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Old 08-04-2013, 11:48 PM
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Please review: Faerin

Game application thread: http://www.rpgcrossing.com/showthread.php?t=137678

My character isn't quite finished yet, still tinkering, but I would still be very happy if anyone would look over him, its mostly the Ten Minute Background stuff.

 
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:22 PM
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High level analysis: you need to do a lot more grammar and wording review on this to make it likely to be accepted. There is a pattern in your descriptive terms to use two (joined with an "and" in most cases) in a place you should use only one, and a more specific one at that. This isn't doing you any favors, obviously.

I have some issues with the description (your character has been branded in my mind as wearing a cotton candy wig) but the major problem here is grammar and sentence structure, the way you convey your concept. There are some things I'd say are perhaps minor concept issues as well, but they're not insurmountable, and they might be intentional, or the result of the order in which information is presented. For instance, the "character was in the army" point came as a bolt out of the blue, nothing before that hinted at it or even left the door open to it. Certainly you need to structure the ten minute background thing into a better format.

More detailed comments as follows, with the help of my friend the tooltip tag. I went through the first few sections in detail so you can see some of the flaws I referred to above. You should get the idea from this.
Quote:
Physical Description: Faerdin is 3 and half feet tall and very slender. He displays no real musculature at all, instead appearing "Having great power of leaping or running; nimble; active."
A perfectly good term to use, I just have never seen it used in this context before.
spry and something of a This phrase is exceedingly awkward.weakling in strength. His hair is an icy blue that would have fallen close to his shoulders if it wasn’t so stubborn, a Cotton candy?
I know we're talking gnomes, but even those little guys never get
four color hair without the use of dyes. Especially colors like that.
mixture of white and a light blue with a single streak of red and one of green. His eyes are a slate blue color and he This phrase is both awkward and devoid of any useful information.looks like a man who was short on height. His beard Wrong tense. Should be "is" to match the rest.was whitish but You're missing a period at the end of this sentence.
Also, most bearded species, without the aid of dyes, generally have the same colored
hair on both top and bottom of the head.
You're solidifying my impression that this character is made of cotton candy.
shot through with traces of orange and red His clothes tend to be I believe this is a common detail for gnomes, and it's a good one.garish and clashing at times.
Also, the picture that came after that looked (a) like a human more than like a gnome, and (b) nothing like what I was picturing from the description. I suppose that my second concern is owing partly to the fact that you have not mentioned anything about what his face looks like, and partly to my own brain filling in gaps in your description with a little help from the artists at Paizo.
 


Quote:
Background and Personality
Don't use bullet points where a paragraph format is probably better.1) Faerin is a somewhat mischievous character, Neither of these phrases actually convey information. Presumably, everyone enjoys fun...though not as much as some, he does enjoy his fun. In normal circumstances he is awkward phrase, also underworded - that is, you're using entry level, vague words where specific, ones (such as "compassionate" or "empathetic") are called for.a very kind and nice guy, though often rather
This is at the same time redundant (two metaphorical descriptions) and confusing
(because those two turns of phrase don't usually mean the same thing, but you seem
to imply that they do). Pick one.

At this point, I have discovered a pattern. Two inadequate descriptors in a place where you should use one more specific one. At best it's redundant, at worst it's awkward and unhelpful.
air headed with his head in the clouds.
2) He also has his serious side but it tends to only show through circumstances such as?in circumstances that call for decisive action.
3)
This sentence is so broken that I had to read it backwards twice to even sort of
understand it. You're not putting your best foot forward on grammar here, and
that's going to hurt you. Also, "Casting soldier" is probably the least ideal phrase
imaginable for the concept you are trying to convey.
I get what you're trying to say. He worked with an army as a battle caster. Why
would an inherently peaceful person join the army, though? A hint at motivation
here would go a long way.
At heart he is peaceful, but he knows that sometimes situations call for force and when they do he has the power to answer with, this goes back to the time he spent in battle as a casting soldier, he spent several years fighting, well, hiding behind soldier while he cast death into the other side’s soldiers. It has left him with both something of a hatred of war but also the firm realization that at times situations warrant force of an often gruesome nature, Don't phrase this as a question.
Also, this should be its own sentence, the prior one is long enough already.
the question is, which situations?
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Last edited by Aeternis; 08-05-2013 at 03:29 PM.
  #3  
Old 08-05-2013, 04:58 PM
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This is a good start but needs polish. Take the Ten Minute BG, use the bullet point list to build a narrative description with each point illuminating other attributes to build a coherent and integrated whole. Think about how the character's goals will effect personality and vice versa.

