general opinion: fall in a hole and die | don’t like them | eh | they’re fine I guess | like them! | love them | actual love of my life | I’ve never been this so hard in love with a fictional character help me
hotness level: get away from me | meh | neutral | theoretically hot but not my type | pretty hot | gorgeous! | 10/10 would bang | 11/10 would ride him like an untamed stallion
best quality: I actually played the game in the recommended order, so Zen was my first route. And I wasn’t excited at all the first few days. But the more time passed, the better parts of his character were revealed. I think the turning points for me were: The VN that showed him as a child with his brother and the VN where he’s showing you the stars on his rooftop and telling you about his family. And I haven’t been able to let go since
I’ve known a lot of narcissistic characters in anime and games. But the way Zen was written made me see him as not the usual “narcissist wearing a mask.” Because the narcissism is still a part of who Zen is, it’s not a lie. He knows he’s hot and he’s not ashamed of it. Yes, it may be overexaggerated as a result of his circumstances with his family and to also ease his own insecurities. But the narcissistic side of Zen is as real as the insecure Zen. He’s not like Seven who hides behind a happy facade. Does that make sense?
I think the thing that drew me to Zen the most is how he kept persevering down the path of life that HE wanted even though there were so many circumstances against him. Because that’s how much he loves what he does and also wants to prove himself to the world.
He has zero support from his family, he had to resort to doing “bad things” when he was part of the gang in order to survive, he had to work jobs to support himself when he was just starting out as an actor, and often his looks are put above his actual skills (which does bother him.) I also had the impression that Zen was really lonely before he met Rika and V.
But despite all that he kept on going, and even during the game (when his circumstances have improved) he still continues to work hard.
AND Zen doesn’t let his past experiences influence his behavior. He may have insecurities and flaws, but he’s not a 100% bitter or negative person who is constantly angsting. He doesn’t demonize his family either. For the most part, Zen is the type of guy who will tell you what he thinks and feels straight up, regardless how cheesy or how petty it may seem. Maybe too straight up. Zen will make sure you know how single he is.
And that’s the kind of person I would prefer to be around in real life. Someone who isn’t constantly reveling in their bad past and is instead moving forward. Someone who is honest and will tell you what they’re thinking. And especially someone who is shameless and proud of who they are and how they feel.
And oh god I can write even more about how much he seems to really love MC in every route (except Jaehee’s) and how that ending in the Apirl Fools DLC brokeme more than anything I’ve ever played because of how well written it was and how much Zen just loves you.
worst quality: He’s perfect whatchu talkin bout!?
The worst thing about Zen is that he can be extremely petty about things and is quick to jump to certain conclusions. When he doesn’t like someone, he comes off as the kind of guy who will make up like 50 different kinds of assumptions about that someone in order to justify why he doesn’t like them. Even when he barely got the chance to know them well. Remember in the Christmas DLC when he was bitter about the couples and even wanted to give such an amazing performance that will cause all the couples to break up??? All because he didn’t have a lover on Christmas. Zenny that was all adorable, but even I was close to saying “Dude, omg chill.”
And regarding the matter of “jumping to conclusions”: if you tell him you’re spending alone time with either Jumin or Seven in their respective routes, “THEY’RE GOANNA BANG” is pretty much the first thing Zen thinks of. And not gonna lie, I thought he was a bit insensitive to Jumin in Jumin’s route.
Not to mention he seems to get offended (even slightly) when you or the other RFA members aren’t on his side. Like the easiest way to break his heart is to simply stay on Jumin’s side of things, whether it be on simple opinions or actual arguments. He also has a terrible habit of trying to make normal conversations in the chat about him.
I think his bad ends also exemplify a dark side of his loyalty and love. He’s so desperate for your affection, that he’ll take all your crap and still find a reason to love you. This man won’t leave you, even if you treat him like a toy.
On the side of less serious (but still very notable and hurtful) flaws, he gets disheartened very easily and is quick to give up on hope or blame himself when something goes wrong (he treats spraining his ankle like some sort of punishment.) He’ll jump back onto his feet for sure, but when he gets into a slump, he gets into a slump.Not a characteristic worth picking on, but it’s definitely one of his more definite flaws.
ship them with: MC, in-game there’s no one else Zen can love as deeply.
brotp them with: Pretty much the entire RFA. I just want him to be loved.
I don’t ship them at all (borders on NOTP for me), but I do love Zen and Jaehee as supportive buddies. Their interactions in Jaehee’s route were sweet and Zen (along with MC of course) can provide Jaehee with the encouragement she desperately needs.
I actually like seeing Zen as the wanna-be big bro to both Seven and Yoosung, more so with the latter. He brought cookies for Seven when he went to stay at his house, and he’s not quiet about how much he worries about Yoosung and his issues with both the gaming addiction and love.
And while he and Jumin don’t get along past Zen’s route, the civil and friendly conversation they had was really sweet. I still think they’d be great as “love-hate” friends.
needs to stay away from: He desperately wants to reconnect with his family, but I wouldn’t blame him if he never wanted to see them again. Also, hey there Echo Girl.
misc. thoughts: I knew I was too deep into Zen after I got that ending in the April Fools DLC. I didn’t sob sob (though I was pretty close to crying), but I didn’t feel…Okay. It’s hard to describe, but it was like I lost someone important and suddenly I was cold. It’s a flipping dating sim!! Cheritz, why do you hurt me this way????
