#1 Edited by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey! This is Portrait! Or you may know me as Icarusflies, IcarusMach9, Fractal, Mortality, Premonition, Io, Conductor, Conductor II, Solar Orchid, Starheart, Rubix, Solenoid Spin, Dead Money, Marvin the Robot, Zem the Mattress, Brighteye, Terrain, Salamander, Cypher-D, Somniac, Triumvirate, Guide Dog, Ptolemy, Consumption, Gestalt, Yportne, Josh Mardon, Romulus, Bat Vampire, Randolph Carter, Matrushka, Homunculus, Jupiter Storm, Claquesous, Messenger Mercury, Monsieur Annoying, Hypochondriac, ~Mewtwo~, ~Nylarlathoteop~, ~Cthulhu~, Yog-Sothoth, Ithaqua, Tsathoggua, Yellow Priest, Curbstomp, Tornado Turbine, Reine de Bourdon, Catscradle, The Inertia, General Jupiter, Shuriken, Metropolitan, Weird Sisters, Etherial Murk, Labyrinthine Web, Steve :), Dali, Tidal Ripple, Domicile, Draconian, Fluffy the Destroyer, Glory Nights, or Erica Zann. Or many, many others.

Does anyone still doubt my qualifications to instruct this course? No? Good. Let us begin.

Introduction to characters

A character is a creation which lives on the paper. Unless they are a throw away device, they should be multi-faceted, and multi-dimensioned. They should have their own quirks, their own identity. They need to think and speak, and move. Unless they are clones, they should not be like any other character. And a character does not need to be human. Animals that play any major role are also characters. They are often more challenging, since animals must NOT be written like human characters. They rely more heavily on the other senses, and think differently. Now, are you ready to create your character?

Starting

There are several ways to start in character creation.

The first is to come up with a power, then build around that.

The second is to come up with a name and work from there.

The third is to find a look or avatar you like and start there.

The fourth is to find a source of inspiration (such as a book or video game) and adapt that.

Examples:

An example of building around a power would be Solenoid Spin. I knew I wanted a magnetic character. I knew that magnetism was common, so I added the power of spinning at high speeds.

An example of building around a name would be Hypochondriac. I knew I wanted a character by that name. What he did? I had no idea at the time.

An example of building around a look would be Starheart. I wanted to use the Ray as an avatar, and Starheart seemed a good fit.

The fourth, and best, is to find a source of inspiration. My example is Premonition. In the work of Philip K. Dick, many stories contain a precog. They each have slightly different abilities, which I found fascinating. Combining these ideas with my own, I created Premonition.

Recommendation: As I said, it is best to start with a source of inspiration. These characters are considerably easier to flesh out.

Dimensionality

Now to flesh out your characters. Motives, personality, etc. belong here.

This is where you ask yourself questions. I'll provide common reasons in bullet points.

WHY does your character do what they do? (This is also your character's origin)

  • Childhood incident
  • Legacy
  • Mental illness
  • Extreme sense of right or wrong
  • Spite
  • To prove something

WHO is your character?

  • An insecure child/teen
  • A bitter adult
  • A psychopath
  • A heartbroken individual
  • A twin/gestalt individual
  • An athlete/fighter
  • The last of their kind
  • An outcast

WHERE is your character?

  • Their sovereign nation
  • A foreign country they did not want to be in (an émigré)
  • A foreign planet
  • Earth from a foreign planet
  • Under water
  • A country
  • A village
  • A town
  • A city
  • A secret location
  • A team base

WHAT is your character?

  • Human
  • Mutant
  • Robot
  • Cripple
  • Alien
  • Animal
  • Hybrid
  • Mystic
  • Vampire/Werewolf/Changeling
  • Government Experiment
  • They don't know
  • Clone
  • Spirit/deity
  • Golem/Construct

WHEN is your character

  • In the future
  • In the past
  • In an alternate timeline
  • Lost in the timestream
  • In the present
  • Variable

HOW does your character work?

