An RP Guide to Making Good Characters

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Runner

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FOREWORD

The objective of this Guide to help TamaTalk members who frequently participate in RPs/want to learn how to make good characters for RPs so they can begin to participate in RPs. While not everybody can be completely perfect at RPing in their first few RPs, the more practice you gain, the better chance you will be able to become more experienced at RPing. In a way, it's similar to say, training for a sport. If you lose a game/don't make the team, then practice, practice, practice until you get better.

1. Balance out the good and bad traits in a character, and be aware of what traits are good and bad.

To make it simple for you people, I have sorted out the most commonly recurring traits and listed them out into three categories: Good, Neutral, and Bad. Of course, while good traits bring a character closer to being a Sue, bad traits bring characters farther from being a Sue. Apologies if I forget anything, but if I did, then don’t come after me to point it out.

Good: Kind, Sweet, Caring, Makes friends easily, Outgoing, Cheerful, Positive, Confident, Brave, Intelligent, Happy-go-lucky, Rich, Generous, Always willing to help, Eager, Puts others before self

Neutral: Shy (This can either go toward the antisocial side, or unfortunately, can be used to make a Shy Sue. I don't recommend adding this trait on unless you want to go toward the "Very shy and keeps to self" side. Otherwise, you get a sue. More on this later), Athletic (Are they talented athletes, or just okay athletes who like to play sports?), Carefree (This will normally end up leading to laziness and/or unstraight priorities), Energetic (This can either become annoying, which leads to a bad fault, or it can become happy go lucky, in which case is a good),

Bad: Rude/Snarky/Inconsiderate, Sadistic, Silent (As in, super silent, also not recommended unless going the "Strong but silent", or "Lone wolf" side), Lazy, Hateful, Rash, Clumsy, Blunt, Selfish, Slow at picking up things/learning, Preppy/Jerk Jock, Vain, ATTENTION SEEKING (Skip to 4 for more info), Unstraight priorities (Do they spend more time hanging out than getting good grades and passing? That sorta thing), Prying characters/Stalkerish, Annoying, Childish (Only use in characters older than 14, otherwise, it doesn’t work.)

Bad traits you SHOULD NOT COUNT ALONE for a fault: Lazy, Rash, Vain, Childish (Unless you can play the trait well enough in over 14 year olds) and Silent (Unless of course, you go for the super silent but strong/lone wolf type).

Of course, most RPs don't ask for traits. So you end up having to normally combine traits to make one big picture (AKA a theme, which we will go into later). Well, try to avoid doing something like this:

Anna is a kind and caring person who doesn't like to see people in pain. She is very shy around strangers but makes friends easily.

^Fail. NEVER put traits that are opposite to each other in the same sentence.

Avoid this too:

Anna is a kind and caring person. She naps a lot.

^Fail. Laziness as an RP fault does just not refer to sleeping a lot (Unless you do it to the point the character naps every post). Laziness is when you always put things off, to slack off and do other things (Like sit around and read manga instead of do your homework).

This is a good example:

Anna is a kind and caring person who is easy to get along with. Unfortunately, she can be very slow at picking up things, which leads to her always being behind her friends when it comes to school, athletics, and other things. She can make rather rash decisions as a direct result of her slowness.

Some more general rules-

NEVER only use good traits- This will give you a wonderful Sue.

NEVER only use bad traits- Then you get an anti-sue, which also isn't a good thing.

NEVER combine only one bad trait with three good traits.

ALWAYS try to combine an equal number of good traits.

NEVER have traits that conflict with each other, I.E. Outgoing and Silent.

More on this in Tip 5.

2. DO NOT ONLY HAVE FAULTS IN THE FORM OF "Bad at school" or "Bad at *Insert Activity here*!

They don't count as the only faults of a character. If you're going to use these, then either use these with a few other worthy faults, or incorporate them directly into the characters personality. So, if they're bad at school, either make them a lazy slacker, or make them a slow person who sucks at picking things up as fast as others. However, it is only worth using “Bad at school/athletics/art/singing” if it is an RP that takes place in a school/real world RP. If it’s a fantasy RP with lots of action, then you probably should stay away from these at all, although saying something like “Bad at close combat, only good with magic” would be good.

3. HAVE YOUR CHARACTER STAY TRUE TO WHAT YOU PUT IN THEIR FORM.

If you feel like you absolutely HAVE to change your character, ask the RP owner if you can reset. Generally only try to reset once. As an RP owner, I am open to resets, but not more than once. If you reset more than once, you get on the annoying side to RP owners. If you really feel as if you don't want to play your character anymore since they aren't what you want, then simply just quit the RP. There's plenty of others to join.