Your description needs better flow. In addition reads as somewhat clownish and doesn't at all match the picture you attached. Impressionistic description rather than point by point enumeration of traits may be better in this case. Check out Squeak's description of Sizwe to see what I mean.

How do these background, personality traits and goals integrate together to make a coherent character and why would that character want to adventure rather than stay at home? There is nothing about adventuring in what you have written - my impression is that this character ought to be a village wizard who entertains the young'uns on holidays rather than an adventurer.

Some suggestions that I think would pep up this application and make it more appropriate for this game - think about having some deep seated desire or secret that drives the character to risk his life on a regular basis. Consider why he left home in the first place as a starting point. What flaws would this character have that keep him from going home as is his desire? Perhaps his stated desire to go home isn't really what he wants and he's punishing himself for things done in service to Cheliax. Did he serve willingly, naively at first then become disillusioned and disgusted over the last 4 years? Was he hoping to mole from within and then got subverted (something which would go well with the whole character of Cheliax and it's devilish rulers)? What turned him from servant into fugitive from the regime there?

I hope this helps and look forward to seeing what you come up with.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:04 PM
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First off, I'm not really a fan of the Ten Minute Background, to me it appears very disjointed. That being said, yeah I had a really hard time finding a gnome picture, really I never quite found an acceptable one, it was that one, or on that looks liked a short human who didn't have a nice bone in his body. This, needless to say, frustrated me greatly, from what I saw, gnomes don't get much of a break in fantasy art, its all elves and angels.

And it should also be noted, I kind of rewrote a lot of this, I will post the new version here.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:06 PM
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Name:Faerdin Sparklecaller

Gender:Male

Race:Gnome

Alignment:Chaotic Neutral, potentially leaning good

Age: 60

Class: Sorcerer

Physical Description: Faerdin is 3 and half feet tall and very slender. He displays no real musculature at all, instead appearing spry and something of a weakling in strength. His hair is an icy blue mixture of light blue and white hairs that falls around his head at a medium short length with a single streak of red on the right side of the top of his head and one of green on the left side of the top of his head. His eyes are a slate blue color .His beard is whitish but shot through with traces of orange and red, it grows long at the chin but is kept close the further up his jaws it goes. His clothes tend to be garish and clashing at times, typically in the form of a pair of bright blue leggings and a burnt orange shirt overlaid with a robe that is a patchwork cloth of many muted and vibrant colors.

Often sitting on his shoulder is what appears to be a small winged woman wearing a gauze dress with a small harp in the crook of her arm. A mischievous grin might flash across her face as she wiggles her fingers. At other times a kind smile as she runs her tiny fingers across the strings of that harp.

Personality: Faerin is a jovial gnome. While he doesnít dance around throwing pranks out left and right, he still does smile and make glowing balls of light flick around the air to entertain children, even making more complex illusions for others when the mood hits him. He enjoys trying new experiences, one of which is new food, with him trying most things put in front of him, though being in Cheliax makes him a bit more wary than usual of what he is eating. At heart he is kind, but he tends to be rather self centered in his actions. He likes to entertain others, but in the end his goal is self experience, the goal of most gnomes. He seems to have no real top goal in life other than that. Underneath all of this though there is a cold and calculating other personality that hides beneath the surface, coming out only in moments of need.

