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How to create a better character

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  • Sapphire

Greetings! I'm making this guide because I've seen many questions regarding roleplaying and how to get one established. Since I've been doing this for about 24 years now, I wanted to share my steps for character creation.

Step 1: The Concept

Before you start to flesh out your character, decide what the concept for your character will be. This is the overall, general theme your character follows. All characters follow a theme, but then have subtle little nuances that flesh the character out and make them more unique.

A concept could be anything from a military veteran, to a stranded fisherman, to a college student. It serves as a good starting point to develop into an interesting character.

Step 2: The Background

Now, it's time to flesh out your character's background. You don't need to get too detailed here, but it's good to know the basics. Here are some basic questions you can answer to help flesh out the character:

  • Where did the character grow up?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • What were their parents like?
  • What sort of hobbies did they enjoy before the outbreak?
  • If they're not natives, how did they end up in Chernarus?

You can be a lot more detailed if you want, but it's good to at least develop a background and then use that to imagine how your character's life may have played out, and what influence that had on their personality.

Step 3: The Personality

Once you figure out your overall concept and the character's background, your next step should be to flesh out the character's personality. The background comes in handy here, because you can sort of determine what type of person your character has become as a result of their upbringing, past jobs, experiences, etc. The personality of your character is also important because it should be used like a lens through which to view the game world. Try to react to things as you think your character would, and try to consider things as they might. Some questions you can ask yourself to help determine your character's personality are:

  • What are their religious and political affiliations?
  • Favorite food? Drink? TV Show?
  • How do they handle pressure?
  • Are they a selfish, greedy person, or altruistic and caring?
  • Are they a leader, or a follower?

Some of those questions may seem menial or irrelevant, but as I mentioned, considering those things help you flesh out an image of the character in your mind.

Step 4: Skills

What is your character good at? Remember that any skills your character has should be related to their background. A character that spent their entire life repairing computers, for example, probably wouldn't be an expert helicopter pilot. Likewise, a career soldier probably wouldn't have much medical training beyond basic first aid unless they were a combat medic.

It's also important when considering skills to consider what your character might be bad at, and play that accordingly. If your character never handled a gun before the outbreak, it doesn't make much sense to play them as an expert marksman. If your character has never done any sewing, they might not know how to use a sewing kit even if, in game, everyone can. This may require you to "accidentally" fudge things (poor driving, intentionally pulling shots, etc) in order to remain in line with your character's abilities.

Step 5: Flaws

Nobody is without flaw, so when creating your character, it's a good idea to consider what flaws they might possess. Here are some helpful questions for fleshing out flaws:

  • Does your character have any phobias that might hinder them?
  • Is your character addicted to any drugs? Are those available here in Chernarus, or will your character end up going through withdrawal?
  • Does your character suffer from a past injury or health problem that limits mobility or hinders the use of guns or tools?
  • Does your character have some psychological disorder, such as OCD, which causes them to act strangely? (Careful not to cross the line into trolling/badRP with that one.)
  • Does your character have any allergies that might limit what they can eat, drink, or wear?

Flaws can help to enrich a character, making them fun to play and presenting some unique challenges that help make the game more enjoyable. You can even work real-life problems into the flaws of your character. For example, if you're really bad at the first-person aspect of the game, that can be represented by a character that has poor eyesight, or whose hand tremble and make aiming difficult.

Anyway, I hope this short guide helps some of you that might be struggling with ideas. Have fun, and enjoy DayZRP to its fullest!

Most importantly, remember that we're all part of the same community, we're all on the same team, and we're all working together to make this a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone here!

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Hopefully this will help those who are new to RP and make them think a little more about their characters. The more people know about their characters, the better the RP will be. I'm all for better RP! Nice guide.

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I think the flaws/quirks part cannot be understated. Flaws make people interesting and is probably the most important part of a believable and fun character.

Great guide!

Yeah, I agree with this. I try to think of different qualities and quirks that I see in other people I know and try to make a kind of hybrid between them.

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I actually used this to give my character some more personality and a few weaknesses. Next time I make a new character I will use this step for step and write it down on a text document.