4. NEVER USE THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF CHARACTERS, EVER.

1. The attention seeker

The attention seeker always tries to get to the center of attention in the RP. There are two types of attention seekers. Both types will always try to make themselves noticed. This normally happens when a person starts/wants to get into the RP, so they try to make themselves the center of attention so others notice. Attention seekers will either do dramatic things (Such as faint, break something, play music super loud... AKA do anything that lures people in), or just interrupt other characters that are talking. Type 1 characters are normally self absorbed and dramatic, while Type 2 attention seekers are lively, and hyperactive.

Example of Type 1: Anna walked into the party. She suddenly hyperventilated and fainted, right in the middle of the dance floor.

Example of Type 2: Anna ran up to a guy and girl that were in the middle of talking. "Hi! Who are you? My name is Anna! Let's be friends!"

Example 2 is especially annoying in Romance RPs. In romance RPs, ALWAYS have your character stay away from any boy and girl that are already talking. Generally, when a boy and girl start talking in a romance RP, they are bound to pretty much just couple with each other soon enough. I’ve had this happen before, and it was rather annoying. Luckily, there’s a way to counter it. Either have your character tell the attention seeker to go away, or have your character and the other person’s character ignore the attention seeker. The person playing the attention seeker will give up and leave you alone.

Good ways to get attention in romance RPs include simply just walking into the RP, and then waiting (As in, having your character talk to his/herself.) If no other character comes in, then quit. Either you were too late in making your move, or there's a severe lack of guys (Notice how I don't say girls) in the RP. So you lost out. Luckily, in non-romance RPs, most of the time, characters just group together. So simply just have

your character join the group in a non-dramatic or Sue-ish way. Ta-dah!

The “Shy around strangers” type, or the “Shy” type in general

This is one of the most face palming character types you could ever make. A “shy around strangers” character is simply a character that had in his/her form “Is shy around strangers”. Unfortunately, the “shy” character isn’t really so shy. Since most RPs start out without the characters knowing each other prior to the beginning to the RP, the characters in the RP have no choice but to become friends with total strangers.

EXAMPLE: Anna shyly walked over to the group of talking people. “Uh, hi. Can I be friends with you guys?” She said shyly. <- (Lol total fail. BTW, this is one way to tell if the person you think is using a shy character is using a shy character. They tend to spam “shyly”, or “shy” in general)

So uh, how does a “Shy” type become friends with complete strangers..? For clarification, I’ll go ahead and post the Wikipedia definition of shy:

In humans, shyness (also called diffidence) is a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximity to, approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people.

Well.. If “Shy” characters can become friends with unfamiliar people (strangers) within the first page, it looks like they’ve totally gone through character growth over time way, way too fast. Since “Shy” characters always have “Shy” down as their one and only fault, when they suddenly become friends with all the “strangers” (AKA other characters) in the RP… Well, you have a Mary Sue.

So, in short: NEVER use “Shy” as your only fault. If you want to play a shy character, then try adding “Easily offended” in so that can make it so maybe your character is shy because they don’t want to get hurt by other people. Or add “Cowardly” in so that your character is a scaredy cat.

The Shoujo Heroine/”Kawaii”

There really isn’t any need for me to go into depth about this. Just go read my rant, which is linked in the foreword.

5. Try to use “types” for characters

Remember how I had specific types of characters (“Kawaii”’s, Attention Seekers, Shy characters)? Well, in this case, I’m gonna just post a few types you can play. I’ll only post types of girls though because barely anybody plays guys anymore… Although I will list a few at the bottom.

TYPE 1: The Average Girl

As the name sounds, the Average Girl is really nothing special. The Average Girl is generally the girls you see in real life who are in your class and seem to always score C’s. They aren’t super beautiful, intelligent (or stupid), and they either have no talents in anything else, or have a talent in a single subject (I.E. Gymnastics, Dance, Basketball). Generally, The Average Girl is pretty much the kind, sweet, or spunky and fun person you become buddies with since they are the ones who aren’t jerks to you. But of course, even the Average Girl has to have faults- perhaps they can be demanding, or do things that make friends upset, or maybe they have short tempers and set off the minute somebody says someone to upset them. The Average Girl is the easiest type to turn into a “Kawaii” (Next to the shy type, of course), so watch out. Make sure to give The Average Girl good faults to make sure that you don’t get a Sue.

