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How to build a Role - Part 1


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  • Root Admin

Hi all,

For those that don't know me, I'm Chewett. Before I start I will give a little bit about my background.

 

Who Is Chewett?

Now that is a question and a half! I imagine if you asked everyone you would get two to three responses per person, all different!

My background in MagicDuel is quite a long and varied one. I originally joined the community pre-game, where only the forum existed. We planned, debated, and discussed the game that was being built. I eventually was given "beta access" and began my journey in MagicDuel (I was the 40th player ID).

From there I built my role initially as a roleplayer, not really understanding the combat system. I participated in the Adventure Log and founded the Seekers of Enlightenment. Here I focussed on learning more about the game lore and understanding what really makes a realm. I have been in various secret (and not to secret groups), alongside running lands and communities within MagicDuel (e.g. GGG). Later I spent more time investigating the combat system and for a few years was among some of the top grinders in MD. I now understand the combat system much better and how it works but I still need to fully investigate how the new combat shard abilities work.

I also became an official bughunter within MD (earning my mechstar) eventually transitioning to a coder, and now am Mur's Menkyo Kaiden in coding, running, and moving the game forward. However that is less relevant to this post.

 

What are the "How to build a role" posts going to contain?

These are a series of posts that I have been working on for a few years now. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to what I was originally thinking would be the "end" and therefore I felt that I couldn't publish them. Talking with someone more recently I realised that even the first few posts would be very valuable so I should just go ahead and post them. This is the first one and I will look to finish up and post the remainders in the coming days and weeks.

If you have questions, comments, ideas, please post them below!

 

Who can have a Role in MagicDuel then?

Anyone! But it needs some work before you can truly start to have an impact.

 

First - Get an idea of your characters motivations

Before you can build your role, you need to have an idea of what motivates your character.

  • Is your character driven by revenge?
  • Are they money motivated?
  • Maybe they want to be the greatest fighter ever?
  • Maybe they are a builder want to build "stuff"?
  • Or maybe they are the greatest sorcerer of the decade and are learning all spells they can?
  • Something else?

As your role develops these will change, but you need to have an idea of where you currently are. These ideas will form some of the basis of your character. Maybe they have a feud with a famous character in MagicDuel and they want to bring them down, crush their friends, destroy their alliance, and burn their land. It wouldn't be the first time that would be someone’s ambition!

Having an initial idea of their motivation will give you an idea of who they are and how you should play them.

At this point you don't really need to worry about what they look like, their age, etc, thats all fluff really.

Summary: Work out what your character will be driven by and use this to reason why he is doing what he is doing.

 

Second - Past history

The character has come into their realm, but are they truly a new person? Many characters came here arriving shipwrecked, transported from out of their world, or simply appeared here one day not knowing how. Some characters will have an elaborate backstory which will form a major part of their character.

This area is really up to you but it lets you be creative. Typically your backstory will want to have some basis in MagicDuel (e.g. basing it on MD's physics, world, or lore) but you could come from a strange world or reality where things are much more different. By having a backstory that somewhat links in with the history or lore of MagicDuel will mean you can base more of your plans on that. However having a backstory that you cannot develop in MagicDuel can also be entirely acceptable. Your character will be able to easily develop with or without one so sometimes actually the past history does not matter.

Really here the decision is, how much should my character be affected by their past. If the answer is very little, then really you don't need much of a backstory!

You can spend as much or as little time here as you want. Some characters have written whole novels about their deeds in the "past life". You also don't need to know all of it at the start, memories that slowly surface can allow "adding" to your history over time.

A warning:  Having an extensive history and expecting players to A) know it and B) play along with it sometimes can put you at odds with them. Your history should be important to you but it might not be important to others! It is also easy to build a history that "did not happen" and expect to gain from it which is sometimes frustrating for people all around. Anything that happened "Before" MagicDuel is valuable and important, but you cannot expect riches and vast armies to manifest in MagicDuel just because you were a rich Tyrant. You will need to work on becoming rich in MagicDuel!

Summary: Sometimes less is more with history. You knowing your past can be useful to keep your character grounded (for example it might explain why the character refuses to fight) but should not be used as a "cheap ticket" to fame and fortune!

 

Third - Future Plans

Some might consider your past to be the least important, its the thing which you cannot change. However the future is something you most definitely have control over!

Based on your motivations your future plans might be very clear, or they might not yet have formed. Many characters take things day by day and just go with the flow. They don't necessarily have an overall plan or objective to achieve. Equally some of the most successful characters in MagicDuel have had a very specific plan as to where they want to take their role.

By having an objective it makes it relatively easy to focus on doing things to further that so I would typically recommend it. However whether that objective is well known or kept a secret to a very small group is going to be up to you (see later).

An objective can let you answer questions you will encounter in your day to day MagicDuel life. For example “How would my character feel about this” and “How would he react to this situation”. If your objective is to spread peace and love, then two players fighting each other would be something they might feel obliged to become involved with to solve and reach a resolution.

However as mentioned above, you don’t need an objective or any future plans. A lot of the time people come into MagicDuel and build an objective from the people around them. Your land, alliance, and friendship affiliation can be very useful here to drive your future plans. Maybe you can to join a group and work to further their future plans?

Summary: Having a plan is always useful to have a specific direction, but not having one doesn’t preclude you from doing great things!

 

Fourth - So who is your character?

Once you have gone over your motivations, past, and future plans you should start to have a view about your character. This is where you can start adding the flavour to them and this is typically what people really enjoy. It is important to have a well described character but their motivations, past, and future plans are key to a three dimensional character.

