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Old 05-14-2005, 01:32 PM   #1
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Ever played an ugly character? Chances are, probably not. Many players seem to opt for the gorgeous female/hunky male approach to description.

Why do you suppose this is?

And, if you HAVE played less than gorgeous characters, share the results. How was it different/better/worse than playing one described as attractive?
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Old 05-14-2005, 02:44 PM   #2
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The mud I play probably has one of the highest concentrations of pc's who are not pretty. It's not a pretty world.

I think the reason so many people play pretty characters is because society puts a higher value on looks than any other quality. That's a little sad. It seems that sort of superficiality has invaded the fantasy lives of most people.
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Old 05-14-2005, 03:30 PM   #3
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I don't describe my main character as being at all good looking - although I probably wouldn't say "ugly". He's a mercenary - so keeping well groomed and clean isn't a high priority; being in the thick of battle he's picked up a few scars (although they say "chick's dig scars"); and those drunken brawls have inevitably left him short of a few teeth. I try to make all aspects of my character reasonably realistic but also characterful. So if I was playing a noble character I might make that character good looking but perhaps not so strong or brave. Of course it's always good to do something that is slightly different from the archetype. So for example I might play a noble as having some kind of hereditary defect from inbreeding - which would be true to real life (eg. the Habsburg jaw).

I guess the reason that good looking characters are popular is that people go to MUDs to be someone else. Since you can be whatever you want of course people are going to want to be good looking. Most people wouldn't think that they were making the "perfect" character, but I bet that the kind of character flaws that their character has are the sort of people wish they had! That's why whenever I create a character I think of something that I hate about myself (or something I hate about someone else) and include that in my character.

Just one last thing to say is that you can go to far the other way. In the real world most people are neither really good looking or really ugly but just pretty average.

I guess at the end of the day though beauty is in the eye of the beholder - or as my character would say "The beer holder".
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Old 05-14-2005, 03:35 PM   #4
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I have to say that none of my characters have ever been comely, in fact they aren't exactly ugly either, but more or less average, but I'll add certain flaws, like maybe a missing eye, a nasty scar, a broken nose, but I think mutations are rampant on Zalanthas, so sometimes I make really ****ed up characters with scales or something like that, though that's not nearly as fun as the average joe who is just trying to make a living.

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Old 05-14-2005, 05:03 PM   #5
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This man's darkly tanned skin lends a rugged tone to his
hulking, well-muscled frame.  Bulky, thickly-corded muscles adorn his
arms. His face is shadowed by a low, bony brow, with bushy eyebrows of a
dark black shading his deep-set eyes.  The eyes are dark, but clear and
with prominent eyelashes, resulting in his eyes taking on a beautiful
almost feminine appearance.  His head is roughly shaved.  The face is wide
and flat, aside from his low brow and fat, hard lips.  Some wound in the
past has taken a few teeth and created a brutal scar on his upper lip
leading upwards towards the nose.  His forearms and hands appear lined
with scars, and dotted by burn-marks.

- Yep.

Some treat very, very pretty pCs distictly at an arms length, expecting drama queen Players.

I do however have a rather good experience of PCs reacting as they should versus sweet and beautiful, and he ugly and smelling beast.
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Old 05-14-2005, 07:01 PM   #6
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My characters are generally fairly odd or normal looking, although sometimes I'll have a truly disgusting one just to stirr things up a bit.

I have no problems with someone's character being 'pretty', depending upon the theme and circumstances, but they shouldn't ever come out and say 'She is pretty' or 'She is gorgeous' or any of that in their description. Instead, they should simply describe their character in such a way that the reader would be able to picture them as being good looking.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:33 PM   #7
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I have played some "less than gorgeous characters" when I still played muds. I started off like most people do, with the best looking character I could think of and built no flaws into his personality. As I grew as a roleplayer, I learned that quirks and flaws make a character interesting and deep. The reason I think most players create good looking characters is because it is what most of the heros they read about and see look like. It feels natural to create good looking and beautiful characters. I feel its as simple as that.

The past few characters I've played have all been slightly below the ugly line IMHO. They almost always have a face that would be considered ugly by today's standards and none of them are bulky or even the commonly used "well muscled." I find this works well for me. If someone happens to actually read my character description, it is something interesting and unique instead of the standard bright eyed, pretty face hero type. I feel that its also less forced RP. When someone has in their description that they're the model of perfection, except for that one twisted ugly scar, its almost saying "Hey, you're supposed to ask about my scar!" While I am not saying there is anything wrong with people who do this, some of the best RPers I know do this, its not my style. I feel that if you don't have those blatant sores, scars, or tattoos if forces you to make your character more interesting through personality than that one deformity.

