Making Interesting Characters - RP supportive , but not "gimping them"

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Making Interesting Characters - RP supportive , but not "gimping them"

Post  BenevolentDevil on Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:50 pm

Ok first off a disclaimer or a few:

1- I am not a 3rd edition, or 3.5 DnD class stacking expert.
2- I am in NO WAY , telling folks how to make thier characters or how to play on AR or any NWN ... I'm simply giving my testimony to providing characters with flair, and remembrance.
3- I'm trying to stay away from Min/Maxing , but at the same time not "crippling characters" either.

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NWN has an ... odd way of "character creation" , which I feel is utterly "backwards" , it makes you pick your gender first, then your race, then your class , then your feats/skills , then your character information.

I think the first step is the Character information part.
- What is your name, or what are you called by. Names are SUPER important , it's basically your IDENTITY that others will familiarize themselves with first. While making a "name" , don't forget the name that's displayed above a character's head, is absolutely OOC knowledge , and doesn't ( or shouldn't) include titles, special characters, or "nick names".
(TIP on Names - Rarely, is it, I make a character that uses thier full name when introducing themselves. This is ONE "trick" I've used, to get around the METAGAMERS whom don't RP to find out information, but use what they can see due to the fact NWN is a videogame.
For Example- I had a Character a Sunite Paladin on another server ( or 4 ) , Her full name was Charrissa Silverspire. However, when RPing, she NEVER used her 'surname' ( as those are unimportant mostly ), and she introduced herself as " Rissa " , to those gaining her name via RP.
This little "trick" , saved me from some horrid situations where Metagamers would try to tell DMs , I was doing things far out of character, or breaking RP rules/House rules , or because they seen "Paladin" in my character build , tried making "conflict" by bringing up a "evil" , and going to DMs when I didn't "bite". Every single time, they were using my full name as descriptions to my character in these regards or "reporting". It was easy to show DMs, the falsifications ... I'd tell em to check the logs #1, then I'd have them ask those I RP with, what my character's "name was" ... even her enemies knew her by what I RP'd. I'd show the Dm, they were metagaming or just trying to be disruptive , because anyone who RP'd or Interacted with my character , knew her ONLY by what she gave as the "nickname". )

Deciding a "look" ... generally I try to get more portraits than default NWN ones, and decide which one "fits" closest to my general concept I'm going for, then if at all possible , try to match that as close inside NWN on character appearance the best I can.
You do want a "look" , something to help make you be unique, or stand out.

Class and Build -
I've seen many post here where others commented , in order to get great "role-playing" characters, you need to "gimp them" in some way ...
I don't agree with that 100%.
While you do not have to "min/max" , the last thing you want to do is make a character than cannot "advance" , or eventually run into issues where you can't level up, or do some things to get from point A to point B.
What you can do, is give them interesting traits.
Traits can be "positive" or "negative" ... but you want traits you can RP easily, and REMEMBER , so can you place them into the RP you do. Traits/quirks , help give your characters individuality , some "depth" beyond the "cookie-cutter" dredge , or "stereotypical" nonsense. A GREAT rule of thumb is, if it's in the Original Content ( the OC single-player modules) , stay as far away from that as you can.
If possible, sometimes it helps to "think outside the box" as well.
The key is really simple ... think of the concept first, THEN apply you stats, skills, feats and such to fit your concept ... the best you can, with-out "gimping" so much , it cripples long term play. Some of that, might be ... experimental. There's no telling how many "cool concepts" I've built, that ultimately stalemated at some point. ( usually less about the concept/build as it was , not knowing how the server PW was in higher levels , or PWs MADE with the "idea" everyone power-builds.)
Most of all though, definitely chose something that's FUN for you to play, not a chore to play.

Personality ... goes a very long ways to incorporate individuality in RP as well.

BACKGROUNDs - In this area, you can not enough to make a character viable, and you can also ( more commonly) have too much detail that's unnecessary or wouldn't be used anyways. Backgrounds/History needs to be detailed enough YOU can remember the things for RP, but not so much detail left out, you either have nothing to work with during RP encounters , or worse ... making it up on the fly, and having inconsistencies from one RP session, to the next.
Keep in mind ... your character lived, breathed, and worked or did SOMETHING before you created them in these "realms/worlds". They did not 99% of the time, just "spring into existence" ... they were not spontaneously created. They might not be on the same "path" now. A Guy who was raised and was a FARMER , might simply wanted a different life , an dbecame a mercenary or guard for caravans , to have a more 'adventurous life' , which in turn ... led to events where they now "enter" the server/PW , and begin that chapter in their "life's story".

System/Numbers/mechanics ...
These are guidelines , not hard set in stone things. Mechanics drive the necessary mechanics of the game engine, or game world.
Too many times, people "focus" on the wrong things, giving them "definiteness" when it should be vague concepts ... When in DOUBT ... always go for Immersion over stated actual mechanics.

