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  • Writer's pictureZoey Easton

Beginner guide to creating a new character for VR Roleplay

If you're considering trying VR Roleplay and need to create a character, I'm here to jump-start the process with some tips for beginners from experienced roleplayers.

What is VR Roleplay?

VR Roleplay is a collaborative storytelling effort where you work together to contribute to a story being played out in VR. You roleplay live as your character, reacting to what goes on around you and influencing the outcomes of events. If the VR Roleplay you want to join requires that you create a character, I have some tips that will smooth out the process and help make your character shine.

What To Prepare

Broadly speaking, there are two main things to prepare for a character: your character sheet and an Avatar. Your character sheet is the home of written information that helps inform your character's decisions during a roleplay. It usually includes a short bio and some key features of a character, such as their desires, strengths, and weaknesses. Your avatar is the 3d model that represents your character, which could be provided by the roleplay or something you create on your own.

Rules May Vary

Before you get started on anything, make sure you identify and read the character creation rules. Depending on the roleplay, the rules can vary from a couple of quick guidelines to an entire character creation framework and application form. There might be rules about your avatar, requirements for your character sheet, and limitations on the themes you can explore or types of characters you can create.

One-shot VR roleplays might not expect character creation ahead of time and instead focus on discovering your character during the roleplay or assigning characters at the start of a session. If you have questions about what expectations there are regarding character creation, it's always best to ask a Game Master for clarifications.

Communicate And Collaborate

This leads me to communication as the first rule of thumb for character creation in any roleplay. Collaborative storytelling includes character creation, and you should always include a Game Master in your character creation process.

A Game Master is someone who helps run the roleplay and they are very familiar with the rules, themes and lore of the setting. They can help you make a character consistent with the stories told within the roleplay and provide suggestions you might have yet to consider. At the same time, they can help ensure you aren't writing things in your backstory that conflict with the setting or other characters' backstories.

Identify The Themes

A good way to start is to, Identify the themes of the roleplay and find an aspect you want to explore. If you're joining a roleplay about a despotic society under the thumb of a tyrannical government, think about how you can engage that theme through a question you want to find an answer to throughout the RP. Ask a question like "How does a parent weigh their desire for rebellion against the safety of their family"?  It helps to establish a core value for your character and the question to inform the rest of the creation process.

Write to your comfort

The level of detail you go into for character creation can vary quite a bit depending on personal preference and roleplay requirements. It’s okay to go into roleplay with little more than the framework of a character and discover who they are as you play. If you’re a writer it’s also okay to write a five-page backstory that helps inform all of your in-character decisions.

When it comes down to it, what’s important is not so much what’s in your backstory, but what you communicate about your character to others during a roleplay session. What you do and say during a session becomes the truth of your character and often develops differently than you initially expected. Have fun with it and play to your own comfort levels and strengths.

Don't Keep Secrets

A common pitfall in character creation involves keeping secrets from other players, especially from the GM. If your character has a secret, you should try to communicate that with other players. This can often seem counterintuitive to newer players who are seeking that dramatic moment a secret is revealed in a roleplay. But if nobody knows the secret exists then it's very hard for anyone to help set up for that moment. Players don’t need to know all the details of your secret but should know enough about its nature to help set you up for success.

Game Masters should know all the details of your character's secret . Experienced roleplayers separate information they know as a player from information their character knows and will try to uplift your experience if they know what you're up to.

Choose Your Avatar

Next up, it’s time to pick an Avatar. What this looks like varies between VR Roleplays.

If you're playing a VRChat Roleplay, you could prepare an Avatar yourself, but that would require its own dedicated guide.

I recommend using a premade avatar. On Aexia, the game masters will provide a selection of avatars for you; you just want to choose whatever you like best. On VRChat, you can go to an avatar search world and find something, just be sure that the Avatar you use is rated good or better. Almost all VRChat roleplays require the avatar to be rated good or better to conserve resources.

Just Have Fun With it

Character creation can seem daunting, but remember that the purpose of VR Roleplay is to have fun telling a story together. If you are having fun and your fun isn't detracting from the fun of others, you are winning at VR Roleplay. This applies to character creation as well. Play to your own strengths, relax, and enjoy the process.

If you have any questions or want help coming up with ideas for your character, you can join in our conversations about VR Roleplay in the Aexia discord community. We also run multiple weekly one-shot VR Roleplay events you can jump in on with minimal prep. All our roleplays are quest compatable with full PC crossplay. Come check us out, we'd love to have you!

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