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New to roleplaying and bad at improv

I'm new to roleplaying and it's hard to make up a character story so quickly! So far I've played three games and tried to go into them all with some idea of a character, so I'm not floundering around trying to think up some sort of story on the spot. But cornerstones and attributes well... I wouldn't say mess them up but change them in a fun way that makes me try and come up with a new character that fits them. Do any of you have any tips that could help a new pleb with making up a character?

PS: I'm not sure if this is the right section because it's for gms, so tell me if there is a better spot for it.


  • I feel like this is an okay spot since as a GM, you're basically improvising 24/7 since how are you supposed to know someone is going to roll a nat 20.

    Normally, I wouldn't offical say "I'm going to make an insane wizard!" Since I know for a fact I might get a slap across the face by the attribute and cornerstone that tells me, "Actually, you're a caretaker." What you should do is wait for your attribute and cornerstone since what you usually do is pick your race first and then attribute and cornerstones come into play. (May vary on GM, but that's offical way if I remember.) As such, once you get them you should then decide what fun character you're going to do. Normally I wouldn't recommend going all out with a backstory since you might find that one item in the shop that might suddenly change you.

    Don't rush for backstory, make it up as you go.
    Leaving it to after you're done is a recommended idea, but you don't have to.

    (Also if I mess anything up or sound confusing, forgive me. It's 6:45 AM and I've been doing too much prep work. :P )
  • Fair a spot as any as the relationship between GM and player is important as is helping players into the process.  Unless you have a super strict DM, the Cornerstone and Attributes are to help form the character.  Now many GMs may want to avoid allowing you to just flat out pick a cornerstone/attribute to avoid power gaming, but my suggestion would be to talk to the GM beforehand to work out something where you can play through the in-game effect, but not be bound by the actual character direction.

    Say you end up drawing Coward, but you really wanted to play a character that was Devout from a strict character perspective.  Could work it out that you are a pious character, but still have to play to the coward effect where you cannot attack foes that attacked you last round that you drew.

    Not all GMs may want to do that, and do your best to try to respect the way they want to run the game of course, but you'll be surprised what a little communication can do!
  • The main difference the live show has to a PUG is that the cast has a whole day of time to think about what their character can be. Then we've got the PUG which is like, "Here's some cards make up a name and backstory in half an hour!" and you're like "Whoa whoa I can't make shit in that little time!" so in the end you've got a regular (or overly exotic) name and what you hope passes for a decent story.

    It would take too long for me to figure out a decent explanation as a matter of fact, luckily OldFredBear said what I considered but didn't plan on mentioning for some reason: after you have your first four cards, you're pretty well set up to start thinking about your backstory, since hardly any cards you buy will cause significant changes. Hell, everyone above me has some pretty good shit going on with their explanations.
  • edited June 2017
    Hey, I am not exactly a GM or experienced player, but my best idea is to just try talking to the GM and the group and see if they would allow for some time between character creation and the actual campaign. That way once you set up your character in the character creation entirely, you can then go and decide what your character's story might be from what you have made. That might not be your style of doing it though if you like to instead make the character during the character creation and buy your stuff around that, in which cause these other comments above me are really useful. 
  • And definitely do what you're doing - play more games!  You'll find as you play more and more your improv skills will get better and better.  One suggestion after every game is to write down one thing that worked and one thing that did not.  Try to reflect on that experience and make your next game even better. 
  • Go and watch and read a ton of media, reading about other characters can give you ideas in which you can input into your characters later on.
  • Steal some character traits for other places. I'm serious grab a voice you can do, take bits of a backstory. Then use these to practise, play some games and then play some more games.

    Good RP is something that comes with time, so don't stress if you feel you ain't doing well. If you find your group isn't forgiving then find another group, and if it is then awesome you have some friends to bounce off of.
  • An important thing (in my opinion as a very new GM) is to try and create your own improv toolbox. Basically, you just have a lot of little things saved in the back of your mind (or in, like, a google doc) that you can pull from whenever you can't think of anything. Just little things like a profession, random names, traumatic events, personal fears, etc. You can pull from this toolbox whenever you might not be able to think of something.

    For example, let's say that I need a character fast. I go to my document, and go to my names section, grab Firstname and Lastname, and now I've got a full name. Now I go to profession, maybe grab a lumberjack or something in my personal life, and now I've got a small starting point for my daily life. Then I can check childhood events, and maybe I lost a pet, and boom, foundation for a backstory.

    Disclaimer: I'm still really new to this, so I don't know if this will help too much, but I figured I'd offer my method for character creation anyway, on the off chance that it may be useful.
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