The Bookworms' Character Development Studio - A Work In Progress

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby Carnimiriel » Tue Feb 04, 2003 10:43 am

<b>The Bookworms Character Development Studio - Please read entire first post before posting!</b><BR><BR><i>NOTE: Though this thread was started at the request of some Bookworm Adoptees, others who would like to work on characters are welcome to join - just introduce yourself! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0></i><BR><BR>This thread was started because of a discussion in the <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=54&threadid=56376">Bookworm's Gateway to the Lounge and Garden</a> in the Adoptions forum where some posters wanted help getting started with RP. I think that the most important element before diving in too deeply to collaborative writing is to have a good character. Though a character will certainly develop on his or her own to a certain extent during a RP, having some details about your character fleshed out before you begin will make things much easier for you and others posting with your character.<BR><BR>This thread is intended to be a place where we can explore character development together, posting character descriptions and helping each other flesh them out with (hopefully) constructive comments. Keep in mind that everyone will have their own opinions and we don't all have to agree all the time. Once we have done a bit of character development, we can do some simple RP situations where the characters get a chance to interact with each other. This thread needs no OOC (out of character thread) as it will be a mixture of OOC discussion as well as some RP exercises.<BR><BR>First, a disclaimer: I am not a 'RP guru' with all the answers, merely someone who enjoys character development and think that it is my main strength in RP situations. There are other experienced RPers whom I hope will also drop by to provide their insights.<BR><BR>For starters, here are some handy references. If you have not already done so, please read the first post of<BR><a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=34412">Guidelines and Rules for Roleplaying</a><BR><BR>Other good threads to browse or at least read the first posts of are <BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=26445">Roleplay 101</a> and <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=49391">Roleplay 102</a> These are more advanced threads to learn about all aspects of RP while here I would like to focus specifically on the basics of developing characters.<BR><BR>There are lots of good character bios in the Character Archives thread, but here are a couple links to take you to a few noteworthy ones (I'm sure there are lots of others that are equally noteworthy but these are characters with which I am familiar).<BR><BR><a target=new href="http://"www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=8&catid=25&threadid=34533'">Character Archives - <b>Erinhue</b> and <b>Curufë</b> - first two posts</a><BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=172&catid=25&threadid=34533">Character Archives - <b>Nienjah</b> - first post</a><BR><BR>Some characters have bios on other websites, such as the <a target=new href="http://www.mithrilknights.org/bios.htm">Mithril Knights</a>.<BR><BR>Keep in mind that some of the longer character bios were developed over months (or even years) of work - you don't necessarily need to be that detailed to start with. Sometimes, less is more. Here is a short story I wrote about my main character before I came to TORC, which is really more about her father. I wrote it simply for my own use to give a bit of background and motivation to a character I was using on MUME (a multi-user, text-based game based on Middle Earth). <BR><BR><a target=new href="http://chimeras.virtualave.net/carnimiriel.html">Carnimiriel's Story</a><BR><BR>There is also lots of good advice about characters in the <a target=new href="http://"www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=51742">How to create a good character thread and more...</a> started by <b>Wandering but not lost</b>.<BR><BR><b>1. Starting a character - what race?</b><BR><BR>Those are just a few ideas to get started with. For those who are just beginning a character, the first question is, what race do you want this character to be? Though there are certainly exceptions to every rule and characters who are unique, for starters it is usually best to have your character fit with Tolkien's characteristics for the chosen race unless you have a good reason why not (for instance, Novice's character Nienjah is unique, but she has done her homework giving an explanation for this due to her ancestry).<BR><BR>Remember that Elves are generally tall and slender, grey-eyed, and usually have dark hair unless they have blood of the Vanyar, as do those of Finarfin's house (Galadriel is one example). Half-elf characters are a possibility, but keep in mind that there were few such unions and you may have to do a bit more 'homework' to explain the character's ancestry.<BR><BR>Humans (or 'Men' as Tolkien would say) are of course an obvious choice and you have a lot of leeway as to how they look - the easiest to work into RP are probably from Gondor, Rohan, Bree, or Dale, but other choices can include Southron or Easterling, Black Numenorean, etc. Personally I think that 'dark' oriented characters are more difficult to write but others specialize in them! <BR><BR>Hobbits and dwarves are other possibilities - remember that female dwarves have beards too! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> Other races probably less used but possible are Orcs, Beornings, Maiar (this can work but it may be hard not to make the character too powerful), etc. Remember that 'good' and 'evil' are fluid categories - you could have a rather unsavory hobbit or an Easterling with a noble spirit, for instance. Feel free to add to whatever I may have missed.<BR><BR>Ok, I'm sure I've blathered on enough. How about we do some posting of character bios that are either just starting, or works in progress, or ask questions that perhaps someone can answer? Or tell us what you think makes a character good and why!
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Postby Carnimiriel » Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:58 pm

I'm starting a new character too as part of this thread so we'll all be in it together. Comments, suggestions, ideas, questions welcome!<BR><BR><b>Lolly Took - a character in progress</b><BR><BR>Lolly is a character I have never used in RP, though she is not entirely new, because I used her a few years back on the aforementioned Middle Earth MUD, MUME. She doesn't have much of a story, though, so I'm going to develop her as part of this thread.<BR><BR>I decided that 'Lolly' is short for 'Lolabrigida' since I can see in the Took family tree in the LotR appendix that many of the Took women have similar sounding names with an Italian flavor - Belladonna, Donnamira, etc.<BR><BR>I can see from my Atlas of Middle Earth (a handy reference) that most of the Tooks live in the Green Hill Country south of the Great East Road and East of the Brandywine, and to the north of most of the South Farthing with its famous crop - pipeweed.<BR><BR>I don't know yet what time periods I may wish to use Lolly in, but I figure it is safe to say she was alive during the War of the Ring because then I can involve her in either Third Age or Fourth Age scenarios.<BR><BR>Since my main character, Carnimiriel, is a wise (when she's not busy being stubborn!) and powerful Elven mage, I wanted to make Lolly a bit more down-to-earth, which makes sense for a Hobbit anyway. There are already lots of 'super hero' characters so I'm thinking she will at least start out pretty ordinary.<BR><BR>But then the question is - how will this ordinary hobbit become involved in a story, seeing as how there probably aren't very many interesting RPs you can do about a hobbit who quietly grows vegetables or runs a shop somewhere in Tuckburrow.<BR><BR>I have an idea in mind, and it involves pipeweed and how so much of it started mysteriously going south once Saruman became interested in the Shire. But before I develop that too much, I need to 'do my homework' and make sure I'm straight on the facts. So my next step is to flip through the index of LotR and look up things like 'pipeweed', 'Saruman', etc. and see if I can come up with something that makes sense.<BR>
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Tue Feb 04, 2003 3:11 pm

Here is a thread I made a while ago which may also be of assistance. <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=51742">http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=51742</a> It is called the how to make a good character and more thread. I have some general and specific advice for role players there. Much of it I based off of observations of what some posters were lacking (this taking place I believe before or right after the mods began to really help make sure there was quality content on the board). It is a fairly nicely done thread that I spent a lot of time on. When there were voting systems in progress, it had perhaps the most positive votes of any thread on the mb (or was near the top of that list) so it seems to have been pretty helpful to lots of people.<BR><BR>I like how you are starting this thread, btw, carnimiriel. I think that this is a great idea and I like it. The idea of showing the steps to how you are making this character is a great idea.
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Postby Carnimiriel » Tue Feb 04, 2003 8:51 pm