Another fun fact: I went into MM gunning for 707 because his personality resembled the guy I was in love with during the time the game came out. Turns out what I really needed was a guy like Zen in my life. Whoops.
Cole Sprouse plays Jughead Jones in the CW’s upcoming Riverdale, a new showreimagining the Archie comic series. Based on the character’s repeated, emphasized disinterest in girls, Jughead has been the focal point of much speculation regarding his sexuality over the course of the comics’ eight decades of publication. As recently as last year, the characters was revealed to be canonically asexual.
With the aging comics’ relevance revitalized via the CW’s Riverdale, many fans are wondering just how much the underrepresented sexuality (or rather, absence of) would be specifically emphasized. And there’s no greater advocate than the character’s actor himself.
“I hope that huge corporations like the CW recognize that this kind of representation is rare and severely important to people who resonate with it,” Sprouse tells Teen Vogue, “That demands representation. It would be a wonderful thing if that were the case.”
Sprouse does reveal that the first season of Riverdale will not directly touch on asexuality; however, he does call the show an origin story, where the characters will learn, grow, and discover who they are. In the meantime, Sprouse says he will “keep fighting for this pretty heavily.”
video games are so incredibly hostile and unwelcoming to mlm and im really feeling this more than ever after Watch_dogs 2 decided to continue to queerbait its audience with Wrench and Marcus w/o ever confirming their relationship as anything other than a joke, and after Mass Effect: Andromeda decided to not include gay men in major roles out of fear of backlash from the straight male audience, and Persona 5 preferred teacher/student relationships to relationships between two boys of the same age and etc etc etc
like these are all on varying levels of being overtly homophobic but the theme is fucking unignorable; video games dont want to have gay or bi men and its undeniably because theyre scared of upsetting the core straight male demographic by confronting them with things like gay and bi men.
like right now im desperately waiting for blizzard to reveal who the gay characters in Overwatch are because if any of these men are gay theyre going to be the only male player characters who are canonically gay or bisexual (and not just player choice) that i know of who havent just been “confirmed gay” on twitter. and even the characters that do fall into the latter category add up to a grand total of two (and i hate including Axton from Borderlands 2 because i will never forget that his one off line flirting with guys was originally a fucking programming glitch gearbox chose not to fix. the other guy in question is Jacob Frye from Assassins Creed if anyone is curious)
im sick and tired of this like its exhausting just not existing to anyone. its not like the situation in film or television or any other media is that much fucking better right now, but at least i can name movies and tv shows that have gay men in them. its so unendingly depressing being a gay man and trying to enjoy video games because unless im willing to build them for myself they just dont fucking exist.
To all the writers who have ever been told “Your characters have to be three dimensional!” or “They should be well-rounded!” and just felt like saying: “What does that even MEAN?! What goes into a 3-dimensional character? Specifically? And how do you go about creating one?!”
Good news. There’s a way.
Great main characters – heroes, protagonists, deuteragonist, whatever you want to call them – have ten things in common. Ten things that are easily developed, once you know what to create within your character. So no one will ever be able to tell you “needs to be more three dimensional!” ever again. Ha.
1) Weaknesses: Main characters should be flawed, but I’m not saying this because it will make them more realistic (though it will) – I’m saying they need to be flawed because if they’re not, they shouldn’t be a main character. Story is another word for change, or more accurately, character growth. Not character as in “fictional person”, character meaning “heart and soul”. Story is someone’s character changing, for better or worse. Main characters at the beginning of the story are lacking something vital, some knowledge of themselves, some knowledge of how to live a better life, and this void is ruining their lives. They must overcome these weaknesses, if they’re going to become complete, and reach a happy ending. There are two types of weaknesses: Psychological and Moral. Psychological ones only hurt the main character. Moral ones cause the main character to hurt other people. Easy.
2) Goal: Characters exist because they want something. Desiring something, and the fight against opposition for that desire, is the lifeblood of story; and because character is story, it’s also desire that can breathe life into words on a page, and begin the process of creating a real person in a reader’s mind. It’s this ‘desire for something’ that sparks that first connection between reader and character. It makes us think “Well, now I have to find out if this person gets what they want.” This is a powerful link. (How many mediocre movies do we suffer through, when we could easily stop watching, because we’re still trapped by that question of “what happens?”) So if this is powerful enough to keep people watching an annoying movie, imagine how powerful it can be in an excellent story.
Like in Up, the goal is to get the house to Paradise Falls.
3) Want: If the main character wants something, they want it for a darn good reason. Usually, they think that attaining the goal will fill the void they can sense in their lives, the deficiency they can feel, but don’t know how to fix. And they’re almost always wrong. Getting the goal doesn’t help anything; which is why, while pursuing that goal, they discover a deeper need that will heal them. Which brings us to …
4) Need/Elixir: Main characters are missing something, a weakness in their innermost selves is causing them to live a less-than-wonderful life. Through story, these main characters can be healed. Once they discover what’s missing, and accept it, and change the way they live to include this truth they’ve uncovered … they’re healed. Learning this truth, whatever it is, forms the purpose of the story for the main character. The reader, and the character, think the story is about achieving that big tangible goal the premise talks about; really, underneath it all, the story is about someone achieving a big intangible truth, that will ultimately save their life and future. Often, this need is exactly what the character fears or professes to hate.
