- 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:
Let’s talk about mood boards. Back when we first started looking at the basics of creating a character we talked about having a founding idea, wither that was a niche of RP you wanted to explore, a character trait or quality you found interesting or perhaps inspiration from another source like books and movies. Whatever it was it gave you the first building blocks for your character and there is nothing wrong with that. As Steve King advises ‘to improve as a writer one of the best things to do is read’. It inspires, and helps us derive from it our own concepts. Mood boards can be very useful for collating your ideas before you even create your character but also for several things post-creation.
What are mood boards? Well they are a collection of ‘Things’ that help you set the mood and atmosphere for your character, they are things that inspire you and feel like they relate to that character and resonate with them. It can be anything from images of faces you think resemble how your character actually looks (let’s not get into the rant about how limiting avatars can be) to songs, landscapes and even items and outfits that you thing suit their style and personality. Anything at all that makes you think of the character and feeds your enthusiasm and desire to build on them. I enjoy doing personality tests for mine and rolling them birthdays and giving them star signs that always turn out scarily accurate.
But once you have the character made, you might be wondering how and why these would still be useful and let’s be honest, no one wants to be putting in all that effort to create something that becomes redundant once the character is made. But that doesn’t have to be the case. If you create mood boards for your characters they can grow with you, you can continue to add to them over time when you find new things, hear new songs that suit them or when their arc alters and their inspirations alter with it. Mood boards can expand and grow with you and your character and they can be incredibly useful and I will tell you why. You might not find this is you only have one character but I have a realm full of alts and being an RP nerd I have to have a story for all of them no matter how little I play them, so that’s is a lot of characters and stories. So I make them mood boards, and then when I am bouncing in to a character I haven’t played for a while or a character I just find myself struggling to get into the mindset of I pull up their mood board, filled with all the things that inspire me to play that character and give me a strong sense of who they are. It becomes a great primer for roleplay and a safety net if you find yourself losing track of the concept. And also a great way to tackle burn out. When you can justi pull up your mood board and instantly reconnect with everything you believe makes that character awesome.
But where do you keep all this stuff? Stored in folded on your PC? Tumblr? Guild Forums? A lot of places that would be good for the storage of images for example is not so good at storing music, or some of that needs you to download it all and either upload it all again, or to keep it on your PC taking up hard drive space. My answer? Pinterest. Pinterest allowed you to ‘Pin’ things to a virtual noticeboard, which acts like a bookmark to the page so you can even Pin stories and websites if you find them useful and suitable, you can upload your own images as well and Pin them up there, commissions and character drawings, for example. You can pin music videos and images, and I find myself pinning a lot of things about weapons and fighting styles and how-to’s for things my characters should know how to do, in case it gets called up in roleplay. It is also flexible, you can create multiple boards for each of your characters, guilds or whatever else. You can make them public and link them to your friends, guildies and whoever else or keep the secret and just for your own reference. You can even invite people to collaborate on certain boards, for example if you have a guild board and other members of your guild were using Pinterest as well you can add them to the board and you can both pin things to it. It’s highly flexible, incredibly useful and you know what? It’s just nice to have, it’s nice when you are talking to someone new about your character to be able to throw them the link and say ”here,check this out, this should help you get the feel for them”. Just last night I was able to do this when discussing star signs and characters with one of the Roleplay Big Wigs on my own server. Not certain? Want to see it in action? Alright then!
Below are three board widgets for my three main characters, and they are all eclectic, and all missing the music videos hi have not got around to adding yet. But you will not they range from drawings and commissions to look-a-likes to thematic images and informative articles. Everything I need to play the successfully, all their resources and inspirations to keep me in the right frame of mind for the character and concept.
(Many thanks to my dear guildmate for supplying the outsiders eyes descriptions of my characters for me. Much love!)
Lueianna ‘Gambler’ Amalas
Lueianna is the wraith, the unknowable, the girl with many names and the doll-like face. All at once she is the one watching the play, and the one that dances to Fate’s tune. She holds the weight of vision on her shoulders and in her eyes, hidden behind the smile that she shows to the world. Few could say to actually know this girl and fewer yet to understand her but every person that she encounters knows that she is something different, something special. To be touched by Lueianna in your life is to have a glimpse of another world.
Sareal ‘The Boy’ A’lorai
Sareal A’lorai. Whether he is the luckiest boy alive or the unluckiest elf to have lived is a matter for interpretation, and the answer would likely depend on both who you ask, and when you ask it. His life has been a series of lies upon secrets upon destinies. What boy would accept the motives of others merely on their word? What boy would understand that even as he rails against the unfairness of life, he has a dozen people who would give a great deal to keep him safe, if he would only swallow his pride? And yet – who, if anyone, could understand the true depths of his difficulties … when he never speaks of them?
Theolain ‘The Boss’ Nor’danel
Theolain Nor’danel is a man that takes what he has and he uses it. Whether that be a tavern, an ally, or a knife … or even an enemy. His years in the human lands may have given him some ideals and edges that other elves don’t posess, but that cerainly doesn’t mean he can’t play the game of elven politics. On the surface he is the perfect bartender, with an easy manner, a welcoming ear and a talent for smalltalk, it’s only once he gets down to business that you see the unyeilding steel beneath, and you realise that this is a man who will do whatever it takes.
I have also in noticing a dire lack of Warcraft themed boards set up a selection of Group Boards to collate the best of the best for the races and funnies of Azeroth, for each race and some general ones to collect things that are not strictly related to my character, and other boards for ideas for locations and scenes and stories down the line. All in all it can be an incredibly useful tool, even for roleplayers!
If you would like to join and collaborate on any of them or all of them send me an email or leave me a comment and I will add you as soon as I can!