Thanks for dropping by and for the feedback, Wandering! I added a link to your thread in the first post here too.<BR><BR>Lots of good stuff in there and I had forgotten about it, even though I posted there. Duh! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby Nessamelda » Wed Feb 05, 2003 5:20 am

A good thread Carnimiriel. Character development is an interesting process. <BR><BR>In Tolkien's Middle Earth, whether we like it or not, female characters with independence and power are a rarity. Reading HoME indicates that female elves had much more equality, particularly in their youth - but female warriors of other races are unusual. So if we are going to have a lot of interesting female characters - and a lot of RPers seem to be females - and stick close to canon, it seems to me that we need to work very hard to give a plausible explanation as to why there seem to be so many armed and dangerous women on the loose. I've tried to give my characters backgrounds that do this. (although in fact neither of them are really warriors)<BR><BR>My two ladies started off as characters in a fanfic; then they got ported with very little change into a late fourth age RP. When that died, Nessamelda was almost totally unwritten apart from the name, but I decided that Alfirin was too much fun to let go, and so I started letting her wander into other people's RPs on a casual basis - she made her first guest appearance in RP 102 if I recall correctly. She has also acted out bit-parts in the Lucky Fortune and in Bard's Guild productions. In the process, her character has become more focussed, (and unpleasant and bitter and twisted - with some justification given her backstory which gets blacker and more complex every time I return to it); she has moved to the early Fourth Age (when most of the Bard's guild characters are set) and her back story has been clarified - the basic plot is the same as the original RP but the details have been changed to fit the new time-frame. (her details are in the Character Archives, but need to be updated as she has changed over time!)<BR><BR><BR>My main work in progress that would benefit from work-shopping is Nessamelda.<BR>I've deliberately written Nessamelda as a contrast to Alfirin. She's had a pretty horrible past too, in some ways, but instead of being bitter and twisted Nessamelda has reacted by getting on with life and making the best of it. She is no beauty - very tall, heavily built and strong. As she's big and heavy she rides a very large and ugly horse - no elegant Rohirrim steed here. I originally scripted her as Alfirin's daughter, but I've shifted away from that - the missing child reunited is just too much of a cliche even for me to use! She was born in Minas Tirith, about eighteen years before the coronation of King Elessar but adopted out to a farm in Rohan as a baby - the implication being that she was the inconvenient illegitimate child of some noble family who paid for her to be cared for elsewhere. She loves her adopted people, in particular her father and sisters. She married on her eighteenth birthday but her husband went away the next day to war and like many of the men of her village never returned. As her foster father was badly injured and his eldest son killed, Ness was left to run the farm (hence the justification for her independence, ability to use a spear etc!), and did so for many years until the youngest son grew up enough to want to take over (or to be more accurate, wanted to take over the profits to gamble and drink away, while Ness carried on doing the work). As she was not willing either to support a drunkard or to return to the spinning wheel and loom after all the years of managing the farm, at the age of thirty or so she leaves and looks to make her own way in the world....<BR>So Nessamelda is a character in search of a future at the moment. Where do I take her from here? She has made minor appearances in Bard's guild festivals, but has not really done much except observe (and use her great strength to lift around some of the many unconscious characters that the latest festival seems to be generating!)
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Wed Feb 05, 2003 6:28 am

In that case I suppose I owe everyone an explanation on my characters.<BR><BR>Alayna started out as a streetkid, making her first appearance in the War of the Ring - The aftermath, where she hooked up with Novice. She appeared in a few others, such as Darkness over Gondor, where I met Nessamelda's Alfirin, and Turin and Visilya. Soon after, due to an overdose of R.A Salvatore's books, I began to give her the career of assassin. If I remember right, the first draft of Alayna, then named Silverblade on a whim, as the assassin appeared in some ancient thread whose title I forgot, and now she's my regular character. After writing her for quite a while, I began to allow a few cracks of her attitude to enter my life. I snapped at an irritating partner, like what I figured Alayna would do, and she shut up. Since then, Alayna has become more than a character to me, in fact, she became a split persona who is my complete opposite. There was one more Alayna, who was a flop and I decided to stop writing as that character. She was a ranger, who appeared only once in Cry of Havoc. A true disaster, that one.<BR><BR>She has plenty of loopholes lying around in her past, and that is something even I have no idea of remedying. Every time I think I have got rid of one, another appears. To cut her history short, her birth age is rather flexible, depending on the RP, and she is supposedly the daughter of a noblewoman, who had fallen in love with some poor guy. (Very typical, I know. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0>) Anyway, she doesn't know of her past, and ended up with an assassin, her teacher in the art, and began to take that on as a full time career. She has no real aim in life, I suppose, no real goal or dream. Sort of like I am now. Her life is full of treachery and deceit, and she never runs out of ideas for getting into trouble. She doesn't really fit into most RPs, as she has no reason to be strutting around the forests and such of ME. Lately, she has found a little too many reasons to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in her joining of many RPs. If I have to select a thread where Alayna is at her best, it would be Never Winter Nights. However there is still much to improve about her, and I cannot bear to let her go unfinished. To justify her gift in swordplay, I gave her tough training and well, maybe a stroke of genius.<BR><BR>In the future, I would very much like to introduce another character, maybe a mage, that could become Alayna's companion. Her name is borrowed from another book series, and I'm thinking Liriel, after Elaine Cunningham's rather brilliant drow wizardess. Probably human as well, for I seem hopeless at elves. Or half-elven, maybe. I'll be seeing how things progress with Alayna, before I attempt to create another one. <BR><BR>So anyway, Alayna's the one I want to develope, and so she's the one I'm planning on working on here.
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Postby Novice » Wed Feb 05, 2003 7:16 pm

