Step 1: Personality Picking and Gender Getting

      Step 2: Background Basis (sketch)

      Step 3: Childhood Community

      Step 4: Mundane Monotony

      Step 5: Age Adaptation

      Step 6: Fatal Flaws and Character Calamities

      Step 7: Lovely Likes and Detestable Dislikes

      Step 8: Fun with Follicles and Fleshing the Face

      Step 9: Body Building

      Step 10: Crafty Classes and Glorious Garments

      Step 11: Distinct Dialects

      Step 12: Naming of the Beast

Creating Characters, in twelve easy steps ;-)

So now you have some basic and some advance terms down. So now we're ready to create our characters. Now hold on, drop back and think. This is not an easy process as many know. There has to be some pattern or guidelines to follow...well, yes there is. Here is a technique that might work. At least it's the method I use. Funny...it ended up being a 12-step program. <grins

Step 1: Personality Picking and Gender Getting

Now this seems like a strange thing to do first, but I would recommend it. One of the building blocks of characters are their personality. Everyone has a general disposition that they follow and if you pick this first, everything else can fall into place. Is your character normally happy-go-lucky? Secretive? A blabbermouth? Cynical? Arrogant? Gentle? A trickster? Overly analytical? Are they intelligent or dim-witted?

For a beginning roleplayer, it'd probably be best to not pick something all that far from your own personality, just adapt it as if they were in that world. As you get more advanced, you can try variations on your own or even the complete polar opposite of your own.

Gender also comes into play here. It'd seem an obvious choice that you'd choose your own gender but sometimes the personality you pick determines what gender. It might fit one better than the other. Or you might choose to be a tomboy as a personality. So they are intermingled somewhat.

Once you have a personality, you can move onto:

Step 2: Background Basis (sketch)

Now that you have a general personality, you can start sketching out your character's background. But don't expect to finish it in this step. The background is a continuous process that'll finally end when your character is fully fleshed out.

But now we have a personality. There has to be something in the past that makes them that way. If they are to be arrogant, maybe they were in high society. Or maybe they had something that no one else had, a special gift, a certain item. Maybe it's just inherited from the parents. If they're cynical, maybe something major happened in their life that really disappointed them or disillusioned them. If they're secretive, maybe they used to talk a lot but one day it got them into trouble and they took the other extreme.

Never will you find someone have their past not define who they are in some way. It could be as simple as genetics or an elaborate twist of fate that brought them to the point they are at today. Remember this is just a sketch. You'll be working on this through all the steps bit by bit.

Now that we have some background, we can move to:

Step 3: Childhood Community

Seems easy, but choose the place that they were born. Unfortunately, DA makes this seem too easy: just select the name of a town, but it's more than that. Were they born in the midst of the town, where all the hussle and bustle is? Or were they born in the suburbs? Maybe a farm. Maybe they weren't even born in a town at all, but lived in one of the ransacked cottages in the East Woodlands? Or they could have even been raised by goblins or kobolds.

Again, this ties a bit into personality too so that should narrow down your search a bit. It is hard (but not impossible) to be arrogant if you lived on a farm. It's hard to be cynical if you lived in a wealthy neighborhood and always got what you wanted. But the overlying personality is a guide, and an interesting one. Arrogant on farmlands? Maybe your character's father always praised you and left you in charge of everything. Maybe you've never been off the farm and had no idea of things being better outside it. Where you are, to some extent, defines who you are.

But region does come into play as well. A farm in Suomi would be much more common than a farm in Rucesion. The whole community acts, behaves, feels a certain way. In the region of Suomi and Undine, the locals would be more likely to be bitter about the conduct of Loures and more critical of them than Piet or Loures itself. A wizard from Rucesion might not raise any eyebrows, but a wizard from Mileth or Suomi might call some attention.

Also as far as religion goes, you'd be far more likely to know about the gods whose temples are close by than those that are halfway across the world. Maybe a child from Rucesion got stories from their grandmother of the glory of Deoch and were stunned when they first travelled there to examine the temple. There are many roleplaying elements that you can draw from the background, one only needs to look for them.

So you're starting to be a flesh and blood Aisling now...but we still need some things. Onto...

Step 4: Mundane Monotony

Your character is an Aisling, which means they were once a mundane. How does the transition feel? Glorious? Disappointing? Enlightening? Does your character feel amazed by the new found freedom or frightened of it? The stories we see on television of blind people regaining (or simply gaining) their sight usually portrays it as a wonderful gift, but it doesn't always happen that way. Many are terrified by the new sights, some are disappointed, some break-ups occur because who they thought they were going out with or marrying was someone completely different. Becoming an Aisling is somewhat like this. It will definitely be a different experience, but it might not always be bright and cheerful.