  • Vigilante
  • Registered hero
  • Hero
  • Villain
  • Anti-hero
  • Anti-villain
  • Unsure of what they are
  • Martial artist/street leveler (powerless)
  • Metahuman (powers from birth)
  • Weaponry (armor, etc.)

Put these together. How do they interact with each other? I'll give an example, using Portrait.

WHO is your character?

  • An immature adult

WHAT is your character?

  • A mystic immortal

WHEN is your character?

  • In the present, but with heavy influence from the past and fear of the future

WHERE is your character?

  • Generally in either the USA, France, England, or the Painted World

WHY does your character do what they do?

  • As a villain, she followed the instructions of the Great Old Ones. As a hero, she want to atone for her past sins.

HOW does your character work?

  • Metahuman
  • Unsure of herself, striving to be a hero.

Now you have a decent idea of who your character is, and how they became that way.. Let us go on to putting your character into a setting.

Setting

If you are reading this on Comicvine (which you should be...if you're not, this was plagiarized, unless you're my project sponsor, in which case hi! I hope you're enjoying my winter term stuff!) you probably want to put your character into the Vine Universe. This can be a little complicated.

There are two parts of this. The technical aspect, and the in-universe aspect.

To get your character noticed (the technical aspect), you must introduce him/her/it/them to the other Viners. Post in some team threads, get a trainer (who will vouch for you later), have some battles, participate in the big RP. If you are persistent, people will remember you, and ask you to participate later.

Then you need to see how your character interacts with others (the in-universe aspect). Do they respect any people? Are they aloof? Self-centered? Eager to please? Introverted? Loyal? Traitorous? This is what you need to know before you write.

Now that you have a general idea, let's work on some of the specifics that make your character unique.

Names

Each character needs a name, and a codename.

First, don't just use your name. Some work, some don't. If you have the name batmanisthegreatestever999876, people will not take you seriously, and will forget your character quickly. Take some time, come up with a good name.

Naming is important. A name imparts identity.

To come up with a name, consider these questions:

  • Are they taking up a mantle?
  • Do they work in the open? (in which case, their actual name can be their codename)
  • Are they proud of who they are?
  • Do their powers define them?
  • Are they making a point?

Examples: Starheart is the personification/avatar of a star. Premonition sees and changes the future. Portrait works with paint. Erica Zann is the daughter of Erich Zann.

Tips:

When naming, be interesting. If your character controls water, don't name them Waterman. Think. Use the Thesaurus for help. Solenoid Spin spins, and he is magnetic. Rather than Magnet Spin, I found a synonym for magnet. Aquahumanoid is better than Waterman. Not much better, but it is a start.

Your Waterman could name himself after a phenomena that occurs involving water. Evaporator. Precipitator. Typhoon, Tempest, Tsunami, Swamp, Hurricane. Combine a few. Evaporating Tempest, Swamp Tsunami.

Got anything interesting? Good. Let's move on to powers.

Powers

Powers are among the most difficult aspects of a character. You need some degree of uniqueness or you will end up with a Human Torch or Batman clone.

Let's start with redefining popular powers.

Elemental powers are always a favorite. There must be hundreds of fire/water/earth/air manipulators. Think carefully before choosing one of these. What makes YOUR character unique? If they control fire, do they burn too? If they work with Earth does it create uncontrollable aftershocks? Are they afraid of water? Does using their power drain their life force?

Other powers that should be avoided or redefined:

  • Martial Artist
  • Weapons master
  • Constructs
  • Energy blasts
  • Electrical control
  • Vampire/Werewolf
  • Feral
  • Pheromones
  • Patriot
  • Ice control
  • Magic (general sorcery)
  • Magnetism
  • Telekinesis
  • Telepathy
  • Super-Strength
  • Increased Durability
  • Healing factor
  • Flight
  • Claws

Also, if your character is too strong, that is BAD. If your character could take down Superman with a punch, or smash Earth, or heal instantly, they are OVERPOWERED. Avoid this.