Greetings lovely people! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I have but two RP characters that have gone forth into the world of the Pony, and one other that is still in seminal form.<BR><BR>My first character, Morilassë, appeared in The Lucky Fortune Inn for a brief couple of weeks and then went into mothballs, where she remains.<BR><BR>Lassë was the daughter of Umarth (the son of the Valaraukar Gothmog, Chief of Balrogs, and lesser umaia spirit, the great cat) and a woman of Gondor.<BR><BR>....Now, already, you can see immediately that her antecedents could get me into a heapa trouble with Tolkien purists. However, I choose to think that I've explored that grey area between the lines of Tolkien's writing, for there is nothing to say that the umaia could not procreate (in fact, Tolkien speculates that they could do so when incarnate)...and if their progeny decided to take on human form--as in the case of Umarth--that progeny could then procreate with a mortal.<BR><BR>So, I feel I've covered my tush. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>..although certain acrobatic leaps of logic must take place.<BR><BR>Morilassë (dark or black leaf) appears as a<BR>42 year old woman, she's slight, of light build, lithe, quick, fine featured, stronger than she seems. She has a brilliant smile, which completely changes, lightens and sparks her features,<BR>longish dark hair, wavy with rich red highlights in the sun, sprinkled with silver white signs of age, often braided, sometimes loose tied back with a kerchief. <BR><BR>She has a son, aged 5 has four older sisters, (including half sister Nienjah, who I'll speak of later) and assumed widowed, as her husband has been missing since their son was 6 months old.<BR><BR>She can be stubborn, intuitive, wary. Loves a laugh but is retiring. Loves children and her own company.<BR><BR>She plays ‘pipes’ -- flute, pan pipes, recorder, but only mimics bird song and sounds of nature, she does not compose music or songs—not a bard. She has moderate skill in healing, as any country woman would have.<BR><BR>Lassë comes from the valley of the Morthond, behind the white mountains (Ered Nimrais), a small village settlement whose<BR>economy is dependent on bees (their honey is renown), goats (milk and cheese), the rare healing herbs that grow in that valley, which temper heat and ease darkness of heart and mind.<BR><BR>She has left that village to wander, seeking her husband who she feels intuitively is neither dead nor a deserter of his family. She is not a warrior of any kind; to all intents and purposes she is a village woman of Gondor, with no defensive skills other than her wits, good nature, her charm and reflexes.<BR><BR>But Lassë has one supernatural trait inherited from her father (and her balrog grandfather): when wreathed in dark smoke, she becomes insubstantial, almost transparent and intangible and can transport herself great distances in a brief time before the effect wears off. She cannot explain it and cannot really control it, thus she avoids fire wherever possible. The effect is most potent when she builds the fire herself out of natural materials. She is reluctant to use this skill because it frightens her and presents her with a foreboding of evil. <BR><BR>In all other things...traits of character and predilections...she is a woman of Gondor...except for the minor point that she is immortal, though yet very young in the scale of immortality, being but 500 years old.<BR><BR>--------------------<BR><BR>Now, as you can see, the above character is rather sketchy and unsatisfying...not rounded, not believable. Perhaps she would have developed further but I found I could not persist with her. There was little response to her in the Lucky Fortune, and so, disheartened by lack of success, she left the Inn and entered mothballs.<BR><BR>And that makes me reflect: it is difficult to persist with a character if it is not a 'good fit'. If you can't step into those shoes, see with those eyes, don't know what your character would do or say in any given situation, then the character needs work...maybe even an overhaul.<BR><BR>A further reflection: choose your RP carefully; does your character have a natural place, or will you be scrambling for your character to make sense in the context? <BR><BR>-------------------<BR><BR>I went onto create Nienjah...and she virtually erupted, fully formed at the Formal Ball in Imladris thread after the White Council Awards last year.<BR><BR>I created her with some specific thoughts in mind: Lassë was virtually ignored in the Lucky Fortune. I decided that I'd create a character who COULD NOT be ignored. She'd be in your face at all times....in retrospect, not necessarily a good or innocent motivation. But she did create a bit of a ruckus in that thread and certainly Nienjah cannot be ignored.<BR><BR>Nienjah Laurëlach (Leaping Flame of Gold) is the daughter of Úmarth (son of Valaraukar Gothmog, and lesser úmaia spirit, the great cat) and Celebrian (daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn), born in the Third Age, 1210.<BR><BR>Nienjah was born in the orc dens of the Misty Mountains, between the northern eaves of Fangorn and the southern most outlay of Mirkwood, north-east of the great river, fathered forcefully by Umarth upon Celebrian during her period of torment when she was abducted by Orcs on the road from Lorien. <BR><BR>Rescued by her sons Elladan and Elrohir two months after the birth of her unwanted daughter, the horror of the conception and birth lay such a dark and heavy shadow upon Celebrian that as soon as the poisoned wound delivered by the Orcs was healed by Elrond, she left home and family for the West. She could not bring herself to tell anyone of her ordeal, and so Nienjah's birth remained a secret known only the Umarth and his four other daughters.<BR><BR>PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:<BR>She is a woman of gold. Tawny golden hair, thick and wild as a lion's mane, golden caramel skin and eyes that are topaz at rest and liquid gold when stirred. Habitually she clothes herself in colours of gold and rich tones, choosing always sensuous texture in fabric: clinging silks, sueded skins, soft furs.<BR><BR>She is tall, lean, with long curves of catlike strength; she moves with a sinuous, feline languor which belies lightning reflexes and ferocity; she has an ambivalent androgeny allowing her to pass as a boy when it pleases her, though that is rare for she literally oozes a female, carnal quality.<BR><BR>Always, and throughout the ages, she is single; committing herself to no man or woman, taking where she pleases. <BR><BR>CHARACTER TRAITS AND ABILITIES<BR>From her maternal grandmother (Galadriel) she has in part the seer's gift (and blonde colouring); and it is from her maternal side that her intrinsic appreciation of beauty in the arts and immediate surroundings comes. Disorder, ugliness, squalor offend her aesthetic sensibilities. She does not willingly destroy anything beautiful --excepting love in others when it affords entertainment. In all things else she has so successfully repressed the attributes of her Noldor heritage that she knows not that she possesses them.<BR><BR>From her paternal grandfather (the balrog Gothmog) comes her affinity with fire, her carnal heat and sadistic tendencies. Near flame and in the sun she flickers with internal fire and her sensuality is greatly heightened. More significantly, at great need she will step into the flames and smoke to create a temporal shift in her physical being (like her half sister Morilassë) and she can travel long distances by this route. But fire and smoke are a perilous pathway; it draws her inevitably to the fire of Morder unless she exercises uttermost self-control, so it is a route she uses unwillingly and only in extreme need.<BR><BR>From her paternal grandmother (the maia predatory cat) Nienjah has both the predator's instinct and the agility of a cat, with the strength, ferocity, reflexes and cunning of a panther (and again, her colouring, night vision, eyes). Nienjah has little use for other weaponry and violence is anathema to her, for subtlety is her key characteristic. Still, at need she will use whatever tool of death comes to hand--the subtlety of poison especially she has used.<BR><BR>She is not a fighter. A supreme sadistic sensualist, she relishes all sensual pleasure--of taste, hearing, tactile and visual sensation, as well as the pleasures of the flesh, lingering particularly on the exquisite border between pleasure and pain. She has measured the depths of physical desire and it is her delight to awaken it in others--for its own sake but also for her own amusement which is always her ultimate goal. <BR><BR>These inherited attributes--aesthetic sensibility, carnal heat and a predator's instinct--have blended in Nienjah to create the supreme courtesan and sensualist, playing with desire and intrigue for amusement.<BR><BR>Her paramours are usually male, but not always so. She seeks the exotic, relishes new sensations. Her capacity for empathy --for she can taste and feel the emotions of another and feasts upon them--and second sight, inherited from her elven grandmother, heightens her enjoyment of the desires of another, and she will endeavour to fulfil those desires--but only so long as she finds the pursuit pleasurable and entertaining. She gets bored easily and will drop any amusement when it becomes tedious, or if her unerring instinct for self-preservation is pricked.<BR><BR>Nienjah has no conscience, no compassion, no mercy, no better or higher nature; she is psychopathic in her dealings. She will commit casual murder when it suits her. She has no politic, no strategic interests, no loyalty, except to her own calling to conjure desire for sensual pleasure and amusement, to surround herself with beauty. Therefore, she serves no master.<BR><BR>These are also the keys to her fatal flaw: mercurial and overly confident of her own power, she is as much enslaved to her sensuality as any of her victims.<BR><BR>------------------<BR><BR>I won't give her back story, as that would take ages...but you can see that in terms of creating multi-dimensionality, Nienjah is a step up from Morilassë, whom even I had trouble seeing clearly sometimes. Nienjah is in full technicolour. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>But that brings another thought to mind: I was well into an RP story when one of the other writers complained that Nienjah seemed unbeatable; all knowing, all powerful. It took me awhile to admit that I had created her without giving thought to her flaws...and a flawless character is no fun to play with.<BR><BR>And yet her flaws are blatant, once I opened my eyes to them; and indeed, she's much more interesting and complex to write now that I indulge and explore her flaws and weaknesses.<BR><BR>So...that's something I've learned from experience and would urge you to think about when creating a new character; it is the character flaws as much as the physical and personality characteristics and strengths that make a character rounded, believable, interesting.<BR><BR>....eh-hehe! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0> I do ramble, don't I. But to end; I've got an embryonic character that has yet to enter the Pony; a little girl, this time, Primrose Gardner. I'd like to workshop her here with you all and see how she develops. I'll run down what I've got of her in my next post...this one being far too long already!
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Wed Feb 05, 2003 11:53 pm

