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RPG Design: Character Development Example

November 19th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Welcome back to the RPG Design series where I try to talk a bit about the work and progress on my game project, the development of the darkish, space -themed computer role-playing game Stellar Conspiracy: Entanglements Of The Marenis Sector (working title).

eliza5In the last part I’ve introduced the character design template I’m using and mentioned to post a character example next time which I’m doing hereby while introducing you to Eliza Retinienne, a Gessjanian security systems expert from the planet Shielle, a small world bordering on the fringe of the Suulun Sector which in turn stretches over a large area of the southern galaxy.

Eliza is one of the key characters in the game’s story and one of the characters whom the player is supposed to encounter and who eventually joins the player’s party. She is also supposed to receive her own side-quest in which the player can engage to help her out of the threatening situation she is currently in.

Note that this sheet is basically just here to give an example of how the character design template can be used to shape out a character so I suggest not to look too critically into the details. Things can (and will) still change and also the sheet is not filled out completely, for one reason because some details are irrelevant for this character and for another that I haven’t found any other suitable details for her yet. Either way I hope this gives a good example of how to utilize the template!

Full Name Eliza Cathrine Retinienne
Nickname or short name Eliza, sometimes called Cathy
Image Eliza Avatar Concept
Character Type Co-Protagonist
Gender Female
Species Gessjanian
Class Security Systems Expert
Age 30
Summary Eliza used to be a forefront engineer who worked for Seciate Armaments on a highly confidential Security Systems project. Later during the project she came to disagreements with Seciate about the target clients for the system she worked on. She left Seciate in a dispute, not accepting the bribe she has been offered to stay quiet. She had enough presence of mind to suspect that she would soon become the subject of an assassination attempt, in order to prevent her knowledge being of use to anyone else. Seciate however underestimated her smartness and she narrowly escaped while killing the assassin (rather unintentionally though). Since then she is on the run from SECIATE.
Appearance Information
General Appearance As a Gessjanian she is typically small and delicate. Gessjanians look almost human-like but not quite completely so. (She still looks too casual! Needs a few exotic touch-ups here and there, maybe a face tattoo, Shielleese jewelry or glasses).
Dress Style Eliza wears an inconspicuous dress consisting of a beige utility overall, black engineer boots and a rugged, dark brown leather jacket with orange highlights.
Trademark Objects(s) Might be something very simple like for example a red bandana wrapped around the boot.
Other worn objects (Jewelry, Tattoos, etc.)
Height Medium tending to small (~155cm)
Weight In shape
Body Type Petite
Eye Color Brown
Hairstyle & Color Medium long, straight, originally dark brown but dyed to auburn/orange
Facial Hair N/A
Other distinguishing or species-related features
Health Condition Good
Signature Movement or Tic
Behavioral Information
Persona The Damsel in Distress
Alignment Neutral Good. Eliza ultimately believes in the good side but she is affected by the Player Character’s choices and alignment changes.
Single adjective to describe this character Cute.
General Disposition She’s on the run and she knows she’s in danger of being assassinated. She already killed somebody but she knows it was the only way to safe herself so she doesn’t feel too much guilt about it.
Common Emotions Encouraging, Worried, Stubborn
Emotional Stability Despite the fact that she is being on the black list of her former employee she takes things pretty well. Though she occasionally suffers from Paranoia, once she joins the Player Character’s team she feels a lot safer.
Likes & Loves
Fears Her prime fear is to be caught or killed by SECIATE.
Addictions None noteworthy.
Secrets She carries the knowledge of SECIATE’s secret project with her. She shares the fact with the Player Character but besides her and SECIATE (incl. their client) nobody else knows about it.
Dichotomy (inner conflict of the character)
Professional Information
Education/Intelligence She might have studied at the Shielle Technical Facility, maybe some degrees in physics, materials science and electronics engineering.
Profession and attitude towards it (good or bad) She’s an expert in security systems and people with her skills in this field are rare. She is aware of this and advertises her abilities to others if it’s of use for her.
Skills Security Systems, Materials Science, maybe Computer Systems
Special Abilities
Location Information
Residential Place She’s in hiding, perhaps somewhere on an off-route-world in the Kessebour sector.
Places often visited by the character Not too many, she tries to keep a low profile so she is careful of visiting public places. She tries to blend in with the crowd knowing that it makes an assassination difficult.
Where has the character been? Suulun Sector, Kessebour Sector and around, maybe even some worlds in the Shicia Sector.
Locations where the character is most likely to “blend in”
Background Information
Birthplace Shielle
Family Not currently relevant.
Story-related Information
Story Purpose Eliza is supposed to meet (and join) the Player Character somewhere during an incident in the Kessebour sector. Once she joined the player’s party one will be able to initiate Eliza’s side-quest in that her threat from SECIATE Armaments is ultimately being resolved as an outcome (probably by bringing SECIATE down somehow with help of the Player Character’s absurdly daring courage).
Gameplay Purpose Eliza takes place as the security systems expert in the player’s crew who can be used to get access to areas that would otherwise be off-limits (or much harder to access).
Why does the character involve him/herself into this situation?
What does the character want? Primarily she wants to bring SECIATE Armaments down so that they are no longer a threat to her. There might be a secondary goal for her which could be another reason why she joins the player’s party.
Other roles and identities
Reports/Answers to The player (once she joined the party).
Who reports to this character? Nobody.
Reactions to different events in the game
Moral choices the character has to make in the game
Relation to other significant characters
Dialog-related Information
Tagline Something like “I know this kind of lock! Give me a minute!” … (need to think more about this one!)
Dialog Tics and Slang
Dialog Ideas
Additional Information
Where will (did) the character die? She is not supposed to die.
Epitaph: What will go on the character’s tomb stone?
How did the character loose his/her virginity?
Extra Information
Plot Ideas
Other Notes & Ideas
  • A Security Expert who was working for a questionable organization on a secret project involving a powerful illegal weapon until she realized the wrongdoings of the organization and attempted to sabotage the project. She could escape but some traces led the organization to her. Since then she is on the run from the organization and their bounty hunters and assassins.
Concepts & Inspirations

RPG Design Series

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