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Wallowing in the MUDs with Raslazel

A series of articles about MUDs and gaming in general, involving strategy and commentary on role-play and having fun.

Author: Raslazel

Character Descriptions: A Short Guide to the Basics

Posted by Raslazel Thursday July 5 2012 at 11:04AM
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Ah, character descriptions, many are the days I have spent looking at you in wonder. It's a favourite hobby of mine, looking at descriptions and correcting them in my head. I generally don't offer my edits unless specifically asked, but I do enjoy it so. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in the best MUD I've ever played, Achaea by Iron Realms Entertainment.

Here are some basic rules to follow:

1. There's no need to describe everything in excruciating detail. Many things are better left to the imagination.

2. Long does not equal good. I'm more apt to read a well-written short description than I am a thesaurus-beating mess. The fact is that most people aren't interested in reading a page just to look at you.

3. No more than two adjectives per noun, please. Your character's bright, shining, sea-green eyes with coal-black, shimmering, light-sucking flecks in them might be interesting to you, but they just look amateur to me.

4. Playing off of rule 3, be certain the feature you're describing doesn't have contradictory details. You do not have skinny arms with bulging muscles. It doesn't work that way.

5. Do not describe actions or anything that forces another person to do something. The word "you" should appear nowhere in the description. "You look at him and feel instantly frightened." Really, a combat-hardened necromancer-dragon is afraid of your level 20 novice? Fat chance.

6. Describe only what people can see just by looking. What do you see when you look at another person? You see their posture and various other physical features. You'll also see their current expression, but we'll save that for number 7. You can't tell much about a person's past, their hopes and dreams or things of that nature just by looking, so why should your character be any different?

7. If you've written "she always wears a smile," for instance, stop and think. Is she going to be wearing that smile when she gets ripped apart in a raid? What about when her boyfriend leaves her? Most people do not wear the same expression in every situation and neither does you character.

There you are, seven basic rules for writing a description. In the article that follows, Character Descriptions: Spit and Polish, I'll show you how to make your description even better.

If you've ever thought to yourself, "what game should I play?" why aren't you checking out one or all of the top MUDs Iron Realms Entertainment has to offer? You'll find in-depth roleplay, expansive worlds and player-driven events in each one. They're free-to-play, so there's nothing to lose. I play Achaea, so feel free to send me a message in-game. See you there! writes:
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