Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: K.I.S.S. Your CharacterJim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
Rolling a character is one of the best parts of playing an MMORPG, bringing to mind the excitement of taking on a new role, the anticipation of adventuring with this character, and the simple yet elegant fun of roleplaying with a new personality. Perhaps all these thoughts flooding the brain have been too daunting for some, especially us roleplayers, who often take our character creation to heart. I have been asked many times the question of how to best roll a character for RP purposes. I have also heard enough roleplayers tell me how they roll their characters to know there is no one single best way to take on the task.
I too have created my share of MMORPG characters over many MMO's to discover this fact, while at the same time developing my own way to accomplish this vital feat. During my Army career, I was introduced to the widely known K.I.S.S. principle, and it is a superb one to follow when rolling a character. Now, I also create the history for my characters at the time of creation, rather than trying to specifically think and write it afterwards. To that end, I have added yet another common element to the K.I.S.S. principle, that being the Five W's: who, what, where, when, and why. Can't get much easier than that! Combining these two allow me to create a character with a solid foundation from the very start, which I believe is something every roleplayer would benefit from.
So, here's my simple and effective formula for rolling characters and telling their story. I hope you may also find some use from it!
WHO is this character?
Name your character! Sometimes I do this first, sometimes I make it the final step. Depends on how deeply I have their personality set in my mind. Make use of the random name generator, it can be a great tool. You certainly don't have to use the name given, but maybe it can flash into your head a name you like and that fits.
WHAT is my motivation?
This actors mantra is also an important item for roleplayers to consider. It is the one thing that sets us apart from all those other players who are simply stumbling around the realms falsely believing they can 'beat' the game by collecting gold and every uber-item there is. Give your character goals and dreams, a reason to exist, and be as detailed as you can be. Like in our real life, doing so will help give each time you log in a sense of adventure, and that is one thing that makes living worth it.
WHERE am I?
Wherever you go, there you are. This is meant to be considered in the physical aspect. Take a good look at the body of your character's race and place your mind into that body. Now think: in what ways does one race act and move differently from another? For instance, a Gnome moves quite unlike a Troll, but why? Size, height, posture, attitude, tusks, and so on. Get into the head of that race and dwell on how it would feel to move around. Also, pay close attention to your surroundings. Does your race come from and prefer desert regions over snow-covered mountains? From the world of general fantasy, it's commonly known that Dwarves are well adapted to mountainous terrain, so play those elements up in your roleplay.
WHEN is now!
Dig into the known history and lore of the race. Not only is this an integral part of both character and player knowledge, it is often quite entertaining. Also, don't forget to brush up on current events, to know what's going on around the realm during your character's generation. Taken together, they may assist greatly with giving your character life in the here and now, and in forming a future to set your character towards.
This consideration is aimed more towards the player than the character. Ask yourself two questions: Can I effectively and believably RP this character? Why do I want to? Tough questions to be sure. However, it doesn't matter how much work you put into creating a character; if you don't believe in it, no one else will either. If after all that work, you get the character in play and find that you just aren't feeling it, don't hesitate for a second to trash it and start all over. I've done it many times.