A quick-check guide to successful character creation.

When you want to ask out of character questions, discuss plots, talk about roleplaying or simply present your character’s bio, this is the place to do so. Small OOC bits may be accepted in the roleplaying forums, but this is the place for the larger posts. Do keep the topics related to the roleplaying however, otherwise go to the General Discussion forum.

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Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind
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A quick-check guide to successful character creation.

Post by Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:19 pm

This is just a list I shamelessly stole from another site concerning common problems to fall into when creating a new character, and I thought it might be good to have it up somewhere for reference.
  • [*:2y9jtnfs]Your character does not have to be important to be interesting. What do I mean by that? Your character can be a sorcerer with a dark past, but they don't have to be the founder of the spell college of necromancy to be interesting. We are the background characters of the Forgotten Realms, the guys that are keeping the world turning. We are not Elminster. We are not Drizzt. We are not even the head librarian of Candlekeep. Let your personality attract people to your character, not their artificial importance. Are you a member of a well-known hunting band? Great! Are you the personal favourite of Lloth? Not so great.
    [/*:m:2y9jtnfs]
    [*:2y9jtnfs]Avoid bringing canon characters into your roleplay and backstory. Period. There are very few exceptions here. Minsc did not give you a black eye, Jaheera is not your sister, you did not beat Lord Nasher in a drinking contest, and you did not beat the Purple Dragon in an arm wrestling match. If you find yourself writing about how you interacted with a canon character when writing your backstory, stop writing it. Back up, think it over. Is it really that important? Will your character actually be lessened if you don't mention you had to flee from Szass Tam this one time? Almost certainly not. Avoid it.
    [/*:m:2y9jtnfs]
    [*:2y9jtnfs]Avoid falling into Unique Snowflake Syndrome. Again, let your personality speak for itself. Handle how unique you are by playing your character well. You don't need to be the chosen one who will save the world as foretold by the wise Alaundo. Really. You don't.
    [/*:m:2y9jtnfs]
    [*:2y9jtnfs]Don't assume control of other peoples' characters and stories without their permission. If you want to do something like that, the forum has a PM feature you can use to contact other people for permission. Ask nicely, and don't be offended if they don't want to roll with your idea.
    [/*:m:2y9jtnfs]
    [*:2y9jtnfs]Try to keep things PG-13. We're all adults here so we can handle some "dark" themes, but we really do not need to discuss rapes in detail or other things of that nature. Be reasonable.[/*:m:2y9jtnfs][/list:o:2y9jtnfs]
    Hope this is of use to y'all.
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Talwyn Aureliano
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Post by Talwyn Aureliano » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:00 am

That is a interesting list but I can't help but feel it is a bit restrictive, especially when it comes to point 2.

Sure it is worth noting that you shouldn't be name dropping every canon character from FR or any other fantasy milieu but at some point in a characters history, they may indeed run into such notables, especially if your character is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign world.

An example would be Elminster. Now everyone knows the fabled sage spends a lot of his time in Shadowdale as thats where his tower is. Since he is a VERY powerful character, it is highly unlikely that a low level PC who is starting out will have anything to do with him, let alone be on first term name basis. But this is where you could be creative. Your character, in their background story, could be the child of the person who is the gardener of the great sage. Now Elminster probably would hardly speak to someone whose job it is to mow the lawn and would probably barely notice some small kid roped in to weed the flower beds but the kid doing the weeding would know who his dad is working for and perhaps once, may have had a BRIEF encounter with the sage. When the kid finally trows up, leaves Shadowdale to become an adventuer, he can then legitimately claim to have been in the company of the sage but if both he and the sage ever where to come across each other in a camapaign or story setting, Elminster would most likely not recall immediately who that character is nor rush to their aid if they were in trouble as they had no special relationship.

The key here in background stories is keep it simple and "real" for want of a better term.

I'll use my on OC as an example.

Talwyn has been one of my principle OC's for nigh on 20 years now [christ that a long time :eek: ]. He started off as a P&P character in Tantras and the campaign we played saw him travel eastwards with a party of Tormites on a missionary/trade expidition to Kara-Tur. That period covered roughly 6 years of in game time and during that time, although he was still a lower level, he did meet [along with the rest of the party] va few important canon notables from the Far East campaign settings but didn't form any special relationship with them. Later he headed back west and went to Cormyr for about 2 years. I was now using Tal as my OC in a NWN persistent server and had some quite amazing adventures before I finally left the server. Again during that time, Tal was subject to what those DM's who ran the server threw up as encounters. They populated it with various peoples and some canon characters but mostly all interactions were with other players. In addition, the DM's on that server were fairly strict and would can anyone who ran around blathering that they were best mates with Qilue or any other major canon figure of FR. However, you could write an application to the DM's and ask permission to be involved or a part of special organisations like the Harpers, Red wizards, Shadow Thieves etc. If you gave a really good reason, backstory and had shown you were a good and respectful player, then they would probably approve your request. Otherwise you were not unquie or special, just another average adventuerer in the Realms.