For an example, let us go back to Solenoid Spin. Magnetism was too common, so I gave him spinning. When he spins, he is magnetic. That is different. He is also completely insane, which can help with your uniqueness power factor.

Unique powers are harder to think of, but they are much more rewarding. People will go 'Whoa, I never thought of that!" Maybe your character can manipulate glass, and shatters with a touch.

I cannot suggest to you unique powers. This is a good time to go to a source, such as a book. Is there something that strikes your fancy? Could this insignificant plot element be turned into something marvelous?

Animal Characters

Animal Characters are tricky since they tend to have different motivations and thought processes than humans. This is the main thing to keep in mind when writing an animal character. Here are some common motivations:

  • Loyalty (either to a team or an individual, living or dead)
  • Abuse
  • Hunger (best with a large, carnivorous animal)
  • Curiosity

When you write your animal, you might want to use descriptive actions more than thoughts. Remember that an animal might not know WHY it is doing what it is doing. Incorporate this. They will rarely know the consequences of their actions.

Monsters

Since they are a bit different than the norm, I thought I'd add a section about monsters.

There are two types of monsters. Beasts (swamp things, werewolves, etc.), and human (emotionless, soulless, I guess you could include vampires here)

With beasts, you need to decide if you want a sympathetic or non-sympathetic monster.

For a sympathetic monster, give them a tragic past, or an inability to control their own actions. Non-sympathetic or 'pure evil' monsters kill to kill, just for fun. They don't care who they hurt. For the beasts, write them more like an animal than a human.

Human monsters are a little more challenging. The classic human monster is the sociopathic psychopath. They don't care about human life, and are the ones usually featured in horror movies. (Hannibal Lector is a perfect example here). Write your character as you would normally BUT do not add emotion to your post. They are cold and calculating, or prone to vicious anger. There is a large scale of human monsters. You need to decide how close to a beast you want. You can have the seemingly normal man with a murderous streak, or the animal mind in the body of a man. (Take my character Consumption as an example of the latter. He no longer recognizes human speech, and kills only for food).

Hopefully you now understand what it takes to create a true inhuman.

Changing Characters

Sometimes your characters just isn't working out. You don't have the freedom you want with the powerset, and you just can't overcome writers block. You want to start from scratch and redo your character.

This is not an issue if you haven't used the character yet. Just re-write the bio, and jump into RPGing. If, however, you are an established RPer this can be more difficult. The best solution is to create an alternate profile. Introduce this new character into the RP world, and keep your old profile on reserve. If you really don't want any alternate profiles, you are on a slippery slope.

ONLY change the character AFTER you have wrapped up any RPs with that incarnation of the character. If you can work their transformation into the story, then you are A-Okay. If not, check to make sure you are not in the middle of anything, and redo your character. Try not to change your character too much, or it will be difficult for others to write with you.

Now you are ready to create your character. Please leave your feedback below.

#2 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: I love you for doing this. I was thinking of suggesting that somebody should make this. IMO, this should be pinned :)
Moderator
#3 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress: Thanks a lot! :D
#4 Posted by _Sojourn_ (19249 posts) - - Show Bio

Anchored... THIS IS WONDERFUL

#5 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: I wish that this had been around when I started up Cass' bio. It's fantastic!
Moderator
#6 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Slight: :D 
 
@The Dark Huntress: Yaaaaay! I'm glad you like it!
#7 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: I just PMed Final Arrow with a link to this. It should def be pinned.
Moderator
#8 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress: Wow! Thanks! That would be so cool to have it pinned! :D
#9 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: No problem, it totally deserves it. Writing a bio can be a daunting task and this makes it a lot easier. :D
Moderator
#10 Posted by Final Arrow (24388 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a very good and I love that you spent so much time making it. But sadly it won't be pinned, this is more advice rather then a rule or something along those lines and we also have a thread like this which was made by Sha. I wont lock this but sadly I won't pin it either  

