Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Similar Deviations
These results appear less relevant than we'd like. While we're working on improving More Like This, you can help by collecting "Solstice" with similar deviations.
Osi's Unofficial Guide to Roleplaying


Hi, and welcome to my unofficial guide to roleplaying. ^^ Before we begin, I'd like to point at that I am not, in any way, saying that what I write here is the only, or the best, way to roleplay: I am merely setting up a guide for those who have no idea about how to go about it, or would like some hints on how to improve their roleplaying.

Questions, and suggestions, are both appreciated and loved.

The basics: Style

First off, I'll start with the very basics of roleplaying - the style. There are two main styles of roleplaying:

Asterisk style
The first is where you use asterisk to show movement or gesture that your character makes.

eg: *Osi stands on a soap box to address the crowd* Hi, thank you for reading this.

This is usually considered a less formal, or even 'illiterate' (I mean no offence by this term) way of roleplaying, and is usually used in forum chat or OOC threads. The tense for this style is usually present. Use of asterisk, or other alternatives (Such as -action -, or /action) are often a good way to ease into roleplaying for beginners, though I don't suggest you leap into an RP in this style unless other roleplayers are using it also.

Novel Style
The second style I'll talk about is the more formal, or 'literate' style of roleplaying (Again, no offence meant), where you write your words and actions much like you'd find them in a book.

eg: Crouching down in front of her laptop, Osi rubbed at bloodshot eyes, squinting at the screen.

"Wow." She murmured, not quite believing what she was seeing. "I'm at two-hundred and seventy five words on this thing already?"

This style is almost always used in past tense, and is the style used for the majority of roleplays. Unlike the 'asterisk' style, in 'book' style, it's best to try and observe correct grammar and spelling rules, though this doesn't have to be done to the letter.

As a general rule for roleplaying, try running your posts through a spelling and grammar check (I use Microsoft word) before posting it. Having corrected spelling can improve your post tenfold!

Second: Character

Obviously, to roleplay, you need a character of some kind. Usually characters are some kind of humanoid creature, though it is not uncommon to find animal roleplays and other varieties also. My suggestion to first time roleplayers is to start with a human (or something close to) character, as how humans react, move and speak will be much more familiar to you then how, say, a wolf would be.

Let's start with an example profile and go through it piece by piece.

Character name:

First off, character name:
This one isn't incredibly difficult. I would generally suggest putting your character's full name, first and family (and even middle name, if you'd like) in here, unless you have a specific reason for your character to not have a last name. Its little details, such as a last name, that fills out a character. Also, if your character has any aliases or preferred nicknames, here is the place to put them.

This brings us to age:
Now, I know the majority of us want to play teenagers or young adults, yet this isn't a must do. There is no reason why you can't play a forty year old man, if you really want to. Try to pick an age that's appropriate for the roleplay.

Now we get to the more interesting things. Appearance and personality are two criteria that I've noticed people having the most problems with, so I'll try to break both down a bit.

Quite a few people get around appearance by using pictures, rather then describing their character. While this is alright, I personally feel that using just a picture fails to highlight all aspects of your character's looks - if you really want to use a picture, try writing a short paragraph, or even a few sentences, to go with it and truly make the picture into your character! For those of you who, like me, prefer written descriptions of your characters, we'll cover the basics.

- Hair/Eye color: Try not to be too cliche and unnatural with these (oh my word, every second character has red eyes!), yet don't just leave it as 'brown hair and blue eyes'. Going into shades of color, and different styles and lengths for hair, can really add to both your characters appearance and personality, and make them stand out from the crowd.

- Height: While this might not seem important, it can actually be used in later actions in the roleplay. Try looking back at how tall, or short, other characters are so you can have your character react accordingly, whether that is by looking up when speaking to another character, or failing to see them because they're much shorter then your own.

- Physical structure: Again, whilst not seeming very important, your character's build can say a lot about their personality. Weight can also come into this category, if you wish to include it. For example, if your character is a body-builder, you will want to mention how muscle-bound his body is. The same were your character a ballet dancer - you can go into the long, lithe figures. Skin-tone and color are also good to pop in. In this category, you can also mention how they walk or move, or any scars or disabilities your character might have.

- Clothing: While this is not, perhaps, an absolutely necessary criterion, it can help define your character. Instead of describing one outfit (Unless, of course, your character won't change clothes at all during the roleplay), try describing the style and colors of dress your character prefers, or even styles/colors that they hate. Jewelry and accessories also add an individual touch to a character.

The personality makes the character:
Personality is one of those criteria which can be a little vague - after all, our personality changes over them. Your character's can do the same over the course of an RP. Try not to just sum it up in a few words though -
Personality: Cold, brooding, doesn't like people but will warm up to you if you try hard enough.

While this may be the bare bones of a personality, it doesn't actually say much about the character. Try elaborating a little on how they might react. Also, in the last point, there is a slight contradiction: 'Will warm up to you if you try hard enough'. If a character keeps away from others, he will not likely let other characters close enough unless forced to. Try to make sure your character's personality is consistent. Also, it is a good idea to keep your character's past in mind when creating a personality for them. If a person had a happy childhood, it is unlikely they will turn out a cold, brooding person.

Which brings us to History:
The first point I'll make on this one is try to avoid making your character have amnesia, unless there is a real, solid reason for it. This might just be a pet peeve of mine, but I just would like to make the point that a person does not just suddenly get amnesia for any reason. It's the same deal for the "Saw his/her family murdered in front of his/her eyes at the age of nine" story; not everyone, unless it is a war-time roleplay, can have this story.

My main reason for using these two scenarios is to emphases this: Try to be original! There is no crime in giving your character a 'normal' past, with a loving family, school and what-not. In fact, if often makes your character unique. Also, try to make your character's past synch with the roleplay: If it's a modern-day, realistic roleplay, you should try not to bring in demon-hordes and the like.

I'll be short on this one, I promise. Again, there is nothing wrong with having your character having a family: I'm sure not everyone's family in an entire roleplay was either killed off by the bad-guy, or were evil and abusive.

Mentioning family members also gives you the added option of bringing in a minor character attached to your main one; siblings can have rivalries, children can run to their parents for protection. Giving your character a family can help you shape their personality and history, depending on these minor character's own lives and stories.

Whilst not absolutely necessary, giving your character an occupation not only gives them something to do but, once again, can reflect their character. It also gives reason for other characters to interact with your own. For example, were you character a blacksmith, other characters could come to you to have their weapons fixed, etc. Having an occupation gives your character both purpose, and a range of skills other characters might not have. A word of advice though: if your character is in their teens, it's unlikely they could have become a master swordsman or blacksmith in that amount of time, no matter how long or hard they trained. There's no shame in being an apprentice.

Again, in my opinion, this category is not absolutely necessary unless you're joining a battle RP. After all, people generally don't walk around their own village armed to the teeth (or, at least, they don't where I'm from). If you're playing a peasant or farmer character, I'm sorry, but the most you'll likely have is a knife of sorts.
This brings me to characters that do carry around weapons, such as mercenaries, or the like. My general rule is this: Don't overload on the weapons. More weapons does not make you more cool. Try to think your weapons choice out: your character cannot physically carry around a broadsword, a double-bladed sword and a great-axe. I personally try to give my character one weapon (two if one of them is a bow), yet this isn't a rule. Just try to keep it sensible. ^^
One other thing; if it's a Medieval Europe style roleplay, try not to give foreign weapons, such as katanas or throwing stars, to your character, unless they are specifically from that country.

First of all, I'd like to say that there is absolutely no obligation for your character to have magical powers, even if everyone else in the roleplay does (unless the roleplay creator specifies otherwise).
Now that I've said that, I'll say much the same thing I did with weapons: don't overload your character with magical powers. It is highly unlike that your character, no matter how special, will have perfectly mastered every elemental power by the age of 17. Remember, kids, limits are fun! Even if your character is a highly magically based, they can't go shooting fireballs forever. The most important thing, when using magic in a roleplay, is limits.

And that brings us to the end of dissecting a basic profile! The key, pretty much, is detail and moderation in powers, strength and weapons. ^^ Originality is never bad.

Third: Actually roleplaying (The dos and don'ts)

The dos:
- Alright, if you got through all the last section, I'm impressed. This means that you're going to do well in roleplaying, as one of the most important things you can do is read everyone else's posts. You don't want to miss out on important information or character movement just because you were feeling lazy.

- Do go into detail! How your character moves, what they think, little gestures. These sorts of things add life to what could otherwise be a rather dull, cookie-cutter caricature.

- Keep all conversation that is not related to your character, or 'OOC' (Out of Character) out of your direct roleplaying. Larger roleplays will often have an OOC thread which you can discuss your roleplay in, rather then break up the actual storyline, or you can use methods such as ((brackets)) to keep conversation separate. Try to settle all matters on plot, fighting and general conversation within OOC. Arguments of any kind should -definitely- be kept to OOC, preferably private message or e-mail if possible.

