March 23, 1999
Pretending to be someone with a different personality than your own is at the heart of roleplaying. In Medievia, the gods often put a lot of emphasis on roleplaying by attempting to get rid of OOC(Out of character) material, or at least confine it to the dark corners of the world. As a result, a reasonable roleplaying environment has been created. By this, I mean that the world in which we all interact on a daily basis is conducive to roleplaying, because of its unique personality and IC(In Character) nature.
However, roleplaying doesn't exist simply because there is an environment that encourages it, or at least does not hinder it. No matter how much the gods may do, the responsibility for roleplaying falls to us, the players. It is the players who control characters within Medievia. They are the only ones who can give that character a unique personality and make him or her contribute something really extraordinary to Medievia, something that cannot be measured in simple numbers.
Making a believable and unique personality for a character may seem like a daunting thing to undertake to anyone reading this, and it can be. However, there are a few key elements to a well-roleplayed character. Everything falls into place when these exist. These are appearance, history and personality. They can be created in any order, but the hardest is always the first. The others tend to write themselves once one is determined.
How does your character act? Is he or she kind, helpful and trustworthy or a backstabbing vicious liar? A personality can be something very simple, able to be defined in a few adjectives, or very complex. It is very closely tied to history, as the two tend to shape each other. If your character is a power-mad wizard, how did he or she get that way? Try to avoid extraordinarily cliché character types, like those used above, because there are certain to be hundreds, if not thousands, of power-mad wizards and poor abandoned orphans in any world.
In Medievia, a good history can start with a simple question. How did your character get to Medievia city? As this is where all characters start their lives, simply figuring out how your character found his or her way there can create a history. A history doesn't have to be too detailed, but it ought to include the pertinent details of a character's life. The events in a history are what shaped your character into what he or she is today, so personality and history are inherently tied.
In Medievia, a lot of appearance is crammed into a few small lines: your description. This is an infinitely useful tool in conveying an appearance to someone else as you can shape and mold it any way you want. Appearance and personality ought to fit together though they don't always have to immediately make sense. That vicious back-stabbing liar mentioned earlier might appear, for instance, to be extraordinarily friendly.
With these three elements, the foundations of good role-playing, a very believable character with a lot of depth can be created. If, after thinking over these elements, a character still looks to not have much depth or to be only two-dimensional, it's fine. Given time in Medievia playing that character, the personality will flesh itself out. A character will gain depth and believability over time.
There are a number of invaluable roleplaying tools in Medievia which are built into the game but far too seldom utilized. One of those, the description, has already been mentioned. Another, emote, allows a character to express any action at all. Room is similarly useful for its ability to convey interesting events or set a scene for good roleplaying. Both verbs allow the expression of ideas for which a verb doesn't already exist.
One of the elements that plays a key role not in how a character is played but in how believable that character can be is consistency. After selecting a personality, history and appearance, try to stick to it, or at least have them change logically. Alignment is a part of consistency. If your character is kind and helpful, he or she ought to have a good alignment. Similarly, a lying and cheating pk-fiend ought to have an evil alignment. The choice of alignment should be consistent with the personality of the character, and should be determined by more than just what spells and equipment are available to each alignment.
I hope that the advice in this article is listened to, because well role-played characters can add an extraordinary amount of depth to a game world. In addition, they contribute something that cannot be measured in experience points, gold or any other number. What they contribute is infinitely more valuable than any of these. It is atmosphere and believability, so that we have a Medievia that is more than a reflection of the real world. They help create a Medievia that is a separate and unique world.