My crazy muse pays me visits just before I decide to go to bed, and hence causes me to be unable to sleep for half the night. Anyway, the result of that crazy thing was that it suggested to me that Alayna would do better as a half elf, with Telerin heritage, as after all, a half-elf ages far slower than a human. I didn't want to experiment with Elves, not yet, seeing how I am vitually unable to give such character enough depth. Probably based on a picture I had seen not too long ago, it also decided to suggest to me how Alayna would look with a bit of something that is both a gift and a curse, and perhaps something along the lines of being extremely attuned to the senses of a particular animal, namely the wolf. Why the wolf, well, maybe it was because the cat was taken by Novice, the fox by EdaintheRanger, and maybe because the picture had a wolf as its centrepiece. Anyway, before I put this idea into motion, I thought that I would prefer hearing the opinions of the folks here first.<BR><BR>So, tell me whether my muse is insane, or whether it provides me with interesting ideas. I would love to hear your opinions. Everytime I see a new picture or read something else that reminds me of Alayna, it usually goes into the profile. But now, since I have ended up here after all, I think I shall ask opinions before I shove something new into her life. So, any takers for commenting?
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Postby Carnimiriel » Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:01 am

Wow, some nice characters in progress and pretty fully developed! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I agree, Nessamelda, that one has to be careful when creating strong female characters in Tolkien's world - it is doable but takes a little more work. There is some discussion about that in Wandering's thread mentioned in my first post.<BR><BR>Novice, you also have a very good point about character flaws! My character Carnimiriel is pretty powerful but her flaws were there from the start - stubborness, a chip on her shoulder, perhaps a bit too much pride about her ancestry. Her power stems mostly from a jewel she carries which is again maybe a stretch for Tolkien purists, but I think sometimes you have to stretch a little in order to make a character really your own and not just a carbon copy of something Tolkien wrote. Carnimiriel is also not terribly handy with a sword, though she has had a bit of training out of necessity and wears hardened leather armor anc carries a short sword when she goes into dangerous situations as she can't concentrate on protecting herself with the jewel when she is busy doing things like starting fires.<BR><BR>Your idea about the wolf is interesting, Tobias! I think it would help if you could come up with a good explanation why this character is particularly attuned to the wolf. Did she have an experience with wolves as a child?<BR><BR>I'd love to comment more about some of the wonderful characters discussed in here but alas, my time is very limited today! I'll get back in here tomorrow and maybe by then I'll have thought some more about my barely started character, Lolly.
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Postby nienor-niniel » Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:39 am

Hello Carnimiriel, I love character building and my main-character nienor-niniel is a kind of permanent work in progress. <BR>I absolutely wanted a human character, and nobody too strong. If you're interested in the longer story-line, you can use the link in my signature, a resume would be that: 28 years before the War of the Ring n-n was found close to Rivendell, a naked and obviously mistreated baby. She grew up in Rivendell, even if Elrond was a bit reluctant about it, at this time Arwen had already made her choice for Aragorn and Elrond's opinion about mortals not at their best. Even in the lovely place of Rivendell, she felt mostly lonely and unloved. She had a beautiful voice and was trained as a singer. When she was 19, she fell almost madly in love with an elf, a friend of Elrond from the Last Alliance, named Liudares. As they that their union would not be well-considered by all, they became lovers in secret. But N-N could not bear the idea that her lover was immortal and that she would loose him. In a moment, close to madness she decided that they should die toghether and cut both of their throats. However she survived, but lost the baby she had been carrying. Of course, seh was banned from Rivendell. From this moment on, she has strong guilt problem which directs her life. Fisrt she stay for a few years alone, mostly in the wild. She is not familiar with men and afraid of them During those years she learns a lot. One day, when she is sick, she seeks help in a Rohirrim village. Together with the villagers she fights some orcs and they adopt her. She gets married and has a son. But she begins to understand that she loves her husband truely, much more than her elf-lover. So finally she tells him that she has committed a crime in her youth. He rejects after this, what does not help for her guilt problem. So she takes theroad again - ten years after having been banned from Rivendell. <BR><BR>There are some things I like about her: she is not a simple good creature, she has to struggle in her life. Sometimes she is diffcult to write, she is so sad. But somewhere she has the hope to be one day forgiven and maybe to live in Rohan with her husband and child again. The urge to be forgiven is her main motivation to become a Mithril Knight right now... <BR><BR>But as I have told, she is sometimes difficult to write, because of the heavyness of such a character. <BR><BR>For this reason I'm orking currently on a lighter character, which I see as a male elf, named Léonce. I see very well the way he looks, but his background is not yet fully clear. I see him as a mariner, like Earendil, who loves the sea. He stays only briefly in Middle-Earth, but briefly for an elf, might be quiet long for a human. As he is not really attached to anybody, he is friendly with everybody, wanting his stay on land to be enjoyable. I hesitate to make him Liudares brother. <BR>Whereas for N-N I see very well what drives her forward in life, I have to find a motivation, a goal for Léonce. Ideas?
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Postby Novice » Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:47 pm

Tobias, the only question I would put to you with regards to Alayna's afinity with wolves is how you can make it real, justify it, within the context of the Pony...ie based on Tolkien's Middle Earth. <BR><BR>I've had lots of heat from a number of experienced RPers who cannot accept the rationale for Nienjah's antecedents. In truth...the idea of a balrog (maia incarnate) mating with a great primordial cat (also maia incarnate) does require leaps of logic. I've handled it by delving into the Silmarillion and other of Tolkien's writings to find skerricks of justification.<BR><BR>You may need to arm yourself against similar questions about Alayna and her affinity with the wolf, as purists would ask the inevitable how and why questions. Having said that, it may not bother you at all that some RPers have problems with it...you could simply choose not to write with them and just collaborate with people who appreciate your character and your writing.<BR><BR>Putting that aside, an affinity with another species (whether humanoid or animal) is an interesting quirk, but in my opinion you've got to keep it transparent so that other writers can get a grip on your character when interacting with her. If others can't understand how 'wolflike' she is, or how those characteristics actually play out, people won't know how to interact with her in a satisfying way.
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Postby Leslie-ElfWarrior » Thu Feb 06, 2003 8:15 pm

