Disclosure: Republished with permission from AwesomeShit.Ninja
In part I of this series, we went over my LARP life story and how I came to build Ashlynn within the Seventh Kingdom IGE lore. We talked about looking into different genres you may be drawn to, types of personas you’d want to portray, and how I used my personal Out-of-Game or OOG interests to bring Ashlynn to life.
So, let’s talk about you! First off, who in the hell are you? Mind you, we’re talking about the fake you not the you-you.
One thing I have always struggled with was trying to figure out why my existence in this world is important. What impact will I have in this world? Why did I choose to perform one action over another? What is my Personal Legend?
A “Personal Legend” is equivalent to a life’s journey or purpose in this world according to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – it’s one of my favorite books and it changed my life for the better. Anyway, think about why you’re building this persona for you to portray.
According to 7K’s guidelines to creating a backstory, within the addendum, players must list important secondary characters and their roles and describe the current goals of the Player Character or PC. Usually, it’s three “motivations” or goals that are your characters priorities.
When I first began playing, the three goals I had for Ashlynn were the only things I had going for her, and training with others during events. About ten months in, plot was actually written for me that included two older siblings I had never knew existed. BUT! During those ten months, I generated my own plot with other players and worked on making connections within the game. I can easily say that Ashlynn is a well-known character around “Freehold,” but not everyone knows her life story.
I’ve been told and asked for my opinions on new player backstories and how they should portray their characters. For anyone that knows me, it is a terrible idea to ask for my opinion because I will never hold back! But, when n00bs or even veteran players with X-amount of years of experience approach me, I feel honored. Not too long ago, a womyn who was interested in joining my kingdom of Fir’bolg wanted to portray a witch because of her pagan background. Awesome! Pretty much the same reason I choose my class.
She went into further specifics about how she wanted to incorporate foxes and a specific garment or costume accessory of a tail. As I sat reading over these Facebook messages for the next few moments, I couldn’t help to think of how much of a story resemblance this would be to another character in the game.
Their backstory includes being raised by wolves and literally wearing a tail on their belt. Everyone at a LARP is looking for originality, uniqueness, and influential attributes they can relate back to characters from novels, series, or films they admire. From there, I began to vomit ideas to her. Since she loved foxes so much, I gave her the idea of spiritual connections to foxes while avoiding the words “raised” and “lived.” Also, 7k awards players for attending events each year with a year gift, specified to benefit their character. Branching off of that, I told her as a witch and rightful owner of this tail that she was incorporating into her backstory to request down the line for that to be her year gift phys-rep.
Since starting the game, I’ve created at least four or five alternative characters or alts. This past month, I brought in a human from the Kingdom of Riverfolk who’s a Swashbucklin’ Bard. Now, I’m a folkie. I listen to folk music every day from Appalachia to shit-kicker to Mumford & Sons and a good chunk of lyrical folk music are about protesting historical moments throughout time. So, Captain Esmerelda Herne – Lala for short – goes around protesting political figures and singing about nonviolence, while in reality she’s a serial killer. I really just wanted to swing for more damage at the end of the day 😉
Alts are good escapes from your main character and portraying a completely different personality from your main is also a great way to get involved with other players that you probably never talked to before. The main differences between Lala and Ashlynn include their dialects, experiences, and lifestyles. Ashlynn grew up as an orphan in the surrounding forests with a Celtic accent. Lala, on the other hand, speaks well for a womyn of her stature, travels Midwold by boat, and stabs people for fun.
Another great reason to bring in new characters, even for your main, is to relate them to other established backstories. There’s a few ways this can happen. In Ashlynn’s case, she knew a player from her kingdom because they were on the same boat a few years previous and one other character who became vital to her backstory when discussing OOG to build new relationships was to make them a father-figure to her after her family was broken up.
One character I plan on bringing in later on in 2016 is going to be the sister who was perceived as dead for years and she follows an opposing religion.
Further down the line, I suggest you google “Character Questions.” Tons of options will become available to you; take a look at a few of them and answer their questions! Questions such as nicknames, birthmarks, favorite foods and pastimes, fears, etc. will be easier to answer after you immerse your character into the world of your game.