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Old 07-29-2005, 01:18 PM   #1
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I'm going to start a series of character development workshops here in the forums. Basically, these will be creative exercises in which participants try to design their own unique character based on a couple of key words or concepts I provide.

For our first effort, I'll suggest: suspicious of others and shrewdly intelligent.

You take those concepts and drum up a couple of paragraphs about a character of your own making, in any game theme you choose, whether it's an established franchise or original-theme game. SF, fantasy, Wild West ... doesn't matter, as long the character comes from your mind. Have fun!
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:31 AM   #2
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suspicious of others and shrewdly intelligent
Sam grew up in the luxury and privilege of House Nenyuk, the merchant family which owns and operates the banks and most of the real estate in the known world. Not a family member, Sam was the offspring of a kitchen servant and a bank guard. Nenyuk raised him in the nursery, expecting him to follow is parentage into service to the House. He was given lessons in ettiquette, in numbers, and discovering his drive and will to succeed, in the Merchant Tongue, Cavilish.

A scrawny but strong young man now of age 16, Sam is ready to serve the house as assistant to one of the Junior Agents. He has already gone with Lecretia Nenyuk on several rental-runs about town, and has experienced for himself how tenants always seem to make themselves scarce when the rent's due, and why it is so important for Miss Nenyuk to have someone at her side.

>The thin, muscular young man has arrived from the west, carrying a small coin chest on his shoulder.
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:06 AM   #3
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Althea was raised the daughter of a land-owning farmer. The family owned just enough land to take care of themselves, and also JUST enough to make a nuisance of themselves to the neighbors. Althea's folks refused repeated offers to buy the farmland, and unfortunately, good fences did not make for good neighbors. Often were the days growing up when Al and her brothers herded grazing livestock off their budding crops and mended fences that had been severed with wire-cutters. Farming was a family endeavor, and surplus coin was hoarded by Papa with great intensity: every day that the tax-man wasn't mentioned was a noteworthy day on Farm Sentos.

By 12, Althea had learned to bury her own meager coinage as far afield as she could muster, and by her wedding day midsummer of her sixteenth year, her pittances amounted to about as much as a week's tax dues on the farm. Her new husband, a local merchant of no renown, set her to work as a seamstress, much to Althea's chagrin. However, old habits die hard, and the young lady was adept at keeping a small portion of her earnings for herself rather than turning over the entire amount to her husband. Althea kept house, sewed repairs for other townsfolk, and occasionally created a design of her own to sell on the side to the more wealthy women of the area.

Not particularly happy with her lot in life, Althea sometimes discounted her handiwork in exchange for reading lessons. At 25, her ability to read had outstripped her husband's, and since she had proved barren (and thus, useless), in his jealousy he drugged her one night and wagoned her off about 4 hours away from Braye, their home village. He left her prostrate alongside the road, where she awoke with a splitting headache and the clothes on her back. Vowing vengeance, she wandered the road until she found a farmhouse, where she spent a week working for half a week's wages and getting her bearings. At the end of the week, she bid farewell to the farmer, his wife, and their rotten little brats, and headed back toward the village of Braye to recover her savings from under the floorboards.
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Old 07-30-2005, 01:09 PM   #4
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You always make up the best topics, Brody! I started with the topic: suspicious of others and shrewdly intelligent, and I went off a little bit. I like this character though.

Vahn was once a nice young boy. He minded his manners and respected his elders. His mother raised him to the best of her ability and she always thought he would do great things. She taught him math and grammar and he was a great pupil. His mother and father were in a loveless relationship. Father would spend his days and nights in the taverns and Mother depised him for that. Mother continued to teach him and everyday she would remind her son that world could be his one day - just don't turn out to be like your father.

One day Vahn woke up to find both parents gone. He wandered around the house and around the fields surrounding their home. He found his father passed out in a stack of hay. Disgusted, he turned to look for his mother. He would look for days, but could never found her. Over then next few months, he would hear rumors of his mother working at a brothel in this town or that. He didn't know if he should take that as truth or an insult. He would ask his father, but he never got an answer.

Mother basically supported the household. She had worked as a servant for an upper class woman. Her cooking and cleaning brought home enough coin for Father to spend on ale. What ever remained bought food for the family. Now, that Mother was gone no money came in. Vahn was still young, about 11 years old now, so he tried to find an apprenticeship or another job. As the son of a drunkard and a whore, he found that no one would hire him. He tried his hand at stealing, since that was the only thing left. He managed to get a few loaves of bread here and there. He got cocky once and got caught trying to pick a pocket.Now, that incident got him labeled he as a theif. No one would look his way; he was basically outcasted.

Through his teenage years he grew to depend only on himself. The only person he could ever trust was taken away from him and now it seems like every else is against him. He practiced his thieving skills until they were an art to him. Using some of his earnings, he would buy a few books to keep up his studying. He did that in honor of his mother, since he knew that she would encourage him to keep up his studies. Soon he has a decent stash of coin, so it bought himself a horse and few other things needed for traveliing and left that small town.
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:00 PM   #5
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Daphne was not a pretty baby.

Her mother had proven fertile and Daphne had five older siblings, two boys and three girls. She was the last of the lot, the final endeavor that broke something inside her mother and rendered her unable to have children. It seemed, genetically speaking, that much of the good material had been used on her older siblings, and the grade of offspring had reduced in quality as time went by. She was a short, gnarled, wispy-haired and bad-skinned child, prone to sunburns and scars, and none of that changed much as she grew.

