Text-Based RPGs: How to Write a Character Description
Having trouble finding the words for what your character looks like? Read on for some tips on how to write a character description!
By James K. Woods
The great thing about text-based RPGs is the ability to customize your character’s appearance to your liking, and not just in terms of picking out a bunch of blocky, ready-made body parts. Most online text games will have features allowing descriptions of your character to be entered online, which can be anything ranging from wacky hair to purple scales, or even horns if you’re feeling in the mood. But because your character description can be viewed by so many other players in the text games, it is natural to want it to be the best it can be. This article should hopefully make it just that.
Head to toes
A good way to begin is to start off by describing the uppermost part of the body and then gradually progress downwards towards the toes, taking into consideration all the body features you have as a person, such as hairstyle and hair color, as well as any other body features associated with your particular race in the online text game. This method is especially effective as this is the natural order in which other people will take notice of you.
Keep it simple
A good description is understandable, informative and to the point. Having pages and pages of intricate detailed descriptions is quite unnecessary as others in the text games would simply not have the time or energy to read through it all. Remember, it is the quality of the content which is important rather than the quantity. It also pays to avoid any scientific jargon or other words which require a dictionary for it to be understood. This will increase your description’s effectiveness considerably.
Often overlooked, most character descriptions in text-based RPGs are usually the same. The men are depicted as muscular, handsome and heroic while all the women are somehow blessed with incredible beauty. If you want your character description to be effective and memorable, it is a good idea to strive to make it as unique as possible.
If you get stuck along the way, it can be useful to have a look at character descriptions written by players more experienced than yourself. Note their strengths and weaknesses and aim to adapt their strengths into your own work, while at the same time avoiding any mistakes they may have made. The emphasis here lies on ideas, however, rather than on plagiarism.
For a character description to be effective, one must remember not to stray from the task at hand; any material which is irrelevant to the appearance of your character should be avoided in a character description. A good way to increase the effectiveness of your character description is to incorporate color and adjectives into your work. Descriptive words such as “elegant” or “graceful” will lighten up your character description dramatically. In addition to the physical characteristics normally featured in a character description, it is also a good idea to include the personality of your character through the combined use of body language and adjectives. An example could be, “his eyes twinkled with mischief.”
A good character description should be written in present tense mainly because the description is viewed by others in real time, and because your character description is the result of someone looking at you, it should also be composed from a third person perspective -- think of it as if you were looking at yourself from someone else’s body. It is a good idea to avoid any reactions others may have to your description, as you never know how others will react in the text games; hence words like “you” should be avoided. It is also important to keep away from describing any tangible objects such as clothes or jewelry, as they may mislead other players or conflict with the items you already are wearing.
There is nothing worse than a piece of brilliantly written work riddled with spelling or grammatical errors. Any flair or appeal the work may have had is lost immediately. Therefore it is a good idea to check for these errors beforehand, and then pass it onto a friend for them to check, as they may pick up on errors which you may have missed. This way your character description will remain professional when viewed by others.
These points may seem a lot of work for a character description, but if incorporated into your work effectively they will ensure that your character description will become one of the best.
Try your hand at some of the best online text adventure games out there today!
James K. Woods is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.
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