<BR>Wow!!!!!! All I can say is this is a Great Thread! <BR><BR>Carnimiriel,<BR>I like this it's great...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> I'd offer insight, but I don't think I'm good at it...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> Anyway Great thread!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>EDITED:<BR><BR>Well I decided to add insight whether I'm a good at it or not...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR>As for Character flaws both mine carry these falws. <BR><BR>Leslie my main character, has one major delima she suffers from Selective Amnesia. She knows her skills, but not who taught her those skills, her family, or her friends. Her main goal is trying to figure out who she is. (Plus whenever I feel something needs to happen to make matters worse in an RP, well I injure my characters with an arrow wound or something. So you might say at times Leslie and Declynn are accident prone...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> Leslie also has another problem, despite the fact that she's a part of the wizards guild, she doesn't use magic much eventhough she has been told she's extremely powerful. The reason she doesn't is because it triggers memory and causes unbearable pain. Very rare you'll ever see her use magic and when she does she'll be out for a while or in a lot of pain. Of course using magic causes memory to occur, it still fails to give her any answers as well; so while magic is a good thing for Leslie, she techiqcally can't use it unless she wants to be in severe pain or unconscious for a while.<BR><BR>Declynn, my secondary character; is an mortal ranger and almost a complete oposite of Leslie. Leslie strives to remember, Declynn strives to forget. Declynn is the one with a lot of apin issues. Her father was from Rohan and her mother was from Gondor. Both lived in a small villiage in Rohan and both died in front of her during the War of the Ring. Luckily her best friend almost like a sister rescued her from certain death. Then ten years later Sauron's apprentice unleashes a plague that only effects men (Not trying to sound prejudice, it's just the way I made my character.) This plague brought outr the worst in men of any race in which case, Declynn was attacked, held hostage for four days and forced upon. (I did it this way because I wanted something new and ifferent not your ordinary ranger and not something that doesn't exist in the Tolkien World) Declynn now carries the plague inside her, but it does things to her as well that are different from normal mortals. For instance: She does not get sick, her blood is a deeper color of red (due to the plague), she can sense others infected around her, and if she's angeredenough is twice as strong as any normal man. But because she has these differances I've added many flaws. After a long time Declynn has become bitter, and hateful of most men. Eventhough deep down she still has that little girl's wish of fiding prince charming. She is considered cold and cruel to most, but her biggest flaw is no one believes a plague ever existed and the rest of Middle earth (Aside from Leslie and a select few others) believe she is the one at fault for countless deaths during that time. (For more info see the Plague of Middle Earth.) She tries to be a good hero, but always ends up portrayed as the bad guy. <BR><BR>Well theres some insight; they have problems and dilemas as well as flaws. They are also subject to be accident prone in the case of receiving injuries.<BR><BR>
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Fri Feb 07, 2003 3:59 am

Novice: A good point indeed. I think I shall be finding all the books related to Lord of the Rings, and hopefully discover that such a bond has taken place before. I know that Turin's sword talked back to him, and hopefully the Sil might have something of that sort. I dunno yet, but it's still worth a try. Well, if someone else does happen to come across such writings, tell me.
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Postby Novice » Fri Feb 07, 2003 4:31 am

Tobias, the only one I can think of is Beorn in the Hobbit, who was a shape-changer...the bear was his animal.<BR><BR>However, Tolkien didn''t say much in terms of why or how, and the Beornings were not mentioned as shape-changers in the later LOTR. Still, it's a starting point. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby Nessamelda » Sat Feb 08, 2003 12:11 am

Tobias - the good news, if you want to be a Tolkien purist, is that there is a lot of mention of werewolves in the Silmarillion and History of middle Earth. The bad news is that they are unambiguously evil, creatures of Morgoth like Drauglin. Unlike many more recent fantasy writers, wolves are always, it seems, creatures of the Dark Powers in Tolkien (as are dragons - another favorite of recent fantasy writers and some RPers - a bit of a shame as I'm rather fond of dragons myself!). I know of at least one other RPer on these boards who has a wolf companion-beast .
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Sat Feb 08, 2003 2:03 am

That is a problem Nessa, but hey...assassins aren't really the best of folks, are they? And neither are they considered the 'good guys'. So in my opinion, it does fit, up to a level. So that's as far as I got to daydreaming, and I think I'll pass on the shape-changing bit. That would just give her too much 'superpowers', but I believe that I should still allow wolves to aid her, for after all, Beren was the friend of beasts and birds, and they aided him... Neither would I take a wolf companion, for that matter, except maybe at a distance, one whom she bonds with, but who never follows her. I suppose that I would use only wolves to improve her senses on and off, and maybe to introduce the character.
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Postby Wicked_Wytch » Sat Feb 08, 2003 9:34 pm

Hullo everybody. <BR><BR>Sorry it took me so long to head over here, I've been a bit busy creating and developing my RR character. And now I need some assistance. <BR><BR>Ok- my character can be seen at the latest threads at the Lucky Fortune Inn. I don't want to give away everything about her yet (love that aura of mystery) but here's what I'll tell ya:<BR><BR>Her name is Shade (this isn't her actual name, it's one that she acquired after hanging out in one too many "shade-y" bars <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>). <BR><BR>Physically: <BR>She's not very tall- 5'3/ 5'4<BR>She's human<BR>Blue/Green/Lav eyes that change in different light<BR>Light skin<BR>Black hair<BR>Thin and muscular <BR><BR>Her story is unknown to all her companions (I'm getting a company started, we'll be off soon- hopefully). <BR><BR>She's traveled a bit around Middle Earth (including Gondor, Rohan, and the outskirts of the Shire). <BR>She's slow to trust anyone, especially Elves, for whom she has a strong dislike. <BR>And she really really REALLY hates orcs. <BR>She has a dog that she travels with- she found him and took care of him so he follows her around. <BR>She also will have a horse I think that she will have stolen it from someone (desperate times, desperate measures).<BR><BR>Her past is a bit of a mystery to her- she only remembers parts of it in flashes. She knows that she has/had a family and they were separated when a troop of orcs attacked her village. She was taken by them and badly tortured (most of the others of her village were killed). Somehow she escaped and found herself all alone in the woods.She quickly became self reliant. <BR>But she searches Middle Earth in hopes of finding someone who can tell her who she is and where she's from. She also wants to know if her family survived.<BR><BR>Now here's my problem- I have to find a place where I can say she was born/ raised. I'm terrible at Middle Earth geography (can't even get my RL geography straight). I want it to be a pretty small place, forgettable. Somewhere that wouldn't really be noticed by many. <BR>I was thinking of somewhere in Rohan or Gondor, but I'm not sure if there are any cities/villages there that sound like what I want.<BR><BR>Please help me! Any advice would be appreciated. <BR><BR>Also, please tell me what you think of my character. Is there anything I should fix/add/delete?<BR><BR>Thanks in advance for input. <BR><BR>~Wicked
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:33 am

I dont have time to really post my whole character's past but I noticed this thread has some really big names stopping by. Its been a long time since I have seen some of them. I have had the pleasure of talking to Leslie recently but i have definitly not seen Tobias in some time. Novice as well and Nienor too. Just noticed all these people and I really wanted to say hello and how impressed I was with all of your posts here.
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Postby Eruanne » Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:59 am