TYPE 2: The Prep

Well, this is on the other spectrum of the rainbow. The Prep is the girl who has it all. Glamorous, beautiful, athletic (Either in Volleyball, Soccer, Softball or Basketball) and always being able to seduce the coolest, best looking jocks, The Prep is the ruler of the school. The Prep is always kind to her group of friends. Unfortunately, all Preps are pretty much guaranteed to be rude to all people underneath them in the social class, and they are the types who will harass and bully people. The Prep is probably the easiest to play, since you already have a preset fault for them. For beginners, I totally recommend The Prep. Unfortunately, nobody likes to play the rude person who bullies them, so…

TYPE 3: The Happy-Go-Lucky

The Happy Go Lucky is a spunky girl who makes everybody around her laugh, and/or smile. She’s like a living ray of sunshine. Unfortunately, The Happy-Go-Lucky girl is also one of the types that almost always evolves into a “Kawaii”. My advice is that to play her, you make her her into a hyperactive girl who can get very annoying (AKA start pulling pranks on others, and making bad puns), and that you only play her when you know you CAN. In other words, stay away from playing this character until you can RP well enough to the point you can create a type for your character and stick with it without taking the faults away.

TYPE 4: The Mature Girl

This is what I call any female character that is played by an experienced RPer (No, not a young RPer who has been in 20 RPs in the past year, but an older RPer who has RPed for 2+ years), or an older, mature person. The Mature Girl is just a more mature, realistic, and deep (Back story wise and personality wise) Average Girl/*Insert any type applicable* who have a special touch to them that makes them unique compared to all the other characters in the RP. These are the ideal characters that are the best because they tend to be the most original, and feel the most wholesome.

TYPE 5: The Perfectionist

The Perfectionist is exactly as it sounds. A Perfectionist is simply a female character who strives to be perfect, as in, Sue perfect. These characters are generally like the girls you see in school who are the best athlete, and/or the girl who has a 4.0 GPA. While a Perfectionist may sound like a Sue, a Perfectionist is normally always bound to be rather OCDish about being perfect, easily irritated, not always able to be perfect in some things they want to be perfect in, easily jealous of other people who are talented, blunt, and not afraid to speak their mind to others. Of course, you can tweak with that if you’d like.

TYPE 6: The Rude and Smart Girl

The Rude and Smart Girl is any deep thinking intelligent female character that is rude, blunt, and never afraid to speak out their opinions about people. The Rude and Smart Girl generally finds it difficult to get along with most other characters, since they tend to dislike girls who are completely wimpy/sparkly/preppy/perfect (Meanwhile, the author laughs at how much this is pretty much her in a nutshell). The Rude and Smart Girl is almost always bound to be rather talented, as well as have that big brain, and most people tend to give these characters hearts underneath their rudeness, so they aren’t completely rude characters. The Rude and Smart Girl can have sueish traits, but ALWAYS will have that rudeness to deduct greatly from the Sue image.

There are more types, but I feel no need to continue going into specifics. I would like to list a few more though- Such as the Tomboy (Boyish, normally a better athlete than the preps and is counted on to win games/matches), Strong and Silent Type (Can also be used in guys, is exactly as it sounds, a strong person who is normally tall that is very silent but has a gentle heart), and the Thinker Type (The one who generally thinks a lot, is intelligent, likes reading and/or writing). You do not have to follow my descriptions of the 6 Types and the few extras I just listed to a T, feel free to mess around with the Types. In other words, go ahead and have a Perfectionist that is kind, but to such an extent that it becomes almost fake, so most characters go out of their way to avoid that Perfectionist. Or, go ahead and make the Perfectionist a complete antiosocial girl. Really, go ahead. Just make sure to ALWAYS HAVE FAULTS.

The few types of guys I am listing are the Jock (My specialty, haha), Average Guy (Like the Average Girl), the Rebellious Guy (Like it sounds), and the Mature Guy (Same as the Mature Girl).

6. Try to keep names simple

Be realistic. In real life, how many people will you meet with a name like Pearl Heart? None.. So try to always keep names simple, and realistic. It’s okay to have names like Sapphire and Rose as long as you try to keep the characters last name realistic (I.e. Sapphire O’Dea, Rose Anderson). In some fantasy RPs that feature different worlds, this rule may not apply.

7. Avoid too many talents

Again, exactly as it sounds. Try to avoid having characters that are great singers, great athletes, and are smart. For example, never say “Good at all sports”. Only try to pick 1-2 specific sports your character is talented at, and maybe one they just play cause they want to. Keep in mind that in real life, some people just join clubs/sports because they WANT to, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are talented at whatever the club/sport is/features.

8. Look at other people’s forms before you post

This way, you can tell whether the type of character you are using is already in the RP. Let’s face it, in real life, how many people in your school are exactly like you?[/b]

9. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU AREN’T THE ONLY ONE IN THE RP

An RP is sort of like a book, written by you and all the other people RPing in the RP. All the characters in the RP should be main characters. Don’t try to give your character a “dominance” (Like heroine traits/a leaderly trait/extra superpowers..) in an effort to make them out to be the main character, unless it’s like an RP featuring a club/group that needs a leader. But even then, try to avoid having a dominant person.

