Questions for you to ask yourself when creating a character:
- What is the Characters name, age, gender?
- What does this character look like?
- What are the defining characteristics of his personality?
- Pick no more than 2 for ancillary characters e.g. intelligent and crooked and up to 4 for pivotal characters e.g. friendly, soft spoken, secretly sadistic and extremely fond of food)
- Pivotal Characters with slightly contrasting traits are more interesting than uni-dimensional characters, a more grey human personality is more appealing than an outright good or evil personality)
- Who are his friends and affiliates?
- What are his long term goals in life and what are his short term goals in this story?
- Is the character:
- A Player Avatar (leave the character’s personality a little open ended so that the players can supply their own interpretation) or
- A Non-Player Character (should be tightly knit into the story and have an interesting personality)?
Exercise 2 (Relationship Definition)
Characters must have interactions with the worlds around them and other characters for their personality to become evident to the players. Here are some examples of the types of relationships the characters can have that can make them interesting:
- Historical: Characters have a relationship, the beginning of which, precedes the story and may be either friendly or unfriendly
- Hierarchical: Characters belong to a clearly defined hierarchy and usually work together for a common cause
- Mutually Beneficial: Characters are drawn together in a circumstantial relationship of cooperation and have no lasting commitments
- Mutually Destructive: Characters are drawn together in a circumstantial relationship of contest
- Mysterious: Characters have a relationship and refer to each other but do not easily reveal the nature of their relationship
Between Characters and Places
Characters may have a relationship with the place that they are encountered at by the player. These can be of the following types:
- Place that the Character wants to guard (may be for purposes such as protection of resources, kin or just territorial jealousy. This kind of relationship can be conditional to make the story more interesting e.g. A guard will accost you if you try to enter the castle without a scroll of identification)
- Place that the Character is transitioning through
- Place that the character is trying to get away from
Between Characters and Props (In, what is usually, a decreasing order of relevance to the story)
- Props needed by a character for a specific purpose in the story (keys, Artifacts etc.)
- Props needed by a character for use (Weapons or tools)
- Props that signify in-game wealth or progress (coins, rewards etc.)
- Props needed by a character for survival (Food, Medicines, Water etc.)
Creating a Game-for-learning on Esoteric can be a fulfilling and rewarding exercise. Hopefully the three steps mentioned in these articles will help you get started with your own game design. Simple planning with pencil and paper always cuts hours of wasted effort from the time spent on development.
We wish you the best of Luck with your development!