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Character Creation Guide

From ThornsWiki

Main article: Getting Started

This page will guide you through the making of your character sheet. This section is intended for people who are not experienced at making character sheets, but might also be helpful if you are new to the world of Thorns. For reference while creating your character sheet, you should also read our Rules for Character Creation.

It is assumed throughout this guide that you are familiar with the world of Thorns. Reading through the In-World Wiki will help you get better acquainted with the setting.

You do not need to wait to start until you've been approved to start RP with a character, but you cannot progress your skills or wealth tier until this is done.


Templates & Guides

Conceptualize!

The first step to creating a character is to imagine where you want to place them in the world of Thorns. In general, what sort of character do you want to create? Think about their morality, motivations and personality in the broadest of terms. This will help you create the rest of your sheet.

Characters come into being in many different ways. Some spring from the woodwork of your mind fully-formed, while others begin as a single seed of an idea that grows into a complex being. Some are carefully planned in order to possess an intentioned set of traits.

Whatever the origin of your character, they should embody some sort of concept. Every character has a story behind them; even if nothing interesting has ever happened to them, that's a story in itself! The story might not be a traditional narrative. It might be the simple conflict of a man without a conscience, or a woman who believes herself to be too timid, or a boy seeking to grow into a man. It might be a complex story, riddled with self-doubt or anger; it might be a positive tale about a character with many good qualities who has been handed a lot of trouble through no fault of his own. A good character is the embodiment of at least one central idea.

A strong concept is one that will provide a framework for self-propelled stories. While an RPG is dependent on cooperation and people working together to create stories, it is desirable to have a character with some obstacle to overcome, some internal conflict to sort out. In the midst of cooperative storytelling and the story arcs you will participate in, you can build on your character's personality, letting them grow organically. The concept behind their personality will enhance every story you participate in.

Choosing A Race

The currently five playable races of Thorns (galdor, wick, human, passive, and raen) are all very different. Though you can take your character in any direction you want, the races page should give you a good idea of what that race might be like to roleplay with. You should try to keep common racial traits in mind when you are creating your character, as they will be the standards to which your character will be compared to.

If you want to focus on political struggles, ambition and the art of magic, you might consider playing a galdor. Galdori are the dominant race and control most of the world, so playing one will afford you many opportunities to travel, compete with other galdori for power and throw your magical might around. Galdori have deep personal conflicts, often struggling against their own nature when trying to make moral decisions.

If you are more of a free spirit you might enjoy playing a wick, the nomadic race. Wicks travel the country on caravans, peddle their wares with humans and generally live for the good life, though there are chances for political struggle and even war between tribes. Wicks also get some magic, though it is weaker than that of the galdori. They are usually quirky and friendly, but some wicks are bitter about being rejected from both human and galdori society. There are three categories of wicks: nomadic wicks, tsat wicks, and tyat wicks, all of which exist in a unique situation in Anaxas' tumultuous times.

If you prefer a setting with less advanced technology and a more traditional non-nomadic society, you will one day have the option of playing a wick from Anhau. For now, however, Anhau is currently closed for play.

If you really love stories about crime syndicates and secret societies, you might love playing a human. Humans, being oppressed for years by the galdori, have an intricate underground culture and are reliant on their martial skill and street-smarts. If you like skulking in the shadows, this is the race for you. Humans are tough, strong and practical, and must balance their struggle for freedom in order not to be corrupted themselves.

If you are a real individualist and don't mind a challenge, you should consider a passive character. Passives are people of magical birth (born of galdori or wicks) who cannot control magic. As a passive you have a unique position between the races; if you work in the University you can get close to the galdori, or you could help the humans with their resistance, or you could live freely with a wick caravan. Passives must also deal with the knowledge that they have a deadly and unpredictable power that they cannot control, a power that can be both a blessing and a curse.

If you're looking for something a little out of the norm, and enjoy the idea of the supernatural or reincarnation, you might like to consider a Raen. Raen are souls whose flow between the afterlife and the antelife are broken. They are doomed to wander through Vita. Unless they bond with a body, their soul begins to disintegrate, corrupting the world around its incorporeal form.

Place of Origin

If your character is from a country other than Anaxas, keep in mind that the foreign countries are not yet available for roleplay - ask a moderator if you want to write something specific about the country. If you wildly invent towns and cities, your character sheet probably won't be accepted. Moderators will be happy to provide extra information about other cultures should you request it.

Keep in mind that in other kingdoms there are totally different social standards and customs. Your character concept might not work if you make your character foreign. If you want to be part of the Anaxi resistance, for instance, you probably wouldn't want to make a character from Mugroba. It is a good idea to make an Anaxi character initially before making a character from another country; it's hard to get a good idea of what people from a certain country act like until you've RPed with them.

You should have a good reason for making a foreign character. In the time period in which the game is set, it is difficult, costly and time-consuming to travel across kingdoms. It is also difficult to find employment if you're from a different country. Additionally, political and social conditions in Anaxas are worse than in many other kingdoms, so there is little reason why a character would arbitrarily decide to move to Anaxas. You need to give your character a good motivation for being there.

Physical Appearance

A detailed description is useful for setting your character firmly in your reader's mind. In the Physical Appearance section of the character sheet form, you should include the basic aspects of your character's appearance - height, weight or body type, and skin, hair and eye color. Be sure to mention any unusual details that would distinguish your character from the masses, such as any distinctive markings, tattoos, deformities, scars or even an unusual taste in dress. Your character's physical appearance is probably not of paramount importance, but you may want to be detailed in your description lest an artist wish to depict them in a visual medium.

