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Character design thoughts

Archivist note: This article is from an older recovered archive and might be obsolete or in need of updating.

Most recent revision is shown below, by Bookworm.

”’Character design thoughts…”’

”Posted by Doctor Obolensky on November 4, 2009”

Just looking to start a discussion here, take the following, as always, as just my opinion…

Characters, whether your long-term AV, or just a temporary creation, are easy to create, but some are more successful at their intended purpose than others.

For many folks, their AV is simply a costume. The character has their personalty, likes and dislikes, and so on. But the question of their background history may still turn up, and it’s worth thinking (a bit) about it beforehand.

On the other hand, there are those whose characters are very much unlike themselves, in both appearance and personality. And often accent. :)

So how do you design a “good” character?

”’1: Simple is good.”’

Have an overall concept you can explain in one (brief) sentence. “A scruffy urchin who is really the Prince of Smaleria”, “A one-armed tinker that loves potatoes”, etc.

The more you have to explain your character, generally, the less interested people will be. If you tell people “He’s a former professional bear-baiter, who learned the ways of the ninja, and is currently infused with the power of the Lok-Nar, and is destined to seek out the fabled land of Fon-Du-Lac.”, you lose them very quickly.

This is not to say you can’t *have* a complex character, but the essence should be able to be conveyed briefly.

”’2: Batman is better than Superman.”’

The *less* power your character has, generally the better off you will be.

Challenges are key to character development. The more you have to work at something, the more interesting the character becomes, and the more you have to interact with other characters to solve problems.

A powerful character has less call for interaction, and their challenges tend to be…well, less than challenging.

Also, there tend to be “God-Mode” problems, where other people perceive you as power-gaming. Note that even if you *don’t* do such a thing, just the image of your character as hugely powerful can color people’s perceptions.

”’3: Quirks and flaws make the Character.”’

Flaws are, invariably, more interesting than advantages.

They add dimension to a character, making them more believable. A taste for dairy products, a fear of the dark, a malfunctioning prosthetic, often-repeated catch phrases (Indeed!), an ever-present pipe, and so on.

On the other hand, over-doing flaws is almost as bad as over-doing power. This is often seen as attention-seeking behavior…”My arm fell off again! Woe is me! Everyone pity me! Come and reassure me!”. :P Refer to item #1, above. A single quirk is memorable, a dozen usually means all of them are forgotten.

”’4: Conflict builds character.”’

We, the typists, should all try to get along. However, our characters shouldn’t.

Most of us are, I assume, nice folks, who don’t really want to argue with people, or try to shoot them with giant Death Rays. But really, what fun would Babbage be, if everyone’s characters just agreed with everyone else?

So, argue, fight, have disagreements with other characters. It adds interest, and life to the city. Just try to keep it all In-Character. :)


”’Kaylee Frye on November 4, 2009 at 4:55pm”’

I don’t really have anything to add except I wanted to thank you for posting this. I totally agree with all of it, but definitely couldn’t have said it as well.

”’Grendel Footman on November 4, 2009 at 5:02pm”’

pretty much agree here with all that, and yes, Batman is so much better than Superman, his superpower is paranoia afterall

”’Kandace Commons on November 5, 2009 at 12:06am”’

That pretty much sums it up.

For my part, I usually fall under the costume category, although I had a very in-depth character bio that I started a long time ago. Unfortunately it was based around the lighthouse, and when that disappeared I stopped developing it.

”’Katherine Montpark on November 5, 2009 at 1:06am”’

I have been to the fabled land of Fon-du-Lac, but all I got was a stupid t-shirt. And some cheese curds.

I think that a very detailed character can be interesting, but the trick is to not blab the character’s entire history and past all at once to anybody who sits still for two minutes, or even anybody who makes a casual inquiry. Sure, you can be the professional Lok-Nar ninja bear-baiter on a quest to a fabled land, but if asked to describe yourself in a sentence, say instead something like “A sullen traveler who likes martial arts.” Keep it simple, and if you have an intricate plot, let it come out in your actions, gradually. Like it’s written up there, long explanations are often boring.

Now that I’ve said that bit, thank you for writing this! It’s a good set of guidelines for anybody trying to create a solid, likeable character. I’m particularly fond of #s 2 and 4. I’ve met far too many over-powered god-moding characters, and while a powerful character can be played well, such cases are unfortunately few and far between in my experience. Also, I’ve had quite a few people take my characters’ actions as indicative of my, the typist’s, views and feelings. Just because my character kicked your character in the shin doesn’t mean I don’t like you! I love conflict, but all too often somebody takes it personally. It’s imaginary make-believe internet funtimes, people! flails her arms about

ahem But yes, thank you for posting this, I appreciate it.

”’Mr. Tenk on November 5, 2009 at 10:44am”’

It’s a common fallacy of geek culture Kat. Some people don’t understand that “How are you?” is a greeting, not an invitation to recite your medical history. Once you are aware you do it you can start doing something about it.

”’Creighton Guisse on November 5, 2009 at 2:14am”’


”’Captain Finley Twine on November 5, 2009 at 2:14am”’


”’Dr. Augustus Dayafter on November 5, 2009 at 2:15am”’


”’Kaylee Frye on November 5, 2009 at 2:33am”’

Yer a weirdo

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 2:57am”’

says little miss explodypants :D

”’Mara Razor on November 5, 2009 at 10:46am”’

You just now noticed this?

