MUDs: Improving Your RolePlay through Character Creation

I recently overheard someone say that to properly RP you have to first take time to gauge the atmosphere of the game. But I disagree! I say get right in there from the time your character’s feet hit the ground. In Achaea that would be the moment you ENTER POOL to exit the Trial of Rebirth, a basic newbie tutorial, and enter the Ring of Portals, which is the first room you experience in the actual game itself.

Your First Adventures

Often the first person you encounter will either be Romeo or Juliet, one of two helpful guides that spend their entire lives doing nothing but assisting newbies. While they can tell you the best way to use your pack or how to get more health elixir in your vial, they won’t be very helpful when it comes to making personal choices. So when it comes to writing up a background, you are pretty much on your own.

However, that is not totally a bad thing! Having the freedom to write your own background means that you can write your own personality, giving it whatever flavor and style that you choose. Here are some things to consider when adding flavor to your character, whether you are brand new or several hundred years old.

  • Physical Traits – Sure, you chose a race on the way into the realm but what now? There are plenty of other things to consider and most you can take care of when finishing the 2nd of your Orientation Tasks, which is setting a personal description. Do you have wide-set eyes? Thin lips? A receding hairline? People won’t know unless you reveal it in your description!

  • Voice or Accent – Achaea has a neat feature that lets you set a voice or an accent. (HELP VOICE will explain more.) For example, just because you are a satyr doesn’t mean you can’t have a high-pitched, lisping voice. You could be one of the only sirens with a low, guttural voice. Keep in mind that accents are more geographic in nature, while voices are usually described with an adjective.

  • Clothing – Have you heard the phrase dressed for success? Thanks to Achaea’s unique tailoring system there is an endless array of clothing and accessories from which to choose. If you can’t find it in a shop, a tailor might have a private pattern that they’re willing to use in order to craft you some new threads. And if all else fails, you can become a tailor and introduce the realm to your own designs!

Developing a Backstory

Every character in Achaea begins at age 18, give or take a few months. So what happened between the time you were born and age 18? That’s largely up to you! Achaea offers something called a character background, which is viewable by other people in the realm. An essential element to roleplaying in Achaea, after writing your initial background you can add chapters to keep your history up-to-date.

Like everything else regarding the character you play in Achaea, your background must remain in character at all times. Avoid using out of character methods of communicating such as 1337, otherwise known as leetspeak, or references to real life. Whether you are a 15 year old high school student or a 25 year old college graduate, as far as Achaea is concerned, how old you are is whatever you see when using SHOW AGE, which reveals that information about your character.

Finding a Family

Another way that you can add flavor to your character is by finding a set of parents and joining a family. BLOODLINE SHOW (someone) will reveal whether or not they have parents or children, but neither is required to start an entirely new family. Some families have their own clans which allow them to speak to one another without outsiders listening to the conversation. Other families are prominent in one city or another – but don’t be surprised if you find that Achaean families are as likely to have black sheep as one’s real life family.

A final way that you can add flavor to your character in regards of family is by being adopted. If you are adopted, then these people are not on your bloodline. It is assumed that your parents died, were kidnapped, or suffered some other fate that left you orphaned. Regardless of what background you write for yourself, remember that once in place you only get one chance to alter it and then it is set in stone.

Stay Consistent

No matter if you are an orphaned grook whose parents were lost when Shallam slipped under the sea or an atavian with a long bloodline of Arcadian family history, the important thing to remember is to be true to your character. Remain consistent, and if you do have to make a change be sure that it’s roleplay-inspired. You will gain more respect from both your fellow adventurers and the Divine, and who knows? Your character might be the one who inspires someone else to add a little flavor to their own roleplay!

About the Author

Annie Foster joined her first D&D group in college when a boyfriend told her that girls made horrible roleplayers. After proving him wrong on that count she went on to defeat countless dragons and eventually take over as GM. Now traveling around the United States as a freelance writer, Annie enjoys playing MUDs online whenever she isn’t busy with a new assignment.


dude I totally have one, people need to use them more often.

It's frequently cooler to find out another character's background in RP than to just BACKGROUND <NAME>.



