The inspirational thread of personality crafting

Dear fellow roleplayers. I am making this little post as I often meet some very excellent roleplayers ingame, but sadly also some less experienced ones at times. This post is not meant as a “You have to do this, or you fail” post, but merely as pointers and tips to make your roleplaying adventure much more fulfilling for you, aswell as the roleplayers you encounter. Please bear with me in regards to the English language – it’s not my primary language.
I hope to be able to inspire some roleplayers to develop their chars a bit further on the personality side. I believe there’s some great guides on how to roleplay a class or race, but I haven’t seen any elaborate on the mental side of making a char.

Table of contents:
Similarity to the player behind
Personality types
Motivations
Quirks
Hidden agendas
The mentally deluded char
Aftermath

Similarity to the player behind
First off, I would like to start off with a warning. Creating at character which resembles yourself IRL too much, might make it tough to distinguish between your char and yourself, thus criticism or attacks on your char, might feel like an attack on yourself. Do only create personalities like your own, if you are extremely good at separating IC and OOC, as well as feeling robust mentally. If you tend to get hurt easily, then make sure your char is completely separated from who you are in real life.

Personality types
The brutal. The cunning. The insane.

Are there more options? Yes indeed there are. In this chapter we’ll go through some of the personality types you can create, adding a small description of each. This is not a limiting list, but inspiration to make a char which is more unique in regards to personality. Remember you can choose one personality type, but more often a person would have a little of this and a little of that. Taking a personality to the extreme, can be fun – but also tough to keep up in the long run, aswell as people might turn bored by your char, if it’s too onesided and black/white. For instance compare the personality types to intelligence. You COULD have an IQ on a genius level, but it’s extremely rare, and tough to RP out. Being less extreme is easier or more trustworthy.

– Duty fullfiller – Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals.

– The Mechanic – Quiet and reserved, interested in how and why things work. Uncomplicated in their desires. Detached and analytical, they excel at finding solutions to practical problems.

– Nurturer – Quiet, kind, and conscientious. Usually puts the needs of others above their own needs. Stable and practical. Well-developed sense of space and function. Rich inner world of observations about people. Extremely perceptive of other’s feelings. Interested in serving others.

– Thinker – Logical, original, creative thinkers. Can become very excited about theories and ideas. Highly value knowledge, competence and logic. Quiet and reserved, hard to get to know well.

– Scientist – Independent, original, analytical, and determined. Have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. Highly value knowledge, competence, and structure. Driven to derive meaning from their visions.

– Artist – Quiet, serious, sensitive and kind. Do not like conflict, and not likely to do things which may generate conflict. Extremely well-developed senses, and aesthetic appreciation for beauty. Not interested in leading or controlling others. Likely to be original and creative. Enjoy the present moment.

– Protector – Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perserverence in doing the right thing.

– Idealist – Quiet, reflective, and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened.

– The doer – Friendly, adaptable, action-oriented. “Doers” who are focused on immediate results. Living in the here-and-now, they’re risk-takers who live fast-paced lifestyles. Impatient with long explanations.

– Guardian – Practical, traditional, and organized. Not interested in theory or abstraction unless they see the practical application. Have clear visions of the way things should be. Loyal and hard-working. Like to be in charge. Exceptionally capable in organizing and running activities. “Good citizens” who value security and peaceful living.

– Performer – People-oriented and fun-loving, they make things more fun for others by their enjoyment. Living for the moment, they love new experiences. They dislike theory and impersonal analysis. Interested in serving others. Likely to be the center of attention in social situations.

– Caregiver – Warm-hearted, popular, and conscientious. Tend to put the needs of others over their own needs. Feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Interested in serving others.

– Inspirer – Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities.

– The giver – Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. They see everything from the human angle, and dislike impersonal analysis.

– Visionary – Creative, resourceful, and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive. They enjoy people and are stimulating company.

Motivations
Motivation can come from a lot of reasons. The motivation I most often encounter ingame, is the seek for revenge, due to the killing of a characters family IC. However, motivation can arise from a lot of other situations.

What is motivation, and why do I need it in my personality background?

Motivation is what makes us reach our goals and determines how we would react to certain events. If you have a need in any certain area, you’ll become motivated to get it fulfilled. It’s the same with your char, unless you are a lunatic – more about that later on.

Quoting the “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs”, which I’m sure most of you know, persons have needs on various levels. The first level is the physiological needs. The needs for heat, food, water and sleep.
If any of the needs on this level is not fulfilled, the person will not be able to continue to the next level. These are also known as the basic needs – the needs you need fulfilled to survive.
The second level is about safety. You are no longer hungry, so now you start focusing on shelter, a house, to secure your income, family and employment. This is a little obsolete ingame, as our chars has no real need for income or housing.
This leads us to the third level, where our chars might wish for a family/clan /guild to belong to, as well as friends and even a mate perhaps?
Now we have the basic stuff sorted, and our char starts to seek towards the higher goals, to have self-esteem, to feel respected and feel dignity.
The final step is to realize your potential and reach it. Self-actualization sometimes occurs as a desired goal – I want to become the ideal paladin, the perfect parent or the most eloquent bloodelf.

How can we use these needs in the char development? Well, knowing which needs your char has in life makes you more aware of the reactions your char would have when communicating with others.
If your char seeks a family above other things, then this would perhaps make said person angry, if others tell about their wonderful family ties.
If your char wishes to be acknowledged and respected for his abilities, he might join a gathering of tinkerers to show off his latest invention.