”’Caesar Osterham on December 4, 2009 at 12:49pm”’

He’s been busy concentrating on his drinking. :P

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 3:06am”’

Nicely put.

I’m atually running a character design and concept art class at college and this is put much better than I could put it. may i use it please sir? I shall of course credit you (which would look great on the course paperwork: “Taken from Dr. Obolensky. Evil Villain and Genius.” :D)

One thing i would add. There are a few main types of character to think about. Hero, Villain, Sidekick, Henchman, Witness (general citizen going about thier day, occasionally/often gets caught up in the action through no fault of their own), Facilitator (Armourer, Alfred, the snitch etc). The more interesting types to RP are often not the hero. Hero’s are boring :)

”’Doctor Obolensky on November 5, 2009 at 3:37am”’

Feel free to use it any way you like Bob.

That also plays on what I mentioned and Katherine expanded upon, about how a character can be complex, but the core concept should be simple. Let the details come out as the story unfolds.

Why does Randal McGurk, Strong-Jawed Hero, have a sack of marbles tied to his belt? Don’t just *tell* people…let them notice and ask, or just wonder.

”’Stargirl Macbain on November 5, 2009 at 3:56am”’

Always excellent advice Doc. It’s like in workshop: show don’t tell. The excitement is in the discovery.

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 4:48am”’

thank you sir!

now. why the sack of marbles?! now i need to know! :)

”’Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle on November 5, 2009 at 6:02am”’

So that if someone asks if he’s lost his marbles he can produce evidence that he hasn’t?

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 6:07am”’

of course! it all makes sense now :)

we need a hero…

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 11:30am”’

Flip a coin. Our hero is either the clockwinder, or Bob. Pray that the coin lands on it’s edge.

”’Katherine Montpark on November 5, 2009 at 12:56pm”’

Hm, I do have a rather thick-headedly heroic alt I’ve been meaning to introduce to Babbage…

”’Mr. Tenk on November 5, 2009 at 1:06pm”’

What about Jed?

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 1:08pm”’

Well, Miss Dagger IS the Clockfinder. And very heroic, methinks.

”’Grendel Footman on November 5, 2009 at 1:58pm”’

Actually, when first started out, I had an idea of being sort of a Babbage Batman, with all my gadgets and such, that sort of never came about and I setteled down into a cheerfully undead inventor who’s not really a hero, well meaning, but doesn’t think over if he should do something, but rather if he can (like letting loose a zombie plauge). might occasionally slide into what could be cosidered villanous behavior, like hooking magical creatures to machines, but it’s really for the best intentions

I want to see someone play an over the top hero, who does more damage than help, sort of a Tick type of character, or that episode of Eureka with the superhero, or even a Darkwing Duck type of hero.

that’d be interesting to see in Babbage

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 2:07pm”’

i was always hoping that layabout Galactic would start being all heroic and that. Pity he’s such a fop :D

It would be wonderful to see a decent gung ho dolt wading in, making it all worse and then blindly and proudly taking all the glory. There is a series of novels which i think might be called ‘mission earth’ that i seem to remember being hilarious as it was written from the POV of a very bitter sidekick. Cannot remember much else, i was pretty young when i read it.

”’Grendel Footman on November 5, 2009 at 6:06pm”’

i’m consdering a darkwing duck style alt now, to botch things up just a little. just..not a duck

”’Mr. Tenk on November 5, 2009 at 6:33pm”’

he probably could have been a hero if he hadn’t spent so much time in caledon. dang dandy.

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 7:09pm”’

He’s a Hero in Ceejaytopia. Has perfected thoughtful slouching to a fine art.

”’Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle on November 5, 2009 at 8:26pm”’


”’Caesar Osterham on November 23, 2009 at 2:19pm”’

And doesn’t she look smashing in her full dress uniform?

”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 1:28pm”’

actually, i reckon DPB is never the hero, and very rarely a villain. he is actually more pure comic relief or just an annoyence. Please understand i dont aim for him to be anything, i’ve said it a bunch of times but i play him as it comes to me. me and the boss (typist) are none to different. I can honestly say as an RPer in SL i suck, any alt i’ve tried is OOC within 5 minutes :)

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 11:44am”’

He did. :) Encore time perhaps?

”’Emilly Orr on November 8, 2009 at 7:40pm”’

Oh, absolutely, and on the shop blog, my designation is still “Perky Sidekick”.

(Of course, that leads to problems when I’m not especially sidekicking for anyone, just haplessly wandering through adventures on my own. Does the sidekick become the hero if left alone? Personally, I’d say no; mostly, we just become comic relief.)

”’Mr. Django Yifu on November 27, 2009 at 4:08am”’

Jeez Bob. You applying Media Theory? Something must have sunk in after all. My Personal favorite theory in this line is by Jonathon Bishop and goes something like this;

1. Lurker – The Lurker may experience a force, such as Social, but will not act on it, resulting in them not fully taking part in the community.

2. Troll – Driven by Chaos forces as a result of Mental Stimuli, would post provocative comments to incite a reaction.

3. Big Man – Driven by Order forces as a result of Mental Stimuli, will seek to take control of conflict, correcting inaccuracies and keeping discussions on topic.

