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Character Creation Guide by Danton Thirroul

 

Alright, what makes this whole thing work are the characters. Without strong and well rounded characters, the roleplay aspect of World of Hogwarts is going to fall flat on its face. Now what follows is not advice from a roleplayer - but from a theatrical director and writer. I don’t expect everyone to go off and be method actors or anything, don’t worry. But what you have here is (I hope) useful advice for you all to develop your character.

 

 

You need to ask yourself a series of questions - the answers will decide what you come up with. Please note you may have a fertile imagination and already have a clear idea about what you want to play (I know I did). Or you may be ‘stuck’. This page is designed specifically to help the latter more than the former. If you are stuck, I hope this has many ideas for you to play with.

SO, first thing - the most basic of questions - What do you want out of this? Do you want to be part of a regular community - crafting tales set in the Harry Potter universe as your main source of entertainment in Second Life? Or do you want to be able to turn up and go and enjoy it along with a thousand other commitments? That will be the first indicator as to the kind of character you want to create. Don’t worry - you will not be discriminated against in terms of plots… this is all about what kind of character you should look towards playing. If you will only turn up occasionally - then why not look to play maybe a shy Hufflepuff who turns up occasionally but maybe spends a lot of time going home to look after his sick Muggle mother? Or has allergies and spends a lot of time with the nurse? Or maybe NOT a student - one of the score of visiting Wizards who turn up in the area? Already just by answering that question, you can begin to get a grip on your character. But of course there are countless other questions.

Do you want to play a student? A professor? A fully grown Wizard? And what kind of Wizard? Which nationality is also important? The characters in Rowling's books are terribly British - indeed much of her satire is subtle and sly looks at British culture… maybe your character is American? Maybe they attended the Witches Institute in Salem?

Maybe you are a reporter for The Quibbler? Seeking some juicy gossip to write up (if you are willing to actually write up the story in a sensationalist tabloid style all the better)? Or maybe a reporter for the Daily Prophet - maintain the line established by this most serious of newspapers? Maybe a professional Wizards duellist (trying to avoid the 12 year ban on duelling in Britain)? Maybe you are a professional Acromantula hunter (the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest)? Maybe you are a scout from one of the professional Quidditch teams? Maybe you are an Auror in Training (the Ministry of Magic’s secretive force dedicated to the hunting down of Dark Arts Wizards)? Or a Hit Wizard of the Magical Law Enforcement Department? Or maybe a criminal? A Wizard trying to bypass the strict regulations set down by the DRCMC (Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures)? Maybe you are a Dark Wizard - looking to recruit students to learn forbidden skills? A spy sent from another school - or some Dark Master - or the Ministry.

And then we have the endless possibilities if you are playing a student. You have your house as the first choice of helping decide who your character is (actually if your character is an ex-Hogwarts student, house plays a role there too). The four houses have set ‘types of person’- but you can also buck the trend (to an extent - a cowardly Gryffindor wouldn’t be allowed - but a physically weak one whose strength is emotional would be). So look to your house (see sorting section below) and look to the vast array of things in there. Slytherin does not have to be nasty all the time (remember Malfoy was a git to his own house). They are self-serving, but that does not make them all bullies or cynics. The desire for power could manifest itself in many ways- to be the most popular kid in school for example, would make you create a sociable Slytherin? Hufflepuffs are often seen as the most ‘boring’ of the houses, but that misses the point - they are the ones who are ‘loyal and just’. ‘Just’ - the believers in justice. A vigilante Hufflepuff who comes down on any Slytherin who makes a nasty comment suddenly creates whole new dynamic for the house. The loyalty is also prevalent - but WHO are they loyal to? Their house? Their friends? The school? SOMEONE ELSE?

You want to be a Gryffindor? What kind - as I said courage comes in many forms - including doing unpopular things (being a spy for the Ministry for example). Again great variety there. And the Ravenclaws - famed for their ‘wit and learning’ - wit suggests humour and perhaps more - mediaeval descriptions of wit suggests ‘fighting words’- protagonists? Imagine a nasty, quick to pick a fight, insulting Ravenclaw? As you can see, the house system allows variation - look towards the words which describe them and use that as a hook towards developing your character.

Age is another crucial factor here. Younger characters will not have as well-developed characters as adults. No, that doesn’t mean you should insist on roleplaying stroppy mood swings; more that you maybe could create two sides to the character - two differing goals and intents - which show the conflicted dynamics of the teenager.