- Make sure what you're having your character do is consistent with what other players are doing, or with the plot. For example, if a players character is alone in a room, with the door locked, your character cannot suddenly be in the room with them. Use the door, mate. It's what it's there for.

The don'ts:
- Don't ignore other players just because they don't fit in with where you want to go with your character. There's nothing worse then entering a roleplay and having everyone ignore you because they're caught up in doing their own thing. Pretty much, it's rude.

- I'd suggest that you don't leave the roleplay for long periods of time, then expect everything to be the same when you come back. Along with this, if you need to leave for a while, try to write your character out of the plot before you do. Leaving your character in the middle of a conversation with another and then leaving for a month is incredibly annoying for other players.

- Please, if only for my sake, do not godmode. This is the act of constantly either not letting the actions of others effect your character, or making 'auto-hits' on another person's character. This can be seriously annoying to other players, and extremely frustrating. Also, avoid doing the impossible, such as somehow dodging a point-blank attack unscathed. Godmoding can also be called C&E, cause and effect. Don't affect others characters unless you have their permission!

- Don't feel that you have to make your posts long to look intelligent. Often you don't need to make especially long posts. Just say what you feel you need to say. On the other hand, don't just post a line or two - you can describe more then that! Moderation is the key, my dears.

- Having a 'sixth sense' of absolutely everything going on around your character is not only unrealistic, but can be plain annoying for more stealthy characters. Unless someone makes a move to draw your attention to them, such as stepping on a twig, etc, it's unlikely you're going to see/hear them. Try to keep things at least remotely realistic, and give other characters a chance! You don't have to 'win' the roleplay.

I'll add more to this section as I think of things. ^^;

Fourth: Creating a Roleplay.

There are three things you need in a roleplay:
- Plot
- Setting
- Aim

Myself, I think the first, plot, is the most important part of your roleplay. Although it's important to give your players a degree of freedom in what their characters do, a plot is the driving force of your roleplay. Frankly, without a plot, your roleplay is more then likely going to die (I speak from personal experience @.@). The best plots, I've found, are when there is no 'good' and 'bad' side, although those do work rather well. Try to encourage players to evenly take one side or another, so that you don't have one 'good' character against a horde of villains, or visa versa. Also, don't snap up the best lead role for yourself, unless you particularly need it played in a certain way. Try to have equal roles for each character.

Again, this is important. Try not to just say "a dark forest", or, "an open field". Give your players locations and landmarks to work with.

While this might not seem important, try and have an ending or final aim for your roleplay. This provides a goal for you to try and coax your players towards, and should keep the story moving. If you reach the goal, you can always set up a new one.

Remember kids
Whilst having lots of information and detail in your roleplay is often a good thing, make sure you don't overdo it. Often, if your intro posts are too long, players won't want to read it all. Keep in mind how much you are willing to read, and try to keep your intro lengths to around that.

And we're done!

If you managed to get through that giant slab of text, I must say I'm impressed! Well, I hope this was of some use to you. ^^ Remember, that what's in here is just my advice to roleplayers, not the roleplaying bible or anything.
Unofficial Guide, of course. XD I wrote this up...a year or so back? Maybe more. Mostly because I had some people ask me questions about roleplaying and the like, and partially because I was very bored.

If you don't agree with something I've said, please don't kill me about it. This is just my own beliefs on roleplaying, and certainly not a must-do. I'm not trying to force anyone to comply. XD Honesty.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

10 Basic Rules for RPing:

1. No godmodding, even in the slightest. Leave everything open for anything to happen, and then if you're RPing with another good RPer, they will respond reasonably. This means you never control another characters actions, and never make it impossible for a character to get out of a situation. If you’ve set up a precedent for something and the other RPer can also follow rules, then the RP will go well. For example, having guards come out of nowhere and surround someone to make it impossible for them to get away or fight their way out is godmodding. If however they’ve say, infiltrated a castle and you’ve set a precedent that you’ve got guards there, then that would likely be okay, so long as you keep things realistic. The guards won’t be there immediately, it takes time for them to arrive and respond. And please, for sanity’s sake, keep the number realistic. If you’re in a castle, you aren’t going to have 10,000 guards. It’s a castle not a military fort with barracks.

2. Your character is realistic. They're people, they have flaws, and they are not experts in every field. They aren't immortal. You can't just pull something out of your ass to make things go in your favor. Work with what you started with. Give your character flaws. Give them fears. Give them hopes and dreams and aspirations. Give them personality quirks. And, when RPing, if they are in battle, make them get hurt! No one will come out of a battle completely unscathed, it just doesn’t happen. You want an example? One of my characters got his hand blown off. Another has split personality disorder and argues with himself. Another is covered in scars. Another is old. I’ve got one who’s obsessive and doesn’t really have expertise in anything. Another one is an addict. Give them flaws. It adds a whole new depth to the character and makes others think of them as real people.

3. Good grammar! This should go without saying. Use good sentence structure, please. Learn the proper uses for there/they’re/their, your/you’re, its/it’s, where/were/we’re, to/too, etc. Make sure what you’ve written would make sense if said out loud. Use spell check. Double check before posting to make sure there isn’t anything you forgot. It’s a proven fact that poor grammar makes you look less intelligent, and so far it’s held true. How many of you can honestly say that you’ve never once gone, “What an idiot,” when you’ve seen something misspelled? Just look at job applications. If there’s a misspelling on a resume, it’s thrown out. Doesn’t matter how good it is or how many degrees you have, if you can’t spell, you won’t be hired. The same applies in RPing as well. That’s why so many RP forums are now starting to make people create bios for their characters so they can make sure that people are following the rules and will make good RPer’s that would keep to the standards of the site.

4. Don’t refer to something unrelated. If your character isn't good at something, don't reference what they're good at to get out of a situation. Go with what you established. One of the biggest pet peeves I have is when someone refuses to own up to godmodding. They godmod, they’re called on it by several people, and they promptly change the subject, or give an excuse for why they did it. There is no excuse for godmodding, ever. Don’t be one of those people. They are hated. I’ve seen people claim they can do something because they’re the “head of such and such faction/gang/society/etc.” Just because your character is in charge of others, does not give you the right to godmod. When you do, you’re seen as a power-hungry, mediocre, RPer. Yes I’m being mean about it. It’s a serious problem and the people who are like that are usually the ones who will yell and scream and throw out insults. However there are some power-hungry folks who won’t scream and yell, or make threats. Instead, they’ll feign politeness while still insulting others. They are the most irksome in my opinion because there are people out there who really are so dense that they don’t realize when someone is doing that and so see nothing wrong with it.

5. No outrageous claims. Saying you’re one of the top RPer's is total BS. You aren't. No one can claim to be one of the best, as everyone has different opinions on who is, and sadly, peoples "references" are often times good friends that will say good things just because they're friends, and not base it on fact. This ties in with number four a lot. Power hungry folks, seeking glory are the ones who make wild claims. If you can’t be realistic, you shouldn’t RP. No impossibly huge armies, folks. No super weapons that can kill said armies in one blow either. Both are big no-nos.

6. Your character cannot know about everything the moment it happens. If you’ve been reading another story-arc and something happens in it, your character cannot know it happened until your character is told by someone who was there or by someone who heard from someone who was there. The easiest way to spot mediocre and novice RPer’s is when they have their character react to something that their character has no way of knowing.

7. Post length. If I could stamp this with big red letters as something to pay attention to, I would. NO ONE LINERS! Period. Ever. Nothing says “I’m a poor quality RPer” more than short, one line posts. No one lines, not two lines, not even three lines! You should have a minimum of four sentences in every post. Give it a little detail, people! Set the scene, let us know what your character is doing and saying in detail. Don’t use vague, general descriptions. It’s a guarantee, the more detail in your posts, the more in control of an RP you are. Now that doesn’t mean godmodding, you still have to adhere to all the other rules, but if you set the scene, describe the surroundings and actions your character makes, then you can use it. Below are two examples of what I mean. Example 1 is the poor quality one. Example 2 is high quality.

Ex1: *Jason walked into the abandoned warehouse to confront the thugs.*

As you can see, very little detail is put into this post. So your character is going to confront people. How? You haven’t set the scene, you’ve got no weapon to speak of, in all, you can do very little in your future posts with that kind of a description. It’s a very poor quality post that makes you look like an amateur, and will make you look even more like a novice if you suddenly start posting things that you haven’t set any precedent for.

