((After asking Naki, a friend of mine to help us out in creating these guides, he has decided on donating several rp-ing guides specifically for the SOTF roleplay. Kudos to him!))
Creating Your Character
There are general rules to creating your character. Most of which are set by the forum moderators. Of course, there are many 'unwritten rules' that go with Roleplaying. The first being 'never subtract from the moderators character guidelines, but, unless otherwise stated, it's usually acceptable to add to those guidelines'.
Going above and beyond often proves to players that you're not going to slack, or give a 'half-assed' post performance. When you create your character, you're telling people how you roleplay. Almost immediately. A bad character pretty much dooms you in an RP from the outset. No one wants to play with a bad character, because it reflects on how you RP. Of course, having a bad character and a great post truly doesn't make up for the initial factor of suckage. So don't half-ass your character.
Following a regular registrations there's are [usually] these things: Personality, Background/History, and Appearance. These 3 things, alone, should be the entire bulk of your character. If it isn't... you suck. In all honesty, this is the section that makes or breaks your character. We'll start off with the personality.
Start off small; think of how you want to play your character. And then look at others. I'm going to guess that the 'smooth, quiet and cold badass' is the most common from this point on. So, don't bother with that. Be original. Of course, at this stage, you want may 4-5 words to describe your character.
"Smart, witty, quick-tongued, suave" I'm going to choose those 4 words for this example. So far, we've got a number of 'clichés' open to use. A number of them less used, but still clichés nonetheless. I'll list them before going on: smart-assed rich kid, artist, musician, loner [a personal favourite of the 'new rpers'], and so on.
I'm not going to use any of these. Why? Because they are cliché. Avoid them. Like the plague. Purely because just about everyone reading these guides can't use them well. And those of you that can, will eventually screw up while playing them. Playing clichés well is hard. Creating them well is simple. Let's avoid them for now, okay?
So, what can I do with these four words? A huge number of things, actually. On average, you want at least 2 paragraphs. 10 sentences at minimum. I'll write up a fairly random personality for this non-existant character.
"Sam is a well-rounded kid. He's not part of any gangs, and hasn't delved into drugs or alcohol. Though, because he does well in-school, he's had to develop a quick-tongue to deal with the jocks and the 'badasses'. He doesn't hold himself as part of any 'cliques' but just hangs out with a few friends. He also has used his smarts to do well with the girls, being a smooth-talker when it comes to girls.
When it comes to dealing with the cliques, Sam just tends to ignore them, or give a witty line, with which they often find no real way to counter with words, and Sam goes off to hang out with his close group of friends. He holds no desire to 'fit in', and doesn't care too much about the 'drama' highschool holds."
Not too hard; rather simple, and probably not nearly as well as what can be done with some actual thought put into the character as a whole.
Of course, next comes the harder sections. Appearance and background.
It's not too hard to make a character that looks, good, but, of course, just like in drawing, proportion plays a role in designing your character. Being 5'6" and 101lbs for a male sounds.... wrong. Understand that a male, of a light frame [very few muscles, probably a runner, at best], at 5'6" is still between 136-142lbs. A larger male, of 6'0", is probably between 181 and 207. Anything higher or lower means he's either overweight, or malnourished.
Also remember that for girls, they have the extra addition of breasts. Which, will play a role in designing they're build and chest-size. Having joke-sized breasts [See: enormous] on a girl of small build, while possible, is going to suffer and pain her greatly.
When creating a character, you must put all of these factors together. A light framed male is not going to be a bodybuilder, while a large framed girl is going to be able to support the weight of being well endowed.
Of course body-size and proportion isn't the only thing that you need to consider. You also need to give them a unique style of dress. Of course the 'unique-ness' of a highschool student truly isn't anywhere near the uniqueness of other genres. Chances are, you'll typically wear the same dress-style, in varied colours. Doesn't mean you all need to have the same eye and hair colours. That is generally what sets people apart. The style of their character, as well as markings, tattoos, scars, etc.
Creating your appearance to set yourself apart from other players is often the hardest part to create. Though, the character's appearance can always play into personality, and how the character acts. So let your appearance rule your character, mold them effectively to make them different from everyone else.
This is the catch for most characters. Everyone thinks that here's where you need to go all out and make their character super dramatic.
That's the best advice you'll ever get. Drama is good. But chances are, you'll use it incorrectly. Additionally, there are a few 'overused' backgrounds that are just too common. "Daddy beats me so I act out" is one of the most common, additionally "My parents left me so I'm a troublemaker" is another good example of what not to do.
You don't need to be a problem child to be interesting. In fact, being a problem child makes it less interesting, because everyone wants to be one. You can be interesting just by being a normal person. It's how your character views and reacts to the world around them that makes them interesting, not how many times they got into fights.
Think in a manner of thinking 'what is the best environment for my character to grow up in?' and then think 'how can I make it better so that it doesn't seem so typical?'. Especially for you guys that want to play the badass all the time. Being a badass is fine, but it doesn't mean you need a broken home, or some jailtime to do it. Look at the 'real life' badasses. Johnny Depp during his 'hotel trashing' phase is a good example of the 'badass quality'. No broken homes; he had a great relationship with his mother, in addition, great success in life up to that point.
You don't need to fill a cliché to make your character original and well made. It takes only the will to create something original.