4. Flirt Driven by Social forces as a result of Social Stimuli, will seek to keep discussions going and post constructive comments.

5. Snert – Driven by Anti-social forces as a result of Social Stimuli, will seek to offend their target because of something they said.

6. E-venger – Driven by Vengeance forces as a result of Emotional Stimuli, will seek to get personal justice for the actions of others that wronged them.

7. MHBFY Jenny – Driven by Forgiveness forces, as a result of experiencing Emotional Stimuli. As managers they will seek harmony among other members.

8. Chat Room Bob – Driven by Existential forces as a result of experiencing Gross Stimuli, will seek more intimate encounters with other actors.

9. Ripper – Driven by Thanatotic forces as a result of experiencing Gross Stimuli, seeks advice and confidence to cause self-harm

10. Wizard – Driven by Creative forces as a result of experiencing Action Stimuli, will seek to use online tools and artefacts to produce creative works

11. Iconoclast – Driven by Destructive forces as a result of experiencing Action Stiumli, will seek to destroy content that others have produced

-Bishop’s Character Theory

”’Serafina Puchkina on November 5, 2009 at 11:46am”’

Thanks for the posting, Doctor. You’ve got me thinking; my backstory was outdated so I resolved the trauma that brought me to Babbage in my lj blog, but I haven’t done much recently to add to Sera’s character.

About #3: I need a quirk. That will require some experimenting.

(Doing just fine in the flaw department, thank you very much.)

Question for you experienced types. Is it hard to play a character dramatically different from your rl personality, or do you just exaggerate aspects of your rl selves?

”’Charise Adderstein on November 5, 2009 at 11:53am”’

I am attempting with Charise to play someone quite different from myself. It’s taking me some time to really grow into the role, since I am trying to make her more snippy, irritable, and, well, bitchy. I tend to tone her down quite a bit though generally since I do not want to offend anyone that does not want to be involved. Overall, it was difficult for me to get started, but now that I’m figuring out what her personality is like, it’s great fun!

”’Captain Finley Twine on November 5, 2009 at 12:09pm”’

she’s just another meaner git woman in Babbage…

looks at all the other girls in Babbage

Maybe a bit more vocal though…

grins and runs like hell

”’Doctor Obolensky on November 5, 2009 at 12:01pm”’

The tough part is thinking before typing. It gets easier with practice, but it is often difficult to suppress the knee-jerk reaction to act like yourself.

The key point is to be able to ask yourself “What would the *character* do?” rather than just reacting.

And of course, the more of a handle you get on the character, through both design and familiarity, the easier it becomes.

”’Emilly Orr on November 8, 2009 at 7:57pm”’

The key point is to be able to ask yourself “What would the *character* do?” rather than just reacting.

Absolutely–even though in my case this usually results in thinking That’s a really dumb thing to do….Yeah, but it’s in character…

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 12:14pm”’

For some reason I’ve always found it harder to play close to my real personality – my muses like to go into characters that are certainly not the typist! In fact, until joining SL, I have predominanty RP’d men. Felt comfy, and was quite interesting. I’d only written two female characters previous – a 1968 college girl in San Francisco, and a bitter little groupie to a halfrate fictional band in Wellington, NZ. Heh. Both were limited, due to my inability to really bring them to life.

”’Katherine Montpark on November 5, 2009 at 1:03pm”’

I suspect it depends on the person. For myself, I like to have at least one character who’s relatively similar to me in personality, just so I have a voice to tell people what I really think. I consider that type of character by far the easiest to play, since you’re pretty much just being yourself, albeit in an unusual setting.

However, I’ve long had a love of acting, and so I have a wide variety of other characters quite different from me in temperament, worldview, and, yes, gender. Like Doc O said above, the difficult part is simply asking yourself “What would the character do?” before reacting to any particular situation. Once you’ve got in the habit of that, playing characters very different from yourself can be a lot of fun!

”’Fuzzball Ortega on November 5, 2009 at 1:14pm”’

2: Batman is better than Superman. The *less* power your character has, generally the better off you will be.

That’s something that stuck out in my head. I mean, the rest of your post is well written and spot on. But, that part…..I’ve seen too many residents try to come off as all powerful (Not in Babbage, mind you. I’m not in any of the Babbage groups, but I’m pretty certain none of you have super ego’s).

Over in Steelhead, I play a natural born Lycan (multi-generational from the father’s side), but I do add limitations. Silver, naturally. Wolfsbane, Mountain Ash, and Mistletoe can throw off my sense of smell.

As sheriff, I’m very well respected in a few communities (some in New Babbage can be counted), but you get the “Gods”….and if they’re there to save the world, well, my job’s pretty moot, idn’t it? (some get ignored, but you didn’t hear that from me)

I think several communities can learn from this post, Doctor O.

You have to keep a handle on the masses Fuzz, that’s a job I can’t do.

– Lunar

”’Mara Razor on November 6, 2009 at 12:53pm”’

I can’t even keep the urchins in check let alone everyone else.


”’Mr. W– on November 5, 2009 at 1:17pm”’

Wow…if this were the guide for building characters, I’ve all but mastered it…*reflects on being “simple”, not “god-like”, having oodles of quirks and flaws, and involved in a great deal more conflict than may be healthy for any one man*

Perhaps something more to consider would be presentation, as it maybe that I am not presenting myself as well as I could, in order to make my character as notable as he could be?