Uh huh


who better to say "agreed" than you, eh?!

Some of the RPers don't even have backgrounds written.

hrm, just another shift in the evolution of mud playerbase, personal backgrounds used to mean you were a quality rper.

But other people shouldn't be able to know everything about your character without going to the trouble to find out IC.

not always. Having a background can mean one doesn't actually understand RP well.




Background? Just make it up as you go...we start just out of our teens...

You can accrue quite a bit of life experience by your teens. I personally prefer to have a background written, and then improvise off of it to a degree as I go along.


If you're new to a game insisting on writing a detail background is often full of errors.


In Lusernia, you're bascially reincarnated as an adult and players see when you enter the world (so what past would you actually have)?


Even in games where you start out as an adult your presence at any meaningful prior evernt is suspect. You're often talking to people who were there. So no you eren't a great hero. Yes, you can almost always have some sort of backstory (I was a villager) but that's not a requirement for good RP.

I agree, though - do research before adding too much detail. Before that, start with an outline. Change things that haven't come out in RP as necessary/possible to make it mesh with the game world better. That's my strategy.

so is your post.


and should be enforced with extreme prejudice!


It currently is broken in Midkemia, isn't it?

what is?




My mind is blown.

Cooler to find out IC. Also, it opens up more avenues for metagaming.


Are Backgrounds considered IC in Achaea? Because if so, that's dumb.

For Midkemia I think backgrounds are considered IC as well. They're broken for the time being, however.

Personally I think most of HONORS should be OOC, but I guess that it isn't. I fall into the camp of people that RPs exchanging names.


For this very reason most people don't make backgrounds. It's also better this way to change things about your character's past that no one would remember and you decided you want to discard for whatever reason.

Changing stuff that doesn't conflict with details already mentioned in RP can help to thicken the plot / make current RP more interesting.





I sortof agree but,  the background also helps you develop a little in your own character. interaction though is always preferable but, it also can help you develop while writing one as I said. 

I disagree. I already think it's far too easy to find out things about a character without even having met them. I prefer to have people learn about Eilona's story by interacting with her, rather than knowing her entire life history in an instant.

Backgrounds are lame

A simple background can provide starting points for RP. An excessively detailed background stifles it.

on the person, I think. Also, you can always be open to changing stuff you haven't RP'd yet. :)


:O Note to self!

Though sometimes I have trouble staying consistent. I do try, though!

more than background details, which I feel like you've sorta gotta try to fudge.

Most certainly.


Yeah, especially when taking long breaks, and never writing anything down..

This can free you up to start over! So long as nobody remembers you, of course :)

If you honestly think about it, all RP is pretty much "fudging"..

Good point. But there's fudging and there's fudging. :)


Fudge is pretty ooc for any medieval setting.

in our comments here. :P


Also, so many words that we're inevitably gonna use in our RP can be traced back to modern day stuff and other things that don't exist in the fantasy world we're playing in. We've just gotta fudge. :P

and some words are perfectly IC, but uneducated folks will assume they only ever were modern words and jump all over you.

Keep it up

What do you want kept up?

obviously, "it".

yeah agreed

I agree also.





"Stay Consistent", possibly the best tip here.

You keep me consistent, baby. I am even saying this knowing I won't get a bound credit. I just...Love you.

I agree, although, personally, I find it can be very challenging at times.

Especially if certain people show up that mold their whole 'rp' around causing drama for everyone else as it's funny.



People need to be cautious about bloodlining.


And just vuz you like someone doesn't necessarily mean they'll give you the kind of family RP you're looking for. It's important to show restraint!


Achaea is unique in how many options you have to customize your character - description, voice, clothing, emotes....

Say what? How is that different than the other IRE games? And frankly, IRE games in general tend to lag behind other MMOs in emotes. The emote system in IRE games is pretty primative.

I haven't played any other MUD/MUSH games in years, so I wouldn't know.

RP should be encouraged for all the aspects, research locales and history before deciding on where your character is from consider that before setting an accent, if any. Get to know another person before bloodlining as parents or child. The Background system in Achaea is great and something you can keep private as a reminder to yourself where your character has been.

