So – as an aspiring RPer, (and more so as a writer,) I tend to try and write my characters. Not in a ‘they do this’ narrative fashion, but in a ‘they think this’ fashion.
When I plan out my characters, I get a piece of paper, and write down 3-5 traits that they have. These can (and should) change over time, but they represent the character at the current moment.
For instance, let’s take Selite. (Oh yay.) When I sat down and did this she was level 70 – and had been ‘shaped’ a little, and she’s been ‘shaped’ since, but she’s one of my more static characters.
Selite, at 70.
- Wants to help people. This is her primary motivation.
- Wants to obtain more knowledge.
Now, this is much earlier, and is quite different to the current style I use to write these. But still, these give a good idea of what her motivations and wants will be at a given time. As an example of ‘evolution of character’ I’ll now show you what she’s all about at level 80.
Selite, at right now.
- Mercenary disposition.
- Vengeance to the Scourge.
So, Selite now is much more about killing undead, and getting payed for it. You might notice that I wrote ‘Independent’ first this time. This is what I call the ‘primary motivation’ of a character. While the other factors are a part of her, the higher up the list it is, the more it means to her. (Well, you forgot “likes things to be shiny” and “likes cats” :p)
This whole post isn’t about Sel though. (Boo.) It was inspired by her wonderful younger sister Iraia. (You’ve been hitting on my sister?)
Iraia has recently gone through Dragonblight. Now for those of you not familiar with Warcraft, Dragonblight is a big zone, filled with lots and lots of quests (over 130 of them, at least). The main quest chain in Dragonblight, however, is about the Wraithgate, which is where the forces of the Alliance and the Horde have decided to prepare for their initial assault upon the Lich King. Unfortunately, bad things happen, and they get killed by a dangerous splinter group of undead.
Then a few more quests happen. But before that last part of the quest, you have probably spent the best part of the last 3-5 levels perfecting that plague for the undead. Now, this has changed Iraia dramatically.
She used to be all about (exclusively) ‘Seeing new things’. Being responsible (at least in her eyes) for the deaths of not only a bunch of mooks, but the greatest hero the Alliance has ever know (or so she thinks) has made her quite the introverted Blood Knight (fancy way of saying ‘Paladin’ if you’re a sexy elf). (One more thing, Iraia is technically part of the Horde – not that she feels like she has any reason to hate the Alliance)
Iraia, after Wraithgate & battle of the Undercity.
- Wants to help people.
- Is inclined to pacifism.
Now this has already changed in the course of the last 12.5 hours, but there’s no rule against that. I say ‘inclined’ as she is still leveling, and as such, is still a Retribution Paladin (basically she hurts things) out of necessity (and don’t say “why don’t you heal randoms”?) – but she’s changed slightly.
Iraia, after completing the quest [Mystery of the Infinite] (level 73 version).
- Wants to help people.
- Has come to grips with the fact she needs to use violence.
Now, this quest has some funky time travel bits, so most of this is due to the influence of FUTURE IRAIA! *Cue Twilight Zone music*
Anyway. I’m not sure if that helps you guys think about your characters, but it’s always nice to throw out some examples of what I’m thinking.
New post “Character Interview – Iraia” coming soonish. (I’m thinking before friday, but we will see)