Character Creation Guide for new players and old.

Discussion in 'Role-Play Discussion' started by Mim, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. Mim

    Mim Resident Game Owner

    For newbies or even the experienced role player one of the most daunting things to face us when starting out or approaching a new game is writing up our character biography, or as it is known in some cases as our character app.

    So here is a very simple guide that can help you achieve that goal along with a few important rules to get that all important person you want to be, where they should be: to be accepted as a fully fledged part of a story.

    Below is a very basic traditional bio sheet that is common to most games in one form or another. There may in some games be more or even less fields to fill in, but this is an ideal starting point.

    Where to begin?
    The first question you will ask yourself is what type of character am I doing? Hero? Citizen Smith or anything else in between. It doesn’t matter what the genre is, the basics are all the same. So the first thing that has always worked for me once I have established the most important criteria and that is the characters gender. I think have some image in my mind of what he or she is going to look like, how old they might be etcetera. Next is the role they will be doing; so we’ll start with someone who is going to be a Nurse in a military scenario. I think she will be in her mid to late thirties, blonde, American. There is my start.

    What next?
    Many people will often tend to write the bio first, then later on go in search of a face claim. I have found it far easier to find my face claim first. Doing this gives you a mental picture of a person whom you can shape around their image. For this purpose my search came up with Kristy Hinze, a former Australian model. She now gives me some data I can use to my character. The easiest things will be her basic stats, in this case I am using her real details, but of course you can futz around with that.

    Choosing a name. Often for many this can be one of the hardest things to do, or it can sometimes just pop into your head. One of the oldest tricks used by many of us who have been role playing for years is to use a name we’re familiar with. A friend’s name, perhaps slightly altered. In this case, I’m using the last name of a relative and the first name of a close friend and it looks good. The middle name just came out of nowhere.

    How old are they?
    This will of course always depend on the game and what is required of your character. For the example she is going to be an experienced officer in the US Air Force, the requirement is for a team leader and the year date of the game is 2011. So to give her some background I’m making her 38.

    Where are they from?
    This is the easy part of most games to fill in. She is American, but of course she ‘might’ have been born elsewhere.

    What position do they hold?
    Most games will ask this, it can be a rank or a status in a social order, a business professional or even a kid at school. This to, can be relatively easy but always bear in mind particularly with a military application or even some sci-fi roles or even a police officer; there is no such thing as a 25 year old Colonel. It’s just so Mary Sue. Our example will be a Major.

    The stats:
    This is where the fun begins. We’ll want to know their skills and other important details, while some apps will even ask for strengths and weaknesses. Here you can use your imagination, but as always avoid going over the top, do some research for the type of character you are making. Remember Mr Google is your friend.


    Full Name : Kimberly Leanne Sutton

    Birthday/Age: 38: July 5th 1973

    Nationality: US citizen

    Rank, Title or Position: Major, US Air Force.

    Related Skills: 1990-94 Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, School of Healthcare Sciences, Sheppard AFB, Texas

    1995 Squadron Officer School, U.S. Air Force Regional Hospital, Elgin AFB, Fla.

    1997 Combat Trauma Health Nurse Practitioner, School of Healthcare Sciences, Sheppard AFB, Texas

    1999-2001 Master of Science in Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Sigma Theta Tau

    2002 Air War College, by seminar

    2005 Air Command and Staff College, by seminar

    2007 Executive Development Intern, SDE in-residence equivalent

    2009 Joint Medical Executive Skills Medical Executive Skills Capstone Course

    2010 Interagency Institute for Federal Healthcare Executives

    Unrelated Skills/ Interests:
    Auctioneers Licence, collecting Royal Doulton and Lladro figurines. Kim is also a quite skilled water colour artist.
  2. Mim

    Mim Resident Game Owner

    Now we’ve filled in the basics we can get into the nitty gritty, the details.

    How do they look to the eye? We could say she’s blonde, has blue eyes, slim and tall. Many do. But that would also apply to millions of others and you may not instantly recognize them. So we make it flourish a little more on those details.

    Personality: This section is where many new players stumble. I will even admit at times I trip over doing the characters charms myself. It takes a little thought and is one of those areas you shouldn’t rush. Remember for most apps the mods don’t mind if you submit as a WIP, (work in progress) to be accepted on the proviso you flesh it out a little later. Think about it, think about people you know and the type of character you want them to be seen as and it will come to you.

    The history: Finally we come to the hardest part of all. Creating who they are and what makes up their life. Basics are for traditional games for your beginning is family, that paints your picture, the first brush stroke as it were. From there you start to build a story in your mind that flows into words. Keep it real, again do some research. Write a rough draft of the characters history and have someone look it over and never get dismayed if at first it looks terrible. Even experienced players can get it wrong the first time with a new character, you may even write it several times before its right. Most of all, don’t make them seem almost miraculous, they’ve done everything, been everywhere and can do anything. Your app will be rejected every time if you follow that direction; keep it realistic and you won’t go wrong.


