So you have the basic’s sorted our and forming in your mind, so lets look deeper. There are probably loads of ways to arse this up but we are going to talk about the main two. Or rather we are going to talk about the second of two because the first is a super simple straight forward one that I reckon everyone old enough to have a provisional drivers license and the smarts of a copper penny can manage.
From The Ground Up (FTGU) is a series of posts based around character creation and roleplay, building from the ground up, obviously. In this post we’re going to talk about your characters story and their development and how to do that. But if you have missed any parts this far you can catch up with them here:
Also known by; over-powered, meta-gaming, god-emoting, flawless, the untouchables, 13yo’s, and many more. These are the folk without flaws. Or with flaw so terribly teeny tiny they are totally redundant in the face of the characters GLOWING BADASSERY. Maybe they have a little scar on their butt-cheek that itches sometimes, you know? Super annoying.
You will know many of these characters from miles away, they will likely being wearing crazy-awesome armour and have totally-awesome weapons. Both of which they wear ALL THE TIME. Because, right, what if someone saw them outside their armour? They might not –know- how awesome the character is and that would be a travesty. Some however are more subtle, they might have toned it down a few notches, they might in fact be in the process of growing up, up, up and out of this phase. We can hope. These ones are harder to spot but can usually be discovered when any kind of conflict comes into play, even if that conflict is as trivial as tossing jests while sitting around chatting. –They have to win-. And they often have to win in the most dramatic way possible, and may turn the little battle of wits into a full blown brawl. They may even say things that don’t make sense, and use big words they don’t really understand and deny any awareness of it not making sense. And they will never, ever, ever be intimidated, because they doesn’t afraid of anything, yo.
Don’t do that. Easy Peasy. Have flaws. Good ones. Interesting one.
Here is where the water gets murky. This is also where you’re Mary-Sue’s come into play in force. These guys have flaws. Oh boy do they. So to break them down into two rough groups; you have the vanity flaws on one side and the crippling flaws on the other. The vanity guys have flaws, sure, but their flaws only ever make them cooler, deeper, more interesting and more tragic. Dead parents, trust issues, should-be-horrifically-marred-but-is-really-just-rugged-handsome scarring that doesn’t at all hinder their ability to actually do anything and function. These are the Batman and Altair’s (And I’m told Ezio or something is a name I ought to throw in here too? Who knows I don’t play AC) you know the sort. Their lives are so hard but they are still pretty super-great and isn’t afraid of nobody, right? They have seen things, man. Terrible things.
Dead people, maybe even, you know? Get that care cup out and brushed off.
Then you have your cripplingly flawed. I think these ones are growing more and more popular. And honestly I think that is at least partly due to more awareness of the Mary-Sue pitfall, in a bid to avoid it, in a bid to improve I reckon some people just hammer it too hard. They create characters that are so cripplingly flawed they don’t –work-. And yes, a good character concept is a tool, it has a function it can work, it can break, it can even sometimes be mended. Our aim in the MMO world is (need I say here –should be-) to create characters that work, tools that function and meld and work well with others to create an overarching story for everybody’s greater good and enjoyment.
Here we mean those characters that fall into the wheel of being so hard done by in the past that they never trust anyone, they are lone wolves, out for themselves, and never trust anyone nor talk about anything past The Weather. They have no personal motive, incentive or drive to involve other people or achieve anything past basic survival. Remember those three things from last time? Well your character can have drive to do X Y or Z in the game world, but if they are cripplingly flawed in social terms it’s going to be a long lonely and ultimately unsatisfactory ride for you. Very few people have the patience and determination to chip away at insanely difficult characters without any kind of give-back. And similarly those characters, when no one is approaching them which is sadly the norm these days, have no IC ability to approach others. So you are stuck RPless because your flaws are crippling you. Or perhaps they don’t have a flaw that cripples them, but in an attempt not to appear Mary-Sued up they also lack any redeeming or characteristic virtues? What if they are the most average of average Joe’s? No special skills, no personality quirks, no hooks or motives? Nobody will be interested, quite simply. And when that happens your character as a tool is not working for you.