Advanced Character Development
To say that all characters (and for that matter, all people) are good or evil would be an oversimplification. Firstly, evil characters usually do not consider themselves to be "evil," and may actually consider themselves to be "good." These characters may believe something is "right" and defend it in a fanatical way. She may appear "evil" by opponents, who she conversely perceives as misguided or "evil." Her actions may be caused by insanity, by her foul temper, or by her belief that the ends justify the means. Alternatively, a character with "evil" or selfish motivations may perform so charismatic-ally that others believe she is "good." There are many shades of grey and dark grey in every personality, and it is important to remember that your character’s motivations are key to creating a believable persona.
Character consistency is one of the hallmarks of great role-playing. Here are some tips to consider when playing your character:
- Stay in character as much as possible. The more you get out of your character, the harder it will be to get the right mood back into the game. Now, this may not seem harmful, but ruining a mood can ruin a role-play. For more information, see the section on out-of-character traps.
- Events from the game will influence a character’s demeanor, attitude, and in some cases, its personality. Even heroes can be affected by the tragic death of a loved one. Make sure that these influences are reflected in (minor) changes in your character.
- Never change your character drastically. This will confuse other players, and while it might seem fun at first, it will upset the other players, and eventually the game.
- Once you’ve made a decision as your character, stick with it, and live with the consequences. As long as you’re role-playing, it could prove for some interesting twists in your character’s life. In a role-playing game, reversing a decision usually harms the game.
One of the greatest challenges for all role-players is maintaining a healthy level of separation from your character. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You are not your character. If a character attacks or insults your character, don’t take it as a personal attack. It’s fine if your character reacts, but don’t start taking things personal.
- It is easy to base your first character in a game on your own personality. Most new role-players do it, but experienced role-players fall into the trap as well. Make sure that, if you do this, it’s just a small base, because the more of yourself you pour into a character, the easier it is to feel any attack on that character as a personal insult.
- Remember that it’s only a role-playing game. You can stop playing any time you want, for as long as you want.