”’Doctor Obolensky on November 5, 2009 at 1:50pm”’

Yes, presentation is a whole tangent to this, it can influence your character creation though. And of course, presentation is entirely optional. Wanting your character to be well-known is quite fine, of course. (I certainly like that people know Doc O) But it’s certainly not necessary to enjoy playing a character.

If you’re creating a new character, and you want it to be well known, the first step is to know the community you’re inserting the character into. This is because you have to both fit in *and* stand out.

For instance, if you go to a werewolf sim, and create a brooding loner of a werewolf….you’ll probably fit in…but not stand out. You need to know what characters are already established, and which ones aren’t.

Also, you have to put yourself into the community eye, wherever that may be. For Babbage, it tends to be right here on the ning, or at social events. So you must establish your character in those places, by having the character be involved in them.

In other words, you need an audience. Be it readers of the ning (posting on your non-ning blog is fine, but realize most people wont read it, even if you add a link here), or a gathering of people in world.

I don’t want to suggest anyone be too calculating about how they design or play their character though. Remember, the first rule is to have fun.

”’Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on November 5, 2009 at 2:11pm”’

Interesting Topic Doc O. Well said. My Character’s background’s just plain and simple, not to detailed, well… it is but… His detailed history comes out, sometimes, in the stories I write about him. He’s not God Like, has a weekness for Rum, and pretty much any liquor, to help forget his horrible past, and strengths, he prides himself in his ability to dodge trouble when he can, although that can be a weekness to. To make things short, my Character is no where near God Like, even though he is Part Fae, that’s something he didn’t know until recently, and he can breath underwater *He hates baths, water is pretty much something that he hates in general* but he rarely ventures into the water, and when he does he feels it’s for good reason. So… yeah… I seriously am in the mood for Cheese now.

”’Caesar Osterham on November 25, 2009 at 9:05am”’

Behold the power of cheese.

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 25, 2009 at 4:39pm”’

is in awe of cheese

”’Fono Heninga on November 5, 2009 at 4:52pm”’

there tend to be “God-Mode” problems, where other people perceive you as power-gaming. Note that even if you *don’t* do such a thing, just the image of your character as hugely powerful can color people’s perceptions.

Yes. This. After reading through the biographies on the wiki and the recent discussions of magic in Babbage, I can’t help but feel that it is now impossible to swing a cat in town without hitting a more-than-human/demon/demi-god/secret heir/minor royalty/shape-changer/immortal/fairy/vampire/timelord/magic wielder/half-XYZ (delete as appropriate).

Which does raise some interesting questions: How do all these beings interact with not only the city itself, but what is essentially a super-powered populace, on a day-to-day basis, and: Why has no-one tried to wipe the whole city out in one fell swoop? The tactical advantages of offing all those important individuals at once would be huge…

I understand the fun in having a character with unusual-to-normal-human powers, that’s a very human thing to want. But: What happens when everyone is special?

”’Kaylee Frye on November 5, 2009 at 4:56pm”’

It gets boring is what happens.

”’Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on November 5, 2009 at 4:58pm”’

It does get boring, real fast. I’ve seen my fare share of overpowerful, I am god, type characters in New Babbage…most I try to ignore, some are actually fun to RP with if they keep the Over-Powerful rubbish to themselves and don’t constantly mention it.

”’Mr. Tenk on November 5, 2009 at 6:23pm”’

i am a shapeshifting hunchback with a tortured past raised by half-romulan gypsies. my name is Raven. I will stand here and just be broody and not talk much because i know that i am so different that you will be intensely curious about me

……is tedious.

”’Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on November 5, 2009 at 6:33pm”’

Seems every Urchin has a tortured past… my character just keeps his to himself.

”’Katherine Montpark on November 5, 2009 at 8:03pm”’

Is this a bad time to mention my character is the Chosen One of a super-secret underground race of superpowered trans-dimensional Venusian refugees and has been cursed to forget her past marriage to Prince Ugglethrop and will turn into an orangutan if she hears the word “moisten?”

”’Penelope Strathearn on November 5, 2009 at 8:20pm”’


stands back and waits for the fun to begin

”’Myrtil on November 5, 2009 at 8:20pm”’


”’Penelope Strathearn on November 5, 2009 at 8:21pm”’

Dies laughing and high-fives Myrtil

”’Fono Heninga on November 5, 2009 at 8:42pm”’

offers banana

”’Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle on November 5, 2009 at 10:55pm”’

That sounds like an SCA persona :-)

”’Emilly Orr on November 8, 2009 at 8:03pm”’

RenFaire types fall for this too. I swear, I’ve seen more fluttery-winged demi-fae at various RenFaires RL than I’ve ever seen on the grid–and there are a lot of fluttery wings on the grid!

”’Mr. Tenk on November 9, 2009 at 1:09am”’


”’DreddPirateBob on November 5, 2009 at 4:58pm”’

to quote ralph wiggum:

“I’m special!”

how do you deal with superpowered beings?

Superior firepower!

”’Doctor Obolensky on November 5, 2009 at 5:21pm”’

When everyone is special, they’re not. :P

Another good reason to emphasis the “normal”, it makes you stand out from all the ubermensch.

