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Help your roleplay character along with a character questionnaire

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Who are you? It's the single most important question you can ask about the character you're roleplaying. When making a character, all too often roleplayers tend to focus on one element over any other, whether it's appearance or an accent or that one thing that their character is after. But presenting a character with nothing behind them other than that one focus usually results in a character that's a little boring, a little stale, one-dimensional.

This is where questionnaires come in. You've likely seen variants of these types of questionnaires on roleplaying forums, and they seemed like a fun game. But they aren't just for fun -- these questionnaires are also incredibly useful character development tools. And if you take time to think about your answers, they can provide a lot of helpful insights that will help you answer that all-important question -- who are you?


Dawn Moore offered me a questionnaire she uses for characters in her D&D campaign, one that she adapted from an advanced acting book. Acting and roleplaying run along the same lines, and the same rules usually apply -- and this questionnaire has a lot of thought-provoking questions that should help you figure out what your character is all about.

You'll notice that none of these questions are really related to the lore or story in Warcraft. There's a reason for that! Filling out this questionnaire should keep you focused on the personality and background aspects of your character. Rather than asking how they reacted to a certain event in the Warcraft time line, this is a much more generalized approach.

Personality

These questions are largely the who and how of your character -- who they are around other characters and how they act around those people. When answering these questions, you want to keep the answers in mind, because they say a lot about how your character interacts with other people, be they strangers or friends.
  • What do I want most out of life? Why? What brought me to want this most?
  • How do I go about getting what I want in life?
  • What kind of mundane pleasures do I seek? Why?
  • How would I describe myself (physical appearance, temperament) to someone? How do I view myself? How do I want others to view me? How well-kept am I? Do I bathe and groom regularly? How do I feel about my appearance?
  • What is my biggest character flaw? (Every character has at least one -- look at character flaws as something that makes your character more human and more interesting, not as a weakness to be avoided.)
  • What do I hide from others? What secrets do I keep?
  • Who do I like to associate with? Why?
  • How do I act around family? How much does my family mean to me? Would I give my life for a family member's life?
  • How do I act around strangers? How much do strangers mean to me? Would I give my life for a stranger's life?
  • How do I act around friends? How much do my friends mean to me? How valuable or replaceable are they? Would I give my life for a friend's life?
  • Do I speak more casually or formally? Do I use jargon a lot? Do I get straight to the point with my conversation, meander, or take forever to get my meaning across?
  • How would I react if someone or something (animal, earthquake, evil villain) threatened my life? The life of a friend? The life of a family member? The life of a total stranger?
  • What do I value most? What do I value least?
  • What behaviors and beliefs in others upset me? Anger me? Worry me? Draw me to them?
  • How do I behave when I'm upset? Angry? Sad?
  • Do I believe in a religion or a god or gods? In something else?
  • Do I tend to uphold the laws of the land? A personal code? When do I break these laws or my personal code? Why?
  • What do I want my future to be like? What is the best-case scenario, the worst, and something in between? Figure out these scenarios -- how will I respond to them?
  • Is my character the type to hurt or kill? Would I feel remorse for doing so? What justifies harming another? Would my character harm or kill himself or herself? Why? What scenarios would drive my character into these situations?
  • What is a life of paradise to your character? What is hell?
Background

These questions all involve where your character came from and what they did before they started roaming the world of Azeroth -- the memories and moments from the past that they carry with them today. These answers tie directly into the why and how answers in the previous section, except that, generally speaking, these answers all tie into why you act the way you do. Keep in mind, these answers are not general public knowledge. Other roleplayers who interact with your character likely won't know the answers to these questions unless they sat down with your character and had a heart-to-heart with him about his past.
  • What kind of place did I grow up in? Was it a small village or town or a large city? Were the people there friendly or rough? Who did I interact with there?
  • What social class did I grow up in? Am I in the same social class now? If not, how did it change? Am I happy about this change?
  • What did I aspire to do when I was growing up? What work did I do as a child? Was I apprenticed to someone? If not, what did I do? How did I make my living? Do I do the same thing now? If not, what do I do now and why is it different?
  • What about my background do I remember fondly? What about my background do I dislike? What about my background do I regret or want to forget?
  • Did I have any significant others? Am I still with any of them, or am I now married? If not, why not? Am I interested in romance right now? What about a potential partner interests me?
  • What were my friends like growing up? Am I still in contact with any of my friends? If not, why? What happened?
  • What has brought me to where I am now in life?
  • What are the three most important experiences to me? Which three experiences had the greatest impact upon me in my life?
  • Who in my life has had the greatest impact upon me and currently influences my decisions?
Other subjects to reflect upon

These are just some random personality questions to help flesh out the little details about your character and how they interact with others and the world around them.
  • Does my character accept responsibility for his or her actions?
  • What are my character's everyday hobbies?
  • How would my character react if he or she were the only witness to a murder?
  • Could my character have any mental problems?
  • What facial expressions does my character most frequently use?
  • Is my character smart? Does he or she excel in classes? Or is he or she more street-smart?
  • Would I consider my character an athletic person?
  • Would I consider my character a world traveler, someone who enjoys traveling?
  • What kind of food does my character like most and why?
  • Does my character like music? If so, what kind of music does he or she really enjoy?
  • Does my character drink a lot of alcohol? Why?
  • What do I think my character is like at home, where nobody else can see him or her?
  • In whose company is my character most likely to be seen with?
  • What are my character's views on war?
  • Is my character in any way a musician? What instrument does my character play?
  • Does my character buy cheap or expensive things?
  • What kind of colors would my character preferably wear?
  • What does my character think of holidays? Does my character celebrate the holidays? Does he or she have a favorite?
  • What makes my character laugh?
  • Does my character have self-confidence?
  • Is my character clumsy?
  • Does my character tend to brag?
Once you've got the questionnaire filled out, take a good look at the answers. This should give you a pretty good idea of what kind of person your character is, both by himself and in relation to other people.

More importantly, if you have any problems with any of the questions, don't worry about it or question your abilities in regards to character creation. Those rough patches are simply areas in your character's development that could probably stand to be touched on and fleshed out a little more -- and that will give you even more insight into what exactly makes your character tick.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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