Wednesday, March 12, 2014

[Roleplay 101] I: Creating an RP Character!

  And we've finally come to my favorite subject in MMO's. Roleplay! RPing in an MMORPG can be incredibly fun and rewarding, but it can also be somewhat intimidating and frustrating. Rift is the first, and so far only, game I've ever RP'ed online with. I have done D&D tabletop games, and forum RP, but I have to say, when I first dived into RP for the first time, it was so fun and addicting. Some of my fondest memories involving Rift were during an RP "session". And of course, the first thing that always comes to mind when one wants to start RPing to create my character. I mean sure, we all know the character creation process right? You log in, you pick your faction, you choose your race, and then you get down to the exacting process of choosing the perfect RP name for your beloved new internet identity. That's all easy (relatively of course....some people, like me, can spend hours at the creation window lol) but then there's an extra step if you RP. You need to give your character "life". You need to give them a goal, a purpose. A story, a life. And that's what this little class on Roleplay 101 is all about! Let's get started!

     The first thing you are going to want to do when you create a new character for Roleplay purposes is to make a backstory. A lot of players already have some ideas broiling around in their mind as they think up names, hair color, etc. in the creation screen, but if you're stuck, or you want a handy method to creating multiple character stories, here is a good way to begin:
     Grab a pad of lined paper and start jotting down anything that comes to mind that surrounds your character or how they will interact in the game. Keep it simple and broad at first, and then add more details, characterizations, and research later as desired. Don't forget these details and information and keep them in a safe, easy to access location while you RP. That way you can keep your character IC (In Character) and not be afraid of doing something that goes against what your character believes in or stands for. Make sure you leave plenty of room for growth. Your character isn't just a stagnant flat, 2-dimensional drawing you'll keep in the same condition. As they travel through the game, meet other characters, and learn and gain experience, they will change, sometimes for the better, sometimes worst. Don't force your character into a specific role or "storyline". Let the story flow as your character grows in level. Something to remember though, is that your characters in game level has no bearing on your character's age, maturity, RP fighting style and experience, and involvement with others. A lvl 1 Rogue is just as capable of taking on a lvl 50 Mage Roleplay wise. Physical level does not equal strength or ability RP wise. Of course, there are some instances where it would be easier to appeal to each respectful character's level when settling a dispute, or referring to something specific, but try not to offend others by playing yourself off as an overpowered lvl 65 Warrior who's killed all the Blood Storm and can defeat any enemy. That would become boring after a while, right? Here's a list of some basic questions you can ask yourself about your character to get you started:
  1. Where was your character born or raised?
  2. Who were/are your family or guardian?
  3. What major events were you witness to, if any?
  4. What has your character done in the recent past?
  5. What does your character "do" for a living?
  6. How would your character explain their job to a stranger?
  7. What is his/her mental/emotional/physical state of being?
  8. What is your character's morals or values?
  9. What is your character's world view, political view, and beliefs?
  10. What quirks, merits, flaws, or character traits, does your character possess?
  11. What does your character like/dislike and love/hate?
  12. What is your character's short term and long term goals?
  13. What motivates or drives your character?
  14. How "social" and friendly is your character?
  15. How would you like your character to be remembered?
  16. Does your character have an accent? Affectation?
  17. Does your character use common expressions or repeated words?
Character Backstory Tips:
  1. Use in game lore, found on Trion's website, or on their wiki, or in fact in my blog!, to help with details
  2. Learn the different races and factions
  3. Keep your "brushes with fame" to a low profile. No one likes a bragger. (Unless your character is RP'd as that kind of character! Then by all means, brag away!)
  4. Forge your own path, don't copy someone else's.
  5. Keep it simple.
  6. Not everything you think of will fit your character.
  7. If you don't know something that could be important, ask another player in private for clarification.
  8. Remember, even regular folks can be great heroes if the opportunity arises.
Tips on Starting out:
  1. Know the game's lore.
  2. You can sometimes bend lore, but try not to break it.
  3. Know the terms/abbreviations related to RP.
  4. Don't be shy, join in! Make friends. Say something to the player next to you and see if they will strike up a conversation.