Like Finding Nemo, where Dory states exactly what Marlin needs to learn.
Not this kind of ghosts.
Ghosts are events in your character’s past which mark the source of their weaknesses and strengths. Because these happened, the character became who they are. All we need to know about backstory are these moments, because who the character became is all we care about. There’s really only one ghost you absolutely need: the source of their moral and psychological weakness. Something happened that knocked the character’s world off kilter, and everything from that moment onward has been tainted by what happened. This moment haunts them (hence the name), and holds them back from uncovering that need that will heal their weaknesses. Pixar are masters of this: the source of Carl being stuck in the past, curmudgeonly, unable of loving anyone new? Ellie dying; his ghost. In Finding Nemo, the source of Marlin being suffocating, protective to the point of being harmful, possessive, and fearful? His wife and 99% of his children being eaten in front of him; his ghost.
6) True Character: These are the strengths, values, convictions, fears, faults, beliefs, worldview, and outlook on life that make the main character who they truly are.
7) Characterization: This is everything on the surface of a main character. The way they look, talk, act, etc. All of this originates from those deeper elements of their being, the strengths, values, ghosts, weaknesses, needs, that make them who they truly are. So often, you can think of this as a facade they’re projecting, a way to shield the the truth about themselves, how they wish to be perceived. The story, and the other characters, are slowly going to see deeper than this characterization, revealing more and more of the reasons it is the way it is.
8) Arc: If the character is going to change from “Incomplete Person” to “Complete Person” there’s going to be a journey they go on to make that possible. The external story, the pursuit of that big tangible goal the premise is about, is causing an inner journey to take place. What they have to do in pursuit of that external goal will apply pressure to those weaknesses, and pressure causes change. This process has seven steps, but if I write it all here this post is going to be obscenely long. So I might wait and give this its own post.
9) Changed Person: Who is the character going to be at the end of this story? They better be different, or else the story didn’t work. How do they show how different they’ve become? What is the moral choice they make, that spins their trajectory from “the future doesn’t look so great” to “happily ever after”? This should be known right away, maybe even before anything else is settled about the character. This gives a distinct end goal, a way to work backwards, a destination in mind that you can navigate towards.
10) Fascination and Illumination: The surface characterization, and the brief glimpses of the true character underneath create curiosity in the reader/audience. What the character says, and the implied subtext beneath the dialogue, creates a puzzle the audience wants to solve. Actions they take work the same way; if the writer indicates there’s deeper motivation behind why a character behaves in the way they do, we buy into solving that mystery right away. We can’t help it. “Who are you really? Why are you the way you are? And how is that going to effect the story?” These are all the unspoken, almost not consciously acknowledged, questions that fascinating characters provoke. Searching out meaning, connecting the dots to find the truth – we can’t resist this. We’re not fascinated by tons of backstory and exposition about a character; we’re fascinated by story, by mystery, by the technique of withholding information and having to interpret and hunt out the truth on our own. So gradually, the story and the characters will force that character to reveal a little more, and a little more, until we have a complete picture of who this person is. Crucial that this information isn’t told up front. Gradually illuminate it. It’s just like getting to know a real person.
So how does this work in a real character? Let’s take a look at Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, because almost everybody has seen that movie.
Moral Weaknesses: He’s selfish. He’s a little greedy. He’s a little rude. He uses his charisma and bravado to keep people at a distance from the real him.
Psychological Weaknesses: Insecurity, fear of vulnerability, feels like the real him (Eugene) would be unwanted, unlovable, and have nothing – just like when he was an orphaned kid. Also, he doesn’t know who he wants to be, what he wants to live for.
Goal: Flynn wants to get that crown. So he has to get Blondie to see the floating lights, so she’ll give it back to him, and then they can part ways as unlikely friends.
Want: Why does he want the crown? What does it mean for him? He actually states it (reluctantly) in song: “I have dreams like you, no really. Just much less touchy feely. They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny. On an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone. Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He senses there’s something off in his life, something is missing. But he mistakenly believes this missing piece is money, which will allow him to buy a lonely island, where he can live out his days as Flynn and no one will ever know Eugene.
Need: “All those days chasing down a daydream. All those years living in a blur. All that time never truly seeing, things the way they were. Now she’s here, shining in the starlight. Now she’s here, suddenly I know. If she’s here, it’s crystal clear, I’m where I’m meant to go.” He wants a crown … he needs to fall in love with Rapunzel. He needs to love something more than himself, and find out that love isn’t something to fear and push away. He needs to abandon the 'Tales of Flynnagin Rider’ ambition, and get a more worthwhile, new dream.
Ghost: The source of all of his weaknesses can be linked to his “little bit of a downer” childhood as an orphan. Interestingly, he isn’t aware of another facet of that ghost, and Rapunzel points it out to him. “Was he a thief too?” she asks. He looks taken aback, before answering “Uh, no.” Something’s gone wrong. The choices he’s making are not living up to that original role model.