”’Mr Underby on November 5, 2009 at 6:02pm”’

I think you are all correct, and after some thought I am going to alter Underby’s story. If interested, I am going to report the changes in the Limitations of Magic thread.

”’Fono Heninga on November 5, 2009 at 6:27pm”’

Quite. Like standing still in a room of dancing people.

”’Fuzzball Ortega on November 5, 2009 at 6:31pm”’

And you can still be “normal”, but still have extraordinary adventures.

”’Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on November 5, 2009 at 7:19pm”’

If a person wants to be magic, they should at least refrain from bringing up they’re magical during every conversation or RP. It ruins the fun for people.

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 7:25pm”’

Ceejay sashays up the street and joins the nearest cluster of Babbagers. She smiles, flutters her eyelashes and demurely says… “I’m a drunk and an opium addict who was orphaned and held captive by a traveling circus.”

Hmm. Yeah. There’s a way to perk up an evening for everyone. She does smile and flutter a lot, though.

”’Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on November 5, 2009 at 7:30pm”’

Kind of brings down a group of people, don’t it? XD. My character had a messed up past but he never blabs it to anyone, he just puts on a tough face and keeps his past to himself unless someone asks him about it.

”’Fono Heninga on November 5, 2009 at 7:42pm”’

Haha! I’ve been trying to come up with a response to that, and the best I can manage is “…”

”’Ceejay Writer on November 5, 2009 at 8:16pm”’


”’Caesar Osterham on November 24, 2009 at 1:26pm”’

I think it says something that my first thought upon reading that was “There’s probably a support group for that.”

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 24, 2009 at 5:19pm”’

A support group for those held captive by traveling circuses? I want in!

”’Caesar Osterham on November 25, 2009 at 9:03am”’

I shudder to think what the twelve step program for such a group would consist of in New Babbage.

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 25, 2009 at 4:27pm”’

The refreshment table has cotton candy, popcorn and peanuts in the shell. And the group affirmation, chanted solemnly at the end of each session: “One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble … gooble gobble! One of us! One of us!”

”’Caesar Osterham on November 27, 2009 at 3:03pm”’

I was thinking that it would involve more soot.

And explosions.

Definitely explosions.

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 27, 2009 at 6:15pm”’

Soot is the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th step. Explosions are the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th step.

But first … there’s pie.

”’Caesar Osterham on November 27, 2009 at 7:34pm”’

I like pie . . .

. . . and exploding soot pie is the best.

”’Phineas Frakture on November 5, 2009 at 8:05pm”’

I think you hit the nail on the head Doc…’nuff said.

”’TotalLunar Eclipse on November 5, 2009 at 8:47pm”’

A very good post, I applaud you sir.

I like the format of what you’ve written here, when you answer the questions it reads out like a detailed RP character storyline.

To use a character as an example let’s take my wife, Tensai Hilra.

1. SImple design. Mad genius/estranged daughter of a timelord that tends to blow up everything she ‘fixes’.

2. Power scale. Unlike other time lords Tensai actually blew up her Tardis ‘accidentally’ and since then she’s stuck in the wild west. She has no superstrength, all her strength lies in her mind, she’s terribly clever.

3. Quirk and flaws. Tensai likes to experiment but because she’s in the old time she’s forced to use old technology which in turn usually blows up any of her projects or electrocuting her husband. She tries to rebuild her Tardis and fails constantly. Any tinkering leads to massive explosions, and fixing things leads to more explosions. In any case there’s alot of rebuilding of the laboratory. She’s a mad sort of scientist and has that wicked gleam in her eye that makes others who know her run for cover whenever she creates a new gadetry.

4. Conflict. She’s trying to rebuild the Tardis but fails. The technology just isn’t there and she realized a long time ago she’s going to have to wait out the years to truly return home. (But who wants to return home when she’s been banned from 10 systems for accidentally blowing up a few moons and creating a hand sized black hole… and turning the water to jello in one planet.)

”’Fuzzball Ortega on November 5, 2009 at 9:27pm”’

Guess there’s not always room for jello.

”’TotalLunar Eclipse on November 5, 2009 at 9:54pm”’


”’Mara Razor on November 6, 2009 at 12:45pm”’

and turning the water to jello in one planet.)


It’s Tensai’s world. We just live in it.

”’Ghilayne Andrew on November 5, 2009 at 10:05pm”’

Doc has a good list, and in general I agree with it although, I’d add a few other things to think about when creating a character. But the main thing would be simply to allow the character to grow — not physically, but in the things that give a character personality. A character can be extraordinarily detailed and rich, but if it’s totally predictable then it becomes boring… not only to play but for other people interacting with it. It ceases being a character and is instead a charicature.

To me, no matter how beautifully drawn and illustrated, a character shouldn’t just be a paper doll that we wave in front of ourselves. It should be a persona, with history, loves, likes and dislikes that change over time as the persona experiences the world around it. Character design isn’t a one-time thing, but a continuous process. Allow the character time to communicate itself to other players. They don’t have to know your persona’s whole life story upon meeting. As in the real world, allow the persona to unfold and reveal itself. Different people will know different information about the persona and that’s ok.

Of course, if you’re planning a short-term use persona for single event or storyline, it doesn’t apply… but it’s always disappointing to me when I see a someone with a long-term persona start to follow a growth tangent, then abruptly switch back to its old self as if the typist suddenly thought, “Oh! I can’t do that I’m supposed be [fill-in-the-blank] instead!” I’d rather interact with someone living their persona than acting a character.

