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How do you get into character?

Creating a new character is always exciting and fun, but sometimes it's not always easy getting into their head space. 

Personally, after my sheet is done, I write a very long and thorough backstory, even if no one reads it. Lol

I picture what they wear on a daily basis, what music they like, their favourite colour, their hobbies, ECT. I find it much easier to get into character after their lives and personality are fully fleshed out.

Sometimes, I'll read/watch the news and think "what would my character think about this?"

And of course, I'll admit a weird little secret. I occasionally like to practice my character's voice and attitude/demeanor in the upcoming days before the game. 

What methods do you use for getting into character? What challenges do you face when trying to get into their head space? Any tips to help new players feel more comfortable when it comes to roleplaying?

Replies (6)
  • I go the opposite - I ponder a concept first.  What drives the personality,  what are the quirks, what do they want.  

    Then I consider costume.
    Then I consider the sheet - but not just starting sheet but where I want the character to evolve over a year(s)

    • Easy three steps for me.
      1. Who were they in life, write up a brief synopsis on who they were mortally, what drove them, who mattered to them and why they were embraced.

      2. Who have they been since their death?How did they take to unlife? Why did their sire choose them? What major events have they been a part of if any? Basically a 5 W's for both mortal and Cainite living.

      3. What drives them now and how can I best fail at what I am doing? I always have the assumption that if the storytelling team is fair and balanced thatI will have a decent chance to accomplish my goals so I have them set here. Also I ALWAYS like to have a few avenues for how I would like to see my character fail should it come down to a do or die situation,will it be a dirty lowdown killbox that comes about from too many wily enemies? My own Hubris that leads to me taking on more than I can handle? Will I throw myself into a suicidal mission to end my own self inflicted misery?Who knows! But I want it to be as fun and inclusive for other players as I can make it so I go out with a bang and everyone can be satisfied with the loss.

      Anyway thats my two cents about how I like to get into my characters!

      • I start off with a rough idea of who I would Love to explore playing. Typically this is based on an idea I got reading a book or watching a movie. I then put a rough timeline together of there life from birth to present day. After writing up this is start asking questions about their life as I go about my fault routines. I got notes down and imagine myself living out this secret life as if I was watching a movie about them portrayed by me.

        I like think of everyday situation they may find them selfs in and the. Do character building exorcises to figure out how they would react, and then I put them through hypothetical situations.

        After a week or so of doing this I sit down and flesh there background out from the timeline and notes I have.

        With this in hand I write up there sheet and then I work on picking out an outfit that I think they would wear.

        • Ever since I first started playing, my process has always started with the same thing. I choose a core flaw first. (Not the Flaws as in the mechanics! A real, serious flaw or personal conflict. In CBT, this is called a core belief.) Whatever happens to the character, whatever they do, they will always have that conflict, and their decisions will always be affected by that. On forum or chat rp's, nearly every post or scene will show, not tell that flaw in some way or another. Examples of flaws that I have based characters on before:

          • Insecurity, or "I am not enough." No matter what the character does or says, deep down, they know that something is different about them. Something about them is lesser. They're constantly trying to hide it, or fool themselves into believing they're as good as they say. Characters tend to be concerned with how they appear towards others, constantly monitoring their image. They may feel like everyone laughs at them behind their back, or fear negative judgement. (Having this thought doesn't mean that the person in question actually is lesser.)
          • Vulnerability, or "I am weak." They're afraid to be vulnerable. Actions like disclosing negative feelings, asking for help, confiding in people, or forming in-depth relationships with others bring with them an inherent sense of panic for the character. Those are Bad Things, those actions make people Weak. As a result, they wind up feeling isolated, as if the world is on their shoulders. For characters like this, needing emotional support from others is bad. They're afraid of being hurt and feel ashamed to have problems in the first place.
          • Shame, or "I am defective." Tends to go with insecurity, but a character with this flaw knows that something about them is different and that it cannot be fixed. They constantly feel as if they are broken, worth less as a living being. Characters tend to see their struggles against whatever it is that makes them defective as hopeless, and often believe they are unlovable. There's potential to explore suicidality here too.
          • Morality, or "I am evil." Very fun to explore! My character believed no matter what he did, he would always be seen as evil, so there was no point in trying to be otherwise. Explored in movies like Megamind and Despicable Me, characters tend to have an external locus of control, or believe that their fate is out of their hands, or that they're not responsible or accountable. They may also feel that they are responsible and take on a lot of guilt, even if they have no choice in their evil status.
          • other examples of negative core beliefs here

          Basically I take some struggle that I have seen in other people and start there. I've never written a character long enough that they have overcome their core flaw, and nearly all of their conflicts revolve around that core flaw.

           If I'm ever stuck on something or can't get into my character's head, I think back to their core struggle. What is it like to feel that I don't deserve basic human compassion? What is it like to feel like I am inherently unlovable and nothing can ever change that? What actions do I take when I am trying to avoid guilt by dismissing my actions as out of my control? What is it like to know you can't trust anyone, anywhere, with this great big secret I have on the inside? Once I have answers to those questions, I can nearly always get back into my character's head.

          • Originally I would write out their backstory but personally I found that I would follow the rules of that backstory. I wouldn't always stray and evolve with the character. With new characters I tend to learn more about them by actually talking to them.

            I spend a lot of time driving or working by myself and because of this my mind wanders A LOT. To pass the time if I'm not listening to music I monologue on the fly. And when I have a particular character in mind I begin to monologue about what they feel like talking about. Sometimes it can be about the most random things that they like or ideals they believe in. Other times it's a long anecdote about something they did in their life. But these can go on for hours before I finally get an idea for a character and it's a lot of fun too. You surprisingly get to know who this person is in the few hours they are in your head and openly talking. Inside of your head it's only limited to your head and you can easily forget. But when it's spoken aloud and it's out in the open, Reverbing off of your surrounding and the inflections and emotions are there....It sinks in who this character is.

            • I feel like I spend the week (or two weeks) between games getting into character. I think about what my goals are for next time, and envision the scenes I need to have to get them. I think about how other parties might react, and how that would make me feel, and little previews of them play out in my head. When game comes around, I'm stoked to finally jump into things.

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