By Skill and Valour: Making a new LARP Character

It all started when Verdinium messaged me, “Wanna larp. Do something.”.
After I told her that I’m not her nanny I searched through the German LARP calendar and found something that struck my fancy: A castle con on a weekend in March, set in the world of The Dark Eye, the German fantasy RPG system. In fact TDE was the system I started my career as a RPG nerd with when I was fourteen, and my LARP history one year later.
Verdinium agreed that it sounded nice, so I asked a few other friends, too, and thus our adventure party was born. Our adventure party means, of course, Verdinium and me, Pwyll, Scoundrel and Scoundrel’s flatmate Noisette (who’s adorable and in our Pathfinder group, too, by the way).

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While I love my Mythodea character Sasha she’ll stay on that continent for now. No, I wanted something more lighthearted this time, a character more suited for ambience play than for the battlefield. There’s not a lot of combat planned for the con anyway so that’s all right.

And after a surprisingly short time I came up with Noio. And then I thought, hey, why not document all of this on the blog? And here I am. And because I don’t just want this post to be a PSA I’ll start with

The Character Basics

The first few questions I ask myself before creating a new character are these:

  • Who is she? What are her defining traits?
  • Where is she from?
  • What does she do for a living and what social class does she belong to?
  • and of course What’s her name?
  • and after that What series and films can I watch for further inspirations?

Everything else usually comes from the conclusions I can draw from the answers to these questions. Here’s how I answered them.

  • As I said before I wanted her to be lighthearted. Someone eternally optimistic because there is enough pain in the world. A blithe romantic, so to speak.
  • I decided for her to be from the Horasian Empire, a part of Aventuria (the world of TDE) that’s inspired by French baroque and Italian Renaissance and the heyday of the Netherlands, at least in the north where she comes from. The city that spoke to me most was Grangor, a mixture of attributes of Venice and Amsterdam, so I decided that she’d spent quite some time there, even though she came from the Phecadie, a district centered around the Phecadi river in the North of the empire.
  • I wanted her to do something practical, so she became a painter. Painting and drawing is something I’m good at and it also makes for a good conversation starter and it’s easily done on site. I went a little further and she became the daughter of an impoverished member of the landed nobility. This means that her social standing is still quite high, well, as long as nobody questions whether the manor is still intact…
  • At the back of the core rule book of TDE (pictured above, worn out from ten years of duty) is a list of common names from the several parts of Aventuria. Back when I was still actively playing TDE pen&paper I had circled some of my favourite names: Fiana, Harika, Mo, Gwynna, Lovisa, Eronia, Chadima… and Noiona. You see, St. Noiona is the patron of the insane and one of the saints of the church of Boron, lord of the dead (which is not a bad thing per se in this case). I didn’t want her to be named exactly after her, so she became Noionella with a little help from diminutive suffixes. I’ll go into her family name, Hauge-Magvalie, in the post about her family in general. For now let’s just call her Noionella Vindest, Vindest being a common Horasian surname.
  • As for the inspirational series I found
    • The Borgias. Plotting and beautiful renaissance gowns.
    • Da Vinci’s Demons. Leonardo-themed films are generally useful for renaissance inspiration.
    • The Musketeers. They add the necessary baroque flair to the list

The series take a lot of artistic licence when it comes to history, but that’s perfectly well. The character is not meant for re-enactment but for fantasy LARP and the word the story is set in is merely inspired by our world’s history. If you have any other recommendations, please tell me in the comment section!

That’s it for now. I’ll show you my first character sketches next time!

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