”’Bookworm Hienrichs on November 6, 2009 at 8:05am”’

((*nod* That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I think Bookworm has progressed some from the naive young woman who was always complaining that nothing ever happened to her. How interesting that progression has been to others, or what other sorts of changes may occur to her in the future, I don’t know. Though I have thought, off and on, that perhaps she could progress into a nemesis for Dr. Obolensky, given that she’s already somewhat obsessed with him and his schemes.))

Speaking of which–Dr. Obolensky has been awfully quiet of late. He didn’t even take advantage of the plague last month to try anything. What can he be up to?

((See what I mean? *grin*))

”’Penelope Strathearn on November 6, 2009 at 10:33am”’

((I’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading/watching it. *g*))

”’Charity McAuley on November 7, 2009 at 4:48am”’

Amazing post, Doctor Obolensky. Do you mind if I link to it in my journals?

”’Doctor Obolensky on November 7, 2009 at 12:12pm”’

Any and all may copy it, link it, rewrite it, it any way they like. :)

As to what the Doc’s been up to, well, RL has been rather hectic for me lately, but I hope to have him back to his evil deeds soon. And perhaps we can work up to something where Book foils his plans, hmmm?

”’Bookworm Hienrichs on November 11, 2009 at 4:22pm”’

And you would have gotten away with it, too?

Wonder if I should get a dog. ;-)

”’Sheryl Skytower on November 11, 2009 at 4:25pm”’

makes barking noise

and I work for cookies!

”’Serafina Puchkina on November 11, 2009 at 5:02pm”’

And times when Miss Sheryl can’t be on duty, I know a grey cat who’d be willing to guard your place. Just set out a bowl of milk for me.

”’Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle on November 11, 2009 at 7:32pm”’

Now I have visions of Miss Sheryl going into raptures of bliss the way Mutley did after having receiving a medal.

”’Sheryl Skytower on November 11, 2009 at 8:33pm”’

does wheezing laughing

heeee heee heee!

”’Caesar Osterham on November 23, 2009 at 12:15pm”’

Shouldn’t those be “Sheryl Snacks?”

runs like hell

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 7, 2009 at 9:23pm”’

“A one-armed tinker that loves potatoes”

This seems like the start of a tragedy. How can he peel his own potatoes?? Alas and alack …

”’Caesar Osterham on November 22, 2009 at 11:09am”’

Now, now. He’s a tinker, remember?

He has undoubtedly created some sort of cunning fork for one armed potato peeling which he’ll be happy to sell you at a price that’s cutting his own throat. ;)

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 22, 2009 at 4:21pm”’

But of course … what was I thinking? :D

((But Alton Brown says we should shun single-purpose kitchen objects, so I’d have to decline the cunning fork))

”’Caesar Osterham on November 23, 2009 at 11:56am”’

Yes, but Mr. Brown does admit to owning a single purpose gadget which he uses for cutting up mealworms for his pet lizard.

And, besides, in the spirit of Good Eats I’m quite certain that the potato fork could be used for peeling other root vegetables.>>

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 23, 2009 at 3:36pm”’

((Aye, lizards = single-purpose gadgetry.

And I’m sure Mr. Brown has a special dispensation from someone fit to give out indulgences – Chairman Kaga, maybe? Or Ron Popeil?))

Why hasn’t the Tinker patented his ingenious fork and sold it to the military for a 110% mark-up and cost-plus? Think of all the potatoes needing to be peeled for mess hall …

”’Caesar Osterham on November 24, 2009 at 1:43pm”’

Why no patent? Because if it can be patented it can be stolen or knocked off. See Eli Whitney’s problems with the cotton gin.

Another problem with a patent is that you have to defend it. Rollin White’s efforts to defend the concept of the “bore through” cylinder design for revolvers essentially bankrupted him. (One of the more shameful incidents in the history of Smith and Wesson.)

Finally, as for selling it to the Ministry of War you have to remember that most militaries are very reluctant to embrace revolutionary technologies. One of the best examples of this occured during the American Civil War. Christopher Spencer designed and produced a truly outstanding repeating rifle that was a quantuum leap from the muzzle loading weapons used then. The problem was getting past the more conservative leaders in the service. (And as a further point, the US Army still didn’t have a repeating rifle until the adoption of the Krag-Jergensen in 1892.)

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 24, 2009 at 5:26pm”’

A student of intellectual property and military history? Bravo, sir … well played!

rubs her hands together, plotting … scheming … warming her hands

Well, the surest way to get one’s own military’s attention is to threaten to sell a useful item to a military rival. Perhaps our one-armed tinker should be contacted by a mysterious and tight-lipped Prussian. The Austro-Hungarian Empire goes through a lot of potatoes. Perhaps the cunning potato fork has a dual use after all! On the battlefield?

”’Caesar Osterham on November 25, 2009 at 8:52am”’

Actually I was thinking that Tsarist Russia will go through many more potatoes than the Hapsburgs and their ilk will.

”’Magdalena Kamenev on November 25, 2009 at 4:38pm”’
1) Do you have to peel potatoes before distilling them into vodka?