Background: Faerin was born into a family of wizards and alchemists. While at first they were not too pleased at his rather nonchalant attitude and lack of studying, when he eventually manifested arcane powers anyway they were pleased. They tutored him to no avail, eventually letting him study what he wanted and realizing that his path of magic was not the familyís. He grew up among the choking alchemical fumes and the varied magics of his family. His father was fond of evocation, his mother preferred illusion, and his sister was a wizard who liked to dabble in transmutation and conjuration.
Eventually he left home around the age of 35, needing to experience a different world as his village was no longer enough for him. He had set out with his few gnomish abilities and headed out. Leaving the country of Adoran and heading north to wander the land. He spent the next 21 years roaming the lands, living by illusions more often than not, helping traveling troupes as well as joining in with adventuring parties temporarily. He stayed with some longer than others, but in the end he left them all, coming out of it wealthy enough to live on and he would go out adventuring again when the time called for it. Thatís what had made him end up in Cheliax, following a lead with a party. The rest of them ran but he tried to out smart the soldiers, failing and ending up being conscripted. This lead to almost 4 years of being a soldier doing the horrible will of Cheliax before he escaped, though he was caught soon after for deserting.

 



Traits: Traded Defensive Training and Hatred for Eternal Hope,

Trustworthy: People find it easy to put their faith in you. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff checks made to fool someone. You also gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you.

Magical Lineage: One of your parents was a gifted spellcaster who not only used metamagic often, but also developed many magical items and perhaps even a new spell or twoóand you have inherited a fragment of this greatness. Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level.

 



RP Sample: He stared at the grinning elf standing across from him in the dungeon. The elfís fine clothes smoked in placed and in others there was frost or acid burns on the cloth. His long golden hair was hanging limply, covered in sweat from the heat he had experienced. Before a few moments ago, he had been Faerinís adventuring companion; the only one that had made it to the end of the dungeon with him and helped him to defeat the mummy that had risen from is sarcophagus. Faerin felt blood dripping from his left hand from where one of the wizardís infernal summons had bitten him before he had vaporized it and its companions with a well placed fireball.

"So now here, at the end of it, you would kill another person for more treasure, someone who has fought beside you and covered your back the whole way?" He said accusingly at the elf before he breathed out a breath and raised his fingers, falling into his casting. He could not stand the smug grin on the elfís face, that feral look in his eyes, knowing he would kill the gnome if he could. Gritting his teeth as he finished the spell, and watched as the glowing pea shot from his finger, straight at the elf. A grin of his own spread across his face as he watched the elfís eyes stare in horror at the pea that was aiming straight for his elfin face.

As his screams start to fill the room the pea bursts, a hot blast of air whooshing towards Faerin, making his robe and beard flap in the hot wind as the red light lights up the room in a bright flash. Suddenly the scream turn to ones of pain as the man burns and then hits the floor with a groan and twitches, the scream falling from his lips as his last breaths played out. "Itís over Vizrean, you tried to kill me, but Iím sorry you have to die anyway. You were a good traveling companion and adversary when our groups were competing in that hagís crypt." Shaking his head he let the man die, heading over to see just what it was he had had to kill a man for. Stepping up onto the pedestal of the mummyís tomb and standing on his tip toes to peer inside.
  #6  
Old 08-05-2013, 08:59 PM
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The ten minute BG is great for thinking about who your character is and why, but definitely needs to be re written after the questions are answered and turned into a whole character.

Your character is much better overall. Reads more smoothly and less like a list of bullet points.

IMO your physical description is still clunky. Especially "He displays no real musculature at all, instead appearing spry and something of a weakling in strength." That reads really strangely to me, how about describing him as lithe or being built like an 7 year old human child, or just leave it out entirely - for a gnome to be really strong and muscular would be exceptional and worthy of mention, but your character seems average in that way.

I know that the GM has asked for a one round rp example, but this seems short to me and not especially revealing of character.

As for a portrait - something like this may do you in better stead: (I put a full resolution version here so you can yank it into a paint program)

 

with a bit of touchup from a paint program this could be more what you are looking for.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:16 PM
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I like it for thinking,but my view of it was that was how the DM wanted it done. Really I should have done it and then taken it and turned it into more of the traditional background. I think I am going to reuse this character, but he is going to take a lot of tweaking. To me he still lacks purpose, and that irks me a lot. I'm going to do a lot of tweaking. I tend to not make such cheerful characters, so I am planning on toning him down and yeah, he can be oddly written. General physical description I do alright with, but I know I have always sucked at describing faces other than doing the eyes when I want to.

I don't really have any paint program to redo that in or I would cause that is an interesting picture. I'm actually looking now and the gnome pics are just ridiculous.

