Creating a Character

- Overview
- Choosing a Name
- Choosing a Race
- Choosing a Guild
- Writing a Description
- Sample Descriptions
- Creating a Short Description
- Choosing Keywords
- Writing a Background
- Sample Backgrounds
- Application Approval Guidelines
- Tips for Success
- If You Need Help

- Back to the Introductory Information
- Back to the Main Index

Overview

In order to foster the atmosphere necessary for our brand of roleplaying, Armageddon requires that characters include a well written physical description and a background that provides insight into the history and concept of the character.

Characters are submitted through the game interface and reviewed by a staff member within 24 hours. An email either accepting the character and providing their password or rejecting it and listing the reasons for rejection will be sent to the email address on your account. Rejected characters should be revised and submitted again. A player is only allowed to have one living character at any given time. Use of secondary emails to create a second character is considered grounds for banning the player, as described in the rules.


How to create a character

Choosing a Name:

Your character should have a fantasy-oriented name to fit into the game world. Real but unusual names are fine, but "Wayne" or "Will" or weird real-life references such as "Bumblebee" or "Mrcool" are not acceptable. Well-known fictional names (Bilbo, Darth Vader, Gandalf, Sturm, Tanis, etc.) are almost always not accepted.

If you find it hard to come up with a good name, try Samuel Stoddard's Fantasy Name Generator or Parent Soup's Baby Name Finder.

Choosing a Race:

Pick a race from the ones available to you. Read the help files thoroughly if you are going to play anything but a human. Many a dwarvish character has been rejected because the player didn't realize that dwarves on Zalanthas have no hair at all. The information on racial roleplay will prove useful as well as more detailed information about all the possible races.. For first-time players, human might be the best way to go.

Choosing a Guild:

Keep in mind that the guild of your character only decides what skills your character will get, and which skills they will be able to pick up. It means nothing to what profession your character will have, or want to have, or what things they will enjoy or be good at.

Pick a guild that suits your background: think over how your character will have acquired the skills he/she has. Did someone teach her how to handle weapons, if so who, and why? Is he of guild merchant, if so, where did he learn the merchant tongue Cavilish? If a pick-pocket, how did she develop quick fingers, and has she used that "talent" and if so why and where? This isn't something you have to write out in your background; it's for your own use and will give a more genuine feel to your character. More information on the guilds available in the game is available here -- be aware not all guilds are available to new players.

In addition to their main guild, characters have secondary guilds: bard, thief, hunter, forester, armorcrafter, stonecrafter, scavenger, house servant, guard, weaponcrafter, physician, mercenary, archer, general crafter. Secondary guilds are intended to flesh out a character and allow their skills to reflect their interests and history. More information on the secondary guilds is available here.

Writing a Description:

Your character's description is one of the most important parts of character creation. A good description gives other players a clear mental picture of the character, enhancing the roleplay for both you and them.

Descriptions are a minimum of four lines; around 7-10 is good. Try to include some details about main features: color of skin, hair and eyes, shape of body. There's no limit on how much you can describe -- facial features, shape of limbs, birth marks or tattoos (preferably in commonly visible places such as hands, face), quality of hair, hairstyle, etcetera.

Follow basic rules of spelling and grammar, and write the description in complete sentences, in the form of a paragraph. Write the description in 2nd or 3rd person; i.e. 'You see a tall, sinewy elf' or 'This is a tall and sinewy elf' rather than 'I am a tall, sinewy elf'. Don't put your character's name in the description -- it's not something a person would know just from looking at them.

Don't be subjective. It is much more interesting to read a detailed description of a beautiful face, than to read "this is a beautiful woman". Let the reader make the judgements -- write it in a way that makes people think "she must be beautiful" or "he must look like a mean bastard" rather than writing the subjective remark itself.

Do not describe how your character moves or speaks, since the viewer may be looking at them while they are asleep or knocked out, and wouldn't know how they customarily move or speak. Similarly, don't have your character performing actions in the description, such as nodding or whistling, unless it's an action they perform constantly, even when asleep. Don't force actions on the viewer as in 'You wonder what she is doing here' or 'You blink and look away, cowed by the intensity of his eyes.'

Avoid using words and concepts unknown in Zalanthas, but feel free to use imagery unique to the game world for flavor. For example, "the agafari-haired woman" or an elf with eyes the "color of dusty pymlithe blossoms." A lot of people want to have unique-looking descriptions, and for most races, the sky is the limit -- use your imagination, variety is fun. But try to keep the words and phrasings within the frames of the game world. In other words, referring to large amounts of water, or animals or other things non-existant in Zalanthas, is not recommended.

