For some people this aspect comes naturally, others aren’t so lucky. For some the character concept is the hardest thing to come up with. However not to fear if you struggle to just think up character ideas without any influence there are ways to find inspiration.
First of all, read! Reading is a brilliant way to release those creative juices. Reading a variety of books helps you think of different personalities/aspects of characters you particularly enjoy. This effect can be obtained from TV or movies as well, basically anywhere that you can draw on existing characters.
Also make sure to look through this wiki at all of the background to our LARP as it might prompt Ideas about what you’d like to play.
Another resource that may help you is messaging our members using the Facebook page they are great at helping others to flesh out their characters and suggest the kinds of things you might like to play.
Lastly if you have found inspiration but are unsure how to make it work or whether it will fit into our system or just have questions to ask feel free to contact us on Facebook or drop the character referee an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Top tip: Keep a notebook on you so that when you find ideas you like you can write them down before they are forgotten.
Sorting the Racial Matters
Once you have inspiration about your new character it is best to look through the rule book and the wiki to get a flavour of what is possible in our system. Even if you haven't LARPed before and don't understand most of what you are reading, it's best to have a slight understanding and ask lots of questions, then to go in blind. You will see from our rule book and wiki that we have a selection of different races for you to play. This is a high-fantasy roleplay, meaning that more than just plain old humans are available (although I find plain old humans just as fun!). In Arcadia you’ve got a selection to choose from; humans, elves, mau, naga, dwarves and orcs. Once you have decided on a race, think about what limitations the race has, and what they are good at. For example orcs are really strong creatures but because of this get really hungry.
Picking a race is a good start as different races get a different discounted perk. These discounts can save you CP (character Points) to spend elsewhere.
- Human’s - May take almost any skill at a discount in the rulebook that isn't restricted by race. (Subject to character ref and team approval.)
- Elves - Acute Senses or Weapons Trained and Weapons Master, for one weapon only.
- Dwarves - One of the four Crafting Skills.
- Orcs - Tough & Tenacious or Elemental Immunity.
- Naga - Regeneration or Venomous.
- Mau - Acute Senses or Education with all the Languages at a discounted rate.
However we don't just give out free discounts, each race has a flaw that needs to be taken. Some flaws may seem like they reward you with extra CP’s but these flaws have in game consequences.
- Human’s - must take a Vice; Corruption, or Apathy, or Wrath, or Cowardice, or Desire. A Vice does give you +4CP to spend on your character however there are in game consequences for having a Vice that must be role played.
- Elves - Frail Flaw, -1HP (Hit Point) but +4CP’s to spend on your character. Maximum HP for an Elf is 3HP without a helm 4HP with a helm. Top tip: if you know you are not a very frail elf use the extra 4CP to buy another hit point
- Dwarves - Mundane Flaw, +2CP’s to spend on your character.
- Orcs - Orcs aren't required to take a flaw however that have very large appetites. With an appetite of 12 in a post apocalyptic world where food is hard to find, there maybe a few upset and hungry Orcs wondering around.
- Naga - Wrath Vice, +4CP’s to spend on your character.
- Mau - Faithless Flaw, +5CP’s to spend on your character.
All players must pick the races flaw as required but may choose where to assign their discount and extra CP’s.
We think this is the best way to start tailoring your ideas to our system as you can draw inspiration from what each race can and can’t do, however don’t feel like you need to follow these steps in any order. When coming up your character you should write down ideas that flow if that means you decide you are fighter before you decide you are an orc you can.
Diversity of Culture
Picking a culture can help define your characters path and add detail and flavour to the kinds of skills you pick. For example, an Aridian High Elf is well educated most likely trained in a one handed sword for protection but most of their skills would be diplomatic such as languages, translation, education. Whereas a Wild Wood Elf is more atuned with nature; living and hunting off the land, not taking more than their share and maintaining balance. Their Skills would be that of hunting, investigation and weapons such as a bow or short sword, they might also know trap making and herbalism to make natural healing poultices or poison tipped arrows for hunting.
All information on cultures can be found here on our wiki under the Game World Tab. You have 6 to choose from. Within the High Kingdom is Aridia, Avalon, Gautlond and Nakata. Outside of the High Kingdom you have choice of The Kursasian Empire and The Islands.
Talents maketh man
Next step to creating a character concept is to pick a particular personality trait or skill, this aspect will become the main concept of the character. Make sure to check out our rule book for inspiration on what you would like your character to be focused around. The kinds of questions you could ask yourself:
- Would you like to try your hand at combat?
- Would you like to be skilled in crafting?
- Would you like to be a magic user?
- Would you like to be someone sneaky?
- Would your character be educated?
So far we have decided on race and a particular aspect that gives the character a focus or purpose. Congratulations you have the bare bones of a character concept and you can now start pick skills that fit those bones.
To add depth to your character think about the ways your character got to where they are now. How long did it take for your character to develop this skill or trait? Why did they develop it? How did it develop? These are just some questions you can ask yourself to flesh out your character. To add more depth think what hobbies your character might have had whilst developing your chosen trait, chose some more skills that your character may have dabbled in because of your chosen trait. Maybe even add a little flavour by adding in extra flaws for your character.
Finding that Perfect Name
Naming your character; can be the hardest part of creating a character. You may have a fantastic concept but then have the problem that no name seems to fit. There are many different ways to come up with a name however there are two we recommend if you are really struggling.
One member if of Gameworld Committee owns and swears by their baby name book and would really recommend getting your hands on one (or in this day and age going to a baby names website). Try looking at car boot sales or in charity shops, you can literally pick one up for 20p! Or try asking your parents, without letting them worry about what you’re not telling them of course. The reason a physical book is good is that you are able to randomly flip to a page and read the names out loud until finding one that roles off the tongue.
When you want to put more thought and time into your character’s name I would recommend a website. On most sites you can search names by origin, gender and meaning. If you have an aspect of the character that you love you can normally translate this into their name. For example your character is known for her blonde hair and fair skin, you could call her Biana, which means fair skinned.
Remember flow! Those that do not have children or have never named their own pets may not have thought about flow. Flow is the ability to shout the name aloud and not sound stupid. Try to find something that rolls of the tongue and doesn’t sound rude when you speak the full name of your character.
Avoiding the Perfect Character Syndrome
Perfect isn’t the correct word here, it is more like the character is not realistic. There are different forms of these and they can centre on both positive and negative traits.
The classic trap to fall in is a creating character that is perfect in every way, being beautiful, popular and rich among many other traits. These are just annoying and many people may not want to roleplay with such a stereotypically perfect character.
Characters can also be made up of negative traits. For example a character that has a sad, horrific backstory and so many negative traits that the character has to constantly overcome.
Playing an unbalanced character is generally a bad idea for many reasons. Sometimes these unbalanced characters do not have such an interesting background. Most of the time however, players cannot relate to the character and therefore roleplaying becomes stilted. The best character are always balanced and realistic.
You are ready!
Now you have a full character concept and an idea of the skills you’d like it’s time to fill in and submit your character sheet. Head in over to our creating a character guide which will take you through how to use our character sheet and how to add skills and balance costs (basically the mechanics rather than the fluffy concept stuff). Also do not worry yourself with character creation, all characters are read over by our experienced team and we are here around the clock to help you out. And if you are really struggling hand your character concept over to our skilled character referee and she can put together character sheets for you to choose from.