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Before You Get Started:
Before you begin to create the bio for your RPG character there are a few things that you should keep in mind about your game world:
- Take the time to read up on your game world and the rules, settings, and social structure of the game to avoid creating characters that are out of range or date of the game world. For example, if you are playing a medieval fantasy game then having a character who is a gun toting cowboy is probably not going to work.
You can choose to play a similar character across all of your games by simply tweaking world related details. For example: If you play a vampire on the rampage after seeing your beloved hunted and killed by a slayer in a vampire based game; however this background may not work as well for a samurai game. If you simply change the details to make you a ronin out to avenge the death of your beloved then it keeps the same dynamic and motivation to your character but makes him/her relevant to the game world.
- Does the GM (Game Master) of the game require a specific format for your characters bio? This is an important bit of information because if you create your character and submit it with the wrong format it may get rejected. Some RPG'S have an open format that give you complete control over your character where as others want to see very specific things so be sure to check out your games information on character creation.
- Do your research and base your character off of your own knowledge set. For example, if you are writing a character that is a master swordsman, but you do not know a katana from a butter knife then you come to find yourself in quite a pickle if someone challenges you to a duel and you have no idea how to use a weapon. Read up on what you do not already know to learn that knowledge that you wat your character to have so that your actions and dialogue will be realistic to your character.
- You may also want to make sure that you are familiar with some common character elements and terminology.
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One More Thing to Consider
One other thing to consider before you get started on your character for an RPG or PBBG is to add elements or twists to your character that not only allows them to be unique but that will give you a chance to grow as you play the game. If you try to start off already mastering every weapon or skill out there and attempting to be so powerful that no one can challenge you then you cut off your characters ability to be active and grow within the game, not to mention you run the risk of god-modding (playing as an untouchable character) and alienating other players who see no point in interacting with a character that has no potential to grow.
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Creating Your Profile:
Obviously, one of your first steps is to create a name for your RPG character. Choose one that works well for your game world but is original. If someone is already playing with the name John Smith, creating a character that is John_Smith could be confusing for a lot of people. Also using a name like 'I'm Bored' is a good way to make sure that you stay bored because very few people will take your seriously and will probably use you for target practice.
If you need help finding a name then try using some of the baby name sites out there. They can be a great resource for finding a good RPG character name. Also, there are a few automatic name generators that can help you choose an RPG character name appropriate for the genre in which you are playing. Here are a few good ones to try:
A Note About Gender:
While some players do, from time to time, play a character of the opposite gender, when creating original characters this is often rather taboo among many in the RPG world. Due to the high levels of interaction, particular with RPG's that include social elements such as unions/marriages, most players will not react favorably if they learn that you are not the gender that you claim to be. And, since playing as your own gender gives your character a more personal depth it often keeps your actions more true to the nature of your character so it is best to always play as your real gender.
Age and Date of Birth:
Often you will want to just use the age of your character and not a date of birth unless it fits well into the game world and the aging process would not create a problem. For example, if you are playing a vampire you may want to have an actual year of birth where as if you are creating a character with an average lifespan you may simply wish to state a given age.
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More Profile Specifics
This not only gives you a visual image to match up with the character but it could also play an important role in combat scenes, etc. For example, if your character is over 6ft tall this would play out differently than a character battling a dwarf. Also, if you use a graphic or avatar for your character, these descriptions should match up as closely as possible. If you give your character black hair, then use an avatar that does in fact have black hair.
This is the point where your story telling abilities come in handy. Your background is what gives you, and everyone else, the most insight into your character. Where were you born? What was your childhood like? What are the significant events in your life? What skills have you learned? What bad habits have you picked up over the years? Basically think of this as if you were writing a biography of a real person for a magazine, what sort of things do you think would be important?
Current Status & Motivation:
This is a key to your character's behavior as well, you need to know what the key factor is that has brought you to this world or this point in time and what is currently motivating your RPG character. Are you looking for fame and fortune, setting out to save your planet, or searching for purpose in life? Your current status and motivation will play a big role in how you behave during game play and what roles you will pursue.
Lastly, be sure to add any information relevant to the specific RPG. Are you a vampire? Then when did you turn and who was your sire? Are you a knight? What motivated you to become a knight and who trained you as a page?
While you may have trim the fat from your actual profile when you post it on a game site due to size limitations, the more detail that you have about your RPG character the easier it will be to play them in a realistic fashion.