School was nightmarish. While not, technically, a midget, Daphne was short enough for it to cause problems, and was the butt of everyone's joke in class. The boys evidently considered her more of a monster than a human, as the 'don't hit girls' rule was bent only in Daphne's occasion, and many times did the school boys volunteer their efforts to try and beat her bone structure into serviceable shape. However, while it hurt a lot, Daphne's shriveled physique proved to have one quality that was both a blessing and a curse: a tremendous hardiness that made sure she never got sick, never got hurt, and could literally be thrown off the roof of the three-storey suburban public school and escape with only cuts and bruises.

She learned to keep to herself. Life, for an ugly girl, is terrible; for an ugly woman it's terrible in whispers. While no boys beat her up and no girls would circle around her to taunt her, Daphne in womanhood was avoided, talked down-to, and treated in several ways subtly worse than a higher grade of human. Corners that, for an average woman, would be cut, were allowed to strike her; opportunities that would flourish for a pretty girl were stonily denied. She found that modern society considered beauty, in women, to be almost a responsability, and that as an ugly woman she had failed. She learned to keep her failure to herself, and never ever reveal that it hurt her. Her ugliness, which appeared to be a symptom of her physical hardiness, became a symbol for her mental strength. Bitterness was happiness, and the only way she could feel strong.

Daphne is thirty-one. She is four-foot-eleven, two hundred and thirty-two pounds. Her hair is brown, mouse-colored, and matches her eyes; her body tends to pouches and folds, and even her face is shaped like some great, blotchy organ. She is still a virgin. She faces life naked, with no relief, and it makes her tough, leathery with pain; it makes her strong.

And when it builds, builds so hot... relief comes as a symbol. A thousand birds collect when honey is offered. A thousand birds with broken backs.

*relurks, creeped out by her own brain*
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: WORKSHOP: Character Building #1

Originally Posted by Brody View Post

For our first effort, I'll suggest: suspicious of others and shrewdly intelligent.

You take those concepts and drum up a couple of paragraphs about a character of your own making, in any game theme you choose, whether it's an established franchise or original-theme game. SF, fantasy, Wild West ... doesn't matter, as long the character comes from your mind. Have fun!
Here goes. This is a fantasy theme. I'm not sure I can manage the shrewdly intelligent part because I don't consider myself to be, you know, shrewd or intelligent (here's a question: is it possible to effectively play a character who's supposed to be smarter than you are?)

All my life I have been surrounded by others who were jealous of my power, and who have tried to usurp it from me. The fool Cresithia, who claimed to want only the love in my heart but truly coveted the spells in my head... my brother Verrick, always warning my of the dark paths that I wandered down as though he cared for my soul rather than wished to keep me weak... the White Mages of th far Isles... I could go on and on, but I will not waste my time on those who are so petty and jealous. I have worked hard for my knowledge, and it is mine and mine alone. I have seen... and done... dark things to acquire it, but of that I will not speak. With knowledge comes power, and with power I can remake the world. Not all at once, mind you. I am not so proud or foolish as to think that even my power is great enough to force my will upon the entire world. No... it must be a slow, inexorable process.

It began with the Bards. Lowliest of the citizens, they were easily won with the simplest acts of kindness, and made to sing my praises. Loved by the people, none now perceive me as a threat, but one by one I bind the great Mages of the world to my service, with dark arts or promises of power, until so many are mine that the rest can not hope to stand against us. One by one I gain support of the great warriors of the lands, winning their loyalty, paying their price, or encouraging them in "other ways"... until my army is great... and none can withstand it.... Then no one will ever be able to take that which is mine.
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:26 AM   #7
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Re: WORKSHOP: Character Building #1

When The Kid was traded by his father to the natives for half his weight in ****-poor whiskey, he was too young to remember, but somehow, the stink of alcohol always made him vaguely nostalgic. The word "Buck" had been burned into his belly with a cigar-butt sometime before then, but he didn't learn to read English until he was almost thirty, so he fancied that the pinkish scars were tribal markings. He didn't remember how he got the scars, but he awoke some nights with the phantom aroma of whiskey in his nose, tears on his cheeks, and the echo of searing pain.

"Traded for Whiskey" he was called by the tribe that abused him mercilessly into his teen years, and that was long after he had developed a cringe reflex whenever a hand nearby moved or flinched too quickly, a sure sign that a random blow was en route. The habit of moving fast away from punches and kicks, and just as fast toward scraps thrown on the ground before the dogs outraced him, developed quickly. He became conditioned to see the threats before they materialized, in the same manner that he noticed how vultures flew in an elongated ellipse that pointed toward a carcass before they began to circle directly above it. Handy, if you wanted a reasonably fresh extra meal before the coyotes got the scent.

His eyes flitted like dragonflies, constantly alert for arbitrary threats, or meager opportunities, and they did so from beneath a downcast brow that drew no undue attention, nor missed many details. Never allowed his own bow, he watched carefully as others used them, always gleaning what he could with his peripheral vision, his gaze ever belying the target of his attention. It didn't matter to his captors that he could estimate the number of huckleberries on a bush in a glance, or predict exactly where the current would deposit him when they threw him into the creek for amusement, or any number of mental gymnastics. Only concerned with how loudly he could be made to yelp when tormented, he was nearing seven summers when he learned to feign a satisfying wail that would abate the latest torture. Even the ponies seemed to wait until he was near to pass gas on him.

His most obvious relief to his existence didn't occur to him until he was twelve. Sometimes, the brightest are the blindest. He needed to leave the tribe, or kill them all, or he would die unremembered at their hands. It took two months of planning, but he managed to do both, and to seek the towns and settlements of white men.

SIDE NOTE: I know the parameters were a couple of paragraphs, but sometimes, the writing just takes off on its own. (And no, I don't think it's possible to effectively play a character that's smarter than you are.)
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