Character creation

megumi014

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Hello everyone, I could really use some help around the process of creating characters, especially their personalities.

When I'm creating a game/book I focus on the ideas I want to convey, the themes, and the motivation of the characters to make the narration advance, but I always end up with a generic main character with no personality and bland dialogue options.

How do you handle the task of creating interesting characters, especially main characters? Do you first imagine them physically or do you give them some backstory? I have tried both things but they don't really help me to shape full fledged personalities.
 

sura_tc

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One of easiers way to create a character is by using D&D's alignment system.

Choose which alignment s/he is going to be and use the alignment to shape one's character and background.

A far more detailed D&D's alignments can be found here.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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If you're talking about developing/creating a character in order to provide story elements/backstory, then I have advice:

What makes them vulnerable? Is that vulnerability physical or emotional? What makes them sad, embarrassed, scared? What do they regret? What minor or major trespasses have they undertaken in life? Answer these questions to make the character meaningful.

Also, creating a character should be done in a way that reveals them so the player gets to know them over the course of the story. If the player only knows the character at the end of the story, that can be counterproductive to getting the player to care about the character.

Try interviewing the character. What did they want when they were a child? What's the most painful thing a friend could say about them? What were their parents known for? What's the place they've always wanted to go? And why? What would make them happier? What do they do/think when they are alone? What makes them angry? Who are they in love with? What have they never seen that they would like to see? If they could change something about their past, what would it be? What makes them sad? What is there earliest memory?

When a character is speaking, determine their motivation. What are they attempting to achieve with monologue or dialogue? What is the intention behind the speech? This should all flow out of the character's confrontation of an obstacle. Strong, textured speech is propelled by something to overcome. Show who they are and what they want, not only by their speech, but how they speak. Also consider who they are talking to.

Try to put the character into action - doing, struggling, moving, persuading, behaving. Think about human psychology and verisimilitude. How often do you move across a room, or go out, without intention? Let them have multiple sensory perceptions. Maybe they are having a conversation, but also focused on birds chirping outside the window.

Find something for people to love about the character, but add something to hate about them as well. Let your characters sin.
 

TheoAllen

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I have a quite strange approach. I have some faceset graphics resources with emotions. And I use the faceset to shape the character personality even though the faceset is just a placeholder and does not reflect how the actual character looks, but the point is using the emotion itself if it fits well with the dialogue. And while writing dialogue, I see if the face emote blend well with the dialogue I'm making. Later, I know how to shape personality of my character
 

Failivrin

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Dont think of the story as something happening to your character--think of your character as something happening to the story. In other words your character should initiate the cylce of fate instead of being pushed around by events.

EXAMPLE
1. Think of your character's best and worst traits. Aladdin is a romantic, but also a thief.

2. Based on these traits, your character makes a well intentioned mistake. Aladdin lies about his wealth in order to court the princess.

3. Your character tries making more mistakes to correct the consequences of the first mistake. Aladdin uses up his wishes, but his situation only gets worse.

4. To resolve the conflict, your character is forced to abandon their bad trait and become a better person. Aladdin tells the princess the truth and sets the djinni free.

Note I did not mention the villain, because at its heart Aladdin is not a story of good versus evil. The villain is simply a foil for Aladdin: he has the same negative traits but no positive traits, and he wields the same power through the djinni. He shows us what Aladdin will be like if he does not change his ways, so Aladdin cannot defeat him until he is ready to be master of his own life. Once you've got an idea for your hero's mistakes, creating a villain like this becomes easy!
 
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Soul Tech

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what I am going to say is something that I think particularly, but it does not come from any web, I say it as a personal experience. I do not know if it's a trick of writers or actress ... but when I create a character and I must write a conversation or a dialogue, I tend to put myself in the role of the character ... I try to emulate in my head what the character is feeling at that moment, I try to direct the cutscenes of the rpg maker as both director and actor at the same time ... I do not know if I explain or is directly related to the creation of a character, it's something I came up with and do often .
 

Wavelength

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@HumanNinjaToo gave some excellent advice.

One thing I like to do that hasn't been brought up yet is to inspire my RPG characters based on interesting people that I know, or combinations of their traits. That's a great start for developing interesting and likable personalities - with that, you can figure out what kind of situations your game will present to this character, and what other people they will be close to. Ask yourself how that character will react to these situations (the big, dramatic ones - as well as the smaller, lighter moments), and relate to these people, and you have most of what you need to really develop a good character. (Don't forget to get a clear grasp of the character's motives, which come from a combination of their personality and their circumstances.)

From there, it's worth figuring out a way for your character and their actions to affect or even create the narrative. @Failivrin said this well - "don't think of the story as something that happens to the characters". Bad narratives are told when the characters do things because the game tells them to do those things. Good narratives are told when the characters do things because the game engineers believable situations where they need to do those things. But great narratives are only told when the characters do those things precisely because of the characters they are. The player could imagine different characters doing different things, but these characters were clearly going to drive the story in this way every time!
 

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