Also, what does your character remember from being a mundane? My character, for example, has an ELABORATE mundane background (if you ever want to know it, I'd tell you, but it might spoil the reaction later) but he remembers precious few of it. Some think that making a character have amnesia is a cop out of not fully developing a background, and sometimes it is. But many true roleplayers have the actual background drawn out but their character doesn't know the half of it. What they remember, and how much of it they remember also affects who they are. Did they have a job? A specific task that no one could do without? If so, what did the society do when they found that your character wanted to travel the world? Can they ever go back or are they scorned from there? If they didn't have a job, how did they make their living? Maybe they were too young to even consider it.

Youth...that brings us to our next step:

Step 5: Age Adaptation

How old is your character? Again, it seems like a simple question. But those who are older have more experience and background. If they're young, are they young and impetuous, or did they always listen to their parents? If they're old, are they wise from it or do they continue to make the same mistakes?

Ah...now mistakes leads us into the next section...

Step 6: Fatal Flaws and Character Calamities

They don't have to be exactly FATAL, but are there any personality quirks that your character has? Can they not stand a certain race? Why? We're gradually learning that there are many more humanoid, intelligent, and semi-intelligent races in Temuair than we previously thought; we have the Mukul, Kobolds, Goblins, Grimloks, Dubhaimid, Dwarves, the Tuatha de Danaan (basically faeries or fae), and (thanks to Nenya) the Eldar. That brings up another good point, does your character see mundanes and Aislings as two different races, or do they respect their mundane brethren?

Does your character have any fears? If not, are they reckless in the face of danger? Is the fear just an inconvenience or does it completely paralyze them or make them flee all together?

Is your character completely fascinated with something? Could be simple infatuation but it could also be something that they completely drop everything if they see a beautiful flower or a cute girl.

With the major flaws out of the way, you can work out:

Step 7: Lovely Likes and Detestable Dislikes

These are fairly obvious. It doesn't necessarily have to be an item, it could be a person. Or maybe just a personality trait. Maybe it's the morning sky as the sun appears over the mountains. Or maybe it's simply a type of food. Whatever it is, the character acts it out.

Again, this ties into background. Everything does. With all these steps, simply add another question: Why does my character do this? If you ask the why, something in the background should surface.

Now the character is a nimbus of feelings and emotions and events. It's time to start giving them a shell to exist in.

Step 8: Fun with Follicles and Fleshing the Face

DA gives the ability to choose hairstyle, color, and draw a portrait. If you can't draw, at least have a written description of yourself for your own purposes. When all else fails, you can choose a haircolor and style you like, but it could also reflect in your personality and/or background. Maybe where you come from, a child with green hair is only born once every 100 years. Maybe the hair is stained red with the blood that your family has spilt over the years. Maybe their eyes and hair is red to match their flaming personality. Be (I know people hate this word, but tough) creative.

DA also allows for hairstyling and dying. This is an interesting aspect. Maybe your character is so vain that they need a new style every day. Maybe they're never satisfied with the way they look so they do this every once and a while. Maybe your character needs a cunning disguise to try and talk with someone or sneak into a place. Maybe they just want a change. Whatever the reason, the possibility is there. And if they never want to change it, maybe they scorn the people who aren't satisfied with themselves who do constantly change it.

Once you have the top, you need a bottom to it though...that brings us to..

Step 9: Body Building

Is your character average build, husky, lanky, well-muscled? Would you consider their figure attractive? Maybe they have a distinguishing scar. It doesn't necessarily have to be from Sgrios. Maybe they have some sort of mark or tatoo. Some distinguishing features are always interesting to add.

But we also know, clothes make the man (or woman), so next we go to...

Step 10: Crafty Classes and Glorious Garments

Before you can figure your clothing, you have to wonder what class/path your character is going to choose. Choose one that fits their personality and background (in fact, you might have already based the background around this). In case you haven't already done so, this is the time to do it.

But what type of clothing attracts your character. I assume you've already chosen a gender so that essentially cuts your choice in half. If you've chosen a class as well, that cuts it to 1/5th as well, but there are still many possibilities. You start, as a peasant, with one choice (shirt or blouse) but after you've taken a class, there are at least 5. Once you've reached your 11th insight (2nd Circle), there are 9 possibilities. At your 41st insight (3rd Circle), there are at least 13 possibilities. At the 71st, at least 14 right now, but eventually it'll be 17. And more possibilities open earlier if you gain noble recognition.

