This week on RP and You – It’s a look at a couple of popular RP addons, how to install and properly use them, and an answer to that all-important question: How do I write a good physical description of my character?
Addons are little programs you can download that allow you to adjust the game to your liking in a way that the plain game won’t let you do. There are addons available for adjusting your UI, changing your bar layout, changing the way things appear on your screen – and there are also a few addons out there that are specifically for RP.
http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/flag-rsp2.aspx – FlagRSP2 is one of the heaviest used roleplaying addons. It will let you plunk in a basic description for your character, and view other people’s character descriptions with the push of a button. Now, you don’t HAVE to put a description in there if you don’t want to, you can simply run around reading everyone else’s descriptions, but that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? FlagRSP2 is strictly for physical descriptions – as in what someone would see if looking at your character. What FlagRSP2 is not for is for character history, back story, or OOC notes. I have seen many, many FlagRSP2 descriptions in my time, so for illustration’s sake, let’s delve into what would be a ‘good’ physical character description vs. a ‘bad’ one, all right?
Good: (Character) is of an average height and average weight for his race. He has blue eyes, and jet-black hair that looks somewhat messy and unkempt, as if he’d just rolled out of bed. To the casual observer, all appears normal – but if you look closely, you’ll see a bit of tissue or paper protruding from one nostril, for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Bad: (Character) is the long-lost son of Arthas and Jaina Proudmoore, disowned at birth by his mother and possessing part of the spirit of the Lich King. He grew up in Nagrand because that’s where they left him at and likes horses and chocolate. He’s killed over 12,000 people in his lifetime.
The ‘Good’ character description is simply what you would see if you were looking at the player character, nothing more. It’s short, to the point, and to top it all off, there’s a hook there that may or may not make people want to talk to you – why on earth do you have a tissue jammed up your nose, anyway?
The ‘Bad’ character description is not bad because the player is obviously trampling gleefully all over lore – what makes the bad character description ‘bad’ is that it says nothing about what the character actually looks like. There is no way you will ever be able to tell by looking at someone who they are the son or daughter of, nor where they grew up, nor their likes or dislikes, nor how many people they’ve killed recently, much less in a lifetime. However, if the description is changed a little:
(Character) stands before you, a sullen, sunken face viewing the world with the casual disgust of one who has never learned to appreciate the life he was given. The bags slung over his shoulder are crude, and upon closer examination you see they are constructed with insignia after insignia of members of the horde, presumably those he’s killed. Around his neck he wears a small necklace that appears Kurenai in origin. Occasionally you will see him mutter quietly, though whether this is to himself, or someone, something that follows him is unknown.
He does not seem to notice or care that he is leaving a small trail of chocolate wrappers in his wake that flutter and waft in the breeze.
Now the description shows what somebody looking at him would see – and still hints at those facts that you so desperately want to divulge to everyone. In the interests of keeping it brief, I had to leave a few things out, but it’s still more than enough to capture anyone’s interest.
If you are content with a physical character description, then so be it, FlagRSP2 will do the job just fine. But if you’re interested in offering people a more in-depth look at your character, you may want to check out this next addon.
Next Page: MyRoleplay, and writing a physical description that won’t drive you bonkers