In this section, try to write in the manner of a storyteller rather than someone describing a suspect to the police. Try to give more than a mere visual impression of the character to the reader. A character's appearance will usually reveal something about them, whether it's a telltale slouch, a scar with a history, or a strange kind of beauty that makes others stop and stare. A word of caution - although there is an alarming tendency to do so within the world of RPGs, there is no need to describe your character's cup size.

To understand the typical physical traits of different nationalities, please see [Genetics and Appearances].

Personality

Writing your character's biography will probably have given you a clear picture of their general personality. The significant events of a person's life will always shape the individual they become, and fictional characters are no different. Picture everything that has led to the present state of your character. How would your character have developed, given those circumstances?

Try to give your character a variety of believable traits, ones which play off of their backstory and make sense given their life choices. For example, it wouldn't make much sense if a character had lived a happy life with his family and yet was bitter and resentful of his parents for no reason whatsoever. A character who abhors violence would not be likely to become a mercenary. Your character's personality needs to ring true to the reader. And while you don't necessarily need to make a likable character (some of the best characters are utterly reprehensible), your reader should want to know more about them. Interesting characters have flaws as well as good attributes - and not just "interview flaws", like too trusting.

It is advisable to allow your characters to be diverse. A generally grumpy character who treats people badly might make an exception around children. A bubbly and thoughtless girl might prove to be unexpectedly resourceful when faced with challenges. A deep thinker might like to blow off steam by participating in violence, and an amoral ruffian might have a soft spot for his mother. Think about how quirks and unexpected traits can set your character apart from others and flesh them out.

In addition to describing your character's personality, you can use the Personality section to talk about specific skills or deficiencies your character has.

Character Biography

Your character's life story is the most important part of character creation, because not only does it show the events and decisions that led to your character's current status, it shapes their personality and worldview. Without a strong backstory, a character will have no sense of purpose in the world, and readers will have difficulty understanding their motivations. A backstory is especially helpful in play-by-post RPGs because characters seem to appear out of nowhere, jumping into stories without introduction; with a good backstory, readers who are entirely new to you will have a clear picture of where your character came from and what they're all about.

But backstories don't necessarily have to be long or eventful. There's no need to write an entire book about your character before you even begin playing him. In fact, it might be good to save some of those story ideas for roleplay! The purpose of a backstory is not to make your character fully established, but to set him up so that he can be where he needs to be, so that he can begin his real story (in the game). The roleplay becomes the defining time in your character's life, like the events in a novel usually are to the novel's main character.

Effective Events

It's is not necessary to jam-pack your backstory full of exciting action. Indeed, some of the most effective backstories set up characters who thus far have not been involved in much excitement, and this might provide the motivation for them to look around for it - Bilbo Baggins is a classic example of such a character.

But certain events can help shape characters into the individuals you wish them to be. Traumatic events like the loss of a loved one, a terrible injury or a great disappointment can spur on both negative and positive character development. Fortunate events, such as the birth of a child or falling in love, can give characters something to live for. A spiritual awakening or a great revelation might also be the key to shaping your character.

If your character is meant to have a family or existing connections with other characters, their backstory is a great place to set up those relationships ahead of time.

Things to Avoid While Writing Backstories

Don't get too bogged down in writing every detail of every event. It isn't necessary to write a thesis paper on your character's life, especially if it hasn't been incredibly eventful. It's painful for casual readers to slog through paragraph after paragraph of laborious description when all they're looking for is a simple explanation of what's happened to your character in his life so far. When you start writing dialogue, you've gone too far - save the intense prose and write an actual story! It will be much better received. The backstory is simply not the place for that much writing.

Conversely, don't be too sparse. Even if nothing of note happened during your character's formative years, it's worthwhile to focus on a few significant events or whatever it is that your character latches onto when asked about their past.

Choosing Your Skills

In light of figuring out your character's history, it's time to tackle their current skills. There are two types of Skills in Thorns: Uprising—Aptitude Skills, which are somewhat like old school D&D Stats, but also act as an umbrella for a variety of practical skills and Focus Skills, which are specific skills a character has earned through study, practice, or employment. Every Race has a certain Aptitude Skill matrix for new players to create distinctions between the races that reflect their varied lifestyles. Players are free to choose their Profession and therefore also free to choose their Focus Skills based on what they feel their character would have skills in, be it a galdor who is proficient with Static Magic or a wick who is proficient in leather working.

At the moment, the skill guides can be found here on the Forum: A Guide to Skills

Choosing Your Income Tier, Inventory and Housing

Once you've come up with your skills, you've probably also decided your character's profession or at least come up with an inkling of an idea about what you'd like he or she to do for a living. If you haven't, you're welcome to message staff for assistance. Each race can begin the game at a variety of income tiers, but since certain races are limited, the guide for Income Tiers and Housing Starting Packages can be found on the Forum:

Your Character's Goals

Now that your backstory is complete, take a second to reflect. What does your character want most of all? Where do they want to go, and what do they want to do? What are their plans for the immediate future? The mods are going to want to see short-term goals as well as long-term. (This section should be in paragraph form, not a list.)

The Final Check

Before submitting your sheet, please check it carefully for spelling and grammar errors.

Once you've double-checked everything, proceed to the Character Sheet Approval Page and post a link to your sheet.

After you post, a moderator will come along and review your thread. If you have any errors or problems in your sheet, you will get a pm from a moderator asking you to make some edits to your thread. In some cases, major issues with the story line might necessitate longer revisions. You can avoid problems by researching all the areas covered in your sheet and asking questions ahead of time if you can't find answers on the wiki.

After your revisions (if there are any), the moderator will reread your sheet and approve you if everything is fixed. You will see an Approved PM when your CS is approved.

The Next Step

While you are waiting for approval, go ahead and read the Rules for Play. The Player Information section has further information about game rules and policies as well as a helpful selection of tips, FAQs and game terminology.