Ex2:  *Jason cautiously opened the door to the old warehouse and stepped inside. He glanced around at the debris strewn about the floor, all manner of metal pipes and broken machinery. Overhead, the metal catwalks hung from rust covered poles, the stairs leading up to them looked to be in disrepair. Moving through the warehouse, Jason made sure not to cause too much noise, else the thugs hear him.*

*Stopping next to a defunct machine, he bent over and picked up an iron pipe that was lying on the ground. He tested its weight to make sure he could swing it fast and then continued onward. As he rounded a corner he saw the thugs and, hesitantly, approached them.*

This one is obviously much better quality. As you can see, it set a scene. It gave descriptions of the warehouse and what was inside it. It mentioned all the debris on the floor, and thus, your character was able to take something from the debris to use as a weapon. In addition, describing the catwalks sets up for possible perils in future posts. If a fight where to somehow erupt and go to the catwalks, you have the precedent for them possibly falling due to the rust covered poles holding them up. You also get a sense that your character is human in this. As he, “Hesitantly, approached them.” The hesitation shows fear, doubt; it shows that the character is unsure of himself.

As you can see, adding detail adds a whole wealth of possibilities to your RPing and keeps things interesting.

8. Powers. Now, this mostly pertains to RP’s where your character has “magical abilities.” Whether it’s Star Wars and you use the Force, to Harry Potter where it’s actually called magic. Nothing is overdone and godmodded more, than powers. Plain and simple, you aren’t all powerful, even if you think you should be. There needs to be limits. Let’s use the force for our first example. Say your force wielding character enters a battle and uses the Force. The more powerful Force attacks you use, the quicker the power drains. One cannot use the Force indefinitely, it DOES tire you out and over exerting your character will make you pass out and then you’ll be at the mercy of anyone around. Let’s try magic now. Say you cast a spell. Your character is not going to know how to perfectly cast all spells; in fact they likely won’t know a single spell perfectly. Set limits on the power of your spells. It’s okay to have one, maybe two that you’re excellent at, beyond that, the power of the spells should be diminished. Heck, it’s even fun to see what happens if one backfires!

Remember, limit yourself. Just because these were the examples I used, doesn’t mean they are the only things the limits apply to.

9. Disputes. If you get into a dispute, or disagree with what a fellow RPer has done, do not publicly call them on it and start an argument. It will only draw the ire of other involved and the whole RP will go down the drain. Send them a private message and sort things out. And always be respectful. You don’t have to be overly nice and beat around the bush, get straight to the point, but do so in a way that isn’t insulting or belittling.

10. Plots. Plots can be great, they can help guide an RP and really keep things in motion. Setting up a good plot takes time and thought, and more than likely you’ll have to let others in on some of it. If you see that someone already has a plot going, don’t jump into it. Many people like to make fairly open plots to allow others to join, however, always ask before simply rushing into it. It’ll show you’ve got respect for the other RPer’s, as well as the possibility that your character might be perfect for a part the plot creator was thinking of, and you could get a major role in it!

Remember though, that plots aren't always necessary. Though they do help, sometimes making an open board, be sure to mark it in some way usually by adding (open) to the title, can be a lot of fun to, and a story will develop all on its own out of the interactions between other characters.

There is no measure on whether someone is good at RPing or not. Generally you can go by the rule that, the longer you've been RPing, the better RPer you are, because you have more experience. However, this does not always apply, especially if you’re an arrogant person who can’t take criticism and does nothing but insult those you disagree with because you can’t think of anything to actually back up your claims. It doesn't matter where you've been RPing. Just because there are people on a forum who've been on it longer than another person, doesn't make them good RPer's. And even those that have RPed for a long time may not be too great, especially if they've been godmodding for years with other godmodders and so think that that is the proper way to RP. One thankful thing is this. If godmodding is the norm on a forum, all the quality RPer’s will eventually leave and the godmodders will be left with each other, while everyone who enjoys quality RPing will have moved to a different site that they can enjoy and not have to worry about godmodding.

I’ve been RPing for going on seven years now, so I do know a thing or two, regardless of what anyone reading this may think. I compiled this list because these are the things that I see the most need for in a quality RP. That and a recent site I’ve been to is absolutely horrendous. Godmodding is rampant, and every single one of these rules is broken by nearly everyone there, though there are a few exceptions. Basically, when you see a good RPer, you’ll know it. If you have to think “Eh…maybe they’re good, they all seem to know what they’re doing and are all responding…” then they aren’t good. More than likely, it’s a group a godmodders.

For anyone who claims this is crap and you’ve been RPing WAAAAY longer than me, I will highly doubt you. Internet forum RPing has not been around for very long, at the most about ten years, when computers actually started being useful. Don’t make claims that you’ve been doing this twice as long as me, or everyone will laugh at you, I can guarantee that. I’m also aware that there are a lot of kids out there who RP. By kids, I mean people under 15 years old. The internet is much more accessible than it used to be, and it’s very easy for kids to get on, so everyone, please, mind the language. Let people know that there will be language if you use it. Often times the sites themselves will have these guidelines set up as a warning that the content of the boards is at a say PG-13 rating. Also, to the kids reading this, you may think you’re smart and know all this already, but I was your age when I started RPing, and I can tell you, I was a terrible RPer back then. I godmodded like crazy, had extremely short posts, all that jazz. Trust me when I say, that though you may be smart, you aren’t as smart as you think. Follow the rules, and you’ll get a lot more respect.

Anyway, folks, if you’ve read through all of this, congratulations. I’ve got cookies and punch as reward for putting up with big blocks of text and any ranting that I slipped in all that. Good job, hope you find this useful, and have fun RPing. Maybe I’ll RP with you someday, if I’m not already. Ciao!
I encourage comments and criticisms. Tell me what you liked or didn't like, your thoughts on it. I ask that there be no insults however.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

Distinguishing RP types

Roleplayers make up a large part of the community here on deviantArt. It's an ever-growing community, and new members join it every day. Thirsty for adventure, these new members leap into the large world of roleplay, blissfully simplistic, filled with hopes and anticipations. They expect a rich roleplay experience full of excitement, and they want it to be delivered!

New members, however, also means less experience, and less experience means less knowledge. That knowledge which new roleplayers need to acquire may be earned in the long run, by partaking in several satisfying and unsatisfying roleplays and learning through trial and error what is right and what is wrong to include in one. I have taken that path, and I can say that it's a hard place. Some people, even after several years, haven't even made as much progress as would have been expected; they just can't get the hang of it. I have decided to let anyone who so desires take an alternate path, a shortcut to avoid the trouble of being dissatisfied with as many roleplays as I have been. This shortcut takes the form of several tutorials, each of these tutorials equalling one step on the shortcut, which in turn equals a dozen steps on the long path.

Now that the introduction is over (am I the only one who thinks it was long?), I will begin on the tutorial itself. I would like to open with a simple concept. Many people already know about it, but some of the newer roleplayers might be unaware of it. The first subject will be the distinction between the two roleplay types which people can use: script-style and paragraph-style.

Script style

This style is also known as "bracket RP" or "casual RP", among other names.  As the name "casual RP" implies, this type of roleplay is accessible to everyone. The reason for this is that it's easy to grasp and easy to start. However, script-style roleplays will rarely offer much character development or plot advancement; it's usually used as a "pick-up-and-go" roleplay for fooling around. The posts in a script-style roleplay will usually start with the name of the character which will be involved in the post, followed by dialog and action done by that character, and possibly, in-between the name of the character and the dialog, an emotion, most often in parentheses, with which the dialog will be spoken and the actions done.
To assist me in my quest to improve the general level of roleplays, I have created an assistant. Her name is Kara Chter. Let's meet her right now in a script-style post to concretely demonstrate what exactly script-style is:

Kara: (shy) Hi... *fiddles with the edge of her shirt*

This style of roleplay, as mentioned before, is casual; it doesn't require any amount of skill to play, except maybe the ability to make your posts legible enough for everyone else to understand. Because of that, this guide will not focus on "how to roleplay script-style". It will rather focus on the second type of roleplay.

Paragraph style

This style, also known as "formal RP", "mid-long post RP", etc., is much more intricate than script-style, and has much more potential for setting an atmosphere and describing actions and thoughts than its casual counterpart. This is what most people will say was meant to be true roleplay; writing a story collectively with one or more other people, each person using one or more character to make the story advance. People who roleplay with this style need a certain amount of concentration and attention to detail when writing. Roleplayers using this style want to make their posts look as though they were excerpts of a novel.

The posts in a paragraph-style roleplay need to be detailed enough to set a certain mood, although exceptions exist. This style most of the time requires a linear scenario, some sort of concrete plot. Sometimes, people will develop it as they go, needing only a setting to begin writing, and other times, people will decide part, if not all of the plot before even beginning on the first post. The latter can take up several hours – if not days or weeks – of planning before actually beginning, and will often feature longer early posts and a better starting morale from the players, since they already know what will happen; it leaves less room for uncertainty and moments when neither player will know what to do and would just make their characters speak with each other without much action going on. Planning lets the roleplay deliver action at a rhythm which every player is able to handle. Let's have Kara Chter introduce herself again, this time in paragraph-style:

A woman stands in the center of the plain, unfurnished room. Her appearance is veiled by an indescribable fog, letting only her outlines and actions be visible; she appears to be of average size, and her arms, resting on either side of her body, allow her hands to tug nervously at the bottom of her shirt. "Hi..." she says in a timid voice.