Characterization: Flynn’s charming, funny, smart, charismatic, and arrogant (in a somehow charming sort of way). He’s also rude, contemptuous, and sarcastic. All traits that help him keep up that 'swashbuckling rogue’ facade, and push people away from the real him.
True Character: Underneath all that, he’s a Disney prince. That pretty much sums it up.
Changed Person: “Started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically turned it all around.” He started the story as the guarded and evasive Flynn, he ends as the selfless and thoroughly-in-love Eugene.
Fascination and Illumination: Imagine if everything about Flynn had been told, right up front. We know he’s an orphan, we know he’s upheld a fake reputation, we know he’s a kind and loving guy underneath it all, we even know about his “tales of Flynnagin” childhood dream. You know what happens? We like him … but we’re not interested in him. There’s nothing we need to find out. There’s no curiosity. And if there’s no curiosity, and nothing being illuminated, your story’s not going anywhere. So instead, we find out – alongside Rapunzel – more about Flynn as the story progresses. And that is how it should be.
Developing characters in this way, I’ve found, really reduces worries about how “well-rounded” and three dimensional I’ve made them. They feel real to me. And besides helping me create characters, this ten element technique has also let me analyze characters I like, which is strangely fun. It’s a great way to figure out why a character works, what causes them to be so effective, and how you can go about creating them yourself.
Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd.
But if you want, try it out. Develop a character. Analyze a character. You might find it as useful/fun as I do.
I cannot stress enough when I say, the way someone ends a relationship with you reveals their true character. How they communicate it, the timing, and whether or not they give you an opportunity to try and fix it or get closure.
I’ve decided to make a masterlist of asks I’ve done to make them easier to find for you guys (and for myself). I split them into categories as best as I could by genre and topic. Also, some asks have some helpful tips in the notes as well to check out (some are marked but not all) and if you have anything to add that you think would help, feel free to reply or reblog with your addition. I’ll try to keep it updated with future asks.
Now without further ado, the strangest and most wonderful list I’ve ever made.
Hey, you're awesome, thanks for existing, basically ^_^ Anyway, I wanted to know if you have any tips on how to write different personalities? My characters (all of them) always end up with the same default personality that I fall back on. Thanks!
Thanks for your question, darling! I think most of us have struggled with this – after all, we’re conditioned to one way of thinking, feeling, and acting for as long as we live. That doesn’t necessarily mean we write characters like ourselves, though. In fact, many of us have a “default character” that’s sassier than we are, sweeter than we are, or in some way different enough from us that we still feel like we’re writing a character.
The problem, then, isn’t that we can’t visualize a different personality than ours. On the whole, we can. What we’re missing are the small details that make it feel whole – otherwise, it’s like painting the same room six different colors and trying to pass it off as six different rooms. Different dominant traits can’t hide the fact that you’re working with one template!
So the question we’re left with: what are the traits we’re missing? And how can we change them to create a unique and whole personality?
Three Types of Character Traits
There are, as the title suggests, three major categories of personality traits as I see it: fundamental traits, acquired traits, and detrimental traits. A well-rounded character needs some of each to be three-dimensional and realistic.
The fundamental traits of a person’s character are not as simple as interests and preferences; they are the very base of all decisions and desires. They are either learned in early life or developed over a long period of time, rooting deeply into the personality. A few examples of fundamental personality traits include:
Upbringing – The word choice here is conscious, as upbringing encompasses many different aspects of a person’s development. Consider who raised them, and with what morals and practices they were raised to adulthood. Consider their influences, both familial, social, and in media; consider the relationships that were normalized during their development, as well as the living conditions (financially, emotionally, environmentally, etc.). The people, places, emotions, and conflicts made common during a person’s developmental period are essential to their personality in adulthood. This is why psychologists often draw present-day problems back to a person’s childhood memories – because those formative years can subconsciously dictate so much of a person’s future!
Values – These may not coincide with the values a person is raised to hold, but upbringing certainly has an influence on this. A person’s values will direct the course of their life through every decision, large and small. You don’t need to outline everything your character believes is important – every moral and every law they agree/disagree with. But those values which stand above others will give your character purpose. A few of my favorite examples are: Jane from Jane the Virgin (whose initial storyline is heavily based on her religion and desire for a beautiful love story, as well as her childhood influences who inspired these values) and Han Solo from Star Wars (whose character development rested upon his values shifting from money and gratification to more honorable things).
Beliefs – Different from values, beliefs are a more general set of guidelines for how a person believes things are supposed to be. Beliefs can also be a source of great conflict, as a character tries to stay aligned with their beliefs despite other values or desires. These beliefs can be established systems, like religion or politics; they can also include more personal belief systems, like nihilism or veganism. A characters beliefs, like their values, can change over the course of the story – but even if a character is questioning one system of belief, like religion or pacifism, they should have other belief systems in place to govern some of their activity.
Reputation – A lot of human activity, whether consciously or not, is dictated by how others perceive them (or how they believe others perceive them). There are two types of reputation: personal and passing. For instance, a woman named Sally who gains a personalreputation of sleeping around will behave in reaction to this reputation – either sleeping around because everyone already expects it of her, or specifically not hooking up because she wants to shake this reputation, or developing a thicker skin to deal with the rumors until it passes. A man named Billy who, because of his tattoos, bears a passing reputation as an intimidating man will either try to soften his demeanor with strangers, own up to the image, or at least learn to expect judgment from strangers as a consequence.
