USS Valkyrie

Character Creation Station

Created by Commander Charles Kincaid on Thu Oct 20th, 2016 @ 12:09pm

Creating a character and writing their bio can be a tricky thing. Sometimes they'll come together quickly and organically, like you've known them your whole life, but other times you might need a little help making them into the character you want to create. That's what this guide is here to help with.

On the Valkyrie, we ask for a little more detail in a bio than some other sims. We use the details in the bio to fine tune our missions, sometimes we’ll create a mission that plays to their strengths and sometimes we’ll fine tune the details to put characters in situations that challenge them. The aim of all this is to provide a richer and more rewarding experience for every player on the sim. The more detailed your bio is, the more we have to work with.

Bio Format

Please arrange your character's personal history section into paragraphs using the following format:

    1 for birth/early childhood
    1 for High School (Or equivalent) and why they chose to go to the academy
    1 for academy time
    1 paragraph for every previous ship posting

This format assumes the “normal” career path of growing up, deciding to join Starfleet and going to the academy at the age of eighteen. The format may be different for your character depending on their background and history. One other thing to consider is your character’s rank is determined by the Command Staff and we will not place anyone above a Lieutenant unless there are very special circumstances. Your character may have advanced past that rank in their bio, but they will need some sort of reason written in as to why they were lowered in rank.

*These are minimums. Depending on what position you are going for you will want to have more details\information.

Physical Description

The look of your character can say a lot about them. It helps to make a first impression on other characters and players and it can point towards deeper aspects of their personality. Someone's physique can have a bearing on their personality too, someone who's unusually tall might be self conscious about it, or they may have embraced it. This section is also useful to elaborate on how your character might dress, walk, and generally present themselves as a physical presence to others.

Personality & Traits

“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve.”

Think of this section as the recipe for your character. The personality and strengths are the meat and the weaknesses are the seasonings and spices that turn them from bland into something really special.

When the command team are putting together missions, we try to fine tune them to the characters on the ship. Sometimes this means that we'll design aspects that play to someone's strengths and sometimes we’ll add something that will challenge their weaknesses or put them out of their comfort zone. When you're choosing strengths and weaknesses, think about their cause and effect on the characters history. Has one of their weaknesses had an effect on a previous mission or assignment? Has a traumatic event had a long term effect on them?

When you're considering character flaws, consider what it implies about them. It's common to see a character who has a problem with a particular alien species. If they've suffered a traumatic experience at the hands of that particular species, that can lead to an interesting character arc. On the other hand, if a character dislikes a species because they consider them to be dishonest or cowardly for example, it implies an ingrained prejudice. This too can provide interesting writing material, but it's a very different character arc.

Remember that your character is just a character and doesn't represent you. Don't be afraid to give them pronounced flaws and weaknesses. Some of the most interesting characters are the most troubled. They also give you the opportunity to create a narrative arc that develops the character, something that can be very satisfying to write and to read.

A character's ambitions and hobbies can provide an insight into their personality. Their goals give them something to strive for, a direction in which to aim the character; or those that lack goals can be expanded on as to why that is. Hobbies can be used to expand them off duty and make them feel like a more well rounded individual.

Personal History

A person’s history and life are what defines them as a person. Their childhood is often important in who they are, did they grow up on a remote colony or on an established, civilised world with access to all kinds of amenities and luxuries? A difficult or traumatic childhood can have a huge affect on their development, not always in a positive way for them, but it can give you interesting things to write about.

Think about their reasons for joining Starfleet, and how that plays into their strengths, weaknesses, or perhaps even they were driven to join by their family life. Were they pressured into doing so or did they do it of their own volition and why? Their time at the academy will probably help to develop their strengths and put them on their eventual career path. They might meet important influences at the academy, lifelong friends, lovers or rivals. Perhaps they'll meet a mentor who brings out the best in them.

A character's Starfleet career should reflect their age and to an extent their personality. When writing the required paragraph for each of your character’s previous assignments, think of them representing a chapter of their life with all its different challenges and rewards. Some assignments may be positive and some might provide setbacks. Try to include incidents that highlight their strengths and weaknesses, or perhaps assignments that even caused new strengths and flaws to come to the forefront. (Example: A formerly reserved character may become more outspoken when a first contact mission they were a part of went well thanks to them)

Someone straight out of the Academy is going to be seeing and experiencing a lot of things for the first time - they may experience the age old struggle of “this is not anything like what was taught to me” and they may balk at the harsher realities of Starfleet that are not exactly presented at the Academy or their schooling. An individual with more experience but still earlier in their career however might be slowly discovering - whether consciously or not - exactly what kind of officer they are going to be and how they relate and work with those around them while still building up experiences in their early assignments. Inexperience should never be seen as something bad in a character as it can prove quite an interesting viewpoint for both the writer and readers to see.

An older character will probably have seen and experienced more. On the other hand, they might have spent a big chunk of their career in a quiet assignment doing research or looking after a remote outpost somewhere. Remember, not all assignments are glamorous; your character could have been on what they would consider a “bad” assignment and be extremely excited to have a new opportunity or they could have been taken off an assignment that they really enjoyed and given a new one that they don’t want which would lead to resentment.

Every assignment should leave some lasting effect on the character for better, worse, or simply “eh”. Think about the type of character you want to write and how their career can best reflect that. It's worth remembering that someone whose career focused might not have the most successful personal life and those that may have both are usually extremely stressed in finding a proper work/life balance. That works the other way around too, a lot of people with a rich personal life are less concerned about getting themselves promoted. That doesn't make them a bad officer or lazy though, just someone with different priorities.

Conclusion

We hope that this guide has been useful for you and helps you create the best possible character. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Categories: General Information