    Appearance: A natural blonde although as she grew older her hair became a shade or two darker. Her build is well rounded in her own view and she does have rather broad shoulders for a woman. Deep thoughtful blue eyes and fullish lips, Kim has all too often been mistaken for some kind of ‘Hotlips’ character; which she is definitely not. While not fantastically tall, at 5’10” Kim is tall enough to be noticed by most, especially the opposite sex.

    Personality: Kim has a very strong personality, she was born with it. She knows what she wants in life and will pursue it with all her worth. Despite this, she is quietly spoken and rarely raises her voice. She is attentive when spoken to, but expects to be listened to when she is speaking. Kim does not tolerate aggressive people, nor those without manners, that is when you will get the full brunt of her ‘southern charm’.

    Personal History:. The eldest child of Alan and Toni Sutton, Kim was born and raised in Louisville Kentucky, with her three younger siblings. At the age of 10, while staying with her maternal grandparents in New York, her mother were tragically killed in a head on with a large truck as she was driving to bring her home. After that, with her father still with the Marines and nowhere else to go, she remained in New York, just outside of Queens, her grandparents not being that well off.

    Schooling was a chore for Kim; she had to combine her time between classes and work wherever she could find it, right from the beginning. There was nothing of consequence coming from her father, with two other kids in care with other relatives, there was debt from the small farm her parents owned. Everything they owned went to the banks. It more than often became a struggle with her, help her grandparents with their meagre pensions, or buy school books. She became something of a Tomboy around eleven, competing with boys in the neighbourhood for newspaper runs, collecting cans and anything else that would help. By the time she was fifteen, she was working in MacDonald’s, lying about her age, so she could work nights. Despite the difficulties, Kim did well in the end, she had joined the ROTC and had her sights set on a career in the Navy, like her grandad before her, she would though chose a nursing career if her grades were up to it.

    Finally graduation came, Kim was right up there where she wanted to be, in the top ten of her year, and of course there was the graduation parties. One of those, changed the course of her life for good. In a moment of teenage passion, she became pregnant to a boy she had known for some time, a fellow cadet from the ROTC, Adam Lind. He promised her the world and naively Kim believed him. A month after baby Sophia was born, Adam enlisted in the Marines; he was true to his word and proposed, they had planned to be married the following July, but it never happened. Early one morning in late May, two officers of the Marines visited, with the tragic news Adam had been killed in a training exercise.

    She was desperate now, with a baby and no life prospects, Kim sunk into a depression until one night grandad Ernest, came to her for a chat. He told her about his days in the Navy and how he was wounded in Vietnam, Navy nurses aboard one of the hospital ships had saved his life after his ship, the USS New Jersey took a hit in one of the ships gun turrets. He was badly wounded. His point being, he wanted her to pursue her dream of being a Nurse and she should follow that through. He and her grandmother could take care of little Sophie while she was studying and making her way to gain her life back again. Kim had a question for him, how was she going to survive and pay for the College ? Easy he told her, he’ll make some calls and get her into the Navy Reserve Graduate Nursing program. She had applied and was turned down, not because of anything else but the program was full, but a very lovely recruiting officer pointed her to the Air Force office and Kim never looked back.

    Married again at twenty six to a local cop in Colorado Springs, Kim’s personal life seemed to pick up from there. Her daughter now eight was doing well and everything pointed to a happy life. That is until the nagging began from her husband, asking her constantly to end her Air Force career so that they could have more children, more so for his own ego. That was never to last and in 2006 they separated, in 2010 he finally agreed to a divorce. To this day, Kim still owns the family farm, the debts paid off and she has a manager to run things; she takes every chance she gets to take Sophia back there. They now have fifteen thoroughbred Trotters.


    Most of all, have fun with what you're doing and remember the basic rules.

    1/ Don't create something that is beyond your ability to play
    2/ Please don't create a demi-god (unless of course that is what you're playing) in other words, avoid the Mary Sue, Marty Stu at all times, no one wants them.
    3/ Make it a project that you will enjoy playing for a very long time.

    Happy creations. :)
  3. dragonwriter

    dragonwriter Newcomer Game Owner

    To me, creating the character's bio is just a starting point, I don't want to write a book about the character, because I don't know them yet, I haven't written for them yet. They always seem to change and morph and sometimes as time goes by I realize they don't look like the old emotional description I wrote for them at all.
  4. Mim

    Mim Resident Game Owner

    That bio up there, it has been edited several times over the 6 years of its existence, as has many of my character bios. I believe that option should always be available to you, edit as the character grows.
    Elena likes this.
  5. SithLordOfSnark

    SithLordOfSnark Resident Game Owner

    This is a great guide :)
    Mim likes this.
  6. Mim

    Mim Resident Game Owner

    Thank you Sith ^_^ a work worth the effort I think