#11 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Final Arrow: I didn't expect this to be pinned when I made it. It was just supposed to help the people who read it out. And Sha's is different. :p
#12 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Final Arrow: Fair enough.
Moderator
#13 Posted by _Sojourn_ (19249 posts) - - Show Bio

could you at least post it as a link in the rules thread so that it won't be forgotten...This one and Sha's...XD
 
It could be like--- Tips on How to Get Started: look here

#14 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27119 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah as awesome as this is Sha has done similar things about writing and as wonderful as this and her stuff is, if we pin everything that RPGers do to help the community the boards would be totally spammed, we have strict rules about stuff to PIN the staff got us to clear a ton of stuff off the boards ages ago from too much pinning!  
 
Otherwise great work Port!

#15 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead.: Thanks! ^_^
#16 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Slight: I like that idea. 
Moderator
#17 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27119 posts) - - Show Bio
@Slight said:
" could you at least post it as a link in the rules thread so that it won't be forgotten...This one and Sha's...XD  It could be like--- Tips on How to Get Started: look here "
nope, its good and we can bump it when others need it :)
#18 Posted by Final Arrow (24388 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress: @Slight:  As I said there is a thread like this already in fact more then one, Should I link them all? it is not really a rule to make your character like this, you make your character how you want. The training thread is not linked in the rules, nor is a lot more, if we started doing that the rules would just be a mess of links. so sadly no!
#19 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27119 posts) - - Show Bio
#20 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead.: @.Mistress Redhead.: :D 
 
Thanks!
#21 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27119 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait said:
" @.Mistress Redhead.: @.Mistress Redhead.: :D  Thanks! "
:) Welcome, now as soon as I find Sha's I will add hers as well... o_O I think the OP for the training thread needs editing anyway, so I may play around with it and add a few links to help people.
#22 Posted by The_MVPs (84693 posts) - - Show Bio

I think we should take down the "Who wants to battle thread" not sure why thats pinned anyway. It'll be easy to find. That way we can combine this thread and Sha's, and pin it.

Moderator
#23 Edited by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler said:

" I think we should take down the "Who wants to battle thread" not sure why thats pinned anyway. It'll be easy to find. That way we can combine this thread and Sha's, and pin it. "

I think the "who/you want(s) to battle thread" used to serve a purpose, but these days people ask for things like that via PMs.  So yeah, I agree with you. 
#24 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler said:
" I think we should take down the "Who wants to battle thread" not sure why thats pinned anyway. It'll be easy to find. That way we can combine this thread and Sha's, and pin it. "
YES!
Moderator
#25 Posted by Lady Tlieso (10198 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: Great work!! 
#26 Posted by Tormenta (1487 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm so proud of my former apprentice :D she's the bomb!!!!!!!!!!

#27 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Lady Tlieso: Thanks! ^_^ 
 
@Tormenta: YAAAAAY! I got approval from my trainer! :D
#28 Edited by The Red Sun (340 posts) - - Show Bio

Why aren't super strength and durability listed among the overdone powers?  Sure I'm guilty of using them, but it's kind of surprising to not see the two most common powers ever listed here.

#29 Posted by Tormenta (1487 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait said:

@Tormenta: YAAAAAY! I got approval from my trainer! :D "
lmao I 100% behind you at everything you do xDD
#30 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Red Sun: For a very, very simple reason: I forgot to add some stuff. Thanks for reminding me.
#31 Posted by Manchine (4169 posts) - - Show Bio

Here is a list of my character each with seperate characteristics/backgrounds/powers.   I have a whole universe seperate from Marvel/DC.  This has been an accumilation of my work SUPERHERO RPG days when I first started in 1984.  I have some characters that are 25 years old.
 
http://www.globaldefenseforce.com/Characters.html    
#32 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait: Getting approval from your trainer is the bestest :)
Moderator
#33 Posted by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio

Would Self-duplication once per hour be a unique power? 