I have played two or three just straight grotesque characters as well. I found the experience to be highly fullfilling. I experienced a whole range of responses to my character's description. Not only did I create a good amout of RP though his description alone, but it made it easier for me to develop personality RP. There is a wide range of ways your character can feel and react to their own deformities and grotesqueness. I don't think that everyone could create a grotesque character and play it well however. This is why we need to beautiful to balance out the ugly and th emundane to keep everything in perspective.
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Old 05-15-2005, 08:20 AM   #8
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Ultimately I think the biggest reason "why" is simply a reflection of what MUD's are for most people, an escape. Who wants to escape the regular world where they might be teased for their weight, height, proportions whatever, only to encounter it in a mud world? Assumably it also mirrors what most people in society see, the "beautiful" people having more friends, doing more things, and having more fun (at least on the surface).

Obviously you can't apply such generalities all over the place as not everyone fits into the above category. I'm assuming most of the more developed and less "pretty" characters are honestly those that are comfortable with themselves enough they don't have to worry about such things in their fantasy world.
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Old 05-15-2005, 01:47 PM   #9
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I play an ugly dwarf sometimes.  My description tends to say that he is hairy and greasy and generally unattractive.  I enjoy playing this dwarf because I can be different from everyone else playing the game who are attractive elves and humans.  My experience with this guy is that people don't often initiate conversations with him.  Of course, that may be because I never talk to people that much, or it could be because they look at him and express a sort of disdain.  At any rate, I like playing this guy because I can escape the boundaries presented by the normal "attractive" cast and do whatever I feel like. For instance, with a fat dwarf, I can waste all my money on food and alcohol and just not care.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:00 AM   #10
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Good thoughts and discussion on this issue so far. Anyone else want to chime in?
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:46 PM   #11
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I find that when I play a female character, that she tends to be reacted to as 'beautiful' or 'not so much' depending more on the personality I give her rather than her physical description. This is probably because people see the personality more. So, I have very beautifully desced chars who are crazy or venomous, and they tend to get what I'd think of as ugly-reactions. There's none of that 'The guy walks in and looks over at the pretty woman' sort of posing going on.

I find it kind of interesting.

I also have some not-so-prettily-desced females who have had very favorable reactions to their appearance (specifically, mildly overweight, 'plump' characters).

Older characters, even if they're quite lovely for their age, tend to be regarded as unattractive.

I try to describe rather than tell, so I don't use words like 'beautiful', and I think the response to my descs may simply echo the fact that either players or characters have different physical preferences.
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Old 05-25-2005, 03:58 PM   #12
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Ugly, repulsive, nasty characters are always more fun, for me at any rate. Some of my all time favorites have been grossly overweight, disfigured, old and decrepit, smelly you name it. That being said, I can see why some people would prefer to play a more appealing character.

But really, appearances don't matter that much in text-based games. If your character has a warm personality he'll get along just fine, despite his horrific facial deformity.

Which is why I enjoy making ugly characters that are narcissistic, conniving, foul-mouthed klepto's.

Most players want their characters to be liked. They want them to foster positive relationships. I, on the other hand, don't give a hoot. Feel free to hate and revile my characters all you want. It makes for some of the most entertaining roleplay.
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Old 05-25-2005, 04:25 PM   #13
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Part of me wants to be irritated over the whole pretty thing... but I can't bring myself to hate it. Most characters that are successful that I've played with are above average, but I wouldn't say many are top model or anything like that.

As for my characters: Most of my characters don't have bulging muscles or anything like that, but tend to look more professional than anything, and that receives a positive reaction. I have made the abrasive characters before and they're fun, but I don't make characters with 'attractive' in mind, it just happens I get that reaction for the characters sometimes.
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Old 05-26-2005, 09:13 PM   #14
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Most of my characters've been pretty average, except for my newest one. Yes, she is the top model type (I actually desc'ed her with Angelina Jolie in mind...), but it makes sense ICly -- it would've been done by tweaking her genes at birth. Besides, she's in the gene-tweaking business now... she pretty much /has/ to be OMG H0TT.