Warriors have a couple extra choices earlier (I think 26 and 55 but I'm not sure)

At your 15th insight, there are (technically) 4 more possibilities but I would not enter this into your decision. The political garments should come only if you want the OFFICE first. The garment comes second. And even if they take a position, will they wear the uniform constantly or only occassionally? Is it because they're proud? They like the style? Dartanian rarely wore the demagogue pelisse because he didn't want to put himself above anyone else. He DID like to wear the burgess cloak because of the style but he didn't like the position it put him in so he wore it rarely.

So which of these choices will you wear most? You don't always HAVE to wear the best armor. And note that it is not "dyed" but tailored to fit a region. Maybe, no matter how ugly it looks, your character stays true to their region.

And there are also the two wedding garments if you think they are appropriate.

There are also several rings, earrings, gauntlets, and such. Sometimes you wear what you think is the best protection, but also sometimes the creativity lies in the ABSENSE of wearing them. Until he lost it, Dartanian always wore only one gauntlet, always on his right hand (which is a task, I always have to equip lockpicks, then the gauntlet, then remove the lockpicks :P). You can develop a story around why they wear or refuse to wear certain things.

So now we pretty much have our entire character planned. There are two things left...

Step 11: Distinct Dialects

The only real necessary part of this is to speak with semi-formality. Try not to use common slang. Also try to link it to your character, though this is not always necessary. What I mean is that a warrior would be more apt to grunt when they speak, have a harsh tone, maybe use bawdy jokes and (if you can find some of this, great, but it's not a requirement) older slang. If you read some of the notes in Shakespeare books, you might see some slang terms. But it's a suggestion and not a necessity. If you speak of things affecting and relating to Temuair, you're in the spirit of it and roleplaying.

As you get more advanced, though, regular speech might not be enough. Some sort of speech impediment might be interesting. Thome might with thoo speak with a lithp, whilst others would find it meet to have their discourse take a haughty tone. Meybe ya spake aws a fawma, or <nods his head, and points to his mouth, showing he's mute. Or ye might 'ave a wee bit o' th' Scottish accent in ye. There are many ways to do it or insert your own dialect. (By the way, if you couldn't understand them, they were, respectively: Some might wish to speak with a lisp, while others want to speak like high society. Maybe you speak as a farmer, or maybe you're mute. Or maybe you use a scottish accent. And another by the way, that's the type of hybrid accent Dartanian uses if you didn't know.)

You could actually speak some language that no one else understands. Keep this to a minimal though, as lack of communication doesn't help roleplaying at all. But there could be an occassional interjection that they use ("Brethic commreda Diaso!" or "My god's curse upon you!" and yes I completely made that up :P) or they use it to describe something that doesn't exist in the society. Maybe their culture doesn't have a word for something that exists in the DA world at all. This can make for some interesting roleplaying.

And also, if they speak another language, where did they learn the common Ardmagh tongue? DID they learn it fully? You have to use it somewhat or else people would be mad, but your grammar could be extremely poor (don't confuse this with people who can't do it normally :P).

All in all, speech can say a lot about your character. You only need to look into it. Also note (which actually was pointed out to me by someone else or else I'd still be doing it today) that people with impediments or dialects don't WRITE with the impediment. Their thinking might draw out a bit of the accent, but overall, you wouldn't write something with a lisp or leaving out the letters. If that were the case, the mutes would be SEVERELY handicapped since they couldn't say or write anything at ALL.

Now, bear with me. This last step should be easy now that everything is underway.

Step 12: Naming of the Beast

No matter what order you decide to do the rest of these steps in, I would always, ALWAYS recommend saving the name for last. The name is the first impression that people get of your character. It should reflect the personality, background, everything that you've worked out. As well, it should reflect the world of Temuair. "2kewlD00d" simply doesn't cut it. Even if you choose an alias instead of a name, pick one that relates to the personality and world of Temuair. One that's creative. Using something like "TheWizard" or "RoguelyOne" just isn't using that interesting muscle, whereas "ShadowKnight," even though no one would call their child that, holds some creativity to it. And if your character uses an alias, make sure they have a "real" name too, maybe one that they only use with their friends, or something their parents call them that is a constant embarrassment. Don't accept that that is really their name, unless the parents were feeling REALLY spiteful.

And one last tip for general roleplaying before I end this off, don't treat people as if you know their name right off, even if you do. Be sure to introduce yourself. If you're polite, call them "sir" or "madam" until you ask their name. If you're not, you can always say "Hey you!" but don't assume. Even if you can say you know their name from their writings, act amazed when they first tell you their name "YOU'RE the famous bard, Kallestra???" I assure you, it'll be a much more pleasurable experience when the attempt is made.

-Dartanian Lestor
"Roleplaying for a better Temuair one day at a time"

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