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Author Topic: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!  (Read 17296 times)

Ritu

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▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« on: October 28, 2020, 04:30:15 pm »
Roleplay Character Creation Tips
- by Ritulienka and Winterhawk   


Hi hi!
This post contains basic tips for making lifelike characters. Creating a gorgeous character is very easy! As long as you aim for them being a person rather than a superficial idol, you're going to have a smooth time.

Everybody's creation flow is different - so don't mind the chapter numbers, do it whichever way you like!



Chapters of this article:
1. Class & Build
2. Alignments
3. Personality
4. Origins & Story
5. QnA
_________


Couple of facts about the game world:
- Up until recently, slavery was normal in Netheril and many still dislike races other than humans.

- In Conch, power means everything. Each district’s ruling party got there by being too powerful for the other parties in the district to overthrow and hold their position long-term.

- Remember to think, both about your survival and the survival of your teammates. Unless your character has 8WIS and 8INT (or less), it's unlikely that you'd only hold ‘W’ and swing a sword around without thinking of how to improve your odds.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 07:56:21 am by Ritu »
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Re: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 04:35:18 pm »
1. Class & Build

Useful Links:
General Level Progression Table
Class List
Races and Racial Bonuses
Netheril's Subraces
Netheril's Various Mechanical Changes

The chosen class and build depends on the playstyle you feel like playing, or trying out. Netheril server goes up to level 20, with application-only progress to level 30 (which has a higher perma death risk).

Purely for the fun of it, I’d advise you to make your own build rather than to copy one. Besides, the prefab builds usually work with Prestige Classes a lot, which are RP-locked in Netheril.
As your character might be around for months, it's important you pick a style you feel good about playing or trying out. Certain classes have a bigger impact on the character's roleplay than others, and creating a build in advance might help you have a more enjoyable experience in terms of survivability and also give you an idea of the character's future progress.

Quote from:  Example
Is your character heading towards having archery feats and weapon specialisation? Why not organise hangout trainings for other PCs and be an instructor?


Abilities and Character

The feats, skills and abilities can speak of your character just as much as their personality and alignment does.
How much of survivability do you wish to sacrifice to the character's origins and story is purely up to you. The healthiest option for the start is to find a balance of the both.
In case your character has an ability of a score 9 and lower, you could consider showing it in the form of a weakness.

Quote from:  Example
A character with 6 strength is physically weak, so you might decide that they shouldn't be able to mine and do blacksmith work. It might have to do with their lifestyle, with an event from their past, or an illness that causes their muscles to weaken...


Race Choice

While simply being an adventurer is an oddity among any, there's certain philosophies, views, mannerisms and more which may come with each race and subrace. Below is a short summary of main info about each basic race in Neverwinter Nights.

(Unwrap the spoiler to read more.)
Spoiler
Human
  People as you know them. Humans are native to Toril, with no common myth of how they came into existence. Despite coming into the limelight far later than some other races, they were quick to spread and find a firm place in the world. In Netheril, they are the most privileged and ruling race, with their magic quickly developing and driving the Empire's society forward. Generally, humans are considered ready for most responsibilities by the age of 16 and adult since 18.

Elf   (Tel'Quessir)
   Long-lived race. Generally elves age as follows: Adult (110+), Mature (180+), Old (270+), Venerable (350+).
Elves slip into a trance-meditative state called "reverie" instead of sleeping, and they rest for only 4-5 hours. Unless an elf strays away from their traditional good ways and gods, their soul reincarnates after death. They can experience visions of their past life while they're young.
   The elves arrived from out of this world, far before most other races arrived. They fought the old dragons, and later have divided among themselves in wars. After Lolth's betrayal among gods, the dark elves were banished into the Underdark and called drow - dhaerrow=traitor. Later as the world populated with humans and other races, the elves performed a magic rite for their gods to create a refuge isle for all elvenkin, Evermeet, where their culture and sciences safely bloom.
Elven lands close to Netheril Empire are Illefarn and Eaerlann. The elven city ingame is called Nualla'n.

Dwarf
   Sometimes called the Stout Folk, the dwarves value tradition, loyalty, family and craftsmanship. Generally, dwarves age as follows: Adult (50+), Mature (125+), Elder (188+), Venerable (250+).
A beard was often displayed as a symbol of social status; groomed, braided and decorated in various ways. Both women and men grew facial hair.
Dwarves value their clan and elders highly, living in a culture based on respect and wisdom. The ancient heroes and clan founders were often prayed to for guidance as paragons. The dwarven gods were highly revered as well.
Legend says, that the dwarven folk was carved from stone by their ancestral gods, given life by Moradin and his hammer in the Soulforge. As for Duergar, their origin comes from the Shield Dwarf clan who's been enslaved by the illithids, distancing from their kin more each generation due to the mindflayers' psionics and treatment.