Self-Image – Also relevant to a person’s behavior is the way they perceive themselves, which can often have little to do with their reputation. A lot of self-image is based on definitive moments or phases in the past. For instance: for several years after I started wearing contacts and cutting my hair, I still saw myself, in dreams at night, with long hair and glasses. One of my friends, similarly, could not seem to notice when boys would flirt with her during sophomore year – because she still saw herself as an awkward middle schooler with braces, and not as the charming cheerleader with the great smile. Inversely, self-image can be inflated, causing character to behave as though they are funnier, smarter, or more prepared than they truly are (see: the rest of my sophomore acquaintances). This can be an overlooked character flaw opportunity – or flawportunity…
Now we move on to the acquired traits of personality, which are the ones you’re more likely to find on a character sheet or a list of “10 Questions for Character Development”, alongside a million other things like their zodiac sign and their spirit animal. But the traits I’m about to outline are a little more relevant to a character’s behavior, and more importantly, how to make this behavior unique from other characters’ behavior. The following traits will be learned by your characters throughout their life (and their story), and are more likely to shift and grow with time:
Interests – I know, I had to reach deep down into my soul to think of this one. But it’s true! Interests, both in childhood/adolescence and in adulthood, are an important part of a character’s personality and lifestyle. Childhood interests both reveal something about the character (for instance: my nephew loves trains, Legos, and building, suggesting a future interest in construction or engineering) and create values that can last for a lifetime. Current interests affect career choice, social circles, and daily activity for everyone. Forgotten or rejected interests can be the source of pet peeves, fears, or bad memories. There’s a reason I’ll never play with Polly Pockets again, and it 100% has to do with bloody fingertips and a purse that wouldn’t open.
Sense of Humor – This can be a little hard to define, understandably. If you were to ask me what my sense of humor is, I’d probably start with a few stupid memes, pass by Drake & Josh on the way, and somehow wind up telling you bad puns or quoting Chelsea Peretti’s standup comedy. A person’s sense of humor can be complex and contradictory! Sometimes we just laugh at stuff because someone said it in a funny way. But anyway, to help you boil this down to something useful: take a look at a few kinds of comedy and relate it to your character’s maturity level. Do they laugh when someone lets out a toot? Are they the kind of person to mutter, “That’s what she said,” or simply try not to laugh when something sounds dirty? Can puns make them crack a smile? Do they like political humor? Do cat videos kill them? Is their humor particularly dark? Can the mere sound of someone else laughing make them laugh? Figure out where your character’s sense of humor is, and you’ll feel closer to them already.
Pet Peeves – For every interest a person may have, and everything that makes them laugh, there’s something else that can piss them off, large- or small-scale. Are they finnicky about their living space and neatness? Do they require a lot of privacy? Do certain sounds or behaviors drive them crazy? What qualities are intolerable in a romantic interest for them? What kind of comments or beliefs make them roll their eyes? If you need help, just try imagining their worst enemy – someone whose every word or action elicits the best eye-rolls and sarcastic remarks and even a middle finger or two – and ask yourself, what about this person makes them that mortal enemy? What behaviors or standards make them despicable to your character? That’s all it takes.
Skills – Everybody has them, and they’re not just something we’re born with. Skills can be natural talent, sure, but they’re also cultivated from time, values, and interests. What is your character okay at? What are they good at? What are they fantastic at? Maybe they can cook. Maybe they have a beautiful eye for colors. Maybe they have an inherent sense of right and wrong that others admire. Maybe they’re super-athletic or incredibly patient or sharp as a tack or sweet as a cupcake. Maybe they know how to juggle, or maybe they’re secretly the most likely of all their friends to survive a zombie apocalypse. Where do they shine? What would make someone look at them and think, “Wow, I wish I were them right now”?
Desires – A good way to “separate” one character from the next is to define what it is they want, and then use every other detail to dictate how they pursue that goal. Every real person has a desire, whether they’ve defined it or not – whether it’s something huge, like fame or a family of five with triplet girls and a beach house on an island, or something small, like good grades for the semester. These desires can cause a person to revise their values or forsake their morals; and these desires can conflict with other people’s desires, influencing how people interact with each other. Remember that every character is living their own story, even if it’s not the story you’re telling.
Communication Style – A majorly overlooked character trait in pop fiction is unique communication styles. Having every character feel comfortable arguing, or bursting out with the words, “I love you,” is unrealistic. Having every character feel paralyzed at the idea of confronting a bully or being honest to their spouse is also unrealistic. There should be a healthy mix of communicators in a group of characters. Some people are too softspoken to mouth off at their racist lab partner. Some people wouldn’t see their girlfriend kissing another guy and just walk away without saying something. Some people just don’t react to conflict by raising their voice; some people enjoy sharing their opinions or giving the correct answer in class. Boldness, social skills, and emotional health all have a part to play in how people communicate their thoughts – so keep this in mind to create a more realistic, consistent character.
