Show and Tell – How to Add Flavor to Your Character’s Description
When you create your character’s description in a text-based game like Achaea, how do you do it? Do you use vague terms that leave a lot to the imagination or do you spell it out so that absolutely no mystery remains?
The Basics of Character Creation
Creating your description is like drawing people into the prologue of the story that is you. Your description will begin with something like He is a winged atavian or She is a tiger-like rajamala, so there is no need to mention your race. But beyond that, you are giving whoever looks at you a brief narrative that explains who you are, but does not spell out your entire life story. That’s what your background is for, anyway!
You will definitely want to reveal your hair and eye color, as well as the shape of your eyes, ears, and lips and your hairstyle. You might also mention special facial features like freckles, birthmarks, or scars from battle. Another thing that is acceptable to mention is your height and overall build. Perhaps you are tall and slender, or short and round, or somewhere in between!
Advice from the Files
In the useful scroll called HELP DESCRIPTION, the admins give some really good advice. Here are some of the finer points on which I have added some extra details and examples based on my own experiences in Achaea.
- CLOTHING – Don’t show it. Whatever you are wearing will be revealed when others LOOK at you. The same goes for things you are wielding in your hands. Also, don’t describe anything that would be seen beneath your clothing. If you’re dressed from head to toe in the latest finery that Achaean tailors have to offer, nobody is going to see that dragon tattoo on your back unless you ditch the clothing in favor of going topless all the time.
- FEELINGS – Not everyone is going to look at you and feel or do the same thing, so please don’t use phrases such as: You look at him and smile because you feel safe knowing his muscular form will protect you till the end. While that’s a noble sentiment, it’s best to let people find that out through your actions than forcing them to react that way just by looking at you.
- TASTE – Use good taste. This means leave private parts private. Nobody wants to see that. If you doubt me, use the COVEREYES emote sometime. Bosoms, bottoms, and other wobbly bits should be left out of your description. Not only is it in poor taste, but Achaea is open to those 13 and older. Even though 13 year olds meet the age requirement, knowingly involving minors in sexual situations is not allowed in Achaea.
Leaving Something to the Imagination
You want to leave something to the imagination, however. Something like a jagged scar zigzags across his face from forehead to cheek nearly missing his right eye will cause people to ask you how you got the scar. That encourages interaction and roleplay, which is the whole point of being in Achaea.
But if your description says something like he wears the scar of a dragon’s talon across his face like a badge, while that’s equally descriptive would people really know that a dragon’s talon caused the damage to your skin? Not to mention if you spell out your life story through your description, then you are robbing yourself the chance to create a full background that others can read, and denying them the chance to ask you for the information.
If you aren’t sure if your description is okay, then it’s best to ask someone else, preferably someone who is considered a leader in your house or city. If you use CHELP or HHELP then you might even find that they have a scroll that details more information on the topic! As long as your description is not vulgar and free from anything that would be rated PG-13 or higher, then it is probably fine and something people will enjoy looking at you!
About the Author:
Seth Grayson first discovered MUD games when his older brother needed extra guild members to help win a battle against a group of pesky goblins. Since then he has accompanied the guild on many other adventures, even graduating to lead a few of them. When he’s not working as a barista or studying for college exams, you can find him in his dorm room playing all of his favorite Iron Realms games!