Gnome
   Gnomes are a hardy race with an eccentric sense of humor, and a knack for inventions and magic. Generally, gnomes age as follows: Adult (30+), Mature (90+), Elder (130+), Venerable (180+). The numbers are higher for the rock gnomes by 10-20 years more.
Innately intelligent and curious, they faced challenges with cunning and creativity of their own.
According to a legend, gnomes were created from gems hidden deep under a Netherese mountain, enslaved by kobolds. Garl Glittergold, a gnomish deity, then collapsed the mountain to save the first gnomish souls, creating the Hidden Lake in the process. Garl then continued in bringing those special gems alive, breathing life into them with a joke to inspire the craftiness and mischief. Gnomes born of diamonds became rock gnomes, those of emeralds became forest gnomes and those of rubies became deep gnomes.
Gnomes had an affinity with Feywild just like elves, and similarly keen senses and longevity. They love celebrations, indulgence and art, though most stay in common professions to avoid major attention. Likely the only race the gnomes tended to trust are dwarves, due to similarities in culture and values.

Halfling   (Hin)
   Halfling is actually a slur, the proper name is "Hin". They get along fairly well with other races, especially those who are traders, nomadic caravaners or performers. Generally, halflings age as follows: Adult (20+), Mature (50+), Elder (75+), Venerable (100+).
Many hins like to collect valuables and interesting trinkets. They are by nature curious, courageous, and more friendly in interaction with other races, remaining open and joyful. Enjoying the simple joys of community life, very few aspire to heroism and greatness and rather spend time with their friends and family. They love festivities, and seeing the extended family is always a great joy to celebrate.
Very little is know of the race's origins, aside of the fact that they appeared around the same time as dwarves and giants.

Half-elf   (Cha'Tel'Quessir)
   Half-elves often feel alone when growing up. Maturing too fast for elves and too slowly for humans, they're not entirely fit for growing up in either society. Generally, half-elves age as follows: Adult (20+), Mature (60+), Elder (90+), Venerable (120+).
Half-elves usually adopt whichever culture they grew up in, however, they tend to stay open for sampling other cultures. Often with a distinct personality and very charismatic, they tend to work well in parties and groups, able to land in a leadership position as well a strong support one. Their elven heritage could display in the love of nature, music, and art. Social and curious, they might have plentiful connections in various places far and wide. They can be seen as "impure" by elves due to the human side of their heritage.

Half-orc
   Shunned in both human and orcish society, growing up has been a difficult trial for most half-orcs. Generally, half-orcs age as follows: Adult (18+), Mature (30+), Elder (45+), Venerable (60+).
They had the human adaptability and the hardiness of orcs, which makes them natural survivalists. However, their orcish blood brought impatience, love of physical joys like feasts or dancing, and a certain brashness. Just like half-elves, they had no common culture as they're a mix of two separate races.
Looked down upon mainly by elves and dwarves, but also other races, the half-orcs often found solace in the life of an adventurer which allowed them to roam and to be valued for their skill with less prejudice than usual.

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Ritu

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Re: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 04:38:06 pm »
2. Alignments

Alignment, even though chosen with the character creation, deserves a little more focus. Some of the alignments are taken in an entirely wrong way, and this chapter is to give perhaps another look at each of them while leaving you plenty of space for the character quirks and for who they are. Alignment choice is also an important part of the character‘s world view.
To make it shorter, the “you” in the descriptions stands for your character.


Let's start with the two ranges.
Good -> Evil  =  Determines whether the character is more keen to prioritise others, a small group, or themselves only.
Lawful -> Chaotic  =  Determines whether the character tends to follow the rules, make situational exceptions, or follow their own moral code regardless of the standards.


Complete Overview:
Below is a quick overview of all alignments as they are usually presented. Keep in mind that any alignment has a wide range of how can it end up showing due to a large variety of possible backgrounds and personalities.

(Unwrap the spoiler to see all the alignments described a little more.)
Spoiler
Lawful Good:
You do what you believe would benefit the world in the eyes of the system you follow, regardless of your own expense. You tend to be inflexible in your standing and hold others to the same standard as you hold for yourself.

Lawful Neutral:
You do what you believe would benefit what you chose to hold high in your life. Whether that is a city, deity, or a tradition. The given rules hold a high importance to you, but you don't feel that everybody should think and act the same as you do.

Lawful Evil:
You enjoy every way the order of the society can benefit you. Your aspirations, your organisation and the mutual goals take the priority. You do what you believe is right, but without more self-sacrifice than necessary. You usually act within what is acceptable and allowed, and might find ways to tread along the grey edge.