Last edited by Panthas; 08-05-2013 at 09:25 PM.
  #8  
Old 08-05-2013, 09:35 PM
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May I recommend to you the GIMP? It is a great and free alternative to photoshop. If you are using windows, that version can be found here.
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2013, 02:15 AM
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That didn't turn out so well, I'm 6 years out of practice and its not exactly the photoshop I was used to.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:15 PM
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The second pass is far improved. While I don't mind the principle of the Ten Minute Background, it should be used to make notes, and the results from it then manipulated further into something with paragraph structure and the like.

I would agree with the point that you should not note something specifically if it doesn't deviate from expectation for the species. That's not always the case, because fantasy species tend to look different setting to setting, but to describe "agile but not very strong" for a small-sized race is to state the obvious, really.

There are awkward sentences still, but they're less severe than before. Likely most of my points about the prior version were because most of that was scratchwork. Nevertheless, here are some specific details that you should look to address.

Quote:
Often sitting on his shoulder is what appears to be a small winged woman wearing a gauze dress with a small harp in the crook of her arm. A mischievous grin might flash across her face as she wiggles her fingers. At other times a kind smile as she runs her tiny fingers across the strings of that harp.
Okay, he's got a sprite or other tiny fae creature as a traveling companion (familiar?). Good detail.

That second sentence there is, however, confusing. It's one thing to say that her most common expression is a mischevious grin (which fits fae just fine), but what have the wiggling fingers got to do with it? That part throws the whole sentence into confusion and brings down the paragraph as a whole.

Quote:
He had set out with his few gnomish abilities and headed out.
Besides the obvious redundancy, you already explained above that that he displayed magical talent early in life, so he had his magic. Your current wording suggests that he is relying on the racial Gnomish abilities, which is incongruous, mostly because no adventurer relies on their racial statistics without training at least one class level.

Quote:
Leaving the country of Adoran and heading north to wander the land.
This isn't a sentence. There's no verb. "he headed north" replacing "and heading north" would fix this.

Quote:
He spent the next 21 years roaming the lands, living by illusions more often than not, helping traveling troupes as well as joining in with adventuring parties temporarily.
"living by illusions" is a very awkward phrase. You mean he made money using illusion magic, I assume. You should revise this.

Stylistic point, generally the exact number isn't that important. "two decades" of "more than two decades" would probably flow better than interrupting the words for the number 21.

Quote:
He stayed with some longer than others, but in the end he left them all, coming out of it wealthy enough to live on and he would go out adventuring again when the time called for it.
So he doesn't need to adventure to eat anymore, but he occasionally does anyway. That's good. But for a character who isn't a paladin you should hint at the sorts of situations that could bring him out of retirement, ideally matching that to the circumstances in the app thread OP.

Quote:
That’s what had made him end up in Cheliax, following a lead with a party.
Excessively broken sentence. This is perhaps the worst offender in the current iteration.

Quote:
The rest of them ran but he tried to out smart the soldiers, failing and ending up being conscripted. This lead to almost 4 years of being a soldier doing the horrible will of Cheliax before he escaped, though he was caught soon after for deserting.
I feel like there's something missing between the sentence before this and this. Perhaps that's justa single-sentence summary of or reference to events described in the OP that I didn't see in my first read-through. But for purposes of textual continuity, you should at least make one sentence lead logically to the next.

Grammar-wise, you jump tenses and voices every time there's a comma. Let's compare side-by-side:

The rest of them ran but he tried to out smart the soldiers, failing and ending up being conscripted.
The rest of them ran, but Faerdin tried to outsmart the soldiers, but he failed and ended up conscripted.

I wanted to do other things to this sentence, but this is the change that shows what I mean - you go from the active voice ("he tried") to the passive voice ("failing") and it makes the sentence read jumbled and broken. Where possible, use the active voice, and avoid the passive one.

You should also avoid repeating "he" so often. Generally, use some more descriptive noun (usually his name) every three or four instances, at the very least. This helps you keep flow and avoid confusion, especially in paragraphs where there are other male characters referred to.

