Roleplay characters are important. If you don’t like your roleplay character or you find them difficult to write, you won’t have fun roleplaying! A lot of players cycle through characters quickly, trying to find something that works. Instead of starting over, try some of these ideas with an existing character. You never know — it might just help you stick!
Your character needs something engaging — not only so you remain engaged, but so that other players are more attracted to your character. Establishing a minor conflict in a character’s life is a great way to accomplish this.
A small conflict in the character’s past history is great because it establishes a problem in your character’s life immediately, quickly engages other roleplayers and groups — and best of all, allows you to grow away from this initial conflict very quickly. It doesn’t have the lasting impact of a major traumatic event early in life.
That’s an important point about the scale of conflict within your character’s life. Major conflicts may lead to traumatized characters — e.g., characters with an unsolvable (or nearly so) conflict. This is especially true if your character fixates on their past. It might be super fun at first, but it will probably get boring pretty fast.
- Instead of their homeland being destroyed (a traumatic event, indeed), perhaps your character was kicked out if their home group with little or no explanation. This conflict can become naturally less important as your character re-establishes themselves in a new group.
- Instead of their parents being killed, perhaps the parents simply died of natural causes (old age, etc.). Dead parents are still no fun — but it’s less traumatic for parents to have died off naturally than a violent killing, don’t you think? The same can go for a character’s past significant other or mate — instead of that significant other or mate being killed, perhaps there was an amicable divorce.
Change and Be Dynamic
Don’t set out to roleplay the same thing forever. The most interesting characters are the ones that change and adapt to new situations. For example:
I played Kaena Lykoi for many years. She started off as the last of her family — admittedly, I created her with way too much traumatic conflict! She was very violent, more than a little crazy, and very much bent on vengeance and revenge. Eventually, she began having children — and while it was a long, difficult transition, she eventually prioritized her family above all else. It had taken her a long time, and many of her children remembered her being a poor mother — but her grandchildren and great-grandchildren typically look on her in a far more positive light.
With prioritizing family so much, she could no longer worry so much about vengeance. Going off and slaughtering other people’s family, too, was no longer sensible for Kaena. Essentially, her entire outlook changed over the years — multiple times. This is likely what enabled me to roleplay her for such a long time. Throughout her life, she had no less than five major conflicts .
You don’t necessarily have to know how you want your character to change. It may be more fun for you to allow your character to change and develop naturally, taking their own turns as they will. It may also be helpful, though, for you to have some general ideas about character development. Try not to go overboard and over-plot — feeling “locked into” something is a great way to kill your inspiration for a particular character. Jotting down a sketchy, flexible plan, though? Great idea!
Establish Character Relations
This is easily the most important part of creating a lasting forum roleplaying character. Remember to establish good and bad relationships. Your character doesn’t have to be friends or enemies with everyone, and it will be more fun for you if you have a variety of different options.
- Look at your RPG and find the established, active, and reliable characters. Establishing relations with characters who are quickly dropped can sap your inspiration. Be wary of establishing in-depth relationships with those who are unreliable or inconsistent with their activity.
- Don’t force relationships for the sake of having them. Allow your characters to decide how to interact. Trying to plot friendships, relationships, or even enemy-ships OOCly can create seriously awkward IC situations. E.g., the players OOCly decided Azazel and Baphomet must be friends — but ICly, it turns out Baphomet actually finds Azazel’s personality highly abrasive and Azazel thinks Baphomet is an ass. This is a situation where the characters would be better off being catty, mild enemies or outright enemies (in all likelihood).
Don’t Be Afraid of Change (Again)
Seriously, stressing this again. Don’t be afraid of change. In this instance, your character’s situation might be better changed than your character’s personality. For example:
Azazel, a hotheaded fire-element fairy, has joined the Collective of Fairy Peace group in the RPG several months ago. Azazel the character has felt for some time that he doesn’t belong in the group, and the roleplayer seems to be losing interest. The leaders of the group are not fond of Azazel and think he might do better off somewhere else.
The obvious answer in this situation is to change the character’s situation. Move to a different group. If the character’s significant other is a drag, see if you can’t come to an amicable split OOCly. Change leads to development, and development leads to more interesting characters!