Neutral Good:
You do what you feel people need, because you see that it could be good for many. If the general rules lead to outcomes that benefit masses, you're fine with following them. Most times people and their wellbeing comes first to you, while staying within the socially acceptable confines.

True Neutral:
You choose what benefits you and what matters to you, in any situation. Standing between two overlapping systems, you usually march to your own drum. That doesn't mean you are distant - your personality traits get to shine the most in pure neutrality.

Neutral Evil:
The core of your life are your own wants, needs and ambitions, though you might not normally harm anyone on a whim unless given a valid reason. Law and Order to you might be a tool to push others, or a guideline as to what to abide by on the surface to get people on your side.

Chaotic Good:
You follow what's good for others by your own moral standards and preferences, without much care about the norm and the rules. You might try to bring change where you see it might be needed, however, your own view on it might be more important than whether the current system works fine or not.

Chaotic Neutral:
You believe in freedom and the equality of it for everyone. It is something you might want protect above anything else. Good and evil plays little role to you, what matters is the outcome and what feels natural in the moment.

Chaotic Evil:
What you think is correct, is correct. You might only care about yourself, disregarding anything that might stand in your way. Usually the most volatile, you might have a lack of self-control and no respect for anything but yourself.


Remember, many evil acts are performed in the belief they are good, or in a choice of lesser evil. And good acts might be performed to gain a future advantage to an evil person. And everything, everything has a consequence.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 10:44:54 am by Ritu »
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Re: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2020, 04:41:40 pm »
3. Personality

Picking a class, build and alignment has given you a canvas of a specific shape you now get to paint with any colors you want.
Important is - ignore the stereotypes! Character's personality traits can create a conflict with their alignment, they can feel unsure about the path and decisions that lead them to their chosen class, and much more! These bring a certain kind of depth to your character.

Quote from:  Example
Neutral Good paranoid cleric, who believes in helping people and loves doing it. However, he has a deeply rooted feeling that he is voluntarily being used and that anyone he's ever helped might come at him with a knife the next minute, bringing a shadow of worry over his face. His head and heart thus fight every day.

Quote from:  Example
Lawful Good paladin, rigorous and sadistic. The negative trait shines through in battles, heated conflicts, in the moments the party finally captures the 'bad guy', and in interrogations when the criminal doesn't cooperate and the paladin's patience runs out.


Two things that might really help a character‘s personality are skills and feats. However, these are often limited by being cross-class, difficult to skill up, and by the fact that many classes are feat-starved and have to put usefulness and survivability first instead of a fancy feat with little impact.

Quote from:  Example
Halfing fighter who grew up in a merchant family might have a high Persuade and Appraise skill. But, due to the system in game both are very limited and expensive to improve within the Fighter class.
Fortunately, thanks to being a Fighter, they have plenty of extra feats and can afford picking a origin-related feat on the 1st level. Having often helped their parent at their shop, the Silver Palm feat offers itself as a perfect piece of mosaic to signify that origin.



Personality - Basics
These are a series of questions and designed to explore you, the player, and the character you are coming up with.

Useful Links:
DISC personality profile
Languages of Love profile
MBTI personality profile
Pretty good Basic Trait List with opposites

1. What makes you want to play as this character?
    Is it to explore a playstyle? Leave your comfort zone? Have an easy time but with a new personality and in a new world?
2. How old are they?
    Age is a large factor in interactions and in character behaviour.
3. What motivates your character to grow and put in the effort?
    Leveling up is a tough job a character would be unlikely to do on a whim. Do they want more knowledge? Do they want to build something bigger than they are? Or are they entirely devoted to their work and faction? Why? What does it bring them? When has this desire first sparked?
4. What is their view of the world?
5. What are their strengths?

    Positive or virtuous character traits, and what they are good at.
6. What are their weaknesses?
    This could be anything. R had a character who’s been allergic to potions, and they had to roll 11+ on Fortitude to survive if they drank or have been forced to drink one. Playing a PC like that was fun with a risk of permadeath.
7. What are their character flaws?
    Make the flaws count. I’d recommend two for the start - one based on stats, the other being any impactful one.
8. What is your character good at doing?
    Their skills, hobbies, tasks from their past or current job.
9. What cannot your character grasp to learn to do?
10. What can they be excited about?
11. What do they fear?