2) Depending on what era we’re talking about, Czarist Russia seems far too easily distracted with a) quelling internal dissent from the serfs and the intellectuals, b) carrying out pogroms, c) keeping its boot on the Baltics and protecting the Serbs from the rest of the Balkans, or d) growling at the Mongolians, Chinese and Japanese.

Mother Russia is quite the harried mother. And which of her Czars are forward-looking enough to care about new tools?

”’Emilly Orr on November 8, 2009 at 7:37pm”’

There’s such a thing as *too* simple, how’ver–my oft-repeated character description over the years is one word: “Shapeshifter”. Less people than you might think get that. :)

”’Clarabella Lucy Corryong on November 12, 2009 at 7:59am”’

I’ve taken the polor oppisite to this. Instead of being an ultra-powerful Hetrodyne/Martian/Goddess/Mystery solver/magic girl and not mentioning it, Instead I’m none of these things but say I am all the time. My unwillingness to fix on a backstory means that my character too has no idea weather her skills and memories come from books or she actually did/ learned those things.

To quote one partivular moment:

upon seeing a locomotive

This engine would be more efficiant if you increase the firebox size and loosen the max pressure on the safety valve. It will run at a lower preasure and therefore be safer….. wait a minute….. Where did ah know that from…… HOLY CRAP AH KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A TRAIN!?

She’s probably a Spark which exlains her loopiness

”’DreddPirateBob on November 12, 2009 at 8:38am”’

:D fun!

”’Ceejay Writer on November 12, 2009 at 8:43am”’

Oh gawd, she’s gotta be related to Bob!

”’DreddPirateBob on November 12, 2009 at 8:49am”’

why? i dont know how to drive a train! i bet i could learn tho! it can’t be hard! you dont even have to steer just get it going full blast and hang on

”’Ceejay Writer on November 12, 2009 at 9:02am”’

It works the best if you tie a string to the steering wheel and go lay on the cowcatcher holding the end of the string. Trust me, Bob. Try it!

”’Kandace Commons on November 12, 2009 at 5:42pm”’

Trains don’t have steering wheels.

”’Ceejay Writer on November 12, 2009 at 5:44pm”’

No *wonder* Bob kept falling off the cowcatcher!

”’Esmerelda Eyre on December 1, 2009 at 4:52am”’

esmerelda eyre nods abruptly.

”’Esmerelda Eyre on December 1, 2009 at 4:53am”’

((p.s child vampire))

”’Caesar Osterham on December 4, 2009 at 12:54pm”’

blames Anne Rice for the resurgant popularity of underaged vampires and their ilk>>

”’Esmerelda Eyre on December 17, 2009 at 10:44am”’

(( *smiles* The odd thing is I have never read the book or seen the movie – I have however heard talk of Claudine. The idea actually came from the television series, Hellsing; from the character Helena. Although, Esmerelda is not a copy of the character.))

”’Esmerelda Eyre on December 17, 2009 at 10:46am”’

((I have also noticed in this section some people have said a small blurb about their character. The conflict in mine is that she can never seem to decide if she is one the light or dark side of things – perhaps this may change)).

”’Caesar Osterham on December 17, 2009 at 11:00am”’

Just please don’t start sparkling. Nothihng good can come of that.’>> :P

”’Bookworm Hienrichs on December 17, 2009 at 11:09am”’

((*starts singing, “Sparkly vampires…glittering werewolves…effervescent zombies…monsters that shine…”*))

”’Esmerelda Eyre on December 18, 2009 at 10:46am”’

((please, no worries there !))

”’Mr. Tenk on December 17, 2009 at 12:52pm”’

don’t decide. let her figure it out for herself.

”’Solan Stormcrow on December 7, 2009 at 2:02pm”’

There’s also a very important factor, which I consider of merit, to building a successful character, and that is ENVIRONMENT. Your Avatar is the culmination, of all the experiences he/she has lived, (and roleplayed), but it’s also necessary, especially when creating an origin or back story, to have at least some details, of outside and regional influences. I’m still in the process of creating my persona, but I have several holes in it, mainly due to the fact that I don’t know much about the ‘outside world’. It’s easy to build on what’s there (ie. to understand NB) just ask the locals, or go explore it, for yourself. But suppose your character is not actually FROM New Babbage, originally. What, then? In order to fill this, more details are needed.

Specifically in this case, what other sims are relative, and is there actually any sort of guide, to the world itself? If I were to say I’m from , I would want to be actually able to describe such a place, but not make it so unbelievable that it actually clashes, with the existing world. This is a neo-victorian setting, but is it actually England (or Earth for that matter), or a place that is somewhere completely different? Obviously such a question almost requires that a limited map, of the world be drawn. That is, however quite an undertaking, and would warrant I think, at least some discussion. Or, perhaps I’m merely over analyzing this.

”’Mr. Tenk on December 17, 2009 at 12:51pm”’

There’s a lot of doublethink required for this one. There are 2 New Babbages – the one on the grid, familiar to places like Steelhead, Arkham, Caledon, and the other sims we hop around on, and the one that lives to itself, which is…um… somewhere else. The current date of 1882 is more to put technology in a meaningful timeline, it should not be interpreted to coincide with real earth history. While we do reference England, France, the Orient, and America, its hard to say what those places are really like in our timeline, other than the general geography and national traits that would be associated with those places. Babbage has a heavy element of post-apocalypse in that there was an technological breakdown that brought the economic collapse of 1750 that broke the old empire. High technology in 1750? There’s the gorilla in the room. We are somewhere else.