SOME TIPS FOR FANTASY RPS

10. Avoid having more powers/animals to morph into than other people.

Similar to #7 from earlier. NEVER try to have your characters more powerful than other people’s characters. Always try to keep the power level equal. Instead of having all elements as a power, only have ONE specific element, like ice. Instead of being able to shapeshift into everything, only be able to shapeshift into a certain animal, or a specific family of species (The feline family).

11. Avoid unnecessary extra power items

Some people try to add on to their character that already has a power by saying things like “Has/is skilled with a sword/book of spells/knife/ax/*insert any weapon here*.” Unless anybody else in the RP is doing it, avoid adding on extras to make your character stronger/appear to be the main character (See #9). Don’t even bother using “Doesn’t know how to use/Is terrible at using” since that doesn’t work, because at some point, the character WILL figure out how to use it, and from there, we now have a dominant character.

12. Try to stay away from the following powers:

ALL ELEMENTS (See #10)

CAN MAKE PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE WITH INSTANTLY (This can lead to controlling other people’s characters, quite irritating.)

MIND READING (These days, nobody has characters that think anymore, with the traditional italic font. If you do use it, there isn’t much to do.)

HYPNOTISM (Avoid this too, character controlling. Well, if it’s just making characters sleep, I guess it’s okay, but if it’s like Molly Moon, no.)

POSSESSING OTHERS (Not fun for the person who gets possessed since there isn’t much to do while character is possessed)

And that’s all I can think of.

Moving away from Fantasy tips..

13. LEARN TO USE SOURCES TO HELP CREATE CHARACTERS

Good sources you can use to learn about good characters would be

  • Novels
  • Slice of Life Manga, such as Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star (Which feature girls with all kinds of different personalities)
  • Manga with different types of characters, none of which are cutesy and sweet.
  • Reality TV shows
  • Movies
  • Real Life; this is, in my opinion, the best source you can find. You can play a character that is just like your best friend, like your boyfriend/girlfriend (Or like that boy/girl you admire, hehe), like your classmate- You could even go as far as play a character just like your worst enemy or school bully!
  • Yourself (Hey, you know yourself the best, you know what you’re good at and what you’re bad at, so why not create a character that’s you? Just with a different name, of course..)


DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING AS SOURCES:

  • Shoujo Manga (Characters tend to be very, very, cheesy and “kawaii”)
  • Any cutesy manga aimed toward girls in general (See above)
  • Novels aimed toward kids under 10(Some are okay, but most have characters aimed toward children, mainly sues)


14. Of course, there’s Character Growth..

If RPs live long enough for days/months/years to pass, just like us, RP characters will age over time. This is perfectly fine. Most of the time, when we grow, we mature, and sometimes, change and acquire new traits to our personality. The same will go with RP characters- but this doesn’t mean erase the faults that your character currently has. So maybe while your character is more mature, wiser, and older, they still have the stubbornness they’ve always had. Or maybe they got over their stubbornness, but are now rather blunt and more willing to tell people how they feel.

15. When making RPs..

For those of you out there making RPs, always try to do the following:

[*]Always put in your rules “I HAVE TO ACCEPT ALL FORMS BEFORE RP”. This way, you can look over people’s forms and see whether the person’s character is a sue or not.

[*]Enforce a strong rule against Sues (While this doesn’t work, as we’ve seen from the whole issue with “Kawaii”’s..)

[*]Don’t be afraid to kick people out of your RP/Tell them that they need to change their forms/Change the way they’re RPing. If someone is breaking the rules, then just tell them.

[*]Ask for more than traits and/or interests in the “Personality” section. Traits on their own may not tell you enough about the character, which may lead to Sue forming as the RP starts.

CLOSING REMARKS

I hope this managed to help at least one person develop better characters. Yeah, I know. Maybe you want to criticize me on this. But you know, I don’t write guides for a living here. I’m just writing this so I can (attempt) to change the forum a bit- It’s like they say, “Even the smallest thing can help change the world” (No, this isn’t going to help Africa or anything, but it WILL help you be a better RPer).

So, that concludes the guide. I hope you, the reader, has learned something... :3 Send questions (Comments are accepted, but only comments not telling me what I omitted, there isn’t much I can change since I can’t edit after a day) via PM or a comment on my profile.

 
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scottyj200

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****OST EDIT: IMPORTANT! The OP would prefer it if fellow members made comments via profile comment or PM but if there is a pressing need to offer some comments, whether it be praise or CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, please do so in a thoughtful and mature manner. Thank you.****

 
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