Quirks
Quirks makes a char come alive. I’m personally a big fan of quirks, and there’s several great sites on the internet where you can get inspiration for unique quirks which fits your char.
I usually make sure the quirks I use fit my chars age, mentality and background.

To mention a couple:
My elderly troll falls asleep when people talk a lot, tells stories or similar. He has a habit of speaking up, being spiteful and at times almost mean, but doesn’t care as he is too old, to worry about how people judge him.
My young orc however, picks her nose, picks fleas and eat them, and so on. She also tends to ask the wrong questions, embarrassing her friends, out of naivity and stupidity – luckily people usually shake their head at her, and forgive her, as it’s rather clear she does not mean anything mean with it.

Have a few links – to get inspiration for your own quirks:

http://anthonyowens.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/100-character-quirks-you-can-steal-from-me/
http://character-quirks.blogspot.dk/

Hidden agendas
Consider if your char should have a few points of “interest” or hidden agendas. A point of interest could be a few things in your char background, which is not revealed. These might be discovered IC’ly by other chars over time, and thus add some understanding to your person, once discovered they may even develop your char. To give a few examples from my orc:

1. My orc would not tell which clan she was born into – when I first started. The first time, she had to be threathened before sharing her clan background. The next few times, she still hesitated a lot to share this, but now – as it’s out in the open, she doesn’t mind telling anymore.

2. My background and MRP did not reveal my hunter having talent for tracking. It was revealed IC’ly as a fellow hunter decided to check her abilities with hunting.

3. My orc is afraid of water and hates bathing. She has in other situations revealed that her father scorned her, telling her she should have been drowned by birth, yet it was her mate, who first noticed the connection.

I still have things left to be discovered, and if I am running out – I am sure I can make up more things – to keep my char interesting and developing. Remember – although it is fun to be “revealed” – don’t make it too obvious, or the fun is gone.

The mentally deluded char
Being mentally ill, often seems like an interesting personality to roleplay out to roleplayers. However, it can affect your entire roleplaying stage, aswell as make it tough to play with others. I will not recommend it, but if you want to try it out, then here’s my input regarding it.

I tried making a senile elderly troll – some of you might remember Tol’jin. While it was fun, aslong as it lasted, his story soon grew very one-sided and blend – at least to me. Being senile makes your char stuck in a certain behaviour, it’s impossible to reverse and made him unpopular as he used to flame people due to his confusion.

Recently I have roleplayed my orc as being temporarily delusional, denying certain events she had been through, and even projecting her experiences onto an imaginary friend. This worked alright I believe, mainly as I was able to be cured in the end, by the guildshaman. Had I kept it up though, it would soon have made me tired of roleplaying my char.
Why? You might ask. It’s simple really. Having a mental condition steals a lot of the roleplaying, quickly defines your char, and makes it tough to have balanced deep immersive roleplay.
Let me give an example: My orc would shudder/flinch/twitch or wince each time she heard Kor’krons being mentioned, as they were the reason behind her issues. People would react to this, but my char was unable to explain the reasons behind. Had I been with a larger group in Far Watch Post or similar – it would have been impossible to keep up – luckily I was dragged to Shadowprey Village by a guildie, thus I was surrounded by a few guildies only, who knew me well enough IC’ly to understand what was going on.

People also tend to roleplay the “insane” char – often a psychotic char with a mad cackle. These types of maniacs seems rather difficult to roleplay over a longer time, I’m still waiting to see anyone keep it up over a long period of time. I tried it with my Death Knight Forsaken – as her brain obviously was too rotten to work. The problem for me was, she only survived half a day, due to her convincing an orc peon to cut his own arm off, as she needed spare parts. My Death Knight was executed by a few members of rebel warband, and now awaits a necromancer. Remember roleplaying like a madman – will make you do mad things, and you will have to face the consequences of these acts. Balancing such behaviour can be extremely difficult.

Finally I’m going to share with you, my goblin. He’s not really mentally challenged, but he acts like it at times. This is due to his motivations, see chapter 3. Driven by despair and desperation, he sells himself as a male prostitute, to anything with or without a pulse, if you ask to break his arm, the reply would be “twenty coins pal!”. (Ofcourse the prostitution is insinuated only on a nudge nudge – wink wink level.) His goblin mentality makes him quite focused on his money making opportunities, which involves but not limited to lying, referencing people as previous customers – even if they are not, and he only caught the name of said player. Sadly I am going to kill this char off soon, as it seems a lot of people struggle to keep IC to IC, and thus judge him as being lolboy and even disrupting RP.

Anyhow, the thing is – if you seek to roleplay your char as mentally challenged, try to think out of the box. There’s so many options besides being the cackling madman.

I’ll give you a little list of ideas here in the end, simply linking from wikipedia as it comes with explanations for each illness – but be careful as these things tends to define your char rather fast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mental_disorders

Aftermath
This concludes my little attempt at writing a guide about the personality choices when making a roleplaying char.
I hope you enjoyed the read, and got inspired to develop your char further, and perhaps have it come more alive.

The best thing about personality, is that this is a field of endless opportunities, where you can make your char as special and unique as you like, and noone can ever blame you for lorebreaking or being special snowflake 🙂

As it’s an endless field, also means there’s SO many other things one could have written about the mind, mentality, personality etc. Thus remember to only use this as inspiration, and develop your own unique person.

Remember to also develop your char, as motivation and goals change over time. Rethink the concept once in a while.
And finally – have fun roleplaying 🙂

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