  5. Be active on your server. Participate in group RP, initiate RP sessions, interact with low lvl players, avoid being caustic or needlessly rude in the general channels.
  6. You can RP at any level!
  7. Use your emotes.
  8. Don't spam or use terrible grammar simply because you want to or are too lazy to type out a full sentence. Nothing breaks the immersion of a scene faster than someone saying "Sup guyz, whatcha up to?"
  9. Dress the part.
  10. Be consistent while in character. Don't say you hate cats one day, and show up with a cat companion pet that you care for deeply the next.
  11. Don't be afraid to grow or evolve your character as you gain experience and confidence in the story and the world of Telara. Of course your character is going to change over time. Grow wiser, more mature, faster, stronger, more respectful or gentle.
  12. Allow for mistakes. Be patient and kind to others, be aware of the maturity and level of RP experience that others have. Not everyone is a pro, and not everyone has RP'ed before.
     And now, let's dive into the nitty gritty. Actually creating the character. Following is a pretty big, in-depth discussion on character creation, backstory, and all kinds of other fun details that may or may not relate to your character. Keep this information close and try not to forget it as you RP. It will definitely help if you can refer to your character creation chart when interacting in game with others. When I actively RP in Rift (I haven't done guild or group RP for a while) I would join or help create a guild or group page online, with a forum. In one of the sections of the forum was a discussion specifically made for character creation. Each RP'er could then write down everything about their character for their own benefit as well as for their guildmates and friends. It makes for an easy, all access references sheet for yourself and your friends so you don't get confused as to who you've met before and who your character is friends, allies, or enemies with IC wise. Or of course, you could do what I am doing here. Create a blog, Facebook page, journal, etc., specifically for your RP character(s). Whichever works! Here is an in-depth detailed list of anything and everything you could add to your character profile to help bring your character to life. Have fun with it, and remember, not everything needs to apply!

  • Personality:
    • Fears/phobias
    • Sexuality
    • Motivation
      • Achievement, discovery, invention, understanding, revenge, fame
    • Core Traits
      • Bold, impulsive, secretive, seductive, cynical
    • Religion/spirituality
    • Habits
    • Likes/dislikes
    • Love/hate
    • Long term and short term goals
    • Outlook on life
      • Optimistic: idealistic, confident, trusting, hopeful
      •  pessimistic: cynical, distrustful, resigned
      •  despondent: depressed, sad, emotive, mopey
      • Religious tolerance: How you view other religions, both your own and others
  • Occupation
    • What you do for a living (what earns your bread, a roof over your head, or a place in the city? Are you or were you a farmer or tradeskill crafter before your death, or are you planning on taking it up now?)
    • What tradeskills do you know, or want to learn?
  • Guild
    • Rank
    • Association
    • Status
    • Factions (If your guild RP's, they usually have a system or hierarchy for each gameplay rank as well as a backstory. You can ask the guild leader for any of this information!)
  • Strange habits/practices
    • How you greet the day/night
    • Fighting style
    • Specific word choice
    • Odd behaviors
  • Descriptive words related to your character
    • Conscientious
    • Spontaneous
    • Cautious
    • Flexible
    • Warm
    • Agreeable
    • Reserved
    • Flirtatious
    • Narrow-minded
  • Habits
    • Humming
    • Dancing
    • Sleepwalking
    • Facial twitch
    • Fingernail biter
    • Compulsive liar
    • Whistling
    • Forgetful
    • Mumbling
    • Coin flipping
    • Collector
    • Stuttering
    • Sleep talker
    • Daydreamer
  • Hobbies (things you do in your spare time, or tasks that are fun)
    • Astrology
    • Music
    • Sailing/swimming
    • Brewing
    • Calligraphy
    • Caving
    • Gardening
    • Cooking
    • Dancing
    • Embroidering
    • Falconry
    • Fortune-telling
    • Gambling
  • What does she/he like to talk about?
  • Mental or emotional disorders
    • Addictions
    • Amnesia
    • Bi-Polar (haha, I can see that one applying to an Ascended...)