I think the point I'm trying to make here is that as Ra'Sona has outlined, you can make your OC unique and special by what they do, not by who they "know".
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Post by veraka » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:12 am

[quote="Talwyn Aureliano":3hsn6wgk]
I'll use my on OC as an example.

Talwyn has been one of my principle OC's for nigh on 20 years now [christ that a long time :eek: ].[/quote:3hsn6wgk]

Shit Tal :eek: :uh-huh: you've been at this for as long as I've been alive, nearly; that's dedication on your part.
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Post by Talwyn Aureliano » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:07 am

Heh,

once you get bitten by the D&D bug, you are hooked ;)

Mind you, I'm still a youngster when compared to luminaires like Ed Greenwood who has been playing Elminster for over 40 years! Plus I know of folks who are coming upto their 3rd decade in their campaigns and some STILL HAVE THEIR ORIGINAL PC's :eek:

I started playing D&D [basic ed] back in 1982 and Talwyn came into being in 1991. I've got other OC's like Perspex the Opaque [a duel class fighter mage], Grofsnuttle Haynesia gnome thief/illustionist, Porki Thule dwarven fighter and so on but like Ed Greenwood, Talwyn is my main OC who I'm sticking with.
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Shir'le E. Illios
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Post by Shir'le E. Illios » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:38 am

Stickied.


[quote="Talwyn Aureliano":2ctzbszg]Sure it is worth noting that you shouldn't be name dropping every canon character from FR or any other fantasy milieu but at some point in a characters history, they may indeed run into such notables, especially if your character is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign world.[/quote:2ctzbszg]
I think the point is that putting a canon FR character in your character's background is making your character more important by proxy. Does it really matter to your character's background whether he/she was is the child of Elminster's gardener or the gardener of some random noble? (Does Elminster even [i:2ctzbszg]have[/i:2ctzbszg] a gardener?) I would even say that the second case gives you more room to enrich your character's background as the noble could be more involved in your character's story.

Of course, during active roleplaying with a DM it's a different matter. If you run into canon characters that way then that's completely fine. In that case it's because the DM decided that the canon character enriches the story. And if you've expanded your character's background that way then of course it's alright when you take that character across to another game (depending on the game I can see some need for mutual agreement, if just to filter out those coming from games where everyone is drinking buddies with every canon character in the Realms).

But when it comes to character [i:2ctzbszg]creation[/i:2ctzbszg] then I'd say try and keep canon characters out of it completely. After all, do you want to write your own legend or do you always want to be known as "Elminster's gardener's kid"? ;)


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Post by Talwyn Aureliano » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:16 am

Just a further chip in here...

I do believe Elmister has a gardener although I don't know what his name is. Hell...he may have an entire staff for all I know?

Anyway...I digress...

If a players wants to play devils advocate, they could play the whole 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon and say that "my characters uncles, friend, cousin, boss, auty, sister knew Elminster in passing and that's your connection."

Pedantic I know :p but there are folks out there [asspies most of 'em anyway] who will insist that their PC is special because they know [insert name here] etc.

[b:2tzh6sh6]The point is this: just because that character happened to be the son of Elmisters gardener, that in itself is not important to the character per se. In otherwords, the character exisists outside of their tenuous link to Elminster.[/b:2tzh6sh6]

[b:2tzh6sh6]It's one of those minor trival things that is in the characters background and nothing more![/b:2tzh6sh6]

[b:2tzh6sh6][u:2tzh6sh6]What is important is this: what has that character done so far in their career and what they are hoping to achieve in their lifetime? [/u:2tzh6sh6][/b:2tzh6sh6]

In other words, what is the story arc you see for your character?

Are you wanting them to become a realms shaking persona like Elminster or just settle down after hitting Lv 12 [or whatever] and drinking themselves to death? Or perhaps carving out a small baronry in an orc infested wilderness?

The possibilities are endless.

And it also depends on the camapign you PC is in. You may end up being hired by major canon figure X to go on the "world saving" quest etc but once you've done that, you're hardly likely to become best buddies with X are you? Sure you've saved the world but that was your job! You don't become best mates with the plumber because he's iunblocked your toilet now do you?

[b:2tzh6sh6]Also, completing the quest doesn't automatically make you the coolest person in the realms. [/b:2tzh6sh6]

In fact most average NPC's, if played properly by the DM, will not have heard of your character and wouldn't care much about them anyway.

So while you may wish to name drop realms celebrities in your characters bio, think carefully first as to whether or not it lends and credibility to your character. In most cases it won't.
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Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:40 pm

"Elminster! There is something you should know about us. I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former room-mate..." Whoops- just had a Spaceballs moment. Sorry, had to go there. :p :devil:
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Post by veraka » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:37 pm

Stang, Lothir, just how old are you? :lol:
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Post by Pheurazath » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:39 pm

This all reminds me of a wererat I played once. The only living heir to the throne of a Lord Vassal from a kingdom long since fallen and replaced. A bastard child, born from a serving maid who was also a wererat. When her nature was revealed by a visiting ranger, rather than face the scandal of having an illegitimate son from her, being discovered, he may have been forced to, to save face have her put to death, but his son was sent off to a Selune temple, to be trained there, and raised with goodness in his heart, despite the usual evil tendencies of most wererats, and deprived of the knowledge until adulthood, of his true origins.

