Cold-Blooded Concepting



  • When asked for advice, these are the answers I give. I don't like to consider things from the viewpoint of Goals or Adventure or Intrigue.

    1) What is your goal as a player with this new character?
    To be remembered.
    If you are not playing for this reason, you should be. It alleviates a lot of problems with character attachment and helps you play a more exciting character.

    Side note: Assume everyone is playing for one reason: to be in this picture with some O Fortuna blasting in the background. They want to get it on, no matter what they say or think. Once you've got them over a boiling pit of lava under a firestorm as an army clashes below, they will remember that day forever.

    2) Be well-defined
    Steer clear of any neutral alignments. Roleplay your chosen alignment and race. These are not things to be "slapped on". They define characters.
    The alignment system helps to define a great many things for a character. Limiting yourself to LG, CG, LE, CE gives you so much putty to work with it's not even funny. You can make a strong reaction towards almost any situation you find yourself in.

    3) Choose an Endgame Scenario
    Something so impossibly cataclysmic that either you will die achieving it or be turned into an NPC for doing so. The closer you get to your Endgame, the more people should turn against you. This should not only require a DM, but they should slap you in the face for asking for it. Wait until they are coming knocking to your door, then tell them what you want to achieve.
    _This gives you something to work towards, always. It is not meant to be reachable without a DM and should preferably neigh on impossible to reach at all. Examples would be:
    +Create a storm that will send Arabel back to the stone age.
    +Return Garagos to his rightful place as Lord of War
    +Outlaw magic
    +Put an end to the demonic flood in Wyvernrest
    -Gold, loot, levels are not suitable to aim for. This Endgame should provide you with something to funnel those resources towards.

    This should be your biggest character secret, but as you mature let clues slip about the nature and scope of your ambitions._

    4) Include ERRBODY
    Have at least one thing in mind that will include anyone who wants in, just give it a little personal flair that makes it work towards your Engame. Should operate outside of quests. This should not require a DM whatsoever.
    I'm doing this right now with the Cage.
    In the past I did this with my Talos cleric who would take people on violent pilgrimages around the server.
    The number of failed attempts I've made at this point outweigh everything else, but it's the most important. Make sure what you decide on sounds fun to you, because you can't count on anyone else promoting it. You'll have to drag people around by the ears to keep it alive, but it will get you a lot of notice if you do it right.

    Side-note: Think of why you want to quest as well. Gold, xp and loot is already there by default, but you can always throw a unique spin on quests you organize. Preferably it should be something that will help you make enemies and inspire followers with your bluntness. Like wanting to drink the blood of a sentient being with your special chalice in order to gain dark powers.

    5) Your character is going to die
    See Point 1. Don't get over-attached. Remember your focus, to be remembered. You need to go out with a bang for that to happen.
    Whether you're on the winning or the losing side of PvP, be respectful and don't try and humiliate your rival. It's not that hard, just direct your victory at something greater than the PC at your feet - perhaps leak some of your Endgame in the process, declaring that the time draws near when Kanthea's reign shall end in blood. Find reasons to let your enemies leave alive if you don't think you're at the cataclysmic finale yet. Avoid killing people on a first date especially. Let them walk away without much lasting damage; let them tell the guards, their friends. Before long your name will be all over the forums and a DM will be wondering "WHO IS THIS GUY???"

    6) Quiet nights don't benefit anyone
    Do you have a DM interested now? Do you want to assassinate someone? Do a dark ritual? Don't do it in secret. Make a server-wide event with it. (see: "WHO IS THIS GUY???)
    For instance, your infernalist wannabe can stage an auction in the Guildhall. While you're doing it your apprentice in the sewers below draws a massive pentagram, sacrifices his earlobe and steals everyone's souls for Orcus. Much more fun and exciting than waiting in the sewers for some hapless PC to walk along for some ritual sacrifice.

    7) Don't take it OOC
    Finally, keep everything IC. If your enemy gets super awesome loot and becomes lord of Arabel, don't take it OOC. Retaliate IC and stop wondering if they're a DM pet or something equally ridiculous.
    The most unhealthy way to play is to continuously approach what is happening IG from an OOC perspective. This includes things like NPCs acting counter to your understanding of them, or someone else getting a favour while you don't. It's the surest way to get very bitter, very fast.



