Developing Characters Through Roleplay

When I started writing again after a mommyhood hiatus, it was because I wanted to chronicle the adventures of my World of Warcraft characters. Because I played on a roleplay realm, my characters were more than avatars. The whole point of this realm is to create backstories and personalities for our pixelated counterparts. People get their characters together and “chat” via text interface, essentially creating a live, if animated, dramatic performance.

Many of my characters started out this way. Jules Brand was created to play another MMO, Aion. His entire personality was developed through roleplaying with others. Sure, I had some broad strokes in mind when I started, but it was the need for instantaneous reaction that really filled in the details. I had to figure out what Brand would do confronted with various challenges. How he speaks, his gestures, all came from these interactions.

Arden Benedict, a mercenary humanitarian from a series I’m planning, was based on my original WoW character, by way of a stint in the tabletop roleplay game Pathfinder.

Currently, I’m playing Sims Medieval but I’m still using it to develop characters. I’ve populated my kingdom with Jules Brand and Mirella di Fiori from A Kiss for Luck; as well as Peter Kemp (a new friend for Brand); and two women, Paris and Sadie. The latter two are the ones I’m discussing here.

I knew I needed a character to drive a subplot for Keep the Mark Happy, and it didn’t take long to decide she knew Peter and was being conned. But who was she? I needed to know so I could plan the scheme she falls for.

To the character generator!

Meet Paris, in her first iteration. I made her a Blacksmith because that was the slot I had to fill. I gave her the traits listed, above right, and started to play. Bottom right shows a social interaction I’ve never seen before. When you choose Funny, you usually get three choices: Tell Joke, Do Impersonation and Perform Slight of Hand. The first time Paris tried to be funny, Tell a Good Joke came up. Hey, now we know more about her. Bottom right shows her choosing to stand in the corner to read, instead of sitting on the couch or chair Odd quirk, but okay.

By this time, I knew there were some things I wanted to change. I had chosen the Creative Cook trait because it gives a boost to mood. But it sparked an idea: what if she was a baker? I already knew an aspect of Peter Kemp’s character that would tie together with this nicely.


So now she’s a Merchant. This class makes the most money and it’s always fun to decorate their shop. She’s got an oven for baking, shelves full of pastries and fruit. And now her hair is pink, just for fun. I tweaked her traits, changing Fun Loving to Excitable. Not a major change, but being Excitable gives you a boost and watching Paris get so excited over the littlest things, like drawing water from the well, is endearing. I kept Insecure, mainly because it’s one of the easiest Fatal Flaws to manage.


And when this quest text came up, it became a part of her makeup. 



Her active personality traits are starting to shape up nicely, but what about her history? One of her primary character concepts is that she’s gay and engaged. So she needs a fiancée.



When Sim-Paris was engaging in some shenanigans, she got arrested and thrown in the stocks. And now I knew how she met Sadie. They were both attending a protest and were arrested together.







And speaking of Sadie, here she is. This time, she’s the Blacksmith, for two reasons. The first is the proximity of the Smithy to the Merchant. It’s hard to have characters romantically involved if they don’t live near each other. Secondly, I had this idea that Sadie was really into steampunk. How better to craft your own gear than to be a blacksmith?






Sadie has grown into a BAMF character. In her very first quest, she was being harassed by some hunters. Here’s how she handled that.


So now I have this adorable couple. I know quite a few things about them. One of the fun parts of this game is just seeing how the characters interact without my involvement. After several flirty interactions, I left them alone to see what they’d do. It was Sadie who initiated most of the contact, but when flirting turned up the heat, it was Paris who leapt into Sadie’s arms.


You’ll have to wait until next year to see how these two turn out. Until then, you can read about Jules Brand starting in March. The first of a series of short stories will be released then, From Love to Hatred Turn’d. And then May 4th,  A Kiss for Luck is released. This is the first full novel in the Jules Brand series Art of Lying.


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