When I first came to The Old Republic, I came from a culture where if you were new, your character was restricted to a low level of power and authority, so SWTOR’s culture came as a bit of a shock. I could make any character I wanted. I could make a Darth, or a General, or a Master Jedi. I ended up making a very rich Sith and spent the first few months of my time here going around giving out ridiculous amounts of money while trying to solve as many characters’ problems as quickly as I could.
It’s hard not to feel embarrassed now when I think about that. When I see other people doing the same, it’s easy to see where it comes from. People like to be popular, and they like to do good things for other people. It makes sense that in a fantasy world where you can have as much power to do good as you want, you’d instantly go into a glut.
The problem it results in is the same one faced by the first writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I know; it’s a bit of a reach. Stick with me.
Roleplay: it is the act of taking on a role in a certain time, series, place, or genre, and playing a character from that genre. It means many things to many different people. There are table top gamers, RPG gamers, online gamers, there's even LARPers who actually dress up in-character and go out to battlefields or have get-togethers for their roleplay.
The key to any roleplay though is character creation. No matter your genre, no matter your medium, without a character, you're a bystander or an observer, not an actual part of the story, and being part of the story is what counts. So this guide article today is about character creation; the how-to, the dos and do nots.
A character isn't always meant to last. Sometimes there are throw away characters, but for most roleplayers there is one character that is meaningful or that acts as your main character that you plan on playing for a long time to come.
My first bit of advice is research. Always research your genre, whether it's Dungeon and Dragons
, Vampire the Masquerade
, Star Wars
, Star Trek
, or even My Little Pony.
Research is essential in creating any character. You want to be familiar with the environment that you're putting them in, and further, you want to figure out what kind of character you wish to create.
My second rule for creating a character is a concept. While it's OK to create a character and jump blindly into roleplay, you want to at some point, either before or after creation, figure out who the character is. Where do they come from? What have they gone through? What are your loose plans for them? What's their culture or history? These are all things that some people forget, but almost always come up during interpersonal interaction among other roleplayers. It's better to have a loose guideline to play off of, then to have someone ask your character about something in their history, and you hear crickets chirping in your head because you haven't thought about any of their backstory before.
My third piece of advice, and this is essential: have fun
. A character is meaningless if you aren't enjoying them. You can create a concept, a backstory, a direction, research your genre, their skills, all of it; but if the character you've created feels flat, two dimensional, or just simply not enjoyable, then it doesn't matter the level of research. Don't be afraid to put something on the shelf and start over again. Sometimes we need to back away from something to get a better and clearer picture of it, even if that means starting over from scratch. You can always incorporate elements from one failed character into a newer exciting character, and in the ends that's what it's all about.
and Star Wars
have more in common than just sweaty nerds in costumes. They have sweaty nerds in costumes arguing over tiny nuances in their series' details. The term canon comes to us from religion, and like religion, it causes people to go to war over seemingly tiny details in their faith. Canon originally referred to the scriptures that were included in the various religious texts. Much like Star Wars,
the core writings were handed down from an all knowing, infallable creator, but people kept adding to them. Canon is created by the church, or in this case LucasArts
, to define which of these stories are in line with the faith and should be included. George Lucas does not regularly intervene in the lives of us mortals anymore, and therefore we must use the rules set up to determine what is canon and what is not.
There are several levels of canon. G(eorge Lucas)-canon is the highest level. This includes the two trilogies and anything he writes or says. If Lucas declares Luke Skywalker to be a Gungan tomorrow, everything else must be re-written to suit that, or be expunged. T(elevision)-canon covers the Clone Wars
movie and TV series, as well as the live-action TV series if Lucas ever finishes it. C(ontinuity)-canon covers the bulk of Star Wars lore, including the Expanded Universe, the Knights of the Old Republic
series, and The Old Republic
itself. Anything in this category is considered canon unless it is contradicted by something higher up. Below that is S(econdary)-canon, consisting of things that are not canon themselves, but whose parts can be. Star Wars Galaxies
is a good example of this. Finally we have N(on)-canon which includes the Infinities
series, and anything else not considered canon, or that has been contradicted, including all your fan-fiction and roleplay. In this week's The Darker Side of Life
, we'll dive in and discuss how it affects roleplay.