Fleshing out a Human Swordmage.

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
So Now that I have optimized and selected powers, and suuuch; I'm at that point where I say "Now just who the heck IS this guy? Outside of a name, gender, physical description, and theme; I dont have a lot to go on.

Reyes Brannigan. Pack outcast Swordmage.

He is a foundling, by a group of elves. Knowing little more then his name and the abillity to turn into a wolf, it is believed he was raised by a small wolf pack.

Among the elves he took quickly to Sword Magic and in return they helped him look for his real family, but were unsuccesful. At the age of 25 Reyes had quickly outpaced the development of his elven friends, but was still looked at as a child by his peers, and so he took to adventuring on his own.

yay, nay, more development?
You seem to have the basic story mapped out fairly well. The only thing I can think of off the bat would be what are his goals, obviously he wants respect as an individual but what does that mean for him (e.g. does he want to be recognized as an emotional adult as he has been looked ddown upon by his adoptive family, or does he simply want recognition of his talents). Also, how is going about looking for his family? Does he have any leads or is he simply wandering aournd, hoping he'll hear something interesting?

 Outside of the possible goal of finding his family, there's not much there...
 How important is finding them to him? Is it an all-consuming obsession, or just his primary goal when he's not out adventuring or even just simply something that might be nice if it happens?
What if he never finds them, or what if he does - what are his other goals beyond that?
 You also haven't given him a personality - how does he feel about being abandoned, or raised by elves? Does he have a positive or negative outlook on life? Does he feel alienated from growing up amongst a different race? Does he get along with his elven parents?
From a psychological viewpoint, does he identify himself more as an elf or a human? Is he rebelling against the elven culture of his upbringing or did he embrace it? Does he like elven food? Music?
Is he outgoing or introverted? Is he looking for a place to fit in or is he comfortable being a loner? Is swordmage his calling or just his job description?
Is he left- or right-handed?
What were the other major events in his past that made him who he is? How did he come up with his current equipment and starting money?
 Does he have friends or "relatives" among the elves? Did someone he knows from his life with the elves hook him up with some sort of contacts in the world outside his home community or did he just pack up and take off not knowing where he'd end up?
 Outside of race, class, and a general description of a backstory, it's the little personal details that really bring a character to life. Roleplaying a character is a lot like taking on an acting role - discovering and filling out what's not written on the page turns them from a two-dimensional set of statistics and narrative description into a fully three dimensional being.

 Consider looking at the Ten Minute Background thread at the top of this forum.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

He doesn't care all that much about his family. It' be nice to know what happened to them and why they abandoned him, etc. But he has mostly come to the conclusion that no good can come from worrying over it or making a particularly troublesome adventure to find out. He does keep an ear out.

As for his Elven family, there is a bit of estrangement in the form of frustration at his different aging. Namely with his adoptive siblings who either treat him like a child still out of habit or are themselves still extremely childish. (He has an older brother, and 2 twins a younger brother and sister.) his adopted mother is stand offish about him, and his adopted father has been supportive and worked hard to treat him like an adult. Even though he has left his elven home to find his own place in the world he has generally fond memories of them, and has visited on occasion.

In terms of his outlook he considers himself more of a realist, but with a positive bend. "Can't win a dual you aren't fighting".

He defenitely see's himself as a human. Even though he doesn't remember his biological parents, the tribe had a few humans who stayed with them (lovers, children of old friends, etc.) which he identified with. His time in human kingdoms has solidified that identification.

He is comfortable being a loner for now.

He has a few contacts from his adopted father.
Wouldn't it make more sense if he saw his siblings as childish? Considering the difference in aging he would mature much faster than any of them who appeared to be his age when he was found, and would probably even out with the adults fairly quickly. He could be leaving because he's realizing that he won't get to watch his family grow up (As he's essentially guarenteed to die before any of them). Perhaps he's worried that his elven family will forget about him and thus he's seeking either glory or immortality so he'll be remembered or still around for many, many years.
Namely with his adoptive siblings who either treat him like a child still out of habit or are themselves still extremely childish.

I thought I had put that there.

And he has some ambition for immortality, just not a particularly easy way to obtain it.

He adventures mostly for his art, Swordmagic, and to explore it with greater depth.

I think its safe to say that his art is his greatest ambition. He'd like to meet his biological family, He'd like to live a comparable life to an elf, and he'd like to have a family of his own.

But he considers his spells and strikes an art and they give him all the meaning he needs.
Something that works for me almost everytime is to give your character an item that means something signifigant to him. An onyx sword, an elvish amulet, a mysterious hood -- it doesn't matter. Just make it cool and exciting. 

Then start thinking of story elements relating to the item. Where did it come from? How did it gain its properties? Who did it come from? Is it an ancient relic? Is it a powerful item just waiting to burst out of its cage? A gift from the divine?

The initial leads are limitless. They then lead naturally into backstory elements. By exploring the item, you explore your past, history, and personality. Weapons especially are great, since they are personal and are connected (idealogically) to you. 

TL, DR? Think of a cool item your character has, give it personality, delve into its past, and by doing so, you delve into your own character and flesh out your character's personality. 

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord


Sign In to post comments