For sake of avoiding having to be terribly specific though, the name of that Lord, and that kingdom, goes down into personal history without specific canon characters being mentioned. Perhaps a DM someday will decide where he came from.
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Shir'le E. Illios
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Post by Shir'le E. Illios » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:18 am

[quote="Talwyn Aureliano":297i94le][b:297i94le]It's one of those minor trival things that is in the characters background and nothing more![/b:297i94le][/quote:297i94le]
I agree with pretty much everything you said in that post, Tal, so we're probably arguing the same thing at this point. But in regards to the quoted bit I'd say, if it's such a minor, trivial thing in the character's background then why is it there in the first place? It seems to me that having a canon character in a character's background, however tenuous, seems to serve as nothing other than to make the background/character seem a bit more special.

I tend to see canon characters much like celebrities in real life. Think about how the average person in our world relates to celebrities as a yardstick for how a character should relate to canon NPCs. I don't think that should go any further then "I once saw Khelben 'Blackstaff' Arunsun at a festival in Waterdeep, from a long distance". Anything more would, it seems to me, be a fairly major event in the character's life and thus not be regaled to character creation background and instead be part of active roleplaying.

Of course circumstances can vary. If your character is a priestess of Eilistraee growing up in The Promenade then she likely had a fair number of encounters with Qilué Veladorn. But even then it'd be more like working for a big company and seeing the boss every now and again at company meetings.

That's my view anyway. :)


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Post by Talwyn Aureliano » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:16 pm

I'm not actually arguing with you Shir'le, far from it :)

The point you make that if the players character has/had only passing and often tenuous contect with a canon figure then it probably isn't worth mentioning.

Still, some players feel the need [for whatever reason] to include canon figures in their back story [shrug]

All we [you & I] can say [and agree on most definately] is that it's probably not worth it but, as I said earlier, if you are going to name drop in your back story, do it in passing and don't keep mentioning it IG.

It's better to encourage players to seek out these figures In Game for what ever reason. In fact you could have some amusing moments with canon figures being stalked by star struck groupie adventurers :p How would Elminster react to a low level party showing up and demanding an audience?
If I were DM and depending how pushy the players were being, would shape how the great sage would react. If they were beingrude in in his face like say papparatzi, do I hear a polymorph spell coming on? :devil:
If they are being respectful and polite, then he doesn't really have time for them aside from perhaps 30 seconds of his time and some pithy bit of sage wisdom before he teleports them to somewhere else to face some threat he needed some buttmonkeys like the party to deal with anyway :devil:
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Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:32 pm

Well, you know, since the whole "Six Degrees" thing was brought in, and many canon characters have had long and fruitful careers and have traveled a LOT, it's not uncommon for regular folk to have heard of or even encountered them somewhere. Look at Drizzt- a lot of people all up and down the Sword Coast and the Silver Marches have at least heard of him, and as much as he travels that region, he's met a lot of people. Nearly everyone recognizes him, just from his description alone, so it's not so hard to believe that some random PC might have done so in their past. It might be even more true with El, since he's been around a LOT longer. Same goes with Khelben and any of the Seven Sisters.

It could be true of just about any canon character, depending on the PC in question, and where they hail from and how the canon character is used in that background. I mean, if somebody's PC met Arilyn Moonblade because he was once a stableboy at an inn where she stayed and he groomed her horse, that PC might consider it an important event in their life because meeting her inspired him to become an adventurer! Like Tal said, it's all in how you bring them in.

BYW, Veraka, did you mean IRL, or my PC? :D
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Post by veraka » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:37 pm

oh I don't know; we've already a established the fact that your PC :P is prob older than I am :lol: , since I made it apparent everyone here. . . IRL?
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Post by Inriiaynrae Jaelre » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:21 am

since there people on both sides, id like to ask:

my character Inriiaynrae, i have her as related to Jezz Jaelre, thru a secret daughter.
now i havent been able to find much on him even tho he's a canon(?) character, so there was some areas i could take my own direction. i wanted some slight connection with someone, and still set my own path with her, a rebellious vhaeraunite interested in eilistraee.
she grows up not knowing he's 'grandad' and stuff, so its like she's not.

so would yall say its a bad idea or not?

im just curious and input would be appreacated as i am still working and fleshing her out. inrii was a random made character/class i'd never played and is becoming my favorite.

anyway...thoughts?
Main character: Inriiaynrae
Second Character: Ariali
Antagonist: Alya

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KairuTsuiseki
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Post by KairuTsuiseki » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:56 pm

wait is 5 really a rule or your pulling my leg?

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