    • Depression
    • Hypochondriac (I can just imagine a character seeking out every healer they can find to "cure" them of whatever disease or ailment they believe they have)
    • OCD
  • Does your character have a curse or a divine punishment put upon them?
    • Strange maladies
    • Curses given by a god, other character, or a magical artifact
    • Punishment for a past deed. Penance can include helping low lvl players, giving away a certain amount of your gold every day, performing a specific ritual every day, or going on an epic quest to redeem yourself in someone's eyes.
  • Why is your character the way they are?
    • Childhood trauma?
    • Lost or gained friendship that shaped your future?
    • Upbringing?
    • Choices in their "teen" years?
  • Past significant events
  • Adventure
    • Quests, personal or otherwise
    • Exploration
    • Aiding of a friend
    • Learning a new hobby or skill
  • Family
    • What did your family do to earn a living?
    • Reputation (yours with your family, and your family's reputation with their hometown or city)
    • Legends, myths, curses, stories told about family members, ancestors, or estranged uncles
    • Extended family details
  • Birthplace
    • Size, name, location
    • Geography, weather, government
    • Significant events that happened there, or nearby?
    • Why did you leave?
  • Crafting
    • Craft: Something you can do or make
    • Profession: How you earn a living in Telara
    • How does your craft or profession impact your character's past/future?
    • What level of craft/profession have you achieved so far?
    • Do you have any goals for your craft/profession?
    • Where did you train? Who trained you?
    • Being a journeyman can require a contract. Are you contracted or apprenticed to someone? What are the details to this contract?
    • Are you part of a profession's guild? (This can be your actual guild, or a made up guild that your character is licensed to and must perform weekly tasks or such for)
    • Do you own a business or shop?
    • Family professions?
    • Are you successful at what you do?
  • Are you a:
    • Travelling philosopher
    • Adventuring storyteller
    • Spy
  • Significant events-the reason you are who you are today
    • Family related:
      • Dark secrets
      • Unusual problems
      • Illness
      • Slavery
      • Fortune (both gained and lost)
      • Traditions, holidays, celebrations
      • Love interests
      • Children/lovers
    • Personal events
      • Sick/injured
      • Education
      • Betrayal
      • Find a magic artifact
      • Poor/rich
      • Crimes? Falsely accused?
      • Talent(s)
      • Cult/church/sect/order
      • Embarrassing stories
    • Notable individuals in your life
      • Friendships
      • Enemies
      • Superiors
      • People you respect
    • Other motivations
      • Success, overcoming obstacles
      • Obtain wealth, possessions
      • Bring harmony, balance, and peace where you can
      • Protect the helpless, healing
      • Disrupt, cause chaos, upset the rule
      • Creation, to build, culture, invention, design
      • Destruction, bring ruin
      • Discover, explore, uncover mysteries, adventure, learn
      • To teach, provide wisdom, knowledge
      • Nobility, perpetrate noble ideals
      • To create order and organization
      • Have fun, enjoy life
      • Control, power, leadership
      • Recognition, status, approval, fame
      • Seek understanding, wisdom, knowledge
  • Emotional Disposition:
    • Joyful
    • Anxious
    • Melancholy
    • Curious
    • Calm
    • Angry
    • Contemptuous
    • Excited
    • Apathetic
    • Ashamed
  • Existing conflicts
    • Who is it with?
    • Why do you have a conflict?
    • Why can't it be worked out, or can it?
    • How will it end?
    • What emotions do you have for it?
  • Why do you adventure?
    • What caused you to take up arms and travel the world?
    • As a Cleric, did your god/deity/ancestor call upon you to right a wrong?
    • Have you set out to accomplish something?
    • Are you looking for something?
    • Do you have a family land or home you have to come back to or tend to?
    • What do you bring with you on your adventures?