W.W., we're never really told anything about any small towns outside of the shire. They're not on the maps. I'd advise picking an out of the way spot, proclaimimg that there is a village there, and picking a reasonable name. I'd also leave your character's eyes one color. Eyes don't really shift color under different lighting unless it's from blue to brown or somesuch (and that's usauly helped along by colored contacts, which tend to refract oddly). It can be confusing and cliched.<BR><BR>Hello everyone! I’d love to join in. I’ve never played this character in an R.P. I’ve thought about it, but haven’t yet. She’s a hobbit, and her name is Porphyria Bunce, which she considers the stupidest name in the history of the Shire. Her sisters and friends usually just call her Ria, which she is extremely grateful for. But her parents and her parents’ friends call her Porphyria. She tries to hide her winces when they do.<BR><BR>She is the middle daughter of three. Her older sister’s name is Hildegard, though nearly everyone calls her Hilde. Hilde is sweet, gentle and stubborn. She has a gift for healing, and everyone knows she’ll be the one to succeed her aunt Eddele as Buckland’s healer/midwife. It’s a post that runs in the family, as does the tendency of the one who takes it to never marry. Everyone knows that Hilde’ll be just like Eddele one day, happy and busy and well respected. <BR><BR>Her younger sister is Kitara, whom everyone calls Kit. Kit is bouncy and innocent and loving. She’s the best cook of the three (Ria is merely decent, Hilde an absolute disaster). Everyone knows that one day she’ll marry her sweetheart, Doderic Brandybuck, and spend the rest of her life wandering the Shire, wintering with relatives and swearing up and down that she’ll settle down “next year”. Everyone knows that. It’s the way things always are, in every generation.<BR><BR>That makes Ria the lost daughter. The one who will go away into the wide, wild world and never come back. There’s one in every generation of her mother’s family. The healer, the wandering wife, and the lost girl, that’s how it goes.<BR><BR>Ria doesn’t want to be the lost girl. Just because she’s followed the itch in her blood through the Old Forest, to Bree, and then past that, doesn’t mean she won’t come back. She does mean to come back. She wants to be buried in her family plot, it’d be too lonely anywhere else. When she grows too old for wandering then she will come home, and cheerfully bum a living off of her Brandybuck relatives, telling wild, exciting tales to the children that they won’t really believe even though every word is true. Or at least that’s what she hopes. She knows she could still end up the lost girl.<BR><BR>Ria’s greatest fear is to be forgotten. She comes near panicking every time she has introduced herself to someone but they don’t recall her. She fears being alone and lonely as well. This is not to say that she doesn’t enjoy solitude, but solitude that she hasn’t chosen disturbs her. She’ll attach herself to just about anyone if they’re willing to talk to her. This is probably going to get her into trouble at some point.<BR><BR>Ria is good with a slingshot and thrown rocks, like all hobbits, and is pretty good with her fists, but…well…she’s a hobbit. She doesn’t really have much experience with edged weapons. And she’s small, so she’s not all that much use in combat. However, while she doesn’t have her sister’s gift for healing, she does have some skills in that area. She’s also extremely good at going unnoticed, a skill she picked up wandering around Brandybuck hall in deep winter.<BR><BR>She tends to eavesdrop and break in other people’s conversations. She ranges from barely speaking at all to talking nonstop, depending on who she’s with and what mood she’s in. She wants to be loved with a desperation that she does her best to conceal, but that still breaks through at times. She’s still in her tweens, and, while she’s mature for her age (29), she can be reckless and needy.<BR><BR>Really though, she’s well suited to life as a traveler. She has the wanderlust in her blood, and she is incapable of saying no to it. She can hunt for herself, and knows which plants are poisonous and which not. She can make her own company in her mind if she needs too, though she often doubts her ability to do so, and she can be very practical and sensible in times of crisis. When she’s in a truly bad situation all her fear falls away and she simply does what she has to do. This is probably the only thing about her that is terrifying. To see someone ordinarily so determinedly cheerful and bright suddenly turn cold, detached, and, depending on the situation, brutal, is a bit of a nasty shock.<BR><BR>Her sisters are important to her character because she thinks and talks about them constantly. She can run off at the mouth for hours about what her sisters are like and how wonderful they are and what funny things they’ve done. She can run off at the mouth about anything, but her sisters are her favorite topic.<BR><BR>As far as looks go, she’s of average height and build for a hobbit tweenager, though she’s got a full grown woman’s curves. Her face is rather heartshaped, with a firm, smooth jawline that she considers her best feature. Her hair is black and curly, and worn rather long, to the middle of her back. Her eyes, like her father’s, are a light brown. Even though she’s very young, she’s already developed rather deep smile lines. She’s extremely proud of her ankles and feet, which are quite pretty by hobbit standards. Her nose turns up a bit at the tip. Insecurity with her appearance is not one of her problems.
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Postby Novice » Sun Feb 09, 2003 4:45 pm

Eruanne, I love your Ria....she is a beautifully rounded character. I can see her, hear her...I'd love to interact with her.<BR><BR>Wicked_Wytch, I've a query. I know you want to create a sense of mystery about your character, but it's still very helpful to have a very good sense of her history even if you don't want to share it. I recall Erinhue saying you have to know what she's carrying in her pockets....to the last detail.<BR><BR>
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Postby Draugluin » Sun Feb 09, 2003 5:37 pm

Brilliant thread! And its here just at the right time - I've decided I should pad my character out a bit, give her a proper background and of course have got completely ensnared!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Hi everyone else, your characters are all amazing!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I'd just like to say, as some people here are talking about animal-bonded or shapeshifting characters, that my own character is a werewolf.<BR><BR>************<BR><BR>She uses the name Draugluin, but that is really the name of her father, who was the Hound of Sauron. (Here's where the complications arise!)<BR>She was born on Tol-in-Gaurhoth, in the River Sirion. Her mother was of the Gondolindrim, captured by Sauron while on a scouting mission near Gondolin. She was kin to Idril Celebrindal.<BR>She inherited her mother's looks - tall and willowy, with dark hair and eyes, and a tendency to solitude.*<BR><BR><i>Here I should add a small note: I know that the Elves of Gondolin were Vanyar, noted for their golden radience and beauty. However I made it that my character's grandfather was of the House of Finarfin, and carried their dark looks.</i><BR><BR>From her father, she inherited a greater gift - the ability to change into a wolf, or wolf-beast, at will.<BR><BR><i>I was unsure whether to make this change an illusion or a physical manifestation, and decided to go with the latter, as Draugluin was a beast, and so it's only logical that his daughter should carry some of that Kelvar blood.</i><BR><BR>She also inherited his hatred of the race of Men. Her Elven looks allow her to walk unnoticed among the people of Middle-Earth, using the name her mother gave her - Altarien Half-Kelvar.<BR><BR>************<BR><BR>I've done a little work on her early life, but it's hard to get all the facts straight, as it happens to be right in the middle of the adventures of Beren and Luthien!
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Postby Draugluin » Sun Feb 09, 2003 5:41 pm

DP...sorry!
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Postby Carnimiriel » Mon Feb 10, 2003 1:43 pm

