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D&D 3E
personality! 
7th-Mar-2005 02:56 am
wicked handclasp
Does anyone here have any tips/tricks to fleshing out their PC's? I can come up with background, but, it seems like I always play my characters kind of the same. I want to give my new one a distinct personality. I can picture personality clearly in my mind, but, I just can't play it. I have characters with varied personalities, but, when I RP them, they all come across as having *my* personality.
Comments 
7th-Mar-2005 08:01 am (UTC)
I like to randomly (in my head) pull out fictional characters for inspiration for personality quirks and background suggestions.

Fore example: A wizard I made was based loosely on some things from Eric Foreman of That 70s Show.
7th-Mar-2005 08:12 am (UTC) - Ooh!
...

Now why didn't I think of that? It seems so obvious! Thanks, that will help a lot!
7th-Mar-2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
READ! Lol. Seriously. Read and think about what the book's characters are like, think about the personality. If you're not a fan of books, watch movies. Pull something away from a character that holds your intrest but DO NOT make the mistake of making another Raistlin, Gandalf, Frodo, etc. Pick something from one character and another thing from someone else and you'll have a character that's inspired by many things and won't feel like you're reading right out of LoTR or something. :)
7th-Mar-2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest carefully avoiding overplanning. In other words, it's a good idea to start off with some idea of your character's background but not try to map out everything about them. Instead, let your character grow organically by having it react to situations and other characters. The trick is to try to react in character, based on your character's biases and tendencies.

Sorry if this isn't all that clear but hope it helps.
7th-Mar-2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Give every character a short term goal and a long term dream.

Give every character a secret, something he's ashamed of.

Give every character a success, something he's proud of.

Give every character a personal weakness or fault. Give every character a personal strength.

Give every character 3-5 relationships to other characters -- some NPCs but a couple PCs.

Go through everything you wrote down above and ask "Why?" Answer that question over and over. When you get done, go through all the new stuff you wrote down and ask "Why?" again and answer it. Do this until you feel you have fleshed out your character enough.

As others have said, you don't need to overdo it. You're allowed to invent your character as you go along, but this stuff helps.
7th-Mar-2005 05:37 pm (UTC)
This is a great way to flesh it out, if you need a methodical way to do it. By answering these questions, you'll get a great back story, and also a basis for whatever development your character has done in past sessions.

Let me add, characters with good personalities should have relationships not just in their backstory, but throughout a campaign, honest opinions they've made of PCs and NPCs - ones they like, ones they dislike, reasons behind it. True personality comes when it continues to follow outside of the backstory.

One of my PCs for example, my aasimar psion - he has a good, developed background to start with, and since then, he has made friendship with two PCs, hates one PC, is neutral with the rest, and could give you reasons as to why for all of those; he's in love with an NPC, and has gained a new best friend out of another NPC; and he's developed several knew quirks, like finding that he can glow in the dark when he's happy (aasimars get oddball Celestial traits.)

Keep fleshing out, even after the character has been created. Always made sure, in every game, the character is three dimensional in your mind--not just a set of growing numbers, but also, a growing personality, too.
7th-Mar-2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
Something that helps me when I'm having trouble separating his/her personality from my own is to give them an accent of some sort. I have one character who is a totally sullen gypsy {complete opposite of me} and so I gave her a russian accent. It helps me keep her straight, and it's super easy for everyone to tell if I'm in or out of character without even saying anything. :)
7th-Mar-2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
Accents are great. I wish more players would do this. A lot of players feel embarassed by using an accent, thinking they're getting 'too into it,' but this really, really helps, and it is the #1 tool in definately determining if someone is speaking in or out of character. :-)
7th-Mar-2005 10:17 pm (UTC)
Heck, I can't stop using an accent when in character.
7th-Mar-2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
Waaaaaaaa!!!!!!! My charactger is Rashemi, and quite gypsy-ish herself! I really wanted to give her a russian accent, but I can't do a Russian accent. *sniff*
7th-Mar-2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
haha i asked a girl in one of my classes, who is from the ukraine, to give me tips. it's really funny, because in that game, my friend philippe plays sofya's sister, so he and i go back and forth with it. {we also bought the ravenloft tarokka deck, which is CREEPILY accurate}. the dm has a crush on me, and a russian thing, so every time i start talking {which isn't often, as sof is rather quiet}, he just freezes. it's totally, totally amusing. :)
8th-Mar-2005 06:30 am (UTC)
Oooh, what were the tips?!
9th-Mar-2005 12:18 am (UTC)
well, mostly she would just correct me when i was wrong, so that wouldn't help you much!!! what i do recommend though, is watching russian actors in english movies. or just watch russian movies. {russian ark is a great one}. oddly enough, the bourne supremacy had some good russian accents in it {even better, karl urban speaking russian=hottest thing EVER...}
7th-Mar-2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
i have the same problem. it's always me with a sword.
7th-Mar-2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
I often think I'm having this problem-particularly when Gming and therefore playing lots of characters that I don't want to blend together. Try asking your group if they think your characters are all the same, mine didn't-although there tend to be some traits that move across my characters(rather than NPCs). One thing you might do is accept that there are always going to be aspects of you in any character you play(this is why casting exists in the film world, otherwise an actor would be an actor) and play using different aspects of your character for each one.
7th-Mar-2005 06:50 pm (UTC) - Archetypes and Stereotypes
Archetypes and Stereotypes are great shorthand for storytellers like GM's. Take your NPC's and assign them a type. Then play the type. These types are recognizable on a subconscious level. The type will be recognized, PC's will fill in gaps on there own, and automatically remove the npc from the storyteller, the main point. Everyone knows the ditsy blond, the dumb jock, the scheming little brother, the lone wolf, the fallen women with the heart of gold. If you can use the types and put them in untypical situations, you have come into great storytelling territory. I agree with the use of different voices if you can. One great trick is to assign a type and then use an off-type voice, i.e. hen-pecked husband (sounds like DeNiro "You looking at me?"). Your players will probably enjoy meeting the tough talking Dwarf whose wife pulled him out of the tavern by the ear.
8th-Mar-2005 01:21 am (UTC)
Personally, I'm a big believer in WWMCD (What would my character do?). Once you've fleshed your char out with writing and asking and making things up, spend a day or two inside his head. If you get into it and do it well, you get a feel for exactly who your character is and how he reacts to things.
8th-Mar-2005 06:29 am (UTC)
That's an interesting idea! It sounds like a lot of work, but I love this character and I think it might be pretty fun too!
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