There are four important things to keep in mind when creating the backstory or history for your character:
  • Conflicts
  • Challenges/hurdles
  • Mystery/lost knowledge
  • Passions
     And here is the exact template that I always follow when creating a new character. I grab a bunch of sheets of paper and list all these things, then using references to in game lore, and what I want my character to be, I fill in the information. Like a personal contact card or application. It's actually pretty fun creating an RP character! Go ahead and use this for your own character! The credit for creating such a detailed list does not belong to me. All references to information will be at the bottom of the post! It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but don't worry. Many of these things will come to you as you begin playing your character! Fill out what you can or want, and you can write in the blanks as you go. Or if your big into research and thinking things out (I think about stuff waaaaay too much!!) you can write out the entire list before you start, and have everything ready. Of course, even if you've written a certain thing, you may find that your character seems to take on a life of its own and goes in a totally different direction. That's ok too!

Character Creation Template
Full Name:
Ascended Name:
Skin Color:
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Place of Birth:
Date of Birth:
Date of Death (Ascended are reborn mortals remember):
Cause of Death:
Reason for Ascension:
Your 3 Main RP Souls:
Spiritual Direction/Religion:
     Long Term:
    Short Term:
    Immediate (parents, siblings):
    Extended (aunts, uncles, grandparents, half siblings):
Family Traditions:
Family Legends/curses:
Family Trade/Business:
Dark Secrets:
Sexual Orientation:
Opposite Faction Attitude:
Crafting Skills/Hobbies:
Professions (default of 3 in Rift):
Positive Personality Traits:
Negative Personality Traits:
Odd Quirks/Habits:
Conversation Favorites:
Personal Possessions:
Physical Description:
Notable Accomplishments:
Favorite Foods:
Favorite Drinks:
Favorite Color(s):
Most admired Notable Character (Favorite NPC that you look up to):
Theme Song:
Background Story:
     Well that about sums up the first part of my Roleplay guide. Obviously I'm not an expert at it, nor do I claim to be. I just decided I'd write down some helpful things that may give others the kind of boost that it gave me when I looked for information on RP and how to go about it in MMO's. There isn't a lot of RP info out there that is specific to Rift, but as long as you keep an open mind and remember that Rift has some different rules and canon, you should be ok! As a last note, here's a few tips to help you get started:
  • IC (In Character)-what your character is doing/saying
  • OOC (Out of Character)-what you the player is doing/saying. If you wish or need to speak to the other players that doesn't have anything to do with the story, characters, or RP situation, it is respectful and less confusing to either whisper the individual, or type 2 ((brackets like this)) around the words. That signifies to everyone involved that you the player has something to say, and shouldn't be taken as part of the RP session.
  • OC (Original Character)-A character you created that has no bearing on the actual lore or story. In an MMO, this of course is every character you create, whereas if it were a story you were reading, an OC would be someone that has never existed before and you just made them up, as opposed to say, Asha Catari, who is part of Rift's lore.
  • Canon-Follows the lore and story of the game (ex: It's canon that Defiant went back in time to try to avert the end of the world)
  • Type /e and whatever you wish to do in order to create an action. (ex: If you want your character to reach over and pick up a glass of wine type "/e reaches across the counter and delicately picks up the wine glass." Adding descriptive words to your emoting helps convey how your character is thinking. You can even add words to your emoting. /e considers a moment, before replying, "ok, let's go investigate the cave.")
  • Don't forget to introduce yourself when meeting new characters. Remember, your character is NOT you, and can't magically see a name floating above a head, so they have to get to know others the old fashioned way, just like in real life.
  • Don't randomly dash off in the middle of an RP session or chat just so you can kill a mob that was wandering nearby, or craft something, or turn in a quest. It's not respectful to just leave someone hanging. Additionally, if you must take off for some reason, both your physical self, or your character, don't forget to let your comrades know, both IC and OOC if possible.
  • Thank the people you RP with when you are done.
References: Most of this information can be found on any number of online D&D sites, or by googling Roleplay. There are tons of guides, tutorials, and starter kits waiting for you if you seek them out. RP can be a fun and interesting way to spend your online time! The template was borrowed from the Rift forums, which was borrowed from and and I give plenty of thanks and kudos for creating such awesome guides! All information relating to Trion and Rift belong to them, and I'm just playing in their sandbox. If you have questions, feel free to message me, or comment on this post! 

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