So sorry for neglecting this thread - I've had more 'real life' stuff on my plate the past few days than I anticipated!<BR><BR>I'll just mention one of them here because it relates to character work - some of you may know that I've written the libretto (plot) for a fantasy dance work that will premiere this April. I've got some deadlines in the next couple of weeks to make some tweaks to the story now that the composer has given me a completed copy of the orchestral score, along with midi files. I need to expand on a few things in the text that he has expanded upon in the music to give the choreographers more to work with. I also am doing a lot of thinking about the characters and fleshing them out more in order to help the choreographers and costume designer. But enough about that - back to the task at hand!<BR><BR><b>Nessamelda</b> - I like your character descriptions! As for knowing where to go from here, I'm probably not the person to ask because I tend to be involved in just a few RPs with people I know from others. However, Nessamelda is the sort of character that should fit into lots of possible scenarios. One thing that might help is to find a RP you think you would like to join and figure out a way to fit her into it. Or alternately, you could come up with some reasons for her to enter the wide world and make this fit into a story. What would her motivation be for leaving her home? Is there something or someone she is seeking? A place she has always wanted to go for a particular reason (family connections, etc.)? Does she have a trade or skills that require travel?<BR><BR>When I started the character Carnimiriel, she had spent most of her life in the Havens but had a burning desire to go to Rivendell for a combination of personal and family reasons. This gave her the nudge out the door, so to speak, and she has ended up places I didn't even plan when I (or she) started out the door!<BR><BR><b>Novice</b> brings up a very good point about very powerful or unusual characters - however interesting they may be it is not always easy to make them fit into a RP situation. It can be done, but it requires more homework and finding situations where you can use your character. For instance, as interesting as Nienjah is, she and Carnimiriel would not fit into the same story well because they both have some history which concerns Celebrian's abduction by orcs and the two histories conflict. One reason I don't use Carnimiriel in many new stories is because her history is pretty set and rigid and might conflict with many possible scenarios, but it was not as much so when she first started out.<BR><BR>Which leads me in a roundabout way to another thought - though we came up with very different characters, it seems that Novice and I in some ways started from the same point - an event that Tolkien describes and what effect this has on our invented character. This can be a good way to come up with that character motivation - take some event from the books and have your character be involved directly or indirectly.<BR><BR><b>Nienor-Niniel</b> - perhaps something like this will work for Leonce. If he is a mariner and an elf, it is likely that he has spent time in the Grey Havens. We don't know much about the Havens, but perhaps he grew up there, or came there planning to sail West and something changed his mind and made him linger a while? Your idea for a new character also brings up another point - though it may seem obvious that you can play a character of the opposite gender, sometimes writers don't consider that option. I tend to have most of my 'main' characters be female because I feel that Tolkien's world as he wrote it is very male-dominated and I always love a chance to put in a strong female character. Others may feel that male characters fit in better because, as Nessamelda noted, this is more in keeping with Tolkien's world. Don't be afraid to experiment with this if you have a character idea that is not your gender - after all, many of us write elves and we're not elves, are we? <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Since <b>Leslie</b> mentions magic, a few words about that. I think if you're going to have a character who uses magic, it is good to lay out what sort of magic this is (does he or she work with fire? Read thoughts like Galadriel? Etc.), where it comes from (innate powers? Some object as focus?), what its limits are (can your mage stun an orc? Many orcs? Blast an orc to smithereens?), and what its effects are on the user (does he or she get tired afterwards? Become forgetful? Lose consciousness?). <BR><BR>Tolkien is very cautious in his treatment of 'magic' and the elves even avoid the use of the word, as Galadriel does. But there are many examples of what we Sam might<BR> call 'Elvish magic', from Beren and companions making themselves appear to be orcs, Elrond causing the flood, Galadriel's protection of Lothlorien, etc. These sorts of things can be good examples for what magic fits in with Tolkien's world.<BR><BR><b>Wicked_Wytch</b> - nice start on Shade! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> Why does she dislike Elves? I think it would be good to have some explanation of this (though certainly other human characters in Tolkien's work at least mistrust Elves - Eomer for example). Why is she out wandering Middle Earth? Again I think it helps to come up with a motivation. There are some smaller towns mentioned in Rohan and Gondor though we don't know much about them. For example, the Atlas of Middle Earth shows in addition to Dunharrow, a spot on the map called Starkhorn, though this may be a mountain rather than a town. I would have to look it up. In Gondor, towns include Tarnost, Calembel, Linhir, etc. which are presumably smaller than Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth. You could also mention a region, such as Lossarnach.<BR><BR><b>Eruanne</b> - I like your description of Ria! She has a nice and well thought-out family history. Nice to know another hobbit out and about in Middle Earth. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Which brings me back to my poor neglected Lolly Took. I haven't had time to do the research I had planned in order to give her a scenario, but I have thought some about her. Lolly's father is a pipeweed merchant and she is expected to take over the family business, as she is the oldest daughter and there is no son. So to a certain extent she's been raised to be more self-reliant and more of a tomboy than the average female in a largely patriarchal society. She is pleasantly stout in typical hobbit fashion, full of common sense, and not at all shy. In fact, when some 'big people' come along during the events of the War of the Ring and make some deals that sends a lot of pipeweed out of the Shire and hurts her father's business, Lolly takes this rather personally. She has a strong sense of family loyalty and wanting to prove her worthiness to handle the business, which has been in her family for generations (a ne'er do well cousin thinks he should be the logical heir since his uncle has no son). Her foray into the wide outside world will have something to do with this, though I have yet to do the necessary homework.<BR><BR>Lolly has a mass of unruly brown hair that curls in all directions, is outgoing and friendly with customers, and is especially gifted in that hobbit talent of hiding and not being seen. This leads her to learn much from overhearing some of the 'big people' who have had dealings in the Shire. She will probably never be much of a warrior, but I'm thinking she is handy with a bow from hunting squirrels and rabbits with her cousins. The rest is still completely in progress at that point until I am a good girl and hit the books!<BR><BR>What a lot of interesting characters are showing up here in this thread! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>
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Postby Carnimiriel » Mon Feb 10, 2003 2:04 pm

<b>Draugluin</b> - I made my last post before I saw yours so didn't mean to neglect your character!<BR><BR>An interesting premise, but I think you're a bit fuzzy on some of the family trees in Sil. Idril is the only child of Turgon and Elenwe - how do you intend your character to be related to her? Fingolfin's family tree is pretty well laid out, for instance, to be Idril's cousin your character's mother would need to be a sister to either Gil-Galad or Maeglin, which could get a bit tricky. Perhaps (if I may make a humble suggestion) she is of the household/followers of Fingolfin though not directly related?<BR><BR>The elves of Gondolin were probably for the most part not Vanyar (most of the Vanyar stayed in Valinor) though there certainly may have been some who had Vanyar blood.<BR><BR>Finarfin actually has golden hair because of his Vanyar blood on his mother's side - you may have meant someone else (I know, The Silmarillion is confusing!) when you mentioned dark hair.<BR><BR>Off the top of my head I can't remember much about Draugluin but if you're having him father a child with an elf, I suppose for the purposes of your story that would make him a Maia in wolf form rather than simply a beast. This would make your character half elf, half Maia, much like Luthien, or Novice's character Nienjah.<BR><BR>While such characters are certainly possible it gets a bit tricky - I don't want to discourage you if this character really 'lives' for you! I'd love to hear more about her history!
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:39 pm

I too was considering something about Alayna's possible future 'wolf-bonding' I was wondering if it would work for her to have the wolf as a presence in her mind, though not to the extent of following her all around the place. I mean, who wouldn't notice a girl walking around with a wolf on her tail? Anyway, just popping in, and hoping to learn about whether the wolf should come with her or not. With the wolf or without, I can't say that it will make a great difference to Alayna, as she is a killer right at the bottom of it all, and a wolf might do her both help and harm, thus making her less 'cold'?
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Postby Leslie-ElfWarrior » Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:58 pm

