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Established February 2010
by Jamie, Gina & Bowie.

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Character Creation: from concept to application

xx Character Creation: from concept to application
Feb 26, 12, 06:56:59 PM by Jamie

Character Creation truly takes part in two major steps; conception and application.

During conception you consider the overall idea of your character. There is a lot to consider when conceptualizing a character from scratch and under this section we have created three umbrella categories as types of character conceptualization that we typically see; character driven, plot driven, or adoptions.

During the application phase you work your character concept into an application form. This phase also covers any revisions necessary that are identified by the review team.


There are 3 levels to character conception.

1. Character Driven - where a writer determines a type of character they want to write. Out of the blue I decide that I want to write a circus troupe! What happens next? With most writers they jump directly into creating a character to fit into the circus without fitting the circus into the mold of our AU world. Worse than that they have not identified how the circus subplot could interact with other plots or what the importance of their plot is to the board.

How to address Character Driven conceptions:
  • Writing and concepts cannot exist in a vacuum. The concept of an RPG is the interactive and integrated writing that occurs from collective plotting and conceptualizing. You need to always be aware of the surroundings that you're placing the character into and how, outside of the singular plot, they will be able to interact with others around them. On a larger scale you need to consider the interaction of the plot arc you've created with others around it too. If you find yourself stuck on a character concept that you want to write but cannot figure out how to integrate it you can always reach out to other writers and ask for help. We've all been there and an extra set of eyes might help you nail the plot (and maybe gain interest in it!).
Pitfalls to be mindful of with Character Driven conceptions:
  • Outside of the defined plot how will your character remain active and provide depth to the Territory and other plots around it.
  • Consider ways to entice other writers to play in your plot and interact with your character. Often by wrapping your character in a larger concept and offering generalized roles to support the plot and character you can gain more interest and plot. If you include specialized concepts with little room for development it is unlikely that you will find a writer interested in adopting the role or joining the plot. There is a fine balance with wanted ads to be achieved; a balance between a too vague concept to be adopted or a too specialized one where there is no room for creative license.

2. Plot Driven - where a writer determines a hole in a plot to fill with a character. This type of character is not usually defined by the plot leader but their role might have been created (Master of the Guard, Villain, etc). Most writers see a role and seek to fill it with a one off character they create on the spot without fully understanding the full implication of their character in the plot. Just because the character is filling a plot hole or plot need does not always mean that the plots available will be obvious to the writer. These types of characters are often retired after one or more associated characters vanish or become inactive. The plots are usually one dimensional.

How to address Plot Driven conceptions:
  • Always keep your mind and muse turned towards multidimensional plotting. Fulfilling just the single desired plot line will always back you into a corner with a character. The more subplots that you can develop for the character the longer they'll last even if the intended plot dissolves.
  • When fulfilling a role based adoption build multidimensional plot hooks into the character that gives them other avenues to progress with plot.
Pitfalls to be mindful of with Plot Driven conceptions:
  •   One dimensional plotting.
  •   If the request is too vague it is easy to plot a character that does not actually meet the requirements of the plot they're being involved in. It is always key to understand the dynamics of a plot before you begin conceptualizing; sometimes those dynamics can have averse (or beneficial) reactions to plotting.

3. Adoptions - where a writer adopts a specifically defined or named character from an established plot. These are very popular at Blood Rites and often do very well but there is a huge concern that when one of these characters is improperly adopted, abandoned or marked inactive it can have a negative affect on the plot progress.

How to address Adoption conceptions:
  • It is key to understand the plot and adoption requirements to a high degree before conceptualizing one of these characters. Often times there are nuances involved in these characters that may not just be known from the Wanted Ad (consider the Devlin siblings who have been NPC'd in several threads, those are key concerns).
  • Make sure that any subplots you create involving the character gels with the overall plot and other writers involved; it is key to make these characters multidimensional but the progress to do so is more convoluted since these are adoption requests.

Pitfalls to be mindful of with Adoption conceptions:

  • If the specifics required of the character do not mesh with your muse or your ability to write the character you should consider abandoning the request or coordinating with the other writer to get the request to a point where you can comfortably write it.
  • Though you are at the mercy of another player's wanted ad you still have control of this character so do not feel trapped by their request either.

The application is often times is an overwhelming and lengthy process. While we do not expect to have the entire story of your character in one post we do expect to see the character represented well enough that we can understand motives and plot development for them.

Review Council's job is to assess the application and identify any potential issues in plot and to insure that the application matches the standards we expect from characters at Blood Rites (and yes, those standards are often high and are raised even further the darker the Jewel becomes or the more involved the application).

Key things to bare in mind on the application:
  • Avatar/Description: If there are any exceptions to the heritage of the character (eg. brunette Glacian or green eyed long lived) then you have to explain the reasons of the exception in the Description section and reflect it in History as well.
  • Age (long lived): If they have survived the Purge it should be a point in their History along with how they managed to survive it.
  • Does the character concept take into consideration any particulars pertaining to the Territory? (eg. Light Jewels in Glacia, Black Widows in Scelt, Dark Jewels in Chaillot, etc.)
  • Race: Are they a half breed? If so is it explained in their History and within the reason-ability of our plot?
  • Likes/Dislikes/Fears: Are there 3 each? Are they fleshed out with a minimum of 1 sentence? Do they balance each other out? Are they fluff or do they add value to the character?
  • Strengths/Weaknesses: If this section is filled out there should only be 2 or 0 of each and they should always match in count (eg. 0 strengths and 2 weaknesses is unbalanced)? Are the strengths/weaknesses balanced or is the character overpowered (eg. strength in shielding and fighting but weakness is hearth craft.. unbalanced.)?
Advanced application considerations:
  • With Dual Castes.. Does the character exhibit traits of both castes but also the combined traits of the castes? Does the concept of the character and the plot justify the need for a dual caste? Does the character read more heavily as one caste over the other without explanation?
  • With Dark Jewels.. Does the concept for the Dark Jewel mesh with the Territory they are from? Does the role of this character in society reflect the power of their Jewel (eg. Dark Jewels are more likely to be Court members than a street prostitute, etc.)?
Written by Jamie & White

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xx Re: Character Creation: from concept to application (Reply 1)
May 06, 12, 08:17:53 PM by West
This is FANTASTIC advice. I wish I had it when I was creating Devarin! I like the part "key things to keep in mindon the application".
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