Advice/Help Getting into character

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Hello, my characters have interesting personalities I want to play as, but actually acting as those personalities sometimes can be a challenge for me, anyone have advice for this? Or am I just stressing over nothing?
 
What sort of characters are we talking about? OCs or canon characters?

For me personally, canon characters are easier to play because they already have a set personality- I know who they are and what they want, because I've already seen them in action.

For OCs it's a bit trickier- I usually make mine very complex, so it takes a while for them to come into their own.

I would say, for characters that are extremely different from you personality wise, try to get a sense of what they want on a personal level. What do they value? What relationships do they hold dear, or who do they hate? How would their personality lend themselves to certain attributes, such as being friendly and charismatic, or detail oriented and thoughtful? Are they sentimental or strategic? If they're one or the other, how does the lesser sentimentality or strategy make itself known in their actions or decisions?

Basically, play around and see how they feel, and don't worry if it's a bit difficult at the beginning! That's an entirely normal thing, and if you're playing with people who have also just made OCs, I can tell you no one has a good grasp on who they are yet. It takes time and focus to really have your character begin to make decisions on their own.
 
Should've been more specific, but yes, I was talking about OCs. Thanks gor the help!
 
Well, the first thing I would say is to ensure you are actually working with a clear personality. While you don't want a character that is flat and one-note, understanding what a character is about is something which should be relatively straightforward in my view. At bare minimum, a character should be consistent. Some things to help with this would be:
  • Don't contradict yourself - Characters, like people, can appear to have contradictions, but really aren't in contradiction. What they are is incredibly complex and nuanced. Capturing this complexity and nuance is a lost cause, because you can't hope to keep in mind let alone write and portray that immense complexity that is another person. What you can do is make use of the iceberg effect, show signs of something to hint at much greater depth. But there's a common pitfall of equating a character having depth and nuance and a character contracting mood swings. A character that is prone to getting jealous doesn't need to get jealous about literally everything, but there should be consistency between the kind of things that cause them to be jealous, and it better not to be because you the player on a meta level find some things to be reasonable to get jealous over.
  • Don't half-ass it - Whatever character you're making, commit to it. Nuance is important to make a character interesting, but if your character is all nuance and no substance what you have is a big grey soup where the character should be. If a character with supposed bad temper only gets a little grumpy and rude what's the point of giving them a bad temper? If your character is supposed to desire fortune, why only pay lip service to their desire to get money when you could make them really focus on every penny they spend and be blinded by greed from time to time? It's about the traits actually having an impact, as well as making the character stand out more by having traits that are actually distinctive.
  • Follow the Implications - Particular ways of being will imply particular consequences to one's life. Personality will have some effects on other parts of the personality, or its justifications will imply other aspects of their personality. Personality will also inform other aspects of the character. A character who is very vain or loves fashion will probably dress better than a hurried or lazy character for instance. I find what I call the golden rule of consistency - containing internal consistency and consistency of consequence alike - to be an excellent tool for developing characters, plots, settings and so on, and it really helps in having a finished product that comes together as a well-formed network.


The importance of having a consistency personality is that if you don't, you don't have a personality. A personality defines behavior, and a definition establishes what is necessary and sufficient. A magic system defines what magic can and can't do. Personality defined how one does and doesn't behave and think. Inconsistent personality fails to establish that. And if you don't have a personality I would argue you don't have a character at all.

I think one of the bigger issues also serves as a good example of this. There's a certain phenomenon I've seen mainly in group roleplays but also elsewhere, where a character is written so vaguely that the person can make them do whatever without breaking character only because there's really no character to break. What ends up happening - often even without this set up - is players having a hard time resisting the temptation to make the character do something out of character, because they have meta knowledge or personal views that make them change how the character acts. Someone with a lifelong obsessive vendetta to kill a certain group might suddenly drop and be more patient and willing to compromise with that same group if they come face to face with a character that is being hinted at by writing, but not in-universe, to be too strong to defeat. Or they might not get angry at someone because the player doesn't think it would be reasonable, despite the fact that the character as portrayed would never see it that way.

If you want to portray a character, you need to stop thinking of what would be sensible thing YOU would do. You are not the character, nor does the character know the things you do.

This is not the only issue where narrative needs might require you to break character. As such, one thing that would be advisable for staying in character is to make a character that is less prone to having those kinds of needs. A common example to avoid is the antisocial lone wolf types. It's not like one can't handle that kind of character, but unless one already has a handle on the type of tricks and additional elements to add to such a character to make them more functional odds are you're going to have to break character to have the character have the interactions and plot involvement you need for the roleplay.

