Character Creation

Welcome to Character Creation Advice. Here you can find tips and advice for creating well though out, interesting characters for just about any story, not limited to Zelda fancharacters. This page was created from a blog post on the OC club account by Mel, added to by Rueyeet and Fox Lee, and subsequently paraphrased/adapted into this page by Fox Lee.


When creating a character, there are many things to keep in mind. First of all, even in fantasy settings, look at real life and real people to create your characters. Elements like magic and sworldplay are much less important than personality; if a character is believable, if you can relate to their emotions and goals, then you can place them into almost any setting and have them work. In other words, don't create "fantasy characters" - create characters in a fantasy setting.

All believable characters have to be like real people to some degree, regardless of setting. This means not being perfect, or being able to overcome any challenge themselves, or getting along with everybody. It means having strengths and weaknesses, failures and successes, and some sort of goal or aim (probably lots of them). It means being wrong sometimes. You want your fellow creators/roleplayers and readers to connect with your character in one way or another, not find them utterly annoying to even read about. A character who is infallible, has no flaws or wields impossible powers is most likely a Mary Sue, the bane of fandom OCs.

Villains have a little more leeway on success amd failure, especially if they are supposed to be a powerful adversary or "end boss" of a plotline. However, they still have their weaknesses, and they still have to be likable to a certain extent (even if it's only in the sense of "For someone so evil, he does it so well!"). Unless they are a monstrous creature rather than a person, they should still have some human characteristics through which the audience can relate to them. Whether they are ultimately shceduled for defeat or redemption, the most memorable villains in any story are those with distinct personalities and unexpected quirks.

Avoiding Clichés

Broadly speaking, you want to avoid clichés in your character designs. As you may already know, there's a fine line between a trope (a familiar story/style element that is well-liked and used often) and a cliché (which is essentially the same thing, used so often it's no longer well-liked). Indeed, there are few character traits whch can't be classed as clichés, by somebody with a broad enough exposure to media.

The trick is, you don't want your character overall to be a cliché; you need to mix up the oft-used trops with fresher ideas. Maybe your character lost her family when she was a child. Okay, that's not a bad thing per se. Your character lost her family when she was a child to an invading army, so she now tries to avoid conflict? Okay, that would work fine in a setting with a recent war. Your character lost her family to an ivading army, and swore vengeance upon the enemy nation, so she is forced to fight even though she hates violence, and actually she has a split personality to express this, and the "evil" side of her killed the prince of the enemy nation in a fit of rage, whom she actually met while he was diguised as a peasant and secretly fell in love with?

You might want to reconsider that.

Lots of characters have dark pasts, or secrets, or tragic childhoods. That's alright, because there are real people who have horrible pasts, too. But not everyone was raped as a little girl/boy, had both their parents killed by so-and-so, or had to make a life or death decision and lost their best friend in the process. And no matter how bad their life was, there's almost nobody who had all of these things happen at once.

A character whose backstory is packed with attention-grabbing tragedies and/or clichés is also probably a Mary Sue.

History Leads to Outlook

Think about the character, how they are in their present time. What in their past could have made them this way? If they're cheerful, optimistic or friendly, chances are they had a relatively normal childhood; most likely a loving family and a safe home (let's throw a puppy in for good measure). If they are brooding, callous, or distant, however, there's most likely a tragedy tucked away back there (hopefully it didn't involve the puppy).

Of course, those are just two ends of the spectrum; there are lots of attitudes that fall between "bouncy optimist" and "dark and brooding". Some characters might also react to their past by pulling strongly in the opposite direction; an optimist might have had a hard life, but be determined to take control and make it better. Whatever you decide, the important thing is that there are always links between past experience and present attitude; if you know what those links are, your character will be more realistic, and you'll have a better grasp of who they are.

Setting-Appropriate Characters

Any character designed to fit into an existing setting or real-world scenario should be appropriate to that time and place. There were no samurai in ancient Rome, or electronics in medieval Europe, or Christians in feudal Japan. This goes for social concepts too - if you don't enjoy dealing with how society treated women in the 1840s, don't roleplay your female characters there. You can't expect an existing setting to change to suit you.

The Zelda setting is easy to experience through its many games, and leaves you plenty of wiggle-room to create unique characters. Just be aware of the general limitations.

Costuming/Visual Style

The dress code is typical western fantasy, leaning toward Victorian or Renaissance at the high end; modern influences seen in the games are mostly for comic effect, so it's best to avoid them unless you want your character to be a joke. This varies by race; Gerudo are obviously influenced by numerous middle-eastern styles, Sheikah are reminiscent of "ninja" but are certainly not oriental, Kokiri are rustic and simple, and so forth.

The important thing is to model your character's style off some appropriate aesthetic found in the series. As cool as samurai (for example) may be, they are simply out-of-place in Zelda.

Props and Resources

Technology is hard to place, since it's slightly anachronistic and varies a little. If in doubt, try to use the games as an indicator. We see cameras, cannons, telescopes and sophisticated mechanisms like bombchu; we don't see guns, mechanised vehicles, electronics, or gas stoves/lighting. This doesn't exactly fit with any period in human history, but if you keep new ideas to typical fantasy and otherwise stay in areas the games have addressed, you should be safe.

Outside Elements

Crossovers are totally unacceptable for club characters. Slight resemblances and references are okay, but openly bringing elements from Dragon Ball Z, InuYasha, Final Fantasy et al into the Zeldaverse is not something we allow.

Moving On…

Now that you have a creative, reasonable, realistic character, you may want to review Roleplay Tips as well. If your character is accepted by the club, you could also make a page for them!

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