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 Making a Layered Character

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Latreze Wright

Posts : 4
Join date : 2016-07-14

PostSubject: Making a Layered Character   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:15 pm

Making a Layered Character
A Simple Guide on Making a Realistic, Multi-Dimensional Character

What is a multi-dimensional character?
Multi-dimensional characters are characters which have depth to them.  Part of roleplaying a character is removing yourself from the equation and using a whole different set of motives for everything you do.  When roleplaying, every effort should be made to remove your own needs from it all and to place your character's wants and needs as paramount.  In order to do this, however, you must create a whole identity for your character.

Why should I do this?
Personally, I enjoy making characters that have enough depth that you could believe they're real people.  Making characters with depth doesn't always mean giving your character unnecessary handicaps, but rather molding them into somebody that is believably real.  I've found a lot of joy in creating these types of characters, instead of the normal paper-thin characters you may see around town.

I've written this as sort of a psuedo-tutorial.  In order to accomplish the task of creating a multi-dimensional character, follow along as we undergo the "Rocks" organization method.

The Boulders: General Backgrounds

In the boulders level, you can create large aspects about your character.  The huge things of your character that make or break them or make them a person who exists.

Avoid the common pitfall of googling pictures of models and making that your faceclaim.  Instead, try browsing this page for inspiration as you create a completely unique appearance of your character.  Remember, you don't have to incorporate flaws into your character but flaws can create depth.  In the boulder level, we're only concerned about the major parts of the appearance:

  • What race is your character?
  • Is your character male or female?
  • Is your character tall or short?
  • Is your character skinny or fat, or somewhere in between?
  • Is your character average-looking, pretty, ugly, or some combination of the three?

Don't waste your time answering why your character is pretty, or why your character is fat - just yes or no answers will do for now.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
Gender Identity can sometimes be a controversial both in-game and out-of-character, but try to remove yourself from the heat of the matter and create something you know you're going to enjoy playing.  At the boulders level, you're looking for a vague idea of what your character prefers and what your character thinks of themselves.

  • Does your character prefer men over women?  Women over men?  Do they fall into a grey-area between these two identifications?
  • Does your character identify as their natural-born gender, or with the opposite gender?

Basic Background
This will fill in the remainder of what is needed at the boulders level and give your character some depth.  A basic background is not a memoir, or even a biography really - rather, it's a very general idea of where your character and why they're here, what they do and why, and their general goals in life.

  • What is your character's occupation?  What do they do if they're unemployed?
  • Where was your character born?
  • What does your character want out of life?  When your character is sixty, where do they want to see themselves?

Maybe your character wants to get more out of life than the common shmuck, or maybe they're all about getting money.  However you put it, your character should probably have a long-term goal.  Keep in mind, this will likely change with your character's experiences but this is a starting point.

The Rocks: Getting More Specific

In the rocks level, you will be filling in more details between the boulders and answering a lot of the "why" about your boulder statements.  Every "rock" you make should fit in with the boulders you already have, and any other rocks you already made.  This way, you refine your character and make them unique in their own special, but subtle ways.

Blemishes and Birthmarks - Getting a Specific Appearance
This extends upon the above question concerning appearance.  You should have a general idea of what your character looks like.  If they're an Chinese female with brown hair, you should have a general idea of what that looks like.  Now, add some detail to it by adding birthmarks, blemishes, and some imperfections.  Keep in mind, this often comes from your character's parentage.  Ask yourself, if your character went missing - how would your character's friends describe you to the police when reporting you as a missing person?

  • Example:She's about 5 feet tall, with straight brown hair.  She's Chinese, or Japanese, or something.  She's got a diamond shaped birthmark on the left side of her neck, but her hair usually covers it.  She has her ears pierced - twice in the left ear, once in the right, but she never wears earrings anymore.  She's got a pretty chewed up lip, because she bites her lip when she's nervous.  Her teeth are straight and pearly white, she always cared for her teeth.

Scars can tell a story.  By marring your character with something as groundbreaking as a scar, you create the beginnings of a story to be told to others at bars or other hangouts in-game.  Your character might be able to tell a story and attract the ladies with an hyperbolic tale of how you were attacked by a pack of wolves or something and escaped with nothing but a few bite marks on your arm.  You get the point.  Scars lay the groundwork for additional stories to be told about your character (stories which you'll fill in at the pebbles level).

