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Online Gaming 101: Chapter 1 - Getting Started

Written by Kimberly Shay


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Examples: Do's & Don'ts of A Character Sheet

The following are the elements you should include in your character sheet, and examples of both good and bad ways to go about it. (All example characters and descriptions are ©Kytz Kreatyonz.) All "DONTs" are made up off the top of my head to avoid anyone any embarrassment. Any resemblance to actual characters is coincidental (and sad. They should visit this site!)


NAME: What's in a name? It's all about first impressions. Pick a name that not only suits your character, but their race & the setting as well. "Spike" won't sound near as impressive if its an elven ranger in a medieval setting. Be creative in your spelling. If you think Brian looks boring, try Bryan, Brien, Briun, etc. Don't be afraid to switch vowels around to create foreign sounding names, or use character name generators. Baby name books are also good resources. Be original, and try to avoid using well known names from books or movies. There can only be so many Skywalkers & Lestats. See Appendix A for character name resources. I usually find that naming my character is the last thing I do.

DO's:
Typhonia Rowan: human adventurer in medevial fantasy setting
Lyxxandrial: Elven adventurer
Storm Walker: Modern Witch in Hybrid fantasy setting.

DONT's:
Deathwalker IV: dwarven forge master
USUCXXOr1!1!: ANY kind of game.
Legolas: elven stud (true, but already been done!)


AGE & GENDER: While it seems like a small thing, this is fairly important. Age can be affected by your character's race, and has an influence on your characters appearance as well. Gender would affect how others perceive you, and perhaps what life/career choice your character ends up taking. For starter players, it is recommended you stick close to your own age, and RP your own gender. Some games actually require the latter. Take careful note of any racial age restrictions.


RACE: This is a great starting point for your character sheet, as race affects so many different aspects of your character. Their cultural beliefs, physical traits & inherent skills are all determined by your race. Carefully check a game's race list for the playable races, and any benefits or drawbacks to playing each race. Be careful to not generalize. The elven race of one game may be completely different from another.


APPEARANCE: This is, of course, the outer skin your character shows to the world. It is also the place to allow your imagination a little room to grow, as you develop a personal style for your character. Make sure your clothing reflects not only the setting and time period, but your character's own preferences as well. Also keep in mind that few people were born incredibly attractive. Being ordinary is perfectly acceptable, and unusual enough to earn you a modicum of respect. Don't be afraid to use detail, and description. Also do not attempt to enforce a reaction from people with your descriptions, such as insisting that people are automatically hypnotized by your dashing good looks, etc.

Examples:
Kerrigwen DuBois, 5'11, is dressed in worn blue jeans, and a flimsy, grass green sheer blouse, reminiscent of the Renaissance, showing her slight curves. Her flaming auburn locks are piled on her head in loose curls, several pairs of gold hoops decorate her delicately pointed ears. Her forest green eyes survey her surroundings, sparkling with curiosity, and a hint of something else. Ivory pale skin seems to glow ethereally. The impression is one of innocence.
[Vampire Character]

Leafwhisper stands about 6', tall for a woman and lithe. Her dark hair is usually dyed in varying patterns, there is very little bleaching due to the fact that she doesn't have much ability to use nodes for her magic. Her eyes are a pale green in color. She is graceful as a willow, and can glide as silently as an owl through her forays for scouting. She is also mute, due to an unfortunate accident in her childhood with some superstitious villagers.
[Hawkbrother Character]

DONT's:
Lance Chilton is tall, dark and good-looking. He is wearing a suit.
Derek is intensely handsome, and has an aura of evil about him. Girls swoon at his feet.
Christine is gorgeous. She wears nice clothes.


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