A map is slowly, oh so slowly, being sketched in. We are continental, not english. The central cities of the empire were far to the west. the train goes north to Falun, where the mines are. about 10 days south is a coastal city called Ravila. There are broad steppes to the east. the Vernian is starting to look more like the Baltic. I”m not quite clear wither the Central Republics are, but I’ll find out.

”’Stargirl Macbain on December 17, 2009 at 1:06pm”’

Tenk, I’m taking this and putting it in my Babbage file.

”’Breezy Carver on December 17, 2009 at 2:12pm”’

/me looks up and smiles .. at the bit of info stocking stuffer there left for each of us .. Like sugar plums i say :) thank YOU for sharing a wee bit more ….Clock Winder !

”’Caesar Osterham on December 18, 2009 at 11:09am”’

So basically, you’re saying that we’re somewhere near Latveria?

”’Mr. Tenk on December 18, 2009 at 12:04pm”’

no. further north, and more exposed.

”’Doctor Obolensky on December 18, 2009 at 12:37pm”’

To the west of Smaleria, and just north of Nonesuchistan. :)

”’Caesar Osterham on December 18, 2009 at 1:03pm”’

And east of Erewhon?

”’Solan Stormcrow on December 18, 2009 at 7:34pm”’

I’m trying to stay as generic, as possible, when describing areas, outside the sims. The orient, the western frontier lands, the indies or just the western isles, for example. I’m finding it easier not to run into conflicting ideas this way.

Is Ravila across the sea, or farther along the shoreline?

I also gave some thought to the Old Empire. If you’re saying NB is in the southeastern corner of the Old Empire, then I can easily see something like Balkan/Romanian. This would make the O.E. centered someplace, similar to the Austro-Hungarian or perhaps prussian empire. Though, for this to be true, the water would be in the wrong place, unless one were to move the Black or Caspian sea Northwest. ;)

”’Mr. Tenk on December 18, 2009 at 7:54pm”’

i think its more eastern edge, not southeast. i’ve pointed at poland before (in desperation). and Ravila is south down the coastline… yeah, there goes the geography getting all twisted up. if there was a sea east of latvia or belarus, that would be just about right.

”’Caesar Osterham on December 28, 2009 at 11:06am”’

While it isn’t a sea, per se, Lake Ladoga seems to fit the geography you’re using.

”’Grendel Footman on December 18, 2009 at 11:33pm”’

i think the only real area’s i’ve described outside sims is the Antartic colony Grendel comes from

”’Clarabella Lucy Corryong on January 1, 2010 at 8:57am”’

the “empire” was english speaking. That is why we all speak english and there are few other languages.

Babbage was towards one side during the time of the empire and was one of the first to be seperated from it.

Out of all the steamlands only Steelhead has a fixed geographical location (western US coast) and it looks to me like Caledon and Babbage have some bad blood. My own opinion was that Caledon broke from the empire early when it started to collapse. Babbage (which is and always has been run by half mad folk) sorta just let things happen on their own

My own character is loosely based on the concept that 1) the basic geography was at one time earths but politically things went differently so that certain cities and locations exist that don’t in our world and 2) most real places exisit in some form anyway.

Lucy was after all raised in a south dakota black hills settlement. (I’d say deadwood but in SL my original alt got banned from there so I cut my ties) also, fact 3 is that the timeline is screwed up and folks know it. That’s why babbge has time lords. History isn’t menat to be steampunk and they all tried to fx it. The cause of this is probably the Hetrodyne Boys and their interdimensional transportation device ( the very same one my family used to get me into a universe where I wouldn’t have my brain cored by wulfenbach and that I might not become a spark and my dad wouldn’t have to kill me due to his quest thingy……. oh well that plan failed)

”’Mr. Tenk on January 1, 2010 at 10:08am”’

i think we should just ignore the language issue.

Caledon is distinctly British Isles.

The American sims are easy enough since they are on a different continent (and we ignore how long it would really take to get there, eh?)

You are going to hurt yourself if you try to smash it all in for the sake of continuity.

”’Clarabella Lucy Corryong on January 1, 2010 at 10:19am”’

I started out writing crossover fanfiction. I’m very good at making stuff up to fill in gaps

”’Mr. Tenk on January 1, 2010 at 10:42am”’

Yeah, that kinda shows, Clara.

”’Emilly Orr on January 1, 2010 at 5:58pm”’

The cause of this is probably the Hetrodyne Boys and their interdimensional transportation device ( the very same one my family used to get me into a universe where I wouldn’t have my brain cored by wulfenbach and that I might not become a spark and my dad wouldn’t have to kill me due to his quest thingy……. oh well that plan failed)

…Because you came to a universe where Baron Wulfenbach existed? That…seems an odd escape plan.

”’Clarabella Lucy Corryong on January 1, 2010 at 7:14pm”’

The baron wasn’t in this universe then. he came later.

”’Emilly Orr on January 1, 2010 at 7:39pm”’


He’s chasing you! RUN!

”’Clarabella Lucy Corryong on January 1, 2010 at 8:19pm”’

considering who my dad is I’m not surprised. but hopefully he hasn’t figued it out yet.

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