It's undeniable that a lot more content is present in this version of the same post; it may require more effort, but it's worth it; the amount of detail dished out by this style if done correctly often prevents people from getting confused. That will prevent posts in which the last actions of the other character would be completely ignored, or posts that overlook certain crucial details. For example, I've tried making this last post as clear as possible (although still somewhat short) by describing the surroundings, what the others can see about my character, and her actions, so that my partner wouldn't wonder "where is this happening? what can my character see about this other character? what is the character doing exactly?" and wouldn't assume wrong. Though it may be difficult at first, experience should teach most people how to underline details in order to make the other player(s) notice it and have their character(s) respond accordingly.

That's all there is to distinguishing between script style and paragraph style. It's simple enough, but had to be made first, since some script-style roleplayers may not even know what paragraph-style roleplay is; this first "How to Roleplay" hopefully put some light on the subject.
Hm'well, this is my first tutorial. I didn't want to start with something too big or implying that the reader has any more knowledge than what roleplaying is, since I'm supposed to be writing this for newbie roleplayers.

If I made a mistake or forgot to mention something about anything, feel free to comment about it. I'll make sure to edit to include what's missing.

This guide is copyrighted to ~DummysGuideForRP.
You are authorized to link to this page from any site, but you may not claim this as your own.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

100 Questions to Develop a Detailed Character

Ever have trouble deciding what side of an argument your character will take? Do you have trouble remembering small details about your character, and often change them accidentally in the middle of a story? Try this list of one hundred questions to solidify your knowledge of your character. Feel free to use this and post it as its own deviation. Just please link it to me in a comment if you do. Try to answer the questions in as much specific detail as possible. This is for you, so there is no use in cheating on it. I would suggest doing two for each character: one for the beginning of your story, and one for the end, to reflect the changes that happen.

1. What is your character's name? Do they have a nickname?

2. Is your character male or female? What is their sexuality? What role does it play in your story?

3. How old is your character? Does their age matter to them emotionally or socially?

4. How tall is your character? Does it affect them negatively, positively, or neutrally?

5. What is your character's body shape? Are they physically fit? What challenges or advantages does this present?

6. Describe your character's facial features. What color are their eyes and hair? Be specific!

7. Do other people find your character physically attractive? Why or why not?

8. What sort of clothing does your character wear? What colors are common? What does this style reflect?

9. Does your character have any physical or mental disabilities? How does this affect your story? Is it a main point of your plot?

10. What does your character do for money? If they are unemployed, how do they live? Does money matter to your character?

11. Does your character have specified family members? Describe their relationship with their family.

12. What is your character's marital status? Are they involved in a relationship? How is this emotional taxation present in your story?

13. Who are your character's closest friends? How do they know each other? How do they act around each other?

14. Who are your character's minor enemies? Why do they not get along?

15. Who are your character's major enemies? How does this affect your plot? What began the animosity of their relationship? How, if at all, is it resolved?

16. How does your character speak, and what does their voice sound like? How does this reflect their personality, if at all?

17. Is there anything significant about your character's movement? Is it important?

18. Who does your character live with, or do they live alone? How does this arrangement affect your character's lifestyle?

19. What traits does your character value in their friends?

20. What are your character's main pet peeves? Does this play a role in your story?

21. Where does your character live? Are they happy? Describe the scenery. How does this affect your story?

22. What is your character's opinion of the society they live in?

23. Briefly summarize your character's childhood.

24. What are your character's darkest secrets?

25. Has anyone close to your character died in the past? How did your character deal with this? Did it have a lasting impact?

26. What is your character's social status? Are they happy with it?

27. Is your character a hero, a villain, or neither? How do they see themselves, as opposed to how others see them?

28. Is your character conservative and disapproving of change, or liberal and willing to accept?

29. It is said that every character has a fatal flaw. What is your character's?

30. What are your character's special talents? Are they supernatural, or normal? Can few other people do them?

31. What specific activities does your character lack skill for? What challenges does this present?

32. What are your character's major wishes in life? These are not goals, simply things they wish would happen without work.

33. When your character looks in the mirror, what do they think of themselves? Is it positive or negative?

34. What is your character's most precious material object? What would happen if they lost it? Why is it so important?

35. Is your character more creative, or more logical?

36. What are your character's small flaws? Do they cause annoyance or disdain for your character? What are your character's opinions about them?

37. Is your character envied? By whom? Who does your character envy?

38. Does your character deceive others often? Do they attempt to deceive themselves? How and why?

39. What is your character's faith? Briefly describe their religion, if it exists. Are they polytheistic or monotheistic? Do they see God(s) as all-powerful, or helpers in the course of fate?

40. Describe your character's uncommon beliefs. Do they believe in fate? Karma? Multiple heavens and hells?

41. Is your character well known or little known? Why?

42. Is your character more optimistic, or more pessimistic?

43. Does your character have a lot of hope? Are there points in your story in which they lose hope?

44. What traits make your character unique? Do they have special abilities, or a unique facial feature? Be specific.

45. Is your character moody or even? Is there a cause? What are the consequences?

46. What is your character's mental capacity? Are they brilliant, or slow to learn?

47. Does your character sport charisma to influence others? How do they use this? If not, how does it affect them?

48. What is your character's first memory? Why? What was its impact? Was it good or bad? Describe it in detail.

49. Are first impressions important to your character? How does your character judge by them? Does your character go out of their way to make a good first impression on others?

50. How does your character view authorities? How do they react to taking orders?

51. What are your character's goals? Long term? Short term?

52. What does your character do when they need to relax? Does it work? Does it affect those around them?

53. What events in your character's past have left major effects? Why and how? Are they good impacts, or bad?

54. What major changes has your character gone through recently? How do the people around them react to this?

55. What are your character's bad habits? Are they major, like smoking and drinking, or minor, like chewing their nails?

56. What is your character a perfectionist about?

57. Who are your character's distant family? Does this play a role in your story?

58. What recent events have strengthened or weakened your character? What do they think of their changes?

59. Who were your character's childhood friends? Do they play a role in your story? How?

60. What major things does your character ignore? Purposefully? Or are they simply ignorant?

61. What are your character's major fears? How does this challenge them?

62. What does your character want that is unusual?

63. What does your character like that is unusual?

64. What is your character's favorite color? Does this reflect their personality? How?

65. Is your character ahead of their time? Behind? At the correct pace?

66. Does your character have much free time? What do they do with it?

67. Does your character have goals that are unattainable?

68. How does your character dream while they are asleep? Vividly? Rarely? Do they frequently have nightmares? Describe some of their dreams.

69. Does your character have health problems? Do they need medication or medical care? How does this challenge them?

70. What are your character's inner fears? Do they tell people about them? Why or why not?

71. What is your character's taste in food? Is this specific to the setting of your story? How does it affect your story?

72. Is your character more selfish, or more generous?

73. What is your character's stress level? Why? What do they do to resolve it?

74. What effects do social pressures, like money and the media, have on your character?

75. Is your character interested in a more lavish lifestyle, or simple?

76. What weather does your character prefer? Why? How do they react when that weather is not present?

77. What is your character's favorite time of day? Why?

78. Of what importance are holidays to your character? Which holidays?

79. What odd traits belonging to your character tend to drive people away? Why?

80. What "walls" are built by your character to accommodate the common phrase, "sometimes you build walls not to keep people away, but to see who cares enough to tear them down," and what effect does this have?

81. Does your character place significant value in common sense? Does your character have a lot of common sense?

82. What is your character's taste in music? Why? Do they make music?

83. Is your character satisfied with their life? Why or why not?

84. What motivates your character to make changes and move forward in life?

85. What are your character's least favorite activities?

86. List several activities that your character will refuse to do and explain.

87. What does your character do to relieve boredom?

88. Is your character more lazy, or more studious?

89. Is your character more athletic and active, or more lazy?

90. Is your character social, or a loner?

91. Does your character attempt to hide their emotion? If yes, how well do they execute their goal? If not, why? What do other people think of your character because of this?

92. What does your character find beautiful? What does your character find ugly?

93. What are your character's redeeming traits?

94. Is your character easily distracted? If so, why, and what challenges does this present? If not, how does this help them?

95. How does your character interact with nature? Why?

96. What are the major lasting effects that your character will tend to have on other people, if any?

97. How self-centered is your character? Why? What do other people think of this?

98. Does your character judge people, and on what premises? Race? Gender? Age?

99. Briefly summarize the major events in the time line of your character's life.

100. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what is your character's role in the story?
The full title should be: 100 Questions to Develop a Detailed Character; but it was too long.

