Witty Wordsmith: Building Character Through Action

Witty Wordsmith: Building Character Through Action

“You gotta walk the walk before you talk the talk” – it’s a popular idiom that holds a surprising amount of truth and good playing advice for simmers.
It is tempting in a script-based RPG to focus on only the dialogue you write, however your character is developed through actions, not dialogue.  Any character can say they can fix a warp core breech – but the character that actually runs into the engine room with a toolkit gets the glory at the end of a mission.  Simming is all about what your characters do to influence the story, making the number one job for every player: to do stuff.
That seems like such a simple statement, but take a moment and think of how many times you might have hesitated, waiting for an order or waiting for someone else to describe a setting?  While a certain amount of player politeness is needed to make sure the game flows and everyone is having fun, if you’re always waiting for someone else to invite or allow you to do something you’re missing out on a critical chance to develop your character and help build the action.
Character development comes from the building blocks of action – of doing stuff.  The trick is to figure out what traits you feel your character embodies – whether positive or negative – and act on them.  If they are a socially awkward engineering genius, don’t be a wallflower at the next ship’s ceremony – go get awkward with your crew and regale them with jokes only engineers would understand.  If they are a perfectionist helm officer have them check and recheck every system before take off. Play up their strengths in missions and have them stumble on their weaknesses – actions build character, and dialogue follows from the character that is built.
Remember, your character only exists in your mind – the character’s actions bring him or her to life for the rest of your audience.  Make those actions memorable and fun, and you’ll enjoy playing the character more – and your crew will enjoy reading about them more!

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