Emotional Expression – Along the same lines but not the same, emotional expression is more focal on feelings than thoughts. If you’ve ever heard of the fight-or-flight response, the different types of anger, the stages of grief, or the five love languages, then you’re aware of different “classifications” of emotional expression and management. Read up on some of those things, and think about how your character handles emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, anger, loneliness, paranoia, and so forth.
While acquired traits are certainly more enjoyable to brainstorm during the creation process, detrimental traits are as important – or even more important – to the character’s wholeness as well as their role in the story. Not only do these negative or limiting traits make your character realistic, relatable, and conflicted – they create a need for other characters and their strengths to move the plot forward. A few examples of detrimental traits include:
Flaws – Character flaws are probably the first thing that came to your mind while reading this, but they’re the essence of the category. Flaws in a character’s personality, morality, or behavior can be a source of character development; they set an individual on their own path and provide a unique motivation for them. Having Character A struggle with sobriety while Character B learns to be a more patient mother can do a lot to separate their stories and personalities from each other. Even if certain flaws don’t reach a point of growth, they create a third aspect to personality and force us, as writers, to be more creative with how our characters get from Point A to Point B, and what they screw up along the way.
Fears – Everyone has fears, whether we’re conscious of them or not – and I’m not talking about phobias or “things that give you shivers”. Just like everyone has a primary motivation throughout life (romance, family, success, meaning, peace of mind, etc.), everyone has a fear behind that motivation (loneliness, failure, emptiness, anxiety). We all have something we don’t want to happen– places we never want to be and things we never want to do. We’ve all been in situations that mildly bothered others but wildly affected us at the same time. For me, it’s a lack of autonomy, or in any way being forced to do something or be somewhere against my will. What does this mean for me? It means that when other people have nightmares about being chased by an axe murderer, I have nightmares about being kidnapped and locked up. It means that I’m continually aware of my “escape plan” if something goes wrong in my living situation, and I’m hypersensitive to someone telling me, “You have to do this.” It means I struggle to follow rules and usually don’t get along with authority figures because I have to assert my independence to them. It’s irrational and continual and doesn’t just affect me in one situation; it subconsciously directs my steps if I let it. That’s how real, guttural fears work. Phobias are only skin deep, and they don’t make you feel any closer to the character.
Secrets – Even goody two-shoes Amber from the swim team, with her blonde blonde hair and her good good grades, has a secret. Everybody does, even if it’s not a purposeful, “I have a deep, dark secret,” sort of secret. We have things we don’t tell people, just because they’re embarrassing, or painful, or too deep to get into, or they don’t paint us in a good light. While the secrets themselves tell a lot about a person, so do the reasons a person keeps a secret. Hiding something out of shame suggests a person is prideful, or critical of themselves, or holds themselves to a higher standard than they hold others. Hiding something painful suggests that the person struggles to handle sadness or regret, or that they feel uncomfortable showing raw emotion in front of loved ones. And so on and so forth.
Conflict – Whether internal, interpersonal, legal, moral, societal, or what have you, conflict will limit your character’s actions at every turn. A story is nothing without conflict driving the plot in different directions and causing your character to rethink both their plans and their lifestyle. Without Katniss’s moral conflict over killing other tributes, The Hunger Games would be the story of a girl who entered an arena, killed a lot of people, and lived the rest of her life rich and comfortable. If Luke Skywalker didn’t have interpersonal conflict with Darth Vader, Star Wars would be the war-story of a guy who joined a rebellion and then… yeah.
Health – Physical, mental, and emotional health is a huge limiting factor for characters that often goes untouched, but it’s valuable nonetheless. Not everyone has a clean bill of health and can jump off trains without pulling a muscle, go through a traumatic life experience without any hint of depression or anxiety, or watch a loved one die in gunfire and shove right on without emotional repercussions. Consider creating a character who’s not perfect – who isn’t perfectly in-shape or abled, or neurotypical or stable day-to-day, or completely clean and clear of residual heartache, unhealthy relationships, or bad emotional habits. Don’t define them by these traits, of course – but don’t feel that you can’t write a character with health issues without writing a “sick character.”
So this post got ridiculously long, but I hope it works as a reference for you when creating unique characters. Remember that you don’t need to outline all of this information to create an individual, realistic character. These are just some relevant ideas to get you started! It’s up to you, as the writer, to decide what’s necessary and what’s excessive for your creative process.
Still, I hope a majority of this is helpful to you! If you have any more questions, be sure to send them in and we’ll get back to you :) Good luck!
There are initially four different ways to use the Bestow Curse spell in D&D 5e. Those are as follows:
Disadvantage on ability checks and saves for one ability score
Disadvantage on attacks against you
WIS save or do nothing during a given round
+1d8 necrotic damage when you damage them
The spell normally lasts for a minute, but if cast with a 9th level slot, it lasts until dispelled, which is worth noting because the best curses last until dispelled. if cast with a 4th level slot, it lasts for 10 minutes. A 5th level slot is 8 hours. A 7th level slot is 24 hours. These all have their uses for creative players, but the best part of the spell by far is the encouragement to invent your own curses, which many players and DMs have taken as a challenge for their own creativity. So while it is certainly not new, it’s my turn to take a crack at it!
* - A curse marked with an asterisk is a 9th-level only curse due to its powerful detriment or long-lasting nature. But who is to stop you from enchanting an innocuous item with such a curse?