I hope you enjoy this, and I really do hope that it helps some of you to develop your characters! After all, it's pretty much impossible to write a story without detailed characters. Every author knows more about their character than they tell, and no author tells everything they know about their character.

Ever have trouble deciding what side of an argument your character will take? Do you have trouble remembering small details about your character, and often change them accidentally in the middle of a story? Try this list of one hundred questions to solidify your knowledge of your character. Feel free to use this and post it as its own deviation. Just please link it to me in a comment if you do. Try to answer the questions in as much specific detail as possible. This is for you, so there is no use in cheating on it. I would suggest doing two for each character: one for the beginning of your story, and one for the end, to reflect the changes that happen.

So please do use this, but please give me a link to where I can find it when you do.

Edit: 6/26/10, Fixed typos.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

If you type Roleplaying into your wikipedia search bar, it will give you the following result:
In roleplaying, participants adopt and act out the role of characters, or parts, that may have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Roleplaying, also known as RP to some, is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theater, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts, and the audience.

People use the phrase "role-playing" in at least three distinct ways:
  • to refer to the playing of roles generally such as in a theater, or educational setting;
  • to refer to a wide range of games including computer role-playing games, play-by-mail games and more;
  • or to refer specifically to role-playing games.
The version I'm going to be teaching you is similar to play-by-mail, which already tells you a lot. The easiest way I can describe it is as storywriting, with more than one author. Everyone picks one or more characters to roleplay, meaning your writing should focus on these characters. In most cases, it's not even allowed to decide what other characters say or do.

Media to use in roleplay can differ from e-mail, to forums, to more direct means such as instant messenger applications.

Now I will give you a step-by-step tutorial on roleplaying, disregarding the chosen media. That doesn't really matter.

1. Picking your form

There are two different ways to roleplay:
  1. Canon (using characters and stories from existing fandoms such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings)
  2. Original (making up your own story and original characters)
I shall give you the pros and cons of both ways:

  1. pros: Characters have already been established, rules of the worlds have been set, storylines are already partly formed.
  2. cons: You have to know the characters well to make your roleplaying at all believable, you are limited by the rules and regulations of the existing world, people have expectations.

  1. pros: You have all the freedom in the world, no one can tell you you are being out of character, no one can limit your imagination.
  2. cons: Setting up rules, a world and a storyline is difficult, building the characters into believable personas is hard, there is a risk of making your roleplay too lengthy and slow, thus boring.

2. Picking your plot

After picking your kind of roleplay, you have to start deciding about your plot. This includes your setting, your characters and your story.

2.1 Picking your setting

If you have chosen to go Canon, first you have to decide what kind of fandom you wish to roleplay in. Once you have done that, you must choose a starting point for your roleplaying. Easiest would be picking the ending of a film or book, or a certain breakpoint in the already existing story, from there, given you know the characters well, it's easy to start. Important to know is where you are, when you're there and why you are there.

More tricky is picking a setting for an original roleplay. My tip is to first decide on your genre; adventure, angst, romance, humor, or of course a mix of many. Once you've done that, it's easiest to first determine some traits of your world, it's general inhabitants and it's culture. Stick to basic time frames: past, present or future. Don't hesitate to stick to cliches. After all, roleplay is meant to be fun, not a masterpiece.

2.2. Picking your characters

Picking your characters for a canon roleplay is pretty easy. Most people pick main characters of fandoms, others, who fancy more of a challenge, choose the smaller roles. Important is that you and your fellow roleplayers pick characters that would somehow meet each other, or have met each other. Picking characters that wouldn't, in character, ever meet, is pointless. Choosing a canon roleplay doesn't mean that original characters aren't allowed. Just make sure they fit with the canon.

Picking your original character is a difficult business. I generally find that for an original roleplay, plot developments all go together. But most of the time, once you have picked your setting, genre and timeframe, you can come up with something sensible. Especially for beginners, it's important to make sure your characters aren't too complicated and most of all, that they fit together.

2.3 Picking your storyline

Picking your storyline for a canon roleplay isn't as hard as picking one for an original roleplay. Easiest is to pick the ending of a book or movie, or pick a breakpoint in the story to start at. Given you know the characters well, you should know what they generally do in their lives and you can use that to create a plot. However, in roleplay, it's not necessary to plan everything, because it's a collaborative project that needs to grow and for the most part relies on the spontaneous actions of your co-authors.

Plotting your storyline in an original roleplay is more difficult, but I can give some tips on this matter. I find it easiest to start in the middle of something, be it a fight, a flight, or a dinner, it doesn't really matter, but it gives your roleplay a kickstart. Keeping a bit of action in our roleplay is always good. Don't focus too much on character development on a short notice, this is more a lengthy process.

3. Picking your writing style

After you've determined your plot, you have to decide what style you want  to use.  You can pick between first or third person and  past and present tense.

First person
Writing in first person means that you write your actions starting with I. Example:
I walked briskly towards the nearest post office to check if his package had arrived yet.
This form of writing focuses on your own character a lot and allows for much thoughts and character development. This gives your writing a 'diary' feel.

Third person
Writing in third person is more suitable for a big collaborative project, as it often portrays a general view instead of a character focused one. Example:
Lizzie walked briskly towards the nearest post office to check if his package had arrived yet.
Less self centered, this form of writing is more inviting to other readers and writers.

Present tense
Writing in the present tense means writing the story as if it is happening right now. Example:
I walk briskly towards the nearest post office to see if his package has arrived yet.
I personally find this a very unattractive form of writing because it often makes it difficult to get sucked into the story.

Past tense
Writing in the past tense means writing as if it's already happened. Example:
   Lizzie walked briskly towards the nearest post office to check if his package had arrived yet.
Most novels are written in the past tense.

4. Structuring your roleplay post

Writing a roleplay post is a difficult task to accomplish, as others rely on your story to reply to. Thus, a elaborate piece of writing is nice. Include actions, descriptions and dialogue. Try to direct it to other people's characters too. Example:
Lizzie walked briskly to the nearest post office to see if his package had arrived yet. The streets were busier than she had hoped for, causing her to be delayed at three traffic lights on her way there. She crossed the last street in a run,  skidding to a halt on the sidewalk as she saw him standing there. "What are you d-doing here?" she stammered, smiling, "But you said, the package, in the mail.... not... what are you doing here?"
Lizzie ran a hand through her hair as she approached him, glowing with happiness to see him.
The more you give the other roleplayers to go on, the easier it is for them to reply. In this case, the 'he' in the above paragraph would be the other person's character.

This more or less concludes the step-by-step how to, but lastly, some do's and dont's.

5. Do's and dont's

  • Communicate with your fellow writers about the storyline, especially if the roleplay gets stuck.
  • Write long posts.
  • Try to include everyone.
  • Respect your fellow roleplayers.
  • Take a challenge.
  • Use ((OOC: your message)) to talk about things nothing to do with the roleplay, in your post.
  • Stay in-character.
  • Have fun.
  • Roleplay someone else's character without permission.
  • Kill or seriously injure someone else's character or do anything the other person might not like.
  • Do something your character would never do.
  • Make your character perfect, or extreme in any other way. Don't give your character superpowers unless the story requires it.
  • Write one-liners (one or two sentences posts).
  • Post only once in three months.
  • Make it all about you.

6. For more information

If the above has made you interested in the art of roleplaying, or you simply have a question, leave a comment on the post and I'll get back to you.
My beginners guide to roleplay, no idea if all the html works, if not, will update.

Originally posted on Behind the Page

sources used: Wikipedia
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

Plot Ideas

I decided to list various ideas for plots. I was bored.

1. Someone changes genders.
2. Someone changes age (younger is better).
3. Someone changes species.
4. Someone dies.
5. Someone dead is revived (long-defeated enemies are best).
6. Someone is pregnant.
7. Someone has amnesia.
8. Someone disappears randomly (maybe kidnapping, or death, or invisibility).
9. Someone gets a deformity/ailment (vampirism, lycanthropy, blindness, muteness, deafness, broken limbs, ect).
10. People are warped to another world (may be Earth, may be made up).
11. Plot twist (someone had an affair/has children/old enemies/turns out to be a spy/ect).
12. Someone falls in love.
13. Someone loses their powers.
14. Someone gains powers.
15. Someone commits a crime (therefore gaining/adding to a bounty).
16. Someone is a bounty hunter (really only works around people with bounties).
17. A strange creature appears (might be a person in disguise, or is the pet of a character who has disappeared).
18. Someone gets a mysterious ailment (will have unexplained symptoms...might be poisoned, or infected, or faking it).
19. Someone evil turns good.
20. Someone good turns evil.
21. Someone develops a hobby or habit, may be important or not (such as suddenly painting or writing, or biting their lip, or pulling their hair).
22. Someone goes insane.