In regard to accents, people, just use standard spelling! Ssssnakesss do not have to hisss every word that they sssay. And Jamaica is not a locale in Achaea, mon. There's a reason you can set an accent to appear before every say, and it's so you don't have to contort the English language.

Language is always changing. And accents can be good for characterization if well done, so long as they're comprehensible. I appreciate them, anyway.

Good article

I agree.

One thing I found that can help ground you to some roleplay, if you're having a tough time, is to focus on organization beliefs. This doesn't mean get all crazy and start killing people, since there is much more to cities and guilds than that!


Being consistent is important and may even be the toughest part here. Good roleplay can sometimes mean making sacrfices to stay in character. 

Though to me ideological diversity within an org - so long as it doesn't ignore the overarching theme - can make it more interesting and real

true.  Pseudo heretics can do more to define an ideology than the strict adherents

I never thought everyone has to think and act the same. Which is why I usually ignore the orgs in general because I won't be bothered to do makework simply because someone else things everyone should enjoy the game the way they believe and do exactly the same things and value the same things they do.



stay consistent is the most important

The backstory of the game itself can help develop a character - particularly, the race chosen for that character and the history of that race in the game world (i.e. elfen as primarily forestal, merians as imperial, etc.)

The backstory of the game can help a lot in creating your own backstory

There's a whole history system that let's you write chapters, I understand. Hardly anyone uses it.

I tried checking people's in Achaea and it took me forever to find someone who had anything written!

I intended to do a full history, with chapters. Think I still could, just through the lens of many decades past.


Going to start tonight!


Sounds interesting

That's a neat idea though I can see how it might be easy to forget about.

jumping into a family/bloodline needs a bit of research, IMO.  But you should definitely have an idea of who you want your character to be from the get-go.

But that's me!

Don't be hasty in joining a family. Wait and pick one that works! :)

Issue often is they don't have a clear concept of their character in mind when they create them and so often easily fall into cliches.

Isn't necessarily bad

Sometimes I can see where this isn't so bad. If they come in without an idea they don't have to adjust much when it comes to finding what and how they like to play. It does make a more solid character that way though which is always better.

clothes? We need those?




The voice/accent thing I only discovered recently, quite nice.

I always forget to set a voice..

" I recently overheard someone say that to properly RP you have to first take time to gauge the atmosphere of the game. But I disagree!"

I absolutely agree with the first statement. It is esential to blend into the game and not to expect the game to adjust to our non-existant perception of it.

I think that one of the causes of poor RPs is lack of understanding of the "atmosphere' of individual games by many players who bring with them the atmosphere of chatrooms or facebook or any of the multitude of games out there.

I find alot of the features described  in iron realm muds allow for more customization than current MMOs





I for started playing the game because of the combat aspects and the imaginative classes / abilities. 


However, the more I play the more into RP I get and its getting to a point where I can't play other MMO's now because all those games are just grind's for better loot and more gold. There's no depth or sense of them being a world. 


My opinion for Achaea is not your dps but your interactions with the people of the world, which makes the RP so significant for me.






I will probably start looking character history as I have sorely been neglecting mine. Thanks for the article!

dang bloodline system...

Luckily I've sort of found a family, but making a background is kinda daunting.

free credit

That's why I'm a siren

Eighteen years is a weird amount of time in Achaea. It's half a year IRL, which doesn't seem like an awful lot of time to grow up... but, at the same time, Nim's spent eighteen years as an adventurer, and a lot has happened to her in that time!  I guess time in Achaea (and presumably other IRE games) is basically just what you make of it.

great roleplaying tips for the MUD / MMORPG player

MUD games like Achaea offer the best MMORPG gameplay

i thought character creation meant a newb?

a bit harder in mhaldor (finding family and such), but consistency is indeed important I think

nom nom nom

had a nice interaction today with someone I think of as a bit of a nemesis, trying to convert me to the other side.  Fun new direction

I wish more people were RP oriented in Achaea esp the Combatants it would make for a much more enjoyable experience.

I agree.

I generally like to create a bit of background and motivation for any character I create, just to have a sense of what I want to actually do with the character in an rp-sense.