Hair Growth/Loss: You are cursed to grow hair at a rapid rate for the duration of the curse or else lose all of your hair (it grows back after the curse ends).
Mute/Deaf/Blind: You are rendered either mute, deaf, or blind for the duration of the curse.
Forbidden Speech: You are cursed to never speak about a certain subject, topic, or word for the duration of the curse.
*Rapid Aging/Deaging: You are cursed to either age by one year each day, or to grow one year younger each day. After you reach your final day, you die.
*Phylactery: Your fate becomes tied to a creature or object. If the creature or object is slain/destroyed, you die as well.
Ugliness: You are cursed with horrible deformity for the duration of the curse. You have -5 on Persuasion checks and Deception checks for the duration and are easily noticed and shunned by most humanoids of any race.
image source: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Possessed Limb: One of your limbs (usually an arm) acts on its own for the duration of the curse, usually attempting to harm its host, harm others, or sow chaos.
Petrified Limb: One of your limbs becomes petrified and is unable to be used for the duration of the curse. It could turn into any solid mineral like stone, iron, glass, salt, or gold. Any damage it takes is retained once the curse is lifted.
Funny Looking: For the duration of the curse, anyone who you attempt to communicate with bursts into uncontrollable laughter. This does not prevent hostile creatures from attacking you, but prevents them from speaking.
Lichsight: For the duration of the curse, you can see the spirits of the dead. Whether real or illusory, you cannot communicate with them and you must make a WIS saving throw each round or become frightened and run in a random direction or cower in place (50%/50%).
Butterfingers: Each round while the curse is active, you must make a DEX saving throw. On a failed save, you drop whatever you are holding and cannot pick up or hold anything for the rest of the round.
Forgetful: You have a tendency to forget things. During the curse, whenever new information is revealed to your character, you have a 50% chance to not be able to remember it, even after the curse has ended.
*Lady of Shalott: You are doomed to die if you ever lay eyes directly upon another being, and must therefore look at the world through a mirror and avoid direct sight of others. The difficulty of maneuvering a hand mirror or the necessity to close your eyes effectively makes you blinded while in combat, imposing disadvantage on attack rolls.
Stingy: During the curse, you must make a WIS saving throw whenever you intend to part with money. On a failed save, you opt not to spend your money on it. You cannot make another such save for the same purchase, even from a different seller.
Empty Coinpurse: You are compelled to buy things until all of your wealth has disappeared. You will even go so far as to barter your own goods once out of money. Whenever you find something for sale, you must make a WIS saving throw. On a failed save, you will do anything you can to attempt to purchase it or trade for it. Only if the seller refuses three times will you give up.
*Baleful Polymorph: You are transformed into a small creature or tiny animated object for the duration of the curse. You retain the ability to speak using a disembodied voice emanating from the creature or object, usually paired with animation like a moving mouth (if a creature) or a mouth-shaped part (if an object; like a book opening and closing its covers and such). You can move with a move speed of 10 ft. per round if an object.
image source: Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Talking Tumor: You grow a tumor-like second head that can speak that embarrasses, berates, or otherwise annoys and inconveniences you. It has +6 for Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation checks, helping it be a complete jerk.
Evil Aura: Plants within 15 ft. of you wilt and turn brown or gray and animals within 60 ft. feel afraid or threatened by you for the duration of the curse.
Bad Taste: Eating food or drinking water causes you to become poisoned for 1d6 hours, or for the duration of the curse.
Bad Luck: Whenever you have advantage for the duration of the curse, you instead have disadvantage.
*Prophecy: You become destined to die under certain circumstances. Whenever it is possible for those circumstances to be met, you must make a relevant saving throw (falling boulder? DEX save. Poisoned apple? CON save. etc.) or begin dying. The victim cannot be threatened by the curse more than once every 2d4 hours. The curse will take increasingly convoluted measures to try and make the prophecy come true the longer the curse lasts.
*Guardian: The victim is polymorphed into a hostile creature of CR 6 or less. The victim is given some sort of command like guarding a location or spreading suffering, and will continue to do so until the curse is lifted or they are slain. They revert to their regular form if they are slain. The victim cannot communicate and is hostile to all creatures. The creature becomes immune to the charmed condition.
image source: Sleeping Beauty by Henry Meynell Rheam
Slumber: You fall into a deep slumber and cannot be awoken until the curse is lifted.
Eternal Rest: If slain while under the curse, you cannot be resurrected by any means even after the curse fades.
Phantasm: You believe that you have been polymorphed into a small creature (like a toad or chicken) and act as such for the duration of the curse.
Unquenchable Thirst/Hunger: You feel eternally hungry and thirsty. You must make a WIS saving throw whenever you encounter food or drink, no matter how dangerous or questionable it might be (swamp water, obviously poisoned food, moldy bread, etc.). On a failed save, you consume it.
*Obedience: Whenever someone you can understand issues a verbal command to you while you are cursed, you are compelled to obey. You may attempt a WIS saving throw to resist a given command for one minute.
Hold your tongue! (Ella Enchanted)
Magical Immunity: You become immune to nonharmful spells for the duration of the curse. Spells cast by enemies or damaging spells still affect you, but healing spells and buffs do not.