Try experimenting. These are only a few possible ideas. Try out multiple ones at once. Such as, someone starts acting strangely (staring into space, talking to self) and having odd symptoms (coughing and trembling) and then suddenly disappears. At a later date, the character reappears, but is an animal and is completely insane and evil.

Remember that a plot must be plausible, and cannot be made so by simply saying "it's fantasy, anything can happen". Perhaps the person has mental lapses (born with recessive brain defect?) and forgets not to speak their thoughts, and they have caught a cold on top of that (weak immune system? something only their species can catch?), and sleep-walked during the night. Then perhaps they were changed into an animal (old enemy? magical trap? lycanthropy?) and has totally lost their mind because of the trauma.

When making plots, remember that you are creating them not only for yourself, but for the other rpers. I.e, if you wanted to create a plot that made your main male and female characters get in a fight, and the femme gets captured by the male. The other characters, depending how attached/brave/heroic they are, may or may not try to rescue your femme. If they do, do not make it impossible to accomplish, such as making the kidnapper immortal and allpowerful, or having him kill her before the other characters have a chance to do anything.

Sometimes you may create a plot for a specific character or person. For example, let's say your male char has a happy, healthy relationship with fellow rper's female char. Let's say you wanted to stir up the relationship a bit somehow...maybe bringing in a past lover, or making him get violently angry at his wife. You have to really know another character well to do this sort of thing. You might make a complex, very-thought-out plot, only to have the other character totally ignore it.

If a plot is completely unnoticed, you may or may not choose to omit it completely, and act as though it never happened. But remember that you cannot do this if someone actually did notice and the plot had an effect (as effects are hard or impossible to ever go back on).

Plots may be active or passive. An active plot would be a monster suddenly attacking the group, or your character running away and stabbing themselves. A passive plot would be something not purposely brought out, but used as background material. For example, your character might have an awful habit of biting their nails, and toss and turn during the night. This might be noticed or not. If it is, the character with the habits might not want to share the reason, and it could be brought out slowly. Or perhaps they wouldn't know the reason themselves, and it could likewise be slowly brought out. Or, they could happily explain what's going on. (Perhaps a past event where the character was forced to eat their own hair and it still haunts this character's dreams, or maybe they just like the taste of hair and are restless in sleep).

For one-on-one rps with a stranger, plots will probably be needed, as if both characters are not very active characters and just talk, a rp may easily die. Make sure a plot one-on-one will need the attention of the other character. A quick action plot might be best (maybe a wolf attacks them, or thugs demand their money, or someone kidnaps your character and the other character must save them).

Take into account that like real people, characters are often unpredictable, especially with more experienced rpers. You might assume that in reaction to being thrown knives at they might attack your character, but end up stealing the knives and giving each of them its own name (Steely, Sharpy, Shiny, Pointy...) They might also be a totally different alignment than expected (in an actual rp, a damsel was in distress - a slave anthro fox, pretty but cowardly and doomed to die. My character, instead of doing the expected heroic rescue of said damsel, lets her die without much of a care). Of course, there is also the unexpected romance rp reaction (maybe a character hits on someone who hates love, or is already married).

These are not rules, just suggestions and things to take to mind. I hope it has helped whomever has read it!

Be sure to check out Part 2, linked in the description!
I found this old text file while browsing my documents. It's a sort of tutorial guide thing on how to create a fully-functioning plot in a role-play.


This goes in-depth into the first ten items, hopefully to give you more ideas, and explaining why I find them compelling plot twists in the first place: [link]
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

There are no hard, permanently set rules for creating a character, but there are things that work and things that don't.

The Basics:

By this point most people are familiar with the term 'Mary Sue' or 'Gary Stu'. They're words used to categorize a particular brand of underwhelming characters. A 'Mary Sue' is just an extreme stereotype example, just as some other terms are. Everyone who knows of them knows how to avoid making one -- or think they know. A character that isn't a 'Mary Sue' is not immediately compelling. The avoidance of the extreme does not mean the character is awesome, it just means they don't suck at the most extreme level.

For all intents and purposes a character is a person separate from their creator. Sometimes a character might be the embodiment of what a owner wants to be or how they see themselves; we call this a self-insert, and this should be avoided. Each character is going to have a different style. Each will speak, think and communicate different from the next character. How they present themselves, what motivates them, how they deal with conflict -- externally and internally -- are all heavily influenced by their history and base personality. Even if two characters had the same history they're likely to have dealt with it differently and become different individuals.

Everything that makes up a character is reliant on their personality and influenced by their past. There should be a reason for nearly everything. Their personality affects how they deal with conflict, which becomes their history, which then changes or expands on their personality. How they view themselves and their lifestyle might affect what they wear and how they choose to look, which in turn will affect how others see them.

A character should be more than the embodiment of everything the creator thinks is cool.


What's the character for?
    If a character is being created for something like a short story -- where the creator knows all of the characters, the plot and how things should go -- then there's endless possibilities for the direction a character can be taken. Any character can become involved or necessary depending on the plot and can be tweaked to fit in with the grand scheme of things if necessary. Changing or altering a character can be done at any time and is easy to go back and fix.   It becomes necessary to consider the context for a character when it comes to collaborations or public interactions, like role-plays. In these scenarios the creator might not necessarily have much influence, knowledge or bearing on the plot (if there is one) and will not be able to control the other characters. They might not even know much about the other characters. This makes it especially important to make a character that people want to interact with. Having a character who's quiet, a complete recluse and rude, a character who walks away from most interactions if he's not insulting another character, is not a good idea if the creator wants to actually be involved in a role-play. This character would get little to no interactions, and the few they might have somehow stumbled into would end abruptly when their character walked away and wouldn't leave most characters wanting to see them again. It could work in a novel where the creator has control of everything, but it doesn't work in a community setting. If a character is too anti-social or impossible to get along with the creator should be aware of what they're getting into and be capable of dealing with less character interaction. These characters can still be interesting -- but aren't necessarily the best choice, especially in a role-play where the character limit might be one.

Creator versus Character:
    It's also important, if not more important, that an owner makes a character they can successfully portray. This does not mean making a character that is exactly the same as the creator, this just means making sure to stick to what the owner can pull off. If the creator is not clever and witty then making a character that is clever and witty is entirely out of the question. If someone has a hard time making friends and cannot grasp how to get along with everyone then making the suave gentleman is not a good idea for them. Likewise, if a person doesn't understand how to fix cars and doesn't want to research then making an auto-mechanic is out of the question, too. Their book won't get published or the character won't turn out the anticipated results in a role-play scenario. If the creator can't pull it off then their character isn't magically going to be able to. Their character isn't them, but it's just not possible for a character to do something the creator cannot and know something the creator does not.


The personality and history of a character are practically inseparable. Both influence and change the other. History is being discussed first, but there will be relation to personality in this section, too.

    History is just as important as the personality of the character. It heavily influences how a character might act and respond in certain situations and, in more extreme cases, may have altered or changed their entire perspective of something, or forced a change in their personality. For the most part a changed personality isn't usually immediately important in a role-play or story but might play some significance later. A anti-social character may reveal life lessons or confide in someone they trust, telling them that they weren't always that way, or a brazen, courageous character may break down when confronted with a certain type of enemy due to past experiences. The history of a character plays to their secrets and will usually come up as a point of interest to others. A character that doesn't have a back-story, or a very limited one, often becomes a 'flat' character. These characters act in one specific way, usually never change and don't have a reason for acting the way they do. While there are irrational things that could influence a character there should be a rational reason for the majority of how they act and usually that reason will come from their history. If a character is scared of broccoli 'just because' they won't be as interesting as the character who's terrified broccoli because they once got food poisoning from something that had broccoli in it, or nearly choked on some.

    Think about your day, if you just woke up think about yesterday. How much did you do? How much did you accomplish? Learn anything? Make a new friend? Enemy? Got in a fight with anyone? Learned something unsettling? Now think about how much you do in a week. Now a month. Then a year. A lot can happen in one year, but once a creator starts playing with numbers for an age sometimes the significance of one year becomes lost in the desire to make a character a certain age. The creator wants to make a rough-tough thirty-something year old and places a few events throughout this character's life by the year when many events could have happened in one year. Even the spacing of more impacting events can affect how a character deals with these events and how they are going forward as a character. Multiple problems arising over the course of a few weeks will have a different affect than having these same events spaced out over a few years. The more time that has passed means the more time for a character to have developed and changed. Even the small things, something they learned or notice, can result in some small change and leads to an accumulated knowledge for that character. A seemingly unimportant conversation had with a girl at the local pub may have spurred some sort of epiphany within a character - it's not a major event but it still might have changed their outlook on something. It is not necessary to make a calendar with the days split into hours with each and every event a character goes through over the course of their life written down but a creator should keep in mind how old the character is and how much has happened in their life to result in the present character. If a character only has one thing in their life worth talking about or that has seriously affected them then there is a serious problem with that character.

