There are a few things to consider when building a character, so I'll go ahead and walk you through it!
Before anything else comes in to play, you need to decide who your character is, and was. You can't decide who they will be just yet, because you need to have some sort of backstory. A rich history adds a lot to RP and thus a lot more fun to any roleplaying game. So, things to consider when making a backstory.
- Where was your character born?
*How old are they?
*Did any major events happen shortly before or after their event? Did this affect them?
*Do they have family?
*Do they still have family? If not, what happened to them?
*What major events have occurred in your character's life until the point you began playing?
Of course there is more you can consider, and arguably some more that you should, but this is a good place to start. Really get in to your character's past and flesh them out as much as you can, while still remaining realistic to your game's environment.
We can't very well play with a character unless we know what we look like, can we? So, some things to consider while thinking up your appearance.
*Build. Are you tall and thin, short and fat, or somewhere in between?
*Hair color and length. Is it frizzy, curly, straight or wavy?
*Face. Do you have high cheekbones? A monobrow, or pronounced nose?
*Is their body proportionate, or are some limbs stretched or squashed?
*Do they have any scars or other noticeable markings? Tattoes?
I can not understate how important this step is. So often we play with people who might look cool, might have an established background, but they just sort of feel hollow. Their character is a transparent view into their player, as are many of the things they do. So, what can we add in to help that?
- Your character could have a hobby. Something they do other than training, either for fun or profit.
This adds some extra opportunity to RP, when some people only ever do so to train or gain strength. Social roleplaying is different and arguably more fun than constant fighting.
- Your character could have some sort of quirk that sets them apart from the pack.
Maybe it's a stutter or a twitch, or maybe they call sneaking "footpadding". There's a lot of room here to add personality to your character. They could not like some type of person or some type of thing, maybe hate some kind of food.
If you're daring, you could add in something more pronounced, such as a physical disability or mental disability. I once played a character who could not help eating every flower he saw, and will admit that it was hilarious when our group walked through a field of daisies and had to leave him behind.
Now, there is a line that needs to be drawn. A unique character is both more fun to play and more fun to be around, but there are a handful of things that I suggest avoiding. Why? Because they are overdone to the point of being comical. I will detail these in a growing list.
- Bipolarity/Multiple Personalities
*Unexplained abnormal hair or eye color (Does not apply in anime environments)
*A hobby which conveniently ties in to your training, or makes you stronger.
*Being abnormally tall. Why is everyone 6' or taller?
*Having skill in areas that are illogical. You are a devoted archer--why are you so good with a sword too?
*Dead parents used as a revenge backstory
*Having a flawless appearance
This brings me to a personal opinion of mine, which I encourage others to listen to.
Flaws build characters.
A character who is skilled in everything, uncomparably beautiful, and a paragon of virtues? That is boring.
I suggest picking three things that are wrong with you by society's norms. It can be physical or mental.
Maybe you've got a limp, or you're ugly. Maybe it's just that you didn't make very good grades in school. The degree to which your flaws extend is up to you, but they make your character more interesting.
Exploring your flaws, or exploring those of others? That's RP.
Bob has a chronic cough, but doesn't appear sick. You and others now get to wonder whether or not that's a tick of his, or whether he has some sort of illness. That can develop into a lot more down the line.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO
Your character needs something that drives them, something they want to do or want to see done.
In short? Pick out some Motivations for why they do what they do. Take as many as you want, big or small, and pursue them. It doesn't have to be "get the strongest", or anything like that.
Maybe Bob just wants to punch that guy in the face for insulting his mother, but that guy disappears. He now has a longstanding grudge.
Everything is stagnant without motivation, and by knowing what drives others you may be able to play with them more effectively.
But then, some people don't want others to know why they do things.
So, i've roughly outlined some things to help you make a character. Let's review.
Have a background, explain why you are who you are, and maybe explain some of your lore.
Be as detailed as you need for others to know what you look like. Maybe find a picture that others can look at as a quick reference.
Be somebody! Make your character three-dimensional, make them unique but within reasonable boundaries.
Great in moderation, unplayable in excess. Find your balance and enjoy character depth.
You won't do anything unless you know what your character wants to do!