You must remember your character is a person like you or I, with their hopes, dreams, and terrible secrets (like some people liking K-pop or drinking tea without sugar).

This is where you typically will want to start adding a lot more descriptive elements. You will want to ask yourself questions like:

  • How tall are they
  • Do they belong to a specific nation or group
  • Do they have any specific markings on their body
  • What clothes do they like to wear
  • Are they literate, do they enjoy the more intellectual arts
  • Maybe they are creative, and enjoy painting
  • Maybe they just fight and that’s all they know!

These are the things that I have described as “fluff” but are important so as to make your character your own. Luckily with the Magic in MagicDuel you can always change these through an accident or force of will! So its not super critical if you don’t like a decision you made down the line.

Summary: Having lofty ambitions is great but at the end of the day you may also need a hair colour and various other pieces of information about your character. At this point you should have a good idea about who “you” are.

 

Fifth - Working out their place in MagicDuel

So now you know who you are, but where do you fit into MagicDuel?

MagicDuel has a number of factions, lands, cliques, cabals, tyrants, lunatics, friends, and too many creatures to name. You are just one of these people but will fit into the wider game in some way.

This is actually a question you will keep wanting to ask yourself. As the world is shaped your character will grow, and the world itself will change. Many players have had many different roles over their time in MagicDuel so don’t feel like you have to pick a specific path.

As I mentioned before, if you aren’t sure where you fit in probably the first step is to work that out. Talking with people can let you know more about them and how they fit into MagicDuel. By learning you may find something you really don’t want to do, or maybe something will resonate with you and you will know instantly what your plans should be.

Similarly maybe there is a group that you want to join but it doesn’t exist? Make your own group if you don’t agree with others! Convince people, recruit them, and if you get enough you can even end up forming your own alliance!

There isn’t really a good guide for this, you have to have a think about what you would like and go from there.

Once you have an idea of your place in MagicDuel you can start cementing that, and if you aren’t yet there, working towards it. Creating events, quests, ceremonies, meetings, or even just writing, drawing, etc around MagicDuel can cement your role. This is where roleplaying can really help by focussing on your character.

At this point its good to remind you that your character can and typically is a distinct person from you the player. However some players act as themselves.

Summary: Once you have an idea of who you are you can work out where you want to go and start working towards that. You can create events, quests, and various other things which will further cement your role, and place in MagicDuel.

Future

I'm going to go into these topics a little deeply in the future so please let me know if there are any ideas or comments you have, or if you would like to know more about anything in particular.

If there are typo’s or sentences that don’t make sense please say! I am hoping to publish this on the website in the future once people have read through it.

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A good overview of considerations.  This is a great reference for refining your MD character - or better yet creating a collection of deep characters if you're writing a novel. 

To be really useful for a particular group, you need to decide who you are writing for.

For an experienced role-player from other worlds, you might bring out specifically what you can and can't do in MD.

For a newbie with no prior role-play experience, they might benefit from simpler, more concrete recipes such as model after a character they have seen elsewhere and ask "what would ____ do"?

Once a player has followed their nose in MD for awhile, thinking about this stuff could be very valuable for establishing a higher degree of consistency in their developing character's persona.

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Let me add.... a good story needs a "hook" at the beginning to keep them reading.  So too do we need "hooks" to draw new players into the game.  I'll give an example, but you'll get people reading your entire article if you give them that hook or motivation at the beginning.  Why do these things?

My example is the suggestions I made to improve the 6 entry screens for new characters entering GWI.  Those screens read like a boasting synopsis of the game, rather than a personalized hook -- what could THEY do here?  Look back at my suggestions for adding hooks on each screen, given in the link below (starting 4th through 9th post in the thread)

https://forum.magicduel.com/topic/19669-gwi-project-planning/

 

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  • Root Admin

who is Chew? the guy that made me read this huge post  :))

Its amazing, and useful, to see the view on roleplaying of one of the most, if not the most, trusted friend in MD.  

 

I would like to add a bit , to your already valuable content.

Its my personal view, and i think there is no set rule for roleplaying, but multiple styles and purposes, so someone reading all this, might find useful guidance in what one or the other says, depending what fits best with his own style.

 

I prefer working down a role from an attitude. For me a role is a state of mind, an identity, an attitude. Its part of who i am, or what i could be, and its starting from this coherent thought, that everything else is built. As I play a role, i discover who I am, what the character does is sometimes a surprise even for me. You need to discover it, not to adapt as you go.. big difference. For this, you need to be honest to your self... and thats hard.
 

Like you say, its important to know where you start, where you stand, and what your purpose is. Attitude, personality, fears, desires, all that builds up a character, must remain constant. If they are not stable, it means you are not playing a role truly, but a mixture of roles, and thats not healthy.

Each role you play, is a playground, a sandbox of your own mind, that allows all the other parts of you to discover and analyze the forces that put you in motion.

In my view, a view that drives the purpose and motivation behind this project, a role is not a place where you can hide, or a mask that makes you forget about who you are...but an opportunity to discover yourself through the eyes and confirmation of the others.

When someone asks for a role ...because it happens a lot that people actually ask for roles..i tell them they will have it when they already achieve it on their own. If they need to ask for it, they don't have it, and if they don't have it, i can't give it. Your role, is not something that someone in md can "give" you, however its something you can grow and build your own.

 

Again, thanks Chew for reviving at least part of the roleplayer in me :)


 

 

 

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