Welcome to #Broken_Dagger! If you're ready to join in our stories, adventures, and tales, we only ask that you read the following standards. The first list are the guidelines we set upon character creation, while the second is an optional list of helpful starting-points that may assist you in better constructing your character. Some of these rules and guidelines have been previously outlined on our Code of Conduct page, which we highly recommend you read as well to better understand our channel's philosophy.
- 1 Creating your character
- 1.1 Where to start?
- 1.2 What races can I play?
- 1.3 Where can my character come from?
- 1.4 Can I bring in my character from another channel/game/venue?
- 1.5 What about power levels?
- 1.6 How will my character grow?
- 1.7 I'm still not sure what kind of character to play...
- 2 Character Creation Advice
Creating your character
All new players should read the following questions and answers to achieve a preliminary understanding of player expectations in regard to characters. If you still find yourself confused or unsure, please feel free to message an Operator in the channel or talk with some of the players in #BD_OOC, our out-of-character chat room.
Where to start?
The #Broken_Dagger is first and foremost a "low fantasy" milieu. There are fantastical elements, but they are uncommon enough to be generally regarded with awe, wonder and suspicion. For new players, erring on the side of simplicity when creating a character is best. We firmly believe in upholding the realistic tone of our setting, regardless of its fantasy qualities.
What races can I play?
Myrken Wood and surrounding regions are predominantly populated by humans. Other fantastical races - elves, dwarves, halflings, minotaurs, etc. - are known, but present as a minority. As a broad guideline the more strange, exotic or monstrous a race, the more likely they are to receive reactions ranging from curiosity and fascination to fear and loathing. Typically "villainous" races such as orcs, trolls, dark elves or vampires are unlikely to be welcomed with open arms. This doesn't preclude you from playing an antagonistic or villainous character, but we believe that even "evil" characters should have a firm sense of motivation and purpose behind their villainy. Our setting thrives more on profound interaction than outright violence.
WHY IS THIS? Characters in our setting (especially NPCs) are expected to behave rationally, for the most part. When confronted with a character who seems strange or potentially dangerous they will react with wariness, fear, or aggression, and players intent on introducing such characters should bear this in mind.
Where can my character come from?
The world of #Broken_Dagger is large and to a great extent unexplored. If your character is not from Myrken Wood or surrounding regions we encourage you to detail a homeland for them beyond the borders of Amasynian Province. Long-distance travel by land or sea is possible, if arduous, and foreigners are generally viewed with cautious interest. Magical travel by portal or teleportation is very rare in the core setting, and thus the preserve of the extremely wealthy or the extremely powerful. Travel between worlds/planes/dimensions is effectively unknown, and requires Op approval.
Take the time to familiarise yourself with our setting - explore the maps on the Broken Dagger website and spend a while browsing the BD Wiki - and it shouldn’t be hard to find a gap. The wider setting has been left deliberately undefined so that our players have room to fill in the blanks.
Can I bring in my character from another channel/game/venue?
Please don’t just copy them directly. If you have an original character you want to introduce to the Broken Dagger from elsewhere, make an expy version of them and take the time to adjust their background to fit into our existing setting.
WHY IS THIS? Rooting your character in our setting helps maintain consistency in our roleplay; it avoids the introduction of technology, science, or magitech that do not match the tone of our channel. It gives your creation something in common with other characters: this world is their home, and they are naturally invested in it.
What about power levels?
We believe that the use of special powers should never be a casual or trivial matter, and that the use of special powers should expand story possibilities, not close them off.
Characters using special powers as a matter of routine can dilute the sense of wonder that such powers should evoke - what ought to be incredible becomes commonplace or even boring. Additionally, struggle against adversity is a rich source of engaging roleplay. While it makes sense IC to accept a powerful character’s offer of help, OOC this can make things less enjoyable for other players, as they now have nothing for their characters to do.
We do not explicitly forbid powerful characters, but to keep things balanced we do insist that powerful characters face limitations to their abilities. This doesn’t mean that your character can’t have amazing powers, only that such talents and abilities need to be offset by comparable constraints and consequences. Perhaps a power is exhausting or injurious to the user; perhaps it requires extensive preparation; perhaps it can only be used in moments of extreme duress. As a general guideline: the more potent a power, the stronger the reasons a character should have not to use it.
WHY IS THIS? High-power characters pose a number of concerns. In terms of storytelling, characters using fantastical powers for routine applications can dilute the sense of wonder that such powers should evoke, and the incredible becomes commonplace or even boring. Additionally, characters with such powers run the risk of overshadowing characters without, thus denying other players the opportunity for interesting roleplay. Compare “The villain is defeated with the wave of a godling’s hand,” with “The villain is defeated by commoners who rose to the challenge, embarked on a perilous quest, and discovered strength and bravery they never knew they had.” Which is the more interesting story?
We strongly recommend that magical healing be kept to a minimum. You may encounter both IC and OOC resistance to instant healing spells - to many of our players their character coping with an injury is an interesting challenge. Ready access to instant magical healing can reduce the dramatic impact of situations in which a character risks physical harm. As such, limited forms of magical healing - speeding natural recovery, staving off infection, reducing an injury from mortal to survivable - are far more narratively useful than spells that instantly mend broken bones, regrow amputated limbs, or completely heal terrible wounds.