#34 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Dreadnaught: Yes. If it is automatic, and not controlled, it would be unique. If it was merely the ABILITY to duplicate once an hour it would be cliché.
#35 Posted by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait said:
" @Dreadnaught: Yes. If it is automatic, and not controlled, it would be unique. If it was merely the ABILITY to duplicate once an hour it would be cliché. "
How many Red Suns would there be after 50 years of non-stop self-duplication? 
#36 Posted by Icarusflies (12503 posts) - - Show Bio
@Dreadnaught: A lot. That's kinda the point, a power that needs to be kept in check or there will be an actual problem. Can the hero handle the stress of destroying the clones? Have they infested cities like rats? You have to think of all sides of something. 
 
<----Portrait.
Moderator
#37 Posted by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Icarusflies said:
" @Dreadnaught: A lot. That's kinda the point, a power that needs to be kept in check or there will be an actual problem. Can the hero handle the stress of destroying the clones? Have they infested cities like rats? You have to think of all sides of something.  <----Portrait. "
The Red Sun's sense of honor prevents him from actually making any truly effective use of the power, he for example, will never, ever attempt to mob an opponent even though it would be the best usage of his powers, much like how those mobs of stormtroopers in star wars only attack on or two at time when they could have just killed the heroes by firing all at once.   It ends up being used as little more than a way to be in multiple places at once and a way to make sure that the entirety  the Japanese Army's officer corps is comprised of well...him since he finds himself to be so good a commander that he will not allow anyone else to have command.    
 
It's also a way to ensure I only have to make ONE character to make up Japan's super soldiers since there aren't quite enough stereotypes on Japan to play on for more supervillains.  The Western Entente of the Templar Kingdom of Jerusalem, The Hospitaller Italian empire, and the Teutonic Holy Roman Empire of the German nation will have the Ubermenschen Korps, and the Knights Templar/Hospitaller/Teutonic  to make up their supersoldiers.  
#38 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Dreadnaught: I'm not completely sure what you're trying to tell me. Are you asking me to tell you if your power is unique? Are you just showing off your character (if you are that's fine, I'm just trying to figure this out), or something else?
#39 Posted by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait said:
" @Dreadnaught: I'm not completely sure what you're trying to tell me. Are you asking me to tell you if your power is unique? Are you just showing off your character (if you are that's fine, I'm just trying to figure this out), or something else? "
The middle one. 
#40 Posted by Portrait (4485 posts) - - Show Bio
@Dreadnaught: Thought so. Might I ask why you are playing on Japanese stereotypes?
#41 Edited by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Portrait said:

" @Dreadnaught: Thought so. Might I ask why you are playing on Japanese stereotypes? "

The primary villain for each of the Entente powers, save for the Templars, is representative of the vine version of their country in a way.  Germany is represented by Kaiser Wilhelm, essentially a slow steamroller of an military, Japan gets the Red sun, numerous, fanatical, and honorable, but uncaring about losses.  
#42 Posted by Vrakmul (23849 posts) - - Show Bio
#43 Posted by _Sojourn_ (19249 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead.: YAYAAAA
#44 Posted by Donnieman v5.1 (44323 posts) - - Show Bio

Great thread, Portrait.

#45 Posted by CellphoneGirl (18854 posts) - - Show Bio

Your amazing!

#46 Posted by MichaeltheFly (6555 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting thread Portrait, good job, advice is always welcome by myself.:P

#47 Posted by Mercy_ (92695 posts) - - Show Bio

bump

Moderator
#48 Posted by Constantine (16046 posts) - - Show Bio

nice work

#49 Posted by Lost_Rellik (2120 posts) - - Show Bio

Very useful, not only for new Viners but also quite helpful for the more experienced.....good job :)
#50 Posted by Ferro Vida (34678 posts) - - Show Bio

Great idea, Portrait :)