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Really awesome thread!

It's always nice to see supportive ideas for RP and character building. The most important part of roleplaying, and in my opinion the most fun, is developing a character and their persona.

It makes you think, it makes you really dive into the "believability" of the character that you're playing. Like acting on stage in a play, the more you consider these kinds of questions about your character the more you'll be able to get a feel for how they would interact.

kudos Lucia!

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  • MVP

Seems like a bit of a copy and paste from Rifleman's guide, with a tad of editing. Not accusing you of copying but.....damn. They look similar.

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  • MVP

Seems like a bit of a copy and paste from Rifleman's guide, with a tad of editing. Not accusing you of copying but.....damn. They look similar.

Bizarre if so. I literally wrote it from scratch.

Ok. Well you know what they say, great minds think alike.

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  • Sapphire

I think there should also be a point in this thread talking about researching for your character. I've seen a lot of people recently that try to make a 'crazy' character and it just doesn't make sense. The Inmates do a wonderful job at this as I'm sure they actually researched for their development. This is a really good read, I'll be using it when I sit down and actually write everything down on paper tonight.

Some people just say "Oh my character has DID (Dissociative identity disorder)" for no logical explanation other than they think it's cool. I've actually been researching it a lot lately, and in most cases it's a form of coping from PTSD, but only %1 of the worlds entire population suffers from DID.

And in the instances of people who suffer from PTSD and actually develop DID, the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation states that the prevalence of DID in PTSD patients, only between 1 and 3% in the general population, and between 1 and 5% in inpatient groups in Europe and North America suffer from actual dissociation identity disorder. It's also diagnosed more frequently in North America than in the rest of the world, and is diagnosed three to nine times more often in females than in males.

I've been writing my character for some time now and still I am developing him, but despite the amount of ludicrous 'insane' characters, I am still choosing to follow the tune of a mental disorder, he's not insane, just simply a way of coping with loss. Others think I am one of the few who manage to pull it off well, and I hope that's true.

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  • MVP

Flaws is the biggie for me. I find people so much more believable when they have a flaw or two. Humans aren't perfect after all

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  • Sapphire

I think there should also be a point in this thread talking about researching for your character. I've seen a lot of people recently that try to make a 'crazy' character and it just doesn't make sense.

Agreed. People seem to think in terms of the old classic Hollywood crazy person that runs around yelling "Woohoo! Woohoo!" acting like Daffy Duck. While people that are insane sometimes do act out in public, such as taking their clothes off and trashing a convenience store, that sort of behavior is more often attributed to people that are high on drugs and literally disconnected from reality on a mental level.

Real mental disorders run a huge spectrum, and can be as minor as a simple personality flaw.

My own character has some minor quirks. She has an anxiety disorder that manifests as a subconscious fear of making long-term plans, because she starts thinking about all of the little things that could happen between now and then that could throw the plans off. It goes so far back that she's learned to cope by taking everything in stride, even huge disasters. As a result, she takes this whole outbreak in stride, simply taking things as they are and living day-by-day, but if you ask her what her long-term goals are, she'll flat out tell you she doesn't have any, because she has a deeply-rooted fear of committing to any long-term goal. It's a miracle she was able to run a small business in Chernarus for two years before the outbreak happened.

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  • MVP

Absolutely awesome. Very informative for all kinds of people, from the inexperienced to the veterans.

Good work, Lucia. I love it.

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This helps me a lot, I thought about the character i wanted to be but after reading this, I am thinking more in depth of who i want to be, things such as flaws and phobias, maybe creating a story of trauma i went through as a child that makes me act that way now. Thank you for the help.

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I've recently reviewed my character in light of personal flaws and how they effect him. I found out, they're almost non-existent.

Slowly, through the course of a week, he's gained a horrible fear of the undead, as well as a fear of uncovered skin. This was all developed in character of course (multiple near death experiences with bad infections leading to the fear of the undead and getting any sort of a cut or scratch).

This guide was very helpful in that regard. I feel everyone could use a character flaw evaluation.

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