<BR>"Since Leslie mentions magic, a few words about that. I think if you're going to have a character who uses magic, it is good to lay out what sort of magic this is (does he or she work with fire? Read thoughts like Galadriel? Etc.), where it comes from (innate powers? Some object as focus?), what its limits are (can your mage stun an orc? Many orcs? Blast an orc to smithereens?), and what its effects are on the user (does he or she get tired afterwards? Become forgetful? Lose consciousness?)."<BR><BR>Well the magic Leslie uses is far and few between. Yes she is apart of the wizards guild, but her use and ability is extremely limited. She knows a few things she's learned from the Wizard's Guild dealing with minor spells of ice and fire, but nothing too serious. Eventhough she is supposidely incredibly powerful she rarely uses magic or anything close to it. She knows one or two powerful spells such as a paralzying spell but thats it. Even the minor spells cause Leslie problems. As for "and what its effects are on the user (does he or she get tired afterwards? Become forgetful? Lose consciousness?)." Yes on all counts, this is why I said she knows a little magic it goes with her mysertious past, but like I said before you'll rarely ever see her use a spell or magic in any RP. <BR><BR>The reason she has any magic potential at all is to add to the mystery of her past. Now if she was a full blown magic user I'd give an entire list as to her abilities and leave little to no room in her fighting sword skills. To me I can't see how it would be fair to have a character as a great and powerful Wizard and a Master swordsmen. For some reason it just doesn't seem fair in that aspect. I choose for her to have her ability lie with swords, bows, and combat like many RPers I've seen, so I'm not going to make her out to be all great and powerful in magic. She may in one RP cast one spell be out or a little out of it for a while then thats it on her use of spells and such.<BR><BR>But yes like you said it is good to point out everything you can and can't do with magic or 'abilities'. Otherwise some can just come up with anything and post it which doesn't seem fair at all. Basically what I think that implys is the character can do any and everything and come out on top. So unless the character is ment to be an powerful wizard or wizardess and use spells and such it should be limited. If the character is a great Master Swordsmen or Bowmen, then there shouldn't be a whole lot of magic involved in that character maybe some, or maybe he/she is powerful but just can't tap into it. But a Master Swordsmen or Bowmen shouldn't be able to do a whole lot in magic, it just somehow seems unreal when someone is a Master Swordsmen and Master Wizard.<BR><BR>Example: In Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is a Master Swordsman and very good with a bow, not as great as Legolas but he knows how to use a bow. Gandalf is the Wizard he knows that particular area, he from what I saw in the Moria scene can use a sword, but Aragorn is the man for using a sword.<BR><BR>This is what I think is a problem though... because it seems that some people (Not pointing fingures or anything) make their character too powerful. They have them as great sword fighters or in some cases Master Swordsmen which is fine heck even them having the knowlege of using a bow is cool or making them an excellant shot with a bow is alright, but then some like to make characters out to be powerful Wizards and such and it seems too much because it doesn't seem as real when you give the character all benefits and abilities, and which is why if the character isn't a Master Wizard or Wizardess in the beginning then they shouldn't put on a large amount of (Magical) abilities to their characters, because I think that decreases the realism of a character.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Falathiel » Tue Feb 11, 2003 1:13 pm

<b>Greetings Lady Carnimiriel!</b><BR><BR>First may I say thank you so much for starting this thread and for giving of your time, talent and experience to help others become better writers. That is truly commendable. And I especially appreciate it because I recognize that I need so much help <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I have read some of the other threads you suggested but not all of them in entirety. I hope this is OK. I only have so much on-line time and I don't speed-read.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> But I have read much posted here and will faithfully do my reading homework here in exchange for help from all the fine writers who are here to help. I have quite a few questions mainly about stuff I haven't seemed to come across yet or have forgotten where to find the answer to. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> Maybe you should set a limit on how many questions I can ask in a given session <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Here goes:<BR><BR>1. Should I post what I have of my character's history here now?<BR>2. Can I request just a brutal critique of it up front? I know the path to better writing can be painful when most productive <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>3. If I have specific questions relating to character development what is the best way to post them so they will benefit everyone? In a separate post for each one? <BR><BR>Thank you again for your time. I am very excited about this because I have finally decided to take the plunge and get involved in an RP story. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Blessings, Falathiel<BR><BR>********<BR><BR><b>Nienor-Niniel!</b> Greetings fair friend! I am so excited to see you in here and to get to learn in here at the same time you are<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> I love your writing so this is a special treat to me<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> See you around (and around<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>)<BR><BR><b>Leslie_Elf_Warrior</b>:Greetings to you.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> We have not met but I havegreatly admired your writing in the Imladris story. I haven't read there lately but when I first came to TORC I happened upon your story by way of Legolas the Elf. (He was one of the first people who was so welcoming and kind to this newbie.) I was not only thoroughly enchanted by it but so in awe of such great writing by all of you there. I am thrilled to see you here and also to hear that you may be joining one of the search parties for abducted Princess Turelie Lurea (my character's cousin<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>. That will be my first RP experience and I am wanting to do my homework here. Perhaps we shall get to interact at some point over there. I would really love that. Nice to meet you and thank you to you too for coming here to share your skills and time with us. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Fala<BR>
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Postby Eruanne » Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:12 pm

Thank you, Novice. I'd love to RP with you sometime. Poor Ria though, she'd be wrapped 'round Nienjah's finger in half a minute! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>And thank you, Carnimiriel. The funny thing is that that's not half of what I know about her family! They're an odd lot, they are. Lolly sounds interesting, and I love the idea of it being her family loyalties that draw her out of the Shire.
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Postby Draugluin » Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:31 pm

Gaah! Now that I'm properly awake today I'll try to explain what I meant, Carnimiriel!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>When I said that my character's mother was "kin" to Idril, I meant that she was related in some way, albeit distantly. I did not realise that the word "kin" denoted a full cousin!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I have re-checked my Silmarillion and I see you're right. The Elves of Gondolin were for the most part Noldorin...<BR>I had looked up "Eldar" in "The Complete Guide to Middle Earth" by Robert Foster, and saw that <i>"the Eldar were slender and grey eyed, and apart from the golden haired Vanyar and the House of Finarfin, were dark haired."</i> I took this to mean that the House of Finarfin were dark haired...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Thankyou for helping me clear that up!<BR><BR>I also like the idea that my character is part-Elf, part-Maia very much, it appeals to me immensly!<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR><b>Tobias</b>- I like the idea that Alayna should have a bond with wolves, (but obviously I'm biased<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>) and I agree with you in that it would make her more of a "human" character. Not just a ruthless killer, but a person that has been chosen by wolves to be a companion. Animals do not chose friends lightly...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Leslie-ElfWarrior » Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:01 pm

<BR>Falathiel,<BR>Awwwwe shucks I didn't know I was that good...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0> But yes, Legolas the elf is an wonderful RPer, at this point in From Imladris I am writing my character out since the RP is (I guess) at it's end. I do hope Legolas makes a come back though he creates such wonderful RPes...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> Also I'm not sure if I'm excepted into the RP, I have already asked to join but no one said ok. I suppose if I want the pleasure of RPing with you and all those other great writers I had best restate my request to join in the new OOC thread...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> <BR><BR><BR>
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