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Fitting the Puzzle

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Fitting the Puzzle

Post by Celestria on Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:31 pm

Note: This Guide was originally posted on another Site and so some of the concepts apply only to that site. The document as a whole, though, is helpful and so I have reposted it here.

Fitting The Puzzle
A Guide to Completing Character Creation


Sometimes the process of Character Creation is less a matter of inspiration and more a matter of fitting a great many awkwardly shaped puzzle pieces into a picture and drawing in the spaces where they don't fit exactly.

It can be a maddening process. Especially when the pieces don't simply fall into place for you.

There is more to a character than mere Stats, or Classes, or Race. Those determine a great deal, they provide a framework of sorts, but they aren't everything. What the choices of Race and Class do is provide a foundation for Stats and provide clues to some of the more malleable areas of Character Creation like Fighting Style or Personality or those pesky Abilities and Weaknesses.

Let's look at an example or two, shall we?

Thus far I have presented a young Black Mage Puppetmistress who uses her Dolls to aid her in spellcasting and as a variety of tools, and a physically deformed Elvaan girl with self-image issues.

In the case of the Black Mage, there are already clues to put in some of the other areas. Her Fighting Style is going to be built around those Dolls, and possibly her use of a Racket to fight beside them. As far as Abilities she has a high Magic, high Evasion, and high Magic Defense. As far as Weaknesses, she has low Strength, low Defense, and low Agility. Her Accuracy is Average. (Yes, I've adjusted things slightly. If she's using a Racket she's gonna need the Accuracy to hit with a ranged attack no matter which Ability is the basis for the damage.)

In the case of the deformed Elvaan girl we have quite a bit to go on in terms of her personality and possible upbringing. As an Elvaan, she is very likely to dual-wield some form of melee weapon (or possibly ranged in the case of firearms) and she is likely to go with predominantly melee classes because Elvaan are noted for being Warriors. However, she is the hated child, so it's likely that she either became tough because she had to in order to survive, or she turned to magic to give her the strength that she did not have.

As a side note, it's annoying when characters take their sweet time developing themselves. All I know for certain is that she isn't the Dollmistress. I've got a few digital images from such sites as Dolldivine and Roliava for her (she has blue hair and purple eyes) but not much more than that.

The Dollmistress, though, would be ideal as a Tarutaru, or a Moogle, or any race that didn't focus on physical ability to fight, but rather emphasized magical prowess. The Moogle's ability to start with a mechanical Pet, Mount, and Airship (provided that the character is a Main otherwise the Moogle pretty much has *no* Racial ability) makes for almost immediate use of some interesting Doll concepts. The Tarutaru, though, allows for a significantly larger MP base at the lowest levels, and that can make a great many of those Doll spells and summons easier to build. For both of them the "kawaii-cute" factor is strong which is one aspect to the Dollmistress that might be exaggerated.

Other, more sinister, options are perfectly viable with other classes. A Guado Dollmistress could be eerie and unnerving. A Seeq Dollmistress would be quite shudder-worthy if not quite the mastermind potential that exists with other races, though a counter-to-type presentation of a devious Seeq intelligent enough to know that she's going to be underestimated . . . well, there are possibilities in any race.

Types are quite useful for pulling all these scattered pieces together to create a single image which is your character. If you know the types and how to twist and manipulate them then a truly unique character can emerge that is all your own, or at least one that doesn't scream being ripped from a single source.

If you want to know more about various character types, a good source is actually TV Tropes. Fair warning, though, if you start wandering through that site, TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life and you might look up suddenly to realize that you've been on a Wikiwalk for hours that you can no longer remember. I have never laughed so hard in my life as when I get to reading some of those Tropes.

Once you have the framework, though, and you have a general idea of where you want to go, the rest is a matter of filling in the blanks. If you have an idea of personality, and how that personality is like or unlike what others might expect of her, then you have a foundation for filling in more details in those Abilities and Weaknesses sections.

The most difficult section of all, though, is likely to be the History. Though for some it's easier than others. Races have a world of origin. All examples of those races do not have to start there, but a nod in the direction of certain racial associations is appreciated. If your Viera isn't from the Wood, at least let us know why she's exiled. Unwilling exile (ie kidnapped as a little girl and carried to another World) is perfectly legitimate.

This is the part of the Character Template that is most dependant on that filmy concept of Inspiration. It is also the part that is, rather ironically, both easiest for Canon characters and hardest. A unique outlook on a Canon Character will show most easily in how you present their history and their motivations. A lacking character History, though, will give the impression that you either know little about the character (sometimes not your fault, though, with recently released games) or simply can't be bothered, which is troublesome for reasons all its own.

In writing a Character History, try to answer these questions. Where did the character come from? How did they get here? Why are they here? What are they doing? And try to explain, from an In Character standpoint, the Class choices if possible. Sometimes there's a good reason why that Tarutaru is a Knight when they're short and pretty Fail in the Strength department.

Appearance is sometimes easy, sometimes not. It depends on whether you start with an image from the beginning or whether you just have a rough idea of what you want. For myself, I go looking through Dollmakers in the interests of creating characters that are at least somewhat unique visually.

If you have a rough idea of appearance, I have been known to build dolls for people on Site. If you want to play with ideas of your own, there are a couple sites I frequent. They tend to lean heavily towards female images, though some are equal opportunity.

Candybar on eLouai tends towards modern clothing, but I sometimes use it for hair and eye combinations because there are such options
Roliava –a Roliana Avatar Maker (you have to actually select your Base or when you Save the Doll it will show the default base on top of everything)
Gaia Online –by Tektek, very chibi which is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not
Lunaii –cute and chibi, lots of color options
Dolldivine –the most mature dolls I've seen as well as some of the most fascinating
Azalea's Dolls –another good one if you decide to go looking through the archives for Dollmakers.

Otherwise you can search images on Google or through Photobucket or DeviantART. It's up to you.

There's more to characters than simply the Class and Race choices that set the foundations with Stats and other traits. It's up to you, the player, to create the tapestry that is the character, and the more you weave into that image then the better, stronger, and more developed that image is going to be.

However, one note. Characters have been known to surprise you with traits that you had no idea about at Character Creation. Do not be afraid to revise your opinion of your own characters and don't be afraid to take a good idea and run with it.

Make sure that your character is built on a solid base, and that makes the whole process easier and it's more likely that it'll be a character that you can play for a long time. That, really, is the goal. This needs to be a character that you can work with for a long time because we love having long-term players. It makes things fun for everyone.

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Celestria
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