We don’t discourage the introduction of antagonistic or villainous characters whose desires conflict with those of others - conflict is the heart of a good story! - but we strongly recommend that new players spend a while getting used to the setting and characters therein before introducing a character intent on spreading strife and discord. We also believe that even "evil" characters should have a firm sense of purpose behind their villainy. What are their goals? What are they willing to do to achieve those goals? What are they not willing to do? What purpose does a given act of evil serve? Even the most wicked people rarely view themselves as evil, and even the insane have a consistent (if distorted) reasoning behind their actions.
How will my character grow?
We aim to foster an environment where characters make new friends, develop strong alliances, establish believable rivalries, and ultimately develop through their shared experiences. Your character’s ability to grow or be altered by the events in #Broken_Dagger is perhaps the most essential aspect of your character. Be willing to allow their mindset to change over time; be ready to let the setting and other characters negatively and positively affect them.
WHY IS THIS? Winning is not nor should it ever be the roleplayer's sole goal in this setting: characters make dire, frantic, even destructive mistakes; sometimes they disappoint themselves and those who care for them. Most of all, they are empowered to overcome their fears, their flaws, and their inadequacies, whether for their own betterment, for their survival, or for their personal ambitions.
I'm still not sure what kind of character to play...
Imagine that our setting, in regard to themes, tones, and form, lingers somewhere between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones (but do keep in mind, these are only potential inspirations; we do not allow copyrighted material here). Characters should not exist merely to be the vessels of flashy powers; they should live, breathe, laugh, suffer, be challenged, challenge others, and seem realistic and believable.
Character Creation Advice
Freeform roleplaying has as much in common with writing fiction as it does with roleplaying games - as such, try to consider your character not so much as a list of traits and abilities as an actor in a story. Their path is not determined by the roll of a die, but by choosing a direction that offers the most narrative satisfaction. The following guidelines are not strictly-enforced rules, but provided to help you create a character who will be enjoyable to play in the Broken Dagger.
Pick an archetype
Fantasy literature is full of archetypal characters: cunning thieves, grizzled soldiers, proud barbarians, and downtrodden peasants. Usually these archetypes can be summed up in a couple of words, and can give you (and other players) a handle on your character’s basic identity. Is your character a talented tradesmen, an adventurous warrior, or a clever con-artist? Have they lived a simple life, an eventful one, or is their past littered with traumatic experiences? Develop a firm foundation for your character’s basic identity. Consider how your character fits into the setting, and what role they occupy that may not be otherwise filled.
Give it depth
Archetypes are a start, but don’t have to be the entirety of your character. Give them traits beyond the immediately visible that either support or subvert the archetype. Give them a trait that’s not immediately obvious - a secret, or something about them that would be surprising to learn.
Decide on an origin
Is your character from the local area? Are they from a neighbouring province? Are they from further afield, a true foreigner? While the setting around the Broken Dagger - Myrkentown, Myrken Wood and the Amasynian Peninsula - have been defined by player activity over a span of years - the world beyond the Peninsula has been left deliberately vague. There is room for all sorts of homelands, from the prosaic to the truly exotic. Whatever your character’s origin, be sure to establish how they found themselves in Myrken Wood, and why.
Establish strengths and weaknesses
Because the pulse of roleplay in #Broken_Dagger is driven by written interaction, incorporating flaws and weaknesses into your character is essential. Flaws give depth to a character’s struggle against adversity. Perfect characters are perfectly boring; characters with prejudices, negative idiosyncrasies, or elements that detract from their wholeness are far more exciting to play and observe. Check out a few of these websites if you need help generating a flaw for your character:
Likewise, characters should always offer some kind of value to the setting around them. Strengths and talents do not need to be overt - not every character needs to be a prodigious swordswoman or a powerful spellslinger. Understated strengths often provide more nuance to the setting and bring more uniqueness to your writing. As a general rule, avoid thinking in extremes. People as we know them are not all fearless knights or cruel villains. If your character lands somewhere between those two, you’ve likely found an effective starting point.
Determine motivations, drives, purposes, and secrets
Based on your character’s origins, racial predispositions, cultural influences, and history, other motivating factors will begin to naturally appear during character creation. Does your character have an ulterior goal or purpose? What makes their figurative clock tick? Do they harbor a secret they fear might damage their reputation?
When introducing a new character, defining them to yourself - and others - using only one sentence is a good guideline for knowing you have just enough. If you find it difficult to reduce your character concept to a lone sentence at their inception, consider cutting needless fat from their persona to better complement the collaborative quality of the channel.
One last reminder
Remember to avoid playing the all-powerful and all-knowing. Be willing to compromise your character’s morals and motives. Likewise, expect to inspire the same for other players. If you’re looking to more specifically define your character for your own knowledge, fiction-writing tools such as character sheets (http://www.epiguide.com/ep101/writing/charchart.html) are extremely useful, but not necessary. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding character creation, don’t hesitate to talk to other players or ask for guidance and assistance.