Vices and Imperfections
Moving forward with making a specific appearance, it's important to answer the Why about some of the appearance questions above.  If your character is chubby, why are they chubby?  Do they have an eating disorder or is it genetic?  Do they exercise to try and keep the weight off?  Perhaps they have a thyroid condition which works against their efforts to lose weight.

Vices and imperfections make more stories to be told and help give your character even more depth.  Go through each of your boulders for your appearance and ask yourself - why are they this way?  Is it natural or did they do something to make themselves this way?

  • Why is your character this certain weight?  Do they want to be at their current weight or do they aspire to be smaller/bigger?
  • Why is your character ugly/pretty?  Do they take care of their personal hygiene and dress well or do they not care about looks so much?  Perhaps your character was born pretty and perfect, and ruled their high school with looks.
  • Does your character work out to get stronger?  How has it fared for them so far?
  • Why does your character have a certain gender identity?  How did they come to discover this about themselves?
  • What does your character like about their preferred gender, sexually?
  • Is your character a virgin?  What are your character's views on sexual intercourse? (After Marriage, Casual Sex, etc.)

Parentage plays a huge role in developing a character.  You may notice, in your real life, your parents or designated guardians probably played a huge role in raising you.  The way you grow up is a huge part of what makes you into the person you are.

While Mom and Dad are people as well, you don't need to develop them nearly as well as you're developing your character.  Try to create a vague picture of who your character's parents/guardians are - or perhaps they don't have parents/guardians and were raised in a group home?  However you put it, it's going to have an effect on who your character is and what they believe.

Another sensitive issue that influences a lot of other factors around it.  Religion often acts as a moral center for people to base their own moral beliefs off of.  Religion creates a generic sense of right and wrong and establishes that doing the wrong thing may have a punishment in the afterlife.  Do some research on the religion you select for your character, then ask yourself these questions.

  • Does your character abide by all of the rules of their religion?  Which rules do they break and why?
  • Where does your character place their "moral/ethical line"?  Where do they draw the line on things they believe are wrong, and do something about that which they believe is wrong?

Skills, Talents, and Hobbies
Skills and talents are another huge part of what makes your character an individual.  Perhaps your character can do magic tricks with playing cards, or maybe they love to fix up old cars.  This is part of what sets your character apart from others and makes them an individual.  This should also be coupled with things your character cannot do - flaws which make them human.

  • Is your character good at mathematics?  What's the hardest math they can figure out?
  • Does your character like certain sports?  Do they play those sports or just watch them on TV?
  • Does your character like to drive fast?
  • Does your character like to shoot big guns?  Are they a collector of large weapons?
  • Does your character love to cook?  If they love to cook, are they good at cooking or do they often burn the food?
  • Is your character a workaholic?
  • Can your character speak another language fluently?  Perhaps a third language?
  • For any skill or talent your character has, how did they come to acquire these skills and talents?

Fears also add depth because they restrict your roleplay in a good way.  Your character has their own experiences which mold who they are.  With that, comes experiences which make your character afraid of certain things.  Perhaps your character is afraid of spiders because they were bitten as a child?  Perhaps your character's parents were killed by a gun, so your character hates firearms?  Whatever you decide to make your character's fears, make sure you also have a story as to why your character has the fears they have - how did they become afraid?

The Pebbles: Stories for the Bar

At the pebbles level, you'll be making stories for your character.  This is the content that really gives your character depth and answers a lot of the Why from above.  I won't go into excruciating detail for this section, but the idea is that you create a whole lot of stories for your character that explains different parts of their life.  This can be done on the spot, often, but it's important to stick with these stories as you create them because they have an impact on your character's constantly-evolving existence in Los Santos.


I hope everybody takes something useful away from this guide.  I intend on making more in the future.  Let me know what you think below, or comment below with things you believe I should add or clarify more.  Thanks for reading.

Last edited by Latreze Wright on Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Latreze Wright

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Join date : 2016-07-14

PostSubject: Re: Making a Layered Character   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:16 pm

Credits to Axis for the guide.
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