So to counter the "OMG CHIX!!!!!!!111one1111eleven" thing you get with H0TT CHIX, I gave her an NPC husband.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:30 PM   #15
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My characters are intentionally unattractive. My main char is 'short, stocky, and battlescarred', and my multi char is a hairy, smelly, hulking Ogryn Viking.


Because, the *last* thing I want or need these days is 15-year old newbies hitting on me.

I find that female characters with beautiful descriptions are inundated with chat requests. I play my game to PLAY. I just can't do the "I'm a cute, helpless, silly girl! Can someone help me out??" thing anymore. I'm not that into 'net chatter.

I'm naturally abrasive, so, giving my chars unattractive features lets other people 'live' with my foibles. It gives me freedom from having to play 'ditzy' or 'cute and loveable' or even 'arrogantly beautiful.' It gives me the freedom to speak my mind, but also build alliances and coalitions, because I am not (as) intimidating to other women MUDders, and I don't 'look' like competition. By crafting an unattractive female character, she can excel by her play, rather than solely on her social skills.
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:33 PM   #16
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I find it much more appealing to play characters that are just... average looking. Not drop-your-cappucino gorgeous, or ridiculously ugly... in short, nothing that goes "yo! attention! give!". They have FEATURES that are attractive, yes - a pretty face, deep eyes, long beautiful hair I'd really like to snick for real-life use - but also significant flaws, like being over or underweight, gangly, bulbous or angular, having a body part like feet, hands or hips be over or undersized, et cetera. Not a paragon of beauty or the depths of repulsiveness, just sort of natural.

Oftentimes, especially, I would say, for a woman (and I would know, BEING a woman...), at least part of one's personality is affected by their appearance. A guy can get by just being normal, but either by others' reactions or whatever, a woman is sort of expected to be pretty - and often either is treated or treats herself like she "failed" as a woman if she's not pretty. While a twentysomething, underweight gangly girl with bad skin, giant hands, no breasts and wiry black boyhair might not be UGLY, she might still feel that way, especially if her environment gives her little reason to believe otherwise. Thus, I tend to play average-looking characters either extremely casual - they know they're not going to win any awards, so they can go out in their bathrobe if they feel like it - or very formal, as if they're trying to make up for their "ugliness", whether it actually exists or not.

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Old 05-26-2005, 11:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by (val @ May 26 2005,22:13)
Most of my characters've been pretty average, except for my newest one.  Yes, she is the top model type (I actually desc'ed her with Angelina Jolie in mind...)
I don't think Angelina Jolie is that attractive. She has monstrous lips and strange eyes. That's probably just my personal opinion though.
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Old 05-27-2005, 03:15 AM   #18
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I honestly forget to describe my characters half the time.

I don't like writing character descriptions because I tend to feel vane and almost egotistic in the end.

I have done ugly characters before though, and on that MUD, no one really cared.

I think the reason people play pretty characters has already sort of been said here. A lot of people out there have a different image of themselves in their minds, and online we get to express that image. I don't really think it's sad that we all try to be what we can't be in real life, I mean isn't that what fantasy is all about?

If I were to describe my real self as a character, he'd go something like this":

Slunched and looking like someone just called him normal, Jonathan gives everyone his standard "I hate you all" glare. His hair a complete mess, his face looking as if it could use a lawn trimmer, and his clothes looking like something a hobo found on the streets. His body hair looks like a thin layer of fur, his eyebrows seem to be two mutant catapillars perched on his billboard-sized forehead, while his double chin seems to hang as lazily as his 300-pound gut and his entirely-too-noticable manboobs. For a moment, he turns to glance over his shoulder, but his bleach-white skin catches the light and nearly blinds you.

So as you can see... I rather like the idea of setting a character's description to:

Tall, dark, and well-built, Xorith stares at you from behind his dark cloak. A mysterious smile crosses his lips as he snaps his fingers, and within a flash, he disappears.

Of course, we all can look pretty for a camera... (note, this picture is rather old. Adjani convinced me to cut my hair, which now has a mind of its own... Not to mention I haven't used a razor in about a month.
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:52 AM   #19
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More good comments. Anyone else?
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Old 05-30-2005, 05:08 AM   #20
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Grumny SMASH! Grumny being my favorite character of all time. Grumny is a big dumb brute who bathes when it rains and can't find cover. He is so much fun to play. 
  Many people get their images for their own characters from the covers of recenlty read fantasy novels. Not that this is a bad thing. But honestly, how many fantasy novels have ugly characters on the cover?  

  Anyway, this is basically a Delurk post. Nice to meet you all
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