( In this area, I'v eeven been on PWs where the DMs were trying to tell ME , how my character -should react-, or what they -should be played like - ... and , no F-ing way!!! No, No, no, no, no, no------ NO! It doesn't "work that way" , these are MY characters , I play them. I know thier motivations, thier desires, the over-all "goals" to achieve ... a DM looking at stats, mechanics, abilities on a static character sheet , can NEVER tell another player HOW they should be playing a character.

I'll Use my Sunite paladin as an example again here ...
While I do not recall where I found the Sunite Paladin order, I do know it was at least in some version of Forgotten Realms cannon lore, possible a Dragon magazine. Yes, Sune is a Chaotic "god" ... but she had a Knightly Order of Paladins too ... HOWEVER , there were "differences" in her Paladins, as opposed to say "stereo-typical paladins" , and slightly "different" than what NWN "mechanics" allow.
For this example ... we will focus on Alignment , and the Paladin Ability of "detect evil" ... as those are the most "important" things a DM homed in on.

1- The setting was similar to Planescape/Sigil , it was planar which meant all manner of strange "creatures" that could be played.
2- Most important factor here ... While my Paladin's Alignment was L/G as required, ... Sune did not focus HER paladins to be Champions vrs Evil ... instead, thier main focus was to be Virtuous, and Champions of Beauty and Love. Good/Evil did not apply ...
3- Going on that , NWN or the PW included a "detect evil" ability by "paladin" default. HOWEVER, Sunite Paladins via the material I found the order in ... could NOT ever, detect evil. So, I myself never used, or utilized the "ability" even though it was there just because I had Paladin as a class.

So now we know that ...
My Character meets another , whom I had commonly seen in the same RP hang-out ... by the player's description ( and CHR score too Bard/RDD build), the actual description said "despite the manifestation of dragon like appearances, she is still emaculately beautiful.
OOC wise, I knew the character in question was "evil" by alignment. I also knew OOC wise , she wasn't JUST RDD, she was also half Demon ( teifling) ... IC, in game ... The character in question NEVER once gave any indication, or motive what-so ever for my Character to "know" these aspects.
Not that honestly, any o fit "mattered" ... We didn't 'adventure together' , ... when I came into the tavern , she'd usually be there , and I'd simply sit and we would RP for hours and hours. Did this for months, no problem.

All of a sudden ... one day, out of the blue , a DM PM'd me in game ... and INFORMED me she was stripping all my Paladin levels, I would be re-making my character as a plain Fighter.
The DM's REASON??? ... A L/G Paladin was friendly ( in a neutral planar inn mind you where fighting/conflict was forbidden anyways) with a "evil fiend".

I said , no way that's going to happen. Tried explaining I wasn't a paladin of Torm or any stiff-shirt "do-gooder" stereotype of "knight" , even pointed at material I had copy/pasted directly from the source, to the forums ... of such the Dm never ever even read, or looked at. I tried explaining , the "evil character" hadn't ever been "evil" or done evil things anyways , while my character was around. Couldn't base her "looks" as an evil clue ... as I absolutely met several Tieflings around there, that were NOT evil either!
But ..whatever. The end result was , the DM told me several times " I was playing my character WRONG" , the paladin levels were being removed, no matter what, because L/G paladins do not consort with demons. End of story there.
and she did delevel me on the spot. No further discussion, no appeal process or due-process or even conversations discussing the matter with the OTHER 9 DMs whom did know the ins and outs of my character ...

But no, I wan't playing my character "wrong" ... I was playing her, exactly as I intended to, had made her to, and never variated from my concept at all.
In fact, out of 40 levels ... I earned 15 of my last levels, granted via DMs for Role-Play "bonuses" , except for that one ... the Dms loved me, and loved my character and her concept.

What happened there was ... that DM got a bit of "power/authority" decided to push her weight around.
- she also did not like the "evil character" in game with her characters, also did not like the player of said evil character OOCly , so she started "abusing her Dm power" to "get back at the player".
- she also seen paladins ONE way, and hat was the ONLY way in her eyes a paladin would exist. ( Rule lawyer/Lore mongering--- which is metagaming, so she was also cheating. )

But , that didn't matter ... It was MY character. Not hers. I play MY character/build/concept how I see fit, not to live up to expectations of others.
she had NO right , Dm or not ... to have ever even put her two cents in on how I played, and who I RP'd with.

There may be times, things like that pop up ... if you variate beyond the mental capabilities of others, and use imagination and immersion as RP enhancements for play. Stick to your guns , because unless you are violating server rules, world rules, and DM/GM specific instructions ... you really cannot "play your character wrong".

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Lastly ... I try to treat most my RP characters, like you'd watch a movie, or read a great novel , with them being my "main character" ... they aren't a "build, or toons " I drive around clicking with ... , they are Characters.

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That got far more wordier than I orginally intended. Sorry for that, but I hope this helps someone at some point out there at least.
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BenevolentDevil
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Number of posts : 285
Registration date : 2014-12-17

Character sheet
Character Name: Bavmorda
Race: Human
Overall Level: 11

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