 

Sorting

Obviously we want players to enjoy themselves - and if you have set your heart on playing a certain a character from a certain house, then sure, fine. But what we REALLY want is for you to actually be sorted. Answering questions which lead to you finding out a house chosen based on your personality - with the fear always being there that you may find yourself in a house you never ‘imagined’ you would be in. This also gives you your character's response to the sort - for example, I was torn between playing a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw. The Sorting hat test put me FIRMLY into Ravenclaw, and the character developed from that original desire to be in Slytherin as well.

The best of the many Sorting hat tests out there has to be this one - Find Your Hogwarts House: The Harry Potter Sorting Hat Test. Take this test as best you can with the character you have in mind and not as your real self!

 

Motivation and Goals

Got an outline for your character? Great! Now let's get more detail. Most importantly - what do you want to do? What’s your goal for your character? What’s your motivation? What do you want to achieve? Give yourself a goal. Give yourself several (especially if you are playing a kid). Where do you want to go? What stories do you want to tell? This is important - both for me and for you. It helps you frame your character's role in the stories that are to come. Remember - the aim is not to ‘win’, but to tell a story. You motivations may change - indeed they should change. As the environment of World of Hogwarts changes, as the story goes on, so in time will the goals and motivations for your character.

As well as your goals for your character (what do THEY want to do), what do YOU want your character to do for the story? Give yourself goals for how you see your character helping the story along. For example you may decide you want ‘my character to be attacked by a bad guy and left in hospital’ - which is great - because it lets us know that you want your character to be part of a possible story (and you suggest a story to us - who attacks your character? Why? Did they just attack or try and kill you? Already we have endless plots forming). See what I mean?

You may put down here say ‘organise a real professional Quidditch team’. Or ‘get expelled for some reason and then hang around the Leaky Cauldron plotting and badmouthing the professor who expelled me’ or ‘set up a secret society dedicated to eradicating half-blood wizards which carries out attacks upon half-bloods’ or whatever. You can leave this area blank or fill in as many as you like. We can’t promise we will do it, but we will read it and get excited and maybe throw some plots your way.

 

History

Now we get to the interesting stuff. Creating a history for your character - where they came from and where are they going. You can create a full ‘method acting’ background here - pages of intense detail. I may not read it all, but you can create it! (laughs)

You can also do the most basic type of write up (‘My parents were muggles’). It’s up to you. What I will say is that you want to give us stuff that we can use - details which are created to give the Marauders enough detail. Try and give us things we can expand and give back upon. But no, your character's parents do not have to be murdered or that kind of thing. Nor does your life need to be filled with angst.

 

Blood

This is important. Why? Well one of the themes will be the idea of prejudice, based upon the pure-bloods' way of seeing things. You choice of ‘breed’ will make interesting roleplay ideas. Remember, not all pure-bloods give a damn about that sort of thing (the existence of half-bloods show this), and to be Muggle-born could mean you are prejudice towards pure-bloods!

 

Abilities and Talents

Covering a vast array of skills and talents. These are things you can say your character can do - you may be able to animate your avatar to show this; or maybe you can use it to describe actions your character makes. These could include playing the guitar (Muggle or Wizard versions), or being very good at conkers; of having an affinity towards Dragons (which may or may not be useful).

 

Wand
 

Your wand is important. A rough idea about what you want here - given the popularity of staffs in the shops in Wizards Alley, we will include staffs here as well. Miscellaneous information includes just about everything else you want to include.

Maybe you have purchased a wand. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you purchased a simple one but want to give it a bit more life? Maybe you are just describing one your character is supposed to have? Try and make yours individual. Give it a quirk. Maybe even a history.

 

Miscellaneous Information

This is where you can add whatever you want which is not covered in the above sections. If you are unsure, may I humbly suggest you make your way over to the Harry Potter Lexicon, arguably one of the greatest sites for all things Harry - and take some time wandering about and getting stuck into the universe. Me, I decided that my character was to come from Devon, UK (where I live) so the entries on the regions I found really helpful for my own entry.

Ultimately however - all this attention to detail is not mandatory. You can write as little or as much as you want. You can change things as you go along. The reason for all of this is to help you enjoy the game. If spending ages creating a character doesn’t appeal to you - then don’t. Remember - this is a tool to help you and to help us run the roleplay.

 

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