Unhealing Wound: A wound you have will never heal. Your maximum hit points are reduced by 2d4+the caster’s spellcasting modifier. This curse cannot reduce a creature’s health to 0 in this way.
*Wandering: While under the effects of the curse, you are compelled to wander. Each day at dawn, you must leave and never return to the same city/town or 2.5 mile radius (if in the wilderness).
*Deadly Descendants: All of your descendants are cursed to kill their birth parents, whether intentionally or not.
*Lonliness: You are cursed to die alone. Anyone you become romantically close to or close friends eventually leaves or dies or meets a horrible fate.
*Gargoyle: You are petrified during the daytime and return to normal at night for the duration of the curse.
Voyager: You cannot set foot on dry land for the duration of the curse, taking 1d6 psychic damage each round that you do.
Yes, there’s always a Wish spell or a Remove Curse spell, but I often believe that if any cleric can remove a curse it undercuts the drama of the punishing spell. Instead, use an alternative way to remove the curse. Most of it depends on how the curse was placed and the reasoning behind it. For instance, if you refuse to give a gypsy shelter from the cold in your luxurious castle, you might get transformed into a beast until someone falls in love with you. Here are some ways that one could feasibly break a curse (if the situation allows).
Give back an item that was stolen from the caster
Complete a quest or mission for the caster
Kill the caster
Pass the curse onto someone else (through some deliberate means like a handshake or kiss or losing a wager)
Seek out a powerful extraplanar being
Seek out special magical ingredients for a cure
Find a loophole in the wording of the curse (either through tricky wording or by finding a liminal loophole. “No man of woman born” could exclude a man born by C-section. “Neither day nor night” could exclude twilight)
Change your alignment (an evil or chaotic character learns to be good or lawful.)
Change your ideal or traits after learning some sort of lesson
Overcome one of your flaws.
Let the curse run its course instead of fighting it.
Find true love/True love’s kiss etc.
Prove your worth to the caster
Atone for past sins
Selflessly risk your life for someone else
Convert a creature to worshiping the caster’s deity
Avenge the caster
image source: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Feel free to use this list and add to it your own ideas for curses! There are so many possibilities that it’s never out of the question to find a new curse that uses arbitrary magical rules to drive the plot of a story. I guess that makes curses the sitcoms of the fantasy world.
OW revealed a new character, Efi Oladele! She builds robots with AI systems in them, but since she’s 11, she probably won’t be a playable character since a lot of countries won’t allow violence against children. BUT she’s super cool and is probably going to create the next hero
EDIT: It’s rumored that she builds the next tank: Anchora
What do you think about Ron being a prefect because that always pissed me off in my opinion he absolutely did not deserve it
By the time he was 15 Ron Weasley had faced down more genuinely terrifying obstacles than most adults. He had demonstrated that his loyalty would prevail even when he was scared or jealous. He had shown that he had valuable skills and knew his limits, and that he was willing to step aside and take one for the team. Why wouldn’t he deserve to be a prefect?
Even if you’re not a Ron fan, though, consider the context. In appointing prefects Dumbledore would have had several goals in mind:
Keeping a handle on Harry - no one was going to do that better than Ron, including Hermione, who both Ron and Harry sometimes disregard because she can be so by-the-book.
Making sure that Harry had the latitude to do what he needed to do - Ron was going to be understanding of that in a way no one else would have been.
Making sure that the Death Eaters didn’t get a foothold in Gryffindor - Ron would never have let that happen.
Developing the Order’s bench - Ron’s whole family was in the Order, developing his leadership skills and confidence was the safest bet going.
Creating balance in the house - Hermione might be a stickler for rules, but Ron would be a moderating influence.
Appointing prefects who could lighten adults’ loads as they focused on the war - Ron would have had important perspective on what really needed adult intervention and what students could be encouraged to work out on their own.
Appointing prefects who would stand up to each other and make sure no one abused their power - Ron definitely wouldn’t have had a problem stepping in if anyone else, especially Pansy and Draco, had tried pulling rank on younger kids, and the Slytherins would’ve realized that Ron wouldn’t have been above retaliating if they’d been tempted.
Making Ron a prefect also would’ve helped him come into his own among his siblings, given him a better understanding of power and authority (and helped reveal any lurking character issues that power might have brought out - remember how Percy changed when he became a prefect?)
And tbh, if Dumbledore saw what was coming he may have understood the virtue in giving Ron some privileges and creature comforts (for his sake and for Harry’s).
Consider the choices, too. There are only five possible Gryffindor boys prefects.
Harry was way too preoccupied and wouldn’t have benefited from additional responsibility, nor was it the best use of his energy.
Seamus had doubts about whether Voldemort’s return was real and had contributed to people second-guessing Harry, and it would’ve been risky to give him authority if that’s how he might have used it.
Neville still had his old wand and his magical strength wasn’t great yet, and he also may not have had the social authority to enforce rules, plus he had shown that he was willing to stand up to the trio and stop them from doing what they needed to do which, while brave and well-intentioned, had the potential to really get in the way of important stuff.
Dean was great and probably would’ve been a perfectly fine prefect but didn’t come with the same tactical advantages.
Any way you look at it, it’s gotta be Ron. He was the best choice going in any number of ways. Including because he had shown that he deserved it.