Impactful Events:
    A angst-filled history makes a character interesting, right? Actually, it doesn't. Usually, characters purely motivated by angst are pretty stupid. A character completely obsessed with their own misery just isn't interesting and tends to be annoying. Not to mention that angsting constantly is unrealistic, unless the character is fourteen. It's not the kind of character anybody wants to interact with or read about. More often than not this angst comes from one event in a grown character's life-span. One event that winds up defining them and, to the creator, 'justifies' them being miserable. There is no one event that solely motivates the entirety of a person, so there shouldn't be only one event that completely dictates how a character should act. Angst can be done well. Usually angst that's written well is more reflective and speculative and a mixed contrast of the good and the bad. There also tends to be more than one 'good' event in a character's life, and more than one 'bad' - sometimes the good and bad lead into one-another. For example the character who runs screaming from a kitchen knife because, once upon a time, their sister tried to stab them is entirely unrealistic. Even if the sister was successful in stabbing them at most they might not trust their sister at all, but that doesn't mean they would overreact to every instance of a knife. If the creator does choose to do that, the character better be a complete spazz about everything or have a very good reason for why the character acts that way.   Different situations will have varying impacts on different characters. One character might be able to shrug off a break-up as if it were nothing. Another character might become convinced they're a horrible person, that they did something wrong, and try to avoid relationships in the future. Similarly, two characters can experience the exact same scenario and take entirely different things from it. Jenny's adventures in Wonderland could be a vastly different book than Alice's, and Jenny could learn very different things and become a very different person than Alice did.

Confiding to Others:
    Certain actions a character does can relate back to emotional baggage they might have. Certain topics in conversation may trigger certain memories in a character - even the way another character moves, speaks or looks might influence a bit of a flashback in another character. When these things happen they shouldn't be excessively obvious; a subtle cue like a tensing of the body, a twitch or slight change in tone or avoidance of the subject is better than the character immediately breaking down into hysterics at the word 'dog' or immediately launching into his or her life story. Most people are not willing to talk about serious past events. The reasons vary from person to person but most people don't run around broadcasting things that have hurt or weakened them. Character's shouldn't do it, either. The creator might have a really complex and interesting back-story for their character but part of the intrigue and interest is generated in a character refusing to fill in details yet give signs of discomfort when a certain subject is breached. It encourages other characters to build a relationship with the creator's character in order to find out or a character who became close without knowing may find out about these past issues because the troubled character trusts them. A character that runs around telling everyone their history from birth to present is boring and the self-obsession can be irritating to others.   This all depends on the character, but as a general rule any character that runs around telling everyone they were raped as a child comes across as someone who is probably attention-seeking and a compulsive liar.

Real Historical Events:
    If a character is on earth and they happen to be as old as dirt, knowing historical facts is important. When it comes to anything involving a character with history, the creator should do the research before they look stupid. When a character is older than the average human lifespan or set in an older era it might be tempting to have had that character meet or influence important historical events or people. This can work, but more often than not it just comes off as obnoxious. A clever or creative interpretation of historical events and legends is more likely to be accepted. A character who doesn't boast about it is more likely to be believed than a character who smugly tells everyone he's been best buddies with Socrates, Queen Elizabeth and Anne Frank. Involving a character with too many historical figures directly can make them seem far too important and, especially in a community setting, dwarf other characters or make their histories seem less significant by comparison. Having your character loosely connected to a ruler or battle by having them play a minor role - one of the foot soldiers - instead of a major role - the King's consultant - can make these events more believable, too. Chances are if a character is only involved in a historical event because the creator thinks it would be cool and has given it little to no real thought then it's not a good idea to have the character involved in it.


This is the base of a character, the personality is everything that is immediately apparent about them: how they speak and act. Their personality becomes how they interpret information and act on it, making for either interesting and dynamic individuals or flat and irritating characters.

Keep in mind that a personality is transitory, it can and will change over time.

    A character would not be a character if they did not have a personality. A character would not be a very good character if they had a simple or flat personality. Both are not worth anyone's time.

    Everything that's on the inside is not constantly expressed on the outside. How characters present themselves to the outer world is not exactly what they're thinking and feeling. How they present themselves relates to how they feel and think but is not a direct and exact projection of everything on the inside. Personalities are going to differ between individuals, and a lot of that will tie back to their history or how they've learned to deal with others. It's much more than just being arrogant, licentious or a goody-two-shoes. It's important to understand how your character presents themselves and why so that they don't waver between a grumpy pessimist and a cheerful optimist for no reason. The best way to do this is to have a fleshed out history. Body Language: A huge factor in how people present ideas and thoughts lies in how they express themselves with their body. Fifty-five percent of how someone will interpret what another person means when communicating comes from their body language; thirty-eight percent is tone and only seven percent are the words used themselves. Adding in details about how a character is moving is crucial to fully expressing them. A character might have nervous gestures, like playing with their hair or fidgeting, and they'll have completely different physical actions when angry, happy or relaxed. All of these actions are important in expressing a character and should be used where necessary. A well placed mention of a character shifting weight or crossing their arms can add a lot more depth and meaning to what the character is saying and how they're feeling than adding 'he said sadly' to the end of a bit of dialogue. Knowing these slight physical differences in how a character acts in certain situations or moods is a great way to know a character better for both the creator, reader or role-play partner. It shouldn't be used to the point of being abused, but it is worth mentioning. Diction and Tone: A huge portion of how a character communicates, too, is in how they say things. When dealing in a text based medium - like stories and role-plays - it becomes especially important to think about how a character talks. In comics or other visual mediums a lot of the tone can be expressed through body language and facial expressions, when working purely with text things need to be stated but adding tags to dialogue, like 'Mary said enthusiastically', can get worn out and should probably be balanced with the use of body language. The tone can come through with the character's word choice. For example: "What the hell do you want?" and "Might I have the pleasure of assisting you?" Both could be said in the same situation, but both speak of completely different characters. The first line comes off as rude and unsociable, while the second is more pleasant. Both could be said in the same situation, but one is completely different from the next. There is not a single response to any situation, and every character is going to use different words and phrasing to convey their thoughts. Some characters might swear near constantly, others will speak in fragments to the point of being nearly incoherent and others still will spin words together until they're spewing poetry. Every character is a little different in how they speak and the possibilities are endless.

    Everything the character carries around inside their head, basically. Thoughts and feelings that don't always get expressed outwardly. What goes on inside a character's head is the meeting ground of the history and the external personality: their core being. Decision making and emotion handling is done here. A character can lapse to day-dream or force a smile onto their face while they think of all the ways they'd like to murder someone. This is the part of a character that might not be immediately presented to an audience or role-play partner. Some characters think more than others, and even for those that don't there are still things left unsaid that float around in a character's head. Knowing these thoughts can help when depicting body-language. A stray memory or idea influenced by an outward conversation will spur a certain thought process in a character which will, usually, show up subtly in body language. Their thoughts and feelings directly affect their outward persona. In order to convey a character to their fullest the creator should be aware of what these thoughts are. A character could be in a complete panic in their head, and their body language might suggest it but they don't say anything racing through their head and instead sputter a "W-what!?" or a character could feel hurt by the actions of another and, instead of asking the questions they want answers to like 'why?', they might hurl verbal insults at the offender and storm out. It adds another layer to a character and should most definitely be known by the creator. This also means that a character and their personality, inward or outward, should not be describable in one word. A character is more than just arrogant, optimistic, happy-go-lucky or paranoid - any character could be all of these things. Certain words could be used to describe them but, in general, if it only takes a few simple words for a creator to feel that they have completely conveyed the personality of their character then there probably isn't too much depth to them. Note the 'completely'; a character can be described in a few words but there should be more to them - exceptions to those traits or an expansion on what those traits actually mean or how they come into play and when. A character's mood can have a large bearing on how they act. They may act entirely different when scared than they will when happy. Anger will differ from depression and even these will differ depending on the individual or situation a character might be dealing with and the extremity of the emotion. Just because a character might scream at another when angry doesn't mean that they'll scream at everyone when they're angry.

Mental Problems:
    If a character has a mental illness the creator should definitely do their homework first. Trying to talk to people who have the illness or looking up documentations or dialogue from people with the illness the creator wishes to apply to their character is recommended. That and doing more research on what the illness is, where it comes from, symptoms, signs, everything. Deciding to give a character a illness and then failing to portray it properly is likely to offend some people.


Ultimately appearance comes from the character's present lifestyle and personality. Other than that it's pretty much free range. There are some features that would be completely out of a character's control unless they live in an age of hair-dye and nose-jobs. Other features a character has complete active control over and others still might be permanent but occur after birth.