  • I just want to add one thing, because this is used in tandem with lizard-man's post. (Sorry for hijacking your post!)

    If you feel that you have to be original to have an impact, don't. Make a blatant copy, add your own twist. Really, very few, if any, successful PCs, past or present, are 100% original.

    By blatant copy, I obviously don't imply that you need to take it TOO far, just that it's fine to pick aspects you really enjoyed about a character and incorporate them in your PC.

    Look at your favorite character in fiction. Tyrion, Jaime, Eddard, Rand al'Thor, Frodo, the Children of Light, Voldemort, Snape? Make a PC based on them, do what they do, add your own little twists here and there.

    The important thing is to actually do what they'd do, not conveniently drop the parts that will put you in danger.

    Eddard for example, went to his death because he was too stubborn to put pragmatism before honor. That made him badass and unique, and well remembered in a setting where "honor" and "morality" was decided by the winning side.

    Taking a "seed" or "concept" from your favorite personality (RL or fictitious) is a great starting place to come up with an idea.

    They had big goals. Use them. They had style, they had their unique flavor. Incorporate them.

    Again, I'll stress. Don't overdo it, but you don't have to give up because you can't come up with something 100% original. That's frankly impossible for the most part.



  • I'd like to comment on your fourth point myself, and this could actually incorporate your third as well. Coming from the opposite side (as in, being part of the everybody), there seems to be a common mindset of "maybe if'n I shows up and sticks around, cool things will come to me". Then the Role Playing is tailored to fit that sole need, but rather I feel, it should be the other way around. Role Play should always come first, everything else should revolve around that.

    I will try to further explain what I mean. This is my opinionated response mostly in tune with lizard's fourth topic. What has really stood out to me in the past have been the players that involve everyone, but are able to do it on a personal level. Concerning if you're a character in which a plot or goal revolves around and are trying to involve others, I've always found it more impressive when they do so by being in the trenches with everyone involved, so to speak. With real emotion, real role play. It's one thing to define your character's goal and then sculpt your role play to reach that end and only that end while stonewalling everything else, basically saying "come on, chickadees, you stick with me and we will get DM attention and fun events!"; then it's another thing entirely to say "okay, while it is my sworn duty to slay the Beast of Ultimate Evil, it is also my sworn duty to protect and honor my closest friends and their wishes".

    If I'm making sense, then awesome. I've never been much of a technical writer in terms of writing out guidelines or anything like that. I just ramble. To try and sum it up, we are all playing dynamic characters in a very dynamic world. Not automatons with a singular purpose, unphased by everything that doesn't contribute to that. Those are the characters that impress me and that I feel most people truly want to flock to without needing the incentive of DM undertones.



  • Good post and I am sure lots of people will heed the advice

    ..but that being said, remember the server is made up of many different individuals, who do not necessarily have the same views as everyone else, I was told a long time ago this server had a place for everyone, the bottom line is as you said, keep it in character and do not get too attached (funny words coming from me i know)

    and the final word..has to be this..keep it fun, for yourself, others and the DM's (something i have not always done, but am striving to do)

    we need well written guidelines like this to remind us constantly, thank you

    (oh..and i will keep playing as i have been, there is a place for smart, enduring and secretly getting things done, i see no reason for me to change what i am doing, since i am indeed having fun, i will simply temper that with what i have been reading and learning in game and in threads like this)



  • Yes, my heart wasn't in writing this guideline because I like to challenge rules than suggest them.

    Still, this is generally how I play my more ambitious characters. If no one was playing a "follower" without an ultra ambitious agenda, then no one would follow anyone else and the server would be equally boring, if not more so.

    As to point 4, I didn't explain it very well and got stuck on one aspect of it. Involving "everyone" by conducting some solid PvP that gets both sides player and DM interest is the epitome of what this point is all about.

    I see what you mean about defining your character by their goals rather than as a person, but this is what I'm getting at. You can legitimately think of a concept in terms of goals and then sculpt the RP to allow them to happen. I just consider that in order to have a good story-line without a DM you need an antagonist and a protagonist. The antagonist can be especially difficult since the mindset of being just a guy out to cause trouble and misery is difficult to get into and stay into.

    At the end of the day, so long as you arn't spam-PKing your rivals, a solid PvP relationship will skyrocket interest in everyone involved.


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