a hodgepodge of random stuff just because it sounds cool. Since powers in Bleach are usually not given from person-to-person, they are always a reflection of a person’s soul. Orihime has a cute, childish mind, so her powers are fairies and fantasy-type characters that can reverse reality. Chad wants to use his physical strength to protect others, so it’s not surprising that he possess armor and a killer right hook.

This RP is not directly based on the canon; you can take a different route, but wouldn't it make sense for your char’s powers tp be an extension of themselves? And if they are not [example, their abilities are handed down from their family like Quincy], make them original and tell us about them in a a good-size paragraph.


One-dimensional characters:
Simply put, make sure your character has some depth.

Maybe your character is just a sad individual and cries a lot. That’s very In-Character and very fine. But please be aware about if they cry all the time, or laugh all the time, or sigh all the time. People don’t act a certain way ALL the time. In fact, it’s very In-Character to act Out-Of-Character on occasion. I know some very depressed people, and even they manage to smile once in a while. In short, let them react in a variety of different, but still In-Character, ways, depending on the situation.

Is your cowardly character inspired to fight back against greater odds? Is you weak, low-self-esteem character moved to try and become stronger? On occasion: sure, why not?


Power-gamers:
There are too many people who value powers over personality. When your char Shyunpo‘s for the sole purpose of Shyunpo-ing; when the only time you can write an in-depth post is when describing one single attack; when your list of abilities and spells are longer than your background/personality/apparel sections combined... then you, my friend, are focusing too much effort on power.

In a hard-pressed situation, when all of your attacks are worthless, what are you going to do? Give two sentences of your char whining about it’s helplessness? I'm so sorry, why don't you just whine some more - incessant bickering won't stop a flying arrow from impaling your character's chest. RPing’s not about getting the strongest character and kicking more ass (though, it can be a nice perk), it’s about watching your character mature as a person.

Chinese Fortune Cookie: Powers can be taken away, but Individuality can only flourish.

On that note, let your characters be flawed. PC’s aren’t as strong as you’d like them to be, so don’t write a post detailing how Character B easily sideswipes an NPC, dodges another attack with grace and style, and then executes an excruciatingly long sequence of attacks with perfect, flawless accuracy. That’s absolute BS. It’s okay to be flawed. Let them make mistakes. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it gives a much needed break from all those others characters who try [and fail] to act cool.

Seriously, perfection is boring as all get-out. Why would anyone want to be perfect?


Cool Role-Playing yourselves:
We “roleplay” ourselves all the time every day in real life, so what’s the point in basing a character on yourself? RP is the time to explore new options, new ideas; hence, most of my characters either have nothing in common with me, or even better, people whom I normally would dislike. I don’t like music, yet Mei, one of my retired characters is a pop-star. I don’t like snakes or kids, yet I have a character named Lilith that a combination of both. I’ve role-played circus-performers, rapists, and mute teens - people who I have nearly nothing in common with and I can honestly say that they and I are worlds apart from each other. Playing such chars that are different from me gives me new prospects, and is simply much more interesting for me to play, instead of a char based on myself.

Seriously, why on earth would you want there to be another you?
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