    As a side note of advice, keep in mind Fear RP both with their fears and in critical RP situations that call for it.
Special word for paladins; the fear immunity would RP-wise only prevent from being paralysed by fear thanks to the strength of your will. Fear is a natural instinct and will be present. Aura of Courage feat shows mental training to hold oneself functional instead of crumbling under heavy stress.
12. Why would anyone spend time around your character?
    Exactly, why? What do they bring to the table? What pros outweigh their cons in the eyes of others?
13. List 4 likes and 4 dislikes.
    These can range from mild annoyances through unpleasant to straight out NO. Be specific. These are easy to link to their past and backstory.
14. List 5 specific little things about your character which haven’t been mentioned above.


Personality - Detail

In RP, it’s not only about the bulletpoints you choose your character to represent. Actions and thoughts determine a person, not who their distant relatives think they are. Many new traits will arise naturally or develop as the story continues. Therefore, for each of the traits on your list, write an example situation of when it displays. Be specific. This helps you to get a better hold of the new character you're creating even before the roleplay starts.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 10:03:49 am by Ritu »
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Re: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020, 04:44:15 pm »
4. Origins & Story
A series of questions to flesh out your character’s profile and their past. It would be awkward to not have anything to talk about during an evening of reminiscing about the past with the other party members.


    1. When were they born? Do you decide to have an astrological sign impact them?
    2. Where did they grow up?
    3. What was the situation there? How did it shape them?
    4. What is/was their family like? Or did they have a guardian/s?
    5. What was their childhood and youth like?
    6. Why have they chosen the path of {their class/multiclass}? Was it a choice or were they brought up into it? How does it influence their day-to-day life?
    7. For PCs with a Familiar/A.Companion - How did you meet? How did you bond?
    8. What brings them to the developing North of the Netheril Empire? Why Conch?


Write down all of these into your character's file.


And with this said, we're wrapping up. You've worked through the basics, or perhaps even beyond, of character creation, and have put together an actual person with many facets, joys and struggles.
I‘d very much like to thank Winterhawk for providing his thoughts, insight and suggestions to this tip article. We both believe it has helped you, the reader, especially if you're just starting out with the whole concept of RP - like everybody did at some point in time. Thanks also go to ElvenStarr and Fiverine for helping to polish this article and smooth down the rough parts.

Take care, and have fun!
- Ritu & Hawk
« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 10:46:04 am by Ritu »
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Re: ▶ Tips: Lifelike Character Creation!
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 04:52:48 pm »
5. QnA


1. My character is perfect and it doesn't need anyone else.
With this approach you miss out on character development, which is the best part of any RP. You never know what's coming, and all of it being imaginary opens up a path of wonder if you allow it.


2. I made an evil character, what now?
Keep in mind that evil = focused solely on their own gain. Why wouldn't they be nicer to certain people? If your character enjoys their company, or they are a survival tool, or a cloak against suspicions while you secretly work for a demon lord - it makes perfect sense!
An evil character would do good if it'd bring them closer to their goals or would be worth the hassle.
Take a cold mercenary as an example - Whether you pay them to protect the school trip or slaughter the school trip, they're getting paid so they do it.


3. Why are Paladins only Lawful Good even if they'd serve a neutral deity?
It's in their oath and belief. Paladins believe that what they do and have sworn to do for the world is Good, and they follow their oath and/or their patron's dogma, which is Order (Lawful). If you'd feel like it's too constraining, a multiclass of Cleric/Fighter could be an alternative way to go.


4. How about a Monk-Druid multiclass?
Monks usually follow a strict code or a path, while druids follow the course of nature, its changes and generally focus on maintaining the balance with a greater picture in mind. While a druid can be Lawful Neutral, it would mean they are even more faithful to the druidic tradition they follow, thus not even considering mixing in an entirely different life approach of monks.


5. My character is a victim by profession etc.
This might be a starting point, but will likely change as your character grows more sure about their skillset, and as a person.
e.g.: A wizard who can open Gate rifts and wipe out villages with Horrid Wiltings is clearly someone who has endured a tough training of their mind to the point of being capable of concentrating on difficult spells in the stressful environment of an open battle - which influences how they behave to a certain extent.


6. I want my character to be a paragon of kindness or whatever ideal-thing else.
Amazing! Make an ingame story out of it and involve other PCs. A level 2 character has a long way ahead of them, after all.
Following the example - If your character desires to nurture the kindness within them - they could become a part of the Selunite order, donate to building of a chapel with an infirmary, sponsor a shelter… Anything can go. Consult a DM with your ideas.
Stuff like this is always welcome on the server. We had a charity house and two soup kitchens built in the past, and countless other projects have seen the light of the day as well.


7. My past character has been the best one and I won't have such a good one ever again!
Each character can have something about them, every single one can develop in unexpected ways and bring out the living magic the RP is. Give it a chance!

« Last Edit: November 09, 2020, 10:54:07 am by Ritu »
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