Quote:
This lead to almost 4 years of being a soldier doing the horrible will of Cheliax before he escaped, though he was caught soon after for deserting.
This is more of the passive voice, which I would suggest changing to the active voice: "He spent four years as a soldier, forced to do the bidding of Cheliax, and though he escaped once, he was captured quickly."

I'll note that your RP sample, while not perfect grammar, is markedly better than the background section. That's good. My major stylistic complaint there is that you've pegged this character as a trickster and an illusionist up to this point but based on that text he's an invoker. He didn't defeat the elf with illusions and trickery, he defeated him with evocation and explosions.

... Oh, and this is minor, but Fireball is not an ideal spell to cast in the enclosed space of a tomb. 20 foot radius bursts generally fill rooms in places like that.
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Last edited by Aeternis; 08-06-2013 at 02:16 PM.
  #11  
Old 08-06-2013, 04:38 PM
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Oh the joy of tenses and voices. I am all over the place with those all the time. But yes, I have awkward writing, its a special ability of mine.

For the familiar post I was making reference to the wiggling fingers as her casting her spell like abilities, but I didn't really come through on that, she was more of an afterthought than anything else and I probably should have left her out since it indicated having an improved familiar from the Arcane Bloodline which I wasn't 100% decided on yet.

The bit about pulling him out to adventure is my fault, I actually read up on gnomes and was relying on the fact that they have to constantly experience new situations and experiences in order to stay sane and that what was going to pull him out again and again into adventuring, not to mention the fact that he likes being on the rode and seeing new places.

As for the jumping from illusion to trickery, that was actually intentional, but I probably didn't make it too clear in the background. He prefers to use illusions and such in order to avoid fights when possible, but in this case he knew that the elf wanted him dead and so he decided it was time to bring out his evocation spells.

In the end this application was far from complete and I was rather happy when I wasn't accepted because a lot needed to be done to this character. I'm actually thinking of scrapping him entirely and starting again. Maybe I should play a grimmed gnome, though I could probably do better.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panthas View Post
In the end this application was far from complete and I was rather happy when I wasn't accepted because a lot needed to be done to this character. I'm actually thinking of scrapping him entirely and starting again. Maybe I should play a grimmed gnome, though I could probably do better.
You could make this application work, I just think it probably needed a few more revisions. You got the big concepts in this version, you just needed more work on the details and granular sentence-by-sentence flow.

Me, I'm a details man (if my comments didn't make that imminently plain). I will more likely do the reverse - make a character app with good grammar and flow with no coherent high-level picture. That extreme is just as much of an application killer, trust me.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:48 PM
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Hehe, I bet it is. My trouble is, I don't know how well the concepts of him mesh. There is a lot of backstory to be made for him, which isn't a problem, that I could do, but I still have trouble getting into the character. He is kind of mentally broken in ways from the war. Again, this isn't a problem, its just that I'm not sure how well he would work, how well I could pull him off. He is, in ways, still a mystery to me that would have to be played to figure out.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panthas View Post
He is, in ways, still a mystery to me that would have to be played to figure out.
To some small extent all characters are, but they can't broadly be like that most of the time. A DM wants to have some idea of how his PCs will react to things, so they can better plan things like quest hooks.

I say this from experience on both sides of the process, actually, though it's been a while since I've put a fishhook out in DMs Seeking.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:56 PM
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I'm going to stick to the character motives and personality stuff as Aeternis is much more observant and expressive at the mechanics of grammar.

IMO this character still has no driving motive to go out and adventure. If you want a real, stand up three dimensional character, this is going to have to be fixed. Whatever that motive is, positive or negative, it should really be there as a strong spine on which to hang the rest of your character details. The motive should be both an asset in moderation and a flaw in excess. What does your character care about? Seeking out new experiences is great, but you never show how far you are willing to go to get them. Is this character an adrenalin junkie, needing an ever higher kick to feel alive? How does needing new experiences tie into his being a trickster? These are just a few of the questions to be asking. Don't shell your character up and try to make them safe from manipulation by the GM, open up and be heroic. Dare greatly and succeed or fail spectacularly if that is what is called for.

In addition you need to add some details that the GM can get their hands on to hook your character into the setting and scenario. Right now you could take it or leave it without the use of GM force.
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