Knowing how to not to break character naturally requires one fundamental thing: Understanding who your character is. This isn't just understanding on a simpler level what or how they think and act, but also why, what are the underlying factors. For this, understanding the rest of the character - the backstory, appearance, species, occupation etc... - and how that interacts with their personality is also vital. It can be a lot to keep in mind, which is one of the reasons I find character sheets helpful, plus my methodology for keeping things consistent also helps making sure it's all tied together.

Understanding where your character is coming from in how they act can help you choose which part of the more nuanced or complex aspects of the character should be used in a given scenario, as well as other parts of how to portray them. Occupation will affect vocabulary for instance, wealth in their background might affect the kind of shopping habits they have, etc...


So, long story short:
-Design your characters with a clear and consistent personality and elements which avoid making them prone to needing to break character, and lean into how they can participate in/help contribute to the plot.
-Resist the temptation to sock puppet your characters but having them act out of character because it's inconvenient to you as a player given your perspective or meta knowledge.
-Have in-depth awareness of your character's personality and other aspects of who they are.




Truth be told, this is a much wider issue than I could fully address here, and there's an element about it that's very unique to each individual person as to the best method to getting into a character to portray them. Some people need to experience writing the character before fully forming it, whereas someone like me needs things laid out as much as I can and strives to write things from a more detached angle. It'll depend on person to person, but I think the advice here remains crucial, as writing and portraying a character always requires that you have a solid foundation on what to portray.
 
Tysm for the advice! I will also make sure to keep it all in mind next time I roleplay!
 
I find it helps to have a list of words to describe a character's personality handy, especially if you're juggling a lot of characters like me. Just adjectives - are they forthcoming, friendly? Distant, quiet?

What also helps I find is particular dialogue, behaviour, or quirks to associate with a character to help me get more into their POV. I'll have characters who are blunter and much more crude over others who try to maintain politeness, or act more passive aggressively. Does your character have any ticks, such as playing with their hair (do they do this in a nervous way, or are they flirting?) or sway on their feet? It helps set a kind of mask you can put on to help you get more into their POV.

Another thing to keep in mind is your character's motivations as well that were mentioned above. What does your character want (something they desire and think will improve their situation/happiness) versus what do they need (the lesson they need to overcome their damaging belief, or the lie they tell themselves, to achieve true happiness). What will your character do to get what they want, and what lessons do they experience that brings them closer to their truth?

Hope this helps and happy roleplaying!
 
Hi!!

I do a lot of self insert in my charries lol i admit that. But sometimes its because i want to see what i'd do in like a super ridiculous situation AND have like a desired body type, perfect makeup and skin lol . But then most of the time I do 'familiar insert' type charries. These ones I know are not me but the people around me.

I talk a lot, but my one friend since highschool... like she talks sooooooooo much. The only time she is quiet is when you give her those stupid block puzzle or like any sorta puzzle. Like that is RP gold as a persona. My bro is a good guy but like he is soooooooo overprotective, like I love him but like sometimes he acts like he's my dad lol. That is another persona gold. K so the reason I say this is gold is because I know them and interact with them on the daily. Soooooo like its easy for me to portray charries with their personas.

Like one of my charries, Markina is Latina, a genius and just does not shut up. But she is welcoming and friendly despite being from a criminal fam. I never told my friend before but I just used her as basically a 'familiar insert' with just a FC to show its not her lol. I'm not a genius but I try to put myself in friends mindset when she solves puzzles. She talks alot but she explains her puzzle solving process really well. So just nip and tuck, and my friend is now Markina in a RP lol. Secrets out. If she reads this wah, she makes a great RP charrie lol.

I normally don't play male charries, but when I do I model them after my bro. Like I have these cat charries and they are like extremes of certain things about him that I adore and despise lol. So its easy for me to try to navigate a dudes headspace when I try to get into my bro's head and look through my bro's eyes. Ewwww lol.

But see where I'm going with this? My strongest charries that I play are the ones I know the best. It makes it sooooo much easier to come up with a backstory when you know them. Does that make sense? Because no matter what the bio is , the persona will fit it cuz you know them and it should make sense with that kinda persona they have, their story will sprout from it and vice versa.

So my advice is to build a charrie based on someone you know who like physically might not fit the RP but like their persona does. Then extend out from there. Go from their character to a caricature that fits the RP. At their core, you know who they are and how they would react to the RPs situations and challenges. And if they get beat up in the RP like dont sweat it. It's not them, but they did have it coming lol.

Oh! And if you do RP with someone and you like all: "Dang, I love how they play their charrie!!" Well try to learn from them. Like how do you see them translate whats on their CS with what they post?
 
Thanks for the advice again! Another piece of advice I‘ll definitely be keeping in mind for the future. Tysm and have a great day/night/timezone!
 
That happens alot in Palworld, Pokemon, and Dragonball Z forums. A character has this power and I always mess it up because ive never seen it and I only know about it by Wikipedia. Thats why I dont do Pokemon or Palworld characters.
 

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