Born With It:
    Genetics determine what people look like, most people are going to look like their parents - and might have some recessive genes from either bloodline brought to the surface, which means that a couple who both have dark hair could very easily have a blonde son or daughter, just a blonde hair colour gene would have had to enter the bloodline of both families at some point in the past to be passed down. It's a good idea to try and keep a character looking closer to their family unless they were adopted. Tall parents mean the character should be reasonably tall themselves, if both parents have blue eyes then the child should probably have blue eyes, too. If the parents have completely different features there's more to choose from, a character can look almost entirely like one parent and next to nothing like the other or be a mix of both. If a character isn't born in the standard way, or if the creator doesn't know what their parents look like, then the character's base appearance can look however they want. If parents or biological family come up later, though, they should probably resemble their child. The creator just has to work backwards. Most importantly is to have the character look normal for the universe they're in. If they're a human living in modern earth they probably shouldn't have animal features, if they live in a world vastly populated by individuals with excessively bright colour palettes then having a dull character is a bad idea. This, of course, doesn't matter if the character is supposed to have been zapped from their normal realm into a place that they do not come from, then the contrast in appearance may be important to the plot.    

Changing the 'Born With's:
    Say a character is born with brown hair, but they hate it. If they live in a world where dying their hair is possible then they can change their hair to blue, green or even rainbow if they're willing to maintain it. Always consider where the character comes from to determine if a physical alteration is possible or not. A character living in the 20th century can very easily go out and get a tattoo, but back in the 10th? Maybe they could smear charcoal on their skin daily or reapply some paint everyday. The creator should also consider if their character would do this in the first place. The creator might think giving their character a shock of neon green hair would look cool, but the character might think it looks stupid or be too lazy to be bothered to dye their hair in the first place. Likewise a character completely afraid of needles or pain isn't going to be getting tattoos or piercing unless they're forced to. There is no limit to what can and cannot be done, but remember that some things are just more ridiculous than others. Having a character who dyes their hair rainbow would need to have a fortune in both time and money to afford all the different coloured hair dyes and reapply the colours as necessary when the roots grow in. A character with a face full of piercing isn't as likely to get a normal job in the modern world. Adding or changing things isn't bad, just be careful with how it would affect a character's time, mentality and social status. The creator should be aware if the character is the type to make these changes in the first place.

Scars and Physical Mutations:
    First to address something some people seem to get wrong: Scars are not open wounds, scars are part of the healing process gone wrong. A skin scar will usually form from deeper or larger wounds as an over reaction by the healing process, and will sometimes retain the general shape or pattern of the original injury. These patches of skin are usually lighter in colour and tend to stick out from normal skin in lumps of varying thickness. Sometimes they seem to sink inward but only happens when fat or muscle beneath the skin was lost and did not grow back properly. Scars can say a lot about a character, and should not be added needlessly because the creator thinks they look cool or add depth to their character. A scar alone does not suddenly make your character deep. The reasons behind the scar might, but it shouldn't be overdone. Scars can come from just about any physical injury, especially if the injury isn't treated properly, but they don't usually occur unless the wound is fairly severe. A character who has never experience physical violence should not have a large scar unless something out of the ordinary happened.. Even a character who has experienced a lot of physical trauma usually won't have too many scars; the body is usually really good at healing if it's taken care of. This doesn't mean a character cannot have scars or is immediately a bad character because they have them, it just means they should be applied sparingly and with good reason. Likewise, physical mutations are neat and all but getting the mutation or affliction wrong can be irksome and offensive to others. If a character has, for instance, anemia, leprosy or heterochromia the creator should make sure they know what these things are, where they come from and the effect they'll have on the character. It's something that might have affected their entire life and should be dealt with accordingly, or it might be something they've developed recently and, again, should be integrated into their personality and history as is appropriate.

Clothing and Accessories:
    These things change daily and are recycled as often as they're washed. Certain moods might beget certain styles in some characters and other characters won't care enough about their appearance to co-ordinate an outfit. If a character is into dull tones and Tee's with humorous comments written on them that character should not be depicted running around sporting neon coloured suites. What the character does in their spare time or for a living should also be taken into consideration. A character who does a lot of running around should not be wearing tight inflexible clothing or a mini-skirt paired with a tub-top. That character would need something flexible but possibly durable if they do a lot of hitting the ground or sliding across pavement. Likewise a character who does a lot of clubbing and cares a lot about their image will probably co-ordinate outfits to compliment their assets and attract favourable attention. A character who's a lazy slob will probably be seen in a shirt they've worn for three days, may or may not be wearing pants and will have mismatched socks. Accessories might have a value to certain characters, like a necklace gifted from a friend, and other accessories might come from the character's personal sense of style or simply because they saw it and thought it looked cool. A character can have whatever accessories that suit them but remember to keep it realistic to their job, lifestyle and interests.   

Do the Homework:

If it comes to anything the creator is unsure about they should look it up. Knowing a topic or researching it definitely helps in the presentation of a character and will keep others from calling the creator out on things that are wrong or inaccurate with their character. If a creator wants to make a drug addict but doesn't know how people act under the influence of drugs not only should they do the research into the drugs being abused but extra careful researching into how people under the influence actually act. If the creator just shrugs and assumes that the drug used makes them act crazy and proceeds to make their character act over the top then someone is going to call them out on it.

If the creator doesn't do the research properly they might have to deal with someone who does and isn't very happy about it. Do the research - even if the creator is sure about a subject they should double-check just in case.
Got Questions? Ask.

Nine miles long, aw yee.

This is what happens when I have little minor mental-breaks about things I see and hear and have to deal with. I WRITE GUIDES ON IT.

THE PERCENTAGES I MENTION UP THERE ARE LEGIT and I can't find the guy who originally did the study on it and those figures are apparently so commonplace now that people can mention it in articles and essays and whatnot WITHOUT SOURCING IT. So, I know the numbers but not the guy who came up with them. APOLOGIES.

This will be around when I'm not to help people with they're characters. THOSE WHO ASK KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

An addition to fears: Up there I mentioned broccoli (previously: spiders if you saw it before the edit). Primal fears (basically anything that can kill you) are usually irrational and don't necessarily need to be explained or rationalized. It can add more impact if there's more of a reason, but they definitely don't need it. People have a bunch of irrational fears that, while they can be backed up by some sort of logic (ex. Spiders. They're hairy, venomous and can come out of nowhere at you.) but there's no need for a traumatic event for this kind of fear to occur, its already been hard-wired into the reptilian portion of the human brain to recognize something that can kill and have appropriately frightened reactions to it for no reason other than JUST BECAUSE.

Also: Submitted this to Resting-Grounds since I submitted the RP Fighting Guide there and this is just about as relevant as that was.

For Reference:
Mary Sue - A [female] character meant to be likeable by all and is perfect in everyway. Usually they're spontaniously equiped with knowledge, magic or items suited to fix any and all conflicts. Their creator expects everyone to love them.

Gary Stu - The male equivilant of a Mary Sue, not everyone uses this term and sticks with Mary.

Role-Play - Basically writing a story with one or several other people. Also known as RPs

Character Limit - Some role-plays have this - where any individual is only allowed a specific amount of characters.

Self-Insert - A character meant to represent the creator or who the creator wishes they could be.

Flat Character - A character defined by acting in a very specific way and generally lacks interesting quirks or behaviours that would come from better development.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

Doctor Horrible from Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog.

So, this drawing is entirely for *AC-unit. She's been bugging me to watch Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog for quite awhile now, and I did recently... and loved it. To death. Heck, the fact that I'm actually doing fanart should tell you how much I love it. I also drew this with her in mind because she gave me my current subscription. Srsly, she's awesome. Go check her out.


Doctor Horrible (c) to Joss Whedon.
Artwork (c) to me.
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

This is a long-overdue kiriban picture for one of my bestest friends, ~Kittysaysmeow! She requested a picture of Lloyd or Ephraim from Fire Emblem...

They're both hot, but I chose Lloyd. Ahaha. The sketch took forever to do XD Not the actual sketch, but trying to think of how to draw him. Lloyd is one of the Four Fangs and his "title" is the White Wolf, hence the white wolf in the background... symbolism.. blablabla XD

Some experimenting with the composition here too.

I'm really happy with how this turned out! I wanted to make sure this picture was extra good. Hope you like it, Kitty <3
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.

The dragon never thought that she and her meal would have so much in common. Finally, someone else who thought Eclipse had the most dreamy blue eyes!


Here's my piece for The Pink Project! ~RandomPedestrian gave me the idea of a pink princess talking to a pink dragon. I tried to go for a children's book illustration sort of feel here just coz well, the whole concept is so kiddy. XD
Add a Comment:
No comments have been added yet.