One of the things I’ve noticed on RP realms is that there is a lot (and I do mean a LOT ) of parent-related melodrama. This night elf’s parents were lost in the war, this human’s parents were killed by the scourge, this human’s parents are now part of the scourge… the list goes on and on. To make matters worse, these people are usually the ones who describe their characters as “smiling, but with a deep, deep sadness in their eyes.” This irritates the ever-loving @#$% out of me, so, like Sean, I came up with a partial list of character traits that I wanted Asrai to have that didn’t fall into the usual tripe (no, that’s not a typo).
Like Jess, I believe that every character needs a hook; something that makes them interesting without making them completely implausible.
Melinda (Asrai) is a young woman, nearly out of her teens. She is almost always happy, and spends most of her time caring for her garden and the animals on (and often around) her father’s farm. Her mother died when Melinda was very young, and Melinda remembers very little about her, if anything at all. Her father, Gerad, a former soldier who served in Stromgarde, built his farm on the outskirts of Elwynn Forest when he retired.
A year ago, a gnoll attack on the farm left Gerad badly injured and unable to take care of the farm. Melinda, being the dutiful daughter, tried to handle the work herself while her father recovered, but the crop failed, leaving them without food and without a means to pay for the land they were living on. Surrounded by Redridge’s empty land to the east, gnolls, and undesirable suitors interested only in her father’s farm, Melinda sewed herself a set of clothes more suited to traveling, picked up her father’s daggers, and began sneaking out at night while her father slept, desperate to keep her family home at nearly any cost.
Her father once mentioned that her mother had nicknamed her Asrai, after a type of faerie known to disappear from view once touched by the sun’s rays. Taking that name, she began following after wealthy, drunken patrons leaving various inns in Stormwind, attempting to relieve them of their purses. She spent more time running away more often than not, but soon Asrai was able to lift enough money in a few nights’ worth of work to be able to keep food on her father’s table, and to give to other citizens of Azeroth affected by so much war. Fortunately for Asrai, Gerad hasn’t asked her any questions about where their food is coming from… she really doesn’t want to have to lie to her own father.
Lately, however, the inns have been hearing of their more valued (inebriated?) patrons being pilfered from, and they’ve been increasing the number of guards around Asrai’s usual ‘hangouts’…
This gives Asrai a solid background. We know who she is, where she comes from, and why she is where she is. But what about human interaction? We know that as long as her target is unassuming (and smashed), she is bold enough to steal from them, but what about people she meets face to face? Taking her youth into account, I’ll add these traits:
Her curiosity might end up getting the better of her one day. She is fascinated by the adventurers wandering in Stormwind, is tremendously amused by nearly every gnome she sees, and sometimes follows them just to watch them go about their everyday business. Should any one of them confront her, however, she would likely blush, go wide-eyed, turn, and run away. Her youth makes her a little naive, however, and she will probably believe almost anything she hears; she knows very little about the world beyond her father’s little farm, and her forays into Stormwind.
The beauty of this is that a lot of things have already been predetermined for Asrai. Her time spent in her garden and her home, mending and sewing clothes have determined her tradeskills (tailoring and herbalism) as well as her weapons of choice (daggers – they’re really just big sewing needles, when it comes right down to it, right? 😛 ). While these might not make sense from a game dynamic aspect, it works very well for RP, and suits the character nicely (taking a stroll through Elwynn to pick flowers is just something she would do).
Her backstory opens up a ton of opportunity, as well. Maybe she eventually gets caught by the Stormwind guards one night, and she is ordered to report for duty (as a new adventurer) or go to prison. As long as her life remains somewhat stable, as she increases her skills, it’s obvious she’d make heavy use of the subtlety tree, since she’s not so much a rogue as she is a pickpocket. But what if something happened to her father? Maybe her farm is under attack by the scourge when she is home for a visit, and she barely escapes with her life? A good opportunity to take some combat talents. Maybe her father is murdered by the gnolls, or the defias while she is away, prompting her into wanting revenge (and beginning her training as an assassin). The possibilities are endless.
Avatar design is next! I’m looking forward to it.