Character Creation Guide

From ThornsWiki


This page will guide you through the creation of your character. For reference while creating your character and preparing your character sheet for submission on the Forum, you should also read our Rules for Play.

First Steps

Please remember to create both an OOC (Writer) Account and an IC (Character) Account. You can link these accounts in the User Control Panel on the forum. Your Character Account username should be the name by which your character will go by—whether or not that includes a last name is up to you. We also suggest that with your Writer Account (using whatever username you wish as an out-of-character nickname both on the forum and on Discord), you go ahead and fill out a writer profile so that other players can get to know you and your preferences.

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

You do not need to wait until your character sheet has been approved to start writing with a character, but you cannot progress your skills or wealth tier until this is done. If there is a glaring problem with your character, you may be asked to wait on replying to your threads and partners until all of your issues have been resolved.

Filling out your Character Sheet

Now, when you're ready, you will probably want to start a text document that contains our Character Sheet Template. If BBCode intimidates you or you would like some help in understanding what each bit means, please don't hesitate to ask questions or even create a plain text version of the Character Sheet to fill in with BBCode with assistance from an Admin or player.

Taking a look at how our character sheet is structured should give you an idea of how to conceptualize your character. Below you will find the logical steps on how to create your character and our recommended order. Links to all guides and game mechanics are also listed for your reference:

  1. Conceptualize
  2. Choose your Race
  3. Choose your Place of Origin
  4. Decide your Physical Appearance
  5. Come up with your Personality
  6. Write your Backstory
  7. Choose your Skills
  8. Choose your Occupation, Wealth Tier, Housing, and Equipment
  9. Decide your Character's Goals
  10. Double-check your character sheet and submit.

Your Character's Details

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.

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.

If your character is from a country other than the Kingdom of Anaxas, please consult the Geography section of the Compendium to learn more about what Kingdoms are open for play and how their cultures are different from Anaxas. All but Hesse and the Lost Kingdoms are open role play—ask our staff if you have any specific questions. While there is some wiggle room about small towns and cities and miscellaneous locations in all of the Six Kingdoms, if you wildly invent towns and cities, your character sheet probably won't be accepted.

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.

You can find information on coming up with names for your character based on their Kingdom of origin in the Naming Conventions guide.

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.

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 the individual Races pages as well as Genetics and Appearances. Keep in mind that the different Kingdoms contain very different looking people groups and that the Six Kingdoms are unified enough that international couples occasionally form a blended family.

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. It is also recommended you consider how your character feels about and interacts with other races than themselves.

Your Character's Backstory

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.

For further assistance in fleshing out your character's history, please continue reading Writing a Backstory.

Game Mechanics and Skills

The Game Mechanics of Thorns: Uprising are meant to be a very light version of character progression. While they may seem intimidating at first if you come from a play by post background that is much more open-ended, the Skills below are meant to be a way of allowing you, the player, to keep track of how your character grows and changes while you write together with other players. It is also a way of setting yourself apart as unique and documenting your abilities, especially if you are a galdor or a wick who chooses to pursue magical knowledge. Conflict is part of the nature of the game here and when situations of Player-versus-Player (PvP) occur, whether rarely or commonly, having a method of comparison is both fair and important for allowing all players involved a standard way of role-playing their skills and abilities.

Progression is narrative—there are no points to gather or skill trees to move through—and you are completely responsible for how you choose to move your character through their life. Moderators are available to review your collection of threads once you're ready to submit a progression request, and they are available every step of the way to help you consider how to go about advancement, both OOC and IC.

There are two types of Primary 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. Magic is also included under Focus Skills, but that certainly has its own section devoted to it, whether galdor or wick. Lastly, there is the Secondary Skill, your Linguistics Skill, which allows your character to communicate in the different languages found in Vita.

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 occupation within the confines of their racial limitations and therefore also free to choose their Focus Skills based on what they feel their character would have training in, be it a galdor who is proficient with Static Conversation or a wick who is proficient in Leatherworking.

The three skill guides can be found here:

For an overview of Skill Progression, please see the Game Mechanics section.

Your Character's Occupation

Along with your character's Backstory and Skills, it helps to consider your character's Occupation and how that plays into what they're good at and where they've come from. Thorns: Uprising is a Victorian fantasy set in a pre-industrial Steam Age on the verge of an industrial revolution in addition to a political one. Magic has allowed for advancements in some technology while delaying others, and so a variety of career options are available in a setting that is not like earth.

For information on possible career choices depending on your character's race, please check out these guides:

Income, Inventory, and Property

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/she/them to do for a living. Now it's time to determine your starting Income Tier, what your Housing is like, and what kind of things your character owns in their Inventory.

Each race can begin the game at a variety of Income Tiers, but since certain races are limited, please read carefully. You are welcome to ask permission to begin the game at a different level of income if you have a genuine role play reason in your character's backstory or a cunning plotline you'd like to follow once you begin writing. Please don't hesitate to ask.

Information on inventory and housing can be found in the Property and Inventory Guide.

Story Goals and Plot Hooks

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 moderators would love to see short-term goals as well as long-term goals so that they can better assist you in getting involved in the player-led plots as well as the game's overarching storylines.

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 storyline 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.