Clothing and equipment should never be mentioned in the description of your character. Items are available in the game, and since they can change over the course of play, they should not be part of the description. If you require an ornament that is not available, such as an eyebrow ring (since there's no eyebrow wear location) or multiple ear piercings, this is permissible, but please remember metal is not available to 99% of the population and that such ornaments should be made of common materials, such as bone, wood or obsidian.

Keep your lines 80 characters long or less, (more than 80 can cause scrolling problems on some people's terminals), use a spelling checker, and proofread your text. Terminate your description with a ~ on a line by itself.

More tips for writing a good description can be found at Darklyn's Character Creation Tips, which includes examples. A multitude of sample descriptions are available here.

Creating a Short Description:

Keep in mind is that your short description should contain the most significant features of your character's appearance.

The second most important thing to bear in mind is to not include anything subjective. Avoid words that refer to the actions or the personality of your character. For example, you shouldn't write "the jovial man" but you may get away with "the jovial-looking man" if the description clearly describes the features that make him look jovial.

As the main description, the short description should be valid for your character in any position, whether he/she is standing, sitting, asleep or knocked out. Therefore it's inappropriate to refer to actions or patterns of movement. Include only features, words that describe his/her looks. "The dexterous elf" is not a good short description, since it refers to movements and actions of the elf, which is not something you spot at a glance, or something you will see if the character is asleep.

Try to avoid the most obvious racial features in the short desc. All elves are tall, all dwarves are short, and all muls and dwarves are bald. "The short, bald dwarf" is not a good short desc, because all dwarves are short and bald, so those are not the first things people would notice on a dwarf.

There is a list of words allowed and not allowed in short descriptions

Choosing Keywords:

Keywords are the words used by other players to interact with your character, as in "smile dark", "look tall" or "kill dainty".

Enter your race, words in sdesc, and possible nicknames. Example, the short desc "the tall, brown-haired man" would need keywords: tall brown haired man human miki, where Miki is his nickname.

Don't forget race, which is a common mistake, and don't put commas or other punctuation marks between the words. Don't include words that may be implied by (or even included in) your main desc but are not in your sdesc (e.g., the short, dark-haired man including "blue" as a keyword because of his blue eyes); this can cause confusion. Do not include "the" in your keywords.

Writing a Background:

The first thing that a new player might want to keep in mind is: your background is not in any way restricted by your guild. A character of guild warrior doesn't have to be a battle-loving hero. In fact, heroes are very rare in Zalanthas since they tend not to live long in a world where fighting for anyone but yourself tends to be a waste of time. Struggle for survival makes noble causes and high ideals rare, or at least, literally short-lived.

Another thing is that in no way does your character need to have an extreme background. Most people's lives on Zalanthas would be rather common: working class parents, tough life, worked since young age, never got any schooling. Remember that it is illegal for most people to know how to read and write.

Although normally the family of your PC doesn't exist in the game, this doesn't mean they have to be dead. You can role-play that they are there virtually, even include them in emotes occasionally for a feel (such as when visiting your parent's house, etc).

You may be tempted to have your pc come from a far off land to explain a lack of familiarity with the city. Certain IC prejudices may make this type of background problematic when playing. Do not be afraid to have your pc come from your starting city. It is acceptable not to know where everything is.

Take time to flesh out the personality of your character, and think of what events in their life have shaped them. What has happened, what were the conditions like during the part of their life that occurred before you created the character. Think of how your character acquired the skills that they know. Who taught them how to fight, and why? Perhaps you'd like to have a non-coded profession for your character: cleaning maid, bartender, errand-boy/girl, nanny, tanner, woodcutter (for the north), laborer... Anything that fits into the game world, and the same applies to making up professions for your parents.

With your first character, it will be hard to make a long and detailed background simply because you don't know enough about the game world. Concentrate on describing the personality and goals of your character, along with what has shaped them in their life.


Getting Help:

If you have read this guide and are still having problems writing a correct application, some Armageddon players have volunteered their time and expertise to help new players. A list of names and email addresses for these newbie helpers is located here. You can also direct questions to the staff of Armageddon at mud@armageddon.org.


Tips for Success:
  • Don't get discouraged if your application is rejected the first time. As you may be able to tell from this document, standards are high. We think the result is worth it, and you will too.
  • Follow the instructions.
  • Use a spell/grammar checker.
  • Follow the racial guidelines. If you're running a non-human, take the time to glance over the documentation related to that race.

Good luck! We look forward to seeing your character on the surface of Zalanthas soon.


Original documentation written by Jolanda, Sanvean, and unknown author. Combined and revised February 22, 2001 by Sanvean. Last update: July 6, 2002
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© 2001 Armageddon MUD. All rights reserved.