April 2018

Creating a larp character is one of my favourite things 

To do but often I find people, including myself, make very interesting histories for their character but don’t really think about how they are going to play the character once they start the game. Many of my own characters have gotten rather boring to play over time because they were not well thought out at character creation or didn’t develop past it’s history. Quite often this because I focus entirely on the history or in game skills.

The people who seem to have the best role-playing experiences at game are the ones who have one or many flaws to their character that they need to deal with on a regular basis. Some of these can be very challenging but more often than not result in fun role-playing.

The LARP I play most often (Epoch Toronto) has a section of their rulebook that lists common disadvantages that a character can take and receive extra XP for. These are nice to add to a character as they add role-playing opportunities. There are things like being mute or gullible, having phobias, or delusions and even “attack on sight” and “verbally abuse on sight” toward different groups such as undead, an in game race, a particular skill set, or even just something like “everyone who wears blue”. They are fun challenges to add to your character and can help round them out a bit more. If you don’t want one of the standard disadvantages, you are able to contact the AD and try to work out a unique disadvantage.

Even with a disadvantage, you may want to think about other challenges for your character. It can be fun to be non-traditional character or a semi-traditional character. I find a lot of people who play these type turn their backs completely to what ever traditions they don’t agree with (Orcs who hate fighting, Elves who hate magic, etc) have a burst of challenges at the beginning and then people become accepting, leaving it over and done with. Consider having goals that require you to deal with these things more often like trying to live an otherwise traditional life.

Consider how your character reacts to things they may encounter in a LARP. What would your character risk? Steal? Hire an assassin? Watch while someone is treated unjustly if they don’t like them? Are they the type to follow leadership completely? Do they have a guilty pleasure? Do they have a hobby? Do they like pranks? How do they react to insult? Are they intelligent? How old are they? What’s their maturity level? Considering these things before playing the game can help fill those times later on when you find yourself with nothing to do and even help inspire the player.

Everyone worries about the skills in the beginning but in a game like Epoch one of the best things you can take is Life Skills. Power gamers often don’t take many of these but having a handful of interesting Life Skills really helps getting your character acquainted with others. There is only so many times you can repeat the same “Hi I’m ______ and I’m a fighter/mage/alchemist/etc.” Having something like Life Skill: Hunting or Life Skill: Woodworker can give you something to talk about in-depth and an activity to bond with other characters over.I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on what has helped them create fun, well-rounded characters. Tell me in the comments!

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  1. Crys November 7, 2012 9:32 PM

    More often than not when I create a character I have the personality in mind before I do anything. From there skills and traits are easy, but very rarely do I write a complete character background before I play the character in a game. More often than not, their history and past will develop as I play them that first time and it usually makes for a much more well-rounded character for me.

  2. Pingback: Character making! | LARPforbeginners

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